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Friday, 17 November 2017

Antarctica ... something completely different !

From time to time we post something completely different!
I happened upon these wonderful photographs of life in Antarctica, definitely for sharing I thought ... hence this blog post.

A gentoo penguin feeds its baby at Station Bernardo O'Higgins in Antarctica on January 22, 2015.
photo by Natacha Pisarenko

A whale exhales air through its blowhole on March 19, 2016.
Ari Friedlaender, from Oregon State University, studies the foraging behaviour of whales
in the Antarctic Ocean as part of the National Science Foundation's
Long Term Ecological Research programme.
photo by Ari Friedlaender

These photographs and 34 more can be seen here

More than 170 million years ago, Antarctica was part of the supercontinent Gondwana. Over time, Gondwana gradually broke apart and Antarctica, as we know it today, was formed around 25 million years ago. Antarctica was not always cold, dry, and covered in ice sheets. At a number of points in its long history, it was farther north, experienced a tropical or temperate climate, was covered in forests, and inhabited by various ancient life forms.

Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean.

Antarctica is the coldest of Earth's continents. The coldest natural air temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) at the Soviet (now Russian) Vostok Staion in Antarctica on 21 July 1983.

You can read more about Antarctica here

All the best Jan

Empanadas : Low Carb and Vegan

As regular readers know, this blog brings a variety of articles. studies, thoughts, music and recipes! It is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. Our main focus is about the Low Carb Higher (Healthy) Fat lifestyle, LCHF for short, and you can read/find out more about that here

In recent months we have seen that more and more we have regular readers, and followers, who choose to eat vegetarian or vegan. With that in mind I am passing on this recipe suggestion from Martine at Low Carb Vegan Blog.

She says these empanadas "have crispy edges, crumbly buttery dough and a nice hearty filling" ... "Once you get the hang of rolling out and shaping the dough, these are surprisingly easy to make, and they are super filling too!"

An empanada is a Spanish, or Latin American, pastry turnover filled with a variety of savoury ingredients and baked or fried. The recipe below is a lower carb vegan version.

Serves: 8 empanadas

1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cold margarine, cubed
2 tablespoons psyllium husk
1 pinch of salt
3-4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup tvp, tofu or seitan
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons tomato sauce

In a bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, margarine, psyllium husk and salt. Use your hands to create a crumbly dough (you can also do this in a food processor). Add the water and knead a little more. The dough may seem a bit too wet, but it will firm up as the flour absorbs the water. Divide the dough into 8 small balls and put them into the fridge to rest for about 5-10 minutes.

For the filling, put the tvp in a small pot and add water until it is almost covered. Add the soy sauce and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes until the water has been absorbed. Stir in the tomato sauce and allow to cool a little.

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F. Gas Mark 4. Take the dough from the fridge and roll it out into 2 mm (a little less than 1/8 inch) round disks, using a cut open zip-lock bag to keep it from sticking. If you have a tortilla press, this is a good moment to use it.

When you have a piece of dough rolled out, put about a tablespoon of filling in the centre. Fold over the plastic to close and shape the empanada. This may be a bit finicky at first, but don't panic, you'll get the hang of it. If the dough tears, just smooth out the cracks by gently rubbing the plastic with your fingers. Carefully peel off the plastic from the shaped empanada and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake the empanadas for about 12 minutes. Allow to cool a little and enjoy! They taste good warm and cold. Serve with a nice fresh salad, of your choice, on the side.

One serving (1/4 recipe or 2 empanadas) contains about 300 kcal, 21 g fat (5 g saturated), 7 g net carbohydrate, 13 g fibre, 11 g protein.

If you should need help with measurement/weight conversion see here
Find Martine's blog and recipe suggestion here

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

All the best Jan

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Māori doctor says less carbs, more fats to combat diabetes

November is NZ Diabetes Action month and Dr Lily Fraser is on a mission to help change Māori attitudes towards nutrition as a means to combat this debilitating disease.

The Ministry of Health considers diabetes to be the "largest and fastest growing health issue we face in New Zealand".

Dr Fraser is a GP and clinical director at Turuki Health Care, a Māori provider in South Auckland's Mangere.

She is the first person from a Kura Kaupapa Māori education background to graduate from Medical School. 

When it comes to diabetes, Dr Lily Fraser says there's a need to significantly reduce carbohydrate intake.

