You’ll notice that my chili doesn’t contain any beans. Beans contain phytates, which inhibit nutrient absorption and cause in inflammation. Ever heard the term “musical fruit”? That’s the phytates at work, wreaking havoc on the digestive system. 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, because most contain two or three 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.
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 which foods give 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 his or her own ideas or rules for eating on you. We are all uniquely made with our own set of inborn preferences. I choose 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 to your own pot of award-winning chili.
Note: This recipe calls for purple sweet potatoes, which my local market often carries. I enjoy serving this vibrantly colored potato because it catches the eye and engages the senses. The nutritional properties are very similar to orange or white-fleshed sweet potatoes, so there’s no need to get hung up over the unusual color. It’s all good!
4 purple sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 bell peppers (any colors), seeded and chopped
1½ pounds loose pork sausage
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon ground allspice
pinch of Ground Cloves
1½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Rinse and pat dry the sweet potatoes and pierce the skin in several places with a fork. Place on an 18 × 26-inch rimmed baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. Once cooled, cut each sweet potato into 3 even pieces and set aside.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, bell peppers, and onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the pork and chili powder and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the avocado. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then decrease the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours.
Serve the chili over each of the pieces of baked sweet potatoes and top with the chopped avocado and a sprinkle of cumin, sweet paprika, and sea salt.