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Friday 31 May 2019

Stress levels increase (up to 40%) for working mothers !

As regular readers know, this blog brings a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, photographs, 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
But we have something different today, and special mention to Dr Katharine Morrison at The Diabetes Diet Blog for this post ... 

Bring back the 50s ?
Mothers in full time work are significantly stressed.

"Being a working mother doesn’t just feel stressful, it alters your physiology. 

Researchers at the Universities of Manchester and Essex studied 6025 people. They collected information about their working and home lives. Hormonal levels and blood pressure were checked too. 

When 11 biomarkers of stress were tested, these were 40% higher in women who worked full time and were raising two children at the same time. One child raised the levels by 18%. Part time workers, job sharers and those with flexible working arrangements where fewer hours were worked had less stress. Flexible working or remote working with no reduction in hours did not lower stress levels. 

The authors said, ” Work-family conflict is associated with increased psychological strain, with higher levels of stress and lower levels of well being. Parents of young children are at particular risk of family-work conflict."

The above snippet taken from an article, which you can read in full here

Do please share your views on this. I think it can affect both mums and dads …
When I think back to my childhood, my mother did not work, there somehow seemed more time available. As a family we used to do things together, sit down and eat together (far more than families seem to do now), talk together. There was more structure to the day, more defined lines. So many people say to me that they struggle with finding a good life balance these days, and I’m sure it is having a detrimental affect on many people’s health. Another thought how do the children feel?

All the best Jan

Thursday 30 May 2019

Pizza Night ... the Low Carb Way !

One of our grandsons just adores pizza, and I'm sure he would eat it every night if he was allowed! I do like a pizza with a cheese, tomato and basil topping, and this low carb recipe is just perfect for pizza night, and can be cooked in an oven or grill.

Serves Two
11g net carbs per serving
225 ml (125 g) coconut flour
3 tbsp. (25 g) ground psyllium husk powder
½ tsp (2.5 g) baking powder
1½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 tbsp. olive oil or coconut oil
475 ml water, hot but not boiling
275 g fresh mozzarella cheese
175 g cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp. fresh basil
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 pinch salt

1 pinch ground black pepper
For even more flavour, feel free to spice up the flatbread dough with extra seasonings. Garlic powder, oregano or red pepper flakes make the pizza-style base crust even more delicious.
The absorbency of coconut flour and psyllium husk changes a lot depending on what brand you use. This means that it’s best to add the hot water little by little, until you reach the desired consistency. Start with 3/4 cup and add more as you go, if needed.
If you added too much water and the dough is sticky, just add some more coconut flour to absorb the liquid. If the dough is not sticky enough, add more water.

Recipe instructions are here 

perhaps sit in the garden and enjoy 
(image from google)

Low Carb Flours
If you are just starting a low carb diet/lifestyle 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 do not behave like wheat flour, and how to use them in your old regular high carb recipes is a common question. 
More about Low Carb Flours (and Low Carb Cake ideas) can be seen here 

Dear reader, you will find a variety of articles and 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

No more, PLEASE

Anyone else sick to the back teeth of this lot of lying reprobates?


Wednesday 29 May 2019

Sweet and sour swede (rutabaga) with bacon ...a dish with colour and taste !

The sweet flavours of swede (rutabaga) and honey offset the smoky, crispy bacon, garlic and thyme. The addition of red wine vinegar provides a sour twist and really gives this recipe a unique mix of flavours. 

Doesn't it look a lovely colour in the pan - it may be served as a side dish or on its own for a reasonably priced and healthy dinner - as always dear reader, the choice is yours.


Serves Four
3 smoked bacon rashers*
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 swede (rutabaga), peeled and cut into 3cm (1 1/4in) pieces
1 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh thyme
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 tbsp. honey 

1. Cook the bacon in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat, until crisp and golden. Drain the bacon on kitchen paper, reserving 1 tsp of bacon fat, then roughly chop. 
2. Return the pan to a medium heat, add the reserved bacon fat and the olive oil, along with the swede (rutabaga), thyme and garlic; season well. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the swede is softened and golden. 
3. Add the vinegar, honey and reserved bacon. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Serve immediately. 

