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Thursday 30 May 2024

Low Carb/Keto On A Budget

We are all finding our weekly shopping bill is getting higher and higher. When it comes to living a low carb/keto lifestyle many people believe this type of diet has to be expensive. Yes, some low-carb foods are expensive, BUT not all. You don’t need expensive ingredients. You can eat totally delicious and healthy low-carb meals that are super cheap.

There are many things you can do straight away to save money. Below you can read tips on planning and shopping, and I hope you find them helpful.


1. Plan
Planning your low carb meals and shopping is a great way to ensure meals are organized for the week ahead. You get to buy only what you need, and you won’t be relying on emergency takeaways. See what’s in your pantry and fridge already, then plan meals that will use these ingredients to stop food wastage.

Planning shopping lists helps you stop unnecessary spending and impulse purchases. Did you know that each week many of us spend on average 17% of our grocery budget on impulse purchases!

Also, bargain deals may appear to be good value. But naturally you save even more if you don’t buy additional foods at all.

Make a shopping list, and stick to it. Preferably only buy the things you need.

Shop
Buy cheaper alternatives! Some low carb foods are ridiculously expensive, but there are plenty of cheaper options which are just as delicious, simple and healthy.
  • Buy regular cheese, not specialty cheeses that can be pricey. Don’t buy pre­shredded/grated cheese, buy in bulk and shred/grate it yourself.
  • Make your own coleslaw and avoid expensive ready-made coleslaw. Coleslaw is incredibly easy and cheap to make yourself in your food processor.
  • Buy simple meats, not specialty cooked meats from the deli. Cooked meat can be great for a quick simple meal, but stick to the less exotic and cheaper meat such as cooked roast beef or chicken drumsticks.
  • Put back the kale that can cost a fortune and buy other leafy greens that are just as nutritious but much cheaper.
  • Stop buying nuts because they can soon add up, especially macadamias. Walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts are cheaper alternatives or stop buying them altogether. 
  • Buy almond meal, not almond flour which can be expensive. Almond meal is cheaper and interchangeable in most recipes. You can even make your own ground almonds in your coffee grinder.
  • Buy avocado oil not avocados when they are out of season and expensive.
  • Buy frozen or canned fish rather than fresh which can be a real budget breaker, especially salmon. Canned tuna and mackerel are cheap handy snacks to have in the pantry.

Buy the best quality you can afford
Organic vegetables have less pesticides, grass fed meat has superior nutrition and free range eggs are nutritious but expensive. Unfortunately these are simply out of the reach for those who need help the most, and who are living to a strict grocery budget.

For someone living on a diet of sodas, fries and fast food, swapping to regular eggs, regular vegetables and regular meat will still have an enormous impact on their health. The single most important factor to improve your health, is to cook from scratch, at home.

Buy free range eggs as often as your budget will allow, but regular eggs will still be a better breakfast option than high­-sugar cereals.

Buy in season
Buy in season and eat in season. Many vegetables can be bought when they are cheap and frozen. There are many cheap low-­carb ­freezer staples such as berries, spinach and cauliflower which are just as nutritious as fresh but much cheaper.

Buy bargains
Buy cheaper store brands, buy discounted food near its expiry date, buy misshapen vegetables, buy food with damaged packaging, buy from your local farmer’s market, and buy regular food not specialty foods from the deli counter.

Buy in bulk
Find a local butcher, and buy in bulk. Buy canned and frozen goods when they are discounted. Buying in bulk often attracts extra discounts and you know you will have a pantry and freezer full of ingredients just waiting to be turned into a meal.

Buy organ meat
Organ meat is incredibly cheap and very nutritious. I know it's not everyone's favourite but liver gram for gram provides more nutrients than almost any other type of meat. If you don’t like eating liver, use it diced finely in a dish such as chilli to bulk up the ground beef. Liver is cheap and incredibly nutritious.

Buy cheaper cuts of meat
Don’t buy the expensive lean meats, buy the cheaper fatty ground meat, buy the fatty pork chops, and buy the cheap chicken that still has the skin on.

Buy the cheap casserole/stewing meat and learn to love your slow cooker. It will transform cheap cuts of meat into tender meat and a tasty meal.

Find a local butcher who sells pork skins to make your own crackling which is a perfect low carb snack.

Use bones from a roast dinner or from the butcher to make bone broth.

xxx ooo xxx

I do hope you find these tips helpful, and if you have any do please share them in the comments.

You may like to read the article on Diet Doctor site 'How to make a low-carb or keto diet cheaper' where the above words and more can be seen, find it here

There is a related post, 'Introduction to low-carb for beginners' which can be read here

All the best Jan

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Summer vegetable and butter bean stew : A slow cooker recipe


'A slow cooker is the pinnacle of low-maintenance cooking. Place the ingredients inside, turn it on, and let it cook. Your only thought is how delicious that meal is going to taste.'
Read more about slow cookers here

This recipe is an easy-going, vegan/vegetarian, slow-cooked summer vegetable stew. Serve as a main course with crusty bread to mop up the juices, or as a warm salad along with other sharing plates.

