Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiencies with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Magnesium – Coleslaw, Pumpkin Seeds, Tom Yum Soup, Morning Glory


Welcome to the rewind of this series from 2019 where we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

In this series we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

Thankfully most of us eat reasonably well, with plenty of variety, but if you take a look at a week’s worth of meals, do you find that you are sticking to a handful of foods, all the time.

Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.

Over the next few months we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

Magnesium – Calcium’s BFF and a deficiency alert

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

Deficiency alert

It is believed that the availability of magnesium in drinking water and in our soil is now greatly decreased.

Not only is the soil depleted but the plants that we eat are also becoming more and more magnesium deficient for two reasons. There is less magnesium in the soil that nourishes them, and the use of potassium and phosphorus-laden fertilisers, alter the ability of the plant to absorb the mineral.

When we cook food we lose magnesium and if we restrict our calories during a diet and remove specific food groups such as whole grains; it can create an imbalance.

pH balance – Acidity and Alkalinity

It is important that our bodies have a pH level that maintains the correct balance being too much acid or too alkaline. Major organs and our blood have their own healthy pH level and this also applies to our intestines. Our modern diet of high sugars and processed foods compromises the pH balance in our gut creating a high acidity environment, leading to malabsorption of not just magnesium, but of all the nutrients the body needs to maintain health.

It is staggering how many diseases are linked to a deficiency of this mineral including:

• Alzheimer’s disease
• Angina
• Asthma
• Autism
• Auto immune disorders
• Congestive heart failure
• Depression
• Diabetes
• Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Insomnia
• Kidney stones
• Headaches
• Multiple sclerosis
• Muscle weakness
• Parkinson’s disease
• Osteoporosis.

How Magnesium works with Calcium (the most abundant mineral in the body) and Vitamins D and K – Nutrients that need to work together.

  • Magnesium works with calcium in a number of ways but fundamentally the absorption of calcium is severely compromised if there is not sufficient magnesium.
  • Calcium is stored in the body including in our bones and teeth. Magnesium however is not stored and we therefore need to include in our diet daily.
  • Humans now consume more dairy than they have in the past and although magnesium is present in dairy in small amounts the amount of calcium is ten times more. If there is not sufficient magnesium, calcium is not absorbed into the bones as it should be and instead it collects in soft tissue, including around our joints leading to inflammation and arthritis.
  • Because it is not being absorbed into the bones, that leads to loss of bone density over time leading to osteoporosis.
  • Muscle contraction is made possible by calcium but muscles also need to relax and that requires magnesium.

Magnesium has a critical role in the health of our major organs and systems including:

  • Brain health- Magnesium lowers the risk of heavy metal poisoning and deposits in the brain leading to dementia. This is turn will corrupt nerve transmission and the secretion of hormones such as insulin.
  • Reproductive health. As magnesium is essential for the transmission of oestrogen a deficiency in young women’s diets can result in irregular periods and other PMS symptoms. This is particularly relevant to cramps due to a calcium (contract muscle) magnesium (relax muscle) imbalance.
  • Apart from our bones magnesium is needed in the formation of protein and fatty acids, new cells throughout the body, activating the B vitamins, clotting blood and helping form the ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) fuel that we run on.The good news is that by consuming magnesium in high quality fresh products (not necessarily organic but not the cheapest) daily is usually effective provided you are not over consuming calcium rich foods every day in excess.

The best food sources for magnesium are to be found in dark green vegetables such as spinach also in fish, meat, seafood, apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, whole grain cereals such as brown rice, beans and nuts.

Welcome to this week’s food column where I am looking at incorporating magnesium in the diet.

As Sally has stated as the quality of much of our soil is depleted it means plants are becoming more and more deficient in Magnesium…

Magnesium is also lost during cooking processes…There is much debate about cooking processes and although I eat a fair amount of raw vegetables and herbs purely for the taste some foods need cooking and in some cases heating can enhance some vitamins…

I eat a varied diet and don’t exclude any food group and believe that is the best way to get the nutrients my body needs.

Personally I don’t use a microwave and although I steam some vegetables it does leave them bland tasting and that’s when we pile on the butter or dressing…

I tend to favour stir frying most of my vegetables as I can add chilli, garlic, herbs and other aromatics.

Today…I am giving you a lovely slaw recipe which is loaded with lots of vitamins as well as its share of Magnesium…

Appetizer, Background, Bowl, Cabbage, Carrot, Chopped

Ingredients – Coleslaw

• 12oz broccoli, cabbage, salad mix, shredded carrots are a nice addition..one of my favourites as it always brings back memories of the very odd occasion when I was allowed as a child to have a school lunch and the grated carrots were a big favourite of mine…But really just use your favourite veggies…Shredded finely…Sometimes I even add an apple.
• 1/2 cup cooked bacon, crumbled (vegans can omit or use coconut bacon)See below.
• 1/2 cup blueberries
• 1/4 cup dried cranberries or craisins
• 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (roasted)
• 2 tbsp. balsamic or red wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup plain kefir yogurt (can use plain yogurt too)
• 1 tsp smoked paprika or chilli flakes
• 1/4 cup chopped nuts .again pick your favourite…I love walnuts and almonds.
• 1/2 tsp mustard powder (optional)
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil

Preparation

  • Place your vegetables in mixing bowl.
  • Add in your kefir/ yogurt and vinegar. Mix well.
  • Then add seasonings. Mix again.
  • Finally, add the remaining ingredients, berries, seeds, bacon, onion, etc. Mix and chill in fridge until ready to serve.
  • This is also great to mix into wraps, as a topping for your jacket potato or as a side dish
  • Makes 3-4 servings.

N.B…Coconut Bacon…

Did you know?

1 ounce of pumpkin seeds will give you 37% of your daily value of magnesium. However if you have heard that dark chocolate will provided 100% of your daily magnesium…Yes it does contain magnesium …There is always a but isn’t there? You would need to eat at least 2/3 of a big bar…Not your best source of Magnesium if you are watching the weight.

A take on Tom Yum Soup… This is one of my favourite Thai soups and so easy to make from scratch. Adding a portion of salmon and you are on your way to topping up your magnesium.

Ingredients

• 2 litres of water
• 4 stalks of lemon grass
• 1-inch chunk of galangal
• 10 kaffir lime leaves
• 10 Thai chillies
• 5 cloves of garlic
• 85 gm salmon per person
• 100 gm noodles of your choice per person
• 300 grams of oyster mushrooms
• 2 medium tomatoes cut into quarters.
• 5-6 shallots halved if really small if a little bigger quartered
• 1 and a half tsp of sugar
• 7 – 10 tbsp of fish sauce (depending on your taste)
• Juice of 5 -8 limes.
• A handful of cilantro ( Coriander)
• Half hardboiled egg per person…optional

N.B I recommend using the lowest amount of limes and fish sauce and Taste! Adjust if necessary as everyone’s taste varies.

Let’s Cook!

  • The first thing to do is put about 2 litres of water in a large pot to boil.
  • Then I like to start by squeezing my limes. This is not the first step of the recipe, but it’s best to have your limes squeezed so when you need them later, you don’t need to rush to squeeze them all.
  • Take your stalks of lemongrass, and first tear off the outermost leaf and throw it out. Then, I like to use a rolling-pin or the handle end of a knife to lightly pound the lemongrass to release the flavours. Then just slice it diagonally into 1-inch strips or so.
  • Take about 1 thumb-sized chunk of the root part of galangal, and chop it into slices.
  • Coarsely break about 10 kaffir lime leaves – no need to cut them, just tear them – which is going to help release their flavour.
  • Peel about 5 cloves of garlic.
  • I used about 10 Thai birds eye chillies for this recipe, but you can use however many you’d like. First, take off the stem, and then you can either just slice them in two pieces, or give them a little pound on your cutting board like I did (just be careful of flying seeds). You can also remove the seeds if you still like the chilli flavour but not as much heat.

  • Throw the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and chillies into the water.
    You can put the lid on just so it starts to boil which releases the herb flavours quicker.
  • Boil your soup with all the herbs in it for about 10 minutes.
  • Then add your mushrooms, which you should pre-rinse beforehand.
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes. .Add the tomatoes and onions.
  • Cook for further 6-8 minutes.
  • Now add your noodles and after 2 mins add your salmon and cook for a further 5 mins until salmon is just poached…
  • Remove from heat and gently stir in fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and cilantro.
  • Taste and adjust if necessary.

This delicious soup is now ready to serve. Garnish with half a boiled egg and some coriander…

Enjoy!

Another source of Magnesium are dark greens simply just stirfried…If you want you could add a few almonds…

Stir-fried Morning Glory or Pad Pak Boon Fai Daeng is also known as water spinach…It is a very popular vegetable dish in Thailand and one I have for breakfast/brunch quite often with rice.

This is a very quick dish to cook once you have all your ingredients prepared..5 mins at the most.

Ingredients:

• 1 bunch of Morning Glory
• 4-6 cloves of garlic
• 3 or more Thai Chillies
• 2 tbsp of Oyster Sauce
• 1 tbsp of Thai Fish Sauce
• 1 tbsp of fermented soybean paste or oil with soya beans ( optional)
• 1 tsp sugar
• 1/2 to 1 tbsp of oil
• 1/4 cup fresh veg or pork stock

Let’s Cook!

  • Wash and cut your morning-glory into 4-6 inch pieces.
  • Bash the chillies and garlic in a pestle and mortar
  • Heat the oil in a pan until very hot.
  • Add the garlic and chillies and stir-fry (stirring) for 15-20 seconds be careful not to let the garlic burn.

  • Add morning-glory and all other ingredients except for the vegetable stock.
  • Stir-fry for 40 seconds and add vegetable stock and stir-fry for another 10 seconds.
  • Serve with steamed rice or as a side dish.

Enjoy!

This is a lovely vegetable dish and you could use any dark greens and cook the same way I sometimes shred kale and the stems or broccoli and again I take of the outside and used the stem either cut in slices or julienne depends on what I am cooking but any dark greens are lovely cooked this way it is quick way to cook and retain as many of the vitamins as possible.

Until next time…xx Thank you for reading xx

My thanks to Carol for these recipes that will bring magnesium into your diet deliciously… and that coconut bacon looks interesting..

Next time.. we turn our attention to another of the essential minerals in our diet.. I hope you will join us.

About your hosts…

About Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain.

Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

About Carol Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy Rewind – Aubergines -Don’t forget to eat your purples! by Sally Cronin


There are certain foods that bring more than taste to your diet, rich in nutrients and energy they are worth including in your weekly shopping.

Food therapy is a broad term for the benefits to the body of a healthy, varied and nutritional diet of fresh foods.

Most of us walk through the fresh produce departments of our supermarkets without really paying much attention to the individual fruits and vegetables. This is a great pity because the vast majority of these foods have been cultivated for thousands of years, not only for their nutritional value but also for their medicinal properties. If you eat a healthy diet you are effectively practicing preventative medicine. A robust immune system, not only attacks external opportunistic pathogens, but also works to prevent rogue cells in the body from developing into serious disease.

NOTE If you are on any prescribed medication do not take yourself off it without consultation with your doctor. If you follow a healthy eating programme and lose weight and are exercising you may not need the same dose and with your doctor’s agreement you may be able to reduce or come off the medication all together.

Food Therapy -Aubergines -Don’t forget to eat your purples!

There are certain foods that on my shopping list regularly as daily or weekly additions to our diet and others that we might have a little less often.. One of these is aubergines which I love but only eat occasionally as I have a tendency towards gallstones. If you do not suffer from either gallstones or kidney stones then you can enjoy a couple of times a week at least.

We were all encouraged to eat our ‘greens’ when we were children, and we know that the brighter the food colour the more anti-oxidants they contain, but I cannot recollect being told to eat my ‘purples’. But it is this colour which gives this food its uniqueness.

When we are enjoying a moussaka or ratatouille made with this versatile food we don’t tend to dwell on its medicinal properties, but like the majority of fresh produce we eat, aubergines have some powerful health benefits.

The History of the aubergine.

The aubergine has its origins in ancient India and is mentioned by different names in Sanskrit, Bengali and Hindustani languages. It was grown in China as well but only came to Europe around 1,500 years ago. There is no Latin or Greek name for it but there are Arabic and North African names indicating that it came to this continent via that trade route.

Americans call it the eggplant, and in India it is known as Brinjal. In Spain, aubergines are called berengenas or ‘apples of love’ for supposed aphrodisiac properties. Something that I take on faith! In northern Europe they had a strange notion that eating the vegetable caused fevers and epileptic seizures and named it Mala Insana or ‘mad apple’. It is also known as melanzana, garden egg and patlican in other languages.

The aubergine belongs to the nightshade family that includes tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes. It grows from a vine and will vary in size and colour although the flesh of all the different types tends to be slightly bitter and spongy in texture.

When you are selecting the aubergine go for the smaller, smooth skinned vegetable. Gently push with your thumb and if the flesh gives slightly but springs back it is ripe. If the indentation remains it is overripe and will be soggy inside. If you knock on the fruit and it sounds hollow it will be too dry and inedible.

What are the therapeutic properties of the aubergine.

As with all plants, the aubergine has a sophisticated defence system to ensure its survival. When we eat it, we inherit some of these properties and our bodies process and use specific nutrients to benefit our own health. The aubergine has an abundance of nutrients including antioxidants, phenolic compounds including chlorogenic acid and flavonoids such as nasunin.

Nasunin is a potent antioxidant in the skin of the aubergine and has been studied for its ability to prevent free radical damage to cell membranes. Lipids or fats are the main component of cell membranes and not only protect the cell from damage but also regulate the passage of nutrients and waste in and out of the cell. The research is focusing on brain cell health and eating aubergines regularly may help protect us from degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Nasunin may also help prevent oxidative damage to the LDL or the unhealthier cholesterol in our blood that leads to plaque in the bloodstream and blockages in the arteries.

Nasunin also assists with the regulation of iron in the body. Iron is an essential nutrient required for the transportation of oxygen in the blood and our immune function. However, too much iron can increase free radical damage and is linked to heart disease, cancer and degenerative joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Nasunin is an iron chelator, which means that it binds with the iron processed from the food we eat and transports it safely in the blood stream preventing excess iron from causing damage to cells.

What are the benefits of Chlorogenic Acid.

Chlorogenic acid is a phenolic compound and one of the most potent free radical scavengers in plant tissues. It is very abundant in aubergines and very effective against free radical damage to LDL cholesterol. Additionally it may help prevent certain cancers and viral infections. Like Brussel sprouts some varieties of aubergine can be very bitter and it is thought that this is due to very high levels of Chlorogenic acid, which is also responsible for the rapid browning of the flesh when it has been cut.

Other good reasons to include aubergines in your diet on a regular basis.

The aubergine is a good source of dietary fibre, which not only helps prevent constipation but also helps eliminate waste from the body and prevent the build-up of plaque in the bloodstream leading to arterial disease. Recent research is identifying some very interesting properties in certain fibres including the ability to absorb and eliminate harmful bacteria from the body without the need for antibiotics. Fibre in the diet has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer and also regulate blood sugar levels

By eating aubergines regularly you will also be including healthy amounts of potassium, manganese, copper, vitamins B1, B3, B6, folate, Vitamin C, magnesium and tryptophan. It is what I call a well-rounded food.

Are there any drawbacks to eating aubergines?

The majority of us can enjoy aubergines on a regular basis in our diet and obtain its full health benefits, but as I mentioned earlier, a small proportion of people should avoid eating it.

The aubergine contains relatively high concentrations of oxalates, which are found in all plants and humans. If oxalates are too concentrated they crystallise and form stones in the kidneys and the gallbladder. If you already suffer from kidney or gallbladder problems then it would be best to avoid aubergines. This also applies to rheumatoid arthritis and gout sufferers, as this vegetable is part of the nightshade family and could increase the symptoms of these diseases. This applies to tomatoes as well. I have found that cooked tomatoes cause me less problems and they are too nutritionally rich to avoid completely. I suggest you try eating cooked tomatoes twice a week, three days apart and monitor your symptoms.

You will find many great recipes online for the preparation of aubergines and if you have one that you particular enjoy then please let us all know.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2022

A little bit about me nutritionally. .

About Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain.

Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

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

 

As always I look forward to your comments and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask them.. thanks Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Health Column 2022 – The Gentle Detox – Part Three – Pre-Weight Loss – Willpower booster by Sally Cronin


Part two of the Detox can be found here: Part Two – Eat food your body recognises…and can work with!

The Gentle Detox – Part Three – Pre-Weight Loss Willpower Booster

This is the most popular time of year for people to decide to improve their diet and lifestyle… Apart from New Year resolutions, there is something compelling about starting a new year with a fresh perspective.

This week a focus on weight loss whether it is 10lbs or 100lbs.. beginning the process with a gentle detox rather than straight in to a highly restrictive diet programme is a very much more sensible way to approach this sometimes life changing event.

Your body needs nourishment while it loses weight and eathing enough of the right foods is key.

As you will have seen in the previous two posts, there is no lack of food in the gentle detox but it is more about shedding some persistent additions to the daily eating plan that need to be as important as shedding the pounds.

Because, if you don’t lose destructive eating habits, then you will be entering a cycle of weight loss and weight gain that will ultimately see your weight balloon as mine did.

This is me at age 42 – 330lbs – 27 years ago.

One of the hardest things that I ever did, was give up sugar 23 years ago… not forever, but certainly for the two years that it took me to lose 150lbs. I still do it periodically when I can see my weight creeping back up again. After being so obese for many years my body is determined to regain ‘lbs’ it has lost and it is still a struggle for me to stay at a reasonably healthy weight.

Completing this gentle detox two or three times a year has certainly helped me to get back to basics and curb my very strong sugar cravings. Once I start, I find it difficult to stop. I discovered when I began working with clients 24 years ago that I was not alone in this.

I often would have this discussion with my clients who felt that there was no way that they could give up one or more of these because they LOVED THEM’.

This is a little tip – if you keep a food diary for a week, and after seven days review the food that you have eaten and attach the emotion ‘LOVE’ to certain items, you are probably eating too much of that particular food . If the food is sugary in nature then you are also addicted to it.

You might admire, covet, desire to have an object or type of food but to LOVE something implies that there is a chance of reciprocation, that the object of your love is a live, warm entity such as a parent, partner, child, dog, rabbit. I am afraid that all you will get from that bar of chocolate you are eating every day is extra weight around your middle, clogged arteries and indigestion. You can have a relationship with chocolate, but like many that we enter into, it is healthier when experienced in small amounts from time to time.

Gastric band surgery

It is no secret that I am not an advocate for weight loss surgery as I believe that it is ‘surgically implanted willpower’. As we have become addicted to fast foods and sugar, we have also become addicted to the fast fix. It took me 18 months to lose 11 stone (150lbs) nearly 25 years ago. Whilst I am not as slim today – I am still 10 stone (140lbs) lighter than I was in the beginning. I also do not have the obesity related health problems I had then, such as very high blood pressure and elevated LDL cholesterol. Neither do I need to take any prescribed medications for those health issues.

Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure are some of the future health problems that they believe will be alleviated by giving at risk obese patients the surgery which is frankly concerning.

What is even more worrying is that whilst there may be valid psychological reasons for such radical measures on medical advice, the private sector is making millions offering this surgery to those with enough money to buy into the marketing. The NHS in the UK is now spending (approx)  £85 million annually (2012 figures) on obesity related surgery, whilst patients with life threatening diseases such as cancer cannot receive the drugs they need to extend their life, or more disturbing possibly put them into remission.

In the USA approximately 300,000 bariatric surgeries are completed annually, with around 5000 in the UK… However in recent years outside of Covid years, it has become a lucrative private business in certain European countries and Mexico with cut rates but possible additional risk factors as it is largely unregulated.

When considering any surgery you should always research the benefits and the risks including bariatric surgery for obesity.

Post-operative risks that need to be considered.

  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Gastric band displacement
  • Gallstones (common with anyone who has lost a great deal of weight in a short space of time -even without surgery as I did as you have been on a high fat diet for an extended period of time – Your own fat)
  • Internal bleeding
  • Leak in the gut
  • Blocked Gut
  • Malnutrition
  • Excess skin (with rapid weight loss, muscle is also lost and this results in loose skin, particularly if dehydration and lack of exercise plays their part)
  • As with any operation there is a risk of dying..

SourceNHS Gastric Band Surgery risks

This may seem harsh, but my own experience of obesity is that it is self-inflicted. Of course there are enabling factors – the availability of fast and processed foods, sugar addiction and manufacturers cashing in on our taste buds, but at the end of the day it is actually about our own choices and decisions.

If you read the recommendations for eating following gastric surgery you will understand why a patient can lose 10 stone in a year.

  • Four weeks of liquid diet
  • a further two on pureed food
  •  the rest of their lives on three small meals a day
  •  minimum snacking
  •  no fizzy drinks, diet or otherwise,
  • eating and chewing slowly
  • plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables with lean protein.

I have worked with a number of clients post weight-loss surgery and found that they had received little or no nutritional counselling (or any that stuck), and had resumed their poor eating habits that had caused their obesity in the first place. A bar of chocolate fits well into a shrunken stomach and saves a lot of hassle preparing a small healthy meal!

Non Surgical Intervention.

So that was the extreme end of the willpower spectrum. But if you are embarking on this gentle detox or any healthy weight loss programme, then perhaps you might consider this formula that I have found very successful for myself and those I have worked with.

DECISION + VISION + DETERMINATION = WILLPOWER (DVD=W)

Decision

If you are contemplating anything major in your life that you want to succeed, you cannot approach with a wishy-washy attitude and wing it. This applies to any work, personal or health related project. A decision is not a ‘maybe’ a ‘might’ or ‘perhaps’ it is a firm commitment to do something. It is not anI should do this’ it is an ‘I Must do this’.

So having decided you are going to embark on a healthier lifestyle then you need some incentive to stick to that decision to the end.

Vision – Where do you want to be in six weeks’ time or six months?

You want to be healthier, slimmer, more energetic, and able to do more activities. Well this is where your imagination comes in and you need to see yourself at the end of all this hard work looking and feeling fantastic and that the time spent achieving it was worth it.

To help this process it is a good idea to draw up a balance sheet.

On one side the negative impact your current health is having on your life. Why you feel that you need to undertake this project. Perhaps you are too overweight to keep up with your children or grandchildren, you have painful knees and hip joints that are feeling the strain or you have high Blood Pressure, LDL (harmful cholesterol) levels or High blood sugar that could indicate that you are pre-diabetic.

It might be that activities that you were passionate about are now not possible because of your fitness levels. You get the idea. It doesn’t matter – what is important is that you are really clear about why you want to improve your health and lifestyle.

The other side of the balance sheet is the positive impact you expect from working hard over the next six weeks or longer. It is where you visualise what you will be able to accomplish, enjoy and participate in once you have completed the job. This is your reward for making a decision and sticking to it.

Determination

This is where the determination comes into it. Having made your decision, have a clear vision in your mind of where you want to be in the time frame you have chosen (realistic) you then have to be firm with yourself every time you feel that you are going to veer from the plan and indulge for a few days.

If you are half-hearted about the process it is effectively taking two steps forward and one step back..It is also likely that you will not complete the project because eventually it will fall by the wayside and end up as one of the high percentage of ‘diets’ that fail.

So the choice is yours when it comes to willpower. If you do not want to be where you are today with health and weight, then you need to make a firm decision to change, visualise where you want to be and stick to it.

Unlike surgically implanted willpower, the only side-effects to this type of attitude are a positive result and a great deal of self-satisfaction in a job well done.

Next time a natural helping hand which may reduce water retention and sugar cravings.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2022

A little bit about me nutritionally. .

About Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain.

Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

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

 

As always I look forward to your comments and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask them.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Recipes that Pack a Punch – Salads are not just for Summer by Sally Cronin


In this series I will be sharing recipes that pack a punch of nutrition and still taste delicious. By now you know that I believe in a ‘cook from scratch’ approach to preparing meals and I have followed that philosophy for over forty years. In my mid-20s I was cooking food for 110 growing children three times a day, and the focus had to be on the nutrition as well as the taste. As a nutritional therapist for the last 25 years, I have shared these recipes with my clients to ensure that they never went hungry or deficient in the essential nutrients their bodies needed to be healthy.

