Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Jazz, Winter Soups, Chocolate, New books, reviews and funnies


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

You might have noticed that the round up has a new header. Apart from looking to give the post a bit of a freshen up, I also wanted to emphasise the theme that I have developed over the last seven years, of a magazine style blog with a wide range of subjects. You will see from this round up that there are a number of regular contributors and guest writers.

Currently on a fortnightly or monthly basis I am lucky enough to have William Price King (music column), Carol Taylor (Food and Cookery Column), D.G. Kaye (Travel Column), Annette Rochelle Aben (Numerology) and Silvia Todesco (Italian Cookery) and I write the (Health Column). Jessica Norrie wrote a wonderful (Literary Column) last year which I am currently repeating.

Do you have an area of expertise that you would like to share and promote your blog or books at the same time?

If  you have an area of expertise that you would like to share here on Smorgasbord and can write a column of between 1000 to 1500 word every two weeks or once a month, then please get in touch. It could be care of elderly parents, Cooking by nationality – French, Indian, Chinese etc, Writing or Editing guidance, History of where you live etc.. contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com so we can chat about it..

If you do not have the time to commit to a monthly column, perhaps like baking, chocolate expert and author Robbie Cheadle, you might like to do a short series of guest posts.. Check Robbie’s latest post on The York Chocolate Story later on in the round up and get in touch if you would be interested in doing something similar @sally.cronin@moyhill.com

From sun tan to wellies

We have had a wonderful week weather wise and we were lulled into a false sense of security. I checked the ten day forecast which predicted rain for until after October 5th and beyond so exchanging my bikini (thank goodness there are no drones in the area) I legged it to the garden centre and bought all my wintering flowering plants, some new potting compost and dashed back to spend the afternoon changing out all the pots.

This may be the last recorded sunshine of the year!  So this week I am just going to share this special moment, and the new mini cyclamens and winter flowering pansies.

Now on to the posts from the week, and as always a huge thank you to the contributors, this week William Price King, Carol Taylor and Robbie Cheadle with some special mentions.  And also for your support every week and generosity.

And a special thank you to D.G. Kaye who devoted her regular Writers Tips post to all the three Cafe and Bookstore book marketing posts so far…What an amazing thing to do. Debby has been part of the support team for the blog for five years and every night, even when she is on her winter break in Mexico she comments shares all my posts from the day across her social media. Thanks Debby and sorry they are not real…

You can find Debby’s Writing Tips: https://dgkayewriter.com/writers-tips-special-edition-author-tips-for-promoting-your-books-by-sally-cronin/

This week William Price King celebrates the life and music of Mary Lou Williams – American Jazz Pianist, Arranger and Composer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-mary-lou-williams-american-jazz-pianist-arranger-and-composer/

Carol Taylor shares the joys of soup which can be eaten whatever the weather as a starter or as a snack even as a main meal if it is a substantial one served with lots of fresh crusty bread or with the addition of rice or noodles as it is served here

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/18/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-soups-in-25-minutes-smoked-mackerel-and-tomato-and-cannellini-bean-with-cavolo-nero/

Carol Taylor is another friend that I owe a bouquet of flowers to. Not just for the wonderful posts that she brings us throughout the year but also the support she offers every week by sharing my posts on her eclectic and fascinating blog. Healthy eating, conservation, Thai foods and cookery and down to earth commonsense.  Next month it will be the second anniversary of the food column and I am very grateful for her generous contribution. Thank you Carol.

Here is the link to Carol’s own roundup this week and please follow if you are not already doing so: https://carolcooks2.com/2019/09/22/carolcooks2-weekly-roundup-health-recipes-and-more-so-much-more/

Part two of The York Chocolate Story from Robbie Cheadle.. not sure how much more temptation I can take lol.. find out more about The Terrys and the Cravens.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/16/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-robbie-cheadle-the-york-chocolate-story-part-two-terrys-of-york-and-cravens/

My guest this week is regular guest to the blog, author Darlene Foster who has recently released another book in her successful Amanda Travel Series. Later in the post she shares an excerpt from Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/22/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-sunday-author-interview-darlene-foster-and-an-excerpt-from-amanda-in-holland-missing-in-action/

Delighted to share my review of the third book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries Flower Power Trip.. by James J. Cudney

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/21/smorgasbord-book-reviews-braxton-campus-mysteries-book-3-flower-power-trip-by-james-j-cudney/

Twitter – New look and and step by step guide to Book Marketing useful functions.

As an author with books to market, getting as storefront on Twitter is important. It is a networking site and whilst you may not want to use for social media, it is great for connecting with other authors, reviewers, bloggers, all of whom are likely to be readers too. Here is a step by step guide to getting your books front and centre.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/21/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-book-marketing-online-watering-holes-for-authors-twitter-step-by-step-set-up-for-authors-sally-cronin/

Chapter Eleven – Imogen spends the week before Christmas working in a funeral home, with a very dishy funeral director....

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/21/just-an-odd-job-serialisation-chapter-eleven-the-funeral-home-by-sally-cronin/

Chapter Twelve sees Imogen join an advertising sales team for a local newspaper and responsibility for one of the more cash only columns!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/22/just-and-odd-job-girl-serialisation-chapter-twelve-advertising-sales-by-sally-cronin/

For this week’s Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 145 Colleen Chesebro has provided us with a photo prompt.. in a new twist the previous month’s poet of the week for the photo prompt gets to choose the image..This month that honour falls to Jane Dougherty. I have selected a #Tanka for this week’s challenge…Adrift

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-tuesday-tanka-challenge-tanka-adrift-by-sally-cronin/

This week the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills prompts us to write in 99 words, no more, no less… a story about ‘an interlude’ – mine is A Musical Interlude

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/21/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-a-musical-interlude-by-sally-cronin/

This is the final post from the archives of author and poet, Patricia Furstenberg who as you can tell from some of her books is a dog lover. Children and pets can be magical and bonds are formed that ensure a child never feels unsafe or alone throughout their early years. In this post Patricia explores this in more details. Pets — Understanding Your Child’s Affinity Towards Animals (2018) by Patricia Furstenberg

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-pets-understanding-your-childs-affinity-towards-animals-2018-by-patricia-furstenberg/

This is the final post from the archives of author, fitness advocate and photographer Terri Webster Schrandt. In her post Terri offers four reasons to attend the next one you are invited to. Four Reasons to Attend a Blogging Conference (2017) by Terri Webster Schrandt

Four Reason to Attend a Blogging Conference

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-four-reasons-to-attend-a-blogging-conference-2017-by-terri-webster-schrandt/

This is the final post from the archives of Jim Borden who blogs on ‘Borden’s Blather’ across a variety of topics. I know that my computer can be funny weird… frequently but have not so far seen it be funny ha ha!  So I decided to end Jim’s short series for this season with this post. Can Computers be Funny? (2018) by Jim Borden

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-can-computers-be-funny-2018-by-jim-borden/

This is the third post from educator and author Pete Springer who began blogging in April this year. I am sure you will agree that he has made a fantastic start to his new project.  Pete shares some incidents that could have been a lot worse if laughter had not been the outcome.. and there there is the mystery of the knocking in the pipes! The Importance of a Good Sense of Humor by Pete Springer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newbloggers-the-importance-of-a-good-sense-of-humor-by-pete-springer/

Delighted to welcome Melanie Stewart to the series.. In Melanie’s first post she shares some of the wisdom she picked up from author Judith Viorst who is almost 90 years old and the joy that her mother who is in her 80s, has found in following Tiger Woods…. Finding Joy in your 80s and 90s (2018)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/18/smorgasbord-blogs-from-your-archives-new-bloggers-on-the-scene-melanie-m-stewart-finding-joy-in-your-80s-and-90s-2019/

This is the first post from Peter Mohan who blogs at Cheers, Govanhill as his alter ego .. Boy David…I thought in this first post I would let Peter introduce Govanhill to you to set the scene for the other posts Thou shalt buy thy round

Photo of the mural at the Clutha bar, with Glasgow people including Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Billy Connolly, Alex Harvey, Gerry Rafferty and Frankie Miller

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-new-thou-shalt-buy-thy-round-cheers-govanhill/

New Book on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/18/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-memoir-mennonite-daughter-the-story-of-a-plain-girl-by-marian-longenecker-beaman/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-a-bit-about-britains-history-by-mike-biles/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-love-on-track-rivals-in-love-book-three-p-c-zick/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/21/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-childrens-a-tractor-named-wilbur-by-deanie-humphrys-dunne/

Author updates – Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/16/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-c-s-boyack-lizzie-chantree-and-mae-clair/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-updates-reviews-amy-m-reade-tony-riches-and-barbara-silkstone/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/18/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-wednesday-18th-september-2019-sue-vincent-ellen-hawley-and-stevie-turner/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-thursday-19th-september-2019-bette-a-stevens-d-wallace-peach-and-gloria-smud/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-friday-20th-september-2019-brigid-p-gallagher-john-rieber-and-carol-taylor/

I repeat this series in particular every year, in the hopes that those who are new to the blog will find it interesting and useful. I worked with couples who were planning on getting pregnant and it was important that both understood how each other’s reproductive systems worked. Also if you know your body well, if something is even slightly different from the norm, it encourages you to have it checked out. The Female Reproductive System.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/smorgasbord-health-column-major-organs-and-systems-of-the-body-the-female-reproductive-system-part-one-sally-cronin/

After 45 years of working in the food industry and then in the last twenty as a nutritional therapist, I explore where in the life cycle we can intervene to prevent the current obesity crisis.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/smorgasbord-health-column-creating-tthe-obesity-epidemic-part-one-finding-a-point-in-the-life-cycle-to-intervene-by-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-comedian-in-residenced-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-11/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-comedian-in-residence-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-5/

Thank you very much for dropping in today and for your support.. it is much appreciated.. Thanks Sally.

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Smorgasbord Health Column – The Obesity epidemic – Part One – Finding a point to intervene in the life cycle by Sally Cronin


The Obesity Epidemic – Finding the point in the life cycle to intervene.

As we continue to hear about the obesity problems of children, teens and adults, it is clear to me that it is a vicious circle without a definitive time in a human’s life to intercede and correct the course we seem to be on.

Obesity is one of those health issues that is complex with physical, mental and emotional elements. In my career over the last twenty years, I have worked with teenagers and young adults whose obesity can be laid firmly at the door of industrialised food, sugars and the fast food industry. However, it is not just about what they are eating today, but in many cases what their mother ate even before they were born, during her pregnancy and in the recommended (by health professionals included) new born formulas and baby foods.

At twenty-five years old, I found myself responsible for the nutritional health of 120 boys and girls (8-13) in a private school. This was over 40 years ago and the industrialised food industry was already well established. I had been cooking for my own business for the previous two years often preparing lunches for 100 hungry lunchtime customers.  On my arrival at the school, I found that because there had not been a cook in residence for a term, the majority of meals were frozen entrees that contained 10 portions. The container was placed on each table of students and it was served up by a prefect. There were some potatoes and a vegetable served with it but it was not the best option nutritionally. The headmaster and his wife recognised this, hence my arrival.

Within the month I had done deals with local farmers for fresh eggs and fruit, and was buying meats, chicken and fresh vegetables, with only the staples such as rice, flour, pasta etc being delivered in a packet. I also introduced the children to some more adult foods such as beef bourguignon and Coq au Vin.. which did lead to calls for ‘more of the sauce please’!

