Tuesday, 2 May 2017

May 2017: sugar slavery






SUGAR SLAVERY





Bad things have been published about sugar recently. And they are correct. What’s worse: artificial sweeteners, the usual substitutes, are no better. On the contrary - see [1].
How can we free ourselves from this particular slavery? 
Here are some tips [2]. 

1. See through the disguise.
Do you have any idea how many names sugar can take in an ingredient list? Have a look [3].
2. Check the ranking.
Ingredient lists rank ingredients in order of weight, so if there is lots of sugar it will be listed as one of the first ingredients.
3. Beware of misleading labels.
Labelling such as ‘low sugar’ or ‘light’ is not to be trusted. What does ‘low’ mean? How much of it can you eat, to still be ‘low’? And ‘light’ always means ‘artificials’, and so does ‘low sugar’ usually. See [a].
4. Eat whole foods.
One way to avoid the entire labelling and ingredients trap, is to eat mainly whole foods. Foods that your great grandmother would recognise.
5. Ditch soft drinks.
Soft drinks are basically liquid sweets. Cut back, and don’t turn to diet sodas as a substitute. See [a].
If you love fizz, try soda water with a squeeze of lemon. You can get used to it, really!
6. Re-train your taste buds.
Our taste receptors are numbed by the chemical overload of sweet foods we consume. Try gradually cutting back, or for real results, just stop. This helps reset your receptors and appetite. Once you’ve changed your habits, it’s easy. I can testify! Nowadays I even, happily, have custard without sugar. And so does my husband.
7. Don’t skip meals.
Don’t let yourself get too hungry. Keeping your blood sugar stable is the key to managing sugar cravings. If you skip meals, your energy levels crash and you feel light headed and weak. This is not good for you, and you won't be able to resist the resulting craving.
8. Drink.
Water is necessary for many vital functions, yet often we don’t drink enough. Sometimes when we feel hungry, we are actually thirsty.
9. Season and spice.
Experiment with herbs and spices to give yourself the flavour that you are missing from eliminating sweet foods. A delicious salt such as himalayan pink could make a world of difference.
10. Get plenty of rest.
If you are tired, you may want a sugary pick-me-up. However, sugar will make you only more tired before long. Try get a good nights sleep; a siesta may be useful too.
When I worked in an office a long time ago, after lunch I used to have a nap on the floor next to my desk. But I like sleeping hard. And it helped that I had a room to myself. Later, when I didn’t, I would hide in the far recesses of the building and do the same. I realise this is not a possibility for everyone …...
11. Stress.
Try and eliminate stress as much as possible. Don't turn to sugar as a form of comfort when you are feeling under emotional pressure. Look for other ways to help yourself feel better: take a walk, get into nature, see friends, lose yourself in a book. That way you will avoid the nasty dip that follows the high.
13. Distract yourself.
If you really feel you cannot resist a sugary snack, try distract yourself. Pick up the phone, sing a song, do press ups. The craving will pass!
14. Befriend fruit.
Enjoy nature’s own treats and don’t listen to those who say they, too, contain sugar. It’s not the same! Fruit naturally contains small amounts of sugar, but also fiber, nutrients and various beneficial compounds. Mind you, this does not necessarily hold for fruit juice [4].
15. There are other ways to sweeten your food. Have you thought about salt? I thought not. Or milk? Beetroot? Cinnamon? See [5].


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SOW:
direct: beet, calabrese, carrots (though June sowings get less rootfly), french/runner beans, kohlrabi, lettuce, sweetcorn, swede, spring onions, spinach (beet), courgettes, marrows, pumpkin, (sugar) peas, salsify/scorzonera. If pea moth's a problem, wait till mid May.
in seedbed to transplant: leeks, cabbage, cauli, sprouting broccoli (early May), kale.
in traysbeans, courgettes, cucumbers, melon, pumpkins, pepper, sweetcorn, tomatoes.
plant out: cauli; cucumbers, marrows, pumpkins, tomatoes, squashes late May.
green manure: if you have space, do it now. See www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/soil_growgreenmanure1.shtml.

