Sayonara Easter Bunny

That title seemed appropriate, considering I had just spent 30 minutes at the butchers watching an expert at work de-boning an animal specifically for me! I then realised as I lined up to purchase my other ingredients at the supermarket and small gold Lindt Easter Bunnies confronted me, I thought- “Hmpf, Easter’s around the corner, this could have been better timed. Ah well, the Easter bunny has been taken down early and how!”

So I would hope by now you could gather that this week I ate Rabbit. For me, much the same as the horse really, but for many people I dare say not. Rabbits are pets aren’t they? Be it (in my opinion) pretty lame pets, which sit in a weird cage for the most part, hobble around the backyard at times and have the odd carrot (never as much as good old Bugs Bunny though, but a little).

I remember at one point as a child, I was maybe 5 years old, we had a couple of rabbits as pets, Peter and Cottontail. I think they had been wild (I’ll have to confer with Dad on this). I don’t think they lasted long at 279 Kingsbury Ave, Rangiora. I seem to recall a trip to the river to ’let them free’. No doubt they were eating Dad’s veggie garden and leaving their business on the carpet. Lucky little buggars got a sweet release; as opposed to the possible cat’s dinner option which was no doubt a looming threat.

All this being said the whole pet thing doesn’t really seem to enter into the equation much when it comes to eating rabbit. It’s pretty common place, especially as a stew, I believe probably more so a country thing, but nonetheless common.


Is eating cute little rabbits an issue for anyone out there? Please let me know if so. I would imagine one or two, especially if I make it seem cute, defenceless and Easter Bunny-like…

I have never eaten rabbit before I don’t think.  I have never eaten a few of the things I’ve had so far this year throughout this challenge, as well as other occasions. Earlier this week I was treated to a fantastic dinner by one of my clients. We went to a local Japanese restaurant we had discussed a few times, and which I had yet to dine at. I’ve tried very little Sashimi in my time, and I’ve already discussed on this blog my general lack of experience when it comes to things from the sea, so this was pretty new for me.

I put myself in the hands of an expert. Hide (pronounced Hee-Day), is from Tokyo and a lover of food, especially sashimi, so he ordered everything for us. I think I managed a total of 6 new things tried, including such things as eel and sea urchin. Overall it was beautiful, and I’m very glad I’ve branched out and tried it, which I will definitely be doing more of in the future, some of which as a part of this challenge and blog. A big thank you to Hide!

I currently sit on my balcony, taking in the events of yesterday and the week passed including the raw seafood fest. I have a belly full of the leftovers from this week’s meat challenge meal. Upon reflection on the way this year is panning out, I feel quite happy that I am pushing through with this challenge each week and I know that this is leading onto many new things and experiences.

I said at the inception (nothing to do with Leonardo Dicaprio) of this that I like to try new things these days, and I am certainly living up to that. I’m sure there will soon be some things that push my limits and commitment, such as some Lambs Testes perhaps.

I am practicing what I preach. I think this is something I generally do when it comes to training, health and lifestyle.

I train regularly and appropriately for the occasion. That means hard work and pushing my limits, then easing off and doing the lighter, remedial stuff and resting when needed. I eat well, pay close attention to my diet and supplementation; I do a fair amount of research on many topics in these areas and keep up to date with the latest and best practices. I get enough good quality sleep and I relax and have a few beers when appropriate.

In fact I’ll be leaving this writing shortly to have a few with a mate for his stag do, poor guy!

I like to think I have a pretty good balance and therefore I look the part of a good trainer, someone who knows what they’re talking about and I’m 3D living proof.

So one thing I am baffled by is trainers who definitely do not look the part. By this I mean trainers that look they should be a contestant on The Fattest Loser (is that what it’s called??), or be paying me money to get them in shape, sort their diets out and get them training properly.

I can’t believe the state of some trainers who look more like turtles than athletes. How can you expect someone to pay you money to help change and improve their health and bodies when you look like you’d be better suited sitting in the driver’s seat of a taxi? (Slight gripe with taxi drivers at the moment…).

To anyone who uses the services of a personal trainer of any description, do they look the part? Do they eat well? Ask them what they had to eat yesterday. It’s all well and good talking about it, but do they live it and personify health? If the answer is no, then maybe they aren’t the right person to be giving you money to, regularly… Just a thought

Anyway, this week’s meat wasn’t just some Rabbit, it was a Whole White Rabbit. One that Tom from The Butcher and the Chef kindly and ever so expertly de-boned for me as I keenly looked on. This was a pretty cool thing to witness (the little bunny didn’t stand a chance of keeping its skeleton). I now have it, and it’s currently making a lovely stock as I type (got to make use of every part!).

I was in meat lovers, butcher heaven, constantly snapping photos as Tom and I chatted and he told me stories about rabbits. For example, in France (Tom’s mother is French), butchers used to have to sell rabbits with the heads on as some sneaky blighters had been killing off cats and hocking them off as much more sought after rabbits. This prompted a nursery rhyme style song about it (sang with a French accent: “make sure your rabbits have their heads…”, or words to that effect). Cat’s taste no good hey?


