Sceptically Fit

14/08/2012

Comfort Food – Doing it Right

Filed under: Personal, Recipes — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 20:20

Taking time to relax on my approach to food does feel like its working for me. I think my diet is settling into a more natural pattern – being aware of when I’m hungry as opposed to needy. Trying to keep wheat out of my diet as much as possible – my food journalling has made pretty clear that wheat has an unpleasant effect on how I feel physically and has suggested quite strongly a negative effect on how I feel emotionally. It seems there might be something to the intuitive eating theory that becoming aware of how something affects you will change your interest in eating it. I’m not trying to deny myself although I do need to ‘fight’ the urge for some wheat products. And fail at time although I the donut I ate at work was so unsatisfying I don’t think I’ll be tempted again for a while. I’m not trying to ‘diet’ or lose weight, but I am trying to feel good. So that means working towards a healthier diet, one that meets my emotional and physical needs.

A long day at work, and still nursing a badly sprained ankle, I was hungry and in need of something particularly comforting today. Part of me wanted to stop off at the shops and grab something – a big bag of crisps or something else equally snacky, a nice easy fix to the desire. But it wouldn’t really. Somehow, for the first time in a while, I was able to recognise that. Instead, I made myself sweet potato fries. And they were tasty:

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Sweet Potato Fries:

  • pre-heat oven to 200C
  • cut up a large sweet potato into sticks
  • melt a tablespoon of coconut oil
    on a tray
  • mix a generous amount of paprika, a little sprinkling of cayenne pepper to taste, and a little ground black pepper into the oil
  • roll the sweet potato in the oil and bake for approx 20min turning once.
  • sit down with a good book and enjoy

06/01/2012

Baked Potatoes with Lamb and Chorizo

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: — Sceptically Me @ 08:45

Last night’s dinner ticked all my needs – super tasty with the comfort food warming and filling that I really needed on a cold winter’s night post workout.
pan.

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    all measurements are approximate

  • 180gm lamb steak
  • 100gm chorizo
  • six spring onions
  • tablespoon of lard
  • two tablespoons of coconut cream
  • two medium potatoes
  • herbs: garlic, cumin, oregano, garam masala

Boil the potatoes for ten minutes than transfer to the oven on 220c for about 45 mins. The topping only takes about fifteen mins so go read a book.
Chop up lamb and chorizo into small peices. Heat a generous dollop of lard in a frying pan, add chorizo, a crushed clove of garlic, large shake of oregano and cumin and a small pinch of garam masala. Fry for a few minutes then add two generous tablespoons of coconut cream. Continue to fry till the sauce is nice and mixed. Add the lamb and stir to cook evenly – can add a teaspoon of ground arrowroot to thicken if desired. When the lamb is almost done – add the chopped spring onions.
Retrieve your baked potatoes, slice open and top with the contents of the frying. Eat and enjoy!

04/12/2011

A Warming Winter Drink Treat

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 18:30

I saw this Creamy Tumeric Tea on Mark’s Daily Apple where he says “Turmeric tea will perk you up in the morning, calm you down at night and soothe sniffles and sore throats.” Feeling a little on the verge of a cold myself, I decided to try it.

  • 8 ounces (1 cup) almond or coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2-inch wide round slice of ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon honey or other sweetener
  • Optional additions: a small pat of butter, cinnamon, cardamom

I misread slightly and used a whole teaspoon of turmeric but I don’t think that was a problem – if anything my dash of cayenne may have been more generous than I meant. Adhering to the traditional hot toddy belief I didn’t stint on the honey, and added about a teaspoon of cinnamon.

Very tasty, and certainly warming. I’m inclined to think I might water it down a little next time. I don’t find the coconut milk too strong/thick, but I did find half a can was able to be drunk far too quickly.

Reading through the comments on the post – several people commented that black pepper is usually served with turmeric as the piperine in the black pepper (not present in cayenne pepper)  helps the  body absorb the beneficial curcumin from the turmeric. So I might try that next time.

01/12/2011

The Joy of Frozen Vegetables and Warm Winter Food

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: , — Sceptically Me @ 23:55

Last year, the UK experienced winter weather that would probably make those from North America snort in derision, but it was enough to grind the country to a halt. While news of road closures kept filling the broadcasts, I was influenced by a friends warning that supermarkets would not receive any more stock and panic-shopped a bunch of frozen vegetables including a kilo of frozen shredded spinach.

