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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Celeriac Remoulade with Charcuterie

For a very light lunch, or an easy starter, these simple winter flavours combine well and make a vibrantly colourful dish. The remoulade, using celeriac and carrot, with some fresh dill just tastes so good. Serve it with some charcuterie, which many supermarkets seem to have an even better selection at this time of year ... it's easy, tasty and some would also say perfect!

Serves Four
1 celeriac, peeled and grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
2 tbsp lighter mayonnaise
2 tbsp half fat créme fraîche
1 small lemon, juiced

1. Put the grated celeriac and carrot in a bowl and mix with the dill, mayonnaise, créme fraîche and the lemon juice.
2. Serve with a continental meat platter, as pictured above.

Each serving provides
7.7g carbohydrate 4.9g fibre 3.3g protein 4.2g fat

From an original idea here

Did you know ... Charcuterie is a generic term for the products traditionally sold by charcutiers (pork butchers), and includes all products based on pork meat or offal, including cured and cooked meats, fresh and smoked sausages, pâtés, black puddings and salamis. In France, it also refers to the shop itself that sells these kinds of products. Order charcuterie in a restaurant and you will be served a platter of cuts of meats and sausages prepared in various ways.

You may also wish to include this colourful dish on a buffet table over the festive season

All the best Jan

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Rag'n'Bone Man - Human

Showing  my age now but I remember in my childhood the rag and bone man coming round with his horse and cart didn't look like this guy though

Delta Goodrem - Heavy

First up from me tonight a new release from Australian singer Delta Goodrem

Winchester Cathedral Choir - Silent Night

Well, my turn now! If you've read Eddie's post below, I can tell you the decorations are looking great. The theme as usual is red, I don't think you can beat it, and quite honestly our wooden Father Christmas and Post Box just wouldn't look the same in a different colour! But back to musical choices, this time of year sees so many different Christmas music choices. There are Carols, Hymns, Pop Songs, pre-school and even grand-children songs - and they are very special indeed. My choice tonight is the classic Silent Night ... I just love listening to this. I know there are still a couple of weeks to go until Christmas, but I couldn't resist posting this tonight. A few years back Eddie and I visited Winchester, a lovely Hampshire City, and we went into the Cathedral (if ever you get the chance I highly recommend a visit). Although there was a television crew recording some Christmas Carols, visits were still being allowed. To this day the sound remains so clear in my mind, those voices were marvelous and the saying 'it made the hairs on the back of my neck rise' was true. I hope you enjoy these wonderful voices ... All the best Jan

Bob Rivers - 12 Pains Of Christmas

Saturday night again and music night on this blog. If there's one time of year I hate it's Christmas. When the kids were young it was great, now it's give to receive. We send cheques they send booze. Jan's flitting around putting up dust harbouring Xmas decorations and singing corny Xmas carols. I would not mind, but she has a voice like a kitchen waste disposal unit on the blink. When I was young Xmas lasted a couple of days, now it's a two week gut and booze bash, and people wonder why almost everyone has more blubber than Moby Dick. On the bright side, the excremental Strictly Come Dancing season on the box, that Jan insists on silence while viewing, will soon be over. This low carb malarkey is a doddle, compared with what I have to put with LOL. Eddie

Politicians, BDA dietitians and other bullshiters part 1

Politicians, BDA dietitians and other bullshiters part 1 or  "Trust Me I'm Not A BDA Dietitian"

There is no doubt about it, the worlds greatest bullshiters are politicians, followed closely by the average dietitian. Politico's say one thing when they mean the opposite, just about anything to keep the masses subdued and toeing the line. The average dietitian runs them pretty close, they have some great lines in passing the buck and exonerating themselves of responsibility for the failure of clients and patients, especially diabetics. Now, at this stage I would be the first to admit, some people are beyond help, no matter how sound and logical the dietary information presented to them, it goes in one ear and out the other. Unfortunately, most dietary information to diabetics from dietitians is a very long way from being sound and logical.

For example, all carbohydrates turn to sugars once digested. The most allergic to sugar people on the planet are diabetics, yet dietitians recommend starchy carbohydrates (bread, rice, pasta and potatoes etc) as a basis for meals. Bear in mind there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate, this has been accepted as sound science for a long time, fats and proteins are essential, without them we die. You may be surprised to learn almost all whole fresh foods (with the exception of most fruits and some root vegetables) are low carb (as shown below) therefore low sugar. I am talking about food straight from the farm or sea, not failed science experiments from the likes of Danone, Abbott Nutrition, Nestle, Cereal Partners, BelVita Breakfast Biscuits and Coca Cola sponsors to the British Dietetic Association. So what about the bullshit you may be thinking.

