Things have been really busy in the vegetable garden and we are getting back on top of things at last – see the photos below. At the moment we are harvesting kale, chard, lettuce, carrots, beetroots, onions, basil, rhubarb, mini curcurbits called Melothrie from Real Seeds (which are running riot – see picture above) and cucumbers. Tomatoes are ripening nicely. We tried two varieties this year (also from Real Seeds), Red Zebra and Dr Carolyn (which apparently has an exceptional flavour) and look forward to trying them. Cabbages are growing well and we have also planted some oriental greens and cauliflowers too.

We have also been using the nettle tea (see photo below) that I made a while ago on the leafy greens and heavy feeder vegetables such as courgettes and squash. We have tried this in previous years and it is a great way to use nettles (other than in cooking of course). You could use comfrey or seaweed instead. Be warned – this stuff smells bad (and our dogs have a weird fascination for it). We dilute it 10:1.

Ketosis experiment was relegated to the back-burner in the midst of a stressful couple of months. I suspect that my intake of berries and other starchy vegetable produce has pushed me out on more than one occasion but I am not worrying about this too much at the moment…

Had some fantastic beef again from John and Patsy at Bryn Belted Galloway. See their new Facebook page here and check out the recent addition to their herd called Bryn Bella! We love the slow cooked brisket that just melts in the mouth. We can’t recommend their meat enough!

Also tried some 100% pasture-fed hogget from Sarah and Nick at Black Welsh Lamb, at Pen y Wyrlod Farm in Monmouthshire. We cooked chops first (very simply) to get the true taste of the meat and the flavour was fantastic. We then cooked a hoggett, shallot and date tagine with the shoulder. The meat was incredibly tender and held up its taste against the spices. We look forward to trying other cuts. Like John and Patsy, Sarah and Nick are great ambassadors for the 100% pasture-fed movement.

Tried some beetroot and courgette crisps this week when cooking for Paleo friends. Complete success – they were delicious although it was hilarious how much they shrink (see the photo below). We ran out of time to do any more so they were quite precious! So much better than those steeped in vegetable oil that you buy from the shop and we will definitely be making these again.

 

Around the web

In light of the ongoing debate around the issue of fat in the media, is it any wonder that people are so confused and fed up with mainstream dietary advice that apparently flips from one position to another? Why follow any advice at all if the experts are likely to do another u-turn in a few years – or even a few days – time? After the headlines announcing that it is fine to eat saturated fat, we see a BBC News article declaring that ‘Low-fat diets ‘better than cutting carbs’ for weight loss’ even though the original paper declares: ‘reducing dietary carbohydrate from the RC (reduced carbohydrate) diet (with a corresponding addition of fat to maintain calories) was predicted to decrease body fat to a greater extent than the experimental RC diet.’ This is just plain confusing…

In addition to this, an article in the Quarterly Review of Biology which argued that carbohydrates was ‘critical for the accelerated expansion of the human brain over the last million years’ caused quite a stir. Cue the headlines that the Paleo diet is plain wrong and is all about eating meat and zero carbs etc. Norah Gedgaudas wrote an excellent reply to this, reminding us of the importance of the consumption of fat to human health and in particular to brain development, as well as questioning the motives behind the continued insistence that carbohydrates should make up a large percentage of the human diet. A really great read.

‘Innumerable corporate interests stand to profit handsomely by investing in the promotion of carbohydrate-based diets for every man, woman and child on planet Earth. They are enormously cheap to produce, highly profitable and they keep everyone perpetually hungry.’ Norah Gedgaudas

Diabetes Warrior Steve Cooksey also posted an excellent response to the paper relating his own experience and experimentation in managing his diabetes through lifestyle changes:

‘Ultimately it makes absolutely no difference to me how our ancestor’s ate.  I have eaten high, moderate and low carbohydrate diets in numerous experiments;  I am thriving on the meal plan that works best for me, a very low-carb, high fat,  paleo style meal plan.’ Steve Cooksey

A reminder that if it works for you – don’t be put off by the headlines.

