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Monday 30 April 2018

Fennel ... is fabulous !

It's quite possible that not everybody will agree with me that 'Fennel is Fabulous'... because not everyone enjoys its strong aniseed flavour which leaves no room for the middle ground. From the same family as the herb and seed of the same name, it's also known as Florence fennel, finocchio, or sweet fennel, is very popular in Italian cookery, and has a bulb-like shape that looks a little like a heavy-bottomed celery.

When eaten raw, the texture is crisp and the flavour is quite assertive and aniseedy. Cooked, it's softer and more mellow.

All year round, but it's best from the start of June to the end of September.

Choose the best:
If possible, go for the smaller, young bulbs, as they're more tender. They should look white, with no blemishes, and feel heavy for their size. The feathery green tops should be fresh and bright, with no yellowing.

Prepare it:
Wash, then trim off the green tops (they can be used as a garnish). Slice off the shoots and root and peel off the tougher outer layer (if the bulb is particularly young and tender you can leave this layer on). To cook it whole, cut out the tough central core from the bottom, leaving a cone-shaped cavity, or slice if you prefer. Alternatively, chop into quarters and remove the core from each one (but not too much, or the quarters will fall apart).

Store it:
Fresh cut fennel should be wrapped in damp kitchen paper, placed in a perforated bag and stored in the fridge. It will last for up to three days.

Cook it:
Cut into very thin slices for salads (a mandolin is good for this). Boil or steam (up to 20 minutes for a whole head, or up to 12 minutes for wedges). Roast (40-50 minutes).

Try dill or fennel herb.

I wonder do you like fennel?
From an original article here

All the best Jan

Sunday 29 April 2018

Chocolate Pudding : Dairy Free and Low Carb

If you are looking for an easy-to-make low-carb chocolate pudding which doesn’t contain dairy, then this dairy-free 4-ingredient chocolate pudding could be it! It doesn’t even need a saucepan or stove! Just whisk the ingredients together, pop into the microwave and let it cool down. But, if you are really in a hurry, enjoy the hot concoction as the most delicious thick dairy-free hot chocolate! Did I hear you say yum!

1 cup = 240 ml unsweetened coconut milk (thin, drinkable type)
2 tablespoons Natvia for Baking, or other sweetener to taste
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon glucomannan powder 
(instead of glucomannan powder grass fed gelatine may be used, but you may need to use 1 teaspoon)
Pour the coconut milk into a microwave-safe bowl.
Add the sweetener and the cocoa powder. Whisk well.
Sprinkle in the glucomannan powder gradually while whisking all the time. Whisk well to prevent lumps.
Place the bowl in a microwave oven.
Heat on high for 1 minute 30 seconds, or until the mixture is hot but not boiling.
Give the mixture a final whisk.
Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for a few hours, or until cold and thick.

Nutritional Information:
Per serving if 2 servings in total
1.1g protein  3.3g fat  1.6g net carbs 

Nutritional values highly depend on the type and brand of the dairy-free milk. Try to get one with as little carbs and as little food additives as you can get.

Glucomannan powder is a naturally occurring nutritional fibre that comes from the konjac plant. For years, it has been used as a thickener and emulsifier with countless cooking applications.

This recipe suggestion is from Elvira and you can find the original recipe with her very good step by step guide here

Please note, you will find a variety of recipe ideas within this blog, 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 28 April 2018

Laura Pausini - One More Time ♥

After a lovely spring day what better way to relax than with a beer the volume turned up and enjoying some good music

The Band - Forever Young

I've been into music before I could walk or talk, seriously. I remember sitting in a little rocker listening to my Mother sing, she was always singing as she went about her daily chores. She died relatively young, after a long illness, I never heard her ever complain or feel sorry for herself once. A small Woman, with more courage than any man I ever knew. One for my mum. Eddie

Freddy Cole - This Time I'm Gone for Good

Hello all our low carb blog friends, thanks for the comments and loyalty. If you did not read and comment, we would be wasting our time and would call it a day. Don't know how many are into blues music, but I reckon this is as good as it gets, fantastic Sax playing and in my opinion stunning black and white photography. Eddie

Animals, animals (and ducks) everywhere !

Every now and again we put a post up ...
just because
... just because these are fabulous pictures, well I think so!