When it comes to passing the buck, dietitians have turned bullshit into a complete and highly polished art form. Some of the usual get out of jail free card baloney "the patients failed to comply with dietary advice" often said by an over weight or morbidly obese dietitian, who clearly follows the 'advice' "no one size fits all", well I can prove the dietary advice I follow does fit all. Anyone want to argue, eating whole fresh food and avoiding highly processed, high sugar foods is not the way to go? "our recommendations are evidenced based" whose evidence? big pharma's or junk food companies. The fact is, many dietitians are very easily swayed, especially when money and sponsorship is involved, as we reported some time ago here.

""Last weekend the Food and Drink Team took Belvita Breakfast to BDA Live, the annual British Dietetics Association conference. As headline sponsor the team was on hand to help keep the dietitians going all morning. Whether they visited the breakfast bar or attended the breakfast workshops they had the opportunity to hear about the science and nutrition behind the brand. The conference was a great success with 82% of dietitians agreeing Belvita Breakfast is a good option for breakfast and 71% admitting we had changed their previous perception"

One very high profile dietitian was claiming potatoes to be a "super food" as evidenced here, while acting as a dietitian for the potato council and BDA spokesperson.

"Sian Porter, the Potato Council's consultant dietitian, told the Daily Express: 'It is important to have a wide variety of foods in your diet but sometimes our heads are turned by new things and we underestimate old favourites like potatoes and how they compare to other, often more expensive "superfoods"

Potatoes "superfood" yes and the moon is made of cheese. Which brings me to another standard cop out for dietitians when I quote them, from articles I have read in the media "I was misquoted I never said that" if that is the case, why is a retraction and clarification never made? And does Sian really believe spuds are a super food. Do 82% of BDA dietitians believe " Belvita Breakfast is a good option for breakfast" good option to what, a pound of condemned veal.


I do know some excellent dietitians, unfortunately very few work in the UK. A break-away group in the US are called Dietitians For Professional Integrity who stated upon formation.

"Our efforts are guided by professional integrity. We believe the American public deserves nutrition information that is not tainted by food industry interests. Those of us who co-founded Dietitians for Professional Integrity are nutrition experts first and foremost; we went to school to help people achieve better health through food, not to help multinational food companies sell more unhealthy products"

Until the British Dietetic Association, severs all links with what are increasingly known as junk food outfits, they will have to continue to plead at every opportunity with their strap line "Trust A Dietitian" How long before UK dietitians dump the BDA and form their own 'Dietitians for Professional Integrity'  One thing seems clear to me, the BDA is doing nothing for the reputations of the honest, well informed members and many must be appalled at the junk food sponsorship. How long before we hear "Trust Me I'm Not A BDA Dietitian" 


Low Carb Cheesecake

This diabetic friendly dessert is from Kim at 'Low Carb Maven' and is made sugar free by using Stevia and Erythritol, it's a wonderful low carb cheesecake recipe, that any 'Nana' or family member will enjoy! The ingredients are so simple, which is always a winner in my book, just using cream cheese, eggs, sweetener, flavouring and sour cream (or greek yogurt). This dessert also freezes well.

Serves Eight
4g (net) carb per serving 

Cheesecake Base
16 ounces cream cheese softened
4 large eggs
1/2 cup Sukrin 1 powdered, or Swerve Granulated
1/2 teaspoon Stevia Glycerite or liquid stevia to taste
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract optional
1/4 teaspoon orange extract optional

Sour Cream Topping
16 ounces sour cream or Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons Sukrin 1 powdered, or Swerve Granulated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Original recipe idea, and more ...with instructions can be found here 

For help with measurement conversions see here

Guide to low carb sweeteners:

"Part of the ethos of living sugar free and low carb is to give up the sweet treats on a regular basis and to reset our taste buds. But being able to make a sweet treat occasionally is a deal breaker for many of you contemplating even starting. If you do want a cake, a dessert or a sweet treat, it is better to have a few good sugar free recipes on hand than to reach for a high carb snack. With so many sweeteners now on the market, which do you choose?

If you'd like to find out a little more about what to look for when you buy them because not all low carb sweeteners are created equally ... please read here

It can be incredibly confusing when you are just starting to live sugar free."

I hope you may enjoy this recipe suggestion ...
Thanks for reading

All the best Jan

Friday, 9 December 2016

Magnesium-Rich Diet Does a Heart Good; Long Live Optimism; Post-Stroke Epilepsy

A magnesium-rich diet was associated with better cardiovascular health, along with less diabetes, according to a meta-analysis of 40 epidemiologic studies with a total of more than 1 million participants in nine countries, reported in BMC Medicine.

Each 100-mg more magnesium intake from spices, nuts, beans, and so forth was associated with 22% lower risk of heart failure, 7% lower stroke risk, and 19% lower risk of type 2 diabetes. There was also a 10% lower mortality risk with each 100 mg greater daily magnesium intake.

"Magnesium deficiency is relatively common, affecting between 2.5% and 15% of the general population," lead author Fudi Wang, PhD, of China's Zhejiang University, said in a press release. "Our findings will be important for informing the public and policy makers on dietary guidelines to reduce magnesium deficiency related health risks."