They all had a cooked breakfast each day as well as a bowl of porridge or weetabix. I got cooking 140 (with staff) fried eggs in six pans in 15 minutes, down to a fine art, at the same time as grilling 140 pieces of wholegrain toast,  Lunches were meat, chicken and fish on Fridays (with some sauces or gravy), with plenty of vegetables, and either rice, pasta or potatoes. There would be a hot pudding such as apple pie and custard. There was a high tea with sandwiches or beans on toast, or sardines etc, with cake and fruit. There was cocoa before they went to bed. I would finish the day with 10 – 20 staff cooked suppers.

I had the cook from scratch approach to food even then, and even more importantly, as far as the school bursar was concerned. I shaved £2,000 off the catering budget in the first term. Forty years ago that was a substantial amount of money and proves that even then, packaged food is not only nutritionally inadequate (particularly for growing children) but far more expensive than the cook from scratch approach.

So combined with my work as a nutritional therapist in the last twenty years, I can draw on 45 years experience of working with food and all age groups from pre-conception to 95, to witness the impact of nutrition on the body, and the diseases directly related to diet.

The list grows rapidly as research lays the cause of at least 75% of diseases at the door marked lifestyle.

When do you intervene in the life cycle, to counteract what is fast becoming a life threatening epidemic, and increasingly a huge burden on the health services?

When do you try to break the cycle?

It is actually too late to start at birth, since the food the mother has consumed prior to becoming pregnant, and during the nine months will have a lifelong impact on her child’s weight and health. ( I will cover fertility and pre-pregnancy diet later in the series)

If the mother to be is already overweight, consuming in excess of recommended daily intakes of sugar and unhealthy fats from industrially manufactured foods, immediately that she becomes pregnant, that will result in an unhealthy start to the fetal development.

During pregnancy, if the mother does not drastically reduce these two components of her diet, and introduce health alternatives such as good fats, plenty of fresh vegetables and some fruit, moderate carbohydrates and protein from lean meat, poultry, fish, and adequate vegetable sources, the baby will be born already addicted to sugars and undernourished.

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding a baby is as natural as you can get, and for millions of years that was the norm. And immediately after birth is a critical phase, when the vital immune boosting Colostrum is produced by a new mother for the next 48 hours. This encourages the digestive system to begin functioning, kick starts the immune system to protect from viral and bacterial infections as well as providing essential nutrients.

Breastfeeding is now at its lowest in the UK for a number of reasons, including ‘expert’ insistence on getting a baby into a feeding and sleep routine as quickly as possible, rather than every two hours that the lower volume breast feeding requires. Also there is the social stigma of breastfeeding in public places. To be fair, it does require some discretion, but every woman should be able to breastfeed her baby when it is needed. Since that is usually every two hours, it is difficult to manage if you are outside of your home environment.

It used to be that babies would be breastfed until they were 18 months old, and in some cases older, especially if supplemental to a restricted access to food. Now it seems that six months is the average, with only 1 in 200 women breastfeeding their baby after a year old.

There are of course mother’s who cannot breastfeed physically, and this means feeding the baby with one of the many formulas on the market.

This is where the multi-billion baby food industry kicks in to take advantage of this reduction in providing a baby with its most natural food, and according to a recent report, if your baby was already addicted to sugars at birth, you can satisfy any cravings with sugar laden jars of pureed baby foods.  In addition many will contain the highly unhealthy corn syrup.

That combination of added sugar and corn syrup in baby formula is the number one cause of obesity in babies and children

‘Research by the World Health Organisation suggest there are an additional 124 million children and adolescents worldwide. While just under 1% of children and adolescents aged 5-19 were obese in 1975, more 124 million children and adolescents (6% of girls and 8% of boys) were obese in 2016′

These additives and other chemical elements such as preservatives, continue to be introduced into the diet when babies are weaned onto pureed foods and then semi-solids.

I am afraid that however many times it says on the tin of formula or on the jar of baby food that it is all natural, it does not necessarily mean healthy natural food that our baby will thrive on. The sugar began life as natural as did the corn sugar but they are mutated by the time they get into the food chain to toxic elements.

They do not have any place in a baby’s diet nor adults for that matter.

The trouble is that marketing ‘experts’ will tell you that you are safe feeding your baby their formula and semi-solids.. but what about the nutritional experts?

A good start was made in Europe when all sugar sweetened formulas were banned in 2009. There are now a more brands that are using lactose to sweeten and the number of organic brands of formula are on the increase. However, for many new mothers, especially those on a budget, the price of these healthier forumula’s is much higher than the highstreet brands.

Here is a post on organic brands, but I do suggest that you check them out the reviews of the products: https://mommyhood101.com/best-organic-baby-formula

Homemade baby food

I know that immediately there are going to be issues of time and convenience brought up.. But having checked the cost of jars of baby food and their contents, I can say with certainty that you can produce a week’s worth of baby food, from scratch that is healthier and cheaper than any on the shelves, and in less time than it takes you to do the weekly shop!  More about that later in the post.

Parents are being ‘misled’ by baby food companies marketing sugar-packed baby meals and snacks as healthy, new report warns

Analysis of thousands of baby products showed high levels of added sugar
WHO Europe said it’s a danger for babies’ teeth and could lead to obesity
More than 30 per cent of calories in half of the products came from sugars
Sugars accounted for 70 per cent of the food calories in fruit purees

The World Health Organisation has called for a ban on added sugar in baby food and warned against ‘misleading’ health claims on labels.

Analysis of thousands of baby products in Europe, such as pouches and jars, revealed high levels of sugar across the board, even in savoury products.

It could cause baby teeth to rot and increase the risk of obesity and related diseases by giving the child a ‘sweet tooth’, the WHO warned.

Even though some sugars are naturally present in fruits and vegetables, it’s a ’cause of concern’ that more is added, a report said.

The organisation is one of many which have recently urged a wipe-out of added sugars and sweeteners in foods for children under three years of age.

You can read the rest of the post HERE

There are a number of sites that provide a step by step guide to weaning a baby from the bottle at six months but I notice that on many of them their first preference is fruit juice and then pureed fruit.

  • I would prefer to see this list vegetable led and you can make a clear vegetable soup by cooking carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, courgettes (zucchini)  and parsnips together, keeping the water they are cooked and sieving out the juice from the vegetables…don’t add salt or sugar. Then as the baby moves onto semi-solids you can puree the vegetables themselves. You can freeze in portions making enough for several days.
  • Avocados are excellent as a first food at six months as they contain healthy fats and a quarter of a medium avocado is great fist sized healthy addition to the baby’s diet.
  • If you do give your baby fruit juice try apple without any added sugar and the same with pureed apple.
  • Pears are also good to introduce as they are one of the least allergenic fruit.
  • Papaya and bananas are also easy to digest and bananas are useful to take with you when traveling as well as to ease any stomach upsets.
  • Baby porridge makes a good start to the day, and you can also introduce well cooked baby rice into the savoury dishes.
  • From seven months you can start to add some pureed chicken or cod.

I found this website which lists the top ten mother and baby sites including one that has some great baby food recipes: http://newparent.com/mom/10-best-parenting-websites

Here is just one of the videos on Youtube where mothers share their organic recipes and tips for first baby foods and as you will see towards the end of the video  – the equivalent amount organic baby food in the supermarket works out at three times as much as the homemade, and despite being organic the shop bought will still have preservatives added. Uploaded by DoItOnaDimeFAMILY

If you are like me and of an age where pureed food might be an option in a few years!!! Then please pass this on to the younger generation who might help to turn around this tide of obesity that is sweeping our countries.

I am aware that many young mothers will still follow the path of using the cheapest formula and baby food options on the shelf through necessity, but I hope that education through the prenatal and new mother classes will help them discover the healthier and often cheaper options and how to give their babies a great start in life.

Next week – Breakfast clubs, School meals, Domestic Science and meals at home.

©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: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

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 for stopping by… as always your feedback is welcomed.. thanks Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – Major Organs and systems of the body – The Female Reproductive System Part One – Sally Cronin


I repeat this series in particular every year, in the hopes that those who are new to the blog will find it interesting and useful. I worked with couples who were planning on getting pregnant and it was important that both understood how each other’s reproductive systems worked. Also that the health of the father to be was as important as the mother’s. On more than one occasion the mother to be would be taking care of herself and getting fit, whilst the father to be was still going down the pub, smoking and eating takeaways..

As they say it takes two….

Also that it is a good idea to get both into shape at least six months before trying for a baby and if you know someone who is planning on getting pregnant you might pass this series along.

In recent weeks I have covered most of the major systems in the body and the female and male reproductive systems have a huge influence on our health from the moment we are born until we die.

These systems generally conform to a set pattern of development, however there are times when nature has its own agenda, resulting in changes that we are now embracing more fully.  I am going to begin with the female reproductive system, how it works and links to posts that I have written on related diseases such as breast cancer.

This series is not just for women or men specifically, but also their partners. Understanding how your own body works is important.. but it is also important for the men and women in our lives understand how our bodies work too. Very often in a relationship it is our partner who notices changes to our bodies or our behaviour that can indicate a health problem.

First I will look at the female reproductive system in a series of posts that give an overview of the system and also what can go wrong with it.

What is under the skin.

The-Female-Reproductive-System-WWe usually spot when something is out of place externally or when there are lumps and bumps that look dodgy. The problem is that most of us do not know when something is wrong with organs or systems that run automatically beneath our skin, until a problem occurs.   Women are well aware of monthly changes in our bodies which is a good indicator that there might be something wrong or that we might be pregnant. But what about when we stop having our periods and the physical indications are no longer there.

Whilst it is not my intention to lecture on anatomy, it is very useful if you have some idea of how a system is put together and the main organs involved.

The reproductive system and where it begins at conception.

In humans it takes male and female sex cells to make a baby. These sex cells are called gametes and the male is sperm and the female is the egg or ovum. These sex cells usually meet in the female reproductive system – although in this day and age they could also meet in a petri-dish in a fertility clinic.

Humans pass on certain characteristics of themselves onto the next generation such as hair or eye colour and in some unfortunate cases inherited diseases. Genes are the special carriers of these characteristics and a child can inherit from both its mother and father and also the ancestors of its parents going back many generations.

The two reproductive systems in males and females are very different, but both carry out the same task of producing, nurturing and transporting either the egg or the sperm. They also complement each other and evolution has ensured that the two reproductive systems work together pleasurably as well as effectively.

The female reproductive system

Zygote-WThe aim of the female reproductive system is to produce healthy eggs (ova), to facilitate sexual intercourse so that the egg can be fertilised (then called a zygote) and protect and nourish the resulting embryo and foetus until it is fully developed and then give birth.

The physical aspects

The female reproductive system is housed within the pelvis. Externally, the vulva (cover) is located between the legs and protects the entrance to the vagina and the other reproductive organs inside the pelvis.

There is a fleshy area just above the vagina called the mons pubis and two pairs of skin flaps called the labia (lips) surround the vaginal opening and contain the clitoris. Also, between the labia are the openings for the urethra (carrying urine from the bladder) and the vagina.

Internally, the vagina, uterus (womb), fallopian tubes and ovaries are protected by the pelvic girdle and are responsible for the production and fertilisation of the egg and the protection of the foetus as it develops to full term.

The vagina

The vagina is a tube approximately 8 to 12 centimetres long in an adult woman. It has muscular walls and can expand and contract as needed. Normally it is contracted but when expanded it can accommodate the head and body of a baby during the final stages of labour.

