Lamb Shoulder and some Thoughts

Per my previous post, I told you I was going to share some thoughts/ideas that came to me when I was in Amsterdam (Holland).

Overweight people are practically non-existent. Besides from being one of the most densely populated countries in the world, the Dutch hold the record as the tallest nation in the world at the moment. so perhaps with all that height, they “hide” the weight better. In reality there are a few other factors at work I think. For one, it is a “colder climate country”. It’s speculated that when it’s cold you can eat a bit more food and get away with it. The body uses calories as a fuel for the internal heater to keep you warm. Next, the Dutch are ACTIVE. It is a country of bicycles and from a young age everyone rides their bicycle daily to get around. For many, this does not stop when they get older, I would even venture to say that the majority of the population rides their bicycle daily, well into old age. (many people will never own a car in their lifetime)

Portions; well folks no surprise here, the portions are just plain smaller. I have often tried to point to people here Stateside, that our portions are completely out of whack. As an example, lets look at the size of a sandwhich.  A sandwhich here is so big that it will easily satisfy a male standing 6’1, weighing in at 200 pounds. Yet that same sandwhich is eaten by everyone. So do you think that portion is appropriate for a female standing 5″4 weighing 125?  In Holland, its not uncommon for large males to eat two small sandwhiches.

Eventhough the trend is changing, traditionally people in Holland go out to eat for special occasions. Unlike here where so many I know eat out 4 days a week or more for lunch and dinner. It’s also easier to keep those portions smaller, as the trend to use big plates, big glasses and big cups has not taken a hold there yet.

Which leads me to coffee. Do you know how many mugs you can fill with a grande coffee? I’ll tell you. It’s 2. That’s a lot of coffee. I believe that coffee is supposed to be comsumed in small quantities. The flavor needs to be strong, but the portion small. If you look at cultures where coffee has been a staple for a long time (think Turkey for example) it was traditionally drunk from small containers. I think there is a clue there to coffe consumption. Jeff Erno just did a little coffee experiment that he documented. Zen to Fitness also had a guest post about coffee . I’m curious if anyone tried an experiment with just drinking less coffee. I know from my personal experience that a large mug of coffee doesn’t really agree with my internals. But a small strong shot of espresso, is just fine and doesn’t effect me negatively.

Even though people in Holland might drink 2 or 3 espresso’s a day, the quantity of those “shots” would fill a quarter of a regular coffee mug here. If you then realize that many folks drink 2 “cups” a day here and think that they are doing good….it gives you something to think about. What’s your mileage with coffee?

These are just some speculative thoughts obviously.

I know I had promised you all a free ebook. I have just been a bit bogged down with work lately, and I’m not 100% satisfied with it. So, as a thank you for your continued support of my blog, I will share TWO recipes you have not seen before here.  First is a really yummy lamb shoulder slow cooked in the oven.

Lamb shoulder is an affordable cut. Prepare the following way. In about 2 tbspoons of good quality butter, add 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of coriander. If butter is not salted, add some salt to taste. Now take your butter and spice mixture and rub it all over the piece of lamb. Next smash about 3-4 cloves of garlic per piece of lamb. Add the garlic and next add some fresh rosemary. pour in just a bit of water so the bottom of the pan is covered and cover with foil. If you have a nice oven pan with cover (Le Creuset for example), go right ahead and use that. At 325-350 degrees and about 2 hours and 15 minutes later and you are left with one fall of the bone, fork tender piece of deliciousness. I took about two spoons full of greek yogurt and added a dash of olive oil and chili paste to it. Mix it together and it is a nice added touch to the lamb.

I’m still “learning” wordpress. So this picture format is a bit different. I’m not sure I really like it. Also the picture of the “fork with a piece of meat” somehow snuck in the gallery and I couldn’t delete it……yet.

Next post I will show you a very unique way of making “Primal Sliders”.

Fruit Consumption,Portion Control and Running


Do we eat too much of it? How much is enough?

There has been some good discussion on all the blogs about the consumption of fruit.

