I realised as I happily tweeted about all the veggie recipes on this site for Meat Free Monday that it was possible that this blog was in danger of appearing entirely vegetarian. Now, I would have no problem with that as I don't really like meat (thanks to a slightly odd approach to home economics at my tiny country primary school), but I do cook it frequently for my husband and friends. So, here is one of the dishes I often make when out to impress. It's simple to make but looks and tastes like something rather posh!
4 skinless chicken breast fillets
4 large slices of parma ham
4 tablespoons of pesto (I just use it from a jar)
Take each chicken breast and cut a horizontal slit, two-thirds of the way through to make a pocket. Fill this pocket with a tablespoonful of pesto (use a fresh spoon in the jar if it comes in contact with the raw chicken please!). Then wrap the parma ham over the pocket to seal it up and tuck the ends under the chicken breast.
Brush or spray with a little olive oil and place bake for 25mins at 180c.
- Fill the chicken with light cream cheese mixed with herbs or a little spinach
- Wrap the chicken in a rasher of streaky bacon
- Sprinkle a little parmesan over the chicken before baking
Arthritis diet notes
Meat and arthritis don't always get along, but with a few tweaks meat can be a healthy part of your diet. Longitudinal studies have suggested that the more portions of red meat a person eats, the higher their risk of rheumatoid arthritis. There have also been several studies suggesting that vegetarian or vegan diets can help treat arthritis, however when reviewed these studies were shown to not be very robust and most experts agree that there is little evidence that going meat-free would have any effect on arthritis.
And, meat is an important source of protein, needed to build and maintain muscle. People with all types of arthritis need to get enough to protect against losing muscle mass. If you are interested in your exact requirement, its about 0.8g for each kg you weigh, but this can come from both plant and animal sources. For your overall health, it's best to stick to only 2 or 3 portions of red meat a week and not eat too many cured meats such as ham. Instead, choose lean cuts of white meat and fish, dairy, beans, tofu, Quorn, nuts and seeds to meet your protein needs.