Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 4th – 10th November 2019 – Books, Reviews, Videos, Health and Humour

Welcome to the weekly round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

We arrived back from two weeks in the UK on Thursday in slightly rougher sees than we might have liked but you can expect this in November. My two sisters had been on the Ventura for a cruise down to Portugal and back and they certainly had much rougher seas than we did and in fact it made the papers when a passenger shared a video of the water exiting one of the swimming pools and flooding a lounge. Both my sisters are good sailors and very little seems to phase them… they thought it was a storm in a teacup!!!

Anyway, it has taken a couple of days to catch up online as I was off more than I was on during our time away. It gave me time to get some reading done and expect some reviews over the next couple of weeks. I also began plotting out the direction that the blog will take next year and how I can increase author and blogger promotions. There will be more reviews on a more regular basis and there will be a return of the Posts from Your Archives series for both new bloggers and those of you more established.

This week sees the start of the last major outside projects with the removal of the old broken down fence between us and our neighbour’s garden and a brand new post and concrete wall, making the garden fully child and dog safe for the next owners of the house.

A couple more inside jobs and then in the spring the house goes on the market and we shall be off further down the coast between Wexford and Waterford, two historic cities with a great deal of cultural appeal and great amenities.

Highlights of the coming week.

There will be the usual Cafe and Bookstore updates with recent reviews and several new books on the shelves. The Blogger Daily will resume and plenty of fun with afternoon videos and funnies.

MondayThe Travel Column by D.G. Kaye and this month Debby is taking us to the lovely not-so-well known little gem of a place, Puerto Peñasco, for a tropical escape in Mexico.

Tuesday – William Price King shares the life and music of jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman.

Wednesday – Carol Taylor and I join forces to share the mineral Manganese and some recipes to include regularly in your diet to ensure that you do not become deficient.

Thursday – our Italian food expert Silvia Todesco shares a wonderful almond dessert that would be perfect for Thanksgiving.

Friday The Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair kicks off with a selection of children’s books in the Cafe and the first of the guest posts. D.G. Kaye will be sharing her expertise in writing memoirs.

The Weekend – Another post from Mike Biles about Britain’s history and Allan Hudson joins me for the Sunday Author Interview. There will also be two more stories from my Flights of Fancy Collection.

Time for the review of this past week’s posts.

This week Mike Biles lifts the lid and reveals the truth about one of my favourite books and television series as a child..Lorna Doone…

Lorna Doone a Romance of Exmoor, R D Blackmore, London & Glasgow, Collins clear type press

My guest this week is multi-genre  bestselling author P.C. Zick who shares the inspiration behind her popular Crandall Family Series and what we can look forward to later this year.

My review for the latest book by Frank Prem – The New Asylum

I have put together a pdf of the recent book marketing series so that you have all in one place. It is free and the content page and email is in the post.

It is remembrance Sunday and as it was Poet’s Choice this week on Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka challenge… I have written a double etheree ‘Young Soldiers’. I also wrote a Haiku for the header.

Two more stories from the Flights of Fancy collection and Free book offer.

A combination of language issues and an unhappy marriage offer a parrot the chance to put things right!

An old woman reflects on her life using the changing colours of her bedroom curtains to tell her story.


New Book on the Shelves

Author Updates

My go to recipe to bring as many nutrients together on one plate – Brown rice pilaf


Thank you very much for dropping in this week to like, comment and share.. I am so appreciative of the support. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch – Multi-vitamin on a plate – Brown Rice Pilaf – Sally Cronin

Carol Taylor will be back next week with more recipes to prevent mineral deficiency. In the meantime, having just finished the series on the major organs and systems of the body, I decided to re-share this post on a dish that I believe to contain the majority of the nutrients the body needs to be healthy. Including the ingredients on a regular basis will go along way to providing you with a healthy diet.

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.

I know that if you have been following the blog for the last seven 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 additional 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.


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 (I use Brown Basmati) – 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.

MushroomsFolate, 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/SalmonOmega 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.

To prepare

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Add in your cooked protein such as chicken, tuna or salmon or cooked shrimp.
  6. Serve in a bowl and garnish with a hardboiled egg.


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.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

My nutritional background

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with 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:

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope if you prepare this dish that you enjoy…thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health Column – Why do so many people in their 50s suffer from a frozen shoulder? by Sally Cronin

One of the common health complaints that would be noted on the questionnaire that I asked clients to complete when they came to see me, was chronic shoulder pain. Then when I was 52 years old I developed the same problem in my right shoulder that lasted 18 months and was very difficult to manage. I did go to the doctor who told me that I had obviously strained a muscle and to rest it and take painkillers. Not something I was keen on. So I decided to find out other treatments. I discovered that both man and women were suffering the same pain around the same age. It could not be a coincidence.

Why do so many people in their 50s suffer from a frozen shoulder?

A frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) can occur in adulthood and the simplest explanation is that it is the result of wear and tear. It usually effects the shoulder of the dominant hand and arm which makes sense particularly if you are a sportsman, regularly use heavy machinery or over exercise with weights.

However, if you suddenly begin to suffer from pain in your shoulder and upper arm in your early to mid fifties there might also be a number of other factors involved.

Usually the pain will continue for six months and sometimes even up to 18 months or two years. Whilst I am going to look at why it is likely to happen in the first place it is also interesting to note, that like many symptoms associated with both male and female menopause, a frozen shoulder usually recovers naturally, as the body re-balances itself in the two years following the reduction in hormones.

There are some other conditions that might have a link the condition. For example up to 20% of diabetics will suffer from a frozen shoulder at some point. Other diseases include Parkinson’s disease and heart problems. This why it is very important that you do have the pain investigated by your GP to rule out the possibility of a more serious condition.

Hormones and Collagen

Between the ages of 45 to 55 there is a natural reduction in the hormone oestrogen in women and testosterone in men. Both these hormones are involved in the production of collagen which is a major component of our skin. Obviously, the first thing we will notice is that we begin to have a few more wrinkles and our skin tone will thicken slightly. However, collagen is also the main component of ligaments and other soft tissues associated with our joints including the shoulder. Collagen production slows down from around 35 years onwards and as hormone levels also decrease there will also be a loss of tensile strength in the soft tissue causing instability in the joints.

Ligaments comprise two types of collagen. 90% Type 1 collagen which is very strong and takes around three months to form, 9% Type 2 collagen which is maturing into type 1 and 1% fibroblast cells which produce the collagen in the first place.

This is an ongoing process as with other cell renewal in the body but if some of the essential nutrients required for the process decrease or are eliminated you will experience an overall reduction in collagen, particularly Type 1 which is the strongest and keeps the joint stable.

Collagen is also the main component of two other connective materials. Tendons that connect with muscles to move our bones and Fasciae which connects muscle to muscle.

So as you can see if all three of these collagen based connective tissues are not being maintained there will be compromised joint movement.

(There is no actual evidence to suggest that supplements containing collagen or skincare containing it actually work – any good moisturiser will help keep your skin supple but it is more important to include the essential ingredients in your diet to take care of the soft tissues internally that we cannot see.)


The three most influencing forms of oestrogen in the female body are: Oestrone, oestradiol and oestriol with oestradiol being the one that decreases the most after menopause. Women also produce amounts of testosterone but following the menopause serum levels of this have also declined.

There are two interesting points about this – not only are both of these hormones involved in the production of collagen but also cause an overall rise in LDL (low density lipoprotein) and V-LDL (very low density lipoprotein) cholesterol. With a corresponding decline in HDL (high density lipoprotein) considered to be the healthier of the three. This is significant when I move onto Synovial fluid later in the article.

The second point is that with oestrogen deficiency there is an acceleration in the reduction of bone density with an estimated 3% bone loss per year for about five years dropping to 1% every year after that. The progression can be seen in this photograph.

Progression of osteoporosisCombine loss in collagen strength of the connective tissues attached to porus bone structures and you have increasingly unstable joints such as the shoulder but also knees and hips.


Men obviously have much higher levels of testosterone which is why they have different skin thickness and texture, facial hair etc. But testosterone is also important in stimulating the fibroblast cells to produce collagen. As testosterone declines this will of course result in connective tissue reducing in strength.

