20 Minute Meal Strippy Steak

 

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Cooking everything from scratch can be quite time consuming. If you plan ahead its much more manageable. But what if your plan falls through and you need something quick?  Well this is one option I’ve found that takes only 20-25 minutes from freezer to plate.  Cube steak and round steak usually need to be slow cooked or they get tough.  We’re going to slice them into ribbons so they can be fried really quickly to get around that.  Another staple in my freezer is pre-chopped onions, they come in handy to add flavor to almost any dish. If you haven’t done that ahead of time add it to step one.

2 lbs frozen cubed steak, or round steak could probably work too
2 lbs spinach, or other greens
1/2-1 cup frozen chopped onion or 3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed
5 tbs coconut oil, split into 2 and 3
salt and pepper or your favorite steak seasoning

Step 1: Take the steak out of the freezer and put it in warm water for ten minutes. While its thawing wash, and prep your greens. If you don’t have pre-chopped onion on hand, prep it or the garlic now too.

strippy steak raw

Step 2: Put 3 tbs of oil in a large skillet on high heat. Start slicing your meat into ribbons about 1/3 inch wide. Its ok if its still a little frozen in the middle, its easier to slice that way.  Halfway through this your pan will be hot. Turn it down to medium high and toss in your onion or garlic. Finish cutting the steak and season it to taste.

strippy steak cooking

Step 3: Add your steak to the hot pan, watch out for spitting oil. Turn the heat up just a touch because the cold meat will cool down the pan and you want this to cook FAST.  Flip/stir frequently. Add the remaining 2 tbs of oil to another pan on medium high heat. As soon as it’s warm toss in your spinach and reduce heat to medium to get it wilted down. Stir this frequently as well. As soon as your steak is no longer pink turn off the heat.

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Step 4: Your greens should be done after about 5 minutes of cooking time. Put some greens on a plate and top them with some steak strips. This makes about 4 adult portions. Enjoy your quick and easy dinner.

 

3 Major Problems With Thyroid Testing

problems thyroid testing

Its estimated that a total of 20 million Americans have a thyroid disorder, but 60% of those people are not diagnosed.

Every cell in the human body needs thyroid hormone to function properly. It effects every system of the body and helps control metabolism.  Proper testing is sorely needed.

Unfortunately there are three major problems with modern testing conventions. The normal ranges are inaccurate, testing is incomplete, and antibody tests are rarely administered.

Normal TSH Range

TSH is an abbreviation for thyroid stimulating hormone. It is released by the pituitary gland in response to the levels of thyroid hormones in the body. Increased TSH tells the thyroid gland to increase hormone production.

Most TSH ranges are way too broad. The original range was made in 1973 by testing a group of 200 people and making a bell curve. Those in the tall portion of the bell curve are considered “normal”. The problem is in this group of people they did not exclude those diagnosed hypothyroid or those who may have it and be undiagnosed. This makes the resulting range inaccurate.

The range they came up with was around 0.5-5.0 mU/L (milliunits per liter). In 2002 the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists updated it to 0.3-3.0 mU/L. Some places have adopted the new standard, but others have not. Different places use different ranges causing much confusion.

Some studies found a range of 0.5-2.5 was normal in healthy adults.  The TSH normal range needs to reflect the true normal and needs to be standardized.

 

 

Incomplete Hormone Testing

If you walk in to your doctor’s office and ask them to test your thyroid, they will most likely just test your TSH. TSH goes up in response to low thyroid hormone levels to tell your gland to make more thyroid. So high levels means that your thyroid is low.  This does make sense, however that is only part of what is going on.

The thyroid gland makes a hormone called T4. This is the inactive form of the thyroid hormone. The liver then converts T4 to T3 which can be used in the cells. If you have trouble with the conversion you could be hypothyroid with high normal TSH levels. In these cases you have enough thyroid, but your body can’t use it.

Another level of complexity is total versus free T3 tests. Total T3 is exactly what it sounds like, the total amount of thyroid hormones in the body. In order to be transported through the body it has to be attached to a carrier protein. Free T3 is the amount not attached to one of these proteins. The hormone then has to separate from the protein to cross the cell membrane and be used.

Think of the carrier protein as a car. You get in your car and drive to work. You need to get out of your car to walk through the door. You can’t fit your car through the door. If the hormone fails to separate it can’t go to work. Normal total T3 levels but low Free T3 causes hypothyroidism because the hormone is not available inside the cell.

In order to get the big picture all of the above tests need to be done. TSH is only one component of a very complex system.

 

Antibody Testing

Two thyroid diseases are caused by autoimmune disease. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is hypothyroidism caused by the immune system attacking the thyroid gland. It is the most prevalent cause of hypothyroidism in the industrialized countries. Similarly Graves disease is the leading cause of hyperthyroidism. It causes an antibody to be made that mimics TSH.

Hashimoto’s is diagnosed by testing for thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and antithyroglobulin antibodies (TG).  Testing for Graves disease checks for thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI).

Unfortunately, despite their prevalence, the tests for these diseases are rarely done.

 

Many people are going to their doctor complaining of thyroid disease symptoms and being told they are fine. I was one of them, until I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto’s myself. If you suspect your thyroid may be the root of your problems, talk to your doctor about these tests. If they don’t listen, find someone who will.

I am not a medical professional and cannot give medical advice. Find a naturopath or holistic doctor who will help you look at your big picture.

 

Further reading

http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/jc.2005-0455

http://thyroid.about.com/cs/testsforthyroid/a/newrange.htm

http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/tsh-why-its-useless/

http://www.thyroid.org/media-main/about-hypothyroidism/ 

Dairy Free Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup

My mother’s birthday was coming up and she had recently started a mostly gluten and dairy free diet.  Because I had experience cooking for this lifestyle I was in charge of the menu for her surprise party. She was craving a dish we used to make by slowly cooking a cheaper cut of steak in cream of mushroom soup. Obviously Campbell’s version was no longer an option, so I decided to try to replicate it myself.  After looking at a variety of recipes online I came up with a plan.  I used mimicreme, a nut based cream substitute, and potato starch as my thickener. And what do you know, it worked first try!

Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup

8 tbs coconut oil or ghee
8 tbs potato starch
1 tbs salt
1 tsp pepper
4 cups mimicreme
4 cups finely chopped mushrooms (I used a combo of baby bella and button)

1. Melt coconut oil/ghee in large skillet on medium high heat.  Saute mushrooms until they darken and shrink a bit.

2. Turn heat down to medium-low.  Add starch gradually, stirring until fully mixed with coconut oil/ghee.

3. Add mimicreme gradually, stirring constantly until smoothly combined with starch mixture.

One can of condensed cream of mushroom soup is about 1 1/4 cups. I got about 5 cups worth from this recipe. It froze well for future use.