Talk to any athletes about nutrition and the topic inevitably turns to protein. Are you getting enough? I don’t see you eating meat. Which brand of protein supplement you use? You don’t? Hurry! Someone get this girl a protein shake! As luck would have it, I have a strong aversion to powdery food. I am suspicious of what’s lurking inside the tub of powder besides what the label claims. As someone who regularly works with vanilla bean, dark chocolate slabs, and fresh juicy strawberries, the artificial flavours often added to protein supplement are very unappetizing to me.
For over two years, I meticulously logged every bite I took to my food journal on FitDay. It was a tedious exercise but it kept me honest about my food intake. As an added bonus, I was able to analyze the macro and micro nutrient breakdown of my diet. I knew with certainty exactly how much protein I was getting through my diet of whole foods. My mostly plant-based way of eating is far from lacking in protein so I can safely dismiss the concerns of my well-intentioned athletic friends. What concerns me though is my iron intake. In layman’s term, iron is essential to oxygen delivery to muscles which powers my endurance workouts. That is the reason why I choose to take my supplement as my photos eloquently illustrate.
I love my vegetable, legumes, and dairy. I am not morally against eating meat and fish from sustainable sources so a meat-lite diet works well with my lifestyle. Weekends are typically the days I prepare meat-centric dishes since those are meals I share with Little Brother. My recent two doses of protein and iron supplements are particularly delicious thanks to a little help from America’s Test Kitchen.
Let’s first talk about that rosy cut of roast beef, shall we? It came from eye of round, a relatively cheap and lean cut. In order to produce a tender roast, the meat was given an overnight salt and pepper rub. I vacuum sealed it to promote more even brining. The next day, I seared the meat on all sides and let it roast at low temperature for a very long time. The result was a uniformly pink and tender interior that easily takes the spotlight of any sandwiches. The detail direction is available from America’s Test Kitchen (subscription only) and also the Cook's Illustrated Cookbook.
The beef stew is a welcoming sight on chilly winter days. It is hearty thanks to cubes of tender beef chuck, potatoes, carrots, crimini mushrooms, and peas slow-cooked in an aromatic mixture of onions, leeks, garlic, thyme, beef broth, soy sauce, and tomato paste. It is a bit more work than simply throwing ingredients into the slow cooker but the payoff in taste is worth the trouble. The depth of flavour from sautéing onions, leeks, garlic, thyme, and tomato paste with flour to create the fond is essential to the success of this stew. Little Brother happily declared this as the “best beef stew I ever made” and “so beefy!”. It is great the day it was made but even better the day after. The recipe is available from Cook’s Country (subscription only) as well as Slow Cooker Revolution.
Given a choice between powdery protein/iron supplement and these honest home cooked beef dishes, are you surprise that I choose to eat the way I eat?