Ingredients
Serves 2/3
2 red, orange or yellow peppers, roughly diced
1 small courgette (zucchini), diced
½ aubergine (eggplant), diced
1 small red onion, finely sliced
1 small fennel bulb (or ½ a large one), finely sliced
3 large ripe tomatoes, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
small handful fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped, or ½ tsp dried oregano
15g/½oz basil, plus extra small leaves to serve
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
60g/2¼oz marinated olives in oil
400g tin butter beans, drained
1 tbsp sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh bread, to serve
(some low carb bread recipe suggestions here)

Method
1. Preheat the slow cooker to high.
2. Add all the chopped veg to the slow cooker pot and stir in the garlic, oregano, half the basil and the olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper, cover with the lid and cook for 2 hours.
3. Stir in the olives, butter beans and vinegar and cook for another 15–20 minutes until the veg is all tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir through the remaining basil.
4. Finish with a scattering of small basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with fresh bread.
From original idea here

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

Some readers may also be interested in seeing these two slow cooker recipes
Chicken Casserole recipe here
Beef Stew recipe here

Dear reader, this blog is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. You will find a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, cartoons, 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. 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 28 May 2024

Vitamin B12 : Signs and Symptoms of Deficiency


Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Even though the vitamin is found in many foods, B12 insufficiency and deficiency are relatively common. Low B12 symptoms can vary from physical to psychological.

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that your body needs for processes like DNA synthesis, energy production, and central nervous system function.

Studies suggest that up to 20% of people over the age of 60 in the United States and the United Kingdom are deficient in the vitamin. This is often due to limited dietary intake, malabsorption, medical conditions, or the use of B12-depleting medications.

Because the ability to absorb B12 from food declines with age, deficiency is more common in older adults. Still, that doesn’t mean children and younger adults, including those who are pregnant and nursing, can’t develop B12 deficiency. 

B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed, often due to inadequate laboratory testing or because the symptoms are not specific.

Here are nine of the most commonly reported symptoms related to B12 deficiency 

1. Fatigue
If you’re low or deficient in B12, you’ll likely feel fatigued. Your body’s cells need B12 to function properly. As such, having inadequate B12 levels can decrease normal red blood cell production, which can impair oxygen delivery.

2. Pale or yellow skin
Like the condition called iron deficiency anaemia, anaemia related to B12 deficiency may make your skin pale due to a lack of fully-matured, healthy red blood cells in the body. B12 deficiency can also cause a condition called jaundice, which makes your skin and the whites of your eyes take on a yellowish colour due to high levels of bilirubin.

3. Headaches
Headaches are among the most commonly reported symptoms related to B12 deficiency in both adults and children.

4. Depressive symptoms
B12 deficiency is associated with a greater risk of developing depression. Having low levels of B12 can cause elevated levels of a sulphur-containing amino acid called homocysteine. In turn, this may contribute to the development of depression by increasing oxidative stress, DNA damage, and cell death in the body.

5. Gastrointestinal issues
A B12 deficiency may also cause diarrhoea, nausea, constipation, bloating, gas, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. These issues can affect both adults and children.

6. Difficulty concentrating and mental impairment
Because a deficiency in B12 negatively impacts the central nervous system, people with low or deficient B12 levels may feel foggy-headed and have difficulty concentrating and completing tasks. Many studies have associated low B12 levels with worsened mental function in older adults. Fortunately, studies show that mental impairment related to low B12 levels can improve with B12 treatment.

7. Pain and inflammation of the mouth and tongue
Glossitis is a medical term that refers to an inflamed, red, and painful tongue. It can be caused by a B12 deficiency. In people with this deficiency, glossitis can appear alongside stomatitis, which is characterized by sores and inflammation in the mouth.

8. Paraesthesia in hands and feet
Many adults and children who have B12 deficiency report experiencing paraesthesia, a burning or pins-and-needles sensation in certain areas of the body like the hands and feet.

Unfortunately, this symptom of B12 deficiency overlaps with symptoms related to diabetic neuropathy — nerve damage caused by high blood sugar that can cause pain and numbness in the extremities.

People with diabetes taking metformin are at a higher risk of developing B12 deficiency because this medication can reduce vitamin B12 absorption in the body.

So, a B12 deficiency could be misdiagnosed as peripheral neuropathy in people with diabetes.

As a result, many experts recommend that people taking metformin regularly get screened for vitamin B12 deficiency.

9. Other signs and symptoms of B12 deficiency
In addition to the symptoms above, B12 deficiency may lead to the following:

Muscle cramps and muscle weakness: B12 deficiency negatively impacts motor and sensory nerve function, which can cause muscle cramps and weakness.

Impaired coordination: Ataxia, or impaired balance and coordination, is a neurological symptom that can be caused by B12 deficiency. As such, a person with B12 deficiency may have difficulty walking and balancing
.

Erectile dysfunction: Men with B12 deficiency may experience erectile dysfunction as a result of increased levels of homocysteine in the body.

Vision disturbances: B12 deficiency may cause vision disturbances, possibly due to damage to the optic nerve.

How is B12 deficiency detected and treated?
Because vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms aren’t specific to the condition, it may go undetected or get misdiagnosed.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is important to discuss them with a healthcare professional.

This is especially relevant if you:
  • follow a restrictive diet, like a vegan diet
  • are over the age of 60
  • are pregnant or nursing
  • have a medical condition that can deplete B12 levels
  • take a B12-depleting medication, like metformin or proton pump inhibitors
In addition to learning about your symptoms and giving you a physical exam, a healthcare professional can rule out a B12 deficiency by ordering various blood tests. If you are diagnosed with too low B12 levels, your healthcare professional will recommend the most appropriate treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is the fastest way to fix B12 deficiency?

Treatment of B12 deficiency typically includes oral supplements or injections.

What is the main cause of vitamin B12 deficiency?

Typically vitamin B12 deficiency develops because you’re not eating enough B12-rich foods like fish and shellfish, organ meats, and eggs. For example, this is common among people who follow a vegan diet. In addition, certain medical conditions and medications can cause vitamin B12 deficiency.

What are the 4 stages of B12 deficiency?

The 4 stages of B12 deficiency include:
  • Stage 1: decreased levels of vitamin B12 in your blood
  • Stage 2: low levels of vitamin B12 in your cells along with metabolic abnormalities
  • Stage 3: neurological and psychological symptoms like anxiety, confusion, problems with balance, and others
  • Stage 4: macrocytic anaemia – very large red blood cells
The bottom line
B12 deficiency can cause a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, depression, pale or yellow skin, mental impairment, and pain and inflammation in the mouth and tongue.

Many of the symptoms caused by low B12 levels are not specific to B12 deficiency, which can cause the condition to go undetected.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is important to visit a healthcare professional to undergo appropriate testing and get the right treatment.

Words above taken from a 'Healthline' article which you can read in full and with all relevant research links here

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

Monday 27 May 2024

Crustless Quiche Lorraine : Low Carb : Serve With A Green Salad


"This simplified version of the classic French tart requires no pastry skills, reducing the prep and cooking times. It is delicious served warm from the oven or cold as leftovers the following day, making it a great option for a work lunch or picnic"... and fits well with my LCHF menu plans!

Ingredients
Serves Four
low-calorie cooking spray
8 lean bacon rashers, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
6 large free-range eggs
100g/3½oz Cheddar, grated
2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
100g/3½oz cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
salt and freshly ground black pepper
crisp green salad, to serve

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.
2. Spray a large frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray. Add the bacon and onion and stir-fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions have softened and the bacon is cooked.
3. Whisk the eggs in a wide bowl and stir in half the cheese and 1 tablespoon each of the tarragon and chives. Stir in half of the bacon and onion mixture. Season well with salt and pepper.
4. Lightly spray a 20–22cm/8–8½in round ovenproof dish or non-stick pie tin with low-calorie cooking spray. Pour in the egg mixture. Scatter over the remaining bacon and onion mixture, cheese, herbs and the cherry tomatoes. Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until just set and golden. Serve warm or cold, sliced into wedges with a crisp green salad of your choice.
From original idea here


pretty lily-of-the-valley, you can read more about these flowers here

~ wishing all readers a happy day ~

Please note, this blog brings a variety of recipe suggestions 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

Sunday 26 May 2024

Spring-time in Lyndhurst

 

Swan Green, Lyndhurst, New Forest
Photograph Credit Elizabeth Lloyd


These little fellas seen at Lyndhurst, New Forest
Photograph Credit Hang Ross

Lyndhurst has long been recognised as the ‘unofficial capital’ of the New Forest, and is a very pleasant place to visit. At the top end of the High Street the spire of Lyndhurst’s St. Michael’s & All Angels church is clearly visible. The church sits opposite the Tudor-beamed Crown Hotel, which is another famous Lyndhurst landmark. 
The Church has stained glass windows by Edward Burne-Jones, Charles Kempe and William Morris. 


Alice Liddell, the girl who inspired Lewis Carroll’s classic book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, lived in Lyndhurst after her marriage to Reginald Hargreaves, and within the grounds of the church is her grave.

