Strength = Lower Risk Of Diabetes; Paleo Diet & Eating Rabbit

By Henry Gould – March 12th, 2019

Greetings #YardHard family! It feels like forever ago that we did a “general interest” style post on the blog (what with all the amazing recipes, 20 Questions, and Ilan’s “Myths of Weightlifting” series) so figured it was time to get back into it.

“Diabetes Study Ties Lower Risk To Just A Moderate Amount Of Body Strength”

Pretty interesting headline. Published in the Mayo Clinic Journal, this recent study suggests that a moderate amount of body strength has been associated with 32% reduced risk of development Type 2 Diabetes.

Although the disease is very common (7.3% of Canadians, 1 in 10 Americans), many are unfamiliar with what it is or how it’s acquired. Both affect how the body deals with sugar / glucose (the main energy source for the body), and both have to do with insulin.

Type 1 Diabetes involves the body attacking its own insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, leading to an inability to produce insulin. The causes for this are not conclusive, and research is still ongoing, but environmental or genetic factors are thought to play a role.

Type 2 Diabetes is a resistance to insulin. The body is still producing it, but it’s unable to use it effectively. Insulin plays the role in regulating blood sugar levels in the body. If blood sugar is too high, there can be serious health complications or death, so the body needs insulin to regulate blood sugar.

Reducing your risk of Type 2 Diabetes has generally been associated with maintaining a health body weight, increasing activity levels and lowering the amount of sugar / alcohol in one’s diet. Now, it seems that not only is an increase in activity beneficial for preventing Type 2 Diabetes, but also body strength.

Although there didn’t seem to be evidence that higher levels of strength equaled higher levels of resistance to Type 2 Diabetes, the overwhelming conclusion seems to be that strength training should form a part of anyone’s weekly activity schedule.

“Neanderthals’ Paleo Diet Included A Surprising Kind Of Meat”

Seems that our humble Neanderthal ancestors might not have been the lumbering, slack-jawed, club wielding oafs we may previously have thought. Turns out, in addition to their “Paleo” diets consisting of hoofed animals (deer, cattle) Neanderthals’ were capable of hunting small, fast animals like rabbits, as evidenced by newly discovered bones from caves in Southern France. Some dates as far back as 40,000 – 400,000 years ago.

Apparently many of the remains consisted of “80 – 90% rabbit bones”, meaning this was a staple part of the diet, and not something that might only be eaten on the rare occasion a rabbit could be caught.

If you’ve ever seen a rabbit in the wild, they are not exactly slow, so either our Neanderthal cousins were incredibly quick on their feet, or smart enough to devise traps and tools to hunt them.

Although the thought of eating Rabbit might make many people squeamish, it’s a delicious meat that is very sustainable, having a low overall environmental impact when compared to cattle, chicken or pigs. It’s also quite lean, easy to cook, and cheap to buy.

As more information comes to light of the negative impacts factory farming has on the environment (not to mention the welfare of the animals being farmed) many are choosing to reduce their meat consumption, or remove it entirely. Personally I think this is very positive development, and shows that people won’t financially support industries they don’t agree with.

If someone still chooses to eat meat, hopefully that decision can be made with other factors in mind that aren’t just cost or taste. As mentioned in a previous blog, Bluefin Tuna is nearing extinction; I’m of the opinion that it’s not morally acceptable to eat something on the verge of being wiped out, despite it being delicious.

That brings us back to Rabbit! Most of the Rabbit we would get in Canada is farmed (selling wild game is illegal as far as I know…) and since it has a very low environmental impact to raise, it’s worth giving a shot in the kitchen. Rabbit is eaten all over the world, but is particularly popular in Italy, France, Spain and China.Plus, I think it would be nearly impossible to push Rabbit to extinction, given their proclivity to reproduce…

Antonio Carluccio was a highly respected chef, restauranteur and TV Host who sadly died in Nov 2017. His website lives on as a wonderful resource of Italian cooking, which includes a delicious recipe for “Hunter’s Rabbit Stew”. Rabbit can be sourced by most butchers, including Cioffi’s in Burnaby and Columbus Meats on Nanaimo in Vancouver.

RECIPE – “Hunter’s Rabbit Stew”

Serves Serves 4

1 x 1kg rabbit, cut into 8 pieces
Plain flour, to dust
6 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic bulbs, skin on
1 small bunch rosemary
500ml dry white wine
400g ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
A little water or chicken stock, if necessary

Dust the pieces of rabbit with flour. Heat the oil in a casserole, and brown the rabbit pieces on all sides. Add the garlic and rosemary and fry a little, then add the wine. Let the alcohol evaporate a little, and then add the tomatoes. Cover with the lid, and let it come to the boil, stirring from time to time. Uncover, and leave to stew slowly for 1 hour.

Add salt and pepper to taste, and a little water or stock if too dry.

The garlic will be soft, and particularly digestible because it has been cooked. Squeeze it in to your mouth and discard the tough skin. The stew can be eaten accompanied by polenta or bread.

Leftovers

Make a sauce for pasta with any leftover meat and sauce. Take out the bones, chop the meat finely, add some fried onions and some torn basil. Check for seasoning, and add water or stock if too thick.

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