Adventures of the Bean #1
The Adzuki Bean
Includes Recipe Below
To a newly-diagnosed diabetic, I say this: LEARN. You've been handed a life-changing diagnosis, but it doesn't have to be life defeating. The first place you should go is to the bookstore and buy a copy of Gretchen Becker's book, The First Year Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed. This book contains an absolute wealth of information presented in an easy-to-understand format, and it will help make life a lot less confusing for you. Once you are introduced to some standard diabetic terms, like complex carbohydrates and glycemic index, you can look at vegan eating as a very important tool in diabetes management.
Here's my story: My daughter began dating a young man who comes from a vegetarian family. After they had been going together for a while, she made the announcement that she wanted to become a vegetarian also. I'd say she was about 16 at the time. She's 20 now, still living at home, and engaged to the vegetarian boy.
We had recently lost my mother who had been in extremely poor health. I'm sure the pain of her death upon the whole family was the motivation behind my support of my daughter's decision. I even protected her from the teasing by her brother and her father. And after I understood this was indeed a permanent lifestyle choice of hers, I respected it, and told her I would do whatever I could to adapt the kitchen to her needs.
We made a trip together to the market in a nearby city established by and populated with Seventh-Day Adventists. For those of you "in the know," I'm talking about Loma Linda, California The market carries no meat, poultry, or fish, but does have lacto/ovo foods. My daughter and I browsed the aisles carefully, educating ourselves, and selecting many items.
Thereafter, it was my goal to cook comparable foods for my daughter (and when he was visiting, her boyfriend as well), so she could eat with the family. I would sample her dishes, but I pretty much continued with the standard family menu.
We shared holiday meals with her boyfriend and his family, and I always made sure there were items on the menu acceptable to them. His mother was extremely appreciative. She said they had friends who would not make such an accommodation to their diets.
My daughter's fiance LOVES my cooking. He is eager to see just what I've invented lately, and I've often sent things home for his whole family to enjoy. I kid my daughter, saying he only wants to marry her because of my cooking.
I was diagnosed in December, 2002, with Diabetes, Type 2. In the extensive research I've done on the disease, and how to treat it, I found that a vegan diet obtains more positive results than any other recommended diabetic diet. One such enlightening article is this: http://www.pcrm.org/health/clinres/diabetes.html
Veganism was not foreign to me, since I have been shopping and cooking vegetarian for about four years now. So I made the decision: I'm going vegan.
My decision opened my eyes to a very diabetes-friendly, vegan-friendly food: legumes. So I invite you to accompany me on an excursion I call, "The Adventures of the Bean."
With the above links, I'm sure you learned more than you EVER wanted to know about Adzuki beans! One link even shows a picture of the dark red bean, a little bit bigger than a pea, with a white spot on it. Adzuki cooks up to a completely red bean, almost round in shape, colored like a kidney bean with a kidney-bean type flavor to it, but the skin is much more tender than what a kidney bean has.
Let's look at the nutritional information on the adzuki:
The calorie count looks pretty hefty, until you see all the goodies packed into that one cup of cooked beans! Over 17 grams of protein! For most folks, recommended daily intake for protein is about 50 grams. That means a cup of Adzuki beans at every meal would pretty much take care of your protein needs for the day! I'm not recommending a bean-only menu, but this does show a vegan diet CAN easily achieve adequate protein intake!
Diabetics who need to lose weight can refer to the Ornish/MacDougal/Pritikin-type diets, which recommend complex carbohydrates and low fat. Again, looking at the nutritional information for Adzukis, the near ABSENCE of fat in those little guys shines like a beacon in the pit of despair the newly-diagnosed diabetic inhabits.
At 57 grams of carbohydrate, it looks like our Adzukis are bad guys. Wait, though, read a bit further: there are almost 17 grams of fiber in that single cup of beans! That means a net total of 40 grams of carbs. And remember, our fantastical beans are in the category of complex carbohydrates. To a diabetic, those are the good guys. The fiber slows down the digestion of the beans, so that fuel doesn't get dumped into your bloodstream all at once. It's like putting a well-seasoned log of hardwood on the coals in the wood stove at bedtime, so you wake up to a warm house in the morning!
Here's my recipe using Adzuki beans (or any red-type bean you have on hand) that makes a fine soup for lunch!
Adzuki Apple-Bacon Soup
Note: the Kombu adds little to no flavor to the recipe and should completely disintegrate into the soup through cooking. If pieces are still visible and not aesthetically pleasing to you, the Kombu can be removed before serving. Kombu cooked with beans renders them more digestible, and reduces the "fragrant side effects" from eating beans.
One pound of dried Adzuki yields approximately three cups of cooked beans. At 8 servings for this recipe, it works out to about 20 grams carbohydrate per serving.
Next adventure: The Peruano Bean!