"Those are the foods that turn into sugar so if you consume those foods they enter your blood and turn into sugar."

In addition, she encourages a diet high in fats and believes Māori knew of its benefits.

"Kererū was one of the fine delicacies of Māori, same with Muttonbird."

Dr Fraser says a high fat diet is creating positive results for her patients.

"They've finished using medicine and insulin, they've dropped weight, they're healthy, happy, exercising and working with their families."


Pork and Apple Meatballs : serve with a lower carb mash

Ready in just over forty minutes, this recipe suggestion makes a good mid-week or Saturday night dish! Yes, you could serve it with mashed potatoes but why not have a lower carb mash like swede (rutabaga) or cauliflower!

Serves Four
1.5 tbsp. olive oil
0.5 onion, peeled and finely chopped
500 g ground/minced pork
2 tbsp. Bramley apple sauce
1 tbsp. fresh sage, washed and chopped
50 g breadcrumbs
400 g savoy cabbage washed and chopped
70 ml soured cream
1 tbsp. corn-flour mixed with cold water
150 ml beef stock

Serving suggestions:
Swede (Rutabaga), mashed 
Cauliflower, mashed 
2 tbsp. cranberry sauce

1. Prepare the mash of your choice e.g. swede or cauliflower
2. In a large frying pan, heat half a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the onion for 5 minutes until soft. Transfer the onion to a large bowl, add the mince, apple sauce, sage and breadcrumbs. Season with freshly ground black pepper and mix together until well combined.
3. Shape the mince into 12 balls. Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan and fry the meatballs for 10 minutes, turning, until cooked through with no pink remaining. Remove from the pan, set aside and keep warm.
4. Stir-fry the cabbage for 2 minutes in the frying pan.
5. Make the sauce: heat the soured cream in a small pan and stir through the corn-flour mixture. Slowly add the beef stock and simmer for 5 minutes until thickened.
6. Serve the mash of your choice with the meatballs, cabbage and cranberry sauce, then pour over the sauce.
From an original idea here

The savoy cabbage is a classic vegetable - its attractive deep green colouring and crinkly leaves have ensured its popularity has never waned. What makes it even better is that when cooked it doesn’t emit the usual odour associated with overcooked cabbage. Savoy cabbages are at their peak from October through to February. They should have deep green, crisp outer leaves, becoming lighter towards the core. The leaves should be tightly packed together, and the overall cabbage should feel heavy for their size. Read more about this cabbage

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

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Best Low Carb Blogs On The Planet!

Over at Feedspot our humble blog has been rated at number ten of seventy-five best low carb blogs on the planet, as can be seen here. What we have done to deserve that accolade is beyond me, but we are pleased to have made a small difference in the fight against dietary stupidity and junk food corruption. The site named me, but please note, Graham was a co founder from day one, and Jan has been the mainstay of the blog for a number of years.  

Life can be so ironic at times, Graham and myself only started this blog, because we had been banned from the self acclaimed UK's largest diabetes forum. Back in those days diabetic low carbers were regarded as trouble makers and pushers of a fad diet, many other low carbers were also banned. The supreme irony is the fact the forum owners are now promoting low carb to diabetics (for a fee) now they realise low carb is going mainstream, and there is money to be made. 

That being said, we have no problem with anyone earning an honest living, which brings me on to the number one blog on the planet. In my opinion the Diet Doctor Blog of Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt and his team is by far and above the best blog in the world, so far ahead, it could well be on another planet. People can pay a small monthly fee for full access, however, a huge amount of valuable information is available to all for free. His site is here

So, thanks to Feedspot for the thumbs up, and thank you to the people that read and comment on our blog. Jan and myself will be joining Graham in full retirement at the end of the year, and we hope to carry on and improve the blog content. That said, we appreciate we are only messengers, please spread the whole fresh food message wherever you go, thank you. 

Regards Eddie

New blood pressure range means half of Americans have hypertension!

"Tighter blood pressure guidelines from U.S. heart organizations mean millions more people need to make lifestyle changes, or start taking medication, in order to avoid cardiovascular problems.

Americans with blood pressure of 130/80 or higher should be treated, down from the previous trigger of 140/90, according to new guidelines announced on Monday by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

At the new cutoff, around 46 percent, or more than 103 million, of American adults are considered to have high blood pressure, compared with an estimated 72 million under the previous guidelines in place since 2003.

Potentially deadly high blood pressure can be brought under control with a wide array of medications, many sold as relatively inexpensive generics. The drug classes include angiotensin receptor blockers, such as Novartis AG’s Diovan, calcium channel blockers, like Pfizer Incs’s Norvasc, ACE inhibitors, including Pfizer’s Altace, and diuretics, such as Merck & Co Inc’s Hyzaar."

More on this latest article here.

It seems to me, the holy grail of big pharma, is to have everyone on pharma drugs from the cradle to the grave. Not selling enough drugs? pay the boffins to move the goal posts. I wonder if the President of the American Heart Association, who had a heart attack on Monday, used BP control drugs. If he was, I bet the drug pushers will keep very quiet on that subject.


Mushroom Leek Bisque

Bisque is a type of rich, thick, creamy soup that has been pureed so that it has an even texture. As the name suggests, the soup has its origins in France, although the dish is prepared all over the world with a wide variety of ingredients. This (vegetarian) mushroom leek soup is blended until creamy, then enriched with half & half. Perhaps you may give it a try ...

Serves 10
9g carbs per serving
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped leeks
1 tsp minced garlic
32 oz. button mushrooms
8 cups (no salt) vegetable broth
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 cup Half & Half

1. In 6-quart pot, heat oil over medium heat.
2. Add onions and leeks. Sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic, cook additional minute.
3. Increase heat to medium-high. Add mushrooms and continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and reduced by one-third, about 12 minutes.
4. Stir in broth and thyme. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
5. Allow soup to cool 15 minutes. In batches, purée soup in blender. Return to pot and stir in Half & Half. Heat through, but do not allow mixture to boil.
6. Serve in small soup bowls.

Nutrition Information:
Per serving — 92 calories
9g carbohydrates; 2g fibre; 2g saturated fat; 4g protein; 129mg sodium

For help with measurement/weight conversion please see here
Recipe from an original idea here

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

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

AHA President Suffers A Heart Attack Monday Morning.

"The president of the American Heart Association, John Warner, had a “mild heart attack” on Monday morning, according to the AHA. Warner received a stent at an undisclosed hospital. The AHA said he is “doing well.” Warner is 52.

The attack occurred while the AHA’s annual scientific sessions meeting was being held in Anaheim, California. Warner, an interventional cardiologist, has been the CEO of UT Southwestern Hospital in Dallas since 2012. Warner has an MD from Vanderbilt University and a MBA from the University of Tennessee. He completed his residency training in internal medicine at UT Southwestern and his cardiology fellowship at Duke University.

Upon hearing the news Sek Kathiresan (Broad Institute) tweeted: “Unbelievable. He just spoke last night about the many males in his family being affected by coronary disease. Our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery."

I wish this man a full and speedy recovery, it makes you wonder, if this man cannot avoid a heart attack, what chance for the rest of us?

Link to information here.


Coq au vin with celeriac mash : A November Favourite

It's almost the middle of November, and I don't know about you, but I've found that 2017 has simply flown by! Here in the UK, we have been experiencing cooler weather so perhaps time to turn to a tried and trusted chicken dish. I do find that this recipe is quite often a November favourite!

But do you cook it with skin on or skin off? That is the question! Whatever your preference, I think you'll find that the mix and flavour of the chicken with the vegetables and herbs is just delicious. The accompaniment of celeriac mash, always a low carb winner, just adds nicely to this dish - so have a look at the recipe and perhaps give it a whirl ...

Serves 4
Olive oil spray
100g diced pancetta
8 chicken thighs, (skin removed if preferred)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into half-moons
2 sticks celery, trimmed and finely chopped
250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 sprig rosemary, leaves roughly chopped
1 tbsp sage leaves, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
300ml red wine
500ml chicken stock
10 shallots, peeled and halved
2 cloves garlic, crushed
800g celeriac, roughly cubed
Parsley, to serve

1. Spritz the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the pancetta until it releases its natural oils. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the chicken thighs and cook for 4-6 minutes until well browned all over. Remove the thighs and set aside.
2. Add the onion, carrots and celery to the pan, season, and cook for another 3-4 minutes until just tender. Add the mushrooms, turn the heat up and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute, stirring until a paste has formed.
3. Stir through the herbs and pancetta, then pour in the wine. Leave it bubbling for 2-3 minutes until the alcohol has evaporated. Add the stock and peeled shallots, then bring to the boil. Place the chicken thighs back in the pan and cook with the lid on for 10 minutes. Take the lid off and continue cooking for 20-25 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly and the chicken is cooked through, always check chicken is thoroughly cooked.
4. Meanwhile, make the mash. Lightly spritz a saucepan with the oil and cook the garlic for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the celeriac and cook for 1 minute, before pouring over cold water to cover. Bring to the boil and cook for 8-10 minutes until very tender, then mash well with seasoning.
5. To serve, spoon the chicken on to a bed of celeriac mash and sprinkle with parsley.

