Six Weeks of Bowl Meals: Grain-Free Thai Bowl

Thai bowl

Telling someone addicted to food to “just eat mindfully” is like giving an alcoholic a fifth of whiskey as a gift and saying “enjoy one glass a day”. Mindful eating is to an infant what living on autopilot is to an adult. As much as I believe in my clients far more than they believe in themselves a lot of the time, there is a point, typically in the beginning of Health Coaching program, where I just have to put it bluntly and show a bit of tough love. Awareness of denial, blame and shame is essential to beginning the process of living a mindful life. Mindful living and eating is freedom.

I am here to help you help yourself, trust me, and time is on your side.

My story includes too many years of battling an incredibly disordered relationship with food. It was as if I had myself convinced I was born with a weight + calorie chart in one hand and measuring cups in the other. Can you even picture that? First comes the head, the shoulders then…Wait for it…measuring cups and spoons! Awe! Now this child will always know how to stay healthy and love herself!! Yay!

Learning how to retrain my mind-body connection to “just eat mindfully” was a process. It took time. One of the important health discoveries I made along the way was the crappy physical feeling that resulted from junky food choices. Mindful eating means making well-thought out nutrition decisions based on the mind-body connection and love for oneself. It means fully enjoying the eating experience and slowing down with every bite—a helpful practice for life overall.

This week’s bowl meal makes eating mindfully simple. Every nutrient-dense ingredient not only forces taste buds to dance, but continues to fuel and support everyone living a healthy lifestyle. The balance of macros and micros will satisfy the largest of appetites! The dressing can be used as a sauce and is drinkable on its own! I’m so so so pleased with it and cannot wait for you to try it!

Grain-Free Thai Bowl

By Audrey Byker Health Coach

Serves 4-6

for the veggies and protein

-1lb. boneless chicken tenders, chopped into 1 in pieces(make it vegan and omit)

-1 pint baby bella mushrooms, sliced

-1 pint shiitake mushrooms, sliced

-2 cups shredded carrots

-1 large bundle of broccoli, chopped

-Sea salt

-Black pepper, fresh ground

-1 Tbls avocado oil(or any healthy oil)

-1/2 tsp sesame oil

for the carbs fat and flavor

-2-3 cups jasmine rice, brown rice, brown rice noodles, cooked(optional if grains are desired)

-Sunflower seeds, roasted and salted(optional garnish)

-Green onion, sliced(optional garnish)

FOR THE THAI SUNFLOWER SEED DRESSING/SAUCE:

By Audrey Byker Health Coach

-1/2 cup sunflower seed butter, unsweetened and unsalted(or any other natural nut butter)

-3 Tbls Tamari soy sauce or coconut aminos

-2 Tbls raw honey(optional—omit for vegan)

-Juice of 1 lime

-1 Tbls rice or white wine vinegar

-Water to taste

Add both oils to a large wok or nonstick skillet(with a lid if you prefer veggies to be cooked through) then add chicken, salt and pepper. Sauté until cooked through, remove from pan, set aside and immediately add mushrooms to the pan. Sauté over med-high heat, stirring frequently for 5 min. Add remaining veggies(broccoli and shredded carrots) and sauté over medium heat until cooked al dente(or add the lid and steam until desired doneness is reached). Meanwhile add all dressing ingredients except for water in a small mason jar with a blender ball, add lid and shake until fully combined. Add water to thin to desired consistency, one tablespoon at a time. Add chicken back into pan to heat through, just before serving. Serve in bowls layered with noodles or rice(optional), dressing, green onion, and sunflower seeds. Eat leftovers cold or reheated, in a salad, alone or with grains.

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Audrey Byker is a skilled and experienced Health Coach in West Michigan. She specializes in supporting busy people on their wellness journey through one-on-one coaching which can take place in person at her private office, in home or virtually from anywhere in the world. If you are looking for guidance and support to improve your health and quality of life, click here to set up a free consult today! She accepts HSA/FSA as payment!

Six Weeks of Bowl Meals: Harvest Burger Bowl

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Everyone is overwhelmed. Laundry, responsibility, work, a million school papers flying out of kid’s backpacks. The garage. Voicemails. Emails.

Then there’s meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking healthy meals.

The difference between those who can handle the overwhelm and those who allow it to paralyze them is basic: Healthy-striving people prioritize and plan. Successful people prioritize and plan. Less stressed people prioritize and plan. They listen to their intuition and trust it. They ignore that which is not important and focus on all that is to them.

What does it even mean to prioritize and plan? For some it’s a detailed planner, for others it’s utilizing Apple technology, google calendar or an app. For my grandpa it was always a notepad and golf pencil stashed in the breast pocket of every shirt he wore. It means saying “no” more than “yes” even if it hurts someone’s feelings, makes the kids cry or the neighbor annoyed. It’s taking action, one priority at a time.

Yup, without disclaimer or explanation. It’s a “no”.

