Whole30 RainbowChili

My Whole30 Journey + Chili Recipe

February 11, 2019 , In: Eat, Recipes , With: No Comments
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I just wrapped up my first time doing Whole30. Life has been a swirling adventure full of change recently… Which is why my last post (End of the Year Gratitude Challenge) was 2 months ago. But as 2018 came to a close, I decided 2019 was going to be about release and change. This is that story.

Vegan > Pescetarian > … Now What?

I took a moment to look at my weight, my diet and tried to figure out how and why I was feeling so consistently BLAH. I’d been eating a vegan diet for over 8 years but my body’s hormones were out of whack. I was holding consistent at a weight that classified me as overweight, and didn’t like how my clothes were always just squeezing me a little in a few spots.

Time out. Before I explain my Whole30 Journey. I have to tell you about a huge life change I experienced. A few weeks prior to starting Whole30, I set my mind on another MAJOR goal: Attempting to REVERSE my allergy diagnosis. Recent history proves that this could be a possibility. I just had to inch my way through it. If you’re just joining my blog… I was previously told that I was allergic to “Animal Protein”. Throughout my post-diagnosis journey, I noticed a significant change after eliminating everything. My stomach and face no longer swelled after eating. But one day, almost 8 years later, I had Thai food and forgot to ask for the fish sauce to be omitted. But, I didn’t suffer any reaction. Slowly but surely I added fish and seafood back into my diet. With the consideration of starting Whole30, I was ready to take another step.

Whole30 & Why I Chose to Tackle It

During Christmas my insatiable need to bake hits. Constantly being surrounded by cookies, I found myself craving sweets. ALL THE TIME. Now, for many this is normal. But for someone with an almost non-existent sweet-tooth… this was bizarre. I swear, I ate more cookies in the month of December than I have probably eaten in the last 10 years! Setting out to find a way of eating that would help to reset my body and it’s recently developed cravings, I found Whole30 and was very intrigued. I remember having heard of it briefly by a friend once… and decided to do some research.

Whole30 Rules (what’s not allowed):

  • Sugar, honey, sweeteners of any kind
  • Beans/legumes (no soy, peas, or peanuts)
  • Dairy (okay, this is an allergy for me anyway so this was probably the easiest thing to eliminate
  • Grains and gluten (this includes corn)
  • Alcohol (this includes extracts like vanilla extract)
  • Nitrates, MSG, Carrageenan, and other specifiedadditives

Seems tough… But as a vegan, this diet would be tougher! No soy, peas and no beans/legumes. Since they are a major protein source for a vegan life, cutting them out would be HUGE. Thankfully my attempt to begin to add organic poultry to my diet appears successful! Because of that, I have to say this was actually one of the easiest diets I’ve ever tried! Honestly, I attribute this to my 8 years of being vegan and learning to read every label! If you’re interested in trying Whole30, I highly recommend studying the Whole30 website. It will explain sneaky names that sugar, dairy, and nitrates hide behind!

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

30 days passed and I have to admit, this diet really changes the body and the mind! My sugar cravings have returned to their practically non-existent state. I lost 12-lbs and watched my body slim down quickly! I have more energy and am out of the foggy feeling I used to experience in the mornings and afternoons. My hormones changed too… like, I had ZERO PMS SYMPTOMS in this month.

If I had to guess, I’d say this could be attributed to the elimination of soy. Ok, obviously I’m not a doctor, but I am someone who LOVES to learn about food and nutrition. And here’s what I’ve picked up in my years.

Soy contains phytoestrogens. And it may mimic the activity of hormone estrogen in the body. Like most everything, soy is safe to consume in moderation. Even then, it can have a modest effect on the body’s estrogen levels. As a vegan who consumed soy throughout the day, every day, I was adding a lot of phytoestrogen to my system. And I know when my estrogen level drop during my cycle, they PLUNG! Causing horrendous symptoms. But eliminating soy and the accompanying phytoestrogens, for 20+ days eliminated those symptoms altogether!

What’s Next?

The Whole30 is designed to be a 30 day program. Many say it’s too restrictive to maintain for a longer period of time. Personally, my goal is to continue to follow the plan on at least an 80/20% plan. That is, continuing to live Whole30 at home but when dining out, being less restrictive in regards to what oils/seasonings are used to prepare a meal or allowing myself a glass of wine on occasion.

I have a co-worker who has just started her Whole30 journey after hearing a friend’s and my experiences with it! (I’d be lying if I said she wasn’t the reason for this post… HEY GIRL HEY!) I’ve spouted off general meals that I’ve been using to succeed in the Whole30, but as a self-proclaimed kitchen novice, the whole home-cooking part is a little intimidating to her. After bringing her some of my Whole30 converted Rainbow Chili, I think it gave her some hope that she could totally tackle this way of eating!

A Compatible Chili for Everyone

This version of Rainbow Chili can be prepared Whole30 and vegetarian/vegan if you so desire! If you are taking the veg route, I’d increase your pepper and sweet potato count, while omitting the turkey for a still hearty chili. Also, invest in Chipotle Chili Powder! It gives this chili warmth and a smoky heat. Add more or less depending on your heat tolerance, but remember that the sweet potatoes will help to tame the flame! (I always sprinkle extra on top before serving too… it’s my favorite spice in my cabinet!)

Whole30 Rainbow Chili Scoop

As I wrap up this post, I’m inspired to post a few more Whole30 recipes I’ve whipped up. Hopefully now that the sun is becoming more dependable, it will be easier to manage food photoshoots! Additionally, I’m working on a list of Whole30 Compliant products that I discovered and LOVE!

Whole30 Rainbow Chili

Category: entree

Cuisine: Whole30

Yield: 4-6 servings

Whole30 RainbowChili

When you’ve got a winner in your vegan chili, you adapt it to fit a new dietary journey!

Ingredients

  • 1-lb lean ground turkey or beef, optional
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 2 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder (more or less, depending on how spicy you like your chili)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, including the liquid
  • 2- 2 1/2 cups veggie broth
  • diced avocado (for garnish/topping)

Instructions

  1. In a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven or stockpot, brown your meat if using. Remove from pot and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, saute the chopped peppers, onions, and garlic in one to two tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat. You’ll need to stir the ingredients every few minutes so they can cook evenly. As veggies begin to soften, add in the chopped sweet potatoes
  3. Once the onions start turning translucent, turn the heat down to medium-low. Add all of the spices, diced tomatoes, broth and browned meat if using, and stir. Cover for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Chili is done when the sweet potatoes are soft. Serve topped with diced avocado or your favorite chili toppings.

Notes

Chopping the veggies takes a while for this. My normal method is to chop the peppers, onions, and garlic first. Then start browning the meat. While the meat is browning chop the sweet potatoes. Then it’s just a matter of putting everything in the pot.

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Kaiti J

Welcome to Garnished with Gratitude! I'm so glad you're here. I'm Kaiti, a fan of healthy-ish ways, lists/plans, and I'm a total goofball. I'm here to create a space that provides resources to live your best life! From food and exercise to visualization and inspiration, this site is for you.

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