Beans don’t get enough credit! In places in the world where they live long, healthy lives, they eat ½ cup to 1 cup of beans a day.
“They’re the cornerstone of every longevity diet in the world: black beans in Nicoya; lentils, garbanzo, and white beans in the Mediterranean; and soybeans in Okinawa. People in the blue zones eat at least four times as many beans as Americans do on average.”
-Blue Zones website
Yet, as we have become more industrialized and affluent, our meat intake has increased and bean intake has decreased. Chronic disease rates have gone up as meat intake has gone up! Thanks to the Keto diet, meat consumption is up again. Chicken is up like crazy. I don’t think the Keto diet is the best diet for long-term health. It can be high in saturated fat.
I’m not vegan, but I know it’s always healthier to eat more vegetables and smaller portions of meat if you do eat meat. If you want to eat healthier, make ½ your plate fruits and vegetables, ¼ whole grains and ¼ protein (or beans).
Below is a recipe to get plant-based protein! I ate it with sautéed greens and it was perfect. I wanted more ways to eat beans than just hummus or soup, and this hit the spot. (perfect for Ash Wednesday, too)
Ikarian Baked Beans (Greece)
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 1 lb. dried beans (giant, lima, or navy), cooked or 3 cans
- 2 large tomato, quartered
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 lb. butternut squash, cut into 1” pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped (about 3 stalks)
- ½ serrano chile, chopped (or 4 chili peppers in oil)
- ½ cup bean broth or vegetable broth
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Place all the ingredients in a 9X13 baking dish except salt and pepper. If the butternut squash is hard to peel, microwave for 4 minutes, let cool, then peel with a vegetable peel. Cut into 1“ pieces.
- Toss all vegetables together and bake, uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or until the butternut squash is soft. Top with mint or basil leaves, if desired. Add salt and pepper if you’d like, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
To your wholesome & healthy life,