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Wednesday 31 January 2018

Just letting you know ...

I will be offline for a few weeks ...

You will see a few posts from me, but they will be ones that have been pre-programmed.

In the meantime do please keep reading the blog. You will find a wealth of posts with some great recipes, studies, information and of course our Saturday Night Music spot!

I look forward to visiting all of my friends, and fellow bloggers,  blogs on my return.

All the best Jan

Monday 29 January 2018

The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer's

A high-carb diet, and the attendant high blood sugar, are associated with cognitive decline.

In recent years, Alzheimer’s disease has occasionally been referred to as “type 3” diabetes, though that moniker doesn’t make much sense. After all, though they share a problem with insulin, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease caused by diet. Instead of another type of diabetes, it’s increasingly looking like Alzheimer’s is another potential side effect of a sugary, Western-style diet.

In some cases, the path from sugar to Alzheimer’s leads through type 2 diabetes, but as a new study and others show, that’s not always the case.

A longitudinal study, published Thursday in the journal Diabetologia, followed 5,189 people over 10 years and found that people with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar—whether or not their blood-sugar level technically made them diabetic. In other words, the higher the blood sugar, the faster the cognitive decline.

“Dementia is one of the most prevalent psychiatric conditions strongly associated with poor quality of later life,” said the lead author, Wuxiang Xie at Imperial College London, via email. “Currently, dementia is not curable, which makes it very important to study risk factors.”

Melissa Schilling, a professor at New York University, performed her own reviewof studies connecting diabetes to Alzheimer’s in 2016. She sought to reconcile two confusing trends. People who have type 2 diabetes are about twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s, and people who have diabetes and are treated with insulin are also more likely to get Alzheimer’s, suggesting elevated insulin plays a role in Alzheimer’s. In fact, many studies have found that elevated insulin, or “hyperinsulinemia,” significantly increases your risk of Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, people with type 1 diabetes, who don’t make insulin at all, are also thought to have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s. How could these both be true?

Schilling posits this happens because of the insulin-degrading enzyme, a product of insulin that breaks down both insulin and amyloid proteins in the brain—the same proteins that clump up and lead to Alzheimer’s disease. People who don’t have enough insulin, like those whose bodies’ ability to produce insulin has been tapped out by diabetes, aren’t going to make enough of this enzyme to break up those brain clumps. Meanwhile, in people who use insulin to treat their diabetes and end up with a surplus of insulin, most of this enzyme gets used up breaking that insulin down, leaving not enough enzyme to address those amyloid brain clumps.

According to Schilling, this can happen even in people who don’t have diabetes yet—who are in a state known as “prediabetes.” It simply means your blood sugar is higher than normal, and it’s something that affects roughly 86 million Americans.

Schilling is not primarily a medical researcher; she’s just interested in the topic. But Rosebud Roberts, a professor of epidemiology and neurology at the Mayo Clinic, agreed with her interpretation.

In a 2012 study, Roberts broke nearly 1,000 people down into four groups based on how much of their diet came from carbohydrates. The group that ate the most carbs had an 80 percent higher chance of developing mild cognitive impairment—a pit stop on the way to dementia—than those who ate the smallest amount of carbs. People with mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, can dress and feed themselves, but they have trouble with more complex tasks. Intervening in MCI can help prevent dementia.

Rebecca Gottesman, a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins, cautions that the findings on carbs aren’t as well-established as those on diabetes. “It’s hard to be sure at this stage, what an ‘ideal’ diet would look like,” she said. “There’s a suggestion that a Mediterranean diet, for example, may be good for brain health.”

But she says there are several theories out there to explain the connection between high blood sugar and dementia. Diabetes can also weaken the blood vessels, which increases the likelihood that you’ll have ministrokes in the brain, causing various forms of dementia. A high intake of simple sugars can make cells, including those in the brain, insulin resistant, which could cause the brain cells to die. Meanwhile, eating too much in general can cause obesity. The extra fat in obese people releases cytokines, or inflammatory proteins that can also contribute to cognitive deterioration, Roberts said. In one study by Gottesman, obesity doubled a person’s risk of having elevated amyloid proteins in their brains later in life.

Roberts said that people with type 1 diabetes are mainly only at risk if their insulin is so poorly controlled that they have hypoglycemic episodes. But even people who don’t have any kind of diabetes should watch their sugar intake, she said.

“Just because you don’t have type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean you can eat whatever carbs you want,” she said. “Especially if you’re not active.” What we eat, she added, is “a big factor in maintaining control of our destiny.” Roberts said this new study by Xie is interesting because it also shows an association between prediabetes and cognitive decline.

That’s an important point that often gets forgotten in discussions of Alzheimer’s. It’s such a horrible disease that it can be tempting to dismiss it as inevitable. And, of course, there are genetic and other, non-nutritional factors that contribute to its progression. But, as these and other researchers point out, decisions we make about food are one risk factor we can control. And it’s starting to look like decisions we make while we’re still relatively young can affect our future cognitive health.

“Alzheimer’s is like a slow-burning fire that you don’t see when it starts,” Schilling said. It takes time for clumps to form and for cognition to begin to deteriorate. “By the time you see the signs, it’s way too late to put out the fire.”


Have A Nice Monday !

Well the weekend came ... and zoom ... it went! 
Now it's Monday again, and the last Monday of January 2018. 
Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, I hope you have a nice Monday. 
Why not sit down and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee.

and one of these cookie biscuits will go well with it
only 2 net carbs per cookie biscuit for this low carb version of chocolate chip cookies,
you may like to give this recipe a try, more details here

Happy Monday Wishes
All the best Jan

Sunday 28 January 2018

Cheese Is Good For You ... Some Reasons Why !

Michael Joseph MSc writes:
"Despite almost universal popularity, cheese often has its nutritional value questioned. The reason for this is due to the high-fat content. However, recent research shows that dairy is an incredibly beneficial food group — especially the high-fat variety.

This article will present nine science-backed reasons why cheese is good for you.

Cheese is Good For Heart Health
While cheese — and saturated fat in particular — have been demonized for their high saturated fat content, recent research shows a different story. You may have heard that cheese is bad for your heart and arteries, but the truth is that cheese is a heart-healthy food. In fact, higher consumption of high-fat dairy such as cheese and sour cream appears to actually lower heart disease risk, as well as improve blood sugar control.
Key Point: Despite widespread belief that cheese is one of the worst foods for your heart, the opposite is true.

Cheese Helps Improve Blood Sugar Control in Diabetes
Cheese is convenient and easy to take to work or school, making it a good snack for diabetics. At the end of the day; cheese is good for you, improves blood sugar regulation, and is not a food diabetics should avoid.
Key Point: Despite traditional thoughts viewing high-fat as bad for diabetics, the research shows the complete opposite. Cheese reduces negative risk factors and helps improve blood sugar control.

Cheese Improves Your Dental Health
As you may know, cheese is one of the best dietary sources of calcium. Just one slice of cheddar cheese provides 201mg — 20% of the RDA for calcium. Calcium

is important because it helps strengthen our teeth.
Key Point: Overall, cheese is a ‘superfood’ for dental health. Including cheese as part of your diet may help prevent tooth decay.

Cheese May Help With Weight Loss

While it may sound like a crazy idea to some, cheese can be good for weight loss. The simple fact is: fat doesn’t make you fat. Nutrition is a lot more complicated than that, and the overall macronutrient profile of our diet is also important. Several recent studies also show beneficial impacts of cheese on weight loss. In dietary intervention research, those eating the most cheese also lost the most weight – likely due to improved satiety levels.
Key Point: While it might sound crazy to some, it actually isn’t. Cheese can help you lose weight.

Cheese May Be Suitable For People With Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance is a condition that affects a large percentage of people. While this figure can be as low as 5-15% of the population in Britain, it reaches 85-95% in East Asia. Of course, the degree of lactose intolerance varies wildly in every individual; some people cannot tolerate dairy at all. However, some people may be less sensitive and can consume certain dairy without ill effect.
Key Point: While cheese does contain some lactose, the amounts are very small and lactose intolerant people may be okay with aged cheese.

Cheese is a Good Source of Calcium

Dairy products are one of the best sources of calcium. Calcium is important for protecting against osteoporosis — a disease of the skeletal system in which bones become fragile. Especially, deficiencies in vitamin D and calcium significantly increase the risk of osteoporosis. As discussed earlier, one of the benefits of cheese is that it’s among the best sources of calcium. In studies, cheese shows application for improving bone strength and encouraging optimal bone health. This research shows that cheese intake three times a week is strongly protective against fracture. Also important to realize is that calcium loss is just as important as consuming enough calcium-rich foods. Refined carbohydrate and grains inhibit the proper absorption of calcium, which may cause deficiency problems if you eat these foods in excess.
Key Point: Cheese is an excellent source of calcium. While dairy is good for bone health, we also need to ensure we are correctly absorbing calcium.

Grass-Fed Cheese Contains the Essential Vitamin K2
If you haven’t heard about vitamin K2, then here are just a few of the benefits;
Prevention of calcified plaque in the arteries
Lower risk of heart disease
Promotion of apoptosis (death of cancer cells)
This vitamin is one of the most important for our overall health, but it’s relatively unknown to the general public.
Key Point: Deficiency in vitamin K2 is a leading contributor to cardiovascular disease. Generally speaking, the best place to get vitamin K2 is from grass-fed animal products — just another reason why cheese is good for you.

Cheese is a Great Source of Protein and Overall Nutrition
Animal foods as a whole are high in protein. The nutritional value of cheese is impressive for many nutrients — and protein is no exception. The protein content in cheese is usually around 25g per 100g. Another great thing about cheese is how adaptable it is; cheese can be used for cooking, as part of a platter to serve with wine or just alone. It’s highly nutritious and tastes great.
Key Point: Cheese is a good source of protein and contains 25g per 100g.

