Spring Fling Chicken & Nectarine Salad

Spring Fling Nectarine Salad 2017

You can tell I’m feeling a little goofy when I choose a title like Spring Fling Chicken & Nectarine Salad, but it’s a gorgeous spring day and I don’t feel like taking life too seriously all the time. Sometimes we just need to be a little silly.

A friend of mine recently mentioned that they’d found some super ripe and delicious nectarines at my local store. It seemed kind of early in the season but they smelled amazing so I immediately bought a whole bunch of them. I made this salad three days in a row. It is so good! Well, as long as you like “fruit in your food” as I say. Not everybody likes fruit in their savory dishes, but I happen to love the savory-sweet combination and lunchtime salads are always an opportunity to satisfy that particular flavor craving.

Although it’s quite simple, this salad does not disappoint! The flavors balance and support each other in a fairly sophisticated way. The arugula provides a backdrop of bitterness for the mild chicken which is bolstered by pops of juicy sweetness from the nectarine. The toasted almonds bring warmth and depth while the basil and mint provide the freshness. Delicately dressing the salad allows each of the flavors to shine through on their own. I have a feeling this salad will be in my rotation all summer long. In fact, I planted some basil and mint in pots by my door so I could make sure that it does!

I hope you are all celebrating the arrival (finally! for a lot of us) of spring sunshine, warmer days and lovely, long evenings. Let me know if you try this salad and love it too!

Spring Fling Chicken & Nectarine Salad

5 oz. cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)

1 ripe nectarine

2 handfuls of arugula

a little red onion sliced very thinly

1/2 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted

7-8 basil leaves, thinly sliced (about 2 Tbsp.)

12 mint leaves, thinly sliced (about 2 Tbsp.)

1 Tbsp. Paleo mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

salt

lots of cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Mix together mayonnaise and vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper in the bottom of a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add arugula to the bowl.
  3. Chop chicken and nectarine into 1/2″ sized bites and add to the bowl with the arugula.
  4. Add onion and almond slivers along with the sliced herbs.
  5. Toss everything together, add a little salt and pepper, and taste. Add more pepper if it needs it and enjoy!

 

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Ditching the Old Ball and Chain (my scale, that is…)

scales-ball-and-chain

I’m a total scale addict and it’s time I let it go. The true confession is that I get on it all the time but I actually could probably tell you how much I weigh at any given moment. In fact, I sort of guess before getting on and it is confirmed more times than not. I also know that it fluctuates based on fluid levels, time of day, hormonal shifts, and other things. I don’t feel crazy about it…exactly. It’s sort of like a scientific experiment and most of the time it doesn’t affect my mental state. But then sometimes it does.

Lately, I feel like it’s having a negative impact on how I view my body and, therefore, my value and self-worth. (If I could put giant arrows with blinking neon pointing at that last statement, I would. This is where my real work needs to happen. So know that the arrows are there and that we – all of you amazing people out there and I – will be embarking on a bit of a journey to explore this.) I haven’t been crying over it or really even changing my behaviors based on the number, but I am absolutely internalizing it and I hear and feel the self-recrimination based on the number.

The reality is that over the past year I have seen some changes in my body and muscle growth that I like. Some of that will definitely show up in the numbers on the scale. But I’ve also not had my best eating habits, and that shows up too. The scale is just a number, just a record of what is happening with my body. I totally get this and hope that others out there understand that too. It’s a measure of gravitational pull – NOT value as a person or worthiness of love or a determinant of my ability to succeed. All true. Except…I feel something is off.

I’m going to listen to that intuition and get rid of the scale. I need to spend some time learning how to love and appreciate myself just as I am. This doesn’t mean that I don’t still have some body composition and nutritional goals that I want to work on. On the contrary. I’m actually feeling very excited about the aspect of exploring those things without being tied to their numerical representation.

I want to FEEL amazing. And I also want to look good. I nearly apologized for the shallowness of that desire. I am working hard lately to accept myself as I am and it’s funny to me where the insecurities show up. I feel extremely insecure admitting that I want to look attractive, according to my own aesthetic. I feel like I should be ashamed of that but I’m just going to leave it out there in honor of vulnerability and self-acceptance.

As I’ve thought more about self-acceptance lately, I’ve realized that I harbor a lot of judgment around the desire to be physically attractive and I’m not entirely sure why. I feel like I should only love my body for all that it is capable of regardless of how it looks. I DO truly love the FEELING of energy and freedom that comes from fueling my body right. The by-product is how my jeans fit. I honestly seek both and I’ve realized that at certain weights, I don’t feel right in my skin.

Now…that’s always been tied to a number. My question is, “How do I feel when I don’t know what that number is?” Because it really doesn’t matter. It’s just a number. So what if I focus on truly taking care of my body, mind, and soul? Then what? If I look and feel strong and confident and vibrant and sexy but I’m 10 lbs. heavier than I’d “like” to be – what does it matter?

And that’s what I want. Strong. Confident. Vibrant. Sexy. Luminous. Alive. Bold. True.

None of those are determined by a number on a scale.

So it will be gone this Saturday. I’m starting the Whole Life Challenge which looks at paying attention to a variety of lifestyle factors – Food, yes, but also Sleep, Hydration, Movement, Mobility, Lifestyle, and Awareness. I’ve never done it before and I’m excited. I like having a challenge to work on to help focus my attention and I am super-excited to see how the challenge impacts other, less quantifiable, aspects of my life. That’s why I’m getting rid of the scale. I am eager to embrace more intuition in my eating/movement/rest patterns and get a little better at listening to my body and following its lead.

Honestly, I don’t give my body enough credit. When I’m mad at the number on the scale or the fact that my pants fit a little tighter or that my tummy is squishier than I’d like it to be, I’m really doing it a disservice. I am so lucky and seriously, deeply grateful at the many gifts it gives me. I can hike for hours and exercise with an intensity that feels good to me. It cooks for my family and friends, does yoga, walks for miles and dances (on occasion) for hours. It’s run three 1/2 marathons, sleeps soundly, and knows how to laugh until I cry. And it adores a good cuddle. So I’m not complaining. In fact, it’s all of those things that I want more of and I don’t want my love for them muddied up by decades of internal dialog that make me doubt it.

I’ll leave it at that. If you have experience ditching the scale or working through body image and self-worth issues, please comment and let me know where you are in your journey. And if you are in the thick of it, know that I am sending you all kinds of love.