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Saturday 31 December 2022

We Wish You A Happy, Peaceful And Healthy New Year


As 2022 draws to a close, and we welcome the new year of 2023,
we thank all the people that have taken the time to read our blog during this past year,
and a special thank you to the very kind people who take the time to comment.

We wish all our readers a happy, peaceful and healthy New Year.

Jan and Eddie

Friday 30 December 2022

Do Cats Really Have Nine Lives ?


CJ Cruz writes:
"We all love our cats. They might be grumpy creatures that would knock things over around the house, nestle and curl up on our laps when we’re down, and sometimes even when we’re busy! We like to think they would always be there for us since they have nine lives, right? But, sadly, this is not the case. As much as we want our feline companions’ nine lives to be true, it is a myth. 

This begs the question, where did this myth start? 

The legend of the cat’s nine lives.
No one knows who started the myth of the nine lives of cats, and there are no actual historical recordings of when and where it was first created either, such is the trouble with oral history.

What is known, though, is that the first mention of the cat’s nine lives is in an English proverb that states: “A cat has nine lives. For three, he plays; for three, he strays; for the last three, he stays.” The proverb’s origins might remain a mystery, but we have an estimated timeline at the very least.

In one of William Shakespeare‘s most famous plays, Romeo and Juliet, he wrote: “Good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine lives.” The bard wrote the tragedy in the 16th century, making the myth of a cat’s nine lives predate the 1500s.

Why do cats have nine lives?
Our feline friends are known to be very agile animals; they’re fiercely independent and intelligent creatures. They can fall from high elevations and still land on their feet. There’s even a documented case in New York where a cat fell from a 32-story building and survived, suffering only minor injuries. Feats like this are possibly where the idea of cats having nine lives came from. This is all thanks to the cat’s fantastic anatomy, of course.

Like most feline species, cats evolved from living in trees. The years of evolution before they became domesticated ensured that they adapted to the height from where their species started living. Cats have a “righting reflex” where they can twist their bodies as they fall, ensuring that they securely land on their feet. Their large body surface area reduces the force of the fall. At the same time, the impressive flexibility of their ligaments and bones helps them sustain as minimal injury from the impact as possible. So, you can say that a cat’s nine lives come from millions of years of evolution.

Why is it specifically nine lives?
We always asked why and how cats have nine lives but have you ever thought why an odd number like nine exactly? Numerology states that the number nine is very significant because of its composition of three groups of three. In religious cultures like Islam, Greek, and Roman Catholic, the number nine is symbolic and has mystical properties.

For example, in Islam, the significance of the number nine is much like in the Indian thought of Sanatana Dharma, which states, “nine openings for man as also the nine months of gestation period of birth.” In Greece, the number nine has been referred to as the trinity of trinities, similar to numerology’s composition.

What’s more fascinating, though, is in different cultures, the myth of the cat’s nine lives has different variations, specifically with their number of lives. Some regions around Spain believe that cats only have seven lives, while in other Arabic and Turkish legends, cats have six lives.

All this fascination with cats goes way back about 12,000 years ago. The ancient Egyptians believed these animals were sacred and divine beings with supernatural powers. People would often dedicate mummified cats at the sanctuary of the cat goddess Bastet as offerings.

To sum it all up, no, cats don’t have nine lives, no matter how much we would want them to. Our feline compatriots tend to cheat death, though that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be taking extra care of them, no matter how snobbish they can sometimes be!

They might also be godlike creatures worshipped throughout history, and that’s why they like lording themselves around our house like they own the place!"
Above words and all relevant links can be seen in article here

Do you have a cat?
We have family members with cat(s) and they certainly do sometimes seem to own the place ๐Ÿ˜Š ๐Ÿ˜ธ


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 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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Thursday 29 December 2022

Ya Gotta Larf


Jan always books a restaurant reservation on the phone. It's an age thing.  LOL

Eddie

 

DIABETES NEWS : 'Not All Kids With Type 2 Diabetes have Obesity: What Parents Need to Know'


Sharing an article from Healthline site

"Not All Kids With Type 2 Diabetes have Obesity: What Parents Need to Know
  • A recent study found that up to 1 in 4 children with type 2 diabetes don’t have obesity at the time of diagnosis.
  • Current screening methods may be missing some children with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Screening guidelines do consider other risk factors for type 2 diabetes including family history of diabetes, race and ethnicity, and a child’s mother having diabetes during pregnancy.

