2 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 2 Filament.io 2 Flares ×
Slow cooked beef carnitas - tasty and healthy

Slow cooked beef carnitas – tasty and healthy

It’s well and good, in fact necessary for health, to avoid processed foods and eat whole, nutrient dense properly prepared foods. But one of the greatest insults to nourishment in our processed food culture is the high heat at which so much it is cooked.

  • We deep fat fry at 350-450 degrees
  • We fry on the stovetop in vegetable oils right up until their smoke points of 375-450 degrees
  • We barbecue with gas grills that can reach temperatures of over 1000 degrees
  • And vegetarians don’t get off easy either with potato chips, flaked breakfast cereals, and roasted nuts also subjected to high heat-treating and resultant weird secondary chemicals we never intended.

This exposure of food to high heat may be convenient and quick, and it may fill the air with aromas that we savor, but it comes at a definite nutritional cost. Our food just wasn’t designed to withstand extremely high temperatures. Nor was the nutrients contained within our food. And neither were our digestive systems gear to deal with so many extras, either added or heated in.

Virtually all nutrients in food are susceptible to damage from heat. In general, most of the temperatures we cook at in the oven (250-450 degrees) are temperatures at which substantial nutrient loss occurs. And although very short cooking at 212 degrees in boiling water produces relatively little nutrient loss, once boiling goes on for more than a very short period of time (a couple of minutes) the nutrient loss becomes significant. Up to 80% of the folic acid in carrots, for example, can be lost from boiling. Even the high heats involved with commercial food canning rob foods of vast amounts of nutrients. In canned mixed vegetables, the vitamin C loss can be as high as 67. It would seem high-heat cooking is just not the way to go.

Almost always, there is some magical point at which our senses begin to dislike the result of the high-heat. It may be a color change in the kale or collards to a duller, grayer shade and although we don’t like heating oils much at all, when they smoke it’s a common-sense warning that high-heat is doing some damage. If we expose foods to high heat for too long, our taste buds will also let us know.

But the good news is:

  • When it comes to vegetables, sensitivity to high heat has to be measured in matters of minutes! In some foods, like Swiss chard, loss of vitamin C can increase by 15% in a matter of just 4-5 minutes. Green beans will steam in 3-7 minutes. During this time, their color will take on a more vibrant green hue. But toward the end of this 7-minute period, a drop in color intensity will begin to occur. By 9 or 10 minutes, the color intensity will have dropped noticeably.
  • When a vegetable is sliced the amount steaming of it needs changes too. Finely shredded cabbage requires less steaming than coarsely shredded cabbage, with more surface directly exposed to the steam. If you mix vegetables in the steamer basket, the top-most layers that are more directly exposed to the steam should be the vegetables needing the least steaming., vegetables that need less steaming can be added to the steamer basket later on. Even butternut squash can be perfectly steamed in less than 20 minutes.
  • It may sound silly, but covering the pot while steaming can help preserve the nutritional quality of food, where steam contact with the food is more consistent, for the least amount of cook time. In addition, light-sensitive nutrients – like vitamin B2 – will not be leeched out of the food so easily. As an added benefit, many water-soluble nutrients will pass out into the steam, and then drop back down into the water below the steamer basket. Save this water! It can be used as a base for soups and sauces, or at the very minimum, allowed to cool and used to water plants in the garden.

Bring on the health benefits of slow cooking:

Low temperature cooking is something you don’t hear enough about in its health benefits, likely because refraining from baking at a standard temperature is sometimes considered to be breaking a near set-in-stone tradition. We’ve grown up with the notion that 350-degree temperature is the only way to properly cook food.

And those who’ve grown up with a microwave in the last 40 years have minds trained to expect hot food in a quicker amount of time and because slow cooking lives up to its name, requiring more oven time. With a conventional oven, you generally have to allow 12 to 15 minutes per every 4 ounces of food. As far as temperature, you should never exceed 225F.

