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Sunday, 30 April 2017

Oily Fish ... did you know !

CJ Jackson writes for BBC Food, she is also in the team at the Billingsgate Seafood School which is "a charitable company with the aim of promoting the awareness of fish in young people and to increase the knowledge of those people already working in the industry, in areas such as retail and catering. All commercial activities undertaken by the school will fund courses for school children free of charge."

About oily fish she writes:
" Oil-rich fish (or oily fish) are those that have oil distributed through their body, as opposed to white fish, whose main concentration of oils is located in the liver. Although oily fish contain higher levels of oil, they are an essential part of a healthy diet due to the presence of the fatty acid, long-chain omega-3. Oil-rich species include the mackerel and tuna group, herring and anchovy group, as well as salmon and trout. The most sustainable varieties of oily fish are mackerel, pilchards, sardines, herring and skipjack tuna (usually sold canned).

Buyer's guide:
In most cases, fresh is best when it comes to choosing oil-rich fish species because the natural fats occurring in these fish deteriorate and they lose their quality quickly. Oily fish tend to be landed and sold un-gutted to maintain their quality. They’re generally also good value for money. Look for fish that are still stiff and rigid and in ‘rigor mortis’ – this will indicate that the fish has been out of the water for no more than a day or so. At this stage the fish will have bright, clear eyes, the gills will be a vibrant, red colour and it will hardly have any smell at all. As the fish loses condition it will become softer and its smell will become stronger.

Oily fish must be stored in as cool a place as possible and eaten quickly, ideally on the day of purchase. Arrange it in a single layer on a tray and keep cool by covering the fish with ice. Oil-rich species freeze well for a short period of time: gut or fillet them, pack into freezer bags as whole fish (or two portions at a time), extract the air and secure the bag. Defrost the fish for a few hours in the fridge before use.

Oily fish are versatile. They suit grilling, barbecuing, roasting and baking and, in some cases, pan-frying. The natural oils give these fish an intense flavour that pairs well with other strong flavours.
Oily fish can also be successfully preserved - smoking, brining and salting are all popular preserving methods. Mackerel is available both hot-smoked and salted; tuna and mackerel are both sold canned too. Herrings can be smoked or transformed into rollmops; anchovies are salted and brined. Salmon and trout can both be hot or cold-smoked.

Other considerations:
Omega-3 is reported to be essential for maintaining good health and preventing diseases in old-age. It's also important for brain development in young children. However, the Food Standards Agency advises a limit to the quantity of oily fish that we should eat because these fish contain more mercury than other types of fish. The FSA recommends that girls and women who might have a baby one day, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding eat up to two portions of oily fish per week. Other women, men and boys can eat up to four portions of oily fish a week. In addition, marlin, shark and swordfish are not recommended for consumption by boys or girls under 16 or by pregnant women or women who may wish to become pregnant."

Above words from

Mackerel on toast with salted cucumber and horseradish

A combination of fresh mackerel, pungent horseradish and refreshing cucumber can make a nice start to any meal ... or could even make a light lunch!

Serves Four
½ cucumber, peeled, thinly sliced on a mandoline
4 tbsp grated fresh horseradish*
2 heaped tablespoons crème fraiche
2 tsp English mustard powder
4 fresh mackerel fillets
salt and freshly ground black pepper
knob of butter
To serve:
4 slices low carb bread (or soda bread)
, toasted, buttered
1 small red onion
, thinly sliced
½ small lemon

1. For the salted cucumber, place the cucumber slices into a colander and sprinkle with plenty of salt. Mix well and leave the contents to drain over the sink for half an hour.
2. Rinse the salt off the cucumber with cold water, then leave to drain. Gently wring out any excess moisture from the cucumber with your hands, then set aside.
3. In a clean bowl, mix the horseradish with the crème fraîche and mustard powder, making sure the mustard powder is well combined with no lumps. Set aside.
4. Season the mackerel fillets on their skin side with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
5. Heat the butter in a frying pan until it is foaming, then add the fillets skin-side down. Place a heat-proof plate onto the cooking fillets, as this will make sure they stay flat and cook evenly. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until nearly cooked through, then turn the fillets and cook for 30 seconds, or until just cooked through.
6. To serve, place a small handful of the cucumber onto the toast. Place the cooked mackerel fillets onto the cucumber. Place a dollop of the horseradish sauce on top and garnish with a little of the sliced red onion and a squeeze of lemon.

* Fresh horseradish is difficult to source, try a good farmers' market. Otherwise consider using a ready made horseradish sauce, being careful to check carb/sugar content.

Original BBC Food recipe here

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

All the best Jan

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Michael Kiwanuka - Cold Little Heart

If you've watched the Sky Atlantic series Big Little Lies you will be familiar with this song

Jack Savoretti - Only You (Live At Hammersmith Apollo)


Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade of Pale, live in Denmark 2006

Saturday night again and music night here. I have been hooked on this song for decades, and still do not have a clue what it is about. One thing for sure, it's a masterpiece, this is a stunning version. Enjoy. Eddie

Spring Greens : Buttered and Punchy !

Spring greens are the first cabbages of the year. They have fresh, loose heads without the hard heart of other cabbages.
Spring greens are at their peak from April to June.
Choose the best
Choose fresh, firm leaves. Reject wilted plants.
Prepare it
Remove the leaves from the centre, wash gently and shred.
Store it
Store in the fridge and use within a couple of days.
Cook it
Add spring greens at the end of a stir-fry, or use in winter soups and stews. They are delicious sliced, steamed and drizzled with melted butter. Take care not to overcook, as the leaves will develop a rank flavour and smell.
Try cabbage or spinach."

Spring Greens are similar to kale, in which the central leaves do not form a head or form only a very loose one, and are grown primarily in northern Europe where its tolerance of cold winters is valued for an early spring supply. Spring greens are extremely similar, genetically, to curly kale and collard greens. They are also rich in vitamin C, folate and dietary fibre, making them a very healthy food"

Why not give spring greens a buttered ... punchy flavour! Just add some anchovies and a grating of Parmesan, did I mention the crunchy hazelnuts too! This really is a nice side dish you can enjoy when eating a meal with family and/or friends.

serves 6 as a side dish
2g carbs per serving

50g unsalted butter
6 anchovy fillets
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g spring greens, washed and shredded
1 lemon
, juiced
50g finely grated Parmesan

30g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Once bubbling, add the anchovies and cook for 2 minutes until they melt away. Stir in the garlic, fry for 1 min more, then toss in the greens and cook for 8 minutes until wilted.
2. Add the lemon juice and parmesan and stir well to melt the cheese. Season to taste, transfer to a serving bowl and scatter over the hazelnuts.

This side dish goes great with lamb, or any roast meat. However you may prefer to enjoy it with a different choice ... as always it's up to you dear reader.
Original recipe idea here

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

All the best Jan

Friday, 28 April 2017

Jimmy Moore has he lost the plot?

Anyone with an interest in low carb diets or low carb lifestyle, has probably heard of Jimmy Moore. I say lifestyle, because to keep reaping the benefits that low carb brings, the changes in food choices have to be permanent. The beauty of a low carb lifestyle is it’s simplicity. In a nutshell, you remove sugar and highly processed carbohydrate foods (carbs turn to sugar once digested) from your life, permanently. That’s all there is to it, end of.

Jimmy Moore is arguably one of the most high profile diet guru’s in the US. Some years ago Jimmy lost a huge amount of weight using a low carb diet. No one was a better example than Jimmy, in what could be achieved using low carb. He got off medication, and his health improved markedly. But alas, it all went wrong, Jimmy walked away from simple, and turned himself into a one man science experiment. Unfortunately he has become a failed science experiment.

You may be wondering how this return to morbid obesity has come about. The answer is almost always simple, Jimmy is either using the wrong diet, or is overeating the correct diet. There are many great myths surrounding a low carb lifestyle, most are complete nonsense, pushed by corrupt dietetic outfits and dietitians on the junk food payola system. One myth I hear all too often, low carbers can eat what they like, as long as it’s low carb and high fat, and still control their weight, this is completely ludicrous.

The bottom line calories count, whatever diet you may be using. That being said, a calorie is not just a calorie, especially for diabetics. Clearly drinking 500 calories from high sugar soda drinks, has a totally different effect on the body, as say 500 calories from meat and low starch vegetables. Especially so for the 400 million diabetics in the world and countless heavily overweight people. The truth is, there are no quick fixes, no magic formula's, no easy ways to control weight and diabetes. That being said, we can give ourselves a head start in our return to good health and safe weight. We can remove from our diets the foods that have made so many overweight, so many ill, and so many type two diabetics. Namely, sugars and highly processed carbohydrates.

I do not forget, Jimmy was promoting low carb, long before many of today’s high profile medical professionals were on the case. Jimmy has been a hugely positive influence on countless people, including me. It pains me to say this, but Jimmy has become a liability to the low carb higher healthy fat cause. Over the years Jimmy has had many critics, mostly from people who have nothing to offer, the sort of people that help no one. No sound advice for diabetics, no help whatsoever for the overweight, basically they post nothing but negative bile. Jimmy once said “the haters made me famous” I’m hoping the haters can motivate Jimmy back to a healthy weight, if not for the haters, then for himself.


Chocolate and Almond Cake : Low Carb

I know some of us do enjoy a sweet treat from time to time, whereas others completely avoid them. I do allow myself the occasional low carb sweet/dessert treat, especially on Fridays ... well why not!!!

This simple and quick recipe for a low carb chocolate and almond cake is from Ewelina who writes: "You don’t need many ingredients and about 40 minutes to make a cake (including baking time). The cake is very chocolaty and light. If you are not afraid of extra calories and a little bit of sugar serve it with scoop of vanilla ice-cream."

Ewelina uses "Splenda as a sweetener and Menier dark chocolate in this recipe." She says, "if you would like to make this cake even lower in carbohydrates use pure Stevia leaf (you will need just a teaspoon or so) and chocolate that is lower in carbs than 30g."

