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Friday, 14 August 2020

This weeks Darwin Award winners.

No words required.


Kohlrabi, a low carb vegetable, nice with smothered leeks

Kohlrabi is a wonderful low-carb vegetable chock-full of vitamins and may be used instead of potatoes, but also raw in salads. Looking something like a Sputnik in vegetable form, with a squat bulb and antennae-like shoots, kohlrabi is part of the cabbage family. The name translates as 'turnip cabbage' and the mild, sweet flavour is somewhere between a turnip and a water-chestnut, with a crisp, crunchy texture. It can be found in two colours, pale green and the less common purple.
All year round, but best from mid July to mid November.
Choose the best
Larger bulbs can be tough, so select a medium-sized one that feels heavy for its dimensions. The leaves should be crisp-looking and intensely green. Avoid any bulbs that have soft spots or yellowing leaves.
Prepare it
Snip off the leaf stems, trim off the base and top, then use a potato peeler or sharp knife to peel it as if it's an apple. Then thinly slice, chunk or cut into wedges. If you're using slices in a salad, blanch them first.
Store it
Trim off the stems and keep in a perforated bag in the fridge - it will last up to two weeks.
Cook it
To roast, steam the bulb for 5 minutes, then roast for 45 minutes. Steam (up to 12 minutes). Stir fry (up to 6 minutes). The leaves can be cooked like cabbage.
Try turnip.
Details and more about Kohlrabi from here

Smothering is a way of cooking vegetables with a little fat and the least possible amount of water, in a covered pan (guess that's the smothering bit) until very, very tender. Kohlrabi holds together well, adding its own natural sweetness.

Serves Six : Side Dish
3 leeks, trimmed and cut into 2cm/¾in lengths
2 kohlrabi (around 650g/1lb 7oz), trimmed, peeled and cut into 2cm/¾in cubes
3 large carrots (around 550g/1¼lb), peeled and cut into 2cm/¾in pieces
6 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme
water, to cover
salt and freshly ground black pepper
40g/1½oz butter
1. Place the leeks, kohlrabi, carrots and garlic into a wide shallow pan which will take them in a single layer. Tuck the herbs down among them.
2. Pour in enough water to come about 1.5cm/½in up the sides of the pan. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and dot with butter.
3. Bring up to the boil, then reduce the heat to the absolute minimum. Cover the pan with a lid or foil and leave to cook very gently for about an hour, stirring occasionally to make sure that it doesn't catch. If necessary add an extra splash of water, or if it ends up too watery, uncover and boil the water off. Either way, you are aiming to end up with meltingly tender vegetables, perhaps slightly patched with brown towards the end of cooking, with little more than a few tablespoonfuls of syrupy liquid left in the pan. Serve warm.

From original idea here

Dear reader, you will find a variety of articles and recipe suggestions 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

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Weight gain and menopause: 8 tips to win the battle of the middle-age bulge

"Are you a woman in your mid-40s to mid-60s? Have you found that your belly is getting thicker? Are you gaining weight no matter what you do?

Maybe you’ve been dieting and exercising but the pounds are stubbornly hanging on?

This guide may help, it tells you what you need to know about menopause, plus how to manage (and potentially lose) weight during the menopause transition. In short, a low-carb diet and certain lifestyle changes can greatly help.

Millions of women around the globe are currently going through “the change.” When adding the years lived after age 60 — called post menopause — it’s estimated that close to 1 billion women in the world today are going through menopause or are postmenopausal.

Given that most women spend one-third of their lives in this non-reproductive state, it helps to understand what is going on with your metabolism and hormones.

What changes can you make that will help prevent or even reverse any menopausal weight gain? How can you best protect your health?

Here are 8 top tips:

1. Eat a low-carb or ketogenic diet. This can help keep insulin low and maintain metabolism.

2. Eat enough protein. This helps maintain lean muscle mass.

3. Lift weights or do resistance training. This also helps maintain and build more muscle.

4. Introduce time-restricted eating, such as skipping breakfast. This helps keep insulin low for longer stretches.

6. Prioritize sleep. This can decrease cortisol and reduce insulin resistance.

7. Manage stress with relaxation techniques. Yoga, exercise, and meditation can all help.

8. Talk with your doctor about a trial of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) if you are having a very difficult menopause transition.

For more details about what happens during menopause and why these eight tips can help, please read more here "

Readers may also like to read about The 'male menopause' please see this NHS information here

All the best Jan 

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Together again ...

Like many other Grandparents, Covid 19 had kept us apart,
so it was wonderful to once again be able to meet up with two of our five grandchildren

it's always fun feeding the ducks

especially when Grandma joins us

peek-a-boo Grandad we can see you!

So thankful for these photographs and more lovely memories,
Anyone for a low carb raspberry sponge finger?
more details here

The best things in life
are the people we love,
the places we've been,
and the memories we've made 
along the way.

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Simple Sundae : Low Carb : Scrumptious !

Libby at Ditch the Carbs Site makes a simple low carb sundae which has layered raspberries, blackberries, chocolate cream and whipped cream. She say's it’s a much better option than a McDonalds strawberry (?) sundae which has 46.7g carbs and a whopping 43.5g sugar!

This simple low carb sundae (6g net carbs per serving) is a winning dessert, and so easy to whip up after a meal.

Serves Four
6g net carbs per serving
500 ml double/heavy cream
2 tbs. granulated sweetener of choice or more, to your taste
100 g raspberries
100 g blackberries
coconut chips unsweetened
1 tbsp cocoa powder unsweetened

can be seen here

Did you know that berries, including strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, are not only delicious but also an excellent source of important minerals; they are a good source of potassium, magnesium, and manganese.

Experiencing hot weather at the moment!
Cool off with these;
White Chocolate Raspberry Lolly (Popsicle), low carb and dairy free - more details here

Dear reader, you will find a variety of articles and recipe suggestions 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

Monday, 10 August 2020

'Wine Windows Are Back'

Hannah Sparks writes:

"Medieval ‘wine windows’ are reopening, reviving Italian plague tradition ! It’s a quaint tradition — with a very dark history.

Centuries ago, the bubonic plague, otherwise known as the Black Death, swept through Europe, killing one-third of the continent’s population at the time. Originating in Asia, the disease made its way to Italy during the late Middle Ages, and spread north from there.

These days, we know just as well as medieval Italians that a stiff drink can go a long way to ease troubles during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Thus, the “wine windows,” or buchette del vino, of Tuscany. They are just as they sound: pint-size hatches, carved into the concrete walls of urban wineries and shops, where beverage merchants would serve sips at a safe social distance.

First introduced in the 1600s, their true purpose went untapped for centuries after the plague — that is, until a new one came along this year.

“Everyone is confined to home for two months and then the government permits a gradual reopening,” the Wine Window Association website reads. “During this time, some enterprising Florentine Wine Window owners have turned back the clock and are using their Wine Windows to dispense glasses of wine, cups of coffee, drinks, sandwiches and ice cream — all germ-free, contactless!”

Matteo Faglia, president of the Wine Window Association, told Insider, “People could knock on the little wooden shutters and have their bottles filled direct from the Antinori, Frescobaldi and Ricasoli families, who still produce some of Italy’s best-known wine today.”

More than 150 wine windows — some of which have since been permanently filled — within Florence’s walled city, and even more, dotted the Tuscan region.

“The wine windows gradually became defunct, and many wooden ones were permanently lost in the floods of 1966,” said Faglia, whose historical association has begun the process of mapping these forgotten, and sometimes vandalized, relics throughout Italy’s wine country, marking them with a plaque to designate their import and authenticity.

“We want to put a plaque by all the wine windows, as people tend to respect them more when they understand what they are and their history,” he said.

The Mediterranean country was hit hard by COVID-19, losing more than 35,000 of its residents, according to the World Health Organization. In spite of this tragedy, the world has witnessed the culture and camaraderie that likely helped the country through the medieval epidemic.

At the height of their national coronavirus outbreak, choruses of Italians could be heard singing in solidarity through open windows and on rooftops — with a glass of wine in hand all the while."

Above words and pictures from article here
h/t Marks Daily Apple here

Covid 19 is still very much here, and we are all having to adjust to 'a new normal'. So, whether you may enjoy a glass of wine, a cup of coffee, a glass of water. Whatever your beverage to help you relax do please continue to take care, and if you have any tips that you have found helps cope with these times do please share them in the comments.

in the meantime some flowers for you to enjoy

Dear reader, this blog is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. You will find a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, photographs, cartoons, 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

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Italian Salads : Gino D'Acampo

Gino D’Acampo says Italian salad recipes tend to be pretty basic, unlike their British and American counterparts. Instead of trying to force in as many ingredients as possible, Italians use simple, fresh individual ingredients designed to provide a refreshing accompaniment to the main meal. Almost all Italian salads use extra virgin olive oil as the essential ingredient as well as white, red or balsamic vinegar. 

There are dozens of recipes for Italian salads to choose from, including Insalata Fantasia, a rocket, pomegranate and pine nut salad, Panzanella, or as Gino calls it the ‘ultimate’ tomato, pepper, artichoke and bread salad and a red pepper, Taleggio cheese and courgette salad. Of course, where Italian salad recipes are concerned, almost anything goes! Here are just two!


400g fine French beans
70g sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced
50g shelled walnuts
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
130g feta cheese
2 buffalo Mozzarella balls, drained and cut into chunks
salt and pepper

Trim 1⁄2cm from both ends of the beans, then cook in a large pan of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes until al dente. Drain well and place in a large bowl.

Lightly toss the hot beans with the sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and leave to cool.

Once the beans have cooled, crumble in the feta and gently mix in the Mozzarella. Serve immediately.

Once you’re done, simply sit back and enjoy your French beans with sun-dried tomatoes, feta and mozzarella



Serves Six
3 Oranges, preferably red or blood oranges)
1 Fennel bulb, cored & thinly sliced
1 Red onion, peeled & thinly sliced
30g Black olives, pitted & halved
2 Celery sticks, thinly sliced
30g Pine nuts
2 (around 200g in total) Smoked mackerel fillets, skinned
To taste Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Runny honey
6 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
To taste Salt

First peel and segment the oranges. Using a sharp knife, cut off about 1-2cm from the top and bottom of the fruit. Place the fruit on one of its flat ends and cut down to remove the skin and white pith. Rotate and repeat, working your way around the fruit until the flesh is completely exposed. 

Working over a large bowl, cut between the flesh and the white membrane to free the segments. Discard the membrane and put the segments into the bowl (the bowl should also catch the juice). 

Add the fennel, onion, olives, celery and pine nuts to the bowl with the orange segments and juice. Stir carefully to combine. 

To make the dressing, put the vinegar and honey in a small bowl. Gradually add the oil, whisking vigorously as you go, and season with salt. 

Pour the dressing over the salad (reserving 1 tablespoon for drizzling) and gently toss all the salad ingredients together. 

Break the mackerel into bite-sized pieces and scatter over the top of the salad. Sprinkle with black pepper and drizzle over the remaining dressing. 

Once you’re done, simply sit back and enjoy your smoked mackerel, orange & fennel salad. 

Some other Gino D'Acampo Recipes:
Pea, mint and cheddar frittata - see here
Sicilian style salmon with garlic mushrooms - see here
Tomato ragù, lovely with meatballs, or on grilled chicken or lamb - see here
Lemon Chicken - see here

Other recipe suggestions you may like: 
Tomato, Basil and Lemon Courgette / Zucchini Pasta : It's Low Carb : Vegan : Gluten-free - see here
Vittoria tomato tricolore salad, perfect for summer and it's LCHF - see here
Summer Tomato Pie, it's low carb - see here

Good Eating
Bon Appetit
Buon Appetito!

A variety of recipe ideas and articles 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

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Old Movie Stars Dance to Uptown Funk

Check this video out, well worth your time, an editing masterpiece. Have a great weekend. Eddie.

Friday, 7 August 2020

Baked Salmon with Parmesan and Parsley Crust : The Mary Berry Way

Mary Berry is one of the best-known and respected cookery writers and broadcasters in the UK. This is her recipe for easy baked salmon with luscious crunchy parmesan crust, which can be on the table in no time.

Serves Six
6 x 150g/5oz salmon fillets, skinned
salt and freshly ground black pepper
150g/6oz cream cheese
small clove garlic, crushed
½ lemon, grated rind only

25g/1oz fresh white breadcrumbs
(you can use a lower carb bread or toasted pine nuts if preferred)

25g/1oz fresh, coarsely grated parmesan
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus extra to garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

2. Season both sides of the salmon fillets and place on a greased baking sheet or roasting tin.

3. Mash the cream cheese with the garlic, salt and pepper and lemon rind.

4. Divide into six and spread on top of each salmon fillet.

5. Mix the breadcrumbs, parmesan and parsley in a small bowl and season.

6. Sprinkle on top of the cream cheese mixture and dust with paprika.

7. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. To tell when the salmon is done, it will have changed from translucent to an opaque pink.

8. Serve immediately, garnished with chopped parsley.

From original idea here

'Posh Roasted Vegetables - The Mary Berry Way' 
You may have seen this popular vegetarian recipe suggestion from Mary before.
It is a different take on a classic ratatouille with the vegetables arranged prettily in a dish,
and you serve it in slices, see 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.

All the best Jan

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Nutrients For Glowing Skin

James Colquhoun writes:
"Radiant skins speak of vibrant health. It’s like a neon sign that lights up your face and advertises vitality. And when it comes to your health, the skin doesn’t lie. It’s an external barometer for your level of internal wellness. Since what we eat shows up on our skin, discover 6 of the top vitamins and minerals that work in your favour to keep the complexion clear, youthful, and glowing!

1. Zinc
Zinc works around the clock to help heal and repair damaged areas of the skin. In fact, this hard-working mineral is required for over 100 enzymatic reactions in the body! It speeds up the biological processes required to heal wounds and tidy up tissue injury.

Due to these impressive functions, evidence shows that zinc can help to heal acne, fungal infections, small skin irritations, and sores.

Zinc can also help to prevent injury to your skin by reducing the production of free radicals. It also safeguards the fats in your skin against damage from sunlight and pollution.

Top Foods That Are High In Zinc:
Pumpkin seeds/pepitas, seafood (wild-caught, sustainable) and meat (organic, pasture-fed), cacao.

2. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is required for your body to produce retinol. Have you heard of this word before? It’s an ingredient commonly found in anti-aging skincare creams and face masks.

Vitamin A interacts with the skin to influence growth, cellular turnover, and the activity of oil glands. In particular, vitamin A is believed to affect skin aging and prevent acne.

Top Foods That Are High In Vitamin A:
Organ meats (organic, pasture-fed), egg yolk (from free-range eggs), and bright orange veggies (these contain beta-carotene, which your body uses to make Vitamin A).

3. Copper
Used by humans for millennia, copper is believed by many to create healing energy. Today, we know that copper is essential for many bodily functions and plays an integral role in the health of your skin.

People with a copper deficiency often experience more brittle, wrinkled skin, slower wound healing, higher inflammation, and premature greying. This is because copper plays an important role in collagen synthesis (that’s the stuff that keeps your skin smooth and supple!). It is also an integral part of the pigment which dyes our eyes, skin, and hair.

Top Foods That Are High In Copper:
Seaweed, nuts, cacao, red wine, organ meats, and legumes. Please note that copper levels will be reduced during any length of storage in tinned cans.

4. Vitamin C
Collagen is the key substance that maintains the firmness of your skin. Therefore, when your body is producing suboptimal or flawed collagen, wrinkles, and sagging skin develops.

Vitamin C is used during the biological processes to create collagen. Vitamin C is also utilized during scar tissue repair and is important for skin healing. The antioxidant action of Vitamin C also protects your skin against free radical damage.

Vitamin C is also found at high concentrations in both the outer and inner layers of the skin, which further supports its importance for your skin health.

Top Foods That Are High In Vitamin C: 
Citrus fruit, berries, bell peppers (capsicum), tomatoes, broccoli, kiwi fruit, and superfoods such as goji, acerola, and acai. 