On my arrival at the butchers Tom proceeded to tell me a few recipe ideas and the one that hit home was the de-boned number, which I was hoping he would offer to do and he did, ideal! So once he had completed his master piece he lay the little guy out and put some Pancetta and fresh rosemary through the middle, rolled it together and tied with string. I was excited, so was he! The anticipation of eating something new was amplified by the creation I had just witnessed!


I left with the promise of Tom’s picture and artistry being a part of this week’s blog. I had the delicious rolled meat in hand, the skeleton in one bag and its teeny kidneys and liver in another, with the advice to sauté quickly with onions (my nemesis) and have as an entree. DONE. Well apart from the onions, I, ah… ‘forgot’ to buy the onion.

I returned home and got things ready. Upon Tom’s suggestion I had purchased some baby gold kumara (I actually changed this to kumara from potatoes), French beans and asparagus to accompany, as well as a bottle of Chardonnay to roast the rabbit in. I got the oven to 180°, poured enough wine for about 1cm depth in the dish and lay the rabbit to rest before inserting to do its thing. I couldn’t help thinking it looked like one massive sausage, probably what a normal sausage looks like to a toddler, or little person…

I had a quick look online for some pointers on the offal, funnily enough onions was the suggestions, but my aversion to onions remained and instead I heated some butter and added the garlic before quickly frying up the kidneys and roughly diced liver. They made for a very tasty little entree for me and my partner in crime. I can’t see them making a regular appearance purely because of the rarity of sourcing them, but if Tom has more in I’d jump at them for a lovely dietary alternative.


I roasted the kumara and sautéed the beans and asparagus close to serving time. The meat was in the oven for 40 minutes and once removed it looked divine. The remnants of the wine and meat juice had some fresh cream and Dijon mustard added and reduced down to a delicious sauce, or to sound unnecessarily pretentious but somewhat French, a jus. I sliced the rabbit, dished it up, took the obligatory photos and sat down to enjoy the fruits of my days viewing, learning and cooking.




I have to say it again, this was (in keeping with the French theme) très magnifique. The meat was tender and juicy, and the pancetta and rosemary added a beautiful flavour and the jus was exquisite.

Overall a top meal and another thoroughly enjoyed meat to add to the ever expanding list. I definitely recommend sourcing some rabbit, if you can get it de-boned even better! Obviously you don’t have to stuff with pancetta and rosemary and roll up, but this was worth the wait at the butchers for sure. Plus I clearly enjoy watching the art of a butcher, so that helps…

Tom mentioned last time he recommended this recipe to a customer, the next time they returned they bought 3 more rabbits and invited him around to enjoy the dish. Well if he keeps this up it could just happen again.

So, as mentioned earlier, is eating rabbits too much for some people? Or does it come under the ‘comfortable’ animal slaughter like cattle, sheep and chicken etc?

Does anyone have any rabbit recipes that they love? What about suggestions for meats or requests for subjects for me to cover?

I had a long phone conversation with a friend of mine this week, generally, about the topic of vegetarianism as it intrigues me and I am writing about it to post at some stage in the near future. I’ll endeavour to cover why people do it, and nutritionally how living this way differs to eating meat regularly and where (in my opinion) the pitfalls lie in being a vegetarian and of course the opinions of people who research in this field and know the answers.

But please feel free to suggest other topics and I’ll try my best to deliver, as well as keeping the charming meat chronicles coming.

Remember, you can interact with me here by leaving a comment, or on my facebook page:

where I’ll keep updating you with what I’m reading regarding training and health and of course meat! Please send this to your friends and colleagues, I want to build a community on here so we can interact and create an open forum on all things training, health and food. Get involved!

12 weeks: tick!


Look at my mussels

Well it’s been an interesting week. Last week the talk of horse and eating horse meat took over a bit. Many people don’t agree with it and I think many of those people got scared away from reading my post just from the mention of horse in the title. Surely the joke alone was enough to hook you though? How good is that joke?! Maybe it’s better said not read…

Anyway, this week I’ve moved to something far more helpless than Seabiscuit, poor old defenceless shellfish. Who’s looking out for them?! I’ve got a pet Oyster, but no one seems to care about that… (I don’t have a pet oyster, just to remove any real confusion on my level of weirdness).

But eating shellfish seems to be fine with the general population, who cares about them? So why not shuck a bunch of them and get amongst it!

Can’t seem to let the If its ok to kill and eat one animal for food, then why not another thing go can I? I’ll try and stop flogging that dead horse, for now.


Let’s move away from meat for a moment, we’ll dive back into shellfish shortly. This week I’d like to address the world of supplements, vitamins and dietary additives.


