A Bowl of Color- Black Beans & Rice

Over the past 3 weeks I have been eating and loving every recipe I have tried from “The Engine 2 Diet”. If you’re not familiar with this book, it is a book on eating “plant strong” or in a vegetarian way. I had heard a lot about the book and had even seen it in my local Whole Foods for a while. Then it showed up at the local grocery store and other places I just wouldn’t have expected it to. I decided it was time to check the book out and give Fireman, Rip Esselstyn, and his book another try. Well maybe a more honest try.

See, I had tried one recipe I found online last year and liked it but I confess, I twisted the recipe and added meat. Rip, in the book, calls this a “Fire Cadet” move as he has two ways you can do the 28 day program, First is the “Firefighter” were you just start eating a vegan diet on day one and toss all your crappy food out that same day and do it all cold turkey. The second way is, you do it the “Fire Cadet” way, which is having a little meat here and there and taking the program in weekly stages. Getting to the point where you eat no meat.

I am currently undecided if I would like to be or could even do a vegan lifestyle. I am currently concerned about many things that have me consuming a lot less meat these days. I naturally tend to do this in the warmer months anyhow as there is so much local produce available and I’ll be honest I am not the let’s eat a big steak on a 90+ degree day.

I have become more interested in how factory farmed animals are treated and how factory farms effect our environment more than driving a big SUV’s around do. To me, beyond the clearly grotesque way animals are being treated, the drugs and what not they are shot up with , I have to wonder how healthy is it to eat the meat of an animal that lives a horrible and stress filled life? I mean look at the ads on T.V these days regarding stress and it’s effects on the human body, it just makes sense in my mind the meat of a stressed out animal would be less healthy than one that lived a happy life. I can’t prove it of course, just a theory.

I also became concerned about how much meat I eat when I heard a lecture this past winter in school about just how much , or maybe I should say little, meat affects the body and it’s affect on the growth of cancer cells. It’s truly shocking to see the scientific studies. Then to look around and see how much portions have gone up and how many more cases of cancer there are. You can goggle how even a McDonald’s hamburger has grown in size over the years. I am not pointing a finger that meat is the main cause of cancer. Just eating large amounts as a possible cause.

We started out doing Meatless Mondays and then I added in another meatless night that often went unnoticed by my family. In the past few weeks we have been eating a few more meals meatless. This from a family that use to have animal protein at all 3 meals each day. Not so now.

Ok so the recipes I have tried was super simple, which is the main reason I am sharing the following one . I always had the impression that eating vegetarian would be more work. Nope. I am finding these meals much easier so they would be great for someone who is rushed.

Cooking up dinner

My boys think this should be called a taco bowl. Everyone was full. Something I have noticed is Rip’s servings are clearly for a very hungry fireman. Not a bad thing as you will have leftovers if you don’t eat that way which makes for a great lunch. Not to mention this dish is so colorful, something you would not get from he title of Black Beans and Rice. Give this one a try, it’s quick, easy and filling.

The following recipe can be found on the Engine 2 Diet website as well with many other delicious recipes, tips and videos.

Not so drab, Black Beans and Rice.

Engine 2 Diet- Black Beans and Rice
Serves 3-4

2 cans black beans, rinsed
1 1/2 cups veggie stock or water
1 tablespoon Bragg Lquid Aminos
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 to 3 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 can water chestnuts, drained
1 cup corn, fresh, frozen or canned
2 bell peppers of different colors (* I used 3 peppers, orange, yellow and red)
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed and chopped
1 avocado peeled and sliced
3 cups of cooked brown rice
salsa for garnish

Heat the beans with water or stock, Bragg’s, and chili powder. Place the chopped vegetables and cilantro in individual bowls.

To serve, place several spoonfuls of brown rice onto large plates or bowls, ladle beans on top. Then allow everyone to add handfuls of chopped veggies, cilantro and avocado on top of the beans. Top with salsa.

Serve with healthy corn tortillas chips.

My boys heated up leftovers for lunch the next day and said it was even better. I could see putting this into sprouted or wheat tortillas for a burrito wrap.

I hope you might consider adding in just one meatless dish into your menu planning. Your budget might even enjoy the relief.

Till next time,
Shelly

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