Germany: Nanook, a baby polar bear, is presented at the ZOOM Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen zoo
Fabian Strauch

 Czech Republic: A guereza monkey jumps with a new-born at Prague Zoo
David W Cerny

Spain: A kangaroo and its cub sit in a meadow at Faunia zoo outside Madrid
Guo Qiuda/Xinhua

Russia: A Mandarin duck swims on the Solyonaya Protoka River outside Vladivostok
Yuri Smityuk

Australia: Twiglet, a two-year-old English Springer Spaniel, in a garden in Sydney
James D. Morgan

LOL! how did these olive penguins get here? well they are cute!
see how to make them here

The top five photographs and many more can be seen here
Have you a favourite?
Enjoy your weekend

All the best Jan

Gary Taubes: the man who hated carbs before it was cool

How come we started to believe that fat was the enemy – and ended up consuming a ridiculous amount of sugar instead? And why did calories get the blame?

There’s probably nobody who can answer these questions better than Gary Taubes, who has dug deep into the topic. 

"Science writer Gary Taubes has a knack for subverting conventional wisdom. Sixteen years ago, he published a ground-breaking feature article in The New York Times Magazine arguing that decades' worth of government-approved nutritional advice was flat-out wrong, ideologically motivated, and contributing to rising rates of obesity and diabetes. Traditional dieting guidance attacking fatty foods and praising carbohydrates, he wrote, was based on "a big fat lie."

Read the article for the full story - just click on the green words for the link
Reason: Meet the man who hated carbs before it was cool

This story also on Diet Doctor site

Readers may also be interested in this post  ‘The Diet Delusion’ by Gary Taubes a must read for anyone with an interest in weight loss and controlling diabetes, use this link here

All the best Jan

Friday 27 April 2018

Creamy Tuscan Shrimp : Low Carb

Some may well describe this recipe as a creamy-dreamy shrimp dish! It has a rich, garlicky white wine sauce ... plus colour from sun-dried tomatoes and spinach! Just maybe after the first bite, you will feel like you're basking in Tuscan sunshine, and your family will wonder if you hired an Italian chef! LOL!

Oh yes, it's also low carb and delicious...

Here are the ingredients you will need for four:
13g carbs per serving
2 oz. / 50g butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1½ lbs / 700g shrimp, peeled
1¼ cups / 300ml heavy (double) whipping cream
3 tablespoons white wine
1 oz. / 30g tomatoes, sun-dried
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2⁄3 cup / 150ml parmesan cheese, shredded (grated)
3 oz. / 75g baby spinach
salt and ground black pepper
1 lb / 450g green asparagus

If you wish why not consider adding a side of butter-fried mushrooms for a filling, low-carb addition to this already delicious meal!

For cooking instructions see Diet Doctor site here
If you need help with measurement and conversion see charts here

What is the Difference Between Shrimp and Prawns?
"It’s a prawn, it’s a shrimp, it’s a delicious crustacean! We’re happy when either lands on our plate, but if you truly need to know the difference, we can point you in the right direction. For the record: you’d be hard-pressed to tell them apart by taste-test alone.

Inspect a specimen with its shell intact (otherwise you may never know). Does it have claws on two or three of its five pairs of legs? Two means shrimp, three means prawn. And no legs means you bought your prawns or shrimp pre-shelled and have much less prep work to do. Other ways to tell, keeping in mind that in many parts of the world, especially in the Commonwealth, “prawn” and “shrimp” are inter-changeable: prawns are typically harvested from fresh water and shrimp from salt, and prawns will usually be larger than shrimp — think tiger prawns, although both shrimp and prawns come in a huge variety of sizes and shapes."
You can read more here and here

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

All the best Jan

Thursday 26 April 2018

Studies: Dark chocolate can lower stress and inflammation, improve memory

April 25 (UPI) -- Consuming dark chocolate has several benefits to brain function, including reducing stress levels and inflammation, and improving mood, memory and immunity, according to two studies.

Researchers at Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center in Southern California studied how consumption of dark chocolate with a high concentration of cacao -- at least 70 percent, with the rest organic cane sugar -- has positive effects. The two studies were presented Tuesday at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting in San Diego.

In the past, research has shown that cacao is a major source of flavonoids. Because they are extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, flavonoids benefit brain and cardiovascular health, the researchers said.

"For years, we have looked at the influence of dark chocolate on neurological functions from the standpoint of sugar content -- the more sugar, the happier we are," Dr. Lee S. Berk, associate dean of research affairs at Loma Linda and principal investigator on both studies, said in a press release. "This is the first time that we have looked at the impact of large amounts of cacao in doses as small as a regular-sized chocolate bar in humans over short or long periods of time, and are encouraged by the findings."

He noted the higher the concentration of cacao, the more positive the impact on cognition, memory, mood, immunity and other beneficial effects.

One study was how dark chocolate affects human gene expression, including immune response, neural signaling and sensory perception.

The other study examined how cacao enhances neuroplasticity for behavioral and brain health benefits. They recorded the electroencephalography, or EEG, response to consuming 48 grams of dark chocolate after a 30 minute and two hours. They noted beneficial gamma frequency, as well, during the EEGs.

Beck said additional research in a large study is needed to determine the significance of these effects for immune cells and the brain. They also want to study the cause-and-effect brain-behavior relationship with cacao at a high concentration.

In 2017, researchers reported that consuming moderate amounts of dark chocolate lowered the risk of atrial fibrillation, or AF, a common type of irregular heartbeat. Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and in Denmark studied 55,502 men and women who participated in the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Study, which recruited participants from December 1993 to May 1997.

In 2014, research also concluded that dark chocolate helps loosen up stiff arteries and prevents white blood cells from sticking to thickening artery walls -- two primary causes of atherosclerosis. For that study, researchers in The Netherlands monitored 44 middle-aged, overweight men who ate 70 grams of dark chocolate per day over two to four weeks.


Lentil Shepherd's Pie : Vegan

As regular readers know, this blog brings a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, music and recipes! It is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. Our main focus is about the Low Carb Higher (Healthy) Fat lifestyle, LCHF for short, and you can read/find out more about that here

In recent months we have seen that more and more we have regular readers, and followers, who choose to eat vegetarian or vegan. With that in mind I am passing on this recipe suggestion from Rachel at Food Matters site.

She has taken the much loved Shepherd's Pie and created a vegan version - but perhaps even if you are not vegan, you may enjoy this dish!

800 g sweet potatoes
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 sticks of celery, diced
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ a bunch of fresh thyme
350 g mushrooms, chopped
12 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 cups organic vegetable stock
400 g pre-soaked lentils, drained and rinsed
400 g pre-soaked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Handful of fresh, flat-leaf parsley
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 lemon
30 g almonds, crushed

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
2. Peel and chop sweet potato into rough 2cm chunks and place into a large pan of cold, salted water over a medium heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender.
3. Drain and leave to steam dry, then return to the pan a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Mash until smooth, then set aside.
4. To a medium pan over medium heat, add diced onion, carrot, celery, 2 of the crushed garlic cloves and ground coriander with a good splash of oil.
5. Pick in the thyme leaves, then cook until softened.
6. Meanwhile, roughly chop the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, then add to the pan along with the vinegar. Cook until soft.
7. Stir in the stock, lentils and chickpeas, then leave to cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened and reduced. Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste and stir through.
8. Transfer to a baking dish (roughly 25 cm x 30 cm).
9. Spread the sweet potato mash over the top, scuffing it up with the back of a spoon.
10. In a small bowl add the third crushed garlic clove, rosemary leaves and crushed almonds with a splash of olive oil. Crush and mix together then sprinkle over the mash.
11. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve with seasonal greens.
From original idea here

Some readers may prefer this LCHF version of Shepherds Pie, use the standard recipe, but substitute the mashed potato, with mashed swede, or grated cauliflower.

... just another reminder that, this blog brings a variety of articles and recipe ideas, and it is important to 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 25 April 2018

Broccoli, Cucumber and Kale Salad with avocado - served with a green herb dressing

This super green salad goes well with most meals but is also really good on its own. Simply add some leftover chicken, tuna or salmon for a nutritious lunch.

If you are making this recipe just for yourself, you’ll have enough for at least two lunches, so add the avocado and dressing just before serving. This salad is best when chopped quite finely ...

Broccoli, Cucumber, & Kale Salad

1 small broccoli (just the very tops)
1 kale leaf, stem removed and finely sliced
1/2 Lebanese (short) cucumber, chopped
15 g (1/2 oz./ 1/2 cup) flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 tbsp. pomegranate seeds
1 tbsp. sunflower seeds
1 tbsp. tamari-roasted almonds, chopped
1 tbsp. pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 tbsp. currants
1 avocado, chopped
Squeeze of lemon juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Season with salt and pepper and top with plenty of the Green Herb dressing.