Cheese Contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a kind of naturally occurring trans fat — but don’t panic — it’s extremely healthy. The benefits of a diet high in CLA include cancer protection, weight loss, increased immunity and reduced inflammation.
Fortunately, grass-fed cheese is high in conjugated linoleic acid. For this purpose, try to choose cheese from cows raised on pasture whenever possible. Cheese from grass-fed cows is much higher in CLA than cheese from grain-fed cows. If you have access to a local farm that produces grass-fed cheese, then this would be the best option. For those of you who live in the United States, there’s an excellent resource here which lists all the grass-fed cheese brands by location.
Key Point: The high CLA content is just another reason why cheese is good for you. However, make sure you buy grass-fed cheese for the full benefits.

Final Word: Cheese is Good For You
To sum up, cheese is an incredible tasting food that offers a wealth of health benefits. It is high in essential nutrients and also helps reduce the risk of a variety of health conditions. As with most natural products, don’t fear the fat content — naturally occurring fat is no problem. In short, dairy fat is not bad for you — and cheese is good for you."

The above is only a snippet of Michael's article.
Please read it in full, with related research links etc. here 

We 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. 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 27 January 2018

Jack Savoretti - Only You (Live At Hammersmith Apollo)

It's Saturday night again time for some music

Paprika Pork in a Pan !

Take three P's, Paprika Pork in a Pan! This delicious and simple paprika pork dish, is easy to make, and great for home freezing.

Serves Four
3, thinly sliced
600g pork fillet
2 tbsp. paprika
300ml/½ pint chicken or vegetable stock
100ml crème fraîche (about half a tub)

1. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a pan add the onions and fry for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened and lightly coloured.
2. Cut the pork into sizeable chunks, then add to the pan and stir over a fairly high heat to seal and brown them all over. Stir in the paprika, cook briefly, then add the stock and bring to the boil.
3. Cover and cook for 30-35 minutes, until the pork is tender. Stir in the crème fraîche and simmer for a further 2 minutes. (You can prepare the dish to this point up to 2 days ahead or freeze for up to 3 months.) If you have a few chives or a bit of parsley handy, snip this over the pork before serving with cauliflower rice and perhaps a green vegetable – broccoli or stir-fried cabbage make the perfect accompaniment to this simple but delicious dish.

Nutrition Per Serving:
Fat 18.7g Protein 36.5g Carbs 11.3g
Recipe from here

Paprika is the ground bright red powder from sweet and hot dried peppers. It is much milder than cayenne pepper with a characteristic sweetness, and it is a favourite ingredient in European cookery. Hungarian or Spanish, hot or sweet, smoked or un-smoked, these clay-red powders all bring a distinct flavour to the dishes they are added to.

We bring a variety of recipe ideas to this blog, and 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

New study: Can a keto diet result in birth defects?

"Can a keto low-carb diet result in birth defects? Well, that’s what you may think, reading this article from the Daily Mail 25/01/18, based on a new observational study:

Daily Mail: Low carb diets like Atkins, Paleo or Keto linked to risk of birth defects including spina bifida, study claims

The argument is that lower carb diets can lead to a lower intake of folic acid, if people eat less bread. White bread normally has close to zero vitamins and minerals, which is why it’s fortified with some added vitamins, like folic acid.

A new observational study found that pregnant women who reported eating few carbs also ate less folic acid (likely for this reason) and their babies had a borderline significant 30% increase in the risk of some birth defects, like spina bifada, that may be caused by a lack of folic acid:

Birth Defects Research: Low carbohydrate diets may increase risk of neural tube defects


There are plenty of weaknesses with the study, primarily that it’s observational, meaning it’s just based on statistical correlations (weak ones, in this case). This means the study simply can’t prove whether the defects were caused by folic acid deficiency, or the diet of the mothers, or something else.

The mothers who reported a lower carb intake were also older, more obese, smoked more and drank more alcohol, all things that may be connected to an increased risk of birth defects, so it’s perhaps not a fair comparison.

However, even if the study is hardly the final word on the topic, it can still be a good idea to make sure to eat enough folic acid if you may be about to become pregnant. Just to be safe.
How to eat plenty of folate on low carb and keto

Fortunately, it’s not necessary to eat flour (clearly not great for anyone’s health) with artificially added vitamins just to get enough folic acid. You could also just eat vitamins as a supplement, negating the need to eat flour+vitamins. Or, you could eat real low-carb foods.

Some of the most folic acid-rich foods in the world happen to be low in carbs, including vegetables (particularly dark green leafy vegetables). Avocado, spinach, liver, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts are among the foods with the highest levels of folic acid, and it’s also found in dairy products, poultry and meat, eggs and seafood.

Sounds like a low-carb diet to me."

All words and picture above from Diet Doctor site here

All the best Jan

Friday 26 January 2018

Salmon in a creamy rosé sauce with tarragon and pink peppercorns : Low Carb

This really makes a delicious low carb meal. I don't always think to use a rosé wine for cooking, yes, I may enjoy a glass of it with a meal, but don't often add it to the ingredients - until now that is! This dish uses a Rosé’s pretty colour and is perfect with pale-pink fish and rosy peppercorns! Have a look and see!

Serves Four 

1 x 20g pack tarragon
½ tsp fine sea salt
3 tsp pink peppercorns
750g side of salmon, skin on
1 tbsp. butter
2 echalion shallots, finely chopped
150ml dry rosé wine
150ml double (heavy) cream

Tip - Part-prepare the sauce a few hours ahead by softening the shallots, adding the wine and reducing by half. Set aside in the pan.

Chop the woody bases from the tarragon stalks and put these in a wide pan with the salt and ½ tsp of the peppercorns. Add the salmon, skin-side down, plus just enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, then turn the heat right down and poach gently until the salmon is just cooked through (about 8 minutes). Use a small lid or upturned plate to weight the salmon down if it keeps bobbing up. Turn off the heat and leave to sit for 5 minutes, then carefully lift out the fish and set aside on a serving dish somewhere warm.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan and soften the shallots over a low heat. Lightly crush most of the remaining peppercorns and stir them in. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the wine, then bubble to reduce it by about half.

Finely chop the tarragon leaves. Stir the cream into the pan with the reduced wine, then add the tarragon and season the sauce to taste.

Pour the sauce over the salmon and scatter the reserved pink peppercorns over the top to garnish. Serve any excess sauce at the table.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Fat 51g Carbs 2g Protein 39g

From an original recipe here
If you should need help with measurement and conversion please see here

image from here

All the best Jan

Thursday 25 January 2018

Non-Dairy Substitutes for Milk

Daisy Coyle writes:
"Cow’s milk is considered a staple in many people’s diets. It is consumed as a beverage, poured on cereal and added to smoothies, tea or coffee. While it is a popular choice for many, some people can’t or choose not to drink milk due to personal preferences, dietary restrictions, allergies or intolerances. Fortunately, if you’re looking to avoid cow’s milk, there are plenty of non-dairy alternatives available. This article lists nine of the best substitutes for cow’s milk.

Why You Might Want a Substitute
Cow’s milk boasts an impressive nutrient profile. It’s rich in high-quality protein and important vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus and B vitamins. In fact, 1 cup (240 ml) of whole milk provides 146 calories, 8 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein and 13 grams of carbohydrates. However, cow’s milk is not a suitable option for everyone. There are several reasons you might be looking for an alternative, including:
Milk allergy: 2–3% of kids under the age of three are allergic to cow’s milk. This can cause a range of symptoms, including rashes, vomiting, diarrhoea and severe anaphylaxis. Around 80% of kids outgrow this allergy by age 16.
Lactose intolerance: An estimated 75% of the world's population is intolerant to lactose, the sugar found in milk. This condition happens when people have a deficiency in lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose.
Dietary restrictions: Some people choose to exclude animal products from their diets for ethical or health reasons. For example, vegans exclude all products that come from animals, including cow’s milk.
Potential health risks: Some people choose to avoid cow’s milk due to concerns over potential contaminants, including antibiotics, pesticides and hormones.

The good news is that there are many non-dairy options available if you want or need to avoid cow’s milk. Read on for a few great recommendations.

Soy Milk
Soy milk is made with either soybeans or soy protein isolate, and often contains thickeners and vegetable oils to improve taste and consistency. It typically has a mild and creamy flavour. However, the taste can vary between brands. It works best as a substitute for cow’s milk in savoury dishes, with coffee or on top of cereal.
Summary Soy milk is made from whole soybeans or soy protein isolate. It has a creamy, mild taste and is the most similar in nutrition to cow’s milk. Soy milk is often seen as controversial, though drinking soy milk in moderation is unlikely to cause harm.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is made with either whole almonds or almond butter and water.
It has a light texture and a slightly sweet and nutty flavour. It can be added to coffee and tea, mixed in smoothies and used as a substitute for cow’s milk in desserts and baked goods.
Summary Almond milk has a light, sweet, nutty flavour and is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. On the downside, it is low in protein and contains phytic acid, a substance that limits the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium.

Coconut Milk 

Coconut milk is made from water and the white flesh of brown coconuts. It is sold in cartons alongside milk and is a more diluted version of the type of coconut milk commonly used in Southeast Asian and Indian cuisines, which is usually sold in cans.
Summary Coconut milk has a creamy, milk-like consistency and a sweet, coconut taste. It contains no protein, little to no carbohydrates and is high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of saturated fat.

Oat Milk

In its simplest form, oat milk is made from a mixture of oats and water. Nevertheless, manufacturers often add extra ingredients such as gums, oils and salt to produce a desirable taste and texture. Oat milk is naturally sweet and mild in flavour. It can be used in cooking in the same way as cow’s milk, and tastes great with cereal or in smoothies.
Summary Oat milk has a mild, sweet flavour. It is high in protein and fibre, but also high in calories and carbohydrates. Oat milk contains beta-glucan, which can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is made from milled white or brown rice and water. As with other non-dairy milks, it often contains thickeners to improve texture and taste. Rice milk is the least allergenic of the non-dairy milks. This makes it a safe option for those with allergies or intolerances to dairy, gluten, soy or nuts. Rice milk is mild in taste and naturally sweet in flavour. It has a slightly watery consistency and is great to drink on its own as well as in smoothies, in desserts and with oatmeal. Rice milk has a high glycaemic index (GI) of 79–92, which means it is absorbed quickly in the gut and rapidly raises blood sugar levels. For this reason, it may not be the best option for people with diabetes. Due to its low protein content, rice milk may also not be the best option for growing children, athletes and the elderly.
Summary Rice milk is the most hypoallergenic non-dairy milk. It is low in fat and protein yet high in carbohydrates. Rice milk contains high levels of inorganic arsenic, which may cause some potential health problems in those who consume rice as a main food source.

Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is made from a mixture of cashew nuts or cashew butter and water. It is rich and creamy and has a sweet and subtle nutty flavour. It’s great for thickening smoothies, as a creamer in coffee and as a substitute for cow’s milk in desserts.
Summary Cashew milk has a rich and creamy taste and is low in calories, carbohydrates and sugar. On the downside, it contains very little protein, and may not be the best option for those with higher protein requirements.

Macadamia Milk
Macadamia milk is made mostly of water and about 3% macadamia nuts. It’s fairly new to the market, and most brands are made in Australia using Australian macadamias. It has a richer, smoother and creamier flavour than most non-dairy milks, and tastes great on its own or in coffee and smoothies.
Summary Macadamia milk is a relatively new milk to the market. It’s made from macadamia nuts and has a rich, creamy taste. Macadamia milk is high in monounsaturated fats and low in calories and carbohydrates.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is made from the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. This is the same species used to make the drug cannabis, also known as marijuana. Unlike marijuana, hemp seeds contain only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for marijuana’s mind-altering effects. Hemp milk has a slightly sweet, nutty taste and a thin, watery texture. It works best as a substitute for lighter milks such as skim milk.
Summary Hemp milk has a thin, watery texture and a sweet and nutty flavour. It is low in calories and contains little to no carbs. Hemp milk is a great option for vegetarians and vegans because it is a source of high-quality protein and two essential fatty acids.

Quinoa Milk

Quinoa milk is made from water and quinoa, an edible seed that is commonly prepared and consumed as a grain. The whole quinoa grain is very nutritious, gluten-free and rich in high-quality protein. While quinoa has become a very popular “superfood” over recent years, quinoa milk is fairly new to the market. For this reason, it is slightly more expensive than other non-dairy milks and can be a little harder to find on supermarket shelves.
Summary Quinoa milk has a distinct flavour and is slightly sweet and nutty. It contains a moderate number of calories, protein and carbs compared to other non-dairy milks. It’s a good option for vegetarians and vegans since it contains high-quality protein.

What to Consider When Substituting
With a wide range of non-dairy milks available on supermarket shelves, it can be difficult to know which one is best for you.
Here are a few important things to consider:
Added sugar: Sugar is often added to enhance flavour and texture. Stick with unsweetened varieties over flavoured ones, and try to avoid brands that list sugar as one of the first three ingredients.
Calcium content: Cow’s milk is rich in calcium, which is vital for healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis. Most non-dairy milks are fortified with it, so choose one that contains at least 120 mg of calcium per 3.4 ounces (100 ml).
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products and is essential for a healthy brain and immune system. People who limit or avoid animal products from their diets should choose milk that is fortified with B12.
Cost: Non-dairy milks are often more expensive than cow’s milk. To cut costs, try making plant-based milk at home. However, one downside of making your own milk is that it will not be fortified with calcium and vitamin B12.
Additives: Some non-dairy milks may contain additives such as carrageenan and vegetable gums to achieve a thick and smooth texture. While these additives aren't necessarily unhealthy, some people prefer to avoid them.
Dietary needs: Some people have allergies or intolerances to certain ingredients used in plant-based milks, such as gluten, nuts and soy. Be sure to check labels if you have an allergy or intolerance.
Summary There are a few things to consider when choosing a cow’s milk alternative, including nutrient content, added sugars and additives. Reading food labels will help you understand what’s in the milk you are buying.

The Bottom Line
For many people, cow’s milk is a dietary staple. However, there are a number of reasons you may need or choose to forgo cow’s milk, including allergies, ethical reasons and concerns over potential health risks. Fortunately, there are many great alternatives available, including the nine in this list. When making your choice, be sure to stick with unsweetened varieties and avoid added sugars. In addition, make sure your non-dairy milk is fortified with calcium and vitamin B12. There is no one milk that’s ideal for everyone. The taste, nutrition and cost of these alternatives can vary considerably, so it might take a while to find the one that’s best for you."

The above is only a snippet of Daisy's article.
Please read it in full, with related research links etc. here 

We 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. 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

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Sausages with creamy lentils ... a lovely winter's evening dish !

Why not update the great British banger (sausage) with a side of creamy green lentils ...

Serves Four
8 good quality pork sausages
1 onion
2 carrots
1 celery stick
2 tbsp. oil
2 streaky bacon rashers, chopped
2 fresh thyme sprigs or a pinch if dried
200ml hot vegetable stock (a cube is fine)
410g can green lentil
4 tbsp. crème fraîche or double (heavy) cream

1. Preheat the grill. Grill the sausages for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are evenly browned and cooked through.
2. Meanwhile, chop the onion, carrots and celery into small pieces. (A food processor can make short work of this.) Heat the sunflower oil in a medium pan. Fry the bacon for 2 minutes, then stir in the chopped vegetables and thyme. Cook over a medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened and are beginning to brown.
3. Pour in the stock and simmer for 8 minutes until the carrots are tender. Drain the lentils, then stir into the vegetables. Heat through for a couple of minutes, then season and stir in the crème fraiche or cream. Serve with the grilled sausages.

Nutritional Information:
Fat 34g Protein 23g Carbs 23g

From an original idea here
I'm sure this recipe could be easily amended if you'd rather a vegetarian dish ...

We bring a variety of recipe ideas to this blog, and 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 23 January 2018

Statins may 'do more harm than good'

Experts say MILLIONS should not be taking them

MILLIONS of healthy Britons are needlessly taking statins every day, a major review suggests. Experts last night raised concerns that those using the cholesterol-busting drugs see next to no benefit.

They claim the advantages of taking statins for already healthy people are “vanishingly small” and insist diet and exercise deliver far more impressive results in maintaining a healthy heart. 

It has also been claimed that “raw data” on the side-effects of the drugs is being withheld. 

Statins are taken by six million Britons but remain highly controversial, with many patients complaining of crippling side-effects, while evidence suggests they have no impact on prolonging life. 

The medication works to lower the level of cholesterol in the blood and can reduce cardiovascular disease.  

In the bombshell review, author Dr Maryanne Demasi said: “Doctors prescribing statins should remain inherently sceptical because the majority of those taking [them] are healthy people at low risk, where the benefits are vanishingly small, and the raw data on side-effects is kept hidden.”

Writing in the British Journal Of Sports Medicine, Dr Demasi has been backed by a coalition of world-leading experts. 

She claims statistics are manipulated to exaggerate the benefits of statins and underplay the risks, while dissenting views have been silenced. 

Dr Demasi said: “Of utmost importance is that independent researchers are permitted to access the raw data on the side-effects of statins. 

“We have learnt from the past, as in the case of Tamiflu, that when drug companies withhold crucial trial data from the public, it perverts the results by favouring the benefits of the drug and underplaying the harms. 

“This secrecy has now cultivated doubt about the authenticity of the statin data.” 

Millions are thought to have stopped taking the drugs for fear of being crippled by side-effects, including muscle aches, memory loss, kidney problems and sleep disturbance. 

Sir Richard Thompson, the Queen’s former personal physician, said: “This formidable review adds to the voices that are questioning the cholesterol/statin/cardiovascular disease hypothesis and are criticising the presentation of many of the trial data. 

“Physicians should emphasise the benefits on cardiovascular disease of physical activity and a Mediterranean diet, both of which are effective and safer and cheaper than drugs.”  

Statins are the most commonly prescribed drug in Britain. 

They cost about £2 per month. 

But experts have criticised the decision to give cholesterol-lowering drugs to healthy people to stave off heart attacks or strokes. 

Dr Malcolm Kendrick, an NHS GP from Macclesfield, Cheshire, said: “This research clearly demonstrates that statins do more harm than good.”  

US cardiologist Dr Rita Redberg, of San Francisco Medical Centre, said: “Unfortunately, until all data is available and discussed with patients, millions of people taking these drugs will continue to have far greater chance of harm than benefit.” 

In response Metin Avkiran, of the British Heart Foundation, said: “We have more than 20 years’ worth of research showing statins are an effective way of reducing the risk of a heart attack in people at high risk. 

“The opinions expressed in this article don’t change anything and patients who have been prescribed statins should continue to take them. 

“If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor.”


Monday 22 January 2018

Mixed Vegetable Soup ... so simple !

Here in the UK, it's definitely soup weather, and there are eight different vegetables in this simple to make, comforting, and health-boosting soup.

Serves 12
14g carb per serving

2 tbsp. olive oil
6 cups shredded cabbage
4 cups sliced carrots
3 cups fresh, chopped celery
1 cup fresh, sliced parsnip
8 cups (low-sodium) chicken broth
2 cups chopped zucchini/courgette
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
20 oz. fresh cauliflower florets
2 chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp ground thyme
2 tbsp. fresh parsley
1 tsp salt, to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper, to taste

1. In large pan, heat oil over medium. Add cabbage, carrots, celery, and parsnips, and cook, uncovered, 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Add broth and bring to boil. Skim any foam from surface.
3. Add zucchini/courgette, pepper, cauliflower, tomatoes, thyme, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil for 1 minute.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
5. Serve hot.

From a recipe idea here
If you should need help with weight/measurement conversion see here

... now where is my soup spoon !

All the best Jan

Quote of the day

“The 10 Commandments contain 297 words. The Bill of Rights is stated in 463 words. Lincon’s Gettysburg Address contains 266 words. A recent federal directive to regulate the price of cabbage contains 26,911 words.”
The Atlanta Journal


It's Snow-time ... let's play!

...and now for something a little different!
Fun in the snow for these animals at
Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling, Scotland

A Barbary Macaque takes a snowman's carrot nose

Sorry Mr. Snowman - I'm keeping these carrots!

young lion building a snowman!

