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Friday 31 July 2015

Cholesterol confusion and statin controversy

The role of blood cholesterol levels in coronary heart disease (CHD) and the true effect of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are debatable. In particular, whether statins actually decrease cardiac mortality and increase life expectancy is controversial. Concurrently, the Mediterranean diet model has been shown to prolong life and reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, and CHD. We herein review current data related to both statins and the Mediterranean diet. We conclude that the expectation that CHD could be prevented or eliminated by simply reducing cholesterol appears unfounded. On the contrary, we should acknowledge the inconsistencies of the cholesterol theory and recognize the proven benefits of a healthy lifestyle incorporating a Mediterranean diet to prevent CHD.

Core tip: Traditional efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease have emphasized the benefits of cholesterol lowering and statin drugs. Often overlooked is the fact that numerous studies of cholesterol lowering have failed to demonstrate a mortality benefit and the benefits of statins may have been overstated. The Mediterranean diet has consistently lowered cardiovascular events and mortality in numerous studies and does not typically lower cholesterol levels. Alternative theories of atherosclerosis are independent of cholesterol metabolism and may provide the key to future preventive strategies.


Nearly twenty years ago two landmark randomized clinical trials appeared in The Lancet which forever changed the course of medicine for patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). The 4S study employed a cholesterol-lowering statin drug and reported a 30% mortality reduction[1]. The Lyon Diet Heart Study utilized the Mediterranean diet and reported a 70% mortality reduction[2]. Subsequent studies of the Mediterranean diet have confirmed these findings and also shown a reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease[3-6]. Subsequent statin studies have led the United States Food and Drug Administration to issue warnings regarding the increased risk of diabetes and decreased cognition with statin drugs. Paradoxically, statins have gone on to become a multi-billion dollar industry and the foundation of many cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines while the Mediterranean diet has often been ignored. We believe this statin-centric cholesterol-lowering approach to preventing CHD may be misguided.

Full study PDF:


What Happens One Hour After Drinking A Can Of Coke ?

coca cola

We all know Coca Cola is laden with sugar and that, at a push, you could use it to clean your toilet (but would you)! But it's a bit of a mystery as to what it does to your body.

Now, thanks to Niraj Naik, we have the answer to that question.

The brains behind website The Renegade Pharmacist has revealed exactly what a refreshing can of Coke does to your system within the first hour of drinking it. And it's not pretty.

"First 10 minutes

10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don't immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavour, allowing you to keep it down.

20 minutes in

Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment)

40 minutes in

Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.

45 minutes in

Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centres of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.

60 minutes in

The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.

After 60 minutes

The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyte and water.

As the rave inside of you dies down you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like having the ability to hydrate your system or build strong bones and teeth."

... On his site, Naik writes: "I discovered that a trigger factor for many widespread diseases of the west such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes could be closely linked to the consumption of one particular substance found in many processed foods and drinks – fructose in the form of high fructose corn syrup.

"High fructose corn syrup is found in pretty much all processed foods such as ready meals, fast foods, sweets and fizzy drinks and most people are totally unaware of its danger."

...Naik also says "When I advised people to reduce their consumption of high fructose corn syrup by eating lower carb/higher protein diets free from processed foods, even if they say they are healthy options, they started to lose weight and feel much better as a result.

In many cases I asked people to just stop their consumption of fizzy drinks like Coca Cola and instead swap it with either plain water, or add some freshly squeezed lemon for flavor.

Green tea is also a great alternative, and it is one of my personal favorites because it contains alpha wave stimulating theanine that also double serves as an antidote to the harmful effects of caffeine.

Those who loved to drink tea and coffee sweetened with lots of sugar, I advised to swap with natural sweeteners like stevia instead. This alone had some remarkable results.

There are 1.6 billion servings of Coke sold each day worldwide!! A very significant percentage of that is through supermarket chains like WALMART."

You can read more here

As for me - I will continue my LCHF lifestyle ... my food template is lower carb, higher healthy fats and moderate protein. I have been living this lifestyle for seven years now and no complaints, now where's my glass of water?

All the best Jan

Kale ... Sauteed it is scrumptious !

Sauteed Kale

If you've read the Bacon and Beef Stuffed Butternut Squash recipe you will see it referred to an accompanying dish such as sauteed kale. Now Kale is a very good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B2, iron, magnesium, vitamin B1, omega-3 fatty acids phosphorus, protein, folate, and niacin ... so as well as all these great nutrients it tastes good too!

This simple sauteed recipe idea takes just 5 minutes preparation and about 10 minutes cooking time. Read on and see what you think.

Serves Four
1 1/2 pounds young kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add vinegar.

See original recipe by Bobby Flay here


serve with Bacon and Beef Stuffed Butternut Squash

All the best Jan

Thursday 30 July 2015

Sugar: Can we trust industry?

Imagine a kilo of sugar - the large bag that you might buy in a supermarket.

It's a lot, isn't it? But that's exactly how much sugar the average adult consumes in a fortnight. Teenagers have even more.

This is the reason why the sweet stuff is the new frontier in the campaign to get people to live healthier lives.

One of the problems is that it's often hidden in the foods we eat. While fizzy drinks and confectionery are obvious sources, you may be surprised to learn that tinned soups, salad dressing and tomato ketchup all contain pretty high levels of sugar.

Government advisers have recently suggested no more than 5% of daily calories should come from added sugar - half the level of the previous recommendation.

But that is going to be a tough ask. No age group was meeting the old guideline, never mind getting close to the new one.

The response of health campaigners has been to call for tougher regulation - and in particular a tax on sugary drinks.

This is understandable. A typical can of pop can contain the equivalent of 9 teaspoons of sugar.

But the government does not seem to want to regulate, preferring to work in partnership with industry and pointing out many manufacturers and retailers have already started taking action.

Just this week Tesco announced it would stop selling high-sugar drinks specifically aimed at children, including certain types of Ribena and Capri-Sun.

