Christmas Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor #BrusselSprouts bitterly healthy!


Welcome to the repeat of our weekly posts from 2017, where I look at the health benefits of my favourite foods and Carol Taylor provides delicious recipes so that you can include these foods in your diet. Carol is currently cooking up a storm in her kitchen in Thailand to share some alternative ideas for your festive meals and parties.

Brussel sprouts are not necessarily the most asked for vegetable by children as they do have a slightly bitter taste (actually the healthy element of the Brussels), but if you prepare them following Carol’s guidance, they should be a hit with all the family.

At this time of year they are readily available in the stores and are a wonderful side dish for Turkey on Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Variety is the spice of life….and our bodies need a wide variety of foods to extract all the nutrients it needs to be healthy.

We are just coming into the Brussel sprout season and I shall be taking full advantage. I eat cabbage all year round, but Brussels are so much easier to prepare and are a powerhouse of benefits all on their own.

The Brussel sprout is a miniature cabbage and is usually in season from the early autumn to early spring, but today you can find them all year round in most supermarkets. They are, like most fruit and vegetables, at their best in the actual growing season. We eat most of our fruit and vegetables seasonally, and apart from anything else it does encourage you to widen the spectrum of types of foods that you eat and therefore gives you access to a much broader selection of nutrients.

One of the things that I encouraged my clients to do before coming for their first consultation, was to complete a very extensive questionnaire with two week food diary. A food diary is not about calories and fats consumed but does identify either food groups that are being excluded and also any important nutrients.

It is easy to slip into a routine with food. You are busy; a family to feed and it is more convenient to eat the same meals in rotation. Monday pasta dish, Tuesday shepherd’s pie, Friday fish and chips, Sunday roast chicken, potatoes, carrots, peas etc. It is not so much what you are eating but what you are not eating by adopting this regular pattern.

Brussels are related to both the cabbage and the broccoli families but have some very distinctive properties that make them an essential ingredient of any healthy eating plan.

Onto the main business of the day!

indexThe Brussel sprouts are related to both the cabbage and the broccoli families but have some very distinctive properties that make them an essential ingredient of any healthy eating plan.

Our immune system is very efficient but life takes its toll. It is important that in our diet we include foods that enhance and boost our immune system and the Brussel sprout does just that.

Brussel sprouts contain a phytochemical, which helps our own defence system to protect against disease in general but in particular cancer. Sulforaphane is a phytonutrient found in this group of plant families, and it helps boost the body’s detoxification enzymes, which help clear carcinogenic substances from the body quickly and efficiently. Brussel sprouts have also been shown to decrease the level of DNA damage in cells, which prevents mutations in the cells, which allows cancer to develop.

To get the benefit of this phytochemical the food needs to be chopped or chewed so that the liver is stimulated into producing the specific detoxification enzymes and research has shown that breast cancer cells particularly are prevented from reproducing even in later stages of the disease.

Apart from cancer, the Brussel sprout and other members of the Brassica family such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli contain large amounts of vitamin C. This supports our immune function and has been shown to help prevent heart disease, strokes and cancer but also promotes the manufacture of collagen, a protein that forms the body structure including the skin, connective tissues and cartilage.

A serving of Brussel sprouts also contains very healthy quantities of Vitamin A and beta-carotene, both vital in defending the body and promoting healthy and young looking skin.

Birth Defects

Folic acid has long been recognised for its ability to help protect the foetus against birth defects. Folic acid is a B vitamin that promotes healthy cell division. Without it nervous system cells do not divide properly which has linked to a number of birth defects such as Spina bifida. The main source of folic acid is green leafy vegetables such as the Brussel sprout and spinach but as our reliance on processed foods rather than fresh fruit and vegetables grows, the deficiency of this vitamin is becoming the most common in the western world.

Other Benefits

Apart from being rich in fibre, which helps protect us against colon disease this vegetable, because of its high content of antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, is a great preventative for degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, the subject of our disease report this month.

I have posted in the past about Chicken Pox and Shingles and the importance of the amino acid L-Lysine to assist in recovery from an attack of the latter. Brussel Sprouts are one of the leafy green vegetables which contain this amino acid and another good reason to include in our diets.

