Tweaklet #60 – Celery

Some people are going to want to run in the other direction today because I am going to talk about Celery and celery is one of THE most hated vegetables in the world!

I love pretty much all foods so I am very curious when people express a strong dislike of something and celery is one that comes up often.

People who hate celery are generally not picky eaters. They will often say I eat everything, just not celery!

Those of us who like it can’t understand what all the fuss is about. We know it contains excellent fibre and makes a great crudité to use in dips. It’s virtually calorie free, so that’s a bonus and medicinally it’s been used for centuries because of its anti-inflammatory properties to treat things like gout, arthritis to lower cholesterol and to provide pain relief. Celery helps protect our hearts our livers prevent ulcers and improve digestion.

Lovers of celery think it tastes quite sweet and mild, with no particular smell. Celery haters describe a strong soapy, dirty rainwater taste and an odour that cannot be masked even when wrapped and bagged and stuffed way in the back of the fridge or sneakily buried under a strong tasting sauce!

And if you try to convince a celery hater to give it another try, all they hear is BLAH BLAH BLAH as they try to block out what you’re saying.

I am not mocking you celery haters, honest. In fact you’ve inspired me to do more research on foods people hate, so thank you. I am only sorry I have not found any useful research on why celery tops the hate list.

It is a member of the Umbellifer family and as well as carrots and parsnips, other members include spices like dill, parsley, caraway, cumin (which some people have an issue with. Someone I know says cumin smells like sweaty armpits!) and another member of the same family is Coriander, which in its leafy state is another food that’s top of the most hated list! Is there a correlation between Celery and Coriander? I don’t know. But one of you might, so if you have some good information on this topic, please let me know. And if you have a violent dislike of any particular food I’d love to hear about that too.

So dear Tweakleters I will leave you in peace. I won’t go on any more about celery, at least not today!

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Tweaklet #52 – Salmon

We’ve talked about the health benefits of eating fish before and one of the absolute best is salmon. Salmon is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Salmon is nutrient dense and particularly recognised for its high levels of Omega-3s.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish or fish oil help enhance bone health to keep conditions like osteoporosis at bay. They act as a natural anti-inflammatory to relieve inflammation and protect the nervous system from oxidative stress and age-related damage.

Studies show that salmon can do everything from helping boost brain function, sperm production and eye sight, to improving bone and skin health. It is full of heart-healthy fats, protein and rich in vitamins like A, D and calcium.

As demand for salmon has increased a lot of it is now produced in farmed conditions. There is a lot of debate about wild salmon versus farmed salmon. Generally speaking wild salmon has a much better nutrient profile than farmed salmon, but the biggest difference is the condition of many salmon farms. Living in a closed environment means the fish are more likely to need to be treated with chemicals which they readily absorb and pass on.

So when you’re shopping for salmon how can you tell the difference between wild and farmed?

The first sign is the colour. Farmed salmon is lighter and more pink, while wild has a deeper reddish-orange hue. Farmed fish will also a lot more fatty marbling in its flesh—those wavy white lines—since they aren’t fighting against upstream currents like wild ones.

Salmon is very versatile. It’s great simply pan-fried. Or it can be grilled or roasted or cooked in a paper parcel in the oven to seal in the flavour. And it takes flavour well so you can add a pesto or a crust or any of your favourite spices or herbs, and turned into an Asian, Indian or Mediterranean delight. You can crisp up the skin or take it off altogether.  And if you can’t buy fresh then good quality tinned salmon is OK too.

I find that even people who aren’t big fish lovers like salmon so if you haven’t had any fish for a while now’s the time to shop for a nice juicy deep reddish orange piece of salmon.

Mmmm, that’s got my mouth watering and some ideas flowing, so I’m off to get some salmon!

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Tweaklet #49 – Chilli

Do you like spicy food? Do you always reach for the chilli sauce or chopped chilli to go with your main meal? Or are you the opposite and shy away from anything spicy?

I love spicy food but I can’t handle spice that burns the back of my throat and makes me break out into a sweat. But according to new research, eating hot chillis could be the secret to a longer life!

Chillis, otherwise known as hot peppers, have been grown and used in food for thousands of years and like a lot of spices they have excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

They’re also good for weight loss as they speed up your metabolism, stop cravings and are natural appetite suppressants.

The capsaicin found in spicy foods actually lowers cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol accumulation in the body. And chilli’s anti-inflammatory properties make it great for heart health generally.

So what’s your spice level? If you’re new to chilli ease in gradually or you’ll put yourself off and that would be a shame. Build up gradually and try some ground spices like paprika and cayenne and if you’re buying fresh peppers, do your research to find out just how hot each variety is. Remember some of the smallest in size can be the most fiery!

A little tip, from painful personal experience, is when you’re chopping up fresh chilli peppers remember to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards and even then don’t go touching your eyes! Boy did I learn that one the hard way several times!

So, whilst we wait for further research on whether spicy food will help us live longer, let’s just get on and enjoy experimenting with adding some heat to our food. Time to spice up our lives Tweakleters!

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Tweaklet #30 Ginger – Powerful and Delicious

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE ginger! I make a ginger and lemon hot water drink every morning before I drink anything else. Freshly grated ginger! Yum. It goes into most dishes I cook –sweet and savoury.

I’m sure you find that there are certain foods that you are naturally drawn too? Well, ginger is one of mine.

It’s been around forever and is known for its powerful medicinal properties in both traditional and alternative medicine.

It’s a health enhancer in so many ways. It helps with upset stomachs such as morning sickness and motion sickness…….. It reduces the kind of inflammation that most commonly contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis and brain disorders. Its powerful antioxidant qualities can help prevent, slow down or even stop serious diseases in their tracks.

Ginger eases menstrual pains…. fights fungal infections…… protects against stomach ulcers….regulates blood sugar……lowers cholesterol…. Relieves joint and muscle pain……and promotes good gut health.

Fresh ginger can be grated into literally every dish, pretty much. Just scrape back the skin with your fingernail or peel it back. Add it into soups, stews, stir-fries……. Meat dishes…..Veggie dishes……Juice it or add it to smoothies. Then, of course, you can also generously sprinkle dry ginger into your food or use ginger essential oil or buy a ginger supplement.

Ah ginger….,my , zesty peppery, delicious and nutritious friend, you’re the best!

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Tweaklet #28 Tumeric – the healing power of yellow!

One spice that you just can’t help knowing something about is Turmeric! This glorious golden spice is so vibrant and its magnificence goes far beyond its place as the number one spice in Indian cuisine, this is a powder that for centuries has been used to heal the body both inside and outside.

Turmeric is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. It’s well known for speeding up the healing process of wounds and skin conditions. It’s great for digestion and has powerful antioxidant properties which can protect your liver and other organs from being damaged by strong drugs.

I really don’t use enough Turmeric which is what has prompted me to do this particular Tweaklet, so let’s look at ways to include this fabulous health booster into our diets.

Tumeric is a member of the ginger family and as you already know I love ginger! Depending on where you live you may find turmeric fresh and can grate it into your favourite stir fries, soups and savoury dishes.

If you only have access to powdered Turmeric you can sprinkle it into eggs….. greens……. Rice……. roasted vegetables …..and meat dishes or use it as a rub. You can add it into dressings…….. and sauces and put turmeric into your smoothies and tea.  Just sprinkle away and be generous!

For those of you who want to make full use of turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties, look up recipes for golden milk. I haven’t tried making it yet but I will and we can then compare notes!

So that’s our golden Tweaklet for today – turmeric! I’d love to know how you include Turmeric in your daily diet.

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