The Evolution of a Recipe: Pineapple Black Bean Dip
May 22, 2018
Do you have a favorite recipe that you have banished because it doesn’t fit into your new healthy lifestyle? I have a few!
Pineapple-Black Bean Enchiladas were a favorite of not just family but friends too. Fresh salsa with tomatoes from my garden would complete the meal. Everyone would stuff themselves every time, ending up with overfull bellies and regret for that second helping. I was no different. I began to call them Black Bean Belly Ache-chiladas. Learning how wheat and dairy affected me explained a lot, and over time my recipe evolved.
The first thing I did was to change it from an enchilada dish to Pineapple Black Bean Dip. I served it with corn chips and jicama sticks, and topped it with avocado and fresh salsa in individual serving bowls. It was close enough to pass and I successfully eliminated the flour tortillas from the dish. For those who could eat wheat, I added some grilled spinach quesadillas as fun dipping sticks. My kids were little then, and I worked hard to help them see healthy food as fun and enjoyable. I also used fresh pineapple instead of canned pineapple and juice. It seemed like a natural step, and an easy to increase the nutrition. Occasionally I will use the frozen pineapple in the freezer (and leave it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw) if I don’t have fresh pineapple in the house.
Next came the dairy. It’s taken me years to first recognize and then admit that dairy doesn’t work for my body except for a small amount of yogurt or super high quality cheese (sometimes). I slowly began to crowd it out it of my life, learning how to swap avocado for cheese in my salads and rice bowls, and stick to coconut ice cream for the occasional treat. Of all dairy, cheese was the most challenging for me to give up. Cheese feels like a warm blanket on a cold day. It feels like a hug from your best friend when things aren’t going right. It feels like home. And it’s not just me! It’s science. Cheese increases dopamine activity in the brain—that feel good feeling. No wonder it’s so hard to give up!
Fast forward past a few years of discomfort, and I decided to see how eating cheese (more accurately not eating cheese) impacted my body fat percentage. Thinking like an athlete has a magical way of focusing you, and it was just what I needed to hit my tipping point for dairy. I used a body composition scale and recorded my starting body weight, body fat percentage, and muscle mass. Six weeks later, dairy and wheat free, I dropped significantly in my body fat percentage while not just maintaining but increasing my muscle mass. I almost learned my lesson.
About a month later, cheese snuck back in once, twice, 32 times.
Boom, body fat percentage increased. Clearly this is not what I am supposed to be eating! That was enough for me. I want to reach my goals in crossfit, running, yoga and overall energy and mobility. Cheese was a giant roadblock in my path. Do I choose to stay there, or even creep backwards? Or do I focus on the long term goals and recognize that this was a short term sacrifice?
Once a month, I have a slice of pizza if I want to. Once a month, I have a few bites of the Caveman’s chocolate ice cream. And most of the time, I don’t even bother because I have so many other yummy things to choose from like my Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins. But sometimes I do, and that’s okay. No such thing as perfect, so I shoot for excellence with my nutrition. And achieve it most of the time.
Wow, see how cheese sidetracks me? Back to the recipe!