Then of course you have Swan Green which is very picturesque. The green is overlooked by picturesque thatched cottages, and the home of a well-used cricket pitch. Horses and ponies like it it too, and it is one of the most photographed locations in the New Forest 

The first recorded history of Lyndhurst was in 980. Over the centuries Lyndhurst became the haunt of royalty, nobility and commoner alike. It was also a magnet for artists, writers and professionals of all kinds.

Not far from Lyndhurst you have the village of Minstead where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, is buried in Minstead Churchyard.

Definitely lots to see and do, or just enjoy a stroll and a cup of tea in a nearby café.

Wishing all readers a happy Sunday.

All the best Jan

Saturday 25 May 2024

DIABETES NEWS : Why is there a sharp rise in diabetes in under-40s?

"Why is there a sharp rise in diabetes in under-40s?

Diabetes UK has reported a significant surge in diabetes cases in people under 40, including children. But what has it outlined as the main causes?

There has been a 39% rise in cases of diabetes among the under-40s, with thousands more undiagnosed, according to a report by Diabetes UK.

The report's authors said cases of type 2 diabetes among all under-40s have risen by more than 47,000 since 2016/17, an increase of 39%, compared with a rise of 25% for those over 40.

Type 2 diabetes is when the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body's cells do not react to insulin properly, and lifestyle factors often contribute to its development, according to the NHS.

Diabetes UK's report suggested poor diets and obesity were largely to blame for the increase in cases, arguing that "drastic changes" over the last 25 years to the food people eat and the environments they live in are taking their toll.

"We are bombarded by adverts for cheaper, unhealthy food," it said.

"The foods on our shelves are increasingly high in fat, salt and sugar, and rising costs are pushing a healthy diet out of reach for millions.

"These conditions, combined with genetic factors and stark inequalities, are driving rising levels of obesity, which increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes."

The charity pointed out that until 25 years ago, type 2 diabetes in children had never been identified in the UK, but warned it is "now rising rapidly".

The study said: "People with type 2 diabetes under 40 are more likely to be living with obesity than those in older age groups.

"This is especially pronounced in children," it said, adding that 81% of children with type 2 are living with obesity.

The study also points to "gross inequalities", with people from the most deprived areas and those from black and South Asian backgrounds more likely to develop diabetes.

It is calling for the government to "put the building blocks of health in place for every child and young person, including access to green space, affordable, healthy food, and quality housing".

"The NHS has invested significantly in services to help people prevent, manage and, in some cases, reverse type 2 diabetes, including specific support for people under the age of 40 - but it is clear that reversing this trend requires concerted action across industry, government and society to tackle obesity."

It has also demanded planned restrictions on junk food advertising be introduced and for further work to expand the sugar tax on soft drinks.

A spokesman for NHS England said: "Obesity leads to a range of serious health conditions including type 2 diabetes, so it's concerning but not surprising that we're seeing an increase in the condition as obesity levels rise."
Words above from article here

Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week 2024 (20-26 May 2024) 
More to read about this plus the Diabetes UK report here

diabetes blood sugar test

Diabetes News - Related Posts
'Not All Kids With Type 2 Diabetes have Obesity: What Parents Need to Know' - read it here
Introduction to low-carb for beginners - read it here
How Low Carb Can Help, plus a favourite recipe - read it here

~ xxx ooo xxx ~

Please be aware that this blog brings a variety of articles and recipe ideas. It is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use a reliable 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 24 May 2024

Cooking Vegetables : Does the way you prepare/cook your vegetables make a difference to their nutritional content?



Vegetables are an integral part of a healthy, balanced diet. They’re excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fibre, all of which are good for our health, but does the way you prepare/cook your vegetables make a difference to their nutritional content?

Boiling

It’s one of the most common cooking methods, but it comes with some shortcomings. The biggest issue is that boiling vegetables can reduce their vitamin C content. In addition to losing vitamin C, the content of minerals like potassium, magnesium and zinc are typically lower in boiled vegetables compared to raw vegetables. If you’re keen on boiling vegetables but don’t want to lose the nutrients, then one option is to use the vegetable cooking water in the dish. This is a good option when cooking curries or stews. Also, using as little water as possible and avoiding overcooking can help minimise vitamin loss.

Steaming

Steaming vegetables is popular with dietitians because you lose less vitamins than boiling. When steamed, vegetables like broccoli, spinach and lettuce lose just 9-15% of their vitamin C content. Almost all vegetables can be steamed with good results and it may also enhance the flavour and texture. In particular, steaming root vegetables like artichoke and parsnips is said to provide a better sensory experience. (reference here)

Microwaving

Microwaving is a quick and convenient way to cook vegetables. There is some evidence showing microwaving can preserve nutrients like vitamin C and some phytochemicals in vegetables compared to other cooking methods. In fact, one study here showed microwaving spinach and carrots, allowed the vegetables to retain more than 90% of its vitamin C content. Primarily because the vegetables had limited contact with water and were cooked at lower temperatures.