5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is made from a complex series of biological reactions between cholesterol substrates and sunlight. It is used widely throughout the body for many functions, including the skin!

Some evidence suggests that Vitamin D can help to regulate skin tone and heal psoriasis. Research has found that the topical application of activated Vitamin D (calcitriol) can reduce skin inflammation.

How To Get Enough Vitamin D:
Safe sun exposure, oily fish (wild-caught), full cream dairy products (organic, pasture-raised). Older people or those with darker skin can have trouble making adequate Vitamin D, so a good quality supplement can also be helpful.

6. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that also functions as an antioxidant in the body. It can help to protect your skin against free radical and sun damage.

The body also excretes Vitamin E through the oily substance in your skin called sebum. This helps to moisturize and protect the skin. Therefore, if your skin is dry or damaged, Vitamin E can help to restore nourishment.

Good Sources Of Vitamin E:
Nuts, seeds, avocado, oily fish (wild-caught), olive oil."

The above from original article here

avocados are nutrient dense, see here

A variety of articles and recipe suggestions 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

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Low Carb Bread : Six Choices

As regular readers know, this blog brings a variety of recipe ideas. However, 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.

I am often asked about low carb bread, so thought I would do a post showing six different choices of lower carb bread recipes. These recipes use a range of low carb flours, for example almond flour, coconut flour and flax seed. If you are just starting a low carb diet/lifestyle you may feel confused with which low carb flours to use. You may never have used any of them before and how to use them properly can be daunting. Low carb flours do not behave like wheat flour, and how to use them in your old regular high carb recipes is a common question. Of course you may also be interested, or want to know more about them. If that is the case then Libby at 'Ditch The Carbs' site has a very good guide, and you can read it here

Now, onto the recipe suggestions, I hope you may be able to give these low carb breads a try !

Garlic and Rosemary Cauliflower Bread : Lower Carb
more details here

Low Carb Seedy Bread
more details here

Almond Flour Spinach Loaf : Now that's different !
more details here

Almond Flour Bread : Low Carb, Gluten Free and Grain Free
more details here

Flax seed loaf / rolls
more details here

Low-carb bread ... in a mug
bake in oven or microwave, more details here

Happy bread-making

All the best Jan

Monday, 3 August 2020

Intermittent fasting : In women over 60

Time-restricted eating and intermittent fasting have become popular tools to promote weight loss and insulin sensitivity. Diet Doctor site cover the many different versions of time-restricted eating in their guide written by Dr. Ted Naiman, which you can see here 

Below, I share a post from Dr. Bret Scher who writes about how post-menopausal women respond to time-restricted eating, which some of our readers may find interesting.

"Intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating (TRE) are two of the most popular trends for promoting health and weight loss. But are they effective and feasible for all of us? 

There has been some question about how post-menopausal women respond to time-restricted eating. Since this is a particular population that struggles with weight gain, it makes sense that we would want to know if TRE is an effective approach for them. Now, a new study sheds light on the question. 

The study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, enrolled 45 women over age 60. They were then randomly assigned to either a control group or to the intervention group, who were instructed to completely abstain from food for 16 hours, or from 8pm until noon the following day. Notably, the intervention group was not instructed to change what they ate, only when they ate. 

After six-weeks, there was a small improvement in body weight (1.4 kilos) and fat mass in the TRE group, with no such improvements in the control group. There was no loss of muscle mass in either group. The study makes no mention of any adverse effects, and compliance was very good at 88%. 

This small study lends more evidence to the belief that TRE can be a powerful tool for women over age 60. While the absolute weight and fat mass lost was small, keep in mind that this was only a 6-week study and it made no changes to what the subjects ate. 

As Diet Doctor site details in their guides on breaking a weight loss stall, TRE is likely an effective and safe practice for most people. When combined with low carb, it may be even more effective!"

Above words and picture from article here

You may also be interested in reading:
Top 10 tips to lose weight on low carb or keto for women 40+ : see here
Introduction to low-carb for beginners : see here

All the best Jan