I am now going to hand you over to the ever resourceful Carol Taylor to share some delicious ways to prepare and eat this very versatile vegetable.

Brussels sprouts or little cabbages fall in two camps love them or hate them a bit like Marmite. I wonder how many parents have cajoled, bribed or just said eat it or you get it for breakfast??

How many people who hated them as a child now love them?

As Sally has rightly stated in her part of the post they are packed with good things…Like a phytochemical, which helps our own defence system to protect against disease in general but in particular cancer. Vitamins A and C and so much more.

Eaten as part of a varied diet and now they are not boiled to death like my Nan used to do with anything green they are roasted, Sautéed, fried, shaved as well as steamed or boiled in lightly salted water.

In my quest for some different recipes I did come across Brussel sprout ice cream…I love the little sprout but for me that is a step too far…Some veggies don’t lend themselves to ice cream or smoothies.

I love just plain little brussels lightly steamed or boiled with my Christmas dinner…the little small ones which have had had a frost on them are so sweet and lovely.
Sautéed with bacon they are to die for…

My spicy pan fried Brussels come very close or top depending on whether you are a bacon or a chilli fan…

This recipe serves 4 people.

  • 1lb of Brussel sprouts trimmed and halved
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp of cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 6 shallots peeled and quartered
  • Chilli flakes and chopped fresh chives to garnish.

Let’s cook!
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the garlic and shallots and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until the shallots just start to turn golden.

Sprinkle in the cumin seeds and add the sprouts. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes over a medium heat then reduce the heat and cover the pan, cook for a further 4-5 minutes or until the sprouts are almost tender.

Sprinkle over the balsamic vinegar and let it cook just for a few seconds. Season the sprouts to taste with salt and cracked black pepper.

Garnish with chilli flakes and chopped chives.

A beautiful side dish with your Sunday roast or Christmas dinner.

This next dish is a recipe I have had for a long time…

These little cakes are very tasty and lovely with some steamed vegetables or a salad. This mix makes 6 rice cakes. If you haven’t made a risotto before please don’t let it put you off.

As long as your liquid is hot and you let each addition of stock become absorbed into the rice before adding more stock it is a doddle. So much easier than most people think it is. Who hasn’t seen the disasters on the TV cooking shows?

Risotto Cakes with Brussel Sprouts.

These lovely risotto cakes also are vegetarian and the first time I made them was at Christmas for a veggie friend and they loved them.

I also think meat free dishes have come a very long way…Don’t you? There is so much more on restaurant menus and I also think home cooks are more adventurous with flavours.

These risotto cakes certainly fit the bill even if you are a die hard meat eater.

Ingredients:

  • 8oz risotto rice
  • 8oz brussel sprouts finely shredded
  • 6 shallots finely chopped
  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 oz cooked, shelled chestnuts, chopped finely
  • 1 3/4-2pints of hot vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 8 oz fresh breadcrumbs.

15-20 Sage leaves for garnish, a little flour for dusting and a pinch of paprika.

Oil of your choice for deep frying.

Line 6 x 4 inch cooking rings with cling film.

Lets Cook!

Cook the shredded Brussel sprouts in lightly salted water for 1 minute. Drain set to one side.

Melt the butter in a pan and cook the shallots for 2 mins until soft but not coloured. Add the rice and stir until the rice is evenly coated with the melted butter.

Stir in 1-2 ladles of the hot vegetable stock at a time and stirring until the rice has absorbed the stock before adding your next ladles of stock. Do this until the rice is just tender but with a little bite. This will take about 25 minutes as does any risotto.

Add the cheese and season being careful of the salt as both the cheese and the stock contain salt. Gently stir in the chestnuts and the sprouts. If the mixture seems too thick then you may want to add a little more stock.

Divide your mixture between the cooking rings. Leave to cool and then chill until set and firm.

When the rice cakes are nicely chilled remove the rings and the clingfilm.

Double dip the lightly floured rice cakes in egg and then breadcrumbs…repeat. You may need to reshape the cakes.