While the move was widely welcomed, is it really wise to leave it to industry to help improve the health of the nation?

Of course the sector says yes. It points to the introduction of low-calorie and zero-calorie drinks - now accounting for half of all sales of fizzy drinks - and that the growth in bottled water is one of the fastest-growing areas of the drinks business.

The sugar problem

  • There has been growing concern about the damaging impact of sugar on health - from the state of people's teeth to type 2 diabetes and obesity.
  • Sugar has been dubbed "empty calories" because it has no nutritional benefit.
  • Government advisers recommend that no more than 5% of daily calories should come from sugar.
  • That's about 25g (around six or seven teaspoons) for an adult of normal weight every day. For children it is slightly less.
  • The limits apply to all sugars added to food, as well as sugar naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates.
  • To put this in context, a typical can of fizzy drink contains about nine teaspoons of sugar.

Read more:


Bacon and Beef Stuffed Butternut Squash


This dish is so versatile it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (accompanied by a side dish such as sautéed kale), and even reheated as leftovers. 

Serves 2 - 4
2 to 3 lb butternut squash, cut in half, pith and seeds removed
1 lb ground (minced) beef
8 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ lb mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp sea salt
ground pepper to taste
½ tsp dried thyme
1 TB fresh chives, chopped for garnish

1. Preheat oven. 350°F (180°C/Gas 4).

2. Place squash cut side down in a roasting pan in a ½ inch water and bake for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, on a medium heat sauté bacon, onion and mushrooms for 8 minutes.
4. Add beef and remaining ingredients (except chives) and continue to cook for 15 minutes and then let cool.
5. Scoop most of the pulp from the squash and add to beef mix.
6. Fill squash halves with mix, return to oven and bake for 20 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and serve garnished with fresh chives.


Original recipe idea from Chris Kresser here

Butternut squash is one of the most nutritious and healthiest vegetables you can eat, with a rich array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well as significant amounts of digestive fiber.

It not only tastes great, it is also low in calories, yet surprisingly filling. Many people would do well to replace fattening potato products with the far healthier and nutritionally superior butternut squash. Find out more here

All the best Jan

Wednesday 29 July 2015

The statinization of America

Is giving statins to 2/3 of the adult population to maybe extend their lives by six weeks really a good idea?

Anyyone who wants to know why medical costs continue to skyrocket needs only to look at the paper published in the July 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association that examined the "cost-effectiveness" of increasing statin use. The article described a computer simulation that modeled the effects of expanding statin prescriptions by various criteria. Depending on the starting assumptions, the model predicted that it would be "cost-effective" to treat as much as two-thirds of the adult population between 40 and 75 with statins.

Mind you, "cost-effective" does not mean that increasing the number of people eligible for statins would decrease health care costs. All the authors mean by "cost-effective" is that the additional cost per promised additional Quality-Adjusted Life Year would be below some arbitrarily selected value.

And just how much longer would people be living? Table 2 of the JAMA paper gives us the answer. According the authors' model, if we gave statins to everybody judged to have a risk of heart attack or stroke of at least 7.5 percent over the next 10 years (as the American Heart Association currently recommends) as opposed to restricting their use to patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease, diabetes or severely elevated LDL levels, life expectancy would increase by 43 days.

We don't know that even the meager results demonstrated in clinical trials will be forthcoming in actual clinical practice (the patients in clinical trials are in no way representative of those taking the drug in the real world). We don't know that benefits demonstrated in short-term trials can be extrapolated for the lifetime of the patient (in the absence of data, you just don't know). We do know that in Sweden, as prescriptions for statins tripled in the period 1998-2002, there was no correlation between increased statin prescribing and the rate of heart attacks and deaths.

Moreover, data on the incidence of heart attacks and strokes for the JAMA paper were taken from a 2005 meta-analysis published by the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists' Collaboration, or the CTT. When Dr. John Abramson of Harvard University School of Medicine re-analyzed the CCT's 2012 data, he found that statins conferred no mortality benefits to those whose risk of heart attack or stroke was less than 20 percent.

We're not paying for the medical interventions we're getting now. How can it possibly be "cost-effective" to spend even more money we don't have in the forlorn hope of increasing life expectancy by a few weeks or even less?

We now spend 17 percent of our gross domestic product on health care, more than any other civilization at any time in history. Within the last 50 years, so-called "non-discretionary spending" (mainly Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) has ballooned to 70 percent of the federal budget, while spending on investment (i.e., education, research and development and infrastructure) has dropped from 20 percent to 10 percent. We are bequeathing to future generations trillions of dollars in debt and trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities. We are already close to maximum life expectancy, and most of the remaining gap could be closed by lifestyle interventions.

Medical interventions push hundreds of thousands of Americans over the edge to bankruptcy every year and kill hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. If a computer simulation — based on an outdated meta-analysis of studies (mostly bought and paid for by the drug companies) and some indefensible ancillary assumptions — that promises an increased life expectancy measured in a few weeks is anyone's idea of cutting-edge medicine, isn't it time to consider the possibility that we already have picked all the low-lying fruit?

We are a society obsessed with sickness, with death and with tiny or even non-existent reductions in risk. Those of us who (like myself) have passed the half-century mark should ask ourselves: How do we want young people to see us? As elders who are here to protect them, guide them, train them to take our places, and then to die and get the hell out of their way? Or as selfish characters who are here to suck up as many medical resources as we can before finally coding on a respirator in an ICU? At the very least, we ought to have an honest discussion about the magnitude of the promised reductions in risk we are talking about.


The NorCal Margarita : Paleo : Low In Carbs

It was good friend Tess at Tess's Paleo Journey that got me thinking about this cocktail ... she happened to mention this cocktail in her latest blog post and I thought 'good idea' so thanks Tess.

"Now the NorCal Margarita, (made famous by Robb Wolf in his book, The Paleo Solution) , is not really a margarita, and it's barely a cocktail, but it's a good place to start for a few reasons: 

-Tequila is made from agave, which is not a grain and therefore gluten free. Is it more gluten-free than any other spirit? Not at all, but unlike vodka or whisky, there were never grains involved. This might make a different to some of you.

-Lime juice is your best friend in a paleo cocktail. It blunts insulin response, preventing the complete disruption of the insulin sensitivity you've worked toward with your otherwise paleo diet. Also, since most foods provide a net acid load, it's nice to be able to even that out with the net alkaline load from the lime juice.

-The CO2 bubbles in soda water will accelerate the ethanol getting into your bloodstream, making you drunk faster. This is good in couple of ways, but the key is that you don't need to drink so many before you feel them. *

2 to 3 oz tequila (a nice reposado)
juice from 1 lime
club soda

Shake your tequila and lime juice with ice, then strain into chilled glass with ice and top off with soda. Garnish with a slice of lime, or just drink it.

You can obviously use this basic model for many cocktails, just swap out the spirit for any other that goes well with lime." 

"What you’ve got here is a 130-150 calorie beverage that is low carb (5 grams or less), low sugar (5 grams or less), and not too sweet or sour."

Above words and picture taken from here and here

* So please be aware of this !

Summer time and the living should be easy ...


All the best Jan

Looking for Low Carb and Gluten Free Recipes ?

There is no doubt many of us love looking for some delicious low carb and gluten free recipe ideas, and when I find or use a great recipe I do like to pass it on.

Well how about this! The lovely Dr Andreas Eenfelt and Diet Doctor site have put together a lot of super recipe ideas you may just wish to have a look at and perhaps try out.

You can find it here

Bon Appetit

All the best Jan

Slow Cooked Chicken with Red Wine and Asian Greens : Low In Carbs


This lovely Slow Cooked Chicken with Red Wine and Asian Greens recipe is by Julia McPhee, a fellow low carber who lives in New Zealand. Julia has a passion for creating low carbohydrate recipes and adapting traditional recipes to fit the low carb agenda. Her aim is to make the low carb lifestyle an achievable option for everyone, and to help people to understand that there is life after carbs! She has been living and promoting the low carbohydrate lifestyle for over three years and while weight loss was her primary motive, she continues to notice positive changes in herself, including increased and consistent energy levels, less of those age related aches and pains and naturally improved food choices.

Here is what you need and how you cook this great tasting meal ...


Serves 4
2 tbsp Coconut oil
500 gm or 4 whole Chicken thighs on the bone
1 onion quartered
4 whole Garlic cloves
1 knob Ginger
2 Chili's sliced
¾ cup Red wine
¾ cup Chicken stock
2 cups Asian greens (bok choy etc) or spinach and kale
1 Carrot sliced
Fresh herbs (coriander, parsley, thyme etc)
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ cup Cream

Heat coconut oil in pan and add chicken legs, Cook until browned on both sides (skin side in particular). Place chicken in a slow cooker. Add onion, garlic cloves, ginger, wine and stock. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-7. Before serving, add sliced greens, carrot, cream and cook until vegetables are heated through. Taste before serving and add extra flavouring (chili, garlic etc) if needed.

Nutrition Information:
Serving size: 1 Fat: 30.6g Saturated fat: 17.4g Carbohydrates: 2.0g Protein: 47.8g

Enjoy - you can see the original recipe here

All the best Jan

Tuesday 28 July 2015

High Blood Sugar May Boost Alzheimer's Risk

High blood sugar associated with prediabetes may increase the risk for Alzheimer's disease, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that insulin resistance -- higher-than-normal levels of blood sugar that often precede type 2 diabetes -- was related to poorer performance on memory tests taken by late-middle-age adults.

"The findings are interesting because people with diabetes are at increased risk for developing Alzheimer's disease, but we are only now learning why they may be at increased risk," said lead researcher Barbara Bendlin, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The study results suggest that insulin resistance could increase the risk for Alzheimer's disease by altering the way the brain uses sugar (glucose), which is its primary fuel, she said.

However, "by altering insulin resistance in midlife, it may be possible to reduce future risk of Alzheimer's disease," Bendlin said. Medications and a healthy lifestyle are possible ways to do that, she said.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, and more than half of adults older than 64 have prediabetes. Poor diet, obesity and sedentary lifestyles are associated with insulin resistance, Bendlin noted.

"Healthier lifestyles may contribute to healthier brain aging by reducing insulin resistance," Bendlin said.

One expert cautioned that having prediabetes, or insulin resistance, doesn't mean you're doomed to develop Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia.

This study shows that insulin resistance may make mental functioning worse and may be linked to reduced use of insulin in areas of the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease, but this does not mean that insulin resistance leads to Alzheimer's, said Dr. Luca Giliberto, an investigator at the Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer's Disease at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y.

"We do not know what causes Alzheimer's disease," said Giliberto, who was not involved in the study. "We don't know if lowering blood sugar will prevent Alzheimer's."

For the study, Bendlin's team gave memory tests to 150 adults with no mental impairments, at average age of 61. The researchers also measured insulin resistance and had the participants undergo a PET brain scan.

More than two-thirds of the participants had a parent who suffered from Alzheimer's, about 40 percent had a gene mutation associated with increased Alzheimer's risk and roughly 5 percent had type 2 diabetes, according to the study.

The researchers found insulin resistance was associated with poorer processing of sugar throughout the brain. Worse performance in immediate memory was linked to lower sugar metabolism in the left medial temporal lobe, the authors said.

The report was published July 27 online in JAMA Neurology.

Dr. Sam Gandy, director of the Center for Cognitive Health at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, said it appears there may be a difference "between the dementia related to full-blown diabetes, which seems to be primarily dementia caused by hardening of the arteries in the brain, and the mental impact of insulin resistance, which some investigators believe is associated with Alzheimer's."

In the brain, insulin helps transmit messages between cells, he noted.

"We have long thought of Alzheimer's as a disease of defective brain signaling," said Gandy, who had no role in the study. "Conceivably, there is also a disease of defective insulin signaling, which this paper would support."

If that's true, Gandy added, "then efforts at sensitizing the brain to insulin, using drugs such as pioglitazone [Actos, a diabetes drug], would make sense and might well lead to slowing of degeneration."

Giliberto recommended healthy living as the best way to keep blood sugar under control and perhaps protect mental health.

"Increasing our health by reducing fats, reducing sugar, improving insulin resistance may reduce the risk of other factors, such as diabetes, on the susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease and mental decline," Giliberto said.


Reasons To Love Avocados? Well Here Are Twenty !

Well I know we have done various articles about Avocados but can you have too many? No of course you can't ... so when I saw this interesting article, I thought it one for sharing. Some people love avocados where others may not, but they are certainly full of good nutrients. Read on and see what you think ... avocados, may well suit your lifestyle. They certainly appear in my menu plans.

"From their heart-healthy benefits and skin-loving nutrients to their unique versatility in recipes and making snack times extra delicious, we love having avocados every day! Here are 20 great reasons why you should fall in love with avocado too (if you haven't already!):

1. They fit all diets!
No matter what eating guidelines you follow, the humble avocado works for all!

2. They're nutrient dense
Avocados are packed with beneficial nutrients to enhance the nutrient quality of your meals.

3. Avocado makes an awesome spread
Substitute butter and margarine for a healthy spread of avocado. You'll boost your nutrient intake, and it tastes great!

4. Boost your fruit intake!
Not much of a sweet tooth? Avocados are actually a fruit, so they count towards your fruit intake!

5. You'll never need a substitute
Avocados are always in season so you can enjoy them all year round!

6. They're super versatile
Known for guacamole, dips, and other savoury dishes, yet avocados are appearing more and more in sweet dishes too. Think chocolate mousse, ganache, smoothies and ice cream!

7. They're low in sugar
They may be a fruit, but they contain less than 1g of sugar per ounce!

8. Avocados make great baby food!
They're firm enough for tiny fingers, yet mashable and soft enough to be gentle on gums. Rich in healthy fats, fibre, and other nutrients, it makes a great addition to your baby's first foods.

9. They're full of healthy fats
Over 75% of the fat content in an avocado is great for your heart! In fact, having more of these healthy unsaturated fats is better for your heart than eating low fat!

10. Avocado boosts your eye health
Avocados contain 81mg of lutein & zeaxanthin, antioxidants known to support eye health as we age.

11. An avocado is an edible bowl for your favourite fillings!
Simply cut an avocado in half, and fill with all sorts of things, from sauerkraut and salsa to diced roast vegetables, a few spoons of curry or bake an egg in it!

12. They nourish your brain and nervous system
A serve of avocado contains 3.5g of unsaturated fat required for healthy brain and nervous system development

13. They make a great fat substitute in baking!
Swap butter or coconut oil for pureed avocado. You won't taste it, trust us!

14. They make all things creamy and delicious!
Need something to be thicker, creamier, like say, a decadent chocolate mousse, or healthy banana thick shake? Add some avocado!

15. They'll keep your cholesterol on track!
Battling a cholesterol problem? Avocados are the richest known fruit source of phytosterols, a natural plant compound that competes with dietary cholesterol absorption.

16. Avocados contain nutrients essential for a healthy pregnancy
Containing folate, vitamin E, B vitamins, iron, choline, and fibre, they're great for both yourself and your growing baby throughout the entire pregnancy, from conception, birth and beyond.

17. They have more potassium than a banana!
Bananas are known for their potassium content, but per 100g, the avocado fruit contains 485mg of potassium, that's 127mg more than bananas!

18. They make a satisfying snack
All you need is a little sea salt, cracked pepper and a spoon!

19. There are plenty of ways to eat them
You can grill them, bake them, or eat them raw.

20. You can make ice cream with avocado!
A brilliant, dairy-free, vegan alternative to store-bought ice cream varieties, simply blend 1/2 an avocado and a squeeze of lime juice with 2 tbsp of maple syrup and 1 cup of your milk of choice. Pour into ice block molds and freeze. Delicious!"

Most words taken from original article by James Colquhoun here

All the best Jan

Monday 27 July 2015

Zoe Harcombe: The Eatbadly Plate


An Evening Hour ... time well spent

Summer can be such a lovely time of year, the weather should be fine, the evenings that little longer and if we are fortunate to have a garden ... we get to enjoy that little bit of outdoor space too. This time of year there is always plenty to do. Sometimes the sun shines too much, and we hope for rain. But then the rain arrives, and sometimes it brings storms ... and we may moan! Is there ever a good balance?  

I happened to be sitting indoors and came across this poem, and as I read it I did have to agree with the writer, in my minds eye I could picture that evening hour. How about you?  

Image result for beauty of nature garden

An Evening Hour

It was a sunny bright evening, an evening so calm,
The kind of evening that was inviting me with an outstretched arm.

So I decided to spend an hour doing almost nothing,
Sitting and enjoying the best of what nature could bring.

Getting up from my chair, I thought I'd take a stride
Then there was a bumble bee that suddenly came by my side.

There was a kind of music as the bee flapped its wing,
Music so perfect that no one could ever sing.

Walking little further, I spotted a butterfly
Which was hovering over the flowers and then soaring high
And I came to the conclusion as I was on my knees,
Not the richest of queens was dressed like one of these.

My evening hour in the garden was very well spent
And now I know what beauty and music really meant!!

By Pearlyn

Image result for beauty of nature garden

Image result for beauty of nature garden

Image result for beauty of nature garden

Image result for beauty of nature garden

all images courtesy of google

And after that evening hour, there may still be time to enjoy a summer's drink.

Image result for gin and tonic on garden table

now that's a different take on tea with milk please !

All the best Jan 

Sunday 26 July 2015

EXCLUSIVE: New calls for review over statin danger

THE British Medical Journal has called for a new and independent review of statins.

It fears the drugs are linked to side-effects including muscle pain, cataracts, liver dysfunction, diabetes, fatigue and memory loss.

This month the Sunday Express revealed that statins have been linked to almost 20,000 reports of side-effects and 227 deaths.

Doctors are recommended to prescribe statins for anyone with a 10 per cent risk of heart disease within a decade.

Up to 12 million are routinely given the drug.

But critics say much of the trials data has never been made public and work is needed to ensure routine prescribing is not doing harm.

BMJ editor Fiona Godlee said yesterday: “The information on side effects has been seen only by the drug companies and the people who did the trials.

"We are asking for independent eyes to look at all the data on statins because this is such a widely used drug and for many people with a low risk of heart disease these drugs may be causing more harm than benefit. This analysis has to be completely independent.”

Klim McPherson, a professor in public health at Oxford University who suffered severe pains while taking statins, welcomed the call.

He said: “We do not have properly measured trials… and these are not available for public scrutiny.”

Dr Malcolm Kendrick, a GP and author in Macclesfield, Cheshire, said: “It is an utter scandal that the side-effect data is hidden from the public.”

The Oxford academic whose findings helped rubber-stamp statins’ mass prescription has announced he will carry out further checks.

However, the BMJ stated Professor Rory Collins could not be considered independent because he was on the trials team.

It concluded: “How can it be right to recommend mass treatment of healthy people without independent review? The statins trialists can take the lead on transparency or be pulled kicking and screaming into the light.”

BMJ article here:

Wonder just how many statin side effects go unreported ?


Summer Style All Green Salad

La-style all green salad image

Many may call this an 'LA-style all green salad' but whether you are in LA, London, Llandudno, Lugano, Lisbon, Luxembourg, Limerick, Lanark ... or your own town, if you like broccoli why not consider giving this a try. The recipe idea does suggest a tin of green lentils, which does 'up' the carb content *.

The recipes on this blog are only suggestions, and you may wish to amend them slightly to better suit your own individual requirements. If you are a diabetic and not sure of how certain foods may affect your blood sugar level ... test is best i.e. do use your meter.

... but on we go. This is a plate brimming with the best of summer veg, all topped off with a zesty dressing.

Serves Four
1 tbsp olive oil
0.5 tsp ground cumin
1 clove garlic, crushed
Zest and juice of 1 washed lemon
80 g fat-free natural yogurt
1 medium head broccoli, broken into florets
250 g bunch asparagus, trimmed
200 g baby leaf watercress, spinach and rocket salad
410 g tin green lentils in water, drained and rinsed
1 ripe avocado peeled, de-stoned and chopped
40 g seed mix

1. Make  the dressing: in a small bowl, combine the olive oil, cumin, garlic, lemon zest and juice and natural yogurt. Set aside.
2. Steam the broccoli over a pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes, until just tender. Add the asparagus for the final 2 minutes.
3. Toss together the salad leaves with the asparagus, broccoli, lentils and avocado. Divide between 4 plates, drizzle with the dressing and serve scattered with the seed mix.

* 16.4g carb per serving

Original recipe idea here

I just thought if it's LA summer style perhaps we should get our roller skates out

Image result for la style roller skates

Second thoughts perhaps I'll stick to some summer sneakers

Image result for ladies pink summer sandals

Hope your summer is going well ... thanks for reading.

All the best Jan

Levellers - Beautiful Day (feat. Imelda May)

One of my favourites Imelda May enjoy 

Saturday 25 July 2015

Saturday night is music night: Gabrielle Aplin - Light Up The Dark


Butternut & Broccoli Super Salad With Mackerel

Butternut & broccoli super salad with mackerel

I don't know about you, but I think Butternut Squash has really grown in popularity in recent years. This recipe does use a mixture of butternut squash, green beans and broccoli and makes for a great vibrant, crunchy and extra-nutritious vegetable salad. Served with tasty mackerel - packed with omega-3, it makes for a very healthy recipe. 

The dressing makes it a bit more interesting and flavour-some. You may, if preferred, use smoked mackerel with it though rather than fresh. This also means you'll have one less pan to wash! If you do it this way you may want to consider baking the butternut squash in the oven instead of pan frying.

As always the recipe idea is for you to choose how it will best suit you and your family. But do please read on and see what you think... and hey, I know many people like to eat fish on Friday, but any day of the week is good for eating fish - it's so healthy!

Serves Two
12g carbs per serving

1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
200g butternut squash (about ½ small squash), cut into 2cm chunks
85g green beans, trimmed and halved
140g thin-stemmed broccoli, halved vertically
1 tbsp pumpkin seed
4 x mackerel fillets, bones removed

1. Whisk the vinegar, mustard, 2 tsp of the oil and a little seasoning together in a large bowl.
2. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan. Add the squash to the frying pan, season and cook, stirring, for 12-15 mins. Add the beans to the water, cook for 1 min, then add the broccoli and cook for 3 mins more. Drain well.
3. Tip the squash into the bowl with the dressing. Add the beans, broccoli and pumpkin seeds, toss well to combine and set aside. Cook the fish in the frying pan, skin-side down, for 2 mins, then flip over and cook for a further 1-2 mins until cooked through.
4. Divide the salad between the plates, top with the mackerel and drizzle over any dressing left in the bowl.

Please see original recipe idea here

Butternut squash, ripe fruits

Butternut squash seed cross section

Although a fruit, butternut squash is used as a vegetable that can be roasted, toasted, pureed for soups, mashed and used in casseroles.

In Australia it is regarded as a pumpkin, and is used interchangeably with other types of pumpkin.