As with any of the body’s airways and passages the vagina has a lubricating mucus membrane as a lining. This protects it from bacterial infection and also keeps it moist and prepared for sexual activity. The vagina has three major roles; as an entrance and stimulator for the penis, to provide a safe birth canal and also a path for menstrual blood expelled from the uterus each month.

The opening to the vagina is partially covered with a thin sheet of tissue called the hymen, which has probably caused more problems for women than any other part of the reproductive system. Virginity or the lack of was judged on whether this tissue was intact on a girl’s wedding night and in royal circles it was essential that courtiers be present to testify to a blooded sheet as evidence of the bride’s virtue. In some cultures it is still considered critical that this evidence is produced despite the fact that in many cases the hymen has already been ruptured at some point in a girl’s normal activities or that the hymen has not been stretched or torn sufficiently to bleed. This resulted in some sleight of hand by bride’s and their female relatives who resorted to spotting sheets with chicken blood to avoid recriminations. Hence the voyeuristic behaviour by senior courtiers or family members in time gone past on the first night of the honeymoon.

The vagina joins to the womb at the thickly walled cervix (neck) which is extremely narrow outside of pregnancy but can expand sufficiently to allow the baby’s head to pass through it on its way out of the womb.

The uterus (womb)

Despite the fact that the womb is only about 7 centimetres long and 5 centimetres wide it contains some of the strongest muscles in the body. It can expand to hold sextuplets and contract sufficiently to send a baby out and into the birth canal during labour. This pear shaped organ is also vulnerable to infections; cancers and benign tumours called fibroids which are one of the leading causes of its removal (hysterectomy).

In the second stage of the menstrual cycle the womb recognises that the hormone levels indicate that there has been no fertilisation of the egg that has passed through the fallopian tube within the last two weeks. Blood and tissues from the inner lining of the womb detach and leave the body via the vagina. Usually this lasts three to five days and in the first few months after puberty it is likely to be irregular. As with the other areas within the reproductive system women can experience problems with this process. Many women suffer from irregular, heavy and painful periods throughout their teens and often up to their first pregnancy when in many cases the menstrual cycle can settle down. Some women suffer from menstrual problems right up to their menopause and there is usually a hormonal or dietary imbalance involved that requires correcting.

The fallopian tubes

At the upper corners of the womb are the fallopian tubes, which are the connection to the ovaries. The fallopian tubes are around 10 centimetres in length and look a little like a long piece of spaghetti with a narrow opening the size of a needle. At the ovary end, fronds wrap around the egg sacs waiting to catch eggs as they are released.

Tiny hairs then propel the egg back down the fallopian tube to the womb. Fallopian tubes can be damaged by infections or can become distorted preventing the passage of the eggs through the tube or allowing sperm to enter and fertilise them.

The ovaries

Structure-of-an-Ovary-WThe ovaries are two oval shaped organs situated either side of the womb. They produce, store and then release eggs into the fallopian tubes in a process called ovulation, which takes place once a month halfway through a woman’s reproductive cycle.

When a baby girl is born she has already got 400,000 eggs in her ovaries that will remain inactive until she reaches puberty. This is the time that hormones kick in for both boys and girls and the reproductive cycle is begun.

The eggs develop and mature inside follicles which are tiny fluid filled sacs in each ovary and midway through each cycle one egg is released into the fallopian tubes.

The pituitary gland located in the central part of the brain, releases hormones that in turn stimulate the ovaries to produce the female sex hormones including oestrogen. Breasts will develop and towards the end of this first stage of puberty the ovaries begin to release eggs monthly as part of the menstrual cycle.

There are a number of problems associated with the ovaries including ovarian cysts and more rarely ovarian cancer. There is also a hormonal condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (pcos) which is the result of too many male hormones being produced by the ovaries. This results in cysts forming on enlarged ovaries and usually becomes apparent in a girl’s teenage years.

Next time a look at the Endocrine system and the hormones that drive our reproductive system.  When they say it is all in the mind.. it is!

©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: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

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.

I hope you have found useful and your feedback is always welcome.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round-Up – 9th-15th September 2019 –


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

Things have been relatively quiet around here which I am grateful for. We have had some lovey sunny days and I have taken advantage of those. We both have some projects that are nearing completion so that has taken up a fair amount of time.

Coming up next week

  • Robbie Cheadle with the second part of The York Chocolate Story on Monday
  • Tuesday William Price King shares the life and music of Mary Lou Williams – American Jazz pianists, arranger and composer.
  • Carol Taylor’s food and cookery Column on Wednesday
  • The regulars will be here with book reviews and new releases for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore, The health column, funnies and afternoon video..
  • The health column continues with the major organs and systems in the body with the start of a series on the female reproductive system.
  • Some new bloggers who have been writing for under a year start their new series from the archives and some great posts to showcase.
  • The book marketing series on Saturday covers more of the online watering holes that are useful elements in promoting your work.
  • Just an Odd Job Girl with two more chapters Saturday and Sunday.
  • My guest next Sunday in the author interview is Darlene Foster.
  • And through the week the Blogger Daily will share some exceptional posts from the blogging community
  • And there will be some responses to poetry and flash challenges.

Just a reminder if you are in the Cafe and Bookstore and are planning to put any of your books on offer in coming weeks to let me know so that I can include in the updates. You can email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com or leave a message on Facebook.

On with the posts this week

As always a huge thanks to those who contribute with guest posts and columns…. as well as to you for dropping to read them.

My guest this week is author and proofreader Jo Elizabeth Pinto who has recently released her latest book Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car: True Tales of Parenting in the Dark. Jo Elizabeth shares the inspiration behind her love of books and her own writing and lets us peek into her latest book with a humour filled extract that definitely entices you to read more.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-sunday-author-interview-jo-elizabeth-pinto-with-an-extract-from-daddy-wont-let-mom-drive-the-car-true-tales-of-parenting-in-the-dark/

Jessica Norrie explores the legendary first lines of books we have read….Authors need a rocket, or at least a hook, right at the start. Dickens has the best opening line ever: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times” (A Tale of Two Cities). What scope he gives himself, with that, for anything at all to happen, in any possible way

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-the-literary-column-with-jessica-norrie-blast-off-opening-lines/

Delighted that over the next five weeks, author Robbie Cheadle will be sharing the The York Chocolate story with us, following her recent trip to the UK..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/09/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-robbie-cheadle-the-york-chocolate-storypart-one/

Chapter Nine – The Isle of Wight pub life and Skinheads prove to be both interesting and at times dangerous…Imogen recalls her adventures..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/14/just-an-odd-job-girl-serialisation-chapter-nine-the-isle-of-wight-pub-life-and-skinheads-by-sally-cronin/

Chapter Ten – Imogen and Peter’s relationship hits a bad patch and a cat burglar does not help matters.. and then there is the matter of the insurances cheques.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/just-an-odd-job-girl-serialisation-chapter-ten-cat-burglars-and-insurance-fraud-by-sally-cronin/

A new series of the top songs from the movies in my book at least…..and the first song is Shaft by Isaac Hayes.. a blast from the past.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/smorgasbord-music-column-my-favourite-songs-from-the-movies-shaft-by-isaac-haynes/

This week the importance your blog has as part of your book marketing strategy. And a checklist to make sure you have certain elements in place to be effective.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/14/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-book-marketing-online-watering-holes-for-authors-part-one-your-blog-sally-cronin/

I was born on Friday 13th (February) and it has always been lucky for me… there are a number of variations, including Tuesday 13th and Thursday 13th, on the theme around the world and for various reasons..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/smorgasbord-something-to-think-about-paraskevidekatriaphobics-have-no-fear-friday-13th-is-lucky-for-some-sally-cronin/

This week, Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills was to create a story in 99 words not more, no less about the greatest gift of some kind… here is my response.. Life’s Greatest Gift….

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/smorgasbord-short-stories-the-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-challenge-lifes-greatest-gift-by-sally-cronin/

This week’s prompt words for Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 144 were ‘Enchant and Fly and I have used the synonyms Charm and Soar for my double etheree

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-tuesday-tanka-challenge-no-144-double-etheree-the-charm-of-fairies-by-sally-cronin/

This is the third post from the archives of author and poet, Patricia Furstenberg . I love medical conditions.. not necessarily when afflicting me personally, but the causes, symptoms and treatments.. I know I need to get a life. However, some conditions have a literary origin…. 5 Medical Symptoms Named After Literary Characters (2017) by Patricia Furstenberg

Sleeping Beauty painting by Victor Gabriel Gilbert

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/09/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-5-medical-symptoms-named-after-literary-characters-2017-by-patricia-furstenberg/

This is the third post from the archives of author, fitness advocate and photographer Terri Webster Schrandt. I could not share some of Terri’s posts without including a photograph…. so whilst short this is also sweet, particularly as that is the favourite taste sensation of the subjects of the photograph. Photography – Never Ending Quest for Food (2016) by Terri Webster Schrandt

Male hummer finding food

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/09/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-photography-never-ending-quest-for-food-2016-by-terri-webster-schrandt/

This is the third post from the archives of Jim Borden who blogs on ‘Borden’s Blather across a variety of topics. This post from Jim reminds us all of what there is to life we might be missing out on. The Benefits of Having a Purpose in Life (2017) by Jim Borden

(copyright World Economic Forum),

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-the-benefits-of-having-a-purpose-in-life-2017-by-jim-borden/

This is the final post from the archives of the eclectic blog of writer Marilyn Armstrong and I have selected this one from a series of posts in 2015 – Sharing my World..Hugging the Dogs: Sharing My World 2015- Week 2 by Marilyn Armstrong

Bishop

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-the-archives-potluck-hugging-the-dogs-sharing-my-world-2015-week-2-by-marilyn-armstrong/

This is the final post of author Antoinette Truglio Martin who began blogging in 2018.. I am going to share four posts from her archives that were part of her A-Z challenge last year.  Pasta is a favourite in our household.. and Antoinette has a story about Pastina…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-blogging-a-z-challenge-2018-antoinette-truglio-martin-p-is-for-pastina/

This is the final post from the archives of Anne Copeland, writer of nonfiction articles, books, and poetry, as well as a mixed media and fiber artist. This post is a poem that sums up how I feel about the world at times. Weltschmerz (2018)

pexels-Statue of Liberty

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-poetry-weltschmerz-by-anne-copeland/

This is the final post from author and designer, Valentina Cirasola I have chosen this post because my mother was a Libra born on October 5th and I am sure several of you will have your birthdays in the coming month. #Astrology Born A Libra Under Venus (2018)

(Photo: https://www.123rf.com/clipart – Artist: Kisslilly)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-astrology-born-a-libra-under-venus-valentina-cirasola-interior-designer/

This is the final post of author Ellen Hawley who has enjoyed a wonderfully varied career before leaving the United States to settle in Cornwall. The opioid crisis in the USA and increasingly in the UK and other countries is not the first time in history that an addictive substance has become concerning. In this post Ellen explores Tea and opium.. care of The East India Company. History – Tea, opium, and the East India Company (2018)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-history-tea-opium-and-the-east-india-company-2018-by-ellen-hawley/

This is the second post from educator and author Pete Springer who began blogging in April this year. I am sure you will agree that he has made a fantastic start to his new project. I know how many of you are dog lovers, and this one is for you… My Buddies by Pete Springer

Jake and Lulu

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newbloggers-doglovers-my-buddies-by-pete-springer/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-wednesday-11th-september-2019-m-j-mallon-with-frank-prem-bette-a-stevens-amy-reade-with-andi-cumbo-floyd/

New Books on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-childrens-space-dust-by-eloise-de-sousa/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-memoir-gardening-twigs-in-my-hair-by-cynthia-reyes/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-abby-holly-series-book-3-secrets-of-the-trunk-by-janice-spina/

Author update – Reviews and books on offer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-m-j-mallon-mary-adler-jacquie-biggar-and-deborah-jay/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-darlene-foster-jan-sikes-teagan-riordian-geneviene-and-jack-eason/

I wanted to describe the passage of a very common and tasty snack that many of us enjoy. Usually with only one thing in mind. The taste.. However, perhaps after following this chicken sandwich through your digestive tract you might think about it in a different way.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/smorgasbord-health-column-major-organs-and-systems-of-the-body-the-digestive-system-the-immune-system-and-a-chicken-sandwich/

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-comedian-in-residence-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-2-2/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-10/

Thank you for all your support this week and look forward to seeing you soon. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Major Organs and systems of the body – The digestive system, the Immune System and a Chicken Sandwich.


