Category Archives: Diet

Food on Friday ~ American

Foreigners cannot enjoy our food, any more than we can enjoy theirs.  ~  Mark Twain

Go to almost any town in the USA and you will find a Mexican place, a pizza joint, and a bar selling a mixture of ‘Italian’ and ‘English’ food.  If you’re in a larger town you will probably also find a sushi restaurant, (Sakura in St. George UT is pretty good),  and likely there will be a Chinese place, and a Thai restaurant.  Sakura in St. George has a super entrance doorway.

Is there such a thing as ‘American’ cuisine, or is it merely foods borrowed from the rest of the world?  I would aver that real American food consists of steaks, burgers, hot dogs, french fries, salads, and of course lots of bad cheese and ketchup.

On my recent US road trip I ate the best steak I’ve ever had, and didn’t eat the very worst chilli dog I’ve ever been served.  The quality of the food in the USA goes from very, very good to stuff I wouldn’t give a dog.

In the same joint that served that great steak, (White Mountain Mining Co, Rock Springs WY) I also had a truly boring salad that was 90% iceberg lettuce, and a baked potato that was left over from the day before.  On the same trip I also enjoyed a really good pizza from a place called Craftsman Wood Fired Pizza, in Placentia , Orange County CA.

In California, in the western USA in general, they also have a buffet thing going.  My friend and I had a pretty good meal at a buffet place in Primm Nevada.  On the way back to civilisation, Primm, just like every other town in Nevada, is totally devoted to casinos, gambling, and gamblers.  I don’t gamble, my friend loves the slots, and that can be a little annoying for both of us.  If you don’t like gambling, don’t ever go to Nevada.

The most impressive buffet I’ve ever been to, in my whole life, was the Champagne Sunday Brunch, aboard the RMS Queen Mary, in Long Beach California.  If you’re ever in Southern California, I would strongly recommend you take your girl there for Sunday brunch.  Just don’t eat much the day before, and make certain that one of you is the designated driver, (or book a room).  There is a fabulous cocktail bar aboard her too.

A few things for the unwary traveller to bear in mind when eating at a Restaurant in the USA; try to go during their happy hour, to European eyes places close very early, remember to add sales tax to the prices when you’re budgeting ~ and on top of that the standard tip anywhere is 20%, (and I hate that).  Don’t expect to be given cutlery, (Americans are like children and eat with their fingers), and if there’s a wait for a table, you can always eat at the bar, where it’s first come first served.  (I hate eating at the bar because brash Americans will talk to you while you’re eating.)

In bars that serve food the beer is generally pretty good, but the wine and margaritas can be of very variable quality ~ they will still get you very drunk.  The food in most American bars is garbage.

Americans can eat garbage, providing you sprinkle it liberally with cheese, ketchup, mustard, chilli sauce, Tabasco, cayenne pepper, or any other condiment which destroys the original flavor of the dish  ~  Henry Miller, American Writer.

All in all, eating in the USA is a different and sometimes unnerving experience for a well-mannered Englishman.  But then eating in France, Greece, Italy, Spain…  has its own idiosyncracies.  Close your eyes and enjoy the experience.  Some American food is fabulous, and sometimes the dining experience is even better.

Just don’t eat Mexican food…

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

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Stay Young ~ Eat Walnuts

A dog, a wife, and a walnut tree, they more you beat them the better they be.

It looks like a simple change to our diet, like eating a few walnuts a day, boosts our health in some amazing ways.

I’ve long thought that eating nuts was a good idea, and now some scientists at the Louisiana State University agree with me.  After some experiments they say that eating a couple of ounces of walnuts a day improves your digestive health.  Seems it’s all to do with prebiotics again, and that walnuts have their beneficial effects by nourishing the friendly bacteria in our gut, helping them to thrive and multiply.

These good bacteria have anti-inflammatory properties, and chronic inflammation is now thought to be central to the onset of arthritis, various cancers including prostate and breast cancer, depression, early aging, various heart / circulatory diseases, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

It’s better to get the nutrients for healthy skin from food, not supplements.  Salmon, walnuts, blueberries, spinach…  lots of my favorite foods happen to be amazing for skin too.  ~  Gail Simmons

Scientists and nutritionists say that the health of our digestive tract is central to the health of our whole body.  Walnuts act as a prebiotic, meaning that eating these nuts helps keep our digestive system healthy.

Gut health is an emerging research area, but we are seeing greater bacterial diversity may be associated with better health outcomes, whereas low diversity has been linked to conditions such as obesity and inflammatory bowel disease.  ~  Professor Lauri Byerley.

