Welcome to Simply Wellness Kitchen
Today I made up a new recipe with some lamb chops from our local Double Gum Tree Farm. They turned out amazing! And with kale, onion, garlic, potatoes and sweet potatoes from our local organic farms courtesy of Sage Roots, this qualifys as simple local healthy eating!
My kind of cooking does not need to be followed exactly. Add in your own ideas or use some of these ideas but for a different recipe... just have some fun! I hope you find it useful. And please... watch and let me know your thoughts.
If you'd like a copy of the recipe, take a look below the video. Enter your name and email and viola!
Happy cooking everyone!
Starting in the 70s and then really taking off in the 80s it was decided that fat was the ultimate culprit for bad health. Sadly, this was a misnomer and led not only to the increase in sugar intake for most Americans, but also a switch away from good fats to really horrible ones. So lets cover what are good fats and why do we need them?
First we’ll talk about why we need fat in our diets:
There are 3 major reasons that I like to talk about, and really I think it’s all the convincing that anyone should need!
(1) Some very important vitamins that our bodies need to thrive are fat soluble. What exactly does that mean?
Definition: A vitamin that is soluble in fat solvents and oils (lipo-soluble). They are absorbed with ingested dietary fat, fat-soluble vitamins are stored in moderate amounts from the gastrointestinal tract. Present in minute amounts in various foods, these vitamins are essential to maintaining normal metabolism and biochemical functions; fat malabsorption may result in fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, K, F.
In a nut shell, it means your body can’t make use of that particular vitamin unless it’s coming in with fat. If there’s no fat, then the nutrient will pass right on through and you’ll never gain any benefit from it. A good example of this is vitamin D in dairy products. If you eat non-fat yogurt, all that lovely vitamin D in the dairy is unusable for your body. Even if they fortify your milk or yogurt, unless there’s fat there, it won’t matter.
(2) The correct combination of fats can help reduce your body’s inflammatory response; thereby helping to reduce your risk of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
(3) And most importantly, your brain is about 60 percent fat, and without healthy fat in your diet it won’t have the necessary fatty acids it needs to function and thrive. Pretty simple right?
Which fats do we need to consume and which should we avoid?
1. Saturated Fats
Saturated Fats were one of those that got a bad name for itself back when the low-fat diets took hold. Sadly, this misconception is still going strong today even though research has shown time and again that saturated fats, when consumed from healthy sources, are not bad for you.
There are more than a dozen different types of saturated fat, but you predominantly consume only three: stearic acid, palmitic acid and lauric acid. It's now well established that stearic acid (found in cocoa and animal fat) has no adverse effects on your cholesterol levels, and actually gets converted in your liver into the monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. The other two, palmitic and lauric acid, do raise total cholesterol. However, since they raise "good" cholesterol as much or more than "bad" cholesterol, you're still actually lowering your risk of heart disease.
The key with saturated fats is to find the right source. Sources of healthy saturated fats include:
2. Monounsaturated Fats
Olive Oil and Canola Oil are your two most common in this category. Olive Oil can be very good for you, but many experts (including me) now advise you to stay away from Canola Oil (which turns out to be a modified and highly processed version of rapeseed oil – you’ll hear more about that below).
Two things to keep in mind when consuming olive oil: (1) cold-pressed extra virgin is the best; and (2) it damages at a relatively low heat. This means it's amazing in things like salad dressing, but that when cooking with it, use only at lower temperatures. If you’re looking for a good higher heat cooking oil, try coconut or avocado oils, grass fed butter, lard or ghee instead.
3. Trans Fatty Acids
This is a fat that is artificially made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils in order to make them more solid (Partially Hydrogenated Oil), making trans fats your main fat culprit for bad health. Many studies have linked trans fats to an increased risk of heart disease. They also work on clogging your arteries and increase your chances of diabetes…among other health risks.
You will mainly find trans fats in processed foods and restaurants – particularly deep fried food. So look at your ingredients list or ask your restaurant what they use. Companies like them because they have a long shelf life, can be used more than once in a deep fryer and add a flavor that is appealing to most people.
There are also naturally occurring trans fats found in very small amounts in animal products. The research hasn’t come in yet on the effects of these trans fats. But since they’re in such small quantities, are naturally occuring and unprocessed, and nobody advocates going and eating a whole cow every week, they’re not typically thought of as a concern.
4. Omega 3 & Omega 6 (which fall under the category of polyunsaturated fats)
Most of you have probably heard of the importance of consuming your Omega’s, but this really is specific to Omega 3. There are actually 3 main types of omega fats in our diet: Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9. In this article, I'm going to focus on Omega 3 & 6 (Omega 9 we can make ourselves and comes out as a wash in terms of consuming it in our diet - so we'll just leave it there). However, a serious health problem for most Americans is the skewed ratio in their diet of Omega 3 to Omega 6. Ideally, the ratio would be 1:1, but unfortunately, the average American consumes somewhere between 1:15 and 1:20. What’s the difference between the two?
Omega 3: There are both plant (ALA) and animal – mostly fish (DHA & EPA) sources of omega 3. It turns out that we don’t need a lot of ALA unless it’s converted to DHA, and our bodies aren’t very good at doing that. Therefore, animal sources are those that hold the most powerful health benefits.
Omega 6: The bulk of Omega 6 in our diets comes from vegetable oils (Palm, Soybean, Rapeseed & Sunflower). While it’s found in a whole host of other food too (some nuts, seeds, fruit and meat), these sources offer Omega 3 as well in a healthy ratio with Omega 6 thereby negating the negative effects. In fact, Omega 3 & Omega 6 interact with each other in our bodies, providing competition in a sense. So when our ratio is healthy, then we actually get the benefits of Omega 3. When the ratio is out of whack, we lose.
What does Omega 6 do?
Recap: Fats to consume, fats to avoid
***You’ll notice that all the animal based fats are from sustainable and range/pasture sources. That’s because what an animal eats makes a substantial difference in the makeup of the meat they become. Eating conventionally raised animals doesn’t provide the same good fats. ***
Find other resources and research here:
If you’re like me, you often find yourself wishing you could wave a magic wand and have a delicious and nutritious meal sitting in front of you. Poof! Alas, that’s not how this works. Sure there’s convenience food that you can buy that will satisfy any taste, but really that just ends up being a waste of money and a whole lot of added garbage that you don’t need or want in your body. No thank you!
So what to do on those days when time or inspiration is failing us? My solution has been to cook in bulk and save ingredients or whole dishes for future use (have I mentioned how much I LOVE my chest freezer!). This can be as straightforward as doubling the spaghetti sauce recipe and then freezing half in large jars for future dinners. Or, one of my favorite techniques is to cook more of any variety of ingredients and then make them into something new the next day. What does that mean? Well, for example, I can take leftover roast chicken and chop into a soup, stew or stir-fry. Or cook extra beans for chili one night, tacos the next! I do this regularly with a lot of different foods: veggies, lentils, quinoa, beans, chicken, meat and fish. It may not sound like a lot… but believe me, the time saved while putting together the next meal is noticeable for sure.
One of my favorite meals made with leftover ingredients is my Roasted Chicken and Veggie Salad. This is a salad that could easily be whipped up for lunch but is also hearty and filling enough to be dinner. Even if you’re not a ‘salad person’ you really should give this a try. It’s sooooo much more than just a salad.
And it only takes 5 minutes to make!
Toss all ingredients into a bowl and eat!
Homemade fruity vinaigrette recipe:
Combine all ingredients into a jar with a tight fitting lid. Make sure lid is well sealed and shake vigorously to combine. Dressing can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the refrigerator for months.
“Bone broth isn’t just broth. And it isn’t just soup. It’s concentrated healing.”
– Kellyann Petrucci
When we talk about food being the best medicine, bone broth is near (or at) the top of the list. And the beauty is that it’s not hard to make. The key though, is the ingredients you use. But we’ll talk about that later. Right now, let’s talk about the reason we should all be consuming this amazing tonic.
9 Reasons Bone Broth is AMAZING!
1. Helps heal your gut. The gelatin in bone broth (a hydrophilic colloid) helps to seal the lining of your gut by protecting the mucosal lining.
2. Promotes healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. The gelatin also keeps your digestive juices where they’re supposed to be, aiding in the digestion of nutrients.
3. Reduces inflammation. Which for many of us is a major key to health. Bone broth is a natural supplier of glucosamine, which can help stimulate the growth of collagen and reduce joint pain. It is also full of amino acids that have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects (glycine, proline, and arginine).
4. Encourages bone repair and growth. The calcium, magnesium and phosphorous are great for healthy, strong bones.
5. Helps prevent and fight disease. Not just an old wives tale, research has shown that soup indeed has medicinal qualities for fighting infection by reducing the number of white blood cells (which cause flu and cold symptoms).
6. Good for strong hair, nails, and healthy skin. Both the gelatin in bone broth and the broths ability to stimulate your own production of collagen increases the strength and health of our hair and nails, and can reduce wrinkles and increase firmness of skin.
7. Helps you relax and maybe even get a better night sleep. The amino acid glycine has been found to have calming effects, which can help lead to relaxation and better sleep.
8. Better than supplements. Bone broth is cooked at a relatively low heat, which preserves the nutrients in a way that high-heat extraction used for many supplements doesn’t. It is also more comprehensive in it’s makeup of nutrients as it’s made from whole foods, and isn’t just the parts that we’ve deemed as the “healthy” bits.
9. It’s cheaper than buying broth, and very easy to make. As long as you can get your hands on good bones and a crock pot, the set up takes about 15 minutes and then you just leave it be until it’s done (4-48 hours). And it’s a lot less expensive than buying cartons or cans of broth, which don’t have nearly the same health benefit!
So, how do you make this magical potion? If you search online for bone broth recipes, you’ll find oodles of them. But they all have a few key components: Good bones (i.e. from free-range, organically fed animals is best), a few veggies, water (filtered if you have it), and time in a slow-cooker (4-48 hours depending on the type of bone you're using). You can cook bone broth on the stove, but then you have to be home and watching it occasionally which can be a hassle considering how long it cooks. A slow-cooker or crock pot allows you to set it up, and walk away until it’s done. Here’s my go-to recipe:
Chicken bone broth:
Dump everything into your slow cooker except the fresh herbs. Turn on and leave for 6 - 8 hours. Add the fresh herbs in for the last hour. You will likely notice some frothy bubbles at the top of the pot after a few hours. Scrape this up with a large spoon and discard. It’s normal, and totally fine.
When it's done cooking, strain through a colander, and distribute the liquid into quart jars to refrigerate or freeze. If freezing, make sure you leave enough space at the top for the liquid to expand, and freeze with the lid off to avoid the glass breaking. If you have a dog, you can throw the cooked gizzards onto their food for a seriously tasty treat. And I can usually pick off enough meat from the discarded bones to make a chicken soup.
For other types of broth (beef, fish, pork, etc.) I follow the same recipe but you’ll need to increase the time the bigger the bones. Fish bones (using a whole fish is the best) = 4 hours; Pork & Beef bones = 24-48 hours. Large bones should be hollowed out by the time you’re done cooking them.
Don't be shy! If you have questions feel free to leave them in the comments below, or shoot me a note. But I promise you, if you give it a try, you'll be so happy you started this habit of broth making. The broth is delicious! Much better than anything you could buy in a store. And it will likely become a staple in your house like it is in mine!
Beans are a great form of protein & fiber, but most cans are lined with BPA which can leach into your food.
Buy dry beans and cook them yourself. You can cook them in large quantities and freeze unused portions for another meal. Just make sure to rinse and soak your beans first!
To Cook Dried Beans:
(1) Sort and rinse how ever many beans you want to cook (as a general rule, they expand to about one and half to two times their original size). I usually cook a lot (4 cups dried) and freeze whatever I don’t use for another time. It means I don’t have to cook them that often.
(2) Cover beans with water so the level of beans is about 2 inches below the water level. Soak overnight (or if you’re forgetful like I am, bring the water to a boil and then remove from heat and soak 1 hour - overnight is better, but the 1 hour fast method works well).
(3) Drain beans and rinse again. At this point, they’re about half way cooked/softened.
(4) Place back in pot, and cover with water once again. (about the same as before)
(5) Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer 1- 1.5 hours, until soft.
(6) At this point you can make refried beans, keep them whole, add to salads, or do whatever you want with them. And the extra, just put in a glass jar and freeze until you want them!