Resveratrol – The Fountain of Youth?

‘Who wants to live forever?’ So asked one Freddie Mercury. Well, actually I do. In addition to an aspirin a day and Lion’s Mane fungi I commenced taking resveratrol around six months ago. I previously recommended the work of David Sinclair and his book, Lifespan, and this work is where I take my zeal for resveratrol, an extract taken from red wine grapes. Sinclair outlines an excellent case for the use of this and metformin, a diabetes drug that may have anti-ageing properties. I am not taking metformin and right now I am not intending to do so as the side effects are apparently quite serious. It is worth noting right now that Sinclair does not recommend any drug that he himself does not take, so at least he clearly believes in it rather than claiming it is good without backing that up with actions.

Why do this? Because I love living and I want to see as much of the world whilst I am physically fit and capable as I can. Death will get us all in the end, but until then I want it all.

Cognitive Health and Longevity

Lion’s Mane Fungus
Lion’s Mane Fungus

How often do we spend time on physical fitness without ever giving a moment’s thought to what is going on in our heads? I know I have been guilty of this in the past, which is especially heinous for me given that so much of my identity and my pride is tied up in my intellect and my cognitive capabilities.

My current audiobook on the go is Lifespan by David Sinclair. The subject is his quest to cure ageing and I can recommend this remarkable book to all and sundry. Among the many things he discusses, one such is cognitive health, and I have been inspired as a result to research this. This in turn led me to one of my favourite fellow geeks, Paul Stamets. Below he is talking to Joe Rogan about Lion’s Mane mushroom.

I have started taking this supplement as it is proven to stimulate neurogenesis and remylenate neural tissues and nerve fibres. I think that we are on the edge of a revolution in medical therapies for ageing itself and early adoption may work well for me, and anyone else getting in on the action. If you want to live a cognitively healthy existence well into your twilight years, and by god I do, then this looks to be effective.

Hormesis: If it Doesn’t Kill You…

Lately I have been listening to the work of an incredible scientist, Dr David Sinclair, Harvard geneticist. His most recent book, Lifespan is essentially a document detailing his quest to cure ageing. One concept he introduced to me in this audiobook is hormesis, the notion that stressing yourself will do you good, aka the popular aphorism, ‘whatever does not kill you simply makes you stronger’. Having given this some thought recently I found a way to put it into action this morning on my run. The details are below. This was a starved run and thus hard work. If you are interested in the book but not sure then Sinclair was recently on the Joe Rogan and Rich Roll podcasts so you can try before you buy.

Garmin Data

Data Summary

Mile Splits

Graphs

Now, with the summary above done I can detail what I learned on this run. Firstly, I really ought to pay better attention to the pavement as I went over on my ankle twice, albeit not badly so thankfully there was no injury but it could have been worse. Secondly, I learned to stress myself. In his work Sinclair details several different stressors that can be hugely beneficial to humans: endurance sports, fasting and cold exposure. The first two I am working on already but the third had never occurred to me previously. Serendipity allowed me to improvise today, however. Running along the Leeds-Liverpool canal I came to a railway bridge on my regular route which was being repaired and thus the pathway was closed, so I had to improvise. This meant taking an adjacent path which either continues as tarmac, or, crucially, there is a short trail. I took the trail and got absolutely drenched, both from the rain and also the muddy filth and freezing cold water that was flowing liberally on the trail.

What I discovered was not only that running in crap conditions is great fun and feels amazing afterwards, but also that I need to get better shoes. I have to be honest and say that I haven’t done as much running as I would like over the last fortnight because here in the U.K. we have had some pretty severe storms and it’s genuinely dangerous to be out in the countryside in such conditions. Where I live you can’t go anywhere for more than twenty minutes before you end up in rural surroundings, and I try to avoid pounding road too much because it is hard on my 6’1, 16 stone frame. I’m a pretty big guy so softer ground is good. I also live in a place where, should I run distances, I end up on country roads where people drive like dickheads. Add that to storm weather and it can be pretty difficult.

That all being said, however, Sinclair’s work and influence has shifted my perspective. I have to start stressing my body more. If I am to run ultra distances as I previously committed to doing then risk is inherent to that, both of injury and some generalised danger. Also, when I thought about it I realised that people are far more likely to endanger me on my bike due to the bizarre cyclist hatred that exists in England and that never stopped me cycling so I think it’s time to start to really hammer myself to get good at serious endurance again. I’ve cycled over 100 miles on a good few occasions, so I can run it for sure.

This means that I can’t fast 5 days out of 7 though. I just can’t see how that is possible, so I have a plan. I will fast on non-running days, meaning that when I do run my fast will commence at 2000 that evening and I fast through to lunch the next day. There is no way I can run endurance distances without eating. That’s crazy and, whilst I am no nutritionist, it can’t be good or healthy for me.

