Smorgasbord Health Column – Summer Eating – Chilled Soups, Salads and Dressings


We have had three weeks of glorious sunshine here and the thought of hot, stodgy food just does not appeal… We got in the habit, when living in Spain, to have light meals in the really hot months, of chilled soups and homemade wholegrain soda bread, with a little butter (why not).

Here are some of my summer recipes for soup, salads and dressings with a little twist or two….

In the winter months it is very easy to stock up on nutrients with all the wonderful root vegetables available and also combining ingredients to make hearty soups and stews. However, as we get into the summer months, our appetites tend to change; I know there is a major shift in my taste buds once we get into late May.  I want to move away from the stodgy comfort foods and eat  a fresher and crisper menu.

There is no need to give up nutritionally packed soups however, because there are some stunning chilled varieties that you can make and store in the fridge or even freezer.

With the longer evenings there is no way I want to be slaving over a hot stove for hours and I usually cook enough for two nights at least, and that way I am only preparing main meals two or three times a week.

Anyway, I thought you might like these recipes to store away for those hot days when you feel like eating light or crave the tangy taste of fresh summer produce.. They are very versatile and you can always add your favourite protein on top.

Tasty but healthy soups and salads.

During the summer it is lovely to start off a meal with a fresh tasting, chilled soup or a wonderful refreshing salad. They can accompany main meals from around the world and because they are raw these starters will be carrying a very healthy and nutritious punch.

Gazpacho and other chilled soups.

When we lived in Spain we were blessed with an abundance of fresh vegetables that are perfect for making these summer soups. The most common of course is Gazpacho.  I was a little concerned that when I came back to Ireland that there would not be the same range of vegetables, but I am delighted to say that apart from one or two ingredients, there is a wonderful range of home grown produce.

tomatoesRecipe for a very simple version of Gazpacho for 6 people

  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Juice of half a fresh lemon.
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed.
  • 1lb of fresh tomatoes skinned and chopped
  • 1 red pepper – deseeded and chopped.
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped.
  • ½ a cucumber roughly chopped
  • ¾ pint fresh tomato juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 4 tablespoons of cider vinegar (optional)

Garnish – you can make your own choices here of chopped black olives, cucumber, spring onions or onion, red or green pepper, tomatoes and chives.

Prepare

Put everything into a blender except the salt and pepper which you can add to taste when blended.

Chill and serve with the garnish and perhaps warm corn tortillas or Pitta bread.

Avocado and vegetable soup.

avocado

Ingredients for 6 people.

  • 150 grm or cooked and chopped asparagus
  • 100 grm of raw broccoli chopped
  • 100 grm of raw mushrooms chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 250 ml of cold water or as needed for consistency
  • Seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon of soy sauce (optional)
  • 1 large avocado chopped

Method

Blend the vegetables with water in the blender.

Add the avocado and soy sauce and blend until smooth.

Add seasoning to taste and serve straight away.

vegetablesSuperfood Salad

This salad is a wonderful accompaniment to fish, poultry or lean meat and will give your body a nutrient packed boost. The combined ingredients have been recognised as foods that actively work with your body to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, prevent heart disease, boost the immune system, help prevent cancer and are anti-ageing. This raw and unprocessed mix contains many wonderful nutrients but particularly Omega 3, Vitamins A,C,E and all the B’s. Minerals such as manganese, copper, calcium, iron, potassium and amino acids including tryptophan.

You can add any fresh vegetables that you like including grated carrot, finely chopped celery or red cabbage.

To serve four people.

  • Packet of fresh, whole leaf baby spinach
  • Large onion in finely chopped rings.
  • 12 walnut halves
  • Four firm, ripe tomatoes,
  • One head of broccoli
  • 50 grm Sesame Seeds
  • I ripe and firm avocado.
  • Olive oil.

Prepare

Wash and put the spinach leaves in a large salad bowl.

Cut the broccoli into small florets and add with the thinly sliced onion rings.

Throw in the walnuts.

Toss the mix thoroughly.

Decorate around the edge with tomato segments and just before serving add chopped avocado to the centre.

You can either sprinkle with sesame seeds or add the seeds to two tablespoons of Olive oil and drizzle over the salad as a dressing.

Serve with toasted wholegrain French bread.

salmonAvocado and orange salad with cold salmon.

Yoghurt and date dressing Ingredients

  • 250mil of natural yoghurt
  • 100 grm of finely chopped stoned dates.
  • ½ teaspoon of grated orange rind.
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice.

Combine all the ingredients together and chill in the refrigerator.

Avocado, Apple and Orange salad with cold salmon ingredients

  • 3 large ripe avocados, stoned and quartered.
  • 2 large oranges, peeled and separated into segments.
  • 2 Large green apples, washed and cut into segments.
  • Mixed lettuce leaves and ½ bag of young fresh spinach leaves.
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds
  • Large Salmon fillet cut into 6 equal portions, grilled or steamed.

Prepare

Arrange the lettuce and spinach leaves in the bottom of a large bowl.

Arrange alternate segments of the oranges and apples.

Arrange the avocado quarters in the centre of the bowl.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Serve the dressing in a separate serving bowl on the table.

Is lovely with fresh warm slices of Pitta bread or corn tortillas.

Papaya and prawn salad with tomato and herb dressing.

imagesServes 6 (alternative to papaya use avocado) Ingredients

Tomato and herb dressing

  • 2 large tomatoes skinned and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon of fresh basil, rosemary and cilantro.
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Pimiento

Prepare

Blend together and then chill in the refrigerator.

The Papaya Salad

  • Assorted lettuce leaves
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Thinly sliced cucumber
  • 500gm of peeled prawns
  • 3 ripe Papaya cut in cut in half, seeded.

Prepare

Arrange the leaves on individual plates and place the Papaya in the centre.

Place the tomatoes and cucumber around the plate.

Mix the prawns with the dressing and place in the centre of the papaya

Sprinkle with pimiento

Alternative Salad Dressings

bananasBanana and Yoghurt dressing.

  • 2 bananas mashed.
  • 500 ml of natural yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons of honey

eggsHomemade mayonnaise

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard
  • 240 ml of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or to taste.

Prepare

Put the egg yolks into a blender bowl with the cider vinegar and blend gently until well mixed then add the olive oil drop by drop with the blender moving.

Gradually increase to a thin stream of oil and as the mayonnaise thickens you can increase the volume of oil.

After the oil has been added continue to blend until the mixture has thickened.

Season to taste with the lemon juice,mustard, pepper and salt.

I hope that this has given you some ideas for summer… Please feel free to share.. thanks Sally.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998-2018

A little bit about me nutritionally.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook fromhttp://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Comprehensive guide to the body, and the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4: http://www.moyhill.com/html/just_food_for_health.html

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is sally.cronin@moyhill.com. I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally

Thanks for dropping in and please feel free to share.

You can find the Health Column posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-column-news-nutrients-health-conditions-anti-aging/

Smorgasbord Health Column – Nutrients in the News – Vitamin D and #Colorectal Cancer – Marriage and #Heart Disease – Baking Soda and #Autoimmune disease


Welcome to a round up of recent news stories on various nutrients and health that you might find of interest.

Higher vitamin D levels cut colorectal cancer risk by 31%, major international study finds

I have written a number of posts on Vitamin D and the increasing risk of deficiency. As more and more research is conducted, the vitamin is being linked to more and more of our potentially fatal diseases. A very interesting study.

Higher vitamin D levels significantly drive down colorectal cancer risk, a large new international study has found. The vitamin, found in fatty fish and sunshine, was found to strengthen resistance to stomach tumors by blocking a common gateway that cancer cells pass through – and it was most protective in women.

The report, led by the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, adds weight to a long-suspected theory which, until now, had not been proven.

It also suggested the ideal amount of vitamin D we should be aiming for may be higher than current guidelines suggest. This study is yet another reminder to prioritize loading up on vitamin D, since around three quarters of Americans and a fifth of Brits are deficient – but while the vitamin is hard to find in natural foods, experts warn to scrutinize supplements that may not have been tested rigorously.

Read the rest of the article: International study Vitamin D and colorectal cancer

Check out the posts on Vitamin D in the Health Column Directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-column-news-nutrients-health-conditions-anti-aging/

Marriage may protect against heart disease/stroke and associated risk of death
The single, divorced, and widowed at heightened risk, pooled data analysis suggests

Now something that is very interesting… despite all the jokes that are trotted out by comedians about the state of marriage, a recent pooled study would suggest that those in this blessed state…. might benefit by being less susceptible to heart disease….

Marriage may protect against the development of heart disease/stroke as well as influencing who is more likely to die of it, suggests a pooled analysis of the available data, published online in the journal Heart.

The findings prompt the researchers to suggest that marital status should be included as a risk factor for heart disease/stroke and likely survival in its own right.

Most (80%) cardiovascular disease can be attributed to well known risk factors: age; sex; high blood pressure; high cholesterol; smoking; and diabetes. But it’s not clear what influences the remaining 20 per cent.

The findings of previous research on the impact of marital status have been somewhat mixed, so in a bid to clarify the issues, the authors trawled research databases for relevant published studies.

They drew on 34 out of a total of 225, all of which had been published between 1963 and 2015, and involved more than 2 million people aged between 42 and 77 from Europe, Scandinavia, North America, the Middle East, and Asia.

Read the rest of the report: Marriage and Heart Disease

Drinking baking soda could be an inexpensive, safe way to combat autoimmune disease.