Each serving: 
Carbohydrate 12.5g Protein 2.9g Fibre 0.3g Fat 4.7g
From an original Tesco real food recipe here
*if you are vegetarian why not substitute with some veggie bacon

Where is thyme from?
Part of the mint family, thyme grows in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean. The ancient Greeks loved it for its fragrant aroma and used it as incense.

How do I use thyme?
If it’s fresh thyme, you can use just the leaves, whole sprigs or chop it up. Dried thyme can be used during cooking so the flavour has time to infuse – think pasta sauces, soups and even baking – or sprinkled on top of dishes to give an instant flavour boost. Generally, 1 tsp dried thyme is equal to 1 tbsp. (3 tsp) snipped fresh thyme.

What can I make with thyme?
It’s great for meat marinades and cracking in veggie traybakes. Feeling more adventurous? Use it to liven up grilled fish, homemade pizza, creamy risottos or even cocktails. Plus, it pairs amazingly with lemon and goes great with other Mediterranean herbs like oregano, parsley and rosemary.

How long does thyme keep for?
Fresh thyme lasts for up to a couple of weeks in the fridge, while the dried stuff lasts for two to three years when stored in a cool, dark cupboard. Make sure you keep the lid tightly closed when you’re not using it.

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

All the best Jan

Foods to Help Your Acid Reflux ... Can Low Carb Cure It ?

Two recent posts about tomatoes and fibromyalgia received a lot of reading … and comments. So thank-you to all who took the time to quietly read without leaving a comment and then those who did share thoughts and comments with us. Everyone, (readers and commenters), are all appreciated.

Of course sometimes one thing leads to another … hence this post. It's about Acid Reflux and the foods that can best help it while avoiding those who may not... tomatoes may not help it!

You will see I have linked to two articles. I think it's good to share all relevant information, and they both give further food for thought … no pun intended! 

"Diet and nutrition for GERD 
Acid reflux occurs when there is acid backflow from the stomach into the esophagus (American English) or oesophagus (British English). This happens commonly but can cause complications or troublesome symptoms, such as heartburn. One reason this happens is that the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is weakened or damaged. Normally the LES closes to prevent food in the stomach from moving up into the esophagus. The foods you eat affect the amount of acid your stomach produces. Eating the right kinds of food is key to controlling acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a severe, chronic form of acid reflux. 

Foods that may help reduce (soothe) your symptoms 
Reflux symptoms may result from stomach acid touching the esophagus and causing irritation and pain. If you have too much acid, you can incorporate these specific foods into your diet to manage symptoms of acid reflux. None of these foods will cure your condition, and your decision to use these specific foods to soothe your symptoms should be based on your own experiences with them.
1. Vegetables 
Vegetables are naturally low in fat and sugar, and they help reduce stomach acid. Good options include green beans, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, leafy greens, potatoes, and cucumbers.
2. Ginger 
Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s a natural treatment for heartburn and other gastrointestinal problems. You can add grated or sliced ginger root to recipes or smoothies or drink ginger tea to ease symptoms.
3. Oatmeal 
Oatmeal is a breakfast favourite, a whole grain, and an excellent source of fibre. Oatmeal can absorb acid in the stomach and reduce symptoms of reflux. Other fibre options include whole-grain breads and whole-grain rice.
4. Non-citrus fruits 
Non-citrus fruits, including melons, bananas, apples, and pears, are less likely to trigger reflux symptoms than acidic fruits.
5. Lean meats and seafood 
Lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, fish, and seafood, are low-fat and reduce symptoms of acid reflux. Try them grilled, broiled, baked, or poached.
6. Egg whites 
Egg whites are a good option. Stay away from egg yolks, though, which are high in fat and may trigger reflux symptoms.
7. Healthy fats 
Sources of healthy fats include avocados, walnuts, flaxseed, olive oil, sesame oil, and sunflower oil. Reduce your intake of saturated fats and trans fats and replace them with these healthier unsaturated fats. 

