This post is a collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. I received compensation. All opinions are my own.
I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on television. These ideas are all my own. I do, however, have a pretty great story to share about balance in eating, along with some new information about the Mediterranean diet that is sure to make us lovers of red meat happy. Traditionally, the Mediterranean diet promotes a healthy consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, with a splash of olive oil and red wine here and there, maybe the occasional fish, and little to no red meat. A new study done by Purdue University, however, adds to a growing body of evidence that the addition of lean red meats to the diet can actually improve heart health, blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. Click here https://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/newsroom/mediterranean-diet to read more on the study.
I’m an excellent cook, and I love to learn technique and simple ways of eating. I’m pretty well versed in fad diets, not because I participate but because I’m fascinated by the way people choose to eat. I’m interested in the science behind dieting and why it’s trendy to snack on bacon while an Oreo is labeled as the devil. I’m always researching the why behind it – why full fat, why low fat, why vegan? Why low sugar, why low carb? I am a firm believer in balance. What many of us have forgotten is that food is fuel.
So here’s the story: I’m not sure if many of you know, but I was pretty sick with my last pregnancy. I had gestational diabetes pretty severely. I was enjoying up to six shots of insulin daily just to properly digest a meal towards the end. I was very miserable. Most foods made me very sick. I could not eat starch or almost anything with a carbohydrate. My vision was blurry, I was exhausted all the time, and it honestly made me blue for the majority of my pregnancy. When I first found out I had gestational diabetes they asked me to visit a nutritionist. I was like, Ha! Me? See a dietician? Sure, I’ll humor you good doctors, but I of all people don’t need to learn how to cook or eat from a nutritionist! Sorry to all my sweet friends who work in this profession...
When I arrived for my appointment, the woman had all kinds of empty boxes and packages for me to look at. Eat this, don’t eat this, etc.,etc. She gave me color-coded charts and asked me to chart my meals. She warned against the low carb diets and talked about moderation. When having steak and mashed potatoes, just have a small scoop of potatoes and more broccoli than the lean steak and potatoes combined. I left the appointment feeling like it was a bust. Still, I took her advice and began to chart my meals and eat how she suggested…and something wonderful started to happen. My sugars began to stabilize. I didn’t cut out carbs completely, and I ate smaller portions. I started listening to my body. Having diabetes saved my life. She was right!
I learned how to eat. I learned how to listen to my body and put the fuel I needed into it to feel good. One diet I believe focuses on true balance and seems to fit the way I choose to eat now is the Mediterranean diet. Loads of lean protein, fresh veggies, whole grains, and olive oil. Good fat, low sugar, and heart healthy grains. I truly believe that moderation and good food leads to a happy, full life. When I’m doubting anything, I think about how they’d eat 75 years ago? During this time I was able to lose 30 lbs. last year just by eating whole foods. I never cut out grains or snacked on bacon. I still enjoyed fresh, wholesome foods and what I learned last year I applied to my life as a way of life rather than a diet.
I go out to eat and make better choices. I’m never going to be the person at the table screeching about their chosen diet and what they can’t eat and why (who wants to be that person?). I’m just going to be “team balance” forever. I don’t feel guilty after eating, but I know my limits and that food is fuel. I can choose the fuel that helps my body feel its best. This meal I prepared using the Mediterranean diet principles is what my plate looks like 80% of the time these days. Some nights, I add whole grains and or pasta and I feel great. I’m a size healthy. My diabetes is gone and I love that. I eat lots of protein and grains and veggies. I hope you are able to try this meal and feel incredible about your choices. “Team lean beef” all the way!
with Olive & Tomato Salad
1 1/2 pounds Flank Steak
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
for the olive salad:
4 cups baby lettuces
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup pitted Sicilian green olives
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup red cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 juicy lemon
Pinch of red pepper flakes
This recipe is excellent for the grill or the stove top. Grill, covered, 11 to 16 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 16 to 21 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. Set steak aside to make the salad.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the salad. Gently mix together and spoon over fresh baby greens.
Slice the rested steak against the grain (those lines that run one way along the cut of the meat). Lay the steak on top of the olive salad and spoon some of the juices from the bowl over the steak. Enjoy!