Guest Posts Revisited Cook From Scratch with Author J.P.Mclean – Roasted Tomato Sauce


Another series that I would like to repeat is the original Cook from Scratch back in 2014 as the dishes are just as delicious and back then they were aimed at a much smaller audience.

This week the cook from scratch is a dish that I refer to as ‘red gold’… It can be used as a wonderful pasta sauce but also as the base for many more dishes.. I have a version (not as delicious as this sounds) that I cook up in bulk and store in the freezer in two portion containers. Not only do I use a couple of times a week in my everyday cooking but also very useful to have on hand when visitors drop by unexpectedly.

Cooked tomato is one of the exceptions when it comes to nutritional benefits.  The lycopene which is the most beneficial ingredient in the tomato is more potent when cooked than when fresh.  Add in the garlic and olive oil and this sauce with rice or pasta is packed full of goodness.

My guest today is J.P McLean (Jo-Anne) who has her recipe for roasted tomato sauce down to a fine art.

Jo-Anne is the author of The Gift Legacy. A Thriller that will leave you believing the impossible and wary of the night skies.

About Book 1 – The Gift – Awakening.

Every Gift has its Price . . .

When Emelynn Taylor accepts a mysterious gift from a stranger, her life alters irrevocably. Haunted by terrifying abilities she can’t control, Emelynn returns to her abandoned home on the British Columbia coast where she vows to take command of her unruly gift. A near-fatal miscalculation drops her into the hands of a man who takes her breath away and an underground society who share the gift; but as they steer her into unknown territory, secrets surface and conspiracies are revealed. Will Emelynn master her dangerous gift and escape the unfolding web of perils before they take her life?

A fantasy thriller that will leave you believing the impossible and wary of the night skies.

If you’re new to the fantasy genre, this is a good place to start. The Gift Legacy crosses genres. It’s light on fantasy, heavy on thriller, with a healthy undercurrent of action and adventure. The books have been described as smart, contemporary and addictive.

One of the recent reviews for the book

The Gift Awakening is a fantasy that starts off slowly and gains momentum. The main protagonist, Emelynn, knows she is different but doesn’t realize just how unusual her gifted talents are.

She was just a normal preteen when a woman visited her on the beach near her home and bestowed a strange gift upon her. Odd things begin to happen to her and when she is seen by a doctor after one of these peculiar episodes he makes her aware of what is happening to her.

When a handsome stranger comes into her life Emelynn is tossed into more turmoil than she could ever imagine. This story continued to intrigue me and I couldn’t put it down for long.

This author has a winning series that is sure to get the attention of fantasy lovers out there. I look forward to the next books in this gripping series.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/JP-McLean/e/B00JSZOXTC

Read more reviews and follow Jo-Anne on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6429987.J_P_McLean

Now time for Jo-Anne’s delicious and easy to make tomato sauce.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

I make this at the end of the tomato season to fill my freezer with read-to-use tomato sauce. It’s suitable for use as a base for spaghetti sauce, chili and soup, or for use in stuffed peppers or cabbage rolls. It’s quite flexible and can be adjusted to taste, adding onions or peppers or other spices. I’ve never weighed or measured the amount of tomatoes, I simply fill my roaster, and it’s one that fits an 18-20lb turkey.

Ingredients
Fresh tomatoes washed and quartered.
A whole head of garlic, peeled
¼ cup olive oil and salt to taste.

Method
Pile a large roaster with the tomatoes and garlic. Drizzle oil over top and sprinkle with salt.
Roast in a 350 oven for 4-5 hours, stirring every hour or so until reduced to 1/3 original volume.
The tomato skins will blacken, which is good – it adds flavour. Let the mixture cool.

You can either process the sauce with a food processor, or if you prefer to remove the skins and seeds entirely, you can process it with a European Tomato Press, known in our house as the Wapper because of the noise it makes when you operate it. I put the pulp through twice to get all the yummy goodness out.

Can be used immediately or frozen.

Connect to Jo-Anne

Blog: http://jpmclean1.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JPMcLeanBooks
Website: http://www.jpmclean.net
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jpmclean1

My thanks to Jo-Anne for contributing this delicious and extremely useful roasted tomato sauce.  For the previous recipes in the series please check the directory and I hope that you will accept my invitation to share one of your favourite cook from scratch recipes. Just email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

 

 

The Afternoon video – Swallows take on crows in the intelligence game.

Video


Automatic doors were fixed to a campus underground car park where swallows nested, within days the birds had figured out how to activate the motion sensors to open the doors to let them in and out!

We had swallows in our garage in spain and we had a covered stored car that rarely moved. When we took it out to clean and service the birds became confused and sat in the trees waiting until the car was replaced.

Every year when they swallows arrived back from Africa they would fly under the roof of the balcony where we would sit and have our evening glass of wine and out the other side to tell us they were back. When they left again before the winter, they would do the same to say goodbye.

Guest Posts Revisited – Jane Hanser – The Burden Interview: Of Mothers, Caregivers, Sons and Daughters


Jane Hanser contributed her post in 2014  about an issue that resonates with most of us who have been carers for an elderly relative and those who understand that this is a distinct possibility in the future. The post is as relevant if not more today as governments debate how much of your life’s savings they will deduct to provide you with long term care.

What is interesting is that if you are a full time carer in the UK, you will be lucky to receive £50 per week and that is taxable if you have other income. Considering that care homes charge several hundred pounds plus… per week to offer less that one to one care and not always to the standard that you would prefer…it would seem that the government should think about recompensing family members significantly more. If they wish to deduct that salary from your inheritance I have no problem with that since it is the here and now that elderly family members need loving and caring attention.

The aim is always to ensure that those we love enjoy the last few years of their life in a pain free, enjoying their usual activities, being nourished and surrounded by love.  That is the ideal but unfortunately most of us have to juggle our own lives and families to accomplish this and whilst it should be a team effort with other family members and with support services it is not always the case.

I was lucky many others are not.  I will now hand over to Jane to continue……

The Burden Interview: Of Mothers, Caregivers, Sons and Daughters

“You’re better at it,” wrote my brother in an email after I complained that he wasn’t doing anything for our elderly mom while I was doing everything.