Walnuts and hazelnuts are just about the oldest tree foods known to man; their importance going at least at far back as 7,000 BC.  Walnuts in particular;

  1. Help with weight loss.
  2. Improve good sleep if eaten late at night~ walnuts contain lots of melatonin.
  3. Are good for your hair, in fact eating walnuts may help prevent hair loss.
  4. Are very good for your heart and circulation.
  5. Help to lower your bad cholesterol.
  6. Help to prevent type 2 diabetes.
  7. Makes your skin healthier.
  8. Can keep senile dementia at bay.
  9. Help to prevent various cancers, especially breast and pancreatic cancers.
  10. Will help you to live a longer, healthier, and less stressful life.

Personally, I firmly believe that eating almost any type of nuts and seeds is a beneficial addition to one’s diet, but walnuts may be better than most as they are the only nut that contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acid.  And, as we already know, omega-3 fatty acids are good for us.  Walnuts also have a lot of protein, fibre, phytochemicals, and antioxidants in them.

Walnuts are a tree nut, along with Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia, pecans, pine nuts and pistachios ~ each of these has it’s own nutritional properties, (I can’t abide macadamia nuts and I hate pecan pie).

Walnuts have the vitally important amino acid l-arginine, which give loads of benefits to people with heart diseases, or who may become prone to suffering from heart and circulatory problems.

These almost magical nuts also contain neuroprotective compounds, such as vitamin E, folate, and melatonin.  Research shows that eating a half a cup of walnuts a day may stave off senile dementia.

Allegedly, walnuts also make men more sexually potent, and are good for pregnant women…..

There is one nut which is not generally thought to be quite so healthy; peanuts.  These are legumes anyhow, and basically legumes are either peas or cattle food.  The main reason that early farmers grew legumes is that they improve the soil, and not because they’re good to eat.

Nevertheless, there are health benefits to be found from the humble peanut; they’re full of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals, the anti-aging molecule resveratrol, and phytosterols that help reduce bad cholesterol.

Nuts and seeds are a far better snack than the other disgusting crap many people munch on, especially late at night.  So don’t snack on potato chips, crackers, popcorn, blue cheese, ice cream, doughnuts, pretzels, candy, chocolate, cookies, cake, s’mores…  have some walnuts instead, or almonds, or hazelnuts, (or any nuts and seeds).

The good news is, that glass of red wine you like late at night is good for you too.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

always buy organic walnuts

Food on Friday~ Mediterranean

Good food begins and ends with good talk.

Some say that a Mediterranean diet is good for you.  And, that if you eat a mostly Mediterranean diet you’ll be healthier and live longer.  All I know is that you should always have a really good extra virgin olive oil.

From Greece, tzatziki is basically a mixture of yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, garlic, and mint, and you can buy it from your local store, or you can even make your own.  The Bojon Gourmet has this nice little farro and cucumber salad with feta, dill, and mint that not only would be nice with some tzatziki, but also combines its flavours.  Both would go nicely with some grilled goat.

Farro and Cucumber Salad with Feta, Dill, and Mint

And now, from Heidi at foodiecrush we have this outrageous herbacious Mediterranean chickpea salad.  (I had to include this just for the name of the dish.)

Outrageous Herbacious Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

From Heather Christo this week we have Mediterranean pasta with grilled swordfish, lemons and gremolata.  Gremolata is also dead easy to make for yourself. (I love grilled swordfish, but some say we shouldn’t buy swordfish ~ I will go on eating it, because whatever I do won’t affect how much fish the Japanese rape from the sea.)  This 25 minute dish is perfect for a barbecue with the kind of friend who doesn’t expect a burned burger in a cheap bun.

Mediterranean Pasta with Grilled Swordfish, Lemons, and Gremolata

Sardines are a quintessentially Mediterranean dish, and Petra from Food Eat Love has some super taste combinations in this dish of fresh sardines, roast baby beets with whipped avocado and feta.  As you’d expect it’s the beetroot that going to take the longest to cook here.

Fresh Sardines, Roast baby Beets with Whipped Avocado and Feta

This is another Mediterranean dish I love, grilled lamb kebabs, this time from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.  (Do you want to know my own secret ingredient for grilling Mediterranean style?  7Up ~ when the charcoal gets too hot and the meat looks like it might burn, I sprinkle 7Up over the grill.)  Tieghan’s is a half-hour dish, but one should really marinade the lamb overnight.

Mediterranean Grilled Lamb Kebabs

Dana at The Minimalist Baker has the ultimate Mediterranean bowl, looks fabulous, and it’s easy, healthy, and gluten-free.  However, I would definitely add a little more extra virgin olive oil.

The Ultimate Mediterranean Bowl

For hose of us who like recipe collections, Olive magazine has 19 of the best Mediterranean recipes, including this cod, cherry tomato, and green olive tray roast.  Looks smashing doesn’t it.

Cod Cherry Tomato and Green Olive Tray Roast

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

get yourself a cookery book

A Mediterranean Diet is Good for You

Is there anything a Mediterranean Diet can’t cure?

Specifically, I wonder if a Mediterranean diet can help to cure this terrible head-cold I’ve suddenly contracted?  Or more likely stop me from catching a cold in the first place? Well yes it could ~ but only if I really upped the amount of raw garlic I eat.

