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Monday, 30 May 2022

Keep your feet fit as you age !

Feet were made for walking, and it can be so enjoyable can't it. However, as we age many of us can experience problems with our feet, so it is important to take care of them. This article gives a few hints and tips.


'Fitter feet
Problems with your feet can stop you getting out and about. They can also affect your balance and increase the risk of falling. So it’s important to look after your feet, and report problems such as foot pain and decreased feeling to a healthcare professional.

How can I look after my feet
A simple foot routine will help keep your feet in good condition, including:
  • wearing suitable footwear
  • keeping your toenails short
  • regularly moisturising your feet
  • checking for cracked skin, blisters and signs of infection.
Which types of shoes are best for my feet
You may find that trainers or well-cushioned shoes are more comfortable than ordinary shoes and offer welcome support.

These footwear tips can help you feel more confident on your feet.
  • Always wear shoes or slippers. To avoid slips, never walk indoors in bare feet, socks or tights.
  • Wear shoes that fit well. High-sided shoes with low heels, thin soles and a good grip are a good choice.
  • Avoid wearing sandals and shoes with high heels.
  • Wear slippers that have a good grip and fasten up. Loose or worn out slippers may cause you to trip.
Where can I get my toenails clipped?
Good nail care can help to keep feet feeling comfortable. Nails that are too long can press against the end of the shoe and the constant pressure can cause soreness. Toenails that have been poorly cut can also become ingrown.

If you’re struggling to cut your own nails, ask a friend or family member for help. If that isn’t an option, in the UK many local 'Age UKs' offer toenail-cutting services. This service operates from a number of clinics.

Why should I get my feet checked?
Common problems like corns, cracked skin and ingrown toenails can be treated successfully. Conditions like diabetes or circulatory problems can all be picked up by looking at the feet.

If you have a long-term condition, such as diabetes, arthritis or chronic problems with blood circulation in your legs, your feet are particularly vulnerable. Check your feet regularly and ensure you attend check-ups as requested. If you notice any problems, report them to your doctor as soon as possible.

Where should I go to get my feet checked?
In the UK, if your foot condition affects your health or mobility, you may be able to have a routine chiropody appointment on the NHS. A chiropodist (also known as a podiatrist) can treat most common problems successfully. Contact your doctor to see if you are eligible for NHS treatment. You can also pay privately.'
Words above from article here
See also, Diabetes and Cold Feet, some possible causes and treatment - here


Please note 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.

A variety of articles and recipe ideas 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

Saturday, 28 May 2022

Take three low carb omelettes

Take three low carb omelettes, which one may you choose?
I think I may try all three ๐Ÿ˜‹
perhaps not all at once though!

Open omelette with ham and cheese
(For a vegetarian omelette, swap out spinach or mushrooms for ham)


Ingredients
Serves One
2 large eggs
salt and pepper
½ tbsp butter
¼ cup (1⁄10 oz.) fresh dill, parsley, or coriander, roughly chopped
3½ oz. smoked deli ham or deli turkey, roughly chopped
¾ oz. (3 tbsp) cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ tsp hot sauce or a pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
Instructions
can be seen here

Caprese Omelette
A piece of Italy in a bite!
 This omelette gives you all the flavours from a Caprese salad in a filling, but low-carb, omelette.


Ingredients
Serves Two
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 eggs
100 g cherry tomatoes cut in halves or tomato cut in slices
1 tablespoon fresh basil or dried basil
150 g fresh mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper
Instructions
can be seen here

Herb Omelette
so simple, so tasty, so low carb


Ingredients
Serves One
3 medium free-range eggs
1 tsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (such as fresh chives, dill and flat-leaf parsley)
Instructions
can be seen here

Related Post
Health Benefits of Eating Eggs - read it here


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

All the best Jan

Friday, 27 May 2022

'Is this the oldest tree in the world?'

A new study suggests that an ancient cypress in Chile may be the world’s oldest tree! The tree is in Chile’s Alerce Costero national park, and is known as the Great-Grandfather and could be more than 5,000 years old.


Fitzroya cupressoides in a forest at the Alerce Costero national park in Los Rios, Chile.
Undated photograph : Jonathan Barichivich

"Scientists in Chile believe that a conifer with a four-metre-thick trunk known as the Great-Grandfather could be the world’s oldest living tree, beating the current record-holder by more than 600 years.

A new study carried out by Dr Jonathan Barichivich, a Chilean scientist at the Climate and Environmental Sciences Laboratory in Paris, suggests that the tree, a Patagonian cypress, also known as the alerce milenario, could be up to 5,484 years old.

Maisa Rojas, who became Chile’s environment minister in March and is a member of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, hailed the news as a “marvellous scientific discovery”.