The news that Diabetes cases have soared by 60% in the past decade and that Diabetes accounts for 10% of the NHS drug bill provides a reminder that when it comes to health in the UK, things are looking bleak. I had a quick look at Diabetes on the NHS Choices website which – in the case of Type 2 Diabetes – advises:

‘It’s therefore important to take preventative measures by making any necessary lifestyle changes, such as eating more healthily, losing weight (if you’re overweight) and becoming more physically active.’

Clicking on the links regarding healthy eating take us to pages which recommend ‘Plenty of potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy foods’, as well as suggestions for breakfast that includes cereals such as porridge and wholegrains with added fruit (bananas), wholemeal or granary bread and sugar-free jams and marmalades (presumably with added sweeteners). Recommendations for snacks include ‘lower-sugar (and lower-fat) versions of your favourite snacks’.

I just don’t see anything changing unless there is a fundamental, root and branch rethink on dietary advice in this country.

 

On to brighter things!

Update on Polyfaces: The Film produced by Lisa Heenan and Isaebella Doherty of Regrarians (Australia). This is a documentary film about Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm in Virginia and is about to preview at film festivals. I was lucky enough to see Darren Doherty and Lisa Heenan of Regrarians, as well as Joel Salatin speak (twice!) at the Savory Institute Conference in 2014 and was totally blown away by the work that they do, so I can’t wait to see this film.

‘Regrarians Ltd. is an Australian-based non-profit organisation whose primary objective is to the regenerative enhancement of the biosphere’s ecosystem processes. It does so through delivering world-class education, media, advocacy & extension to farmers & consumers across the world, having had nearly 15,000 people attend its events since 2007.’

We Love Paleo, a documentary film about the Paleo lifestyle is due to premiere in London on August 31st 2015, 9pm at The Gate Cinema, Notting Hill, W11 3JZ. Directed by Caroleen Moise Reimann and produced by Tjard Reimann, this documentary film will feature people whose lives have been changed through adopting a Paleo lifestyle. Hopefully it will raise awareness of the movement and encourage people to look beyond the increasingly silly headlines and articles about Paleo in the news recently. Can’t catch it in London but look forward to hearing all about it and watching the video when available.

A Probiotic Life is currently in production and you can view the trailer here. Film makers Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford are the team behind Microbirth (which I have yet to see). The documentary features interviews with doctors, nutritionists and families on the importance of the microbiome to health and looks at the cutting edge research taking place in this fast-moving area of science. Very excited about this!

 

Videos and podcasts

Lovely short video from Rebecca Hosking and Tim Green from Village Farm in Devon on ‘Building Soil with Regenerative Agriculture’.

Found this video from Stacey Murphy of Backyard Farmyards5 Tips for New Growers: Save Time Energy & Money. Definitely worth a watch – particularly the tips about increasing your growing area by plotting shade throughout the year and also how to prioritise jobs in the garden. Stacey produces between 25 and 80lb of produce weekly on a 450 square foot site!

Great podcast from Robb Wolf with Dr. Charles Sydnor on Grass Fed Cattle and The Future of Sustainability. Check it out!

Very interesting talk by Dr Ron Rosedale on cancer from the 2013 Annual International IPT (Insulin Potentiation Therapy) /IPTLE conference via Me and My Diabetes website. This was reposted on Facebook a few weeks ago and I bookmarked it to listen to it but can’t remember who posted the link so hat-tip to you! Dr Rosedale features in the excellent Keto Clarity book and advocates a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate real food approach and in particular is an advocate of lowering protein to around 1g or less per lean (ideal) bodyweight. This is an extremely fascinating talk concerning the role of insulin, leptin and the mTOR pathway in disease. Dr Rosedale leaves us with this warning:

‘Your health and lifespan will mostly be determined by the proportion of fat versus sugar you burn over a lifetime.  I’ve said that for 20 years.  I’ve not found anything to contradict it.  All the evidence that has occurred in the last 20 years has supported that one statement. Everything there is to know about health, and aging, can be summarized right there.  Your health and lifespan will be determined by the proportion of fat versus sugar that you burn over a lifetime.’ Dr Rosedale

Let’s be clear – when Dr Rosedale says ‘sugar’ he includes non-fiber starch such as potatoes, bread (including wholemeal), rice, pasta, cereal, corn and all grains that eventually get turned to sugar by the body. In light of the recent headlines concerning Diabetes, this advice would be well-heeded…

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