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Tuesday 28 February 2017

Hyperinsulinemia and Insulin Resistance: The World’s Biggest Killers?

When we think about the world’s biggest killer, different things come to mind. Guns? Or possibly heart disease, cancer, or maybe even dementia? Well, those three chronic diseases are all good bets. But what if they are just the result of something else, and they all have a common cause?

In that case, that common cause could be the world’s biggest killer – and it goes by the name of hyperinsulinemia. This article takes a look at the rapidly growing problem of hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance.

What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance is a term to describe when our body develops a resistance to the effects of the hormone insulin. As a result, we experience increasing blood sugar levels and higher levels of circulating insulin. What is Hyperinsulinemia? Hyperinsulinemia refers to the situation where we have a constant elevation of insulin levels.

The literal definition is simply an excess amount of insulin in the blood. Insulin resistance is the usual cause of hyperinsulinemia, and the resulting high insulin levels can be very damaging to our body.

Is Hyperinsulinemia Type 2 Diabetes?

There is a strong connection between hyperinsulinemia and type 2 diabetes, but they are not the same thing. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. However, hyperinsulinemia refers to when the body is producing too much insulin to keep high blood sugar levels in check.

Without adequate intervention, chronic hyperinsulinemia can lead to type 2 diabetes.  But it must be remembered: hyperinsulinemia is associated with metabolic syndrome, and it’s harmful independently of diabetes.

Key Point: Insulin resistance leads to hyperinsulinemia – excess amounts of circulating insulin in the body. What Causes High Insulin Levels? As shown above, insulin resistance leads to higher blood sugar levels. And the result of this is that the pancreas releases excessive levels of insulin to try and compensate.

But what causes insulin resistance?

Risk Factors

In the first place, there are some general risk factors/symptoms for insulin resistance which include the following.

Age: insulin resistance is usually diagnosed in those aged over 40
Obesity (especially relating to abdominal fat)

Genetics: a family history increases risk
A lack of physical activity
Sedentary lifestyle
Low HDL and high triglyceride levels

More Importantly: The Cause of the Risk Factors

Knowing the risk factors for a health condition isn’t actionable if we aren’t aware of the cause of those risk factors. Prediabetes and obesity certainly don’t just appear overnight; they have a common cause. And that cause is often diet.

More on this article from diet expert Michael Joseph here.


Beef with Onion and Broccoli Stir Fry : Low Carb

Serves Four
1 tbsp. (sunflower) oil
400g sirloin steak, all fat removed and sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
thumb-sized piece root ginger, shredded/grated
2 red chillies, shredded/grated
2 onions, sliced
400g broccoli, blanched and halved lengthways
4tbsp soy sauce

Heat 1tbsp (sunflower) oil in a pan or wok and stir-fry the beef for a couple of minutes.

Scoop out, then add the garlic
, ginger, chillies and onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add back the beef with the broccoli, soy and 1 tsp sesame oil.

Cook for 2 minutes then serve.

Per Serving:
Carbohydrate 9.4g Protein 29.5g Fibre 9.4g Fat 11.1g

Recipe idea from here

Simplicity and low carb too!

Stir Fry, did you know:
Stir frying (Chinese: ; pinyin: chǎo) is a Chinese cooking technique in which ingredients are fried in a small amount of very hot oil while being stirred in a wok. The technique originated in China and in recent centuries has spread into other parts of Asia and the West. Many claim that this quick, hot cooking seals in the flavours of the foods, as well as preserving their colour and texture.

Scholars think that wok (or pan) frying may have been used as early as the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.) for drying grain, not for cooking, but it was not until the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) that the wok reached its modern shape and allowed quick cooking in hot oil. Well into the 20th century, while restaurants and affluent families could afford the oil and fuel needed for stir fry, the most widely used cooking techniques remained boiling and steaming. Stir fry cooking came to predominate over the course of the century as more people could afford oil and fuel, and in the West spread beyond Chinese communities.

Stir frying and Chinese food have been recommended as both healthy and appealing for their skilful use of vegetables, meats, and fish which are moderate in their fat content and sauces which are not overly rich, provided calories are kept at a reasonable level.

The term "stir-fry" was introduced into the English language in Buwei Yang Chao's book How to Cook and Eat in Chinese (1945), to describe the chǎo technique.

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

All the best Jan

Monday 27 February 2017

Spread The Word: Butter Has An Epic Backstory

From happy Neolithic-era accident to inspiration for student protests to tabletop staple, butter has had quite the ride over the past 10,000 years. A new book tells the story.

Among the rolling hills of ancient Africa, sometime around 8000 B.C., a dusty traveler was making gastronomic history, quite by accident.

Thirsty from a long, hot journey, the weary herdsman reached for the sheepskin bag of milk knotted to the back of his pack animal. But as he tilted his head to pour the warm liquid into his mouth, he was astonished to find that the sheep's milk had curdled. The rough terrain and constant joggling of the milk had transformed it into butter —- and bewilderingly, it tasted heavenly.