Heat the oil until a small crouton of bread turns golden within a minute and dust the sage leaves with the flour and paprika and fry for 1-2 minutes…set aside on kitchen paper.

Deep fry the cakes for 5-7 minutes until they are golden and crisp. It is probably best to do these 2 at a time while keeping the cooked ones warm in the oven.

To serve, add some deep fried sage leaves to the top of the cake and serve with steamed vegetables or salad.

Brussels also lend themselves very nicely to salads I think we are all getting so much more adventurous with food…Don’t you??

Brussel Sprout Salad with Cranberries:

This salad has all of my favourite things in one beautiful bowl.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs brussel sprouts washed, with the tough outer leaves pulled away
  • 2/3 cup fresh or dried cranberries…I prefer fresh just for that little zing…No cranberries try blueberries.
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 large apple chopped
  • 3 or 4 slices bacon cooked and chopped
  • 2 green onion sprigs thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2  tbsp maple syrup not pancake syrup as it will not taste the same you can’t beat proper maple syrup.
  • 2  tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Let’s Cook!

Hold the core end of a brussel sprout and, starting at the top, slice it into very thin slices.

Discard the core and chop remaining brussel sprouts until they are all are thinly sliced.

Place chopped brussel sprouts, cranberries, pecans, apples, bacon, onion and feta in a large bowl.

For the dressing

Put all of the dressing ingredients in a lidded container. Place a lid on the container and shake well. Pour desired amount over the salad, a little at a time, until the salad is coated. Store any leftover dressing in the fridge where it will keep for a few days. It can also be made in advance.

I don’t like to dress my salads but put dressing on the table as I think everyone’s taste varies.

This au gratin recipe is quick to do and very nice as a side dish.

Preheat your oven 400F and grease a 2 quart oven dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb of Brussel sprouts
  • 8oz of bacon..streaky
  • Half cup of heavy cream or half and half
  • Half cup of mature cheddar grated
  • Half cup of fresh breadcrumbs
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to season.

Lets Cook!

Bring a pan of water to the boil and add brussel sprouts, cook for 6-8 minutes, drain and coarsely chop.

While the sprouts are cooking put the bacon in a cold pan(no fat), heat and cook for a few minutes, take out and drain on kitchen paper. The bacon will carry on cooking and you will have nice crispy bacon.

I learnt this on master chef and it works..bacon needs no fat as it makes it own and if you cook it until it is crispy in the pan as it carries on cooking you will then have very dry crispy bacon…I know because I always did that to mine until I saw it on master chef and it works a treat.

Put the sprouts and half the bacon into your prepared dish and sprinkle with red pepper flakes..Spread the mixture over the dish and pour your cream over the top. Sprinkle the top with your breadcrumbs, cheese and the remainder of the bacon.
Bake for 15 minutes until it is bubbly and golden.

I hope you have enjoyed our collaboration and even if you don’t like sprouts I hope these recipes tempt you to try them.

I think they really are an underrated little vegetable which maybe as a child we didn’t like and have never tried since…You may be pleasantly surprised.

Until next time stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot ..Because it is proven to be the best medicine and it is FREE!

My thanks to Carol for elevating this small vegetable to its rightful place on all our plates..

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!

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Please feel free to share thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Cook From Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – Brussel Sprouts.


Welcome to our weekly post where I look at the health benefits of my favourite foods and Carol Taylor provides delicious recipes so that you can include these foods in your diet. Brussel sprouts are not necessarily the most asked for vegetable by children as they do have a slightly bitter taste (actually the healthy element of the Brussels), but if you prepare them following Carol’s guidance, they should be a hit with all the family.

Variety is the spice of life….and our bodies need a wide variety of foods to extract all the nutrients it needs to be healthy.

We are just coming into the Brussel sprout season and I shall be taking full advantage. I eat cabbage all year round, but Brussels are so much easier to prepare and are a powerhouse of benefits all on their own.

