Mini Pork Burgers 3 Ways

ITS NATIONAL BURGER DAY! Get ready Britain because I am switching up the traditional beef patty. Using pork instead and three crazy but creative topping ideas – brie and bacon; pineapple and peanut butter; chorizo and manchego – these treats are perfect as a party appetiser or can be sized up and enjoyed on a typical rainy British summer day.

Makes 6 mini burgers

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g lean pork mince
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 6 mini burger buns, halved
  • 1 buffalo tomato, sliced lengthways
  • handful of rocket
  • skewers for serving
  • 1 tsp olive oil

METHOD:

  1. Add the pork mince and spices to a large mixing bowl. Wet your hands and form into 6 equally sized patties.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat, add the patties and cook for 5 minutes per side, or until they are brown all the way through.
  3. Build your burger! This is where you should add any extra toppings that you want.
  4. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

Per basic burger – mini burger buns must be used (31g bread per bun):

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Pork – High in protein and the B vitamins for carbohydrate and energy utilisation, and mineral phosphorus for bone and protein function.

Tomatoes – massively high in vitamin C for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis; it also has functions in detoxification and as an antioxidant. It also gives you vitamin A for vision and immune function, and potassium for fluid balance and muscle contraction.

Bread – high in quick-release carbohydrate if white bread is selected, or fibre for digestion if wholemeal is selected.

TOPPINGS:

Brie and bacon:

Add two slices of lean bacon, two slices of brie, and a dollop of cranberry sauce when building your burger!

Brie – even though it has a relatively high fat content, cheese is high in calcium for bone strength and stability.

Bacon – High in protein and the B vitamins for carbohydrate and energy utilisation, and mineral phosphorus for bone and protein function.

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Pineapple and peanut butter:

When frying the patties, add the pineapple to the pan as well and it will heat up and go all crispy! Slather peanut butter to the bun and add the pineapple to the top of the stack.

Pineapple – this sweet fruit is high in thiamin, riboflavin and B6 for energy release.

Peanut butter – peanuts are high in biotin and niacin for energy release, and copper for enzyme function and blood clotting.

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Chorizo and manchego:

Chorizo – Although relatively high in fat and salt, this meat is good for adding texture and flavour to meals.

Manchego – even though it has a relatively high fat content, cheese is high in calcium for bone strength and stability.

Add two slice of cooked chorizo, a ring of red pepper and two slices of manchego cheese to the stack.

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Homemade Squash Gnocchi

This is the first time that I have made gnocchi and its actually went so well! I am pretty proud of myself (as you can tell). This vegetarian main tastes DELICIOUS, contains 3 of your 5-a-day, and is low in fat and salt!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 whole squash
  • 6 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • sprigs of thyme
  • 200g white mushrooms
  • 150g broccoli
  • 1 400g can butter beans
  • 40g parmesan, grated

METHOD:

  1. Cut the squash into pieces and put in the microwave for roughly 5 x 2minute blasts, or until the flesh is soft.
  2. Meanwhile cook the broccoli and beans for 5 minutes in a pan of boiling water, and dry fry the mushrooms for 5 minutes.
  3. Squeeze the flesh into a bowl and mash up, add the nutmeg, sage, garlic, and flour – this should form a dough, if not, add more flour.
  4. Roll out the dough into a thick strip and cut into gnocchi-sized pieces.
  5. Add to a pan of boiling water and cook for roughly 4 minutes or until the pieces are floating on top.
  6. In an oven-proof dish, add the gnocchi, mushrooms, broccoli, thyme, and sprinkle with parmesan.
  7. Oven-cook on 220/8, or grill, until all the cheese has melted on the top.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Squash – despite the large natural sugar content, squash provides LOADS OF B vitamins, which have functions in energy release in respiration, and is massively high in potassium which maintains fluid and electrolyte balance.

Cheese – even though it has a relatively high fat content, cheese is high in calcium for bone strength and stability.

