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Friday 31 August 2018

FDA warns of serious genital infection linked to SGLT2 inhibitors

It was Graham that first spotted this article … 

(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Wednesday a serious genital infection has been reported in patients taking a certain class of diabetes drugs, with one death and 11 others hospitalized.

The warning pertains to a class of medicines called SGLT2 inhibitors, first approved in 2013 to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.

The U.S. health regulator has also called for including this risk in the drugs’ labeling.

The SGLT2 inhibitors approved by the FDA include Johnson & Johnson’s Invokana, Eli Lilly & Co’s Jardiance, as well those from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Astra Zeneca Plc, Merck & Co and Pfizer Inc.

The companies did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

Patients are at risk of the infection known as Fournier’s gangrene, an extremely rare but life-threatening bacterial infection of the tissue under the skin that surrounds the genital area, the FDA said in a statement.

The bacteria usually enter the body through a cut and quickly spread. Having diabetes is a risk factor for developing Fournier’s gangrene.

The FDA said it identified 12 cases of Fournier’s gangrene - 7 in men and 5 in women - between March 2013 and May 2018.

One patient died, while some required multiple disfiguring surgeries and developed complications, the agency said.

The infection developed within several months of the patients starting an SGLT2 inhibitor and the drug was stopped in most cases, the FDA said.

Other serious side effects include:

Graham says, "I think I'll stick with low carb where in most T2 diabetics the need for these drugs is eliminated"

Eddie says, "Readers may like to read this blogs 'Introduction to low-carb for beginners' post" - find it here

All the best Jan, Eddie and Graham
         (The Low Carb Team)

Well that was strange !


Sorry there seemed to be an error this morning … too many posts appeared!?

Not too sure why … but I have since deleted them.

Have a look at the recipe below, if you've not already seen it, Brussels Sprouts and Hamburger Gratin - find it here 

As always many thanks for your comments, they are appreciated.
Happy Friday and last day of August wishes too 

All the best Jan

Brussels Sprouts and Hamburger Gratin : LCHF

I have to admit when I was growing up I was never a fan of Brussels Sprouts … but tastes do change and now I really enjoy them in my menu plans. If you are not too keen on Brussels Sprouts I'm sure this recipe would work with alternatives such as courgettes (zucchini) or aubergines (egg-plant). The joy of any recipe idea/suggestion is that it can be tweaked to suit the individual taste. We have so many great tasting foods - it's a delicious world out there!

Anyway, on to the recipe... here is what you need for a super delicious combination of hearty Brussels sprouts and cheese-covered ground/minced beef.

Serves Four

15 oz. (450g) ground/minced beef
8 oz. (225g) bacon, diced
15 oz. (450g) Brussels sprouts, cut in halves
4 tbsp. sour cream
2 oz. (50g) butter
5 1⁄3 oz. (150g) shredded/grated cheese
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning

salt and pepper, to taste

See here

Brussels sprouts are rich in many valuable nutrients, and not just to be enjoyed at Christmas. These 'mini cabbages' have a nutty, distinct flavour but they are seen as "The quintessential Christmas dinner veg. Brussels sprouts are thought to have been cultivated in Belgium in the 16th century - hence the name. Although they're related to cabbage - they even look like a miniature, compact version - they have a sweet, nutty flavour, which some people can find bitter. They grow in multiple rows along a thick, central stalk.
Read more here

Dear reader, this blog brings a variety of recipe ideas/suggestions, 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 30 August 2018

Louise Cake Slice with Coconut Topping : Sugar Free and Gluten Free

If you live in New Zealand, or have visited, you may have enjoyed a piece of Louise Cake Slice … it's an older fashioned recipe which has been enjoying a bit of a come-back, and is now served in many cafes.

You may not know … but Louise cakes were rumoured to have been named after the daughter of Queen Victoria in the 1800s – Princess Louise of England. Others think it may have been named after Princess Louise’s wedding cake.

The recipe was brought to New Zealand by British settlers, and has been used throughout the centuries. It is still being made in many NZ kitchens … Libby at Ditch The Carbs site included! Which of course means she has come up with her own lower sugar and carb recipe suggestion! She loves coming up with delicious lower carb alternatives to so many recipes ...

