California Salad with Roasted Chicken and Avocado Dressing
A couple of weeks ago, I went to see a holistic health practitioner. In case you were wondering, I suffer from pretty bad anxiety, mild insomnia, fatigue and a host of other white girl problems that have been bothering me for a while. So, when Logan’s parents suggested that I pay their local alternative doctor a visit, I was immediately on board with the idea. They referred to this doctor, whom I shall call Dr. A, as a “miracle worker,” and even Logan claims that the guy cured a “stomach problem” that he had in college. Sold! I made my appointment and looked forward to my future as a well-rested, anxiety-free version of myself.
I’ve always been a fan of holistic medicine, and I’ve dabbled in acupuncture, acupressure and various other holistic therapies over the years. I am obviously an incredibly complex individual, so I appreciate the fact that the holistic approach to healing considers the whole person, including body, mind, spirit, and emotions. Honestly, I sometimes find my regular GP negligent/rude for not asking me about my emotional and spiritual health.
When I arrived at the holistic clinic on the day of my appointment, I told Dr. A all of my health concerns, which he listened to with an appropriate level of concern. He then tested me for allergies and sensitivities to everything from food to specific emotions. This was done by pressing some sort of metal prod into my thumb over and over, and I was able to watch the results register on a computer screen in front of me. Magic!
As I expected, my list of allergies was scarily long. I’m allergic to a whole range of foods (such as eggs, soy, coffee, chocolate, caffeine, and food additives), I can’t absorb fat soluble vitamins, my adrenal glands are all out of whack, and I’m very sensitive to rage, impatience, and rejection. But don’t worry, Dr. A said he could fix all of these things, and he wanted to get started right away. I was thrilled, since I wanted to be able to comfortably drink coffee and deal with Logan’s road rage ASAP.
Dr. A treats patients for allergies using something called Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techinique (NAET). It uses the energy pathways in your body, which are known as meridians, and stimulates spinal nerves to reprogram your body to accept the things you are allergic to. I think. If you would like to understand the science behind how NAET works, see here, but for the purposes of this post, I am just going to describe the technique as I experienced it. You’re welcome.
When it was time for my treatment, I was given small glass vials to hold, each of which contained the electromagnetic fields of specific allergens. I then lay face down on a table while the nurse used some sort of weird back massager on my spine, and I followed her instructions to breathe in various ways (fast, slow, panting, etc.). After that, she waved some sort of laser over my body and escorted me to the waiting room. I was to sit there and hold the vials, legs and arms uncrossed, for ten minutes, at which point I would be cured! Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, I experienced some complications…
While the nurse was listing the things I could not eat or touch for the next 24 hours, I began to feel nauseous. I asked if this was normal. The nurse said no, most people just felt really tired after the treatment, but she was sure the nausea would pass. Then she left me, promising that she would be back in ten minutes. This made me nervous, as I was really not feeling well, but I figured I could tough it out. After all, there were three other vial-holders in the waiting room with me, and they all seemed happy and fine.
I sat still for as long as I could, but after about two minutes, I felt like I was actually going to throw up. I stood up shakily and made my way out into the hallway, where I saw a nurse in the distance. The last thing I remember is sort of hugging the wall and saying, “I really don’t feel well. I can’t really see.” My voice sounded strange to me, sort of like Will Ferrell post-tranquilizer dart in Old School. And then everything went black.
When I came to, I had a vague understanding that I was on the floor. I heard several voices around me, one of which was saying, “She’s verysweaty.” I thought that was harsh, considering the circumstances, but the voice was right. I was very sweaty. I also had a headache, and I wanted to pull my dress down from where it was bunched around my waist, but I was too weak. “Have you ever fainted before, dear?” a voice said. I mumbled that no, I had not, and then I proceeded to lay there for a good five minutes, mooning the group of doctors, until I had the strength to get up. Not my finest moment.
Dr. A assured me that I would make a full recovery, and that my body was clearly badly in need of some “reprogramming.” I asked if this type of thing happened a lot, to which he responded, “No, almost never actually. We’ve had some very small children faint over the years, but it’s pretty irregular.” Cool. He told me to get some rest and to come back the next day to “continue with my treatment.” He also gave me a written test to complete at home that would assess my “brain nature and deficiencies.” Fun.
