Eat beans and live a long life! I especially love curried red lentils and confess that this dish is my comfort food. Yes, I know they’re not officially Paleo. However it turns out that beans have been discovered at Paleolithic fossil sites all over the world, and in some areas were found to be their primary plant food. What about the anti-nutrients? Aha! Two things destroy those pesky lectins and make beans highly digestible. 1) Soaking well 8-12 hours removes most of the phytates, lectins and protease inhibitors. 2) Cooking removes the rest of the anti-nutrients. But unfortunately we like to take shortcuts. Most people don’t soak beans long enough, we eat in a hurry, and then complain of indigestion.
What could be more delicious than a bowl of warm curried dal filled with veggies? Oh, I’m not trying to convince you to eat beans. I’m just suggesting that we look at the historical evidence, listen to our bodies, and choose our personal diet independently of any dogma. Beans are an excellent source of protein, especially for vegetarians and vegans. In many ways it’s a more sustainable protein source than meats.
Eat beans and live to 100!
Recently scientists in Melbourne studied 785 elderly people in Japan, Sweden, Australia, and Greece, observing them for seven years. Researchers tracked their health markers and food choices in nine different categories: vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, cereals, dairy products, meat, fish, and monounsaturated fats. Read about the study here.
The Result? Beans were the the #1 top predictor of long life!
Researchers found that legumes were the most important dietary predictor of survival among the elderly, “regardless of their ethnicity”. In fact, for every 20-gram increase in daily legume intake (20 grams is about three-quarters of an ounce), “there is a 7 to 8% reduction in mortality hazard ratio.” Wow!
BTW, this recipe is nightshade-free. Yay! I don’t use curry powder in my kitchen, and prefer to combine my own spices without nightshades (like paprika, cayenne, etc). Or you can mix your own curry powder with my recipe Homemade Curry Powder – Nightshade-free! This recipe makes 6 cups soup, serves 4.
“Legumes have not agreed with my digestive system for a long time. I had a stash of red lentils, and I thought I would give Jane’s directions and recipe for Curried Vegetable Dal a try. I am delighted to report that giving them a good long soak and rinse as directed was the key. TOTALLY DELICIOUS recipe, with no gas, no bloating or any digestive side effects. I will look forward to making other bean dishes!” Lynda Leonard
- 1 cup organic red lentils, rinsed and soaked 8 – 12 hours in 4 cups filtered water
- 4 more cups filtered water
- 2-3 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1-inch minced ginger root
- 1 teaspoon unprocessed salt, and some ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons organic ghee
- 1 medium leek, both white and green parts, chopped in bite-size pieces
- 1 medium sweet potato, or 2 carrots, chopped in bite-size pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 cups chopped veggies such as broccoli, green beans, peas, and any other veggies you fancy
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
- Rinse the soaked lentils in a colander until the water runs clear. Then put them in a soup pot with 4 cups filtered water and no salt (salt slows cooking in beans). Bring to a boil and turn down to a low simmer for 30 minutes. At this point, I immersion blended them until smooth and creamy, but this step is optional.
- Add the spices to the pot. Add the salt, pepper, ghee and stir them in
- Meanwhile, chop the veggies in order of hardness. Put them into the pot, and keep a low simmering heat under it so the veggies cook about as fast as you can add them. If the soup gets too thick to your taste, add some warm filtered water a little at a time until you like the thickness.
- Add the chopped cilantro or parsley last. Adjust salt, pepper and spices to taste.