Respect Heritage Foods

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rattlesnake beans

Respect Heritage Foods

For almost every type of plant food, from vegetables to beans, there are 100s – sometimes 1000s – of varieties.

These edible plants all started out as wild plants, which bore seeds and gradually traveled around the world.

Eventually, farmers crossbred plants to make the best crops and saved the seeds.

As farmers handed the seeds down, just as they might pass down antique china or a handmade quilt, these seeds became known as heirlooms.

This means there are many gorgeous, diverse varieties of edible plants, offering a wide range of flavor, texture, and nutrient profiles.

Unfortunately, our vocabulary limits most plant foods to single varieties.

You may only be familiar with standards like small red plum tomatoes, or long-rooted orange Imperator carrots.

But heirloom varieties include Cherokee Purple tomatoes and yellow Golden Ball carrots.

Quinoa comes in shades of red and black; lentils may be tinged in yellow, pink, or green; and radishes can be pink and white striped like candy.

And, in many cases, the colorful heirloom varieties of plants are even richer in antioxidants than their more familiar cousins.

Recipe of the Day:  Cajun Rattlesnake Beans with Corn

Active Preparation Time:  14 minutes

Total Preparation Time:  1 hour 45 minutes (not including soaking time)

If you’re lucky enough to find brown, speckled rattlesnake beans – available in bulk bins in some natural food stores and online – buy them.

They’re just one example of the amazing variety of legumes discovered by farmers, planted, treasured and passed down over the years.

This Cajun-seasoned dish has a spicy bite to match its name.

Makes 8 servings (about 1 cup each)

1-1/2 cups dried rattlesnake beans (see Notes)

4 cups water, plus more for soaking

1 teaspoon reduced sodium vegetable broth base

1 cup low-sodium tomato or vegetable juice

1 medium bell pepper (red or green), diced

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup frozen corn

2 to 3 teaspoons reduced sodium Cajun seasoning, or to taste

1 bay leaf

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

*Use as many organic ingredients as possible.

1.  Cover the beans with water and soak overnight.

2.  Drain the beans and place them in a large pot.  Add the water, broth base, tomato juice, bell pepper, tomato, onion, celery, carrots, corn, Cajun seasoning, bay leaf, garlic, and thyme.

3.  Stir the contents well, cover, and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Cook for about 1 hour and 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender.  Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired.  Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Notes:  If rattlesnake beans aren’t available, substitute kidney beans, red beans, pink beans, cranberry beans, or pinto beans.

You can also cook this dish in a slow cooker on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.

Per serving:  165 calories, 1 g total fat (0 g saturated), 116 mg sodium, 32 g total carbohydrates (5 g sugar), 11 g fiber, 10 g protein.

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Have an awesome day!

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Dick and Lenay


from Plant-Powered For Life by Sharon Palmer, RDN

P.S. If your diet isn’t working for you, join us on our natural weight loss journey.

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