Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

My Photo
Location: United Kingdom

Perhaps you'll learn more about me as you read my blog. For anyone who translates my blog using the translator facility, don't forget if you wish to read the comments in your own language to click on the title of the post down the left hand side otherwise they will remain in english. Also I assume that the translation is accurate but I don't know, so please allow for errors.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Secret Store Of Food...

Well, not so secret really...I've tried rearranging the images into a different order(but that's been complicated by another browser trying to hijack my computer and access to my blog! So I'll quit whilst I'm ahead...

The pantry that has not been used in decades now has lots of spare items and "Stuff" that is not used as often as some foodstuffs. It's also where items that are not so much of a worry temperature wise. So it's mainly tinned, packeted or in containers. It's misleading in that some items are hidden behind others.

Now my luxury...Pringles...If you look on their website, it is amazing how companies do research and often market items that are available in one country and not another. I have found the USA has quite a few variety of Pringles that are not on the shelves here and vice versa...and the three items below are so new...I could not find them on the website dedicated to the UK but the local supermarket was promoting them at a special price so...Equally, I found three or four items in the Pringles range that are on sale in the UK and until I looked at the website my local supermarket has never ever had them on sale so even where they are supposed to be available, it's not necessarily so...

Ah, yes another cupboard below where I have stored mainly soups and quick snacks and tea/coffee and things for spreading on toast and bread etc... and once again some things are hidden behind other items...so I have quite a store of foods to choose from and I have not even got to the fridge/freezer or where the cereals, bread, biscuits and cakes are(and the little store of sweets)

Thankfully, this means less work for me and more choice at mealtimes. And with such a stock of food to fall back on, I think cost wise after the initial outlay it will also mean it is less expensive.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Latest...

I was back at the hospital a couple of days ago thankfully only for my review...

Blood Pressure "Spot On!" But I was not given the reading. That doesn't worry me.

Urine...I don't know but as nothing was said I assume it's the same or slightly improved but no worse.

Bloods...well, the protein leaking into the blood is improving if slowly.

Cretenine(Kidney function)the reading was in the wrong direction but only slightly to the previous result.
I have been asked to take an extra blood test in a fortnight, if things remain the same or improve I will be left alone until mid October. Otherwise treatment will be reviewed as a precaution and to head off problems before they worsen.

I know I am approx 2 1/2 stone heavier than usual but at least I am maintaining that weight(I hope that may reduce as my steroids are reduced)but at least I am eating all the right foods to be healthy.

And though the drugs are doing their work, I think the reduction in protein may be being aided by my increase in eating porridge, fruit, lots of vegetables, fish and meat such as Turkey, Pork, Lamb and Chicken. But also natural items for reducing Cholesterol and inflammation such as Garlic. And of the same family, Onions, Spring Onions, Leeks, Chives and another with a reputation for reducing cholesterol and that's Beetroot. I'll try anything if I think it may help. I know that I have mentioned these before.

I have been reduced on how many steroids I take and have come down by one tablet again. Hoorah! In time this should see my weight reduce and appearance look more normal.
However, I continue to take the other equally strong drugs as prescribed to treat my condition.

It will still be a long journey ahead and probably it will always be a case of heading off or delaying further problems and trying to maintain how I am for as long as possible so if that is the scenario...I'm happy.

And I want one problem sorted before starting to deal with anything else. Unless, that decision is taken out of my hands.
I'm sorry that my condition caused my lovely flat tummy to increase in size therefore causing it to be slack and have stretch marks but a small price compared to the fact that I am still here and alive. I could consider a nip and tuck but as that has complications, costs money and if I had to have treatment could happen again, it doesn't seem worth considering.

At present I am doing less than I usually do as I appear to now be suffering with Sciatica. Said to be one of the worse pains possible as it affects the largest nerve in the body and I can vouch for it being so...I am unable to put my leg straight when in bed and if I do the pain is constant. And it is difficult to move back into a comfortable position, walking is virtually out. I'm having to avoid putting my full weight on the limb. I am going very careful with some painkillers I have(paracetamol and dihydrocodeine)and they are making some difference.

So the next few weeks will hopefully pass by and there will be no unexpected surprises.
Oh and my local branch of Boots the Chemists seem to finally have matters sorted and are doing everything correctly with my prescriptions, I am being treated with respect and in a pleasant manner and I am so pleased to be able to say that.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Good Simple Food...

Posted by Picasa
I have rediscovered whilst trying to improve my health the spirit to be adventurous. As times are tough I am also looking at ways to eat well but try and avoid the increase in food prices in the shops which has shot up considerably of late. And try and cut back on meals that are prepared which often expensive or if at a reasonable price they could have hidden ingredients and be high on salt, sugar and fat.
So tonight I had the following and how simple could this be.
  • Lean Lamb Mince
  • Mixed Vegetables
  • Diced Onion
  • Bisto Lamb Gravy Granules

In a small amount of Olive Oil fry off(browned)the Mince, in a saucepan have half a pint of water with Bisto Lamb Gravy Granules warming up with some Diced Onion in the gravy.

When the mince is cooked...put the Mince into the saucepan and let it simmer for approx 20-25 minutes...but in theory as the Mince was cooked you probably could cut this time but I think it allows the flavour of the gravy to soak into the Mince and vice versa. It softens the Onion too.

Approx 5 minutes before serving empty the can of Mixed Vegetables into the gravy.

Let everything to continue to simmer.

Pour the contents into a couple of bowls and serve immediately.

And so little preparation there was no requirement to use a slow cooker(often if you want something similar to a casserole)it's suggested you set it away before work and when you return home hours later, it's cooked.

It tasted so good and could be called either a soup or casserole. I could imagine on a cold Winter's Day this warming you up.

I had expected to cook and add vegetables to the meal. I rarely buy tinned vegetables but I remembered I had a can in the cupboard and it happened to contain Turnip, Potato, Carrot and Peas. So I drained off the brine and rinsed the contents in fresh water, drained again and added it to the saucepan.

But the surprise was that the vegetables were already diced into small squares so there was nothing to do. The only disappointment was that there were so few peas and they were not as good as I thought they could be so I added a few spoonfuls of Bird's Eye Frozen Petite Pois Peas and that made enough of a difference.

I reckon each portion cost no more than approx 80p($1.35 US Dollars)

Perhaps you'd like to give it a go...

(Some ingredients may have to be substituted for similar items if you live outside the UK)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Catch Up...

Not the most exciting of days yesterday...I found myself feeling tired and "Out for the count!" One of those kind of days. Eventually, I came around and resigned myself that I had to go out and do some business.

The plan was to wait until the weekend but as we were on the last loaf of bread, I shopped today and hopefully can now avoid another trip until next week or the weekend if I can manage to use what I have in the house already or order for home delivery.

The only thing that was slightly different was that some local Authority lorries turned up and replaced some street lighting(and I was amazed how quickly the work was completed)and was surprised that after many decades and all the time I have lived here, they installed an extra one over the road from my home which will offer more light and perhaps act as a deterrent to possible crime but thankfully it's slightly to the left and therefore we will not have it shining directly into our home all night which can be a problem sometimes but it's position is likely to cause such problems for the two houses nearest to it. I had no warning or idea that this work was scheduled or planned.

I managed to get my prescription from the pharmacy with no hiccups today and everyone was polite, it was a pleasure to be served by the assistants and know everything had been processed without any problems...It looks as though they have finally sorted out their problems and know what they are doing.

They had got it right but the Dr's surgery had attached a note saying that two items were not on repeat prescription and that I had to see a Dr to get them(even though I have been getting them this way for over 6 months)and to make matters worse I have no appointment lined up with my Doctor as he knows the situation I am in and is letting things tick over. Worst of all I am about to run out of these items in the next day or two. So I went over to the Dr's surgery.

I need not have bothered...I am still allowed them but suddenly for some reason the problem is that these are not classed as a repeat prescription and on my list I am told and when I next see my Dr he should add them to the list after I ask him to. For the past 6 months when I have been asking for them from the surgery they have been prescribed specially as an acute item. It's pedantic. As they are ordered on a regular bases, why not add them to the list automatically? However, I need not have been in a panic after all.

