Saturday, October 17, 2009

Recipe: The "Who Needs Pasta, Anyway?" Italian Chicken & Beef Sauté

Today is Carb Allowance Day - I can have vegetables, fruit and nuts, if I so desire.

Even so, most would consider eating 150g of macadamia nuts somewhat excessive. Seems my body was craving fat - while scanning the more carb-dense nuts, my hand drifted - virtually of its own accord - to a (thankfully small) bag of organic macadamia nuts. And I swear they were the only organic nuts of any kind in the entire supermarket, so ten points to my instinct! We were off to see the NT Live transmission of All's Well That Ends Well, staged at London's National Theatre. Running time: 3.5 hours. I had slept through breakfast, and the show ran through lunch, so snacks were necessary. A bag of Pork Krackles (never again - I never noticed they included vegetable oil, hydrolysed soy proteins and tapioca starch! Plus they shredded the roof of my mouth!) accompanied the macadamia nut purchase, as did a highly-necessary bottle of water. The show was lovely, cleverly directed and designed, and the snacks were a nice indulgence.

While I could have called it quits on food for the rest of the day, I knew I should probably make some vague effort to achieve some kind of nutritional value in my day's diet. What did I have on hand that didn't require defrosting? Pure beef sausages, a leftover uncooked chicken breast, and loads of veggies. Hmmm, what can I make with that...?

The "Who Needs Pasta, Anyway?" Italian Chicken & Beef Sauté


250g chicken breast
4 pure beef sausages (I suspect Italian sausage or pure pork would work too, or meatballs)
1 large brown or red onion, diced
1 zucchini, chopped
6 tomatoes, diced
1T minced garlic
1T fresh basil, chopped
1t paprika
1T butter


Cook chicken breast and beef sausage, and cut into bite-sized pieces.

In a deep cast iron pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and sauté until fragrant.

Add tomatoes, zucchini, herbs and spice. Stir until tomato begins to break down. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the meat, and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly intermingled. Turn heat down, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Serve with baby spinach and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Makes 3-4 servings (we ate one third each, with one third left to fight over for breakfast!)

Buon appetito!

And that's my Carb Allowance for this week! I still managed to stay under the 20g net carb mark, so I'm happy. And hopefully the sudden hit of fibre won't mess me up too much. Tomorrow I suspect I will fast (read: sleep) for most of the day, with something big and meaty for dinner... Scotch fillet steak, anyone?

To follow on from the Lierre Keith quote in yesterday's post, today I found an excellent summary/review of The Vegetarian Myth, by Dr. Thomas Cowan of Fourfold Healing. This piece may well be a good starter to send to your health- and enviro-conscious friends, as well as every vegetarian you know...

The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith

Very occasionally powerful, life-changing books are written that give one the palpable sense that "if people would only listen" the world might be a different place. The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith is one such book. In this book Lierre essentially tells two intertwined stories. One is the story of the deterioration of her own health as a direct result of adopting a vegan diet. The second is the related tale of the destruction of our planet essentially as a result of the widespread adoption of agriculture, specifically agriculture based on the growing of grains. Her central premise is that, unlike what we are all led to believe, the absolute worst thing that could ever befall humans or the earth is if we all adopted a vegetarian or, worse yet, a vegan diet. To many, this is such an unbelievable head spinner that they simply will not even be able to entertain the ideas that are presented by Lierre. The ideas, the argument she presents to make her case are powerful, coherent and irrefutable - grains and in fact a grain-based (i.e. vegetarian) diet are literally killing us all.

First, the ecological argument. We are told that the biggest users of fresh water and the most wasteful, ecologically speaking, food we can eat is meat. We are told that if instead of feeding grains to cows to get meat, which is anyway poison for us to eat, we should feed that grain to people thereby feeding at least 30 people with a grain-based diet for every one person we can feed on a meat-based diet. We are told to eat low on the food chain to conserve resources and be ecologically friendly. And, finally and crucially we hear people proudly announce they don't eat anything with faces as a sign that they are living out their deeply held convictions about social justice. The facts actually tell a completely different story.

Imagine the Middle East 10,000 years ago when the only people living in what we now call Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, etc., were nomadic hunter-gatherer types. This area was referred to as a paradise; it was lush, fecund; Lebanon was the land of the cedar forests. The area between the Tigris and Euphrates was literally paradise on earth. Then came agriculture, specifically the growing of grains. As happens where grains are grown and irrigation is used, the soil began to lose its vitality, the humous layer was lost. The irrigation and the converting of perennial grasses and the animals that live on these grasses to annual crops is akin to mining the nutrients and the fertility out of the soil. Without sufficient animal manure and animal bodies to put nutrients back into the soil, without the annual flooding of the plains that is stopped when irrigation systems are used, the land loses its nutrients, the soil becomes more salty and, as evidenced in the Middle East, eventually, inevitably the land becomes a desert. Lierre describes this process in intimate detail so the reader is left with no doubt that in human history, whenever the transition from perennial grass- based land - alongside naturally flowing lakes and rivers, co-existing with verdant forests - is converted into grain based agriculture, the inevitable result is everything dies. Everything - the plants, the insects, the wild animals and eventually the people.

If this wasn't reason enough for conscientious people to shun a grain-based diet, Lierre spends the second half of the book detailing the negative health repercussions from adopting a grain-based, vegetarian or vegan diet. For those familiar with the work of the Weston A. Price foundation or The Fourfold Path to Healing, this will come as no surprise. What will be eye-opening for many is a detailed chart that compares the physiology of meat eaters with that of herbivores. If you still have any doubts that humans are literally physiologically required to live on mostly an animal food diet, I recommend checking out this enlightening chart. Lierre has done her homework. She references many studies that have been done in the last 100 years documenting the superior health outcomes, the absence of chronic disease, and the total absence of cancer and heart disease in people who eat the food that comes naturally out of a perennially based grass and forest system. What do these people eat? What is the "human" diet, the diet that works back to heal the land? Conveniently it is one diet, called the GAPS diet. As probably more than a hundred of my patients can attest, those who have literally regained their health as a result of the GAPS diet, it is no surprise that the very diet that can heal so many sick people is the very diet that,when applied to agriculture, can heal a "sick" earth.

Get this book, read it, pass it to your friends, especially your vegetarian friends, for as Lierre often says in our current situation, it is not enough any more to just have good intentions. You also have to be informed about what it is you are fighting for.

No comments: