True friends are with you during the good times, the bad times and all the average times in between. They are the friends who sustain you and never judge. So, what truer friend have any of us had than the humble tin of beans?
These are the friends you can see every day and never, ever get bored of. Or, you may go ages without seeing them but once you reunite you instantly pick up where you left off, with no awkwardness.
Some friendships go stale but not when they’re canned. It’s a simple truth that you’ll never get stuck in a rut with a legume.
I’ve had fun with my beans in so many places: over a slice of toast, inside a piping hot jacket potato, sitting alongside some veggie sausages, as part of a fry-up, and even on top of a pizza.
Sometimes I have them for lunch every day for weeks and it never gets old. Then maybe I hang with another type of food for a while but when I go back to the beans, it’s like we were never apart.
No one wants a high maintenance friend and beans couldn’t be any less trouble. You don’t need a bain-marie or liquid nitrogen. You don’t need to chop anything or sizzle up a flaming flambée. Nothing needs to be deconstructed or reconstituted. There’s zero drama.
Never mind the foodie fads – the familiarity of beans has a special place in my heart. In this ever-changing world of perpetual breaking news and apocalyptic headlines, there’s something lovely about a wholesome tin of Heinz Beanz.
From my earliest days when I jumped for joy as Mum put them on the table for tea, through my student days when I ate them with jacket potatoes, through to my first office job where I could often be found waiting for the microwave to ping, my favourite beans in yummy sauce have always been there for me. And that Heinz magic has always stayed the same.
That’s not to say our relationship hasn’t evolved over time. With the Heinz No Added Sugar Beanz option, I think we probably have a healthier friendship now. Actually, I love how healthy we are together.
The slow-release energy of beans and low glycemic index mean they keep me energised for hours, and as a runner this means I can power through more miles.
Haricot beans are also a great source of iron and B vitamins. Their high fibre content is good too.
Beans, beans, how many ways I love you. They also save me pounds at the checkout – they are definitely one of the cheaper lunch options. A fraction of the price of a burger or ready-made sandwich, and even cheaper than a salad, beans give me everything I want and don’t ask for much in return.
Even as my own life changes, beans always seem to fit in. Three years ago I went vegan and beans became an even bigger part of my life. Even the No Added Sugar Beanz are now vegan, thanks to a recipe change last summer. As part of a plant-based diet, they offer protein galore: a healthy 20g of the stuff in every can.
As the ethics of what I eat have become more important to me, I realise what a good friend the beans have been all along. I went vegan mainly for the animals, and beans were able to stay with me as I left behind meat, dairy, eggs and fish. I lost others, but beans remain. Where I used to add cheese or meat, now I add mini chunks of tofu or more beans among the beans – it’s a tasty match made in health food heaven.
Plant-based food is good for the planet as well, of course. Experts say food production is responsible for one-quarter of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions and there are vast differences in the emissions of different foods.
The average amount of carbon dioxide emitted to get 100g of protein on your plate differs sharply among different foods. It’s 50kg for beef, 11kg for cheese and beans are right at the bottom of the chart, with just 0.8kg emitted per 100g of protein.
They are friends for the planet, as well as for us. As with all good relationships, it’s win-win-win. Beans, let’s always be friends. You’re the best.
Find out more about Heinz No Added Sugar Beanz here