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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 #5
Seeking Relief from Pain
by VOW

Includes Recipe Below

So, here I am, doing my best to manage my Type 2 Diabetes with diet and exercise. The diet part is a lot easier than I thought it would be, since I made the change to veganism. And I was having fun by concocting new creations using all the neat-o beans I discovered. The exercise part was quite a hurdle for me, though (pun intended). I overcame a lot of my physical exertion insecurities by joining a ladies exercise group called Curves. I found it to be a no-pressure, no-hassle, and relatively inexpensive way to increase my activity. I can honestly say that I thought it to be fun, but I felt it was the least-objectionable solution to getting me off my fat fanny and moving around.

Son-of-a-gun, I even started seeing RESULTS. Monthly weigh and measure events Didn't lie: I was losing weight AND losing inches. I found my stamina increasing. I was walking faster! I could PICK UP things that I had previously left for others to manage. And my blood sugars were looking good!

I've got so many things wrong with me, my husband teases that he found me in the as-is department of Goodwill. If you start at the top of my head, I've got migraines. Then you'll find a veritable treasure trove of other maladies and ailments until you reach the flat arches of my feet. One of my defects is something I've had problems with since junior high school: bum knees. Every now and again, one or both knees will act up, sometimes including an actual subluxation of the kneecap. Subluxation is a fancy ten-dollar word meaning the joint partially dislocates. Typically, such trauma means I wear an ace wrap to keep my knee stabilized, I go the ice and Motrin routine, and I try to stay off the leg as much as possible.

Several weeks ago, I didn't get the subluxation, but one knee became so unstable it FELT like it would collapse if I put any weight on it. And it HURT, too. I described the pain as if someone had taken a particularly vicious knife, heated it over an open flame until the blade glowed red, and then stabbed me in the back of the knee. VOW

Exercise was out of the question. Walking became an Olympic event! Of course I made an appointment with my family doctor, and it wasn't good news. I had my poor knee poked and prodded, and she ordered X-rays. The verdict: degenerative osteoarthritis.

Ugh! I got the okay to buy a knee brace that stabilized my knee enough so I didn't feel like I was going to splatter myself on the pavement whenever I walked. My doctor explained that some people got relief from osteoarthritis symptoms with popular supplements like Glucosamine-Chondroitin, MSM, or SAM-e.

I'd done a little research on these myself, and I had read that the Glucosamine could interfere with my diabetes medication. My doctor said that wasn't necessarily true, but there COULD be a problem with people who are allergic to sulfa drugs. Where does Glucosamine come from? Supplemental sources are derived from the shells of shrimp, lobster, and crab, or may be synthesized. Uhhhhhhh. I had enough problems managing my problems without having to contact individual companies to find out WHERE they got their Glucosamine.

Besides, I'm allergic to sulfa.

My doctor said to try MSM or SAM-e. She said that neither supplement will rebuild the destroyed cartilage in an arthritic joint, but it can help PRESERVE the remaining cartilage.

Research on MSM reveals that it is "derived from all natural resources." The article I found practically gave a history going back to when God created the Heavens and Earth, and it was difficult for me to slop through all the words to get to the punch line: this one particular manufacturer said they processed MSM from pine trees. I tried to use Medscape to research the various supplements, and found out that MSM is a medicalese term for what I would refer to as "alternate relationships." That's a completely different topic! I popped on over to WebMD, and here's a link to what they had to say about MSM:
It sounds like a pretty safe substance.

My search for information on SAM-e hit a roadblock. Most resources were just glowing reports from folks selling the stuff. In a sincere effort to find out about this supplement, I made the bold move and joined ConsumerLab.com. WOW! What a wealth of information! SAM-e has been used to treat osteoarthritis, depression, Parkinsonism, fibromyalgia, and liver disease! It's made from a combination of a sulfur-containing amino acid, methionine, and adenosine triphosphate. Most sources merely say that SAM-e is an all natural product, and not much else. Natural WHAT was my question: doggie doo is natural, and I'm not so sure I'd want to take a supplement derived from THAT!

Finally, I found a place that said, "Although SAM-e is present in all living organisms, significant amounts of the substance are not readily available through foods. SAM-e is processed from yeast, and then integrated into a stable compound. HAH. THAT I can live with!

