The Ethics of Eating Meat

Diabetes Diet

Diabetes DietHow do you love animals, hate waste and environmental damage, and yet eat meat, fish, dairy and eggs at the same time?

I ask myself this a lot. I was a vegetarian for years because I called myself an animal lover and meat-consumption didn’t seem to fit. As a long-term lover of vegetables and pulses, I found the food delicious—certainly the stuff I made for myself in the house. I suffered my way through plenty of bad pasta dishes in restaurants staffed by unimaginative chefs.

In 2010, I embraced low-carb living. At first, I only added fish to my diet. You can do a low-carb version of vegetarianism, but it’s limited. Fish added variety and health benefits even if my ethical self shuddered at the thought of being one of ‘those’ vegetarians.

Bacon temptation

I started eating meat in 2013. The stance didn’t feel as big as a jump as going from vegetarian to eating fish, so it wasn’t such a dramatic shake-up of my internal moral compass. And blimey, bacon… it’s a cliché that many a former vegetarian stumbled at the bacon hurdle and it’s well founded.

Diabetes Diet's picture of the cover of Louise Gray's bookThe reason for all this pondering is a book I’ve just bought—The Ethical Carnivore: My Year of Killing to Eat by Louise Gray. The premise is that the Daily Telegraph’s onetime environmental journalist decided she would only eat meat she’d killed herself, and the book begins with her first experience of shooting a rabbit.

I’m 75 percent certain I couldn’t kill an animal deliberately. I’m of the generation that’s become completely detached from the animals we put in our mouths. My father shot rabbits and gutted and skinned them, and he could do the same with birds. I have a razor-sharp memory of him standing at the back door, one back foot of a dead rabbit in each hand, and ripping it apart to allow the cats to dig in

Chickens coming to life

Meat’s almost always appeared in front of me packaged, its origins neatly obscured. Handling chickens makes me flinch as I visualise a head sprouting from that gaping cavity or feathers poking through the skin.

Veganism’s argument for greater health benefits doesn’t convince me. An omnivorous diet of unprocessed foods and plenty of fruit and vegetables will provide the same health gains. But I’m still left with the conundrum—how to eat meat that minimises animal suffering and doesn’t cost the planet dearly?

The ethics thing trips me up all the time. Buy free-range eggs—yes, but they clip the birds’ breaks and kill the male chicks at birth in a horrible way, anyway. Buy Red Tractor meat—not according to this article about what it means for animal welfare standards. Eat meat from the Farmers Market—but it’s so expensive. Eat organic dairy—what about the forced separation of cows from calves and what the industry does to male calves?

I’ve only started the book and I’m hoping it will end with a neat set of guidelines. Follow these and you too can be an ethical carnivore kind of thing. I doubt reading The Ethical Carnivore will turn me into a hunter, but if I emerge with a better understanding of what I can do, I’ll be delighted.

How do you deal with the ethics of eating meat? Any tips or advice gratefully received…

Ethics picture – Madhamathi SV and licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International Licence. 

 

Baba Ghanoush – Low Carb Recipes

a picture of aubergines on the Diabetes DietAubergines are fan-flippin-tastic done in a pizza oven. Cut the tops off, half them, score the skin and rub with olive or rapeseed oil, sprinkle with sea salt, wrap in foil and place in the heated oven for fifteen minutes.

Done! The best accompaniment to…well, anything if you love aubergines as much as I do. Traditional matches might be lamb steaks. Or you could wrap up some peppers too and make yourself a big bowl of garlic dip to go with them. Ooh, veggie heaven…

Alternatively, why not try some Baba Ghanoush? Ever heard this aubergine dip referred to as poor man’s caviar? If you’ve tasted the real thing, you’re within your rights to argue the supposed paupers’ option is the much better deal. What would you rather eat—a super silky, lemony-garlicky scented paste you can dip things in? (Fingers if you really must; we won’t judge.) Or fish eggs?

Here’s my version, with an alternative method if you don’t have a pizza oven.

Baba Ghanoush

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 medium-sized aubergines
  • 2tbsp tahini paste
  • 4tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
  • 4tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper

Slice the tops off the aubergines, half them lengthways, score the skin and rub with some of the oil. Wrap in foil.

Slice the onion in half too and wrap in foil.

Either cook in a pizza oven (about 250 degrees C) or place in an oven (180 degrees C). The vegetables will take about 15 minutes in the pizza oven. Unwrap from the foil and place in for a few more minutes to char them.

In the oven, allow about 30-40 minutes. You want the aubergines collapsing. Take the foil off for the last five minutes of cooking.

Scrape most of the aubergines from the skin, although you can keep a bit of it for extra smokiness. Place the aubergines, onions and garlic in a food processor with the rest of the oil, the lemon juice and the tahini. Whizz till smooth.

Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.

The whole dish has about 45g carbs and 18g fibre.

 

Celebrate the NHS 70th birthday with tea and cakes?

On the 5th of July the NHS celebrates its 70th Birthday.  There is a concerted effort to celebrate this with tea parties and people are meant to contribute the proceeds to an NHS charity of their choice. Diabetes UK perhaps?

The trouble could be the cakes, sandwiches, scones and stuff that is likely to be scoffed along with the tea and coffee.

My practice has been gifted a hamper to celebrate the event.

This is what it contains:

plain and fruit scones

Clotted cream

strawberry jam

tea

Fudge oat crunch cookies

strawberries and cream shortbread biscuits

If you are having one of these events at your workplace, there are many low carb alternatives you can bring instead.

It is a pity the event didn’t feature something that emphasised good health promotion instead of bad health promotion. Going for a 30 minute walk for instance.

https://nhsbig7tea.co.uk/

Jovina cooks: A traditional French feast

Madame Saucourt’s Ratatouille
Hotel Mas des Serres in Saint Paul de Vence.
Source: Mediterranean Grains and Greens by Paula Wolfert

Ingredients
5 pounds eggplant
5 pounds zucchini
5 pounds sweet onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
1 quart extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mixed herbs: rosemary, savory, peppermint, thyme, and celery
1 bay leaf
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups dry yet fruity white wine
2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, cored and seeded
5 pounds red bell peppers
A few drops of red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped mixed herbs for garnish: basil, parsley, thyme
Directions
Stem and peel the eggplant. Cut the flesh into 1″ cubes and place them in a deep kettle filled with very salty water. Keep submerged with a non-corrodible plate for at least 1 hour
Stem and peel the zucchini. Cut the flesh into 1″ cubes and place in a deep colander. Toss the zucchini with salt and let stand 1/2 hour.
In a very large heavy skillet or heavy-bottomed roasting pan cook the chopped onions in 1/2 cup water and 1 cup olive oil until the onions are soft and golden, about 30 minutes. Add the garlic, chopped herbs, bay leaf, sugar, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of the wine. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes.
Coarsely chop the tomatoes with their skins in the work bowl of a food processor. Add to the skillet and continue cooking at a simmer for 11/2 hours. Whenever the onion-tomato mixture starts to stick or burn, “deglaze” with a few tablespoons of water and scrape with a wooden spoon.
Grill the peppers; when cool, peel, stem, seed and cut into small pieces. Set aside.
Rinse and drain the eggplant and zucchini and lightly press dry with toweling.
Slowly heat the remaining 3 cups of olive oil in a wide pan or fryer until medium-hot. Add the zucchini in batches, and fry until golden on all sides. Transfer the zucchini with a slotted spoon to a colander set over a bowl to catch any excess oil. When all the zucchini has been fried, fry the eggplant in the same manner. From time to time return the drained oil in the bowl to the pan.
Spread the zucchini, eggplant, and peppers over the simmering onion-tomato mixture and pour in the remaining wine. Cover and cook at a simmer for 11/2 hours. From time to time remove the cover to help evaporate some of the liquid.
Place a colander over a large bowl and pour the contents of the skillet into it to drain. Stir carefully to avoid crushing the vegetables while trying to encourage any trapped oil and juices to drain. Quickly cool down the captured juices in order to remove as much oil as possible. If there is a lot of juice, boil it down until thick. Reserve all the frying oil and oil from the vegetables for another use. Pour the juices over the vegetables, taste for seasoning, add vinegar, and carefully stir to combine. Serve hot or cold. Sprinkle with fresh herbs.

Coquilles St-Jacques

Serves 6
Ingredients
8 oz. button mushrooms, minced
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 small shallots, minced
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 tablespoons minced tarragon, plus 6 whole leaves, to garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup dry vermouth
1 bay leaf
6 large sea scallops
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup grated Gruyère
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Directions
Heat mushrooms, 4 tablespoons butter, and 2⁄3 of the shallots in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat; cook until the mixture forms a loose paste, about 25 minutes. Stir the parsley and minced tarragon into the mushroom mixture; season with salt and pepper.
Divide mixture among 6 cleaned scallop shells or shallow gratin dishes. Bring remaining shallots, vermouth, bay leaf, salt, and 3⁄4 cup water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add scallops; cook until barely tender, about 2 minutes.
Remove scallops; place each over mushrooms in shells. Continue boiling cooking liquid until reduced to 1⁄2 cup, about 10 minutes; strain.
Heat broiler to high. Heat remaining butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; cook until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add reduced cooking liquid and cream; cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add cheese, juice, salt, and pepper; divide the sauce over scallops.
Broil until browned on top, about 3 minutes; garnish each with a tarragon leaf.

French Cassoulet
This hearty dish from southwestern France, known as a cassoulet, is a one-pot meal. A slow-simmered mix of beans, pork sausages, pork shoulder, pancetta and duck topped with a bread crumb crust , takes its name from the earthenware casserole in which it was traditionally made. My comment:You don’t need to use the breadcrumb crust.
Serves 6-8
Ingredients
1 lb. dried great northern beans
10 tablespoons duck fat or olive oil
16 cloves garlic, smashed
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 large ham hocks
1 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1″cubes
1⁄2 lb. pancetta, cubed
4 sprigs oregano
4 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
1 cup whole peeled canned tomatoes
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
4 duck legs
1 lb. pork sausages
2 cups bread crumbs (preferably not on a low carb diet!)
Directions
Soak the beans in a 4-qt. bowl in 7 1⁄2 cups water overnight.
Heat 2 tablespoons of duck fat in a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add half the garlic, onions, and carrots and cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add ham hocks along with beans and their water and boil. Reduce heat and simmer beans until tender, about 1 1⁄2 hours.
Transfer ham hocks to a plate; let cool. Pull off meat; discard skin, bone, and gristle. Chop meat; add to beans. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons duck fat in a 5-qt. dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown for 8 minutes. Add pancetta; cook for 5 minutes. Add remaining garlic, onions, and carrots; cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Tie together oregano, thyme, and bay leaves with twine; add to pan with tomatoes; cook until liquid thickens, 8–10 minutes. Add wine; reduce by half. Add broth; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, uncovered, until liquid has thickened, about 1 hour. Discard herbs; set dutch oven aside.
Sear the duck legs in 2 tablespoons duck fat in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat for 8 minutes; transfer to a plate. Brown the sausages in the fat, about 8 minutes. Cut sausages into 1⁄2″ slices. Pull duck meat off bones. Discard fat and bones. Stir duck and sausages into pork stew.
Heat the oven to 300˚F. Mix beans and pork stew in a 4-qt. earthenware casserole. Cover with bread crumbs; drizzle with remaining duck fat.
Bake, uncovered, for 3 hours. Raise oven temperature to 500˚; cook the cassoulet until the crust is golden, about 5 minutes.

 

Homemadewithmess: Prawn courgetti with a red pepper sauce

courgettes spiralised
For the Red Pepper Sauce
1 red pepper – deseeded and roughly chopped
Splash olive oil
½ yellow pepper – deseeded and roughly chopped
165g cherry tomatoes – halved
2 cloves garlic – left whole
75ml red wine
Pinch sugar
1 tbsp tomato puree
150ml vegetable stock
For the courgetti
2 courgettes – spiralised
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 pinch sugar
To serve
1 red onion – finely sliced
Splash olive oil
200g raw king prawns
1 handful fresh basil
Parmesan shavings – to serve

Pre-heat the oven to 180’C
Toss the pepper in the olive oil and roast for 20 minutes
Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for a further 20 minutes
Squeeze out the garlic from their skins and return to the dish. Stir in the red wine, sugar and tomato puree and cook for a final 10 minutes
Once cooked, blend the mixture together with the stock until smooth, and then push through a fine sieve to make even smoother.
Set-aside until ready to serve.
Spiralise your courgettes and then toss through the lemon juice and sugar and set aside.
Heat a large pan with a splash of oil and fry the onion until soft.
Add the sauce and once bubbling stir in the prawns
Cook through until the prawns have turned lovely and pink and then turn off the heat.
Fold in the courgetti and then plate up, sprinkling over your basil leaves and parmesan and enjoying with salad.

Nutritional Info:
Calories – 316
Fat – 9g
Carbs – 26g
Sugars – 15g
Protein – 28g

 

Jovina cooks Spanish: Gazpacho

Gazpacho_in_Mijas.jpg
This cold soup is delicious and refreshing—a perfect summertime starter.
Ingredients
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 cup peeled, seeded and roughly chopped cucumber
3 cups  good quality tomato juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

A few drops of Tabasco for added kick (optional)
Garnish: chopped cucumber, onion or bell pepper
Directions
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
Chill in the refrigerator for twenty four hours for the best flavor.  Garnish with chopped vegetables, if desired.

Avoiding Boredom on a Low-Carb Diet

Yawnsville. I’m so bored of gazelles…

Boredom is the enemy of healthy eating, right? It’s easy to be enthusiastic five days into low-carb dieting, but 20 days later? Not so much.

I suffer from this myself. Sometimes, you long to nose-dive into a gigantic bowl of crisps. Or scarf down eight slices of bread, covered in butter. Here are some ideas for keeping boredom at bay.

Do try out lots of different recipes. Most of us rotate the same meals week in/week out. When you’re restricting what you’re eating, that’s a double whammy. We’ve lots of suggestions here, but the Grand Daddy of diabetes-friendly recipes is The Diet Doctor. There, you’ll find various carb counts, vegetarian choices, fish, meat and eggs ideas in abundance.

Look for different texture. Low-carb foods can lack crunch. (Think crisps, crackers and more.) Pork rinds are crunch-tastic. Make them yourself by cutting pork skin into strips and tossing with a little sea salt and hot smoked paprika. Place them on a rack over a tray and whack in a very hot oven for 25-30 minutes. You can buy them too.

De-carb your favourite recipes. Missing bread? Try our easy, low-carb version here. Use cauliflower for rice or those zero noodles to make Chinese and Asian-inspired dishes. Cauliflower also makes fabulous mash.

Eat enough. Boredom might be hunger in disguise. Work out your calorie allowance for your levels of activity and ensure you’re meeting it. Adding cheese, cream and mayonnaise to dishes is an easy way to bump those numbers up.

Try new foods. Yes, branch out and eat something you thought you hated. Liver, cabbage and sprouts (not all together) might turn out to be delicious.

Have at least two or three go-to sweet recipes. Humans love a sweet taste. While you might want a low-carb diet to get rid of yours, the wise woman (or man) has low-carb options on hand just in case. Try our peanut chocolate fudge for a sweet hit. Or this recipe for ice-cream.

Eat high-carb occasionally. Make it worth it, though. I ate a slice of chocolate cake recently which was…average. I muttered to myself afterwards, “Well, that was a total waste of carbs.” Choose the very best you can and eat in the evening, rather than at lunchtime or breakfast as the resultant tiredness won’t matter so much.

Happy days!

For a book stuffed to the gunnels with low-carb recipes, The Diabetes Diet (now available in print and e-book format) is your number one choice.