There’s also evidence to suggest that microwaving some vegetables, including spinach and chard, helps to retain vitamin K, which is required for blood clotting and helping wounds to heal.

Roasting

Roasting is a great way to enhance flavour in vegetables as it helps release natural sugars. It’s also considered to be a good method of retaining vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B2 (riboflavin). 

Roasting is also recommended as a way of cooking tomatoes as it can help increase the lycopene content in them. This is particularly valuable because lycopene is an antioxidant that is believed to protect cardiovascular health and is easily absorbed in the body when tomatoes are cooked (such as homemade tomato sauce or roasted tomatoes). Roasting your vegetables is also hard to beat for flavour.

Sautéing

Sautéing involves cooking in a shallow pan using high heat with a small amount of oil. It could help when cooking tomatoes, with one study here showing that adding olive oil to diced tomatoes during cooking in this way, greatly increased the absorption of lycopene.

What about not cooking them at all?

To get the largest amount of vitamin C, there are some vegetables that benefit from being eaten raw such as broccoli and lettuce.

However, some vegetables are more digestible and palatable when cooked. Cooking also releases some nutrients like carotenoids which, aren’t accessible when eaten raw.

Ultimately, cooking vegetables to your personal taste is better than not eating them at all. It is worth enjoying them in different forms to get the most from them nutritionally. So, if you decide to boil your vegetables one day, why not try a steamed vegetable recipe the next, or drizzling over some olive oil and roasting them the time after. That way you’ll get the most nutrients and a range of tastes and textures too.
Words above and more to read at article here

wonderful roast vegetables
always a winner - see more details here



Dear reader, we bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. 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 23 May 2024

What to eat for osteoporosis


Over three and a half million people in the UK are living with osteoporosis and it’s never too early to start looking after your bones. Today I'm sharing an article by Jo Williams a Registered nutritionist:-

What to eat for osteoporosis

Osteoporosis occurs when your bones become weak, fragile and more porous; this may lead to fractures. The risk of developing osteoporosis increases steadily as we age. After the age of 35, we naturally lose bone density, making it increasingly important to eat the right foods and implement lifestyle changes to help maintain bone density and strength.
  • Calcium and vitamin D vitamin D are key nutrients for bone health. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products (milk, cheese and yogurt), calcium-set tofu, green leafy vegetables, almonds, canned salmon and sardines*, and sesame and sunflower seeds. Vitamin D is vital for the absorption of calcium, but sadly it's found in very few foods – oily fish, egg yolks and liver all provide useful amounts.
  • Magnesium may have an important role to play in helping keep bones healthy. Good sources include brazil nuts, sunflower and sesame seeds, almonds, bananas and dark green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach.
  • Studies have found that a good intake of vitamin K may result in denser bones and fewer hip fractures; kale, broccoli and other green leafy veg are useful additions to your diet.
  • Eat less salt and consume less alcohol and fizzy drinks. A high salt intake may lead to calcium being leached from the bones and excreted by the body. Excessive alcohol intake may damage the cells that make new bone.
  • Taking too much vitamin A in supplemental form is thought to weaken bones over time – studies suggest that an average of 1500mcg a day over many years may affect the density of your bones and make them more likely to fracture.
Do this:

1. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, which contain the minerals potassium and magnesium – these may encourage bones to absorb key minerals, such as calcium. Fruit and vegetables also contain vitamin C and zinc, which are required for bone health.

2. Take regular weight-bearing exercise and quit smoking. Smoking leaches calcium directly from bones.

3. Stick to government guidelines on alcohol consumption and enjoy at least two alcohol-free days each week. Visit the Drinkaware website for more information.

4. Make sure you get plenty of natural sunlight, particularly in the winter months. Vitamin D, which is vital for bone health, is synthesised in sun-exposed skin.

*Have a look at some sardine recipes on this post here

You can see Jo Williams original article here
Helpful link to the Royal Osteoporosis Society UK here

Important:
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 GP or local health care team/provider.


All the best Jan

Wednesday 22 May 2024

Chocolate Muffin : Low Carb Mug Cake


How about grabbing your favourite mug and whipping up these super quick and easy low carb (keto) chocolate muffins. They are a gluten and dairy-free treat, and when microwaved can be ready in five minutes. No microwave? No problem because you can bake them in the oven as well, use a muffin pan instead of a mug!

Ingredients
Serves Two
2 tbsp. almond flour or hazelnut flour
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tbsp. erythritol (sweetener - optional)
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1 egg
1½ tbsp. melted coconut oil or butter
½ oz. sugar-free dark chocolate
½ tsp coconut oil or butter for greasing the mugs
Recipe instructions and tips
Can be found here


Almond flour is a gluten-free nut flour that should consist of nothing but ground blanched (no skin) almonds. It’s often used as a low-carb substitute for wheat flour in bread and other baked goods.

