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Saturday, 30 November 2019

Take the Long Way Home

Saturday night again and music night again already. Being a diabetic, I have a good reason to fear going blind, diabetes is the leading cause of working age people going blind in the UK. But hey, I am past working age, and now retired. Going deaf maybe has a greater fear for me these days, because music has been one of the loves of my life. 

Around forty years ago I started a new job, after a weeks introduction, I received my new company car, the first new car I had ever driven. This car had a stereo cassette player. It was a long drive home, and I had taken a cassette of this track to play on the way home. Total trivia, but forty years on, it means much to me.

Enjoy and peace and good health to all. Eddie

Wildlife Photography ... these photographs will make you smile

From time to time we post something completely different ...
Like these photos from the 2019 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards




"Family disagreement" by Vlado Pirsa
"A couple of birds have family disagreements." 


"Oh My" by Harry Walker
"Unlike most other marine mammals, sea otters have no blubber and rely on thick fur to keep warm.
As the ability of the fur to repel water depends on utmost cleanliness,
sea otters spend much of their time (while they are not sleeping or eating) grooming,
offering photographers an unlimited number of anthropomorphic opportunities." 


"Squirrel Wishes" by Geert Weggen
"A red squirrel with dandelion seeds." 

There are more amazing photographs to see here
All the best Jan

Friday, 29 November 2019

Looking For Healthy High Fibre, Low Carb Foods !

Kelli McGrane, MS, RD writes: 
"Low carb diets have been linked to several impressive health benefits. Research has shown that they’re particularly effective at reducing hunger and aiding weight loss. They’ve also been associated with decreased blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, as well as increased HDL (good) cholesterol. What’s more, low carb diets have been found to improve blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes. Low carb diets typically provide less than 130 grams of carbs per day, while very low carb diets typically provide 20–50 grams of carbs per day."

For example a possible range might be:-
Low carb (ketogenic) 0-50g carbohydrate per day 
Typical low carb 50-90g 
Liberal low carb 90-130g 
Moderate carb 130-170g 
High carb 170g and more 

"However, some very low carb diets can be low in fibre, a nutrient that’s important for digestive, heart, and gut health. In fact, studies estimate that only 5% of American adults — independent of whether they eat low carb or not — meet the recommended 25–38 grams of fibre per day. Fortunately, if you follow a low carb diet and are worried about your fibre intake, several tasty foods are both low in carbs and high in fibre.
Here are fourteen healthy high fibre, low carb foods.

Flax seeds 
Flax seeds are small oil seeds that are packed with nutrients. In particular, they’re good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and antioxidants. They’re also low in digestible net carbs — the total grams of carbs minus the grams of fibre. Notably, flax seeds have a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 than most other oil seeds. This is important, as a lower omega-6 to omega-3 ratio has been associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases. Flax seeds are easily incorporated into your diet and should be ground to reap all their potential health benefit.

Chia seeds 
Though small in size, chia seeds are rich in several nutrients. In addition to being high in fibre, protein, and several vitamins and minerals, chia seeds are one of the best-known plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds can be sprinkled a-top salads and yogurt or added to smoothies. They also absorb liquids well, turning into a gel that can be used as a vegan egg replacement or thickener for sauces and jellies. 

Avocado 
High in healthy fats, avocados have a unique buttery texture. Technically a fruit, avocados are typically consumed as a vegetable and can be added to a variety of dishes. In addition to being rich in monounsaturated fats, avocados are a good source of fibre, folate, potassium, and vitamins K and C.




Almonds 
Almonds are among the world’s most popular tree nuts. Great for snacking, they’re highly nutritious and rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium. As they’re also a good source of fibre and protein, almonds may help increase feelings of fullness and aid weight loss. 

Unsweetened coconut meat 
Coconut meat is the white flesh inside a coconut. It’s often sold shredded and can be added to desserts, granola bars, and breakfast foods for added texture. Coconut meat is high in healthy fats and fibre, while being moderate in carbs and protein. It’s also rich in several important minerals, particularly copper and manganese. Copper aids bone formation and heart health, while manganese is essential for fat metabolism and enzyme function. 

Blackberries 
Sweet and tart, blackberries are a delicious summer fruit. They’re also incredibly nutritious, with just 1 cup (140 grams) boasting more than 30% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C. Berries are among the most antioxidant-rich fruits. Regular intake has been associated with a reduced risk of chronic inflammation, heart disease, and certain forms of cancer. Additionally, a 1-week study in 27 men with excess weight or obesity on a high fat diet found that eating blackberries daily increased fat burning and insulin sensitivity. 