Known in Spanish as the alerce, the Patagonian cypress, Fitzroya cupressoides, is a conifer native to Chile and Argentina that belongs to the same family as giant sequoias and redwoods.

They grow incredibly slowly and can reach heights of up to 45 metres (150ft).

In 2020, Barichivich took a bore sample from the Alerce Milenario, a tree he would visit as a child, but the tool he used was not able to reach its core. He then used computer models to factor in environmental factors and random variation to pinpoint its age.

As he has not yet carried out a full count of its growth rings, Barichivich has not formally published his estimate in a journal, although he hopes to do so in the coming months. If his findings are proven, the Alerce Milenario would outstrip a 4,853-year-old bristlecone pine in California known as Methuselah, and now thought to be the oldest tree, by 600 years.

The Great-Grandfather towers over a cool, humid valley in the Alerce Costero national park, its gnarled crevices sheltering mosses, lichens and other plants. Visitors are still able to circle its base, which according to Barichivich is causing harm to the tree, along with climate change drying out the area.

Logging plantations cover more than 2.3m hectares of southern Chile, according to the country’s forestry institute, and cellulose production is a major industry for the country. Thirsty non-native pine and eucalyptus plantations make up 93% of this total area, threatening Chile’s native species. Between 1973 and 2011, more than 780,000 hectares of native forest were lost in Chile, and the forestry commission estimates that over the last two decades, between 60,000 and 70,000 hectares or native woodland has been destroyed each year."
Words and picture from article here
h/t Marks Daily Apple here

Do you have trees near to you? We have some very tall Monterey Pines and Oak trees, the squirrels certainly enjoy scampering up and down the Oaks, lovely to watch.

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. 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, 26 May 2022

Baked Aubergine / Eggplant Bruschetta ... One Pan Lower Carb and Vegetarian Recipe


How about this recipe for a weeknight dinner inspiration, it's Aubergine/Eggplant Bruschetta! This throw together one-pan wonder can be perfect for those mid-week dinners when you need something quick and easy.

Eat it as a vegetarian meal or just add some meat or fish … as always dear reader the choice is yours.

Ingredients
1 large aubergine/eggplant, cut lengthwise into 2 cm (1 inch) thick slices
Sea salt
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Cheese of choice - mozzarella, parmesan, cashew cheese
Handful of fresh basil
Bruschetta
250 g cherry tomatoes
1 small red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Method
1. Preheat oven to 400°F : 200°C : Gas Mark 6
2. Arrange aubergine/eggplants on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt.
3. Set aside while you put everything together - the salt will help absorb moisture which will allow the aubergine/eggplant to bake nicely.
4. To make your bruschetta mix, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix.
5. Drizzle both sides of the aubergine/eggplant with olive oil, top with cheese of choice and spoon bruschetta mix on top.
6. Bake aubergine/eggplant for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through and golden. Garnish with basil and serve warm.
From original recipe here


Aubergines/eggplants are full of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre! An excellent source of dietary fibre they are also a good source of Vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium. In addition it is high in the minerals copper, magnesium and manganese. A 100g serving of raw aubergine/eggplant provides: 25kcal 1g protein 0.2g fat 6g carbohydrate 3.4g fibre. Aubergines are high in fibre and low in fat and therefore recommended for those managing type 2 diabetes or managing weight concerns.
There is more to read about the health benefits of aubergines/eggplants here

Dear reader, you will find a variety of recipe ideas and articles 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. If you have any concerns about your health it is always advisable to consult your Doctor or health care team.

... and yes, unfortunately many of us are still having problems with leaving comments on some blogs, and others who comment find them going into the spam folder, when they are not spam! We find quite a few in there! It is very frustrating. I thank all of you that have commented and left suggestions on many recent posts, and I hope that blogger will sort out these problems soon. I first referred to these problems on this post here

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

PAUSE FOR THOUGHT ! 'Environmental toxins are worsening obesity pandemic (even intergenerational obesity)'

PAUSE FOR THOUGHT !


"Environmental toxins are worsening obesity pandemic, say scientists

Pollutants can upset body’s metabolic thermostat with some even causing obesity to be passed on to children

Chemical pollution in the environment is supersizing the global obesity epidemic, according to a major scientific review.

The idea that the toxins called “obesogens” can affect how the body controls weight is not yet part of mainstream medicine. But the dozens of scientists behind the review argue that the evidence is now so strong that it should be. “This is critical because the current clinical management of obese patients is woefully inadequate,” they said.

The most disturbing aspect of the evidence is that some chemical impacts that increase weight can be passed down through generations by changing how genes work. Pollutants cited by the researchers as increasing obesity include bisphenol A (BPA), which is widely added to plastics, as well as some pesticides, flame retardants and air pollution.

Global obesity has tripled since 1975, with more people now obese or overweight than underweight, and is increasing in every country studied. Almost 2 billion adults are now too heavy and 40 million children under five are obese or overweight.

