Tuesday, April 2, 2013

RECIPE: Herb-marinated Steak with Spaghetti Squash and Vegetables

Good morning everyone! So I get quite a few messages every week about posting some of the corresponding recipes with pictures I take of the food I prepare! Unfortunately, about 90% of the recipes I make are usually thrown together with ingredients I have (I love throwing everything in pasta that's about to go bad in the fridge haha) or that look good, and I never really measure anything. BUT, for you guys, I will try to pay closer attention and every week post one healthy, simple and/or affordable recipe that you guys can make at home! So, my husband cannot do without some type of meat at dinner. I don't eat red meat, but I definitely have to cook it a couple times a week. In terms of health, red meat should be consumed less frequently, but once or twice a week as a treat (if you enjoy it), won't hurt! Keep in mind: if you don't eat meat, just the spaghetti squash recipe works. So here's the ingredient lists and recipe instructions for each part.

Herb-marinated Steak: (OPTIONAL)
1-1 1/2 lbs meat of your choice: I usually use top sirloin, New York Steak or Rib Eye (it all depends on what's on sale)
2 tsp- Rosemary
2 tsp- Black pepper
3 Tbsp- Reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp- Olive Oil
2 Tbsp- Balsamic Vinegar
5 cloves of Garlic, minced
Salt  (to taste)

Instructions: (start about 15 minutes prior to completion of meal)
-Combine all ingredients and marinate meat for at least* 2-3 hours.
-Put meat in broiler for 4-5 minutes on each side
-Slice thin and put over spaghetti squash

*The longer the better, sometimes mine will marinate 8-10 hours, I prepare it before I leave in the morning.

Spaghetti Squash with vegetables:
1 Large Spaghetti Squash
3 cups- baby Kale (I'm sure regular Kale would taste just as good, if not better, but again, I go with the deals!)
1 handful- Fresh basil
3 vine-ripe tomates- Chopped, remove seeds (you could also use a can of diced tomatoes to save time)
3 Tbsp- Olive Oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup- Parmesan Cheese
Salt, pepper (to taste)
2 Tbsp butter (I use Country Crock to reduce cholesterol and Saturated Fat for my husband)

Instructions (Spaghetti Squash itself):
-Preheat Oven to 375. Cut Spaghetti squash in half (length-wise), put it seed side down in a baking dish and fill 1/2" with water.
-Cook for 45 minutes
-CAREFULLY, turn over the spaghetti squash (it will be VERY HOT), so the seed-side is up, cover with foil, and cook another 10-15 minutes.
-Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes
-Scrape out center, seed-containing portion
-Use a fork to scrape the squash, and viola! Spaghetti!

Instructions (Sauce):
-Saute 2 Tbsp of the olive oil & the butter in a large skillet
-Add the baby kale and sauté until tender
-Add basil and tomato, sauté until thoroughly heated
-Add spaghetti Squash, drizzle last Tbsp of olive oil on top
- Thoroughly stir all ingredients together
- Salt & pepper to taste, add juice of 1/2 lemon, and sprinkle with cheese (let it melt)

Serve spaghetti squash, topped with meat of your choice, or plain! Enjoy!

I also cooked some Italian squash on the side, but that is just sauteing with a tiny bit of olive oil, garlic salt, and paprika. :)

I'm not the best 'recipe-writer', but hopefully you will find this delicious and healthy recipe of mine a great way to get all the flavor without the guilt!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Avoiding Diabetes- Do Carbohydrates and Sugar play a role?

Thank you to fan Cathey R. for posting a question on how to avoid diabetes and more information on carbohydrates on Living Healthy with Jillian! There are a lot of common misconceptions when it comes to diabetes and carbohydrates (two of my favorite topics), and Cathey, you are not alone in your concern! Type to diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes is becoming more and more common and increasing at an alarming rate. Why? Too much sugar? High fructose corn syrup in food? Too many carbs? All of these sound like they could be the cause, but believe it or not, none of these are, although indirectly they can all contribute. 

First of all, for the record, nobody is exempt from diabetes. It can happen to anyone, any shape, any size, any age, any gender. Diabetes does NOT discriminate. With that being said, the majority of type 2 diabetes occurs in overweight/obese individuals. Genetics, lifestyle, and luck all play a role, but right now, we are going to focus on obesity with diabetes. Diabetes generally occurs because the pancreas cannot secrete enough insulin for the amount of sugar that is in the body. Insulin is needed to move the sugar you consume to the cells in your body to break down into energy to do it's job! That's where I'm ending with my 'lecture' on diabetes. Now, for the real discussion, does eating too much sugar CAUSE diabetes? No. Well, not directly. Eating foods high in sugar, naturally mean their higher in calories, which naturally means you will likely gain weight. Once you gain this weight it gets more and more difficult for your body to produce enough insulin for the excess weight an viola! Diabetes! (That is a very brief summary as to not get too scientific, I want to keep your attention and all).

When I was little, my grandma used to threaten that I would get diabetes because I ate so much junk food and LOVEDDDDD my sweets. My mom (who has been in the medical field for 40 years now) would always say "diabetes is NOT caused by too much sugar".  Now, as someone who is in school to be a registered dietitian, I can fully grasp this and explain, rationally, logically, and scientifically to my grandmother why consuming sugar itself does not cause diabetes. Everyone needs sugar, and sugar comes from..........you guys know this, how long have you been with me? CARBOHYDRATES!! So now that you know sugar is only an indirect cause of diabetes, that means carbohydrates do not cause diabetes. Carbohydrates are a vitally essential part to human life. Without carbohydrates our bodies AND our brains cannot work, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Many carbohydrate-rich foods (excluding fruits and other low-calorie foods), are also high in calories, which is why too many carbs can cause you to gain weight, but it is indirect. You can eat more carbs if they come from healthier sources like fruits and veggies, of course. 

How many carbs should you eat? Well, everybody is different, of course! But the AND (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) recommends and the AMDR (Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range) has been set that anywhere between 45-65% of your daily calories come from carbohydrates. SO whatever YOUR specific calorie needs are, which you can figure out doing some calculations, or we can estimate an average female is about 2000 calories (to keep the math easy), so that would be 900-1300 of your calories should come from carbohydrate. Well how do you figure that out? As a standard, 1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories. So, dividing those numbers by 4 you will get the number of grams of carbohydrate that would be appropriate for your diet (keep in mind this is for someone who eats a 2000 calorie diet a day, every diet will vary, and some individuals, like vegetarians, will even consume up to 75% of their diet through carbs). CARBS DO NOT MAKE YOU FAT! CALORIES DO! So, for this situation, you would consume about 225-325 grams of carbohydrate a day to be within a healthy, acceptable range. 

EVERY PERSON, regardless of activity level needs a MINIMUM of 130g carbohydrate a day JUST and ONLY to promote adequate brain function, this doesn't even include the work your body does at a cellular level or for your daily energy. Now go eat some carbohydrates, guilt-free, and enjoy! <3
Although your body would prefer getting in more 'good' carbs than 'bad' carbs, so choose good carbs like whole grains, fruits and veggies, versus donuts and chocolate. I may send the wrong message if I didn't get that out there :) In general, eating a well-balanced diet that includes protein, carbohydrates, fats, and plenty of fruits and veggies will keep you satisfied, protein and fiber keep you full, and eating 3 meals a day with small snacks in between with keep you satisfied, your metabolism revved, and your mind and body ready to go!