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Saturday 31 March 2018

Caro Emerald - 'La Isla Bonita'

I enjoyed this cover of the Madonna hit song, have a good Easter everyone

Gin Wigmore - Hey Ho

As most readers here know, Graham's taste in music is decidedly down market compared to mine, this is right up his street. To be fair, I can see the attraction. Eddie

For our Russian friends Tchaikovsky - Hymn of the Cherubim

There has been much negative talk in the UK media re. the Russians this week. Our PM appears to be trying to prove she is tough by taking the Russians on. I have never met a person in the UK who has a bad word to say against the Russians. Then again, what do I know. I do know this, the Russians lost over 20 million people during WW2, I hope people in high places learn the lessons from history, take on the Russians and you will lose. Enjoy this beautiful music, Russia at it's best. Eddie 

Dmitry Bortniansky Let My Prayer Arise

Saturday night again and music night on this blog. Last night I was watching a movie and at the end this stunning music was played, it blew my brains out. At this most special time for Christians, it seems most appropriate. That being said, I wish people of all faiths and religions peace, and the best of health to all. Eddie

Halloumi cheese with butter-fried aubergine / eggplant : Vegetarian and low carb

Have you heard of Halloumi - pronounced ha-loo-mee! It's a semi-hard chewy, white cheese originating from Cyprus and made from cow's, goat's or sheep's milk, or a combination. It has a mild salty flavour and lends itself beautifully to cooking due to its firm texture which is retained even when cooked and exposed to high temperatures. It has become a firm favourite in our household and sometimes we just cook a couple of slices and enjoy them as a snack - or just add some lovely low carb vegetable, as this recipe suggestion, for something a little more!

Serves Two
11g carbs per serving
1 aubergine / eggplant
3 oz. / 75g butter
10 oz. / 275g halloumi cheese
10 black olives
salt and pepper
½ cup / 125ml mayonnaise (optional)
Please see instructions on Diet Doctor site here

Additional tips!
If you want variety, why not swap the veggie! This dish can be made with other low-carb vegetables such as courgette/ zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli or spinach. Also feel free to use your favourite spices to give this dish more flavour, e.g. chili powder, paprika, onion powder, some herbs, or even freshly chopped garlic and basil...

A variety of recipe ideas are found within 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

Friday 30 March 2018

Wildlife of Planet Earth ... it's wonderful !

... and now for something a little different!
Planet Earth has such a variety of wildlife, I share just four examples here

Blue Footed Boobies, Ecuador

 Polar Bear Cubs sleep next to their mother in Canada

A Snowy Owl in Wisconsin, US, where it migrated for the winter

Two Baby Owls in Indonesia

If you enjoy looking at wildlife photographs -
there are lots more here

Can you choose a favourite?

All the best Jan

Thursday 29 March 2018

Cannon of Lamb : with celeriac potato cake : Mary Berry

Mary Berry shares her 'Country House Secrets' with this lovely recipe. Cannon of lamb is also known as loin fillet, it's a lovely, tender cut that only needs a quick roast. Served here with crisp celeriac and potato cakes - but swede rosti could be an alternative - it makes for quite a special meal, certainly one to keep in mind.

Serves Four
For the lamb
2 loins of lamb
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the celeriac & potato cakes
350g/9oz floury potatoes, peeled
250g/9oz celeriac, peeled
knob of butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
For the mint gravy
knob of butter
1 level tbsp. plain flour
225ml/8fl oz. hot beef stock
100ml/3½fl oz. port
1 tsp redcurrant jelly
dash gravy browning
2 tsp chopped fresh mint

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
2. To make the celeriac and potato cakes, grate both the potato and celeriac into a bowl using a coarse grater. Squeeze to drain all the water out, then tip onto a clean tea towel and squeeze again to ensure that every drop has been removed. Season with salt and pepper. Split into four and shape each portion into a cake (similar to a fish cake). Set aside.
3. To make the lamb, brush the loins with oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan over a high heat and fry them for 30 seconds on each side, or until browned. Lay the rosemary in a roasting tin, sit the browned lamb on top and roast for 8 minutes. Remove and leave to rest – the lamb will remain pink inside.
4. To make the gravy, heat the butter in a pan, add the flour and whisk until combined. Gradually whisk in the stock and port and bring to the boil. Add the redcurrant jelly and gravy browning. Simmer until smooth and glossy.
5. To cook the celeriac & potato cakes, heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and fry the cakes for about 5–6 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown and crisp.
6. Add the mint to the gravy just before serving. Carve each loin into four slices on the diagonal. Divide the celeriac & potato cakes between four plates. Sit two pieces of lamb on top of each potato cake and pour the gravy around the edge. Serve...