I appreciate that some of you are enjoying the sunshine of summer and the thought of hot, stodgy food just does not always 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).

Even those living in the Northern Hemisphere can enjoy chilled soups and salads as a light meal and I often add a jacket potato or a rice salad to add a little body.

In the previous posts in this series I have given you the nutritional breakdown of the ingredients but if you would like a reminder here is my alternative shopping list by nutrient that will illustrate how packed with goodness even the most simplest of ingredients are.

Weekly Shopping List by Nutrient

Here are some of my 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, there are a great many nutrients in the summer vegetables that make a great addition to our winter diet in the form of chilled soups and salads.

Anyway, I thought you might like these recipes to store away for those 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.

Any time of year 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.

Recipe 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

  1. Put everything into a blender except the salt and pepper which you can add to taste when blended.
  2. Chill and serve with the garnish and perhaps warm corn tortillas or Pitta bread.

Avocado and vegetable soup.

avocadoIngredients 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

  1. Blend the vegetables with water in the blender.
  2. Add the avocado and soy sauce and blend until smooth.
  3. 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 vitamins. 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

  1. Wash and put the spinach leaves in a large salad bowl.
  2. Cut the broccoli into small florets and add with the thinly sliced onion rings.
  3. Throw in the walnuts.
  4. Toss the mix thoroughly.
  5. Decorate around the edge with tomato segments and just before serving add chopped avocado to the centre.
  6. 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 with Yoghurt and Date Dressing

Ingredients for the dressing

  • 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

  1. Arrange the lettuce and spinach leaves in the bottom of a large bowl.
  2. Arrange alternate segments of the oranges and apples.
  3. Arrange the avocado quarters in the centre of the bowl.
  4. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  5. Serve the dressing in a separate serving bowl on the table.
  6. 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

  1. Arrange the leaves on individual plates and place the Papaya in the centre.
  2. Place the tomatoes and cucumber around the plate.
  3. Mix the prawns with the dressing and place in the centre of the papaya
  4. 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 lighter lunches and suppers… Please feel free to share.. thanks Sally.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021

 

Thanks for joining me for this series and as always delighted to receive your feedback… keep young at heart… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Ancient Therapies – #Tai Chi – Non-Combative Chinese Martial Art by Sally Cronin


I went to Tai Chi for a few classes when I was looking after my mother, but it became difficult to leave her on a regular schedule, but I did practice the moves at home to stay flexible and to help my breathing.

What is Tai Chi?

This is a non-combative martial art that combines breathing techniques with a series of slow movements often replicating the actions of birds and animals. It promotes the flow of vital energy (chi) throughout the body promoting health and calm.

It is also used to aid meditation and there is one technique that I found really demonstrates the gentle power of the art and is a great place to start to focus your mind and body.

Health Benefits of Tai Chi

There is some research into the various benefits of the technique, and certainly for those of us over 65 it has been found to reduce stress, improve posture as well as increasing muscle strength in the muscles in the legs. This may have an impact on balance, flexibility and mobility. This might also help prevent the elderly from falls and improve arthritic conditions. It is a gentle but weight bearing exercise to might also improve bone density.

Although most of the exercises are in the standing position there is also no reason why you cannot complete the arm movements and strengthen your core and shoulder muscles whilst sitting.

Suitable for all ages.If you were to drive through a Chinese city you would find the parks and empty spaces filled with groups of men, women and children attending a Tai Chi class. Perfect for the family to enjoy together. Great for children and in China the day often start with a 30 minute class.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jhZK0OKWkQ

Here are just two of the many exercises that are part of this technique and I hope you will explore this amazing form of exercise for yourselves.

Kong Jing  to relax and focus your mind.

  1. If you can sit on a mat on the floor with your legs crossed that is the most effective position. But if like me you have knee problems, sit on a straight- backed chair and cross you legs at the ankles.
  2. Rub your palms together rapidly to the count of 10 seconds ( there are a number of ways to time that… one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand or one Mississippi two Mississippi etc)
  3. Place one palm slightly cupped above the other 15cm apart.
  4. Keeping your eyes closed, imagine that you have a spongy ball between your palms and gently press them together until you feel some resistance (it is weird at first as you know there is no actual ball between your palms) Do not let your hands touch.
  5. The feeling is best described as magnetic. If you have ever held a magnet in each hand and moved them together you will begin to feel a slight repelling sensation the closer you get. You might also experience a feeling of warmth or tingling in your fingers.
  6. Hold that feeling of resistance for five minutes and in subsequent sessions increase until you are holding that position for 15 minutes.

You should find that after a few sessions that you are less stressed and also that you breathing has slowed and your heartbeat dropped slightly as the body relaxes.

I would like to share one more exercise with you which you can use as a warm up before a Tai Chi class or on its own to unwind at the end of the day and boost your energy. If you do have a dry, level spot in the garden on grass, where you can stand barefoot, then that is fantastic.

N.B. It is advisable not to do Tai Chi if you are suffering from any joint injuries especially shoulder and knee.. always check with your doctor or physiotherapist first. However, once you are healed this gentle exercise might prevent further injuries.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your knees slightly bent.
  2. Relax your shoulders and upper body and hold your head balanced as if someone had tied a ribbon to the hair on the crown of your head and was pulling it upwards.
  3. Your hands should be down by your sides, palms facing backwards and slightly apart from your body.
  4. Breathe naturally and allow you mind to empty.
  5. Shift all your weight onto your right foot and gently lift your arms up in front of you to shoulder height.
  6. Keep your palms facing downwards and your fingers pointing to the floor.
  7. Transfer all your weight to the left foot and in one easy flowing motion, lower your arms down to your sides.
  8. Bend your wrists to that your hands are parallel to the floor facing forwards.
  9. Transfer your weight to your right foot, raising your arms again to shoulder height and then transfer all your weight to the left and lower the arms again.
  10. Repeat this flowing motion in a rhythmic sequence until if becomes effortless and without you thinking about the process.
  11. Build up the repetitions until you are practicing this every day for 15 minutes.

You should find that after a week or two your muscles, particularly in the shoulders and legs are more toned and that breathing and your circulation are improved.

Here is a video with instructions in English from a Hong Kong teacher to show you the beginning moves.

Here is a directory for classes in the UK and wherever you live you should be able to find a similar directory: http://www.taoist.org/uk/locations/

And to show you that you are never too young to feel the benefits of the discipline…..so cute. Leeds Taekwondo

© 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 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

Smorgasbord Health Column – The Digestive system – Part Four – Liver diseases.


Last time I looked at the structure and basic function of the liver and in this post I want to cover some of the conditions that can effect this major organ.

Because the liver is such a complex organ there are over 100 diseases that can affect its health.

We tend to associate liver damage with conditions resulting from drinking to much, such as alcoholic hepatitis or the viral infections, Hepatitis A and the more dangerous serum Hepatitis B.

Hep A is transmitted from contaminated food and water, and Hep B from sexual contact, infected needles or contaminated blood products. Some diseases of the liver are hereditary and are usually diagnosed in a baby or young toddler. These include Alagille syndrome, Alpha 1-Antitrypsin deficiency, autoimmune hepatitis, the result of an abnormal immune system at birth, Galactosemia, Wilson’s disease – the abnormal storage of copper – and Haemochromatosis – the abnormal storage of iron.

There are also the dangers of long term medication. As with everything else we ingest, the medication also needs to go through the liver to be processed. This also applies to extensive exposure to chemicals in a home or work environment. Both are likely to overwork the liver and cause damage.

It is obvious that hereditary conditions and viral infections require treatment by medical experts. What we are concerned with is the general health of the liver to prevent damage and to improve function by making some adjustments to our lifestyles.

What is cirrhosis of the liver?

Cirrhosis occurs when scar tissue replaces dead or injured liver cells. It is caused by disease, or more commonly alcoholism and increasingly the ingestion of processed foods and drinks containing high levels of refined sugars. The scarring distorts the normal structure and re-growth of liver cells and the flow of blood through the liver, from the intestines, is blocked. This restricts the functions carried out by the liver, such as processing proteins or toxins.

This in turn can lead to other medical problems such as gallstones, toxicity and fluid retention in the legs and abdomen. Because the liver produces proteins that help clot the blood, damage can lead to excessive or prolonged bleeding – both internally and from cuts and injuries.

 

There is no cure for cirrhosis but the spread of the scarring can be stopped, and improvement in the health of the liver achieved in most cases, if the original cause of the damage is removed: – For example, by stopping drinking alcohol, reducing drastically the consumption of processed drinks and foods and eating a natural unprocessed diet of healthy fats, vegetables and fruits.

We also associate severe liver problems with older people who have spent a lifetime indulging across the board. However, more and more teenagers and young adults are presenting with liver damage. The cause is not excessive alcohol but excessive consumption of soft drinks containing sugars, acid and artificial sweeteners and a reliance on the ‘white diet’. White carbohydrates, unhealthy manufactured fats and refined sugars such as high fructose corn syrup.

How do we help the liver cope with everyday pressures?

So whilst alcohol certainly plays a role in the development of cirrhosis you do not have to be a chronic alcoholic to get the disease. The good news is that alcoholic hepatitis does not necessarily lead to cirrhosis of the liver, and certainly not to the extent where a transplant is required. It can take many years of dedicated drinking to reach that stage, but that will depend on the person.

No one person is the same and I often quote the saying “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”. We are all unique and this applies to our internal operating systems as well. I am sure that we have been to parties and watched one person have two glasses of wine and be as drunk as a lord and someone else down drink after drink without any apparent affect. That is to say that from the outside they look okay but of course their liver may be telling a different story.

As we get older we understand that the aftermath of a drinking session is unpleasant in the extreme and the effects can last a couple of days – unfortunately some of the remedies add to the strain on the liver- especially frequent use of over the counter pain medication. Hopefully most of us adapt to a more moderate approach.

Unfortunately that is not at times with the young. Like the latest online drinking crazes such as Neknomination – which has already resulted in the death of several young people in the UK. Alcohol poisoning is not a game. Commonly, patients requiring treatment for liver disease were in their 50’s and 60’s. There are now people in their 20’s and 30’s being diagnosed with chronic liver damage and some are on the transplant list!

How can we help ourselves?

Like many internal organs, the liver has a primary purpose in life and that is for the host body to survive. It will struggle daily to cope with excessive stress and harmful contaminants and it is often only when it is in the final stages of disease that we see the external evidence for ourselves. The early symptoms can be hard to spot but generally there will be consistent nausea, intestinal upsets, fatigue and loss of appetite. If these symptoms are ignored then more dangerous symptoms will develop including signs of jaundice which results in yellowing of the whites of the eyes and a yellow tint to the skin.

Also bloated abdomen, confusion leading to coma and possible death. If you are experiencing any of the early signs then do go and get checked out by your doctor.

Generally speaking, drinking more than two or three drinks per day is going to affect your liver to some degree. Binge drinking at the weekend is something we are all guilty of from time to time. We do not have a drink all week and then on the weekend we go out for a meal or have friends around enjoying pre-dinner drinks and a few glasses of wine followed by a couple or more liqueurs. This is a binge as far as your liver is concerned, particularly if it is accompanied by a rich meal full of fats and proteins that require processing.

As I have already stated, soft drinks have their dangers – and certainly there has been a worrying increase in the number of teenagers from as early at 11 years old exhibiting signs of liver damage. In America where you have been able to buy 24oz fizzy drinks – or receive them free as part of a fast food meal – this trend is more than worrying. The main culprit is high fructose corn syrup the main component of soft drinks.

I am not going to go into detail as there is an interesting and thought provoking article that every parent should read and if not a parent then those of you who are consuming even moderate amounts of certain soft drinks and eating processed foods.

http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/05/13/5-reasons-high-fructose-corn-syrup-will-kill-you/

The liver, like the rest of the body, needs antioxidants to prevent oxidative damage. A diet high in processed foods is not only going to give the liver even more work to do, processing additives and excess chemicals such as phosphorus, but is also not going to give it the raw materials it requires for its own health.

I am afraid that we women are more likely to suffer liver damage, as we tend to have a higher concentration of alcohol in our blood. We have more body fat and less water than a man does so we handle booze differently. Even if we do not drink we can still cause damage to our liver by having a very high-fat diet. The liver again is overworked and whilst a moderate intake of fats is necessary for the nutrients it contains, it needs to be part of a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruit and whole grains that all work with the fat in harmony.

I often caution against deleting a food group from our diet as we are programmed to take the essential nutrients from across the board.

Carbohydrates have their role in this, but white, high fat and sugary processed foods are not carbohydrates, they are cardboard.

Eat whole grains every day – if you have a gluten intolerance or find wheat hard to digest then brown rice, corn and organic oats may suit you.

So whilst many of us focus on our heart health – that organ is affected by the health of the liver, which removes toxins from our body to prevent the storage of these poisons in every cell including those in the heart.

You can keep up to date with news on liver health in the UK: https://www.britishlivertrust.org.uk/about-us/media-centre/latest-news/

And in the US: https://www.sciencedaily.com/news/health_medicine/liver_disease/

The next stop on our journey through the digestive system is the intestines… I bet you can’t wait!!

©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 only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – The Digestive System Part Three – The Liver – Largest waste organ inside the body.


 

In the last two posts, I have worked my way through the digestive system from the mouth, down the oesophagus and into the stomach, (not literally of course) but there are some important organs within that system that deserve some personal attention on the way. One of those is the Liver which carries out the important task of ridding our body of toxins and storing essential nutrients for our health.

I remember a teenage client who wondered what all the fuss was about – you could get a transplant couldn’t you? I set him the task of researching the actual operation, first hand accounts of those who had undergone this major operation and the long lasting implications and side effects. Hasten to say he was a lot less cocky about the process on his next appointment.

I have met people who believe that as long as you give up smoking and drinking before you are 40 you will be absolutely fine! Yes, there are individuals who drink like a fish and live to 95 and some of them even smoked too. They also did not have the benefit of our high sugar modern diet and lack of exercise! I also would be tempted to ask them to pick my lottery numbers each week because they are the fortunate ones.

For the rest of us, the earlier we put some thought into the long term care of our major organs the better. I will admit that I was in my late 30’s before I woke up to this fact when given some rather indigestible truths about my prognosis. But better late than never.

Part of that care comes from understanding the how, what and where an organ’s role is in our body and health.

Where is the liver?

Liver in Torso

Surprisingly the liver is the largest of our internal organs and in fact it is the size of a large melon. Mainly in the upper right side of your abdomen it lies beneath the diaphragm just above your stomach. Higher up in the chest than people imagine which is important when determining symptoms such as pain.

What does the liver do?

The liver is a multi-tasking organ, capable of around 500 functions. Before you put rubbish in your mouth, think about the liver as your best friend. Is it going to be happy when this jumbo hotdog, salad cream, on a white bread roll with margarine, onions cooked in lard and the reconstituted chips with lots of salt and large blueberry muffin with a 16oz diet soda hits the system!! Everything you consume including all the preservatives, toxins, lousy fats, drugs, excess sugar will pass through this portal…..

Liver

The liver has two essential roles – making or processing chemicals and eliminating toxins and waste. Without this portal system none of the nutrients that we have carefully processed and passed in the intestines could be carried in the blood, through the liver to nourish the body and give us energy.

The liver is the organ but the work horses are the millions and millions of cells it holds.

Specialist cells, hepatocytes deal with the raw materials our body runs on – proteins, carbohydrates and fats. We are made of protein and we need to consume high quality protein to renew our cells and create new ones – in its raw state some proteins are not accepted by the body and the role of the liver’s cells is to change the format so that it is usable. Any waste from the liver cell’s processes is not passed back into the blood stream but stored for elimination. Similarly with carbohydrates, the liver cells will convert the carbs into appropriate fuel that can be easily accessed by the body for energy.

Kuppfer cells

The waste disposal cells in the liver are called Kuppfer cells, after the man who discovered them – they are the Dysons of the cell fraternity, sucking up bacteria and toxins before handing over to the hepacytes for processing. This means that the liver is incredibly important for your immune system. The liver also stores iron as well as other vitamins and minerals you need such as B12 and the organ makes clotting factors that stop bleeding after injury.

