Why You and Your Family Should be Eating Fish More Often

If this was a one-line post and I didn’t have to go any further than explaining why you and yours need to be eating more fish, it would be as simple as saying that fish is very healthy. There are indeed some reasons for eating fish more often beyond its health benefits and since fish does indeed make for one of my favourite ingredients to cook with, I’ll be happy to get into it all.

“Clean” source of protein

As far as getting your recommended dietary portion of proteins, it seldom gets “cleaner” than fish as a good source. Depending on the type of fish you’ll be cooking of course, fish is almost as pure as protein can get in its natural form and this is largely due to the fact that fish as they occur in nature are often on the move and so build up lean muscle tissue while their constant need to be on the move has them eating all the time for their energy. That’s why fish pretty much doesn’t have any fat to speak of, with even something like a fried fish dish making for a very healthy source of protein.

So something like deep sea hake will do well for your family’s source of the closest thing to pure protein as you can get, without going the supplements route.

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Very healthy

Pilchards in particular come to mind as another variety of fish which is extremely healthy, very rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which aid in the development and functionality of the brain amongst other things. Canned pilchards often don’t taste too good however and this is often the case no matter how they’ve been canned (precooked and canned in tomato sauce, etc).

So if you can get them fresh or as fresh as you can then a good fish curry with white rice and an island coconut salad will do.

Going back to the health-factor however — you only have to look at counties such as Japan where fish is major part of their diet in that part of the world and if you were to go there now you wouldn’t find too many obese people. Fish is filling and healthy, making for a great main for any meal.

Many ways to prepare fish

This is one of the biggest reasons why I personally love fish and why I think you and your family should be eating it more often. There are about a million ways to cook just one variety of fish and in each case the dish can come out tasting completely different from the next dish which features the exact same fish variety.

Season your hake with fresh lemon and garlic on one occasion for example and then on the next occasion you could season the same hake with fish spice and you’ll have two dishes of the same fish variety which taste completely different. You can also use sake if you want a healthy alternative to vinegar.

Even something like frying over microwaving, boiling or smoking will have the same fish dish tasting completely different, more so if it’s served with different sides.

Safely Carrying Out a Food Allergy Elimination Test

If you or anyone in your family experiences symptoms such as itchy ears when taking the first bite of your food, chances are you might be carrying some food allergies. Food allergies are often detected very early on in one’s life, but they can be developed over time, mostly due to an unbalanced diet which is severely deficient in one form of nutrient or one which contains too much of a certain food which comes with an excess of a certain nutrient or a selection of nutrients.

A visit to the specialist to officially test for food allergies can be a bit expensive since it likely falls under “non-essential” medical care, but ultimately that should be the aim. You should go for an official allergy test so that you can be sure of which foods are causing your body to react.

That said, while you’re perhaps putting the money together to be able to go to a food allergy specialist, there’s a way to safely carry out a food allergy elimination test, but it’s something which should perhaps only be tried by those whose reactions to certain foods are of a milder nature.

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For months on end one of my cousins would feel really, really sick after enjoying a full English breakfast, but it took a while to realise that it was indeed something in the full breakfast which was causing this allergy. It was indeed the egg, which she had somehow developed an allergy to and the symptoms were rather severe at times, including painful heels, double-vision in one eye, vertigo and constantly having a feeling of wanting to throw-up whenever she woke up in the morning.

Eggs as the culprit were narrowed-down on when she’d eaten more than one egg on a particular occasion when she’d been really hungry over breakfast and that’s when the symptoms were aggravated. All she did was eliminate eggs from her diet completely and the symptoms disappeared.

So to do a safe food allergy elimination test one must focus on the most common food items which are known to cause allergies, even if they’d previously not caused any reactions. Eggs definitely form one of these food groups, so too the likes of peanut butter, anything with gluten (which is just about everything these days), different types of nuts like almonds and even peanuts, cow’s milk and even something like artificial flavourings.

It doesn’t end there however because even sugar can cause allergies, particularly white sugar, but mostly when you react to white sugar you’ll most definitely react to brown sugar as well, which sort of gets worse because you might react to sweetener as well.

So while you’re eliminating the potential allergy-causing foods you should proceed to replace them with more natural whole foods, like perhaps replacing white sugar with honey as a natural and healthier sweetener. While you’re at it, keep a box of anti-allergy tablets handy for possible breakouts caused by a food you’re sill eating that might be the cause of the allergy, but yeah, often just eliminating known allergy-causing foods one by one does the trick to find out just what it is you’re allergic to.

Quick Microwave Dishes for When You’re Short on Time

You know that cook-book that came with your microwave oven when you first brought it home from the store? Yes, the one which has some recipes that seem impossible to prepare using the microwave oven? Well there’s a lot more to it than what you might think. With the right dedication to getting the full measure of the functionality of your microwave, you can indeed prepare some quick meals which nobody could ever guess you used the microwave oven to prepare.

