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Sunday, 16 January 2022

Interesting potential : Dementia-preventing nasal spray moves to human trials.


Above image, and words below, from an article dated January 3rd 2022

"Dementia-preventing nasal spray moves to human trials.

Scientists from Osaka City University are reporting successful preclinical tests of a novel nasal spray designed to prevent the neurodegeneration associated with dementia. The spray combines two cheap, pre-existing drugs and was found to improve cognitive function in several different mouse models of dementia.

The new study, published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, follows on from foundational research in 2016 that discovered a common antibiotic called rifampicin can reduce the accumulation of toxic proteins known to be associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Across several mouse experiments the research indicated the antibiotic could prevent neurodegeneration if administered in the very earliest stages of disease. However, long-term treatment with rifampicin in humans was not particularly feasible due to the drug’s occasional adverse effects on the liver.

So in 2018 the researchers investigated whether intranasal administration of rifampicin helped deliver the drug more directly to the brain, avoiding its damaging side effects on the liver. Those findings promisingly suggested intranasal rifampicin led to higher levels in the brain, improved cognitive outcomes and reductions in liver toxicity.

“To further secure the safety of nasal rifampicin, we hypothesized that rifampicin’s undesired actions could be antagonized by other compounds,” the researchers write in their latest study. “Thus, we explored the literature for a compound that possesses hepatoprotective actions opposite to rifampicin and, if possible, additional clinical effects that rifampicin does not show.”

The new study homed in on a natural antioxidant called resveratrol, found in foods such as dark chocolate and red wine, that has recently been studied for its unique anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. The researchers hypothesized a combination of rifampicin and resveratrol, delivered intranasally, may be the key to a safe long-term treatment that can prevent, or at least slow, the progression of dementia.

A fixed-dose rifampicin and resveratrol combination was intranasally administered five times a week for a month to several different mouse models of neurodegeneration, including Alzheimer's disease and Lewy body dementia. The results showed the novel combination therapy improved mouse cognition and blocked the accumulation of toxic proteins in the brain.

The combination treatment also showed no signs of liver damage and was more effective at preventing neurodegeneration than delivering each drug by itself. Takami Tomiyama, lead investigator on the new study, says the dose of rifampicin used in the research is tiny compared to what is usually given as an antibiotic. And, when combined with resveratrol, it could plausibly be given to humans safely as a long-term preventative therapy.

“Converted to a human dosage based on body surface area, it becomes 0.081 mg/kg/day,” explains Tomiyama. “Currently, rifampicin is prescribed at 10 mg/kg/day as an antibiotic, and compared to this, we confirmed an effect at a much lower dosage.”

Tomiyama and colleagues have founded a company called Medilabo RFP to begin human clinical trials testing the intranasal spray. These human trials should commence very soon spanning a number of global sites including Japan and the United States.

The new study was published in the journal frontiers in Neuroscience.
Source: Osaka Metropolitan University

The above taken from here
h/t to Marks Daily Apple here

xx ~~ xx


We bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy.

Please note, not all may be suitable for you.

If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Pork Chops (or Chicken Breast) with Asparagus and Herbed Butter : Low Carb / Keto

This is a delicious and easy one-pan meal by Libby Jenkinson that you and your family will love. The bonus is minimal clean-up, as you cook your main dish, side dish, and sauce all in one pan!


Ingredients
Serves Four
4g net carbs per serving
2 lbs (900g) pork chops or chicken breasts
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp onion powder
3 tbsp butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup (120ml) chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
½ cup (120ml) heavy (double) whipping cream
1 lb (450g) green asparagus, chopped
Instructions
can be seen here


Asparagus is a nutritious and tasty addition to any diet. It’s low in calories and a great source of nutrients, including fibre, folate and vitamins A, C and K. Additionally, eating asparagus has a number of potential health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, healthy pregnancy outcomes and lower blood pressure. Plus, it’s easy to prepare and makes a delicious addition to a number of 
recipes.
Read more here

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

Many thanks for reading, wishing you a happy weekend.

All the best Jan

Friday, 14 January 2022

Green Tea, is it good for you?


Is green better for you than black? Does it contain caffeine? Can it help ward off disease?
Nutritionist Jo Lewin examines the dietary benefits of green tea.

All types of tea, even your regular cup of builder's, come from the Camellia sinensis plant. Green tea gets its name from the emerald green colour created when brewing unprocessed, unfermented tea leaves. With origins going back as far as 5,000 years, green tea is commonly drunk and widely grown in the Far East where the health properties are well regarded.

Three health benefits of green tea
1. It is high in antioxidant polyphenols.
Green tea has more health benefits than black tea, which can be attributed to its lack of processing. Green tea is higher in protective polyphenols. The major polyphenols in green tea are flavonoids, the most active of which are catechins and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which function as powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to protect the body against disease and are an important part of a healthy diet. Antioxidants can be found in a range of fruits, vegetables and other unprocessed foods. As part of a balanced diet, green tea can be a good source of antioxidants.
2. It may boost brain function
Green tea contains a key active ingredient, caffeine, which is a known mental stimulant. Green tea also includes the amino acid L-theanine, which creates a relaxing effect by increasing the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. It also increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain which regulate mental alertness.
3. It may boost fat burning
According to some research, green tea can boost metabolic rate and increase fat burning due to its thermogenic properties (which extend beyond the effect of caffeine). However, not all studies have found an increase in metabolism and so the effect may vary with individuals and test conditions.

Other potential health benefits
There are many more health claims surrounding green tea from a reduced risk of cancer to weight loss. The evidence to support these claims is largely inconclusive. Some of the health claims are based on ancient Eastern traditions, where green tea has been used to treat symptoms of disease for years. Because of the proposed benefits, many ‘health’ products now include traces of green tea. However, there is limited evidence to suggest these products are effective. If you are hoping to use green tea for medicinal purposes, make sure to consult your doctor first.

How much caffeine does green tea contain?
Green tea does contain caffeine, although varieties and brands may differ. An equal quantity of green tea contains less caffeine than coffee (one cup of green tea contains approximately 35-80 mg compared to approximately 100-400 mg in the same size cup of coffee), but it can still act as a stimulant. As a result, some people find that drinking green tea increases energy levels, concentration and mood, but this effect may vary between individuals. If you are sensitive to caffeine, it is advisable to limit the total number of cups of green tea you drink in a day. Too much caffeine can disrupt sleep patterns. If this affects you, try cutting back on caffeinated drinks after lunchtime.

Looking for more information on how much caffeine is in tea?
This guide compares different types of tea and discusses which factors affect the caffeine content.

What are the different varieties of green tea?
  • The difference between green and black tea results from the manufacturing process.
  • Black tea undergoes fermentation which transforms its colour and flavour, whereas green tea remains unprocessed and retains its colour.
  • Green tea is grown in higher altitudes, more specifically the mountainous regions of East Asia.
  • Some green tea is still picked by hand, and it is thought that handpicked teas are less bitter and yield a sweeter, more robust taste. Other factors such as the climate and soil can also affect the flavour.
  • Sencha is the most popular of Japan’s green teas. There are numerous grades which can affect the price and quality. Sencha leaves are first steamed and then shaped. Sencha tea produces a clear yellow/green tea with a sweet, grassy but slightly astringent flavour.
  • Matcha is made from green tea leaves grown in the shade. The leaves have a higher chlorophyll content which makes them a vibrant green colour. To make Matcha, the entire leaf is ground down into a powder. The powder is mixed with boiling water and gently whisked before being served. The flavour is light and sweet and so is now added to desserts and sweet drinks.
What to look for when buying green tea
Green tea can be found as fresh leaves or in tea bags, frequently blended with other flavours such as lemon, lime or ginger. When buying tea leaves, avoid older leaves. This is the same principle as with coffee beans. Allegedly, whole leaves are the highest grade and leaves that are older than four months are past their level of peak freshness. Once purchased and opened, keep leaves in an airtight container that can be resealed and store in a cool place to help slow down the reactions that can reduce the tea's phytonutrient content and impact on flavour.

How to prepare green tea
The tea you use, temperature and steeping time all have a significant effect on the antioxidant levels of brewed green tea. Warm and ambient temperatures are the best to retain antioxidants. Let the boiling water cool slightly before pouring onto the tea leaves, and allow to steep for between 2 and 3 minutes.

