Beans, Beans: Good for your Health and Heart!
Beans can often be an overlooked ingredient, but they pack a lot of health benefits. Dry beans are actually very inexpensive, and can be easily combined with other healthy ingredients to form a plethora of low-fat menu ideas.
When used and prepared creatively, beans can absorb a wide variety of flavors that will please the entire family. Here are a few tips to consider for storing and preparing beans in your home.
You can incorporate beans into plenty of meals to add a nutritious and inexpensive burst of texture to your meal, so it is often a good idea to find other ways to store beans, that way you will always have them around!
It is important to store beans in a cool, dry place. Instead of recycling all of your coffee tins after they are finished, use them for storing beans. With the large opening of the coffee tin, you will be able to scoop out beans with your measuring cup to ensure proper portions. Mason jars are also a fun place to store beans, and they will look creative on your countertop.
After you cook beans, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days, or six months in the freezer. Cooking beans ahead of time is a great way to have easy access to the ingredient on busy weeknights.
The best way to prepare beans before cooking them is to let them soak. By soaking your beans before cooking them you return the water that was lost when they were dried, making for a moister meal. To soak beans, combine ten cups of water with one pound of beans and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Let the beans sit in the water covered for at least one hour. For best results, let your beans soak between four and twenty-four hours.
After your beans are soaked, let them simmer until they become tender. If you are going to add any acidic ingredients, such as tomatoes, vinegar or lemon juice, it is important to first make sure that the beans are fully cooked. The acid can stop the rehydration of the beans if added too soon.
Source: ìCooking Quick and LightîóOPTIFASTÆ Lifestyle Education Seriesô
Information also provided from consumer education material provided by NorthHarvest Bean Growers Association.
Recognize Irrational, Destructive Thoughts
One problem that all too many people encounter is the trap of destructive reasoning. These are irrational thought patterns that often cause you to fall off of your plan and engage in an activity that you may regret, such as eating a very large piece of cake or skipping the gym several nights in a row.Being able to identify irrational and destructive thoughts early on can help you to snap out of that negative mindset and switch into a more positive gear.Here are the three leading irrational thought patterns:
- Irrational thoughts may be true, but they are not helpful. It may very well be true that your friend stood you up and it is raining outside, but that doesnít mean that you should give up on your workout plans. Pop in a yoga DVD and enjoy a workout in the comfort of your own home instead.
- Irrational thoughts may be helpful, but they are not true. While it may make you feel better to think that you are on track with your weight loss plan, and that you can skip your weekly weigh in because you are feeling good about your progress on your own, this is not always true. By thinking too positively about your goals you may fall farther away from reaching them. In addition to thinking positively, it is important to be realistic and stick to the plan that you set out for yourself.
- Irrational thoughts may not be true, and they are not helpful either. Harsh thoughts, such as thinking that you are not attractive and will not be attractive until you reach your ultimate wellness goal are both damaging and false. It is important to have a goal in mind, but pay attention to the progress that you are making along the way, and when you reach a milestone that you are happy about, donít forget to be happy about it!
Source: ìTaking Charge of your Mood and BehaviorîóOPTIFASTÆ Lifestyle Education SeriesôThe Importance of WaterStaying hydrated is an important aspect of your health. As you are trying to lose weight and begin to work out more frequently hydration becomes even more important. In order to maintain your health during normal, day-to-day activities you should be drinking two and a half quarts of water every day.Letís break this measurement up into more visual terms. Two and a half quarts is equal to 80 ounces of water. A pint is only 16 ounces, which is the amount of water that is often packaged in a single plastic water bottle. Do you remember the old saying, ëa pint is a pound, the world around?í In order to maintain a proper hydration level as you shuffle around your home doing laundry, walk across your office or even sit at your computer, you should be drinking the equivalent of five pounds of water every day.You need to drink this much water because your body is using this much water. So, when you increase your activity level it is important to begin drinking even more water. Interested in seeing just how much water your body loses during a workout? Weigh yourself before heading to the gym, and then again after your workout. For every pound that you lose during the workout, you need to drink 1 quart of water to replace it. This is a good way to see the immediate fluctuations of water in your body!As you head to the gym, keep the following tips in mind:
- Always carry a water bottle. It is best to try to take sips of water as you are working out, in addition to drinking water before and after your exercise routine.
- Skip the sport drinks. Most sport drinks have a lot of sugar and extra calories. These are not necessary to your workout, and will not nourish you the same way that water can.
- Remember that thirst is not a reliable way to determine if you are dehydrated. Water is free of calories and can even help you to stay full, so instead of waiting until you are thirsty to reach for your water bottle try keeping one close by at all times!
Source: ìStaying ActiveîóOPTIFASTÆ Lifestyle Education Seriesô All trademarks are owned by SociÈtÈ des Produits NestlÈ S.A., Vevey, Switzerland. ©2011 NestlÈ. All rights reserved.