This time of year can be especially tricky for keeping a slim waste. We kick off our holiday season in our house the day after Thanksgiving with vegan chocolate covered peanut butter balls and keep them going until January 1st. I'm not one to keep an endless supply of sweets in the house, but during the Christmas season it's non-negotiable with my family. So how does one keep the weight off and help manage their family's cholesterol? Beans.
We've known for years that beans are great for us. They are recommended to diabetics to help manage blood sugar levels. Their superhero power, soluble fiber is excellent for helping lower your bad cholesterol. Numerous studies have also linked the consumption of beans to reductions in colon, breast and prostrate cancers!
But, did you know that eating 5 cups of lentils and beans also has been shown to have the same weight loss and metabolic benefits as eating a restrictive caloric diet? My ears certainly perked up when I heard this life hacking tidbit on the Nutritionfacts.org podcast, Beans Beans: The Truth About Lectins
I wondered if I upped my bean and lentil consumption up to 5 cups this week and allowed myself a few more sweats and treats, would my weight stay the same? Just so you guys have a reference, I usually don't even eat the peanut butter balls. It's also rare for me to have sugar. I usually try to eat my last meal of the day by 6pm and it normally consists of a light dinner. I also keep a vegan whole foods plant-based diet. This week I went off the rails, lol and snacked during the week. I had a few peanut butter balls, a couple GoMacro Macrobar Protein Pleasure Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip bars, and a Mom's Munchies Skinny Mint Cookie and a bit of wine. I also ate a little later than usual, had some tortilla chips a couple of days and slightly later dinners. Guess what? I kept my weight exactly where I like it. My really happy weight is in the range of 115-117 lbs. At the end of eating way more processed food than I usually do, I was at 116! You may be thinking it's really not that much, but for me it makes a difference in my body.
While I'm not recommending that you eat a lot of processed food, I will tell you eating 5 cups of lentils and beans this week did allow me to have a bit more freedom in my diet as far as the scale is concerned. If you are wondering if my weight usually stays at this range regardless of what I eat? The answer is no. I was a heavier kid and I struggled with my weight until I figured out how to eat right in my forties. It wasn't uncommon for me to fluctuate around 20 plus pounds. I usually check in with the scale now once a week so I keep myself in check.
So if you are trying to keep the weight off during the holiday season, or any other for that matter, there is one easy thing to do. Eat your beans!
There is no easier way to cook beans than with a pressure cooker. Pinto beans are my all time favorite. Here's how you make them:
Place 2 cups of organic pinto beans and water measuring 1 inch above the beans in a container and soak overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day chop 1 yellow onion. You can also had a piece of kombu to help remove any extra bean gas.
Rinse the beans. Add beans, onion & kombu to an electric pressure cooker. Cover the beans and onions with enough water to just cover them and set the pressure cooker to airtight. Cook for 14 minutes
After the pressure cooker has naturally released it's pressure (approx 45 minutes) open the lid away from your face.
If your mixture looks way too watery remove extra liquid but save it on the side until you are happy with the consistency. Mash the beans until creamy.
They are especially tasty with veggie tacos, burritos and bowls.
I love this pressure cooker! It's also a slow cooker. You can find cheaper ones out there, but this model has a stainless steel insert. I prefer this to the coated non stick and have not had any problems with food sticking.