But slow cooking has more health benefits than it’s high cooking compatriot and using the wonders of a slow cooker, your meals pretty much cook themselves so all the meals in an instant and too slow to wait ideas can really be thrown out the window!

By far the worse affected by heat are fats:

Contrary to popular belief, a fairly high percentage of good fats are required for optimum health. Most of us have been on a low fat diet for over 30years and as a result, healthy fatty acid deficiency is epidemic, resulting in the musculoskeletal, endocrine, cardiovascular and immune issues as well as allergies, skin problems and depression we see so prevalently today. The good news, however is that inflammation can be effectively managed with nutritional therapy, therefore reducing healing time. We just have to up our fat intake and ensure its optimal digestion at the same time.

Fats (healthy or no) make up of all our cell membranes

Fats (healthy or no) make up of all our cell membranes

Fats do not make you fat! They compose about 15% of our body weight and provide a concentrated source of energy in our diet. They’re important in the make up of all our cell membranes, are necessary for healthy liver function: building healthy cholesterol and bile, required for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, K as well as the adequate use of proteins. They also play a role in slowing the absorption of food for proper energy regulation and most important of all, make food taste good.

Here’s a quick guide http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/ to the best fats to cook with, dress food with and ensure the most vitamin absorption:

For Cooking:ButterTallow and suet from beef and lambLard from pigsChicken, goose and duck fatCoconut, palm and palm kernel oils For SaladsExtra virgin olive oil (also OK for cooking)Expeller-expressed sesame and peanut oilsExpeller-expressed flax oil (in small amounts) For Fat-Soluble VitaminsFish liver oils such as cod liver oil (preferable to fish oils, which do not provide fat-soluble vitamins, can cause an overdose of unsaturated fatty acids and usually come from farmed fish.)The following newfangled fats can cause cancer, heart disease, immune system dysfunction, sterility, learning disabilities, growth problems and osteoporosis:All hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oilsIndustrially processed liquid oils such as soy, corn, safflower, cottonseed and canolaFats and oils (especially vegetable oils) heated to very high temperatures in processing and frying.

Here’s some yummy Slow Cooker recipes to get you started:

Slow cooked beef carnitas - tasty and healthy

Slow cooked beef carnitas – tasty and healthy; click image for recipe

 

Chicken with Fennel & Tomato

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken or chicken cut into pieces with bones & skin
  • 2 fresh fennels cut into slices and includes the green tops
  • 4 large tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 1 large chopped Spanish onion
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of fennel seeds
  • 4 cloves of garlic sliced

Method:

First place layers of fennel, tomato, garlic and onion in slow cooker. Add water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub butter, salt, fennels seeds and pepper all over chicken. Nestle chicken in vegetables.

Cover and cook on low or warm for 8 hours in your slow cooker.

Serve with a fresh green salad with a fresh dressing: ½ lemon juiced, 1 whole lemon zest and ¼ cup of chopped parsley, 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt and pepper.

Slow cooked pork belly in Chinese-style pancakes - cooks while you work

Slow cooked pork belly in Chinese-style pancakes – cooks while you work

Greek-style Leg of lamb

Ingredients:

  • 1 leg of lamb – score skin
  • 4 medium carrots cut into bite sizes
  • ½ a small jap pumpkin, cut into bite size pieces
  • 4 celery stalks with leaf tops cut in to slices
  • 1 large chopped white onion
  • 4 large tomatoes quartered
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons of OVViO Organic Grecian Blend: rosemary leaves, bay leaves, oregano, back and white peppercorns and garlic granules
  • 4 cloves of garlic sliced

Method:

Place layers of carrots, potatoes, celery, garlic and onion in slow cooker. Add water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub butter, salt, and Grecian Blend all over lamb. Nestle lamb in vegetables.

Cover, cook on low or warm for 8-10 hours in your slow cooker.

Serve with a fresh green salad with a fresh dressing: ½ lemon juiced, 1 whole lemon zest and ¼ cup of chopped parsley, ¼ cup of fresh mint and ½ cup of yoghurt, 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt and pepper.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *