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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 #20
VOW Turns Over a New Hummus Leaf

by VOW, of course

*BIG Sigh*

I'm here. And unfortunately, "here" isn't in Arizona. I don't want this article to degenerate into one big whine-fest, so I'll spare you the boring details. Suffice to say, though, things have NOT turned out the way we'd hoped. We DO intend to end up in Arizona, some day, but for now the dreams are on hold.

When my kids were little, and they encountered the inevitable entanglements, they'd often wail to me, "But it's not FAIRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" I'd hug them, kiss their boo-boos, and eventually tell them, "Life isn't fair. Get over it." I'm working now to accept that advice for myself.

Diabetes management and exercise and eating right have crashed and burned pretty much, too. Things had been going pretty well for me: my doctor had given the approval to cut back on some medications and eliminate others entirely.

But with holiday sloth, too many bad foods, never enough exercise (I tend to hibernate when I get cold!) my blood glucose levels, when I test, have been creeping upward. Blood pressure is up, too. My next doctor visit isn't going to be smiles and handshakes. I need to start practicing my cowering now, for the scolding I'm going to get.

VOW But here's the deal. The FIRST thing I need to do is to forgive myself. Each day when I crawl out of bed is a NEW DAY--A FRESH START. If I'm busy beating myself up for past transgressions, I'll wind up with a victim mindset, and I'm liable to keep wallowing in the misery instead of looking UP.

And there's another big concept in this mess as well. For the Diabetic, you and your doctor are a TEAM. There has to be communication about what is going on in your life. If you have been clobbered with a huge sack of "It's not FAIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" then you MUST share this information with your doctor! Problems must be met with solutions, and if you can't solve them yourself, ask for help. Your doctor has resources available to you, but you gotta ASK for them!

A change in medication, some suggestions on activity, self-help groups, perhaps even some short-term counseling could all make the difference between good blood glucose control or devastating Diabetes complications. A little friendly butt-kicking might be just what you need, or perhaps a prescription for an antidepressant might help.

And I need to get busy and take my own advice.

With the overload of holiday, bad-for-you foods and the endless river of wintertime comfort foods, I'm ready to crunch into freshness. A big tray of carrot sticks, celery ribs, daikon radish slices and maybe even wedges of jicama is just what I need. But a dish of something to dunk those crunchies into would be awful nice.

I've heard a lot about hummus, but since I'm not a big fan of garbanzos, I'd never paid too much attention to it. And then someone suggested to me that hummus doesn't necessarily HAVE to be made with just garbanzos. And that got me thinking; perhaps "hummus" is just a nice Middle Eastern word for "bean dip."

Poking around in my pantry, I found a bean that I've had for a while now, and I didn't know what to do with it. Gorgeous thing, almost nickel-sized, lovely white and maroon mottling, it had an unusual name: Christmas Lima. Lima beans are noted for their creaminess, and most do not have a really tough outer skin, which means my hummus would be nice and smooth. I cooked up a pot (using the requisite Kombu in soaking and cooking) and got busy.


Christmas Lima Bean Garlicky, creamy, and absolute YUM! Get those veggies ready QUICK, so you don't end up standing at the kitchen counter eating all this dip with a spoon!

    1 cup (240 ml) of cooked beans
    Juice of one lemon (2 to 3 tablespoons)
    1 teaspoon tahini or peanut butter
    1 teaspoon of minced garlic
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Extra virgin olive oil (optional)

  1. Buzz all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth (I used a stick blender). You might need to add some of the bean cooking liquid to achieve the proper consistency. Then transfer the hummus to a serving bowl.
  2. A little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top just before serving makes a lovely presentation. You can skip that if you want to avoid the extra calories.

If you are feeling creative, you can add a bit of miso, a dash of cayenne, or even extra garlic. Cooking the beans with chopped onion and adding that when blending can never hurt, either!

I'm even imagining a party tray where an assortment of bean hummuses (hummi?) surrounds a pile of raw veggies!

For each cup of hummus, you have the following nutritional data:
250 calories
41 g carbohydrates
13 g fiber
4 g fat (this is without the extra olive oil)
16 g protein

That spells HEALTHY to me!

Oh, and have a happy 2008, everyone! It's GOTTA be better than 2007!

Click here for more Adventures of the Bean

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