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Thursday, 30 September 2021

'Each additional hour spent outdoors improves circadian health, mood, neuroticism, and almost everything'

image from here

Research Paper
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.

Highlights
  • More daylight predicted better outcomes across a range of mood and sleep measures.
  • These relationships held in both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses.
Abstract

Background
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.

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

Results
UK Biobank participants reported spending a median of 2.5 daylight hours (IQR = 1.5–3.5 h) 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), independent of demographic, lifestyle, and employment covariates. 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.

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

Conclusions
Our findings suggest that low daytime light exposure is an important environmental risk factor for mood, sleep, and circadian-related outcomes.

    Above taken from here
    h/t Marks Daily Apple site here

    Do you like spending time outside, I know I do ... it's good for all ages.

    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

    Wednesday, 29 September 2021

    Strange But True !

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

    But today for a change I thought let's have some midweek trivia! So here are ten strange but true facts! Did you know any of these facts? 

    In 2016, a student left a pineapple in an art museum in Scotland. Two days later, it had been placed in a glass case as part of an exhibition.

    Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur. The stripes are like fingerprints, and no two tigers have the same pattern.

    “Digging a hole to China” is theoretically possible if you start in Argentina

    There’s a flower that smells like chocolate! Native to Mexico, this dark red flower is not edible. It is called “cosmos atrosanguineus” or “chocolate cosmos.”


    People don’t sneeze in their sleep due to their brain shutting down the reflex.

    If you sneeze while traveling at 60 mph, your eyes are closed for an average of 50 feet.

    The brain is our fattiest organ and is composed of nearly 60% fat.

    Magpies are considered one of the most intelligent animals in the world and the only non-mammal species able to recognize themselves in a mirror test.


    A Canadian company started selling fresh air in a can as a joke, then Chinese consumers made it real, paying up to $20 a can.

    The small indents in the bottom of frozen pizzas are there to prevent air bubbles from forming inside the dough.


    talking of pizza, 
    have you tried 
    Cauliflower Pizza Casserole ... it's so cheesy
    see recipe details here

    Please note, not all the recipe suggestions featured within 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

    Tuesday, 28 September 2021

    Happy Tuesday, you are invited to lunch : It's Coconut Camembert

    Hello and Happy Tuesday
    I thought I would invite you to lunch (virtually speaking of course)
    I hope you may enjoy this ...

    Coconut Camembert
    enjoyable as a light 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

    Method
    1. Cut the cheese into 4 wedges; dip each wedge in beaten egg and then coconut to coat.

    2. Heat the oil in a small pan and cook wedges for 30-60 seconds each side until golden brown.

    3. Make a salad by tossing together the spinach, tomatoes, cucumber and berries
    and serve cheese wedges on top, drizzled with vinegar.
    from an original idea here

    yes, the Autumn leaves are beginning to fall

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

    All the best Jan

    Monday, 27 September 2021

    Only four more days !

    It seems no matter who you talk to, what their age is, we all agree that this year is flying by. I know in our family we are already talking Christmas ... well it is only 88 days away!
    But before we get there, we have the Autumn months to enjoy (Spring if you are in the Southern Hemisphere) and still four more days of this present month, September.

    So, I set myself a fun task! I thought four more days, lets see if I can come up with four low carb meals/treats beginning with the letters F O U R

    So to start it's F - how about a 
    Frittata with Butternut Squash and Spinach
    see more details here


    Now we move on to O - how about an
    Orange Mousse
    see more details here


    The next letter is U - I know an upside down cake
    Upside Down Rhubarb and Strawberry Cake
    see more details here


    So the last letter is R - how about
    Ratatouille - so rustic, so colourful and so tasty
    see more details here



    What do you think of these choices?
    Why not share your favourite choice of F O U R foods in the comments ...

    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, cartoons, music and recipes!

    However, not all the food and 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

    Sunday, 26 September 2021

    'Hold off on retirement and see your cognitive skills persist'

    image from here

    Postponed retirement slows cognitive decline
    Participating in the labour market until the age of 67 slows cognitive decline and is protective against cognitive impairment, study indicates.

    Postponing retirement is protective against cognitive decline. The beneficial effect is related to a slowed rate of cognitive decline rather than a boost in cognitive function. That is what a recent study by MPIDR researcher Angelo Lorenti and colleagues found by analysing data from the U.S. Health and Retirement Study.

    Participating in the labour market until the age of 67 slows cognitive decline and is protective against cognitive impairment, such as that caused by Alzheimer’s. This protective effect appears to hold regardless of gender and educational or occupational attainment. These findings were recently published in the journal SSM Population Health.

    The team of researchers with Jo Mhairi Hale, Maarten J. Bijlsma, and Angelo Lorenti, all affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany, used data from the Health and Retirement Study on more than 20,000 US-Americans ages 55 to 75 who participated in the labour market at some point between 1996 and 2014.

    There are modifiable life-course predictors of cognitive function
    With population aging there is a growing concern about increasing prevalence in Alzheimer’s disease. As there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, it is important to understand the influences on cognitive function over one’s life span, paying particular attention to modifiable risk factors.

    “In this study, we approach retirement and cognitive function from the perspective that they both come near the end of a long path of life”, says Angelo Lorenti. "It begins with one's social origins in ethnicity, gender, and early-life social and economic status, goes on with educational and occupational attainment and health behaviours, and goes all the way up to more proximate factors such as partnership status and mental and physical health. All these kinds of factors accumulate and interact over a lifetime to affect both cognitive function and age at retirement."

    What are the health consequences of postponing retirement?
    “We investigated how demographic change interacts with social and labour market dynamics”, says Angelo Lorenti. In many countries governments have enacted policies to increase the statutory retirement age. That is why it is relevant to understand if retiring at older ages may have health consequences, particularly on cognitive function. “Our study suggests that there may be a fortuitous unintended consequence of postponed retirement”, so Lorenti.

    Above words from here
    h/t Marks Daily Apple here

    Are you thinking about retirement? Are you retired? Do you think it important to keep busy and active? Perhaps keep your mind active, with a hobby, or reading or crossword puzzles?
    Do please share your thoughts in the comments.

    Dear reader, 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

    Saturday, 25 September 2021

    Top Ten Low Carb Fruits

    Let’s say you occasionally want to eat a fruit (or some berries) while still staying relatively low carb. What fruit would be the best choice?

    Below, you’ll find the best options, ranked by grams of net carbs.
    The lowest-carbs options are at the top.

    1. Raspberries – Half a cup (60 grams) contains 3 grams of carbs.

    2. Blackberries – Half a cup (70 grams) contains 4 grams of carbs.

    3. Strawberries – Eight medium-sized (100 grams) contains 6 grams of carbs.

    4. Plum – One medium-sized (65 grams) contains 7 grams of carbs.

    5. Clementine – One medium-sized (75 grams) contains 8 grams of carbs.

    6. Kiwi – One medium-sized (70 grams) contains 8 grams of carbs.

    7. Cherries – Half a cup (75 grams or about 12 cherries) contains 8 grams of carbs.

    8. Blueberries – Half a cup (75 grams) contains 9 grams of carbs.

    9. Cantaloupe (melon) – One cup (160 grams) contains 11 grams of carbs.

    10. Peach – One medium-sized (150 grams) contains 13 grams of carbs.

    These details and more can be seen on Diet Doctor site here

    Looking at this list let's say you are looking for a recipe containing some raspberries! This one is nice ...

    Raspberry Chocolate Soufflé : Sugar free : Low Carb
    more details 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

    Friday, 24 September 2021

    Eggs - they really are good for you

    For any lingering controversy regarding eggs and cholesterol and heart disease, this new study reveals a considerable association between egg eating and a reduction in cardiovascular disease.


    Association Between Egg Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

    Abstract

    Introduction:
    Considerable controversy remains on the relationship between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease risk. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to explore the association between egg consumption and overall cardiovascular disease events.

    Methods:
    We systematically searched Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Ovid Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Scopus, and Web of Science from database inception in 1966 through January 2020 for observational studies that reported the association between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease events. Two investigators independently reviewed data. Conflicts were resolved through consensus. Random-effects meta-analyses were used. Sources of heterogeneity were analysed.

