Zesty Salsa

Zesty Salsa

It’s so quick and easy to whip up a tasty little salsa and makes such a refreshing change to steamed veggies or a green salad.  Don’t be restricted what I’ve used here – you can use what you’ve got in the fridge, some organic corn kernels would be nice here too.  We enjoyed this with salmon but would be delicious with chicken or steak.  It is the perfect accompaniment to my chicken schnitzel (recipe here).  I had the leftovers with a little bit (1/2 cup) of brown rice and a tin of tuna for lunch the next day – was really yummy!

Zesty Salsa

(serves 2-4 as a side dish)

What you will need:

  • 1 Avocado diced
  • 1 cucumber peeled and diced
  • A handful of button mushrooms diced
  • 1/2 red capsicum diced
  • 1 green chilli (seeded) finely chopped
  • 1 roma tomato or a few cherry tomatoes diced
  • 1/4 red onion finely chopped
  • About a 1/4 cup of fresh Coriander leaves (cilantro)

For the dressing:

  • The juice of 1-2 limes (depending on your taste)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

How to pull it all together:

Shake or whisk all the dressing ingredents together.  Combine the chopped up veggies into a bowl.  Gently toss the veggies with the dressing and serve!

 

 

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

The slow cooker is a brilliant invention – especially at this time of year when we are craving hearty stews and soups.  You put everything in and it basically takes care of itself.  Throw it together at breakfast time on a low heat or lunchtime on high heat, and then by dinner you have a delicious, healthy, home cooked meal and extra to freeze – such a bonus!  If you don’t have a slow cooker though, you can still make these shanks (see below).

This is one of the first slow cooker meals I put together and incidentally one of the first recipes that we introduced whilst seeing the Food Coach in the early days of our lifestyle change (so it has her tick of approval too).  It is simple, healthy and very tasty!  I love serving this with a sweet potato mash and some greens e.g. asparagus.  It is really so comforting during the winter months.  This also freezes beautifully (we think it actually tastes better after being frozen) so I usually make with 4 shanks at a time.  I won’t say the kids love it (my kids don’t really love much in the way of variety!) but they did eat it – which says something (I made my sneaky cauliflower and potato mash for them – see here!).

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

(serves 4 adults plus a few kids if they aren’t big eaters (or eat half and freeze half)

You will need

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 2 can tomatoes (diced or whole – depending on how you like it)
  • 2 tbs of fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 cup of brown lentils
  • 2 Cups stock (watch the cooker – if it gets dry then add some more).  If you can make your own beef stock – perfect!  I use my homemade chicken stock (which I also regularly make in the slow cooker – recipe here)
  • 1-2 tbs of brown sugar (not necessary if you don’t want to use it – you could even try some raw honey for sweetness if you like)
  • 4 carrots peeled and halved lengthwise or some halved button mushrooms (optional)

How to pull it together

Throw the whole lot in the cooker (you can brown the shanks if you like.  I used to (it made me feel a bit domestic goddessy!!!) but I don’t bother anymore and they are just as good.

Cook on low all day or high from lunchtime until dinner.

(If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can cook these  in a 200 oven.  Add all ingredients except lentils – cook for 45 minutes, turn the shanks, add lentils and cook for further 45 minutes or until lamb is soft.)

shanks-cookingServe with mashed sweet potato, cauliflower rice and/or steamed greens and enjoy! XX

 

The Skinny on Fat

I have just returned from a 3-day juice fast/detox in beautiful (but very rainy) Byron Bay with my good friend Janet Kalmin who is equally as passionate about health as I am.  We  had a lot of time to read and learn while we were away, and we have returned from our trip invigorated, cleansed and very motivated to make positive changes to our diet.  In particular we read the works of some of the leading voices in food and health at the moment – David Gillespie (Sweet Poison, Big Fat Lies, and Toxic Oil) and Sarah Wilson (I Quit Sugar).  Janet has kindly offered to guest blog on The Shrinking Hubby this week.  What she has to say about the fats we consume is not only interesting and thought provoking, but really (urgently) important for our future health.  The large and very powerful manufacturers who control our food industry are not concerned about future risks of health, as long as their products don’t instantly kill us – it simply doesn’t make business sense to them.  This is going to have extremely worrying consequences for our future generation.

I hope that you get a lot out of Janet’s article, and above all that it gives you some power to make informed decisions about the kind of food you are feeding yourselves and your families.  Because if we can get the message out that there are foods swamping our supermarkets that are making us very sick as a population, then hopefully our population won’t buy these foods and then the manufacturers will not have the incentive to market them to us (and our kids)!

Finally I just wanted to bring to your attention the fact that Jessie Reimers (you can follow her facebook page ‘Get A Fresh Start’ here) is currently petitioning the Heart Foundation to stop endorsing unhealthy margarines and immediately review the ‘tick of approval’ program.  I highly recommend that you check out what the petition is all about and sign it here. Please also take the time to share it with your friends – it is a very important crusade for the benefit of all of our health. 

