Tag Archives: beans

All about daal

And by daal I mean lentils, legumes and beans. We love ‘em, don’t we? They’re such a significant part of the Indian cuisine that you can’t ever find someone who isn’t fond of them. And rightly so, from the nutritional standpoint. Wonderful micronutrient balance, extremely rich in folate and molybdenum, scarily high in fiber, excellent source of low GI carbs and a decent source of vegetarian protein! What’s not to love for a carb loving vegetarian society?

chana-pindi-recipe

(This amazing photo was shot by the author of this really cool recipe –  www.vegrecipesofindia.com/pindi-chana/)

Anyways. Let’s keep the love and pride going but let’s be careful to not get carried away because these little pods of nutrition aren’t entirely harmless.

Phytate alert 

Now, lentils contain something known as ‘phytates’. We wouldn’t worry much about these little guys if they behaved well. But they don’t. They inhibit and/or slow down absorption of nutrients from healthful foods that work so hard to consume. So in order to reduce phytate content, our ancestors traditionally soaked all lentils, legumes and beans before cooking and consuming them. If anything that changed since then, it is the fact that we consume much lesser nutrients today and it becomes even more important to ensure their absorption is not inhibited.

Carb alert 

Also, remember that lentils are only a decent source of protein but they are a great source of carbohydrates. Depending on the type, each cooked cup will contains 12-20 grams of protein and 40 to 50 grams of carbohydrates. So the ratio between protein and carbohydrates will be ~ 1:3. Now that’s not too bad for most of us.

But the problem is when we combine it with a starch like rice or roti. Since the rice or roti is basically all carbohydrate, the ratio drifts more towards carbohydrates and ends up at ~ 1:6. Which is, well, bad especially considering most of us eat way too much carbohydrate rich foods all day everyday.

Fat alert 

And who eats a plate of lentils just steamed or cooked? We like some tadka on it or we like to maakhni it up or just add some all powerful ghee to it. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with eating fat, be sure to not overdo it. You don’t want too much tadka or ghee on your daal or beans. And if you’re eating daal maakhni or any preparation of lentils that is rich, you want to remember that it’s not just a harmless bowl of lentils but a dish is dominated by fat and carbohydrates.

Stupid alert 

1 cup means 1 standard cup which is 240 ml. Yes, that coffee tumbler you have at home. No, not the rice bowl you’re pointing at.

Enough alerts. Time for fixes.  

But it’s OK. Not everything is lost. I have some fixes that will help you continue the lentil love saga without having to loosen your trousers.

  1. Soak lentils, legumes, beans and even grains for a few hours before cooking.
  2. Keep the starchy foods to a minimum when you’re going lentil crazy. Yup. No roti or rice. Sucks. But you got yourself into this mess.
  3. Save the rich and creamy lentil dishes for a day of indulgence, which, I’m sure we’ll all agree, isn’t too rare these days.

Cool? Now, if you’d like to understand more, here are some links for further reading.

  1. Stephan Guyenet explains why lentils are real food and how to prepare and consume them for optimal nutrient absorption.
  2.  The fine folks at the Weston A. Price Foundation take it a step further and discuss phytates in detail.
  3. And finally, the in-depth nutritional profile of lentils on WHFoods.com.

Now, you tell me. Was this helpful? Did you learn a thing or two you could use in daily life? Do you have related questions? The more you talk, the more I talk. So share your thoughts here and share the knowledge for your health conscious friends on social media.

Always remember – when in doubt,  keep it simple.

The EBV meal

As we slowly move our fat behinds and spilling bellies into the 21st century making good food choices becomes more and more of a struggle. For instance, we first had cookies. Then we had Oreo cookies. Now we have Oreo stuffed cookies! Are you kidding me? What’s a fat boy to do?! Not eat it? Blasphemy!

While I’m super excited about what is up next, I’m also petrified about how this is going to cause an uncontrollable downward spiral of our already crashing healths. That being the case, it becomes more and more important to make good food choices on most meals so that we can live long enough to enjoy tomorrow’s awesome treats. One of my recommendations to eating right while still keeping taste, nutrition and satiety levels high is the EBV meal and this is how it works.

