We are coming to the end of the year and I am busy creating and testing recipes for Meals 52. As I weigh some ingredients and stir the pots, I am taken back to silly pranks played at school. Do you remember whoopee cushions? And does the thought of cooking and eating foods shown in the image below not only take you back to those jokes but also give you stomach pains, thunderous belly and embarrassment? (sometimes!)Qshutterstock_227511652

Well, let me tell you how you can avoid feeling like a social hazard after eating them. It’s all in the preparation, so let’s start with the basics. Beans, legumes and grains contain phytic acid which is considered “the principle storage form of phosphorus”. Unfortunately, phytic isn’t digestable by us mortals because we lack the enzyme phytase to break it down. Phytic acid not only grabs onto or chelates important minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron but also inhibits enzymes such as pepsin, amylase and trypsin needed for the breakdown of proteins and starch for digestion. So if you are mineral deficient or eat beans as part of your healthy diet, follow my critical kitchen strategy that has been practiced by every culture around the world for generations. I love it when “science” meets tradition!


The three processes of soaking, sprouting and souring can reduce the phytic acid in the beans, legumes and grains making them more digestible and allowing better absorption of   bio available nutrients and minerals.

So here’s how you soak them.


  • Use 4 cups water and ½ tsp salt for every one cup of beans.
  • Discard soaking water and rinse beans.
  • Cook 1 cup beans in 2-4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, scraping foam off the top. Boil uncovered for 15 minutes.
  • Cover pot and simmer on low until the outer surface is softened. ( to speed up the cooking process, use a pressure cooker )


What is so great about beans?

  • They are nutrition powerhouses.  High in fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates.
  • They are cheap , widely available and  can help you stretch your food budget.
  • They have a super long shelf life.


Recent evidence suggests that food phytates may act as antioxidants and help the body to fight cancer.  It is their very nature – their ability to prevent our body from fully absorbing minerals (the very reason traditional people practiced soaking grains, nuts and legumes) – that may also play a role in the fight against cancers.  Interestingly, while phytates deprive cancer cells of minerals they need to survive, they also deprive non-cancerous cells of the same vital minerals.


So if you prepare your beans as shown above, your bottom will no longer be a very busy whoopee cushion and your body will thrive.


Reference: http://www.fao.org/docrep/x2184e/x2184e05.htm#ant

Photo Credit: shutterstock.com/aboikis


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