Monday, January 13, 2014

The 7 Experiment: Food *7 Clean Dinners*

The 7 Experiement by Jen Hatmaker challenges us to take seven areas in our life where excess is especially prevalent - clothes, spending, waste, food, possessions, media, and stress - and to do something about it! Even if you don't rid your life of the excess, at least you become aware of it when reading this book. The first chapter is about food.  Each chapter has a challenge that encourages you to 'do without' for a period of time. She did hers on a monthly basis. Our group chose to do it on a weekly basis.

For our food challenge, we decided we would eat 'cleaner' dinners for 7 days.  So for 7 meals, we ate all natural, whole foods and meats that were organic, grass-fed and free range livestock. I have to say, it started off a little rough! It didn't help that my husband wasn't really on board with the whole clean-eating lifestyle (too inconvenient and expensive, he would say) so of course I wanted to try and impress him with the yummiest recipes I could find.  It was a battle I was determined to win! I would say the food got better as the week went on... here is our seven days at a glance:

Day 1
Pecan-Crusted Chicken 
w/ green beans, sweet potato, and fresh fruit

Sadly, I wasn't winning Thad over on the first night... the best thing on this plate was the sweet potato! *whomp whomp* Not a family favorite. In hindsight, I would have crushed the pecans to be a little finer and I think I would have cooked the chicken in a pan with coconut oil instead of baking it (not as healthy, but might have helped to give it more flavor). Thad - 1, Sarah - 0.

Day 2:
Spicy-Rub Slow-Cooked Chicken 
w/ onion, sliced apple, and salad topped with hard boiled egg.

This dish was much better than the first, but still needed a little work... the rub was pretty spicy (as stated in its name) but my slow cooker just cooks things too fast - no matter what setting it's on!  The chicken ended up being a bit dry. *sigh* Thad - 2, Sarah - 0. The onions were super yummy though ;)

Day 3:
Giant Stuff Portobellos  
w/ green beans and fresh fruit

Now we were making headway! This dish had the perfect amount of spice and was satisfying! Thad even enjoyed it. I will definitely be adding this recipe to our repertoire and see us making this in the near future. It was quite a bit of prep work, though, so it would have to be a day when the kiddos are preoccupied... maybe on the weekend when daddy can distract them while I cook ;) Thad - 2, Sarah - 1.

Day 4:

Spicy Shrimp Jambalaya w/ Brown Rice

Another winner! This dish was deeeeelish! I think tonight may have tied the game... Thad - 2, Sarah - 2

Day 5:

Spice-Rub Turkey Burger
w/ sweet potato, green beans, & *spinach salad

Perhaps my favorite meal of the week... I think I liked this meal the most because the meat portion was there, but not too big and we overloaded on the veggies (yum!). We both felt completely satisfied after this meal and both agreed we would gladly eat it again! Thad - 2, Sarah - 3 (I took the lead!)
*Salad was topped with hard boiled egg whites, avocado, balsamic vinegar, and fresh-squeezed lime juice

Day 6:
Zucchini Lasagna
w/ mixed greens salad & fresh fruit

Although mine turned into more a zucchini chili, I thought it was pretty tasty! The recipe called for sausage, which I have never cooked with before (I usually use ground turkey) but it gave a little zest and we both enjoyed this dish! The macintosh apples were a sweet contrast to the spice of the lasagna, and of course another serving of veggies never hurt with the addition of the side salad. I think I may have gained another point for the 'eating healthy' team! Thad - 2, Sarah = 4

Day 7:

Baked Lemon-Pepper Chicken
w/ sauteed onion & zucchini

I am pretty sure I can eat zucchini any meal, every day of the week! I used coconut oil to sautee the veggies and they were mmm mmm good! The chicken was a bit peppery, but not too bad. I think this meal might have been a little heavy on the meat side of things, but it was the end of the week and if you've read my blog post on meal planning, you know that options for side dishes were slim picking by this point in the week ;) Thad and I could take or leave this meal. I'll award each of us half a point. ;)  Thad - 3.5, Sarah 4.5

And the winner is..... 
Woo hoo! 
I'm not competitive or anything... ;)

So what did we take away from this... other than I was the winner, of course. ;) haha No but seriously, we both were surprised by how many things were processed, and how limited we felt in our choices because of that. It truly is NOT convenient to eat healthy. How sad.  Once I started looking closely at ingredients of things, I was taken aback - even disgusted.  Great Value brand pasta, for example, actually says Pasta Product on the box... it's artificial pasta people! Eeek. Never noticed that before.

Thad and I watched a documentary called "Fresh" that talked about industrial farming and it was really eye-opening for him. He started googling Farmers Markets in the area before the movie was even finished. ;)

What did we take away from this spiritually?  Our bodies are temples designed by God. Food should not be our friend, it should be our fuel. I liked when Jen (the author) says to Jesus, "Present my body a living sacrifice to You, holy and pleasing. Well, You can have my mind, my heart, and even my hands, but I'd like to keep the actual body to myself, thank You. I'm sure you won't mind..." 


It takes on a whole new meaning when put into a Godly perspective, don't you agree?

Be well, my friends! 

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