We have officially completed our first Whole30! Squeaky-clean eating for a whole month, with the assurance that it would change our lives for the better. Which is a pretty big deal, considering our lives were awesome before.
Our hardest days have come at the beginning and the end of the thirty days. We battled our sugar cravings and wrestled the various feelings we had been using food (and wine!) to cope with. It wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t awful either. Then there were two solid weeks of practice, diligent work, patient effort. Then, in the last 72 hours, a rage-full monster emerged. “Why am I not feeling better?!” “Why is my skin not looking better?!” “Why do I not have a six-pack?!” Turns out the key to having a life-changing Whole30 was to take good measure of “life” at the start so we would have something quantifiable to compare to at the end. “Before” pictures, baseline performance, number of hours slept, you know, the SMART goals type stuff.
We did nothing of the sort.
No, we were all loosey-goosey with our intention for our Whole30 because, and this is so ridiculous in retrospect, it’s because we were secretly expecting everything to get better. Like magic. Maaaaa-gic.
Lesson one: living with intention requires defining the intention. (Gawd we can be such idiots sometimes!)
What has happened over the past 30 days has been less of a magical transformation, and more of a down-and-dirty negotiation between our egos and our choices. That’s what happens when the goal we set is “everything will get better.” Everything actually DOES, but there is a leeeetle bit more work to it than if we had picked something more specific. A six-pack still requires work, work-life balance requires thoughtfulness, and increased energy requires sleep. And, for the record, a Whole30 requires a hell of a lot of time in the kitchen.
But here we are, with flatter (if undefined) tummies, smaller bags under our eyes, and a better attitude towards our health. We have more accountability now to ourselves, and each other, because we’ve proved that we aren’t controlled by what goes in our mouth. Which leads to today’s recipe: Righteous Chicken.
This is a riff on our Heaven Chicken, which is sinfully delicious thanks to the use of gluten-free Tamari in the marinade. To Whole30 it we tossed the soy and upped the flavour to compensate for the lighter, sweeter coconut aminos. The result: a completely silent meal. We inhaled it rapturously. This is an easy weeknight meal, and it will encourage you that a Whole30 is not only possible, but enjoyable. It may be bold to call the chicken “life-changing” but it was a damn tasty way to get closer to that six-pack.
- 8 free-range organic chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
- 3/4 cup coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp ginger, grated
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry. Place pieces in a resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients and add them to the chicken. Put your right hand in, take your right hand out, put your right hand in, and then shake the bag about. Do the hokey pokey and then turn the bag around, then marinate for 24 hours (boop, boop).
The next day, preheat your oven to 350ºF. If you have a large oven-proof cast-iron skillet this would be a great time to use it, otherwise you can do what the rest of us peasants do and heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and prepare a parchment lined baking sheet for later.
Melt the coconut oil in the skillet and place the chicken thighs skin-down for 5 minutes. Move the thighs around every couple of minutes to ensure that the skin isn’t sticking to the skillet. No good having delicious brown skin if it’s going to live forever in your pan, and not your stomach. If you are using a cast-iron skillet, remember to use medium heat only, as cast-iron heats up differently than conventional pans. Once you’ve got a nice brown crust, flip the thighs over, give them two minutes on the other side, then transfer them to the baking sheet and into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until juices run clear.