The lions also enjoyed a game of chase in a snowy enclosure
Picture credit Andrew Milligan here

Aren't they just brilliant!
All the best Jan

Sunday 21 January 2018

Sunday ... a quiet day

Well after quite a busy week ... today has been lovely and quiet.
Some nice easy 'chores' followed by a sit down and cuppa ... can't be bad.

By my side is this book by Emma Hannigan a nice light read

A plate with a nice slice of low carb black forest gateaux - check the recipe out here

and of course a delicious cup of tea

Dinner tonight will be this low carb lamb moussaka
see recipe here


Hope you've had an enjoyable and quiet Sunday

All the best Jan

Saturday 20 January 2018

First Aid Kit - Fireworks

Recently released  single from First Aid Kits new album enjoy, have a great weekend folks 

norah jones / forever young

Saturday night again already, and music night on this blog. This is one of my favourite songs and dedicated to the people who read and comment on our blog. May you stay forever young. Eddie

Saturday Night Supper ...

This is a nice Saturday Night Supper Dish ... and as it's Saturday perhaps you may give it a try tonight !

Red peppers are definitely our favourite, and when put aside a yellow one, what a great colourful and nutritious plate of food you've got. What do you think?

Serves Four
1 celery stick, cut into 5mm (1/4in) dice
1 small onion, cut into 1cm (1/2in) dice
250g/8oz of swede (rutabaga) peeled and cut into 1cm (1/2in) dice
2 tsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 red peppers
2 yellow peppers
250g lean steak mince
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp. tomato puree
1 tsp dried herbs
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika (optional)
125ml (4fl oz.) red wine or beef stock

Put the carrot, celery, onion and swede into a large saucepan and pour over 2 tbsp. olive oil. Cover with a disc of non-stick baking paper and a lid, then cook over a low heat for 6-8 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, prepare the peppers. Make sure the peppers can stand upright by slicing slivers from the bottom. Slice the top off each pepper, about 1.5cm (3/4in) from the top, keeping the stalk intact. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut away and discard the seeds and any excess white pith inside the peppers. Reserve the lids and set the peppers aside.

Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Uncover and remove the baking paper from the pan. Add the beef mince and turn up the heat to medium/high. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the mince is browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute before adding the tomato purée, herbs and paprika (if using). Stir well and cook for a further minute. Add the red wine or stock, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes.

Pour some water into a baking tray and stand the peppers upright on the tray. Spoon the beef mixture into the peppers and put the lids on top. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and bake for 25-30 minutes until the peppers are tender. Serve.

Adapted from an original recipe idea here

We bring a variety of recipe ideas to this blog, and 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.

Enjoy your weekend ...

All the best Jan

Friday 19 January 2018

Hot Cross Buns : The Low Carb Way

No sooner was Christmas over and many of the supermarkets started filling their shelves with Easter Eggs, and just recently Hot Cross Buns! Now, I know many do enjoy a hot cross bun with a cup of tea, or coffee, but the hot cross buns to enjoy if you live the LCHF lifestyle are these ...

It's a recipe suggestion from Chef Craig, and he says 'a delicious LCHF alternative to the standard buns for celebrations and gatherings this Spring and Easter are these'

Makes 12 - 16
4.5 carbs per bun

4 tbsp. (60g) Chia Seeds
3/5 cup (150ml) Water
4 tbsp. (60g) Butter
6 Eggs, whisked
2 cups (210g) Almond Flour/Ground Almonds
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp. (30g) Psyllium Husk
1 tsp (5g) Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp (5g) Ground or grated Nutmeg
2 tbsp. Raisins
2 tsp (10g) Baking Powder
1 tsp (5g) Salt

For brushing the buns:
1 Egg yolk
1 tbsp. (15ml) Cream

To one side, soak the chia seeds in the water for 10 minutes until they become gelatinous.

Melt the butter in a suitable dish in the microwave or on a stove top. When melted, add the butter to the whisked eggs and then whisk in the chia seeds with their liquid.

Weigh and mix all the remaining dry ingredients together in a large enough bowl to take all of the mixture. Pour the wet ingredients and the raisins into the dry bowl and mix together well. Allow to stand for 15 minutes to allow the psyllium husks to absorb the moisture and make the dough pliable.

Once the dough has dried a little, turn it out on to a sheet of cling wrap. Cut another sheet of cling wrap and place this over the top. This is a clever little way to roll out something that might be a bit sticky without having to use extra almond flour which could dry out the mix in the end. Roll the dough to a thickness of around 3cm (inch and a half) and cut out with a pastry cutter – or you can just roll them by hand into little rounds the size you like without having to use cutters.

Mix an egg yolk and a tablespoon of cream together and with a pastry brush lightly brush this mix over the buns, which will give them a golden finish. Leave a little bit of your dough to roll into a long thin dough length and cut it into pieces to the size of your buns to criss-cross on the top.

Lastly, place your buns almost touching together so they bake into one batch that you will tear easily into the individual buns leaving the traditional patterning on the sides.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes and cool on a cooling wire.

