How to buy the best meat. Part 1

 

A once hallowed ground, free from marketing skulduggery, the meat aisle at your local supermarket is now laden with choices, set to bamboozle and potentially mislead. This means that it is more difficult than ever to decipher the "fake farms" from the real ones and make the best choice for you and your family. Thankfully, our latest recruit, Laura Talbot is here to help.

START LOCAL

Go Local! One of the many things we are passionate about at Fori HQ is sourcing locally. Buying directly from a local farm shop, butchers or farmers market comes with a higher guarantee of a short supply chain. It can also mean higher British welfare standards, not only this, but it can help to keep the cost down, by cutting out the middleman. In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to help support local businesses and keep British agriculture thriving.

meat is meat square-01.jpg

Local may not always mean local

Don’t be afraid to challenge where you shop and ask where the meat comes from. Whilst we like to trust our small butchers it’s important that you still ask the question. What we perceive to be local may be different to the reality. We've been duped before, buying meat from a local Welsh butcher, only to discover the heard lives in Aberdeen! An absolute travesty, given the Welsh heritage for producing some of the UK's finest cattle and sheep.

THE CHEEK OF IT

Some of the tastiest cuts of meat are also the cheapest and we’re seeing them make a comeback. Next time you’re in the kitchen cooking up a storm give slow cooked beef cheek a try, it won’t disappoint.

Buying from a farm shop isn’t always the most practical solution, in which case it’s important to know your labels. Keep tuned for our journal post next week, in which we take a closer look at the labels adorning the meat on the supermarket shelves...

 

TAKING ON THE ATLANTIC

 

We created Fori to fuel the pioneers, those people who take themselves and often others out of their comfort zone to see where the magic happens. For Will Whitehead and his crew, the magic will happen somewhere between San Sebastian in the Canary Islands and Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour in Antigua.

Turning his back, temporarily, on a career in creative advertising Will has turned to the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge to see if it can make him "feel alive". It takes a certain kind of person to keep going when faced with blisters, salt rash, sharks and sleep deprivation. To this day, many more people have climbed Everest, reached the North Pole or ventured into space than have successfully rowed the Atlantic.

Read on to discover what motivates this 23 year old to take on one of the hardest sporting challenges around.

Will.jpg
"I saw the Atlantic rowing race on TV during my final major project at University. I was heading to London to start a career in creative advertising but ultimately I felt it wasn't the right path for me. I saw the Atlantic project as an opportunity to really experience the feeling of 'being alive' as you'll hear people describe it; I don't want to be an old man one day to look back on my twenties as if I hadn't made the most of them."

How the thought came a reality 

"The thought of 'feeling alive' was enough, it gave me the drive to go out and make it happen. Fortunately too, I always knew that Mark, another team member had been interested in taking on the challenge too, so together we started to make it a reality"

the row is only part of the challenge

"I haven't even started the row yet but the past two years have been the hardest I've ever faced mentally. The project is massively time consuming, testing your entrepreneurial spirit to raise 100K to fund the expedition."
where theres a will theres a way.jpg

What keeps you going?!

"As hard as it is on times, I think this is that kind of experience that can only help you grow. Also, if I settle for a life of Sunday walks and cooking, I hope the achievement will vanquish any doubt of my own capability!"
Fori on a ship.jpg

Will and his team; WIGHT LIGHTENING set off on the 12th December. They will also be raising money for two charities too, the Ability Dogs for Young People and Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. We will be documenting their trip throughout and look forward to touching base with Will after, will this be the start to many adventures?

 

The Adventurous Path

 

What leads people down the adventurous path? Is it nature, nurture or is it just fate. In January Tania Noakes will set-out to complete the “Norge På Langs” which is roughly translated from Norwegian as “Norway from end to end”. It is a journey of approximately 2500km extending from Lindesnes the most southerly tip of Norway to Nordkapp in the extreme north. In order to complete this winter journey in 80-90 days, Tania will have to ski an average 30-40km each day. If successful Tania will be the first British woman to complete “Norge På Langs”, solo and in a single winter. More information click here.

So what makes someone want to undertake such a feat?  Here is Tania's tale.

Tania Noakes.jpg

This summer I lost my father to brain cancer. It has been one of the most difficult and soul-searching periods of my life. It has been hard to see the good things, the happiness and the hope behind the depth of sadness that losing a parent brings. My father always loved hearing about my adventures. He encouraged me forward with a belief and love that lit up my life from my first tentative steps into the mountains through to qualifying as a Mountain Guide and beyond.

