Tuesday, 1 August 2017

August 2017: did you know?




DID YOU KNOW -


 the one that had aspartame is on the left ....

* Did you realise what happens when you consume aspartame? Ordinary sugar is actually better for you, even if it does have a few more calories:
http://www.holisticmed.com/aspartame/arthritis/
Often, like other sweeteners, aspartame is not listed on labels, because Quantitative Ingredient Declarations are not required for any ingredient weighing less than 2% of the total. And the amount they add is not very much, as it is 200 times sweeter than sugar!
It’s also cheaper to produce than sugar, and therefore more and more used in non-diet full-fat products as well [1].


* Now is the perfect time to sow green manures like vetch, clover or phacelia: http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/green-manures.


“As a general rule it's a whole lot easier to slap a health claim on a box of sugary cereal than on a raw potato or a carrot. With the perverse result that the most healthful foods in the supermarket sit there quietly in the produce section, silent as stroke victims - while a few aisles further down, Cereal the Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms are screaming their newfound "whole-grain goodness" to the rafters.” Michael Pollan, In-Defense-of-Food: www.passionatehomemaking.com/2009/10/in-defense-of-food-an-eaters-manifesto.html. 


* An interesting article about the difference between ‘salts that heal and salts that kill’ - namely table salt and proper sea salt. And why we desperately need this proper salt: http://www.jeffreywarber.com/hc%20pages/salt.html. See also Thought Oct 2015: http://thoughtforfood-aw.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/october-2015-salt-ii.html.


* Save money and buy quality, local food: if there is a Farmers’ Market anywhere nearby, and you can go there at the right time, that's where you should go to buy your bread, veg, meat and fish. Check on the internet whether there is one near you. 


* There are plenty of flowers around at this time of the year. And quite a few are edible: see http://www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2012/06/10_of_the_best_edible_flowers.html.


* Organ meats are good for us. Unfortunately, we got out of the habit: https://wellnessmama.com/12579/organ-meats-healthy/.


Did you know that taking too many supplements can hurt? You have to be careful in particular with calcium and vitamins A and D. Melissa Young MD tells us how, and what to do about it:



* Butter, real butter, is good for you. The experts who tell you different are generally in the pay of Becel-Clover-Flora and their ilk, directly or indirectly [2].
And if you’re older, don’t let them tell you to spread it thinly. As we age, many of us need more fat to make our guts run smoothly. Just cut down on the crisps, or whatever you tend to go for ....


And if the only reason you buy that Clover or Flora is so that you can spread it straight from the fridge, rejoice! See http://metro.co.uk/2015/01/07/this-butter-mill-will-transform-your-cold-block-of-butter-into-beautiful-spreadable-ribbons-5012279/.



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NB - from the New Scientist 24/9/2016
Do you trust your doctor? They do their best. However: “Just under two-thirds of drug and treatment side effects aren’t reported in journal papers, according to a study that compared what appeared in journals with side effects mentioned elsewhere, such as at conferences or in drug company reports. Not detailing side effects in a paper could mean doctors are less likely to know of them.” (PLoS Medicine, 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002127)

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EAT:
veg: aubergines, french/runner/broad beans, calabrese, cauli, cucumbers, fennel, chard, spinach (beet), summer squash, sweetcorn, globe artichokes, beet, carrots, courgettes, cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, peppers, radish, turnip, marrow, tomatoes, spring onions, salsify/scorzonera, samphire, rocket, watercress.
Cheap, free range good-for-you meat: rabbit and wood pigeon. Puffballs!
Fish is excellent at this time of year: mackerel, black bream, crab, grey mullet, trout, scallops, sea bass, flounder.

SOW:
Chinese cabbage, spring cabbage, chicory, kohl rabi, lettuce for harvesting November/December, quick variety peas, mooli (=white) and black radish, chard, spinach beet. Lamb's lettuce (corn salad), rocket and especially land cress will survive the winter.
Perpetual spinach, (spinach beet, or leaf beet) tastes as good as 'true' spinach, is more forgiving of soil and weather and doesn't go to seed so quickly. Sow now for winter/spring crop.
Early August only: chard, florence fennel, spring onions, turnip.
And don't forget that for successful winter growing, many seeds can still be sown this time of the year, in late summer/early autumn: see http://www.verticalveg.org.uk/winter-growing-its-time-to-plan-and-sow/.

