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Saturday, 17 August 2019

Weekend Omelette Greek Salad Style

It's so easy to enjoy a taste of Greece in your own home with this recipe suggestion. It's very quick and simple, and can be enjoyed anytime! Many may think this perfect for a mid-week meal, but it tastes great at the weekend too! I think you'll just love how the feta melts when put under the grill ... yum!

Serves Four
10 eggs
handful of parsley leaves, chopped (optional)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
3 tomatoes, chopped into large chunks
large handful black olives, (pitted are easier to eat)
100g feta cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper

1. Heat the grill to high. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl with the chopped parsley, pepper and salt. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, then fry the onion wedges over a high heat for about 4 mins until they start to brown around the edges. Throw in the tomatoes and olives and cook for 1-2 mins until the tomatoes begin to soften.
2. Turn the heat down to medium and pour in the eggs. Cook the eggs in the pan, stirring them as they begin to set, until half cooked, but still runny in places – about 2 mins. Scatter over the feta, then place the pan under the grill for 5-6 mins until omelette is puffed up and golden. Cut into wedges and serve straight from the pan.

Make it meaty, for a non-vegetarian version why not ripple over slices of ham or bacon before scattering over the feta, then grill until crispy.

Nutritional details:
Fat 28g Carbs 5g Protein 24g 
Recipe idea from here

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

χαρούμενος τρώει !

All the best Jan

Friday, 16 August 2019

Panhaggerty ... it's a one-pot wonder !

This dish is a famous British food from Northumberland, although it can be found across the whole of the northeast of England, (and other parts too) it is sometimes called Panackelty. Pan haggerty is a traditional one-pot wonder of bacon, potatoes and carrots, perfect for warming you up on a cold or cooler evening. It can also be served as a side with some leftover roast chicken...

Serves Six
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
250g/9oz streaky bacon
6 potatoes, (swap with swede for a lower carb choice) thinly sliced into rounds
2 onions, thinly sliced
5 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
500ml/17½fl oz. chicken stock
150g/5oz cheddar, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
crusty bread, ( perhaps a lower carb bread will suit you better ) to serve

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep ovenproof pan. Fry the bacon for 3–4 minutes, or until golden-brown and slightly crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.
2. In the same pan used to cook the bacon, arrange a layer of the sliced potatoes (swede) in the bottom of the pan. Cover the potatoes (swede) with a layer of sliced onions, then a layer of sliced carrots. Layer over some of the crisp bacon, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Repeat the process with the remaining potatoes (swede), onions, carrots and bacon, finishing with a layer of potatoes (swede) on top. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Pour in the chicken stock so that all of the ingredients are covered, then bring to the boil. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15–25 minutes, or until the potatoes (swede) and carrots are tender.
5. Preheat the grill to high. Uncover the pan and sprinkle over the grated cheese. Grill for 5–6 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and golden-brown.
6. To serve, spoon into bowls and serve with some crusty bread* to mop up the juices.

Some may like to serve it alongside some crusty bread*, perfect for mopping up the delicious sauce. However, if you prefer a lower carb bread how about this one here or perhaps this one here

The dish above is from 'The Hairy Bikers' , aka David Myers and Simon King, two northern blokes with a passion for cooking and food, original idea is here

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.

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Mediterranean Diet Associated with 41% Risk Reduction for (AMD) Age-Related Macular Degeneration

"Protecting a patient's eyes may be more heavily influenced by diet than previously thought.

A new study, which analysed data from a pair of previous study populations, found that people aged 55 and over who maintained a Mediterranean-style diet reduced their risk of developing late-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 41%.

Investigators, led by Bénédicte MJ Merle, PhD, of the French Institute of Health and Medical Research, found their findings supported the suggestion that healthful, nutrient-rich foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and fish have a role in the prevention of AMD.

The study analysed the data from 2 previous studies which followed participants in multiple regions in Europe for several years. The first was the Rotterdam study, in which patients aged 45 years and older in the Netherlands were followed more than 21 years, with investigators examining patients and giving them questionnaires about their diets once every 5 years. The study began recruiting participants in 1990. Investigators collected information on a variety of health outcomes, including ophthalmologic, neurodegenerative, and cardiovascular diseases. It also asked the patients about their socio-economic status, alcohol consumption, dietary habits and more.

The second study was the Alienor study, in which patients aged 65 years and older were seen by ophthalmologists every 2 years, beginning in 2006, but only followed over a four-year period so far. Participants in the Alienor study are recruited from the Three-City study, which has been following patients in several regions of France.

Nearly 5000 (n= 4996) participants from the previous studies were included in the current study, 155 of which experienced advanced AMD. The majority of the patients, 4446 (88.96%), came from the Rotterdam study, while the other 550 came from the Aleinor study.