EAT:
veg: spring greens, cabbage, spinach, chard, cauli, salad leaves/lettuce, radish, rocket, asparagus, sorrel, watercress, rhubarb, seakale.
herbs: chives, parsley, mint, lovage, summer savoury and chervil.
wild food: broom buds, chives, dandelions, fat hen, hogweed shoots, hop shoots, meadowsweet, sea spinach, sorrel, watercress, wild fennel, wild garlic, wild rocket, samphire.
game: wood pigeon, lamb, mutton, guinea fowl, rabbit, duck.






RECIPES






Throw some rocket leaves into your next meal; it goes well in pastas and risottos. Or grill bread, rub with garlic and top with olive oil, salt, and rocket. For more rocket recipes, see [6]. 

MASHED POTATOES WITH SALADY STUFF
700g starchy potatoes, 2 tblsp oil, 1 tblsp cider vinegar, salt, pepper, 200g lettuce or something like that, 20g butter, nutmeg.
The original recipe calls for escarole - a kind of endive which may be hard to get and, in Britain, is often confused with witloof chicory. The really intrepid can use some dandelion leaves! 
Here goes. 
Preheat the plates. Whisk oil with salt, vinegar and pepper. Cut greens into very fine strips, mix with dressing. Quarter or halve the potatoes depending on size. Bring to boil in salted water, cook, drain. Crush the hot potatoes, stir in butter. Season with salt and nutmeg. Fold in a portion of lettuce/escarole. Heap the potatoes in the middle of the plates, and arrange the rest of the greens in a circle around them. Serve at once.


Here is a recipe I did not try out myself but it sounds good:
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ASPARAGUS, serves 2.
2 large eggs at room temperature, 12 dozen slim stems of asparagus, woody ends trimmed; unsalted butter, a few drops of cider vinegar, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper.
Bring a pan of water to the boil. Lower in the eggs, simmer for exactly 4 mins. Steam the asparagus over the top of the boiling eggs, or cook in a separate pan for a couple of minutes. The asparagus should be tender but not soft and floppy. Transfer the eggs to egg cups. Cut the top off and take to the table with the asparagus. Drop some butter, a few drops of cider vinegar, salt and pepper into the hot yolk (alternatively, just sprinkle some salt and pepper on the plate), stir with a bit of asparagus, dip and eat.

FISH FILLET for one - best use coley, pollock, whiting or bream as they are more sustainable than the usually recommended sea bass.
1 fish fillet, 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, olive oil, sea salt, 1 sliced lemon.
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Slash the skin side of the fish diagonally so the flesh is exposed. Put lots of rosemary into the pockets. Rub the rest of the fish with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Sear in a pan skin-side down, until the skin starts to crisp. Then transfer to the oven for 5 mins. Serve.

MARINADED CHOPS
Make a marinade of 50ml soy, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tblsp balsamic vinegar, bay leaves, chopped onion and pepper. Steep them in this for however long you have. Stir once or twice. Cook as usual.

For more recipes see May issues from former years - click on May 2017 on the right hand side. 

Next month: painkillers, risks and alternatives. If you want to have a look at this now, see
https://thoughtforfoodaw.wordpress.com/2017/05/01/june-2017-painkillers-risks-and-alternatives/.




Kara Walker's "Marvellous Sugar Baby - an Homage to the slaves in the cane fields
on the occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant”.





[1] “New evidence, in fact, states that people who frequently consume sugar substitutes may be at an increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.”:
http://www.medicaldaily.com/4-dangerous-effects-artificial-sweeteners-your-health-247543






May 2016: emulsifiers




NO ICE CREAM?
or Flora, Clover, Countrylife ….

“Bad digestion is the root of all evil” - Hippocrates, 400 B.C.



For years, nutritional guidelines discouraging fats and eggs have led us to use more and more artificial emulsifiers. Eggs, traditionally used as binding agents, were considered bad for you, and fat was something to be avoided at all costs.
What those costs are, is only now starting to get clear.

Eggs do not appear to raise blood cholesterol after all [1]. The cholesterol which you eat has very little impact on how much cholesterol is in your blood. Because when you eat more cholesterol from foods, your body produces less of it. And when you eat less cholesterol from foods, your body produces more. Recent research has even found that cholesterol isn't so bad for you anyway.
In fact, cholesterol happens to be one of the most important nutrients in your body.
However, many vested interests have put their money in cholesterol-lowering drugs and heavily advertised ‘low cholesterol’ products. So it may be a while before the results of this research percolate through to the medical community, and to the buying population. It’s not easy to admit you’ve been wrong! [2]

The evidence also points away from fats: fat is not bad! With the exception of chemically altered trans-fats, found in margarine and other processed foods. See [3], and the Thought of June 2010: “fat is bad?”
The fat-free and low-fat products which we were encouraged to eat instead, not only include more sugar and starch, they are also likely to use artificial emulsifiers.

Recent research [4] has found that mice which consumed synthetic emulsifiers [5] underwent changes in gut bacteria, resulting in inflammation, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Tests on humans haven’t been done yet. However, interest in gut organisms has only recently taken off, and current tests for food safety were developed before their vital importance was understood [6]. Also called ‘microbiome’, gut organisms have a huge impact on our health, our ability to digest food, and more. So, synthetic emulsifiers are not the innocent little additives we think they are.

Now, before you decide you can’t really eat at all if the latest research is something to go by, relax. My advice is the same as always: try eat simple, homemade, not-processed foods. Eggs and REAL real butter are as easy to come by as their fancy, dressed-up, slogan-enhanced replacements. Oil-and-vinegar is as easy, and far better for you than bought salad cream. You can’t help swallowing a few synthetic emulsifiers unless you live on a desert island. But the less, the better.
Yes, it’s easy to lift a box of ice cream out of the freezer, but how about a nice apple crumble? Or if you really haven’t got time, some fruit? With (full-fat!) cream? [7]
Good for you! Just go easy on that ice cream …..


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SOW:
direct: beet, calabrese, carrots (though June sowings get less rootfly), french/runner beans, kohlrabi, lettuce, sweetcorn, swede, spring onions, spinach (beet), courgettes, marrows, (sugar) peas. If pea moth's a problem, wait till mid May.
in seedbed to transplant: leeks, cabbage, cauli, sprouting broccoli (early May), kale.
in traysbeans, courgettes, cucumbers, melon, pumpkins, pepper, sweetcorn, tomatoes.
plant out: cauli; cucumbers, marrows, pumpkins, tomatoes, squashes late May.
green manureif you have space, do it now. See www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/soil_growgreenmanure1.shtml.

EAT:
Veg: spring greens, cabbage, spinach, chard, cauli, salad leaves/lettuce, radish, rocket, asparagus, sorrel, watercress, rhubarb, seakale.
Herbschives, parsley, mint, lovage, summer savoury and chervil.
Wild food: broom buds, chives, dandelions, fat hen, hogweed shoots, hop shoots, meadowsweet, sea spinach, sorrel, watercress, wild fennel, wild garlic, wild rocket, samphire.
Game: wood pigeon, lamb, mutton, guinea fowl, rabbit, duck.


RECIPES


GARLIC and ANCHOVY SOUP, serves 2 
1 sliced (red) onion, 4 chopped garlic cloves, 2 tblsp butter,  ab. 4-6 anchovy fillets, 1 cooked potato, thyme leaves, salt, pepper, 700 ml stock/water, (parsley).
Melt butter, add garlic, onion and anchovies; cook slowly until translucent. Add potato, thyme and liquid, cook for 10 mins and mash or blend, season.

SWEDISH POTATO and ANCHOVY CASSEROLE, serves 6-8
56g tin anchovy fillets, drained, chopped, reserving 1 tsp. of the oil; 2 large onions, sliced, 1200g potatoes, 360ml heavy cream.
Sauté the onions, stirring until golden. Slice the potatoes thinly and layer in a buttered dish with onions, anchovies and a bit of pepper. Form several layers and end with a layer of potatoes. Drizzle the top with the reserved anchovy oil, and bake at 200°C for 10 mins. Pour ¾ of the cream over the potatoes. Bake for 20 more mins. Add the remaining cream, reduce heat to 145°C and bake for 30 more mins or until the potatoes are tender. Serve with lots of green veg. 

