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Finger Lickin’ Good

Finger Lickin’ Good

 “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” -Hans Hofmann

Through my work and travels I have been lucky enough to have been exposed to various eclectic cuisine running the gamut from small local cafes to iconic five-star restaurants.  I have experienced some amazing food! Yet when I think about the most luxurious and exquisite meals I have had, visions of simple food made from a few natural ingredients are what most excite me.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire elegance and have an appreciation of the finer things in life.  But to me, beauty lies in simplicity.  I don’t need the fillers, additives, excessive amounts of sugars, fats, salts and other measures taken to taint the natural goodness of real food.  And thanks to you, my community, I now have a plethora of additions to add to my mix of basics.

For those of you following my Basic Plan, or for all of you looking forward to eating in a way that sustains UltraWellness, I am thrilled to announce that I have chosen a winning recipe for you to enjoy.  In a moment we’ll highlight this week’s winner, but let’s first explore what makes a Basic Plan recipe noteworthy.

Creating Your Personal UltraMeal

I’d like you to refer back to last week’s blog  for the essentials on how to create your personal UltraMeal.  The two plans are ultimately the same except there is a bit more flexibility regarding carbohydrate intake with the Basic Plan.  Remember, this plan is for you if your blood sugar is under control and you are making progress in the 7 Keys of UltraWellness.

Carbs and Your Diet

Let’s explore some tips on how to effectively integrate carbohydrates into your diet.  I know this is a confusing topic but after reading this you should be an enlightened carb consumer!

  1. This is a slow carb plan NOT necessarily a low carb plan.  Carbohydrates are essential for our body to function and I want you to include the right choices in the appropriate portions.  Choose primarily from starchy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fruit.  Of course, get rid of all refined carbohydrates and sugars.
  2. If you are transitioning from an Advanced Plan start small and progress slowly.  Keep insulin from spiking by taking 1 serving of complex carbohydrates with each meal.  Hint: 1 serving of carbohydrate is equal to 15 grams.  As insulin sensitivity improves, you can increase your consumption of slow carbohydrates to 30 grams per meal and 15 grams per snack.
  3. Eat 3 meals per day with 2 snacks.
  4. Regardless of the Plan you are on always eat a carbohydrate with some protein, fiber or anti-inflammatory fat.  Never carb it alone!

This is merely a template for ensuring optimal insulin sensitivity.  It is most important that you listen to your body and adjust the amount of carbohydrate based on your individual needs.

Here are examples of SLOW burning carbohydrates that you can play with:

Starchy Vegetables:

  • Sweet potato (1/2 cup
  • Cooked Carrot (1 cup)

Whole Grains:

  • Black or brown rice (1/3 cup)
  • Quinoa (1/3 cup)


  • Lentils, Chick Peas and Black Beans (1/3 cup)
  • Black eyed-beans (1/2 cup)


  • Apple (1 small)
  • Peach (1 medium)

For a complete list of carbohydrate guidelines, please join my community and check out the Downloads section for my report on “Low Glycemic Vegetables.”

There are various ways to incorporate these nutritionally dense carbohydrates into a meal.  Like I said, I like to keep it simple yet interesting.  Many of your recipes achieved that and I can’t tell you how difficult it was to select just one!

There was one which embodied all of the principals of whole foods eating and accomplished creativity, elegance, flavor, fun and of course… simplicity.  I am proud to announce this week’s Basic Plan winning recipe.  The winner is…

Roasted Red Pepper & Cannellini Bean Soup

By Michele Rusinko

Roasted Red Pepper & Cannellini Bean Soup

Serves: 8-10

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

A creamy and comforting soup for lunch or dinner.

  • 3 red bell peppers, roasted
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (low sodium)
  • 8 cups cannellini beans (preferably soaked overnight)
  • 1 cup basil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • dash sea salt to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roast peppers until lightly blackened, about 20 minutes (or blacken over a gas burner). Blend peppers, broth, beans, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.

You can also reserve 2-3 cups of the beans and add after blending – I find the recipe as written not only to be easier on your digestive system but a great way to “hide” beans from those who refuse to eat them, especially kids.

