Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Why You Should Never Use Your Phone After 6:00 PM !

Why You Should Never Use Your Phone After 6:00 PM ! Impossible I hear many saying, me included, as I do sometimes make calls after 7pm when I know I am likely to get hold of family and friends who have been out working ... but in a recent article I read
Ronald Goedeke says:

"A good night’s sleep is one of the best things we can do for the health of our body, yet the majority of us still struggle with what sounds like a simple facet of life. The importance of enough quality deep sleep should not be underestimated. It is the time where we rest, recover and rejuvenate.

Unfortunately many modern day aspects are working against us when it comes to our sleep. Artificial light, electronics, stressful jobs, and caffeine are a few things that can have a significant impact on your sleep, however, there are a few simple things to considering doing for a better night’s sleep.

Exercise has countless health benefits. One of them is its ability to help us sleep by fatiguing the body. While exercise is extremely beneficial, it is best done during the day rather than at night when you’re trying to relax. Strenuous exercise can result in a release of adrenaline and make you feel awake for a period of time afterwards; exactly what you don’t need in the evenings.

Avoid Caffeine After Noon:
Caffeine is a stimulant that will affect sleep. With a half-life of approximately 5 hours, about a quarter of the caffeine in a 3:00 p.m. cup of coffee are still in the system after 10:00 p.m. when you should be heading to sleep. While you may not feel the effects of the coffee that you had earlier, caffeine has been shown to disrupt your sleep.

Eat Dinner Early:
Get your final meal in as early as you can to give your body enough time to fully empty your stomach. It may take up to two hours for a full stomach to empty, so give yourself adequate time before trying to sleep. An empty stomach will help avoid acid reflux issues which can worsen when you lie down to sleep.

Install A Blue Light Filter On Your Computer And Phone:
If you’re like most people, using your phone and computer in the evenings, consider installing a blue light filter. The blue wavelength of light is the most potent portion of the visible light spectrum that affects our sleep. These filters are easily downloadable for your mobile devices and computers, and act by automatically cutting out blue light in the evenings.

Black Out Your Bedroom:
Try and sleep in complete darkness. This may be difficult to achieve, but our body’s melatonin production, which helps us sleep, is best in dark environments. Any artificial light present while trying to sleep can interrupt our circadian rhythm as well as suppress melatonin production, negatively impacting your sleep. If any light is making its way into your bedroom, try and eliminate it as best you can. This may involve turning off or unplugging all electronic devices, installing thicker curtains, or using black sheets to block out street lights.

Go To Sleep Earlier:
Studies have shown the hours before midnight to be extremely beneficial when it comes to a good night’s sleep. It is recommended you try to get to sleep before 10:00 p.m. as these earlier hours are more important than the total number of hours sleep you get. If you’re feeling groggy upon waking, don’t try to sleep more. Rather, try to get to sleep earlier and wake up earlier.

Sleep plays a huge role in our energy levels and can dictate how we feel during the day, which is why everyone should consider these six tips. Some might not work for everyone and changing your daily habits may take some time, but keep working at it and hopefully you’ll be getting that regular good night’s sleep you’ve dreamed of having."

Words, picture and more to see from article here

Talking to many friends and fellow bloggers, it would seem that one thing many of us do struggle with is a good night's sleep.
I do think it a good idea to eat your dinner as early as possible, but of course the time for a meal slot can be limited and set by whatever is going on in your family. I well remember the days when the children were all at home and some nights having a 'shift' of meal times to fit in with the after school or after work activities that were scheduled. We just have to do our best ...

I wonder, have you any tips for a restful night's sleep?

All the best Jan

Almond Flour Bread : Low Carb, Gluten Free and Grain Free

If you are new to low-carb baking, bread made with almond flour is the easiest low carb flour to begin with. Low-carb almond flour bread is also naturally grain free and gluten free bread.

This is a classic recipe for low-carb almond bread. Throw it all together and voila! A low-carb almond flour bread that slices like the real thing - just low-carb. This should be your go-to recipe for a healthy low-carb bread. Perfect sliced for a low-carb sandwich, toasted or even used for a bread stuffing.

15 slices

200 g almond meal/flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt, or to taste
20 g psyllium husk
4 eggs
50 g coconut oil melted
125 ml of warm water

Words and image above are Libby's, please see instructions and more at her Ditch The Carbs Site here

this bread can go perfectly with a cheese and meat platter - image from google

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

Monday, 15 January 2018

Have We Really Demonstrated the Cardiovascular Safety of Antihyperglycemic Drugs?

Rethinking the Concepts of Macrovascular and Microvascular Disease in Type 2 Diabetes


A primary goal of the treatment of type 2 mellitus is the prevention of morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular disease. However, antihyperglycemic drugs have the capacity to cause deleterious effects on the circulation, a risk that is not adequately reflected by the endpoints selected for emphasis in large-scale clinical trials that are designed to evaluate cardiovascular safety. The primary endpoint of the large-scale studies mandated by regulatory authorities focuses only on 3-4 events that depict only a limited view of the circulatory system.

One of the most serious adverse effects of many glucose-lowering drugs is new-onset or worsening heart failure. Most antidiabetic drugs can aggravate heart failure because they exert antinatriuretic actions, and possibly, adverse effects on the myocardium. In addition, certain antihyperglycemic agents may worsen peripheral vascular disease and trigger cardiac arrhythmias that may lead to sudden death. Initiation of treatment with antidiabetic medications may also cause deterioration of the function of the kidneys, retina and peripheral nerves, which are typically regarded as reflecting microvascular disease.

The current confusion about the cardiovascular effects of glucose-lowering drugs may be exacerbated by conceptual uncertainties about the classification of large and small vessel disease in determining the clinical course of diabetes. Physicians should not be falsely reassured by claims that a new treatment appears to have passed a narrowly-defined regulatory test. The management of diabetic patients often carries with it the risk of important cardiovascular consequences, even for drugs that do not overtly increase the risk of myocardial infarction or stroke.


Cheesy Haddock and Spinach Bake

This recipe suggestion uses Pié d'Angloys cheese, which is a full flavoured and creamy cheese. On its authentic packaging, the seal certifies its constant quality and is the proof of the cheese-markers' excellence.

On the outside the product has an ivory rind which once cut reveals a golden honey coloured brie-like paste. The texture is always creamy and melts in the mouth and the taste is rich and flavoured with a hint of honey. Pié d’Angloys is perfect for any occasion – its uniqueness graces any cheeseboard but can also be eaten simply with low carb seedy bread, to turn a light lunch into a real treat.

Serves Two
20g butter
20g plain flour
240ml milk
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Squeeze of lemon
100g spinach
70g Pié d'Angloys - chopped into small cubes
400g smoked haddock
Salt and pepper

Oven temperatures in 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6

Preheat the oven. Melt the butter over a medium heat, remove and stir in the flour to form a roux. Place back on the heat and cook for 30 seconds stirring with a wooden spoon.

Gradually add the milk a little at a time whisking as you go to prevent any lumps from forming. When you have incorporated all the milk and the sauce has a creamy consistency add in the Dijon mustard, Pié d'Angloys and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste.

Wash the spinach and cook for 1-2mins, squeeze out any excess liquid using a sieve and the back of a spoon.

Divide the spinach between two small crockery-baking dishes, place the fish on top and finish with the sauce.

Bake in the oven for 15 to 20min until golden on top.

From an original idea here

Please note - there is a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog. It is important to 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, 14 January 2018

Lamb Casserole with aubergine, red pepper and tomatoes - so easy !

I do like recipes that use aubergines/eggplants and they are often in my menu plans. Not only are they an excellent source of dietary fibre, they are also a good source of Vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium. In addition it is high in the minerals copper, magnesium and manganese. A 100g serving of raw aubergine provides: 25kcal 1g protein 0.2g fat 6g carbohydrate 3.4g fibre.

This lamb casserole recipe suggestion contains a great selection of vegetables including an aubergine! It's a great easy dish to prepare you may like to give it a try ...

Serves Four
1 aubergine/eggplant
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced
550g - 600g diced lamb
15g butter
1 tbsp. plain flour
400g can chopped tomatoes with herbs
300ml lamb stock

Cut the aubergine/eggplant into 2cm cubes and put in a colander. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

Pre-heat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3. Heat half the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion. Add the garlic and pepper and cook for another minute. Add the aubergine and stir. Transfer to a casserole dish.

Add the rest of the oil to the pan and brown the lamb in two batches, adding to the casserole when done.

Melt the butter in the pan and stir in the flour. Add the tomatoes and simmer, stirring all the time. Add the stock to the casserole with the tomatoes. Season, cover and cook in the oven for 2 ¼ hours.

From an original idea here

All the best Jan

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Freya Ridings - Lost Without You (Live At Hackney Round Chapel)

Another singer with a powerful voice that's new to me, enjoy

Ed Sheeran - Andrea Bocelli - Perfect Symphony

Saturday Night is music night on this blog, and here we have Ed Sheeran and Andrea Bocelli - Perfect Symphony. I happened upon this lovely video on Sandy's blog and she said, 'it's great', I definitely agree - hope you enjoy it too. All the best Jan

Scallops Parmesan ... delicious low carb food !

These are elegant little appetizers 'kissed with the flavours of wine and cheese ... everything about these are right ' says Anne Aobadia. You could start a special dinner party with these ... and they are low carb too! You could even consider this dish for a Valentine's Day starter!

Serves Four
5g carbs per serving

8 scallops
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 tablespoons / 60ml white wine
1 cup / 240ml heavy (double) whipping cream
1⁄6 oz. / 30g grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

You may like to pair these with different types of dry wine, to accentuate the delicate flavours.
Please see Anne Aobadia's recipe instructions at Diet Doctor site here

Did you know that the history of Parmesan cheese and its etymology are fascinating, and it goes back a few centuries, please read more here  

Readers - you will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas, are within this blog. It is important to 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.

As always thanks for reading, and enjoy your weekend.

All the best Jan 

Friday, 12 January 2018

Five Health and Fitness Tips For 2018

These are my five simple health and fitness tips, but please note I am not a medical person, nor do I have any underlying health issues. I can only share my experience with you, the reader, but by following these five simple tips for almost ten years now, my health and fitness has been good.

Eddie, my husband a Type 2 diabetic reduced his HbA1c from in the 12’s (at diagnosis) to the 5’s. By living this lifestyle, his blood sugar levels remain constant, and his only diabetic medication is metformin. Some Type 2 Diabetics, who have also followed this lifestyle, have reduced their dependence on medication too, which surely must be beneficial.

These five markers have become a ‘lifestyle’ and I certainly would not go back to eating ’carbage’. I do not eat more than 50 carbs each day but it is balanced by the amount of fat and protein I eat. You need to work out a balance that suits you, take your lifestyle, your work patterns etc. into account. This is not difficult to do but you have to make the choice and then put your choice into action.

If you are diabetic use your meter to keep a check on your blood sugar readings. If you choose to start out on this lifestyle take it one step at a time, it’s not a race and you may find that a gradual reduction works better for you.

So to re-cap for me - keeping my body healthy is following this lifestyle:

1) Eating low carb whole foods,
2) Eating high fat natural foods,
3) Eating moderate protein foods,
4) Taking exercise, that suit’s the individual,
5) Establish a good sleep pattern.

You only have to read around the many blogs and forums, read the various articles, look at who is talking about living this low carb lifestyle, to get a good indication of the many people this has helped.

Whether you are non diabetic, a Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetic. Perhaps your family has a History of other illnesses that could benefit from living this lifestyle, if you haven’t already given it some thought I would urge you to.

As always dear reader the choice is yours ...

Thanks for reading, the picture below shows the low carb food pyramid.

If you should be interested in reading a little more about the LCHF lifestyle then why not have a look at our 'Introduction to low-carb for beginners' post here

All the best Jan

Thursday, 11 January 2018

"Not a lot of people know that" Michael Caine

We are constantly told we need to get our cholesterol levels down. The $64,000 question must be WHY? the lower the cholesterol the sooner we die. Don't believe me, check out this very short video by UK Medical Doctor Malcolm Kendrick a heart disease expert. Eddie 

Frittata with Fresh Spinach, Bacon or Chorizo : Low Carb

This gorgeous dish looks so tasty - and it is! Simple to make, it combines eggs, spinach, bacon or chorizo and some grated cheese! So nutritious and as my grand-daughter may say ... 'it's yummy in your tummy'

Serves Four
4g carb per serving
8 eggs
1 cup / 225ml heavy (double) whipping cream
8 oz. / 225g fresh spinach
51⁄3 oz. / 150g diced bacon or chorizo
51⁄3 oz. / 150g shredded (grated) cheese
2 tablespoons butter, for frying
salt and pepper

Please see recipe instructions here
Just serve with a lovely cup of coffee or tea.

 ... and for you dear reader, these flowers to cheer up a cool winters day,
or a hot day if you may be in the Southern Hemisphere !

image from google

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Beef, cooked slowly with onions, carrots and cabbage : Low carb

Slow Cooked Beef Casserole

For a lovely heart warming meal you just can't beat a nice slow cooked beef casserole.
This one has onion and carrot added with some salt, pepper, mixed herbs and beef stock.
Simply served with white cabbage. A truly tasty low carb meal...

For dessert why not have some lower carb fruit like blueberries, with some thick double (heavy) cream !

A satisfying low carb meal, and not a potato in sight!

Ingredients: Serves two
250/300 grams braising steak cut into small cubed pieces
1 large red onion chopped
1 large sliced carrot
1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper to taste
Just under 1 pint of gravy stock

Easy Method
Clean, cut and place all ingredients in a casserole dish or earthenware oven proof pot with lid.

Pour over the stock and cook at 180c in an electric oven, or Mark 4 Gas Oven for 90 to 120 minutes.

Obviously ovens do differ so check food is cooked thoroughly before serving.

Once you've enjoyed your casserole just serve up some low carb fruit - like blueberries and cream.

Bon Appetit!

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Is coconut oil a superfood?

Sales of coconut oil are rocketing, propelled by celebrity endorsements and claims that drinking the stuff will cure everything from bad breath to digestive disorders.

Actress Angelina Jolie-Pitt is said to have a tablespoon or so with her breakfast most mornings, while model Miranda Kerr says she not only adds it to salads and smoothies, but she cooks with it and splashes it on her skin as well.

The health claims that swirl around coconut oil are treated with a great deal of scepticism by scientists.

If anything coconut oil is seen, in the scientific community, as an unhealthy fat. It is very high in saturated fat (86%), even more so than butter (51%) or lard (39%).

The reason that foods rich in saturated fats are frowned on is because eating them causes a rise in blood levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein).

LDL is known as "bad cholesterol" because high levels are linked with increased risk of heart disease.

On the other hand, saturated fats - which are particularly bad for you - also tend to raise HDL, "good" cholesterol, which has the opposite effect. It is possible that a particular food can raise overall cholesterol levels, yet still be heart-friendly.

Cholesterol check

So is coconut oil a cholesterol-busting wonder food, as some claim, or is this all dangerous hype?

Despite all the sound and fury that surrounds coconut oil there have been surprisingly few human studies carried out to test specific health claims.

So for the current BBC2 series of Trust Me I'm a Doctor, we thought we should help organise a trial.

The Trust Me team started by contacting Prof Kay-Tee Khaw and Prof Nita Forouhi, both eminent Cambridge academics.

With their help we recruited 94 volunteers, aged 50-75 and with no history of diabetes or heart disease, and designed a study to assess what effect eating different types of fat would have on their cholesterol levels.

We began by randomly allocating our volunteers to one of three groups. Every day for four weeks, the first was asked to eat 50g of extra virgin coconut oil - that's about three tablespoons full.

The second group was asked to consume the same amount of extra virgin olive oil.

Olive oil is a key element of the Mediterranean diet, which is widely seen as being extremely healthy.

And the third was asked to eat 50g of unsalted butter a day. Again, that adds up to just over three tablespoons.

The volunteers were told that they could consume these fats in whatever way they pleased, as long as they did so every day for the whole four weeks.

They were also warned that, because they were consuming an extra 450 calories a day, they might well put on some weight.

Before our volunteers started on their new high-fat regime we took blood samples to get baseline measurements, focusing mainly on their levels of LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) and HDL (the "good" cholesterol)

The importance of these two measures is that your heart attack risk is best calculated, not by looking at your total cholesterol score, but your total cholesterol divided by your HDL score. NHS Choices suggests that this figure should be below four.

So what happened? As expected the butter eaters saw an average rise in their LDL levels of about 10%, which was almost matched by a 5% rise in their HDL levels

Those consuming olive oil saw a small reduction, albeit a non-significant drop, in LDL cholesterol, and a 5% rise in HDL. So olive oil lived up to its heart-friendly reputation.


But the big surprise was the coconut oil. Not only was there no rise in LDL levels, which was what we were expecting, but there was a particularly large rise in HDL, the "good" cholesterol, up by 15%

On the face of it that would suggest that the people consuming the coconut oil had actually reduced their risk of developing heart disease or stroke.

I asked Prof Khaw, who was clearly surprised by these results, why she thought it had happened

"I have no real idea," she candidly replied. "Perhaps it is because the main saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid and lauric acid may have different biological impacts on blood lipids to other fatty acids. The evidence for that comes mainly from animals, so it was fascinating to see this effect in free-living humans."

So should we be hailing coconut oil as a health food?

"I think decisions to eat particular oils depend on more than just the health effects", she said. "This is just one study and it would be irresponsible to suggest changing dietary advice based on one study, however well conducted."

This was a very short-term study and compared to olive oil, research on coconut oil is at an early stage.

So the claims about coconut oil being a superfood are premature.

But if, like me, you enjoy putting coconut in your curries, there seems no very good reason to stop.


Monday, 8 January 2018

Low Carb 'Rice Pudding'

In a fairly typical 'old fashioned rice pudding' there are 59.9g carbohydrate (carbs) per one cup serving. If you are a diabetic eating this amount of carbs would result in your blood sugar readings going 'high' ... as your meter would show! Many Type 2 (and Type 1) diabetics exclude rice from their menu plans because of this reason ... elevated blood sugar readings are the last thing a well controlled diabetic would want. So if you are diabetic, or indeed like me a non-diabetic but choose to live the LCHF lifestyle - what do you do?

Well, for many of the higher carb foods there are excellent alternatives, and you can swap many foods e.g. pasta for courgette, tacos for lettuce etc.

If you may be looking for a low carb (alternative) version of 'rice pudding' then look no further. Anne Aobadia at Diet Doctor site has made this super 'Creamy Cottage Cheese Pudding' ... she says 'this is a low-carb version of the classic rice pudding - and you can serve (and enjoy) it all year round'

Serves Six
just 3g carb per serving

300 g cottage cheese
300 ml heavy (double) whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
60 g fresh raspberries or other berries of your liking

Delicious serves with red berries of your choice, or why not try a few wedges of a clementine ...

Just look at the difference in carb count:
3g per serving in the low carb version
59.9g per serving in the 'old fashioned' version

Please see original recipe and instructions here

Did you know ... Cinnamon is a popular spice often associated with baked treats, cereals and smoothies. However, you may not have considered that the teaspoon of cinnamon that you add to your baked treats may be doing you more good than you realized. Studies have shown that cinnamon could assist with boosting brain function, fighting cancer, aiding in digestion, supporting weight loss and fighting diabetes.

