Food trends and fads are constantly changing, especially with the sheer amount of information that we access every day. Much of this information comes from influencers and that would make anyone knowledgeable in nutrition skeptical about the source.
One of these current trends is to eat more plant-based foods. There seems to be two extremes. On one hand, Canada’s updated food guide recommends incorporating a variety of plant-based foods into our diet. On the other, there are some who think that eating a completely plant-based diet is going to save us.
While the latter is a little extreme for my taste, the former does have the vast population of Canada in mind.
A great way to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet is to add pulses. While the term “pulse” may be unfamiliar, you will likely recognize the food it represents. Pulses are a family of crops that include kidney beans, lentils, and chickpeas.
They are incredibly nutritious, providing us with high amounts of fibre and protein, vitamins like folate, and minerals like iron. People who are vegetarian or vegan can reap these benefits by pairing them with grains or nuts. This provides them with richer protein than just pulses alone.
These nutritional benefits are not the only thing pulses offer us. Eating pulses also benefits your health. The high fibre may help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. This may also help control blood sugar if you are diabetic, or struggle with high blood sugar.
Besides being nutritious, growing pulses is more environmentally sustainable. They do not require nearly as much water as other conventional crops and they require less fertilizer when growing, which reduces their overall carbon footprint.
When cooking, here are some great recipe ideas and tips for incorporating pulses into your diet:
- Blend chickpeas, along with some garlic, into hummus and enjoy with fresh veggies or crackers.
- Make a vegetarian chilli with chickpeas and kidney beans, and serve with rice to get the best protein out of your meal.
- If you buy your pulses in cans, make sure to rinse them well before adding them to your recipe.
To learn more about pulses and for more recipe ideas, visit Pulse Canada’s website.