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Thursday 31 December 2015

A Happy and Healthy New Year

Thank you to all the people that have taken the time to read our blog during this past year, and special thanks to the people that post comments, you are very much appreciated. Thanks also for the emails, phone calls, twitter messages and support we get from friends from all around the world.

The team enjoy posting the recipes, links to diabetes and low carb news, the Saturday Night Is Music Spotlight and of course some posts which highlight even more!

We never stop telling the good news, about the LCHF lifestyle, we believe that every post can make a difference. Someone, somewhere, will read it, and may well change their life. We never forget, diabetes can be a life sentence, not a death sentence. Control your diabetes and live a long and active life.

If we have helped one diabetic, per hundred thousand page views, in the time that this Blog has been active then that's very cool. So our thanks again.

Wishing all our readers a very Happy and Healthy New Year - from all on the low carb team

Cauliflower Mac ‘N Cheese with English Cheddar and Bacon

What could be better than a nice Creamy (organic) English cheddar and crispy bacon as they come together in a delicious low carb faux mac and cheese dish. This is another great recipe from Carolyn, see link below, and well worth trying soon ...

Serves Six
1 medium head cauliflower
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup whipping cream
5 ounces good English Cheddar, grated
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup sliced green onion

1.Cut cauliflower into florets and place into a large pot with about 1 inch of water in the bottom. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and steam until it can be pierced with a fork but isn't mushy, 5 to 10 minutes.
2.Drain well, then return to the warm pot for a few minutes to draw out more moisture. Drain again.
3.Meanwhile, add bacon to the pot and cook over medium heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but 2 tbsp of bacon grease from the pot and return to heat.
4.Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add whipping cream and bring to just a simmer. Add the cheddar and stir until melted.
5.Remove from heat and quickly whisk in xanthan gum to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6.Preheat oven to 350F.
7.Using your fingers, shred cauliflower into small macaroni-sized pieces and place in the bottom of a casserole dish or a cast iron skillet/pan. Sprinkle with bacon. Pour cheese sauce evenly over the cauliflower and top with additional grated cheese, if desired.
8.Bake until bubbly and browned on top, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.

Now doesn't that sound delicious ... this lovely recipe can be seen here, and if you should ever need to compare U.S. vs. Metric vs. Imperial (U.K.) Measures, Cooking Equivalent Measurements, please have a look here

Bon Appetit

All the best Jan

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Reducing Salt Intake Might Harm Heart Failure Patients, Study Claims

MONDAY, Dec. 28, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- For decades, doctors have urged heart failure patients to slash their salt intake as a way to preserve their health.
But a new study suggests -- but doesn't prove -- that that advice may be harmful, potentially increasing a heart failure patient's risk of death or hospitalization.
Patients with moderate heart failure who stuck to a low-sodium diet were 85 percent more likely to die or require hospitalization for heart disease, when compared to similarly ill patients who didn't restrict their salt intake, the researchers found.
"The conventional wisdom has been that salt is bad for you," said lead researcher Dr. Rami Doukky, a cardiologist and associate professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. "This study says, not so fast. Maybe we should take that, no pun intended, with a grain of salt."
However, Doukky and other cardiologists warned that the study findings are very preliminary and should not be interpreted by heart failure patients to mean that it's OK to reach for the salt shaker. Rigorous clinical trials are needed to further test the safety of this hypothesis, the experts said.
"The study is meant to be an eye-opener, that we need to investigate this matter more. We used to take it [salt consumption] for granted, and now it is time to address it with more definitive trials," Doukky said.
Physicians have long assumed that salt is bad for heart failure patients because the mineral causes the body to retain water and pull additional fluid into the blood vessels, Doukky explained.
Physiologically, the assumption makes sense, said Dr. Clyde Yancy, chief of cardiology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
Heart failure patients struggle with fluid retention because their heart beats too weakly to fight the force of gravity, allowing blood and water to build up in their lungs, feet, ankles and legs, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Salt also increases blood pressure by drawing water into the arteries and veins, according to the American Heart Association, and high blood pressure is a long-known risk factor for heart disease.
However, a handful of recent studies have called those long-held assumptions into question, suggesting that a low-sodium diet might actually be harmful to heart failure patients, Doukky said.
To put it to the test, Doukky and his colleagues gained access to data from a clinical trial that followed heart failure patients an average of three years and tracked their salt intake using a food questionnaire.
The researchers examined 833 patients from the study, including 130 patients who followed a sodium-restricted diet. They were matched against 130 patients who had no restrictions on salt intake.
About 42 percent of heart failure patients following a low-sodium diet wound up dying or hospitalized for heart problems, compared to 26 percent of patients with no salt restrictions, the researchers found.
"To our surprise, we found that patients who were sodium-restricted had worse outcomes than those who were taking sodium more liberally," he said.
The study findings were published online Dec. 28 in JACC: Heart Failure, a journal published by the American College of Cardiology.
Doukky theorized that cutting back on salt might throw a heart failure patient's fluid volumes out of whack, with potentially harmful consequences.
"The idea is sodium restriction leads to a contraction of the fluid volume in the body, and that turns on certain hormones which try to retain fluids in the body and may potentially accelerate the heart failure process," he said.
Yancy noted that the new findings also shouldn't be applied to healthy people without heart problems. Salt remains a leading risk factor for high blood pressure, which can cause heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
More information
SOURCES: Rami Doukky, M.D., cardiologist and associate professor, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago; Clyde Yancy, M.D., chief, cardiology, Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago; January 2016, Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure

Raspberry Chocolate Low Carb Sundae : Perfect For New Years Eve

If you are looking for a nice dessert, which is also low in carbs, why not consider making this. It's a combination of layered raspberries, blackberries, chocolate cream and coconut, and makes a very nice sundae. With only 8.3g carbs per serving this yummy combination of chocolate, cream, raspberries and coconut make this a winning dessert. It could be a nice option for a New Year's Eve menu plan?