That's likely how it went down, as author Elaine Khosrova explains in her new book, Butter: A Rich History. From happy Neolithic-era accident to inspiration for student protests to tabletop staple, butter has had quite the ride over the past 10,000 years.

The story of butter, Khosrova says, is a historical roadmap of humanity. "I felt like I had uncovered an epic story that very few people had been paying attention to," she tells NPR.

Butter appeared on the world scene soon after the domestication of animals, although the first primitive batches would scarcely resemble the sticks that sit on your refrigerator shelf. Instead of cows, she writes, early butter came from the milk of yak, sheep and goats — the very first tamed beasts of our ancestors.

And while archaeologists have unearthed a 4,500-year-old limestone tablet depicting early butter-making, it's not clear precisely how our ancestors shifted from "accidental discovery" to purposeful manufacturing. Khosrova writes that after trial and error, early civilizations probably realized that if they removed the milk pouch "off the back of animal and hung [it] like a cradle from a tree limb," it could be deliberately "agitated" into sumptuous golden kernels. According to Khosrova, isolated communities in North Africa and the Middle East still make their butter in this way.

As butter spread, it took on new uses and meaning. Ancient Romans associated it with barbarism, much preferring to slather their bread in locally abundant olive oil rather than resort to the food of their enemies, the marauding army from Gaul. But they appreciated butter for its "curative properties," Khosrova says. Romans used butter for cosmetic purposes and also as a healing balm, often sneaking tiny licks in between applications on their wounds.

Perhaps most surprising is the story of butter's sacred and supernatural past. For many ancient civilizations, the unexplained mystery behind milk's transformation into butter made it seem magical. It "seemed like a marvelous event," Khosrova says.
Ancient Sumerians offered up gifts of butter at temple in honor of the "powerful fertility goddess Inanna, protector of the seasons and harvest," she writes.

Recent discoveries in Ireland of ancient bog butter — wooden buckets loaded with butter and hidden in expanses of mossy swamp — date back as far as 400 B.C. These long-lost provisions were probably buried by early Celts, who knew that the Irish wetlands would preserve their spoils, keeping them edible for leaner times. But Khosrova also writes that ancient bog butter was likely presented to the pagan gods, as a way of appeasing the mystical "'faeries' that alternately terrified and awed country folk."

Even the first-ever documented student protest in American history is linked with butter. Harvard University's Great Butter Rebellion of 1766 began after a meal containing particularly rancid butter was served to students, who (not unlike modern college-goers) were frustrated over the state of food in the dining hall. As reported in The Harvard Crimson, Asa Dunbar (who would later become the grandfather of Henry David Thoreau), incited the student body into action by hopping onto his chair, shouting, "Behold our butter stinketh! Give us therefore butter that stinketh not!"

Once avoided for fears of making us overweight, butter is now making a vigorous comeback, with artisanal interpretations aplenty. And through small-batch production and experimentation, producers have returned to quaint traditions, such as slow-churning and hand packing, to recapture simple flavors and generate new ones.

As Khosrova sampled butter from around the world, she says that she was amazed by how a food with only one ingredient could produce so many diverse "nuances of flavors, textures and color."

How this happens is a mystery that has astounded and confounded humanity for centuries. The history of butter is both humble and wondrous. With a simple batch of milk and a little creativity, a luscious — and magical — golden food is born.


Pancake Day the Low Carb Way : Tuesday 28th February 2017

Yes Pancake Day is looming near. Will you be enjoying some? Will you be flipping some? Now that can be fun - but have you the skill? Eddie and I will be enjoying some low carb pancakes (see recipe below). We particularly like them with some low carb fruits, but dear reader you choose your accompaniment.

image from google

"Pancake Day has been celebrated by Britons for centuries. Known also as Shrove Tuesday, its exact date, rather confusingly, changes every year, because it is determined by when Easter falls. But it is always the day preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), and always falls in February or March. This year, you'll need to get your pans ready for Tuesday, February 28th.

What does Shrove Tuesday mean?
The word shrove is a form of the English word shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of confession and penance. Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the custom for Christians to be "shriven" before the start of Lent.

Why do we celebrate Pancake Day?

Traditionally, pancakes were eaten on this day to use up rich, indulgent foods like eggs and milk before the 40-day fasting season of Lent began. But although it is enshrined in Christian tradition, it is believed that Pancake Day might originate in a pagan holiday, when eating warm, round pancakes - symbolising the sun - was a way of celebrating the arrival of spring.

Pancake Day around the world:Elsewhere in the world, Pancake Day is known by other names, such as Mardi Gras (literally "fat Tuesday" in French), or Fasnacht (the Germanic "night of the fast").

Why do we flip pancakes?
As well as making and eating pancakes, we Brits love to hold pancake races, where people run while flipping their pancakes in a pan. Legend has it that the tradition was born in the 15th century when a particularly dis-organised woman in Olney,
Buckinghamshire rushed to church to confess her sins while mid-way through making pancakes. We hope she gave one to the priest."

The above facts taken from article

Low Carb Crepes / Pancakes

These crepes/pancakes are virtually carb. free and are very easy to make - although you use ricotta cheese they do not taste of cheese.

