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Thursday, 30 June 2016

The quest for the holy grain

Bring back ancient wheat varieties to make modern diets healthier

Ancient wheat varieties offers a response to western consumers' needs for healthy and diverse food.

Reintroducing ancient wheat varieties for consumers could make modern diets healthier and more varied, two plant breeders have argued. Species such as einkorn, emmer, and spelt have fed the world for centuries but have nearly completely been replaced by modern bread wheat in past decades.

In an opinion piece published in Trends in Plant Science, Friedrich H. Longinand and Tobias Würschum explain that about 30,000 plant varieties are known to be edible, but people around the world feed only on thirty of those. Additionally, only five cereals – rice, bread wheat, maize, millets, and sorghum – provide more than half of the energy intake of the world population.

The pair believe that reintroducing ancient wheat, which often lie frozen in gene banks, would both diversify diets and respond to new consumer trends - but mainly in western countries. Food preferences in the US and Europe, driven more by a desire for novel products and healthy ingredients than a demand for low prices, may indeed create markets that ancient wheat species can fill.

"In developed countries, consumer trends go towards regional production of crops that are not intensively bred and produced, but instead offer novel and interesting products and tastes. Ancient crop species can satisfy these emotionally driven trends and in addition provide interesting new products with health-promoting ingredients while increasing crop and food diversity", they write.
Research shows holistic approach needed

Longinand and Würschum have themselves carried out research in gene banks - screening hundreds of varieties of einkorn and emmer - to determine the best species they could grow, in four different locations in Germany. In the process, they discovered that taking a holistic approach to the ancient plants, by looking at their appearance, as well as their physiological and genetic characteristics was crucial to make sure the plants would thrive and bring health benefits. "When you look at einkorn, it is really fantastic-looking in the field, but when you get the agronomic performance, it is low yielding and it falls down in the rain," says Longin.

Both scientists say that to successfully reintroduce other ancient grain varieties, interdisciplinary cooperation all along the supply chain, from plant breeding to nutritional analysis to marketing, will therefore be necessary to make sure all the aspects of the plants' development and consumption are taken into account.


Bacon-wrapped Pork Roast : A Family Favourite

Roast Pork has always been a family favourite ... and I have many lovely memories of a Sunday Roast Dinner being accompanied by wonderful home cooked vegetables such as carrots and runner beans and my dear mums apple sauce...

We don't always have apple sauce to accompany the Pork, indeed we may just enjoy the dish with some lower carb vegetables and gravy ... choice is always down to the individual!

But one of the things I have found out is that fat equals better flavour. So many people opt for lean meat and no fat, their prerogative of course, but living the LCHF lifestyle, fat is definitely our friend!

I saw this recipe suggestion on Elise's, Simply Recipes site. Here she is in the family kitchen. It's a lovely recipe, definitely one to try out ... see what you think.

Serves Four
1 pork loin roast (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 lb bacon, thinly sliced
1 cup of dry white wine

Elise gives step by step instructions here do go and have a look.

You may like to consider serving some crispy celeriac chunks to accompany this dish, they always go down well ... 

... as does a nice glass of wine, Cheers !

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Little to no association between butter consumption and chronic disease or total mortality


BOSTON (Embargoed until 2 PM EDT, June 29, 2016)--Butter consumption was only weakly associated with total mortality, not associated with cardiovascular disease, and slightly inversely associated (protective) with diabetes, according to a new epidemiological study which analyzed the association of butter consumption with chronic disease and all-cause mortality. This systematic review and meta-analysis, published in PLOS ONE, was led by Tufts scientists including Laura Pimpin, Ph.D., former postdoctoral fellow at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts in Boston, and senior author Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the School.

Based on a systematic review and search of multiple online academic and medical databases, the researchers identified nine eligible research studies including 15 country-specific cohorts representing 636,151 unique individuals with a total of 6.5 million person-years of follow-up. Over the total follow-up period, the combined group of studies included 28,271 deaths, 9,783 cases of cardiovascular disease, and 23,954 cases of new-onset type 2 diabetes. The researchers combined the nine studies into a meta-analysis of relative risk.

Butter consumption was standardized across all nine studies to 14 grams/day, which corresponds to one U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated serving of butter (or roughly one tablespoon). Overall, the average butter consumption across the nine studies ranged from roughly one-third of a serving per day to 3.2 servings per day. The study found mostly small or insignificant associations of each daily serving of butter with total mortality, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

"Even though people who eat more butter generally have worse diets and lifestyles, it seemed to be pretty neutral overall," said Pimpin, now a data analyst in public health modelling for the UK Health Forum. "This suggests that butter may be a "middle-of-the-road" food: a more healthful choice than sugar or starch, such as the white bread or potato on which butter is commonly spread and which have been linked to higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease; and a worse choice than many margarines and cooking oils - those rich in healthy fats such as soybean, canola, flaxseed, and extra virgin olive oils - which would likely lower risk compared with either butter or refined grains, starches, and sugars."

"Overall, our results suggest that butter should neither be demonized nor considered "back" as a route to good health," said Mozaffarian. "More research is needed to better understand the observed potential lower risk of diabetes, which has also been suggested in some other studies of dairy fat. This could be real, or due to other factors linked to eating butter - our study does not prove cause-and-effect."

Additional authors of this study are Jason HY Wu, M.Sc., Ph.D., and Hila Haskelberg, Ph.D., both of The George Institute for Global Health, University of Sydney, Australia; and Liana Del Gobbo, Ph.D., formerly a postdoctoral fellow at the Friedman School and currently a research fellow in cardiovascular medicine at Stanford School of Medicine.

This work was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, under award number 5R01HL085710. For conflicts of interest disclosure, please see the study.

Pimpin L, Wu JHY, Haskelberg H, Del Gobbo L, Mozaffarian D (2016) Is Butter Back? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Butter Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Total Mortality. PLoS ONE 11(6): e0158118. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0158118

I would not touch margarine nor soybean and canola oils, butter is a far healthier option


Fish Casserole with Mushrooms and French Mustard

This recipe suggestion, from Anne Aobadia at Diet Doctor site, is a hearty and quick low-carb fish dish with a creamy French-mustard sauce - just perfect if you should like mushrooms and herbs - and I do!

1 lb (450 g) mushrooms
3 oz. (90 g) butter
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, for example basil, parsley or oregano
2 cups (450 ml) heavy (double) cream
2 – 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dijon mustard
½ lb (225 g) shredded (grated) cheese
1½ lbs (700 g) white fish, for example cod
1 – 1½ lbs (600 g) broccoli or cauliflower
3 oz. (90 g) butter or olive oil

Anne's recipe instructions can be found here

Basil is a versatile and widely used aromatic herb. Basil is an annual plant that is easy to grow from seed but is very sensitive to cold. The plant grows well in warm climates and is widely used throughout southern Europe, particularly the Mediterranean, and in many parts of Asia. There are numerous species of basil; some have scents reminiscent of pineapple, lemon, cinnamon or cloves; others have beautiful purple leaves. The variety called holy basil (tulsi) is an essential part of an authentic Thai curry. In Mediterranean regions, basil and tomato is a classic combination. Pesto, made from basil leaves and pine nuts, with parmesan or pecorino cheese and olive oil (traditionally pounded together in a mortar and pestle – the latter lends pesto its name) is another classic dish.

Parsley ... no kitchen should be without a good supply of this multi-purpose herb. It can be used as a garnish and flavouring and as a vegetable. There are two main varieties: curly leaf and flat-leaf. Both can be used for the same purposes although flat-leaf parsley has a stronger flavour and tends to be favoured in Mediterranean cooking.

Oregano is a pungent green herb with a great affinity for a variety of foods, from lamb to vegetables, stuffings and egg dishes. Oregano is closely related to marjoram. It is characteristic of many Greek dishes (particularly lamb) and in the UK is often sprinkled liberally on pizzas. Oregano grows easily in well protected areas in the UK.

... hope you may enjoy this fish dish soon.

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Too much medicine – Prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death

By Peter C Gøtzsche

Our prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.[1] Based on the best research I could find, I have estimated that psychiatric drugs alone are also the third major killer,[2] mainly because antidepressants kill many elderly people through falls.[3] This tells us that the system we have for researching, approving, marketing and using drugs is totally broken. [1][2]

What makes this tragedy particularly absurd is that the vast majority of the deaths can easily be prevented. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) carry a huge death toll, primarily by causing bleeding stomach ulcers and myocardial infarction, and most of those who die could have done well without drugs or by taking paracetamol. The idea that NSAIDs have an anti-inflammatory effect has been disproven by placebo controlled studies.[4][5]

Antidepressant drugs are another major killer that people could do well without. Their effect on depression is questionable.[2] The standard outcomes are highly subjective, e.g. a score on a depression scale, and it is therefore important that the trials are adequately blinded, but they aren’t. Most patients and doctors can guess whether the drug is active or placebo because of the drugs’ conspicuous and common side effects, and if atropine is added to the placebo to blind the trials better, the effect disappears.[6] Many other drugs that likely have no true effect, e.g. anticholinergic drugs for urinary incontinence and anti-dementia drugs, also have cerebral side effects and can kill patients.[1][2]

Most of the deaths are invisible. People get myocardial infarctions and hip fractures even without drugs, and general practitioners have no idea that they on average kill one of their patients every year.

There are simple solutions to our deadly drug epidemic. Make fewer diagnoses, prescribe fewer drugs and tell the patients to read the package insert on the internet. Then they might never take the drug. Many years ago I did research on naproxen and when I read the package insert and realised in how many different ways this drug could kill me, I decided never to take an NSAID.

A life without drugs is possible for most of us most of the time.

Peter C. Gøtzsche is a Danish physician, medical researcher, and leader of the Nordic Cochrane Centre at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark. He co-founded, and has written numerous reviews within the Cochrane Collaboration. He is the author of a number of books on evidence-based medicine, including references in this blog. Peter will be talking at Evidence Live 2016 on the subject of Too Much medicine.


1. Gøtzsche PC. Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How big pharma has corrupted health care. London: Radcliffe Publishing; 2013.

2. Gøtzsche PC. Deadly psychiatry and organised denial. Copenhagen: People’s Press; 2015.

3. Coupland C, Dhiman P, Morriss R, et al. Antidepressant use and risk of adverse outcomes in older people: population based cohort study. BMJ 2011;343:d4551.

4. Jørgensen FR, Gøtzsche PC, Hein P, et al. [Naproxen (Naprosyn) and mobilization in the treatment of acute ankle sprains]. Ugeskr Læger. 1986; 148: 1266–8.

5. Gøtzsche PC. Sensitivity of effect variables in rheumatoid arthritis: a meta-analysis of 130 placebo controlled NSAID trials. J Clin Epidemiol. 1990; 43: 1313–18.

6. Moncrieff J, Wessely S, Hardy R. Active placebos versus antidepressants for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004;1:CD003012.


This lot could beat the England Football Team.


Eggs Baked in Portobello Mushrooms : Low Carb

'Eggs baked in Portobello mushrooms make a fun weekend breakfast, a great lunch, and even a vegetarian dinner when served with a big salad. Choose large, firm Portobello mushrooms, that are not too flat (or the egg will spill) nor too deep (or the egg will take forever to cook)', says blogger, foodie and mom,Vered DeLeeuw. She says 'forget the processed junk - let's cook and savor real, whole foods!' Sounds good to me ... what do you think?

Serves Two
4 large portobello mushrooms, stem removed, wiped clean
Olive oil spray
½ teaspoon (kosher) salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
½ teaspoon garlic powder
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions on how to prepare and cook this dish can be found here

... did you know that Portobello mushrooms have a robust meaty texture making them good for roasting, baking and stuffing. They are great for barbecuing, too – just dot with butter, crushed garlic, herbs and seasoning and cook for a few minutes until the juices run, or slice thickly and sauté with onions and garlic, so many ways to enjoy them ...