When faced with a closed pathway I took the trail, got myself covered in crap, soaking wet and freezing, but it felt amazing. It didn’t kill me so it must have made me stronger. I then finished up the morning by cooking myself this delicious brunch consisting of savoury pancakes stuffed with potatoes fried in garlic, chilli, ginger and turmeric followed by a fruit salad. Yum!

Recipe: Flambed Peaches with Citrus Cashew Cream

This is a knickers off dessert, as in serve this to a lady on date number three and watch her knickers fly off! This is a recipe that calls for you to flambé, i.e. ignite alcohol in the pan, so please be careful. You can see how to do it on YouTube, but if you’re not sure then don’t make this recipe.

Ingredients

  1. 4-5 peaches, stoned and sliced
  2. 2 tbsp of rum
  3. 3 tbsp sugar
  4. Zest and juice of a citrus fruit of your choice – I used a lime
  5. 100g cashews, soaked in boiling water to soften
  6. 100g icing sugar plus a little more for dusting
  7. Soy milk

Method

  • Heat a skillet very hot, then add the sugar and caramelise it
  • Add your peaches, reduce the heat and toss well in the caramel
  • Now you flambé. Take the pan off the heat and we’ll away from the flame, then add the rum and then ignite it. Be very careful and be sure you do this safely
  • Once the alcohol is burnt off the flames will stop, turn off the heat and leave whilst you make your citrus cream
  • Blend the icing sugar, cashews and soy milk to make a smooth cream. It’s up to you how thick you make it, obviously more milk will thin it out.
  • Pour into a jug and then whisk in the juice and zest. This will add air and lighten the cream a little
  • Serve by layering the peaches shortbread or some other similar type of biscuit, pour on some of the cream, then some of the rum sauce, and finally dust with icing sugar

Delicious dessert.

Recipe: Indian Roast Potatoes

This is such a yummy dish that I just HAD to share it with you all.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of potatoes, chopped
  • Fresh coriander
  • 2 tbsp medium curry powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 21 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice and zest of a lime

Method

  • Mix all of the powdered ingredients together to make your seasoning
  • Parboil the potatoes for 8-10 and then drain
  • Put 3 tbsp oil into a roasting tin, sprinkle in half of the seasoning and then add the potatoes and toss well
  • Sprinkle the remaining seasoning on top
  • Add the fresh coriander – I love coriander so I put loads in but it’s your preference
  • Add the lime zest and juice and toss again
  • Roast for thirty minutes, longer if you like them very crispy

I served it with lime and coriander rice from this recipe. There you go.

Easy to make and yet sooooooo scrumptious.

Recipe: Leek and Mushroom Cream Pasta with Tarragon

Delicious
Delicious

Standby for a yummy pasta dish that will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside! This is a quick and simple recipe that combines the meaty mushroom flavour with cashew cream, whilst the aniseed flavour of the tarragon works brilliantly and explodes in your mouth.

Ingredients

  • 300 grams pasta – I used penne but pick your favourite
  • 300 grams mushrooms, any variety you prefer
  • A leek
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 150 grams cashews, soaked in boiling water
  • 200 ml vegetable stock
  • Splash of soya milk
  • Handful of fresh tarragon, dried will do if that’s all you have
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Pre boil a pan of salted water
  • In a hot skillet add olive oil and fry the mushrooms. They will sizzle as their water content boils off
  • Whilst the mushrooms cook, quarter the leek down the length and the chop roughly. Add to the pan along with the garlic and then season to your taste, turn the heat down to simmer for five minutes
  • Add your pasta to the water and cook al dente – don’t do the British thing where the pasta is distended and floppy! Drain and let stand dry, DON’T let it stand in the water
  • Drain your cashews, add a good glug of soya milk and blend to a cream
  • Add the cream to the skillet and mix through thoroughly, cook gently for two minutes
  • Gradually add your stock, mixing as you go
  • Once the sauce is mixed completely, add the pasta and make sure it is evenly mixed and coated.

The sauce when fully mixed:

The sauce when fully mixed

The tarragon ready to mix

Yummy anise flavour

The finished article:

Recipe: Tropical Crunch Smoothie

I love a yummy smoothie every now and then. It’s great fun to aexperiment with flavours to see what I can come up with. This recipe is a simple, two minute affair.

Delicious Tropical Crunch Smoothie
Delicious Tropical Crunch Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2 papayas, peeled and chopped
  • Handful of pomegranate seeds
  • Optional depending on taste, either maple syrup for sweetness or lime juice for a bit of twang

Put everything in a blender and pulverise it all in the mixture for thirty seconds. This will leave the pomegranate and papaya seeds slightly intact, hence the crunch. Sweeten or sour it as you prefer, or not if you just like the fruity tastes. Delicious.

Delicious Tropical Crunch Smoothie
Delicious Tropical Crunch Smoothie

Week in Review

Last week I picked up my schedule for the first time in 2020 after a pretty awful 2019. I got Twitter and Instagram accounts, and in addition to easing back into the outdoors I started to further expand my nutritional horizons. I love cooking and it’s a great way to express one’s creativity. I remain on a 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule and I am more than ever committed to a vegan diet that contains little to no sugar and is not processed wherever possible.