Although these hormones do decline they do not disappear completely and it is important that dietary components of all hormones should be considered an essential part of our diet over 40 to ensure that levels are maintained enough to continue to stimulate the replacement of collagen.

What provides the ingredients for hormones?

All hormones require Amino Acids for their production. Amino acids are the building blocks that make up protein, which of course is what we are made of. Vitamins and minerals can’t perform their specific functions effectively if the necessary amino acids are not present.

The Role of Amino Acids in the body

Amino acids help make neurotransmitters, the chemicals that convey messages in the brain and also hormones like insulin. They are needed for the production of enzymes that activate certain functions within the body and certain types of body fluid and they are essential for the repair and maintenance of organs, glands, muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, hair and nails.

The second very important ingredient to help our bodies maintain healthy hormone levels are Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) which are necessary fats that humans cannot synthesise and must be obtained through diet. There are two families of EFAs Omega-3 and Omega-6. Omega-9 is necessary but non-essential as it can be made by the body if the other two fatty acids are present.

The third vital ingredient is the demonic Cholesterol if you strip away all the faffing about by some scientific researchers, various food lobbies and fad diet proponents over the last 30 years, you will come back to the fact that the body needs fats. Cholesterol is composed of various types, some prone to free radical damage which is the result of poor diet and lifestyle and therefore potentially dangerous, but each type actually has a function in the body and I go into that in more detail in the posts which I have linked too.

Basically, eating healthy fats in your diet moderately, is essential – the right fat in natural, unprocessed foods including olive oil, oily fish, proteins, and dairy.

Physical causes for a frozen shoulder.

It is no coincidence that the frozen shoulder is usually on the side of our dominant hand. Make a note of your daily activities and identify if there is one activity in particular that stands out as being repetitive.. This could be texting, driving, playing an energetic game such as squash or tennis, walking the dog and holding the lead with your dominant hand (probably one of the contributory factors to my own frozen shoulder).

If you can change to your other side for those activities then do so, and if not then I suggest that you at least build in rest periods regularly during the day. Later in the post I have a video showing some simple exercises that might help.

Vitamin D

Although called a vitamin -Vitamin D is actually what is called a prohormone produced primarily by an interaction with sunlight and 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin. Molecularly it is more closely aligned with the other hormones that I have already mentioned eg. Estradiol.

The problem is that in the last 20 years we have been recommended to either stay out of the sun or cover ourselves with heavy factor sun-creams. Essential for bone density, hormones and our immune system and brain function, a growing deficiency world wide of this important nutrient is resulting in more cases of rickets in children and other serious diseases. We need around 45 minutes out in sunlight on our forearms and chest area as many days as we can from Spring through to Autumn. Additionally we need to include the few food items that also provide Vitamin D. I have put a link to bone health which outlines the essential ingredients.

Fats v carbohydrate diets.

Over the last 30 years the official advice has been to avoid fats of all kinds with a high carbohydrate diet recommended. The manufacturers have stepped up to the plate and provided us with plenty of artificial alternatives mixed with basically anything that extended shelf life and had a plastic origin. This included trans-fats and dubious sugars that have contributed to increased heart disease and conditions such as diabetes.

This means that those of us in our 50’s and 60’s going into, through and after the menopause may not have consumed as much protein to provide amino acids or healthy fats to maintain our cholesterol or hormone levels.

There are two types of amino acid, essential and non-essential. There are approximately 80 amino acids found in nature but only 20 are necessary for healthy human growth and function. We are made up of protein and we require adequate amounts of amino acids if we are to maintain and repair the very substance that we are made from.

We need to obtain essential amino acids from our diet and our body will produce the nonessential variety on its own if our diet is lacking in the essential type.

Refined sugars and acidic environment in the body.

Apart from the sugars produced from a mainly carbohydrate diet, particularly white carbohydrates, we have also been consuming high levels of refined sugars in the form of processed food which have been more readily available in the last 10 years. Sugars and the additives in food create an acidic environment in the body that results in raised cholesterol levels, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and hormone imbalance. It also contributes to the oxidising of LDL cholesterol which turns it into a harmful rather than beneficial substance in our bloodstream.

Currently there is a push to put everyone over the age of 50 onto Statins for life. This medication is designed to reduce the LDL (oxidised LDL the more harmful type) but actually reduces total cholesterol levels. So added to naturally reducing hormone levels there is the reduction in the basic ingredient needed to make them in the first place.

Long term Statin use data will not be available for at least another 30 years. One of the side effects of this reduction in cholesterol in men and women who do not have elevated levels  is a reduction of essential hormones  earlier and an increase in connective tissue and joint problems amongst other side effects.

Back to the frozen shoulder

To summarise:-

The decline in hormones oestrogen and testosterone in both men and women will effect the production and maintenance of collagen the main component of soft tissue material such as ligaments, tendons and also our bone density. All of which is likely to make joints unstable. Our hormone production requires certain nutrients and processes within the body.

A restricted diet will limit the amount of amino acids available to the body and it will impact the production of collagen.

Vitamin D is essential for many functions within the body including bone density, immune function and other hormone reliant processes. It is primarily produced by the interaction of direct sunlight on our skin for at least 45 minutes a day. Over the last 20 years we have been told to stay out of the sun or wear high factor sun blocks.

Healthy fats are an essential ingredient for the manufacture of our hormones yet for the last 30 years we have been encouraged to consume a high carbohydrate, low fat diet.

Refined sugars in our diet cause an imbalance in hormones which in turn disrupts their various functions including soft tissue production.

Alternative therapies to help treat the pain of frozen shoulder – Acupuncture

One of the most effective treatments that I have experienced for both my knee problem which is ligament damage, and a frozen shoulder is acupuncture.

Acupuncture is believed to be Chinese in origin, although there is evidence that it might have been used nearly 5000 years ago in India. It is certainly one of the oldest and most respected medical procedures in use in the world. Not only for humans, but also our household pets, farm animals, race horses and exotic animals in zoos are being treated with acupuncture for many different ailments.

There is evidence that suggests that acupuncture has been used for at least 2000 years to treat frozen shoulder and surprisingly the point in the body stimulated by needles to ease the pain of a frozen shoulder is a just below the outside of the knee… Usually treatment can taken up to ten weeks.

 You can find out more about acupuncture in my post:

Exercises to ease a frozen shoulder

Here are some simple exercises that you can do during the day from time to time to ease the pain. Thanks to Upright Health


Nonsurgical Treatment

As I mentioned in the beginning most shoulder pain will naturally decrease over a period of 6 to 18 months. Doctors will usually prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatories although long term use of these is not good for your general health. Usually aspirin or ibuprofen which do have short and long term side effects.

Cortisone injections directly into the shoulder joint can bring relief but it the problem is associated with the soft tissue surrounding the shoulder then this may not be effective.

Physical therapy does help – there are exercises that can help restore motion to the joint. I found the most effective was a combination of deep massage to the shoulder, joint and upper arm with white Tiger Balm and acupuncture.

Surgical Treatment

If time and the basic treatments do not relief the pain then you may have to discuss surgical options with your doctor. These usually involve manipulating the joint under anesthetic forcing the soft tissue to stretch or even tear. Arthroscopy is a procedure where the soft tissue capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint is cut through to release the tension. Both these procedures may be combined.

You will need physical therapy following the surgery and recovery can take between six weeks and three months.

Nutritional recommendations.

If you have been reading my posts you will know that I advocate a diet comprising any fresh produce you like. Lots of vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, fruit, fluids and dependent on age varying amounts of wholegrains.

I recommend if possible reducing the consumption of processed pre-prepared foods to about 20% which means that 80% is prepared from scratch.

The best food sources of amino acids are dairy products, eggs, fish, meat, soybeans, quinoa, nuts and seeds

Eat healthy fats in oily fish, grass fed butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, walnuts and almonds.

Take in sufficient vitamin C in vegetables and fruit to improve your soft tissue health and collagen production.

If you live in the northern hemisphere and cannot get consistent exposure to sunshine between May and October, make sure that the foods that contain Vitamin D such as eggs broccoli, strawberries, nuts, avocado, dairy and particular Vitamin D3 in fish oils are part of your diet. This will up your intake of Vitamin E in certain foods which is essential for healthy collagen.

Vitamin D is one of the supplements that I recommend during the winter months that may make a difference to not just your soft tissue health but bones and immune system.

Keep hydrated. As we age are skin becomes dry on the surface but this also applies internally I drink a glass of coconut water every day with green and herbal teas and plenty of water. I find turmeric tea helpful for inflammation and for a reduction in pain and also drink chamomile which is calming and lemon and ginger to boost the immune system.

©sallycronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with 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:

As always delighted to get your feedback and questions. This is not intended to take the place of your doctor’s presence in your life. But, certainly in the UK, where you are allocated ten minutes for a consultation and time is of the essence; going in with some understanding of how your body works and is currently functioning can assist in making a correct diagnosis.

Some doctors believe that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. However, I believe that understanding our bodies, how it works, how we can help prevent health problems and knowing the language that doctors speak, makes a difference.  Taking responsibility for our bodies health is the first step to staying well.

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have found useful.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Health Column- Major Organs and Systems in the Body – The Skin – Eczema – Lifestyle or Genetics by Sally Cronin

In the last post I covered a general overview of the role of our skin and also the nutrients it requires to be healthy.  I wanted to expand on that with a couple of specific posts from 2014 on eczema and other common skin conditions.

Today I will look at the itchy and very debilitating eczema since this condition can be complex to get rid of. There are many different causes but usually there is a link to a family associated tendency towards Asthma, Hay fever and allergies. As you will see as we move through the post this genetic link goes back more than just a couple of generations.

For example in our recent history in my family there is a link to asthma. My grandmother died of the disease at only 52 in 1945 before there were effective treatments. My mother suffered from hay fever and was allergic to penicillin, aspirin and tetanus. I have those same allergies and also have suffered from skin problems from time to time. One of my sisters also suffered badly from asthma as a child and teenager although grew out of it unless exposed to certain contaminants. However, it is interesting and often useful to go back further and I am talking about 20,000 years!

In an earlier post on the blog I introduced my great, great grandmother many times removed called Helena – a fictional name for the bones of a woman discovered in a cave in Southern Europe who had lived approximately 20,000 years ago.

I submitted my DNA in 2001 to Oxford Ancestors after reading the fascinating book The Seven Daughters of Eve by Professor Bryan Sykes a human geneticist. Latest research more or less concludes that Helena (from Haplogroup H mitochondrial sequence) came from a people who had travelled from West Asia around 25,000 years ago and then moved through Europe as the ice age receded. It is estimated that 46% of all Europeans share this DNA sequencing and is therefore the most common.  Since we submitted our DNA there have been several advances in technology and other connections discovered and the story has become even more fascinating.

I have mentioned this to illustrate that we are not just at risk from our toxic modern environment or our diet and lifestyle choices. There are elements associated with many of our illnesses that have a genetic component and later I will follow this link to skin problems.


The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis which results in a very dry, itchy red rash. Scratching it may cause some relief but leaves scars and thickening of the skin. It is more common in babies but they usually grow out of it by about 5 years old. Their immune systems are immature and may find it difficult to digest cow’s milk or eggs but of course may also be affected by a genetic link to asthma and allergies. This is also the case when skin problems continue into adulthood when exposed to an environmental allergen such as dust mites, pollen and animal dander.

Our bodies are programmed to handle toxins when we encounter them on an infrequent basis but when exposed daily or even a few times a week our liver and waste disposal system goes into overwhelm. Our skin is actually our largest waste organ not the liver. It is porous with a two way filtering system. Touch a contaminant and it will be absorbed instantly. Usually just to the first layer or two but if the toxin is strong enough then it will leach into your blood stream and create more difficulties for organs such as the liver which has the job of neutralizing and preparing contaminants for excretion.

However, when you regularly eat a food that you are genetically not designed to eat all the time, then you will begin to experience various symptoms, stomach upsets, vomiting and skin problems as the body uses its natural defence systems to get rid of it. Histamines are released and these will result in a streaming eyes and nose, hives or rashes. This is an intolerance but of course if it is a full blown allergy to the food, such as peanuts, it can cause a life threatening anaphylactic reaction.

Non-food related eczema

Before I look at the food related eczema I will just cover a likely genetic link to skin conditions. Research has found that some people have a lack of a particular protein in their skin called Filaggrin and this helps form and maintain the protective outer layer. If this outer layer is thinner than it should be, it will not provide adequate protection from external contaminants. For example detergents, dust mites, animal dander, and certain cloth types such as natural wools or synthetics that are rough to the touch. Dyes in clothing, labels that rub the skin, tight fitting garments, soaps and other cleansers, make-up, nickel in jewellery etc.

Unfortunately with that type of genetic skin formation there is little you can do but use avoidance tactics.

  • This means using fragrance free and pH neutral washing powders, soap, shower gels, cosmetics and anything that is going to come into contact with your skin.
  • Not wearing tight fitting undergarments and clothes.
  • Ensuring that you keep your bed clothes and furniture well aired and washed frequently on a hot wash to eliminate dander and mites.

There is a great deal of information on the web if you do have this form of touch related eczema and it is well worth making some changes to relieve the symptoms. Also, if you are suffering from this form of skin condition with its genetic link it is likely that any children that you have may also have the problem so making the changes will benefit the whole family.

  • Make sure that when handling any form of chemical cleaner or personal products such as hair dye that you wear non-latex gloves and always wash any exposed skin immediately with running water.
  • Severe cold can trigger an increase in reactions and although sunlight with its vitamin D can benefit certain skin conditions you will find that hot, humid weather that causes sweat glands to work overtime can increase the severity of eczema and hives.
  • If you smoke you are massively increasing the work load of your skin barrier as thousands of chemicals attack and infiltrate through to the bloodstream.
  • If you suffer from any skin condition it is likely to be worsened by stress of any kind. The body is on alert in fight or flight mode and particularly when the stress is chronic or long term the continual release of hormones and chemicals into your bloodstream can increase reactions to both food and external toxins.

Back to food.

If you are prone to food related eczema then you should be looking at the nightshade family (Solanaceae). There are actually over 2000 species of plant that are used as food and also in some of the medicines we ingest which does not make it easier to pinpoint as a culprit for reactions such as eczema. If you have a sensitivity to nightshade you will be unable to digest them completely and this leads to a long list of symptoms including stomach upsets, constant bloating, painful joints and even depression.

Nightshade foods and eggs that might be the cause of eczema.

white potatoesPotatoes, tomatoes, peppers of any kind, aubergine or eggplant, and certain berries such as Goji or cape gooseberries are high up on the suspect list as are eggs. The egg white more so than the yolk and whilst they are an amazing form of protein and nutrients, some people have to avoid all together or only eat once or twice a week.

The reason that I mention that you might be able to tolerate limited exposure to these foods is that your liver usually can clear down toxins within five days. It becomes overwhelmed however when you are eating some of these suspect foods every day. My two key supects are green peppers (they are not fully ripe) and aubergines. Tomatoes and potatoes do not cause me problems. Everyone has a unique chemical make up and genetic background so you may find you can tolerate different nightshades to other people.

Before you make a connection with your skin problems and stop eating these excellent sources of nutrients for ever, it is a good idea to keep a food diary for a week – eat normally and make a note of any skin changes that occur in that time. Two weeks is even better.

If you suffer from eczema or hives ring the foods that I mentioned above with a red pen and see how many times a week you are eating them. The culprit foods or food is going to be the one which you eat daily or more than three or four times a week. They will be easy to spot. See how many of the foods fall into the nightshade family or eggs. This does not just include boiled, scrambled or fried etc. but also dishes containing eggs. If eating cakes, biscuits or other processed baked goods double check the ingredients.

A final note on the genetic link to food intolerances.

Our DNA does not mutate quickly. 20,000 years is a mere drop in the ocean in DNA terms and if our ancestors were not exposed to certain foods such as wheat, nightshade family or dairy then our bodies may not be equipped to digest them efficiently and may even react to them as toxins.

