A Summary of our Daniel Experiment


Collard Green Wrapped Burritos

First, let me apologize for the long break. The Lady and I finished up the 6 week purge and have remained for the most part dedicated to the changes we made. This is due to two big things.

One- We saw real results. I lost 30Lbs, a couple jean sizes and  fit into my first pair of Levi 501s. This may not seem do be that big a deal but in all the years I can remember my thighs and butt have been to big for 501s, not any more.

Two- We feel sick and gross every time we have more than a little animal protein. And by gross,  I mean awful. Dairy is the worst by the way, which makes the semi cheese addicted lady very sad. Honestly though, when she isn’t being dramatic and it’s not in front of her, she doesn’t really miss it.

This little experiment has truly transformed our relationship with food. We look at portions differently, we read ALL the labels, and a little goes a long way. If we must try the local cheese on our travels, we’re content to have a small delicious bite. If we have a bowl of broth-y soup or a plate of cooked vegetables, we aren’t looking for the rest of the meal. We are over our cooking rules. Nothing is out of bounds. We have learned to question cooking methods and ingredients. Of course, losing the oil was the biggest factor. We sauté all the time with water only. We bake without added fat. Our dressings are totally healthy. We no longer feel like we have to conform. All of these changes happened in about a month. It’s shocking really. We’re more adventurous and more confident than before. This transformation has been a very good thing for us. We have broken out of the American norm. With the exit of the Standard American Diet, we hope to get off the trending bandwagon of obesity, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions plaguing western society. As we hope our family grows one day, we are trying to ensure our future littles have the best possible chance at a healthy life free of some of our own struggles. Truth be told, we could make all of the right choices in the kitchen and still end up in a bad position, but at least this way, we know we’re giving ourselves what we believe to be the best chance possible. We’re taking control. We’re trusting the Lord while being good stewards of this temple he has given us. We’re trying at least. We think this will be a lifelong journey of living and learning. It’s not an obsession, but a conscious decision to be our best.

Which brings me to my next point…. Being a vegan is not always healthy. Much like anyone eating a “regular” omni diet, we have to be aware of vitamins and minerals and how are body is absorbing them. Just like everyone that eats meat…. Ok, most people that eat meat don’t pay much attention to that, although no one seems to worried about vitamin deficiency unless you’ve decided to eat a plant based diet. If you’re going to ask your vegetarian and vegan friends about how they’re getting their protein, please ask your steak eating friends if they’re getting enough of everything else (and actually protein believe it or not) and if they’re doing anything to cleanse their possible (maybe likely) clogged arteries. Eating a diet of steak and potatoes is not healthier than a vegan living on salads and fruit. Both are seriously lacking balance. Balance gives us all of the things our body needs. We eat a mix of beans, veggies, mushrooms, leafy greens, complex carbohydrates, fruits, nuts, and seeds. We can get everything we need from those foods when eaten in the right proportions and combos. We’re fine, but if you are looking at a plant based diet, please do your research and be sure figure out how to do it in a healthy, not-vitamin-or-mineral-deficient way.

Oh, and consider a B12 supplement. Look into and/or talk to your doctor. OR eat something animal based once a week – like lean Omega-3 filled fish.

So this hopefully is the first post in what will be our continued dietary adventures and we will be writing about how we adapt to a cruise at the end of the month. We hope that you continue to read and we appreciate all the views we have had so far. As payment for your loyalty and recompense for my inattentiveness, here is one of our favorite recipes from the last four weeks. Expect to see new recipes at least once a week. Things will probably slow down as now we are cooking a lot of things on repeat.

Also if you have questions, suggestions or requests please feel free to post in the comments.


  • Collard Green Wrapped Burritos
  • Black Beans
  • Cilantro Lime Brown Rice
  • Pico De Gallo
  • Peamole (original recipe here  or modified below for your convenience)

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Collard Green Wrapped Burritos – Makes about 8 burritos. It looks like a lot, but really takes about 45 minutes if the beans are done. While the rice cooks, prepare everything else. If you are doing a family meal, get everyone involved. There are lots of things to do, so get everyone to help.

  • 8 Large Fresh Collard Green Leaves
  • 1 Recipe Black Beans or two 15 oz. Cans of Reduced Sodium Black Beans
  • 1 Recipe Cilantro Lime Brown Rice
  • 1 Recipe Pico de Gallo or about 3 Cups Prepared Pico de Gallo
  • 1 Recipe Peamole or about 1.5 Cups Prepared Guacamole

Optional Extras

  • Chopped Jalapeños (PLEASE don’t touch your eyes from the time you touch these until after you’ve cleaned your hands and scrubbed your nails really well.)
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Chili Powder
  • Hot Sauce

Bring water to a boil in the largest stockpot you have. Once the water is boiling, turn heat to medium, add a couple of the collard green leaves and let sit for 5-10 minutes or until leaves are a little floppy. You don’t need them to be fully cooked, just flexible. The boiling helps the bitterness calm down a little.

Pick a leaf. Cut off the extra stem at the end so it’s just the leaf. There is nothing wrong with the stem, just not necessary. Spread out your leaf on a large plate with remaining stem side up (so the other side is smooth). Add black beans, brown rice, pico de gallo, and peamole in the amount of your choice. Sprinkle cilantro, cilantro, nutritional yeast, chili powder, and hot sauce as desired.  Take the top of the leaf (the pointy-ish part of the leaf with the least amount of stem as the stem runs down the middle) and fold it in over your ingredients like a little pocket. Now, take the bottom part with the thickest part of the stem and fold it in. Now take the right or left of the stem, fold it in, then do the last part to tightly roll your burrito. It should look like a burrito now except with green instead of a tortilla. Turn it over so the seam side is down on the plate to serve. These leaves are stronger than you think, so they shouldn’t really leak unless there are holes or tears. Enjoy 🙂

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Black Beans – If you make the entire bag for the burritos as I’m suggesting, you will likely have some left over. Use these in another recipe or freeze them for later use. I prefer this method since beans take time. May as well make them all at once. If you are trying to make burritos quick, consider making your beans the night before. Dry beans are healthier and far less expensive than canned, but do take more time. Ok, a lot more. They aren’t hard to do, just take more time. Thanks Ely for helping me get over my fear of dry beans!

  • 16 oz. Bag of Dried Black Beans soaked about 8 hours or overnight
  • 2 teaspoons salt (If you can, this is one of those that works far better with salt.)
  • Water (enough to cover the beans with about an extra inch)

Option 1 (better) – Rinse and sort beans. By sort, I mean pull out the ones that look like little stones or that just look really bad. Soak beans overnight by putting them in a bowl covered completely with water. I add about 2 inches over them as they will soak the water and then forget them. If you aren’t going to use the beans until night, you can also do this first think in the morning before work. Once you’re ready to start cooking, drain the beans and rinse them.  Add beans to a medium size or larger pot. Cover beans with water until there is about an inch extra. Bring beans to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer covered. After about 30 minutes, check to make sure there is still enough water, add more if necessary, and stir in salt. Simmer until tender. It usually takes about 1 hour for mine if I’ve soaked them. Check them often so they don’t turn mushy. Also, make sure there is enough water. Add more to keep them covered if necessary. When ready to use, just scoop them out with a slotted spoon. They do not need to be drained. Water is flavorful and nutritious  and can be used as a base for chili or other soups if you want to keep it.

Option 2 – Rinse and sort dry beans. Add beans to a medium size or larger pot. Cover beans with water until there is about 2 inches extra. Bring beans to a boil and boil them on high for about 2 hours. Check often to add water when necessary as beans will soak it up. Turn heat down to simmer, add salt, and simmer until tender. This shouldn’t take too long after boiling. They may be cooked already. Check them often so they don’t turn mushy. Also, continue to make sure there is enough water. Add more to keep them covered if necessary. When ready to use, just scoop them out with a slotted spoon. They do not need to be drained. Water is flavorful and nutritious  and can be used as a base for chili or other soups if you want to keep it.

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Cilantro Lime Brown Rice 

  • 2 cups dry Brown Rice
  • 6 cups Water (or more if your package demands it)
  • 1/3 c. Lime Juice (less if you don’t want it very noticeable)
  • 1/8 c. Chopped Fresh Cilantro (I just shred this with my fingers to be honest. I hate chopping herbs.)
  • Dash of Salt
  • Handful of Cilantro shredded

Mix all ingredients except final handful of cilantro in a pot. Bring to a boil. Boil until tender, but not mushy. This takes about 30 minutes for me. Once texture is right, drain rice. Mix in remaining fresh cilantro into drained rice. That’s it!

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Pico de Gallo

  • 8 -10 Fresh Firm Tomatoes
  • 1 Onion diced (I like purple or sweet. Purple onions are smaller, but stronger.)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1/2 c. or preferred amount Chopped Fresh Cilantro (I like to hand shred it.)
  • 2 Jalapeños seeded and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Lime Juice or Juice of 1 Fresh Lime (try 1/2 first to see if it’s enough for you)
  • Dash of Seasoning Salt or Salt if desired (Easy to omit for salt free as it already has a lot of flavor.)

Cut tomatoes in quarters and remove seedy center. You can save it for tomato pasta sauce another day if you like. Chop tomatoes and put them into a large bowl. Add onions, garlic, cilantro, and jalapeños and mix well. Add jalapeño seeds as desired to make it spicy. If you want them REALLY spicy, try roasting the entire jalapeño in the over before hand. Once your happy with it, at lime juice and salt to taste.

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Peamole – Adjusted Slightly for Collard Green Burritos Even though there wasn’t any salt, it was hardly missed with all of the flavor. I used about 1/2 peas and 1/2 avocado. It gave me extra cooked veggies and cut the fat without losing the avocado flavor. If you want to cut the fat more, use more peas and less avocados. Don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients. After peas are cooked (you can use canned if you don’t want to cook them), it should take less than 10 minutes to prepare.

Main Ingredients

  • 3/4 c. Green Peas cooked (and cooled if possible)
  • 1  Ripe Avocado
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic minced
  • Handful of Cilantro shredded
  • 1 Tbsp Lime Juice


  • 2 Tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Roasted Coriander
  • 1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

Smash avocado and peas together. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Add additional cayenne pepper to reach desired spiciness.

Why aren’t there more vegetables like jalapeños, tomatoes, and onions? Because this will be mixed with the other ingredients and it’s redundant. If you are preparing this for a side instead of a condiment on these burritos, use the original recipe linked above or here.



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