Finding your triggers 
Heartburn is a common symptom of acid reflux and GERD. You may develop a burning sensation in your stomach or chest after eating a full meal or certain foods. GERD can also cause vomiting or regurgitation as acid moves into your esophagus. Other symptoms include; dry cough, sore throat, bloating, burping or hiccups, difficulty swallowing and lump in the throat. 
Many people with GERD find that certain foods trigger their symptoms. No single diet can prevent all symptoms of GERD, and food triggers are different for everyone. To identify your individual triggers, keep a food diary and track the following; what foods you eat, what time of day you eat, what symptoms you experience. Keep the diary for at least a week. It’s helpful to track your foods for a longer period if your diet varies. You can use the diary to identify specific foods and drinks that affect your GERD. Also, the diet and nutrition advice here is a starting point to plan your meals. Use this guide in conjunction with your food journal and recommendations from your doctor. The goal is to minimize and control your symptoms.

Common trigger foods for people with reflux 
Although doctors debate which foods actually cause reflux symptoms, certain foods have been shown to cause problems for many people. To control your symptoms, you could start by eliminating the following foods from your diet.
High-fat foods
Tomatoes and citrus fruit
Garlic, onions, and spicy foods

Other options  
While the lists above include common triggers, you may have unique intolerances to other foods. You might consider eliminating the following foods for three to four weeks to see if symptoms improve; dairy, flour-based products like bread and crackers, and whey protein. 

Making lifestyle changes 
In addition to controlling reflux symptoms with diet and nutrition, you can manage symptoms with lifestyle changes. Try these tips:
Take antacids and other medications that reduce acid production. (Overuse can cause negative side effects.)
Maintain a healthy weight.
Chew gum that isn’t peppermint or spearmint flavoured.
Avoid alcohol.
Stop smoking.
Don’t overeat, and eat slowly.
Remain upright for at least two hours after eating.
Avoid tight clothing.
Don’t eat for three to four hours before going to bed.

Raise the head of your bed four to six inches to reduce reflux symptoms while sleeping.

What the research says 
No diet has been proven to prevent GERD. However, certain foods may ease symptoms in some people. Research shows that increased fibre intake, specifically in the form of fruits and vegetables, may protect against GERD. Increasing your dietary fibre is generally a good idea. In addition to helping with GERD symptoms, fibre also reduces the risk of; high cholesterol, uncontrolled blood sugar, haemorrhoids and other bowel problems. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about whether certain foods should be a part of your diet. Foods that help improve acid reflux for one person may be problematic for someone else. Working with your doctor can help you develop a diet to control or lessen your symptoms.

What’s the outlook for GERD? 
People with GERD can usually manage their symptoms with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. Talk to your doctor if lifestyle changes and medications don’t improve symptoms. Your doctor can recommend prescription medications, or in extreme cases, surgery."

The above from an original article, which you can read in full, with all relevant research links here

'Low carb can cure reflux disease'
"Heartburn – caused by reflux disease – is super common, millions of people suffer from it. Many people take medication for it every single day to reduce the symptoms. What if many of these people could cure the disease with a dietary change?

An earlier small study tested a LCHF diet on a few people with this problem, and they got significantly better. Even the pH in their esophagus improved, so it was not just placebo. 

Now another, slightly larger, study has tested this idea again. Not only does it find that carbohydrates, sugar and the glycemic load of the diet was associated with reflux disease. They also test what happens when the participants go on a lower carb diet. The result?

Big improvements

Incredibly enough, it seems like all the women in the study were able to get off their reflux (GERD) medications… See the chart below

Has a low-carb diet improved your reflux symptoms? Please let us know in the comments … and you may also like to read the various comments on the original article which can be found here

Dear reader, 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.

All the best Jan

Monday 27 May 2019

Diving For Dinner !

Regular readers of this blog will know that Eddie and I like visiting Mudeford, it's a sleepy fishing village in Dorset with great charm and history. Its old fishermen's cottages and historic Haven House Inn were linked with smuggling enterprises in past times. Situated on the River Mude, it is the centre of the local fishing industry with lobster pots piled up along the quay. A ferry runs from the Quay to neighbouring Christchurch and to Mudeford Sandbank, a spit of land adjoining Hengistbury Head. Mudeford Quay is an authentic working dock at the entrance to Christchurch Harbour which is known as "The Run". It is a calm area of water for enjoying sailing and windsurfing.

Taking advantage of some nice weather we recently spent a very pleasant few hours there. We always find plenty to see, and on this occasion were treated to seeing these gulls 'diving for dinner' … please click on each picture for an enhanced image.

