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Transform Your health

Beans and Rice: a superfood match made in heaven!

Unlike similar products, Yumbini is mostly beans, not rice.  Beans and rice not only taste great together, they create a nutritional powerhouse that is hard to beat.  The combo is a natural source of protein, fiber and iron. And the benefits don’t end there.  The happy marriage of beans and rice creates what is called a “complete” protein.  It’s all about the balance of “amino acids“, the building blocks of protein.  Beans are high in the amino acid lysine but low in methionine.  Rice is the other way around – low in lysine but high in methionine. They compliment each other.  Talk about partnership – no wonder beans and rice are enjoyed together all over the world!  And just in case you are worried about the carbs in Yumbini, we have that covered too. Read more about carbs, and check out the results of our glycemic index testing.

Fantastic Fiber

Yumbini is full of fiber.  You have probably heard that fiber is good for “gut health”, but what does that mean?  Fiber actually helps your whole body!  It serves as food (prebiotics) for the microbes that live in your intestines (your “gut microbiota”).  It also helps you feel full and satisfied. Eating more fiber is linked to lower body weight, and lower risks of cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Scientists have even found that your gut communicates with your brain, so if your gut is happy, you are happy!  A healthy gut is associated not only with optimal health, but even improved mental health and longevity!  Most people don’t eat enough fiber.  In fact, it is classified by experts as a “nutrient of public health concern“.  But Yumbini makes getting enough fiber easy!  You will get up to 32% of your daily requirement of fiber in just one delicious serving – even more if you add veggies.  What are you waiting for?

Power of Plants

Whether you choose to be vegetarian, vegan or just cut back on meat, eating more plants will benefit your health.  Plant -based diets are associated with increased consumption of vitamins and minerals, improved heart health, decreased risk of cancer, and improved blood glucose management.  Eating plants also supports your immune system, reduces inflammation and helps maintain a healthy weight.  The more different colors, shapes, sources and forms of plants the better!  And remember, only plants have FIBER!  Best of all, the main plants in Yumbini are truly miraculous legumes – read more about them here.  Need we say more?  Remember, if you decide to skip animal foods altogether, it is important to take a vitamin B-12 supplement.

Salt in Moderation

The “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” recommend that everyone limit foods high sodium.  Eating too much sodium (salt) is associated with high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.  Many prepared and instant foods are very high in sodium – some even as high as 1700mg per serving.  That is almost enough for a whole day!  Fortunately, Yumbini is carefully formulated with plenty of spicy flavor instead of tons of salt. One big bowlful contains only 480mg sodium (about one fifth of what is recommended per day).  And if you don’t think Yumbini is salty enough, you can add the amount best for you!  Read more in our blog about controlling your salt consumption.

Low Saturated Fat

Nutrition experts also recommend Americans avoid foods high saturated fat.  Generally saturated fat comes from animal sources and unsaturated fat comes from plants.  While nutrition science is often confusing, saturated fat has been associated with higher cholesterol and heart disease.  Some studies have even found that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat in your diet can reduce your risk of heart disease by about the same amount as cholesterol-lowering drugs!  Lucky for you, unlike instant ramen or macaroni and cheese, Yumbini is low in saturated fat because it is made with sunflower oil.

No Added Sugar

Most people have heard by now that eating too much sugar is bad news.  It can promote obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  Excess sugar consumption has also been linked to acne, cancer, and depression, not to mention tooth decay!  Yumbini has zero added sugar, and no fake sweeteners either – only whole fruits and vegetables!

Potassium and Iron

Two other important nutrients Yumbini provides are potassium and Iron.  Potassium, in addition to fiber, has been identified as a “nutrient of public health concern” because most people don’t get enough.  Not eating enough potassium can increase blood pressure, deplete calcium in bones, and increase the risk of kidney stones.  Iron on the other hand, is a critical component of hemoglobin in your blood.  It enables your red blood cells to carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body.  Some people who do not eat animal protein don’t get enough iron.  Fortunately, thanks to all those beans and lentils, Yumbini is a good source of iron.

