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Tuesday 31 August 2021

Mexican Breakfast or Lunch Scramble : Egg-free and low-carb

Just because you don't eat eggs or dairy, doesn't mean that you can't enjoy a hearty breakfast (or lunch) scramble. This savoury dish is loaded with ground (minced) turkey and plant protein, Mexican flavours, and fresh veggies. It's an egg-free and dairy-free way to enjoy your action-packed day!

Serves Four
9g net carbs per serving
375 g firm tofu*, drained and cut into small cubes .5" (1.5 cm)
450 g ground (minced) turkey
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp taco seasoning
1 (140 g) red bell pepper, diced
1 (110 g) yellow onion, diced
salt and pepper
1 (200 g) avocado mashed
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
4 tbsp sour cream, dairy-free or vegan
1 tbsp lime juice
If preferred you can substitute the tofu* for 2 eggs per serving.
can be seen here

A little about Tofu
"Tofu, or bean curd, is a popular food derived from soya. It is made by curdling fresh soya milk, pressing it into a solid block and then cooling it – in much the same way that traditional dairy cheese is made by curdling and solidifying milk. The liquid (whey) is discarded, and the curds are pressed to form a cohesive bond. A staple ingredient in Thai and Chinese cookery, it can be cooked in different ways to change its texture from smooth and soft to crisp and crunchy.

Tofu is a good source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. It is also a valuable plant source of iron and calcium and the minerals manganese and phosphorous. In addition to this, it also contains magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1.

Note of caution
Tofu and all soya products contain large amounts of oxalate. Individuals with a history of kidney stones containing oxalate should avoid over consuming soya products."
Words above from here

You could well be doing a Mexican Hat Dance,
after you've eaten this dish!

Readers, please note, 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

Monday 30 August 2021

'The more time you spend outdoors in natural light, the happier you’ll be'

There's a lot to be said about walking, or being outside, it can be so uplifting, and a recent study has shown that increased daytime light exposure is beneficial for both mood and sleep disorders.

The Beaulieu River at Longwater Lawn,
 always plenty of New Forest Ponies to see

"Time spent in outdoor light is associated with mood, sleep, and circadian rhythm-related outcomes: a cross-sectional and longitudinal study in over 400,000 UK Biobank participants


Greater time in outdoor light was associated with lowered odds of lifetime major depressive disorder

More daylight predicted better outcomes across a range of mood and sleep measures

These relationships held in both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses


Light has powerful effects on mood, sleep, and the circadian system. Humans evolved in an environment with a clear distinction between day and night, but our modern environments have blurred this distinction. Negative effects of light exposure at night have been well characterized. The importance of daytime light exposure has been less well characterized. Here we examine the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of time spent in daytime outdoor light with mood-, sleep-, and circadian-related outcomes.

Participants were drawn from the UK Biobank cohort, a large study of UK adults (n = 502,000; 37-73 years old; 54% women).

UK Biobank participants reported spending a median of 2.5 daylight hours (IQR = 1.5 – 3.5 hours) outdoors per day. Each additional hour spent outdoors during the day was associated with lower odds of lifetime major depressive disorder (95% CI OR:0.92-0.98), antidepressant usage (OR:0.92-0.98), less frequent anhedonia (OR:0.93-0.96) and low mood (OR:0.87-0.90), greater happiness (OR:1.41-1.48) and lower neuroticism (incident rate ratio, IRR:0.95-0.96). In addition, each hour of daytime light was associated with greater ease of getting up (OR:1.46-1.49), less frequent tiredness (OR:0.80-0.82), fewer insomnia symptoms (OR:0.94-0.97), and earlier chronotype (adjusted odds ratio; OR:0.75-0.77). Auto-Regressive Cross-Lagged (ARCL) models were used to examine the longitudinal association of time spent in outdoor light at baseline with later mood-, sleep- and circadian-related outcomes reported at time point 2. Overall, longitudinal associations support cross-sectional findings, though generally with smaller effect sizes.

Future studies that examine the intensity of daytime light exposure at the ocular level are needed.

Our findings suggest that daytime light exposure is a relevant environmental risk factor for mood-, sleep-, and circadian-related outcomes. These findings support the increased daytime light exposure as beneficial for both mood and sleep disorders."
The above from here
h/t Marks Daily Apple here

You will find a variety of articles, studies 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 please take these into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Sunday 29 August 2021

Broth and its benefits

If you follow wellness trends, or even simply shop in the health-foods section, you couldn’t have missed all the attention that broth has been getting lately. It’s been a long time since broth was used as just the base of an easy stock. We’ve definitely evolved, and it’s now rightly deserving of it’s place as a kitchen staple. Part-soup, part-tea, and sometimes vegan, this versatile base offers an impressive nutrient hit. Here are six incredible benefits of broth.

1. Broth Has Anti-Aging Benefits
Broth, and bone broth especially, may just be the anti-aging secret beauty companies don’t want us to know about. The unique makeup of amino acids and minerals directly supports the skin to stay vibrant, supple, and youthful for years to come. Think collagen, gelatine, vitamin c, healthy fats… All those skin-nourishing foods can be found in a single cup of broth.

2. Source Of Essential Nutrients
Especially those hard-to-find amino acids involved in the production of collagen. Broth often contains rich sources of glutamine, which can be a key ingredient in healing issues in the digestive tract, as well as repairing various sites of inflammation or damage in the body. Broth is also a rich, concentrated source of iron - one of the world’s leading deficiencies.

