Okay, by “pulses” I mean legumes: beans, peas, and lentils. And by “check” I mean check to make sure

  1. that you’re eating them (I’ve sharing a recipe below to help with that!) and
  2. that you’re getting good quality with minimal contaminants!

Why do you want to eat pulses? They’re a staple of most plant-based diets because they’re high in protein! They’re also a great source of fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. This makes them fantastic for improving satiety on the regular and helping combat cravings, especially throughout your menstrual cycle. Staying fuller for longer also helps keep blood sugar more stable, and helps keep mood balanced as well.

Some studies also show that a diet wherein pulses are consumed regularly (i.e. 1/2 cup or more daily) contributes to lower risks of heart disease, diabetes, and even cancers.

But what if you have a hard time digesting pulses? That same high-fiber content may cause gas and bloating, especially if you’re new to incorporating them in greater quantities. The way they’re prepared, though, can also contribute to this digestive distress.

If you cook your own pulses from dried:

  • rinse and soak them overnight
  • rinse them again before cooking them with a strip of kombu seaweed or a pinch of asafoetida
  • make sure they’re cooked at the appropriate temperature for long enough (e.g. kidney beans must be boiled and should not be prepared in a slow or pressure cooker as they do not reach high enough temperatures)

If you buy canned:

  • look for brands that include kombu seaweed in their ingredients (e.g. Eden Organic)
  • look for brands that are canned with BPA-free linings
  • choose organic where possible

Once cooked:

  • some find it helpful to remove the skins from pulses (e.g. from chickpeas)
  • start with eating smaller servings and work your way up
  • if necessary, try having a cup of digestion-boosting tea like fennel or ginger, a glass of lemon water, or take a digestive enzyme supplement alongside your meals containing pulses

Lentils usually don’t need to be soaked prior to cooking (especially if you use split lentils), and tend to be the easiest to digest of the pulses. This week I made several meals featuring a batch of French lentils that I pre-cooked in only 25 minutes in my Instant Pot. My favourite of these ideas was 4-ingredient sloppy janes: using cooked lentils, they came together in under 10 minutes!

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BBQ Lentil Mushroom Sloppy Janes:

  • Sautee 4 destemmed chopped mushrooms in a pan with 1 Tbsp avocado oil for about 1 min.
  • Add 1 cup of cooked lentils + 1-2 Tbsp water to the pan.
  • Finally pour about 1/3 cup barbecue sauce (to taste) and stir well.
  • Open and dress hamburger bun halves as desired – I layered baby spinach leaves on mine – and spoon sloppy jane mixture over top. Sprinkle with vegan cheese if desired and serve.

Makes 2 servings (1 whole burger bun/2 bun halves each).

Have you made any delicious recipes featuring pulses lately? Tell me about them!

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