The immune system- The Digestive process.

There is an old saying ‘You are what you eat‘ which came originally from the French Anthelme Brillat-Savarin author wrote, in Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, 1826: “Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” (Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.) A time when gout was a huge problem for those who indulged in rich foods….thanks to Phrases.org.uk

I thought I would take this concept a little further by demonstrating the actions that take place following the consumption of food… and since most of us who eat meat, will indulge in a chicken sandwich regularly, I have selected this to be the test subject.

I wanted to describe the passage of a very common and tasty snack that many of us enjoy. Usually with only one thing in mind. The taste.. However, perhaps after following this chicken sandwich through your digestive tract you might think about it in a different way.

As a starter – a bit about Antibiotics.

Firstly, though a little about antibiotics. Most of the stories in the media are about the concerns of scientists and doctors that we are fast running out of effective antibiotics to kill the many strains of bacteria that threaten our health.

If human DNA only mutates every 10,000 years or so, they are outstripped by ‘Formula 1‘ bacteria. They are mutating in a heartbeat to survive and this is where the problem lies with antibiotics. We have over prescribed them in the last 50 years or so, pumped them through the food chain resulting in damage to our immune systems and we have created a group of superbugs that don’t care what you throw at them.

Our immune system is our own personal health insurance and we need to make sure that it is boosted so that it can handle the minor bacterial infections we will all have from time to time and only have antibiotics if our system cannot overcome the problem itself.

The purpose of this post is to illustrate how the food that we put in our mouths is critical to the efficiency of our Immune System. Without the right ingredients that have to be processed at every stage of digestion, there would be no defense mechanism in place and we would die. Therefore you really need to think of these two major operating systems of the body as working in tandem.

Our body is pretty amazing but it is not a magician. You do not eat a meal and are suddenly flooded with vitamins and minerals. It is necessary for the food to go through a complex process before its nutrients can be utilised to combat bacteria and provide us with energy.

For that task we need enzymes and other ingredients produced by our organs. For the purpose of this post I am going to use a sandwich that many of us might eat and then forget about. What happens to it after the juicy chicken and tangy mayo has left our mouth is not our concern surely?  But it is!

One of the most complex systems in our body is already at work having begun the process the moment you started to chew the first mouthful of the sandwich.

The journey of the chicken sandwich from first bite to fuelling your immune system.

chicken sandwichYou take your first bite of a wholegrain sandwich with chicken and salad, a bit of butter and a smidgen salt and mayonnaise (lovely)- in the meantime your teeth, tongue and salivary glands that produce the first phase of enzymes begin the digestive process before passing the food (properly chewed is helpful) into the pharynx at the back of the throat. For example amylase produced by the salivary glands converts the bread in the sandwich into pairs of sugars, or dissacharides.

Salivary GlandsThe food then passes into the oesophagus through to the stomach where hydrochloric acid modifies pepsinogen, secreted by the stomach lining to form an enzyme called pepsin. Pepsin breaks down the chicken into smaller units called polypeptides and lipase will break down any fatty globules into glycerol and fatty acids. The acid in the stomach will also kill as much harmful bacteria as possible (not only in the food itself but passed on from the hands that made it and the board it was made on). The end result is a highly acidic liquid that is passed into the duodenum.

Stomach and PancreasThe duodenum will secrete a mucus in response to two hormones (secretin and pancreozymin) that are released to neutralise the acidic liquid that was your chicken sandwich. Bile is also passed into the duodenum either directly from the liver or from the gallbladder where it has been stored.

Acid Alkali scale-01Bile is a complex fluid containing water, electrolytes and organic molecules including bile acids, cholesterol, phospholipids and bilirubin essential for the digestion of fats and their absorption along with fat-soluble vitamins as they pass through the small intestine. The bile has also picked up the waste products that have been accumulating in the liver so that they can be passed through the colon for elimination.

Referring back to my cholesterol blogs –Health Column Directory  this is when total levels are affected by the efficiency of the bile process. Cholesterol not only comes from food but is also manufactured in the liver. It is virtually insoluble in most fluids except for bile where the acids and fats such as lecithin do the job. If this process is not effective cholesterol can collect into stones that block the ducts and cause problems with the digestion of fat. Bile levels in the body are lowest after fasting which is why you have a cholesterol test at least 12 hours after your last meal.

IntestinesBy the time the liquid sandwich reaches the duodenum the particles within it are already very small, however they need to be smaller still before they pass into the ileum, where the final chemical processing will take place. The enzymes that have joined the mix from the pancreas and amylase will break down the food even further into peptides and maltose which is a disaccharide sugar.7. The small intestine is lined by millions of villi, tiny hair like projections which each contain a capillary and a tiny branch of the lymphatic system called a lacteal. More enzymes maltase, sucrase and lactase are produced to facilitate the absorption of the smaller particles through the villi – including breaking down the sugar pairs into single sugars called monosaccharides which pass through easily.

The glycerol, fatty acids and the now dissolved vitamins are sucked up into the lymphatic system through the lacteal and into the bloodstream. Other nutrients such as amino acids, sugars and minerals are absorbed into the capillary in the villi which connects directly to the hepatic portal vein and the liver. It is here, in the liver that certain nutrients will be extracted and stored for later use whilst others are passed onto the body.

The carbohydrate in the sandwich we have eaten has been broken down into first pairs of sugars and then into single sugar molecules and have passed through the villi into the liver. Glucose provides our energy and the liver will determine current levels in our system, how much glucose to convert to glycogen to store and how much to release directly into the bloodstream, as long term imbalance can cause diabetes.

Once all the nutrients have been extracted and passed into the bloodstream, lymphatic system or liver, any insoluble and undigested food moves into the large intestine. Any water and salt remaining in the mixture is absorbed into the lining of the intestine and the remainder mixes with all the other waste products produced by the body such as bacteria and dead cells – it is then pack and pressed and stored for excretion.

So there goes the last of your chicken sandwich. I hope it puts a different perspective on the food that you are putting into your mouth – it also is important to remember that if you have a white diet, white grains, fats and sugars lacking in sufficient healthy fats, vegetables and fruits, you are giving your body a great deal less to work with, and your body and immune system will struggle to get what it needs to be healthy.

The only foods that provide our digestive system with the raw ingredients to maintain and boost our immune systems are natural, unprocessed vegetables, fruit, protein, wholegrain carbohydrates and healthy fats. This does not mean that you cannot eat white flour products, for example sourdough bread because of the live nature of the fermentation process is a healthier alternative to store bought plastic cheap white bread.

If 80% of the time you are consuming these foods cooked from scratch then 20% of the time eating foods that have are not as healthy is not a problem.

Most of us have access to an amazing variety of fresh foods but stay firmly fixed on a handful. We need a really wide variety of food to obtain all the nutrients we need for our immune system and this shopping list might help you out.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/smorgasbord-health-column-a-basic-shopping-list-for-a-nutritionally-balanced-diet/

©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: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

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.

I hope you have found useful and your feedback is always welcome.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – New Author Interview, Music, Travel, Seasoning, Apple Coffee Cake and lots of other stuff


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

It is a time of great suffering and challenges for the thousands who have been devastated in the Bahamas and also those caught up in the hurricane as it moves up the Eastern coast of the USA. Whilst the majority of us are just spectators as these tragedies unfold, they do touch us and make us realise how lucky we are not to be in the path of the destructive force of nature so regularly. Especially when so many of those impacted had little to begin with.

I know that I bang on about the Irish weather from time to time, but it is still a moderate climate without the extremes normally, and we are very lucky.

This coming week sees a new feature for those authors in the Cafe and Bookstore, in line with my renewed focus on promoting this group of writers.

If you have a book that you are going to be offering free or for a reduced price, usually 99p/99c then please let me know a week in advance if you can, by email sally.cronin@moyhill.com…or if you are on Facebook you can send me a message. I will add in its own section at the end of one of the Cafe Updates.. all it costs you is a few seconds of your time to let me know.

Also I don’t want to come across as a nag, but please remember to respond to comments individually, as it will encourage more sales, for your books and also for your blog to be remembered with more shares across social media.  Thank you for listening to this service message!!!

As always a huge thanks to the contributors to the blog, my aim to have a magazine approach originally has been fulfilled by their wonderful posts, offering a diverse range of subjects that I could not provide myself. Their knowledge and effort are very much appreciated. Also thank you for your support for their work and for my own posts, it helps motivate and inspire me.

Time to get on with the show…..

A welcome return to our musical columnist William Price King with a new series of posts on influential musicians.. this week American jazz-rock guitarist and composer John Scofield

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/03/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-with-american-jazz-rock-guitarist-and-composer-john-scofield/

The week D.G. Kaye takes us to one of the lovely islands in the Caribbean and provides us with all the information we need to visit...I’ve written about a few islands in the Caribbean so far, and today I want to continue the Caribbean theme and take us all to Saint Barthelemy, or the often abbreviated, St. Barths, the French prefer to call it, and, St. Barts in English.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/02/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye-caribbean-st-barts/

This week Carol Taylor shows us How to add fuss free flavor to your food. To make delicious family food you don’t need to spend a fortune on fancy ingredients which cost a fortune. Most of us have access to a whole range of simple herbs, spices and aromatics which we can use to accentuate and bring maximum flavor to food.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/04/smorgasbord-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-how-to-add-fuss-free-flavor-to-your-food/

This month a cake that will tempt you beyond all self-control from Silvia Todesco – a step by step guide to Italian deliciousness.  Fluffy apple coffee cake: irresistible!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/05/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-italian-cookery-with-silvia-todesco-fluffy-apple-coffee-cake-irresistible/

D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies, kicks off the new author interview series in great style sharing the inspiration for her writing, the editing process and software, and books on our craft that she considers are must reads. I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did. You can also enjoy an excerpt from her memoir Twenty Years After “I Do”.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/08/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-series-sunday-author-interview-non-fiction-memoir-d-g-kaye/

My review for The Magic Carpet by Jessica Norrie.. a lovely book and highly recommended.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/07/smorgasbord-book-reviews-the-magic-carpet-by-jessica-norrie/

Previously Imogen had regaled Andrew with her antics as one of the team in the Ladies Fashion department at Huntleys, and her run in with shoplifters. Chapter Seven – The Cosmetic Department.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/07/just-an-odd-job-girl-serialisation-chapter-seven-the-cosmetic-department-sally-cronin/

