Tag Archives: essential vitamins and minerals

Warm Lamb Salad with Baby Beets, Labneh and Candied Walnuts

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IMG_3If you are looking to whip up some tasty salads this spring but are in need of some foodie inspiration then its time to jump on
the Beet train! Fast becoming one of the most fashionable vegetables of 2014 it’s not hard to see why the humble old beetroot is making a comeback. With a seriously impressive nutrient profile, beets offer a range of health benefits to keep you looking a feeling your best. Available just about all year round these colourful little flavour bombs are the perfect accompaniment to just about any dish. If you want to find out what all the fuss is about, give this recipe a go, it will not disappoint!

Warm Lamb and Veggie Salad with Baby Beets, Labneh and Candied Walnuts

(Serves 2 people)

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh baby beetroots, peeled and trimmed
  • 200g pumpkin, cut into 1cm thick slicesIMG_2
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into 1cm thick slices
  • ½ punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1x red onion, quartered
  • 100g baby spinach leaves, washed
  • 250g lamb loin (backstrap), trimmed
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 100g marinated labneh or fetta cheese
  • fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar

What to do…

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.IMG_5

Place the lamb in a bowl and rub with olive oil and the crushed garlic. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Top and tail and then peel the beets. Slice them in half and then add to a lined baking dish along with the sliced eggplant, pumpkin, red onion and cherry tomatoes.

Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with some fresh thyme leaves and place in the oven to cook for approximately 45mins or until the veggies are soft and slightly browned.

Meanwhile, heat a non-stick fry pan over a medium-high heat. Add the walnuts, maple syrup and a light sprinkling of sea salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until syrup is caramelized and nuts are toasted, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

When almost ready to serve, place a non-stick fry pan over med-high heat and cook the lamb. Approximately 3 minutes each side for medium rare. Once cooked to your liking remove from the heat and set aside to rest for 4-5mins before slicing.

Meanwhile, layer the baby spinach leaves over a large serving platter and then top with the roasted vegetables. Finally add the sliced lamb and sprinkle over the candied walnuts and labneh.

Enjoy!

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My Views on Vegetarianism

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So I made it! 7 days with no red or white meat!! and to be honest I probably shouldn’t really have called it a challenge, as I was able to fill myself (and Mark) up on an assortment of healthy, nutritious and balanced meals without too much trouble! Though I do not advocate for vegetarianism, I certainly do NOT not condone it either as I feel everyone has the right to make their own food choices. My concern however, is that if one chooses not to eat red and white meat (and seafood for many) that they understand the importance of eating meals that are well balanced and include bioavailable sources of essential vitamins and minerals, particularly easily absorbable sources of iron and vitaminB12, both of which are primarily found in animal sources.

Firstly I will look at vitamin B12 which is an essential vitamin that cannot be synthesised in the body. Vitamin B12 is primarily only produced by bacteria and fungi particularly in the gastrointestinal tracts of ruminant animals (so sheep and cattle). The major food sources of B12 are therefore: Beef and lamb, liver (highest source), egg yolks, muscles and oysters and mushrooms (however the B12 in mushrooms is questionable as it is not a biologically active form and is from soil contamination not in the actual mushrooms themselves).

Vegan sources of VitaminB12 include:

– Seaweed and the root nodules of some legumes.

There are also a select handful of fortified food products including:

Some breakfast cereals, some plant milks and a few soy products.

If you are vegetarian or even more so, if you are vegan, it is therefore really important that you do one of the following to ensure that you consume adequate amounts of VitaminB12….

1. That you consume at least 3 serves of the natural sources and fortified products just mentioned above to reach a total of 2.4 micrograms of B12 everyday. OR

2. Take an oral supplement which you can buy at your local chemist.

Getting enough VitaminB12 is essential for a number of important bodily functions including DNA synthesis and cell division, the conversion of Folate into its bioactive form, normal nerve function. A deficiency in VitaminB12 can therefore lead to anaemia, elevated plasma homocysteine levels (which is implicated in premature heart disease), peripheral neuropathy (nervous system damage) and degeneration of brain matter causing confusion, depression and psychosis.