The amount of carbs in almonds can vary significantly depending on origin, yield, soil, amount of sun, etc. but often end up between 4-8 grams of net carbohydrates per 100 gram. As always, checking the label is a good idea.

You can get almond flour in most grocery stores and health stores these days, or order it online.
Read more here

Hazelnut flour is a type of flour made from ground hazelnuts. Hazelnuts are nuts that come from the hazel tree and are known for their rich, slightly sweet flavour. To make hazelnut flour, the nuts are finely ground into a powder-like consistency, creating a flour that can be used in various culinary applications.

Hazelnut flour is often used as a gluten-free alternative to traditional wheat flour, making it suitable for individuals with gluten sensitivities or those following a gluten-free diet. Additionally, hazelnut flour is a good source of healthy fats, protein, and other nutrients found in hazelnuts.
Read more here


~ enjoy your day ~

Dear reader, 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 21 May 2024

May Is National Walking Month


Mallard Ducks on the bank - don't you just love their colours
(a photograph from a previous walk)

"May is National Walking Month in the UK, a perfect time to celebrate the simple joy of walking. Not only is walking beneficial for our health and mood, but it also supports a sustainable lifestyle. 
Here are some practical ways to incorporate more walking into your daily routine.

START WITH A MORNING WALK

Kick off your day with a morning walk. It’s a refreshing way to awaken your body and mind.

COMMUTE ON FOOT

If possible, swap your vehicle commute for walking. Even if it’s just part of the way, walking to work or the nearest bus stop can significantly increase your daily physical activity.

TAKE WALKING MEETINGS

Transform your usual seated meetings into walking meetings. This not only adds some steps to your day but also encourages creativity and conversation in a more relaxed environment.

EXPLORE LOCAL TRAILS

Use National Walking Month as an opportunity to explore local walking trails. The UK boasts an array of beautiful paths that offer both tranquillity and a dose of nature.

JOIN A WALKING GROUP

Joining a local walking group can be a motivational and social way to get more steps into your day.

ORGANISE A CHARITY WALK

Organise or participate in a charity walk. This is a wonderful way to contribute to a cause you care about while also getting active.

MAKE IT A FAMILY AFFAIR

Encourage your family to go on regular walks with you. Whether it’s after dinner,  early in the morning, or at weekends walking together not only strengthens family bonds but also instils healthy habits in everyone.

GO TECH-FREE

Try to take at least one walk per week without your phone or other gadgets. Disconnecting from digital devices allows you to connect more deeply with your surroundings and yourself. You’ll likely notice more of the beauty around you and can use this time for reflection or mindfulness.

DOCUMENT YOUR WALKS

Keep a walking diary or use a photography app to document the sights you see on your walks. Not only will this keep you motivated, but it will also create a beautiful record of your progress and the landscapes you’ve enjoyed."

You can read these words and more in article here

I know many readers enjoy walking, so no matter where in the world you live, when the weather permits, I hope you may enjoy a walk. Why not share news of where you walked today... even if it was only a walk to the shops 😊

All the best Jan

Monday 20 May 2024

Breakfast - my low carb one has three ingredients !


"Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods money can buy - they are a natural source of many nutrients including high quality protein, vitamins and minerals. A medium egg contains less than 70 calories. Eggs are naturally rich in vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B12, vitamin D, selenium and iodine. They also contain vitamin A and a number of other B vitamins including folate, biotin, pantothenic acid and choline, and essential minerals and trace elements, including phosphorus." Read more about eggs here

I do like starting the day with an egg, or two, and this breakfast recipe, with only three ingredients is so simple... read on and see what you think!

Some may call it an egg cup, but I call it an egg muffin! It's a keto/low carb breakfast from an idea by Sahil Makhija. It can be made in minutes, you simply beat eggs, cheese, and ham and then microwave in a buttered ramekin, although it can also be cooked in the oven if preferred.

Ingredients
One Serving
1 tsp butter
2 large eggs
1¼ oz. smoked deli ham, chopped
¼ cup (1 oz.) cheddar cheese, grated
salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions
1. If not using a microwave, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Steps 2 to 5 can be seen here

Tips
Feel free to substitute the cheddar cheese or ham for any other cheese or deli meat you have in your fridge.
Meal prep
i) If you make more than one serving, beating the eggs in a bowl is easier.
ii) You can bake these in a muffin tin and store them in the fridge for 7-8 days.

Cooking doesn't have to be complicated 😊

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

Sunday 19 May 2024

Words Worth Sharing !

“Leave footprints of love and kindness wherever you go.”
Author Unknown

I thought these words worth sharing,
Would you agree?