200 Grams of ricotta cheese
3 eggs
I teaspoon of cinnamon
A splash of milk

Mix the cheese, eggs and cinnamon into a small mixing bowl. Add a splash of milk if the mix is too thick to run freely. Place a small knob of butter into a frying pan, I use a small omelette pan 8". Heat the butter and spoon in 3 table spoons of mix. Fry until firm then turn over and cook for one minute or until the crepe is starting to brown. This mix makes between 6 and 8 crepes/pancakes. Allow to cool and fill with cream cheese and finely chopped spring onions or smoked salmon and asparagus tips, whatever you like. Roll up the crepe and enjoy. Great at any time and very good for the lunch box or picnics. Also great warmed up with some low carb berries and double cream.

Or why not serve with a slice of lemon - gently squeezed over the crepes.

Enjoy your pancake day Tuesday 28th February 2017

All the best Jan

Sunday 26 February 2017

Vanilla and raspberry chia pots

Some like to have a cooked breakfast to kick start the day, where others may prefer to kick start the morning with a breakfast pot, like the ones pictured here. Perhaps this recipe suggestion may be something you'd like to try? 

'With chia seeds, creamy yogurt and a layer of raspberries, this healthy breakfast tastes so good, you’ll be fooled into thinking you’re eating a delicious dessert,' in fact why not serve it as a dessert ...

Serves Four
400ml (14fl oz) almond milk
100ml (3 1/2fl oz) natural yogurt
4 tsp honey
1 vanilla pod
100g (3 1/2oz) chia seeds
250g (5oz) raspberries
a few mint leaves to serve

1. Mix together the almond milk, 60ml (2fl oz) yogurt and the honey. Cut the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds and add them to the mixture. Stir in the chia seeds.

2. Divide the mixture in half. Mash the raspberries (reserving 8) with a fork until they are a purée. Set 100g (3 1/2oz) to one side and stir the rest through one half of the mixture.

3. Chill both mixtures in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.

4. Pour the raspberry mixture into 4 jars. Top each with a layer of the remaining mashed raspberries. Spoon the white mixture over the top to give a layered effect.

5. Divide the remaining yogurt between each jar. Finish with a couple of raspberries and mint leaves.

Each serving:
Carbohydrate 9.7g Protein 7.6g Fibre 9.8g Fat 10.3g

Recipe idea from here

If you would like to read more about chia seed and their health benefits, please see here

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

All the best Jan

Saturday 25 February 2017

Earl - I Love You

Another song from the Alaskan singer songwriter

Rag'n'Bone Man - Skin (BBC Music Sound Of 2017)

From the  "Critics’ Choice winner for the 2017 BRIT Awards"

Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb

Simply the best rock band ever, at their best, never to be surpassed. Eddie has spoken LOL. 

Women of Ireland - Jeff Beck

Saturday night again and music night on this blog. Kicking off with a great track and four great musicians, enjoy. Eddie 

Chicken Nuggets : Made The LCHF Way

Now, there are many who enjoy chicken nuggets. They can taste great and are just made for dipping in a sugar free tomato sauce, or perhaps a garlic mayonnaise - or great served with salsa!

This recipe suggestion, by Libby, uses almond flour/meal OR coconut flour, s
o it can cater for many allergies or intolerances. In fact she writes "my 9 year old’s primary school has a nut free policy, so he is delighted to be allowed to take these to school when I make them with coconut flour."

Here are the ingredients you will need to serve six:

First bowl
1 egg
4 tbsp oil of choice

Second bowl
850g / 1.9lb chicken breast
1 cup almond meal / flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion flakes

To see how to make them, please see Libby's Ditch The Carbs site here
She will also tell you how to make sugar free tomato sauce and garlic mayonnaise, which are perfect when dipping these nuggets!

If you should need help with measurement conversion see here

The grandchildren will love these ...

All the best Jan

    Friday 24 February 2017

    Moving House - I've Made You A Low Carb Cake !

    How many times have you moved home? It is quite a stressful time isn't it. I've found a few of the most important things to pack are a kettle, some cups, some tea bags and milk so that when the time is right you can sit down in your new home and enjoy a cuppa.

    Of course if you should happen to know someone who could make you a nice cake to welcome you into your new home wouldn't that be nice too!

    Well blogging friend Martha is moving - and I promised that I would send her a piece of low carb cake (virtually speaking of course) - but here it is and I know she likes cherries!

    Low Carb Black Forest Gateau
    If you'd like to make one here is our low carb recipe idea.

    100g ground almonds
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    2 large eggs
    1 tablespoon of melted butter
    2 tablespoons of double cream
    2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
    100 grams of pitted black cherries

    Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
    Melt the butter I used a Pyrex jug, add the eggs, cream, then add the dry ingredients and mix.
    Pour into a 6" microwave proof dish. Microwave in a 700watt for 3 minutes. Allow to cool and cut in half. Spread on extra thick cream and 100 grams of pitted black cherries. Serves 6.

    To Martha - hope the move goes well
    To anyone who may be moving soon - good luck and be happy in your new home

    image from here

    All the best Jan

    Thursday 23 February 2017

    Diabetes could cause Alzheimer’s: Link between high blood sugar and dementia confirmed

    EATING too much sugar could lead to Alzheimer’s disease - the most common form of dementia - experts have warned.

    A diet high in sugar not only leads to diabetes and obesity but now researchers have revealed it can stop a protein from working efficiently.

    Experts have confirmed there are biological links between dementia and high blood sugar.

    Researchers at University of Bath compared brain samples of 30 people with and without Alzheimer’s disease and tested them for protein glycation, a modification caused by high glucose levels in the blood.

    The team found that a particular enzyme was glycated in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease and that glycation stopped the enzyme from working properly.

    The enzyme, known as ‘macrophage migration inhibitory factor’ or MIF, has been previously implicated in the inflammatory response that occurs in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

    Dr Clare Walton, Research Manager at Alzheimer’s Society said: “We know that diabetes can double a person’s risk of developing dementia but we still don’t really understand how the two conditions are linked - this study offers a vital clue.

    The researchers have found a specific effect of high blood glucose on an enzyme in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, providing a plausible biological mechanism connecting the two conditions.

    “With diabetes on the rise, a better understanding of how it affects brain cells can help us to find ways to help people with diabetes manage their risk of dementia.

    “Alzheimer’s Society is currently funding a clinical trial to see whether a diabetes drug can be used as a dementia treatment.”

    Professor Jean van den Elsen, from Bath's Department of Biology and Biochemistry, said: "We've shown that this enzyme is already modified by glucose in the brains of individuals at the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. We are now investigating if we can detect similar changes in blood.

    "Normally MIF would be part of the immune response to the build-up of abnormal proteins in the brain, and we think that because sugar damage reduces some MIF functions and completely inhibits others that this could be a tipping point that allows Alzheimer's to develop.

    Dr Rob Williams, also from the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, added: "Knowing this will be vital to developing a chronology of how Alzheimer's progresses and we hope will help us identify those at risk of Alzheimer's and lead to new treatments or ways to prevent the disease.

    Every week 4,500 people are diagnosed with diabetes across the UK.

    Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or the insulin produced does not work properly.

    The condition, which can be caused by being overweight and poor diet can cause blindness, limbs to be amputated and even kidney failure.

    Reducing dietary carbohydrates is more effective in safely lowering blood glucose than any diabetes medications 


    Caprese Omelette : Low Carb

    Now, here is a piece of Italy in a bite! This omelette gives you all the flavours from a Caprese salad in a filling, but low-carb, omelette.
    Just great for a sturdy breakfast, lunch or even a light dinner...
    I wonder when may you serve yours?

    Serves Two
    3g carbs per serving
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    6 eggs
    100 g cherry tomatoes cut in halves or tomato cut in slices
    1 tablespoon fresh basil or dried basil
    150 g fresh mozzarella cheese
    salt and pepper

    Please find instructions at Diet Doctor Site here

    the Italian Flag made from Basil, mozzarella and tomatoes

    Caprese salad is a simple Italian salad, made of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and green basil, seasoned with salt and olive oil.
    It is made to resemble the colours of the Italian flag: red, white, and green

    Some other omelette ideas
    herb omelette - find details here 
    fish omelette - details here
    broccoli and smoked salmon omelette - details here

    Have you a favourite omelette?
    All the best Jan

    Wednesday 22 February 2017

    MRC to probe Prof accused of trying to discredit Noakes

    The SA Medical Research Council is to probe a senior employee accused of teaming up with ‘Big Sugar’ to discredit Banting-diet champion Professor Tim Noakes, reports The Times. A recent investigation in the US supposedly linked Professor Ali Dhansay to the International Life Sciences Institute, described as a ‘Coca-Cola proxy’.

    The report said that Dhansay, former director of the now defunct nutritional intervention research unit at the council, was president of the institute in South Africa in 2013 and worked with Coca-Cola, Mars and Nestlé.

    The Medical Research Council’s executive committee has distanced itself from Dhansay’s evidence given at Noakes’ Health Professions’ Council of SA disciplinary hearing. It said it would investigate his alleged links to the sugar industry. Spokesperson Aziel Gangerdine said the council would investigate “Dhansay’s position in his capacity as president of the institute and the funding thereof; any association of research conducted in the field of nutrition, obesity and lifestyle with funding or support from the sugar/beverage food industry; any association by way of expert opinion or scientific advice in the field of nutrition, obesity and lifestyle to the sugar/beverage food industry; and any monies received in lieu of such advisory services.”

    Gangerdine said the nutritional unit Dhansay headed had been disbanded as a result of “a recent organisational redesign”.

    “The council is not associated with any of Dhansay’s testimony in the Health Professions’ Council proceedings, neither can the council be associated with any of the relations Dhansay is reported to have with the sugar industry, Coca-Cola or the institute.”

    The report quotes the institute as saying that it “does not have activities related to infant nutrition, nor has it ever addressed the health effects of low-carbohydrate diets and has never been part of any discussion related to Noakes or his recommendations for nutrition and health”.

