Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Apple Chicken Salad

Today I made a simple salad with grilled chicken on it for dinner. This is the second time I have made it and it is now officially my go to salad of choice. I actually find myself craving it which is not something I would have ever imagined myself saying! I find the more I eat clean non processed natural foods, the better they taste and the worse unhealthy foods taste. Who knew!
I start with chicken breasts which I buy from HEB that are natural with no preservatives. Slice them in half so you get two thin breasts instead of one thick one. Put them on a grill pan on the stove and sprinkle with salt and pepper as well as any other spices you like. I use Tony Chachere's creole or Spicy seasoning. Once the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes let is sit and rest while you assemble the salad.
I use red leaf lettuce and cut up in small pieces instead of tearing it. Much easier to eat this way. Add 1 small chopped Gala or Fiji apple. About a 1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives, 2 chopped roma tomatoes, 1 cup of broccoli slaw and about 1/4 cup of pine nuts. For the dressing I squeeze the juice of one lemon and mix with about 2 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and Spike (Great healthy seasoning that goes well with meats, fish and salads). Slice your chicken and add to the salad and enjoy!
I can see changing this up according to what I have on hand, maybe using strawberries instead of apple and walnuts or pumpkin seeds instead of pine nuts. The nice thing about this is that you can make the chicken breasts ahead of time put them in the fridge and just heat up when needed. The whole meal can be put together in under 10 minutes.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Meal Suggestions

Below is a snapshot of what my meals and snacking looks like when I am on the 24-Day Challenge. You can find a list of suggested foods and those to stay away from or eat in moderation in the 24-Day Challenge Manual pdf. or in your booklet which accompanies the Challenge. All the info was overwhelming for me when I first started eating clean. I found if I came up with a few go to meals and snacks and kept these items on hand then I always had something healthy to eat. This eliminated my binging on junk food when I was hungry as there is no longer any in my house. I also found the healthier I eat the less my old food choices taste good. (Goodbye Diet Coke!) I don’t eat red meat or pork and only have to cook for my husband, myself and an occasional drop in college boy so meal preparation is now quick and according to my grocery bill about $200 cheaper a month!  Since I eat like this 90% of the time an occasional chocolate, BBQ or cornbread splurge is now considered a treat instead of a cheat. J


·       Hard boiled, poached or scrambled eggs, whole grain toast with a tiny bit of butter or peanut butter and side of fruit

·       Scrambled Eggs (1 egg plus 1 egg white)
o   Spinach, light sprinkle of feta, goat or parmesan cheese
o   Spinach, chopped artichoke hearts, light sprinkle of feta, goat or parmesan cheese
o   Pica de Gallo (I cook the pico first to cook down some of the juice from the tomato)
I like any of these variations with a side of fruit and a piece of whole grain toast or ½ of English muffin. Sometimes I ditch the toast put the scramble in a whole grain tortilla

·       Oatmeal- if you buy the packaged kind make sure it’s not loaded with sugar. Best to go with the natural kind and add your own toppings. I buy the Organic single serving packages at HEB (great for on the road) and while the water is cooking I throw in whatever frozen or fresh fruit I have on hand (blueberries, cherries, strawberries). By the time the oatmeal is done the fruit is thawed and perfect. Add a sprinkle of pecans, walnuts, sliced almonds or banana. For a little more flavor add a dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

·       Whole grain toast with peanut butter or almond butter plus sliced apples or bananas on top

·       ½ whole grain English Muffin spread with hummus, topped with sliced hard boiled egg & capers

·       In a hurry a hard boiled egg and banana will always do the job


·       Sliced Boar’s Head turkey (no preservatives added) in whole grain pita bread with a little mustard, tomatoes and lettuce. I also will sometimes sprinkle a tiny bit of tamari vinaigrette (SASS brand is incredible) instead of or in addition to the mustard

·       Sliced turkey with tamari vinaigrette and sliced avocado, chopped tomato on a lettuce leaf (Bibb, butter lettuce or iceberg works best) for a tasty lettuce roll

·       Albacore tuna drained and mixed with ½ smashed avocado instead of mayo. You won’t believe how good this is! Add in chopped scallions and celery. You can stuff this in a pita, put on whole grain bread for a sandwich or add to a pile of lettuce with a little tomato and other salad favorites.