The quay is a popular fishing spot, with a fresh fish-stall. If there should be any fish pieces left over the stall holder will often throw them into the water to be enjoyed by the local bird life …

This is the ferry that you can catch over to Mudeford Sandbank from where you can enjoy a scenic walk or ride on the land-train  … sorry doggie, you and your owners just missed this one, but another one is due in about fifteen minutes …

Yes, it was a nice relaxed few hours and of course we came home to a very nice dinner … Fish pie with a celeriac crust … well it had to be fish didn't it! See the recipe details here

You may also like to see this related post, Mudeford Mood, see it here

All the best Jan

Sunday 26 May 2019

Crunchy Mozzarella Salad ... perfect for warm Spring (or Autumn) days

It's hard to believe we are in the last week of May 2019 - where do the days and weeks go? Is it me or do they go quicker the older you get? 

Time passing quickly or not, there's always time to sit down and enjoy some healthy food! For example take this recipe suggestion - it's a colourful vegetarian salad with cucumber strips, semi-dried tomatoes, peppers, cheese and seeds - yum!

Serves Two
100g lamb's lettuce (sometimes known as Corn Salad), or baby spinach leaves, or a mixture of both
½ cucumber, cut into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
100g semi-dried tomatoes in oil from a jar (reserve 1 tbsp. oil for drizzling)
1 yellow pepper, de-seeded and cut into thin strips
125g ball light buffalo mozzarella, cut into slices
2 tsp pumpkin seed
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1. Put the salad leaves, cucumber, semi-dried tomatoes and pepper in a large bowl and toss together.
2. Divide the salad between two serving plates.
3. Divide the mozzarella equally between the plates.
4. Scatter with pumpkin seeds and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and oil from the tomatoes.

Tuck in and enjoy ...

Recipe from an original idea here

Lamb's lettuce is sometimes known as Corn Salad. Lamb's lettuce has long spoon-shaped dark leaves and a distinctive, tangy flavour. It is used raw in salads as well as steamed and served as a vegetable. The unusual name reputedly comes from the lettuce's resemblance to the size and shape of a lamb's tongue! 

Lamb's lettuce is at its best from May to November.

Choose the best:
Dark, narrow leaves that are springy and in-wilted.

Prepare it:
Be sure to wash and drain lamb's lettuce thoroughly before using as, like spinach, it can be quite grainy and gritty.

Store it:
It is quickly perishable and should be used within two days of purchase. Store in an airtight plastic bag in the fridge.

Cook it:
As a main ingredient in salads or cooked and served as a side vegetable.

Try Cos lettuce or baby spinach.

Did you know that pumpkin seeds are edible, flat, oval-shaped green seeds. When removed from the flesh of a pumpkin, they can be rinsed and roasted, either plain or with other flavours such as oils and spices, to create a delicious, crunchy snack. They may be small, but pumpkin seeds are little powerhouses of nutrients and health benefits. Like nuts, pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein and unsaturated fats, including omega-3. They also contain a good range of nutrients including iron, selenium, calcium, B vitamins and beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Pumpkin seeds' biggest claim to fame is that they are an excellent natural source of magnesium and zinc. 

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.

All the best Jan

Saturday 25 May 2019

Sting - Fields Of Gold

Saturday and music night on this blog. Although Jan and myself keep up with world news and politics etc. we compartmentalise most of it. We live in a bubble of our own making, this only took over a hundred years of combined work between us to achieve. We have never been poor, nor ever been well off financially, but we have all we need. There is a big difference between having what we want and being happy with having what we need. We feel blessed to be able to walk along our local beach, or wander through the New Forest. Chuck in some good food, a glass or two of wine with dinner, what more do we need. We both love music and have just about most of Sting's work, we love this track. 

Have a great weekend folks, and peace to all. Eddie

Bank Holidays, Blueberry ice-cream ... and fun !

Here in the UK we have a three day Bank Holiday Weekend, and for many school children it also means it's the late May half term week. Yippee do I hear some say ... no more getting up for school, a break from the homework, (unless you have exams), no longer worrying about what to put in school lunch boxes … a more relaxed time! 

