Yes, bacon really is killing us

Processed meat – it’s not good for you.

“The WHO advised that consuming 50g of processed meat a day – equivalent to just a couple of rashers of bacon or one hotdog – would raise the risk of getting bowel cancer by 18% over a lifetime. (Eating larger amounts raises your risk more.)”

Yes, bacon really is killing us

Yes, bacon really is killing us

The long read: Decades’ worth of research proves that chemicals used to make bacon do cause cancer. So how did the meat industry convince us it was safe?

Source: www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/01/bacon-cancer-processed-meats-nitrates-nitrites-sausages

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Mediterranean diet as good as vegetarian for a healthy heart

This piece in the Times suggests that a Mediterranean diet is as good for vascular health as going vegetarian:

Mediterranean diet as good as vegetarian for a healthy heart

Mediterranean diet as good as vegetarian for a healthy heart

There is no need to fill your freezer with chickpea burgers and quorn sausages to protect your heart against disease, a trial suggests. Sticking to a Mediterranean diet, which includes a modest…

Source: www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/mediterranean-diet-good-as-vegetarian-for-a-healthy-heart-5x2f9hzjd

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Low Carb / High Fat Diet

I recently read a book by Dr. Aseem Maholtra – “The Pioppi Diet“. In it he explains the science behind his recommended diet: low carb / high fat.

He cites various studies which point to our high intake of refined carbs and sugar being the cause of vascular disease and the diabetes epidemic. He reckons this type of diet will improve your glucose and lipid numbers. Insulin resistance is also reduced.

One reputed adherent of the low refined carb diet is Queen Elizabeth II.  She seems to be in good shape for her age so there might be something in it. (She does like cake though, apparently.)

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Simple Bread Recipe

This recipe works with spelt, rye and wholemeal flour. You can hand-knead for 10 minutes or use a stand mixer like I do.

Ingredients
=========
Strong white flour 100g
Rye, wholemeal or spelt flour 500g
Olive oil 50ml
Salt 10g
Instant yeast 10g
Water, lukewarm 300ml

Method
======
Mix all the ingredients in a stand mixer for 2 minutes at number 2 power setting or hand-knead for about 10 minutes
Cover and leave to prove for an hour at room temperature
Roll the dough into a ball then press down lightly to form a slightly flatter shape (Flour the work surface and your hands first)
Put the dough ball onto a baking tray with some greaseproof paper underneath it
Heat oven to 50°C and put the dough in for an hour
Remove the dough from the oven
Heat oven to 210°C and bake the loaf for 30 minutes
Remove and leave to cool

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Quorn

This article in yesterday’s Guardian is largely negative about Quorn and other meat substitutes. The main thrust of their argument seems to be that Quorn is an ultra-processed food and therefore not good. I tend to agree which is why I don’t eat it any more but it’s still better than killing animals:

The Quorn revolution: the rise of ultra-processed fake meat

The Quorn revolution: the rise of ultra-processed fake meat

It was reported last week that Quorn is on course to become a billion-dollar business. It is part of a booming industry of meat alternatives – but many of these products are a far cry from the idea of a natural, plant-based diet

Source: www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/feb/12/quorn-revolution-rise-ultra-processed-fake-meat

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Easy Sauce for Dal or Chickpea Curry

Ingredients

*Per person*:
Olive oil – quite a bit
1/2 onion
1/2 a pepper
2 cloves garlic
Half-thumb-sized piece of ginger
Salt  to taste
Turmeric – ½ teaspoon
Ground coriander – teaspoon
Cumin powder – ½ teaspoon
Chilli flakes – to taste or omit if you prefer
Passata – about half a mugful
Water to thin sauce
½ a lemon or lime, juiced

=====================================

Method
Finely chop (Or you can use a MagiMix) the onion, garlic, pepper and grate the ginger, then sautee gently in the oil for 5-10 mins
Stir in all the spices & salt
Add the passatta
Add the water
Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add the chickpeas or pre-cooked lentils  & allow to heat if cold
Add the lemon or lime juice
Serve

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Engineered Meat?

This piece in today’s WikiTribune sheds some light on the future of lab-grown meat. Looks like it has promise:

Lab-grown meat: how can we satisfy future demand?

Lab-grown meat: how can we satisfy future demand?

By 2050 global meat consumption is predicted to double. One scientist thinks he may have the solution

Source: www.wikitribune.com/story/2017/07/18/science/meat-future-demand/995/

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Veganism

IMG_0020

Recently I gave up dairy and eggs. I’d been vegetarian for about 25 years and had been thinking about going vegan for a while. My older brother has been vegan for a couple of years and kept on telling me how great he felt, how he had lost weight.

As for me, so far so good. I don’t miss cheese, eggs or milk at all. In fact I don’t think I could go back to eating them. I don’t really have a sweet tooth any more so I didn’t really eat cakes, puddings or ice cream. One less problem.

I’ve lost about 7 kilos over the past couple of months and whilst I’ve been on a weight-loss diet, I think being vegan has made it easier to lose the weight.

I don’t know if I’d say I feel significantly healthier but I certainly don’t feel any worse. (I’ve also been avoiding beer, which has made a difference to how I look and feel though.)

Meat and dairy are primary sources of calcium and B12 for most people, so I’ll be taking supplements for those: a B complex pill for the B12 and soya milk for the calcium. Hopefully that’ll suffice, though I have read about vegans with brittle bones here and there. (Possibly scare stories, I’ll do some research and find out.)

Another aspect to veganism its that it’s easier on the planet: meat and dairy are resource-intensive and they account for a big chunk of CO2 emissions.

One of my main motives for going vegan though, is the fact that I like animals, or, more accurately I hate to think about animal cruelty. I don’t think it’s possible to produce meat, eggs or milk without the animals suffering in some way. It feels good to have a clear conscience about that side of things.

The only other thing I have to think about is leather: only one footwear manufacturer’s shoes fit my fat feet (Geox). Unfortunately, they use leather or suede in all their products, so I’ll be doing a search for an alternative when I run out of trainers (I went on a splurge before I decided to go vegan so I have a couple of years worth of them stocked up).

Anyway, veganism seems to be trendy these days. So much the better. I just hope those experimenting with it for whatever reasons will stick with it.

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Bread

IMG_0094
The bread: before baking.

I made some bread yesterday. It turned out fairly well. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer for the first part of the build process, then hand-kneaded.

The recipe I used was this one:
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1162642/olive-oil-bread

One thing I forgot to do was add the olive oil but I’m not convinced it made a huge difference. I used Doves Farm organic flour since I try to avoid pesticides.

Anyway, I had a slice of it toasted for breakfast this morning and it was fine.

I’ll make some more tomorrow. This time I might add some herbs to the mix. Possibly a few olives too. I’d like to use unsalted black olives but I can’t find any at a reasonable price so I’ll go with what I have.

Making your own bread isn’t much cheaper than buying it from the supermarket, in fact it the cost is probably about the same once you factor in electricity for the oven.

Nonetheless, there’s something satisfying about making your own, so I think I’ll continue.

After baking.
After baking.

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