Raspberries 
Another sweet yet tart summer fruit, raspberries are best enjoyed shortly after purchasing. Low in calories, they’re also surprisingly high in several essential vitamins and minerals. In fact, just 1 cup (140 grams) provides more than 50% of the DV for vitamin C and 41% of the DV for manganese. Similarly to blackberries, raspberries are rich in disease-protecting antioxidants. They can be eaten as a snack, baked into desserts, and added to yogurt parfaits or overnight oats. 

Pistachios 
Humans have been eating pistachios since 6000 BC. While technically a fruit, pistachios are culinarily used as a nut. With their vibrant green colour and distinctive flavour, pistachios are popular in many dishes, including desserts, such as ice creams and cakes. Nutritionally, they’re high in healthy fats and vitamin B6, an essential vitamin that aids blood sugar regulation and the formation of haemoglobin. 

Wheat bran
Wheat bran is the hard outer coating of the wheat kernel. While it’s found naturally in whole grains, it can also be purchased on its own to add texture and a nutty flavour to foods like baked goods, smoothies, yogurt, soups, and casseroles. Wheat bran is rich in several important vitamins and minerals, with 1/2 cup (30 grams) providing 41% of the DV for selenium and more than 140% of the DV for manganese. Although, perhaps what it’s best known for is its impressive amount of insoluble fibre, a nutrient that can help treat constipation and promote regular bowel movements. 

Cauliflower 
Cauliflower is a popular item on low carb diets, as it can be riced for a grain substitute or even made into a low carb pizza crust. Part of the Brassica family, cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that’s low in calories and carbs yet high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also a good source of choline, which is important for brain and liver health, as well as metabolism and DNA synthesis. 





Broccoli 
Broccoli is a popular cruciferous vegetable that’s high in several important nutrients. In addition to being low in calories, it’s high in fibre and several essential vitamins and minerals, including folate, potassium, and vitamins C and K. It also boasts more protein than many other vegetables. While it can be enjoyed cooked or raw, research shows that steaming it provides the greatest health benefits. 

Asparagus 
A popular springtime vegetable, asparagus comes in several colours, including green, purple, and white. It’s low in calories yet high in vitamin K, providing 46% of the DV in 1 cup (134 grams). The same serving also packs 17% of the DV for folate, which is vital during pregnancy and helps with cell growth and DNA formation. While it’s usually cooked, raw asparagus can add a pleasant crunch to salads and veggie platters. 

Aubergine / Eggplant 
Also known as aubergines, eggplants are used in many dishes around the world. They add a unique texture to dishes and contain very few calories. They’re also a good source of fibre and several vitamins and minerals, including manganese, folate, and potassium. 





Purple Cabbage 
Also referred to as red cabbage, purple cabbage is a nutritious way to add a pop of colour to your dishes. While it tastes similar to green cabbage, the purple variety is higher in plant compounds that have been linked to health benefits, such as improved heart and bone health, reduced inflammation, and protection against certain forms of cancer. Purple cabbage is also low in carbs, high in fibre, and an excellent source of vitamins C and K. 

The Bottom Line 
Whether you’re interested in weight loss or lowering your blood sugar levels, eating fewer carbs can have numerous health benefits. And despite what you might think, you can reduce your carb intake while getting enough fibre.
In fact, many low carb, high fibre foods are healthy and incredibly delicious." 

Most words above from Kelli's article which you can see in full, and with all relevant research links here

You may also be interested in reading 'Introduction to low-carb for beginners', find it here




Dear reader, you will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog. 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, 28 November 2019

Blackberry Cobbler/Crumble : Low Carb



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.

Ingredients:
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)
Tip:
Chopped walnuts or pecans can be mixed into the topping to add a nutty crunch to the cobbler.
Recipe Instructions:
Can be found here




Did you know, Blackberries are an edible fruit, commonly found in the UK from June until November, and they're often seen growing in forests and hedgerows. Each individual blackberry, when ripe, is made up of 20-50 single seeds known as drupelets that are small, juice-filled and a deep purplish black. Technically, they are an ‘aggregate fruit’ rather than a berry. Blackberries are sweet and nutritious dark-blue berries that offer several health benefits. They are loaded with fibre, manganese, and vitamin C. They’re also one of the few fruits that are high in vitamin K, which plays an essential role in blood clotting and bone health. 