Incorporate cinnamon into your life by:
Adding a cinnamon quill into your morning tea, sprinkling half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon onto your homemade granola or adding a sprinkle of cinnamon into your next bowl of breakfast oatmeal.

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.

If you would like to read more about eating lower carb foods, and the LCHF lifestyle, why not see our post 'Introduction to low-carb for beginners' here

All the best Jan

Sunday, 7 January 2018

More drugs?

Anyone who believes more drugs is a better option than eating real whole, home cooked, fresh food, is probably on too many drugs already. The choice is yours.


Looking For Non Alcoholic Substitutes For Wine - both red and white !

Brianna Elliott RD writes:
"Wine is a popular alcoholic beverage made from fermented grape juice. Red and white wine are also popular cooking ingredients. They are included in many recipes to enhance flavour and colour. Additionally, wine is often used in cooking to provide moisture, tenderize meat or to deglaze a pan. If you don’t have wine on hand, or if you choose not to consume alcohol, there are many non-alcoholic substitutes you can use in cooking that will make your food just as delicious.

This article discusses 11 non-alcoholic substitutes for wine in cooking.

1. Red and White Wine Vinegar
Wine vinegar can replace wine in cooking without having a major impact on the taste of recipes. However, it is important to dilute vinegar with water before using it in cooking, due to its intense acidity. 

2. Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate juice is an excellent substitute for red wine in cooking due to its similar colour, flavour and acidity.

3. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice has several properties similar to red wine, so it makes a great non-alcoholic replacement for red wine in cooking.

4. Ginger Ale
Ginger ale may replace white wine in cooking as a result of its similar acidity and sweet taste.

5.Red or White Grape Juice
Since grape juice and wine have similar colours and flavours, grape juice can be used to replace wine at a 1:1 ratio in recipes.

6. Chicken, Beef or Vegetable Stock
Chicken, beef and vegetable stock may be an effective replacement for wine in recipes, due to their similar function in cooking. 

7. Apple Juice
Apple juice is a great non-alcoholic substitute for white wine because of its similar flavour and colour.

8. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is an excellent way to add flavour and acidity to dishes, so it makes a great non-alcoholic replacement for white wine in cooking.

9. Liquid From Canned Mushrooms
Canned mushroom liquid is an excellent replacement for red wine in cooking, especially in savoury dishes.

10. Tomato Juice
Tomato juice is acidic and has a similar colour to red wine, thus making it a great non-alcoholic substitute for red wine in cooking.

11. Water
Water contributes liquid to recipes, so can be used to replace wine in cooking. However, it does not contribute any flavour, colour or acidity.

The Bottom Line
There are several non-alcoholic ingredients that have properties similar to wine and can be used as substitutes for wine in cooking. Some ingredients, such as grape juice, may replace wine equally in recipes, while others may need to be mixed with other ingredients to make an effective substitute. It is important to keep your desired flavour in mind when you are replacing wine in recipes. For example, if you are looking for a sweet taste, it is best to use a sweet ingredient. Also, you may find it helpful to do a taste test when replacing wine in cooking, to ensure you are achieving your desired flavour in a dish." 

The above is only a snippet of Brianna's article.
You can read it in full, with related research links etc.

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

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Sara Bareilles - She Used To Be Mine

Saturday night is music night, I enjoyed this song hope you like it too

Normandy Pork Casserole ... Perfect For Cooler Days

This recipe suggestion is what many would call comfort food, and is perfect for chilly winter evenings. This is an easy one pot recipe suggestion which melts in the mouth, you really can't go wrong! In fact, I think I can smell the aroma coming from the kitchen right now!

Ingredients: serves 10 (easily halved if there are 4 – 6 of you eating)
100g butter
Olive oil
2kg shoulder of free-range (British) pork, cubed
400g (14oz) lardons or chunky streaky bacon, chopped
32 shallots, peeled and left whole
2 small onions, chopped
4 celery sticks, chopped
1 litre dry cider
200ml chicken stock
8 tbsp. single cream
4tbsp corn-flour mixed with 2tbsp water
4tbsp wholegrain mustard
4tbsp fresh tarragon leaves

How to prepare/serve:
1. Heat the oven to 170 C, 150 C fan, 325 F, gas 3.

2. You will need a large, flameproof casserole dish. Put half butter and drizzle of olive oil (to stop butter burning) with half the cubed pork, season and fry for about 10 minutes until thoroughly browned. Remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the rest of the butter to the casserole and fry the rest of the pork for 10 minutes until evenly browned.

3. Meanwhile, in another pan, dry-fry the bacon until crispy. Remove, set aside, then fry the shallots, onion and celery for a few minutes, to soften slightly.

4. Combine all the pork, the lardons, shallots, onion and celery in the casserole. Pour over the cider and chicken stock to cover. Cover the dish and cook in the oven for 2 hours until the pork is tender.

5. Add the cream, corn-flour mix, mustard and tarragon to the pan. Heat on the hob and stir until the sauce has thickened slightly.

