Friday, 1 June 2018

June 2014: little known facts


Heartburn can be caused by too little, not by too much stomach acid. In which case, taking antacids may be the worst thing you can do. See:  
To improve heartburn, also have a look at: 

The unlovely truth about boxed breakfast cereals.

Vitamin B12: if you are short of this for a while, the damage will be irreversible. Even if your levels are only slightly lower than they should be, you may have symptoms like poor memory, depression and fatigue. A more serious deficiency may lead to Alzheimer's. Vitamin B12 is in animal foods like meat, fish and eggs. Therefore deficiency is widespread among vegans and vegetarians, who avoid these foods. If you choose to avoid animal foods, it is absolutely vital to supplement with Vitamin B12 or eat foods that have been fortified with it.

“You should probably avoid products that make health claims. Because a health claim on a food product is a strong indication it’s not really food.” 
“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 over in 'Cereal', the Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms are screaming their newfound "whole-grain goodness" to the rafters.” (
Real food has started to disappear, replaced by processed foods designed to include nutrients. Those component parts are understood only by scientists and exploited by food marketers who thrive on introducing new products that hawk fiber, omega-3 fatty acids or whatever else happens to be in vogue…

Nutrient destroyers: even if you do know this really, you may well have hidden it far away in your subconscious. Which common foods, drinks and medications destroy all your hard-won nutrients? 

Dark meat is better for you than light. The reasons we are encouraged to eat white meat only, are: 1) it has marginally more calories and 2) it contains more of the dreaded saturated fat [1]. On the other hand, dark meat it has many more nutrients: iron, zinc, B1, B2, B6, B12, selenium, taurine, amino acids, vitamins A, K and the B complex, amongst which we also find B12, see above. 
Eating the skin as well, provides valuable fat-soluble vitamins and antimicrobial fatty acids.
PS The dark parts of vegetables, too, tend to be much better for you. See the Thought for May 2011: green greens in the archive on the right. Click on the current or the last year.  

ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - often turns out  just to be a case of, for instance: bad eyesight, poor hearing, sleep deprivation, autism, substance abuse, etcetera, according to US neurologist Richard Saul. It's an easy and fashionable diagnosis, and the producers of Ritalin are laughing all the way to the bank. 

The Daily Mail can be right sometimes! Whole milk is far better for you than (semi) skimmed - never mind the calories. 
Unless you drink gallons of the stuff, switching to semi-skimmed or skimmed is unlikely to make any great impact on your fat intake. And (semi-skimmed) cows’ milk is much less nutritious than whole milk, because cream contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. These are important, among other things, for strengthening immunity to infections, neutralising the effects of damaging free radicals and keeping bones healthy. 

If you have kidney problems, beware of taking (multi)vitamins until you have asked you doctor.  Some vitamins or minerals may be bad for you.

And, unless you have faithfully read all the others issues of Thought for Food: 

Sunscreen: what you eat will prevent your skin from being burned, as much as what you may slap on your skin. Plus, if you choose taking the sun using food as a sunscreen, you'll get valuable vitamin D as well. See the Thought for April 2012 in the archive on the right. Click on the current or the last year. 

Soy - unless it is properly fermented which it rarely is - is bad for you. And it's EVERYWHERE, often under different names. See the Thought for April 2012 in the archive on the right. Click on the current or the last year [2].

Veg: broad beans, beet, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, new potatoes, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, mangetout, peas, cauliflower, radish, spinach, spring onions, spring greens, watercress, kohlrabi, turnips, rhubarb, redcurrants, strawberries, gooseberries.
Meat: lamb, wood pigeon.
Fish: grey mullet, black bream, gurnard, pollock, whiting, mackerel, lobster, whelks, clams, cockles, coley, crabs, crayfish, flounder, grouper, gurnards, herring, megrim, scallops.
beetroot, calabrese, lettuce, salsify/scorzonera, french/runner beans, kale, carrots, cauliflower (mini only), salad onions, (sugar) peas, radish, kohlrabi, mooli, turnip, chicory, fennel, courgettes, marrows and pumpkins.
Sow swede and sweetcorn in early June. If the soil is above 25°C, sow crisphead, cos or little Gem only.
Plant out: courgettes, cabbage, sprouting broccoli, sprouts, celery, celeriac, ridge cucumbers, runner/french beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, sweet corn.