Taken from an original idea

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

All the best Jan

Monday, 13 November 2017

Cheeseburger Casserole : Low Carb

For something a little different how about this deconstructed cheeseburger! It's been re-assembled into a low-carb casserole! It has ground/minced beef, some cheese, onions, pickles, tomatoes and Dijon mustard - with the cauliflower serving as the bun - well sort of! LOL!

Serves Four
12g carbs per serving

1 lb / 450 g cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 yellow (white)  onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb / 450 g ground/minced beef
2 tablespoons tomato paste
14 oz. / 400 g canned whole tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2⁄3 lb / 300 g shredded (grated) cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

2 dill pickles
51⁄3 oz. / 150 g lettuce
4 tablespoons olive oil

Please see cooking instructions at Diet Doctor site here

"Cauliflower is an extremely healthy vegetable that’s a significant source of nutrients. It also contains unique plant compounds that may reduce the risk of several diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Additionally, it’s weight loss friendly and incredibly easy to add to your diet. It’s tasty, easy to prepare and can replace high-carb foods in several recipes."

See more about the health benefits of cauliflower here

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

All the best Jan

Sunday, 12 November 2017

How a high-fat diet helped curb a Laval child's daily seizures

Tiana Raposo had up to 500 seizures every day, was unable to eat or respond as part of neurological disease

At the age of two, Tiana Raposo started having up to 500 seizures every single day and nothing seemed to help keep the attacks under control.

The first time the Laval toddler's symptoms manifested was on Aug. 29, 2013. That's when her mother Linda Florio got a phone call from Tiana's daycare.

"She fell off the toilet and hit her head and she was a little bit not responsive," she said. "She ended up vomiting."

Until that day, Tiana behaved like any other child, her mom said.

On top of the seizures, during which her eyes would roll into the back of her head, Tiana would not speak, eat, or respond.

"It was a dark time, and I never thought we would come out of that period," Florio said. "I thought, this is our life now."

A promising diagnosis and unexpected treatment

During her seven months in hospital, Tiana underwent multiple medical treatments but nothing seemed to help.

After a week spent in the intensive care ward at the Montreal Children's Hospital, where Tiana was tested for a number of ailments including concussion and meningitis, her neurologist Dr. Bradley Osterman suggested the toddler could have a rare neurological disorder.

Anti-NDMA receptor encephalitis is an autoimmune disease that affects perception of reality, human interaction, the formation of memory and automatic functions, according to the Anti-NDMA Receptor Encephalitis Foundation.

"Dr. Osterman said 'everything she's doing, her epilepsy, her convulsions, the fact that she stopped talking and eating… I think it's encephalitis," Florio said.

"[Tiana's] immune system produced bad antibodies, which killed the right antibodies," said her father Jason Raposo. 

After trying a number of medical treatments that failed to lessen the severity of the symptoms, Osterman told the family he wanted to try a new method: a very high-fat diet.

Through the ketogenic diet, the results were noticeable almost immediately — four weeks after Tiana changed her food intake, the number of seizures she was having per day diminished drastically.

And although Tiana, who is now six, still has some developmental delays, it's been a year and a half since she's had a convulsion.

"It changed our life. [Tiana] started talking and walking again, her eye contact improved, and she became more responsive," said Florio.

A medical first? 

This is the first time this treatment method has been used to treat epileptic symptoms in a patient as young as Tiana, said Osterman.

"Looking at the literature, I am not aware of another case where [the ketogenic diet] has been tried, especially with this much success," he said. 

For Osterman, improvement was visible right away. 

"Her convulsions reduced quickly. We had more than a year without convulsions, with a return to a fairly normal development last year," Osterman said. 

