Last week, there was a full-page article in the Sunday Telegraph’s Body + Soul – ‘ 8 Cooking Tricks to Help You Lose Weight, with the sub-title: ‘It’s Not Just What You Eat That Affects Your Waistline. How You Cook Also Matters.’
David pointed it out to me over our weekly Sunday paper session. We had a giggle about how many of the eight cooking tricks I disagreed with.
That would be 6 of the 8. That’s 75%!
David said, “You should write a post on this.”
So, here it is. My post, or perhaps that should be rebuttal to the recent ‘8 Cooking Tricks to Help You Lose Weight’…
But, before we even begin to start talking about the Body + Soul article proper, if weight loss is your focus, The Paleo Mom has a two part series on healthy weightloss that is worth checking out. Part 1 focuses on Modifying Dietary Choices to Support Metabolsm and (my personal favourite) Part 2 on Lifestyle Choices that Make a Difference.
If you didn’t see the Body + Soul article, here’s the abridged version:
- Roast on a rack – B+S says, “Instead of putting the meat directly into a roasting tray, place a wire rack over the top of the tray and place the meat on top. That way it isn’t cooking in it’s own melted fat. Another trick is to baste it with lemon juice or wine rather than greasy pan juice”.
- Eat al dente – B+S says to undercook your pasta, “Because al dente has more fibre, it will be more filling so you’ll be less likely to crave seconds”.
- Use the microwave – B+S says, “Microwave ovens let you cook veggies quickly in a small amount of water so the good bits stay where you want them.”
- Skim the Stew Fat – B+S says “Skim the fatty, kilojoule-packed layer off (your stew) before reheating.”
- Cut veg’ big – B+S says when, “roasting, stir-frying or barbecuing veggies, cut them into bigger chunks. It might take longer for them to cook but there will be less surface area for them to pick up the oil you’re using.
- Don’t skip the skin – B+S says, “You’re ditching one of the most concentrated sources of beneficial phytochemicals, insoluble fibre and antioxidants” when you don’t eat the skins. And, they go onto recommend that you eat your potato skins.
- Spice it up – B+S says, “Learn to love herbs and spices.”
- Raise the pressure – B+S says, “Pressure cookers are one of the most fuss-free ways to wip up a nourishing dinner.”
At first glance, many of these so called ‘tricks’ seem logical. I mean, we all know that fat is bad, right? Don’t we?
Well, not so fast…
Here’s my version:
1. Rather than ‘Roast on a rack’, I say make sure to Roast Pasture Raised Protein.
The intent behind the roast on a rack suggestion is to reduce your fat intake. How about instead of doing that, you focus on ensuring the quality of your fat is the best possible. One of the very best things you can do for your health and the health of your family is to remove – or, at least significantly reduce – the transfats in your diet. Step one is to throw out all those hydriogenated vegetable oils on your pantry. But, step 2 is to ensure you know your animal protein is free of antibiotics and additives that don’t serve you.
Did you know that the majority of those nasties end up in the fat of your meat?
It’s true! When I dine out, I’ll happily chomp down on all that lovely fat on my steak or roast chicken as long as I know the meat has v=been sourced from a farm where they value the welfare and feed of the animal. If I’m not sure, that fat stays on the plate.
2. I don’t think you’ll be surprised to hear me say instead of ‘Eat al dente’, Ditch the pasta and embrace the zoodle!
Regardless on where you stand on wheat, the fact of the matter is that we consume way to many processed carbohydrates in the western world. It is not serving us. When you start substituting vegetables for where you previously consumed processed foods like pasta and pizza, your body will thank you. It really is that simple to add an extra dose of goodness to your day and you’re not getting the spike in your blood sugar that a serve of pasta gives you.
If you remain unconvinced or unsure about just why you should be rethinking your stand on foods like pasta, check out The Paleo Mom’s series on Why Grains are Bad.
The dish pictured above is my Tomato-free Ragu Bolognese over zucchini noodles. It’s full of nutrient dense goodies. There’s even extra veggies in my tomato passata replacement!
3. ‘Use the Microwave’ is ok, but how about Up your vegetables intake instead?
Simply microwaving the odd bit of broccoli doesn’t encourage you to eat a variety of vegetables, nor does it address the nutritional benefits of raw or fermented foods. And, if you’re planning on using the microwave, please be sure to only use glass or ceramic (NOT plastic) and cover with paper towel.
Increasing the variety of vegetables in your diet is one of the best ways to increase your nutrient density. If you’re not yet feeding your gut some good quality probiotic fermented foods, check out this post to see just how easy it is to make your own!
4. If you’re cooking with meat from happy, antibiotic-free and pasture raised animals – why would you throw away that good cooking fat?
‘Skim the stew fat’ is all very well and good. But, if you’re going to do that – make sure you pop it into a wee dish and use it to cook with.
I say a healthy fat from pasture raised animals is good for you – in moderation – especially your brain. Why not up the vegetable quantities in your stew, instead? It’s an easy way to get more nutrient density into your diet – and that matters!
5. ‘Cutting your vegetables BIG’ is all very well and good, but what if you have a fussy eater in the household?
It’s not always the most practical. Just talk to my Dad!
I say, instead of making protein the focus of your meal, why not look for EXTRA ways to add vegetables. Can you hide them in a meatloaf (grated carrot and zucchini work well) or add a few more to a green smoothie?
Making a game out of trying a new vegetable every week expands your repertoire in ways you can’t forsee until you give it a go – Kohlrabi, Carrot and Apple Salad, anyone? Or perhaps Parsnip and Celeriac Mash with Caramelised Onions?
Failing all that, roasting a variety of different vegetables in some good fat is a great way to eat a rainbow – no matter what size you chop them. Here’s how I make mine.
6. Eat your potato skins. Na-uh… And, if you suffer from autoimmune disease, Don’t eat potatoes at all.
Potatoes are a member of the nightshade family and a known immune stimulant. If you’re a little unsure about what the fuss is about nightshades, check out this post about autoimmunity and the removal of nightshades from your diet.
Seasoned AIPers know this already, but for those who don’t – I can tell you within 8 hours of eating a nightshade because of the symptoms that occur in my body. For some of us, nightshades are no bueno. And, if you are trying to lose weight, why would you eat something that – for you, at least – increases inflammation?
Added to this, and this one is for all of us – not just autoimmune sufferers – as a ‘below the ground’ vegetable, potatoes are more susceptible to the pesticides and other agents added to the soil to enhance growth by most commercial growers. When you peel your potatoes, you remove a good portion of those pollutants. So, unless your potatoes are organic, peel those suckers!
7. Spice it up – here’s one I like.
Adding herbs and spices to your cooking definitely adds both flavour and micro-nutrients. Just watch out for nightshades if you’re an autoimmune sufferer.
If you’d like a comprehensive list of AIP-friendly herbs and spices, look no further than this free download from A Squirrel in the Kitchen. And, if you need a little ‘feel the spice love’ inspiration because you’re struggling – check out Jo Romero’s SPICE! I think of Jo as the AIP Queen of Spice!
8. Raise the Pressure – in this, I agree.
A pressure cooker cooks food extremely quickly. In a matter of a few minutes you can prepare a similar result to that of a slow cooker, and with all the flavour, too.
Once upon a time, I had a slow cooker. But, it just gathered dust on my bench top – so, I gave it away. Not so my beloved pressure cooker!
With a pressure cooker, you can be completely unprepared for dinner after a full day out of the house. You can throw a piece of beef, lamb, chicken or pork into the pot with some veggies, herbs and broth and eat a fantastic and nourishing meal less than an hour later. Can’t do that with a slow cooker.
If you need some healthy inspiration for just how to use that pressure cooker at the back of your cupboard, check out this Instant Pot Cookbook. It has a myriad of healthy options and is completely adaptable for those of us with old fashioned stove-top pressure cookers!