There is something about “skinny dipping” that to everyday person like myself seems like your playing with fire! Skinny-Dipping is perhaps one of the few things besides jumping out of plane with a parachute, that many people contemplate checking off their lifetime bucket list!
So it got me thinking, how does the act of skinny-dipping converge with the food we eat? The definition of Skinny Dipping is the risqué activity of swimming in the nude, whereas the foods that we eat everyday can be quite risky, but aversely to the definition of skinny-dipping, the more skinny-dipping we do with our foods the less risk there is! Therefore, eating a diet rich of whole foods without the extra additives, salt, refined sugars, and added white flours that most food manufacturers, and restaurants add to foods can be quite harmful in the long term not to just our waistlines but our mind, body and spirit too!
I have learned over the years, the real naked truth of a health foodie, is not low fat, fat free, sugar free, or 100 % vegan, or excessive calorie restriction, rather it’s about eating food in it’s most naked form, and natural state as possible. The more natural something is, the more balanced your body, mind, and spirit will be. That’s why at #zenonaplate I’m all about not just making weightloss come easy, but about giving you the basics to empower your food choices to be balanced for your mind, body, and spirit. The #zeonaplate idea of "Skinny-Dipping" your food from cooking to eating out is pretty basic, and it’s simple as our ABC’s. Get ready to finally go "Skinny-Dipping", the #ZENONAPLATE WAY, the one with your food, no pool or ocean required!
SKINNY DIPPING 101
1) THE WHOLE AND REAL FOOD DIET APPROACH : Forget sugar free, low fat, fat free, and diet labeled foods because these often have extra hidden chemicals and additives that wreak havoc on our metabolism , digestive system, energy levels, and mood. Avoid and cut down on packaged foods, and sweet drinks as much as possible unless it’s organic or mostly made of whole food /natural ingredients in the label.
2) MAKE THE WORDS “FRESH” AND “NATURAL” PART OF YOUR LINGO : Get Familiar with the terms “ fresh” and “Natural,” and apply to this idea every time you eat versus “ calories, and restriction. “
3) FORGET COUNTING CALORIES: At #zenonaplate we want you to remove the notion “Calories in vs. Calories out” and focus on TYPES OF FOODS, PORTIONS, AND NUTRIENTS. Pay attention to portions, ingredient labels of course ingredients you can pronounce.
4) GO GLUTEN FREE: I’m a big proponent of this because gluten is processed and is pretty much in all breads, crackers, and pastas. By going gluten free your automatically cutting out most starchy breads and white-floured pastas, so you have less to think about or analyze when eating. There are so many options now with the gluten free movement,, and most of these gluten free products are packed with more fiber and protein than typical breads, pastas, and crackers.
5) CUT BACK ON MOST DAIRY AND EAT IT WITH A PURPOSE: Our immune system is in our gut, and most people aren’t aware that many times they suffer from allergic reactions or sensitivities to dairy or lactose intolerance. Many times too much dairy, or the wrong types of dairy like cheese and butter can cause inflammation on the digestive track, and can lead to a myriad of digestive issues like gas, bloating, irritable bowl, cramps, and inflammation. Try swapping out milk for plant-based milk like coconut, almond, soy, or rice. The same thing goes with ice cream or frozen yogurt try swapping it out for non dairy ice creams. Eating dairy like Greek Yogurt that has good bacteria for rebalancing our guts is fine, unless you have a dairy allergy, and some cheeses like goat cheese when eaten in moderation are less processed so they are easier on the stomach.
