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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Tender Pork Stew ... warming and delicious !

Although not eaten by all, Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world, accounting for about 38% of meat production worldwide. Pork is the culinary name for meat from a domestic pig - Sus scrofa domesticus - , and there is evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC.

I do like to include Pork in my weekly menu plans, and there are so many ways to cook and enjoy it. Take this recipe suggestion, a delicious plateful, and the ingredients used fit well with the LCHF lifestyle too!

Serves 6 - 8
2 tsp olive oil
750 g pork shoulder, cut into 5cm cubes
2 tbsp. plain flour
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
230 g tin chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 heaped tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 (low-salt) chicken or vegetable stock cube
1 tbsp. grated parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C, fan 140°C, gas 2. Heat half the olive oil in a medium non-stick saucepan. Dust the pork with the flour. Add half the pork to the pan and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the pork and set aside.
2. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, along with the onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the onion has softened slightly. Return the meat to the pan with the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme leaves. Make up 500ml stock using the stock cube and pour 300ml into the pan (save the rest for another recipe). Bring to the boil, then carefully pour the contents of the pan into an ovenproof casserole. Cover with a lid then transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hours.
3. Just before serving, remove the casserole from the oven, sprinkle with the grated parmesan and bake until the cheese has melted.

Nutritional Details:
Each serving provides
7.6g carbohydrate 2.1g fibre 13.8g protein 8.0g fat

Delicious served with celeriac or swede mash
You can freeze this, but do it before adding the Parmesan, and defrost fully before cooking and check it's piping hot when you serve.
From an original idea here

Bon Appetit

A variety of recipe ideas are within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you, if you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues please take these into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

You can't drug people into being healthy!

Cardiologist Dr Malhotra takes on the CEO of Pharma giant Astra Zeneca at the prestigious Cambridge Union. This guy is very bright and has become a leading light in the UK against junk food and big pharma corruption. Check this video out, well worth your time. Eddie

Chocolate and Almond Custard Tartlets : Low Carb

Servings 12
4 large eggs
250 ml milk
125 ml cream
60g salted butter - melted
45g ground almonds*
55g xylitol
3 Tbsp. desiccated coconut
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 Tbsp. vanilla essence
pinch salt

250 ml whipped cream - to serve
24 raspberries - to serve
mint leaves - to garnish

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.  350°F.  Gas Mark 4
2. Lightly grease a silicone muffin tin with cooking spray and position it on a baking tray.
3. For the tartlets, combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into the muffin tin and bake, 20 minutes. Test it with a cake tester – it is done once the cake tester comes out clean when inserted.
4. Cool the tartlets in the muffin tin for 30 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Refrigerate and serve cold with a dollop (spoonful) of whipped cream. Top with a raspberry or two and garnish with mint.

TIP: Replace the milk with coconut milk if a creamier and more intense coconut flavour is preferred.

From an original idea here
If you should need help with measurement/weight conversion see here

Looking through this blog (and inter-net) you will find many recipes that use low carb flours*, and often when you first start a low carb diet, you may feel confused with which low carb flours to use. You may never have used any of them before and how to use them properly can be daunting. Low carb flours don’t behave like wheat flour, and how to use them in your old regular high carb recipes is a common question.
Libby, at 'Ditch The Carbs' site has a very good article called, 'The Ultimate Guide To Low Carb Flours', which I'm sure many readers will find both interesting and helpful ... you can find it here 

We bring a variety of recipe ideas and articles to this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Low Carb and Gluten Free : Hot Ham and Cheese Roll Ups

The Dijon butter glaze on these low carb and gluten free roll-ups really makes this dish stand out - so much flavour packed into a delicious little roll.

Here is what you'll need for the Hot Ham and Cheese Roll-Ups ...
1/4 cup almond flour
3 tbsp. coconut flour
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cup low-moisture, part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
4 tbsp. salted butter
2 tbsp. cream cheese
1 large pastured egg
10 oz. sliced ham
1 1/2 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded

For the Dijon Butter Glaze ...
2 tbsp. salted butter
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 375°F  190°C  Gas Mark 5
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, onion powder and garlic powder.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine mozzarella cheese, butter, and cream cheese. Microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds to soften. Mix together until everything is well combined. If it gets stringy or is not quite melted enough, put it back in for another 30 seconds.
4. To the cheese mixture, add the dry ingredients and the egg. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. If you are having a hard time mixing it, put it back in the microwave for another 20-30 seconds.
5. Once the ingredients are combined, spread the dough out on parchment paper or a silpat in a thin and even layer – about 9″ by 13″. If it starts to get sticky, wet your hands a little bit to prevent it from sticking to you.
6. Once you have the dough in a nice, even rectangle, sprinkle the cheddar over top, covering all of the dough.
7. Next, layer on the ham.
8. Roll the dough up tightly lengthwise. This will produce smaller rolls, but you will get almost twice as many. Turn so that the seam is facing down
9. Cut the ends off each side of the roll-up to even it out. Then cut it into 1″ slices.
10. Place your individual roll-ups in a baking dish.
11. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they are fluffy and golden brown.
12. While they are baking, melt the butter and mix it with the Dijon, Worcestershire, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Fork whisk until all ingredients are well incorporated.
13. Take your rolls out of the oven, brush the glaze over top of them. Return them to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

