No one can deny the obvious discontent that the human body feels after eating a serving of beans. Beans, like grains, contain elements in the shell that protects them from predators . . . . predators like humans. One of these elements is a sugar, oligosaccharide, which ferments in the intestine and produces that unpleasant gas. The other element is phytic acid. This acid not only makes it difficult to digest beans, but will attach itself to minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper and prevent their absorption. These two elements naturally discourage the predator from continuing to dine on beans. But humans persist anyway; we believe that with proper preparation the otherwise indigestible bean should be part of our healthy diet.
Beans have long been a part of traditional diets. In the Bible, God told Ezekiel to place the grains and beans together in one vessel. Combining grains and beans in the same meal make a complete protein. Vegetarians have survived on this principle for centuries and from a nutritional standpoint, beans excel. Being a whole food, they are naturally high in fibre and contain vitamins, minerals, proteins and healthy fats. The abundance of carbohydrates contained in a single serving provides a steady stream of energy while their slow digestibility keeps blood sugars from spiking. Yet, beans cause intestinal discomfort, deplete our mineral supply and wreak havoc on our intestinal lining by binding themselves to it. Not cool, beans!
The truth is that there isn’t a food which doesn’t have the potential to incite sensitivities. Humans have to stop trying to find that perfect food – remembering always to serve a lot of variety with a little moderation. Beans are healthy, delicious and easy to store. To avoid digestive issues though, soak them for the recommended length of time and cook them until they can be easily mashed between two fingers or a fork. Then as you enjoy eating them, you can happily ask “Where have you bean all of my life?”