Our diets have changed radically in the last 300 years since the introduction of refined sugars which is tough enough on our bodies, but we have also now have access to foods from around the world that our long line of grandparents would never have consumed. Most are easy to digest and offer wonderful health benefits but occasionally you will find one that your body, in its wisdom, considers to be poison and will let you know very quickly.

With the addition of refined sugars and the additives in industrially prepared foods our body is under increasing stress as it tries to deal with foods with even the slightest toxicity. I have found with clients over the years that when they go almost sugar free and only cook from scratch many of their intolerances and reactions, such as skin conditions clear up.

We usually say that mother knows best but in fact our bodies have that one nailed!

©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:

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

Smorgasbord Health Column – Major Organs and systems of the Body – The largest organ in the body – The Skin – Sally Cronin

Some organs play a major role in our survival and others can be removed without impacting our general health in any significant way. As we have evolved so an organ’s function may have changed to accommodate our modern environment, especially if their role is protective as in the case of the liver and the elimination of toxins. In this polluted world our body is under increasing stress and keeping the individual organs healthy ensures the general well-being of the entire body.

The skin – the largest organ of the body with a role to protect and remove waste.

In today’s post I am concentrating on our largest organ. Surprisingly it is not situated inside our bodies but outside. Our skin weighs 12% to 15% of our body weight and has three vital roles to play. It protects us from external contaminants, acts as a temperature and moisture controller and is essential in the elimination of waste products.

There is a complex structure to our skin that is invisible to the naked eye and apart from slapping a bit of moisturiser on last thing at night, most of us are unaware of the crucial role that it plays in our general health.

As you can see from the diagram above, skin has a number of layers, each with a specific role to play such as in waste management and of maintaining healthy hair growth.

One of the most crucial roles is as a barrier to external contaminants and it comes under increasing stress as we get older. Free radicals attack it from the outside from chemicals in household cleaners, cigarette smoke, pollution and ultra-violet light. From the inside it is the victim of a poor diet low in essential fatty acids, processed foods, food intolerances and toxins produced from an inefficient and under nourished operating system.

Some of the signs of skin under stress are acne, cold sores, eczema, psoriasis, hives, impetigo, warts and of course wrinkles.  In the next posts I will be looking at some of these common skin conditions in more detail.

Most of us live in harsh environments at home and at work with air conditioning and central heating drying our skins out. As we get older and without the protection of our reproductive hormones our skin will naturally become much dryer. Diet and hydration play a vital role in our skin health and today an overview of some essential ingredients needed to maintain a healthy skin.

Start by drinking water

Lack of fluids causes blotchy and dull skin and spots so drinking 2 litres of fluid a day will give you a glow and improve the tone. Dehydrated skin is very flaccid and flat and a test is to pinch some skin on the back of your hand and let it go. The longer it takes to return to its former shape, the more dehydrated you are. It should spring back immediately. I still advocate drinking some glasses of most tap water – I don’t like mine with too much chlorine etc. which is added in hot climates but generally it is good enough to drink.  Certainly that may be all you are getting when you buy cheap mineral water, although it has probably been filtered.  It is now considered that coffees and teas contribute to your fluid intake and I enjoy both peppermint and green tea and tend to have four or five of those a day.  If you live in an area that has low humidity or you exercise at an active level you will need to increase your fluid intake.

I suggest 30 minutes before each meal. Drinking large glasses with food can dilute your gastric juices and result in food not being properly digested. This applies to first thing in the morning when your get out of bed. Drink either a large glass of water to rehydrate or hot water with the juice of half a lemon and get a Vitamin C hit too. You will have gone 8 hours without any fluid in bed which is a warm environment and you should notice a big difference in energy levels if you top up first thing.

Apart from fluids, what else do we need to ensure healthy and glowing skin?

We need a balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, with the right amount of the essential nutrients to ensure that all the body systems, such as waste management, are working efficiently. If you are not eliminating waste then it will accumulate and cause tissues such as skin to become lifeless and dull.

If you are a regular reader of my blogs you will find some shopping lists in the archives which provide most of the nutrients we need on a daily basis and that is a good place to start and then adapt to your own personal requirements.

We are essentially made up of water and protein. The skin needs sufficient protein in the diet and this does not mean eating 5 lbs of prime-rib every day. Protein is present in lots of plant foods as well and these would include all types of beans, sprouting seeds and beans, cheese, milk, whole grains. Live yoghurt is great as it also contains the friendly bacteria to keep your intestines healthy. If they are working efficiently then of course you will be eliminating a great many toxins.

Certain foods in our modern diet can cause acne such as too much sugar, bloating caused by drinking too much alcohol and eating refined carbohydrates that get stored as fat and increase the lumpy and uneven texture to our skin.

We need a certain amount of fat, not only for the B vitamins that it supplies but also because it assists in circulation and improves the suppleness and softness of skin. Vitamin B – complex is very important for skin tone and the B vitamins are also great for the immune system – keeping us clear of infections.

Other vitamins that we should be taking in for our skin health are Vitamin A, which strengthens and repairs the tissues and prevents spots. It is a powerful anti-oxidant, which keeps your skin clear of toxins.

Vitamin C is vital for wound healing and repair and maintenance of the blood vessels close to the surface of the skin and can be used in creams on the surface to help stabilise the collagen and help prevent fine lines appearing.

Vitamin E is definitely a great anti-oxidant and has an anti-inflammatory effect when applied directly to the skin. It helps keep the skin soft and smooth and has a mild sunscreen effect.

Zinc works like the vitamin C and E and is great for wound healing and in a cream is great for mild rashes etc.

The best diet for great skin is plenty of fresh and preferably raw fruit and vegetables packed with antioxidants. Wholegrains that will provide fibre and help you eliminate toxins. Lean poultry and oily fish and daily helpings of zinc rich foods such as pumpkinseeds are essential.

There is a group of anti-oxidants, which are proving to be very effective for skin health. They are called Anthocyanidins and are found in most berries and grapes, particularly the skins and help with inflammation and oxidation of tissues.

Skin brushing

As mentioned earlier, the skin is the largest organ of elimination and in fact about one pound of waste is excreted through the skin on a daily basis.

I would like to introduce you to an easy and very inexpensive way to improve the health of not just that essential organ but your whole body.

If your skin is in poor condition and the pores are blocked with dead cells, impurities are forced back into the body. This puts additional stress onto the other organs of elimination such as the liver and the kidneys causing them to be overworked and toxins to build up in the body causing disease.

Dry skin brushing is relaxing and extremely beneficial. We do need to wash, but using soap and water all the time to cleanse can cause other problems as soap is still a chemical. You will find after a very short period of time that not only the circulation of your skin is improved but also its softness. You will also notice a reduction in infections and allergic irritations as the waste products are allowed to leave the body as they should. People also notice that they have less body odour, suffer fewer infections such as colds and feel more energy due the stimulation of the lymph system.

There are specific skin brushes but I use a long handled medium soft back brush. You must always brush towards the heart to ensure that you do not cause circulatory problems. Start at the soles of your feet and work your way up your legs and stomach as far as the chest area. Brush upwards from your hands to your shoulders and then down from your shoulders to the breast area. You can be as vigorous as you like. Do not brush your face but you can do the back of your neck and your scalp. Have a separate brush for each member of the family and wash your brush at least once a week.

If you feel that you need to wash afterwards then simply stand under a luke-warm shower and then a cold jet to remove excess skin cells and then close your pores. Pat yourself dry and rest for a few minutes to allow your body to really relax.

Are skin creams worth the money?

Like most women I have fallen prey to the television advertising that promises that either the seven signs of ageing (not sure if dementia is included in this list) or all my wrinkles will disappear by using some amazing and magical ingredient in skin cream.

We have collagen, boswellox and some interestingly named nutrients that apparently give you a face-lift in 4 weeks. Interestingly if you look at the small print on the bottom of the advertising you will see that this was a test on 47 women of whom 25% noticed a difference. Sorry would like a little larger test market than that. Not only am I concerned about the size of this trial, but what else were these 47 women doing at the same time as they were plastering their faces with this new cream? Did they do a detox, give up smoking, drinking alcohol, coffee and start drinking 2 litres of water per day? Too many variables for me to make an informed decision to buy or not.  I have also reacted to some face creams over the years and if you can read the fine print it is quite interesting to see what actually goes into these potions!