Should you wish to serve the lamb with swede (rutabaga) rosti, you can find the recipe here

Mary Berry's original recipe is here 

sharing some country house flowers - image from here

You will find a variety of recipe ideas within 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

The US: Adult obesity rate hits all time high at 40%

In the US adult obesity hits an all time high, and in the UK the number of people with obesity has more than trebled in the last 25 years. No pun intended! But it does seem to be a growing, and concerning problem, and Doctors now say that the condition is reaching 'epidemic' proportions. Why are they so concerned?

Dr Andreas Eenfeldt MD writes:

"There’s no end in sight to the increasing obesity epidemic, even among children where it previously seemed to have come to a halt. A new depressing cross-sectional survey finds that 39.6% of the adult American population now falls into the obese category.

This increases the population risk of all kinds of metabolic diseases, like high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes type 2 and cancer.

JAMA Network: Trends in obesity and severe obesity prevalence in US youth and adults by sex and age, 2007-2008 to 2015-2016

The New York Times: American adults just keep getting fatter

The culprit?

A poor diet, mostly.

While the latest survey data doesn’t explain why Americans continue to get heavier, nutritionists and other experts cite lifestyle, genetics, and, most importantly, a poor diet as factors. Fast food sales in the United States rose 22.7 percent from 2012 to 2017, according to Euromonitor, while packaged food sales rose 8.8 percent.

While fast food deserve some of the blame, it certainly does not help that official dietary guidelines are ineffective or worse, when it comes to controlling weight. Counting calories and exercising are very ineffective methods, while the fear of natural fats in real food is directly harmful.

Bad advice that makes people hungry, and sugary processed foods everywhere. It’s a perfect storm. How high will obesity rates go, before we manage to change one or both?"

Most words and picture from Diet Doctor site here

All the best Jan

Wednesday 28 March 2018

French Farmhouse Country Chicken

Lay the table, open the wine ... enjoy the company, and the aroma of great food cooking and then sit down and enjoy. This warming French dish may bring some readers happy memories (or dreams) of a weekend in Provence, this dish uses chicken thighs with a mustard braise and sweet root veg. 

Ingredients you'll need for two
4 shallots
1 carrot
1 celery stick
200g white mushrooms
4 bone-in chicken thighs
1 large potato, peeled and roughly chopped*
or chopped swede may be used instead*
2 garlic cloves
1 chicken stock cube
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 bouquet garni
4 tbsp. double cream
1 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
450ml boiling water
You'll need
A shallow casserole dish or deep frying pan with a lid
Measuring jug

Here's what you do
1. Peel and halve the shallots. Peel and roughly chop the carrot. Trim the celery stick and slice it. Slice the mushrooms or quarter or halve them if they are small.
2. Warm a casserole dish or deep frying pan over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil and the chicken thighs, skin side down. Fry for 5 minutes till the skin is golden brown. Turn the thighs over and fry for another 2 minutes. Lift the chicken thighs out of the pan and pop them on a plate.
3. Add the shallots, carrot, celery and mushrooms to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring a few times, till the veg are soft and glossy looking.
4. While the veg are cooking, peel and roughly chop the potato or swede. Peel and crush the garlic. Crumble the stock cube into a measuring jug and stir in 450ml boiling water.
5. Stir the potato/swede and garlic into the veg with the Dijon mustard. Add the bouquet garni. Pop the chicken thighs back in to the pan. Pour in the stock. Cover and turn up the heat. Bring the casserole to the boil, then turn the heat back down and simmer for 30 minutes.
6. The chicken thighs should be cooked through and the veg tender. Turn off the heat. Lift out the bouquet garni and discard it. Stir in 4 tbsp. double cream.
7. Taste the casserole and add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Ladle the chicken casserole into 2 warm bowls and serve.
Bouquet garni is French for 'garnished bouquet' and it's a little bundle of herbs used to add flavour to dishes in traditional French cooking. You can tie them together to make them easier to find and fish out once the casserole has finished cooking.
Recipe is from an original idea here

You will find a variety of recipe ideas within 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

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Cauliflower, Swede & Turnip Curry : Plus Fenugreek Seeds

Curry can make a nice addition to your menu plans, and this suggestion uses root vegetables, which I know many readers find delicious. Once cooked serve this dish how it suits you ... on it's own-very tasty, or perhaps with rice and yogurt, or why not keep it lower carb and consider making some cauliflower couscous.

The recipe given below is 6.2g carb per serving.

Serves Four
Vegetable oil for frying
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
25-30 fresh curry leaves
1 small onion, grated
2cm fresh ginger, grated
2-3 dried red chillies
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
200g chopped tinned tomatoes
4 tbsp. desiccated coconut
250g mixed swede and turnip, diced
1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
Handful of chopped fresh coriander

1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, then add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Cook for a minute until the mustard seeds just start to pop, being careful not to let them burn (see tip), then add the onion and ginger and fry for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the dried chillies, turmeric, fennel and fenugreek seeds, then fry for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, coconut, swede, turnip and a good splash of water. Season, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Stir through the cauliflower, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Scatter with the coriander and serve.
Keep an eye on the mustard seeds – if they start to burn the dish will taste bitter.