Mexican Partayy

Hey! So it was my birthday last week and in pure cookandcontemplate style I had a massive Mexican make-your-own chicken burrito buffet. Here are the recipes making up the meal – just add all to a wrap with some tortilla chips on the side and you have got yourself a fiesta!

Spiced chicken:

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tsp mild chilli powder

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220/8.
  2. Mix the olive oil and spices with the chicken and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until white all the way through.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Tomato Mexican-style rice:

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g wholegrain rice
  • 2x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 white onions
  • 1 tsp olive oil

METHOD:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on a medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until transparent. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, rice and spices and reduce to a low heat.
  4. Cook for 15-20 minutes, adding hot water if needed, or until the rice is soft and has absorbed all liquid.
  5. Season and serve!

NUTRITION:

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Homemade guacamole:

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 white onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • bunch of coriander, chopped
  • 3 avocados
  • juice of 1 lime

METHOD:

  1. Mash the avocados with the other ingredients and season.
  2. Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Corn salsa salad:

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2x 326g can sweetcorn, drained
  • 200g tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 2 limes, zest and juice
  • 1/2 green chilli, chopped and deseeded

METHOD:

  1. Add all the ingredients into a serving dish and mix – leave to marinate in the lime juice for 30minutes in the fridge if you have time.
  2. Season and enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Curtido (Mexican coleslaw):

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 white cabbage, shredded
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • bunch of coriander, chopped

METHOD:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a serving dish with a pinch of salt.
  2. Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Lighter Swedish Meatballs

Bring them Ikea meatballs home with you with this easy, healthier version! Using yoghurt instead of the double cream which is normally used, and lean mincemeat, this recipe reduces the fat content significantly from regular versions whilst still tasting AMAZING.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g pork mince
  • 250g 5% fat beef mince
  • 4 tbsp fat free greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp Hendersons relish or Worcestershire sauce
  • 600ml beef stock
  • 2 tsp dried dill
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 30g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 800g cooked wholewheat fusilli pasta, to serve

METHOD:

  1. Combine the meat, onion, egg, breadcrumbs and dill in a large bowl and shape into balls – there should be 16.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan on a high heat and add the meatballs to brown. TIP: limit the turning of the meatball so that they do not fall apart. When no pink meat can be seen, remove from the pan.
  3. Mix the cornstarch in a bowl with 1-2 tbsp of cold water or until a thick consistency has been formed.
  4. Add 200ml of the stock to the pan used for the meatballs and simmer; slowly whisk the cornstarch mix into the stock, creating a thick gravy. Whisk the remainder of the stock in and add the browned meatballs, reducing to a medium heat. Cook for 15minutes or until the meatballs are brown inside.
  5. Whisk in the mustard, Henderson’s relish and yoghurt and heat for a further 2 minutes – this may alter the consistency of the sauce so cook until preferred thickness.
  6. Serve with pasta.
  7. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Beef – High in protein and low in fat, when the lean version is bought. It is also high in vitamin B3, B6 and B12 for energy release in respiration, and iron for protein and neurotransmitter synthesis and immune function.

Pork – High in protein and the B vitamins for carbohydrate and energy utilisation, and mineral phosphorus for bone and protein function.

Yoghurt – Contributes towards your protein and calcium requirements. Calcium is essential for bone growth and maintenance.

Wholewheat pasta – High in carbohydrate and low in fat this base will keep you full, providing fibre for digestion and energy for those long working days!

Eating Disorders: Myth vs Reality

Let me define an eating disorder for you:

“A psychological condition centred around abnormal or detrimental eating patterns”

Despite definitions like this and further information surrounding eating disorders being easily accessible, there are still false perceptions present which are having negative effects on eating disorder awareness.

I want to put to rest these myths and perceptions in hope to increase awareness for those in need. Please please read through this whole post and feel free to contact any helplines that I have linked at the end if you feel like you or another need someone to talk to.

