Our church is challenging the congregation to take part in a Beans and Rice Challenge on Monday through Friday of this week. Basically that means to make beans and rice the main course for every meal of the day. There are two purposes to this challenge. The first is to give us a taste of what it’s like in other countries who have no choice but to eat beans and rice for every meal. Of course, we are still spoiled in this challenge since we can also add different things like spices, vegetables, meat, tortillas, etc. Other countries have only beans and rice, no seasonings, and definitely no meat. In fact, many times they don’t even have clean water to cook their beans and rice in. The second purpose of this challenge is to save the money we would have spent on groceries for the week and donate it to help build a church in India. The goal is $10,000. Before the challenge started, two families pledged to give $500 each, one family pledged $2,000, and a local business donated $1,000. We are only on day 1 and already 40% to our goal!
Our family admittedly hemmed and hawed about the beans and rice challenge a little bit. Or should I say, Mr. W and I were hesitant. He was concerned about being hungry all the time, an understandable concern since the boys in our family tend to be hypoglycemic without enough food. I was vainly concerned because I’ve lost all this weight avoiding things like rice and too many beans. But when the challenge got closer and we talked about it with the family, it was the Taz who was instantly intrigued.
Ask the Taz what his favorite dish in the whole world is, and he’ll tell you ‘burritos’. The kid lives for them. If we have refried beans in the fridge, he’s good for lunch. He’ll even pack burritos in a brown bag for school, not even caring that they’re cold by the time lunch rolls around. And rice? Probably in his top 5 of favorite foods. So a week of beans and rice sounded like heaven to him.
I went about packing mine and the Taz’ lunches last night just to set us on a good start for the first day of beans and rice. For me, I packed a breakfast of red beans, rice, and yams. For lunch it was red beans, rice, and avocado. I added a little salt to each for flavor, and had an orange for lunch. For Taz, I gave him red beans and rice for breakfast. For lunch he had red beans, rice, and avocado in two tortillas.
I brought all my food to work, and immediately ate my breakfast. It was a little bland, but not that bad. But having avoided rice for so long, I felt really bloated when I was done – almost too full. “This is going to be easy,” I thought.
An hour later I was starving.
I spent the next three hours until lunch time drinking tons of water to keep me filled, as well as half of my orange. When lunchtime came I nonchalantly heated up my beans and rice and brought them to my desk where I proceeded to devour them. They were even plainer than before, though the avocado gave it a nice texture. I was full and hungry at the same time. I ate the rest of my orange, drank a boatload of water, went pee about 50 times, and then waited till it was time to get home.
Once home, I could barely function. I was in one of those places where it was best if I just avoided everyone altogether. It’s luckily Mr. W’s turn to make dinner, so I sat outside and read a magazine until dinner.
For dinner we had…..wait for it….beans and rice. But we also had all the fixings for tacos, including chicken. I made sure to put a good amount of chicken and beans on my plate, but I avoided the rice like the plague. Still counting calories, I couldn’t fathom filling up on something that was so lacking in nutrients when what I really needed was a proper amount of protein.
“Thanks God,” I said, when I saw everyone was waiting for a prayer before beginning to eat. And then I bit into my first bite of dinner as if I were coming up for air.
“I find it strange that you’re doing all this challenge for a Godly reason, and can’t even pray before we eat,” DQ said with her nose up in the air. I was just about to hit her over the head with my taco and a flurry of unGodly words when Mr. W interrupted with a much more proper prayer. I decided it was better to be holy in my discontent at my self-righteous daughter than to say something that might make me slightly less holy in my sacrifices. Besides, it took about two tacos worth for anything that made sense to come out of my mouth and be able to look people in the eye again.
The Taz admitted that he, too, suffered adverse effects from a day of beans and rice. He had no energy when it came to playing with his friends during recess. And in class, his teacher had to kept reminding him not to lay his head on his desk. And then there were all the times he kept sneaking a left-cheek sneak, and then looking at the person next to him so that everyone in class thought it was the other guy and not Taz.
Day 1 down and I’m already sick of beans and rice.
I am re-evaluating the whole challenge for my diet by nixing the rice. I just can’t eat it. I hate the way it felt to feel that full and then that empty soon after. I know, I know, there are starving children in India who are forced to eat this way daily, and I can’t handle even one day of it. But hey, those starving children aren’t going to be fitting into a wedding gown in a month and a half, either. Besides, this whole stomach-eating-brain-because-I’m-so-hungry thing just doesn’t bode well for being able to work properly, and especially for keeping the peace in the household. It’s only been one day, and I feel like we’re all ready to bite each other’s heads off.
Only 4 more days.
Here’s a cool recipe I found for Bean Cookies that I plan on trying out this week just for the fun of it:
Breakfast Bean Cookies
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour (or half all-purpose, half whole wheat)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda (I’m guessing, since the original omitted this step)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 – 19 oz. (540 mL) can white kidney or navy beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips, the darker the better
1/2 cup raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, or a combination of dried fruits
1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
Preheat oven to 350° F.
1. In a food processor, Pulse the oats until it resembles coarse flour. Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and process until it’s combined. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. In the food processor, add in beans, butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla, pulsing till smooth.
3. Combine bean and oat mixture in bowl and stir by hand until combined. Add in chocolate, raisins, nuts, and flaxseed. Stir till just blended.
4. Place large spoonfuls of dough on a greased (or parchment papered) sheet, and flatten each one slightly. (The blog I borrowed this from suggests dampening your hand first to keep it from sticking).
5. Bake for 14-16 minutes, until slightly browned on edges but soft in middle. Cool on wire rack.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.
Per cookie: 138 calories, 3.5 g total fat (1.4 g saturated fat, 1 g monounsaturated fat, 0.8 g polyunsaturated fat), 3.4 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 14.2 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber. 22% calories from fat.