Can green tea affect iron levels?
Like all types of tea, green tea contains tannins. Tannins can interfere with the absorption of iron so try not to drink tea with an iron-rich meal and leave at least one hour before drinking tea after an iron-rich meal.
You can see Jo Lewins original article with all relevant research links here


~ from green tea to a green flower arrangement ~

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

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Thursday Three : Low Carb Recipe Suggestions (6)

Here we are with another 'Thursday Three' of lower carb recipe suggestions.
I hope you enjoy these suggestions 😊

Cappuccino Cake
Sometimes it is nice to sit and enjoy a low carb treat.
If you like coffee and chocolate you will love this beautiful, layered cake that imitates cappuccino


Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
90g ground almond
30g soya flour
5 large eggs
125g unsalted butter (softened)
150g xylitol (powdered)
100g dark chocolate
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. bicarbonate soda
Coffee cream
250g mascarpone cheese
200g whipping cream
4 tsp. instant coffee
3 tsp. powdered gelatine
4 tbsp. xylitol
Top layer
250g whipping cream
1 tbsp. xylitol (or more if you wish)
Instructions more details here

Courgette/Zucchini, Tomato and Cheese Carpaccio
This courgette/zucchini, tomato and cheese carpaccio, makes a very good vegetarian type twist on the Italian classic. It may be served either as a main course or appetizer, and is quite delicious when the cheese slowly melts over the warm vegetables.


Ingredients
Serves Two
2 tomatoes
1 courgette/zucchini
2 tbsp. capers, drained
3½ oz. (100g) gouda cheese, in slices
2 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
2 tsp balsamic vinegar, syrup
1 tbsp. olive oil
Instructions more details here

Cucumber and Halloumi Bites
This recipe takes about five minutes to put together and is SO delicious and easy.
It can make a super quick lunch or tea time snack.


Ingredients
For one serving (adjust as necessary)
Half a cucumber
1/4 block of Halloumi cheese
Full fat plain yoghurt
a little lemon juice
salt and pepper
Instructions more details here

I hope you've enjoyed this 'Thursday Three'.
I wonder have you a favourite looking recipe out of these three?
They all look good, but I think I will be putting Halloumi on my shopping list 😀

You can also have a look at previous 'Thursday Three' lower carb recipe suggestions using this link here


Dear reader, you will find a variety of recipe ideas within this blog. 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

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Can a ban on junk food advertising reverse our childrens’ unhealthy food intake?

Sharing a post I read on The Diabetes Diet Blog

From the BMJ 3 July and 21 August 21

Advertisements for unhealthy food and drink will be banned before the 9pm watershed by the end of 2023 in television and on demand programmes in the UK.

Chris Thomas, a research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy would have liked to have seen measures going further, by taxation of these foods. He says that money raised could be used to fund free nutritious food for those who need it. This improves both health and the economy.

In the USA, children get two thirds of their energy intake from ultra processed foods. The proportion of calories from such food is rising steadily. In 1999 it was 61.4% and in 2018 it was 67%. As the amount of wholesome, home cooked food reduces, the levels of childhood obesity increase. Ready meals are responsible for 11.2%, and sweet snacks 12.9%. The trend is now reducing for sugary drinks, sauces and oils.

~ xx ~ xx ~


My thoughts (and Eddie's too) are, surely it is best to eat whole fresh food from the farm or the sea. It seems the junk masquerading as food, coming out of factories has played a huge role in the epidemics of obesity and the often linked type two diabetes.
But what are your thoughts/views, please share them in the comments.

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Vegetable and Salmon Frittata


Our local supermarket provides a good variety of both fresh and frozen vegetables, and for ease of speed I always keep some frozen vegetables in the freezer - so handy for this lovely frittata recipe which is packed full of vegetables. A vibrant and healthy frittata which makes a good meal or light lunch. The addition of salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids, while eggs are rich in B vitamins.

Ingredients
Serves Six
350g frozen Mediterranean chargrilled vegetables 
260g boneless salmon fillets
8 medium eggs
100ml milk 
1 tbsp olive oil
Method
1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer in a roasting tin and roast for 15 mins. Place the salmon on top of the veg, skin side up, and roast for another 10 mins. Set aside for 5-10 mins or until cool enough to handle.
2. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Whisk the eggs and milk in a large jug; season. Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan over a low heat, then add the egg mixture. Flake the salmon into bite-sized pieces and scatter evenly into the pan, along with the roasted veg. Cook, without stirring, for 8 mins.
3. Put the pan under the grill for 6-8 mins until cooked through and the centre is firm. Use a knife to pierce the centre: if it is still liquid, grill for another 2-3 mins, then check again. Leave to cool for 5 mins before serving.
Why not serve with some lovely green salad leaves!
Nutrition Per Serving
Carbohydrate 6.2g Protein 21.3g Fibre 1.2g Fat 16g
From original idea here


~ a few white winter roses ~

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

All the best Jan

Monday, 10 January 2022

Bizarre Diets


I know many people at this time of year start diets, resolve to change their lifestyle because they want to lose weight, feel healthier etc. Some readers may choose to eat vegetarian, or vegan, some choose a Mediterranean style diet, while others talk low carb or keto. What we eat is of course a personal choice, for Eddie and I it is LCHF, but one thing we must all take into account is the nutrients we get from the foods we eat.