The investigators used the MeDi, a scale designed to assess how closely a person’s diet matches the Mediterranean diet. For example, the scale will attribute a point if the person eats 4 or more tablespoons of olive oil per day. Higher scores indicate a person’s greater adherence to the diet.

Merle and company then compared those that had high scores (6-9 points) with those that had lower scores on the MeDi (0-3.) They found that those who had higher scores had a 41% less chance of developing late-stage AMD. Investigators also checked to see if any individual aspect of the diet, for example eating a lot of fish or a lot of fruit without otherwise following a Mediterranean-style diet impacted the likelihood of developing AMD. None did.

Emily Chew, MD, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, who serves on an advisory board to the research group conducting the study, recently joked in a statement regarding the study that “you are what you eat.”

"I believe this is a public health issue on the same scale as smoking,” Chew said. “Chronic diseases such as AMD, dementia, obesity, and diabetes, all have roots in poor dietary habits. It's time to take quitting a poor diet as seriously as quitting smoking."

The study, “Mediterranean Diet and Incidence of Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration,” was published online in Ophthalmology."

Words above from here but link is also on Dr Steve Parker's Diabetic Mediterranean Diet Blog here

This Halloumi salad with orange & mint, gives you a taste of the Mediterranean
see more details 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 please take these into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. 

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Indian Coriander and Chilli Omelette : LCHF

If you're a fan of Indian food, why not try this omelette idea! It could be for breakfast, lunch, tea or supper! It uses a mix of green chilli, garlic clove, coriander and mustard seeds - plus a few other ingredients. Have a look and see what you think! Does it stir your taste buds!

Serves Two
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small red onion, halved then sliced into very thin slivers
1 plump green chilli, seeds left in (or remove some seeds for a milder taste), finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or grated
1/4 tsp. yellow or black mustard seeds
1 medium tomato, chopped
4 large eggs
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp coriander powder
3 tbsp. roughly chopped coriander

1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan (with about a 23cm base). Tip in the onion and chilli and fry for 3-4 minutes until the onion is just starting to soften. Next stir in the garlic, mustard seeds and the tomato and fry a minute or two longer.
2. Beat the eggs in a bowl and stir in the milk, coriander powder and fresh coriander. Season with salt and pepper. Preheat the grill to high.

3. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, tipping the pan to let the raw mixture flow to the edges as it starts to set. When the eggs are set underneath and the base is golden, transfer the pan to the grill and cook for a couple of minutes until the top is just starting to set and look puffy. Remove, and serve cut in wedges.

Each Serving Contains:
Carbohydrate 3.5g Protein 18.6g Fibre 1.8g Fat 21g
From an idea here

Please note:
If serving vulnerable groups, elderly people, toddlers, pregnant women and people who are unwell, ensure eggs are cooked thoroughly.

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

If you are new to low carb, or would like to know more, why not read our post 'Introduction to low-carb for beginners', it's free and you can find it here

All the best Jan

Monday, 12 August 2019

A Pharmacist Condemns Pharma’s Approach to Health !

Well, I wonder what you will think about this (shared) article?
"Pharma (the pharmaceutical industry) views the human body as a machine that is constantly prone to breakdown and needs shoring up with synthetic chemicals.

If you believe that the human body is a wondrous and miraculous example of hundreds of thousands of years of refinement through evolution, your view is precisely opposite that of Pharma. Pharma views the human body like a rickety old machine, constantly prone to breakdown and constantly in need of shoring up with synthetic chemicals foreign to evolution (i.e., pharmaceuticals).

Pharma does not seem to believe that the human body has any ability to heal on its own, or that nutrition is important, or that the human body is part of the natural world. Pharma views drug side effects as an anomaly and as a surprise rather than as a predictable consequence of the introduction of synthetic chemicals (pharmaceuticals) into complex and highly refined biological systems.

If you are disgusted with the long lists of food additives in so many of the products in grocery stores, you will likely be equally disillusioned in a drug store. Products on drug store shelves represent an even higher level of artificiality in comparison to the highly processed foods that fill the shelves in the modern supermarket. I was always uneasy as a pharmacist because I preferred the model of health represented by a farmer’s market rather than the model represented by a drug store. 

Many of the drugs in the pharmacy are essential. Some are even life-saving. But Pharma has parlayed the success of superstar drugs like insulin and antibiotics into a three-ring circus where there’s a quick-fix pill for every ill. 

The Word “Natural” Is Conspicuously Absent from Pharma’s Lexicon:
There is one word that is conspicuously absent from advertisements for prescription drugs on television. That word is “natural.” With very few exceptions, pharmaceuticals are highly synthetic substances created in a laboratory and never before seen during the long course of human evolution. You never hear drug companies use the word “natural” or “holistic” because hardly anything they do would fit that description. It is all mechanistic and reductionist, based on controlling delicate biological processes in complex biological systems by utilizing synthetic chemicals.

