Monday, October 28, 2013

Minnesota Winter Chili (Vegan)

A healthy, hearty, vegan chili to warm you up on these chilly autumn days!
I am not a Vegan, but I am interested in all kinds of healthy eating and lifestyles, and learning about new things.  My friend, and neighbor Jane and her husband Dan have been eating Vegan for some time now.  Jane is a 50 something ;) year old wife and mother who is in amazing shape. Jane is a true inspiration for us women who have crossed that big 50 line.  She runs marathons, triathlons and has even competed in the Iron Man, she usually places top in her age groups for the races she runs in!

She recently shared a hearty vegan chili recipe that she makes. She also was kind enough to bring some down for John and I to try, and it was delicious!  It has quick cooking bulgur wheat in it instead of meat, and a ton of vegetables too!  The recipe is from Scott Jurek's book Eat & Run.  Scott Jurek is an ultra runner who competed at a high level eating a vegan diet.  If you are interested in reading more about Scott you can find his book at Amazon.  Jane shared her copy with us, and my husband John is reading it now, and is really enjoying it.

Minnesota Winter Chili (Vegan)
2 Tbs. conconut oil or olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup finely chopped onion
8-10 medium mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1 jalapeno pepper or other hot pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
1 cup frozen corn kernels 
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
2 Tbs. chili powder
2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to tase
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can tomato puree
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained
1 15 oz. can red beans drained
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup dry bulgur wheat
Hot sauce or cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions:  Add the oil to a large pot.  Saute the vegetables and spices in the oil over medium to medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until tender.  Add a few tablespoons of water if the veggies begin sticking to the pot.  Add the remaining ingredients except the cilantro and simmer over medium-low heat, covered, for 30 minutes. Stir and simmer for an additional 20 to 30 minutes until the veggies are cooked through. Season with salt and, if more spice is desired, hot sauce or cayenne pepper to taste.  Serve, sprinkled with the cilantro.  Leftover chili freezes well.  Makes 8-10 servings.  You can also just put all the ingredients in a crock pot (after sauteing the vegetables) like Jane did and cook on high for about 4 hours or low about 8!   

I ask Jane to tell me a little about how she changed her lifestyle to be healthier and to get so fit, and this is what she told me...

About 15 years ago I decided to make healthy changes to my life.  I had some weight to loose.  It was weight gained from pregnancies and my babies were now teens so it was time! I had more time for my own activities and started by playing some tennis.  I pulled a calf muscle playing tennis and was told to strengthen my calf muscle by running.  I reluctantly tried running because I wanted to continue to play tennis.  I diligently stuck with running and before you know it I was enjoying it!  Actually I was enjoying the way I felt. I had more energy and was losing weight.  I was also eating healthy. Eventually the running took priority. I enjoyed running local races and improving.  I made many new running friends.  I was very inspired by a friend who is a very fast and efficient runner.  She would race a half marathon and not even seem to be tired. She was eating a vegetarian diet.  I also read the book Eat and Run by Scott Jurek. Scott Jurek is an elite ultra marathoner who won races eating a vegan diet.  I decided one year ago to give a vegetarian diet a try.I was already eating very little red meat at that time so no meat was no problem for me and maybe it would help my running.

I did some reading about vegetarians and found Forks Over Knives.  I also watched the movie and bought the book.  After a few months without meat, I decided to take dairy products out of my diet.  I was learning about the farming procedures and the quality of meat and dairy products in our country.  Dairy products are very high in fat and when you think about it cow's milk is really meant for calves not humans.  I also feel sorry for the way animals are treated on many of our farms.  So it is a plant based diet for me.  My husband Dan also decided to make the change in January and has lost 70 pounds on a plant based diet.  he exercised by walking and eventually jogging.  I lost a few pounds and was running great.  I ran the Toledo Marathon and qualified for Boston and then we both ran the Bayshore Half Marathon.

We use soy milk or almond milk instead of co's milk. We eat lots of fruit and vegetables and whole unrefined foods. Variety is the key!  the main things to avoid are Processed foods.  Sometimes in place of meat we use tofu, tempe, bulgur weat or TVP.  I like peanut butter and almond butter and nuts.  One of our favorite meals is veggie pizza with double sauce and no cheese with salad and wine.  We get enough protein. Sometimes we are led to believe we need more protein than we actually do.  We have had doctor exams and blood tests and everything is in the normal range.  My goal is to stay healthy and to not need any medications.  

The winter chili recipe is from the Scott Jurek book, Eat & Run.  Another helpful book and website we like is the No Meat Athlete.

Jane's story is truly is an inspiration and I am so glad she shared it.  She also works at Running Fit in Novi, so if you ever need a new pair of running shoes and aren't sure what to get, I am sure she would help you out! 

If you are interested in making this healthy chili for yourself you can get the recipe by simply clicking here for the Minnesota Winter Chili recipe.  I don't promise you will run a marathon after you eat it, but your body will thank you and it might spur you on to try other vegan/vegetarian recipes! 

I was interested in learning more about the vegan lifestyle and what they eat and don't eat, if you are interested in learning more too, you can visit the Vegan Society website, it was a very helpful site that has lots of good information and recipes too. 

Thanks Jane for sharing your story with us, and inspiring us to live better, healthier lives!

Why not try something new today!

To good health!

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