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Transform our Planet

Old Fashioned Miracle of Dried Food

The beans and rice in Yumbini are pre-cooked and dried (“dehydrated”).  Nothing is removed except water.  The result is a product that is lightweight, shelf stable without preservatives, and needs no refrigeration.  Why is that important?  Well, did you know that Project Drawdown has named management and disposal of HFC refrigerants as the number one way to address climate change globally?  You may not have heard of HFCs, but they are potent greenhouse gases often released into our environment by refrigeration systems.  And of course, refrigeration requires a lot of energy as well.  Speaking of energy, because Yumbini is lightweight, it also uses less fuel (meaning less CO2) to transport than products that include a lot of water or heavy packaging.  Fighting climate change and making our world a better place needs everyone. Learn what you can do by clicking here.

Legumes (and other plants) to the Rescue!

You have probably already heard that eating a plant-rich diet, not only benefits your health, but also helps the environment.  According to Project Drawdown, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by as much as 63 percent by adopting a vegetarian diet.  But that’s not all.  The beans and lentils (also called legumes) in Yumbini offer some very special earth friendly benefits.  Legume plants have the special ability to take nitrogen out of the air – effectively creating their own fertilizer.  That means no fossil fuel-based fertilizer is  needed, thus lower greenhouse gas emissions.  Legumes also enrich the soil in other ways such as increasing organic matter, encouraging earthworms, improving soil structure, lowering pH and reducing pests.  Wow – all that from beans!

Preventing Food Waste

In the US, an unbelievable 80 billion pounds of food is wasted every year – more than any country on earth.  In some countries, food spoils before it can get to consumers.  And you have probably read about companies “upcycling” industrial food waste into new products.  But the sad truth is that most food waste is us: 43%, happens at home, and 40% comes from  grocery stores, restaurants and food service.  Only 2% is wasted in manufacturing and 16% on farms.  In other words, if we are to address the tragedy of food waste, we have to change our habits at home and when eating out.  Consider this video of the life of a strawberry.

We hope you will use Yumbini to reduce food waste in two ways.  First, Yumbini comes in right-sized packages to make a satisfying meal for one person – no muss, no fuss, no wasted food.  Packages of Yumbini will keep in your pantry easily and not spoil.  Any prepared leftovers will keep in your refrigerator for up to a week.  We include a “best before” date for best flavor.  But Yumbini is still safe to eat after that – it will just taste different.  Second, Yumbini is a best friend to forgotten vegetables (and fruit and cheese and leftovers) everywhere!  So rescue the odds and ends to garnish your Yumbini – it will taste great and you will save money on groceries too.

Minimal Packaging

Because Yumbini is dry and shelf stable, it does not require extensive packaging.  A Yumbini bag contains only 3 grams of plastic, compared to up to 25 grams in a cup or jar.  That means 88% less material and 88% less waste. The bag is printed on carbon-neutral printers using polymer-based inks, which do not contain hazardous air pollutants, consume less energy and emit fewer greenhouse gases than solvent-based or UV-curable inks.  We realize it is still a plastic bag, so we continue to investigate alternative packaging which is recyclable or contains recycled content.  But the technology and infrastructure are not quite there yet.   So for now please be sure to put your used Yumbini bags in the trash so they can be disposed of properly.

With all the "food news" out there, things get confusing! You have questions, we have answers!

FAQs

Yumbini is sold in stores in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.  For a complete list of stores, click here.

The term “processed food” is confusing.  It is true that some processing removes important nutrients, or adds too much salt or sugar to foods.  But on the other hand, most food processing, such as cleaning, drying, freezing, canning and cooking, makes food safer, taste better and last longer.

Yumbini contains only dried beans, rice, vegetables, sunflower oil and seasonings.  No added sugar, and a carefully controlled amount of salt.  Drying is probably the oldest food preservation method on earth.  The only thing taken away is water, leaving the nutrients behind.  But taking out that water means the microbes that cause food spoilage cannot grow (they need water to live just like you!).  The result is a lightweight, super stable, take anywhere, yummy, heathy meal!  Go Yumbini!

Yes!  Gluten is found naturally in wheat, barley, rye, triticale and related grains.  There is no gluten in beans or rice, or any of the other ingredients in Yumbini.  In addition, our processing facility does not store or process any gluten-containing products.  You will notice Yumbini has not been third-party certified gluten free.  This is because we feel it is more important to keep product costs low (and pass savings on to you), than to pay an inspector to verify what we already know.

Canned beans are a wonderful invention.  Extremely nutritious and convenient.  They have a place in every kitchen.

