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Beans - The Perfect Food?


Beans. Legumes. Pulses. Whatever you call this plant group, they are all edible seeds in a pod. The majority of them are packed with complete plant protein and contain almost no fat. They are also a good source of healthy complex carbs.

Beans helped me turn the corner with my illness, the worst part of which was actually when I was on the mend - though it certainly didn't feel like I was mending at the time.

I was following Robert Young's program. Since I had an urgent need, I skipped the Transition period and went straight to Step 2 - the Cleanse - which should only last a week and should be supervised. In my wisdom (ahem), I decided this wasn't really necessary and got on with it on my own, but when the end of the week came I was having such a strong 'healing crisis' that I was unable to move on to the next part of the program. I was eating a quarter of a tomato a day and stuggling to keep that down. The smell of cucumber turned my stomach. I was eating nothing when I should have been eating dark green veg, sprouts, seeds, grains, nuts and EFAs. But it all made me feel sick - I was desperately weak. I pulled out all my health related books looking for an answer and then I read the following paragraph from Gillian McKeith's You Are What You Eat:

"If you don't eat enough good carbohydrates, you will feel ill. All my patients who stopped eating carbohydrates became weak, constipated, gaunt, irritable and depressed. It's like playing Russian Roulette with your body. I agree that it's a good idea to cut out the bad refined carbohydrates such as cakes, cookies, biscuits and sweets. But the message here needs to be very clear: complex carbohydrates, such as beans, are essential for good health! Eat them regularly."

Other than constipation, I had all the other symptoms. I had lost over a stone in 2 weeks. I knew I had to eat. I could only stand for a couple of minutes at a time, but that was long enough to put a pan of brown rice on the hob, with some cream of coconut, some herbs and a can of kidney beans. Within 30 mins of eating a portion of Jamaican 'Rice n Peas', the nausea had gone, the headache was lifting and I felt nourished and in an altogether better mood. That batch lasted me a couple of days and gave me the strength I needed to start fixing myself more balanced meals.

I continue to eat beans on a regular basis and I promise you that if the rest of your diet is healthy, bottom burps are not an issue!!

Beans can lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and are great for weight loss. I am eating more now than ever before and yet the excess weight is still coming off - but in a much more gradual and therefore safe and healthy way. Aduki beans are reportedly the best of weight loss. The Japanese use them to treat kidney and bladder infections. They contain very high levels of fibre, vitamin B Complex, iron, manganese and zinc. Their diuretic properties relieve the body of excess fluids and rid it of undesirable toxins and mucus. They burn fat and help balance metabolism.

And so to Haricot beans. There's a lot of talk around at the moment about the Glycemic Index or GI of foods. The GI is a measurement of the quality of carbohydrate in a particular food. It represents how quickly 50g of a given carb will raise blood glucose levels as it's digested. The slower the better basically and the carbs in Haricot Beans have a GI of 38, rated low. So besides being great for metabolism and regulation of your blood sugar levels, they also support kidney-adrenal function, provide an excellent source of protein and fibre and contain those vital B vitamins - great for your nervous system and more help with weight management.

Haricot beans are the beans you find in a can of Heinz Baked Beans. You'll also find a load of sugar, salt and modified cornflour. But there is no reason why you should stop eating Beans on Toast and once you've tried my recipe, there'll be no going back, I'm sure. You'll find the recipe on my blog at http://claireraikes.blogs.com/claires_blog/2005/07/healthy_beans_o.html

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Claire Raikes is a Wellbeing Coach, Speaker and Writer who 'cured' herself of a chronic, disabling and potentially life-threatening bowel condition without the use of steroids, surgery or any other traditional medical intervention. She now shares her passion for natural and vibrant health through coaching, speaking and writing about the importance and power of a truly healthy diet.

She publishes a free weekly eZine, In Essence and is compiling an eBook of Healthy Fast Food with 25% of the proceeds going to The Cancer Project, a charity set up by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and nutritionists to educate the public on the benefits of a healthy diet for cancer prevention and survival. If you have a recipe you would like to submit, visit http://www.LiveInEssence.com for further details. To book Claire to speak at your event, email her at Claire@LiveInEssence.com.


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