The Daily Spud

...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

Category: Health (page 4 of 5)

Happy Tummy, Happy Heart

“We need to tighten our belts.”

Just how often have we heard that one lately?

The fact is, however, that when it comes to our national diet, belt loosening is the order of the day. As a nation, it seems we’re getting a little chubby around the middle, with 60% of us overweight or obese according to this report. And Michael O’Shea, CEO of the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) reckons that obesity levels in Ireland are rising at the rate of around 1% per year. Yikes.

Given that about one third of premature heart disease relates to poor diet and that about 10,000 Irish people die each year from heart disease and stroke, the IHF, whose mission it is to reduce cases of preventable heart disease, have a vested interest in what we eat. In fact, whatever it is we’re eating, they’d like us to eat less of it.

That, at least, is the focus of their Happy Heart Eat Out campaign, which runs for the month of June. Given that many of us are prone to dining out, they are encouraging us to show a little restraint when we do so. They have the help of 500+ restaurants and catering establishments, who will be offering healthier, right-sized options on their menus.

One such participant is Saba, the popular Thai and Vietnamese eatery in Dublin, which was the venue for the launch of the campaign. And the launch, well, that involved lunch…

Lunch at Saba

Lunch at Saba, clockwise from bottom left:
seared yellow fin tuna with wasabi coriander mayonnaise; steamed seabass fillets with Xao Shing wine sauce; hot and sour prawn soup; fruit platter with passion fruit and mango sorbet

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Spud Sunday: In Handel’s Day

It’s fairly safe to say that, back in 1742, people didn’t spend too much time obsessing about saturated fat or trying to reduce their carb intake. If anything, they were far more concerned with ingesting whatever carbs they could lay their hands on, spuds included.

I mention 1742 because that was the year of the first public performance of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, which took place in Fishamble Street in Dublin, an event which will be commemorated on April 13th next in Temple Bar, with their Handel’s Day celebrations.

In Handel's Day

Handel had been invited to perform by the Charitable Musical Society, who wanted to raise funds following the Great Irish Famine of 1741 – an event perhaps lesser known, but equally as devastating as the later Potato Famine of 1845-47 – a combination of bad weather and poor harvests that froze potatoes in the ground and left a nation dying of hunger.

It is an indescribably long way from that famine to a world where, within the past few weeks, I have been sent notices about applications aimed at helping people to reduce their intake of saturated fat and carbs. Somebody has perhaps noticed the frequency with which spuds and butter are combined on this site and would like to do something about it, I fear.

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Spud Sunday: In Defence Of Salt

no matter what some people will tell you – salt in indispensable to good food and good cooking

Jeffrey Steingarten in his essay ‘Salt’, taken from The Man Who Ate Everything
Salt Cellar

To salt or not to salt, that is the question

I never met a potato that didn’t respond warmly to the addition of a bit of salt. I suspect that there are few, if any, who would disagree. Salt is an essential addition to spuds, as well as to many other foods. However, there are those who would contend that you can have too much of this particular good thing.

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