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Za’atar Chicken with Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Pilaf

If za’atar isn’t yet part of your spice collection, now’s the time to give it a try! This Za’atar Chicken with Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Pilaf is the perfect way to try it. It’s also sugar-free, gluten-free, and packed with protein.


Two recipes in the same week?

Yep it’s true!

Za’atar Chicken with Turmeric Lemon Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Pilaf | gluten-free, sugar-free, anti-inflammatory, meal prep friendly and high in protein! | My Fresh Perspective | #glutenfre #antiinflammatory #turmeric #cauliflower #highprotein #sugarfree

Not only is this a double-header recipe week, but you’ll also notice a couple of repeat ingredients. This is a little strategy I thought I’d share, which I never really thought of as much of a strategy until a recent conversation with a friend about Sunday meal preparation.

We’ve all had that moment where we open the fridge door, kneel down, pull open the veggie crisper, and find a bag of very rotten whatever in the back, right? Maybe it’s a bunch of cilantro, a mushy zucchini, the classic plastic box of spring mix, or maybe it’s something you don’t quite recognize any more. (In that case, grab the rubber gloves!) This used to happen to me quite a bit back in my early university days, but soon enough I figured out some ways to avoid it.

Za’atar Chicken with Turmeric Lemon Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Pilaf | gluten-free, sugar-free, anti-inflammatory, meal prep friendly and high in protein! | My Fresh Perspective | #glutenfre #antiinflammatory #turmeric #cauliflower #highprotein #sugarfree

Whenever I shop for groceries, I tend to do it with a couple of loose recipes in mind. To prevent food going to waste, I pick meals that use some of the same ingredients, but are different enough so that it doesn’t feel as though I’m eating the same thing every day. That’s it – that’s the strategy. I told you it’s easy, and it works.

In the case of today’s Za’atar Chicken with Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Pilaf, tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley are repeats from Monday’s healthified Pesto Pasta Salad. The rest (minus the chicken) is mostly non-perishable pantry items that I have on hand all the time, and you probably do, too. Finally, the fact that this recipe makes more than one serving means I can enjoy leftovers – always an added perk!

Psst… wondering what za’atar is? No worries – I’ve got you! It’s a Middle Eastern spice blend typically made with thyme, sesame seeds, ground sumac and salt. It’s becoming more common in regular grocery stores, so you should be able to find it either in the spice aisle, or in the ethnic foods area.

Za’atar Chicken with Turmeric Lemon Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Pilaf | gluten-free, sugar-free, anti-inflammatory, meal prep friendly and high in protein! | My Fresh Perspective | #glutenfre #antiinflammatory #turmeric #cauliflower #highprotein #sugarfree

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Za’atar Chicken with Turmeric Lemon Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Pilaf | gluten-free, sugar-free, anti-inflammatory, meal prep friendly and high in protein! | My Fresh Perspective | #glutenfre #antiinflammatory #turmeric #cauliflower #highprotein #sugarfree

Za’atar Chicken with Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Pilaf



  • Author:
    Angela Simpson

  • Prep Time:
    15 mins

  • Cook Time:
    40 mins

  • Total Time:
    45 mins

  • Yield:
    2 meal-sized servings

  • Category:
    dinner

  • Method:
    roast

  • Cuisine:
    Middle Eastern

Description

If za’atar isn’t yet part of your spice collection, now’s the time to give it a try! This Za’atar Chicken with Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Pilaf is the perfect way to try it. It’s also sugar-free, gluten-free, and packed with protein.


Ingredients

For the chicken and marinade:
  • 2 uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 tbsp za’atar seasoning, divided (this is the one I currently have)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
For the cauliflower:
  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, ground turmeric and cumin, plus a few pinches of sea salt and black pepper
For the Quinoa Pilaf
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa + 1 cup water or low sodium stock
  • 1 cup each thinly sliced English cucumber and halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews (option to dry toast them in a frying pan to enhance flavour)
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp each extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Marinade the chicken: In a large resealable bag, combine the oil, lemon juice, and 1 tbsp za’atar. Add the chicken and refrigerate at least 30 mins.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400F. Line 2 baking sheets with foil or parchment.
  3. Take the chicken out of the marinade and place it on one baking sheet. Generously shake the remaining za’atar on top, aiming to cover as much of each chicken breast as possible. Bake for 30 mins or until no longer pink inside.*
  4. Meanwhile, toss the cauliflower in all of its coating ingredients in a bowl. Once coated, pour them onto the other lined baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until crispy.** (You can do this while baking the chicken if your oven fits both pans. I recommend putting the cauliflower pan on top rack if you can’t fit them on the same one.)
  5. Make the quinoa pilaf: Cook quinoa in the water/stock according to package directions. This should take about 15-20 mins, and the majority of the liquid should be absorbed by the end. While it cooks, prepare the remaining ingredients for the pilaf.
  6. Drain any excess water off the quinoa and allow it to cool slightly. Toss it into a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and stir well to coat in oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  7. Divide the quinoa pilaf between bowls, followed by the roasted cauliflower and chicken. (I like to slice it before plating.)
  8. Garnish with lemon and some extra parsley if desired, then serve.