The Brussel sprout is a miniature cabbage and is usually in season from the early autumn to early spring, but today you can find them all year round in most supermarkets. They are, like most fruit and vegetables, at their best in the actual growing season. We eat most of our fruit and vegetables seasonally, and apart from anything else it does encourage you to widen the spectrum of types of foods that you eat and therefore gives you access to a much broader selection of nutrients.

One of the things that I encouraged my clients to do before coming for their first consultation, was to complete a very extensive questionnaire with two week food diary. A food diary is not about calories and fats consumed but does identify either food groups that are being excluded and also any important nutrients.

It is easy to slip into a routine with food. You are busy; a family to feed and it is more convenient to eat the same meals in rotation. Monday pasta dish, Tuesday shepherd’s pie, Friday fish and chips, Sunday roast chicken, potatoes, carrots, peas etc. It is not so much what you are eating but what you are not eating by adopting this regular pattern.

Brussels are related to both the cabbage and the broccoli families but have some very distinctive properties that make them an essential ingredient of any healthy eating plan.

Onto the main business of the day!

indexThe Brussel sprouts are related to both the cabbage and the broccoli families but have some very distinctive properties that make them an essential ingredient of any healthy eating plan.

Our immune system is very efficient but life takes its toll. It is important that in our diet we include foods that enhance and boost our immune system and the Brussel sprout does just that.

Brussel sprouts contain a phytochemical, which helps our own defence system to protect against disease in general but in particular cancer. Sulforaphane is a phytonutrient found in this group of plant families, and it helps boost the body’s detoxification enzymes, which help clear carcinogenic substances from the body quickly and efficiently. Brussel sprouts have also been shown to decrease the level of DNA damage in cells, which prevents mutations in the cells, which allows cancer to develop.

To get the benefit of this phytochemical the food needs to be chopped or chewed so that the liver is stimulated into producing the specific detoxification enzymes and research has shown that breast cancer cells particularly are prevented from reproducing even in later stages of the disease.

Apart from cancer the Brussel sprout and other members of the Brassica family such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli contain large amounts of vitamin C. This supports our immune function and has been shown to help prevent heart disease, strokes and cancer but also promotes the manufacture of collagen, a protein that forms the body structure including the skin, connective tissues and cartilage.

A serving of Brussel sprouts also contains very healthy quantities of Vitamin A and beta-carotene, both vital in defending the body and promoting healthy and young looking skin.

BIRTH DEFECTS
Folic acid has long been recognised for its ability to help protect the foetus against birth defects. Folic acid is a B vitamin that promotes healthy cell division. Without it nervous system cells do not divide properly which has linked to a number of birth defects such as Spina bifida. The main source of folic acid is green leafy vegetables such as the Brussel sprout and spinach but as our reliance on processed foods rather than fresh fruit and vegetables grows, the deficiency of this vitamin is becoming the most common in the western world.

OTHER BENEFITS
Apart from being rich in fibre, which helps protect us against colon disease this vegetable, because of its high content of antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, is a great preventative for degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, the subject of our disease report this month.

On Monday I posted about Chicken Pox and Shingles and the importance of the amino acid L-Lysine to assist in recovery from an attack of the latter. Brussel Sprouts are one of the leafy green vegetables which contain this amino acid and another good reason to include in our diets.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/11/smorgasbord-health-2017-a-z-of-common-conditions-chicken-pox-and-shingles-a-double-act/

I am now going to hand you over to the ever resourceful Carol Taylor to share some delicious ways to prepare and eat this very versatile vegetable.

Brussels sprouts or little cabbages fall in two camps love them or hate them a bit like Marmite. I wonder how many parents have cajoled, bribed or just said eat it or you get it for breakfast??

How many people who hated them as a child now love them?

As Sally has rightly stated in her part of the post they are packed with good things…Like a phytochemical, which helps our own defence system to protect against disease in general but in particular cancer. Vitamins A and C and so much more.

Eaten as part of a varied diet and now they are not boiled to death like my Nan used to do with anything green they are roasted, Sautéed, fried, shaved as well as steamed or boiled in lightly salted water.

In my quest for some different recipes I did come across Brussel sprout ice cream…I love the little sprout but for me that is a step too far…Some veggies don’t lend themselves to ice cream or smoothies.