Ok now for IRON! This is a pretty obvious one..if you don’t eat meat, you are far less likely to meet your daily iron needs without careful planning and dietary management. This is because the type of iron found in red meats in particular but also white meats (known as haem iron) is much more bioavailable or in other words is easily absorbed by the body. It is really important therefore, that those who choose not to eat meat include food combinations throughout the day that provide them with adequate amounts of all of the 20 essential amino acids required for protein synthesis. This means eating plenty of the following nonhaem iron sources:

Fortified breakfast cereals, fortified drinks and protein bars/supplements, wholegrains, legumes,  soybeans, gluten based vegetarian meat alternatives, textured vegetable protein (TVP), nuts and green leafy vegetables.

It is also a good idea to consume plenty of foods high in vitamin C, which aids the absorption of iron from foods. This means including plenty of the following sources:

guava (highest source), kiwi fruit, paw paw, lychees, citrus fruits, chili, parsley, broccoli, spinach, capsicum and liver. And remember there are significant losses in Vitamin C content of foods after preparation processing methods such as freezing, cutting, heating etc. So eat whole and with as little preparation and processing as possible if you can!

And if this all seems to hard or you don’t like to eat many of these types of foods, PLEASE at least think about taking an iron supplement, especially if you are a woman or are very physically active!

Calcium is obviously another essential nutrient that vegans must be mindful of in avoiding all sources of animal products including dairy. It is possible to obtain your daily calcium needs by including 2-3 serves of the following foods:

Soy and other dairy alternative milks (rice/almond milks etc) that are fortified with calcium. (note: soy milks etc need to contain greater than 100mg of calcium per 100ml).

If soy/other milk alternatives are not an option it’s important that you include as many non-dairy calcium rich alternatives as possible such as set tofu, soy yoghurts/cheeses/ custards etc. Tinned salmon (mainly the bones), breakfast cereals, almonds and green leafy vegetables including spinach,broccoli and bok choy) also all contain calcium but obtaining adequate amounts from these foods is essential and can be difficult to measure!

So as you can see, being a vegetarian or vegan does not mean you are doomed to become deficient in all sorts of essential vitamins and minerals….it just requires a little bit of careful planning and being mindful of the types of foods you need to ensure you include in your diet everyday! Or at least take oral supplements if you are worried you are not obtaining the nutrients you need from your usual dietary patterns!

The Ultimate Healthy Start to the Day!

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My Daily Morning Routine would not be the same without my fave breaky combo!  Tempting you say? Why not make it your favourite breakfast ritual too!muesli and fruit

And yes the muesli is home-made! Why spend ridiculous amounts of money on teeny tiny boxes of commercial muesli that is probably full of added sugar and preservatives when you can whip up a big batch of your own that will not only taste amazing but will work out to be a quarter of the price in the long run!

You can make as little as much as you like but my muesli combo is actually my mums concoction and usually consists of the following…

– Dry Roasted Mixed Nuts (Almonds, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, Pistachios, cashews)

– Oats

– Coconut Shavings

– Nitrate-Free Dried Fruit such as sultanas, apples, apricots, pears, peaches, craisins

– Pumpkin Seeds, pepitas and Chia Seeds!

YUM!

Add a small serve of this delicious concoction to a bowl and then top with fresh/frozen berries, chopped banana and a dollop of low-fat natural yoghurt and I doubt you will left unsatisfied. Not only is this breakky tastey but it has a host of health benefits too! Firstly all the nuts and seeds pack a hearty punch of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids (namely omega-3’s which most of us do not consume enough of) that will help boost immunity and energy. They have also been shown to help improve digestive health and weight control and even reduce heart disease risk. The dried fruits also have their own unique compositions of important vitamins and minerals whilst also increasing your fibre intake! The oats too are full of fibre to help keep you feeling fuller for longer! When you combine all this with a good dose of calcium from the yoghurt and the goodness of some fresh fruit on top you’ve got yourself a pretty well rounded start to the morning! What did you have for breakfast this morning????

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