Makes 16 slices
Gluten-Free Pastry 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
Sugar-Free Chia Jam
125 g berries fresh or frozen
5 tbsp. chia seeds *
2 tbsp. granulated sweetener of choice or more to your taste
80 ml water
Sugar-Free Coconut Topping
200 g desiccated/shredded coconut unsweetened
2 tbsp. granulated sweetener of choice or more to your taste
4 tbsp. coconut oil melted (see recipe notes) 
Recipe Note
Depending on how much moisture is in your shredded/desiccated coconut, you may require an extra tablespoon of coconut oil to ensure the coconut layer sets.
* If you are not too keen on chia seeds you may consider using a good brand of sugar-free jam, instead, it's a personal choice. 
Recipe Instructions
… and more can be found here

Preparation time for this recipe is 30 minutes and cooking time 15 minutes, you may like to give it a try soon.

You will find a variety of recipe suggestions 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

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Nutrients That You Can't Get From Plant Foods : Here Are Seven !

In 2018 it would seem that vegetarian and vegan diets may be the choice for many... "and may be very healthy for some people. However, there are a few important nutrients that are impossible to get from commonly consumed plant foods. So, if you plan to completely eliminate animal foods, then be extra prudent about your diet and make sure you are getting everything your body needs"... so says Atli Arnarson, PhD … the article continues:

"Humans evolved eating both plant foods and animal foods. By completely eliminating either, we risk becoming deficient in key nutrients. This article lists 7 nutrients that you can not get from commonly consumed plant foods. Vegetarians and vegans may need to supplement with some of them in order to maintain optimal health.

1. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient found in virtually no plant foods. Also known as cobalamin, vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient involved in the development of red blood cells, maintenance of nerves and normal brain function. Without supplements or enriched foods, vegetarians are at a high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. It is mainly found in animal foods, such as fish, meat, dairy products and eggs. Lacto-ovo vegetarians can get adequate amounts of vitamin B12 from dairy products and eggs, but this is much more challenging for vegans. For this reason, vegans are at a higher risk of vitamin B12 deficiency than some vegetarians.

The signs, symptoms and risks associated with deficiency include:
Weakness, fatigue.
Impaired brain function.
A variety of neurological disorders.
Psychiatric disorders.
Neurological disorders in babies of breast-feeding mothers.
Megaloblastic anemia.
Possible links with Alzheimer's disease.
Possible links with heart disease.

Vegans must get vitamin B12 by taking supplements or eating enriched food or certain types of seaweed. Many processed foods have been enriched with vitamin B12. These include enriched yeast extracts, soya products, breakfast cereals, bread and meat-substitutes. In addition, a few plant foods naturally contain small amounts of bioactive vitamin B12. These include:
Nori seaweed, a type of marine algae.
Tempeh, a fermented soy product.

Nori seaweed is considered the most suitable source of biologically available vitamin B12 for vegans.

Keep in mind that raw or freeze-dried nori may be better than conventionally dried. It seems that some of the vitamin B12 is destroyed in the drying process.

Another plant food often claimed to contain vitamin B12 is spirulina. However, spirulina contains so-called pseudovitamin B12, which is not biologically available. For this reason, it is not suitable as a source of vitamin B12.

Bottom Line: Vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods and certain types of seaweed. Vegans can get vitamin B12 by taking supplements, eating enriched foods or eating nori seaweed. 

2. Creatine
Creatine is a molecule found in animal foods. Most of it is stored in muscles, but significant amounts are also concentrated in the brain. It functions as an easily-acessible energy reserve for muscle cells, giving them greater strength and endurance. For this reason, it is one of the world's most popular supplements for muscle building. Studies have shown that creatine supplementation can increase both muscle mass and strength. Creatine is not essential in the diet, since it can be produced by the liver. However, vegetarians have lower amounts of creatine in their muscles. Placing people on a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet for 26 days causes a significant decrease in muscle creatine. Because creatine is not found in any plant foods, vegetarians and vegans can only get it from supplements.

In vegetarians, creatine supplementation may have significant benefits. These include:
Improvements in physical performance.
Improvements in brain function.

Many of these effects are stronger in vegetarians than meat eaters. For example, vegetarians taking creatine supplements may experience significant improvements in brain function while meat eaters see no difference.
Bottom Line: Creatine is a bioactive compound that is lacking in vegetarian diets. It plays an important role in brain and muscle function.

3. Carnosine
Carnosine is an antioxidant that is concentrated in the muscles and brain. It is very important for muscle function, and high levels of carnosine in muscles are linked with reduced muscle fatigue and improved performance. Carnosine is only found in animal foods. However, it is non-essential since it can be formed in the body from the amino acids histidine and beta-alanine. Dietary sources of beta-alanine, such as meat or fish, may also contribute significantly to muscle levels of carnosine. Vegetarians have less carnosine in their muscles than meat eaters. Supplementation with beta-alanine increases the levels of carnosine in muscles, improving endurance and increasing muscle mass.
Vegan beta-alanine supplements are available online.

Bottom Line: Carnosine is a nutrient only found in animal foods. It is important for muscle function. Beta-alanine supplements are effective at increasing the levels of carnosine in muscles. 

4. Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3)
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that has many important functions. Deficiency in vitamin D is linked to increased risk of various adverse conditions. These include:
Osteoporosis, with increased risk of fractures in the elderly.
Heart disease.
Multiple sclerosis.
Impaired brain function.
Muscle wasting and reduced strength, especially in elderly people.

Osteoporosis (weak bones) and rickets (bone malformation) are the best known effects of vitamin D deficiency. Whether vitamin D deficiency contributes to the other conditions, or is just associated with them, is less clear. Also called the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D doesn't have to come from the diet. It can be produced by our own skin when it is exposed to sunlight. However, when sunlight exposure is limited, we have to get it from food (or supplements).

There are two types of vitamin D in the diet, ergocalciferol (D2) found in plants, and cholecalciferol (D3) found in animal foods.

Of the two types of vitamin D, cholecalciferol (from animals) is much more potent than ergocalciferol. In other words, it increases blood levels of bioactive vitamin D much more efficiently.

The best sources of cholecalciferol are fatty fish and egg yolks. Other sources include supplements, cod liver oil, or enriched foods such as milk or cereals.
Bottom Line: Cholecalciferol (D3) is a type of vitamin D found in animal foods, especially fatty fish. It is much more effective than the plant form of vitamin D, ergocalciferol (D2).

5. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an essential omega-3 fatty acid. It is important for normal brain development and function. Deficiency in DHA can have adverse effects on mental health and brain function, especially in children. In addition, inadequate DHA intake in pregnant women may adversely affect brain development in the child. It is mainly found in fatty fish and fish oil, but also in some types of microalgae. In the body, DHA can also be made from the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, which is found in high amounts in flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. However, the conversion of ALA to DHA is inefficient. For this reason, vegetarians and vegans are often lower in DHA than meat eaters. Vegans can get this important fatty acid by taking supplements (algal oil) made from certain microalgae.
Bottom Line: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an essential omega-3 fatty acid found in fatty fish and fish oil. It is also found in microalgae, which are a suitable dietary source for vegetarians.

6. Heme-iron
Heme-iron is a type of iron only found in meat, especially red meat. It is much better absorbed than non-heme iron found in plant foods. Not only is heme-iron well absorbed, it also improves the absorption of non-heme iron from plant foods. This phenomenon is not entirely understood and is called the "meat factor." Unlike non-heme iron, heme-iron is not affected by antinutrients, such as phytic acid, often found in plant foods. For this reason, vegetarians and vegans are more prone to anemia than meat eaters, especially women and people on macrobiotic diets.
Bottom Line: Meat, especially red meat, contains a type of iron called heme-iron, which is much better absorbed than non-heme iron from plant foods.

7. Taurine
Taurine is a sulfur compound found in various body tissues, including the brain, heart and kidneys. The function of taurine in the body is not entirely clear. However, it appears that it may play a role in muscle function, bile salt formation and the body’s antioxidant defences. Supplementation with taurine may have various benefits for heart health such as lowering blood pressure. Taurine is only found in animal foods such as fish, seafood, meat, poultry and dairy products. It is not essential in the diet since small amounts are produced by the body. However, dietary taurine may play a major role in the maintenance of taurine levels in the body. Levels of taurine are significantly lower in vegans than in meat eaters.
Bottom Line: Taurine is a sulfur compound that has many important functions in the body. It is only found in animal foods.

Take Home Message

Vegetarian and vegan diets may be very healthy for some people. However, there are a few important nutrients that are impossible to get from commonly consumed plant foods. If you plan to completely eliminate animal foods, then be extra prudent about your diet and make sure you are getting everything your body needs."

The above is taken from Atli's article, please see it in full with all relevant links here

Regular readers will know that a variety of articles/recipes 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

Tuesday 28 August 2018

Avocado Stuffed with Crab and Paprika Mayonnaise : LCHF

We love avocado's, perhaps it's the buttery, creamy texture and mild, nutty flavour? Whatever it is avocado with salty crab meat is a wonderful combination, and makes for a quick, easy and delicious meal...
Perhaps I've just sorted lunch for you?

