I get asked many questions about this 52 meats challenge, and frequently. They vary significantly, however, one that has certainly popped up more than most as the weeks have progressed is:
Do you get sick of it?
I get asked many questions about this 52 meats challenge, and frequently. They vary significantly, however, one that has certainly popped up more than most as the weeks have progressed is:
Do you get sick of it?
This week started on an absolute high. Appearing on live TV for the first time, whilst also cooking a completely new meat for this challenge; my 52 meats in 52 weeks, and making sure to not only avoid muddling my words or ramble aimlessly, but to speak clearly, confidently and get my story and message across in the short time slot available, was quite frankly- terrifying.
I’m quickly discovering that I have become rather, in fact perhaps very, blasé about eating strange meats. Strange to some, taboo as well, freaky even, but just plain old meat to many others.
This week my girlfriend, NN, and I are in Bali so the allure of sourcing, cooking and eating a meat very out of the ordinary was high. In fact I’d been thinking about it for a while.
Can I do dog? Continue reading
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.
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:
ULTRA MEGA HUGE MUSCLE GAINER FAT BURNER AND OTHER EXTRANEOUS FLASHY TITLES TO TRICK YOU INTO BUYING THIS product…
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: http://www.charlespoliquin.com/Lifestyle/Nutrition/114/The_Best_Form_of_Protein_Powder.aspx
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: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/fishoil.shtml 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 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;
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.
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 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Meat-Mike-Campbell/236677696419727 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…
This week brought about a new experience for me. I’ll delve into that shortly, but first off I’ll continue on briefly where I left off last week on the exercise front.
Last week I went over the squat in the first of a series of tips for resistance movements. This week I’ll touch on the lunge. The main idea with the lunge is loading through the muscles of the leg and gluts, much the same as the squat, with the obvious difference of this being (mostly) one leg at a time. For arguments sake we’ll call this a lunge, but slight variation is the split squat.
We’ll do this as a moving and alternating walking lunge, but can be altered simply to repetitively step forwards or backwards. Click on the first photo shown here, at the bottom of this post for full description.
Robert’s your father’s brother and you’re now getting stronger and better legs! Done.
This week I decided it was time I ate something from the ocean, an area of meat eating that I’m not entirely familiar with. I’ve mentioned before that I was fussy as a kid and this definitely included seafood. I think I just decided I didn’t like it, without even tasting it, and stayed stubborn to that until the last few years.
The idea of shellfish was not enticing at all. I’ve since tried a variety and nothing has really grabbed me. Fish on the other hand I do like, but also as a kid I it found too fiddly. However as an adult I’m slowly breaking through some of that childhood nonsensical resistance.
So, on Wednesday morning when I normally have a more leisurely start at the gym so I can do some reading, I headed off for what would be an adventure, for me, to the Sydney Fish Market.
Holy shit! I had no idea what was going on. Don’t get me wrong, most of it is simple and self-explanatory but the idea of choosing which fish to buy, filleting and/or cooking a whole fish was completely foreign and daunting to me.
I watched dad do this enough times as a kid, I always loved fishing with him, that part was a game. Reeling my catch into the boat was great fun! Doing the rest, between line and plate, that was dads job and one he always endeavoured to show me. I was usually too busy eying up the next activity, namely anything that didn’t involve fish guts and that aroma that tends to make its way into your pores.
As I wandered through the market, most shops and stalls were still packing fish into ice and setting up for the day. So many eyes staring back at me. I felt like I was in some weird dream with those massive vacant eyes everywhere just following me around the room, taunting me with looks of, ‘you seem as clueless as we clearly were when we thought we were about to eat real food, but instead got tricked onto a boat and subsequently killed. Don’t get tricked Mike, this could end badly…’
I wanted to get something a bit different, something that might entertain or intrigue all of you. I asked a few people for jellyfish, and found some but it was nothing like what (I’m calling the best cabbie in Sydney) had described to me, so thought best for another time.
For future reference the jellyfish were in small packs by the sashimi and were $3.50/pack. I asked a few people things but most of it was lost in translation so I put the jellyfish in too hard basket and moved on.
Stingray? “No sorry.” I was silently pleased about this one as I knew it would only result in me either writing inappropriate jokes, or wanting to but not having the balls to do so.
A bit more walking around, avoiding a film crew whilst I clearly looked lost, and even though I had confidence in my ‘just looking’ front I decided that for me most things here were pretty out of the ordinary. So I bought a couple of yellow fin tuna steaks and sat down with a coffee to ponder my virginal experience.