6) COOK LIKE A BEGINNER: Get Comfortable with Cooking Simple, even if you are an expert chef! Eating healthy boils down to spending some time cooking simple dishes. Many times the commercial culture of the food industry and restaurants replay the theme that complex gourmet and decadent foods are the most delish! Learn to get yourself and if you have a family comfortable with cooking and eating basic dishes from whole food ingredients. You would be surprised how easy it is to become super creative using basic ingredients (see recipes below)
7) DRINKING 101: Make water your bestie throughout the day. Hydrating and drinking sufficient amounts of water throughout the day is essential for you mind and body, not to mention great for your metabolism. Eliminate Soda whether it’s diet from your food plan completely, and try the alternate of incorporating carbonated water with slices of fruit to add sweetness. Also, if you’re a big juice drinker, besides the green juice, try removing high sugary juices like cartons of orange juice, apple juice, and pineapple juice and eating whole fruits instead of slurping sugar! For alcohol, it's best to drink wisely and in moderation per week rather than daily. Excessive, frequent, and daily drinking of alcohol hinders our health goals, as well as slows down our metabolism, and alters our mind body connection, and spirit(mood). It's best to be smart about your drinking habits.
8) KEEP IT SIMPLE WHEN EATING OUT: The reason why people pack on weight with eating out is that they tend to eat with their eyes before their mind. Keep your order options as basic as the food chain. Ask the waitress what are the lighter options before ordering. Modify your meal to have sauces on the side, or ask them to cook with olive oil over butter. Choose Mediterranean style restaurants over other cusines ,because these restaurants tend to be on the lighter side focusing on a whole food-eating concept. Ensure that you are eating a balanced meal with a lean protein, healthy fat, healthy carb, and of course veggies.
Choose either an appetizer or dessert, don’t make eating out a pass to a full buffet! Eating out doesn’t have to jeopardize your health goals, and you can still enjoy trying different restaurants. If you are craving dessert then remember to miniaturize it by sharing it with one or two people, and go for whole food desserts that are flourless. Also, try researching restaurants that have lighter options.
9) GO GREEN! The power of Green foods within your diet is super important. Whether you juice daily with a variety of greens or eat your greens too, don’t underestimate the power of packing up on enough greens. Green rich foods detox our bodies, boost immunity and create a more alkaline environment within our bodies. The antioxidants that green give us neutralize the body and clear out toxins.
10) EAT NAKED! The naked truth on a health foodie is eating as basic as possible with the notion of whole food dishes whether you cook or are eating out. The more complex a dish sounds avoid it. Go for basic options like salads, grilled fish, chicken, lean meats without heavy sauces, and skip the bread or fried appetizers, opting for grill options, raw, or plant based appetizers.
11) SHOP THE PERIMETER OF THE GROCERY STORE: Focus 80% of your cart on foods in the perimeter. Realign your Shopping with the Food Pyramid guidelines.
12) BECOME OK WITH HEALTHY FATS: Healthy Fats, typically plant based are necessary in your daily food plan for your metabolism to burn, to protect immunity, and ward off certain diseases. (Check out my past post on healthy fats vs. unhealthy fats)
13) MAKE A COMMITMENT: With any lifestyle change, it’s important that you make a commitment through your time spent preparing healthy foods and educating your self. Make time to go to the grocery store weekly, pack healthy snacks or lunches, or plan ahead to cook a few meals a week rather than eating out, and always be a step ahead by researching healthier options to eat out.
14) LEARN TO RECREATE YOUR FAVORITE DISHES: Replace your favorite dishes with healthier versions. Become familiar with my post on skinny swaps and start replacing those heavier favorite recipes with lighter ingredients. This is great idea for those who have a sweet tooth and don’t want to forgo the weekly sweet to just once in while. Make baking those yummy desserts a special time for you or your family to have fun and indulge too, because you deserve to indulge!
15) FOCUS ON THE POWER OF NOW BY TUNING INTO THAT MIND AND BODY CONNECTION: At #zenonaplate , the power of the plate is tied to the present moment. The present moment is key to #zenonaplate food theory because you must be comfortable with how you always feel in the moment and then use that to empower better lifestyle choices. At #zenonaplate , the mission is to help you choose the best whole foods that work in align with your body, mind, and spirit. Remember you deserve to the live the best life you can, and that’s honoring yourself through making positive choices that deeply enhance that mind and body connection. Be ok with feelings that are uncomfortable like fear, sadness, anger, depression, anxiety, and have the ability to let go, and make choices that are empowering.
