Why I order Chicken at Chipotle
I have been traveling all week to fill in for another doctor and there happens to be a Chipotle down the road from the office. Hallelujah! I am pretty good about packing food to take so I don’t get hangry, but Chipotle can be a nice place to grab food, sit down, and eat outside. Now to get to the point. Why would I order chicken at Chipotle when I very rarely eat chicken at home? There are a couple things I like to consider when eating out:
- What basic food options are available?
- What is the meat quality?
When eating out, I am always looking for basics, whole foods, simple ingredients. You can’t get everything perfect at a fast food restaurant, but that doesn’t mean I dive into a McDonald’s cheeseburger by any stretch of the imagination. Chipotle has veggies, meat, healthy fats, in-house prepared additions, and tries their best to pick non-GMO, higher quality sourcing options. So, as far as basic food options, I can get a filling, whole food meal. That takes care of WHERE will I eat.
The second concern now that I am WHERE I’m going eat, is WHAT am I going to order? I am not afraid of fat by any stretch of the imagination, and healthy fats are abundant in my diet, including the fat from grassfed meat, skin from chicken and salmon, rendered fats for cooking, etc. However, when I am dining out, unless it specifically says that the cow products are grassfed, I try to order chicken. Chicken is much higher in omega-6 fatty acids than grassfed cows even if it is pastured and fed appropriately. Grassfed cows actually have tons of omega 3 fatty acids, which are healthy, anti-inflammatory, and much more effective than supplementation. However, if the cow has eaten grains, you can chuck those omega 3’s out the window. Now we are looking at 2 foods that are both heavier on the omega 6 fatty acid side of the equation. So, we will call it a tie.
Now that I have established neither option has eaten appropriately, I look for the leaner option and that is typically chicken. Why would I care about the leaner option? Because adipose tissue (aka fat, marbling) tends to be a storehouse for toxins that have not been mobilized and excreted. This means, if the animal ate what it wasn’t supposed to, it’s fat products are far from healthy. It is no longer a meat product with abundant health benefits. It is now sort of inflammatory, potentially toxic, and should be looked at for it’s macronutrient value alone (protein). Chicken in the US has gradually made it’s way toward white meat, meaning that it’s fairly lean. Even if the chicken isn’t pastured, I am not getting much of the toxic load associated because I am not ingesting it’s fat, like skin, dark meat, and schmaltz. If I eat a leaner meat, it’s choosing the better of two inappropriately fed animals in my opinion.
I make sure to bridge the nutrient gap with healthy plant fats like avocado. I will order lettuce, chicken, fajita veggies, mild salsa, and a heaping dose of housemade guac. You may also notice that I don’t even really have a drink sitting around. I will discuss drinking water during meals at a later time, but for now, weigh your chicken vs beef options when choosing fast food. If the chicken were breaded, I would choose the beef. It’s all about priorities.
Paleo Crockpot BBQ Chicken
Chicken, Avocado, Black Bean, Mango Salad
Crockpot Chicken 4-ways
Balsamic Marinated Chicken with Strawberry Salsa
I have been really slacking on getting recipes posted! I’ve been so crazy busy, that they are piling up in a folder, and I need to purge a little. Several months ago, I posted about a cooking date with my friends that we do periodically. One of the dishes we made was balsamic marinaded chicken with strawberry salsa. It was super yummy and one of my other friends texted me the other day with chicken and strawberry, avocado salsa, which is what spurred me to post! The fruit pairs really well with protein and feel free to change it up for traditional tomato salsa instead. Tomatoes will be in season shortly and my guess is that you will need to find a use for them! Balsamic Marinaded Chicken w/Strawberry Salsa (credit to EMeals!)
- 1 lb chicken (boneless, skinless)
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
Whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic and place in a large plastic bag. Add the chicken and allow to marinade for 3 hours to overnight. When ready to cook, discard marinade, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and grill. While the chicken is grilling, Mix together the strawberries, hot pepper, and lime juice. Serve the cooked chicken with salsa to top!
Chicken Basil Pesto
It’s time to sign up for the CSA again! Whenever I get that form in the mail, I always have a Christmas moment thinking about all the stuff I still have in the freezer! Then it’s a rush to use it all before I start getting my fresh produce again. Basil pesto is one of those things that you just have to do in the summer and freeze. Fresh basil is way too expensive in the store and you barely get any! However, you can’t keep up with it in the summer! So, I freeze mine into pesto ice cubes so that I can use one for a single dish over lunch or I can thaw out a few to make an entire dinner. I made a spaghetti squash and has leftover chicken from a whole chicken the other night. Top that with some pesto and it’s like you slaved away when really, it’s all basically leftovers! When I opened the container of pesto cubes I literally smelled summer. 2014 must’ve had some dynamite basil! I still have tomato sauce, blueberries, applesauce, several kinds of soup, and several herb blends in the freezer, too! I told you it felt like Christmas! That’s what happens with a chest freezer. All that deer meat covers up your summer bounty for a few months!
I will be doing my weekly recipes again corresponding to my basket of produce from the CSA. So, if you want to have healthy, cheap veggies and someone coaching you through how to use them, jump on the Rise Up Farms bandwagon. 22 weeks of local, organic, vibe ripened produce. What more could you ask for?! A half share is $310 which is $14/week.