Day 16 – Physical
What on this green earth is a lentil?
I asked myself the same thing after my nutritionist, Dustin, first recommended these protein-packed little seeds as part of a Mediterranean diet. Since he hadn’t steered me wrong so far in our acquaintance, I made the decision to investigate this mystery ingredient. My search didn’t take long, as less than an hour later I stood in the aisle of my local grocery store staring down at a bag filled with hundreds of small, brown, bead-like balls. Unassuming and perhaps unimpressive– it was no wonder I’d been passing them by for years while perusing aisle upon aisle of food-packed shelves. However, I was surprised (and pleased) to discover this newfound “health food” busted two of my most common complaints against the species : accessibility and affordability. I’d love to say I was standing in a Whole Foods when this encounter occurred but let’s be honest, it was more likely a Walmart– certainly not the first place I’d peg to find healthy food. Also, at about $1.50 a bag, there was comfort in knowing even if I ruined a recipe or two, I wasn’t going to break the bank similar to attempts with other super foods I’d purchased in the past. It was here in the dry bean aisle that lentils and I had our first love connection.
Fast forward two years later and say hello to one of the main staples in my diet. You suspect you might enjoy, eat and promote something perhaps a little too much when your co-workers give you mounds of brown lentils for your birthday. It’s okay. I admit it. I’m the “Lentil Lady”. Surely it shouldn’t have given me such pleasure when my coworker created this nickname for me. Yet, I can’t deny my love for these little legumes, their versatility and their resulting protein perks. I’ve put them in countless casseroles, soups, salads and stews with great success. They add heartiness to dishes with their high levels of protein while still remaining plant-based. One cup of lentils holds a whopping 18 grams of protein. Not too shabby considering they come from a plant. In fact, among all legumes and nuts, lentils are ranked as the 3rd best protein-packers of the bunch.
To commemorate the great success that came from a quest to try new ingredients, I’ve decided to honor the lentil with a little infographic love. All you need to know lies below, along with four of my favorite recipes. Each recipe can be found on My Whole Food Habit and is a stellar start to your own lentil love affair.
If you have room for some more love in your life (and who doesn’t?) then take a chance at trying something new. In the next 48 hours commit you and your mate to making a meal with lentils as the star. Use one of my recommended recipes found on My Whole Food Habit or try your hand at something new. Not only is it thrilling to experience new foods and flavors but you’ll feel good knowing you’re using nutritious, whole food ingredients to fuel that beautiful bod.
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