Category: Life style

What are manufactured meats?

A plate full of quality cold cuts is preferable to many other products

Manufactured meats…mystery foods with strange ingredients

Almost everyone will have some form of manufactured meats in their fridge. (Unless you are vegan or vegetarian). Manufactured meats are a common staple food. Your family likes them, is used to them and expects them. But, do you know what is in them? Generally speaking, manufactured meats are mystery foods with strange ingredients. Read on, and be prepared to be shocked.

Ham, kabana, salami, sausages…

Of course, ham is a favourite for sandwiches. Kabana or salami cannot be missing from any decent party platter.
Not only that, but your BBQ is simply not complete without a dozen humble sausages sizzling away. Manufactured meats are everywhere, are a common part of the Australian diet, and can be of a good, or a terrible quality. Which meats are okay for your family, and what should you avoid, or at least be aware of?

What can you expect in manufactured meats?

What can you expect in manufactured meats? Good question. It all depends on the manufacturer, the type of meat, the quality and its shelf life.

Meat products ingredients are governed by regulations. However, regulations use the term “meat” loosely. Meat can be anything that is connected to an animal, except for offall. Unfortunately, everything found between the nose to the tip of the tail is regarded as meat, apart from the heart, tongue, liver, kidneys, brain and tripe. That leaves a lot of body parts you don’t really want not eat! Manufactured meats need to have a minimum of 50% “meat”, and no more than 50% fat.

In general, products that are hand-made or from an artisan source (such as special salamis, Polish sausages, and other delicatessen) may potentially have the best( i.e. cleanest) ingredients. Most often, these products are made with care, love and traditional recipes. However, be aware that salt will always be high. Sodium works as a preservation agent, and seals moisture in the product. Ask about the use of preservatives; real craftspeople won’t mind.

Not just sausages…

Sadly, it’s not just sausages filled with the cheapest and nastiest body parts permitted. The same goes for Frankfurters, hot dogs, cocktail sausages, Devon, Spam and the so-called “Smiley” or “Thomas the Tank Engine” sliced meats you can buy at any supermarket. Not only is the meat content of extremely low quality (that’s why it’s cheap), these products are also full of additives. The colours of the meat (red, pink, and mixed in the Smiley) stand out as quite un-natural. That’s because they are! Bright pink hotdogs look like that because of the use of nitrites/nitrates. Same for the patterns in kids’ cold meats. Other additives will be present too, making these foods very undesirable. Meat pies have come under scrutiny too, as they are well-known to contain huge amounts of fat; some pies only contain 23% meat! The rest is…you don’t want to know…

Nitrates, sulphates and sodium

Generally speaking, manufactured meats contain Nitrates/Nitrites, Sulphites and Sodium. Nitrites give meat a bright, fresh, red colour. Nitrates occur naturally in plants and foods and pose no risk. Chemical nitrites do. They are regarded as potential carcinogenic. Sulphur is a naturally occurring chemical too, and does no harm. In fact, it is an important component of the anti-inflammatory effect of foods such as cabbage and broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. It is also in eggs. However, sulphur dioxide (SO2) is approved as a preservative. As a result, sulphites can cause severe allergic reactions in those who are sulphur sensitive.

Shape, colour, texture…your clues to manufactured meat choices

Let’s be real. The shape, colour and texture of the manufactured meat can tell you a lot. Is it a natural ham-off-the-bone? Great. If you like ham, enjoy! Is it a square, pre-sliced piece of meat, in exactly the right size to fit a sandwich? Run as fast as you can…Surely, no pig is born with a square bum the size of your bread. This is not real. This is compressed meat. Highly likely, it’s injected with salty water. Water increases weight, (increases profit) and salt holds the water! Furthermore, expect preservatives for long shelf-life(sulphites) and nitrites to give it colour. The same applies to the Smiley and Thomas sliced meats. No meat is born that way!