Notes

  • Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your chicken breasts. Smaller ones should take 25-30 mins whereas thicker ones may take closer to 40 mins.
  • If you like, once the chicken is finished cooking, you can switch the oven setting to broil for the final minutes of cooking the cauliflower. Just keep an eye on it as it will get crispy fast!

Keywords: za’atar, chicken recipes, whole30, paleo, grain-free, gluten free, dairy free, high protein, sugar free

Za’atar Chicken with Turmeric Lemon Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Pilaf | gluten-free, sugar-free, anti-inflammatory, meal prep friendly and high in protein! | My Fresh Perspective | #glutenfre #antiinflammatory #turmeric #cauliflower #highprotein #sugarfree

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How to Build Bigger Chest Muscles

If you train in a big commercial gym, you’ve probably noticed Monday is National Bench Day. Everyone seems to be training their chest. Tuesday is often National Bench Day part 2 with more of the same. But how do you train your chest efficiently for maximum growth? In this post I’ll explain you which mistakes you must avoid to build a bigger chest and the right method to increase your…

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True Personalized Medicine: A Game-Changer

I’m about to tell you about the beginnings of a paradigm change in nutrition and medicine. It will—eventually—change the way both nutrition and medicine are practiced.

See, for all of my lifetime, and likely all of yours, we’ve talked about nutrition in terms of the properties of the food we eat. This food contains these amino acids; it contains this number of fat grams; it has this glycemic index. And our nutritional advice has all been based on that. Stuff like the number and quality of calories, vitamins, amino acids, phytochemicals, protein, fat, and fiber found in the food (or supplement).

We assumed these foods would affect people in the same way. If you ate high-fiber foods, you had better digestion. If you ate steak, you had plenty of B-12. And if you ate high-glycemic processed carbs, your blood sugar would go up a lot and bad stuff would happen.

Simple, right?

Except that it’s not.    

Calories, for example, affect different people differently, as I’m sure you’ve noticed! Some people can eat anything and not gain weight, others feel like they gain an ounce if they so much as look at Haagen-Daz. A calorie may be a calorie in the test tube—but once it hits the individual gut, it’s a very different story.

Which brings me to the glycemic index. And a pretty important discovery.

The glycemic index is a measure of how much a food raises your blood sugar. It’s determined by giving a fixed quantity of net carbohydrates (50 grams) from any given food to hundreds of thousands of people, measuring their blood sugar, and then averaging the results. It’s based on a ton of testing and measuring and has been validated in many peer review studies.

But recently, scientists have been noticing that individual glycemic response to foods is all over the map, and often very different from what would be predicted from the glycemic index alone. If you and I ate the same 50 gram portion of net carbs from carrots (or any other food), it’s anybody’s guess whether or not the rise in our respective blood sugar would be the same.

Probably, it wouldn’t be. Because studies are beginning to show that the glycemic index of a food is only a so-so predictor of how any given individual will respond to that food.

And here’s where the revolution in personalized medicine begins. Because when you plug an individual’s microbiome data into the equation, your ability to predict a given individual’s blood sugar response to food gets better by about 20%.

In one recent study, scientists asked 327 non-diabetic patients to send in stool samples so they could have their microbiome analyzed. The researchers then plugged that data into the largest microbiome database in the world, in Israel. Now armed with individual microbiome data for the individuals, they started the study

The people in the study wore continuous glucose monitors so were able to measure their blood sugar every five minutes. They kept copious track of every morsel eaten. When the scientists analyzed the food they were eating (for carb content, glycemic index, etc), they found there was around a 40% accuracy in predicting individual glycemic response just from knowing about the food.

But when they plugged in the individual microbiome data, the prediction increased to around 60%.

In other words, it’s not just what you eat that affects your blood sugar—it’s what you eat in combination with what the inhabitants of your microbiome like to eat!

As Louis Pasteur said on his deathbed, “Look to the host”. In other words, after a lifetime of studying the nature of bacteria, he realized it’s not just the bacteria—it’s how they affect a given individual (host).

And this is the beginning of the paradigm changing revolution.