#ZENONAPLATE SKINNY DIPPING RECIPES
Omlette: Made with one egg, ¼ cup of almond milk, two egg whites some salt and pepper with cilantro, cherry tomatoes and mixed peppers and a side of grapefruit
Cantaloupe with gluten free oats and two tablespoons of Chia Goodness with Chocolate Almond from Earthly Choice and Unsweetend Almond Milk
Gluten Free Oat Meal with Flax Seeds and Blueberries with one whole Orange and a hard boiled egg
DINNER AND LUNCH IDEAS
#ZENONAPLATE RUSTIC ITALIAN CHICKEN TENDERS WITH BLUEBERRIES
One Can of Amy’s Organic Rustic Italian Soup
Skinless and boneless chicken tenders (natural without hormones)
Salt and Pepper
Crushed Organic Tomatoes in Puree with BasiL
Turn oven to 425 Degrees Fahrenheit. In a plate pour coconut flour for chicken tenders to be coated in flour. Take chicken and clean it, and then coat lightly with olive oil and dip in coconut flour. In a pan pour half the soup and then lay chicken straight on baking pan that has been oiled up. Pour the second half of the Soup on the chicken, and make sure it’s evenly distributed and coated with the chicken. Then scatter blueberries on top of the chicken, and you are ready to pop in the oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes and then take out and serve.
The side dish is super easy. Olive oil the pan and heat the burner to medium heat, and put broccoli, and corn in the pan and cook for a few minutes before adding whole can of crushed tomatoes in puree. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook for around 4 minutes before adding a few tablespoons of coconut flour or corn starch or your choice of flour to thicken the tomatoes into a sauce. Add Almond Cheese on top of pan once sauce has thickened and cook for another minute.
#ZENONAPLATE BUTTERNUT SQUASH SAUCE WITH FISH AND IN A PASTA
2 Cups of Butternut Squash cubed (Boil for 15 minutes until soft enough to blend down)
½ cup of Coconut Milk Lite
½ Tablespoon of Coconut oil
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Cilantro
1 Tablespoon of Honey
½ tsp of Salt
For the Fish
4 Tilapia Filets
2 Bell Peppers Cut Up
Seafood Seasoning from Simply Organics
Lemon Slices for each fish
Brown Rice Pasta linguine
Dried Cranberries 7-11)
2 cups Spinach
1 cup of boiled cubed butternut squash
Directions for The Butternut Squash Sauce and Fish:
Boil two cups of butternut Squash for 15-18 minutes. Then drain in a strainer and put the butternut squash in the blender, with the coconut milk, cilantro, honey, coconut oil, and salt and blend unit it’s in puree form, and Set Aside. Then preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit for Tilapia filets. Season the tilapia filets with salt, pepper, and seafood seasoning. Place cut peppers and squeeze lemon juice over fish, and place one lemon slice over each piece of fish, and pop in the oven for 28-30 minutes, and then take out.
Directions for the Pasta
Boil the noodles according to the package, and once done set aside in a strainer. In a sautéed pan that has been oiled with olive oil pour 2 cups of spinach with handful in half of cherry tomatoes with two or three lemon slices, and season with ginger. Cook for a minute before adding a cup of water and some dried cranberries. Cook for around four –five minutes until water has lessened and then add the pasta and then add the sauce and mix around and cook for another minute. Then add the cubed cooked butternut squash and mix around until evenly distributed .
#ZENONAPLATE ORANGE THYME CHICKEN TENDERS
8 Tablespoons of GF Soy
1 Tablespoon of Light GF French dressing
2 Oranges – Squeeze Juice
¼ tsp of salt
3 Tablespoons of Fresh Thyme
1 Orange Sliced Up
3 Tablespoons of Fresh Thyme
Chicken Tenders (Skinless and Natural)
Frozen Zucchini Slices
1 Cup in half of Imagine Tomato Soup
Preheat Oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil a baking Tray and set aside. Wash Chicken and then put tenders in the large bowl that has the marinade mixed up. Combine the first four ingredients of the Marinade before adding the chicken, and then take the fresh thyme and sprinkle around the chicken with marinade. Mix the chicken with the thyme and then let it sit for 10- 15 minutes. Next, take the pan and lay each tender straight next to each other with an orange slice on top. You can squeeze 1 or ½ of an orange for more flavor if you want. Next pop in the oven for 15-18 minutes. Make sure the meat is fully cooked before you remove.
