A few years ago, I came across a study on cancer and something called “intermittent fasting” or “IF.” The study showed that women who had survived breast cancer stayed in remission if they limited their eating to an eight-hour window that ended prior to 6:00PM every day. Intrigued, I started reading about intermittent fasting and the positive effects of autophagy in terms of longevity, avoidance of disease, dementia, etc., and I began trying to keep my eating within a certain period every day.
The basic idea behind autophagy is that in the absence of external sources of food, the body begins to eat itself (auto: self, phage: eat), destroying and recycling its own damaged cell bits and proteins, so that new and healthy versions can be built. Autophagy is believed to be essential for helping protect against diseases like cancer and dementia, among others.
–from The Cut, “What is Autophagy” by Edith Zimmerman
Over the last few months, I’ve read more recent research and realized that I had been IF’ing imperfectly in the past because I’d often have almond milk in my coffee or chew sugarless gum (both no-nos in the IF world)!! IF is apparently also very good for slow and steady weight loss. Sir James (his new title–coined by my niece, Sharon) has heard me going on about autophagy for a few months now, so we started intermittent fasting together more seriously a few weeks back. Of course, I’ve had to travel a few times and have disrupted my fasts far too frequently for any success; James, on the other hand, has embraced IF with vigour…and the bugger has LOST ALMOST FIFTEEN POUNDS!! And he wasn’t even doing it to lose weight; he was just interested in triggering autophagy! Now I’m determined to be as good as Sir James over the next six weeks (no deviations!) to see if I can match his success!
In any event, after the first couple of weeks (which are insanely hard), Intermittent Fasting actually becomes easy: during your fasting window, you eat nothing and drink only water, black or green tea, or coffee; the fasting window can be anywhere from twelve to twenty-three hours in length. There’s also something called “Alternate Day Fasting,” but we’ve realized that’s not really sustainable for us, so we just try to keep to our fasting-eating windows every day.
As a result, when we “open our window” in late afternoon, we’re ready for something really satifying and delicious. Today, I woke up thinking about burritos, so that is what we broke our fast with this afternoon. I wanted to use tofu rather than seitan, however, because I think I’ve been relying on seitan in its many forms a bit too much of late.
So…this evening’s meal was Tofu Chorizo Burritos in Lentil Tortillas–super delicious and VERY satisfying!!
First, make a batch of lentil tortillas–one batch (made with a cup of red lentils and two cups of water) makes nine tortillas, which should be enough for three or four people.
Next, make a batch of tofu chorizo. I used a recipe similar to this one from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken, but used tahini in place of the oil and chipotle powder in place of chili powder.
Finally, chop up some romaine, serrano peppers, red onions, and black olives.
Add some Green Tomato Salsa Verde and, what the hell, some plain old salsa too.
And you’re ready to assemble!!
And the meal is just as good as a burrito bowl as it is as a full-on burrito!
And the song of the day is “The Lost and Found” from the Modern Love soundtrack–such a sweet, sad song by Gary Clarke and John Carney: