Tag Archives: broccoli

Beef & Broccoli + Why I Went Paleo

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It took me a long time to come around before jumping on the Paleo bandwagon. And then once I did, it took me a longer time still to say the words about myself: I’d gone Paleo. Even now, writing this post, it’s hard seeing them in black and white, not gonna lie. You see, I’ve never been much of a fad follower when it comes to lifestyle habits like eating. And I get really turned off by all the hype around a trendy new diet – which is all I used to see Paleo as being. There’s all the books, magazines, shows, events… Diets are a billion dollar business and most end up being just a flash in the pan – you may see results in the short-term but eventually you end up going going back to the old habits and routine and you’re right back where you were months ago. I’ve always believed in balance, moderation, an abundance of good-for-you foods and no deprivation. That’s what works. Not a fad diet. Never mind the fact that I’m a health coach for crying out loud… I don’t do “diets”! That’s what my brain said anyway. But something else inside told me to look further and eventually I came to see that certain components of eating Paleo could really help me.

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One day a little over a year ago, I was home working on the couch because I was too stiff with joint pain to make it into the office and I caught an episode of Dr. Oz. He was interviewing a young girl who had gone Paleo as part of a treatment protocol for an autoimmune condition. She’d removed all grains, beans and legumes among other common inflammatory foods such as dairy and sugar and after a few months eating mostly vegetables and high quality animal protein she was living without pain and medications. With a little research, I found several other stories of healing while following a Paleo lifestyle. So, I hopped on and decided to try it for myself. I had already cut out common allergenic and inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, soy and corn, but up until then I regularly ate grains and beans and even though I wasn’t strictly vegetarian, I ate very little animal protein. So I traded my quinoa and chickpeas for grass-fed beef and bison, and of course continued to load up on a crazy amount of vegetables. Within weeks I noticed a difference in my stiffness and energy level. And as I’ve stayed on the diet, I’ve felt better and better.

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Against the Grain
If you’re saying to yourself now, “But I thought quinoa was healthy?!” You’re right it is. It’s not that these foods the Paleo diet eliminates are inherently unhealthy. When properly prepared and if you can tolerate them they can be extremely healthy for you. The problem is grains, beans and legumes can be particularly difficult to digest and rob the body of key nutrients like zinc. These foods have proteins called lectins and other anti-nutrients that help to preserve the plant and protect it from insects, molds, funguses out there in the wild. The lectins in the grain are like poison to whatever may threaten the life of the plant. To the plant though, we may as well be an insect. It’s poison affects us the same way, potentially depleting key nutrients we require for optimal health and immune function. This is one of the reasons why many with autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, myself included, have had such success removing these foods from the diet.

beef and broccoli pan

Paleo Pointers
The other thing to remember with Paleo, is the emphasis is really more on the vegetables than on the meat. I often see it the other way around so you want to make sure you’re filling your plate with high fiber vegetables like dark leafy greens and crucifers such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. The fiber helps keep things moving through the digestive tract (if you know what I mean) so you minimize the amount of time you have beef hanging out in your gut. High quality, organic, grass-fed animal protein is an efficient way to get key nutrients but the key is to keep it moving, you don’t want it sitting around for a few days in your intestine. That can just get downright unpleasant.

In hindsight, I don’t really know how I could have objected to a way of eating where you get to eat steak and all the vegetables you want. That’s not to say that I won’t go back to eating grains, beans and legumes one day. But when I do I’ll have this experience to help me be aware of how these foods affect my body.

Even though for a long time my mind rejected the idea of “Paleo,” a little voice inside me told me there might be something there worth pursuing. I suppose we all have to come around to taking the step that we know is best for us, but that for whatever reason our minds tell us is pointless or silly or not worth the effort.

Sometimes we just have to politely tell our mind to shut up so we can hear that tiny little voice inside that’s so easy to ignore. It’s usually much smarter than our brain and it seldom leads us wrong.

If you’re intrigued about Paleo or if you have any questions about the diet or how it can be used as part of a protocol for autoimmune or inflammatory conditions, I’d love to talk more about it with you. You can email me at megan@meganadamsbrown.com.

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Thinking About Making a Change?
A few posts ago I introduced my new No Pain, Everything to Gain: 90 Days to the Real You. Note: This is not a Paleo diet program. No Pain, Everything to Gain is designed to help you heal and recover from chronic issues such as joint pain, muscle aches, allergies, asthma, headaches, rashes, etc. Through the program you’ll make shifts in your diet and lifestyle to take control of your health so you can feel better and get back to living life on your terms.