Green Herb Dressing
Makes about 130 g (4 1/2 oz./ 1 cup)

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. macadamia oil
2 tsp caramelized red wine vinegar
2 tsp water
1 large handful of mint
1 large handful of flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 small garlic clove
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Put all of the ingredients in your smoothie maker or blender, season with salt and pepper and blitz until smooth. If you do not use it all at once, it can be stored in the fridge but its green colour will not stay as bright.

These details above are from an original idea here

Regular readers will know there is 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.

~ sharing some spring flowers with you ~

All the best Jan

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Celery - Some Healthy Benefits of Adding it to Your Diet

Five Healthy Benefits of Adding Celery to Your Diet

At just 10 calories a stalk, celery’s claim to fame may be that it’s long been considered a low-calorie "diet food."
But crispy, crunchy celery actually has a number of health benefits that may surprise you. Here are five reasons you should consider adding celery to your diet, plus a few recipes to make it easy.

1. Celery is a great source of important antioxidants.
Antioxidants protect cells, blood vessels, and organs from oxidative damage.
Celery contains vitamin C, beta carotene, and flavonoids, but there are at least 12 additional kinds of antioxidant nutrients found in a single stalk. It’s also a wonderful source of phytonutrients, which have been shown to reduce instances of inflammation in the digestive tract, cells, blood vessels, and organs.

2. Celery reduces inflammation.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to many illnesses, including arthritis and osteoporosis. Celery and celery seeds have approximately 25 anti-inflammatory compounds that can offer protection against inflammation in the body.

3. Celery supports digestion.
While its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients offer protection to the entire digestive tract, celery may offer special benefits to the stomach.
Pectin-based polysaccharides in celery, including a compound known as apiuman, have been shown to decrease instances of stomach ulcers, improve the lining of the stomach, and modulate stomach secretions in animal studies. And then there’s the high water content of celery — almost 95% — plus generous amounts of soluble and insoluble fibre. All of those support a healthy digestive tract and keep you regular. One cup of celery sticks has 5 grams of dietary fibre.

4. Celery is rich in vitamins and minerals with a low glycemic index.

You’ll enjoy vitamins A, K, and C, plus minerals like potassium and folate when you eat celery. It’s also low in sodium. Plus, it’s low on the glycemic index, meaning it has a slow, steady effect on your blood sugar.

5. Celery has an alkalizing effect.

With minerals like magnesium, iron, and sodium, celery can have a neutralizing effect on acidic foods — not to mention the fact that these minerals are necessary for essential bodily functions.

Tips for Buying and Storing Celery

Sturdy stalks. Look for celery that has sturdy, upright stalks. They should snap easily when you pull them, not bend.
Crisp leaves. Leaves should be crisp and fresh, ranging in colour from pale to bright green. Avoid celery with yellow or brown patches.
Wait to chop. Chop celery just before cooking or serving to maintain nutrients. Even celery that has been chopped and stored for just a few hours will lose nutrients.
Steam it. Steamed celery will retain flavour and almost all of its nutrients.
Eat in five to seven days. Eat fresh celery within five to seven days to enjoy its maximum nutritional benefits.
Eat the leaves. Don’t discard the leaves — that’s where celery has the most calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. But because they don’t store well, consume celery leaves within a day or two of purchase.

In addition to its many health benefits, celery is a versatile veggie. You can eat it raw or cooked, and it makes a great addition to smoothies, stir-fries, soups, and juices.
Words above from article here

Looking for celery recipe suggestions here are a few:

Italian Style Braised Celery With Onion, Pancetta and Tomatoes
more details here

Poached Breast of Chicken with Celery
more details here

Celery Soup
more details here

Did you know ...ten facts about celery

1. From classical times to the Middle Ages, celery was used as a medicinal plant to treat toothache, insomnia, gout, rheumatism, anxiety and arthritis.

2. Celery was first used as a food during the 16th century in Italy.

3. Celery was first mentioned in English in 1664 by the diarist John Evelyn, who spelt it sellery.

4. Celery is mentioned in Homer’s Iliad, where the horses of Myrmidon grazed on wild celery.

5. In 1996 fans of Gillingham football club were threatened with a life ban if they brought sticks of celery into the ground...

6. ...This was the result of fans singing a rude song about celery while waving sticks of it.

7. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates prescribed celery as a nerve soother.

8. The ancient Romans considered celery an aphrodisiac. They may have been right: it contains the pheromone androsterone, released by men’s sweat glands to attract females.