Serves Two
3 tbsp (low-fat) mayonnaise
1 lemon, quartered
¼ tsp smoked paprika
1⁄2 clove garlic, mashed
2 ripe avocados
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
100g (3 1⁄2oz) white crab meat

2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped

1. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise with 1 tsp of lemon juice, the paprika and garlic. Season, mix and set aside.
2. Halve the avocados and use a hot metal spoon to slip it out of its skin. Alternatively, you can leave it in the skin and spoon out the flesh while eating it. Squeeze two lemon quarters over the avocado to stop the flesh turning brown.
3. Put two avocado halves on each plate, then fill each avocado with tomatoes and crab and top with the mayonnaise. Sprinkle with chives and serve with the remaining lemon wedges.

Nutritional Details Per Serving:
Carbohydrate 4.6g Protein 13.2g Fat 45g
Taken From:
Recipe idea here

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

Please note - you will find a variety of articles and 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

Monday 27 August 2018

Type 2 diabetes rises dramatically among young people

Type 2 diabetes used to be a disease only seen in people over the age of 40. The reality of today is something vastly different – the number of children and young people being treated for type 2 diabetes in England and Wales has increased by 41% in only four years!

When a child gets type 2 diabetes it also puts them at risk for other complications such as; blindness, amputations and kidney disease.

Izzi Seccombe, the chair of the community wellbeing board at the Local Government Association (LGA), which obtained these figures from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) describes the situation:

"Type 2 diabetes typically develops in adults over the age of 40, so – while still rare in children – it is extremely worrying that we are seeing more young people develop the condition"

The rise of diabetes is closely linked to the obesity epidemic. 79% of the children suffering from type 2 diabetes were obese. Eustace de Sousa of Public Health England (PHE) says:

"The rise in type 2 diabetes in young children highlights why bold measures are needed to tackle childhood obesity – and change won’t happen overnight"

The government is investing billions in public health services and has a new childhood obesity plan to get children to exercise more in school and eat less sugary and processed foods.

Let’s hope these measures will be enough to stop this diabesity epidemic.

Words and picture above from Diet Doctor site here

This is not only here in the UK but many other countries too ...

All the best Jan

Sunday 26 August 2018

Chicken, Mozzarella and Parma Ham : A Delicious Low Carb Meal

This is a favourite! Cheesy mozzarella-stuffed chicken wrapped in crisp, Parma ham - so delicious for dinner, although you may prefer it for lunch - the choice is yours!
One thing's for sure it's a speedy recipe, ready in about 30 minutes and very easy to prepare. Get the ingredients, head for the kitchen and here we go ...

Serves Four
4 chicken breast fillets
250g ball mozzarella, sliced into 8
20g fresh basil
78g (approx.) Parma ham
1 tsp olive oil 
To Serve
salad or steamed greens, (optional) 
buttered new potatoes, (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Lay the chicken fillets on a chopping board, season all over and make a small incision (about 4-5cm long and 3cm deep) with a sharp knife in the middle of each one.
2. Stuff 2 slices of the mozzarella and 3 basil leaves into the ‘pocket’ – don’t worry if either is poking out a little. Wrap each chicken breast with 1½ slices of the Parma ham to cover the breast and seal in the pocket.
3. Heat the oil in a pan and sear the chicken and ham parcels on both sides until golden. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until the chicken is cooked through with no pink showing (cut into the thickest part of the breast to check the meat is cooked through).
4. Optional - Serve with a side salad or some steamed greens, if you like...perhaps some buttered new potatoes.

Nutritional Details, per serving
Carbohydrate 0.7g Protein 52.8g Fat 17g
Taken from original idea here

Parma ham, or prosciutto di Parma, refers to cured ham produced specifically in the Parma region of Italy. There are around 160 producers of Parma ham in this region, each following the specific (and painstaking) curing procedure, which includes the legal requirement that the ham must be cured for a minimum of 12 months. The result is a gorgeously distinctive and full flavour that is at once both sweet and salty. The ham makes a wonderful alternative to bacon.

