Crock Pots and other slow cookers (cost of living, climate)

John Lewis reports that slow cookers are now its best-selling electrical item. The Guardian calls them a 1970s favorite, but I don’t think I’d heard of them until I moved to the US in the 1990s.

I bought a 3.7-liter one in June. I’ve also recently stocked up on organic dried beans, marrowfat peas, lentils etc. (from the family business which is not associated with Amazon). I soak the beans etc for 8 hours or so and as I usually cook them on low overnight in the Crock Pot, this can serve as a heating source, too, and as a friend of mine informed me, slow cookers don’t use a lot of electricity. That turns out to be correct.

The soluble fibers in the beans can give you gas, but they also help remove cholesterol from the body, so there’s that too and, besides being a source of iron, magnesium and so on, they’re of course also a good source of protein.

Educate yourself about the presence of phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) in legumes, which requires you to soak, rinse and cook legumes really well. If you eat a lot of beans, you may still end up with some of the effects of phytohaemagglutinin (a substance that can make blood cells stick together and can also for example activate T cells) because there will always be a little bit of the stuff left in the beans.

In my case, it then gives me achy muscles – that’s caused by the T cells – and it makes me yawn like crazy (probably also caused by the T cells, because the muscles will want to relax and you’ll likely notice you’re fidgety and stretching a lot). It can also make me wake up often in the night or generally cause me to sleep less well, probably because of the achiness.

Should this happen to you, simply stop eating the beans. Consider taking a nice warm bath. You should perhaps also look into how you processed the beans; that said, you can even experience this effect if you eat a lot of tinned kidney beans, so you may not have done anything wrong other than having eaten a big fat lot of oh so yummy beans…

The achiness will disappear. You may wonder if you’re falling ill or something, but GPs won’t recognize this as an effect of having eaten a lot of legumes. You may also feel like you’ve overdone your exercise!

Some legumes carry a greater phytohaemagglutinin content than others. Red and white kidney beans contain the highest amounts; the latter are also called cannellini. Marrowfat peas and mung beans are examples of legumes that contain much less of the stuff. Lentils don’t contain much of the stuff either and they cook much quicker.

(Chickpeas contain a great deal of phytoestrogens, by the way. Perhaps particularly if you’re postmenopausal, you may notice some effects if you eat them regularly or eat a lot of them.)

For the record, I use boiling hot water a few times when I process my beans (when I soak them and when I cook them). I’ve never gotten the classic stomach upset symptoms associated with under-cooked beans.

(Anyone who doesn’t believe what I wrote above about these lectins and T cells:
Do a search in PubMed. Yes, I often apply Occam’s razor. Why start looking for a much more complicated and much less obvious explanation, when I have something obvious and logical at hand?
I may be slightly more sensitive and I certainly respond in a less typical manner than most folks. Hay fever also often gives me muscle aches, for example, and so does monosodium glutamate (MSG), but that also affects my energy level for some reason. MSG does not give me a headache at all, the latter supposedly being the standard response in people who are sensitive to it. I am surely not the only one in the world who experiences these effects, though.)

I stopped using my fridge in 2018, but now, after I’ve cooked a big batch of beans or lentils or what have you, usually with garlic and whole black peppercorns, a bit of salt, sometimes also with ginger or onions (all the easy peasy lazy way, not fried first), I fill “recycled” pots (coffee etc) and tubs (ice cream etc) with the beans and switch on the fridge. I normally let the beans sit in the Crock Pot for a day, to let them cool down and to avoid needing to heat them again to eat them on that first day. It usually feeds me for about a week, depending on what else I eat, and what I eat the legumes with. After I take the legumes out of the fridge, I quickly heat a plate or bowl of them in the microwave.

Here are some tips on the BBC site for what else you can do with a slow cooker:

If slow cookers scare you, then you may first want to watch this 1-minute video:

I’ve also cooked a mix of lentils, mung beans and chana dal (small split chickpeas) and eaten them with curry powder and olive oil, with or without ginger. Olive oil is very good for your heart’s health, provided you don’t heat the oil. The price of olive oil’s been going up a lot lately, though. This has to do with droughts as a result of climate change, so using as little energy as possible will also benefit you and your children and grandchildren for that reason. (Slowing down climate change.)

By the way, if you don’t eat good food and keep fit, staying warm is likely to be harder too. Women often have more trouble staying warm because their veins in the arms and legs have a tendency to contract when it’s cold. The myth that this only happens to “cold” women is misogynistic nonsense. Go for a walk. Do some exercise. It will open your blood vessels. Eating something can do that too.

Wearing fluffy socks to bed can work wonders if you want to stay warm without having the heating on. I discovered that after a friend sent me some for Christmas. Amazing, the effect that has!

Wearing thick socks during the day, by contrast, can give you cold feet if the socks trap moisture that comes from your skin. Some shoes do that too.

Try not to buy lots of new gadgets to help you stay warm etc such as electrically heated pillows and blankets because all the energy used for making these gadgets and transporting them around the world does not help to lower your bills. Use what you already have, such as hot-water bottles and extra plain blankets. Improvise, if you can, like McGyver.

I am not into consumerism at all and already started picking up discarded items from the streets decades ago. I mean, how can you ignore two perfectly fine chairs that have been tossed out, for example? It seemed such a pity to me to let these items go to waste.

These days too, most of my pots and pans and a lot of my crockery and most of my cutlery comes from places like Freecycle or I find them left in front of a home, sometimes after someone’s moved out and often with a note that invites anyone interested to take them.

The floor lamp that I just talked about came from Freecycle too. (Of course I am very careful with used electricals.) I have two more lamps that came from Freecycle. One is gorgeous. One had a hideous shade that was falling apart, but I am sure that one day, I will run into the perfect shade for it. In the meantime, I use it without shade. (It’s on my desk, behind the screen.) In fact, I already did find a gorgeous shade, but it was too big. Because it was so big, it took up too much space, so I took it apart, but kept the material. Later, I made book markers out of that, using plastic packaging materials as their core.

I improvised my standing desk from materials others had tossed out. It sits atop an old computer that I still use (and a cardboard box that a printer had come in and I had even found that printer on a low wall in front of a house with a “take me” note on it; it served me very well for years). My standing desk is perfect; I doubt that I could have bought anything that would have worked this well for me. My only regret is that I didn’t make it years earlier.

I have a metal computer desk on which my printer sits. I got that from an American woman in Southsea; we found we got along pretty well. She was an animal rights activist, among other things, and we have had lunch or coffee at least once (but she’s no longer in Southsea). She also tipped me about something else that I may explore one day if that option still exists by then. You don’t often have such experiences when you buy stuff new.

Occasionally, I end up with something that really is useless. I then take that to the tip or give it to someone for parts unless it can go into the rubbish. In that case, nothing is “lost” other than the tiny bit of energy that I spend on it.

It’s weird how people sometimes get scolded when they repurpose etc instead of buying items new, but that consumerism is part of the reason why the climate’s now changing. Consumerism is not a sign of prosperity and contentedness at all.

Although I too have once bought a pair of boots from a charity shop and worn those boots for years, I do not recommend wearing other people’s used shoes, boots, sandals or slippers. They can harbor common pathogens that are often hard to get rid of even if they’re usually pretty harmless for most people.

Feel free to share your opinion below, please.

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