Category Archives: Diet

Food on Friday ~ Healthy and Easy

the basis of all happiness is good health

It’s all very well my trying to eat a very healthy Paleo diet, but face it, if the recipes are too difficult or too time consuming I’m just not going to make them.  There is a limit to how much time a chap living alone is prepared to spend in the kitchen.

All of these recipes are healthy and easy, so enjoy.

First up this week, from Ali at Gimme Some Oven we have chicken and wild rice soup.  May as well face it, it this viral epidemic gets worse we may all be glad of some chicken soup.  This is real comfort food.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup.

Next, from Joy The Baker we have a roasted lemon chicken soup. This looks and sounds fabulous.  I’ll bet this is a great pick-me-up too,

Roasted Lemon Chicken Soup

From Well Plated by Erin there this great looking but deceptively easy salmon wellington, (although I would have called it salmon en croute). I’d serve this with roasted asparagus.  What a fabulous and fabulously easy meal to serve for dinner, or for a dinner party

Salmon Wellington

Another salmon dish, sheet pan chipotle salmon with cilantro lime special sauce, this one from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; .  I like sheet pan cooking, a lot.

Sheet Pan Chipolte Salmon with Cilantro Lime Special Sauce

With St. Patricks day coming up what about trying this Irish Stout beef stew with herbed dumplings?  This recipe is from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats.  (To be honest, St. Patricks day is a non-event in most of English England.  And right now the last place I want to spend any time is in a crowded bar.)

Irish Stout Beef Stew

And finally for this week, from In Dianes Kitchen we have a really simple recipe idea for sugar snap peas and bacon.  What a smashing side dish, or with rice it would make a good light lunch to take to work, perhaps.

Sugar Snap Peas and Bacon

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

even on his little boat, Marmaduke is quite the chef

So, I Might Die Soon

to the enlightened mind death is but the next great adventure

There is much worry and anxiety surrounding the medical emergency that has the coronavirus at the root cause of it all.  My opinion is that there is more worry and anxiety than this nasty little bug deserves.  Thus far in the UK about 27,500 people have been tested, at the last count 460 people tested positive, of whom an unfortunate 8 have died.

To put this in perspective the population of the United Kingdom is about 66,870,000 souls, and as a percentage of that 460 is so nearly nothing as to make no difference.  Italy, which seems to be the worst affected European country has a population of 60,480,000 , of which 12,000 have tested positive for the virus and 827 have died, (at the last count).  Again this is a minuscule portion of the total population.

Statistically, and by all the laws of probability, the chances of my dying from the coronavirus would appear to be somewhere between slim and none at all.  Particulary if the various governments and health authorities pull their collective fingers out and do something effective about containing / controlling / curing this illness.  In any event, by all the laws of chance I should be dead already.

Men die for these main reasons;

  1. Heart Diseases
  2. Cancer
  3. Accidents and Unintentional Injuries
  4. Stroke
  5. Lung Diseases
  6. Diabetes
  7. Influenza and Pneumonia, (and add the coronavirus in here)
  8. Suicide
  9. Kidney and Liver Diseases
  10. Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of Dementia

The story isn’t as simple as that.  Many of these deaths are more or less self inflicted.  Men do lots of bad and stupid things which will lead to an early death.  For example; boozing, drug abuse, eating an unhealthy diet, being filthy dirty and unclean, gambling, obesity, smoking, unsafe sex, and leading a life of crime and violence.  It may well say on the death certificate that some guy died of liver failure, but it probably will not say that said liver failure was brought on by drinking a pint or so of vodka a day, every single day.

I have good reasons to want to live longer and be fitter later in life, accordingly I don’t do any of the bad and stupid things in the list above; (although I have been known to drink far, far too much booze on occasion, I am now utterly sober).

Similarly, your chances of not catching, or catching and surviving the coronavirus will be much better if you don’t do any of the bad and stupid things from the list above.  To survive an illness, first be fit and healthy.  I have always been reasonably fit and I survived double pneumonia, pleurisy, and breaking 5 of my ribs along the way.