Dear reader, this blog brings a variety of recipe ideas/suggestions, 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

Saturday 25 August 2018

CLOVES - Don't Forget About Me

It's music night, this is a song from the movie Me Before You

Life today, not what I call progress

Back in the long gone days when I was a teenager, the BBC broadcast a very popular program called Tomorrows World, it ran from 1965 to 2003. It informed us about nuclear power and that electricity would be free, because it was so efficient. Cars would be fully automatic and require no driver. Robots would do most of the work, and we would be working only a few hours a week, with lots of money to enjoy our copious leisure time. What a crock of shit. We now live in the future, and this is the reality. This video is a masterpiece, and is a very accurate portrayal of today's "astounding" World.

Thanks for the comments on my post from yesterday, seems like most of us played our part in collecting junk and the rebuilding of China.

Eddie AKA Mr. Cheerful 

Blackberry Cobbler/Crumble : Low Carb : How To Pick Blackberries

How about this low carb alternative to blackberry cobbler/crumble! Not only is it low carb, it's gluten free and sugar free too … plus it's quick and easy to make. I'm sure you will enjoy it … served with thick double (heavy) cream … or Cornish clotted cream, it makes a pleasing dessert. 

Serves Four
5g carbs per serving
10 oz. (275g) fresh blackberries
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp arrowroot powder (optional)
½ cup (60g) almond flour
¼ cup (30g) coconut flour
2 tbsp. erythritol
1 egg

3 oz. (75g) butter
To Serve:
1 cup (225ml) heavy (double) whipping cream (optional)
Chopped walnuts or pecans can be mixed into the topping to add a nutty crunch to the cobbler.
Recipe Instructions:
Can be found here

How to Pick Blackberries
I have to agree with Hannah Williams, when she says, ... Few things sum up British summertime better than a scramble through a blackberry bush clutching an empty tub ready to fill! And, provided you're not trespassing on private property, blackberry picking is a great way of sourcing a cheap summer pudding.

Crumbles and pies aside what can you do with the bountiful berry? Here are some top tips for handling all that free fruit...

Choose carefully
Like many things in life, the most successful blackberries will be ones that stand out from the crowd. They should be shiny and firm when you pick them though fruits do seem to vary in flavour from place to place. Seasoned blackberry hunters often have favourite bushes whose harvest they prefer to any neighbouring bush. As you can try before you 'buy' shop around to find what suits you, avoiding bushes by busy roads or fruit low enough to be 'watered' by passing dogs.

When to pick
Blackberries are normally at their best at the end of August to September. Legend has it any picked after the end of this month are best avoided as the devil is said to have peed on them. Not sure this is true but by October the damp weather will have certainly soiled many crops.

Where to pick
Grown in abundance in all manner of hedgerows across the country blackberries are not restricted to rural areas but regularly spotted along canal paths and across wasteland in towns and cities alike.

How to collect
Although it's hard to resist raiding each hedgerow try not to stack loads on top of each other or they'll bruise and squash before you get them home. Use a couple of containers if you want to pick lots of berries though it's always good to leave plenty for other pickers too.

When picking blackberries, or any small fruit, take a large plastic type milk jug with you, it is easier to hold on to the handle than hold a tub, the blackberries fit easily through the top. For children use a small milk jug as it will not weigh as much and it is easier for them to hold onto than a tub. When emptying, have patience as the berries will only come out one at a time, or, carefully cut the top of the jug and tip the berries out.

How to store
Try to keep them dry when storing and they should last for two to three days. If refrigerating let them come to room temperature before eating, as they'll taste much juicier that way. Don't worry if you've picked more than you can handle, blackberries are easily frozen and can be baked straight from the freezer with no need to defrost. Freeze on a tray in a single layer so they don't all squish together or puree them first then freeze the liquid in a bag or ice cube tray.

What to cook
Pies and crumbles are the obvious choice but blackberries also taste delicious served with savoury meats, or on their own with some double cream. 

I wonder - will you be blackberry picking soon, or making a low carb crumble/cobbler?

Regular readers will know that 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

Friday 24 August 2018

This we call progress!

Ever wondered how many years you worked hard to buy junk you never ever used or never ever needed? I have. The irony is, you don't work it out until you have acquired the junk. Most of which ended up on a landfill site or the local charity shops. Still, we can console ourselves we kept the economy going, we played our part in the great scheme of things. How much junk have you acquired? 

Eddie AKA Mr. Cheerful 

Friday Flowers... and a slice of low carb cake!

Can you believe it's Friday again! The days pass by so quickly... but the low carb team are taking a few moments to share some flowers and a slice of low carb cake with you. We want to say thank-you to all the people that take the time to read our blog. Special thanks to the people that post comments, you are very much appreciated. Thanks also for the emails, phone calls, twitter messages and support we get from friends from all around the world. 