3. May Support Weight Loss
A little-known fact is that collagen has been shown to support the body with weight loss. Supplementing collagen alongside resistance training improves lean muscle mass and improves fat loss. But it doesn’t end here. Because broth is a nutrient-dense, low-calorie option, it’s a great alternative to those looking to enter a caloric deficit to support their weight loss journey.

4. Supports Digestion & Gut Health
One of the most abundant proteins in a typical bone broth is gelatine, which is essential for healthy digestion. When it enters the digestive tract, this protein combines with water to help transit foods through the system. Alongside the other nutrients found in broth, it is also believed to support against inflammatory bowel disease. Glutamine, which is also found in bone broth, has been shown to support and strengthen damaged cells in the gut.

5. Encourages Joint Health
It’s often said that you are what you eat, and this rings true for broth. One of the most highly praised health benefits of broth is the ability to support and repair our joints. This is again due to the high levels of collagen found in a single-serve. Collagen is used by the body to repair cartilage and tissue, as well as being used similarly in injury prevention.

6. Shown To Support Immune Cells
Remember broth’s incredible role in supporting the digestive system? Well this has an important crossover. The small intestine, which absorbs all the nutrients from foods, is the first line of defence for the immune system. Studies have shown that the amino acids found in bone broth especially provide a protective barrier, preventing the development of conditions such as leaky gut, or weakening an already volatile immune system.
Above words from article here

Related Recipes and posts
Veggie Broth - see here
Bone Broth, a beginners guide - see here
Bone Broth and its Anti-Ageing Benefits - see here

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

Saturday 28 August 2021

It's Bank Holiday Weekend !

Here in the UK we have a Bank Holiday Weekend, which for many means a nice three day break from work. Time to see family, friends ... perhaps do some gardening, visit a local event (Covid regulations allowing). Whatever you may be doing I wish you a happy weekend, with some good weather. How about enjoying this colourful vegetarian salad with cucumber strips, semi-dried tomatoes, peppers, cheese and seeds sometime over the weekend!

Crunchy Mozzarella Salad

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.
5. Tuck in and enjoy ...
Recipe from an original idea here

"Nine things you might not know about bank holidays
Everyone loves a long weekend. An extra 24 hours to switch off, watch three-part specials on the telly, supervise a slow roast or, if you're lucky, a barbecue whilst hiding under a golf umbrella.
But who invented these extra days off? Why are they called bank holidays? And why are there not one, but two, in May? Read on for some surprising facts.

1. The August bank holiday wasn't always late
This August bank holiday was initially introduced as a way to give us all a chance to make the most of the summer. But it didn't always fall on the last Monday of the month. Up until 1971 it always took place on the first Monday of August. It was eventually moved as it clashed with the traditional two week shut down that many companies went through in the summer.

2. We used to have 33 of them
Up until 1834 there were 33 public holidays in the U.K., consisting of saint’s days and religious festivals. But some spoil sport considered this to be excessive, so in 1834 the number was reduced to just four.

3. Yes, we have a banker to thank for them
It was liberal politician and banker Sir John Lubbock who authored the Bank Holidays Act of 1871, which made these four public holidays official.

4. They used to be called St Lubbock's Days
For a while some called the first bank holidays “St Lubbock's Days” after the banker Sir John Lubbock. Funnily enough that didn’t stick. It was rumoured that Sir John Lubbock was so keen on cricket he chose the bank holiday dates to fall on the days when village matches were played in his home county! True or not, the masses were ecstatic with the holidays.

5. The place in the world with the most public holidays?
The country with the highest number of public holidays is India, with a whopping 21 days! In comparison, England and Wales only have eight public holidays in total: New Year, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, late May bank holiday, August bank holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

6. We almost have the least amount of public holidays in the world
The only country with fewer public holidays than us is Mexico, coming in with just seven days. ¡Ay, caramba!

7. May Day bank holiday was almost moved to October
In 2011 parliament debated replacing the May Day bank holiday with a different holiday in October. This would have spread out the bank holidays a bit more evenly throughout the year. These plans were scrapped.

8. There is a second bank holiday in May originally because of Whit Monday
The second bank holiday in the month of May exists because it used to be held on the day-off in the Christian calendar after Whit Sunday or Pentecost. Whit Sunday always falls seven Sundays past Easter Sunday. Since 1971 however, this bank holiday has always been held on the last Monday of the month.

9. The second May bank holiday wasn't officially named
When the second bank holiday in May was moved to the last Monday in May back in 1971, it was never given an official name. Unlike the May Day bank holiday, or the August bank holiday, this holiday tends to either be called the Spring bank holiday or the Late May bank holiday. Whatever you call it, it's a good opportunity to take some away from your normal routine."
Words above from here

Looking ahead to 2022
There will be an extra Bank Holiday to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022

Dear reader, this blog is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. You will find a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, photographs, music and recipes!

However, not all the recipes ideas featured in this blog may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Thursday 26 August 2021

Raspberries and their health benefits

 Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist, she writes
"What are raspberries?
Raspberries are a berry fruit related to the blackberry and rose. They are grown in the UK over the summer and autumn months, and are actually little bunches of reddish-pink druplets that are tightly packed together. They have a sharp, sweet taste.

Nutritional benefits of raspberries
An 80g serving of raspberries provides:
20 kcals / 87 kJ
1g protein
2g fat
7g carbohydrates
7g fibre
136mg potassium
26mcg folate
26mg vitamin C

What are the top five health benefits of raspberries?
1. May improve blood sugar management
With a low glycaemic index (GI) and high fibre content, raspberries are a useful dietary inclusion if you need to monitor your blood sugar levels. Animal studies suggest that when raspberries are fed alongside a high-fat diet, they help lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin response. This may be because raspberries are rich in tannins, plant compounds that inhibit the enzymes that break down starches.

2. May have cancer protective properties
Raspberries are rich in protective antioxidants that may protect against cancer. Animal studies suggest this may be helpful for colon, breast and liver cancer. However, human studies are needed to confirm these findings.

3. May alleviate arthritis
Loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds such as anthocyanins, animal studies appear to show that raspberries reduce the symptoms of arthritis. These studies also show a lower risk of developing arthritis as well as less damage to the joints in those that developed the condition. More research and human trials are needed to confirm these effects.

4. May reduce signs of ageing
Being rich in protective plant compounds called polyphenols, raspberries may help reduce the signs of ageing and improve balance and strength. The berries are also rich in vitamin C, which is important for collagen production and may protect the skin from UV damage. Much of these findings are the result of animal models, so more human trials are needed.

5. May protect against metabolic syndrome
A 2017 study found that mice with metabolic syndrome (a medical term for a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity) that were fed a single serving of raspberries each day saw improvements in weight and insulin sensitivity. A body of research supports these findings, but more studies are required to confirm the relevance of these results to humans.

Are raspberries safe for everyone to eat?
Raspberries, along with fruits such as apples, peaches, avocados and blueberries, contain natural chemicals called salicylates. Some people are sensitive to these compounds and may experience an allergic reaction, such as skin rash or swelling.

If you are concerned about food allergies, please consult your GP or registered dietician for guidance."
Above words with relevant links can be seen here

Related Post
Why Berries Are Among the Healthiest Foods on Earth - read it here

Two Raspberry Recipe Suggestions

Pavlova with Fresh Berries
a sugar-free low-carb version of 'pavlova' - more details here

Raspberry Cream Cheese Mug Cupcake
it's low carb and delicious - more details here

As regular readers know, this blog is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. You will find a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, photographs, music and recipes!

However, not all the recipes ideas featured in this blog may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Take Five Household Tips !

Do you like cleaning and dusting around the home? I must admit I don't mind dusting, Eddie is wonderful at vacuuming and strange as it may seem to some, I find ironing quite therapeutic!

However, there are times when we could all use some clever cleaning tricks!

Get rid of stains on clothes cheaply with washing up liquid
It's so frustrating to stain clothes with food or drink - and why is it that it always seems to be our favourite outfit? Fear not - all is not lost. Rub washing up liquid directly into the stain and then rinse with water – it works on most fabrics including delicate wool or silk, as long as you do it immediately.

Remove carpet stains with washing up liquid
If you’ve just spilled a glass of wine – or anything staining – on to your carpet, spring into action by dissolving one tablespoon of washing up liquid into two cups of warm water, and blotting the stain until it disappears. Then sponge the carpet with cold water and blot dry.

Remove coffee stains with toothpaste
Grubby mug? Just like coffee staining on teeth, the answer to your problem is in the bathroom cabinet. Get rid of tea or coffee stains from your favourite cup by rubbing with toothpaste. Then give it a good rinse to make sure your next beverage doesn't taste minty.

Sharpen your scissors with tin foil
Scissors get blunt so easily, especially if you use them to cut paper or wrap presents. But you don't need to replace them. Just use your scissors to cut up a piece of aluminium foil to sharpen them in an instant.

Remove sticker stains with vinegar
If your children (or grandchildren) have been liberal with their sticker book and applied them to walls, doors, furniture or basically anywhere you don't want them, you'll know that peeling them off can leaving a sticky mark. To tackle this, dab them repeatedly with vinegar and leave it to soak for 15 minutes. Then come back with a sponge and scrub the mark off.
The above tips from here

Have you any tips? Do please share them in the comments.
One very important tip, is to reward yourself with a nice cuppa after all of your hard work, and perhaps a Low Carb Chocolate Cookie / Biscuit, see more details here

Dear reader, this blog is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. You will find a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, photographs, music and recipes!

Please note, not all recipe suggestions 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 24 August 2021

Tasty Tuesday : Lemon Garlic Pork Steaks with Mushrooms

Looking for a tasty Tuesday dinner, then why not try these Lemon Garlic Pork Steaks with Mushrooms, it's a lovely low carb and gluten free meal.

Serves Four
4 large, bone-in pork steaks (about 2 lbs)
2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 1/2 tsp sea salt, more to taste
3 tbsp. butter (or ghee)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Recipe Instructions
can be seen here
Nutrition Details Per Serving
Fat 28g Protein 50g Total Carbs 6g Fibre 1g (Net Carbs 5g)

If you need help with weight/measurement conversion see here

We love mushrooms in our house, I wonder have you tried cremini mushrooms? They can usually be found in your local store / supermarket near to the more familiar little white button mushrooms. Read on for some more cremini, and other types, mushroom facts.

