How to Cook a Steak

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My son is hitting his growth stage. As such, he is requesting lots of protein in his diet. I am all too happy to oblige him. One of his favorite meals these days; steak. For this, there are all sorts of ideas, recipes, dry rubs, aged meat and so on. I find simple is best.

The first step, get good meat. Grass fed beef has a different taste and texture. It is always important to understand the differences between grass fed and corn fed beef. Cattle are grazing animals. They take food which we cannot eat and turn it into products that we can eat. They are not designed to eat corn. In fact, eating too much corn based feed with cause their stomachs to get infected, which then requires antibiotics to cure. During their life time cattle are, in effect, giant food processors. They need to be treated humanely.

Next step, get the right cuts of beef. You want some fat, which adds flavor and contrary to popular opinion, is good for you. Grass fed beef tends to be a little bit tougher. For grilling; New York Strip steak, London Broil, or T-bone cuts are the best. T-bone steaks will tend to have the most fat.

Next step, good preparation. The only thing I put on steak is some salt. About 4-5 hours before cooking, I rub about 1/2 teaspoon of salt into both sides of the steak. This really makes the meat flavorful. Prior to cooking, I take the steak out of the fridge for 30-40 minutes and let it get to room temperature.

Steak cooked medium rare

Grilling is the easy part. Get the grill nice and hot, I usually have it on high for 5-10 minutes before putting the steak on. Next, cook the steak about 5 minutes on each side depending on how well or not well done you like your meat. If you want to make fancy crossed grill marks, then you can flip it over three times, once every 2.5 minutes. The internal temperature must reach 160 degrees F.

Yummy!

Finally, enjoy!

There is no A-1 and no barbecue sauce in my house. Well raised, well prepared meat does not need anything to cover up its flavor.

Blackened Salmon

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I enjoy eating well. As mentioned previously, I went through a period when I was craving salmon. I tried cooking it many ways; broiled, grilled, etc. I found this simple easy to bake blackened salmon recipe to be the best.

One pound salmon filet

The following is required:

  • 1 lb filet salmon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • pinch ground red pepper or to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the filet salmon skin down on aluminum foil lined baking pan. Mix the remaining ingredients together and sprinkle on the salmon filet. Place on middle rack of oven and bake for 16-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon.

Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and garnish with parsley.

Some people like to wax on about how good salmon is or how healthy it is for you. If you are here, you likely already know these things. You can research the health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids by starting with the Wikipedia article: Omega-3 fatty acid. As noted in that article, it is better to eat natural sources of Omega-3s than to take supplements.

LCHF diet

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My health is very important to me. For the last 10 months or so, I have been on a Low Carb, High Fat diet. Also know as a Keto or Ketogenic diet. How I came to this point is an interesting story, but I will save that for later. I did not start this diet to lose weight, but rather to lower my serum triglycerides, which were high.

Fructose is the enemy
Fructose is the enemy

Cells in the body can use three things for energy; Glucose, Ketones and Ethanol. The basic idea of this diet is to switch from using Glucose (sugars) to Ketones (fat) as the primary energy source. The reason is that excessive intake of carbohydrates causes insulin resistance, which in turn causes excessive levels of insulin to control blood glucose levels, which creates a host of problems known as “Metabolic Disorder.” Some features of Metabolic Disorder include high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, high serum triglycerides, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, dementia, poly cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and others.

The dietary recommendations by the USDA are generally confusing. In previous years, the recommendation was for 55-75% total carbohydrate, 10-15% Protein and 15-30% total fat. My feeling is that this is a combination of initial ignorance on human physiology and ongoing bureaucratic intransigence. There is absolutely no dietary requirement for carbohydrates in human beings. A person can survive on a zero carb diet and do just fine. However, fat is required and cholesterol is vital. If a person is not taking in enough cholesterol, then the liver will synthesize it. The current set of USDA recommendations lists calorie intake recommendations then lists types of food by volume, but does not really break down the food groups by ratios.

My theory is that diet should be tailored to the genetic makeup of an individual. One size fits all does not take into account many thousands of years of environmental adaptation. My ancestors are mostly from north northern Europe. As such, they likely ate very few carbohydrates. Instead, they ate mostly oily fish and fatty meats. A few years ago, I had a piece of salmon for dinner. After that, I was craving salmon. I had if for dinner at least 2-3 times per week for almost a year. Clearly, there was something in that fish that I needed.

Shrimp avocado salad

What is not to love about fresh, homemade food? Highly processed foods and prepared foods almost always have a lot of added sugar. They also tend to use dodgy ingredients like vegetable oils and have artificial flavors and colors.

I cannot make any dietary recommendations for others. For myself, I can say that since starting this diet; everything got better. I feel better now than I have in decades. I lost 20 pounds without even trying. My blood pressure returned to normal and I have discontinued taking BP medication. I no longer feel achy every morning when I wake up. My lower back pain has gone away. My mental processing has sped up. I sleep much better. All of this is likely due to reduced insulin in my system and it likely means that I had hyperinsulinemia which was driving inflammation.

I am not going to get into theories on why the USDA recommends a high carb low fat diet. That is for other people to work on. What I will say is, if you have any of the features of metabolic syndrome, then you owe it to yourself to look into it. There are many resources available but to get started, you can search for Ivor Cummins, Dr. Ken Berry, and/or Low carb down under.