At this time of year I like to make my New Year food resolutions. These are things I want to change about my diet to improve it for the better. Like all New Year resolutions some get acted upon and some I find myself repeating the following year but every change is a positive move in the right direction.
So what are the changes I want to implement this year. I’ve decided I want to eat meat that is grass fed rather than grain fed. Generally I buy my meat from farmers markets and local butchers which I’m sure is more naturally reared than supermarket meat but I don’t always question how it is produced. Grass fed and outdoor reared meat has more omega 3 oils which are better for us. There is a farm in Shropshire called Fordhall farm where cattle and pigs are kept outside all year and special green crops are grown to supplement their diet (see past food for thought blog). Fordhall farm sell mail order as do Graig farm and Laversoke farm sell via Ocado. You can also buy sodium nitrate free sausages and bacon from the latter two farms.
I’m also trying to make my own stock for most of my cooking. Stock cubes all contain hydrogenated protein, yeasts, dairy or masses of salt and I’m not happy using them. I can buy chicken carcasses from my farmers market and I’ve been simplifying my stock making. I used to roast the carcasses first but I now miss out that stage. I buy six chicken carcasses and using the wooden mallet we keep in the garage I flatten the carcasses whilst they are still in their plastic bags. This enables me to fit 6 carcasses in my slow cooker. I cover these with water and cook for 12 hours. I then strain the stock, refrigerate overnight and remove any surface fat the following morning before decanting into small containers and freezing. It makes such a difference to have fresh stock for recipes and feels so much better than using a cube.
Including more turmeric in cooking is on my list too. Curcumin the main active ingredient has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a strong antioxidant and is often termed a superfood. However turmeric needs to be included in food to harness its benefits, preferably with oily foods. Although there are recipes where I use turmeric, I am trying to get into the habit of including it more often by adding a little to casseroles, soups, stir fries or any recipe where the bright yellow colour will not overpower.
Water is also on my list this year. I have used jug type water filters over the years and have frequently thought about having a permanent filter installed but somehow I have never felt comfortable with the idea. Recently a friend put me in touch with a device that produces structured water (www.thehouseholdhealer.co.uk/welcome-structured-water) This feels right and I’m going to investigate further. What I do like is the fact that the unit never needs replacing.
I’m aware that all these changes will take me more time and effort but I feel I’m ready for the challenge. The better I eat the more energy I have so hopefully I won’t notice any extra work. As always it will be interesting to see what I have managed to put into practice when I look back at the end of the year.