I already recommend baking soda as a gentle way to relieve the occasional bout of indigestion by calming acid in the stomach, and also to alkalise the bladder and urinary tract during an infection. Now it would seem that because it is alkaline, when it reaches the stomach before a meal, it triggers it to release more acid to digest the food more efficiently. This in turn signals cells in the spleen not to mount an attack on what they perceive as foreign bodies, triggering autoimmune conditions such as arthritis.

A daily dose of baking soda may help reduce the destructive inflammation of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, scientists say.

They have some of the first evidence of how the cheap, over-the-counter antacid can encourage our spleen to promote instead an anti-inflammatory environment that could be therapeutic in the face of inflammatory disease, Medical College of Georgia scientists report in the Journal of Immunology.

They have shown that when rats or healthy people drink a solution of baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, it becomes a trigger for the stomach to make more acid to digest the next meal and for little-studied mesothelial cells sitting on the spleen to tell the fist-sized organ that there’s no need to mount a protective immune response.

Read the full article: Baking Powder and Autoimmune Disease

You can read all the health column posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-column-news-nutrients-health-conditions-anti-aging/

© Just Food for Health  Sally Cronin 1998 – 2018

A little bit about me nutritionally.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook from:  http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Comprehensive guide to the body, and the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4: http://www.moyhill.com/html/just_food_for_health.html

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is sally.cronin@moyhill.com. I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health Column – Organs of the body – The Kidneys – Function – Disease – Kidney Stones by Sally Cronin


Organs of the body – The Kidneys – Function – Disease – Kidney Stones

The kidneys are major organs that can have a dramatic effect on our overall health. As they are linked closely, I am also going to take a closer look at urinary tract health for both men and women in upcoming posts.

What is kidney disease?

Kidney disease is a major health problem for both men and women. Kidney and urinary tract diseases together affect hundreds of thousands of people a year. Some may be affected by minor infections while others may suffer kidney failure.

Not only are your kidneys affected if they are infected or damaged. Kidney disease can cause a host of other systemic problems such as high blood pressure, anaemia and unhealthy cholesterol levels. One of the most common problems is kidney stones, which are incredibly painful and usually result in a hospital stay.

Today the prospect is far brighter than it would have been, say, 40 years ago. We now have dialysis and kidney transplants for patients whose disease has progressed too far for dietary or medicinal support. However there is a waiting list, despite the fact that this is one of the rare organs that can come from a live donor. Although there are some congenital or hereditary kidney problems that are beyond our control, many can be prevented by following a healthy diet – and it is never too late to change.

Why are our kidneys so important?

The kidneys are the ‘Ringmasters’ of the body. They keep a varied number of crucial elements in balance. When the kidneys do not function, several other major organs will be compromised.

The kidneys operate like a chemical filter which blood passes through in order to remove waste products and any excess amounts of minerals, sugars and other chemicals. About a quarter of the blood pumped by the heart passes through the kidneys so it is important to note that they play a part in controlling blood pressure.

The balance of minerals and water in the blood is carefully managed and either discarded or saved to maintain blood pressure in the correct range. For example; the balance of salt, potassium and acid is a critical function of the organs.

In addition to this vital role, kidneys also perform other crucial functions. They produce a hormone (erythropoietin) or EPO that stimulates the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells are absolutely crucial to our survival and anything that compromises their healthy production is dangerous. Other hormones that the kidneys produce help regulate our blood pressure and the metabolism of calcium (I will cover this in the piece on kidney stones). They also make hormones that control the growth of tissue within the body.

When kidneys are damaged and unable to get rid of the waste, this builds up resulting in swelling and a condition called Uraemia (an overdose of toxins) can develop, which if undiagnosed and untreated can lead to kidney failure. The difficulty is that other kidney functions, like regulating urine flow, can be unaffected – which means diagnosis is not easy.

Where are the kidneys in our body and how do they work?

Kidney - macroscopic blood vesselsEach kidney is bean-shaped and about the size of an adult’s fist. The kidneys are located below the ribs and toward the back.

They contain nearly 40 miles of tubes, most of them tiny; processing some 100 gallons of blood each day. The kidneys filter and clean the blood, and they produce urine from excess water and dissolved solids.

The ureters carry waste, as urine, from the kidneys to the bladder. The bladder, located in the lower abdomen, is a balloon-like organ that stores urine. A bladder can hold over a pint of urine. During urination, the urethra carries urine from the bottom of the bladder out of the body.

An important thing to remember about the bladder is that it is very elastic. It is not a good idea to go all day without emptying it as it will stretch and sag around the entrance to the urethra. This causes urine to collect and is a breeding ground for bacteria and also an ideal environment for stones to collect. If the problem is not rectified it may result in having to use catheters to empty the bladder, which is both inconvenient and can lead to further infections.