“The focus of the clinical people is on calories – if you eat more calories, you’re going to be more fat,” says Dr Jerrold Heindel, lead author of one of the three review papers, and formerly at the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “So they wait until you get obese, then they’ll look at giving you diets, drugs, or surgery.

“If that really worked, we should see a decline in the rates of obesity,” he said. “But we don’t – obesity continues to rise, especially in children. The real question is, why do people eat more? The obesogenic paradigm focuses on that and provides data that indicate that these chemicals are what can do that.”

Furthermore, the scientists say, the approach offers the potential to prevent obesity by avoiding exposure to pollutants, especially in pregnant women and babies: “Prevention saves lives, while costing far less than any [treatment].”

Strong evidence
The evidence for obesogens is set out by more than 40 scientists in three review papers, published in the peer-reviewed journal Biochemical Pharmacology and citing 1,400 studies. They say these chemicals are everywhere: in water and dust, food packaging, personal hygiene products and household cleaners, furniture and electronics.

The review identifies about 50 chemicals as having good evidence of obesogenic effects, from experiments on human cells and animals, and epidemiological studies of people. These include BPA and phthalates, also a plastic additive. A 2020 analysis of 15 studies found a significant link between BPA levels and obesity in adults in 12 of them.

Other obesogens are pesticides, including DDT and tributyltin, former flame retardants and their newer replacements, dioxins and PCBs, and air pollution. Several recent studies link exposure to dirty air early in life to obesity.

The review also names PFAS compounds – so-called “forever chemicals” due to their longevity in the environment – as obesogens. These are found in food packaging, cookware, and furniture, including some child car seats. A two-year, randomised clinical trial published in 2018 found people with the highest PFAS levels regained more weight after dieting, especially women.

Some antidepressants are also well known to cause weight gain. “That is a proof of principle that chemicals made for one thing can have side effects that interfere with your metabolism,” said Heindel. Other chemicals with some evidence of being obesogens included some artificial sweeteners and triclosan, an antibacterial agent banned from some uses in the US in 2017.

How it works
Obesogens work by upsetting the body’s “metabolic thermostat”, the researchers said, making gaining weight easier and losing weight harder. The body’s balance of energy intake and expenditure through activity relies on the interplay of various hormones from fat tissue, the gut, pancreas, liver, and brain.

The pollutants can directly affect the number and size of fat cells, alter the signals that make people feel full, change thyroid function and the dopamine reward system, the scientists said. They can also affect the microbiome in the gut and cause weight gain by making the uptake of calories from the intestines more efficient.

“It turns out chemicals dumped in the environment have these side effects, because they make the cells do things that they wouldn’t otherwise have done, and one of those things is laying down fat,” said Prof Robert Lustig at the University of California, San Francisco, and lead author of another of the reviews.

The early years of child development are the most vulnerable to obesogens, the researchers wrote: “Studies showed that in utero and early-life exposures were the most sensitive times, because this irreversibly altered programming of various parts of the metabolic system, increasing susceptibility for weight gain.”

“We’ve got four or five chemicals that also will cause transgenerational epigenetic obesity,” said Heindel, referring to changes in the expression of genes that can be inherited. A 2021 study found that women’s level of obesity significantly correlated with their grandmothers’ level of exposure to DDT, even though their granddaughters were never directly exposed to the now banned-pesticide.

“People need to know that [obesogenic effects] are going on,” Lustig said. “Because it affects not just them, but their unborn children. This problem’s going to affect generation after generation until we get a hold of it.”

Cause and effect
Directly proving a causal link between a hazard and a human health impact is difficult for the simple reason that it is not ethical to perform harmful experiments on people. But strong epidemiological evidence can stack up to a level equivalent to proof, such as with tobacco smoking and lung cancer.

Lustig said that point had been reached for obesogens, 16 years after the term was first coined. “We’ll never have randomised control trials – they would be illegal and unethical. But we now have the proof for obesogens and obesity.”

The obesogen paradigm has not been taken up by mainstream researchers so far. But Prof Barbara Corkey, at Boston University School of Medicine and past president of the Obesity Society, said: “The initial worldview was that obesity is caused by eating too much and exercising too little. And this is nonsense.

“It’s not the explanation because all of the creatures on Earth, including humans, eat when they’re hungry and stop when they are full. Every cell in the body knows if you have enough food,” she said. “Something has disrupted that normal sensing apparatus and it is not volition.

“People who are overweight and obese go to tremendous extremes to lose weight and the diet industry has fared extremely well,” Corky said. “We’ve learned that doesn’t work. When the medical profession doesn’t understand something, we always blame patients and unfortunately, people are still being held responsible for [obesity].”

Lustig said: “Gluttony and sloth are just the outward manifestations of these biochemical perturbations that are going on beneath the surface.”