9. The town of Celery-Ville, Ohio, was founded by early 19th century celery farmers.

10. There is a celery museum in Portage, Michigan, called the Celery Flats Interpretive Centre.

You will find a variety of articles and recipes within this blog. It is important to 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.

... but hope you may enjoy some celery soon, thanks for reading.

All the best Jan

Monday 23 April 2018

Caramel Squares a sugar-free treat ... gluten free, low carb

Libby at 'Ditch The Carbs' says that "at just 1g net carb per square, these are an absolute winner" ... and who am I to argue!

"They are a triple layer keto/low carb treat. And the yummy caramel doesn’t require 30 minutes of boiling ... it's real food real easy." It does make a delicious occasional treat!

Almond Vanilla Base
150 g almond meal/flour
50 g butter melted
2 tbsp. granulated sweetener, of choice - or more to your taste
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg medium

Salted Sugar-Free Caramel Filling
330 g butter
150 g sour cream
4 tbsp. granulated sweetener, golden flavour or more to your taste

Chocolate Topping
100 g 90% (dark) chocolate
25 g butter

For cooking instructions please see Libby's 'Ditch The Carbs' site here 

You may also find her 'ultimate guide to low carb sweeteners' helpful. Libby explains how to use each one and what to look for when you buy them because not all low carb sweeteners are created equally. It can be incredibly confusing when you are just starting to live sugar free ...
See here

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

All the best Jan

Sunday 22 April 2018

Diabetes : We knew how to reverse type two diabetes in 1917

Diabetes is now a run away train. It’s out of control, around the world, hundreds of millions of people have joined the club, no one wants to join. The epidemics of type two diabetes, and it’s often linked obesity, are going to get far worse the experts tell us. Big pharma knows this, big pharma can hear the big cash register ringing. My opinion on big pharma, and many of it’s drugs is well known. Many have proved to be next to useless, and others banned for killing people. There was a time when no drugs were available, for the control of diabetes, and many type two diabetics lived long and active lives. Many feel Dr. Atkins was the start of the low carb diet, but low carbing for improved health goes back to the days of William Banting.

The link below will take you to a free of charge read on line digitalized book, on the best diet for diabetics, before big pharma loaded the dice, and diet and exercise kept people healthy, and in control of their diabetes. I urge you to take a look. I have left the book open at pages 12 and 13, foods of great value and foods to avoid. Many will not be surprised to see, nothing has changed in one hundred years, in the best way to control type two diabetes. Diet and exercise and nil/minimal medication.

Diabetic Cookery Recipes And Menus by Rebecca W Oppenheimer printed 1917

Check this link out here, a fantastic read and well worth your time.


Saturday 21 April 2018

Caro Emerald - Liquid Lunch (Live at Montreux Jazz Festival)

It's music night again how's about a liquid lunch tomorrow or maybe not
Baby, pass the aspirin, something’s gotta work
I know I did it to myself but man oh man it hurts
That second last Martini, the one that went down real smooth
Set me on the bender with nothing left to lose

Fried Fish, Snowpeas and a Yogurt and Walnut Dip : Low Carb

Did you know ... Snow peas are also known as Chinese pea pods since they are often used in stir-fries. They are flat with very small peas inside; the whole pod is edible, although the tough "strings" along the edges are usually removed before eating. Snow peas are mildly flavoured and can be served raw or cooked.

We like to eat them, and they do go so well with fish, so when I saw this recipe I thought ... yum!

Serves Four
7g carb per serving
1¾ lbs / 800g white fish
½ teaspoon salt
3 oz. / 75g butter
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2⁄3 lb / 300g snow peas

Yogurt and walnut dip:
1 cup / 225ml Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 oz. / 50g walnuts
½ teaspoon lemon, zest
salt and pepper
See instructions on Diet Doctor site here

Of course, if preferred snow peas can be replaced with other low-carb vegetables such as courgette/zucchini, cauliflower or broccoli.

Make good use of the leftover lemon juice! Feel free to sprinkle a few drops over the fish if you’re looking for an extra punch of citrus flavour!

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

... flowers can brighten up any day of the week ...
Wishing all readers a Happy Weekend.

All the best Jan

Friday 20 April 2018

Vitamin D deficiency linked to greater risk of diabetes

An epidemiological study conducted by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Seoul National University suggests that persons deficient in vitamin D may be at much greater risk of developing diabetes.

