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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Have you tried Cauliflower “Couscous” ?

It's great and " making cauliflower couscous couldn’t be easier. You just grind up fresh cauliflower florets in a food processor until they resemble couscous. Steam the cauliflower in just enough water to coat the bottom of a pan. Then lightly sauté some nuts, fruit, and onions and toss with the “couscous”."

See this super 'Simply Recipes' idea with full instructions here.

The cauliflower is "loaded with vitamin C, this cruciferous cousin to broccoli was once revered by a French king.

First prized by the court of King Louis XIV, cauliflower provides a royal health boost to everyone's diet. This versatile veggie is not only low in calories, it's also full of vitamins and minerals. One cup of raw cauliflower is high in the antioxidant vitamin C -- required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body, and necessary for the formation of the important protein collagen, used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.

Cauliflower also offers a healthy dose of potassium, fiber, and folic acid and contains a sulfur compound called isothiocyanate that protects health and prevents disease. Not all cauliflower is white. You can find green and orange varieties of this cruciferous (named for the cross-shaped flowers) cousin of broccoli and Brussels sprouts. The difference is in the amount (or absence) of chlorophyll present during the vegetable's growth.

More Veggie Might:
All vegetables in the cruciferous family -- kale, cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts -- are packed with vitamin C and potassium."

The above details taken from here

All the best Jan

Monday, 22 August 2016

More than 100,000 patients embroiled in statins scandal not told

More than 100,000 patients who may have been misdiagnosed in a statins scandal have not been alerted to a potentially fatal glitch in systems used by the NHS.

Earlier this year, the computer system used by GPs was found to have been miscalculating patients’ risk of heart attack since 2009.

The blunders mean that those in grave danger of heart attacks and strokes may not have offered cholesterol-lowering drugs, while others with little risk of heart disease were needlessly put on the pills.

In May, medicines regulators issued an alert to 2,500 GP practices warning them to review every patient who might be affected, and to stop using the faulty software until the glitch was resolved.

Doctors were told to contact up to 260,000 patients to identify those who suffered heart attacks and strokes, or were left in danger of them, after being wrongly classed as low-risk.

GPs were also supposed to identify those who had been needlessly put on the drugs for years, despite the fact their likelihood of heart disease was low.

But senior health officials say around half of GP practices have not even looked at the lists of affected patients, in an attempt to review their care.

In an email sent last month, doctors from the British Medical Association (BMA) said the failure to act, following the alert in May, was “difficult to defend”.

Dr Andrew Green, clinical lead for the BMA’s GP committee, wrote to local medical committees after receiving a warning from NHS England’s director of general practice.

In the email, he wrote: “I have spoken today with Dr. Arvind Madan from NHS England, who is concerned that about half of practices affected by this issue have not accessed the lists NHSE has provided them of their affected patients.”

“I would agree with him that practices should be aware of who these patients are and that it would be difficult to defend a practice that had not done so,” he continued, in the email seen by GP magazine Pulse.

The errors stem from a problem in the QRISK2 tool provided by UK IT company TPP.

Current NHS advice is that anyone with a 10 per cent chance of cardiovascular disease within the next decade should be advised to take the cholesterol-busting medication.

Such scores are calculated using software which takes account of factors such as blood pressure, weight, health problems and family medical history.

GPs calculate patients’ risk of having a future heart attack or stroke when they attend the NHS health check offered to all patients aged 40 to 74 every five years.

Doctors have now been told to use their own clinical judgement or alternative software until the bugs in the system used by at least one third of practices have been solved.

Earlier this month leading doctors warned that the cholesterol-busting drugs, which cost just pennies, were being rationed in some parts of the party, in measures “born out of desperation”.

The decision to restrict the heart drugs was last night attacked by health watchdogs, who said wider prescribing of the medication had been recommended to stop “lives being destroyed”.

Two years ago, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence cut the “risk threshold” for cholesterol-beating statins in half, meaning than up to 40 per cent of adults are eligible to take the drugs.


Lemon Chicken : Simply Delicious

just go so well with this Gino D'Acampo lemon chicken recipe idea

Whip up a lemon butter sauce in next to no time,
it makes something special of simple fried chicken breasts.

Serves One
2 tbsp olive oil
1 chicken breast
½ lemon, juice only
5 tbsp white wine
knob of butter
pinch of flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve:
green beans

1. Heat a large frying pan and add the olive oil, fry the chicken for 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
2. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper. Add the white wine and reduce for 30 seconds. Coat the knob of butter in flour, and drop in the mixture to thicken.
3. Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the green beans for 3-4 minutes, drain.
4. Put the beans on a plate, top with the chicken, drizzle over the sauce and serve.

Original recipe idea from here


All the best Jan

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Why Skim Milk Will Make You Fat and Give You Heart Disease

Joke: How do you dramatically increase sales of a new or unpopular food product to the American public?

Answer: Call it a health food!

This joke, while funny, is also very sad as it illustrates with humor what common sense, logic, observation, and facts cannot for the vast majority of Westerners. Time and time again, Americans are completely duped by the clever marketing of a food product, falling all over themselves to buy it just because it has been touted in the media and by their (equally duped) doctors as a food that will improve their health.

