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Saturday 30 April 2016

Keziah Jones et Ben l'Oncle Soul - "Simply Beautiful"


Son Little - Your Love Will Blow Me Away - Later... with Jools Holland

Good track from Jan adding some variety to music night alas though poor old Eddie is stuck in a a time warp as good as the ZZ Tops tune is it's old hat.

Spotted this on last night's Later with Jules Holland's  new to me enjoy


ZZ Top - Gimme All Your Lovin

More QUALITY Saturday night music, I expect Graham will come along later with some limp wristed modern stuff. Eddie. OK I'll get me coat.

Genesis - Turn It On Again (Live)

Very nice tracks Jan, but, time to kick butt. Open up a bottle of wine, turn up the volume and blow ya brains out time. Eddie

Andrea Bocelli - Love in Portofino

Another track from me. I was fortunate enough to have visited Portofino some years ago and have a wonderful oil painting of the port painted by a cousin. All the best Jan

Romeo Santos - Propuesta Indecente

Saturday night is music night on our blog and tonight I'm starting it off. I have always loved dancing to Latin music and love this track. It has received 957,048,375 if that is true WOW a lot of people agree with me. All the best Jan.

Why I follow Dr Zoe Harcombe PhD

 Dr Zoe Harcombe PhD

I have been following and reading Zoe Harcombe's work for almost eight years. At type two diagnosis I was at least 50 lbs. over weight. Zoe is an expert on healthy dietary lifestyles and weight control, please note she is not a registered British Dietetic Association dietitian, which is good. 

The BDA is not a research organisation, it's more akin to a trade union, and a PR vehicle for registered dietitians. Zoe does not follow an accepted script, very often written by junk food company's and big pharma shills. As you can see Zoe is a picture of health and clearly has no weight problems. Oh that could be said for some of the most vocal and high profile BDA dietitians, who appear to be carrying more blubber, than the late and great Luciano Pavarotti, and look about as healthy as a week old cadaver. 

The bottom line, who am I going to take flying lessons from, an ex Concorde pilot or a Kamikaze, get my drift. It never fails to amaze me, to see and hear dietitians lecturing on a healthy diet and weight control, when it is abundantly obvious they cannot even help themselves.

Over the years, Zoe has taken some stick from dietitians and people writing on diabetes forums I call them the great unwashed. One of her crimes is to have written some excellent books "she's only in it for the money" these semi illiterates squawk, as if earning an honest living should carry a prison sentence. The BDA is no fan of Zoe, because they believe they are the font of all dietary knowledge. Trust me, they are not.

One only has to walk down any high street, or take a trip around any supermarket, and you will see the complete and utter failure of the likes of the BDA. That being said, the BDA dietitians have some great get out lines "the patients fail to comply with advice" "we can't watch them spoon every mouthful of food" "our information is evidenced based" (whose evidence? junk food and big phama's?) the list is long. The $64000 question is why the monumental failure, because the usual dietary advice from BDA members, regarding weight loss and diabetes blood glucose control, is about as much use as a rubber beak on a woodpecker. Just ask any nil/minimum medication well controlled diabetic.

If you are looking to lose or control your weight, and want to know what a truly healthy diet is all about, check out Zoe's site on the link below, because not only can she talk the talk, she can also walk the walk.

Disclaimer. Contrary to what some have said, I do not have a poor view of all dietitians, I know some awesome dietitians, some are also registered diabetes educators. Unfortunately, very few are in the UK. All are independents, and as such are not in the grip of junk food outfits, as so many dietitians and their associations are. 

Zoe's site is here.


Is Coca-Cola on its way out?

By Emma Reynolds of

The love affair is over. After so many hot summer days together, nights out, nights in and cosy Christmases, we're moving on.

Coca-Cola is dead, and no one is sorry.

The iconic brand has tried everything to keep that fizz going. As it realised people were turning on its signature teeth-rotting drink, it created diet choices.

When the healthy eating movement decided sugarfree sodas were almost as bad, it came up with Coca-Cola Life, made with natural sweetener stevia.

It unveiled new packaging, "unifying" its labelling so that all of its drinks feature a red disc like the original Coke, so fans feel more like they're drinking The Real Thing.

Tragically, what the brand just doesn't understand is that's precisely what we're no longer interested in.

More on this story here.


Mary Berry at Crab Fest Salcombe : And Crabbing at Mudeford Quay

In the UK this weekend it's a bank holiday weekend ... yes a three day weekend. Some may be planning on travelling to spend time with family and friends. Others may be staying local and enjoying (weather permitting) some local fun-filled charity events, or simply doing some gardening or decorating! Whatever your plans, and whatever the weather I do hope it will be an enjoyable weekend.

Now should you happen to be in South West England, and in particular near Salcombe, you may like to go along to the Crab Festival, where there will be plenty to see and do, just keep fingers crossed for dry weather! Lovely Mary Berry will officially open proceedings ... I wonder if she may have a delicious crab recipe - or perhaps it will be one of her cakes for all to see!

above image of Salcombe from here

"WELCOME to Salcombe Crabfest inaugural event 1st May 2016. We hope you will have a fantastic day out at this new and unique festival to celebrate crab and all things seafood – and enjoy the opportunity to see over 40 exhibitors and raise money for local charities.  