    Results:
    We identified 23 prospective studies with a median follow-up of 12.28 years. A total of 1,415,839 individuals with a total of 123,660 cases and 157,324 cardiovascular disease events were included. Compared with the consumption of no or 1 egg/day, higher egg consumption (more than 1 egg/day) was not associated with significantly increased risk of overall cardiovascular disease events (pooled hazard ratios, 0.99; 95% confidence interval, 0.93-1.06; P < .001; I² = 72.1%). Higher egg consumption (more than 1 egg/day) was associated with a significantly decreased risk of coronary artery disease (pooled hazard ratios, 0.89; 95% confidence interval, 0.86-0.93; P < .001; I² = 0%), compared with consumption of no or 1 egg/day.

    Conclusions:
    Our analysis suggests that higher consumption of eggs (more than 1 egg/day) was not associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but was associated with a significant reduction in risk of coronary artery disease.

    The above from here
    h/t Diabetes Diet blog here

    Do you enjoy eating eggs? We certainly do in our house and after reading the above you may be looking for a nice recipe to use some eggs! So, here's one, it's a Breakfast Casserole, low carb / keto and vegetarian, more details here


    Dear reader, 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 these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

    All the best Jan

    Thursday, 23 September 2021

    Why do we yawn?

    Do you sometimes find yourself yawning I know I do. I always put it down to tiredness ... but is it? Perhaps there is more to yawning? I came across this article and thought it may be of interest ... 

    "Many animals yawn but we are not entirely sure why. Perhaps it makes us more alert, reduces anxiety, or cools an overheating brain. Contagious yawning is even more mysterious but seems to be confined to highly social animals, which might provide a clue to its purpose.


    What is yawning?
    Yawning is an evolutionarily ancient reflex that we share with lots of animals – not just mammals but also birds, reptiles and fish. Humans begin yawning in the womb at around 11 weeks gestation. However, we don’t feel the urge to yawn when other people do until around four or five years old.

    This indicates that there are two types of yawning – spontaneous and contagious – each requiring a separate explanation. Although we have some promising ideas, yawning is still something of a puzzle.

    We tend to think of yawning as a sign of being tired or bored. That probably explains the popular perception that it is a way to get more oxygen into the blood to increase alertness. However, when psychologist Robert Provine at the University of Maryland, tested this idea he found it didn’t stand up – people were just as likely to yawn when breathing air high in oxygen.

    A closer look at when people yawn suggests another explanation. It turns out that most spontaneous yawning actually happens when we are limbering up for activity such as a workout, performance or exam, or simply when we wake up. That has led to the idea that yawning helps us gear up by increasing blood flow to the brain. How exactly that might work is not clear, but it does fit with the observation that some fish yawn in anticipation of a fight.

    Another possibility is that yawning cools the brain. This idea emerged from the observation that people yawned far less when their heads were cooled by cold packs. Temperature regulation is crucial for physiological performance. It is controlled by a brain region called the hypothalamus, and involves production of adrenaline and cortisol, hormones that increase alertness and help us deal with stress. That might also explain why people often yawn when feeling anxious – as do monkeys.

    Why is yawning contagious?
    Explaining contagious yawning is even trickier. Apart from humans, the only other species known to catch yawns from one another are chimps, dogs (which can be infected by human yawns), the wonderfully named high-yawning Sprague-Dawley rat, budgerigars and lions, who appear to use yawning to send signals to the rest of the pride.

    These animals are all very sociable, which suggests contagious yawning might have something to do with empathy, or at least a tendency to mimic and synchronise actions with others, a foundation of empathy. But whether contagious yawning helps us build social relationships is another matter. It could simply be a by-product of the way we and other highly-social animals instinctively respond to others."
    The above words and picture from article here

    I do find yawning is contagious - do you?
    The other strange thing I found that I was yawning after I'd typed out these words ... I do hope you are not yawning after reading it!

    Perhaps a pick me up tea or coffee will help, with a nice almond and orange low carb biscuit, see recipe 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, 22 September 2021

    Lemon Cream Fool Dessert : Low Carb : Keto


    Lemons, so handy when cooking. They are oval in shape, with a pronounced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits around, and contain a high level of Vitamin C. Although the juicy yellow flesh is a little too sour to eat on its own, its citrus fragrance and tartness means it's wonderful combined with all manner of ingredients and dishes, from the sweet to the savoury. The bright yellow skin can be used as well, when zested. A kitchen essential. You can read more about lemons here

    On this post I share a recipe from Stacey It is a simple to make, low carb treat, which tastes like having a lemon cream pie in a glass... did I hear you say Yum!