Some say that we could all stay at home and not see another soul until the coronavirus scare blows over.  And that only one in 5 people who catch this thing will need medical care.  All I know is that even if I catch this thing the chances are I will only get a mild illness.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

the Tarot Death Card doesn’t really mean what a lot of people think it means

 

Food on Friday

our caveman ancestors didn’t have combine harvesters

My healthier living plan involves something like the Paleo diet, although not in a strict nor fashionable way.  However, it does mean that there are some types of food that I’m not going to tuck into on a regular basis; dairy, eggs, and most especially wheat / grains and their products like bread, noodles, and pasta.  (I love pasta.)  However, my food guru tells me that long grain and wild rice as well as quinoa are good on even my pretty strict Paleo diet.

First up this week from Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin I’d like to show you this Korean beef bowl recipe.  This looks super delicious, and I would serve it with long grain and wild rice.

Korean Beef Bowl

I am really going to make this blackened shrimp kale caesar salad next week.  One of the things I like about this dish is that it’s complete with so few ingredients.  You can usually rely on Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats to have some very healthy, tasty, yet simple recipes.

Blackened Shrimp Kale Caesar Salad

Earlier this week I made salmon and asparagus in a garlic lemon butter sauce, cooked in a foil pack, the recipe from eatwell101.  Let me tell you, it was simple to prepare and absolutely delicious.  I can recommend this to you all.  (That’ not my picture, but my dish came out looking exactly as per.)

Salmon and Asparagus in Garlic Lemon Butter

From Holly at Spend with Pennies I like this recipe for instant pot chicken and vegetables.  I don’t have an instant pot, (we call them a pressure cooker), but I’m pretty certain I can make this dish in my little combination microwave / fan oven.

Instant Pot Chicken and Vegetables

This is a different take on a staple vegetable; from Dianes Kitchen why not try these herbed carrots?  As a ‘wonder food’ carrots are a brilliant source of beta carotene, fibre, vitamins, potassium, and antioxidants.

Herbed Carrots

Despite that I’m in England in winter I’m eating a lot of salad, and I am attracted to this brussels, butternut, and edamame salad with orange sesame sauce by Heather Christo.  Her dishes always look so fabulous.

Brussels Butternut Edamame Salad

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

no longer on my menu

and I liked both

Dumb and Dumber

stupid to  be alone or just damn dumb

~

I have done some terrible, stupid, and damn idiotic things in my life, but in the past few weeks I have been drifting between crazy and insane

Some drinking but not much, very bad insomnia, no good food, so I have been feeling weary and had no cognitive skills at all.

Luckily I am coming out of this fugue now, and becoming more like my real self.

I sincerely apologize to you all.

~

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

I have been feeling lonely and isolated

 

Food on Valentine’s Friday

if music be the food of love, play on…..

At St. Valentine’s Day a young man’s mind turns to love and romance, and having been a young man once I can vouch for that.  For all I know a woman’s mind turns to love and romance, and probably food too.

But what to do?  Perhaps the young man want’s to take his best girl out for a special meal, in which case find the best restaurant within a reasonable distance of her place, even if you can’t quite afford it…..  If the restaurant is in or near a good hotel, and if you think she would like it, then book a room, have champagne sent up.

Or, you could cook something special for the object of your affections.  Here are some recipes that might go down well on this Valentine’s weekend.

First for this Valentine’s Day we have a steak.  Cooking a great steak is fairly easy if you know how, and Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has a fabulous recipe for smoked ancho chile salted steaks with drunken burst sweet cherries + burrata.  If your paramour likes a big red with their steak, then maybe find a bottle of Barolo.

Smoked Ancho Chile Salted Steak

From Joy the Baker there’s a fabulous recipe for shrimp étouffée risotto.  Joy suggests that you cook this dish together ~ whatever floats your boat.  (An étouffée is a spicy Cajun stew made with vegetables and seafood.)

Shrimp Étouffée Risotto

If you want to risk pasta, what with your date dressed up to the nines and all, then we have 15 romantically simple pasta dinners that scream ‘That’s Amore!’  This from Brit+Cco.  This is a very risky dish of linguini with clams, but it’s so easy and so impressive.

