This Is Super Personal To Me + Lentil and Red Bean Chili (Instant Pot and Stove Top)

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When I decided to finally quit drinking and smoking for good, I knew I needed to do something aside from just abstaining from alcohol and cigarettes.

There was no way that I could continue life exactly as I’d been living it up until that point, minus the booze and cigs. I needed a different routine altogether.

So I got to work and I started plotting and planning my sobriety and my path to glowing, radiant health that I KNEW I had in me.

I had tried to quit drinking and
smoking a few times before it finally stuck. Luckily, you can fail at something 1,000 times and you only have to succeed once.

The first month without my best friends (red wine and Yellow American Spirits) were hard and it sucked and yes, I complained a LOT. But it got me to the second month which was easier than the first. And that got me to my third month which was easier yet.

By my fourth month sober, smoke-free and eating super healthy (and feeling better than I had in my entire life), I knew that I was out of the woods and that this was going to be my life.

Here are seven things I’ve learned by going through this process myself.

1: All of our struggles are similar.

Whether it’s food, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes or sugar, the struggle is similar regardless of the substance.

And this is because junk food and sugar affect the brain in the same way that drugs, alcohol and cigarettes do. They all trigger a significant release of dopamine, a neurochemical responsible for feelings of pleasure. This is one of our built-in survival mechanisms. When we eat and when we have sex, a bit of dopamine is released from the pleasure center of the brain because this is the body’s way of telling us that these functions are important for survival and should be repeated.

A small release of dopamine is an awesome thing. This is our natural high, and without it the world would be dull and melancholy. The problem occurs when the pleasure center of the brain gets hijacked by over stimulating substances like junk food, cheese, sugar, alcohol and cigarettes and in turn, large quantities of dopamine are released over and over again.

Large surges of dopamine make us feel really fucking happy at first, but it doesn’t last. And what really sucks is that repetitive large amounts of dopamine being released makes it impossible for us to find pleasure in things that release normal amounts of dopamine.

So whether it’s junk food, alcohol, sugar or drugs, in order to break the habit, you must go at least 21 days without the substance before you adjust and find pleasure in normal dopamine levels. After about 21 days the cycle is broken.

2: The emotional connection you have with your substance of choice must be examined.

Successfully quitting a habit that is no longer serving you has just as much to do with your thoughts as it does with avoiding whatever substance you’re trying to quit. Your thoughts about this process will determine if you add suffering on top of pain (pain is guaranteed, suffering is optional).

3: Embrace the Suck.

One of the most important things that kept me on track that first month was to accept the fact that life is not always peachy fucking keen. And that’s not a problem. That is by design. We’re so used to doing whatever it takes to feel good ALL THE TIME that we forget that it’s normal and natural and helpful to have a bad day or a really hard couple of hours.

When you stop trying to soothe and make it easy all the time and accept that sometimes life is just hard, it makes it easier to feel ALL the feels. And only when you feel everything (good and bad) can you process the vibrations in your body (AKA your feelings) .

Understanding that no feeling lasts forever (good or bad) and Embracing the Suck makes it possible to ease into discomfort instead of running away from it by soothing with food or booze or sugar or FILL IN THE BLANK.

In order to change you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

4: Even people who have their shit together benefit from a good clean-out.

Even if you don’t have an addiction or a habit that isn’t helping you live your best life, a month of nothing but whole plant foods without alcohol, sugar, processed food or coffee (gulp) is wildly eye opening and expansive.

5: Getting rid of your cravings for junk food is much easier than working around your cravings.

We’ve all white knuckled it through cravings. It’s uncomfortable. It’s distracting. It sucks. And it usually ends in caving in and repeating the cycle. But if you remove your cravings for unhealthy substances altogether, there’s nothing to white knuckle through.

6: Fear isn’t going any damn where.

Fear is built into us. It’s another one of our survival mechanisms.

The goal of life is to survive. When we’re in our comfy routine fear doesn’t pop up because consistency is safe. As soon as we move out of our routine and out of our comfort zone, even if it will benefit us, fear wakes up and is like: “Wait – hold the hell up. What’s happening. We’re good here. You don’t need to do that. That’s probably not going to work anyway. YOU MIGHT DIE. You can work on this later. There’s always next year.”

We often listen to fear because as soon as we back down and stay in our routine, we magically feel better because fear goes back to sleep.

Here’s the thing.

Fear can’t tell the difference between a possibly life threatening situation and breaking the habit of not eating after dinner.