    Lemon Cream Fool
    Ingredients
    Serves Two
    ½ cup heavy (double) cream
    ¼ cup low carb monk-fruit or erythritol blend granular sweetener
    ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    ½ cup sugar-free keto lemon curd divided
    Method
    1. In a stand mixer or large bowl with an electric hand mixer, add heavy (double) whipping cream. Beat on high until firm peaks form, and when you lift the beater, the cream sticks and does not fall off (can take 4 to 6 minutes).
    2. Add vanilla and turn the mixer to medium, and slowly add granulated sweetener a little at a time until blended and the whipped cream is thicker like a frosting. Turn off the mixer.
    3. Add 3 tablespoons of the lemon curd and gently fold into the whipped cream mixture.
    4. In 2 dessert glasses or shot glasses add 1 tablespoon of the remaining lemon curd to the bottom of the glass.
    5. Add 2 tablespoon of whipped lemon mixture on top of the lemon curd layer.
    6. Repeat layers of lemon curd and whipped cream until both lemon curd and whipped cream are used. Serve.
    This recipe and more, including step-by-step guide, can be seen here

    Sugar Free Lemon Curd
    Ingredients
    3 large eggs room temperature
    ⅔ cup powdered low carb sweetener
    ½ cup fresh lemon juice juice of about 2 large lemons
    1 ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest use a Microplane zester to grate fine enough so no straining of curd is needed.
    4 tablespoon butter room temperature diced
    Method
    1. In a small saucepan (not heated yet), combine sweetener, lemon juice, lemon zest, and whole eggs. Whisk until combined.
    2. Add the butter and cook over medium-low heat, while stirring continuously with a whisk or wooden spoon, until the first bubble appears and the curd is thick enough to hold marks of the whisk or spoon, about 4-7 minutes.
    3. Transfer the hot lemon curd to a jar and cover the surface with plastic wrap.
    4. Refrigerate until cold, then remove the plastic wrap and replace it with a lid. The lemon curd will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about 1 week. Makes just under 2 cups.
    This recipe and more from here

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

    Related Post
    four more lemon, lower carb desserts can be seen here

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

    All the best Jan

    Tuesday, 21 September 2021

    'The benefit of uncertainty'

    image from post here
     

    One Upside to the Feeling of Uncertainty

    A new study finds that feeling uncertain may lead us to savour the small things in life.

    Ever since it began, the pandemic has been a crash course in uncertainty. Safe behaviours, school openings, vaccination timelines, the job market, new variants—these have all seemed to change on a weekly basis, threatening our sense of security and stability.

    Uncertainty is stressful and perhaps even harmful to our health, research suggests, and it can drive us to cling to our social groups to the exclusion of others. But a new study has uncovered a surprising upside to feeling uncertain: It might drive us to appreciate the little things in life.

    Smell the roses
    In one experiment, researchers stationed on a sidewalk handed out flyers that said one of two things: “Life is unpredictable: Stop and smell the roses” or “Life is constant: Stop and smell the roses.” A short distance away was a table with a dozen red roses on it and a sign matching the flyer they’d just received.

    Research assistants hid behind a bush to see who stopped and who didn’t—and it was the people who read that life is unpredictable who buried their noses in the fragrant flowers, 2.5 times more often than the others.

    Why? Savouring and appreciating the small things in life may be a coping response that our minds activate when we feel overwhelmed by the ambiguity of it all. Savouring pulls us out of fears and worries about a fuzzy future and into the clear, pleasurable sensations of right now.

    “If the world is uncertain, it makes sense to take advantage of what you have now because it may not exist shortly,” explains Andrew L. Gregory, the lead author of the study.

    The researchers found similar results in another experiment, where, instead of handing out flyers, they recruited nearly 400 people to watch videos. Some saw a video purportedly describing the conclusions from a scientific conference about how unpredictable and random our lives are, accompanied by chaotic graphs and rolling dice. Others saw a similar video, but with the opposite message, about life’s underlying order and structure. A final group saw a video about the history of trains.

    Compared to the other two groups, those who watched the chaos video reported more intentions to savour life. They said that they should enjoy the present and appreciate simple things, and would linger on good feelings if something wonderful happened to them or a friend.

    Savouring in real life

    A final set of findings suggests that this effect does translate to everyday life, even if you don’t happen to come across a video or flyer about uncertainty. Here, researchers recruited over 6,000 people and pinged them up to a dozen times a day, asking how chaotic and unpredictable the world felt in that moment and whether they were savouring the present.