Serves 4 - 5
500ml double cream
3 tbs cocoa powder
2 tbs stevia or sweetener of choice
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blackberries
shredded coconut flakes

Whip the cream, cocoa powder and stevia together until quite firm, but do not over whip the cream or it make split.
Choose wine glasses or tumblers and start to layer the chocolate cream alternately with the raspberries, blackberries and shredded coconut.
Continue until you have at least 4 layers.
Top the sundae off with more raspberries, blackberries and coconut flakes.

Serving size: 1 sundae

Calories: 423 Fat: 42.4g Carbohydrates: 8.3g Sugar: 4g Fibre: 3.4g Protein: 1.1g

Recipe idea from Libby here

Hope you enjoy your sundae ...

All the best Jan

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Cut out carbs, not fat if you want to lose weight, Harvard study finds

A study of more than 60,000 dieters finds those who cut back on bread, pasta and potatoes lost more weight than those who cut back on butter and cheese

New research suggests cutting carbs from your diet may be a more successful weight loss strategy rather than cutting out fatty foods
Cutting carbohydrates is far more effective than a low-fat diet in shedding the pounds, a major Harvard study has found.

The analysis of 53 studies, involving 67,000 dieters found who cut back on fat were two and a half pounds heavier after a year than those who embraced a “low carb” approach.

For decades, there has been debate over the merits of a low fat diet, which was endorsed as the best route to weight loss in the 1970s.

Now major research, published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, backs a low carbohydrate approach as a more effective diet.

The study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health looked at all previous studies from clinical trials that compared the effect of low-fat diets versus other approaches, at least one year later.

It analysed data from 53 studies with 68,128 participants that were designed to measure the difference in weight change between two groups.

Those that included dietary supplements or meal replacement drinks were excluded.

On average participants across all groups were six pounds lighter one year later

Compared with low-fat diets, participants in low-carbohydrate weight loss interventions were about two and a half pounds lighter.

Low fat diets were still better than “usual diet” when participants did not change their eating habits at all, scientists said.

Dr Deirdre Tobias at Bingham’s Division of Preventive Medicine said: “Despite the pervasive dogma that one needs to cut fat from their diet in order to lose weight, the existing scientific evidence does not support low-fat diets over other dietary interventions for long-term weight loss.”

“In fact, we did not find evidence that is particularly supportive of any specific proportion of calories from fat for meaningful long-term weight loss.”

The study found low carbohydrate diets were the most successful.

But doctors said any diet which reduced portion size and focussed on a healthy balanced range of fresh and unprocessed foods could form an effective route to weight loss.

Dr Tobias said: “We need to look beyond the ratios of calories from fat, carbs, and protein to a discussion of healthy eating patterns, whole foods, and portion sizes.

“Finding new ways to improve diet adherence for the long-term and preventing weight gain in the first place are important strategies for maintaining a healthy weight.”

Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology Frank Hu at Harvard said: “Current evidence indicates that clinically meaningful weight loss can be achieved with a variety of dietary approaches.

“The key is to improve long-term compliance and cardiometabolic health.”

Prof Tom Sanders, Professor emeritus of Nutrition and Dietetics, King’s College London, said the findings were not surprising because dieters find it easier to reduce bread, potatoes and rice than to cut back on fats.

He said the key message from the research is that overall calorie intake determined the extent of weight loss, however it was achieved.

“In order to control body weight, it still remains sensible advice to eat less (restrict portion size) and avoid consuming excess amounts of fat and sugar especially as fatty meat, deep fried foods, cakes and biscuits and sugar-sweetened beverages,” he said.


Top 10 Tips For A Gluten Free Diet

Following on from Graham's recent article Chefs feel the pain as diners go gluten free I thought readers who may be concerned or "worried you have a gluten-intolerance? Are already living with coeliac disease? may find this helpful.
If you're gluten-free these top tips from Coeliac UK will help make the everyday a little easier...

"Coeliac disease is a lifelong, serious autoimmune disease caused by the immune system reacting to gluten - a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. The only treatment for the condition is a strict gluten-free diet for life.

For those newly diagnosed with the condition, the prospect of a strict gluten-free diet may seem daunting at first; but armed with the right knowledge, the gluten-free diet can be relatively easy to adapt to. Here are Coeliac UK's top 10 tips for everyday eating...

1. Get used to reading food labels when you shop:

All packaged food in the UK and the EU is covered by a law on allergen labelling, meaning you can tell whether or not a product is suitable for a gluten-free diet by reading the ingredients list. If a cereal containing gluten has been used as an ingredient in the product, it must be listed in the ingredients list (no matter how little is used).

The specific grain will be listed, so look out for mentions of wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, Kamut® or any other grain which has been made through breeding these together as these all contain gluten. Often, these ingredients will be highlighted in bold.

2. Use gluten-free substitutes in place of gluten-containing foods:

Pasta, bread and crackers all contain gluten, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy these foods in your diet. Instead, switch to gluten-free alternatives of your favourite foods, which you will find in most supermarkets and health food stores. Gluten-free substitute foods include pasta, bread, crackers, bread rolls, cereals and more. Those medically diagnosed with coeliac disease can receive some gluten-free staple food on prescription from the NHS.

3. Remember lots of foods are naturally gluten-free:

Fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, cheese and eggs are naturally gluten-free, so use these as the basis to your meals.

4. Enjoy naturally gluten-free grains and cereals:

The gluten-free diet doesn’t mean that all grains and cereals are off the menu. Quinoa, teff, amaranth, polenta, buckwheat, corn, millet and tapioca are just some of the naturally gluten-free grains which can be included in the diet. Just check the labels to make sure you are using uncontaminated versions. Try swapping traditional breadcrumbs for polenta crumbs, opt for gluten-free buckwheat or rice noodles and pasta and try baking with quinoa for gluten-free alternatives.

5. Know which alcohol to avoid:

Gluten-free alcohol includes cider, wine, sherry, spirits, port and liqueurs, but remember that beer, lagers, stouts and ales contain varying amounts of gluten and are not suitable for a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free beers are available in some supermarkets and restaurants, but make sure you only drink those that are labelled in this way. 

6. Remember you can still enjoy meals out with family and friends:

Being on a gluten-free diet doesn’t mean that you can’t eat out – check out Coeliac UK's online venue guide to see where you can eat out gluten-free.

