Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Special Feature -#ProceedsCancerResearch – UNDERSTANDING: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events compiled by Stevie Turner and 18 other authors.


Author Stevie Turner has compiled articles from 19 authors on life experiences, traumas, challenges, and achievements in an anthology called ‘Understanding: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events‘. I am very honoured to be one of those authors.

The proceeds from this anthology will be going to Cancer Research and it is a very worthy cause.

Over the next week I will be posing a number of author profiles of those who have contributed and I hope that you will follow those authors and also support their work in this collection.

About the anthology

The following authors and bloggers kindly answered questions posed by Stevie Turner regarding significant life experiences they had undergone. These events include sexual abuse, a near death experience, alcoholism, being diagnosed with cancer, depression, losing weight, getting married, being a mother to many children, being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and many more!

All proceeds will go to Cancer Research.

Thanks to:
Alienora Browning
Sally Cronin
Dorinda Duclos
Scarlett Flame
Bernard Foong
Darlene Foster
Janet Gogerty
Debbie Harris
Lucy V. Hay
Miriam Hurdle
Phil Huston
Pamela Jessen
Joe
D.G Kaye
Lynda McKinney Lambert
Jaye Marie
Clive Pilcher
Abbie Johnson Taylor
Beem Weeks

You can buy the anthology for only 99c: https://www.amazon.com/UNDERSTANDING-Anthology-True-Significant-Events-ebook/dp/B07Q5NLHRZ

And on Amazon UK for 99p:https://www.amazon.co.uk/UNDERSTANDING-Anthology-True-Significant-Events-ebook/dp/B07Q5NLHRZ

Editor and publisher of the anthology Stevie Turner who also contributed an article on Thyroid Cancer.

About Stevie Turner

Stevie Turner works part time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and darkly humorous novels in her spare time. She won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her book ‘A House Without Windows’, and one of her short stories, ‘Checking Out’, was published in the Creative Writing Institute’s 2016 anthology ‘Explain!’ Her psychological thriller ‘Repent at Leisure’ won third place in the 2016 Drunken Druid Book Award contest.

Stevie lives in the East of England, and is married with two sons and four grandchildren. She has also branched out into the world of audio books, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audio books, and one screenplay, ‘For the Sake of a Child’, won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival. ‘A House Without Windows’ gained the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017.

Some of Stevie’s books are currently being translated into German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

Stevie Turner, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Stevie-Turner/e/B00AV7YOTU
Website:http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172051.Stevie_Turner

Please visit Amazon or Stevie’s website to view all her books.

One of the authors who contributed to the anthology is non-fiction author D.G. Kaye who is a regular contributor and friend. Here is an brief extract from her entry in the anthology. You can read more on her post on the anthology

Daughter of a Narcissist

I may not have a PHD beside my name, but I’ve spent a lifetime analyzing my own mother’s debilitating narcissism.

When I was a young child, I had no concept of the meaning of the word narcissist, nor was I familiar with the word itself. I eventually learned that my mother’s behavior fit perfectly into that category.

I made it my business to observe her closely, question her lies (to my father, not to her), and learn to recognize her habits and exaggerations in her stories in order to first, figure out the real story by separating the truth of her words without her embellishments, and to try to understand what spurred her theatrical behavior.

About D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

D. G. Kaye – Buy: http://www.amazon.com/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO
Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com Goodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

I have contributed an article on weight loss based on my experience of losing 150lbs 23 years ago. Here is a brief extract.

From Morbid Obesity to Health by Sally Cronin

In 1996, when I was forty-three years old, I weighed 336lbs (152kilo 24stone). My weight had fluctuated massively from the age of ten years old between being classified as obese and also underweight.

As a child I was a normal weight for my age, although quite tall. When I was ten years old I gained about 40lbs over a period of three months. It was not until I was researching my weight gain over the years that I pinpointed that as the time when I was prescribed several courses of antibiotics for repeated flare ups of tonsillitis . That was to prove significant factor

Neither of my parents were overweight or my sisters and brother. We all essentially had the same diet growing up, although my father had a sweet tooth and we always had to have a dessert after our main meal. Sweets were really only eaten at the weekend when we were given our pocket money, and they were never left lying around in the house. All the food when I was a child in the 1950s and 1960s, was fresh and cooked from scratch.

About Sally Cronin

I have been a storyteller most of my life (my mother called them fibs!). Poetry, song lyrics and short stories were left behind when work and life intruded, but that all changed in 1996. After a long and very happy career, I took the step to retrain as a nutritional therapist, a subject that I was very interested in, and to make the time to write my first book. Size Matters was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70kilo. I have written another eleven books since then on health and also fiction including three collections of short stories. I am an indie author and proud to be one. My greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy my take on health, characters and twisted endings… and of course come back for more.

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

Over the next week I will be featuring more of the authors in the anthology and I do hope you will head over and buy the collection of articles.. it is a terrific price and all the proceeds will be going to Cancer Research. Thanks Sally

 

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Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters the Sequel #WeightLoss – How much should you weigh?


With any project plan you need to have a start point and and end point…measurement is the key to identify progress and also to create significant events that warrant celebration.

How much do you weigh now?

And how much should you weigh to be healthy?

Where do you start?

It is important to have a start point when you are planning to lose weight so that you have a road map to follow, with a destination that is attainable. I often hear clients say ‘I would just love to lose 10 kilos or 2 stone or 10lbs’. This is based not necessarily on the actual weight they need to lose but what they consider to be an acceptably achievable goal. To be honest you need to be a little more specific than this. You may only need to lose 7lbs or 5 kilos or you may need to lose more to reach a healthy weight for your age and activity level.

There are two common methods of measuring your weight with regard to health and that is a straightforward weight/height/sex comparison and BMI or Body Mass Index. I believe that it is easier to manage and track your actual weight rather than focus on just BMI – certainly if you are a body builder and fit, determining your health with BMI is not relevant.

Most ideal weight profiles are derived from insurance company statistical tables. These tables however were produced nearly 60 years ago when physically we were shorter and our diet following the war years was still restricted for many people. For example here is one Insurance company guide which was devised in 1943 and revised in 1983: http://www.assessmentpsychology.com/metlife.htm

 

I don’t believe that these tables are appropriate today and if you take the ideal weights in that table and treat it as the minimum weight for your height then I believe that it is more realistic for this generation. It is a guideline only and the important factors are the indicators of how healthy you are internally as well as externally.

Of greater importance to me, are your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. And if you need to lose more than two or three stone – 42lbs I would suggest that you get those measured before you start. In the UK you can pop into certain pharmacies and they will do the checks for you. It will also give you another measurement during the weight loss process to determine your progress not just with weight but general health and fitness.

I also do not believe in starving the body into submission – when I was studying to correct my own weight issues, I realised that despite being 24 stone I was suffering from malnutrition. Lots of calories but no nutrients in my diet – hence mal–nourished. You have no idea how funny most of my overweight clients find that notion. You will often hear the expression “starvation syndrome” which is where the body loses weight under famine conditions (crash diet) and then rebounds with extra weight when there is a time of harvest (when you start to eat normally again) I have always preferred to call this “nutritional deficiency syndrome” .

Some of the other important questions also need to be taken into account. During your weight loss do you have plenty of energy and is your immune system functioning efficiently? Losing weight successfully involves a number of other factors apart from the food you eat, including exercise, willpower and your emotional involvement.

However, we do need that start point and I have a basic ready reckoner that you can adapt for your own physical build. I have used this for years for both myself and my clients and I have found it the easiest to combine both frame size and weight.

Working it out

There are a number of sites that will work out your frame size for you – it involves your wrist measurement and your height. Take your wrist measurement with a tape measure and plug in with your height. So for example.. I am 5ft 11inches and my wrist measures 6.5 inches which gives me a medium body frame.

Women:

Height under 5’2″

Small = wrist size less than 5.5″
Medium = wrist size 5.5″ to 5.75″
Large = wrist size over 5.75″

Height 5’2″ to 5′ 5″

Small = wrist size less than 6″
Medium = wrist size 6″ to 6.25″
Large = wrist size over 6.25″

Height over 5′ 5″

Small = wrist size less than 6.25″
Medium = wrist size 6.25″ to 6.5″
Large = wrist size over 6.5″

Men:

Height over 5′ 5″

Small = wrist size 5.5″ to 6.5″
Medium = wrist size 6.5″ to 7.5″
Large = wrist size over 7.5″

Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/17182.htm

Working out your weight.

For medium framed women as the average.

As a base, use 100lbs up to five foot and then 6lbs for every inch over that height. Modify by 5% either way if you have a light frame or heavy frame.

For medium framed men

As a base, use 106lbs up to five foot and then 7lbs for every inch over that height. Modify either way by 5% if you have a light frame or heavy frame.

Examples

 A woman who is a heavy frame and 5’ 6” would have an optimal weight of:

100lbs + (6lbs for every inch over 5ft) 36lbs = 136lbs – Add 5% for heavy frame = 6.8lbs

This gives an optimum weight of 142.8lbs, 10stone 2lbs or 67.7Kilos

A light framed man of 5’ 10” would have an optimum weight of:

106lbs + (7lbs for every inch over 5ft) 70lbs = 176lbs – Subtract 5% for light frame = 9lbs

This gives an optimum weight of 167lbs,  11stone 13lbs or 75.9Kilos.

To be honest, I have met people who are fantastically healthy, fit and full of energy who are a stone or even heavier. But, there is no doubt that if we are talking about a healthy weight, fit and at less risk of the health problems including hip and knee problems, being nearer the optimum weight is best.

Step one – take your weight tomorrow morning when you get up and deduct your optimum weight according to your frame size.

If you need to lose between 7lbs – 14lbs– then you need to set a target of 14 weeks. You are not going to get a quick water release as soon as you start so losing 1lb a week is both healthy and reasonable. You may find that there is just a minor adjustment needed to your daily diet and activity levels to achieve this comfortably.

If you need to lose between 14lbs and 42lbsyou are going to have to both make adjustments to the types of food that you are currently consuming (sugars, processed foods) and move your activity level into higher gear. You are looking at around 14 -30 weeks for the best results without the danger of regaining the weight.

If you are between 42lbs and 84lbs overweight – you are looking at between 30 and 52 weeks to lose the weight, reduce the risk of loose skin that can be left, and to develop an activity programme gradually that will retrain your muscles and build stamina. If you are on medication for BP etc. then please consult your doctor.

