A group of firefighters approached in crispy pressed navy blue uniforms and my stomach did a funny tumble. The fire chief pulled off his sunglasses and peered down at me. “So what do we have here?” he asked in a booming voice.
I grabbed a cup of steaming chili, dropped a plastic spoon into it and held it out, hands trembling. “This is a bean-less pork sausage chili served over purple sweet potato and topped with avocado,” my voice came out as a squeak and the chili competitor next to me stifled a laugh.
He took a bite and his eyes widened. “Wow, this is really good! Gomez, Brown, try this one!” I breathed a sigh of relief and served up chili samples to the rest of his fire crew…and a couple of hours later received the news that my chili had beaten the other 12 competitors by a landslide!
Oh man, it was nerve wrecking to have my cooking judged and sweetly satisfactory to win first place. Sure, it was just a friendly little chili cook off at Andrew and Chloe’s school…but I approached it like it was the cooking Olympics, and my determination paid off.
You’ll notice that my chili doesn’t contain any beans. Beans contain phytates, which inhibit nutrient absorption and cause inflammation…ever heard the term ‘musical fruit’? Beans also contain lectins, which can mess with healthy hormonal functions. And to top it off, beans are high in carbohydrates.
Beans (also known as legumes) are promoted as a healthy food, because of their fiber, vitamins and minerals, and “high” protein content. In fact, beans aren’t a dense protein source, since most contain 2-3 times as many carbs as protein. When compared to vegetables and fruits, beans are lacking in both fiber and micronutrient density. The protein found in meat, seafood, and eggs is much more dense and complete, which is why I’d rather stick with these as a main protein source, and only use beans very occasionally.
However…it’s important to commit to your own concept of healthy eating – regardless of the input or judgment of others. Look, you know your body better than anyone else does and so you instinctively know what food gives you the most energy to thrive on. You also know which foods don’t settle well and give you discomfort. Don’t let anyone else on this planet impose their own ideas or rules for eating on you. We are all uniquely made with our own set of inborn preferences. Go with it!
I chose to make bean-less chili because I know that a big bowl of beans is going to make me feel bloated, lethargic and gassy. If beans fill you with boundless energy then by all means add some in to your pot of award winning chili 🙂
- 3 purple sweet potatoes
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 bell peppers, red, orange and yellow, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1.5 pounds ground pork sausage (or your preferred ground meat)
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder,
- 1 Tablespoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- pinch of cloves
- 1½ Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
- 2 teaspoons each cumin, cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 (15oz) cans organic tomato sauce
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup filtered water
- 1 avocado
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash the sweet potatoes and pierce the skin in several places with a knife. Bake for 45 minutes.
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium. Add garlic, bell peppers and onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add the pork and chili powder and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Add the rest of the spices, tomato sauce, vinegar and water. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 1½ hours.
- Serve the chili over the baked sweet potatoes and top with chopped avocado and a sprinkle of cumin, sweet paprika and sea salt. Enjoy!