These little ham and cheese pinwheels come in at just 2 net carbs each.
Please see recipe idea and more details at 'Peace Love and Low Carb'
If you need help with measurement/weight conversion see here

These could be just right for an Easter or Springtime side dish or snack!

image from here

All the best Jan

Monday, 19 March 2018

Dr. Troy Stapleton: "Low Carb Management of Type 1 Diabetes"

Dr. Troy Stapleton graduated from the University of Queensland Medical School in 1993 and completed his fellowship training as a Radiologist in 2005. Currently he is the Director of Radiology for the Sunshine Coast Health Service.

"In this inspirational video, Australian radiologist Dr. Troy Stapleton discusses how he's thrived with type 1 diabetes for the past 5 years by following a healthy low-carb diet based on whole food."

My thanks to Franziska Spritzler Low Carb Dietitian who has also shared this video presentation.

You can find her site here


Roasted Vegetables with Herbs and Feta : A Mary Berry Classic

Who doesn't like Mary Berry recipes - and this one is one of her classics. Roasted vegetables have also become a classic over the last few decades, perhaps because Mediterranean vegetables are easy to buy or grow yourself, and of course as well as being nutritious they look so colourful on the plate too!

Serves Six
2 small or 1 large aubergine/eggplant, halved and cut into 15mm/⅝in slices
350g/12oz peeled butternut squash, cut into 2cm/¾in cubes
2 medium courgettes/zucchini, halved and cut into 1cm/½in slices
2 large red peppers, seeds removed, cut into large 4cm/1½in pieces
4 tbsp. olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. caster sugar
1 heaped tsp grainy mustard
1 banana shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed

To serve
100g/3½oz feta, crumbled (optional)
2 tbsp. chopped mint
2 tbsp. chopped basil

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200 Fan/Gas 7.
2. Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
3. Put the vegetables into a bowl, add the oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss until coated. Arrange in a single layer on the baking trays.
4. Roast in the oven for 30–40 minutes, or until golden and little crisp – turn halfway through if needed. Leave to cool on the baking trays.
5. For the dressing, measure all of the dressing ingredients into a jug. Mix well and season with salt and pepper.
6. Put the vegetables on a serving platter or in a bowl. Pour over the dressing and check the seasoning. Scatter with the feta (if using), mint and basil and serve.
From an original idea here

You will find a variety of recipe ideas within this blog, but please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Joe Bonamassa with Beth Hart - I'll Take Care of You

I was in Brighton last night attending the Joe Bonamassa gig. No Beth but a stunning gig. Joe worked his butt off and as to be expected, a stunning band with him. Check this out. Eddie

Vegetable Soup : Low Carb

When temperatures get quite chilly what could be better then a nice bowl of vegetable soup. Lisa at Low Carb Yum came up with this simple low carb vegetable soup made in the Instant Pot, but the recipe can also be cooked on the stove top or a slow cooker.

Serves 12
1 large turnip cubed
1 small onion chopped
6 stalks celery chopped
1 medium carrot chopped (optional)
15 ounces pumpkin puree
1 pound green beans frozen or fresh
64 ounces chicken broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon fresh basil chopped (or 1.5 teaspoons dried)
1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon rubbed sage
salt to taste
1 pound spinach leaves chopped (fresh or frozen)


Instant Pot:
Place all ingredients except spinach into pot. Cover and set for 10 minutes at high pressure.
When time is up, allow a 10 minute natural pressure release. Open cover and stir in spinach. Cover for 5 minutes to wilt spinach leaves.

Stove Top:
Place all ingredients except spinach into pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 75-90 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Remove from heat. Stir in spinach. Cover for 5 minutes to wilt spinach leaves.

Recipe Notes
Each serving is approximately 2 cups
You can see more of Lisa's guide to making this soup here

If you should need help with measurement/weight conversion see here

Basil is a versatile and widely used aromatic herb. Basil is an annual plant that is easy to grow from seed but is very sensitive to cold. The plant grows well in warm climates and is widely used throughout southern Europe, particularly the Mediterranean, and in many parts of Asia. There are numerous species of basil; some have scents reminiscent of pineapple, lemon, cinnamon or cloves; others have beautiful purple leaves. The variety called holy basil (tulsi) is an essential part of an authentic Thai curry. In Mediterranean regions, basil and tomato is a classic combination. Pesto, made from basil leaves and pine nuts, with parmesan or pecorino cheese and olive oil (traditionally pounded together in a mortar and pestle – the latter lends pesto its name) is another classic dish

Bon Appetit !

All the best Jan

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Beth Hart - Fire On The Floor

She'a no stranger on music night, yet another powerful performance from Beth

Garden Centre's - aren't they great !

It's the weekend and they are forecasting snow for many areas of the UK, so please keep warm and safe. In fact many other countries have snow so the same goes wherever you live ...

Last weekend, I enjoyed a stroll around a local garden centre with the grand-children!
We had a great time and jokingly called it the three 'G's ...
Grand-children, Grandma and Garden! LOL!

I wasn't going to post a recipe today but then thought readers may like to see this one,
it's delicious, although celeriac is an odd looking vegetable!
Great Grub Celeriac - find it here

Enjoy your weekend

All the best Jan

Friday, 16 March 2018

Mama Mia : Low Carb Italian Meatballs

I'm sure your family will enjoy this low carb version of Italian meatballs - they make a wonderful Friday night meal - in fact they could be enjoyed any day!

Serves Four
4g carbs per serving

1 lb / 450 g ground (minced) beef
2 oz. / 50 g grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
14 oz. / 400 g canned whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
7 oz. / 200 g fresh spinach
2 oz. / 50 g butter
5 oz. / 150 g fresh mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper
Please see recipe instructions on Diet Doctor site here

Did you know Oregano contains a powerful substance called beta-caryophyllene that helps fight inflammation. This herb is said to benefit people suffering conditions such as osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis. On top of it’s anti-inflammatory properties, antibacterial and antifungal properties can also be added to the list of what make oregano a top pick herb!

We bring a variety of recipe ideas to this blog, but please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Low-carb diet fights diabetes

By Dr. Heather Wood / Albuquerque Psychiatrist

Diabetes is ravaging New Mexico. Twelve percent of residents suffer from the condition – up from less than 5 percent in 1990. It was the sixth-leading cause of death last year.

Federal guidelines and common conceptions about a “healthy diet” are partly to blame for these statistics. For years, people concerned about their health have been taught to reduce fat and increase carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates. But new research shows that these guidelines are not optimal for diabetics. It’s time to move away from these recommendations and begin promoting diets that may better improve health for people with diabetes.

Diabetes is dangerous. People with the condition are two to four times more likely to have a stroke or develop cardiovascular disease than those without it. The condition can also result in blindness, limb amputation and kidney failure.

Moreover, the disease is tremendously expensive to treat. Every year, diabetes and prediabetes cost New Mexico $2 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity.

Since the 1960s, Americans have been encouraged to eat diets high in carbohydrates – such as bread, pasta and grains – and low in fat. Americans dutifully followed this advice. From 2001 to 2010, for instance, Americans’ consumption of whole grains surged 33 percent, and since 1970, consumption of corn products, both directly and as sweeteners, increased nearly 30 percent, to an estimated 34 pounds per American per year. American corn and grain agriculture certainly benefited, but American health did not. Diabetes rates rose steadily.

Research shows that these carb-heavy diets can be suboptimal for type 2 diabetics. To give just one recent example: an article published in the journal Nature last year studied adults diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes. The control group ate the standard diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association: moderate in carbohydrates, low in fat, and calorie restricted, while the experimental group ate a diet low in carbohydrates, higher in protein and fat, and without caloric restriction. Both groups received the same advice about other lifestyle modifications considered important for diabetics, such as exercise, sleep improvement, and mindful eating.

After only three months, the low-carbohydrate group saw greater reductions in average blood sugar, known as HbA1c, lost about twice as much weight, and had greater reductions in their use of diabetic medication. These differences remained significant at one year.

As a doctor in Albuquerque, I have personal experience with this very issue. For years I ate a diet low in fat and heavy in complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and fruits – just as official guidelines recommend. Yet to my intense frustration, both my HbA1c and weight steadily climbed over the years. Finally, I realized that by my next checkup, I would be diabetic.

I decided to try a new approach. Reluctantly, I cleared all the bread, pasta, tortillas, fruit and sugary foods out of the house and embraced healthy fats and proteins. It worked. At my next check-up my HbA1c had fallen into the healthy range. Five years later, it’s still there.

A fast-growing body of research shows that many cases of type 2 diabetes can be effectively treated with low-carb diets – with less reliance on medication or none at all. It’s time for dietary guidelines to reflect this latest research. And health care professionals should know how to counsel their patients about safe, effective low-carb diets.

Of course, a perfect diet is difficult to attain. I’m an enthusiastic resident of New Mexico, and the occasional plate of chile rellenos with rice and beans will always be part of my life. But if we have a clearer idea what kind of diet is likely to lower blood sugar and keep it in a healthy range, we can improve our health and reduce the appalling burden of diabetes in our state.


Pork and Fennel Casserole ... a touch of the Mediterranean

Why not unwind with a Mediterranean-flavoured casserole of pork, chorizo and fennel, a very nice combination of flavours ...

Serves Four
2 tsp olive oil
1kg/2lbs 2oz pork shoulder, cut into large cubes
200g/7oz chorizo, cut into chunks
1 onion, sliced
1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
250ml/9fl oz. chicken stock
2 lemons, zest and juice
1 x 400g/14oz can chickpeas
100g/3½oz large pitted green olives
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

To serve:
wilted spinach

1. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and fry the pork shoulder until golden-brown on all sides. Remove the pork from the pan and set aside.
2. Add the chorizo to the pan and fry until crisp around the edges, remove from the pan and set aside.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and fry the onion and fennel for five minutes, or until softened.

4. Return the pork and chorizo to the pan, then pour over the stock, add the lemon juice and zest, cover and cook slowly on a low heat for two hours, or until the pork is very tender.
5. Add the chickpeas and olives and cook for a further 15 minutes.
6. Stir in the parsley and serve with wilted spinach.

From an original recipe here

Did you know - Chickpeas are a small legume popular in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cookery. They are usually sold pre-cooked in cans, or dried; the latter must be soaked before cooking. Chickpea, besan or ‘gram’ flour, made from dried ground chickpeas, is widely used in Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine. If buying dried chickpeas, look for firm examples with a uniform beige colour. Choose canned chickpeas stored in water, rather than brine. Dried chickpeas can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year without deterioration. Cooked chickpeas can be frozen.

We bring a variety of recipe ideas and articles to this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Thyroid Disease - Are Keto and Low Carb Diets Suitable For People With It?

Readers may be interested to read an article by Franziska Spritzler RD CDE

I have posted her opening and closing paragraph, but of course there is a lot more interesting information in-between!

She writes:
Are Keto and Low Carb Suitable For People With Thyroid Disease?
Thyroid hormones affect nearly every system in the body and have a profound influence on metabolic rate and overall health. Because of this, conditions such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis can cause symptoms that negatively affect quality of life.

Is a low-carb or keto diet helpful or harmful for people with Hashimoto's disease or other hypothyroid conditions? This article will explore the impact of keto and low-carb diets on thyroid health in different populations, along with providing guidance for optimizing thyroid health.


Take Home Message
Overall, it appears that although low-carb and keto diets reduce levels of thyroid hormones in the blood, this doesn't seem to impact health, ability to lose weight, or energy levels. On the contrary, many people respond to carb restriction with improvements in body composition, vigour, and health markers.
Additionally, a low-carb or ketogenic diet limited in inflammatory foods may be beneficial for those with Hashimoto's disease.

However, extreme carb restriction (i.e., less than 20 grams of total carbs daily) on a long-term basis isn't advised for those with autoimmune thyroid disease. It is advisable that individuals with hypothyroidism, consume a minimum of 20 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fibre) every day.

As with many things in nutrition, the optimal level of carb intake for thyroid health varies from person to person. Monitoring how you feel and perform, your thyroid hormone levels, and your antibody status can help you create a personalized low-carb lifestyle that is optimal for you.

Please see full article here

All the best Jan

French Bistro Salad - Low Carb and Delicious

I do think a colourful dish like this can, and perhaps should, be enjoyed anytime of the year. It's "from the city of Lyon in France". I really can see why this "classic bistro salad with tasty bacon and poached egg is hugely popular".

Serves Four
100 g smoked bacon lardons
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 medium free-range eggs
100 g watercress / spinach and rocket salad mix, or any other salad leaves
2 tsp washed and finely snipped fresh chives

1. Dry fry the bacon lardons in a frying pan over a medium heat until crisp - this will take about 10 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and mustard. Slowly add the oil, continuing to whisk until the mixture thickens. Set aside.
3. Half-fill a large pan with water and bring to a gentle simmer. Break each egg into a ramekin, keeping the yolks intact. One at a time, pour the eggs into the simmering water and gently spin the water around each egg with a slotted spoon to allow the white to fold over itself. Cook until the whites are just firm – about 4-6 minutes for a runny yolk; longer if you prefer them harder. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper; season with freshly ground black pepper.
4. Toss the salad in a bowl with the vinaigrette and bacon. Divide between 4 plates, top each with a poached egg and sprinkle with the chives to serve.

Nutritional Details:
Each serving provides
0.9g carbohydrate 0.4g fibre 15.1g protein 16.3g fat
Taken from an original recipe here

Lardons are small chunks of diced bacon (smoked or unsmoked) that are used to give a good, salty depth of flavour to robust dishes such as coq au vin. They’re sold vacuum-packed in most supermarkets, but if you can’t find them buy thick rashers of bacon and dice them yourself. Lardons will keep in the fridge for about three days. Lardons are commonly used to flavour dishes such as quiche, or are fried with onions and used as a base in soups or stews. Alternatively, try frying them and scattering them over salads.