A diet rich in oily fish, fresh vegetables, olive oil, garlic, and nuts protects our bodies and our brains, especially as we get older.  However, to get the most benefit from a Mediterranean diet we also need to cut down on alcohol ~ one drink a day for women, (try not to spill it, and drink red wine, not white), and one or two drinks a day for men.  Lucky for me I don’t drink at all these days.  But, a glass of red wine every day is actually very good for you.

It isn’t only the Mediterranean peoples who ate that type of diet, the Vikings did too, and nobody ever accused a viking of being a sickly wuss.

Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.  ~  Hippocrates

People from the Mediterranean region have longer life expectancies and are generally healthier than people from Northern Europe and the United States of America.  The United Kingdom ranks 19th and the USA 31st in terms of average life expectancy, (out of 183 counties listed).

People from around the sunny Mediterranean have lower risks of suffering; Alzheimer’s disease,  type 2 diabetes, cancers, colitis, depression, heart diseases, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, pancreatitis, and strokes.  Trust me, you do not want to get type 2 diabetes, and you really, really, don’t want to have a stroke.

A proper Mediterranean diet isn’t all baguettes, pizza, pasta, and roasted lamb with lots of herbs.  A healthy Mediterranean diet consists of the region’s fruits, vegetables, (especially leafy greens like spinach), seafood, olive oil, cheese, and a couple of glasses of a robust red wine.  These are all anti-inflammatory foods.

But you also need to add a lot of fresh air, sunshine, and lots of physical activity to the mixture to obtain the most benefits.  If you are not already doing so, then you should walk 10,000 steps a day, both to improve your health and help prevent an early death.

Modern scientific evidence suggests that many, (some), of the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet accrue directly from all the good olive oil included in just about every recipe, dish, meal eaten around the Mare Nostrum.

Olive oil is full of monounsaturated fatty acids, (MUFAs), which are supposed to be good for you ~ at least the Mayo Clinic says that MUFAs are good for you.  In fact the well-respected Mayo Clinic says that olive oil is good for you ~ in moderation.

So; your Mediterranean diet should include;

  • The very best extra virgin olive oil you can get.  Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest fat on Earth.  Only ever buy extra virgin olive oil.
  • Fresh fish.  The oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, pilchards, and sardines are full of vitamins D, B, omega 3 fatty acids, and selenium.  Eating oily fish a couple of times a week is said to help prevent; arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, dementia, prostate cancer, schizophrenia, and blindness / impaired vision.
  • Green fruits and vegetables.  It seems that eating green plant stuff can reduce the risk of cancer, helps maintain strong bones and good teeth, and promotes the health of your eyesight in your senior years.  Popeye was right all along, spinach is good for you ~ and so are kale and dandelion leaves.
  • Garlic.  Everyone knows that Mediterranean people eat a lot of garlic.  The Ancient Egyptians used garlic as a medicine.  Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed a hell of a lot of garlic.  The health benefits of garlic include; fighting off allergies, keeping bacterial and viral infections at bay, improving your skin, prevents colds and sore throats, reduces the risk of thrombosis, lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, helps prevent type 2 diabetes, reduces cancer risks, helps beat anaemia, and improves your sex life, (if she can stand the smell).  If you can manage it, eat raw garlic, especially if you have dental problems.
  • Nuts and seeds.  Walnuts, almonds and other nuts are good for your heart.  It seems nuts and seeds contain lots of unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, plant sterols, fibre, vitamin E, and something called L-arginine.  Allegedly L-arginine does wonders for your sex life.
  • A glass of a robust red wine, (when I was drinking I would always choose an Italian red).  The health benefits of red wine were known as far back as the ancient Egyptians.  It seems a regular glass of red wine boosts heart health, lowers bad cholesterol, reduces the risk of degenerative diseases, helps reduce he risks of type 2 diabetes, stops you being so obese, and may prevent Alzheimer’s

However, some things about the Mediterranean lifestyle are very, very bad for you. Men from the Mediterranean coasts of; Spain, France, Corsica, Italy, Greece, (and less desirable places like Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia and Albania), smoke far too much, drive like maniacs in unroadworthy heaps, drive when they’re drunk, and sleep in the afternoons when they’re drunk.  In medieval Hell-Holes like Turkey, Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Egypt you will just get ripped off and / or assaulted / shot / blown up.

And yet, parts of the Mediterranean are among the most beautiful, most magical, most spiritual places on this Mother Earth.  Guys, take your girl there, soon and often.

I’m glad I am a woman who once danced naked in the Mediterranean Sea at Midnight.  ~  Mercedes McCambridge

A Mediterranean Diet is not only good for you, it has some utterly fabulous, great tasting recipes.  Mix Mediterranean with Paleo and you may well have the perfect diet for your health, fitness, well-being, and gustatory satisfaction.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

get robust red wine delivered

How to Stay Healthier and Live Longer

Life is not merely being alive, but being well.

