my yearly craving for cheerios + baked fajitas recipe

Each year on September 8th I crave Cheerios. It's not a secret to me as to why I do. 

It's the anniversary of my dad's death. September 8th, 2012.

My dad was an amazing father. Loving and loyal. Humble and kind. He volunteered as prison minister for almost 40 years but never really talked about it. He was like that. 

The Cheerios craving is because for as long as I can remember, he started his day out with a bowl of Cheerios. He'd pour in the Cheerios, then the skim milk. He'd top it off with a spoonful of sugar as he rotated his bowl and patted the Cheerios down with his spoon. 

When I was in elementary school I'd often be at the breakfast table with him. I secretly loved watching his little breakfast routine. Once we finished eating, hugged and he gave me a kiss I'd race to my bedroom window to be in position to wave good bye as he pulled out of the driveway. He'd always give me a big smile.

So today (and sometimes a few other times during the year) I have what we health coaches call an associative craving. Here's how Emily Rosen, CEO of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating describes associative ravings: 

Associative cravings occur when we yearn for a food that has a meaningful association with our past. Associative cravings are often the most difficult to deal with because we’re uncertain about whether they’re beneficial or not. For instance, foods from our childhood may be of questionable nutritional value, yet eating them can be deeply nourishing to our soul. By surrendering to such a craving we can visit our past, and re­live feelings that may bring their own special healing moment, regardless of the nutritional value of the food.

For me these yearly cravings are beneficial and why I have them is easy to understand. They bring up memories of my dad, the first man I loved who taught me so much about living and loving. So what did we have for breakfast this morning? You know it.  Cheerios. My dad would laugh because I 'doctor' them up, or should I say 'health coach' them up with full-fat milk, collagen, blueberries and chia seeds! (I can't help myself Dad!) 

Maybe you have an Associative Craving that surfaces once in a while and serves you in a beautiful way. Or maybe you have an Associative Craving that isn't so serving because it shows up often and keeps you from nourishing your body the way you need or want to.

The thing with cravings is that there are nutrional/physical causes and there are emotional causes as well. The cravings themselves are your body's way of talking with you, of asking for your attention. Maybe for better nourishment. Maybe they are a yearning to remember someone or something. Maybe they are your body's way of asking for more sleep or more play or more connection. 

When you don't know what your cravings are trying to tell you, they can feel like the enemy. Like they control you.  It can be so frustrating.

Which is why I love it when women like Tonya tell us: 

"All of my cravings went away and I learned so much about why I have the cravings I have."

This was just after 14 days in our Nourish to Flourish Spring Cleanse. And it's why I'm looking so forward to launching our 14-Day Fall Cleanse. Because I know the women who say yes to taking care of themselves in this experience will calm their cravings while learning to listen to them and learn from them too.

If you would love to better understand your cravings whether they are once in a while or daily, I hope you'll consider joining us in our 14 Day Fall Cleanse. So much goodness for you. Promise. 

And lots of goodness comes in these 14 days from the delicious food you'll be eating like one of Jill's favorite go-to meal, Baked Fajitas. We wanted to share the recipe with you so here it is. (I'm thinking my dad would have really enjoyed this. Especially since in his famous words, "Any meal you don't have to fix yourself is a good meal!" :) 

Baked Fajitas
Serves 5

2 pounds chicken breast
2 large colored peppers, cut into strips
2 large onions, cut into strips or chopped
3 TBS avocado oil or olive oil
2 - 4 TBS Fajita seasoning, depending how much flavor you enjoy (see recipe below for Chef Jackie's recipe)
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 limes
Fixin’s of choice: our favorites include romaine lettuce or bibb lettuce for lettuce cups, avocado or guacamole, salsa, Beyond Organic Amasai (if using). 

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Cut chicken into strips, same size as peppers and onions. Place chicken, peppers and onions flat on a large cookie/baking sheet. Drizzle oil, fajita seasoning and sea salt over chicken, peppers and onions and coat evenly. 

Bake for 35 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Remove from oven and squeeze juice of two limes over the fajitas. 

Serve over romaine lettuce or place in lettuce cups with guacamole, sliced avocados and/or salsa. 

Fajita Seasoning
2 Tbs chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbs paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs ground coriander
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbs unrefined sea salt
1 Tbs dried oregano
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Sprinkle 1 - 2 Tbsp. per pound of meat, poultry, fish and vegetables. 
If using as a rub, combine 1 Tbsp. avocado or olive oil for each 1 Tbsp. mix and rub on meat, poultry or fish.