All the best Jan

Saturday 18 May 2024

Foods Anyone with Allergies Should Consider Eating

Springtime is marked by three distinct things ... flowers blooming, warmer temperatures, and allergies! While the flowers are beautiful, the dreaded pollen can take its toll on numerous people, causing more than just sinus issues.


There's currently no cure for hay fever and you cannot prevent it. Antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays can help and your local pharmacist should be able to offer guidance on this. 

Can what you eat help with allergies? Unfortunately, there are no magical foods that can cure your allergies. But, there are certain foods you can eat to help support your body if you suffer from allergies.

These are the top five foods anyone with allergies should consider eating

1. Garlic

Garlic is a powerhouse food packed with many strong compounds, especially beneficial for those who experience allergies. Not only does it have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties that may help reduce allergy symptoms, but it also contains quercetin. Quercetin has immunomodulatory effects, meaning it helps regulate the immune system's response to foreign invaders such as viruses, bacteria, and allergens.

2. Citrus Fruits

The star vitamin in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits is Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps boost the immune system and reduce inflammation associated with allergies. Vitamin C plays a vital role in supporting immune function and enhancing the body's ability to fight off infections and allergens. It helps stimulate the production and activity of white blood cells, which are involved in the immune response. By bolstering the immune system, vitamin C may help reduce the severity and duration of allergy symptoms.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric contains an active compound called curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to inhibit inflammatory pathways and reduce the production of inflammatory molecules. By reducing inflammation, turmeric may help alleviate allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, and itching. Plus, turmeric boasts antioxidant properties which may help to relieve allergy symptoms.

4. Salmon And Other Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Allergic reactions trigger inflammation in the body as the immune system responds to allergens. Omega-3s help reduce the production of inflammatory molecules, which in turn help reduce inflammation and alleviate allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, and itching.

5. Onion

Onions are nutritious vegetables that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Onions are a significant dietary source of quercetin, a flavonoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Quercetin has been studied for its potential to reduce allergic reactions by stabilizing mast cells and inhibiting the release of histamine, a compound involved in allergic responses. Consuming quercetin-rich foods like onions may help alleviate allergy symptoms.

Above words and image taken from article here
The NHS also give advice about Hay Fever/ Allergies here


Do you have problems with pollen/hay fever? Do you find certain foods help alleviate it? Do please share your thoughts and any tips in the comments below.

Important:
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 GP or local health care team/provider.

All the best Jan

Friday 17 May 2024

Swap pasta and rice for a lower carb alternative vegetable !

When you live the LCHF lifestyle you look for alternatives, or swaps, to foods like pasta and rice, for example take these two recipes. The first one swaps pasta for cauliflower and the second swaps pasta for courgette/zucchini.

I hope you may try one (or both) of these recipe suggestions.

Cauliflower Spinach Chicken Alfredo
swap pasta for cauliflower
the recipe per serving works out at 14g carbs
see more details here


Spinach and ricotta lasagne with courgette pasta
swap pasta for courgettes/zucchini
the recipe per serving works out at 19.3 g carbs
see more details here


Spinach
Both of these recipe suggestions use spinach. Here in the UK spinach is in season between March and June. Leafy spinach is a handy veg to keep in the cupboard for adding to soups, stews or simply raw in salads. Baby spinach has a milder flavour, but in all varieties you should look for bright green leaves and crisp stems. Spinach cooks quickly and shrinks dramatically, so you often need more than you might think.

Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid as well as being a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2. Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone health and it is difficult to find vegetables richer in vitamin K than spinach. Others include kale, broccoli and green cabbage.
You can read more about spinach here


Dear reader, this blog contains a variety of articles and recipe ideas, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use a reliable 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 16 May 2024

Salmon stuffed with avocado : A fabulous pairing !


Take some salmon, add some mashed avocado and what a fabulous pairing they make. It's a quick and easy, great tasting meal and fits in with my LCHF menu plans well 😋

Ingredients
Serves Four
4 Salmon Fillets (approx. 6 oz. each)
2 Avocados, mashed
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Sea Salt + Black Pepper, to taste

Method
1. Preheat oven to 400F. / 200C. / Gas 6. Place salmon fillets on a work surface and cut a slit in them horizontally (do not cut all the way through). Stuff mashed avocado in between the slits and season the fillets liberally with salt and pepper.

2. Heat olive oil in an oven safe skillet/pan (you can use cast iron for this, but any will do) over medium high heat. Sear the salmon, skin side up if they have skin, for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Flip the fillets over, transfer the pan to the oven and finish cooking until salmon is cooked to desired done-ness, about 5-7 minutes depending on thickness. Serves 4.