One of the key roles of the liver in cholesterol management – In spite of an effort to demonise cholesterol it is very important to appreciate the vital roles that it performs in the body. Cholesterol is vital to our digestive system, in that it forms the base for bile acids that are used to emulsify fat in the small bowel so that fat and fat soluble vitamins like E and K can be absorbed…

You can find more about cholesterol in the Health Column Directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-column-news-nutrients-health-conditions-anti-aging/

I treat my liver as the guardian of my health and if you take care of this organ first you will find that will have a very beneficial effect on the optimum balance of LDL and HDL cholesterol in your blood.

Next time I will be looking at some of the major diseases of the liver.

©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 from:  http://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 – Food in the News #Carbs – Don’t throw out the good ones!


I never recommend anybody give up one of the major food groups. There are some people who do require specialised diets that preclude certain foods within a group, such as gluten high grains. But that is far fewer than the multi-billion gluten free food industry would have you believe.

I eat moderate amounts of wholegrains each day. I am not as active as I used to be and don’t need them in the same quantity as I did at 35, but I still have whole grain Basmati rice with my main meal at least five days a week… with whole grain pasta on the other two.

Here are a few recent news stories about wholegrains and their nutritional value in our diet and then a brief overview of the benefits.

Eating wholegrains and high-fibre foods can actually help you maintain a LOWER weight, study finds

If you’re wanting to ditch the excess kilos, you may be contemplating a low-carb diet or cutting the food group out for good.

However, new research has shown that a diet that includes carbs – those that are unrefined and high in fibre – can actually help you lose weight.

A secondary analysis of research from the University of Wollongong found that grain quality is key, with whole grain, high-fibre foods being linked with lower weight.

Read the rest of the article: Study into obesity and wholegrains Daily Mail Article

All Hail the Whole Grain! By Jan Suszkiw March 15, 2018

A human nutrition study reaffirmed the health benefits of substituting whole-grain foods like whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, barley, rye, and brown or wild rice for refined-grain products like white bread in the diet.

Scientists with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA)—jointly run by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts—conducted the study to clarify the role of whole grains in helping regulate weight, blood sugar levels and calorie (energy) use, among other benefits. Unlike refined grains, which undergo extensive milling or other processing, whole grains are sold for eating with their bran and other constituents intact—all rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients.

According to Susan Roberts, director of the Center’s Energy Metabolism Laboratory, the study was the first to strictly control participants’ diet, weight and type of whole-grain products they consumed. Previous clinical trials didn’t incorporate these important study design criteria, leaving the benefits of whole-grain diets—especially on weight management—open to being questioned.

In the eight-week study, published last year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers determined the weights and energy intake needs of 81 participants (healthy, nonsmoking men and women ages 40 to 65) and started them on a diet free of whole grains. At week two, the researchers randomly switched some participants to diets containing the daily recommended allowance of whole grains (a minimum of three ounces for women and four ounces for men every day).

Read the rest of the article: US Dept of Agriculture

Carbohydrates – Not All are Demons – Smorgasbord Health.

Carbohydrates are a component of food that supplies us with energy in the form of calories to the body. Along with proteins and fats they provide the human body with the main elements required to be healthy. Carbohydrates are made up of sugars (simple carbohydrates), starches (complex carbohydrates) and fibre. If you take the fibre out of the formula through over processing you are just left with the sugars.. These are intense and result in blood glucose fluctuations. You may have experienced this for yourself after a heavy lunch with lots of white rice followed by a rich and sugary dessert. You become light headed and feel faint requiring a top up around 4pm in the afternoon!

To lower cholesterol levels naturally you need to eat carbohydrates that have retained the fibre element as this helps absorb some of the sugars and prevent blood glucose fluctuations.

Carbohydrates are not the demons that some would make out. They have essential elements that are required to make the perfect fuel mix for our bodies.

However,our requirement for carbohydrates will change as we get older. When we are children and young adults our growing bodies require a supercharged fuel – carbohydrates are also needed in higher concentration during periods of high activity as you get older but should be allied to that particular period of exercise. When men and women pass through the mid-life change the requirement certainly drops but levels again depend on how active your life style is.

If someone is a total couch potato drifting from bed to table, table to car, car to desk, desk to car, car to sofa – then putting a high octane fuel into the body will simply be converted to fat. However, stopping all carbohydrates is wrong – there are certain nutrients and fibre within wholegrain carbohydrates that the body needs so that the chemical balance is maintained.

You can read the rest of the post here with details on gluten and suggestions on how to include health wholgrains into your daily diet: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/the-cholesterol-myth-carbohydrates-not-all-are-demons/

And here is my preferred carbohydrate wholegrain rice.

Of all rice – any form of brown rice will contain more of the nutrients as it loses only the outer layer of the grain called the hull.

What vital nutrients are lost in processing wholegrain rice to the white used by the majority of consumers.

During the process that turns brown rice to white rice it loses 67% of its vitamin B3 (niacin) 80% of B1, 90% of B6 – half of its manganese and phosphorus, 60% of its iron and all the dietary fibre and essential fatty acids. Do you realise that to make white rice acceptable as a food it has to be artificially enriched with B1 B3 and iron? It is amazing the difference that processing a food can have on its nutritional content.

Brown rice is a very rich source of manganese –essential for blood health. It is also necessary for bone health and for it’s antioxidant capabilities in preventing damage to cells, particularly blood cells.

Brown rice is rich in fibre, which cleans the system of toxins and harmful deposits in the blood so helps keep your cholesterol down. Like oats it tends to release its energy slowly so maintaining stable blood sugar levels. The fibre is insoluble which means that it works through your system efficiently. This prevents some organs from getting into an overload situation like the liver and the bile duct – a speedy process through the system ensures that the bile duct does not secrete too much bile which can lead to gallstones.

Proteins like turkey are high in selenium but so is brown rice and it is very important for our immune systems and thyroid function – also to help prevent cancer as it encourages healthy DNA repair in the cells.

Magnesium is present in high quantities and this is associated with a number of systemic problems such as asthma – high blood pressure –migraine headaches and reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Magnesium does this because it helps to regulate nerve and muscle tone by balancing the action of calcium. You will see that very often calcium supplements are teamed with magnesium.

Calcium tends to rush around frantically and needs magnesium to curb its enthusiasm. For example if allowed to, calcium will overwhelm the nerve cells in the muscles and they become over activated. This causes the muscle to overwork and wear out faster. This occurs if you have insufficient magnesium in your diet. Another reason that magnesium is so important is for bone health and about two thirds of the magnesium is found in the bones of the human body. The rest is stored for when needed. Brown rice provides nearly a quarter of your daily requirement in one serving.

The human body is over 100,000 years old. In that time the body has developed an incredible defence mechanism called the survival instinct. In some cases it is miraculous. It is only in recent centuries that we have begun to refine our grains.

Recent researchers are maintaining that we ate few carbohydrates in the form of grain but I do dispute this. We would have eaten anything in our path that was in the least bit edible and certainly wild grains would have been a seasonal addition to the meat and fish that were hunted.

So our bodies spent the first 99,900 years eating whole-grains including rice. Wheat only came along about 10,000 years ago. During those many thousands of years our bodies evolved a very precise dietary support system that provided it with everything it needed to survive and be the fittest. It was essential for the survival of mankind that only the fittest made it through. This ensured that each generation was stronger.

If you go back to what I was saying about the loss of nutrients in the processing of brown rice to white rice you can perhaps understand why we are now facing the sort of medical problems that we are. We are depriving the body of not just a food group but the essential nutrients and energy that they provide.

You do not have to eat a plateful every day -for rice I would suggest two large tablespoons – it is actually very nice to have a cereal bowl of white rice with some warm milk and a banana for breakfast if you prefer a non-savoury option.

Brown rice needs to be prepared a little carefully – don’t get the easy cook as this has been partly processed. I suggest the real stuff, but put in a large glass bowl before cooking with cold water to cover it and whisk as hard as you can – then drain and then repeat until the water is clear. This gets rid of dust etc.

It takes a little more boiling than white rice and check after about 20 minutes until you get a slightly chewy and nutty tasting grain.