Did you know that most of the table mushrooms we eat are all of the same variety? Its name is Agaricus bisporus, according to Wikipedia, and it includes Portobello, cremini, and white button mushrooms.

• The difference between these popular varieties of mushrooms is just age. The white button mushrooms, those very familiar kitchen staples, are simply the youngest variety. They have been cultivated, too, for that white colour and soft texture. In the wild these mushrooms are usually browner.

• The Portobello is the most mature mushroom here; it's really just an overgrown white mushroom! They are left to grow for longer, until they have spread out into that delicious meaty cap.

• The cremini mushroom, then, is just in between these two varieties. It's a moderately mature version of the white button mushroom, which is why it has a similar flavour. It's younger than the Portobello, but still related, which is why these are sometimes sold as "baby Bella" or "baby Portobello" mushrooms.

But what about Chestnut Mushrooms? I hear you ask... these are the same mushroom as White Button Mushrooms, but it is a strain that grows just a bit browner instead of white, giving it a tan-coloured top. They are very much like Cremini Mushrooms and about the same size.
They have better flavour and texture than the plain white mushrooms.

Chestnut Mushrooms are also allowed to grow into larger sizes to be sold as “Portobellos.” Sometimes Portobellos are also called “Flat Chestnut Mushrooms” for this reason.

I hope you may enjoy this recipe suggestion soon …

Another recipe suggestion you may like to try
Somerset Stew, it's a vegetarian recipe but can be easily adapted for those who like meat! Find it here

Many thanks for reading …

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

All the best Jan

Monday 23 August 2021

Some Foods That Help Beat Fatigue

Sharing this article from Healthline site

Your body runs off what you feed it. The best way to get the most energy from your food is to make sure you’re giving yourself the best food possible.

Besides what you eat, when you eat can also impact your energy. Did you ever notice how you feel sluggish after a big lunch or dinner? That’s because your body is using its energy to digest that big meal instead of powering the rest of your body.

The easiest way to avoid the post-meal coma is to eat several smaller-portioned meals throughout the day. This will keep your body fuelled regularly and may even help you lose weight.

Unprocessed foods
While a cheeseburger and fries might be comforting while you’re eating it, it’s nutritional value is low. Processed foods, such as some packaged or canned foods, candy, boxed meals, and precooked meats are typically full of preservatives, additives, sodium, trans fat, and artificial ingredients that may slow you down.

Fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables
The fresher your food is, the more nutrients it will contain. Unlike processed foods that may be stripped of nutrients for a longer shelf life, fresh foods typically contain higher nutrients. Eating in-season fruits and vegetables means they ripened naturally.

Non-caffeinated beverages
Caffeine is OK in moderation, and it has been shown to have some health benefits. Although it provides a short-term boost, it doesn’t actually provide the body with energy.

The first sips may give you a jolt, but if you’re not providing your body with good nutrition and balanced meals and snacks, you’ll eventually feel run down.

If you must have your fix, opt for black coffee or unsweetened tea. Sodas and energy drinks can be full of refined sugar and artificial ingredients that can cause you to crash, and lead to other health issues if overconsuming.

Lean proteins
Red meats marbled in fat adds saturated fat to your diet. Leaner meats, like chicken, turkey, and fish, still provide quality protein, but contain less saturated fat. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and tuna, can add beneficial, heart healthy fats.

Whole grains and complex carbs
Just like processed foods, refined carbohydrates like sugars and white flour add little nutrition. Choosing whole grain foods and complex carbohydrates ensures that your body gets the full benefits of the hull of the grain that adds fibre to your diet.

Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are some of the best foods to beat fatigue and fight hunger. Getting a variety of nuts and seeds in your diet can provide healthy nutrients and energy.

Try almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Eating raw, unsalted versions is recommended. And they’re the perfect mid-afternoon snack.

Drinking water is essential for optimal functioning of the body. Although water doesn’t provide energy in the form of calories, it helps facilitate the energetic processes in the body, which is an energy boost in itself.

Sip on water throughout the day, and try to swap out sodas, coffee, and other drinks for a glass of water. This simple change can make a big difference, and you’ll feel better before you know it.

Vitamins and supplements
If you’re not getting everything you need from your food, you may want to consider taking a daily vitamin. Consulting with a nutritionist or homeopathic doctor could get you started on a nutritional supplement regimen. But it is important to talk to your doctor about any and all nutritional supplements you’re considering.

Researchers compared bananas to carbohydrate sports drinks in cyclists who needed sustained energy for their long rides. They found that the banana offered just as much fuel to the riders as the drink. Turns out, bananas are packed with potassium, fibre, vitamins, and the perfect amount of carbohydrates that provide you with a big boost of natural energy. Plus, bananas are often reasonably priced, it all helps when you are looking for extra energy.

They’re not just for breakfast. A big bowl of oats packs a punch of filling fibre and even a little protein. Plus, better for some who experience blood sugar spikes and drops with other processed breakfast cereals.

Choosing the plain versions of instant packets of oatmeal, steel-cut oats, or old-fashioned oats is best as they aren’t filled with extra sugar.

You can then have control of what you put in it such as milk, a little honey, and some mixed berries. Then you can be on your way with more energy to get you through the day.

Chia seeds
While you might not be training for an endurance exercise event, chia seeds may be an excellent source of prolonged energy thanks to carb content, healthy fats, and filling fibre.