BUT they don’t taste as good as cooking beans yourself from dry.  Some may attribute this to the can itself.  But the flavor difference is mostly from the high heat needed for sterilization, and food additives (calcium chloride, EDTA, etc.) used to improve color and texture.

The beans used in Yumbini have none of that! They are pre-cooked using a patented process somewhat similar to what you do at home.  Steam is used so flavor, color and nutrients are not lost in cooking water.  Then the cooked beans are dried again so they are shelf stable.

What that means for you is delicious, home cooked flavor, and optimal nutrition!

Yumbini, after cooking, should be the texture of tender, properly cooked rice and beans mixed together.  When preparing, be sure to heat until boiling rapidly and allow to stand at least 3 minutes after cooking.  If it is too watery and/or crunchy, wait another minute to cool and absorb water.  You can also microwave another 30 seconds-1 min if needed.

If your Yumbini comes out a bit dry, feel free to add a little extra water.  Remember, microwaves vary so you may need to adjust cooking time for best texture.  When cooking, the Yumbini should come to a full bubbling boil, but not “cremate!”

Yumbini is designed for microwave or stovetop preparation for best flavor and texture.  BUT, if you have a lot of time (a few hours), Yumbini can be made in a Thermos with boiling water.  See our blog to learn how.  Please remember, the Yumbini bag is NOT heat-safe.  Do not pour hot water into the bag.  And do not eat Yumbini without cooking.

That is a great question, and the answer is “it depends”!  You have probably heard a lot about the virtues of fresh fruits and vegetables.  And it is true that fresh produce, right off the farm, in peak season, can’t be beat.  On the other hand, we also know fresh fruits and veggies are highly perishable.  That means they start losing their good color, flavor, texture and nutrients as soon as they are picked.  And it can be a long journey from the farm, to the store, to your refrigerator, to your Yumbini!  On the other hand, canned and frozen vegetables are processed within hours of harvest so the nutrients and flavor are “locked in” until ready to eat.  That makes them super convenient and a great choice!

The biggest key to remember is that eating some vegetables (any kind!) is better than no vegetables.  And Yumbini is a great friend to forgotten vegetables everywhere.  No matter what you have available, it can taste great with Yumbini  – so frozen, fresh or canned – don’t feel guilty!  Read more about this here.

Yumbini is proudly made in California, USA.

We think using your own bowl makes Yumbini more yummy!  Even more importantly, it allows us to use minimal packaging – and prevents a lot of big trashy plastic and paper cups from going straight to landfill, or worse yet, floating in the ocean (no sorry, those cups are NOT recyclable or compostable).

The other advantage of cooking in your own pot or bowl is that you avoid cooking in plastic.  Yes, even paper cups have a thin plastic coating on the inside.  It is not known if this is harmful or not – better to just avoid it!  Also if you use your own pot for cooking, you can choose one without a nonstick coating.  Read more about nonstick cookware in our blog here.

No!  All the ingredients in Yumbini (besides the sunflower oil) are dried.  Drying is probably the oldest food preservation method in the world.  The only thing taken away is water, leaving the nutrients behind.  But taking out that water means the microbes that cause food spoilage cannot grow (they need water to live just like you do!).  And if you are wondering about the sunflower oil, it doesn’t contain any water to begin with.  So no preservatives are required!

Yumbini does not include any ingredients that contain the “big 9” allergens (wheat, soy, milk, eggs, fish, crustaceans, peanuts, tree nuts or sesame).  And our processing facility does not allow any allergen containing ingredients in the building.

No, we do not use any genetically modified ingredients, and confirm this with our suppliers.

New “genetically modified organisms” (GMOs), also called “bioengineered” (BE) ingredients (plants and now animals too) are being developed all the time.  But there may not be as many as you think.  The list of GMO food crops (maintained by law by the USDA) contains only 14 items.  You can see it and learn more here.

You may be interested to know that as of January 1, 2022, food manufacturers are required to label foods that contain GMO/BE ingredients.  But be aware that this information may not be obvious.  It can be shown on the label using words, symbols, a scannable link (like a QR code), text message instructions, phone number or web address.  Learn more here

No, Yumbini is not certified organic.  We certainly support organic agriculture.  It protects our environment from chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  But it is expensive and restrictive.  Because Yumbini was intentionally created to provide healthy convenient food for every day people on a budget (the ramen-eaters in all of us!), it is purposely not organic to keep the price as low as possible.