Bon Appétit

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Six Bedtime Teas That May Help You Sleep

Kaitlyn Berkheiser RD, LDN writes: 
The 6 Best Bedtime Teas That Help You Sleep

"Good sleep is crucial to your overall health. Unfortunately, about 30% of people suffer from insomnia, or the chronic inability to fall asleep, stay asleep or achieve restorative, high-quality sleep. Herbal teas are popular beverage choices when it comes time to relax and unwind. For centuries, they have been used around the world as natural sleep remedies. Modern research also backs the use of herbal teas and their effectiveness as a sleep aid.
This article explores six of the best bedtime teas for catching some z’s.

1. Chamomile 
For years, chamomile tea has been used as a natural remedy to reduce inflammation, decrease anxiety and treat insomnia. In fact, chamomile is commonly regarded as a mild tranquilizer or sleep inducer. Its calming effects may be attributed to an antioxidant called apigenin, which is found in abundance in chamomile tea. Apigenin binds to specific receptors in your brain that may decrease anxiety and initiate sleep.
Summary Chamomile tea contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which may help initiate sleep. Also, drinking chamomile tea may help improve your overall quality of sleep.

2. Valerian Root

Valerian is an herb that has been used for centuries to treat problems like insomnia, nervousness and headaches. Historically, it was used in England during World War II to relieve the stress and anxiety caused by air raids. Today, valerian is one of the most popular herbal sleep aids in Europe and the US. It’s available as a dietary supplement in capsule or liquid form. Valerian root is also commonly dried and sold as tea.
Summary Valerian root may increase sleepiness by increasing levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA. Smaller studies suggest that valerian root may improve overall sleep quality by shortening the time it takes to fall asleep and decreasing night-time awakenings.

3. Lavender

Lavender is an herb often touted for its aromatic and soothing scent. In ancient times, Greeks and Romans would often add lavender to their drawn baths and breathe in the calming fragrance. Lavender tea is made from the small purple buds of the flowering plant. Originally native to the Mediterranean region, it’s now grown worldwide. Many people drink lavender tea to relax, settle their nerves and aid sleep. In fact, there is research to support these supposed benefits.
Summary Lavender is best known for its relaxing aroma. Drinking lavender tea may improve sleep quality, especially in those with insomnia or anxiety-related.

4. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm belongs to the mint family and is found all over the world. While frequently sold in extract form for use in aromatherapy, lemon balm leaves are also dried to make tea. This citrus-scented, aromatic herb has been used for reducing stress and improving sleep since the Middle Ages.
Summary Lemon balm is an aromatic herb that increases GABA levels in the brains of mice, thus initiating sedation. Drinking lemon balm tea may decrease insomnia-related symptoms.

5. Passionflower
Passionflower tea is made from the dried leaves, flowers and stems of the Passiflora plant. Traditionally, it has been used to alleviate anxiety and improve sleep. More recently, studies have examined the ability of passionflower tea to improve insomnia and sleep quality.
Summary Drinking passionflower tea may improve overall sleep quality. Also, passionflower in conjunction with valerian root and hops may reduce symptoms of insomnia.

6. Magnolia Bark
Magnolia is a flowering plant that has been around for over 100 million years.
Magnolia tea is made mostly from the bark of the plant but also consists of some dried buds and stems. Traditionally, magnolia was used in Chinese medicine for various symptoms, including abdominal discomfort, nasal congestion and stress relief. It is now regarded worldwide for its antianxiety and sedative effects.
Summary In mice, magnolia bark tea has been shown to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and increase the amount of overall sleep by modifying GABA receptors in the brain. However, further research is needed to confirm these effects in humans.

The Bottom Line
Many herbal teas, including chamomile, valerian root and lavender, are marketed as sleep aids. Many of the herbs they contain work by increasing or modifying specific neurotransmitters that are involved in initiating sleep. Moreover, they may help you fall asleep faster, decrease night-time awakenings and improve your overall sleep quality. Unfortunately, most of the current research used these herbs in extract or supplement form — not the herbal tea itself. Given that herbal supplements and extracts are very concentrated versions of the herb, a diluted source like tea is likely to be less effective. Further research that involves larger sample sizes is needed to fully establish herbal teas and their role in improving sleep in the long run. Additionally, since many herbs and supplements have the potential to interact with both prescription and over-the-counter medications, always consult your healthcare provider before adding an herbal tea to your nightly routine. While results can vary by individual, these herbal teas may be a good approach for those who are looking to get a better night’s sleep naturally."

The above is only a snippet of Kaitlyn's article.
You can read it in full, with all related information and research links, here

We bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy.

Please note, not all may be suitable for you.

