The honest to butternut squash truth (can you think of a better vegetable to swear on?  Because I can’t.) about my history with exercise is that I woke up one morning in college and decided to go to the gym.

I kind of wish this weren’t true, but I did it because of a boy.  I had been dating someone and he just randomly stopped returning my calls err umm…AIM messages.  I’m sure I spent a few days crying and mulling over the reasons why he decided on that specific day at that specific time to jump ship.  And came to the conclusion that, whatever his sordid reasoning (though I later found out he was struggling with a major depressive episode and that it really had nothing to do with me), I never wanted to feel like a guy didn’t like me because of the way I looked.  I never again wanted to feel like my weight was an issue.  And while I couldn’t control whether someone liked my personality or the color of my hair, I could control my weight and at least make sure that it wasn’t something I was insecure about.

So to the gym I went.  And went.  And went.  Every day thereafter.

Ever and anon.


And it’s not that I love it.

While I’m on the elliptical, watching Kim Zolciak go into labor or bobbing my head to one of Taylor Swift’s music videos for the fifth time in twenty minutes (for some reason the New York Sports Club’s music channels think it’s inspiring for us worker-outers to have her on repeat.  Note – NOT.).  Or doing squat after squat and lunge after lunge in a total body conditioning class.  I want it to be over.

But that feeling after I have done it?  That intense rush of accomplishment I get when I step back into my apartment, sweaty and refreshed and cleansed?  It’s one for the books.

Running, for me, is different though.  I do love it.  Every step.  I love the feeling of the wind rushing past me as I rush past it.  I love the feeling of my feet hitting the pavement.  I love knowing that I am doing something, going somewhere, getting. it. done.

And it’s not that it’s easy.  Doing hill repeats. Is hard. Running twenty miles.  Is hard.

(Not eating an entire bag of mint chocolate M&M’s in one sitting…is hard impossible.)

But, like that quote up there says.  Isn’t that the point?


This past week was a mix of good and bad on the healthy eating front.  I ate dessert for dinner on Saturday.

Inhaled at least eight different cookies on Sunday.

And still lost 1.8 pounds.

And I’m a hundred percent sure that this was because I worked out six out of seven days.  And ate totally wholesome good healthy food for five.

Lesson learned – expecting to be perfect when it comes to eating and exercise every second of every day is impossible.  And unnecessary.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  Just start again the next day and, by moving forward and not letting yesterday’s indulgences pervade today’s choices, everything will be alright.

I love finding healthy eating inspiration from other bloggers and one of my favorites is France of Beyond the Peel.  Rather than worrying about whether a dish is low calorie or low fat, she focuses on whether it’s full of whole, nutritionally dense foods.  Nothing processed.  Everything in moderation.

France and her husband have put together a cookbook, called the The Whole Food Revelation that goes through their food philosophy and then provides four weeks’ worth of whole food-based menus.  I was sent a copy to review and fell in love with it instantly, bookmarking almost every recipe.  Though they’re not all vegetarian, vegetarian options are provided for all dishes, which scored them major bonus points.

I was especially smitten after making this chili.  Slightly sweet, a bit tangy, and definitely spicy, it made my taste buds and my belly happy.  And kept me full for hours.  Love that.

So while getting yourself to the gym every day can be hard, eating well doesn’t have to be.  Especially not when it tastes this good!

Tell me, where do you guys find healthy food inspiration online?  Any favorite healthy food blogs out there?


Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili
Serves 4-6, adapted from Beyond the Peel


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into cubes
  • 8 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tbsp chipotle chili powder (or to taste…this was VERY spicy!)
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, minced


  1. In a large pot, cook the onions with the oil for about 5 minutes or until translucent and soft.  Add in the jalapeno and red bell pepper.  Saute for 5 minutes or until soft.  Add in the garlic and saute for one minute.
  2. Mix in the sweet potato, tomatoes, tomato paste, frozen corn and black beans.  Add in the cumin, coriander, and chili powder.  Saute for 1 minute or until fragrant. Stir in the pomegranate juice and cilantro.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 25 minutes or until sweet potato chunks are tender.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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110 Responses to Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili…Eat.Live.Be.