Anytime we get out of our routine, fear wakes up and says hi. So if fear comes up, know that it’s a normal part of change, and keep going.

I always had this little nudge, telling me that when and if I ever got my shit together, I could have whatever I wanted and my life would be incredibly abundant and overflowing with joy.

I ignored that nudge for a long time, but I knew that it was right. Acknowledging that nudge was the beginning of changing my life forever.

If you have that nudge and you want to change how you eat, I welcome you with open arms.

Lentil and Red Bean Chili

Author: Molly Patrick of Clean Food Dirty Girl

Ingredients

Instant Pot Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried brown lentils 100g, soaked in water overnight
  • 1/2 cup dried red beans 90g, soaked in water overnight
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion 60g, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot 135g, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper about 1 cup / 130g, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Aminos
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 14.5 oz. 411g
  • heaping 1/4 cup tomato paste 90g
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup corn 150g, frozen

Stove Top Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried brown lentils 100g, soaked in water overnight
  • 1/2 cup dried red beans 90g, soaked in water overnight
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion 60g, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot 135g, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper about 1 cup / 130g, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Aminos
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 14.5 oz. / 411g
  • heaping 1/4 cup tomato paste 90g
  • 2 cups cups water 475ml
  • 1 cup corn 150g, frozen

Instructions

Instant Pot Directions

  • Soak the lentils and the red beans in water overnight or 8 hours (you can soak them in the same bowl).
  • When you’re ready to cook your chili, rinse and drain the lentils and red beans in a fine mesh strainer and place the strainer over a bowl and allow them to drain. Set aside for now.
  • Prep all of your veggies and measure out all of your spices and then press the saute button on your Instant Pot (IP) and let it heat up for 2 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, bell pepper and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the smoked paprika, chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, dried oregano, allspice, cayenne, salt, Coconut Aminos, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, lentils and red beans. Stir and cook for about a minute and then add the water and stir once more. Lock the IP lid into place, making sure the nozzle is in the “sealing” position. Use the manual setting and set the timer for 30 minutes.
  • Use the natural release method when the timer goes off. When the pressure is totally out of the IP, take off the lid, add the corn and stir.
  • Allow the chili to cool before you store it in the fridge.

Stove Top Directions

  • Soak the lentils and the red beans in water overnight or at least 8 hours (you can soak them in the same bowl).
  • When you’re ready to cook your chili, rinse and drain the lentils and red beans in a fine mesh strainer and place the strainer over a bowl and allow them to drain. Set aside for now.
  • Prep all of your veggies and measure out all of your spices and then heat a large pot over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, bell pepper and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the smoked paprika, chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, dried oregano, allspice, cayenne, salt, Coconut Aminos, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, lentils and red beans. Stir and cook for about a minute and then add the water and stir once more.
  • Place a lid at an angle on the pot and simmer for about 50-55 minutes, until the lentils and red beans are soft, stirring frequently so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
  • When the lentils and beans are soft, turn off the heat, add the corn and stir. Allow the chili to cool before you store it in the fridge.

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Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with saying yes to that nudge.

Xo
Molly

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Written by ex-boozer, ex-smoker, Co-founder, and CEO, Molly Patrick. They will help you eat more plants while throwing perfection down the garbage disposal.

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5 Comments

  1. Andrea on June 27, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    I absolutely love Lentil and Red Bean Chili so I can’t wait to try this! Popping full of flavor. I confess, ordinary food are boring because I’m so boring with food sometimes, I need to get more creative. Good think I always check your blog for food inspiration.

  2. Clementina on October 30, 2018 at 10:33 am

    5 stars
    Sooo delicious! First time making chili with lentils and I loved it !

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on October 30, 2018 at 11:01 am

      Hi Clementina, Woohoo! Thanks for stopping back to let us know you loved the recipe. ~Karen

  3. Victor C on November 8, 2018 at 8:24 am

    5 stars
    Until now I have not found a replacement for the meat heavy chili I use to enjoy! This chili is like a flavor bomb of explosion on my tongue. It hits all the right notes, and the lentils give me that meaty texture/feel. We ate this over rice, and made loaded potato wedges with this lentil chili. Instant favorite for me and my partner!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on November 8, 2018 at 9:07 am

      Thumbs up Victor!! Thanks for stopping back to share – flavor bomb plant based chili sounds like something I need to make this weekend. ~Karen

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