[re]Learning to Enjoy Real Food (Gluten Free Friendly!)

Who misses my recipes?!  I haven’t been posting them because quite frankly I don’t have a lot to say–on a contest prep, foods are eaten (or should be eaten) as simply as possible.  And how do I explain how much I love these foods?!  The way I covet my little crispy shreds of chicken (always shredded, never in chunks!), or the way I get excited over a piece of fruit, or the way I enjoy a tbsp of peanut butter…I assume no one but a fellow competitor would understand.  But I think there is something to be learned from it–if everyone could enjoy an apple, or oats, or grilled chicken as much as I do, McDonald’s would be out of business.  So I will share my take on chicken and veggies with you.

One thing that I want to mention about these “recipes” (it would be more accurate to call them concoctions) is that they are gluten free.  People ask me from time to time why I’m not talking about Celiac’s anymore, or why I’m no longer discussing my gluten free life.  The answer is really simple: on a contest prep diet, everything I eat is naturally gluten free.  In fact, on a clean diet in general–that is, one that focuses on whole grains, fruits, meats, fruits, nuts, and vegetables–gluten is a total non-issue!  On a contest prep diet there is little room for condiments, sauces, or other “extras” that typically contain gluten.  So life is relatively simple and I rarely think of Celiac’s disease.

In my last post I talked about learning to enjoy the taste of foods.  What I meant by that is learning to enjoy the taste of foods as they are, with little or no manipulation.  A mistake I made in my first contest prep was trying to manipulate foods into other foods.  I tried to turn things that were not bread into bread, such as my turkey-oat muffins.  I tried adding all of the meats and veggies to a food processor and making a loaf.  And I don’t even want to talk about my failed attempts at egg white “cookies”!!!  This list is endless!  Now, as I am maturing in my outlook on food, I am relearning how to taste the sweetness in a carrot, or the wholeness of plain oats.  I am also learning how to enjoy the flavors that happen when I pair foods that compliment one another.

Sometimes, on the go, I will eat raw asparagus and plain chicken breast.  I have even eaten dry oats–whatever I had to do in order to fuel my body.  I don’t necessarily enjoy these meals, but I see these as reminders that food is fuel.  When I do get to cook my meals, one of my favorite ways to enjoy meat and veggies is in a scramble.  The combinations are endless and I can change the ingredients based on my macronutrient needs–if my meal calls for carbs, then I add some.  If it calls for fats, then I add some.  If it calls for neither, then I scramble it without carbs or fats.  See how great this is?  Here are some examples of my scrambles.  Try them–they pass the kid test, and they act as great training wheels for anyone who is interested in re-learning how to enjoy whole foods.

Turkey, sweet potato, asparagus, onion, mushroom scramble You can’t tell me this doesn’t look good!  🙂

Chicken/Asparagus/Onion/Mushroom scramble:

4oz cooked chicken
a small handful of chopped onion
a small handful of sliced mushroom
4-5 stalks asparagus, cut into pieces

Shred the chicken into small pieces.  Coat a pan liberally with butter flavored Pam (or lightly with olive oil); add chicken and veggies.  Fry until just a little crunchy.  I use potassium salt to give it a great salty flavor without the water retention associated with table salt.  Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s one of my favorites!

Fun little tip on what to do with those leftover scraps: collect them in a container, and when the container gets full simply add them to a crockpot full of water and cook! It smells so good and this broth is a great way to add flavor to things like rice and quinoa. Cook for a minimum of an hour (the longer the better!); remove veggie scraps and pour remaining liquid into an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator and use in the place of water or broth in cooking.

Turkey/Sweet potato/green scramble:

4oz ground turkey (I prefer to grind my own)
4 oz sweet potato, chopped in food processor
green beans, asparagus, or kale, broccoli, etc
small handful of chopped onion

Same as above.  Fry all ingredients together in a pan, until the sweet potato gets just a little bit crispy.  Again, it doesn’t sound like much but even my six year old loves it!

To keep variety in my diet and to keep my diet as sustainable and locally sourced as possible, I rely largely on what I get in my weekly CSA share. This photo is from a few weeks ago when I stir fried my bok choy and broccolini. I later scrambled this with whatever protein source I was using, probably chicken from our meat CSA.

This last recipe is one I have shared before but I’ll list it again here, because so many people tell me they have a hard time eating eggs, oats, or both together.   My measurements vary based on my nutritional needs.  On lower carb days I’ll make it with ¼ cup oats, and on normal days I’ll do the full ½ cup serving.  Also, depending on where I am in my cycle, I will use either all egg whites, all whole eggs, or a combination of both.  Basically, you can’t mess this up.

Oatmeal Pancakes, standard recipe:

2 eggs whole
½ cup oats (uncooked)
baking powder (1/2 tsp?)
cinnamon
sweetener, to taste (optional)

Mix ingredients together in bowl; add to greased pan and cook on medium heat, 2min on each side (like a pancake).  What you top this with depends on your nutritional needs and preferences.

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