7. Be aware of cross contamination:

Even a tiny bit of gluten can be enough to cause symptoms for someone with coeliac disease, so make sure you minimise the risk of cross contamination with gluten-containing foods. Do this by washing down kitchen surfaces before use, using separate butters, spreads and jams to minimise the spread of crumbs and invest in some toaster bags to keep your gluten-free bread separate.

8. Avoid sauces containing gluten:

Lots of pasta sauces, gravies, stocks and condiments contain wheat flour, and therefore gluten, so ensure you read the label and exclude anything that isn’t suitable. Instead, try making your own pasta sauces and gravies using cornflour, arrowroot or potato starch to thicken them for a gluten-free option.

9. Experiment in the kitchen:

Finding the right gluten-free substitute for your usual gluten-containing ingredients is a matter of personal taste, so spend time in the kitchen getting used to gluten-free flours and baking aids.

10. Remember, gluten-free meals can be just as delicious and healthy too:

Once diagnosed with coeliac disease, you can start to make positive changes to your diet to improve your health. Coeliac UK offer support to help you adjust, which includes a Food and Drink Directory listing products to help you get started in the kitchen.

Coeliac disease affects 1 in 100 people in the UK, yet only 10 to 15% of those with the condition have received a diagnosis. Coeliac UK is the national charity for people with coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) and offers help, advice and support.

Find out more about the work we do at Coeliac UK"

The above words and article taken from here

This Creamy tarragon chicken bake is gluten free

You can find the recipe here

All the best Jan

Monday 28 December 2015

Chefs feel the pain as diners go gluten free

Scotland’s top chefs are being run ragged by the “ridiculous” number of diners following gluten-free and other restrictive diets.

Gluten, a mixture of proteins found in wheat and grains, causes severe discomfort to those suffering with coeliac disease, which is thought to affect 50,000 Scots.

Chefs have no beef with those following a gluten-free diet for medical reasons, but they are seeing an increasing number who are cutting out gluten — as well as those who cut out dairy products, sugar and wheat — because they believe it makies them healthier.

Celebrities from Novak Djokovic, the tennis player, to actors Gwyneth Paltrow, Rachel Weisz and Ryan Gosling — and even Bill Clinton — have extolled the benefits of going gluten free, claiming that they now have more energy.

Mark Greenaway, chef patron at Restaurant Mark Greenaway in Edinburgh, which holds three AA rosettes for culinary excellence, has seen a “daily” influx of customers asking him to change his menus to suit their diets. 

“It’s getting to the point where it is becoming ridiculous,” he said. “Diners with intolerances don’t come in monthly — it is daily. 

“If a diner books weeks in advance then only tells me at 8pm on a Saturday night that they are gluten free, that isn’t overly helpful. 

“It means I’ve got to run around the kitchen at the busiest time, write a menu and pair it with wine, then give it to my sommelier, who has to go down to the cellar. It isn’t a problem if they let us know in advance, but it is frustrating when they don’t.”

He said: “Over the past 12 months we have had a customer who could not eat anything green, one with a dairy allergy but who could eat ice cream, and someone with an allergy to raw chives. 

“We have absolutely no issue with catering for real allergies. It is the allergies that aren’t real that we have an issue with. 

“We had a wedding party in recently with 40 different intolerances. They were happy and the food was great, but did they experience my food and the way I like to cook it? Not really.” 

Edinburgh’s Castle Terrace, which until September held a Michelin star, has also noted an influx of intolerant diners flow through its doors in recent months. 

Dominic Jack, the chef patron and a graduate of the two Michelin-starred Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at the Gleneagles Hotel, describes the gluten-free diet as the biggest “challenge” to enter his kitchen in 2015. 

“This past year, dietary restrictions have been massive at Castle Terrace,” he said. “Even a lot of our regular guests have turned dairy free or gluten free. 

“The world is changing and people are becoming more aware of what they are eating, but it is becoming a challenge in the kitchen.”

It is a similar situation at The Kitchin, owned by Tom Kitchin, who co-owns the gastropub The Scran and Scallie with Mr Jack. This has prompted Mr Kitchin to describe the extra pressure on chefs to deliver as brutal. 

“Sometimes we have a giggle to ourselves and ask, ‘where did all these people come from?’” he said. 

“We understand that dietary restrictions can be an issue, but sometimes we look at our check board during a busy service and there is highlighter pen on so many checks pointing out what people cannot eat.

“It can be brutal for chefs.”
Meanwhile, health experts have warned that there are risks in giving up wheat and other grains without a medical reason. 

The fad for such diets has boomed nevertheless. A gluten-free Christmas food fair was held at Bath racecourse and Norwich’s first gluten-free cafe will join others in Glasgow, Manchester, Brighton, London and Bristol.

A recent survey of publicans found that two thirds felt that it was now essential to offer customers the option of gluten free or similar diets in order to retain the business. 

Four gluten-free recipe books are due to be released in January by one publishing house alone.

In addition, an independent Scottish beer maker, Brew-Dog of Fraserburgh, launched a gluten-free ale made from malter barley (and Scottish water) earlier this year.


Sunday 27 December 2015

Two million people are given statins needlessly, new research shows

ALMOST two million people are being advised to take the controversial drug statin despite being at no greater risk of heart disease, research suggests.

The study analysed the heart health of almost 6,000 patients using CT scans to detect calcium in their arteries.

The results, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that up to half of those who would be recommended as suitable for statins were not in fact at greater risk of heart disease because they had no calcium build-up.

Now experts say that the traditional methods of deciding who is at risk, by assessing factors such as age, sex and blood pressure, may be inaccurate.

This would mean patients are being prescribed statins unnecessarily.

Applying the figures to the UK, where the same method of risk assessment is used, experts say up to 45% of people recommended for statins under Government-backed guidance would have no evidence of heart disease. This equates to around 1.8 million people.

The study has fuelled concern about the widespread use of the drugs, which the Sunday Express revealed earlier this year can have serious side effects.

Doctors are recommended to prescribe statins to anyone with a 10% risk of heart disease within a decade under guidance issued last year by health regulator the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Dr Khurram Nasir, a cardiologist in Florida and lead author of the report, said: “Doctors are making decisions about prescribing statins using very flawed risk assessments.

“People are unnecessarily being put on lifelong medication that may be doing more harm than good.”

He added: “For me, I don’t want to be on a pill, however safe, cost-effective, or cheap it may be, if I’m not at high risk.”

British cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra said: “I have no doubt there are millions of people taking statins who will gain absolutely no benefit in prolonging their life and they don’t even know it because their benefits have been grossly exaggerated and side effects underplayed. The over-prescription of statins epitomises some of the worst failings of modern medicine.”

Dr Malcolm Kendrick, who has studied heart health, said: “The traditional risk calculations consistently overestimate risk because they evolved from outdated models.

“Trying to predict the risk of something while leaving out the most important data, as is happening now, is like shooting in the dark.

“We may also be over-treating a large number of people who could safely avoid a lifetime of drugs."

Note eight out of twelve of the N.I.C.E panel responsible for the guidelines are on the payroll of Big Pharma 


Are you a quiche or a frittata person ?

So, are you a quiche person or a frittata person? Raise your hand if you don’t know the difference…

Quiche and frittata are both egg dishes made delicious with the addition of cheese, veggies, meat, seafood or poultry. They’re both great ways to get a meal on the table — they’re not just for breakfast anymore — relatively quickly using just about whatever you have on hand. Now here’s the difference.

Quiche is made by adding ingredients to a custard base, a combination of eggs and (heavy) double cream, which gives it a deliciously creamy consistency when baked. Quiche usually has a crust, but it doesn’t have to.

Eggs get top-billing in a frittata. Frittatas have no crust and little, if any, milk or cream. Frittatas are cooked first on the stove-top, then finished in the oven or under the broiler.

The details above are from Chef Danielle ...

Now here are two suggestions, the first for a quiche, the second for a frittata 

Ham, Cheese and Broccoli Quiche : Low Carb & Gluten Free 

Quiche is a popular low carb dish. This ham cheese and broccoli quiche will not disappoint. It also has plenty of room to customize with add-ins like mushrooms and onions. It is a basic low carb ham cheese and broccoli quiche. The crust is made with a blend of almond and coconut flours. Gluten free. Make with or without crust.

1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tablespoons coconut flour
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup double (heavy) cream
1 ½ cups cubed ham
1/2 cup broccoli, cooked and chopped
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Combine all crust ingredients. Press into a 9-inch glass pie dish. Bake in 350 degrees F (180 C) oven for 10 minutes.
In large bowl, beat eggs with salt and pepper. Beat in cream.
Stir in ham, broccoli and cheddar cheese. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees F (200 C). Reduce heat to 325 degrees F (160 C); bake for 20-25 minutes more.
Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

This lovely recipe idea above from Lisa here and if you should need 'cooking equivalent measurements' I always find this chart very handy

English Breakfast Frittata

Serves Four
2 outdoor-bred pork sausages
1 tbsp oil
3 smoked back bacon rashers fat trimmed cut into cubes
75 g button mushrooms sliced
62.5 g pkt (pomodorino) tomatoes halved
4 large (British) free-range eggs
12.5 g bunch fresh chives snipped

1. Squeeze the sausages out of their skins, and roll the sausage-meat into 12 bite-size balls.
2. Heat ½ tablespoon of the oil in a 20cm ovenproof frying pan. Add the sausage and fry all over for 1 minute, until browned and cooked through. Add the bacon and mushrooms and fry for a few minutes, until golden. Add the tomatoes for a further minute. Remove the mixture and set aside. Discard excess fat from the pan.
3. Whisk together the eggs and chives and season with freshly ground black pepper. Stir in 2/3 of the fried sausage mix. Preheat the grill to medium.
4. Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan over a medium heat. Add the egg mixture, tipping the pan so that it covers the base. Turn down the heat and scatter over the remaining sausage mixture. Cook for 8 minutes, or until almost set.
5. Place under a preheated grill, for 2-3 minutes, until the frittata is set and golden. Let cool slightly, then slide out of the pan, cut into wedges and serve.

Frittata recipe idea from here

Now am I a quiche or a frittata person? Well I like both - how about you?

But please don't forget my tea, or would you prefer coffee !

All the best Jan

Saturday 26 December 2015

Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight

One for Jan. Guess what, wherever we go we are always late. Only twice did she turn up or get ready on time, the night we met and the day we got married. Fact!  Eddie

Ave Maria by Kimmy Scota

A tough gig not to be deeply moved by this. Eddie

A Change Is Gonna Come - Live at Folsom

Saturday night again and Saturday night is music night on this blog. This track is the way things have gone this year, more and more medical professionals are coming over to the low carb higher healthy fats way of life. It's been a long time coming, but a change is gonna come, it has to. Eddie

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Just in Time for the Holidays: Fat, Sugar and Grandma’s Cooking

She cooks with butter, heavy cream and gobs of cheese. What does that mean for your health?

Should you be worried about grandma’s cooking this holiday? After all, she cooks with butter, heavy cream and gobs of cheese. In fact, she uses all manner of fatty fair in her dishes. You see, grandma grew up in a time when people didn’t worry about fat, and particularly about the saturated fat in butter, cream and cheeses.

But times have changed. Today, experts and guidelines tell us to beware of fat, and particularly saturated fat. They tell us that saturated fats raise our cholesterol, especially the cholesterol in something called LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or "bad cholesterol."

"Bad cholesterol" is thought to increase the risk of heart disease. But the effect of LDL may depend on its type. For instance, small, dense LDL seems to increase the clogging of our arteries. But large, buoyant LDL seems not to.

What does this have to do with saturated fats and grandma's cooking? Well, saturated fats may lower small, dense LDL, while raising large, buoyant LDL. In other words, saturated fats may be a good thingfor cardiovascular risk – at least in general.

In specific, different saturated fats have different effects. Some affect levels of LDL; others don't. And some raise levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein) or "good cholesterol." The result is likely lower, not greater, cardiovascular risk. (Thanks, grandma).

Despite concerns raised by dietary guidelines, saturated fats do not seem to raise the risk of dying early from heart attacks, stroke or other causes. And while it is true that reducing intake of saturated fats leads to a reduction in heart attacks and stroke in some studies, this is not the case if what replaces those saturated fats is trans-fat or omega-6 oils. In other words, uppity grandchildren are not doing the family any favors by advising grandma to substitutes margarine for her butter; the result could be living to see fewer holidays together.

You see, butter – and full-fat dairy foods more generally – may help protect against cardiovascular disease and various risk factors such as obesity and diabetes. And it may be the saturated fats in these foods specifically that confer the benefits.

So the fact that grandma cooks with butter and cream, and smothers her veggies in cheese, is not really an issue (aside from their deliciousness). What is an issue is grandma's holiday predilection for sugar.

As we point out in a forthcoming paper in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, sugar may matter much more for heart health than saturated fat. Note: We're not talking about the small amounts of sugar found naturally in fresh fruits from the holiday gift basket. Nor are we talking about the vegetables hiding beneath the cheese, the nuts laying beside the nutcracker or the whole-grain stuffing and side dishes. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains are associated with decided health benefits, despite their sugars and – particularly in the case of nuts – despite their saturated fats. These foods are associated with healthier hearts, healthier weight and longer life.

The sugars in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains come packaged in reasonable quantities, and in the context of fiber, vitamins, minerals and other healthy constituents. Whole foods are not a problem – be they beets, berries, barley or Brazil nuts (or butter).

The problem is not the sugars that are inherent to foods, but the sugars added to them (generally in obscenely large quantities that wreak havoc in our bodies). Think cakes, cookies, pies, candies, and sugary drinks. These items behave more like sugar-delivery systems for some kind of experiment. And the experiment is not going well for our hearts and health.

The potential detriments of big doses of sugar are too extensive to discuss in detail here. But as we explain in our paper, diets high in sugar may induce many abnormalities associated with elevated risk for heart disease. The list includes hormone alterations, liver disease, and changes in cholesterol-carrying LDL (in addition to increased risk for obesity and diabetes). In fact, diets high in added sugars have been found to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease threefold!

Among the sugars, the fructose-containing kinds – such as table sugar and high-fructose corn-syrup – pose the biggest problem. These sugars are found extensively in processed foods (so if anyone is buying holiday sweets as opposed to preparing them from scratch, that's not the best news for the family). But even if holiday merrymakers avoid industrial sweeteners like HFCS, they still have table sugar to contend with. Americans eat more than 100 pounds of added sugar every year. And grandma's desserts are not helping.

But we love grandma, and we love desserts. And holidays are about much more than nutrition. They are about sharing, enjoying company and savoring treats.

Holiday indulgences in cakes, cookies, pies, candies and sugary drinks are one thing. A daily routine of the same is another.

So this holiday, please enjoy grandma's homemade recipes and the real foods that define them. Should her dishes include butter or other dairy, there is no need to worry about the saturated fats they contain. Should they be rich in added sugars, then please enjoy the indulgence. But when the holiday is over, it is best to make whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts the usual routine. And it is best to leave processed products on the shelf, along with the added sugars they contain.

And it is best to give grandma a hug.

Tuesday 22 December 2015

More Kidney Disease With Long-Term Statins Seen in Cohort Study

DALLAS, TX — A large, 8-year retrospective study with a median 6.4-year follow-up associated long-term statin use with an increased risk of kidney disease[1]. Statin users, compared with case-matched controls who didn't use statins, showed a 30% to 36% greater prevalence of kidney disease during follow-up averaging 4.5 in the analysis of healthcare insurance plan members published December 1, 2015 in the American Journal of Cardiology, with lead author Dr Tushar Acharya (University of California, San Francisco).

However, patients who are taking statins should not stop taking them based on this study, senior author Dr Ishak A Mansi (University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas) stressed in an interview with heartwire from Medscape. "Our study did not examine whether the benefits outweigh the risk (it was not designed for that)," he noted. Moreover, there is strong evidence for overall benefit of statins for secondary prevention.

Still, this study shows that "despite the use of statins for more than a quarter of a century, there are aspects about its long-term effects in noncardiac diseases that we do not know very well," according to Mansi. "We are missing more extensive, real-world data of the effectiveness of statins on total morbidity and all-cause mortality, and we need further studies specifically focusing on long-term outcomes in primary prevention." Moreover, "the new [ACC] guidelines . . . are projected to increase statin use to many more hundreds of millions of healthy people, and before we do that we better make sure that we are not causing harm," he cautioned.

"Our paper says to scientists, physicians, funding agencies, [and] policy makers: 'Watch out, [it] seems that we still do not know enough about the long-term effects of these drugs on [the] overall well-being of patients.'"

Although the current study "has unique findings . . . it shouldn't be used as a final say in the controversy," he said. "Clinicians should tell their patients that there may be statin side effects we are not aware of, but there are also benefits that we are aware of." Clinicians also need to carefully monitor creatinine levels in patients taking statins.

A Cohort of 43,000 Strong

The researchers analyzed healthcare data from 2003 to 2012 from 30- to 85-year-olds who lived in the San Antonio, TX area and were members of Tricare Prime or Tricare Plus insurance plan for members of the military and their families. All patients were continuously enrolled in the healthcare plan during the study, and there were no missing data.

The overall cohort comprised 43,438 individuals: 13,626 statin users and 29,812 nonusers. The most commonly prescribed statin was simvastatin (73.5%), followed by atorvastatin (17.4%), pravastatin (7%), and rosuvastatin (Crestor, AstraZeneca) (1.7%); 38% of the statin users received high-intensity doses. The statin users took the drugs for a mean of 4.65 years.

The researchers matched 6342 statin users in the overall cohort with 6342 nonusers, according to baseline demographics, comorbidities, presence of renal disease, healthcare utilization, and medication use. In this matched cohort, patients had a mean age of 56, and 45% were women.

The researchers also identified a "healthy cohort" of 3982 statin users and 21,988 nonusers, and they matched 3351 statin users with 3351 nonusers. These individuals were all free of diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and conditions that might limit life expectancy or physical activity.

In the overall cohort, statin use was associated with a significantly increased risk of different types of kidney disease.

Risk of Kidney Disease in Overall Cohort, Statin Users vs Nonusers*

Kidney diseaseOdds ratio (95% CI)P
Acute and unspecified renal failure1.30 (1.14–1.48)<0.001
Chronic kidney disease1.36 (1.22–1.52)<0.001
Nephritis, nephrosis, renal sclerosis1.35 (1.05–1.73)0.02
*6342 statin users vs 6342 nonusers

In the healthy cohort, patients who received statins had a significantly higher risk of chronic kidney disease (odds ratio 1.53; 95% CI 1.27–1.85, P<0.001), but after adjustment for diseases (such as hypertension) that developed during follow-up, this association weakened, suggesting that these factors are implicated in the development of kidney disease.

Long-term Primary-Prevention Statin Trials "Urgently Needed"

"The findings of this study, though cautionary, suggest that short-term [randomized controlled trial] may not fully describe long-term adverse effects of statins," Acharya and colleagues conclude. Statins lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular death, but "on the other hand, statins increase the risk of incident diabetes and possibly kidney diseases, both of which paradoxically increase long-term morbidity and mortality," they continue.

Randomized controlled trials for primary prevention with statins were sometimes prematurely terminated once the efficacy of reducing major acute cardiovascular events was achieved, and these trials rarely had total mortality as a primary outcome, according to the researchers. "Therefore, further studies, specifically primary-prevention studies, are urgently needed in which the long-term effects of statins on total mortality and total comorbidity indices (not only cardiovascular morbidity) are set as the primary outcomes."

Monday 21 December 2015

When diagnosed young, type 2 diabetes is more lethal than type 1

VANCOUVER – When diabetes is diagnosed from ages 15 to 30 years, type 2 patients are less likely than are type 1 patients to reach their 50th birthday, according to investigators from the University of Sydney.

Even just a few years after diagnosis, young type 2 patients have a worse cardiovascular profile and worse cardiovascular disease, which leads to an earlier death.

“We pay less attention to type 2 than type 1 in young people. They’re not as sick, and don’t develop [diabetic ketoacidosis] if they miss a treatment. But young type 2 is not a milder form of diabetes in young people, and its detrimental impact occurs early. Before we know what’s going on, patients are middle age, and it’s too late,” said investigator Maria Constantino, a Ph.D. candidate, nurse, and diabetes researcher and educator at the University of Sydney.

Screening for type 2 diabetes “should start at a young age in at-risk groups,” and diabetes cardiovascular risk criteria should be reconsidered so that younger type 2 patients aren’t overlooked because of their age. Current criteria likely “lead to delay in preventive treatment” in the young, she said.

The conclusions come from a review of diabetes patients treated since 1990 at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney (Diabetes Care. 2013 Dec; 36[12]:3863-9).

The investigators compared 354 type 2 patients with 470 type 1 patients diagnosed from age 15-30 years. By around the age of 40 years, 11% of the type 2 patients had died, vs. 6.8% with type 1 (hazard ratio, 2.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-3.2; P = .003). Strokes, coronary artery disease, and other macrovascular complications were also far more common in the type 2 group, and they had worse hypertension and dyslipidemia despite taking more drugs to combat both. Type 2 patients also had more albuminuria and neuropathy.

The differences occurred despite the fact that type 2 patients smoked less, had a slightly shorter duration of disease (11.6 vs. 14.7 years), and equivalent glycemic control with their type 1 counterparts, with a mean hemoglobin A1c of 8.1% in both groups. They were heavier, however, with a mean body mass index of 32.2 kg/m2 vs. 25.6 kg/m2 in type 1 patients.

In short, young-onset type 2 is a “more lethal phenotype of diabetes. We are not saying one type of diabetes is more important; we need to conquer both.” But in young type 2 patients, “we need to focus on more than just glycemic control.” Cardiovascular risk factors are “detectable early, and treatable,” Ms. Constantino said.

The investigators also compared their 354 young-onset type 2 patients with 1,062 patients diagnosed from age 40-50 years.

By the time they were about 50 years old, young-onset patients were 6.5 times more likely to have died than were their age-matched peers without diabetes in the general Australian population. The peak in excess mortality for those diagnosed in their 5th decade came at about age of 65 years, with a risk of death about 2.5 times higher than nondiabetic peers in the general population.

“The impact of type 2 is much higher the younger a person is. You can argue that in our enthusiasm to diagnose diabetes, we are casting our screening net wider and wider, and take pride in diagnosing many elderly patients with diabetes, but we should not lose sight of the fact that finding and treating an elderly person with diabetes has much less impact than finding and treating one in a young age group,” she said.



Turkey Soup : How to use up that leftover meat !

This lovely idea is from Heather and you may find it most helpful ... because at this time of year ... I wonder how many of us think, 'what am I going to do with the left over turkey ?'

Well, how about this idea, you will see that the broth is made from the turkey carcass, so none of the nutrition in the turkey goes to waste, and is packed with minerals and gelatin — great for when you have a winter cold. You can really use any veggies or root vegetables in this simple soup. Sweet potatoes, rutabagas (swede), parsnips, jersey yams, or even turnips work just as well. You can add green beans, kale, tomatoes, peppers, or whatever vegetables you have sitting in your fridge. If you want your soup to have a rice texture, add chopped cauliflower.

'Leftover Turkey Soup'
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:10 hours

1 leftover turkey carcass
4 carrots, peeled and chopped, divided
5 celery ribs, chopped, divided
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, peeled and cubed
2 T apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Water to cover
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
12 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
¼ to ½ t poultry seasoning
3 cups shredded cooked turkey
1 cup chopped broccoli


1. In a slow cooker, layer the turkey carcass, 2 carrots, 2 celery ribs, onion, garlic, and apple cider vinegar. Cover with water and season with salt and pepper.

2. Cover and turn the slow cooker on high. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or overnight.

3. Strain the turkey carcass and vegetables out of the broth.

4. Either put the broth in a soup pot or back in the slow cooker.

5. Add 2 of the carrots, 3 celery ribs, the sweet potato, mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, poultry seasoning, broccoli, and turkey.