Although rates of type 2 diabetes in children and teens are much lower than in adults, there has been a sharp increase in cases among youth since the early 2000s.

This condition occurs when cells don’t respond normally to insulin. One of the risk factors for it is excess weight or obesity.

Which is why the American Diabetes Association recommends screening for type 2 diabetes in children 10 years or older who have excess weight or obesity, and who also have one or more other risk factors for the disease.

However, a recent study found that up to 1 in 4 children with type 2 diabetes don’t have obesity at the time of diagnosis.

This suggests that current screening methods may be missing some children and teens with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Based on our results, “it is likely that [there is] a subgroup of children with normal body mass measures who may have diabetes, but are overlooked in the current body-mass centred screening,” study author Dr. M. Constantine Samaan, an associate professor in the Department of Paediatrics at McMaster University and McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, told Healthline.

Factors other than body mass involved

Screening guidelines do consider other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as family history of diabetes, race and ethnicity, and a child’s mother having diabetes during pregnancy.

“However, it is likely that these factors are not always considered when children are not overweight,” said Samaan.

He said the results also suggest that there’s a need to develop a deeper understanding of the mechanisms — other than body mass — driving type 2 diabetes in children and teens.

This information could be used to develop new ways of screening children for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, “using algorithms that capture the complexity of type 2 diabetes in children,” said Samaan.

“What these models look like is a work in progress,” he said.

In the new study, Samaan and his colleagues combined the results of 53 earlier studies from multiple countries looking at the rates of obesity in children and teens.

This meta-analysis, as it’s known, showed that around three-quarters of children and teens with type 2 diabetes had obesity.

The study was published Dec. 15 in the medical journal JAMA Network Open.

Dr. Megan Kelsey, an associate professor in paediatric endocrinology at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, who was not involved in the new research, pointed out that the majority of youth with type 2 diabetes in the study still had obesity.

Many of the rest had a body mass index (BMI) in the overweight range, she said.

The rates of overweight and normal weight, though, varied widely among the studies reviewed by Samaan and his colleagues, so it’s not clear how many children of normal weight have type 2 diabetes.

Still, “this study confirms what we know about the association with weight struggles and [type 2] diabetes — that it largely affects youth with overweight or obesity,” Kelsey told Healthline.

The new study also found that about 8 in 10 males with type 2 diabetes had obesity, while 6 in 10 females did.

As to why some children with normal weight develop type 2 diabetes, Samaan said some of them may have an impaired production of or response to insulin.

“There is some evidence [related to this] from studies from Asia of subgroups of children with reduced insulin production,” he said, adding that more research in this area is needed.

Signs of type 2 diabetes to look for

One of the goals of screening for type 2 diabetes is to catch it early during the course of the disease, before complications occur.

Kelsey said most often, though, type 2 diabetes is detected before symptoms are present. However, the earliest symptoms that appear are often increased thirst and urination, she said.

Signs of more advanced type 2 diabetes — which requires urgent medical attention — include severe abdominal pain, vomiting, rapid breathing and unexplained weight loss, she added.

Samaan said type 2 diabetes is also associated with other medical conditions besides obesity, including abnormal levels of lipids in the blood, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, fatty liver disease and polycystic ovary syndrome in girls.

“For these patients, it is important to consider the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and to screen for it,” he said. “Families can consult with their provider to assess the best approach.”


Rising cases in children

While type 2 diabetes is relatively uncommon among children and teens — and rare before puberty — between 2002 and 2015, the rate of type 2 diabetes among this age group increased about 5% each year, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition, one group of researchers documented a steep rise in type 2 diabetes among children and teens during the COVID-19 pandemic. The reasons for this increase is not clear.

Kelsey said while this condition tends to be more difficult to treat in children and teens than in adults, most youth with risk factors for type 2 diabetes will not develop it during childhood.

Still, “we don’t know how to differentiate who will and will not develop [type 2] diabetes at a young age, even in those at risk,” she said.

However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and healthy BMI can help lower the risk of type diabetes, she said.

In addition, she said a large multicenter research study currently being planned in the United States should provide a better understanding of who is at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and why.

“This should help us better design preventive strategies in the future,” she said."