If you need to lose more than 84lbs then you should be consulting with your doctor in regard to your general health. I am sure that they will support any health eating programme that involves eating natural, unprocessed foods but since you may have other health issues and medication, please consult them first. Be aware that losing weight healthily could take between 52 and 78 weeks.

However much weight you need to lose, you still need to mentally and emotionally prepare for the journey ahead. We all start out with good intentions but if we do not have a clear goal, measurements along the way and a set routine we all fall by the wayside.

Last week I gave you tools to help you keep your project on track including a food diary.. If you missed then here is the link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/23/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-weightloss-the-project-plan-for-success/

Next time..you will not believe all the amazing foods you can eat to keep your healthy as you lose weight and your shopping list is next week..

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

 Thanks for dropping in today and if you have any questions please use the comments or if your prefer you are more than welcome to email me on Sally.cronin@moyhill.com

I am joining a growing number of our blogging friends on MeWe and I invite you take a look… a different approach to users.  mewe.com/i/sallycronin

You can find the previous posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-the-sequel/

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Jim Webster and Sally Cronin


Welcome to the second of the Cafe and Bookstore updates this week and the first author with a recent review is Vashti Quiroz-Vega with her latest release – a short story – Memoir of a Mad Woman.

About the book

A novelette from the award-winning author of The Fall of Lilith and Son of the Serpent, Vashti Quiroz-Vega.

Who can explain how madness begins?

This is the story of Emma. Reared by a religious fanatic, orphaned at a young age and sent to a mental institution and an orphanage. Molested and betrayed by the people who should be watching over her…

Who can say that madness has no logic?

During a fight, Emma’s best friend punched her in the abdomen. Since then, Emma has believed there’s something damaged inside of her.

Every month… she bleeds. She tries to fight it all her life, but the pain and the blood return twenty-eight days later… and the cycle begins again.

But Emma, even in her madness, knows how to take care of herself.
She knows how to make things right…

You may not agree… But, who can reason with insanity?

Read this tragic but fascinating tale and traverse the labyrinthine passages of madness.

One of the recent reviews for the book

JKS  5.0 out of 5 starsDisturbing but well-written March 17, 2019

This short story takes the reader on a journey to the dark side. The place inside a mind that had suffered abuse beyond imagination and how she fought back. This author made me care about the character despite her horrible deeds. The abuse started when she was a young child and even though the author never came out and said it, it was known that this child killed and burned her mother. And, felt no remorse. This carried on through the horrible abuse that was inflicted upon Emma and how she exacted revenge.

This is a well-written story that can be read in less than an hour. It draws you in and makes you feel as if you are there watching the events unfold. You want to scream for justice for her, but justice doesn’t come until she makes it happen. I highly recommend this short story! Be prepared for a chilling read!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MLYP5XP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Memoir-Mad-Woman-Vashti-Quiroz-Vega-ebook/dp/B07MLYP5XP

Also by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4

Read more reviews and follow Vashti on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7122693.Vashti_Quiroz_Vega

Connect to Vashti via her website/Blog: https://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com/

The next book with a recent review the novella Swimming for Profit and Pleasure (The Port Naain Intelligencer) by Jim Webster.

About the novella

Benor learns a new trade, joins the second hand book trade, attempts to rescue a friend and awakens a terror from the deep. Meddling in the affairs of mages is unwise, even if they have been assumed to be dead for centuries.

One of the recent reviews for Swimming for Profit and Pleasure

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and action packed short novella March 22, 2019

I am a fan of Jim Webster’s as I really enjoy his very British humour. In this action packed tale, Benor Dorfinngil is the main character and has a thrilling adventure when he is hired to do some diving by the mysterious and wealthy Westfran family who live in the more rural village of Stone Harbour. We are introduced to the family through Benor’s friend, poet Tallis Steelyard, who was invited to attend one of their soirees and who made it his business to escape from their house as quickly as possible. There do not appear to be any menfolk in the family and the women are all aloof and have a stiff and unyielding way of walking and holding themselves. It is all rather strange.

Benor becomes involved with the family after he takes a job working in a book shop and purchases an interesting box of books, including a 500 year old book written by an ancestor of the Westfran family. It soon becomes apparent that this book holds family secrets and the Westfran women will stop at nothing to get it back.

What has happened to Benor’s friend, Timms, the previous diver hired by the Westfrans and who has suddenly disappeared? What secrets do the harbour hold that it attracts such an unusually high number of male squid and why do the Westfran women all look so similar? Find out by reading this interesting and well written novella.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07NDWQRVL

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Swimming-Profit-Pleasure-Naain-Intelligencer-ebook/dp/B07NDWQRVL

A selection of other books by Jim Webster

 Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jim-Webster/e/B009UT450I/

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Jim-Webster/e/B009UT450I/

Read more reviews and follow Jim on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22998.Jim_Webster

Connect to Jim via his Blog http://jandbvwebster.wordpress.com/

And finally today I would like to share a recent review for one of my short story collections – What’s in a Name? Volume Two which I was obviously delighted to receive.

About the collection

Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these sixteen short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them. Romance, revenge and sacrifice all play their part in the lives of these characters.

Kenneth watches the love of his life dance on New Year’s Eve while Lily plants very special flowers every spring for her father. Martha helps out a work colleague as Norman steps back out into the world to make a difference. Owen brings light into a house and Patrick risks his life in the skies over Britain and holds back from telling a beautiful redhead that he loves her.

Meet Queenie and Rosemary who have both lost their husbands and must face a very different future. One that will take courage and the use of new technology.

Sonia is an entitled princess whose father has reached the end of his tether and Theresa has to deal with a bully in the checkout. Usher is an arrogant narcissist with a docile wife and is used to getting his own way and Vanessa worries about the future of her relationship with her teenage son.

Walter is a loner and is happy with just his dog for company, Xenia is the long awaited first baby of a young couple. Yves is a dashing romeo who has the tables turned on him unexpectedly and Zoe… Well she can see into the future.

In one way or another all these characters will be remembered by those whose lives they have touched

The recent review for the collection.

James‘s review Five Stars on Goodreads Mar 19, 2019

Sometimes the second book in a series or multi-volume collection of short stories doesn’t live up to the first. I can say with certainty that’s not the case with volume 2 of ‘What’s in a Name?’ by Sally Cronin. In this collection of stories of life and romance, following names that start with the letters K through Z, Cronin delivers a plethora of immersive, delightful, and intense characters.

I truly don’t know how she manages to pack such distinct and complex drama in a story that’s usually under ten pages. From the first few lines to the closing words, I was drawn in by each of the tales in this collection. There is something about the power an author chooses in certain words which helps create the proper ambiance for a setting, draw out the intrigue in the plot, and ignite a reader’s passions.

From the descriptions to the connections between a few of the stories (not in terms of characters but themes and approaches to decisions), Cronin provides us with a bevy of situations to consider… how would we react if such a problem found its way into our lives? Would we get revenge? What kind of sacrifices could we live with? What does love mean when it comes with strings?

I highly recommend both collections, as you’ll see some growth and evolution from volume one to two. Now I’ll have to look over her canon of other books to see what might be something else I want to read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0748MLZ1W

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Name-Stories-Life-Romance-ebook/dp/B0748MLZ1W

A selection of my books in E-Version

Read the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Read more reviews and follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

I hope that you are leaving with a book or two.. thanks Sally.

If you are an author and would like to join a bunch of us over on the site MeWe (no ads, not selling of data) you will find some of your favourite authors:https://mewe.com/join/theliterarydivashangout

Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters – The Sequel – #Weightloss – Before you Get Started – Managing People, Environment and your own expectations


Last week I explored where our willpower comes from and the childhood influences that impact our abiity to lose weight.

You can find that chapter and all the previous ones in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-the-sequel/

Before you Get Started – Managing People, Environment and your expectations

I have learned a lot about myself over the last twenty-four years and hope that by sharing some of my experiences in this series, you will be able to bypass some of my early struggles in your efforts to lose weight.

Know who you are

We may think we know who we are, but I remember just how confused I was when I started out on this process. Over the years I had become many things to many people and behaved differently, or was expected to behave differently, with each and every one of them.

I was a daughter, sister, friend, lover, wife, employee, employer, niece, cousin and counsellor, and this is the same for everybody; it is a bit like having a multiple personality disorder. I was constantly trying to please everybody else but myself, always striving to fulfil their idea of who I should be.

Be prepared for some surprising reactions from the people around you when you start on your program. You are going to be making some major changes to your appearance, and some people will find that threatening. Changing from a plump, motherly, comfortable, predictable sort of person to a slim, sexy, confident and slightly surprising ‘new you’ can make the people you love uncomfortable. Most people are wary of change and, if their perception of your role in their life does not fit with your new image, a certain amount of emotional upheaval may ensue.

The last thing you want at this point is to feel tempted to hit the comfort food. So, as soon as you hear things like ‘Don’t lose too much weight; you will look gaunt’ or ‘You are beginning to look ill’ or ‘I liked you the way you were’, you will need to sit down and discuss your reasons for losing weight.

Husbands, especially, can feel a bit threatened if their wife and the mother of their children goes from being their ideal picture of how a mother should look to a slim and perhaps sexier looking woman, who is now getting compliments, particular from the opposite sex. Some men are delighted to have back the woman they married, but others may need some extra attention and reassurance that the changes you are making will benefit both of you.

Mothers can always be relied on to pass comment on any changes you make to your weight, up or down. You are her baby at any age and she will interfere whether you want it or not. Mothers will spend all their time telling you to lose weight and then when you do, they will tell you to eat properly, don’t starve yourself and have another cake. ‘One more won’t do you any harm’. They are natural worriers, so just accept that and try to work with it. Involve them wherever possible, and, who knows, you may just change some of their habits of a lifetime.

At this time you will also discover who your real friends are. There are those who loved to stand next to you when you were fat because you made them feel good about themselves. Start looking better than they do and suddenly they will be telling you that weight loss does not suit you, and your face looked much better with a little more padding. However, your true friends will be delighted for you. Do not pay any attention to those people who want to deflect you from your goal. Respect their feelings and involve them if possible, but do not let them make you go back to a place you hated.

Inside of all of us is a child who is still afraid of the unknown, but the unknown can also be exciting, an adventure of discovery, and, with this program, the only thing you are going to lose is weight. If you manage the changes within yourself and in the people around you, it will be immensely rewarding.

