Lentils are quite possibly in my top 3 favorite foods… Extreme comment? Possibly… But I really do love them; they fill me up, give me energy, and they are super easy to cook. Want some more reasons?? They are versatile, delicious, store in the fridge great, and offer a bundle of health benefits (my favorite part).
Need more convincing?? Fine… Lets get scientific.
Lentils are alkalizing on the body, meaning that they help balance out so many of the acidic foods in the ‘Standard American Diet’. (Mental note; my next blog post will be about the pH of the body, acidic vs. alkaline). It is sooo important to get these alkaline foods in your diet because of the abundance of acidic foods that exist in your delis, grocery stores, and probably even your cabinets… But don’t sweat it… Sticking to whole foods (aka foods that come from the earth) is the easiest way to know that you are eating alkalizing foods and keeping your pH balanced.
Back to lentils…
Everyone loves fiber, right? I hope so… Fiber is what keeps our pipes clean. Lentils are the perfect source for both soluble AND insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps the digestive tract remove bile, which lowers cholesterol, and insoluble fiber is the bulk that passes out with all of our other “waste”.
These awesome legumes are also low on the glycemic index scale, meaning that they don’t have an affect on our blood sugar. They help to keep our blood sugar balanced, which in turn helps our moods remain stable, our insulin levels consistent, which helps prevent sugar crashes and diabetes.
So, are you starting to love them?
Lentils also contain protein, iron, B-vitamins, and a number of essential minerals… And, lets not forget how cost efficient they are… who ever said eating healthy was more expensive?? (No backlash, please… I just couldn’t resist).
What you will need:
1 cup Lentils (French, Green, or Red)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
½ an onion, peeled
1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
*(Optional)Fresh herbs of your choice (thyme, rosemary, etc…)
If you have experienced a bit of trouble digesting lentils in the past, try soaking them overnight in cold water, or for at least 7 hours. This helps to remove the phytic acid that naturally exists on the outside of lentils (and all other beans) which can cause our bellies to get upset.
Put the lentils, garlic, onion, and herbs in a pot and cover them with water by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. 10 minutes into the simmer, add the sea salt.
If too much water has evaporated while you are cooking, just add more. You want to keep everything covered while cooking them.
When the lentils are tender, strain, and remove the garlic, onion, and herbs. Drizzle the lentils with olive oil and add fresh ground pepper.
Enjoy these lentils on their own, mix them in with some leafy greens, scoop them on top of your favorite grain, or throw them into a salad. They are tasty any way you like ‘em, and they store great in the fridge. Make a big batch and enjoy them different ways all week. Purchase lentils in bulk at your local health food store.
with love and fiber,