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

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Thanksgiving Day 2019


Here in the UK the Countdown to Christmas continues. Christmas Cards are being written, Christmas Gifts being bought … and possibly you've got some food in the cupboard or freezer waiting to be consumed over the Christmas festivities.

Of course if like me you have American friends and bloggers they have been getting ready for Thanksgiving Day which is on Thursday 28th November … for our blogging friends in Canada they have already celebrated theirs!

Yes, "Thanksgiving Day is an annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year. In the US Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November while in Canada nearly one month and a half earlier (second Monday of October). Thanksgiving has deep roots in religious tradition, but nowadays it is primarily celebrated as a secular holiday.

Thanksgiving tradition began in early XVII century, but the date and popularity varied between states. First nation-wide Thanksgiving was proclaimed on November 26, 1789 by George Washington. The contemporary date of fourth Thursday of November was set in 1941 by federal legislation.

Thanksgiving Celebration

Thanksgiving is a great time to be thankful and appreciate who you have and what you have. It is a time for families to meet, socialize and enjoy each other's company, sometimes the only opportunity in a year. Some prefer it to Christmas because of less emphasis on consumerism. Thanksgiving, for most, is also a start of a four day weekend which is great, too.

Thanksgiving Date

In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed national Thanksgiving Day to be celebrated on the final Thursday of November. The rule of declaring the final Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day was followed until 1939. In 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared the fourth (next-to-last) Thursday of November as Thanksgiving instead of the last, fifth one. The change of Thanksgiving's date was intended to extend the shopping season before Christmas and help bring the country out of The Great Depression. In the same manner, Thanksgiving in 1949 and 1941 was celebrated on third (next-to-last) Thursdays. In December 1941 Thanksgiving date was fixed as the fourth Thursday in November.

Interesting facts about Thanksgiving

Canadian Thanksgiving predates American Thanksgiving by 43 years. The first Thanksgiving in North America was held in 1578 in what is now Newfoundland, Canada. The first American Thanksgiving happened in 1621 at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in Massachusetts.

Sarah Joseph Hale, who is the author of the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb" had contributed to the establishment of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. After 17 years of sending letters to President Lincoln, she had convinced him to support legislation establishing a national holiday of Thanksgiving in 1863. Before Thanksgiving, the only national holidays celebrated in the United States were Washington's Birthday (Presidents' Day) and Independence Day. 


The TV dinner was invented in 1953 when Swanson had 260 tons of leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and no idea what to do with it. When asked, one of the employees said that they should package it in trays with sides and freeze. 

There is/was* a grocery in Paris named "Thanksgiving" that sells US food like Skippy peanut butter, Jello Instant Pudding, and Pop-Tarts to homesick ex-pats. (*may now be closed) 

The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for plumbers and septic companies who call it "Brown Friday". 

NASA engineers responsible for the Voyager program calculated trajectories for around 10,000 launch windows, from which they selected about 100 that met the mission objectives while minimizing planetary encounters taking place over the Thanksgiving or Christmas, allowing them to spend the holidays at home. 

In 2013, Tony Rohr who was a manager at Pizza Hut franchise in Elkhart, Indiana, was fired for refusing to open on Thanksgiving Day so that his employees could spend the holiday with their families. He was offered the job back." 
Words and picture from here

Related Posts
Turkey, a fool-proof guide, perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas - see it here

If you should be looking for alternative Vegetarian and Vegan Thanksgiving / Christmas recipes have a look here please note not all shown in the link are low carb!

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.


Enjoy the season and celebrations

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Tuesday Trio : Low Carb Recipe Suggestions (7)

It's Tuesday Trio Time
starter choices or light lunches
these recipe suggestions work well for either

Melon and Parma Ham
A gorgeous pairing of two delicate flavours - sweet and juicy melon with smoky slices of Parma ham.
This makes a great starter dish for a dinner party, but could also be enjoyed as a light lunch.


Ingredients
Serves Four
1 honeydew melon
2 x 88g (2oz) packs of Parma ham, torn
50g (2oz) wild rocket*
pinch ground black pepper
4 tsp oil
see more details here

Coconut Camembert
This makes such a lovely lunch, or starter.