Today, I am sharing an article by Lizzie Robinson "Bizarre Diets You Won’t Believe Exist" Once you've read it do please share your thoughts in the comments section ...

"Over the years, people have tried various methods to achieve their weight and fitness goals. Some of these diets are healthy and sensible, while others are harmful and outlandish. Let’s look at some of the most bizarre diets that you won’t believe even exist.

The Ice Diet
This diet advises people to consume four cups (one litre) of ice per day. There are no other diet or lifestyle changes required. Some dieticians think that people can sometimes lose weight following this diet since they are consuming more water.
The body’s efforts to bring everything from ice cold to body temperature can also contribute to calorie burning. However, chewing ice can be harmful to your teeth, and this diet is unlikely to help with sustainable fat loss.

The Cotton Ball Diet
An extreme diet that has been slammed as dangerous and harmful by many doctors, the cotton ball diet reportedly started in the modelling industry. People following this diet will dip cotton balls in juice, soup, and other liquids before eating them. It is thought to help them eat less food, thereby consuming fewer calories and staying slimmer. Doctors have repeatedly said that ingesting non-edible items such as cotton balls and paper tissues can cause severe and permanent intestinal issues.

The Air Diet
The Air Diet involves making food, imagining food, drawing food, painting food, or talking about food. But whatever you do, you’re not going to eat the food. The name of this diet is self-explanatory – you consume nothing except air. People trying this out are almost certain to see the number on the scale drop. But they are also likely to lose muscle rather than fat, damage their metabolism, and gain weight quickly when they resume regular eating habits.

The Baby Food Diet
Baby food is made for babies, but some people believe it has benefits for adults too. The most extreme versions of the Baby Food Diet call for people to eat one jar of baby food instead of each full meal. Other versions of this diet recommend fourteen jars of baby food per day, or ten jars of baby food alongside one full adult meal.

The Prayer Diet
The Prayer Diet is popular with those who follow a religion. Praying consistently every morning is the core part of this diet. People following this diet pray to their god for help with eating less food, losing fat, or building muscle. Results are normally only seen when prayers are included alongside healthy eating and lifestyle habits.

Ear Stapling
Some studies have suggested that stapling certain areas of the ear can help to promote weight loss. However, many medical professionals have questioned the difference between this and traditional acupuncture. Traditional acupuncture by a trained professional can help the body relax and direct positive energy to certain areas of the body. As part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle, it can promote sustainable fat loss and muscle building.

The Sleep Diet
Some people who advocate for extreme versions of this diet would suggest the most effective diet is to sleep almost 24 hours a day. The rationale for this is to prevent you from eating. Many medical professionals have denounced such extreme diets. But getting some extra sleep can go a long way in promoting good health. In fact, good sleep quality is associated with longer life, a healthier brain and heart, and better overall wellbeing.

The Dessert with Breakfast Diet
In a society where we’re often being told desserts are bad for us, this diet just sounds downright bizarre. As part of this diet, people are encouraged to eat a type of dessert with their breakfast. This is supposed to help curb sugar cravings for the day. It could be a cake, a cookie, or a tub of ice cream. However, eating high sugar foods in your first meal of the day can cause your blood sugar levels to rise. It can also exacerbate anxiety or low mood throughout the day and impact your energy levels.

The Vision Diet
The Vision Diet came about at the turn of the 21st Century. It’s based on the idea that foods seen through a blue lens are less appealing to the human eye. Wearing glasses with blue lenses is thought to help prevent food cravings and see food in a less attractive way. Several years later, another version of the Vision Diet was created. Virtual reality glasses caused the user to see food items as larger than they really were. This made them believe they had eaten more food.

The Cigarette Diet
In the 1920s, a cigarette company began promoting the potential weight loss effects of smoking. Nicotine in a cigarette can suppress the appetite, causing a person to eat fewer calories. It was suggested that people smoke a cigarette instead of eating a meal. But it’s difficult to imagine how this was ever promoted as an effective diet. Regularly smoking cigarettes brings a higher risk of lung cancer and other types of cancer and illness. Despite these risks, the Cigarette Diet is still a form of appetite suppression used by people in the modelling industry.