The Skinny on Fat

by Janet Kalmin

It seems a small revolution is happening in the world of fats, and with the help of the internet, vital research previously ignored is being brought to light.

There is a dawning of a new age in how we see fat, particularly the much maligned saturated stuff; butter, lard, cream, animal fat of any sort plus some other gems like coconut oil.  Some are calling the war against saturated fat the biggest health myth of the century and you should know about it!

We are so conditioned into thinking that saturated fats cause heart disease and raise our cholesterol that even I find myself feeling some guilt when I add another slather of butter. But according to pioneering nutritionists Mary Enig and Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation in the US, this is exactly what I should be doing if I want to raise my good cholesterol and protect my body from oxidation and other nasty repercussions of too little saturated fat and too much polyunsaturated fat. It’s the latter that raise your ‘bad’ cholesterol.

They say animal fat is “not deadly, but is necessary for our bodies to initiate, suppress, or resolve inflammation as needed. These are all vital processes that allow us to respond appropriately to our environment. My children have always enjoyed butter, animal fat, whole milk, coconut oil, just as our pre-war ancestors did. They are heart disease free.

However the food industry sponsored Heart Foundation continues to strongly urge us to replace saturated fat with omega 6 options (polyunsaturated) through the media, our GPs and little friendly reminders on margarine lids. Funny, that.

Just a few years ago I thought I knew it all, all about fats anyway. The much espoused Mediterranean diet told us to cook and cover everything in EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and so I did. And don’t get me wrong, that was great, mono-unsaturated omega 3s and all that jazz. Problem was, almost everything from the shops contained anything but olive oil. From cook-in sauces and curry pastes to take-away you can almost guarantee a polyunsaturated fat has been used. They are lurking, weirdly, in things like an Up and Go, marketed as a great start to the day! And they are not just polyunsaturated. Canola oil needs so much processing to rid it of its foul taste and odour that it becomes a trans-fat – generally now agreed to be the worst possible scenario for fat.

Polyunsaturated fats are known as vegetable oils, which is laughable as no vegetable is processed for its oil, it’s just sounds good. David Gallespie more accurately calls them ‘seed oils’. Seed oils are nasty stuff according to some enlightening new and old research. Canola and Cottonseed oil are by-products of industrial waste! They are cheap and easy to make in large quantities. They just make perfect business sense.

 

These are everyday foods that contain seed oils:

  • peanut butter
  • boxed cereals
  • crackers
  • packaged breads
  • salad oils
  • mayonnaise
  • dressings
  • marinades
  • margarine
  • other fake fats like shortening and artificial “butter” products

Cotton-seed oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, rice bran oil….

These fellas are lurking in your daily diet whether you like it or not.

Bread, sauces, chips, take away, almost anything that comes in a jar of oil like olives, antipasti, snack foods, and the list goes on.

But what does it do you?

Seed oils are highly- processed polyunsaturates full of omega 6s. And there lies the problem.

Our bodies are designed to be 1:1 Omega 6 and Omega 3. Get this ratio wrong and you are asking for trouble. Apparently we are not getting enough of the 3 and WAY too much of the 6s.

And you can see why when you look at everything that contains ‘vegetable’ (aka seed) oil.

Some recent research (and more importantly some older research that seems to be constantly ignored by mainstream health ‘authorities’) is telling us that these oils are doing all sorts of damage including floating around while our bodies try and absorb them into our cells. Google the link between skin cancer and vegetable oil, it will turn your stomach.

Problem is we are animal fat! Yes that’s right; you know the saturated stuff that we have been warned will kill us. But if you think about it simply, how can we process fat into our cells if that is not the fat our cells are made of? Sometimes you don’t need a Bio-Chemical PhD to understand basic logic. And that’s the whole point. David Gillespie says it like this “… the reality is our body can’t tell the difference between them [polyunsaturated and saturated fats]. We use fats for energy and importantly, to construct our cells. The end result of a diet high in polyunsaturated fats is that our cell membranes are constructed of polyunsaturated fat.  This is a problem because it is much more volatile, much more likely to oxidise. Out of control oxidation ultimately leads to the kind of mutations in the DNA of the cell nucleus that leads to cancer. “

The Weston A. Price Foundation sheds some light on the recent history of fats:

“[It’s] the mid-1980s and the food industry has a problem. In collusion with the American Heart Association, numerous government agencies and departments of nutrition at major universities, the industry had been promoting polyunsaturated oils as a heart-healthy alternative to “artery-clogging” saturated fats. Unfortunately, it had become increasingly clear that polyunsaturated oils…cause numerous health problems, including and especially cancer.  Check out westonprice.org and go crazy!

Join me in banning these foods from your family’s diet and go back to the good stuff. The Weston A. Price Foundation found women with lower saturated fat and higher polyunsaturated had far more wrinkles. That’s the deal breaker is it not? Wait and see, it will all come to light in ten years and you can sit back smugly and say with me:

“I told you so!”

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