With so much to see and do, the organisers are delighted that the event will be opened on the 1st May at 10am by the ‘Queen of Cakes’, Mary Berry (CBE) who will be talking about her life, favourite recipes and of course the hit TV series of The Great British Bake Off.

Plus please remember to walk along to the RNLI for crabbing activities and then on to Whitestrand Quay to see a collection of local commercial and heritage fishing boats. Today is all about raising money for a number of local charities. 

The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea - they provide, on call, a 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, and a seasonal lifeguard service. With their lifeboats, lifeguards, safety advice and flood rescue, they are committed to saving lives ... 24 people a day.

image shows Shannon lifeboat with a fund raising cake
not sure if it was made by Mary Berry
or a volunteer helping the RNLI raise funds ...

Another great place for crabbing is Mudeford Quay, Dorset, pictured below

The grand-children love going there and doing some crabbing. You can also visit the fresh fish stall to buy crabs, scallops and all sorts of great fish. If you are down that way, I can recommend it, it's a lovely place to visit. Walk along and take in the sights and sounds, see the local fishing boats, have a ferry boat ride over to Mudeford Sandbank and just take time to spend a relaxing day...

Here is a lovely crab recipe 

Crab Bites (bacon wrapped crab) - you can see it here

Here is a lovely scallops recipe

Pan Fried Scallops With Warm Chorizo - see it here

Wishing all readers a Happy Weekend
All the best Jan

Friday 29 April 2016

Confessions of a renegade doctor

By Joanne McCormack

Until fairly recently I was a pretty conventional medic. I graduated from Manchester University as a doctor in 1986 and became a GP in 1990. Back then nutrition was very much a minority topic and certainly eccentric interest, while drugs and the pharmaceutical industry occupied the high ground of medicine. Now as far as I’m concerned when it comes to chronic disease, which is what I spend most of my times dealing with, the positions are pretty much reversed.

Inevitably I learnt very little about nutrition in medical school and didn’t come across the Eat Well Plate until I was already in practice. Back then I just accepted it, but now I can see that much of it doesn’t make sense.

For instance, even in my limited nutrition classes I learnt that there were essential fatty acids and essential amino acids but no essential carbohydrates (that is starches and sugars). And yet the Eat Well Plate advises us to fill up with carbs. It is what shapes menus in our schools and hospitals, precisely where you need protein and fats to build new bodies and repair older ones. Watching Public Health England execs still trying to justify the EWP would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic and harmful. Shockingly I’ve even been told that they are aware that they’ve got it wrong but claim they can’t do anything about it.

My conversion to a more nutritionally orientated approach to treating patients was triggered a couple of years ago when I was talking with a group of doctors about what they ate. I’d never believed calorie controlled diets worked well – they certainly didn’t for me – and while I parroted the mantra about “eat less, move more” I’d already found that it didn’t begin to tackle the problem for seriously overweight patients unless they also greatly altered their diet.

Avoiding sugar is a great way to start

So what should we be eating? A couple of the doctors said their health had improved a lot when they went on dairy and wheat free diets. The reason they helped, suggested one, was that they inevitably meant you ate a lot less sugar.

That made sense to me. If you avoided those foods and didn’t go for the processed substitutes, such as non-dairy yoghurt, gluten free bread and cake, which were usually packed with sugar, you had to eat real food, which had to be better for you.

This set me off on a trail of reading widely about diets and real food for a couple of years. The only healthy diet I’d been told about was the standard low fat one but I soon found plausible alternatives that stood this advice on its head such as the low carb high fat diet and the London AS diet (low starch which can help with a rheumatic disorder called ankylosing spondylitis).

My experience exploring diets then lead me to question the benefit of automatically treating every disorder with drugs. When two of my patients cured their arthritis with the London AS diet, this approach seemed a valuable alternative to the monitoring, frequent specialist appointments and unpleasant side effects that are all part of the multiple drug regime that is needed to achieve the same effect.

Patients who are heavily drugged with little benefit

Then I began to notice that our reliance on drugs didn’t always seem in the patient’s interests. I watched elderly, frail bed-bound Alzheimer’s patients in nursing homes being kept on an increasing number of drugs that did little to benefit them on a day-to-day basis. It seemed a total waste of time when they had such a poor quality of life. The only ones who improved were those who were cantankerous enough to refuse them.

It was only a decade or so ago that doctors were warning about the perils of getting medical advice from Internet sites, but now it is where you should turn if you have a questioning mind. It is a place where the international, free speaking, medical and scientific world cam freely debate scientific papers, guidelines and dogma. A place where we can swap notes on the Key Opinion Leaders, (paid for by drug companies) who run our conferences or the (sometimes) dubious Department of Health target.

Most GPs would acknowledge that their patients are prescribed too much medication, and that it may often cause more harm than good. I’ve only recently realized that there are no trials and so no scientific evidence base for the multiple drugs schedules followed by large numbers of those over sixty.

Unfortunately as GPs our freedom of action is partially limited by the guidelines and incentives we work under. Most important are the QOF (Quality and Outcome Framework) points that GP practices get for hitting various targets every year (not all GPs get the payments though).

