Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The downside to studying nutrition?

The latest module in my nutrition course is fats. It stands to reason that I do not know an awful lot about nutrition hence my taking a course but last night I read all about trans fats.

Scary stuff. Trans fats are basically polyunsaturated oils which are mixed with a metal catalyst and heated to a high temperature and pumped with hydrogen gas in a high-pressure reactor, thus creating a hardened fat. This is why products such as margarine are solid at room temperature. These fats are believed to be worse for you than saturated fats.

I had no idea. In my fridge is a monster sized tub of margarine. (We buy in bulk at Costco - running a business has to have it's perks and buying in bulk is one of them. I have the biggest box of washing powder I have ever seen).

I went on to do some research for my assignment to find that studies have shown trans fats to be implicated with impaired growth in children under two. That's not good - I've been giving my daughter margarine on her toast. I let her eat virtually everything I do, just in smaller quantities.

It doesn't end with the margarine though. I juggle being a mum with running a business and trying to keep my sanity by running 3-4 times a week and admit to having my fair share of convenience product in the kitchen. My homework has been a real eye opener. I think it would be very difficult to completely eliminate all trans fats from our cupboards - embarrassingly, I fear that there would be nothing left! Also I think it's very wrong to throw away perfectly good food, so I've decided to try and cut back the amount of trans fats I'm feeding my family gradually. I think I will do this by avoiding the purchase of any further trans fats as far as I possibly can without completely committing myself to a lifetime in the kitchen! 

 I think the trickiest trans fat to give up would be bread, so I have decided to have a go at baking my own regularly. I've tried this before and it was really successful, I made a really aromatic bread with caraway and fennel seeds using a recipe in the . I love the fact that you can add whatever you want. During one of our meals in Florida we were served coconut bread, and not only did the bread itself contain coconut, but they had also blended into the butter and moulded it into seashell shapes. It was truly delicious and I'd love to try it. I thought I could prepare the dough first thing in the evening when I make dinner. The warm cooking environment from the cooking will help the yeast do it's magic and I will pop it in the oven when I've finished the washing up. The hard bit is going to be resisting eating it later when it comes fresh out of the oven!  

The deal breaker will be if this turns out to be far more time consuming than I have imagined. The plus side is that my daughter is getting the age where I can get her to help out with cooking, but activities that limit the amount of time I can spend playing with her are against my life priorities so watch this space...


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