Myth 1: Anorexia and Bulimia are the only eating disorders

In a society obsessed with criteria and categories, it is easy to focus on the well-known eating disorders and dismiss someone’s issues if they do not fit in a particular diagnostic box. Eating disorders, as with any mental illness, are not as easy as ‘black or white’, or ‘anorexia or bulimia’. There is a large grey area that people should be more aware of so that sufferers not ticking all the boxes can still access appropriate treatment.

This grey area may be easier to explain numerically. BEAT, Britain’s largest eating disorder charity, predicts that 40% of people with an eating disorder have bulimia, 10% have anorexia, and 50% have OSFED[1]. Please click below to read more about what the different eating disorders are and their signs.
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Myth 2: Eating disorders only occur in young women

Stereotypes are often exaggerations of the truth, and here is no exception. The stigma that eating disorders occur in young women is somewhat accurate; in fact, they are considered ‘high-risk’ compared to other societal groups. This is supported by statistics showing that 89% of people with eating disorders are female [1], and the illness often begins between the ages of 12 and 18, with 14 to 16 being the most common [2].

Despite this, and emphasised in myth 1, mental illness is a grey area – even though eating disorders are more common in young women, it is predicted that 11% of sufferers are men [1], and there is evidence of eating disorders in children as young as 8 and in the elderly [3].

To summarise, eating disorders can occur in anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, upbringing etc etc.

Myth 3: You have got to be thin to have an eating disorder

“If you can’t see it, it is not there” 

The above quote and associated myth is a perception heightened by media coverage focusing on anorexia and malnourishment. The perception impacts negatively on eating disorder awareness by narrowing the public’s focus to the physical manifestations of eating disorders rather than the mental symptoms, meaning that sufferers that are not underweight are often disregarded as having an eating disorder.

The truth of the matter is this: 80-85% of people with an eating disorder are not underweight [4]. There is an increasing link between obesity and eating disorders, with binge eating disorder [5] and night eating syndrome [6] being the most common named disorders associated with obesity, and they both involve distress around food. Equally, eating disorders can occur when someone is of a normal weight and BMI. So, again, the weight of eating disorder sufferers is not black or white, underweight or overweight – sufferers can be any weight or body shape.

It is important to understand this myth because the mental symptoms occur before the physical ones. Treatment still needs to be engaged with if someone is displaying psychological and behavioural signs of an eating disorder, without the physical ones.

Myth 4: Purging only involves vomiting

Purging is a primary indicator of bulimia or other related eating disorders. It is a common misconception that vomiting is the only purging method; there are unfortunately multiple ways that someone can purge.

Purging is the act of physically removing food/ calories out of the body and this can involve[7]:

  • Self-induced vomiting.
  • Misuse of medication which can include laxatives, diuretics, enemas, appetite suppressants, thyroid preparations, insulin etc.
  • Fasting
  • Excessive exercising

Not only the lack of public knowledge about the different methods, but also the lack of knowledge about how dangerous they are, is worrying. With fasting and excessive exercise being a purging method, the binge-purge cycles may be much more common than you may think. Being aware of the different ways someone can purge is important for accurate identification, treatment and recovery.

Myth 5: Eating disorder behaviour focuses solely on food and body image

Eating disorders are often linked to other mental health disorders, with anxiety, depression, and OCD being common secondary illnesses that can develop with an eating disorder. I will be looking into this further in future posts.

Linked below are some helplines which can be used if needed:

https://www.mind.org.uk/#

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

https://www.samaritans.org/

https://www.ocdaction.org.uk/

http://depressionuk.org/

Myth 6: Parents and the media are to blame

Nature or nurture? The above myth solely blames the environment that the sufferer has/ is experiencing. In reality, eating disorders are multifactorial – meaning that both nature and nurture can play a part in their development.

Nature – There is research showing that eating disorders are several times more common amongst biological relatives of people that have already had eating disorders [8], and that identical twins are much more likely to share a disorder than non-identical [4]. This, and a vast amount of other research, supports the theory that genetics contribute to eating disorder development.

Nurture – Every person has developed under different circumstances and has experienced different things. This considered, every eating disorder sufferer will have different environmental factors which have assisted their illness’s development. Some of the potential risk factors can include but aren’t limited to [9]: exposure to trauma such as abuse, death or bullying; a predisposition for obesity or leanness; and particular personality traits. 

Despite the extensive research carried out to find the causes of eating disorders, the recovery for sufferers is more important. Read on to find out how you seek help and treatment for eating disorder recovery.

Myth 7: There is nothing that can be done

There are a multitude of things that can be done.

For all other myths around eating disorders, I have collected credible, evidence-based sources and pooled them together to create my posts and increase eating disorder awareness. For the above myth, I want to link sources that have been made by experienced health professionals as I think that they would be more useful.

If you are concerned about yourself, a friend or a family member I would urge you to look at the below sources:

BEAT is the British Eating Disorder Association:

https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/

The NHS website is also useful:

https://www.nhs.uk/pages/home.aspx

If you are worried and are not from the UK, please give me a message and I can direct you to the correct association.

Alternatively, you could go and visit your local GP.

Like any disease or illness, it is much better if the signs are spotted and appropriate medical care is initiated during the earlier stages. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you are aware of the potential signs of eating disorders, and how treatment can be sought after. Please spread awareness and the helplines above. This should be talked about more.

Continue reading Eating Disorders: Myth vs Reality

African-Spiced Peach and Pomegranate Chicken

I am stuck in not-so-sunny Cardiff so I thought I would make a summery spiced salad to cheer me up! Using North African flavours, this light and easy meal can be used as a lunch and a tea, and provides a load of vitamins and minerals for health.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 2 peaches, quartered
  • 1 courgette, stripped
  • 3 Brazil nuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Seasoning

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220/8.
  2. Mix the spices together and put half on the chicken thighs and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, add the remaining spices to the peaches and add to the oven after the 10 minutes is over. The peaches and chicken thighs should now take a further 20minutes to cook.
  4. When they are nearly done, heat the olive oil in a pan on a medium-high heat. Add the courgette strips and cook until slightly browned.
  5. Plate up the courgette, peaches and chicken thighs, and top with the pomegranate seeds and Brazil nuts.
  6. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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Chicken – a good source of protein which is high in the vitamins thiamin, riboflavin and niacin for energy production; and zinc for enzyme function, immune control and protein synthesis.

Peaches – High in vitamin A for vision, and C for antioxidant and immune function.

Brazil nuts – One of the best sources of selenium which has a massive role in the immune system and in thyroid hormone function.

Pomegranate seeds – Considered a superfood, pomegranate is high in vitamin C for immune function, folate for DNA synthesis, and potassium for fluid balance.

Courgette – High in vitamin A for vision, fibre for digestion, and magnesium for chemical reactions in the body and immune function.

Frozen Pineapple Chocolate Rings

Yummy yummy yummy – a great way to get one of your 5-a-day whilst having a little treat!

Makes 6 rings (I may have eaten one before I took the photo….)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pineapple
  • 100g chocolate
  • Other toppings – see ideas at the bottom

METHOD:

  1. Cut the pineapple into 6 slices, removing the skin and the middle.
  2. Freeze overnight.
  3. When frozen, melt the chocolate in a bowl above a saucepan of simmering water.
  4. Dip the rings in the chocolate, and cover with any other toppings – this will have to be done quickly if the chocolate is to be used as a ‘sticking agent’ as the frozen pineapple will cause the chocolate to harden quickly.
  5. Eat immediately or stick in the freezer for keeping.
  6. Enjoy!

NUTRITION:

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This is the nutrition information per basic ring covered in chocolate – additional toppings mean additional calories and macronutrients so please take this into consideration.

Topping ideas:

  • Desiccated coconut
  • Chopped macadamia nuts
  • Chopped dried mango
  • Chopped glace cherries
  • Coconut and chopped pecan nuts
  • Glace cherries and mini marshmallows
  • Raspberry sauce