A few words on diabetes

More than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes. That’s nearly 1 in 10 people, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Most cases of the disease are type 2 diabetes — a condition in which the body doesn’t make enough insulin, uses insulin incorrectly, or both. This can cause high levels of sugar in the blood. People with type 2 diabetes must control this sugar, or blood glucose, with a combination of medications, like insulin, and lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. Diet is key to diabetes management.

Found in many foods such as breads, starches, fruits, and sweets, carbohydrate is the macronutrient that causes blood sugar levels to go up. Managing carbohydrate intake helps people manage their blood sugar.

this image from article here
Introduction to low-carb for beginners

~ xxx ooo xxx ~

Although the Healthline article above refers to the United States, Diabetes is on the increase in all age groups worldwide. The earliest symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes is often increased thirst and urination.

~  Many thanks for reading the above which although many may find a long read, I felt it had important points to be shared. Do please share your thoughts in the comments.  ~

Please note that articles within this blog are 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, you should contact your local health care provider.

All the best Jan

Wednesday 28 December 2022

Normandy Pork Casserole ... Perfect For Chilly Winter Days


This recipe suggestion is what many would call comfort food, and is perfect for chilly winter days. This is an easy one pot recipe suggestion which melts in the mouth, you really can't go wrong! In fact, I think I can smell the aroma coming from the kitchen right now!

Ingredients
serves 10 (easily halved if there are 4 – 6 of you eating)
100g butter
Olive oil
2kg shoulder of free-range (British) pork, cubed
400g (14oz) lardons or chunky streaky bacon, chopped
32 shallots, peeled and left whole
2 small onions, chopped
4 celery sticks, chopped
1 litre dry cider
200ml chicken stock
8 tbsp. single cream
4tbsp corn-flour mixed with 2tbsp water
4tbsp wholegrain mustard
4tbsp fresh tarragon leaves

How to prepare/serve
1. Heat the oven to 170 C, 150 C fan, 325 F, gas 3.

2. You will need a large, flameproof casserole dish. Put half butter and drizzle of olive oil (to stop butter burning) with half the cubed pork, season and fry for about 10 minutes until thoroughly browned. Remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the rest of the butter to the casserole and fry the rest of the pork for 10 minutes until evenly browned.

3. Meanwhile, in another pan, dry-fry the bacon until crispy. Remove, set aside, then fry the shallots, onion and celery for a few minutes, to soften slightly.

4. Combine all the pork, the lardons, shallots, onion and celery in the casserole. Pour over the cider and chicken stock to cover. Cover the dish and cook in the oven for 2 hours until the pork is tender.

5. Add the cream, corn-flour mix, mustard and tarragon to the pan. Heat on the hob and stir until the sauce has thickened slightly.

6. Serve with vegetables of your choice but a lovely dark green steamed vegetable like cavolo nero or purple sprouting broccoli can work well.
From an original idea here

~ xxx ooo xxx ~

You may also like this vegetarian recipe for Dauphinoise Casserole with Cabbage or Celeriac, see it here


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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Tuesday 27 December 2022

It's Twixmas !

Twixmas - Everything You Need To Know !

I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas, Eddie and I certainly did. We were fortunate to spend some wonderful time with family. A lot of fun was had, a lot of food was eaten (low carb of course!) alcohol was consumed, (but there was non alcoholic choices too!) All in all time spent filled with love, laughter, and a lot of fun, special family times.

Now, here we are, it's the 27th December and the start of Twixmas. Do I hear you ask the question What is Twixmas? Well, here is everything you need to know about the period between Christmas and New Year ... plus how to make the most of your free time.

Twixmas for many is a favourite time of the year. Once the stress of Christmas Day is over, Twixmas, the relaxed period between Christmas and New Year – when life seems to slow down a little and everyone takes a collective deep breath – comes along to help recharge our batteries before we welcome in another year.

Marked from the 27th until 30th December, here is everything you need to know about Twixmas, including how to spend it.

What is Twixmas?
Twixmas is the term used to describe the days between Christmas and New Year (27th-30th December), when – work and family commitments depending – you can take some much needed down time. For many of us, it's time when we can fully relax and spend our days doing nothing.


Why is it called Twixmas?
Twixmas originates from the old English word 'betwixt' which simply means 'between'.

How can I spend Twixmas?
The simple answer? Any way you want! For some, Twixmas is all about curling up under a blanket in cosy PJs with a festive film, or that buzzed-about boxset or book. For others, it's a chance to get some air, enjoy countryside walks or indulge in a little craft or DIY activities. It's also the perfect time to gather your thoughts ahead of 2023, and write down your new goals.