The invisible third party in the consulting room

So when you have a consultation, especially towards the end of the financial year, the QOF points system is likely to be a silent third party in the room – encouraging the GP to test and prescribe in order to hit targets which may not be aligned with your goals or needs. These include taking your blood pressure and running various blood tests. Failing to do them make doctors feel they are failing as well reducing their pay.

And the results of these tests are far more likely to lead to drug prescriptions than to dietary or other holistic advice. If you want to know what your doctor’s normally hidden agenda is, you can ask him or her to show you what is “missing” on your QOF file.

Luckily, there are many fewer targets than there used to be. Interestingly many of those that have been dropped involve cholesterol – silently removed without explanation. The official line is still that raised cholesterol is an important marker for a raised risk of heart disease and there is even a new and very expensive drug called Rapatha on the way which can drop cholesterol levels even more effectively than statins, but does not reduce deaths.

So I’m concerned about the advice patients are getting and I’ve spoken about it to public health directors and consultants about it. While some of them are open-minded enough to admit the government have got it wrong, they seem unable to translate that into practice. The times are changing however and doctors and industry can and will adapt. I’ve had more mental flexibility from key workers on the ground – nurses, doctors and school meals managers – than from the higher echelons of health service management.

Public health managers need to change

Listen up Public Health management – your hands are not as tied as you think! Individualized care and low GI diets are now options, while QOF cholesterol targets are vanishing. These changes allow you to be much more flexible. Train yourselves in nutrition too. The last Public Health Doctor I met told me and a group of diabetes docs and nurses that low fat didn’t work and that healthy fat was fine. So she is certainly more up to date than the EWP.

So when I find the official recommendations for my patients haven’t worked, such as a low fat diet for diabetes, I’m happy to suggest a range of other options and that is fine because government guidelines all say we must take individualised approach and I agree with that. We are each unique after all.

It is not so much unconventional as the beginning of a global movement of doctors and scientists who treat chronic diseases in a non-interventionist way based ultimately on the very simple idea that if a food has been eaten for millions of years, it must be safe, and that non drug methods may have less side effects and be more effective.

I’m also is my own small way trying to encourage a more informed approach to nutrition in schools and by official bodies. Last week I saw an 11 year old child with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It had nothing to do with fat intake or alcohol; It was entirely due to carbohydrate in the diet. So I’m working with the local school meals service in the hope I can persuade them to provide more nutrient dense food and avoid junk carbohydrate foods like chips, pasta, pies and cakes, which can cause weight gain, fatty liver, and diabetes.

I’ve been taught to follow evidence based medicine but the clinical trials, the supposed “gold standard” of the system, clearly has a massive problem with unfavourable results going unpublished. Let’s face it: a lot of our medical evidence base has been distorted or hidden, which can make informed decisions impossible. So what do I do?

I aim to give people unbiased information where possible and to encourage them to make active choices of drug and non-drug treatments. To help them I trawl the Internet and highlight the most useful sites and books, and link to them on my websites.

Often an individual and I decide together what the best course of action is, looking at the evidence of what works for him or her, and what does not, rather than blindly following guidelines that may be inappropriate. Beyond the consultation I direct my patients to my websites and So have a look and tell me what you think.


British Dietetic Association Catherine Collins wrong again!

Check out almost any diabetes forum and diabetic blogs and you will find countless negative posts regarding dietitians. Despite the British Dietetic Association's long term slogan "Trust A Dietitian" many do not trust a dietitian, the reasons are obvious. So many cling to the totally failed dogma of eat less fat and eat more carbs. This has contributed greatly to the epidemics of obesity and the often linked type two diabetes. 

Unless you have been living in a cave in outer Mongolia, you would have seen the countless articles in science journals, newspaper articles and television programs, informing us on the now known dangers of sugar. Only people of limited dietary knowledge, do not know carbohydrates turn to sugar once digested, clearly many dietitians fit into this category. Hang on a minute you may be thinking, surely that cannot be true. Well, ask yourself this question, why do the majority of dietitians recommend a high starch-carb-sugar diet to the most allergic to sugar people on the planet, namely diabetics. 

The salvation of countless diabetics is the diet/lifestyle known as low carb higher fat. Highly vocal BDA dietitian Catherine Collins says and I quote "Only those with little knowledge of real-life dietary habits would believe LCHF diets sustainable" 

I know, or know of hundreds of low carb higher fat diabetics who have stuck with the lifestyle for many years. Amazing how many people say 'it can't be done' when what they mean is 'I can't do it' Also, I know of many highly qualified scientists, doctors, and well informed dietitians, that not only believe a low carb higher fat diet is sustainable, many actually low carb themselves. Check out below the foods many low carbers base their diet on, ask yourself, could I be more than happy and healthy using these foods. I wonder what Catherine must eat, if she believes living on the foods below are unsustainable. Possibly the sort of junk that often leads to obesity and type two diabetes.

One last point, I would contact Catherine via twitter directly, but she blocked me sometime ago. She can of course respond to this post directly here. I doubt very much that will happen, because Catherine has no answers it would appear to a straight question. A question I often ask myself is, does she practise what she preaches? I reckon she does. Make your own mind up as to whether her diet works. As I said earlier, many people say 'it can't be done' when what they mean is 'I can't do it'.


The mainstay of my LCHF lifestyle centres around fresh non starchy vegetables.

The remainder of my food plate contains fresh meat. Items such as sausages are the very high (97%) meat varieties.

Or fish

The remainder of my food and a large percentage of my calories come from healthy fats. Remember fats have more than twice the calories per gram compared to protein and carbs, so no need to increase fats by a very large amount. Just replace the calories you require to cover the reduction of carbs. Remember there is no such thing as an essential carb. We must consume proteins and fats.

Small amounts of low carb fruits also feature in my daily food intake

Pork chops with aubergine / eggplant

Don't you find the weeks pass by so quickly? The month of April has come and almost gone ... and here in the UK, (for most), it is a three day bank holiday weekend. So a nice way to start the weekend could just be to add the ingredients of this lovely dish to your shopping list and cook it tonight! 

Aubergines/eggplants are such a lovely vegetable and when you add tomatoes, garlic and basil it just adds to the taste ...
Have a look and see what you think.

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium aubergine/eggplant, cut into small cubes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar (or sweetener of your choice if preferred)
400g can chopped tomatoes with garlic
handful basil leaves, torn
4 boneless pork chops

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, tip in the aubergine then fry over a medium heat for 5 mins until soft and golden. Pour in the vinegar. Once the bubbling subsides, stir in the sugar (sweetener), followed by the tomatoes, basil and seasoning to taste. Stir well and cook over high heat for 5 mins, until the sauce has thickened.
2. Meanwhile, heat the grill to medium and season the pork. Place the chops under the grill for 15 mins, turning halfway, until golden and cooked through.

Serve the chops with the aubergines on the side - approx 11g carb per serving

Why not crumble some feta cheese on top and serve with green beans ...

From original recipe idea here

Cheers ...

All the best Jan

Thursday 28 April 2016

Effects of a 12-month Low-Carbohydrate Diet vs. a Low-Fat Diet on Bone Mineral Density: A Randomized Controlled Trial


Background Despite health benefits, diet-induced weight loss has been thought to decrease bone mineral density (BMD) and increase the risk of osteoporotic fractures. However, results from clinical trials on this topic have been variable; there is little to no evidence regarding the effect of low carbohydrate diets on BMD.
Methods We examined the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet (<40 g/day; n = 9) versus a standard low-fat diet (<30% kcal/day from total fat, <7% saturated fat; n = 12) on BMD among 21 obese women who took part in a 12-month clinical trial and were free of diabetes, cardiovascular disease or chronic renal disease at baseline. Intake of total energy or protein was not restricted. BMD was measured using dual X-ray absorptiometry at baseline and after 12 months of intervention.
Results Median (Interquartile range) age at baseline was 52.7 (10.7) years in the low-carbohydrate group and was 51.8 (11.7) years in the low-fat group. Nineteen participants (90%; 8 white and 11 black) completed the intervention. On average, participants in the low-carbohydrate group lost 2.1 (4.0) kg while those in the low-fat group lost 0.2 (6.7) kg at 12 months. Baseline level of physical activity and change in physical activity at 12 months did not differ between the two groups. At 12 months, participants on the low-carbohydrate diet preserved more bone mass in the femoral neck than those on the low-fat diet (Table). Preservation of total femoral and lumbar L1–4 BMD was not statistically different between groups. Similar patterns were seen for T scores and Z scores. Results were consistent after excluding two participants with a family history of osteoporosis.
Conclusion Despite greater weight loss, a low-carbohydrate diet resulted in better preservation of BMD than a standard low-fat diet among obese women.

Chicken : Some Facts

Chicken's many plus points - its versatility, as well as the ease and speed with which it can be cooked - make it one of the most popular meats around. It has a high level of good quality protein, as well as B vitamins, iron, copper and selenium.

The pale flesh has a close texture and a mild flavour that pairs up well with many different ingredients. Never eat raw chicken, and always thoroughly wash your hands, utensils and cutting board as soon as you've cut or handled raw chicken.

All year round.

Choose the best:
As is the case with all meat, buy your chicken from a source that you trust - a good supermarket, local butcher, farmers' market or shop, or a website mail order company. Of those five sources, the last four will usually be able to tell you the most about the chicken - where it comes from and how it was reared. Trace-ability like that will give you assurance that the chicken has been humanely treated while alive; the higher the standard of welfare by which a chicken was reared, the better the quality of the meat.

Organic chicken is the most expensive, as the most stringent farming standards should have been adhered to at all stages of the animal's life, including being allowed to roam outside during the day and being fed a mainly organic diet. As they are allowed to mature slowly (up to 14 weeks) their flesh is firm and flavourful. Although, because they have had lots of exercise during their lives, they may be less plump than indoor-reared birds.

Free-range chicken should have had some access to the open air and they are cheaper than organic. Corn-fed chicken have a bright yellow skin, a result of having been fed corn or maize. The colour looks good, but fades on cooking, and doesn't make much difference to flavour.

Battery (or 'factory') reared chicken (sometimes called 'broilers') are the most commonly available kind. They are rarely labelled as such, but the extremely low price is a giveaway. Although such chickens are very affordable, the conditions they experience in their brief lives (up to 6 weeks) may be extremely grim, packed at high densities, with little room to move around and little or no access to sunlight - all of which produces a noticeably inferior and often quite fatty meat.

