I’ve been debating for three weeks now if I was going to do this. I decided not to. But here I am, writing about it anyways…
For the past 23 days, I’ve been following the Whole30 Diet. In case you’re not familiar with it, it’s similar to a Paleo diet…basically you can only eat vegetables, fruit, meat/seafood and some nuts and seeds for 30 days. No dairy. No grains of any kind. No sweeteners. No legumes (including peanuts and peanut butter…eeeek….the horror). Now that I’ve brought peanut butter into the equation, you’re all wondering if I’m crazy or suffering from a head trauma. No, I didn’t hit my head and no, I’m not crazy… (although on my 15th day of eggs for breakfast I did start wondering…)
People do this diet for a variety of reasons; mine is thanks to a mean digestive system that doesn’t seem to like me…I’m trying to figure out what could be causing these tummy troubles by eliminating inflammatory foods. I wasn’t going to bring any of this up on the blog, but after a while I realized that I was learning a lot from this challenge (and believe me, it’s been a challenge for this ice-cream, peanut butter, oatmeal-loving girl.) I realized that this blog is where I’m sharing my food journey, and these past few weeks have been quite the journey.
For one, I’ve learned that real, WHOLE, “clean” food is a beautiful thing. I’ve learned to appreciate the natural sweetness of a butternut squash and the beautiful colors and flavors of red peppers, eggplant and spiralized carrots. I’ve learned that we eat A LOT of food that’s really not good for our bodies, whether we know it or not. For example, you head on over to Chick-Fil-A for some “all-natural and healthy” grilled chicken nuggets. Guess what people? Those innocent chicken nuggets are made with 30 different ingredients, some are just spices, but others include modified corn starch and corn maltodextrin. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not about to boycott Chick-Fil-A…I love that place. And I’m not about to give up ice cream and peanut butter for life. But, I truly appreciate these past few weeks I’ve had to really get in touch with the food I’m putting in my body.
Ok this is getting lengthy and you’re getting bored, so it’s time to get to the good stuff. The thing Whole30 has done most for me, is to make me think out of the box. It’s dragged me out of my food “comfort zone.” I’ve had to get really creative with my menu, because I’m just not satisfied with eating eggs and chicken for a month.
This recipe came together from some leftover chicken and roasted squash and botta-bing, botta-boom! This delicious Whole30-approved Paleo Coconut Curry was born.
- 2 tsp. coconut oil for roasting squash, melted
- 2 cups butternut squash (about 1 medium-sized squash)
- Sprinkle of salt, pepper and cinnamon for roasting squash
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 red pepper
- 2 ½ cups chicken, shredded or cubed
- 1 can coconut milk (unsweetened, full fat)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. coriander
- 2 tsp. dry onions
- 2 tsp. turmeric
- 1 Tbsp. Garam masala
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Toppings: cilantro, unsweetened shredded coconut and chopped cashew pieces
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Peel squash and cut in half. Scoop out all seeds. Cut into small cubes and toss with coconut oil, salt, pepper and a sprinkle of cinnamon,
- Spread squash on a baking sheet lined with foil and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until fork tender but not too soft.
- While squash is roasting, cook chicken and shred or cut into cubes.
- Dice red peppers and sauté in coconut oil until soft.
- Add spices, stir to coat peppers, heat for 1-2 minutes, until very fragrant.
- Mix in coconut milk, allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes
- Add in chicken and butternut squash, allow to warm.
- Top with cilantro, shredded coconut and chopped cashew pieces.
*Serve with white or brown rice. If following Whole30 diet, omit the rice or serve with cauliflower rice.