The Challenge: Norge På Langs

It is wonderful when someone else is inspired by your dream and I am grateful for Fori’s belief and support. They have agreed to sponsor me with their savoury snack bars to help keep me going through the dark, cold winter months ahead. In return, Fori invited me to share with you some of the reasons why I take on challenges like this. It’s a good question… so here goes!

In January I will set out to ski the classic Norge På Langs. This is a journey of over 2500km that will take me from one end of Norway to the other through some of Europe’s’ most wild and remote mountainous areas whilst they are locked in the grip of winter. Alone and without mechanized transportation I aim to complete my traverse in around 80-90days.

As I write these words a mixed swirl of emotions rises within me, bubbling up and expanding in pace with my imagination; curiosity, excitement, hope, love, happiness, nervousness, doubt, disappointment and sadness. A kaleidoscope of feelings that wash over me and cause me to take a deep breath and reflect for a moment.

Nuggets of truth

Life contains many challenges. We can only ever control how we respond to them.

I’ve just got in from a run up high on the Chamonix valley trails. It’s a bright sunny day, vibrant with autumn colours. There’s a crisp chill in the air that breathes a freshness and clarity into you. Days like these wake you up and make you feel truly alive. I find time and space to think whilst out running. I can sift out the sand from my cluttered thoughts and discover shiny nuggets of truth.

TN in the Oztal Alps of Austria.jpg

What an adventurous path has taught me

I live in Chamonix, in the France Alps, and I work as a professional IFMGA Mountain Guide and Ski Instructor. I grew up in Essex, which is one of the flattest counties in the UK and far removed from the world I’m immersed in now. A life of taking on challenges has helped me develop the courage and self-belief that I needed to qualify as a Mountain Guide and to create the life I dreamt of whilst growing up.

This is what adventure has to offer us, the opportunity for personal growth.

The outcome of an adventure is never certain; there are always unknowns and often difficulties. The physical journey is matched every step of the way by an even tougher mental journey. In terms of how you respond to the unexpected and how you manage your emotions. I look ahead to this winter and the up swell of emotion forces me to look directly at my fears and recognise them for what they are; reminders that nothing is permanent, and that our lives are changing around us whether we want them to or not.

Each of us will face difficulties at some point in our lives, set-backs, frustrations, and disappointments. How we respond goes a long way to defining our character and our future. Significant events; an unexpected failure in school or in your career, the breakdown of a relationship, the loss of a loved one often shake us to the core, and force us to look inside ourselves for answers, for a way forward, for strength and hope.

By choosing the adventurous path I have encountered many set-backs. I have risked failure, been frustrated and disappointed many times and I have learnt to pick myself up again, and again. I have learnt to look again from a different perspective, to save the grain of gold, and move forward into life, not withdraw from it.

My adventures remind me to embrace life to the full, for it is fragile and too short. To value each day I share with family and friends, to focus on the things I can do rather than regret the things I can’t, to be grateful for the rich wonders of the world, and the depth of kindness and compassion that others often show us in times of need.

StefanandTaniacheck-out-the-descent-on-stage-2.jpg

My life in the mountains, learning to respond appropriately to a constantly changing environment with real and immediate consequences, has helped me to better understand and stay calm in the face of my most challenging fear; that despite all our efforts there will come a time when we must let go of everything. Even those things that we hold most dear, even the things that define who we are.

I have wanted to ski the length of Norway for many years. This year I started planning to make it happen. So that I could have a bright star of hope on the horizon, something positive that my father and I could share and talk about during our last months together; something that would extend forward into an unknown future.

I know that he would have loved to have shared this journey with me in person. I also know that he would want me to let go of my sadness, to stay open and curious about the world, to keep learning, to keep adventuring and above all to be happy. For me this journey is special, and I will not be alone.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tania is a writer, adventurer and IFMGA Mountain guide. She is a mentor and role model for young athletes and mountaineers, particularly young women and aims to inspire and develop them through both her writing and speaking engagements.

Alongside her journey she is raising money for the “The Ulysses Trust”. This is a charity that provides a source of funding for young people in the UK Cadet Forces to enable them to undertake adventurous outdoor experiences and expeditions aimed at personal development. To help the engagement and development of young people in society, individually, and as effective contributors to their communities and as citizens. To help Tania with a donation click here.