So a visit I need not have made to the Dr's surgery but it's understandable when there is suddenly a note attached to prescription saying...see your Dr and it's from them for me to be worried.

At least I managed to book my blood test for next week and all the taxi's to get me to the surgery and the hospital to see my Consultant.

I am happy with little simple things. Whilst on my shopping trip I treated myself to some chopping boards that were on offer...3 for £3 in three colours...Red for Meat, Blue for Fish and Green for Vegetables. We don't do much chopping but they may be useful to save using the Kitchen worktops and easy to clean.

Much as I love my plastic storage boxes with lockable lids that I now use in the fridge and freezer to keep food fresher longer and I have been using some small one's in the bedroom to store coffee, tea, sugar, powdered milk and tea bags so I can have a cup of tea or coffee in the night, it has been a little bit of a chore unclipping/clipping each container so today as there is a quick turnaround on using the contents of these boxes I found 6 similar boxes for £1 with lids that come off in one go so I have switched to them.

They are slightly smaller but fine for the purpose but as they have lids that are not see through I have put little labels on the top saying what's in each to speed things up still further. Especially, if Mum comes in to make a drink in the middle of the night.

I also at last after decades I decided for our Coffee to buy some Brown Demerra Sugar(rather than using white sugar)and amazingly the Fair trade brand worked out cheaper. I did not go for a very exotic crystallised version, it's reasonably free flowing and I prefer the taste so I will probably use it in future. Maybe even, using it instead for other uses in the kitchen.

As my fridge/freezer and cupboards are well stocked I have hardly any room to add anything else to my food store so it was a very small shopping trip today which is fine by me. More a case of topping up items that have been used.

I seem unable to grow herbs in pots on a Kitchen window sill and they all seem to be dying off. So I think I'll give up on that idea. I could try growing from seed and have another try(as I have some packets that I can use)but may just buy as and when I need them or use dried herbs...They are not very expensive. I have managed to grow my own water cress. That's really easy.

Speaking of which having just discovered Garlic Bulbs where I can pull fresh cloves from and jars of cloves suspended in brine ready for use. Today I discovered a little jar of Garlic cloves in amongst the herb section all chopped and ready for use...I don't even have to chop or grate it myself. Just add to what I am cooking...how lazy is that?

It may be a scare story but the drugs I am on to try and cure my condition are very strong and possible side effects severe(Cancer is a possibility and cataracts)so as and when they can they try to reduce or take you off them when possible.

Well, news broke(quite quietly that Statins that have been prescribed and proven to help reduce cholesterol for many people)and was even suggested you may remember for me, there is a suggestion that one particular drug has been linked to causing Cancer and they want to do some research into how safe it is and a leading consultant says that he would not consider taking it!

So just as well my Consultant said I should not take it and that as I hopefully improve my cholesterol will hopefully come down on it's own(not forgetting that I am trying to improve it naturally)with a variety of natural foods including green tea, garlic, beetroot, porridge, fruit and vegetables. And though slight, it has been improving. Now with this news I am happy that I have not started a course of Statins and if it was suggested now I'd probably say no. You have to question was the study group too small, is it that one drug is reacting against another and finally if more people benefit by using it should the few affect the benefit of the greater?

It's a bit personal but I have developed another symptom due to my illness but I think we are beating it. I tried a new product that puts a film on the skin and stops chapping when skin rubs against skin or clothes and its due to a lack of air so you get a bit sweaty. But I'm afraid the irritation and skin was already inflamed between my legs. I had not realised and it was quite bad. So I have been given some cream(that has to be kept in the fridge)and I do believe after 5 days the treatment it is working but reading the leaflet supplied the suggestion is that though I am an adult, it is to cure what is commonly known as "Nappy Rash!"

Hopefully, it won't return but at least it can be got rid of quickly and I'll be ready next time. It's been caused I believe(and again the reason it could happen again)is that the water retention and the hernia being on that side when it drops presses against the thigh. Nice thought...not. But at least that's another problem solved for now.

I do also get shortness of breath when doing reasonably simple tasks. But that could be side effects of medication or the condition.

