If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I became vegetarian 50 years ago. What my mom said was a “phase” turned into a lifestyle gradually eliminating other foods as I learned more about health and nutrition. Now, I follow a vegan, gluten-free (mostly grain-free), low-glycemic diet. At age 65, I take zero meds and feel stronger and healthier than ever. Of course, it helps that I’m a certified yoga therapist, pilates instructor, and fitness coach.
Many years ago, when I lived in Miami, I represented a pharmaceutical company that presented us with research about how many pounds the average American gained between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. I was floored. As a holistic wellness coach, I formulated a series of workshops in weight management and digestive disorders. One element that is crucial to both is mindful eating. Yet, we live in a society where we pop things in a microwave or head to a drive-thru and eat in our car on the highway.
Holiday meals should focus more on gratitude and sharing time with friends and family. NOT on loading plates and cups with unhealthy choices. We need to keep in mind the slogan, Eat to Live. Not Live to Eat.
When I contemplated leaving my corporate job, I created an Excel sheet of essential expenses. For food, I based it on rice and beans for the staples. The variety of recipes based on grain and legumes is endless. Moreover, the combo balances all the necessary amino acids for high-quality protein.
With that in mind, consider making beans your holiday star. Following are two recipes that I’ve made for decades.
On one of my many trips to Mexico, I ate the best black bean soup in a tiny inexpensive open-air coastal restaurant with the menu written on a blackboard. I tried to replicate it the best I could. Like most authentic recipes, this one doesn’t have real measurements. Everything is a dash of this, or “al ojo.” Take my listings with a grain of salt and throw in as much or as little of the spices as you like. While I highly recommend using dry beans, I typically use organic canned beans.
Living in Miami for eight years, as a vegetarian, black beans and white rice were my staples. Now, I avoid rice. You can make the traditional black and white dish, or substitute brown rice. Better yet, use quinoa which is an excellent protein-dense seed, versus a grain.
Try one, or both. Let me know your thoughts, or share your favorite bean and rice recipe.