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What Are Pulses? | International Year of the Pulse

Feature, Healthy Eating | September 19, 2016

A smiling woman sitting down to eat a healthy green salad.
What Are Pulses? | International Year of the Pulse Featured Image

Hey all! I’m sure many of you know, but I’m taking part this year in Pulse Canada’s Pulse Pledge! For those of you who DON’T know, it’s the International Year of the Pulses!

I’ve had many people ask – Andrea – what are pulses?

Well. Let me tell you. A pulse is the actual edible part of the legume! Think chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, and green peas (the ‘legume kind’).

Many people aren’t so sure about beans and lentils. I find if you didn’t grow up eating them, you might have them in chili, every once and a while, but you tend to not include them in your diet. However, I think there is a great movement towards including them, and rightfully so – I’m a huge proponent of pulses – and was thrilled when Pulse Canada invited me to participate in their Twitter Party about how families can incorporate pulses in to their diet!

What are Pulses? A Dietitian Explains why YOU should be including them in your diet!  | Ignite Nutrition Inc. Andrea Hardy Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

I LOVE including pulses in my clients nutrition plan for SO many reasons.

They’re Affordable!

Grocery prices are going up. Meat prices continue to climb, and feeding your family seems to require a full time job, now a days. Pulses are an incredible way to cut back on the grocery bill – by swapping out half your ground beef for lentils, or making a soup or stew with beans instead of meat is a great way to not only save money, but get a ton of nutrition bang-for-your buck.

They’re versatile!

For some reason, when people think of pulses, they think of chili. But I do SO much with my pulses. Later this month I have a chocolate zucchini cake coming out on the blog. It has lentils as a fat replacement. I love to use lentil puree in sauces and soups to add thickness, protein and fibre. I sprinkle chickpeas on salads, or in wraps. And the DIPS. Hummus, bean dip, I can think of SO many uses for them! I love to use hummus on a wrap as a great source of protein and an amazing flavour booster!

They’re nutrient-dense!

I am a BIG proponent of meatless Mondays. It’s not realistic to ask everyone to eat vegan or vegetarian day in, day out. It’s not for everyone. However, I find this is a great way to have clients shift away from a ‘meat-cantered’ meal towards a meal more focused on plant protein. Not to mention, pulses are rich in iron, fibre, folate, and potassium. They’re so nutrient dense, and fill you up!

They have a low carbon foot-print!

I’ll admit – I didn’t actually know this before taking the Pulse Pledge. I was so impressed to hear that pulses fix their own nitrogen in the soil, and are low users of water. It’s pretty cool that the majority of them are farmed here in Canada too – it makes me feel great about our agricultural practices, and that attention is being drawn to all the great work our farmers do.

Ok guys. So its September. You have the last quarter of 2016 to take the Pulse Pledge, and start incorporating a serving of pulses each and every week! It’s so easy, and really gets you out of your food rut!

Healthy recipes and tools | Andrea Hardy Calgary Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Check out my chicken and basil sausage soup which features white beans, and keep your eyes peeled for my chocolate zucchini lentil loaf recipe coming out soon!

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