GREEN CABBAGE and MUSHROOMS
1 green cabbage, cored and diced; 240ml stock/water, 1 tblsp olive oil, 1 diced onion; 225g mushrooms, 1½ tblsp cornstarch mixed with 60ml water; dill; 1/2 tsp paprika, salt, pepper.
Cook cabbage in the stock for 5 mins until it wilts but is still bright green. Remove from heat, 
uncover. Sauté onion and mushrooms in oil until brown. Add cabbage, heat through. Add cornstarch mix. Bring to the boil, stirring, until it thickens. Season with dill, paprika, salt and pepper.

PERSIAN LAMB TAGINE, serves 4-6 
1k stewing lamb/mutton in 7cm chunks, 250g stoned dates, 2 diced onions, 20g butter, sea salt, 2 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp turmeric, 2 tsp cinnamon, 15g fresh ginger, (flat-leaf parsley, mint).
Sauté the onions till soft and light brown. Add meat, spices and ginger: then 700ml water.
Stir. Bring to the boil and let bubble, uncovered, for 30 secs. Cover and simmer slowly for 1½ hr. Halve the dates, add. Simmer uncovered for 30-45 mins or till the meat is tender and the sauce sticky. Serve with parsley and mint.

POTATO CAKES 
4 potatoes, 4 tblsp flour, mixed herbs/spices, 4 tblsp dripping, pepper, salt. 
Grate the potatoes, add flour, herbs and plenty of seasoning. Heat the fat, drop heaped tablespoons of the mix in. Fry 4 minutes on each side. With chutney for instance. 

TOP-TO-TOE RADISH STIR FRY
1 bunch of radishes, 2 chopped cloves of garlic, 1 chopped spring onion (white and green parts), 1 tsp soy sauce, white pepper, ½ tsp sesame oil, ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
Separate the leaves from the radish roots. Quarter the roots, chop the leaves very fine. Saute the garlic and the white parts of spring onion in sesame and olive oil for a few mins. Add the leaves and seasoning, stir-fry for 1 more min. until they are wilted. Scatter the chopped green parts of the spring onion over to serve.

SMOKED MACKEREL:
Sautée with olive oil, tomatoes and garlic and serve over pasta.
Or make a simple hash, with mashed potatoes and fried onion. Add the fish late, it’s best uncooked.
Or mix with boiled potato to form cakes, and fry.

CREAMED SPINACH
280g fresh or 220g frozen spinach; 110g cream cheese; ½ tsp nutmeg, (almonds).
Cook the spinach, drain until almost dry. Add cheese and nutmeg; heat through, and sprinkle with slivered almonds. 

RHUBARB BREAD PUDDING for 8-10 people
8 lightly toasted slices bread cut into 1¼cm cubes, 360ml milk, 4 tblsp butter, 5 eggs, 240ml sugar, ¼ tsp salt, 1tsp cinnamon, 800g chopped rhubarb, 60ml brown sugar, 60ml chopped nuts.
Put the bread cubes in a greased 2l casserole. Melt butter with milk, pour over the bread and let sit 15 mins. Mix eggs, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Stir in rhubarb, and then all of this into the bread mix. Top with brown sugar and nuts. Cover. Bake at 180°C 55-60 minutes until set; about halfway through, you can take the top off. Serve warm.
If you have a sweeter tooth than we do, you might like to add more sugar.  


Next issue: Did you know?

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[1] The research which originally discredited eggs was funded by the breakfast cereal producers. 
[5] - emulsifiers are found in most processed foods, like bread, spreads, margarine, ice cream, chocolate, baked goods, soft drinks, salad dressings, veggie burgers, coffee whitener etc. etc. 
Natural emulsifiers come from nuts, berries etc.: eg. carnauba, jojoba, rice bran, xanthan gum. Synthetic emulsifiers are usually petroleum/hydrocarbon derivatives: alkoxykated amides:  TEA, DEA, MEA, MIPA and PEG compounds, sorbitan stearate, laurate, palmitate, oleate, ceresin, silicone, isopropyl stearate are just some of them. 
However, to see how thin the line is between ‘natural’ and ‘synthetic’ flavouring, check out http://www.ewg.org/foodscores/content/natural-vs-artificial-flavors.