At the time I was horrified – what was I going to do with frozen spinach? I certainly didn’t seem to suit my style of cooking and unlike the traditional frozen peas and corn wasn’t going to be something I’d be happy cooking up in the microwave with a nice dollop of butter.

But what I’ve since realised is that its perfect for bulking up the veggie content of chillis and curries, casseroles and hotpots.

Frozen onion is wonderful – I’m not too lazy to chop – I’m just incredibly sensitive to whatever it is that makes your eyes water. My eyes will still be sore and red several hours later! But not with frozen onion.

Basic Beef Casserole:

  • approx 500grams of diced casserole steak
  • 300gm of frozen spinach (ie probably a 3rd of a bag)
  • large cup of frozen onion
  • large cup of frozen peas
  • beef stock
  • chicken stock
  • tablespoon of lard
  • tin of borlotti beans
  • tin of button mushrooms.
  • herbs – oregano and garlic

I put the beef, lard, spinach, onion and peas in a casserole dish. Added the beef stock (I used a knorr beef hot pot gel) and chicken stock (I used two units of my homemade stock) and topped up the dish with boiling water. Give it a good stir and put in the oven on 200C for about 30min. Then I turned it down to 180C for about an hour and a half. Add the beans and mushrooms, oregano and garlic – give a good mix and turn the heat down to 160C for approx another hour.

As a cold winters night comfort dish after a good weights workout at the gym – its a good hearty meal for two – or for one, and a delicious reheatable meal for later (that’s the great thing about hotpot style dishes – they reheat well). I think I might add another tablespoon or two of lard next time – need a bit more fat to balance all that protein and carbohydrates.

Approx per serve: 715 Calories, 33grams of Carbohydrates (17grams fibre – already deducted), 109grams of Protein and 16 grams of Fat

26/11/2011

Months of thinking – lots of links

Due to a multitude of life stress going on I’ve really feel behind on this site. So in an attempt to catch up I’m going to just link to all the stories that have caught my eye over the last few months.

Vitamin C supplementation may aid recovery from intense exercise in the cold. Is honey even honey any more? Why do we keep messing with our food.   Are our agricultural staples trying to kill us? A look at which nutrients are essential for healthy mitochondria. Can you eat too much liquorice? Yoghurt doesn’t work the way we thought. A look at the effect of a paleo diet on testosterone. The evolution of lactose tolerance and how to use it if you have it. An interview with Dr Loren CordainWholegrain pasta offers no benefit over refined pasta. A look at preparing traditional grains. Are eggs the answer to weightloss? Here’s seven more reasons to eat them.

Meat doesn’t rot in your colon – grains do. Another study shows that grass-fed red meat is healthier. A diet high in fat is not fattening. A ted talk on using diet to stop angiogenesis. And a diet high in carbohydrates is linked to cancer. So while low carb seems better for reducing cancer and heart disease, its best to keep it high in vegetables.

However, is it just a matter of  eating whole foods that’s more important than individual nutrients. The Perfect Health Diet offers a food apple guide, and lifehacker suggests how to begin eating ancestrally

Are you always aware of what you eat – a look at how your subconscious mind affects your diet. The link between  omega3  imbalances and depression and how increasing your omega3 levels can reduce inflammation and anxiety. How to balance your omega 6 vs omega 3 ratios. A guide to cravings and what your body might actually be needing.

Mark Sisson talks about the idea of gateway foods and helpfully provides a delicious sounding recipe for pumpkin pie. How about paleo egg-cupcakes? On the low-carb front – if you’re missing burgers how about a recipe for an oopsie bun. When the winter colds hit – here’s some suggestions for healthy comfort food. And now you’re inspired – here’s a big recipe roundup.

Letting children’s playground be fun results in less accidents then those awful safety playgrounds. A look at the differences of American-European values. Interesting how a respect for individual rights plays out when the people are women. Alas offers a simple primer to evaluate the anti-women’s health arguments. Another reason to damn the development of agriculture. Sam Harris looks at how to be safe in a world with a propensity for violence.

Weightlifting for women is starting to hit the mainstream. A guide to dynamic stretching. Does muscle really burn more calories? Its important to pay attention to muscle imbalances.  Is chocolate milk the best post-exercise drink? Exercising on an empty stomach may not be a good idea. Why cardio is not the best way to lose fat. How exercise can you become more sensitive to feeling full when eating. What ever you do – just stop sitting  down!

