Lentils – A Nutrition Powerhouse

lentil-squash2-copyThe Nourishing Foods Winter Cleanse was a huge success. We had members from all over the United States, England, Canada, Sweden and Finland.

We balanced our pH eating alkaline meals to reduce acids.  We balanced our blood sugar with meals and snacks full of protein, fat and fiber.  We removed many of the toxins that built up over the holiday buy eating only easy to digest foods giving our organs a chance to clean up the old stuff.  It was a great cleanse to bring us back into balance, boost our immunity and even lose a few pounds.

That was only the physical part.  We also did some meditation, breathing exercises and EFT to restore our mind and spirit.

Linda Kierman says:

 This is my fourth time doing a cleanse with Ingrid. Each time, this is what I appreciate:

  • Exploring a new way to eat as I’m not vegan.
  • Learning something new about food and how it heals the body.
  • Trying new recipes and falling in love with new flavors.
  • The way Ingrid organizes the information.
  • The on-going support and guidance during the cleanse process.

Theses points were present during this cleanse, but something else was added this time. I became much more aware of not only what I ate, but how I ate. I got in touch with some of the reasons why I unconsciously consume and the associated emotions/stories. I began to slow down and really connect with my food. This week, I’ve been much more grounded and present.

Ingrid, thank you for guiding me to breathe, meditate, tap and connect with the energy in my body as part of this process. These elements have been a meaningful part to my progressing relationship with food.

 The next Nourishing Foods Spring Cleanse will be in April. This will be a liver cleanse.  The liver is our most important organ of detoxification.   I hope you will join us.

 

I am going  to Myanmar on Sunday Jan 26 for a few weeks of travel and adventure.

Myanmar, which had been one of the most repressive states in the world for five decades, launched a sudden political transition toward democracy in 2010. Because of this the Obama administration upgraded diplomatic relations in 2012 and Congress relaxed sanctions.

We decided to go to Myanmar now to see the traditional life where people are still using horse and cart to get around and before the 7-Eleven’s arrive.  I will send pictures and descriptions of my adventures as we travel around.

Today’s blog is all about lentils.  You may want to add this incredibly nutritious food into your meal plan.

Lentils

Lentils are a nutrition fountain of youth particularly rich in dietary fiber, lean protein, folate and iron. Studies of the elderly found that eating these earthy-tasting seeds (and other legumes) is the single most important dietary factor in longevity. Lentils are a legume with a nutty and earthy flavor. They readily absorb a variety of wonderful flavors from other foods and seasonings, They are also one of the simplest to prepare since they don’t require a lengthy soaking time like other beans.  You can prepare a lentil dish in 30 minutes.

I love lentils because unlike other beans, lentils do not contain sulfur, the gas-producing element in the other legumes. In addition to being an excellent source of soluble fiber and a good source of protein, they contain manganese, iron, phosphorous, copper, vitamin B1 and potassium. Lentils also contain molybdenum, a mineral important in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and iron

Types of Lentils 

There are a few varieties of lentils.  I like the small black “beluga” lentils because they stay intact and maintain a firm texture when cooked.  They are called beluga lentils because they look like caviar when raw.  The French Lentils also stay firm when cooked, as long as you don’t over cook them. Regular brown lentils you find in any supermarket are suitable for most dishes.  It is good to rinse them after cooking to keep their shape and texture.

Red lentils are different, they have a different taste and texture.  You can’t substitute these in recipes for the black, French and brown varieties. They are best for soups like Dhal and for sauces.

Health Benefits of Lentils

Helps Lower Cholesterol 

Soluble fiber, found in high quantities in lentils, forms a gel in the digestive tract that traps cholesterol-containing bile (which contains cholesterol) and escorts it out of the body.

Good for Your Heart

Lentils are high in folate and magnesium.  Magnesium improves blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body by relaxing the smooth muscles that line the inside of your arteries. This helps lower blood pressure, keeping your heart happy. Folate lowers your homocysteine levels, a risk factor for heart disease.

Keeps Blood Sugar Balanced

Lentils are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. The soluble fiber in lentils create gels that tie up carbohydrates so they are absorbed more slowly keeping blood sugar levels stable.

Aids Digestion

The insoluble fiber present in lentils increases stool bulk and helps prevent constipation. When the waste products move out of your system easily you can digest your food more efficiently. This type of fiber also help prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.

Boosts Your Energy

Lentils high iron content will replenish your iron stores increasing your energy. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells.  If you are not getting enough, you might feel low energy, have poor endurance and even run out of breath easily.

Good for Weight Loss

Lentils are high in protein, low in fat and calories.  Protein is essential for good metabolism.  In addition the fiber and slow burning complex carbohydrates in lentils make you feel satisfied and full.

This is one of the dishes from our cleanse.  Be sure you rinse the lentils after cooking to keep the black liquid from getting all over the rest of the ingredients. This is a high protein dish which will satisfy you and keep you warm. It will hold for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator

Beluga Lentils with Spinach and
Butternut Squash

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan                              PRINT RECIPE 

4 servings

¼ cup sun dried tomatoes (6) soaked in boiling water, drained and sliced
1 butternut squash, peeled seeded, cubed (about 5 cups)
4 Tb olive oil
3/4 cup black beluga lentils
2 cups water or stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh parsley minced
5 oz spinach coarsely chopped
Celtic salt and pepper
1 Tb Balsamic vinegar or umiboshi vinegar

  • Preheat oven to 425°
  • Soak sundried tomatoes
  • Place the butternut squash on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2Tb of the olive oil, sprinkle with salt, roast for 25-30 minutes until lightly brown.
  • Put lentils into a pot with water, bay leaf and dried thyme.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low for 25-30 minutes until tender but not soft.
  • While the lentils are cooking and the squash is roasting
  • Heat the remaining 2 Tb olive oil in a large sauté pan.  Add onion sauté on medium low for 5 minutes until softened.
  • Drain the sundried tomatoes and slice.
  • Add garlic and sundried tomatoes. Sauté 2 minutes.  Add spinach, sauté 2 minutes until wilted.
  • Turn off the heat add the parsley.
  • When the butternut squash is done add to the onion mixture.
  • Drain the lentils and rinse. Add them to onion mixture.
  • Mix to combine evenly.
  • Taste for salt and pepper.
  • Serve with a drizzle of vinegar on top.

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