    It turned out that when the world felt messy, people were more likely to be savouring their lives a few hours later, at the next ping.

    Of course, the relentless uncertainty of the pandemic doesn’t lend itself to feeling mindful and appreciative all the time. But Gregory suspects that this pattern still holds.

    Indeed, many people reported feeling grateful early on in the pandemic. One of our 'Thnx4' members, for example, journaled about missing out on her daily socializing at the neighbourhood café and instead making small talk with strangers on her morning walk. “It reminded me not only to appreciate but to seek positive experience,” she wrote.

    While savouring may happen naturally, it’s also something we can practice deliberately when life feels unsettling. For example, you might share your good news or gratitude with others, or tune into the enjoyable sights, sounds, and smells around you. When you work on controlling your attention this way, Gregory says, you may feel like you have more control over your life in general.

    The flyers and videos in these experiments are a good reminder that our sense of uncertainty is changeable. Based on that, it makes sense that reading political news or social media posts from our friends could influence how stable or chaotic our lives feel. Being selective about the media we consume could help. Or, says Gregory, when we’re feeling adrift, we could try reflecting on times in our life when we felt secure and certain.

    Savouring isn’t the only potential upside to feeling uncertain. For people who are less well off, confronting a chaotic environment can actually drive them to prioritize community. In these ways and perhaps others, our brains try to protect us from the unpleasant but unavoidable uncertainty of life.


    Above words and all research links can be seen here
    h/t Marks Daily Apple here

    In recent times it is the smaller things in life that has helped me, how about you? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

    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

    Monday, 20 September 2021

    Mushroom Stroganoff : Vegetarian : Vegan


    You may like to try a creamy vegan/vegetarian mushroom stroganoff with earthy porcini mushrooms and juicy baby button mushrooms for extra flavour! Just serve with toasted gluten-free ciabatta rolls to mop up the delicious juices ... or some readers may prefer a low carb bread of your choice

    Ingredients
    Serves Four
    50 g dried porcini mushrooms
    1 tbsp olive oil
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    3 sticks celery, washed, trimmed and finely chopped
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    1 tsp paprika
    250 g flat mushrooms, brushed clean, thickly sliced
    150 g baby button mushrooms, brushed clean, left whole
    2 tbsp brandy (optional)
    150 ml soya and dairy-free single cream alternative
    2 tsp gluten-free soy sauce
    1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves, washed, plus extra sprigs to garnish
    1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    4 gluten-free ciabatta rolls, halved
    You may prefer one of these low carb breads - see here

    Method
    1. In a small bowl, cover the dried mushrooms with boiling water. Set aside and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
    2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook until softened. Add the paprika and cook for a further 30 seconds. Stir in the fresh mushrooms, cook for 1 minute, then add the brandy, if using. Continue cooking until the mushrooms start to soften.
    3. Drain the rehydrated porcini mushrooms, reserving 100ml of the soaking liquid. Add both to the pan, bring the mixture to the boil, then simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cream alternative, soy sauce, chopped thyme and lemon juice. Season.
    4. Griddle the ciabatta halves for 1-2 minutes on each side. Top with the mushrooms, garnish with the extra thyme sprigs and serve.
    From original idea here

    Related Posts
    Mushrooms, did you know - see here
    All About Mushrooms, a great vegetable - 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

    Sunday, 19 September 2021

    Happy Sunday Wishes


    Wishing all readers a Happy Sunday
    Find time to relax and enjoy your day.

    All the best Jan

    Saturday, 18 September 2021

    'Kids Need Trees'


    A new study suggests that children's cognitive development is boosted by access to woodlands.

    Benefit of woodland and other natural environments for adolescents’ cognition and mental health

    Trees are critical to our global health—they provide the very oxygen we breathe. Additionally, trees may also be very influential for our individual health, both mentally and physically. A new study published in Nature Sustainability found that children between the ages of 9 and 15 who spent significant time around trees benefited cognitively in several ways.

    The study followed 3,568 students in London. The study tracked cognitive performance and mental health over the early adolescent years. Children who spent time in woodland areas showed improved cognitive performance and better mental health than their peers without frequent visits to the woods. Interestingly, time spent in grassy or lake areas did not provide the same benefits as woodlands. The results showed trees specifically may be a protective factor for children as they grow.