His words still sting like a bumble bee.

Was that really supposed to appease me, or my primary care physician who was becoming extremely concerned as my blood pressure was rising higher and higher and higher and I was becoming pre-diabetic from lack of physical exercise? Or was it supposed to provoke?

Add to that the layer that he, my brother, lived only 20 minutes away from our mother, while I lived 300 miles away.

A Boston-based 2012 study indicated that daughters, twice as often as sons, become the elderly mother’s caretakers. But still, sons comprise up to 30% of those care giving for elderly parents. In Canada up to 30% of those caring for elderly parents are sons, shows a Canadian study. The “elderly parents” are usually mothers, since women generally outlive men.

While the men in the Canadian study indicated positives as well as negatives in caretaking, they still assumed that responsibility. Married men generally had the support of their wives, with whom they discussed decisions they were making.

So how does it get to be the daughter living six hours away becomes the primary caretaker when the son, living 20-25 minutes away, does virtually nothing? And what repercussions does this have on my, the caretaker by default, health, finances, social life and emotional well-being?

After another email months later to my brother in which I outlined everything I’d been doing vis a vis my mom and the toll it was taking on me, his response was “Thanks.”

Mine back was was “I don’t want your thanks. I want your help.”

While I could never anticipate my mother’s declining cognitive, and physical, condition, I also could never anticipate that I would get absolutely no help or support from my “bro” or support from my sister-in-law, receiving instead just the meek justification for why it was that he was totally defaulting on the small things, including asking for information about her current health, and the very large and major things and decisions.

The word “burden” is used repeatedly in all studies about adult children as caretakers of elderly and frail parents. And it completely amazed me that there is something actually called “The Burden Interview,” which I discovered on an online search.

This discovery was a true relief, and I gladly read the questions and circled my answer, recognizing so many aspects of what the questions addressed. Twenty of the 22 questions on the Zarit Burden Interview begin “Do you feel…..” or “Do you feel that…” One question begins “Are you afraid about…” and the last and 22nd question begins, “Overall, how burdened to you feel…” Answers ranged from Never (score of zero) to Nearly Always (score 5). I wish that the question “Do you feel that your health has suffered because of your involvement with your relative?” should score a 5 and that my doctor’s feelings about this should add in a bonus 5 points. Feelings are big in this test.

Test takers have 30 minutes for this test. Mine took much less, let’s not say how much less. Then I added up my score. Yup! “Moderate to Severe Burden.”

The one question that I’d like to see the questionnaire ask is: “Do you feel angry at other family members who are doing less than you are?” or “Do you feel that other family members should be doing a better job at caring for your relative?”

I do, and I do. I wish the Burden Interview asked these questions because the complete lack of participation in my mother’s caregiving by the person geographically closest to her adds a lot of stress too.

When one family member is clearly dis-involved, and wants to be dis-involved, there is no communication that is going to get you the understanding, and the help, that you want. There is no way to go but to accept that and let go. To do otherwise would be to increase ones emotional stress, and therefore burden and the consequences of that.

“Anger deprives the sage of his wisdom, a prophet of his vision,” says the Talmud. More conversations, more attempts to get somebody to see your distress or point of view would end in just more frustration, and disappointment, and a self-destructive cycle of anger.

CARETAKERS of ELDERLY PARENTS: How many others like me are there out there? I would guess I’m not the only one.

It’s often repeated how commonly families break up over money, especially after the death of a parent and the distribution of the estate.

Or, in this case, they functionally and emotionally break up long before. And when that’s the case, don’t hang on and let it raise your BURDEN SCORE even more!!

About the author

 

Jane Hanser’s poetry and essays have been published in numerous print and online journals such as Poetica Magazine, The Persimmon Tree, Every Writer’s Resource, and others. She has developed software to teach writing, self-published a grammar book and taught English as a Second Language at several campuses of the City University of New York. She has an M.Ed. in English Education and ESL from the Graduate School of Temple University. In her other life, Jane is dedicated to many and varied community activities, in particular feeding the hungry, literacy, and bicycle and pedestrian safety. She spends way too much time on the computer and would like to rejuvenate her painting watercolors. She is married and lives, works and plays in Newton, MA. Joey’s descriptions of her in Dogs Don’t Look Both Ways are, except for a few insignificant details of time and place, true and accurate.

 cover_front_800x600

  • A 2015 B.R.A.G. MEDALLION HONOREE for Literary Fiction.
  • 2015 IPNE FINALIST  (Independent Publishers of New England) for Young Adults.
  • 2015 IPNE FINALIST for Literary Fiction.

About the book

Set in the neighborhood of the Boston Marathon, an irrepressibly energetic, curious and gregarious chocolate Labrador Retriever named Joey loves to run and run. He also has an insatiable sense of discovery. But will it lead him to gratification – or to danger? Preparing his shenanigans well in advance, Joey discretely makes his move early one morning, a move that forever changes his life and the lives of his mom and dad, his running partner,and leaves them to pick up the pieces. This heartwarming book, now a 2015 B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree for Literary Fiction, narrates a true story with a unique voice.

Dogs Don’t Look Both Ways is a true story about freedom, rules and boundaries, communication, and,of course, our dependence on the kindness of others.

Appropriate for all adults and for children 5th grade and up.

One of the 76 reviews for the book

Joey is a loveable dog who cannot stay out of trouble. He loves to run with his dad, and gets bored when he is home by himself or with his mom. His morning run just isn’t enough exercise for a Labrador retriever. He is always using his senses to find ways out of the backyard fence to explore the world beyond. This always gets him in trouble with his “mom” who usually gets a call from a friend or neighbor who saw him out wandering. One day after Joey “escaped” from his backyard; a car accident nearly kills him. The road back to healing and health is a long and arduous climb for both Joey and his family.

Dogs Don’t Look Both Ways is a well written, character driven story with numerous escapades by Joey. Writing from Joey’s point of view must have been a difficult task for the author. Though it can be an enjoyable read for an adult, I believe it would be better suited to a child who is old enough to read chapter books.

Buy the book

Authors Page on Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Dogs-Dont-Look-Both-Ways/dp/0991514904
Follow Jane on Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21818455-dogs-don-t-look-both-ways

Links to connect to Jane Hanser
http://www.dogsdontlookbothways.com
http://dogsdontlookbothways.blogspot.com/
http://mommeandelderly.blogspot.com/

Thank you for dropping by today and I look forward to your views on the subject. My thanks to Jane for her honest and thought provoking post that applies to so many families these days. Sally

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Top to Toe – Kidney and Urinary Tract healthy Eating Programme


Smorgasbord Health 2017

To finish off the posts from last week on the kidneys and urinary tract, here is an example of an eating plan that may help you recover from an infection or other health issue effecting this system.  I find useful as part of my two gentle detoxes each year to follow a similar eating plan and it gives the whole body a boost but specifically major organs such as the liver, who work tirelessly to keep us healthy without a break.

If you have read the posts on the kidneys & urinary tract, you will be aware of the physical precautions that you can take to avoid infection and now we need to look at some of the foods that you can eat daily to help protect you from both these conditions.

First and foremost you need to ensure that you are taking in sufficient fluids. These are essential for flushing the toxins through the system such as bacteria and ensuring that chemicals do not crystallise and form kidney stones.

It is very important that you drink little and often throughout the day to ensure a steady flow of fluids and little stress on the organs that have to deal with it. The recommendation for kidney stone sufferers is actually more than my recommended 2 litres, nearer three.

There are certain foods that will help prevent bacterial growth and reduce the risk of stones but there are also foods that you need to avoid if you are prone to both these conditions.

Research has shown that a diet that is very high in animal protein and fat can cause a chemical imbalance that can encourage the formation of stones. Include  lean proteins such as turkey and fish in moderate quantities. Also, sugar, coffee and alcohol in excess all damage the kidneys so these should be in moderation.

A glass of wine per evening is always better than bingeing once a week.

Drinking Green Tea would be better for you than drinking lots of coffee. The antioxidants in the tea will also help with damage to both kidneys and the rest of the urinary tract.

Cranberry juice has been shown to contain properties that inhibit the adhesion of bacteria to the soft tissues inside the urinary tract as do blueberries that can be added to a fruit salad.

A deficiency in potassium can lead to kidney problems. Potassium helps maintain the body’s correct water balance. Eating bananas and spinach, avocado, dried apricots, potatoes, pumpkinseeds and lots of fruit will boost your levels.

I have covered calcium in previous posts, and how it can be a very volatile mineral if it is not counterbalanced with another like magnesium. So it is important to take calcium in moderation combined with high magnesium foods like whole grains such as brown rice and spinach and salmon, seeds etc from the superfood list.

Check to see if the tap water in your area is particularly high in calcium. If your kettle is furring up then the chances are that it is.

There is some argument that you should take foods out of the diet if they have a high oxalic content. This is found for example in spinach. However, if you have a balanced healthy diet that is packed with a wide variety of natural vegetables and fruit you should find that, like your other major organs, the kidney’s health would be either protected or improved following an episode of kidney stones.

It is really important that you do not eat industrially processed foods during the weeks that you are following his programme. Apart from plain cereals such as porridge oats and you can just about get away with shredded wheat. Check labels for added sugar.

vegetablesExample of an eating plan for healthy kidneys & urinary tract

Breakfast

  • Glass of water or cup of hot water with the juice of half a lemon.
  • Drink at least 6 throughout the day if you are drinking cranberry juice and green tea as well.
  • 8 oz. glass of cranberry juice
  • Shredded wheat or porridge oats sprinkled with blueberries.
  • Slice of wholegrain toast with butter and local organic honey or savoury with pureed tomatoes.
  • Cup of Green tea.

Morning snack

  • Cup of black or green tea.
  • 2 rye crispbread with mashed banana or sliced cucumber
  • Glass of water

Lunch

  • Brown rice risotto with chopped onions, mushrooms, garlic, peppers and olive oil.
  • Spinach and tomato salad.
  • Green Tea

Afternoon snack

  • Mix of pumpkin-seeds and dried apricots.
  • Glass of water

Dinner

  • Glass of cranberry juice for another 12 hour protection.
  • Avocado and orange salad.
  • Salmon or turkey fillet – grilled.
  • New potatoes
  • Broccoli and carrots.
  • Glass of wine
  • Glass of water

Snack

  • Fresh fruit salad made from favourite fruits and sprinkle of blueberries and chopped banana.
  • or
  • Handful of walnuts or pumpkin-seeds.
  • Cup of green tea.

©sallycronin Just Food For Health 1998 – 2017

You can find all the Top to Toe posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe/

As always I am delighted to receive your feedback and if you have any questions that you would prefer to keep private you can always email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Thanks for dropping by please feel free to share.. Sally

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Health in the News – Research into alternatives to Antibiotics.


Smorgasbord Health 2017

There has been a great deal of concern in recent years, that the indiscriminate usage of antibiotics has resulted in resistent strains of superbugs that will leave us undefended from disease in the future.

Apart from the global impact of this scenario, there is the effect on our health as individuals. Persistent use of antibiotics weakens our own defences and can result in a number of severe health issues. This includes leaving us wide open to resistent bacteria that can lead to death.

A new CDC study shows that children given antibiotics for routine upper respiratory infections are more susceptible to aggressive antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria commonly known as C. diff.

The study found that 71 percent children who suffered C. diff infections had been given courses of antibiotics for respiratory, ear, and nose illnesses 12 weeks before infection.

“When antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly, our children are needlessly put at risk for health problems including C. difficile infection and dangerous antibiotic-resistant infections,” Frieden said in a recent statement.

C. diff, a bacteria found in the human gut, can cause severe diarrhea and is responsible for 250,000 infections in hospitalized patients and 14,000 deaths every year among children and adults.

To read about the other dangerous effects on our health by over use of antibiotics: http://www.healthline.com/health-news/five-unintended-consequences-antibiotic-overuse-031114

A possible alternative to antibiotics

Date: May 23, 2017
Source: American Technion Society
Summary: A combination of metals and organic acids is an effective way to eradicate cholera, salmonella, pseudomonas, and other pathogenic bacteria, researchers report. The combination also works on bacteria that attack agricultural crops.