Also, I make my own vegetable broth (boiling a sweet onion, garlic, fresh parsley, salt & pepper for about an hour while the beans are cooking (I also buy my beans dry, soak and then boil).

The easiest way for a beginner is to buy the broth and beans but it is much healthier (and tastier) to prepare your own!

Nutritional Analysis:

Serving Size (about 1 cup): Calories 305, Fat 12 g, Sat 1.5 g., Cholesterol 0 mg, Fiber 10 g, Protein 15 g, Carbohydrates, 36 g, Sodium 60 mg

Why I chose “Roasted Red Pepper and Cannellini Bean Soup”

  • Gluten and dairy-free
  • Low glycemic load, high fiber
  • Lean plant protein
  • Easy to prepare and allows for flexibility-not a rigid recipe so you can use any herbs available
  • Kid-friendly bean recipe
  • Able to have leftovers and use as a quick lunch the next day
  • Appropriate for Basic Plan.  Serve with a green salad for a complete meal

Congratulations to Michele for providing us with a clear example of how simple ingredients can make a winning meal!

I like to think that what Hans Hofmann was referring to in the quote above is the sort of whole foods lifestyle that celebrates nothing more or less than that which nature has provided us with.  Let’s remove the myth that good food means exorbitant amounts of harmful ingredients so that we can unveil simple pleasures with significant health rewards.  Cheers to getting back to basics and celebrating all the tasty creations you and your loved ones can cook up!

Now I’d like to hear from you…

Will you try this recipe with me?

What confuses you about slow and low carbohydrates diets?

Have you tried to a “low” carb diet and how did it work for you?

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below.

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD


Mark Hyman MD is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

Comments (28)

  • In just a few more days I will graduate from the advanced program to the basic. And I believe I will make this one of the first dishes I try out. Thank you Michele! And of course thanks to Dr. Hyman for making this program so accessible to all of us!

    Visit my blog at

  • You forgot to tell folks to remove blackened skin of peppers before blending with other ingredients. I don’t think 350 degrees will do it.

  • Dr Hyman,
    The recipe sounds good. Congratulations to Michele!
    Thank you for the detailed information about reintroducing healthy carbs. This is a great help for those transitioning from the advanced plan.

    Also, When you make your recipe ebook, please consider including Lorraine C’s blueberry muffins. I add olive oil and lemon peel and a lot more cinnamon. Those muffins are a real life saver for people on the go.

    Blessings, Margaret

  • Where does the fat come from in this recipe? The analysis at the end of the recipe stated that there were 12g per serving.

  • In this post you say “For a complete list of carbohydrate guidelines, please join my community and check out the Downloads section for my report on “Low Glycemic Vegetables.”

    I joined then was dedicated to get the report.
    However, I have been unsuccessful in finding how to do this.
    Yet I refuse to give up!

    Please, give me the Go Here-Do This directions.


  • This recipe I won’t try, although I do like it.
    Legumes make me sluggish, so if I want to feel sharp I better avoid them.
    To me it’s a waste of good minerals to cook dark green leaves, and that includes fresh herbs.
    I love garlic, but to avoid panic (gasleak in the building!) I’ll only eat it when I don’t meet other people for the next 3 days, or on vacation in a country where they are used to garlic.

    • Hi Margot,
      Your comment made sense to me. Are you advocating to eat these raw or exactly what did you mean by it’s a waste of good minerals??

    • Hi Christine,
      Great question. You can soak your beans over night. In the morning discard the soaking water. Add new water, just enough to cook the beans-usually a 1:2 of beans:water. Add a 1/2 inch piece kombu to the cooking water and bring to a boil. Decrease to a simmer and cook until beans are fork tender ~30 minutes.

      Or, choose Eden brand beans as they are BPA-free!

  • Thanks for your informative newsletters, Dr. Hyman, we well as your new book, which I read and passed on to
    my 79-year-old diabetic friend.