Super-sized
How much of the obesity pandemic may be caused by obesogens is not known, though Heindel said they will have an “important role”.

Lustig said: “If I had to guess, based on all the work and reading I’ve done, I would say obesogens will account for about 15% to 20% of the obesity epidemic. But that’s a lot.” The rest he attributes to processed food diets, which themselves contain some obesogens.

“Fructose is a primary driver of a lot of this,” he said. “It partitions energy to fat in the liver and is a prime obesogen. Fructose would cause obesity even if it didn’t have calories.” A small 2021 trial found that an ultra-processed diet caused more weight gain than an unprocessed diet, despite containing the same calories in the meals offered to participants.

Cutting exposure to obesogens is difficult, given that there are now 350,000 synthetic chemicals, many of which are pervasive in the environment. But those known to be harmful can be removed from sale, as is happening in Europe.

Heindel said prospective mothers in particular could adjust what they eat and monitor what their children play with in their early years: “Studies have shown modifying diets can within a week or so cause a significant drop in several obesogens.”

Lustig said: “This cause is very pervasive and pernicious, and it’s also lucrative to a lot of [chemical] companies. But we must address it rationally.” To do that, the “knowledge gap” among doctors, regulators and policymakers must be addressed, the scientists said.

“It’s time now that [obesity researchers and clinicians] should start paying attention and, if they don’t think the data is strong enough, tell us what more to do,” said Heindel, who is organising a conference to tackle this issue.

Corkey is yet to be fully convinced by the obesogen paradigm, but said the concept of an environmental toxin is probably the right direction to go in. “Is there proof? No, there is not,” she said. “It’s a very difficult problem, because the number of chemicals in our environment has just astronomically increased.

“But there’s no alternative hypothesis that to me makes any sense and I would certainly challenge anyone who has a better, testable idea to come forth with it,” she said. “Because this is a serious problem that is impacting our societies enormously, especially children. The problems are getting worse, not better – we’re going in the wrong direction as it stands.”

This article was amended on 20 May 2022. An earlier version referred to a small 2021 trial that found an ultra-processed diet caused more weight gain than an unprocessed diet, and said that both diets contained the same calories. To clarify: the meals offered for both diets contained the same calories, but participants could choose how much of each meal they consumed."

Words and image above from article here
H/t Marks Daily Apple here

~ thank-you for reading, do please share your thoughts in the comments ~


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

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Three Lower Carb Recipe Choices : Chicken or Pork or Vegan Option

Chicken Thighs Pan Roasted with a Chive Cream Sauce


I just don't think you can beat chicken, and in particular chicken thighs.
This is such a tasty recipe idea - could be a mid-week hit - see what you think.

Ingredients
Serves Four
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Yellow (white) Onion
1/4 Cup Dry White Wine (use whatever white wine you enjoy drinking for this, a chardonnay is nice)
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Cup Chicken Stock
1/2 Cup Heavy (double) Cream
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Chives
(Kosher) Salt + Black Pepper
Instructions
and more here

Pork Loin Steaks with Mozzarella Cheese


I do like to include Pork in my weekly menu plans.
With so many ways to cook and enjoy it, it's a winner.
How about this recipe suggestion.

Ingredients
Serves Four
4 lean thick pork loin steaks (about 2cm (1in) thickness)
50g (2oz) mozzarella cheese or similar, thickly sliced into 4
8 fresh sage leaves
4 slices Parma style ham or streaky bacon
salt and ground black pepper
Instructions
and more here

Swede/Rutabaga Mash-Pot with Greens, Mushrooms and Tempeh


For those who prefer a meatless meal.
How about this colourful plate of food.
Have a look at the recipe, you may like to give it a try.

Ingredients
Serves 2-3
300-400 gram swede/rutabaga or cauliflower, chopped
a few tablespoons of unsweetened plant milk or cooking cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons oil, separated
1 leek, in half rings (you can substitute onion or spring onion)
250 gram button mushrooms, sliced
300 gram raw escarole or lettuce (or boiled kale), shredded
200 gram tempeh, cubed small
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Instructions
and more here

If you need help with weight, measurement conversion please see 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.

All the best Jan

Monday, 23 May 2022

'Lettuce is the most common cause linked with food poisoning - How you can lower that risk'


Here in the Northern Hemisphere the summer months are on the horizon and for many of us that means looking forward to
salad days. I know Eddie and I enjoy eating them and there are so many different salad ingredients you can use. However, unfortunately, with salad and lettuce being such a basic ingredient of them comes the worry of food poisoning, and with that in mind I share an article from Cathe Friedrich which I'm sure you will find interesting and helpful.