Why Reject Reductionism?
Reductionism is a belief system that states that human health can be understood and modified at the molecular and cellular levels while ignoring the whole person. Ernst Mayr counters that the whole is much more than the sum of its parts. (Ernst Mayr, This is Biology: The Science of the Living World, Belknap Press; Reprint edition, September 15, 1998, p. xvi)

“…the claim that every attribute of complex living systems can be explained through the study of the lowest components (molecules, genes or whatever) struck me as absurd. Living organisms form a hierarchy of ever more complex systems, from molecules, cells and tissues through whole organisms, populations and species. In each higher system, characteristics emerge that could not have been predicted from a knowledge of the components.” 

Regrettably, in my opinion, pharmacists have largely accepted and internalized the pharmaceutical industry’s description of the determinants of human health. Thus pharmacists are complicit in the dissemination of a mechanistic and reductionist model of human health—based on attacking human biology with synthetic chemicals—that is beneficial to Pharma’s narrative.

Blockers, Antagonists and Inhibitors:
Pharma has been wildly successful in promoting the view that health depends on the prescribing of alpha blockers, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin receptor blockers, H2 antagonists, proton pump inhibitors, HMGCoA reductase inhibitors, etc. Pharma believes that the human body cannot thrive without constant governance and control by pharmaceuticals prescribed and dispensed by professionals in white coats. 

From the Perspective of Mother Nature, Pharmaceuticals Are Foreign Substances:
Pharma seems to have a bizarre belief that as long as these highly synthetic substances are used for benevolent purposes (to treat disease), Mother Nature will give them a pass. In fact, Mother Nature probably sees pharmaceuticals as foreign to evolution. That is why almost every drug in the pharmacy comes with a long list of potential side effects. In contrast, whole foods at a farmer’s market are not accompanied by leaflets describing precautions, warnings, contraindications and adverse effects. I view the long lists of potential drug side effects as an indication that the human body is rebelling against the dictatorship of these foreign substances known as pharmaceuticals, just as occupied populations rebel against dictatorship by a powerful oppressor.

Pharma Is at War with Human Biology:
The Physicians’ Desk Reference divides drugs into a large number of categories according to their use. By far, the biggest categories are those with the prefix “anti.” That includes anti-inflammatories, anti-histamines, anti-depressants, anti-hypertensives, anti-nauseants, anti-obesity, anti-psychotics, anti-hyperlipidemics (lipid lowering), anti-spasmodics, anti-acid (antacid), anti-pyretics (fever reducers), anti-pruretics (anti-itch), anti-neoplastics (anti-cancer), anti-arrhythmics, anti-coagulants, anti-anxiety, and antibiotics. 

Thus Pharma’s bible, The Physicians’ Desk Reference, primarily consists of agents that are at war with the complex biological systems in the human body. So it’s not surprising that concepts of power and war dominate modern medicine with terminology like defeat cancer, destroy cancerous cells, War Against Cancer, fight depression, control blood pressure, etc.

Pharma Views Normal Biological Processes as Pathological:
Pharma’s mechanistic and reductionist view of the human body often leads to simplistic solutions in complex biological systems:

Pharma’s war on cardiovascular disease is largely a war on cholesterol. It doesn’t seem to matter to Pharma that cholesterol is essential for the functioning of every cell in the human body or that, for example, cholesterol is essential in the production of hormones.

Stomach Acid:
Pharma seems to view the existence of stomach acid as an error in human evolution. How else can one view the widespread use of proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec, Nexium, Aciphex, Prevacid and Protonix), acid suppressors (Zantac, Pepcid, Axid and Tagamet) and antacids (Rolaids, Tums)? Stomach acid performs many essential functions including the digestion of food and killing noxious organisms in that food.

Pharma seems to view pain as something to be attacked and defeated. Advertisers for OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen often promote the concept that this drug allows athletes to “power through pain” (participate in sports while injured). In truth, pain is an important signal telling us to stop engaging in the activity that is causing the pain until our body has time to heal on its own schedule. Similarly, back pain should be viewed as our brain telling us to get a firmer mattress, or to sit in chairs with more lumbar support, or to get a job that doesn’t require standing all day on a hard floor, rather than simply attack the pain with analgesics.

Pharma seems to view fever as another error in human evolution. The reality is that mild to moderate fever is often a defence mechanism to fight infection. Mild to moderate fever is in fact protective and should not be routinely treated unless it is more severe, potentially causing brain damage.

Pharma seems to view diarrhoea as another error in human evolution. The reality is that diarrhoea is a protective mechanism analogous to fever and pain. The purpose of diarrhoea is to remove harmful organisms or other noxious substances from our digestive tract. Diarrhoea should not be routinely treated with anti-diarrheal products unless it is severe. Replenishment of fluid and electrolytes with products like Pedialyte is more logical than using products that halt diarrhoea.

Biological reductionism refers to reducing behaviour to a physical level and explaining it in terms of neurons, neurotransmitters, hormones, brain structure, etc. Pharma’s simplistic understanding of the human body reduces depression to a brain chemical imbalance (primarily serotonin) and ignores the critical role played by one’s life circumstances in the causation of depression.

Pharma blames cancer on a cellular malfunction (or bad genes or aging) and ignores the role of the toxic chemicals that are so ubiquitous in modern societies. Pharma advertisements promote bravery and tenacity when confronted with a cancer diagnosis. Fighting cancer means willingly and passively undergoing treatment with toxic chemotherapeutic agents. From my perspective, fighting cancer should mean fighting against corporations that pollute our environment or that fill modern society with synthetic chemicals foreign to human evolution. Pharma advertisements never tell you that The Merck Manual (17th edition, pp. 2591-2592) essentially states that up to 90% of cancers are preventable:

“Environmental or nutritional factors probably account for up to 90% of human cancers. These factors include smoking; diet; and exposure to sunlight, chemicals, and drugs. Genetic, viral, and radiation factors may cause the rest.” 

Pharmacy School Curricula Seem to Have Been Designed to Please Pharma:
In my opinion, the pharmacy school I attended resembled a seminary because students were indoctrinated into a narrow view of health based on molecules, cells, chemistry and pharmacology. There was no reverence for the healing power of nature and the importance of good nutrition. Pharmacy school was all about the utilization of synthetic chemicals that overwhelm and override delicate biological processes at the molecular and cellular levels. 

One of the most surprising and disappointing things to me about pharmacy school was the realization that the core of the curriculum is disease rather than health. Pharmacy school presented a purely mechanistic and reductionist view of the human body which taught students that human health can be understood by studying the function of molecules and cells. 

From Day 1 in pharmacy school, the human body was portrayed as a mechanical device. There was no reverence for the wondrous and miraculous healing power of nature. This view of the human body is, of course, what Pharma wants but it completely ignores the awesome healing power of nature. In my opinion, the goal of modern medicine is not to augment Mother Nature. The goal of modern medicine is to replace Mother Nature with a technological world view, a quick techno-fix for every health problem. 

Prevention vs. Pills:
None of my pharmacy professors dared ask “Wouldn’t it be better to prevent these diseases rather than treat them?” That would have been viewed as blasphemy. The professor would have been viewed as a troublemaker. If a pharmacy student were to declare in class that he/she is more interested in prevention than pills, that student would also have been viewed as a troublemaker and as anti-pharmacy.
A discussion of nutrition would have been viewed by students as oddly out of place in pharmacy school. Pharmacy students learn to see health as a consequence of the manipulation of complex biological processes at the molecular and cellular levels. They learn to be biological technologists, not nutritionists or dietitians. Pharmacy students who believe strongly in disease prevention are likely to be uncomfortable in pharmacy school and during their careers as pharmacists." 

Words and picture above from an article written by Dennis Miller. The original article is here and more about Dennis can be found here 

I'm sure there will be many for pharma and the use of pills … and yes, many of the drugs in the pharmacy are essential - some are even life-saving. Then there are those who may say 'Your true medicine is the correct FOOD, not drugs. If you eat to please the tongue then you are not eating for its purpose of repairing and maintaining the human body and it leads to chronic diseases'...

Hat-tip to Yoly for bringing this article to my attention.

As regular readers know, 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 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. 

As always thanks for reading, and do please share your thoughts about this article in the comments below.

All the best Jan

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Some Foods In Season During August

What's in season in August

As summer (in the Northern Hemisphere) hits its peak, seasonal fruit and vegetables in August need minimal cooking to create delicious meals. Juicy tomatoes are a great base for easy summer salads – pair with griddled sweetcorn, creamy mozzarella or fresh basil for classic flavour combinations. For dessert, sweet nectarines, raspberries and plums can be enjoyed raw or blitzed into fruity ice creams, smoothies and cocktails for refreshing treats.

Simple salads of fresh tomatoes are a highlight of summer. Look for bright and firm tomatoes with wrinkle-free skins that are not split, and have a sweet, earthy scent. If sold on the vine, choose a thick, strong vine with tightly attached tomatoes. It's best not to put tomatoes in the fridge as this will impair their flavour and texture.
Some recipes you may like to try:
Summer Tomato Pie, it's low carb, more details here
Slow Roasted Tomato Salad, only 3.7 carbs per serving, more details here
Vittoria tomato tricolore salad, perfect for summer and it's LCHF, more details here

This versatile green vegetable is tender and easy to cook. The smaller the courgette/zucchini, the more flavour it has. Choose ones that are shiny and firm to the touch. Courgettes/Zucchini are in season from mid-June to mid-September.
Some recipes you may like to try: 
Spinach and ricotta lasagne with courgette pasta, more details here
Courgette / Zucchini Pizza Boats, something a little different, more details here
Italian-style courgette/zucchini and parmesan soup, more details here 

British plums are wonderfully versatile and can simply be eaten as they are or used in sweet late summer bakes. With a smooth, chalky skin and juicy flesh, this succulent British fruit are in season from August to October. Varying in colour from golden to purple, popular varieties include Victoria and Marjorie Seedling.
Some recipes you may like to try:
Honey-baked plums with mascarpone, details are here
Pork and Plum casserole, details are here
Vienna Plum Cake, it's low carb and gluten free, details are here

Although similar in taste and appearance to peaches, nectarines are slightly more acidic, with a smoother skin. Ripe nectarines have no green patches and are firm but give a little when gently squeezed. Keep in a fruit bowl and move to the fridge once ripe. 
Some recipes you may like to try:
Almond crêpes with avocado & nectarines, more details here
Nectarines with velvety vanilla cream, (perhaps use a low carb sugar substitute), more details here
Griddled nectarine and ham salad with basil dressing, more details here

Raspberries are a member of the rose family (along with apples, cherries and blackberries) and are made up of small juicy rounds called drupelets. Due to their delicate nature, it’s vital to store raspberries correctly. Keep in the fridge, arranged in a single layer on a sheet of kitchen paper.
Some recipes you may like to try:
White Chocolate Raspberry Lolly (Popsicle), low carb and dairy free, more details here 
Raspberry Cream Cheese Mug Cupcake, low carb and so delicious, more details here
Raspberry Baked Custard Dessert, more details here

I wonder what would be your favourite from the above?
Mine would be raspberies ...

Dear reader, you will find a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas within this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy ... 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

Epstein, suicide, you say!


Saturday, 10 August 2019

Chris Isaak Wicked Game

Saturday night again and Saturday night is music night on this blog. Enjoy and have a great weekend. Peace to all. Eddie 

Friday, 9 August 2019

Ya gotta larf


Herbs and how to grow them

Linda Ross writes:
"Growing your own produce is increasingly popular these days. If you're keen to give it a go but are a bit apprehensive about your gardening skills, herbs are a good way to get started and they're instantly rewarding. You can buy a small pot at the nursery, plant it and harvest (just a little bit) immediately. And if that's not enough to convince you, the other big pluses of herbs are that they'll grow just about anywhere and thrive with hot weather and sunshine.

You don't need a purpose-built herb garden. You can plant your herbs in a pot, trough or window-box, or pop some in among other plants in the garden.

Growing rosemary
An evergreen shrub, rosemary likes hot weather and lasts a number of years, even if the soil remains dry. It makes a good hedge and will grow happily in a container — trim it into shape at the end of summer. Rosemary is the perfect complement to lamb, and its woody stems make great skewers. It can be grown from cuttings.

Growing chives
An essential ingredient in potato salads, this perennial herb is a member of the onion family and looks a little like grass or a slender green onion. Chives grow happily in the garden or in pots, and need a sunny spot with slightly moist soil. Simply snip off the outer leaves as you need them. Chives have pretty pink flowers in summer, which make a lovely (and edible) addition to salads.

Growing parsley
One of the best herbs to begin with is parsley. You can buy it in punnets or small pots, but it's also extremely easy (and cheap) to grow from seed.

If you have a reasonable soil that holds moisture, just make a shallow furrow in damp soil, and sprinkle in some seeds. Alternatively, fill a punnet with potting mix and sow a few parsley seeds, then transplant when the seedlings are large enough to handle.

Parsley shoots in three to four weeks, so you won't need to wait long to see results. Hand-weed and watch out for hungry slugs or snails. Also, keep the soil moist by watering gently with a watering can with a large rose, or use a gentle setting on the hose nozzle so as not to disturb the new seedlings.

Although parsley is a herb, it can also be used decoratively in the garden. It makes an attractive border plant, perfect for edging a sunny part of the ornamental garden or even the vegie patch.

When well-grown, parsley lasts for many months.

Growing basil
This herb is easy to grow from seed — sow basil in spring and summer, then collect the seeds in autumn, as the plant will die off in winter. Key in Mediterranean cooking, basil is also used for medicinal purposes — it is said to relieve headaches, anxiety and mild depression, as well as aid digestion and stomach upsets.