If you adopt a healthy lifestyle, not only will you feel better, you will also add ten or more years to your life.  But, what is a healthy lifestyle?  Turns out that not smoking, (nor abusing prescription or street drugs), drinking booze only in pretty strict moderation, and keeping to a healthy weight are the three pillars of a healthy lifestyle.

Smoking and drinking may look cool, for a short while, but after a short while those pastimes will turn an attractive women into a cackling, wrinkled, old hag.

The reason fat men are good-natured is that they can neither fight nor run.  ~  Theodore Roosevelt.

Personally, I would add another three things we should all do if we want to be fit and healthy well into our senior years; get plenty of good quality sleep, get plenty of appropriate exercise, and eat a good, healthy diet.  Therefore, if you don’t want to suffer a horrible and early death, from this moment on you should;

  1. Stop smoking.  Stop smoking weed too.  Smoking is dirty, disgusting, anti-social, and it will kill you in a selection of particularly nasty ways.
  2. Drink only in moderation.  If you regularly take more than a couple of drinks in an evening, if you empty a bottle of wine in a couple of days, if you have a cupboard full of half-empty bottles of spirits ~ then you have a drink problem, and eventually it will make you very ill.
  3. Don’t be fat, don’t be obese.  It is very easy to stuff yourself with burgers, take-outs, canned food, and other unhealthy crap calories.  Type 2 diabetes will make you very ill, and then it will kill you.  There are three foods / ingredients you should never, ever, knowingly have in your diet;  sugar-free / diet soda, high fructose corn syrup, wheat, wheat flour, wheat products.
  4. Get plenty of good quality sleep.  Lack of sleep doesn’t just make you feel tired and grumpy.  Lack of enough proper sleep causes accidents, makes you stupid, kills your sex drive, and puts you at greater risk of; heart disease, heart failure and heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, and type 2 diabetes.
  5. Take enough appropriate exercise.  Just a daily walk can add 7 years to your life.  You don’t need to join an gym and lift heavy weights.  Both yoga and tai chi have a myriad of health benefits, improving your balance, control, fitness, flexibility, reducing the risks of falls, sprains, and other injuries, easing pain, and reducing the symptoms of depression.
  6. Have a good quality and healthy diet.  And, there are lots of cool diets to choose from; Atkins, Paleo, Mediterranean, Pritikin…  The key is don’t eat junk, have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, eat slowly and chew your food properly, and don’t stuff yourself at every opportunity.

Americans and the British are much less likely to live long and healthy lives than do the inhabitants of most industrialised western countries, and it has nothing at all to do with the standards of medical care in the USA and the UK.  In fact, the Japanese have the highest average healthy life expectancy in the world ~ and it doesn’t have anything to do with either sushi or rice.

Japanese people give attention to health in all aspects of their daily life.  Professor Kenji Shibuya.

Some things you can do today to work towards that fitter, healthier, happier life in your senior years are;

  • Change your attitude ~ tell yourself, convince yourself, that you will be fitter, healthier, stronger, more capable, filled with self-confidence, and more self-aware.
  • Get your blood pressure checked.
  • Eat a better diet ~ stop eating junk.
  • Stop knocking back the booze in the evenings.  Especially DO NOT drink just before you go to bed.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Start exercising.  There are both mental and physical benefits to regular exercise ~ at least 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week.  Walk, (at least) 10,000 steps every day.
  • Walk don’t drive.  Learn to drive in a slower, calmer, more relaxed manner.
  • Don’t get stressed.  Practice meditation and mindfulness ~ just relax.
  • Don’t hang out with people who eat junk, smoke, drink, and slob about just watching sports TV all day.  Stay out of pubs, bars, and down-market restaurants. If you can’t do those things you need to get to an AA meeting.
  • And for goodness sake, stay out of hospital.  Hospitals are incredibly unhealthy places to be for very long.

These are all simple lifestyle changes, and each one is pretty easy on it’s own.  Taken together these lifestyle changes will make a massive difference to your health, fitness, and happiness.  As a side effect you will stop throwing huge hunks of change down the drain.

A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.  ~  Paul Dudley White.

Being angry, hateful, jealous, negative, stressed…, will all damage your physical, mental, and emotional health.   In fact, just believing you are healthy cuts your risk of an early death by three-quarters.

Mens sana in corpore sano ~ a healthy mind in a healthy body.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

 

 

you can buy this book from Amazon

Food on Friday ~ Strawberries

Summer, you just have to have strawberries and champagne.

We have just had the tennis circuit here for Wimbledon Fortnight.  The glitterati and beautiful people who are lucky enough to get into the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club eat strawberries by the ton and drink champagne by the boat load.

I don’t much like watching sports, but I do like strawberries and cream ~ actually my favourite is strawberries with chocolate ice cream.  Some new evidence says strawberries are good for you.  Strawberries may prevent age-related mental decline.

