Feijoada (Brazilian black bean stew)

This recipe was a long time in the making. I tried so many “authentic” feijoada recipes that just fell flat or required me to shop at specialty markets. No thanks, I’m a simple lady. I want to be able to run to my local grocery store and buy everything I need under $20. I decided to wing it one day and I’m so glad I did! This recipe turned out to be SO simple and required a minimal amount of ingredients. No need for a specialty market!!

Let’s go!

Side note: My little kitchen has poor lighting but I did my best with the pictures.

1. Soak you black beans over night. This will keep the cook time reasonable. You can also use a pressure cooker but to be honest, I don’t own one and have no idea how to go about using one. 

2. Rub a generous amount of salt onto your pork and cut them into pieces big enough to fit in your pot.  Add olive oil to pot and brown the ribs.

3. Once brown, remove the ribs and add the chopped onion. Sprinkle a bit of salt over them and stir. Cook until tender.Add garlic and cook until fragrant and then add the ribs back in. Fill pot with water until the ribs are fully covered. Cook for an hour.

4. Drain water from soaked beans and add beans to the pot. Add bay leaves and fill with water, about 2 inches above the beans. You may need to add water as it cooks. Cook until beans are tender. I like to cook the beans all day and periodically check them to see if it needs more water. Cooking them all day make them easier to digest and reduces all the gastro issues that comes with beans.  

5. Remove a bowlful of beans and use a fork to smash it. You want it to become paste-like. This will thicken your dish and make it delicious. I like my feijoada to be extra thick so I smash 2 bowlfuls.

6. At some point I like to take my ribs out and pull any large fat pieces off the bone. The meat should fall apart. You don’t have to do this but I do becuase the texture of fat is gag worthy. Add all the meat back in, including the bones.

You are done at this point. I keep the food cooking on the stove until my husband gets home so he can have a fresh bowl. Feijoada is traditionally eaten with white rice, collard greens, farofa (toasted cassava flour mixture), and a couple of orange slices. If you have IBS I would make sure these aren’t trigger food for you. I usually portion out a few meals worth of beans and then freeze the rest because, believe me, this is a lot of food! 

Feijoada (Brazilian Black bean stew)
A simple recipe that will feed your family for days
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb of black beans
  2. 1 package of Pork ribs
  3. 6 tablespoons of oil
  4. 1 onion, chopped
  5. 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  6. 2 bay leaves
  7. salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Soak the beans overnight.
  2. Add olive oil to a large pot and rub a generous amount of salt on the pork. Cut the pork into small enough portions so that it will fit comfortably in the pot. Add pork to pot and brown.
  3. Once browned, remove pork, set aside. Add onion to the pot with a dash of salt, cook until tender
  4. Add garlic and cook until fragrant
  5. Add ribs and fill pot with water until the ribs are covered. Cook for about an hour.
  6. Drain water from beans and add beans to pot. Then add bay leaves and fill the pot with water until water level is 2 inches above the beans.
  7. Cook until beans are tender, stirring occationally (I cook them all day). Add more water if needed.
  8. Remove a bowlful of beans and smash, add back in.
  9. Remove meat from pot and remove any large fatty chunks. Add the meat and bones back into pot. Discard fat.
  10. Keep cooking until you like the consistency
Notes
  1. Traditionally, it is served over white rice with a side of farofa(toasted cassava flour mixture), collard greens, and a couple slices of oranges.
Mint Green Living http://www.mintgreenliving.com/

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Natural Remedy: Peppermint to treat IBS + why it works

I have suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, for over 20 years now. Almost my entire life. When I was younger I had a hard time dealing with my condition because of the pain, discomfort and anxiety it caused. I missed out on so many opportunities like sleepovers with my friends, vacations with my family, and the drop and go mentality that I yearned for. My life lacked the spontaneity that childhood thrives on. As as got older I began making the connection between food and my IBS, and I started a string of elimination diets via my doctors advice. During my last elimination diet, about 5 months ago, I sat cross legged on my kitchen table and thought about what I was going to make for dinner from my small list of “safe” foods that my doctor gave me. I thought and thought until I broke down in tears. Look, I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard. Those of you out there with this condition know how hard it can get sometimes. When you just want to have a normal, good ole’ American meal but you know that if you do you’ll be hanging out in the bathroom for the next couple of days as punishment. It’s been a long, long road but even when I’m on the verge of tears, I am happy to say that at 25 years old, I have more control of my IBS then I ever have. I generally know what foods are going to ruin my day but some days I experience symptoms for seemingly no reason at all. For days like those, I lean on a hot cup of strong, medicinal peppermint tea. It has been the only thing that has consistently settled my stomach within minutes of an attack. I will drink this until the day I die…or until they find a cure, whichever comes first.