    In its response, Coca Cola said: “The allegations against Coca-Cola are not true.”

    Dhansay failed to respond to requests for comment, the report said.


    Chicken Thighs Pan Roasted with a Chive Cream Sauce

    I just don't think you can beat chicken, and in particular chicken thighs. This is such a tasty recipe idea - could be a mid-week hit - see what you think.

    Serves Four
    1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
    1 Tablespoon Butter
    1 1/4 to 1 1/2 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
    1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Yellow (white) Onion
    1/4 Cup Dry White Wine (use whatever white wine you enjoy drinking for this, a chardonnay is nice)
    1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
    1 Cup Chicken Stock
    1/2 Cup Heavy (double) Cream
    1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Chives
    (Kosher) Salt + Black Pepper

    read more about chives on this post here

    Preheat oven to 425F / 220C / Gas Mark 7 and season both sides of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil and butter in a large oven safe skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, top side down, and cook until nicely browned, about 4 minutes. Flip chicken over and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast for 8 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through. Remove chicken and let rest on a plate.

    Place the skillet back over medium high heat (leave all of the chicken bits and juices in the pan). Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add wine and cook, stirring often and scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan, until its reduced by half.

    Whisk in the Dijon mustard and then chicken stock and cream and bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in chives, add the chicken back to the pan and simmer until chicken is warmed through. Spoon sauce over the chicken and serve.

    Tastes great served with a cauliflower mash and green beans.

    For help with measurement conversion please see here

    Please see original recipe idea, and more, at Nourished Peach Blog here

    Put some flowers on the table - sit down and enjoy

    All the best Jan

    Tuesday 21 February 2017

    Cod Parcels Steamed - With Fennel and Herbs

    Serve up this pretty parcel of flaky cod, sweet fennel and fresh herbs. Whoever opens it is in for a delicious experience ...

    Serves Four
    1 tbsp olive oil
    echalion shallots, finely sliced
    1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and finely sliced
    1 garlic clove, finely chopped
    125ml (4fl oz) white wine
    4 x 125g (4oz) pieces cod loin
    1 lemon, half cut into 4 slices (keep the other half for squeezing over the peas)
    4 stalks lemon thyme
    350g (12oz) frozen peas
    large handful fresh mint leaves, chopped

    Optional - new potatoes, to serve

    1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200ºC, fan 180ºC. Tear off 4 x 40cm (16in) long pieces of non-stick baking paper for your parcels.

    2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat and cook the shallots, fennel and garlic for 10 minutes, or until softened and golden. Add the wine to the pan and bubble for a minute. Remove from the heat and divide the shallot mixture between the parcels, top each with a piece of fish, scatter over a little salt and pepper then top with a slice of lemon and a sprig of lemon thyme. Spoon over the wine sauce. Scrunch up the edges of the baking paper to seal into a parcel. Put the parcels on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until the fish is cooked through.

    3. Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and add the frozen peas. Cook for a couple of minutes, then drain. Put in a bowl, add the mint and a squeeze of lemon, then crush lightly and season.

    4. Place the parcels on 4 plates to be opened at the table, and serve with the minted peas.

    Optional - may also be served with new potatoes.

    Per Serving:
    Carbohydrate 10.3g Protein 25.4g Fibre 5.8g Fat 4.5g

    Recipe idea from

    Fennel is from the same family as the herb and seed of the same name, it's also known as Florence fennel, finocchio, or sweet fennel, and is very popular in Italian cookery. When eaten raw, the texture is crisp and the flavour is quite assertive and aniseedy. Cooked, it's softer and more mellow.

    I hope you may enjoy this dish soon ...

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

    All the best Jan

    Monday 20 February 2017

    Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data


    Objectives To assess the overall effect of vitamin D supplementation on risk of acute respiratory tract infection, and to identify factors modifying this effect.

    Design Systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data (IPD) from randomised controlled trials.

    Data sources Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science,, and the International Standard Randomised Controlled Trials Number registry from inception to December 2015.

    Eligibility criteria for study selection Randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trials of supplementation with vitamin D3 or vitamin D2 of any duration were eligible for inclusion if they had been approved by a research ethics committee and if data on incidence of acute respiratory tract infection were collected prospectively and prespecified as an efficacy outcome.

    Results 25 eligible randomised controlled trials (total 11 321 participants, aged 0 to 95 years) were identified. IPD were obtained for 10 933 (96.6%) participants. Vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of acute respiratory tract infection among all participants (adjusted odds ratio 0.88, 95% confidence interval 0.81 to 0.96; P for heterogeneity <0.001). In subgroup analysis, protective effects were seen in those receiving daily or weekly vitamin D without additional bolus doses (adjusted odds ratio 0.81, 0.72 to 0.91) but not in those receiving one or more bolus doses (adjusted odds ratio 0.97, 0.86 to 1.10; P for interaction=0.05). Among those receiving daily or weekly vitamin D, protective effects were stronger in those with baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels <25 nmol/L (adjusted odds ratio 0.30, 0.17 to 0.53) than in those with baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels ≥25 nmol/L (adjusted odds ratio 0.75, 0.60 to 0.95; P for interaction=0.006). Vitamin D did not influence the proportion of participants experiencing at least one serious adverse event (adjusted odds ratio 0.98, 0.80 to 1.20, P=0.83). The body of evidence contributing to these analyses was assessed as being of high quality.

