Eat Like an Alcoholic! Recipe: Black Bean Soup

Posted: October 12, 2010 in Early sobriety, Eat Like an Alcoholic!
Tags: , , , , , ,


Glucose Molecule


You may remember from an earlier post a simple, scientific fact about alcohol:  it is the longest chain of glucose molecules a human can ingest.  It’s sugar… only it’s sugar like The Incredible Hulk is a man.  Perversely, when consumed, alcohol lowers blood glucose levels, which is one of the reasons alcoholics begin to crave more and more alcohol.  It’s a form of hypoglycemia.  When you take the alcohol away, the craving for sugar remains and the relationship to food intake is incredibly confused.  Withdrawal can lead to the kind of eating described below, which roughly follows the amount of sugar my body used to expect during the day from alcohol consumption:

My Detox Daily Eating Schedule:  

5:30 a.m.:  Not hungry

7:30 a.m.:  Had four cups of coffee (appetite suppressant), still not hungry.

9:30 a.m.:  Am I getting hungry?

11:30 a.m.:  I am really HUNGRY.  Meal plan:  huge bowl of soup, grilled cheese (lots of cheese, lots of butter), soda (non-diet).

12:00 p.m.:  Oh my GOD, I’m FULL… soooo FULL.  I won’t EVER be hungry again!

1:30 p.m.:  I think I might be hungry again.  Snack: Handful of Cheez-its

2:00 p.m.:  I’m still kind of hungry.  Snack: Another soda (non-diet)

3:00 p.m.:  Those cookies look lonely.  Snack: Four Pepperidge Farm Geneva cookies.

4:00 p.m.:  When is dinner?

5:00 p.m.:  Dinner’s soon, right?

5:30 p.m.:  I don’t care who else is eating.  Meal Plan: whatever I can possibly put in my mouth, which might be leftover pizza, pork, fruit, eggs… is that an 18 oz. steak in your fridge?

7:00 p.m.:  Mmmm… I could use a little something.  Snack: Hot Chocolate.  A few chocolate covered peanuts.

You get the picture.  The problem with the picture (and I confess it’s a little exaggerated) is that when I get these cravings, I crave the wrong things.  It’s not the calorie intake.  It’s that I crave sugary foods without any redeeming nutritional value or fatty foods which are especially injurious to anyone who has abused alcohol.  Alcohol reduces your body’s ability to break down proteins and fats.  Alcohol abuse can lead to fatty liver disease (because the body stores that fat in the liver) and eventually to hepatitis or cirrhosis.  Eating a diet very high in sugar and fat, therefore, is only marginally better than staying on the liquid diet, from a strictly nutritional point of view.

Luckily, the liver is a very regenerative organ.  Treated well after that last drink, it can heal itself by growing new, healthy cells to replace the ones that the bartender finally cut off.  And all of us, but especially recovering alcoholics, should eat small, low-fat meals throughout the day.  We need plenty of good carbohydrates and foods rich in vitamins (especially A, D, E, K, and B vitamins).  Iron is also a crucial mineral and can contribute to liver health: but it’s best to get iron from vegetables, rather than meats (which have more fat).

Replacing sugary sodas with, for instance, flavored Vitamin Water keeps a little of that sugar in my body, but at least adds a few vitamins here and there (and not nearly so many empty calories).  I like soups or stews or anything I can make a bunch of.  Because my appetite is so out of whack, it’s best if I can just re-heat a bowl of something, rather than spend even 15-20 minutes preparing a small meal.

Because I love you (hey, blog-fan… you know who you are, baby), I’m going to share with you my fool-proof, much loved black bean soup, which took me several years to refine.  The best part of the recipe is that it is easy to make and has very few ingredients (all of which can be found in even the smallest town’s grocery).  The soup is high in iron, low in fat, and high in good carbohydrates and proteins–exactly what the detoxing body ordered.


An actual pic of my black bean soup in a sourdough bread bowl


Soberfornow’s Black Bean Soup


2 large cans whole, peeled tomatoes, blended.  (I’ve experimented with other kinds of canned tomato products, but it’s really better to hand blend this kind at home.)

3 normal cans of black beans; don’t drain.

1 ½ medium onions, diced

1 jalapeno, chopped (or some sort of hot peppery thing, even if dried… or leave it out, if your heat-phobic)

1 tbs. canola oil (or, ya know, whatever)

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 tbs. cumin

1-2 tsp. coriander

½ tsp black pepper


In a large pot, sautee the onions and jalapenos in the oil over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and 2 tbs. of the cumin and all the coriander.  Stir constantly until fragrant.

Add tomatoes and deglaze bottom of pan.  Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered for 15-20 minutes.

Add black beans, and simmer, partially covered, for another 20 minutes.  Add more cumin and black pepper, if desired (I usually do!)

Blend ½-2/3 of soup with a blender or, better yet, a hand-held blender (I call mine The Thunderstick!)

Serve with anything you like—cheddar, sour cream, cilantro.  And, as you can see, it’s rockin’ in a sour dough bread bowl.

This soup is great with some baked tortilla chips or a simple quesadilla made with a wheat tortilla wrap.

Keep this in the fridge, my friends.  And stay away from the cheesy poofs, the Ben and Jerry’s, and that 18 oz. steak!

  1. neftwink says:

    Interesting post. I was never hungry, but I forced myself to eat. I used to drink either four bottles of wine or almost half a gallon of vodka a day. I didn’t binge for two days, or two weeks, or even two months. I drank that way for years.

    It’s good to be alive. I’m sober now, and eat very healthily. I did anyway when I drank, I just ate three bites a day instead of three meals or five mine meals. My two big cravings today are for plain M&M’s or triscuits with string cheese.

    Yeah – go figure.

    I’m wrorking on my memoir right now, and my blog entries are tiny excerpts from chapters from my book. You might want to take a peek at an entry I posted titled The Mosquito Bite.



  2. Bill says:

    Im fighting to stay sober right now. eating everything in sight. just made a rice/cream of chicken soup/garlic and pepper concoction. I crave the booze but know that if i pick up a drink eventually I’ll end up back in the hospital if I’m lucky.

    • soberfornow says:

      Big, fat, huge congrats on your sobriety! The early days are so hard–partly because our bodies/brains are so accustomed to getting that big, long chain of glucose molecules as a staple calorie-provider…. Just keep eating those carbs and protein! You don’t want to hear it right now: but, it really does get much, much easier.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s