A few weeks ago, my Irishman was in a lift with a family with a sick baby. He mentioned that he has a one-year-old and the other parents were like, ‘Oh you must be used to him being sick’.
My Irishman was a little taken back by this.
Over dinner he told me about his encounter with the sick child.
We both realized we’ve been very lucky with Fergal. Apart from the odd runny nose, he hasn’t ever been really sick. (Excuse me while I just go and touch some wood!)
But is this just good luck? Or good genes? Or something we’re doing or not doing?
In all likelihood, it’s a combination. However, our habits and lifestyle must be having an impact.
4 Ways I Keep My Family Healthy
1. We eat real food.
The rate of obesity has increased at the same rate as our consumption of processed food. Coincidence? I think not.
What do I mean by ‘real food’?
Basically, it’s anything without a complicated ‘ingredients list’ on the pack. Or better yet, food that doesn’t come in packages. Like vegetables, fish, meat etc.
While most of our food falls into the ‘real’ category, we don’t obsess. I’m happy for occasional processed conveniences like commercial curry pastes or tomato ketchup.
2. We go easy on grains, especially wheat.
The main problem with grains, even ‘whole grains’ is they provide loads of carbohydrates without enough beneficial micronutrients. I prefer to get my carbs in the form of vegetables and legumes.
Even if you think you don’t have a problem with wheat or gluten, you may find your health improves if you experiment with removing wheat from your diet. It’s not just a digestive thing. In ‘Wheat Belly,’ William Davis links consumption of modern wheat to all sorts of ills including schizophrenia.
3. We aren’t afraid of fat. Including saturated fat.
Whenever I write about fat it tends to be controversial. The whole ‘low fat’ movement has a lot to answer for.
Eating fat doesn’t make you fat. In our house we love olive oil, butter, cream, nuts, avocado and bacon.
Not ready to stop being fat phobic? Then check out:
– What Does It Mean to Be Fat-Adapted?
– Why Fat is the Preferred Fuel for Human Metabolism
Also, saturated fat isn’t bad for us. In 2010 a panel of heart disease experts concluded that reducing saturated fat intake doesn’t reduce the risk of heart disease.
Saturated fat tends to be the most stable fat for cooking and can actually be beneficial. If you think I’ve gone crazy, read 7 Reasons to Eat More Saturated Fat.
4. We eat lots of vegetables.
Vitamins. Minerals. Fiber. Antioxidants. Plus they’re delicious.
What’s not to love about veg!
In case you’re wondering, I’d better be clear about my credentials.
I’m not a professional dietitian or nutritionist. However, I did study nutrition at university. For my Food Science Degree I took two nutrition subjects (and got distinctions!) along with basic biochemistry.
Super Yum Bacon & Cabbage
My Irishman tells me that bacon and cabbage is a traditional dish from Limerick. He’s a big fan of his Mum, Geraldine’s version.
I knew it was a bit risky to mess around with a family favourite but I couldn’t help myself. Instead of boiling the cabbage, I just soften it in a little oil which saves time and reduces the risk of any ‘smelly’ cabbagey flavours.
enough for 2
3-4 slices bacon, chopped
1 bunch leeks, washed & white parts sliced OR 1 onion
1/2 small cabbage or 1/4 large, sliced
1 tablespoon rice or other wine vinegar
1. Heat a medium saucepan on a medium heat. Add a little olive oil and brown bacon.
2. Then add the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring when you think of it.
3. When the leeks have started to soften, add the cabbage and a splash of water. Cover and cook, stirring every few minutes until the cabbage is ‘al dente’ or just soft. Somewhere from 5-10 minutes.
4. Season with salt and pepper and vinegar. Serve hot.
different cabbage thicknesses – I like to slice my cabbage finely using my knife, so not as fine as a mandoline. This way the cabbage cooks quickly. If you’re after a more chunky look, cutting the cabbage into 1 inch ribbons will also work, just expect a longer cooking time.
more veg – serve with flat leaf parsley leaves, baby spinach or a few spoonfuls of home made sauerkraut.
different cabbage – I’ve used white cabbage in the picture but we love this with red cabbage (and balsamic vinegar) or savoy as well. You could also use brussels sprouts, just remember to slice them finely so they cook quickly. Kale can also be used.
vegetarian – just skip the bacon and serve with a salty cheese crumbled over like feta.
herby – a little thyme or sage added with the onions is also lovely.
carb lovers – serve with steamed or mashed potatoes.
vegan – replace bacon with smoked tofu or skip the bacon and serve topped with roasted or smoked nuts such as almonds.