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Jambalaya

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Jambalaya

Your adrenal glands (you have two of them) are located on top of your kidneys. These little guys secrete stress hormones, everything from mental stress (like taking a test) to physical stress (like danger).

Mental and physical stress both have the same effect on your body. The adrenal glands start pumping out the stress hormone cortisol as part of your body’s “fight or flight” response.

If you were in real physical danger, you’d then run or fight. And after that physical response or release, your cortisol levels would drop. But what happens when you’re just generally anxious and stressed out? Your cortisol levels elevate – your body goes into fat-storage mode so that it’s ready for a crisis. But there’s no physical release. As a result, your cortisol levels stay high, and your body keeps storing fat.

A similar process occurs when you’re not eating enough and not getting enough nutrients. Your adrenals trigger hormones again, telling your body “something is wrong, so let’s hold on to some fat just in case we’re not getting any more food for a while.” Your body doesn’t know what’s coming next.

Our goal in Phase 1 is to break this vicious cycle by telling your body “hey, everything is okay.” We want your adrenals to chill out and calm down, lowering the production of stress hormones, and letting the body know it’s got everything it needs.

This is a saucy, hearty jambalaya — the perfect balance of protein, grain, and veggies, making it an ideal one-dish meal for Phase 1.

Phase 1 | Serves 6 | Prep time: 25 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients

1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, minced, plus more to serve
1 large bay leaf
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on whether you like it mild or spicy)
28-ounce can diced tomatoes
8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups brown rice, uncooked
12 ounces spicy nitrate-free chicken or turkey sausage, sliced
4 ounces nitrate-free turkey bacon, diced
Sea salt

Directions:

In a wide, deep skillet (or a wide pot) with a lid over medium heat, sauté the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add the chicken, parsley, bay leaf, and cayenne pepper. Sauté just until the chicken no longer looks pink.

Stir in the tomatoes (with juice), tomato sauce, broth, and rice. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently for 1 hour or until the rice is tender.

Meanwhile, brown the sausage and bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the jambalaya is cooked, stir in the sausage and bacon, season to taste with sea salt and cayenne pepper, and serve sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley.