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Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Tuesday Christmas Trio : Low Carb Recipe Suggestions (9)

It's Tuesday Trio Time
with Christmas approaching fast
you may find these suggestions helpful

Low Carb Christmas Pudding
many may say this is the best low carb Christmas Pudding ...ever!

100 grams ground almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon of melted butter
2 tablespoons of double (heavy) cream

100 grams of low-carb thawed frozen fruits. 
(Blueberries, blackcurrants and strawberries)
60 grams of 90-95% cocoa dark chocolate
Two tea spoons of cocoa powder
One large shot of brandy
A handful of almond flakes and broken walnuts
Extra thick cream
more details here

Mince Pies, the low carb way
I'm told Father Christmas Loves Them!

50g fresh or frozen cranberries
75g (its about ½) Bramley apple
25g chopped walnuts
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. ground almond
2 tbsp. erythritol (or any other sweetener of your choice)
2 tbsp. brandy
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
Pinch of ground cardamom
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
100g ground almond
15g coconut flour
15g soy flour
1tbsp arrowroot starch
½ tsp xanthan gum
3 tbsp. coconut oil (slightly warmed up)
1 tbsp. cold water
Brandy butter
50g butter
30g erythritol (powdered)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp. brandy
more details here

Luxurious Low Carb Christmas Trifle
a very tasty low carb trifle, it’s quite a favourite with us and the family

Serves 6-8
100 grams of ground almonds
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon of melted butter
2 tablespoons of double (heavy) cream
A 500g pack of frozen low-carb summer fruits ... thawed

(I use ones that are 4.1g carbs per 80g serving)
300ml of extra thick cream
A handful of toasted flaked almonds
2 x 12.5 grams of instant raspberry, sugar free, jelly crystals
more details here

I hope you've enjoyed this 'Tuesday Trio'. 

If you should need help with weight/measurement conversion please see here
I wonder have you a favourite out of these three?
They are all so tempting ...

See more 'Tuesday Trio' posts 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

Monday, 9 December 2019

Vitamin C for Colds - Does It Actually Work?

Kris Gunnars BSc writes:
"The common cold is the most frequent infectious disease in humans, and the average person gets one several times per year. Interestingly, vitamin C has often been claimed to be an effective treatment.

Does Vitamin C Have Any Effect on the Common Cold?  
Around 1970, Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling popularized the theory that vitamin C helps treat colds. He published a book about cold prevention using mega-doses of vitamin C, or up to 18,000 mg daily. For comparison, the RDA is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. At that time, no reliable studies had proved this to be true. But in the following few decades, multiple randomized controlled studies examined whether the vitamin had any effect on the common cold.

The results have been fairly disappointing; an analysis of 29 studies including 11,306 participants concluded that supplementing with 200 mg or more of vitamin C did not reduce the risk of catching a cold.

However, regular vitamin C supplements had several benefits, including:
Reduced cold severity: They reduced the symptoms of a cold, making it less severe.
Reduced cold duration: Supplements decreased recovery time by 8% in adults and 14% in children, on average.

A supplemental dose of 1–2 grams was enough to shorten the duration of a cold by 18% in children, on average. Other studies in adults have found 6–8 grams per day to be effective. 

Vitamin C appears to have even stronger effects in people who are under intense physical stress. In marathon runners and skiers, vitamin C almost halved the duration of the common cold. 

Summary Although vitamin C supplements have no effect on the risk of catching a cold, they appear to reduce its severity and duration.

How Does Vitamin C Reduce the Severity of Colds? 
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and necessary to produce collagen in the skin. Collagen is the most abundant protein in mammals, keeping skin and various tissues tough but flexible. 

A vitamin C deficiency results in a condition known as scurvy, which isn't really a problem today, as most people get enough vitamin C from foods.

However, it’s less known that vitamin C is also highly concentrated in immune cells and quickly depleted during an infection. In fact, a vitamin C deficiency significantly weakens the immune system and increases the risk of infections.

For this reason, getting enough vitamin C during an infection is a good idea.