There is a lot out there, many product ‘facts’, ‘must haves’ and general wish-wash around this subject. Like most things health and training related, it doesn’t need to be complicated. If you see a product name that looks something like this:



Then it’s probably full of stuff you don’t need and could plain do without! I like to think the clue is in the title, and the branding. OK there is competition out there, but big flashy, busy and confusing labels and branding, in my opinion, are just masking an inferior product in order to make sales. Fair enough, I applaud small business owners for having a go. Doesn’t mean I’ll buy your product if it’s full of sh*t though.

The way I like to look at supplements is that the product should do the talking, not the label.

Of course if you don’t know any better, marketing can often do its intended job and hook you.

So, what do you look for, and what should you take?


Well, in the world of workout supplements I believe that most people who train for strength, athletic performance, weight loss and muscular size need to use a good quality protein powder at appropriate times. And remember, I’m recommending that most people should be training with resistance, for many and varied reasons.

I definitely advocate getting most of your protein, and most dietary requirements for that matter, from whole food, however just like using the world as your toilet there is a time and a place for some things. Taking a p*ss in the wild- perhaps if necessary, on a busy street- definitely not, I would think.

In the world of protein I recommend a clean Whey Protein Isolate (WPI), for post training/exercise primarily, and at certain other times if necessary if whole food protein sources cannot be obtained, or do not suit the situation.

How much will depend on the intensity and volume of your workout, but as a rough guide: 30-45g post workout. The reactions in the body can seem complicated but in short, protein post training will help cellular regeneration and repair.


From the research I have done, I believe that a pure WPI sourced from New Zealand is the best option for those of us in this part of the world.

Why New Zealand? Well of course I’m not biased in any way… My fingers just seemed to type it that way. It is generally some of the best WPI on the market. It works for me, and I manage to stay lean enough year round. And just like some of the people in this great land, a lot of Australian products tend to contain unnecessary crap. Couldn’t help that one…

For a brief read on protein powder check out this by Dr Johnny Bowden:

Post workout is a time to ingest pure sugars also, such as a Dextrose/maltodextrin mix, but this can also be achieved with high glycemic fruits; bananas, pineapple, dates etc to accompany your protein shake. The job of the sugars here is to help increase the uptake of protein into the cells, which means more nutrients for the cells of your body.

Within the macronutrient supplements like protein we have things like fish oil. This is a term thrown around a lot these days. I do advocate supplementing with fish oil. However, like with anything it should be a top quality product, taken at the right time in the right amounts. It has been highly researched and shown that supplementing with good quality fish oil can offer health benefits that range from neurological to cardiovascular to skin and eye health.

As with anything there is also the flip side. If you have the time or inclination read this:  This article sheds a different light on the popular take on fish oil supplementation. However I think there is definitely still benefit to it.

Just find a product that is sourced naturally from wild sustainable fish, take a moderate dose spread throughout the day, and see how it works for you. Try and find a product with an EPA:DHA ratio of roughly 3:2.

Moving into the world of micronutrients; again there are many things out there. Just stepping into your local health food store a million and one things hit your eyes. Much like typing Mike Campbell into Google, it’s sometimes overwhelming…


So, what do you need? Well as with absolutely everything this is individual. However there are usually some stock standards that most people these days, even those who eat clean, lack in their diets.

In general I recommend to my clients that they take a good multi vitamin in the morning with breakfast. This is the perfect way to compliment a healthy diet. Make sure it’s ingredients have proven bioavailability. Most people are deficient to some degree in zinc and magnesium and vitamin D, so in addition to a high quality multi vitamin I recommend supplementing with zinc and magnesium, and vitamin D if exposure to sunlight is low. The take home information on these is as follows:


The body has no way of storing zinc, so getting enough is crucial to maintain correct testosterone levels (yes girls, we all need this!), which help maintain lean muscle mass, you’ll also miss out on the gains from your training which will only add to this. As well as this, low zinc affects brain function and the ability to concentrate as well as reproductive health amongst other benefits.


A deficiency in magnesium is common and can seriously affect sleep and brain function. Higher levels are generally needed for athletes and people who train with weights, and again remember, we should all be doing some form of resistance training where possible. As with zinc it will affect testosterone as well as strength. It will also decrease the absorption of other vital nutrients into your body.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is naturally made in your body in response to exposure to the sun, so supplementing through winter months, or depressing Londonesque climates, is a good idea. It plays such a vital role in the body working with other nutrients to achieve optimum health, including immune function, bone and muscle health, reproductive health and has been linked to cancer prevention.

There are two other things I commonly recommend as regular supplementation, those are Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) and a greens supplement.


BCAAs are vital to a healthy diet to ensure a healthy functioning body. They are the building blocks of protein and Essential Amino Acids specifically cannot be made by the body. Research has consistently shown that the use of BCAAs aids in healthy liver function, brain function and preventing diabetes as well as general longevity and ageing.

In terms of training, BCAAs help;

  • keep you lean by supporting muscle growth and fat loss
  • train harder for longer
  • stay strong for longer
  • aid brain function and concentration during training/sport
  • reduce muscle soreness

BCAAs are found in protein rich foods and whey protein and you can use BCAA supplements specifically for training.

A greens supplement is a great addition to a healthy diet. As my earlier posts stated, I recommend trying to consume protein and vegetables with every meal. However this is a bit too hard for a lot of us sometimes, especially when it comes to breakfast. This is where a greens supplement, such as Super Greens or Vital Greens, can play a critical role in ensuring that you start the day full of essential micro nutrients and phyto-nutrients (especially from spirulina, chlorella, barley grass and wheat grass). This will also help to alkalise the body which can become too acidic from certain foods as well as training and exercise.

So to sum up, when it comes to supplements, we are looking to do exactly that- supplement what we can’t get enough of, and at appropriate times, in our regular diets. These should be natural high quality sources. Anything too much beyond that and you may well be barking up the wrong tree, or a tree that doesn’t and never has existed, such as the ‘thermogenic tree’ one of my enthusiastic colleagues stated his, well, not so natural thermogenic supplement comes from…

There are many products on the market ‘designed’ as quick fixes, fat loss tools and meal replacements. Try and be logical about this. Replacing a meal is generally not a good idea, again there can be a time and a place, but you want to compliment your meals with certain supplements to ensure a full and healthy diet, not replace with a teaspoon of questionable powder with water and hope to lose dress sizes and body hang ups.

So to reiterate: eat plenty of fresh whole foods, and add in the appropriate supplements to top up your healthy eating lifestyle.

On that note, let’s move on to real food.

As mentioned earlier, with the Horse meat post still fresh in the mind, I looked at my week ahead and realised the next meat was going to have to be early in the week. So I sat down with my part time collaborator/part time meal co-conspirator and planned out a dish using multiple shellfish.

I figured from the start of this journey that splitting these up would kind of be like cheating. With this in mind I searched my recipe books and headed off to my local fishmonger to purchase some Mussels, Pipis, Sydney Rock Oysters, Pacific Oysters and Scallops.

I have to admit that after my ‘soft’ effort at the Sydney Fish Market of “Tuna?! That’s just chicken mate!” I was apprehensive about falling out of my depth in the face of so many sea species again. This whole child and early adulthood of stubbornness towards seafood is starting to seem not only pointless but a massive hindrance. In an attempt to firmly remove my head from the sand on this front I roped in my accomplice and made some confident(ish) purchases. I was genuinely excited about my virginal shellfish preparation experience.

The idea was to steam the mussels and pipis in a spicy tomato, garlic and white wine sauce, quick fry the scallops and add a coriander and lime dressing to the oysters. All of this accompanied with some chunky garlic ciabatta and a rocket, pear and Parmesan salad.

The prep involved the slicing of a shallot, which in my book is outrageously close to my much hated onion and therefore required some trepidation and self argument.

I managed.

First time ever..

By the time I had scrubbed and cleaned the mussels and pipis, got all the sauces and ingredients ready to go, I was pumped, however most of that might have just come from using my new knives. They’re pretty sweet.

Time to get amongst some shellfish and see if all these things that I generally argue taste like sea water and look and feel, ah… somewhat questionable… can actually taste nice.

With everything ready to go I was hungry! So we dined. I started with an oyster.

Now in the past I’ve argued that the only reason these are so sought after and loved is because they’re somewhat rare and hard to come by, like white bait. They’re not actually nice, people who like them have just convinced themselves they lurve them, whereas they in fact taste like sea water. (If you haven’t noticed already I don’t mind provoking an argument from time to time, so this has been fun).

However I can now take that argument back, to some degree. The texture is quite foul really isn’t it? But this dressing added beautiful flavour and I even managed one with the dressing poured off. It was pretty good and I’d go again for sure. In fact I have since ordered fresh oysters since that night last week- big step forward for me!

The scallops were done sans anything, in order to give an appreciation of their unspoilt taste. They were tender and perfect, and I thought they tasted pretty good, just nothing special. I can see though that if they are on a menu cooked with ingredients I particularly like, I’d definitely get into them.

Next up was the mussels, which I’ve tried a handful of times since my slow integration into broader pallet. I haven’t been overwhelmed by them to be honest, but these were different, maybe because I’d prepared myself (and we’d all love to be our own critics, however through this medium, I am, so…), but the sauce added a wonderful taste and the mussels themselves were tender, juicy and delicious. The pipis unfortunately were a bit tough. I think in hindsight as a result of their smaller size, something I didn’t take into consideration when I lumped them in with the mussels. Result– not a fan, but realise that was a cooking error.

I’m often a rapid eater, but I took my time and enjoyed these. My cohort on the other hand, murdered them and asked for more. A good sign I’m pretty sure. Not actually murdering, like with a gun, mouth murdering or scoffing you might say.

So to truly break my limited seafood taste and experiences and severe stubbornness, I would now happily purchase these guys again and cook or prepare them for myself and others. In fact I look forward to trying some fresh New Zealand Green Lip mussels next time I’m back in the Land Of The Long White Cloud. I imagine a sauce or broth will be needed initially, but I’ll work up to having them raw.

