Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Get some Pork on your Fork!

Many of my clients will say to me things like "I sometimes have pork, which I know is bad." To this I exclaim, "Absolutely not! Pork is wonderful!" Sure, devouring roast pork and crackling or a big pork chop with a thick rim of fat is certainly not something I recommend (whopping saturated fat dose there), but a lean piece of pork is a nutritional goldmine.

Did you know, lean pork (meaning pork without fat) is an excellent source of protein which will keep you full, strong and healthy. It is also rich in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamins B6 and B12, which support metabolism, mental function, energy, growth and prevent anaemia. Pork also provides selenium, zinc, and omega 3 for healthy eyes, brain, skin and reduced risk of illness. To top it all off, lean pork has less than half the fat of beef fillets, less fat than snapper or chicken and is a source of iron. Pork is very versatile and offers increased variety to your diet, so why not get some pork on your fork?!? 

Pork features regularly in my household, as we are able to buy it in bulk from our local butcher, making it an economic option. We typically buy a few lean pork fillets at once, add our homemade marinade of choice and leave them to marinate overnight. The next day we will cook one fillet and freeze the remaining fillets (uncooked) so we an whip them out and cook up a delicious dinner in next to no time during busy weeks. Preparation and planning is crucial to keep a healthy diet on track.

We had pork for dinner tonight and we all agreed it was a most enjoyable, satisfying and nutritious meal. So I thought I would share it with you. I hope you enjoy the below recipe:

Five Spice Pork Fillet 
Serves 4 

500g lean pork fillet(s)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
2-3 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice powder
1 teaspoon cornflour
2 tablespoons boiling water
1-2 tablespoons salt-reduced soy sauce

1. In a bowl or baking dish, add crushed garlic, grated ginger, five spice powder, cornflour, boiling water and soy sauce and stir to combine.
2. Add pork fillet and cover well with marinade.
3. Cover dish with cling wrap and leave in the fridge overnight to allow flavours to permeate the pork.
4. To cook the pork, I recommend barbequing over the grill on the barbeque, basting with residual marinade from the dish, for about 30 minutes or until pork is just cooked through.
5. Remove from grill, slice pork and serve. This dish pairs well with stewed apple and vegetables or alternatively with stir fried Asian greens and slivered almonds. Enjoy! 

Marinating 3 pork fillets, one to eat the next day (after marinating overnight) and the other 2 for the freezer. 

Sliced Fived Spiced Pork straight from the BBQ, ready to be enjoyed! 
 Five Spiced Pork, stewed apple, Tuscan cabbage and steamed carrot, pumpkin, cauliflower and corn for a wholesome, satisfying and delicious weeknight dinner.

So, dear readers, fear not pork! Add some variety to your weekly repertoire and get some pork on your fork!! For more tasty pork recipes, check out the Australian Pork Recipe Finder .

- Em xx

Saturday, 2 August 2014

I've gone nuts!

I've gone nuts. I've always been a little bit nutty, but my nuttiness has escalated of late. The truth is, I've been going nuts every day. But why not go nuts? Did you know that a healthy 30g handful of nuts helps control your weight, lowers your risk of heart disease by 30-50%, lowers mortality by 20%, reduces your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and also reduces your LDL (the 'bad') cholesterol? Just 30g of nuts provides protein, fibre, antioxidants, iron, healthy fats, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium and plant sterols. Basically, this is a recipe for a healthy heart, healthy muscles, healthy skin and more energy = a happy and healthy body!

An infographic of the benefits of a handful of nuts from Nuts For Life.

I'll be honest, I have previously been a little sceptical of nuts. You see, although they are packed full of goodness, nuts are between 45-75% fat, depending on the variety. How can something with such a high fat content be part of a healthy diet? How would eating such a food on a regular basis affect my weight? Well, it's all a bit nutty really. Since adding a handful of nuts to my diet (a mixture of almonds, walnuts, pecans, macademias, brazil nuts, cashews and chestnuts in my porridge, muesli bars, snacks, meals and desserts) my weight has remained unchanged. Huh? That's right, I've added about 900kj and 22g fat to my diet each day without eliminating anything else, and my weight has stayed the same. In all honesty, I'm wishing I went nutty sooner! But how can this be so? As explained on the wonderfully informative Nuts for Life website, your one stop shop for the latest nutty news, nuts help you feel full due to their high protein and fibre content. Secondly, not all of the calories in nuts are digested! Between 5 and 15% of the energy in nuts passes straight through your digestive system without being digested. So you can have your cake nuts and eat them too! The third reason nuts help to keep you trim and terrific is that they are hard to digest, so basically your body has to work for it nuts! This increases your metabolism and means some energy will be expended whilst digesting the nuts.

But wait, how much exactly is "a handful" of nuts? The recommended daily portion of nuts is 30g. You could weigh and portion out your nuts, or you could measure out one third of a cup of nuts, an espresso cup full of nuts, or the equivalent size of a Post-It-Note.

I do hope this post has inspired you to get a little nutty this winter! The winter months are a wonderful time to incorporate some nuts into your diet. As I mentioned earlier, my nut consumption has increased lately, with nuts in my muesli, porridge, muesli bars, crumbles, tagines, stir fries, pastas, rice, cous cous dishes and even as a garnish for vegetable side dishes. If you're keen to go nuts but you're not quite sure how, check out this recipe collection or register to receive these recipe books  from Nuts for Life.

I'd love to know if you get your healthy handful each day, and if so, how? Until next time, stay happy, healthy and nutty!
- Em xx