Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round up – 23rd – 29th January 2023 – Technology, Big Bands, Sir George Shearing, Podcast, PR for authors, Book Reviews, New Releases, The Brain, Funnies


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

I hope you have all had a good week. Nothing earth shattering to report from here but when I read the world headlines, I am very happy to be living in a quiet rural area away from it all. I know I used to be so much more adventurous, but even my upcoming trip to see my sisters requires planning and preparations for just a few days away. The days of flinging some clothes into a bag, grabbing a passport and whizzing through an airport to catch a flight to the other side of the world are long over.

Even technology is going to become interesting during 2023 as mobile phones that are programmed for 3G become obsolete in the UK and Ireland, making way for the new 4G voice technology. This means new phones for the majority of us, and whilst there are only a couple of places in the UK at the moment that have scrapped 3G, they and Ireland intend to move to 4G by the end of the year. Considering I used to drive hundreds of miles on my own without a mobile phone I am almost ashamed I am not brave enough to drive the 7k to Tesco without one!

As always my thanks to my friends who contribute to the blog…

William Price King joined me this week for the Big Band Era with Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson and The Charleston. Also the next post on the life and music of Sir George Shearing with the last episode on this coming Friday.The following week a new series on the incredible Quincy Jones You can also find William Blog– IMPROVISATIONWilliam Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies​ has arrived safely in Mexico after a gruelling journey with snow blizzards, delays due to iced wings. During her time away I will be sharing some posts from the archives on Smorgasbord and her own blog. Tomorrow morning… one of her early guest posts here on an entertaining travel adventure. There will also be some funnies along the way. Debby did a Bon Voyage post on her blog with some interesting geographical, political and safety information on Puerta Vallarta and if you are planning a winter break you will find very helpful. Follow the link to Debby’s blog D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor will be here on Wednesday with her A-Z of food and the letter ‘P’. Congratulations to Carol on becoming a great grandmother to Bonnie born on January 25th, a beautiful picture in her round up. On Monday Carol looked at the alternative options to antibiotics in the form of Echinacea, a better way to grow rice for the environment, a report on Trans Fats, a fitness update and a toadzilla found that would make anyone jump. Carol explores the cuisine of Fiji… very exotic locally sourced delicacies. Catch up on all Carol’s posts: Carol Taylor’s weekly round up 22nd to 28th January

Thank you very much for your visits, comments and shares to social media, as always it is appreciated ♥

On with the show…..

The Big Band Era with William Price King and Sally Cronin 1930s – Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson and The Charleston

William Price King Meets Music Legends – #Jazz – Sir George Shearing – 1970s and Latin and Classical Styles

Podcast #Poetry #Flash Fiction – Light Lingers and Poisoned Apples by Sally Cronin

The Body our Greatest Asset – The Brain – Shopping list for the Brain and its support systems by Sally Cronin

Public Relations for Authors Recycled- Part Four – Social Media – The Pros and the Cons as an Author by Sally Cronin

Book Review – #Poetry – Sorrowful Soul (Book 3 in the Soul Poetry series) by Harmony Kent

#Reviews D.L. Finn, #Reading Robbie Cheadle, #Writinglinks D.G. Kaye, #Diary Yvette Calliero, #Interview Judith Barrow, #Funnies The Story Reading Ape, #Powercut Cheryl Oreglia

#Parents #Grief – Ok, Little Bird by Deena Goldstein

#Poetry #FreeVerse – Ida: Searching for The Jazz Baby – From Volyn to Kherson: Interpretations of the war in Ukraine by Frank Prem

#Romance – #Preorder – Reunion (Montana Bred Series 2) by Linda Bradley

#mystery #suspense – The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost by Jamie Adams

#Pets on My Travels by Darlene Foster

#PotLuck – Top Ten Things Not to Do on a Men Only Weekend Trip by John W. Howell.

January 2023 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Margaritas and Regrets

January 2023 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – #Marriage and #Fottles

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week… stay safe.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column 2023 – The Body our Greatest Asset – The Brain – Shopping list for the Brain and its support systems by Sally Cronin


I have featured this series over the last ten years on a regular basis for new readers who might have joined the blog. Our bodies are are greatest asset. It has a long road ahead of if from birth, through the teen years, work life, parenthood, middle age and then into our 70s and beyond.

At every stage of our life healthy nutrition is essential to help the body develop and remain as disease free as possible. I appreciate that many of you may have read this series before three years ago, but I hope it will be a reminder of how amazing our bodies are, and simply eating the right foods, exercising moderately and not doing anything too reckless…will go a long way to enjoying later life to the full.

In this first series of posts I am going to be exploring the brain and its functions. 

Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and other related conditions are rarely out of the headlines and it is probably everyone’s worst fear. There is a genetic link to some forms of dementia,but it is not as common as lifestyle related deterioration of the brain.  Even though we are living longer, dementia is not an automatic progression and understanding how this amazing organ works and what it requires to be health, is vital.

Part Three: Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Part four – Shopping list for the Brain and its support systems

Before I share the foods that can contribute to brain health, I also wanted to offer some areas that you might make a note of if you are a carer of an elderly family member.

  1. As we age and get into our 80s in particular, there is usually a decrease in our exercise levels. It seems that this also coincides with a decrease in appetite that results in a reduction in the level of nutrients we are taking in.
  2. Most people over 80 are likely to have also lost a large number of teeth and although most will have dentures this will impact the ability to chew foods. This results in a reliance on soft foods and often excludes proteins such as beef, lamb, etc that contain higher amounts of vital B-vitamins and iron.
  3. Our taste buds too will become dulled and so food can be tasteless unless lots of salt or sugar are added. And it is easier to eat a dunked biscuit or a piece of cake than to eat a wholegrain sandwich made with salad and chicken. The entire digestive system will also be less effective and this means that any food consumed may not be processed in the gut as it should be, which naturally leads to malnutrition.
  4. I recommend making high nutritionally dense foods that are easy to eat but still provide essential vitamins and minerals.. Soups made with the stock made from chicken or beef bones.. 5 or 6 different vegetables such as carrots, spinach, celery, sweet potato, onions, mushrooms and broccoli and then blitzed and then diluted with some whole fat milk to make a rich and creamy soup. Served with an egg sandwich in soft wholegrain bread, butter. You get the idea.
  5. Apart from making sure that food is as nutritionally dense as possible, I also recommend a high quality vitamin and mineral supplement. This can be a problem because with a less efficient digestive system, large tablets will go right through without stopping to release their contents. Also they need to contain some specific nutrients such as Vitamin D.. B-Vitamins, particularly B12 as well as calcium and iron etc. There are some liquid options which are excellent and also some chewable soft jells which are more digestible.
  6. If your elderly relative begins to show signs of forgetfulness and confusion, do get them checked for a urinary tract infection. It is very common in the elderly and has the same symptoms. This has led to a great many misdiagnosis of dementia and should always be asked for. To counteract this.. place a hand sanitizer in the bathroom for use before going to the toilet as well as afterwards. Also a glass of cranberry juice with breakfast may help keep the urinary tract clear of bacteria.
  7. This leads me on to dehydration. This is extremely common amongst the elderly who are inactive, are in a warm environment and who rely on a cup of tea three times a day for their liquid intake. They usually also refuse additional liquid, particularly close to bedtime because of the effort of getting up in the night. Many of the symptoms of dementia are the same as dehydration. This can be a tough one but I suggest that as well as a juice with breakfast and a cup of tea, that you dilute a 500 ml bottle of water with some freshly pressed apple juice with a sports cap so it is easy to drink and put it by their chair. You can refill after lunch and make sure that they drink that before their final cup of tea after supper. That should prevent dehydration and also having to get up too much in the night.
  8. Do check the side effects listed for any medication that they are taking as some can result in confusion.
  9. Whenever you can encourage them to get up and move around the house or the garden, twice a day at the minimum. And if you can get them out in the fresh air, even in a wheelchair it will benefit them in many ways, including stimulation.

Some articles on the connection between food and dementia

One of the leading causes of most disease is inflammation in the body, and that includes the brain. Some spices help reduce inflammation and are well worth including in meals on a daily basis.. a small teaspoonful in main meals or as a tea which is how I prefer to ingest it.