If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Monday, 12 March 2018

A High-Fat Compared with a High-Carbohydrate Breakfast Enhances 24-Hour Fat Oxidation in Older Adults



The ability to oxidize fat is associated with a lower risk of chronic metabolic disease. Preclinical data in mice showed that a high-fat “breakfast” increased 24-h fat oxidation relative to a high-carbohydrate breakfast.


The objectives of this study were to determine whether the timing of macronutrient intake in humans affects daily fuel utilization and to examine associations between fuel utilization and metabolic indexes.


Participants were 29 healthy sedentary men and women (aged 55–75 y) with a body mass index (kg/m2) between 25 and 35. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either a high-fat breakfast (FB; 35% carbohydrate, 20% protein, 45% fat; n = 13) or a high-carbohydrate breakfast (CB; 60% carbohydrate, 20% protein, 20% fat; n = 16) for 4 wk while consuming a “neutral” lunch and dinner. Twenty-four-hour and postprandial respiratory quotients (RQs) were measured by whole-room indirect calorimetry. Insulin and glucose measures including insulin sensitivity were determined by an oral-glucose-tolerance test. Measures were taken at baseline and after the 4-wk intervention. Group-by-time interactions were determined by 2-factor repeated-measures mixed-model ANOVA. Pearson’s correlation analyses were used to determine associations of 24-h RQs with metabolic measures after the intervention.


There was a significant group-by-time interaction for change in the 24-h RQ [FB (mean ± SD): 0.88 ± 0.02 to 0.86 ± 0.02; CB: 0.88 ± 0.02 for both; P < 0.05], breakfast RQ (FB: 0.88 ± 0.03 to 0.86 ± 0.03; CB: 0.89 ± 0.02 to 0.90 ± 0.02; P < 0.01), and lunch RQ (FB: 0.089 ± 0.03 to 0.85 ± 0.03; CB: 0.89 ± 0.03 for both; P < 0.01). In the CB group at follow-up, 24-h RQ was positively associated with fasting glucose (r = 0.66, P < 0.05), glucose area under the curve (AUC) (r = 0.51, P < 0.05), and insulin AUC (r = 0.52, P < 0.05) and inversely associated with insulin sensitivity (r = –0.51, P < 0.05).


The macronutrient composition of breakfast affects substrate utilization throughout the day in older adults. The consumption of a high-fat, lower-carbohydrate breakfast may reduce the risk of metabolic disease.


Pepperoni Pizza Bites : Low Carb

Looking for a tasty change ... why not try some baked pepperoni. It makes spicy, crisp shells for sautéed veggies topped with tomato sauce and melted mozzarella. Read on for the recipe ... 

Serves 6
4.5g carb per serving

12 deli sliced sandwich-size pepperoni (about 3 inches across)
1/4 cup minced green peppers
3/4 cup minced yellow onion, divided into three portions
1/4 cup minced mushrooms
1/4 cup minced broccoli
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1 cup grated whole milk mozzarella
3 tbsp. minced fresh basil

If you need help with weight / measurement conversion please see here

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. / 200°C. / Gas Mark 6
2. To prepare pepperoni cups, cut two one-inch slits on opposite sides of each slice of pepperoni, and push slices into a mini muffin tin. Bake for 2 minutes, until edges are crisp.
3. Remove from oven and let cool. Place pepperoni cups on absorbent paper. Wipe extra oil from muffin tins.
4. Sauté onions and pepper until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and sauté onions and mushrooms, until soft. Remove from pan, and sauté onions and broccoli.
5. Return cups to muffin tins, and fill four with onion and peppers. Fill four with mushroom mixture, and four with broccoli mixture. Cover each with 1 tsp of tomato sauce. Divide cheese among the cups.
6. Bake for 3 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Remove from oven, sprinkle with fresh basil, and serve immediately.

If you are having a party or family get-together ... just double the ingredients!

From an original idea here

If like me you enjoy mozzarella, you may wish to read this post 'Mamma Mia it's Mozzarella' it gives a little more information about this cheese and two lovely recipes - please use this link here

We bring a variety of recipe ideas and articles to this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Butter fried cabbage with crispy bacon - it's tasty!

Bacon, cabbage and a touch of butter... some may say a perfect combination!

Fried cabbage with bacon can be perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you’re super hungry, feel free to add a couple of fried eggs or a dollop (spoonful) of mayonnaise. 

You can also serve this fried cabbage as a side dish, or pair it with a main course like a juicy oven-baked chicken.

