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Monday, 15 June 2015

15 Carb-Free Years (and counting...)

On the 15th of the month, in the year 2015, I thought it seemed about apt to let you know.
It's true.
Every word.
Yup.
It's been 15 years since I've touched a carb. That's a decade and a half.
(I know you know that, but see, sums aren't my strong suite, so if I get the opportunity to show off a bit, I do. You know?)
But yes. 15 years.
And no, I don't mean the odd bite here and the odd taste there - everyone's occasionally allowed that. But bar nibbling on a slice of chocolate cake on my boys' birthdays (because not doing that would just be wrong), I haven't touched a carb in 15 years.
And it's been worth every last bit.

"How do you do it?" I've been asked. "I couldn't! I won't last"
"You can," I say. "And you certainly will last"

Of course, this all started in my twenties for vanity's sake. I don't mind admitting it - I wanted to look good, and I was convinced this was the path that would keep me looking toned and fit. Over a decade and two boys later, it is less about how I look on the outside (though I won't lie, that still matters), but more about how healthy I am on the inside.

People ask if I miss the carbs?
"Miss what?" I ask. "Sugar, white rice, bread and pasta?"
Nope.
No chance.

"How can you be a foodie and not eat carbs?" I'm asked.
"Because good food is not about the carbs," I say. And I believe it with every fibre of my being. Pun wholly intended. 
No, good food is a paradigm shift. A lifestyle. Good food is fresh, and flavourful and fun.
And it's not hard.
The idea is stick to what comes from the ground.
And that's what I eat. And can't get enough of.
Because it makes me feel great, outside and in.
Fitter, leaner, healthier and stronger.
I sleep better, I keep up with my boys, I make the moments count - there's more memories to be made this way.

I eat what I love. And I love what I eat.

I've made this simple summer salad for years and years (yes a decade and a half) and it's amazing every time. It's also versatile. And you know how I feel about versatility.
You don't?
Well - versatility is the bomb. It rocks my world. Without versatility I would wither away like an unwatered peony.
There.
Now you know how I feel about versatility.
Little stunners those peonies, by the way, I have some growing in my garden, each the size of my fist. Simply stunning. Just saying.

Anyway.
My salad.
Very versatile. A peony in full bloom, as it were. Fabulous all by itself or alongside some chicken or prawns.
And now is just the time for it. Long, lazy summer days - the time for my kind of food - fresh, flavourful and fun.

I'm using fresh salad greens from my garden - a combination of rocket, watercress and spinach - and flavouring it with avocados, mango, lime and coriander.
I'm throwing in some marinated chicken for a bit of protein, but as I said, you don't need it.
The twin stars of the show here are the avocado and the mango.
Which make beautiful music together. 

So...with the avocado, you want ones that are just-not-yet ripe. You know, not hard, but not sqidgy. Firm with just that tiny bit of give. Perfect.

And...mangoes.
I can barely say the word without going all loopy in the head.
You see, mangoes and me. We go way back.
I mean I'd dump my husband for a mango.
If mangoes could talk and understand my feelings.
But they can't.
So I guess I'm stuck with Sid.
Boo.

On that note, (sigh)...

Here's what you need:

4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves
8 cups mixed salad greens
2 diced peeled mango
3/4 cup diced peeled avocado
Handful of coriander

I've gone slightly overboard with the mango because I'm utterly, madly, freakily in love with mango. You can hold back. If you wish.(though why you'd wish that befuddles me) (but that's cool).

For the dressing/marinade
2 tablespoons mango chutney
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger

Here's how you do it:

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Meanwhile, add the olive oil, lime juice, mango chutney, soy sauce, and ginger in a small bowl and combine well. Separately, place the chicken in a large bowl and spoon some of the dressing mixture over it, reserving the rest for the salad. Turn the pieces over to coat well, and let stand a few minutes.

Place the marinated chicken on grill rack and grill 4 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through and slightly charred.

To serve, arrange greens, mango, and avocado on a platter. Slice chicken crosswise into strips and place over greens. Drizzle reserved dressing all over.

And that's that.
Yum Yum in my Tum
(yes, very mature, I know, I know...)

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