Monday, June 20, 2011

Life is What Happens When You're Busy Making Other Plans.

For a few days last week I decided to try out the blood type diet just for fun. So to recap, type A's (me) are supposed to eat limited dairy and red meat, lots of wholegrains and vegetables and approved fruits. Here is what I ate for a few days:

So I know I've taken a photo of the computer screen... you can deal.

But I find that life often gets in the way of a good plan. Example one. The family dinner with lasagne, pretty much the complete opposite of what I was trying to achieve (low meat, low dairy). But what can I do? Lasagne is delicious, and it would be rude to turn it down. Then on the weekend, well everyone knows what happens on the weekend. Even the best laid plans can get blasted out of the way of a good social life.

Speaking of social lives, I won't be able to post for the next couple of weeks because I'm off snowboarding in New Zealand. Pouvre moi! But I will let you know how it goes.

I'd just like to highlight the dessert in the middle of the photo - fresh banana with natural peanut butter and jam - YUM! Try it one day.

I think it's good to try a change in diet every once in a while because it's easy to eat the same thing over and over again. When you try new things, even if it's uncomfortable at the time, you can learn more about what yourself and your tastes.

Well I'll talk to you in a couple of weeks!
Stay healthy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Blood Type Diet

Unfortunately, a lovely long weekend is drawing to a close. Happy birthday to the queen, and all that (even though her birthday isn't today).
I try to be productive every weekend, especially on a long weekend, but today it was proving hard not to snuggle up on the couch with a good book. But I beat the lazies, and cleaned house and did small reno jobs. And now I even have an updated blog!

Some of you may have heard of the blood type diet, or 'Eating Right for Your Type', founded by Peter D'Adamo.
It's important to note that this isn't a weight loss diet. The theory (basically) is that different blood types have different predispositions to illness and digest the various food types differently. It is about eating to keep your body 'healthy, energetic and strong'.
So my blood type is A+, which I know from a) giving blood and b) blood typing tests we did during training.

According to the blood type diet, type A's prosper when eating a diet rich in vegetables (but not the nightshade family), beans, legumes, nuts, wholegrains and cereals, green tea, red wine (in moderation) and alkalysing fruit. Type A's should stay away from red meat, most dairy, acidic fruits, vinegar and vinegar based products and highly processed grains.

To look at what your blood type diet recommends, go to the official website or to this website, which gives quite a lot of information. If you don't know your blood type, go donate blood! It's a worthy cause and they'll give you a milkshake if you want one!

So, is the diet worth it? I'm not sure. I have had clients who have gone on the blood type diet and found they had increased energy levels and were feeling generally healthier, but that could also be because once you make the choice to abide by the diet you tend to eat healthier anyway. I think generally most (Western) practitioners disregard it because it lacks scientific evidence.

None the less, if people who go on this diet eat healthier anyway then it is going to be doing good, regardless of if it is because it is suiting their blood type or not. Hopefully.

Also, an update on the kefir. I forgot to mention that the kefir that I used is dried, where as the real stuff (called kefir grains) is alive and looks a bit like cauliflower. The dried is good, but the real kefir is a lot more potent. I was talking to a customer at work the other day who just so happened to have some rampant kefir grains and promised to bring some in for me one day!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Homemade Kefir Part Deux

After 48 hours of fermenting (I gave it an extra 12 hours for good luck), and 12 hours overnight in the fridge, this morning I poured myself a fresh glass of almond kefir.

It's great! I wasn't sure what to expect. It still tastes like almond milk but with a sort of yoghurty twist. It's also thickened slightly but not much. Josh had a taste and really didn't like it (so much so that he rinsed his mouth out afterwards), but he hadn't even tried straight almond milk before.
My yield - a litre of sweet almond kefir.

Teamed with spirulina, chia and coconut organic rolled oats (with a crushed Coles organic Weetbic) that were soaked overnight (also in almond milk) and a splash of maple syrup, I feel super healthy for breakfast!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Homemade Kefir

Good Morning!
It's a balmy 9 degrees outside and I'm enjoying my first annual leave day for the year. I'm sitting almost directly underneath the air-con, right next to a jar of fermenting kefir.