It’s the beginning of the era of personalized medicine.

In fact, Day Two—the company in Israel that developed the microbiome database and analyzed the results for the researchers in the study I just told you about– offers consumers a version of the microbiome test used in the studies. You send in your sample and they plug the results into their vast database to actually predict which foods you personally will do well with and which ones you should avoid. (I recently took the Day Two microbiome test—and I’ll keep you informed about my results and experience.

Expect the results to be surprising. Because on any individual’s list there will be a lot of “healthy” foods that just aren’t matches for that particular individual. And there may be some “iffy” foods that their microbiome likes just fine. (The FODMAP diet is a great example of perfectly fine foods being problematic for certain individuals.)

The point, really, is that as we learn more about the things that make us as individuals unique—our genes, our SNPPS, our gut bacteria/microbiome— we will get better and better at predicting individual reactions to foods, supplements, probiotics, and even medicine.

Most docs I know all believe the day will come when they will have a much better idea of what dose of a given drug will be effective in a given individual.

The days of one-size-fits-all (in medicine OR nutrition) are clearly coming to an end.

And—to use the overused term—that is truly a game-changer.

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You ask, Fit Feminists Answer: Soft pedaling, why do cyclists do that?

We have a thing here that we do from time to time, and that’s “you ask, fit feminists answer.” It goes like this — you ask, we answer (as best we can).

This question came from a new cyclist friend, what is soft pedaling and why do cyclists tell you to do it?

First, what is it? Soft pedaling is the act of turning over the pedals without applying any power.

Like my friend, I first encountered it when riding closely with others in a group ride. Sometimes I would coast and was told instead to soft pedal. Just shift to an easier gear and keep pedaling even though it has zero effect on your speed.

Okay but why?

Reason 1: “When riding in a group you often find that small changes of speed can mean that you do not need to pedal when the group slows down and have small bursts of power when the group speeds up. By soft pedaling when the group slows down your legs will already be spinning when its speeds up again. All you need to do to speed up is shift.” (from what’s the purpose of soft pedaling? )

Reason 2: Coasting is bad form in a group ride because it signals to the people behind you to slow down. If you can keep soft pedaling everyone will keep moving and you don’t get those big differences in speed between the front and the back

Reason 3: You avoid coasting which is also bad for your legs on a long ride. Your legs will be much happier if you keep spinning even with no resistance. You can read the posts of the late Sheldon “Coasting Is Bad For You” Brown and he’ll try to talk you into riding a fixed gear bike. With a fixed gear bike you can’t coast and it certainly breaks the habit. But you could just try coasting less without going that route.

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Scale Funk: Why You Can’t Trust the Scale!

I can’t even tell you how often I hear from those on their transformation journey who are SO incredibly frustrated by the numbers they read on the scale that they want to give up! It’s what I call “Scale Mind Funk,” and literally, it FUNKS with your mind (maybe the other F word too). If you fall victim to scale mind funk too, you should know FIRST that you are not alone. It’s such a common problem! It’s funny (or not so funny, really) how that number on the scale can dictate how we feel about our goals, our willpower, and really our value and worthiness…IF we allow it to. It can COMPLETELY dictate our mindsets—either putting us on a path to feeling amazing, confident, and unstoppable in our pursuits, or it can send us on that downward spiral toward self-loathing, depression, anxiety, and a STRONG desire to quit. Truth. All of this happens because of a dang number on a dang scale. Especially if we’ve been sticking to our transformation plan like glue.

I am here to tell you that it should not be this way! Nope. Not at all. While the scale is an incredible tool that can help us track metrics toward our goals, we MUST look at is as the tool it is. Not ALL tools are needed ALL of the time. Am I right? A handyman only uses a wrench occasionally to do his job. So why do we insist on using ONLY the scale as our main tool to do OUR job of losing weight?

Check out this video to see why you should never let the number on the scale dictate your level of success on your transformation journey!

There you have it…now you see that the dang number on the scale is completely dependent on so many variables!!! NONE of which have anything to do with your actual weight loss or gain OR your ability to maintain integrity and keep promises you’ve made to yourself (more on promises HERE).

Six scales. Six totally different weigh ins. Some with as much as an EIGHT POUND DIFFERENCE! Add to it my outfit choices, water retention, food intake, and time of day! Scales cannot always be trusted!!! Consistency is key to any weigh in IF you want to keep your mind on your goal and NOT on things you can’t control (caused by inconsistency). To help eliminate these variable numbers, and to actually get an accurate reading on your weight loss success, follow the tips in vid (also below)…

Tip #1: Weigh in on the SAME SCALE.