Things to do during Twixmas:
Cook up something comforting. Twixmas is a great time to use up leftovers. If you have too much Turkey left over the recipe suggestions here may help.

Get cosy and catch up on those Christmas TV specials you missed.

Shop the post-Christmas sales from the comfort of your sofa. Pick up a bargain for the house without having to battle the crowds.

Indulge in a spot of pampering; light some candles, run a bath and kick back with a face mask.

Read one of this year's most talked about books. Or perhaps get lost in the bestselling tome from the year you were born!

Rearrange your bedroom; transform your bedroom space into a tranquil, stylish space to help you unwind at the end of a long day.

Declutter your home and tidy up all of those new presents. Whether it's that jumbled cupboard under the stairs or the kids' bedroom, use Twixmas to get your clean on.

Decorate! With Christmas Day now behind us, why not give your home a lick of paint. Let next year's interior design trends inspire your next move.

Go offline, it's a great way to recharge your mind before 2023 begins.

Slip on your wellies and head out for a countryside walk. Take a thermos of soup or coffee to keep you warm as you wander.
Words/ideas from article here

I think I may spend a little time sitting quietly with a good book, a cup of tea and a low carb cookie biscuit, see more about low carb/keto biscuits here


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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Saturday 24 December 2022

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers


We wish all our readers the compliments of the Season and a happy, peaceful and healthy New Year.

Thank you so much for reading our blog,
and a special thank you to the very kind people who take the time to comment.

Jan and Eddie

Friday 23 December 2022

Some Low Carb Christmas and New Year Tips !

Food and drink play an important part in Christmas and New Year traditions, which can sometimes encourage people to stray from their diet (lifestyle) plan during the festive period.

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us. Tinsel, baubles, and fake snow are out in full force as Christmas and the festive period is well underway.


For many of us, gaining a few lbs during the holidays and then making a New Year’s resolution diet is a yearly event. However, it doesn’t have to be that way this year and you can still enjoy all the festive food and treats with low-carb living. So, how do you cope with all the goodies that the festive period brings, yet still maintain a balanced lifestyle?

Find Alternative Recipes
With every holiday season comes the tasty treats that go with it – whether it’s Christmas, Easter, or the spooks of Halloween. You don’t have to swap out those indulgences completely, because using alternative recipes means you’ll never have to feel left out of the holiday feasts.

Typical Christmas Feast
Luckily, the traditional Christmas dinner is very low-carb-friendly. So don’t be shy in piling that turkey up on your plate. Get those vegetables stacked high (watch for any falling Brussels sprouts), and tuck in to the meal you’ve been waiting for all year. To stay on the low-carb living track, try swapping out the potatoes for delicious roast turnips instead, and the naughty-listed stuffing for cauliflower stuffing.

Pre-Work-Party Snack
Not only is this time of year filled with delicious treats, but it’s also the time to go out with your fellow colleagues and your work office. Whether you’re going for a sit-down meal or a buffet, a top tip is to have a pre-party snack. This way you won’t be tempted to overindulge in high-carb hors-d’oeuvres or meals with starchy sides such as potatoes or rice.

Usually, work Christmas buffets are full of antipasto foods to choose from, which are always tasty and won’t ruin your low-carb efforts. If you’re choosing set meals, then try to opt for protein-rich options such as steak, salmon, or chicken. Now, we know it’s hard when it comes to the dessert part of the night. But, guess what? That cheese and olive platter is calling your name, plus it’s low-carb – what a Christmas winner!

Christmas and New Year Tipple
We all like to celebrate the festive period with a toast and clinking of glasses. Trying to avoid alcohol or keep it to a minimum can be tricky. If you like the odd tipple during the holidays then try using mixers such as diet tonic water or a splash of sugar-free cordial.
Sticking to red or white wine, and spirits such as gin and vodka, will let you celebrate the holiday season along with maintaining your healthy balance. Remember: stay hydrated and have a glass of water for each alcoholic beverage you drink.