6. If using a soup pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until everything is tender. If using a slow cooker, cover and cook on high for about 4 hours.

7. Enjoy!

PS: Don’t have any leftover turkey on hand? A chicken carcass and meat (or even duck) make a great substitute.

Heather is a celiac food blogger with a passion for cooking. She loves to help others eat healthier through creating delicious and nutritious recipes that everyone will enjoy. Recipe idea and more from Heather here

I hope you enjoy this recipe suggestion. We try and bring a wide variety, but not all recipes will suit all. Any food allergies, or underlying health issues 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 20 December 2015

Amgen Denies Rumors About PCSK9 Inhibitors

Amgen says there is no truth to the rumor that the FDA is investigating post-marketing reports of serious brain infections in patients taking PCSK9 inhibitors.

The Amgen statement was in response to this anonymous post on CafePharma:

“The FDA informed Amgen and Regeneron today that there have been a number of post marketing reports of serious brain infection following the administration of PCSK9 agents. While they have not indicated any causal effect they have asked both manufacturers to prepare to attend a briefing at FDA after the new year. The agency has not indicated if they will issue any warnings or updates to the prescribing community as yet, there are 7 reports for repatha and 5 for pralulent. Amgen R&D is working thru the weekend to prepare for the meeting. It’s not clear if the company will be sharing this with the field at this point. As I get updates I will share.”

I asked Amgen to respond to the post. An Amgen representative, Trish Hawkins, sent the following statement:

"With respect to any post-marketing adverse event reports beyond what is included in the Repatha labeling, we are not aware today of any outreach or contact to us from the FDA"

Update, December 20, 12:18 PM, 12:57 PM:

I have now received a similar statement from Sanofi and Regeneron:

"Regeneron and Sanofi have not received any notifications from the FDA on this topic nor have we received a request to attend a meeting."

There has been an active discussion on Twitter suggesting that the Amgen statement does not preclude the possibility that the FDA has asked for a meeting or for more information about some other adverse events. Some observers speculate that these could potentially be neurocognitive adverse events, since there has been a very small signal for this problem in previous studies. I have asked Amgen and Sanofi/Regeneron for a clarification on this point.

It is worth mentioning here that a small neurocognitive signal now would not be entirely unexpected, since this is a controversial new class of drugs and neurocognitive events already occur at a high rate in the population taking the drugs. It is extremely difficult to interpret a few reports in the FDA’s adverse event data base. By contrast, the “serious brain infection” alleged in the original CafePharmapost would be more likely to raise a red flag, because it is highly unusual and has not been a topic of previous concern with the PCSK9 inhibitors.

(12:57 PM Update:
Asked to clarify their statement, Sanofi/Regeneron wrote:

As stated, we have not received any communication/notification from the FDA.

No smoke without fire ?


O Holy Child - Dusty Springfield

1964 charity single from the sadly missed Dusty Springfield in aid of Dr. Bernardo's


Saturday 19 December 2015

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Frank Kelly - With Lyrics

Not music but on a festive theme seeing this is the last music night on this blog before Christmas


Besame Mucho Cesaria Evora

Something completely different but solid class. Eddie 

Annie Lennox - Why

This Woman can do no wrong in my eyes. A brilliant career and her own boss. One of the best talents of my generation. Eddie

Eric Clapton - Layla

No messing about tonight, Saturday night is music night on this blog, let's kick off with a masterpiece. Eddie

McAlpine's barmy army.

I have been fighting the war against dietary madness for over seven years. The sort of lunacy that advises diabetics to base their diet on starchy carbohydrates and avoid saturated fat. The diet of slow death promoted by the average dietitian. I started a website over seven years ago and a couple of blogs, to highlight the corruption that leads to countless unnecessary early deaths, and to help fellow diabetics. Around a year ago I joined twitter and have learned a great deal. Twitter has been a very positive place for me and I have made many new friends. This week the crap has hit the fan. A bunch of low carb antis are foaming at the mouth, so outraged are these people, I fear for their health, their BP must be going through the roof, or is it? I very much doubt it. I have seen this sort of bullshit so many times, totally over the top ranting and raving. So what’s this all about. What’s got these anti’s spitting nails, what’s got Alastair McAlpine and his little gang on the warpath?

It is because I described a person on twitter as a bloated blogger. Normally this is the last thing I would have said, but this individual is a journalist, a very vocal one at that. And this person does not have sole rights on being negative, derogatory and rude. She of course knows this, and also knows when you write click bait articles, something has to give. McAlpines’s barmy army are clearly too thick to understand this. Hence the many tweets giving me a kicking. Which by the way, I take as complementary, when from the likes of these key board warriors. You know the sort of people, dietitians hanging out on social media rubbishing highly successful medical professionals, or shills like Slip Digby, the faceless, false name muppet, who winds people up on twitter, and then blocks them when they retaliate. I see well known UK dietitian Chris Cashin was swift to join the barmy army. Google that one up, a staunch anti low carber if ever there was one.

Around a week ago I read an article titled “All Hail High Priest Noakes” by Renee Moodie. I found the article to be extremely negative and clearly derogative of Prof. Tim Noakes. You can read the article here. As you will see Renee admits to knowing nothing about diets “ For myself, I am merely a journalist and am certainly not qualified to assess the studies being bandied about or the merits of various diets - but I do have a finely honed bullshit detector, and I have long been uncomfortable with the grandstanding aspect of Noakes's crusade.” She goes on to say “So, I won't be leaping on the Banting train any time soon.” Maybe she should give it a try, it’s very easy to follow and losing weight almost guaranteed, not to mention an improved lipid panel for almost all. We also read “Why does a diet have to be characterised as a "revolution"? Are ordinary people simply fodder in one man's obsession here?” it’s a revolution because it works for millions all over the world. And this cannon fodder remark, I am an ordinary person, am I one of the fodder? BTW I was using the diet known as Banting or low carb before Tim.