So what is kefir? It is a fermented, probiotic milk drink. You can read more about it here, but basically it's similar to a really, really beneficial yoghurt. I haven't seen it commercially available pre-made anywhere locally, although that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

It's great for digestion and for restoring bacterial balance (and thus can be beneficial for the immune system).

I've never tried it before, but at work we sell the grains to make your own, and it's relatively cheap, $8.95 will get you 25L. One of the practitioners near us (a chiropractor-cum-health-advisor) tells lots of his clients to come in a buy it, but he doesn't tell them what it is first. I've been telling them all that they need to buy a yoghurt maker to make it, but I had someone tell me the other day you don't actually need one. Oops! So I thought, I'll give it a go.

I'm making mine with almond milk (latest obsession), and I've heard the almond gives it a nice taste.

Side note: It's pronounced KEY-fur, not KEF-ear, because that's pretty offensive in Afrikaans (Bryce Courtenay teaches me such useful things).

I should have probably saved this post for when my kefir has finished fermenting (tomorrow night, after fermenting at room temp for 36 hours and sitting in the fridge for 12), but hey, I've got the day off and you can all wait with baited breaths over how it turns out.

My fermenting kefir in a glass jar borrowed from work. There is a litre in there.

Products used: Almond milk and kefir grains. Total cost: $7.30/L.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

7 Thoughts on Vegetarianism.

Carnivore, omnivore, herbivore.
Meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans...

This is a topic I've been wanting to write about for a while, but I've not been sure how to go about it.
Going by the philosophy of live and let live, I'm going to outline for you some of the ideas that have cropped up around this topic from (what I hope is) a relatively fence-sitting point of view.

1. Statistics, schmatistics. A vegetarian diet has been 'proven' to reduce some forms of cancer, obesity and cardiovascular conditions. I'm definitely not negating this, but it's also said that statistics on vegetarian diets aren't always accurate, because people who follow vegetarianism also tend to lead healthier lifestyles generally, so it can't be put down to just eating or not eating meat.

2. The ol' iron debate. Meats are typically very high in iron, and vegetarians who don't consciously make an effort to include other forms of iron can find themselves deficient quite easily. However, it is relatively easy to get enough iron through diet or supplementation without eating meat, all you have to do is think it through. Vitamin B12 and zinc can also become depleted when refraining entirely from meat, but again forethought and meal planning can keep your levels up.

3. The ol' protein debate. I have customers (men and women) who are trying to build up muscle and are having ridiculous amounts of meat a day for protein levels. The body can only assimilate around 30g (depending on how much you weigh) of protein per meal. A generous handful of pumpkin seeds will give you 34g of protein. So you could go either way. Or both ways, and have meat once a day and a serving of pumpkin seeds once a day.

4. Free range all the way. If you are a meat eater, make it free range. We've all heard about animal cruelty (ah, who watched four corners the other night??), and I think the time has come to actually think about what you're putting in your mouth and where it has come from and what it has been through.

5. Greenhouse gases. Agriculture contributes to around 16% of greenhouse gas emissions. With this in mind, you meat eaters can choose what meats to eat more than others (for eg, beef is the worst choice if you want to lower your carbon footprint). And if you really want beef, did you know that grain fed cattle produce up to 60% less emissions than grass fed (per kg)?

6. Why aren't more people vegetarian? Considering all of the bad press meat-eating is getting lately, it's surprising we're not seeing a new trend emerging (or are we? I couldn't find any data...). Why is this? Because Sam Kekovich is breathing down our necks? Because of that KFC add where she's a vegetarian but 'not on Thursdays'? Because you don't want to go to someone's house for dinner and have that awkward moment where you have to inconvenience them to tell them you're a vego?

7. It's not all or nothing, baby. It seems like either you are a vegetarian, never eating meat, or you aren't a vegetarian, and have meat almost every day. Well it doesn't have to be that way.
You don't have to be a vegetarian to have a dinner that doesn't include meat. '

Personally, I think we need to decrease our consumption of meat as a society, but that doesn't necessarily mean cutting it out all together. I also think meat-eaters need to choose more smartly and not just think about what's easiest or cheapest.

And I thought I'd chuck in a cute little cow.

Stay tuned for (eventually) what vegetarians/vegans should include in their diet to make sure their nutrition is up to scratch.


PS. Happy Birthday to one of my besties, who has just made the decision to become a vegetarian. Good on you!