Beans: The Lifesaving, Moneysaving, Super-food

Sometimes good things come in inexpensive packages. I know this is counter-intuitive. All the marketing tells you that the really good stuff is expensive; shiny new cars, diamond rings, designer handbags. I would argue instead that no one would buy that stuff if their marketing budgets ran out. Why do people spend thousands of dollars on ugly purses with someone else’s name on it? In actuality, some things are so good they don’t need advertising, like nature, fresh produce, and quality time with the people you love. Learning to appreciate these less-advertised things in life can be a major boost on your journey to a happy and financially independent life.

Beans are another example of this. They sound really basic and pretty boring. The word bean is almost synonymous with poverty and sadness. There’s something completely wrong with that. Although beans are definitely a less expensive food option they are also the cornerstone to a healthy, plant-forward diet. Beyond that beans are incredibly versatile, hearty, and super yummy. Almost every great food culture has amazing bean recipes; Mexican, Indian, and Mediterranean, to name a few. So I propose we take a stab at re-branding for these amazing super-foods. They need a little P.R. help. The plant family that beans are in was formerly called Leguminosae but has recently been renamed to Fabaceae. In honor of this new botanical family name, I formally dub these little miracles…Super-fabs. Super-fabs really are a super-food. They are high in fiber, protein, and cancer preventing antioxidants. The Blue-zones project calls super-fabs, “The World’s #1 Longevity Food” because they are regularly and commonly eaten in every longevity hotspot on this planet.

I just whipped up a pot of Three Super-fab Chili in my Instant Pot that is equally as delicious as my old meat chili recipe. I don’t have a recipe to share because I didn’t use one. Chili is one of those recipes I know so well that I don’t bother measuring anything. A good chili recipe has to have these components; Super-fabs, vegetables, tomato (crushed or diced work well), chili peppers, and spices (cumin, chili powder, salt, garlic, bay leaves, cayenne). This recipe looks good, though I would add more vegetables like celery, carrot, and kale. The key to a successfully improvised meal is to taste the food before serving it to make sure it has the right amount of salt and spices.

Have I mentioned that Super-fabs have a super-power? Super-fab plants can actually make their own fertilizer. They can literally take the nitrogen out of the air and convert it into a form of nitrogen that plants and animals need to make new cells. The vast majority of species on Earth can’t do that. The only other time nitrogen is “fixed” into a usable form in nature is during a lightning strike- no joke it’s basically a miracle. This makes Super-fabs super fabulous for sustainable organic farming. There’s no need for Miracle Grow here folks. Eating Super-fabs in place of animal meat can dramatically lower your carbon footprint since meat production is a major source of greenhouse gas production, deforestation, and pollution.

Here’s some Super-fab tips to get you started:

  1. To make your dried Super-fabs easier to digest, rinse them, soak them for a few hours, rinse them again, and cook them with plenty of fresh water.
  2. Canned Super-fabs are also great to have on hand for quick meals. Black Super-fabs are great for tacos, burritos, and quesadillas and Garbanzo Super-fabs for a quick hummus or a hearty Mediterranean soup.
  3. I make a pot of Super-fabs at least once per week and usually divide them up before I fully season them, so they can be used for multiple different recipes. If you can’t finish a whole pot in a week, you can always freeze them for future use.
  4. Pressure cookers make Super-fabs super fast! Pre-soaked Super-fabs take less than 10 minutes in the Instant Pot.
  5. It can take a little while to foster the micro-biome in your digestive system that can properly digest Super-fabs. This means if you aren’t already used to eating Super-fabs it’s better to slowly start adding them to your diet. Eating one new recipe per week should probably do the trick. After about a week, you shouldn’t have any gaseous side effects from these musical fruit.

And here are some great recipes to get you started on your Super-fab-ulous new longevity diet:  this Mexican Quinoa is really good as-is or in a taco. I served these chickpea “meat”balls with an Italian style tomato sauce (rather than the gravy they suggested) in a “meat” ball sub.

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