Antibiotics are an effective means of treating bacterial contamination. But extensive use of antibiotic substances in medicine and agriculture has resulted in increasingly antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that humanity is approaching the post-antibiotic era — a world in which antibiotics will no longer be effective, and even minute contaminations will be life threatening.

Now, encouraging research that combines metals and organic acids as a viable alternative to antibiotics is being conducted at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The findings by a team led by Assistant Professor Oded Lewinson in the Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine were recently published in Nature Scientific Reports.

Numerous alternatives to antibiotics are already being tested by researchers around the world. Two of these are the use of metals such as silver, zinc, and copper (which were used in ancient Egypt and Greece for treating infection and purifying water sources), and the use of organic acids such as food acid that is used as a preservative in the food industry.

Read the rest of this important article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170523084828.htm

The other major preventative for contracting infections in the first place is by boosting and maintaining your own immune system with a health diet and exercise.  If you are eating foods that are included in this directory you will be making a very good start.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-nutrition-directory/

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Top to Toe – Foods to boost your blood health.


Smorgasbord Health 2017

Following on from the previous posts on our blood and anaemia, here are some blood boosting foods and suggestions for menus to put them together for maximum effect.

As we get older, our bodies find it more difficult to metabolise the food that we eat in an efficient manner. Illness and stress can also cause deficiencies to occur. As I have covered in the last few blogs, one of the most common health problems we are likely to encounter is anaemia in varying degrees from mild to dangerous levels. The aim is to consume a diet rich in the specific nutrients needed to maintain healthy blood but it is difficult to visualise when someone simply tells you to eat B6, B12, Folate etc. So I have put together those nutrients with the foods that contain them so that you can just pop to the supermarket and fill your trolley.

I would suggest that anyone who like me is 60+ should include these foods on a regular basis in your daily diet.

This specific eating plan includes the foods that will provide you with the necessary nutrients for healthy blood but do remember that if you are exhibiting any symptoms that indicate you are anaemic you should go to your doctor and seek medical advice. You will find those in one of the previous posts which are linked to below.

As always I do stress that it is better to ‘cook from scratch’ but there are certain staples that you can include in your pantry. Many people prefer an easy start to the day with a bowl of cereal and perhaps a piece of toast. Cereals today are very different from our childhood when all you got was the grain. Today I am afraid you are likely to get a lot more sugar which somewhat negates the benefit of the wholegrain. If I have cereal I have porridge oats but for the sake of variety do check the labels and buy wholegrain varieties with as little sugar or even worse, artificial sweeterners as possible.

Picture3In recent months there has been a lot of speculation about wholegrains in our diet in relation to what is referred to as our ‘gut brain’. I covered the topic in an earlier series on digestion but my opinion remains the same. Provided you are not celiac or have chronic intestinal problems, wholegrains are essential in our diets to provide B vitamins, other nutrients and fibre. We certainly need less as we get older because our activity levels drop but carbohydrates from grains are needed to provide the fuel that we require for our energy levels. Drop those too low and your fatigue will be intensified. You can still eat carbohydrates from potatoes and other root vegetables and add in one or two portions of grains per day depending on your exercise levels.

Here are some suggestions for the main meals of the day plus snacks.

Breakfast choose one selection per day and rotate so that you are getting variety and different nutrients.

  • Most cereals have B12, B6, Folic Acid and Iron – check the labels to establish that. Some will be added as fortification but if it is a wheat cereal it will have natural nutrients.
  • Have cereal or porridge and a glass of orange juice to help the digestion of iron with Vitamin C. Have some soaked prunes on your porridge or chopped dry prunes on your cereal, as these are high in iron.
  • If you are not trying to lose weight then have a piece of wholemeal toast with butter and marmalade as well. Better to have small amount of good quality chunky marmalade than a watery processed diet version.
  • Sprinkle a dessertspoon of wheatgerm on the top of your cereal or your porridge as this has B6, iron and manganese together (B12, B6, Folic Acid, Iron, Manganese and Vitamin C)
  • Half a grapefruit with two pieces of wholemeal toast and marmalade. (Vitamin C –Manganese)
  • For a cooked breakfast you could have poached egg on two pieces of wholemeal toast with an orange juice. (Manganese, Vitamin C, B12 and B6)

(A tip here is to avoid wheat bran, as this can actually prevent absorption of iron. As unfortunately can too much tea, so do try and restrict your intake to no more than three cups a day of good quality leaf tea rather than the processed bags. Coffee has some health benefits too and a cup or two of fresh ground coffee with some hot milk is fine. If you have high blood pressure however you might have ground decaffeinated instead.

Picture2

Snack

  • Have a mid-morning snack as part of your healthy eating plan. You could have a handful of the mixed seeds and nuts (B6, Manganese)
  • 2 mandarin oranges (Vitamin C again, to help the iron you have already ingested to be absorbed)
  • A banana (B6)
  • Slice of wholemeal toast with mashed banana (Manganese and B6)

Lunch

Assuming this is your main meal of the day – choose from the following meats:

  • · Lamb
  • · Chicken
  • · Turkey
  • · Salmon
  • · Beef
  • · Lamb’s liver
    (try to have liver at least once a week) (folate, B6, B12 and iron)
  • · Potatoes
  • · Wholemeal rice or pasta (manganese – folate)

Lots of vegetables including every day a serving of a dark green leafy vegetable like spinach (Folate-Iron) Cauliflower (raw) (Vit K), Broccoli (calcium)

Use olive oil or good quality sunflower oil for cooking or as a dressing (Essential fatty acids and Vitamin E)

oranges

Snack

  • Nuts and seeds. For men pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of Zinc and helpful to keep the prostate healthy.
  • Slice of wholemeal toast with butter and a thin slice of mature cheddar.
  • Home-made wholemeal scone with butter and sugar free jam.
  • Fruit such as oranges.
  • Yoghurt live with no sugar but chop up some fruit such as berries into it.

