Dr. Mitch’s Self-Compassion Chili Recipe

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Get a 4-quart Dutch oven. Try to avoid making jokes. The Dutch don’t really cook like that.

You deserve this Dutch oven. You really do. There are lots of things you can cook in it. I’m going to write a ton of recipes for you. They’re going to be great. Really. And they’re all going to use this Dutch oven. You’ll get your money’s worth.

Listen to your mind as you get all this stuff at the grocery store:

1 11 oz can of V 8
1 16 oz can of refried beans
1 16 oz can of small red beans
1 16 oz can of black beans
1 16 oz jar of salsa
1 package of veggie crumbles

(If these beans all only come in 15.5 oz containers, use those. It’s all about self-compassion. Sixteen ounces. Fifteen and a half ounce. Eleventeen ounces. No big deal. Get the salsa that you like best. If you like spicy, get spicy. If you like medium, get medium. You get the idea. Just don’t get any with corn in it. That’s weird.)

What is your mind saying now? Is it asking what size package of veggie crumbles? Seriously, is your mind asking you how big is your package?

Your mind is so sweet, trying to take care of you. But, it doesn’t matter. It’s probably 12 oz or 16 or something. No big deal. This is self-compassion chili.

Now your mind will say: “But what’s in these crumbles? OMG, don’t some of them have egg? They’re soy. Didn’t I read something bad about soy?”

Pat your mind on the head. It’s really okay. Nobody died from eating these. Literally nobody. Nobody even choked. As you pull up to the cashier let your mind go wild. It will say something like:

“You should get the dried beans and soak them overnight yourself. Why are you so lazy? How hard would that be? And you should refry your own. And you should chop onion and green pepper and tomatoes like your brother does. He won that chili competition. He’s a much better chef than you. You should get peppers and roast them and spend all day peeling the blackened skin off. You should grow your own peppers and onions and tomatoes without any pesticides or fertilizers. You should move out to the country and grow all your own food. I can’t believe you’re going to eat chili made out of stuff from cans. What kind of person does that?”

Your mind is actually trying to help but obviously doesn’t get the big idea. This is self-compassion chili. If you know whose voice that is, see if you are ready to forgive. Do it if you can, but it might have to wait until you are ready. Go ahead and explain to your mind: I MUST make it this way. Dr. Mitch said so. Doctor’s orders.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Or 290. Or 310. It’s okay.

Open the red beans and the black beans and drain the water out and throw them in the Dutch oven. Mix them all together. Isn’t that pretty? Throw in the veggie crumbles and the V 8. Stir it all up. Doesn’t that look cool? Now shake a fine layer of cumin all the way across the whole thing. How much cumin? Just a fine layer. Not a lot. It will be fine. Stir it in. How’s that look? This is going to be great!

Is your mind calming down a little? Funny how doing stuff can stop that internal chatter sometimes.

Put the lid on the Dutch oven and put it in the oven—an oven within an oven. Now imagine your oven and the rest of the earth is inside an oven with a heating element called The Sun. Get your hot pads out so you will remember to use them later. Put them by the oven so you’ll remember. Really.

Set a timer for an hour. Medicate. That’s why you put the hot pads out.

Go to Dr. Kristin Neff’s guided self-compassion meditations at self-comassion.org. My favorite one is


Now your mind will say: “Meditation is dry and dull. I hate this. It’s really boring. I never liked meditation. My mind wanders.” It’s kind of ironic that your mind will say that it wanders, which sort of shows how silly your mind really is. It goes around willy-nilly, which is why it needs this chili.

Listen to one of the meditations. Her voice is nice, isn’t it? Your mind will say more stuff. Just let it say whatever it wants to say. Then you can say, “Silly willy-nilly mind. You are so funny with all the stuff you say. Good thing I don’t believe you! I wouldn’t believe everything another stranger said to me, and there’s no one stranger than you.”

When the timer buzzes, grab those hot pads and open the oven. Take the lid off the chili. How does it look? Get a spoon and taste it carefully. Watch out! It will be kind of hot. If it seems done, open the refried beans and spoon them in and stir them around. Taste it again. Isn’t that great? The refried beans do something to it but I don’t have the words to describe it. If you have the words, email them to me at 420research@gmail.com. I love words.

Get a paper bowl and a plastic spoon no matter what your mind says. Put the chili in. Eat it all out. Yum.

Now clean up. Throw the cans in the recycling. See what your mind says about that. Let the chili cool off and see if you have enough room for it in the fridge. You might have to move some stuff around. Isn’t it great having so much food? Does your mind say something about people starving in Africa? Silly mind.
In the morning you can put the chili in a container that doesn’t take up so much room. It’ll be fine tomorrow. Now put on your jammies and floss and brush your teeth. I bet your mind will like that. But then it might run off about when you went to the dentist last and when you should go again. Pat your mind on the head and then pat the chili in your tummy. Now lie down in a quiet room that is very dark. See what happens next.

Feature image: By Carstor – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5