Ingredients
Serves 2
½ Camembert cheese,
1 egg, beaten,
2 tbsp. fine desiccated coconut,
olive oil for frying,
30g baby spinach,
5 cherry tomatoes,
10 slices cucumber,
40g berries of your choice,
balsamic vinegar, to serve
see more details here


Celeriac Remoulade with Charcuterie
Light lunch, or an easy starter, these simple winter flavours combine well and make a colourful dish.
The remoulade, uses celeriac, carrot, and fresh dill. Serve it with some charcuterie.
You may find that many supermarkets have an even better selection at this time of year!


Ingredients
Serves Four
1 celeriac, peeled and grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped

2 tbsp. lighter mayonnaise
2 tbsp. half fat crème fraîche
1 small lemon, juiced
see more details here

I hope you've enjoyed this 'Tuesday Trio'.
I wonder have you a favourite out of these three? It's the Coconut Camembert for me ...
See more 'Tuesday Trio' posts here

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

All the best Jan

Monday, 25 November 2019

BLACK FRIDAY

This appeals to my warped sense of humour. Have you seen how people go crazy, and fight over junk, as if their lives depended on purchasing more cheap Chinese crap they don't really need. It's a mad world and getting worse. 


Eddie

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Sausage and Bean Casserole ... it's so warming


Recently, here in the UK we've had a lot of rain … in fact in some areas it has caused flooding and there are still flood alerts in place! My thoughts are with all those affected.

With this sort of weather this recipe suggestion offers a comforting and hearty one-pot sausage stew with chorizo, smoked paprika and plenty of vegetables ...

Ingredients:
Serves 4 - 6
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 medium sticks celery, finely chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3 fat garlic cloves, chopped
6 cooking chorizo sausages (about 400g)
6 pork sausages (about 400g)
1½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp. dried thyme
125ml white wine
2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes or chopped tomatoes
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 chicken stock cube
1 x 400g tin aduki beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch chives (optional)

Method:
1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the celery and peppers and cook for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add the sausages and fry the sausages for 5 minutes, then stir in the garlic, spices and dried thyme and continue cooking for 1 – 2 minutes or until the aromas are released.
3. Pour in the wine and use a wooden spoon to remove any residue stuck to the pan. Add the tinned tomatoes, and fresh thyme and bring to a simmer. Crumble in the stock cube and stir in.
4. Cook for 40 minutes. Stir in the beans and cook for a further five minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs, season with black pepper and serve.


Nutritional Details Per Serving:
Fat 33.8g Protein 24.5g Carbs 25.9g
From an original idea here

Notes:
This recipe can be adapted to a vegetarian meal ... using vegetarian sausages and vegetarian bacon in place of the chorizo.
If you are allergic to wine (or do not drink it) it can be omitted from the recipe.

Did you know - the aduki bean is a tiny, reddish-brown bean with a cream coloured seam and sweet, nutty flavour. Aduki beans are regarded as the king of beans in Japan and are prized for their health-giving properties: reputedly benefitting the liver and the kidneys.


For those readers who live in warmer climates, I offer an alternative recipe suggestion! It's Salad Aveyronnaise, a little bit of France on your table; see more details here

Please note, you will find a variety of recipes 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

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Cutting Crew - (I Just) Died In Your Arms [Live at Rockpalast 2007]

Saturday night again already, and music night over here. I have always liked this song, and last week found this amazing live version. I hope you enjoy. Peace and good health to all. Eddie.

Souper Saturday : Mushroom and Garlic Soup !



Grab your spoon and dive into this bowl of soup! The recipe has a mix of mellow garlic, and mushrooms. 

Ingredients
Serves Four
2 bunches of chives, roughly chopped (about 1.5 ounces/42 g)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil (240 ml)
3 whole heads of garlic
15 raw cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced in half
12 to 16 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced (340 to 450 g)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (30 g)
1 leek, thinly sliced
3 1/2 cups chicken stock (820 ml)

Salt and pepper

Instructions 
In a blender, purée the chives with the olive oil until the chives are very finely chopped and the consistency of the oil is fairly smooth. Be patient, this will take several minutes.

In two batches, strain the oil through a fine sieve. Let the oil drip out on its own; don’t push down on the solids or the chive oil will be cloudy. Discard the solids. Add a pinch of salt to the oil. Set aside. (The oil will keep for at least a week in the fridge.)

