Friday, March 22, 2013

Ginger-No Soy Flank Steak with Sweet & Spicy Slaw

Boy oh boy, what a week! Tonight was my fourth Crossfit workout of the week and at this point I am simply amazed I can do four a week. When I first started Crossfit last September I was struggling with 3x a week and would look at others in awe of their four, five and six times a week.

For a long while I knew something was wrong with my body. I couldn't push myself too hard or I would be down for the count for a couple of days. I recovered slow. I just felt like crap. I fell asleep ok, seemed like I slept a good 7-8 hours a night, but I never woke up feeling ready to go and would almost always need a nap after work. I was just draaaaaaagging.

Now don't get me wrong, eating whole foods and removing most sources of sugar from my diet helped (meaning all grains, most fruit and just plain ol' sugar), but something was still missing the mark. The doctor did blood tests and everything tested "within limits". Little did I know, "within limits" is a bunch of crap. Do you know how they get those limits? Well, they take a bunch of people.. and in the medical community the most readily available bunch of people are medical students. They take blood samples of all of them, the bottom 5% become "below normal", the top 5% are "above normal" and everyone else is normal. Doesn't that seem a little... off? So because every single number on my blood tests came back in that "normal" range, I was fine according to my doctor. Even if I was right on the edge or just barely above. I am still fine. Really? In my head that is basically saying I have to be really screwed up to warrant any attention. Nevermind "attention" means throwing a prescription drug at me to make it right...

Enter my visits to a naturopathic doctor.

You might be wondering what is the difference between the doctor you have and a naturopathic doctor. My understanding and the easiest way to explain is this: your doctor may gently tell you to change your diet, but still prescribe you a medication to artificially make your lab tests go back to "normal". A naturopathic doctor looks at your entire lifestyle, figures out WHY your bloodwork is off or WHY you are having the symptoms you are having and works to resolve that PROBLEM at the root cause. Why prescribe medication for Type II diabetes when we know the issue is SUGAR? I guess so maybe you can continue to eat sugar, take the medication to make your lab tests look ok and then suffer the side effects down the road of the medication? Ahhh, I digress.

Basically, we determined my thyroid was low (but only on the lower of "normal" according to lab tests) and my cortisol levels were sky high (a lab test I did through the naturopathic doctor). The combo of the two was running my body through the ringer. Every. Single. Day. And I was quickly going in the direction of adrenal fatigue if I didn't fix stuff. He put me on a few supplements to SUPPORT adrenal and thyroid health (note: support, not artificially giving me more thyroid hormone or suppressing cortisol production), is coaching me in better sleep routines and is encouraging me to find something I ENJOY waking up for each day.

Since my first visit in January, I feel at least 60% better. I know this is not an overnight fix, but this is where we go back to my 4x a week Crossfit classes - I am doing them and am amazed that I still want to go on my days off. Naps after work rarely happen now and on my days off where I am go-go-go all morning with housework or sometimes heavy yard work, I can still keep going in the afternoon without a recharge nap. Will we do lab tests again to confirm everything is going in the direction we want? I am thinking there is a good chance we won't - because the best indicator at this point is how I feel, not some number.

I encourage you, if you have ANYTHING going on that just doesn't seem right.. spend a little money and invest in some visits to a reputable naturopathic doctor. You can find one with a simple Google search.

Now on to food!

I made this last night and already want more. If it were nice and warm outside I would say this is a perfect summer dinner, but it's not, so make it anyway. Just make sure to make a LOT.

Sweet & Spicy Slaw

2 tbsp nut butter (I used pecan, almond would probably be awesome!)
Juice from 1/2 a lime
1 tbsp honey (omit if Whole 30 or 21DSD)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tbsp chili paste* (level of heat you prefer - I like it hot!)
1 tbsp Red Boat fish sauce
4 cups finely shredded cabbage and carrots
1/4 cup scallions, finely sliced
1/4 cup red onion, finely sliced
1 jalapeno, finely sliced (leave the seeds if you like it hot!)

Combine nut butter through chili paste in a bowl. Toss in the rest of the ingredients until fully combined. Let sit for a few minutes to let all the flavors to get to know each other :) It was still Good and slightly crunchy the next day for lunch!

Ginger-No Soy Flank Steak

2-3lb flank steak
1 tbsp chili paste* (level of heat you prefer)
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp orange zest
2 ginger, finely minced
2 tbsp garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup coconut sugar (omit if Whole 30 or 21DSD)
1/2 cup coconut aminos

Combine all the ingredients in a ziploc bag and marinade overnight in the refrigerator. I found if the marinade ingredients are put in the food processor it makes the whole "mincing" process that much easier!

Remove the meat from the refrigerator at least one hour before cooking to come up to as close to room temperature as possible.

Heat a BBQ on high for 10-15 minutes. Put the flank steaks on and cook on each side for about 4-5 minutes for medium. Remove the steak and let sit for 10 minutes before slicing.

*I found 3 levels of heat of chili paste in the asian foods section of my Whole Foods

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