Our five grandchildren have a fun packed time ahead of them, they are always busy and all enjoy a variety of activities … if the weather's nice it could be:

crabbing, our two eldest grandchildren trying to catch some crabs …
they usually are quite successful

perhaps our middle grandson and grand-daughter will enjoy a trip to Lulworth Cove … they did last year

our youngest grandson loves climbing trees and making dens … whatever the weather!

Talking of Bank Holidays - do you know their origin? Read more to find out ...
"Most of us love Bank Holidays, as for the large majority of us, it means time off work. So who do we have to thank for extra days relaxing at home or seeing friends and family? Where do bank holidays originate from? Well the clue is in the name, let us guide you through the history of bank holidays. 

The History of Bank Holidays in the UK  
In 1871 the first law was passed to introduce bank holidays by politician and banker Sir John Lubbock. Under the Bank Holidays Act 1871 “no person was compelled to make any payment or to do any act upon a bank holiday which he would not be compelled to do or make on Christmas Day or Good Friday, and the making of a payment or the doing of an act on the following day was equivalent to doing it on the holiday.” Encyclop√¶dia Britannica Eleventh Edition.

What does this mean? It means thanks to Sir John Lubbock, a liberal in his time, we got more days off work! Before 1871, we only had 4 holidays: Christmas Day, 1st May (May Day), 1st November (All Saint’s Day) and Good Friday.

In England in 1871, Easter Monday, Whitsunday, first Monday in August and Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day became bank holidays. 

Scotland & Ireland  
Scotland was treated differently because of different traditions, for example at the time, New Year was a more important holiday there. So in 1871, New Year’s Day, Good Friday, first Monday in May, first Monday in August and Christmas Day became Bank Holidays in Scotland.

In 1903, the Bank Holiday (Ireland) Act added 17th March, Saint Patrick’s Day, as a bank holiday, but only for Ireland. 

Christmas & New Year’s Day 
In England, we had to wait until 1974 for New Year’s Day to become a Bank Holiday. Can you believe it was as late as the 1970’s? Good Friday and Christmas Day were already recognised as holidays in England, Wales and Ireland. In fact they had been customary holidays since before records began. 

Comparison To Europe 
In the UK the number of Bank Holidays is relatively small compared to other European countries. However it all balances out because in most European countries if their Bank Holiday falls on a weekend, it does not differ to a weekday. This then makes the difference marginal between the UK and other European countries." 
Taken from an article here 
For those in the USA it's your Memorial Day Weekend, more details here

Of course Bank Holiday's or anytime, it's always nice to enjoy some ice cream,
Blueberry Ice Cream Delight
and it's low carb too, please see more details here

Enjoy your weekend
All the best Jan

Friday 24 May 2019

Seven Nutrient Deficiencies That Are Incredibly Common

Adda Bjarnadottir, MS writes:
"Many nutrients are essential for good health. While it’s possible to get most of them from a balanced diet, the typical Western diet is low in several very important nutrients.

This article lists seven nutrient deficiencies that are incredibly common.

1. Iron deficiency
Iron is an essential mineral. It’s a large component of red blood cells, in which it binds with haemoglobin and transports oxygen to your cells.
The two types of dietary iron are:
Heme iron. This type of iron is very well absorbed. It’s only found in animal foods, with red meat containing particularly high amounts.
Non-heme iron. This type, found in both animal and plant foods, is more common. It is not absorbed as easily as heme iron.

Iron deficiency is very common, especially among young women, children, and vegetarians. It may cause anaemia, fatigue, a weakened immune system, and impaired brain function.

2. Iodine deficiency
Iodine is an essential mineral for normal thyroid function and the production of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are involved in many bodily processes, such as growth, brain development, and bone maintenance. They also regulate your metabolic rate. Iodine deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies, affecting nearly a third of the world's population.
Summary: Iodine is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world. It may cause enlargement of the thyroid gland. Severe iodine deficiency can cause mental retardation and developmental abnormalities in children.

3. Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that functions like a steroid hormone in your body. It travels through your bloodstream and into cells, telling them to turn genes on or off. Almost every cell in your body has a receptor for vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced from cholesterol in your skin upon exposure to sunlight. Thus, people who live far from the equator are likely to be deficient unless their dietary intake is adequate or they supplement with vitamin D.
Summary: Vitamin D deficiency is very common. Symptoms include muscle weakness, bone loss, an increased risk of fractures, and — in children — soft bones. It is very difficult to get sufficient amounts from your diet alone.