Makes 12 pieces
7g Carbs per piece/slice

200g dark chocolate, chopped (I used Menier with 30g carbs per 100g chocolate)
50g chopped almonds (I used flaked almonds as you can see on the picture but it worked fine)
115g butter, cut into small pieces
6 eggs, separated
Equivalent of 180 g sugar (I used 18g Splenda*)
1 tsp. pure almond extract
Almond flakes for decoration"

*You may ask ... "how come you used 18g of Splenda if the recipe calls for 180g of sugar? isn't it supposed to be equal?"
Ewelina says ..."Splenda is much lighter than sugar, you use the same amount when you measure with cups or spoons but not when you weight. For example 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of Splenda looks the same but sugar weighs about 10 times more"

1. Preheat oven to 180C and butter a 23 cm springform pan.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a large bowl over simmering water. Stir in almonds and set aside to cool slightly.
3. In a medium bowl using electric mixer whisk egg yolks and sweetener until mixture gets smooth and pale yellow. Slowly add the egg yolk mixture to melted chocolate and stir to combine. Stir in almond extract.
4. In a large bowl using electric mixer whisk the egg whites until firm peaks form. Using spatula fold in ¼ of egg whites to the chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites (it takes some time but do it gently)
5. Pour the batter into the form and bake 20min.
6. Cool slightly and decorate with almond flakes."

Words and recipe can be seen on Ewelina's blog here

hang on ... I'll just put the kettle on!

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

All the best Jan

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Low-sodium diet might not lower blood pressure

Findings from large, 16-year study contradict sodium limits in Dietary Guidelines for Americans

A new study that followed more than 2,600 men and women for 16 years found that consuming less sodium wasn't associated with lower blood pressure. The study adds to growing evidence that current recommendations for limiting sodium intake may be misguided.

Lynn L. Moore, DSc, associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, will present the new research at the American Society for Nutrition Scientific Sessions and annual meeting during the Experimental Biology 2017 meeting, to be held April 22-26 in Chicago.

"We saw no evidence that a diet lower in sodium had any long-term beneficial effects on blood pressure," said Moore. "Our findings add to growing evidence that current recommendations for sodium intake may be misguided."

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium intake to 2,300 grams a day for healthy people. For the study, the researchers followed 2,632 men and women ages 30 to 64 years old who were part of the Framingham Offspring Study. The participants had normal blood pressure at the study's start. However, over the next 16 years, the researchers found that the study participants who consumed less than 2500 milligrams of sodium a day had higher blood pressure than participants who consumed higher amounts of sodium.

Other large studies published in the past few years have found what researchers call a J-shaped relationship between sodium and cardiovascular risk -- that means people with low-sodium diets (as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans) and people with a very high sodium intake (above the usual intake of the average American) had higher risks of heart disease. Those with the lowest risk had sodium intakes in the middle, which is the range consumed by most Americans.

"Our new results support these other studies that have questioned the wisdom of low dietary sodium intakes in the general population," said Moore.

The researchers also found that people in the study who had higher intakes of potassium, calcium and magnesium exhibited lower blood pressure over the long term. In Framingham, people with higher combined intakes of sodium (3717 milligrams per day on average) and potassium (3211 milligrams per day on average on average) had the lowest blood pressure.

"This study and others point to the importance of higher potassium intakes, in particular, on blood pressure and probably cardiovascular outcomes as well," said Moore. "I hope that this research will help refocus the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans on the importance of increasing intakes of foods rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium for the purpose of maintaining a healthy blood pressure."

Moore says that there is likely a subset of people sensitive to salt who would benefit from lowering sodium intake, but more research is needed to develop easier methods to screen for salt sensitivity and to determine appropriate guidelines for intakes of sodium and potassium in this salt-sensitive group of people.


Roasted Squash with feta, mint and chilli : A tasty mix

These ingredients just go so well together, and you can enjoy this recipe suggestion almost on its own! You may of course prefer to serve it with some oven baked chicken drumsticks or thighs, or perhaps something else, I wonder what may you choose!

Serves Four
2 small squash, halved
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large red onions, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
200g (7oz) feta cheese, crumbled
50g (2oz) pine nuts
1 mild chilli finely chopped
handful of mint leaves, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C, 400°F.
2. Cut the two squash in half, remove the pips with a spoon and discard. Scoop out some of the flesh (leaving a 1cm border) and roughly chop.
3. Place the squash halves on a roasting tray, season, drizzle with ½ tablespoon of oil. Roast for 40 minutes until tender.
4. Sauté the onion and chopped squash for 7 minutes until golden. Add the garlic and sauté the mixture for 3 more minutes.
5. Spoon the mix into the squash cavities, scatter with the feta cheese, pine nuts and chilli, season with salt and pepper and roast for another 10 minutes until the pine nuts are golden. Scatter with the mint leaves.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Carbohydrate 17.8g Protein 12.2g Fibre 4.4g Fat 25.0g
Please see original Tesco Real Food idea here

Couldn't resist sharing these lovely flowers

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Mini Pizza's : Lower Carb Alternatives

Who doesn't enjoy a pizza! Well I guess there may be some who don't like to eat them, and there may be others who are looking for a lower carb alternative!

Take these two suggestions, one is for mushroom mini pizza, and the other is for aubergine (eggplant) mini pizza. They are both a good lower carb and tasty alternative.

Mushroom Pizza's

From an original  Sainsbury recipe featured here

Mini Aubergine / Eggplant Pizzas

From an original Rachel Morrows recipe featured here

Why not check out the recipes and perhaps give them a try!

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Tuscan-style winter vegetable soup

Yes, this blog is based in the UK and it may seem strange posting a winter vegetable soup recipe in April, but this week the weather here in some regions, is far more wintery than Spring-like.

I also thought that many of our readers, who live in the Southern Hemisphere, are now in their Autumn and they may just appreciate a delicious bowlful of soup!

I happened to see this recipe recently and thought it one to share. Some readers may find Cannellini beans a little 'carby', so as always dear reader it is important to note, that a variety of recipe ideas are within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

However, if you feel you'd like to give this recipe idea a try here is what you will need for four servings:
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 parsnip, chopped
1 onion, chopped ingredient
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced and rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
400g tin cannellini beans, drained
50g (2oz) grated cauliflower
1.2 litres (2 pints) vegetable stock
150g (5oz) kale or cavolo nero, shredded
25g (1oz) Parmesan, finely grated
3 tbsp green pesto

1. In a large saucepan, cook the garlic, celery, carrot, parsnip, onion and leeks gently in the olive oil for 10 minutes. Keep the heat low and stir often, until soft, but not browned.
2. Stir in the drained cannellini beans and grated cauliflower, followed by the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the beans begin to break down.
3. Crush some beans with the back of a spoon to further thicken the soup. Stir in the shredded cavolo nero or kale and simmer for a final 5 minutes, adding a little water if it becomes too thick. Stir in half the pesto and half the cheese, dividing the soup between bowls and serving the remaining pesto and cheese on top of each bowlful.

Freezing and defrosting guidelines:
Make the soup, then leave to cool at room temperature. Freeze (without garnishes or toppings) in a rigid container, leaving a bit of space for expansion, for up to 1-3 months. Reheat either from frozen or defrost in the fridge overnight. Once piping hot, add toppings or garnishes and serve.

Adapted from an original Tesco Real Food recipe here

It certainly is a warming and tasty bowlful, full of vegetable goodness ... 

All the best Jan

Monday, 24 April 2017

Kellogg’s smothers health crisis in sugar

Kellogg’s, the world’s leading cereal­ manufacturer, has spent millions on research to counter claims that its sugar-laden products are fuelling the obesity crisis.

Kellogg’s has been attacked for putting more sugar in some breakfast cereals than is found in cakes, donuts and ice cream. A bowl of Crunchy Nut cereal can contain more than half the recom­mended maximum intake of added sugar for a six-year-old.

Now an investigation has establish­ed that Kellogg’s helped fund a report, published in a medical journal in December, attacking the British government’s recommendations to cut sugar intake. It also funded studies suggesting eating cereals may help children stay a healthy weight.

Simon Capewell, a founder of Action on Sugar and professor in public health and policy at Britain’s Liverpool University, called on Kellogg’s to publish a list of the scientists and research organisations to which it pays fees and ­research grants. Coca-Cola ­pub­lished such a list in 2015 after a row over how its research funding influenced public health debate.

“They are funding scientists and organisations to undermine the established evidence that eating too much sugar is harmful,” Professor Capewell said.

One of the food-research org­anisations funded by Kellogg’s is the International Life Sciences Institute. Last year it funded ­research in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine that said the ­advice to cut sugar by Public Health England and other bodies such as the World Health Organisation could not be trusted.

The study, which claimed officia­l guidance to cut sugar was based on “low-quality evidence”, stated it had been funded by an ILSI technical committee. Only by searching elsewhere for a list of committee members did it ­become clear that this comprised 15 food firms, including Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola and Tate & Lyle.

In 2013, Kellogg’s funded British research that concluded “regular consumption of breakfast cereals” might help children stay slimmer.

The study, published in the journal Obesity Facts, relied on evidence from 14 studies. Seven were funded by Kellogg’s and five were funded by the cereal company General Mills. Margaret Ashwell, a consultant to the food industry and one of the auth­ors of the study, said all interests had been correctly disclosed.

Terence Kealey, a former vice-chancellor at Buckingham University and author of Breakfast Is a Dangerous Meal, warned last month that the scientific community had “fooled itself” about the benefits of breakfast.

Kellogg’s said it was committed to “slowly reducing sugar”. A spokesman said: “As a low-­calorie, grain-based food choice we believe cereals have a role to play in tackling obesity. We ­follow appropriate guidelines for transparency and disclosure.”


Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium-Rich Foods

Michael Joseph is a nutrition educator with a strong focus on health optimization through real food and a healthy lifestyle. He holds a Master’s degree in Nutrition Education, but gained most of his knowledge in the real world; seeing how dietary intervention impacts people in their everyday life.

He writes:
"Dairy foods such as whole milk and cheese are the most significant sources of calcium. However, some people cannot consume dairy due to either allergies, sensitivities, or personal choice.

This article will provide a list of nineteen calcium-rich foods that come from non-dairy sources.

What is Calcium?
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our entire body, and it plays a huge role in our health.
While every cell in our body makes use of calcium, the vast majority (99%) is found in our bones and teeth.
From cardiovascular health to our skeletal system, an adequate supply of calcium is essential for our overall health.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults is 1,000mg, rising to 1,200mg for males at age 71 and females at the age of 51.

