by Karen Garcia
For most of Caroline Israel and Patty Czach's decades-long friendship, Israel has been encouraging Czach to eat healthy foods.
"I want to eat healthier, and she's always very forthcoming with lots of suggestions," Czach said. "Over the years it's been in a lot of our discussions, amongst other things."
In recent years, Czach was having trouble managing her cholesterol levels, and Israel suggested she eat more beans. Beans are naturally low in fat, almost completely free of saturated fat, and are cholesterol free.
"She would have me over for a meal but she makes these very interesting meals that would incorporate cashews or beans in a way that you wouldn't expect," Czach said. "Like beans in her bean chocolate cake."
While Czach tried to incorporate beans as much as she could into her three meals a day, she wanted to look for a bean-based snack. Work takes up most of her day, she said, so she was looking for a snack that she could take with her on the go. So Czach starting searching market shelves and the depths of the internet for a bean-based snack. What she found—which wasn't much—had a lot of other questionable ingredients that didn't make the snack as healthy as she would like.
It didn't take her long to suggest that she and Israel create a bean-based bar that Czach could eat and that they could sell to other people in search of a whole food snack.
Well Bean is the pair's venture. They've created bean-based bars that are made up of essentially two things: beans and fruit. Currently, the two have three flavors: peanut butter crunch, chewy fudge brownie, and chocolate chip walnut. All bars have a certain bean or two (navy bean, black beans, or yellow peas) and fruit. Aside from chocolate in the chewy fudge brownie and chocolate chip walnut, the bars are made solely of whole foods.
Israel is passionate about eating healthy and searching for nutrient-rich foods, so this bar was a perfect way for her to share her nutritional knowledge. She's been a vegan since 1988 but didn't really get into high-nutrient vegan eating until about 10 years ago.
"I recommend that people eat at least a serving a day of beans. They should really eat about two to three servings, depending on how active they are," Israel said.
This venture is something that Israel said she never thought she could do without her friend.
"I like to play with food, and I like to feed people. I like to feed people healthy food that I feel good about," she said. "I never would have done this on my own."
While Israel conjures up the right ingredients to complement each other, Czach handles the accounting aspect of it all—testing the bar prototypes along the way.
You can find the bars at Goddess Goods in Morro Bay, Sunshine Health Foods in Morro Bay, Soto's True Earth Market in Cambria, and the newest location, the SLO Natural Foods Co-op.
To learn more about this bean-based snack, visit wellbean.life.
*This article was published in the New Times on January 31, 2019.