    Other studies have proven green space is beneficial to children—and adults. The new study's findings suggest trees may be an important factor contributing to these health benefits. It is unclear exactly why nature may boost cognition. It may increase grey matter, or prompt changes in the amygdala which regulates emotion. Trees particularly may calm our minds with their pleasing “fractal” patterned branches.

    A factor which is difficult to disentangle from the benefits of trees and nature to children and adults is privilege. Socioeconomic status, zip code, and free time are all factors which can determine access to green space, adequate nutrition, early childhood education, and more. Of the children studied in London, over half came from a family with parents in managerial or professional occupations. This could indicate that other factors beside trees are boosting these children's cognitive development. What is likely, however, is that access to green space can be beneficial to all and should be included equitably in urban planning.


    Above words from here
    h/t Marks Daily Apple here


    The photographs in this post, taken a year or so ago, show three of our grandchildren having fun in the woods. I don't think it's just children who benefit from woodland and being outside enjoying nature. Even this Grandma enjoys her visits to the woods, although these days I leave tree climbing to the young ones, I just enjoy the walks, and in the Autumn, the sound of leaves rustling as you walk.

    How about you? Do please share your thoughts about this article in the comments.

    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

    Friday, 17 September 2021

    Well you've made a (low carb) hash of that haven't you!


    LOL! I wonder who said, this Celeriac Hash with Ham Hock and Eggs 'looks a bit messy' 

    However, this delicious, hearty hash is a great way to use up any leftover root vegetables. We love celeriac but it could be swapped with parsnips, potatoes or Jerusalem artichokes … for those of you who live the LCHF lifestyle just bear in mind the carb quantities!

    Ingredients
    Serves Two
    small knob of butter
    2 tsp oil
    1 small onion (I like the red ones), halved and sliced
    1 garlic clove, crushed
    2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
    ½ celeriac (about 350g), halved, thinly sliced, then roughly chopped
    2-3 large leaves Cavolo Nero or spring greens, stalks removed, shredded
    90g cooked ham hock, shredded
    1 tbsp. wholegrain mustard
    2 eggs (we like free range)
    25g gruyere, cut into small chunks (optional)

    Method
    1. Heat the butter and oil in a wide frying pan. Add the onion and cook slowly for 15 mins or until turning golden. Stir in the garlic and thyme for 30 secs, then add the celeriac and some seasoning. Stir to make sure the celeriac is well coated in the buttery onions, then add a splash of water and cover the pan with a lid or piece of foil. Cook for 8-10 mins until the celeriac has softened and is caramelising in places.

    2. Add the Cavolo Nero and ham, and stir well. Increase the heat to wilt the cavolo nero and crisp the ham in places. Add a splash more water if anything starts to stick to the pan. Dot around spoonful's of mustard, then create two spaces to cook the eggs. Add a drizzle more oil to the gaps if the bottom of the pan looks dry, then crack in the eggs. Dot the cheese around the pan and cover with a lid or foil for 2-3 mins. By this time, the egg whites should be cooked and the yolks still runny. Season the eggs with a little black pepper and serve from the pan.

    Nutrition, per serving
    fat 23g carbs 9g protein 29g
    From an original idea here

    Here are three other Hash recipe suggestions …
    • Butternut squash & apple hash with ground/minced turkey or chicken - recipe details here
    • Chicken, chorizo and sweet potato hash - recipe details here
    • Aubergine (eggplant) hash with eggs - recipe 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 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

    Thursday, 16 September 2021

    Some Common Food - Drug Interactions


    "Taking medicine is a normal routine for many people, but there are many aspects to think about to avoid unwanted interactions. Age, weight, sex, medical conditions, dose of medicine, other medications, vitamins and herbal supplements can affect any drug taken. Some drugs can work faster, slower, better or worse on an empty stomach while others will upset an empty stomach. Alcohol also has significant effects on medication use. Drinking alcohol while taking medication, or before and after, can affect how the drug works in the body.

    When a food affects medications in the body, this is called food-drug interaction. Food can prevent medicine from working the way it should and can cause medicinal side effects to become better or worse and/or cause new side effects to occur. Drugs can also change the way the body uses food. There are a variety of food and drug interactions that can occur, but here is a small list of common drugs and how food affects the way they are used in the body.
    • Green, leafy vegetables, which are high in vitamin K, can decrease how well aspirin thins the blood. Consuming the same amount of green-leafy vegetables each day will decrease this interaction.
    • Grapefruit juice alters the way the body absorbs statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) like Lipitor in the blood. It can cause these drugs to be absorbed in higher than normal amounts resulting in a greater risk of side effects.
    • Calcium channel blockers are prescribed for high blood pressure and are also affected by grapefruit juice. Grapefruit juice changes the way this drug breaks down in the body and may cause overly high levels of the drug in the blood, raising the risk of side effects.
    • Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese decrease the absorption of antibiotics. Try to eat meals one to two hours before taking these to avoid this interaction.
    • Alcohol affects insulin or oral diabetic pills. Alcohol prolongs the effects of these drugs, which leads to low blood sugar.
    • Moderate pain reliever drugs with acetaminophen should not be taken with alcohol because it has a higher chance of causing severe liver damage. Antihistamines, like Benadryl, should not be taken with alcohol because it will cause increased drowsiness.
    This is only a small list of drugs that are affected by food, but it is important to be informed about common medications that are consumed. Most medications and over-the-counter drugs have warnings stating when it is ok and when it is not ok to consume them, so do not be alarmed about taking any current medications. Doctors and pharmacists are always available to answer questions."
    Words above taken from here

    The above is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, including medication, you should contact your local health care provider.

    should you be feeling 'a little under the weather'
    I hope these roses may help to cheer you up

    Dear reader, you will find a wide 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

    Wednesday, 15 September 2021

    Foods To Eat For Glowing Skin

    Laurentine ten Bosch writes:
    How do you nourish your glowing skin?
    First principle for a healthy glow has always been to work from the inside out. Remember the old saying, you are what you eat? That rings especially true for the skin, which needs just as much nourishment as anything else in the body. So using nutrition as a guiding principle, with a healthy skincare routine coming second, these are the nine top foods to eat for glowing skin.

    1. Avocado
    The first key to a healthy glow is nourishing fats, and it’s something you’ll hear time and time again. Good quality short-chain fatty acids, especially omega 3s, are essential for a strong skin barrier and a radiant glow. Thankfully, one of the most delicious foods is also the most nourishing, and that’s avocados - so if you didn’t already have an excuse for more guacamole, here it is!


    2. Cashews
    Zinc is another hardworking mineral essential for a vibrant, blemish-free complexion. It is involved in enzymatic reactions throughout the body, including healing wounds and clearing up tissue injury. Due to these properties, zinc is praised for healing acne, fungal infections, small irritations, and sores. It’s also a favourite for protecting our vulnerable skin from sun and pollution damage and reduces free radical production. Cashews are a nut high in zinc, a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving contains 15% of the daily value.

    3. Cucumber
    You might have seen the trend of cold cucumber being rubbed on the face for a fresh, nourished complexion. It’s amazing, and it works, but you can get the same results from eating it too. Ensuring we are adequately hydrated is paramount for healthy skin, and cucumber is one of the most hydrating foods available.


    4. Flaxseed Oil
    Good quality cold-pressed flaxseed oil is one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3s. In Western society, the balance of omega-3s to omega-6s is often too far in favour of the latter. But by increasing our intake of healthy omega-3s, our skin barrier stands a better chance against the outer world.

    5. Oranges
    Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients for a luminescent face. This is because this vitamin is a potent antioxidant, which helps to fight free radicals and prevent the signs of aging. It also supports the immune system to fight off unwanted pathogens, replaces damaged tissue to tackle blemishes, is essential for the production of collagen, and helps protect the skin from UV rays. Want to know one of the easiest ways to up your intake of essential C? Oranges - the kitchen staple that you always have on hand.


    6. Sauerkraut
    The health of our skin also relies on a thriving gut microbiome (the billions of good bacteria that live inside each of us). The best way to nourish a microbiome? With healthy, fermented foods. Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage, and it’s known for its health-promoting functions as well as delicious taste. Try it on almost anything savoury!


    7. Superfood Greens
    Another important element to consider for health is alkalizing the body. This involves eating a diet rich in foods that counter the acidic diets we typically eat. Dosing up on superfood greens is the most simple way that we can do this (plus they’re also rich in our favourite vitamin C). Vegetables generally regarded as "super greens" includes kale, spinach, cabbage, collard greens, beet greens, watercress, romaine lettuce, arugula, turnip greens, and bok choy. 

