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Hi there,

Congrats on making it to Day 4 of the 10-Day Blood Pressure Challenge! Keep up the good work! And no worries if you're behind, you can jump in anytime. 

Tomorrow is Day 5: Include legumes/pulses in a meal or snack. The recipe I gave you in the guide is Julie Van Rosendaal's Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Curry with Spinach (so good!), but we also like these Super Fast Black Bean Quesadillas for a quick weeknight meal and another of Julie's recipes: Roasted Chickpeas with Garlic and Chard

Or keep it simple and just have some hummus! 

A word of warning, if you're significantly ramping up your intake of fruit, whole grains, and tomorrow legumes, you might also be eating a lot more fibre than usual. My advice is to increase fibre gradually and drink plenty of water, to give your gut a chance to get used to it.

As always, resources for you: Stay warm, and keep the updates coming! I love to see/hear about what you're eating, either in the Facebook group or via email.

- Cheryl

(From the shopping guide for tomorrow:) 

As mentioned above, along with nuts and seeds, participants in the original DASH studies had legumes/pulses 4-5 times a week, and more often in the OmniHeart study.

What the heck are legumes/pulses?
Dried beans, lentils, and peas. Call them what you like, they’re great for your heart.

I never know what to do with them!
You’re not alone. Once you get the hang of using these foods, you’ll find that they’re actually quite convenient, not to mention affordable.

But they give me gas!
Healthwise, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of gas, but if it’s uncomfortable, these tips might help:

  • Eat small amounts frequently versus a lot once in a while
  • Increase your intake gradually!
  • Drink lots of water
  • If you soak dried beans, change the soaking water once or twice, and don’t use the soaking liquid to cook them.
  • Cook dried beans thoroughly.
  • Rinse canned beans, even if they’re salt-free.
  • Some people find the product “Beano” helps with gas.

Ideas!

  • Legumes are widely used in chili and soups, but they can do so much more!
  • Add a handful of canned beans, lentils, or chickpeas to a salad. How easy is that?
  • —Speaking of canned legumes, look for “no salt added” (eg. Blue Menu or Eden Foods). Otherwise, rinse well and you’ll remove about half the sodium.
  • —Quesadillas and burritos with black beans (or other legumes) are a quick easy meal. Whole grain tortillas, right?
  • —Hummus is a spread made out of chickpeas.
  • —Chickpeas can also be roasted for a nutrient-packed snack.
  • —Pink/red lentils blend easily into soups and stews. You’ll hardly know they’re there.
  • —For great recipes using legumes, try the Spilling the Beans cookbook (Julie van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan) or Julie’s website (dinnerwithjulie.com)
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