Are there different types of kidney disease?

Kidney diseases, which usually involves both kidneys, fall into three main categories. Hereditary, congenital or acquired.

  • Inherited kidney disorders usually begin producing symptoms during the teen to adult years, and are often serious.
  • Congenital kidney diseases typically involve a malformation of the genitourinary tract that can lead to blockages, which, in turn, can cause infection and/or destruction of kidney tissue. Tissue destruction may then lead to chronic kidney failure.
  • Acquired kidney disorders have numerous causes, including blockages, drugs, and toxins. However, diabetes and high blood pressure are by far the most common culprits.

As I am covering urinary tract and cystitis in a separate article we will concentrate on kidney stones, as they are one of the more common problems we might encounter, particularly as we get older.

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are varied in shape and size and form when certain chemicals in the urine crystallise and stick together. Some can grow to the size of a golf ball and others remain absolutely minute and pass through the urinary tract quite easily.

If the stones get too large to pass through, they block the opening to the urinary tract or else they try to pass through and cause intense irritation in the lining of the tract.

Some people never even know that they have kidney stones when the stones are very small, but usually there are some very obvious symptoms.

Who is likely to get kidney stones?

Anyone can get kidney stones, but some people are more likely to develop them than others. Typically, a person with a kidney stone is a man 20 to 60 years old. Although 4 out of 5 sufferers are men, women can also develop the condition.

Often, there is a family history of the condition. Chronic dehydration (lack of body water) can lead to kidney stones. Very hot weather, heavy sweating, or too little fluid intake contributes to the formation of stones. For example, people who work outdoors in hot weather and who do not drink sufficient fluids are in a higher risk category.

There is evidence to suggest that a diet very high in animal proteins and fat can contribute to the formation of stones and kidney problems in general, which is why the Atkins diet or other diets that promote high protein intake is not healthy, in my opinion, for long periods of time if done at all.

People who lead particularly sedentary lifestyles may be more prone to getting stones than someone more active.

Are there different types of kidney stones?

Calcium Oxylate dihydrate Kidney Stone -2There are two main types of stone, Oxalate and Uric Acid. Calcium oxalate and phosphate stones are made up of a hard crystal compound. These stones have become more common in recent years with about 70% to 80% of all kidney stones currently made up of calcium oxalate and phosphate. The problem is too much calcium in the urine. This can be caused by diet, a metabolic disorder that causes build up, or taking certain drugs such as diuretics, antacids and steroids.

There is also a substance called purine that is in meat, fish and poultry – I have covered purine before in reference to arthritis. But it really should only be a concern if you are eating very large amounts of food containing it.

Uric Acid stones are rarer and are caused when the body breaks down certain foods – especially in a diet very high in animal protein – and produces too much uric acid. Gout sufferers – again covered in relation to arthritis – are more prone to getting this type of stone. These are a common problem with animals; particular dogs that have a high protein diet and are prone to kidney disease and stones.

What would someone notice if they have this problem?

Kidney stones - locationWith the larger stones that are trying to force themselves through very narrow openings there is severe pain with nausea, and vomiting; burning and a frequent urge to urinate; fever, chills, and weakness; cloudy or very strong smelling urine; blood in the urine; and a blocked flow of urine. Serious infections can result from a blockage.

It is very important that if you start to suffer any of these problems even in a minor way such as a pain across your lower back then you must go and see your doctor immediately.

Take a look at the samples of kidney stones of various types, (shown left) and you can see why they are painful to pass.

What sort of treatment will a doctor or hospital provide?

That will vary according to the severity of the problem but usually a patient will have an ultrasound to identify where the stones are and how large they are. Luckily, most are small enough to pass through the urinary tract on their own and so lots of water is drunk to flush out the system. Sometimes medication will be prescribed, especially if there is an infection, which is not uncommon. Obviously pain killers too. They commonly use shock waves (sound waves) to break up the larger stones these days. All of this in non-invasive, which is great -as surgery can be avoided.

The most important thing you can do to prevent stones forming again is to change your lifestyle and of course take a very long, hard, look at your diet.

Coming up in the next posts on the Kidneys – Urinary tract infections – one on Cystitis and then a healthy eating approach to avoiding kidney stones and these very painful conditions.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998-2018

A little bit about me nutritionally.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook fromhttp://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Comprehensive guide to the body, and the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4: http://www.moyhill.com/html/just_food_for_health.html

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is sally.cronin@moyhill.com. I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally

Thanks for dropping in and please feel free to share.

You can find the Health Column posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-column-news-nutrients-health-conditions-anti-aging/

Smorgasbord Health Column – Candida Albicans – Part One -The opportunistic pathogen


It is not possible to do a series on the digestive system without spending time covering our intestines and the delicate balance of bacteria that populate it. More and more research is showing that an imbalance has a profound effect on our overall physical and mental health. There are many diseases that have their root cause in the gut brain of our body.