6. Serve with vegetables of your choice but a lovely dark green steamed vegetable like cavolo nero or purple sprouting broccoli can work well.

From an original idea here

A variety of recipe ideas are found within 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

Friday, 5 January 2018

Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Soup ... delicious !

Well you don't need to be a Sherlock Holmes, or Agatha Christie to see where this rather lovely recipe idea for soup came from ... yes ... Sainsbury's magazine! It really is the perfect way to use up leftover sprouts, but don't worry if you have none leftover - see the kitchen secret tip below!

Serves Four
Ready in approx. 35 minutes
7.9g carbohydrate per serving

a splash of olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 medium onions, chopped
300 g cooked Brussels sprouts
2 garlic cloves, crushed
650 ml vegetable stock
4 tbsp. single cream
100 g mature cheddar, grated, plus extra to serve

1. Heat the oil in a medium pan and fry the onions over a medium heat until soft, 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, roughly chop half the sprouts and cut the rest into halves or quarters, depending on size.
2. Add the garlic to the pan and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the chopped sprouts and stock, cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
3. Purée the soup. Stir the cream, remaining sprouts, cheese and some seasoning into the pan and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of extra cheese.

Kitchen secret: if you love sprouts so much you don't have any leftovers, simply cook raw sprouts in boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes, or until tender.

... Brussels sprouts are thought to have been cultivated in Belgium in the 16th century - hence the name. They are rich in many valuable nutrients, find out more here

All the best Jan

Thursday, 4 January 2018

A low-carbohydrate survey: Evidence for sustainable metabolic syndrome reversal


Metabolic syndrome has become a significant problem, with the American Diabetes Association estimating the cost of diabetes and pre-diabetes in the United States alone to be $322 billion per year. Numerous clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of low-carbohydrate diets in reversing metabolic syndrome and its associated disorders.

Aim: This study was designed to examine how voluntary adherents to a low-carbohydrate diet rate its effectiveness and sustainability using an online survey.

Setting and methods:
The 57-question survey was administered online and shared internationally via social media and ‘low-carb’ communities. Where appropriate, chi-squared tests and paired t-tests were used to analyse the responses.

Results: There were 1580 respondents. The majority of respondents had consumed less than 100 g of carbohydrates per day for over a year, typically for reasons of weight loss or disease management. There was a reported decrease in waist circumference and weight with a simultaneous decrease in hunger and increase in energy level. Of those who provided laboratory values, the majority saw improvements in their HbA1c, blood glucose measurements, and lipid panel results. There was a reduction in usage of various medications, and 25% reported medication cost savings, with average monthly savings of $288 for those respondents. In particular, the usage of pain relievers and anti-inflammatories dropped with a simultaneous decreased rating of pain and increase in mobility.

Conclusion: We conclude that low-carbohydrate diets are a sustainable method of metabolic syndrome reversal in a community setting.


Breakfast Casserole : Vegetarian low carb / keto

How about this vegetarian breakfast made easy, and packed with protein! What could be better ...

Serves Four
5g carbs per serving
½ leek
1⁄3 cup / 75ml green olives
12 eggs
1 cup / 225ml heavy (double) whipping cream
7 oz. / 200g shredded (grated) cheese
1 teaspoon onion powder
3 oz. / 75g cherry tomatoes
1 oz. / 30g parmesan cheese, shredded (grated)
salt and pepper

Of course you may wish to experiment by adding different kinds of vegetables, herbs and seasonings. Note, that you may need to sauté harder veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage a few minutes before adding them to the dish.

Approx. five minutes to prepare and 45 minutes to cook ... and you can see the cooking instructions at Diet Doctor site here

I must admit we love eating recipes which contain eggs, they are so good for you and here's why:

1. Eggs are Full of Vitamins and Minerals - Including vitamins B, C, D, E, K, and more.

2. Lower High Blood Pressure - The peptides present in eggs were shown to help reduce high blood pressure.

3. Great Source of Protein - Eggs are a great source of protein, one egg contains 6 grams of protein.

4. Omega 3’s - Eggs contain a high level of essential omega-3 fatty acids, an essential nutrient and good for your heart.

5. Nine Essential Amino Acids - Eggs are known as the perfect food as they contain all 9 of the essential amino acids.

6. Can Lower Your Cholesterol - Eggs do contain cholesterol, however as mentioned above, studies have shown that those who consume eggs regularly had a reduced LDL and an increase in HDL (the good cholesterol).

7. Boost Brain and Nerve Health - One egg contains 20% of the daily recommended intake of choline. Approximately 90% of Americans are choline deficient. Choline is essential for phospholipids used in all cell membranes. Adequate levels of choline are essential for brain and nerve health.

8. Contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin - These carotenoids are an essential component for eye health and defend against the damaging effects of free radicals.

9. Contain Tryptophan and Tyrosine - Two amino acids which have great antioxidant properties. Tryptophan is also important as it is converted to serotonin, a mood enhancer and converted into melatonin in the pineal gland, which benefits sleep.