All the best Jan

Monday, 27 June 2016

Dr David Unwin & Dr Jen Unwin - Success For People With Diabetes In Primary Care And Beyond

Published on Jun 26, 2016

Filmed at the Public Health Collaboration Conference 2016
Follow Dr David Unwin @


The best comment I have read re leaving the EU.

From the amount of re-tweets and likes within 24 hours, it appears many people agree with the OP and my tweet.  


Desserts don't get stressed, five LCHF ideas, perfect for summer

Stressed spelled backwards
is desserts. Coincidence? 
I think not!

~author unknown

The words above are a quote I saw on my blogging friend Sheri's blog here. I thought there's definitely no need to get stressed with so many lovely LCHF recipe ideas available, and whether you live the LCHF lifestyle (or not) these next five recipes are just great for all.


This recipe is from Swedish chef Birgitta Höglund, who is featured on Diet Doctor site and also has a popular low carb/Paleo recipe blog

Makes 6–8 servings
2 sheets of gelatin (or about 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin)
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) raspberries 
2 large eggs 
sweetener equivalent to 1 tablespoon honey 
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (200 ml) heavy (double) cream 
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Instructions for how to make this delicious mousse can be found here

This recipe also features in Birgitta's book 'LCHF for Healthy Aging', which contains recipe choices that are good for everyone...


Another recipe suggestion from Birgitta
6-8 servings

1.8 oz (50 g) dark chocolate 70-90% cocoa
2 large egg yolks, from free-range eggs
6 3/4 fl. oz. (200 ml) heavy (double) cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (not vanilla sugar)
Sea salt

You can find the instructions on how to make this delicious LCHF mousse at Birgitta's blog here


This recipe suggestion from Julia McPhee.

She says serve this low carb dessert cold with fresh fruit ice-cream.
Small servings are advised as this is a very rich dessert.

100g melted butter
2 cups Almond meal
1 tbsp Almond butter
4 Eggs plus 1 egg yolk
500g Cream cheese (regular)
200g Coconut cream
1 tbsp Vanilla essence
3 tbsp Natvia
4 Limes (juiced)
see instructions here

This lovely suggestion is from Libby at 'Ditch the Carbs' site.
It can be made as a cake then sliced, served with berries and whipped cream.
Or bake in a square dish then cut into tasting squares and top each piece off with a fresh berry.
This is a easy idea to take as finger food to share with friends.

Serves 15
300g dark 75% chocolate
175g butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 eggs
6 tbs double cream
4 tsp granulated stevia (optional)
See instructions here


Whatever time of year this tasty low carb trifle, is a favourite with us and the family.
Why not give it a try and see what you think.

Serves 6-8
100 grams of ground almonds
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon of melted butter
2 tablespoons of double cream
A 500g pack of frozen low-carb summer fruits ... thawed
(I use ones that are 4.1g carbs per 80g serving)300ml of extra thick cream
A handful of toasted flaked almonds
2 x 12.5 grams of instant raspberry, sugar free, jelly crystals
Please see instructions here

I do hope you may get to enjoy some (or all) of these recipe suggestions soon, but it is always important to note that, although w
e try and 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. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

Bon Appetit

All the best Jan

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Low-salt diets may not be beneficial for all, study suggests

Salt reduction only important in some people with high blood pressure

A large worldwide study has found that, contrary to popular thought, low-salt diets may not be beneficial and may actually increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death compared to average salt consumption.

In fact, the study suggests that the only people who need to worry about reducing sodium in their diet are those with hypertension (high blood pressure) and have high salt consumption.

The study, involving more than 130,000 people from 49 countries, was led by investigators of the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.

They looked specifically at whether the relationship between sodium (salt) intake and death, heart disease and stroke differs in people with high blood pressure compared to those with normal blood pressure.

The researchers showed that regardless of whether people have high blood pressure, low-sodium intake is associated with more heart attacks, strokes, and deaths compared to average intake.

"These are extremely important findings for those who are suffering from high blood pressure," said Andrew Mente, lead author of the study, a principal investigator of PHRI and an associate professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

"While our data highlights the importance of reducing high salt intake in people with hypertension, it does not support reducing salt intake to low levels.

"Our findings are important because they show that lowering sodium is best targeted at those with hypertension who also consume high sodium diets."

Current intake of sodium in Canada is typically between 3.5 and 4 grams per day and some guidelines have recommended that the entire population lower sodium intake to below 2.3 grams per day, a level that fewer than five per cent of Canadians and people around the world consume.

Previous studies have shown that low-sodium, compared to average sodium intake, is related to increased cardiovascular risk and mortality, even though low sodium intake is associated with lower blood pressure.

This new study shows that the risks associated with low-sodium intake -- less than three grams per day -- are consistent regardless of a patient's hypertension status.

Further, the findings show that while there is a limit below which sodium intake may be unsafe, the harm associated with high sodium consumption appears to be confined to only those with hypertension.

Only about 10 per cent of the population in the global study had both hypertension and high sodium consumption (greater than 6 grams per day).

Mente said that this suggests that the majority of individuals in Canada and most countries are consuming the right amount of salt.

He added that targeted salt reduction in those who are most susceptible because of hypertension and high salt consumption may be preferable to a population-wide approach to reducing sodium intake in most countries except those where the average sodium intake is very high, such as parts of central Asia or China.

He added that what is now generally recommended as a healthy daily ceiling for sodium consumption appears to be set too low, regardless of a person's blood pressure level.

"Low sodium intake reduces blood pressure modestly, compared to average intake, but low sodium intake also has other effects, including adverse elevations of certain hormones which may outweigh any benefits. The key question is not whether blood pressure is lower with very low salt intake, instead it is whether it improves health," Mente said

Dr. Martin O'Donnell, a co-author on the study and an associate clinical professor at McMaster University and National University of Ireland Galway, said: "This study adds to our understanding of the relationship between salt intake and health, and questions the appropriateness of current guidelines that recommend low sodium intake in the entire population."