The extremes that some people will go to in achieving their body goals can be unbelievable. Over the decades, bizarre diets have been promoted by companies and individuals. Many doctors have strongly advised against following these diets, which have the potential to cause a significant amount of harm."
Words above from an article here


Dear reader, this blog brings a variety of articles and recipe ideas, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Sunday, 9 January 2022

Smoked Pancetta and Lentil Soup


This recipe by Tom Kerridge is a hearty and filling soup, full of vegetables and topped with pancetta. The carbohydrate count may be too high for some readers, so please be sure the recipe fits well with your menu/lifestyle plans. (see a lower carb recipe suggestion, link below)
Each serving provides 428 kcal, 29g protein, 45g carbohydrate, 12g fat, 10g fibre

Ingredients
Serves Six
1 tsp vegetable oil
80g/2¾oz pancetta, finely diced into 5mm/¼in pieces
(Pancetta is an Italian type of bacon produced from pork belly which is seasoned and dry cured.)
1 large onion (about 100g/3½oz), finely chopped
2 carrots (about 200g/7oz), peeled and finely chopped
4 celery sticks (about 150g/5½oz), trimmed and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1.5 litres/2¾ pints chicken stock
400g tin chopped tomatoes
250g/9oz red lentils
250g/9oz (about ½ head) Chinese leaf cabbage or savoy cabbage, shredded
large handful fresh flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method
1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, for about 2–3 minutes, or until the fat has rendered and the bacon is golden and crisp. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
2. Add the onion and carrots to the pancetta pan and cook for 5 minutes until the onion is softened. Add the celery and garlic and cook for a further 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the thyme, bay leaf, stock and tomatoes, stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the lentils and cook for 20–25 minutes, or until they are softened. Remove the bay leaf and use a stick blender or food processor to partially blend the soup, keeping a fairly chunky texture.
4. Bring the soup back to a simmer, add the cabbage and cook for 3–4 minutes until wilted. Reheat the pancetta in a small frying pan at the same time.
5. Stir half of the parsley into the soup and ladle into warmed bowls. Serve immediately topped with the pancetta and remaining parsley.
The above from original idea here

Parsley, a herb with health benefits - see here

For those readers who may prefer a lower carb soup, how about a bowl of Cauliflower Soup with Crumbled Pancetta, just 6g net carbs per serving, more details here

Dear reader, this blog brings a variety of articles and recipe ideas, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Saturday Smiles ... and low carb Pizza Frittata

From time to time we post something completely different …
Like these photographs from the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

~ I hope they start your Saturday off with a smile ~


Raccoons - Chinese Whispers - Jan Piecha


Brown Bear - Peek-a-boo - Paul Marchhart


Gentoo Penguins - We're Too Sexy For This Beach - Joshua Galicki

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards was co-founded in 2015 by professional photographers Paul Joynson-Hicks MBE and Tom Sullam who wanted to create a competition that focused on the lighter side of wildlife photography and help promote wildlife conservation through humour.

This year, the competition is supporting Save Wild Orangutans by donating 10% of its total net revenue to the charity. The initiative safeguards wild orangutans in and around Gunung Palung National Park, Borneo.

“We were overwhelmed with the number and quality of entries we received this year, with well over 7,000 photos submitted from every corner of the globe,” says Paul Joynson-Hicks. “It was an amazing turnout, especially given the impact of the pandemic. The huge number of images we receive every year illustrates the appetite there is to engage with conservation and reminds us that wildlife truly is incredible and hilarious and, we must do all we can to protect it.”

Read more, and see other, amazing photographs here

If you stopped by for a recipe suggestion, may I suggest low carb Pizza Frittata, see more details here

Enjoy your weekend 😊

All the best Jan

Friday, 7 January 2022

Chicken Tikka Masala Curry : Quick and Easy

Packed with big flavours, this curry marries succulent chicken breast and fresh herbs with a fragrant tikka masala sauce. This classic takeaway dish can be rustled up in thirty minutes and makes a nice any day of the week meal.


