Category Archives: Food

Brain Health

with perseverance and endurance you can survive any storm

Nobody sane wants to suffer a doddering old age when you can’t remember anything or anyone.  And certainly nobody wants to become an early victim of Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

Maybe most of us have had a parent or elderly relative who has suffered from memory loss, disorientation, poor judgement, mood swings, and a complete inability to live an independently normal life.  To a certain extent maybe that can be expected and accepted when the sufferer in in their 80s or so, but why should it be?  And why should anyone expect or accept the early onset of what should be a disease of the elderly such as Alzheimer’s Disease?

The fact is we can take steps to protect and, if necessary, repair our cognitive abilities.  It’s not rocket science, look any website such as cognitive vitality and you will see that the things that we need to do to protect ourselves against things like dementia are exactly the same things we should be doing to live a healthy life.  In order, and without even checking my information, these are;

  • Stop smoking completely, (and vaping is even worse than smoking).  Smoking will kill you in so many ways, but if you last long enough it will kill your brain.
  • Don’t ever use drugs like pot, cocaine, heroin, (and don’t kid yourself that once in a while is OK). Don’t abuse prescription drugs, in fact as far as possible stop taking prescription drugs.
  • Stop drinking, get sober, give up the booze, (and don’t even try to tell me that you can control your drinking).  Drinking will also kill you in so many ways, but if you last long enough it will kill your brain.
  • Eat for your brain.  There is strong evidence that the right kind of diet will promote brain health.  To begin with, stop eating canned food, processed food, and fast foods.  Check out websites like Purple Almond Wellness.
  • Get enough good quality sleep.  Keep a regular bedtime 365 days a year, do not sleep in at weekends.  Do not take sleeping medication, you should never need it.
  • Take lots of fresh air, exercise, and sunshine.  You know that you need to walk for your circulation to work properly?  If you try the 10,000 steps a day thing you will sleep alright.
  • Lose whatever causes you stress.  You know that too much stress could kill you?  It will certainly shorten your life expectancy and make you prone to nasty diseases such as cancer.
  • Be active in mind and spirit.  Keep learning, meet new people, get a hobby, do stuff.  If you sit there drinking beer and watching sports TV your body weight is going to balloon and your IQ is going to plummet.
  • Get really, really physically healthy.  This is a big topic, so learn how to do it, start with a website like seven fitness tips for improved physical health.  And don’t just sit there, get up and do things.

Some say that their lifestyle is fine.  And that it’s OK to always drive the mile to the store and back.  All I know is that the average American is killing themselves, and if they’re unlucky they’ll live long enough to kill their brain first.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

being upset is no reason to;

drink, use drugs, smoke…

 

Food on Friday ~ Healthier Eating

It’s not a short term diet ~ it’s a long term lifestyle change

I’ve been spending a little time thinking about leading a healthier life ~ well you do when you get to a certain age.  Fresh air, sunshine, exercise, meditation, reading self-improvement books, listening to inspirational podcasts, and eating the ‘right’ foods.  The snag is there are as many ideas about what constitutes a healthy diet as there are diets.

However, for me eating better means cutting out a lot of fat, being as gluten-free as I can manage, and not eating dairy ~ I’m slightly lactose intolerant anyway.  Instead of those things I’m not going to eat I’m planning on a lot more organic fruits and vegetables.  Ergo, today’s recipes are kind of leaning towards the long term lifestyle change I’m working on.

One benefit of the healthy eating plan I’m working towards is that, in general, the recipes are very easy.

First up this week, from Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes we have this easy cucumber salad, and you can’t get a simpler recipe than this one.

Easy Cucumber Salad

Next, from Heidi at Foodie Crush we have this great recipe for the best BBQ chicken ~ chicken is firmly part of my healthier lifestyle.

The Best BBQ Chicken

There’s gluten-free, and there’s not eating anything made from wheat, and then there’s the fact that sometimes you’ve just got to have pasta.  This slow roasted tomato basil pasta is as healthy as pasta can get ~ from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats.  Personally, I will be using gluten-free pasta ~ gluten is nasty stuff.

Slow Roasted Tomato Basil Pasta

Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has this cool recipe for a corn, tomato, and avocado pasta salad ~ this is such a quick recipe, and as I said sometimes one just has to have pasta.

Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Pasta Salad

This is a fabulous dish from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb; one pan garlic herb chicken and asparagus ~ and it doesn’t get any better than that.

One Pan Garlic Herb Chicken and Asparagus

Oily fish is an important part of a healthy eating lifestyle, and from Delish we have 45 healthy salmon recipes, including this brilliant foil pack grilled salmon with lemony asparagus ~ it seems that lemon is good for you.

Foil Pack Grilled Salmon with Lemony Asparagus

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

canned and processed food is not part of a healthier lifestyle

Unhappiness Doesn’t Work

Some don’t even ask for happiness, just a little less pain.

I’ve spent a lot of my life being miserable, angry, jealous, paranoid, depressed, in mental and spiritual pain.  From time to time I’ve shared my pain with others, especially those close to me.  In that I don’t mean that I’ve sat down and had a quiet and reasoned discussion. On the contrary, I’ve shared my pain by attacking people close to me verbally and in writing, or by just disappearing, or by getting drunk on the very spurious grounds that it would make others worry about me.

Just what part of my subconscious mind was hard-wired to think that being unhappy would do anything for me?  Except to exist in a state of unhappiness and pain being unhappy achieves very little.  To a sane mind, being unhappy should act as a spur to change whatever it is about one’s life that is making you unhappy ~ except it almost never does, because very few people have that degree of grounded and mindful sanity.

For many people being unhappy, miserable, angry, jealous, paranoid, depressed, in mental and spiritual pain becomes their normal state of being, it becomes their comfort zone.  And how utterly sad that one’s comfort zone is a place of utter and total negativity.

For some others those negative feelings act as a spur to find an escape ~ in alcohol, drugs, binge eating, gambling, pornography, inappropriate casual sex, self-harm, attempted suicide, making a big geographical change…..  For me, the escape from being in a bad dark place was always alcohol ~ and that worked for a while, just as all those other addictive behaviours may work for a while.  However, very quickly the cure becomes far worse than the problem of unhappiness, mental, emotional, and spiritual pain.

Addictive behaviours are not a cure, they are just another facet of the kaleidoscope of some serious underlying issue deep in the subconscious mind of the sufferer ~ it’s like throwing a drowning man a concrete lifebelt, or trying to put out a fire by throwing petrol, (gasoline), on it.  Giving someone with depression a bottle of booze and encouraging them to go out and fuck the first person they meet in a bar is just as bad ~ all it will do is destroy any feelings of self-worth they had left.

So why are so many people seriously unhappy, to the point that it can be classified as a mental illness?

Because we learned to be unhappy before we were old enough to know any better.  Before we were seven years of age, deep and undying unhappiness was inculcated into our subconscious mind by our parents, carers, older siblings, teachers, et al., and now it’s hard-wired into our subconsciousness.  And it doesn’t work.

How we break out of the downward spiral of misery will have to be the topic of another post.  This post is too long already.

Some say that they are unhappy because the world is a bad place.  And it’s all going to be OK because their doctor has given them some happy pills.  All I know is that unhappiness and misery doesn’t work.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

booze is a bad way to try to find escape from mental, emotional, and spiritual unhappiness

 

 

 

Food Glorious Food

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.  ~  Virginia Woolf

After my depressing piece about how practicing veganism is most likely very bad for you, something more upbeat about food.

I’m more the Artful Dodger type than any wimpy snowflake like Oliver.

Note the use of the English word ‘cadge‘ at the beginning of the song.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

slow cooked Scottish beef stew

Food on Friday ~ Asparagus

Asparagus, when picked, should be no thicker than a darning needle.

Back in the day they must have had some pretty fat darning needles.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am always nervous about cooking asparagus.  For a start one is supposed to have a proper asparagus cooker, which I once had but eventually gave to a thrift store.  I could buy a new one, but who in their right mind will pay $300 for a pot they will only use once in a while?  (I kid you not, I looked on Amazon, and the asparagus cooker I liked was $300.)

OK, this has to be my very favourite recipe idea for asparagus, from in Diane’s Kitchen we have bacon wrapped asparagus ~ and need I say more.