The neurologist is hopeful that Tiana will one day recover completely from the disease and catch up, despite her developmental delays.

"It's very encouraging to see how much [she] has recovered in the last year," he said. ​

High-fat diet treatment explained

Marie-Josée Trempe, Tiana's nutritionist, said the effect of nutrition on the body is underestimated by many.

"This diet has existed for a long time," Trempe said, adding that it was first used in the 1920s.

"Neurologists usually try medication first, and if it doesn't work, then they try diet."

First and foremost, Tiana's diet contains little to no carbohydrates — though some fruits and vegetables are allowed, and some foods high in protein.

Most of the time, though, Tiana is eating foods high in fat. That means grub like avocados, mayonnaise, and oil.

The ketogenic diet strictly moderates carbohydrate intake, replacing the majority of carb consumption with protein and fat. 

While the breakdown varies, a typical ketogenic diet consists of fats providing 70 to 80 per cent of all calories, with proteins accounting for just about 10 to 20 percent, and carbs only five to 10 per cent.

"We don't know exactly how it works, but [the diet] forces the body to use fat as a source of energy instead of carbohydrates, and it creates ketones, which go to the brain, and seem to give good results," Trempe said.

Patients usually follow the diet for two years, then slowly wean off it, she added.

"It's temporary, that's why the younger they are, the better."


Just when you think you've see it all.

"Drag queens are being brought into taxpayer-funded nursery schools so that children as young as two can learn about transgender issues.

The cross-dressers are reading nursery rhymes and singing specially adapted songs ‘to teach children about LGBT tolerance’.

Nursery bosses say the sessions are needed so that children can ‘see people who defy rigid gender restrictions’ and grow up to combat hate crime.

They want to target two and three-year-olds to influence them early, as they say at this age children have not yet developed any discriminatory ‘isms’.

The ‘performances’ are the brainchild of Thomas Canham, a Bristol University law graduate and part-time cross-dresser who dismisses traditional notions of masculinity as ‘meaningless’."

Call me old fashioned, call me whatever you like, but I reckon this cross gender malarkey has gone a step too far. But then again, what do I know. For more on this lunacy err interesting story here is the link.


Lamb and Swede/Rutabaga Hotpot : So Simple

Lamb and root vegetables make the best layered hotpot and this recipe is so simple to make.

Serves Four
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 lamb leg steaks, bone in, or loin chops
4 fresh thyme sprigs, plus extra to garnish
2 tsp corn-flour
100ml red wine
2 tbsp. cranberry jelly or sauce
1 (about 650g) swede/rutabaga, halved and very thinly sliced
200ml fresh lamb stock, hot
1 tsp butter

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beginning to turn golden. Season and remove from the heat.
2. Top the onion mixture with the lamb and thyme, and season again. Dissolve the corn-flour in a little of the wine, then stir in the rest of the wine and the cranberry jelly or sauce. Pour over the lamb.
3. Arrange the slices of swede/rutabaga on top, then pour over the stock. Dot with the butter, then cover and transfer to the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for a further 15 minutes or until the swede/rutabaga has coloured on top. Serve garnished with extra thyme, if you like.

This dish can be made with ready-cut cubes of lamb but choosing a chop or steak with the bone in will give extra flavour.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Fat 18g (6.3g saturated) Protein 33.9g Carbohydrates 16.6g (12.9g sugars)
From an original idea here

The picture above shows what Americans know as "rutabaga". The Scottish call it "neeps" and serve it with haggis. I know it as swede, a fairly recent root vegetable, which is thought to have originated around the 17th century in Bohemia. In 1620 a Swiss botanist described the root vegetable, believed to be a hybrid of the cabbage and the turnip. By 1664 it was growing in England. It's a good source of Vitamin C, fibre, folate and potassium. It's low in calories, and you can find out more about swede here

Should you try this recipe suggestion, I hope you enjoy it.
Thanks for reading ...

All the best Jan

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Ed Sheeran - Perfect

With winter fast approaching a seasonal song for tonight, have a good weekend folks

Autumn Days are so enjoyable ...

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons ...

... from the vibrant colours of Autumn flowers

to the glow of Autumn sunshine ...

... grandchildren enjoying the wonderful outdoors

"Grandma, I wonder how old this tree is?" ...

... coming home to a bowl of Roast Red Pepper & Tomato Soup
it's a delicious warming soup stacked with vitamins & minerals.

Serves Four
3 Deep red peppers, halved & de-seeded.
1 White onion, unpeeled & halved.
4 Cloves of garlic, unpeeled.
2 Sticks of celery, sliced & chopped.
500g Plum tomatoes.
450ml Vegetable stock.
2tbsp Olive oil.
2tbsp Tomato puree.
1tbsp Sundried tomato paste.
1tsp Flaked chilli.
25g Butter.
Salt & coarsely ground black pepper

1. Pre heat oven to 190/gas mark 4. Place the pepper & onion halves (cut side down) along with the plum tomatoes & garlic cloves into a baking tray & drizzle with the olive oil. Bake at the top of your oven for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are roasted & tender.
2. Meanwhile melt down the butter in a large pan over a medium heat and sauté the chopped celery for 4-5 minutes. Not too hot, don't burn the butter.
3. Make up the vegetable stock adding the tomato puree, sun-dried tomato paste & the chilli flakes. Mix well and then add to the sautéed celery. Remove from the heat.
4. When the baked vegetables are ready remove the peel from the onion & garlic cloves roughly chop them & add them to the pan along with the plum tomatoes. Place back on to a low to medium heat & using a hand blender blend until the soup is smooth.
5. Season to taste & gently simmer until the soup is at a comfortable edible temperature. Do not allow the soup to boil.

Recipe idea from here 

Enjoy your weekend ...

All the best Jan

Friday, 10 November 2017

Ginger Cake - The Low Carb Way

This is a low carb ginger cake that is light in texture and flavoured with warm spices. Yes, traditional gingerbread often has molasses in it - which I do not have in the house - it's not something that husband Eddie, a Type 2 Diabetic or I would eat/use. When you are living the LCHF lifestyle it is best not to have anything sugary in the kitchen cupboard - read more about low carb here

Makes 8 - 10 slices

Nutritional information per slice:
208 calories, 18g Fat, 5g Protein, 8g Total Carbs, 4g Fibre, 4g Net Carbs

½ cup (56g) coconut flour
½ cup (113g) butter, softened
½ cup (107g) erythritol (or sugar substitute)
4 tablespoons coconut milk
5 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground all spice
¼ cup of water

To serve:
optional - a little whipped coconut cream with your slice of cake 

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F degrees / Gas Mark 6
2. Grease a 1lb loaf tin and line the bottom with parchment/greaseproof paper.
3. Whisk the eggs and butter together until combined.
4. Add the erythritol and continue to whisk.
5. Add the coconut flour, baking powder and spices. Whisk thoroughly.
6. Gradually add the coconut milk and water until you have a smooth mixture.
7. Pour into the cake tin, spread out evenly and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.

No two ovens are the same so the cooking time may vary slightly depending upon your oven, always best to check it before the end of the specified time, and adjust as necessary.

This recipe is from Angela at 'Divalicious Recipes', much more to see and read here

Why not put the kettle on

Get your tea/coffee cup and plate

Sit down and enjoy a slice

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

All the best Jan

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Ways To Stay Healthy On A Budget - Here Are Seven Suggestions

James Colquhoun writes:
" For many, the idea of wellness seems like an unattainable goal. Life pressures, especially financial, can make people feel like they are confined to a particular way of life - an unhealthy one. It is no wonder people feel this way when elite gym memberships and boot camps are marketed as the only way to reach your fitness goals but threaten to break the bank before you break a sweat.

Healthy eating, or the idea of healthy eating, is also daunting especially for those who aren’t as confident in the kitchen or are simply too busy to cook. Convenient pre-made foods, while nutritionally neutral or deficient, can seem preferable to meals made from scratch, especially when they are sold at a seemingly cheap price point. The truth is, making a few simple lifestyle adjustments, without spending any money, can make an astronomical difference to your health and may well be easier to maintain in the long term, being cost effective and self-directed. We’ve put together some tips on creating a healthy lifestyle which is sustainable and budget friendly.

1. Plan Your Meals
Making food decisions at the point when you’re ready to eat can mean you opt for something quick and convenient, and anything cheap is usually not going to be particularly nutritious or satisfying. Meal planning makes life easier in many ways, including having ingredients in the fridge or pantry you can whip together, sometimes quicker than the time it takes to head to the shops and back or to get takeaway food. It also allows you to economize ingredients across multiple dishes which means you spend less and waste less food. The additional benefit is that you can plan meals which will provide enough protein, vitamins and minerals so you’ll be satiated throughout the day and feel more energetic - reducing the need to purchase additional snacks for an energy hit.

2. Shop At Farmers' Markets
Buying fresh foods can seem expensive, but in comparison to packaged or pre-prepared foods, the key nutrients they provide are far more valuable. Produce bought at Farmers' Markets generally lasts longer and is cheaper than fruit and vegetables available at larger grocery chains. One of the key reasons is the produce is seasonal and far fresher, not having to be frozen or travel great distances. Heading to the Farmers' Markets just before they close means you can get a range of fresh foods at slashed prices when sellers are trying to get rid of extra produce.

3. Be Strategic At The Supermarket
As Farmers' Markets may not have absolutely everything you need or are not always convenient to get to, supermarket visits may be necessary. A hot tip is to stay away from the central aisles of the grocery store. As mentioned above, packaged foods can seem cheap but provide minimal nutritional benefits. Also, you can often purchase many nuts and grains from bulk bins which have cheaper price by weight than their packaged counterparts. Shopping for seasonal foods at the supermarket will also be cheaper, being cheaper for farmers to produce and sell on.

4. Stock Your Pantry With Staples
Building a stock of staples will save you money long term as you’ll be able to prepare a variety of meal combinations. Dry foods including rice, quinoa, barley, whole meal pasta and flour are fantastic for developing the base of many recipes. Tinned and preserved foods can also take you a long way and create filling meals, so be sure to stock the pantry with mixed beans, chickpeas, lentils, and tinned tomatoes. Having a range of dried herbs and spices on hand means your meals on a budget won’t be bland!

5. Get Creative With Food Waste
Vegetable scraps and bones can be used to create stocks and broths which will add depth of flavour to future meals and save the cost of store-bought stocks.

Start a garden: Grow whatever you can in the space you have. There are so many vegetables and herbs that can grow in a variety of environments, even on an apartment windowsill! Fresh herbs can be incredibly expensive when bought from a supermarket, especially when only a small amount is required for a particular recipe. Growing your own vegetables and herbs means you’ll always have something fresh on hand to add flavour and substance to your meals and you can pick exactly what you need.

Drink water: A seemingly obvious one, but drinking water is one of the cheapest and most important things we can do for our health. A small investment in a durable water bottle will mean you can avoid dishing out a couple of dollars each time you get thirsty on the go! Not drinking enough water can make us feel like we are hungry. More water throughout the day may also help to curb extra spending on snacks.

6. Exercise For Free
Exercise can be done anywhere at anytime - even while you work if you’re creative enough! Some ideas for cheap and impacting exercise include:
Walking instead of catching public transport or driving. (If you have a longer commute, try getting off a few stops earlier or parking further from your destination.)
Utilize free gyms at your local park. Some parks have simple, permanent exercise stations you can use to build strength and tone muscle.
Go for a long walk or run in your neighbourhood.
Yoga at home: there are numerous free, high quality yoga instruction videos available which allow you to engage in a peaceful form of movement whenever it suits you!
Hikes - check out nature walks and hiking areas near you. Hikes are great for the body and mind!

7. Creative And Mental Balance
To improve your overall well-being, spiritual well-being and mental stimulation are crucial. Taking care of these needs doesn’t have to cost much at all! Seeing friends, checking out free entertainment including music and comedy, reading, engaging in creative pursuits like drawing and playing an instrument are all activities that have an important place in a healthy lifestyle and can even balance and improve prospects of healthy eating and exercise. As more of your physical and emotional needs are met, the better you feel overall and the more motivated you’ll be to maintain balance and sustainable health."

The above words/article from here

Has this article given you 'food for thought' - perhaps you already do some of the things suggested!
You may have some tips you could share ...

This blog brings a variety of articles and recipe ideas. It is important to note, that not all may be suitable for you. If you should have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. Some of the foods mentioned in the article may not suit you. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Avocado Boats : Easy as One, Two, Three !

Take three easy Avocado Boats
which one will you choose?
This is recipe heaven for those who don’t like to cook.
Healthy easy avocado boats filled with tuna mayo, a baked egg with bacon bits, or prawn cocktail.
It's keto, paleo, low carb heaven! Just delicious and nutritious!

all recipes below - serves one

Tuna Mayonnaise
1/2 avocado
50 g tinned/canned tuna drained
3 tbsp. mayonnaise

Baked Egg With Bacon & Chives
1/2 avocado
1 egg
2 tbsp. cooked bacon pieces
1 tbsp. fresh chives chopped

Prawn Cocktail
1/2 avocado
50 g prawns pre-cooked
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp tomato paste
pinch chilli optional

Just decide which one you'd like to try and then for cooking / preparation instructions please see
'Ditch The Carbs' site here

Why not find out more about avocado's - just read
Reasons To Love Avocados? Well Here Are Twenty !
find the article here

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The Road to Type 2 Diabetes and how Low Carb can Prevent it Jacqueline Eberstein at Ketofest 2017

On the 14th November it is World Diabetes Day, and in America, November is National Diabetes Month. Franziska Spritzler RD CDE writes:

"I can't think of a better presentation on the subject than this one given by my friend and colleague, Jackie Eberstein. Jackie is an registered nurse who worked closely with Dr. Robert Atkins in his private practice for nearly 30 years. During that time, they treated thousands of people with diabetes and pre-diabetes using a low-carb diet. In this excellent presentation, Jackie discusses the six-stage progression from insulin resistance to advanced diabetes and how carb restriction can halt and often reverse this process. She also shares her own story about how low-carb changed her life and has helped her stay healthy and vibrant for over 40 years."

Many thanks to Low Carb Dietitian Franziska Spritzler RD CDE

All the best Jan

Courgette / Zucchini roll-ups with mushrooms and chorizo

Don't know about you, but I always have mushrooms in the house and incorporating them in this recipe idea is such a lovely suggestion ...

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

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

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

Read more about the nutritional value of mushrooms here

Now onto the recipe suggestion which can stand alone on your plate, or delight as a side dish.
Don't you just want to try some soon!

Here are the ingredients:
Serves Four
10g carb per serving
1½ lbs / 700 g courgettes/zucchini
½ teaspoon salt
3 oz. / 90 g butter
6 oz. / 175 g mushrooms, finely chopped
6 oz. / 175 g cream cheese
6 oz. / 175 g grated/shredded cheese
½ green bell pepper, finely chopped
3 oz. / 75 g air-dried chorizo
1 egg
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup / 240 ml mayonnaise or herb butter, for serving
2 oz. / 50 g leafy greens, for serving

Please see cooking instructions on Diet Doctor site here

Feel free to try this recipe with different cheeses for different flavours.
You can also make this dish with aubergine/ eggplant instead of courgette/zucchini.

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

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Sausages with tomato, leek and butter bean mash

There are so many different types and flavours of sausages aren't there. I quite often get mine from a local farm shop (yum) but our local supermarket does have a very good variety too, and I always look for the ones that are 90% plus meat... in fact there are some available that are 97%.
Of course for vegetarians you will be looking for other ranges ...

I often serve sausages with some buttery mashed swede, it keeps the carb count down, but I spotted this alternative to the traditional 'bangers and mash'. Using mashed butter beans as a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes, flavoured here with leeks and tomato, and paired with Cumberland sausages. The original recipe shows carbs per serving as 28.4g so there may be some readers who find it will not fit into their LCHF menu plans - as always dear reader the choice is yours.

If you would like to give this dish a try please read on for the ingredients and method.

Serves Four
8 large sausages of your choice ...e.g. Cumberland
150ml (1/4pt) vegetable stock
2 x 400g tins butter beans, drained
1 tbsp. olive oil
500g (16oz) leeks, trimmed and sliced
1 tbsp. sun-dried tomato paste
3 tbsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Cook the sausages for 15 minutes, turning frequently, until golden all over and cooked through.
2. Meanwhile, put the stock and butter beans in a pan cook, uncovered, over a low heat for 10 minutes until the butter beans begin to soften. Season well, then roughly mash with a fork.
3. In a separate pan, heat the oil in over a medium heat. Add the leeks and cook for 10 minutes until softened.
4. Add the leeks to the mashed beans and mix well, add the sundried tomato paste and half of the thyme. Stir well to combine, then divide between 4 plates along with the sausages. Scatter over the remaining thyme to serve.

Nutritional Information:
Carbohydrate 28.4g Protein 26.9g Fibre 8.3g Fat 9.4g
Recipe and details from an original idea here

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

All the best Jan