4. Vitamin B12 deficiency (see also related posts below)
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin. It is essential for blood formation, as well as brain and nerve function. Every cell in your body needs B12 to function normally, but your body is unable to produce it. Therefore, you must get it from food or supplements.
B12 is only found in sufficient amounts in animal foods, although certain types of seaweed may provide small quantities. Therefore, people who do not eat animal products are at an increased risk of deficiency. Studies indicate that up to 80–90% of vegetarians and vegans may be deficient in vitamin B12. More than 20% of older adults may also be deficient in this vitamin since absorption decreases with age.
Summary: Vitamin B12 deficiency is very common, especially in vegetarians, vegans, and older adults. The most common symptoms include blood disorders, impaired brain function, and elevated homocysteine levels.

5. Calcium deficiency
Calcium is essential for every cell in your body. It mineralizes bones and teeth, especially during times of rapid growth. It is also very important for bone maintenance. Additionally, calcium serves as a signalling molecule. Without it, your heart, muscles, and nerves would not be able to function. The calcium concentration in your blood is tightly regulated, and any excess is stored in bones. If your intake is lacking, your bones will release calcium. That is why the most common symptom of calcium deficiency is osteoporosis, characterized by softer and more fragile bones. Symptoms of more severe dietary calcium deficiency include soft bones (rickets) in children and osteoporosis, especially in older adults.
Summary: Low calcium intake is very common, especially in women of all ages and older adults. The main symptom of calcium deficiency is an increased risk of osteoporosis later in life.

6. Vitamin A deficiency
Vitamin A is an essential fat-soluble vitamin. It helps form and maintain healthy skin, teeth, bones, and cell membranes. Furthermore, it produces eye pigments, which are necessary for vision. There are two different types of dietary vitamin A - Preformed vitamin A. This type of vitamin A is found in animal products like meat, fish, poultry, and dairy. Pro-vitamin A. This type is found in plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables. Beta carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A, is the most common form.
Summary: Vitamin A deficiency is very common in many developing countries. It may cause eye damage and blindness, as well as suppress immune function and increase mortality among women and children.

7. Magnesium deficiency
Magnesium is a key mineral in your body. Essential for bone and teeth structure, it’s also involved in more than 300 enzyme reactions. Almost half of the U.S. population consumes less than the required amount of magnesium. Low intake and blood levels of magnesium are associated with several conditions, including type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and osteoporosis. The main symptoms of severe magnesium deficiency include abnormal heart rhythm, muscle cramps, restless leg syndrome, fatigue, and migraines. More subtle, long-term symptoms that you may not notice include insulin resistance and high blood pressure.
Summary: Magnesium deficiency is common in Western countries, and low intake is associated with many health conditions and diseases.

The bottom line
It is possible to be deficient in almost every nutrient. That said, the deficiencies listed above are by far the most common. Children, young women, older adults, vegetarians, and vegans seem to be at the highest risk of several deficiencies. The best way to prevent deficiency is to eat a balanced diet that includes whole, nutrient-dense foods. However, supplements may be necessary for those who can’t obtain enough from diet alone."

The above words (and picture) have been taken from Adda's article, but are just a snippet of her full article which contains all relevant research links and can be seen here

Related Posts:
Diagnosing and Treating Vitamin B12 Deficiency, see it here
B12 deficiency is a serious situation. Maybe it would help all concerned to remind themselves of the damage that can be caused by B12 deficiency by watching this video, especially if you use metformin (as many diabetics do), as Metformin can deplete B12.

Metformin beyond it's blood sugar lowering properties, see it here
Metformin is believed to be the most widely prescribed diabetes drug in the world. It was introduced into Britain in 1958 but not licensed for use in T2 diabetes in the US until 1994. It works by blocking the production of glucose in the liver and also by helping the body to utilise insulin properly.
It appears to be most effective in helping with weight loss and thus reducing insulin resistance. This effect is not maintained at the same rate after the initial period of weight loss and treatment, but many patients, including those not overweight at diagnosis, continue to take it for the cardiovascular protection it is said to afford.

