Saturday, September 07, 2013

For You, I Could Be.. + Stuffed Chicken Breast Salad

Last week I read this post: Are Paleo Muffins and Treats Really Paleo? and my brain grabbed it, wrestled with it and concluded that Julianne really has a point.

I'm not so much concerned about the definition of 'paleo', but about the fact that blogs like mine may give the impression that the focus of healthy eating is treat foods. Pinterest and most health blogs would have you believe that the secret to success is to spend hours figuring out the paleo version of a caramel cheesecake or fudge cookie.

It's really not.  Most people can't eat sweet snacks, even healthified ones, with abandon and keep weight off. The reason is that, no matter if it's 95% pumpkin, a warm, gooey, delicious pile of carbs will throw your brain into ecstasy and encourage overeating. It's particularly easy to overeat things that contain nuts, nut butter and/or coconut oil, as many paleo and vegan treats do.

A treat food is a treat food.  A healthier version of a treat food doesn't make it a health food.  It's a treat: a small dessert at the end of a healthy day, a yummy alternative breakfast now and then, a snack on a Friday afternoon after a week well played.  In spite of how it may seem, my personal approach to everyday eating does not involve constant scarfing of flavour-pumped chocolatey noms. 

In real life, my daily habit is to minimise foods that have enhanced flavours and concentrated calories and to go hard on the natural stuff: vegetables, fruits, lean protein, unsalted nuts and seeds. These exercise a natural appetite controlling effect that I believe is a very big part of weightloss, weight maintenance and general health.  That's how I really eat.

I've also found it a good strategy, both with myself and with clients, to sometimes exclude treats completely for a while. This helps break the snack-habit and reliance on sweeties for comfort. So.... why so many yummies on the blog?  Here are my excuses reasons: 

* Like a good fashion model, bars and cakes are always ready for a photoshoot.  You can set up the shot and wait for good light.

* Treat foods are not usually eaten immediately, as is dinner or lunch.

* Playing around with chocolate is.... fun and reminds me of childhood.  Making dinner is...necessary and makes me feel like a grown-up. In my spare time, I'd rather make something indulgent.

* People are attracted to party food and will look at it for longer. In terms of blog hits, Peppermint Slice is beating Tuna Salad by more than 100% both with hits and time spent on the page.  I'm a normal, modern woman with needs. Blog hits and repins complete me.

* People like to see a recipe, and 'throw veges and protein in a bowl' does not a recipe make.

* Salads, meat and veges are not sexy and photogenic, unlike an oozing lava cake. Desserts suggest a decadent and luxurious life, don't they?

* If I'm eating alone, my dinner is really too boring to interest anyone, and if I have company there is crazy socialising going on.  Setting aside time to arrange food and take pics with a tripod (due to evening light)? Well, that's not going to happen.

* 'Paleo', 'vegan', 'gluten-free' 'cake' gets blog hits. Some combination of these words brings a Google searcher to Fit to Blog every day.

However, I have decided to revise my ways and from now on, to more accurately show the balance that is necessary for full sparkly health.  Chewy slices are important, but to really get a healthy glow, there's no getting past veges.  I'm not really an 'eat this' blogger, but for you, I'll really try.


I started with a leftover stuffed chicken breast from last night. The stuffing is herbs, garlic, onion, salt and olive oil. The thing on the left is a leftover cauliflower bake that will be a snack later today.

Slices of the chicken breast went into the non-stick pan, along with crushed garlic, almonds, some leftover pumpkin and a little coconut oil.

Before and after the flip

The salad was grated carrot, onion, avocado, some mesclun from a bag (cheating!) and free-range ham.

Espresso for antioxidants... ;)

I am not happy with this photo. Somehow it reminds me of wallpaper from the 70's. Much to learn about food photography, I have.

I used a little shallot dressing (about 1/2 tsp) from Mustard Makers, and a splash of cider vinegar.

The rest of the chicken is stashed for tomorrow.

And now, blogging done, lunch down the hatch, I'm off to embrace the weekend in every way I can imagine - starting with a nap.


  1. I absolutely agree - healthy treats are definitely still treats. My flourless orange cake might be full of lovely goodies, but it still packs a calorie wallop and could set off a "must have more" binge if you're that way inclined.

    Your stuffed chicken looks delish anyway. I do a (bought) pesto-stuffed version that's pretty good - you've inspired me to get a bit creative and make one from scratch now.

  2. I love the look of all your food, vegie/lean protein based or the sweets! Your ideas inspire me! I love getting creative with leftovers while on a budget! Eg, I made the best mince with lean beef minced, onion, garlic, a capsicum, mushrooms, silverbeet , pepper, chilli flakes, lime juice served with a raw garden carrot, a serve of baked yams, (from garden) and about 4 baked kumara chips in the oven. I started with about 220 odd g mince, - so had half for tea, and the other half for brekkie tomorrow. Yum!


I love to hear from you! Tell me what's in your brain, your heart or your dinner plate :D.