Tuesday, June 7, 2011

slow cooked black beans

As of recently, I've decided to start tracking my eating habits through Live Strong. They have a feature called MyPlate, and it allows you to see exactly what you're eating- how many calories, nutritional breakdown, etc, etc. While this is probably a bad thing, since I now count every morsel of food that enters my body, it has also been incredibly eye-opening. Among other things, I never knew how much sodium I ingested!

I come from a family with high blood pressure and cholesterol, which is partially one of the reasons I stopped eating meat in the first place. I always thought my newfound vegetarianism was so healthy, but I was surprised to find out, that some things I thought were so great, were secretly not. Did you know that 1 serving (1/4 cup) of Newman's Own Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce has 620 mg of sodium? That's like, 40% of my recommended daily intake!

Moral of the story, is that after looking at a whole lot of nutritional totals, I've decided to take some steps toward better eating and healthier living. From this day forth, I will no longer have canned beans in my household. 1 half cup of canned beans contained 390 mg of sodium! In the long run, I'm sure that's not so bad for me, but if I take enough baby steps, I think it will really pay off in the end.

Stuff you need: 1. Bag of dried beans 2. Water 3. A crockpot

Before going to bed, take that bag of beans, pour them into a large bowl, and fill the bowl with enough water to cover the beans by a few inches. Now let them sit overnight. In the morning, drain the beans of last night's water, and place them into the slow cooker. Cover the beans with water- I used 7 cups-, turn the crockpot onto low, and now get to the office! When you come home 8-12 hours later, you'll be rewarded with home-cooked beans out the wazoo!
This one bag made around 8 cups of prepared beans! I used a little for dinner tonight, and then divided the rest into 1 cup portions, and stuck them in the freezer for future use. Home-cooked beans are healthier and cheaper for you, and I love the feeling of accomplishment I get from doing something really good for my body. I think my next step in sodium reduction will be eliminating prepared tomato sauce, but for tonight, I couldn't be happier with my beans :)

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