In my childhood, beans were culinary outcasts. The only beans that my mother had in her pantry were heavy in a thick, sugary sauce but when we were rushing out the door to run for the school bus, for my mother, they were a quick and easy breakfast to feed us kids. Watties Baked Beans have been offered to New Zealanders since 1944. During World War 2, Watties were sent to New Zealand armed forces who needed quick nutritious food that they could heat and eat (or most probably, not heat), on the run and in the trenches.
I never knew that these beans were nutritious Navy Beans. I didn’t like the taste of the heavy, thick sauce, so I used to refuse to eat them. Eating ‘just’ my toast instead. I’m sure my mother tossed them in the pig bucket as I ducked out the door to the school bus. If I’d known back then how healthy and cheap Navy beans are, I might have gulped down a mouthful or two instead, but when and where I grew up, cans of beans were of the sort that were smothered in sugary, sweet sauce. They just weren’t to my liking.
But not anymore. And certainly not whilst we are heading into uncharted territory with our food production and availability in light of the global Covid19 crisis.
My ‘Corona Pantry’ is now bursting with beans. From chickpeas to navy, pinto, red kidney and adzuki beans, I have a lot of beans! I’ve been talking about them in the MyMT™ Coaching Community this week. I’m sharing 2 weeks of scientifically evidenced ‘Wellness Wisdom’ and yes, we have all been stocking our pantry with beans. Whilst the supermarkets run out of general commodities, I’ve been keeping women on task to have a pantry full of foods that matter to our health as well as foods that also meet the budget in uncertain times.
I find it incredible that as we face these unprecedented times, women around the world who are on my 12 week programmes as well as with me in my private coaching community are in similar situations – working from home, trying to deal with children and a partner at home, whilst some have lost their jobs and/ or face uncertain futures. Covid anxiety on top of menopause-anxiety isn’t any fun. That’s why it’s a privilege to keep the community going and offer support, knowledge and reassurance every day. I hope you can join me sometime too.
That’s why I’ve been having a focus on ‘The Corona Pantry’ – so many women are now faced with hungry families wanting 3 meals a day and we all know that when we are working from home, the kitchen becomes the hub for everyone, especially hungry teenagers. That’s why I was pleased to share with them the knowledge that they needed to load up their pantry with cans of beans – preferably without the thick, sugary sauce.
Beans have healing powers and in times of health uncertainty, it’s nice to know the foods that heal, especially for women going through menopause, who may already have some health challenges.
“Beans are actually little chemical factories with lots of biologically active substances in them” said Dr Leonard Cohen, a nutrition and cancer research specialist at the American Health Foundation in New York. “There’s good evidence that they may protect against cancer, lower cholesterol and decrease inflammation.”
With the knowledge that the Covid-19 virus causes inflammatory lesions in the lungs leading to interstitial pneumonia, I worry about all of you women going through menopause, who are already experiencing health changes. As I keep reiterating to you, if you are going through menopause, then this is the biological gateway to your ageing and as such, the changes that ensue around our body as oestrogen and progesterone decline, can also cause inflammatory changes. If you have an irritable gut and changing joint health or you have put on a lot of belly-fat, then you will know what I mean. Yes, when fat cells accumulate excess fat storage, they become inflamed as well.
But back to beans. These mighty, small and relatively cheap plants are packed with soluble fibre – the same fibre that’s found in apples, barley and oat bran. In the digestive tract, soluble fibre traps cholesterol-containing bile, removing it from the body before it’s absorbed.
Beans also help to keep our blood sugar steady and help us feel full. If you have a hungry household then make these vegetarian nachos for lunch and tell the kids there is nothing more until dinner. Just as my mother used to do on weekends.
Food Guide which women get access to as part of my three different MyMT programmes.