flower in hand

The simple things in life

By Anna Campbell

My family and I headed to Queenstown for a few days over the school holidays. Those few days turned out to be a gastronomic fanfare, which started at none other than Jimmy’s Pies in Roxburgh.

There we were at lunchtime, standing in a wintery courtyard in our puffer jackets tucking into our gourmet pies – southern cuisine at its best!

Four of us chose the lamb shank pie and the fifth went for the venison pie. Absolutely delicious and on top of that a veritable bomb of nutrients.

You might think I say this in jest, but I am absolutely serious. I am forever frustrated when I read women’s magazines telling me that I should be eating chicken or fish as my protein options.

A moderate portion of lean red meat is rarely offered as an option when really and truly is there a healthier protein on earth than venison?

When I watched my son eat that venison pie, I was particularly pleased as he is extremely active and if you accounted for the sports he plays he would run close to a marathon on a fortnightly basis.

If he was a professional athlete, he would be advised to swallow a number of vitamin and mineral pills and encouraged to drink protein shakes. I’d say, he is far better with a venison pie from Jimmy’s.

The iron levels in venison are twice what they are in other red meats, and all red meats have greater than 10 times the iron of chicken and fish.

Most importantly, when we consume iron from meat, it is more easily absorbed by our bodies than when we consume iron as a dietary supplement – due to something described as the “meat factor”.

Scientists do not fully understand the meat factor but it is thought to be related to the muscle tissue itself. Fish has the same meat factor but not the level of iron to go with it.

So going on with my theme of venison being the healthiest meat on earth, it is also high in bioavailable zinc, B group vitamins (particularly vitamin B12), vitamin E, and long chain fatty acids.

Venison also has very low saturated fat levels, which is good for the waist line too. It is a pretty expensive meat, but relative to the cost of dietary supplements, I would say a small portion of venison is value for money and much tastier.

I would love to see more venison and red meat products promoted to our athletes, our very young and our very old in women’s magazines – by our medical and sport professionals.

Continuing with my gastronomic tour of Queenstown, I didn’t experience the famous Fergburger. I couldn’t stand the thought of those long queues – amazing though, all those people every day, lining up for a burger – what a phenomenon of branding and great products.

I did manage to visit the very cute Glenorchy General Store where I bought the yummiest homemade biscuits and root vegetable chippies, which we ate after climbing the mountainside.

For me, sitting up there in the mountains, looking over the lake, munching away with my family, was a far better tourist experience than anything we had to pay hundreds of dollars for.

Sometimes, when we rush around being consumers, elite athletes and thrill seekers, we forget that what is truly healthy for us are the simple things.

A pie from Jimmy’s, a walk, family-bioavailable iron, exercise, and great company – who would ask for more?