Don’t believe it? How about margarine? Americans, in the span of just a few short years after World War II, all but completely shunned butter and this behavior pattern continued for decades because saturated fat was supposedly the demon of heart disease. See my blog which explains the truth about butter. Americans are finally waking up to the fact that butter is a wonderful, truly natural healthfood and it is margarine that ironically causes heart disease!

What about soy? This is another supposed “health food” that has been proven to do nothing but cause an epidemic of hypothyroidism is the Western world (you know the symptoms: overweight, losing your hair, depressed, tired all the time). Soy in Asia, as it has been consumed for thousands of years, is always fermented for long periods of time before it can be safely consumed – and even then – in very small quantities! The modern processing of soy which involves grinding up the leftover soy protein, the waste product in the production of soy oil, and putting it in all manner of food products which line our grocery store shelves makes for a dangerous and health robbing line of consumer goods.

I also blogged recently about the latest healthfood scam: agave nectar. Here again is an example of a new food that was marketed using the “health food” label. This approach to selling to the American people is obviously working as these products are readily available in most health food stores despite the fact that this product has a more deadly concentration of fructose than the high fructose corn syrup in soda!

Now, On to Skim Milk!

Hopefully, you are now convinced that labeling an item as a “health food” is a frequently used approach for selling something to the American public. Skim milk falls into this same category.

Prior to World War II, Americans didn’t ever drink skim or lowfat milk. Drinking such a product to stay “thin and healthy” would have been laughable. Americans would only drink whole milk. In fact, the larger the creamline on their milk, the higher quality the milk, and the more likely the consumer was to buy it. Milk wasn’t homogenized in those days, so a consumer could easily see the distinct creamline on the milk to determine quality.

Cream has been considered a true health food for centuries. In Ancient Greece, Olympic athletes drank a bowlful of cream to give them strength and endurance before competition. Why? Because cream steadies blood sugar for an extended period of time. No ups and downs in insulin when your diet has lots of wonderful saturated fat in it. It is only when you eat lowfat that blood sugar issues such as diabetes and hypoglycemia tend to arise.

So, how did skim milk come to be recognized as a healthfood in America? It all ties back to the demonization of saturated fats that began shortly after World War II. Americans started to abandon butter and cream in droves about this time because studies had apparently shown that saturated fat was linked to the growing number of heart disease cases in America. Never mind that atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) was virtually unknown prior to the mid 1920’s when Americans drowned everything in cream and butter. Logic and observation clearly indicated that saturated fat could not possibly be the cause of heart disease – it was obviously something new that had been introduced into the American diet. Of course, this “something” is partially hydrogenated fats which were introduced around 1921 (Enter the first transfat … Crisco. Bingo! First documented heart attack from artherosclerosis in 1927, and it rapidly got worse from there). These factory fats are primarily responsible for the epidemic of heart disease yet saturated fats took the fall anyway.

With Americans abandoning whole milk due to its high saturated fat content, skim milk was touted as the new heart healthy food. Americans bought the scam hook, line, and sinker. Skim milk was the new king of the dairy aisle. This behavior pattern has continued for decades despite the average American getting fatter and fatter and the cases of heart disease showing no signs of abating.

In the 1990’s with the beginnings of the childhood obesity epidemic, doctors even started to encourage parents to switch their children to skim or lowfat milk around age 2. This foolish recommendation has done nothing but make kids fatter (source).

How does drinking skim milk make kids (and adults) fatter? This apparent paradox occurs when you reduce the saturated fat in a person’s diet and he/she turns to carbs (grains and sugars primarily) to fill in the gap. It is the grains and sugars that truly make you fat, not saturated fat. I’ve said before on this blog that the more butter and cream I eat, the easier it is to maintain my weight. MUCH easier. The same goes for all of us. If you drink skim milk, you will be missing out on the satiating, blood sugar and insulin steadying affects of saturated fat, so your body will automatically give you sugar and carb (grains) cravings to make up for it. The body is able to MAKE saturated fat out of sugars, hence the sugar cravings that are impossible to control when you eat a lowfat diet that includes skim milk.

Try it! Increase your consumption of butter, whole milk yogurt and whole milk cheese for a few days and watch your sugar cravings rapidly diminish!

Another big secret is that Big Dairy adds skim milk powder to skim milk. Here’s an excerpt from “Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry” from the Weston A. Price Website:
"A note on the production of skim milk powder: liquid milk is forced through a tiny hole at high pressure, and then blown out into the air. This causes a lot of nitrates to form and the cholesterol in the milk is oxidized. Those of you who are familiar with my work know that cholesterol is your best friend; you don’t have to worry about natural cholesterol in your food; however, you do not want to eat oxidized cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol contributes to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, to atherosclerosis. So when you drink reduced-fat milk thinking that it will help you avoid heart disease, you are actually consuming oxidized cholesterol, which initiates the process of heart disease."
 One parting fact: pig farmers love feeding skim milk to their pigs. Why? It makes them REALLY fat! Still want to drink your skim milk? I hope not.


Sometimes a quiet day can be so perfect !

You wake and put the kettle on

enjoy a cup of tea, with a perfect LCHF breakfast

which keeps you going throughout the day to do a little dusting

before you treat yourself to a sit down and listen to your new CD

then later into the kitchen preparing tonight's meal

a low carb lamb moussaka, which is family friendly too!
see the recipe here

now don't forget the glass of merlot !

and to top it all get the butler to do the washing up ...
well I'm dreaming a bit here ... perhaps Eddie may volunteer !

image from here

I wonder have you enjoyed a quiet day recently ?
Take care and thanks for reading

All the best Jan

What Most Doctors Get Wrong About Health: A Cardiologist Explains.

Dr. Aseem Malhotra is an award-winning British cardiologist who's launched an international campaign to promote healthier living. In his new documentary, The Big Fat Fix, he's teamed up with filmmaker Donal O'Neill to show how a Mediterranean lifestyle can help prevent and treat many chronic diseases. Here, he explains why the future of health care should be lifestyle medicine:

We've been guzzling sugar, refined carbohydrates, and industrial vegetable oils as never before, with devastating consequences for public health. In fact, poor diet now contributes to more disease and death than physical inactivity, smoking, and alcohol combined, according to The Lancet. It's also a tremendous waste of resources: In the U.K., the combined costs of type 2 diabetes and obesity to the National Health Service and economy now exceed £20 billion. Similarly, in the United States, the cost of type 2 diabetes has risen dramatically in recent years and is now well in excess of $200 billion a year.

The brutal fact is that the increasing burden of chronic disease will not be solved by even more conventional medicine. Sir Bruce Keogh, the medical director of NHS England, has pointed out that one in seven NHS treatments (including operations) should never have been carried out in the first place. The situation is worse in America, with an estimated one-third of all health care activity bringing no benefit to the patient. A "more medicine is better" culture lies at the heart of this, exacerbated by financial incentives within the system to prescribe more drugs and carry out more procedures.

Read more here.


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Passenger | Somebody's Love

A new song from Passenger's forthcoming album

Angus & Julia Stone - A Heartbreak

This Australian brother and sister duo is new to me enjoy !

Clarence Milton Bekker - Try a Little Tenderness

You may know this guy from the Playing For Change Band. Clarence Bekker is as good as a soul singer gets I reckon. Eddie

I Left My Heart (in San Francisco) Tony Bennett

Saturday night again, and music night on this blog. Tony Bennett celebrated his ninetieth birthday on August the third. A truly great performer, true super star and total class in every way. Eddie  

Chicken Liver Pate with Garlic and Low Carb Seed Crackers

Now, how's this for a winning and low carb combination !

Libby at 'ditchthecarbs' asks. "Have you ever made your own home made pate?
Take a look at my super easy low carb pate and see just how easy it is.
With no added nasties, no wheat fillers or starchy packers", it's a winner!

Nutrition Information:
Serving size: Per 2 tbsp/ oz / 28g
Calories: 89 Fat: 7.5g Carbohydrates: 0.3g Sugar: 0g Fibre: 0g Protein: 5g

300g / 10 oz chicken livers
110g/ 1 stick butter
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tbsp cracked black peppercorns
+/- salt to taste

See how to make it here

This lovely recipe idea for low carb Seed Crackers is from Julia McPhee's blog.
They are just great to eat for a low carb crunchy snack or lunch.
Just add a little chicken liver (with garlic) pate, or cheese, or avocado slice, perhaps a slice of tomato!
If you make a double batch of them you've got more for next time!

Here are the details:

Nutrition Information
Serves: 20
Serving size: 1
Calories: 70
Fat: 6.1g
Saturated fat: 0.6g
Carbohydrates: 0.3g
Protein: 2.7g

¼ cup each Sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1 cup Ground flaxseed (aka linseed) or LSA
¼ cup Sesame seeds
2 tbsp Psyllium husks
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp Wholegrain mustard
¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated
250 ml Water (enough to make mixture firm but soft )

Please find the instructions here

I hope you may enjoy both of these winning low carb suggestions soo!

Bon Appetit

All the best Jan

Friday, 19 August 2016

Beyond Confusion and Controversy, Can We Evaluate the Real Efficacy and Safety of Cholesterol-Lowering with Statins?


A strong controversy has emerged about the reality of safety and efficacy of statins as stated by company-sponsored reports. However, physicians need credible data to make medical decisions, in particular about the benefit/harm balance of any prescription.

 This study aimed to test the validity of data on the company-sponsored statin trial by comparing them over time and then comparing statins with each other. Around the years 2005/2006, new stricter Regulations were introduced in the conduct and publication of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). This would imply that RCTs were less reliable before 2006 than they were later on. To evaluate this, we first reviewed RCTs testing the efficacy of statins versus placebo in preventing cardiovascular complications and published after 2006.

Our systematic review thereby identified four major RCTs, all testing rosuvastatin. They unambiguously showed that rosuvastatin is not effective in secondary prevention, while the results are highly debatable in primary prevention. Because of the striking clinical heterogeneity and the inconsistency of the published data in certain RCTs, meta-analysis was not feasible.

 We then examined the most recent RCTs comparing statins to each other: all showed that no statin is more effective than any other, including rosuvastatin. Furthermore, recent RCTs clearly indicate that intense cholesterol-lowering (including those with statins) does not protect high-risk patients any better than less-intense statin regimens. As for specific patient subgroups, statins appear ineffective in chronic heart failure and chronic kidney failure patients. 

We also conducted a MEDLINE search to identify all the RCTs testing a statin against a placebo in diabetic patients, and we found that once secondary analyses and subgroup analyses are excluded, statins do not appear to protect diabetics.

 As for the safety of statin treatment – a major issue for medical doctors – it is quite worrisome to realize that it took 30 years to bring to light the triggering effect of statins on new-onset diabetes, manifestly reflecting a high level of bias in reporting harmful outcomes in commercial trials, as has been admitted by the recent confession of prominent experts in statin treatment. In conclusion, this review strongly suggests that statins are not effective for cardiovascular prevention. The studies published before 2005/2006 were probably flawed, and this concerned in particular the safety issue. A complete reassessment is mandatory. Until then, physicians should be aware that the present claims about the efficacy and safety of statins are not evidence based.

Full text:


Salmon and cauliflower fishcakes

Salmon and cauliflower fishcakes, with dill yogurt dip and smashed peas, could be just what you are looking for! Makes a very nice Friday evening dish ... served with a glass of chilled white wine, or you may prefer a nice chilled glass of water!

For four people you will need these ingredients:
375g side of poached salmon, flaked
50ml white wine
½ tbsp white wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 cauliflower, florets removed and cut into 2cm pieces
2 medium floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 3cm pieces
1 egg yolk
4 tbsp cornflour
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
100g Greek-style natural yogurt
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
200g frozen peas
Lemon wedges, to serve

This is what you do:

1. Place the salmon in a large, shallow pan with a lid. Pour in the wine, vinegar and enough water to just cover the fish, then add the bay leaf. Place over a medium/low heat with the lid on and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the salmon is just cooked. Remove from the poaching liquid and set aside on a plate. Once slightly cooled, flake.
2. Place the cauliflower pieces in a steamer over boiling water and steam for 12 minutes or until tender. Blitz in a food processor until smooth, then set aside to cool for a few minutes. Tip it on to a clean tea towel and squeeze out any excess moisture.
3. Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a large pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 12-15 minutes or until soft. Mash until fairly smooth and leave to cool slightly.
4. In a bowl, combine the cauliflower and mashed potato. Stir in the egg yolk, flaked salmon, cornflour, lemon zest and parsley and season to taste, making sure not to overwork the mixture. Divide the mixture into 8 and shape into patties. Place these in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
5. Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt with the dill and juice of half the lemon and season to taste.
6. Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick pan. Place 4 of the fishcakes in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Place on a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm then repeat with the other fishcakes. Cook the peas to packet instructions, then crush lightly with the back of a fork. Serve the fishcakes and peas with the yogurt dip and lemon wedges.

Each serving provides:
8.3g carbohydrate 1.7g fibre 24.8g protein 20.9g fat

Original recipe idea from here

Note of caution, this recipe does contain potatoes, so may affect blood sugar levels. You may want to consider swapping the potatoes for some broccoli, which is a lower carb alternative.

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

All the best Jan

Thursday, 18 August 2016

How good medicine can be bad for your health (and how to avoid it).

Published on Aug 1, 2016 Professor Dee Mangin, University of Otago, 
Christchurch and McMaster University How good medicine can be bad for your health (and how to avoid it). Presented: Wednesday, 23 March,2016 


Mamma Mia it's Mozzarella : Two Lovely Recipes

photo credit Vicky Wasik

Mozzarella ... "an Italian fresh or unripened cheese traditionally made from water buffalo’s milk (Mozzarella di Bufala) around the Naples area. It’s a firm but creamy cheese that tastes like fresh milk with a slightly sour edge to it. It melts well and has a unique stretch-iness, making it the classic pizza topping cheese.

Mozzarella is now also made predominantly from cow’s milk and is made all over Italy as well as in other countries, including the UK (where some producers are making mozzarella from water buffalo milk). Mozzarella is sold in rounds about the size of a small fist. Because it has no rind it’s packed in plastic bags, surrounded by water to keep it fresh. You’re more likely to find buffalo mozzarella from good delis or cheese shops and also look out for small mozzarella balls called ‘bocconcini’ which are sold in tubs.

