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My doctor told me my cholesterol was on the high side and that I should reduce dairy and animal protein in my diet. After weeks of shoveling in vegetables and grimacing as I drank black coffee in the morning, I broke down. Life had become gray and bleak and I couldn’t take another carrot stick.

So I headed over to Yakima Steak Company for some relief. If I was going to break protocol, I was going to eat something that was darn well worth it. I settled into a plush chair in a room filled with diners (always a good sign) and looked at the menu.

Lunch fairly leaped out at me. An open-faced Bistro Steak Sandwich with bourbon-peppercorn sauce, served with mashed Yukon gold potatoes and sautéed green beans. This was it. A real meal. And the potatoes and beans meant I could knock those two cups of vegetables the USDA recommends for a woman of my age off my list for the day. Bam! Things were looking up.

The meal arrived quickly and was beautifully presented. Wisps of steam rose off the steak, which was nestled on a chunk of toasted bread, drizzled with sauce and topped with onions. This was definitely a knife-and-fork sandwich.

The steak was tender and perfectly cooked. The frizzled onions on top added some extra crunch and flavor. The Yukon golds were smooth and buttery and the beans snapped to attention. This is what I’d been missing, and I didn’t feel a bit guilty afterwards.

Here’s the deal about diets. If you deny yourself all the things you love, I guarantee you that sooner or later you’re going to fall off the wagon. But if you let yourself have a treat now and then — a sumptuous steak sandwich, or a fudge sundae — then get right back to your more Spartan routine — you’ve got a much better chance of succeeding.

Julia Child once said, “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” She lived to be 91 years old.