Being true to yourself is your greatest strength and you are going to need that to see you through the next few months.

The art to exercising your willpower

In the last chapter I explored how our willpower develops over the years and now you will need to exercise your willpower to the best of your ability, but avoid temptation like the plague in the first few weeks of the program. Do not have open boxes of chocolates within reach. Tell friends and loved ones that the only acceptable gifts are non-edible ones. However, do not stay at home and cut yourself off from everyone and everything. You will have to learn to live with this program for the rest of your life, and it important that you still have some pleasure and do not end up feeling deprived.

Tough as it may be, there are times when you have to remember that you are an adult with a serious health issue, and you are not two years old and zero decision making skills!

Learn how to go out for dinner or to a party. Learn to say NO THANKYOU graciously, so that you do not give offence (‘That was delicious but I really don’t have room for a second portion’). You can start making choices about what you put into your own mouth. Do not be afraid of offending chefs; after all, you are the customer.

It does not matter if people know you are on a diet. If necessary, tell them you are on a healthy eating program, not a diet, which is quite true. However, if people see that you are overweight and making an effort to lose the extra pounds, they will most likely respect you. Most people admire willpower. So enjoy yourself, and you will soon discover that you can have just as much fun eating healthily as unhealthily, and the bonus is that you will not feel guilty. Guilt was always a bitter sauce for me whenever I went out for a meal, but I do not have to feel like that any longer. So practice, practice, practice your willpower.

On a bad day

I would be lying if I said that losing weight is going to be all plain sailing, with no hurdles and no pain. You will have bad days. Sometimes you will have worked very hard and not lost a single pound in the week. This does happen; your body is not a machine and is subject to hormonal changes, water retention and various other internal and external stimuli. There will be times when you body will pause and take stock of the changes to your body, but if you eat sufficiently nutritional dense foods consistently and adequate foods, it will pick up the pace again.

Re-read your list of reasons for losing weight in the first place. Get together with a friend who understands. I often give myself a good talking to, treating myself as if I was a client who is going through a difficult phase. Rest assured; you will come out the other side. You will continue to lose weight and you will not slip back into your old habits.

Keeping motivated as the weight comes off

There have been times when I thought I had done enough. When I had lost 56 lbs. (4 st, 25 kg), my nosebleeds stopped and my blood pressure was down, as was my cholesterol. I was walking an hour a day and, although I was still a size 26, I felt and looked a great deal better. This was a dangerous time because it was easy to convince myself that I had worked hard and that it would be unrealistic to expect to continue losing weight.

Clearly it would not have taken much to push me back into my old eating habits. However, I was still 98 lbs. (7 st, 45 kg) overweight and I had made a commitment to myself that I would see this thing through. I still could not do half the things on my wish list and I was not as healthy as I wanted to be.

Every time you reach one of your goals, you must re-focus. Be proud of what you have achieved. Reward yourself as promised; then look towards the next goal. Try not to be too ambitious. I used to focus on 10 lbs. (4.5 kg) at a time, now it is 3 lbs. (1.5 kg) at a time.

It can be very hard to get back into the program after a night out, or a good holiday, or Christmas. This is the time to sit down and look at what you were, what you are now and what you are going to be in the near future. Do not throw it all away for the sake of that chocolate bar.

Visualising and our Language

When I am out walking, I often spend time thinking about the new me. This is not selfish or obsessional; it makes perfect sense. When our body is undergoing major changes, we need to prepare for each one before it happens. Not only did I visualise myself at my target weight, but I also thought about how I would look and feel along the way.

Our personal language can be very important. Instead of the word ‘if’, I would use ‘when’. For example: When I have lost another 10 lbs. (4.5 kg), I will be a size 20 and I will be able to travel on a cheap airline with small seats. Some ambition!

However, this strategy enabled me to break down the overall target into manageable pieces, giving me the opportunity to imagine my body changing over a period of time. I got used to this image and I liked it.

Having said that, I was morbidly obese for such a long time, that I still sometimes experience a shock when I see myself reflected in a shop window, or when I try on a new item of clothing and it fits. Because you look at yourself every day in the mirror, you do not always see the dramatic transformation that would be very obvious to someone who sees you infrequently. I still get a kick out of people’s reactions when they meet me for the first time in years. There is nothing quite like being ignored because someone doesn’t recognise you!

It is always useful to have an important event as a target. This is not to say that I believe you should go on the program just to lose some weight before a wedding. However, I remember knowing that I was going to be at an industry dinner one year, where I had not seen anyone from my former workplace for over twelve months. I had lost about 84 lbs. (6 st, 38 kg). When I walked into the room, I felt a million dollars, and the compliments I received all evening more than compensated for the hard work I had put in. Do not deny yourself a little grandstanding from time to time. Your morale and self-esteem can use the boost and it will help you reach your next target. Be careful not to get carried away by all the compliments and think the job is finished if you know you still have some way to go.

How long will it take?

You may have a long job ahead. It is not just going to happen overnight. However, trust that the project will be completed according to schedule and celebrate each measuring point as you reach it. The goal is a healthy, slimmer individual who will have succeeded at one of the most difficult tasks we can undertake. Losing weight and then keeping it off is an amazing achievement and one to be proud of. I hope that this program will guide and support you through the process, because the rewards are so worthwhile.

Remember, it has taken you a lifetime to get to where you are now, so it is surely not asking too much to spend a few months, or even a year or two, putting things right. I can promise you that although there will be difficult times ahead, the excitement, rewards and satisfaction you will feel along the way will be incentive enough.

Losing weight in the first few weeks will be faster as you lose fluid as well as some fat, but then it will settle down to 2lbs to 3lbs a week. Whilst that may seem very slow, it gives you body time to adjust, you won’t be eating your own muscle and you are less likely to suffer from excessive lose skin. I will cover that in more detail later in the series.

Remember that 2lbs a week is 104lbs (7.5 stone or 50.6kilos) That is a very reasonable amount to lose.

Enjoying the party

One of the most embarrassing questions you will be asked as you lose weight will be ‘Are you on a diet?’ You may feel that whenever you decline food or drink, your hosts and the other guests want to talk about it. My response always used to be to joke about it. Now I tell the simple truth and say that I am following a healthier lifestyle. Unless asked specifically, I do not discuss weight loss. I do, however, talk about my new healthy eating lifestyle, and how much fun I am having.

There are a couple of tips to help you relax and enjoy yourself, while also deterring people from commenting on your eating and drinking habits. At the beginning of a party when food is laid out, get yourself a large plate and put one of everything on the plate. Take it away, nibble from the plate during the evening and make sure you do not go back to the table. If you do not do this, you can lose count of what you have eaten (was that two or three sausage rolls?). This way you get to have a little of everything, people will not comment on your ‘diet’ and you will not be tempted to overdo it. As for alcohol, alternate your wine with a soft drink. Or offer to drive.

Whatever you do, enjoy yourself. Life is too short to miss out on meeting exciting people and trying your new social skills.

Losing weight is not a sprint, it is a marathon and your mental and emotional attitude towards the project is a key factor in your successful weight loss.

Over the last few weeks I have looked at the factors that have led to you being overweight. It might be 10lbs or 100lbs but whatever the amount, it did not magically appear. There might be emotional, physical and mental issues that needed to be addressed such as low self-esteem, yo-yo dieting in the past or illnesses that impacted your body’s ability to maintain a healthy weight. I have also looked at foods from our body’s perspective. What it needs to be fit and healthy. Ways to identify what emotional factor has made eating certain foods so important to you.

Now is the time to put all of that preparation into practice.Over the next couple of weeks I will be introducing you to more strategies and to the tools that will enable you to manage this extremely important project. There will be high points and days when you wonder why you bothered but overall as with any marathon if you keep walking and running, you will reach the finish line.

With any project there needs to be a clear timeline with specific goals that need to be achieved. This will not be accomplished if you are half-hearted about the need to get to the finish line. There is no need to be obsessive but being organised will help.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

 Thanks for dropping in today and if you have any questions please use the comments or if your prefer you are more than welcome to email me on Sally.cronin@moyhill.com

I am joining a growing number of our blogging friends on MeWe and I invite you take a look… a different approach to users.  mewe.com/i/sallycronin

You can find the previous posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-the-sequel/

Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters the Sequel – Emotional Factor, Willpower and Childish Things


Over the last few chapters, I have been exploring the physical factors behind my weight gain to 330lbs. In particular Candida Albicans and how its overgrowth in your gut can undermine your best efforts to get rid of the culprits in your diet causing you to overeat. Such as sugars.

You can find last week’s post and all the previous chapters in this file: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-the-sequel/

This week a look at our emotional attachment to food and how we can flex our willpower muscles to overcome this frequent excuse to dive into a tub of ice-cream!

My life, despite all the changes due to moving around so much was within a stable family environment, I was not deprived of love, food or attention. But things did not go according to plan in my 20s and emotionally I was hit very hard. But, that is not unusual and having worked with both men and women as a nutritional therapist, I was hard pushed to find a perfect childhood, relationship, marriage, body image, work environment amongst them.

If someone says that they have a perfect marriage, it usually means that they have reached, through hard work, compromise, commitment and love, a state of contentment, friendship, shared laughter and respect.

We all have things in our lives that broke us, or tried to, that brought us to the brink of giving up. But they are usually balanced by all the good things we have encountered in our private lives and careers.

We have a choice, one that I had to make in my late 20s, that I could not let what had happened to define me. However, as I discovered it was easier said than done. Clearly by the time I was in my early 40s, I was still hanging on to the scars and the pain and reaching out for food to comfort me. It was only when I took a long hard look at my experiences, that I realised the only person that I was hurting was myself. The culprit was totally unaware of the damage he had caused and was happily ruining someone else’s life (as I later found out).

It was time to take back the power and to no longer allow the past to dictate my actions in the future. Including, handing power to a bunch of crystals that infused the foods that I ate.

Learning to flex the willpower muscles.

This leads me on to my struggles and the question ‘How will I find the willpower?’ With over 150 lbs. (11 st, 68 kg) to lose and an uncontrollable craving for sweets and bread, I knew that I was my own worst enemy. Nobody stood over me and force-fed me; the chocolate bars did not throw themselves off the sweet counter into my pocket and the fridge door never opened by itself.

I had already begun to address the physical issues and had put in place an eating programme that excluded as much sugar as possible. But I also needed to be sure that I would not drift back towards it at the slightest setback.