 

Trail Food - Energy That Lasts

 

If you're like us, from Wednesday onward you're planning your weekend escape. Our thinking often goes like this - Who's up for it? How long have we got? What kit do we need? How much cash do we have left? How will we fuel it?

Often overlooked the 5th question has been the route of several adventures gone bad. So to make sure we're better prepared in future we've recruited the help of performance nutritionist Rebecca Dent. We thought we'd walk before we run and ask Rebecca to tackle how we fuel for a day walking in the hills.

rebecca dent.jpg

For all day energy it’s best to pack whole foods and ditch the sugary snacks. When out hiking the hills your body will generally use a mix of fat and carbs for energy. Adding some protein will not only add flavour, it’ll also help slow how quickly the food is digested, prolonging energy levels, whilst kick starting the recovery process at the end of the hike.

Ditch the sports drinks, bars and gels. They're simply not needed for a hike in the hills. Although tempting Solely relying on sugar-laden drinks, bars, gels and sweets can reek havoc with your stomach and likely lead to spending the day chasing energy crashes.

How many calories?

Old School = The exact amount of calories per hour depends on your size, gender, fitness, the terrain, the load you are carrying, distance and so on. It’s not an exact science but using MET minutes (1) can provide a guideline. A 75kg person for one hour hiking cross country will burn 450kcals per hour, for the same person hiking hills it’s 550kcals/hour

New Tech = If you track your energy expenditure using wearable technology (Garmin, Sunnto, Tom-Tom, Fitbit)  this can be used as ‘rough’ guide to calculating energy requirements for the day, if repeating similar hikes. Research and experience shows that energy equations and technology can both over or underestimate on ‘calories burnt’ (2). So take heed of this and your gadget’s limitations (3).

IMG_3695.jpg

Sample food ideas

Wholegrain sandwiches with tuna/egg/cheese/chicken, Peanut butter and banana sandwich, small cheese portions, sweet or savoury oat cakes, home made trail mix (salted cashews/almonds, dark chocolate, apricots and prunes), boiled eggs, oat cakes + cheese/peanut butter, peanut butter sachets, oat, seed and protein based snack bars;

From around 60-90mins into your walk, to keep energy supplies steady, drip feed taking small mouthfuls of food every 30mins (e.g. 1/4 sandwich, 1 handful of trail mix, 1/2 cereal bar).

Being prepared and planning your nutrition and hydration to take on the hill, is the best idea to make sure you have enough food and will also save you money, especially if you frequently go hiking.

It’s always worth packing some jelly sweets, gums or a chocolate bar for those ‘just in case of an emergency moments’, you get lost, weather comes in, an injury occurs or you are out for longer than expected. At these times you'll thank me for a quick energy hit or a sweet treat for that psychological boost!

Calorie Deficit

If you are going for a social day on the hills you don't need to worry about meeting your exact requirements. Burning more calories ahead of the evening feast is the reward for many! Aim to eat approximately 150-200 calories per hour (e.g. large handful of trail mix, 1 cereal bar, 1/2 sandwich, 2 oat cakes + mini cheese portion).

To choose your hiking foods aim for about 50:50 carbs:fat ratio (4,5) , https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11579177

Now you’ve decided where you are going hiking and approximately how many calories you will need for the day, it’s time to plan your hiking menu!

#Fat rich energy foods

Nuts (cashews, macadamias, brazils, almonds), seeds, avocado, dark chocolate (75% cocoa or more), nut butters, nut butter sachets (e.g. Meridian, Pip&Nut), chorizo, mini cheese portions.

#Carb rich energy foods

Whole grain bread (rye, granary, pumpernickel), oat based cereal bars, fruit bars, oat cakes,  dried fruit (prunes, apricots, dates, figs).

#Protein rich foods

Boiled eggs, jerky (salmon, chicken or beef), cheese, mini cheese portions, chorizo, Fori bars, nuts and seeds, tinned fish.