This is a very healthy, tasty, and nutritious lunch idea from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower: roasted asparagus mushroom quiche.  This is easy to make and would be perfect for a weeknight dinner as well as something to take to work for lunch~ to be eaten either hot or cold.  You can also freeze a quiche.

Roasted Asparagus Mushroom Quiche

Now, from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats we have asparagus one pot pasta.  Next to sheet pan cooking, I love one pot cooking just the best.  This looks a wonderful recipe.

Asparagus One Pot Pasta

From Chungah at Damn delicious we have sheet pan garlic butter tilapia.  This is a 30 minute recipe, and you can substitute any white fish for the tilapia.  Personally I like deep, cold water fish; cod, haddock, halibut…  and I’d add lots of fresh herbs, like basil and parsley.  But, I love the asparagus and tomatoes, and I really like sheet pan cooking.

Sheet Pan Garlic Butter Tilapia

From Heather Christo, another great recipe, grilled romaine, red onion, avocado and bacon salad.  Remember to make far too much of this dish, so you’ll have enough leftover to take to work for lunch.

GRROA&BS

Grilled Romaine, Rd Onion, Avocado, And Bacon Salad

This is especially for an American Girl I know, who I am certain doesn’t always eat a good breakfast.  Again, from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower we have a perfect summer weekend brunch, roasted garlic asparagus and bacon eggs benedict, with basil avocado cream sauce.  Yeah, the only time my friend will get to eat this is if I make it for her.  (funny thing about asparagus…)

Basil-Avocado-Cream-Sauce-3

Roasted Garlic Asparagus And Bacon Eggs Benedict With Basil And Avocado Cream Sauce

I know how much you like recipe collections, so from Wide Open Eats here are 20 foil packet recipes making dinner a breeze ~ how cool is that?  Anything that makes mid-week dinners easier is a good idea.  Included in this collection is a great recipe for lemon chicken and asparagus from Creme de la Crumb.

Lemon Chicken and Asparagus

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Really?

$300, check it out

 

Eating Bread is Killing You

The truth doesn’t change just because you don’t want to hear it.

Wheat is routinely sprayed with a chemical that will give you cancer.

Glyphosate is legally classified as a carcinogen, and glyphosate is the main active ingredient of a weedkiller called Roundup.  A federal jury in California found that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide was a substantial factor in causing Edwin Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Monsanto, which is owned by the German chemicals company Bayer, is facing more than 9,000 similar lawsuits.  We all know that German chemicals companies have a very dark history.  In recent times the evil corporation Monsanto / Bayer has bullied scientists, suppressed evidence, and hid the cancer risks arising from Roundup / Glyphosate.

Even the US Environmental Protection Agency is not immune to collusion with Monsanto ~ the EPA lied when they stated that glyphosate is probably not carcinogenic to humans.  Monsanto knowingly lies when they say that Glyphosate has excellent environmental features….. and extremely low toxicity to mammals, birds, and fish.  Roundup was introduced in 1974, is used in 130 countries, to control weeds and improve the yield of more than 100 crops.  Every damn year in the USA, over 300 million pounds, (150,000 tons), of Roundup are sprayed on the crops you eat, especially wheat corn, soya, and canola, (from which we get the shit called canola oil).

People will have Roundup ready soya whether they like it or not.  ~  Ann Foster, spokeswoman for Monsanto.

That means that a hell of a lot of the everyday products you eat and drink are contaminated with a deadly, carcinogenic poisonous chemical.  Eating bread, cakes, cookies, anything with flour in it, anything with high fructose corn syrup in it, drinking beer with grains in it, using canola oil, are all seriously damaging your health.  Eat bread, drink beer, and be ill before you die sooner than you should.

There are more damn good reason that you shouldn’t eat bread; gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and heart disease.  Bread is not the staff of life, bread is a killer food.

High fructose corn syrup will also kill you though; heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, fatty liver, bad teeth…..  And, the average American consumes more than 60 pounds of this shit every damn year.  High Fructose Corn Syrup, and Cane Sugar are not the same thing, and the body handles them differently ~ cane sugar is safer, but more expensive.

Some pray, and give us our daily bread.  And some say that Roundup is completely safe to fish, birds, animals, and humans.  All I know is that I won’t eat shit.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

there are a hundred reasons why Marmaduke shouldn’t eat canned crap

the interconnectedness of agribusiness and you

Gambling with your health and well-being for the sake of more profitable hamburgers.