Preparing the Dishes

With the right kind of effort and dedication to learning the various functions of your microwave oven, you can prepare just about any dish, even something like a roast dinner or a rice dish with veggies and the works. You can even bake potatoes or even bake a whole cake, but it’s not as simple as using the functions in the manner which they’re described in the microwave oven’s instruction manual.

Those instructions are actually just there to serve as guidelines and quite frankly they never seem to work out right. What you’ll need to do is a bit of experimentation, but not the kind of experimentation which will result in food spoilage and wastage. If you want to learn how to cook rice using the microwave oven for example, you would have your backup option on standby, which is simply to transfer the rice to a regular pot and then boil it like you’d normally prepare it.

Otherwise you might have to contend with not quite knowing whether the rice cooking in the microwave is still raw or if it’s been overcooked and has dried up.

So while we’re on the topic of rice as a dish you can prepare using the microwave, it’s as simple as combining a cup of long-grain white rice with two cups of water and half a teaspoon of salt in a microwave-safe baking dish. Do not cover. Proceed to microwave at your oven’s equivalent of power level 10 until the grains are tender and all the liquid has evaporated, some of which will be absorbed by the rice. This should take between 15 to 18 minutes, but again it all depends on getting your microwave settings just right.

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Pretty much the same applies to the other ingredients you’ll be adding to your rice dish and to the other dishes you prepare. Ordinarily, each food type cooks a bit differently, like pumpkin which would have very little to no water added to it if cooked in the microwave and each food type also cooks over its own time, but once you’ve figured out how you can pair certain food types together (in terms of their cooking time), you can make use of disposable, microwave-safe plastic food containers to cook those foods simultaneously in separate containing wells. That way serving becomes that much easier and also it saves you the trouble of having to do the dishes afterwards.

When I’m short on time I do use the microwave to prepare quite a few good dishes, but it’s never as directed in the manual. I don’t use the “baked potato” function to prepare baked potatoes for instance, rather using the grill function since it retains a good amount of the moisture in the potatoes. Other dishes I’ve prepared using only the microwave oven include the likes of grilled/baked salmon, fried scallops (yes you can fry stuff in the microwave) and even roast beef with all the sides to go with it!

Just What Do Gluten Intolerant People Eat?

So I’ve been getting quite a few requests lately about just exactly what it is that gluten intolerant people are supposed to eat. I know how hard it can be trying to prepare meals in the absence of a major ingredient which goes into the production of many foods, especially if it’s meals for longer-term periods which you’re trying to prepare, or even for life in the case of those who are severely gluten intolerant.

So here’s a meal plan I’ve put together which you can use as a base from which to expand on and exchange the ingredients so that you can never run out of ideas as far as the composition of a gluten-free meal goes:

Meal Plan #1

For breakfast, enjoy a cup of skim milk, a cup of fortified gluten-free breakfast cereal and half a cup of grapefruit. For your morning snack a teaspoon of creamy peanut butter will do on a slice of gluten-free rice bread.

For lunch you can help yourself to some turkey and lettuce wraps, a corn tortilla and half a cup of papaya. For your afternoon snack you can help yourself to an ounce of low fat cheddar cheese and an apple.

For your gluten-free dinner some Tilapia (rubbed in chilli) with lemon and asparagus will make for a delicious and filling meal, along with a fresh coleslaw salad with half a cup of cooked brown rice and then have half a cup of blackberries.

Meal Plan #2

For breakfast help yourself to a cup of fortified gluten-free corn cereal, an ounce of skim milk, half of a small banana. You can follow that up with a small apple as your morning snack.

Lunchtime would have you enjoying a Spanish tortilla alongside an unsalted tortilla, served with coleslaw and washed down with a cup of skim milk. You would then enjoy a medium nectarine for your afternoon snack.

Dinnertime would see you enjoying chicken prepared to your liking with prunes and green olives, served with half a cup of cooked brown rice and steamed broccoli spears. Enjoy six ounces of low fat vanilla yoghurt with that.

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Meal Plan #3

Now to bring some variety to the typical gluten-free meal plan, with this one you’d enjoy a scrambled egg for breakfast with a slice of gluten-free soy bread and a cup of skim milk. A small banana will do for your morning snack.

A healthy gluten-free lunch would be comprised out of a smoked salmon salad with a slice of gluten-free buckwheat bread and six ounces of low fat vanilla yoghurt. One apricot will do for your afternoon snack.

Dinnertime would have you enjoying beef that’s stewed in vegetable broth instead of making a traditional beef stew that would otherwise have a gluten-based thickener, served with a cup of cooked soba noodles and half a cup of carrots. Top your dinner off with a cup of strawberries.

Mixing and matching these meal plans can yield an endless number of combinations and will have you never having to worry about variety again, but what it should also do is give you more ideas based on what is actually quite an extensive list of gluten-free ingredients to prepare you food with.