She writes:
"Lettuce is a basic ingredient of a salad and you have so many varieties to choose from! Once you’ve made your selection, add an array of fruits and vegetables, toss them in dressing, and get your five a day in short order. Yet, there’s something about that salad that might surprise you and take your appetite as well. Lettuce is the most common food linked with food-borne illness. In fact, leafy greens have been linked with 22% of the outbreaks of food poisoning in the last ten years.

It hasn’t always been this way. Years ago, leafy greens were involved in far fewer outbreaks of food poisoning. If there is a bright spot with regard to greens and food poisoning, leafy vegetables, including lettuce, aren’t linked with the most deaths due to food poisoning. Poultry holds that distinction. Still, falling ill after eating veggies, even if they don’t die, isn’t something most people want to experience.

Just recently, a national outbreak of food poisoning was traced to romaine lettuce. During the outbreak, about 200 people became ill and 5 died. The source of the outbreak was irrigation water contaminated with bacteria.

Is Bagged Lettuce a High Risk?
Why are lettuce and leafy greens a potentially high-risk food? The biggest risk comes from bagged lettuce, the type neatly packaged into clear cellophane bags and sold as ready to serve. Often these packages contain a variety of types of lettuce and some are mixed with other ingredients like herbs.

According to British researchers, lettuce in bags may be at particularly high risk for harbouring bacteria that cause food-borne illness – but why? Once you cut and chop lettuce leaves and place them into plastic bags, the damaged leaves continue to release moisture and the moisture accumulates in the bag. The researchers found after testing the liquid in these bags that, over time, the water becomes a breeding ground for Salmonella bacteria. What’s more the water coats the lettuce leaves, and this creates sticky conditions that make it harder to wash off the bacteria.

You sometimes see packages of lettuce and leafy greens that say “triple washed.” These give a false sense of security that you’re getting lettuce that’s free of harmful bacteria. Even if the lettuce was washed beforehand, the water released from the damaged leaves encourages the growth of any bacteria that are remaining. It’s almost impossible to remove all bacteria even if the lettuce was washed before it was packaged.

Lettuce is at High-Risk Food in Terms of Food Poisoning Risk
The problem with lettuce and leafy greens is there are so many opportunities for it to become contaminated with bacteria. Lettuce can pick up bacteria from the soil, the water used to irrigate it, or during harvest. While still on the farm, animals, birds, and farmers themselves can contaminate it.

Once lettuce arrives at the factory and workers prepare it for packaging, there are other opportunities for contamination. As the lettuce is cut, prepped, and packaged, water is released and some of it sticks to the inside of the packaging, creating a fertile environment for bacteria to grow and flourish.

What about those “triple washed” packages? Some sources say you should wash them again at home, despite the triple washing, but the FDA recommends NOT doing that as they’ve already been washed in an approved facility that’s likely cleaner than the inside of the average kitchen. Washing them in an unclean environment might contaminate them if they weren’t already.

Tips for Lowering Your Risk
Avoid buying pre-packaged leafy greens and lettuce whenever possible. The risk is higher with these than with loose leafy greens. If you buy pre-packaged greens, look for ones that have no moisture in the bag and aren’t damaged or discoloured.

Keep leafy greens dry and refrigerated, although this won’t necessarily stop the growth of all bacteria. If the package has a “use by” date, toss it at that time if you haven’t eaten it. Even better, eat it before its expiration date, so there’s less of a chance for bacteria to grow.

Take measures to prevent cross-contamination. If you prepare salad and meat in the same area, it’s easy for bacteria from the uncooked meat to get into the salad you’re making. Always use a separate chopping board and utensils for each.

Be as cautious with organic greens as with conventional ones. Just because something was grown organically doesn’t mean it’s not contaminated with bacteria. Many people somehow think organic food is “cleaner” but the evidence doesn’t support this.

If you’re pregnant, over the age of 65, pregnant or have a weakened immune system, avoid buying bagged lettuce and greens as your risk of developing food poisoning complications is greater.

Also, keep your gut microbiome as healthy and diverse as possible. Some studies suggest that a diverse microbiome may lower the risk of food poisoning. Healthy gut bacteria compete for the same resources as bacteria that cause food poisoning. If you have a large population of “good guys” in your gut, bacteria that cause food poisoning are less likely to gain a foothold in your gut. The best way to keep your gut microbiome healthy and diverse is to eat a variety of foods high in fibre, particularly non-starchy fruits and vegetables.

Avoid eating lettuce from salad bars and at restaurants where you don’t know how the greens were handled or whether they came from a package or not. Also avoid eating sprouts, as they’re a common cause of food poisoning outbreaks. If you become ill after eating lettuce or greens, report it to your local health department, so they can trace the source.

The Bottom Line
Keep eating those leafy greens! They’re too healthy not too. But, take precautions to lower your risk of food poisoning. A brush with food poisoning can do more than make you sick to your stomach. Some people develop serious complications or die. So, be cautious about where the greens you’re putting on your plate come from.