One of the main purposes of genetically modifying food plants such as wheat and corn is to make them resistant to a weed-killer called Roundup, which is sprayed on food crops several times in a season ~ including right before harvesting to dry the crop out.  The principal active ingredient of Roundup is a chemical called Glyphosate.  Of many lies told about glyphosate is that it was discovered by Monsanto in 1970.  In fact this nasty chemical was first patented as a descaling and chelating agent for boilers and pipes by the Stauffer Chemical Co. in 1961.  It’s a drain cleaner.

Glyphosate is a poisonous organophosphorus carcinogen.

When I was a boy, learning about farming, I was told about field rotation, (or crop rotation), which is the practice of changing what the farmer grows on any piece of land on a four-year cycle.  This prevents such nasty things as soil erosion, soil exhaustion, soil poisoning, and poor soil fertility ~ all of which lead to poor crop yields.

Modern agribusiness doesn’t practice crop rotation, instead it uses monoculture farming.  This destructive method of land use requires large amounts of artificial fertilisers and pesticides to make it work, and it leads to an unbalanced and unsustainable ecosystem.  Agribusiness in the USA does not work in harmony with the land, instead it beats the land into submission to produce larger and larger amounts of poisonous food and drink.

These are very similar farming practices to those which caused the Great Plains dust bowl of the 1930’s, except modern farming practices are far more intensive and artificial than anything dreamed of by the farmers who helped cause the Great Depression.  Today, agriculture is based on very capital-intensive heavy machinery.

If a farmer in a typical high plains farming community decides to eschew intensive chemical-based monoculture and embrace more ecologically sustainable organic agriculture, he / she is likely to be ostracised by the rest of his / her community.  Peer pressure is a powerful thing and very difficult to ignore.  Most farmers are in denial about the damage they are doing to the soil, the rivers, the sea, and the wider environment.  Not to mention the poisons they are putting into your food and drink.

These chemical fertilisers and pesticides can take decades to completely clear from the environment.  The half-life of glyphosate in soil and water is much longer than Monsanto would like to admit.  Monsanto is a German company.

Some say they would never shop at a farmers market or buy organic produce.  And some people don’t believe that intensive farming practices are killing them.  All I know is that in 1945 about 45% of American food was grown in people’s back yards.

And, by the way, probiotic drinks are very bad for your health. The live bacteria in probiotic drinks originated in cows.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

anything made with grains is bad for you

unless it’s organic, then it’s not so bad

Rituals and Habits

We are what we repeatedly do.

If you are at rock bottom, deep in the slough of despond and fighting off depression, then sometimes you can see no way out.  Everything seems hopeless and pointless, and you may feel helpless and aimless.  There may come a time when you don’t even want to get out of bed ~ unless it’s go and get your next drink or other drug of your choice.  Sometimes, late at night I’ve seen disheveled individuals shopping for booze, obviously wearing a coat over whatever they last went to bed in.

When it’s that bad, may I suggest a way to get yourself back onto this planet with the ordinary people?  Try to develop some useful rituals and habits that will stick with you for the rest of your life.  Perhaps in order of bringing you back to normality, do these things every single day;