  1. This is a favorite of mine! I made it early this fall and am dying for a new batch! 🙂

  2. Allie K says:

    I WILL try this…and impress with this!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Now this I have made before. I love the combo of sweet potatoes and black beans.

  4. So delicious AND healthy! Those type are by far the best recipes 🙂

  5. Amy says:

    I like this combination – I often put it in enchiladas (sweet potatoes and black beans). I have been feeling especially lazy lately – I was doing so well all summer with working out, but now — mmmm… not so much…. I have to get back to it!

  6. Kristen says:

    I have been serving a lot more sweet potatoes lately. Sadly, not necessarily because they are super good for us, but more because they are $.39 pound and the size of footballs. (I realize I still pay per pound, but the size makes me feel like I am getting a deal). Anyhoo, I really want to try this chili. Sounds wonderful.

  7. France has some fantastic dishes, doesn’t she…and this one…oh yeah, it sounds awesome! I remember wanting to make it. I used to love to exercise and then I got lazy. I mean busy. Back in the day, though…hoooweee! I know, excuses excuses…

  8. Love this, and I love the idea of putting it in enchiladas!

  9. Big Dude says:

    The chili looks very good as well as healthy

  10. I think this is one of my favorite posts you have ever written, ever! You made SO many important points about outlooks on healthy eating and healthy living I just love it.

    Every time I made a delicious healthy dinner I wonder to myself why there are so many people out there that can’t do the same. Sure, some amazing dishes can’t be made healthy and taste as good, but some really can!

  11. Amy says:

    (1) Boys make us think and do all sorts of silly things. That’s what makes the world go round (2) I love that movie! (3) I hate exercising…(4) and the only reason I do it is so I CAN eat dessert for dinner and cookies for breakfast.

  12. Nicole, RD says:

    1.8lbs – woop! This time of year is so hard. I’m in “damage control” mode. Goal: maintenance. January: weight loss!

    This looks amazing! I can’t wait to make it.

  13. Lauren says:

    This is amazing! I work out 6 out of the 7 days a week but I’m inspired to do more. And I could not agree with you more after you said you still lost weight after the cookies, it’s about eating clean during the week and getting our butts to the gym for that sweat session. Yes it feels great to look good but it runs so much deeper than that! It’s about our health and treating our bodies right, we’ve only got one so it’s important to do everything in your power to be good to it.

  14. Danielle says:

    I’ve made sweet potato chili before – I love it. I like that this has pomegranate juice in it -I need to try that!

  15. Exercise does give you this amazing sense of empowerment, doesn’t it? Like you don’t give a heck about anything. I love that. That mug shot of the chili? Awesomesauce. Now to cook some beans so I can make this recipe.

  16. first of all black bean chili sounds fantastic but the addition of sweet potato makes it over the top! WOW!

  17. brocstar says:

    There are things that I have done because of a man that I wish I had just done on my own, but at least we do them!
    And really, working out IS for you. You might have started thinking, “I hope he thinks I’m sexy….” but I think what you really cared about is feeling sexy yourself!

  18. Thank you so much for the website recommendation. I love finding whole food recipes.

    That chili looks so heart warming.

  19. Shawnda says:

    1.8lbs is awesome when cookies are involved! And I feel totally inspired and motivated right now.

    But I have to admit, I’ll be jamming to Taylor Swift and liking it.

  20. Pam says:

    that sounds like a wonderful blog to check out, because that is pretty much how I am approaching food too.

  21. I just love your blog today! Your so right about exercisng and eating right. It goes to show losing almost 2lbs in a week is awesome and you were still able to eat some cookies! See we don’t have to be healthy every minute, what is life without a little indulgences every now and again! If we don’t have those treats once in a while, we tend to fail and give up on having a healthy lifestyle. As long as you eat healthy 80% of the time you will still lose weight and still be healthy!! Congratulations on the losing 1.8lbs! Thats awesome! The sweet potato and black bean chili looks great! I’m going to make a batch and what I can’t finish, I’m going to freeze for lunches and dinners! Have a great day!

