On visiting a nutritionist and making Mango Chicken Curry and Steamed Napa Cabbage & Fennel

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I recently had a session with Jennette Turner, a Natural Foods Educator here in Minneapolis, MN. Jennette has a lot of experience and a grounded, whole foods approach to nutrition. From her website: "Jennette earned her Holistic Nutrition degree after three years of intensive study at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. After graduation, Jennette taught classes at the Institute alongside Paul Pitchford, Sally Fallon and Annemarie Colbin. She is a certified member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and a member of the Weston A. Price Nutrition Foundation. Her articles have appeared in publications nationwide."  I was excited to hear that she has spoken at the WAPF Conference - I've always wanted to go!  She also  has a really cool meal planning subscription called Dinner with Jennette. My new housemate subscribed last year - some strange coincidence, right? - so we have a stockpile of recipes that I'm excited to go through.

I really enjoyed my appointment with Jennette, and found her approach to diet completely affirming. I struggle - like so many of you do, too - with my weight, and body images issues, and spinning cycles of "I should eat this" or "I shouldn't eat that" and feeligns of guilt. I get all tied up in knots, and end up denying myself things, only to binge on them later. Jennette had excellent advice for me about new ways to approach how I thought about eating. she gave me book titles to read, and affirmed all the work I've done to change my diet and improve my health with food. And the best part yet? She told me to stop worrying about my weight, eat what I want, and see if my cravings reduce.  She told me to eat breakfast at home instead of eating at my desk at work. She told me to eat lots of butter and protein.. She told me to eat snacks during the day.  She gave me great recipes to try.

I loved hearing all of this. It was so incredibly helpful to hear that I'm doing this right, that my body will adjust as it heals, and that I can just chill out and enjoy eating. In fact, she told me that trying to lose weight would actually do more damage than good, since I suffer from adrenal fatigue and am healing from long-term chronic illness. Additionally, I have a fuller body type - my body doesn't naturally turn willowy and slender.  We didn't spend a lot of time going over the ins and outs of formal nutrition, since she was already pleased with my diet. Instead, we focused more on the emotional aspect of food, and it was a great help to me. 

I am happy to say that after two weeks of eating breakfast at home and eating whatever I want whenever I want it the rest of the day, as well as affirming that my body is beautiful just the way it is, my cravings have lessened. I feel satisfied with food and I don't have as much urge to late-night-binge. Granted, I gained some weight the last couple weeks with my indulging, as my pants are a wee bit tighter - but I think that it will even out. I love that I am starting to feel satisfied, and in the end, feeling satisfied and alive is more important than buying skinny jeans.

Of the handful of recipes she gave me, one of my favorites was the Mango Chicken Curry. It was incredibly easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. I rarely think to cook with mango in savory dishes, so this was a great departure from my normal culinary modus operandi. The flavors were rich and fragrant, the colors were vibrant, and the texture was creamy and satisfying. I served it with quinoa, garnished with cashews and toasted coconut. On the side, I served steamed napa cabbage and fennel, a menu suggestion in Jennette's recipe. My housemates loved it, and we all agreed that it needs to be made at least 2-3 times per month from now on for communal meals. 

Jennette has given me permission to share her recipes with you any time from now on, so I am happy to share this Mango Chicken Curry as the first of what will hopefully be many more.

Interested in learning more about Jennette? Check out her website:http://www.jennette-turner.com

Toasted Coconut, Steamed Napa Cabbage & Fennel, Mango Chicken Curry, and warm quinoa make a wonderfully balanced meal.

Mango Chicken Curry

serves 4 | printed with permission of Jennette Turner, from Dinners with Jennette

Mango adds a bright flavor and color to this tasty curry. We're using frozen mango for convenience, but you could also use fresh - 1 Kent mango or 2 champagne mangoes, peeled and cubed. SErve this dish over basmati rice or another cooked grain like quinoa, with a side of steamed napa cabbage and fennel (recipe follows).

Unsure of how to cook quinoa? Check out these stovetop or rice cooker versions. 

I made some adjustments from Jennette's recipe - see my note below.

  • 1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 pound cooked chicken, diced or shredded
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 oz fresh or frozen mango
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • sea salt
  • optional: 1/2 red bell pepper, diced; 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • my addition - optional ingredients for garnish: toasted shredded coconut, cashews, lime wedges, fresh cilantro

Warm the coconut oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute 4-5 minutes over medium heat.

Add the chicken and bell pepper and/or jalapeno, if using.  Cook 4-5 minutes, until the chicken is lightly browned on all sides.

Add the coconut milk, mango, garlic, curry poweder, cardamom, and salt. Mix well. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 10-12 minutes. Serve.

NOTE; Make sure not to get "lite" coconut milk - it's just regular coconut milk that's been watered down. Leftover coconut milk can be frozen or stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. Try it instead of milk or cream on hot cereal or in tea or cocoa.

NUTRITION TIP: Mangos are a good source of vitamin E - on of the only fruits that are. They're also a good source of cartenoids and soluble fiber.  

My variations:

I made some adjustments to her recipe, as I found it to be too thick. I ended up making the following changes...

  • I added 1 1/2 cups broth
  • I used 2 cups coconut milk instead of 1
  • I added 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • I  used 1 red bell pepper instead of 1/2
  • I served with a variety of garnishes, because I'm fancy like that.

 

Steamed Napa Cabbage and Fennel

serves 4 | printed with permission of Jennette Turner, from Dinners with Jennette

  • 1 small head napa cabbage, sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced

Slice cabbage. To use fennel, trim off the green tops, then cut the bulb into quarters. Remove the core and slice the rest.

Steam the cabbage and the fennel together, until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from steamer and serve with a little salt.

[NOTE FROM ME: some grocery stores incorrectly label fennel as anise. it is not anise, but if you something labeled anise, it is likely fennel]


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