Be Super Healthy, Eat Beans by Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD

How to Be Super Healthy during the Super-Bowl

Super Bowl snacking is typically thought of as a carnivorous feeding frenzy, but these Vegan-inspired treats will turn even the most bloodthirsty fans into PETA petitioners.

For those who think that meat eating is an essential contact sport, understand that you can meet your nutrient needs on a Vegetarian diet. However, a Vegan voyage might necessitate that you take these nutrients for your trip: adequate protein and omega-3 essential fatty acids (EPA & DHA) as well as vitamin D, B12, iron, zinc, calcium and riboflavin.

Adequate protein can be obtained by eating a variety of legumes (beans, peas, peanuts, lentils, tempeh and tofu) PLUS grains (corn, brown rice and quinoa), nuts and seeds. Each group is deficient in an essential amino acid. When combined, these protein sources “compliment” each other by providing the deficient amino acids in adequate amounts to promote growth, repair and maintenance of the body.

Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are difficult to obtain in a vegan diet. Flax oil and flax seeds although high in Alpha-Linolenic-Acid (AHA) omega-3 fatty acids, do not provide any EPA or DHA. If you are willing to eat eggs, you could get eggs from pasture-raised chics which are rich omega-3 fats, including those coveted EPA and DHA type omega-3’s. You would be called an ovo-vegetarian. If not, micro-algae supplements provide DHA but not EPA—More on EPA in a future article.

Vitamin D also requires its own article, but for now, look to sunlight and milk from pasture-raised cows for D. Fatty fish and egg yolks are good sources of Vitamin D too and another reason to include pasture-raised eggs each day.

Vitamin B12 and riboflavin can be obtained from fortified soy milk as well as my favorite source, nutritional yeast flakes, which taste similar to parmesan cheese.

If you think iron equals meat, try my favorite Vegan sources: black strap molasses (in chocolate protein shakes) and dark leafy greens (blended into fresh fruit and vegetables juices).

Zinc is associated with testosterone production, which brings meat to mind, but zinc is also found in legumes, nuts, grains and mushrooms.

Try these recipes to help you meet your nutrient needs without giving in to meat.

Homemade Chips
8 corn or flour tortillas or 4 whole grain pitas, split open, each cut into 6 pieces.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover two large baking trays with a light coating of Spectrum Organic High Heat Canola Oil. In a bowl combine two teaspoons of one of the following flavorful, high heat oils: sesame, avocado, almond or canola. Add 1/3 cup of one of the following liquids: lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, malt vinegar, tomato or carrot juice. Add one or two of the following seasonings: chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, coriander or curry powder. Let your nose be your guide when combining flavors. Mix the flavors then brush onto your choice of assorted flat breads or tortillas. Bake 8-10 minutes or until chips are crisp.

Serve with the following dips along with a selection of fresh chopped veggies.

Spicy Bean Dip
2 (15 ounce) cans organic baked beans, such as Amy’s, Eden or Organic Valley
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 (4 ounce) can green chilies, diced
1/4 yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced

Add beans, Tabasco, chili powder and sea salt to blender or food processor and blend. Gradually add chopped chilies, onion and garlic. Pulse processor if you like chunky dip or blend for a smoother consistency.

Guacamole

2 avocados
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/2 onion, red or white, diced
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt


Cut avocados in half and remove pits. Scoop out avocado and mash in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend with a fork. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Black Bean Salsa
2 (15 ounce) cans organic black beans
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes with jalapenos or chilies, drained
1 cup fresh or thawed organic corn kernels
1/4 white or red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced

Mix ingredients in a bowl. Serve with baked tortilla chips.

White Bean Herbed Dip
2 (16 ounce) cans Great Northern or Garbanzo Beans, drained
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 lime, juiced
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 Tablespoon thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Rough chop the garlic, walnuts and basil in the processor. Add the drained beans to a food processor and blend. Add the olive oil and lime juice and blend until smooth. Add the fresh herbs, salt and pepper and pulse until the herbs are incorporated but still visible in the mix.