Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Nam Jim Sauce (Paleo, Clean eating, Gluten Free) + Judgement on what other people eat

I have learnt that there is no “one size fits all”.  IMG_1616 (640x427)

I meant it in the way of meals and food. 

Fitness and health is a journey. Everyone has their own set of circumstances that require individualisation. What works for me may not work for you. 

I have my fair share of comments about “Why are you being careful about carbs intake?”, “relax a little! Just eat!” or “you exercise right? Just eat what you want”

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We have all heard of stories where the fittest person we know was diagnosed with cancer, while the person who drank ate and partied stayed healthy. 

I was diagnosed with PCOS around 3 years ago. Thankfully, I am not insulin resistant. However, I know I am at a higher risk of it. Thats the biggest reason why I eat and train the way I do. High intensity but at a shorter period of time. Eating cleanly as much as possible rather than having refined food that poses little to no nutritional value to my body. To make it slightly more complicated, I had IBS when I was in my late teens. While it is usually under control, I have times where it flared up- most recently after a mild bout of gastro. Both conditions made me more aware of how I eat. IMG_1615 (427x640)

Who knows what is the fitness and health journey of the person next to you? I realised now, that instead of being judgemental, is to just listen. The person next to me might have a tougher health journey than myself. 

For some people, being a vegan works. For others, they enjoy oats. Some like their pasta, whereas others react badly to gluten. Then there are people who respond sensitively to some foods but that does not necessary mean they are allergic to it. 

Creating meals is a joy. Eating is a joy. Fuelling our bodies right makes it moves better and feel better. That’s the primary reason of why we eat clean. Surely listening to your body and learning what makes it tick better is the way to go? 

I struggle with the word “diet”. While it means “the way we eat”, it appears to have a negative notation around it. For our family, we aim to have less processed food. Aiming for whole foods such as vegetables, meat and seafood. We found that too much gluten or dairy makes us bloated and sluggish. For me, it could even trigger abdominal discomfort. 

The questions I frequently get are

1) Do I eat bread?

Yes and No. I do not eat bread on a daily basis for breakfasts. Occasionally when we are out, I may have a little rye toast if I feel like it. My tummy tends to feel heavy after having bread. However, on my heavy work out days, I tend to feel better with additional carbohydrates which depending on where we are, I might choose sweet potato/oats or a small piece of rye toast.

How about breakfasts then? I love eggs. However, I also have some greek yogurt and on Sunday, we cook a fry up of a sausage, spinach, mushrooms and tomato. 

2) You are asian, how about rice and noodles?

We cook rice weekly. Perhaps once a week or twice. I don’t have an issue with rice. I have some occasionally and again on higher intensity work out days. I like that rice has some nutritional value plus it provides resistant starch which is good for gut health. (I recall those days when I was sick, and a bowl of hot steaming congee seems to soothe the tummy). However, I’m conscious that rice is easy to over eat, plus with my PCOS, I tend to be more conscious about the amount of white rice I’m having.

I’m not a fan of yellow noodles but will share some pho with rice noodles from time to time. At home, we prefer cooking with kelp noodles, zucchini noodles and occasionally sweet potato noodles. 

3) Do you have milk in your coffee? What about dairy?

I have almond milk in my fridge and tend to add a splash of that to my coffee at home. If I’m out, I love a good almond milk long mac. However, I go full cream long mac if that is not available. 

I can’t have too much dairy. It makes my tummy goes all funny…A few small slithers of cheese here and there? Not a problem. I seem to be ok with greek yogurt- maybe a 3/4 times a week in small (100-120grams) portions appears to be ok. 

4) Do I cook with sauces?

I have coconut aminos and fish sauce. I do not cook with oyster sauce. I love having ginger, sesame oil and garlic as seasoning. I also use dried herbs. 

5) Do I eat desserts when I’m out?

Of course I do! Hubby and I share. Indulgence. We eat and enjoy. Is it totally nourishing and good for us? Probably not. But we eat knowing that it is for enjoyment and not so much for physical health. 

6) Do I think my “diet” is restrictive?

No way. When is eating clean restrictive? It makes me more conscious about what I put in my body for sure! 

7) Why I identify myself with being a cheeky paleo?

I like the term clean eating. I think that fits us the best. In general though, I like the basics of paleo- eating more vegetables with good sources of meat/seafood. I do like to have some clean paleoified cakes and treats here and there. I think if I want to have dessert, it’s best to have it as nourishing as possible. However, I’m all for REAL chocolate! 

 

 

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This simple salad is made up of mainly wombok or Chinese cabbage. Often, I fall into the tray of using mixed mesclun leaves or baby spinach to make up our salads. I find that finely shredded chinese cabbage has a lovely texture and crunch to it. Top with some cashews and a tangy dressing, it was a light dinner but a satisfying one. A friend passed me this nam jim recipe. I modified it as I did not add sugar to it. Instead, I love the lemon juice, fish sauce, sesame oil and the hit of chilli. 

Vietnamese Chicken and Cabbage Salad
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 chinese cabbage shredded finely
  2. 1 carrot shredded finely
  3. 1 roasted chicken with meat shredded. Alternatively, poached 2 chicken breasts in stock.
  4. few sprigs of vietnamese mint leaves and basil
  5. Toasted pine nuts or cashew nuts.
  6. Dressing
  7. 1 tablespoons of sesame oil
  8. 4-5 tablespoons of fish sauce
  9. 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  10. 1 chili padi chopped finely.
Instructions
  1. Wash and dry cabbage. Portion onto plates with carrot and chicken.
  2. In a jar, combine dressing ingredients. Shake it up and spoon onto salad.
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