You can find last week’s five posts on the Digestive System in the Health Column Directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-column-news-nutrients-health-conditions-anti-aging/

It is not my intention to lay the blame for all diseases at the feet of Candida Albicans, but it is, I believe, important to understand how an overgrowth of this pathogen can result in a lifetime of health issues. I will share how this impacted me later in the post.

Over the week I will be repeating the Candida series, and I hope that those who have already read two years ago will still find something of interest.

Recently I was asked about the difference between Probiotics and Prebiotics and will explain that now before we get into the issue of this rogue gut inhabitant.

Probiotics are the bacteria and yeasts that are classified as ‘friendly’. They inhabit our digestive tract and are a vital part of the process of digesting food and turning it into something that the rest of the body into a form it can utilise. Without a healthy balance of these probiotics, systems such as the immune function, can be compromised, as well as the health of other operating systems and the major organs.  If you eat live dairy products, including Kefir, or fermented foods such as sauerkraut, it will encourage the essential bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria to flourish.

Prebiotics are processed from insoluble carbohydrates in most fruit and vegetables including Apples (skin on) bananas, beans, artichokes etc (which is why we need to eat several portions of vegetables and fruit daily) This survives the stomach acid and digestive process that some foods such as yogurts might not do, and reaches the gut where it acts like a fertiliser for the existing probiotics and maintains a healthy balance.

As far as Candida Albicans is concerned this balance in the intestinal flora is crucial and I will explain that as we mover through the upcoming posts.

I was 42, 330lbs/150kilo and with severe health problems in 1994

My acquaintance with Candida Albicans was back in the mid 90’s. I was determined to lose my additional 10 or 11 stone and so began studying nutrition and in the process I decided to create a timeline to identify events and activities in my life from childhood that might have triggered weight gain.

At age 10 I suffered a number of bouts of tonsillitis, and was given penicillin at least five times before the tonsils were removed. Before these infections I was a normal size child – three months after the operation I was three stone overweight. Something had changed.

It took me a while, once I began to study nutrition, to join the dots, and I came to the conclusion that this first trigger, and subsequent thrush and cystitis infections, crash dieting, sugar and bread cravings, were linked in some way. Candida Albicans began to get more publicity, and I compared my symptoms with those described and I experienced at least 80% of them.

My first book that I originally wrote as a journal,was published in 2001. Size Matters  was the story of my journey of my weight loss from 330lbs to 180lbs, and how this most common human fungal pathogen was largely responsible for my weight and health problems.

Before I cover the scary bit – because it is overwhelming to think that there is this predatory pathogen inside the majority of us (mainly living the western world and our high sugar diet!) There are steps we can all take to ensure that our diet and lifestyle support our immune system by keeping the intestines in balance with plenty of beneficial bacteria to maintain Candida in its proper proportions.

We are all familiar with the concerns about the rain forests and their devastation and long lasting consequences for our planet. Well our gut is an eco-system too – teeming with life that is as varied and as exotic as in any rain forest. And, like the many species that are at risk in the wider world, our bacteria that populate our gut and keep us alive, are under threat too.

70% of humans contain Candida Albicans in small amounts in our gut and urinary tract. In those amounts it is harmless – however – advances in medical treatment, and our modern diet, have given this opportunistic pathogen all it needs to develop from harmless colonies to massive overgrowths. It is also referred to as Monilia, Thrush, Candidiasis and Yeast Infection.

The most at risk are those with an already compromised immune system, but because of our high sugar, white carbohydrate and processed foods in our diets, most of us are now at risk.

We have also been treated with broad spectrum antibiotics for the last 65 years, as well as newer drugs that we take long term, that manipulate our hormonal balances. We as yet do not know the long term impact on our bodies of the modern drugs we take, and it may be generations before we do. Which is why there is now great concern that the pathogens are becoming more and more resistant to drugs such as antibiotics.

The eco-system which is our gut.

Our intestinal tract, like our hearts, brains, livers, kidneys etc is a major organ. Some refer to it as the ‘gut brain’ – How many times do you mention your gut feelings? Without it there would be no way to process the raw ingredients we eat to keep our immune system healthy enough to protect us from pathogens. The good bacteria or flora in the gut, two of which are, Bifidobacteria bifidum and Lactobaccillus acidophilus normally keep the Candida in balance.

In most cases antibiotics are broad spectrum, not specific, because, without a lab test it is difficult to tell the specific strain of bacteria responsible for an infection. The use of broad spectrum drugs usually guarantees that the bacteria in question will be killed off.

  • Unfortunately, not only the bad bacteria are killed off but also the good bacteria in your gut.
  • Candida remains unaffected because it is not bacteria it is a yeast and this is where it takes full advantage.

What happens to Candida to allow it to take over?

