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Eating with Attitude
July 29, 2016

January 7th, 2016 – BF and I visited functional medicine Drs. Scott and Ellen Antoine of Vine Healthcare in Carmel, IN, to receive the results of initial testing and to receive instructions for a detoxification diet. Now, if you’ve never appointed with a functional medicine doctor, I must tell you, they test everything. And I mean everything. I’ll spare you the details. Thus began our journey into the world of gluten-free, dairy-free, tiny amounts of natural sugar, protein with every meal and snack, no-fear-of-healthy-fats eating. I learned to be a label-reader. Who knew high fructose corn syrup lurked within a jar of pickled beets? We carried our own meals to friends’ houses. We practically quit eating in restaurants. We gave up pizza and wine (gasp!). The detox was to last about a month and I knew we could do it. And mostly, we did.

In addition to a diet makeover, Dr. Antoine asked me to keep a gratitude journal, exercise regularly, and included a hand-out on mindful breathing. She was preaching to the choir. I was all in!

My life-long preoccupation with meal planning, healthy eating, food presentation, and even grocery shopping morphed into a part-time job. I met a bunch of new vegetables and added variety to our food repertoire. I made sure we ate something from the full spectrum of color each day. Partner by my side, I shopped, chopped, and tracked what we ate. We upgraded vitamin dispensers and introduced our body to probiotics.

We returned for our first follow-up visit, you know the one where they would instruct us on how to reintroduce feta cheese and crusty French bread into our diet? Didn’t happen. The energetic, little thirty-something nutritionist said, “Basically, stay with the same diet. Anything Paleo is okay.” I wasn’t one-hundred percent sure what Paleo meant, but I became a hunter/gatherer, definitely favoring the gatherer side of that equation. I’ve never believed in fad diets, nor have I believed in diets that eliminate an entire food group. But I think we’re on to something here and I’ve committed to giving this project at least one, full year. And I’ve loosened up enough to make it palatable, but still no gluten or dairy. I’ll indulge in an occasional non-gluten grain and wine on weekends, and wine on Wednesday if I happen to meet up with a friend.

For now, I feel lighter. My gut is more peaceful. I can dine on the likes of the grilled Caesar salad above and not feel cheated. Additionally, I feel immense gratitude for the unearthing of a genetic disorder in the midst of all this testing: hemochromatosis, or iron overload. And that Dr. Antoine found it before damage was done to one of my major organs. I am grateful for my partner in this project and his willingness to co-invest. I’m grateful that, as far as I know, our friends still like us even when we pass on their cheesy potato casserole and gorgeous, home-made desserts.

We didn’t present as couch potato, junk food junkies, or people faced with many pounds to lose. Rather as people searching to challenge themselves–up their healthy lifestyle game. I can’t say it’s been easy, but it’s been good. Especially when I keep my attitude toward the whole project in check.

So, you want my grilled Caesar salad recipe? Sure. I stole the idea of grilling lettuce from our friends at La Trattoria and the dressing recipe I borrowed from The rest of it is mine and I’m happy to share. Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Grilled chicken breast, chopped in bite-sized pieces.
1 whole Romaine per person, washed and cut in half lengthwise, core intact
1 large tomato, diced
1-2 slices of Canadian bacon per person
Salt, pepper, olive oil
Caesar dressing (I use this recipe)

Grill chicken or wrap previously grilled chicken in a foil pouch to warm on grill. Prepare Romaine halves for grilling; drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill lettuce on medium heat until it begins to wilt (about 7-10 minutes). Warm Canadian bacon on grill.

Grilled Caesar 1

Chop warm lettuce, discard core and toss in Caesar dressing. Add tomato and Canadian bacon for one, final toss. Plate and top with chicken chunks. Serve immediately.

grilled Caesar2Grilled Caesar3

***When I want to save time, I use Applegate Naturals grilled chicken strips.

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1 Comment

  1. This salad is the best and I’m not a salad guy!


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Debi Dixon

Debi Dixon

The Universe is guiding me on an incredible adventure: my Plan B. I write here to share bits of my Odyssey, hopefully to inspire, encourage, or extend the virtual hand of friendship.

When I quit teaching in 2014, I could never have imagined the growth I would experience through travel, writing, reading, therapy, and introspection.

I believe human connection and compassion will go a long way toward our healing, and the best way to connect and feel compassion for one another is through the sharing of our stories.

Thank you for joining me here. I appreciate you and may we grow together.

Inspirational Quote

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”
~Joseph Campbell

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