  1. Get yourself out of bed at the same ‘reasonable’ time every day.  Say, eight in the morning.
  2. Go to the bathroom, have a wash, and if you’re a guy get a shave.  If you’re a woman, do something with your hair.  Do this every morning.
  3. Every single fucking damn day, find some clean clothes and get dressed.  If you went to bed dressed, get changed.
  4. In the kitchen, drink a pint of water.  Try some tea, coffee, and something to eat too.
  5. Take out the obvious trash, and then walk to the nearest store. Do Not Drive.  While you’re there buy food and fruit or vegetable juice.  Do Not Buy Booze or Medications.
  6. After lunch take a couple of hours to nap on the sofa or in the chair.  Make it an unbreakable ritual to take an afternoon nap.  If you can meditate, make it an unbreakable ritual to try to meditate during that time.
  7. After your nap telephone someone to tell them you’re alive and doing better.  It might be a while since they spoke to you when you were sober, so they’ll be pleasantly surprised.  If you don’t know anyone phone AA, or NA, or the Samaritans, but for Gods’ sakes talk to someone.
  8. Always go for an afternoon stroll.  Don’t go into a bar, or the store, or any of your usual haunts.  Walk in the park, or by the sea, somewhere peaceful.
  9. Read something difficult, useful, inspirational, helpful ~ if you have nothing to read, find a big book, or a Bible, or a discarded newspaper, or join the fucking damn library.
  10. Eat an evening meal, every single fucking damn day.  Eat a meal even if you feel like throwing up ~ you need the calories and other nutrients, or you will die.  Drink a pint of water with your meal
  11. If you have been to a 12-step meeting before, go back.  Attend regularly.  If you haven’t been to a 12 step meeting find one that suits your particular problem.  If you can’t find something that matches your current form of self-harm, go to AA.  If you can’t get there, phone them, and they will send someone to get you.
  12. Go to bed at the same time every day.  Say ten o’clock.  Drink a pint of water and then get changed before you go to bed, even if that means sleeping nude.  Go to the bathroom before you go to bed, wash, clean your teeth, examine yourself for injuries that might need treatment tomorrow.

If you have never been where I’ve been, where some still are, the above 12 rituals and habits might seem bleeding obvious.  But, if the last thing you drank was booze, and the last thing you ate were pills, then those 12 habits might just keep you alive, sane, and on the road to recovery.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

you may think you look as cool as this when you go to your bar

you don’t

 

Songs on Saturday ~ Alicia Keys

New York, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.

I want to wake up in a city that doesn’t sleep

And find I’m king of the hill, top of the heap

I like New York, I like the Plaza, the Monkey Bar, the Circle Line, Saks on 5th, and eating at Lincoln Square Steak.  I don’t like gypsy cabs, the subway, Times Square, or Central Park.

Please listen responsibly.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

In New York, “have a nice day…..” doesn’t mean what you think it means.

A short break in Wales

Or, how not to drown.

Not so very long ago, during a solo vacation in Turkey, I very nearly drowned in the Mediterranean.

These are my co-vacationers in Turkey- who didn’t almost drown.

As I’m going to Crete in a couple of weeks I thought I should do something about my non-swimmer status, (for all practical intents and purposes).  So casting around on the internet I found Sarah Kentish, ( http://www.swimwithsarah.co.uk/   sarah.kentish@btinternet.com ) who could give me some intensive, 1 to 1 swimming instruction, before my vacation in Crete.  And believe you me, finding some proper swimming instruction in the narrow time-window I had available was nothing short of miraculous.

Sarah said that she could teach me how not to drown every time I went in the water, and she was going to be teaching in the Imperial Hotel in Llandudno. And so, I booked a series of lessons and sent off my payment.  Snag was, I had no real idea where Llandudno is, other than it’s a seaside resort.

Llandudno is in Wales, and about 250 miles from where I live….. which doesn’t sound so bad.  Except I was travelling by train.  The journey there took six-and-a-half hours and involved 5 different trains.  (The journey home from Llandudno was not as bad.)

Still, I got there to find that the Imperial Hotel is a Magnificent Victorian Edifice.  My room was nice, the pool in the basement was nice, and Sarah was nice.  Under Sarah’s instruction, in 5 x 40 minute sessions I went from being effectively a non-swimmer to a chap who was more than just ok in the water.

Other than just how much I needed proper swimming instruction, the most surprising thing about this trip was that the main dining room at the Imperial Hotel is world-class.  They serve the most sublime food in elegant surroundings, (posh frock and expensive shoes elegant).  How they can have a world-class dining room in Llandudno is beyond me.

The downsides were; the trip cost a small fortune, the weather was dreary, and Llandudno by rail from my place may as well be on the dark side of the moon.

Llandudno is a pretty smart place, but it seems to attract the elderly more than cute girls in small bikinis.  On the other hand there is a hell of a lot more to do in that Welsh seaside resort than you’d think.  The Imperial Hotel is fairly pricey, but mostly worth it.  Individual, 1 to 1 swimming instruction is also fairly pricey, but very, very worth it.  It might save my life one day.

And, that’s why I took a short break in Wales.

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

The pool at the Imperial Hotel

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