Fit for my Fork

Fit food, fit body, fit mind!


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‘Food for Thought’ and the NeverSeconds Blog

I read some shocking statistics in The Times the other day under a heading called ‘Food for Thought’. So shocking in fact that I cut out the little panel and brought it home to share with you.

Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) sponsored an online survey of people in the UK between the ages of 16 and 23. Here is what they discovered:

  • 59% of young people didn’t know that butter came from cows
  • 33% didn’t know that eggs come from hens (11% thought they came from wheat or maize)
  • 36% did not know that bacon came from pigs

Now, after reading this – and then telling Dubsy about it – we wondered how legitimate this survey really is. If you ask a bunch of bored teenagers to fill out some seemingly easy questions, some of them will intentionally answer the questions incorrectly. They think it’s funny. This seems to be the general reaction to a similar article about the poll in The Telegraph.

Okay, so even if half of the answers that LEAF received were incorrect, the numbers are still incredibly high. It’s scary to think that you could reach the age of 23 and now know where the food you eat – probably on a daily basis – comes from. I’m 24 years old and I can’t remember ever questioning where an egg comes from.

One of my first memories at my aunt’s farm was going out to collect eggs from the hens. I went to several farms (slash petting zoos) on field trips in school and became very familiar with each animal’s role, not only in sustaining us but also as part of a working farm. I turned my hand at churning butter – it’s a lot of work! – when we had an ‘old fashioned day’ when I was about six. I learned how people lived off the land before all the modern equipment made it less of a back-breaking job.

Now it seems people think eggs come from a field of wheat and bacon comes from Tesco. Whether it’s a joke or sheer ignorance, it’s a statistic that really made me think. What happened to the types of school trips I used to go on that were meant for educating the young about the importance of sustainability and maintaining tradition and looking after the animals that provide the food we eat and jobs for farmers? I loved them and I especially loved the animals.

It seems the only trips kids are interested in going on now are to Alton Towers so they can ride the rollercoaster.

Whose responsibility is to ensure children know where their food is coming from? Does it fall on the parents, the school, the media? LEAF is making a great effort, holding events like Open Farm Sunday (there is one at Burwash Manor today!) so that children have the opportunity to visit a real working farm.

(Picture Source)

Legitimate or not, I hope reading about this survey in the newspaper or hearing it on the radio has inspired some parents – or teachers, or caregivers – to discuss where food comes from with their kids. Or even their teenagers, if the statistics above can be taken as a true indication of the lack of knowledge in this area between 16-23 year olds!

(Picture Source)

In other news involving children and food, have you seen (or heard about) Martha Payne’s blog NeverSeconds? It’s caused quite a media stir over here and this girl is amazing. Martha started a blog with her father documenting her school lunches and included details about their price, health rating, taste, and even the number of mouthfuls it took her to eat them.

Dubsy has been educating me about how school lunches work in the UK since they are nothing like what I experienced at school. Most schools here provide a hot meal for their students at lunch time paid for by parents, either daily or in advance. Though the students don’t always have to eat this and could bring food from home, I can’t imagine too many parents would want to go to the trouble of preparing a lunch for their child when £2 will get them a hot, (supposedly) filling meal to get them through the day.

Some of the lunches on Martha’s blog look like they wouldn’t sustain anyone for an entire afternoon of learning.

Martha’s local council got very angry that information about what their school children were eating at lunch was suddenly made public. People working in the kitchen apparently feared for their jobs and the school told Martha that she couldn’t take any more pictures of her meals. I originally thought they’d missed a trick – the publicity would have been a fantastic way to overhaul the menus in schools and provide better options and it would have made the council look great. It seems like this is now going to happen, though, with the help of chef Nick Nairn.

Martha saw something she didn’t approve of – even at the tender age of ten years old – and began to spread the word about it. She’s started a great movement for change in school cafeterias in her local area and perhaps all of the UK! She’s a food hero and is definitely an inspiration to us all.

Did you visit farms as a kid on school trips?

What’s the craziest statistic you’ve ever heard? 

Did your school provide a lunch for you when you were a kid?

Don’t forget to suggest some challenge ideas for my Slimkicker contest! You can win a very snazzy digital food scale for your kitchen!


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Jamie-Inspired Primal Salad of Awesome

I made this a few weeks ago and, even though I don’t really like taking salads to work, I was really looking forward to diving in at lunch time. This one is inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Cheese and Onion Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing and it really didn’t need many tweaks at all to make it Primal/Paleo, though you will probably choose to avoid it entirely if you don’t consume dairy.

This salad is delicious and I have made it again to take to work over the next two days. I thought I’d let you in on what I have changed to make it easy and portable and have added some chicken to make it a full meal.