Throw Some Shapes
Once you’ve finished eating, take a step away from the food table and take a step towards the dance floor. Time to let loose and throw out some dance moves – not only will you be letting your hair down, but you’ll also be losing some calories along the way.
Words above (and more) from an article on site here


Some lower carb recipe ideas:

Roast Turkey:
cooked to perfection, see more details here

Stuffing - it's Low Carb and Gluten Free
see more details here

Brussels Sprouts
see more here

The Best Low Carb Christmas Pudding Ever …. well probably !
please see details here

Mince Pies
The Low Carb Way, more details here

Fruit Cake
A Low Carb Alternative - learn more using this link here

Alternative Vegetarian and Vegan Thanksgiving / Christmas recipes
have a look here but please note not all shown in the link are low carb


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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Thursday 22 December 2022

Christmas is for sharing ...

Christmas is for sharing ... some photographs and memes ๐Ÿ˜Š๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿคถ๐Ÿ˜Š

Grandson with a very nice Christmas Tree


Grandson and Grand-daughter decorating their tree so nicely


Sharing two memes and words recently seen on friends blogs


above meme seen here


above words seen here

Winter roses - image from google

Are you ready for Christmas? I still have a few presents to wrap.

All the best Jan

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Ya Gotta Larf


When we retired and downsized, we got rid of enough junk to sink a ship.

Eddie

 

Tuesday 20 December 2022

Christmas Chocolate Log With Blueberries : A Low Carb Favourite


This is a very nice low carb chocolate log, with added blueberries. It could be perfect for an alternative Christmas (or New Year) dessert.

Ingredients
1 cup Almond flour
3 Eggs
50g Butter
¼ cup Psyllium husk
½ cup Coconut cream
¼ cup Cocoa
1 tbsp. Natvia (or sweetener of your choice)
1 tbsp. Vanilla essence

Filling
250g cream cheese
50g Butter - melted
1 tbsp. Natvia
1 tbsp. Vanilla essence
½ cup blueberries or sliced strawberries

Instructions
Combine almond flour, psyllium husks, cocoa, and natvia. Add melted butter, beaten eggs and coconut cream. Mix well.

Lay a lamington (baking) tray (30x20cm) with oiled/ greased greaseproof paper. Press mixture onto paper and bake at 180 c for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool slightly. While still warm lift paper/cake out of tray and lay on a clean tea towel, paper side on the tea towel.

Roll gently and leave to cool completely.

Mix filling ingredients.

When the roll is cool, very gently unroll. Spread filling on cake and spread with blueberries/strawberries. Gently roll again pressing the paper as you do.

Serves 10.
Carbs per serving 2.9
Thanks to Julia for this recipe idea here
If you should need help with weight/measurement conversion see here

~ sharing some Christmas cuteness ~

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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Monday 19 December 2022

'Why Do People Kiss Under The Mistletoe?'


When we think of Christmas, lots of traditions spring to mind like holly wreaths, Christmas trees, presents and Father Christmas coming to visit.

One of the perhaps more unusual traditions that many people do at Christmas is to hang a bunch of mistletoe in their house.

The idea is that if you meet someone underneath it, you have to give them a kiss!

But where did this tradition come from?

What is mistletoe?

Mistletoe facts
  • You can get male and female mistletoe - female mistletoe has berries, which is what we hang in our houses at Christmas
  • In the UK it is mainly found in the south-west Midlands
  • You can't grow it in the ground!
Mistletoe is a plant that has been written about in stories and myths for many hundreds of years.

It is what's called a parasitic plant, which means that it has to grow on other trees to get what it needs to live.

It's not possible for you to grow it in a pot or in the ground on its own.

The most common trees on which it grows in the UK are apple trees, but it can grow on others.

There are up to 1,500 species of mistletoe around the world, but the European mistletoe that we know is a type called Viscum album.

While in the UK we associate mistletoe with Christmas, other countries link it more to New Year.

For example, France sees it as a good luck charm and French people often give it to friends as a New Year gift to wish them luck in the coming 12 months.

Why do people kiss underneath it?

The short answer to this question is there is no one simple reason!

The UK tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is thought to have started in the 1700s, but it became much more popular throughout the 1800s.

The Victorians especially became big fans of puckering up under the plant - and it's stuck ever since!

Victorian couples kissing underneath the mistletoe

The reason there isn't one clear explanation why we kiss underneath mistletoe is because the plant has been linked to many stories and traditions over hundreds of years, and different people see it in different ways.

One of the more common meanings is that mistletoe is seen as a symbol of fertility and life - and that this could be why we kiss underneath it.