If Candida yeast is allowed to grow unchecked, it changes from its normal yeast fungal form to a mycelial fungal form that produces rhizoids. These long, root-like components are capable of piercing the walls of the digestive tract and breaking down the protective barriers between the intestines and the blood. This breakthrough allows many allergens to enter the blood stream causing allergic reactions. Mucus is also formed around major organs and in the lining of the stomach. This prevents your digestive system from functioning efficiently. The result is poorly digested food and wasted nutrients. Your body begins to suffer a deficiency of these nutrients and it leads to chronic fatigue, an impaired immune system and disease.

There would appear to be a strong link between this overgrowth of Candida Albicans to a huge list of symptoms and illness. Here is a snapshot.

  • People who are suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME usually test positive for Candida although there are also other issues involved in this complex condition.
  • Numbness, burning or tingling in fingers or hands.
  • Insomnia,
  • Abdominal pain,
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhoea,
  • Bloating,
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • Thrush and Cystitis,
  • Sexual dysfunction and loss of sexual drive.
  • Endometriosis or infertility
  • PMS and heavy and painful periods.
  • Depression and panic attacks
  • Irritablity when hungry.
  • Unexplained muscle or joint pains often diagnosed with arthritis.
  • Headaches and mood swings.
  • Chronic rashes or hives
  • Food intolerance.
  • Liver function due to build up of toxins leading to  chronic fatigue, discomfort and depression.

The list is virtually endless – which just adds to the confusion at the time of diagnosis.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then you may have a varying degree of overgrowth.

In the upcoming posts this week I will be featuring some of the health problems associated with an overgrowth of Candida Albicans and the strategies to reduce levels to normal, and rebalance the flora in your gut.

©Sally Cronin Just Food For Health – 1998 – 2018

A little bit about me nutritionally.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook fromhttp://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

 

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is sally.cronin@moyhill.com. I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health Column – Nutrients we need – Vitamin D – Bones, Immune System, Arthritis and Hormones


I was a sunshine baby – I spent a good part of the first twelve years of my life in Ceylon as it was called before, Malta and South Africa travelling with our father who was in the Royal Navy. I was brown most of time and in those days you might have got a bit of baby lotion on your skin after sun and we did wear hats, but there were no over the counter sun blocks as such.

At various other times in my life, I have lived in sunnier climates including in Spain and I can definitely notice the difference in my health, energy levels and mental well being when I have shorter winters and more sunshine in my life. This includes much improved joint pain, general aches and pains and immune system.

When I lived in Ireland for five years back in the late 1990s, I noticed a difference in my general well-being during the winter months in particular and I began to supplement with vitamin D3 which helped. Something I did not have to do when living in the sun rich climate of Spain.  That certainly proved to me the importance of the vitamin and I do make sure that apart from including the foods that do contain a small amount of the nutrient I get outside as much as possible.

Now I am back in Ireland again, I am back on D3 but this time as a spray in conjunction with Vitamin K2, another element of healthy bones.

In my blogs on cholesterol – I mentioned that Vitamin D thinks its a hormone – and our bodies have a different process to obtain and utilise it that is partly digestive but primarily through our exposure to the sun.

Vitamin D is necessary for our bone health (aches and pains), immune system (frequent infections), arthritis (joint pain) hormonal fluctuations (SAD is more prevalent in women).

Most people think if they are taking in Calcium that they will be keeping their bones healthy but in fact Vitamin D is vital in this process.

To illustrate how important Vitamin D is to our skeleton here is a brief overview of how it works.

Our bones are living tissue that grows and regenerates throughout our lifetime. It is not static and old bone is removed and replaced with new bone continuously, a process that requires the essential elements of bone to be available from our diet and from chemical reactions in the body. There are four main components that are needed on a daily basis.
Minerals – calcium, magnesium and phosphorus – Matrix – collagen fibres (gristle) – Osteoclasts – bone removing cells and Osteoblasts– bone producing cells.

If you have ever made paper mache sculptures at school you will used a chicken wire framework first of all to establish the shape that you wanted and then overlaid your strips of wet paper and allowed them to harden. The bone making process is very similar.

A network of collagen fibres forms the base and it is then overlaid with the minerals. The strength of the finished bone is dependent on the amount of mineralisation that takes place. Osteoclasts will remove old bone when needed and this results in a need to produce new collagen matrix to attract new minerals for the repair process.

Vitamin D’s role is essential, to ensure that sufficient calcium and phosphorus is attracted to the new matrix and that the new bone is strong. If you are deficient in this vitamin more bone is discarded than replaced leading to soft and malformed bones.

There is a worrying increase in the numbers of children being diagnosed with this condition which is called rickets which is why recently the health service has suggested giving all children of 5 and upwards Vitamin D supplementation.