Linguini with Clams

Should your love be vegetarian, vegan, of just into eating a lot of plant-based food right now, then Heather Christo has a collection of 100 plant-based recipes.  To save you the bother of looking through this list I’ve found you this beet quinoa salad with pomegranate, mint, and pistachio.  This dish can serve as a starter, entree or a side, and you can make it ahead of the evening and keep it in the refrigerator.

Beet Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate, Mint, and Pistachio

Our idea for a romantic dessert comes from In Diane’s Kitchen; this delicious looking strawberry pie.  Diane says this is the easiest strawberry pie she has ever made, and face it, you don’t want to be spending all evening in the kitchen.

Strawberry Pie

Our final collection for this Valentine’s day comes from Country Living; 65 Best Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas for the Most Romantic Date Night.  I particularly like this Engagement Chicken Pasta, but maybe don’t tell her what it’s called unless you have the ring.

Engagement Chicken Pasta

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

if you are eating Italian, ask if the restaurant has a demi-frizzanti Franciacorta.  That will impress.

Stress #7 ~ Anxiety and Depression

if you’re going through hell, keep going

Severe anxiety and depression will blight your life, make you incapable of doing even the simplest things, alter your personality for the worse, give you panic attacks, headaches, breathing problems, digestive problems, heart problems, extreme fatigue, and fill you with a foreboding of doom.  Oh, and most likely your blood pressure will go through the roof.

Go to see your doctor and most likely they will tell you that you are suffering from a mild to moderate state of anxiety and depression, and medicate you with something like Xanax or Prozac, amd maybe Zyprexa.  All of these drugs directly affect the chemistry in your brain ~ when you take them you are not you.  All of these drugs have serious side effects, up to and including making you want to commit suicide.  Unless body, mind, and spirit are all nurtured, full recovery can never take place.  Taking an antidepressant / anti-anxiety drug is just painting over the problem, you need to find the proximate cause of your severe mental illness and find a way of dealing with it.

The potential causes of your anxiety and depression are many and mostly a part of what should be a normal life ~ but even normality can be taken to extremes.  You will probably have recently experienced, or still be suffering, one or more of these shattering events; death of a loved one, or someone you felt you should have loved, a failed relationship, a toxic and dysfunctional relationship, separation, leaving home, divorce, physical illness, a very shitty job, loss of your job, poverty, bullying, fear, taking care of the sick and elderly, worry about getting old and your looks, lack of good sex, spiritual issues…..  and you are most likely addicted to booze, medication, or something like pot and cocaine.  Also, anything and everything bad in your past means you are suffering from stored pain.

Nobody is even remotely interested in your pain.  Your family and friends will proffer fatuous and useless advice.  You must be willing to take full responsibility for your own physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.  Especially you must stop hurting yourself with booze, too much medication, drugs, cigarettes, bad food, not eating, and not getting enough sunshine, fresh air, and exercise.  If you don’t take care of yourself you will get sicker, you might die.

Most importantly stop trying to please other people all the time.  You cannot ever change other people, you can only distance yourself from them so they stop hurting you.  You must be the real and true you, and not someone that those around you think you should be.

Some say that you cause all your own problems.  And that you just spend all your time feeling sorry for yourself.  All I know is that you will get much better if you stop listening to all those unhelpful toxic people.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

you can get used to almost anything

except death, but by then nothing matters

Food on Friday ~ Healthier Eating

life is not merely being alive, but being well

It still behoves me to search out recipes which will help me to live a healthier life ~ to be fit and well.  And in all honesty, that isn’t hard, there are plenty of very tasty, good-looking, and very healthy recipes out there, including on many of the cookery blogs I have been following for ages.  Not only that, some of the cooks I follow feature mostly very healthy, allergen-free, and gluten-free dishes.

For me, the three main things I need to concentrate on are to eat much leaner meats, eat a lot more fruits and vegetables, and use much less salt.  That shouldn’t be too hard, should it?  Actually, I’m finding the much less salt thing quite difficult.  Oh well, nothing worthwhile is ever that easy.