Two tablespoons of chia provide about 24 grams of carbs and a whopping 4.8 grams of omega-3s, which are heart healthy and anti-inflammatory.

According to one small study that involved six endurance athletes, eating chia seeds offers just as much energy as carbohydrate sports drinks.

For everyday purposes, sprinkling in a few tablespoons of chia seeds with your morning smoothie or adding a scoop to your afternoon yogurt may provide just enough of an energy boost for you to keep fatigue at bay.

Being mindful of what’s on your plate can be a healthy and effective way to keep your energy up. With regular exercise and good nutrition, you can maintain healthy levels of energy during depressive episodes.
You can see the original article here

N.B. There are many possible causes for feeling chronically tired. It’s important to rule out medical conditions first, as fatigue often accompanies illness.
However, feeling overly tired may be related to what you eat and drink, how much activity you get or the way you manage stress.
The good news is that making a few lifestyle changes may very well improve your energy levels and overall quality of life.

Dear reader, you will find a variety of articles and recipes 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

Saturday 21 August 2021

The weekend is here, must be time for a slice of low carb cake!

The weekend is here, and whatever your plans may be, I wish you a good one. Here in the UK the weather forecast is not looking too good, in fact it may be best to stay in and enjoy a pick-me-up cuppa and perhaps a slice of low carb cake!

Blueberry Coconut Cake : Low Carb / Keto
This low carb / keto blueberry coconut cake can be made in a cake pan, cast iron skillet-pan or as muffins, (which makes it easy to customize). It’s grain-free, nut-free, sugar-free, and did I mention low carb / keto! What’s more, it's light, airy, and moist. The blueberries and coconut flour pair perfectly in this recipe suggestion. Please 
see more details here

Cappuccino Cake : Low Carb Recipe
If you like coffee and chocolate you will love this beautiful, layered cake that imitates cappuccino. It is made using a combination of almond and soya flour. The chocolate cake combines nicely with coffee flavoured cream and a layer of whipped cream. The cake is very moist and rich, and tastes delicious with a cup of coffee. Please see more details here

Ginger Cake : The Low Carb Way
This is a low carb ginger cake that is light in texture and is made using coconut flour, coconut milk and a wonderful mix of spices. Please see more details here

... just getting my tea cup and plate!

A variety of recipe ideas 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

Friday 20 August 2021

How to Choose the Best Fish for Your Health

James Colquhoun Food Matters Site writes

"If meat is in your diet, one of the best things you can have on your plate is a serving of healthy fish. But what constitutes healthy, and what are the red flags you should be looking out for? Typically, fish is a healthy, high-protein food, especially important for its omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fats that our bodies don’t produce on their own. But you don’t just want to go for any fish that’s served on your plate. Fish are extremely varied in their health benefits (as well as sustainable practices). If you find yourself overwhelmed for choice, or want to make a more diet-conscious decision, this advice helps on how to choose the best fish for your health.

Consider Rich & Lean Sources Of Protein
A healthy, lean portion of fish is one of the easiest (and most delicious) ways to get a daily dose of protein into your diet. Many who don’t eat red meat opt for a pescatarian diet, where they’re able to absorb rich doses of complete proteins - home to the widespread amino acids their bodies are crying out for. Some protein-rich fish options include tuna (sustainably farmed), trout, sardines, and anchovies.

Consider Omega-3s & Other Fats
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that our bodies aren’t able to produce on their own, so we have to get a healthy balance through food-based sources. These fatty acids play an essential role in brain and heart health. Not only have they been proven to decrease inflammation and reduce the risk of heart disease, but they’re so important for prenatal development in babies too.

Often people get an inadequate balance of omega 3 to omega 6, so tend to supplement with fish oil capsules. However, it’s easy enough to balance this out in our diets with the right fish intake. Some of our favourite fish packed with omega-3s are salmon, sardines, mackerel, and trout.

Consider Including Dark, Oily Fishes
Darker, oily fishes are where you’ll find the highest concentration of omega-3s, alongside the fat-soluble vitamins D and A. Vitamin D is a key player in calcium regulation and phosphorus maintenance in the blood, of which both factors are crucial for maintaining healthy bones. Vitamin A serves a number of purposes, including being important for healthy vision, a flourishing immune system, and reproductive function. While we tend to shy away from oily foods, fish is one instance where these oils (enjoyed with balance in mind) will do more good than harm.

Consider Cooking Methods
When cooking with fish, how much do you end up throwing away? Are there ways you can utilize all the different parts, not just for sustainability and ethics, but also to reap the widespread health benefits. Like the host of nutrients you get from drinking bone broth, fish offers incredible benefits from consuming the skin, the head, the spinal column, and the viscera.

Then, consider how you are cooking the fish. Are you doing so in a way that preserves the nutritional integrity, such as pan baking or lightly searing? Or could you be switching out the fryer in favour of something a little more health-conscious?

Consider Sustainability
Sustainable fishing is hugely important when considering what catch you should be eating. Current fishing practices are decimating entire species and the environment that they inhabit. Dolphins are often caught as a by-product of big net trawling and depending on where you live, there will be ongoing debates around aquaculture practices. It’s a topic you can keep diving deeper into, but to keep it simple here are a couple of key questions that industry professionals believe you should be asking.