In winter, when all the trees are bare and many plants have died away, mistletoe stays green and you can still see it growing around tree branches quite happily.

It also thrives as not a lot of birds will eat mistletoe berries because they are not a dark colour. Not very many other animals eat them either as they can be poisonous in large quantities.

But that's not the only possible explanation! There are other stories too for why people might have started kissing under the mistletoe.

Ancient Norwegian and Scandinavian tales agree that mistletoe has meanings of love and friendship. It is said that the mistletoe's white berries are tears that the goddess of love called Frigg cried for her son Baldr (Balder, Baldur), and that she announced that mistletoe should be a plant of love.

"Other traditions, including Greek and Roman accounts, portray mistletoe as a plant of peace and friendship," he added.

With so many connections in different cultures to love and friendship, and creating new life, it is clear how a tradition of sharing a kiss underneath it has developed.
Above words from here

You may also like to read 'Christmas, the history behind our festive traditions' please see post here

Are you ...
Looking for a fool-proof way to cook your turkey look here
You may want a low carb mince pie recipe look here
Have you seen 'The Best Low Carb Christmas Pudding Recipe Ever' - look here

Thanks for reading ...

All the best Jan

Saturday 17 December 2022

Happiness and Hope ... December Flowers

December birth flowers are holly and narcissus (specifically, the paperwhite). While December’s flowers may be very different from each other, one being a bulb and the other an evergreen shrub, they both symbolize happiness and hope, and as we are quite close to saying goodbye to 2022 and welcoming 2023 these words may be appearing in your thoughts and resolutions ...

The Holly
Holly symbolizes a wish for domestic happiness.

Although some animals and birds enjoy holly berries, they are semi-toxic to humans.

The good news is that deer tend to avoid eating holly due to their sharp leaves, which makes them a deer-resistant plant for gardens.


The Narcissus (Paperwhite)
Narcissus conveys that you want your beloved to stay just the way they are.

While there are many types of flowers in the genus Narcissus (including the daffodil), the paperwhite is the winter-growing variety and the birth flower for December.


We do have some (artificial) holly sprigs indoors as part of the Christmas Holiday dรฉcor. I do like seeing the green leaves and lovely red berries, but haven't any paperwhites. Do you have either of these two December flowers in your home? Perhaps you prefer a different plant, do please share your thoughts.

All the best Jan

Friday 16 December 2022

'Nutrients and exercise can reduce cancer risk'

Sharing an article from Diabetes Diet Blog

"Adapted from Nutrients and exercise affect tumour development by Carla Martinez May 27 2022 and
Three pronged approach may reduce cancer risk in the elderly by Nadine Ekert June 7 2022 Medscape

In a Madrid Oncology conference researchers discussed an update on lifestyle factors and cancer.

Diet and lifestyle can have an influence on each of the successive stages that occur in the development of cancer: initiation, promotion and progression.

A deficit of certain nutrients is one of the factors involved in the initiation stage. Various deficiencies affect different parts of cell metabolism adversely. Such nutrients include folate, B12, B6 and B3, Vitamin C, Selenium, Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin D.

Aflatoxins from foods of vegetable origin are detrimental. The foods include cassava, pepper, corn, millet, rice, sorghum, wheat, sunflower seeds and peanuts, but the effect very much depends on how these foodstuffs are stored.

Added nitrates to foods such as processed meats and sausages because they become nitrosamines which affect cancer development. Natural nitrates in food however do not cause cancer.

Smoking causes 72% of lung cancer and 15% of all cancers. Eating processed meat causes 13% of intestinal cancers and 1.5% of all cancers. The most problematic foods for nitrosamines are cured meat, and smoked meat and fish. Cooking meats also causes polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons especially chicken.

Various cooking strategies will reduce the formation or dilute the effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Marinate meal in an acid solution for more than one hour.

Season meats and fish before grilling them. Good spices to use are: pepper, paprika, garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, clove, fennel, and star anise.

Cook at a low temperature eg boiling.

Eat meats with lots of brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, turnip, brussel sprouts and mustard.

Grilled foods contain benzopyrene which can cause a mutation in DNA and thus cause cancer. Brassicas are rich in sulforphane which works on genes that produce glutathione s-transferase which promotes the elimination of benzopyrene.

Other factors that promote cancer include psychological stress, circadian disruption such as shift work, physical inactivity, obesity, hyperglycaemia, hyperinsulinaemia, gut bacteria disruption, and vitamin D deficiency.

The common factor here is increased inflammation. Some nutrients act as anti-inflammatories including the omega 3 oils EPA and DHA. Ginger, green tea, turmeric and broccoli all help too.

Daily rituals determine our health, so think about how you can optimise your routines.

The influence of exercise on cancer has only been studied in the last ten years.

Hypoxia is one of the main triggers of tumour aggression. Exercise has been shown to improve oxygenation and reduce hypoxia. Physical exercise in combination with chemotherapy has been proven to reduce tumour volume and progression. The best exercises in this regard are those that build up lactate in the muscle such as resistance exercise and cycling.

In the DO-HEALTH study, more than 2,000 healthy elderly people over the age of 70, were observed over three years. A combination of high dose vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids and a simple home training programme reduced the risk of cancer by 61% compared to placebo.

The risk of getting cancer increases as you get older. Apart from not smoking and sun protection, getting appropriate vaccines and screening, there is not that much left to do. As Vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids and physical exercise are all promising factors in cancer reduction, various combinations of them were tried. Blood pressure, physical performance, cognition, fractures and infections were looked at. They were divided into 8 groups looking at placebo, training only, and then various combinations and single interventions.

Most groups showed no difference from placebo but the combination of vitamin D, omega 3s and training did. The number needed to treat to prevent one cancer over the three years was 53 which is considered pretty good. Researchers thought the outcome was good enough to recommend this to any one over 70 who was looking to improve their health."
Above words taken from here


Do please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Please note that articles within this blog are 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, you should contact your local health care provider.

All the best Jan

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Some Wildlife Photography To Make You Smile

From time to time we post something completely different …
Like these photographs from the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards


Jean Jacques Alcalay
Misleading African viewpoints 2
“Hippo yawning next to a heron standing on the back of another hippo”


Jennifer Hadley
Talk To The Fin!
“This was shot on the Falkland Islands.
These two gentoo penguins were hanging out on the beach
when one shook himself off and gave his mate the snub.”


Miroslav Srb.
Hello everyone
“I photographed raccoon on a Florida beach, where I fed him shrimps.
Then he thanked me like that.”


Martin Grace
Keep Calm and keep your head
“Two King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) at Volunteer Point in the Falklands. 
The right hand bird may have an inscrutable expression
but it must be wondering where its mate's head has gone.
Perhaps it is a Rudyard Kipling scholar:
'If you can keep your head when all about you.
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you ...”

~ xxx ooo xxx ~

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards was co-founded in 2015 by professional photographers Paul Joynson-Hicks MBE and Tom Sullam who wanted to create a competition that focused on the lighter side of wildlife photography and help promote wildlife conservation through humour.

This year, the competition is supporting Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) by donating 10% of its total net revenue to the charity. Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) is a UK fundraising and grant-giving charity, which supports conservation leaders working in their home countries across the Global South. Over 29 years we have channelled £20 million to more than 200 conservationists in 80 countries.

Read more, and see other, amazing photographs here

All the best Jan

Tuesday 13 December 2022

Reduce your Christmas stress, think RUDOLPH!

 

"Each year, it gets bigger, brighter, louder and more extravagant, but for some, Christmas isn't always considered the most wonderful time of the year! In fact, for many, Christmas can cause worry, stress and anxiety, with Samaritans reporting a huge increase in phone calls during the festive period.

In order to reduce your Christmas stress, think RUDOLPH!

Relationships! It's the time of year that brings everybody together, but with family gatherings can come arguments. It is worth accepting that there may be squabbles, whether it's over what to watch on telly or who drank the last of the sherry! Try to avoid causes of conflict. Steer clear of conversations that create tension, like the time Aunt Sally forgot to buy Nan a present in 1992!

Unconditional kindness! Help spread the Christmas cheer; random acts of kindness will not only bring joy to others, but will also make you feel good. Try to be grateful and happy, even if you get naf presents.

Delegate and share! Don't try and do everything yourself! Feeling like you've got 101 jobs to do can be extremely stressful, so give everyone something to do. Remember that sharing is caring, don't eat the whole tub of quality streets to yourself! Share the gift experience; things that you receive may also interest others. Remind the children to "let others have a go". Sharing toys and playing games is a great way of bringing people together.