Use for any other dish that you would cook rice for. Curry, risotto, paella or mixed through a salad.

©sallycronin 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 only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – The Digestive System Part One – It begins in the mouth by Sally Cronin


I have received a number of emails regarding the digestive system and its many different functions and also related health issues…I am therefore going to feature a post a day for the next couple of weeks, taking you through the various organs involved and how our food is digested to ensure we receive the nutrients that we require.  Also some of the health issues that can be experienced when the system is not working efficiently.

The Digestive System – It begins in the mouth.

As the purpose of these blogs is to offer you an overview of the body, I am not going to attempt to give you all the specifics about this complex and fascinating process. However, it does serve to illustrate the knock-on effect on our overall health if one part of the operating system, or chemical process, is damaged and off-line for a period of time.

Actually the digestive process starts in the nasal passages – remember how it feels to smell fresh baked bread, the BBQ or a curry. The saliva starts to build up in your mouth – which is why we call it ‘mouth-watering’. As soon as that process begins – we are ready to eat and digest the food. Interestingly enough, people who have a reduced or non-existent ability to smell rarely become obese!

The mouth

The mouth is much larger than we would imagine from an external view and it contains the tongue and the teeth behind the entrance, which is guarded by the lips and mouth. At the rear of the mouth are the various tubes leading to the lungs or the rest of the digestive tract.

There are two palates within the mouth, the hard and soft palates. The hard palate to the front of the roof of the mouth is used by the tongue to mix and soften food whilst the soft palate (velum) can expand to allow food to pass back into the oesophagus without being forced up into the nasal passages.

The cheeks and soft tissues of the mouth are covered in a mucous membrane that keeps the mouth moist helped by the salivary glands. This membrane is one of the most vulnerable to wear and tear in the body and has remarkable powers of regeneration.

The tongue

The tongue is triangular, wider at the base than at the tip. It is attached at the base to the lower jaw and to the hyoid bone of the skull. At the sides of the base it is attached to the pharynx which is the cavity at the back of the mouth. The top of the tongue is curved and is home to our taste buds, the front is called the apex and the back of the tongue is called the dorsum.

The tongue is very flexible and is controlled by a complex set of muscles both in the tongue itself and also in the jaw and neck. The styloglossus muscle in the neck is responsible for the upward and backward movement of the tongue and the hyoglossus also in the neck brings it back down into the normal resting position.

Of course one of the main functions of the tongue is its involvement in our speech and its health is therefore vital. Without it our ability to process food in the mouth and to talk would be virtually non-existent.

Food has to be chewed before it is presented to the rest of the digestive tract. The tongue will roll the food around the mouth so that the teeth can begin the process of breaking it down into manageable pieces.

The teeth

The teeth are very necessary to our digestive process as food needs to be in small enough pieces to pass through the oesophagus into the stomach and also to allow enzymes adequate access to the last crumb. If it is a large chunk of food it will not be processed efficiently and we will lose much of the benefit.

We have two sets of teeth in our lifetime and how we look after the first set can have an effect on the health of the second and adult teeth. I was a dental nurse and in the 60’s we began to see the effect of increased sugars particularly in soft drinks on children’s teeth. My boss who was then in his 60’s was horrified in the difference that had taken place in only 20 or 30 years. As children we have 20 milk teeth that develop from small root structures under the gum at birth appearing around 9 months old to around 6 years old when they are pushed out by the 32 adult teeth as they begin to erupt. The second teeth can be affected by diet when they are still beneath the gums and this can lead to a lifetime of fillings and extractions.

All our teeth have specific roles in digestion and we are given enough so that as we age and lose a few we can still have the ability to process food. Of course in the last hundred years or so we have got very clever and can now replace teeth with dentures or better still implant new artificial teeth into the jaw that last around 15 to 20 years depending on the material used.

The incisors are designed to cut and the pointed canines are perfect for tearing foods such as meat and plant food apart. Our premolars and molars towards the back of the mouth can grind and crush other foods such as nuts, seeds and if necessary even bone.

Teeth are firmly fixed in sockets in the upper and lower jaw by a root system that may have one or two roots depending on tooth type and its role. Gum surrounds the tooth to help protect from decay and act as a buffer while the teeth work on food several times a day for our lifetime. The outer surface is enamel, which is one of the hardest substances in the human body and beneath this is dentine a pulp that protects the sensitive nerve and blood system in the middle of the tooth.

One of the key elements of efficient digestion is how we chew our food. Most of us eat far too quickly, not allowing the teeth to produce small enough pieces of food or our saliva and enzymes to carry out their part in the process.

Chewing slowly has the added benefit of allowing a message to get through from the stomach to the brain to tell it that you are full and to stop eating. This not only helps us maintain a healthy weight but it also reduces the stress and pressure on the digestive system.

N.B – If you have elderly relatives it is important to make sure that they have regular dental care and if they have dentures they fit properly. The inability to chew food means that they will tend to drop certain foods from their diet and begin to suffer from nutrient deficiencies, particular B vitamins that are in whole grains and meats.

The salivary glands –

The salivary glands at the base of the tongue produce an enzyme called ptyalin that digests starch and a chemical called Lysozyme that sanitises the food to prevent infection both in the mouth and the digestive tract. It is hard to believe but the human adult will produce in the region of 1½ litres of saliva per day consisting of mucous and fluid. It is important that the mouth is kept very moist not only for comfort but to enable us to deal with dry foods allowing it to be chewed more easily. It is also essential once food has been chewed, to ease the next stage of the digestive process when food is swallowed.

There are a number of salivary glands positioned in the mouth the largest being the parotids, in the neck, just in front of the ears. The glands that excrete the most saliva are under the jaw. These are the submandibular glands. And finally, under the tongue in the floor of the mouth are the sublinguals. The amylase enzyme produced by these glands converts the carbohydrate we eat into disaccharide sugars for further processing later in the stomach and intestines. (If you want to witness this in action, wave a cooked sausage in front of a dog’s nose and place their jaw over a basin!)

The pharynx

I looked at the respiratory role of the pharynx in the blogs on lungs, but it also is a channel for food. Its upper parts are connected to the nose and the mouth and lower part is connected to the voice box or larynx and leads to the oesophagus for swallowing.

We have all choked on food at one time or another and the reason for this natural and instinctive action is the epiglottis, the flap that prevents food and foreign particles from entering the lungs.

When we swallow this flap tilts backward and the larynx rises up. The cartilage bands around the larynx called the vocal cords come together and close the flap to seal off the entrance to the trachea. As soon as the food has passed safely into the oesophagus on its way to the stomach the epiglottis re-opens to allow air into the windpipe again.

Next time we will move into the oesophagus and the stomach.

©sallycronin 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 only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Allergies or Intolerances – The difference.


 

In this post I am going to take another look at the terms Allergy and Intolerance and explain the differences between the two. Many people will say that they have an allergy to certain foods for example but in fact they have an intolerance.

At this time of the year people will be finding that they are experiencing hayfever, resulting in sore eyes and sneezing from pollen. It is very wearing and not pleasant at all.

Today I am looking at one of the other causes of allergies. When we react to certain foods in our regular diet.

There are many symptoms, and common ailments that are linked to food allergies. Finding out what might be causing these is the first step in resolving the problem naturally.

Some of the health conditions associated with dietary allergies or intolerances.

  • Anxiety,
  • Arthritis,
  • Asthma,
  • Bronchitis,
  • ME.(myalgic encephalomyelitis)  also known as CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)>
  • Hayfever symptoms,
  • Celiac disease,
  • Diabetes,
  • Headaches
  • Eczema and other skin conditions.

These are just some of the diseases that could be linked to certain foods but certainly long term intolerance or allergy to foods can contribute to more serious conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer.

Avoiding depleting the diet of too many nutrients.

The first reaction that most people have is to totally discard the food responsible and never touch it again. Some people develop such a totally restricted diet that they do themselves harm by denying their bodies the nutrients that are essential to their health and well-being.

Some practitioners will also advise their clients to stop consuming certain foods and it is important that a client always ask when they can begin introducing these restricted foods again. If a reaction is very severe then yes of course it would be absolutely essential not to touch that food. Peanuts are a prime example. Nut allergies however are just that an allergy, which is very different from an intolerance and the two should not be confused.