Ingredients
Serves Four
2 tbsp tikka masala powder
1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
1 tbsp ghee or butter
1 onion, cut into 8 lengthwise
625g chicken breast, cut into 2.5cm pieces
400g tin chopped tomatoes
100ml (3 1/2fl oz) double cream or coconut cream
100g baby spinach leaves
cauliflower rice, a low carb choice, and plain yoghurt, to serve
(although some readers may use steamed rice)
For the garnish
3 tbsp fresh coriander, to serve
Method
1. In a bowl, mix the tikka masala powder with the ginger and garlic paste and set aside. Heat the ghee or butter in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until softened.
2. Add the chicken pieces. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until browned, then add the tikka paste. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute more or until fragrant.
3. Add the tomatoes and the cream and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through with no pink showing. Add the spinach.
4. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. Serve with cauliflower rice, which is the lower carb choice, and yoghurt.
5. Garnish with the coriander.
From original idea here


Did you know that baby spinach is a nutrient-dense vegetable that provides some serious health benefits. Baby spinach is just young spinach (Spinacia oleracea) that farmers harvest during the early stages of plant growth, generally between 15 and 35 days after planting. The smaller leaves are more tender and have a sweeter flavour than mature spinach. Spinach has been around for quite some time. It appears to have been cultivated in the Middle East for over 1,000 years. Today, you can find it growing in countries all across the world.
Read more about baby spinach and its health benefits here

Looking for a vegetable curry - try this one!
Cauliflower, Swede & Turnip Curry - see here

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

All the best Jan

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Thursday Three : Low Carb Recipe Suggestions (5)

Here we are with another 'Thursday Three' of lower carb recipe suggestions.
I hope you enjoy these suggestions 😊

Mini Spinach and Cottage Cheese Frittatas
A low carb, vegetarian recipe.
Dill, nutmeg and spring onion keep them flavour-packed!


Ingredients
Makes Six
butter, for greasing
85g baby spinach
3 large eggs
6 tbsp. low-fat cottage cheese
3 spring onions (scallions), sliced
few sprigs of dill, roughly chopped
fresh nutmeg, for grating
More details here

Chocolate Heaven Cake
a low carb, gluten free and wheat free recipe


This lovely suggestion is from Libby at 'Ditch the Carbs' site.
It can be made as a cake then sliced, served with berries and whipped cream.
Or bake in a square dish then cut into tasting squares and top each piece off with a fresh berry.
This is an easy idea to take as finger food to share with friends.

Ingredients
Serves 15
300g dark 75% chocolate
175g butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 eggs
6 tbsp. double (heavy) cream
4 tsp granulated stevia (optional)
More details here

Parmesan Cheese Crisps/Chips
A low carb snack.
These Parmesan Cheese Chips/Crisps are easy to prepare …
All you need is Parmesan cheese and your favourite seeds and you're good to go


Ingredients
(Two Servings, about 15 Crisps)
2⁄3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2⁄3 oz. (20g) chia seeds
2⁄3 oz. (20g) flaxseed
2⁄3 oz. (20g) pumpkin seeds
Feel free to use any seed you like - try sesame, hemp and others
More details here

I hope you've enjoyed this 'Thursday Three'.
I wonder have you a favourite looking recipe out of these three?
They all look good, but who can resist a chocolate treat 😀

You can also have a look at previous 'Thursday Three' lower carb recipe suggestions using this link here


Dear reader, you will find a variety of recipe ideas within this blog. 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


Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Snowflakes, no two are ever the same !


Here in the UK the New Year was the warmest on record, definitely no snow in sight! Now as a few January days have passed it is likely temperatures will drop and perhaps for some areas snow will be on the way. I know the grandchildren love it when it snows, but I appreciate many reading this post may not.

But have you ever thought what are snowflakes and snow crystals?

Well, they are basically the same, a crystal is one tiny bit of ice, snowflakes are many snow crystals stuck together. Many of us love to see the first piece of snow in the winter, although we wish it would only stop at the one snowflake.

What exactly are snowflakes?
Snowflakes are not frozen raindrops. Frozen raindrops are known as sleet. Snow crystals are formed when water vapor freezes, which all happens up in the clouds.

Snowflakes are also formed in the clouds, this happens when water droplets freeze and become ice particles. Water vapor in the cloud assembles on the ice particle, causes it to stretch into a basic hexagonal prism and then to shoot branches to create a more difficult and complex shape, once this has happened snowflakes then change even more to make them unique.

Snowflakes shape and symmetry.
The temperature and dampness of the cloud constantly changes, which affects the shape of each snowflake. Although snowflakes can change shape so quickly, the hexagonal symmetry is kept.

