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When the lockdown began, I didn't understand why everyone was scrambling to get everything and anything from the grocery stores. It was insane just seeing how freaked out everyone could get. Of course, a toilet paper shortage was highly publicized.

But my beans, man.

The most surprising thing that ran out was beans of all forms: dried, canned, and fresh. I didn't realize beans were so popular! I understood common staples such as bread and potatoes might have been on a waitlist. But beans?

Either people realized the longevity and cheapness of dried beans, or there are more plant-based individuals out there.

Now, this is a type of food that I depended on for my larger protein and energy needs. Usually I'd have some sort of bean and brown rice dish (side note: I actually don't like rice). Yes, there's protein in all sorts of fruits and veggies. But it just worked out for me.

My weekly grocery bill was almost always less than $25. I felt like I could conquer whatever challenges were thrown at me. It was simple, and I just needed to change the spices and vegetables in case I got tired of one particular dish.

Alternative Hipst- I mean meals!

I just said I didn't like rice, but this is delicious. Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Fortunately, I already had knowledge of alternatives. What was great about the bean and rice combination was that they formed a complete protein. All I needed to do now was find other food combinations. Even better, there are food items out there that are already a complete protein.

For instance, whole wheat bread and peanut butter is a good combination. I also bought quinoa, which is a complete protein. There's also tofu! Yes, all the overpriced soy products can be replaced by just tofu. Firmer tofu is typically higher in protein.

And of course, there's always protein supplements that I view more like occasional treats. Chocolate peanut butter? Yes, please. But only if I'll have enough later for when I really need it.

The problem was trying to find the right flavors. These days, I cook functionally for myself, meaning I don't necessarily indulge in making anything delicieux. But I still want my food to taste okay so that it'll satisfy me. It was just a matter of time before I got the flavors I liked.

Use a recipe book, you say? I guess I could have, but I also utilized the rest of whatever was in the cupboard. Finding the perfect recipe with everything accounted for was just too time-consuming. I was also just too hungry to get all the ingredients right. Thai coconut curry, anyone?

I can also see other people having trouble satisfying the rest of their family, especially when they like beans. This makes it a little difficult since everyone has their own tastes. Who knows, maybe the new dishes you create are so delicious they don't mind the change. Besides, I'm sure they would be forgiving at this time when there's no possible way to get beans from the store.

I mean I guess bean fanatics exist.

But wait, beans still exist!

Photo by v2osk on Unsplash

That's right! For you hardcore bean-lovers, there are still multiple sources of these amazing powerhouses. There's the tried and true Amazon digital rainforest. (I don't have Prime, oddly enough. Also, an affiliate link.) Then there's your smaller grocery stores.

My wife pleasantly surprised me with dried black beans from her trip to an Asian grocery store. It was a little different from "normal" black beans, but I couldn't read Korean so I just plopped some in the Instant Pot and waited.

I encourage you to check out other places, especially in more ethnic stores. You might be surprised at what other offerings they have! I heard European and Middle Eastern stores have an amazing variety of dried foods!

Experimentation is key. Do enough of it in your cooking, and you might come across a breakthrough. If scientists can do it, you can, too!

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