Welcome to day thirty of my 30 Days of Ayurveda series! Throughout these blogs and videos, I will be sharing some upbeat thoughts and wellness tips, as well as some Ayurvedic tricks and food recommendations, to help you lead a balanced life.
One of things I appreciated during lockdown was having more time available in my kitchen and garden. During these months, I particularly enjoyed soaking beans to make some tasty recipes!
Do you have to soak beans overnight?
The simple answer is Yes! I get my dried beans and legumes and I put them on to soak overnight. During this time, they plump and swell and become all juicy and gorgeous before I go on to cook them in the morning.
Beans and chickpeas in particular contain what are known as anti-nutrients, if we were to cook them without soaking them first they would in some cases actually be toxic and poisonous to us, giving us horrendous tummy aches. By soaking them we start to change their chemical composition. Soaking basically makes the bean come into life, it is the early stages of growing into a plant.
Chickpeas, take around an hour to cook. In order to make them more easily digestible, it is good to cook them to the point that when you squash them down, they turn into mush. Another advantage of soaking is that the longer you leave them to soak the shorter the cooking time becomes.
I like to cook my chickpeas first thing in the morning while I am getting ready so they are all set for the rest of the day. Normally, this is a luxury of time that I only have at the weekend. However, during lockdown, I had more than enough time to get them ready in the morning!
What are beans good for?
There are so many different ways we can use them. I can make a really delicious hummus for lunch, and then prepare a really tasty bean salad in the evening. If you have any left over, they are the perfect addition to a tasty curry sauce or a soup!
Legumes are very beneficial for the body. Beans contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, which is really awesome for good gut health. Also, there is good evidence that they can help lower blood sugar and improve your cholesterol levels, as well as help maintain a healthy gut.
Beans do have a tendency to produce gas in the body. A lot of that is the response in the body to the things that are in the legumes, as well as the state of our gut bacteria. So if you are not used to consuming any kind of beans, then I would suggest slowly introducing them to your diet. You will most likely find that the digestive system starts to manage them better.
In Ayurveda, we use lots of different herbs and spices, as well as lots of other cooking techniques, to make beans even more absorbable and digestible. This is so we don’t get an increase in vata or excess gas. Some practitioners suggest cooking your beans with ghee (click here for my previous blog) and cumin seeds to help reduce any excess gas you may experience.
I hope you enjoyed my thirty days of tips and tricks to help you build some great Ayurvedic routines. Hopefully, they will soon be imbedded in your life and you can progress with them. Be sure to let me know how you’re getting on, and why not share your favourite bean recipe? Find me on Instagram @anneheigham and on YouTube.