10. Reduced Risk of Macular Degeneration - Eggs protect your eyes from developing age-related macular degeneration due to the lutein and zeaxanthin present.

11. Good Source of Vitamin B12 - Vitamin B12 is an important vitamin for the process of converting homocysteine into safe molecules, such as glutathione, an important antioxidant.

12. Eggs Contain Calcium - One egg contains 50mg (5%) calcium. Although not a large source of calcium, an increased intake can reduce the risk of colon polyps and breast cancer.

13. Eggs Do NOT Cause Heart Disease - The choline in eggs is a crucial nutrient to help reduce the inflammation that leads to heart disease.

14. Reduce Birth Defects - Eggs contain folate, a nutrient which studies have shown to help prevent birth defects when consumed prenatally, one egg contains 44μg (11%) of folate.

15. Good Source of Vitamin  A - One egg contains 19% of the RDA for vitamin A, which plays an important role in improving the immune system.

16. Promote Healthy Hair and Nails - The sulphur contained in eggs and the additional vitamins and minerals help promote hair and nail growth.

17. Reduce Oxidative Stress - Selenium, an essential macronutrient contained in eggs helps reduce oxidative stress.

18. Reduce Risk of Tumours - Eggs are an excellent source of selenium which has been associated with preventing cancer and in particular reducing tumours affecting the prostate.

19. Eggs Protect Your Eyesight - Not only do they prevent macular degeneration, but the antioxidants in eggs also have been reported to protect eyes from damage related to UV exposure.

20. Reduces Risk of Cataracts - The antioxidants have also been linked to reducing the risk of developing cataracts in old age.

21. Improve Immune System Functioning - The iron contained in eggs helps support a healthy immune system and normal red blood cell production.

22. Lose Weight - In a study from Louisiana State University, participants who ate eggs for breakfast instead of bagels, lost more weight and reported having more energy.

23. Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer - A recent study found that women who consumed high amounts of choline, an abundant nutrient in eggs, were 24% less likely to get breast cancer.

24. Source of Vitamin D - The majority of the population is deficient in vitamin D which is essential for boosting the immune system and preventing cancer. One egg contains 41 IU of the 600 IU recommend daily amount of vitamin D.

25. Reduces Inflammation - The choline in eggs aids in reducing inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to increasing the risk of osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, cognitive decline, and type 2 diabetes.

26. Beneficial for Foetal Development - The choline present in eggs is essential for pregnant women as it is crucial for proper foetal brain development and preventing neural tube defects.

27. Reduce Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke - Several studies have shown that the nutrients in eggs help prevent blood clots which reduces the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

28. Improved Memory Function - The high amount of vitamins and nutrients in eggs, in particular choline, improves memory function and cognition.

29. Eggs Can Be Inexpensive - Many are able to get eggs for a great price when bought from local farmers. Another option is to raise your own chickens! Not only does this help save money and provide you with more nutritional value, but you could sell eggs to those in the area to cover the cost of caring for them.

30. Egg Variety - There are many ways to prepare eggs, whether you eat them raw, scramble them up in coconut oil, or boil them. You can also add great variety by adding in nutritious vegetables and herbs, such as to an omelette.

Information about eggs from here.

A variety of articles and recipe ideas are found within 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, 3 January 2018

A woman’s thing? Well maybe, but the tips are useful for all, if you have a four wheeled friend !

I first posted this back in 2014, but I think it's still relevant!

Reading an article recently it was talking about how many women name their cars. Apparently far more women then men do !

Well speaking personally, I can relate to this. In my youth, gosh that must have been last year LOL ! I too used to name my cars, Eddie thought it madness, but the kids (children) didn‘t seem to mind. Humour mum they probably thought … it‘s ok !

My cars have been named, Miranda, Harriet, Milly, Tilly …… to name a few. Notice there are none with a male name. I suddenly realised my present car doesn‘t have a name SHOCK ! Does this mean I‘m finally growing up !!!!!!!

I’ve never been too attached to cars, as long as they’ve got me from A to B, usually with kids in the back as I’ve done my chauffeuring, I’ve been happy.

I have to own up, I don’t know the first thing about cars - but do get them serviced and looked at regularly. Eddie is my first port of call if anything goes astray, and if he can‘t fix it - or isn‘t sure, then it‘s to our favourite and reliable garage. We‘ve used the same garage for a good many years now and many recommendations about them have been made to family and friends.

So enough of it’s “ a woman’s thing maybe”

Here are five simple tips to keep your car on the road this winter:

1) Charge the battery. Dead car batteries are common in winter - and most fail on a Monday morning, after being left standing over the weekend.

2) De-ice your car. If you are caught driving with an unclear windscreen or car you could be fined £1000-00.

3) Check the anti-freeze. Check the water tank under the bonnet once a week or before long journeys.

4) Check your tyres. It’s important to check tyres regularly, as they determine your car’s grip on the road.