Serves Two
9g carb per serving

10 oz. bacon
1 lb green cabbage or pointed cabbages (Pointed Cabbage is also known as Chinese Cabbage).
2 oz. butter
salt and pepper
Please see cooking instructions here

Did you know that ...
"Despite its impressive nutrient content, cabbage is often overlooked. While it may look a lot like lettuce, it actually belongs to the Brassica genus of vegetables, which includes broccoli, cauliflower and kale. It comes in a variety of shapes and colours, including red, purple, white and green, and its leaves can be either crinkled or smooth. This vegetable has been grown around the world for thousands of years and can be found in a variety of dishes, including sauerkraut, kimchi and coleslaw. Additionally, cabbage is loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Cabbage is an exceptionally healthy food. It has an outstanding nutrient profile and is especially high in vitamins C and K. In addition, eating cabbage may even help lower the risk of certain diseases, improve digestion and combat inflammation. Plus, cabbage makes a tasty and inexpensive addition to a number of recipes. With so many potential health benefits, it is easy to see why cabbage deserves some time in the spotlight and some room on your plate."
More about cabbage here

All the best Jan

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Sade - Flower of the Universe (From Disney's "A Wrinkle in Time")

She's been off the radar for few years but now Sade's back with a new song 

Just Right For a Low Carb Mother's Day Tea !

This lovely recipe is from Brenda at 'Sugar-Free Mom' blog. Sugar Free Low Carb Tiramisu Mug Cake... made in minutes and tastes just like traditional tiramisu, but without all the carbs and sugar! This could be lovely for any day of the week, but how about 'Mothers Day', tomorrow Sunday 11th March in the UK, but not until 13th May in the US ... perhaps get the ingredients and start practicing making this delicious cake now! Well why not ...

1 tbsp. Ground Flax-seed Meal
3 tbsp. Almond Meal Flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp instant espresso
1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs
3 tbsp. heavy (double) cream
1 tsp Kahlua, amaretto, brandy or rum extract
1 tsp vanilla liquid stevia
Coffee Syrup
1/2 cup hot brewed coffee
1 tbsp. (Swerve) sweetener
1 tsp Kahlua, amaretto or brandy (optional) or use rum extract
Mascarpone Frosting
2 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 ounces whipping cream
Optional Topping
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder and coffee beans

1. Whisk the first five ingredients together to make the cake.
2. Whisk the rest of the ingredients for the cake in a another bowl then stir well to combine with the dry.
3. Grease two shallow ramekins, e.g. quiche ramekins.
4. Pour batter evenly into each dish.
5. Microwave one cake at a time for 1 minute, may need additional 30 seconds if using a deeper dish as opposed to a shallow one.
6. Once cooked poke some holes all around the cake using a skewer or toothpick.
7. Stir the coffee syrup ingredients together and use just half the amount to soak the cakes in their dish. Allow to cool completely before continuing.
8. Place the frosting ingredients into a stand mixer and add the remaining coffee syrup.
9. Blend until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the sweetness of the frosting.
10. Spread half the frosting over one cake. Layer the second cake over the first and spread the rest of the frosting on top.
11. Decorate with optional toppings if desired.
12. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to an hour before serving.


If you should be celebrating Mother's Day, have an especially nice day

Forever in my heart
Forever in my thoughts
Forever in my life
My mum is always with me
Thank you Mum
I'll always love you

All the best Jan

Friday, 9 March 2018

Smoked Haddock : It Just Bubbles In The Pan !

Well, who am I to argue with Delia when she describes this as "a great recipe, a) because it's the most wonderful combination of flavours, and b) because it takes only 12 minutes from start to finish. Serve it with spinach cooked in its own juices with a little butter, then drained well, and you'll have a sublime meal in no time at all."

You will also need a frying pan with a diameter of 10 inches (25.5 cm).

Serves Two
12-14oz (350 -400g) smoked haddock or smoked cod, skinned, or same weight golden haddock cutlets, skinned
2 rounded tablespoons crème fraiche
1 heaped tablespoon snipped fresh chives
1/2oz (10g) butter, diced
5 fl oz (150ml) whole milk
freshly milled black pepper

1. First place the fish in the frying pan and add a little freshly milled black pepper but no salt.
2. Then pour in the milk (it won't cover the fish, but that doesn't matter), bring it up to simmering point and simmer gently, uncovered, for 8-12 minutes if you're using pieces of smoked haddock or cod, or 8 minutes for golden haddock cutlets.
3. You will be able to see quite clearly when they are cooked, as the whole thing will become pale and opaque.
4. Now carefully remove the fish to a plate using a fish slice, increase the heat and add the crème fraîche to the pan. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly, then whisk in the butter and return the fish to the sauce briefly.
5. Scatter in the chives, let it bubble for about 30 seconds and it's ready to serve.

Really great food, I hope you may enjoy it soon!

and as it's Friday - here are some flowers - hope you like them

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Just letting you know ... I'm back

image from here

Hi everyone, after more than a month away I'm back!!!

These past few weeks have been busy, tiring but such fun. We've moved to the New Forest, very near the South Coast.

With Spring just around the corner I'm looking forward to getting out and about ... hopefully with my camera!

Many thanks to Graham for keeping the blog going ...

Thanks to all the readers and commenters - you are appreciated.

I'm looking forward to catching up with all your blogs, it may take a few days so please be patient.

