Mary Parsons of Flavorrd is a food enthusiast and registered dietitian. Biology was her field of choice in college, but her experiments in the kitchen led her to combine her love of science and food in a master’s degree in nutrition. This Florida native is now living in San Diego and working for Healthy Dining doing nutrition analysis and consulting for restaurants. She maintains her website, flavorrd.com, in her free time.
“As an RD, I have been trained to appreciate eating from a scientific perspective,” she says. “Like all things in life, food and nutrition are infinitely complex, and there will always be something new to discover.”
She hopes her website will become a place where others who share her passion for food can come to share ideas, get inspiration, and discuss nutrition and the struggle to nourish our bodies and spirits.
Mary feels most Americans don’t eat enough fiber — and beans are an excellent source of this nutrient. Fiber is a critical fuel for friendly gut bacteria, and a diet deficient in fiber can lead to imbalances in the digestive system that can be a significant source of chronic inflammation.
She loves black beans because she grew up in Florida, so Latin cuisine is a comfort food for her. Plus, the deep color is a giveaway that they’re an especially rich source of the antioxidant anthocyanin.
Her advice for people who experience digestive symptoms when eating beans: Start with small amounts and gradually increase the proportion of legumes and other vegetables in the diet — it can take some time for the gut to adapt to changes. Also, soak dried beans before cooking to improve digestibility; oligosaccharides (which are difficult-to-digest starches associated with beans’ reputation as a “musical fruit”) leach into the soaking water, which can then be discarded before cooking with fresh water.
Mary graciously shared her recipe for Curried Chickpea Wraps with us!
Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: Serves 3
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
salt to taste
2 cups cooked chickpeas or one 14.5 oz. can, drained and rinsed
1 Roma or other small tomato, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for several minutes, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown. Add the spices and salt, and allow to cook while stirring about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes, and cook for about five more minutes. The tomato will soften, and the chickpeas will begin to crisp.
Serve the curried chickpeas on a warm pita bread, topped with yogurt and cilantro.