Previously  Working in the Cosmetic Department of Huntleys was not all about nail varnish and lipsticks, there were also fascinating social issues to be discovered and embraced. Chapter Eight – The Steakhouse

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/08/just-an-odd-job-girl-serialisation-chapter-eight-the-steak-house-by-sally-cronin/

Being the first Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 142 of the month, Colleen allows us the freedom to choose our own words…Double Etheree – The Summer Bids Farewell 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/05/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-tanka-tuesday-challenge-the-summer-bids-farewell-by-sally-cronin/

This week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills was to use the title of one of the greatest western’s of all time True Grit in one form or another.. Since is was my father’s favourite film (along with any John Wayne Western) I have responded with this.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/08/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-true-grit-by-sally-cronin/

Attracting your readers, Covers, Book Titles, Tag Lines and Key Words Authors are small businesses with a product that needs marketing to obtain sales. Once you start thinking of yourself as a business it tends to focus your mind differently. One of the key elements of marketing and selling is to attract the right customer for your product and in book marketing this is your readers.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/07/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-book-marketing-attracting-your-readers-covers-book-titles-tag-lines-and-key-words-by-sally-cronin/

New books on the shelves.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/04/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-ya-amanda-in-holland-missing-in-action-by-darlene-foster/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/04/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-nights-tooth-tales-of-the-river-vine-book-1-by-jean-lee/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/06/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-the-captains-witch-by-karen-demers-dowdall/

Author Updates

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/02/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-brigid-p-gallagher-james-j-cudney-and-paulette-mahurin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/06/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-mary-smith-bette-a-stevens-and-stevie-turner/

Kicking off the new series of posts from the archives of bloggers who have been blogging for under a year, is Pete Springer, sharing his story of getting fitter and healthier after retirement. Making Healthy Changes by Pete Springer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/03/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newbloggers-making-healthy-changes-by-pete-springer/

The current series of potluck posts continues for a couple of weeks and in this post Terri Webster Schrandt underlines the need to make sure that children and adults are safe in the water. Don’t Become a Memory: Three Easy Ways to Be Safe in the Water (2015) by Terri Webster Schrandt

Swim-Kids

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/02/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-dont-become-a-memory-three-easy-ways-to-be-safe-in-the-water-2015-by-terri-webster-schrandt/

This is the second post from the archives of author and poet, Patricia Furstenberg who as you can tell from some of her books is a dog lover. In this post Patricia shares the steps to igniting the love of reading in boys. Here’s How To Get Boys To Read In 5 Easy Steps (2017) by Patricia Furstenberg

Image courtesy Unsplash

Image courtesy Unsplash

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/02/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-heres-how-to-get-boys-to-read-in-5-easy-steps-2017-by-patricia-furstenberg/

This is the second post from the archives of Jim Borden. One of the areas I think we do not do well here is with a Community Alert System should there be a potential disaster.. along the lines of this post.  #Community First Night of CERT Training (2016) by Jim Borden – No, this post is not about how to properly take a breath mint, although I know many of us who could benefit from such training.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/03/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-community-first-night-of-cert-training-2016-by-jim-borden/

This is the third post from the archives of the eclectic blog of writer Marilyn Armstrong and I have selected this one because despite being written seven years ago…our lives are still run by batteries and power boards.Charge (Batteries) 2012 by Marilyn Armstrong

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/05/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-charge-batteries-2012-by-marilyn-armstrong/

This is the third post of author Antoinette Truglio Martin who began blogging in 2018.. I am going to share four posts from her archives that were part of her A-Z challenge last year.  Since my downfall is and has always been food….I enjoyed browsing Antoinette’s challenge. This week, a food that immediately brings back memories of New England… Lobster.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/05/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-blogging-a-z-challenge-2018-antoinette-truglio-martin-l-is-for-lobster/

This is the third post from the archives of Anne Copeland, writer of nonfiction articles, books, and poetry, as well as a mixed media and fiber artist. This post is heartrending and inspiring. As someone who has lost a late-term baby, I  found this very touching and it is a beautiful undertaking by an extraordinary woman. An Angel Among Us (2018) Anne Copeland

Garden of Angels Cemetery at Desert Lawn in Calimesa

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/06/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-abandonedbabies-an-angel-among-us-2018-anne-copeland/

This is the third post from author and designer, Valentina Cirasola. I have chosen this post from the Home Designs Blog and as I have always painted by kitchens Yellow… I thought you might get some inspiration from Valentina from September 2018 Yellow For Manifesting – Valentina Cirasola – Interior Designer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/06/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-yellow-for-manifesting-2018-valentina-cirasola-interior-designer/

This is the third post from the archives of Lee who writes for her blog Woeful to Froful, where she shares about hair and skincare, beauty, positive thinking and music. This is from Lee’s second blog and I thought it was a lovely way to express a mother’s body….

beach-life-maternity-51386-pexels-pixabay

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/07/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-mothers-this-body-has-carried-babies-by-lee/

This is the third post of author Ellen Hawley who has enjoyed a wonderfully varied career before leaving the United States to settle in Cornwall.  Here Ellen shares a recipe for another family favourite. Recipe – Peach or blackberry cobbler: an American recipe

cobbler, eddie 006

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/08/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-recipe-peach-or-blackberry-cobbler-an-american-recipe-by-ellen-hawley/

The new series of the blogger daily where I showcase some of our brilliant bloggers in the community.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/04/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-september-4th-2019-jennie-fitzkee-sue-vincent-robbie-cheadle-james-j-cudney/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/07/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-saturday-september-7th-2019-beetley-pete-guest-posts-paddy-cummins-irish-names-some-kind-of-fifty-questions/

Last week I began a series on The Immune System and how it works. This week I would like to show you how your role in your immune system’s efficiency is critical and possibly life saving.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/03/smorgasbord-health-column-major-organs-and-sysems-of-the-body-the-immune-system-and-your-role-in-its-efficiency/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/03/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-comedian-in-residence-d-g-kaye-and-some-jokes-from-sallys-archives-3/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/09/05/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-comedian-in-residence-d-g-kaye-and-some-jokes-from-sallys-archives-2/

 

Thank you for dropping by and for all your amazing support it is much appreciated. It would be lovely if we could connect on the following sites too. Thanks Sally.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin
MeWe: https://mewe.com/i/sallycronin

Smorgasbord Health Column – Major Organs and Sysems of the Body – The Immune System and Your role in its efficiency


Last week I began a series on The Immune System and how it works.

This week I would like to show you how your role in your immune system’s efficiency is critical and possibly life saving.

I spent most of the first 40 years of my life in ignorance when it came to my body. I had studied biology at school and apart from a scary film on childbirth (meant to be the ultimate contraceptive), I knew more about the insides of a frog.

As a family we ate well… But it was not related to our health in any way. Certainly as I stuffed food in one end I gave little thought as to what happened to it on its journey to the other end. I was more concerned that my sugar craving was satisfied and I was then a happy bunny.

It took the short and very sharp shock of finding out that my ignorance had led me to a dark place physically with lifestyle related diseases associated with a woman in her 70s and 80s. Completely self-inflicted and I could not blame my genes, my family nor could I adopt a ‘poor me’ approach to blame.

It is not as though I was stupid. I was a senior executive in a large company with a stressful but very fulfilling job. But I had no control over my eating. I have always devoured books as well as food and now it was time to go into overdrive and learn how to take back control of my failing body.

As I studied medical textbooks and online research by leading nutritionists; a light went on. I had been dismissive for most of my life about my body and the functions it performed, mainly without my assistance 24 hours a day 7 days a week. My only contribution was give it the nutritional and physical support to do its job; and I had been failing miserably.

Supplements and quick fixes

We live in a world of quick fixes. For example, in supermarkets, pharmacies, in the press you find anti-oxidants advertised for your immune system –when do you think our 100,000 year old body decided that it was better to get its nutrients from a capsule or tablet? And considering that it does take 10,000 to 12,000 years for a DNA mutation that might make a small change in the way the body processes nutrients for its needs, I think it is clear that we still need to ingest the good old fashioned food to give it a fighting chance.

I do advocate the occasional use of supplements, when needed, to additionally support the body. You must do your research however, and it is better to buy a reputable brand that gives you all the relevant information and has advisors on hand if you have questions.  Many cheaper brands may be fine, but often the pills will just pass through you without your body receiving any benefits at all.

If you add up how much you are spending on keeping your immune system healthy with supplements, then I think you will find that you could be enjoying a fantastic diet, rich with more than enough fresh foods to do the job better.

The reason for somewhat long winded introduction is that over the many years that I have worked with clients and written about food and nutrition, I have learned that if someone understands how their body works, and how truly amazing it is they will put everything into losing weight, improving their immune system function, working to improve conditions such as diabetes etc.

So, fasten your seat belt! Here we go with part three of the immune system -how it reacts to an infection like a cold, and some more foods to help support your defences in the massive task of keeping you alive.

If toxins and germs get past our first barriers such as the skin etc then the body needs to muster its troops very quickly to contain the situation. Apart from our blood stream we have a network throughout our bodies which is called the lymphatic system. It is a little like a railway network with stations along the route, which are called glands. You will often hear people say that the glands are up for example when they have an infection.

The most noticeable are usually the lymph nodes in your neck, under your armpits and in your groin. The lymph fluid, which is called plasma, travels along the network, reaches one of the stations and drops off any harmful bacteria in the node. The lymph system contains a number of cells that sound like something out of James Bond movies. B-cells, Killer T-cells – Helper T –Cells macrophages and lymphocytes and these and all other blood cells are produced in our bone marrow. (Which is why bone marrow transplants from healthy marrow can save the life of another person)

All these cells have specific roles to play (for example the macrophages swallow bacteria to kill it) and to give you an idea of the immune system at work this how the common cold virus is dealt with in the body.

A common cold is an illness caused by a virus infection located in the nose but which can also affect the sinuses, ears and the bronchial tubes. The symptoms include sneezing and sore throat for the first 24 to 36 hours followed by blocked nose, scratchy throat with possibly headaches, feverishness, chilliness and coughs.

It is not actually the virus that causes all the unpleasant symptoms of a cold. The virus attaches itself to a small proportion of the cells in the lining of the nose. It is in fact the body’s response to the invasion that causes all the symptoms. The immune system is activated and also some of the nervous system reflexes. A number of white cells from our defence system, including killer cells, are released into the blood stream such as histamine, interleukins and prostaglandins. When activated these cells cause a dilation and leakage of blood vessels and mucus gland secretion. They also activate sneezing and cough reflexes to expel infection from the nose and the lungs.

It is these reactions caused by our own killer cells that are treated by the over the counter medications, not the actual virus itself. By suppressing our bodies own reactions to the virus we can drive it further into the system causing more harmful infections, particularly if we have already got a weakened immune system.

After the killer cells have dealt with the initial infection, antibodies are released that help prevent re-infection by the same virus. This is why as we get older we should suffer from less cold infections.

Avoiding colds in the first place.

There are two main ways to protect yourself from catching a cold virus. One is to minimise the risk of infection through contact with people and objects that have been infected, and the other is to build your immune system to enable you to deal with viruses if they do attach themselves to you. It is almost impossible to avoid contact with people or with objects they have touched with their hands. Some of those people are going to have a cold or influenza and short of doing a ‘Howard Hughes’ and retreating into a sealed room you will have to make do with the main simple but effective precautions.