Being smart about manufactured meats

Being smart about manufactured meats will help you determine what you permit in your body. Want some bacon on a Sunday morning? Of course, not really a great food, full of sodium and the above-mentioned preservatives, but view it as a treat. Not too often, then it’s (sort of) okay. Serving a party platter? Look for alternatives to pre-packed mass-produced hams, etc. Try Prosciutto or Parma ham( expensive but worth it) or local ham-off-the-bone. Same for salami; good quality hand-made, but accept some sulphites and nitrates as well. Ask your local butcher or deli if you can read the label of the product if available. Avoid hot dogs, cocktail sausages, Devon, Smileys and the lot. After all, you can live without those!

Choose wisely, look for quality over price, and enjoy your occasional manufactured meats as a treat

Mango Iced tea

A cool recipe for hot days…Mango Iced Tea

Use per 1 liter water
4 teabags
1 large ripe mango or two small ones
1 tbsp. of honey or raw sugar (optional)
squeeze of lemon or lime juice

Make this recipe as is, or dilute it with ice-cubes or water

Full of anti-oxidants and vitamin C

Boil half of the water and pour over teabags. Brew 3-5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea. Meanwhile, peel the fruit. Slice the outer layer of the mango into small chunks of flesh, drop them in the remaining 500 ml cold water. Hold the remaining mango above the cold water and squeeze the flesh around the pip while removing the remainder of the flesh as a pulp. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime, and stir.

Remove teabags, stir in honey/sugar until dissolved. Mix the tea brew with the mango water. Set in fridge to cool. Make it taste super special by serving it sprinkled with some coconut flakes and a dusting of cinnamon. Do it as a mocktail? Serve in cocktail glass and add a thin slice of lemon on the side of the glass  to make it look super fancy

This recipe works with all current seasonal stone fruits, and is a great way to use up fruit that is getting almost too ripe. Mixing fruits can be really good too; adding pineapple creates an even richer flavour to your iced tea.

Have a great summer

Ten tips for a Great Christmas

Ten tips for a great Christmas

It’s here, whether you like it or not… the race to Christmas has begun…

We know we’ll have a good time in the end, but the road to Christmas day is most likely paved with cobblestones. Loss of sanity and a painful credit card come to mind.
So, especially for you, Ten Golden Tips for a Merry, healthy and happy Christmas:

Tip One: Drink lots. Water that is. Keep alcohol intake within proportion. Be sure to make every other drink a glass of water. Good for the liver, no headaches and no regrettable events at the office party or family get-together!

Tip two: Moderation. Boring, but your body will be grateful. Enjoy all the marvellous food on the table, but have a little of each instead of lots. The brain takes around twenty minutes to register that we’re full. So, the chance of over-eating is a real thing. That’s is when you say…Ah, I wish I hadn’t eaten that last bit of pudding!

Tip three: Increase your vitamin C intake. Fresh fruits, salads, and stacks of colourful vegies will provide you with plenty, and you’ll need it. When we’re stressed and busy, we need adrenaline; it’s the ultimate stress hormone that the cave man used to tackle a bear. Your own adrenaline is pumping while you fight for a spot in the parking lot and battle the Christmas shop crowds. Vitamin C is superb at helping your adrenal glands. That way, you don’t burn out.

Tip Four: Take some B vitamins. Naturally present in almost all foods, B vitamins are unstable and affected by storage, age of food and cooking methods. Most B vitamins are lost or reduced in the process of paddock to plate. A good supplement will help.

Tip five: Relax! In modern-day life, we have lost the ability to relax when we have holidays. We’re so used to our social connections via our media devices, that, when we have time off, we don’t disconnect. It is good to stay in touch but put the devices down and walk in nature, play, and connect in real life. Magnesium can help relax our busy minds and tense muscles. Find it in nuts, seeds and whole grains, and in green leafy vegies such as salad varieties.

Tip six: Keep kids happy with sweet treats like pineapple, stawberries and water melon pieces on skewers, or bowls of cherries. Just as colourful as all the tempting lollies, but these are natural colours and sugars. Not only that, these foods are packed with important vitamins and antioxidants. Go on, you can be a child too, and have a face full of cherry juice!

Tip seven: Something that was never considered years ago, but is very important these days: Know your guests’ allergies, and make sure that there are alternatives. Some allergies can be deadly. Cross contamination can also cause problems for people who have intolerances, so keep nut -, gluten-, or dairy-free separated in different containers, and use different utensils.