Butternut squash finds common use in South Africa. It is often prepared as soup or grilled whole. Grilled butternut is typically seasoned with spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon, or stuffed ... for example spinach and feta before wrapped in foil and then grilled. The grilled butternut is often served as a side dish to braais (barbecues) and the soup as a starter dish.

It is a good source of fibre, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium and potassium. It is also an excellent source of Vitamin A and Vitamin E.

The fruit is prepared by removing the skin, stalk, and seeds, which are not usually eaten or cooked. However, the seeds are edible, either raw or roasted, and the skin is also edible and softens when roasted. One of the most common ways to prepare butternut squash is roasting. To do this, the squash is cut in half lengthwise, lightly brushed with cooking oil, and placed cut side down on a baking sheet. It is then baked for 45 minutes or until it is softened. Once roasted, it can be eaten in a variety of ways.

The above information taken from here

All the best Jan

Friday 24 July 2015

The relationship between microvascular complications and vitamin D deficiency in type 2 diabetes mellitus



Vitamin D deficiency is reported as a possible risk factor for the development of diabetes in several epidemiologic studies. In this study, we investigated the frequency of 25-OH vitamin D deficiency in type 2 diabetes mellitus and the relationship between 25-OH vitamin D deficiency and the prevalence of microvascular complications.


In this retrospective study, we evaluated the medical records of 557 patients with type 2 diabetes admitted to the Endocrinology Outpatient Clinic from January to March 2010 and 112 healthy controls randomly selected from individuals admitted to the hospital for a check-up and who had a laboratory result for serum 25-OH vitamin D concentrations at screening. The levels of 25-OH vitamin D in patients with type 2 diabetes and the relationship between 25-OH vitamin D deficiency and microvascular complications were investigated.


No significant difference in serum 25-OH vitamin D concentrations was observed between the diabetic and control groups. No correlation was observed between HbA 1C and serum 25-OH vitamin D levels. Serum 25-OH vitamin D levels were lower in diabetic patients with nephropathy, and patients not using any medication, i.e., those treated with dietary changes alone, had a higher prevalence of nephropathy.


Vitamin D deficiency is more common in diabetic patients with nephropathy. When microvascular complications were evaluated, vitamin D levels were found to be lower in patients in whom these complications were more severe. Vitamin D deficiency is therefore associated with microvascular complications in diabetic patients.


Does a high fat diet cause insulin resistance in a diabetic ?

Over the years, certain low carb and or fat phobic low carb higher fat antis, have said a high fat diet causes insulin resistance. Many of these people who have said this, have talked about the so called pizza effect, and love to quote Gary Scheiner a diabetic and diabetes expert. Gary has a great deal of trouble controlling his blood glucose, as detailed in my thread today called 'Nobhead aka Pinocchio never gives up' I have stated many times dietary fat does not cause insulin resistance for a diabetic and given the reasons I believe this to be true. When eating a high carb high fat diet (the worst possible combination) BG control can be difficult, because it can totally alter the insulin profile. BG can look good at one or two hours, but be way too high three, four or even more hours. The reason for this is because the fat has slowed down digestion markedly, and BG can still be rising long after the fast acting insulin has stopped doing it's job. (insulin using/injecting diabetics)

Now, knowing the low carb higher fat antis hold Gary Scheiner in such high esteem, I thought I would check out Gary's take on this, he says.

"Sometimes, food doesn't digest all that quickly. Especially when it contains a great deal of fat, or you consume a lot of it at one time. Fat slows the rate at which food empties from the stomach into the intestines, where it is then absorbed into the bloodstream. Likewise, large volumes of food take longer to pass through the stomach than smaller quantities. If you consume multiple slices of pizza, or the pizza is laden with fat-filled toppings like sausage or extra cheese, you can expect the carbs to take a few hours longer than usual to "kick in".

When we give a bolus of rapid-acting insulin (either via injection or a pump), the insulin usually starts to work in about 15 minutes, peaks in 60-90 minutes, and finishes in about three to four hours. This activity profile works fine if the food you are eating digests fairly rapidly. When the food digests slowly, a normal meal bolus may peak too early – resulting in a blood sugar drop followed by a blood sugar rise a few hours later when the food is finally absorbed but the bolus is fading"

So, low and behold I agree very much with Gary. Now what about the insulin resistance, you may be thinking. Gary goes onto say. Link to information here.

"The final insult brought on by high-fat foods like pizza is the prolonged, gradual blood sugar rise that occurs many hours after eating. And guess's not carbs that are causing the rise. It's the fat. But not directly. Here's how. High fat meals and snacks cause an increase in serum triglycerides for many hours. When the liver is confronted by large amounts of triglycerides, it becomes resistant to insulin. And that results in greater secretion of glucose by the liver. Without a concurrent increase in insulin, blood sugar levels are going to go up, up, up."

This is where Gary and the Bonkers and Nobheads of this world get it wrong. A high fat low carb meal does not raise serum triglycerides, as detailed here.

"Doubling saturated fat in the diet does not drive up total levels of saturated fat in the blood, according to a controlled diet study. Increasing levels of carbohydrates in the study diet promoted a steady increase in the blood of a fatty acid linked to higher risk for diabetes and heart disease."

However, increasing levels of carbohydrates in the diet during the study promoted a steady increase in the blood of a fatty acid linked to an elevated risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Link to information here.

The informed reader knows, serum triglycerides means blood fat or fat in the blood. Over the years many things have been stated by people going on a true low carb diet. Almost universally is a reporting of drastically reduced trigs levels. Carbs raise trig levels not saturated fat, full stop.

So, as previously stated the worst possible combination for a diabetic, looking to get non diabetic BG numbers control, is a high carb high fat diet. This sort of diet is guaranteed to raise trigs and bring about insulin resistance. Just the sort of diet the average poorly controlled diabetic is using. Hang on a minute when did the antis mention they eat a high fat diet you may be wondering. Just look at what they say they eat, they are eating more fat than they realise I reckon, and just like Gary Scheiner they struggle to get truly safe control of blood glucose levels. The NHS audited stats say 93% of type one diabetics (all insulin users) fail to get to a safe HbA1c, only to be expected when following the standard dietary advice from the NHS and the likes of Gary Scheiner, Sid Bonkers, Nobhead et al.

Above information from here.


The Unexpected Visitor ...

Out shopping recently I returned with a bagful of great foods. Which included some pork and beef for casseroles, some chicken, with skin on ... which I love cooking 'til it's browned and crispy! I had a great selection of vegetables too, things like swede, carrots, leeks, onions, broccoli, courgettes, cauliflower, mushrooms and I didn't forget the eggs, butter or avocado either. Did I also mention I bought some lovely low carb fruits ... raspberries and strawberries - well they go so nice with double cream don't they!

I was looking forward to getting indoors, un-packing the shopping and relaxing with a nice cup of tea...

I opened the front door, put my bags down to pick up the post and a sudden movement caught my eye ... what was that I thought.

I looked down and looking up at me was a little field mouse, which quickly scurried into the corner, whiskers twitching. Hey ' mouse' you're in the wrong place I thought ... you should definitely be outside. But what was I to do? The sensible thing would be to pick it up and gently put it back outside. The thought went through my mind but for some reason I just could not bring myself to pick up the mouse ... and there we were just staring at each other. You silly thing I told myself you are a grown woman who is afraid of a tiny mouse !!!

Fortunately my 'Knight In Shining Armour' arrived ... AKA Eddie. He must have sensed his damsel was in distress !!!

He quickly found a little box and gently got the mouse into it, and then very carefully placed the unexpected visitor in the hedgerow.

Image result for field mouse pictures

Somewhat relieved ... normal service was resumed. The shopping was un-packed, a refreshing cup of tea made and I survived to cook a lovely LCHF meal.

Pork casserole rustic style

This meal is one of our favourites. 

Serves two
2/3 pork chops remove fat and cut into small pieces
2 large leeks chopped
1 hand full of button mushrooms
1 large sliced carrot
1 table spoon of dried mixed herbs
Approx 1 pint of gravy stock
Salt and pepper to taste.

Clean, cut and place all ingredients in a casserole dish or earthenware oven proof pot with lid. Pour over the stock and cook at 190c in an electric oven 90 mins. Gas mark 5.

What could be easier, very lowcarb, real food and tastes great. 

... Thanks for reading.

All the best Jan

Thursday 23 July 2015

Study: Statins Cause Brain Decline

In a report published in the journal Neurological Research, scientists studied the effects of statins on cognitive function.

The study included 329 subjects over 65 years old, who were screened for cognitive dysfunction using the mini-mental state examination (MMSE). The subjects were also screened for depression using the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS).

The researchers found no difference in MMSE and GDS scores between subjects with and without high cholesterol.

However, statin users had lower MMSE and higher depression scores compared to those not taking statins.

Should you be surprised by these findings? Absolutely not. You could predict these results simply by understanding the mechanism of statin drugs, which poison the enzyme HMG-CoA Reductase.

This enzyme is necessary for the production of cholesterol.

The brain contains a large amount of cholesterol, which is required for the myelin sheaths that protect the nerves. In fact, the brain makes its own cholesterol.

All statin drugs cross the blood-brain barrier. It can easily be predicted that statins will disrupt brain function and result in diseases such as depression, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s


Dolphin Study Suggests Saturated Fat Could Help Prevent Diabetes.

Foods high in saturated fats have been demonized for some time now, with high intake linked to heart disease and a variety of other health conditions, including obesity. But slowly we seem to be realizing that perhaps their “unhealthy” label has been prematurely and unfairly slapped on, and avoiding them could actually be leading to unforeseen problems.

Adding to this growing body of evidence, scientists have now discovered that one particular saturated fat may actually protect against metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors – elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels and excess belly fat – that can lead to diabetes. And how did they come to this conclusion? Studying dolphins.

That may sound strange at first glance, but there is method behind the madness. Bottlenose dolphins can also develop metabolic syndrome, so researchers from the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF) reasoned that we may be able to learn something about this subclinical condition by examining their diet. More specifically, they wanted to see if they could identify potential protective factors that could translate to our own diet.

To relate this to humans, the researchers examined various food products for heptadecanoic acid levels, which is known to be present in things like dairy fat, rye and certain fish. They found that butter, whole milk and yoghurt contained the highest amounts, whereas it was undetectable in nonfat dairy products.

Full story from here.

OK many of us are beyond saving as far as becoming a diabetic is concerned, but clearly using these foods can do us nothing but good, and may help in our quest to at least reverse the main symptom namely high BG numbers. One thing we can take as read, the vilification of healthy natural fats was and is a complete disaster for hundreds of millions of people.


Macaroons Anyone ? These are Low Carb, Gluten Free, Grain Free and Sugar Free

Sugar Free Macaroons |

These Macaroons are Low Carb, Sugar Free, Gluten Free and Grain Free, and are a fabulous way to use up any egg whites you may have left over. It’s a really adaptable recipe whereby you can dip them in chocolate, add lemon or orange zest, add some ginger or some vanilla and cinnamon. You could be spoilt for choice !

Ingredients - Serves Twenty
4 egg whites
2 tbs granulated stevia, or sweetener of choice, to taste
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut

Clean a large bowl with kitchen paper to ensure it is free of grease or oil, otherwise your egg whites won't whisk well. Whisk the egg whites with the stevia, to form stiff peaks.
Add the vanilla and the coconut and gently mix to combine.
Line a baking tray with a non stick liner or baking paper. Roll a spoonful of macaroon mixture into a small firm ball and place evenly on the baking tray.
Bake at 180C/350F for10-12 minutes depending on your oven and the humidity.

Sugar Free Macaroons

Sugar Free Macaroons 2

Optional, you may like the subtle vanilla flavour of these macaroons, but others have enjoyed adapting these by adding almond essence, cinnamon or dipping in chocolate. The choice is yours ...

Serving size: 1 Macaroon Calories: 29 Fat: 2.6g Carbohydrates: 1g Sugar: 0.3g Fibre: 0.65g Protein: 0.69g

Thanks to Libby here for this super recipe idea

Happy Thursday Everyone ... the kettle will be on soon, the macaroons are waiting !

All the best Jan

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Yet another Frakenfood on the horizon

Flavour of fat is unbeatable . . . so a copy could be a winner in fight against obesity

Fat should be listed with sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami as a taste, according to new research, and could be replicated to combat obesity.

Scientists claim that if they could create fat replacements to stimulate the same taste buds, low-calorie foods could be more appealing. They suggested that the unique — and unpleasant — taste should be called “oleogustus”.

Richard Mattes, director of the Ingestive Behaviour Research Center at Purdue University in Indiana, said: “Identifying the taste of fat has a range of important health implications.

“At high concentrations, the signal it generates would dissuade the eating of rancid foods. But at low levels, it may enhance the appeal of some foods by adding to the overall sensory profile, in the same way that bitterness alone is unpleasant but at appropriate levels adds to the appeal of wine and chocolate.”

He explained that existing fat replacements mimicked fat’s texture but not its taste, possibly making them less attractive.

About a quarter of the UK’s population is obese, costing the NHS about £6 billion a year. Fatty foods have also been implicated in heart problems.

The new study, reported in the journal Chemical Senses, used volunteers wearing nose clips to investigate the taste sensation of free fatty acids, the building blocks of fat. Volunteers were asked to sample a range of taste qualities and sort them into groups. The scientists manipulated the textures of the samples so that taste was the only difference. The participants identified fat as having a unique taste.

“Many people described it as bitter or irritating and consistently unpalatable,” Professor Mattes said. “The research is difficult because we do not have a widely agreed-upon word to describe the sensation.”

While sweet, sour, salty and bitter have been universally recognised for centuries umami, a Japanese term loosely translated as “savouriness”, has only been accepted more recently.

A paper in the journal Flavour also suggested this year that fat could join the list. The writers found that people who could not taste fat in food ate significantly more at lunch after a high-fat breakfast than those who could.

Russell Keast, the lead author of the paper, said: “It is becoming clear that our ability to taste fat is a factor in the development of obesity. We know that people have a taste threshold for fat. Some people have a high sensitivity to the taste and are likely to eat less fatty foods, while others are less sensitive and cannot taste fat and are more likely to overeat fatty foods. And as we know, over-consumption of foods — particularly fatty foods — is associated with people being overweight or obese.”

He suggested that increasing fat taste sensitivity in those who were insensitive could be “one way to address the growing obesity problem”.


Those taking statin drugs to control their cholesterol were 87 percent more likely to develop diabetes.

In a study of nearly 26,000 beneficiaries of Tricare, the military health system, those taking statin drugs to control their cholesterol were 87 percent more likely to develop diabetes. The research confirms past findings on the link between the widely prescribed drugs and diabetes risk. But it is among the first to show the connection in a relatively healthy group of people. The study included only people who at baseline were free of heart disease, diabetes, and other severe chronic disease.

More on this story here.


Thought for the day.

Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do. Voltaire

A Classic French Ratatouille !


Why not enjoy this super healthy classic French vegetarian dish.


Serves Four
2 large aubergines
4 small courgettes
2 red or yellow peppers
4 large ripe tomatoes
5 tbsp olive oil
supermarket pack or small bunch basil
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar (any kind or use your preferred sweetener)


1. Cut the aubergines in half length-ways. Place them on the board, cut side down, slice in half length-ways again and then across into 1.5cm chunks. Cut off the courgettes ends, then across into 1.5cm slices. Peel the peppers from stalk to bottom. Hold upright, cut around the stalk, then cut into 3 pieces. Cut away any membrane, then chop into bite-size chunks.

2. Score a small cross on the base of each tomato, then put them into a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes, leave for 20 secs, then remove. Pour the water away, replace the tomatoes and cover with cold water. Leave to cool, then peel the skin away. Quarter the tomatoes, scrape away the seeds with a spoon, then roughly chop the flesh.

3. Set a sauté pan over medium heat and when h
ot, pour in 2 tbsp olive oil. Brown the aubergines for 5 mins on each side until the pieces are soft. Set them aside and fry the courgettes in another tbsp oil for 5 mins, until golden on both sides. Repeat with the peppers. Don’t overcook the vegetables at this stage, as they have some more cooking left in the next step.

4. Tear up the basil leaves and set aside. Cook the onion in the pan for 5 mins. Add the garlic and fry for a further min. Stir in the vinegar and sugar, then tip in the tomatoes and half the basil. Return the vegetables to the pan with some salt and pepper and cook for 5 mins. Serve with basil.

You may also:

Give the dish a Moroccan twist by frying the onions with 2 tsp harissa paste and stirring in 400g can chickpeas, drained. For a more intense Mediterranean flavour, add 1 tbsp capers, a handful of pitted black olives and a few chopped anchovies.

Make it your own ... spoon into a gratin dish, sprinkle with crumbs from 2 slices bread and a handful grated parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil and grill until golden. 

Make it your own ... add a de-seeded and finely chopped chilli with the garlic for an extra kick.

However you choose to prepare and cook, there are always some variations you may wish to try ... if you are a diabetic, or have any underlying health issues or allergies, care should always be given to which recipes and which ingredients you choose to use.

Image result for ratatouille food

Image result for ratatouille food

Image result for ratatouille

not to be confused with this Ratatouille !

Original recipe idea from here - food can look so colourful and inviting

All the best Jan