    I am under the impression that “blackened” foods of any type (whether charred or burned or charcoal-grilled)
    are extremely unhealthy for us. I wonder what you think of this warning.
    Thank you! Best, Valerie

    • Hi Valerie,

      Yes in general “blackened” via the grill should be enjoyed moderately and more for fish than red meat etc. However spices which give that “blackened” taste are an excellent creative culinary resource! Chili, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, herbs, pepper etc… these are wonderful ways to add flavor and boost health simultaneously!

  • I have done the Low Carb thing and lost weight, but felt deprived the whole time. The minute I added carbs back, the weight came back.

    Now I am on Slow Carbs and portion control and doing much better, with lasting results in health. And I can indulge my carb appetite without guilt. And I love it that I must add fat and protein to my carbs. Add that olive oil and slivered almonds to that baked yam!

  • I am confused as to why this is not okay for the advanced plan? What am I missing? I know there are beans on the advanced plan, and I don’t see anything “bad” here. Help me out please!

    • Hi Mary,

      While on the advanced program Dr. Hyman prescribes eliminating all starches, beans, legumes, grains and fruits (other than 1/2 cup berries daily). This recipe has beans…Make sense?

  • I will try the Roasted Red Pepper and Cannellini Bean Soup recipe making minor adjustments to the amount of garlic. My blood sugar is fine but I am still struggling with digestive issues. The only beans I have been able to successfully eat are pinto beans. But I ever hopeful …

    In addition, I will try to make the vegetable broth using the ingredients listed. I have tried to make my own broth before and is was dreadful. Please provide the correct amounts of sweet onion, garlic, fresh parsley, salt & pepper.

  • Why is this not appropriate for the advanced plan? Is it the red peppers or the beans that have too many carbs?

    • HI Carolyn,

      Beans are starchy so while on the advanced plan it is advised to eliminate all beans and legumes for the duration of your program.

  • I don’t get it. I’m sitting here with the Blood Sugar Solution in my lap. Page 193: “If you are on the advanced plan, [avoid] all grains, starchy vegetables, and fruit. Avoid winter squashes, peas, potatoes, corn, and root vegetables…” Notice no mention of legumes! Also, many of the advanced plan recipes contain legumes! Minty Hummus, White Bean Salad, Split Pea and Rosemary Soup, Hearty Garden Vegetable Soup with Pinto Beans, Red Lentil Stew, etc, etc. All of these say they are for the Basic and Advanced plans. None of them add a note saying you can’t have them on the Advanced Plan. There are such notes for recipies containing fruit or brown rice or quinoa. What’s going on?

    • Hi Kathleen,

      Thank you for your observation. Generally speaking, some inclusion of 1/3- 1/2 cup beans on the Advanced Plan is fine as long as you are showing signs of healing and normalization of your blood sugars. Also take into consideration your digestive wellness. If you feel your digestion is working efficiently than beans should be ok. Some people with bacterial overgrowth or trouble with digestive enzymes and whatnot might find that beans dont suit them well and it is fine to avoid them for a month or so to heal and repair your system. For more info please visit:

  • This recipe sou ds wonderful and will make it shortly….however, I think that 8 cups of uncooked beans is a huge amount as they will increase in volume. Can you please clarify? I cook for 25-30 people and when I make a bean soup I use about 8 to 10 cups of uncooked beans and it is plenty…..thanks.

    • Hi Harsha,

      Because the soup is partly blended (or completely depending on taste) the beans make the base or broth… You can also simply use, 8 cups of cooked beans (having soaked them previously before cooking).

  • This is very interesting. Please provide a list of protiens and a list of carbs that we can combine for the right nutrition values.

    • Dear Jan,

      For more food-related information please go You might also enjoy browsing around the products Dr. Hyman suggests as well as the recipe section. Enjoy!

      For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s virtual nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to: OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.
      In Good Health,
      The Nutrition Team

  • Sure, when you eat a lot of hamburgers, you will definately get fat, but when you eat a lot of broccoli,
    you’re going to shed weight. You’ll get no arguments from me to go with a diet this good.
    Add a twist of lemon or lime for flavor enhancement.
    Before you start out choosing a proper diet, you must learn body
    mass index (BMI). Well that’s the prevailing thought, however, the results were definately not successful,
    with only minimal weight being lost.