300 g fresh broad beans (=1.1k unshelled),  2.5 cm grated ginger, 2 crushed cloves garlic, lemon juice, cream, black pepper.
Place broad beans in a pan with enough cold water to cover generously. Bring to the boil. Cook beans until tender, ab. 2 mins. Blend. If you like your soup very smooth, strain through a sieve. Add ginger, garlic, some lemon juice and cream. Season, gently reheat.

Or on a hot day, if you like cold soup (I don't), try:
Plenty of radish tops, onion, garlic clove, butter, cumin, sour cream, (1tsp curry powder, walnut oil).
Saute onion, garlic, cumin and curry powder in butter. After ab. a minute, add l stock/water, bring to the boil. Add radish tops and cook for ab. 5 mins, whizz. Add sour cream, take off the heat and put some walnut oil on top if you have it. Yum!


3tblsp olive oil, 1 large sliced (red) onion, 150g thinly sliced waxy potatoes, 200g podded broad beans, 6 eggs, ¾tsp cumin, ½tsp turmeric, cayenne pepper, plenty of fresh chopped coriander and chopped mint, 30g grated mature cheese, salt, pepper.
Slice potatoes and onion. Sauté potatoes for 10 mins in half the oil, add onion, cook for 10 more mins, stirring occasionally. Place beans in a bowl, cover with boiling water for 10 mins, drain. Whisk eggs, add cumin, turmeric, cayenne, coriander, mint, cheese, ¼ tsp salt, pepper. Stir in onion, potato and beans. Add remaining oil to frying pan: when hot, add egg mix, and stir immediately. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring quite often, until egg is almost set. Use a fork to gently release sides from the pan. Turn by placing inverted plate over pan. Finish cooking for 1-2 mins. You can use cooked potatoes instead of raw ones, and shorten the frying time accordingly.
500g spinach, 40g butter, 2 sliced garlic cloves, 75g full-flavour cheese, nutmeg, 50ml double cream.

Cook spinach for 3 mins until wilted. Tip into colander and squeeze to remove water. Melt butter, add garlic and cook for 2-3 mins until soft, but not coloured. Add spinach and nutmeg. Season; stir in cream and cheese and cook for 1 min until melted. Serve with boiled potatoes.
3 Little Gem, 50g lightly toasted almonds, 7 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp cider vinegar, 1 crushed garlic clove, parsley, dill.
Though the recipe was meant for the barbecue, the lettuce can easily be cooked briefly in a lightly oiled frying pan.
Prepare and light the barbecue. Chop the almonds and mix in a bowl with the garlic, parsley, dill, 6 tbsp of the oil, vinegar, sugar and plenty of seasoning. Cut each lettuce into quarters and brush the cut sides with the remaining oil. Once the barbecue is hot, lightly cook the lettuce wedges, turning them from one cut side to the other until lightly seared. Transfer to a serving plate and spoon over the dressing to serve.
300g shelled broad beans, 100g bacon, in 1cm strips, 200ml crème fraîche, rocket leaves, 1tbsp butter/olive oil, 1 crushed garlic clove, mint, pepper, salt, 500g barley or pasta, (grated mature cheese).
Cook barley or pasta according to instructions. Cook broad beans 5 mins, drain. Fry bacon until brown, add garlic, fry for a minute. Stir in crème fraîche and broad beans; simmer for 1 minute to heat it through, then add chopped rocket and mint. Drain pasta if using. Stir grains or pasta into the sauce. Serve with (grated cheese and) black pepper.  

Leftover cooked spring greens (or other cabbage), leftover mash, onion, chopped bacon, peas. 
Fry onion and bacon till nearly done, add mash and greens, fry till brown underneath. Meanwhile cook peas. Turn the squeaky bubble so the other side can brown too. Have with the peas.

BRAISED PEAS with LETTUCE and ONIONS, serves 2-3 as a side.
240ml shelled peas, handful of shredded lettuce leaves, 1 onion, generous knob of butter, 1 tsp olive oil, 60ml liquid, sea salt, white pepper, a bit of lemon juice, dill or mint.
Melt butter with oil, add sliced onion and cook till soft before adding the peas. Stir, about 1-2 min. Add lettuce, stir to combine. Then add liquid and seasoning, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 2-3 min. Uncover, let simmer to reduce for just a while, before removing from heat. Add dill or mint and lemon juice.

NEXT TIME: "Just relax ....."