Willpower implies choice. Obviously, many of my cravings were a result of Candida, but, even so, that condition did not make me eat Chinese takeaways nearly every night, nor did it make me raid the fridge for bacon and eggs at midnight.

We are not born with willpower. As babies, if we want something, we do everything we can to get it: scream, cry, and throw tantrums. If you have young children, break a bar of chocolate into squares and put it in front of them, tell them not to eat the chocolate, then leave the room.

What do you suppose they will do?

Yes, they will eat the chocolate!

Why? Because they have not yet learned about the consequences of their actions.

They do not know how you are going to react when you come back and find the chocolate has been eaten. They may be a little nervous if they have experienced your displeasure before, but if it was not in direct relation to this particular event, they may not even give it a second thought.

You would think that, as an overweight adult, you would be well aware of the consequences of eating a bar of chocolate. Wrong! – Because as adults we have justification down to a fine art. How many of you justify your overeating with some of the following reasons?

Reasons for NOT losing weight

  • I have just had an argument with my mother/lover/friend/boss and I need to eat something sweet.
  • My relationship has just broken up. I’m so unhappy, I need chocolate.
  • I have had a hard day at the office, so I deserve a drink or two.

    Everyone lets their hair down on a Saturday night.

  • I was taught to clear my plate.
  • We have always had dessert.
  • I have been good and I deserve a treat.

    I’m middle-aged, so extra weight is normal.

  • My husband/wife/lover loves me whatever weight I am.
  • My personality would change if I lost weight.
  • One chocolate bar won’t hurt.
  • My glands don’t work properly.
  • It’s hereditary.
  • People like me the way I am.

We have all used these excuses, particularly when on a diet. I worked eleven or twelve hours a day in my old job, travelled a thousand miles a week, lived in three homes and managed 150 or so people. However, you could not keep me out of the fridge at night!

It appears that I had willpower in some parts of my life but not all, and I am sure that, if you examine your life, you will find the same. I know women who have given up smoking and drinking as soon as they got pregnant, but once the baby is born, they go back to both immediately. I know clients who give up sweets and chocolate for Lent every year and do not miss them a bit. As soon as Lent is over, they go back to their bar of chocolate (or more) a day.

Why? This is about absolute necessity! A ‘must have’ attitude to the way you approach the important events in your life. For example, the overwhelming desire of a pregnant woman is to give birth to a healthy baby. She knows the risks involved in smoking and drinking and applies them to her baby’s health. Even though she may not always find it easy, she manages not to smoke or drink for nine months. This is the willpower you must find to get you through your weight reduction program.

Make a list of why it is absolutely necessary for you to lose weight. My list used to read something like the following.

  • I do not want to die young.
  • I want the nose-bleeds to stop.
  • I hate the way I look.
  • I do not feel sexy or feminine.
  • I feel middle-aged.
  • I am ashamed to take my clothes off in front of my husband.
  • I cannot fit into economy airline seats, so we have to travel by sea.
  • On long-haul flights the tray table cannot be lowered and I am offered seat-belt extensions.
  • I cannot drive for very long, because it is too uncomfortable.
  • I can only manage a ten-minute walk instead of going hill-walking.
  • Children laugh at me in the street.
  • People ask me when the baby is due.
  • People keep saying not to worry; I have a lovely face.
  • My shoe size has gone up to a size nine, with a very wide fitting.
  • My ankles have disappeared.
  • I can no longer shave my legs higher than the knee or behind my thighs.
  • Bras do not fit properly: I have to buy a 48-C to fit my back, but the cups are far too big.
  • I hate shop assistants coming into the changing room when I am trying on clothes.
  • I am tired of cracking jokes about my weight.
  • I can’t take a bath, because I cannot get out again.
  • I cannot take a shower in my father-in-law’s house, because the doorway is too narrow, even if
  • I try to squeeze in sideways.
  • My joints and muscles are always painful.
  • My knee and hip hurt when I push myself out of the car.
  • I can no longer dance.

How many absolutely essential reasons to lose weight can you put on your own checklist? 

If you really give it some thought, and drag out all those niggling irritations about your size that have accumulated over the years, I am sure you will be writing a book yourself.

However, this is not the end of the exercise. If you simply sit and think about all these miserable feelings, you will probably head for the nearest tub of ice cream. Write down all your reasons and then take what you consider to be the most important three and look at them in detail.

For me this was very easy.

  • I did not want to die young.
  • I did not want any more nosebleeds as a result of high blood pressure.
  • I would have quite liked to feel slim and healthy again.

Every time I was tempted to break my program I reminded myself of these three things.

Of course, being less than perfect, sometimes I broke the program. Somehow though, it became less hard. The more weight I lost, the better I felt, and the easier it seemed.

However, after losing 40 to 60 lbs. (18 to 27 kg), I started to slip back again. This was because my original list of reasons was no longer absolute enough. I had improved my health to the extent that I wasn’t going to kick the bucket immediately, my nosebleeds had stopped and, while I did not feel entirely slim and sexy, I was getting there.

At this point it was necessary to revisit the list and find three more that were now a priority.  I still felt middle-aged, still had aching joints and muscles, and was still asked when the baby was due.

Now it was time for the third round. At the end of three years, having lost 112 lbs. (8 st, 51 kg), I realised that I had polished off most of the reasons on my original list.

Thankfully by then I had some new reasons to continue to lose the weight.

  • I now have clients who look to me as a role model. If they are to succeed they need to see that I can lose weight and keep it off.
  • I have written several books on how to lose weight and health with more to come. I have to practice what I preach.
  • I still need to exercise to maintain a healthy weight. Even walking a couple of fast miles a day would not be possible if I weighed too much.
  • I enjoy being able to walk into M&S and pick up clothes I like off the rack. No more out size shops
  • When we have our friends around for a party we always end up dancing – I can keep going for a couple of hours – how much I would miss sitting on the side lines.
  • In the summer I can now wear a swimming costume and swim a kilometre a day without sinking!
  • I want to live as long and as healthily as possible to enjoy everything that I currently have in my life.
  • I want to be mentally alert and physically active when I am elderly

This is how I have kept myself going. However, my list will not be the same as yours.

You can supply your own individual reasons for losing weight. You do, however, have to revisit them on a regular basis and decide which are no longer valid and which are now top of the list.

Our childhood often influences the way we reward ourselves in adulthood

  • Many of the rewards we give ourselves are a throwback to our childhood. Our parents’ approval was important, which is why we tend to adopt many of their rules and attitudes about life.
  • When they told us we were a good girl or boy, and gave us some sweets as a treat or reward, we felt loved and cherished.
  • Treats were also used if we were sick or unhappy: a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down!

The trouble is, we still want that feeling as adults and, life being what it is, we often believe that the only way to recapture that emotion is by eating chocolate or sweets as we used to. Apart from which, in this constantly changing world, food and sweet things are particularly predictable and very comforting.

This is a problem I have with many slimming organisations that elevate certain foods to reward status that have little or no nutritional contribution to your daily requirements.

They imply that you have been a good little girl or boy and deserve to have a little treat so that you don’t feel deprived.

Sorry, but we are grown-ups and we need to create a new reward system. Our long term health is at stake here! Here is one of my most prized rewards. When I reached 18 stone I managed to get into a bath for the first time in 10 years! I still get a kick now, 20 years later, getting in and out unaided!

Your task is to create a whole list of activities, events, purchases, gifts to yourself and others to celebrate the progress you make along the way. The only proviso is that they are not food related in any way.

For example activities that were uncomfortable for me at 24 stone included trips to the cinema, fitting into an airline seat to go on holiday, buying clothes from M&S, getting into normal width shoes, dancing with my husband, going on the big wheel at the funfair.

Achieving those goals became the rewards in themselves.

So create your list, small rewards for your weekly progress:

  • For each 14 lbs.
  • For a new dress size, for reducing your blood pressure to normal,
  • To coming off pills for life …

It won’t necessarily come easily but give it time. Share your list with your support team and I am sure that they will be delighted to join you for your outings and celebrate with you as you make progress.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

 Thanks for dropping in today and if you have any questions please use the comments or if your prefer you are more than welcome to email me on Sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Please note that due to ongoing issues with facebook about posting from my blog (not conforming to community standards), I have removed the Facebook share button as a temporary measure so that you do not get an error message.  Going forward I will be only sharing my weekly round up to Facebook (hoping that it gets through).

I am joining a growing number of our blogging friends on MeWe and I invite you take a look… a different approach to users.  mewe.com/i/sallycronin

I would be very grateful if you could share where you can.. many thanks Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Health – Size Matters – The Sequel – Candida – Starving the fungus and feeding the body.


Last week I looked at the amount of hidden sugar in our diet, that not only satisfies our cravings but those of Candida Albicans too. This week a look at previously eliminated foods that you can actually including in moderation in your diet, so enjoying their health benefits… and a shopping list to copy and print to have handy.

You can find last week’s post and all the previous chapters in this file: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-the-sequel/

Controlling the fungus without starving your body.

Over the years clients have arrived at their first appointment, tired, depressed, still suffering from skin problems, infections etc, who have been following the most rigid diet possible to eradicate the overgrowth of candida. They were surviving on a narrow range of foods, with greatly reduced nutritional variety and values, and were terrified of putting certain foods in their mouths.

The problem is balance – starving the fungus is essential. But, in the process you can also starve the body of the nutrients it requires to rebuild the immune system which you need to work on your behalf internally. The overgrowth is not restricted to the intestines, as I described in an earlier post – the symptoms are caused because it has got into the bloodstream and has free access to the entire body. You are going to need the immune system’s power to push back the fungus to the gut where it belongs at normal levels.

I do think that it is a good idea to reduce the levels of your yeast in the diet simply because it comes in combination in so many processed foods with sugar which I consider to be the real cause behind so much of our ill health today.

Things have moved on – the fact is that most natural produce is absolutely fine to eat. This includes mushrooms which as a fungus are usually one of the first foods to be banned on a Candida Diet.

In the last 20 years I have experimented with natural ingredients in and out of my diet and I have found no reaction to mushrooms or any other natural food on my Candida levels. I have however, reacted quickly to drinking too much alcohol, eating cakes, sweets, biscuits, fizzy drinks, processed sauces, ketchup, soy sauce, milk chocolate with low cocoa content, processed cheap fruit juices etc. In the case of alcohol it is possibly the combination of yeast and sugar (or too many glasses) – and if you look at the ingredients of a great many processed foods that I included in last week’s post, it is the sugar content that is likely to be the main culprit.

I have some key indicators for a rise in levels of Candida overgrowth in my system. The inside of my ears begins to itch irritatingly and my eyes start watering. If I continue to consume sugars in excess I can develop thrush symptoms.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms might be a fungus but they are also immune boosting foods and some are actively anti-candida. Mushrooms are on my Food Pharmacy list and I eat at least two or three times a week. Especially on a non-meat day as they have an impressive list of nutrients that make them a great alternative.

According to the ancient Egyptians, over 4,000 years ago, eating mushrooms granted you immortality. The pharaohs even went as far as to ban commoners from eating these delicious fungi but it was probably more to guarantee that they received an ample supply. Mushrooms have played a large role in the diet of many cultures and there is evidence that 3,000 years ago certain varieties of mushrooms were used in Chinese medicine and they still play a huge role in Chinese cuisine today.

There are an estimated 20,000 varieties of mushrooms growing around the modern world, with around 2,000 being edible. Of these, over 250 types of mushroom have been recognised as being medically active or therapeutic.

More and more research is indicating that certain varieties, such as Shitake and Maitake, have the overwhelming potential to cure cancer and AIDS and in Japan some of the extracts from mushrooms are already being used in mainstream medicine.

Apart from their medicinal properties, mushrooms are first and foremost an excellent food source. They are low in calories, high in B vitamins, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc – and supply us with protein and fibre. They are versatile and they are easy to cook and blend with other ingredients on a daily basis. For vegetarians they provide not only protein but also the daily recommended amount of B12 a vitamin often lacking in a non-meat diet.

Mushrooms of all varieties will boost your immune system in the fight against Candida and are more beneficial in your diet than out of it.

Matured Cheese

Aged cheese is usually banned from a yeast free and sugar free diet but I have found no major problems when using as part of a balanced diet. It is unlikely that by the time the cheese has digested and reached the gut that it is in a form that is utilised by the fungus. Cheese on toast or cauliflower cheese once or twice a week should not cause you a problem and provides variety and nutrients to feed your body.

I do caution you however if you have a weight problem and are trying to lose weight.. A little cheese from time to time is okay but how many of us actually have that kind of restraint?  Also if you suffer from gallbladder disease you will have to monitor your fat intake carefully and you will find that cutting right back on cheese to a very occasional use to be the best option.

I suggest organic mature cheddar made from grass fed cows (it should say on the packet) as it is only grass fed dairy cows that provide milk in vitamin K2 which is not found in grain fed cattle, sheep, chickens in any great quantity.

The one staple that most of us find the hardest to give up. Our daily bread.

Industrially manufactured bread, particularly the cheap, plastic wrapped, white flour variety with its abundance of additives including sugars, is perfect fodder for Candida.

I enjoy and include some white breads in my diet…occasionally. I enjoy some of the sourdough breads, but as a rule, I will only buy wholegrain artisan breads with minimal preservatives. You know that they have little added to them when they go stale in 24 hours, instead of still feeling fresh after a week or longer!… I buy, slice and freeze and then take out what I need over time.

I usually make my own yeast and sugar free Irish Soda bread as it suits me and does not cause the same symptoms as the white processed breads. The jury is out as to whether yeast in bread contributes to an overgrowth of candida, but certainly the sugar does.

Luckily I was introduced to Irish Soda bread in the late 90’s which is yeast free and has little sugar. Today there is a wide range of yeast and sugar free breads available in health food shops and online (do check the labels carefully for added sugar and other preservatives), but it is much better and easy to your own bread at home.

Recipes can be adapted to include additional nutritional essentials in the form of seeds and nuts. I make a couple of loaves at a time, and when cooled, slice and freeze – cost about £1 a loaf to make. There are also unleavened breads – corn and wholegrain tortillas etc that you can enjoy too.

Apart from being able to feel that you are at least including normal foods – bread does not stand alone – we put things on it – an egg cooked in a variety of ways is a great supper on toast and is good for you. Sandwiches made with your own bread for lunch with fresh salad filling and cooked chicken or tinned tuna etc are far better than buying already prepared and expensive varieties with unknown ingredient.

Here is my recipe for soda bread with reduced sugar and even those who are not avoiding yeast will find it delicious.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees – put the rack mid oven.  Prepare two 14 inch bread tins – I use grease proof paper cut to size and a little olive oil around the tin so that the paper sticks.

Ingredients – for two loaves.

  • 600gm strong whole wheat plain flour (or 500gm flour and 100gm porridge oats – or 500 gm flour and 100gm dried fruit)
  • two teaspoons of baking powder
  • Two teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
  • Two teaspoons of salt
  • Two teaspoons of sugar
  • Two eggs
  • 600ml milk (I use full fat)
  • Juice of two lemons (to sour the milk)

Method

  1. Add the lemon juice to the milk and stir – leave for about 15 minutes until it thickens.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl (add porridge oats or fruit if using)
  3. add in the bicarbonate, baking powder, sugar and salt
    mix in gently.
  4. Pour in the soured milk and using a fork gently stir together.
  5. Add in two eggs and mix in.
  6. Pour the mixture into the tins and place in the hot oven for approximately 60 minutes.
  7. Check after 45 and the loaves should have risen and be brown on top.
  8. When baked take the loaves out of the oven and remove from tins. (peel of the paper if you have used)
  9. You will know they are cooked if they sound hollow when you tap them on the bottom of the loaf.
  10. Wrap in clean tea towels to stop the crust getting too crisp and leave on a rack until cool.
  11. I wrap one in clingfilm and put in freezer and because there are no preservatives you need to eat over a couple of days.  I keep one in the fridge

Here is another source of yeast free bread recipes.

http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipes/tag-7732/bread-without-yeast-recipes.aspx

This is just one adjustment to your daily diet that will feed your body but starve the fungus.

So, now you have bread still in your diet (yeast and sugar free such as Irish Soda Bread) and also mushrooms and cheese.

And here is the complete shopping list of food groups that you may help you reduce the sugar in your diet.

Since Candida Albicans thrives on the sweet stuff, it is a good idea to cut out all additional sugars and sugary foods for at least six weeks. And then only consume occasionally. Do be aware that artificial sweeteners, including those that claim to be natural can behave in the same way as sugars.

Your craving for sugars will not be reduced and some, such as those containing aspartame, can be very unhealthy.

To help you establish which are the main foods to focus on and which to avoid, I have devised a colour scheme.

Green – Free to eat

Blue – in moderation

Red – Avoid

Pink – Very occasionally.

Vegetables – carrots, red peppers, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, corn on the cob- any dark cabbage or Brussel sprouts, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, watercress, dark lettuce leaves, cucumbers, celery, avocados and potatoes.

Fruit Bananas, apples, pears, oranges, kiwi and any dark berries that are reasonably priced – try frozen.  When in season –  apricots, cantaloupe melon, watermelon.

Wholegrains – brown rice- wholegrain yeast free bread – whole wheat pasta – weetabix – shredded wheat – porridge oats.  If you make your own yeast free bread use wholegrain flour.

Please do not buy sugar or chocolate covered cereals or white flour products.– more sugar than goodness.

Reduce your carbohydrates for the first six weeks. Two slices of yeast free bread, one large tablespoon of brown rice, one weetabix, two tablespoons of porridge oats etc daily.

Fish – Salmon fresh and deep sea not farmed (usually sound in the frozen foods)and you can buy sustainable sourced salmon canned. Cod – haddock (again frozen can be a good option) any deep sea white fish on offer – shellfish once a week such as mussels. Tinned sardines, tuna and herrings – great for lighter meals. Check all cans for source of fish and worth paying a little more.

Meat and poultry and Tofu-  Organic or free range chicken or turkey – lamb, beef and pork (avoid grain fed chickens (corn) and other meats as only grass fed livestock provide sufficient amounts of Vitamin K2. Lean ham (unsalted) easy to boil your own and slice for sandwiches, (processed meats should be used sparingly) Venison if you enjoy it. Liver provides a wonderful array of nutrients served with onions and vegetables is delicious.  Tofu for vegetarians has become more accessible and can be used by non vegetarians once a week to provide the other benefits of soya it offers. There are a number of vegetables, especially in the bean family that can provide good amounts of protein.

Nuts and seeds – to put on your cereal in the mornings or as snacks – check prices out in your health food shop as well as supermarket. Almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts. (Nuts and seeds have healthy fat. However, if you are wanting to lose some weight make it a small handful each day).

Dairy and Eggs In moderation. Look for grass fed herds for their milk, butter and cheese (better to have the real stuff than whipped margarine) – yoghurt.  Free Range Eggs – have at least three or four a week.

Oils – Extra virgin Olive Oil (least processed) – great drizzled on vegetables with some seasoning and also eaten the Spanish way with balsamic vinegar on salads and also drizzled over toasted fresh bread. If you do not like the taste of Olive Oil then use Sunflower oil – do not use the light version of any oil as it has been processed heavily – use the good stuff. I use coconut oil in moderation… it is organically produced and liquid for drizzling over vegetables and toasts.

Honey and extrasYou really do need to avoid sugars refined and in cakes, sweets and biscuits but honey is a sweetener that the body has been utilising since the first time we found a bee hive and a teaspoon in your porridge is okay. Try and find a local honey to you.

Dark chocolate – over 70% a one or two squares per day particularly with a lovely cup of Americano coffee is a delicious way to get your antioxidants. Cocoa is great with some hot milk before bed – antioxidants and melatonin in a cup.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

 Thanks for dropping in today and if you have any questions please use the comments or if your prefer you are more than welcome to email me on Sally.cronin@moyhill.com

 

Something to Think About – The R’s of Life – Survival in a Modern World – Our Rights – Part One – Sally Cronin


When I was revisiting these posts from two years ago, it occurred to me that I was ranting a bit…. well more than a bit. What also struck me is that what I thought was bad then is even worse now. The collective thinking and consideration for each other is clearly not newsworthy, and whilst I know that the majority of people work hard, take responsibility for their lives, health, children, income, housing, education, old age care, pay taxes, and contribute to the community, there are a lot more people today who feel that they have a right to leech off that sector of the comminity than ever before.

For example, recently a family who have never worked talked about how they had a right since it was government money. Sorry the government has rarely made a penny itself, but has legally and sometimes stealthily removed it from the pockets of the general population who have worked very hard for it! So as a taxpayer from the age of 16, I have to say… that it is my money. Where do people imagine the money comes from to pay benefits, support a free health service, educate children etc?

As never before, across so many elements of modern life we are hearing the statement ‘It’s my right.’

What also interested me was that in many cases that expression of right, was referring to something that was not internationally recognised as a ‘right’. For example.. the right to obesity surgery, cosmetic surgery, have a baby even without means to support it, live on benefits for a lifetime, vote in elections when in prison, to be drunk and disorderly, to take drugs, to smoke, to riot, to loot, to carry firearms, to make racist comments. And all justified very passionately, including attached to the statement relating to recognised health hazards….’It’s my body’. Absolutely, until someone, usually the health service has to step in and try to undo the damage you have done to ‘your body’.

What are the official ‘Human Rights’ we should all expect?

I decided to look at the official version of what is considered to be the ‘rights’ of every human on the planet.  I am going to look at each of the ‘rights’ as laid out and explore the reality that I perceive. I am not an expert in the application of Human Rights and these opinions may not be acceptable to everyone. I hope however that they will give you something to consider the next time you feel that you need to establish your ‘rights’.

There is one thing that I do believe and that is that for every ‘right’ there is an ‘obligation’. That obligation is on us, the recipients of the ‘right’ to ensure that we value the privilege of having access to it in the first place.

There is no way that this is going to be one post…. so I am going to spread it over a number and divide appropriately where possible.

There are thirty Articles established in a Bill of Rights by the United Nations. These identify which rights every human on this planet is entitled to, and certainly, if all of these thirty articles were adhered to, the world would be a much better place.

However, it is clear from the headlines that we read daily, these rights that are allegedly attached to every human being on the planet are discriminatory and not adhered to by far too many governments around the world.

What this bill of human rights should really be called is a Wish List’. If you are reading this then the chances are you are living in a country where there is a commitment to adhering to the concepts laid out, and in most cases this commitment is successful but needs work.

However, if you look at the summary of the main points of the bill over the next few chapters, you will immediately be able to name certain countries that have not taken this seriously; continuing to treat the humans under their jurisdiction with total disregard for their rights or freedom. Whether it is a woman who has been stoned to death for alleged adultery or the imprisonment of those who choose to disagree with governmental policy; there is a huge discrepancy between cultures.

We might recognise that we are fortunate in where we live and our freedoms, and sympathise with those still living under the harsher regimes, but it is actually overwhelming and tough to understand how we, as an individual,  can make a difference.

However, we also have to recognise that with every ‘right’  we enjoy there comes that ‘obligation’. There is of course a general obligation to appreciate how very lucky we are to enjoy the majority of the following rights, and there are also very specific obligations to qualify us for that particular privilege.

You might also question why we should be concerned about these Human Rights, since so many of them refer to those who do not have them!. Whilst it is probably fair to say that getting global adherence to these rights is unlikely to happen in our lifetimes, it is important that we do at least make a start on the project for the sake of the next generation and those that follow.

1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Every human is entitled to all the rights outlined in the bill irrespective of race, colour, sex, language, religion, politics, nationality, style of government of home country, social status, ownership of property.

This first article is very general and is a ‘mission statement’ that identifies that all humans are entitled to expect and receive the rights as laid out. Very laudable but without measurements of the numbers of those who currently receive or do not receive the rights, it is vague.

2. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Absolutely, but again this is only possible for those born into environments where liberty and security are established under democratic law. For those born in countries where there is dictatorial rule and inherent violence, they will never have that right. Although vague this does come with an obligation. Liberty is not just freedom to live safely within an environment, it is also about the ‘rights’ that we have been given to ensure that liberty for our lifetime and those of our children. This includes the right to vote for a government who protects our rights as individuals and as a nation.

Our obligation: In 2015, which was a critical general election with the prospect of a referendum on the EU looming, 66.1% of the UK eligible voters went to the polls. This means that nearly 34% of the UK population did not exercise their right to vote for a government that would take them into a very crucial time in British history.

There are millions around the world who do not have this right to vote for a democratic government and it would seem to me that there is every reason to ask those 34% of voters why they chose not to exercise their right… and make sure that they understand how important their contribution is.  http://www.ukpolitical.info/Turnout45.htm

3. No one should be held in slavery or servitude and the slave trade is prohibited in all its forms.

Slavery has been abolished but it still thrives. Here is an excerpt from a global study by the United Nations based on information from 155 countries.

‘The term trafficking in persons can be misleading: it places emphasis on the transaction aspects of a crime that is more accurately described as enslavement . Exploitation of people, day after day. For years on end.

According to the Report, the most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls. Surprisingly, in 30% of the countries which provided information on the gender of traffickers, women make up the largest proportion of traffickers. In some parts of the world, women trafficking women is the norm.

The second most common form of human trafficking is forced labour (18%), although this may be a misrepresentation because forced labour is less frequently detected and reported than trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Worldwide, almost 20% of all trafficking victims are children. However, in some parts of Africa and the Mekong region, children are the majority (up to 100% in parts of West Africa)’.

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/global-report-on-trafficking-in-persons.html

Having read the executive summary it is important to note that only percentages are used and there is no mention of the fact that those percentages represent millions of women, men and children worldwide.

Our Obligation: Do not remain silent if you believe there is any form of this vile trade being conducted around you. In most countries there is a way to report crimes anonymously and in the UK you can contact Crimestoppers – https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information – that one call could prevent the suffering and often death of an individual or a much larger group.

4. No one shall be subjected to torture, cruel or inhuman treatment, degradation or punishment.

Obviously this one is definitely not globally adhered to by governments; in fact there are probably far too many countries employing these tactics than not.

But what about our personal obligation to ensure that where we live, this ‘right’ is afforded to as many people as possible?

The one cruel and degrading treatment that comes to mind is bullying. There has been a steady increase in the number of young teenagers committing suicide which is unacceptable.

Bullying Frequency https://www.ukwristbands.com/bullying-statistics

Recent U.S. studies have found that 28% of students in grades 6-12 and 20% of students in grades 9-12 have experienced bullying. That’s between 1 in 4 and 1 in every 3 students in the U.S.

But, the UK Annual Bullying Survey of 2017 has showed more alarming results. The survey was conducted in secondary schools and colleges all across the United Kingdom. 54% of all respondents said that they have been bullied at some point in their lives – that’s every other child! 1 in 5 said that they’ve been bullied within the past year, and 1 in 10 has been bullied at least one in the past week.

Number one motive for bullying was attitude towards victim’s appearance – 50% of all bullying motives. 40% were attitudes towards interest and hobbies, followed by attitudes towards high grades, household income, low grades, family issues, disabilities, race, cultural identity, religion, sexuality and gender identity.

The most common type of bullying is reported to be verbal bullying, followed by physical, cyber and social.

This is in countries where we like to think we are civilized and live in a free and democratic society. Worryingly these statistics will be mirrored in most of our countries.

Our obligation begins as parents.. a school is a place to be educated and basic civilisation and morality should be taught in the home before a child begins to interact with others.

The school then has an obligation to have a zero tolerance policy on bullying, but that can only happen when those who are bullied come forward, which they are more often than not too scared to do so. Also these days there appear to be far too few consequences for the act of bullying towards another. Detention just seems to enhance the culprit’s status amongst their usual sycophantic following. Removal of phone and other online privileges are not effective as they buy a burner phone or use public online access.

Personally, and at the risk of causing a PC melt-down, I favour a little public humiliation in the form of the stocks and well aimed rotten tomatoes.

As bosses and leaders there is also an obligation to ensure there is a zero tolerance policy in the workplace. This is enlightened self-interest since businesses are badly impacted by bullying, not to mention work-related discrimination law suits. Bullying in the workplace tends to be towards groups as well as individuals and can be insidious. The intolerance to bullying needs to be emphasised at induction training of all staff at every level, and should be included in performance reviews annually. The tone needs to be set from the top down. And considering the millions of sick days taken each year which impact the bottom line of every business, many stress related, bosses need to ensure that bullying is not part of their culture.

As individuals we also have to accept the responsibility. It is easier to turn our backs when we see individual or group abuse happening and some of that is self-preservation. But what if it was our child or grandchild. At the very least, if there is a personal safety issue, there is no reason not to pick up a phone and talk to someone who can deal with the matter as quickly as possible. If urgent, then the police, but if systemic in your neighbourhood, work with the council and community outreach programmes.

Sometimes a problem can appear to be so overwhelming and we can feel that our contribution will be a mere drop in the ocean. However, if our actions only help just one person who is trapped in this nightmare, then we have done a good thing. Multiplied by millions of individuals doing the right thing… and a huge difference can be made.

©sallycronin The R’s of Life

Next time –  Rights and the Legal system.

You can find the other chapters in the series in this directory… and your feedback is always welcome: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/something-to-think-about/

Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters – The Sequel – Candida Albicans – Sally Cronin


In last week’s post I explored the physical events in my life from childhood that might have resulted in the inability to sustain a healthy weight. Whilst I could pinpoint an hormonal imbalance from puberty, and a cycle of crash dieting as contributors to my eventual morbid obesity. It was the more important discovery of a series of extended courses of anti-biotics at age 10, that was to result in a breakthrough.

It is not just my health that was compromised, many millions of the population, particular in developed countries also have been put at risk, with an estimated 70% of us with a candidal albicans overgrowth, seriously undermining our health.

Just to recap….

What is Candida Albicans

Candida is a fungal infection of the intestine. There is a delicate balance of bacteria in our gut and it works very much like a waste-disposal unit. However, certain conditions can activate changes in the balance between healthy flora and this opportunistic fungus, and this can result in Candida taking control of the intestine. Candida is a yeast that thrives on sugar. Among the many symptoms of this condition is an irrational craving for sweet foods including high sugar savoury foods such as pasta sauces.

The list of symptoms attributable to Candida seemed endless, but when I completed the questionnaire, my score was so high that there was no doubt at all that I was indeed suffering from an overgrowth in its most chronic form. While it was an enormous relief to have identified what had been causing my problems, it was devastating to realise that Candida had been a part of my life since childhood and was likely to be one of the main reasons for my weight problems. It was not just a childhood event that had triggered Candida, but its fire had been fuelled several times since.

You will not be surprised to learn that one of the prime causes for this condition is the over use of antibiotics, and also some other medications prescribed for conditions such as asthma. Once I realised this, I put together a chart showing the periods in my life when I had experienced weight gain. Bingo! In every instance the weight gain followed heavy doses of antibiotics prescribed for a variety of reasons. In one way this discovery was reassuring.

Overweight people often look for a physical problem to blame for their condition, such as their glands, so it was a revelation to learn that there might indeed be a physical reason for my excessive weight gain.

Before I look at Candida in more detail… I am often asked the difference between probiotics and prebiotics. This difference is important as diet is the key element of keeping a healthy balance of bacteria in our gut, and our modern diet, that includes far more industrialised foods, does not provide the elements needed to maintain this balance.

Probiotics are the bacteria and yeasts that are classified as ‘friendly’. They inhabit our digestive tract and are a vital part of the process of digesting food and turning it into something that the rest of the body into a form it can utilise. Without a healthy balance of these probiotics, systems such as the immune function, can be compromised, as well as the health of other operating systems and the major organs.  If you eat live dairy products, including Kefir, or fermented foods such as sauerkraut, it will encourage the essential bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria to flourish.

Prebiotics are processed from insoluble carbohydrates in most fruit and vegetables including Apples (skin on) bananas, beans, artichokes etc (which is why we need to eat several portions of vegetables and fruit daily) This survives the stomach acid and digestive process that some foods such as yogurts might not do, and reaches the gut where it acts like a fertiliser for the existing probiotics and maintains a healthy balance.

As far as Candida Albicans is concerned this balance in the intestinal flora is crucial and I will explain that as we mover through the upcoming posts.

We are all familiar with the concerns about the rain forests and their devastation and long lasting consequences for our planet. Well our gut is an eco-system too – teeming with life that is as varied and as exotic as in any rain forest. And, like the many species that are at risk in the wider world, our bacteria that populate our gut and keep us alive, are under threat too.

All humans contain Candida Albicans in small amounts in our gut and urinary tract. In those amounts it is harmless – however – advances in medical treatment, and our modern diet, have given this opportunistic pathogen all it needs to develop from harmless colonies to massive overgrowths. It is also referred to as Monilia, Thrush, Candidiasis and Yeast Infection.

The most at risk are those with an already compromised immune system, but because of our high sugar, white carbohydrate and processed foods in our diets, most of us are now at risk.

We have also been treated with broad spectrum antibiotics for the last 65 years, as well as newer drugs that we take long term, that manipulate our hormonal balances. We as yet do not know the long term impact on our bodies of the modern drugs we take, and it may be generations before we do. Which is why there is now great concern that the pathogens are becoming more and more resistant to drugs such as antibiotics.

The eco-system which is our gut.

Our intestinal tract, like our hearts, brains, livers, kidneys etc is a major organ. Some refer to it as the ‘gut brain’ – How many times do you mention your gut feelings? Without it there would be no way to process the raw ingredients we eat to keep our immune system healthy enough to protect us from pathogens. The good bacteria or flora in the gut, two of which are, Bifidobacteria bifidum and Lactobaccillus acidophilus normally keep the Candida in balance.

In most cases antibiotics are broad spectrum, not specific, because, without a lab test it is difficult to tell the specific strain of bacteria responsible for an infection. The use of broad spectrum drugs usually guarantees that the bacteria in question will be killed off.

  • Unfortunately, not only the bad bacteria are killed off but also the good bacteria in your gut.
  • Candida remains unaffected because it is not bacteria it is a yeast and this is where it takes full advantage.

What happens to Candida to allow it to take over?

If Candida yeast is allowed to grow unchecked, it changes from its normal yeast fungal form to a mycelial fungal form that produces rhizoids. These long, root-like components are capable of piercing the walls of the digestive tract and breaking down the protective barriers between the intestines and the blood. This breakthrough allows many allergens to enter the blood stream causing allergic reactions. Mucus is also formed around major organs and in the lining of the stomach. This prevents your digestive system from functioning efficiently. The result is poorly digested food and wasted nutrients. Your body begins to suffer a deficiency of these nutrients and it leads to chronic fatigue, an impaired immune system and disease.

There would appear to be a strong link between this overgrowth of Candida Albicans to a huge list of symptoms and illness. Here is a snapshot.

  • People who are suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME usually test positive for Candida although there are also other issues involved in this complex condition.
  • Numbness, burning or tingling in fingers or hands.
  • Insomnia,
  • Abdominal pain,
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhoea,
  • Bloating,
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • Thrush and Cystitis,
  • Sexual dysfunction and loss of sexual drive.
  • Endometriosis or infertility
  • PMS and heavy and painful periods.
  • Depression and panic attacks
  • Irritablity when hungry.
  • Unexplained muscle or joint pains often diagnosed with arthritis.
  • Headaches and mood swings.
  • Chronic rashes or hives
  • Food intolerance.
  • Liver function due to build up of toxins leading to  chronic fatigue, discomfort and depression.

The list is virtually endless – which just adds to the confusion at the time of diagnosis.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then you may have a varying degree of overgrowth.

If you would like to complete the Candida questionnaire yourself then please email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

In the upcoming posts this week I will be featuring some of the health problems associated with an overgrowth of Candida Albicans and the strategies to reduce levels to normal, and rebalance the flora in your gut.

You can find the previous posts in this series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-the-sequel/

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

 If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments.. or if you prefer send in an email to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Something to Think About – Keeping the Magic of Romance Alive Every Day by Sally Cronin


This post appeared on Jacquie Biggar’s website last year. I thought you might like to read again on this day of love and romance….

Not everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day and I believe that romance is something that infuses every day of a relationship, but if receiving a card, or some roses, reminds someone of how much they are loved, then this is a good day.

My thanks to Jacquie for inviting me to share my views on romance. It is one of the elements of our lives which is universal, and much sort after. People often ask what the secret to a happy relationship is… darned if I know.  All I can offer you is some of the little things I have come to appreciate over the last 50 odd years of dating and relationships. Make that 55 as I had a crush on Peter Birch at primary school age ten which resulted in my first broken heart!

Because many of you who are reading this are writers, I thought you might be interested in a few statistics on the billion-dollar-a-year Romance book industry via Romance Writers

  • The annual total sales of romance novels per year is in excess of a billion dollars.
  • Romance novel share of the U.S. fiction market is 34%.
  • 82% of romance readers are women.
  • Average age is 35-39.

What interested me about these statistics is that romance is a hot ticket item. It is also evident that romantic stories are very much sought after by women, but clearly not as high on the list for men. Something that those who feel men are sometimes not as romantic as they might be, would find interesting!

Another statistic is that the average age of those seeking out romance stories is between the ages of 35-39… which begs the question… Do women in their 40s, 50s, 60s give up on romance, or they are simply not catered for by the romance writers?

Like most young girls of my generation, I was infused with the myths surrounding love and romance at an early age. Between fairy tales and my mother’s desire to make the goal of romance clear cut in my mind, I surmised that at some point a Prince Charming, on a white horse, would sweep into my life, whisk me off my feet, and we would ride off into a future of bliss, children and Happy Ever After.

I was encouraged to take the available wisdom to heart, and with hopes and dreams of my own, embarked on my own dating adventures. The trouble with ingrained expectations is that they are not always as revered by others, particularly the opposite sex.

However, after some false starts, at the age of 20, a more mature Prince Charming of 26 did arrive, in uniform and driving a classic American sports car. It seemed that expectations had been met and exceeded, and it was crowned with a spectacular wedding with matriarchal approval on both sides. We drove off into the sunset with clanging tin cans behind the steed… which proved to be tolling bells of doom!

Trouble is what you see is not always what you get! And when compounded with differing expectations of what a relationship is supposed to be, and a lack of commitment of one of the participants, things tend to fall apart. After four years, some interesting life lessons, and an expensive legal intervention which took three years, I finally managed to extricate myself with a vow to never marry again.

Then wouldn’t you know it, six months later, into my life walked a softly-spoken, unassuming guy who took me out on a date and asked me to marry him before the night was over. Five weeks later, without any ceremony, and with just our parents in attendance, we exchanged rings and our own vows.

The last 39 years have taught me that romance is not one-size fits all, is unique to two people who love each other, and is not always about red roses and chocolates.

Some of the elements that spell romance for me.

As Jeremy Taylor quoted ‘Love is Friendship set on Fire’. Of course there is that initial, and amazing firework display of hormonally induced physical attraction, which then evolves over the years into a familiarity that can still be breathtaking. However, without the essential elements of like-mindedness, shared moral code, sense of humour, and appreciation of another’s unique personality, the fire of romance slowly dies down to embers.

An analogy I often use for romance between two people, is that it is like an extended ballroom dance that flows and whirls with two partners in perfect sync. Always staying within the limits of the dance floor, allowing other styles come into play, with fiery tangos and playful sambas as the tempo of the music changes. Even when there is a momentary loss of connection, there is a coming together again, and the dance always finishes in a firm embrace.

Whilst there may be the occasional extravagant gesture when a special event warrants it, mostly it is the small things that keep romance alive and flourishing.

Red roses are wonderful, and we all love to receive a bouquet on Valentine’s Day or an anniversary. But it is the odd flower brought in from the garden and laid on a breakfast tray, a small tree planted in the garden that blossoms every spring, or the paper flower, misshapen and oddly coloured that appears by a bedside, that really help to keep romance alive.

Romance is waking up on every birthday to find cards hand-made from images of sea, sunflowers, cats and dogs, golden sunsets with handwritten verses inside that come from the heart. It is also those few minutes on your wedding anniversary when you sit silently, holding hands and remembering that special day and the people who are no longer there to share the memories with you.

True romance flourishes when you are unwell and scared and a strong hand holds yours and a voice close to your ear, tells you that it will be alright, that you are safe. It is when you suffer a loss and cry together and heal together. It is when you walk through the door and someone says, ‘hi love, how was your day?’

Romance is when the last words before you go to sleep are ‘I love you’

Romance does exist after 39 years old, whatever the statistics might say.

Romance and love go hand in hand, and as I watch very old people together, you can tell the ones who still adore and respect each other. It is easy to still see that spark and twinkle in the eyes, the small touches of a hand or brush of lint from a shoulder. That unity has been welded from years of life, laughter, sadness, joy, disappointment, excitement and love. Thousands of cups of tea, breakfasts in bed, dances in the kitchen, date nights, holding hands in the movies and vigils by a sickbed, have gone into the rich tapestry that is romance. There might be a faded red rose pressed between the pages of a diary, or a diamond ring that comes out on special occasions, but it is these small daily gestures that will have kept the romance alive and will continue to do so long after one or both of them dies.

Romance is also about the things we don’t do in a relationship.

We don’t belittle someone we love in public and then say ‘But you know I love you’.

We don’t bully them and then say we are doing it ‘Because you know I love you.’

We don’t marry who we believe is Prince Charming or the fairy princess, and then set about changing them by saying ‘You know it is because I love you.’

We don’t take the actions of those we love for granted, and saying ‘thank you’ for a meal, a wardrobe full of clean clothes or for being a great mum or dad, goes a long way to keep romance alive.

Romance is not about making someone happy or expecting them to make you happy. Your happiness is your responsibility and choice. Putting the onus for your happiness on someone else is a very quick way to lose them.

I will leave you with one of my favourite poems on romance from Elizabeth Barrett Browning courtesy of The Poem Hunter

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Most of my stories have an element of romance.. and with my latest book, I have even got a Prince Charming (the good kind).

About Tales from the Irish Garden

The queen of Magia and her court have fled their sun filled Spanish homeland and the palace beneath the magnolia tree.

Arriving on the backs of geese and swans, they seek sanctuary in the magic garden of The Storyteller who welcomes them to the Emerald Island, a place where rain is almost a daily feature. Grateful for their safe haven and the generosity of their host, the queen and her courtiers embrace their new surroundings with delight.

As the seasons change throughout the year, they come into contact with many of the human and animal inhabitants of the garden and the surrounding forest, all of whom have a story to tell. This is a magical fairy story infused with fantasy and romance, as well as opportunities for mischief in the company of goblins, witches and Lerpersians. Suitable for ages 10 to 100 years old…..

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Thank you for dropping in today and even if you don’t celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, what is the most romantic gesture you have ever received?

Smorgasbord Health Column- Foods to get you in the Mood for St. Valentine’s Day by Sally Cronin


Perhaps Adam thought the apple was an aphrodisiac when he offered it to Eve and certainly the belief that foods could stimulate and arouse us to passion has been honoured by both men and women since earliest recorded time.

It is a belief that is held across every race, culture and age group, which makes for interesting research into the subject.

Foods, herbs, spices and unfortunately certain animal parts have been considered to be stimulating over the ages and I am going to focus on food and herbs that are still readily available today in our supermarkets.

The background to aphrodisiacs

Aphrodisiacs were taken in the first instance to calm anxiety and therefore improve sexual performance. Having children was considered a necessity from both a moral and a religious perspective and so being at peak fertility was considered essential for both men and women.

Aphrodisiacs are broken down into two distinct functions. Primarily they needed to be nutritional to improve fertility and performance and secondly stimulating to increase desire.

Being poorly nourished will affect semen, egg production and quality so it was considered important to eat nutritional packed foods such as seeds, roots and eggs, which were considered to contain sexual powers.

To stimulate desire it was thought that eating foods that resembled the sexual organs would produce the required result and of course there was always the hearsay element of mythology and fairy tales to establish credibility for one food or another.

Many of the foods considered by the ancient Egypt, Greek and Roman civilisations to be aphrodisiacs, are still available today, and we eat them on a regular basis.   This makes it a little difficult to determine if the rocket, pistachio nuts, carrots and basil that you eat as part of your normal diet are acting as stimulants or not.

At least most of us are no longer indulging in gladioli roots or skink lizard flesh although the French may well claim that their continued consumption of snails may have something to do with their reputation as the best lovers.

Are there foods that are more of a turn OFF than a turn ON?

Allegedly there are a few foods that may not be helping you in the romance department but there is no definitive research on the subject.

Apparently eating too many lentils, lettuce, watercress, and water lilies might affect your performance although I suspect that there are more than a few rabbits that might disagree with that belief. Also one needs to choose and prepare food that is not likely to produce wind as there is nothing more disastrous during a romantic interlude!

What are considered the most effective aphrodisiacs?

Aniseed was believed by the Egyptians, Greeks and the Romans to have very special properties and they sucked the seeds to increase desire. Aniseed was also favoured for its medicinal properties, which may explain its popularity as a sexual stimulant. It was used to reduce flatulence (not a particularly attractive condition) remove catarrh, act as a diuretic and as an aid to digestion combined with other herbs such as ginger and cumin.

One of its properties was to increase perspiration and one wonders if this additional heat was confused with an increase in desire. However if you are planning a romantic interlude avoid drinking it in tea form as it was considered a very effective insomnia cure.

Asparagus was well regarded for its phallic shape and also for particular stimulating properties. It was suggested that you fed it to your lover over a period of three days either steamed or boiled. One explanation of its supposed success is that it acts as a liver and kidney cleanser and also a diuretic. After three days it is likely that you might feel more energetic and also have lost a couple of pounds, guaranteed to give anyone a boost sexual or otherwise.

Almonds have long been considered the way to a girl’s heart in particular their aroma, which is supposed to induce passion in a female. Almonds are incredibly nutritious, packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fat so there is no doubt that regular consumption of these and other nuts would be likely to improve overall general health and therefore fertility. Almonds have been prepared in a number of ways over the ages but certainly the one that seems the most popular is marzipan, guaranteed to win over any sweet-toothed female, young or old. All nuts and seeds have similar nutritious content so you can lavish these on your sweetheart if you find it difficult to find Almonds.

Avocado was regarded as an aphrodisiac mainly due to its shape. The Aztecs called the avocado tree “Ahuacuati” or testicle tree and when brought to Europe the Spanish called the fruit aquacate. Apart from the shape the fruit has a sensuous smooth texture and exotic flavour that stimulates all the senses. Again including avocados in your diet several times a week will contribute to your general health as well as possibly improving your love life.

The banana has been featured several times in my blogs on healthy and medicinal foods. Obviously the shape played some part in its reputation as an aphrodisiac but it is very rich in potassium and B vitamins, which are both essential for healthy hormone production. Eating one banana is unlikely to enhance sexual performance but including them on a regular basis will certainly have you firing on all cylinders.

Cloves amongst other herbs and spices contain eugenol, which is very fragrant and aromatic. It has been used for centuries as a breath freshener, which may be hint to why in days before dental hygiene became so important eating it before a date was considered an aphrodisiac.

 

Chocolate like almonds has long been regarded as an enticement to females and contrary to popular belief; Cadburys were not the inventors of this delicious if very addictive treat. The Aztecs called it the “nourishment of the Gods” probably because of the chemicals in chocolate that stimulate neurotransmitters in the brain that produce a feel good effect. It also stimulates the production of theobromine, which is related to caffeine and would no doubt stimulate performance in other areas.

If only Adam had been better informed, he might have made a better impression!

Honey has been used medicinally for thousands of years and was considered essential as a cure for sterility and impotence. Even in medieval times less than scrupulous suitors would ply their dates with Mead, a fermented drink made from honey. This was also drunk by newly-weds on their honeymoon probably acting to relax inhibitions and anxiety. Honey is wonderfully nutritious and again including it regularly in your diet is likely to improve your general state of health, which would lead to improved sexual performance.

Mace and Nutmeg contain myristicin and some compounds related to mescaline. Mescaline is found in Peyote cactus and has been used in South American and North American Indian cultures for over 2000 years as a hallucinogen. This might explain why the use of mace and nutmeg in aphrodisiac potions may have produced mild euphoria and loss of inhibitions. Hot milk and ground nutmeg has long been a night-time drink and now we know why.

Oysters were well known for their aphrodisiac qualities in Roman times and their reputation continues today. There is some reference to their likeness to female sexual organs but the main thing going for oysters is their high content of Zinc. This mineral is essential for male potency but if you do not have a balanced diet with other sources of zinc, eating a dozen oysters from time to time is unlikely to give you the desired results.

Saffron has been used since the times of the ancient Greeks where it was harvested from the wild yellow crocus, flowers. Its use has since spread throughout the world and has been used for thousands of years as a medicine and as a perfume. It is said to be an excellent aid to digestion, increases poor appetite and being antispasmodic will relieve stomach aches and tension. More recently it has been used as a drug to treat flu-like infections, depression and as a sedative. As far as being an aphrodisiac is concerned its most important property is likely to be its ability to regulate menstruation which would of course help lead to a better chance of conception. It is generally a tonic and stimulant and being very versatile can be used in many dishes regularly in your diet.

I obviously could not miss out the carrot – since it played a starring role in one of my health books. Carrots taken long term provide the body with a great source of vitamin A essential for our hormones and in men their sperm production. Hence, the title of my health book. Forget the Viagra……which is a men’s health manual and not just about aphrodisiacs!

 

There are many other foods, herbs and spices that have for one reason or another been associated with sexuality. These include liquorice, mustard, pine nuts, pineapple, strawberries, truffles, basil, garlic, ginger and vanilla.

The one thing that is absolutely certain is that if you have an excellent balanced diet with plenty of variety you will be taking in all the above nutrients on a continuous basis and that will enable you to enjoy an active and full sex life. Adding a few of the above ingredients will certainly do you no harm and who knows you may be able to prove if they really are all they are cracked up to be.

I cannot leave you today with a recipe that includes some of the above ingredients but I suggest if you are planning a St. Valentine’s Dinner for your loved one, you create a three course dinner from the above… Get creative!

Isabella’s aphrodisiac ice-cream.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup of sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 cup peeled and mashed rich ripe figs
1 teaspoon vanilla

To prepare

  1. In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the almonds and sauté until just golden. Remove the almonds and dry on paper towel. Put aside for later.
  2. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, bring the milk to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a stainless steel bowl, or double boiler, whisk the yolks with the sugar and salt for 3 minutes, or until pale yellow. Add hot milk slowly while whisking. Place the stainless steel bowl over a pan of simmer water and cook whisking constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the custard from the water and stir in the chilled cream, mashed figs, vanilla, and almond extract.
  4. Chill the mixture for 30 minutes, then pour into an ice cream maker or the freezer compartment of your fridge until set.

Of course there is allegedly an equally anciently revered aphrodisiac that has nothing to do with food!

Thanks to Pixabay.com for the images.

Thanks for dropping by and I wish your Valentine’s Day to be all you wish for. As always I love to receive your feedback.. Sally

©sally cronin Just Food For Health 1999 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

 If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments.. or if you prefer send in an email to sally.cronin@moyhill.com