Dear reader, you will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas are within this blog. It is important to note, that 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 23 May 2019

Pecan Preacher Cake : Low Carb

The wonderful thing about blogging is you can sit in the comfort of your home and travel the world finding out new and different recipe ideas. You may even find something that you'd not heard of before. This recently happened to me …

Did you know that Preacher Cake (sometimes called Amish Preacher Cake) is a simple cake recipe usually made with pineapple, coconut, pecans and a cream cheese frosting... and as the story goes, this quick cake recipe was one that the housewife could throw together when she learned last minute that the preacher was coming!

It is thought to be related to the Hummingbird cake which is a banana-pineapple spice cake common in the Southern United States of America. Ingredients for this cake would include flour, sugar, salt, vegetable oil, ripe banana, pineapple, cinnamon, pecans, vanilla extract, eggs, and leavening agent. It is often served with cream cheese frosting.

Now, the original cake recipes can work out at approx. 40g carbs per serving which would cause blood sugar levels to rise … not good if you are diabetic! So what you could do is to make a lower carb version, this recipe suggestion works out at just 2 net carbs per serving … and thus does not cause such a spike in blood sugar readings.

Here are the ingredients you will need to make four servings:
1/2 cups almond flour
1/3 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch baking powder
Pinch salt
Pinch to teaspoon cinnamon (depending on taste)
1/3 cup swerve (sweetener)
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tablespoons Sugar Free Pineapple syrup
1/2 tablespoon Brown Sugar Cinnamon Syrup
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans, divided
1.5 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cups swerve (sweetener)

You will need a 6x6-inch square baking pan to make this cake, and you can find the original recipe with full instructions here

If you should need help with weight/measurement conversion see here

There is also a slightly different recipe for a Pecan Cake, which is low carb, here 

… I'll definitely need a cup of tea too,
although I could make you coffee if you'd prefer !

If you should be interested in reading a little more about the LCHF lifestyle then why not have a look at our 'Introduction to low-carb for beginners' post here 

Dear reader, a variety of recipe ideas and articles are 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

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Avocado Breakfast Burger : LCHF

Breakfast anyone? A word of warning you will definitely need a knife and fork when you eat this burger! Yes, it's made using avocado in place of a bun … what a wonderful swap!

(makes one burger)
1 ripe avocado
1 egg
2 bacon rashers

1 red onion slice
1 tomato slice
1 lettuce leaf
1 tbsp. low carb mayonnaise
Sea salt, to taste

Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

1. Place the bacon rashers in a cold frying pan. Turn the stove/hob on and start frying the bacon. When bacon beings to curl, flip it with a fork. Continue cooking the bacon until it is crispy.
2. Remove the bacon from the pan and crack the egg into the same pan, using the bacon fat to cook it. Cook until the white is set but the yolk is still runny.
3. Slice the avocados in half width-wise. Remove the pit and use a spoon to scoop it out of its skin.
4. Fill the hole where the pit used to be with the low carb mayonnaise.
5. Layer with lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon, and fried egg.
6. Season with sea salt.
7. Top with the second half of the avocado.

8. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, (optional).
From an original idea here

One of these for breakfast really does set you up for the day … deliciousness on a plate … enjoy !

Avocado's, some people love them where others may not, but they are certainly full of good nutrients. Eddie and I do enjoy them and they are often in our menu plans.

"Here are 20 great reasons why you should fall in love with avocado too (if you haven't already!):

1. They fit all diets!
No matter what eating guidelines you follow, the humble avocado works for all!

2. They're nutrient dense
Avocados are packed with beneficial nutrients to enhance the nutrient quality of your meals.

3. Avocado makes an awesome spread
Substitute butter and margarine for a healthy spread of avocado. You'll boost your nutrient intake, and it tastes great!

4. Boost your fruit intake!

Not much of a sweet tooth? Avocados are actually a fruit, so they count towards your fruit intake! 

5. You'll never need a substitute 
Avocados are always in season so you can enjoy them all year round! 

6. They're super versatile 
Known for guacamole, dips, and other savoury dishes, yet avocados are appearing more and more in sweet dishes too. Think chocolate mousse, ganache, smoothies and ice cream!