Top 19 Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium:

Where can we get calcium except for cheese and milk?
Perhaps surprisingly, there are many sources of calcium out there, and they come from a wide range of food groups.

1. Sardines
Sardines are small fish that often come in their whole form.
As a result, they are one of the most calcium-rich foods due to the many bones they contain.
Other notable nutrients include selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, phosphorus and vitamin B3.
Key Point: Sardines offer a substantial amount of calcium – 38% RDA per 100g.

2. Kale
Kale is one of the best sources of calcium and provides 135mg calcium per 100g
contains a wealth of different vitamins and minerals which include vitamin K, manganese, and vitamin A.
The science behind the health properties of kale is also impressive.
Key Point: Kale is a great provider of calcium – 14% RDA per 100g.

3. Bok Choy
Otherwise known as ‘Chinese cabbage,’ bok choy is a nutritious vegetable that is high in calcium.
Aside from calcium, bok choy is also full of vitamins, minerals, and health-supportive phytonutrients.
The vegetable is particularly high in vitamins A, C, and K.
Key Point: As one of the best non-dairy sources of calcium, bok choy offers 11% of the RDA per 100g.

4. Almonds
Nuts are one of the highest non-dairy sources of calcium and almonds offer the most.
When we consider
how nutritious almonds are, it’s not surprising that they have documented health benefits.
Randomized, controlled trials show that;
* Swapping a daily carbohydrate snack for almonds leads to weight loss and improved cardiovascular markers over two weeks.
* Almonds improve cholesterol profiles, vascular function, and decrease systemic inflammation.
* Even a low dose of 10g almonds per day significantly increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and reduces triglycerides.
Key Point: 100g of almonds contains 26% of the calcium RDA.

5. Kelp Seaweed
Kelp is a unique sea vegetable that offers some important health benefits.
Not only is kelp a good source of calcium, but it also contains high amounts of magnesium, iron, and folic acid.
Key Point: 100g of kelp gives you 17% of the RDA for calcium.

6. Okra

Okra is a lesser known vegetable, and it has 81mg calcium in every 100g—8% of the RDA.
It also contains significant amounts of manganese, vitamins A and K, and folate.
Studies show that this vegetable also has high antioxidant potential, as well as diabetes and liver-protective properties
It may be used as part of a stew, made into chips, or cooked in the context of a dish.
If you need some ideas, then here is a great recipe for crispy garlic-parmesan okra.

Key Point: Okra is a decent source of calcium and it is also has some impressive health benefits.

7. Canned Pink Salmon

Similar to sardines, canned pink salmon is also one of the best ways to get calcium.
The reason for this is that it typically comes with the soft bones inside the can.
Providing you do eat these bones, then canned pink salmon provides a significant 277mg of calcium (28% RDA).
Calcium certainly isn’t the only reason to eat pink salmon, and it’s also rich in a wide variety of micronutrients.
Key Point: Canned pink salmon contains 8% of the RDA per 100g and a vast range of health-supportive nutrients.

8. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have been exploding in popularity over recent years; they are a source of omega-3 and one of the most calcium-rich foods.
Key Point: Chia seeds contain 63% of the RDA for calcium per 100g.

9. Collard Greens

Like other dark green vegetables, collard greens also contain a decent supply of calcium.
Collards are a member of the brassica family of vegetables and taste similar to cabbage.
They are also very high in vitamin A, C and K, folate, and manganese.
Key Point: Collards are one of the best non-dairy sources of calcium; 100g provides 14% of the RDA.

10. Nopales

For anyone who doesn’t know what Nopales are, then they are a kind of vegetable native to Mexico.
As a type of prickly cacti, they certainly look unique, and they inspire dozens of Mexican dishes.
Regarding their nutritional profile, they contain 164mg of calcium per 100g — 16% of the RDA
Additionally, Nopales are high in manganese, magnesium, and vitamin C.
A range of studies also suggests that they have anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory effects
Key Point: Nopales are one of the highest calcium foods, providing 16% RDA per 100g, and they are packed with nutrition.

11. Rhubarb
Rhubarb is an incredibly sour fruit that also packs a fair amount of nutrients.
A 100g serving of rhubarb contains around 9% of the RDA for calcium — 86mg
The fruit contains reasonable amounts of vitamins C and K too.
It is a seasonal fruit which is typically available in spring.
Not sure on how to prepare it?
Then here is a low carb rhubarb crumble; a delicious way to get more calcium!

Key Point: Rhubarb is a seasonal, sour fruit that provides a decent amount of calcium at 9% RDA per 100g.

12. Turnip Greens
Turnip greens are a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, along with others such as cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
Key Point: Turnip greens are full of calcium and they contain 19% of the RDA per 100g.

13. Spinach
Spinach has a case for being the most nutrient-dense vegetable out there, and it is high in a range of micronutrients.
Spinach supplies a massive amount of vitamins A and K. Furthermore, it provides high doses of folate, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.
Spinach is a big source of dietary nitrate, which studies show can have impressive effects on vascular health and help ease arterial stiffness
Key Point: Spinach is one of the healthiest vegetables out there and it’s a good source of calcium too, providing 10% of the RDA per 100g.