My take is as follows; IF you are lean, IF you can handle the extra sugar, then I think fruit has some wonderful benefits to offer. I would still stick to mostly berries and  “in-season fruits”. The problem I think is that most people making a switch to a “real food” way of eating, have an out of whack insulin response from years of eating a standard American diet. Heck, when I was 21, I had a habit of 3 kit kats a day! That HAS to mess with your systems I believe. So if you too, ate cheerios and large plates of pasta years ago and you are transitioning to a better way of eating, my advice is to go slow on the fruit. If you have been with the program for a few years, I see no real problem with fruit. If you are still trying to shed a few pounds…I would leave the fruit alone. How much fruit do I eat? Interestingly enough…I have  never really had a craving for fruit. Even when I was younger. I do like a nice cold fresh peach in the summer or a sweet piece of watermelon…but that is about the extent of it. When I buy blueberries, my kids eat them, but if they are not with me, I always end up throwing out the last bit of them after they have sat in the fridge for too long. For any regular Art Devany readers out there, would love to hear your input on Art’s reduction of fruit intake. A few years ago, Art ate a good amount of fruit. I no longer have a paid subscription to his site. Maybe I will put that on my Xmas list for myself. ? How much fruit do you eat?

Are you trying to loose weight, lean out, shed those last pounds, loose the love handles?? Are you finding that you are stuck at a certain level? Have you lost weight but has it now come to an abrupt halt? Do I sound like an infomercial yet? Don’t worry…I’m not trying to sell you anything  😉  But consider the following and see if perhaps it can help you. You’ve lost some weight and you are feeling better than you have in years because of your switch to real food,  but yet you have not arrived at the destination you had envisioned, it’s time to take a look at portion control. I like the concept of portion control better than counting calories. Calories in/calories out is flawed, but yet on a very simplistic level, most take in too many calories. Too much food if you will. This is where portion control comes in. To get the benefit of portion control, start eating less now. The easy way to do this is to obviously make your meals smaller, but the “trick” I like best is TO MEASURE YOUR FAT SOURCES when cooking. You see if you just eat less, you tend to not eat to satiety. So what I have found is that you CAN eat less, as long as you make sure you don’t cut the fat out of your diet. The solution, measure that fat! Take a look at dinner from last night. I had a good appetite for dinner, I did not eat a lot during the day (about 3-4 ounces of rotisserie chicken, 1/2 cup of avocado soup) and I had an active morning before work. About 30 minutes of weights and a 3 mile run. so YES I did have an appetite when I got home. A bit of cauliflower and garlic roasted in the oven. MEASURE the fat…I used 1 tblespoon of olive oil. Next I took 1 teaspoon of butter and sautedsome onion. I then added 1 strip of cut up bacon. Next added about 5-6 ounces ground lamb, 3 sliced olives, 1 teaspoon of tomato paste and 1 tblspoon of heavy cream. (the date stamp is wrong, please ignore)


I have not plugged this into fitday, but my guess is, that this meal came in around800-1000 calories. The fat sources alone probably add up to 500 calories. Now when you are cooking with real ingredients, over time we tend to get a bit liberal with the evoo or the butter. Go back to measuring it, make that meal a bit smaller but no less decadent and watch your waistline respond. What do you think? Have you tried something similar?

And lastly, I know it isn’t Xmas yet, but I just couldn’t resist buying myself a little something something. You see I have been running barefoot mostly, and because of the scorching heat of the pavement, I’ve ended up with some blisters. I love barefoot running and I’m more then convinced of the natural effectiveness of the modality, BUT…it is just not practical for all of us depending on where we live. I think the VFF are the closest thing to barefoot running, especially when you have developed a proper bare foot technique. I will be traveling soon and spending some time in big cities, barefoot is just not an option for me there so I will wear my new “shoes”. I have not written a review or anything like that, but I just want to let you know how much I love these babies.

I’m the proud new onwer of the model you see below. The VFF Bikilas feel sooooooo good. They are a joy to run in/on. What are you running in these days?