In the cab on the way home the story stormed its way out of my mouth (as my friends are familiar with) to the cabbie. He just laughed, out loud, and spurted out, “TUNA?! That’s just chicken mate!” I say (inside my head) “I see where you’re coming from, I’ve taken the lame option, but it’s not f*cken chicken is it! Mate! It’s tuna”. Back in the cab, not my head, I laugh awkwardly.
A friend of mine, Cath Leach, is a big lover all animals, in particular those from the water. She has created an app called Australian Sustainable Seafood Guide in association with Australian Marine Conservation Society. Check it out if you’re in Australasia or just interested: http://www.sustainableseafood.org.au/Sustainable-Seafood-Guide-Australia.asp?active_page_id=695
I have the app on my phone and have perused through it and knew that this tuna was not ideal on the scale. It’s a red- no. (I feel I may cop Cath’s wrath next time I see her!) However, I’m sure if I hadn’t tried the tuna and written about it many wouldn’t have known about the Sustainable Seafood Guide. So Cath, I am claiming that for the greater good, I am taking down these steaks in order to help raise awareness that the Yellowfin Tuna is close to being over fished and there are potential negative effects to the ecosystem of depleted tuna populations… There, I think that works…
I was going to cook up mid morning before setting off for work then decided to wait until later that night. Then a light bulb: do both, in different ways. Perfect!
First time round I look through all of my cook books and come up pretty empty. The internet answers the call again and I decide to marinate briefly in a mix of:
I dried the steak with paper towels, got the pan hot and added a little bit of the marinade to the pan before adding the steak to the delightful sizzle of fresh meat to heat, ahhh… Two and a half minutes on one side and one and a half on the other and it’s done. I sautéed some asparagus, mushrooms and snow peas in some lime juice and garlic to accompany and enjoyed the fruits of my mornings efforts.
Even though I had really taken the easy option on the seafood front, (that which is probably most like cooking red meat) the mornings efforts left me satisfied and very happy with the taste of this particular meal. I ate on my balcony in the sun overlooking Sydney content with my ‘big boy’ adventure all by myself to the new world of the Sydney Fish Markets. It was delectable.
Next time round, that night, I decided to fry even quicker on a hot heat for 1 minute each side, with just some rock salt to season before cooking.
This time I accompanied with a simple salad of:
This with some avocado oil and fresh lime juice, some paprika roast kumara and I enjoyed another very tasty and nutritious meal, and my second ever Tuna steak. That’s right; I’d never eaten one before. I think my morning fish market mission was justified. Well to me anyway.
So I couldn’t really ‘man up’ and get something more out there at the fish market, but I enjoyed a new experience and some delicious meat, albeit from a source that is facing overfishing in the waters off Australia.
This is perhaps one for me to shelve for now, or ask Cath for more sustainable sources. It wouldn’t be great for the next few generations to miss out on this tasty privilege from time to time would it?
Next week: I have no idea right now, but I’m determined to get a bit more out there. Please feel free to throw me suggestions, or challenges, or recipe ideas. And also get onto Facebook and join in the ‘Meat Mike Campbell’ page, where I’ll update with more regular short tips about training, health and of course meat, and other foods. I hope you enjoy the new domain name too, gotta love a good pun…
Yours in all things meat,
What’s the meat this week? Do you eat the meat all week? I can’t believe you put a photo up with your shirt off!
A lot. That’s how many times I heard those sentences this week.
Let me clarify: I won’t be eating the meat all week, just once a week. Unless there’s some very keen and generous sponsors out there…
That could get interesting, trying to have lobster all week could get expensive.
I do eat a lot of meat. Clearly.
But why do I?
Well I touched on this briefly last week. Health and taste. Health is a pretty broad subject, but it doesn’t have to be vague and confusing. It’s quite simple really:
I’ll attack this health and nutrition philosophy in two parts over this week and the following week, you know, to save you time for other important things like clocking the internet.
What food we eat directly affects what our body becomes. If you eat crap, no wonder you’re soft, struggle with any exercise you do and can’t seem to lose fat. If you eat well, you give yourself a decent chance of being healthy, and strong.
So what do we eat? Simple, just eat simply. Whole foods, non-processed, natural and as ‘organic’ (grown or fed naturally, without chemicals, hormones and antibiotics) as possible or affordable. Just like nature intended.