Prep time: 10 minutes (additional standing time 10 minutes – chia seeds; 15 min psyllium husk)
Cooking time: 12-15 minutes
Makes: 12-16
Carb count: 4.5g carbs
Bake at: 160º C / 325º F / gas mark 3

Recipe from What The Fat Blog here - but more to see here

Now all I need to do is make a nice cup of tea
I'll just put the kettle on

All the best Jan

Benefits of Green Tea

Kris Gunnars BSc writes:
"Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet.
It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body.
These include improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other impressive benefits.

Below are 10 health benefits of green tea that are supported by studies.

Green Tea Contains Bioactive Compounds That Improve Health
Green tea is more than just liquid.
Many of the plant compounds in the tea leaves do make it into the final drink, which contains large amounts of important nutrients. Tea is rich in polyphenols that have effects like reducing inflammation and helping to fight cancer. Green tea also has small amounts of minerals that are important for health. Try to choose a higher quality brand of green tea, because some of the lower quality brands can contain excessive amounts of fluoride. That being said, even if you choose a lower quality brand, the benefits still far outweigh any risk.
Summary Green tea is loaded with polyphenol antioxidants, including a catechin called EGCG. These antioxidants can have various beneficial effects on health.

Compounds in Green Tea Can Improve Brain Function and Make You Smarter

Green tea does more than just keep you awake, it can also make you smarter. The key active ingredient is caffeine, which is a known stimulant. It doesn't contain as much as coffee, but enough to produce a response without causing the "jittery" effects associated with too much caffeine. Many people report having more stable energy and being much more productive when they drink green tea, compared to coffee.
Summary Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, but enough to produce an effect. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function.

Green Tea Increases Fat Burning and Improves Physical Performance
Summary Green tea has been shown to boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning in the short term, although not all studies agree.

Antioxidants in Green Tea May Lower Your Risk of Some Types of Cancer

Cancer is caused by uncontrolled growth of cells. It is one of the world's leading causes of death. It is known that oxidative damage contributes to the development of cancer and that antioxidants may have a protective effect. Green tea is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants, so it makes sense that it could reduce your risk of cancer, which it appears to do:
Breast cancer: A meta-analysis of observational studies found that women who drank the most green tea had a 20-30% lower risk of developing breast cancer, the most common cancer in women.
Prostate cancer: One study found that men drinking green tea had a 48% lower risk of developing prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in men.
Colorectal cancer: An analysis of 29 studies showed that those drinking green tea were up to 42% less likely to develop colorectal cancer.
Many observational studies have shown that green tea drinkers are less likely to develop several types of cancer. However, more high-quality research is needed to confirm these effects. It is important to keep in mind that it may be a bad idea to put milk in your tea, because some studies suggest it reduces the antioxidant value.
Summary Green tea has powerful antioxidants that may protect against cancer. Multiple studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of various types of cancer.

Green Tea May Protect Your Brain in Old Age, Lowering Your Risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
Not only can green tea improve brain function in the short term, it may also protect your brain in old age. Alzheimer's disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in humans and a leading cause of dementia.
Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and involves the death of dopamine producing neurons in the brain. Multiple studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons in test tubes and animal models, potentially lowering the risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Summary The bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on the brain. They may reduce the risk of both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, the two most common neurodegenerative disorders.

Green Tea Can Kill Bacteria, Which Improves Dental Health and Lowers Your Risk of Infection
Summary The catechins in green tea may inhibit the growth of bacteria and some viruses. This can lower the risk of infections and lead to improvements in dental health, a lower risk of caries and reduced bad breath.

Green Tea May Lower Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that has reached epidemic proportions in the past few decades and now afflicts about 400 million people worldwide. This disease involves having elevated blood sugar levels in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.
Summary Some controlled trials show that green tea can cause mild reductions in blood sugar levels. It may also lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Green Tea May Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the biggest causes of death in the world. Studies show that green tea can improve some of the main risk factors for these diseases.
Summary Green tea has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol, as well as protect the LDL particles from oxidation. Observational studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Green Tea Can Help You Lose Weight and Lower Your Risk of Obesity
Summary Some studies show that green tea leads to increased weight loss. It may be particularly effective at reducing the dangerous abdominal fat.

Green Tea May Help You Live Longer

Of course, we all have to die eventually. That is inevitable. However, given that green tea drinkers are at a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, it makes sense that it could help you live longer.
In a study of 40,530 Japanese adults, those who drank the most green tea (5 or more cups per day) were significantly less likely to die during an 11 year period:
Death of all causes: 23% lower in women, 12% lower in men.
Death from heart disease: 31% lower in women, 22% lower in men.
Death from stroke: 42% lower in women, 35% lower in men.
Another study in 14,001 elderly Japanese individuals aged found that those who drank the most green tea were 76% less likely to die during the 6 year study period.
Summary Studies show that green tea drinkers are likely to live longer than non-tea drinkers.

The Bottom Line
In order to feel better, lose weight and lower your risk of chronic diseases, then you might want to consider making green tea a regular part of your life."

The above is only a snippet of Kris's article.
You can read it in full, with related research links etc. here

We 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