*By: Christi Shingara*
I’m not one to do cleanses or diets. I try to live by the mantra “everything in moderation.” However, a few years ago I did try the Whole30. If you aren’t familiar with the Whole30, it’s a 30-day clean-eating plan designed to revamp your eating habits by eliminating certain “toxic” foods. I never did anything like this before and researched the heck out of it until I was certain this was something I wanted to try.
First, I read the Whole30 book, and then I talked to some people that tried it. The feedback I got was positive, with most people saying it was an eye-opening experience as to what we’re actually putting into our bodies that we “think” is healthy. Much to my surprise, I found that a lot of the everyday foods we consume are really not good for us. Long story short, I ended up doing it and was impressed with the results!
It was certainly difficult, and the rules were brutal, especially for the first few days. I had withdraw symptoms from not eating the high amounts of sugar my body was used to. After the first two weeks, my body started adapting to the plan, and I noticed a change in my energy and physique. I felt more energetic throughout the day and my body was leaner. Food wise, I learned how to eat and cook much healthier because sadly a great majority of food in the grocery store is crap and pumped full of preservatives.
The other thing that happened after the 30-day cleanse was that my taste buds changed. I couldn’t eat foods that had added sugar because they was just too sweet. It was so weird and terrifying how it changed my sense of taste. Since the Whole30, I couldn’t keep up with the strict rules, and really no diet or cleanse is meant for the long-term. But it has changed the way I eat and how I do my grocery shopping. So, I decided to put together a three-course meal that is healthy and also tastes good. Don’t worry, it isn’t entirely the Whole30. Everything in moderation!
- 5 slices of bacon – (I get sugar free bacon if possible such as: North Country Smokehouse Sugar Free Bacon)
- 15 pitted dates
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the slices of bacon into 3 pieces.
- Wrap a piece of the bacon around the date and secure with a toothpick.
- Lay the bacon wrapped dates on the parchment paper and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the bacon is golden brown.
- Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- 1.5–2lbs chicken thighs, excess fat removed, diced
- 5 medium heads of broccoli, stems removed, chopped into florets
- 1 head of cauliflower, stem removed, chopped into florets
- 1 container of sliced mushrooms
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 (14oz) cans of coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I added less because I don’t like spicy food)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or other fat)
- 2 tablespoons bacon fat (or other fat)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place your cauliflower and broccoli florets in a 9×12 glass baking dish. Pour your olive oil on top of the florets and salt and pepper, as well. Mix around to coat the florets.
- Baking for 15-18 minutes or until your broccoli and cauliflower have a slightly darker color to them.
- While your florets are cooking, place a large skillet over high heat and add your bacon fat.
- Once skillet is very hot, add your chicken. You want your skillet to be very hot so you will get a nice sear to your chicken.
- Salt and pepper your chicken while it cooks in your pan.
- Cook on both sides for 4-5 minutes, depending on how small you diced your chicken.
- Once chicken is ALMOST cooked through, remove from pan and place either on a plate or directly into your baking dish with your florets if that has come out of the oven.
- Now add your minced garlic directly to your pan that is placed under medium heat now.
- Then add your diced onions in. Cook until translucent.
- Then add your coconut milk and vegetable broth, as well as your garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and a bit of salt and pepper and mix well.
- Once it is all thoroughly combined, pour directly onto your chicken, broccoli, and cauliflower dish.
- Now toss in your mushrooms.
- Add in a bit more salt and pepper.
- Mix it all together into one large mess.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes.
- Let cool to help the sauce thicken.
Dessert – Three-Ingredient Brownies – By: Danielle Fahrenkrug
- 3 large bananas (about 1 1/2 cups mashed) very ripe will give the best flavor
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder unsweetened
- 1 1/2 cups raw almond butter crunchy, oil slightly drained
- (optional) ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 8-in. x 8-in. square baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray around the sides and bottom so the brownies do not stick.
- In a large bowl mash the bananas with a fork until smooth. Add the almond butter and mix until smooth. Add the cocoa powder and optional cinnamon and blend until no visible cocoa powder is seen.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until set and slightly dark on the top.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing.