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Thursday, 17 August 2017

Health star rating system hides junk under spin


OK, it was my fault. But in my defence, your honour, I was in a rush. Somewhere between work, the boy’s footy training or something, and picking up another son from a play date, shopping had to be squeezed into a seven-minute dash around the store. And I was fast. Forgot some essentials of course but who needs bread anyway?

It was breakfast cereal I sought. In the morning rush there’s nothing like tipping from box to bowl, adding milk and voila.

As the dad of one easy eater and one impossible fusspot, I thought I’d grab something different to the usual muesli. It was some kind of Weet-Bix variant, smaller and crunchy. Now given this is Between the Lines you might expect I’m the type who clogs up aisles by obsessively reading the fine print. And you’d be right. But time makes fools of us all and there was the Health Star Rating of four stars. I knew the star system was suspect but I went with it.

Later I read the ingredients: 21 per cent sugars. Sure, that includes honey, but a bowl that’s one-fifth sugars doesn’t pass my test for “healthy”, as four stars implies.

There’s worse. Nutri-Grain, which is 26.7 per cent sugar, gets a four-star health rating.

Food companies are gaming this system with ease. Milo, at 46 per cent sugar, gets 4.5 stars – that’s based on mixing it with skim milk. If you don’t, it’s 1.5 stars, and if you mix it with full cream milk, like most people do, it’s 2.5 stars. Weet Bix (with added sugar) gets five stars while Vita Brits (no added sugar) gets 4.5.

And as Fairfax columnist Peter FitzSimons pointed out, pure milk gets four stars. But Up & Go, the milk-based energy drink, gets 4.5 (reduced sugar Vanilla Ice flavour, baby).

We have paid for this rating system and we’ve been had. After a suspect design process which involved junk food lobbyists, we have been left with a scheme that could do more harm than good.

There’s a review of the star rating system going on now. Any chance it might actually create something we can trust?

Mine's bigger than yours!


If Sometimes Sleep is Elusive: Getting Quality Rest Helps

I guess there are times when each of us do have trouble sleeping. So what do you do? Perhaps count sheep, or read a book until you begin to feel sleepy...
Dr Libby Weaver (PhD) may have some helpful advice, she writes:

"We've all been there at some point — eyes wide open, trying not to look at the clock for confirmation that yes, despite trying every imaginable strategy it is 3:00 am and there are hours yet before the sun is due to rise. The consequences of this lack of sleep add to the already compounding worry as we think of what another day of work feeling less than refreshed is going to be like. Getting enough sleep affects your health in ways you cannot imagine. Sleep, like moving your body regularly and eating a nourishing diet, is one of the pillars of good health. We cannot fight our biology — sleep is essential to our very being. Lack of sleep can increase inflammation, which in turn is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and poor digestive health. Not to mention what it does to your mood, energy and appetite (hello 10:00 am pastry and coffee and 3:00 pm chocolate bar!).

Typically sleep problems fall into two categories: trouble getting to sleep and trouble staying asleep. Here are some things you can do to ensure you get the quality rest your body needs.

1. Work With Your Wake/Sleep Cycles:
Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help to set a rhythm to your sleep cycle and prompt your body to recognize when rest time is approaching. A morning ritual such as meditation or yoga that reduces your stress can be extremely beneficial – and this can also be repeated before sleep.
Move your body earlier in the day and avoid anything too vigorous at night, if possible. Movement, particularly movement that gets the heart rate up or is physically exerting, typically activates the sympathetic nervous system making you alert and awake, and subsequently decreases your melatonin (sleep hormone) production. Instead, in the evening, allow yourself time to slow down, unwind and stimulate your sleep neurotransmitters. Around 60 to 90 minutes before sleep, turn off your "devices", turn the lights down and maybe include some meditation or light reading. Finding sleep hygiene that works for you is incredibly important, but these are great starting points for everyone.

2. Limit Sleep Disruptors:
If you drink caffeine, find your threshold for the time you should stop drinking it. Typically, this is around midday as caffeine can stay in the body for around eight hours. Eating a heavy and rich meal late at night takes longer to digest, so your body is busy with the digestive process and indigestion rather than relaxing and helping you get to sleep. So eat smaller portions.
TV screens, laptops and electronic devices not only keep your mind active but also emit light that disrupts sleep hormone production. If you watch TV, consider what you're watching. For example, if you're watching highly stimulating crime dramas it is very difficult to switch from this sympathetic nervous system stimulation to the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for rest and repair. Your biology has primed you to "fight or flight" and then, after you've turned the TV off, you're asking it to just forget what it has seen/experienced and drift peacefully off to sleep. For many of us that's not going to happen! If you're a crime or intense drama show addict, I encourage you to go four weeks without watching them, particularly at night, and see what happens to your sleep.

3. If You Wake During The Night:
Alcohol typically makes you feel sleepy at first, which is why people often use it to help them get off to sleep. But it often results in waking later in the night, typically around 2:00 -3:00 am disrupting sleep by stopping you going into REM sleep - the deepest stage. Limiting alcohol consumption is beneficial for overall health, not just for your sleep.
Many people say they wake up in the middle of the night with their minds racing over their upcoming day. While part of this can be related to stress hormones, it can also be helpful to plan your day before you go to bed so you don't wake at 3:00 am thinking about something you forgot to schedule in your diary. Also try keeping a pen and paper by your bed; if you wake with a thought you can write it down and then address it in the morning.
If you are experiencing a particularly busy or stressful period in your life and you’re noticing that your sleep is getting disturbed, remember the importance of looking after your nervous system to promote activation of your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS); your body’s natural rest and digest pathways. During these periods we can often find that our sympathetic nervous system, our “fight or flight” response, is activated for long stints of time and this impacts significantly on many biochemical pathways, including our sleep cycle. Ways to do this include reducing your consumption of caffeine (which signals adrenaline production) and avoiding it altogether later in the day, amping up our vegetable intake to maximize our nutrient consumption, meditation, Qi gong, tai chi or diaphragmatic breathing.

There are many herbs that may support good sleep, a qualified medical herbalist could help here"
You can see the original article here

Do you have any tips, that others may find helpful.
My Dear Mum always turned to a cup of milk ...

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Once upon a time in the west.

I grew up being in awe of America. Everything in America was bigger and better. From their huge fin-tailed Cadillac's and never ending output of fantastic music, and everyone lived in a fantastic house, had two cars, and a monster colour TV. The Beach Boys drove hot-rods, and the California Girls all had fabulous looks, long blond hair and sparkling blue eyes. What young fella wouldn't want some of that? 

Of course we all grow up eventually, and the reality is far from the glossy ad mans image. In my first career as an Engineer I worked for a couple of American Companies, good jobs and well paid. I have never met an American I did not like. I loved the can do attitude, the spirit of adventure, and the yanks put their money where their mouth is. They achieved great things and benefited many, including me. 

I heard the saying a long time ago 'when America sneezes the rest of the world gets a cold' basically and especially economically, when things are bad in America, it's going to get bad elsewhere, including the UK. It appears to me on every level America is going downhill fast. Other than the civil war years, has there ever been more hate between so many people. Two groups are becoming larger and more dangerous as each day passes. On one side the extreme right, lead by neo-Nazi racist thugs, on the other side the extreme left, and I can't tell the difference.


Words from Dire Straits Once Upon A Time In The West. 

Yes it's no use saying that you don't know nothing
It's still gonna get you if you don't do something
Sitting on a fence that's a dangerous course
You could even catch a bullet from the peace-keeping force
Even the hero gets a bullet in the chest
Oh yeah, once upon a time in the west

Bay Leaves ... did you know, some interesting information!

It was way back in my school cookery classes that I first started using bay leaves, and now when I open my kitchen cupboard - sure enough I'm still using them ... I wonder how many I may have used over these years? Makes you think!

The aromatic leaf from the bay laurel tree, it is an essential component of the classic bouquet garni: parsley, thyme and a bay leaf. The bittersweet, spicy leaves impart their pungent flavour to a variety of dishes and ingredients, making bay a versatile store cupboard ingredient. It’s also one of the few herbs that doesn’t lose its flavour when dried.

A brief guide to bay leaves including nutritional information and uses in the kitchen.
Bay leaves are a wonderful addition to any soup, sauce, stew or casserole. They are mainly used dry and are just thrown into the pot and allowed to impart their rich and aromatic flavour.
The bay leaf that we use in cooking is actually the dried leaf of the Bay Laurel tree (Laurus Nobililis). This is why bay leaves can also be known as sweet bay, sweet laurel, laurel leaf or bay laurel.
The bay laurel tree is native to Asia Minor but is now grown all over the Mediterranean, as it is suited to warm climates. There are two main types of bay leaf - the Mediterranean bay leaf and the Californian bay leaf. The Californian bay leaf is much stronger in flavour and the Mediterranean bay leaf is widely used in Mediterranean-style cooking.
The bay leaf is one of the herbs and ingredients that make up a "bouquet garni". A bouquet garni is a bunch of herbs that is tied together with string and placed into a stock, sauce or stew whilst cooking. It is used to add flavour to the dish and the bundle is removed before serving and discarded.

History of the bay leaf.
Although the bay leaf was not introduced to England until the sixteenth century, it has been around since ancient Greek and Roman times.
In fact, the bay leaf was held in such high esteem that victors of battle, sport and study were crowned with garlands of laurel, as a symbol of their success. This is where the term "baccalaureate" originates from and it is now referred to when students have successfully completed their schooling years.

Vitamin and mineral content of the bay leaf.
Although bay leaves are only used a few at a time and are not actually consumed themselves, they still provide a number of vitamins and minerals to a dish through cooking. Bay leaves are a good source of Vitamins A and C and also contain significant amounts of iron and manganese in particular, as well as smaller amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium.

Health benefits of the bay leaf.
In ancient times bay leaves were used medicinally for a number of things. They were used for ailments of the liver, kidney and stomach and were also thought to alleviate wasp and bee stings.
Nowadays, bay leaves are still used by herbalists to treat even more illnesses and complaints than ever. Below is a list of how bay leaves are used curatively today:
* A cloth soaked in boiled bay leaves in water, which is placed on the chest can relieve chest infections, flu, coughs and bronchitis.
* Massage bay leaf essential oil onto affected areas to relieve sprains, swellings, backache and arthritic and rheumatic pains.
* An infusion of bay leaves will promote sweating, which will help clear up flu and feverish symptoms.
* Bay leaves settle the stomach and help to treat digestive disorders.
* They are useful for proper digestion and can reduce flatulence.
* They can help to breakdown and digest certain food types such as proteins.
* A bay leaf rinse can help to treat dandruff.

Ideas for using bay leaves in the kitchen.
Bay leaves are never eaten themselves and are really just used to add extra flavour to a number of dishes. Bay leaves can be used in the following ways:
* Prepare a bouquet garni and add to soups, stews, casseroles and sauces.
* Use in pickling solutions.
* Add to boiling water for shrimp, crab and other seafood.
* Use in marinades for meat and fish.
* Add to milk when preparing homemade rice puddings or other milk puddings.

Bay Leaf Recipes.
To see a lamb, a salmon and a duck recipe that include bay leaves as one of their ingredients, please look here
Most words above taken from this article

Are bay leaves something you use in your cooking?
Do you have a favourite recipe?

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

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Halloumi and Vegetable Skewers : Perfect For a Barbeque

Why not have this recipe on stand-by for when you next heat up the barbeque. These tasty halloumi and vegetable skewers are a brilliant vegetarian alternative to meat skewers. Although great at BBQ's they could also be enjoyed indoors.

Serves Six
1 lemon, halved
52ml (3 1/2 tbsp.) extra-virgin olive oil
2 x 250g packs halloumi, drained and cut into 2cm (1in) cubes
2 red peppers, cut into 3cm (1 1/4in) squares
2 courgettes (zucchini), halved lengthways and sliced into thick half-moons
handful fresh mint leaves, chopped

1. Brush the cut surfaces of the lemon with a little olive oil and place cut-sides down, on a hot barbecue, or in a hot griddle or frying pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes until caramelised. Remove from the heat.
2. Squeeze the juice from one half of the lemon into a bowl. Add the halloumi and vegetables, remaining olive oil and half the chopped mint, then toss to mix.
3. Thread the cheese and vegetables onto skewers (if using wooden ones, soak them first in water for 20 minutes to prevent scorching). Reserve the olive oil mixture.
4. Barbecue over hot coals, or cook in a smoking-hot griddle pan for 4-5 minutes, turning often.
5. Once cooked, remove the skewers from the heat and place on a serving dish. Drizzle with the remaining marinade, scatter with the reserved mint and serve with the other caramelised lemon half. 

Each serving:
Carbohydrate 4.9g Protein 19.6g Fibre 1.6g Fat 27.3g
From an original idea here 

Halloumi is a firm, slightly springy white cheese from Cyprus, traditionally made with sheeps’ milk, although these days mass-produced varieties often use cows’ milk.

In texture, halloumi is similar to a firm mozzarella, making it a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking. Unlike mozzarella, however, it has a strong salty flavour, particularly when preserved in brine. 

Buyer's guide:
The best halloumi is made from sheeps’ milk, and will come from Cyprus, although these days you can even find varieties made in Britain. 

Halloumi will keep in the fridge for many months if left in its original packaging, complete with brine or whey. Once opened, submerge in salt water and refrigerate. 

In the Middle East, halloumi is usually fried or grilled to take advantage of its high melting point. Although halloumi can be eaten straight from the packet, some chefs recommend soaking it in buttermilk for a day or two before preparing, to give it a richer, less salty flavour. 

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

Monday, 14 August 2017

Heart Doctor Says Eat Butter and Cheese but Avoid Low-Fat Yogurt

A St. Louis cardiologist says the government guidelines warning us to stay away from saturated fat are just plain wrong.

Dr. Anthony Pearson, who calls himself "The Skeptical Cardiologist," says saturated fat, especially saturated dairy fat, such as butter and cheese, is really good for us. He not only consumes it himself, but advises his patients to do the same. He says whole milk is great, but stay away from skim. Likewise, he encourages us to consume full-fat yogurt, but avoid the fat-free kind like the plague.

Dr. Pearson has been practicing cardiology for 30 years and knows what he's talking about. The American Heart Association? Not so much. After all, these are the folks who recently issued an advisory to avoid coconut oil, one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

Dr. Pearson has carefully examined the research, not to mention his patients, and concludes saturated dairy fat actually lowers our risk of having a heart attack. He says it lowers blood pressure and reduces deadly inflammation and oxidative stress. As an added bonus, consuming saturated dairy fat helps us lose weight and lowers our risk of developing diabetes.

Dr. Pearson says the original "science" suggesting saturated fat causes heart attacks is faulty. He says those who advocate a link between saturated fat and heart attacks have misinterpreted subsequent studies and have cherry-picked research to support their theory, largely for economic reasons or because they believed erroneous data from a trusted source.

The good news is more scientists, nutritionists, physicians and in particular, cardiologists are realizing saturated fat has been improperly vilified all these years, when the true cause of heart attacks, inflammation brought on by consuming too much sugar, refined grains and highly processed oils such as corn, vegetable, canola, cottonseed and soybean, has been virtually ignored.

Dr. Pearson says it's important to recognize that not all saturated fat is created equal. Steak, for example, is different from whole milk, which is different from coconut oil. The difference is the number of carbon atoms. Dairy is considered a "short chain fatty acid," coconut oil, which Dr. Pearson also considers healthy, is a "medium chain fatty acid."

While Dr. Pearson is particularly fond of saturated fat from dairy, he says try to choose products made from grass-fed cows. He does not advise against eating red meat, citing studies that conclude cutting back on it does not reduce your risk for heart attack. Again, go for the grass-fed beef rather than the conventionally-raised kind.

Processed meats should be avoided. These are the sandwich meats, that are packaged or sold in a deli that are processed with nitrites and nitrates, which have been linked to health issues like cancer.

Fermented dairy, such as full-fat yogurt is particularly healthy because in addition to the healthy fat, it also deposits good bacteria into our gut, which strengthens our immune system. But make sure to buy plain yogurt because flavored yogurt usually contains way too much sugar.


Croque Monsieur : Keto Style, Low in Carbs

A croque monsieur is a baked or fried boiled ham and cheese sandwich. The dish originated in French cafés and bars as a quick snack. A croque madame is a version of the dish topped with a fried egg. The sandwich's first recorded appearance on a Paris café menu was in 1910. Its earliest mention in literature appears to be in volume two of Proust's In Search of Lost Time in 1918.

The recipe below is a low carb version of this popular dish. At just 8g carbs per serving, it could be something you would include in your menu plans ...

8g carb per serving
8 oz. 2/ 25 g cottage cheese
4 eggs
1 tablespoon ground psyllium husk powder
4 tablespoons butter or coconut oil for frying
5 oz. / 150 g smoked ham
5 oz. / 150 g cheddar cheese
½ finely chopped red onions (optional)

For serving
4 oz. / 100 g lettuce
4 tablespoons olive oil
½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

With a fried egg on top and you’ll have a Croque Madame! Equally delicious.
Please see cooking instructions on Diet Doctor site here

All the best Jan

The baby boomers.

I suspect a fair few of the readers and commenters on this blog, are so called 'Baby Boomers' Jan, Graham and I certainly are. It's my opinion we have been the luckiest generation in the history of the world. We have never lived through a world war, I doubt any of us have ever been truly hungry, and all have spent all or most of our lives living in a comfortable home. Never rich or particularly well off, but never really poor. The only downside of being a baby boomer I can see is we are on the last lap of our lives. Some of us are already on the grim reapers list, our exit visas are being rubber stamped, the end is nigh.

A question I have asked myself, if I had a chance of being a teenager again in the present time, would I go for it? not in a million years. Please bear in mind, I have considered myself to be an optimist all my life, am I looking back with rose tinted glasses? or is the world that I have lived in going to the dogs? What say you my friends and fellow bloggers.


"The phrase baby boom refers to a noticeable increase in the birth rate. The post-war population increase was first described as a "boom" by Sylvia F. Porter in a column in the May 4, 1951, edition of the New York Post, based on the increase in the population of the U.S. of 2,357,000 in 1950. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded use of "baby boomer" is from 1970 in an article in The Washington Post.Various authors have delimited the baby boom period differently. Landon Jones, in his book Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation (1980), defined the span of the baby-boom generation as extending from 1943 through 1960, when annual births increased over 4,000,000. Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe, well known for their generational theory, define the social generation of Boomers as that cohort born from 1943 to 1960, who were too young to have any personal memory of World War II, but old enough to remember the postwar American High" From here.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Thought for the day.

Many a word said in jest. Eddie 

Progression of the human race. 

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” John F. Kennedy

Sweet potato, carrot, red pepper & tomato soup : Nana's 'magic' recipe

If you live in the UK, or have visited recently, you may have seen a lovely TV commercial which tells a story ... 
"When Nana, from the story, is called on to look after her poorly grandson for the afternoon, she knows something that might just make him feel better – her ‘magic’ soup. Somehow, it seems to do the trick, even though she sneaks a few ingredients into it that he doesn’t strictly like. But if he ever finds out, he won’t kick up a fuss, because it tastes so good." The wonderful thing with this advert is, it really is a good tasting soup, quite quick to make, nutritious, and not too expensive ... some would say a winner!

Serves Six
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1 vegetable stock cube
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 red peppers, sliced
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
200ml (7fl oz.) light coconut milk (or regular if you prefer)
2 slices brown bread - optional
60g (2oz) Cheddar, grated - optional

1. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat and fry the onion until soft. In a jug, make 750ml (1 1/4 pints) stock using the stock cube and boiling water. Pour into the pan, add the sweet potato, carrots, peppers, stock and tomatoes, then season with pepper. Put a lid on the pan and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
2. If you've chosen the two optional ingredients ...preheat the grill to medium-high. Toast the bread on both sides. Sprinkle the cheese on one side of each slice and grill until melted. Cut 3 star shapes from each piece of toast using a cookie cutter or snip out star shapes with scissors.
3. Blend the soup until smooth, add the coconut milk, and season with pepper. Stir well to combine then ladle into 6 bowls and top each one with an optional  cheesy star.

Helpful Tips:
To deseed a pepper, press your thumb down on the stalk – it will break away from the sides and fall inside. Just scoop out, with the seeds, into the bin.
Any leftover coconut milk - just freeze in an ice cube tray until you make this recipe again.

Per serving:
Carbohydrate 17g Protein 5.4g Fibre 4g Fat 8.3g
From an original idea here

Sometimes, we all need a little magic ...

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

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Callum Beattie - Man Behind The Sun

Saturday is music night and here's new song from Callum Beattie

Is that the Incredible Hulk I see ?

Is that the Incredible Hulk I see ?
Well yes, and a wonderful Grandson having fun ...

Oh dear it's started to rain !
Never mind lets have fun in the arcade for a while - come on sis'
Don't you just love the concentration on their faces ...

Happy Weekend to all ...
All the best Jan

Friday, 11 August 2017

Effects of Popular Diets without Specific Calorie Targets on Weight Loss Outcomes: Systematic Review of Findings from Clinical Trials


The present review examined the evidence base for current popular diets, as listed in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report, on short-term (≤six months) and long-term (≥one year) weight loss outcomes in overweight and obese adults. For the present review, all diets in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report Rankings for “Best Weight-Loss Diets”, which did not involve specific calorie targets, meal replacements, supplementation with commercial products, and/or were not categorized as “low-calorie” diets were examined.

Of the 38 popular diets listed in the U.S. News & World Report, 20 met our pre-defined criteria. Literature searches were conducted through PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science using preset key terms to identify all relevant clinical trials for these 20 diets. 

A total of 16 articles were identified which reported findings of clinical trials for seven of these 20 diets: (1) Atkins; (2) Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH); (3) Glycemic-Index; (4) Mediterranean; (5) Ornish; (6) Paleolithic; and (7) Zone. Of the diets evaluated, the Atkins Diet showed the most evidence in producing clinically meaningful short-term (≤six months) and long-term (≥one-year) weight loss.

Other popular diets may be equally or even more effective at producing weight loss, but this is unknown at the present time since there is a paucity of studies on these diets.

 Full text here:


Brown Butter Sponge Cake : Low Carb and Delicious

This is proving a popular recipe ... and is so enjoyable with a cup of tea or coffee.

2 cups of (4 sticks) unsalted butter melted and lightly browned
6 large eggs
2 cups of finely milled almond flour
2 cups of sugar substitute
1 ½ teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon of sea salt

1. Pre-heat oven to 350º F / 180º C / Gas mark 4-moderate.
Lightly grease a 10-inch spring-form pan with butter.
2. Melt and lightly brown the butter in a saucepan and allow to cool completely.
3. Beat all the eggs and sugar substitute in a stand-up mixer on high until mixture is thick and a shade of pale yellow, about 6 minutes.
4. Add the almond flour by ¼ cup increments into the egg and sugar-substitute batter folding gently with a rubber spatula. *Do not over stir, mix only to combine
5. Once the batter has been mixed add the now cooled melted brown butter gently fold into the batter until fully incorporated.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
7. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
8. Allow this cake to cool completely before serving. Store in the refrigerator.

Cake makes 16 servings at 3.2 net carbs per slice

For help with measurement and conversion, see charts here

Recipe idea seen on Fit To Serve Blog and The Diabetes Diet Blog 

All the best Jan

Thursday, 10 August 2017

The best Detox diet, Barry Groves

These words below are taken from a 2011 blog post, that Eddie originally posted. There has been some interest in it again lately, so in case you missed it in 2011, why not read it now!
You'll need to use the link given below.

"The best Detox diet, Barry Groves.

'There are many conditions in Western industrialised societies today that were unheard of, or at least very rare, just a century ago. The same conditions are still unheard of in primitive peoples who do not have the 'benefits' of our knowledge. There is a very good reason for this: They eat what Nature intended; we don't. The diseases caused by our incorrect and unnatural diets are those featured on these pages.'

Please read more here

All the best Jan

Rolled Pork Fillet with healthy herbs and mustard : Sunday Roast

Got to admit that 'Pork and apple is a perfect pairing and this healthy, hearty main really makes the most of it. Try rolling succulent pork fillet with mustard, rosemary and sage served alongside sweet butternut squash, red onion, and nutty celeriac'. Has Sunday Roast ever been better !
Please take a seat at the table ...

Serves Four
1 large red onion, cut into small wedges
400g (13oz) butternut squash, cut into bite-sized pieces
400g (13oz) celeriac, cut into bite-sized pieces
spray oil (low calorie)
2 rosemary sprigs
4 small (Cox) apples
2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 sage leaves
500g (1lb) boneless free-range pork fillet or loin
Why not choose:
steamed (tender-stem) broccoli, or spring greens to serve

1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Place the onion, butternut squash and celeriac in the base of a large roasting tin, spray with a little spray oil and season well. Add a sprig of rosemary to the tray.
2. Using a small sharp knife, score the circumference of each apple, then put them around the edges of the roasting tin. Roast for 15-20 minutes, turning the vegetables occasionally to ensure even cooking.
3. Meanwhile, spray the pork fillet with a little oil and season well. Heat a large frying pan until hot, add the pork and sear on all sides for 5 minutes or until golden. Carefully remove from the pan. Then, using a pastry brush, spread all over with mustard. Remove the leaves from the remaining sprig of rosemary and finely chop with the sage. Mix together on a large chopping board. Roll the mustard-covered pork in the herbs to create an even layer.
4. Place the pork fillet on top of the half-roasted vegetables and roast for another 15 minutes, or until just cooked.
5. To serve, thickly slice the pork and serve with the roasted vegetables, one baked apple per person and perhaps some steamed broccoli or spring greens.

Each serving:
Carbohydrate 17.8g Protein 45.5g Fibre 4.9g Fat 6.8g
From an original Tesco real food idea here

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Thought for the day.

“You’ll find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view” Obi-Wan Kenobe, Star Wars


Baked Bacon Omelette With Chives

This dish could be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, tea or supper! You choose when you'd like to tuck in. Remember, recipes can always be amended slightly if you have other preferred choices -  but I like it how it is!

Serves One
3g carb per serving
2 eggs
5 oz. / 150 g bacon cut in cubes
3 oz. / 75 g butter
2 oz. / 50 g fresh spinach
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
Salt and pepper according to taste

If you love cheese, you might want to mix in some grated cheddar or sprinkle parmesan on top before baking. Sautéed onions are another yummy possible addition.
Please see cooking instructions at Diet Doctor site here

Chives ... The smallest and most delicate member of the onion family, chives are a popular herb used in European cookery. They have long, thin green blades that are hollow inside. They have a mild, grassy flavour similar to baby spring onions or young leeks. There is also an Asian variety of chive called Chinese chives, garlic chives or kuchai.

Buyer's guide:
Chives are in season in spring and summer. Fresh chives are widely available from supermarkets and garden centres. Do not substitute fresh chives for dried, as the finished dish will taste musty.

Keep fresh chives refrigerated for up to three days.

Snip chives with scissors instead of chopping them, and do not subject them to much cooking as they are delicate. Instead, use chives in garnishes, salads, egg mayonnaise sandwiches, vegetable stocks, soups, creamy sauces, potato dishes and omelettes, adding the herb to the dish just before serving. Purple-blue chive flowers are also eaten and used as a garnish.

Hope you may enjoy this recipe suggestion soon ...

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Ten Highly Satiating Foods

Michael Joseph has recently written an article titled, "The Importance of Satiety: Feeling Satiated Controls Food Cravings".

He also lists 10 highly satiating foods:
Here are 10 of the most filling foods in the world, covering meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables. Including one or more of these foods in your meals will help you with feeling satiated.

1. Beef
Beef contains numerous essential minerals including zinc, iron, selenium, and magnesium. It’s also very high in protein, providing 25.1g protein per 100g.
With this impressive nutrient density and protein content, beef certainly helps fill you up. Despite the occasional negative stories in the media, the evidence of beef causing harm is minimal.

2. Chicken

Chicken is one of the best foods for satiety due to its impressive protein density.
While it isn’t as nutritious as beef (or red meat in general), it still contains a decent selection of vitamins and minerals. Notable nutrients in chicken include B vitamins, phosphorus, and selenium. Chicken breasts contain an enormous amount of protein, with 100g providing 31g protein. Better yet, chicken drumsticks are full of protein and fat – great for satiety and much tastier too.

3. Cod

Similar to chicken breast, lean white fish is one of the richest sources of protein. Despite 100g of cod only providing 105 calories, there is an impressive 23g of protein.
Also, there is a myth that white fish like cod and haddock don’t contain omega-3 – but they do.
While it isn’t as much as oily fish like salmon, sardines or tuna, 100g of cod still provides 172 mg omega-3.
Cod also offers an excellent source of phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and B vitamins.
All in all, cod is a protein-rich food that is extremely filling.
Tip: it tastes great with some hot coconut cream mixed with lemon juice and parsley.

4. Eggs

I like to call eggs “nature’s multivitamin” since they are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. They are also incredibly beneficial in helping us stave off hunger, with studies showing that eggs are the best breakfast for satiety. In fact, eggs provide a good source of virtually every nutrient except vitamins C and K. With one egg containing 6.3g of protein, this soon adds up when a meal includes three or four. In short, eggs are one of the most satiating foods on the planet.

5. Green Vegetables

Green veggies such as asparagus, broccoli, and spinach are extremely nutrient-dense, full of fibrous carbohydrate, and they even contain a little protein too.
Compared to digestible sources of carbs such as white rice, bread, and sugars, they have the exact opposite effect on keeping us satiated. Looking specifically at spinach, 100g comes in at a minuscule 23 calories – but these calories are packed with nutrients. In particular, there are massive amounts of vitamins A, C, K1, and B vitamins, as well as 3g of protein.
All in all, these vegetables are highly satiating, and they provide some nice decoration next to a tasty steak.

6. Meat Stew

Making a traditional meat stew keeps us feeling full better than just eating a piece of meat alone. The reason for this is twofold; first, a stew contains a significant amount of fluid. Studies show that compared to solid foods, soups induce a greater feeling of satiation due to delayed gastric emptying (emptying of food from the stomach). Secondly, soups include a greater variety of meat and vegetables, helping to increase the nutritional value of the meal.

7. Quark

Quark is a dairy product that contains a substantial amount of protein; per 100g there are only 77 calories but 14.1 grams of protein. As a result of the protein density, quark is one of the best foods for satiation.

8. Salmon

While cod provides a decent amount of protein and a small presence of omega-3, salmon offers both of these nutrients in abundance. This oily fish offers around 2600mg of omega-3 and 25g protein per 100g. In the same fashion as eggs, salmon contains virtually every vitamin and mineral too. Rich in both energy and nutrients, salmon will certainly leave you feeling satiated.
For guidance on how to cook salmon perfectly, see here.

9. Shrimp

Almost all shellfish are nutritionally impressive, and shrimp is no exception. Crammed with beneficial vitamins, minerals, and omega-3, they are also very high in protein. Despite 100g coming in at only 99 calories, it has 21 grams of protein. Fry them up in a bit of butter for a delicious and satiating meal that helps kill hunger.

10. Whole Milk

Milk is a complete source of food which contains carbohydrate, protein, and fat.
As a result, we should be careful with the amount we drink since it’s so energy-rich. One cup of whole milk contains a decent amount of protein, and it’s reasonably nutrient-dense. Furthermore, several recent studies show that whole milk is significantly better for satiety than low-fat milk. Notably, studies also show that low-fat milk raises the risk for central obesity while whole milk has the opposite effect.

Key Point

These foods on this list are all nutritionally dense and rich in protein. As a result, including them as a regular part of the diet helps to improve levels of satiety.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, feeling satiated is potentially the most important factor in maintaining a successful diet. Without satiety, food cravings take control and willpower can only endure so much against powerful biological urges to eat more. Focusing predominantly on whole foods and including a quality source of protein at each meal makes all the difference.