We should really only ever buy organic strawberries, as this lovely summer fruit often contains the residue of 20 or more synthetic chemicals, (probably because strawberries are mostly made of water they take up every pesticide that gets anywhere near to the strawberry beds).

Anyway, here are some cool strawberry recipes for a warm summer.  And, who knew that strawberries are an aphrodisiac?  After all, the pomegranate and strawberries are the fruits of Aphrodite.

First this week we have Petra at Food Eat Love who has some different dishes  with strawberries; strawberry bread and butter pudding with dulce de leche, and beef spring rolls with a strawberry and soy dip.  Petra says this is a true 10 minute dish which makes a great snack or starter.  Hey, you could take this to work with some salad for a midweek lunch.

Beef Spring Rolls with a Strawberry and Soy Dip

Here’s a fabulously beautiful dish from Heather Christo; saffron strawberry quinoa salad.  Great for a summer barbecue because it holds it’s flavour well in the sunshine, vegan and gluten free, and for you Californians, you can now buy saffron at Trader Joes.  This brilliant dish should take you about 40 minutes to prepare.

Saffron Strawberry Quinoa Salad

Dana, the Minimalist Baker has this strawberry arugula salad ~ and the sweet strawberries perfectly complement the peppery arugula and toasted pecans.  Wonderful on a hot day with a glass of fizz.  This is so easy and will take you about 30 minutes.  I’m pretty certain it’s vegan and gluten free.

Strawberry Arugula Salad with Toasted Pecans

A really cool recipe from Teighan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; lemon ricotta cheese stuffed french toast crepes with vanilla stewed strawberries.  What a great desert, breakfast, or evening-time snack.  OK, this is going to take you an hour to make, but what a great way to pass an hour.  Not to mention you can prepare a lot of this in advance.

Lemon Ricotta Cheese Stuffed French Toast Crepes with Vanilla Stewed Strawberries 

Now for something to go with just about anything, Cookie + kate have a good-looking strawberry salsa to tempt our palates.  You can make this in 10 minutes and it’s definitely vegan and gluten free, (leaving aside any chips or crackers to have with it).

Strawberry Salsa

Lemon Ricotta Cheese Stuffed French Toast Crepes with Vanilla Stewed Strawberries

From San Diego girl Averie Sunshine, something I think you’ll like; strawberry layer cake with strawberry frosting.  Averie cheats a little in that she starts with a 15 oz box of white cake mix, but after that this pretty easy recipe is all her own.

Strawberry Layer Cake with Strawberry Frosting

Jessica Merchant at How Sweet It Is has found this really fun and very adult recipe from Joy the Baker; strawberry raspberry rosé slushies.  This is definitely a n’awlins recipe because not only does it have a bottle of dry rosé wine, it also contains a good splash of Campari.  (You could go totally wild and add brandy too.)

Strawberry Raspberry Rosé Slushies

Finally for this week, from Absolut, makers of Swedish vodka, we have 75 drinks with strawberries including the famous strawberry kick.

Vodka and strawberries are a very dangerous mixture to give to your Lady Friend.  You have been warned.

Personally, I liked champagne with strawberries, for preference Lanson Black Label or Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label.  A good Prosecco is nice with strawberries too, and much cheaper than a good champagne.  Sometimes it’s a damn shame I don’t drink anymore.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

 

click to buy Prosscco

 

 

salmon strawberry & nectarines

Coffee Is Good For You

Three cups of coffee a day could extend your life.

Coffee is one of the worlds most commonly consumed drinks, with something like 2.25 billion cups drunk around the world every day.  Coffee contains lots of complex chemical compounds including; caffeine, diterpenes,and antioxidants.

Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as sin.  ~ Talleyrand

It seems coffee is healthy and good for you.  New research, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals,  shows that the antioxidant plant compounds in coffee are highly beneficial in reducing liver disease and liver cancers, help prevent type 2 diabetes, reduce the risk of circulatory problems, ward off Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis, and helps to fight diseases of the digestive tract.  As all of those diseases can kill you, drinking moderate amounts of coffee may even prevent you from suffering an early death.

There are lots of good reasons to drink coffee.  Including the fact that coffee may also be good for your sex drive, (particularly a woman’s sex drive).  Drinking coffee increases the plasma levels of the protein sex hormone-binding globulin that controls testosterone and oestrogen.  That may well be why coffee reduces depression and suicide risk.  Who knew that coffee was a female aphrodisiac?

It isn’t the caffeine that does you good, because people who drink decaffeinated coffee accrue most / some of the same benefits.  However, it seems obvious that proper strong fresh-made ground coffee with all the caffeine in it will give you the most benefits.  A typical cup of coffee has more antioxidants than a glass of grape, blackberry, blueberry, and / or orange juices.  A typical American gets more antioxidants from coffee than from anything else.  What you get from a cup of coffee is; improved liver function, reduced inflammation in the body, better glucose control, and coffee also boosts the immune system.