  22. Jenna says:

    The chili does sound great, and I like the sound of that cookbook too! I like the ‘everything in moderation’ philosphy, because I think counting calories and dieting would drive me CRAZY–I’d start fantastizing immediately about all the things I couldn’t have.

  23. Great looking chili! I’d guess I’d have to come here for healthy inspiration. But I do like the more than occasional sweet treats!

  24. Barbara says:

    I am totally drooling over your photo of the chili in the cup. I wish that were in my kitchen right now!! Love the way you’re using sweet potatoes in so many ways. Will definitely check out Beyond the Peel and lucky you, losing without trying. I work out 6 days a week and it doesn’t work that way for me. But then, I’m old and my metabolism sucks.

  25. Cajunlicious says:

    So happy I found you on Apples and Twinkies, you’ve got yourself a new follower! This looks amazing! xo Jessica @ Cajunlicious

  26. Cara says:

    Love this post, Joanne! This is the message I try to tell my friends too. And by friends I include anyone who emails me about my blog or posts on random message boards about weight loss 😉

  27. France says:

    Hi Joanne, Thanks for the lovely feedback on the program. I love the change you made to add pomegranate juice instead of apple. What a fantastic idea. I’ll definitely want to try it your way!

  28. Dear Joanne, Something I know I would enjoy!! Blessings, Catherine xo

  29. Beth says:

    Any recipe with sweet potatoes and black beans has to be amazing! I love the way you describe France’s philosophy, and I’m on my way to check out her blog.

  30. Foodycat says:

    That looks so delicious! Hearty and nourishing.

  31. Interesting chilli, and interesting article. Few comments to make, some smart a****:)

    You can control the color of your hair quite easily. A friend used to change the color of her hair more frequently that I changed my clothes (not entirely correct but almost!)

    A friend told me that when we run our brains produce some chemical (can’t remember name). Its sort of a happy chemical, makes us happy, puts us in a good mood. He said you can get similar effect from taking certain drugs, I didn’t try that option, I prefer running. And you are right, running does get you “going somewhere”, literally.

    I used to go to the gym every other day and then suddenly each time I went I got completely exhausted after 5-10 minutes. I kept pushing myself to no avail. My gym instructor suggested I take a break for a week or so. That worked miracles. I guess unless we are professionals, going to the gym everyday is not good.

  32. Jen says:

    I’ve been on the lookout for a good, truly-healthy veg chili! THANK YOU!

  33. Shannon says:

    such a great post, my dear 🙂 definitely a good message, and one that everyone should work towards! delicious soup, too!!

  34. patsy says:

    this looks amazing! I’d have to add meat for my carnivores though. 😉

  35. Dana says:

    It’s funny, for me, weight is ALL about what I eat. Granted, I’ve never run 20 miles but even when I am working out like a fiend, if I eat too much I gain weight. I exercise because I’m supposed to, I run (a short loop) because it’s 5 blocks from my house and the only thing I really enjoy is yoga. So I have to be super careful about what I eat. Which sucks.

  36. I am definitely checking out this cookbook. This looks right up my alley. And I’m just like you on the gym topic. I don’t enjoy it, but boy, do I feel good afterward. Refreshed, cleansed, invigorated. And very virtuous!

  37. Chris says:

    My favorite healthy eating blog is Nibble Me This….what? Okay, not very healthy but tastes great 🙂

    When I was younger, I had the hardest time following a training plan in taking my rest or recovery days as scheduled. It’s so tempting instead of rest to say, “I’ll just go for a short 20 miler.”

    In the past 4 years….not as much. The rest days are welcomed.