    Conclusions Vitamin D supplementation was safe and it protected against acute respiratory tract infection overall. Patients who were very vitamin D deficient and those not receiving bolus doses experienced the most benefit.

    Full text here:


    Turkish Salad : Mutlu yemek !

    This recipe suggestion is from Mark's Daily Apple and it's a 'Turkish Salad'... he says, "because it’s loaded with fresh herbs, tomatoes and cucumbers, Turkish shepherd’s salad is often thought of as a summer salad. But go ahead and make it year round. Not only because it’s packed with antioxidants, but also because it’s the perfect cure for a case of the winter’s blues, when you need a taste of summer."

    Serves 4 - 6

    16 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (450 g)
    1 bell pepper, finely chopped
    2 small or 1 large cucumber, chopped
    ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
    1 cup chopped or snipped parsley leaves (240 ml)
    ¼ cup chopped or snipped mint leaves (60 ml)
    1 tablespoon chopped dill (15 ml)
    1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (15 ml)
    ½ teaspoon lemon juice (2.5 ml)
    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (60 ml)
    ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (1.2 ml)
    3 grinds black pepper
    ½ cup crumbled feta (2 ounces/56 g)

    Please find the recipe instructions and more here

    Mutlu yemek !

    All the best Jan

    Sunday 19 February 2017

    Kind’s CEO Pledges $25 Million to Fight Food Industry’s ‘Influence on Public Health’

    The CEO of snack-bar-maker Kind is pledging $25 million of his own hard-earned food-industry dollars to help “fight the food industry’s influence on public health,” the AP reports today. Daniel Lubetzky, who launched the health-oriented snack company in 2004, says that money will be used to create a watchdog group he’s calling Feed the Truth that will “improve public health by making truth, transparency, and integrity the foremost values in today’s food system.”

    He apparently felt the recent spate of stories about Coke’s troubling sway on nutrition science was beyond the pale, so this is an attempt to curtail the industry’s “undue influence in shaping nutrition policy and ability to disseminate biased science.” Lubetzky tells the AP neither he nor Kind will have any involvement, and that the group’s 100 percent free to scrutinize them because “We don’t have any skeletons in our closet.” He’s assembled a team of three public-health advocates to nominate directors for Feed the Truth’s board. It’s actually an impressive crew of advisers: Deb Eschmeyer (the former executive director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign), Michael Jacobson (president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest), and Marion Nestle (the NYU public-health professor).

    Nestle tells the AP the irony of a watchdog group created by the head of company whose last foray into food policy was a public fight with the FDA about whether its products were “healthy” isn’t lost on her. But says she found Lubetzky “very persuasive” and felt Feed the Truth could actually help hold corporations accountable.

    Lubetzky says he broke the donation down into $2.5 million a year for the next ten years. It’s unclear if Feed the Truth will accept funding from other food companies. Although that would seem a little … self-defeating, Lubetzky says it’s ultimately up to the new board.


    It's Sunday and ...

    ... here in the UK we have a Caribbean weather vortex passing our way, bringing some unseasonal,
    but pleasant weather, it really is quite warm!

    So time to enjoy a walk ... have a look for some snowdrops

    ... perhaps see some crocus

    ... a singing robin, he was in good voice chirping away

    ... returning for a cup of tea and a nice low carb Coconut Macaroon
    you can see the recipe idea here

    I do hope you have a pleasant Sunday
    All the best Jan

    Saturday 18 February 2017

    Train - Play That Song

    Last one for tonight and as the title says play that song so here goes
    "It was such a great time making the video for Play That Song. The idea to be on top of the world and have the whole town react to the happiness was super fun and corny and sweet and I wish life was really like this video! "

    Tom Chaplin - Still Waiting (Acoustic)

    My first offering tonight from the lead singer of the band Keane

    The Mountain Written and Performed by Lee Maddison

    Saturday night and music night on this blog. We saw this documentary on TV this week. Stunning photography at it's best and great music. Hope you like this song. Eddie 

    Clafoutis : For dessert or lunch

    Well, I wonder should a Clafoutis be sweet or savoury ...

    this one for dessert

    Low Carb Berries : Fruit and Almond Clafoutis
    made with ground almonds - see this low carb recipe here

    Clafoutis, also sometimes spelled clafouti, is a baked dessert which originated in the Limousin region of south-central France. Its name, which derives from the word clafir, meaning “to fill,” provides an accurate hint as to its preparation, which involves lining a dish with cherries and then “filling it up” with a batter mixture. A traditional clafoutis is always made with cherries, although many cooks have adapted the dish to center around their favourite fruits or even savoury ingredients.

    this one for lunch

    Cherry tomato mozzarella clafoutis
    11.1 gram carbs per serving - see recipe here

    Classified by some as “peasant food,” clafoutis is a simple dish which was created as a way of utilizing a fruit which has historically been abundant in the French region of Limousin: cherries. While the exact date of clafoutis’ invention is not known, the dessert has been popular in Limousin and beyond since the 19th century. As its popularity spread throughout France, many cooks devised altered versions of the dish which allowed them to showcase the produce of their own regions.