It is only my opinion but my mother used a very inexpensive cream every night all her life and she used from the age of 15 to her death at 95 and she always had very smooth skin. I have tried many of the expensive creams from time to time but always seem to end up washing with plain soap and water followed by something like Nivea cream. But by far the most impressive effects were achieved by giving up smoking in my late 30’s, cutting back my drinking of alcohol and increasing my intake of water and healthy fats.

Start with a healthy eating plan and then decide if you are willing to part with your money on a vague promise of a youthful skin.

Next time a look at eczema.. thanks for stopping by and please feel free to share. Sally

©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:

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

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – AWOL – Benny Goodman – Magnesium – The Magic Carpet – Television Interviews and all that Jazz…

Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

On the news front I will be offline from this Thursday to Monday 28th October and for a few days in the first week in November. I have however left some posts for you… the regular book promotions and also some surprises.

Delighted to share the news of the start of a series by guest writer Mike Biles, author of A Bit About Britain’s History who will be joining us every Saturday until Christmas. His first post next Saturday is about the visit he made to author Rudyard Kipling’s home.

As Just an Odd Job Girl has now finished, I am starting a new serialisation, this time of my first short story collection from 2009, which has just received a lovely review. The first two stories from Flights of Fancy air next weekend.

And I would be grateful if you could pop in on Sunday when Eloise De Sousa will be my guest on the Sunday author Interview

I will be online again by Monday and will respond to any comments then… I will also catch up with any retweets etc on social media.

On with this week’s posts.

As always my thanks to the contributors and guest writers for the time and work that goes into preparing the posts for the blog and to you for keep coming back to read them.

William Price King shared the life and music of the renowned King of Swing, Benny Goodman.

Magnesium – Calcium’s BFF and a deficiency alert One of the minerals that most people focus on is calcium (the last column) but it is in fact magnesium or the lack of this mineral in our diet that may be the contributory factor in many of the diseases that we suffer from, particularly as we get older.

If you are a regular visitor to the blog you will be familiar with Jessica Norrie and her Literary Column which ran in 2018 and has enjoyed a revival this year too. We also get to enjoy an extract from Jessica’s latest release – The Magic Carpet

 Last week I covered the basics of the preparation needed before a radio and podcast interview  This week preparing for an interview on camera.

This week in the Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 145 we are being asked to write in response to the photo prompt selected by last month’s winner of the challenge, Diana Wallace Peach.. I have composed a double Etheree – The Moonlight Concerto

This weekend the last two chapters of my novel Just an Odd Job Girl. A surprise visitor changes Imogen’s future.

The final chapter…a new life

In the UK according to overall cancer statistics from Cancer Research UK there were 363,484 new cases in 2016, and 164,900 deaths in 2017. There is now a 50% survival rate over 10 years but, 38% of cancers are preventable.

This week I am share the the impact on a child’s body of a high sugar diet and lack of nutrition in relation to their brain development and hormone production as they head into puberty.

In her final post Linda Thompson shares the sadness of loss. In this case when a relationship dies and we have to leave elements of our previous life behind. Thankfully most of us find another safe haven.

New Book on the Shelves

Author Update #reviews


Thank you very much for dropping in and all your support this week. I hope you will pop in next week thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – The Obesity epidemic – Part Four– Finding a point to intervene in the life cycle – 7 – 14 healthy diet for brain function and hormones

In part four of this series I looked at how critical it is to get the diet right for the 7 – 14 age range for both boys and girls for their overall health and immune systems. I also suggested that millions of children are getting packed lunches, and that a large percentage of those were sugar laden and nutritionally deficient.

This week I am share the the impact on a child’s body of a high sugar diet and lack of nutrition in relation to their brain development and hormone production as they head into puberty.

Whilst the focus so far has been on obesity, there is a much larger and potentially more dangerous consequence to a diet that is nutritionally deficient and high in sugar. It can seriously impact a child’s brain development and consequently healthy hormone production.

There is so much hidden sugar in manufactured food that it is difficult to be specific about the amount a child is consuming every day, but it is estimated that in the USA this is 50lbs of sugar per year.

And as this information about children in the UK identifies, there is just as much sugar consumption there

Sugary soft drinks remain one of the main contributors of free sugars to children’s diets, more than ice cream and puddings combined.

Apart from fruit juice, which counts as one of our 5 A Day, the other main sources of sugar in children’s diets are:

Sugary soft drinks (including squashes, juice drinks, energy drinks, cola and other fizzy drinks) 10%
Buns, cakes, pastries and fruit pies 10%
Sugars, including table sugar, preserves and sweet spreads 9%
Biscuits 9%
Breakfast cereals 8%
Chocolate confectionery 7%
Sugar confectionery 7%
Yoghurt, fromage frais and other dairy desserts 6%
Ice cream 5%
Puddings 4%

The additional problem is that if you can read the small print on the labels, most sugars are given an alternative name to fool the consumer…with the outcome of also damaging the health of their children. One of the most damaging being Corn Syrup which is used in most manufactured sweet products.

There is growing evidence that not only is all this sugar fueling the obesity and diabetes epidemics but it is compromising our children’s brains and mental and physical development.

A high sugar diet leads to a decrease in attention span and memory retention.

When a child has consumed a lot of sugar and then attempts a complex problem in say mathematics, the hypothalamus in the brain encourages the release of the stress hormone cortisol. When this response is frequent, which could be daily with a child on a high sugar diet, it makes a child agitated, and less likely to pay attention. They also find it difficult to retain information.

Long term sugar consumption might permanently result in the impairment of memory functions.

We are only now seeing the results of long term sugar consumption at these exceptional levels, and scientists have raised concerns that this will have a permanent impact on a child’s brain into adulthood.

A high sugar diet can cause malnutrition in children

A high sugar diet leads to a change in a child’s appetite, and usually turns them into a picky eater, as their brains react to excess of sugar by signalling to the body that it is full. They are also resistant to eating foods that are savoury rather than sweet. This leads to the exclusion of brain health specific foods such as vegetables, whole grains, dairy and healthy fats. This in turn leads to deficiencies of nutrients essential in this period of rapid growth physically and mentally.

Disruption to a healthy puberty when the brain function has been compromised by sugar.

Last month I looked at the brain health of men and women with regard to the production of all hormones in the body, and here is a quick summary of why it is critical that this age group 7-14 have a diet rich in certain nutrients, to ensure that they go through a healthy puberty and young adulthood.

The brain is still developing and requires a daily diet that provides specific nutrients to accomplish this healthily. Later in the post I have included those nutrients and their main food sources.

These are just the glands in the brain that produce hormones but you can read about all the hormone glands in the body in This post

The Hypothalamus

The other name of the hypothalamus is actually the word homeostasis, which means balance, which is very appropriate. It is located in the middle of the base of the brain and is connected to the pituitary lobes, which form the most important gland in the body and is often referred to as the Master Gland.

The hypothalamus regulates body temperature, blood sugar, water balance, fat metabolism, appetite, body weight, sensory input like taste and smell and sight, sleep, sexual behaviour, emotions, hormone productions, menstrual cycle regulation and the automatic nervous system that controls automatic functions such as breathing and the heart muscle.

The Pituitary gland

The pituitary gland has an anterior and posterior lobe. The anterior lobe regulates the activity of the thyroid, adrenals and the reproductive glands producing a number of hormones.

  • Growth hormone stimulates the growth of bone and body tissues and plays a part in the metabolism of nutrients and minerals.
  • Prolactin, which activates milk production in mothers who are breast-feeding.
  • Thyrotropin which stimulates the thyroid to produce hormones.
  • Corticotrophin which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce its hormones.
  • Gonadotrophs are cells that secret the two hormones that stimulate hormone production in the ovaries and testes. These are called luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and whilst not essential to life are essential to reproduction.
  • It is also the gland that releases hormones that signal the ovaries and testes to make the sex hormones and controls the ovulation and menstrual cycle.

The Pineal gland

This gland is located in the middle of the brain and secretes melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep cycles. Being tired all the time will certainly not help maintain a healthy hormone balance.