Much Lower Rate of Alzheimer’s Disease in India

The rate of AD in India is about 4.4-fold less than that of the United States. While there are probably many factors that account for the difference, the fact that curcumin is consumed daily in curry spice from a very early age can’t be overlooked. Even though the daily amount of actual curcumin from turmeric is smaller in that case, the cumulative effect is considerable.

So in recent years, researchers have been looking at the effects of curcumin extracts – which have much higher levels of the compound than dietary turmeric – for treating AD.2,3
Curcumin Stops Brain-Harming Inflammation

The connection between inflammation and Alzheimer’s can’t be overstated. Neurons are especially susceptible to inflammation or other injury, and the release of inflammatory compounds in the body can be neurotoxic. This includes tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), interleukin-1-beta (IL-1β), free radicals, including nitric oxide (NO) and others. Curcumin has a great potential for a therapeutic role because it works through multiple inflammatory pathways: Curcumin for Health

Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response. It alerts your body to a wound or injury, like when your ankle will start to throb and swell after a sprain, so your immune system can fix it. It’s not just external injuries that cause inflammation, however. Things like a lack of sleep, excessive stress, genetics, and—what might be worst of all—the wrong diet can all contribute to inflammation.

By “wrong diet,” we’re talking about the typical American diet which is full of inflammation-inducing foods. Think: fried foods, refined flours and sugars, hormone- and antibiotic-laden animal products, synthetic sweeteners, and artificial food additives. So if you’re constantly noshing on these items, your body will begin to transition into a state of chronic inflammation. Top anti-inflammatory foods: Eat This anti-inflammatory

Shopping list for the Brain and its support systems

The first key element to eating for brain health is to omit industrially processed foods that contain harmful toxins and additives that have zero nutritional benefit and effectively ’empty’ calories. They might supply sugar and trans fats and look appetizing on a plate, but the brain will not recognize them as anything it can process. Processed foods Vs. Industrially manufactured foods

If you eat plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit, some moderate whole grains, nuts and seeds, good quality meats and cold water fish that have not been farmed, you are doing a great job.

For the brain to function efficiently it needs other systems in the body to be healthy.

The immune system is the barrier between the external world and all its contaminates and the brain. So your first line of defence is to keep that fed with the nutrients needed to produce all the various types of blood cells needed to repel opportunistic pathogens.

The digestive system needs to be in tip top condition so that food that is eaten is processed effectively so that the nutrients can be passed into the bloodstream and up to the brain.

The respiratory system needs to be maintained and giving up smoking and taking in clean fresh oxygen is essential… without that oxygen, carried by the blood, your brain with slowly die.

There are some key nutritional elements for brain health that will be supplied by the following list including B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Essential Fatty Acids, Amino Acids, Magnesium, Iron, and Zinc.

You can find out how to incorporate foods high in specific nutrients in this series: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/cook-from-scratch-to-avoid-nutritional-deficiency-with-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor/

Shopping List for the brain and your other major organs providing the basic nutritional requirement for the body.

Vegetables – carrots, red peppers, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, corn on the cob- any dark cabbage or Brussel sprouts, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, watercress, dark lettuce leaves, cucumbers, celery, avocados and potatoes. (any other fresh seasonal produce you enjoy) At least five or six portions a day – use a cupped handful as an estimated portion size.

Lower Fructose Fruit Bananas, kiwi, strawberries and any dark berries that are reasonably priced – try frozen. Enjoy all fruit in season at least three portions a day.

Hot lemon and water first thing in the morning will not only give you a Vitamin C hit, start your digestive process off but will also help with sugar cravings.

Wholegrains – brown rice- wholegrain bread – whole wheat pasta – weetabix – shredded wheat – porridge oats.Please do not buy sugar or chocolate covered cereals – more sugar than goodness. Carbohydrates are an important food group. However, as we get older and less active you really only need a large spoonful of rice or potatoes on a daily basis. if you suffer from a Candida overgrowth be aware that it may not be the yeast in bread that causes a problem but the sugar or its substitute.

Fish – Salmon fresh (sea caught not farmed) and better quality tinned Salmon. Cod – haddock (again frozen can be a good option) any white fish on offer – shellfish once a week such as mussels. Tinned sardines, Tuna and herrings – great for lighter meals. (any fish that is available fresh not from farmed sources)

Meat and poultry chicken or turkey – lamb, beef and pork. Do buy high quality, organic if it is reasonably priced but you will find that most supermarkets stock local meats and poultry and will state if they are from free range sources. The best source of nutrients is grass fed animals and this includes eggs and dairy.. Our requirement for Vitamin K2 is not met by grain fed animals.

Home cooked lean ham for sandwiches is very tasty but cheap sliced ham can contain too much additives. By an unsmoked ham joint from the butcher or supermarket as it will work out cheaper than buying sliced ham already prepared.  To remove excess salt bring to the boil and simmer for half an hour, drain and add fresh water to the pan and bring to the boil for the rest of the cooking time.

Venison is a high quality protein if  you enjoy it. Liver provides a wonderful array of nutrients served with onions and vegetables is delicious.

Tofu for vegetarians has become more accessible and can be used by non vegetarians once a week to provide the other benefits of soya it offers. Bacon once a week is fine but do bear in mind that most processed meats contain a lot of salt.

Nuts and seeds – to put on your cereal in the mornings or as snacks – check prices out in your health food shop as well as supermarket. Almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts.

Dairy and Eggs– Milk, butter and cheese (better to have the real stuff than whipped margarine) – also if you can obtain dairy products such as butter and cheese from cows who have been out to pasture all summer, you are more likely to obtain good amounts of Vitamin K2 which is a very important nutrient for blood clotting and bones. The vitamin is not as present in herds that are fed grains rather than grass… Free Range Eggs – have at least three or four a week.

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

Herbs and Spices – Turmeric (curcumin) with black pepper for better absorption. Sage, Ginko Biloba (Chinese have used in the treatment of brain disorders for thousands of years), Ginger anti-inflammatory.

Honey and extras –You really do need to avoid sugars refined and in cakes, sweets and biscuits but honey is a sweetener that the body has been utilising since the first time we found a bee hive and a teaspoon in your porridge is okay. Try and find a local honey to you. Dark chocolate – over 70% a one or two squares per day particularly with a lovely cup of Americano coffee is a delicious way to get your antioxidants.

Sauces – If you buy your sauces in jars and packets they will have a great many more ingredients than you bargained for. One of the worst is sugar or its substitutes. The greatest cooking skill you can develop is to be able to make a wide variety of sauces from scratch. If you do this you will be not only using fresh produce with its nutritional punch but also taking hundreds of pounds of sugar out of your diet over a lifetime.

Fluids Green Tea and Black Tea with antioxidants and drink two to three cups a day. and other herbal teas, tap and mineral water. If you enjoy coffee then one or two cups a day of good quality ground or the more expensive brands of freeze dried instant coffee. Try hot water with sliced lemon first thing in the morning and get some Vitamin C.

Good quality alcohol in moderation and it is better to have one glass a day than binge at the weekend. Your liver can handle that far better. We haven’t drunk very much alcohol in the last three years but these days there are some excellent non-alcoholic alternatives and the taste has improved dramatically in the last year or so including 00 alcohol gin by Gordons, Guinness, Lager and a very good Australian Shiraz.

Depending on the climate and altitude at which you live, you will need to experiment to find out how much fluid you need. If you have very low humidity you will need considerably more. Average is around the 2 litres per day of combined fluids.

I hope that this has given you some ideas of new foods that perhaps you can introduce to support your operating systems and major organs. This includes those that protect the brain and those that process and transtport the nutrients it needs.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2023

Next week –  How to keep your brain free of debris and stimulated whatever age you are.

A little bit about me nutritionally. .

About Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four 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 21 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, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

You can buy my books from: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow me :Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin

 

Thanks reading and I hope you will join me again next week…Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 16th – 22nd January 2023 – George Shearing, Big Band Era, Intuition, Culinary ‘O’ foods and terms, New Releases, Book Reviews, The Brain, Bloggers Spotlight and Funnies


Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed in the last week here on Smorgasbord.

Not a great deal to report this week that is newsworthy but thank goodness for the blog which has kept me out of mischief… well almost! The weaher has turned a little warmer the last couple of days and I notice the first signs of the primroses under the hedge poking their heads about ground. I hope they are not being overly keen and I am sure some more frosts to come.

On the blog front.. delighted to say that quite a few bloggers have signed up for the new series of post from the archives and you will begin to see those posts beginning Tuesday. So if you would like me to share two posts from your archives from July- December 2022 then here are the details. #NewSeries January 2023- ‘Lucky Dip’ and Do You Trust Me??

Don’t forget to email me if you have a new release in the next few weeks so I can help spread the news. sally.cronin@moyhill.com. If you are new to the blog then I will let you know what I need… if you have been featured before I just need the Amazon link.

As always my thanks to my friends who contribute to the blog…

William Price King joined me this week to celebrate the Big Band Era Ethel Waters, Duke Ellington and the Jitterbug. Also the next post on Friday with the life and music of Sir George Shearing.  You can also find William Blog– IMPROVISATIONWilliam Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies​ was here on Monday with an exploration of Intuition… and during this past week joined me for a laughter post.  On her own blog you will find her Sunday Book Review for Death and its Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Beautiful Lessons by therapist Becky Aud-Jennison.  Also a link to Debby’s two latest podcast.

Debby is heading off to Mexico for two months on her annual migration to warmer climes but I will be sharing some posts from her archives on her Monday slot in the meantime. She will be back in April with more of her Spiritual Awareness posts. Follow the link to Debby’s posts D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor was here on Wednesday with her A-Z of food and the letter ‘O’. Over on her own blog you will find Monday Musings on Rhinos and natural antibiotics, On Thursday thoughts you can discover some interesting facts such as the first hot air balloon flight in the 18th century.  You can catch up with the news: Carol Taylor’s Weekly Round Up 21st January

Thank you very much for your visits, comments and shares to social media, as always it is appreciated ♥

On with the show…..

The Big Band Era with William Price King and Sally Cronin 1930s – Ethel Waters, Duke Ellington and The Jitterbug

William Price King Meets Music Legends – #Jazz – Sir George Shearing – The Collaborations

Spiritual Awareness – Learning to Trust Your #Intuition by D. G. Kaye

Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘O’ for Oats, Offal, Octopus, Oranges and Oysters.

Podcast #Poetry #Flash Fiction – Waiting for Spring and Good Morning Your Eminence by Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Public Relations for Authors Recycled – Part Three – Hitting the Red Carpet

The Body our Greatest Asset – The Brain – Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease by Sally Cronin

#Review – #Romance #Novella – Pour It On ( Keystone Couples) by Staci Troilo

#Forgottenwords Marcia Meara, #Booktitles Pamela Wight, #Reviews Diana Peach, #2022reads D.L. Finn, #Salad New Vintage Kitchen, #Frost John Howell.

#Suspense #Romance Tall Pines Sanctuary by Sharon K. Connell

#Contemporary #Suspense #Loss #Love – All That Was Taken by Lisette Brodey

#YA #Fantasy – Dream Walker: Book 5 in ‘The Council of Twelve’ Series A.J. Alexander

#Techno #Thriller What Comes Before (Heirs And Descendants Book 3) by Daniel Kemp

Host Malcolm Allen – January 2023 – Bird Power and Weighing Scales

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Notes to Self and Definitions

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week… be safe… Sally

Smorgasbord Health Column 2023 – The Body our Greatest Asset – The Brain – Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease by Sally Cronin


I have featured this series over the last ten years on a regular basis for new readers who might have joined the blog. Our bodies are are greatest asset. It has a long road ahead of if from birth, through the teen years, work life, parenthood, middle age and then into our 70s and beyond.

At every stage of our life healthy nutrition is essential to help the body develop and remain as disease free as possible. I appreciate that many of you may have read this series before three years ago, but I hope it will be a reminder of how amazing our bodies are, and simply eating the right foods, exercising moderately and not doing anything too reckless…will go a long way to enjoying later life to the full.

In this first series of posts I am going to be exploring the brain and its functions. 

Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and other related conditions are rarely out of the headlines and it is probably everyone’s worst fear. There is a genetic link to some forms of dementia,but it is not as common as lifestyle related deterioration of the brain.  Even though we are living longer, dementia is not an automatic progression and understanding how this amazing organ works and what it requires to be health, is vital.

Part Two: Development from conception to old age

The Brain – Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Some links to the latest research on dementia..

Magnetic stimulation of the brain improves working memory, offering a new potential avenue of therapy for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, according to new research from the Duke University School of Medicine: : Science Daily

In a records review of 290 people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, scientists at Johns Hopkins say they have identified an average level of biological and anatomical brain changes linked to Alzheimer’s disease that occur three to 10 years — some even more than 30 years — before the disease’s first recognizable symptoms appear. Science Daily

High blood levels of primary fatty acid amides (PFAMS), a class of fatty molecules involved in sleep and movement control, are associated with increased accumulation of beta-amyloid protein in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, a study finds. Researchers believe that this class of fatty molecules may represent a new blood biomarker that can help physicians diagnose Alzheimer’s earlier. Alzheimer’s News Today

Dementia is actually a collective name for progressive degenerative brain diseases, which affect our memory, thought, behaviour and emotions. It is not a normal result of ageing and it does not seem to have any specific social, economic, ethnic or geographical links. It can effect different people in different ways, which makes it difficult sometimes to diagnose and to treat

Certain dementia, such as vascular dementia, where plaque is blocking the blood vessels in the brain are linked to lifestyle related causes such as heavy alcohol consumption. Most dementia is likely to have an element of environmental, diet or lifestyle involved in its development.

There is no known cure, but there are ways that we can modify our lifestyle to reduce our risks of brain degeneration and to slow down any process that has already begun.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and accounts for around 60% of all cases. The disease is degenerative over a period of years and destroys brain cells and nerve cells causing a disruption to the transmitters, which carry messages in the brain, particularly those that are responsible for our memories.

As the disease progresses, the brain shrinks and gaps develop in the temporal lobe and hippocampus. These areas are responsible for storing and retrieving new information. The damage results in a reduction in a person’s ability to remember events that happened in the short term, to speak, think and to make decisions. All this is both frightening and confusing, as a person will be aware of these lapses in the early stages of the condition.

What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s

In the beginning, there may be infrequent lapses in memory, forgetting where keys have been left or perhaps failing to switch off electric cookers or other equipment. A person will start to forget the names of everyday objects or people that they are usually very familiar with. They can also suffer from mood swings and panic attacks.

As the disease progresses these symptoms worsen and there is an element of confusion over completing every day tasks such as shopping, cooking and more dangerously driving.
The changes in personality are often attributable to fear and the awareness that something is very wrong. In the earlier stages people tend to try and hide the symptoms. This happens because, much of the time, they will be aware that there is a problem and will not want to accept that this could be as serious a condition as dementia.

In the advanced stages it is not only extremely stressful for the person concerned but also very distressing for their immediate family. We have experience of the problem with a close family friend who was in his 80’s and was looking after his wife who had Alzheimer’s for two years before she went into a home. At that point he was no longer able to cope. She was in danger of hurting herself as she was wandering off in the middle of the night, falling over and hurting herself as well as becoming terrified and disorientated. My own mother in the last two years of her life became increasingly confused but she was nearly 95 when she died. She had family and remained in her own home but for future millions who perhaps have not surviving family it will be a challenge for them and the care services.

What are the risk factors?

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of dementia, but there are several probable links that have been the subject of research in recent years.

There is some evidence of a genetic link to the disease, but that is not proven. Lifestyle most definitely will have played a contributory role as exposure to toxins from smoking, excessive alcohol consumption or work environment will cause damage to the body as a whole and certainly to the brain.

There is obviously natural age related degeneration of the entire body and its systems to take into account and any previous head trauma may be part of the problem. There are links to chemical contamination including poisoning from mercury – which can be found in some of the fish that we eat – and also from aluminum, which is most commonly linked to the metal in some of our cooking utensils.

Some recent statistics suggest that at least 10% of those over 65 and 50% of those over 85 years old will be suffering from varying degrees of dementia. We unfortunately have no control over natural ageing, or our genetic background, which means that we should be looking at ways to prevent or minimise the risk of us developing the disease from a much earlier age than our 60’s.

What preventative measures can we take – starting today?

  1. The key factors to reducing your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in particular are very simple and effective.
  2. Your brain is a major organ of the body that requires nutrients to function efficiently and to repair and protect itself. There are specific foods that provide those nutrients and including them in your diet on a very regular basis will be effective.
  3. You need to keep your heart and arterial system clear of oxidised LDL cholesterol and working efficiently to enable vital nutrients and oxygen to reach the brain. However, cholesterol is essential for the body and is involved in many processes including the production of hormones and therefore brain function. Reducing total cholesterol can therefore impact your brain health. Healthy fats are essential in various forms.
  4. You must work the brain as you would any muscle in your body. Stimulating activities strengthen brain cells and the connections between them and may even create new nerve cells.
  5. We all need people around us and it is even better if we involve ourselves in activity that requires mental and physical co-ordination.
  6. Physical exercise maintains healthy blood flow to all our organs including the brain where it will prolong the health of existing brain cells by preventing any further damage.

The one way to deal with an overwhelming fear is to face it and take control of it. For me that has meant a radical change in lifestyle. At one time I smoked over 40 cigarettes a day and drank more than was good for me. My diet was atrocious and I was morbidly obese. I was certainly in a high-risk category for declining brain health, if I had lived long enough to develop the disease.

That is not to say that you have to totally abstain from everything that gives you pleasure. We only have one life and whilst I am totally anti smoking these days, I do believe that we should balance our lifestyle with our pleasures factored in. You will often find me quoting my 80/20 rule. If you follow a healthy lifestyle 80% of the time and the other 20% indulge yourself a little then you will be on the right track.

Reduce the Risk

  • Good Nutrition and hydration.
  • Low levels of plaque in our arteries so that oxygen can get to the brain
  • Exercise your brain as well as your body
  • Social interaction

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2023

Next week – caring for someone with dementia and a shopping list of foods that could maintain your brain health during your lifetime.

A little bit about me nutritionally. .

About Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four 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 21 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, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

You can buy my books from: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow me :Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin

 

Thanks reading and I hope you will join me again next week…Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘O’ for Oats, Offal, Octopus, Oranges and Oysters.


Welcome to a repeat of the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful Culinary A – Z and a reminder, not only of the amazing variety of food we have available to us today from around the world, but delicious recipes to showcase them. Carol also introduces to cooking methods and kitchen equipment that assist in creating meals for all occasions.

Welcome once again to Carols Cooking Column and today in my culinary trawl we have the letter O.

Not as many culinary terms or fruits or vegetables beginning with O but I have a few for you, I hope you enjoy!

Oats

As children, in the winter months, my mum always started our day with a bowl of oats and when it is cold there is no better start to the day…Oats are whole grain, meaning the grain is intact and the kernel is composed of three distinct parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ. Because they are whole grain, they have more nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and fibre, than other processed grains. Oats also have more soluble fibre than most grains, much of which is beta-glucan, thought to be beneficial for cholesterol.

Oats are naturally gluten-free, however, many oats get introduced to gluten-containing grains, like wheat, rye, barley, and spelt during farming, transportation, and storage. They become contaminated with gluten and therefore are no longer considered gluten-free. If you are looking for 100% gluten-free oats, they must be labeled, gluten-free, so don’t assume any oat is gluten-free.

As a child, my porridge was served with brown sugar or salt now it is served with all manner of toppings my favorite being a fruit compote or maple syrup (as) a treat…How do you like your oats?

Easy to make oats to top your yogurt or porridge.

Quick crunchy Oats

• 1 cup of uncooked oats
• 1/4 cup of brown sugar
• 3 tbsp butter
• 1 tsp cinnamon powder ( optional)

Let’s Bake!

  1. Mix all 3 ingredients together and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes stirring
  2. I love to add a bit of cinnamon
  3. Allow to cool and top your porridge or yogurt.

O’Brien Potatoes

A dish of pan-fried potatoes with red and green bell papers and onions said to originates in The US in the 1900s although no one can agree on which state and another pool of thought is that it was an Irish militant named William Smith O’Brien 1803-1864 who was the only person with that name who had an association with potatoes.

Ocean Pout

Photo credit: Neil DeMaster on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

This is an eelpout found in the North West Atlantic ocean off the coast of New Zealand and eastern Canada…It has something like anti freeze in its blood, giving it the ability to survive in near-freezing waters. The ocean pout is an eel-like fish that grows in very cold waters of the North Atlantic. Said to have very sweet meat and few bones but it is not a popular commercial fish. This is partly because of its appearance and also due to parasitic outbreaks in the mid-twentieth century. Not a fish I have tried but often little known fish are very tasty…Below is a recipe I found for eelpout. Clifford A. Wright Recipes

Other names: Pout, Eelpout; Congo Eel; Muttonfish

Offal

The entrails and internal organs of an animal used as food….This description is often enough to put many people off eating offal…However, offal is very nutritious.

Liver, for instance is enormously healthy and full of an array of B vitamins, vitamin A, selenium and folate. I believe that liver, especially when it comes from wild venison, lamb, grass-fed beef and pasture raised chicken, is a superfood that is much more nutrient dense than even kale and spinach.

Chicken livers are popular here whereas when I lived in the UK it was lambs or pigs liver which was the most popular chicken livers were not so easily found…Spicy liver is one of our favourites but also here in Thailand every single part of the animal is eaten nose to tail and insides to outside…Most of which I admit I haven’t tried yet…here is one of my recipes: Chicken Liver red curry with green beans

Octopus

Something I have yet to cook myself…I have watched many TV chefs cooking and preparing octopus and it is a frequent sight here but I have yet to cook one myself…To eat when cooked correctly it is a lovely thing but a bit like its smaller sister squid if badly cooked it is like trying to eat bicycle tires chewy and unpleasant.

Okra

Okra is a warm-season vegetable, also known as gumbo or ladies’ fingers. Popular in Asian cuisine it is used here to make thick spicy dips…It is also an ingredient of Gumbo and can be pickled…The only way I have eaten it is Fried dredged in egg and cornmeal and fried to a golden crisp just as they are or curried with some Indian spices…or Oven-roasted. It can be simply flavored with olive oil, salt, and pepper, or smothered with spices. Not my favorite vegetable of choice but it is a vegetable which has properties to improve digestion. Okra water is used as traditional therapy for diabetes.

Olives and Olive Oil

Olives a fruit that I never liked as a child but acquired the taste for as I grew older…Olive oil is a beautiful thing and when I am not using coconut oil for cooking I use olive oil and it most suited to Mediterranean type recipes as well…But be careful when you buy it as is the case with everything now some oils are a blend of many oils or so highly processed and are not classed as proper Olive oil….There are so many different dishes which are all better for the addition of a good olive oil. Healthwise it is classed as a superfood as it is so beneficial to our health.

One of my favorite tapas dishes is made with chorizo sausage…Chorizo cooked in olive oil makes a lovely little snack or tapas with some lovely bread to mop up the juices. Just take some sliced chorizo and cook it in Olive oil until it is browned and the lovely orange color from the chorizo leaks into the olive oil….Just beautiful and so easy to make at home.

Onions

Do you know your onions?

The onion is part of the Lily family, which includes garlic, leeks, shallots, welsh onions, and chives. The word onion comes from the old English word unyun derived from the French word oignon, which in turn came from the Latin unio. There are words for the vegetable in ancient languages but none seems to be related to each other indicating how widespread the use of the vegetable was.

Onions have been used for thousands of years as a seasoning for otherwise bland food and today we can buy them all year round and use them raw or cooked in a wide variety of dishes…

I would say most people use the onion every day as part of their cooking whether it is shallots, red onion, brown onions, spring onions( green onions) so many varieties.

They can be eaten cooked, raw or pickled.

Lovely with some fresh bread, cheese and either pickled or raw they make a lovely Ploughman’s lunch.

Raw in a cheese and onion sandwich

Spring onions are lovely in an omelet or quiche. A cheese and onion turnover which is a pastry eaten as a snack.

Who hasn’t has Onion Bhaji with your Indian meal?

Spring Onions if you just make a few cuts in the green part and pop them into cold water they curl up and look so pretty decorating a green salad.

This stuffed Onion is one I have made many times and it is lovely for a vegetarian and quite special so looks like you have made an effort to cook something nice and tasty. But equally as nice for a light meal with a glass of vino

Stuffed Onion with goat’s cheese and sun dried tomatoes

Ingredients:

• 4 large onions.
• 150 gm goats cheese
• 50 gm fresh breadcrumbs (I use olive oil breadcrumbs)
• 8 sun-dried tomatoes in oil chopped and drained. I am lucky that I live somewhere nice and sunny so I can sundry my own tomatoes please click here to find out how
• 1 small egg, beaten
• 3 tbsp toasted pine nuts
• 2 cloves of garlic chopped
• 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
• 1/2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
• Salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Just reading that list of ingredients makes my mouth water….I am salivating.

Let’s cook

  1. Add the onions in their skins to lightly salted boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the onions from the boiling water, drain and cool. When they are cool enough to handle cut in half and remove the skin.
  2. Using a small dessert spoon scoop out the center leaving a thick outer layer, 3 layers are sufficient.
  3. Reserve the flesh for later.
  4. Pre-heat your oven to 190C/375F
  5. Place the onion shells in an oiled ovenproof dish.
  6. Add all the other ingredients except for the tomato oil and pine nuts to the scooped out onion flesh and season well. Stir in the pine nuts.
  7. Divide the mix between the 4 scooped out onion shells and cover the dish with foil.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, remove foil and drizzle with the sun-dried tomato oil cook uncovered for a further 25-35 minutes until bubbling and cooked.
  9. Baste occasionally during cooking.

And smell…. your kitchen will be filled with such a lovely aroma and even those who are not onion lovers will be salivating…I have had many a convert to this dish.

It is lovely just served with warm bread or as a side to some lovely grilled sardines.

Now all of those ingredients have amazing health benefits.

Some lovely variations to this recipe include using Feta cheese instead of goat’s cheese and substitute mint and pitted green/black olives instead of the other ingredients for a real Mediterranean taste. Just stir into the scooped onion mix; you could also add some currants or sultanas.

If you don’t want sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts use 75 gm chopped walnuts add them to the scooped out onion mix add 115 gm chopped celery and cook in a tbsp oil until the celery is soft and put in the onion shell.

Experiment by substituting your own favorite ingredients that is what cooking is all about.
Onions and garlic are also lovely pickled.

Oranges

Low in calories and full of health benefits is the Orange…They are an excellent source of vitamin C…Lovely segmented and eaten as they are also lovely in a fresh fruit salad or the zest and juice are lovely flavors in baking and sauces. They can be candied, made into marmalade, the peel can be dried so many uses. One of my favorites is this recipe it is a recipe I was given many years ago when we were in Jamaica for our daughter’s wedding. Jamaica is the home of jerk spices and this Spicy Jerk Chicken with Blood Oranges is awesome.

Sticky Jerk Chicken with Blood Oranges

Oyster Sauce

A staple in Asian cooking and I use a brand with no added nasties and msg which are becoming increasingly popular here as even Thais are getting more food aware…Used in many stir-fries it is one of my favorite seasonings…Don’t live in Asia? All Asian stores and supermarkets and even mainstream supermarkets will stock it…

Traditionally, oyster sauce is made by slowly simmering oysters in water until the juices caramelize into a thick, brown, intensely flavourful sauce. Today, many shortcuts have been made to create a similar flavor more quickly and at a reduced cost. Oyster sauces today are usually made with a base of sugar and salt and thickened with corn starch. Oyster extracts or essences are then used to give flavor to the base sauce.

Oyster Plant

A common name for a variety of flowering plants namely black and purple salsify, oyster leaf or bears breeches…What to do with it? Well, it’s easy to prepare and cook. Cut off the root end and peel off the outer skin and coating. Put freshly peeled salsify into a solution of water and lemon juice to stop it browning.

It can be cubed and added to soups and stews; I boiled my salsify and mashed it like parsnips, with a little cream, butter, salt, and pepper. Some chefs cook the vegetable in a mixture of milk and water for a richer flavor. Don’t overcook it though or you could end up with a stringy mush. Salsify can also be roasted with a drizzle of oil and perhaps some chopped herbs and garlic.

Oysters

Edible oysters have been a part of the human diet for at least 700 years, but have likely been eaten in raw or cooked forms for much longer. The edible component is the meat inside the oyster, and once the shells have been cracked, you can cook this meat in a variety of ways. They can also be eaten raw and are often preferred in that way. How do you like your oysters? I prefer mine raw with a Thai spicy sauce…I don’t like them cooked

Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through the Culinary alphabet…Until next time when it will be the letter P.

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: Amazon US

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

 

My thanks to Carol for creating this wonderful series and we hope that you have enjoyed. As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – January 9th – 15th 2023 – Wind, Big Band Era, Podcast,The Brain, PR for Authors, New books, Reviews, Funnies


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

Greetings from wild and windy Ireland, and considering around 23% of Ireland’s electricity comes from wind power, I should say this week they have more than enough to spare! Ice is coming in for the next two to three days and being rural the roads tend to stay frosty until enough traffic has passed over them. So I am off to do the shopping this morning and get it out of the way. I know there are many others knee deep in snow at the moment and we get off lightly, particularly here on the east coast so no complaints just an extra layer of thermals.

As always my thanks to my friends who contribute to the blog…

William Price King joined me this week to celebrate the Big Band Era with Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra and one of the dance crazes of the age The Cakewalk. Also the second post on Friday with the life and music of Sir George Shearing.  You can also find William Blog– IMPROVISATIONWilliam Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies​ will be here on Monday with an exploration of Intuition… and during this past week joined me for two laughter posts. Over on her own blog you will find her review for the fantastic upcoming release Sisters by Judith Barrow and a bumper monthly writer’s links . Follow the link to Debby’s posts D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor will be here on Wednesday with her A-Z of food and the letter ‘O’. Over on her own blog you will find Monday Musings on Chocolate and Jogging, in the Green Kitchen a fascinating visit to a local organic farm and ways to use stale bread and Thursday Thoughts with a fantastic soup recipe and an interesting piece about lithium battery alternatives.  You can catch up with the news: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…8th-14th January 2023

Thank you very much for your visits, comments and shares to social media, as always it is appreciated ♥

On with the show…..

– The Big Band Era with William Price King and Sally Cronin 1930s – Duke Ellington and Leo Reisman with Frank Sinatra

William Price King Meets Music Legends – #Jazz – Sir George Shearing – Into the 1940s

#Poetry #Flash Fiction – New Year’s Resolutions and Fire

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1250 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2022

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#NewSeries January 2023- ‘Lucky Dip’ and Do You Trust Me??

The Body our Greatest Asset – The Brain – Development from conception to old age by Sally Cronin

Public Relations for Authors Recycled- Part Two – Author Biographies -Tips and Translations

#FamilySaga – Sisters by Judith Barrow

Book Review – #Romance #Family – Searching for Home by Jill Weatherholt

Previous Reviews from 2022 – #Children’s – Amazing Matilda: A Monarch’s Tale by Bette A. Stevens

New Book on the Shelves – #YA #History #Timetravel – Patches through Time by Sian Turner

Menagerie: A Collection of Thirteen #Mystery, #Suspense, and Contemporary Short Stories by Joan Hall

New Book on the Shelves – #Fantasy – Mystical Greenwood (One with Nature Book 1) by Andrew McDowell

Smorgasbord Blogger Spotlight 2023 – #Sisters Judith Barrow, #Health D.G. Kaye, #Reviews Jacquie Biggar, #Peace Rebecca Budd, #NewYear Liz Gauffreau, #OddBirds Cindy Knoke

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Healthy Eating and Alternative Book Titles

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Biker’s arms and Interpretive dancing

 

Thanks very much for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week.. be safe… Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column 2023 – The Body our Greatest Asset – The Brain – Development from conception to old age by Sally Cronin


I have featured this series over the last ten years on a regular basis for new readers who might have joined the blog. Our bodies are are greatest asset. It has a long road ahead of if from birth, through the teen years, work life, parenthood, middle age and then into our 70s and beyond.