Peppermints widespread use in chewing gum and candies are what it’s most known for but its lesser known use is in medicinal tea for ailments such as indigestion, colds, coughs, muscle aches and tension headaches. Lesser known but not new; Mint has been known to be used during medieval times as a natural cure for stomach ailments. Alright, let’s get started!

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WHAT IS IBS?


Here are some boring facts!! It is estimated that 11% of the global population suffers from IBS; Thatโ€™s over 800 million people!! It is classified as a chronic functional gastrointestinal disorder that is characterized by constipation, diarrhea, urgency, abdominal pain, gas, and bloating {chronic =longterm, functional=impairs normal function but under examination is completely normal}. The cause of IBS is unknown but what we do known is that it is generally triggered by food and stress, although it varies among suffers. Within the disorder there are 3 “subtypes”; IBS-D (Diarrhea) , IBS-C (Constipation), and IBS-M (a mixture of the two).  This is important regarding the what steps you need to take to alleviate your symptoms. I will explain more below.

 WHY PEPPERMINT WORKS


This is where it gets a bit more sciencey. If your not into it then just read the bold parts. You’ll get the gist. 

Peppermint works by relaxing the smooth muscles of the lower GI track. For a person with IBS, these muscles don’t work properly. In IBS-D, the predominately diarrhea variety, these muscles work in overdrive and rush food through the GI system which creates the pain, gas, bloating, and diarrhea that patients exhibit. In IBS-C, the predominately constipation variety, the exact opposite happens. The muscles work very slow and move food through the GI system at a snails pace which results in constipation.

Because peppermint works as a calming agent, it is not effective for IBS-C patients. 

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NATURAL BEAUTY

Ready to get technical? This is how it works. Within the smooth muscles of the GI track we have calcium ion channels. If you remember back to high school biology, a calcium ion channel is a “path” that allows the calcium ion to go from one side of a membrane to the other. Now, we also have something called a voltage-dependent calcium ion channel, that are located in our muscles, and it works in the same way except it relies on an electrical current to open and close the channels. These voltage-dependent calcium channels are responsible for muscle contractions. The concentration of calcium outside of the membrane is several thousand times higher than on the inside and, at rest, there is no calcium exchange in and out of the membrane. Because of the large concentration difference, the moment the voltage-dependent channel opens via electrical current, a large amount of calcium rushes into the cell and the drastic influx of calcium causes a muscle contraction. In the case of IBS, it causes muscle spasms of the GI tract.

Peppermint works by decreasing the peak voltage in the channel and, in turn, reduces the calcium influx into the cell thus inducing smooth muscle relaxation.  

Boom. Science.

HOW TO USE: TEA & OIL


Tea:

This is my preferred method. I start every morning with a pipping hot cup of tea. Then I usually forget about it because I have the attention span of a squirrel. It’s been so long that now I just lie to myself. No, I actually like my tea cold. Either way, purchase medicinal peppermint herbs{in tea bags or loose leaf} or grow your own peppermint plant and use its harvest for your tea {Note: If purchasing tea, you need to buy tea for medicinal use, any other form won’t be strong enough because they use much less peppermint}. For example, my peppermint teabags contain 4 grams of pure peppermint! You can also just buy the store bought stuff and double up on teabags per serving. My personal recommendation is below, in the next section.

  1. Pour 1 cup of near boiling water over a teabag or a heaping spoon of dried peppermint leaves.
  2. Steep for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Strain and enjoy.

Feel free to use it 2-3 times a day around meal time. 

Peppermint_TeabagsEnteric-coated Oil Capsule:

Most of the studies I list below use oil capsules. So, if you want to follow exactly what the studies have done then I recommend sticking to enteric-coated oil capsules. The coating allows the oil to release in the right place in you digestive tract. In terms of how often you should take them, just follow the recommended dose listed on the bottle. 

Note: If you suffer from GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) then I recommend looking for an alternative to peppermint. It will cause your acid reflex to worsen.  

MY RECOMMENDATIONS


My top recommendation is Heather’s Peppermint Tummy Tea. This is strong tea. It is guaranteed to make your house smell like candy cane, which I love for obvious reasons. This is the exact product I use. The peppermint is incased in chlorine free teabags, is USDA organic, and is caffeine free.  She also has a loose leaf version.

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CLINICAL TRIALS

This is were the science-based part of my blog really comes into play. Below are scientific studies, written in peer reviewed academic journals, regarding the effectiveness of peppermint at reducing IBS symptoms. 

 

Tell me your story! Do you or a loved one have IBS? Have you tried peppermint to reduce your symptoms? Tell me in the comment section below!

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