5) Be well prepared. According to Auto-Trader there are ten essential items you shouldn’t leave home without this winter:
Scraper and de-icer
Warning triangle
First Aid Kit
Reflective Clothing - jackets, armbands, sticker.
Jump Leads
Food and Warm flask of water
Mobile phone with breakdown firm contact details
Tow Rope and Shovel

I copied these tips from my local county magazine, and I think they originally got them from Auto Trader, but the main thing is keep safe.

And if you are setting out on a journey soon please drive carefully and why not start the journey on a full stomach, may I suggest ham and eggs, a great LCHF meal.

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Crab Florentine Bake : Low Carb

This warming and comforting baked dish is full of spinach, cream and crab. This recipe makes two very generous entrée portions if served with a salad, but you may prefer to divide it between three or four people and add a more substantial side dish ... 

10oz box/packet of frozen spinach
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour 
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup heavy (double) cream
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons shredded/grated Parmesan
8oz. crab meat
salt and pepper 

Each serving 7.2 g net carbs. 

Words and picture above are Georgina's. You can see her preparation and cooking instructions at Step Away From The Carbs Site here

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

Interested in Parmesan Cheese? Read more about Parmesan Cheese History on this post here

All the best Jan

Monday, 1 January 2018

Twelve-month outcomes of a randomized trial of a moderate-carbohydrate versus very low-carbohydrate diet in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus or prediabetes


Dietary treatment is important in management of type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, but uncertainty exists about the optimal diet. We randomized adults (n = 34) with glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) > 6.0% and elevated body weight (BMI > 25) to a very low-carbohydrate ketogenic (LCK) diet (n = 16) or a moderate-carbohydrate, calorie-restricted, low-fat (MCCR) diet (n = 18).

 All participants were encouraged to be physically active, get sufficient sleep, and practice behavioral adherence strategies based on positive affect and mindful eating.

 At 12 months, participants in the LCK group had greater reductions in HbA1c levels (estimated marginal mean (EMM) at baseline = 6.6%, at 12 mos = 6.1%) than participants in MCCR group (EMM at baseline = 6.9%, at 12 mos = 6.7%), p = .007. Participants in the LCK group lost more weight (EMM at baseline = 99.9 kg, at 12 mos = 92.0 kg) than participants in the MCCR group (EMM at baseline = 97.5 kg, at 12 mos = 95.8 kg), p < .001. 

The LCK participants experienced larger reductions in diabetes-related medication use; of participants who took sulfonylureas or dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors at baseline, 6/10 in the LCK group discontinued these medications compared with 0/6 in the MCCR group (p = .005). In a 12-month trial, adults with elevated HbA1c and body weight assigned to an LCK diet had greater reductions in HbA1c, lost more weight, and reduced more medications than those instructed to follow an MCCR diet.

Full text:


The Five Minute Mental Detox To Start Your Day Right !

Laurentine ten Bosch writes:
"Ever feel like your brain is swarming with bees and you can’t construct a clear thought? There’s nothing worse than the mental fog that comes from having a ‘wired and tired’ mind or a terrible night’s sleep. Even while we sleep, our brains are busy working and sifting through mental clutter from the day before. So try this easy 5-day challenge: pick one of these simple, fast techniques to perform for five minutes first thing in the morning for five days straight, and notice how different you feel!

1. Reconnect With Nature
Our body’s natural circadian rhythms are kick-started by natural light. Plus, our brain loves to absorb natural scenery. First thing in the morning, take a five minute breather outside. Gaze upon the sky, listen to birdsong and feel the sunlight on your face. It’s amazing how this connection with nature can actually make you feel connected with yourself!

2. Practice Gratitude
When your heart is full of gratitude, there’s little room left for anger, fear or stress. For five minutes, write freely about all the things in your life that you feel grateful for. You may like to start with the simple things, like access to fresh food and water, but you may be surprised how richly blessed your life really is when you focus on how much good you have!

3. Do A Digi-Detox

How often do you wake up and reach for your phone? If you’re like many people, there’s a good chance that the first moments of your day are spent scrolling on Facebook or delving into emails. The trouble is, when you start your day with digital stimulation, you are starting your day on somebody else’s terms; your mood and thoughts are automatically influenced by the news, latest gossip or external demands in your inbox. Give yourself five minutes to start the day calmly on your terms, instead.

4. Read Something Positive
Opening your day with positive or inspiring words can have a powerful impact on how you filter your experiences for the rest of the day. Perhaps you could choose a quote that relates to an area of your life that you’d like to work on, or otherwise engage in reading that lifts your spirit and helps you to feel at ease.

5. Take 5 To Meditate
The benefits of meditation are profound. A daily practice of meditation can reduce anxiety and depression while simultaneously improving your focus and mood. There are no real rules for meditation and you can start by doing what feels best for you. Perhaps you’d like to simply breathe deeply for five minutes. Alternatively, you could practise clearing the mind and letting go of thought."

Words, picture and more to see from article here

I do think the digi-detox is a great idea. What do you think?
You may have other ways to help you start your day right!

All the best Jan