Is it just me, or has the onset of winter sucked dry any creativity or motivation to do… almost anything? We are 9 days past the shortest day of the year. Shouldn’t I notice an additional 9 minutes of sunlight somewhere? Instead it has been a bit gloomy during the day on most days of the week, and getting up before 6am could almost be like getting up last night. Part of it is that I’ve been unable to run as I would like due to a hammy/glute issue that has yet to settle down. Yes, the foray into both boxing and a bit of cross fit hasn’t helped that issue, but it’s kind of like rebelling against being injured, and all runners do that. Of course, the injury didn’t stop me joining Grant on a run this morning, although I would say that both of us were doing what my dad likes to call ‘practicing’ running, rather than actually ‘training’. Which is apt, really, as Gold Coast half is just a week away, and I need the practice running given that I’ve had a handful of runs in the lead up. The run aside, I’ll be in good company and hopefully good weather will prevail. Due to aforementioned lack of creativity, I’ve split my post this week into two categories: food news and nutrition news.
While I think that, for most people, it’s better to eat three meals per day and feel satiated by those meals, that’s not going to work for everyone. This list of snacks gives you loads of great ideas if you’re someone that has high energy needs or has an active job for which snacking is more practical than actual meals. Yum.
The slow cooker is getting a really good workout this week. I chucked a whole chicken in there yesterday with a bulb of garlic cloves in the chicken cavity, leeks lining the bottom of the slow cooker, and rubbed paprika, oregano, cumin, coriander and salt over the entire chicken (mixed around 2t of each). I cooked it on high for around 5 hours and it was falling off the bone (which is how I like it). And right now I’ve got some lamb chops in there, Mediterranean style. Yum.
My cinnamon on vegetables theme continues, with swede and carrot chopped up and roasted in coconut oil with cinnamon sprinkled on it as a staple of late. I noticed this week that Scott (a post-grad student up at AUT Millennium) was eating a kumara with some cinnamon sprinkled on it. He put it down to being from the US and having sweet food as part of a main meal, which reminded me of a Thanksgiving dinner my friends My friends Kyle (a Colorado native) and Jenny put on one year when we were post-grads in Dunedin. I remember a dish that contained both jelly and marshmallows, which was served with the main meal. Weird.
Anyway, if you enjoy cinnamon then you can enjoy it even more in the knowledge that it’s been found to lower blood glucose levels after a meal in people who are at risk of, or have type 2 diabetes. This is in amounts that you would normally use in a meal. If you’ve not tried it on roasted vegetables, then branch out and give it a go. Alternatively, have it sprinkled on baked apple with yoghurt as part of breakfast.
A new recipe I tried this week is from Make it Paleo, a cookbook by Bill Staley and Haley Mason from the Food Lovers Kitchen. Don’t let the slightly cheesy cover fool you, this cookbook is gold, and contains super easy recipes. I was curious to see how the eggplant base would turn out. The original recipe is here, and my version of it is here. It is delicious, and my only issue right now is that I have to get through lamb chops, slow cooked chicken and pizza before I leave on Friday. Hmm. First World Problems.
For the geeks amongst us, Grant told me about this paper from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that was published in the 70s. It’s interesting that carbohydrate restriction of between 50-60g per day was the dietary method of choice for many physicians to treat overweight and obesity in Britain, and the paper showed the nutrient value of such a diet (which was low calorie compared to a normal diet) was not compromised by the lack of carbohydrates. Along the same lines, I came across this paper that was published in Diabetes Care showing that a higher protein diet lowered markers of oxidative stress in the body more than a higher carbohydrate diet for obese women following a calorie restricted diet. Protein has been shown to be beneficial in terms of satiety for those who are dieting, and is also important for maintaining muscle mass, but this is the first study that links it with a reduction in oxidative stress, the underlying cause of disease in the body.
Finally, I love music, and when I saw this picture below I immediately related to it. Although we are in the depths of winter, it could be worse. I could be in Dunedin (love Dunedin, but it’s damn cold down there right now). And, like anything, you just have to control the controllables and ride out the rest. Life’s too short to be wallowing in the mundane, so use the right tunes to turn it into a hit musical like I do. If you like musicals.