How to Ascend the Iron Throne…in the Kitchen

How to Ascend the Iron Throne…in the Kitchen

Want to be King of the kitchen? Look to Game of Thrones for some un-boring advice on how to reign supreme. That being said, iron often ends lives in Game Of Thrones, but in this case, we’ve prepared some advice on how iron can actually improve your health.

Game of Thrones fans around the world are pretty handy when it comes to crafting their own Iron Thrones. There is, however, a better way for guys to get more iron in their lives: By eating it.

Why is iron important?

We’re not talking about sword-swallowing here. As it turns out, iron is an essential nutrient that carries oxygen to your muscles and brain, all the better for any combat you might encounter. It’s crucial for both mental and physical performance, as low iron levels may result in a lack of focus, increased irritability and reduced stamina. Who needs that when you’re facing being late for work or have to find the energy to do an activity with your family.

Win with these iron-rich foods

Health Canada recommends that adult men consume around 8 milligrams of iron per day. Red meat contains a lot of iron, with a nine-ounce steak just about fulfilling a guy’s daily needs. However, there can be a lot of fat in red meat, so men should substitute with other sources once in awhile. For example, 1 cup of soybeans actually contains more iron than steak. The good news is that many other tasty foods are packed with iron, such as:

  • Steamed mussels: Contain nearly twice as much iron as steak!

  • Turkey: Yup, Thanksgiving’s culinary centrepiece is on par with steak.

  • Chicken and fish: About a third as much as turkey, but still very good sources of iron.

More than meat

Generally speaking, plant based foods also contain iron, but that iron is not absorbed quite as easily. However, this list of vegetables contributes to your daily intake while offering additional health benefits:

  • Baked beans

  • Pumpkin, sesame, or squash seeds

  • Lima beans, red kidney beans, chickpeas, or split peas

  • Potatoes

  • Broccoli

So put some nice steamed broccoli and a baked potato next to that barbecued salmon steak (go easy on the butter and salt!) and you’ll have more than enough energy to do anything you want!

Let’s put an end to boring health tips and win big while we do it! Vote for your favourite un-boring health tips video — here — to earn a chance to win a 5-star all-inclusive trip to Cuba.

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download our free eBook featuring ten more unusually fun and easy health tips!

3 Must-Know Tips to Cook Like A Boss‏

3 Must-Know Tips to Cook Like A Boss‏

No wonder the French word “chef” means “boss” in English. Being able to prepare awesome, healthy food impresses everyone from your bros to your lady’s toes. Indeed, recent Australian research found that women were more aroused when their male partners baked a cake than when they used a power drill!

But there’s more to culinary skill than getting some action. According to Canadian Men’s Health Foundation Champion Ned Bell, Executive Chef at the Four Season’s Hotel Vancouver, preparing your own meals using fresh ingredients is good for you and yours in a multitude of ways. Not only that, it’s surprisingly easy and convenient to do so.

Here are Chef Bell’s top 3 tips for conquering the kitchen:

  1. Know your butcher, your fishermen, your baker: They can help with decisions about ingredients and suggest recipes you wouldn’t normally consider.
  2. Cook what you know: It builds confidence to focus on a dish you’ve already mastered, but you should try new things, too: A new seasoning or spice, an ethnic cuisine you’ve never prepared before…This will expand your horizons and help you to ultimately cook like a boss!
  3. Shop with purpose, get in, get out: Know what you’re cooking and what you need (make a list) so you can shop and cook with a plan. This will make the experience efficient and fun, and will leave you hungry for more!

Do you have any burning questions you want to ask Ned? Leave them in the comments below.



About Chef Ned BellFarms, lakes and oceans to table is an essential mandate of Chef Ned Bell. Growing up in the Okanagan Valley has instilled in him a lifelong passion for fresh and locally sourced cuisine. Chef Bell believes that food doesn’t need to be complicated, but it is important to know where it comes from. When the apron is off, Ned can be found running local trails, cycling and spending time with family. 


Photo credit: Four Seasons Vancouver 

How to Master the Marinade

How to Master the Marinade

Marinades are one of the easiest ways to punch up the flavour in food. Instead of grabbing store-bought sauces that are filled with unhealthy sugars, oils and sodium, gather a few basic ingredients and make your own!

To help you on your way to marinade mastery, here are some basic tips:


1. Fat helps flavours absorb

Adding a fat to your marinade will help the flavours absorb into the fatty tissue of meat, or the fibre of vegetables, and retain moisture while it cooks. Fat also curbs acids from overwhelming the flavour.

Healthy Options: Olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, peanut oil and safflower oil.


2. Acid tenderizes the food

Acids help tenderize the meat and vegetables by breaking down the connective tissue, allowing flavours to penetrate. They also counteract any bad stuff that gets produced when meat or vegetables are cooked at high temperatures, like grilling.

Healthy Options: Vinegar, wine, citrus juice, and Greek yogurt.


3. Seasonings build great flavour

With countless possibilities and combinations, here are a few suggestions:

  • Aromatics
    Add a deep flavour base. Examples: Garlic, onion, fresh or dried herbs and spices.
  • Salt
    Helps magnify the other flavours, but don’t use too much as it will draw the moisture out of meat and prevent flavours from absorbing. Examples: Sea salt, light soy sauce.
  • Sugars
    Not mandatory, but can be used to balance the acid. When cooked at a low heat, it will caramelize and add extra flavour, but at high heats it can burn and create an unpleasant taste. Examples: Brown sugar, honey, molasses.


4. Soak longer for better taste

A general rule is the longer you marinate, the more time your food has to tenderize and absorb flavours. However, fish is naturally tender, so don’t over marinate or it can become mushy.

Use our guide to marinate your meat, fish, and vegetables, just right:

  • Meat and Poultry – 30 minutes, up to 48 hours
  • Seafood and Fish – 15 minutes, up to 1 hour
  • Vegetables – 30 minutes, up to 24 hours


5. Try one of these easy, delicious marinades below:

  • The King of All Beef Marinades
    Worcestershire sauce (½ cup), lemon juice (½ cup), low sodium soy sauce (½ cup), peeled and finely chopped garlic (4-5 cloves), black pepper (to taste)


  • Rustic Sweet Vegetable Marinade
    Olive oil (¼ cup), balsamic vinegar (⅛ cup), white wine vinegar (⅛ cup), honey (⅛ cup), rosemary (2 tbsp), salt (1 tsp), pepper (2 tsp)


  • Mediterranean Chicken and Fish Marinade
    Olive oil (4 tbsp), lemon juice (4 tbsp), lime juice (4 tbsp), fresh parsley (4 tbsp), coriander (4 tbsp), peeled and finely chopped garlic (3 cloves), paprika (4 tsp), cumin (2 tsp), black pepper (1tsp)


Instructions: Simple. Mix the above ingredients together and you’re ready to go!


Handy Tips:

  • Do not use metal bowls when mixing your marinade because metal can cause a chemical reaction with the acids and change the flavour.
  • Use glass, plastic or heavy-duty plastic storage bags. Discard your marinade after use if it has been in contact with raw meat which may contain harmful bacteria.


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