    Making a classic clafoutis is a fairly simple process. First, cherries are layered in a greased baking dish. Purists insist that the cherries should not be pitted, alleging that the pits enhance the flavour of the finished dish. Whether a cook opts to pit or not to pit, the layer of cherries is covered with a batter mixture containing flour, eggs, milk, sugar*, and, in some cases, liqueur or butter. The baking dish is then placed in a preheated oven until the batter has risen and taken on a golden-brown hue. Many agree that the dish is best served before it has cooled fully, with a simple dusting of powdered sugar for garnish.

    Traditionalists hold that only the original cherry version of this dish can properly be called clafoutis, with all adapted versions cast beneath the umbrella term flaugnarde. Cooks the world over rebel against these traditionalists, however, attaching the clafoutis name to desserts containing such varied sweet bites as pears, blueberries, blackberries, clementines, and chocolate. Some have even ushered this dessert into the realm of the savoury, devising dishes like bacon and cheese clafoutis.

    ... well perhaps there is only one thing for it!

    A savoury one today, then make a sweet one next, perhaps in a few days time.

    What do you think ...

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

    * please note the recipe's I've featured above have no added sugar

    All the best Jan

    Number of Net Carbs In Nuts and Seeds per 100gram

    Please read more at Libby's Ditch The Carbs Site here

    All the best Jan

    Friday 17 February 2017

    Vegetarian bean and artichoke crown

    We certainly eat a wide variety of food in our house, and sometimes we will take a vegetarian option. I know many readers choose to eat vegetarian, and some vegan, and it is of course a personal choice. Looking at this weeks meals we have already enjoyed chicken, lamb, beef, and fish dishes so I thought why not have a vegetarian choice today! Well why not indeed ...
    So without further ado - have a look at this recipe - it really can and does make a nice change!

    Serves Six
    1 x 280g (9oz) jar roasted artichokes
    2 x 400g (13oz) tins cooked butter beans, drained
    75g (3oz) mature vegetarian cheddar, grated
    3 eggs, beaten
    300g (10oz) leeks, sliced 
    2-3 red peppers, de-seeded and sliced 
    1. Heat the oven to Gas Mark 5, 190°C, 375°F. Drain the artichoke hearts and use the oil to lightly grease a non-stick savarin or garland ring cake tin (keep the remaining oil).
    2. Put the drained butter beans in a bowl, cut the artichoke hearts in half and add to the beans along with the cheddar and beaten eggs. Fill the cake tin with the mixture, then cover with foil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
    3. Toss the sliced leeks and red peppers in a little more oil from the artichoke hearts. Place in a roasting pan and roast in the top of the oven for 25 minutes.
    4. Turn the ring out onto a serving plate, and spoon the roasted vegetables into the middle before serving.

    Each Serving:
    Carbohydrate 11.1g Protein 11.3g Fibre 6.2g Fat 12.5g

    Original idea from

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

    All the best Jan

    Thursday 16 February 2017

    Vitamin D 'proved to cut risk of colds and flu'

    Move would also save NHS money, argue authors of major study that shows vitamin D can reduce risk of respiratory infections

    Adding vitamin D to food would significantly cut NHS costs, say the authors of a major global study that shows it can reduce the risk of colds, flu and other dangerous infections such as pneumonia.

    A government advisory committee on nutrition has already warned of the low levels of the so-called “sunshine vitamin” in the UK population and recommended food fortification as a possible course of action. In the US, for example, milk is fortified with vitamin D.

    A study published in the British Medical Journal should add persuasive evidence in favour of fortification, argues its lead author. “The results are likely to change the cost/benefit analysis significantly,” said Adrian Martineau, clinical professor of respiratory infection and immunity at Queen Mary University of London.

    Many studies have tried to discover whether the increase in colds and flu in the winter is partly down to a lack of sunlight producing vitamin D in the body, but they have had mixed results. The team from Queen Mary argue that their work settles the question because they have reanalysed and pooled the raw data from 25 clinical trials involving about 11,000 patients from 14 countries. The studies that found no benefit had usually given people a large one-off dose of vitamin D rather than regular supplements.

    Martineau and his team say their results show a significant but modest benefit for everybody who takes vitamin D daily or weekly, but a more substantial benefit for those who have low levels of it in their bodies. These may be people who do not get outside very much, cover themselves against the sun or for religious reasons, or have dark skins which absorb less sunlight. It is hard to get enough vitamin D from food – it is in oily fish and shiitake mushrooms, but not much else.

    Taking a regular supplement halved the rate of respiratory infections in people with the lowest levels of vitamin D, below 25 nanomoles a litre (nmol/L). But it also cut infections by 10% among those with higher vitamin D levels.

