Pulses Are The Star of The Show

The Global Stage 

This week marks World Pulses Day. Yes, yes I do agree there does seem to be a special day for everything under the sun. And yes, to be honest I understand that it doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing to celebrate BUT believe me, these guys are severely underrated.

This global day was created to recognise the importance of pulses which includes beans, peas and lentils.

What The Heck Are Pulse’s?

It is clearly a good day when we all wake up with a pulse but in this case we are referring to the pulses that belong to the wider legume family.  This is a group of plants whose fruit or seed is enclosed in a pod.  Pulses refer specifically to the dried, mature seeds of these plants and include dry peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas.  The term legume, includes these dried varieties as well as fresh peas and beans and is a more commonly used term than pulses. 

Everyone is familiar with the good old baked bean but there are so MANY other varieties out there. Some that you may know of include chickpeas, lentils, peas and beans like butter beans, kidney beans, cannelloni beans and soybeans.

I include legumes in my cooking at least three times a week and I don’t think anyone in my household even knows! Not that there is any need to hide pulses but they are super easy to add to almost any dish.  

If you are starting the legume/pulses journey, some easy ways to introduce these nutrition powerhouses into your day include adding a tin of brown lentils to a bolognaise sauce (as they virtually disappear once they are put into a dish) or tip them into a green salad or any kind of mince dish. Kidney or black beans are perfect for burrito bowls or wraps, chick peas are delightful when they are added to a curry and red lentils can make a rather tasty  salad.

The Nutrition Lowdown On Pulses

Legumes and pulses are truly multi-skilled and are:

  • a budget friendly source of plant based protein
  • higher in protein than most other plant based foods
  • usually low in fat
  • rich in low glycemic index carbohydrates
  • a good source of B vitamins including folate, plus iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium
  • super high in fibre – both soluble and insoluble with the added benefit of resistant starch which is fabulous for maintaining good gut health

For a bunch of there great reasons to eat them, you can read the latest post by the GLNC here too.

Then there is the newish (but has been grown for eons) protein rich kid on the block packing a serious nutrition punch. This little goodie is the humble lupin flake – a unique legume that contains 40% protein, 40% fibre with a small amount of carbohydrate and fat and is completely gluten free. 85% of the world’s crop of lupins is grown in Australia (mostly in Western Australia) although they are available worldwide. You can try my recipe for the High Protein Lupinsagne here too.

I promise you it’s as simple as cracking open a can to get more of these pulses in your day, week or month.

While you are percolating all these ideas, it is always nice to finish on a sweet note don’t you think?  You will know what I mean when you make and bake Magic Bean Cupcakes 

You can thank me later.

 

 

 

Nutrition in the News

In the early part of the year, it shouldn’t be surprising that nutrition and well-being is at the top of the list in the media. Many of us may have been lured into making those rash New Years Resolutions, which lasted for a couple of days at the most and yet, we are still looking for ways in which we can boost our health and well-being. Thats a good thing. I have been doing some writing and contributing for various publications over February and some of the nutrition in the news below might just contain the tip that can help prepare you to do amazing things. This year is the International Year of Pulses and we are not talking about whether your heart is beating, but those little nutritious treasures such as baked beans, lentils, chickpeas and their friends. You can see what I had to say about them as a Bowel Cancer Australia Ambassador here. You might also like to check out the resources of Pulse Australia and grab some recipes here too. The school year took off with a bang a couple of weeks ago in Western Australia and ‘Today Tonight’ ran a story on an innovative concept called BakeSw@p – initiated by a group of women and mum’s at a West Australian primary school.  Each parent registered with BakeSw@p brings a plate of their own healthy snacks for school, meets at the designated meet-up spot and swaps their own kids snacks with other parents. Each family then takes home a variety of healthy school snacks for the week.  The story than ran on Channel 7 a couple of weeks ago, generated huge interest – I always love hearing about people being engaged in improving the health of their children by home cooking and limiting the use of prepackaged foods.  You can check out the segment here and what BakeSw@p are all about here. Lastly, lets not forget the annual issue of getting back to work after taking a festive break – this one can most certainly be a tough gig. Getting traction and enthusiasm can be all too elusive at the beginning of the year but never fear, there are ways and means to enhance our focus and concentration while at work. My article over on WatchFit runs through some strategies to do just that – you can take a look here. Not all news is bad right?