Next time I went shopping, I took a tour of the vitamin aisle. I started getting a headache just looking at the row after row on the shelves of one supplement and vitamin after another. I did find MSM, and also SAM-e. Penny pincher that I am, I bought a bottle of MSM, as it was noticeably cheaper than SAM-e. I took it faithfully for about two weeks, with no real noticeable effect, one way or another. My next shopping trip, I had my husband with me. I showed him the various supplements, and explained that I chose the MSM over the SAM-e based on price. He let out a very exasperated sigh, saying, "If it WORKS, it's worth it." And he tossed the SAM-e into the shopping cart.

I ended up taking both the MSM and the SAM-e, together. After about a week, I noticed a huge improvement. The just-about-ready-to-collapse feeling is gone. I don't wear the brace any more. I still hurt, but not as much. If I'm on my feet too long, or if I do a lot of walking (like shopping at one of those giant warehouse club stores!), I will ache all night.

Very Important Disclaimer: First, get the okie-dokie from your personal physician to do any exercise. Then, if you wind up with out-of-the-ordinary aches and pains, immediately return to your doctor. That's what I did. And finally, before adding any supplement to your personal pharmacy, again, talk to your doctor. It wouldn't hurt to bring a complete list of everything you take, including all your over-the-counter vitamins and herbals, and tell your doc, "This is what I take, and this is what I'd like to try." You can also approach your pharmacist with the same information. After all, you don't want to find out the hard way that two of your pills will combine in your digestive tract and make dynamite!

I'm starting to walk a little bit now. And I plan on returning to Curves soon. I struggled mightily to lose thirty pounds after I was diagnosed with Diabetes. I still have a lot more to lose, and I know for a fact that getting mobile and keeping that way is the secret to success.

So, no additional weight loss to report. But the good news is that even over the holidays, I Didn't GAIN any weight, either. In my book, that's almost like a twenty pound loss, LOL!

Put on your walking shoes (You DID buy those decent walking shoes, right?), grab a jacket, and I'll get a silver bullet to bite on for pain management, and we'll do a couple of laps around the block. When we finish our walk, it will be a great homecoming! I've already started this month's Bean Adventure in my crockpot, and the spiciness of the soup will warm you right up!

You can find many recipes on the Internet for Portuguese Bean Soup, and almost all of them call for CHOURICO. This is a Portuguese sausage made from lean pork and blended with vinegar and a mixture of spices such as salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika. It's available in mild or wild, and it's VERY similar to the Mexican sausage CHORIZO. I perked up when I perused the recipes, because here in Southern California there is a wonderful vegetarian soy chorizo available in many markets. Check out http://www.melissas.com/ to find a store near you!

I needed a good, sturdy bean to stand up to the spiciness of the chorizo! I checked out all my many online resources and settled on the Appaloosa bean. The Appaloosa is about the size of a kidney bean, with beautiful black and white mottling resembling the coat of an Appaloosa pony. This bean was used by Native American people who lived in the Southwest, and matching it up to culinary heat would be a natural.

The Appaloosa is a good match for diabetics, too! Here are the nutritional stats:

One serving, one-quarter cup cooked, of Appaloosas

    Calories 80
    Protein 9 g
    Carbohydrate 24 g
    Fat 0 g
    Fiber 15 g

Subtracting the 15 grams of fiber, we get 9 grams net carbs, and that's great news!

Portuguese Bean Soup

Serves 10

The night before cooking, rinse and soak one pound dry Appaloosa beans in enough water to cover. Include a 3-inch piece of kombu.

The next morning, drain the beans, keep the kombu in the pot, and pour in 3 quarts of veggie broth. Add:

    1 cup chopped onion
    3 stalks of celery, chopped
    1.5 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper (or to taste) 6 ounces soy chorizo, chopped

Cook on high for 4-6 hours. Then add:

    1 14.5-ounce (410 g) can of diced tomatoes, juice and all
    1 6-ounce (169 g) can of tomato paste
    2 cups (480 ml) of carrots, diced

Finish cooking 2-3 more hours, until beans and veggies are tender.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

I'm having this for my lunch today! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Nutritional Information:
Calories per serving 208
Calories from fat 24
Total fat 3g
Saturated fat 0g
Cholesterol 0g
Sodium 186mg
Total Carbohydrates 51g
Fiber 29g
Sugars 2g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A 58%
Vitamin C 28%
Calcium 5%
Iron 4%

Next month: Antioquian Beans!

Click here for more Adventures of the Bean

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