P.S – Shoppers.. Worth investing in some natural antiseptic wipes with peppermint, citronella, lemongrass,orange, patchouli oils etc and wiping down the handles of supermarket trollies. All these in laboratory tests were effective against 22 bacterial strains and fungi. Think about it!  And wash your hands before you touch any of the raw food you bring home with you.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8893526

Wash your hands frequently with ordinary soap and hot water to avoid passing the virus into your nose. For the elderly avoid shaking hands and kissing family and friends. If you have a baby ask kindly meaning admirers to not touch or kiss it.

Also you should exercise regularly in the fresh air and avoid over heated, unventilated living spaces. If your nasal passages dry out they are more likely to become infected and this applies to those of us who live in air-conditioned and centrally heated environments most of the year.

Some natural anti-virals.

Vitamin C and Zinc are great nutrients in the fight against the cold. Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid is water soluble and cannot be stored in the body and is the most powerful water-soluble anti-oxidant. Not only does it protect us from free-radical damage but it works to neutralise potentially harmful reactions in the water-based parts of our body such as in the bloodstream and in the fluid around each cell. In the immune system it works to increase the production of our white blood cells that make up our defences. It can also modulate the reaction to a cold for example by lowering the levels of histamine which is causing the runny nose.

The best source for Vitamin C is all fresh, raw fruit and vegetables – and the highest concentrations are in black currants, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cherries, grapefruits etc… A word of warning – if you buy already prepared and cut vegetables they will have lost varying percentages of their Vitamin C depending on how many days old they are. You may only be obtaining a third of the initial amount of the vitamin by day four or five. Frozen food on the other hand that is picked and frozen is a great option if you can only shop once a week.

If you are starting a cold; drink hot water with the juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of honey. One of the herbs that I use during the winter months is Echinacea  and I will take from November through to January to help boost my immune system.  If you take as a cold begins, rather than supress the immune system it will support it. However, the old saying that a cold will be gone in ‘a week or seven days’ is usually accurate. The very young and the elderly are vulnerable to more serious respiratory complications and extra care should be taken.

pumpkin seedsZinc is often referred to as the healing mineral -there is evidence to suggest wounds heal faster and certainly it supports a healthy immune system. So foods to include are: – Seafood, pumpkinseeds, sesame seeds, wheatgerm, egg yolks and tofu. Sprinkle the seeds over your porridge in the morning – or make your own home-made muesli – enjoy an egg a day for breakfast.

The importance of adequate Vitamin D to maintain a healthy Immune System.

Vitamin D is a subject of many research projects that are identifying new elements of our health that this vitamin that thinks it is a hormone is involved in.  It has mainly been associated with bone health, and we have come a long way since Victorian times when rickets was at its worst. But this vitamin plays a vital role in our fight against some of the life-threatening diseases we face today.  You can find out more here

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is found in some food sources. We are also designed to make the vitamin in our body after exposure to the ultraviolet rays from the sun. When it is manufactured in the body it takes on a number of different forms, each of which have a different function to perform.

Vitamin D also works to promote healthy cell growth and actively prevent the formation of abnormal growth which strengthens the link between not only breast cancer and a deficiency but other cancers as well. Incidences of breast, prostate and colon cancer in the cloudier, Northern parts of the United States are two to three times higher than in Sunnier states. A link has been established to a deficiency of Vitamin D with all these types of cancer.

Apart from working with other nutrients to provide a healthy balance, Vitamin D is also associated with a number of other chronic diseases including Osteoporosis (calcium) Diabetes, Heart disease, arthritis (immune system) Multiple sclerosis (autoimmune system) Obesity ( lowers the levels of leptin hormone produced by the fat cells which regulates weight) , PMS and infertility, chronic fatigue and depression.

To find out how to get the best of any sunshine you have access to you can find out more here

Next time – The over use of antibiotics and how a simple chicken sandwich fuels your immune system

©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: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

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 for dropping in and please help spread the word by sharing..Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – The major Organs and systems of the body – The Immune System and how it works by Sally Cronin


Like most things in life there are two sides to every story, which means there are the good guys and the bad guys. When it comes to our health this involves healthy bacteria and dangerous bacteria.

All creatures, including of course humans, have an amazingly complex but effective system to distinguish between the two, and to ensure that we don’t come to harm. It is our Immune System.

This system has been evolving over hundreds of thousands of years and developing strategies to protect us every time it met with a new threat. This is often; as germs mutate when they meet resistance and our software needs frequent updating.

The majority of the bacteria in our body is designed to be there. These are the friendlies and our home defence team. Without a gut teeming with them many of our systems would grind to a halt, our brains would not function and our blood would uselessly circulate our bodies without anything to transport. Our food would not be processed and nutrients would not reach the organs that depend entirely on them to survive.

Along with the worker bacterial cells there are the front line soldiers who rush to our defence when we are under attack. Provided we have a healthy diet of unprocessed natural foods these fighters are in enough numbers to do the job. However, throw sugars and industrial food into the equation along with laziness and you rob your immune system of this vital defence component and you are open to attack.

One of the issues that is also playing a huge part in our downgrading of our anti-virus software is the overuse of commercial anti-bacterial products.  Not only can the active ingredients be harmful to us, but if too strong, their actions can prevent us coming into contact with bacteria needed for our immune systems to detect or develop andidotes.

Having said that, children need to be exposed to non-lethal germs from an early age to develop their immature immune systems effectively.  Living in a home that is 99% germ free is a great concept but the world outside is 99% germ invested.  A child needs to be able to cope with that, and can only do so if its defence system has been allowed to come up to standard.

In the posts on the immune system I will be looking at how it works and what it needs to do so effectively.

In this post  I will cover the components of this complex defence mechanism, how it works and how to maintain its efficiency with some changes in diet.

It is a system that is usually taken for granted and treated with disrespect until it lets us down, and then we blame it for making us ill.  In fact if we have not provided this vital function within our body, the foods containing the nutrients it requires; it is us who is to blame. Many millions in the world do not have access to fresh produce and are unable to give their immune systems what it needs, causing widespread disease. This means that it is even more important for those of us who do live with the luxury of food choice to make the most of it.

Without an efficiently functioning immune system we would all have to spend our lives in a bubble without any contact with the outside world. Ever. One minor infection could kill you!

There have been a number of cases over the years of children born with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID). They have been forced to spend their lives separated by clear plastic from their family and any contact with bacteria or viruses. Today, thankfully with gene therapy, this devastating disease is curable, but for some a normal life is simply not possible.

The immune system is another one of our silent partners and is an extremely important one. Our most crucial years in terms of this amazing system in our body, is our childhood, when our contact with people, animals, grass, pollens, foods; develops the immune system until it becomes our guardian angel. Watching and waiting for any breach in our system and rushing to our defence within seconds of the alarm being sounded. (Anyone who has had a child going to nursery or school for the first time will have experienced first-hand the process, as the mass contact produces a whole raft of immune system strengthening infections!) It is however, never too late to make the changes necessary to strengthen your immune system.

In a nutshell if your immune system is not functioning well, your entire body including the tissues, organs and systems, suffer damage and cannot repair themselves. Additionally you are wide open to bacterial, viral and toxic invaders who are looking for a nesting site. You have what they need to reproduce and thrive but they like to make some adjustments when they arrive. They like a lovely acidic, toxic, waste filled environment without too much oxygen. (A rubbish diet with little exercise will achieve that nicely)

They are particularly fond of a new home that does not have troublesome neighbours such as anti-oxidants and they prefer a quiet life without too much exercise so that they get on and breed. They are a class act and make sure that they give you something back in the form of rent. Frequent colds and flu, thrush, skin complaints, fatigue and stomach problems. If you are a really up market landlord and are offering premium accommodation they will pay you back with arthritis, rheumatism, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and cancer.

The immune system is not involved in just our internal defences. It actually has a pretty formidable array of physical barriers that are designed to keep pathogens, which is all harmful substances out of our bodies.

Our first line of defence

The skin is our main external protector. If it is not damaged it will not allow harmful substances to enter the blood stream. The problem is that of course it is porous and is designed to allow fluids out and in through the pores. So any substance that touches your skin such as chemical preparations can pass right through. For example if you use strong household cleaners these contain highly toxic substances that will pass through the dermal layer and store in the tissues causing anything to a mild rash to a violent allergic reaction. This is why you must wear gloves when using them. Many of us react to perfume, cosmetics or even simple hand creams that our body obviously thinks of as toxic. If you cut yourself then germs can pass through directly to the bloodstream and from there they have complete access to the rest of your body.

We have special hairs and mucus tissues in our nose, mouth and throat that are designed to catch anything harmful.   If a toxin gets as far as our stomachs, then acid and enzymes will react and cause you to vomit to get rid of it. Should any harmful bacteria, virus or toxin get past these barriers then we have a very complex system of cells and anti-bodies that will rush to our defence. Most of us have suffered stomach upsets before and it is just the body getting rid of the toxins. (More about these in a later post.)

The liver is of course the place where most of these toxins are going to pass through, and it has specific enzymes designed to destroy them so that they can then be evicted from the body. Which is fine if the toxicity is only occasional but unfortunately our modern diet and environment puts the liver under a great deal of pressure and toxins will not all be expelled, going on to do sometimes irreparable damage.

Free radicals running riot through the body.

If you cut an apple and effectively damage it, within a few minutes it will begin to turn brown. If you leave it long enough the tissue of the apple will begin to break down and you will end up with a liquid, bacteria covered and unidentifiable lump on your cutting board. That just about sums up what free radical damage does to your body. We bandy about the phrase Free Radicals as if they are some dissident political group or school yard bullies which is essentially true. Like most bullies they are missing something and want yours.

A free radical is a molecule. A normal molecule has an even number of electrons and is considered stable. Free radicals on the other hand have an uneven number of electrons and are unstable. They are desperate to be like the normal molecules so they have to steal from them to get another electron. This of course means that they have created another free radical. More and more cells become damaged and leave the body open to most diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Like the apple the damage is a kind of oxidation, which is the action of adding oxygen to a substance or rusting and when I wrote about cholesterol, it was the low density lipoprotein with its smaller particles that becomes oxidised by free radicals making it unhealthy.

Do Free Radicals have a positive effect on the body?

Ironically the immune system uses some free radicals to go and steal an electron from harmful molecules that have entered the system illegally. Problem is, like everything else in the body we need balances and checks. The Free Radical police are anti-oxidants and if you have not got enough of them then the free radicals become vigilantes and go after everything that moves.

Also we create free radicals when we exercise energetically and take in additional oxygen. These then assist with the metabolism of foods that enter the body. Again if the balance between these and anti-oxidants is not correct more free radicals are created than are needed. This is why we need a healthy diet including foods that provide these anti-oxidants.

vegetablesThose of you who read my articles on a regular basis know what is coming next!… To boost your immune system there are some very easy guidelines to follow.