Summary Vitamin C is essential for the proper functioning of immune cells. It is depleted during infections, so a vitamin C deficiency may increase their risk.

Other Nutrients and Foods That May Help
There is no cure for the common cold. However, some foods and nutrients can help the body recover. In the past, people have used various foods to reduce their symptoms.

Few of these are scientifically proven to work, but some are backed by evidence.
Flavonoids: These are antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. Studies suggest that flavonoid supplements may reduce the risk of infections in the lungs, throat and nose by 33%, on average.
Garlic: This common spice contains some antimicrobial compounds that may help fight respiratory infections. Read this detailed article for more information.

Summary Several other nutrients and foods may help you recover from a cold or even reduce the risk of catching one. These include flavonoids and garlic.

The Bottom Line 
Supplementing with vitamin C won’t reduce your risk of catching a cold, but it may speed up your recovery and reduce the severity of your symptoms.

While taking supplements may be necessary to reach the high vitamin C intake required to improve colds, make sure not to go overboard. That’s because too much vitamin C has some adverse side effects.

To meet your basic nutrient requirements, whole foods are generally a better idea. Good examples of healthy foods that are high in vitamin C include oranges, kale and red bell peppers."

Words above from Kris' article, which can be seen in full with all information and research links here

Dear reader, 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

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Rick Stein's : Stuffed Chicken Legs with Mushrooms and Cheese

This recipe suggestion is a little piece of 'Secret France' from one of my favourite chefs Rick Stein. I always enjoy his excellent cookery series and in fact the BBC have been showing a new one, 'Secret France', where Rick gets off the beaten track and takes to the backroads of France – a less discovered France that still cherishes the best of its past and is creating modern exciting dishes that are still unmistakably French. This recipe was inspired by Ricks visit to Malbuisson in the Haut-Jura region of France, and it's another winner! 
Cheers Rick - here's to good food and wine!

Here is the recipe:-
Serves Six
30g/1oz butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
200g/7oz Portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
75g/2¾oz cream cheese or mascarpone, beaten until soft
75g/2¾oz Comté or other Alpine cheese, finely grated
small handful fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
6 chicken legs (thigh and leg together), bone in and skin on
250ml/9fl oz. chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper

mashed swede or potatoes* and cooked green beans, to serve

1. Heat 20g/¾oz of the butter and 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic and fry for about 10 minutes until the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
2. Mix the cream cheese, Comté, parsley and thyme in a bowl. Stir in the cooled mushrooms and season generously with salt and pepper.
3. Place a chicken leg skin-side down. Feel for the thigh bone with your fingers then, with a sharp knife, carefully cut down through the flesh either side of the bone. With the tip of the knife, cut around the bone and scrape away the flesh, leaving the bone as clean as possible. Twist the bone at the joint with the drumstick and, with scissors or a knife, cut out the thigh bone, leaving the drumstick bone in place.
4. Fill the cavity left by the bone with a sixth of the mushroom stuffing. Secure the chicken flesh around the stuffing using a few cocktail sticks, . Brush the skin with the remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the rest of the chicken legs.
5. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Heat the remaining butter in a frying pan and brown the chicken legs. Transfer to a roasting tin and roast for 25–30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. The chicken is cooked when the juices run clear with no trace of pink when the thickest part of the leg is pierced with a skewer.
6. Remove the chicken from the pan and add the chicken stock into the pan to deglaze. Scrape the pan to get all the flavour into the gravy.

7. Remove the cocktail sticks and serve with the gravy, mashed swede or potatoes* and cooked green beans. 
From an original idea here

I would serve with buttery mashed swede/rutabaga, as it doesn't spike blood sugar numbers like potato may, most important if you are diabetic.
More to read about swede/rutabaga here

Related Posts - more recipes from Rick Stein: 
Lamb Casserole with Aubergine / Eggplant here
Simple Cod Gratin with Béarnaise Sauce Topping here
Greek Style Moussaka here

Dear reader, you will find a variety of recipe suggestions 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

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Chris Rea - Driving Home For Christmas

Saturday night again and music night again already. Not long until the Christmas holiday, will we be seeing a white Christmas, time will tell.