Is bigger always better?
As a general rule of thumb, smaller, faster-growing fish (e.g. sardines, anchovies, herring, kahawai) reach reproductive maturity faster and therefore have more offspring in their lifetime as opposed to larger slower growing fish (e.g. tuna, snapper, marlin, sharks). These larger slow-growing fish reach reproductive maturity late (years as opposed to months) and thus produce less offspring during their lifetime, so are more susceptible to intense fishing pressure.

Who am I supporting when I buy this fish?
Support local, artisanal, small-scale fisheries, always. You don’t have to look far to find cracks in the intensive commercial fishing industry and identify that it’s only a few key stakeholders contributing to a majority of the malpractices. By supporting your local fisherman, you’re guaranteed to know exactly where the fish came from and the practices that went into catching it.

Speaking of practices, how was my fish caught?
Support fisheries using selective fishing methods. Opt for pole and line caught tuna (labelled as dolphin-friendly in supermarket cans) as opposed to purse seine netting. Literally anything is better than trawling. A bottom trawl net is basically a bulldozer on the seafloor. Midwater trawls are slightly better but still extremely unselective. Bycatch is real and a serious problem in all waters.

Should I buy aquaculture (marine farmed) or wild-caught?
There’s a case for every side, and while we often assumed wild-caught would be better than ‘factory farmed’, there are some reasons you should play it on a fish-by-fish basis. Research has shown that aquaculture is the most likely way to supplement the inevitable future decline of fisheries worldwide. In short, we cannot keep fishing the way we are. Using destructive methods to harvest a finite resource? It’s the ultimate story of human consumption that we know all too well. In some instances, it’s worthwhile to opt for fish farmed in closed system aquaculture as opposed to marine farms in small sounds or embayments with little water flow. In closed systems, the water is filtered and circulated/reused. In open systems, if there is low water flow, waste from excess feed, excretion, and antibiotics is dispersed into the surrounding environments. Also, if you’re buying farmed fish, just like farmed meat or vegetables, why not choose organic? It is possible. However, this debate can also be flipped on its head in countries with a native fish population - such as Alaskan or Canadian salmon. Here, farmed salmon diseases can transfer to native stock who don’t get their supplemented dose of antibiotics from feeding machines. The takeaway? Make sure to research practices in your country.

A significant proportion of the world lives close to water. Whether it’s coastally like in Australia, or next to a lake or river like in America, why not take matters into your own hands? Why not get out there and try to catch a fish yourself? In doing so, it’s inherent to appreciate how hard it actually is to catch a fish. Then perhaps we’d start asking a few more questions about the fish on the plate in front of us in a restaurant, or at the local fish and chip shop.

Consider Contaminants
You are what you eat, so many fish become reflective of all that’s being dumped into the ocean. Inadvertent consumptions of microplastics washed into the waterways are increasingly raising significant concerns as scientists discover more about the growing issue. Mercury poisoning is another valid issue when it comes to the fish on your plate. Mercury is a common contaminant that often finds its way into lakes, oceans, and rivers from manmade lakes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and FDA have issued combined guidelines for women of childbearing age, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children, recommending to avoid species of fish with higher levels of mercury such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.

Another contaminant issue to be concerned with is ciguatera. This foodborne illness is caused by opting for fish that has been contaminated by certain toxins (ciguatoxin and maitotoxin). Symptoms may include diarrhoea, vomiting, numbness, itchiness, sensitivity to hot and cold, dizziness, and weakness. This disease should be treated seriously but can be managed.

Salmon; this oily fish is a great source of protein and healthy fats, which is why we reach for it so often in the 'Food Matters' kitchen.

Healthy white fish; this will change based upon where in the world you live. Fleshy, white fish with sustainable catching practices are readily available everywhere. Mahi-mahi, cod, trout, and mackerel are some favourite options.

When all else fails, remember Dr. Mark Hyman's SMASH analogy. The healthiest, most sustainable fish can be summarised with one easy word. Salmon (wild-caught), mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring - they're almost all you could ever need!"
The above from article here

why not enjoy
Lemon and Chilli Crusted Salmon, with extra fine green beans
see recipe details 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

Thursday 19 August 2021

'Lokanta Stew' : a colourful vegan, roasted vegetable dish

I know many readers are vegetarian, some are vegan, while others choose to eat meatless once or twice a week. Menu plans are always a personal choice, but I think this recipe suggestion will appeal to many, it really is a colourful dish.

A lokanta is a 'neighbourhood' or 'tradesmen's' restaurant and is where you can find delicious home-cooked style food in Turkey – such as this vegan, roasted vegetable stew with butterbeans. Have a look at the ingredients, perhaps you may give this a try?

Serves Four
1 large onion, roughly chopped
6 peppers, assorted red and yellow, deseeded and quartered
400g/14oz tomatoes assorted sizes and colours
20 thyme sprigs
8 tbsp olive oil
2 x 400g tins butter beans
2 tsp ground allspice
350g/12oz green beans
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan /Gas 6.
2. Transfer the onion and other vegetables to a roasting tin with the whole thyme sprigs and trickle over the olive oil. Roast the vegetables for 1 hour.
3. Add the butter beans and ground allspice to the roasting tray and mix well, making sure that any dry parts are well coated in olive oil. Bake for a further 30 minutes.
4. Cut the stem ends off the green beans. Cook in a pan of boiling salted water for 4 minutes. Remove and refresh in a bowl of iced water.
5. Fold the green beans into the roasted vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
From original recipe idea here

Did you know that butter beans are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and thiamine, they are also a good source of protein.