Read more about animal welfare in general at the Soil Association.

Various breeds are available. Look out for slow-growing British breeds with firm, flavourful meat such as Oakham White, Cotswold White or Gold and Devonshire Gold or Red. French breeds, such as poulet de bresse, poulet d'or, poulet noir and poulet anglais are also very good, with succulent, strongly flavoured flesh.

Whole birds are good for roasting or barbecuing. Other portions are also available (either skin on or off, on the bone or boneless), including breasts (fry, sauté, grill or barbecue); drumsticks (grill or barbecue); thighs (barbecue or use in casseroles or stir-fries); and wings (barbecue or roast).

Whichever breed, type or cut of chicken you choose, look for birds or cuts that have clear, soft skin, without bruising, blemishing or tears. Look also for brownish-red 'hock burn' on the skin on the legs, as this may be a sign that the bird has not been kept in the most satisfactory conditions during growth.

Prepare it:
If desired, certain cuts of chicken can be marinated before cooking, to add flavour and moisture and to tenderise a little further - slash the skin a couple of times to help the marinade penetrate further.

Before it goes in the oven, chicken should be at room temperature, so take it out of the fridge (1 hour for a whole chicken; 30 minutes for a cut) before cooking. Keep it covered, in a cool place.

Store it:
Fresh chicken goes off very quickly, especially if the weather is warm, so should be stored in the fridge as soon as you get it home. Take off all the wrappings, then wipe it all over (and inside the cavities) with kitchen paper. If it has come with giblets (the neck, gizzard, heart and liver) these should be removed and kept in a covered bowl in the fridge. Put the chicken on a tray or a plate wide and deep enough to contain any blood or juice that might seep out. Cover loosely with foil. Make sure the chicken is stored in the fridge doesn't touch any food that's to be eaten raw, or meat that is already cooked.

Whole birds and pieces of chicken will keep for up to 2 days. Chicken liver or minced chicken should be cooked within 24 hours of purchase.

Giblets can be used to make gravy and stock (but leave the liver out, as it can create quite a bitter taste) or stuffing, and should be cooked within 2 days of purchase.

Cook it:
Roast at 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6 (whole chicken: 25 minutes per 500g, plus an extra 25 minutes; breasts, 15 minutes; thighs and wings, 40 minutes).
Grill or barbecue (breast, 7-10 minutes; cubes or strips, 5-7 minutes; drumsticks and thighs, 25-30 minutes; wings, 40 minutes). 
Stir fry (cubes or strips, 5-7 minutes). Always check that there is no pink meat and that the juices run clear (pierce with a sharp knife or skewer) before serving.

Details from here

and here is a recipe idea you may like 
Baked Mediterranean Chicken

see details / recipe here

All the best Jan

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Bacteria pill is 'better than statins' in the war on cholesterol, say researchers

Trials of the new treatment showed cholesterol falling 37% in patients who were suffering from harmfully high levels in their system, The New Day reports

A new cholesterol-fighting “good bacteria” pill could be as effective as statins in unclogging arteries – but without any of the nasty side effects.

The first trial of the new daily pill, which is made of hundreds of millions of freeze-dried bacteria, showed average cholesterol levels fell by 37% in participants who had high levels of harmful cholesterol.

Doctor Stephen O’Hara, chief executive of Optibiotix, the company which developed the new treatment, said the success rate was comparable to that of statins – although more trials will be needed to confirm the results.

Dr O’Hara said: “We are really pleased with the results of this study, which opens up opportunities for a single product for both conditions [high cholesterol and highblood pressure] or for two different products targeting separate conditions.

“This product could be used by itself or in combination with other treatments, such as statins, to provide the same efficacy at a lower dose, with potentially fewer side effects.”

he new pill could help reduce our reliance on statins. Between five and 10 million people currently take statins in the UK to reduce their levels of bad cholesterol and control heart disease, but side effects include headaches, nosebleeds and joint pain.

The new treatment is made of a strain of the bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum, a microbe commonly found in fermented food products such as sauerkraut and pickles.

The trial involved 50 volunteers taking a pill a day for three months. The bacterium used creates an enzyme that chops up the chains of fatty compounds in bile, meaning far fewer get into the bloodstream as cholesterol.

Optibiotix is currently developing a range of treatments for diseases including diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity, based on changing the amount and type of bacteria in the human gut.


Healthy Foods That Are Very High In Iron

Franziska Spritzler has a BSc in nutrition and dietetics. She is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with expertise in carbohydrate-restricted diets for diabetes and weight management, she writes:

"Iron is a mineral that serves several important functions in the body.
Its main function is carrying oxygen throughout your body and making red blood cells.
Iron is an essential nutrient, meaning you must get it from food.
The recommended daily intake (RDI) is 18 mg.
Interestingly, the amount your body absorbs is partly based on how much you have stored.
A deficiency can occur if your intake is too low to replace the amount you lose every day.
Iron deficiency can cause anemia and lead to symptoms like fatigue. Menstruating women who don’t consume iron-rich foods are at particularly high risk of deficiency.

Here are 11 healthy foods that are high in iron:
1. Shellfish
Shellfish is tasty and nutritious. All shellfish is high in iron, but clams, oysters and mussels are particularly good sources.
Bottom Line: A 100-gram serving of clams provides 155% of the RDI for iron. Shellfish is also rich many other nutrients.