WHAT IS AN ALLERGY? AND WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO.

An allergic reaction is immediate. It is a fast response. An intolerance is by contrast a slow reaction. The speed with which an individual will react to certain stimulants is governed by two antibodies called IgE and IgG.

An allergy is an immediate reaction to a toxic substance either in food or in the environment that causes established and well-documented side effects. Our body is protected by anti-bodies one of which is called IgE. The role of this antibody is to forcibly reject toxins and in doing so the body undergoes some severe reactions in its effort to clean and heal its systems. Because IgE antibodies are intelligent, each fresh attack is worse than the last because it learns to produce a more effective and violent response. This is why what begins as a mild sneezing and coughing reaction may develop over repeated exposure to a more dangerous and life threatening reaction. Some of the intense reactions likely to be experienced are:

  • Intense itching on specific parts of all over the skin.
  • Hives (swollen red nodules just under the skin)
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue and throat.
  • Severe headache,
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhoea

In severe cases this can lead to Anaphylactic shock which takes all of the above and leads to drop in blood pressure, extreme breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness and shock – all of which can be fatal.

An intolerance on the other hand is a build-up over time of the poisons in culprit foods, which cause the above symptoms in a mild or moderate form. In some cases it might only be intermittent and because it involves a build-up over a period of time it is very difficult to determine which food is the one causing the problem.

You might experience one or all of the above symptoms with differing severity and put it down to hay fever, or eating something that did not agree with you. You take an anti-histamine or a diarrhoea pill and the symptoms go away. A few weeks later you might suffer the same thing again but it is happening in isolation you do not connect to a common cause.

There is a different anti-body that seems to be involved in this type of delayed reaction and it is called IgG.

This antibody is more concerned with toxins that you have produced yourself rather than those that you have just ingested into your body. Its job is to rid the blood stream of toxins that have found their way into your system from the intestines. Because food in our digestive systems can take 24 hours to digest, the time taken for bacteria to get into the blood stream means a reaction might not take place for two to three days. Therefore difficult to pinpoint the problem food.

APART FROM PEANUTS ARE THERE ANY OTHER FOODS THAT MIGHT CAUSE A SEVERE REACTION?

Everyone is individual and no one person reacts in the same way to any allergens but the most likely culprits for severe allergic reactions apart from nuts are peanuts (not a true nut) milk, eggs, soy, wheat and shellfish. All foods that most of us consider safe and extremely healthy. But if your chemical systems react to the chemicals in a food negatively, then these so called healthy foods can cause a severe reaction. Twenty percent of anaphylactic reactions appear to have no reason at all.

This type of allergy is likely to show up pretty quickly in childhood. There are some instances where a person’s chemical makeup has been changed through either drugs or treatments such as chemotherapy and they then begin to react to foods that they have eaten safely for years.

HOW DO YOU TREAT AN ALLERGY OF THIS SEVERITY?

In the first place avoidance of the food is essential. For example nut allergies are extremely difficult as many prepared products or meals eaten out may have some form of nut in them, which is not evident in the packaging or the menu description.

I have had a garden salad and found walnuts mixed in with it. Restaurants put other nuts on salads as a garnish. Most menu items do not mention that it contains nuts and if you are not very careful you could inadvertently eat a piece without knowing. Even more difficult is the use of crushed nuts in desserts – they are not even visible. It is much better than it used to be with food establishments and manufacturers legally obliged to label products and menu items carefully, however, if you are buying street food or even eating in a friend’s house you have to make sure to ask if it contains nuts or even nut oil.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IMMEDIATELY?

If someone is suffering from anaphylactic shock and you are on hand, you need to work very quickly. Usually the first signs may be reddened and swollen eyelids and wheezing. The person will look flushed and their ears will begin to swell.

Check to see if they are carrying adrenaline. It will usually be in the form of an injection kit. Most severe allergy sufferers, particularly those who have suffered anaphylaxis before will be carrying an injection on them and will also be wearing an ID bracelet. If they are unable to give themselves an injection, then you must do so. Straight into the muscle at the side of the thigh. That is the only place that a non-medical person should inject, as anywhere else could be dangerous. Adrenaline or epinephrine as it is also known, counters the intense reaction to the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. It constricts the blood vessels, relaxes the muscles in the lungs to improve breathing, reverses the swelling and stimulates the heartbeat.

If they are not carrying adrenaline you must get them medical attention urgently. Try and keep them calm. If the emergency service say that they cannot get to you within minutes then put the person in a car and get them to the nearest medical emergency room as fast as possible. As soon as you get there one person rush in and tell them you have an  anaphylactic shock patient coming in so that they can come out to the car with you.

Knowing how to react is vital as I found out  when I suffered two cases of anaphylactic shock. Once as a reaction to penicillin and once when I was attacked by fire ants in Texas. I was in full anaphylactic shock in minutes and luckily a neighbour drove us straight to the emergency room which was one block away. We arrived in bathing costumes and the driver dashed in and called for assistance. They were fast but it was still touch and go for about 20 minutes.

If you think that someone is going into this severe allergic reaction then act first and think later. Don’t wait to see if it develops, if breathing is beginning to be compromised then get help immediately.

APART FROM FOOD ARE THERE ANY OTHER COMMON CAUSES FOR THIS EXTREME A REACTION?

Quite a few people are allergic to latex which of course is found in rubber gloves and condoms. It mainly affects people who are in constant contact with latex products during medical procedures, like nurses and doctors. Patients who are in hospital for extended stays or have a lot of hands on medical treatment can develop an allergy.

There is a link to latex and food. It would seem that a person who reacts to latex might also get anaphylaxis from bananas, avocados, kiwi, figs, peanuts, potatoes and tomatoes.

Other non-food allergens are bees, wasps and any other stinging insect such as the fire ants.

ARE THERE LESS SEVERE ALLERGIC REACTIONS AND WHAT CAUSES THEM?

Most of us at one time or another has suffered from a streaming nose, itchy eyes and some wheezing. It is an immediate reaction to contact with the allergen.

The top triggers are:

INHALENTS (breathed in.)

Tree and plant pollens -Animal mites – House Dust mites – Mould spores -Tobacco smoke (contains over 4000 chemicals including banned pesticides and arsenic) -Car exhaust -Chemical products such as paint, dry cleaning solutions, perfumes and cosmetics)

INGESTANTS (taken by mouth)

Foods (dairy, eggs, peanuts, wheat, Soya, chocolate, tomatoes, corn, fish and shellfish) – Medications (antibiotics – tetanus) -Pesticides in food  – Heavy metals in tap water

CONTACTANTS (by touch)

Plants (poison ivy, oak) – Jewellery (nickel, copper) – Latex – Beauty products (hair dye, cosmetics)

SHOULD PEOPLE TAKE ANTI-HISTAMINES AND DIARRHEA PILLS TO DEAL WITH THE LESS SEVERE SYMPTOMS?

To be honest as a nutritional therapist, I understand that the body is simply trying to rid itself of toxins but I am as guilty as anyone of reaching for the packet of pills to relieve the symptoms of colds, hay fever and stomach upsets.

Being realistic, once you have those types of symptoms, particularly streaming nose and eyes and a stomach upset, it is virtually impossible to get on with your daily life. Working, caring for young children even walking the dog have to be done, so of course you need help to get through that.

But, there is a cause for your allergic reactions. We have already established that a full-blown allergy is likely to be a fast reaction and you will be able to identify the problem food or product immediately.

Far more challenging is finding the culprit for intermittent but consistently mild to moderate reactions, that happen days or weeks apart. Or there may be only one symptom such as sneezing or wind, bloating or a rash.

WHAT SORT OF SYMPTOMS WOULD SOMEONE BE LIKELY TO BE SUFFERING FROM IF THEY HAVE THIS SORT OF INTOLERANCE?

Apart from skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis, which tends to be chronic and long term, there could be hives that come and go in a week. Wind problems, bloating, indigestion, fluttering stomach, stomach upsets or constipation.

Others may be suffering from inflammatory diseases such as asthma, arthritis etc. These have been strongly linked to food intolerances. I will cover those health conditions at a later date.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

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