A Fat Chance

I suffer from intestinal lymphangiectasia, an extremely rare disorder which gave me a chance to change my life. A fat chance.

Location: Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Medical student (Psychiatry), online and face-to-face facilitation, CoP practitioner, writer for and about mental illness (mainly in psychiatric rehabilitation, volunteerism and ICT) but also facilitation nonprofit and CoPs, person with mental illness in recovery.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Pink Chicken

3 red bell peppers

3 chicken breasts

½ cup Red currant

5 sprigs thyme

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 tablespoon pine nuts

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

3 teaspoons marjoram

1 teaspoon pink pepper

¾ liter red wine

Chop the chicken breasts. Set aside.

Put red currant, thyme, soy sauce, pine nuts, and fennel seeds in the mixer. Mix till it’s fluid. Set aside.

Put the chicken in a big Ziplock bag, pour marjoram and pink pepper all over it. Add the mix. Add red wine.

Put in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

Chop the red bell peppers.

Put the chopped chicken in skewers alternated with chopped red bell peppers.

Set oven on 180°C (350°F) and cook.

Serve with toasted French bread with garlic rubbed on it.

Note: the amount of fat is the one in chicken (French bread is fat free).

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Hints for Low-Fat Cooking

Just today I was reached by this wonderful About.com link.

Among the many things, that I already knew, I wanted to highlight some stuff.

1. Oils:
remember some basic things:
A. Every solid oil contains transfats (margarine), saturated fats (coconut oil) or both (butter);
B. the more the omega3s an oil contains the less suitable it is for frying, because the double binds of omega3s, when heated, change configuration and make them become transfats.

Ideally, the best pick is a liquid oil whose fats are mainly saturated, like coconut(click on the slide to see its characteristics) or palm oil, but this is not healthy for your heart. Use sparingly. Plus, if you want to be sure it has no transfats, buy the virgin organic freshly squeezed one. If you fry more often and saturated fats would be too much for you, you can try using an oil that is high in monosaturated fatty acids, for example olive oil, but keep in mind that there are other substances in olive oil whose benefits would go lost completely when cooked.

Note: there are many dietetic fads. One of which is coconut oil, the other one is olive oil. The former tells you that coconut oil "makes you thin", supposedly by virtue of MCTs (medium chain tryglycerides) that aren't absorbed or metabolized as fats. The latter tells you that olive oil is always ok, frying included, while it is composed of 70% of monounsaturated fatty acids that will turn into transfats if heated.

2. Among extra lean meat, consider eating game: it's tasty, lean, and the few meat it contains is mainly omega3s. All wild animals, that is game, wild animals and grass-fed ones, have higher omega3s content.

3. Buy an appropriate set of knives: cutting fat from meat and poultry can be hard (and dangerous) without such specific tools.

4. Also learn to use parchment paper and aluminum foil to bake food into; "fry" omelettes by putting their ingredient in a ziplock bag, close it and cook it in boiling water; marinade vegetables and meat and then roast/grill it without oil; steam with herbs in the water so to give additional taste to the dish you're preparing; substitute butter with a mix of soy lecithin, apple sauce and cornstarch, and so on. Be creative.

5. If after draining you don't like the shallow taste (it does happen), add spices to flavour, cornstarch to thicken and, finally, some fresh flaxseed oil when the dish is on your plate.

6. Remember vegetables too contain fats. Do NOT think their are fatless when you do the counting.

7. When coating in breadcrums, do your own ones, starting from French bread, which is entirely fat free.

8. Remember to check for the amount of fat on sausages of any kind. Some still are 17-18%! Choose sausages from organic grass-fed chicken and turkey.

9. Replace oil for sauteing with bacon or pancetta, then skim the excess floating fat.

10. Use organic eggs, they have a higher omega3s content and a lot of lecithin, which keep them digestible and emulsified.

11. Eat fish that are "meat-like" as far as proteins are involved, like tuna or sardines. Similarly, use legumes or eggs or dairy to substitute meat. Eat at least two dishes of omega3 rich wild fish a week (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, anchovies).

12. Also use low-fat bouillon powder, not cubes, because cubes have an awful lot of transfats.

13. Beware of fat-free dairies. Most of them contain transfats or mono and diglycerides (called from E471 on in Eu).

14. Also line your tarts with a small amount of butter and plain old simple French bread breadcrums.

15. Also over fry fishsticks.

16. Don't forget to also use cornstarch, or agar, or carrageenin to thicken homemade sauces.

17. Only eat cheese without added preservatives.

18. Make your own low-fat yougurt, sourcream, buttermilk. You can even make cheese. And you'll know what's in it.

19. If you use fat free cream cheese for cheesecake, add an additional eggwhite to keep it together.

20. Replace the rest of it with soy lecithin.

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