Beans, Beans, The Magical Fruit

Beans are a wonderful way to add high-quality, plant-based protein to your diet. They are high in iron, B vitamins and fiber, and are versatile enough that you may never tire of them. Dry beans stay fresh longer when stored in a cool, dark place (rather than on your countertop). Don’t use beans that are more than a year old, as their nutrient content and digestibility are much lower. Also, old beans will not soften, even with thorough cooking. 

If you are following the Bulletproof Diet the protocol is to Eliminate legumes such as peanuts, beans, and lentils.  However, if you must have your beans, soak, sprout (or ferment), and cook them.  Read below to learn the best way to do so.


Steps when preparing beans:

  1. Check beans for rocks and shriveled or broken pieces, then rinse.
  2. Soak for six hours or overnight, with water covering four inches higher than the beans. Small and medium size beans may require less soaking—about four hours should be enough. Note: If you’ve forgotten to presoak the beans, you can bring them to a boil in ample water to cover. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let stand for one hour.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans, discarding the soaking water. Always discard any loose skins before cooking, as this will increase digestibility.
  4. Place the beans in a heavy pot and add 3 to 4 cups fresh water.
  5. Bring to a full boil and skim off the foam.
  6. Add a small piece of kombu (seaweed) and a few bay leaves or garlic cloves for flavor and better digestibility.
  7. Cover, lower the temperature, and simmer for the suggested time. Check beans 30 minutes before the minimum cooking time. Beans are done when the middle is soft and easy to squeeze.
  8. About 10 minutes before the end of cooking time, add 1 teaspoon of unrefined sea salt.
  9. Cook until beans are tender.

 Cooking Time:

  • Adzuki 45-60 minutes
  • Anasazi 60-90 minutes
  • Black (turtle) 60-90 minutes
  • Black-eyed peas 60 minutes
  • Cannellini 90-120 minutes
  • Chickpeas (garbanzos) 120-180 minutes
  • Cranberry 60-90 minutes
  • Fava 60-90 minutes
  • Great northern 90-120 minutes
  • Kidney 60-90 minutes
  • Lentils 30-45 minutes (does not require soaking)
  • Lima beans 60-90 minutes
  • Mung 60 minutes
  • Navy 60-90 minutes
  • Pinto 90 minutes
  • Split peas 45-60 minutes

 All times are approximate. Cooking lengths depend on how strong the heat is and how hard the water is. A general rule is that small beans cook for approximately 30 minutes, medium beans cook for approximately 60 minutes, and large beans cook for approximately 90 minutes. Be sure to taste the beans to see if they are fully cooked and tender.



Some people have difficulty digesting beans and legumes. They may develop gas, intestinal problems, irritability, or unclear thinking. Here are a few techniques for preparing and eating legumes that will alleviate most problems.

  • Soak beans for several days, changing the water twice daily, until a small tail forms on the beans.
  • Use a pressure cooker. This also cuts down on cooking time.
  • Chew beans thoroughly and know that even small amounts have a high nutritional and healing value.
  • Avoid giving legumes to children under 18 months because they have not developed the gastric enzymes to digest them properly.
  • Experiment with your ability to digest beans. Smaller beans like adzuki, lentils, mung beans, and peas digest most easily. Pinto, kidney, navy, black-eyed peas, garbanzo, lima, and black beans are harder to digest. Soybeans and black soybeans are the most difficult beans to digest.
  • Experiment with combinations, ingredients, and seasonings. Legumes combine best with green or non starchy vegetables and seaweeds.
  • Season with unrefined sea salt, miso or, soy sauce near the end of cooking. If salt is added at the beginning, the beans will not cook completely. Salt is a digestive aid when used correctly.
  • Adding fennel or cumin near the end of cooking helps prevent gas.
  • Adding kombu or kelp seaweed to the beans helps improve flavor and digestion, adds minerals and nutrients, and speeds up the cooking process.
  • Pour a little apple cider, brown rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar into the water during the last stages of cooking. This softens the beans and breaks down protein chains and indigestible compounds.
  • Take enzymes with your meal.

 © Integrative Nutrition

Deep Fried Vegetables?

Ever think that eating deep fried veggies might not be quite the right way to get your daily vitamins in? Well you would be right.   Here are a few healthy ways to cooking vegetables...