Snowflakes can be categorized into six main types, plate (flat), column, stars, dendrite, lacy, needle, and capped column.

When it is extremely cold the snow is very fine and powdery and snowflakes become quite simple in design, usually needle or rod-shaped. When the temperature is near to freezing point (0 degrees Celsius), snowflakes become much larger and a lot more complex in design.

There are 35 main snowflakes that you could recognize from just looking closely at.

No two are ever the same.
It is indeed extremely unlikely that two complex snowflakes will look exactly alike.
It’s so extremely unlikely; in fact, that even if you looked at every one ever made you would not find any exact duplicates.

The worlds biggest snowflake.
According to the Guinness World Records, the largest snowflake in the world was 15 inches wide and 8 inches thick. This was recorded on January 28, 1887 by Matt Coleman at Fort Keogh, Montana. 
He said that the snowflake was “larger than milk pans”. There was also a measured snowflake found in Berlin on January 10th 1915 but was only around 10 centimetres wide, (almost four inches).

So there you have it, I hope you've enjoyed the read. Snowflakes may be far more unique than you first thought. I wonder, will you be having a closer look next time it starts snowing?
Words above from article here

a snowy scene Lake District UK image from here

On cooler days a bowl of warming soup is very welcome, so I have a nice bowl of parsnip and cauliflower soup for you 😊 For those readers who are living in the Southern Hemisphere and are currently enjoying summer days, you may prefer this Gazpacho Soup


Parsnip and Cauliflower Soup
recipe details here

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

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Garlic : Five Health Benefits


Famed for its medicinal properties, garlic is also a culinary staple in most kitchens. Here, we discover why.

What is garlic?
Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world, and is a hardy perennial belonging to the Liliaceae family. Other members of this family include onions, leeks, chives and shallots. They are distinguished by their pungent aroma and distinctive flavour.

The bulb is the most commonly used part of the garlic plant and is typically composed of eight to 20 individual teardrop-shaped cloves enclosed in a white, parchment-like skin.

Nutritional Benefits
One clove (4g) of garlic provides
4Kcal / 16KJ
0.3g protein, 0.0g fat, 0.7g carbohydrates, 0.2g fibre, 25mg Potassium

Five health benefits of garlic
1. Contains compounds with medicinal properties
Much of garlic’s therapeutic acclaim is down to an active compound called allicin. This sulphur-containing compound gives garlic its pungent smell and distinctive taste. Luckily for us cooks, the action of chopping or crushing stimulates the production of allicin. But, it is thought that the application of heat may inhibit some of the perceived medicinal properties, making it best to add garlic late in the cooking process.

2. May reduce the risk of heart attacks
Much research has focused on garlic’s potential in reducing the risk of heart disease and helping to manage cholesterol levels. Several studies suggest that garlic makes platelets (the cells involved in blood clotting) less likely to clump together and accumulate on artery walls; this means garlic acts like an anticoagulant and by so doing reduces the risk of heart attacks.
Garlic may also lower blood pressure through its ability to widen blood vessels,
allowing blood to flow more freely.

3. May have anti-cancer properties
The sulphurous compounds in garlic have been studied for their ability to inhibit cancerous cells and block tumours. That said, much of the evidence for garlic in relation to colon, prostate, oesophageal and renal cancer is observational, with only small numbers of subjects included in the studies. As a result, the effect garlic has in relation to cancer remains uncertain and more studies are needed.

4. Has antimicrobial and antifungal properties
Garlic has a long history of use as an infection fighter against viruses, bacteria and fungi. It has been referred to as ‘Russian penicillin’ to denote its antibacterial properties, which is once again attributed to the compound allicin. Some skin conditions, such as warts and insect bites, may also respond to garlic oil or a crushed raw garlic clove.

5. May support bone health
Animal studies suggest garlic may minimise bone loss by increasing oestrogen levels in female rodents. A study in post-menopausal women found a similar effect when a daily dose of dry garlic extract (equivalent to 2g of raw garlic) was consumed.
Studies also suggest the consumption of garlic may give some relief from the inflammatory symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Is garlic safe for everyone?
Garlic poses few safety issues and allergies are rare. If you take garlic supplements for cholesterol management, have your cholesterol levels checked after three months. The recommended daily amount of garlic ranges from ½-1 whole clove per day (around 3000-6000mcg of allicin).

Please note that some people may experience indigestion, intestinal gas or diarrhoea when taking high doses of garlic.

Above words by Jo Lewin, registered nutritionist.
You can see her original article with full research links here
Do you like to use garlic? 