For now, our LCHF dinner is cooking ...

See you soon

All the best Jan

Why not take a walk ...

Nina Barough CBE said:

"The world is one big outdoor spa, and membership is free."

How good is that ?
I'm talking about walking - there's a lot to be said about walking, or being outside, it can be so uplifting.

"Best of all, it's a fantastic cure for the winter blues. Studies* show that if you walk like you're happy - shoulders back, head held high and striding with purpose - your body can actually fool your brain into feeling genuinely cheerful. So when you start out, don't shuffle along but take confident steps. It helps if you set yourself a challenge. Tell yourself you're going to go once round the park as fast as possible, or leave just before the shops close so you have to power along to get there. Giving yourself a goal and some kind of structure is a huge motivator."

On a simpler note this goal might just be walking to the front gate and back - then next time going to the corner, small steps can make such a difference.

I know of people in wheelchairs who just feel happier by being outside and their carer / friend / relation has taken then for a 'walk around the block'.

Links to Nina Barough, benefits of walking can be found here
and *studies about How We Walk can be found here

Do you enjoy a walk ?
The photograph shows me enjoying a winter walk ...

All the best Jan

Monday, 5 March 2018

Canadian physicians say it's time for a low-carb, high-fat Food Guide

The updated Canada Food Guide, slated for 2018, should reflect the latest dietary science, even if it goes against what people have been taught for decades.

A significant number of Canadian physicians are frustrated with the Ministry of Health. Canada's government is in the process of revising its national dietary guidelines for the first time in a decade, and a group of more than 715 physicians and allied health professionals worry that the new guidelines will not reflect the latest dietary science. Previously, the guidelines were based on the low-fat, high-carbohydrate model that has dominated nutritional advice for the past 50 years but has since been shown to be deeply flawed; however, it appears the government believes otherwise, stating that its two-year review of scientific evidence found "the scientific basis for the 2007 guide is generally consistent with the latest evidence on nutrition and health."

The group has sent multiple letters to the Ministry since late 2016, when the update was first announced, and has received only a single response that failed to address concerns about the inadequacies of the current food guide and the so-called evidence base.

This is concerning because, as Dr. David Harper writes in an opinion piece for the Vancouver Sun, the new food guide will have a profound effect on the health of Canadians -- and never before have the stakes been so high.

The current state of public health in Canada is abhorrent, similar to that of the United States, and Harper, along with the signees of the letters to the Ministry of Health, believes this is due in large part to following guidelines based on obsolete study models and erroneous conclusions.

"The results are clear: more than 50 percent of us are now overweight or obese, insulin resistant, and inflamed; the rates of diabetes are skyrocketing; and cancer and cardiovascular disease are the most common killers. Roughly 70 per cent of chronic disease is caused, directly or indirectly, by what I call the axis of illness: inflammation, obesity, and insulin resistance — three factors that work synergistically over time to worsen health outcomes."

Harper writes that there are at least 2,600 family physicians in Canada who are currently reversing the effects of chronic disease using diet, primarily the ketogenic diet, which goes against conventional nutritional advice by recommending high-fat, low-carb intake. He cites one particularly successful experiment:

"A 2017 low-carbohydrate diet study conducted at Indiana University and published in the journal JMIR Diabetes, involving 262 adults with Type II diabetes, found that 87 per cent of the subjects were able to reduce or eliminate their need for medication to manage their disease. And this happened within a matter of weeks, sometimes even days."

For Health Canada to ignore such results is irresponsible, Harper argues, but also reveals the food industry's insidious influence on shaping national guidelines. This is the same problem seen in the United States, when its revised 2015 Dietary Guidelines failed to take environmental concerns into consideration because the meat lobby is so powerful.

What the Canadian doctors want to see is fairly straightforward:

  • An end to the idea that a low-fat diet is healthy and that there should be caps on saturated fat
  • Guidelines created without influence from the food industry
  • An emphasis on nutrients coming from real foods, not artificially fortified grains
  • Promotion of low-carb diets as at least one effective intervention for people struggling with obesity, heart disease, and diabetes
  • Cease the advice to replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated, refined vegetable oils
  • Stop steering people away from nutritious whole foods, such as whole-fat dairy and regular red meat (obviously this has ethical and climate implications that would need to be weighed by individuals)
  • A cap on added sugar, in accordance with the updated WHO guidelines, ideally no greater than 5% of total calories

Perhaps most importantly, the new Canadian Dietary Guidelines should:

"Be based on a complete, comprehensive review of the most rigorous data available. In the absence of randomized clinical controlled trial data, rely on large epidemiologic studies with major clinical outcomes (avoid relying on surrogate endpoint studies), but accept that the level of evidence is less robust. If such data is not available, the Guidelines should remain silent."

While the original Open Letter sent by the physicians to Health Canada is no longer available for signing, there is a petition that anyone can sign. You can find it here.