By Allison Davis
Happy New Year! Once the ball drops, we kiss, and sing “Auld Lang Syne” it’s time to get down to business; New Year’s resolution business that is. The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement or for most Americans, drop a few lbs. In fact. the University Of Scranton Journal Of Clinical Psychology posted the number one New Year’s resolution for 2014 was losing weight. It is the time of year when gym memberships sky rocket, Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers battle for TV time, and diet book sales soar. Why is it that we set these unrealistic goals for ourselves just to end up defeated and disappointed in the end?
If it isn’t already apparent I am not a fan of dieting. They never work in the end. The key to successful weight loss is moderate lifestyle changes and new habits. For instance, over time I have been able to cut out “bad” carbs from my diet such as gluten dense breads and pasta by replacing them with “good” carbs like cauliflower, leafy green vegetables, spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles, and using almond meal and tapioca flour. I also like to take the first part of the year after to detox from sugar. A detox is not the same thing as a diet. A detox purpose is not for losing weight but rather improving your overall health and well being. I follow a 21-day sugar detox guide by Diane Sanfilippo, who clearly lays out the importance of curbing your bodies dependence and cravings for sugar and carbs. Research supports that it takes 21 days to form new habits. The brain imprints patterns of things you do and choices you make as habits, which makes it easier and easier to practice those habits again and again. The best part of this detox is that it’s focused on eating real food...no shakes, powders, potions, or pills and supplements. It’s not a vegetarian program or deprive you from food when you are hungry.
My advice this year for a healthy and productive 2015 is to set realistic goals, set simple steps, make new habits, and fill your belly with real, nutritiously dense, organic vegetables and pasture raised meats, full of the good fats and good carbs your body so desperately has been craving. Below I have included a full day of recipes to give you a healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack to get you well on your way to a new you. Enjoy!
To learn more about the 21-day sugar detox program, healthy cooking classes in Lexington Kentucky or to learn about a gluten and grain free meal program you can visit balancedbites.com and wildthymecooking.com.
Breakfast: Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins
Pack an extra protein punch into your morning with these savory egg muffins!
YIELD: 6 egg muffins (2-3 servings)
¾ lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breast)
½ Tsp. garlic powder
½ Tsp. onion powder
½ Tsp. chipotle powder
sea salt & black pepper to taste
¼ cup + 2 Tbs. (divided) Tessemae’s Wing Sauce (or use 3 Tbs. of a
hot sauce + 3 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil)
6 large eggs, whisked
2 Tbs. green onion/scallion, sliced
sea salt & black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425°F
On a baking pan, arrange the chicken thighs and season with garlic, spices, sea salt, and black pepper. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through.
Place the cooked chicken thighs into a large mixing bowl and shred with two forks.
Pour the wing sauce over the chicken and toss to combine and set it aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, 2 tablespoons of wing sauce, green onion, sea salt, and black pepper.
Pour the egg mixture into parchment cup lined muffin tins to fill them approximately halfway. Gently spoon about 2oz of the shredded chicken into each muffin cup so that it’s evenly distributed. Serve any extra chicken alongside the cooked muffins.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the muffins rise and become golden brown around the edges.
Lunch: Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl with Cold Sesame and Cucumber Noodle Salad
To make these delicious cucumber noodles you will need to purchase a veggie spiralizer. These can be found online at amazon or in the wild thyme culinary boutique in Chinoe Center.
1 large sashimi grade ahi tuna steak, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 very ripe avocado, peeled, insides cubed
1 small jalapeno, seeds removed, finely minced
1Tbs. minced cilantro
1 Tsp. minced ginger
2 Tbs. of sesame oil
1 freshly squeezed lime
salt and pepper, to taste
1.5-2 large seedless cucumbers, Blade C, noodles trimmed
For the poke dressing:
2 Tsp. toasted white sesame seeds and black sesame seeds
1 Tbs. sesame oil
¼ coconut aminos
2 Tsp. rice vinegar
¼ heaping cup finely diced scallions
Place the tuna in a bowl with the poke dressing ingredients. Stir to combine and set aside to marinade.
While the tuna marinades, combine the avocado, jalapeno, cilantro , ginger, sesame oil, and lime juice in a medium sized mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Whisk together until creamy. Taste and adjust, if needed.
Thoroughly pat dry the cucumber noodles and add them to the mixing bowl and toss the noodles until they’re completely coated in the avocado sauce.
Divide the cucumber noodles into three bowls and top with equal amounts of the tuna poke, using a slotted spoon to portion out the poke, to avoid extra liquid. Serve.
Snack: Easy Baked Kale Chips
1 bunch of Kale (my favorite is dinosaur Kale)
2 Tbs. Grapeseed oil (or melted coconut oil)
1 -2 cloves minced garlic
Salt and Pepper (about 1 Tbs. of each)
Rinse the Kale and pat dry thoroughly to remove any moisture. Taking a pairing knife or scissors, cut out the middle rib from the Kale and discard. Break the leaves apart into large pieces that are about the size of your palm. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and minced garlic. Bake in a 375°F oven for about 10-15 minutes.
If the Kale chips are still wet, place back in the oven and continue to cook until the leaves start to brown and the Kale is crispy like a chip. Remove from oven and let cool.
These Kale Chips are a hit!
NOTE: You can season kale chips with anything! Try red pepper flake or cayenne for spice, garlic powder, onion powder, curry, chili powder, the combinations are endless. And indulge by tossing these babies in truffle oil, it is to die for!
Dinner: Oven Braised Tex- Mex Beef with Cocoa and Chili Roasted Cauliflower
Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
2½ pounds boneless beef short ribs, beef brisket, or beef stew meat cut into 1½-inch cubes (my favorite cut is boneless short ribs)
1 Tbs. chipotle powder
1½ Tsp. kosher salt (Diamond Crystal brand)
1 Tbs. coconut oil or fat of choice
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. tomato paste (sugar free)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
½ cup roasted salsa (I use Trader Joe’s Double Roasted salsa which is also sugar free)
½ cup chicken stock
½ Tsp. Red Boat Fish Sauce
½ cup minced cilantro
Preheat oven to 300°F with the rack located in the lower middle. In a large bowl, combine cubed beef, chili powder, and salt. Toss well. Melt fat over medium heat in a large, oven-proof dutch oven. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Stir in tomato paste and fry for 30 seconds before tossing in garlic and seasoned beef. Next, pour in salsa, stock, and fish sauce and bring to a boil. Cover pot and place in oven for 3 hours or until beef is tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. (At this point, you can store the beef in the fridge for up to 4 days and reheat right before serving.) Spoon the beef onto a serving platter and top with cilantro. Serve with sliced avocado and cocoa and coffee rubbed cauliflower for an explosion of flavor.
Cocoa-chili Roasted Cauliflower
2 medium heads of cauliflower
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
½ Tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
½ Tsp. chili powder
½ Tsp. ground cinnamon
½ Tsp. onion powder
½ Tsp. sea salt
½ Tsp. black pepper
Preheat oven to 425°.
Chop cauliflower in to ¼-½ inch pieces. In a large mixing bowl, combine to cocoa powder, chili powder, cinnamon, onion powder, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the cauliflower and toss gently with your hands, massaging the oil and spices into the cauliflower.
Spread the cauliflower evenly in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets and roast for 30 minutes, until tender and starting to caramelize.