Free Cooking Guide, Pupatouille, and How Dogs Help Us Live Longer.
I hope you all stayed warm and cozy this holiday.
If you’re looking for something new to try in the New Year, I’ve created a free guide for sous vide cooking. For those of you who haven’t heard of sous vide, it’s a method of cooking by sealing food in vacuum bags, often with oil and herbs, and then submerging them in a warm water bath. Using a special sous vide controller, cooking temperatures can be made very precise. The temperature is high enough to eliminate pathogens, while also low enough to maintain all the nutrients and juices. The result is a final product that’s perfectly tender and moist. It’s an ideal way of cooking for both people and pups.
After food is cooked to the proper temperature, it’s usually finished with a quick broil or sear to achieve a crispy, golden exterior.
I recently sous vide a giant turkey breast for the dog’s Christmas dinner. Turkey is always tricky because it can often dry out as it roasts. When it’s cooked sous vide, all the juices stay sealed up in the bag and it’s guaranteed to be juicy.
Ratatouille is such a magical movie, so I had to recreate the famous dish for the pups. Although it’s not a fully balanced meal, because of all the different veggies and added beef, it’s still super nutritious.
I also did some research last week into the benefits of dogs and pet ownership. It turns out that the data is mixed. Despite pet owners having lower risk factors for heart disease, there is little conclusive evidence that pet owners actually live longer. The Harvard longevity study offers some insight into why.
According to the longest ever study of it’s kind, the biggest contributing factor to longevity isn’t genes, or exercise or even relationships, it’s joy. Since 1938, researchers at Harvard followed a group of men that were then sophomores at the university. In the following decades researchers added hundreds of men from different demographics and extended the research to their children. Now the study follows over 1300 participants.
“The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health,” said Robert Waldinger, director of the study and professor at Harvard Medical School. “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.” In other words, it’s not enough just having a dog or pet. What matters is how much joy you derive from the experience. If a person has a dog and resents the dog, it’s probably worse for their health than not having one at all.
To maximize the benefits of having a dog, find activities where you can bond together. I really love cooking for Cedric and Edith, and it’s not just good for them, but for me too.
Lastly, this week’s highlight nutrient is magnesium. Surprisingly, over 50% of people are not meeting their requirements for this critical nutrient. According to the AARP, as many as 80% of elderly people fail to meet their requirements of magnesium.
Why is it so hard to get enough magnesium? There are many reasons for this inadequacy. First is processing. According to studies, refined grains lose more than 80% of their magnesium. Second is farming practices and selective breeding which creates faster growing, but less nutritious food. This is further exacerbated by lowered nutrients in soil. A 2004 study found nutrient levels to be up to 40% lower compared to the 1950s.
Because the kidneys are so good at recycling magnesium, deficiencies in dogs and people are rare. But a growing body of research suggests that there are significant health effects. In one early study on heart attacks in dogs, animals fed a magnesium deficient diet had significantly worse heart attacks than control. In another recent study, dogs who were stressed by exercise or cold weather had significantly lower blood magnesium levels, suggesting that supplementation may be needed for working dogs, stressed dogs or during cold weather.
Dogs don’t sweat like we do so they need less magnesium. If you’re feeding a whole food diet, or a high quality dog food, there is no need to worry. But for yourself, it’s highly likely that you aren’t meeting your requirement.
Have a great rest of your holidays!
All the best,
Joelle and Cedric