October is often a month marked by weight gain, too-tight pants, and sugar. So, when our fitness coach/friend Doyle offered a 21 day challenge to anyone who had $21 to spare, we decided to give it a whirl. What is a 21 day challenge? Well, I suppose it could be anything, but this particular program challenged us to remove excess sugar, grain, dairy and alcohol from our diets. For twenty-one days, we would eat whole foods like chicken, almost every vegetable, some fruits, and very small amounts of whole grain. It was very simple — we just ate reasonable amounts (ok — maybe the portion sizes were a little small…) of non-processed food and worked out every day. I am so happy I participated in the challenge, and even though I’ve gone back to a more “normal” diet, I’m operating a generally healthier level and established some really good habits.
I wanted to share a few of the dinners that we made while we were on the challenge to show you all that you can make really delicious and quick meals with super healthy ingredients.
California Chicken Caprese
Ingredients: grilled chicken seasoned with kosher salt and cracked black pepper, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, and a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Ingredients: hardboiled egg, tomatoes, red bell pepper, persian cucumber, avocado, mixed baby lettuces, lemon wedge, and balsamic dressing.
Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Ingredients: cauliflower pizza crust (cauliflower rice, goat cheese and 1 egg), broccoli, red bell peppers, pine nuts, grilled [leftover] chicken, and mozzarella cheese.
Stuffed Delicata Squash with Vegan/Paleo Caesar Salad
Ingredients: delicata squash, ground lamb, broccoli, red bell peppers, pine nuts, kale, [salad] butter lettuce, tomatoes, vegan caesar dressing (thx Whole Foods)
Ingredients: grilled rib eye steak, hardboiled egg, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, green beans, and olive oil/balsamic vinegar.
Turkey Bolognese over Cauliflower “Penne” and Side Salad
Ingredients: steamed cauliflower, ground turkey, Rao’s Arrabiata Sauce (so good), lettuce, tomatoes, and balsamic/olive oil.
Slow Cooked Carnitas with Toasted Cauliflower
Ingredients: pork tenderloin (slow cooked in the juice of an orange, lemon, spices), cilantro, avocado, red cabbage, and cauliflower tossed in olive oil, kissed with kosher salt, and roasted.
Taco-less Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw, Charred Shishito Peppers, and Four Black Berries
Ingredients: any fish (I can’t remember what kind!), cabbage, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, shishito peppers, and blackberries.
BSB [Bacon, Salmon, Bell Pepper] Salad
Ingredients: salmon, bacon, baby bell peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and dressing.
And when the cleanse ended, we enjoyed some Chardonnay and burrata!
Overall, the cleanse was such a great experience. We made some delicious and healthy meals. Although I’m so glad it’s over, I’m so happy we did it, and we still ate well. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring!
(Perhaps most importantly, the dog enjoyed all the food I inadvertently dropped on the floor while chopping up all of our salad items!)