14. Sesame Seeds
Earlier, we saw that chia seeds are a great source of calcium.
Similarly, so are another member of the seed family — sesame seeds. These seeds contain an even larger amount of calcium than chia seeds do.
However, don’t eat too many — the one problem they have is an extremely
high omega 6 to 3 ratio of approximately 58 to 1.
Key Point: Sesame seeds are absolutely packed with calcium and contain 98% RDA per 100g.

15. Dried Herbs
While dried herbs won’t add a lot of calcium to your diet due to the small serving sizes, they are a significant source of the mineral.
For example, thyme and basil provide 1890mg and 2113mg of calcium respectively per 100g, representing about 200% of the RDA
With these dried herbs, less is more, and just a pinch adds a great flavour.
Moreover, herbs have some of the
very highest antioxidant properties out of all foods.
Studies show that many dried herbs have medicinal benefits and they can be anti-diabetic, anti-carcinogenic, and heart-protective
Key Point: Herbs have substantial health benefits. They are also extremely calcium-rich, containing over 200% RDA per 100g.

16. Beet Greens
Beet greens are another calcium-rich vegetable, providing 112mg of the mineral per 100g – 12% of the RDA
Like other dark green veggies, they contain a vast amount of vitamins and minerals and they are particularly high in vitamin A, C, K, magnesium, and potassium.
As some of these vitamins are fat-soluble, you should eat them with a source of fat if you want to absorb them correctly.
Leafy greens make a great combination with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Key Point: Beet greens provide a reasonable supply of calcium at 12% RDA per 100g.

17. Amaranth Leaves
If you haven’t heard of amaranth leaves, then they are highly nutritious and resemble spinach, and you should be able to pick it up at vegetable markets or in Asian grocery stores.
Key Point: Amaranth leaves are packed with nutrients and provide 22% of the calcium RDA per 100g.

18. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens are a species of mustard plant that is loaded with nutrients and have a somewhat spicy taste. The leaves contain 103mg calcium per 100g — 10% of the RDA. As with other dark leafy greens, they provide substantial amounts of vitamin A, C, K, and folate.
Key Point: Mustard greens contain about 10% of the RDA per 100g, but they also offer a range of wider benefits.

19. Tempeh
Another food high in calcium is tempeh.
Tempeh is a soy product that is a traditional food in Indonesia, but it is now famous around the world.
If you are unsure on the idea of eating soy, then there is a world of difference between processed soy products and a traditional, fermented food.
Tempeh contains 111mg calcium per 100g which is around 11% of the RDA
It also contains probiotics, and a wide range of nutrients in decent amounts, such as manganese, copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium.
Recent research suggests that it has a higher nutrient value and larger preventive effect against oxidative stress than non-fermented soy
Key Point: Tempeh is another non-dairy option for calcium; it provides 11% of the RDA per 100g.

Final Thoughts
Calcium is an essential mineral which dairy provides in significant proportions.
However, if you have any reason to avoid dairy products, then this list might be useful.
All these calcium-rich, non-dairy foods provide a decent amount of the mineral and bring separate health benefits too."

The above is only a snippet of Michael's article.
You can read it in full, with related links, here 

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

All the best Jan

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Statins ‘don’t cut heart deaths risk’ says leading heart Professor

STATINS have done nothing to cut deaths from heart disease since being brought into widespread use more than a decade ago, a leading expert claims.

Professor Sherif Sultan, president of the International Society for Vascular Surgery, said millions of people should stop taking the heart drugs because side effects outweigh possible benefits.

He told a conference in Brazil this month that the drugs should only be considered for patients who have had a heart attack and never for a child, woman or patient over 62 years old, as there was no evidence it could benefit them.

He also said the medication did not reduce overall death rates in anyone. 

His speech ‘Reality And Myth: A Tablet A Day Will Not Keep The Doctor Away’ analysed studies on the cholesterol lowering drug and concluded the benefits were based on “statistical deception” and could not be relied upon because they were carried out by scientists employed by the drug companies.

Prof Sultan also highlighted studies showing a link with statins and increased risk of side effects including diabetes, cataracts, renal failure, liver failure, impotence, breast cancer, nerve damage, depression and muscle pains.

He said: “People are taking this drug to prevent a problem and creating a disaster.”

Prof Sultan called on drug regulators to “rewrite” guidelines on the heart drugs prescribed to up to 12 million patients in the UK, or around one-in-four adults. 

He reignited the debate surrounding the drugs, the most widely prescribed treatment in the UK. The Queen’s former doctor of 21 years Sir Richard Thompson wants an inquiry.

Sir Richard, former president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “Data needs to be urgently scrutinised. We are very worried about it and particularly side effect data which seems to have been swept under the carpet.”

However, proponents say hundreds of thousands are putting their lives at risk because they have stopped taking the treatment due to fears over their safety.

Mr Sultan, professor of vascular surgery at the University of Ireland, questioned the link between high cholesterol and heart attacks, highlighting new data which contradicted this. 

He also showed evidence from recent studies which revealed statins accelerate hardening of the arteries, a key risk factor in heart attacks.

But Dr June Raine of the Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Agency said: “The benefits of statins are well established and are considered to outweigh the risk of side effects in the majority of patients.

“The efficacy and safety of statins has been studied in a number of large trials which show they can lower the level of cholesterol in the blood and reduce cardiovascular disease and save lives. Trials have also shown that medically significant side effects are rare.”


Smoked Salmon and Peppers stir-fry ... with Parmesan Cheese !

This is such a lovely, simple recipe idea from Karen Thomson ... and I love the grated Parmesan on top! How about you?

Serves 1:
½ a red pepper, grated
½ a green pepper, grated
½ a yellow pepper, grated
4-5 asparagus stalks
Handful of kale
1 red onion, sliced
75g smoked salmon
30g cream cheese
Parmesan cheese, optional

Stir-fry the vegetables until they are slightly soft.
Add the salmon and cream cheese and season to taste.
When everything is cooked through, top with grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve, and enjoy.

See original recipe idea here

I love to have Parmesan Cheese (or similar) in the house, there are so many recipes where it just gives that extra zing!

Here is the History of Parmesan Cheese:

Parmesan Cheese Origin:
There are many misconceptions about the word Parmesan, but there is no doubt whatsoever about Parmesan cheese’s origin! Parmesan refers to the famous cheese made in and around the Italian province of Parma for the past eight centuries and more. Historically speaking, it is an earlier term for what we now call Parmigiano Reggiano® cheese.

The history of Parmesan cheese and its etymology are fascinating, so let’s go back a few centuries and trace them.

Early Parmesan Cheese History:
The concept of naming foods after their place of origin dates back to the Roman Empire. Even after the fall of Rome in 476 A.D., people on the Italian peninsula continued to follow that practice. It was a convenient way to describe the food, but also showed pride in its making.

It was monks in the area around Parma who first started making a distinctive hard cheese during the Middle Ages. By the time of the Renaissance, people in the nobility were producing this fine cheese for their own tables. It was known as caseum paramensis in Latin, and locals shortened this to Pramsàn, in dialect.

Parmesan Makes a Name for Itself:
By the early 14th century, Parmesan cheese had traveled from its place of origin in the Parma-Reggio region over the mountains to Tuscany, where ships departing from Pisa and Livorno carried it to other Mediterranean ports. The first recorded reference to Parmesan, in 1254, documents that a noble woman from Genoa traded her house for the guarantee of an annual supply of 53 pounds of cheese produced in Parma.

History immortalized the use of Parmesan cheese as a condiment for pasta in Boccaccio’s Decameron tale about an imaginary gourmet paradise called Bengodi. At the summit of a delightful mountain of Parmesan, cooks rolled macaroni downhill to acquire a coating of the snowy cheese.

Parmesan: the French Connection:
By the 1530s, Italian nobles began to refer to the cheese as Parmesano, meaning “of or from Parma.”

Given the close ties between the Italian and French nobility, it’s no surprise that the name was shortened to Parmesan in the French courts of the day. The latter acquired a taste for the cheese they often received as a gift from Parma visitors. Another name indicating the Gallic appreciation for this cheese was fromage de Parme.

The Name Parmesan Stuck!
From the 17th to the 19th centuries, the name Parmesan became more common due to the continuing close relations between the Dukes of Parma and the French nobility.

Seeking to prolong his life, the playwright Molière decided to live on a diet consisting of 12 ounces of Parmesan and three glasses of port a day. His fad diet had merit from a nutritional standpoint because Parmigiano Reggiano is rich in protein and easy to digest.

According to historical records mentioning the cheese, the name Parmesan eventually spread beyond France to take root in other countries.

Italian Terms for Parmesan:
If the French word Parmesan means “of or from Parma,” what does Parmigiano mean? The same thing, in Italian. Producers who lived closer to Reggio than to Parma might refer to their cheese as Reggiano. These Italian terms indicating geographical origin became common only in the 19th and 20th centuries with the political and linguistic unification of Italy.

In 1934, producers in Parma and Reggio-Emilia joined forces with producers in the provinces of Modena and Mantua (the portion to the east of the Po River) to form an association called the Consorzio del Grana Tipico. Recognizing that they shared the same cheese-making terroir, these cheese makers banded together to standardize the production of their cheeses. Producers from the province of Bologna (to the west of the Reno River) later joined the group.

It’s Official: Parmigiano Reggiano:
In 1954, the pioneering alliance of cheese makers renamed their group the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano. In choosing this name, members acknowledged the historic role played by Parma and Reggio producers in defining the character of the cheese and the methods for making it properly.

From that point on, the official name of the cheese has been Parmigiano Reggiano, as indicated by the pin dots imprinted on the rind of each wheel. Members of the Consorzio not only follow strict production standards, but they work together to market Parmigiano Reggiano and protect the name from imitators.

Parmigiano Reggiano, the Only Parmesan:
In 2008, European courts decreed that Parmigiano Reggiano is the only hard cheese that can legally be called Parmesan. In so doing, they acknowledged the historical fact that the word can be traced to Parma and that consumers associate the cheese with its origin in the Parma-Reggio region of Italy. These court rulings mean that a cheese cannot be called Parmesan unless it conforms to the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) standards for Parmigiano Reggiano.

While these laws are enforced in Europe, elsewhere in the world there are many would- be imitators. To avoid misunderstandings, the consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano producers encourages retailers and consumers in the U.S. and other countries to understand the history of Parmesan and to use the cheese’s correct name: Parmigiano Reggiano.

The above words, and more, from

Thanks for reading, and I do hope you may try this recipe suggestion soon.

All the best Jan

Saturday, 22 April 2017

LP - Lost On You [Live Session]

Following on from last weeks song featuring LP another from her, I got to say much prefer the live version to the official video.

Leela James - Fall For You

Here we go again with another singer that's new to me !

Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay Playing For Change

See, people all over the world can work and create great things together, until the greedy, the politicians, the war mongers and exploiters get involved. Eddie

Shine On You Crazy Diamond in Jerusalem

Saturday night again and music night on this blog. This is a live performance of the Pink Floyd classic. The Breslev Brothers are Rabbi's and clearly accomplished musicians. They say music is the universal language, I'm not arguing with that statement. Music has no barriers of race, religion, colour or creed. Enjoy. Eddie 

Beef Stuffed Peppers

This is a nice mid-week or Saturday Night Supper Dish ... and as it's Saturday why not give it a try tonight!!!

Red peppers are definitely our favourite, and when put aside a yellow one, what a great colourful and nutritious plate of food you've got. What do you think?

Serves Four
1 celery stick, cut into 5mm (1/4in) dice
1 small onion, cut into 1cm (1/2in) dice
250g/8oz of swede (rutabaga) peeled and cut into 1cm (1/2in) dice 
2 tsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 red peppers
2 yellow peppers
250g lean steak mince
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp dried herbs
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika (optional)
125ml (4fl oz) red wine or beef stock

Put the carrot, celery, onion and swede into a large saucepan and pour over 2 tbsp olive oil. Cover with a disc of non-stick baking paper and a lid, then cook over a low heat for 6-8 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, prepare the peppers. Make sure the peppers can stand upright by slicing slivers from the bottom. Slice the top off each pepper, about 1.5cm (3/4in) from the top, keeping the stalk intact. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut away and discard the seeds and any excess white pith inside the peppers. Reserve the lids and set the peppers aside.

Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Uncover and remove the baking paper from the pan. Add the beef mince and turn up the heat to medium/high. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the mince is browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute before adding the tomato purée, herbs and paprika (if using). Stir well and cook for a further minute. Add the red wine or stock, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes. 

Pour some water into a baking tray and stand the peppers upright on the tray. Spoon the beef mixture into the peppers and put the lids on top. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and bake for 25-30 mins until the peppers are tender. Serve.

Adapted from an original Tesco Real Food recipe idea here

We just love red peppers, there is something cheerful about them, perhaps that's why it's this blogs logo! Or maybe it's because one cup equals close to 300% of your daily Vitamin C requirement! Why not include red peppers on your shopping list ... or are you already?

We 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

Friday, 21 April 2017

Professor Tim Noakes not guilty!

Not only a victory for Tim, a victory for LCHF across the world. The truth is outing, the junk food big pharma payola is coming to an end!


Cheese Ball Snacks with either bacon, herbs or nuts

Well what a choice this recipe suggestion gives ...
Anne Aobadia at Diet Doctor site says "Cheese and bacon! What’s not to love? This awesome keto snack is easy and quick to make."

However, if you don't eat bacon, you can roll the cheese balls in chopped herbs, grated Parmesan cheese or even chopped nuts.

Serves Eight

(Makes 24 walnut sized balls)
1⁄3 lb / 150 g bacon
1 tablespoon butter
1⁄3 lb / 150g cream cheese
1⁄3 lb / 150g cheddar cheese
2 oz. / 55g butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pepper (optional)
½ teaspoon chili flakes (optional)

You can use any kind of grated flavourful (strong/mature) cheese you prefer.

I wonder how you may cook and serve yours ...

Please see instructions here

Did you know, this about Cheddar:
"During olden days, England was the only place where Cheddar cheeses were made. However, many countries all over the world manufacture Cheddar today.

Any cheese producing company or any of the artisan manufacturers in any corner of the world can label the cheese produced by them as 'Cheddar' since it is not protected like other cheese names or brands.

Cheddar cheese, the most widely purchased and eaten cheese in the world is always made from cow's milk. It is a hard and natural cheese that has a slightly crumbly texture if properly cured and if it is too young, the texture is smooth. It gets a sharper taste as it matures, over a period of time between 9 to 24 months. Shaped like a drum, 15 inches in diameter, Cheddar cheese is natural rind bound in cloth while its colour generally ranges from white to pale yellow. However, some Cheddars may have a manually added yellow-orange colour.

Joseph Harding, the "father of Cheddar cheese" who invented modern cheese making techniques described the ideal quality of original Somerset Cheddar as "close and firm in texture, mellow in character or quality, rich with a tendency to melt in the mouth and has full and fine flavour somewhat like hazelnut!"

Above words and picture about cheddar from here

All the best Jan

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Don't fly United!


For a delicious lower carb meal why not take ...

 ... some Roast Chicken
see information here

add some roasted buttered cauliflower
see recipe here

some punchy buttered spring greens
see recipe here

and perhaps some red roasted carrots
see more here

to follow, a slice of lemon yogurt cheesecake
see more about this low carb dessert here

wouldn't it then be nice to relax and let the butler do the washing up!

All the best Jan