I love just plain little brussels lightly steamed or boiled with my Christmas dinner…the little small ones which have had had a frost on them are so sweet and lovely.
Sautéed with bacon they are to die for…

My spicy pan fried Brussels come very close or top depending on whether you are a bacon or a chilli fan…

This recipe serves 4 people.

  • 1lb of Brussel sprouts trimmed and halved
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp of cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 6 shallots peeled and quartered
  • Chilli flakes and chopped fresh chives to garnish.

Let’s cook!
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the garlic and shallots and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until the shallots just start to turn golden.

Sprinkle in the cumin seeds and add the sprouts. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes over a medium heat then reduce the heat and cover the pan, cook for a further 4-5 minutes or until the sprouts are almost tender.

Sprinkle over the balsamic vinegar and let it cook just for a few seconds. Season the sprouts to taste with salt and cracked black pepper.

Garnish with chilli flakes and chopped chives.

A beautiful side dish with your Sunday roast or Christmas dinner.

This next dish is a recipe I have had for a long time…

These little cakes are very tasty and lovely with some steamed vegetables or a salad. This mix makes 6 rice cakes. If you haven’t made a risotto before please don’t let it put you off.

As long as your liquid is hot and you let each addition of stock become absorbed into the rice before adding more stock it is a doddle. So much easier than most people think it is. Who hasn’t seen the disasters on the TV cooking shows?

Risotto Cakes with Brussel Sprouts.

These lovely risotto cakes also are vegetarian and the first time I made them was at Christmas for a veggie friend and they loved them.

I also think meat free dishes have come a very long way…Don’t you? There is so much more on restaurant menus and I also think home cooks are more adventurous with flavours.

These risotto cakes certainly fit the bill even if you are a die hard meat eater.

Ingredients:

  • 8oz risotto rice
  • 8oz brussel sprouts finely shredded
  • 6 shallots finely chopped
  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 oz cooked, shelled chestnuts, chopped finely
  • 1 3/4-2pints of hot vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 8 oz fresh breadcrumbs.

 

15-20 Sage leaves for garnish, a little flour for dusting and a pinch of paprika.

Oil of your choice for deep frying.

Line 6 x 4 inch cooking rings with cling film.

Lets Cook!

Cook the shredded Brussel sprouts in lightly salted water for 1 minute. Drain set to one side.

Melt the butter in a pan and cook the shallots for 2 mins until soft but not coloured. Add the rice and stir until the rice is evenly coated with the melted butter.

Stir in 1-2 ladles of the hot vegetable stock at a time and stirring until the rice has absorbed the stock before adding your next ladles of stock. Do this until the rice is just tender but with a little bite. This will take about 25 minutes as does any risotto.

Add the cheese and season being careful of the salt as both the cheese and the stock contain salt. Gently stir in the chestnuts and the sprouts. If the mixture seems too thick then you may want to add a little more stock.

Divide your mixture between the cooking rings. Leave to cool and then chill until set and firm.

When the rice cakes are nicely chilled remove the rings and the clingfilm.

Double dip the lightly floured rice cakes in egg and then breadcrumbs…repeat. You may need to reshape the cakes.

Heat the oil until a small crouton of bread turns golden within a minute and dust the sage leaves with the flour and paprika and fry for 1-2 minutes…set aside on kitchen paper.

Deep fry the cakes for 5-7 minutes until they are golden and crisp. It is probably best to do these 2 at a time while keeping the cooked ones warm in the oven.

To serve, add some deep fried sage leaves to the top of the cake and serve with steamed vegetables or salad.

Brussels also lend themselves very nicely to salads I think we are all getting so much more adventurous with food…Don’t you??

Brussel Sprout Salad with Cranberries:

This salad has all of my favourite things in one beautiful bowl.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs brussel sprouts washed, with the tough outer leaves pulled away
  • 2/3 cup fresh or dried cranberries…I prefer fresh just for that little zing…No cranberries try blueberries.
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 large apple chopped
  • 3 or 4 slices bacon cooked and chopped
  • 2 green onion sprigs thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2  tbsp maple syrup not pancake syrup as it will not taste the same you can’t beat proper maple syrup.
  • 2  tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Let’s Cook!