If you are a regular drinker of the falling down water, if you really like your booze, if you sometimes drink a little too much, if you are a practicing alcoholic ~ then you should really drink fresh coffee on a regular basis.  Just one cup of real coffee a day can reduce your chances of suffering cirrhosis of the liver by 20%.  Coffee will also help prevent you from getting fatty liver disease, whether you’re a boozer or not.

Cigarettes and coffee:  an alcoholic’s best friends!  ~  Gerard Way.

Don’t think you can get the same benefits from other caffeinated drinks that you can get from coffee, because you can’t.  For example, coffee generally makes people feel happier, whereas Coca Cola will give you a caffeine high, but Coke will also make you feel depressed.  Especially any diet caffeinated drink will make you feel really depressed.  In general soda is bad for you, and diet sodas are bad for you in spades.  So your very strong Cuba Libre is doing you no good at all.

The way you prepare your coffee has a big impact on how much benefit you get from all the good complex chemicals present in coffee beans.  For example, if you use a regular coffee maker, and you also use filter papers, then you’re missing out on a lot of the good diterpenes because they are absorbed by the paper.  In general the less there is between the ground coffee and your cup the better.  Possibly a cafetiere / French press using a good dark roast will make you the most beneficial cup of coffee, whereas a cheap instant decaffeinated is probably next to useless in terms of health benefits and taste.

Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.  ~  David Lynch

These findings are based European study led by Imperial College, London, and the UN International Agency for Research on Cancer ~ which looked at half-a-million people over the age of 35.  They found that people who drink three cups of coffee a day live longer than non-coffee drinkers.  There is also an US study led by the University of Southern California ~ which looked at 186,000 people.

We cannot say that drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association.  ~ Veronica W. Setiawan, USC

In conclusion, real coffee is good for you, pod coffee is pretty bad, cheap instant coffee is nasty and probably causes cancer, and Coca Cola is very nasty.  Drinking coffee is cool, often sociable, and a nice woman is more likely to have an afternoon cup of coffee with a guy than she is to agree to meet him in a pub.

Coffee and smoking are the last great addictions.  ~  Lara Flynn Boyle

Statistically, women who drink a lot of coffee are also likely to be drinkers of booze and cigarette smokers ~ strange but true.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

 

buy a French press

Food on Friday ~ Gluten-Free

We may all be sensitive to gluten.

In yesterday’s post I wrote about how bad gluten can be for some people, and how bad modern American wheat is for everyone.  Ergo, today’s Food on Friday features gluten-free recipes for those of us who don’t want to consume wheat flour, and for those of us who may have some degree of non celiac gluten intolerance.

Heather Christo’s website holds all allergen free, and mostly gluten-free recipes.  Not only do they all sound delicious and nutritious, but all of Heather’s dishes look absolutely beautiful.  Recently, as well as featuring grilled nectarine balsamic chicken, blackberry coconut oatmeal muffins, (both vegan and gluten free), and telling us everything we need to know about gluten free beer, Heather has a great recipe for grilled salmon, strawberries, and nectarine kebabs.  Looks fantastic.

Grilled Salmon, Strawberries, and Nectarine Kebabs

San Diego cook Averie Sunshine has a great recipe for spicy baked eggs and hash brown casserole, a pumpkin and cheesy baked potato casserole, as well as this creamy and crispy hash browns frittata, and Averie says all of these are both vegetarian and gluten-free.

Creamy and Crispy Hash Browns Frittata

Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has this really easy recipe for garlic shrimp spring rolls with tamarind vinaigrette, Vietnamese inspired and gluten-free.  This should be ready in 35 minutes and would make a fabulous midweek dinner.

Garlic Shrimp Spring Rolls with Tamarind Vinaigrette

Todd & Diane, the White on Rice Couple have a stack of vegetarian and gluten-free recipes. But being a meat-eater, I really like the look of this sriracha roast chicken with sriracha gravy.

Sriracha Roast Chicken with Sriracha Gravy

From Group SOI, purveyors of Italian Food Solutions, we have a quinoa salad with cardamom and coriander extra virgin olive oil.  Quinoa has become one of the most popular health foods, as it’s high in protein, has all nine essential amino acids, and is gluten-free.

Quinoa Salad with Cardamom and Coriander Extra Virgin Olive Oil

If you want to be gluten-free, but you must have noodles, then try Ramen Noodles.  Ramen Noodles should be gluten free, but it’s always worth checking the labels.  So, from Teighan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest we have these 15 minute garlic butter Ramen noodles.  What could be easier for a midweek dinner?

15 Minute Garlic Butter Ramen Noodles

For those of us who like recipe collections, Woman’s Day has 40 delicious dinner recipes you won’t even realize are gluten-free, including this fantastic looking balsamic chicken with apple, lentil, and spinach salad.  This very easy dinner should be ready in just 25 minutes.