The team enjoy posting recipe suggestions, a variety of articles, plus studies and links to diabetes and low carb news. The popular Saturday Night Is Music Night spot, (which is a regular feature), and of course some posts which highlight even more! 

We never stop telling the good news, about the LCHF lifestyle, we believe that every post can make a difference. Someone, somewhere, will read it, and may well change their life. We never forget, diabetes can be a life sentence, not a death sentence. Control your diabetes and live a long and active life. If we have helped one diabetic, per hundred thousand page views, in the time that this Blog has been active then that's very cool. So our thanks again, and please enjoy your slice of low carb Summer fruits sponge cake. 
You can see the recipe here 

Good health to you all.
Jan, Eddie and Graham

Thursday 23 August 2018

Minced/Ground Beef and Tomato Bake with Cauliflower Topping : Lower Carb

Growing up I can remember enjoying my Dear Mums Shepherds' Pie and Cottage Pie … we usually had them on a Monday using the minced up meat that was left over from the previous day's Sunday Roast Dinner. Back then, I nearly always got the title wrong, because of course what minced/ground meat you use determines whether it's a Shepherds Pie or a Cottage Pie!

As Chef Jamie Oliver says, in his article '10 things you didn’t know about shepherd’s pie'... No.1 is 'Let’s start with a fairly well-known one: there is a difference between “cottage pie” and “shepherd’s pie”, and it’s in the meat. Shepherd’s pie should only be named as such if it contains lamb, and “cottage” usually applies to one made with beef.'

Well, now there is a lower carb alternative to this popular dish. Have a look at Pascale Naessens' take on this dish, where cauliflower replaces the traditional mashed potato topping. A convenient and comforting all-in-one dinner, which can be enjoyed by all the family … or just the two of you! It's perfect for cooking in advance and freezes well, so you could make individual pies if you'd prefer!

Serves 4 to 6
½ cauliflower
2/3 small yellow onions
2/3 carrots (not too large)
9 oz. (250g) cherry tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
14 oz. (400g) minced/ground beef

¼ cup (60ml) olive oil

Recipe instructions are here

The humble onion is found in every kitchen, but its curative powers make it an important medicinal plant too. Like garlic, it is a member of the lily family. There can be no doubting the power of the juices contained in onions; anyone who has ever sliced one and shed a tear is only too aware that they hold something special. Quite apart from its medicinal properties the onion is simply delicious. It forms the basis of so many dishes - whether raw, sautéed, baked, steamed or boiled, that it would be difficult to imagine the cuisine of any country without it.
Read more about them here

There are many good recipes around the internet (to suit all tastes), which can so often be 'tweaked' a little to better suit you, and your families tastes. This blog brings a variety of recipe ideas/suggestions, 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.

As always, thank you for reading this post … it's been good to have your company... and do please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

All the best Jan

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Foods to Improve Digestion

Amy Goodson MS RD CSSD LD writes:
"The digestive tract plays a vital role in your health, as it’s responsible for absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste. Unfortunately, many people suffer from digestive problems like bloating, cramping, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and constipation for a variety of reasons. Certain conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Crohn’s Disease, diverticulitis and heartburn, can put you at risk for more severe digestive issues. However, even a healthy person can experience digestive problems due to things such as a lack of fibre or probiotic-rich foods in their diet. 

Here are the 19 best foods to improve your digestion.

1. Yogurt
Yogurt contains probiotics, which can aid digestion by promoting healthy bacteria in your digestive tract. 
2. Apples
The pectin found in apples helps increase stool bulk and movement through your digestive tract. It may also decrease inflammation in your colon.
3. Fennel
Fennel’s fibre content and antispasmodic agent can improve digestion by limiting some negative gastrointestinal symptoms.
4. Kefir
Kefir’s unique ingredient — “grains” made from yeast and bacteria — appear to improve digestion and decrease inflammation in your gut.
5. Chia Seeds
The fibre content of chia seeds can assist digestion by promoting the growth of probiotics in your gut and keeping you regular.
6. Kombucha
Kombucha’s ample probiotic content improves digestion and gut health. The drink may also help heal stomach ulcers.
7. Papaya
Papaya contains papain, which is a strong digestive enzyme that contributes to the healthy digestion of proteins. It may also relieve IBS symptoms.
8. Whole Grains
Due to their high fibre content, whole grains can support healthy digestion by adding bulk to your stool, reducing constipation and feeding your healthy gut bacteria.
9. Tempeh
Tempeh’s fermentation process and probiotic content can decrease negative digestive symptoms, as well as improve nutrient absorption by breaking down the antinutrient phytic acid.
10. Beets
Beetroot’s nutrients can help improve digestion by helping feed friendly gut bacteria and adding bulk to your stool.
11. Miso
Miso’s probiotic content makes it helpful for reducing digestive issues and overcoming intestinal illness like diarrhoea.
12. Ginger
Ginger appears to expedite food’s movement through your stomach, easing certain side effects associated with slow digestion. It has also been used to treat nausea, including morning sickness during pregnancy.
13. Kimchi
Kimchi contains probiotics and fibre that improve digestion and promote bowel health.
14. Dark Green Vegetables
Green vegetables play a role in healthy digestion by providing fibre and magnesium to your diet, as well as feeding good bacteria in your gut.
15. Natto
Natto’s rich probiotic content can aid gastrointestinal health and digestion, improving the regularity of stools and reducing constipation.
16. Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut is a rich source of probiotics and contains enzymes that help with digestion by breaking down nutrients into more easily digestible molecules.
17. Salmon
The omega-3s found in salmon may reduce inflammation in your gut, thus improving your digestive process.
18. Bone Broth
The gelatine found in bone broth can help improve digestion and protect your intestinal wall. It may be useful in improving leaky gut and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
19. Peppermint
Peppermint has been shown to improve digestion. It can alleviate IBS symptoms and push food more quickly through your digestive tract.
The Bottom Line

Digestive issues can be challenging, but certain foods may be helpful in easing uncomfortable symptoms. Research supports eating fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimchi and tempeh, to increase probiotics in your diet, which can improve digestive health. Fibre-rich foods, such as whole grains, dark green vegetables and chia seeds, also play a role in digestion by helping food move through your system more easily or quickly. If you’re seeking relief for your digestive woes, consider adding some of these 19 foods to your diet."

The above is only a snippet of Amy's article to read it in full with all relevant links please see here (image from google).

Regular reader
s will know that 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

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Happy Birthday / Celebration Cake : Low Carb Recipe Suggestions

Birthdays are special occasions and to be celebrated, but if you are diabetic, it's not a good idea to eat a slice of cake that has a high carb/sugar content, because it will no doubt cause your blood sugar levels to spike … best avoided if possible! So what to do? 
Well, there are some very nice lower carb birthday/celebration cake recipes around, which will not spike blood sugar levels so much. They are also nice for those who may just want to watch their weight, or cut down on the sugar!
Here I share just three of them. If you have a birthday, or celebration, coming up soon, why not give one of these recipe suggestions a try!

Chocolate with Peanut Buttercream
recipe details can be found here

Watermelon Cake, using coconut whipped cream
recipe details can be found here

Vanilla Birthday Cake, it's Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free
recipe details can be found here 

Hope you may enjoy one of these suggestions soon.

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

Sunday 19 August 2018

Do low-carb diets lead to early death? (The ARIC/Lancet Study Explored)

A response by Ken D Berry MD  to the current Lancet study: Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis

Parmesan Cheese Crisps/Chips : Low Carb Snack

These Parmesan Cheese Chips/Crisps are easy to prepare …
All you need is Parmesan cheese and your favourite seeds and you're good to go! Has low-carb snacking ever been cheesier, crispier or crunchier!?

(Two Servings, about 15 Crisps)
2⁄3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2⁄3 oz. (20g) chia seeds
2⁄3 oz. (20g) flaxseed

2⁄3 oz. (20g) pumpkin seeds

… Feel free to use any seed you like; try sesame, hemp and others.

Instructions are here

For guidance on weight/measurement conversion please see here

Parmesan Cheese ..."Originates from the Parma region of Italy, this is one of the world’s most popular cheeses, stamped with the official Parmigiano Reggiano mark as a guarantee of origin. Fragrant and tangy, it has a hard, grainy texture and a buttery yellow colour. Once tasted, it's hard to resist the delicious piquant taste and crumbly texture of parmesan. There are countless ways to savour the flavour.

Parmesan, or Parmigiano-Reggiano to give it its proper name, is one of those magical flavour-enhancing ingredients. A few curls of finely shaved parmesan, for example, make a pear and fennel salad taste irresistible, just as a chunk of parmesan rind transforms a slow-simmered minestrone into a gorgeous savoury meal.