Nutritional Information:
Fat 9.7g  Protein 2.3g  Carbs 6.2g  Fibre 4.3g

From an original idea here

Did you know about Fenugreek seeds, pictured here !

They are a popular seed in Indian cookery, in which it's termed methi, this small, hard, mustard yellow seed has a tangy, bitter, burnt-sugar flavour.

The herb of the same name (see fenugreek herb) is grown from it and is also used in Middle Eastern cooking.

They are available all year round, but choose the best ...
Like all seeds, fenugreek seeds are best bought little and often - that way, instead of having them languish in your store cupboard for a long time, you can buy more, fresher seeds as and when you need them. The best place to buy them is Indian speciality stores.
How to prepare them ...
You'll get more flavour out of fenugreek seeds by grinding or dry frying them. To dry fry, heat up a pan, tip in the seeds and, over a medium heat, brown for a couple of minutes, tossing them around the pan frequently. As the seed's so hard, they're difficult to grind by hand so, for recipes that call for ground, rather than whole, buy ready-ground, unless you have a small coffee grinder.
When you store them ...
They are best kept in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, and should last for up to one year.
Cook them ...
In curries, pickles and sauces.

You will find a variety of recipe ideas within 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

Five Ways That Drinking Milk Can Improve Your Health

image from here

Jillian Kubala MS RD writes:
"Milk has been enjoyed throughout the world for thousands of years. By definition, it’s a nutrient-rich fluid that female mammals produce to feed their young. The most commonly consumed types come from cows, sheep and goats. Western countries drink cow’s milk most frequently. Milk consumption is a hotly debated topic in the nutrition world, so you might wonder if it’s healthy or harmful.

This article lists five science-backed health benefits of milk so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you.

1. Milk Is Packed With Nutrients
The nutritional profile of milk is impressive. After all, it’s designed to fully nourish new-born animals. Just one cup (244 grams) of whole cow’s milk contains:
Calories: 146
Protein: 8 grams
Fat: 8 grams
Calcium: 28% of the RDA
Vitamin D: 24% of the RDA
Riboflavin (B2): 26% of the RDA
Vitamin B12: 18% of the RDA
Potassium: 10% of the RDA
Phosphorus: 22% of the RDA
Selenium: 13% of the RDA
Milk is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including “nutrients of concern,” which are under-consumed by many populations. It provides potassium, B12, calcium and vitamin D, which are lacking in many diets. Milk is also a good source of vitamin A, magnesium, zinc and thiamine (B1). Additionally, it’s an excellent source of protein and contains hundreds of different fatty acids, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3s.
Conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids are linked to many health benefits, including a reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease. The nutritional content of milk varies, depending on factors like its fat content and the diet and treatment of the cow it came from. For example, milk from cows that eat mostly grass contains significantly higher amounts of conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids. Also, organic and grass-fed cow’s milk contains higher amounts of beneficial antioxidants, such as vitamin E and beta-carotene, which help reduce inflammation and fight oxidative stress.
Summary Milk contains a wide array of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fats and antioxidants. Keep in mind that its nutritional content can vary depending on many factors.

2. It's A Good Source of Quality Protein

Milk is a rich source of protein, with just one cup containing 8 grams. Protein is necessary for many vital functions in your body, including growth and development, cellular repair and immune system regulation. Milk is considered a “complete protein,” meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for your body to function at an optimal level. Drinking milk is associated with a lower risk of age-related muscle loss in several studies. In fact, higher consumption of milk and milk products has been linked to greater whole-body muscle mass and better physical performance in older adults. Milk has also been shown to boost muscle repair in athletes. In fact, several studies have demonstrated that drinking milk after a workout can decrease muscle damage, promote muscle repair, increase strength and even decrease muscle soreness. Plus, it’s a natural alternative to highly processed protein drinks marketed toward post-workout recovery.
Summary Milk is a rich source of quality protein that contains all nine essential amino acids. It may help reduce age-related muscle loss and promote muscle repair after exercise.

image from here

3. May Benefit Bone Health
Drinking milk has long been associated with healthy bones. This is due to its powerful combination of nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, protein and (in grass-fed, full-fat dairy) vitamin K2. All of these nutrients are essential for maintaining strong, healthy bones. Approximately 99% of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones and teeth. Milk is an excellent source of the nutrients your body relies on to properly absorb calcium, including vitamin D, vitamin K, phosphorus and magnesium. Adding milk and dairy products to your diet may prevent bone diseases like osteoporosis. Studies have linked milk and dairy to a lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures, especially in older adults. What’s more, milk is a good source of protein, a key nutrient for bone health. In fact, protein makes up about 50% of bone volume and around one-third of bone mass. Evidence suggests that eating more protein may protect against bone loss, especially in women who do not consume enough dietary calcium.
Summary Milk contains a variety of nutrients that benefit bone health, such as calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus and magnesium. Studies suggest that consuming milk and dairy products may prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fractures.