I have three free 30 minute strategy sessions open this week. If you think trying something new might be just what you need, schedule your free 30 minute session here.

Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry

Ingredients

1 lb beef stew meat
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
salt & pepper
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 head broccoli, cut in florets
1 tbsp peeled fresh ginger, grated
1 bunch green onions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
2 tbsp lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

Place stew meat in a bowl and sprinkle with arrowroot, salt and pepper and toss to coat. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook the beef until browned on one side, about 1-2 minutes and transfer to a plate. Add broccoli, white part of scallions, ginger, and 3/4 cup of water to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cook until broccoli turns bright green and begins to soften. Add beef back to the pan and cook until meat is cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in green part of scallions and lemon juice. Serve with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes if you like a kick.

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Broccoli Crunch Salad


Years ago I remember having the most incredible broccoli salad. I couldn’t tell you where I was (which is bugging me), but I can still taste it. This salad (remember, I use the term loosely) ingeniously combined broccoli, red onion, raisins and bacon dressed in creamy deliciousness. I’m sure mayonnaise was involved, which I publicly detest but have been known to turn a blind eye to when it’s in chicken salad (shhh). Speaking of, I’m working on a delicious and mayonnaise-free chicken salad. So stay tuned for that. But back to broccoli… This salad left quite an impression. And I’ve since discovered a few others that can be the determining factor in my decision of where to dine, no lie. Sweet Tomatoes does a creamy one sans bacon. Then there’s Whole Foods’ version which is cream-free with cashews and sweet agave dressing. I wanted to make one that was a bit healthier. And I took it to a whole new salad-as-a-meal level. I’ve mentioned before that I love a good salad for lunch. And that my definition of a salad may be a bit different than the traditional. For me, lettuce alone does not a salad make. Mixed greens should merely be a backdrop to a medley of flavors, colors and textures. It’s gotta be interesting, delicious and (keyword here) satisfying. This broccoli crunch creation checks off all three boxes. Crunchy, sweet and salty all combined into one. For the dressing, you can use the same balsamic vinaigrette I did (see below for recipe), or just mix a little balsamic and olive oil (1:2 ratio), or use your favorite bottle (read the label!). Looking for something a little heartier? Add a scoop of quinoa for some extra carbs with protein.

What you need:

spring mix
broccoli, chopped
apple, diced
red onion, sliced in thin crescents
walnuts or cashews (or both), chopped
currants

For the dressing:

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper

What you do:

Combine dressing ingredients and whisk together until combined. Combine salad ingredients, top with dressing and toss well.

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Brown Rice Pasta with Broccoli and Chickpeas

The other night I cooked pasta for the first time in I don’t even know how long. This used to be my specialty (OK, I’ll admit it was all I knew to cook). I remember making rigatoni noodles and marinara sauce about once a week in high school. These days though I try to keep a gluten free diet as best I can since being advised. If you’re in the same boat, you know this is hard to do. And if you’re not, then I’m sure you can imagine. When I first heard the words “gluten free,” my life of turkey sandwiches and rigatoni pasta flashed before my eyes. It sounded like a fate worse than death. Well so far I’ve survived. I’m not going to lie and tell you I’ve got this down and never slip up. I ate pizza this weekend. I’m far from perfect. But I will say that with practice it’s gotten much easier to avoid gluten and I’ve come to know a whole new gluten-free world that exists out there. You know the old adage “when you close a door, you open a window?” It’s so true here. Steering clear of typical breads and pastas has made me get to know new foods like quinoa and brown rice pasta. I love these foods now. I made this with brown rice spaghetti pasta. There isn’t much of a difference in taste other than it’s a bit chewier than wheat pasta. What I love about this recipe is that it has so much flavor cooked in that you don’t even need a sauce. The seasoning is the sauce.  Makes for a light and flavorful dish.

Pasta with Broccoli and Chickpeas

What you need:

6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large head broccoli, in florets
1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
handful basil, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
brown rice (or whole wheat) pasta (4 servings)
1/2 lemon
red pepper flakes (optional)

What you do:

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add broccoli and salt. Cook 7-8 minutes until broccoli is tender and crisp. Add a little water to help cook and cover for a few minutes. Add chickpeas and cook 4-5 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

Cook pasta according to instructions on the package. Add pasta and 1/4-1/2 cup water to the pan mixture and cook for 1 minute. Stir to combine. Add basil and stir. Add lemon juice and drizzle olive oil over pasta before serving. Add red pepper flakes, or serve without and let others add as they like.

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