, , ,

How To Improve The Digestion Of Beans And Other Pulses

How do you improve the digestion of beans and other pulses?

Last year Daen and I undertook an exciting challenge; we went vegan for a month for Veganuary. With Daen being a degree-qualified nutritionist and personal trainer in London, we were very excited to go full blast on the plant-based diet. Most of our meals and food essentials were already structured around vegetables but this time we really had to make our 31 days, which meant 93 meals, vegan. Furthermore, we had to make sure to eat the right amount of protein, good fats and other essentials needed to fuel our bodies and feel good. Also not forgetting having as much variety in our diet as possible.

Therefore, going vegan meant some of the food essentials (see our guide of vegan food essentials) we are used to eating had to change to a plant-based list of vegan foods. Although beans were already part of our food essentials, they of course became even more handy and frequently used during Veganuary, due to their protein content. I can tell you that by the end of January, I experienced what a lot of people experience with a plant-based diet and an increase of beans in their diet: bloating, wind and an uncomfortable, slow digestion.

We got to talk about it with our vegan friend and fellow nutritionist, Leith Johanson, founder of Nutriactive and Sofa2Stamina. Leith recently published her plant-based lifestyle Ebook.

Here are Leith’s 6 tips on eating beans and improving the digestion of these amazing large seeds:

1. Increase Bean Consumption Slowly

If you are coming from a predominately meat diet, you may run into trouble. As meat has zero amount of fibre, you may not be used to the increase in fibre to your diet. Increasing your bean intake slowly will allow your digestive system to adjust to the change.

2. When Cooking Beans, Soak Them For 24 Hours Before Cooking

Soak your beans up to 24 hours before cooking and once cooked, rinse thoroughly. If keeping them to consume over a few days, keep them in an air tight glass container submerged in water. Rinse well each time you get them out to use them.

3. If Using From A Can, Rinse, Rinse, Rinse

By rinsing beans, you’ll get rid of any starch found on the surface that may be affecting your digestion.

4. Try 1-2 Tablespoons Of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Drink 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in warm water 30 minutes before eating or consume a salad in ACV or something fermented such as sauerkraut at the same time as your meal. These things can aid digestion.

5. Adding Them To A Soup Can Assist In The Digestive Process

Adding them to a soup can also assist in the digestive process. Herbs and spices contain medicinal properties, add them to a bean curry or a bean soup.

6. Eat Slowly And Try To Avoid Drinking At The Same Time

Drinking water whilst eating can dilute the digestive enzymes your body produces naturally, making the food harder to digest.

We hope you enjoyed Leith’s tips and please let us know if you have any questions or comments.

, , , ,

What Makes a “Detox” Juice?

, , , ,

Colds and Flu – Top 5 Tips to Keep them at Bay

, , , , , ,

Celebrating Our One Year Anniversary With Abel & Cole 🍒🎉

, , , , , ,

Probiotics & Superfoods On The Rise in The UK

Team V+A with the team from Turmericandhoney.com

Team V+A with the team from Turmericandhoney.com

When it comes to the nutrition and wellbeing industry, probiotics and superfoods are most certainly on everyone’s lips!  Read more

, , , ,

Time To Eat Fermented: Today’s 8 Healthiest Fermented Foods

Depending on where you usually hang out, you may or may not have heard a lot of buzz around fermented foods lately. Fermented foods and their influence on your microbiome/beneficial bacteria has been getting a lot of traction around the health and food industries of late, and for a good reason. We’re learning more every day about the billions and billions of bacteria that live on and inside us. Currently we only know a teeny tiny amount about how all the different types and strains of bacteria work together to help our bodies function correctly but we do know that what we eat impacts on them significantly.

Our gut is like a second brain; You may not realise but when you have bloating, tummy pain, infections, or any other digestive issues, it can really impact on your wellness and mood in general. Think about it! There are over 100 million neurons (the same type of cells our brains are made of) in our gut and the bacteria that makes up our microbiome has a big influence on our “second brain” and how it functions. So, what can you do to give your microbiome the best chance? Eat a variety of whole, unprocessed foods. Try new and different things too, as the bacteria love variety. Fermented foods in particular are great for those friendly types.  Minimise refined, processed, high sugar foods whenever possible, as these are what the not-so-friendly bacteria and yeasts thrive on.

V+A Top 8 Fermented Foods

Here’s our list of 8 great fermented foods and drinks for you to try. They may sound funny at first but they’re definitely worth giving a go, even just for your microbiome’s sake! Who knows, you might even find a new favourite food!


