Be Healthy: Eat Your Pulses

By | August 10, 2017
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Be Healthy: Eat Your Pulses

In my never-ending endeavor to be healthy, I read an article about healthy eating written by a nutritionist. It was interesting and informative, and I learned how much I don’t know about healthy eating. Maybe you don’t know much about healthy eating either. If you read his you’ll be eating pulses and vetches with the best of them. Whether that will make you healthy or not, I can’t say.

This essay is surely not approved by the FDA or AMA or anyone who knows anything about medicine or nutrition. But it does contain information written by people or are certified – whatever that means. I think people sometimes certify themselves, don’t you? Anyway, if you want to learn more about healthy eating and more than you’ll ever want to know about pulses and vetches, read on.

As you know or may not know, but you will now, my health got really miserable there for a while. So, after several healthy eating years, that made also left me flabby, I’ve since embarked upon a non-healthy, but weight-controlling, modified low carb diet. And I’m happy to report I’ve lost 30 pounds and “I feel GRRRREAT!” as the old guy in the Teeter-Hanger ads says.


In the article about eating healthy — written by a certified nutritionist [ … who certifies people anyway? Are those who certify certified? And if so, who in the heck certifies the certifiers? ] it tells us to eat more natural foods and pulses. I’m thinking, “Nurses and doctors do pulses, but hopefully they do not eat them.” What in the world!  I don’t even think most nurses and doctors like “The Walking Dead”, do they? Even if they do, they’re smart enough to know it’s just fiction… aren’t they?

I have a mental image of a nurse lifting up an old flabby arm and gnawing away at the wrist trying to eat a pulse – or worse, trying to eat the pulse out of a neck – that’s truly too vampirish! That’s not for me… “The Walking Dead” is not for me either.

But one thing I am, besides old, is curious… so  I had to look it up. Seriously, I am thinking, people don’t go around eating pulses. Do they?

Well it turns out: Yes they do. And now that  I know what pulses are — aside from that throbbing thing in the wrist and ankle and neck. It makes sense. Soon, you will know what pulses are too!

What are Pulses?

Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family. Pulses grow in pods and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recognizes 11 types of pulses: dry beans, dry broad beans, dry peas, chickpeas, cow peas, pigeon peas, lentils, Bambara beans, vetches, lupins and pulses nes (not elsewhere specified – minor pulses that don’t fall into one of the other categories).

Did You Know:

Pulses have a long, rich history. The first evidence of pulses comes from 11,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, a region in the Middle East which was home to some of the earliest human civilizations.

Pulses are annual crops that yield between one and 12 grains or seeds. The term ‘pulses’ is limited to crops harvested solely as dry grains, which differentiates them from other vegetable crops that are harvested while still green.

Between 2010 and 2013, 173 different countries grew and exported pulses.

Pulses are healthy, nutritious and easy to cook with. Growing pulses also promotes sustainable agriculture, as pulse crops help decrease greenhouse gases, increase soil health, ?and use less water than other crops.

You need to read because I cannot make up stuff like this.

So, besides the pulse that keeps us alive, pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family. Pulses grow in pods and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Nice! I like variety.

All this is true and I never knew it. My life is slipping away without knowing much of anything. The longer I live the more I know that I don’t know much. When I was eighteen I thought I knew everything! How is it possible that I get stupider (or is that more stupid?) with every passing year?

And do you know what? Something else is disturbing here… in the definition of pulses it refers to vetches? What the heck are vetches? Decades of living and reading and I have never heard of vetches, how did I miss vetches? Have you ever heard of vetches?

Time for enlightenment.

A vetch is a widely distributed scrambling herbaceous plant of the pea family that is cultivated as a silage or fodder crop. So, are they saying if I ate silage and/or fodder I would be healthy? I don’t imagine silage tastes very good… silage is defined as “fermented, high-moisture stored fodder which can be fed to cattle, sheep and other such ruminants (cud-chewing animals) or used as a biofuel feedstock for anaerobic digesters.”

Hey, maybe I will start eating vetches! They got me at the word “fermented”.

I began looking for recipes that have vetches listed in the ingredients. But it looks like eating vetches could lead to retches… so I’d have be careful. Mostly,  it appears, people throw these miserable vetches into salads with edible greens and vegetables and cover them with oil & vinegar to hide the fact they’re eating pig food.  I think I’d rather just have the silage, which if not very tasty, is at least fermented. And while I might get retches from the vetches, I betcha it would be more fun than eating fodder. Fun with fermentation!

I’m going to add a little more research to this witty screed:

” Native and widespread around the world, Vetches are naturally found on all continents but Australia (and Antarctica of course). Because they were introduced in Australia, the Vetches are now found across the globe. It is likely that Bitter Vetch (Vicia ervilia) was one of the first domesticated crops being grown in the Middle East (Near East) almost 10,000 years ago! Over time, different species of Vetch have been used around the world by indigenous people groups as well as pioneers as primary or supplementary food sources. Most Vetch species today are used as fodder and forage for livestock, but a few have been selected for human consumption, especially the Broad Bean (Fava Bean).”

I bet Australians are delighted that someone introduced “Vetches” to Australia. What would Australia be without them? I know I’d fly 17 hours for some good Australian vetches. And I don’t know why Vetches is capitalized. I’ve never capitalized the word “weed” before.  Are they trying to elevate the word vetches to a proper noun?

I must end this entertaining, enlightening, and you may even be thinking, shocking, screed. But as you and I so well know.. “all good things must come to an end”.

Stay healthy. Eat your pulses, throw some vetches in your salad, and please don’t forget to visit your nearest farmer and see if you can buy a bag of silage from a real silo.

And please… let me know what happens.

3 thoughts on “Be Healthy: Eat Your Pulses

  1. Martha

    thanks for the great story. I had never heard of these “pulses” but we eat them all the time. Best food to eat – I am still going to call them what they are and not the new definition “pulses”

  2. Sue

    So what is this modified low carb diet? I could sure use a diet to lose 30 pounds!!


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