You eat beans, eggs and vegetables. Nothing more. Nothing less.

You will need…

  • 2 – 4 whole country/free range eggs
  • 1 – 1.5 cups pre-soaked beans (any kind. mixed is fine)
  • 1 – 2 cups raw vegetables (mixed is fine)
  • 2 teaspoons ghee or coconut oil or lard
  • Salt, pepper, spices and toppings per taste
  • 1 cup milk or yogurt (optional)

You will need to…

  • Make a serving of beans. You can make it the Indian way (daal) or mexican way or american way (chili) or my way i.e cuisineless (add stuff you like and make it taste awesome). Of course, you can very well add your 1-2 cups of vegetables and cook them along with the beans to make the cooking simple.
  • Cook your eggs. Hard boiled, sunny side up, omelet, poached they’re all fine. You can even make this a gravy and add in the vegetables if you choose to.
  • Cook your vegetables. Saute, pan fry, broiled, steamed, baked they’re all fine.Or eat ’em raw if that’s how you roll.
  • Top your vegetables and/or beans with 1-2 tbls of shredded coconut (optional of course) or raw cut onions or green mango or cheese or bacon whatever else floats your boat.
  • Other options:
    • Top the beans with vegetables and eggs.
    • Scramble the eggs along with the beans and/or vegetables.

Nutritionally, you will have consumed…

  • Calories: 500 – 900 kcal
  • Protein: 30 – 55 g
  • Carbohydrates: 50 – 85 g
  • Fiber: 15 – 22 g
  • Fats: 20 – 40 g
  • Vitamins: Plenty (depends on choice of beans and vegetables)
  • Minerals: Plenty (depends on choice of beans and vegetables)
  • Satiety: Very high due to the abundance of protein, carbs and fiber.
  • Taste: Awesome (but that’s only ‘cos I’m a pretty good cook. So suit yourself!)

And you will realize this is awesome, because…

  • The meal is filled with nutrients.
  • The meal is free from gluten, sugar, soy and other anti-nutrients.
  • You can very easily modify the meal to suit your goals be it fat loss or performance or muscle gain or general health – high/low calorie, high/low fat, high/low protein, high/low carb etc.
  • Variety is unlimited ‘cos you can vary the vegetables and beans every time (black, kidney, toor daal, pinto, moong daal, chick peas, double beans, ) and the nutritional value will still stay high up.

So next time you’re out of options for a meal, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, soak some beans, crack some eggs, chop some vegetables and you’re good to go!

Adios!

Let’s talk numbers

You know what… forget gluten, forget lectins… let’s assume that grains and beans have no detrimental effects. With this assumption let us compare the nutritional content of grains, beans, vegetables, fruits and sugars. There’s actually very little I want to write in this post because I did a fair bit of research or data collection or whatever you want to call it and  have gathered some numbers which I’m sure will be very useful to you. So without further ado let’s just jump right in.

Note:

1. 200 calories of each food item is taken into account.

2. Carbohydrates, fiber and protein are in grams.

3. Vitamins are present as %DV i.e. Percentage Daily Value = Recommended Daily Amount. Find more information here.

Data:

Cereals and Grains:

– About 1 cup of grains/cereals will result in a calorie in take of ~ 200.

– All grains and cereals have a high carb load and contain little to no fiber and protein.

– Vitamins are available… but in trace amounts.

Beans and Legumes:

– About 1 cup of beans/legumes will result in a calorie in take of ~ 200.

– Beans and legumes have a high carb load but contain decent amount of fiber and protein.

– Moderate quantities of vitamins are available.

Starchy Vegetables:

– Each medium sized potato/yam will provide you about a 100 calories.

– Starchy vegetables are carb heavy and contain less fiber and protein (similar to grains)

– Moderate quantities of vitamins are available.

Fibrous Vegetables:

– Each cup of fibrous vegetable will result in a calorie intake of only 40 calories!