Mozzarella is too soft to grate but cut thin slices and layer them in pasta bakes or put a slice on top of pieces of meat or chicken before grilling them. Italy’s classic salad – insalata Caprese – is made with slices of mozzarella and ripe tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and scattered with torn basil leaves and a little salt."
Words above taken from here

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs
A delicious everyday low-carb dish for the whole family.
Stuff the meatballs with mozzarella cheese and enjoy!
Serves Four
1½ lbs (700 g) ground beef
1 tablespoon dried basil
½ teaspoon salt
2 pinches pepper 
2 tablespoons cold water 
4 oz. (110 g) fresh mozzarella cheese 
butter for frying

Instructions for this dish are here

Warm Pomodorino Tomato Salad with Parma Ham and Mozzarella
Summer days are just made for this salad, each serving provides:
5.2g carbohydrate 0.7g fibre 25.3g protein 47.6g fat
Serves 2
250g Pomodorino tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Handful pine nuts
80g mixed salad, e.g watercress, spinach, rocket (arugula)
125g Buffalo mozzarella ball, torn up
70g Italian Parma ham
1 tsp red wine vinegar

Instructions for this dish can be seen here

Bon Appetit or should I say Buona Salute !

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

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

A new grocery trend: the ketogenic diet

Dive Brief:
  • Manufacturers are beginning to develop products that align with the ketogenic diet, a low-carb, high-fat regimen that analysts say could be the next fad diet.
  • Keto is gaining a foothold among health-conscious consumers because of its perceived benefits for weight loss and managing some neurological conditions.
  • Manufacturers have responded to a lack of convenient items on the market that meet the keto diet's low-carb restrictions and promotion of high fat intake by introducing a wide range of products, such as snacks and breakfast foods.
Dive Insight:

If keto is the new paleo diet, keto-friendly products could gain traction among consumers and manufacturers in the coming years. Global product launches featuring the word "paleo" have increased significantly with room to grow, from single digits in 2010 to more than 300 in the year ended September 2015, according to Innova.

The ketogenic diet also aligns with consumers' increased interest and consumption of healthy fats, such as the resurgence of full-fat dairy products. More recent research has questioned commonly held concerns about fats, particularly saturated fats, which have contributed to changing public opinion and decreasing demand for low-fat processed foods.

Like the gluten-free diet and its perceived benefits for health and weight loss, researchers question the viability of the keto diet for all people. Still, gluten-free product sales continue to rise, which demonstrates how niche diets can ultimately be sales drivers for manufacturers that can meet market demand.


Parmesan and Poppy Seed Lollipops !

Parmesan and Poppy seed lollipops

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

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

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

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

Go - on why not give these lollipops a try ... they're certainly different!

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

What's REALLY Inside McDonald's French Fries?

Of course, you want fries with that. Does the server behind the register even need to ask?

Let's face it, no meal at McDonald's is complete without an order of its delicious fries.

And to think, the world-famous french fries were added to the menu only as an afterthought. They replaced plain old potato chips in 1949, nine years after the first-ever McDonald's opened its doors for business in California.

THE SUSPECT: McDonald's French Fries Large (5.4 oz) (from the USA)

THE DETECTIVE: Dr. Christopher Ochner (a research associate at New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center) is very familiar with the McDonald's menu. A few years ago, Ochner -- who holds a doctorate of clinical psychology -- conducted his own “Super Size Me”-type diet experiment: Every day for two months he ate one meal at the fast food restaurant as part of a study.

NUTRITION LABEL: 500 calories, 25 grams fat, 63 grams carbs, 350 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber, 6 grams protein

LISTED INGREDIENTS: Potatoes, vegetable oil (canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]*, citric acid [preservative]), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (to maintain color) and salt.

Prepared in Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil) with TBHQ and Citric Acid to preserve freshness of the oil and Dimethylpolysiloxane to reduce oil splatter when cooking.

*Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.

Are McDonald's French Fries Vegetarian? No!

Head's up, vegetarians and vegans: There's natural beef flavor in those fries!

And here's why:

Some 50 years ago, McDonald's cooked its fries in beef fat. When it switched over to a vegetable oil blend, it didn't want the fries to lose their famous flavor, so they opted to add natural beef flavor to the blend. Hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk are used as starting ingredients of the flavoring.

So, shockingly enough, these fries are not vegetarian, nor vegan!

In 2002, McDonald's paid $10 million to members of vegetarian groups including Hindus and Sikhs who had sued the chain for failing to disclose that beef tallow was included among the ingredients of the seemingly-vegetarian french fries. (The link to the New York Times article is linked below in the Resources section at the bottom of this article.)

And What About the Rest of Those Ingredients?

1. Vegetable Oil (Blend): To make french fries, you have to deep-fry some potatoes, an otherwise healthy carbohydrate, in something fatty and greasy.

McDonald's spuds get dunked in an oil bath twice. According to Ochner, the manufacturers cut and boil them and possibly fry them once before freezing them and shipping them to restaurants, where they are fried again.

Here's what goes into that piping hot potato bath of oil:

a) Canola oil: This commonly used cooking oil is generally considered “good for you” when compared to others in its category. It's hard to tell how much of this particular oil is used versus the less healthy, and even fattier options. Because canola oil is a little pricier, Ochner speculates that McDonald's probably uses less of the good stuff and more of the others, like corn oil and soybean oil.

b) Hydrogenated soybean oil: When regular soybean oil goes through a hydrogenation process, its unsaturated fats become saturated fat, which in turn makes it easier to cook with and helps boost preservation. The downside is the new fat also becomes a trans fat, which has been strongly linked to heart disease.