I spent the rest of the day sleeping, but I did manage to take my brain test that evening, which asked true/false questions ranging from “I have a rich fantasy life. T/F” (true) to “I know I am intelligent, but it is hard to show others. T/F” (false). I returned to Dr. A’s office the next morning slightly nervous, but ready to continue my holistic healing journey.
Luckily, my second round of allergy treatments went off without a hitch, and the results of my brain assessment test were very enlightening. Apparently, my serotonin and GABA levels are low, which makes me prone to sleep disorders, hormonal imbalances, anxiety, fears, and headaches. White girl problems solved! I was given some supplements (fish oil, B-vitamins, etc.) along with a list of foods that boost serotonin and GABA that would balance me out. I practically skipped out of the holistic clinic feeling hopeful and significantly calmer.
It’s been two weeks since my visit to Dr. A’s, and there is definitely a method to his madness. I’ve been taking my supplements and incorporating serotonin and GABA-boosting foods into my diet as often as possible. It may be purely psychological, but I swear I feel better. I’ve made quite a few delicious, brain-healthy meals recently, but California Salad with Roasted Chicken and Avocado Dressing is my best creation yet.
Tender roast chicken and crispy turkey bacon are tossed with mesclun, sweet and tangy oranges, crunchy cucumbers, shaved red onions, and sliced almonds in this unbelievably fresh, flavorful and nutritious salad. And nearly every ingredient boosts either seratonin or GABA, so your brain will be just as happy as your taste buds.
My favorite aspect of this salad is the avocado dressing. It’s creamy and refreshing with a hint of sweetness and just the right amount of acidity. While avocado dressing is the perfect addition to this California Salad with Roasted Chicken, it also makes a great dip for fresh vegetables, grilled meat or fish, and even chips. You’re going to want to keep large quantities of this stuff on hand.
California Salad with Roasted Chicken and Avocado Dressing is the perfect anytime meal for summer. It’s simple and light, yet surprisingly satisfying. I like the idea of serving this at a casual summer dinner party with a crisp white wine and some grilled bread. Plus, with all the seratonin-boosting ingredients, this salad is bound to leave your guests feeling totally blissed-out. Here’s to happiness, friends!
California Salad with Roasted Chicken and Avocado Dressing: (Serves 4-6)
Preparing your California Salad with Roasted Chicken and Avocado Dressing:
-Start by making your avocado dressing. Place all of the ingredients for the dressing in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. You can add a couple extra tablespoon of water if you want a thinner dressing. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
-Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.
-Rub your chicken breast with ½ tablespoon olive oil and season it generously with salt and pepper. Feel free to add some of your favorite poultry seasoning if you like. (Note:There are 2 chicken breasts in these pictures. This is because I doubled the recipe for my own gluttonous reasons. Please don’t let it confuse you.)
-Heat 1 tablespoon an oven safe pan or skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chicken breast, skin side down, and cook for about 5 minutes until the skin is golden brown and crispy.
-Carefully turn the chicken breast over in the pan and transfer it to the oven. (If you do not have an oven safe pan, don’t panic. Just put your browned chicken breast in a baking dish.)
-Bake your chicken breast for 25 minutes at 450 degrees or until the chicken is cooked through. (A cooked chicken breast has an internal temperature of 165 degrees. If you’re a nervous chef, I recommend buying an instant read thermometer.) Remove your chicken breast from the oven and let it cool to room temperature.
-When your chicken breast is cool, remove the skin and coarsely shred the meat. Set aside.
-While your chicken is cooking, cook your turkey bacon in a large skillet until crispy. Set the cooked bacon on a paper towel line plate to drain, and then crumble it into small pieces.
-Place mesclun in a large salad bowl and add the chopped orange segments, cucumber, red onion and sliced almonds. Top with shredded chicken and crumbled turkey bacon.
-Dress your salad just before serving. You can dress the entire thing at once, but I like to put the dressing in a small bowl or pitcher and let people dress their own. (Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to how heavily dressed they like their salads.) Eat and be happy.
I’m psyched to be a part of Food Network’s Summer Fest this week. For more delicious recipes featuring cucumbers, check out the amazing blogs below.
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