2. Spinach
Spinach provides many health benefits for very few calories

Bottom Line: Spinach provides 20% of the RDI for iron per serving, along with several vitamins and minerals. It also contains important antioxidants.

3. Liver and Other Organ Meats
Organ meats are extremely nutritious. Popular types include liver, kidneys, brain and heart. All of these are high in iron.
Bottom Line: Organ meats are good sources of iron, and liver contains 36% of the RDI per serving. Organ meats are also rich in many other nutrients.

4. Legumes
Legumes are loaded with nutrients
Some of the most common types of legumes are beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas and soybeans
Bottom Line: One cup of cooked lentils provides 37% of the RDI for iron. Legumes are also high in folate, magnesium, potassium and fiber.

5. Red Meat
Red meat is satisfying and nutritious. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of ground beef contains 2.7 mg of iron, which is 15% of the RDI.
Meat is also rich in protein, zinc, selenium and several B-vitamins.
Bottom Line: One serving of ground beef contains 15% of the RDI for iron, and is one of the most easily accessible sources of heme iron. It’s also rich in B vitamins, zinc, selenium and high-quality protein.

6. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a tasty, portable snack.
Bottom Line: Pumpkin seeds provide 26% of the RDI for iron per serving. They are also a good source of several other nutrients and an excellent source of magnesium.

7. Quinoa
Quinoa is a popular grain known as a pseudocereal. One cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa provides 2.8 mg of iron, which is 15% of the RDI.
Bottom Line: Quinoa provides 15% of the RDI for iron per serving. It also contains no gluten and is high in protein, folate, minerals and antioxidants.

8. Turkey
Turkey meat is a healthy and delicious food. It’s also a good source of iron — especially dark turkey meat.

Bottom Line: Turkey provides 13% of the RDI for iron and is a good source of several vitamins and minerals. Its high protein content promotes fullness, increases metabolism and prevents muscle loss.

9. Broccoli
Broccoli is incredibly nutritious

Bottom Line: One serving of broccoli provides 6% of the RDI for iron and is very high in vitamins C, K and folate. It may also help reduce cancer risk.

10. Tofu
Tofu is a soy-based food that’s popular among vegetarians and in some Asian countries.
A half-cup (126-gram) serving provides 3.6 mg of iron, which is 19% of the RDI.
Bottom Line: Tofu provides 19% of the RDI for iron per serving and is rich in protein and minerals. The isoflavones in it may improve heart health and relieve menopausal symptoms.

11. Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate is incredibly delicious and nutritious.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving contains 3.3 mg of iron, which is 19% of the RDI

Bottom Line: A small serving of dark chocolate contains 19% of the RDI for iron, along with several minerals and prebiotic fiber that promotes gut health.

Iron is Incredibly Important:
Iron is an important mineral that must be consumed regularly.
Yet it should be noted that some people need to limit their intake of red meat and other foods high in heme iron.
However, most people are easily able to regulate the amount they absorb from food.
Remember that if you don’t eat meat or fish, you can boost absorption by including a source of vitamin C when eating plant sources of iron."

Franziska's full article with all information / research links is here

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

Please note, not all may be suitable for you.

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

All the best Jan

Tuesday 26 April 2016

High-fat, low-carb is the key to ketogenic eating

Cancer survivors Patricia Daly and Domini Kemp have written a book on keto cookery

Patricia Daly knew Domini Kemp before they met. In that two degrees of separation way they had a couple of mutual friends. But it wasn’t until 2013 when Kemp came for a consultation that Daly realised the friends who insisted the two would get along like a house on fire were spot on.

Both women are working mothers with two children apiece. Both have had cancer, twice. And both were convinced that food was something they could use to help them get through treatment and onwards. Now they’ve publishedThe Ketogenic Kitchen, a collaboration cookbook based on what they learned and ate through illness to wellness.

The book comes in the middle of a clean-eating wave that can feel like the attack of a clone army. Beautiful 20-something women report glowing skin and endless energy from wheat-, dairy- and sugar-free diets making dates and coconut oil sound like a recipe for immortality served with a side order of fabulousness.

The buzz about nut butters is a mixed blessing. Do they hope keto (short for ketogenic) is going to become the new paleo? Kemp and Daly both do a grin-grimace at the question. “I actually hope it doesn’t,” Kemp says. Britney Spears and comedian Melissa McCarthy have been reported to be eating by the keto rules: manna from publishing heaven. But Kemp is not delighted by it, not least because of the backlash that inevitably follows the adulation of another trendy diet. “You don’t want it to become a fad. It’s metabolic therapy. It is such a serious thing and has such serious benefits for some people.”

Put very simple keto eating (they hate the word diet) chops the top off the food pyramid and flips it upside down. Instead of carbohydrates you get the bulk of your calorie intake from healthy fats, with adequate protein. Carbs are treated with the caution once reserved for butter.

The irony that the high queen of bagels (Kemp introduced mainstreamIreland to bagels in 1999) is advocating low-carb eating has not been lost on her.

Patricia Daly knew Domini Kemp before they met. In that two degrees of separation way they had a couple of mutual friends. But it wasn’t until 2013 when Kemp came for a consultation that Daly realised the friends who insisted the two would get along like a house on fire were spot on.