On the other hand, we also made Yumbini as inclusive and universal as possible so it does not include any wheat, gluten, “big 9” allergens, animal products, preservatives, MSG, artificial, or GMO containing ingredients. 

Fortunately there is a lot of research being done now on sustainable land systems – both organic and conventional.  All farmers have a key role to play in rebuilding soil, sequestering carbon and mitigating climate change. 

You certainly can enjoy Yumbini with meat.  But there is plenty of protein in Yumbini already and most Americans need to eat more vegetables for optimal health.  We try to make veggies convenient, fun and delicious!

Please put your empty Yumbini bags in the trash.  You can read more in our FAQs about our efforts to develop a compostable or recyclable bag, but the technology is not there yet.  On the other hand, we are very hopeful about new waste treatment processes being developed called “Advanced Recycling”.  What advanced recycling does is convert waste back into its chemical building blocks.  These base chemicals can then be used to make all kinds of new materials.  Advanced recycling is important not only to process packaging waste, but also discarded electronic parts, construction waste, used clothing and all kinds of other rigid plastic waste.  Learn more about plastic waste management here, and here and here.

Please remember that plastic, and other waste, can only be recycled or treated if it is disposed of properly.  Please do not litter!  And please do not put plastic film in your recycling bin.  It tangles up the equipment.  Please put your used Yumbini bags in the trash where they can be taken care of properly.

We are working hard on this one!  Recycling is definitely the way to go, but it is especially complicated with plastic bags/film.  There are very few recycling systems that can handle plastic film.  And the ones that do, object to any kind of food residue on the bags. The good news is technology is evolving rapidly and we have our eye on it!  We are very excited about the future of “advanced” or “molecular” recycling, but the technology is still developing.  Read more here.

When we first started Yumbini, we thought using a compostable bag was the obvious best choice.  But as we learned more, we changed our minds.  The biggest hurdle is that, in most cases, infrastructure for composting packaging does not exist.  Even in the few areas where food waste is collected, composters do not want packaging because 1) it takes too long to break down and 2) it is too difficult to tell which plastic is compostable and which is not.  The other difficulty is that creating a package that is strong enough to protect the food, but breaks down the minute it is thrown away is tricky.  You don’t want bags composting in your cupboard or backpack!  But, technology is changing rapidly, so we are keeping our eye out for new breakthroughs!

This is a fair question and one we are looking into for the future.  The rice that goes into Yumbini is pre-cooked and dried so it can be ready for you in a jiffy when you are hungry.  Brown rice just can’t do that.  Also, brown rice has a short shelf life which would make Yumbini taste stale or rancid. 

But you can relax because the main reason to eat brown rice instead of white is the added fiber.  Fortunately, Yumbini contains a LOT of fiber (more than a quarter of what you need for the day) from the beans and lentils.  So relax, you’re covered!

Citric acid is naturally occurring in many fruits, most notably, and not surprisingly, citrus fruit as well as strawberries.  Small amounts are also formed by the human body as you metabolize (digest and use) food.  The citric acid we use has been produced by natural fermentation.  Following fermentation, it is highly purified and certified by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) which verifies the quality, purity, strength and consistency.

Citric acid, like all acids, has a sour or tart flavor.  It is used in Yumbini to improve the flavor.  Citric acid is sometimes confused with ascorbic acid, which is another word for vitamin C.  Unlike ascorbic acid, citric acid is not an essential nutrient for your body.  But it does serve to make many foods more delicious and enjoyable!

We strongly recommend using stainless steel, cast iron or carbon steel cookware.  This is especially important when frying and sauteing.  Nonstick pots and pans can seem convenient at first, but they are not best for health.  No only does the nonstick coating scratch off into your food, but the coating can release harmful chemicals when exposed to high heat (like your stove!).  Old non-stick pans, that you might have gotten from your grandma or the thrift store are, unfortunately, the worst (because the non-stick coatings used in the past were found to be harmful and are not permitted in new cookware).   Learn more about how to protect yourself here, here and here.  Read our blog on this subject here.

We use the US Postal Service to ship Yumbini for two reasons.  One is that USPS is the most economical, meaning you don’t pay any more for shipping than you have to.  The other is that the USPS already visits every address in the United States every day.  That means, a truck doesn’t have to make a special trip to deliver your Yumbini.  No special trip means no extra pollution from yet another delivery truck driving around!

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

--Nelson Mandela

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