My lovely fiance loves food and will usually surprise me with one of his culinary delights. This weekend it was his famous burritos. This was the first meal he prepared for me to lure me to his apartment for dinner. I guess it worked because I haven’t looked back since!

This recipe has evolved in the time that we have been together. He has gone from using canned (omg!) refried beans and chipotle to soaking and boiling his own beans and grinding his own chipotle. Double avoidance of canned ingredients. If that isn’t progress I don’t know what is.

Why avoid canned beans?
Well one reason comes to mind. The lining of cans contain BPA (bisphenol A). This compound was banned in the use of baby bottles but the government feels that if you are an adult you can consume it! Most people are not aware of this compound in canned foods.

Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor that can mimic the body’s own hormones. Early developmental stages appear to be the period of greatest sensitivity to its effects that is why it is banned from baby bottles[1]. Sorry if it is not good for a baby, it’s not good for me. Where do developing fetus’ get their food? From their mother!

Synthetic chemicals that can mimic the body’s natural hormones are pretty scary if you ask me. Read more here.

Another reason to avoid canned beans is that you avoid extra salt and other weird chemicals that are used to preserve the beans.

What can you do?
Well, the answer is simple but requires some preparation on your part. Buy dry beans (organic if you can afford them). They are cheaper than canned beans and they have no additives. They also taste WAY better because you KNOW what is in them! Some people (including my fiance) used to think that soaking beans was lame and I actually consumed canned beans for a while when we first moved in together until I could not take it anymore. I have enlightened him. He now remembers (usually) to soak and boil beans in advance. He even appreciates the taste too. Gotta love natural foods and adaptable fiances!

Why soak beans and not just cook them in one go?
Soaking beans makes them more digestible. Soaking removes inhibitor enzymes from the bean and renders it more digestible in the body. It is similar to sprouting. See my previous post here. Indigenous cultures knew this and this is how legumes were traditionally prepared.

OK, I think we all have the gist. Eat food as close to unprocessed as possible. And now the recipe:

Ingredients: makes 6 servings (3 with my fiance)

1.5 cup beans* (1/2 black beans, 1/2 azuki beans) soaked overnight and boiled until tender
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
3 carrots
1 zucchini
2 tomatoes
1 medium sweet potato
2 stalks of celery
1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or as much as you need)
Collard leaf (optional as a healthier alternative to a tortilla wrap)

2 dried chipotle peppers ground in a spice/coffee grinder
1/2 tb chili powder
salt to taste
*You can use pretty much any type of bean or bean combination. We have used kidney beans, chick peas, only black beans, even a bean medley in the past.

Chop the garlic, onion, and celery to roughly the same size. Add coconut oil to medium heated pan and saute garlic, onion and celery for a few minutes until onion is translucent. Add chopped carrots and sweet potatoes and saute until tender. Reduce heat to low and add chopped zucchini and tomatoes and mix. Mash boiled, strained and washed beans with hands (or masher) and add to other vegetables. Add spices and mix well letting simmer for 10 minutes on low heat. Serve and enjoy. You might just fall in love!

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A#Health_effects