References:
Berkeley Wellness. “How Safe Is Your Bagged Salad?”
WebMD.com. “E. Coli Outbreak Tied to Romaine Lettuce Grows”"

~~ xxxx ~~

Although concerning I will certainly keep the tips and information in mind but will continue to enjoy salad days and leafy greens ... how about you? 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. If you have any concerns about your health it is always advisable to consult your Doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Gin and Lime Truffles : Deliciously Luxurious : A Nice Gift


Do you like truffles? I do, they are a nice treat every now and again, but the trick is only to eat one, well maybe two, but certainly not too many! The Chocolate truffles on this post here are delicious. The ones featured on this current post are even more deliciously luxurious, because they are made even more tempting by a dash of gin and lime! With only a few ingredients, they are easy to make and can make a very nice gift/present. As this recipe contains gin, it is not suitable for children.

Ingredients
makes 20 truffles
100g/3½oz dark chocolate, (the 70-85%) broken into pieces
2 tbsp double (heavy) cream
50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces
2 tbsp gin
½ lime, zest and juice only
cocoa powder, to dust

Method
1. Put a heatproof bowl on top of a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Put the chocolate in the bowl with the cream and heat gently to allow the chocolate to melt.
2. Add the butter (cut the butter up in quite small pieces because you want it to melt quite quickly). Give it a stir just to make sure all the butter is melted into the chocolate mixture. Keep stirring until all the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy.
3. Add the gin, lime zest and juice. Whisk the ingredients together until smooth and slightly thickened. Spoon into a seal-able container, put on the lid and chill overnight in the fridge.
4. Take teaspoonfuls of the mixture and roll them into balls. Put on a plate lined with baking parchment and chill for an hour or so.
5. Sieve the cocoa into a bowl and roll the truffles in it to cover.

Notes/Tips
These sweets, like most truffles, have several extensive chilling periods, so make sure you leave enough time when making them.
Delicious and filling - best not to eat too many!
From original recipe here
Need help with weight/measurement conversion, see 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 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. If you have any concerns about your health it is always advisable to consult your Doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Friday, 20 May 2022

'Nature Always Works'

"Living Near Greenery Could Give You a Brain Boost—and Reduce Dementia Risk

Study finds middle-aged women exposed to more green space may benefit from
higher cognitive function, slower mental decline, and reduced depression

Photo Credit Marcus Lindstrom

Relaxing in a shady yard (or garden) with trees gently swaying overhead might not just be good for your spirit—it could also be good for your brain. A new Boston University School of Public Health–led study has found that living in an area bursting with green space is associated with higher overall cognitive function in middle-aged women, as well as better mental processing speed and attention. Cognitive function at middle age is considered a strong predictor of whether a person may develop dementia later in life.

According to the researchers, who studied nearly 14,000 women with an average age of 61, the link between greenery and cognitive function might be explained by a reduction in depression, a risk factor for dementia. The findings, which were published in JAMA Network Open, bolster previous research that has linked exposure to parks, community gardens, and other greenery with improved mental health.

“Some of the primary ways that nature may improve health is by helping people recover from psychological stress and by encouraging people to be outside socializing with friends, both of which boost mental health,” says study lead author Marcia Pescador Jimenez, an SPH assistant professor of epidemiology. “This study is among the few to provide evidence that green space may benefit cognitive function in older ages. Our findings suggest that green space should be investigated as a potential population-level approach to improve cognitive function.”

Lessons for Policymakers and Urban Planners
During the study, Pescador Jimenez and her colleagues measured psychomotor speed, attention, learning, and working memory among primarily white women. The women were participants in the Nurses’ Health Study II, the second of three studies that are among the largest investigations into the risk factors for chronic diseases among women in the United States.

Adjusting for age, race, and individual and neighbourhood socioeconomic status, the researchers found that green space exposure—which they estimated using a satellite image–based metric called the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index—was associated with psychomotor speed and attention, but not learning or working memory.

They also examined the potential roles of air pollution and physical activity in explaining the association between green space and cognitive function, and they were surprised to only find evidence of depression as a mediating factor.

“We theorize that depression might be an important mechanism through which green space may slow down cognitive decline, particularly among women, but our research is ongoing to better understand these mechanisms,” Pescador Jimenez says. “Based on these results, clinicians and public health authorities should consider green space exposure as a potential factor to reduce depression, and thus, boost cognition. Policymakers and urban planners should focus on adding more green space in everyday life to improve cognitive function.”

In a new project funded by the National Institute on Aging, Pescador Jimenez will apply deep learning algorithms to Google Street View images to better understand which specific elements of greenery, such as trees or grass, could be the driving factors for health.

The researchers also hope that their study is replicated among other racial/ethnic populations.

“The distribution of green spaces in cities is not uniform,” says Pescador Jimenez. “Increasing everyday access to vegetation across vulnerable groups in urban cities is a crucial next step to achieve health equity.”

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, and also included researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Rush Medical College."
Words and picture above from here
h/t Marks Daily Apple here

There have been quite a few studies and articles recently about the benefits from being outside enjoying nature. For example 'Birdsong Makes You Feel Good In Nature' - read it here and 'Time In Nature is Priceless' - read it here
I know I enjoy time spent outside and away from social media, it's wonderful to enjoy a walk, to be outside and to take time to enjoy the world around us.
I am hoping that the weather this weekend will be good and a lovely walk in some Spring sunshine can be enjoyed ...

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. 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, 19 May 2022

Lollipops made with Parmesan Cheese and Poppy Seeds


Parmesan and Poppy seed lollipops

"Put away those toasted nuts and crisps says Lorraine Pascale ... Canapรฉs have reached a whole new dimension!

Equipment and preparation
You will need 10 white round lollipop sticks, a round 9cm/3½in chefs’ ring or cookie cutter and two baking trays.

Ingredients
makes ten
butter, for greasing
80g/3oz Parmesan, finely grated (or similar alternative vegetarian hard cheese)
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7, line two large baking trays with baking paper and grease them with butter.
2. Toss the cheese and seeds together in a small bowl. Sit a 9cm/3½in chefs’ ring or cookie cutter on one of the baking trays and sprinkle a small handful of the cheese mixture into it, in a thin layer. Carefully lift the ring off to reveal a neat-edged disc of Parmesan and lay a lollipop stick on top, with the tip of the stick touching the middle of the disc.
3. Repeat with the remaining cheese and sticks to make 10 in total (leaving about 3cm/1¼in spaces between them to allow for any spreading during cooking).
4. You should have a little Parmesan left over, so use it to cover up the part of the lollipop stick resting on the disc.
5. Bake in the oven for five minutes, swapping the lollipops to a different shelf halfway through. The cheese should be lightly golden-brown and bubbling.
6. Remove from the oven and slide the paper off the baking trays and onto a rack to help speed up cooling. Leave to cool for 1–2 minutes, or until the lollipops have become crisp. Very carefully remove each one with a palette knife. I like to serve these stuck upright into a box with holes in the top."

Why not give these lollipops a try ... they're certainly different!

Dear reader, 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.

... and yes, unfortunately many of us are still having problems with leaving comments on some blogs, and others who comment find them going into the spam folder! It is very frustrating. I thank all of you that have commented and left suggestions on many recent posts, and I hope that blogger will sort out these problems soon, refer to this post here

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

The Ducks Seem To Enjoy It !

Recently in Southern England we've had a mixed bag of weather, sunshine, rain and thunderstorms. I'm not one for going out in thunderstorms but a shower of rain provided you're dressed appropriately can be quite enjoyable, and it always makes me smile to see young ones out in their wellie boots splashing in puddles, they have such fun it almost makes me join in !

Of course when we do go out and 'brave the weather' to enjoy a walk around a local town, it's sometimes nice to pop into a tea or coffee shop for a warm break. So just recently with walking shoes and waterproofs on off we went. In fact we enjoyed a nice walk and some friendly hello's with people we met en-route. What struck me was the number of people who said 'it's lovely weather for ducks' which made me think where did this saying originate ... and I wonder if ducks do like rain?


these two didn't seem to mind


although shouldn't a duck like this be in babies bath ?
it looks a happy duck though ๐Ÿ˜Š

Apparently the expression, lovely weather for ducks, (or one similar), has been in use from the first half of the 19th century. Given its humorous usage it may just be derived from a common reference to the common sight of ducks at ease in the rain... but there could be another explanation, if you should know of one do please share your thoughts in the comments.

I wonder, what's the weather been doing where you live?
Would you be like us enjoying a warming cuppa or would it be a cooling lemonade?

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Green Vegetables So Healthy : With Beef, Fish or Salad

Growing up I can remember my dear Mum used to say 'eat your greens, they are good for you' and she was right because "leafy green vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre but low in calories. Eating a diet rich in leafy greens can offer numerous health benefits including reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and mental decline." more to read here

With green vegetables in mind I share three low carb recipes which use beef, fish or salad. I wonder will you have a favourite from these three? Do please share your thoughts in the comments ... thankyou ๐Ÿ˜Š

Winter Green Casserole
During cooler months, you just cannot beat a casserole.
The meat is always tender, and the vegetables with the various seasonings,
herbs and gravy/stock just combine together and the taste is simply gorgeous.
The other bonus is the sense of the taste you also get as the glorious aroma wafts through the kitchen

have all your cooking ingredients ready



Winter Green Beef Casserole
Serves 2 / 3
Ingredients
.450kg casserole steak, diced
1 green pepper
1 leek, trimmed
2 (medium sized) courgettes / zucchini
mushrooms, a handful 4 - 6
salt and black pepper for seasoning
mixed herbs
gravy / stock (of choice) about 3/4 pint (to cover meat etc.)
White cabbage to accompany dish
Instructions
can be seen here

