August 8, 2016

Chicken and Chickpea Stew

This CHICKEN and CHICKPEA STEW RECIPE came across my Facebook page, compliments of NourisHealth (a fantastic comprehensive online health program!). I had every intension of making it myself but alas, Joe came to the rescue. It came out really good! I like that you can adjust the amount of beans and chicken to your preference.  You can always add some spinach in at the end. That’s my preference anyway. Joe made some hash- brown- like potatoes in a cast iron pan with butter, just to make this dish spread a little farther. You could also use white rice or quinoa (brand mentioned below), but I didn’t need anything besides this for dinner.

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When purchasing canned tomatoes, look for BPA free cans. The brands Muir Glen and Eden Organics are BPA- free. I used Organic Pasture Raised chicken thighs from Trader Joes. Also, I hate chopping and peeling garlic. If you can find “elephant garlic” it’s way easier to deal with. You can purchase it at Whole Foods.

Until recently, I had sworn off  all legumes due to the “anti-nutrient” mineral binding properties they have. These naturally occurring compounds are called lectins and are found in the majority of plants, to varying degrees. Legumes, grains, nuts and seeds have a large amount of lectins, which make them difficult to digest and bind up minerals so they aren’t useable by your body (bummer, eh!?). In fact, eating as few as four or five raw beans can cause symptoms which are usually marked by extreme nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach. Yikes!

You might be scratching your head and wondering why legumes, grains, nuts and seeds are touted to be so “healthy.” Well, the truth is that legumes, nuts and seeds DO have some great beneficial properties, IF prepared in a way that minimizes the lectins. Legumes in particular, are very high in fiber and contain a certain type of carbohydrate called resistant starch. This starch is special because it’s digested in the large intestine (as opposed to the small intestine) and helps to feed your beneficial gut bacteria.

The good news is that you can reap these benefits from legumes, as long as they are soaked and sprouted. This is the traditional way of making legumes, but it has fallen by the wayside due to time restrictions and our busy lifestyle. Although the canned beans may taste the same as properly prepared beans, I assure you, they aren’t. You may get gas, bloating and other GI discomforts and you decrease the absorption of nutrients in that meal. I have experienced this first hand, so many times. It is really obvious if the beans were properly prepared when I eat out at a Mexican restaurant. I have yet to find one the works for me.

SO here are three options for how to include properly prepared legumes into your diet:

  1. Eden Organics brand canned legumes- Fantastically convenient because they do a soaking method and use Kombu (a type of seaweed) during cooking, which help break down the carbohydrates that can cause GI distress. They also have BPA-free cans.
  2. You can buy some dry legumes already sprouted- TruRoots brand makes some grains and legumes that cook quickly and have most of the preparation done already (I have tried the quinoa and lentils).
  3. You can soak and sprout your own dry beans- HERE is a good resource on how to do this.


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