Wellness Routine: Embrace Your Surroundings

By Rochelle Gilman, RD, director of nutrition and health promotions, Iowa Beef Industry Council

Rochelle Gilman is a registered dietitian and director of nutrition and health promotions with the Iowa Beef Industry Council. She is also a wife, mom, grandma and cattle farmer. Discover her wellness routine, which involves embracing nature and cooking with beef.

May is an exciting month on our farm in Adair County. The crops are planted, the new calves have been born and the landscape is brilliantly coming alive with color. It’s also Beef Month in Iowa, a time to celebrate and enjoy the high-quality, nutritious, mouthwatering beef that Iowa is known for around the world.

I grew up on a farm in Hardin County and graduated from Iowa State University. I’m a registered dietitian and serve as the director of nutrition and health for the Iowa Beef Industry Council. I’m passionate about providing education and new beef nutrition research to health care professionals and consumers. My husband Cary and I raise cattle – mostly Shorthorns – on the same land our ancestors began farming 150 years ago. Our kids – Ethan and Leah – were raised on the farm and continue to be involved in the operations, along with their own growing families.

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Iowa’s Countryside – a Peloton Scene

Staying active on the farm is part of our family’s daily routine, whether that’s doing feeding chores or making daily checks on our cattle to ensure their health and well-being needs are met. My husband and son handle most of those duties. I try to take a two- to three-mile walk most days of the week, which is much easier to do this time of year. In the rural area where we live, we have some wonderful rolling hills that provide a good workout. I love walking in the country because of the incredible natural scenery. There is always something relaxing to see and hear. Many people love their Peloton bikes for the scenic ride options they can select during a workout. When I’m outside, I’m immersed in my own breathtaking Peloton scene in the countryside.

I experience some of the most beautiful sunsets on my daily walks. I remember walking one day when a storm was rolling in, and later a rainbow engulfed our red barn. Those are the moments you take in and appreciate Mother Nature's incredible work. I often do my best thinking – whether that’s about a presentation or other work projects – when I’m moving my body and clearing my head.

I also do a lot of gardening, which yields exercise and mealtime benefits. There is something therapeutic about pulling weeds. My other primary responsibility is watching our toddler grandson while my son, daughter-in-law and husband are working with the cattle. Over the years, my roles on the farm have changed as our family has grown. Every job is essential on the farm, and I'm incredibly grateful and blessed with the evolving opportunities.

Cooking with a Nutritional Powerhouse

We take a lot of pride in raising some of the best-tasting beef that is a nutrient-rich protein, while caring for the land and our cattle in a sustainable way for the next generation to farm. 

We eat beef almost daily. For the number of high-quality nutrients you get for the calories you're eating, beef is a fantastic and delicious protein option. With 10 essential nutrients, including protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins along with just 170 calories in a 3-ounce serving, it’s a nutritional powerhouse! I love cooking beef and experimenting with new recipes. Beef pairs well with all kinds of fruits, vegetables and grains. Including beef with these other nutrient-rich foods leads to a well-balanced, flavorful and satisfying plate. The newly released Dietary Guidelines for Americans stress that people need to eat more nutrient-rich foods to aid in overall health and wellness.

We love to use beef in stir-fries, kabobs or salads. A sesame-soy marinade is one of my favorites to use with kabobs. This Asian-inspired marinade packs a burst of flavor with soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and fresh ginger. I use it when making our classic beef kabobs. The recipe is quick and easy. Simply place cubes of seasoned, tender steak with mushrooms, peppers and onions on a skewer, then grill. It’s a recipe that's perfect for an appetizer, snack or dinner. Because we are huge Cyclone fans, I swap red and yellow peppers for the green peppers during tailgating season.

Asparagus is a warm-weather staple for us during grilling season. Served with a tangy balsamic vinegar and Dijon-style mustard sauce, this Balsamic Marinated Beef Top Sirloin Steak and Asparagus recipe is always a big hit. I try to make meals for my family that enhance the flavor of the beef but don’t overpower the meat with strong flavors. 

Staying Grounded with Reflection

This time of year, I like to take my walks early in the morning just as the sun is rising. It is such a peaceful time of day to reflect, get clarity and meditate. The beautiful sunrises I witness are magnificent.

The same things that I love to do for exercise, work or caring for my family also are essential to my overall well-being. Spending time in nature and with the cattle keeps me grounded. My family and faith are extremely important. No matter what I'm doing, focusing on those things always reminds me of what's most important in life.

It's also rewarding to know that we are raising a product that is wholesome and healthy for other people to enjoy around their dinner tables. We take so much pride in sustainably operating our farm and taking care of the cattle. We always know we've done our very best, and there is a lot of gratification in ending each day that way.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about the Gilman’s farm and cooking with beef, plus find marinade tips and a Greek Beef Salad recipe in a recent Fresh Pickings magazine feature, Pasture to Plate.