  38. This looks amazing, and I totally wish I had your dedication when it comes to fitness. I’m getting better though!

  39. Pam says:

    What a great healthy chili! It’s good to see this with all the mix of cookies, cakes and candies out there in blogger land. I love Whole Living magazine and website for healthy food inspiration and more. And I have added your blog to the list! Thanks!

  40. Pierce says:

    Joanne, you hit the nail on the head here – moderation. Know when I started eating better? When I read Why French Women Don’t Get fat. I wasn’t reading it for a weight loss goal, I was just doing my Francophile thing and grabbed my next Frenchie book. Then I read, Why The French Don’t Diet (complete with some good recipes). Moderation. Doug and I have eaten good simple meals like cassoulet, enjoyed splitting a bottle of wine, eating butter with our freshly baked baguettes and having a cheese course too. Still lost weight when I was eating that way. Because we didn’t gobble it ALL up. Moderation. You are so right about that, woman! I really enjoyed this post.

  41. tigerfish says:

    Your blog is resourceful when it comes to healthy vegetarian. The combination of veggies you have used is particularly inspiring.

  42. I used to be a serious gym goer. Every. Single. Day. I didn’t like it, but I like being in shape. That’s why I really love yoga – Ashtanga in particular is an ass-kicking workout yet I love doing it. Beats the hell outta the elliptical, for me.

  43. This looks amazing. I love how you really showcased the squash. I made a pumpkin chili a few weeks ago, but i kind of pretended the pumpkin wasn’t there to get my husband to eat it. This is a great combination.

  44. Ohhh, that looks gorgeous, Joanne! 🙂 I just bought two enormous sweet potatoes at the market too. It’s stormy and cold today and I’d love a big bowl of this. 🙂

  45. Interesting with the pom juice in it. I’ll have to try it! As I’m sitting here eating quinoa chili. I’m already planning the next! Thanks!

  46. daphne says:

    You are right! It’s the consistency. For some reason, my body has plateau in weight lost 🙁 but I’m still trying to persist!! Wholesome, good food like this bowl will do me good.

  47. Claudia says:

    Sounds tasty, though Bob would be pushing beans around and looking for the beef. Ah well. I can get away with it a few days a week anyway.

  48. vianney says:

    I love black beans, but pom juice I bet they add great flavor!! I love your passion, it’s addicting!!

  49. Great post. And great chili too!

  50. Candace says:

    You, my dear, inspire me! I absolutely love the combination of sweet potatoes and black beans. so.much. With the pomegranate juice and the hint of cilantro on top, I know this must taste ah-mazing. I can’t wait to spring this on my family. They are going to LOVE it.

  51. Pam says:

    You totally inspire me to start running but I haven’t started yet. Baby steps.

    Loving the chili – bet the butternut squash totally made it amazing!

  52. elly says:

    First of all, it’s kind of a relief to hear you don’t really like working out. I hate it. I do it, but I don’t like it. So many people say you will like it eventually. Nope, never happened for me! Secondly, this looks delicious. I really like the combo of black beans and sweet potatoes, and this looks hearty yet healthy.

  53. Reeni says:

    2 tablespoons chipotle powder IS a lot! I usually use a half teaspoon in my chili and my lips go numb. I am loving the combo of sweet potato and black bean with pomegranate – a nice surprise! Hearty and comforting!

  54. Reeni says:

    I forgot – I wanted to say I was once a runner and I hated it. With all my heart. I wanted to love it so badly. It started to consume my every thought – I kept doing it even though I dreaded it until one day I did a complete turnaround and gave myself permission to stop. I’m much happier just walking, although I still think of running again. . . so weird.

  55. Tessa says:

    I try to use the “good most of the time” philosophy too 🙂 This recipe sounds great for that. Love it when healthy food tastes awesome!

  56. peachkins says:

    I wish i could force myself to go to the gym…

  57. Great recipe & certainly a smart diversion from all of those holiday cookies. I could live on sweet potatoes.

  58. Kevin says:

    Sweet potatoes make a great addition to chilies! I like the use of the pomegranate juice in this one!