That’s pretty simple isn’t it? Stay away from processed foods, in particular sugars and processed carbohydrates. If you want to read some in-depth and ground breaking (to most people and in comparison with most government pushed shit) then set aside some (a lot of) time to read ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’ by Gary Taubes. That will give you enough information to avoid that sugar in your coffee, forever! Otherwise make sure you get plenty of protein with every meal as well as veggies.
Hence where meat enters the realm of importance for me. Besides taste and enjoyment, I eat a tonne (not literally now) of meat each week in order to stay lean, maintain muscular size and generally give my body what it needs to do its thing.
So I put the shirtless photo up last week (and I copped some shit for it), but it proves a point doesn’t it? If I can stay pretty lean and have a reasonable amount of muscle bulk, then I must have some idea of what I’m talking about right?
Keep watching on that one I suppose. Trust me, I’m cringing as I write it. Phffft. Significantly, regardless of whether you have the genetics to eat crap and stay lean, as some of us do, eating sugary foods just isn’t good for you.
Right, that was a slight rant. I’ll endeavour to limit those, but it’s nice to start on a roll and and set the scene.
More health advice to come next week, Part 2 you might say.
Anyway, do you know what I did this week?
I cooked some meat (among other things, of course. Some sleeping, training, and running sometimes. Talking too, I did some of that).
On Thursday night I cooked two fillets of Crocodile tail. What about that, hey? Looks like we are the top of the food chain after all.
I had a little panic when I realised I’d missed an order at the butcher for something I had my mind on, but I went down there and bought 600g of tail fillet. At nearly $60/kg my initial thought was, this is going to be hard to justify on a regular basis. However, after demolishing the finished croc I can easily see me throwing some pocket money on the occasional bit of croc tail from time to time.
I began the prep by searching the internet for recipes and tips. I’ve cooked crocodile once before, on the fateful night that this idea came about. It tasted like shit (not actual shit). It was fresh from the butcher and a small piece of tail fillet, literally the pointy end from what must have been a small animal. I searched then for advice on how to cook the croc and most cooks said to limit any ingredients, perhaps a simple marinade using citrus. The general theme was to treat the crocodile like fish and pan fry gently. I’ve never really cooked fish much so that caused a few nerves.
I tried, but to be honest my elements are pretty rubbish and a consistent heat was hard to manage. Basically, it bombed. What I was left with was a reasonably tough piece of meat that tasted like a combination of pork and chicken, which confused me. How do they get together and make crocodile? Maybe it ate them both and somehow produced this hybrid croc-chook-pig thing. Hmm…
Not this time. As soon as I opened the pack and saw the meat I knew it was going to be a different ball game. Nice big fillets with the shape of a piece of beef rump, kind of. This time I found some contradictions in the advice. Some argued “it’s a flavoursome meat so use few ingredients”. However, most recipes (and there are not that many really) had loads of ingredients, which reeked of effort and didn’t sit well with my stubbornness. So I decided to marinate the crocodile in some chilli infused olive oil, fresh lime juice, fresh garlic, rock salt and pepper. I also had the use of gas this time- big help. I let the meat soak up the flavour of the marinade for a couple of hours then fired up the gas, got the pan hot and cranked up Crocodile Rock by Elton John. There was an alternative- Crocodile Song by Janice Ian. It failed to inspire so was binned for something much more flamboyant and, at the very least, recognisable.
About 3 minutes each side and I had some good looking meat ready to go. A little garnish for the photo and it got buried deep within my stomach, in no time. This was some very tasty meat! It seemed slightly tough on cutting (may’ve been the knife, can’t remember actually) but not on eating. It was medium rare in red meat terms and the texture of swordfish.
It just tasted good, really good.
My recommendation to everyone is to recognise your position in the food chain (perched mightily on the top. Not sitting on the ground with fallen fruit looking all anaemic.) Eat some damn crocodile, before one eats you. Keep the cooking simple, a light marinade like I used, and enjoy eating the tail of something.
I’ve touched on food here, but I will come back to elements of this in future weeks (he says anxiously as he realises he has 50 more of these to do…)
I’d like to discuss my take on vitamins and supplements. Otherwise, next week I’ll look to cover exercise, sleep and unnecessary stress and how these impact on our health.
Oh, and some more meat of course! Yum…
Any questions about food or nutrition? Feel free to ask.