If you are not going to hit the dance floor every evening, having a heavy meal at night can cause digestive problems and provides energy that you are not going to use up.. This will result in storage of the excess around your middle. If it is your main meal of the day keep your grain and other carbohydrates to your lunch and eat protein with lots of freshly prepared salads and vegetables. A smaller amount of carbohydrate up to 2 hours before going to sleep is fine. As you will see from the lists one piece of toast, one piece of Pitta bread, two tablespoons of whole grain pasta.

Dinner

beans

Assuming this is a lighter meal.

  • · Scrambled Eggs on toast (B6, B12, Folate, Manganese)
  • · Omelette and Green leafy mixed salad (B6, B12, Folate)
  • · Wholemeal Pitta bread with chicken or tuna and salad filling (B6, B12, Iron)
  • · Eggs Florentine – baked egg on spinach with some hollandaise sauce
  • · Homemade wholemeal pasta in tomato sauce on toast.
  • · Small tin of sugar free baked beans on wholemeal toast.
  • · Seafood cocktail on with clams – cockles – prawns. Serve on half an avocado Slice of bread and butter.

Snack

bananas

  • One of the snacks from above that you have not already had.
  • Cup of Cocoa (iron)
  • Cup of Ginger Tea and a wholemeal digestive biscuit (Manganese)
  • A banana (B6)

As you can see from the above eating plan, there are many foods that will help keep your blood healthy. Get creative in your own kitchen, using fresh unprocessed ingredients and you can’t go wrong.

Roast Dinner by Poolegrammar.com

©sallycronin Just Food For Health 1998 – 2017

You will find the other Top to Toe post in this directory

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe/

Thank you for dropping by… Sally

 

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Cook From Scratch – Multi-vitamin on a plate – Brown Rice Pilaf


I do take supplements from time to time. If I feel that I am going through a stressful time and not eating as well as I should, then I will take a multi-vitamin or appropriate supplement. As we get older some of our systems become less efficient and the digestive system is one that needs careful monitoring. You will find a whole directory of posts here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe/

I know that if you have been following the blog for the last three years or so, you will have seen this recipe before, but for those of new to the blog you might find it a useful illustration of how you can pack a plate with not just food but nutrients.

My philosophy about food is very simple. ‘Cook from Scratch’ avoiding industrialised foods that have been infused with chemical enhancers and gift-wrapped in plastic. This does not mean that you stop eating the occasional food that comes in a packet or carton.. but if you eat at least 80% of your food from fresh produce with only 20% that is manufactured you are doing pretty well.

However, all of us go through times when we might need a little addtional help and that is where taking the right supplements is useful.

And the word supplement means in addition to not instead of. Your body is designed to process food to extract the nutrients that it requires and many supplements on the market, especially the cheaper brands may not be in a form that your body can utilise.

You can reproduce some of those often expensive vitamin and mineral supplements yourself, and here is my version.

It contains most of the food groups and a great many of the nutrients we require on a daily basis. Protein, wholegrain carbohydrates, good fats and a wide range of nutrients.  Whilst it makes a delicious main meal for the family you can make it in bulk and keep some in the fridge for two to three days and freeze portions for later in the week. You only need a couple of large serving spoons to get a great nutritional boost.

DSC_1207aw

But before I give you the recipe I would like to show you how this meal is in fact a delicious form of a multi-vitamin pill that the body understands and you will gain more benefit from.

This recipe provides you with a great vitamin B-Punch. I am only including those nutrients that are available in a higher concentration, but I think it illustrates that if you compare this to the information on your multivitamin supplement; you are getting most of what you need in this simple to make dish.

Ingredients with main nutritional elements.

Brown rice – any form of brown rice will contain more of the nutrients as it loses only the outer layer of the grain called the hull. During the process that turns brown rice to white rice it loses 67% of its vitamin B3 (niacin) 80% of B1, 90% of B6 – half of its manganese and phosphorus, 60% of its iron and all the dietary fibre and essential fatty acids. Do you realise that to make white rice acceptable as a food it has to be artificially enriched with B1 B3 and iron? It is amazing the difference that processing a food can have on its nutritional content. It also contains selenium and copper.

Olive Oil – Omega 9 Fatty Acid and Vitamin E. Inflammatory disease throughout the body is one of the leading causes of health problems for major organs such as the heart and brain. Using Extra Virgin Olive oil even in cooking helps reduce inflammation in the body. Also contains Vitamin E.

Onions and Garlic Folate, B1, B6 Vitamin C, biotin, manganese, copper, chromium, quercitin, potassium, phosphorus – heart health, blood sugar levels, inflammation, digestive system.

Red Peppers – Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium. Antioxidant.

Mushrooms – Folate, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, copper, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese and a great source of protein.

Walnuts – Omega 3 fatty acids, copper, manganese and biotin. Heart health.

Spinach – Vitamin K, Vitamins A, Folate, B1, B2, B6, C, E, Calcium and potassium.

Tuna/Salmon – Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins B3, B6, B12, selenium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, potassium.

Eggs – Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Folic Acid, Vitamin A, B2, B5, B12, D (very important) E, iron, iodine, selenium. (Research is indicating that having an egg a day is not harmful as unhealthy cholesterol is not caused by eating natural foods containing it but in eating industrial foods with high sugar levels and commercially manufactured fats).

Ingredients for four servings. You can freeze three portions and use as needed.

225gm /8oz of wholegrain rice (you can add some wild rice for flavour)
15ml/ 1 tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil. (Recent research has indicated that this is safe to heat for cooking but do not burn).
30gm real butter (Spreads that contain half and half butter and margarine are also full of additives) Better to have a little of the real dairy fat.
1 large finely chopped onion.
Half a red pepper
Handful of mushrooms, button or shitake and as an alternative protein.
10 chopped walnuts.
4 oz. of finely chopped spinach or dandelion leaves.
Any leftover vegetables from the day before.
1 crushed clove of garlic.
1 teaspoon mild pimiento
Your choice of protein – One Egg per person, chicken, salmon, tuna, lean bacon or a mix of various kinds.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Wash the rice under cold running water until clear and drain to remove dust and any remaining debris. Cook until tender in boiling water for 20/25 minutes either on the stove or in a rice cooker in the microwave.

