As you read these first few recipes, you may get a false impression that I am a vegetarian; I’m not. While I am not a vegetarian, I do not believe it is necessary to eat meat every meal, or even every day. As I strive towards better eating habits, which I believe I can sustain over a lifetime, I find my choices closely resembling a pescatarian diet. Despite this, I am not a pescatarian, and still enjoy “land animals” from time to time. Over the last six months “time to time” works out to be a meal with a non-seafood meat option once every week or two.
I do not believe there is a one size fits all diet that every person will respond to. Many have found great benefits with various diets, that does not mean everyone will. For myself, none of the “fad” diets have ever worked. I tried “paleo” years back when I was training hard and could not consume enough calories, even adding in yams. I was low energy, miserable and during my second extended attempt at paleo (lasting several months), I ended up developing something closely resembling gastroenteritis, which went away and came back when I resumed my previous diet. My Doctor/GP at the time did not believe I had anything infectious, and rather attributed it to the large amounts of raw vegetables and meat I was eating daily. I will clarify that I was attempting to consume 6,000-8,000 calories per day due to my training regime.
Overall, I am not a fan of exclusion diets, but if a food group legitimately makes you feel run down, don’t consume it. I’ve anecdotally noted for myself, a sharp decrease in meat has led to a significant improvement in my digestion. One of my favourite foods is burritos. In the past, I relied very heavily on meat and cheese to make my burritos and have some mouthwatering recipes for them. While delicious, they pack on tremendous calories and I find I am run down after eating them. Below is one of several “healthier” burrito options I have turned to. There is another that I will post sometime in the fall, as a three-week trip to China will interfere with my home-cooking.
What you’ll need:
- 2 jumbo yams (roughly 3 lbs; 1,607 calories)
- 1 bag of spinach (227 g; 52 calories)
- 1 bag of slaw (I use kale and beet slaw; 80 calories)
- Large can black beans (540 ml; 432 calories)
- 3 corn husks (465 calories)
- 1 cup walnuts (654 calories)
- 1 lime (photo has 2, I only use 1; 20 calories)
- Fresh basil
- Fresh or “paste” of garlic and chilli pepper
Total calories: 3,310 (makes 8 burritos; 584 nutrient dense calories per burrito)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Use a fork to poke holes in the yams. Bake for 2 hours.
3. De-husk the corn, then lightly season with Cajun spice. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate 180 degrees, and bake another 15 minutes.
4. Turn burner on medium with a large frying pan 20 minutes before yams are ready.
5. Add a table spoon of garlic paste, a table spoon of chili pepper paste, chopped fresh sweet basil, and the juice from one lime. Simmer until basil starts darkening.
6. Add the “slaw” directly on top of the lime juice, basil and spices. Add the bag of spinach on top of the slaw, cover. Let it cook for 5 minutes, then stir. Cook until the slaw is soft, and the spinach is reduced.
7. Add the beans to the frying pan after thoroughly rinsing.
8. Add finely chopped walnuts.
9. When the corn is finished baking, remove from oven. Use a sharp knife to cut the corn off directly into the frying pan. Mix thoroughly with the rest of contents in the frying pan, and then push all contents off to one side, leaving half the frying pan open
10. By this time, the yams are finishing. Remove them from the oven, they should be a very soft consistency. Typically, the skin will just peel right off. Remove the skin and add both yams to the “clear” side of the frying pan. Use a masher to break the yams up, turning it to a mashed potato consistency.
11. Slowly and carefully mix original contents into the yams, adding black pepper, salt or garlic to taste.
12. Divide into 8 equal parts and add to wraps.
13. I like a “crisper” burrito, with the shell cooked. I run a second frying pan and after adding the contents to the wrap, I lightly brown four sides of the burrito.