DSC04927.jpg

References:

1)   Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Aug;43(8):1575-81. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31821ece12. 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities: a second update of codes and MET values. Ainsworth BE1, Haskell WL, Herrmann SD, Meckes N, Bassett DR Jr, Tudor-Locke C, Greer JL, Vezina J, Whitt-Glover MC, Leon AS. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21681120

2) Accuracy of wearable devices for estimating total daily energy expenditure. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2500062, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4683756/

3) Wearable technology for athletes information overload and pseudoscience? http://journals.humankinetics.com/doi/pdf/10.1123/IJSPP.2016-0486

4) Regulation of endogenous fat and carbohydrate metabolism in relation to exercise intensity and duration. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8214047,

5) The effects of increasing exercise intensity on muscle fuel utilisation in humans.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11579177

 

DISCOVER YOUR HIDDEN GEMS

 

We're always looking for new places to explore. So we thought we'd ask expedition expert, Rebecca Coles for her hidden gems, in the hope that she would lead us to some uncharted territories. Unfortunately, Rebecca wasn't as obliging as we'd hoped!

The first thing I’m going to tell you is that I’m NOT going to tell you about my hidden gems. If I were to tell you, to publish them here, allow search engines to pick them up, they may quickly no longer be hidden gems, and that defeats the point. Sorry to disappoint you.

FIND YOUR OWN GEMS

Instead, I’m going to tell you something much better; how to find your very own hidden gems, that you can keep just for you, your own secret to revisit any time you wish. Here are my tips on how to discover your own hidden gems.

IMG_8056.JPG

To begin you’ll need to think creatively, harness your inner inquisitiveness and be prepared to be unsuccessful. For every hidden gem you find they’ll be ten failed missions, but I guarantee that those failures will have been fun nonetheless, and you’ll be recounting stories of how you got the bramble scratches on your legs and went up to your waist in bog.

GET A MAP OUT

If you’re a visual person and love maps, like myself, try getting hold of a map of your local area and looking for intriguing places. It may be a strange place name, a lake that you didn’t know existed or hidden cove that catches your eye. The next step is to go on a mission to find it.

Get a map out

People are drawn to the highest, biggest, longest. Everyone knows the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales but do you know the second and third highest? What I can tell you is they have a tenth the amount of people on them and are magnificent in their own right. But don’t listen to me go and discover them for yourself.

What about long distance paths? How about making up your own long-distance walk? Or linking peaks by train, or bike, or packraft? It’s often by approaching something in a different way, both physically and metaphorically, that we discover hidden gems along the way.

IT'S ABOUT THE JOURNEY

Finally, remember to keep your wits about you when trying to find hidden gems. Sometimes it’s not what’s there that is the hidden gem but a feeling we get, someone we meet or a shaft of light through a glade that creates a special moment. Remember these, keep them close, as they can’t be recreated, instead they become a precarious memory. Keeping all your senses alert will give you best the chance to experience these moments, which could be the smell of the Autumn leaves, the sight of an otter print in the mud of the river bank, the sound of the first cuckoo of the year, the apple fresh taste of wood sorrel leaves, or the feeling of cool, wet sand on the soles of your feet.

Hidden Gem.jpg

To find hidden gems, you must explore, get outside and experience. A hidden gem could be right on your doorstep, waiting to be discovered.

 

REARED IN BRITAIN

 

Recently we took a trip across the boarder to meet Tim Bastard from Tregada Farm. Nestled in the beautiful North Cornwall countryside, Tregada is one of a handful of farms to supply our beef.

A second generation farmer, Tim, has worked at Tregada his entire life and it shows. After five minutes in his company you're at ease and so are his cattle. His passion for the land, animals and work is infectious.

Fori_Farm-11.jpg

Tregada Farm is home to 150 South Devon cattle, the largest native breed in the UK and according to Tim, they're possibly the most docile in the UK as well. Out to graze during the summer and housed when necessary during the harsh winter months, they live a content life. The cattle are fed a grass-based diet with locally sourced natural supplemental feeds added when necessary (also grown at Tregada).

 

PALEO SNACK OF THE YEAR - VOTE NOW!

 

When we were playing about with ideas for Fori, the Paleo diet was nothing more than an emerging health trend from the US. Adopted by the fanatical few it had very little awareness, less understanding and just a handful of products were available. Fast forward a few years and we're delighted to see that courtesy of Healthy Perspective it now has its own Paleo Awards and we've been shortlisted for the best Paleo snack.

Now, had the Paleo Awards shortlist been announced a couple of years ago we would have been smugger than Mayweather ahead of his $80M payout. However, this year the field is stacked with some awesome competition. The Paleo tide / Tsunami is rising and we're proud to be part of it!