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RECIPES


PEAS with BRAISED LETTUCE for 1 or 2. 
Half a head of (cos) lettuce, 2 tblsp butter, a thinly sliced shallot, ab.150ml stock, 100g (frozen) peas.
Chop the lettuce into small pieces. Sauté the shallot for a minute, add lettuce, sauté for another minute. Add stock, bring to a simmer.  Add peas, cook covered for a short while. Season if necessary. Garnish with, for instance, heavy cream, mint, grated carrots or lemon juice.

FRENCH BEANS with HAZELNUTS for 2-4 people.
225g French beans, 75-100ml lightly toasted coarsely chopped hazelnuts, 1 1⁄2 tblsp butter, salt, freshly ground black pepper.
Bring some salted water to the boil and cook the beans in the normal way. Sauté the nuts in butter, add the beans, stir and heat through; season and serve immediately.

RUNNER BEAN STIR FRY
400g runner beans, 1 onion, 200g cooked kidney beans: if from a can, rinsed and drained. If frozen, defrosted. 10ml sesame oil (olive will do), 1tblsp soy sauce or tamari, 1tsp honey, 1tsp sesame seeds (optional), 1cm finely sliced fresh ginger or ½tsp ground ginger, maybe a squirt of fresh lemon juice.
Trim the runner beans. Slice into strips 1cm wide, 6cm long. Precook till nearly done. Slice onion finely. Blend soy/tamari, honey, sesame seeds, ginger (and lemon juice). Sauté onion in oil, stir regularly for 3-5 minutes, until nearly soft. Add runner and kidney beans: stir and cover. Cook for about 3 mins, until the runner beans are tender. Add sauce, heat through.


LETTUCE and COTTAGE CHEESE (ideally full fat*!) on toast.
Cut up some lettuce (you can use roughish outside leaves), sauté in half butter half olive oil. Add some tomatoes, maybe part of a tin. Let cook for a few minutes. It’s important to season this well! lots of pepper and any spices/herbs you like. At the last moment add some cottage cheese, stir and heat everything together. In the meanwhile toast a slice of nice bread, put on top, no butter necessary. 
A very healthy, and pleasant little meal indeed. 

For more recipes see August issues from former years - click on August 2017 on the right hand side. 
Or go to https://thoughtforfoodaw.wordpress.com, which still has eight recipes for this year. 
Next month: number two. To see this now, click on https://thoughtforfoodaw.wordpress.com. 




alphabetical index of subjects


For technical reasons, the months have all been grouped under the same month of the last two years. Click on 2017 and 2016. 

alcohol                                                   Dec 14
Alzheimer's                                            Sep 16
antibiotics                                              Sep 15, Apr 17
arthritis                                                   Apr 14
artificial sweeteners                               August 17
biotics                                                    Apr 17
blood pressure                                      Mar 16
brain food                                              May 13
bread                                                     May 10, Oct 16
breakfast                                               Jul 10, Aug 12
butter                                                     Feb 12
calories                                                 Jan 12
cancer                                                   Aug 11
cheese (British)                                     Dec 12
chocolate                                              Jun 13
cholesterol                                            Mar 10, Apr 11, Nov 13
Christmas recipes                                 Dec 13
common cold                                        Oct 14 
coughs                                                  Nov 14
cravings                                                Jun 12
dairy                                                      Oct 17
death                                                     Feb 17
depression                                            Feb 14
diabetes 2                                             Apr 16
diarrhoea                                              Aug 15
diet                                                       Jul 11, Jan 15
drink                                                     Dec 14
eggs                                                     Jan 16
emulsifiers                                            May 16
fat                                                         Jun 10, Nov 13
faeces                                                   Sep 17
fever                                                     Dec 15
fish                                                       Jul 12
heart                                                     Nov 17
heartburn                                              Dec 16
home remedies (why do I use?)           May 15
hypertension                                         Mar 16
immune system                                    Jul 17
inflammation                                         May 14
insomnia                                              Apr 15
intuitive eating                                      Nov 16
meat (processed)                                 Feb 11, (cheap) Oct 12
milk                                                      Sep 11
minerals                                               Apr 13
mood  (food and)                                 Jul 16
number one                                         Aug 16
number two                                          Sept 17
osteoporosis                                        Mar 17
painkillers                                            Jun 17
pesticides                                            Dec 11
protein                                                 Sep 10
roots                                                    Jan 14
salt                                                      Oct 11, Oct 15
soy                                                      Aug 13
stress                                                  Jul 14
sugar                                                  Jul 13, Jun 15, May 17
supplements                                       Feb 15 
sunscreen                                          Apr 12
Traditional Chinese Medicine             Sep 14
Throat                                                 Nov 14
Urine                                                  Aug 16
Vegetarianism                                    Nov 12
vitamins                                              Mar 13
weeds (eat!)                                       Mar 11
winter salads                                      Dec 10

August 2016: number one


NUMBER ONE






We can learn a lot from studying our urine. When I was young, in Holland we used to have toilets with a little platform, so we could see what we had produced. I gather they still have them in Germany. Things are less clear with the British, more considerate, system. However, it can be useful to be aware of what's going on.

The LOOK
If everything is normal and healthy, the colour of your urine should be a pale yellow to gold.
If it has no colour at all, you may have been drinking a lot of water or taking a diuretic [1]. But there are other possibilities.
Very dark honey coloured, orange or brown: you’re dehydrated and need to get more fluids right away. It could also warn of liver problems, or bile in your urine.
Pink or red: you’ve eaten carrots, blackberries, beets, or rhubarb. It can also be an effect of medications. If not, there may be blood in your urine, caused by kidney disease, a UTI (urinary tract infection, see below), prostate problems, or a tumor.
Bright yellow or orange: you may have had a lot of vitamins C or B2, carrots, beets - or it can be caused by medications.
Blue or green: shows food dye or medications, or, possibly, a few rare conditions.
Foamy or frothy: a sign of protein in your urine, which may mean you have kidney issues.
Cloudy urine suggests the presence of phosphates, possibly a precursor of kidney stones. Cloudiness can also indicate an infection. If it worsens and you feel burning or urgency, you may have a UTI - see below.

The SMELL
Ammonia means dehydration: drink!
Sweet-smelling urine may be a sign of diabetes or liver disease.
Foul smell can mean you have a UTI. Other symptoms are: burning during urination, fever, chills, and back pain.
Asparagus has its own aroma, but coffee and vitamin B6 supplements can also affect the urine.

The FREQUENCY
If you’re constantly feeling the urge to go, without drinking any extra fluids, this can indicate: an overactive bladder, a UTI, interstitial cystitis, or diabetes. Urgency means you need to go right away, have difficulty holding it in, and wake up several times to use the bathroom.
For men, urgency and frequency could be symptoms of a bladder problem or, more commonly, an enlarged prostate. Prostate problems can also cause incomplete emptying of your bladder, so you still feel like you have to go again minutes later. This is not something to be ignored, and won’t go away on its own.
Increased frequency and urgency in women may be a symptom of infection, kidney stones, or a more serious condition.
Don't assume drinking less water will lessen the trouble, for dehydration can cause urinary issues too.

Check with the doctor if you notice a change in your pee that doesn’t seem linked to new medications or a recent meal - especially if it lasts more than a day or so, or if it comes with fever, back or side pain, vomiting, feeling very thirsty, or discharge. 
For more detail, see http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/truth-about-urine and http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/oab/articles/what_your_urine_says_about_your_health.aspx.


INCONTINENCE

There is stress-, urge-, and overflow incontinence [2], each of which needs a slightly different approach. For exercises and other natural remedies, see

The risk of getting a UTI is increased if you don’t drink enough, have frequent baths (retrograde infection) or wait long to urinate; or if you are pregnant, menopausal or use a catheder. With diabetes the risk is worse, as a high sugar level in the urine is very favourable for bacteria.
Make sure you use cotton underwear, wipe from front to back, urinate before and after sexual activity and don’t wear tight clothes.
Though most will want to take their UTIs straight to the doctor, there are things you can do yourself once you have it.
Drink plenty of water! Avoid drinks that may irritate your bladder: coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks containing citrus juices or caffeine. Unsweetened cranberry juice, blueberries, and vitamin C are excellent. For more food and drinks which help, see http://everydayroots.com/uti-remedies.
See also http://www.everydayhealth.com/urinary-tract-infections/helpful-home-remedies-for-urinary-tract-infections.aspx.

And since you ask, yes, unless you have kidney problems, you can drink your own urine. See http://www.innerself.com/Health/urine.htm.


PS
“Full-fat food can reduce obesity."
“Leading public health bodies collude with food industry”
“The recent Eatwell Guide from Public Health England was produced with a large number of people from the food and drinks industry.”
Says the independent professional organisation Public Health Collaboration.
Who knew? If you read Thought for Food regularly, you did. [3]


And some good news: Asda now sells boxes of imperfect in-season vegetables! One box will feed a family of four for a week and costs £3.50 – 30% less than standard lines. [4]



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EAT:
Veg: aubergines, french/runner/broad beans, calabrese, cauli, cucumbers, fennel, chard, spinach (beet), summer squash, sweetcorn, globe artichokes, beet, carrots, courgettes, cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, peppers, radish, turnip, marrow, tomatoes, spring onions, salsify/scorzonera, samphire, rocket, watercress.
Cheap, free range good-for-you meat: rabbit and wood pigeon. Puffballs!
Fish is excellent at this time of year: mackerel, black bream, crab, grey mullet, trout, scallops, sea bass, flounder.

SOW:
Chinese cabbage, spring cabbage, chicory, kohl rabi, lettuce for harvesting November/December, quick variety peas, mooli (=white) and black radish, chard, spinach beet. Lamb's lettuce (corn salad), rocket and especially land cress will survive the winter.
Perpetual spinach, (spinach beet, or leaf beet) tastes as good as 'true' spinach, is more forgiving of soil and weather and doesn't go to seed so quickly. Sow now for winter/spring crop.
Early August only: chard, florence fennel, spring onions, turnip.

BRAISED LETTUCE and PEAS for 2.
2 roundhead lettuces, 1 tblsp oil/butter, 3 thinly sliced shallots or 1 onion, 1 tblsp flour, 200ml stock/water, 300g (frozen) peas, (3 tblsp yoghurt or sour cream).
Remove lettuce cores, halve and thinly slice the leaves. Sauté the shallots, ab. 2 mins. Add flour, stir, ab. 30 secs. Add stock, bring to the boil. Stir in the lettuce and peas, cover, and simmer until they are both tender. (Stir in yoghurt or sour cream.) Season.

PARSLEY SALAD: served as a small sidedish to go with meat. Enough for 8 people, but the leftovers will keep. 
100g Italian parsley, 2 tblsp fresh lemon juice, 2 tblsp lemon zest, 6 tblsp walnut oil, 2 tsp dark sesame oil, 1 tsp honey, salt, pepper, 3 tblsp toasted sesame seeds.
Discard parsley stems. Whisk together lemon juice, zest, walnut oil, sesame oil, honey, salt and pepper. Add parsley and sesame seeds and mix. Let sit for at least 30 mins so that flavours meld.

For more recipes, see former August issues: click on 2016 at the right hand side of this page. 



[1] Normally drinking too much does not matter, but if you go really over the top this can lead to hyponatremia, which occurs when someone drinks so much liquid the body’s balance of sodium to water goes off-kilter - a dangerous condition. Other risk factors for hyponatremia include some medications and medical conditions, such as kidney disease.


Next month: forgetfulness or Alzheimer's?




August 2015: diarrhoea




What to eat and drink when you have DIARRHOEA
(or: who needs Imodium?)




Bananas: 
Bland and easily digested, bananas are rich in pectin, a soluble fibre that helps to absorb liquid in the intestines. Their high level of potassium helps to replace lost electrolytes. Bananas also contain inulin, a prebiotic, which promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria (probiotics).

White rice and (peeled) mashed potatoes
Low in fibre, they're easily digested. Eat rice and potatoes plain; the fat in butter irritates and contributes to intestinal cramping.

Applesauce
Apples, too, are a good source of pectin. However, the fibre in raw apples makes them too rough for a dicey intestinal system, so they need to be cooked. Cooked carrots are also good.

Yoghurt
Generally, dairy products should be avoided during acute diarrhea, but yoghurt is excellent. Look for a type that contains live or active cultures, or more specifically Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.

Steamed Chicken
Steamed chicken is a bland, easily digested source of protein. However, avoid the use of butter or oil.

Blueberries
Either chew dried blueberries or make a tea by boiling crushed dried blueberries for 10 minutes. They contain tannins, an astringent, which contracts tissue and reduces inflammation and secretion of liquids and mucus. Blueberries contain not only pectin, but anthocyanosides, which have antibacterial properties, as well as being a good source of antioxidants.

Peppermint tea
Peppermint soothes the gastrointestinal system. It calms and relaxes the intestinal muscles, reducing spasms. It also reduces gas. [1] 
Other herbs for diarrhoea are: sage, plantain, lavender, lady’s mantle, bramble, nettles and salad burnet.

Avoid foods with high sugar content. Don’t consume lots of fibre, which is in: nuts, seeds, fruit and whole grain products. Stay away from caffeinated drinks, spicy/fried foods and full-strength fruit juices.

ALSO
do keep eating: you will recover sooner if you don’t fast. 
sugar is bad (where did I hear that before?): it “passes right through you and draws water and salts out of the body, leading to vomiting”. Diet drinks are even worse. By far best are starchy liquids: a thick soup or drink made from any starchy food, such as rice, corn, wheat or potatoes. [3]

CAUSES:
Of course, it is important to know the reason for your trouble. This may be:
* bacteria and parasites
* medications [4]
* surgery or radiation therapy
* digestive disorders such as celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease.
* food intolerance, such as difficulty digesting dairy products. Artificial sweeteners and fructose can also cause diarrhoea.


~~~

Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, Health Senior Scholar with the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, Research Director for the University of Alberta’s Health Law Institute and Trudeau Fellow:
“The real secrets of a long life? Don’t smoke, exercise, eat real food, watch your weight, wear a seatbelt, get a good night’s sleep and love somebody.” [5]

 ~~~

EAT:
Veg: aubergines, french/runner/broad beans, calabrese, cauli, cucumbers, fennel, chard, spinach (beet), summer squash, sweetcorn, globe artichokes, beet, carrots, courgettes, cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, peppers, radish, turnip, marrow, tomatoes, spring onions, salsify/scorzonera, samphire, rocket, watercress.
Cheap, free range good-for-you meat: rabbit and wood pigeon. Puffballs!
Fish is excellent at this time of year: mackerel, black bream, crab, grey mullet, trout, scallops, sea bass, flounder.

SOW:
Chinese cabbage, spring cabbage, chicory, kohl rabi, lettuce for harvesting November/December, quick variety peas, winter-hardy spring onions, salad leaves, fast-maturing carrots (Adelaide), endive,  red, white (= mooli) and black radish, spinach beet. Lamb's lettuce (corn salad), rocket and especially land cress will survive the winter.
Perpetual spinach, (spinach beet, or leaf beet) tastes as good as 'true' spinach, is more forgiving of soil and weather and doesn't go to seed so quickly. Sow now for winter/spring crop.
Early August only: chard, florence fennel, turnip.
Plantcauliflowers (early in the month), winter cabbages, kale.  


RECIPES

BROAD BEANS with SOUR CREAM
1k unshelled broad beans, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp grated rind, 1 tsp mustard, 1 beaten egg yolk, 120ml sour cream, nutmeg, 1 tsp chopped mint, (2 tsp brown sugar), salt, little soy.
Shell beans, steam till tender. Put everything bar the yolk in a pan. Let thicken over low heat. Add yolk, stir but don't boil. Serve immediately. 