Preheat oven to 400 °F (200 °C) Gas Mark 6

Peel off any loose layers of white skin on the three heads of garlic then slice the top off to expose the tops of the cloves. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of the heads. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap each head in foil or parchment paper (tie parchment up with a string) or put them in a tightly covered baking dish.

Put the heads of garlic in the oven and roast until the cloves are tender and easy to pierce with a fork, about 35 minutes. When the garlic has cooled, squeeze the roasted cloves into a small bowl.

Spread the mushrooms out on a baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper.

Put the pan of mushrooms in the oven at the same time as the heads of garlic, roasting until soft, about 20 minutes. Stir the mushrooms occasionally.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the leek and cook until soft.

Add the roasted garlic and raw garlic cloves and sauté for a few minutes.

Add chicken stock. Cover and simmer until the raw garlic cloves are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until smooth.

Heap mushrooms in the middle of each soup bowl and drizzle in chive oil.

Original recipe idea may be seen here

Enjoy!


Did you know that; Garlic is a root vegetable that belongs to the Allium genus and is closely related to onions, leeks, chives and shallots. Each serving of garlic boasts a good amount of several important nutrients, including manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Plus, it’s well-known for its medicinal properties, studies have found that garlic can promote heart health by lowering blood pressure and levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides. It may also boost immune function, as research shows that it can decrease symptom severity and help prevent infections, such as the common cold. Best of all, garlic is highly versatile and can be used to amplify the flavour of your favourite savoury soups, sauces, side dishes and main courses.

Readers, we bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Friday, 22 November 2019

S is for Salmon ... it's nutrient dense !

Fish and shellfish are nutrient dense and salmon is no exception. It is an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals (including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12) but it is their content of omega-3 fatty acids that receives the most attention, and you can read more about the health benefits of salmon here 

I have to say I/we enjoy salmon ... and we enjoy other fish too! My friendly fishmonger knows me well, and when shopping I do tend to look out for special offers or reduced deals that may be available on fish and of course the other type of real fresh foods we enjoy eating too. It does pay to watch your £'s, $'s or whatever your currency may be!

If you should like salmon, then you may wish to try these recipe suggestions. 


Lemon and Chilli Crusted Salmon ... with extra fine green beans


Here are the ingredients for four servings:
For the salmon
17g carbs per serving 
75g (3oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
 (you can use a lower carb bread or toasted pine nuts if preferred)
25g (1oz) grated fresh Parmesan
1 red chilli, de-seeded, finely chopped
1 lemon, zest only
large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
large handful of basil, chopped
4 skinless boneless salmon fillets
4 tbsp. olive oil
For the beans
250g (8oz) extra fine green beans, trimmed
25g (1oz) butter
1/2 lemon, zest and a squeeze of juice
1 lemon cut into wedges, for serving 
Please find instructions/more details here

Salmon Patties with Feta Cheese Sauce


Here are the ingredients for four servings
Salmon
11g carbs per serving
24 oz. (700g) skinned salmon*, filet, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, shredded
1 garlic clove, pressed
3 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 oz. (30g) butter for frying
ground black pepper 
The patties can be made with canned salmon*. 
Drain off excess liquid and add to the recipe in place of the boneless, skinned, fresh salmon.
Feta cheese sauce
1 cup (225ml) sour cream
4 oz. (110g) feta cheese
2 garlic cloves, pressed
fresh parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper
Salad
3 oz. (75g) leafy greens
8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 red onion, divided in half and thinly sliced
Garnish
½ lemon 

Please find instructions/more details here




A variety of recipe ideas are within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues 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, 21 November 2019

Time for a cuppa ... and a slice of low carb Chocolate and Almond Cake

I know some of us do enjoy a sweet treat from time to time, whereas others completely avoid them. I do allow myself the occasional low carb sweet/dessert treat, and today I thought - why not make time for a cuppa! It's tea for me, or coffee if you'd prefer, and of course low carb cake!


This simple and quick recipe for a low carb chocolate and almond cake is from Ewelina who writes: "You don’t need many ingredients and about 40 minutes to make a cake (including baking time). The cake is very chocolaty and light. If you are not afraid of extra calories and a little bit of sugar serve it with scoop of vanilla ice-cream."

Ewelina uses "Splenda as a sweetener and Menier dark chocolate in this recipe." She says, "if you would like to make this cake even lower in carbohydrates use pure Stevia leaf (you will need just a teaspoon or so) and chocolate that is lower in carbs than 30g."

"Ingredients:
Makes 12 pieces
7g Carbs per piece/slice

200g dark chocolate, chopped (I used Menier with 30g carbs per 100g chocolate)
50g chopped almonds (I used flaked almonds as you can see on the picture but it worked fine)
115g butter, cut into small pieces
6 eggs, separated
Equivalent of 180 g sugar (I used 18g Splenda*)
1 tsp. pure almond extract
Almond flakes for decoration"

*You may ask ... "how come you used 18g of Splenda if the recipe calls for 180g of sugar? isn't it supposed to be equal?"
Ewelina says ..."Splenda is much lighter than sugar, you use the same amount when you measure with cups or spoons but not when you weight. For example 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of Splenda looks the same but sugar weighs about 10 times more"

"Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 180C 350F Gas Mark 4 and butter a 23 cm springform pan.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a large bowl over simmering water. Stir in almonds and set aside to cool slightly.
3. In a medium bowl using electric mixer whisk egg yolks and sweetener until mixture gets smooth and pale yellow. Slowly add the egg yolk mixture to melted chocolate and stir to combine. Stir in almond extract.
4. In a large bowl using electric mixer whisk the egg whites until firm peaks form. Using spatula fold in ¼ of egg whites to the chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites (it takes some time but do it gently)

5. Pour the batter into the form and bake 20min. 
6. Cool slightly and decorate with almond flakes."

Words and recipe can be seen on Ewelina's blog here

hang on ... I'll just put the kettle on!

A variety of recipe ideas are within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues 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, 20 November 2019

Seasonal Affective Disorder : SAD


our two youngest grand-children enjoying some winter sun on the beach


At this time of year, in the Northern Hemisphere, you often hear family members, friends, fellow bloggers talk about SAD ... but What is SAD?

It stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, and many of us in the UK, Ireland, and many other countries suffer with it. 

Historically we only ever worked outdoors; two hundred years ago 75% of the population worked outdoors now less than 10% of the population work in natural outdoor light. Whilst this is fine in the Summer months when there are longer daylight hours, in the Winter months, people tend to go to work in the dark and go home in the dark and don’t get to enough natural daylight.

This modern way of living has dramatically altered nature’s cues. A modern day no longer starts at the break of dawn and ends at sunset. Workdays are getting longer and many people face shift work schedules. Additionally, the advent of electric lighting allows social gatherings and personal activities to extend well into the night. These factors have diminished the body’s natural ability to regulate the body clock and this work/life change has resulted in a dramatic increase in light deficiency symptoms.

In the UK and Ireland we are more susceptible to SAD as we are situated in the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere, this also affects many other countries. As a result, we experience large changes in light levels between the summer and winter. We also experience periods of dark, gloomy weather which can reduce the amount of light we receive and therefore have a profound effect on our body clocks.

A combination of a change in seasonal light, our hectic lifestyles and the periods of darker days and poorer weather, can result in dramatic effects on our circadian rhythms. As a direct consequence of these environmental and lifestyle factors more people than ever before are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

Does daylight impact your health?

Like many mammals in the natural world, the human body responds to light. As a result our bodies are tuned in to the daylight hours in order to maintain our circadian rhythms. These rhythms regulate many important bodily functions and if you do not receive the correct daylight signals at the correct time this can have significant affects on your wellbeing. Circadian Rhythms help to regulate and control; food digestion, appetite for food, energy levels, sleep quality and length, and mood. Your Circadian Rhythm are effectively your body’s internal clock and if these rhythms are disrupted it can result in you suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder and may require light therapy

In the distant past human’s lived in the outdoors and were exposed to sufficient levels of sunlight the whole year round even in the northern and southern hemispheres. However, nowadays our lives are mainly carried out indoors due to work pressures, busy lifestyles and change in social behaviours. With the advent of television and now the growth in computer, phone and tablet based entertainment we spend more time than ever indoors and miss out on the light cues our body needs.

Without sufficient levels of morning light our bodies circadian rhythms are not triggered and our body fails to produce the hormones required to feel wide awake. During the day if we do not receive enough sunlight we feel sluggish, lethargic and low in energy and at night we stay awake long after darkness which can result in lack of sleep, disrupted sleep patterns and mood swings. In summary if we do not receive sunlight at the correct times and in sufficient quantities we can upset our body clock to such a degree that the symptoms of SAD ensue.

As a result you need to combat these problems by changing your lifestyle as much as possible, provide your body with daylight at the right times or alternatively use artificial sunlight at the correct times using a medically certified SAD Lamp/Sun Lamp.

There are a diverse range of symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder; many are associated with a feeling of general depression – which is why it is sometimes known as the ‘Winter blues’. Below is a list of possible symptoms. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder – How do I know if I’ve got it?

An example of SAD Symptoms include:
Lethargy, lacking in energy, unable to carry out a normal routine
Sleep problems, finding it hard to stay awake during the day, but having disturbed nights
Loss of libido, not interested in physical contact
Anxiety, inability to cope
Social problems, irritability, not wanting to see people
Depression, feelings of gloom and despondency for no apparent reason

Craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, leading to weight gain 

It is always important to consult your doctor if you believe you have SAD as it may be another condition.

Words above and more to read here
The NHS also has an article about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), read it here


wintery scene, but the sunshine is welcome

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

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Tuesday Trio : Low Carb Recipe Suggestions (6)

It's Tuesday Trio Time
and it features low carb vegetable side dishes,
though some may prefer to serve them as a main - the choice is yours.

Roasted Vegetables Tricolore
This is a beautiful, and most colourful, side dish. Easy-to-make with lots of good flavour.
Choose to serve it with either meat, chicken or fish ...
But perhaps if you just like vegetables, enjoy the dish by itself!

Ingredients
Serves Four
6g carbs per serving
300 g brussels sprouts
150 g cherry tomatoes
150 g mushrooms
2⁄3 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄3 teaspoon ground black pepper
2⁄3 teaspoon dried rosemary or dried thyme
80 ml olive oil
more details here

Celeriac and Walnut Gratin : Vegetarian 
This dish does make a great vegetarian main meal, or you can have it as a side dish

Ingredients
Serves 4 - 6
4g carbs per serving
1 large celeriac
2 tbsp. walnut oil
300ml vegetable stock*
handful chopped walnuts
100g blue cheese, such as Bleu d'Auvergne or Stilton
(* you can also reduce the amount of vegetable stock slightly and add crème fraiche,
it makes for a slightly creamier texture) 
more details here

Green Beans with Garlic and Almonds : Low Carb Side Dish
This is a wonderfully green, crispy and crunchy low-carb side dish.
Green beans always go great with a nice Sunday roast, or perhaps a Thanksgiving, or Christmas turkey!

Ingredients
Serves Six
7g carbs per serving
4 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
700 g fresh green beans
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
80 ml almonds, chopped
more details here

I hope you've enjoyed this 'Tuesday Trio'.
I wonder have you a favourite looking out of these three? It's the roasted vegetables tricolore for me ...
See more 'Tuesday Trio' posts here

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

All the best Jan

Monday, 18 November 2019

Do You Hit The Snooze Button ?



Scientists reveal why we feel so tired in the mornings:

If you're the type of person who snoozes your alarm every morning or can't function before (or even after) your morning coffee, (or tea), there might be a genetic reason for that.

New research by DNA testing company, 23andMe, has discovered that genetic programming plays a part in our wake up time.

The research studied over 1,500 British people to determine that 7.55am was the UK's average genetic wake up time.

This means that the average Brit will wake up naturally just before 8am each day.

Many people set their alarms for much earlier than that, hence our feelings of tiredness and lack of productivity.

Interrupting your body's circadian rhythm (which is the official term for our body clock) can leave us feeling out of sorts at the beginning of the day.

If you don't feel tired first thing, it doesn't mean you're immune to these feelings. Many people have tiredness slumps at different points in the day.

"Unusually tired"

The NHS has found that one in five of us get "unusually tired" and have suggested some good ways to wake yourself up when the slump sets in.

Exercise is cited as one of the key ways to bolster your energy reserve. Aside from the psychological benefits of exercise, it also lowers your risk of early death by 30%.

Cutting down on caffeine is another recommended way to beat the tiredness. As a nation of tea drinkers, we are all at risk of being over-stimulated by the affects of caffeine. Switching to decaffeinated tea and coffee could make all the difference.



Getting into a routine of having daytime naps may also interrupt your body's circadian rhythm. If you go to sleep every time you feel a bout of tiredness, you may struggle to get to sleep at night, so says the NHS.

The above taken from article here

If you should have problems getting to sleep this NHS guide may be helpful, see it here

Do you use an alarm clock?
Do you hit the snooze button? - When I do have to use an alarm clock I prefer to! 


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