The standard is phenomenally high across the board but the snacking category is a real pool of death! We're up against everything from the delectable Ape Snacks coconut bites and the sophisticated Wildings duck crackling to the fun and tasty Mr Yeti hand squished bars.

VOTE NOW - GO ON MAKE OUR DAY!

Strong competition we may have, but we like to think we offer something a bit special. We're the UK's first meat bar and the only product that truly offers superior sustenance, packing a whopping 20g of protein into every bar whilst the keeping sugars low and flavors high.

The overall winner will be chosen based 50:50 on the number of votes received and the opinions of an expert judging panel. Entries close on the 1st of October. Thanks for supporting our revolution!

 

What is the Paleo Diet?

 

You may have noticed our bars say; Paleo inspired. So the two obvious questions are, what does Paleo mean and why are our bars just "inspired"?

The Paleo diet (we hate the term diet - but that's for another journal post!) is built on the belief that the human body is better suited to the diets of our Paleolithic ancestors. Although this logic is questionable the diet has been largely popularised by CrossFit athletes. However one thing that is not questionable is that the Paleo diet has thankfully focused attention on avoiding eating processed foods. Something that is not as easy as you would assume.

It’s speculated that our modern, post agricultural revolution diet, featuring grains, dairy and processed foods is more difficult for our bodies to digest and consequently comes with some pretty hefty side-effects; obesity, diabetes and heart disease. In general, Paleo diet(s) follow these principles; eat more nutrient rich whole foods like meat, fish, vegetables, seed and nuts. Meanwhile avoid grains, sugar, dairy, legumes and processed foods. For a comprehensive list check out this blog by Paleo Hacks.

So why would you go Paleo, sound’s hard right?

The major benefit for us, is that it challenged us to question what we were putting in our bodies and to focus on real food first. Is that protein bar really necessary? Do I need another shake? After all, healthy eating is ignoring the “diets”, the “industry” and listening to your body while getting back to basics with whole, real food.

The Paleo diet isn’t as restrictive as it first seems and with a bit of culinary creativity you will quickly find yourself filling in the gaps left by dairy and processed foods. Once you've mastered the recipes, the major Eureka moment is the realisation that not all calories are created equal (again - another time, another journal).

Here are a few sites we use for RECIPE inspiration:

Our Paleo Principles - Paleo INSPIRED

Our raison d’etre it to smash the idea that you need an over processed, artificial or sugar infused snack to get you through your day and to replace it with natural nutrition. The inspiration for creating the Fori bar was the Paleo diet, primarily for it's focus on eating real food. However, we soon discovered the greatest challenge to eating real food is snacking. So we set ourselves the mission to provide superior sustenance in a convenient format without compromise.

Inspired by the Paleo diet, we follow the principles however we don’t preach the virtues and strongly believe that you can achieve the same results through exercise and a balanced healthy diet. For us it’s a lifestyle choice rather than a diet.

Our bars say Paleo inspired because that's exactly what they are. The ingredients match the Paleo diet guidelines but if challenged we'd struggle to argue the case that our bars would have been available to even the most commercial of cavemen.

Finally, it’s important to note that there are no long-term clinical studies about the benefits and potential risks of the Paleo diet.

 

Best Sports & Active Nutrition Product Award

 

We've been on a roll recently, picking up awards from IFE and Free From, however, this is our first European award and our first in sports nutrition!

On face value you may not consider Fori as a "sports and active nutrition product", but look a bit deeper and we're the perfect snack. High in protein, convenient, portable and all natural Fori matches the needs of the modern athlete.

Whilst other sports nutrition manufacturers are striving to be more natural we inherently are and this struck a chord with Bridge2Food, Europe's' most prestigious food network who awarded us their Best Sports & Active Nutrition Product.

Judge, Claire Nuttall (Founder The Brand Incubator): “These meat snacks were natural tasting, convenient and very simply so much more foodie and appetising than many meat snacking options out on the market.  Most competitive alternatives seem to target teenagers and the out and out starving looking for fodder, these meat snacking bars brought something different and more aspirational to the category.  Adding chia seeds, innovative healthy ingredients makes all the difference to making a good product, great.”

One of our biggest motivations for creating Fori was to provide athletes with a healthier snacking solution, one that was savoury and not full of additives or sugars. We're delighted to see that the mind-set is shifting back towards whole foods and the recognition from Bridge2Food is testimony to this. Welcome to the real food revolution!

It was a big ask picking up this award but someone had to do it!