So it’s a pretty solid ‘like’ to this dish of varied shellfish. I’m being warned by some friends that I’m being a yes man and just saying that all of these meats so far taste good. I disagree with that obviously. If something is good, it’s good. Simple. I try not to make meals taste bad if I can avoid it, pretty logical really. But to satisfy those less impressed with my weekly meat feats, I’ll endeavour to cook something and rate it poorly soon. Maybe some lambs testes, who knows?! Does anyone have a meat that they know from experience just isn’t nice? This is a challenge after all, so feel free to challenge me.

I’ll rate this above the quails for sure, probably the tuna as well I think. The horse takes it by a nose… Maybe some different shellfish will make an appearance at a later point.

Remember, if you enjoy this blog please pass around to your friends and ‘Like’ my Facebook page You can communicate with me and others on there. I’ll bring you other handy tips, information and amusing stories on there more regularly, but please feel free to ask questions and make comments. I’m very interested to hear about your stories and experiences with meat, training and health.

Come out of your, ah.. shell…


What do you feed a gay horse?



Get it?

This week I did it, I managed to get hold of some meat that I’d been trying to get for a few weeks. Lucky I have some patience as it turns out it can be tricky to get your hands on some horse meat here in good old Australia.

Unless of course you live in Perth and have access to the one butcher registered in this country to deal with it, Vince Garreffa, whom Western Australian Agriculture Minister Terry Redman granted final approval to on 30 June 2010 to sell horse meat for human consumption. I’ll note here that horse meat is readily available in many countries.

Why would you eat horse meat? How do you get it? Is it ethical? What does it taste like?

Many questions have been asked, at this stage by myself and my much better looking dining partner for this dish. I’m sure many more will come, in their droves, as well as statements such as: You can’t eat horse, it’s a pet! Which I’ve heard already, but for now I’ll do my best to spell this experience out from my side, of course.

Also, start thinking of all the horse puns you can think of, I had many come to mind, and I naturally think they’re all funny… Must be something about eating Mr Ed that brings it out in me…

I’ll get into that in detail shortly, but first off this week, I’ll wrap up the primal pattern resistance movement series and cover the bend.

This is essentially a bend at the hips, whilst keeping strong and neutral throughout the torso. It can incorporate an element of flexion and extension at the knees. Just as the squat is primarily moved through the knee joints with critical movement through the ankles and secondary movement through the hips, this is primarily through the hip joint.

The dead lift, which I have mentioned earlier this year involving my own goals leading up to Xmas, is generally the benchmark movement of the bend. However as with the chin up last week, this can be a difficult movement for beginners for reasons other than raw strength, with two of the most common being flexibility at the hip joint and strength through the spinal electors (the muscles that engage to hold neutral spine). Also a reasonable amount of co-ordination is needed for this, especially if doing a dead lift with a barbell. I think one of my friends in particular may know I’m directing this at him…

The dead lift has to be one of my favourite lifts, but for the purposes of keeping this simple, for now, I’ll pull back on that and run through what is essentially half of that movement. Perhaps I’ll attack the big lift at a later point this year, as it can be assured that I’ll be doing plenty myself (check out my training videos to have a look at my progress).

Today we’ll go through a partial dead lift, the top part that challenges the bend pattern.

The reasons we train through this pattern are numerous and endless really. Most people these days spend a lot of their days sitting and/or doing things in front of their bodies. This can cause the posterior chain- essentially the musculature of the posterior aspect of the body; back, gluts, hamstrings- to become weak and just plain pathetic. This results in a general lack of muscular size, activation and massive strength imbalances throughout the body. Too much flexion and not enough extension, resulting in ‘bad backs’, ‘constant back pain’ and other commonly heard ailments.

Have a look at Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man  for an example, and you’ll note how upright and in neutral he is. Not flexed forward like most of us spend our days doing, remember the hunched over, round shouldered muppet I mentioned last week… The Vitruvian Man however has a strong posterior chain and a balanced body. Compare these two pictures:

Training and strengthening the posterior chain is vital to the health of our spines and pelvis at the very least, and they are two skeletal assets we could all do with being as strong and stable as possible hey… As well as getting a strong and well defined shape through your back, gluts and hamstrings. There goes those buns n thighs again ladies…

So, let’s get bending! The photos attached have all specific points.

And an incorrect bend:

Ok, now back to horse meat. This week I ate some. I got it from the butcher, I cooked it and I ate it, with my mouth. Guess what? It was yum!

What do you think about that? I’m pretty sure some people have a problem with it. In fact I know that. One of my friends, when I mentioned I thought I might have some lined up said: “I don’t agree with that and I won’t be reading that blog post”. Fair enough, horses for courses and that…

However if I may interject, just in case you have made it this far and are not sure if you should carry on, let me say that this meat was first-rate. I wouldn’t eat it every day, but nor would I anything. However it was a tasty deep red meat not too dissimilar to that of our much eaten beef, and to those that have tried venison and kangaroo. It was delectable.

