Aside from rent/mortgages, food is a major household expense. If you can cut your food bill, you will be on your way to financial freedom. If you want to build a strong and healthy body while on a budget, you need to learn how to cook for yourself. In fact, I cook most of my meals, as food is expensive. I eat big and the kind of meals I’d get at Chiptole would run me $15 each. Cooking saves money.
What are the principles of the Alpha Muscle Meal?
Before we talk specific recipes, let’s talk concepts. What is the concept of a “alpha muscle meal”? What’s the big picture?
There are a few principles to keep in mind:
After all, if we had money to waste we wouldn’t need to cook for ourselves. Costco (or Sam’s or an ethnic market or any other place where you can buy in bulk) is your new best friend.
Dried lentils and beans and big bags of dry rice are your new good friends. Compare prices of canned beans to prices of dried beans. The difference will blow your mind.
A crock pot will turn dry roasts, which are inexpensive, into moist stews. Get one.
Carrots are inexpensive. You can buy a 10 pound bag of organic carrots at Costco for $5.99. Have you ever seen how many carrots that is?
2 Protein rich.
That goes without saying.
If you’re hungry, you’re thinking of your next meal rather than getting shit done.
4. Low glycemic index foods.
Blood sugar highs and lows are no bueno. You’re moody and lack mental clarity. You’re also messing up your blood sugar function and giving yourself Type II Diabetes.
5. High in antioxidants and phytonutrients.
We want to be jacked and healthy. It’s not enough to just gulp down protein shakes in If It Fits Your Macros style. You need to throw in some plants and spices, too.
Why Chili is Alpha
Think about who eats chili. Cowboys. Farmers. Vikings. Men who sit around a fire and do manly stuff.
Also, poor people eat chili. I ate a lot of 15 Bean Soup and chili growing up because it’s inexpensive.
Chili and stew is amazing because you throw in most anything and it turns out delicious.
Chili and stews are also amazing because they are a great way to eat vegetables. I juice veggies, sure, and love a Real V8 Juice. But you should eat them, too.
Have you ever sat down to eat a raw carrot? That’s rabbit food. It takes forever to eat a single carrot. Now chop up that same carrot and cook it in chili and it’s soft and delicious. It’s a little sweet, even.
And because you’re going to eat all of the stew, you don’t lose any nutrients from cooking them. (Some nutrients get altered; in fact, some nutrients are more bioavailable in cooked rather than raw form.)
Alpha Chili Recipe
I do not count calories, gents, so don’t even ask me how many calories are in these recipes. My dieting is based on this, “Oh, I’m a little soft. Be a little hungry after each meal. Oh, I need to gain muscle. Make sure I’m full.”
This could be anything. I use salmon, mahi mahi, ground trukey, turkey meatballs, pork roasts, whole chickens, flank steak, beef butts, ground beef, whatever. Use what you can afford.
How much? As much as you can afford. Remember, if you get a crock pot you can use skirt steak and other less expensive cuts on meat.
Tomato paste/canned tomatoes.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which is a natural sunscreen and skin protectant. It also gives your skin a glow.
Tomato paste is a thickener, that is, it gives you stew or chili rather than soup. (There’s some concern about BPAs in canned tomatoes. I don’t think it’s a huge deal, but do your own research and make your decisions.)
The best thing about chili? You don’t taste the vegetables!
I don’t really understand the food science, but I do know that with chili you really don’t tasted the vegetables you put into it. You taste the tomatoes and spices and meat, but the veggies go unnoticed.
Carrots go great with stews and chili. They are filling and loaded with antioxidants. Carrots improve your skin tone and texture.
Greens go great with chili, too. However, wait until the very end to throw them in. Otherwise they will just sort of dissolve and be a little too bitter.
Soak your dry beans overnight in water. Use a lot of water. Cover the lentils fully with room to spare, as the beans and lentils will expand up to three times their size.
Once they are ready, dump out the water and you have lentils and beans for chili and stew.
There’s a concept called “volumetrics.” You want to eat a lot of food to fill up your stomach without getting fat.
I like using green beans as filler. They are inexpensive, fiber rich, and have some vitamins and minerals in them, too.
I also use a mixed vegetables bag from Costco. It contains carrots, peas, green beans, and corn.
Celery and onions also go well with alpha chili.
I use one tablespoon of curry powder. (This stuff is good.)
Start with less rather than more. You can add spices to under-seasoned foods, but if you over-season your meals, you’re screwed.
How to Cook Alpha Chili
This is easy. There are two ways.
With a crock pot.
Throw everything in together. Cook it on low for 8 hours. That’s it.
You can cook your food the night before and wake up to your food for the rest of the day.
I use this Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker because it has a timer on it and because you can cook a lot of food at once.
If you can’t afford $49 for a crock pot, save your money. It’s an investment in your health that will also save you hundreds of dollars a year. You can also buy a less expensive crock pot like this one.
Without a crock pot.
Brown the meat. Drain the grease with a strainer.
Throw in beans/lentils, tomato paste, tomatoes, vegetables, and spices into a pot.
Cook on low for 20-30 minutes.
Yep, that’s it.
Area you ready to get F.A.F. (Fancy As F–K)?
Get yourself a delicious roast or some lamb. Throw some rosemary and oil on it. Pan sear it until the sides are golden brown.
Then throw that bad boy into your chili. (Don’t use tomatoes, though. Use vegetable stock instead.) You want to taste the rosemary and other spices.
You can use vegetable stock (or water) to make your chili more stew like.
If you didn’t fully soak your lentils, you may need to add additional liquid or else your chili may be too dry.
You can throw an entire chicken (take out the plastic crap inside of it first, though) into the crock pot and then make alpha chicken chili.
I eat the bones, as a matter of fact, as the crock pot completely cooks the chicken down and the bones are soft.
Experiment for yourself and Post your recipes.
There’s no right or wrong answers here. Just throw a bunch of meat and vegetables and beans and spices together and see what you like.