Balsamic Chicken with Apple, Lentil and Spinach Salad

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

there are loads of gluten-free cookbooks

 

 

 

click on the book

Gluten Intolerance

A gluten-free diet is more than just a fad.

Some say that gluten is safe for everyone except those who have celiac disease.  And, that non-celiac gluten sensitivity isn’t a real medical condition.  All I know is that I’ve felt healthier, fitter, and more alert since I realised that wheat is bad for you.  Especially genetically enhanced, chemical laden, pesticide sprayed, modern American wheat is really, really bad for you.  If you have the sense your mother gave you, then you should stop eating anything made from wheat.

Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are direct results of American agriculture policy and, specifically, the government’s wading into the food arena.  ~  Joel Salatin.

Gluten is what makes flour and water as sticky as glue.  Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains like; wheat, spelt, rye, barley, bulgur, oats, and seitan.  There is no gluten in either quinoa or rice.  Nor is there any gluten in potato or beans.  However gluten is found in almost all processed and packaged foods, sauces, and canned food.

Non celiac gluten sensitivity is poorly understood, and there are no specific medical tests of your blood, stool, or urine that can reliably diagnose gluten intolerance.  You and your doctors can only reliably diagnose gluten intolerance by the symptoms and health problems you have.  On the other hand, there are reliable diagnostic tests for full-blown celiac disease.

Common digestive and health problems caused by gluten intolerance include;

  • Irritable bowl problems such as abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, constipation, and diarrhoea.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Irritation of the mouth and throat.
  • Brain fog, difficulty concentrating, problematic memory.
  • Frequent headaches.
  • Mood changes, anxiety, depression, irritability.
  • Low energy and chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Muscle and joint pains.  Osteoporosis.
  • Peripheral neuropathy, numbness and tingling in the hands, arms, feet and legs.
  • Skin problems, dermatitis, eczema, rosacea, skin rashes.
  • Nutrient deficiencies, vitamin deficiencies, iron deficiency, anemia.
  • Asthmatic attacks.
  • Higher risk of learning problems including autism and ADHD.
  • Sexual problems and in women missed periods.
  • Gut autoimmunity, damage to the gut biome

Gluten intolerance will affect every single part of the body as the bacteria in your gut help to control everything from nutrient absorption, to hormone production, to metabolic function, to the way your brain works.

The problem is that gluten from wheat is found in just as many products as that other evil and unnatural food; high fructose corn syrup.  One should read the labels before buying any food, and certainly avoid these foods

  • bread, crackers, pizza, burritos, tortilla, cakes, cookies and the like
  • beer, lager, stouts, ales
  • barley malt
  • packaged, store bought chicken broth
  • malt vinegar ~ buy natural organic apple cider vinegar instead
  • most salad dressings including mayonnaise
  • veggie burgers unless they are certified gluten-free
  • soy sauce
  • packets of seasonings and spice mixes
  • noodles unless they are rice noodles
  • all pasta, (unless it’s marked gluten-free)
  • most condiments
  • non dairy creamer
  • miso
  • bullion cubes and stock cubes
  • canned soups
  • cheese spreads and other processed cheeses
  • sausages and hot dogs
  • ice cream, frozen yogurt, and milk unless it’s from grass-fed cows.
  • Sour cream, which may contain modified food starch.

If you are even mildly gluten intolerant you will need to be very careful when eating out.  Eating out is fun, however,when eating out becomes the norm, and you find yourself eating out two, three, or more times a week, then eating out is no longer a healthy treat and is instead a bad habit.  If you are gluten intolerant dining out is very bad for your health. The same goes for buying Chinese take-out which is likely to be stuffed with MSG, (Monosodium Glutamate).  When eating out avoid fried foods, thickened sauces, and obviously bread.  Only drink gluten-free booze such as cider, wine, spirits and liqueurs, (there are gluten-free beers).  And, if you’re drinking spirits don’t have diet soda as your mixer ~ diet soda is also bad for you.

Some say that gluten intolerance might really be glyphosate poisoning.  And that pre-harvest spraying of wheat and sugar cane with Roundup makes for an easier harvest.  All I know is that I don’t want to eat food contaminated with weed-killer.

Glyphosate is for sure, in every bite of food that contains wheat.  ~  Nancy S. Mure

As it goes, wheat flour and refined sugars are just so very bad for you that your best choice is to avoid them all together.  The list of health problems caused by these two staple foods is both long and nasty.

You may want to look for non-gluten alternative foods and products, and there are lots of these if you make the effort.  Personally I have merely given up anything made with wheat flour, including; bread, cakes, pizza, pasta, cookies, canned soups… ~ and I now also make an effort to read the labels on the stuff I buy at the supermarket.

For most of us, giving up bread and beer is a pretty easy and very beneficial thing to do.

If you want to be really fit and healthy, start by never again eating anything made with wheat flour, you know it makes sense.

If you want the full story then you have to click on the links.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

there is plenty of reading

prebiotics for health

With good digestion all can be turned to health.

