Contrary to popular myth, a healthy organic diet does NOT need to be expensive. So use your bean and add more beans to your diet! Go to your local Whole Foods or Berkeley Bowl for the best deals available in those kinds of stores: foods sold in bulk, often organic. Beans are full of nutrients, fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. For a quick meal, keep a couple cans of beans on hand – beans in a can are one of the acceptable canned foods, according to Dr. Andrew Weil.

Dried beans cook most easily when soaked overnight beforehand, especially garbanzo beans (which also take a while to cook). Next time you make hummus, try buying the dried beans and cooking them until quite soft – you’ll be amazed at both the flavor and the creaminess of the hummus, well worth the bit of extra work. The other secret to a great hummus is the tahini. My favorite brand is Tarazi, available in Middle Eastern markets and online; it’s creamy, sweet, and inexpensive. Hummus is a nutritious, versatile dish that can be served in many different ways. For a perfect Valentine’s day treat, add roasted puréed beets.