With my Clean Cuisine Cookbook about to launch in less than 4-weeks, I have been so busy with pre-marketing and pre-publicity for the book that I have barely had time to cook! It sounds ridiculous that a cookbook author wouldn’t have time to cook, but with all that is going on that is honest and truly the current situation.
Anyway, the last month or so has been incredibly hectic but as I always say, you can always find a silver lining in your struggles if you look 😉 The silver lining to the pre-book launch chaos is that I have 100% fallen in love with my Instant Pot (and this new cleaned up Instant Pot Beef Chili recipe!)
Seriously, the Instant Pot is saving dinner for us. I have been working till 7:30 at night most nights and there’s just no way I could put together decent meals without my Instant Pot these days.
Is the Instant Pot TRULY Easy To Use?
As many of you may know, I am not a big fan of fancy cooking gadgets and and new technology almost always overwhelms me. When I initially heard about the Instant Pot I looked at it as if it were a potentially complicated new-age appliance that would take me forever to learn to use. Let’s just say I wasn’t jumping on the bandwagon to buy one like all of the other food bloggers were!
One of the only reasons I even got an Instant Pot in the first place was because so many readers were asking me for clean Instant Pot recipes. I’m probably the least competent tech-savvy food blogger that exists so even after I brought my Instant Pot home I let it sit in the box for ages. But honest and truly, the Instant Pot has to be one of the easiest cooking appliances I have ever used (or at least the one I have is!)
Why I Like the Instant Pot Better Than a Slow Cooker
Once I got past the technology concerns, I found the Instant Pot to be far superior to the slow cooker for 2 reasons:
- You can saute directly in the Instant Pot cooking vessel (and do everything in one pot.) One of the biggest reasons slow cooked recipes can sometimes be a disappointment is because most slow cook recipes have you throw everything in the pot, set it and forget it. But the problem is, if you don’t pre-saute certain ingredients, the recipe simply won’t turn out as good as it should. For example, whether you make this chili recipe below in an Instant Pot or a Slow Cooker, for best results you really need to pre-saute the meat, vegetables and tempeh first. If you use a Slow Cooker you will need to saute everything in a separate pan and then transfer it to the slow cooker. If you use the Instant Pot, you can just saute everything directly in the pot before you close the lid and turn on the pressure. In other words, the Instant Pot enables you to truly make a one-dish dinner. And one less dish to clean is one BIG perk as far as I’m concerned 😉
- The Instant Pot cooks everything to perfection in minutes (yes, in minutes!) I realize a lot of home cooks might prefer the idea of prepping their evening meal in the morning and letting it slow cook hands-free all day, but for me and my lifestyle I just honestly have a really hard time psychologically prepping dinner at breakfast time. So for me, the fact that I can wait until the very last minute with an Instant Pot recipe and still end up with a dinner that tastes like it’s been simmering all day is another BIG perk.
What Makes This a Cleaner Instant Pot Beef Chili Recipe?
It’s got less meat and more plant protein!
If you are familiar with our Clean Cuisine nutrition book, you recognize our anti-inflammatory food pyramid (please see below) and you know why we are not vegan but still emphasize the importance of eating less meat and more plants. But if you are new to Clean Cuisine, here are 5 reasons why eating less meat and more plant protein is a cleaner and healthier way to go:
- LESS TOXINS. Animal foods are highest on the food chain and the higher you go on the food chain the more toxins accumulate. Therefore, reducing your animal food intake and replacing it with unrefined “whole” plant foods is a great way to reduce your toxin load. (By the way, ALL unrefined “whole” plant foods have protein. Yes, even lettuce has protein!)
- MORE FIBER. Unrefined, unprocessed “whole” plant proteins always come packaged with anti-inflammatory fiber. Please note the emphasis on the fact that the plant proteins must be in their unrefined, unprocessed form in order to also have fiber. For example, soy protein isolate is NOT a “whole food”; it has been processed and the fiber and many other phytonutrients have been removed. In comparison, the unrefined, unprocessed tempeh I use in my Cleaner Instant Pot Beef Chili Recipe is a “whole” food that not only contains lots of plant protein, but also a hefty dose of fiber! And of course the beans and vegetables that are also in the chili are loaded with anti-inflammatory fiber too. (***You can read more about the benefits of tempeh HERE!***)
- MORE PHYTONUTRIENTS. Adding more disease-fighting phytonutrients to your diet is one of the most important steps you can take to slow the aging process and reduce inflammation. And the only way to increase your intake of phytonutrients is to eat more plants and less animal foods. That’s because animal foods do not contain phytonutrients. (***You can read more about why phytonutrients are so important for good health HERE!***)
- LESS CALORIES. Ounce for ounce, swapping “whole” plant foods that are rich in protein for animal food will dramatically reduce your calorie intake. Most importantly, the plant foods still take up a lot of bulk and space in your stomach so they help work mechanically to keep you feeling full and satisfied.
- LESS PRO-INFLAMMATORY ANIMAL-BASED SATURATED FAT. Animal-based saturated fat is pro-inflammatory and so the less of it you can eat, the better.
For those of you with food allergies and food sensitivities, it’s helpful to know this Cleaner Instant Pot Beef Chili meets the following dietary restrictions:
Dairy Free/ Egg Free/ Nut Free/ Grain Free