You'd think that the recent nationwide mandatory call for removal of trans fats in all foods would have forced McDonald's to rethink its recipe. Nope. Ochner says that the FDA's definition of “zero trans fat per serving” means less than 1 gram per tablespoon, and that McDonald's found its loophole and still continues to serve a relatively low amount of trans fat in its fries.

d) Citric acid: This common preservative is considered safe to ingest, but there's something disturbing about how it works. If you remember Morgan Spurlock's alarming 2004 documentary “Super Size Me,” you will recall how McDonald's fries can last for months without breaking down at all, continuing to look like you bought them yesterday.

e) TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone): This super potent preservative, found in a large array of processed foods, is what might be helping citric acid keep long-dead fries from becoming zombies. Though it's also said to be safe, animal studies have linked it to stomach ulcers and damage to DNA.

2. Dextrose: Another word for sugar, this is third ingredient in McDonald's french fries, following potatoes and oil.

Now why would such a savory food need a dash of sweetness? Well, it's simple: It makes it taste better and it also increases addiction and cravings. New research shows that the body may convert the sugar found in foods into body fat more easily than it can convert fat found in foods into body fat.

3. Sodium acid pyrophosphate: This preservative is the reason McDonald's fries will retain a fresh-looking golden brown color rather than turn black when placed in a jar for two months. Yuck!

This same ingredient is often found in commercially prepared cake, pudding, waffle, pancake and muffin mixes, and it is also added to refrigerated dough products, flavored milk, cured meats, potato products and canned fish.

4. Dimethylpolysiloxane: What's an anti-foaming agent doing in your fries? Bizarrely enough, this silicone serves a purpose: McDonald's manufacturers likely add some to the water when boiling the potatoes before frying and freezing them for shipment. This probably helps speed up the process (no foam spilling over) and cuts back on cleanup afterward.

There's no proof that ingesting this stuff is harmful, but why would you want to?

So, What's the Final Verdict on McDonald's French Fries?

It all sounds pretty questionable, right? Also, think about how many vegetarians and vegans (and people wanting to avoid eating meat) have unknowingly ingested beef while eating these french fries? Why don't they simply re-name them "Beefy Fries" or "Beef-Flavored French Fries" for total transparency?

: McDonald's french fries contain questionable ingredients and a minimal amount of nutrition (protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants).

That said, we do understand that some of you might still find the drive-thru siren song of "Do you want fries with that?" tempting to your ears (and to your stomach). Our hope is that this information may nudge you to eat them less often, or perhaps at least convince you to choose the smaller portion of fries.

Just by ordering the small versus the large fries, you'll avoid 270 calories, 14 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 34 grams of carbs.

And for all the vegetarians out there who have eaten these fries, we hope you're not too bummed out after reading this. At least now you know!


Cucumber and Halloumi Bites

This recipe takes about five minutes to put together and is SO delicious and easy, said Karen Thomson ... and I have to agree. It can make a super quick lunch or tea time snack and is just perfect if you have your own home grown cucumbers. I think I may try it on some friends when they next pop in for a light lunch - I think it will go down well! 

For one serving (adjust as necessary) you will need:
Half a cucumber
1/4 block of Halloumi cheese
Full fat plain yoghurt
a little lemon juice
salt and pepper

This is what you do:
Slice cucumber length-ways to create base.
Top with full cream yoghurt.
Fry some Halloumi cheese in fat - coconut oil for approx 2 minutes per side - and put on top.
Squeeze on some lemon juice, season to taste with salt and pepper and voilà lunch is served

Definitely quick, easy and just tastes great... enjoy

See more at Karen Thomson's blog here

Have you seen this lovely recipe idea for Cucumber with Stilton Bites?

 you can see the recipe by using this link here

All the best Jan

Monday, 15 August 2016

'Statins ruined my life'

Darling of the gossip columns PETRONELLA WYATT reveals how she conquered high cholesterol

  • Petronella was told she had dangerously high blood pressure by her GP
  • She was prescribed statins by her GP and given a diet sheet to adhere to
  • The drugs gave her headaches, mood swings and effected her sleep
  • She came off statins, changed her diet and her cholesterol lowered

A few months ago, I discovered I was ‘ill’. Prior to that, at the age of 46, I had felt confident of longevity. 

I had managed to sidestep the surgeon’s knife and, aside from a case of mild pneumonia two years ago, had never succumbed to anything worse than gastric flu.

At nine stone, I ate sensibly and while not exactly sporty, I am a regular swimmer and former sprinting champion. 

Nonetheless, my NHS GP complained I had never had a proper check-up and, tired of her badgering, I went through some routine tests during which a nurse took a blood sample.

I thought little of it until four days later, when I picked up a message on my mobile phone at 9pm. ‘There are serious abnormalities with your blood results. You had better call me,’ the GP said.

The following morning, after a sleepless night, I dialled my doctor’s number. ‘Hello, Ms Wyatt. It’s about your blood results. I am very concerned. Your cholesterol. It’s 11.5. It should be well below five, ideally three. Moreover, 7.5 is LDL, which is bad cholesterol. In my career I have never come across a higher cholesterol count.’

‘What does that mean?’ I asked.
‘It means you are at a very high risk of having a heart attack. A 60 per cent chance within ten years.’


I have avoided doctors, because they are professional doomsayers and this was not the news I wanted to hear. Surely it was only dyspeptic old men, with stomachs like drunken dollar signs, who had cholesterol. Was I a heavy drinker and a regular consumer of fast food?

‘No!’ I protested. Were I to be condemned to an early death, it would be without the stigma of alcoholism and a penchant for fry-ups.

A couple of glasses of white wine a week is my limit, and diet is not so much trans fat as sans fat.

‘Perhaps it’s genetic, then,’ came back the answer. Was that better? No, it was worse.

Poleaxed and somewhat dazed, I asked what could be done.

I was told that with cholesterol as high as mine I must be put on statins, the drug that lowers cholesterol by breaking it down in the blood-stream. As I write, there are roughly seven million Britons on them.

My GP continued: ‘This is essential. Most people on statins start with a cholesterol level of four to six.’ Moreover, I would have to take them for the rest of my life. ‘I also want to see you change your diet. You may think you eat well, but I am sending you a diet sheet.’

My heart sank when I read it. Eggs, it seemed, had to go, unless I only ate the whites. So, to my surprise, did chicken breasts (too much fat), nuts, shellfish and chocolate. I was not eating enough fibre, though I could not be convicted of either butter or dairy.

My father had a morbid fear of heart disease (though he died of cancer) and never permitted fatty foods at the table. In restaurants he would startle waiters who arrived with butter dishes by shouting: ‘Are you trying to kill me?’

It was a hard regime. I abhor pulses and porridge, yet pulses and porridge were now to be my lot. I had read in a medical journal that scientists were divided as to whether eggs cause ‘bad’ cholesterol. My doctor was having no dissension: ‘Do you think you know better than I do?’

After collecting my prescription, I sought a second opinion from another GP. He told me: ‘When cholesterol is that high you cannot eat your way to a safe level.’ A third doctor said the same thing.


I had been taking the statins for a week when my head began to throb. I fell down twice, blacking out for a few seconds each time. I was unable to sleep for more than four hours a night and when I did, I had fiendish nightmares.

Some mornings, I shut myself in my room, too depressed to speak. I started to drink rum at night to calm my nerves, but instead, I suffered crying fits and moments of murderous anger. I rang my GP, but she refused to believe me when I said that the statins were making me ill. ‘That’s impossible. Statins are utterly harmless. Perhaps it’s the change in your diet.’

I went online for answers. Some studies have found that reducing ‘bad’ cholesterol had no effect on longevity, and that 75 per cent of heart-attack victims have normal levels of cholesterol.

I struggled on with the medication though my temper had become so bad that when I went to collect a dress from the dry-cleaners and found it wasn’t ready, I began to swear at the assistant and then burst into loud sobs.

Eventually I rang an old friend who is a distinguished consultant cardiologist. At his behest I underwent a series of tests in Harley Street. I expected a significant drop in my cholesterol levels. Yet the figures had hardly moved.

After 12 weeks of statins, and a dreary, almost vegetarian diet, my cholesterol was 9.8. My cardiologist friend suggested I stop taking the statins for three weeks while keeping to a heart-friendly diet.


After 48 hours my headaches were gone, my bonhomie and oomph had returned and with it a renewed enthusiasm for exercise.

I bought a bicycle, I started taking long walks and I sprinted on the track near my home in North London. I slept easily and deeply. My moods became equable. After 21 days, I had a third blood test. Without statins, but with regular exercise, porridge every other day and lower levels of stress, my cholesterol reading dropped to seven.

‘Perhaps I should not say this,’ my cardiologist said carefully, ‘but if you are, in all other respects, healthy, with low blood pressure, you are very unlikely to have a heart attack. In your case, I would say that statins could do you long-term harm.

‘This is a minority view at present, but it is a valid one.’ I wrote to my GP saying I was stopping the statins, adding that since Darwin, matters of science had not been decided by majority opinion. 

She wrote back suggesting I find a new GP. Many readers, and much of the medical profession, will disagree with my course of action. 

Nonetheless, I do not believe I will die of a heart attack before my 56th birthday, though I may be wrong. My mother, who is 90 and Hungarian, let slip the other day that 15 years ago she been told her cholesterol was 10.6. ‘What did you do?’ I asked.

‘Nussing,’ she replied. ‘Zey wanted to put me on a drug. I told them my mother lived till 97, and I take enough pills already.’


The Benefits of a Low-Carb Diet: A Guide to Optimizing Health

For more sound dietary information go to


Lemon Cookies : Low Carb

Slightly softer than many 'shop bought' cookie's, and almost certainly containing fewer carbs, you may like to make a batch of these lemon cookies and enjoy one with an afternoon cup of tea!

They are an idea from Ewelina
and if you are a regular reader here you may well have seen her smiling face before.

Ingredients (make 25 cookies):

1.6g carb per cookie

120g ground almond
60g soya flour
100g xylitol (powdered)
1 egg
40g coconut oil (melted but not hot)
½ tsp. bicarbonate soda
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ lemon

Please see cooking instructions here

Did You Know:
Soya flour is pale yellow in colour, with a nutty flavour and aroma, it is made by grinding roasted yellow soya beans. It is available from health food shops. However, if you want to avoid GM foods, check the label carefully, and buy organic soya flour which is GM-free.
Store soya flour an airtight container and keep it refrigerated.
Soya flour is extremely rich in protein, so it can be added to any food to enhance its nutritional content. It is often used in commercial products such as crisps and sausages. For the home cook, it is valuable for baking, making flat-breads, and thickening sauces. It is often combined with wheat or other grain flours before use.

Details about soya flour taken from here but there is also more information about soy flour (soybean) at Wikipedia here which you may like to read.

We bring a variety of recipe ideas to this blog, 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.

However, I hope you may have some spare time soon to make some cookies. Then why not sit down and enjoy one with a cup of tea ... or perhaps you would prefer a coffee?

All the best Jan

Sunday, 14 August 2016

One day, whole fresh food from the farm or the sea is going to catch on. This ain't rocket science.

This guy had it right years ago. Eddie 

How Much Does Low Carb Really Cost - I wonder ?

You may have already seen this article ' How Much Does Low Carb Cost?' from Libby at 'Ditch The Carbs' site ... but if you haven't I think it well worth a read. She writes:

"A question I am asked often is “How much does low carb cost?”. Many perceive changing from a high carb diet to a low carb diet will cost a small fortune. Read on to see why I don’t believe it does and my top tips to help you save money while you transition to low carb.


How much does low carb cost can be broken down further into short term costs and long term costs. Short term costs are your immediate expenditure such as your grocery bill whereas long term costs are medical bills, supplements and other lifestyle burdens that you cannot put a price on. There are so many factors beyond money. Health, pleasure, well being, contentment, calmness, weight and longevity to name just a few."

You can find Libby's full article with relevant links here

All the best Jan

Do You Ever Ask - Male And Female Peppers - Fact Or Fiction?

Matt Bray writes:

"A plant world sex scandal…

Do bell peppers have a gender? Some say they do. The idea has been around for a while but only recently has it caught traction. According to the theory, there are distinct male and female peppers and the gender indicates whether a bell pepper has more seeds or whether it is better for cooking or eating raw. Interesting theory, but is it fact or fiction?

Is the male and female peppers claim fact or fiction?

Total fiction. There’s no such thing as bell pepper sexes. But let’s break the urban legend down to make things clear.

The bell pepper gender theory

The theory states that the lobes or bumps on the bottom of the fruit are the indicators of the bell pepper’s sex so that you can tell the fruit’s gender by counting them. Male bell peppers, according to the theory, have only three lobes while female bell peppers have four. These genders point to their best use case: Male bell peppers, the theory states, are better for cooking while female bell peppers are sweeter, contain more seeds, and better eaten raw.

The lobe fallicy – What does the number of lobes actually indicate in a bell pepper?

Absolutely nothing in terms of sex. Bell peppers can have anywhere between two and five lobes, not just the three or four listed in this urban legend.

The number of lobes that a bell pepper has is related to the variety of bell pepper. There are different varieties that produce different numbers of lobes. Some produce two, while others may produce between three and five lobes. The most popular variety of bell pepper in the U.S. produces four lobes so many plants have been bred for this characteristic.

Do four-lobe bell peppers have more seeds?

They may, but only because they have more lobes, meaning more cavity space in which seeds can be grown. But even this is not 100% true all the time. Peppers can have a single chamber or multiple chambers containing the white pithy tissue with the seeds. Exactly how many chambers does not always indicate the number of seeds of the bell pepper, but more lobes is a better guess if you are hunting for bell pepper seeds.

Are these “female peppers” sweeter?

Sweetness has nothing to do with the amount of lobes on your pepper. It has everything to do with your cultivated variety, the soil you’ve grown your peppers in, the weather, and, especially, how long you’ve left the fruits on the vine. Bell peppers that have aged form green to their mature red will be sweeter, no matter if they have three lobes or four.

So is there anything interesting about gender in relation to bell peppers?

There is: the pepper plant creates “perfect flowers” also called hermaphroditic or unisex flowers. All plants of the nightshade family folllow suit (tomatoes, eggplants, sweet peppers, chili peppers, etc); their flowers contain both stamens and carpels – they have reproductive systems that are both male and female.

Some other types of plants have male flowers as well as female flowers. Sometimes these flowers are on the same plant and sometimes they grow on separate plants.

So the real truth here is that not only are bell peppers genderless, the flowers of the bell pepper plant themselves are – in a simplistic way – all genders. This is a pepper that breaks down all barriers."

I wonder do you have a favourite bell pepper, the low carb team are fond of the cheery red pepper

All the best Jan