At every stage of our life healthy nutrition is essential to help the body develop and remain as disease free as possible. I appreciate that many of you may have read this series before three years ago, but I hope it will be a reminder of how amazing our bodies are, and simply eating the right foods, exercising moderately and not doing anything too reckless…will go a long way to enjoying later life to the full.

In this first series of posts I am going to be exploring the brain and its functions. 

Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and other related conditions are rarely out of the headlines and it is probably everyone’s worst fear. There is a genetic link to some forms of dementia,but it is not as common as lifestyle related deterioration of the brain.  Even though we are living longer, dementia is not an automatic progression and understanding how this amazing organ works and what it requires to be health, is vital.

Part One: Brain introduction and anatomy

How the brain from conception through life

How the brain develops.

We are hard wired and from the moment of conception there will be enforced changes to the structure and function of our brains. Whilst the process of development is beyond our control, there is still a powerful external influence on how well that programming is carried out.

Before birth the health, nutrition, environment and lifestyle choices of the mother can impact both the rate of brain development and the health of the brain cells. After birth during the formative years up to age 15, environment, nutrition and stimulation of those brain cells is critical and if they do not receive sufficient amounts of all of these there is a chance that irreversible damage will occur.

The development of the brain does not follow a straight upward line it comes in waves with certain parts of the brain achieving full function at different times. There is however a sequence that every brain will follow.

Egg surrounded by SpermAt conception the sperm and the egg form a single cell combining to form the genetic blueprint. Over 60% of our genes are committed to forming our brain which is after all the control centre for all our other functions. Around three to four weeks into development a thin layer of cells form in the embryo, which then fold and fuse to form a liquid filled tube. This minute start is vital as it is the first stage in the development of the brain and spinal cord. This is followed by the production of nerve cells called neurons.

Embryo 54 daysA miracle occurs as cells in the neural tube accelerate at an amazing rate reaching around 15million neurons an hour. This rate of growth continues for the first six months of a foetus’s development.

At around 14 weeks with millions of cells in place a change occurs as they begin to migrate to specific parts of the neural network and the inbuilt GPS usually sends them to the correct address. Some do however get lost or damaged in transit and die off.

Rarely however, some do reach the wrong destination and form incorrect connections and this coding error can lead to certain disorders such as autism or epilepsy, slower physical and mental development and in some cases more severe mental health issues.

At 20 weeks about half the existing cells are shed and those that remain are organised into compartments within the brain that govern virtually every automatic function in our bodies and also our senses and skills.

At birth we have around 100 billion brain cells and we begin the next stage in our development. Most of the connections between the neurons are barely formed and will need to be strengthened by the time we reach the age of three.

A baby has most of the senses working at birth such as sight, smell, hearing and the ability to respond to touch. Immediately with that first breath the brain kicks into overdrive and forms trillions of connections and pathways enabling learning.

As with the early development of the brain, it is vital that the environment, nutrition and stimulation are available to enable the brain to process and learn from experience.
These experiences trigger the electrical activity necessary to enable the brain to develop connections and grow. These connections are called synapses. The connections are formed by each neuron putting out a long tentacle like fibre called an axon. The neuron uses the axon to send messages to other neurons. The messages are sent as electrical signals and picked up by thousands of short, hair like fibres called dendrites (also produced by the neurons). Each neuron is able to connect up with thousands of other neurons.

It is then that ‘practice makes perfect’ comes into play as repeated experiences, sights, smells or movements form well-worn paths within the brain that we remember for a lifetime. By age two our brains have developed trillions of these pathways and although they continue to form throughout our lifetime they have reached their highest density.

Our higher functioning ability is usually operational by age three and we begin to think for ourselves, use language effectively and have developed personality traits.

After three years old we continue to absorb knowledge and experience like a sponge and the constant practice etches the functions into the brain. If that absorption ceases for some reason and we stop practicing certain functions, we can lose them completely as the brain discards little used pathways in favour of more travelled routes.

This pruning process and strengthening of the connections in the brain is most active in the teen years. The prefrontal cortex is the last to mature and it involves the control of impulses and decision-making. Anyone who has had children going through this phase will have a clear understanding of the ‘challenges’ that arise during this phase! This powerful surge in the brain is accompanied by the added influx of hormones which results in a chemical and electrical ‘perfect storm’.

There is a strong element of voluntary change at this stage of the development of the brain. It is around this age that we start making choices about what we eat, the amount of exercise we take, to take up smoking or drinking alcohol and to stop formal education. All these elements will affect the few years left of brain development we have left and therefore our mental capacity.

The brain continues to defrag the mainframe and the strongest connections survive. By our early 20s our brain development is matured into a powerful and functioning organ with approximately 500 trillion pathways.

At around 30 years old the physical changes will wind down in the brain and this is where even more of a voluntary contribution to growth, experience and maintenance is required to keep the pathways clear of debris such as plaque so that they continue to function efficiently.

This phase lasts for the next 35 or 40 years. The brain cells are active and we contribute to their health by diet, stimulation and avoiding lifestyle choices that kill them off. Such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not taking exercise, eating a diet rich in components that block our arteries and blood flow to the brain……you get the idea.

After 65 years old there is a natural dying off of cells in certain parts of the brain. This does not mean that you will lose all your mental capacity, but little things will begin to make an impact on your daily functioning. For example brain cells lost from the Hippocampus where we process memories will result in forgetfulness. Then you find you have morphed into your mother… and hopefully will still have most of your marbles into your 90s!

You are NOT destined to develop full blown dementia and you can make sure that you support your brain function by eating a healthy balanced diet, getting plenty of oxygen and regular exercise, reducing stress and interacting with others and events to stimulate the pathways to remain open. More so than at any other time in the lifespan of your brain, the voluntary choices and changes you make to your way of life will bring huge benefits.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2023

Next week a closer look at Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia in general.

A little bit about me nutritionally. .

About Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four 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 21 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, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

You can buy my books from: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow me :Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin

 

Thanks reading and I hope you will join me again next week…Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – January 2nd – 8th 2023 – New Series, PR Authors, Big Band Era, Sir George Shearing, Karma, Culinary A-Z, Podcast, Book Reviews, The Brain, Funnies


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

It has been a pretty wild and windy week here and it seems the weather has been hitting most places with some unseasonal variations. I don’t want to wish my life away, especially when there is less in front that behind me, but an early spring would be appreciated.

Life has got back to normal after the holidays but we do have a few celebrations in the family to look forward to in the next few months. We have found one or two spots that we frequent in the area and looking forward to catching up with my two sisters in February in the UK after three years as we have some milestone birthdays between us.

On the blog front, a new series of Posts from Your Archives begins soon with the promotional post on Wednesday, a chance for bloggers to share two of their posts from the last six months of 2022… the catch being that I get to choose them. An opportunity to perhaps connect with a few more people.

There are several new books scheduled throughout January and if you do have a new release please let me know by emailing me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com so I can get you in the diary. If you have featured before I have all your details and just need the Amazon link, if you are new to the promotions then we can chat about that after you email me.

As always my thanks to my friends who contribute to the blog…

William Price King joined me this week to celebrate the Big Band Era and the dance crazes of the age and the start of a new series on Friday with the life and music of Sir George Shearing.  You can also find William Blog– IMPROVISATIONWilliam Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies​ was here on Monday with an exploration of Karma… and also joined me for the laughter post. Over on her own blog you will find her review for Ida: Searching for the Jazz Baby by Frank Prem, and a post reminding us to take care of our physical, mental and emotional care, especially during highly emotional life events. Follow the link to Debby’s posts D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor was here this week with her Culinary A-Z and the letter ‘N’. Over on her own blog you will find her first post of the new year Monday Musings with some goals she has planned for the year, on the Thursday Thoughts there is a reminder of soups.. always warming at this time of year and Carol’s plans to cut back on blogging while she focuses on her two cookbooks. You can catch up with the news: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…2nd-7th January 2023

Thank you very much for your visits, comments and shares to social media, as always it is appreciated ♥

On with the show…..