Hard boil four eggs. (A little tip is to put a teaspoon of bicarbonate in the water and it will make the eggs much easier to peel).

In a frying pan melt your butter into the olive oil and cook your bacon and remove from the pan. Add finely chopped onions, red pepper, mushrooms and garlic with a pinch of salt, the pimiento and a sprinkle of pepper to the bacon infused oil and butter and cook until soft. Add the bacon back in and then stir in the chopped spinach and walnuts.

Drain your rice and I usually pour boiling water over it in the colander to remove any starch residue. Add in one large serving spoon per person to the pan and on a low heat blend the rice through the ingredients.

Add in your cooked protein such as chicken, tuna or salmon or cooked shrimp.

Serve in a bowl and garnish with a hardboiled egg.

Variations.

Add in the vegetables you enjoy to the base recipe and you can jazz it up for dinner parties as guests love the variety. You can also eat this cold. Keep in the fridge in a sealed container and serve with a garden salad.  It will keep for a day or two and you can reheat with a small amount of stock in a large frying pan or reheat in the microwave.

©smorgasbordhealth 2017

A reminder that you will find posts on vitamins and minerals and the foods that provide them in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-nutrition-directory/

 

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Top to Toe – The Blood – Oxygen distribution, waste disposal andAnaemia


Smorgasbord Health 2017

I have covered in earlier posts the absolute necessity of oxygen to our survival. It is unlikely that you will survive longer than six minutes without breathing in oxygen, but it is also vitally important for the survival of every cell within the body. If an area of the cardiovascular system is damaged and oxygen is unable to reach the tissues directly affected then that tissue will die and the infection generated will compromise the health of the rest of the body. The most vulnerable parts of the body are the hands and feet where irreparable damage to the tiny network of capillaries could lead to amputation.

The oxygen carriers.

The red blood cells are responsible for the transportation of both oxygen and carbon dioxide within the haemoglobin in the blood.

red blood cells

As important as breathing in and utilising oxygen is concerned, getting rid of the carbon dioxide waste, which is produced during this process, is equally important. Some carbon dioxide produced in the tissues is processed and converted to a harmless substance that can be eliminated easily but some has to be transported via the blood stream back to the lungs to be got rid of.

Other transportation duties

Substances in the bloodstream like cholesterol and other fats are transported around the body, from originating organs like the liver, to elimination points where they are removed from the blood and either absorbed into cells or processing points such as the kidneys. This process is used to transport glucose and sugars, hormones and waste products like urea that becomes urine.

We are an extremely efficient waste producer and it is when this waste is not eliminated safely, and regularly, from the body that we become ill and diseased.

There are a number of blood disorders that cause concern and one of the most common is Anaemia so I am going to focus on that today – with the foods and therefore the nutrients we require to support healthy blood over the next couple of blogs.

Anaemia

There are actually several types of Anaemia but whilst there are a number of reasons as you will see for the blood disorder, I will focus on just two. Iron deficiency Anaemia and Pernicious Anaemia sometimes also known as Megaloblastic Anaemia. This anaemia is a Vitamin Deficiency anaemia and whilst requires medical supplementation of Vitamin B12 can still be supported by a healthy diet.

Iron deficiency Anaemia is one of the most common types and is usually associated with women. Mostly in pregnancy, but it can also affect women who have suffered heavy periods throughout their reproductive lives. As the name implies, it is caused by the lack of iron.

This might be because you have not taken in sufficient iron through your diet but it is also a vicious circle. The more blood you lose the more red blood cells you lose. These red blood cells release the iron when they die, and it is absorbed back into the system. If you sustain a lot of blood loss each month you will have increasingly less red blood cells which will lead to an iron deficiency over time.

Pregnant women lose their store of iron to the foetus, which is why many are put on an iron supplement although they can take in sufficient with an appropriate diet.

There are also other causes of blood loss, such as surgery or internal bleeding, but there are some diseases such as chronic bowel problems that induce a slow loss of blood over a long period of time and this can lead to Anaemia. If this is the case then you need to ensure that you visit your GP and ask for a blood test and do not take no for an answer. Chronic tiredness which is a symptom of Anaemia always needs to be investigated.

Earlier in my blogs I wrote about Candida Albicans, a parasite that robs nutrients from your food for its own use. This means iron too. As a result, part of the chronic fatigue associated with Candida can be linked to mild forms of anaemia. Posts on Candida can be found in the Health Directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-directory/

Iron Deficiency Anaemia

Of the two anaemias this one is wholly preventable and treatable with changes in diet and in some cases, supplementation.

The key to the diet is not just taking in iron in extra quantities and in fact it is not a good idea to suddenly rush off and grab yourself a bottle of iron tablets and start taking a handful as this can lead to chronic constipation. It is far better to start with adjusting your diet to include foods that are a good source of the mineral. If you need additional supplementation then you should follow the advice of a professional practitioner.

What is pernicious anaemia?

Pernicious Anaemia is actually a vitamin deficiency rather than an iron deficiency. As well as iron, your body needs B6, B12 and folic acid, or folate, to produce enough healthy red blood cells. If your diet is lacking in these, then you will have fewer red blood cells, and therefore less iron, and be anaemic.

Who is the most likely to suffer from this type of anaemia?

Both men and women suffer from this type of anaemia. In rare cases it can be genetic or congenital when someone is born with the inability to absorb Vitamin B12 from their diet. In this case although a healthy diet will support the sufferer they have to be treated with injections of B12 or large doses orally for the rest of their lives.

Nutrition and blood diseases.

Diet plays an enormous part in the prevention and treatment of blood diseases. Today’s diet of processed foods, additives, chemicals and fad weight-loss plans are all contributing to the inability of our body to process the necessary and vital nutrients efficiently. I have worked with many people who decide that they are going to become vegetarian and have done so without finding appropriate substitutes for animal products that previously provided nutrients such as iron and the B vitamins. If you wish to become vegetarian then make sure that you are getting sufficient wholegrains, fermented soy products like miso or Tempeh and plenty of fresh fruit and green vegetables. There is plenty of advice online on how to change your diet safely so please take advantage of that.

