The world needs a new diet


February 10, 2019 will be the first-ever World Pulses Day, a global event to celebrate pulses worldwide and continue the important gains made with 2016 International Year of Pulses.

“As more and more research shows the health benefits of eating a predominantly plant-based diet, countries are starting to change their recommendations on what people should eat,” says clinical dietician Nicole Sacks.

“Canada has just released its dietary guidelines, which advise ‘regular intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein-rich food – especially plant based sources of protein’. This is a huge step forward in educating people that they do not need to eat animal protein to be healthy,” she comments.

“Eating pulses on a regular basis has been shown to benefit health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes as well as certain cancers. Pulses include peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas and are an essential part of a plant-based diet.

“They provide important nutrients that can easily replace the nutrients found in meat with none of the cholesterol or saturated fat. Pulses are rich in fibre, which is beneficial to weight management and a very important nutrient for human health. The carbohydrates found in pulses are the fermentable kind that can increase the good bacteria for a healthy gut. Pulses contain important vitamins and minerals like potassium, folate and iron,” says Sacks, who switched to a plant-based diet five years ago.

Adds Dean Miller, Group Marketing Manager AGT Foods Africa, “When it comes to sustainability, an article published in the Guardian in May 2018 confirms that avoiding meat and dairy is the ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth.

“The research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% and still feed the world. Eliminating or even reducing the amount of meat you eat has a far bigger impact on greenhouse emissions than cutting down on your flights, switching off lights, taking quick showers or buying an electric car. Beef results in up to 105kg of greenhouse gases per 100g of meat, while tofu produces less than 3.5kg. Pulses and peas come in even lower,” he says.

AGT Foods Africa is a value-added pulse, staple food and ingredient processor for export and domestic markets. Through its offices and processing facilities located in some of the best agricultural growing regions in the world, AGT produces a full range of pulses and specialty crops including lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans and as well as food ingredients such as pulse flours, proteins, starches and fibres and spices.

Here is a delicious and easy to make Vegetarian Bean Chilli.  Make this recipe on 10 February for family and friends and join in the fun on World Pulses Day. You can also participate in World Pulses Day by linking to LovePulses and using the hashtag #worldpulsesday and/or #LovePulses.

Vegetarian Bean Chilli

Serves 6-8


1 cup lentils, prepared as per pack instructions

2 cups beans of choice, prepared as per pack instructions

2 tablespoons oil

1 onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1-3 tablespoons chilli powder (according to taste)

2 tablespoons cumin

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

2 red peppers, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

2 cans of whole tomatoes and their juice, crush the tomatoes

2 cups corn

2 teaspoons salt

Optional toppings: sour cream, cheddar cheese, coriander, diced avocados or green onion.


Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add onion and sauté for about 3 minutes.

Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.

Add chilli powder, cumin, oreganum and chilli flakes and stir.

Add the red pepper, carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and juice and bring to a simmer.

Reduce the heat to low with the lid off and continue to cook the chilli, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.

Add lentils, beans and corn and let the chilli return to a simmer for 5 minutes.

Add salt.

Serve on its own or topped with some of the delicious toppings.

Here’s a list of topping options:

Grated cheddar cheese

Sour cream or crème fraîche

Sliced or diced avocado

Tortilla chips (crumbled if desired)

Additional coriander

Lime wedges