First this week we have Diane’s recipe for vegetable rice soup ~ and if you ask me this dish is fantastic.  This looks easy, nutritious, and very healthy, perfect for a weekend lunch or a light dinner.

Vegetable Rice Soup

Next, from that specialist in wholesome food, Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest there is this citrus avocado salad with orange tahini vinaigrette.  This is a very simple recipe, but so good looking that I’m prepared to bet good money that it’s delicious.

Citrus Avocado Salad with Orange Tahini Vinaigrette

From Erin Clarke, at Well Plated by Erin we have an easy, healthy, and juicy crockpot Mexican chicken. You can make this with chicken breasts or thighs, depending what’s good in your supermarket today.  Looks great.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

Another chicken dish, this time classic chicken noodle soup from Holly at Spend with Pennies.  Easily made from scratch Holly says it’s cozy, comforting and delicious ~ it looks it.

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

From Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats, how about this smoky butternut kale salad with goat cheese and apricot vinaigrette ~ and it’s not just another boring butternut squash kale salad either.  (except I might be tempted to use Wensleydale instead of goat cheese)

Smoky Butternut Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Apricot Vinaigrette

Our collection this week is from Good Housekeeping; 16 healthy salmon recipes that are beyond tasty.  These are all fabulous dinner recipes, and not just midweek either.  From the list I’ve chosen to feature this very easy roasted salmon and beets with herb vinaigrette.  I must try this recipe this weekend.

Roasted Salmon and Beets with Herb Vinaigrette

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

poor Marmaduke only has healthy eggs for his dinner tonight

Food on Friday ~ Home Grown

growing your own food is like printing your own money

Some say they can’t grow their own vegetables because they just don’t have the space.  And that all that bending and kneeling isn’t good for them.  All I know is that if you get yourself a planter, or three, you can keep yourself in organic vegetables for 8 months out of every year.

Buying a planter can be quite expensive, but if you’re handy at all you can build your own.  And if you’re no good at DIY, then find a man who can.  (I made that planter above)

And if your space is really very limited, then just add some ingenuity.

Growing your own fruits and vegetables seems daunting to many people, but it’s actually very easy.  All you need is a few square feet of good dirt, water, and a little time.  Among the benefits you’ll see are;

  • improving your health (and your family’s)
  • saving money on groceries (your planter should last decades)
  • enjoy better tasting food
  • know exactly what you’re eating and where it came from
  • stop worry about food safety
  • have a sense of achievement
  • get some outdoor exercise
  • reduce your impact on the environment and food waste

If you have no idea where to start there are innumerable websites that will give you advice, hints, and tips; garden organic, good housekeeping, david domoney, to name but three.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

try it, and I guarantee you will like growing your own

 

Food on Friday ~ Wellness

love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle

You might have read here that I made myself so ill through a combination of too much booze and not eating the right things at the right time, (and eating a lot of the wrong things, like processed food), that I had to spend a week in hospital.  You know what?  I would have gone on in the same old way if I hadn’t turned-up for a routine health check.

What has that got to do with a recipes post?  From now on I am mostly going to post recipes that seem healthier and better for us in body, mind and spirit.  Less fats, more lean meat and oily fish, and much more fruits and vegetables.  It also seems that not all plant-based foods are good for us.  That high-fructose corn syrup is very bad for us seems obvious, but corn oil, wheat, legumes…..?  They’re bad for us too, generally.

So, I will try to avoid recipes that contain anything that’s generally on the minus side of the wellness equation.

First up this week from Dana The Minimalist Baker is her easy 30 minute Chinese Chicken Salad.  I think this fits my healthy eating bill perfectly, especially as it’s soy-free ~ plus, just look at those colours.  There are a stack of tasty-looking salad recipes on this site, it may well be that this is one of my new go-to sites.

30 Minute Chinese Chicken Salad

Next, from Heather Christo a vegan white bean sweet potato chili.  This also has chunks of avocado, fresno chili, cilantro, and green onions.  I need to eat less meat so this dish will be ideal when I really want a smoky chili, but shouldn’t eat any beef for a while.

