I’ve written several blogposts about porridge (see list on this page) including recommendations for some good brands of oats.
I’ve been using Flahavan’s Irish Organic Jumbo Oats recently but have become fed-up with fishing out the half dozen inedible husks that seem to appear in every panful.
I’ve gone onto Jumbo Oats produced by Shepcote of Driffield in East Yorkshire. They’re lovely and creamy but still have the coarser texture associated with jumbo oats.
The Shepcote website has a fascinating history of the company which was established in 1969. Originally trading in sugar, Sheppcote’s evolved into producing handmade marzipan confectionary. In 1970 the company started supplying Fortnum and Mason’s with handmade marzipan petit fours and developed royal connections. The company has expanded hugely into a wide variety of products. I haven’t tried anything other than jumbo porridge oats but they really are good.
Researchers looked at more than 350 studies from around the world that examined the impact of fruit and veg consumption on a range of health outcomes, such as cancer and stroke, as well as premature death.
They found eating more fruit and veg was linked to a lower risk of getting these diseases and dying early when eating up to 800g a day (around 10 portions).
Although I enjoy fruit and veg, my heart sank. TEN seemed a bit too much of a good thing.
I’ve been aiming to eat my 5-a-day for several years now but I thought doubling the amount to 10 was a tad unrealistic. And then I started thinking about the portion sizes and wondered what exactly constituted a PORTION.
Some of the portion sizes I’ve had for 5-a-day are more like TWO portions. I’m already eating seven or eight portions of fruit and vegetables every day so it wouldn’t be too difficult to increase to ten.
However, the chief nutritionist for Public Health England explained to the BBC that setting a realistic target such as 5-a-day which people could actually achieve was more important. Dr Tedstone said, “Whilst consuming more than five portions of fruit and vegetables a day may be desirable … adding pressure to consume more fruit and vegetables creates an unrealistic expectation.”
only a third of adults in Britain achieve the 5-a-day target. The additional expense of fresh fruit and veg. was cited as the main reason for the low take up of the healthy eating target. I doubt that economic circumstances have altered sufficiently to lead to an increase of 5-a-day consumers.
Kathleen Barnes is a passionate natural health advocate, author, writer and publisher who has devoted nearly 40 years to educating the public about healthy living. In her article 12 Reasons to Eat Your Broccoli she suggests that broccoli may be the single biggest health protector in the vegetable world.
Alison Hornby, a dietitian writing for the NHS Choices website, expresses a more cautious view about the benefits of eating broccoli but nevertheless gives the vegetable a thumbs up.
Broccoli may not live up to the hype, but nevertheless it contains many nutrients, such as folate, soluble and insoluble fibre, vitamins C and A, and calcium, which are needed for numerous functions in the body, writes Alison.
Nicola Shubrook at the BBC Good Food website is in no doubt that broccoli is good for you. She provides some interesting recipes which are useful if you don’t like the taste of broccoli and want to disguise it.
Steak & broccoli protein pots
Sesame salmon, purple sprouting broccoli & sweet potato mash
Poached eggs with broccoli, tomatoes & wholemeal flatbread
Wholewheat pasta with broccoli & almonds
Stir-fried chicken with broccoli & brown rice.
I don’t bother adding broccoli to other dishes. I want to keep as many nutrients as possible. I don’t like eating broccoli raw so I plunge it into boiling water for five minutes, strain and leave it in its own steam for a further five minutes. That way it’s slightly softened but still firm and bursting with benefits!
It’s a mild green tea, with a rounding of spearmint and a touch of cardamom. I really like it and it’s good at the end of dinner as a calorie free alternative to eating a whole box of chocolate mints!
Twinings are selling 20 teabags for £2.49 but it’s cheaper at the supermarket.
I’m still not sure about the health benefits of green tea.
Certainly the NHS website was making a brew with cold water but traditional Chinese medicine credits green tea with many beneficial effects. I quickly scanned through these articles and was amazed at all the claims made for green tea.
Jasmine Green Tea and Moroccan Mint Green Tea are lovely, refreshing drinks. While not acknowledging any significant health benefits, UK medicine is clear that there are no harmful side-effects. If the traditional Chinese Medicine claims for the benefits of drinking green tea are true, that’s a big bonus feature!
My sister was telling me on the phone the other day about her latest easy-to-cook-from-scratch recipe, cauliflower steaks.
She’d enjoyed cauliflower florets added to a pan of roasted vegetables
and was enthusiastic about making roasted cauliflower slices the centrepiece of her evening meal.
She said all you did was cut vertical slices about 1cm in thickness from a whole cauliflower. Lay the slices side by side in an oiled roasting tin. Sprinkle on whatever herbs or spices you fancied or happened to have in the store cupboard. She was talking turmeric and cumin. I think I would try dried tarragon. Cover the flavoured cauliflower slices with some grated cheese or a cheese slice and pop into a heated oven about 180 – 200 for roughly 20 minutes.
My sister was planning to serve her cauliflower steaks with wholesome brown rice and a mixed salad. A quick, healthy and economical meal which she was looking forward to eating.
After we’d put the world to rights and ended our conversation, I tuned in to the BBC News channel.
By one of those amazing instances of synchronicity that occur occasionally
BBC News 24 was reporting that M&S had decided to withdraw from sale their pre-packed cauliflower steaks. They’d received an avalanche of of customer complaints and ridicule for a £2 pack of two cauliflower slices with added lemon and herb dressing.
The objections were mainly related to price and packaging although some customers thought the “steaks” description was overblown.
This and the cauliflower ‘steaks’ (sliced slices of cauliflower) in M&S are just ridiculous. https://t.co/Zc05s1nAW4
The tea is quite expensive but has a lovely, delicate flavour.
For years I’ve been under the impression that green tea is beneficial to health without really knowing why so I’ve consulted Dr Google.
The NHS choices website has an excellent analysis of the claims made for the health benefits of green tea.
The article explores a wide range of claims for the benefits of drinking green tea including:
Does drinking green tea protect you from cancer?
Can green tea aid weight loss?
Does green tea cut cholesterol?
Can green tea help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease?
Can green tea lower blood pressure?
Can green tea prevent tooth decay?
In concluding the article, NHS Choices refers to dietitian Alison Hornby
“In the Far East, green tea has been used as a treatment for a variety of conditions ranging from arthritis to weight loss, as well as a preventative measure for diseases such as cancer, although the evidence for the majority of these conditions is weak or lacking.
“However, as a social drink, it appears to be safe in moderate amounts, so lovers of green tea can continue to enjoy it.”
Overall, it seems that green tea won’t do any harm, might do a little bit of good but probably won’t make any difference. So, I’ll keep on enjoying my Jasmine Blossom Green Tea although I doubt that I will ever be paying £57 for 250g!