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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Antibiotic Resistance / Farming

George Monbiot has a good piece in today’s Guardian about antibiotic resistance and farming in the USA and elsewhere. According to this article, antibiotic use is more prevalent and less strictly regulated in America, which is a bad thing for all of us:

Resist a US trade deal. Your life may depend on it | George Monbiot

Resist a US trade deal. Your life may depend on it | George Monbiot

We cannot trust our government to fight America’s disgusting farming practices. Unless we mobilise, US livestock pumped full of antibiotics will harm us all, writes Guardian columnist George Monbiot

Source: www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/14/us-trade-deal-government-farming-practices-livestock-antibiotics

 

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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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Livestock Farming and Antibiotic Resistance

Some interesting facts in this article on livestock and antibiotic resistance:

  • Pneumonia, tuberculosis, and salmonellosis are already showing increasing resistance to antibiotic treatment
  • It’s estimated that up to 90 percent of antibiotics consumed by animals are excreted
  • Use of antibiotics for livestock greatly exceeds that of uses for humans
  • Antibiotic use in livestock farming is lowest in Norway, and also low in Finland, Sweden and Denmark — high-income nations with effective regulation

Read it yourself here:

How do we reduce antibiotic resistance from livestock? – Our World in Data

How do we reduce antibiotic resistance from livestock? – Our World in Data

This blog post draws on data and research discussed in our entry on Meat and Seafood Production & Consumption.

Source: ourworldindata.org/antibiotic-resistance-from-livestock

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HIIT

I was reading a blog post about HIIT on Steve H. Graham’s website yesterday when I remembered that Andrew Marr had a stroke whilst doing it (HIIT).

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval training. The general idea is that instead of exercising for long periods at low intensity, you do intervals of twenty seconds or thereabouts at maximum effort.

The main benefit is that you don’t have to train for so long each time, yet you get all the benefits (And more) of prolonged aerobic exercise:

  • You burn more calories overall
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Increased mitochondria count (Not sure what this does but it sounds like it should be good.)
  • Increased endurance
  • Increased telomerase, which protects telomeres
  • Increased production of human growth hormone

A recumbent exercise bike is ideal for HIIT. Fortunately I have one. I just haven’t figured how to use it yet.

My under-utilised recumbent bike.

Anyway, I plan on starting an HIIT programme soon. I hope to see the benefits quickly, particularly the increased sense of wellbeing that comes with regular exercise. I also hope to lose a bit of weight and not die of an electrical cardiac malfunction. I’ll let you know how I get on.

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Veganism

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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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