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How you can eat more pulses and stay healthy

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How you can eat more pulses and stay healthy

I think it’s healthy to routinely have a break from eating meat especially after hearing that a diet low in fibre and high in red and processed meat is a risk factor for bowel cancer. Pulses are great alternatives to meat and so versatile. Like meat, pulses are really filling and can make really tasty meals. Pulses are cheap, low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. They also count towards the recommended five daily portions of fruit and vegetables.

Options for buying pulses
Pulses are readily available in supermarkets. I used to buy tinned pulses which are convenient but discovered that they contain additives. Also I personally don’t think the quality and taste is as good as prepared dried pulses. I am a great believer that you need great ingredients to start off in order to make a delicious dish. The one thing that used to put me off buying dried pulses was the time it took to boil them. In this modern day, time is really precious! Anyway that all changed when a good friend of mine suggested that I buy a pressure cooker. I did follow her advice and bought a Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker which has been a godsend and money well spent.

Here are five benefits of having a pressure cooker:

  • It’s improved my diet as I am eating more pulses.
  • It is energy and time efficient. For example, after soaking overnight, chickpeas and kidney beans only take 12 and 15 minutes respectively on a high pressure setting. There are so many other foods that can be cooked in the pressure cooker for less time with great results e.g. meat, brown rice.
  • My kitchen doesn’t get all steamed up as it would of if I was to boil pulses in a normal pan. I also don’t need to switch on my extractor fan so again I save on energy.
  • It’s a cost-effective way of eating pulses compared to buying tinned products. I normally make a large batch of beans or chick peas then just take what I need for cooking. The remainder is divided into portions and frozen to use at a later date. This works out cheaper than buying tins.
  • By not buying tinned products, I have reduced my recycling waste and potentially avoided exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) a toxic chemical used in the lining of most food cans. There are some health concerns over BPA which is known to have weak oestrogenic effects as well as reproductive and developmental effects. It can also be an endocrine disrupter (a chemical that interacts with hormone systems).

If you are looking to include pulses in your diet but put off by the time it takes to prepare them then consider getting a pressure cooker. I should mention that modern pressure cookers have come a long way and are now very safe than they used to be in the past. So you can have peace of mind while making nutritious food!

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Guest Sunday, 24 February 2019