Smorgasbord Health Column with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency – Vitamin B1- Thiamin

In this series we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

Thankfully most of us eat reasonably well, with plenty of variety, but if you take a look at a week’s worth of meals, do you find that you are sticking to a handful of foods, all the time.

Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.

Over the next few months we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

Vitamin B1- Thiamin

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that along with the other B vitamins and Vitamin C it travels through the blood stream and any excess is eliminated in our urine. The body cannot store thiamin but it is found in tissues within the body such as in the liver, heart, kidneys and the nervous system where it binds to enzymes.

This does mean that these types of vitamins need to be replaced from our food continuously.

Thiamin helps fuel our bodies by converting blood sugar into energy. Every cell in the body requires it to form the fuel we run on called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). It also keeps our mucus membranes healthy and with other B vitamins is essential for a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system as well as muscular function. It is also important for healthy skin, hair and our eyes.

Deficiency of B1

It is very rare in this day and age in the western world to find a person who is deficient in Thiamin. A lack of it can cause a disease called beriberi with symptoms of rapid heartbeat, muscle wasting, nerve problems and confusion. The body is unable to efficiently digest carbohydrates which results in a build-up of pyruvic acid in the bloodstream leading to the symptoms.

There have been babies who have suffered from this due to a lack of the vitamin in their formula and people who drink excessive amounts of alcohol can also develop beriberi.

Most commonly it is found in elderly people who have general malabsorption problems or a restricted diet. Some children with congenital heart disease may suffer a deficiency, as can patients undergoing kidney dialysis who should be prescribed B1 by their doctor.

A deficiency is also likely in someone who has an eating disorder, particularly anorexia or who suffers from Crohn’s disease where there is a general malabsorption of nutrients as a whole.

Some of the mild symptoms that might indicate that you are becoming deficient in B1.

1. Frequent headaches
2. General Fatigue
3. Regular nausea
4. Irritability
5. Mild depression

More Severe symptoms of a deficiency which might indicate Beriberi

1. Confusion
2. Burning sensation or tingling in the hands and feet,
3. Trouble breathing
4. Uncontrolled eye movements.

As a supplement it is usually taken as part of a B-complex formulation and does work better with vitamin B2 and B3. As with all supplements that could have an effect on your health, you should first look at your diet and make changes to ensure that you are getting the nutrient from sources your body recognises. Food is always the best source, but if you are in one of the risk groups then do consult a doctor about your need for supplementation.

The best food sources B1

  • All wholegrains such as brown rice, oats and whole wheat cereals and bread, beans, sunflower seeds, lentils sesame seeds, nuts,
  • Fruit such as pineapple, watermelon, Vegetables including asparagus, spinach, squash,
  • Protein oily fish, eggs, lean ham and pork.

Time to hand over to Carol to turn these vitamin B1 rich ingredients into delicious dishes to include regularly in your diet.

Good morning from sunny Thailand although we had the mother of storms last night and we are expecting a few more as when the temperatures start to rise we get the tropical storms as well but generally over night and it is also the reason why our vegetation is green and lush it gets the best of both worlds.

I am already loving this new series that Sally and myself are bringing to you…It was the brainchild of Sally and I think it is a great idea…Although I know a fair bit about cooking and food I am the first to admit that although I know what is good for me I don’t always know why…If a doctor or health practitioner informed me I was short on a certain Vitamin and needed to include more of it in my diet I wouldn’t always know where to start…

The recipes I will be providing for each vitamin will help with this and will include everyday foods which will help boost any given deficiency …Today I am looking at ingredients which contain or convert to vitamin B1 … All these recipes are made in my own kitchen and tested by me and my family…

Starting with this lovely Mackerel dish…Mackerel is an oily fish and a very popular fish here it can be found on all the fish stalls and BBQ’S on all the street corners… Often just eaten with sticky rice and a spicy dip it is also made into lovely salads both here and in Mediterranean cuisine.

Smoked Mackerel, Broccoli and Almond salad.


  • 4 smoked mackerel fillets
  • 300 gm tender stem broccoli
  • 300 gm purple sprouting broccoli
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tbsp capers plus 1 tbsp of caper juice
  • 1 lime juice and zest
  • 60 gm toasted almond flakes
  • 60 gm toasted walnuts chopped
  • ¼ tsp salt

This recipe will make enough for 4/5 persons and I have also included 2 different dressings. The thing I love about these recipes is that you can scale it down for 1 or 2 persons.

Dressing 1 …A yoghurt dressing.

  • 4 tbsp Natural Yoghurt
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 20 gm chopped fresh herbs of your choice I used coriander, dill and mint.
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Flaky salt and freshly ground pepper to season.

To make just combine all the ingredients together and chill until required.

Dressing 2…Apple which was our favourite…

  • 50 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ an apple peeled and finely chopped or julienned.
  • 20 gm chopped fresh herbs of your choice
  • ½ tbsp runny honey
  • Flaky salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Mix together the onions, capers, caper vinegar, salt and lime juice and zest set to one side to allow flavours to develop.
  2. Make your dressing by whisking or blending ingredients together and put in the fridge until required.
  3. Steam the prepared broccoli until tender 5-7 mins.
  4. Skin and flake your mackerel.
  5. When ready to serve toss your salad ingredients and mackerel gently together with ½ your chosen dressing and ½ of the nuts.
  6. Arrange in a serving bowl or individual plates and drizzle with the remainder of the dressing and scatter the nuts over the top.

Serve with toasted sourdough bread drizzled with some olive oil and rubbed with some roasted garlic.

We all loved the apple dressing the most as the apples give it a tart fresh flavor and cut through the grease of the mackerel…

Another favourite fish dish is …Yellow tail fish with a sesame seed crust.

The Yellow Tail fish or Amber Jack is native to the North East Pacific from Japan to Hawaii. It is also not related to the Yellow tail Tuna.

In Japan, this fish is eaten cooked or raw and known as Hamachi or Buri.

As you know I am firmly in the camp of eating healthily and choose my fish carefully …I steer clear of farmed fish and only eat locally caught straight off the boats or fish which is responsibly sourced. It doesn’t mean however that it is expensive which a lot of people seem to think …You can buy fish responsibly and at good prices by researching your local markets or even buying frozen.

This fish has extra lean, firm white meat and if you want a lighter meal then it is a lovely tasting fish with a mild flavour.

Ingredients for two servings.

  • 2 x 150 g pieces yellow tail fish or any other firm white fish.
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt to season…..I use pink Himalayan or mineral salt which is farmed close to my home.
  • 1 egg white whisked until it is foamy.
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds.
  • Oil for frying…I use coconut oil.

For chilli, lime and soy sauce.

  • 60 ml Soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey……I use honey from the comb
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 chilli deseeded and finely sliced…guess who leaves the seeds in? Moi
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • A drizzle of sesame seed oil
  • Fresh coriander leaves to serve

Let’s Cook!

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  2. Season the yellow tail fillets with a little salt and freshly milled black pepper. I cut the fish into steaks…
  3. Dip the seasoned fish into the egg white and coat both sides with sesame seeds.
  4. Heat a little coconut oil (or oil of your choice) in a frying pan and sear the fish for about a minute on each side or until the sesame seeds are golden brown. Remove the fish and place in a roasting pan.
  5. Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through.
  6. Meanwhile, make the soy sauce reduction. Place the soy sauce, honey, garlic, chilli, lime juice and sesame oil in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
  7. Cook for about 2–3 minutes or until the sauce has reduced slightly and has thickened so it coats the back of your spoon.
  8. Remove the garlic clove and set to one side…
  9. Once the fish is cooked, remove it from the oven and serve immediately, drizzled with a little soy sauce reduction.

Serve with brown or wild rice, steamed pak Choy or spinach and fresh lime wedges.


Both Pineapple and watermelon contain the vitamin B1 and are very popular fruits here either eaten after a meal just as they are or maybe with a little spicy dipping sauce…

Pineapple also lends itself well to being cooked or added to a stir fry or curry… Spicy pineapple being a favourite here it is quick and easy to do…We also love it pickled…Yes you can pickle most things…ha-ha


  • 300 gm of fresh pineapple cut into smallish chunks
  • A handful of shallots finely sliced
  • 1 pickled jalapeno sliced
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 cups of white vinegar
  • The juice of 2 fresh limes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • A handful of chopped coriander

You will need 3 sterilised jars with lids.

Let’s Cook!

Heat the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, limes and Jalapenos together and bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat add the shallots and leave the mixture to cool down.

Did you know? Watermelon is not only lovely in a smoothie or just as it is and it also comes not only in red, but yellow… As you know I also believe that you should Waste not! Want Not! Water melon rinds are great pickled…

Even my Thai family liked these although they did suggest adding tamarind…Thais often don’t like our pickles as they find them too vinegary but loved these… I loved that they offered a suggestion which is how good dishes evolve.

Fruity Fridays…On A Sunday! Watermelon.

Lastly Pork is a good source of the B1 Vitamin and this quick easy stir fry incorporates pork and a dark green aka Kale and a firm family favourite


  • 2 Belly Pork Strips or you could use loin or shoulder sliced if you didn’t want to wait while the belly pork cooks.
  • 8 Large leaves of Kale.
  • 3/4 cloves Garlic. squashed with the flat blade of a knife.
  • 2/3 birds eye chillies.
  • 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2/3 shakes of Maggi Sauce.
  • Half tbsp. Oil.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Cook Belly Pork in the oven until tender and crispy. For about 30 mins.
  2. I normally cook on about 180/200 degrees to start and then reduce heat slightly to160 degrees. When the pork is tender turn up the heat to crisp the pork. When nice and crispy remove the pork from the oven and chop into bite pieces.
  3. Heat the wok or large fry pan and add half tablespoon oil.
  4. Add crushed garlic and chillies, add little hot water and cook for 1 min…at this point the chillies may overpower you..Ha ha….turn on expel fan and add chopped Kale.
  5. Stems first if using as they take longer to cook. I use stems of Kale also if they are quite thick slice into 2-inch pieces.
  6. Cook for 2 mins and add remainder of Kale leaves and turn over a few times ….I use fish slice as I find it easier to just turn kale over.
  7. Add 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce and 1 tbsp Soy along with few shakes of Maggi (seasoning Sauce). Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cook for further 2/3 mins.
  8. Add crispy Pork turn or stir a few times to mix.

Serve with brown or wild rice


©Recipes Carol Taylor

I hope these recipes have given you an idea of how to incorporate the Vitamin B1 into your diet.

Until next time when it will be Vitamin B 2…

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog:

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have any questions for either of us then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments. Your feedback is always welcome.


As I move from Facebook to share my posts, you will find me with some other blogging friends on a relatively new, and friendlier site called MeWe….you can find me on

33 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health Column with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency – Vitamin B1- Thiamin

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Health Column with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  2. These are great mouth watering recipes, Carol. I am beginning to do more cooking at home now, and over the past week have already used two of your recipes which were hits in my house. That has encouraged me to continue as your recipes are right on! Looking forward to more. All the best to you and to Sally. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Health Column with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency | Campbells World

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