That is because most of our children are no longer exposed to sunlight which is the most efficient way for our bodies to produce the essential Vitamin D it needs. Consider these accumulative factors – less PE at school – increased traffic so no more playing in the streets, more apartment living without gardens, fear of child abuse and abductions so children are kept inside, more television, video games and computer time, both parents working so the children are kept after school or inside and finally when out in the rare holiday sun, children are covered in factor 40. Anything over factor 8 and our skin cannot absorb enough sunshine to produce vitamin D.

The last thing I am suggesting is that you go and lie in the midday sun for three hours and burn to a crisp but during the summer months getting 45 minutes of sunshine on your arms and chest and face with a light factor, either early to mid morning or late afternoon should be sufficient for most people.

There are also dietary sources of Vitamin D – We need at least 10ug per day and we can get this if we eat eggs and oily fish regularly during the week as part of a balanced diet. You can also take cod liver oil capsules and as I mentioned at the beginning of the post; Vitamin D is one of the few supplements that I will take through the winter months.

For the other components involved in bone health; make sure you are obtaining calcium from dairy products, oily fish such as sardines and salmon, including canned salmon, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and if vegetarian, tofu.

salmonMagnesium is found in dairy products, fish, meat, seafood, apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, whole grain cereals and dark green vegetables.

wholegrainsPhosphorus can be found in the proteins in your diet such as poultry and whole grains.

vegetablesWe as adults have a responsibility to ensure the health of our children and however difficult that may be in this modern day and age giving them a safe environment to play and exercise in the sunshine has to be a priority for us all. Combined with a healthy, natural and unprocessed diet with far less sugars and these children will not run the risk of having bowed legs due to rickets.

More on Vitamin D in future posts.

©Sally Croninn Just Food for Health 1998-2018

A little bit about me nutritionally.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook fromhttp://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Comprehensive guide to the body, and the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4: http://www.moyhill.com/html/just_food_for_health.html

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is sally.cronin@moyhill.com. I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally

Thanks for dropping in and please feel free to share.

You will find all the posts on nutrients and health issues in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-column-news-nutrients-health-conditions-anti-aging/

Smorgasbord Health Column – Ancient Healing Therapies – Reflexology


It is a couple of years since I posted a series on some of the Ancient healing therapies that are still being practiced today. I am reluctant to call them Alternative therapies as that is an expression that was coined by the medical profession back in the dark ages…up to the present day…. to describe healing that has been used for thousands of years but is beyond their comprehension. This is not to say that all treatments today that are offered on the back of ancient healing are effective.

I had a number of therapy consultants working alongside me in my diet advisory service in Ireland and they were all highly qualified and professional. However, most therapeutic practices are well regulated and I do advise that you not only check out the background to any practitioner you are going to see, but also check out any personal testimonials. I find word of mouth to be the most reliable.

To become an effective healer in any of the ancient practices you need to undergo stringent training and to have a broad knowledge of the human body. You also have to understand that even physical therapies, that require a hands on application, can have a profound effect on mental and emotional health. For example reflexology in the right hands, can result in a release of emotions, as well as alleviating pain and soreness in a particular region of the body.

The other aspect that it is interesting to note, is that some of the ancient therapies, such as acupuncture and reiki, are used on pets, and they can prove to be very effective. Since animals to not experience the placebo effect, it does go a long way to prove in my mind that the treatments are genuinely beneficial to humans and animals alike.

This is particularly interesting to consider when healing therapies such as reflexology are labeled pseudo-scientific and claim that there is no evidence that they work or benefit anyone health issues.

I am the first to tell anyone that they need to be diagnosed and treated for any serious condition by a qualified medical professional.

But I have worked with patients undergoing treatment for many different health issues, with diet and also stress related therapies that do not compromise the regimen that has been prescribed by their doctor. If you do decide to consult someone who will be using a hands on approach to the therapy then you should consult your doctor first. There are studies on the effect of reflexology for cancer patients and here is one from 2012. Reflexology and cancer recovery

What is reflexology?

Reflexology is a form of complementary medicine that was first practised over 5,000 years in China where it was used to correct energy fields in patients. There is evidence, in the form of wall art, that the Egyptians and Indians also used this form of healing in the same time period. The Incas are believed to have passed down their skill of reflexology to the North American Red Indians who used it extensively for healing and relaxation.

It really only came to prominence in the Western world in the last century when various physicians discovered that reflexology points when stimulated acted as a form of anaesthetic. A doctor in the U.S called Dr. William Fitzgerald developed these first points into vertical zones and connected them to specific organs and parts of the body. He wrote a book on Zone Therapy in the early 1900’s and was the forerunner of modern day reflexology therapy.

Later doctors added additional horizontal zones to the upper and underside of the feet and then to the hands. Other parts of the body such as the face and ears were explored as the connection between massaging certain points on the body and acupuncture became more apparent.

In the 1920’s a therapist called Eunice Ingham completed the chart of the feet and developed the method that today we call reflexology.

How does reflexology work?

As in acupuncture that I will cover next week,there are a number of places on the body where pressure can be applied to benefit individual organs, systems and the structure of the body. This includes the hands and the ears but today I am going to focus on the feet which are the most common area of the body to be massaged.

Image: Alternative Therapy directory UK

In the feet there are reflex areas that correspond to all parts of the body and these areas are arranged in the form of a map on each foot. The right foot mainly corresponds to the right side of the body and the left foot to the left side with shared zones for central areas of the body. This enables therapists to be very specific about areas and conditions that require treatment. The important thing to remember with all natural therapies is that they work from the inside of the body to the outside of the body whereas conventional treatment tends to work from the outside in. In most cases this leads to the symptoms being treated and not the cause. Reflexology can treat the whole body internally and externally just by manipulating these specific pressure points.

If you imagine the image of the foot from above with the toes facing away from you can get a clearer picture of the reflexology map.

There are horizontal zones running across the centre line of the toes and these pressure points relate to the face, sinus, teeth, gums and jaw on the left foot and the neck and brain stem on the right foot. Above the zone in the nail bed of the big toe is the zone for the head and brain and under the zone at the base of the toe is the zone for the neck.

Another horizontal band runs across the foot just slightly below the toes and this relates to the tops of the shoulders. Half way up the foot is a zone that can be massaged to relieve upper back problems and the zone around the base of the ankle controls the lymph glands, fallopian tubes and the groin area.

Along each side of the foot are smaller zones with specific roles in therapy. Along the outside edge of the left foot are the zones for the arm, lungs, chest and breast areas, elbow, waistline, knee and leg and lower back. Along the inside edge of the left and right feet are zones for the spine and the bladder.

On the bottom of the feet.

On the bottom of both feet you will find specific zones of varying sizes that are massaged to provide therapy for other parts and organs. On the underside of the left foot are the zones for shoulder, lungs, upper chest and back, diaphragm, gall bladder, ascending colon. Just under the last two toes is the zone for the inner ear. The big toe has a zone for the head and brain as well as one for the pituitary gland.

The underside of the right foot contains zones for the thyroid gland, eye, sinus, neck, ear, arm, stomach, spleen, transverse and descending colon and the small intestine.

Both feet share zones on the inside edge and centre which relate to the heart, solar plexus, liver, adrenal gland, pancreas, kidneys, spine, bladder, sciatic nerve and the lower back.

As in acupuncture the gentle manipulation of certain pressure points on the feet releases blocked channels in the body allowing healing to take place.

What happens during a reflexology treatment?

Your therapist should take a full medical history before beginning to treat you. You will then sit in a comfortable position with bare feet.

All the zones on the feet will be massaged usually using the side and end of the thumb to apply firm pressure. If there is a particular part of the body that is affected by pain or discomfort this will often be reflected in the specific zone for that area on the foot. A feeling of tenderness will be experienced that can ease with continued massage. The process should not be in any way uncomfortable and in fact many people find it very relaxing.

What health conditions might reflexology help?

As with any alternative therapy, despite often having thousands of years of history, you have to be very careful about claiming that it works as a cure. Many patients find relief from stress, depression, fatigue, spinal problems, indigestion, Irritable bowel syndrome, hormone imbalance and sinusitis. It is also used for specific muscle and joint pain in conjunction with other complementary therapies.

Are there any side effects resulting from a reflexology treatment?

It depends on the extent of the original problem but there may be slight detox side effects such as mild headaches, diarrhoea, and possible congestion as the body tries to rid itself of toxins that have been released. It is a good idea to combine reflexology with a detox programme along the lines of last month’s plan combined with additional fluids. You might also experience some emotional side-effects and certainly if you have been under stress you might find yourself feeling either a little weepy. You should certainly feel relaxed.

Reflexology and pets.

Sam enjoyed both reflexology and reiki healing which I will cover in another post. He would actively ask for a massage, not just on his tummy as many dogs do but he would come and sit with his back to me until he was touching my knees… I would then massage the edges of his ears (like in humans probably relating to certain parts of his body ) and then his neck gently and then down across the tops of his front legs and then down his spine…

He would occasionally lift his paw and I would massage the pads of his foot and lightly inbetween the toes..He would sit perfectly still for 10 minutes or so before getting up, stretching and moving off to go to sleep.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998- 2018

Next time a look at Acupuncture which is a healing therapy that I have found to be very beneficial several times in my life.

A little bit about me nutritionally.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook from http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Comprehensive guide to the body, and the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4: http://www.moyhill.com/html/just_food_for_health.html

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is sally.cronin@moyhill.com. I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally

Thanks for dropping in and please feel free to share.