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First came my New Year's Eve indiscretions (sips of champagne and nibbles on a burger – NOT part of the eating plan)
The walk that was longer than it should have been if one is detoxing (over-exercising)
The larger than 3 oz portion of chicken I'd had for dinner (it was delicious! Refer to #1)
The extra water I was drinking (too much water, and not according to the schedule)
My nutrition coach and I parted ways that day, two nice women, realizing the divide between us was so great it probably wouldn't be conquered
On one side, 100% compliance offers the best data
“Is perfection the only way to achieve results?”
On the other, a woman simply trying her best.
“There are four basic variables for weight gain/poor health – not enough water, consuming too much sodium, eating reactive foods and overtraining. When you eliminate foods that are inflammatory for your body, you can increase your caloric intake because your body is no longer having an inflammatory response which retards digestion and causes you to put on anywhere from .5 to 2 lbs in an inflammatory response. This inflammatory response is NOT water weight. Water weight can be reversed within 24 hrs. The reactive response can easily last for 72 hours and causes more than just weight gain-it kick starts whatever our chronic or latent health issues are. It also affects our digestion (IBS, constipation, Crohns). In fact, 70% of our immune system is in our gut, so whenever there is a disturbance, this affects us on many levels” ~ Lyn-Genet Recitas .. here
I was blue, a part of me felt like I'd failed miserably
“Is all hope was lost. In the quest to figure out what foods my body reacts to? Should I even care?”
By this time I'd been through The Plan long enough to have lost some weight and tested a few foods: chicken, goat cheese, and rice cereal were all friendly. Rye crackers and egg whites provided a mild response (no weight loss the next day)
“Certainly, a lot of what The Plan is based upon says makes sense. But could it be true? Could a single food cause such a reaction? Make a person gain that much weight overnight? Bring on or exacerbate any ongoing medical conditions they may have?”
And with that, admittedly, the skeptic caved at the moment, put her puppies in the car, and headed out for the first sweet treat she'd had in nearly two weeks (!)
It only took an hour before I knew something was off. A fog settled over my mind. I felt out of sorts, and the lymphedema in my leg caused it to larger than it had been in a long time.
“Wait, no, was this the cause and effect she'd been referring to?”
Could this intense reaction to something with white sugar, and flour, forever my drugs of choice, be what I've been fighting against for years now? As I'd been trying to calm those anxious moments, or stressful days, or tense relationships, I'd slowly been trading my mental peace and health for, quite literally, a plate of cookies?
It sounds odd when put that way, as if somehow cheese, bread, and wine are more important than daily sanity or peace or clarity. Little did I know, but I'd been trading self-control and will power for comfort food and a raging sugar high
I tested it again, just to be certain. Same reaction
Here's the thing no one tells us. It's not really about the food. It's about clarity. The realization that food affects us on a very, very cellular (even genetic!) level. It's about devoting time to learning that you're stronger than a craving, or a habit. That you can make better decisions than you think, and that it doesn't have to be this hard to tap into the energy you already have.
This short time following The Plan has also solidified in my mind how my body likes to be fed. I truly feel my best when I'm eating simple, clean food. I need animal protein to stay satisfied and energized, along with lots of fruits and veggies. A gallon of water every day. Nothing gimmicked, and certainly nothing that requires perfection.
Even though I wasn't able to follow The Plan, I'm very thankful that I tried. I'd have never have discovered my body's reaction to white sugar and flour until I'd cleaned up my diet long enough to feel the sharpness of the contrast.
The gentle reminder to us to listen to our bodies, to treat them well
A wonderfully simple yet delicious chicken recipe to share. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.
Instead of batter-dipped, deep-fried chicken fingers, here, they're coated in a seasoned almond and bread crumb crust. From there fried slightly in coconut oil to brown them on the outside, and finished in the oven.
There is a lot of seasoning, bread crumbs help create a thick crust around the chicken, and the almonds add to it with a crunchy exterior, giving us the fabulous taste we all crave in a chicken strip.
If you're someone who isn't able to eat regular bread-crumbs, a gluten-free version is certainly an option, as is a coarse almond meal.
ps: For a few more thoughts about The Plan
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~ Adapted from Martha Stewart
Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers
- 1 cup dry bread crumbs (gluten-free if you’re avoiding gluten)
- pinch coarse sea salt + freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, optional (more or less, depending on your tolerance for heat)
- 3 eggs (large or XL)
- 4 tsp water
- 1 ½ - 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 ½ cups sliced almonds, broken into pieces
- 2 Tbsp clarified butter
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 400° F
- In a medium bowl, add the bread crumbs, sea salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper (if using).
- Place eggs and water in a small bowl and beat lightly.
- Dip each piece of chicken in egg mix, and then into the bread-crumb mix, dredging until lightly coated. Dip in egg again, and coat thoroughly with the sliced almonds.
- Heat butter and oil in a 12" ovenproof skillet over medium heat.
- Add the chicken and saute until nicely browned (~ a couple of minutes each side)
- Transfer the pan to the oven, and bake until chicken is cooked through (~ 10 minutes)