  1. Cut out sugars from your diet so that you are only ingesting a maximum of 6 teaspoons per day in cooked foods and as a sweetener. Effectively, that means do not eat industrial processed foods, particularly items such as breakfast cereals and most commercial flavoured yogurts. Do not be taken in by low-fat food and those that say artificially sweetened. The chemical stuff is definitely unhealthy and has documented side effects. Too much sugar in the system provides a wonderful environment for all toxic pathogens and your immune system will only be able to stand on the side lines as its defence team fights a losing battle.
  2. Industrially produced foods have been through a machine, rarely has many natural ingredients and has chemical additives. If it is wrapped in plastic, comes in a packet or has very attractive cardboard advertising then treat with suspicion. Most of the time your immune system will spend more time dealing with the toxins than your digestive system will take to consume and process. If after the main ingredients you have a long list of additives and E numbers…. skip it.
  3. Drink sufficient fluids to help toxins pass out of the body. If you are one of those who boast that you manage on a cup or two of tea a day and that you get all the fluids you need from the food you eat; think again. We lose moisture when we exhale, through our skin and when we pee, which adds up to between 1.5 to 2 litres per day. You cannot replenish that from food alone and if you pinch the skin on the back of your hand and it is slow to resume its normal smooth appearance then you are dehydrated. This will impact how your immune system functions.
  4. Adopt the 80/20 rule for your diet. 80% all fresh natural produce that has been grown, picked or dug up out of the ground. The brighter the colour the better. I know that having a busy work and personal life makes this daunting sometimes but I use frozen vegetables all the time.. Especially out of season. The only foods that I usually prefer to prepare myself are carrots, potatoes and sweet potato as the frozen ones do not taste as good. Also economically onions are much better non-frozen but I do in bulk and they keep in the fridge for a week. Green vegetables particularly are very good these days and if you are really in a hurry get a good quality mixed veg bag.
  5.  Combine with good quality protein that has not been mass farmed (farm shops are great) and moderate intake of grains and whilst I enjoy my whole grains I have developed a taste of fresh sourdough bread which has additives (you know it goes stale in 24 hours)also Basmati rice. (Carbohydrates are treated like sugar by the body so moderation is the key) . Milk, Butter, Eggs and Olive Oil should also be part of your nutritional shopping list as they provide vitamins and minerals as well as Omega Fatty Acids to boost your entire system.
  6. Follow my ‘Cook From Scratch’ approach to eating. That includes sauces so that you have minimum industrially manufactured produce in the diet. (I hesitate to call it food)
  7.  20% of your diet is where the Red Wine, Dark Chocolate and occasional Guinness comes in!

Next time – ignorance is not bliss.. your body is your only real asset and its well-being should be your primary concern.

© Sally Cronin Justfoodforhealth 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: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

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 for dropping in and please help spread the word by sharing..Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – The upcoming Flu Season in the news and getting prepared


Certainly for those considered to be in the vulnerable groups in our society… the elderly, those with compromised immune system and those in jobs that bring them into contact with the virus, it is time to be thinking about vaccinations as we move into September.

There have been a number of articles on the subject of this year’s flu season that I think it is worth you while to check out. I will also repeat the usual annual influenza information after the links.

The Flu Vaccination delays and the 2019 – 2020 flu season supply.

While we now think that flu vaccines are delayed if we don’t start seeing them in August, it is important to remember that it wasn’t that long ago that experts recommended that the optimal time to get a flu vaccination was in October and November.

It wasn’t until the 2006-07 flu season that we started to get updated guidelines for earlier flu vaccinations, starting with recommendations to offer flu shots in September for high risk groups “to avoid missed opportunities for vaccination.”

The next year the recommendation for the timing of flu vaccination became “health-care providers should begin offering vaccination soon after vaccine becomes available and if possible by October. To avoid missed opportunities for vaccination, providers should offer vaccination during routine health-care visits or during hospitalizations whenever vaccine is available.”

And with over 150 million doses of flu vaccine produced each year, it has been some time since we have seen a true flu vaccine shortage. The fact that more and more companies are making flu vaccines also helps ensure that shortages don’t happen.

Still, most flu vaccine manufacturers use older egg-based technology to grow flu virus strains for vaccine, which is not as reliable or flexible as many would wish it to be. This is what often leads to flu vaccine delays and shortages – the fact that in some years, the flu virus is simply hard to grow.

Flu Vaccine Delays and Shortages and the rest of the article: https://vaxopedia.org/2019/07/01/flu-vaccine-delays-and-the-2019-20-flu-season-supply/

New Flu strains for 2019 – 2020 have been identified

The World Health Organization has announced the upcoming strains of influenza for the 2019-2020 flu season and has made vaccination composition recommendations accordingly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that the 2018-2019 influenza vaccination had a 47% efficacy rate, making it one of the most effective vaccinations against the flu to date. The vaccine for the upcoming flu season has been updated to better match circulating viruses.

Influenza A viruses were predominant in most countries and accounted for 95% of all influenza viruses detected. Globally, co-circulation of both A(H1N1) and A(H3N2) viruses was evident in all countries and territories, as per the WHO. Two B components were also detected.

You can read the rest of the details : https://flushotsforyou.com/article/16/new-flu-strains-for-2019-2020-have-been-identified

For those living in the UK here is an article on Influenza and who should have the vaccinations by the NHS

The flu vaccine is routinely given on the NHS to:

  • adults 65 and over
  • people with certain medical conditions (including children in at-risk groups from 6 months of age)
  • pregnant women
  • children aged 2 and 3 on 31 August 2019
  • children in primary school
  • frontline health or social care workers

Which type of flu vaccine should I have?

There are several types of flu vaccine. You’ll be offered the one that’s most effective for your age:

  • children aged 2 to 17 in an eligible group are offered a live attenuated quadrivalent vaccine (LAIV), given as a nasal spray
  • adults aged 18 to 64 who are either pregnant, or at increased risk from flu because of a long-term health condition, are offered a quadrivalent injected vaccine – the vaccine offered will have been grown either in eggs or cells (QIVe or QIVc), which are considered to be equally suitable
  • adults aged 65 and over will be offered either an adjuvanted trivalent injected vaccine grown in eggs (aTIV) or a cell-grown quadrivalent injected vaccine (QIVc) – both vaccines are considered to be equally suitable.

Read the rest of the article: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/

And if you would like further information about Influenza here is my post from last year.

Influenza can have a very serious effect on the very young and old and those who have poorly functioning immune systems.  As we head into September it is important to begin to take precautions to prevent infection.

The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the First World War. Between 20 and 40 million people died and because the figures were so horrendous we may never know the true extent of this awful two-year period. Very few countries were spared and its effects on an already devastated world population were horrendous. It was called the Spanish Flu because the earliest mortalities were in Spain were over 8 million people died.

Anywhere that soldiers or refugees gathered in large numbers became infected and the early outbreaks were largely ignored. Returning soldiers from the front brought the disease home to every city, town and village. Most of the populations throughout Europe were poorly nourished following the war years and were in no condition to fight off this virulent infection especially as there were none of the drugs that we have available today.

How ironic to have survived the war years, including years in the trenches to then succumb to an infection. They estimate that over a fifth of the world’s population was infected and those most at risk appear to have been between the ages of 20 and 40. The exact same age as those that fought for four hard years on various battlefronts. 28% of Americans were infected and over 675,000 Americans died. Of the US soldiers who died in Europe half were killed by influenza.

The initial cause of the outbreak has never been established. The theory was that conditions in the trenches and the use of chemicals such as mustard gas created the environment where the infection thrived. There have been links to unusually humid weather, which certainly created the perfect environment to foster viral and bacterial infections amongst sick, injured and immune suppressed soldiers and the medical staff who cared for them.

We have never seen anything like this since, but these figures illustrate that we cannot take these infections lightly and with the current threat of more virulent pathogens crossing the species barrier and taking advantage of our modern travel patterns, we need to take our own health seriously and look at ways to prevent infection.

What is influenza (Flu)

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses. In a person with a strong immune system the symptoms may be very mild with a headache, feverishness, sore throat, muscle aches and a runny nose. In very young children or in elderly patients there can also be gastric complications with vomiting and diarrhoea.

If left untreated or if a person has very little resistance to infection there can be complications including pneumonia. Dehydration is a problem that can exacerbate existing problems such as heart disease, asthma and diabetes.

How do we catch the flu?

The virus is spread in respiratory drops caused by coughing and sneezing although it is possible to catch the virus after touching contaminated surfaces and then passing the virus to the nose or mouth as with the common cold.

One of the problems with the flu is that you can infect someone else a day before you show the symptoms which gives you 24 hours to put others at risk at work, in schools or on public transport. Who of us has not sat next to someone on a plane for a few hours while they cough and splutter the way on holiday? An infected person is still contagious for five days after their symptoms have appeared. This usually means that it is very difficult to avoid contagion within a family where you live together in a close knit unit.

How do we prevent infection

The same rules apply for the flu as for the common cold that I covered yesterday. Your main form of defense is the simple act of washing your hands frequently. It is also essential to limit your contact with people who are obviously suffering from an infection. As I have just mentioned this is difficult due to the nature of the progression of the influenza, that 24 hour window when there are no symptoms can result in multiple infections.

One answer during the flu months of October, November, December, January and February is to stop kissing and shaking hands with friends and family when you meet them. My mother when she hit 90 had a couple of colds one after the other and I put a ban on her usual habit of kissing everyone she met… For the next five years she did not get one cold. She also had an alcohol based hand sanitizer that she used when going out and after meeting people.

Also in the UK everyone over 65 can have an annual flu shot as can the carers of vulnerable groups. My mother had this every year and it obviously helped. There is some controversy over the vaccine and its safety. It is a decision you need to make after discussing with your doctor but my opinion on the subject is that certainly for those in their mid-70’s and 80’s the risk of the disease is greater than the jab…

The flu shot that is available from the autumn onwards. The vaccine contains killed virus and can be given to anyone over 6 months old.

Drug Resistance

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections not viral infections, so going to your doctor and asking for them is not going to help.  However, antibiotics do play a role in the spread of infectious diseases.  Since their first use for the general public in the late 40’s and 50’s, antibiotics have been regarded as a cure-all.  As a child living in South Africa in the early 60’s I suffered six bouts of tonsilitis over the period of a year until my tonsils were removed. Within six months I had gained nearly 42lbs and it began a lifelong battle with my weight until I reached 330lbs 22 years ago.  It is a story that I have heard hundreds of times as I work with clients who are overweight, suffer from repeated infections and who suffer from specific food intolerances (not allergies).

Antibiotics are usually broad spectrum and therefore have a shotgun approach to killing bacteria responsible for infection…In the past and sadly far too often in the present, doctors do not take a urine, blood sample or swab to send off for testing to determine the specific bacteria causing the infection and will therefore prescribe the generalised formula antibiotic for that broad type of infection.

This results in a shock wave of bacterial death which does not only kill harmful bacteria but can devastate colonies of our beneficial bacteria in the chemical soup that is essential for life and health.

This includes the absolutely critical good bacteria in our intestines (the gut brain) where all our food is processed for nutrients and passed back into the bloodstream to keep us healthy.  So, repeated doses of antibiotics regularly to treat minor bacterial infections as well as erroneously for viral infections will compromise not just your health but your immune system which is your first line of defense.

Obviously, this does not mean that if you are currently taking a course of antibiotics prescribed for you by your doctor you suddenly stop.. If it is for a bacterial infection it is crucial that you always complete the course.  If you stop because you feel better you are setting yourself up for reinfection because pockets of the disease have not been killed off.  This will mean that within a short space of time you will need another course of drugs.

Non-completion of antibiotic prescribed courses is one of the leading causes of more serious infections taking hold in the body.

gingergrapefruit seed extract

There are a number of natural anti-bacterial and viral preparations that can help particularly if you have a healthy immune system. Having a healthy with a wide variety from all the food groups, minimising sugar and a diet that has minimal industrially produced food products is a very good start.

