Saturday, 3 September 2016

September 2012: why do we get ill?


Why do you get ill - and not everyone else? Or if you're lucky, the other way round? And is it luck?
There are many reasons for this. Some of them you can't do anything about: age, gender, genes, your history. Others you can:
  • Diet. You've heard it here before: fruit and fresh veg. They contain not just vitamins but thousands of so-called phytochemicals, which have numerous beneficial effects we are only just starting to understand. Also: don't overeat. Excess fat releases chemical signals that interfere with immune functioning. Especially avoid sugar! For 146 reasons to avoid sugar, see     
  • Gut flora. The gut is riddled with bacteria: they help us digest, and are essential for a healthy immune system. Damaging this, leaves us prone to bacterial infections. If we take antibiotics for one infection, we are more likely to be hit by another. Instead of killing all bacteria including the good ones, we must help the friendly ones. Probiotic bacteria are beneficial, and found in naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut, live yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, tempeh, buttermilk and soy sauce, though only if of good quality and fermented properly. Choose one which is not pasteurized or homogenized, as this destroys most of the useful microorganisms. Prebiotics are found in foods like garlic, leeks, onions, barley, oats, wheat, honey, tomatoes and also nurture the good bacteria.
  • Stress. A little bit of stress is good, but long-term unrelieved stress kills. Learn how to cope better with any stress that comes along. "Be fit, have a sense of humour and keep your friends -  loneliness is the killer." Talk about it; cry; meditate - there are many ways to deal with stress without resorting to pills. See the July 2014 issue: click on 2016 > July.
  • Sleep: even not sleeping quite enough, puts you at risk of catching a bug.
  • Noise: noise influences your health, even if you think you're used to it.
  • Children. Breast is best: full of immune-boosting ingredients. Also: if your early environment is too clean, you won't develop cells to respond to it. Children are less likely to get allergic conditions like asthma, eczema and food or pollen allergies, if they grow up on farms or have pets, lots of siblings, or spend time in daycare.**
  • Sunlight: Sunlight: recent studies show that vitamin D deficiency causes not just rickets, but may increase the chance of getting diabetes, childhood depression, osteoporosis, asthma, bad lung function, inflammation, infections, cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration and various types of cancer. And according to recent research the dangers of the sun have been vastly overrated.*** See the April '12 Thought (click on 2016 > April) for ways to protect yourself by eating the right foods.
  • Exercise: even short bursts of exercise give your immune system a temporary boost. Outdoor activities especially, relax and make us feel better.
  • Old age: the immune system weakens with age: all the more reasons to take the above seriously when you've got there!
Veg: broad/runner/french beans, marrow, squash, courgette, lettuce, turnip, peas/mangetout, aubergine, pepper, spinach, chard, sweetcorn, shallots, tomatoes, cauli, carrots, cabbage, beet, globe artichoke, cucumber, fennel, radish, kohlrabi, calabrese, chicory, endive, swede.
Fish: mackerel, seabass, black bream, crab, mussels, scallops, American signal crayfish.
Meat: rabbit, lamb, wood pigeon, duck, goose, grouse, partridge, venison.

spring cabbage, spinach, turnips, oriental vegetables, landcress, rocket, corn salad, winter lettuce, winter purslane. Plant overwintering onion sets, garlic.

Bees have had a hard time of it this year too. Why not plant some spring-flowering bulbs, to provide them with a welcome early breakfast next year. Crocus, aconite, snowdrops and grape hyacinth are good choices. If you haven’t garden space you can grow them in a pot. See also

1 lettuce ab. 225g; 1 chopped onion, 1 diced potato, 25g butter; 750ml stock and milk; salt, pepper, (4 tblsp double cream).
Shred lettuce, reserve some for garnish. Fry lettuce, onion and potato in butter for 5 mins without browning. Add stock/milk. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 10-15 mins. Liquidise/sieve. Ladle into bowls, (whirl on cream) and garnish with lettuce.

It's important to slice the turnips as thinly as possible, and to make sure the salad is seasoned liberally with salt and pepper.
3 turnips, 60ml (or less) minced shallots, 3/4 tblsp cider vinegar, 4 tblsp sour cream, salt, pepper
Thinly slice turnips. Mix shallots, vinegar, salt, lots of pepper, sour cream. Chill. 

375g shredded spinach, 1k potatoes, sliced onion, 150 (goat's) cheese, (chopped garlic, milk).

Bring a little bit of water to the boil, add potatoes, cook for 10 mins. Add spinach, cook till potatoes and spinach are both done. Meanwhile, saute onion (and garlic). At the last minute add sauteed onion and garlic. Crumble cheese over it, and maybe add a little bit of milk. Mash, serve.

Potatoes, raw beetroot, watercress, butter, onion, (garlic).
Put the potatoes on to cook. Grate beetroot, chop onion. Saute on very low fire, ab. 10 mins. Add chopped watercress, saute 5 more mins. You may want to put thick stalks in earlier, and leaves later. Add chopped garlic. When the potatoes are done, make them into mash, season and add the veg. Very nice with seafood.

450g French beans, 3 large cloves finely minced garlic; marjoram; rosemary; salt; pepper; 2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil.
Preheat oven to 220°C. Place prepared beans on sheet and sprinkle with garlic, marjoram, rosemary, salt, pepper. Drizzle over the oil and use your hands to mix until everything is coated. Roast for 20-30 mins. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

1 marrow (ab. 1200g prepared), 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 4 chopped bacon rashers, 2 tsp thyme, 3-4 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, 75g soft goat's cheese.
Cut marrow into 4 lengthways, scoop out seeds. Slice into 1/2" pieces. Scatter with salt and leave for 30 mins, drain off liquid and dry slices on a tea towel. Meanwhile, heat 2 tblsp oil and gently cook onion, garlic and bacon for 4 mins, stirring regularly. Season marrow with pepper and sauté on high heat for 5-6 mins (you may need to do this in two batches). If they are colouring too much, turn the heat down. Once it's tender, mix in onion mix and thyme. Transfer to ovenproof dish. Break up cheese, scatter on top and place under a pre-heated grill for a few mins.

350g chopped chard, 1 onion; 2 cloves garlic; 2 tbsp olive oil; 110ml single cream; 30g grated mature cheese; 25g pine nuts; salt, pepper; ab. 350g pasta.
Put water in the bottom half of a steamer and bring it to the boil. Put chard in the top half and steam for 10 mins. If you’re using a saucepan rather than a steamer, don’t put any water in and just cook down the chard for 5-10 mins over a medium heat. At the same time, put pasta on to cook – you can put it in the bottom half of the steamer, or in a separate pan. The pasta needs to cook 12 mins, until it’s al dente. Chop onions and garlic and saute in a deep frying pan for 10 mins. When the chard is cooked, add to onion mix and stir in cream, pine nuts, cheese and season. Cook the sauce for 2 mins and serve on top of the pasta.

600g runner beans, salt, pepper, 200ml sour cream, 75g butter, 75g breadcrumbs, 3/4 tsp nutmeg, 3/4 tsp caraway seeds. 
Prepare beans and boil/steam until tender. Drain. Mix sour cream with nutmeg caraway and beans, season. Grease a dish with some of the butter, put the mix in. Melt the rest of the butter and toss in the crumbs, then sprinkle on top of the beans. Bake in a moderate oven for 20-30 mins or until the topping is golden. 


Next month: cheap meat.