Saturday, October 3, 2015

Challenge Time - Whole 30

Pumpkin Chicken Curry

Well, it almost took a year but we finally started our very first Whole 30! What an experience!! We are currently on day 13 and I can't even describe the difference I am feeling in my cravings, energy level, and pants-fitting, which of course is the best! First a little background...

The last year has been quite a battle. First herniated discs in my lower neck. Then gallbladder surgery. Then hubby got sick (but is now better thanks to some investigative work and good advice from our Chiropractor!). Then elimination diet. EYE OPENNING! Then intense and inexplicable calf pain that radiated up my legs. Then lots of blood work that led to no solutions, but instead another diagnosis: Pre-diabetic, verge of high cholesterol, Inflammation levels way too high. Doctor's orders: lose weight, exercise, have a nice day. UGH!

Needless to say it's been a roller coaster, the scary intense and not-so-fun kind. It's been almost two years of sickness and battling depression. It seemed almost as though every time I would try to pull out of it I would get a new diagnosis or another new battle to fight. Through it all I have held on to my One Source of Hope, sometimes by a thread, always for dear life. It's hard to not whine, and mope, and feel sorry for myself. Every time I would realize I was doing this I would start thinking I should pray, I should eat better, I should exercise. And then I would NOT. And then guilt would beat me up. But eventually I would get to my knees.

Every diagnosis or new bottle of medicine prescribed would send me back to sadness, hopelessness, and the cycle would begin again. But this last diagnosis... Pre-diabetic? High cholesterol? What the what?? I was pissed. (Pardon my french!) Hubby and I had already started eliminating possible triggers for inflammation and my calf pain, which has remained much of a mystery, but has subsided and is now pretty much gone. So we said goodbye to soy, caramel color (which includes just about every processed food I could love! Oh, and it's super bad for all of us, btw. Did you know it's a carcinogen?), and of course processed sugar.

I tried really hard to stick to it, but then I had an Oreo. And then I had two more. And then I ate a bunch more stuff I shouldn't have for the rest of the week. If I took a step back I would've said, "...but I'm eating way better than before!" And although that might be true, better is not good enough with the symptoms I'm displaying. Have you ever heard of or read about food addiction? Hubby forwarded me this article and basically it described the Oreo reaction. We also watched this great documentary called "Fed Up" on Netflix. Mind blown! So, we decided to finally embark on the Whole 30. (I just reminded myself of those people that say "Long story short" and then tell you the whole story! Haha!)

And here we are. Day 13. It was hard the first week. I've had weird cravings, a couple days of "why do I feel fatter?", and a lot of saying "No, thank you." But today, I slipped into a pair of jeans that have taken up space in my drawer for far too long. I'm pretty sure as soon as I bought them I could no longer fit them! But today, oh yeah today, they fit! I can no longer wear too-tight, muffin top creating, pants because of my tummy issues, so when I say they fit, I mean it! And I couldn't be happier!

Here I am!! Skinny Jeans!!

I'll explain more about the Whole 30 diet and how it works and how we've made it work for us in another post, but I wanted to share a recipe for some delicious Pumpkin Curry Chicken we ate over cauliflower rice. I'll have to dedicate another post entirely to all the delicious ways we've been eating cauliflower. It's so good!

Found this recipe in Parenting magazine and adapted it only slightly. It says serves 4 but I would say more like 2-1/2.

Pumpkin and Chicken Curry

4 tsp Olive Oil, divided
1 lb boneless, skinless Chicken Breast, cut into thin strips
1/2 medium Onion, diced small (I dice onions & peppers small so the boys won't see them!)
1 tsp Ground Ginger
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 cup Coconut Milk (the kind in the can)
1 cup canned Pumpkin Puree
2 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of Cayenne Pepper
3 cups packed Baby Spinach (we don't usually like cooked spinach but it practically disappears here!)
2 tsp fresh lime juice (I didn't have any but I think it would've rocked this dish!)

2 cups Cauliflower rice

Heat 2 tsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in batches and cook until just done, 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 2 tsp oil to the skillet with the onion. When the onion appears translucent, about 5 minutes, add the garlic, ginger, and curry powder and cook till fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup water, salt, and cayenne. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken back to the pan with the spinach and continue cooking until the greens have wilted. Stir in the lime juice and serve!

Hope you enjoy! Let me know how it turns out for you!!

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