4. May Prevent Weight Gain

Several studies have linked milk intake to a lower risk of obesity. Interestingly, this benefit has only been associated with whole milk. A study in 145 three-year-old Latino children found that higher milk-fat consumption was associated with a lower risk of childhood obesity. Another study including over 18,000 middle-aged and elderly women showed that eating more high-fat dairy products was associated with less weight gain and a lower risk of obesity. Milk contains a variety of components that may contribute to weight loss and prevent weight gain. For example, its high-protein content helps you feel full for a longer period of time, which may prevent overeating. Furthermore, the conjugated linoleic acid in milk has been studied for its ability to boost weight loss by promoting fat breakdown and inhibiting fat production. Additionally, many studies have associated diets rich in calcium with a lower risk of obesity. Evidence suggests that people with a higher intake of dietary calcium have a lower risk of being overweight or obese. Studies have shown that high levels of dietary calcium promote fat breakdown and inhibit fat absorption in the body.
Summary Adding milk, especially whole milk, to your diet may prevent weight gain.

5. A Versatile Ingredient

Milk is a nutritious beverage that provides a number of health benefits. Moreover, it’s a versatile ingredient that can be easily added to your diet. If you’re not a fan of milk, there are other dairy products that have similar nutrient profiles. For example, unsweetened yogurt made from milk contains the same amount of protein, calcium and phosphorus. Yogurt is a healthy and versatile alternative to processed dips and toppings.
Summary Milk is a versatile ingredient that can be added to your diet in a number of ways. Try adding it to smoothies, coffee or your morning oatmeal.

Milk Is Not for Everyone
Although milk may be a good choice for some, others can’t digest it or choose not to consume it. Many people can’t tolerate milk because they’re unable to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products. Interestingly, lactose intolerance affects around 65% of the world’s population. Others choose not to consume milk or dairy products due to dietary restrictions, health concerns or ethical reasons. This has led to a wide variety of non-dairy milk alternatives, including:
Almond milk: Made from almonds, this plant-based alternative is lower in calories and fat than cow’s milk.
Coconut milk: This tropical drink made from coconut flesh and water has a creamy texture and mild flavour.
Cashew milk: Cashews and water combine to make this subtly sweet and rich substitute.
Soy milk: Contains a similar amount of protein as cow’s milk and has a mild flavour.
Hemp milk: This alternative is made from hemp seeds and provides a good amount of high quality, plant-based protein.
Oat milk: This substitute is very mild in flavour with a thicker consistency, making it a great addition to coffee.
Rice milk: A great option for those with sensitivities or allergies, as it’s the least allergenic of all non-dairy milks.
When choosing a non-dairy milk substitute, keep in mind that many of these products contain added ingredients like sweeteners, artificial flavours, preservatives and thickeners. Choosing a product with limited ingredients is a good choice when comparing brands. Read the labels to determine which best suits your needs. If possible, stick to unsweetened varieties to limit the amount of added sugar in your diet.
Summary There are many non-dairy milk alternatives available for those who can’t or choose not to drink milk.

The Bottom Line

Milk is a nutrient-rich beverage that may benefit your health in several ways. It’s packed with important nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins, potassium and vitamin D. Plus, it’s an excellent source of protein. Drinking milk and dairy products may prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures and even help you maintain a healthy weight. Many people are unable to digest milk or choose to avoid it for personal reasons. For those able to tolerate it, consuming high-quality milk and dairy products has been proven to provide a number of health benefits."

The above is part of Jillian's article.
You can read it in full, with all related information and research links,

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

Monday 26 March 2018

Lemon Cheesecake Fluff : A Low Carb Delight !

Why not get a taste of summer any time of the year! This lemon cheesecake fluff is simple and quick to make. Garnish with some fresh berries and lemon zest to make it even more delicious, and at 5g carbs per serving it fits into many peoples LCHF menu plans well!

Serves Four
8 oz. / 225g cream cheese
½ cup / 125ml heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon erythritol (optional)
½ cup / 125ml fresh blackberries (optional)
1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

You can see how to make this dessert at Diet Doctor site here

Thought I'd share these lovely flowers with you - enjoy your day
image from here

All the best Jan

Diabetic or Prediabetic : Here Are Eleven Foods To Avoid

Franziska Spritzler has a BSc in nutrition and dietetics. She is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with expertise in carbohydrate-restricted diets for diabetes and weight management. She wrote an article on the Authority Nutrition site that you may be interested in reading.

She writes:
"Diabetes is a chronic disease that has reached epidemic proportions among adults and children worldwide.
Uncontrolled diabetes has many serious consequences, including heart disease, kidney disease, blindness and other complications.
Pre-diabetes has also been linked to these conditions.
Importantly, eating the wrong foods can raise your blood sugar and insulin levels and promote inflammation, which may increase your risk of disease.

This article lists 11 foods that people with diabetes or pre-diabetes should avoid.

Why Does Carb Intake Matter for People With Diabetes?
Carbs, protein and fat are the macronutrients that provide your body with energy.

Of these three, carbs have the greatest effect on your blood sugar by far. This is because they are broken down into sugar, or glucose, and absorbed into your bloodstream.

Carbs include starches, sugar and fibre. However, fibre isn’t digested and absorbed by your body in the same way other carbs are, so it doesn’t raise your blood sugar.

Subtracting fibre from the total carbs in a food will give you its digestible or “net” carb content. For instance, if a cup of mixed vegetables contains 10 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fibre, its net carb count is 6 grams.

When people with diabetes consume too many carbs at a time, their blood sugar levels can rise to dangerously high levels.
Over time, high levels can damage your body’s nerves and blood vessels, which may set the stage for heart disease, kidney disease and other serious health conditions.

Maintaining a low carb intake can help prevent blood sugar spikes and greatly reduce the risk of diabetes complications.

Therefore, it’s important to avoid the foods listed below.

1. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
Summary: Sodas and sweet drinks are high in carbs, which increase blood sugar. Also, their high fructose content has been linked to insulin resistance and an increased risk of obesity, fatty liver and other diseases.

2. Trans Fats
Summary: Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been chemically altered to increase their stability. They have been linked to inflammation, insulin resistance, increased belly fat and heart disease.

3. White Bread, Pasta and Rice
Summary: White bread, pasta and rice are high in carbs yet low in fibre. This combination can result in high blood sugar levels. Alternatively, choosing high-fibre, whole foods may help reduce blood sugar response.

4. Fruit-Flavoured Yogurt
Summary: Fruit-flavoured yogurts are usually low in fat but high in sugar, which can lead to higher blood sugar and insulin levels. Plain, whole-milk yogurt is a better choice for diabetes control and overall health.

5. Sweetened Breakfast Cereals
Summary: Breakfast cereals are high in carbs but low in protein. A high-protein, low-carb breakfast is the best option for diabetes and appetite control.

6. Flavoured Coffee Drinks
Summary: Flavoured coffee drinks are very high in liquid carbs, which can raise blood sugar levels and fail to satisfy your hunger.

7. Honey, Agave Nectar and Maple Syrup
Summary: Honey, agave nectar and maple syrup are not as processed as white table sugar, but they may have similar effects on blood sugar, insulin and inflammatory markers.

8. Dried Fruit
Summary: Dried fruits become more concentrated in sugar and may contain more than three times as many carbs as fresh fruits do. Avoid dried fruit and choose fruits low in sugar for optimal blood sugar control.

9. Packaged Snack Foods
Summary: Packaged snacks are typically highly processed foods made from refined flour that can quickly raise your blood sugar levels.

10. Fruit Juice
Summary: Unsweetened fruit juice contains at least as much sugar as sodas do. Its high fructose content can worsen insulin resistance, promote weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease.

11. French Fries
Summary: In addition to being high in carbs that raise blood sugar levels, French fries are fried in unhealthy oils that may promote inflammation and increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.

The Bottom Line
Knowing which foods to avoid when you have diabetes can sometimes seem tough. However, following a few guidelines can make it easier.
Your main goals should include staying away from unhealthy fats, liquid sugars, processed grains and other foods that contain refined carbs.
Avoiding foods that increase your blood sugar levels and drive insulin resistance can help keep you healthy now and reduce your risk of future diabetes complications."
Please read Franziska's full article with all information / research links here

You may also find our 'Introduction To Low Carb For Beginners' post interesting, find it 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

Sunday 25 March 2018

Bistro Beef In Beer ...

Don't you just love the look of those shiitake mushrooms! They go so well in this beef casserole, which is served with a herby nut topping. It also freezes well, which can be a bonus!


Serves 10 (or adjust as necessary)
14g carb per serving
4 tbsp. olive oil
1.5 kg (3lb 3½oz) chuck steak, cut into bite-size pieces
450 g (1lb) button onions or shallots, peeled and left whole
3 fat garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp. demerara sugar
350 g (12oz) shiitake mushrooms
2 tbsp. each plain flour and English mustard powder
450 ml (¾ pint) Continental-style beer
A few fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves

For the gremolata topping:
80 g pack flat-leafed parsley, chopped
Coarsely grated rind of 2 oranges, plus juice of 1 orange
50 g (2oz) walnut pieces, toasted and roughly chopped
2 red onions, peeled and very finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC (130ºC fan) mark 2. Heat half the olive oil in a large flameproof ovenproof casserole until sizzling. Brown meat, a few pieces at a time, adding the remaining oil if needed. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan or the meat will stew rather than brown. Every piece should be dark brown - the colour adds richness to the final flavour. Transfer each batch of meat to a plate while you brown the remainder.
2. Add onions to the pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly for 5min or until they're beginning to soften and colour. Add garlic and sugar; fry for 4-5min or until onions are soft and caramelised. Add mushrooms and cook for 2-3min.
3. Turn the heat down and return all the meat and any juices to the casserole. Add the flour, mustard and plenty of seasoning and stir in with a wooden spoon. Gradually pour in the beer, stirring as you go. Bring slowly to a gentle simmer, add thyme and bay leaves and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
4. Put the casserole in the oven and cook for 3-3½hr. The beef should be tender and the sauce dark and rich. Season to taste. If making ahead, cool and freeze for up to one month in a freezer-proof container.
5. If serving from frozen, thaw overnight at cool room temperature. Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan) mark 4. Slowly bring beef to the boil in the casserole. Cover and reheat for 25-30min. Then mix together all the gremolata ingredients. Serve separately to scatter over the stew.

From an original Good House-keeping recipe here

It's just a thought but a dish like this may be perfect for Easter, especially if you have visitors!

Easter flowers - image from here

A variety of recipe ideas are within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you, if you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues please take these 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 24 March 2018

Long as I Live-Toni Braxton lyrics

Anther singer that's been off the radar for a few years is back with a new album, enjoy the weekend folks

Bring It On Home To Me Playing For Change

Saturday night again and music night on this blog. I've been a bit quiet on this blog of late, I'm in a transition period, a euphemism for laziness in truth. Anyway, I think you will like this cover of a classic track. Eddie

The 2018 Boat Race ... will it be Oxford or Cambridge ?

From as far back as I can remember ‘The Boat Race’ was always a must watch sports event in our family, it was part of our family tradition… which still continues to this day. Yes, it‘s true the family are spread far and wide but we are all together in spirit for this event, and I know texts, emails and phone calls will be made as the Boat Race finishes later today.

My dad was always a firm Oxford Fan … my dear mum always used to support Cambridge - the event was a great family time to share, cheer, commiserate but it was always a time when we were together and for some reason no other sporting event had quite the same effect. I’ve never stopped to analyse why this was. Dear Mum and Dad are no longer with us, but I just know they will be looking down on Saturday 24th March 2018 as this years boat race is due to start ... and the family will have so many fond memories of years gone by.

Will the water of the River Thames be calm or choppy? Will it be Oxford or Cambridge who takes the coveted 164th title? I hope the stretch of water between Putney and Mortlake will see a great race. The first race took place on 10th June 1829 in Henley on Thames, following a challenge between old school friends, since the second race in 1836 the contest has always taken place in London. So many followers do flock to the River Thames with their families to be part of the event and to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere.

As well as all eyes on the boats, I think some people may have eyes on the weather! Inclement weather has caused havoc at the Boat Race over the decades, with boats sinking in 1951, 1978 and 1981. Last year, the race threatened to be postponed when an un-exploded World War II bomb was discovered near the start-line. There are no such concerns for this Saturday's event despite the recent 'Beast from the East', with a high temperature of a mild 9°C, light winds and about a 10% chance of light rain.

The race is due to start at 5.31pm Saturday 24th March 2018, and I will edit the post later with the winners!

sorry Oxford it wasn't your turn this time ...

Post edit! A win for Cambridge, pictured here.

Enjoy your weekend

All the best Jan

Friday 23 March 2018

Randomised trial of coconut oil, olive oil or butter on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors in healthy men and women


Introduction High dietary saturated fat intake is associated with higher blood concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), an established risk factor for coronary heart disease. However, there is increasing interest in whether various dietary oils or fats with different fatty acid profiles such as extra virgin coconut oil may have different metabolic effects but trials have reported inconsistent results. We aimed to compare changes in blood lipid profile, weight, fat distribution and metabolic markers after four weeks consumption of 50 g daily of one of three different dietary fats, extra virgin coconut oil, butter or extra virgin olive oil, in healthy men and women in the general population.

Design Randomised clinical trial conducted over June and July 2017.

Setting General community in Cambridgeshire, UK.

Participants Volunteer adults were recruited by the British Broadcasting Corporation through their websites. Eligibility criteria were men and women aged 50–75 years, with no known history of cancer, cardiovascular disease or diabetes, not on lipid lowering medication, no contraindications to a high-fat diet and willingness to be randomised to consume one of the three dietary fats for 4 weeks. Of 160 individuals initially expressing an interest and assessed for eligibility, 96 were randomised to one of three interventions; 2 individuals subsequently withdrew and 94 men and women attended a baseline assessment. Their mean age was 60 years, 67% were women and 98% were European Caucasian. Of these, 91 men and women attended a follow-up assessment 4 weeks later.

Intervention Participants were randomised to extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil or unsalted butter and asked to consume 50 g daily of one of these fats for 4 weeks, which they could incorporate into their usual diet or consume as a supplement.

Main outcomes and measures The primary outcome was change in serum LDL-C; secondary outcomes were change in total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (TC and HDL-C), TC/HDL-C ratio and non-HDL-C; change in weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, per cent body fat, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose and C reactive protein.

Results LDL-C concentrations were significantly increased on butter compared with coconut oil (+0.42, 95% CI 0.19 to 0.65 mmol/L, P<0.0001) and with olive oil (+0.38, 95% CI 0.16 to 0.60 mmol/L, P<0.0001), with no differences in change of LDL-C in coconut oil compared with olive oil (−0.04, 95% CI −0.27 to 0.19 mmol/L, P=0.74). Coconut oil significantly increased HDL-C compared with butter (+0.18, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.30 mmol/L) or olive oil (+0.16, 95% CI 0.03 to 0.28 mmol/L). Butter significantly increased TC/HDL-C ratio and non-HDL-C compared with coconut oil but coconut oil did not significantly differ from olive oil for TC/HDL-C and non-HDL-C. There were no significant differences in changes in weight, BMI, central adiposity, fasting blood glucose, systolic or diastolic blood pressure among any of the three intervention groups.

Conclusions and relevance
Two different dietary fats (butter and coconut oil) which are predominantly saturated fats, appear to have different effects on blood lipids compared with olive oil, a predominantly monounsaturated fat with coconut oil more comparable to olive oil with respect to LDL-C. The effects of different dietary fats on lipid profiles, metabolic markers and health outcomes may vary not just according to the general classification of their main component fatty acids as saturated or unsaturated but possibly according to different profiles in individual fatty acids, processing methods as well as the foods in which they are consumed or dietary patterns. These findings do not alter current dietary recommendations to reduce saturated fat intake in general but highlight the need for further elucidation of the more nuanced relationships between different dietary fats and health.


Courgette / Zucchini fritters ... with a red cabbage and beet salad

These courgette/zucchini fritters are a delight, and popular with vegetarians, although you don't have to be vegetarian to enjoy this recipe suggestion! Pair them with a lovely fresh salad with beets, red cabbage and a creamy yellow sauce on top, perhaps a
dd crumbled feta on top of both for a more filling meal... the choice is yours!

Serves Two
19g carb per serving

1½ lbs / 700g courgette/zucchini
2 eggs
1 cup / 225ml grated/shredded cheese
2 teaspoons ground psyllium husk powder
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon onion powder
4 tablespoons light olive oil or coconut oil
salt and pepper

Red salad
3½ oz. / 100g red cabbage, grated/shredded
3½ oz. / 100g beets, thinly cut
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
salt and pepper

Sunny sauce
2⁄3 cup / 150ml crème fraîche or sour cream
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper

Please see instructions on Diet Doctor site here

Did you know Turmeric is one of the most versatile healing spices in the world with over 600 experimentally confirmed health benefits. This brightly coloured spice from India has been a staple in Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian cuisine. Chinese medicine has used turmeric for ages. Though turmeric is just now gaining mainstream popularity, it has existed throughout history, read more here

I hope you may enjoy this recipe soon!

All the best Jan

Everything In Moderation Is Terrible Advice !

Libby at 'Ditch The Carbs' site writes:
"The phrase “everything in moderation” is meaningless!
Why is it repeated so often and what does it actually mean? Most people use this valueless phrase to justify eating junk food on a regular basis.
Did you know that you are actually healthier by eating a small range of healthy foods, than everything in moderation?

Do we need a varied diet? – YES but do we need to eat everything in moderation – NO.

This is a subtle, yet incredibly important point to distinguish.

Eating a varied diet can be done correctly or incorrectly. Eating a variety of whole unprocessed foods is perfect, eating a variety of processed food, unhealthy oils, processed carbs and nutrient void food, is simply unhealthy."

Read more of Libby's post on her site here

Well, I wonder what you think?

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

Thursday 22 March 2018

Tender Pork Stew ... warming and delicious !

Although not eaten by all, Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world, accounting for about 38% of meat production worldwide. Pork is the culinary name for meat from a domestic pig - Sus scrofa domesticus - , and there is evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC.

I do like to include Pork in my weekly menu plans, and there are so many ways to cook and enjoy it. Take this recipe suggestion, a delicious plateful, and the ingredients used fit well with the LCHF lifestyle too!