    Respiratory infections, which can include flu, bronchitis and pneumonia, take a big toll on the nation’s health. About 70% of the UK population get one respiratory infection in any year, with 25% going to the GP. They are the most common reason for a GP consultation and days off work. More than 50% end up with a prescription for antibiotics, which is inappropriate because they are usually caused by a virus. These infections are responsible for 300,000 hospitalisations a year in the UK and about 38,000 people die. Globally they caused an estimated 2.65 million deaths in 2013.

    The Queen Mary researchers calculate that daily or weekly supplements of vitamin D would mean 3.25 million fewer people in the UK having at least one respiratory infection a year, assuming a population of 65 million.

    “Vitamin D fortification of foods provides a steady, low-level intake of vitamin D that has virtually eliminated profound vitamin D deficiency in several countries,” said Martineau.

    “By demonstrating this new benefit of vitamin D, our study strengthens the case for introducing food fortification to improve vitamin D levels in countries such as the UK where profound vitamin D deficiency is common.”

    Although the authors consider the case proven, scientists are still divided. Mark Bolland from the University of Auckland and Alison Avenell from the University of Aberdeen say in an editorial in the BMJ that large randomised controlled trials – comparing people taking vitamin D with others who do not – are still needed.

    “Current evidence does not support the use of vitamin D supplementation to prevent disease, except for those at high risk of osteomalacia (weak bones and muscles due to low blood vitamin D levels, currently defined as less than 25 nmol/L),” they write.

    Others applaud the Queen Mary study. “Bolland and other sceptics try, but fail, to find weaknesses in Martineau’s analysis,” said Dr Benjamin Jacobs, a consultant paediatrician at the Royal National Orthopaedic hospital.

    “Martineau’s data is strong, from 11,000 patients in good quality clinical trials around the world. The case for universal vitamin D supplements, or food fortification with vitamin D, is now undeniable. Governments and health professionals need to take Martineau’s study into account when setting vitamin D policy now.”

    Martin Hewison, professor of molecular endocrinology at the University of Birmingham, said he agreed the case for vitamin D supplementation against respiratory infections was proven.

    “This may be particularly important for people in the UK who are at high risk of vitamin Ddeficiency, particularly in the winter,” he said, adding that higher doses than currently recommended for bone health might be needed and called for more trials. Low levels of vitamin D can cause the bone disease rickets in children.

    Prof Louis Levy, head of nutrition science at Public Health England, said PHE already suggested everyone should take vitamin D throughout the winter months, based on the recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. Those who get low doses of the sun’s rays because of their skin or clothes or staying indoors should take 10 micrograms all year round, he said.

    But he was not convinced of the case for vitamin D against colds and flu. “The evidence on vitamin D and infection is inconsistent and this study does not provide sufficient evidence to support recommending vitamin D for reducing the risk of respiratory tract infections,” he said.

    The Department for Health said: “The vast majority of people get the Vitamin D they need through a healthy diet and sun exposure. However, experts do recommend supplements for certain groups of people, and advise everyone to consider taking them in the winter months. Mandatory food fortification is a complex issue, but experts keep evidence under review.”


    Lemon Cake : Everybodies Favourite : Low Carb Version

    You may have seen this lovely low carb lemon cake before. In fact you may have already made one or two! If you haven't please let me introduce you to this recipe suggestion. The creator of this cake is Ewelina - meet her below, she writes ... 

    "What I like about this cake is a perfect combination of soy flour and ground almond. Cakes made with ground almond are slightly too heavy for me but soy flour on its own has a bit funny taste. Combination of these two together, makes a nice, fluffy cake and you can’t really taste soy flour. It’s also lower in calories and cheaper than using ground almond only."

    Ingredients (makes about 15 slices):
    · 80g Soy flour, sieved
    · 100g Ground almond
    · 85g butter, softened
    · Equivalent of 250g sugar (Ewelina used 250g xylitol, grind using coffee grinder)
    · 5 eggs, separated
    · 2 tsp. baking powder
    · Pinch of cream of tartar
    · Juice from 1 lemon
    · Zest from 1 lemon

    Carbohydrates and Calories details  (using Xylitol as a sweetener):
    Whole cake batter 24g carbohydrate : 2533 Calories 
    1 portion (1/15 of the cake) 1.6g carbohydrate : 168 Calories

    To see the instructions on how to make this cake please use this link here

    Ewelina is a Type 1 Diabetic ... and she says "Diabetes and cakes doesn’t sound like a great combination. Well not to me, I have always loved baking and after diagnosis with diabetes type 1 in 2011 I had to find some way of combining these two. It is quite challenging and anyone who knows a little bit about baking will agree with me. How to bake without using flour or sugar?! After long research and checking hundreds of recipes I came across some great ideas. There are sugar substitutes that work quite well in most recipes and there are many different low carb flours and flour substitutes. I’m still learning and discovering new products and recipes but with every cake I make I know more and more. Now I’m convinced that low carb cakes can be delicious and we don’t need to feel sorry for not having regular cakes. Cakes from my blog are equally good (if not better) and you can eat them without worrying too much about your sugar levels"

    I'm sure you will like this low carb lemon cake, especially with a cup of tea or coffee, do try it soon!

    All the best Jan