The bottom line here, McAlpine wanted to have a dig at me, how hard he tried to rally more of his ilk. When that failed he tried to compromise people who appear to have supported and followed me. He has the bare faced temerity to accuse me of bullying, yet needs a gang to try and bully or intimidate me, when that failed he turned on others. Not one word from him about the Noakes article, because anyone that kicks low carbing is cool with the McAlpine's of this world. As I said earlier, his sort are experts on what does not work, there are a lot of 'em about. Just ask Renee. Meanwhile I'm sticking with what does work and has worked for coming up to eight years. I'm also sticking with people like Tim Noakes. 


Panic Saturday : Just Relax with a slice of Almond Crusted Butter Cake

Yes, today sees the last Saturday for any Christmas shopping, and according to many 'media' outlets it is being termed as 'Panic Saturday', as many Panic-buyers and bargain-hunters are expected to visit stores on the busiest day in the Christmas shopping calendar. In fact some high street shops may well reduce prices in an attempt to coax us consumers down the aisles.'

Now, I have a suggestion ... why not try and take a few minutes to just simply relax ... put the kettle on and enjoy a slice of this lovely low carb and gluten free Almond Crusted Butter Cake ... you will be so glad you did!

Almond-Crusted Butter Cake

1/4 cup sliced almonds
3 cups almond flour
1/3 cup unflavoured whey protein powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated erythritol (Swerve can be used)
3 large eggs
1 tsp almond extract
20 drops stevia extract
1/2 cup almond milk

Preheat oven to 300F and butter a loaf pan very well. Sprinkle sides and bottom of pan with sliced almonds, pressing into butter to adhere to sides.

In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Add granulated erythritol and beat until lighter and well-combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at time, scraping down beaters and sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in almond and stevia extracts.

Beat in half of the almond flour mixture, then beat in almond milk. Beat in remaining almond flour mixture until well combined. Spread batter in prepared pan, being careful not to dislodge sliced almonds on the sides. Smooth the top.

Bake 60 minutes, or until top is deep golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Serves 12. Each serving has a total of 6.52 g of carbs and 3.04 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3.48 g.

Food energy: 259kcal; Total fat: 22.44g; Calories from fat: 201; Cholesterol: 68mg; Carbohydrate: 6.52g; Total dietary fiber: 3.04g; Protein: 9.58g.

Recipe can also be seen here and here

Enjoy your Saturday

All the best Jan

Friday 18 December 2015

This guy lost 25 pounds by eating mostly fat

For a whole year, geneticist Jim McCarter went on a super-low-carb, high-fat diet to see what would happen.

He gave up sugar and high-carb foods and got 80% of his calories from fat. McCarter presented what he learned at the 2015 Quantified Self Conference.

Read more here:


RUDOLPH isn't he the red nosed reindeer ?

I'm sure most of us at one time or other have sung 'Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer'. I know my grandchildren sing it with glee, and the song does have a happy ending! It was first sung back in 1949 when Gene Autry had a massive musical hit with the song and it topped the Christmas Charts selling over 2.5 million copies! It's just one of those songs that many of us like to sing-a-long too ...

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer 
had a very shiny nose. 
And if you ever saw him, 
you would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer 
used to laugh and call him names. 
They never let poor Rudolph 
join in any reindeer games. 

Then one foggy Christmas Eve 
Santa came to say: 
"Rudolph with your nose so bright, 
won't you guide my sleigh tonight?" 

Then all the reindeer loved him 
as they shouted out with glee, 
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, 
you'll go down in history!

Well, Rudolph may have gone down in History as the song and films proved popular. At this time of year children and adults alike often share in the joy of Christmas songs, rhymes, hymns and Carols ...

But as I read in a recent article, for some Christmas time is not always easy, and there were some tips that you may find helpful ...

Katie writes "Each year, it gets bigger, brighter, louder and more extravagant, but for some, Christmas isn't always considered the most wonderful time of the year! In fact, for many, Christmas can cause worry, stress and anxiety, with Samaritans reporting a huge increase in phone calls during the festive period.

In order to reduce your Christmas stress, think RUDOLPH!

Relationships! It's the time of year that brings everybody together, but with family gatherings can come arguments. It is worth accepting that there may be squabbles, whether it's over what to watch on telly or who drank the last of the sherry! Try to avoid causes of conflict. Steer clear of conversations that create tension, like the time Aunt Sally forgot to buy Nan a present in 1992!

Unconditional kindness! Help spread the Christmas cheer; random acts of kindness will not only bring joy to others, but will also make you feel good. Try to be grateful and happy, even if you get naf presents.

Delegate and share! Don't try and do everything yourself! Feeling like you've got 101 jobs to do can be extremely stressful, so give everyone something to do. Remember that sharing is caring, don't eat the whole tub of quality streets to yourself! Share the gift experience; things that you receive may also interest others. Remind the children to "let others have a go". Sharing toys and playing games is a great way of bringing people together.

Organise! Christmas can be a daunting prospect, with endless things to do. Preparation is the key to reducing anxiety. Buy presents and wrap them in advance. To avoid panic on the big day, create a schedule, for example what time family will be arriving and when the food needs to be cooked etc. Structuring the day slightly will help you feel more in control and ease with the overall running of the day! Plan an escape if things get too much, such as taking the dog for a walk. Christmas can be rather overwhelming, so take five minutes to get some fresh air and compose yourself!

Limits! Unlike Father Christmas, there is only so much you can do! It is easy to get carried away, buying too many presents, or, going over the top with the decorations, so it's important to know when to stop. Avoid the temptation to do or buy more, don't take laptops, tablets or other devices that enable you to internet shop, to bed, and make sure to sleep. Create a checklist of things that need to be done, and stick to it. Allow time for yourself to enjoy the day, you shouldn't always be busy!

Perfection! Remember that nobody is perfect and you may not always get it right. Whether the turkey is slightly over done, or you bought the wrong size slippers, it doesn't matter! It's the thought that counts!

Happiness! Have fun, that's what Christmas is all about! Try to put worries to the back of your mind. If it helps, write down the things that are bothering you and deal with them another day. Try to relax and be merry! If you are going to drink, do it wisely, there's no harm in enjoying a mince pie ... !"

Now if you may be looking for a great low carb Christmas Pudding recipe ...

... have a look here
it's made using ground almond flour

Enjoy your Christmas Festivities

All the best Jan