Serves 6 - 8
2 tsp olive oil
750 g pork shoulder, cut into 5cm cubes
2 tbsp. plain flour
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
230 g tin chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 heaped tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 (low-salt) chicken or vegetable stock cube
1 tbsp. grated parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C, fan 140°C, gas 2. Heat half the olive oil in a medium non-stick saucepan. Dust the pork with the flour. Add half the pork to the pan and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the pork and set aside.
2. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, along with the onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the onion has softened slightly. Return the meat to the pan with the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme leaves. Make up 500ml stock using the stock cube and pour 300ml into the pan (save the rest for another recipe). Bring to the boil, then carefully pour the contents of the pan into an ovenproof casserole. Cover with a lid then transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hours.
3. Just before serving, remove the casserole from the oven, sprinkle with the grated parmesan and bake until the cheese has melted.

Nutritional Details:
Each serving provides
7.6g carbohydrate 2.1g fibre 13.8g protein 8.0g fat

Delicious served with celeriac or swede mash
You can freeze this, but do it before adding the Parmesan, and defrost fully before cooking and check it's piping hot when you serve.
From an original idea here

Bon Appetit

A variety of recipe ideas are within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you, if you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues please take these 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 21 March 2018

You can't drug people into being healthy!

Cardiologist Dr Malhotra takes on the CEO of Pharma giant Astra Zeneca at the prestigious Cambridge Union. This guy is very bright and has become a leading light in the UK against junk food and big pharma corruption. Check this video out, well worth your time. Eddie

Chocolate and Almond Custard Tartlets : Low Carb

Servings 12
4 large eggs
250 ml milk
125 ml cream
60g salted butter - melted
45g ground almonds*
55g xylitol
3 Tbsp. desiccated coconut
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 Tbsp. vanilla essence
pinch salt

250 ml whipped cream - to serve
24 raspberries - to serve
mint leaves - to garnish

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.  350°F.  Gas Mark 4
2. Lightly grease a silicone muffin tin with cooking spray and position it on a baking tray.
3. For the tartlets, combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into the muffin tin and bake, 20 minutes. Test it with a cake tester – it is done once the cake tester comes out clean when inserted.
4. Cool the tartlets in the muffin tin for 30 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Refrigerate and serve cold with a dollop (spoonful) of whipped cream. Top with a raspberry or two and garnish with mint.

TIP: Replace the milk with coconut milk if a creamier and more intense coconut flavour is preferred.

From an original idea here
If you should need help with measurement/weight conversion see here

Looking through this blog (and inter-net) you will find many recipes that use low carb flours*, and often when you first start a low carb diet, you may feel confused with which low carb flours to use. You may never have used any of them before and how to use them properly can be daunting. Low carb flours don’t behave like wheat flour, and how to use them in your old regular high carb recipes is a common question.
Libby, at 'Ditch The Carbs' site has a very good article called, 'The Ultimate Guide To Low Carb Flours', which I'm sure many readers will find both interesting and helpful ... you can find it here 

We bring a variety of recipe ideas and articles 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 20 March 2018

Low Carb and Gluten Free : Hot Ham and Cheese Roll Ups

The Dijon butter glaze on these low carb and gluten free roll-ups really makes this dish stand out - so much flavour packed into a delicious little roll.

Here is what you'll need for the Hot Ham and Cheese Roll-Ups ...
1/4 cup almond flour
3 tbsp. coconut flour
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cup low-moisture, part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
4 tbsp. salted butter
2 tbsp. cream cheese
1 large pastured egg
10 oz. sliced ham
1 1/2 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded

For the Dijon Butter Glaze ...
2 tbsp. salted butter
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 375°F  190°C  Gas Mark 5
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, onion powder and garlic powder.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine mozzarella cheese, butter, and cream cheese. Microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds to soften. Mix together until everything is well combined. If it gets stringy or is not quite melted enough, put it back in for another 30 seconds.
4. To the cheese mixture, add the dry ingredients and the egg. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. If you are having a hard time mixing it, put it back in the microwave for another 20-30 seconds.
5. Once the ingredients are combined, spread the dough out on parchment paper or a silpat in a thin and even layer – about 9″ by 13″. If it starts to get sticky, wet your hands a little bit to prevent it from sticking to you.
6. Once you have the dough in a nice, even rectangle, sprinkle the cheddar over top, covering all of the dough.
7. Next, layer on the ham.
8. Roll the dough up tightly lengthwise. This will produce smaller rolls, but you will get almost twice as many. Turn so that the seam is facing down
9. Cut the ends off each side of the roll-up to even it out. Then cut it into 1″ slices.
10. Place your individual roll-ups in a baking dish.
11. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they are fluffy and golden brown.
12. While they are baking, melt the butter and mix it with the Dijon, Worcestershire, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Fork whisk until all ingredients are well incorporated.
13. Take your rolls out of the oven, brush the glaze over top of them. Return them to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

These little ham and cheese pinwheels come in at just 2 net carbs each.
Please see recipe idea and more details at 'Peace Love and Low Carb'
If you need help with measurement/weight conversion see here

These could be just right for an Easter or Springtime side dish or snack!

image from here

All the best Jan