So why should it be a problem to eat it? It’s not as though it tastes repulsive. Horses aren’t an endangered species. Nor are they full of malicious bacteria or some strange equine disease that will make us sick and turn us into human flesh eating zombies. The kind that will eat any old meat because we have an insatiable blood lust and must kill and eat anything that moves. No, I’m pretty sure that won’t happen. It hasn’t to me thus far anyway.

Of course I can answer this myself. It’s because horses are lovely animals, that can be pets, and work the fields and stations, help us farm and muster livestock for food (note: horse are livestock, are they not..?), and race around a track for our, mostly idiot, pleasure, amongst other things.

Hmmm, that makes me think though; let’s take another animal, one more commonly farmed for meat for human consumption, say beef, a cow. Why is this ok to eat, on a gigantic scale? (Aside from a vast number of vegetarians worldwide and the religion of Hinduism of course).

Now from my limited understanding of Hinduism and my hasty research, I am going generalise that these people, wherever in the world they may be, do not eat beef. The cow is a scared animal. This means that somewhere in the vicinity of 6 billion people around the globe (that’s a fair few), do not eat beef. Yet most of ‘us’ seem to find it very tasty indeed and have not one third of a problem with it, in fact get me some now! Isn’t it good…??

Yet we like to get on our, ahem, high horse about exactly that; horse, and say it should not be done. Do not eat horse, it’s wrong, but be a good man and slaughter me up some beef would you and don’t spare the horses? Now that’s a good chap.

I disagree with that thought process entirely! A horse is an animal, just like sheep, just like cattle. Yes it is a pet and all those other things, but it’s also a source of sustenance, full of protein and rich in iron. Look at horse numbers worldwide, there’s a lot. Look at the amount of starving or near starving people world wide… I’m seeing a handy little connection here… And in all seriousness, why not?

It certainly does not mean that we should all go out and eat our beloved pet Phar Lap. Of course not, that would be somewhat bizarre and twisted. However I do believe that if an animal is to die, be it for meat or other and natural causes, then as long as it’s safe to eat, it should be respected and eaten. This goes for your more ‘standard’ animal as well, there’s a lot of meat on one cattle beast, get into it!

For me this also goes across species from horse to things like cattle and pig. There is plenty of the world’s population starving and there are plenty that don’t eat these animals, if there is a cross over then solve the problem, have a feed and move on. Understandably religious and other beliefs come into play here, but my take home question is this: If it’s ok to kill and eat one animal for food, then why not another?


Remember, we need animal protein for survival and optimal health and nutrition. Why? I’ll get into this into more depth in the coming weeks.

Wow, that was a rant… As you can see I do feel strongly about it. If it is good enough to kill and eat one species of animal then why are others so taboo? As long as something isn’t endangered, why is it off limits? I joked about pandas a couple of weeks ago, but if those little guys were in absolute abundance, you bet I’d try some of their meat, so long as the whole animal was being used. They are cute but so was my pet lamb Rufus. I didn’t eat him, but, like a large number of us, I do eat lamb. If I stick to most people’s views on Horse and animals like lamb for these taboo reasons, then I shouldn’t eat lamb, as I once had one as a pet. Preposterous.

What’s the difference? Clearly there is none to the many people around the globe that eat horse meat, covering many countries and continents. A large number of which is exported from right here in Australia, so someone’s ok with it…

In fact, as of June 2011 the Australian Government Department Of Agriculture, Fisheries And Forestry state:The export of horsemeat began in the 1970s. According to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), the largest export volume was 6,137 tonnes in 1998/99, which was valued at $26.4 million, with more than half exported to Japan. In 2006/07 2,320 tonnes of horsemeat was exported to 14 countries with the majority going to Russia (48%), Switzerland (15%), Belgium (14%) and France (11%). The total value of exports in 2006/07 was $10.3 million. In fact according to British Agriculture website in 2009, worldwide the rates of horse meat production levels in Tons/year were around 500,000 from the following countries alone: Mexico, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Poland, Italy, Romania, Chile, France, Uruguay, Senegal, Columbia and Spain.


Ok, so how about I tell you about this specific meal, the one in which I cooked and ate some horse sirloin. I have to tell you, I had a ridiculous afternoon when I picked it up. I had a text from Kristy at The Butcher And The Chef the day before saying the horse I ordered was being flown in from Perth the next day. I became excited and nervous at the same time.

On the day I had texts from my flatmate while I was at work to inform me my (9th story) bedroom was flooding from Sydney’s intense rain storm. Go figure, you’d think being 9 levels above the ground would prevent this. Apparently not. So I went home later that day to survey the damage, and sort it out somehow so I could run down to the butcher and see if the horse meat was there. Kristy was short on time and wasn’t too sure on specific recipes, but the one piece of advice was not to have it raw, as a Horse Tartare like the French sometimes do, or sashimi like the Japanese do, as this meat has been frozen, just try frying like beef.