RUNNER BEAN STEW serves 2
300g runner beans, 3 tblsp olive oil, 3 sliced garlic cloves, chilli powder, 2 cloves, 400g tomatoes and some tomato puree or 2x400g tins; basil, grated cheese.
Destring beans and cut on the diagonal into 1cm pieces. Heat oil in a frying pan, add garlic. Cook for 1-2 mins then add beans, potatoes, chilli and cloves. Cook for 2 mins, then tip in the (drained) tomatoes (and puree). Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes until the beans are tender and the sauce is thick and rich. You may want to add a bit of water while this is cooking, but don't add too much. Stir through the basil just before serving and season to taste. Serve with grain or pasta and grated cheese.

FRENCH BEANS and CARROTS SAUTEED in BUTTER and GARLIC
300g French beans, 2 large carrots, butter, chopped garlic, salt, pepper.
Trim beans and cut carrots into sticks the same size as the beans. Cook carrots until they start to soften but are not yet done. Add beans to carrots, cook some more. The veg should be just a bit underdone. Drain, set aside. When almost ready to serve, heat butter until foamy, throw in garlic and veg, stir for 2 mins. Season.

BROAD BEANS with CHARD and DILL
280g shelled broad beans, 280g sliced chard (leaves and stems), 5 tbsp butter, 1 diced onion, 8 tbsp chopped fresh or 1.5 tsp dried dill; 1/2 tsp salt. 
Heat butter: when foaming, add onion and stir for 1 min. Add beans, saute 1 min. Add chard and dill, stir for some mins. Add salt and 3 tbsp water. Cover tightly and simmer for 15 mins. Serve hot or warm with grains or pitta bread. (Gardenorganic).

FRENCH BEANS and MUSHROOMS with SOUR CREAM
225g French beans, butter, 225g mushrooms, 120 ml crème fraîche, salt, pepper.
Steam beans until just tender, drain. Melt butter and sauté mushrooms on a high heat so they don't lose their juices. Cook slowly until tender. Stir in beans, heat through. Add crème fraîche, season. Cook briefly; serve immediately.

VEGETABLE MARROW HONGROISE
25g butter, 1 marrow, seeded and cut into slivers, 1 tblsp finely chopped onion, 1 tblsp vinegar, dill or the crushed dill seed, salt, pepper, 1 tsp paprika, 1 heaped tsp flour. 
Melt 3/4 of the butter, add marrow, cover and cook until it's soft, stirring frequently. Remove marrow, add the onion to the pan and fry until soft. Stir in vinegar, dill, salt, pepper and paprika, then return the marrow to the pan. Mix and cook gently for 2 mins. Mash the remaining butter with the flour to make a paste and add to the pan, stirring well. Simmer until thick. The dill can be replaced by cumin or coriander. 

COLEY/POLLOCK with CIDER
700g coley or pollock, 250ml cider, 2 onions, green pepper, 3 tomatoes, marjoram, cayenne, 3 tblsp breadcrumbs.
Bring cider to the boil, add onions and green pepper, simmer for 5 mins or until the cider has reduced by 1/4. Remove from heat.
Cut fish into 10 cm pieces: put into ovenproof dish. Stir in cider mix and tomatoes, marjoram, cayenne, salt, pepper. Cover; bake at 170°C for 30 mins or until the fish is cooked: the flesh should flake easily. Uncover and sprinkle breadcrumbs over it. Grill until the topping is lightly browned.
The fish can also be put in a frying pan on top of the cooker, covered with the cider sauce and other ingredients. Cook without lid till done. When done, (and not too wet anymore), cover with breadcrumbs and put under the grill. 

BARE BUTTOCKS in the GRASS (that’s what it’s called in Holland ...)
1-1.2k new potatoes, 500g runner beans, 1 tin ab. 400g white beans, 200g very mature cheese, chives, 150-200ml milk or stock, mustard, 8 gherkins.
Cook potatoes in not too much water - 20 mins. Cut up runner beans, also cook - 10 to 12 mins.
Rinse or drain the white beans, and heat them with the runners for a few minutes. Chop cheese into small cubes. Chop chives. Heat the milk or stock. Mash potatoes and stir in the liquid, then the bean mix, cheese and chives. Season. Heat through till the cheese is just starting to melt. Serve with mustard and gherkins.
For a non-veggie version, serve with sausages instead of cheese.



[4] Antibiotics, while going after bad bacteria, also kill the good ones which protect you. See also http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/medications-that-can-cause-diarrhea

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