Basil is tasty on these Courgette / Zucchini Pizza Boats
see recipe details here

Growing mint
Spearmint, Vietnamese mint, apple mint and pineapple mint are just some of the many varieties available. Mint is easy to grow in shady, moist areas, and in pots. You can harvest the leaves as needed and use them in drinks, Asian salads and sweets. Mint-infused tea is said to relieve anxiety and tension.

Parsley and basil eventually flower, seed and die down, but mint is there for the long haul. Common mint spreads through the garden via underground stems, and for this reason it is usually recommended to grow it in a pot.

Mint prefers a moist patch of soil, so its spread is usually curtailed when the plant runs out of moisture. Mint also does quite well in light shade and tends to shrivel in full sun. Once you've conquered ordinary mint, branch out into some of the more interesting scented mints such as lemon, ginger and applemint.

Mint is fairly fool-proof, but it does attract tiny caterpillars that chew the leaves, often leaving nothing more than bare stalks. Check mint regularly for these pests, particularly when you see chewed leaves and droppings. You can try to control them by squashing them, or could also apply a biological control such as Dipel. Pinch off any damaged growth and give chewed plants a good drink of water. A dose of liquid plant food encourages new growth.

Growing thyme
A groundcover that likes to creep over the earth or spill out of a pot, thyme needs a sunny, sheltered position. Available in many varieties, including lemon, woolly, caraway and common, this herb is great to walk on. A delicious flavouring for chicken, thyme also has antiseptic and antifungal properties, and is said to counter the effects of ageing.

Rustic Roast Chicken Soup uses thyme leaves for added flavour
see recipe details here
Growing borage
One of the prettiest herbs, borage leaves taste like fresh cucumber. It will grow from seed and, as its blue flowers attract bees to aid pollination, plant it near citrus trees and passionfruit vines to increase their harvest.

In the kitchen
Use your mortar and pestle to pound fresh herbs to make dressings, marinades and rubs. What a lot of people don't realise, is that not only a herb's leaves can be eaten — the flowers, too, are delicious in salads. Use the blooms from chives, nasturtiums, borage, lavender, fennel and marigolds to brighten up a leafy green salad.

Garden care
Herbs need sunlight, good drainage and regular water during dry weather. Most prefer good soil, but don't be tempted to add too much compost or manure, as you'll get rapid growth at the expense of flavour. (A good rule of thumb is to add one bag of compost or manure for every square metre.) Some Mediterranean herbs, such as rosemary and sage, prefer poorer, lime-rich soils. Mulch the soil around the herbs, taking care not to build the mulch up against their stems — about 5cm of sugarcane mulch is adequate.

When planting herbs in containers, use a good-quality potting mix and add water crystals to help the plants survive the summer heat. Instead of feeding herbs with chemical fertilisers, use a light mulch of cow manure and a weak watering of seaweed solution. That way, you can enjoy the leaves and flowers you're eating, knowing they're free of nasty residues.

Summer jobs
Continually harvest herbs to keep them trim and shapely. When it comes to thyme, mint, sage and lemon balm, regular pruning — by shortening the stems by more than half — will rejuvenate your herbs when they're looking tired. Most herbs planted in the garden will last the summer well, but potted herbs will need watering every day, and sometimes twice a day, when the weather is really hot. Take cuttings of herbs such as rosemary, thyme and lavender throughout the summer.

Autumn jobs
When the weather becomes cooler, annual herbs, such as basil, coriander and dill, will begin to flower and set seed. Never fear, once mature, these seeds can be collected by hand, then stored in paper bags in a cool, dry spot until next spring, when you can sow them and start the cycle all over again.

Frost-sensitive herbs like rosemary should be brought into warm spots, while herbs such as parsley, sage and thyme will carry on through the winter cold.

The above taken from article here

Do you grow your own herbs? 
Do you have any favourite herbs that you like to use?

As regular readers know, 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.

As always thanks for reading, and if you have left a comment, thank-you. We hope you come back and visit again soon.

All the best Jan

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Root Vegetable Chips : Lower Carb Eating

You may already have seen the news about, 'The Diabetes Weight-Loss Cookbook.' it's been featured in the UK's Daily Mail and also on Diet Doctor site … plus I suspect many others. It contains some great lower carb recipe ideas and the one below recently featured in the Daily Mail.

But did you know that "Our bodies respond to a sugary meal by producing the hormone insulin, which pushes sugar into muscle cells for energy. Insulin also pushes any excess sugar into belly fat and the liver, where it builds up over time, causing obesity and fatty liver disease.

Essentially, people with type 2 diabetes have a problem dealing with sugar, or glucose.

So it builds up in the bloodstream, resulting in higher than normal blood sugars that can, over time, damage small blood vessels in vital organs.

