Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit!

So eat some beans at every meal!

The benefits of beans are so numerous that I can’t say enough in praise about beans. Beans are so outstanding that only green vegetables come close as a valuable food source!

I recommend that adults eat 3 cups of beans per week for health and to reduce the risk of chronic diseases because of the richness of antioxidants and fiber.

Beans are “heart healthy” because they contain soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and unhealthy triglyceride levels.

Research is saying we should be eating more plant proteins. Beans are a great choice! 1/2 cup of beans delivers 7 grams of protein, the same amount as in 1 ounce of chicken, meat or fish.

With a low glycemic index, beans contain a blend of complex carbohydrates and protein. Because of this, beans are digested slowly, which helps keep blood glucose stable.

Beans contain protein, healthy carbs, fiber, antioxidants, and copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc.

Beans can be incorporated easily into a main dish, salads, side dish, soup or dip.

Beans can are the least expensive source of protein, especially when compared to fresh meat.

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Pomegranate Tabouli Salad

Quinoa can be substituted for the freekeh cracked wheat.

Pomegranate Nutrition

Not only delicious, pomegranates are one of the healthiest foods you can eat! They are high in vitamin C and potassium, a great source of fiber, and low in calories.
Like blueberries, cranberries and green tea, pomegranates are thought to be healthy because they are loaded with antioxidants, which protect cells from damage by compounds called free radicals.

Pomegranate juice is high in three different types of polyphenols, a potent form of antioxidants. The three types – tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid – are present in many fruits, but fresh pomegranate juice contains particularly high amounts of all three.

Pomegranates in the store have been picked when ripe, so they are ready to enjoy as soon as you buy them. A good, ripe pomegranate should feel heavy. Surface abrasions do not affect the quality of the fruit.

Whole pomegranates keep well at room temperature and away from sunlight for several days and up to 2 months when refrigerated in plastic bags. In October when the fresh crop arrives buy several and store them in the refrigerator.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Cracked Wheat

Tabouli is traditionally made from bulgur which is cracked wheat. Bulgur wheat provides various nutrients and is an especially good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and fiber. I like to use freekeh. I link to the bradn I buy on amazon. It is wheat but it is harvested when it is young and then roasted. The flavor is delicious smoky and nutty. If I don’t happen to have any, I also us regular bulgur and have even used quinoa.


The herb parsley is loaded with nutrition: Lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and is the richest source of Vitamin K which is essential for bone health. 1 cup chopped parsley only has 22 calories so using parsley in this salad reduced the caloric density.


Cook’s Note: Wash your parsley (and other produce) in a clean pan in the sink. Your sink provides a place for bacteria to thrive. Food particles in the sink serve as a breeding ground for illness-causing bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. To prevent food illness bleach your sink every night.






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NOTE: Another option to the freekeh is to use quinoa instead of freekeh. I  used 4 1/2 c. cooked quinoa in this recipe recently and it was wonderful.  

1.5 cups raw freekeh + 3 cups water equals 4 cups cooked (Freekeh is Cracked wheat) I buy Freekeh at amazon or if you want to use Quinoa buy it here on Amazon
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil I like this olive oil because it is packaged in glass. Plastic can contain obesogens
5-6 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tsp minced garlic
2 cups (about one large bunch) Italian parsley, washed, spun and chopped. Use more if omitting the mint.
¼ cup mint leaves, washed, spun and chopped –optional. I=
3 scallions or green onions, thinly sliced and chopped
1 cup (or all the seeds from one pomegranate) pomegranate seeds*
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds or sliced toasted almonds

Cook the freekeh, bulgur or quinoa according to package directions and place in the refrigerator to cool.

To make the dressing combine and whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic in a bowl and whisk. I love my mini whisk for this purpose.

When freekeh or quinoa is cool, add chopped parsley, mint leaves, scallions and pomegranate seeds and dressing. Stir gently to mix ingredients. Chill until ready to serve.

Top with toasted pumpkin seeds when serving.

*How to remove the seeds from the pomegranate. To seed a pomegranate, cut the skin vertically in quarters, then pull it apart. Hold it in a bowl of water and gently pull the white structures apart, dropping the seeds in the bowl. Skim the white bits out. Drain and pat dry to use. To view a video demonstrating how to seed a pomegranate.

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Can We Talk About…Constipation?

We will all suffer from it occasionally and it’s not pleasant.

Constipation occurs when bowel movements become difficult or less frequent. How often people poop varies from person to person. Some go three times a day while others three times a week is normal. But going more than three days without having one is too long.

How can you avoid this malady? 

Eat enough fiber. Most Americans consume only 15 grams a day on average but The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends consuming 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day. Processed foods that have had the fiber removed or other foods with little to no fiber like meat, and large amounts of dairy should be avoided by those prone to constipation.

Low fiber intake may be one cause but inadequate fluid intake is another so make sure to be drinking enough water as you are increasing your fiber intake. The fluid makes the fiber work better. A change in routine like traveling may temporarily cause constipation as will stress, lack of exercise, or postponing your trip to the bathroom when you feel the urge coming on. Some medications can also cause constipation. There are other medical causes so if constipation is a chronic condition for you, see your doctor to rule out any serious conditions.

There are two types of fiber and one type is better for preventing constipation. INSOLUBLE fiber is the one to consume to get things moving along your digestive system. They have a laxative effect and add bulk to the diet, helping prevent constipation. This type of fiber passes through the GI tract fairly intact, and speed up food and waste passage through your gut. Insoluble fibers are mainly found in whole grains and vegetables. If a food seems like it has a tough skin, is stringy, has a hull, seeds or pod, chances are it’s a source of insoluble fiber. Sources of insoluble fiber: whole wheat, whole grains, beans, wheat bran, corn bran, seeds, nuts, wheat bran, popcorn, green beans, corn, cauliflower, tomatoes, zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes, fruit, and root vegetable skins.

The other type of fiber SOLUBLE fiber, however, slows digestion because attracts water and turns to gel during digestion. It is found in psyllium, a common fiber supplement. Soluble fiber is beneficial because it may help lower cholesterol by binding to it and removing it through the digestive system.

If you decide you need a little help getting things moving along there are several over the counter and prescription oral or enema products for occasional use. But be careful about over-relying on laxatives. Some people over-rely on laxatives which over time weakens the bowel muscles.

And what about more… ahem… “invasive” therapies called colon cleansing, colon therapy, high colonics or colonic irrigation? These include a type of therapy performed by a colon hydrotherapist. The therapist inserts a tube into the anus to inject water sometimes mixed with herbs into the colon. The water and waste is then pushed out through the hose to be disposed in a closed waste system. The intent is to remove feces and “toxins”. Proponents of colon cleansing believe that toxins from your gastrointestinal tract can cause a variety of health problems. They believe that colon cleansing improves health by removing toxins, promoting healthy intestinal bacteria, boosting your energy and enhancing your immune system. The colonic obviously removes accumulated waste from the colon. However, there's little evidence that colon cleansing produces the other stated effects.

The truth is we already have a built-in system the naturally regulates “toxin removal”. Bacteria in the colon naturally metabolize and thereby detoxify food wastes, mucous membranes lining the intestinal wall block unwanted substances from entering the body's other tissues and our liver works to neutralize toxins. The colon sheds old cells about every 3 days, preventing a buildup of harmful material.

In addition to be unnecessary, colon cleansing can potentially be harmful and lead to bowel perforations, risk of infection, removal of useful bacteria from the intestine, or changes in electrolyte and mineral balance.

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