Fermented Foods Clearspring Organic Miso PaceThis is a unpastirised paste made from fermented soy beans. Commonly made into a soup. You may have seen miso soup on the menu in your favourite Japanese restaurant.
We use this great Clearspring organic brown rice Miso pace which you can order directly from their website or planetorganic.com or at your local Waitrose.


Also made from fermented soy beans but this time formed into a block. It has a firm texture and earthy, sweet taste. You can get yours from Planet Organic or Ocado.


Fermented Foods Biona Organic Sauerkraut

A traditional German food made from fermenting cabbage. With a salty, rich flavour it’s great as a little something extra on top of your burger (veggie or otherwise), salads, and anything you like really!
Also, it’s easy to make it at home or find some like our favourite brand for sauerkraut, Biona Organic, available in most of your local health stores in the UK like As Nature Intended.


This Korean side dish is similar to sauerkraut, made up of fermented vegetables, most commonly cabbage. Kimchi packs a bit of a punch as it is normally seasoned with chilli, ginger and garlic. Yummers!


Another in the list made of soy beans, this time fermented with a particular type of bacteria. Natto is a traditional Japanese food with a strong flavour and slimy texture. An acquired taste? Almost certainly. You can purchase Natto from most of your Asian supermarkets.


You may also like to read about Probiotics and Superfoods



This drink is made from fermenting milk using “kefir grains”, with its origins in the Caucasus mountains. Kefir grains are made up of certain types of bacteria and yeasts. With a sour taste, kefir may take a little bit of getting used to but is a great way to diversify the drinks you consume. Kefir can also be made using coconut water, great for vegans! Nowadays, you can probably find some fresh organic kefir at your local weekend farmers market or in most Sainsbury’s. Turmeric & Honey have even pushed it further with their brand new supplement Kefir Plus made in a soluble powder.


Fermented Foods Jarr Raw KombuchaA refreshing, lightly fizzy drink made from fermenting black or green tea using a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast). You can find kombucha in numerous flavours from ginger to blueberry to natural.
Make sure when you buy a bottle, there are still “floaty” bits in the bottom! This is known as the “Mother” and is where all the enzymes and good stuff is so drink up!


Probably the most commonly consumed fermented food, probiotic yoghurt is available virtually anywhere. Traditionally, yoghurt is made from cow, sheep or goat milk. Choosing a natural yoghurt, preferably one that is “pot set”, i.e. fermented in the pot you buy, is key. Go for the ones without the unnecessary added sugar. This means less meddling with from the manufacturer and  potential for added ingredients you don’t need. And always choose full fat! The fat content provides some protection for the good bacteria to make it through the harsh acidic climate of your stomach. For those folks who are avoiding or don’t tolerate dairy, there are still options for you too. Alpro make a range of soy-based probiotic yoghurts. Other options include coconut-based probiotic yoghurts from Koko Dairy-Free, The Coconut Collaborative and Coyo. Nush has a range of almond and cashew milk probiotic yoghurts as well.


As always we love to hear what you think

, , , ,

Maintaining Gut Health On The Road in South America

Hello, I’m Sarah Jayne, an enthusiastic member of the V+A family! I’m taking over Vitality+Awesomeness temporarily to share some insights on gut health that Daen helped me with during my travels in South America. Read more


Tesco Announces Healthier Products To Support Its Consumers

Tesco New Campaign

UK CEO Tesco Matt Davies being interviewed on BBC One earlier – 2nd May 2017

In an economy where healthy food seems to be at the heart of everything in the UK, we are still left wondering what the supermarket chains are doing. Obesity has reached epidemic levels, with 3 in 4 adults overweight or obese in the UK, as mentioned on BBC One this week. Most of the big supermarkets, like Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Tesco, now have Free From sections available. Does it, however, mean that they are fighting for a healthier food movement?

Customers understand how to be healthier and we’re supporting them by providing healthier products.

UK CEO of Tesco, Matt Davies was on BBC One this week talking about what Tesco is about to do for its customers. Davies believes Read more

, ,

Overnight Oats: It’s All About What You Do With Them!

Overnight oats 1

Don’t you love when the title tells the story!? Overnight oats is nothing less that oats soaked overnight! The first time I heard about it was back in 2014, on a trip to the Hunter Valley just outside Sydney, Australia. Trying to reduce his sugar, gluten and dairy intake, Daen’s dad
was having Read more

, ,

The Mediterranean Diet Isn’t Just Another Fad


Unfamiliar with the “Mediterranean Diet”? It started to develop a bit of a buzz a couple of years back but then may have been pushed to the back of the crowd, due to the incessant bombardment of new fad diets and weight-loss crazes that fill our worlds, as well the growing vegan movement, based on a plant based diet. The Mediterranean Diet is essentially formed around Read more