Goes nicely with sautéed lower carb vegetables ...
From original idea here


~ wishing all readers a happy day ~

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

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Motion Is Lotion - Why Moving Your Body Is So Important

It's always nice to get-together with friends over a cuppa, and you never know where the conversation might lead! For instance just recently a friend was talking about 'Motion Is Lotion' she was having some therapy to help with an injury and her therapist had used these words. It got me thinking and this post is where my thoughts and internet research lead to. I hope you find it an interesting read, and don't forget to please share your thoughts in the comments section.


"Motion Is Lotion – Why Moving Your Body Is So Important


Motion Is Lotion, or another term would be, movement is medicine. This article will explain all the benefits that simply moving your body can do and why it’s crucial to your life.

Musculoskeletal Benefits

The reason we use these terms is that it is the most natural way for the body to heal itself. When we talk about movement is medicine or motion is lotion, a lot of people think, “Oh, exercise, yeah, we’re working our muscles.” but the benefits of exercise go far beyond the musculoskeletal system. 
  • Aid joint lubrication and nourishment
  • Ease your joint pain and stiffness
  • Improve flexibility & mobility
  • Build muscular strength
  • Improve your balance
  • Help you sleep better
  • Improve posture
  • Improve or maintain the density of your bones
  • Improve overall health and fitness

Mental Health Benefits


The second benefit of moving your body is overall mental health. It releases positive hormones throughout the body from the brain, and you are going to see a positive emotional response to exercise from the mental health aspect.
  • Lower stress levels
  • Improve your mood
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Improve cognitive function
  • Better endurance
  • Increased interest in sex
  • Increase energy and motivation

Gastrointestinal Benefits


Next, from the gastrointestinal aspect, we can improve gastric motility. Movement can improve the ability to digest food. It can see decreased amounts of inflammation in blood markers and biochemical markers such as that.
  • Improve food digestion
  • Decreased inflammation in blood markets
  • More diverse gut microbiota

Cardiovascular Benefits


Finally, we have cardiovascular benefits, between the heart and the lungs. All of these systems combine, even from the endocrine system in terms of hormones and hormonal imbalances. Exercise improves these.
  • Increase exercise tolerance
  • Reduction of body weight
  • Reduction in blood pressure
  • Reduction in bad cholesterol
  • Increase in insulin sensitivity

Movement Is Medicine

It’s the most natural medication or the most natural prescription you can get from any doctor.

Making sure that you are moving often, moving well, and making sure that you are getting the proper amount of activity, you’ll see benefits not only to your musculoskeletal system but to the cognitive system, heart, lungs, endocrine, gastrointestinal, you name it!

Movement is medicine, and it’s going to improve all of your systems.

It is highly recommended to consult with a doctor or an expert if you are concerned about exercising or experiencing any abnormal pain."

Above words taken from here
Image from google

Related Post
'Exercise for Better Health' - read it here

I think any movement/exercise is important. Of course, how you choose to do this is a personal choice and our age and any health concerns must always be taken into account. Just remember, any motion/movement is good 😊

Please be aware 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, including medication, you should contact your Doctor/local health care provider.

All the best Jan

Tuesday 14 May 2024

Creamy Mushroom Chicken

Yes, another chicken recipe! You really can't have too many can you!? For me chicken has so many plus points. Its versatility, as well as the ease and speed with which it can be cooked, make it one of the most popular meats around. It's certainly popular in our house! Plus of course it has a high level of good quality protein, as well as B vitamins, iron, copper and selenium... and it's usually reasonably priced too, which is always welcome! This creamy chicken and mushroom dinner is really satisfying but low in calories. Have a look and see what you think.

For readers who prefer a vegetarian dish, I have included a recipe suggestion which can be seen below.


Ingredients
Serves Two
spray olive oil
2 chicken breasts, skinless and trimmed (200g/7oz each)
½ onion, finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
100g/3½oz mixed or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
250ml/9fl oz chicken stock (made with ½ a stock cube)
salt and pepper
100ml/3½fl oz half-fat crème fraîche
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
300g/10½oz broccoli, steamed, to serve

Method
1. Heat the spray oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the chicken breasts and fry for about 10 minutes, or until well browned on both sides. Set aside.
2. In the same pan, add a little more oil and fry the onion for 2–3 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and fry for another 1–2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and fry until golden-brown. If they start to stick, add a little stock to the pan.
3. Return the chicken to the pan and stir in the stock. Bring to the boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid, lower the heat and simmer for 12–15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Meanwhile, cook the broccoli in boiling salted water until tender.
5. Stir the crème fraîche and parsley into the sauce and serve immediately with the broccoli.

Each serving provides:-
391 kcal, 58g protein, 10.5g carbohydrate (of which 7g sugars), 11.5g fat (of which 6g saturates), 7.5g fibre and 1.1g salt.
From original idea here

Alternative vegetarian recipe
Creamy low carb cauliflower risotto with spinach and goat cheese - details 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