I don't consider myself much of a cook, although I do love the finished product. I like trying new recipes, but the actual act of cooking I could probably do without. I would not mind at all if I had a personal chef or my hubby decided to take over all of the cooking. I cook (and get creative in the kitchen) out of necessity and a desire to eat healthy yet tasty and satisfying food.
When it comes to eating while in a fat loss phase, you don't have to settle for bland, gross food. You can still enjoy some of your favorite foods and meals, whether it's in moderation (an occasional splurge) or by "health-ifying" it.
In my case, I looooove carbs. Never met a carb I didn't like. Ha! I do try to keep my overall carb intake more moderate (usually around 40% of my total daily calories), especially since I'm doing very little traditional cardio or endurance training at the moment. I don't eat rice and beans often, but every once in a while, it just sounds good with a particular protein I'm cooking for dinner. In this case, pulled pork. Bonus: it's cheap!
Carbs, like anything else in nutrition, are very individual. Some people can tolerate carbs better than others. Those with an Ectomorph frame (naturally very slender, have a hard time gaining weight) and Mesomorphs (athletic frame, gain and lose weight equally well) will be able to tolerate carbs better than Endomorphs (larger, softer frame, gains weight easily) and those who are overweight/obese (regardless of body type). Unfortunately, this means that the latter group will have to stick to the lower end of the carb intake range (but not necessarily super low-carb). Someone who is training for an endurance event like a half-marathon will need more carbs than someone who is sedentary or only lifts weights or does yoga. This is a topic that you could write a whole book about, not something that can be explained in one blog post, so I'm keeping it simple.
Experiment with your carb intake, as well as the types of carbs you consume. If you find yourself stuck at a plateau or even gaining weight, you can try dropping your intake by say 10% or decreasing the starchy carbs (like potatoes, grains, rice, pasta, beans, etc.). See what happens after 2 weeks or so, and go from there. If your energy is lagging and your performance in the gym is lackluster, consider upping your carbs a bit. It's hard to reshape your body when your workouts suck! ;-)
Bottom line, you want to eat as many carbs and overall calories as you can while still seeing results. This helps keep your hormones balanced, your energy high, and your hunger satisfied. Minimum effective dose, people.
Now on to the food!
3 lbs. Boneless Pork Shoulder
Alaea Hawaiian Salt (or Sea Salt; the Alaea Salt has a unique flavor that goes really well with the pork)
1 Tbsp. Cumin, divided
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder, divided
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Tbsp. Tabasco Jalapeno Hot Sauce
1 can Black Beans
1/2 cup (uncooked) Rice (I used white, but brown would work too)
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1/4 Onion (I used white, but yellow or purple would work as well), chopped
1-2 big cloves Garlic, minced
~16 oz. Chicken Broth or Water
2 Bay Leaves
1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil or EVOO
When the pork has 1-2 hours left to cook, start on the beans and rice. Add rice and chicken broth (or water) to a pot and heat to boiling before lowering it to simmer with a lid on. Add the bay leaves and 1/2 of the garlic powder and cumin, as well as ~1 tsp. salt.
Chop up the onion and garlic and sautee in the oil over med-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add half of the mixture to the rice. Chop up the red bell pepper and add it and 1/2 the garlic powder and cumin, as well as the Tabasco sauce and cayenne powder, to the garlic and onion still left in the skillet and cook for several minutes, until soft. Add it and the black beans (drained but not rinsed) to the rice and continue to simmer with the lid on for 20 more minutes or so, until the rice is soft, stirring often. Salt to taste.
When the pork is ready, shred into large pieces and add to the beans and rice mixture. (Make sure to take out the bay leaves when serving). Makes approximately 6 servings.