Both women are working mothers with two children apiece. Both have had cancer, twice. And both were convinced that food was something they could use to help them get through treatment and onwards. Now they’ve publishedThe Ketogenic Kitchen, a collaboration cookbook based on what they learned and ate through illness to wellness.

The book comes in the middle of a clean-eating wave that can feel like the attack of a clone army. Beautiful 20-something women report glowing skin and endless energy from wheat-, dairy- and sugar-free diets making dates and coconut oil sound like a recipe for immortality served with a side order of fabulousness.

The buzz about nut butters is a mixed blessing. Do they hope keto (short for ketogenic) is going to become the new paleo? Kemp and Daly both do a grin-grimace at the question. “I actually hope it doesn’t,” Kemp says. Britney Spears and comedian Melissa McCarthy have been reported to be eating by the keto rules: manna from publishing heaven. But Kemp is not delighted by it, not least because of the backlash that inevitably follows the adulation of another trendy diet. “You don’t want it to become a fad. It’s metabolic therapy. It is such a serious thing and has such serious benefits for some people.”

Put very simple keto eating (they hate the word diet) chops the top off the food pyramid and flips it upside down. Instead of carbohydrates you get the bulk of your calorie intake from healthy fats, with adequate protein. Carbs are treated with the caution once reserved for butter.

The irony that the high queen of bagels (Kemp introduced mainstreamIreland to bagels in 1999) is advocating low-carb eating has not been lost on her.

“That’s the mad thing,” she says. “None of us saw carbs as a bad thing. It was all like ‘just keep it low fat. Don’t have butter on it, don’t have mayonnaise’ and it’s hard because now . . . it’s a complete turn around. I definitely do struggle but at the same time we’ve always in Itsa [Bagel] had things other than bagels to eat, like the lentil and veg soup that was there, the salads; all that stuff. Do I go in and eat bagels anymore? Not really. I do sometimes and then you’re like ‘ooh these are really tasty’.” This is met with loud giggles from her co-author.

Daly’s teens and early 20s were “carb city” thanks to a serious athletic career. For a decade from the age of 14 she trained as a triathlete, and was a member of the junior Swiss national team alongside Olympian Nicola Spirig. Their coach recommended a vegetarian carb-loaded diet based on the coach’s success with Natascha Badmann, the first European woman to win the Ironman Triathalon.

“I stopped eating meat and my dad was pulling out his hair. At the end of a year I had a massive iron deficiency,” Daly says. “It was a prime example of what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone.”

Daly left Switzerland a decade ago to travel with her Irish boyfriend (now husband) Johnny Daly. She had met him on an Irish Cycling Safaris holiday two years earlier. “Yes I fell for the tour guide,” she says.

It’s still a slightly embarrassing how-we-met story to tell. She moved to Ireland in 2007 and began working in the international banking arm of Bank of Ireland, a job involving lots of travel and 4am starts. In July 2008 a flickering in the corner of her right eye was diagnosed as a detached retina because of a tumour.

Two years later she got the news that the tumour had doubled and was growing aggressively. After frantic research she found German studies that led her to a ketogenic diet, to try to starve the cancer cells of what they needed to grow. Everything she did was alongside, rather than any replacement for, conventional medical treatment. After her recovery she trained as a nutritional therapist and now works with cancer patients, like Kemp who came to her after treatment for breast cancer.

The book is in two parts. The first half by Kemp gives low carb recipes. The second is aimed at someone who wants to go full keto with a practical meal planner to avoid having to prepare something from scratch three times a day. Both sections are full of great family friendly recipes. (The no-drizzle three-minute mayonnaise is worth the cover price alone). It’s a serious book that doesn’t take itself too seriously, perhaps the only one in its genre where you’ll see wheatgrass described as tasting like silage.

How does Daly manage to cook for her children (aged four and six) given her limited diet? “Yesterday I made a stir fry with prawns and lots of vegetables, coconut oil and coconut cream and all the spices. Then I just fished out some broccoli and prawns because the sauce is too spicy for them and they have it with a bit of basmati rice, which I cooked for them but didn’t eat. It just adds the good fats for their diet. They love the lamb pizza.” It is the most Homer Simpson recipe you’ll find in a healthy eating book. The base of the pizza is made from minced lamb.

“That [lamb pizza] is bloody ridiculously good,” Kemp says. “You get creeped out making it because it looks disgusting. It shouldn’t work. From a chef point of view I’m looking at it going ‘nah’. But it is fab.”

The book will be published in America in the autumn. It’s the kind of guide Kemp wishes she could have found when she was diagnosed and went home to “Google ‘when am I going to die?’”

They have a questionnaire to help people decide if they should lower their carb intake. Low carb and keto eating is not a religion, Daly says firmly. The last thing they want to do is fuel the orthorexia culture of obsession with only eating food considered healthy. A lot of people can handle carbs just fine, like Daly’s husband Johnny and Domini’s sister Peaches.

“There’s no point in bashing vegans or vegetarians or high carb/low-fat people,” Daly says. “Everyone needs to find their cup of tea. I know it’s so frustrating for people; they just want a clear-cut answer. ‘Tell me what to do. Tell me what to eat.’ But it does not exist. It’s a dynamic process like everything in life.”


