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Why You Should Be Cooking with Beans

*Disclaimer: I will use the word “farty” in this blog post. I apologize ahead of time.

Beans

Beans, beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot. Right? NOOO! It doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t let beans have their way with you. You’re the boss, and they need to be put in their place.

Boss those beans around!

Why bother, you ask? Because beans are tiny gems of awesomeness that are high in fibre, protein, and a variety of other goodies. They’re a main staple in countries like Mexico–and others in South America–because they’re inexpensive, readily available, and super high in nutrients. They’re superstars, really.

Unfortunately, they get a bum rap. (Get it?) Beans can make some people feel bloated and gassy, so a lot of us choose to just ignore their amazingness altogether to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation in yoga class. Also, those suffering from digestive issues like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or Crohn’s disease may find that beans make their gut situations worse. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

There is actually a correct way to both prepare and cook beans. Beans have indigestible carbohydrates that need to be broken down by soaking. If you’re using beans from a can, then the trick is to rinse them very well, until all the bubbles are gone. Those bubbles are gas, and they make you farty. (See? Told you I’d use it.) No one wants to be farty. If you plan on cooking them after you rinse them, then your best bet is to add a bay leaf to whatever you’re cooking, whether it’s soup, stew, chili, or whatever. Bay absorbs the acid in the beans that add to the gas. Just don’t eat the leaf.

(Although I must admit that the thought of this makes me smile.)

If you’re cooking dried beans, then rinse them very well first, and soak them in a lot of water overnight. (The general rule is one cup of beans to three cups of water.) In the morning, strain them and rinse really well again. When you go to cook them, cook with a bay leaf for the reason explained above, but also skim off the bubbles that will form off the top after about an hour. Remember, those are farty bubbles. Also, make sure you cook the beans very well. Don’t leave them half-cooked.

So, in conclusion of Cooking with Beans 101 (because now you’ve now graduated Bean University), you rinse, you skim bubbles, and you cook with a bay leaf. Other gas-reducing spices include ginger, fennel, and cumin, so you could cook with those, too.

Sleeping Like a Baby: Not what it’s cracked up to be

Sleepy young woman in bed extending hand to alarm clock at home

The old adage “slept like a baby” always confused me. Is this phrase only used by people with no children? Because if you have kids, you must know that babies don’t sleep.

(Well, only in inconvenient times. Never when you want them to. )

I’ve been having trouble with staying asleep lately, and by “lately,” I mean the last year or so. I’ve kind of turned into a total insomniac, actually. I have no problem falling asleep, but I never seem to get into that deep sleep that everyone raves about. In fact, I’m exhausted just typing this. *Yawn…

My five-year-old daughter still wakes me up almost every night to chat or climb into my bed, or just relay some fun fact about yesterday’s goings-on (yesterday she saw an eagle, because that’s what you think about at 2am). She’s one of the reasons my sleep is so interrupted, but it’s interrupted even if she’s not there to wake me up.

I’ve tried things like Melatonin (gave me a crazy sleep hangover), taking warm baths before bed, making sure my bedroom is dark and cool. I’ve tried not eating before bed, not drinking caffeine after noon, and exercising regularly. I’ve tried stretching, meditation, and more. These are all normal suggestions for anyone suffering with sleep issues.

But here are some more, and these make up my latest list of things to try. (I’ll keep you posted.)

  • More magnesium. Up to 80% of North Americans are magnesium deficient[1], and this is directly related to sleep problems. (Fun fact: people with digestive issues often don’t absorb as much magnesium as they need to.) Juicing greens, and eating a varied whole food, plant-based diet can help greatly. Since I already do those things, I’m going to begin taking a supplement just to be sure. I also have a laboratory requisition to fill that will measure my magnesium and Vitamin D levels. Which brings me to:
  • Increased Vitamin D. This “vitamin” is actually a hormone, and is totally correlated with sleep. If you’re deficient (like most North Americans), it can lead to insomnia. You get Vitamin D from the sunshine and green leafy veggies, but you can also buy it in supplement form.
  • Going to bed later. You heard me: later. I’m so tired by nine that I usually crash a half-hour later. But if I’m planning on sleeping until 7am, I really should try and push my adolescent bedtime back to 10:30ish. I don’t need 10 hours of sleep—just better quality sleep.
  • Putting the kybosh on alcohol. (God, I love that word. Kybosh, not alcohol.) Alcohol, despite what people may think, is both a stimulant and a depressant.[2] It may make you feel sleepy, but it also increases your heart rate. This speedy effect makes it very hard for your body to regulate itself into a good sleep. So, bye-bye wine. (Yes, I’m THIS desperate for sleep.)
  • Cutting back on screen time. I’m an iPhone, iPad, laptop junkie. Apple loves me. But all that screen time can have a negative effect on sleep, because it suppresses melatonin.

For more tips on how to sleep better, visit HERE. In the meantime, let me know if you have any suggestions. 🙂

References:

[1] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/08/15/nutrients-better-sleep.aspx

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21560041

Book Launch! Happy Healthy Gut is Officially Released

Beet Juice

Hey, everyone! I’m so excited for this book release. Today’s the magic day, so I thought I’d let everyone know exactly what this book is about. January is the month to take better responsibility for your health and happiness, and since those words are in the title, I thought I’d take advantage.

About the book (description from amazon.com):

Millions of Americans deal with daily digestive malfunction and attribute it to genetics or faulty wiring. Jennifer Browne reveals the common denominator present in almost all chronic digestive angst: food. What we choose to fuel ourselves with has a direct impact on every part of our bodies, starting with the digestive system. Browne urges us to own responsibility for our own health and make conscientious decisions regarding the cause and effect foods have on our digestive tracts. Written in frank, humorous laymen’s terms and sharing her own personal success story along with others’, Browne passionately educates her readers on why a plant-based diet is the only prescription necessary for a happy, healthy tummy. Discover the direct correlation between digestive trauma and factory farming; the incredible benefits of juicing, fermenting, and sprouting food; the reason why GMOs lead to IBS; and what ingredients really just translate to “sugar” or “lab-created chemical.” “Happy Healthy Gut” is an easy read that is truly important and highly informative for anyone who has ever dreamed of a perfectly functioning digestive system.

About the Author (description taken from amazon.com):

Jennifer Browne is an advocate for nutrition education and digestive disorder cessation. She is passionate about promoting clean, “wholistic” food practices and avoiding the slew of “non-foods” that make up our current food system. Browne was diagnosed with IBS in 2001 and has been symptom-free since 2010 when she adopted a mindful, plant-based diet.

Buy the Book (link to amazon.com):

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1626360413?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=1626360413&linkCode=xm2&tag=girlunin-20

Happy Healthy Gut Cover Design

Enjoy your weekend! Keep healthy!

Happy Healthy Sneak Peek #2

Love Your Gut

Ready for the second sneak peek of my new book, Happy Healthy Gut? I will post a new preview, from a different chapter, every 2 days until release date (January 2), so stay tuned for more!

From Chapter One (To Tame a Tummy):

IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion, which doctors like to give to people when they can’t figure out why their digestive tracts aren’t working properly. Approximately seventy million Americans suffer from digestive disorders like IBS[i], with almost twenty percent of the U.S. population exhibiting IBS-like symptoms.[ii] Canada’s number? 20 million.[iii] That’s pretty prevalent! Basically, we are told that there is always medication and steroids to help with the pain and symptoms if they get out of control. I’m very certain that this sounds familiar to many of you. When you consider that there are currently about 315 million people living in the United States, [iv] then that means that one out of four and a half people suffer from a debilitating disease that I now know is completely repairable and reversible.

I thought nothing of my diagnosis at the time. I was young and relieved that the exploratory procedure portion of my early twenties was finally over.  It didn’t occur to me to persistently ask any of the doctors I had seen any questions about IBS, or what it meant for my future, and they didn’t offer up very much information. The name sounded innocent enough: irritable bowel syndrome. Like my stomach was cranky, but similar to anyone who is going through a particularly moody or self-proclaimed depressed period in their life, my abdomen would eventually get over it and carry on as if nothing happened. You know, like immature teenage angst.”


[i] “Digestive Disorders.” John Hopkins Medicine Health Alerts. Feb. 2013. Web. http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/alerts_index/digestive_health/19-1.html

[iii] “Statistics.” Canadian Digestive Health Foundation. 2013. Web. http://www.cdhf.ca/digestive-disorders/statistics.shtml

[iv] “U.S. and World Population Clocks.” United States Census Bureau. Feb. 2013. Web.  http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html

My Baby Finally Has a Name! (My Book Has an Official Title)

Love Your Gut

I’m super excited to announce that although I am a little sad to see my working title of Love Your Gut go, I’m thrilled that an official title has been chosen for my very first book! Love Your Gut is now Happy, Healthy Gut: The Natural Diet Solution to Curing IBS and Other Chronic Digestive Disorders!

YAY!

This is fun, because although I sold my manuscript to Skyhorse Publishing in December 2012, almost NOTHING has happened that I can see directly! I’m learning alot about how patient (or impatient) I am via my first go in this process. Hahaha…I still have 6 months left ’til pub date…(January 2014)

Next up? Hopefully a book cover and ISBN number! Stay tuned!