Complications such as blindness, nerve damage and even amputations can eventually follow.

While it’s generally accepted that foods high in sugar can contribute to type 2 diabetes, the role played by starchy carbohydrates – which also contain sugar – is sometimes overlooked.

Following a low-carb diet can, however, help put an end to this destructive sugar cycle." 

Now onto the recipe ... 
"These glorious root vegetable chips are the ultimate alternative to deep fried potato chips. We have used roots but even the stems of cauliflower leaves make excellent chips. To give you some carb comparisons per 100g (3½oz) fried chips: sweet potatoes contain 20g carbs, white potatoes 18g, parsnips 12g, carrots 7g, swede 5g and the lowest of all, celeriac, has just 2.3g. 

Serves 4 l Per serving 7.8g carbs, 1.3g protein, 1.9g fat, 4.3g fibre, 62kcal

  • 500g (1lb 2oz) root vegetables, such as swede, celeriac, parsnips, carrots and turnips, cut into chips (100g of each)
  • Lard, beef dripping, duck fat, goose fat or coconut oil, for shallow or deep-frying
  • Salt

Heat the fat to 180°C (350°F) in either a deep-fat fryer or a high-sided saucepan and fry the chips for 2 minutes or until very lightly browned. 

Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper until cool to the touch. Fry as above for a further 1-2 minutes until slightly darker and set aside as before. 

Just before you are ready to serve, fry for the last time for a further 1-2 minutes or until golden brown all over and cooked through. Serve straight away, scattered with salt to taste."
The above picture and words from article here

Related articles:
'Root Vegetables : So Healthy' here
'Introduction to low-carb for beginners' - find it here

Please note we have no commercial interest in promoting 'The Diabetes Weight-Loss Cookbook.' We share this article because we like the recipes, and find that they fit well with our Low Carb Higher (Healthy) Fat Lifestyle.

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.

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

California Walnut Cake : Lower In Carbs and perfect with a cuppa

When living a LCHF lifestyle, you do get used to using alternative flours or nuts and oats, to make low-carb cakes. Take this recipe for example  … a pile of whipped orange-scented cream cheese frosting is the perfect accompaniment to the nutty cake underneath. 

12 servings
265g walnut pieces (about 2 ¼ cups)
140g Swerve (¾ cup) or other cup for cup sugar replacement
¼ teaspoon (kosher) salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
7 (free-range) eggs, room temperature, separated
1 tablespoon orange extract (or orange juice)
Cooking spray

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces whipped cream cheese (½ a tub)
90g Swerve confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest (about 1 medium orange)
¼ cup whipping cream, plus 2-3 tablespoons more, if needed (can substitute regular milk)
peeled orange segments for garnish (optional) 

Instructions with step-by-step guide
can be found here
Need help with weight/measurement conversion
see here

don't forget your cup and plate ...

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

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

Monday, 5 August 2019

Delicious Blue Fruits with Powerful Health Benefits

Makayla Meixner writes:
"Blue fruits get their vibrant colour from beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols. In particular, they’re high in anthocyanins, which is a group of polyphenols that give off blue hues. However, these compounds provide more than just colour. Research suggests that diets high in anthocyanins may promote heart health and reduce your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and other diseases.

Here are 7 delicious blue fruits with powerful health benefits.

Blueberries are tasty and packed with nutrients. They’re low in calories, high in fibre, and loaded with essential micronutrients, such as manganese and vitamins C and K. These delicious berries are also high in anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants that help defend your cells against harm from unstable molecules called free radicals. Additionally, research indicates that diets high in anthocyanins from blueberries and other fruits and vegetables may help prevent chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and brain conditions like Alzheimer’s.
Summary Blueberries are rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants, which play a role in preventing cell damage and may reduce chronic disease risk.

Blackberries are sweet and nutritious dark-blue berries that offer several health benefits. 

Summary Blackberries are loaded with fibre, manganese, and vitamin C. They’re also one of the few fruits that are high in vitamin K, which plays an essential role in blood clotting and bone health.

Elderberry is one of the most popular plant remedies worldwide. This blue-purple fruit may help defend against the cold and flu by boosting your immune system. It’s also been shown to help people recover from these illnesses faster. Research suggests that the beneficial plant compounds in elderberries may activate healthy immune cells that help fight off cold and flu viruses. Do keep in mind that it may be best to eat these berries cooked. Raw elderberries may cause an upset stomach, particularly if eaten unripe.
Summary Elderberries are a nutritious purple-blue berry popularly used as a natural remedy for cold and flu symptoms. 