Tip eight: Keep active. Go for walks daily, have a game of backyard cricket, or a swim. Whatever you do, be appropriately dressed and hydrated, and protect your skin with sunscreen.

Tip nine: Don’t test your limits on really hot days. Jogging at noon on a 38 -degree day may be some people’s form of training for endurance marathons, but if you don’t regularly do this, this can be detrimental to your health.

Tip ten: Enjoy whatever this holiday season may bring. Don’t sweat the small stuff, it’ll all be okay. Have a Merry Christmas and a great 2019!

PS: that credit card…I have no remedy for that:)

HRT , risk or benefit?

Blossom through menopauseHRT, or Hormone Replacement Therapy has come under fire again. This ‘magic pill’ to stop those annoying hot flushes and reduce bone loss in menopausal women has been around for much longer than most people realise. The first experimental oral forms date back to the late 1930’s but in the sixties, after many concerns, new dosages were established, and further adapted over the years.

This time, research shows that it may increase the risk for breast and uterine cancer. In late 1999 there was a similar scare; it was concluded that HRT may play risk in heart attacks and blood clots. Of course, this creates a feeling of panic for women who have been prescribed HRT. It leaves them with the choice of stopping, and facing up to the symptoms of menopause again, or continue taking it, and being at possible risk. Hard decisions to make.

Menopause is regarded as a disease by the medical world. That’s why they have invented a pharmaceutical for it. In traditional cultures a menopausal woman is revered, and viewed as a woman of wisdom who deserves to be cherished. Often, these elders are the advice givers to the younger generation. Menopause is treated with herbs,  ‘sweat lodges’, and local remedies and is accepted as a normal stage of life. This is the time where a woman can sit back and reflect on her years as a mother or worker, this is the time where she can have a rest from all her hard work during her life, and ‘smell the roses’.

However, in our modern Western world we have no time for hot flushes. Women of any age going through menopause are often still working and you can’t have hot flushes in your office or job. It’s embarrassing, inconvenient and frustrating. With women generally opting for having children at a later age it may well be that a woman is not only dealing with hot flushes but teenage temperaments too. Or she may be going through a divorce, be made redundant and so forth…life is not traditional anymore and the answer for many menopausal women is HRT. And now the worry about it.

Menopause is not a disease. It is a phase of life. It causes symptoms, just like any other age change. (Remember those pimples you had as a teenager?) The symptoms vary per woman, and natural treatments can help ease them or even totally eradicate them. Some women find relief with herbal ‘over-the-counter tablets sold in pharmacies and health food stores. Responses vary per woman. Why do the tablets that work for your friend not work for you? This is linked to many factors. Your genetics, whether you’ve had children, and how many, your diet, your weight, your general health…these are all influencing factors when it comes to determining what works.

To get the best possible help and the right products tailored to your specific needs and symptoms, invest in a consult. It will be worth it and give you an  effective, safe and graceful solution to your menopausal issues. You’ll feel so much better for it, and you’ll work on long term health as well. Be smart, see a naturopath with special experience in the field: pick a mature aged female practitioner and you’re guaranteed to find a solution, compassion and support to help you ease through  this time in a healthy and happy way.

Beware of ‘Extreme’ Products

The FDA (America’s Food and Drug Administration) sent another alarming message this month after discovering the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen in a number of ‘ extreme’ protein powders. These type of products are often used by body builders to enhance muscle growth. Tamoxifen prevents breast tissue growth , which ‘sort of’ explains the presence of that in an Extreme Muscle Builder. A weird sort of Man Boob prevention. Still, Tamoxifen is not a good thing for a male, or any body, unless needed for medical reasons.

It’s not just the extreme powders that put you at a health risk; at the opposite end a large number of weight loss products contain many dangerous ingredients such as L-citruline, sibutramine, and oxedrine. All these have proven links to serious conditions.

So people, please be mindful of what you put in your body. Check ingredients; if it sounds unfamiliar, look it up at reputable sites. That is not necessarily the sales site! Or call a practitioner who cares and knows!

Live happy, live healthy:)

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