The findings are reported in the April 19, 2018 online issue of PLOS One.

The scientists studied a cohort of 903 healthy adults (mean age: 74) with no indications of either pre-diabetes or diabetes during clinic visits from 1997 to 1999, and then followed the participants through 2009. Vitamin D levels in blood were measured during these visits, along with fasting plasma glucose and oral glucose tolerance.

Over the course of time, there were 47 new cases of diabetes and 337 new cases of pre-diabetes, in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be categorized as type 2 diabetes.

For the study, the researchers identified the minimum healthy level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in blood plasma to be 30 nanograms per milliliter. This is 10 ng/ml above the level recommended in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine, now part of The National Academies, a health advisory group to the federal government. Many groups, however, have argued for higher blood serum levels of vitamin D, as much as 50 ng/ml. The matter remains hotly debated.

"We found that participants with blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D that were above 30 ng/ml had one-third of the risk of diabetes and those with levels above 50 ng/ml had one-fifth of the risk of developing diabetes," said first author Sue K. Park, MD, in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Seoul National University College of Medicine in South Korea.

Study co-author Cedric F. Garland, DrPH, adjunct professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, said persons with 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels below 30 ng/ml were considered vitamin D deficient. These persons, the researchers found, were up to five times at greater risk for developing diabetes than people with levels above 50 ng/ml.

Garland, who has previously investigated connections between vitamin D levels and various types of cancer, said the study builds upon previous epidemiological research linking vitamin D deficiency to a higher risk of diabetes. Epidemiological studies analyze the distribution and determinants of health and disease conditions. They do not necessarily prove cause-and-effect.

"Further research is needed on whether high 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels might prevent type 2 diabetes or the transition from pre-diabetes to diabetes," said Garland. "But this paper and past research indicate there is a strong association."

Garland and others have long advocated the health benefits of vitamin D. In 1980, he and his late brother Frank C. Garland, also an epidemiologist, published an influential paper that posited vitamin D (produced by the body through exposure to sunshine) and calcium (which vitamin D helps the body absorb) together reduced the risk of colon cancer. The Garlands and colleagues subsequently found associations with breast, lung and bladder cancers.

To reach 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of 30 ng/ml, Garland said would require dietary supplements of 3,000 to 5,000 international units (IU) per day, less with the addition of moderate daily sun exposure with minimal clothing (approximately 10-15 minutes per day outdoors at noon).

The current recommended average daily amount of vitamin D is 400 IU for children up to 1 year; 600 IU for ages 1 to 70 years (less for pregnant or breastfeeding women) and 800 IU for persons over 70, according to the National Institutes of Health. Higher daily amounts of vitamin D are generally considered safe, but blood serum levels exceeding 125 ng/ml have been linked to adverse side effects, such as nausea, constipation, weight loss, heart rhythm problems and kidney damage.

Full study here:


Chicken Cups ...Boom Bang-a-Bang!

Here in many parts of the UK the sun is shining and the temperatures are great! Many may be thinking of serving salads for lunch or dinner, but how about these chicken cups ...perfect for family or friends get-togethers or just to enjoy yourself.

The classic British Coronation chicken gets a makeover, served in Little Gem lettuce leaves with peanut and coconut sauce. This is such a fun recipe, could be great for a party, or lunch time get-together.

Serves 8

100g smooth peanut butter
140g full-fat coconut yogurt or natural yogurt mixed with 2 tbsp. desiccated coconut
2 tsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
2-3 spring onions, finely shredded
3 cooked skinless chicken breasts, shredded
2 Baby Gem lettuces, big leaves separated
½ cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds scraped out with a teaspoon, cut into matchsticks
toasted sesame seeds, for sprinkling

1. In your smallest pan, gently warm the peanut butter, yogurt, 3 tbsp. water, sweet chilli and soy sauce until melted together into a smooth sauce. Set aside and allow to cool.

2. Mix the spring onions and chicken into the sauce and season. Chill until the party – keep the lettuce leaves and cucumber under damp kitchen paper.

3. To assemble, add a bundle of cucumber to each lettuce leaf cup, plus a spoon of the chicken mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and sit on a big platter for everyone to dig in. Or simply serve a pile of lettuce leaves alongside bowls of chicken and cucumber.

Works out at 6 carbs per serving
Original recipe idea here

... and before you can say 'Boom Bang-a-Bang' - they're ready !
Enjoy Your Chicken Cups.