7. They're low in sugar
They may be a fruit, but they contain less than 1g of sugar per ounce!

8. Avocados make great baby food!
They're firm enough for tiny fingers, yet mashable and soft enough to be gentle on gums. Rich in healthy fats, fibre, and other nutrients, it makes a great addition to your baby's first foods.

9. They're full of healthy fats
Over 75% of the fat content in an avocado is great for your heart! In fact, having more of these healthy unsaturated fats is better for your heart than eating low fat!

10. Avocado boosts your eye health
Avocados contain 81mg of lutein & zeaxanthin, antioxidants known to support eye health as we age.

11. An avocado is an edible bowl for your favourite fillings!
Simply cut an avocado in half, and fill with all sorts of things, from sauerkraut and salsa to diced roast vegetables, a few spoons of curry or bake an egg in it!

12. They nourish your brain and nervous system
A serve of avocado contains 3.5g of unsaturated fat required for healthy brain and nervous system development

13. They make a great fat substitute in baking!
Swap butter or coconut oil for pureed avocado. You won't taste it, trust us!

14. They make all things creamy and delicious!
Need something to be thicker, creamier, like say, a decadent chocolate mousse, or healthy banana thick shake? Add some avocado!

15. They'll keep your cholesterol on track!
Battling a cholesterol problem? Avocados are the richest known fruit source of phytosterols, a natural plant compound that competes with dietary cholesterol absorption.

16. Avocados contain nutrients essential for a healthy pregnancy
Containing folate, vitamin E, B vitamins, iron, choline, and fibre, they're great for both yourself and your growing baby throughout the entire pregnancy, from conception, birth and beyond.

17. They have more potassium than a banana!
Bananas are known for their potassium content, but per 100g, the avocado fruit contains 485mg of potassium, that's 127mg more than bananas!

18. They make a satisfying snack
All you need is a little sea salt, cracked pepper and a spoon!

19. There are plenty of ways to eat them
You can grill them, bake them, or eat them raw.

20. You can make ice cream with avocado!
A brilliant, dairy-free, vegan alternative to store-bought ice cream varieties, simply blend 1/2 an avocado and a squeeze of lime juice with 2 tbsp. of maple syrup and 1 cup of your milk of choice. Pour into ice block molds and freeze. Delicious!"

Most words above taken from original article by James Colquhoun here

If you don't like avocado's, then why not enjoy a Vegetarian Breakfast Casserole, see the recipe here 

Please be aware that you will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog, but 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 May 2019

Older adults who regularly do crosswords 'have sharper brains'

Do you enjoy crossword puzzles, sudoku, word searches etc … well Sky News recently reported that:
"Older adults who regularly do word and number puzzles have better brain function, a study has found.

The more often adults aged 50 and over attempted challenges such as crosswords and Sudoku, the sharper their brains, according to the findings.

University of Exeter and King's College London academics carried out research into more than 19,000 participants of an online survey.

They were asked to report how often they engage in word and number puzzles, and to undertake a series of cognitive tests sensitive to measuring changes in brain function.

The scientists found the more regularly participants engaged with the puzzles, the better they performed on tasks assessing attention, reasoning and memory.

Researchers used their results to calculate that people who engage in word puzzles have a brain function equivalent to 10 years younger than their age, on tests assessing grammatical reasoning, and eight years younger than their age on tests measuring short-term memory.

Study leader Dr Anne Corbett, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said: "We've found that the more regularly people engage with puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku, the sharper their performance is across a range of tasks assessing memory, attention and reasoning.

"The improvements are particularly clear in the speed and accuracy of their performance.

"In some areas the improvement was quite dramatic - on measures of problem-solving, people who regularly do these puzzles performed equivalent to an average of eight years younger compared to those who don't.

"We can't say that playing these puzzles necessarily reduces the risk of dementia in later life but this research supports previous findings that indicate regular use of word and number puzzles helps keep our brains working better for longer."

The study used participants from the Protect online platform, run by the two universities, which allows researchers to conduct and manage large-scale studies without the need for laboratory visits.

The two linked papers are published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry."

Above words and picture taken from article here

Do you enjoy puzzles of any kind? I enjoy word searches … one of our sons loves sudoku, and my Dear Dad always did a daily crossword puzzle and lived into his nineties.

Dear reader, 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