Dr. Weston discusses the benefits of beans to your health with the help of the experience of Marzia Prince.
We recently had the pleasure of hosting one of our world-class Ambassadors, Marzia Prince, for a visit to the Sunwarrior Offices in St. George, Utah. Marzia’s personal journey to optimal health is a compelling one. She started as a top notch athlete who transitioned over time to a competitive body builder and highly sought after health and fitness coach and spokes model. Early in her career everyone told her that “you can’t compete without consuming huge amounts of animal protein and some even spike their diet with performance enhancing chemicals.” So Marzia became a carnivore and felt she had to sacrifice balance in her life to compete. An array of unintended consequences accompanied this lifestyle, the major one being that her health suffered left her feeling terrible overall.
In 2010 she knew she had to make a change. She took a 30 day vegetarian challenge and felt amazingly better, even in ways that she hadn’t recognized were a problem. She progressed to a vegan lifestyle and continued to feel increasing health and vitality. Since elevating her own life, she has helped countless others discover the good life. Marzia recently had one of those big birthdays, but has never looked or felt better.
We all wanted to know what her secret is. Hard work is certainly one of them, but I was surprised when she said beans. Really? She’s not kidding; beans are part of her everyday menu. All kinds of beans: kidney, pinto, lima, but especially black beans. They have become her meat substitute. On their own, beans don’t contain all the essential amino acids, but when combined with a complementary protein like brown rice, they become complete. Marzia says they are so flexible they can be added to any meal, in soups, salads, even hummus.
Beans are one of the few exceptions to limiting your shopping to the produce and frozen foods sections. Both canned and dried beans are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and protein to maintain lean muscle mass. They are naturally low in fat, high in fiber, and cholesterol and gluten free. Beans are high on the heart healthy scale as they lower cholesterol and blood pressure. They digest slowly, so are helpful to diabetics in lowering blood sugar levels. Beans are included in many of the anti-cancer diets and important to weight loss plans because they give a feeling of fullness. They are also helpful in maintaining regularity.
Worldwide, beans are only surpassed by grains as the primary daily source of calories and protein. But let me address the 800 lb. gorilla in the room; you know, what about gas? Beans contain oligosaccharides, natural sugars the normal bacteria in the gut break down, liberating gas. Counter-intuitively, the more beans you eat, the less tendency there is towards that unwanted wind. If there are still concerns, including some additional digestive enzymes, like Beano, will give you confidence to go for it in that yoga or Pilates class.
So the next time you go out to eat, try the black bean burger instead of the poor hormone and antibiotic-injected cow; I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’s sure done wonders for Marzia Prince.