Cholesterol lowering drug 'increases risk of cancer by 50 per cent'

A different take from the BBC...

Cholesterol drug cancer warning

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Smaller Portions

Most of us will have seen those programmes on television or images of dishes served up in fancy restaurants by fancy chefs and cooks where we've said..."Well, it's presented nice but where's the food?" "I can eat more than that!"

I said the same my myself in the past but you know...maybe they have a point.
Just maybe if you are eating the right selection of foods and they have all the minerals, nutrients and proteins that your body requires anything more is overload and your eyes are bigger than your stomach.

Just as the body "wees off" what it cannot use liquid wise if you drink too much, the body will cope at taking what it requires from the food to repair the system and give energy but I remember what my Consultant said years ago "You can still eat most things but do not eat large steaks"

And unless you are a body builder who is trying to build lots of muscle because you want to appear in some of these contests or be a weight lifter all you are doing by eating great amounts of protein is over work the system and that means your kidneys and liver. These days such people risk more damage as many also drink special supplements as well as larger amounts of protein laden food and some turn to drugs be it steroids or untried and untested substances and pay the price sooner or later.

The other week I read an article in a newspaper about the effects that diabetes has on kidneys and how the intake of protein is watched in the diet as though it's required, nit overworking the kidneys can slow down further damage and "Make them last longer" and that kind of fitted in with what my consultant said about restricting the amount of meat eaten at mealtimes.
But what is the right amount?

Well, a nutritionist that has had her own programmes on television and sometimes appears as a guest and for me often talks about the health benefits of food and seems to make a lot of sense has written another article and it just so happens to mention roughly how much protein you should eat at meal times and how to gauge the size it should be on your plate.

In the past the question has been raised when talking of the recommend 5 portions of food and vegetables per day "What is a portion?" Well, in general you can eat more than that and if you find yourself hungry and you are working hard and burning off the calories there is an excuse for eating more and perhaps for spreading if your employer will allow, your food intake over the day rather than sitting down to a one big meal.

So what is a portion?

Roughly a palm full of fruit or vegetables is one portion. So as long as you have a variety of food on your plate you should be getting all you require to power your body and nutrients from all the food groups possible.

And this article says the same is true of how much meat you should be eating, roughly you'll get all that your body needs without over working it from a piece the size of the palm of your hand.
You can be become obsessed and too worried about following all the advice that is given but it really does come down to common sense. And once again everything in moderation.

And finally...if you have money to burn and really do not miss parting with money, I cannot blame the person who came up this idea if the have found a niche and a clientele but a well known actress who has always come across a bit precious and one of the "Luvvie" set was being interviewed on the radio at the weekend...she had seen a photo of herself and decided that she needs to lose weight(She's never looked overweight to me)but it's her own choice. It's her money. She mentioned that she was about to use a service of a company(and even gave out their web address)which suggests that those listening might find it useful.

The service works out a weight loss/eating plan for the individual, makes up the food in parcels/hampers and delivers it to the door all ready for you just to put in the oven or have as it is. There is nothing to say that what they are doing isn't a very good idea or their advice is wrong.

All they are saving you is time. You have nothing to do.

The obvious easy answer is eat lots of fruit, vegetables, fibre, smaller portions, exercise a bit more and you will be healthier. You'll maintain your weight, lose weight if that's what you want.
Anyhow, I looked up the site connected to this particular service she mentioned...
I picked a plan at random and found out how much using this service would cost me if I decided to follow suit...

2 hampers delivered to your door each week for one person came in at £110(so that's £440 per month)I think I'll pass.

Now for some, the following may still be too expensive but I think this is not a bad idea(and it reminds me of the old)Meals on Wheels idea that some elderly were entitled to if they were finacially poor...where a delivery van would turn up and deliver at least one decent hot nutritional meal to be sure that that person would not starve. There are some companies that you can order from a selection of perhaps 60+ meals that you can store in a freezer and then just thaw or cook from frozen. The quality of food and choices are good and a meal can cost as little as £2.15. I can not see anything wrong with that kind of service and the prices seem quite reasonable.

As for the article I mentioned...click on this link.