A variety of recipe ideas are 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

Wednesday 18 August 2021

How to cut your food bill by up to a third

"If you're feeling the pinch, there are easy ways to keep more pounds in your pocket next time you head to the shops. With just a few changes to your buying and cooking habits, you can cut down your costs without cutting the flavour and nutritional value of your food.

Learn tricks to cooking on a budget
Cooking filling and tasty inexpensive meals is easy if you learn these five simple tricks.
  • Try to buy store cupboard ingredients when they are on offer, and have an arsenal of recipes to make from the larder when time and money are tight, like this pasta puttanesca made from tinned and bottled foods. Tins, and dried foods such as pasta, rice, noodles and oats should feature heavily on your shelves.
  • Replace fresh fish, veg and fruit with frozen. Choosing frozen salmon rather than fresh, as in these salmon and pesto parcels, can save you over 55 percent. You can buy frozen fruit and vegetables, or chop up fresh ones and freeze them yourself, to cook or use straight from frozen. This tip is especially relevant to those who find themselves throwing away mouldy produce. Stopping food waste is one part of saving money too.
  • Bulk out small amounts of meat with less expensive proteins, as in this chorizo and chickpea stew, which contains less than 50g/2oz chorizo per person.
  • Transform small amounts of leftovers into a filling meal, such as this easy chicken and pea risotto, which uses just 250g/9oz cooked chicken to serve four.
  • Make the most of cheaper cuts of meat. Choosing chicken legs rather than breasts, as in this pulled chicken dish, can save you over 50 percent. Remember, meat prices can be subject to seasonal fluctuations.

Make fresh food last longer
In the UK we throw away almost 20 percent of the food we buy. It's believed that in the average household this adds up to £50 worth of food waste per month, or £600 per year. Follow our simple tips for keeping popular foods fresh for longer.

Fruit and veg
About 39 percent of household food waste is fruit and veg. Keep potatoes and onions in a cool, dark place rather than in the fridge, but do not store them together as they produce gases that can damage each other. They can be wrapped in paper, but not in plastic bags. Keep other veg in the fridge – ideally not at the bottom as most fridges get colder the lower you go – stored in plastic bags if you wish as long as they have holes punched in them. Keep herbs in a glass of water in a cool place.

Avoid fridge chaos
A disorganised fridge can wreak havoc with your food's longevity, flavour and nutritional value. The bottom shelf is the coldest, and ideal for raw meat, fish and poultry. Store eggs on the middle shelf as they shouldn’t get too cold. The top shelf is the warmest and has the most consistent temperature, and therefore is good for dairy and pre-prepared foods that don't need cooking. The doors are the warmest place in the fridge and best for foods containing preservatives. Wrap cheese in a resealable bag and store it in a plastic tub to prevent it from drying out.

Organising your cupboards and fridge will ensure that you know what you already own, hopefully stopping you buying duplicates and ending up with five jars of the same thing. It’s a good idea to keep an up-to-date list of what is in your freezer, as leftovers can often get pushed to the back and forgotten about. You’re not saving money if you don’t eat the food!"
Words and recipes above from a BBC article here

Related Post
Low Carb and Keto meals on a budget - see here

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

All the best Jan

Tuesday 17 August 2021

Dutch Baby with Berries : Low Carb : Keto : Gluten Free : Grain Free

I am sharing this keto/low carb recipe from Taryn at 'Joy Filled Eats'

What is a Dutch Baby?
If you’ve never heard of a keto/low carb Dutch baby, don’t worry you aren’t alone! It’s basically a German pancake that is traditionally baked in a cast-ironed skillet. This version of these keto/low carb German pancakes is made without the cast-iron skillet. Plus, all of the ingredients are low carb, grain-free, and gluten-free. You can get the same effect as a regular Dutch baby pancake, but with a baking dish instead.

What Ingredients Do You Need For Dutch Baby Pancakes?
All you need is 8 ingredients, and you can be enjoying your own homemade sugar free keto/low carb German pancakes in no time.

Let’s take a look at what exactly you need:
Butter - salted
Eggs - Regular store-bought large eggs are fine.
Salt - sea salt or pink salt is good but any salt works.
Half and Half - Half and Half is half milk and half heavy cream. If you are not in the USA you may not be able to find it. Feel free to just use light cream. This gives the keto/low carb Dutch baby a perfectly light, fluffy, and creamy texture.
Coconut Milk - If you are not a fan of coconut milk, swap it for your favourite nut milk instead.
Almond Flour* - Combined with the coconut flour, you will have a wonderful texture.
Coconut Flour - A little bit goes a long way so measure this one carefully!
Sweetener - This recipe uses a blend of xylitol, erythritol, and stevia. There are notes in the recipe card about subbing in other sweeteners.
Vanilla Extract - By adding a generous amount to this recipe, it really gives it a nice flavour.

(*If you have a nut allergy a better substitute is sunflower seed flour. I have not tested this recipe with it but it normally does work in a 1:1 ratio when replacing almond flour.)

What about baking powder?
This recipe doesn't need baking powder to puff up at all! It rises just from the combination of eggs and flours.

Serves 9
4 tbsp butter
½ cup carton coconut milk or nut milk of your choice
½ cup half and half
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
¾ cup almond flour
⅓ cup coconut flour
¼ cup Sweetener (or see alternatives in recipe notes)
¾ teaspoon salt
berries of choice to serve e.g. strawberries, blueberries, blackberries

Need help with weight/measurement conversion - see here

1. Preheat the oven to 400F./200C./Gas Mark 6. Place the butter in an 8x8 baking dish and put it into the oven to melt.
2. While the butter is melting, add the wet ingredients to a blender. Add the dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredients. Blend until smooth.
3. Drizzle the batter into the pan on top of the melted butter.
4. Cook for 35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

Recipe Notes
Nutrition: this has 9 servings. There are 3.2 NET carbs per serving.
To Reheat: place the Dutch baby on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with a paper towel and microwave for 20-30 seconds or until it’s hot.
To Freeze: put the Dutch baby in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 2 months.
Substitutions: swap the coconut milk for cashew milk or almond milk.
Prep Time: while they taste better fresh, you can make them ahead of time and store in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to serve.
The above and more with step by step guide can be seen here

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 16 August 2021

Children and adults on a vegan diet may need supplements

image from google

Sharing an article seen on The Diabetes Diet Blog here

"Children and adults on a vegan diet may need supplements

Adapted from BMJ 12 June 2021

Children on vegan diets were shorter than omnivores by an average of 3 cm, had 4-6% lower bone mineral content, and were more than 3 times more likely to be deficient in vitamin B12, found a study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Vegetarian children showed a lower risk of nutritional deficiencies than the omnivores but had a less healthy cardiovascular profile.

The authors advised that children on plant based diets may need to take supplements of Vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Adapted from Tong TYN et al. BMC Med 23 Nov 2020

The EPIC-Oxford study was undertaken between 1993 and 2001. There were over 29 thousand meat eaters, over 8 thousand fish eaters, 15.5 thousand vegetarians and almost 2 thousand vegans. After almost 18 years the number of fractures they sustained was measured.

Compared to meat eaters vegans had a higher risk of hip, leg and vertebral fractures. Vegetarians and fish eaters also had a higher risk of fractures than meat eaters. There were no differences seen in risks for arm, wrist and ankle fractures between the diet groups."

Related Posts
Is a Vegan Diet Healthy? - see here
Nutrition Wars - Putting Science First! - see here
Nutrients You May Be Missing On A Plant-Based Diet (And What To Do About It) - see here

Dear reader, a variety of articles, studies and 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

Sunday 15 August 2021

The military secret to falling asleep in two minutes - can it help you?

There have been many articles written about sleep and trouble sleeping and I am sure that there are times when each of us do experience this. So what do you do? Perhaps count sheep, or read a book until you begin to feel sleepy... my dear mum always used to have a milky drink before bedtime! But how about this one!

The military secret to falling asleep in two minutes.

[This article was originally published in March 2018]

There are few things more frustrating than spending a night tossing and turning, desperately trying to doze off to sleep.

But if you’re used to lying in bed awake at night, brain whirring at a million miles an hour and unable to get the sweet, sweet slumber you crave, then good news.

There's a brilliant military technique that is said to help anyone fall asleep in just two minutes - and it might just change your life.

The trick is reportedly used by the US army to help them fall asleep in situations that are less than peaceful, such as on battlefields.

Detailed in the book 'Relax and Win: Championship Performance, 1981', the technique is thought to have been developed by army chiefs to ensure soldiers didn’t make life-threatening mistakes due to exhaustion.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Relax the muscles in your face, including tongue, jaw and the muscles around the eyes
2. Drop your shoulders as far down as they’ll go, followed by your upper and lower arm, one side at a time
3. Breathe out, relaxing your chest followed by your legs, starting from the thighs and working down
4. You should then spend 10 seconds trying to clear your mind before thinking about one of the three following images:
 i) You’re lying in a canoe on a calm lake with nothing but a clear blue sky above you
 ii) You’re lying in a black velvet hammock in a pitch-black room
 iii) You say “don’t think, don’t think, don’t think” to yourself over and over for about 10 seconds.

The technique is said to work for 96 per cent of people after six weeks of practice.

The NHS currently recommends the average person needs around eight hours of good-quality sleep every night to function properly.

It warns a lack of sleep can make people more prone to a number of medical conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease.

With one in three people in the UK suffering from poor sleep, the army trick could provide some sweet relief.

If that doesn’t work, sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley says the most important factor when it comes to falling asleep is quieting your mind.

“In order to get to sleep you need three things:
a bedroom conducive to sleep’, a relaxed body and most importantly a quiet mind. You can’t go to sleep if your mind is racing and so anything you can do to slow it down will help you sleep,” 

“There is no magic way of doing this, you have to find what works for you, be that reading, a warm bath, camomile tea, mindfulness, aromatherapy or listening to Pink Floyd. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it stops you worrying about the stresses of the day.”
Words above from article here

Related Posts
Simple Steps To A Better Night's Sleeps, five suggestions - see here
Are you struggling to sleep? These two things to eat or drink before bed-time may help! - see here
If Sometimes Sleep is Elusive - Getting Quality Rest Helps - see here
Ten Reasons You're Always Tired (and what you can do about it) - see here

Have you any tips for a better nights sleep?
Do please share them in the comments.

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