Most people know about probiotics ~ which are ‘good’ bacteria mostly found in dairy products such as live yogurt.  Many of us buy products containing probiotics in order to improve our health.  The snag is, which among all the myriads of bacteria in the probiotics we buy are actually ‘good’ for our own unique body and gastrointestinal tract?  When we take probiotics we are taking on trust that whatever is in the live yogurt we’ve just bought will benefit us ~ and it might not.  Most probiotics in products such as yogurt are proprietary strains of bacteria created in a laboratory, and yet they are not subject to regulation.

Putting probiotics into foods that don’t naturally have the beneficial bacteria might not make these products healthier, higher quality, or worthwhile additions to the diet.  ~  Dr. Patricia Hibberd

In any event, some of us can’t abide yogurt and most other dairy products that might contain probiotics.  Milk makes me feel sick.

So what’s the alternative?  Turns out it’s prebiotics which act as a fertiliser for the ‘good’ bacteria that’s already in our gastrointestinal tract.  Prebiotics help your own ‘good’ bacteria to grow and stay healthy.  Prebiotics have many benefits that makes them a better idea than probiotics.

Why should I care one iota about the bacteria I’m carrying around in my intestines?  It seems that the bacteria in our gut has a major influence on our health and general well-being.  Some of the smart people in white coats aver that the bacteria in our intestines are even more important than that ~ allegedly our bacteria even affects our moods and behaviours.  Some say that our gut bacteria is our body’s second brain.  And, that the way people think is linked to the bacteria in their gut.  All I know is that if I eat the wrong stuff I feel slow, lethargic, and miserable.

All disease begins in the gut.  ~  Hippocrates

It’s the ‘good’ bacteria in the gut that actually digests most of the food we eat, looks after our immune system, and protects us from seriously harmful bacteria.  Our ‘good’ bacteria are essential for our good health.  Without these ‘good’ bacteria we can become prone to nasty illnesses such as; acne, early aging, autism, asthma, allergies, cancers, cardiovascular problems, colitis, anxiety and depression, diabetes, obesity, stress, ulcers, vitamin deficiency…

I need to look after my ‘good’ bacteria, and one way to do this is to eat high-fibre foods rich in the prebiotics that act as a fertiliser for the ‘good’ bacteria already in my gut.  There’s a long list, but mostly these prebiotics are raw vegetables which are quite indigestible; raw Jerusalem artichoke, raw dandelion greens, raw leeks, under-ripe banana, raw garlic, raw asparagus, raw chicory root, raw wheat bran, and onions any way you like them.  (Thank the Gods for the onions and banana ~ the rest of that list looks yuck.)  Also honey is a very potent prebiotic, as is unpasteurised apple cider vinegar, (such as Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar).

Turns out that sushi containing cooked and cooled rice is a rich source of prebiotics.  I hate sushi.

Almost nothing influences our gut bacteria as much as the food we eat.  Prebiotics are the most powerful tool at our disposal if we want to support our good bacteria ~ that is, those that are already there and are there to stay.  ~  Giulia Enders.

Prebiotics have several well-documented health benefits;

  • Improved digestion.
  • Enhanced immune system.
  • Better uptake of dietary calcium and magnesium.
  • Stronger bones, increased bone density.
  • Cancer prevention.
  • Reduced risk of dementia and other neurological disorders.
  • Reduced risk of high blood pressure and strokes.
  • Reduced risk of diabetes.
  • Better controlled weight and appetite.
  • Improved bowel regularity.
  • Better balanced hormones.
  • Reduced propensity to anxiety and depression.
  • More energy and better concentration.

Your body is colonized by a vast array of microorganisms that modulate every aspect of your health and physiology, moment to moment, and you can optimize your health by nourishing and protecting these microbes.  ~  Dr. David Perlmutter and Dr. Mercola

If you want to make the most of an increased intake of prebiotics, then under no circumstances drink diet soda, eat anything made with wheat flour, have too much refined sugar, drink too much booze, eat pasteurised flavoured yogurt, buy cereal bars or breakfast cereals, eat chips, (crisps), of any kind, and especially never have anything with high fructose corn syrup in it.  High fructose corn syrup is highly addictive and extremely bad for you.

In fact, whether you’re eating more prebiotics or not, don’t have anything listed in the preceding paragraph ~ all of those things are very bad for you.

The conclusion is; taking probiotics is most likely a waste of time, and could possibly be doing you harm, especially if you take your probiotics as a yogurt drink.  Conversely, eating foods rich in prebiotics will most likely improve your health and help to stave off several nasty, or even life-threatening illnesses.  For fitness in body, mind, and spirit, as well as improved health overall, it’s worth fertilising the ‘good’ bacteria already in your gut with prebiotics.

Luckily for me a Paleo diet is supposed to good for giving you lots of prebiotics.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

click on the picture

to buy apple cider vinegar

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