The Big Band Era with William Price King and Sally Cronin 1930s – Earl Burtnett and Cab Calloway

William Price King Meets Music Legends – #Jazz – Sir George Shearing – The Early Years

Spiritual Awareness – #Karma – The Law of Cause and Effect by D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘N’ is for Nicoise, Nori, Nuts, Noodles, Nettles and Naan Bread.

Mountains, Valley, Landscape

Podcast #Poetry #Flash Fiction – The Long Drop and Key Lime Pie by Sally Cronin

Humanlobes-1-72dpi

Smorgasbord Health Column 2023 – The Body our Greatest Asset – The Brain- Introduction and Anatomy by Sally Cronin

Public Relations for Authors Recycled- Part One – People buy People First – Profile Photo

Smorgasbord Blogger Spotlight 2023 – #history Robbie Cheadle, #Funnies The Story Reading Ape, #Opportunities Marcia Meara, #Review Olga Nunez Miret, #Priorities Pete Springer, #Connections Jennie Fitzkee

#Romance – Unbranded (Montana Bred Series 1) by Linda Bradley

Previous Reviews from 2022 – #Children’s – Barty Barton: The Bear That Was Loved Too Much by Sue Wickstead

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – January 2023 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Nutcracker and Long Flights

Thanks very much for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week.. Sally

 

Smorgasbord Health Column 2023 – The Body our Greatest Asset – The Brain- Introduction and Anatomy by Sally Cronin


I have featured this series over the last ten years on a regular basis for new readers who might have joined the blog. Our bodies are are greatest asset. It has a long road ahead of if from birth, through the teen years, work life, parenthood, middle age and then into our 70s and beyond.

At every stage of our life healthy nutrition is essential to help the body develop and remain as disease free as possible. I appreciate that many of you may have read this series before three years ago, but I hope it will be a reminder of how amazing our bodies are, and simply eating the right foods, exercising moderately and not doing anything too reckless…will go a long way to enjoying later life to the full.

In this first series of posts I am going to be exploring the brain and its functions. 

Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and other related conditions are rarely out of the headlines and it is probably everyone’s worst fear. There is a genetic link to some forms of dementia,but it is not as common as lifestyle related deterioration of the brain.  Even though we are living longer, dementia is not an automatic progression and understanding how this amazing organ works and what it requires to be health, is vital.

The Brain Introduction and Anatomy.

For me, the brain has always been a fascinating part of the body as it is this organ rather than our hearts that makes us the person we are.

I remember the first heart transplant in 1967. The operation hit the headlines and because we had so recently left Cape Town I found it even more exciting. Dr. Christiaan Barnard pushed the boundaries of not just surgery but our understanding of the heart. Today the heart is just one organ that is transplanted and we also now have the ability to build artificial organs to either replace diseased parts of the body or temporarily keep us alive.

However, it is unlikely in my lifetime or for several generations to come that there will be a viable way to transplant or artificially replace our brains. There is a scientist preparing to do a full head transplant in Europe for a paraplegic young man who wants to take the huge risks involved to live a normal life.. I do feel for him and wish them well.

The brain is not just an organ that determines our who we are mentally but is also the control centre for the operations throughout our bodies. Without it we would not take that breath, swallow or digest our food efficiently. Despite its huge power and necessity we tend to take it for granted and rarely think of it in terms of nutrition or providing it with oxygen and hydration.. Of all our organs in the body, the brain is king and needs to be treated as such.

I fear losing my marbles, more than my general health. I have seen first-hand how dementia in the elderly turns a vibrant and capable person into a dependent and frightened individual. Some dementia is unavoidable but as you will see, most is definitely not a normal progression of old age.

I am going to do a very brief introduction to this amazing organ because I find that if you can understand the importance of the structure and workings of certain parts of your body you will treat it with respect.

The evolution of the brain.

It is the evolution of this organ which has distinguished us from all other living creatures. Apart from managing our life on an everyday basis, this organ is the only one we can share with others whilst alive. All the advances in science and medicine are made possible by the workings of this powerful organ and taking care of it should be our number one priority.

One of our challenges is to keep our bodies fit, healthy and functioning to a ripe old age. How wonderful to be able to look back at a lifetime of 90 or 100 years and remember every minute of it, every person we have ever met and every experience we have enjoyed. It is possible, but if the current trend of eating processed foods with poor nutritional value increases, we will begin to diminish our brain power and risk ending our lives not even remembering our own names.

Apart from direct trauma to the brain, resulting in long term damage, or genetic risk factors, it is more probable for brain cell death to be the result of nutritional deficiency or the effects of a stroke. Both of these conditions are directly affected by our lifestyle choices and diet.

Like all our other major organs, the brain requires a complex combination of oxygen and nutrients to sustain, nourish, repair and renew itself. It is not good enough to just eat a healthy diet. Nutrients need to get access to the brain and there are only a couple of options. The main arterial route into the brain, taking oxygen rich blood with the necessary nutrients is the Carotid Artery.

Like all arteries that supply blood to the various parts of the body such as the heart and brain, the carotid arteries can also develop a build-up of fat and cholesterol deposits, called plaque, on the inside. Over time this layer of plaque increases, hardening and blocking the arteries. This means that the oxygen and nutrients that your brain needs to function are very restricted. (see the blogs on cholesterol in the archive)

Unfortunately the knock-on effect of a narrowed artery is that plaque can break off and travel to the smaller arteries in the brain, blocking those pathways. Additionally, a blood clot can form and because the arteries have become so narrow it cannot pass and causes a blockage. This is what leads to a stroke.

The anatomy of the brain

Stem-&-Arteries-72dpiThe Structure

Protected within the bony and tough skull, the brain is an organ of many parts. Each part works independently of the others but with a common purpose. There are excellent communication channels between each half of the brain and each functioning unit and this provides us with a seamless operation that enables us to see, breathe, think, smell, eat, process food, make love, talk and move amongst other things without really thinking about it.

The Brain Stem is the lower extension of the brain where it connects to the spinal cord. This is the survival centre of the brain and the Medulla Oblongata at the base of the brain-stem governs breathing, digestion, heart rate, blood pressure and our ability to be awake and alert. Most of the cranial nerves are from the brain-stem, which is the pathway for all the fibre tracts passing up and down from the peripheral nerves and spinal cord to the highest parts of the brain.

Humanlobes-1-72dpiThe Cerebral Cortex. The outermost layer of the cerebral hemisphere which is composed of grey matter. There are two hemispheres that are asymmetrical and both are able to analyse sensory data, perform memory functions, learn new information, form thoughts and make decisions. The two hemispheres however have different abilities. The left hemisphere is the serious side of our brain that can interpret information, do mathematics, learn language and reason. The right hemisphere is more the fun side of the brain able to process an amazing amount of sensory input in seconds to provide a complete picture of the immediate environment. This side also governs functions such as dancing or complicated movements and we also store our visual and auditory memories here.

The Corpus Callosum connects the two hemispheres to allow them to communicate with each other. This is essential if we for example want to combine the two individual abilities into one. Taking a complicated language such as music and playing it on an instrument for example would require co-ordination between the two sides of the brain.

The two hemispheres have different lobes and the Frontal lobes are for reasoning and memory. At the front of these lobes you will find the Prefrontal areas, which determine our ability to concentrate, reason and elaborate on information. They also are sometimes called the Gatekeeper of the brain as they govern our judgement and our inhibitions. Our personality and emotional traits are also sited here as well as our movement capabilities and language skills. Damage to the frontal lobes may result in loss of recent memory, confusion, inability to concentrate, difficulty in taking in new information and behavioural disorders.

The Parietal lobes are located behind the frontal lobes at the top of the brain and again have different duties within the scope of the brain. The right lobe enables us to find our way around spaces both those we are familiar with and new ones that we encounter. The left lobe enables our ability to understand spoken and written language.

The Parietal lobes also contain the primary sensory cortex, which controls sensation, or touch pressure and behind this cortex is an area which controls finer sensations such as texture, weight, size and shape. Damage to this part of the brain can leave a person unable to discriminate between the various sensory stimuli or to be able to locate and recognise parts of their own body. They may also lose the ability to translate the speech into the written word.