Hold the core end of a brussel sprout and, starting at the top, slice it into very thin slices.

Discard the core and chop remaining brussel sprouts until they are all are thinly sliced.

Place chopped brussel sprouts, cranberries, pecans, apples, bacon, onion and feta in a large bowl.

For the dressing

Put all of the dressing ingredients in a lidded container. Place a lid on the container and shake well. Pour desired amount over the salad, a little at a time, until the salad is coated. Store any leftover dressing in the fridge where it will keep for a few days. It can also be made in advance.

I don’t like to dress my salads but put dressing on the table as I think everyone’s taste varies.

I do have a lovely recipe for Brussel sprout soup but you can overdo the soup recipes(let me know) if you would like it.

This au gratin recipe is quick to do and very nice as a side dish.

Preheat your oven 400F and grease a 2 quart oven dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb of Brussel sprouts
  • 8oz of bacon..streaky
  • Half cup of heavy cream or half and half
  • Half cup of mature cheddar grated
  • Half cup of fresh breadcrumbs
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to season.

Lets Cook!

Bring a pan of water to the boil and add brussel sprouts, cook for 6-8 minutes, drain and coarsely chop.

While the sprouts are cooking put the bacon in a cold pan(no fat), heat and cook for a few minutes, take out and drain on kitchen paper. The bacon will carry on cooking and you will have nice crispy bacon.

I learnt this on master chef and it works..bacon needs no fat as it makes it own and if you cook it until it is crispy in the pan as it carries on cooking you will then have very dry crispy bacon…I know because I always did that to mine until I saw it on master chef and it works a treat.

Put the sprouts and half the bacon into your prepared dish and sprinkle with red pepper flakes..Spread the mixture over the dish and pour your cream over the top. Sprinkle the top with your breadcrumbs, cheese and the remainder of the bacon.
Bake for 15 minutes until it is bubbly and golden.

I hope you have enjoyed our collaboration and even if you don’t like sprouts I hope these recipes tempt you to try them.

I think they really are an underrated little vegetable which maybe as a child we didn’t like and have never tried since…You may be pleasantly surprised.

Until next time stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot ..Because it is proven to be the best medicine and it is FREE!

My thanks to Carol for elevating this small vegetable to its rightful place on all our plates..

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!

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Please feel free to share thanks Sally

If you have missed previous posts you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-recipes/

 

Smorgasbord health 2017 – A -Z of Common Conditions – Chicken Pox and Shingles – A Double Act.


 

I am picking up the A – Z of Common Complaints and Top to Toe Health posts again after the summer.  You may have read some of the posts in the last three years, but I am updating again with any new treatment protocols.

Chicken pox

As children begin school for the first time or return after the long summer break, there is likely to be an outbreak of one of the common childhood infections including chicken pox.

 

Image – MediaIndia.net

Chicken pox is one of the most common childhood illnesses with an estimated 9 out of 10 children contracting the virus. In itself it is usually mild and whilst uncomfortable because of the itching and general feeling of being unwell, it passes within two weeks.

There has been a great deal of research into childhood illnesses such as chickenpox, measles, German measles and mumps and their effect on the immune system. It is generally believed that provided the diseases do not cause complications that it will boost the immune system into adulthood.

There is a proviso with this assumption. It may not be the case if a child is treated with antibiotics previously for bacterial infections which may have already weakened the immune system. Some parents deliberately put their children in the path of others with chicken pox, but it can be a double-edged sword as there is a link between the disease and the onset of auto immune conditions such as asthma and the possibility of shingles in later life.

The symptoms of Chicken pox.

This is a very contagious disease and it is caused by the varicella-zoster virus and can be transmitted by touch or by breathing in the virus particles from a persons breath or sneezing. Symptoms to be aware of in a child is persistent itching in the stomach area, unusual tiredness and a slight fever. Check the stomach for a rash and also see if it has spread to the back or face. It can spread to cover the body with between 250 and 500 blisters. It often forms blisters in the mouth too which can make drinking and eating very uncomfortable.