All words above are Michael's and is only a 'snippet' of his article, you can read his full article with all relevant links here

You may also be interested in reading our Introduction to low-carb for beginners post here 

We bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Grilled aubergine/eggplant and tomato salad

Serves Four
1 aubergine (eggplant), sliced lengthways
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ tsp dried crushed chilli flakes
1 lemon, juice and zest
200g (7oz) plum tomatoes
1 ball of mozzarella
½ packet (about 15g) mint leaves
½ packet (about 15g) parsley
a few leaves of basil

1. Cut aubergine (eggplant) into thin slices lengthways. Brush each slice with olive oil and grill in a griddle pan for 2-3 minutes on each side until tender and charred. Place in a serving dish.
2. Add garlic to griddle pan with the chilli flakes. Heat for just a few seconds then add the lemon juice and swirl though the pan. Drizzle it over the aubergine slices.
3. Crush the plum tomatoes and scatter over. Tear up the mozzarella and add to the dish. Season well.
4. Finely chop the mint and parsley, add the lemon zest and scatter over the salad with a few torn basil leaves.

Per Serving:
Carbohydrate 4.3g Protein 8.4g Fibre 2.7g Fat 16.4g
See original Tesco real-food idea here

Are full of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. Along with tomatoes, potatoes and bell peppers, the aubergine (solanum melongena) belongs to the nightshade plant family (Solanaceae). In fact, aubergines grow in a manner much like tomatoes, hanging from the vines of a plant that grows several feet in height. They have a deep purple, glossy skin encasing cream coloured, sponge-like flesh dotted with small, edible seeds. In addition to the classic purple variety, aubergines are available in other colours including lavender, jade green, orange and yellow and in a range of shapes and sizes. The most popular variety of aubergine looks like a large, pear-shaped egg, hence the American name ‘eggplant.’

Nutritional highlights:
Aubergines are 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

Research on aubergines has focused on nasunin. It is not only a potent antioxidant, protecting the fatty acids essential for healthy brain function, but it also helps move excess iron out of the body. Although iron is an essential nutrient, necessary for transporting oxygen in the blood, immune support and collagen synthesis, too much iron is not recommended.
Aubergines are high in fibre and low in fat and therefore recommended for those managing type 2 diabetes or managing weight concerns. Initial studies indicate that phenolic-enriched extracts of aubergine/eggplant may help in controlling glucose absorption, beneficial for managing type 2 diabetes and reducing associated high blood pressure (hypertension).
Aubergines may also help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol  levels. These positive effects are likely to be down to nasunin and other phytochemicals in aubergines.

How to select & store:
On visual inspection, the skin colour should be vivid, shiny and free of discoloration, scars and bruises, which usually indicate that the flesh beneath has become damaged and possibly decayed. The stem and cap at the top of the aubergine should also be free of discolouration. Choose aubergines that are firm and heavy for their size. To test the ripeness of an aubergine, gently press the skin with the pad of your thumb. If it springs back, the aubergine is ripe, if an indentation remains, it is not. Aubergines are actually quite perishable, being sensitive to both heat and cold. Store them whole in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator, where they will keep for a few days. If you cut an aubergine before you store it, it will decay quickly. Once cooked, aubergines can be stored in the fridge for up to three days. It is often recommended to tenderise aubergines and to reduce the bitter taste by salting it. After cutting the aubergine into the desired shape, sprinkle it with salt and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes. This process pulls out some of the aubergine’s water content and along with it some of the bitter components. If you are trying to reduce your salt intake, you can simply wash the salt off.

Aubergines are a member of the nightshade family (Solanaceae), which includes bell peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. Research suggests a  link between aggravated arthritic symptoms and the consumption of these types of foods. Although no case-controlled studies confirm these findings, some individuals consuming nightshade-family vegetables experience an aggravation of arthritic symptoms and may benefit from limiting or avoiding these foods. Aubergines contain significant amounts of oxalate. Individuals with a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should avoid overconsuming them.
These words about aubergine taken from here

I just happen to have an aubergine, some tomatoes and mozzarella in the fridge!

All the best Jan

Monday, 7 August 2017

FDA Reports Further Support for Canagliflozin-Amputation Link

New data from the voluntary US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adverse-event reporting system (FAERS) reinforce the current label warning about amputations for canagliflozin (Invokana, Invokamet, Janssen), a sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

An analysis of safety signal reports from FAERS was published online recently in Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology by Gian Paolo Fadini, MD, PhD, and Angelo Avogaro, MD, PhD, of the division of metabolic diseases, department of medicine, University of Padova, Italy.

Among 66 reports of SGLT2-inhibitor–associated amputations, 57 (86%) involved canagliflozin. Moreover, two-thirds of those reports were among people with no discernible risk factors for amputation, "which, worryingly, points to an unpredictable effect of the drug," Dr Fadini told Medscape Medical News.

In May 2017, the FDA issued a boxed warning to the label of canagliflozin after an approximately doubled risk for lower-extremity amputations with the drug compared with placebo was seen during the Canagliflozin Cardiovascular Assessment Study (CANVAS) and A Study of the Effects of Canagliflozin on Renal Endpoints (CANVAS-R) trials. Those findings have since been published.

The same risk has not been seen in studies of the other SGLT2 inhibitors on the market, empagliflozin (Jardiance, Boehringer Ingelheim) and dapagliflozin (Farxiga, AstraZeneca).

Thus far, the FDA has not extended the label warning about amputations to other drugs in the class, although the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has, pending further investigation.

"Our data are the first to confirm the warning originated from CANVAS and tends to suggest this is not a class effect," Dr Fadini told Medscape Medical News.

However, he added, "at the moment, data are not sufficiently robust to modify canagliflozin use in favor of dapagliflozin/empagliflozin. So we can only reinforce, with independent data, the boxed warning issued by the FDA and call for caution when using canagliflozin in patients with the diabetic-foot syndrome."
Majority Have No Reported Risk Factors

Among more than nine million adverse event reports in the FAERS through March 31, 2017, 66 were SGLT2-inhibitor–associated amputations.

Of those, 57 (86%) listed canagliflozin as a suspect or concomitant drug. The patients had an average age of about 60 years, and most were men. Average treatment duration was about 1.5 years.

Based on indications, 11% of the patients appeared to have diabetic-foot syndrome (ie, ischemia, neuropathy, deformity, wounds, infections, and/or previous amputations). When the authors considered concomitant adverse events including wounds, necrosis, gangrene, or ischemia, the proportion with evident amputation risk factors totaled about 36%, whereas there were no such predictors in the other 64%.

The most common level of amputation was the toe, but there were 13 above-ankle leg or limb amputations, two multiple amputations, and one hand amputation. Three of those with amputations died.

The frequency of amputation among all FAERS reports listing canagliflozin as a suspect or concomitant drug was 3.4 per 1000.

Compared with non–SGLT2-inhibitor drugs for type 2 diabetes, the proportional reporting ratio for amputation as an adverse event with canagliflozin was 5.33 (P < .0001). In contrast, this ratio was 0.25 for dapagliflozin (P = .163) and 2.37 for empagliflozin (P = .054).

"In summary, this pharmacovigilance analysis confirms that use of canagliflozin, but not dapagliflozin or empagliflozin, might be associated with an increased risk of amputations," the doctors say, while noting there are "important limitations" of FAERS data.

"Deciphering predisposing factors and mechanisms of this rare adverse event will be crucial to maximize the benefits of SGLT2 inhibitors in clinical practice," Drs Fadini and Dr Avogaro conclude.

The study was supported by institutional grants from the University of Padova but received no specific funding. Dr Fadini has received grants, personal fees, and nonfinancial support from AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly; personal fees and nonfinancial support from Boehringer Ingelheim, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, Abbott, and Novartis; nonfinancial support from Genzyme; and personal fees from Merck Sharp & Dohme. Dr Avogaro has received grants, personal fees, and nonfinancial support from AstraZeneca; grants and personal fees from Mediolanum; personal fees and nonfinancial support from Novartis and Servier; and personal fees from Boehringer Ingelheim, Janssen, Merck Sharp & Dome, Sanofi, Novo Nordisk, Lilly, and Takeda.''

Drama in the Serengeti

A couple on an African Safari witnessed a small antelope being chased down by a cheetah.

While the kill was about to happen before their eyes, the husband casually remarked "I bet the antelope gets away"

The wife answered "If that antelope survives this one, I’ll give you sex every day for the rest of your life"

The deadly chase was recorded.

Ya gotta larf. Eddie

Summer Fun and Smiles : You just can't beat it !

Yes, it's summer holiday time, well it has been for a few weeks now!
Here are our three youngest grandchildren having some fun.
(Mobile phones do come in handy when you don't have your camera)
Think they have a better head for heights than me! LOL!

it's fun up here !

I'm up higher than you !

don't look down!

made it to the top safely ... can I do it again please !
Don't you just love it when they have fun!
I know I do ...

All the best Jan

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Scandinavian-style smoked gammon with parsley sauce

How about trying this Scandinavian-style smoked gammon served with a mustard, dill and parsley sauce. Any leftover meat could be enjoyed later in a pea soup ... or perhaps with some low carb seedy bread ...

Serves Six
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs flat leaf parsley
2 sprigs thyme
1.3kg (2 1/2lb) smoked gammon joint
1/2tsp black peppercorns
1 small onion, halved

For the sauce:
40g (1 1/2oz) unsalted butter
40g (1 1/2oz) flour
large handful dill, finely chopped
small handful parsley, finely chopped
30ml (2tbsp) French mustard
5ml (1tsp) clear honey

1. Tie together the bay leaf and parsley and thyme sprigs with butcher's string. Place the joint of gammon in a large pan and cover with cold water. Add the peppercorns, bundle of herbs and onion. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 1 hour 20 minutes.
2. Remove the meat from the stock, wrap in foil and keep warm. Measure out 500ml (17fl oz.) of the cooking stock from the ham (you can reserve any remaining stock to use for a gammon and pea soup).
3. In a small pan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the ham stock to the paste, stirring continually until combined and then cook for 5 minutes; the mixture should be the consistency of double cream. Add the herbs, mustard and honey and stir well, cook for a minute, then taste and season (reserve 3 tbsp. of the sauce to make the gammon and pea soup).
4. Slice the gammon and serve with the sauce and how about some cauliflower mash, stir-fried cabbage and carrots, to accompany ... 
5. Set aside the leftover meat and sauce until cool. Wrap the meat in foil or place in a lidded airtight plastic box; transfer the sauce to a small bowl and cover with cling-film; store the meat and sauce in the fridge. Use within 2 days.

Each serving:
Carbohydrate 7.2g Protein 37.6g Fat 22g Fibre 0.4g
Taken from an original Tesco Real Food idea Here

image from here

All the best Jan