– Fibrous vegetables are not carb heavy and contain enormous amounts of fiber and protein!

Monstrous quantities of vitamins are available!

Fruits:

– Fruits could be calorie dense or not depending on their type. Berries are generally super low calorie.

– Fruits can be carb heavy, again depending on choice, and can have insane amount of fiber (berries) or not.

– Protein content of fruit is generally very low.

– Moderate quantities of vitamins are available (mostly vitamin C).

Sugar:

– 1/4 cup (or less) of sugar will result in 200 calories!

– They have a very high carb load, no fiber and no protein.

– Sugars have little to no vitamins to offer.

– Honey and sugar ain’t too different.

Discussion:

Now that you have seen the data let’s throw in some graphs, pictorially represent them and put things in perspective.

1. All these foods offer pretty similar amount of total carbohydrates to provide a total of 200 calories.

So no big deal here. Let’s chill.

2. While we are looking at the carbs offered by these foods let’s see how much fiber each of these offer.

Oh wow! Now here’s something worthwhile.

– While sugars offer zero fiber and grains offer just about 4 grams/200 calories, fibrous vegetables offer a whopping 21 grams/200 calories!! That is 85% of your DV for fiber!

– Fruits offer a significant amount of fiber too and if all your fruits are berries… my oh my… you’re getting ~ 30 grams of fiber/200 calories! That is 120% of your DV of fiber!

Clearly from a fiber perspective (which is important for all this)… fibrous vegetables and berries kick some serious ass! So brown rice eaters… please quit being proud! The 2 grams of fiber/200 calories ain’t no thang!

Net carbs in any food = Total carbs – Fiber and this is the number of carbs that actually count and the lower the better. So net carbs for these dudes?

Seriously… check it out! Fibrous vegetables have more fiber than net carbs! Wicked! Show me one product in the market today that does this! Fruits don’t compare too badly either and if I make a column for just berries… that would be very similar to the fibrous vegetable column.

3. What about protein now? These things should come with some protein too right?

Hells yeah! Once again… fibrous vegetables top the charts with an average of ~ 17 grams of protein/200 calorie! Compare this to the 6 grams from grains and 0 grams from sugar (obviously!) Now let’s compare the amount of carbs to the amount of protein these foods offer.

Well… of course sugars have no protein and grains have a meager 4 grams of protein for every 40 grams of net carbs. But our awesome fibrous vegetables have 17 grams of protein for every 16 grams of carbs! Did you read that? Yes? Now read that again! Fibrous vegetables provide you with more protein than carbs.

4. Last but not least… satiety.

200 calories = 1 cup of grains/beans Or 6.5 cups of fibrous vegetables Or 3.5 cups of fruits Or 1/5th a cup of sugar. You can get all your calories from just one chocolate bar and stay hungry for the rest of the day or you can throw in a bunch of vegetables and fruits… eat till your full and realize you’ve eaten only 1/4th of your calories for the day.

Summary:

Calorie for calorie…

– Fibrous vegetables provide more fiber and protein than sugar, grains, starchy vegetables and even beans.

– Much higher quantities of fibrous vegetables can be eaten without piling on the calories (as opposed to sugar and grains). This helps in satiety when on a diet especially.

– Fruits (especially berries) provide crazy amounts of fiber and vitamin C compared to grains and sugars.

– Starchy vegetables offer a high carb load with minimal fiber and moderate vitamins which make it an awesome candidate for post-workout meals.

– Fibrous vegetables offer insane amount of vitamins compared to any other food source that exists.

– Sugars have zero nutrition. Period. Honey is no better than sugar.

– I haven’t even discussed the gluten issue. You can read here about the havoc they wreck.

– If this is not enough information and analysis for you to base the bulk of your diet around vegetables and fruits… then you’re just an idiot (and will be a fat idiot  soon and will most probably be a fat diabetic idiot soon after.)

Once again… you don’t have to change your diet to eating just fruit and vegetables and nuts and lean meats all the time. Base the bulk of your diet on these things and have the occasional dessert or grain based meal.

Peace.

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