Catching it an early stage is important to prevent your child returning to school and infecting any more classmates. Consult with your doctor, who will hopefully come to your house to confirm the diagnosis, as they probably will not want you taking your child to the surgery! You should inform your child’s school so that they can check to see if there are any other potential cases. I would hope that if they had already been notified of a case of chicken pox, that they would have notified all other parents anyway.

Chicken pox can be very dangerous for babies in the family and you should make sure that they do not have any contact with their brother or sister. You also need to take some basic but important hygiene precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. Personally I suggest disposable gloves, keep all towels separate and move other children to another room if they share.

The elderly generation is also at risk and should avoid all contact with any members of the family who have been infected. The incubation period from infection to the first spot is 1- 2 days and then they are contagious until scabs have formed on the blisters which is usually between 5 – 7 days.

The chicken pox vaccine

Over the years since babies and toddlers have been vaccinated there have been opposing arguments laid out by both the medical profession and parents. And I suggest that if you are a parent that you do take a look at both sides of the issue. There are a number of government sites that lay out the medical position and then there are alternative therapist and parent sites with their views.. I suggest you search for Chicken pox Vaccination pros and cons.

The old school approach, and certainly when I was a child, was to let a child catch the infection and that it would strengthen the growing immune system.

I had a small pox vaccination very young and yellow fever as we lived in the tropics where the diseases were still endemic. I got measles at three and do remember being in a dark room (measles and sunlight can cause eye damage) and I had chicken pox when I was 11 years old. But, I was one of those who went on to develop shingles in adulthood so on reflection I think I might have preferred to have the vaccination.

Anyway – what is the course of action if your child does have chickenpox.

Apart from taking the hygiene measures to protect yourself and the rest of the family it is recommended that your child has bed rest, is kept hydrated (water not fizzy drinks), pureed (warm not hot) foods that are soft and easy to eat if there are blisters in the mouth.

Paracetamol appropriate for the age of the child and check with your pharmacy. Also calamine lotion for the spots and blisters and if they are particularly itchy talk to the pharmacist for some chlorpheniramine anti-histamine medicine which can help alleviate some of the itching.

Do not give a child or adult with chicken pox ibuprofen as it can make them very ill.

Keep your finger nails and your childs trimmed short to prevent breaking open the skin and it is a good idea to pop some cotton gloves on your child at night or some socks that are tied at the wrist.

If you are going to bathe the child, then use lukewarm water and dab a damp soft cloth over the body and then pat dry with another. Wash cloth after use in hot temperatures.

Dress the child in loose cotton clothing rather than their normal pajamas.

Keep an eye on the progress of the infection and take your child’s temperature twice a day and if it continues to rise despite paracetamol or goes over 39 C.. it is less for babies under 3 months old at 38 C.

Now for the bonus that you can find chickenpox has gifted you.

Certainly there is a higher risk of contracting shingles later in life if you have contracted chickenpox as a child, especially in those over 70 years old whose immune system has naturally declined in function and as a result of lifestyle, diet and prescribed medication.

What is shingles?

Also known as herpes zoster, shingles is an infection of a nerve and the skin that surrounds it and is caused by the same varicella-zoster virus which causes chickenpox.

It results in a painful rash which develops into blisters containing particles of the virus and they are extremely itchy. This itch element is guaranteed to get the host scratching, breaking the blister and dispersing the virus. The person unlucky enough to come into contact that virus will not catch shingles but can develop chicken pox if they have not already had the disease previously.

The other interesting factor associated with shingles is that it usually only affects one area on one side of the body and rarely crosses over your centre line through the body.

For example I had chicken pox when I was 11 years old and had 10 days off school. Apart from the fact that I managed to read War and Peace during that time, I also retained the virus which lay dormant in my body. When I was 24 years old, I developed shingles around one eye but not the other. It was one of the most painful things I have experienced and it was also potentially dangerous as it could have potentially affected the sight of that eye.