Done. Once I’d managed the immense water damage and then proceeded to leave every, now wet, towel from our flat in the back of a Sydney Taxi, some recipes were searched. However I didn’t want to add sauce or put in some sort of casserole or dish that was going to take away from the real taste of the meat. So some kumara (sweet potato) and baby carrots were seasoned and roasted, some baby zucchini and beans were sautéed and while ‘Wild Horses’by The Rolling Stones played, I got the pan hot and very quickly fried these two thin cuts of sirloin.

Some photos taken and whatever small nerves floating around taken care of with a glass of (research recommended) French vino, the dish was enjoyed and then mulled over with the ironically themed My Lovely Horsefrom a Father Tedepisode (definitely check it out: ) to stimulate the thought process.

The general consensus was that the ends of each cut were slightly tough, but the rest was tender, juicy and quite delicious. It has the flavours and familiarity of beef, while also having some rich, more gamey parallel to venison and kangaroo, with an added element of sweetness to it. The overwhelming description that came from the wine merchant pre-cooking fell somewhat short, but I think perhaps a fillet, as with beef in my opinion, would result in an even more flavoursome and enjoyable steak. I liked it and can see no reason why I wouldn’t eat this regularly if it were readily available.

Yes it’s taboo, but that’s exactly the point, it’s only taboo. Not unhealthy, not illegal (which is just institutionalised taboo with things like this really isn’t it?). It makes some people uncomfortable, some of the same people that gladly chomp down on any number of other animal meats regularly and therefore in my opinion, display blatant hypocrisy in their views towards horse meat. We’ve spoken about this before; it’s called the food chain. We made it to the top a while ago now, its natures natural course, enjoy it.

Well, I currently sit on my couch pondering this and what I’ll eat for dinner tonight. It looks like meat will play a part. However the more pressing thought is have I opened up a can here? Will I cop some abuse or judgement for this? Have I just ranted and forced my meat opinions on people? Or have I enlightened and opened people’s eyes to another option for that no good horse that kicked you off it’s back as a child…. Or am I just flogging a dead horse…

Either way I know I’ve covered a broad range of issues. Just don’t get me started on Kony 2012…

Please, let me know either way. I’m dead keen to hear your take on this issue, horse and otherwise because remember- it’s only March, I’ve got many more to get through and some will very likely follow this trend…

Send me your comments, or go to my facebook page ( where I’m going to open discussion on the subject. Let’s chat about it and see what opinions are out there.

Giddy up…


Plan B pulls through

This week involved a few more phone calls than normal and searching for my, so far elusive, more risqué meat. That led to some deflation and nerves about the reality of getting my hands on many of the meats on my list, and therefore the scale of writing 52 weeks worth of material. At least I’ve got 8 (boomers…) behind me, right? Hmm…

Continuing on with the resistance movements basics, this week I’ll attack the pull. As with the push last week this is referring to an upper body pull, which can also be vertical or horizontal.

I am tempted to do the king of all upper body exercises: the pull up or chin up, however I am fully aware that this is just plain too hard for a lot of people to manage.

So I’ll go for something more ‘challenge friendly’: a horizontal supine body row (or inverted row), in the assumption that people trying this have either a half decent element of strength or at least strive to do get there, in which case practice makes perfect.

Before I go right ahead and generalise, as I’ve stated before, everyone is different and has different needs and specific requirements and this is an important consideration when training someone and designing programs.

We all need anatomical balance and that very much means balancing the big operators in the upper body. So if we push, i.e. push ups, we must pull in order to maintain or gain balance (and ensure we don’t look like the kind of round shouldered, hunched over muppet that can be seen at many Sydney Eastern Suburbs beaches, and gyms worldwide) as well as incorrectly load and imbalance the structures of the upper body, in particular the thoracic spine and shoulder girdles.

We will primarily be working the muscles of the arms, shoulders and upper back, but like all other integrated primal movements we will also be engaging through the core and lower body in order to stabilize and produce more drive through the lift.

The attached photos have full details and key points. Please ask any questions in the comments box below, alternatively I’d love to hear some impressive chin up feats, maybe a one arm chin up..??

Now for this week’s specific meat exploits…

Once again I had intentions to get a bit outrageous this week, or at least do something completely outside my comfort zone. The more radical options that are on order from the butcher seem to be harder to come by than first thought. Shipping in a series of random meats for one bloke seems to be more cost inefficient than anything. So I turned to offal, and decided to get some of the intensely nutrient dense parts of the lamb and have a fry up, of some proportion, specifics to be figured out with research.

Big fail again.

After numerous phone calls and hearing ‘ahh… not so sure’ I ventured down to pick up some liver and kidney only to soon be deflated at the reality of none being there until the morning. Frustration set in and I aimlessly wandered the supermarket, picking up random ingredients and reflexly eyeing up and subsequently judging other shoppers baskets. Bad habit.

I then decided the only option was the tucked safely up my sleeve plan B, which I was hoping would be months away. But I figured making up a recipe, which this involved, could lead to anything, so why not? Still gotta eat right…

So I bought some free range chicken mince and a few additions to the growing basket of eclectic cooking accessories with the intention of making, what I’m calling Mike’s Grilled Mushroom and Chicken Burger Stack with Mixed Kumara Chips.

