A couple of weeks ago TV3’s 3rd degree, ran a programme that was to debate the position of ‘is fat as bad for us, as we have been lead to believe in the last 30 years’.
In case you missed the show, in the left corner we had the University professors (one from Auckland and one from Otago) supporting the current dietary recommendations (eat low fat especially saturated fats and get your 6 grain/cereal serves/day etc), and to the supposedly, radical right corner, there was a professor and a senior Lecturer from AUT, advocating their support for a High fat-Low Carb diet, who following some trials of their own have concluded that there is evidence to suggest that fat isn’t the devil that science, media and (not least) the commercial food industry have hoodwinked us into believing it is.
I suspect both sides comments' were subject to the curse of the editing suite. And what followed was largely a disappointing story on what could have been a fascinating discussion between these four. It wasn’t even really a debate in the truest sense of the word. Put them in a room and let them really thrash it out I say – much better TV than that left to the hands of TV3’s reporters and editors.
I’m not going to go into any more detail or critique what any of them said or did, not least because one of them is married to one of my bosses (zero degrees of separation in NZ!) :). But it has had me thinking over the last couple of weeks, of the kind of impact this sort of article in the news could have on the population, and the powerful role the media plays in what and how information is fed to us.
Only TV3 knows what supposedly boring (but vital and true) pieces of information ended up on the editing suite floor, but I wonder how many people took away from that article that “fatty food is OK for me after all, bring on the pies, FnC’s, flag the veges etc etc”, which is certainly not the message the High-fat team would have been pushing. It was briefly mentioned that if you are going to increase your fat content you have to cut out the sugars, not just add in more fat on top of everything else, but was that absorbed? Who knows.
The problem with having a “debate” over anything food or diet related is that it suggests that at the end of it, we will have one clear winner and that is the way forward hence forth.
I truly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to diet. What works fabulously for one person, simply may not nourish and adequately fuel another. There are so many factors to take in to consideration. However, quite simply, no one is going to be negatively affected by cutting down on added sugars, refined carbs and frankenfoods.
In the last twelve months in particular we have seen the growth of dietary trends, such as the Paleo diet, it certainly has its merits, but, I just don’t like labels and I don’t necessarily fall neatly on either side of this particular fence either. My food philosophy is somewhere down the middle, and I believe it is less restrictive than compartmentalising how you eat, under some label that immediately leaves you with ‘I can’t have….’.
Low-quality, low-nutrient foods often do nothing but a disservice to the consumer and if something comes in packaging claiming it’s reduced fat or the likes, chances are it bears little to no resemblance to the food it started out life as.
In my humble opinion Michael Pollan says it best when he says “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. I expand on this a little and say: Base all of your meals around vegetables (preferably quality and mainly non-starchy varieties (fries are not a vege!)), and from there think, what quality source(s) of protein and fat am I going to include with this? If you eat this way 90% of the time, your body will look after you and cope with your indulgences (allergies and special conditions aside of course).
This is where I believe our mass media and population wide, dietary promotion should be focused. Sorry, corporate food giants but the secret to good health, vitality and nourishment does not lie in the bottom of your heavily processed, well marketed “food” products.
The equation is really much simpler:
Real food, is real good.
Vegetarians look away now, talk of bones and carcasses is imminent.
With the onset of the cooler months here in NZ, I have already been cracking out the casseroles and soups using my broth bases. So I decided that it was timely to pop up a wee post about one of my favourite ways to reduce waste and keep healthy at the same time.
When you hear the words bone broth, it probably doesn’t immediately conjure up pictures of health. But that is exactly what broth is; a fabulously versatile, nutrient dense and not to mention cost effective, healthful food.
Sometimes termed as stock or broth (if you are a bit of a hipster right now), regardless of what you call it, it is simple to make at home and also reduces waste by reusing bones from leg roasts or chicken carcasses – or you can ask your butcher for some joint or big marrow bones. I am sure you’ll agree, that if the animal is dying for our use, we should endeavour to use all of it.
So, what is so nutritionally great about broth, the following is by no means an exhaustive list either.
You will have heard the old tale to have chicken soup when you feel ill; there is evidence to prove this - when the soup is made using a ‘real’ broth or stock base, made from healthy chicken bones. Chicken contains the amino acid cysteine which helps us be rid of mucus and bones are full of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, all great for our immune systems and our own bones.
The long slow cooking process is thought to extract gelatin, collagen, glucosamine and chondroitin from cartilage, tendons and bones – natural joint, inflammation and arthritis associated pain relief, as well as being good for our hair and nails too - why pay for supplements when it is so readily available to us, pretty much for free.
Broths have been associated with improved outcomes for some sufferers with digestive disorders as well (crohns, colitis etc) as it can aid in restoring the lining of the gut – and as we know up to 80% of our immunity is in our gut, so we must look after it.
I could go on, but let’s cut to just how simple it is to make and how to use it.
Take your chosen bones/carcasses (some people add chicken feet for extra gelatin).
If they are raw, roasting them for 30 minutes will impart better flavour, but not compulsory.
Put them in the slow cooker, cover with water, add some Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV reportedly helps extract the minerals). You can simply leave as is if you wish, however I always add carrots, onion, celery stalks (keep leaves, tops and peelings in the freezer until you are ready to make your stock/broth), peppercorns, bay leaf and rosemary combinations to boost the flavour.
You could leave this to simmer away on low for up to 3 days – but at least until the bones have become softened - generally about 12 hours on low in a slow-cooker.
Sieve and leave the liquid to cool, scrape the fat off, (if it sets to a jelly like consistency it is fabulously full of gelatin), use immediately or freeze in usable portions a muffin tin is a good way to freeze single serves.
Some people drink a cup a day, more appealing may be to use it as a ready-made base for soups and casseroles, too easy.
Nutritionist. Kiwi. freestyle cook. positive. simple. clean. food. wellness. health. nature. soul. holistic.