THE WELLNESS PROJECT: How I Learned to Do Right by My Body, Without Giving Up My Life
Pam Krauss Books/Avery
May 16, 2017
Pam Krauss Books/Avery
May 16, 2017
Phoebe Lapine is a food woman of many trades: cookbook author, gluten-free chef, culinary instructor, recipe developer, speaker, and author of the award-winning blog Feed Me Phoebe.
Just as her career in food was taking off, Phoebe was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. At that time, in her early twenties, wellness seemed black or white; wine or kale; cool girl or sick girl. Her debut memoir, The Wellness Project, chronicles how she finally found the middle ground between health and hedonism by making one lifestyle change, one month at a time.
For those battling autoimmune disease—or just seeking healthy life balance—the voice behind the popular blog Feed Me Phoebe shares her yearlong investigation of what truly made her well.
After she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in her early twenties, Phoebe Lapine felt overwhelmed by her doctor’s strict protocols and confused when they directly conflicted with information on the bestseller list. After experiencing mixed results and a life of deprivation that seemed unsustainable at best, she adopted 12 of her own wellness directives—including eliminating sugar, switching to all-natural beauty products, and getting in touch with her spiritual side—to find out which lifestyle changes truly impacted her health for the better. THE WELLNESS PROJECT is the insightful and hilarious result of that year of exploration—part memoir and part health and wellness primer (complete with 20 healthy recipes), it’s a must-read not just for those suffering from autoimmune disease, but for anyone looking for simple ways to improve their health without sacrificing life’s pleasures.
One dish that I riff on again and again during my weekend batch-cooking sessions is a Moroccan tagine. The stew is layered with spices and is perfect for making cheaper cuts of meat tender. One weekend afternoon when I had a few pans going on the stovetop, I decided to create an oven-roasted version with whole chicken legs, a bunch of baby golden beets, and sliced leeks. It’s super hands-off: you simply toss all the ingredients together in a casserole dish, douse it with white wine, and forget about it in the oven until the chicken skin is browned and the beets and turmeric have created a rich, golden broth that will make you want to lick the bowl. I like to serve the chicken and veggies over quinoa or mashed sweet potatoes.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Slice the leeks in half lengthwise. Rinse them, fanning out the outer layers to wash away any grit. Slice the cleaned leeks into thin half-moons.
Remove the greens from the beets. Rinse them and coarsely chop. Halve the beets and cut each section into four wedges.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the leeks, beets, and beet greens together with the garlic, turmeric, ginger, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil until thoroughly combined. Spoon the mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or casserole pan and arrange in an even layer.
Add the chicken to the mixing bowl and toss to coat in the remaining turmeric mixture. Transfer the chicken legs to the baking dish and nestle in the beet mixture. Drizzle any of the remaining marinade over the top of the chicken and pour the wine around the sides of the dish.
Roast, uncovered, until the chicken is fork-tender and the beets are soft, about 1 hour.
HEALTHY HEDONIST TIPS
Whole chicken legs will be the most affordable option, as they require less labor at the butcher counter. But you can sub boneless, skinless thighs if you like. It’s no longer the ’90s, so we don’t have to feel bad about eating dark meat or chicken skin. And thank goodness for that, because the added fat helps keep the meat juicy during extended stays in the oven.
Choose beets that are on the smaller side, about 2 inches in diameter. If you can’t find the golden variety, try using a bunch of radishes or baby turnips with their greens instead. Red beets will create a very different final presentation—their color is intense! Scallions, ramps, and shallots will work in place of the leeks, or you can add a mix of all of the above for a vegetarian version.
Makes 2 dozen balls
Raw energy balls (the artist formerly known as vegan truffles) have swept the food and wellness blogosphere in recent years. And who am I not to join the party? This version is one of my favorites. They taste like a ginger cookie but are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats thanks to skin superstars like sesame seeds, almond butter, and flax meal. Store them in the fridge for anytime you need a sweet bite that won’t throw your blood sugar into turmoil.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir until the mixture is incorporated and sticky. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, or until firm.
With damp hands, take 1 tablespoon of dough and shape it into a compact 1-inch ball and place it on a plate. (Keep a bowl of water by your side, since the mixture is easier to handle with damp hands.) Repeat with the remaining batter. Chill the balls until ready to serve, or up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer until you remember they’re in there.
HEALTHY HEDONIST TIPS
What you’ve been told about chocolate causing pimples is a myth. It’s really the sugar! (Duh.) The hedonist in me feels compelled to say that if you added ½ cup of dark chocolate chips, these bites wouldn’t taste terrible. Choose bittersweet (60 percent cacao or higher), or go the healthy route and just add cacao nibs.
Trade the spices for a few teaspoons of cocoa powder to make these full-fledged raw chocolate “cookies.” You can also substitute or add maca powder, which helps fine-tune TRH and TSH messages that impact how many hormones the thyroid produces and is packed with B vitamins, which thyroid peeps tend to be deficient in. This recipe uses a modest amount of maple syrup, which not only gives the balls their requisite sweetness but also holds them together. Raw honey is a great option, as are ⅓ cup chopped Medjool dates. Just puree them in the bowl of a food processor along with the almond butter and add the resulting paste to the bowl.
Reprinted from THE WELLNESS PROJECT by arrangement with Pam Krauss Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2017, Phoebe Lapine LLC
Contact: Casey Maloney