In some anaemic patients it is the result of a disease or condition that prevents absorption of nutrients in general – such as Candida – Crohns disease or if someone is celiac. Anything that affects the small intestine will cause mal-absorption of nutrients and result in possible anaemia

Also, long-term medication, use of the pill, HRT and chemotherapy can have an effect on the way we absorb iron, B6, B12 and Folate. As I mentioned earlier, any blood-loss means that the iron that is normally recycled when cells die off naturally is not available. It is important that anyone who has been through an intensive a treatment for a disease such as cancer receives nutritional support afterwards to ensure that their diet is absolutely optimum for regaining healthy red blood cells.

What symptoms would someone experience if they were anaemic?

People will vary with the symptoms depending on the severity of the problem.

  •  Generally people will begin to feel very tired. As we have said the body is being deprived of one of its main energy sources – oxygen.
  •  Some may experience rapid heartbeats – perhaps find themselves getting breathless when they have not really over exerted themselves.
  • There might be some chest pain associated with the symptoms – headaches or dizziness.
  • Hands and feet can become numb and very cold.
  • Nausea, causing loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Bleeding gums and a yellowish tinge to the skin and around the eyes.

What should you do if you feel that you might be anaemic?

If anyone is suffering from any of the symptoms above and is worried they should go and see their doctor and ask them to do a blood test. It would certainly either put their mind at rest or establish that there is a problem which can be easily treated – if necessary with a short term course of iron supplements or, if the problem is more serious, with injections. For dietary based anaemia or where it is only a temporary problem with absorption of B12 – diet and supplementation might be appropriate.

If the problem is a long term issue, as with pernicious anaemia, then the treatment usually consists of injections – daily to begin with, for a week or so, until the condition as stabilised and then as required, which might be monthly or three-monthly. If B12 is given orally it requires much higher dosages to ensure absorption but there is currently experimentation with sublingual supplementation.

Both these types of anaemia can be supported with a healthy diet and next time a look at the nutrients that are needed to support the health of the red blood cells and the foods you need to obtain them.

You can find all the Top to Toe posts in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe/

Thank you for dropping by ..Sally

 

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Top to Toe – Cardiovascular system and the components of Blood


Smorgasbord Health 2017

Blood is an incredibly complex fluid that uses the network of blood vessels to take the essential supplies such as oxygen and nutrients around the body that we need every day.

Blood is one of the constituents of our bodies that we tend to take for granted. Unless we suffer a catastrophic accident, resulting in major injuries most of us just need a plaster from time to time to patch ourselves up. However, blood is alive with an amazing group of components, completing several vital roles every second of every day, to ensure that we survive.

If our blood is not healthy we can suffer from anaemia, inefficient immune systems, slow healing and frequent infections. Long term blood disorders lead to much more serious illnesses such as cancer and organ failure.

Without a microscope we are unable to see the enormity of the life that is contained in just one small drop of blood. Once you understand some of the properties and duties of your blood and appreciate how vital it is to maintain its integrity, it will be easy to make sure that you include foods in your diet that promote its health and therefore your own.

The Cardiovascular System

Our cardiovascular system’s function is to pump blood around the body. If this process stops for more than a few seconds we will lose consciousness. Every part of our body requires oxygen and nutrients on demand, including additional supplies when we are under pressure. Our cardiovascular system deals with this process without any thought or involvement from us and in addition it will remove any waste products from our systems at the same time. A healthy cardiovascular system is essential and the quality of our blood is vital to our survival.

The circulatory system is made up of arteries, veins and capillaries. The arteries carry the oxygenated blood from the lungs into smaller arterioles, which connect to the veins via capillaries. Unlike the muscle-walled arteries, veins have thin, flexible walls that can expand to hold large volumes of blood. De-oxygenated blood returning to the heart in the veins is at a lower pressure than in the arteries and movement is assisted by a succession of one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards.

The links between the arteries and the veins are the capillaries, which are tiny blood vessels with permeable walls, which allow the exchange of nutrients, oxygen and waste between blood and tissue cells.

Blood is a liquid tissue and your body contains around 8 to 12 pints depending on your age and if you are male or female. Without blood you would die. It performs a number of crucial functions within the body, including the transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide, food molecules (glucose, fats and amino acids), ions, waste (such as urea), hormones and heat around the body. One of its major functions is the defence of the body against infections and other ingested toxins.

The components of Blood

Within blood is plasma, which is the pale yellow liquid that can easily be replaced by your body when it needs to. It is mainly water and proteins which assist your body in controlling bleeding and fighting infection. It is essential for the circulation of our red and white blood cells and platelets and also ensures that our natural, chemical communication system is operational. This communication system reaches every part of the body via the capillaries and is fuelled by minerals, vitamins, hormones and antibodies.

What are the different blood cell types?

White blood cells are called leukocytes and there are five types carrying out specific roles within the blood. Neutrophils, Eosinophils, Lymphocytes, Monocytes and Basophils.

Neutrophils are the most abundant of the white blood cells and are the first line of defence. They squeeze through the capillaries to infected areas in the body and consume and destroy invading bacteria and viruses. Even when we are healthy this process is essential as we are constantly ingesting, absorbing or inhaling harmful substances in our everyday environment. If our blood is healthy and well-populated with neutrophils we can prevent these invasions leading to illness and disease.

Picture1

Eosinophils are not very abundant in the blood but they are on stand-by and can increase their numbers dramatically if the body comes under attack from certain types of parasites. The cell will rush to the infected area such as the intestines and release a toxic substance over the parasite to destroy it.

Picture2

Red blood cells, or erythrocytes, are the most numerous type of blood cell. They are shaped specifically to ensure that they absorb as much oxygen from the lungs as possible. In just one minute 120 million of your red blood cells will die but in the same time frame exactly the same amount will be replaced from the bone marrow. The process actually starts in the kidneys, which release a hormone called erythropoietin, which travels to the bone marrow where it stimulates the production of erythrocytes. This is another reason why it is so vital to maintain the function of your kidneys with a natural, cook from scratch approach to your diet.

Other Cells in the blood.