Organise! Christmas can be a daunting prospect, with endless things to do. Preparation is the key to reducing anxiety. Buy presents and wrap them in advance. To avoid panic on the big day, create a schedule, for example what time family will be arriving and when the food needs to be cooked etc. Structuring the day slightly will help you feel more in control and ease with the overall running of the day! Plan an escape if things get too much, such as taking the dog for a walk. Christmas can be rather overwhelming, so take five minutes to get some fresh air and compose yourself!

Limits! Unlike Father Christmas, there is only so much you can do! It is easy to get carried away, buying too many presents, or, going over the top with the decorations, so it's important to know when to stop. Avoid the temptation to do or buy more, don't take laptops, tablets or other devices that enable you to internet shop, to bed, and make sure to sleep. Create a checklist of things that need to be done, and stick to it. Allow time for yourself to enjoy the day, you shouldn't always be busy!

Perfection! Remember that nobody is perfect and you may not always get it right. Whether the turkey is slightly over done, or you bought the wrong size slippers, it doesn't matter! It's the thought that counts!

Happiness! Have fun, that's what Christmas is all about! Try to put worries to the back of your mind. If it helps, write down the things that are bothering you and deal with them another day. Try to relax and be merry! If you are going to drink, do it wisely, there's no harm in enjoying a mince pie ... !"
Above words from article here

... don't mind if I do!
These low carb mince pies are tasty
see recipe/more details here


Christmas Recipe Suggestions
The Best Low Carb Christmas Pudding Ever …. well probably ! - see details here
Fruit Cake ... A Low Carb Alternative - learn more using this link 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, cartoons and recipes!

However, not all the recipe 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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Monday 12 December 2022

Poinsettia Day

One thing that is always part of Christmas in our house is the Poinsettia, at least one ... if not more, are purchased, and they do look so warm, cheerful and welcoming dotted around on tables, shelves etc. Of course there are many varieties available but for me my favourite is the wonderful RED ones, they are brilliant. We also have some cheery Father Christmas 'wooden' ornaments / decorations and they sit well together on the hall table ๐ŸŽ… 

What I didn't know about Poinsettias is that apparently each year on the 12th of December, people across the United States celebrate these most recognizable plants of the holidays on a special day, aptly named National Poinsettia Day.


Poinsettia plants are native to Central America, especially an area of southern Mexico known as 'Taxco del Alarcon' where they flower during the winter.

The poinsettia was made widely known because of a man called Joel Roberts Poinsett (that's why we call them Poinsettia!). He was the first Ambassador from the USA to Mexico in 1825. Poinsett had some greenhouses on his plantations in South Carolina, and while visiting the Taco area in 1828, he became very interested in the plants. He immediately sent some of the plants back to South Carolina, where he began growing the plants and sending them to friends and botanical gardens.

One of the friends he sent plants to was John Barroom of Philadelphia, who gave the plant to his friend, Robert Buist, a plants-man from Pennsylvania. Robert Buist was probably the first person to have sold the poinsettias under their botanical, or latin name, name 'Euphorbia pulcherrima' (it means, 'the most beautiful Euphorbia'). It is thought that they became known as Poinsettia in the mid 1830's when people found out who had first brought them to America from Mexico.

There is an old Mexican legend about how Poinsettias and Christmas come together, it goes like this:-

There was once a poor Mexican girl called Pepita who had no present to give the the baby Jesus at the Christmas Eve Services. As Pepita walked to the chapel, sadly, her cousin Pedro tried to cheer her up.
'Pepita', he said "I'm sure that even the smallest gift, given by someone who loves him will make Jesus Happy."

Pepita didn't know what she could give, so she picked a small handful of weeds from the roadside and made them into a a small bouquet. She felt embarrassed because she could only give this small present to Jesus. As she walked through the chapel to the altar, she remembered what Pedro had said. She began to feel better, knelt down and put the bouquet at the bottom of the nativity scene. Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into bright red flowers, and everyone who saw them were sure they had seen a miracle. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the 'Flores de Noche Buena', or 'Flowers of the Holy Night'.

The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red coloured leaves symbolize the blood of Christ. The white leaves represent his purity.

Do you have Poinsettias at Christmas  / the Holiday Season?

And talking about things coloured red
can I interest you in a tasty and warming bowl of
Roast Red Pepper & Tomato Soup
you can see more details/recipe here


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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan