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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 #7
Forbidden Rice Meets the Purple Bean

by VOW

Includes Recipe Below

While surfing the Internet for my heirloom beans, I stumbled upon a very unusual rice. Ordinarily, I don't give rice a second glance, because it isn't very kind to my blood sugars. But with a catchy name like "Forbidden Rice," how could I resist? This was a legendary food for the emperors, and it is purple! That started the old brain gears a-turnin' and I wanted to get my hands on this grain that supposedly toned the blood and also was a source of iron. One source of Forbidden Rice is http://www.worldpantry.com/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/ProductDisplay?prmenbr=127574&prrfnbr=146780

VOW One way diabetics can accommodate rice (or any other high-glycemic-index carbohydrates) into their diets is to combine foods. Pairing up items from each end of the glycemic index spectrum will give an average impact. Or even a smidgen of fats can slow down the rocket rise to blood sugars. The mental gears began to turn.

It's springtime, and that means longer days, more outside activities, and picnics! I sensed a salad inspiration about to descend upon me, and I waited for the epiphany. What bean is noted for being dark purple? Black beans, of course! I love those beans, and typically enjoy them in a chili recipe. But when you soak those babies overnight, the water is stained a deep purple and it colors just about everything it touches. Purple beans, purple rice. AHA!

Black beans are also called turtle beans, and are common in Latin American dishes and also Caribbean cuisine. One pound cooks up to about two cups of beans. You can also find them canned. For this recipe, you can either use the dry beans and cook them the day before in a crockpot, or use the canned ones (I won't tell!).

Purple Passion Salad
10 servings

    4 cups (1 liter) cooked black beans (2 lbs dry or 900g)
    2 cups (480 ml) cooked Forbidden Rice (1 cup dry or 240 ml)
    2 cups (480 ml) chopped fresh tomatoes
    3 cups (360 ml) chopped cucumbers, peeling and seeds removed
    1/4 cup (60 ml) slivered fresh basil
    1/2 cup (120 ml) diced red onion
    1/2 cup (120 ml) dijon-style mustard
    3 cloves pickled garlic (or more!)
    1/4 cup (60 ml) toasted sesame oil
    1/4 cup (60 ml) seasoned rice vinegar
    1/4 cup (60 ml) balsamic vinegar
    1/4 cup (60 ml) cider vinegar
    salt and pepper to taste

  1. In food processor or blender, place mustard and garlic cloves and buzz to a paste. While motor is running, add sesame oil in a thin drizzle. Then add vinegars and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In large bowl, combine drained beans, rice, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and basil. Add dressing and blend thoroughly. Cover bowl and refrigerate until completely chilled. This keeps in the refrigerator for a week or more, and is a wonderful, knock-'em-dead potluck dish or picnic salad!

Nutrional Information:

Calories per serving 128
Calories from fat 48
Total fat 7g
Saturated fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Total Carbohydrate 16g
Fiber 5g
Sugars 1g
Protein 5g
Vitamin A 6%
Vitamin C 17%
Calcium 3%
Iron 10%


Diabetes Update--April, 2004

Don't go running off to the kitchen for some salad just YET. You need to get ready to join me in a celebratory "happy dancie." I had a routine doctor appointment this month, with accompanying blood work. GOOD NEWS all around! Since diagnosis, I have lost almost forty pounds! I still have quite a ways to go, but at least the numbers on the scale are going DOWN.

My HbA1C test, which is an indicator of blood glucose control over the past three months was a spectacular 5.7%! (For information about the HbA1C test, what it measures, how it is used as a guide for diabetes management, see: http://my.webmd.com/content/article/56/65904.htm ) Now, in the non-diabetic, the HbA1C values range from 4.5% to 6.5%. In the diabetic, good control is considered with an HbA1C level of LESS THAN 7%. So, my number was pretty doggone good!

So good, my doctor has discontinued my medication!
(Cue the "happy dancie!")

Am I cured?
NO!

I am a diabetic. I have diabetes, I will always have diabetes. Diabetes isn't just a level of blood sugar, or insufficient insulin, or insulin resistance. It is a metabolic disorder, where a network within the body isn't functioning correctly. If I were to accept the misguided notion that I no longer have diabetes, I'd do myself a world of hurt. While my blood sugar is in a "normal" range now, the disease is considered to be controlled by diet and exercise.

Should I decide to eat candy bars for breakfast, caramel corn for lunch, and mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner, I'd rack up some horrendous BG numbers! I still have to exercise, too. (UGH) And, if I ever need surgery or if I get an infection, my blood sugar will have to be closely monitored then as well.

The hard work pays off, though!

(for more information about the glycemic Index of foods and how it affects blood glucose levels, you can check out http://www.glycemicindex.com/ )


Click here for more Adventures of the Bean



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