I’m beginning to realise that even though I generally loathe lame unintelligent puns in my newspaper headlines, I just cannot help kicking off with some word play in this blog. This week I am of course referring to the cockroach of the sea; Prawns.
This week was a bit of a check in week for me. We are almost one third of the way through 2012– the year the Mayans predicted the end of the world. If this is the case I think some periodic reflection is worthwhile.
I’m still eating meat, that’s a given, and I’m still going to push through with my challenge to eat a different meat every week this year, (unless the aforementioned apocalypse occurs). I’m confident I can do it though.
So upon reflection: For me one of my utmost priorities in life is my health. Without that what do we have? Not much of a life.
Last year I lost my amazing and remarkable mum. Not behind the couch, but as a non-smoker her whole life she developed lung cancer and after living a wonderful 60 years with more life and positivity than most people do (four years after being diagnosed) she passed. Now I’m not about to say that if mum had done some things differently through her life in terms of nutrition and lifestyle this wouldn’t have happened to her, it may have helped, what I am saying is that health is the one thing mum lost in the end.
She was such an astonishing and courageous woman and the way she attacked that disease was incredible, she astounded me on a daily basis.
Unfortunately it took this to happen for me to really truly understand her and appreciate her fight and amazing spirit and attributes. In an ideal world this wouldn’t have happened at all, she’d be alive and healthy and I’d get my sh!t sorted and figure it out eventually, but it didn’t.
This period really rammed home to me how important our health is, how we take it for granted on a daily, even an hourly basis and just how easy it can be to be a healthy person and give yourself the best chance of living a full, pain free and long life, with all the varied benefits that come with it.
With the rest of my family, I no longer have my mother with me in the physical world, but she’s always with me and constantly inspires me to strive for excellence and keep myself healthy and happy.
I believe it is important to live in the present, but I also believe strongly that an element of foresight is needed when it comes to health. We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘too little too late’ when it comes to health, well what about introducing ‘a little bit every day for a healthier future’ Does that work? Sounds good, easy and positive.
I will continue my reflection while I’m in Bali this week for a holiday. The perfect environment to refresh and recharge my batteries for the reminder of the year (plus I should be able to sneak in some more obscure meats).
This week as a part of this ‘check in’ I also had a DEXA scan to follow up on one I had early in January. For those who don’t know, this is a Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry which measures bone mineral density (BMD) and total body composition. This scan is a great way to measure how much body fat and lean (muscle) mass you hold as well as bone density. I get these from time to time to see where I’m at with my body composition, which will reflect my training, diet, lifestyle and with these; a great indicator of my overall health.
So what happened this week? Well in January I was 9.0% body fat, which is pretty standard for me, this time I was 8.5%. So I have dropped body fat percentage slightly but basically stayed the same.
What else did it show though? My total fat mass dropped by just over 200g– which is a lot on a steak, but not on me, however my lean muscle mass went up by over 2kg, hence the change in body fat percentage. There are other results on there, (such as my BMD which sits in the high section within the healthy range), but these are the key that most people want to know and see move in certain directions right?
How’d I do it? Well if you’ve been reading some of my posts this year, especially the early ones, you’ll know that I don’t do anything crazy. I don’t live to extremes and try incredibly out there techniques or dangerous fads to lose body fat and stay lean or use questionable hormone treatments to increase muscle.
I keep things simple, just as they ought to be, I live pretty clean, and I have a great balance in my life, which allows me to wind down and enjoy a few beers with my mates from time to time. When they’ll tolerate me. The way things are portrayed in the media with (pseudo) ‘celebrities’ trying severe diets that restrict crucial nutrients for health and daily living– ‘fat is bad for you and will kill you’, ‘eat this, don’t eat that’, ‘the liquid diet’- is so overwhelming and confusing that it’s no wonder the average person has no clue what they should eat, how they should exercise and where their priorities for health should lie.
In fact I looked at the Australian Heart Foundation website recently whilst doing some research. Not only does it contain a lot of questionable advice and guidelines, but it is FULL of it. It is so full of ‘facts’ and information that even as an expert I find it immensely confusing. Check it out and let me know what you think, this is the ‘Healthy eating’ section: http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/Pages/default.aspx.Were you confused?
There are no quick fixes, it takes the right habits applied into a healthy and balanced lifestyle. If you wanted to learn a new language, you don’t just hump the leg of a Brazilian person and you instantly know how to speak Portuguese. You must integrate learning Portuguese into your daily life, make it a habit and nudge away at it, until you can speak it fluently. the same applies here. Work at it and make the right habitual changes.
On the whole, that’s what I do… Simple, clean and healthy.
Next week I’ll get more specifically into exactly what I do, how I live my life and why it works for me and how it can easily work for you too. I’ll give some specific examples of some nutrition and training I’ve been experimenting with and how they have impacted on my health and body composition.
For now, let’s touch on something else I did this week- I got a different meat from my ever evolving list, cooked it and ate it. It was delicious!
With all this reflection taking place during the week, I decided to have an easier one on the meat front and keep it short and sweet. So, I went to the local fishmonger and got some fresh, peeled prawns, something I haven’t covered in the weekly meat challenge thus far, but have done a number of times before.
Of course there are endless ways to prepare and eat prawns, but easy was the way for me this time. So I decided on a simple curried prawns and spinach recipe that I’ve had in my arsenal for a while.
All it requires is this:
- 500g prawns, peeled and deveined
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1/3 cup real stock (I used homemade lamb stock)
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tightly packed cups shredded spinach
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat a large pan over a medium-low heat and cook the onion in the coconut oil until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes.
- Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, stir in the curry powder and continue cooking for a minute.
- Place mixture in a blender or a food processor, add the tomato paste as well as the stock and coconut milk. Process or blend until smooth.
- Pour the mixture back in the pan and bring to a simmer.
- Add the prawns and spinach and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes, until the prawns are just cooked.
Now think about it; that shouldn’t take long, and guess what- it didn’t. Yet it was absolutely luscious. Obviously you can alter the amounts depending on the amount of people you are cooking for, but if you want a quick, easy and nutritious meal then I suggest trying this and adding it to your own arsenal. Easy!
And that’s it for this week, relatively short and sweet. Next week I will be in Bali, so when I get there I intend to harass some local (Australian’s who have been living there for a while…) restaurant owners to see if I can source, through their channels, some exotic meat from a clean animal. I’ve got a couple in mind, but at this stage it’s a bit of a lottery, so we’ll see.
Tune in again then. I’ll also be back later this week with a training video containing something a bit out of the ordinary.