Those most at risk of getting influenza

  • The most at risk are 65 years old and over because they are more likely to have medical conditions that put them at risk of infection.
  • People who live in long term care facilities or hospitals.
  • A person of any age who is already suffering from a pre-existing condition such as heart disease or asthma.
  • Anyone on long term medication or repeated courses of antibiotics.
  • Children between the ages of 6 months and 24 months.
  • Anyone who is on assisted respiratory machinery.

Other Precautions

For healthy people there is the option of a nasal spray that contains live but weakened flu viruses that do not actually cause the flu but stimulate the antibodies needed to protect against the full strength influenza virus.

It is very important that your immune system is as strong as it needs to be before the winter months. Apart from avoiding contact with those you know to be infected you have to guard against those people who are not showing symptoms. You will have no idea who has the virus or not so your best line of defense is to ensure your body is strong enough to fix the problem fast.

A reminder of the basic precautions you can take to minimise infection.

  • If you have the infection then do cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and discard hygienically straightaway.
  • Wash your own hands with soap and water at every opportunity or use a specific alcohol based hand cleaner.
  • Avoid touching your own eyes, nose or mouth to avoid re-infection.
  • Wash your hands before and after going to do any shopping, particularly if you use a shopping trolley.
  • Avoid social kissing of cheeks etc and be aware that some people may not wash their hands as frequently as you do. (there is a reason the Queen wears white cotton gloves for public engagements!)
  • Remember that everything you touch from door handles to the backs of airline seats may have been touched by someone with the flu. Take some handy wipes with you or wash hands after contact.
  • If you have small children at kindergarten or school they will be in the cross fire and teaching them to wash their hands as early as possible does help but if it is rampant in the classroom it will come home with them. Make sure they too are eating an immune system boosting diet…

I hope that has been of some help and coming up later this morning is the first in the immune system series, and over the next few weeks I will be including how to boost the immune system to combat colds and flu, and also other diseases that are opportunistic.

©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: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

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 for dropping in and please help spread the word by sharing..Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Pad Thai, Book Marketing new series, Big Band Sounds and all that Jazz


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

New series – Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Marketing.

As part of my career I have been responsible for both sales and marketing departments in Advertising and telecommunications. I took my experience across to publishing in the 1999 when selling the services of a self-publishing company in Canada and then with our own authors from 2004 for our publishing company and with regard to my own books.  The principals of selling a product are the same whatever the industry and one of the key elements is to find your buyer first.

I will cover that in part three of the series as I felt that I should address an issue that has cropped up several times in the years and certainly more so in the last few weeks that I have been promoting authors here on Smorgasbord, and being a key selling element for books, I wanted to address first.

This week I featured the Amazon Author Page and is importance in selling books. Far too often I am asked to add an author to the Cafe and Bookstore and I find that they either have no Author Page or there are books missing, no biography or photo.   Also that even when those elements are included there are missing books.

I am missing books because of a very frustrating anomaly. As an author in Ireland, and independent, not through KDP, Amazon has interpreted the rules on VAT and have demanded that we register for VAT even though print books are not subject to that Tax here. And even if it was, most of us do not reach the 37,500 Euro threshold for registration (only wish I did!). So we took my print books down and I sell them locally through bookshops and at events. So you will only see my Ebooks available which is the majority.  For me that is fine as that still allows me to sell my books to a global market, and to be honest most international sales prefer Ebooks as they are less expensive and don’t incur post and packaging charges.

However, for an author not faced with that issue it is important to have a central selling point for your books…and a link that you can give out on your blog, social media, email signature, business cards etc.

I have been asked why it is necessary to have an Author’s Page on Amazon if authors already have a presence  on book promotion sites where their covers, blurb, reviews and a link to Amazon are featured.

The answer is that like my Cafe and Bookstore  and Goodreads, they are book marketing sites not selling sites, so the reader still has to go through a two step process.

That is not to say that they do not provide a valuable service in identifying your books to potential reader (be careful of how much you are paying for the privilege) Goodreads are free as is the Cafe and Bookstore but others will charge.

When the potential readers click on the buy link to Amazon, it is a good idea if they go to a central selling point for several reasons, the most important being is that they don’t just see one book, they see all of them. And they may well decide to buy more than one book, especially if the book they clicked on is one of a series with two or three books before it.

Also, having an established author page with all your books, bio, photograph, rss link to your blog establishes enhances your credibility as an author.

I hope you will read the post and I have taken screen shots of the various steps to give you a guide to the process. If you do not feel confident enough to create the page yourself, then ask someone you are happy to share your Amazon password with and who is computer savvy to follow the directions.

Also I am happy to pop in and take a look at your Amazon Author Page and offer some suggestions as to how you might create a stronger selling message.

New series. Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Book Marketing – Part one – a step by step guide to setting up an Amazon Author Page – an essential selling tool.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/24/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-book-marketing-setting-up-your-amazon-author-page-by-sally-cronin/

Just a reminder of the new Sunday Interview series beginning Sunday 8th September exclusively for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore. If you are not already in the bookstore there is a link in the post that gives you the details..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/18/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-series-sunday-author-interview-coming-soon/

My thanks as always to the wonderful contributors to the blog and you will be delighted to hear that William Price King will be back from his summer in the Alps above his home in Nice, to share more musicians who have impacted the industry in the last 50 years.

Let me see if I can whet your appetite…Chicken and parmesan meatballs with a creamy lime and caper sauce…an iconic dish in Thailand called Pad Thai…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/21/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-east-meets-west/

This week the music that filled the house when I was growing up, and my parents were still dancing to it well into their 70s. The Big Band Sound.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/20/smorgasbord-summer-music-festival-the-big-band-sound/

A lot of feedback on this post on the benefits of volunteering for all ages and for both volunteer and those they are helping.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/19/smorgasbord-something-to-think-about-volunteer-work-getting-the-most-out-of-life-sally-cronin/

Two more chapters from my novel Just an Odd Job Gird.. and Chapter Three is all about the interview with the employment agency and some fun and games in Imogen’s first job.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/24/just-an-odd-job-girl-serialisation-chapter-three-the-interview-sally-cronin/

In Chapter four, adventures in the dental practice with fainting fits, toupees and x-ray disasters.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/25/just-an-odd-job-girl-serialisation-chapter-four-the-dental-practice-sally-cronin/

The final letter home in August 1986 as I would be going to the UK for two weeks and then we began extending our Sunday telephone calls. This post covers are trip to Barbados, and you don’t want to know where that sand went!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/22/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-barbados-and-the-last-letter-home-1986-sally-cronin/

This week on Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 141 we have a photo prompt… and I decided to respond with a Butterfly Cinquain..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/22/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-weekly-tanka-challenge-butterfly-cinquain-message-in-a-bottle-by-sally-cronin/

This is the final post of Debbie the DogLady who lives in Toronto, Canada and posts about travel, music, life and of course dogs. I have chosen four of her dog sitting adventures to share with you and in this post we meet Muskoka a labrador with a taste of cigarette butts and socks…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/19/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-dogsitting-chapter-four-muskova-by-debbie-the-dog-lady/

This is the final post from Marsi, who with her husband Robert, embarked on a four month journey west.This post only has one photograph, but I thought it would make an amazing prompt for a bit of fiction…..35mm Film Photography – One Hit Wonders: Tumbleweeds in Thompson Springs, Utah by Marsi

35mm film photography Tumbleweeds inside the Thompson Springs Motel, Utah

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/19/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-35mm-film-photography-one-hit-wonders-tumbleweeds-in-thompson-springs-utah-by-marsi/

In the final post from L.T. Garvin for this series, I have selected  this on some of the excuses given and also predicaments some crazy criminals get themselves into. Crazy Criminals (2015)  by L.T. Garvin

puschel-476461_640

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/20/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-humour-crazy-criminals-by-l-t-garvin/

For the last post in this series from the archives of author Claire Fullerton, I have selected one of her book reviews. Claire is prolific reviewer and always brings out the best in both book and author…The Stolen Child by Lisa Carey reviewed (2017) by Claire Fullerton

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/20/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-bookreview-the-stolen-child-by-lisa-carey-reviewed-2017-by-claire-fullerton/

This is the final post from the archives of Smitha Vishwanath who shares poetry, wonderful travel posts and life experiences on her blog. I have chosen this poem for the last post in Smitha’s series, not just because it is beautiful, but also because it won the Certificate of Outstanding Performance from Asian Literary Society. Dewdrop- The Love of the Wind (2018) by Smitha Vishwanath

dewdrop

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/21/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-poetry-dewdrop-the-love-of-the-wind-2018-by-smitha-vishwanath/

This is the final post from author K.D.(Karen DeMers) Dowdall’s archives and she also has some news, with The Captain’s Witch, her latest book being released on September 1st. I have chosen one of Karen’s book reviews as her last post as I thought the cover was very striking. A Review of The Starling by Kathy Lauren Miller (2017) by Karen DeMers Dowdall

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/21/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-a-review-of-the-starling-by-kathy-lauren-miller-by-karen-demers-dowdall/

This is the first post from the archives of the eclectic blog of writer Marilyn Armstrong. I selected it as it gives some background to the title of both her blog and her book. As writers we are inspired by experiences, images, people, emotions and the list goes on. I thought this was very special. The 12-Foot Teepee (2012) by Marilyn Armstrong

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/22/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-the-12-foot-teepee-2012-by-marilyn-armstrong/

This is the first post of author Antoinette Truglio Martin who began blogging in 2018.. I am going to share four posts from her archives that were part of her A-Z challenge last year.  Since my downfall is and has always been food….I enjoyed browsing Antoinette’s challenge. A is for Artichoke.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/22/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-blogging-a-z-challenge-2018-antoinette-truglio-martin-a-is-for-artichoke/

This is the first post from the archives of Anne Copeland, writer of nonfiction articles, books, and poetry, as well as a mixed media and fiber artist. I have selected this post as I found it profoundly moving and inspiring. The Day in the Life of a Child (2018) Anne Copeland

pexels-photo-346796

Image courtesy of Pixels

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/23/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-the-day-in-the-life-of-a-child-2018-anne-copeland/

This is the first post from author and designer, Valentina Cirasola who has three blogs all under the same roof to enjoy.Friday Fashion Blog   Home Designs Master Blog and The Good Life Blog. I have chosen this post to start Valentina’s series as I found this ritual fascinating and will be trying the technique with our next bottle of cheap red plonk… plus I do like fennel to eat. Is There A Trick in Fennel And Wine? (2011) -Valentina Cirasola

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/23/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-italy-is-there-a-trick-in-fennel-and-wine-2011-valentina-cirasola-author-and-designer/

This is the first post of author Ellen Hawley who has enjoyed a wonderfully varied career before leaving the United States to settle in Cornwall. Weather – The Beast from the East (2018) by Ellen Hawley

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/25/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-weather-the-beast-from-the-east-2018-by-ellen-hawley/

New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/20/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-daddy-wont-let-mom-drive-the-car-by-j-e-pinto/

Author Updates

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-dorinda-duclos-lucinda-e-clarke-sue-coletta/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/23/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-jessica-norrie-jack-eason-d-g-kaye-and-diana-j-febry/

We have now worked our way down to the liver and in the surrounding area you will also find some other vital organs, the pancreas, gallbladder and the intestines.

Image

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/21/smorgasbord-health-column-major-organs-and-systems-of-the-body-the-digestive-system-part-five-pancreas-gallbladder-and-intestines-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/20/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-resident-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-some-more-one-liners-from-sallys-archives/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/22/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-headline-news-and-the-cake-bake-sale/

Thank you for dropping in today and for all your support.. I hope you will join me again next week.