I like making healthy and very tasty meatballs/patties, but I usually use lamb or beef, so my sneaky plan B was to do this with chicken for my chicken dish this year. My aim was to make a healthy and very delicious alternative to a greasy, full of rubbish, burger.

I like to create things in the kitchen at times, so decided to get stuck in and create a recipe. I say create, everything’s been done before though really, hasn’t it… Still, I will often use my imagination and ingredients I have and see what I can come up with.

There was a bit of preparation for this dish, so I’ll spell it out. This is what I made-

Chicken burger pattie: (this was enough for 2 large and one small pattie)

  • 500g free range chicken mince
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • I large garlic clove
  • Small piece of parmesan cheese (size of 50cent coin, or for those outside Australia- a milk bottle lid. That’s pretty standard I think…)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 organic free range egg
  • (roughly) 2 tablespoons LSA (Linseed, sunflower and almond meal)
  • Good sized pinch of rock salt
  • Pinch of cracked black pepper

Kumara chips:

  • Small gold kumara
  • Small purple kumara
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • Rock salt
  • Cracked pepper
  • Sweet paprika

Grilled mushrooms stuffed with homemade basil pesto:

  • Large flat field mushrooms
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/8 cup raw pine nuts
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  • 1 avocado
  • 4 large vine ripened cherry tomatoes
  • Juice of ¼ large lemon
  • Rock salt
  • Cracked pepper

To make the burger patties add all ingredients and mix it all together. Be prepared to get messy, as you will. Plus it looks pretty gross. The amount of LSA will depend on the moistness of the mix, for example having not made patties with chicken before the first thing I did on mushing together was spurt out “oh shit, this is vury (pronounced like that) moist!” So I ended up using quite a bit more LSA to bind, which probably equated to about 2 tablespoons in the end. I had already smashed the garlic, basil and parmesan together in the wizz.

I got slightly, ah, precise on the chip cutting and made them look the part. Once cut, throw in a plastic bag, and add oil and seasoning.

I’ve made this pesto plenty of times before, it’s very simple and quick, and to be honest I don’t use measurements, it’s a bit of a guessing game each time, but I’ve basically got it down now, and this is seriously luscious. Get the ingredients and make it, you’ll think twice about buying pesto again. Mix all ingredients apart from the oil first, then add enough oil as you see fit, probably about 1 tablespoon. It should take less than 5 minutes. You won’t need all of this for the mushrooms but that’s even better as it will infuse and taste even better the next day and beyond. Do it.

For the mushrooms, gently scoop out as much of the inside ‘flesh’ as you can and put in a bowl, then mix in with the pesto and stuff back into the mushroom.

I put the chips in the oven at 180°C for about 25 minutes. I also put the stuffed mushies in the oven for about 20 minutes. While this was going I made a simple guacamole by finely chopping the tomatoes with one of my new super sharp knives and adding the mashed avocado, lemon juice and seasoning and mixing.

I then got the pan hot and added the patties, let them cook until they were, ah, cooked. The aroma of basil and garlic started to permeate throughout the kitchen. It turns out I may have used a very large clove of garlic in the pesto. That will result in a pretty strong garlic taste tomorrow once it’s infused some more… Maybe I haven’t quite got it down yet.

Once all ready to go I made a stack- chicken pattie, then baby spinach, then mushroom and topped with guacamole and a couple of small basil leaves to garnish.

Chicken is one of the more common and run of the mill meats, but the way in which you eat it, besides shoving it in your mouth of course, doesn’t have to be.

This quasi burger was absolutely delicious. Not greasy and filling, but tasty, light and full of flavour and something I will be making again for sure! Of course you could do this exact thing with another meat, however you’ll find chicken to be a lot lighter and much less fatty than beef or lamb and because of that just plain easier to cook.

Again I feel disappointed that I haven’t gone outside the comfort zone this week and possibly cooked and eaten something to shock some people, but I did have an awesome meal, one that I made up and have now added to my, albeit imaginary, recipe book.

Plus, it is a long year, plenty of time to get controversial, for example I’m eyeing up a trip to Bali next month as a great chance to go left (or very well left) of centre. Anyone got any suggestions/challenges for when I’m there?

Tune in next week when I’ll wrap up this series on the basic resistance movement patterns with the bend, and undoubtedly share a bunch of witty anecdotes, wise tips and hilariously chronicle my week of eating including one lucky meat… Note: the above claims are just that, claims… I will however certainly try my best.

Again, please keep the feedback coming and if you like what you read here each week then please continue to share this with people who like to either:

  • Eat meat and other appetizing and healthy foods
  • Read things
  • Go to the toilet

That should cover everyone I think! Much appreciated.

I’m on facebook, have a look. There are a few other things on there as well as the odd link, random thought and time wasting interruption:

Thanks again for another week,