Even though my school days are long over, I still think of my year in terms of semesters. I guess that's the penalty of spending 8 years in college (and grad school). So, with the Labor Day holiday weekend coming to a close, it's time to get "back to school" (aka get my life back to some approximation of normal). And it couldn't come soon enough.
Don't get me wrong! This summer has been amazing. I had a blast on our family vacation. I spent many Saturday mornings working out and then laying out by the pool with the girls. I stayed up late. I partied with our CrossFit friends. I drank too much tequila (to say the least). But even though my calendar is still in grad school, my body is all grown up. And I am ready for a detox.
I am not, however, ready for it to get cold. I will happily detox in the heat!
If you're unfamiliar with the Whole30 protocol, it is a 30 day period of avoiding inflammatory food and drink. That means no grains (not even a little bit of rice), no sweetener (especially artificial sweetener), no white potato, and no alcohol. Just high-quality meats, vegetables, and fats. And I can't wait! This time I am also avoiding plantain chips (they're a paleo gateway drug!).
This is my third Whole30, and I've pretty-much gotten it down to a science. The last one was so easy I was surprised when the month came to an end! And that's kind-of the point right? Why avoid inflammatory foods if the whole process is overly stressful? Spoiler alert: stress causes inflammation, too!
Tips for a Stress-Free Whole301) Plan ahead. Have the ingredients for your meals bought, prep'd, and ready to go, so that you don't get frustrated when you realize you can't order take-out on a busy workday evening.
2) Stockpile snacks. Have Whole30-approved snack foods at your finger tips. This will help you manage mid-afternoon cravings and prevent you from chewing your own arm off while you heat up dinner (trust me, this tip will save a marriage).
3) Be creative. Plan zesty, tangy, spicy, and unique meals. Nothing will make you yearn for Chinese take-out more than eating the same-old blah omelet night after night. Visit stalkerville.net for inspiration. There is a Whole30 category full of great recipes (and you might even recognize a few).
This Buffalo-Chicken Meatloaf fits all 3 stress-free criteria. It's a make-ahead recipe that heats up in a flash (and even tastes great cold - in a pinch). It is full of flavor and reminiscent of my favorite bar food. I has all the major components of wing night: chicken, celery, ranch-dressing-seasoning, and Buffalo sauce. It hits the spot when a craving comes on, but without any of the puffy-bloaty-why-did-I-drink-Diet-Coke-again consequences.
Like I said, I can't wait to start!
|I recommend serving it with sweet potato mash.|
Ingredients3 lbs ground chicken
3 eggs, beaten
2 yellow onions, diced
1 head celery, diced
1 1/2 cups buffalo sauce
3 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried chives
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper
In a large skillet, heat olive oil then add diced onion and celery. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook until onion becomes translucent, then remove from heat and set aside to let cool enough to touch.
While the celery and onion cools, preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine (just use your hands, it's easier!) ground chicken, egg, lemon juice, parsley, chives, garlic powder, and a few healthy shakes of salt and pepper. Add celery and onion and combine.
Press chicken mixture into a medium baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees until fully cooked (juices should be clear). 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from oven and pour off excess grease. Spread buffalo sauce in an even layer on top of the meatloaf. Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Makes 8 servings.