Monthly Archives: July 2016

07/21/16

The Journey | Taking back my health through food

It has been many months, maybe even a few years if I am being totally honest, that I can honestly say I have felt really, really good.

I spent so many days coping, medicating, dieting, striving, that I think I reprogrammed my “normal” and started to believe that this was truly normal. That this was as good as it could get, and that I should be thankful.

But, when I started experiencing some unusual health problems several months ago, including but not limited to, frequent migraines, irritable bowels, skin irritations and facial cysts/ acne, hyper-pigmentation on my skin, weight gain, and other hormonal changes, I decided to take matters into my own hands. After multiple visits to both my GP/MD and my Dermatologist, I made an appointment at Progressive Medical, a clinic here in the Atlanta area that specializes in holistic health care- caring for the whole person. It was honestly, the first time I have felt wholly understood by a doctor. And as she began repeating back my health history to me, it started to all come together.

So,after a litany of tests and meetings with the MD, the Homeopathic Dr, the Chiropractor, and the Nutritionist, a few things were determined. Long story, very short, I have a few autoimmune conditions that include issues with my thyroid, adrenal glands, my female hormones, and my gut. This was not new news to me, autoimmune diseases have been in my family for a number of years. What is important to me, is taking back my health, being educated about my health, and making positive changes for years to come.

As a result, for theses next several months (or maybe even longer), I am trying to treat things both naturally and holistically, drug-free, through supplements, vitamins, and possibly even more important, through my diet.

What I am currently doing… 

I am taking A LOT of natural supplements, including but not limited to, Fish Oil, Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Iodine, Magnesium, some natural supplements for adrenal and thyroid support, & Probiotics.

I am drinking A LOT of water and nothing but water… except for my 1 morning coffee I allow myself per day.It is honestly, one of the simple changes you can make that can impact your health and well being the most. Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water, per day. I keep a Double-walled Stainless Steel thermos at my desk and every 2 hours, I go fill it back up!

I am eating dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, & yeast-free. It is a whole food, cleansing and very pure diet. Nothing processed. Nothing from a bag or a box. Basically, if it doesn’t come from the ground or have a mother, I am not eating it.

So, you may ask… What am I eating? I am eating HIGH protein. Chicken, fish, turkey, beef, bison, pork, shrimp, bacon, Canadian bacon, sausage, & eggs. All of that is perfectly permissible and I have a pretty sizable protein portion at every single meal. Leafy greens of all kinds (my favorites are Arugula for salads & Bibb lettuce cups for lettuce wraps & tacos), Green beans, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, snow peas, avocados, broth-based soups, goat or sheep’s cheese, almond butter (with no added salt or sugar), Flax crackers, berries, & apples. I am also limiting the amount of starch that I take in- including corn, sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa & other grains, as well as beans. I allow myself 1 serving of starch every other day, but not every day. It’s a treat!

So, in all honesty, this is Week 2 of my Whole Foods Journey and I can honestly say that I have more energy, I sleep more soundly and not as listlessly at night, wake up feeling rested and more refreshed, I am not as bloated as I can sometimes feel, and I feel fuller in between meals and no longer require snacks between meals.

The downsides? Because, you know there are a few when you make this sort of radical change. And I won’t lie to you… IT’S VERY HARD. I have been having headaches- the dull kind that just sort of stays with you all day, and honestly? I think it’s coming off the carbs and sugar and just reprogramming my body to fight those sorts of cravings. And also, I have also been limiting my daily intake of caffeine to just 1 cup of coffee (with steamed almond milk, no sweetener) in the morning and I think my body is calling out for a Coke Zero around 2 pm every afternoon. But, other than that, there haven’t been any other downsides to speak of. Way more positives that negatives.

So, I am going to take you along on this journey and I will commit to sharing my progress with you, delicious recipes that i have made that are whole foods, and are dairy, gluten and sugar free, and I would love for you to share any feedback or tips with me as well!

This has been and will continue to be such an incredible learning experience for me, and I’m happy to take you along for the ride as well!

So, let’s start becoming the best version of ourselves that we can be, shall we?!?

xoxo…

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07/19/16

Roasted Chicken with Goat Cheese & Basil

Sorry that I haven’t posted in a while, but the truth is, I was moving. And you all know what a stressful and time-consuming endeavor that is!

It took me a full 2 weeks to pack up my precious little 2 bedroom apartment, put it all in storage, and move my clothing and other necessities back home for this sweet little intermediary period in between my apartment and my future home…

Yes, you are hearing it here first… I am a new homeowner!

And I cannot wait to share all the DIYs, the before and afters, and the adventures of decorating and entertaining in my new home, later this fall. So, please stay tuned! I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

But, for now, I wanted to share with you, amidst the chaos and the piles of shoe boxes, a really delicious and elegant chicken main course that you can pull together any night of the week! Roasted Chicken with Goat Cheese & Basil is exactly what it sounds like- a delicious, moist chicken breast with bone removed, but skin still attached, with cheesy and basil-y goodness tucked up inside and then roasted until golden brown and cooked all the way through.

It is a Barefoot Contessa classic for a reason!

Roasted Chicken with Goat Cheese & Basil 

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on
  • 6 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese, such as Montrachet
  • 8 large fresh basil leaves
  • Good olive oil (I used Coconut Oil)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Seriously… just 5 ingredients. My kind of recipe!

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place the chicken breasts on a lightly-greased sheet pan. Loosen the skin from the meat with your fingers, leaving one side still attached.

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(Not a very attractive picture, but you get the idea…) 

3. Cut the goat cheese into eight 1/2-inch- thick slices and place 2 slices (if you are feeling generous) plus a few large basil leaves under the skin of each chicken breast. Pull the skin over as much of the meat as possible so the chicken won’t dry out.

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4. With your fingers, rub each piece with olive oil (or, in my case, I used coconut oil), and sprinkle them very generously with salt and pepper.

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I just love seeing that bright, green basil leaf through the translucent skin! And it imparts so much flavor.

5. Bake the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until the skin is lightly browned and the chicken is just cooked through. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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The chicken is plump and moist, the skin is crispy, and the flavor combination is just delicious!

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So, a few notes…

*You might have to ask your butcher for boneless chicken breasts with the skin on. They are normally very willing to help you, and it’s much easier than de-boning your own chicken! 

**To make this ahead, assemble the chicken breasts and refrigerate. Bake just before serving

***Can be served warm or at room temperature. 

Serve alongside a tossed salad, a baked sweet potato, wild rice, or some garden fresh green beans for a complete & healthful meal!

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Absolutely perfectly delicious, and so simple! I hope you will enjoy.

xoxo…

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