Feed-Zone: Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Eating to support an endurance training regimen can be challenging at times. Cycling workouts burn a massive amount of calories and simply getting enough to eat has always been a personal challenge.

It’s not the eating that I find challenging; I like that part.

Food is expensive and it’s tempting to spend money on takeout during workdays. Often the last thing I want to do for myself at the end of my busy days is cook and do dishes. In an attempt to save money on takeout I’m challenging myself to cook more. The only way I can keep the enthusiasm for cooking is if the meals are simple, cheap and easy to clean up after.

All meals attempt to be high in carbohydrates, protein and fat. All meals are vegan out of compassion for animals.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

This recipe is easy, minimal preparation, one pot and easy clean up.



  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 oz package of tempeh
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile (see Note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro   (these would have made the recipe taste better, but ADD prevents me from remembering shopping lists)

Nutrition per serving: (estimated for 1 cup servings) 407 calories; 8 grams fat; 0mg cholesterol; 59 grams carbohydrates; 26 grams protein; 40% Iron DV

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Step one: Chop Things


Once you’ve chopped gathered all your spices it’s time to heat up some oil.


Shit, I’m going to need a larger pot.



That’s better, throw everything in there. Continuously stir until the onions become soft.



Add 2 1/2 cups of water and set heat to medium to work the water into a nice simmer.


I set the timer for 12 minutes, but it took about 15 minutes for the potatoes to become soft.


Yea, those are some NICE beans!


Dump the beans and the can of diced tomatoes into the pot. Blast it with high heat and let it reduce to your desired level of thickness.


Serve over rice and eat it. Put the rest in containers for the week and clean that single pot very well. You’re good to go.


Ride Diary #1 3/27/2014 Wompin’ Around

There are moments where I regret choices I have made.

I dug 2 dollars out of my wallet and reached my arm in deep in the change jar extracting another $1.75 in quarters out of the change jar. I selected my beer, expensive and delicious, but not out of control. I place my beer on the checkout counter and the cashier says “$3.80” please. I hand her $3.75 and she says “do you have a nickel, if not there’s one on the floor over there.”

I am the man who pays for beer with change on the floor.

I’m living the cliché. I’m an aspiring bike racer who works at a bike shop. I rarely have M-F schedule. This can be taxing on my social life. I’m constantly playing a game of spending my days off alone while others are at work and trying to get enough sleep on the weekends. I’m also not paid very well.

There are times I wish I had tried harder in school and perhaps changed my major. I could have that 9-5 office job filing papers and making Excel spreadsheets. I could wait in enormous queues for brunch on Sundays and complain about it being Monday again. I would receive a large deposit into my bank account biweekly and not worry about paying the bills.

I am being sarcastic to a degree. I crave normalcy, complacency and financial security like everyone else.  Spending my days off alone or my Saturday nights in bed gets old. I’m tried of just scraping by. These negative thoughts can overwhelm me.

Whenever I feel stressed out I remind myself that it’s a pleasure to be alive. Sometimes I feel a need for constant productivity that believe is fueled by the busy world that surrounds us. I remind myself that on some days simply being present with everything in my life is productive enough.

Mostly this is a lot of bullshit I feed myself to feel better. However, there are days like today in which the mantra above ring true.

It’s noon on a Thursday afternoon and I’m speeding out of the Southbound I-93 tunnel in Boston. The highway is virtually empty right now. I have music playing loudly and there’s a visceral sense of excitement running through my body. It’s a beautiful and warm sunny day. This winter has been brutal and any chance to get outside is one that cannot be missed.

I’ve been spending much of the winter riding on the road loosing feeling in my hands in feet. The long rides through dirty and salty roads in the greater Boston area have been nothing short of mind numbing and boring. I’ve been dying to get out on my mountain bike. Unfortunately due to the large amount of snow we’ve received this year, may of the trails in the Boston area are mud bogs.

I heard a rumor that Wompatuck State Park in Hingham was bone dry. I’m in route now. I blow by the other cars in the left lane doing 80mph. I get off the highway and drive on side streets that are a stark contrast to the urban area I live in. Old New England homes with big lawns. I park the car and begin exploring Wompatuck.

The park is empty besides the occasional dog walker on the pavement that loops around the park; I am alone. There’s something amazing about mountain biking that you cannot get from road cycling. Every second of your ride needs to be mindful. You can drift off into space pedaling on a straight road. You have to be fully focused on the task at hand or you will go over the handlebars.

I get lost several times, but eventually find my way back to the car after 2 hours of riding. I grab another water bottle and head out for one more hours. On my second return the car I’m shattered and hungry.

I leave the park around 4:30 just in time to subject myself to Boston’s rush hour. The highway flows freely just until you hit the tunnel. The next 30 minutes are spent trying to see if 2nd gear provides me with enough engine braking to not hit the car in front of me. I think to myself “thank god I don’t have to do this everyday.”

There’s nothing like the fruitless adventure of riding a bike all day. Often I schedule workouts, so I can keep myself on track with training and fit cycling into my busy life. Then there are days where the only objective is simply to see how far I can ride my bike. It’s utterly pointless in the eyes of some, but there’s nothing better than simply being in the moment.

It’s when I come home shattered with a never-ending appetite and struggle to write a blog post before falling asleep that I question my sanity.