  59. Boys do make us do the funniest things :). Sweet potatoes & black beans are my weakness {in a good way!}. I’ll eat anything with them in it. I LOVE this & must make it asap!

  60. Johanna GGG says:

    pomegranate juice! bizarre! but sounds so good with the sweet potato in the chilli!

    I have done gym at time but it doesn’t enthuse me. Cycling makes me happy – just commuter cycling to get from A-B – it seems like the best way to get about – after cycling I resent having to walk

    As for healthy food blogs – your innovative use of vegies in dishes is inspiring and I love diet dessert and dogs blog

  61. literally made a chili just like this last night! rando–we are on the same wave length!

  62. Hannah says:

    I am honestly the most sedentary, inactive person I know- I’m pretty sure my grandma gets more exercise than I do- But you’re really tempting me over to the healthier side. At least, I can certainly start with some healthy chili. That stuff looks incredible, and perfectly belly-warming.

  63. Julie says:

    You’re so dedicated, wish I had some of your dedication! Love all things butternut squash!

  64. Gloria says:

    look absolutely delicious Joanne:)

  65. Totally agreed! I posted a similar chili today and find that it’s the perfect canvas for eating well. Just throw in lots of veggies and bask in its heartiness!

  66. Ranjani says:

    I actually made a very similar chili on Monday to recover from all the cookies I consumed on Sunday! Pomegranate juice in chili is a new idea for me though – intriguing…

  67. Claudia says:

    I made chili last night. Yours is better. Much better. (Darn) This is duly noted. Could you send some of your exercise addition my way? That’s what I really need for the holidays.

  68. I’ve been adding sweet potato cubes to my chili as well. Kobacha squash and butternut squash make perfect buddies too 🙂

  69. I appreciate your honesty and sense of moderation! It seems that there are way too many people in blog-land that are so extreme, which I personally don’t find to be a healthy outlook! I’ll have to check out the blog you’ve recommended.

  70. That Girl says:

    I don’t love getting up to go to the gym or to go running, but I do love it while I’m there and of course the feeling after is incomparable.

  71. Totally loving this dish, sweet, spicy and sour all combined into one!

  72. This is what I want for dinner. ahhhh looks SO good.

  73. Geni says:

    My favorite healthy cooking blog is THIS ONE! I also love Kelly’s, SmartFoodandFit blog. This chili sounds hearty, a little sweet and definitely spicy. How wonderful.

  74. jhl says:

    I love sweet potato and black bean. And what an important lesson about imperfection! 🙂

  75. These two ingredients seem like they were made for each other. And made for you to cook them.

    Cheers! Donna

  76. I’d be so happy to have a hot bowl of that delicious chili tonight! (I’d also be glad not to be dating a guy with depression issues too!)

  77. grace says:

    i love sweet potatoes and black beans–as healthy foods go, they’re the bees’ knees! 🙂

  78. Love that quote. The hard really is what makes it great.

  79. Roz says:

    Wow, Joanne! I feel so healthy just by looking at your photos! I love black beans in soups and salads, dips, sauces . . . whatever! Wishing you a very happy holiday season! Hopefully you will have a semester break soon! Can’t wait to read your posts for the holidays. I’m on break now too, so hopefully will be a better commenter to those bloggers that I follow.

  80. Carolyn Jung says:

    It is one chilly night here. As in COLD!!! That bowl of chili looks so divine right now. I know that would warm me up for sure. 😉

  81. Erica says:

    You have the best vegetarian recipes here,Joanne!This looks and sounds comforting and tasty!!!!Amazing pictures!

  82. Miriam says:

    That boy was SO missing out and your chili looks awesome! I love learning new chili recipes becasue I am sort-of a frito pie addict. 🙂 Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  83. What a flavorful chili…
    Black beans and sweet potatoes… Love it…

    I really liked reading this post and I love the quote…
    Hard makes it worth trying for …. How true.