    8. Sustainable Fish
    Remember the amazing health benefits of omega-3s? You can find them in their most concentrated form in sustainably caught fish. When looking for fish, think of the SMASH analogy; salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring - these are going to give you the nourishment that your skin craves.

    9. Water
    It’s so incredibly important that we drink enough water to keep us hydrated throughout the day, especially clean and chemical-free, fresh from a spring where possible. One of the first places dehydration starts to show up is in the skin. Water is a daily essential for plump, vibrant skin, and you should try to get as much of it as you can. For those who find water more challenging to drink, try it with a squeeze of lemon of a few sprigs of fresh mint - it makes it so thirst-quenching all year round.
    Above words from article here


    Related Post
    Nutrients For Glowing Skin - read it here

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

    All the best Jan

    Tuesday, 14 September 2021

    Chicken Dinner Tonight : Creamy Garlic Mushroom Chicken : Low Carb


    Don't you just love chicken, we do! There are many recipe suggestions available and this one is a favourite! 

    As you may know chicken has many plus points - its versatility, as well as the ease and speed with which it can be cooked - make it one of the most popular meats around. It has a high level of good quality protein, as well as B vitamins, iron, copper and selenium.

    This recipe suggestion is for creamy low carb / keto chicken with butter-fried mushrooms, garlic, parmesan and herbs. Just serve with a simple green salad or a side dish of your choice.

    Ingredients
    Serves Four
    6g carbs per serving
    4 tbsp butter
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    ½ lb (225g) mushrooms, roughly chopped
    1½ lbs (650g) boneless chicken thighs
    1 tsp onion powder
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp dried thyme
    ½ tsp dried rosemary
    salt and pepper
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1¼ cups (300ml) heavy whipping cream or crème fraîche
    2 oz. (50g) parmesan cheese, grated
    Serving
    5 oz. (150g) leafy greens
    Tip
    In this recipe boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets were used, which are slightly fattier and tastier than chicken breast. You can of course also use bone-in thighs with or without skin, chicken breast, turkey, pork fillet or pork chops. Adjust the cooking time accordingly. If using chicken thighs with skin, fry until skin is crispy and inside cooked.
    Instructions
    can be seen here


    Garlic is a member of the onion family, which also includes leeks and shallots. When picking out garlic at the grocery store, select firm, tight, heavy, dry bulbs.

    Garlic has been used medicinally since the Greek and Roman times. Today garlic is a widely recognized health enhancing supplement. It promotes the well-being of the heart and immune systems with antioxidant properties and helps maintain healthy blood circulation. One of garlic’s greatest health benefits includes the ability to enhance the body’s immune cell activity.
    You can read more about Garlic here


    Don't these flowers look colourful … on cooler, darker Autumn days flowers can make your home so welcoming … dear reader, a variety of recipe ideas/articles are found within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

    All the best Jan

    Monday, 13 September 2021

    Mondays Starter For Ten !

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

    But today for a change I thought why not start the week with some trivia! So here are ten facts to start the week! Did you know any of these facts?

    1. The Lego Group is the world’s most powerful brand. There are more Lego Mini-figures than there are people on Earth.

    2. The tongue is the only muscle in one’s body that is attached from one end.

    3. Costa Coffee employs Gennaro Pelliccia as a coffee taster, who has had his tongue insured for £10 million since 2009.

    4. IKEA is an acronym which stands for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd, which is the founder’s name, farm where he grew up, and hometown.

    5. The unique smell of rain actually comes from plant oils, bacteria, and ozone.

    6. More tornadoes occur in the United Kingdom per square mile than any other country in the world.

    7. It’s not just humans who are right or left-handed. Most female cats prefer using their right paw and males are more likely to be left-pawed.

    8. The Guinness World Record for the time longest spend searching for the Loch Ness Monster is held by Steve Feltham who camped at Loch Ness for 25 years.

    9. While dinosaurs roamed the earth, they lived on every continent including Antarctica.

    10. Lettuce is a member of the sunflower family.

    talking of lettuce,
    have you tried this green salad recipe,
    it's by Mary Berry - more details here

    Please note, not all the recipe suggestions featured within 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