US Women’s Heart Health Pioneer Blasts American Heart Association!

If ever there was a Nutrition/Medicine Hall of Fame, Barbara H. Roberts, MD, would certainly deserve her place there. In 1977, she became the first female cardiologist in the state of Rhode Island. "I was determined to be a doctor," she explains, "I wanted to be something that was very far from the norm for women in those days and being a doctor was about as far as you could get."
Today, Dr. Roberts continues to push boundaries by challenging deeply entrenched nutritional dogma. Besides being a consistent, authoritative voice on the dangers of statins, she also has plenty to say about diet and the glaring inconsistencies between published scientific research and the dietary recommendations of the US government and the American Heart Association (AHA).
In a recent article for The Daily Beast, Dr. Roberts writes, "Science shows the low-fat diet to be BS, and yet the American Heart Association keeps touting it as the ‘heart healthy’ choice. Why? The quick answer: money, honey."
She goes on to scrutinize the AHA's "Heart Check Program," a marketing scheme that enables food industry partners to market their products as "Heart Healthy" under the AHA's guidance. Currently, 889 products bear the Heart Check Program's stamp-of-approval. Companies pay between $1,000 and $7,500 to have their products certified.
Many approved products contain obscene amounts of sugar, but still get the nod because the AHA stacks the deck against fat and in favor of sugar when it comes to assessing heart disease risk. Dr. Roberts explains that the AHA only considers increased LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure as risk factors for heart disease. Accordingly, they demonize saturated fat and salt while giving sugar and other carb-heavy foods a pass.
"There are many other recognized risk factors the AHA ignored," Roberts explains, "including blood sugar level, low “good” (HDL) cholesterol, insulin levels, and body weight—all of these are influenced by diet." Most people who have heart attacks don't have increased LDL cholesterol. They're far more likely to have metabolic syndrome, which is defined as having three of the following: high triglycerides (blood fats), high blood sugar, high blood pressure, low “good” cholesterol (HDL-C), and a large abdomen measurement (abdominal obesity).
From a dietary perspective, low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets protect against metabolic syndrome much better than do high-carb, low-fat (HCLF) diets, which the AHA recommends. This is because sugar and other carbs, when consumed excessively, promote increased triglycerides and abdominal obesity while decreasing HDL cholesterol. Meanwhile, LCHF diets improve all the above-mentioned conditions associated with metabolic syndrome.
It comes down to one very simple concept. Selling processed foods containing large amounts of sugar as well as cheap unsaturated vegetable oils (which also promote heart disease) is far more profitable than selling foods containing healthy sources of saturated fat and decreased sugar.
Since 2000, Dr. Roberts has been the director of the Women's Cardiac Center at the Miriam Hospital and an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine for the Brown University Program in Medicine. In 2003, the Rhode Island Heart Association, an affiliate of the AHA, named her Physician of the Year.
Despite her accolades and her storied career, she hasn't yet been able to sway the AHA away from its seedy corporate alliances. "There is much that women can and should do to lower their risk of heart disease and live longer, healthier lives," Dr. Roberts notes, "Worldwide over eight million women die each year from heart disease or stroke, almost eighteen times the number who die of breast cancer." While I don't expect much from the AHA, they would be wise to heed Dr. Robert's advice.
Taken from the excellent low carb paleo site of Christopher James Clark which can be found here.


Low Carb Breakfast Cereals

For so many of us the 'go to' breakfast does seem to be cereal. But the highly coloured packaged varieties you see on supermarket shelves do contain a high amount of carbs and sugar, so you may wish to consider a lower carb version. Here are three for you to have a look at, see what you think ...

Granola The Low Carb Way : Fennel and Ginger Grain Free Granola

Libby at 'Ditch The Carbs' asks, " Have you ditched the cereals yet? With sugary cereals these days being more akin to a dessert (in fact there is now a company that has set up a cereal bar and cafe) it really is time to give up these for good. 

So what do you have instead? Grain free granola that is packed with seeds, nuts, spices, coconut and nutrients, and you can use grain free granola in many ways:- 

You can:
Add milk and berries
Add yoghurt and berries
Sprinkle on whipped cream and berries for a quick low carb dessert
Add to your grain free granola bars
Take a little pot in your handbag or car as an emergency snack

An incredibly easy and nutritious granola/muesli with no grains, no sugars and no nasties, which can be stored in the pantry, (even in the summer) where it should last for up to a month.
Alternatively, store in the fridge for up to 2 months.
Can be frozen for up to 3 months."

Read the article and find the recipe at Libby's 'Ditch The Carbs' site here

Just Nuts Grain-Free Granola

Julia at her blog says "Just Nuts grain Free Granola is a great way to start the day. A small serving with cream or full fat yoghurt will keep you feeling full well into the afternoon." You can see the recipe at Julia McPhee 'Living Low Carb' blog' here 

Ginger and Licorice Granola

Fanny at 'Diet Doctor' site includes licorice powder and dried ginger, as well as nuts and seeds, in her lovely low carb recipe idea for 
Ginger and Licorice Granola ...and don't you just love a few blueberries added ... see her recipe idea here

I hope the article has given you food for thought ...
and you may enjoy these low carb cereal ideas

All the best Jan