  84. Michele says:

    That chili looks delicious. I love beans and potatoes. I need to try this. Yes I do. And you are an inspiration. Send your exercise feelings my way please. 😉

  85. 1) I want this chili
    2) You made me feel so much better today.

  86. The last picture of the mug is FANTASTIC!!!

  87. Nicole says:

    Look delicious. Wonder how it would be without pomegranate juice or replace with grapefruit or oj… hmmmm

  88. I love the idea of a smokey chile – maybe I will use Spanish Paprika as I have an aversion to hot food these days. Love the substitution of the apple juice for pom juice. Brilliant! Cannot wait to try this!

  89. Lora says:

    This looks perfect for those long winter nights. Your blog is my favorite healthy one!

  90. I know I’d love this soup! So many good things in there. And how interesting with the pomegranate juice! I love Angela’s blog (oh she glows) for healthy inspiration.

  91. Lea Ann says:

    I think this soup sounds delicious Joanne. Love the color and flavor combinations.

  92. sally says:

    Yum! I’ve been looking for more sweet potato recipes. This one looks great!

  93. Anonymous says:

    You should definitely check out HealthyHappyLife (The Lunchbox Bunch) for healthy food inspiration. Vegan and wonderful!

  94. This looks so hearty and flavorful–and I love the picture of it looking ever so casual and messy in that cup. 😉

  95. I really enjoyed reading this post.

    It got me thinking about the many things we women do for men. And just about the only thing they do for us is exist. Oh, and open jars of pickles. Hmmm..

    Happy Holidays 🙂

  96. Deborah says:

    I totally need to do better on the exercise part, but I totally agree that as long as you are eating healthy the majority of the time, that is what make a difference. I would die if I didn’t get to “splurge” every once in awhile. I think knowing that that something is not totally off limits saves us from totally binging. And I am totally in love with sweet potatoes – I could eat them every day!!

  97. Looks so healthy & yummy! Congrats on your weight loss!

  98. Anonymous says:

    I made a very large pot of chili and it was too hot. I’ve been trying to think of a way to cool it down with out adding needless calories. Sweet potato is the perfect answer. Thanks

  99. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure it may taste nice, but it looks like some awful multicolored sludge.

  100. Was refered to your page by Will have to make the recipe your way and her way and compare.

    Great idea using sweet potatoes in chili. Can’t wait to give this a try.

  101. Anonymous says:

    This looks so good. I just pinned it!

  102. Mmmm, that looks so good, and it’s easy to make, too! I’ve been looking for another healthy cooking blog, and I think I’ll have to follow yours! Thanks also for the story and the lesson you learned. It’s important to remember that you can’t be perfect!

  103. Donne Roma says:

    Great recipe, I’ll try it! Thanks for sharing!

  104. Mkmaxwell says:

    Made this for dinner last night and it was excellent! I will admit to being a little skeptical about the pomegranate juice but went for it – gives it a very subtle sweetness, not at all overpowering. This is one of those recipes you can adapt to your own preferences – since my husband is a carnivore we added shredded cooked chicken, and I omitted the jalapeño but added 2 Tbs of hot sauce. Will definitely make again!

  105. […] years ago…Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili, Eggplant and Chickpea Salad with Moroccan Spaghetti Squash and Feta […]

  106. […] I served our sweet potato and black bean chili with fresh bread, since I consider chili and bread dip one and the same. If you would like to see the recipe that inspired me click the link – Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili. […]

  107. Leslie says:

    This sounds so good. I so love sweet potatoes, black beans and exercising. lol Anyhoo, any suggestions on how I can make this work for me among my 9 allergies are tomatoes and corn (not a big deal about the corn I can just omit)

    • joanne says:

      Yay for sweet potatoes and black beans and exercising! My advice for the chili is to replace the tomatoes with vegetable broth. It won’t taste exactly the same because the tomatoes do add acidity, but I think if you adjust the spices to taste, it will still be delicious!

  108. Lizzie says:

    How long would this last in the fridge?

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