Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sausage Ragu

Just like bangers and mash but much more interesting!!
Sausages are a very reasonably priced dinner but who only wants them barbecued???
Give this a try...

Ingredients (serves 4)

3 teaspoons olive oil
375g Italian-style sausages
1 brown onion, halved, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup vegetable stock
400g can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
800g potatoes, peeled, chopped
1/3 cup milk
40g butter
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Small basil leaves, to serve

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook sausages, turning, for 10 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Cut into 3cm pieces.
Add onion and garlic to pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened. Add stock and tomato. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Return sausage to pan. Add chopped basil. Simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly.
Meanwhile, cook potato in a saucepan of boiling, salted water for 12 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return to pan. Mash. Add milk, butter and parmesan. Stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve mash with sausage mixture and basil.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ways to increase your incidental exercise

Just a short one today - I have been struggling to find the time to get more than a small amount of scheduled exercise in so have been thinking of ways to add in incidental exercises.
If you are in the same situation as me consider giving some of these a all adds up!

To make a habit out of increasing activity in your day, you can:

Take the stairs instead of the lift.
Park further away from your destination and walk the rest of the way.
Walk or cycle instead of using the car for short trips.
Take your dog (or a neighbour’s dog) for a walk.
Walk rather than rest on escalators or travelators.
Get off the bus/train/tram one or two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way.
Pull some weeds/work in the garden.
Play with children in an active way.
Catch up with friends by walking together rather than going for coffee.
Try a new sport or go back to one you have played before.
Do some simple exercises (eg jog on the spot) while waiting for the kettle to boil or for food to cook in the microwave.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Are we a product of where we live? Can we break the 'mould'?

I was considering the comments another student mentioned today while we were discussing the ethics of a junk food advertising ban. He pointed out that were he came from in Port Pirie (a regional centre in SA but a country town none the less) the road to the local school was a junk food strip. McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway (not too bad) all on the one road, right next door to one another.
What does this say about what we find acceptable? I have heard a few times in the past about country townspeople getting up in arms about junk food stores coming to their town - they didn't want them.
I can see why - without the choice, people can't have it! I know this may sound paternalistic but if there is a fast food outlet on every corner you options for 'convenience' are very strong.
It used to be just a fish and chip shop on the corner - with that limited choice you would get sick of them pretty quick. I understand now what country people are desperate to keep fast food chains out of their towns.......they breed.

Where we live and our social demographic with regards to health and obesity, I think stems from the socio-economic status of that suburb - and junk food chains know this!
Walking down The Parade Norwood I think you would only find a subway store and oooodles and oooodles of specialised food outlets with spices, organics fruit and vege, boutique butchers, cafes with gourmet foods etc.
If you head to Munno Para in the Northern suburbs both the external and internal shopping area are littered with junk food! Is this fair?!?! Your options at Munno Para are as follows......Boost Juice, Donut King, Go Fish, Mamma Mia's, Subway (Internal), Tasty Asian, Wendy's, Yiros Club 2, Barnacle Bills, Caffe Primo, Cheesecake Shop Cafe, Cherry Blossom Sushi Bar, Hungry Jacks, McDonald's, Noodle Box, Pizza Hut,
Red Rooster, Subway (External), The Pretzel Zone, Time-Out Cafe, Tores Snack Bar, Vili's Mini Cafe

That is a LOT of junk food and only a few healthy(ish) options - but guess which are cheaper?
We have made it rational to eat bad based on price - and the fast food outlets know it! Why else do they set up shop in the low socio-economic suburbs? The cheapest option always wins when you are short of money
This is not fair! Why is it only the 'norm' in affluent suburbs to eat 'healthy'?
We have made it 'normal' to have these foods in our diets - now how did that happen?
Well, advertising
Pester power is one of the greatest forces (on earth?)
Advertisers directly target children to get them to pester you enough to give in - but is it ethical to advertise to children at all?
They lack the cognitive power to process and advertisement and don't understand the complex psychological tactics used in advertising to entice them. Is it fair to 'trick' someone who doesn't understand the trick at all?
I say no.
As adults we understand we are being advertised too - children find adverts entertaining and gauge social norms from what they see. They have no idea that someone in the world has an agenda that doesn't take their welfare into account.

So what of it then? consider this - if ALL children regardless of socio-economic status are growing up in a world where fast food is bombarded at them during TV (and sponsorship of their sporting programs) how do they see the world? Consider it - put yourself in the shoes of your child, what do they see? What is 'normal'? To have LCM's in your lunchbox? To have fruit roll-ups instead of fruit? To have fun times like birthdays at McDonald's? Consider what their world looks like - then consider if you want to do something about it - or be happy with it.
Consider what that will look like when they are adults - what decisions will they make based on what is 'normal'?

For more information.....Coalition on Food Advertising to Children