Note - if you are dairy free and do not use yoghurt, perhaps put a tablespoon of coconut oil instead to give the right flavour to the melted peanut mixture.

There is a variety of recipe ideas 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

Thursday 19 April 2018

Baked Apples : Low Carb

Anne Aobadia at Diet Doctor site says:
"Smells like apple pie... tastes like a dream. This easy take on low carb baked apples comes together in no-time. Don't forget the luscious finishing touch—a dollop of whipped cream"

Four Servings
7g carb per serving
2 oz. / 50g butter, at room temperature
1 oz. / 30g pecans or walnuts
4 tablespoons coconut flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tart/sour apple
For serving
¾ cup / 175ml heavy/double whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

These baked apples can be served with whipped cream, full-fat crème fraiche, mascarpone, or a slice of cheddar. If you’re allergic to nuts you can simply exclude them or substitute sunflower or sesame seeds to keep the crunch.

Please see cooking instructions here

Did you know ... Cinnamon is a popular spice often associated with baked treats, cereals and smoothies. However, you may not have considered that the teaspoon of cinnamon that you add to your baked treats may be doing you more good than you realized. Studies have shown that cinnamon could assist with boosting brain function, fighting cancer, aiding in digestion, supporting weight loss and fighting diabetes.

Incorporate cinnamon into your life by:
Adding a cinnamon quill into your morning tea, sprinkling half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon onto your homemade granola or adding a sprinkle of cinnamon into your next bowl of breakfast oatmeal.

It also adds flavour to the recipe featured above ...

All the best Jan

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Happy Wednesday !

Yes, it's Wednesday ... the middle of the week. I do hope that the week is going well for you. Here in the UK most school aged children have returned to school after the Easter/Spring break. Our grandchildren went back to school after enjoying their two weeks at home ... they had parties to go to, activities to keep them amused. Wellington Boots were put on as they enjoyed a walk in the rain ... it certainly didn't dampen their spirits! LOL!

Eddie and I had the opportunity of joining in with some of their fun ... it's always a joy spending time with them, and we always cherish the happy memories times like this can bring.

Only the other day as well as being Grandma I had fun being 'Barbie' and a 'Power Ranger' all in one day ... yes, I know the mind boggles! Shame we didn't take any photographs! LOL!

Today, it's some household chores and shopping ... we need a few more vegetables. Among many other items broccoli and peppers, especially red ones are on the list ... and some mushrooms too.

I wonder have you a favourite vegetable?

Whatever you have planned today, I wish you a good one.

All the best Jan

Tuesday 17 April 2018

Cream - perfect on your dessert, in your cooking, in your coffee !

Isn't cream wonderful ... luscious and smooth, there really is nothing that spells dessert satisfaction, like cream.

"Fresh unpasteurised milk quickly separates and the fat rises to the top. This fat layer is then skimmed off and is known as cream.

Cream has long been a versatile ingredient in the kitchen and can form a base to desserts, such as posset, or can be added to both sweet and savoury sauces to create a rich, smooth texture. Cream is also served just as it is, poured or spooned over hot or cold puddings and used as a garnish for soups. 

Choose the best, it’s important to choose the right type of cream depending on what you are making. As a rule the higher the fat content the easier it will be to use, as the fat will holds the liquid elements together. A higher fat cream will therefore be less likely to split or curdle when incorporated with hot ingredients and will also whisk up well to an airy whipped cream.

Single cream, is a richer version of milk, with around 18% fat content. You can use it for pouring or adding to coffee. Single cream will not whip and will curdle if boiled, so it can't be a substitute in recipes that call for whipping or double cream.

Whipping cream, has around a 36% fat content, which allows air to be trapped when whipped, roughly doubling the volume. Once whipped, it can be used to top desserts or fill cakes and pastries.

Double cream, is the thickest with around a 48% fat content. It makes an ideal pouring cream, such as when serving with fruit, or it can be whipped and piped for decorating desserts. It can also be used to add richness and creaminess to savoury dishes. Extra thick double cream is made by heating then rapidly cooling double cream - this creates a thicker cream.

Soured cream, has been treated with lactic acid, which gives it a tangy taste. It has a thick texture but only around an 18% fat content. Use it for making cheesecakes, dips, topping nachos, and in soups and sauces - but it cannot be boiled or it will spilt.