Long Live Optimism

A general expectation that good things will happen was associated with nearly 30% better survival chances over 8 years across major causes of mortality in an analysis of the 70,000-person Nurses Health Study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

The top 25% most optimistic women compared with the least optimistic quartile had:

38% lower risk of dying from heart disease

16% lower risk of dying from cancer

39% lower risk of dying from stroke

38% lower risk of dying from respiratory disease

52% lower risk of dying from infection

While the observational findings couldn't determine causality or mechanism, healthy behaviors like diet, physical activity and key determinants like high blood pressure and ethnicity only partially explained the associations, the researchers noted.

"Previous studies have shown that optimism can be altered with relatively uncomplicated and low-cost interventions -- even something as simple as having people write down and think about the best possible outcomes for various areas of their lives, such as careers or friendships," one of the lead authors, Kaitlin Hagan, ScD, MPH, of the Harvard School of Public Health, said in a press release. "Encouraging use of these interventions could be an innovative way to enhance health in the future."

Post-Stroke Epilepsy

Epilepsy developed in about 11% of patients chronically after a stroke, with higher rates in younger stroke patients and those with more extensive brain damage on MRI, according to a 1,000-patient retrospective British study reported at the American Epilepsy Society meeting in Houston.

"Many physicians treating stroke patients don't realize that falls, episodes of confusion, and loss of consciousness may be signs of post-stroke epilepsy," lead author Beate Diehl, MD, PhD, of University College London, said in a statement. "Post-stroke epileptic seizures can negatively affect stroke recovery and rehabilitation."


'How to become an Orange Dot' - 'Low Carb for Type 1 Diabetes' - Justin Hansen and Julie Reid

One of our blogging friends, Lisa Scherger, runs a blog called The Diabetic Alien, it's in our sidebar. She has a type one diabetic son. He is one of the rare type one diabetics who runs non diabetic blood glucose numbers, as can be seen in this twelve minute video here 

In the UK the Government published, audited National Health Service statistics, tell us year after year, around 93% of type one diabetics fail to get to HbA1c of 6.5. Unfortunately, 6.5 is not a particularly good number. It is around 50% higher than a healthy non diabetic. 6.5 is not an HbA1c number that Eddie would be happy with, and he is in his 60's.

It seems logical to me, and the low carb team, the longer a diabetic runs elevated BG numbers, the greater the chance of diabetic complications. Thus by extension, the younger a person is at diagnosis, the greater the effort must be made, to keep BG numbers in the non diabetic normal range, and the greater the odds for living a long, active and complication free life...

I recently came across Justin Hansen and Julie Reid, they are the parents of three young children, including Patrick who was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes two years ago.

After struggling to normalise Patrick's blood glucose levels by following the recommended Australian diet for diabetes management, Justin and Julie discovered Low Carb via Dr. Richard K. Bernstein's 'Diabetes Solution' and the Facebook group TYPEONEGRIT.

By adopting a Low Carb lifestyle and incorporating the latest Continuous Glucose Monitoring technology, Patrick now has a HBA1c of a non-diabetic and many symptoms of his food allergies have disappeared.

No matter what country you live in, so many diabetics both Type 1 and Type 2 have discovered the benefits of a Low Carb High (Healthy) Fat lifestyle.

Please take approx twenty minutes of your time to watch this video, and if you should know of any parents with a Type One child ... it may well be worth letting them know about this video.

My thanks to Franziska Spritzler RD CE where I first saw this video, her site, 'The Low Carb Dietitian' can be found here 

All the best Jan

Raw Chocolate Ball Pops: Sugar Free

These raw chocolate ball pops are sugar free and great for kids... but many adults enjoy them too! How about making some over the weekend? They could be just what you need if your energy levels get too low after doing some more Christmas preparations...


Makes eight
70g sunflower seeds
120g nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamias)
2 tbsp chia seeds or flax seeds (linseeds)
60g almond butter
25g unsweetened desiccated coconut, plus additional for rolling
2½ tbsp uncooked cacao powder
1 tsp floor cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt

Blitz seeds and nuts in a blender. Switch to a bowl and add almond butter, coconut, cacao powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix properly.

Add a drizzle of water if the combination is just too stiff. Roll into eight walnut-sized balls, then roll them within the additional coconut and chia seeds. Use slender straws to make ‘pops’.

Please see original recipe idea here

"The starring ingredient in these is uncooked/raw cacao powder. If you are not familiar with this super-food, it is much like cocoa powder, except way better! Raw cacao is basically cocoa, except in an unadulterated form with many more nutrients and health benefits. Raw cacao is minimally processed under lower temperatures, which helps preserve all the good stuff. “Regular” cocoa and cocoa butter, on the other hand, are processed under much higher heat, destroying much of the healthy stuff, and they tend to be mixed with a lot of bad sugars and other unnatural ingredients. In it’s raw state, cacao increases tryptophan and serotonin, which releases mood-boosting endorphins into your body. Woo-hoo! It is also very rich in antioxidants (even more than red wine, green tea or blueberries) which help to fight free-radical toxins in your body and promote optimal heart health. Cacao is also high in iron and magnesium and dietary fiber.

