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Friday, April 15, 2011


I was going to blog about the injustices of ignoring childhood allergies, but tonight I feel like something a little lighter. Tacos! OK, maybe they aren't really "light," but it's a more uplifting topic.

Bean Prep

Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you.... You know how the rest of the rhyme goes. If you don't know how the rhyme goes, you either had very impressive digestion as a child or are extremely sheltered. Beans have a reputation for being very hard to digest. The complex sugars that encase the bean survive the environment in your stomach and often travel all the way to the large intestine, where bacteria normally present in the gut become unbalanced as they feast and multiply, releasing gas that supply us with inspiration for the aforementioned rhyme.

There are several theories on how to reduce the oligosaccharides that cause the bottom burping people fear so much. Pre-soaking, changing cooking water, boiling with kombu, and shocking the beans while boiling with cold water are all theories. I tend to use at least two methods. I try to plan ahead and use dry beans because they are very affordable and more eco-friendly than canned. It also avoids the resin lining and BPAs that seep into our food (YUMMY!). Lentils and split peas are legumes that I soak for a day or less. Adzuki, black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans are soaked for 24-48 hours, and I try to change the water and rinse them thoroughly at least 3 times a day. The beans are then cooked in at least 4 times the volume of water, which I dump out and refill after it begins to look dirty. I cook them in mid heat for at least 45 minutes to 90 minutes or until the bean is nice and squishy. I plan on also using kombu, but as someone with questionable digestive capabilities, I can say that soaking and changing the soak water frequently definitely seem to help considerably.

Taco Beans
1 yellow onion, cut into rings
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 seeded jalapeno, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
2 1/2 cups cooked black, pinto, or kidney beans
2 Tb coconut aminos
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, rough chopped

Heat a pan over medium heat. Once the pan is nice and warm, add a few tablespoons of olive oil to coat the pan. When the oil is ready (rippling very slightly on the surface but definitely not smoking), add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions start to look slightly transluscent and add the jalapeno, mustard seed, and cumin. Once the spices become more aromatic and the onions are translucent, add the beans, salt, coconut aminos, and fresh ground black pepper. Once everything is heated and combined well, turn off the heat and add the lime juice and cilantro.

2 ripe avocados
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper or to taste
1/4 c finely minced onion
juice from 1 lime
1/4 cup+ rough chopped cilantro

Mash the avocado with a fork. Add the onion, salt, pepper, lime, and cilantro and combine thoroughly. Guacamole is one of my favorite dips. If I don't have fresh cilantro or lime, I'll substitute lemon juice an cumin with a pinch of red pepper. It's also great with a little jalapeno or pomegranate seeds.

Macadamia Sour Cream
1/2 c macadamia nuts
1/4 c water
1/2 lemon, juiced
pinch salt

Blend in a high speed blender. If the blender isn't turning well, add a little more water until smooth.

Building a Taco

Tacos are so great because it's like choose your own adventure. Add in salsa, pico de gallo, lettuce, vegan cheese, pineapple, mango, bell peppers, or anything else your heart desires. Wrap up your filling in a gluten free taco shell like my gluten free tortilla I or II wrap recipes. The key is to not overfill, which is why my husband elects to have 3-4 tacos instead of succumbing to a fork and knife.

Good News

Experts are finally starting to acknowledge that food intolerances are real and damaging to the intestines and overall immunity. They are also realizing that gluten is a hard to digest food, and Celiac is likely only an extreme on the spectrum of gluten intolerance. Many people can benefit from avoiding gluten, so if you are having abdominal pain, bloating, excessive gas, mental fog, and/or fatigue, it might be worth cutting it out of your diet for a few weeks to see if there is a change. With this type of reaction, the change won't be apparent immediately.

A gluten free diet is also not healthy by default. I know someone who chooses to live on primarily corn chips and salsa and lives by the "if I don't see it on the menu or don't read the ingredients, it doesn't have gluten" rule. It's important to talk to a nutritionist about avoiding gluten and how to make a very balanced diet. While I try to find ways to sweeten with fruits and other alternatives, some of my recipes are definitely NOT health food. I enjoy those foods on rare occasion. The majority of my days are dessert free and low carb.

1 comment:

  1. Tacos or some kind of mexican bean thing is a frequent dinner here. We actually made our own soft tacos the other night that were so good.

    I finally started using kombu and it does help a lot with the gas too. As does fermented food.