"An approach that recommends salt in moderation, particularly focused on those with hypertension, appears more in-line with current evidence." The study was funded from more than 50 sources, including the PHRI, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


Brexit it was not the old that done it for the young.

Well I was wrong about the referendum, I thought it would be close, with the stay-ins winning. Never have I seen such division between the people of the UK, and how the communists at the BBC were gutted. Over the last couple of days, there has been much talk of the old git brigade has stitched up the young, I have never seen so much wailing on social media and the press. This is what the BBC said here.

"While experts will pore over the finer details of turnout over the coming days and weeks, the cry will inevitably go up that it was older voters which won it for Leave - particularly in the south, south-west, Midlands and the north east.

It is a matter of fact that the older you are, the more likely you are to make the effort to vote - 78% of those 65 or over voted in the 2015 election, compared with 43% of 18-24 year olds and 54% of 25-34 year olds.

Despite the last minute rush to register - which saw 2.6 million people sign up, many of them younger voters, between 15 May and the extended deadline of 9 June - the breakdown may not be radically different this time.

Factor in research suggesting that support for Brexit was significantly higher among those aged 55 and over than among younger age groups - three out of every five voters aged 65 or over said they wanted to leave - then you have the foundation for Friday's result."

Analysis from SkyData regarding the number of voters by age.

If the SkyData proves to be a true representation, of the numbers of voters by age who voted, maybe more young people should have gone out and voted.

One thing is for sure, we are in for interesting times ahead, the Labour party and the Tories are having their nights of the long knives, much blood to be spilt before the dust settles. Cameron could not resign fast enough, and as reported yesterday, he is not interested in how the Brexit progresses, as he would be handing it over to his successor. The first time in history a man left the sinking ship before the rats.


Agnes Obel - Riverside

Have a great weekend folks


Friday, 24 June 2016

Heinz in hot water over Shredz 'healthy' toddler snacks

Food giant Heinz is being hauled to court over a fruit and vegetable snack that is more than 60 per cent sugar but sold as a "healthy" food for toddlers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says Heinz falsely presents Shredz as a healthy food with the same nutritional value of fresh fruit and vegetables, and alleges the company could be misleading parents.

Heinz promotes Shredz as being "99 per cent fruit and veg" and a way to introduce children aged 1 to 3 years old to healthy eating.

"If you look at something saying it's 99 per cent fruit and veg, which it prominently displayed - most people would think that's fairly low in sugar," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

"An apple is about 10 per cent sugar [but] these products are between 60 and 70 per cent sugar."

Shredz packaging claims the products encourages toddlers to "independently discover the delicious taste of nutritious food" and "inspire a love of nutritious food that lasts a lifetime."

But the ACCC alleges Shredz were likely to have the opposite effect.

"We allege that far from encouraging young children to develop a taste in nutritious food, which is what parents want, they're likely to in fact have the child become accustomed to a preference for extremely sweet things," Mr Sims said.

The ACCC's action, filed in the Federal Court, follows a complaint by the Obesity Policy Coalition about products mostly made from fruit juice concentrates and pastes, which are much higher in sugar than whole fruit and vegetables.

Heinz decided to pull the products from sale late in the ACCC's investigation, pending an enforcement action, the ACCC said.

Heinz strenuously denies the allegations and will defend them, a spokeswoman said.

"Heinz takes labelling of products very seriously and complies with all Australian labelling and food laws," she said.

Shredz are mostly made from fruit concentrates and pastes, and one variety contains 12 grams of sugar per serve.

OPB executive director Jane Martin said that would make up almost an entire day's worth of added sugar for a two-year-old, based on World Health Organisation recommendations.

"Manufacturers are turning to what sounds like it might be healthy by using sugar from fruit, but we know the WHO considers fruit concentrates and pastes as added sugar," she said.

"These sorts of high-sugar products aren't an appropriate food for kids. It's much better to give them whole, unprocessed foods."

Shredz come in three varieties: peach, apples and veg, berries apple and veg, and strawberry and apple with chia seeds. They have been for sale in major Australian supermarkets since August 2013.

The ACCC is seeking to have the products withdrawn from sale and have Heinz fined and ordered to publish a correction.

Heinz has been contacted for comment. 

The future?

8 Ways To Grow Your Own Food From Scraps!

Ashleigh Jensen is a holistic Health Coach, and writes:

" Did you know that many of the stalks, beans, roots and seeds that end up in the trash could actually be the beginning of your future meals? If you do the grocery shopping for your family you will know that buying food isn’t cheap. With only a few easy-to-follow steps you can grow your own food from your kitchen bench. You may ask “Why regrow when we can conveniently go and buy another?”, well the answer here is simple. It saves money, reduces waste and is a perfect activity to involve kids in the process. If you’re ready to take your commitment to locally grown food to the next level then keep reading.

1. Celery
Celery has got to be one of the easiest foods to grow from leftover scraps. Simply follow the steps below.
Cut the base off your celery and place it into a bowl with a little warm water in the bottom
Place the bowl in direct sunlight for as long as possible every day
After 1 or 2 weeks you will see the leaves begin to thicken and new leaves begin to grow
Once leaves thicken and new leaf growth can be seen, transplant your celery in soil and wait for it to grow

2. Cilantro
Cilantro can regrow roots and grow new plants once replanted. Follow the steps below to grow your own bunch of cilantro.
Trim back the leaves from the bottom of the stems and place into a bowl of water
Place the jar into a sunny area and change the water every other day
Once the stems have sprouted plenty of new roots, plant in a pot with good quality soil
In a few months you will have a fully grown plant
Remember to water regularly

3. Avocado
Not every pit will produce roots so it’s best to try this with two or three at a time.
Remove any avocado remains by rinsing under cold water then towel drying
Evenly pierce the pit with four toothpicks
Use the toothpicks to balance the pit over a glass jar making sure the pit is pointy side up
Fill the jar with enough water to submerge half of the pit
Place in a sunlit area and change water every other day
In 3 to 6 weeks the pit will begin to open. After another 2 to 3 weeks, roots and leaves will begin to grow
After approximately 3 months your plant should be 7 to 8 inches tall
Fill pot with soil and plant your new tree, root side down in a 10-inch pot with adequate drainage
Keep the sapling in a sunny areas and remember to water regularly

