Food should make you feel good. And that means a lot of different things for everyone. If a side order of fries makes you feel good, then by all means don’t you dare ask to swap it for the salad. If gluten makes you feel crummy, then I’m not sure how you ended up on a site called ‘Daily Ciabatta’ but don’t let anyone convince you it’s just in your head or that you’re not eating the ‘right bread.’ Feeling healthy and happy should start with understanding what works for you.
I’ve never had a problem with any specific food. I’m on good terms with bread, love getting my fill of legumes, and even dairy and I get along if I keep it under 2 servings a day. But here’s the thing; I am not feeling good.
It all started at the end of February. Jay and I spent a large portion of the month on vacation in Florida and the Dominican Republic. Both trips were amazing. Florida had us eating fresh caught fried fish sandwiches almost every night for dinner, sipping rum cocktails, and enjoying some of the best key lime pie I’ve ever tasted. In the Dominican Republic we ate nachos by the pool every afternoon accompanied with tequila and pina coladas. Every sip was delicious and every bite was worth it. I have no regrets about enjoying it all on our trips.
But shortly after coming home, I noticed things in my gut were not 100%. I attributed it to the Mama Juana shots in Punta Cana and tried to move on by eating the way I did before our trips. However, after a week I still had extreme bloating and discomfort. I knew I had to make a change and the beginning of Lent meant I had a good excuse to start something I could maintain for a set amount of time.
I’ve never loved the concept of an elimination diet. I don’t believe it’s healthy to deny yourself something if your body can process it well. However, I do love a good restart and I feel that might be what I need right now to heal and feel better. After some research I decided a Whole30 approach would be my best bet to reduce inflammation and give my gut a little jumpstart.
So, here we go. No bread. No grains. No beans, sugar, yogurt, cheese…
Just kidding. Let’s focus on the positives. Like warm chicken seasoned with smokey cumin on a bed of hearty kale that’s been massaged with rich olive oil then topped sweet roasted carrots, crunchy pumpkin seeds and a healthy drizzle of nutty tahini.
I’m so ready for this, you guys. Not for the sake of losing weight or depriving myself, but to feel better. So I hope you’re ok with some healthier recipes over the next month. Nothing boring or tasteless because if that were the case I’d throw this idea out the window. Just real food with whole ingredients. Sound good?
Roasted Chicken Kale Salad with Tahini
Makes 3 Salads
For the Chicken
- 3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Cumin
- 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
For the Carrots
- 3 Carrots, quartered
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 Tsp Cumin
For the Salad
- 1 Bunch of Kale
- 1 Tsp Olive Oil
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Cucumber, sliced
- 3 Tbsp Tahini
- 3 Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
- Lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 425. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Spread the carrots out on one of the sheets and drizzle with olive oil then season. Toss the carrots on the sheet to thoroughly coat. Add the chicken to the other baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil then season. Use your hands to rub the spices and oil into the meat. Place both of the sheets in the oven and allow to cook for roughly 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender and the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 160. Place the chicken on a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
While the chicken and carrots are roasting, break your kale into bite-size pieces and drop in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and salt and massage the kale for about a minute until it’s broken down and tender. Divide the kale into three bowls.
Assemble the salad by placing the sliced chicken and roasted carrots on top of the massaged kale. Next, drizzle tahini a tablespoon of tahini over each salad and sprinkle a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds on top. Serve with a lemon wedge and enjoy!