The above is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider.

Related Post
Why You Should Rest Your Chopped Garlic for 5 Minutes Before Cooking, see here
Looking for recipe suggestions that use garlic
please see this post here


~ some pretty snowdrops ~
traditional January birth flower

Dear reader, this blog brings a variety of articles and recipe ideas, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Monday, 3 January 2022

Mediterranean Cauliflower Salad

Cauliflower is an extremely healthy vegetable. It is very low in calories yet high in vitamins, and can provide some powerful health benefits, and is a great source of nutrients. In fact, cauliflower contains some of almost every vitamin and mineral that you need, including a few that many people need more of. Additionally cauliflower contains unique antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and protect against several diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. What’s more, cauliflower is easy to add to your diet. It’s tasty and can replace high-carb foods in many recipes, for example this low carb mash.


Today, I share this Mediterranean Cauliflower Salad, it is full of wonderful vegetables and makes a tasty low carb, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dish.

Ingredients
Serves Four
For The Salad
1 small/medium head cauliflower - cut off the florets
1 cup red onion - chopped
1 cup cucumber - chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes - cut in half
¼ cup black olives
¼ cup fresh parsley - chopped
For The Dressing
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and black pepper
1 garlic clove - minced
Instructions
1. Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor for about 25-30 seconds until it's a rice-like consistency.
2. Place the cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 3-4 minutes. The time will depend on the power of the microwave.
3. Once cauliflower is cool enough to handle, transfer to a salad bowl.
4. Add all the rest of the salad ingredients in the salad bowl.
5. In a mason jar, pour the olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Add salt, pepper, garlic and whisk everything together. Continue to whisk while streaming in the olive oil. Taste to check the seasoning.
6. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well.
7. Top with parsley and enjoy.
If you need help with weight/measurement conversion please see here
See the original recipe idea here

Simple Ways You Can Increase Your Daily Vegetable Intake
see here

You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog. 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, 2 January 2022

Answers to January Quiz Plus ... A Recipe For Caponata Stew

Hello there, I hope you enjoyed yesterdays quiz. Many thanks to all those who read the post and special thanks to those who took time to comment.

Did you know the answers? Well, as promised here are the answers to the seven questions. For ease I have repeated the questions ...

Q. If you are born in the first 19 days of January, what star sign are you?
A. Capricorn

Q. January always starts on the same day of the week as which other month? (This question was based on common years and not leap years)
A. October (January begins on the same day of the week as October in common years, and April and July in leap years)

Q. How many days does January have in total?
A. 31

Q. Which Roman God was January named after?
A. Janus


Q. What flower is closely associated with January?
A. Snowdrop

Q. Before January was added to the calendar, how many months were there?
A. 10

Q. Which city’s name translates to ‘River of January’?
A. Rio de Janeiro

How did you do? Before I researched the answers I knew six 😊

... and now on to a tasty recipe suggestion, which you may wish to try.
Caponata - Sicilian Aubergine (Eggplant) Stew


A tasty dish, "hailing from Sicily, this vegetarian and vegan-friendly aubergine (eggplant) stew is packed with tomatoes, olives, capers and sultanas. A blend of sugar, garlic and white wine vinegar gives it a unique sweet-sour flavour that coats the vegetables like a salad dressing, bringing out the natural sweetness of the dish. This caponata recipe is delicious warm or served at room temperature slathered onto crunchy crostini".

Ingredients
Serves Six
2 aubergines (eggplants), cut into chunks
2 tbsp. light olive oil
5 celery sticks, cut into chunks
5 tbsp. olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
227g tin chopped tomatoes
250g cherry tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. white wine vinegar
4 tbsp. capers
100g green olives
2 tbsp. sultanas
2 tbsp. pine nuts
handful fresh basil leaves
crostini, to serve

Method
1. Preheat the oven to gas 3, 170°C, fan 150°C.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the aubergine in batches and fry until golden.
3. Tip into a roasting tin with the remaining ingredients (except for the pine nuts and basil) and toss to combine. Roast for 1 hr, until softened and golden.
4. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan. Remove from the heat and set aside, until needed.5. Scatter the pine nuts and basil over the veg and serve with crostini.

Each serving
Carbohydrate 13.9g Protein 3.6g Fibre 2.1g Fat 19g
From an original idea here

Please see these recipe suggestions for low carb bread choices here and here


A variety of articles and 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.

All the best Jan