Happy Monday! I hope your week is off to a great start. Today I wanted to revisit one of my favorite summer recipes.
Beef is one of those in-moderation foods that I generally recommend keeping to a few times a month, but it can be a delicious, lean source of protein (not to mention iron, vitamin A, vitamin B12, and other key stuff) that pairs with all kinds of flavors. When I buy it, I keep portions small and go for the best quality meat I can afford. It’s amazing how just far 3 or 4 ounces can go when you slice it thin and serve it with other flavorful foods.
Iron, in particular, is a mineral I talk about a lot with my female clients because it’s a nutrient we need to pay a little more attention to at different points in our cycle. You can find it in many plant foods but you’ll find that more readily available heme iron form in beef, so for someone who struggles with fatigue or just feeling totally drained around her period, I’ll recommend incorporating beef into her diet that week to help replenish her iron stores. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy—even a small serving can make a difference for a lot of us, but it’s been a game-changer for many of my clients and also in my own life.
Something I get frustrated by is how many women treat “hormonal” like a dirty word and feel pressured to stick to the exact same (often restrictive) routine with their food and exercise all month long and then beat up on themselves when they need to deviate from that plan. If you think about it, though, we go through so many shifts throughout our cycle, that it makes perfect sense to shift our diet and exercise accordingly. And yet, that messaging is far from the norm. I don’t know about you, but growing up, it was, like, “Shove a tampon up there, numb out with some Midol, and hit the beach in a string bikini so no one will know.” Disconnect, shame—all that good stuff that keeps us in therapy. Not that there’s anything wrong with therapy—that’s another tool I’ve found useful myself and would encourage making part of your self-care routine ; )
Anyway, the book I’ve been recommending this book to many of clients recently is WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source by integrative nutritionist Alisa Vitti called. I really wish this book had been around when I was a teenager trying to figure out my body. Hell, I’m just happy it’s around now. I know so many women who struggle with menstrual difficulties, infertility, and a general sense of feeling in the dark about how to feel balanced, and we need more resources like this. I’m also super-excited to tell you guys about Vitti’s course The Ultimate Guide To A Healthy Period for mindbodygreen, which you can access by clicking on the link. I became an affiliate for the class because it’s a topic that’s near and dear to my heart, and I’d highly recommend this class to anyone looking to get a handle on her health and feel more at peace with herself throughout her cycle. It’s a big help that the language is actually engaging and approachable—a far cry from those sex-ed diagrams and awkward gym class lectures.
Summers I sometimes think back to being in college and in my early twenties when I didn’t know much about nutrition or my body (it’s laughable sometimes, how tuned out I was) and how food could help my symptoms the week before and during my period. I seriously thought it was normal and okay to feel so miserable. Some of you guys know about that time I tried to be vegetarian for a boyfriend and it was a disaster (if not, you can read about it here), so that certainly didn’t help. No joke—when he eventually moved out, I still remember the first time I had an insane craving for red meat (which I normally would have tried to push through), and when I went out and bought the tiniest, more adorable little steak ever and cooked it in a skillet to eat with salad and I felt so much better. The lightbulb went off. Red meat is not the answer for everyone, but that experience really highlighted how smart our body is, and it’s okay to listen to it.
Since then, steak salad has become one of my all-time favorite meals (for any time of the month), and certainly one of my favorite ways to enjoy beef. I especially love it for dinner on a hot night when I don’t want to fuss much in the kitchen. I hope you love this.
Bright And Balanced Steak Salad
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 zucchini or summer squash, sliced into 1/4-inch half-moons
- 1 8-ounce sirloin or other lean steak
- cooking oil spray or oil for skillet
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 4 cups arugula
- 8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 a ripe avocado, sliced
- balsamic glaze (optional)
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add shallot and cook 2-3 minutes until shallot is translucent. Add zucchini and cook until just beginning to brown. Set aside.
- Oil or spray and preheat a large skillet or grill pan to high.
- Place steak on skillet and sear about 4 minutes per side or until steak reaches desired level of doneness. Allow to sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- Meanwhile, assemble the salad. Toss arugula with zucchini, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, vinegar, and remaining olive oil. Divide salad between two plates.
- Slice the cooked steak against the grain and place over salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- If desired, drizzle with balsamic glaze.
Variations: Some of my other favorite add-ins are goat cheese, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and grilled asparagus. I also love to add sautéed radishes. Have fun getting creative!
Ladies, do you ever crave certain foods around your period?
***Disclosure: This post contains a affiliate links, meaning that I will make a small commission if you make a purchase through the link. I only am an affiliate for products and services I use or recommend in real life.