  • B-Lymphocytes (B Cells)are responsible for making our antibodies in response to an infection.
  • T-Lymphocytes (T-Cells)are a family of cells including Inflammatory T-cells that rally Neutrophils and macrophages to the site of an infection quickly where they will consume bacteria.
  • Cytotoxic T-Lymphocytes that kill virus infected and possibly cancerous tumour cells.
  • Helper T-Cells that enhance the production of antibodies.
  • Monocytes leave the blood and become macrophages, which are large cells that ingest and destroy any invading antigens that enter the body and also any dead and dying cells from the body.
  • Basophils also increase production during an infection and will leave the blood stream via the capillaries and collect at the site of an infection where they will discharge granules that will stimulate the release of histamine, serotonin, prostaglandins and leukotrines. This increases the flow of blood to the infected site and results in an inflammatory reaction. An example of this might be a wasp sting or an allergic reaction to ingesting pollen resulting in a hay-fever attack.

What else is in the blood that is so vital for our health?
We have already established that without blood we die and we need a system in place that ensures that any break in the circulatory system is plugged and repaired as quickly as possible.

Picture3

Platelets are fragments of cells and must be kept at sufficient density in the blood to ensure that when blood vessels are cut or damaged the loss of blood can be stopped before shock and possible death occurs. This is accomplished by a process called coagulation or clotting.

A clot is formed when platelets form a plug, which is enmeshed in a network of insoluble fibrin molecules. This forms over any break in the circulatory system preventing any further loss of blood.

Next time a closer look at oxygenated blood and Anaemia.

©sallycronin Just Food For Health 1998 – 2017

You will find all the Top to Toe posts in this directory

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe/

Thank you for dropping by. Sally

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Food in the News – High fructose corn syrup- 90 (HFCS) Now in a product near you


Smorgasbord Health 2017

I do try to bring balance to my work as nutritional therapist but sometimes I feel that we take two steps forward and three steps back.

I love food and certainly I buy certain products that are not all natural from time to time but increasingly it has become difficult at times to identify what is toxic and what is not. Especially when allegedly trusted names in the food industry are using ingredients that have been shown to be harmful.

If you read my health posts you will know that I am not keen on anything that has been industrically produced, especially as for most of us, the shelves are filled with fresh and natural produce that we can cook from scratch.

However, big food manufacturers persist in adding harmful ingredients into our food chain for the sake of profits, and when they find one avenue blocked they invent another name for the ingredient to by-pass the so called guardians of our health such as the FDA.

As an adult I am careful about what food I put in my mouth, but what is criminal is the brazen lack lof concern for the children of our nations. From chocolate flavoured breakfast cereal to addictive snacks, food manufacturers blatently put profits over health.

It is not my intention to be a scaremonger about all foods, but a multi-billion pound food industry is playing fast and loose with our health, and with obesity rates rising dramatically across our western nations, it is time that we think more carefully about what we eat.

High fructose corn syrup is an additive which the body reacts to in the same way that it would several spoonfuls of sugar. It does not distinguish between sugar that is naturally in foods and artificial sweeteners and this results in more and more fat being stored. Particularly when it is touted as ‘diet’ food and ‘sugar free’. Frankly you would be better off putting a teaspoon of real sugar or a spoon of honey on your natural cereal, than eating this industrialised rubbish.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Instead of removing this cheap, harmful ingredient, US manufacturers have just changed its name on packaging to conceal it within their products.

They succeeded in changing the name of a form of HFCS called HFCS-90 to fructose or fructose syrup.

The toxic ingredient now called fructose, or fructose syrup, contains even higher concentrations of harmful HFCS, making it more of a health risk than regular HFCS. Regular HFCS (HFCS-42 or HFCS-55) contains either 42 or 55 percent fructose, while HFCS-90 contains 90 percent.

Source: http://www.naturalnews.com/2016-12-12-food-companies-are-hiding-harmful-high-fructose-corn-syrup-under-new-name.html
http://www.sweeteners.news/

And here is another post on the subject.

Packaging may “legally” say “no high fructose corn syrup” but HFCS will be hidden in the ingredients list under the name fructose.

Over the past 30 years high fructose corn syrup has replaced sugar as the sweetener in soft drinks. In Japan it represents approx 25% of the sweeteners and in the EU it is hardly used at all. Because of subsidies and tariffs it is approx half the price of sugar in the USA, though the real cost of producing it is probably similar to sugar.

It was once thought of as been a better alternative to sugar. Recent studies, however, have shown it to be far more detrimental to health than ordinary sugar. In fact HFCS has now become somewhat of a dirty word, and it is likely that it will be gradually phased out as consumer resistance becomes greater. (Similar to hydrogenated fats and trans fats)

Uses:
It is a syrup and consequently no use as a table top sweetener. However in the food industry it has a multitude of uses and advantages over other sweeteners.
1. It is a very economic sweetener, about half the price of sugar.
2. It tastes just like sugar.
3. It browns when heated and can provide color in baked foods.
4. It feeds yeast and assists with baking and rising of bread.
5. It thickens and stabilizes processed food.
6. It prolongs shelf life.

Benefits:

For the consumer, none. For the producer of sodas, processed foods etc it is cheaper than sugar.

Source: http://www.sugar-and-sweetener-guide.com/hfcs-90.html

If you have any of these products in your storecupboard and your family eat every day rather than just occasionally, you are consuming a cheap and nasty sweetener that is not supposed to be there.. but instead it has been re-christened.

Any fruit juice that is not made from 100% concentrate. This includes some top brands such as Capri-sun and Tropicana. This includes fruity sodas.

Buy 100% concentrate and dilute with water if you would like to have a lighter mix. Add sparkling water to the concentrate to make a soda.

Breakfast cereals that are touted as healthy such as Special K and Kellogs Raisin Bran contain this sweetener.

Buy cereal from health food shops and check the labels.. If in doubt ask an assistant.

Other everyday foods that we are told are healthy – ‘fruit’ yogurt, jams, nutritional power bars, bread, cakes and biscuits.

Check the labels even though you need a magnifying glass for some of them and try to eat sparingly rather than daily. Or make from scratch.

Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to comment and to share. Sally