I love a good monthlong challenge and have done quite a few through the years. For the next month, I’m going to do 30 days of beans – eating some type of legume as my protein source for at least one meal each day.
A month is just long enough to establish new habits, but not so long that you’re miserable if the challenge proves to be uncomfortable. “No Spend” months are an excellent example. They help you become more aware of your spending habits, urges, and emotions, and force you to get creative to get what you need. I’ve done “exercise every day for a month” challenges that turned me into a daily exercise person. It’s fun to challenge yourself in this way and create a healthy new habit.
This time, I want to eat beans every day for a month.
- Beans are healthy, cheap (challenging me to lower my grocery spending even more), and eco-friendly (three separate but compelling reasons, but I want to keep this brief)
- My particular digestive system loves beans
- I’d like to lose 3 pounds.
- Given the above things, I need to expand my bean repertoire and recipe knowledge
I’ll expand on these reasons.
Day 1: Today’s bean-y lunch: Black beans with sautéed broccoli and brown rice.
I cooked the beans until soft, then sautéed onions in leftover bacon fat. I added garlic, a can of tomatoes, oregano, salt, cumin, black pepper, and a squeeze of lime. The broccoli was sautéed in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Rice was leftover from dinner two days ago. You can see one stray green pea in the leftover rice. Ha!
Beans are healthy, cheap, and eco-friendly
I doubt I need to say much to convince you here. A pound of dried beans costs .99 and after soaking and cooking, produces 6-7 cups of beans. One cup of beans is enough to fill most adults’ bellies, and contains (in the case of pinto beans):
- 245 calories
- 45 grams “slow” carbohydrates
- 15 grams fiber (half your daily requirement)
- 15 grams protein
- a good source of Vitamin B1, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Other beans have slightly different nutritional profiles, all good.
Beans are a more sustainable protein source than meat because they require far less water, land, and fossil fuels. They also don’t pollute the environment with methane.
My particular digestive system loves beans
I’ll keep this point brief! (You’re welcome!) Let’s just say that since I was a child, I’ve struggled with something that the fiber in beans makes easier to do. And I don’t get gas when I eat beans, thankfully. My digestive system seems to thrive when I include beans in my daily diet, something that became clear to me when I was eating beans for pregnancy nausea.
I’d like to lose 3 pounds.
I love my body and I’m thankful for it at any weight. But one way I’ve been able to maintain my weight as I age (when it gets harder) is by paying attention, like a French woman, to small changes. I weigh 3 pounds more than I did last year, and the best way to not have to lose 30 (or 50 or 100) pounds is to lose 3 pounds as soon as you gain it.
Eating beans regularly is a simple way to drop weight without dieting.
Given the above 3, I need to expand my bean repertoire and recipe knowledge
I have a few go-to bean recipes I can make without consulting a cookbook or Google, but I’d like to have more. Having variety makes cooking and eating healthfully and frugally more fun.
I’m glad I already own this wonderful book: The Everything Beans Book: 30 Frugal, Nutrient-Packed Recipes for Every Eater. I got it ages ago and it’s been patiently waiting in my Google Drive to be opened up and loved. I’ve referenced it in the past but not enough!
Why do I soak my beans before cooking?
For the first 30 years of my life, I always soaked my beans before cooking. But I stopped because I didn’t notice a difference between soaked and unsoaked.
I changed my mind after watching (and reading) Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat. She says that “hydrated beans cook more evenly and in less time than their parched counterparts“. Now that I’m paying attention, I notice that my soaked beans have a creamier texture and their skins are softer, giving them a nicer mouthfeel.
I’ll update once a week to report how my challenge is going.
So far, I’ve eaten:
- Black Bean Quesadillas
- Black Beans with Sofrito, Homemade Bread, Chopped Tomatoes
- Black Bean Chalupas with Brown Rice, Lettuce, Salsa Verde
- Simple Cassoulet (white beans)
- Chickpea Kashmiri
- Black Beans with Lemon-Pepper Broccoli and Homemade Bread
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What’s your favorite way to eat beans? ?