The secret of parmesan's intense flavour lies in the fact that it's made with fragrant unpasteurised milk and that the cheese is carefully matured over a long period. The cheeses are matured for between 18 and 48 months, depending on the kind of cheese and the producer. The result is a hard, honey-coloured cheese with a crumbly, almost crystalline texture."
 More about Parmesan here

Dear reader - you will find a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas within 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

Saturday 18 August 2018

Aretha Franklin R.I.P

A sad music night tonight after the loss of another sixties icon

Chicken, watermelon and walnut salad - with a buttermilk ranch dressing

Yes, another chicken recipe! For me chicken has so many plus points. Its versatility, as well as the ease and speed with which it can be cooked, make it one of the most popular meats around. It's certainly popular in our house! Plus of course it has a high level of good quality protein, as well as B vitamins, iron, copper and selenium... and it's usually reasonably priced too!

So how about this recipe - it's chicken served with a combination of juicy watermelon, creamy buttermilk and peppery radishes … Yum!

Serves Two
For the salad
2 chicken breasts
½ tbsp. olive oil
1 fennel bulb, stem and outer layers removed, thinly sliced
250g watermelon, cubed
50g radishes, sliced
40g walnuts, roughly chopped
25g rocket leaves
For the dressing
75ml buttermilk
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp. chopped chives

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Place a griddle pan over a medium heat and coat the chicken breasts with the olive oil. Place the chicken in the griddle pan and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side, until there are dark golden griddle marks. Place on a small baking tray in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until cooked through.
2. Place all the remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a jug and season. Drizzle over the salad and divide between two plates, then slice the chicken breasts and place on top of the salad.
Nutritional Details:
Each serving provides
14.1g carbohydrate 19.4g fat 47.3g protein

From an original idea here 
Need help with weight/measurement conversion
See here

Walnuts are one of the most popular and versatile of all nuts. When picked young, they're known as wet and their milky white kernels are mainly used for pickling. Far more common is the dried nut, either shelled or un-shelled. The brown-skinned kernel has a ridged surface, which looks like two halves of the brain.

Slightly bitter in flavour, walnuts are good eaten raw or cooked, in either sweet or savoury dishes, and are particularly useful for baking.

Read more about them here

It is interesting to note that some of the greenery in the above recipe is provided by using rocket leaves which is sometimes known as Arugula. Now we all know that salad greens are healthy, and that most are very low in calories. However, did you know that not all give you a good dose of nutrients... well Arugula/ Rocket is one leafy green vegetable that stands out as a rich source of many vitamins and minerals.

Consider the difference between iceberg lettuce and arugula/rocket:
Arugula contains about eight times the calcium,
fives times the vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K,
four times the iron as the same amount of iceberg lettuce.
The choice is easy... start with arugula/rocket for a healthier salad!

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 17 August 2018

Who is to blame for the obesity epidemic?

"Should obese people blame themselves for their weight problems? Is it really just a matter of having the self control of eating less and exercising more? If you look at a picture of a crowded place from, let’s say, the early 70’s, you’ll find that there are almost no obese people what so ever. They are all skinny! So what has happened since then? In this The Guardian Opinion article, columnist George Monbiot dives deep into what made so many people overweight.

Monibot has a few theories of what might have been the cause, such as: That we eat more than we used to, the decline in manual labour, lack of exercise, etc. But evidence shows that none of these theories add up. So, he turns his attention to nutrition figures in detail and there is no question of what we eat has massively changed: 

Today, we buy half as much fresh milk per person, but five times more yogurt, three times more ice cream and – wait for it – 39 times as many dairy desserts. We buy half as many eggs as in 1976, but a third more breakfast cereals and twice the cereal snacks; half the total potatoes, but three times the crisps. While our direct purchases of sugar have sharply declined, the sugar we consume in drinks and confectionery is likely to have rocketed.

The amount of sugar has obviously skyrocketed and whole foods have decreased. And alongside this, the obesity epidemic has exploded. But has this shift happened by accident? Probably not. It seems to be a very conscious action by food companies who have invested heavily in various tactics to keep people hooked on certain foods, tactics such as designing products that use sugar to bypass our natural appetite control mechanisms. Despite that, 90% of policymakers are blaming obese people for not having the “personal motivation” to do something about it.

So, who is really to blame here?

Read the full article here:

The above taken from Diet Doctor site here

All the best Jan