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Monday 22 April 2024

Earth Day 2024


Today 22 April is Earth Day and every year, millions of people across the globe gather on Earth Day to celebrate the environmental movement.

The event began in 1970 in the United States, and is now marked around the world.

What is happening for Earth Day 2024?

The 2024 theme, "Planet vs. Plastics", aims to raise awareness of the harms of plastic pollution for human and planetary health.

Previous events have covered a range of environmental issues, from climate change and clean energy to protecting species and the benefits of tree planting.

This year's focus comes ahead of an historic UN treaty on plastics, which is expected to be agreed by the end of 2024.

More than 50 countries, including the UK, have called for an end to plastic pollution by 2040.

But the organisers of Earth Day want to go further, and are calling for a 60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040.

Organisers have suggested that people could volunteer for a clean-up event or learn more about the damage done by plastic pollution.

Here are some tips for Reducing Plastic Waste

You already know that plastic waste poses a massive threat to the planet’s health. It’s hard to avoid plastic entirely, but there are ways to reduce your plastic use and the amount you put in the landfills.

1. Use reusable shopping bags and produce bags. Bags made from hemp or organic cotton are ideal, but also reuse whatever plastic bags you already have in your home.

2. Stop using plastic bag and containers to store food. Opt for glass, metal, and silicone instead. Repurpose your clean mayo jars to make salads, store nuts, and more.

3. Get biodegradable kitchen garbage bags. They usually cost a bit more per bag, but it’s a small investment in sustainability.

4. Buy loose leaf tea. A 2019 study concluded that tea bags can be a hidden source of microplastic pollution. At least check to make sure your favourite tea comes in plastic-free bags.

Remember To Recycle!
Do all you can to recycle and always take advantage of your municipal recycling programme.


Do please share any tips you may have on how to reduce plastic waste in the comments. 
There is more to read about Earth Day here

Enjoy your day.

All the best Jan

Sunday 21 April 2024

Sunday : Some Thoughts !


Do you consider Sunday the first or last day of the week? I was always told it was the first day... and apparently, it was originally the first day of the week rather than the last, in a calendar derived from Hellenistic astrology!

I wonder how do you spend your Sunday? Do you consider this day just another typical day, or a special day for relaxation and spending time with your friends, your family, or yourself?

Although some people may be working on Sundays, this day is usually the time for most of us to rest from work. What makes Sundays great is that you can actually do a lot of things like going to church, strolling with the family, day out with friends, or perhaps go shopping.

Of course you may not want to go outside! You may choose to stay in - do some yoga, or meditation, even watch a movie, or just sit down and enjoy reading the papers, magazine or good book! I have known some friends catch up with their housework!!!

However, you choose to spend your Sunday, I wish you a great day and a good start to the new week.

Some Random Sunday Facts

Sunday is named after the Sun. Unlike many of the other six days in a week, almost every language around has derived its word for Sunday from the meaning “Sun’s Day” or “Day of Sun.”

Months that begin on a Sunday always have a Friday the 13th in them.

Worldwide, nearly all banks are closed on Sundays.

In the U.K., most period TV dramas like Downton Abbey, Call The Midwife, Lark Rise to Candleford, and Heartbeat commonly air on a Sunday evening.

Professional golf tournaments often end on a Sunday.

Most motorsport events like MotoGP, Formula One, and NASCAR Sprint Cup races take place on a Sunday, with Saturday typically being when qualifying for the race takes place.

Today Sunday 21st April 2024 is the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix! With Max Verstappen on pole, I wonder if he will go on to win it? We shall see!

Whatever your plans for today maybe,
I hope you find time to sit and enjoy a cuppa


 and perhaps a low carb Almond and Orange Biscuit


you can find the recipe here

All the best Jan

Saturday 20 April 2024

Eggs Are Eggscellent !


