On 10 November 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations officially proclaimed 2016 International Year of Pulses, putting a global focus on pulse crops and their potential to improve diet quality and address the global challenges of both under-nutrition and obesity.
Pulses are a group within the legume family that includes the dried, mature seeds of beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas. This diverse group of staple foods has been cultivated by civilizations across the globe for over 10,000 years and today continues to be the cornerstone of delicious meals in cultures around the world from Brazil to India and from Italy to Egypt.
As part of International Year of Pulses (IYP), global activities throughout 2016 will explore the integral role these nutrient dense foods can play in meeting the global nutrition and agricultural challenges of our time. Not only are pulses linked to better diet quality, including them in your diet also reduces your risk of heart disease, helps manage blood glucose control and helps prevent excess weight gain as we get older. As well as all these health benefits, pulses taste great and add wonderful variety to everyday dishes. Despite all these good reasons to eat pulses Australians are not eating them regularly, with only 1.5% of people reporting eating them during the most recent National Nutrition Survey. A survey by GLNC found that the most common reason for people not eating pulses was simply that they didn’t think of them when it came to deciding what to eat for lunch or dinner.
So 2016 is your chance to encourage friends and families to think about including pulses in their meals more often. Not just because they’re good for them, but because they taste delicious and add colour and variety to their plate. For some inspiration you can check out the global collection of pulse recipes here including the Australian Pulse Signature Dish Recipe. If you like the GLNC FaceBook page you’ll also see lots of tasty and easy to prepare pulse recipes.
As a way to kick off IYP celebrations, the Global Pulse Confederation is organizing a global social media event called Pulse Feast on 6 January 2016. We hope to have a full day of celebrations from around the world, starting with New Zealand and Australia. To get involved, the Australian National Committee is encouraging all Australians to make a Pulse Pledge for 2016 as a New Year’s resolution. Your Pulse Pledge might be to add pulses to your regular weeknight meals at least twice a week, or to try different pulses you’ve never tried before like black eyed beans or French lentils. The more creative your posts are, the better!
To be a part of Pulse Feast and make your Pulse Pledge for 2016 is easy. Take a photo or video of you, or a group of people, pledging about pulses in 2016 and upload to FaceBook, Twitter or Instagram before 6 January 2016, including @AusIYP16 and #LovePulses. The National Committee will use your pledge to showcase why Australians love pulses on 6 January 2016, kicking off the global celebrations first thing in the morning.
The Pulse Feast will be followed on 28 January with the Australian gala dinner at Melbourne Museum. This exciting evening will be an opportunity for over 300 people to come together and experience the world of pulses. Everyone is welcome and we hope some GLNC Balance newsletter readers are able to join us on the evening of the Gala Dinner. To secure your place, register for a ticket or table here.
These are just the first of many activities planned for 2016 including symposium in May on Health, Nutrition and Food Innovation. You can also organise your own event, or integrate IYP into an event you run regularly. For more information on visit www.glnc.org.au/iyp and to keep up with what’s on during 2016 by following the Australian IYP Social Media platforms on Twitter (@ausiyp16), Instagram (@AusIYP16) and Facebook (International Year of Pulses – Australia).
We look forward to hearing your Pulse Pledge and seeing you at an IYP event in 2016.