Concord grapes 
Concord grapes are a grape variety developed in the Eastern United States during the 19th century. They are a healthy, purple-blue fruit that can be eaten fresh or used to make wine, juices, and jams. They’re packed with beneficial plant compounds that function as antioxidants. In fact, Concord grapes are higher in these compounds than purple, green, or red grapes. Several smaller studies suggest that drinking Concord grape juice daily may boost memory, mood, and brain health.
Summary Purple-blue Concord grapes may boost immunity, mood, and brain health, though more studies are needed to confirm this.

Black currants 
Black currants are very tart berries with a deep, bluish-purple hue. They can be eaten fresh, dried, or in jams and juices.
Summary Blackcurrants are packed with vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that plays a vital role in your immune system and helps maintain healthy skin, bones, and teeth.

Damson plums 
Damsons are blue plums that are often processed into jams and jellies. They can also be dried to make prunes. Prunes are a popular choice for digestive problems, including constipation, which is an ailment that affects an estimated 14% of the global population.
Summary Prunes made from damson plums supply fibre, beneficial plant compounds, and the sugar sorbitol — all of which may help relieve constipation.

Blue tomatoes 
Blue tomatoes, also known as purple or Indigo Rose tomatoes, are grown to be high in anthocyanins. Their high anthocyanin content gives off a purple-blue tint. Several studies suggest that diets high in anthocyanin-rich foods may reduce inflammation, protect against heart disease, and promote eye and brain health. 
Summary Blue tomatoes are grown to be rich in anthocyanins while retaining high amounts of other beneficial plant compounds that have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and prostate cancer.

The bottom line 
Aside from their delicious taste, blue fruits offer a wide array of health benefits. They’re nutrient-dense sources of powerful antioxidants, including vitamin C and beneficial plant compounds called anthocyanins. Due to their high antioxidant content, these fruits may reduce inflammation and stave off chronic conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. To boost your health, eating a variety of blue fruits regularly may be worthwhile."
Makayla's full article with all information / research links is here

Blueberries and blackberries are two of my favourite blue fruits, I wonder what your favourites are?

Readers, 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

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Fennel it's fabulous ... have you tried it !

It's quite possible that not everybody will agree with me that 'Fennel is Fabulous'... because not everyone enjoys its strong aniseed flavour which leaves no room for the middle ground. From the same family as the herb and seed of the same name, it's also known as Florence fennel, finocchio, or sweet fennel, is very popular in Italian cookery, and has a bulb-like shape that looks a little like a heavy-bottomed celery. 

When eaten raw, the texture is crisp and the flavour is quite assertive and aniseedy. Cooked, it's softer and more mellow.

All year round, but it's best from the start of June to the end of September.

Choose the best:
If possible, go for the smaller, young bulbs, as they're more tender. They should look white, with no blemishes, and feel heavy for their size. The feathery green tops should be fresh and bright, with no yellowing.

Prepare it:
Wash, then trim off the green tops (they can be used as a garnish). Slice off the shoots and root and peel off the tougher outer layer (if the bulb is particularly young and tender you can leave this layer on). To cook it whole, cut out the tough central core from the bottom, leaving a cone-shaped cavity, or slice if you prefer. Alternatively, chop into quarters and remove the core from each one (but not too much, or the quarters will fall apart).

Store it:
Fresh cut fennel should be wrapped in damp kitchen paper, placed in a perforated bag and stored in the fridge. It will last for up to three days.

Cook it:
Cut into very thin slices for salads (a mandolin is good for this). Boil or steam (up to 20 minutes for a whole head, or up to 12 minutes for wedges). Roast (40-50 minutes).

Try dill or fennel herb.

From an original article here

Searching for Fennel Recipes

Fennel Gratin
Serves Four
4 large fennel bulbs
pinch grated nutmeg
1 garlic clove, crushed
200ml double cream
50g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative)

find recipe details here
French-Style Chicken and Fennel Braise
Serves Two
tsp olive oil
4 shallots, halved
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, cut into 8 wedges
4 pancetta rashers, cut into strips
2 small chicken breast fillets
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
200g salad potatoes, halved
100g spring greens or shredded savoy cabbage

find recipe details here

Cod Parcels Steamed - With Fennel and Herbs
Serves Four
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 echalion shallots, finely sliced
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
125ml (4fl oz.) white wine
4 x 125g (4oz) pieces cod loin
1 lemon, half cut into 4 slices (keep the other half for squeezing over the peas)
4 stalks lemon thyme
350g (12oz) frozen peas
large handful fresh mint leaves, chopped

find recipe details here

Fennel Soup
Serves Four
1/4 cup (60g/2oz.) butter
5 fennel bulbs, trimmed and quartered
1 (32 fluid ounce) container vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste

find recipe details here

I wonder do you like fennel?

Dear reader, 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.

All the best Jan