Week four of six weeks of bowl meals is the perfect salad to add to next week’s meal plan. It follows all the balanced nutrition guidelines for ideal blood sugar control—a high healthy eating priority. It just so happens eating balanced, nutrient dense meals aids in the effort to feel less overwhelm. Blood sugar control is related to hormone regulation. Hormone regulation is responsible for balanced cortisol which aids in calm, clear, focused thinking, sleeping, and moving. It’s crazy how everything is connected.

Suddenly the emails and garage have bumped to the bottom of the list.

Harvest Burger Bowl

By Audrey Byker Health Coach

serves 4-6

FOR THE VEGGIES FAT AND PROTEIN

-2-3 head of romaine lettuce, chopped, washed and spun in the salad spinner

-1lb ground beef (know your farmer)

-1-2 Tbls. non chili spice blend(burger blend). I can’t get enough of this

-1/2 medium onion, chopped

-1 cup pecans, roasted and salted

for the carbs and flavor

-4 med/lg sweet potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 1in. pieces

-1-2 Tbls avocado oil

-salt

-pepper

-1 apple sliced or diced(optional for garnish)

Creamy Avocado Dressing(or this):

-1/2 large avocado

-1/4 tsp sea salt

-One lime, juiced

-1/4 cup olive or avocado oil

-1/2 Tbls raw honey(optional)

-1 clove garlic, minced

-1/4-1/3 cup water, as needed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add sweet potato to a large bowl and stir to coat with oil then sprinkle with 1 1/2 Tbls spice blend. Add salt if spice does not contain it. Add to parchment paper covered sheet pan and add to oven to roast for 30 min or desired doneness, stirring 1/2 way. Set aside to cool slightly before adding to bowl.

While sweet potatoes roast add ground beef and onion to pan over med. heat. Add 1/2 Tbls spice blend. Cook through and brown. Remove from heat until sweet potatoes are ready.

Prepare bowl and dressing. Layer romaine coated in dressing, sweet potato, ground beef and pecans. Drizzle a bit more dressing on top as desired.

Six weeks of bowl meals: Roasted Comfort Bowl

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With temps in Michigan hovering in the 80s, forcing me to spend extra hours in the sun, water and everywhere else I can take it all in, the kitchen and the creation of a bowl meal for this week was successfully avoided at-all-costs. Mainly, the family, along with myself, has been surviving off salads, burgers on the griddle, avocado toast, apples with drippy nut butter or hummus with raw veggies and organic tortilla chips: All of our favorite staples for a busy life. By Friday I was feeling over it[bloated and uncomfortable] and craving something grounding that would keep my kitchen clean with friends, fun and all the paddle boarding calling my name for as far as the weekend would stretch.

Holistic health and nutrition says[rule of thumb] to eat locally grown seasonal produce as much as possible. When it’s hot outside bodies tend to crave light, watery and cooling foods. I agree with all the things and consider each one, but real life argues raw veggies everyday are boring while also tough on my pure bred Dutch gut. When your body and all it’s cells were literally created and duplicated from boiled root vegetables, roasted meats and all the variations, the rules of the seasons are a fleeting expectation. Also, there are rules and then there are facts. Facts are not rules.

Fun fact: Friday, Saturday and Sunday kicked ass.

Minutes before the kids were released from the school bus to start the weekend, this roasted chicken with root veggies was tossed in the oven. My favorite cold weather ingredients, with the exception of the potatoes—just harvested in August—were inhaled all weekend long with a simple gravy ladled on top. I’m not really sure why I hesitated to share this when the truth is living a healthy lifestyle by dedicating as little effort as possible is one way to make it sustainable for the long-term which is everything I stand for.

Roasted Comfort Bowl

By Audrey Byker, Health Coach

Serves 6-8

For the veggies fat and protein

-1 3-4lb whole chicken, organs and gizzards removed

-6-8 carrots, scrubbed and roughly chopped(large pieces)

-Drizzle of olive oil

-Sea salt

-Fresh ground black pepper

For the carbs and flavor

-6-8 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

-2 Tbls Stubbs BBQ seasoning or preferred seasoning—sugar and preservative free

-1/2 cup chicken stock or homemade bone broth

-2 Tbls corn starch(non GMO) or arrowroot

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large dutch oven or ceramic crock pot insert, add potatoes and carrots. Drizzle with olive oil then toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add whole chicken on top of veggies then sprinkle seasoning onto chicken then massage into with both hands. Be sure to rub seasoning into chicken cavity and under skin as much as possible for the best flavor. Add a little salt and pepper. Add lid to dutch oven or cover crock pot insert with foil then put in oven. Roast for 2-2 1/2 hours or until chicken leg is easily pulled off the bone.

Remove chicken, potatoes and carrots from the pan. Add remaining juices to a medium saucepan. Place on a burner on medium heat. Meanwhile mix chicken broth and cornstarch in a mug or liquid measuring cup. Stir well. Slowly whisk corn starch mixture into the chicken juices and turn heat to med-high. Whisk until liquid comes to a gentle simmer. Turn to low and simmer for a few minutes until desired gravy consistency is reached. Add more chicken broth and corn starch if more gravy is needed. Serve in a bowl, layering potatoes, carrots, chicken, then gravy.