Directions for the Veggie Mix:
Heat burner to medium and put olive oil in the pan and let it spread. Next pour the frozen zucchinis and cook for a few minutes before adding the mushrooms and the salt, pepper, and lemon juice. You want the zucchini to dethaw a bit before adding the Tomato Soup. Once the zucchini starts to cook and soften up, add a cup of tomato soup and cook for four minutes before adding half of another cup of tomato soup and then cook for another minute before adding some tablespoons of flour (GF) or cornstarch to thicken up the sauce. Once vegetables have fully cooked by being a bit brown, and sauce has thickened you are ready to serve.
#ZENONAPLATE BLACK BEAN LINGUINE WITH ALMOND HONEY BASIL SAUCE
Black Bean Linguine 3 Cups
2 Cipollini onions- diced and minced
2 cloves of Garlic - diced and minced
1 cup in half of almond Milk unsweetened vanilla , and then another ¼ cup after
3 ½ half Tablespoons of GF Flour or CornStarch ( I used Tapioca Flour)
2 -3 Tablespoons of Fresh Basil
1 ½ cup of Cherry Tomatoes
Boil Black Bean linguine for 10-15 minutes., and then pour noodles in strainer and run cool water over noodles. Leave aside until the sauce with the shrimp is ready. Next, turn on burner to medium to high and oil pan and wait until olive oil spreads over the pan. Then put garlic, and cipollini onions in the pan with the shrimp and season with salt and pepper lightly, and cook for a few minutes until shrimp start turning pink. Then pour a cup of almond milk with handful of cherry tomatoes, and around 2 tablespoons of fresh basil give or take, and cook shrimp in the milk for four minutes or more until it has lessened. Then add another ¼ cup of almond milk and 2 tablespoons of tapicoa flour or cornstarch to thicken up almond milk to sauce. Stir around until the sauce has thickened. If it hasn’t thickened then add ½ to 1 full tablespoon of flour. Make sure the shrimp are cooked enough while the sauce is thicker, and if both are done, then you are ready to add the noodles and mix in. Garnish with chopped almonds and basil.
#ZEONAPLATE CASHEW CARROT GINGER TOFU STIRFRY
Organic Tofu -1 whole block cubed
Frozen California Veggie Mix
Can of Garbanzo Bean
Organic Field Day Diced Pears-2 Cups
Pacific Brand of Cashew Carrot Ginger Soup
Tapioca Flour(GF) or Corn Starch
Turn Burner on Medium to High, and pour olive oil in the pan and spread it all around. Next pour frozen California Mix blend on pan, and add half a cup to a cup of water before adding extra Brocolli Florets to the mix. Next cook for a few minutes before adding can of garbanzo beans, and don’t bother draining the beans because you are going to add the juice from the beans too. This gives it more flavor to veggie mix to cook with. Cook for a few minutes before adding the two cartons of pears and add the juice from there. Cook completely until the juice or liquid has really diminished. Once you see veggies have softened, and chickpeas have deflated in then put the veggie mix in a strainer or separate plate. Next, take a clean pan and turn burner on to medium to high and olive oil the pan. Once the oil has spread place the cubed tofu in the pan and start to cook. Squeeze half a lemon on tofu and season with salt and pepper. Keep cooking for a few minutes , and then add one cup of the carrot ginger soup and cook the tofu for a 3 minutes until soup has reduced a bit and then add ½ cup of soup and two tablespoons of flour to thicken the sauce, and stir around until the flour has mixed in, and sauce has really thickened up and then re add the veggies from the strainer and mix in evenly under a low heat. Then serve with a sliced lemon as a garnish.