·       Salad – I figured out a few things about salads and making them a meal I now look forward to instead of considered the diet dread. The first is to use the right lettuce. Though it’s a bit more expensive I figure if I’m going to actually consume it instead of throwing it out a week later when it wilts then in the long run it’s worth it. I buy the “living” lettuce whenever it’s available in either butter lettuce or red or green oak leaf. It still has the root ball on it and you cannot find a fresher taste. I also like organic baby spring mix. The other trick I learned is to throw the lettuce in a big bowl as you are tearing up or cutting the leaves.  Add a little olive oil or SASS Tamari dressing and sometimes a squeeze of lemon or lime; toss then add salt and pepper along with any other spices and occasionally a teaspoon of Parmesan and toss again. It’s important to be very reserved with the dressing. You just want enough to coat the leaves, not saturate the salad. This way the spices and Parmesan are distributed evenly and stick to the oiled leaves really giving it a good but not overwhelming flavor. I then put it on a plate and add whatever I have on hand. Some of my standards are:

            Cherry tomato’s (try the kind that are a variety of reds and yellow),
Hearts of palm
Artichoke hearts
Green or black olives
Walnuts, pecans or sliced almonds (really nice if you toast them in the oven first)
Sliced chicken or salmon (I always make extra when cooking these for dinner)
Hard-boiled egg
Shredded carrots
Chopped green apple

·       My standard no brainer is basic grilled chicken breast or fish (tilapia or salmon are my favs)
I use coconut oil in the pan, which gives it a wonderful flavor, a little salt/pepper, and maybe throw on some rosemary, thyme or garlic. I cook both of these on a griddle pan with a lid and when done let sit a few minutes for extra moistness (learned this on Chopped!)

·       Salmon baked in the oven or cooked on griddle pan with a splash of Liquid Amino (low sodium form of Soy Sauce) and lime

·       Sundays at our house is crockpot anything goes day. This is where I get all the veggies still in the fridge and throw them in the crock pot with some chicken broth, cumin, chili powder, chicken breasts, onions, celery, green chili’s, and whatever looks good in the pantry i.e., beans, corn, hominy. I let it cook on low all day then shred the chicken and set out the soup with sides of cilantro, jalapeno, avocado, lime, Pico de Gallo and a little crumbled Mexican cheese. When I am not on the Challenge I will make up a batch of cornbread or serve with tortilla chips. This is great for football watching weather and tastes even better for lunch or dinner the next day.

·   Some easy side dishes:
o   Spinach or greens cooked in a little chicken broth instead of olive oil with sautéed onions
o   Sliced steamed carrots
o   Steamed green beans with sliced/slivered almonds & lemon juice
o   Green beans sautéed in a little sesame oil
o   Sweet potatoes diced, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and lime juice. Bake in 325-oven turning after about 10 minutes; continue to bake until tender and a little browned then toss with cilantro and serve
o   HEB Brand Couscous & Quinoa with Mixed Vegetables. Steams in the microwave in 5 minutes
o   Broccoli and or cauliflower sautéed in coconut oil or olive oil until just browned
o   Cauliflower tossed in olive oil and baked on a cookie sheet until almost tender; sprinkle a little Parmesan and bake until lightly browned

·     Almonds – I never leave home without a snack size bag of these in my purse
·      Advobar – Love the yogurt covered and keep one in my purse for emergencies
·      Apple with peanut butter. I buy the organic kind and drizzle it over sliced apples
·      Hard boiled eggs – I cook at lease 6 of these on Sunday so I will have them during the week
·      Hummus – HEB has Grandmother Brand Hummus, which is highly addicting. I slice some zucchini add a little salt/pepper and dip away. Better than potato chops
·      Baby carrots
·      Watermelon with lime juice and cilantro

I am always looking for new ideas to try. The key for me has been to keep it simple but also add something new from time to time to keep things from becoming boring. I find a lot of good ideas by searching Advocare boards on Pinterest and would love to hear what has worked for you!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Getting Started on the 24 Day Challenge

Congratulations! Making the decision to take the 24 Day Challenge is a great step toward health, wellness and weight loss. I have lost 12 lbs so far on the Challenge with a total goal of 40 lbs. In the past year I have tried everything from Weight Watchers to working out weekly with a personal trainer to calorie counting and was never able to keep the few pounds I lost off. I started with Advocare products by replacing my daily coffee habit with Spark and have been hooked ever since. I honestly have not felt this good, had this much energy in 20 years! The weight I have taken off has stayed off and I find myself being able to do things like run a 5K that I was never able to do before.

The purpose of this site is to have a place I can catalogue and share recipes, snacks, shopping lists and other basic info needed during the 24 Day Challenge as well as throughout the year. Below are links to suggested foods, recipes and a detailed manual where you can chart your progress.

I plan to make clean and healthy eating a way of life and hope you will join me on this journey!

Peace & Love,

Advocare 24 Day Challenge Manual

Suggested Foods

Advocare Friendly Recipes