Enjoy and peace and good health to all. Eddie

Ways to Naturally De-Stress at Home

At this time of year many of us can get stressed! There always seems so much to do and so little time to do it! The days just zoom by … but help may be at hand, there are ways to naturally de-stress at home and some of them are so simple … please read on.

"De-stress, pamper and support your body through daily stresses with these holistic self-love strategies to have you feeling incredible in no time.

1. Pour Yourself A Cuppa
But not just any cup of tea… Choose a calming chamomile! This soothing herbal brew has been used for centuries to create calm, settle an anxious tummy and reduce nervous tension. Chamomile naturally contains chemicals that interact with the same receptors in the brain that are affected by valium.

2. Turn Up The Heat … In A Relaxing Way
Warmth relaxes muscle tension and can lower anxiety naturally. It is believed that heat may impact the neural circuitry that influences mood and increase our levels of the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter called serotonin. Plus, being warm can just feel downright comforting. You don’t need to live in the desert to feel this benefit. There are many alternative ways to de-stress with heat! You may enjoy a hot tea, sauna, exercise, spa, an enticing patch of sunlight, a cozy fireplace, a comforting hot water bottle or a warm bath filled with relaxing essential oils. If it’s warm and feels good, chances are it’s helping you to de-stress!

3. Tap Into Acupressure
Ancient people have practiced acupuncture for centuries and documented its benefits. Today, we can still access its powerful benefits! It is believed that two acupuncture points located between the skull and neck may be especially helpful for reducing stress and tension headaches. Try this simple exercise to release stress in just a few minutes:
Position thumbs at the top of your neck, just below the junction where your neck meets the skull.
Apply firm but gentle pressure.
As you press, inhale deeply and slowly at least three times.
Float hands into your lap.
Slowly drop your chin into your chest.
Take another deep, peaceful breath and smile!

4. Enjoy Some Stress-Busting Superfoods & Stabilize Your Blood Sugars
Food affects our very brain chemistry and therefore impacts our mood. We can, therefore, make dietary choices to support our stress. To start with, most people get more cranky, irritable and stressed when they feel hungry! Therefore, include low Glycaemic Index (GI) carbohydrates at each meal to regulates your blood sugar levels and maintain good energy levels.
There are also a few extra foods you could include for some extra benefits:
Almonds: A good source of protein to help you feel full and focussed, almonds also offer B Vitamins, Vitamin E, Zinc, Magnesium and healthy fats that help to maintain brain function and regulate mood.
Blueberries: Offering Vitamin C, antioxidants, magnesium and manganese to support a stressed brain, these beautiful berries are lower in sugar and won’t disrupt your blood sugar levels.
A small piece of dark chocolate: Rich in magnesium and trace minerals to support stress and fatigue, dark chocolate contains compounds that boost mood and feel-good brain chemicals! (Just stick to a small quantity, as the natural caffeine content may also stimulate anxiety.)
Omega-3 Fats: These natural fatty acids are absolutely integral to brain function and may help to lower anxiety. Natural sources include salmon and oily fish, flaxseeds/linseeds and walnuts.

5. Get Outdoors
In a phenomenon known as ‘biophilia’, humans are naturally programmed to feel peaceful in nature. Plants and natural scenery have been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. Therefore, a regular dose of the great outdoors is good news for our mental health! You don’t need to become a keen hiker to get your natural nature high. Simply grounding your feet in a space of natural earth is a great start. Perhaps you can step outside for five minutes during your daily lunch break and lift your face to the sun. You may also like to start a small garden or regularly buy yourself a bunch of flowers. Anything that makes you feel more connected to the world outside is likely to lower your stress. 