Créme fraîche, is similar to soured cream but with a milder taste. It is traditionally made from unpasteurised cream that has been left to ferment, but nowadays, pasteurised cream is thickened and soured with the addition of bacteria. It has around a 48% fat, which means it does not curdle when cooked. Serve with fresh fruit and in soups, casserole and dips. Low or half-fat crème fraîche is readily available and this means some of the fat is replaced with natural thickeners and stabilisers so that it will still hold together in cooking.

Clotted cream, has the highest fat percentage of all creams at 55%. It's made by baking double cream until a delicious crust forms on the surface. This silky, butter-coloured cream is a speciality of Devon and Cornwall (in England) where it is served with scones, butter and jam.

Store it, always store fresh cream in the fridge and use within one or two days of purchase. Créme fraîche will keep for 10-14 days in the fridge. Cream with a fat content of more than 35% can be frozen. Remember to pour a little from the top as it will expand when it freezes. Lower fat creams like single cream will separate when thawed but can be frozen when already incorporated into a dish.

try yogurt."

Words from article here

You may also be interested in reading 'All About Types of Cream for Desserts' e.g. Chantilly cream, half and half, heavy cream and others in article here

...would you like some cream in your coffee!

You will find a variety of articles within this blog. It is important to 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 16 April 2018

Hungarian Style Savoury Minced Beef - with savoy cabbage and carrots

This recipe suggestion can make a wonderful Monday, or mid-week meal ...
Having said that  - yes of course you could enjoy it any night - or lunch-time ! The choice is yours ...

Serves Four
350g extra-lean minced beef
225g onions (peeled and diced)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 tin (200g) chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a little water

1. Heat a non-stick frying pan and dry fry the minced beef for 5 minutes, or until the meat is brown and crumbly. Stir in the chopped onions and the smoked paprika and cook for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and about half a tin (tinned tomatoes) of water, mix well, cover and cook gently (simmer) stirring occasionally for 30 to 35 minutes. Season to taste before serving.
3. Serve with steamed savoy cabbage and carrots. 
Original recipe idea here

Hungarian cuisine ... did you know:
Hungarian or Magyar cuisine is the cuisine characteristic of the nation of Hungary and its primary ethnic group, the Magyars. Traditional Hungarian dishes are primarily based on meats, seasonal vegetables, fruits, fresh bread, dairy products and cheeses.
Read more here

There is a variety of recipe ideas 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

Sunday 15 April 2018

Asparagus - Reasons Why You Should Eat More !

Daisy Coyle APD writes:

"Asparagus, officially known as Asparagus officinalis, is a member of the lily family. This popular vegetable comes in a variety of colours, including green, white and purple. It’s used in dishes around the world, including frittatas, pastas and stir-fries. Asparagus is also low in calories and packed with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 

Seven Reasons Why You Should Eat More Asparagus:
1. Many Nutrients But Few Calories
Asparagus is a low-calorie vegetable that is an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, especially folate and vitamins A, C and K.

2. Good Source of Antioxidants
Asparagus provides a good source of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, flavonoids and polyphenols. Antioxidants prevent the accumulation of harmful free radicals and may reduce your risk of chronic disease.

3. Can Improve Digestive Health
As a good source of fibre, asparagus promotes regularity and digestive health and may help reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

4. Helps Support a Healthy Pregnancy
Asparagus is high in folate (vitamin B9), an important nutrient that helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects during pregnancy.

5. Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Asparagus contains potassium, a mineral that can help lower high blood pressure. In addition, animal research has found that asparagus may contain an active compound that dilates blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure.

6. Can Help You Lose Weight
Asparagus has a number of features that make it a weight-loss friendly food. It’s low in calories, high in water and rich in fibre.

7. Easy to Add to Your Diet
Asparagus is a delicious and versatile vegetable that’s easy to incorporate into your diet. Add it to salads, frittatas, omelettes and stir-fries.

The Bottom Line
Asparagus is a nutritious and tasty addition to any diet. It’s low in calories and a great source of nutrients, including fibre, folate and vitamins A, C and K. Additionally, eating asparagus has a number of potential health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, healthy pregnancy outcomes and lower blood pressure. Plus, it’s easy to prepare and makes a delicious addition to a number of recipes."

The above words have been taken from Daisy's article, read it in full here 

searching for asparagus recipes ...

Asparagus Crustless Quiche
see more details here

Asparagus soup 
see more details here

Asparagus Wrapped With Prosciutto
see more details here

Bon Appetit !

You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas, are within this blog. It is important to 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