4. Ginger
Ginger is a great addition to soups and stir fries but it can also be expensive. Here are some tips to help you grow your own ginger from scraps.
Cut off a 2 to 3 inch section of ginger from an existing piece you have at home
Place in potting soil with the smallest buds facing down buried into the soil
Place the pot in indirect sunlight until ginger begins to grow new shoots and roots
Next, pull up the entire plant including the new roots
Remove a piece of the new ginger rhizome and repeat again

5. Potatoes
Have you ever noticed your potatoes start sprouting if you’ve forgotten about them in the pantry? Next time, instead of throwing them out, try growing fresh new potatoes.
Peel potatoes making sure the sprouted “eyes” are still left on the skin
Allow peelings to dry overnight then simply bury about 4 inch deep in soil
Make sure the eyes are facing up when planting
In a few weeks your potatoes will begin to grow

6. Beans Sprouts
Bean sprouts are the perfect snack or addition to a salad. Check out the steps below to see how to grow your own bean sprouts.
In a container, soak 1 to 2 tablespoons of the beans you wish to sprout (mung beans work best)
Cover with shallow water and leave in the refrigerator overnight
In the morning, drain off the water and put the beans back into the container
Cover the container with a towel overnight and rinse the following morning
Continue this process until you notice the beans beginning to sprout

7. Pumpkins
Pumpkins are filled with seeds that we always dispose of without thinking. Here are the steps you need to grow pumpkins from your own backyard.
Next time you cut open a pumpkin, save a few fresh seeds for planting
Spread the seeds out in a sunny area and cover with soil
Keep the soil moist and water only when needed
The seeds will begin to sprout in only a couple of days

8. Lettuce
Lettuce is a salad staple in almost every household. Follow the steps below to grow a new head of lettuce from your kitchen bench.
In a large bowl filled 2 inches deep with water, place the base of the lettuce stalk facing upwards
Place the bowl into a sunlit area and sprinkle with water morning and evening for 4 to 5 days
Once roots and new leaves being to grow, transplant into your garden bed"

I do hope you've found this interesting ... but please bear in mind that some of the suggestions for growing these foods may not be suitable for you.

If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. Those who are diabetic often find that potatoes will raise blood sugar numbers, and are best avoided.

If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

However, I wonder - will you be tempted to grow your own - or do you already?

All the best Jan

Thursday, 23 June 2016

UK doctor saves government £45K by using low carb diet to treat type 2 diabetes

Dr David Unwin, a general practitioner (GP) in England has recently been named ‘Innovator of the Year’ at the national NHS Leadership Recognition Awards 2016.

Dr Unwin, who practices at the Norwood Surgery in Southport, spent three years working on a project combining the benefits of a low carb diet with psychological support to help patients with diabetes. As well as having much healthier patients, the practice now saves around £45,000 a year on diabetes drugs.

Imagine the impact on health systems if every GP instituted the same approach to our type 2 diabetics. Not only saving huge amounts of money, but also seriously impacting people’s health.

I wrote previously about Dr Unwin and the specific diet he prescribes for his patients here:

A UK doctor puts 18 patients with type 2 diabetes on a low carb diet with amazing results

Since I last wrote about Dr Unwin in 2014 he has had a further case study published in the British Medical Journal, about a patient who wanted to reduce his medication for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure:

A patient request for some “de-prescribing”

A 52 year old man with a history of type 2 diabetes for 14 years and hypertension for nine years presented to his general practitioner. He was a non-smoker with an alcohol intake of eight units a week. He had been experiencing bloating, abdominal pains, and erratic motions for more than a year. Because he drove about 12 000 miles a year for his job he found the loose motions “a real worry.” He wondered whether any of his problems might be caused by his drugs and asked if he could cut down on any if they weren’t all needed. He admitted to being afraid that his diabetic control might deteriorate and that he might need insulin, like some of his relatives who also had diabetes.

He was taking aspirin 75 mg once daily, metformin 500 mg three times daily, perindopril 4 mg daily, and simvastatin 40 mg at night.

On examination his weight was 108.8 kg (steady at this for 10 years), body mass index was 34.4, waist circumference was 113 cm, and his blood pressure was 130/80 mm Hg (steady at this level for some years). His abdominal examination was normal, except that he had central obesity.

Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) was 52 mmol/mol (reference range 0-41), bilirubin was 7 µmol/L (0-20), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) was 53 U/L (5-37), and γ-glutamyl transferase (GGT) was 59 U/L (0-50). In addition, his estimated glomerular filtration rate was 100 mL/min/1.73m2 (90-120), total cholesterol was 3.7 mmol/L (desirable ≤4.0), high density lipoprotein-cholesterol was 1.3 mmol/L (>1.0), and triglycerides were 1.3 mmol/L (<1.7).

ALT and GGT were both raised, this is a sign of a fatty liver; those with type 2 diabetes have increased amounts of fat in their liver cells, called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

The case study goes on to discuss what condition this patient has, what is most likely causing his abdominal discomfort, and why his GGT is high.

The next section is the most pertinent:

How could his request to cut down on drugs be handled?

Dr Unwin compiled this table that compared the use of diet and exercise pharmaceutical drugs and their side effects. He used data from this website to calculate risk of drugs vs non drug treatment. The Absolute CVD Risk/Benefit Calculator

“Using this adapted QRISK2-2014 calculator, a person like our patient with type 2 diabetes of age 52 years, weight 108.8 kg, height 178 cm, systolic blood pressure 155 mm Hg, total cholesterol 5.0 mmol/L, high density lipoprotein 1.0 mmol/L, no family history of note or history of smoking, chronic kidney disease, atrial fibrillation, or rheumatoid arthritis would have an untreated 10 year risk of heart attacks or strokes of about 15% at baseline.

As shown in the table, physical activity is as effective as low to moderate intensity statins at reducing our patient’s risk of cardiovascular disease and outperforms aspirin. The Mediterranean diet is nearly as effective as metformin. In addition, the major lifestyle interventions mentioned (physical activity and Mediterranean diet) have a low risk of harm compared with the drugs listed and reduce the risk of comorbidities such as osteoarthritis, some cancers, and gallstones.”

The patient was put on a low carbohydrate diet – this is described in detail in my previous post

How did the patient respond?

Here is a table I put together with his results after 8 months

The patient steadily lost a total of 16 kg over seven months and successfully stopped all four prescribed drugs, thereby achieving his goal of being medication-free. This was accomplished using a low carbohydrate diet—in his words: “more a lifestyle than a diet.” The weight loss enabled him to take more exercise, join a gym, and take up yoga. He has come off sugar altogether and cut out bread (he previously consumed a lot of this), potatoes, pasta, cereals, and rice. This has led to greater consumption of green vegetables, but also eggs, full fat Greek yoghurt, and cheese.

The weight loss has been maintained for a year, so he weighs less now than at any time in his adult life. The goal of coming off all drugs was achieved in a stepwise manner as he lost weight—first metformin, then perindopril, followed by simvastatin and aspirin.

His weight loss has been matched by improvements in other parameters: HbA1cdown from 52 mmol/mol to 43 mmol/mol (6.9% to 6.2%), blood pressure from 130/80 mm Hg to 117/70 mm Hg, GGT from 59 U/L to 19 U/L, and alanine aminotransferase from 53 U/L to 20 U/L. Of particular note is that—despite eating more eggs and lots of full fat Greek yoghurt, and stopping statins—his cholesterol:high density lipoprotein ratio has improved slightly from 2.8 to 2.7, and serum triglycerides have improved from 1.3 mmol/L to 1.1 mmol/L.

His bowel problems and abdominal pains ceased within days of stopping metformin, his energy returned, and he now needs an hour and a half less sleep a day.

In general he reports feeling “just much younger again.”

I’m looking forward to the day when low carbohydrate whole food diets are standard for treating type 2 diabetes.

I suggest you also read the comments section – numerous people reporting on their own success for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes plus a host of other health issues.

Green Smoothie : Dairy Free and Low Carb

If you like smoothie's then this could be for you! It's an idea by Fanny Lindvist on Diet Doctor site. 
It's dairy free and made with coconut milk.
Simple and delicious, and can make a good nutritional start to the day!

Serves Two
1⁄3 cup (100 ml) coconut milk/cream
2⁄3 cup (150 ml) water
1 – 2 tablespoons lime juice
1½ oz. (40 g) frozen spinach
2 teaspoons grated ginger

Instructions for this smoothie can be found here

Ginger ... some interesting facts:
Pungent, aromatic and a little spicy, ginger is a zesty addition to many Asian dishes. Ginger has an impressive nutritional profile and, as well as being packed full of nutrients, also offers a vast array of health benefits. Ginger has been acknowledged for its anti-inflammatory effects, and as a safe and effective relief of nausea and vomiting, particularly during pregnancy. Ginger may also protect you from a number of cancers including colorectal and ovarian cancer, as well as give your overall immune system a boost.

Incorporate ginger into your life by:
Adding some freshly grated ginger into your next Asian curry or stir-fry, or combine with soy sauce, olive oil and garlic to make a healthy salad dressing.

Works well in smoothies too ...

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

British Dietetic Association senior dietitian twitter comment.

Real food

Fake food

"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."

Belvita Breakfast is a high carb, highly processed junk food that no one needs, but let's not forget, "82% of dietitians agreeing Belvita Breakfast is a good option for breakfast" and "71% admitting they had changed their previous perception" Changed their perception, sponsorship (money) a few free samples and some propaganda from the PR reps and they change their minds, wonderful. 

So there you have it, whole fresh food or the Belvita Breakfast as endorsed and recommended by the BDA, no wonder the obesity epidemic gets worse by the day.


Pea, feta and basil frittata squares with a tomato salsa

If you are looking for a LCHF nibble to be enjoyed at lunch-time, or parties, or family gatherings how about these frittata bites? They are just 'bursting with zingy Mediterranean flavours' that I'm sure you, your family and friends will enjoy. 

Makes 18 squares
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 large eggs
250 g frozen peas, defrosted
200 g feta cheese, crumbled
14 g pack basil, chopped 

For the salsa:
135 g cherry tomatoes on the vine
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic glaze

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until soft. Leave to cool. Line a 31cm x 21cm baking tin with baking paper.
2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add the onion, garlic, peas, feta and basil, and season with a little salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stir well to combine and pour into the prepared tin.
3. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until set and lightly golden on top. Allow to cool slightly. Remove from the baking tin and cut into 18 pieces.
4. For the salsa, chop up the tomatoes and mix with the basil, olive oil and balsamic glaze. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve alongside the frittata.

Each serving provides:
2.7g carbohydrate 1.0g fibre 5.1g protein 5.7g fat

The recipe idea is from food writer and stylist David Morgan, who trained as a pastry chef in London, Paris and New York. He is now based in Sydney, where he produces gorgeous food for magazines internationally, and he produced this recipe suggestion for Sainsbury's magazine.
The original idea can be seen here

I hope you may enjoy this suggestion soon! 

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Scientists make breakthrough in low-fat chocolate

New technology has allowed researchers to reduce fat in Mars bars by 10 percent.

Salvation could be in store for guilt-ridden chocolate lovers as scientists finally crack the method of producing low-fat chocolate.

Researchers in America successfully reduced the fat content of the chocolate used in Mars bars by more than 10 percent, after firing electricity through the liquid chocolate during the production process.

Up until now, attempts to produce low-fat chocolate have largely stalled because, counter intuitively, reducing the fat content increases viscosity of the liquid and clogs up production pipelines.

Chocolate is composed of coca, sugar, milk solids and other particles suspended in liquid fat such as cocoa butter.

It is one of the most popular food types and flavours in the world, but at around 40 percent fat by volume, or up to 60 percent for chocolate used to coat ice creams, is also closely associated with causing obesity.

Scientists at the University of Philadelphia applied a technique called electrorheology, which they say successfully altered the micro-structure of chocolate to create a version both healthier and tastier than the full-fat staple.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, the researchers describe how they applied an electric field along the direction of flow of liquid chocolate, causing solid cocoa particles to clump together in streamlined chains.

Because particle shape influences intrinsic viscosity, the scientists predicted that the clumping would break the particles’ rotational symmetry and reduce both the viscosity and the minimum amount of melted fat required to maintain proper texture and flow within the pipeline.

They managed to reduce the viscosity of a sample of Mars chocolate by 43.5 percent, enabling a reduction in fat content of more than 10 percent.

They successfully achieved similar results with chocolates from other manufacturers, suggesting the method could be widely applicable.

“Especially because children are the leading chocolate consumer, reducing the fat level in chocolate products to make them healthier is important and urgent,” wrote the researchers.

“Although this issue was called into attention decades ago, unfortunately no actual solution was found.

“The treated chocolate has wonderful taste,” they added.

“Some people even claim that ER[electrorheology]-treated chocolate has a slightly stronger cocoa solid flavour, better than the original chocolate.

“We are thus expecting a new class of healthier and tastier chocolate products soon.

“Moreover, the basic physics presented in this article is general, applicable to many other suspensions [of fat] when they need to reduce viscosity.”

Soon to be added to the Eat Well guide ? well it is low fat therfore must be better for us !!!! sales will boom 

Chicken and Vegetable Casserole

I find that Chicken is usually a great family favourite and cooking it as a one pot meal is just great. There are many good recipes around, which can so often be 'tweaked' a little to better suit you, and your families tastes.

Take this Spanish-style one-pot stew flavoured with paprika and cumin, many families will be very happy to sit down and enjoy it together.

Serves 3/4
knob of butter
1 onion, finely chopped

3 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 medium sticks celery, finely chopped
500g approx chicken thigh
2 fat garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 chicken stock cube
1 red or orange pepper, diced
1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained (optional)*

1. Heat the butter in a large heavy-based pan. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook gently until softened.
2. Add the chicken thighs, garlic, spices and thyme. Cook, stirring until the chicken is opaque.
3. Pour in the tomatoes, plus one extra can of water or enough to cover the chicken and vegetables. Add the stock and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 50 mins.
4. If using, add the chickpeas and cook for a further five mins.

*Some may prefer to use a finely chopped courgette instead of chickpeas.

Serve with vegetables of your choice, perhaps cabbage, kale or mashed swede.

From original recipe idea here 

We try and bring a variety of recipe ideas 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

Monday, 20 June 2016

Government’s Eatwell Guide Promotes Industry Wealth Not Public Health, Argues Expert

The government’s latest Eatwell Guide does not offer healthy diet recommendations and has been formulated by too many people with industry ties, a leading expert has claimed.

In an editorial published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Dr Zoe Harcombe also says the continuing advice to follow a high-carb, low-fat diet has contributed to the rise in obesity and diabetes across the UK.

The new Eatwell Guide was released in March by Public Health England (PHE) to replace the old Eatwell Plate.

In response to Dr Harcombe’s comments, PHE has insisted the guide was created with the nation’s best interests at heart.

The Eatwell Guide visually represents the government’s recommendations on diet, but Dr Harcomb, of the Institute of Clinical Exercise and Health Science, University of West of Scotland, has said its contents are “not evidence-based”.

In the latest guide, the segment proportions have changed, with starchy foods rising from 33% to 38% and fruit and veg up from 33% to 40%, while milk and dairy have almost halved from 15% to 8%.

The previous segment of foods high in fat and sugars has morphed into unsaturated oils and spreads, which prompted one of the UK’s largest food manufacturers to take out ads in national newspapers celebrating their “dedicated section,” Dr Harcombe claims.

She adds: “The Eatwell Guide was formulated by a group appointed by PublicHealth England, consisting primarily of members of the food and drink industryrather than independent experts.”

But according to Dr Harcombe, the primary flaw of the Eatwell Guide “as with its predecessors, is that it is not evidence based”.

“There has been no randomised controlled trial of a diet based on the Eatwell Plate or Guide, let alone one large enough, long enough, with whole population generalisability,” she writes.

The emphasis on carbs is the result of dietary advice to restrict fat, but this was notbased on the evidence, while the advice on carbs has never been tested, she says.

Dr Harcombe adds that in private correspondence with the Food Standards Agency in 2009, the Agency confirmed that the food group percentages for the EatwellPlate were based on weight.

But food weight doesn’t matter to the human body; what counts are calories, macro and micronutrients, she says.

“Given the vastly different calorie content of 100g of fruit and vegetables vs 100g of oils, the plate proportions change substantially when calories are counted,” she writes.

According to Dr Harcombe, it could be said that the high-carb, low-fat diet has been tested on the UK population, but with negative impact, as the rates of obesity and diabetes have soared since the 70s and 80s.

“The association between the introduction of the dietary guidelines, and concomitant increases in obesity and diabetes, deserves examination,” she suggests, pointing out that several recent reviews have suggested a causal relationship between the two.

“The greatest flaw of the latest public health dietary advice might be the missed opportunity to deliver a simple and powerful message to return people to the diets we enjoyed before carbohydrate conditions convened. But when the who’s who of the food industry were represented on the group, ‘Eat Real Food!’ was never a likely outcome,” she concludes.

In response to Dr Harcombe’s report, Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said official dietary recommendations are “based on reviews of all available evidence, including randomised control trials”.

“The Eatwell Guide is a tool, underpinned by this advice, to help people understand what a healthy balanced diet might look like,” she added.

“PHE commissioned the University of Oxford, who used the official dietary recommendations and high-quality nutrition data, to develop the Eatwell Guide.

“Prior to this, PHE established a reference group with the limited remit to gather views on potential methods but it had no influence on the final product.

“PHE engage with a broad range of stakeholders when we make changes to advice, and this includes representatives of the food and drink industry. As the organisation that advises the government on dietary guidelines, it would be irresponsible for us to not engage with those who produce and market the food we all eat.”

Dr Harcombe is not the first to question the reliability of the Eatwell Guide.

Last month the National Obesity Forum (NOF) and the Public Health Collaborationreleased a damning report urging the public to ignore the guide, claiming that the “demonisation” of saturated fat was actually fuelling the UK’s obesity crisis.

Earlier this week the government announced it would be launching a review into the impact saturated fats have on health.


9 Herbs & Spices That Fight Inflammation

James Colquhoun writes ..."It’s time to get back to nature and look at what the Earth provides us with to help nourish our bodies and heal naturally. Your humble herb and spice rack may be more than just a decorative kitchen feature, but rather an abundant wall filled with healing ingredients that can be easily incorporated into your mid-week meals. Certain foods have been identified as “anti-inflammatory” and may help to reduce chronic pain or inflammation. Herbs and spices contain a wide range of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which can help you to upgrade the nutritional content of your meals. We have put together a list of common herbs and spices that you can add to your meals and flavor your dishes with, that also provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Below is a range of our favorite herbs and spices. You may be surprised about the diverse range of conditions and symptoms these herbs and spices have the potential of treating, and how easy and inexpensive it is to reap the benefits.

A vibrant yellow spice most commonly used in Indian cuisine, it can be found in almost any grocery or health food store. Turmeric has been used for medicinal purposes to treat infections, wounds, colds and liver disease for centuries. Turmeric is arguably one of the most powerful herbs on the planet with over 6,000 peer-reviewed articles proving its benefits.

Incorporate turmeric into your life by:
Adding a pinch of turmeric to scrambled (free-range, organic) eggs or your favorite frittata. Add a teaspoon of turmeric to pumpkin soup or toss through roasted vegetables.

Cinnamon is a popular spice often associated with baked treats, cereals and smoothies. However, you may not have considered that the teaspoon of cinnamon that you add to your baked treats may doing you more good than you realized. Studies have shown that cinnamon could assist with boosting brain function, fighting cancer, aiding in digestion, supporting weight loss and fighting diabetes.

Incorporate cinnamon into your life by:
Adding a cinnamon quill into your morning tea, sprinkling half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon onto your homemade granola or adding a sprinkle of cinnamon into your next bowl of breakfast oatmeal.

Part of the mint family, rosemary has a scent similar to pine. Often used in Mediterranean cuisine and to accompany lamb dishes, rosemary has a handful of health benefits. Rosemary has been researched by a number of universities to help uncover its anti-inflammatory powers. The health benefits of rosemary include the potential to improve memory, relieve muscle pain, aid digestion and reduce areas of inflammation.

Incorporate rosemary into your life by:
Adding a sprig of rosemary to your tray of vegetables or sprinkling onto homemade potato wedges before roasting in the oven.

For centuries, ancient cultures have embraced the healing benefits of cayenne and other hot chili peppers. All chilies contain a naturally occurring component called capsaicinoids. Capsaicinoids are the secret ingredient within chilis that gives them their anti-inflammatory properties. Chilies have been known to assist in digestion but they also host another array of benefits including reducing arthritis symptoms, relieving headaches, preventing blood clots and assisting the body's naturally occurring detox system.

Incorporate cayenne into your life by:
Adding a dash of this spicy chili to your favoring soup or stew, or spice up your next hummus or guacamole with a sprinkle of cayenne.

Like rosemary, sage is a herb also used quite frequently in Mediterranean cuisine. Sage is renowned for its ability to soothe menstrual cramps and digestive discomfort as well as increase circulation. Sage is also known for its naturally occurring antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Incorporate sage into your life by:
Adding 3 or 4 fresh sage leaves to your favorite herbal tea, or infuse sage leaves into your olive oil to give it a flavor kick and nutritional boost.

Pungent, aromatic and a little spicy, ginger is a zesty addition to many Asian dishes. Ginger has an impressive nutritional profile and, as well as being packed full of nutrients, also offers a vast array of health benefits. Ginger has been acknowledged for its anti-inflammatory effects, and as a safe and effective relief of nausea and vomiting, particularly during pregnancy. Ginger may also protect you from a number of cancers including colorectal and ovarian cancer, as well as give your overall immune system a boost.

Incorporate ginger into your life by:
Adding some freshly grated ginger into your next Asian curry or stir-fry, or combine with soy sauce, olive oil and garlic to make a healthy salad dressing.

Often used to top your favorite pizza, oregano many offer you a range of health benefits you may have never considered. Oregano contains a powerful substance called beta-caryophyllene that helps fight inflammation. This herb is said to benefit people suffering conditions such as osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis. On top of it’s anti-inflammatory properties, antibacterial and antifungal properties can also be added to the list of what make oregano one of our top picks.

Incorporate oregano into your life by:
Sprinkling it on top of your next pizza or course. You can also add a teaspoon of oregano to your homemade pasta sauce for a flavorsome, nutritional boost.

We all know that the downside to garlic is needing to brush your teeth almost immediately afterwards. But did you know garlic has a long list of health benefits too? Garlic has been used to ease the pain of arthritis, reduce nauseous feelings, reduce inflammation and blood pressure as well as detoxify the body of heavy metals.

Incorporate garlic into your life by:
Adding a minced clove of garlic to mashed potatoes, salsa or stir through pasta sauce.

Cloves come from an evergreen plant and have been used for thousands of years in India and China. Cloves have been praised for their large list of health benefits including aiding in better digestion, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as for boosting the immune system.

Incorporate cloves into your life by:
Adding cloves to hearty soups and stews, or include in hot drinks such as chai tea."

I do hope you've found this interesting ... but please bear in mind that some of the suggestions for using these herbs and spices may not 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.

However, I wonder ... which of these herbs and spices you may use ?

All the best Jan