Hake (or Cod) fish in green sauce with asparagus
A tasty and simple dish covered in a creamy green sauce made with fresh herbs.
Try this healthy, low-carb, high-protein dish.
Ingredients
Serves Two
Green sauce
5 tsp olive oil
½ (3½ oz.) avocado
2 tbsp lemon juice
½ oz. (4⁄5 cup) fresh parsley
½ oz. (4⁄5 cup) fresh cilantro
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Hake (or Cod) and asparagus
2 tbsp olive oil
9 oz. green asparagus
12 oz. hake fish or cod, boneless fillets
Instructions
can be seen here


Green Salad ... the Mary Berry Way !
When it comes to salads there is so much variety to choose from and really it's up to you how you want to serve them. You can dress them up, make them simple, make them fancy, make them rainbow … so many choices. Now if you should be looking for a nice green salad recipe let Mary Berry help you ...

Ingredients
serves ten
For the dill dressing
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
8 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
8 celery sticks, thinly sliced
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
½ large cucumber, halved lengthways and sliced
200g/7oz mixed salad leaves, roughly torn
1 Romaine lettuce, roughly torn
100g/3½oz rocket or watercress, roughly torn
Instructions
can be seen here

I do hope you like these three recipe suggestions. When you look through this blog you will see a variety of recipe ideas, 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.

Notes:
Update on the blogger problems and commenting. Like me I know many of you are still experiencing problems with leaving comments on some (not all) blogs, it is very frustrating. I thank all of you that have commented and left suggestions on previous posts. I hope that blogger will sort it out soon, refer to this post here

All the best Jan

Monday, 16 May 2022

Top Gun and other 16 May facts - plus how about a slice of low carb birthday cake !

It seems no matter where I look on news and social media people are talking about the film Top Gun, and I'm doing so too! ๐Ÿ˜€ The original film directed by Tony Scott and starring Tom Cruise, first premiered on 16 May 1986 and of course the new Top Gun 'Maverick' premier's this month in 2022. In fact here in the UK the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) will join the actor Tom Cruise for his U.K. premiere of Top Gun: Maverick on May 19 in London's Leicester Square. Will we see Kate in full Hollywood glamour? She certainly glittered in gold for the James Bond premiere last September. The date is close so we haven't got long to find out ๐Ÿ˜Š



But how about these facts:
May 16th is also known as Drawing Day and Sea Monkey Day.

Yes, today is a special day where we can all release our amazing imagination and share it with the world. That’s because today is National Drawing Day. So take out your pencils and paper and unleash your inner artist!

For some of us, sea monkeys may have been our very first pets. They may never have ended up growing into anything like the creatures on the box, but that didn’t matter. We had our imagination to help us! Sea Monkey Day is a day to reflect on these glorious childhood years, or even to relive them!

May 16th, this day marks the 136th day of 2022, and there’s another 229 days to go. (At this rate we'll soon be thinking about Christmas!!!)

Back on 16 May 2006, The Apple MacBook was released.

Going back a little further to 1966 on the 16th May The Beach Boys released their album “Pet Sounds,” featuring the hit single “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” One of my favourite groups ๐Ÿ˜Š

Even further back ... in 1920, on 16 May, Pope Benedict XV canonized Joan of Arc.
The canonization ceremony was attended by more than 60,000 people, including 140 of Joan of Arc's family's descendants. Joan of Arc is the patron saint of martyrs, prisoners, soldiers, and France. Her Feast Day is May 30.

The above are just a few trivia facts about the 16th May, there are some more here

No, it isn't my birthday, but you may be celebrating your birthday on this day. If you are I wish you a happy day and how about a slice of low carb birthday cake ๐Ÿ˜‹


It's a gluten-free (Sugar-free, Low Carb, Keto) birthday cake recipe. It's rich and moist and no-one will guess it's low carb and sugar-free. It's easy to make with just ten ingredients!

Cake
1 cup Erythritol
3/4 cup Butter (softened)
8 large Eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp. Vanilla extract
3 cups almond flour
1/2 cup Coconut flour
1 1/2 tbsp. Gluten-free baking powder
Cream cheese frosting
32 oz. Cream cheese (softened)
1/3 cup Butter (softened)
2/3 cup Powdered erythritol (adjust to taste; regular granulated *not* recommended)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
chopped pecans (optional) if desired to decorate.

For cooking instructions and full details please see here
If you need help with weight / measurement conversion this should help, see here

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