6. Move Your Beautiful Body
Exercise is a natural antidote to stress and anxiety. Raising your heart rate instantly increases blood circulation, oxygenates your brain and gets those feel-good endorphins pumping! Furthermore, exercise engages your brain into focusing on each movement; this diverts our thoughts away from a stressful space and into the present moment.
Aim for at least thirty minutes of movement each day, in a modality that preferably makes you huff and puff a little (providing it is safe within your current health to do so).
Aerobic exercise makes us produce higher levels of norepinephrine - the super stress-busting brain chemical! Try also to choose something that you enjoy and can actually look forward to. (And if you haven’t already, please try yoga - it’s the ultimate mind-body healing form of exercise.)

7. Discover Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has been used for centuries to support the body both mentally and physically. In modern times, essential oils are particularly powerful for reducing stress. This is because the sense of smell bypasses the cognitive brain which processes worry. Lavender is particularly renowned for its relaxing qualities and is an ‘emotional anti-inflammatory’. Massage a little into your temples or burn some in an oil diffuser to instantly unwind. Look for the pure variety that is derived from plants, not the artificial fragrances that are often chemically produced. 

8. Pamper Yourself At Home
Daily rituals of self-kindness and small pleasures can go a long way towards cultivating inner peace. So often we make time to go above and beyond to help others out but fail to recognize -or make- small windows in our schedules to give some TLC for ourselves. Whilst pampering may make you think of spas and health retreats (which are great if you can afford to do so!), there are other simple, inexpensive opportunities to pamper yourself with self-kindness. You may like to try:
Giving your face a mini-massage in the shower - it increases blood flow to the brain, is wonderful for your skin health and feels simply divine.
Saying a few positive affirmations to yourself in the mirror as you prepare for your day.
Creating a simple, luxurious body scrub using coarse sea salt and coconut oil. Alternatively, use leftover coffee grounds as an invigorating scrub to wake you up and feel refreshed for the day!
Soaking your feet in a bucket filled with warm water, Epsom salts and a few drops of peppermint oil.
Buffing your nails - it’s natural, lasts longer than nail polish and showcases a part of your body that is visible all day long!

Even if you choose to do one of the above regularly, you’ll notice an incredible reducing in your stress levels. So this year, make it your year to give yourself some extra love and TLC - your body will thank you in so many ways." 
This article by James Colquhoun, and more, can be seen here

I wonder have you got any tips that may/can help de-stress?
I always find taking time out for a cuppa helps ...

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. Not all of the suggested recipes above are low carb. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Friday, 6 December 2019

Courgette / Zucchini Pizza Casserole ... now that's something different ... it's low carb/keto too

For something a little different, why not give this recipe suggestion a try! 

The courgette/zucchini is shredded (grated) and blended with cheese and eggs to form a crust in this family-friendly courgette/zucchini pizza casserole. It’s great topped with sausage and bacon, but any of your favourite pizza toppings can be added to complete the dish. 

Serves Six
8g net carbs per serving
2 medium courgettes/zucchini, shredded (grated)
2 eggs
4 oz. (110g) cream cheese
4 oz. (110g) parmesan cheese, shredded (grated)
8 oz. (225g) mozzarella cheese, shredded (grated)
1 lb (450g) ground (minced) fresh sausage
6 oz. (175g) bacon, chopped
½ large yellow onion, finely diced
7 oz. (200g) unsweetened marinara sauce
1. The crust layer can be baked ahead and frozen, then topped later for a quick and easy meal. Or make the entire pizza casserole in advance, freeze it, and re-warm for a super fast meal on a busy night.
2. Read the labels carefully on the bottled marinara sauce as unwanted sugars can sneak in. However, a number of companies are recognizing the growing demand for products without sugar. Look for simple labels with tomatoes, garlic, basil and spices.
can be seen  here

remember always take care when using an oven -
this time of year it's a Christmas design oven glove for me ...

Related Posts
Courgettes / Zucchini - Some Helpful Hints, see details here 
Cauliflower Crust Pizza, see details here 
Quick and Easy Low Carb Pizza For One, see details here 

Dear reader, 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

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Some Foods In Season During December

What's in season in December 

December and it's the festive season! It brings a traditional bounty of fresh fruit and veg that no classic Christmas would be complete without. Serve Brussels Sprouts and parsnips alongside your turkey, add cranberries to colourful cocktails and perhaps dates to sticky Christmas puddings! Don’t forget to tuck a clementine into the bottom of stockings!

Small and sweet, clementines are a hybrid of tangerines and oranges. Easy to peel and exceptionally sweet, there are over 20 varieties of clementine. The fruit will keep in the fridge for up to one week.
Some recipes you may like to try:
Clementine Almond Cake, it's low carb and flourless - more details here 
Christmas Salad, it's so colourful and low in carbs too - more details here
Clementine Prosecco Cocktail, it's nice but 13.5g carbs per serving - more details here

Brussels Sprouts 
Sprouts have a sweet, nutty flavour, and taste great raw or cooked. Sprouts do cook quickly and can become bitter and mushy when overdone, so do make sure you watch them carefully! Although they should be firm, a sharp knife should still easily slide into the stem. Brussels sprouts are a classic accompaniment to traditional Christmas dinner.
Some recipes you may like to try:
Brussels Sprouts and Hamburger Gratin, it's LCHF - more details here
Brussels Sprouts Christmas Tree, it's a Showstopper - more details here
Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Soup, it's so delicious - more details here
Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Celeriac - more details here

Cranberries are harvested in the autumn when the fruit turns deep red in colour – perfect for the festive season. Fresh cranberries are sharp in taste and, if frozen, can be kept for up to nine months.
Some recipes you may like to try:
Fruit Cake, with cranberries, a low carb alternative, could be just right for Christmas - more details here
Cheesecake Cranberry Mousse, it's low carb - more details here
Braised beef with red wine and cranberry - more details here
Sautéed sprouts with almonds and cranberries - more details here

Parsnips have an earthy flavour and were used in Europe as a sweetener before cane sugar arrived in the 1800s. Choose smaller parsnips, as larger ones are likely to be less sweet. They can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. 
Some recipes you may like to try:
Slow-Braised Pork shoulder with Cider and Parsnips, a one pot dish - more details here
Mushroom and parsnip rösti pie - more details here
Parsnip & Cauliflower Soup - more details here

Sweet and sticky dates are a staple of the festive season – while dried dates are available year-round, fresh ones are best from November to January. The deep brown, wrinkled Medjool variety of dates is the sweetest, with a rich toffee-like taste.
Some recipes you may like to try:
Autumn fruit frangipane galette, the lower carb way - more details here
Almond and Orange Biscuits, low carb - more details here
Prosciutto wrapped dates with port and cranberry sauce - more details here

I wonder what would be your favourite two from the above?
Mine would be the Clementine Almond Cake, and the Parsnip and Cauliflower Soup ...

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. Not all of the suggested recipes above are low carb. 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, 3 December 2019

Tuesday Christmas Trio : Low Carb Recipe Suggestions (8)

It's Tuesday Trio Time
with Christmas approaching fast
you may find these suggestions helpful

Christmas Salad
looks so colourful

Serves 10
6 clementine's, peeled
3 avocados, halved and de-stoned
112.5g watercress, washed
120g smoked salmon, torn into pieces
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. olive oil, for drizzling
see more details/instructions here 

Brussels Sprouts Christmas Tree
Roasting makes sprouts taste delicious,
and is a vegan and gluten free Christmas side dish.

It's a Showstopper, and also
a tasty work of art!

Serves Four
25-30 Brussel sprouts
1 parsnip (or carrot)
1 slice butternut squash
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 handful dried cranberries
salt and pepper
see more details/instructions here

Christmas Chocolate Log With Blueberries
a low carb chocolate log, with added blueberries,
could be perfect for an alternative Christmas (or New Year) dessert!

1 cup Almond flour
3 Eggs
50g Butter
¼ cup Psyllium husk
½ cup Coconut cream
¼ cup Cocoa
1 tbsp. Natvia (or sweetener of your choice)
1 tbsp. Vanilla essence
250g cream cheese
50g Butter - melted
1 tbsp. Natvia
1 tbsp. Vanilla essence
½ cup blueberries or sliced strawberries
If you should need help with weight/measurement conversion see here
see more details/instructions here 

I hope you've enjoyed this 'Tuesday Trio'.
I wonder have you a favourite out of these three?  That Christmas Salad for me please!

See more 'Tuesday Trio' posts 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

Monday, 2 December 2019

WEIGHT LOSS NEWS: Very-low-calorie ketogenic diets are effective for weight loss

On Diet Doctor site recently, Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE writes:

New review: very-low-calorie ketogenic diets are effective for weight loss 

At Diet Doctor site, we’ve been writing about the benefits of ketogenic diets for weight loss and health for years. 

Now a large review of clinical trials and cohort studies has concluded that very-low-calorie, ketogenic diets (VLCKDs) are both safe and effective for achieving weight loss in people who are overweight or obese: 

Of the 12 studies included in the review, 4 were randomized, controlled trials (RCTs). In all studies, overweight and obese adults reported consuming fewer than 800 calories and 50 grams of carbs per day for several weeks. This strict phase was followed by a gradual increase in calorie and carb intake as part of a multi-phase intervention. 

In the initial phase, weight loss averaged 22 pounds (10 kg) in studies where the ketogenic diet was consumed for less than 4 weeks, and 33 pounds (15 kg) in studies where the ketogenic diet period lasted 4-12 weeks. In addition, study participants experienced beneficial changes in several health markers, including lower triglycerides, blood pressure, and liver enzymes. 

Only three studies had follow-up periods lasting two or more years. Interestingly, the researchers of those studies reported that many people were able to maintain most of the weight they’d lost during the initial phase of the VLCKD, even though their calorie and carb intake had increased over time. 

At Diet Doctor, we feel that deliberate, drastic calorie restriction isn’t necessary for weight loss on a ketogenic diet. After all, high-quality evidence has repeatedly demonstrated that ketogenic diets reduce appetite, leading to a spontaneous decrease in calorie intake. However, we’re encouraged that researchers are studying VLCKDs and showing that they can be safely used to “jump start” weight loss, bridging to a nutrient-dense, low-carbohydrate lifestyle that can be sustained long term.

Words and picture above, plus reference links can be seen here
You may also like to read 'Introduction to Low Carb For Beginners', see it here

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. 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, 1 December 2019

December is here !

Well, here we are, December!
It's the 12th and last month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars. And one of seven months with the length of 31 days. December starts on the same day of the week as September every year and ends on the same day as April every year. It is the month with the shortest daylight hours of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest daylight hours of the year in the Southern Hemisphere. December in the Northern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent to June in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. 

The month of December gets its name from “decem” the Latin for 10, as December was the 10th month in the ancient Roman calendar. 

December is the month when most proposals of marriage are accepted. Most proposals happen in the week leading up to Christmas. 

In the UK the month of December brings the least sunshine! 

December’s traditional birthstone is turquoise. It is considered a symbol of good fortune and success. Zircon and tanzanite are also considered to be December birthstones.

December’s birth flowers are the holly and the paperwhite - a relative of the daffodil with lovely white blooms. 

“Men are April when they woo, December when they wed,” (Shakespeare, As You Like It).

The only film with “December” in its title to win an Oscar was December 7th, a 1943 documentary about Pearl Harbour directed by John Ford. 

International Free Hugs Day is celebrated on December 4th. Give all your loved ones hugs this day.

Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on 10 December. 

Monkey Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated internationally every year on December 14. The holiday was started in 2000, since then, Monkey Day has been celebrated internationally, across countries like the U.S., Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

Using the meteorological calendar, the first day of winter is always 1 December;
however, in 2019 the astronomical winter (Northern Hemisphere) begins 22nd December.

Christmas Eve is the evening or entire day preceding Christmas Day, the widely celebrated annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. It occurs on December 24th in the Western Christian Church, and is considered one of the most culturally significant celebrations in Christendom and the Western world.

Christmas is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Also, it is a widely observed holiday, celebrated generally on December 25 by billions of people around the world. Christmas is a civil holiday in many of the world’s nations, is celebrated by an increasing number of non-Christians, and is an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season.

In the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Eve, the last day of the year, is on December 31st.

I'm sure there are many other interesting things about December. If you know of some others, please include them in the comments.

The above taken from here, here, here and here

All the best Jan

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Take the Long Way Home

Saturday night again and music night again already. Being a diabetic, I have a good reason to fear going blind, diabetes is the leading cause of working age people going blind in the UK. But hey, I am past working age, and now retired. Going deaf maybe has a greater fear for me these days, because music has been one of the loves of my life. 

Around forty years ago I started a new job, after a weeks introduction, I received my new company car, the first new car I had ever driven. This car had a stereo cassette player. It was a long drive home, and I had taken a cassette of this track to play on the way home. Total trivia, but forty years on, it means much to me.

Enjoy and peace and good health to all. Eddie

Wildlife Photography ... these photographs will make you smile

From time to time we post something completely different ...
Like these photos from the 2019 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

"Family disagreement" by Vlado Pirsa
"A couple of birds have family disagreements." 

"Oh My" by Harry Walker
"Unlike most other marine mammals, sea otters have no blubber and rely on thick fur to keep warm.
As the ability of the fur to repel water depends on utmost cleanliness,
sea otters spend much of their time (while they are not sleeping or eating) grooming,
offering photographers an unlimited number of anthropomorphic opportunities." 

"Squirrel Wishes" by Geert Weggen
"A red squirrel with dandelion seeds." 

There are more amazing photographs to see here
All the best Jan

Friday, 29 November 2019

Looking For Healthy High Fibre, Low Carb Foods !

Kelli McGrane, MS, RD writes: 
"Low carb diets have been linked to several impressive health benefits. Research has shown that they’re particularly effective at reducing hunger and aiding weight loss. They’ve also been associated with decreased blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, as well as increased HDL (good) cholesterol. What’s more, low carb diets have been found to improve blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes. Low carb diets typically provide less than 130 grams of carbs per day, while very low carb diets typically provide 20–50 grams of carbs per day."

For example a possible range might be:-
Low carb (ketogenic) 0-50g carbohydrate per day 
Typical low carb 50-90g 
Liberal low carb 90-130g 
Moderate carb 130-170g 
High carb 170g and more 

"However, some very low carb diets can be low in fibre, a nutrient that’s important for digestive, heart, and gut health. In fact, studies estimate that only 5% of American adults — independent of whether they eat low carb or not — meet the recommended 25–38 grams of fibre per day. Fortunately, if you follow a low carb diet and are worried about your fibre intake, several tasty foods are both low in carbs and high in fibre.
Here are fourteen healthy high fibre, low carb foods.

Flax seeds 
Flax seeds are small oil seeds that are packed with nutrients. In particular, they’re good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and antioxidants. They’re also low in digestible net carbs — the total grams of carbs minus the grams of fibre. Notably, flax seeds have a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 than most other oil seeds. This is important, as a lower omega-6 to omega-3 ratio has been associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases. Flax seeds are easily incorporated into your diet and should be ground to reap all their potential health benefit.

Chia seeds 
Though small in size, chia seeds are rich in several nutrients. In addition to being high in fibre, protein, and several vitamins and minerals, chia seeds are one of the best-known plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds can be sprinkled a-top salads and yogurt or added to smoothies. They also absorb liquids well, turning into a gel that can be used as a vegan egg replacement or thickener for sauces and jellies. 

High in healthy fats, avocados have a unique buttery texture. Technically a fruit, avocados are typically consumed as a vegetable and can be added to a variety of dishes. In addition to being rich in monounsaturated fats, avocados are a good source of fibre, folate, potassium, and vitamins K and C.

Almonds are among the world’s most popular tree nuts. Great for snacking, they’re highly nutritious and rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium. As they’re also a good source of fibre and protein, almonds may help increase feelings of fullness and aid weight loss. 

Unsweetened coconut meat 
Coconut meat is the white flesh inside a coconut. It’s often sold shredded and can be added to desserts, granola bars, and breakfast foods for added texture. Coconut meat is high in healthy fats and fibre, while being moderate in carbs and protein. It’s also rich in several important minerals, particularly copper and manganese. Copper aids bone formation and heart health, while manganese is essential for fat metabolism and enzyme function. 

Sweet and tart, blackberries are a delicious summer fruit. They’re also incredibly nutritious, with just 1 cup (140 grams) boasting more than 30% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C. Berries are among the most antioxidant-rich fruits. Regular intake has been associated with a reduced risk of chronic inflammation, heart disease, and certain forms of cancer. Additionally, a 1-week study in 27 men with excess weight or obesity on a high fat diet found that eating blackberries daily increased fat burning and insulin sensitivity. 

Another sweet yet tart summer fruit, raspberries are best enjoyed shortly after purchasing. Low in calories, they’re also surprisingly high in several essential vitamins and minerals. In fact, just 1 cup (140 grams) provides more than 50% of the DV for vitamin C and 41% of the DV for manganese. Similarly to blackberries, raspberries are rich in disease-protecting antioxidants. They can be eaten as a snack, baked into desserts, and added to yogurt parfaits or overnight oats. 

Humans have been eating pistachios since 6000 BC. While technically a fruit, pistachios are culinarily used as a nut. With their vibrant green colour and distinctive flavour, pistachios are popular in many dishes, including desserts, such as ice creams and cakes. Nutritionally, they’re high in healthy fats and vitamin B6, an essential vitamin that aids blood sugar regulation and the formation of haemoglobin. 

Wheat bran
Wheat bran is the hard outer coating of the wheat kernel. While it’s found naturally in whole grains, it can also be purchased on its own to add texture and a nutty flavour to foods like baked goods, smoothies, yogurt, soups, and casseroles. Wheat bran is rich in several important vitamins and minerals, with 1/2 cup (30 grams) providing 41% of the DV for selenium and more than 140% of the DV for manganese. Although, perhaps what it’s best known for is its impressive amount of insoluble fibre, a nutrient that can help treat constipation and promote regular bowel movements. 

Cauliflower is a popular item on low carb diets, as it can be riced for a grain substitute or even made into a low carb pizza crust. Part of the Brassica family, cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that’s low in calories and carbs yet high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also a good source of choline, which is important for brain and liver health, as well as metabolism and DNA synthesis. 

Broccoli is a popular cruciferous vegetable that’s high in several important nutrients. In addition to being low in calories, it’s high in fibre and several essential vitamins and minerals, including folate, potassium, and vitamins C and K. It also boasts more protein than many other vegetables. While it can be enjoyed cooked or raw, research shows that steaming it provides the greatest health benefits. 

A popular springtime vegetable, asparagus comes in several colours, including green, purple, and white. It’s low in calories yet high in vitamin K, providing 46% of the DV in 1 cup (134 grams). The same serving also packs 17% of the DV for folate, which is vital during pregnancy and helps with cell growth and DNA formation. While it’s usually cooked, raw asparagus can add a pleasant crunch to salads and veggie platters. 

Aubergine / Eggplant 
Also known as aubergines, eggplants are used in many dishes around the world. They add a unique texture to dishes and contain very few calories. They’re also a good source of fibre and several vitamins and minerals, including manganese, folate, and potassium. 

Purple Cabbage 
Also referred to as red cabbage, purple cabbage is a nutritious way to add a pop of colour to your dishes. While it tastes similar to green cabbage, the purple variety is higher in plant compounds that have been linked to health benefits, such as improved heart and bone health, reduced inflammation, and protection against certain forms of cancer. Purple cabbage is also low in carbs, high in fibre, and an excellent source of vitamins C and K. 

The Bottom Line 
Whether you’re interested in weight loss or lowering your blood sugar levels, eating fewer carbs can have numerous health benefits. And despite what you might think, you can reduce your carb intake while getting enough fibre.
In fact, many low carb, high fibre foods are healthy and incredibly delicious." 

Most words above from Kelli's article which you can see in full, and with all relevant research links here

You may also be interested in reading 'Introduction to low-carb for beginners', find it here

Dear reader, 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