The Occipital Lobes are right at the back of the brain and they process visual information and not only are these lobes responsible for visual reception but they also contain association areas that help us recognise shapes and colours. Damage to this area will affect the sight.

The Temporal lobes are on each side of the brain about level with the ears. These lobes allow us to tell one smell from another and one sound from another. They also help in sorting new information and are believed to be responsible for short-term memory. Again the two separate lobes have different responsibilities. The right lobe is mainly involved in visual memory such as pictures or faces and the left lobe remembers words and names. Damage to this part of the brain may result in loss of hearing, panic and behavioural problems.

Limbic-System 72dpiWithin the brain is the Limbic system, which contains our smell pathways and also some very important glands that affect our sex drive, anger and fear mechanisms and our emotions. These pathways are of vital importance to the efficient running of our operational systems within the bodies and the health of these glands and pathways will have an impact on our general health and longevity. Damage to this part of the brain can result in a loss of the sense of smell, agitation, loss of control of emotions and loss of recent memory.

Next time – How the brain develops from conception to adulthood.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2023

A little bit about me nutritionally. .

About Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four 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 21 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, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

You can buy my books from: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow me :Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin

 

Thanks reading and I hope you will join me again next week…Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘N’ is for Nicoise, Nori, Nuts, Noodles, Nettles and Naan Bread.


Welcome to a repeat of the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful Culinary A – Z and a reminder, not only of the amazing variety of food we have available to us today from around the world, but delicious recipes to showcase them. Carol also introduces to cooking methods and kitchen equipment that assist in creating meals for all occasions.

Welcome once again to Carols Cooking Column and today in my culinary trawl we have the letter N.

Nage

In French, “a la nage” means “in the swim”. The classic definition of nage is a stock typically used to poach seafood, especially fish. Traditionally, nage is a broth flavored with vegetables, white wine as well as herbs. However, nage is also the cooking technique of simmering something gently in a flavourful broth. This broth can be served as a light sauce at the same time to accompany the main dish.

Nicoise Salad

A descriptive term for dishes served with particular foods used by the chefs of the City of Nice, France. This garnish usually includes garlic, tomatoes, anchovies, black olive, capers, and lemon juice. Salad Nicoise is the most famous of all these dishes, consisting of potatoes, olives, green beans, and vinaigrette dressing.

Nori Seaweed

Image by F_A on Pixabay

Nori is the Japanese name for edible seaweed (a “sea vegetable”) As a sea vegetable, nori is naturally rich in iodine, which converts to iodide in your body. Iodine also is essential to maintaining healthy hair, skin, teeth, and nails. Nori is also a great source of micronutrients, containing more vitamins and minerals than most vegetables and fruit.

Nut Butters

Nut butter is easy to make and free from additives, saves money and you can create your own blends…Homemade peanut butter is so easy and quick to do …

  1. Take 500 gm raw peanuts.
  2. Put in oven on tray and cook on high for 10 mins.
  3. Take out of oven and reserve a few (if you like crunchy peanut butter) like me.
  4. Put the remainder of nuts in a food processor and blitz at 1 min intervals scrapping down the sides.
  5. Do this for 4 mins or until smooth.
    Add 1tsp of salt,1tbsp. oil and remainder of reserved nuts if using.
  6. If you want to add honey, Nutella or flavoring of your choice then add now.
  7. Blitz again for 1 min and put in a suitable container.

Stores in the fridge for 3 to 4 weeks. It is easy and delicious.

Noisette (Butter)

Noisette Butter (meaning “nut butter” in French) is a simple sauce that is made solely from butter. It is butter that has been melted and cooked until it starts to turn light brown, but not as dark brown as for brown butter. It is called “nut butter” because the browning gives it a tawny, nut color, and also gives it a bit of a nutty taste. It is used as a sauce for brains (calves’ or lambs’), eggs, poached skate or boiled vegetables. Also good with crêpes.

A noisette is also a term in the French language for hazelnut. or In French, noisette is a small version of noix, which means a “walnut.” The noix of a leg of lamb or ham means a “small walnut-shaped” which is a juicy morsel. It is a small, round, or oval slice of lamb or mutton, which is cut from the leg, rib, or fillet. It is cut to provide an individual portion.

Noodles

Noodles come in all shapes, sizes, and colors…Some are good for you and others not so much. However, if you make your own or buy fresh noodles colored with vegetable dye they are better than most store-bought noodles.

Here is my recipe for a lovely Thai noodle soup… You can use chicken or pork…

Thai pork noodle soup – Gaeng Jeud Woon Sen

Nettles (Stinging)

Who hasn’t gotten stung as a child particularly when it was time to pick blackberries or if your ball went into the bushes and there happened to be stinging nettles and did they sting and itch…Well, they can also be eaten they are in actual fact a very versatile plant and used as a medicine by herbalists.

How to cook the little blighters…

Napa Cabbage

Is a sweet, crunchy, flavourful Chinese cabbage which can be eaten raw, added to salads, sandwiches, and burgers. Napa can be used to prepare coleslaw. Napa cabbage is also popular as “pe-tsai,” one of the popular vegetables employed in Korean fermented dish-kimchi.

Just recently during National vinegar month I not only discovered the beautiful taste of black vinegar but also as I am very into wasting nothing when I am cooking and made a lovely vegetable dish using nappa cabbage stalk..yes the bits that are often thrown away and made a lovely stir fry with nappa cabbage.

Most days I start my day with a bowl of vegetable stir fry with rice…we all love veggies and on my plate, my veggies far outweigh the amount of meat I eat…

Who throws this away?

It is the stalk of the napa cabbage cut on the diagonal and stir fried…with some chopped garlic, dried chillies and chopped green onion. A sauce made from black vinegar, oyster sauce, soy sauce and a pinch of sugar.

  1. Start by heating a little oil in your pan and adding the chillies, garlic and onion and cook for 1 min.
  2. Then add your Nappa cabbage stalks and stir fry for a further 2-3 mins.
  3. Add your sauces I always mix mine beforehand so they are ready.
  4. Cook for another minute…

This can either be served with rice/noodles or as a side to your main dish…we liked it but next time I will add some chopped ginger.

Needling

Needling is the process of injecting fat or flavors into an ingredient to enhance the flavour…my first experience of this was when on a visit to my American cousins they injected a turkey with spices and after doing this over a two day period they then deep fried the turkey…It was lovely spicy and delicious.

Nutmeg

One of my favorite spices which is great as a topping for rice pudding or an egg custard tart…A little known fact about the nutmeg is that it is technically a hallucinogenic drug.

Consuming .2 ounces can cause convulsions while eating .3 ounces can cause hallucinations. … If you eat a whole nutmeg be warned, you’ll enter what’s called “nutmeg psychosis,” which can lead to death. However, the small amount used in cooking literally a pinch is unlikely to cause any of those.

Nappe/Nap

Again is a French term and it means to completely coat food with a thin layer of sauce or jelly.

Naan Bread

Great with an Indian Curry it is easily made at home and can be plain, stiffed or with garlic…there are many recipes for naan bread some with yeast and some without I prefer to use natural yogurt.

Ingredients:

• 4 cups of flour
• 1 tsp of baking powder
• 1 tsp of salt
• 2 cups of natural yogurt.

To prepare

  1. First, mix all the dry ingredients together and then add the yogurt if the dough too wet then add more flour.
  2. Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic then form into a round and put in an oiled bowl cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for about an hour.
  3. Then cut into 8/10 equal sized pieces and form into a ball. then press flat with your hand and roll into an 8-10 circle about 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Heat your griddle and cook for 3-5 mins there will be as pictured some brown spots underneath transfer to the oven for 1-2 minutes until they puff up and slightly brown on the top remove from the oven and brush with melted butter or ghee if required.
  5. Wrap in a cloth to keep warm while you are cooking the other pieces of bread

Enjoy 

Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through the Culinary alphabet…Until next time when it will be the letter O.

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: Amazon US

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

 

My thanks to Carol for creating this wonderful series and we hope that you have enjoyed. As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.