I must admit we do enjoy 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, 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. Many of us may be 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 - Many may be 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 - Although prices have increased recently, many are able to get eggs for a great price when bought from local farmers. Another option could be 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, 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

Do you like eggs? We may enjoy an easy mushroom omelette today, details here

For readers who are not able to eat eggs
Have a look at this article, 'Thirteen Effective Substitutes for Eggs' find it 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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Friday 19 April 2024

"in a brief moment of sunshine"


A short post today 😊

We have been fortunate to enjoy a few sunnier days.
The garden birds have certainly been happy about it,
and it's been lovely to listen to their birdsong.

This beautiful cherry blossom and blue tit was photographed
"in a brief moment of sunshine" in Overton, Hampshire, UK
photo credit Deb Heath

Wishing all readers a happy and peaceful day.

All the best Jan

Thursday 18 April 2024

Diabetes and the Alternative Lower Carb 'Rice Pudding'

Before I start this post, Eddie and I just want to say thank you to all our readers who visit this blog, and a special thank you for all who take time to leave a comment ... you are all appreciated 😊

Also, you may have already seen the post here telling about the unexpected but lovely email we received from Anuj the the Founder of Feedspot informing us that our humble blog has been rated at number seventeen of one hundred 'Best Diabetes Blogs'. Our thanks to Feedspot for the thumbs up, and all who sent their congratulations. The list of best blogs is here

Now, on we go with today's post...

Did you know that "one in ten adults worldwide have diabetes. Over 90% have type 2 diabetes. Close to half are not yet diagnosed. In many cases, type 2 diabetes and its complications can be delayed or prevented by adopting and maintaining healthy habits. Knowing your risk and what to do is important to support prevention, early diagnosis and timely treatment."
please read more here


Did you know that in a fairly typical 'old fashioned rice pudding' there are over 40g carbohydrate (carbs) per serving. If you are a diabetic, eating this amount of carbs, many would find their 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. Now, if you may be looking for a low carb (alternative) version of 'rice pudding' then look no further. Diet Doctor site has this super 'creamy low carb "rice" pudding, pictured above. With just a few ingredients, it makes an amazing low carb version of the classic rice pudding. Make serve and enjoy it all year round!

Ingredients
Serves Six
just 6g 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 served with red berries of your choice, or why not try a few wedges of a clementine ...

Please see original recipe and instructions here

A reminder
Just look at the difference in carb count:
6g per serving in the low carb version
40g per serving in the 'old fashioned' version

You will find a variety of articles and 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.

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


Please be aware that articles / studies within this blog are provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, including medication, you should contact your Doctor/local health care provider.

All the best Jan

Wednesday 17 April 2024

'Real food is just one component of a healthy lifestyle'


Franziska Spritzler RD CDE writes:

"Real food is whole, single-ingredient food. It is mostly unprocessed, free of chemical additives, and rich in nutrients. In essence, it's the type of food human beings ate exclusively for thousands of years. However, since processed foods became popular in the 20th century, the Western diet has shifted toward ready-to-eat meals. While processed foods are convenient, they also harm your health. In fact, following a diet based on real food may be one of the most important things you can do to maintain good health and a high quality of life.

Here are 21 reasons to eat real food

1. Loaded with important nutrients

2. Low in sugar

3. Heart healthy

4. Better for the environment

5. High in fibre

6. Helps control blood sugar

7. Good for your skin

8. Helps lower triglycerides

9. Provides variety

10. Costs less in the long run

11. High in healthy fats

12. May reduce disease risk

13. Contains antioxidants

14. Good for your gut

15. May help prevent overeating

16. Promotes dental health

17. May help reduce sugar cravings

18. Sets a good example

19. Gets the focus off dieting

20. Helps support local farmers

21. Delicious

The bottom line
Real food is just one component of a healthy lifestyle. It’s also important to get plenty of exercise, lower your stress levels, and maintain proper nutrition. But there’s no doubt that eating more real food will go a long way toward improving your health."

The above is just a snippet of Franziska's article, you can read it in full here


Dear reader - you will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas 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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Coffee Grounds In Your Garden !

Well, you can't say there isn't variety on this blog. Whether it be articles and studies about diabetes and living the low carb lifestyle, to a wide variety of recipe suggestions, and even wildlife photography - there is variety - and they do say 'variety is the spice of life'.

But how about this one?

How to use coffee grounds in your garden – 3 ways to benefit plants and improve soil quality

Wondering how to use coffee grounds in your garden? Well, it turns out that your caffeine addiction might just be your garden's saving grace and the next step for upping your allotment's sustainability.

If you're lucky enough to have a coffee machine in your possession then you may be all too familiar with having to dispose of used coffee grounds after each delicious cup. Coffee grounds that you might have only previously seen as trash/rubbish are your garden's treasure, as using the grounds to nurture your plants and soil is a sustainable garden idea.

With this in mind, horticulture and garden experts share thoughts/tips on how to use coffee grounds in your garden and also why they are good for your plants and soil quality.

How to use coffee grounds in your garden

There's more than one way to use coffee grounds in your garden, whether your plants need an extra pep in their step or your veggies have fallen victim to a slug invasion, this natural solution is more versatile than you think!

Here are the three plant-friendly ways of using up those rich coffee grounds...

1. Fertiliser

If you are trying to keep up with the garden trends this year or are perhaps looking to recreate the wildflower garden border trend then coffee grounds are a great plant fertiliser.

Russell Birchell, Founder of 'Hedging UK' says, "Coffee grounds imbue the soil with vital nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus, leading to healthier plant growth and greater blooming potential in the long run."

When it comes to how you should spread your coffee grounds and how often there's a little more choice to it than simply dumping the grounds into your soil and calling it a day.

“Coffee grounds can be used in various ways in the garden, " agrees Peter Ivanov, Professional gardener at 'FantasticGardeners'. "For example, they can be incorporated into compost bins or worm bins to add nitrogen and increase microbial activity, which will make them more nutrient-rich."

2. Mulch

If you don't have a compost bin then you can also use the grounds directly as a mulch around acid-loving plants, explains Peter. Plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, blueberries and roses are particularly fond of acidic mulch as they naturally help lower soil pH over time.

Peter also suggests mixing the grounds into the soil as this can improve soil structure and drainage, however, he does warn against overuse as they are not compatible with every plant species.

"It’s not suitable for all plants and the main problem is that if they’re applied in a larger quantity to the top of the soil, their small particles can clump together and prevent water and air from reaching the roots of the plants," explains Peter.

To prevent this he recommends using the coffee grounds on the border soil of established plants only and making sure you aren't putting them in the same spot every time. 

3. Pest control

When we are vegetable growing, using heavy chemicals to kill slugs is just not an option, luckily coffee grounds can help with this too.

"Coffee grounds can act as a great deterrent for slugs and snails because the rough texture of them can irritate their soft bodies, making it uncomfortable for them to crawl across the soil," It's not just the texture of the grounds however, the actual caffeine content is also believed to have a toxic effect on slugs and snails too.

Peter does point out that the grounds alone won't completely deter the plant-eating pests, and suggests using them alongside other types of barriers and traps too. The grounds as pest control will also need to be applied often as they will deteriorate, especially if it's rained recently.

Where is the best place to put coffee grounds in the garden?

Although adding coffee grounds is one of the easy gardening tips that every gardener should know, there are a few do's and don'ts. Due to the acidness of the grounds, there are some plants you should not be putting them anywhere near for example tomato plants and seedlings as this can interfere with their growth and germination. 

"It’ll be best to compost them first to reduce their acidity and allow them to break down, making them suitable for a wider range of plants," explains Peter. Once you've composted your grounds then they should be safe to use for the rest of your plants and flowers, but you must add the grounds gradually.

Peter warns of creating a water-restricting barrier with the grounds which could eventually cause your plants to wilt and die. He recommends adding a layer of another type of organic mulch, such as wood chips, just to stop the grounds clumping together and stop water movement.

Happy gardening 😊
Words above from article here

Of course after you've done any gardening (or just read about it) why not enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and a low carb scone. The recipe details are here  please note the recipe is suitable for diabetics and is also gluten free, Keto, LCHF


~ Enjoy your day ~

You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas 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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Monday 15 April 2024

Leek, celery and gruyère gratin ... tastes so good

Gratins taste so good and can work well either as a side dish or a main course. This recipe goes well with a Sunday Roast Dinner, but can be enjoyed any day of the week ...


Ingredients
Serves Six
750g (1½lb) leeks, trimmed and cut into chunks
6 sticks of celery, chopped
400ml (14fl oz) vegetable stock
100ml (3½fl oz) half-fat crème fraîche
nutmeg, grated
25g (1oz) breadcrumbs
100g (3½oz) Gruyère, grated

Method
1. Preheat the oven to gas 7, 220ºC, fan 200ºC. Boil the vegetables for 5 minutes, drain and put in an ovenproof dish.
2. Mix together the vegetable stock, crème fraîche and nutmeg. Season.
3. Pour the creamy mixture over the vegetables, cover in foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove and set aside.
4. Remove the foil from the vegetable dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese. Cook for another 20 minutes until the topping is golden and crispy.

Nutrition Per Serving
Carbohydrate 8.9g Protein 8.2g Fat 7g Fibre 4.3g

Tips
If you do not have any leeks, try using spring onions (scallions) or white onions instead.
If you need a substitute for gruyère cheese look here
From original idea here

For more gratin choices have a look here

You will find a variety of recipe ideas 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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Sunday 14 April 2024

Best Diabetes Blogs!

100 Best Diabetes Blogs!

We recently received an unexpected but lovely email from Anuj the the Founder of Feedspot informing us that our humble blog has been rated at number seventeen of one hundred 'Best Diabetes Blogs from the thousands of blogs on the web, ranked by traffic, social media followers and freshness', see here

The site names me (Eddie), but if you are a regular reader here you will know that Jan has been the mainstay of the blog for a number of years.

We would like to thank Feedspot for the thumbs up, and thank you to the people that read and comment on our blog, you are appreciated. 


~ Thank you to everyone - you are appreciated ~

We wish the best of health to you and yours.

Eddie and Jan

Saturday 13 April 2024

Five Random Facts That May Amaze You !

Goodness me, it's the weekend again! The days of the week seem to go by so quickly. Today, for a change I'm sharing five random facts that may amaze you! 
  • There is an average of 50,000 spiders per acre in green areas.
  • Some male songbirds sing more than 2,000 times each day.
  • For every human in the world there are one million ants.
  • If you keep a goldfish in a dark room, it will become pale!
  • The sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.” uses every letter of the alphabet. 
Did you (like me) check that last fact out?
Whatever your plans are this weekend I wish you a good one, and invite you to enjoy (a virtual) slice of low carb Italian Lemon Cake, see the recipe here


This blog is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. You will find a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, photographs, music and recipes! However, not all the recipes ideas featured in this blog 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 12 April 2024

Creamy Paprika Chicken : The Mary Berry Way : Nice With Lower Carb Cauliflower Rice

I think many will agree that this Mary Berry recipe for a creamy paprika chicken is one that will please. A quick and comforting meal perfect served with young spinach or green beans. You could also add some plain boiled rice or creamy mash, however, the lower carb alternative cauliflower rice is very nice.


Ingredients
Serves Four
4 small chicken breasts, without skin or bone
150ml/5¼fl oz double (heavy) cream
For the marinade
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp grainy mustard
To serve - suggestions
young spinach or green beans
boiled rice, cooked or creamy mash
Lower carb alternative cauliflower rice

Method
1. Lay the chicken breasts on a clean work surface. Cover with cling film and gently beat with a rolling pin or meat mallet until 1cm (0.75in) thick.
2. Mix the marinade ingredients on a large flat plate then lightly spread each chicken fillet with the mixture and season. Leave to marinate for 10-20 minutes if times allows.
3. Heat a large non-stick frying pan. Add a little oil and gently fry the chicken breasts for just under two minutes each side or until just done. To check for doneness take a thin slice off one side of a breast. If the flesh is white it is cooked. Take care not to overcook.
4. Remove any surplus oil from the pan with kitchen paper, then measure the cream into a jug and mix with the leftover paprika mixture from the plate.
5. Pour the paprika cream into the pan around the chicken. Allow to bubble up and reduce slightly.
Serve with young spinach/green beans and plain boiled rice, or creamy mash. 
Low carbers may prefer to serve cauliflower rice and many stores/supermarkets now stock frozen cauliflower rice.
From recipe idea here

Paprika is a pepper-based spice full of antioxidants that helps fight a range of diseases due largely to its ability to fight oxidative stress. Paprika helps reduce inflammation and may be able to prevent and fight autoimmune conditions and some cancers.

Alternative recipes that use paprika
Chickpea Paprikash - a vegan recipe - see here
Hungarian Vegetarian Paprikash - a vegetarian recipe - see here

Mary Berry, is one of the best-known and respected cookery writers and broadcasters in the UK. She describes her cooking style as 'family' - practical, healthy recipes that incorporate lots of fresh ingredients.


~ wishing you happy day ~

You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog and 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 a reliable meter. If you have any concerns about your health it is always advisable to consult your Doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Thursday 11 April 2024

Aprils Birth Flower : Sweet peas

If you were born in April you are blessed with two birth flowers, daisies and fragrant sweet peas.

Daisies are everywhere, popping up along roadsides, in fields, and gardens, and they are popular for playing the classic “he loves me, he loves me not” game.

Sweet peas’ with their colourful petals cluster at the ends of long stems, fill the air with the delightful scent of spring.

This post shares some facts about sweet peas. If you haven't already seen my earlier post about the Daisy, you can read it here


Sweet peas enrich the land they grow in. They possess the unique ability to grab nitrogen from the air and infuse it into the soil in a form that plants can use.

Don’t be misled by the name; sweet peas differ greatly from edible peas and should never be eaten. The seeds of this plant contain toxins, making it unsuitable for human or animal consumption.

Sweet peas are resilient once established, and just cutting down the plant won’t eliminate these flowers. You could wake one day to find a new shoot blooming in your garden as it spreads underground via rhizomes.

Keep your sweet peas far from fruit like apples, bananas, and tomatoes that produce ethylene when ripening. Sweet peas are sensitive to ethylene, which can cause their petals to wilt and delay flowering.

Sweet peas are powerfully scented; a bouquet of these can make your house smell divine. Their scent is like a honeysuckle, jasmine, and lilac mix with citrus, amber, or sandalwood notes.

Cold climates are no match for the tenacious sweet pea. This flower isn’t afraid of the cold and can thrive in temperatures of 23°F (-5°C) with proper care.

Sicily, Italy, is the original home of sweet peas, first identified in the 17th century. In Latin, they are called the fragrant pea, Lathyrus odoratus.

Henry Eckford, a horticulturist from Scotland, bred the modern sweet peas in the 19th century. His new creations were renowned for their robust fragrance, making them extremely popular.

Sweet peas, often used in weddings, are romantic flowers believed to symbolize youthful love. You can also give this flower to friends to appreciate their devotion.

With their long stems and climbing nature, sweet peas can grow incredibly tall in the right conditions, reaching 8 feet (2.4 meters).

April’s birth flowers may look nothing alike, but they share one common feature; their resilience. No matter where they are planted, daisies and sweet peas can adapt and flourish, just like April babies 😊

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. You may now like to read this one about 'Some Foods In Season During April' which also has some recipe suggestions - see here

All the best Jan

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Go Greek Midweek with this lower carb vegetarian side dish !

Why not Go Greek Midweek with this Greek Style Roasted Mushrooms with Red Pepper, Herbs and Feta side dish. Its vegetarian, tasty and low in carbs 😋


These Greek-Style Roasted Mushrooms with Red Pepper, Herbs, and Feta are perfect for a meatless side dish. It's low carb, keto and gluten free. The dish is termed 'Greek Style' because of the herbs and feta used, you can read more about feta cheese here.

Ingredients
(makes about four servings)
4 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T fresh mint, finely chopped
2 T fresh oregano, finely chopped (Other fresh herbs of your choice could be used.)
3 T fresh lemon juice (or less if you’re not a big lemon fan)
12 oz. jar roasted red pepper, drained well and diced into small pieces
1 pound fresh white or brown mushrooms
1/3 cup crumbled Feta cheese
salt, fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 450 F and line a roasting pan with aluminium foil.
2. Wash the herbs finely chop.
3. Drain the red peppers in a colander placed in a sink, then chop into small dice.
4. Mix 2 T olive oil with the lemon juice; (you can use fresh-frozen lemon juice), diced red pepper, chopped mint, and chopped oregano.
5. Set aside to marinate while you prep and roast mushrooms.
6. Wash mushrooms and spin dry or dry with paper towels.
7. Cut large mushrooms into quarters and smaller ones in half so you have same-size pieces and toss mushrooms with the remaining 2 T olive oil and salt and pepper.
8. Arrange on foil-lined roasting pan.
9. Roast at 450 F for 15 minutes, until mushrooms are starting to get brown and liquid is mostly evaporated.
10. Then turn mushrooms over with a metal spatula and return to oven to roast about 5 – 10 minutes longer.
11. Mushrooms should be brown all over.
12. Place mushrooms back into the bowl you used to toss them with olive oil, add the red pepper and herb mixture, and gently combine.
13. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.
14. Arrange the mushrooms on a large serving platter, sprinkle with crumbled Feta cheese, and serve.
15. This is good warm, or at room temperature.

This idea from Kalyn's Kitchen blog, see more here
If you need help with measurement/weight conversion see 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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Tuesday 9 April 2024

'What can patients do to help ensure a good consultation with their GP or specialist doctor?'

Sharing an article (and image) taken from Diabetes Diet blog

From Open Verse

Adapted from IDDT* Newsletter March 2024


"What can patients do to help ensure a good consultation with their GP or specialist doctor?

This was the aim of a diabetes support group. They brainstormed what they wanted to achieve and then discussed the way to get this.

The first step is preparation for your appointment.

What is the point of the consultation? Is it a first meeting, a review of progress, a follow up from a previous meeting? Think, What do I want to get out of this consultation?

Have a clear understanding of your problem if possible. Rehearse what you intend to say.

If you have a complex or worrying problem you may wish take a partner or friend with you to listen so that important information is not forgotten.

Prepare a list of questions you have for the doctor. Give it to them. This way they can figure out best how to answer comprehensively on what they can answer and tell you what they can’t answer.

During the consultation

Try to sit so you can face the doctor either side on or in front of them.

Keep it simple if you can and let the doctor know you have questions to ask, and when is it a good time to ask them.

Maintain eye contact with the doctor, encourage a two way conversation and demonstrate a desire to build a working relationship with the doctor.

Briefly summarise your symptoms.

Ask clarifying questions if you have any uncertainty such as, Why do you advise me to take these medications? Ask if there are alternative treatments.

Answer questions honestly eg if you haven’t been taking your medication as prescribed.

Be positive.

What patients want in a consultation.

Patients want to feel welcomed into the consultation. They want a doctor who shows interest, care and respect for them. A sense of humour may be appropriate.

They want to have eye contact and not just have a doctor who looks at a computer.

They want to be treated in an intelligent adult to adult way. They want the doctor to listen and to have a two way exchange.

They need the doctor to have their notes and be familiar with them.

The patient’s carer also needs to be involved in the conversation.

They need TIME to allow a relevant discussion. Often more than one issue is involved. Test results need to be explained and some patients will want specific information other than “normal” or ” a bit low”. They want options to be discussed and involved in implementing a course of action.

Patients dislike being contradicted over their experience and treatment history. They want their doctor to be frank when the doctor doesn’t know something. They welcome referral or a doctor speaking to someone with more expertise when necessary.

Some patients are very keen to have copies of letters and summaries of the discussion and action plans
."

xxx ooo xxx

Although this paper/article primarily was for people with diabetes, I know many of us can struggle when attending Doctor or hospital appointments and the points raised are perhaps relevant to quite a few readers. Do please share any thoughts you may have in the comments section below.

*The Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust (IDDT) is a registered charity and was formed in 1994. It is an organisation for people living with diabetes run by people living with diabetes. It recognises that when one person in a family lives with diabetes, this affects other family members and IDDT offers support to partners and parents. The trust raises awareness of important issues for people with diabetes and provide information in non-medical language.

More information here

All the best Jan

Monday 8 April 2024

Wishing You A Happy Monday


Well the weekend came and zoom it went! The weather in our part of the UK wasn't too bad with Sunday being a lovely day. In fact out and about people were sitting in their gardens albeit with a light coat on! Sunshine just lifts the spirits doesn't it 😊

Some parts of the UK were not so fortunate with Storm Kathleen bringing some very wet and windy weather and flights from some airports were grounded.

Today (8th April 2024) we also have the prospect of a solar eclipse which should be visible for those across North America and other countries (more details here) while here in the UK you may see it if you live in the western parts of the country. It is important to remember that you need special glasses or viewers to watch the eclipse - do not attempt to make your own.

Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, I hope you have a happy Monday.

Perhaps you may have time for a slice of
Ginger Cake
Made the lower carb way using coconut flour
more details here


A variety of recipe ideas are 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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Sunday 7 April 2024

Quiche : Two Lower Carb Choices

QUICHE ORIGINS
Although quiche is now a classic dish of French cuisine, quiche actually originated in Germany, in the medieval kingdom of Lothringen, under German rule, and which the French later renamed Lorraine. The word ‘quiche’ is from the German ‘Kuchen’, meaning cake.

The original ‘quiche Lorraine’ was an open pie with a filling consisting of an egg and cream custard with smoked bacon. It was only later that cheese was added to the quiche Lorraine. Add onions and you have quiche Alsacienne. The bottom crust was originally made from bread dough, but that has long since evolved into a short-crust or puff pastry crust, including variations to encompass lower carb recipes.

Quiche became popular in England sometime after the Second World War, and in the U.S. during the 1950's. Today, one can find many varieties of quiche, from the original quiche Lorraine, to ones with broccoli, mushrooms, ham and/or seafood (primarily shellfish). Quiche can be served as an entrée, for lunch, breakfast or an evening snack.
The words above taken from here

So now onto two lower carb quiche recipe suggestions, does one of them catch your eye and taste buds, do please share your thoughts in the comments.


Impossible Quiche

This recipe from Tamsin Burnett-Hall is called the 'Impossible Quiche'. Why impossible? Well, there’s no actual pastry, but the addition of some flour to the savoury egg custard separates out during cooking to form a soft ‘crust’ that holds the quiche together. It also means it’s less calorific and has just 10 carbs per serving.

Ingredients 
Serves Six
oil or butter to grease
4 medium eggs
50g self- raising flour
375ml milk
125g extra mature cheddar, grated

For The Filling
100g young spinach
1 x 140g pot chargrilled artichokes, drained and halved
75g soft goat’s cheese

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5 (this is hotter than the usual temperature for baking a quiche but works perfectly for this particular recipe). Lightly grease a 23cm base diameter ceramic or Pyrex flan dish (or a square baking dish will do the job as well).
2. Wilt the spinach in a pan over a medium heat. Leave to cool, then squeeze out the excess moisture and add to the greased dish, along with the artichokes.
3. Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk together with the flour, then gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Stir in 100g of the cheddar, then season the mixture and pour into the baking dish. Don’t worry that it looks very thin and liquid. Randomly add small spoonful's of the soft goat’s cheese then scatter with the rest of the cheddar.
4. Bake for 30 minutes until golden, set and starting to rise. Leave to settle for at least 30 minutes before serving; this is best served warm, rather than hot.

This will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days; best served at room temperature or warm.
From original idea here


Crustless Quiche Lorraine

This simplified version of the classic French tart by Sunil Vijayakar requires no pastry skills, reducing the preparation and cooking times. It is delicious served warm from the oven or cold as leftovers the following day. This recipe is just 4g carbs per serving.

Ingredients
Serves Four
low-calorie cooking spray
8 lean bacon rashers, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
6 large free-range eggs
100g/3½oz Cheddar, grated
2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
100g/3½oz cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
salt and freshly ground black pepper
crisp green salad, to serve

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.
2. Spray a large frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray. Add the bacon and onion and stir-fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions have softened and the bacon is cooked.
3. Whisk the eggs in a wide bowl and stir in half the cheese and 1 tablespoon each of the tarragon and chives. Stir in half of the bacon and onion mixture. Season well with salt and pepper.
4. Lightly spray a 20–22cm/8–8½in round ovenproof dish or non-stick pie tin with low-calorie cooking spray. Pour in the egg mixture. Scatter over the remaining bacon and onion mixture, cheese, herbs and the cherry tomatoes. Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until just set and golden. Serve warm or cold, sliced into wedges with a crisp green salad of your choice.
From 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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Saturday 6 April 2024

Aprils Birth Flower : The Daisy

We have quite a few family (and friends) birthdays in April and here in the UK it can be a lovely spring-time month. If you were born in April you are blessed with two birth flowers, daisies and fragrant sweet peas.

Daisies are everywhere, popping up along roadsides, in fields, and gardens, and they are popular for playing the classic “he loves me, he loves me not” game.

Sweet peas’ with their colourful petals cluster at the ends of long stems, fill the air with the delightful scent of spring.

This post shares some facts about the Daisy, a post about sweet peas will follow shortly.


Did you know!
Technically, a daisy flower head is not just one flower but actually two in one. The central cluster, called the disc floret, is distinct from the surrounding petals, which is called the ray.

Daisies are safe to eat and can be used as garnish or incorporated into salads or soups. The raw leaves can also be eaten, but they could leave a bitter taste in your mouth.

You’re not wrong if you think daisies look like miniature sunflowers. Both flowers belong to the same large family called Asteraceae.

Daisies are tough plants capable of adapting to different habitats. As a result, they flourish everywhere on the globe except Antarctica.

On April 18, 2009, 331 people gathered on an Italian TV show to play the world’s largest game of “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not” with daisies.

This flower gets its name “daisy” from the Old English term daes eag, meaning “day’s eye.” This comes from its behaviour of shutting its petals at night and unwrapping them in the morning.

Bees love daisies, so you’re likely to find them buzzing around fields of this flower. The flat arrangement of daisy petals makes it easy for the bees to access the pollen they use for food.

Daisies were traditionally used to make herbal medicines for colds. Modern studies have revealed that these humble plants contain almost as much vitamin C as lemons, which could help fight a cold.

Over 20,000 daisy species exist, and they come in various colours, including pink, yellow, white, and blue.

Daisies are the official flowers of the fifth wedding anniversary. They are also said to represent purity and innocence.

I hope you enjoyed this reading this post. You may now like to read this one about 'Some Foods In Season During April' which also has some recipe suggestions - see here

All the best Jan

Friday 5 April 2024

White Fish with Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts : Healthy, Low in Carbs


Sharing this lower carb baked fish and green vegetable meal you may wish to try.

Ingredients
(Serves 4)

500g Brussels sprouts, halved
350g Broccoli, cut into florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
120g feta cheese, crumbled
4 (150g each) firm white fish fillets
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
Lemon wedges, to serve

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Combine Brussels sprouts, broccoli and 1 tablespoon oil in a large roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender.

2. Sprinkle vegetables with feta. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

3. Meanwhile, line a baking tray with baking paper. Place fish on prepared tray. Drizzle with remaining oil. Sprinkle with lemon pepper. Bake for 10 minutes or until fish is just cooked through.

4. Serve fish with vegetable mixture and lemon wedges.

Recipe from original idea here

It's great, healthy food to be enjoyed - I hope you do 😋

Alternative Recipe Suggestions
Vegetarian Choices, five recipe suggestions can be seen here
Vegan Choices, lower carb recipe suggestions can be seen here
Chicken, three favourite recipes you may like here
Pork, three low carb recipes here


~ enjoy your day ~

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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Thursday 4 April 2024

Early Morning View!


Sunrise at Godshill in the New Forest.
Godshill is a small village within the New Forest National Park, Hampshire, UK.
photo credit Claire Sheppard

I for one am so pleased Claire was up bright and early and was able to get this lovely photograph.
Such a peaceful view.

Wishing all readers a happy and peaceful day.

All the best Jan