Today’s a goodie.

Not only are you going to get a quick and easy recipe for Pintos N Cheese but you’ll also learn about a few ingredients to be on the lookout for that could be sabotaging your health and waistline.

Taco Bell’s Pintos N Cheese used to my favorite. Only 190 calories, 10 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, only 22 carbohydrates and it is vegetarian.

BUT, just like humans, we might look put together on the outside only to be a complete mess on the inside.

I haven’t eaten Taco Bell for 12 years until a few weeks ago. We had the best intentions to have homemade taco night, went to the grocery, bought everything we needed then…

Ended up going to Taco Bell! The day got away from us and the thought of cooking and cleaning the kitchen was too much. #lifehappens

You can’t be too strict with eating clean and eating something less than ideal occasionally is part of life. Aim to eat not-so-healthy-food twenty percentage of the time.

With that being said by learning about what’s in your food and seeking out the highest quality options is more important than being a salve to counting your calories, protein, carbs and fat grams because their not all created equal.

The Pintos N Cheese looks like a good option if you’re just looking at the nutrition facts but when you dig into the ingredients…eww…

There was one ingredient, TBHQ, that is in the canola oil Taco Bells uses that is particularly distributing and inspired today’s recipe: Easy, Cheesy Beans N Cheese.

Here’s the Breakdown

TBHQ or tertiary butylhydroquinone is a food additive linked to major allergies. It can be confusing because it’s labeled an antioxidant but not the good kind. It’s on the Center for Science and Public Interest’s list as one of the worst food additives that should be avoided and is banded for use in food in other counties including Japan.

Journalist Michael Pollen wrote in his best selling book, The Omnivores Dilemma

“TBHQ, an antioxidant derived from petroleum that is either sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to “help preserve freshness.” According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e. lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food: It can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a nugget. Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.” Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill.”

Yikes! This info closed the door for me and Taco Bell. The most frustrating part is that it’s not listed in the ingredient label.

Canola Oil – Processed canola oil like the one used in fast food is treated with a solvent called hexane. Heat is often applied to the oil which affects the stability of the oil, turns it rancid and can even make it a trans fat.

Torula Yeast – A hidden form of MSG which makes you crave an unforgettable taste and can cause you to eat more. No thank you.

The fast food version also contains more salt than necessary and added sugars.

Enough bad news let’s get to the yummy recipe.

Easy, Cheesy Beans N Cheeseenchilada sauceEden bran refined beansorganic cheese

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Lightly coat small baking dish with coconut oil or olive oil so beans don’t stick. Layer beans, enchilada sauce, onions, then cheese and cover with foil. Place in over and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil at 20 minute mark to allow cheese to melt completely.

Serve with tortilla chips and top with shredded lettuce if desires. Or make it a bean burrito by placing the Beans N Cheese in a whole wheat or gluten free tortilla.

*use your judgement on how much to add

You’re still getting the same high fiber, protein filled meal without the nasty ingredients.  Your body will thank you.

Now I want to hear from you. Are you reading ingredient lists? And if so, have you started opting for quality foods?

Let me know in the comments section below.