Coconut Jerk Sweet Potato & Black Bean Bowl

Lately my life has been about carbs. Lots and lots of carbs. We're old friends, carbs and me… but I didn't always run with the best crowds of carbs. White pasta, loaves of bread, greasy potato chips, and fistfuls of chocolate chip cookies were my besties. But, what I didn't know, is that those jackasses were playing me behind my back the whole time… the betrayal! The delicious, delicious betrayal.

Starting Memorial Day, I entered the second "Rock the Box" challenge at my local CrossFit gym (CrossFit Copley, represent!). The first round, which took place at the beginning of the year, provided significant body fat loss, muscle gain, and a complete revamping of my understanding (and implementation) of quality nutrition. This time around, I'm looking to pack on some muscle.

So where do carbs come into play? Seeing as we're probably all familiar with the fad diets out there, carbs can often be labeled as the enemy. But they're really not! Not unless you run with the wrong crowd, that is. "Simple" carbs used to rule my life, to the point of frequent omission of fresh fruits (especially greens!), vegetables, and legumes. Cereal for breakfast? Sure! Giant bowl of pasta for lunch? Yes, please! Big sammich with a side of tater chips for dinner? Every day! …What I've come to realize is just how much my overindulgence had been holding me back from reaching any physical goals after which I strived. Spiking my blood sugar, gassing up my gut, slothing me out on the couch, and feeding my cravings for sweets, I was not healthy.

Carbohydrates have been a daily part of my nutritional planning nowadays - when do I eat them? How much per serving? Complex or simple? And, lately: How do I spice them up? Having been recommended daily macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) to follow on an as-clean-as-I-can-eat, whole foods diet, carbs had re-entered my life, center stage! Building muscle requires a lot of these bad boys - er, well, not-so-bad boys.

But one can only have so much oats, brown rice, and quinoa before things need to be kicked up a notch. Feeling inspired after looking through my pantry, I made note of my spicy jerk marinade and jar of coconut oil… and thus, this flavorful bowl was born!

Coconut Jerk Sweet Potato and Black Bean Bowl
4 servings

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes
2 tbsp organic coconut oil
1 can (15oz) of organic black beans, drained
1 tbsp spicy jerk marinade
1-1.5 cups organic bell peppers, diced
1 cup red onion, diced
2-4 tbsp scallions (optional)
2 tbsp of your favorite salsa per bowl (to be added before serving)

What's your favorite bad-boy carb?

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