May 2015: home remedies







WHY I LIKE TO USE ‘HOME REMEDIES’



1)   I have nothing against doctors. However, they are pressurized and constantly being ‘informed’ by the pharmaceutical industry. Which, nowadays, tends to be part of global conglomerates whose interest is purely commercial.
And why would they sell a medicine which quickly gets rid of our pain/pimples/panic, if they can supply us with something we’ll have to take our whole life long?

2)  “Try this, and come back after three weeks. Then try that.”  And so on, till we end up more ill than we were in the first place. 
Can you blame them? Doctors don’t have time. GPs, specialists, burocrats, the NHS, anyone who has a say or who gives health advice, is subject to a barrage of information - all supplied from the pockets of the above-mentioned industry. 
Of course there are exceptions.
My personal view is that patients should be listened to when they offer their views on the cause of their symptoms … perhaps the most useful questions a doctor can ask a patient is: ‘What do you think is going on?’“ says Dr. Briffa [1], and in that he is right.

3)   When we’re unwell, something is starting to go wrong deep inside us. The illness is just a symptom. We may manage to get rid of the symptom, but unless we address the root cause, we bury our head in the sand - and more serious problems await.
‘Home remedies’ may well sometimes do the same, but without the chemical interference of mainstream medicine, less harm is done. 

4)   The best of ‘alternative’ therapists look at all of you. They take time to get to know you and they listen properly. Of course this can be expensive, and many of them are not ‘the best’. But if you can afford it, it’s worth finding a good one.
If you can’t: home remedies are often cheap. Find out what helps you. Trust your intuition.