Steaming is one way to prepare simple, clean-tasting vegetables. Steaming takes 5-10 minutes for green leafy vegetables, and 10-25 minutes for roots. All you need is a steaming basket and a pot with a lid, filled with about 2 inches of water. Steamers come in a variety of forms. The stainless steel fold-up variety fits inside a pot to keep the vegetables above water. Some pots are specifically made with holes in the bottom for steaming over another pot of water. To steam vegetables, simply follow these steps:

1. Wash vegetables

2. Chop vegetables (the smaller the size, the faster they will cook)

3. Bring water to a boil

4. Place vegetables in a steaming basket over water and cover

5. Steam until they become bright in color or have reached desired texture

6. Remove vegetables from pot and run under cool water

 Some ways to add variety to steamed vegetables:

• Add 1 tablespoon olive oil or toasted sesame oil to every 2 cups of greens (high quality fats combined with healthy vegetables makes for a perfect combination for both brain and body)

• Add 2 bay leaves or 1 teaspoon cumin seeds to the water

• Sprinkle greens with toasted pumpkin, sesame, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, or walnuts

• Sprinkle greens with fresh herbs: mint, dill, basil, parsley, cilantro, scallions

• Use tamari soy sauce or umeboshi vinegar to add extra flavor

• Squeeze fresh lemon juice over them to add some zing


Blanching, or quick boiling, is another way to prepare vegetables quickly and "cleanly." Blanching helps to break down the fiber of raw vegetables more so than steaming, which may aid digestion. Blanching vegetables also removes the raw flavor and brightens up their color. To blanch vegetables, simply follow these steps:

1. Bring water to a boil

2. Add a pinch of salt

3. Wash and chop the vegetables

4. Drop the vegetables into the water and lower the heat

5. Cook until they become bright

6. Rinse with cool water to prevent further cooking

For softer vegetables, let them cook longer.

Remember, for steaming and blanching, the size and density of the vegetable will determine the cooking time. Harder vegetables like roots take the longest. Green leafy vegetables, such as collards and bok choy, take less time. Any vegetables may be steamed or blanched. These two cooking methods are especially good when you want to "get to know" a new vegetable. Experiment with different combinations of vegetables. Pay attention to colors, textures, and flavors!


Stir Fry.jpeg

Stir-frying is another quick and nutritious way to prepare vegetables. You can stir-fry any kind of vegetable in oil or in water. Softer vegetables such as Chinese cabbage, bok choy, thinly sliced carrots, mushrooms, and onions will only take a few minutes to cook. Before you start, have all of the vegetables rinsed and cut into pieces—thinner slices and smaller pieces will cook faster and more evenly. If you choose to use oil, heat a wok or a frying pan and add a small amount of oil (like peanut, sesame, or coconut oil). If you are making a small amount of vegetables, brushing the wok or pan with oil is usually enough. Start with the harder vegetables like roots. Add one variety at a time and cook them until they become shiny before adding the next ones. Sprinkling a pinch of sea salt over the vegetables draws just enough moisture to prevent sticking and will bring out the flavor. You may also sprinkle water over your vegetables to gain extra steam and heat. If you choose to sauté with water, add one inch of water to your wok or pan, and bring to boil. Add thinly sliced vegetables, cover, and simmer for 5-10 minutes. At the end of cooking you can make a nice sauce, thickened with arrowroot or kuzu, and seasoned with soy sauce, ginger, or garlic.

 Here are some great colorful and tasty combinations for stir- frying:

• Onions, carrots, and snow peas

• Chinese cabbage, mung bean sprouts, and scallions

• Leeks, carrots, and red peppers

• Onions, mushrooms, and zucchini with dried basil

• Yellow patty pan squash and mizuna greens with garlic


• Add tofu, tempeh, or meat for added protein

• Add cooked grains to the vegetables toward the end for impromptu "fried rice"


Many vegetables taste delicious when baked. Baking brings out the very essence of the vegetables, especially squashes and roots. Place vegetables in a baking pan, roast for 45-60 minutes at about 400 degrees.

Try baking any variety of the vegetables below.

 Green leafy vegetables:

  • Collard greens
  • Kale: dinosaur kale, purple kale, and Lacinato kale
  • Dandelion greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Chards: Swiss chard, red chard, and rainbow chard
  • Beet greens
  • Watercress
  • Parsley
  • Dark lettuce

 Roots and squashes:

  • Carrot
  • Parsnip
  • Turnip
  • Rutabaga
  • Burdock
  • Celery root
  • Burdock root
  • Acorn squash
  • Kabocha squash
  • Butternut squash

Fat burners:

  • Daikon radish
  • Leek
  • Scallion
  • Turnip
  • Onion
  • Celery

Other vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts

I received my training as a Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition's cutting-edge Health Coach Training Program.  Click here to sign up for a free consultation!

© Integrative Nutrition