Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Baked Chicken Pesto: Food Is Not The Enemy

Chicken Breasts
1 tablespoon pre-made Pesto
Sliced Tomatoes
Mozzarella Cheese (is naturally lower in fat, then regular cheeses so it's a great choice)

1. In a greased baking dish (I use coconut oil spray because there are no calories or fat) place chicken and season with garlic powder, salt & pepper. 
2. Then layer up, about 1 tablespoon of pesto & slices of tomato. Place in a preheated oven 375 & bake til internal temperature reached 165 degrees. 
3. Sprinkle with cheese, the last few minutes  

Thanksgiving is over & the mere thought of eating anything else turkey is making you want to punch things, right?! Yep, us too! So, here's an easy meal that will help reset your taste buds. Plus, I am excited to share one of my many ah-ha moments with food and how it changed my life. And hopefully it will change yours too.

Recently, my sister broke her Lisfrank joint in her foot and not even in a cool way, she was walking into my niece's room and just twisted it then fell to the ground. It's the main joint in our foot that holds everything together. And breaking this, means you are totally screwed, no walking at all for like 2 months. So family and friends teamed up to provide her with some meals on wheels, since she couldn't stand & cook. It was my turn and I needed a simple dish that the kids would eat & this was perfect. I was so excited to see the end result in a picture she shared on Facebook (I had to leave so couldn't be there in person to see the final product). There's always someone who mistakenly thinks I put things out there, for other's to judge. Sharing my love of food is just who I judgement required. Then a good friend, commented that she thought my dish was unhealthy. There is was, someone openly judging what I put lots of love into. And in reality the dish was actually the exact opposite. Confession: I was immediately met with the decision to either be the bigger person & let it go or take it super personally & inbox her on how to make her own choices & own them. I decided to be the bigger person & let it go. I realized that she was not & may never be in the same place I am with food. And being kind to those we love is way more important than being right. But what I can do is use this opportunity to share what I have learned & hope that it helps you.

The word unhealthy has a negative impact so let's throw it out of our vocabulary, right now. And let's focus on the fact that food is meant to be enjoyed. One way to lead a healthier lifestyle is to change the way we think about food. Using the terms unhealthy or bad implies that we are merely victims of our choices. And that is not true. We are empowered to make our own decisions and we are the one's who are held accountable for our choices. Food in itself doesn't have power over us. This dish above is actually healthy because it has olive oil in the pesto, a healthy fat that keeps us feeling full longer and lean protein, which is great for muscle building.

As I am learning through my own fitness journey that when we label things as unhealthy, it starts a chain of events. That chain of events is called the binge, guilt, restrict cycle, I am sure you are familar with it. Here's how it goes, we think to ourselves, oh that looks so good but I can't eat that. Then we restrict ourselves from it, right? But we still crave it. And when cravings are not satisfied, we will go in search of something that will take it's place. But what happens is, we end up eating something else with way more calories than we would have consumed in the first place. And then the guilt sets it. I have done this for decades. I have even been on the opposite side, where I labeled so much as unhealthy that I was actually starving myself because I was eating hardly anything. Thank goodness, I broke that cycle. And finally, a new world opened for me, I learned to give myself permission to eat whatever my body was craving or wanting at the time. And I stopped restricting foods that I thought were unhealthy/bad. Now that doesn't mean I sit down & eat an entire tub of ice cream but it does mean that if I'm craving it, I can eat a sensible amount & not feel any guilt at all. It's a wonderful and freeing discovery. Give yourself permission to have those foods you crave, whatever it is (chocolate, chips, a slice of cheese, ice cream, etc). Food is happiness & when we learn to embrace our decisions, something amazing happens. 

If we acknowledge that certain foods are unhealthy, all we are doing is promoting the idea that we are the victims of our own choices. And the binge, guilt & restrict cycle continues. Instead we should be owning our choices & holding ourselves accountable. And by doing so, we learn to leave the guilt behind. And then there's no reason to binge or restrict. This teaches us how to truly embrace food, in a positive light & the way it was meant to be. And when we learn how to make our own choices & own them, it will flow over into our everyday lives. It boosts our confidence, it's empowering and it teaches us to lead by example. Hopefully more will follow, especially younger generations.


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