When I told my wife the topic of today’s blog post she looked at me like I was crazy or something. I’m not completely sure what exactly went through her mind, but the look in her eyes… Anyhow, today the topic is Rice and Beans.
Rice and Beans, Together Forever
Since time began (or at least since my fourth grade teacher was born) people have been mixing rice and beans together in a meal. Now that we have this neat thing called food science and nutrition we know that the reason behind this is that rice and beans are an easy way of providing a non animal based complete (or whole) protein.
A complete protein is a protein that satisfies the nutritional needs for essential amino acids in the correct proportions. There are eight essential amino acids that are required in order for a protein to be a complete protein. Just about every whole food out there has some amount of protein, and those proteins have amino acids in various proportions and compositions. The problem is that many of those proteins are incomplete and don’t have everything the body needs.
Rudy’s Random Scientific Tidbit: Essential amino acids are called essential because the body can’t make them on it’s own. There are actually twenty-two amino acids but the body can synthesize the other fourteen on it’s own hence the dietary requirement. The eight essential amino acids are Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine+Cysteine, Phenylalanine+Tyrosine, Threonine, Tryptophan, and Valine.
The best answer to this is eating animal proteins. Sorry vegans, but that’s the way it is. Animal proteins are by nature complete proteins (except gelatin) while most vegetable proteins are not complete. However, don’t fret! You can mix proteins together to create a complete protein. It’s easy to do and the only major downside is it doesn’t come in the same package like a nice juicy steak does.
Rudy’s Tip: When it comes to animal proteins, eggs are best! Milk is a close second followed by meats. Consider keeping some laying hens around for those complete proteins and pure deliciousness.
Rice and Beans, The Perfect Match
The core to mixing veggie proteins together is to match complementary groups together. The three groups to consider are Legumes, Grains, and Seeds/Nuts. The rule of thumb here is that you want to plan on combining grains with legumes. Legumes and seeds/nuts are good too, but it’s easiest from a food storage perspective to plan on legumes and grains.
Rice and wheat are both great grains to use for blending, though I tend to save wheat for other uses. They both lack lysine. Thankfully beans lack in tryptophan and methionine (sometimes one or the other, sometimes both depending on the bean in question) which the grains can cover for us. Since rice makes up for the areas where beans are deficient and vice versa we end up with a complete protein. Everything the body needs!
Rudy’s Tip: I don’t generally recommend long term storage of nuts considering the fat content, but peanuts and sunflower seeds make a good combo too. Trail mix anyone?
Rice and Beans, The Complete Package
You can prepare rice and beans in any number of ways. Red Beans and Rice, Refried Beans and Mexican Rice, Black Beans and Rice, you name it. My personal favorite is to take black beans, regular white rice, some canned diced tomatoes, canned green chile, and mix it all together. Add some spice to taste and boy is it good. My wife likes to eat it on a tortilla with a bit of cheese. If I’m feeling daring I’ll add some ground beef or diced chicken. Now I’m getting hungry!
What about you and your wife?
That’s easy! Go back and read the headings for this article. We’re together forever, the perfect match, and the complete package. I love you honey!