Have you taken your pulse today?


Not that pulse at your inner wrist! But BEANS – the many varieties known collectively as pulse crops. The name pulse comes from an ancient Greek word for a thick soup or porridge.

The United Nations has declared 2016 the INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF PULSES.

Surveys indicate that we don’t eat enough of them. In fact less than ½ cup per week. Research has strong indicators that they help prevent heart disease and other chronic diseases.

As the prices of producing and markets for beef, pork and yes even chicken keep climbing, consider the oft forgotten been family as a protein and a nutritional replacement.

The bean family is ancient, (soil friendly) requiring less nitrogen fertilizer and increases yields of non-legume in crop rotation and generally drought tolerant.

Their role in future global supply becomes more important as many growing areas in the world get drier and warmer. Depending on the area of the world some varieties are more common than others – green, brown and brown lentils, dry peas, black eyed peas, kidney beans, garbanzo (chick peas) and pinto beans.

Canada is the world producer of lentils and dry peas, primarily Saskatchewan and Alberta. India is the world producer of chick peas. And Brazil is the world producer of dry beans. In the US North Dakota is the top producer of the bean family.

All pulses are fantastic sources of fiber, potassium, folate and essential minerals, low in fat, and sodium, low glycemic and gluten free! Grams for gram pulses are the cheapest source of protein.

They are not the perfect complete food protein but combining them with whole grains, vegetables and nuts gives us humans a meatless source of healthy protein.

Pressure cookers are ideal for preparing pulses and recipes abound online. Commercially there are many varieties also available that have taken some of the prep time away.

Cooked pulses qualify as a protein for vegetarian meal or as a vegetable accompanying a meat.

So think about your pulse next time your standing at the meat section staring in shock. You do have a healthier more price friendly option.