November 13, 2011

Sweet Potato Coconut Rice Bowl


I've changed my eating habits lately and I'm rather scared to post about it.  I'm notorious for falling back on what I say, announcing something and then forgetting about it.  Shane and I challenged ourselves to cutting out sugar from our diets for two weeks.  No processed sugar at all, not even the sweetener you'll find in condiments (there went basically everything in the fridge.)  The only acceptable sweet products would be maple syrup and honey.  I thought it would be very difficult, I was cutting out baking after all.  Baking is something I did nearly (and consumed definitely) everyday.  Surprisingly it wasn't as hard as I'd thought, I did find myself craving sweets but it was easy to say no, I couldn't let Shane down after all.  I started noticing good things after only a few days without sugar, my skin started to brighten, my head was clear and I felt good.  I put on my running shoes, I knew I could do it.  My first run was 13.5km, then 10km and so I've continued.

It's been almost two weeks of clean eating and it's led me to a lot of thinking.  Do I want to give up sugar?  Should I consider giving up dairy, it makes me sick also?  Can I introduce sugar back without mad cravings and uncontrollable urges?

The other night we indulged with chips and popcorn while watching a movie.  I slept very poorly that night, tossing and turning with horrible dreams.  My skin reacted by the next morning and my bowels (TMI!) weren't happy...all because of the chemicals!  I had been eating clean, veggies and grains with minimal dairy and it showed, my body reacted very poorly to the unhealthy food I consumed.  It was an inspiring day, I didn't feel good eating those foods, why would I eat them again?  It doesn't feel bad to refuse myself sugar and processed food, like I thought it would.  There is no punishment in the equation, only reward.  I feed my body well and it rewards me.

With the holidays coming and my brain switching into sugar mode I really hope I can hold on.  This will be the most trying time.  Sweets, baking and indulgence, these are what I associate my birthday and the holidays with, I'm not sure I can go without.  But when I see what it does to me, it should be pretty clear shouldn't it?

On the note of healthy eating, I bring you this sweet potatoes coconut rice bowl.  It is technically vegan, but that seems irrelevant to me.  The dish is very sweet with the maple syrup, next time I make this I will certainly cut it down.  Because there was only sweet potatoes and rice the dish felt very starch heavy to me, so I roasted some veggies (broccoli and fennel) on the side.  Whatever you decide to do the base is sound, experiment and enjoy.

Sweet Potato Coconut Rice Bowl


I first found the recipe here.  The changes I made to it haven't been tested yet, but I'm sure they'll be great.
Serves 5.


1 sweet potato, peeled, cubed
1/2 cup brown basmati rice, uncooked
1 cup white basmati rice, uncooked
3 cups of water
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, small dice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup toasted cashews, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Start by turning the oven to 400 F.  Toss the cubed sweet potato with a little oil and salt and pepper and spread on a tin-foil lined baking sheet.  Place in the oven and roast, turning once, for 40 minutes, or until cooked.  At some point during the cooking time you could toast the cashews in a separate pan for no more than 7 minutes, stirring a few times.

In a medium sized pot heat the olive oil over med-high heat.  Sauté the onion for a few minutes, until it starts to sweat.  Add the rice, water, and all spices to the pot.  Cover, bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer.  Simmer for 15 minutes, or until rice is cooked.  Take off the heat and add all the remaining ingredients.  Remove bay leaf and adjust seasoning as necessary.  

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