Three days off of working out, loads of vitamin C, and a pot of Tom Yum later, I am no longer sick! Getting back into the swing of things was harder than anticipated though. I felt so weak back at the gym and had to remove weight from several lifts, though I don’t think that too much of that was due to actual strength loss. When sick, I try to get in plenty of calories and extra protein, to give the body what it needs to fight the infection and prevent muscle loss. Did you know that when you have a fever, for every 1 degree above ~98.6 you are, your basal metabolic rate is increased by 8%? Your body has to synthesize all the antibodies, B cells, and T cells, to fight off whatever it is – and those are all made from protein!
Since veggies are the least appealing when sick, I made a huge stirfry once I felt better. I tossed everything in a peanut-coconut sauce. I swear that combo can do no wrong. Coconut milk + peanut butter = gold. Howeverrr, I did something a little cray and used vanilla coconut milk for the sauce – and it was out of this world. You must try it!
Chicken and vegetables in a vanilla-coconut peanut sauce
Recipe: Serves 2
- 2 chicken breasts, cooked
- 1 cup quinoa or brown rice, cooked
- cilantro, for garnish
For the stir fry -
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp grated garlic
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 2 baby bok choy
- 2 handfuls brocoli florets
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 5 green onions
- 6 stalks dino kale
- 1 tsp chopped chili pepper (or pinch cayenne pepper)
For the sauce -
- 2 tbsp chunky peanut butter
- 3-4 tbsp So Delicious Sugar Free Vanilla Coconut Milk beverage (or sub in coconut milk and add 4 drops vanilla extract)
- 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1/4 cup cooked winter squash (or sub canned pumpkin or cooked sweet potato)
Directions – Place a pan on the stove on medium heat. Add the oil, garlic and ginger and let cook until fragrant, a minute or two. Chop all the vegetables and pull the kale leaves from the stalks and shred. Add all of the veggies to the pan except the kale and stir fry. Once they are about a minute from being soft to your preference, add the kale. Once the kale has wilted, remove from heat.
Slice the cooked chicken breasts into small strips. Combine the chicken and veggies in a bowl. Prepare the sauce by mixing the PB, coconut milk, tamari, and squash in a little bowl. Stir until homogenous. Pour the sauce over the veggies and chicken and toss until coated. Serve with grains.
Peanuts * a great source of manganese, Vitamin E, tryptophan (calming!), niacin, folate, and copper! Peanuts also contain lots of healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants! They have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and have been shown to significantly lower your chances of getting colorectal cancer.
Chilies * filled with capsaicin which can help fight inflammation. They have also been shown to reduce cholesterol and blood triglycerides, and thus can be considered heart healthy. The heat that you feel after eating chili peppers has to come from somewhere – that would be your metabolism! Also, a recent study showed that eating just a little chili pepper a day helped participants sleep better that night.
Garlic * packed with antioxidants that fight aging, cancer, and heart disease. Garlic can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and eliminate free radicals (which cause cellular damage). It is also used to treat asthma and certain unpleasant infections.
Bell peppers * an extremely potent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and antioxidants. They also contain fiber, B6, folate, and vitamin K.
Coconut * coconut gets a bad rap because of its saturated fat content, but its fatty acids are mainly medium-chain triglycerides, not long-chain. The long-chain triglycerides are bad for our cholesterol levels, but coconut has been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Animal studies suggest that medium-chain triglycerides can increase metabolism.