If a child is consuming too much sugar, and is obese then this hormone production process will be compromised.

Weaning a child (and an adult off sugar)

Weaning a child of sugar is difficult, especially if they have been consuming it in their food from birth in formula, manufactured baby foods, and onto high sugar adult foods. Sugar cravings are dreadful and I speak from experience and I was an adult. Don’t suddenly deprive the body and brain from this addictive stuff and plan on a gradual removal.

  1. Start with your own diet. Do you consume too much sugar and it that seen as normal to your children? How much sugar is hidden in your staples in your larder such as cereal, tinned goods and jars of jam and sauces?
  2. Cut back slowly, change any fizzy drinks to diluted fruit juice and you can sparkling mineral water to give it some fizz. Introduce fresh fruit rather than a sugary snack bar, including an apple, banana, or orange.
  3. Change from sugary cereals to a healthy fat breakfast such as an egg on whole grain toast, omelette, use real butter and coconut oil if you are going to fry an egg or to make french toast. Avocado toast also makes a good start to the day.
  4. Check with the school if your child is having cooked lunches and make sure they are working to the new standards of increased vegetables, wholegrains, salads etc. If you are preparing a packed lunch then include fresh fruit, wholegrain sandwich with chicken or tinned tuna with salad, some unsalted nuts and if not had an egg for breakfast, add a hard boiled one to the lunch box.
  5. Start reducing biscuits (cookies) to just one with a glass of milk rather than a soda. Two average cookies a day add up to 300 calories which in a year amounts to 31lbs in body fat. Two average cookies will also contain 10grams of sugar.  It is recommended that children should not consume more that 25grams of added sugar.
  6. Make sure as a family you eat your main meal or supper together each day and lead by example when it comes to introducing new foods to encourage a varied diet. To save time bulk cook and freeze portions.
  7. Cook from scratch instead of using industrially produced sauces.. again you can make a great tomato, basil and garlic sauce and freeze portions to use.
  8. Use non-sugary toppings for toast such as Marmite, fresh chicken, tinned tuna etc.

Essential fatty acids

One of the most important food source for brain and healthy hormones are essential fatty acids which are Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids (polyunsaturated fatty acids). The body must have these essential fatty acids, yet cannot make them itself. One of the main functions of essential fatty acids is the production of prostaglandins which are the hormone-like substances that regulate many body functions. They basically control every cell of the body on a second-by-second basis by acting as interpreters between the hormones and the cells they are being delivered too. They are also concerned with energy production, increasing oxidation and metabolic rates. They are particularly important to balance all hormones including the reproductive ones and the brain does not function without them.

Monounsaturated fats are also important as both these types of fats protect brain cells and the membranes and ensure effective passing of nutrients within the brain.

Make sure children are hydrated to safeguard their brains with water, milk and diluted fruit juices but not with fizzy sodas with added sugars

As well as the usual unprocessed and natural diet it is important to include the following foods which are the best sources for the nutrients needed for healthy brain and hormone production

Essential Fatty acids

Omega 3. Flaxseed oil, walnuts, pumpkinseeds, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, avocados, dark green vegetables such as spinach, salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, tuna.

Omega 6. Flaxseed oil, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, olive oil, evening primrose oil, chicken.

Omega 9. Olive oil, olives, avocado, almonds, sesame oil, pecans, pistachio, cashews.

Heat and oxygen destroys essential fatty acids so keep your oils in dark glass and your nuts in sealed containers.

Antioxidants are found in all fresh fruit and vegetables and if you are eating 50% to 60%of your diet raw you will be doing great.

B vitamins are found in apricots, avocado, brown rice, carrots, chicken, eggs, whole grains, lambs kidney and liver, melon, nuts, oats, oily fish, potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, all salad vegetables and yoghurt.

Amino acids are found in proteins either animal or vegetable. Main sources are Soya beans, peas, beans, whole grains like brown rice, dairy products, poultry, lean meats and eggs.

Calcium is found in yoghurt (natural with added berries or nuts), sesame seeds, goats and cows milk, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables and cheese.

Magnesium is in pumpkinseeds, spinach, salmon, sunflower seeds and beans.

Zinc is in calf liver, beef, lamb, yoghurt, mushrooms, pumpkinseeds and sesame seeds.

Tryptophan is in chicken, turkey, tuna, beef, lamb, halibut and salmon.

The next stage in the bodies development is 14 to early 20s which marks the end of the growth period and adulthood. Unfortunately this is also the age that is more difficult to manage from an eating perspective, especially after eighteen and a child either moves into further education away from home or becomes more independent.

However, if up to that point they have avoided a sugar laden diet, had moderate exercise and enjoyed a mainly ‘cook from scratch’ diet, they are more inclined to continue with at least elements of that when they fend for themselves.

Which is why I am an advocate for cookery classes at school as well as in the home to provide them with a vital life skill. That of providing their bodies with the healthiest diet possible, and hopefully skills they will pass on in turn. It may take a generation but it is possible to reverse this trend towards a catastrophic obesity crisis.

©sallycronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with 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:

As always delighted to get your feedback and questions. This is not intended to take the place of your doctor’s presence in your life. But, certainly in the UK, where you are allocated ten minutes for a consultation and time is of the essence; going in with some understanding of how your body works and is currently functioning can assist in making a correct diagnosis.

Some doctors believe that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. However, I believe that understanding our bodies, how it works, how we can help prevent health problems and knowing the language that doctors speak, makes a difference.  Taking responsibility for our bodies health is the first step to staying well.

Thank you for following this series and I hope that you have found the posts interesting and of use. Thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Health Column- Major Organs and Systems of the Body – Female Reproductive system – Breast Cancer by Sally Cronin

Female Reproductive system – Breast Cancer

Unfortunately cancer is a common condition and there will be over 14 million new cases this coming year and over 8 million deaths world wide. In many developing countries that do not have screening programmes to detect the disease early, the diagnosis of cancer is a death sentence. Most of us live in countries where cancer research, early detection and personalised treatments are now available, and if you look at the survival rates of ten years and over, the news is encouraging.

In the UK according to overall cancer statistics from Cancer Research UK there were 363,484 new cases in 2016, and 164,900 deaths in 2017. There is now a 50% survival rate over 10 years but, 38% of cancers are preventable.

If that is the case then it would result in 138,123 fewer cases per year and 62,662 less deaths a year.

With regard to Breast Cancer, there are an average of 55,122 new cases in the UK each year, 11,400 deaths in 2017, with an estimated 23% of cases being preventable. What does look more promising is that the survival rate for women for 10 years of more is 78%.

The US statistics can be found on this website Susan G. Komen In 2019, it’s estimated among U.S. women there will be:

  • 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer (This includes new cases of primary breast cancer, but not recurrences of original breast cancers.)
  • 62,930 new cases of in situ breast cancer – find out more about this in the statistics
  • 41,760 breast cancer deaths

Although the survival rate in the UK and US is improving, the aim of course, is to ensure as near 100% survival rate for all those diagnosed with breast cancer. To that end, research has now become even more focused on identifying every factor involved in its development, from risk factors to individual tumour cell variations. There are some exciting new studies which you will find out about later in the post

The diagnosis of Breast Cancer strikes fear into the heart of us all. Not that the disease is exclusive and men too can develop this disease. But there are risk factors that are not down to genetic causes, but are a result of our lifestyle. The fact that it is estimated that 38% of cancers are preventable, should inspire us to look closely at our diet, exercise and lifestyle choices.

Risk Factors

Most of us in developed countries are living longer due to better diet and medical care. Recent research does support the fact that we all have rogue cells that might at some stage develop into cancer, particularly if we live into our eighties and nineties. If we have a poor diet full of sugars and have worked in a hazardous environment our immune systems may not function efficiently allowing for diseases such as cancer to move from harmless to dangerous.

There are a number of risk factors that have been identified, but apart from a clear genetic link to mutated genes such as BRCA1, BRCA2 and p53, there is only firm but not definitive links to other triggers. These include prolonged exposure to hormones such as oestrogen because of an early start to puberty before the age of 12 years old or a late menopause after 55 years old.