Vegan White Bean Sweet Potato Chili

Chicken has to be part of my new way of living, but chicken can be bland and boring.  Not so this roasted garlic butter chicken with lemon olive dressing, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.  I think this dish has got so much going for it…..

Roasted Garlic Butter Chicken with Lemon Olive Dressing

Salmon has to be part of my wellness diet, and I really like the look of this baked teriyaki salmon from Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin.  I especially like that the salmon fillet is cooked in foil ~ I love cooking in foil.  Erin also shows us how to make our own, healthier, Teriyaki sauce ~ brilliant.

Baked Teriyaki Salmon

Not many know that, until the end of WWII, pork was not much eaten in England.  We English ate mutton, pork is actually a German staple.  However, this recipe for the best baked pork tenderloin is positively part of my healthier eating plan.  Tiffany from Creme de la Crumb tells us how to do it.

Best Baked Pork Tenderloin

As my new eating plan is kind of a modified Paleo Diet our collection this week is from Delish magazine; 40 Paleo recipes that will make you forget you’re on a diet ~ well there are diets and there are diets.  I have chosen to feature this good-looking baked swordfish steak, and if you have never tried swordfish steak then you’ve missed out on one of the great things in life.

Baked Swordfish Steak

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

poor little Marmaduke can’t have his canned spaghetti any more.

Stress and Your Body

it’s not stress that kills us ~ it is our reaction to it

having your car broken into is a legitimate cause of distress

Today I’m at home in the garret after a week in hospital.  While there I saw, among others, an oncologist and a nutritionist ~ after they talked together I was given detailed dietary instructions to help heal my kidneys, liver, and pancreas.  Strangely, at the top of the healthy eating / life style instructions, right above where its says No Alcohol, it reads No Stress.  Now, I know what my oncologist and nutritionist are getting at and it isn’t no stress whatsoever, because without some good stress we would die ~ that’s sensory deprivation.  What they are getting at is no bad stress extreme enough to cause me Distress, because distress is a killer.

Fear and anxiety, distress and confusion, frustration and insecurity; these are the causes of more illness than all the bacteria, viruses, and parasites in the world.  ~  Dr. Vernon Coleman.

Our bodies are hard-wired to react to stress in ways that were meant to protect us from predators and other dangers ~ today the threats are different but the physical responses are the same.  The first thing that happens in the face of a perceived threat, like a serious problem in your relationship, is that your hypothalamus tells your adrenal glands to surge a release of fight-or-flight hormones including adrenaline and cortisol.

These hormones cause huge changes in the way your body works ~ increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, increased blood sugars, enhances your brain’s ability to use blood sugars, and increases your body’s ability to repair wounds.  On the downside ~ your digestive system shuts down, your reproductive system shuts down, your growth processes shut down, and your immune system mostly shuts down.

It’s actually much, much worse than that, all these fight-or-flight hormones also attack something called Telomeres, which are protective casings at the ends of each and every strand of your DNA, in each and every cell of your body.  It’s a bit complicated, so if you really want to know about this you will need to do your own research.  But, the practical upshot of damage to the telomeres at the ends of your DNA is very bad indeed; cancers, all kinds of other nasty diseases, ill health, early death.

The thing is, for some people, the distress never goes away, so their body is in fight-or-flight mode all the fucking time, and this will make you very ill, (I was), and then it will kill you.  You will suffer from;

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems like ulcers
  • Severe headaches
  • Severe nosebleeds
  • Heart and circulatory diseases
  • Insomia
  • Cognitive impairment and dysfunction
  • Liver, kidney, and pancreatic diseases
  • Cancers
  • Mental illness

The medical profession are not good at diagnosing and treating stress, mostly because they’re not interested.  They will be good at treating your heart problems, (for example), but not good at helping you with the real issue, which is your constant Distress.

Some say that they never worry about what could happen.  And that they’ve never done anything wrong so why should they ever get stressed?  All I know is that some people are so used to being distressed, that they think it’s normal.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

an extreme reaction to stress

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