Cycling can be dangerous – the Florida Dept of Transport says riding 4-5 ft from curb, not wearing spandex, being a woman all cause cars to move further over in the lane when passing you. And its shown to be cheaper to build cycling infrastructure than not.

Seven ideas to improve your running, and how to improve your mileage.

05/09/2011

Meatza

Filed under: Personal, Recipes — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 22:10

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In an effort to broaden my options, take advantage of cheap meat sources (eg mince) and come up with something that makes easy breakfasting leftover options to eat at work; I decided to try a meatza.

The idea is to use beef mince as the pizza base. Gets your protein count up, leaves your carb (with no need for wheat!) low and still tastes like pizza. Well that’s the theory…

I use the paleo pizza recipe from spark people but modified it based on my cupboard contents. So not having any caraway seeds may have been the problem.

Make up a bowl of herbs with a generous (ie more than the teaspoon specified) of oregano, black pepper, garlic salt and red pepper. Mix with 500g of beef mince. Mix in with a raw egg. Didn’t have any Parmesan so that didn’t get mixed into the pan

Spread on a tray and bake for about 15mins on 200c.

Once it was done I poured off the fat and made my pizza. Tomato paste, cheese, onions, olives and mushrooms. I’d precooked the onions and mushrooms so the pizza only needed another five mins.

Let it sit for about five mins.

Verdict – I got three meals out of it. Half for dinner, and two breakfasts. The main problem was how dry the meat was – draining off the fat is the only option to get the pizza effect but it’s left so dry. Maybe the Parmesan cheese would have made all the difference but even with the extra allocation of herbs the base was very bland. It also didn’t hold together well at all, so no pizza effect in terms of ‘slice of pizza’. Though i think i may have made it slightly too thick. Need a bigger pan to try again. The topping was delicious so clearly I need to incorporate more tomato sauce type dishes into my diet.

Overall, seemed too much effort for something that doesn’t really form a decent substitute. But it did seem like a decent option for breakfast though could I be bothered with this just for breakfast? Maybe I’ll try again with the changes I’ve mentioned and see if that makes it worth it.

18/07/2011

Blueberry Pancakes – kind of…

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 12:29

 

So this morning I decided to try something other than my normal eggs and bacon (or last nights leftovers) for a Sunday morning. While I’m aware that today isn’t Sunday – I have the day off work!

I’ve come across a lot of different recipes for paleo/lowcarb pancakes and have decided to edit them together and give it ago. While I’m working at keeping my refined carbohydrates low, I’m primarily concerned with eating natural foods. I want to be low carbing via a whole foods eating pattern, not processed pseudo flours and sugars (not that I’m entirely against them on special occasions…) so no carb quick, or protein powders for me. But I’m also limited by what’s currently in the kitchen.

 

So I went with:

  • two egg whites beaten to stiff peaks (was going to be three but the yolk broke in the shell…)
  • two egg yolk plus one egg (see above)
  • teaspoon of baking powder
  • teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of psyllium husks (I don’t think this is necessary)
  • teaspoon of cinnamon (which I forgot to put in…)
  • large dollop of cream
  • bowl of frozen blueberries
  • butter – for in the pan and on the cooked pancakes

Beat the egg whites till stiff. Then add egg yolks, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, psyllium husks and cream and mix. Add the blueberries and stir again. Then cook on a medium heat. I had a bit of trouble gauging the cooking time well, and I think the blueberries made it a lot harder to spread the mix evenly. The last one I cooked ended up a mess as I poured too much onto the plate, got impatient and turned it and it collapsed…

I thought the psyllium husks would help give it a bit of structure but I don’t think that really worked. Not that it took away from it, I didn’t notice it taste or texture-wise but didn’t seem necessary unless you’re particularly concerned about fibre. I think adding the blueberries to the mix also ruined the effect of beating the egg whites. I think next time I’d add the blueberries to the pancake in the pan or even as a topping on the pancakes (maybe heat them up in the microwave a bit so they’re a little stewed). Its important to keep the mix on the pan thin and to cook through, though ideally without burning. The thicker, less cooked ones tasted more egg-y and less like pancakes.

On less healthy-minded days, I could so totally see myself eating these with maple syrup…

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