Of course, all good things in moderation as cacao is a stimulant (caffeine). But, these beat your typical store-bought candy/sweet bars in the health department any day of the week. Hands down. So, indulge a little!!" these words from here

"The Advantages of Almond Butter Compared to Peanut Butter:
Almond butter and peanut butter occupy similar niches in a healthy diet. Peanut butter can generally substitute for almond butter in recipes, and vice versa, and both nut butters share nutritional similarities. For example, they both provide a source of dietary fiber, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture considers a tablespoon of either nut butter as 1 ounce equivalent of protein -- the same as 1 ounce of meat. However, almond and peanut butter also have some nutritional differences, and almond butter offers some health advantages of peanut butter due to its vitamin and mineral content.

Vitamin E:
Almond butter has a nutritional advantage over peanut butter due to its vitamin E content.

Switching from peanut butter to almond butter can also help you boost your magnesium intake.

Opting for almond butter over peanut butter also proves advantageous due to almond butter's higher iron content.

Making Healthy Choices:
Almond butter contains more of a few key vitamins and minerals, but both peanut and almond butters have a place in a healthy diet. Peanut butter offers some nutritional advantages. For example, it provides more selenium -- a mineral important to enzyme function -- than almond butter. Whether you opt for almond or peanut butters, try to select minimally processed nut butters. Some commercial varieties of peanut and almond butter contain added sugar and salt to add flavor, as well as additives that prevent oil separation. Choose varieties of peanut or almond butter made from nuts alone, with no added preservatives or additives." These w
ords taken from article here 

A variety of recipe ideas is within this blog, but please note, not all may be suitable for you.

If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Dr Richard K Bernstein why no Nobel Prize? he has saved countless people!

From my main man and guru for over eight years. Why no Nobel Prize? he has saved countless people! Eddie

Alzheimer's disease found to be a diabetic disorder of the brain!

Researchers at Tohoku University have found a promising treatment for Alzheimer's disease, by noticing a similarity in the way insulin signaling works in the brain and in the pancreas of diabetic patients.

More on this paper here.

To non diabetics. When did you last get your blood glucose checked? You can get a BG meter and some test strips from your local chemist for a very small amount of money. Money well spent I reckon.


Nutmeg - Is it the forgotten spice?

I wonder do you use nutmeg in your house? When growing up my dear Mum made the most delicious tasting rice pudding always topped with nutmeg, it was a once a week family favourite. Nowadays, rice pudding does not appear in my menu plans ... it sends Eddie's blood sugar numbers too high. Instead there are other ways to incorporate this spice - in soups, with low carb vegetables - it's amazing how you can use spices and herbs to enhance cooking flavours.

In a BBC article about nutmeg these words - "There are few spices more evocative of Christmas than nutmeg. But why is the ingredient relegated to the back of the cupboard for the rest of the year?

"[It] works in the background, doing magical things," says chef Nigel Slater, describing nutmeg's quality in savoury dishes.

"It's a winter spice... nutmeg to me is about warm, cosy kitchens, it's about log fires, it's about drawing the curtains, opening a book, wrapping presents."

Freshly grated into mulled wine or eggnog, the spice's rich aroma fills many kitchens in December.

Nutmeg trees produce two spices - nutmeg and mace. Both are extracted from the trees' fruits: nutmeg is a brown seed, while mace is the red membrane which grows around the shell of the seed.

Although nutmeg can be bought as both a whole and ground spice, Nigel Slater says grating the whole nut with a small grater releases a superior flavour.

The smell is "almost pine-like", he says. "It is one of the magical smells."

Whole nutmeg works particularly well grated on top of rice pudding, and it is delicious when added to a custard tart and cream desserts, says Mr Slater. (It works well in this recipe too - use nutmeg in place of cinnamon - or even consider a mix)

But for many people Christmas is the only time to use nutmeg in the kitchen.

Once one of the most sought after spice in the world, today nutmeg often lies sitting in cupboards, unused, for months.

"For me nutmeg is a very old fashioned spice. It's one that isn't used very much now," says Mr Slater.

Perhaps it is because the sweet, gentle tone of nutmeg is the antithesis to the fiery, pungent flavours of spices people in Britain love cooking with today such as chilli and ginger.

Chilli products for example, are in high demand, and an increasing number of British farmers now grow the crop.

"If you think of the spices that we use now, we use them I think for excitement," argues Mr Slater.

Nutmeg is thought to have been imported into Europe during the 12th Century by Arab merchants. But by 400 years ago it had become the most valuable spice in the world.

In the 17th Century, displaying a bowl of nutmeg in your home was a sign of immense wealth, says Giles Milton, author of history books including Nathaniel's Nutmeg, an account of English adventurer Nathanial Courthope.

"Nutmeg was the ultimate luxury," says Mr Milton. "Of all the spices, nutmeg was the most elusive to find and it was also the most valuable."

But a dark history surrounds the spice.

"Hundreds maybe thousands of people died - were slaughtered - fought in battles over this spice," says Mr Milton. "And all to satisfy the tastes of the elite."

The Portuguese found the spice growing on the Banda Islands of Indonesia (Spice Islands) in 1512.

At the time, nutmeg trees grew on only six remote islands in Indonesia and the east indies.

By the early 1600s Dutch troops had control of the nutmeg trade. But in 1616 English trader Nathanial Courthope and his men took over the Island of Run, and struck a deal with native chiefs to ensure the English would keep control of the island and send nutmeg back to the UK.

Today nutmeg trees are grown much more widely. In the Caribbean, the centre of the nutmeg trade is the island of Grenada.

Most of the nutmeg growing there is exported but the spice is also much-used in Grenada in the cuisine and as a medicine. In Grenada "You use it on meat, you use it in soup, you use it in bread, we use it in everything."

Nutmeg has been used as a medicine in some parts of the world for centuries.

In Grenada it is commonly used to treat a range of ailments such as aches and pains and arthritis.

The island's nutmeg industry was devastated in 2004 by hurricane Ivan.

Many trees on the island were flattened and it will still take several more years for new ones to reach full production (around 300lbs of nutmeg from each tree).

One silver lining however is that farmers have reported a better quality of nutmeg being produced by their post-hurricane trees.

Nigel Slater says he would love to see nutmeg regain popularity, and be added to a wider variety of dishes.

"The thing about nutmeg is that it keeps very well. Particularly as a whole spice. It's there. It's sitting in your cupboard."

"Get it out and let's grate it. Let's put it in our white sauce... it's fabulous on cauliflower... let's put it in our cheese sauces. You know, let's bring nutmeg back."

This recipe suggestion uses nutmeg

Serves Four
350g/12oz broccoli, florets and stalks cut into small pieces
400ml/14fl oz vegetable stock
25g/1oz butter
4 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
50g/1¾oz Stilton, crumbled, or to taste
100ml/3½fl oz double (heavy) cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch freshly grated nutmeg

For the croûtons (optional*)
4 slices French bread ( you may prefer to use a low carb alternative bread)
100g/3½oz Stilton, sliced

1. For the soup, place the pieces of broccoli into a glass bowl. Pour over the vegetable stock.
2. Cover the bowl with cling film and place in the microwave. Cook on full power for four minutes, or until tender.
3. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan until hot then add the butter. When it starts to foam, add the spring onions and cook for one minute.
4. Transfer the cooked broccoli and stock to a food processor. Add the fried spring onions, Stilton and cream and blend until smooth.
5. Transfer the blended mixture to a pan and bring gently to a simmer.
6. Meanwhile, for the optional* croûtons, toast the French bread under a grill until golden-brown on each side.
7. Top the grilled bread with the slices of Stilton and return to the grill until golden-brown and bubbling.
8. Season the soup with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
9. Divide the soup equally among four warm bowls and top each with a Stilton croûton. Serve.

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.

Thanks for reading - and please share your thoughts about nutmeg.

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Pfizer fined record £84.2m for overcharging NHS

 Drugs giant Pfizer has been fined a record £84.2m by the UK's competition watchdog for overcharging the NHS for an anti-epilepsy drug.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) also fined distributor Flynn Pharma £5.2m for the 2,600% overnight price increase for the drug in 2012.

NHS spending on the capsules, used by 48,000 UK patients, rose from £2m a year in 2012 to about £50m in 2013.

Pfizer rejected the findings and said it would appeal against the decision.

UK prices for the drug were many times higher than in Europe, the CMA said.
'Extraordinary' rises

Philip Marsden of the CMA said: "The companies deliberately exploited the opportunity offered by de-branding to hike up the price for a drug which is relied upon by many thousands of patients.

"These extraordinary price rises have cost the NHS and the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds."

Before 2012, Pfizer manufactured and distributed the drug, which was branded Epanutin.

Pfizer then sold the UK rights to distribute the phenytoin sodium capsules to Flynn Pharma, which de-branded the drug.

That allowed the firms to charge more for the drug because it was no longer subject to a pricing scheme agreed between the NHS and the drugs industry, the CMA said.

However, Pfizer said the drug was a loss-making product, and that the deal with Flynn "represented an opportunity to secure ongoing supply of an important medicine for patients with epilepsy".

"Pfizer believes the CMA's findings are wrong in fact and law and will be appealing all aspects of the decision," it said.

'Beggars belief'

The drugs giant said the increased price of the drug was still 25% to 40% below the cost of an equivalent medicine by another supplier to the NHS.

But the CMA said by its calculations "all such losses would have been recovered within two months of the price rises."

Flynn Pharma said the CMA was "making a serious error" and that it would appeal in a bid to overturn the CMA's findings.

"It beggars belief that the CMA seeks to punish Flynn for selling phenytoin capsules at a significant discount to phenytoin tablets," said David Fakes of Flynn Pharma.

The firms have between 30 days and four months to reduce the price to a level acceptable to the CMA, and two months to appeal against the CMA decision to the Competition Tribunal.

The fine will go to the Treasury rather than the NHS directly, although the health service could try to seek damages.
'Best possible value'

Drugs industry body the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said it "does not in any way support or condone the practice of 'price hikes' to generic medicines".

"Whilst we can't comment on individual companies and an appeal being made, it's appropriate that the complexities of this case are considered through the ongoing legal process," the organisation said.

The government is seeking to tighten up regulation of generic drugs price rises.

The Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "Yesterday, our bill to ensure we can control high prices of generic medicines passed through the House of Commons - we are absolutely determined to ensure that no pharmaceutical company can exploit the NHS.

"We very much welcome the fines issued today, which show that any such exploitation will not be tolerated."


Roasted Vegetables Tricolore : A Colourful Dish

Anne Aobadia has recently produced this wonderful dish and named it 'Roasted Vegetable Tricolore', and you can see why. It really is a beautiful, and most colourful, side dish. So easy-to-make with lots of good flavour, and you can choose to serve it with either meat, chicken or fish ... but perhaps if you just like vegetables, enjoy the dish by itself. The choice, dear reader, is always yours.

Serves Four
6g carb per serving
300 g brussels sprouts
150 g cherry tomatoes
150 g mushrooms
2⁄3 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄3 teaspoon ground black pepper
2⁄3 teaspoon dried rosemary or dried thyme
80 ml olive oil

Please see the cooking instructions here

I always have mushrooms in the house and incorporating them in this recipe idea is such a lovely suggestion ...

Mushrooms "are a good source of the many B Vitamins which help provide energy by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and play a key role in the nervous system ...

Importantly, in the absence of sunlight or supplements, eating mushrooms is a good way to up your vitamin D levels. They are the only vegetarian food source of vitamin D, because ergosterols in mushrooms convert to vitamin D when exposed to light. There is always strong feelings and thoughts about Vitamin D deficiency, which is thought to be quite widespread in Britain.

Research also suggests that mushrooms may have anti-cancer properties, thanks to their rich array of phytochemicals and unique nutrient profile" ...

Read more about the nutritional value of mushrooms here

I hope you may enjoy this side dish recipe suggeston soon ...

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Squash Tagine and Cauli ‘Couscous’ : Gluten Free

Ooh, thanks Natasha, this looks delicious! Now, if you fancy a gluten-free and veggie-filled dish for a mid-week change then why not consider this Moroccan-style tagine. It's from a recipe suggestion by Natasha Corrett,

Serves 2/3

For the tagine:
200g butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red onion, chopped
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
460g vine tomatoes, chopped
100g green beans, trimmed
50g black olives
Bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped

For the cauli couscous:
360g cauliflower, thick core removed
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
Bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped

1. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Put the squash in a roasting tin and roast for 20-25 minutes.
2. When the squash has been in the oven for 15 minutes, start the tagine. Heat the oil in a saucepan (that has a lid) over a medium heat, then fry the crushed garlic and onion for 2 minutes. Stir in the ground spices with 60ml cold water, then cook for 2 minutes more.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir to coat in the spices. Add 125ml water and bring to a simmer, then bubble gently for 4 minutes or until the liquid has reduced a little.
4. Add another 125ml water to the pan along with the roasted squash. Cover with the lid and cook for 2 minutes. Add the green beans and the olives and season to taste with salt. Stir, then put the lid back on and cook for another 2 minutes. Take off the heat, uncover and stir in the chopped coriander.
5. Meanwhile, to make the cauli couscous, chop or break the cauliflower into large pieces, put in a food processor and whizz until it resembles couscous.
6. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the garlic and cumin seeds for 1 minute. Add the cauli couscous to the pan, then stir in the fresh coriander and mint and season with salt and pepper. Leave to cook for 2 minutes, then take off the heat. Serve with the squash tagine.

Recipe from 'Honestly Healthy in a Hurry' by Natasha Corrett

Nutritional details:
based on serving three
Fat 12.8g  Protein 7.6g  Carbohydrates 20.9g

A variety of recipe ideas is within this blog, but please note, not all may be suitable for you.

If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Monday, 5 December 2016

PCSK9 inhibitors could increase diabetes risk

medwireNews: The results of two independent studies of genetic variants suggest that treatment with a PCSK9 inhibitor could increase the risk for diabetes.

In the first study, involving 112,772 participants, the researchers constructed two genetic scores consisting of PCSK9 and HMGCR variants to mimic the effects of treatment with PCSK9 inhibitors and statins, respectively. They found that low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol-lowering variants in both genes were associated with a reduction in the risk for cardiovascular events, but an elevated risk for diabetes.

After adjustment for a decrease in LDL cholesterol levels of 10 mg/dL, the team found a “nearly identical” reduction of 18.9% and 19.1% in the risk for cardiovascular events with the presence of PCSK9 and HMGCR variants, respectively.

These findings suggest that “treatment with a PCSK9 inhibitor should reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by approximately the same amount as treatment with a statin,” write study authors Brian Ference (Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, USA) and colleagues in The New England Journal of Medicine.

However, the presence of PCSK9 variants was associated with an 11.2% increase in the risk for diabetes per decrease of 10 mg/dL in LDL cholesterol, and the presence of HMGCR variants was associated with a 12.7% increase in risk.

“[L]ike statins, PCSK9 inhibitors may also increase the risk of new-onset diabetes,” say the authors. However, because the proportional reduction in cardiovascular disease risk associated with PCSK9variants was “much greater” than the increased risk for diabetes, they conclude that “as with statins, the reduction in cardiovascular risk with PCSK9 inhibitors should far exceed any potential increased risk of diabetes.”

In the second study, Amand Schmidt (University College London, UK) and colleagues analyzed data from 568,448 individuals included in randomized controlled trials, observational studies, and genetic consortia to estimate the association between PCSK9 variants and type 2 diabetes risk.

The team showed that four independent PCSK9 variants were associated with a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels, ranging from 0.02 mmol/L (0.78 mg/dL) to 0.34 mmol/L (13.15 mg/dL) per LDL cholesterol-reducing allele.

When the variants were combined into a weighted gene-centric score and scaled to a reduction in LDL cholesterol of 1 mmol/L (38.67 mg/dL), presence of the variants was associated with a 29% increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

The study authors also found that PCSK9 variants were associated with increased fasting glucose, bodyweight, and waist-to-hip ratio, but not with glycated hemoglobin, fasting insulin, or body mass index.

"[G]enetic variants in PCSK9 that associate with lower concentrations of LDL cholesterol are also associated with a modestly higher risk of type 2 diabetes and with associated differences in measures of glycaemia,” write the authors in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.

They recommend that future trials of PCSK9 inhibitors should carefully monitor changes in metabolic markers, including bodyweight and glycemia, and conclude that genetic studies “could be more widely used to interrogate the safety and efficacy of novel drug targets.”


Tiramisu the Low Carb Way : Certainly puts the 'T' in ChrisTmas !

This recipe idea can certainly put the 'T' into chrisTmas ! You can make this as boozy as you like, alternatively, you can omit the alcohol entirely, especially if you are serving to children. Why not simply drizzle a little brandy over the top of individual servings for those who like it... sounds good to me !

Serves 10 slices
Flourless sponge cake
110g / 4 oz / 1 stick butter melted
½ cup coconut flour
3 -5 tbs granulated stevia, or sweetener of choice, to taste
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
8 eggs
Coffee and brandy drizzle
1 cup very strong coffee
brandy (optional or use brandy essence)
Cream layer
1 cup heavy/double/whipping cream
2-4 tbsp sweetener of choice to taste
brandy to taste (optional or use brandy essence)
To decorate
40g / 1.5 oz dark 90% chocolate to decorate (optional)

Please go across to Libby's 'Ditch The Carbs' site to see the instructions and more here

If you should need help with weight/measurement conversions see here

A little more about Tiramisu ... from the Italian, spelled tiramisù and meaning "pick me up", "cheer me up" or "lift me up"! It is a a popular coffee-flavoured Italian custard dessert. Over the years the recipe has been adapted into many varieties of cakes and other desserts. Its origins are often disputed among Italian regions, but most accounts of the tiramisu date its invention to the 1960s in the region of Veneto, Italy, at the restaurant "Le Beccherie" in Treviso.

image from here

This will be great for the coming Christmas Season - or special occasion

All the best Jan

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Shock Statin News: Millions taking controversial heart drug unnecessarily report confirms

STATINS might not be worth suffering the side effects as it's revealed millions are taking the controversial heart drug unnecessarily. What are statins and the new updated research and news explained.

Records of nearly 800,000 people aged 60 and others over 24 years showed the drugs prescribed to reduce risk of heart disease and strokes had no effect on life expectancy. 

The only exception was for patients aged over 65 who were already at high risk of heart problems. 

This is in spite of Government-backed guidance that the drugs, linked with side effects such as muscle pain, memory loss and diabetes, should be taken by up to three million people at low or medium risk. 

The research, published in leading journal Public Library of Science last week and carried out by researchers at the University of East Anglia, warned of “over treatment”. 

Campaigning GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick said: “This is further confirmation of many independent researchers who have discovered statins have no benefit except in very small population of people at very high risk. 

“Millions taking these drugs should not be taking them.” 

Leading London-based cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra added: “This study supports the fact that there are millions of people taking statins not receiving any benefit from them. My concern is people are not being told this by their doctors, which is ethically dubious.” 

NHS watchdog Nice advises all adults with a 10 per cent or higher chance of developing heart disease in the next decade be considered for statins – meaning up to 17 million are eligible. 

Up to 10 million take them. The new research showed statins had no effect on longevity in patients over 60, unless the risk of heart disease was high – 20 per cent or above. 

It follows an independent analysis published earlier this month in healthcare journal Prescriber that concluded claims about statins had no credible scientific basis. 

This research claimed millions of patients are being misled about the pros and cons of the drugs. 

The Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Authority which oversees drug safety said: “The efficacy and safety of statins have been studied in a number of large trials which show they can lower the level of cholesterol in the blood and reduce cardiovascular disease and save lives. 

“Trials have also shown medically significant side effects are rare.”


Italian cabbage stir fry : LCHF : è così buono

You may have seen the Asian cabbage stir fry recipe here, well how about trying it Italian style! Yes, Cabbage Stir Fry or Crack slaw done the Italian way! With a little extra garlic, tomato paste and fresh basil, this low-carb favourite will be / is amazing ...

Serves Four

10 g carb per serving

750 g green cabbage
150 g butter
600 g ground (minced)beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
90 g leeks, thinly sliced
120 ml fresh basil
1 cup mayonnaise or sour cream, for serving

I do know a friend who also included some dried Italian Herbs into the mix, that's the joy of cooking, recipe's can always be amended a little to suit your needs.

The original recipe instructions are here

and just for you dear reader - here is an Italian style cafe

è così buono
Buon appetito
All the best Jan

Saturday, 3 December 2016

John Legend - Love Me Now

John Legend's baby features in this though provoking video

Ward Thomas - Cartwheels

This British country and western duo have a lot of radio airplay's of late enjoy


Matt Monro - On Days Like These

Saturday night again and music night on our blog. Jan and myself love driving around the lake district in our little red car listening to this sort of music. Unfortunately our meagre pensions don't run to owning a Lamborghini. Eddie

The Lake District

Jan and our little red car

Broccoli and Smoked Salmon Omelette.

Ingredients For One

1 tbsp olive oil
100g Tenderstem® Broccoli, each piece cut into 3
Half a small red onion, finely sliced
3 large free-range eggs
Knob of butter
2 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp chopped chives
Salt and pepper
50g smoked salmon, cut into strips


1. Heat the olive oil in a small non-stick frying pan (around 15cm diameter) and gently sauté the Broccoli and onion, until softened and onion starting to become golden. Remove from the pan and keep to one side.

2. While the onion and Broccoli are cooking, mix together the cream cheese and chopped chives. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Return the pan to the hob, increase the heat and add the butter. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk together with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Once the butter is bubbling, add the eggs. Swirl around the pan and either using a fork or rubber spatula, stir around until the eggs are almost set. Spread to cover the surface and leave to continue cooking for a minute or so, until the top of the eggs are almost set, with just a little liquid on the surface.

5. Spoon the onion and Broccoli onto one half of the omelette. Add the cream cheese and finally lay over the salmon. Tilt the pan and carefully fold over the other half of the omelette on top of the filling. Slide onto a plate and serve with a green salad.

Tip... Fried bacon or chorizo are delicious alternatives to smoked salmon. You could also add a pinch of dried chilli flakes into the pan with the onion and Broccoli for a kick.

Original recipe idea from the ‘Tenderstem’ site.


Poinsettia - have you got yours yet ?

One thing that is always part of Christmas in our house is the Poinsettia, at least one ... if not more, are purchased, and they do look so warm, cheerful and welcoming dotted around on tables, shelves etc. Of course there are many varieties available but for me my favourite is the wonderful RED ones, they are brilliant. We also have some cheery Father Christmas 'wooden' ornaments / decorations and they sit well together on the hall table ! If you'd like to find out more about these wonderful plants and their link to Christmas please read on.

"Poinsettia plants are native to Central America, especially an area of southern Mexico known as 'Taxco del Alarcon' where they flower during the winter. The ancient Aztecs called them 'cuetlaxochitl'. The Aztecs had many uses for them including using the flowers (actually special types of leaves known as bracts rather than being flowers) to make a purple dye for clothes and cosmetics and the milky white sap was made into a medicine to treat fevers. (Today we call the sap latex!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

he Poinsettia is also the national emblem of Madagascar and grow there as large outdoor shrubs."
The above words from here
To learn about caring for Poinsettia plants, see here

And talking about things coloured red, and you know I nearly always include a recipe!
can I interest you in a tasty and warming bowl of
Roast Red Pepper & Tomato Soup - you can see the recipe here

Thanks for reading, wishing you all a Happy Weekend
All the best Jan