Monday, August 15, 2011

Wilful Tastelessness

Willful Tastelessness

 Guest Blog by Sally Symonds, Healthy Life Mentor and author of  “50 Steps to Lose 50kg . . . And Keep It Off” & “50+ Recipes to Lose 50kg . . . And Keep It Off”
I’ve just finished reading Margaret Heffernan’s new book, Willful Blindess: why we ignore the obvious at our peril.  Although Heffernan doesn’t consider food at all, it did make me think about willful tastlessness – how society continues to eat food which both tastes bad, and is bad for you, without really confronting the issue.  It’s true that studies have shown that sugar is more addictive than cocaine[1] so certainly part of this phenomenon is chemical, rather than merely logical or emotional.  However, logic and emotion can’t be discounted entirely.  One of the hallmarks of most great chefs is fresh ingredients, not preservatives.  While most chefs agree that fat is flavour, and sugar comes a close second, it’s still so easy to taste the difference between fresh flavours and cardboard cut out dinners.  Or it was.  Now, many people are so used to eating “rotmuck” (as my mum would say) that they’ve lost all sense of what real food tastes like.  Certainly in our busy lifestyles we need to have some fast food options (whether from the food court or our freezer or pantry) on hand, but they still should be real food – not pseudo-imitations of food – and taste accordingly. Willful tastelessness, just like willful blindness, becomes a habit. 
However, the longer we ignore the issues underlying the habit, the worse they become, as anyone who has been on the dieting merry-go-round, getting bigger year after year, most certainly knows.

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[1] Lenoir M, Serre F, Cantin L, Ahmed SH, 2007 Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward. PLoS ONE 2(8): e698. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000698

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why do we expect so much of ourselves?

Guest Blog by Meg Campbell

I ponder this question often as I know that my expectations of myself do not always serve me. I continue to be surprised at what I try to achieve on any given day. Even as I become more and more aware of my needs and how important it is to nurture myself, I still allow myself to be stretched with commitments. I think women these days put tremendous pressure on themselves to do 'everything'-have a career; keep house; be a caring , loving mother/wife/partner/daughter etc; maintain significant friendships......the list goes on.

Recently I headed away on a family holiday-the last as a family of three! I'm 30 weeks pregnant now and had been looking forward to this break for months. Rather than slow down and prepare myself for our trip, I jammed in as much as I could before our departure. As a result, I found myself sick 2 days before we were due to leave and for the first 4 days of our time away.  The ironic thing is that I always advise people to slow down prior to their holiday to avoid falling in a big heap when they actually stop!

This experience was so disappointing but yet another reminder that I need to honour and respect myself always; I will continue to focus on balance in my life, daily movement and quality nutrition and try not to overcommit myself as I often do. It’s true what they say, “If you don’t have your health, you have nothing”!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Asian Greens

I went away for a week last week and when I got home- the veg patch had gone crazy! The tiny broccolli is now ready to pick, the cabbages are getting hearts, beetroots are finally taking hold and the mulberry tree is abundant with fruit and foliage!!!
The Asian greens were the most prolific though. We had been harvesting the odd leaves from our bok choy for stir fries - but I had to hack into the others to let in some light for the other plants around them!
I picked: Malaysian Lettuce (Armaranth), Chinese broccoli, a whole Bok Choy, Mizuna and another stringy green I can't remember the name of. These are particularly easy to grow and they don't take a lot of care. They would be fab in pots andmake a beautiful looking (not to mention tasting) border in a flower garden! We have even given Bok Choy as thank you gifts instead of flowers!
Along with a big handful of deliciously sweet sno peas, a huge bunch of coriander, a couple of kaffir lime leaves, chilli and lemongrass - and a meal is made!
Asian Green YUM

All I did then was simmer a can of coconut milk (Ayam brand is the ONLY one I will use as it has not additives at all) with some water, the kaffir lime leave, split chilli, lemongrass, coriander root, palm sugar and fish sauce, until it was delicious tasting and had good flavour. I had some broccoli and zucchini in the fridge which I added next, until they were just tender.
I then added the greens and snow peas until they wilted, but still had some crunch (the peas).
To serve I topped with mountains of coriander, shredded Kaffir Lime leaf and chilli and some tofu which I had lightly fried in some olive oil.

Quick, healthy, freshly picked and delicious!