(Picture Source)

For my version of this salad, you will need:

1/2 small onion
white wine vinegar
salt and black pepper
mixed leaves or your favourite lettuce (I used spinach this time)
1 large slice blue cheese, chopped or crumbled
walnuts (toasting optional)
creme fraiche or greek yogurt
olive oil
dill (mine was dried)
chives (also dried)
1-2 chicken thighs, cooked and sliced

Finely slice your onion, then break up the slices and put them into a shallow bowl. Cover with salt – be generous, it will be washed off – and white wine vinegar. Leave for at least ten minutes, then squeeze them out really hard (your hands will smell like vinegar for a few hours if you don’t do the dishes right away but it’s worth it, trust me!). This will pickle the onions and take the bite out of them.

Mix your blue cheese crumbles with 1 tbsp creme fraiche or greek yogurt. I have tried both and they are equally tasty, so use whatever you have on hand. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp white wine vinegar and stir until well blended. Then add your dried herbs and set aside or refrigerate. This makes enough dressing for two servings, so just use half if you are saving some for the next day.

Prepare your salad leaves and scatter with the nuts (I am using pecans this week because I’m out of walnuts – use your favourite!). Add the cold, sliced chicken if you have space, otherwise pack it up separately. Keep your dressing and onions separate until you are ready to chow down, then toss everything together and enjoy!

By letting the blue cheese sit in the dressing, you really sink the flavour into the creme fraiche (mine sits overnight in the fridge which makes it even more cheesy). If you are missing Caesar or Blue Cheese dressings while eating Paleo or Primal, you will seriously love this salad!


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A Day in the Kitchen

Phew! I am finally getting to sit down after several hours preparing a few meals for the next couple days. As with any healthy lifestyle and/or diet, planning ahead and putting the time in to make sure that you have good food to eat always makes life easier. If you have tasty things to look forward to eating, you are less likely to eat things you don’t want to or shouldn’t. This is definitely true for me!

I love trying new recipes and I don’t consider a Sunday afternoon spent in the kitchen a waste at all – especially since it means I have some yummy food to take to the office for lunch.

On today’s cooking menu:

Primal Cheddar Chili Biscuits
Inspired by the Primal Cheddar Jalapeno Biscuits from This Primal Life

I modified this recipe to go with what I had on hand. I also only made a third of a batch because it’s just me that’s going to be eating them! The biscuits in the picture on This Primal Life look far better than mine do, but they taste absolutely wonderful (I’ve already had two… shh!).

I used ground almonds because I have not been able to find almond flour in England, and mixed in 1/4 cup coconut flour since I find it helps make biscuits made with ground almonds a bit lighter and fluffier. I did not add any water and used Greek yogurt instead of plain yogurt since this is what I had on hand. Instead of jalapenos, I threw in half a chopped chili pepper. I also used less cheese than called for since we were almost out.

Sausage and Broccoli Breakfast Bake

I’ve seen various breakfast bakes/mini quiche muffins listed on lots of Paleo and Primal websites and decided to have a go at making one myself. This version was most influenced by this one. I wouldn’t recommend lining your pan with tin foil… it was hard to get out and I lost some eggy goodness to the foil as well. Our casserole dish is on its way out and I was worried about some of the mix getting into the cracks, hence the foil cover.

I peeled and grated one sweet potato, which I then fried in a bit of coconut oil with broccoli stems (the florets went in the detox salad below) and an onion. While I was grilling my chicken thighs for my lunch, I also grilled three sausages. When they were done, I threw the chopped sausages and the sweet potato, broccoli stem, and onion mix into the casserole dish. I grated a few tbsp of cheddar cheese over top of this, and the cheese started to melt on the warm potatoes.

I then mixed together five large eggs with 3/4 cup of milk, salt, pepper, and paprika, and dumped it over the top, pressing the bits of potato and broccoli that stuck out down into the egg mixture.

I haven’t tried this yet (just snuck a little bite as I was scraping it off the foil) but I think it will be delicious cold for breakfast in the morning!

Detox Raw Veggie Salad
Adapted from the Detox Salad on Oh She Glows

I like taking raw vegetables in my lunch, but I was getting pretty bored of carrot and celery sticks and salads, so I thought I’d try to branch out a little bit. This dish is tasty and fresh and filled with raw veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots) as well as dried fruit (raisins and cranberries – I didn’t have currants) and sesame seeds (I didn’t have sunflower seeds). I left out the kelp because it really didn’t appeal to me and I think it tastes fine without it. I did follow Angela’s suggestion of adding a bit of maple syrup when I tossed it together… that may keep it from being a truly detox salad, but the sweetness of the dried fruit wasn’t quite enough to cut through the acidity of the lemon juice.

I had to chop all these vegetables by hand. Ouch. I dream of the day when I can buy a food processor! It’s not worth it since we’ve moving in a few months, but soon! Soon!

I also threw some stuff in the crockpot so that Dubs and I can feast on Cilantro Lime Chicken this evening. I found this recipe a few weeks ago and have been wanting to try it ever since. Mmmm…. I do love a productive day in the kitchen!

Do you spend time preparing meals on the weekend so that you can just grab-and-go during the week? I am always looking for new things to try so please feel free to share your favourite make-ahead lunch ideas!

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