At that time I was under a great deal of stress and my immune system was naturally under-performing. Apart from stress and being over 70 years old you are also at risk if you have been on long-term medication or have an underlying chronic infection.

An episode of shingles will usually last between two to three weeks although some people will continue to experience nerve pain in the form of postherpetic neuralgia long-term.

Thankfully it is rare for more than one attack of shingles in your lifetime.

You do need to visit your GP if you begin to suffer from pain in a specific area of the body that develops into a rash. This is particularly important if you are pregnant or already have a diagnosed auto immune disease or weakened immune system.

I mentioned earlier that you will not catch shingles from someone, but could get chickenpox instead, so it is important to visit your GP if this is the case. There is a vaccine available, and as those over 70 are in the high risk category, in the UK a vaccination programme is in place for anyone over that age. Only one dose is usually necessary but a booster is administered at 78 or 79 years old. Most countries also offer this to that age group.

Apart from a preventative vaccination that reduces your risk of developing shingles, there is no cure. It is recommended to keep the area that is affected covered with a non-stick dressing to prevent others from being infected with chickenpox. Painkillers can be taken and if it is a severe outbreak antiviral medication can stop the virus spreading.

There are some commonsense actions you can take that might reduce the length of the infection and pain of shingles.

Wear lightweight cotton gloves at night which is when you will be more prone to automatically scratch the blisters. Also wear when you are watching television or any other activity where you might be tempted to scratch.

You can place a cool compress over the affected area and then use calamine lotion to ease the itching. I have used colloidal silver and tea tree cream on rashes that have helped but ask expert advice in your Health store or pharmacy.

If you go online you will find various sites that will recommend other alternative remedies and I have no doubt that some will indeed shorten the infection or ease the symptoms but my advice is not to buy online, but to speak with a qualified advisor in person. It is important to remember that you might be left with long term nerve pain and that anything you use should be considered carefully. To be honest this goes for prescribed medication too.

Dietary

If you are suffering from an outbreak of shingles then your immune system needs boosting. If you have a diet high in processed foods and sugars you will not be providing your body with the nutrients it needs to sustain this vital health system.

Do not drink alcohol and follow a very simple diet of fresh vegetables, wholegrains fruit, and  of lean protein with plenty of fluids.

Nutrients that can help you limit the extent of the shingles outbreak.

Viruses thrive in a body that is nutrient deficient. There is a particular link to an imbalance of amino acids in a person whose immune system is not functioning efficiently.

This is particularly relevant to the herpes family of viruses that prefer a system high in the amino acid L-Arginine in relation to L-Lysine. Arginine enables the virus to replicate in the nucleus of your cells, which spreads the virus through your body. Lysine however has an antiviral action that blocks the arginine and therefore helps limit the extent of the outbreak.

At the onset of an attack of shingles switch to a high lysine diet including foods such as poultry, fish, beef, chickpeas and up your dairy intake and eggs.You want to build your immune system to include plenty of green vegetables that are particularly high in Lysine such as green beans, Brussel Sprouts, asparagus, avocados, apricots, pineapple, pears and apples.

Drop the high arginine foods such as tomatoes, grapes and the darker berries. The same applies to most nuts, oats, chocolate (sorry) and caffeine (sorry again).

Other ways to boost your immune system

If you have shingles on an exposed area of your skin you do not want to expose to direct sunlight; despite the fact that it will help dry out the blisters. However, Vitamin D is vital to a strong immune system, and if you can get 45 minutes a day in the morning or late afternoon with sunlight onto your bare forearms you will receive a boost of the vitamin.

 

 

Your fresh fruit and vegetables will be providing you with Vitamin C, and your eggs with Vitamin E. However, there is one supplement that I do take especially now I am into my 60s, and that is Vitamin B12. This can be difficult to obtain from food and I take sublingually, under the tongue daily for a few weeks at a time and I find that this helps prevent me from developing infections.

I hope this has been helpful and would be grateful if you could spread the message in any way that you can.

If you have any questions that might be useful for other readers please use the comments section but you can always email via sally(dot)cronin (at) moyhill.com if you wish to have a private word. Thanks Sally