We’re now on to the third week of AJ’s 30-Day Unprocessed Challenge, and everyone seems to be going strong. The thing that has struck me the most, especially about our meeting last night, is the immense value that a support group has when someone is learning to eat a whole foods plant based diet. Every individual in the group brings a unique element to the group, and each time someone shares their struggles and triumphs of the week, the other members of the group are able to connect with parts of that person’s story. AJ’s daily emails to everyone have also been keeping everybody mentally engaged in the process and inspired, and the group sessions have been comforting and energizing. I was reminded I haven’t been doing my food log so I’m going to be writing it in my notebook from now on!
I’ve been noticing that my taste buds really have been changing lately. Over the past several months, I’ve definitely been more sensitive to salt than I had before, but after my 7-day cleanse and being on this challenge for 2 weeks, it’s really kicked into high gear. To this end, AJ made us some steamed leafy greens (chard and kale) and asked us to try them plain. I’ve noticed that leafy greens have such depth of flavor, unique to each kind, and for the first time I realized that I don’t need to dress vegetables up with anything to enjoy them. This will work well on the road if no healthy sauces are available. The next step is having a salad without any dressing of any kind.
We’ve been passing around lots of recipes and sharing information, and I decided to try a spicy lentil chili/soup recipe from the McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook (thanks Jo Anne!) that looked easy and delicious. Turned out it was, so I thought I’d share with you. It’s not too spicy, and the cumin plays really well with the chili powder (I definitely held back on the red pepper and cayenne because the wife isn’t too fond of really spicy food). Here’s the recipe and some photos. You should definitely try this one out, especially if you’re in a cold part of the world!
Quick Spicy Lentil Chili
- 2 cups dry red lentils
- 2 qts vegetable broth
- 2 cups diced onions
- 1 16 oz can chopped tomatoes (salt free)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste (salt free)
- 2 tbs chopped fresh garlic
- 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbs fresh lime juice
- 1 tbs ground cumin
- 1 tbs chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- A couple twists of ground black pepper
- A pinch of crushed red peppers
- A dash on cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- Combine all of the ingredients except for the cilantro in a large soup pot. Bring to boil over high heat.
- Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. When lentils are tender, add cilantro if you want and serve! I didn’t use cilantro obviously, but it’s not needed.
- I had mine with a few bowls of steamed chard and kale!