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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise

Using Your Bean

With this issue Vegetarians in Paradise continues the bean explorations of VOW, a diabetic who has discovered the importance of beans in her diet. In subsequent VIP issues VOW will enlighten our readers with the further Adventures of the Bean.

Adventures of the Bean #19
VOW's Diabetes Vacation Is Over

by VOW (of course)

Vacation Time!

Among Diabetics (the honest ones, anyway) there is a misnomer known as the "Diabetes Vacation."

There are no snapshots or videos taken on this vacation. Nor are there silly hats and tacky souvenirs brought back for friends and family.

For those who take an extended Diabetes Vacation, the souvenirs are much more morbid: dialysis, amputation, blindness--

Got your attention, didn't I? VOW

There comes a time in the life of a diabetic when you are just plain TIRED. Tired of testing, tired of dieting, tired of exercise, tired of being constantly vigilant, constantly on guard, constantly "different" from everyone around you. Your emotions finally scream "ENOUGH!" and your mind decides to take a vacation.

You stop testing.

You eat what everyone else is eating. You may even seek out all the forbidden goodies.

And you revel in sloth.

Man, you forgot how NICE it was being "normal!"

You may even be so deep in denial that you start skipping doctor appointments.

"Maybe I don't really have diabetes, after all."

Dear Friends, unfortunately, I speak from experience. My break from Diabetes Reality probably began as we prepared to make our move. My meter got misplaced. Schedules went all out of whack, and mealtime was whenever, wherever, whatever. Then the holidays showed up, and you know what THEY do to a diet! Permanent chaos descended upon us as Hubster and I retired from our jobs and anticipated our new home.

Weeks passed, and we anticipated, and anticipated, and anticipated.

It's late May as I write this, and I'm sitting in my Daughter's home in Southern California, praying that our Open House this upcoming weekend nabs an offer on our house. My possessions are in storage, racking up hefty bills, and my heart weeps for the tomatoes I'll not see this year from my own gardens in Arizona.

I've got a doctor's appointment next week, and my bloodwork will probably tattle on me that I've been a bad, bad girl, indeed.

Well, what's done is done. It's time to get off the Pity Potty and get busy. I'll take next week's lab results as a starting point, and VOW to do better. I bought a new meter and I'll get out my walking shoes.

Vacation time is officially OVER.

As I mentioned above, my husband and I are temporarily staying with our daughter. She and I collaborate in her kitchen sometimes, and I am proud to report that she is becoming a Bean Advocate like her gorgeous Mother!

One of our joint efforts was a pot of pinto beans. She wanted to make an assembly line of burritos to stock the freezer for future sack lunches. I showed her how to soak the beans, and I even provided the kombu. After the pot had simmered with the requisite onions and garlic, I turned everything over to her.

She produced cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. After mincing the peppers, she dumped them with the sauce into the beans and then mashed away. Rehydrated beef-flavored TVP was included into the mix.

Let's just say that the VOW-kid definitely got the bean gene!

Cheap Eats

The following recipe is for a "pot of beans." Once you cook the beans, you are only limited by your imagination! I'm using pinto beans here because they are inexpensive, readily available, and cook up to a creamy, mild bean that is enjoyed by almost everyone. One pound of dry pinto beans will yield about four to five cups of cooked beans, around 8-10 servings. The beans freeze well, and my advice is to cook a big pot of them, at least five pounds of beans if you are brave and have a pot that big!

Per pound of beans, you'll need:

    1 large onion, diced
    2 stalks of celery, diced
    3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

Wash and sort beans, and place in large cook pot. Cover with water, and add a 3-inch piece of kombu. Soak overnight, or use "quick soak" method detailed in a previous column.

After soaking, drain water and refill pot to a level at least two inches above the surface of beans. Keep kombu in the pot. Add veggies in proportion given, and place pot over low heat. Cover. Check frequently and stir occasionally. They should be tender in an hour and a half or so.

You CAN skip the soaking and cooking by buying canned pinto beans. However, even if you add the veggies, the flavor won't QUITE be the same. The long, slow simmering that it takes to tenderize the beans allows the vegetables to permeate the beans with their essence.

Salt and pepper to taste.

My daughter took her pot of beans and mashed them while she added a can or two of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. This resulting pulp made the BEST doggone burritos! I'd love to eventually try it in the layered salad I featured a while back.

If you have dry beef-flavored TVP crumbles, these can be added to the beans while cooking. You'll boost the protein content of the bean pot, and add richness to the flavor, too.

This pot of beans is a palette, for YOUR artistic talents! I'd love to hear what you've done with the Cheap Eats!

Should you decide to produce a similar pot of beans, here are some nutritional data:

For a half-cup serving
122 calories
7.7 g protein
22 g carbohydrate
7.7 g fiber
373 mg potassium
147 mcg folate

Look for the lo-carb tortilla wraps at the grocers, and flavor your serving with a few shreds of Vegan Rella and lots of salsa! A slice or two of ripe avocado would add some healthy fats to the mix, as well.

And if you find yourself on a Diabetes Vacation, hurry back. We miss you!

Click here for more Adventures of the Bean

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