I cycled twice but only over short distances. I don’t pay too much attention to statistics and data for rides under five miles as cycling in Lancashire is so roly-poly, hilly and stop-start that it is difficult to build up a decent cadence and pick up a good cruising speed for any meaningful length of time. I was hoping to post some swimming data but I have been held up by the supplier of a replacement strap for my Garmin Vivoactive watch, which has yet to arrive and is now six days late. Thanks useless eBay parts supplier.

Today’s Cycle
Today’s Cycle

I have cycled today already, again just a short town ride on an errand, the virtue of which I extolled last week. My focus this week is to begin to add swimming to my cycling again. I hope to strengthen my lower back after hurting it quite badly last year, such was the sedentary nature of caring for my crocked little boy.

Small beginnings yield massive outcomes. Let’s destroy 2020.

Recipe: Breakfast Pancakes with Spicy Turmeric Potato and Yoghurt Filling

Delicious brunch pancakes

One of the best things about cooking for oneself is how cheap it is. It is even more efficient when you can make use of old food or leftovers. This recipe is an absolutely delicious way to use up the spuds that are left at the end of the week, and it is filling and hearty. If you aren’t used to eating savoury or spicy for breakfast then it may seem weird at first, but I love it. When I visited India I noticed that it was perfectly normal to do so out there, and for someone like me with a savoury palate it’s great. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so this sort of food suits me down to the ground.

Savoury pancakes with a delicious Indian potato filling
Savoury pancakes with a delicious Indian potato filling

Ingredients

Pancakes

  • 200 grams of gram flour
  • 200 ml soy milk
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax meal soaked in water for ten minutes)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 clove of garlic

Filling

  • 6-8 old potatoes, cubed
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika

Yoghurt Sauce

  • 6-8 tbsp soy yoghurt
  • Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • Lime juice

Method

In a hot, dry frying pan add the cumin powder and mustard seeds. Dry fry for thirty seconds. Then add the chopped garlic and chilli flakes and fry for another minute. Splash in a little oil, mix and then set aside. Time to cook the filling.

Heat some oil in a pan on medium. Add the chopped onion and turmeric. Fry together, mixing in the colour of the turmeric well. Add the potatoes, mix thoroughly and then add the garlic and paprika. Stir in and leave to fry for twenty minutes, stirring every so often to avoid burning the potatoes on one side. Now you finish your pancake batter.

Blend together the flour, milk, seasoning and flax egg until smooth. Then add the dry fried ingredients, mix well until smooth – add more milk if necessary.

Heat your pan hot, then turn to a low-medium heat. Add some oil for frying. Taking the pan to the batter mixture, ladle in enough to coat the base, swirling it evenly. Be sure to stir the mixture before each ladle. Return the pan to the heat and let it cook. It will separate from the pan eventually and that is when it is ready to toss. Once you have cooked both sides repeat until the mixture is used up.

Now make your cooling yoghurt mixture simply by thoroughly mixing the yoghurt, coriander and lime juice.

Once your potatoes are tender you are ready to serve. Just roll up the filling with some yoghurt in a pancake and you are good to go. Delicious breakfast or brunch, cheap as chips, healthy and filling with plenty to go around. Scrumptious.

Breakfast of champions!
Breakfast of champions!

Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry with Lime and Coriander Rice Recipe

Just look at it. Is this not the most appetising thing you have ever seen? If you would like to eat it then read on.

Chickpea curry with lime and coriander rice

Chickpea curry with lime and coriander rice

This dish is very healthy and hearty. The brown rice is much more flavoursome than white and takes longer to digest. The chickpeas are full of good fats and thus filling and satisfying. The longer you leave it in the slow cooker, the more tasty it will be as the ingredients marinate and infuse. This recipe is intended to serve four adults but I find that it goes further as it is so satisfying. The rice is a refreshing variation on lemon rice. The meaty umami flavours of chickpeas and brown rice get your nose and the flavour populates your mouth.

Turmeric is a natural anti inflammatory and I put it in everything.

Ingredients

The Rice

  • 300 grams of long grain brown rice
  • Zest and juice of a lime
  • Olive oil
  • A vegetable stock cube
  • Fresh coriander, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

The Curry

  • Two cups of dried chickpeas, hydrated and boiled for twenty minutes
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp dried chillis
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • Fresh coriander, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To cook the curry it is very simple. Throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker, give it a good stir to mix it all, and then cook for four hours minimum. If you go longer and it dries out a little then just add some stock.

To prepare the rice:

  • Boil in water and the stock cube for thirty minutes.
  • Drain and hot water
  • Heat a frying pan with a splash of oil
  • Turn off the heat and add the rice, stirring well to coat it all in the oil
  • Stir in the lime juice, zest and coriander
  • Season to your taste preference

Serve as either half a bowl each as above or make a bed from the rice with the curry on top.