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Friday, July 17, 2009

Fun Food Facts and a Chili Recipe

Derek's birthday put some posting on hold (what an attention hog!)

but here's some catchup stuff:

Lunch was leftovers with a *special* salad with hearts of palm and also edamame. Usually there are no leftovers when Derek's around...

Anyway, there's usually steam-in-bag edamame in the frozen section, sometimes already lightly salted as is this Trader Joe's variety.

was a July tradition, burgers and fries and chili. Except that our burgers were of the Dr. Praegor vegetable variety, with no more than 1 whole-wheat bun per person, and the fries were unsalted sweet potato spears with some balsamic vinegar and salt-free seasoning sprinkled on top and baked about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Now the chili was based on the Vegetarian Chili recipe in Eat to Live. I omitted the celery since
we didn't have any, used jarred roasted peppers since we used up all our fresh bells, and used no salt low fat marinara instead of crushed tomatoes because we were out of that too.

Vegetarian Chili
  • Big can kidney or pinto beans
  • 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped red onion
  • 2 cups chopped green or red peppers
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar

Directions: Combine all ingredients and cook for an hour. Pretty easy!

TVP is an excellent replacement for ground meat, and can be found in the bulk bins of Ellwood Thompson's or Ukrops, or the Bob's Red Mill brand packages can be found in the natural food sections of other stores.

I'm accustomed to backing up my assertions with some kind of numerical analysis, so I decided to apply a little of that here in comparing the nutritional facts of TVP and extra lean ground beef.

Would you look at that?! The calories aren't that far off, but where they come from is vastly different. The grams of protein are almost equal but when you eat even extra lean ground meat, nearly half of what you're getting out of it is just fat. Ratios are so much more telling than units sometimes. Let's not even get started on the mineral and fiber deficiencies of the ground meat vs TVP.

Examining things like this validate what I've read in the aforementioned book, like this quote:
"The Chinese eat about 270 more calories per day than Americans, yet they are invariably thin. Exercise cannot fully explain this difference, as researchers discovered the same thing with Chinese office workers as well...The data suggests that when a very low fat diet is consumed(15% average dietary fat in rural China), as compared to the typical Western diet (30-45% of calories from fat) more calories are burned to convert carbohydrate into fat, so the body cannot store fat easily."

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