Pulses really are the answer to world peace. True fact.
My love affair with pulses started about 10 years ago when I was eating very little meat and on the verge of coming out of the closet as a vegetarian. We now eat pulses virtually every day. I put lentils in everything… and beans in everything else. Pulses are brilliant.
It turns out that it’s not just me who thinks pulses are brilliant, and until recently I didn’t quite realise that pulses are brilliant on so many other levels. I have been continuously experimenting with the variety and versatility of pulses, and marvelling at their culinary prowess… But pulses are so much more than that.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)have published a series of 5 fact sheets, detailing 5 areas in which pulses absolutely rock. These fact sets are beautifully produced, with a wealth of interesting and inspiring information, presented in an accessible format. They really are worth a good look.
Links to all 5 fact sheets are below:
- Nutritional benefits of pulses
- Pulses contribute to food security
- Health benefits of pulses
- Pulses and climate change
- Pulses and biodiversity
These sheets are really informative and not only make me feel justified for already using a lot of pulses in my cooking, but inspire me to find yet more ways of including them in our diet, and substituting less nutritious, healthy and ecologically sound foods such as animal products.
Food security is defined as:
“A situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.
The FAO have made these high quality resources to spread the good word about this fabulous food group, which is sadly so underused in ‘western’ cuisine. So please feel free to read them and share them online, but also print them and leave them under car windscreens, wrap gifts in them and wallpaper your lounge in them… whatever way you can spread the message. Do it.*
Pulses are so versatile, I use them in sauces, dips, curries, dhals, bakes with pasta, rice and quinoa, in salads both cooked and sprouted, in soups and stews, and patties and pies. I shall continue to post recipes using common pulses such as chickpeas and lentils, and I endeavour to broaden my pulse horizons. Just the other week my sister gave me a large bag of mung beans. So my next mission is to perfect a dish with the shiny green beans that I’ve not really ‘cooked’ with since I sprouted a load in a jar on my windowsill as a child.
Lastly, I just want to add… when I begin to lovingly and enthusiastically talk about pulses to anyone who will listen, I am often told that ‘Pulses don’t agree with me’ which is a polite way of saying they result in awful flatulence. Well, apparently, this is your body’s way of dealing with any number of unfamiliar foods, and the only possible solution is to eat more pulses and familiarise your digestive system with a whole variety of them; and to make sure you’re cooking them properly of course. Anecdotally, my family suffer form significantly less – ahem – bowel troubles than many others I know – and we eat pulses all the time.
Eat more pulses, you will feel better, inside, outside, in mind, body and spirit and the world will be a better place.
* but not littering – the negative impact of extreme pulse advertising and promotion might outweigh their ecological benefits!