At best, doctors prescribe something that will alleviate symptoms until you heal yourself. At worst, by masking the symptoms, they make things worse.
I am NOT saying you should never go to the doctor. There are plenty of exceptions to what I said above: but not as many as you think. [2]


~~~


NB: did you know that onions and blackstrap molasses are excellent foods to help prevent osteoporosis? They also can improve matters once you have it. [3]

EAT:
Veg: spring greens, cabbage, spinach, chard, cauli, salad leaves/lettuce, radish, rocket, asparagus, sorrel, watercress, rhubarb, seakale.
Herbschives, parsley, mint, lovage, summer savoury and chervil.
Wild food: broom buds, chives, dandelions, fat hen, hogweed shoots, hop shoots, meadowsweet, sea spinach, sorrel, watercress, wild fennel, wild garlic, wild rocket, samphire.
Game: wood pigeon, lamb, mutton, guinea fowl, rabbit, duck.
Your fishmonger may sell samphire: serve fresh in salads or have as veg with melted butter. Wash thoroughly and don't add salt.

SOW:
direct: beet, calabrese, carrots (though June sowings get less rootfly), french/runner beans, kohlrabi, lettuce, sweetcorn, swede, spring onions, spinach (beet), courgettes, marrows, (sugar) peas. If pea moth's a problem, wait till mid May.
in seedbed to transplant: leeks, cabbage, cauli, sprouting broccoli (early May), kale.
in traysbeans, courgettes, cucumbers, melon, pumpkins, pepper, sweetcorn, tomatoes.
plant out: cauli; cucumbers, marrows, pumpkins, tomatoes, squashes late May.
green manureif you have space, do it now. See www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/soil_growgreenmanure1.shtml


RECIPES

CREAM CHEESE SOUP 
200g cream cheese, 400g cubed potatoes, smallish minced onion1.2l stock or water, salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper or chilli, herbs or spices of your choice (e.g. parsley, chives, paprika powder, coriander). 
Combine liquid, potatoes, onion, and seasonings. Boil until potatoes are tender, mash. Add cream cheese, for instance by diluting the cheese with a bit of the soup first. Stir or whisk, add herbs/spices.

FRIED POTATOES
What to do with those tired old potatoes? Cook, slice, and fry them up. Thought there comes a point when even that does not work anymore. 

SPRING CHICKEN for 2.
Chicken bits (with skin!) and finely sliced spring cabbage for two. Chopped onion, butter/oil/fat for frying. For the marinade: 1 tblsp red wine, 1 tblsp soy sauce, 1/2 tblsp lemon juice, 1/2 tblsp grated ginger, 1 clove garlic, red pepper, salt.
Marinade the chicken pieces for a few hours or overnight. Fry hot in as large a frying pan as you've got. When the pieces are browned, lower the fire, add the marinade, cover and cook for about half an hour. If too much liquid forms, leave the lid off for a while so it can evaporate. Then add cabbage and onion to the pan and stir-fry them in the chicken juices/marinade, keeping the lid off. Serve when they are done to your liking. 

SAUTEED ASPARAGUS with GARLIC
1 bunch asparagus, plenty of butter, 3 cloves of garlic. 
Melt butter, add asparagus; cover and cook for 10 mins stirring occasionally, or until the asparagus is tender. If you like your asparagus well done, reduce heat and cook 10 more minutes. Thinly slice and add garlic for the last few minutes, stir a few times. 

TURKISH MACKEREL
This dish can be served hot, warm or even cold.
4 whole mackerel, 1 carrot, 2 red onions, ab. 400g potatoes, 4 tomatoes (or half a tin), 2 garlic cloves, 3 bay leaves, flat-leaf parsley, 1 lemon, marjoram, pepper, salt, olive oil.
Clean mackerel. Preheat oven to 200C. Saute chopped onions, garlic and carrot with bay, marjoram and some chopped parsley (including stems) for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally. Add diced potatoes, chopped  tomatoes, and 200ml cold water, stir, cook 8-10 more mins. Slice lemon thinly and place slices on the bottom of an oven dish, fish on top, season generously. Put veg mix around the fish, some oil too. Bake 20-30 mins.

PAN FRIED SPINACH
ab.175g spinach, 2 slices bacon, 1½ tblsp butter, 2 tblsp olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 small chopped (red) onion, salt, pepper.
Fry bacon until brown and crisp. Drain, crumble, set aside. Melt butter, heat oil; mix in bacon, garlic and onion. Cook and stir 2 mins, then mix in spinach. Cover, reduce heat, cook, stirring often, until spinach is tender. Season.

OXTAIL STEW
ab. 1400g oxtail, 1½ tsp salt, 1tsp black pepper, 1 tblsp curry powder, 1 tblsp paprika powder, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tblsp oil, 2 sliced onions, 1 tsp thyme, cayenne/chilli pepper, (savory,) 1 1/2 tblsp tomato puree, 2 cups water, 3 bay leaves, 1 tin (500g) butter beans, drained but keep liquid.
Season oxtail with salt, black pepper, curry powder and garlic. Place onions on top, cover and place in fridge overnight or for at least for 2 hrs before cooking. Heat oil, add oxtail less onions: sear to seal in juice. Add 1 cup of water, thyme, savory and onion, chilli/cayenne and tomato puree; cook for 5 mins. Add second cup of water, bay and bean liquid; cover and simmer until meat is tender (2½ hours). Add beans, stir. Bring to a rapid boil until gravy thickens, stirring at intervals. Serve with barley or rice, and peas.

SIMPLE FISH* and SOUR CREAM BAKE - no gourmet fare this, but I liked it!
450g white fish fillets or steaks, 25g flour, 150g sour cream, 130g mayonnaise, 2 spring onions or 1 small onion, 1 tsp dill or fennel seeds, fresh dill/fennel to garnish, plenty of paprika powder.
Coat fish in flour. Place in a greased ovenproof dish. Finely grate onion, or chop spring onion. Mix sour cream, mayonnaise, onions, dill and lemon juice. Spoon over the fish, top with the paprika powder. Cook at 180°C for 30-35 mins until the fish flakes with a fork. Towards the end, check that the top doesn’t burn. Serve hot, garnished with fresh dill or fennel.
*The following white fish are from sustainable sources: dab, pouting, coley, megrim, grouper, flounder, gurnard, whiting, bream. Avoid cod, halibut, plaice, hake and whitebait; for sole and seabass it depends on how they are caught (see www.fishonline.org).



NEXT MONTH: SUGAR




[2] See also ‘Corporate power’ (March 2015).
[3] Onion increases bone density and can help menopausal women who experience loss of bone density. In addition, women who have passed the menopause may be able to lower their risk of hip fracture through frequent consumption of onions. 
Blackstrap has an ideal calcium-magnesium ratio: we need lots of magnesium to help absorb similarly large quantities of calcium. Both of these minerals aid development of bones.