Lifestyle and diet are likely to play a role as a nutritionally poor diet is likely to result in poor immune system function allowing all pathogens to flourish. Our bodies are resilient and can fight off most serious diseases if our immune system is functioning efficiently. However, with a nutritionally deficient diet our immune system become compromised and cannot support us.

There have been studies which indicate that exposure to hormone replacement therapy and birth control might raise the risk factor as will being exposed to chemicals within the work place.

Lifestyle choices such as smoking, recreational drugs and drinking excessive alcohol can be increased risk factors as they will undermine the body’s own defense system as well as introducing carcinogens into the body. In the case of smoking, each cigarette has over 4,000 chemical components, many of which are toxic.

You might also be at risk if you are severely overweight and take little exercise.

You can find more details: Breast cancer detection and prevention

Early Detection

If you notice any changes in your breasts that are not associated with your normal monthly cycle or pregnancy then contact your GP or health provider.

Here is an excellent article on self-examination that you should complete at least once every month: Breast Cancer self examination

In certain countries there are various health checks that are available to screen for specific cancers between certain ages and it is important that every woman take advantage of these.

The Good News.

If breast cancer is detected early and treated there is between an 88% and 93% survival rate. This drops to between 74% for stage two and 49% for stage three: Survival statistics

In the latest research it has been identified that there are at least 10 different variants of the disease (instead of the three already identified), and that tumours themselves may have variations in types of cancerous cells inside them and also when they spread to other parts of the body. This raises more challenges as it increases the need for very personalised treatment plans for patients.

Here is an extract from a very interesting article that I suggest you do read from Cancer Research UKIncreasing the resolution on breast cancer – The Metabric Study

Their study group, METABRIC (Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium), looked at the patterns of molecules inside tumours from nearly two thousand women, for whom information about the tumour characteristics had been meticulously recorded.

They compared this with the women’s survival, and other information, like their age at diagnosis.

While many other studies have highlighted differences between cancers, the METABRIC study looked at so many tumours that they could spot new patterns and ‘clusters’ in the data.

Their conclusion is that what we call ‘breast cancer’ is in fact at least ten different diseases, each with its own molecular fingerprint, and each with different weak spots.

This is simultaneously daunting and heartening – daunting because each of these diseases will likely need a different strategy to overcome it; and heartening because it opens up multiple new fronts in our efforts to beat breast cancer.

and from the same article – Genetic insights

Modern genetic technology is increasing our understanding of cancer

All of the tests described above measure the levels of proteins inside tumours. Recently, research has focused on testing which genes are switched on or off inside the cancer cells.

This has led to tests, not yet widely used in the NHS, such as ‘PAM50’. This examines 50 separate genes inside a woman’s tumour, and uses the resulting ‘fingerprint’ to group cancers into four subtypes’:

Luminal A cancers, which are usually ER+ and/or PR+ – and make up about half of all cases. They tend to have low amounts of Her2. Women with these tumours tend to have the best outlook.

There is a great deal of focus on breast cancer research and hopefully in the near future, the ‘PAM 50’ test will become routine in the NHS. That will provide even more data for these studies and identify more treatment options to save more lives.

I hope that you will read more on Breast Cancer at the links I have shared. Being informed is the first step in prevention, as is understanding how your body works, how it feels and how it might be changing.

©Sally Cronin – Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

My nutritional background

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with 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 my health books and fiction in ebooks you can find them here:

As always delighted to get your feedback and questions. This is not intended to take the place of your doctor’s presence in your life. But, certainly in the UK, where you are allocated ten minutes for a consultation and time is of the essence; going in with some understanding of how your body works and is currently functioning can assist in making a correct diagnosis.

Some doctors believe that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. However, I believe that understanding our bodies, how it works, how we can help prevent health problems and knowing the language that doctors speak, makes a difference.  Taking responsibility for our bodies health is the first step to staying well.

Thanks so much for dropping by and if you have a private question that you would rather not put in the comments section you can contact me on

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – The Bahamas, Chocolate, Flash Dance, Guests and Laughter.

Welcome to the weekly round up of posts that you might have missed here on Smorgasbord.

There are a few things going on around this neck of the woods in the coming weeks, including a bit of break from routine for me as I head off to dog and house sit for my sister whilst she takes on the Bay of Biscay in November on a cruise!

I will make sure the regulars are posted and there is plenty to read on the days that I am traveling. I intend to do some work on writing projects when I am away, but the good news is that the current WIP is now moving into the formatting phase and I hope to have it available by early December. It is a bit of a departure from my usual short story collections as I also include verse and flash fiction. I will let you know more about it nearer the time.

This year’s Christmas promotion

I am also plotting this year’s Christmas book promotions and I will be sharing a post in the next week or so about the International Christmas Book Fair which will including some guest posts on writing from some of the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore, offering additional separate promotional opportunities.

In the bookstore there are authors from all around the world and I want to make sure that every author is promoted. You won’t need to do a thing.. although it would be great if you would share the posts. Look out for news of this promotional feature in the last week of October with a start date of mid-November.

My thanks as always to the wonderful regular contributors and guest writers who share their work with us here. And also to you for your constant support for the blog.

Time to get on with this week’s posts….

The Travel Column this month with D.G. Kaye, is in response to the tourist board of the Bahamas request for visitors to resume their holidays on the Islands, recently devastated by the recent hurricane. Tourism is the main source of income for the Islands and without it reconstruction will be severely hampered.

We are coming to the end of the re-run of Jessica Norrie’s Literary Column from last year, with one more to come at the end of November with some great gift recommendations.. In the meantime, Jessica who was reaching a milestone birthday at the end of last year, shared books that were released in the year of her birth.. It is an interesting exercise to check which bestsellers were released at the same time as you were! The link is in the post.

Robbie Cheadle rounds off her popular series on the York Chocolate Story with the conversion of the factory to make munitions and the production of high energy sweets for life rafts.

This week my guest is Deborah Jay, with an extract from The Prince’s Man – Book One of the the Five Kingdoms Series..

If you are offered the opportunity to do a podcast or radio interview then grab it.. but also do your preparation to make sure you are getting the right message across to encourage readers to buy your book.

My book review for Silent Heroes by Patricia Furstenberg. 

I recommend that if you are unfamiliar with why and how the young men and women of our armies are involved in this conflict, that you read Silent Heroes. It is a way to honour their service, that of their canine brothers-in-arms, and the bravery of the Afghanistan population, trying to exist in a country torn apart by devastating conflict.

Chapter Seventeen and the Opening Weekend of Killbilly Hotel has is moments…including a dead body in the lounge!

Most guests are appreciative of old world charm.. but others not so much….drastic measures required..

This week for Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 148 Colleen Chesebro has given us the prompt words ‘Empty and Space and I have selected the synonyms ‘Hollow and Distance‘  A butterfly cinquain– Rejection.

In Linda Thompson’s third post, she explores the phenomenon that is the mystery of the missing sock.. it is rampant in our household too and I suspect from all the mentions online that it is now an epidemic…

This is the final post of Melanie Stewart who blogs at Leaving the Door Open: A Daughter’s stories about an aging parent. This week When The Money Runs Out

This is the final  post from Peter Mohan who blogs at Cheers, Govanhill as his alter ego .. Boy David.  Why Govanhill is just like the south of France

a deckchair pictured below the M74 motorway extension in Govanhill

Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the reproductive system. Karen Ingalls is an ovarian cancer survivor and therefore supremely qualified to write this article.. The post carries an important message about understanding how our bodies work and how we should be on the alert for anything that seems out of the ordinary. 



The Obesity epidemic – Part Four– Finding a point to intervene in the life cycle – 7 – 14 –  School Lunches This week I am going to cover, what I consider the best time to intervene in the obesity epidemic, to achieve the most effective results.

New Books on the Shelves

Author Update #Reviews

A chance to showcase some fantastic posts from fellow bloggers.

Thank you again for dropping in to visit and hope you will join me again next week for more of the same.  Sally

Smorgasbord Health Column – The Female Reproductive System – Outshining Ovarian Cancer Guest Post author Karen Ingalls.

This guest post was first published in 2016 but it is a message that is very important and should be repeated regularly. My thanks to Karen Ingalls for sharing her story and also the symptoms all women should be aware of.

Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the reproductive system. Karen is an ovarian cancer survivor and therefore supremely qualified to write this article.. The post carries an important message about understanding how our bodies work and how we should be on the alert for anything that seems out of the ordinary.


photo-on-2-14-16-at-139-pm-crop-u6133I am a retired registered nurse and had very limited education about gynecological diseases and cancers. From working in hospice I only knew that ovarian cancer is the deadliest one of all gynecologic cancers. My journey and initial diagnosis with ovarian cancer is not an unusual one.

I had gained a few pounds and developed a protruding stomach, both of which were unusual for me since I had always bordered on being underweight. When my weight continued to increase, I began an aggressive exercise and weight-loss program. I never considered these changes to be anything more than normal postmenopausal aging.

I saw my gynecologist for my routine PAP smear, which only determines the presence of cancer cells in the cervix. She could not get the speculum into my vagina and when she palpated my abdomen she felt a mass. I was rushed to get a CT scan, which revealed a very large tumor in my left lower abdomen. Two days later I had an appointment with a gynecologic-oncology surgeon for an evaluation.

A week later I had a hysterectomy by the gynecologic-oncology surgeon from which I learned the tumor was malignant. It is critically important that such a specialist in this field of oncology perform the surgery. They are experts and know what to look for and how to safely remove any tumors.

My surgery involved removing the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, omentum, ten lymph glands for microscopic investigation, and ten inches of my colon where the tumor had grown into. I am blessed that there were no cancer cells in my lymph glands or other organs. Two weeks later I was then started on chemotherapy for six rounds.

The symptoms of ovarian cancer are subtle and common to many women so they are often ignored or attributed to something more benign. Most physicians do not consider the possibility of the presenting symptoms to be related to ovarian cancer. Often the woman is sent from one specialist to another, which I call the “Gilda Radner Syndrome.” With each passing day the cancer is growing and putting the woman at greater risk of being at a more terminal stage.

These are the most common symptoms:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Pain in abdomen
  • Low back pain
  • Frequency of urination
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Increased indigestion or change in appetite.
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Fatigue
  • Unusual vaginal discharges
  • Menstrual irregularities

If a woman experiences any of these symptoms for two weeks, it is recommended that she see her gynecologist and insist on an abdominal ultrasound and a CA125. The only laboratory-screening test currently available is a CA125 blood test, which unfortunately has a high incidence of false positives. We women need to be our own advocates and demand these inexpensive tests.

If the ultrasound and possibly a CT, MRI, or PET scans reveal a tumor, then in my opinion the woman must see a gynecologic oncologist. Typically the woman undergoes a debulking surgery, which is a complete hysterectomy and removal of any lymph nodes or any suspicious surrounding tissue or organs. The only way to accurately determine if cancer is present is through specimen testing of the tissue.

The risk factors are:

  • Family or self-history of breast, colon, ovarian, or prostate cancers
  • Eastern Jewish heritage (Ashkenazi)
  • History of infertility drugs
  • Never been pregnant
  • BRCA 1 & BRCA 2 positive mutation
  • Older than 60

I was staged at IIC and given a 50% chance of surviving 5 years. I had no family history of ovarian cancer and only one relative who had had breast cancer. I did not fit the typical criteria, and the BRCA1 and BRCA2 markers were negative for mutation. So the question, “Why did I get ovarian cancer?” remains unanswered and it is actually not an important one any longer.

The word cancer creates fear in everyone either mildly or extremely. Yet so often the things we fear are never as great as the fear itself. As a young person I had learned from my grandmother and adopted aunt that attitude, acceptance, and determination are the keys to facing a fear and to healing the body, mind, and spirit. Those women were, and still are today, w strong role models for me. They taught me about living a healthy lifestyle, which included a belief in God, exercise, good nutrition, positive thinking, healthy touch and meditation. These lifestyle choices had helped me face childhood abuse, divorce, alcoholic parents, and untimely deaths, and now they have helped me live with cancer.

I prefer to use the word challenge instead of problem, test, or trial. I like the word challenge because I envision positivity, learning, growing, and putting my best efforts forward. I did not think about being cured of the cancer, but more about how I can live my life with dignity, and what I am to learn from this new role as a woman with cancer. A family friend, Dr. LaJune Foster once said, “Look about for each bright ray of sunshine: cherish them, for in the days ahead they will light your path.” I deeply believe in this way of living.

I wrote about my journey with ovarian cancer to educate, support, and inspire women and their families. It is my own unique experience, but there are some common emotions, events, and experiences that all cancer survivors share. Like many others traveling this road, I have experienced valleys and mountaintops, darkness and rays of sunshine. I do not know what the future holds for me, but I have learned a lot about myself and met some incredibly courageous women.

The challenge of ovarian cancer was an opportunity for me to become a better person. My life is far richer and has the greater mission, which is to spread the word about this lesser known disease. I truly see each moment as a gift that is not to be taken for granted, but lived to its fullest with love.

An important lesson I learned with the challenge of ovarian cancer is that the beauty of the soul, the real me, and the real you, outshines the effects of cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation. It outshines any negative experience.

©Karen Ingalls 2016

About Karen Ingalls

I might be a retired RN, but I am an active and enthusiastic writer of non-fiction and fiction. It took a few years before I was willing to show that deeper part of myself. I love to get lost in the world of my novels and let the creative juices flow. I have written several articles for medical and nursing journals. I enjoy researching and discovering new information.

I enjoy writing for my two blogs ( and The first one is about health/wellness, relationships, spirituality, and cancer. My second blog is for authors and avid readers who wish to be interviewed, do a guest blog, and be promoted. I have “met” so many interesting and enchanting people, who have done guest posts for me; or those around the world who follow my blogs and leave comments.

I was thrilled and honored to be recognized as a runner-up at the Midwest Book Awards and then receiving first place in the category of “women’s health” at the National Indie Excellence Awards. The greatest reward is when a reader shares how my book(s) inspired them, taught them something, or brought a deeper awareness about life.

About Outshine

When Karen Ingalls was diagnosed with Stage II Ovarian Cancer, she realized how little she knew about what was once called ”the silent killer.” As Ingalls began to educate herself she felt overwhelmed by the prevalent negativity of cancer. Lost in the information about drugs, side effects, and statistics, Ingalls redirected her energy to focus on the equally overwhelming blessings of life, learning to rejoice in each day and find peace in spirituality.

In this memoir, Karen is a calming presence and positive companion, offering a refreshing perspective of hope with the knowledge that ”the beauty of the soul, the real me and the real you, outshines the effects of cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation.”

Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir is a story of survival, and reminds readers that disease is not an absolute, but a challenge to recover.

One of the recent excellent reviews for Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir

Ms Fiza Pathan 5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspirational Read! September 5, 2019

Outshine’ by Karen Ingalls is a memoir of strength, faith & resilience in the face of Cancer. She was diagnosed with stage 2 Ovarian Cancer & this book is about how she tackled the cancer or as Ingalls puts it ‘the big C word’. This is a memoir penned by a strong woman who did not buckle down in the face of ‘the big C word’. I admire her husband Jim who was a great support to her during this situation. I don’t think I would ever be as brave as Ingalls if I ever was detected with a fatal disease. Kudos to her for her perseverance & faith in the Almighty. Ingalls’ book is tender, inspirational & full of wonderful soul stirring quotes at the end of every chapter that can make your day brighter. She shows herself to be a woman of spirit & a woman who has taken the cancer she was a victim too as a life lesson or a test sent to her by the Almighty to make her a better human being. Kudos to her on that point. This book is interactive with a set of excellent questions at the end of the book which can be used for discussion purposes at any book club or any place where books about Cancer survival are discussed. I highly recommend this book to anyone & everyone who needs a bit of sunshine in their lives. I also highly recommend this book to Cancer patients, survivors & care givers. I hope to read more books by Ingalls in the near future, especially her novels which she wished to write after her chemotherapy was over. Do support this book & happy reading to you

Read all the reviews and and buy the book:

and on Amazon UK:

Also by Karen Ingalls.

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Connect with Karen on her websites and social media.

My thanks to Karen for her detailed and inspirational post and it would be great if you could share the message on your own networks.. thanks Sally