To Do: Cook Beans!

For anyone who thinks that going vegan is expensive... totally not the case.

If you are vegan and don't already own one, or if you're considering going vegan and have no idea where to start, investment #1 should be a pressure cooker. Not very many people (in Canada?) own one, but they're soooo common in India, and I've got my indian friends to thank for turning me on to mine.

You can buy massive dried bags of lentils of various colours (dal), kidney beans (rajma), chick peas (chana), or black beans for next to nothing. Compare the contents of one bag ($4 maybe?) to the same mass of beans in 20 (?) cans of water for >= $1 each!

And due to the simple equation from high school that most have forgotten, PV=nRT [1], you can cook dried gram at a much lower temperature if the pressure is increased (V, n, & R are held constant). This saves on electricity (or gas as the case may be). I'll be the first to admit, I used to cook dried beans like a complete idiot and soak them overnight, and then boil them for 5 hours or something. With a pressure cooker, there is no need to soak legumes overnight and cooking them takes about 1 hr. Most importantly, it completely seals in the flavour for whatever meal you have planned: burritos (like me), kaali, masoor, or tadka dal - or good, old-fashioned soups (e.g. lentil, split-pea)!

A nice side effect: dried legumes take far less energy to transport than cans of legumes that are 60% salt and water; you're going green [2]!

Naturally, not everyone has the proper body chemistry to be able to go vegan with great success, but here is one attractive figure that might catch your eye:

Marathon runners should consume about 1.5 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day [3].

For a 180 pound guy like me (~80kg according to Google's conversion), that's about 50g of chick peas. What is that for a total protein bill per day - about 25¢ ??

Not bad at all :)

[1] The Ideal Gas Law (Influences amazing things! E.g. how fast a pot of water takes to boil)
[2] Vegetarian Diets Help Protect the Environment
(As if you didn't already know how green a vegan diet is!!)
[3] Sources of Protein for Runners: Spring Marathon Training Plan Part 5

Disclaimer: I'm not totally vegan these days (I now eat fish & other seafood), but I was for ~8 years or so. It was personal preference and the evolution of my diet. I like the great perspective it gave me on international foods though, along with environmental and even spiritual perspectives. I just want to feed my family well, and sometimes (really just for my little man) that does include some animal products 

1 comment:

michkhoo said...

Cool, i still remember the formual and WILL eat food only coocked at high pressure from now on:D It's more eco than normal coocked food.