If you weigh in on a scale at home, then weigh in at the gym, then weigh in somewhere else, odds are that you won’t get the same number, and that can be beyond frustrating! So remember: Same scale every time you weigh in. All scales are NOT created equally…evidenced by my six different numbers on six different scales, varying by as much as 8 lbs! 

Here are few of my favorite scales. Pick ONE and ONLY ONE! No more. No cheating on scales or the number will cheat on you. 😉

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Tip #2: Weigh in with the SAME CLOTHES.

And I mean the EXACT same clothing. Same jewelry, same shoes (or no shoes), same everything. I promise you would be SHOCKED at what a seemingly tiny change in outfit or accessories can do to the number on the scale. In this video, alone, my “light weight” add-on added on two pounds on the scale. Rule of thumb: weigh in each time in a sports bra and shorts—the same ones—each week! It might be a little uncomfortable to have so little clothes on, but trust me, this will make a difference in consistency.

Tip #3: Weigh in at the SAME TIME (of day).

Again…consistency is key here! It’s all crucial to think about is the time of day you weigh in, evidenced by the video. When I weighed in on the video, it was first thing in the morning before I’d eaten a lot or moved much for the day. As the day goes on, a lot happens with our bodies. We eat (3-5 meals a day), we drink water (hopefully, ½ our body weight), we’re stressed, we retain water, we sweat, we work out…there’s a lot of fluid in and lot of fluid out. By simply drinking a protein shake (a Chris + Heidi Low Carb Meal Replacement Shake, of course ;)), the scale went up over a pound for me! And remember, that water you need to drink every day weighs a lot too! One gallon of water weighs 8 lbs, so if you’ve been drinking your water during the day (which I hope you have!), and working out also (which I hope you do!), your skin and muscles are going to retain some of that water. Keep in mind that your body can hold up to 20 lbs. of water! FOR REAL! It’s shocking how fast that number can go up or down throughout one measly 24 hour period. Take away: weigh in FIRST thing in the morning on every single weigh in day.

Tip #4, the final tip: Weigh in on the SAME DAY (of the week).

Did ya’ hear that?! I’ll say it again for the people in the back: WEIGH IN THE SAME DAY EVERY WEEK! Remember how we just talked about how much the scale number goes up and down in a day?! Think about how much it changes on a DAILY BASIS, especially if you are carb cycling! Keep in mind that sugar and salt are like magnets to water in our bodies! If we have a high carb or high sodium meal (or Reward meal) on a Friday night, chances are that our bodies will retain massive amounts of water come Saturday morning. Like I said previously, upwards of 10-20 lbs if you have a lot of excess skin. We mistake this for “fat gain” and often start restricting, which leads to bad eating habits once again!

On our Transform App carb cycling programs, we have set high carb, low carb, and reward/reset days each week, and depending on when these fall, your weigh ins WILL vary! Choose ONE day of the week, and stick with it for consistency. I recommend choosing your Reset or Reward Day and weighing in FIRST thing in the morning before you eat or drink. Every. Single. Week.

Bonus Tip: Focus on the NSVs

“N-S-whats???” You are asking? NSVs. Short for Non Scale Victories. You know, the things that really matter. Like I said at the beginning, the scale is a great TOOL, but not the solution or the end goal.

Having more energy to play with your kids, shortening your belt by one loop, not having to use a seat belt extender on the airplane, feeling energized instead of tired and winded, finally being able to fit into the size you were when you were married…to name a few.

THESE are the most important part of transformation. By focusing on what IS going well, and celebrating you for the progress you are making, you will be far less bound by the scale like a slave, and you will experience more joy, freedom, and victory around what really matters. These are the things that make “transformation” a different game than “weight loss.” These are what matter.

Cheers to Scale Mind Funk no more! Bye, Felicia…

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xo,

Heidi

Related reading:

Transform App FAQ: HELP!!! I’ve been working my butt off, following my meal plan, and the scale’s not moving! What do I do?
A Weight Loss Win: It’s More Than That Number on the Scale
How to Burn Fat While Building Muscle || Body Recompositioning 101
Changing the Way We Think About Stress
Power up Your Day with These 6 Energy-Boosting Tips!

The post Scale Funk: Why You Can’t Trust the Scale! appeared first on Heidi Powell.

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Spiced Maple Pecans

  Ingredients 2 cups raw pecans 3 TBSP pure maple syrup 1 tsp sea salt 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp ground ginger Pinch freshly ground pepper Directions In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper. Set aside. Place maple syrup in a medium bowl, set aside. In a large skillet, toast the pecans over medium high heat, stirring almost constantly, until nuts are slightly toasted and hot.…

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