Category Archives: choices

Hot Dogs…Do YOU know what is in the Hot Dog you are eating?

Hot-Dogs-

I thought I knew much of what went into the food we eat and when I started this series quite by chance the other week I was shocked…And it takes quite a lot to shock me… I don’t eat Hot Dogs and never have … Unless it was a home-made sausage or a good sausage or I  was at a BBQ and have eaten the occasional proper sausage… So rare for me I haven’t had one yet this year so that tells you how often I eat any sausage…

There are many processed sausages and balls here…All displayed and looking tempting.

sausages - fish balls

Look at that display it is bright, colourful and I can see how it could tempt anybody to eat one…

But, honestly, when I look at anything like that I feel sick… I have always had an aversion to any food when I don’t know the origin and couldn’t guess as to the ingredients…

So taking an educated guess I would say in one way or another that wherever you travelled to in the world you would see fast food brightly displayed…Shouting Eat me!

Before I go any further I will now tell you what shocked me the most during my research…

To be clear hotdogs DO NOT contain human flesh BUT research by Clear Labs found 2% of ALL hot dogs contain Human DNA…More troubling is 2/3 of hot dogs marked as Vegetarian contain human DNA.

Hot Dog sausages are classic pre-cooked processed meat. it is very troubling to me how much an original ok product has and is changed and for nothing less than profit and greed…Proper ones contain beef or pork it is the other % which is very questionable as to the content. The majority who take up the biggest proportion of space on supermarket shelves.

I do think that old saying that ” YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR ” is increasingly true. We all look for a bargain but what are we really getting???

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Traditionally made from Pork or Beef BUT it is the less expensive ones we should be aware of and avoid as they are made from chicken/turkey using low-cost mechanical machinery to separate poultry…So what are they separating? The good meat from the bad in a nutshell…

By bad I mean what you wouldn’t normally eat…like gristle, fat, offal, skin, lips, pig snouts, organs and other parts.

Mechanical separating machines separate the bits which are not sellable on the chicken carcass 50% of a hot dogs meat is fat, ground bones, blood vessels and connective tissues.

Hot Dogs also typically contain Sodium, saturated fats and Nitrate which when consumed in excess have been linked to health problems.

Hot Dogs are made by a process called ” Meat Emulsion”  even just those two words make me feel sick and I am surprised that I haven’t actually thrown up…Yet!

So what is in your hot dog?

The casing is made from cleaned lambs intestines which many sausage makers use and if you take the Scots then the Haggis that famous dish made of offal and other meat… the meat is encased in an animal stomach if traditionally made…

That I can accept as I would prefer a natural casing over a synthetic one.

Flavours...Is a very grey area as under US law many flavour combinations can be listed as just flavour rather than individually or use the wording “All flavourings contained in this product are approved for use in the Food and Drug regulations”.

In one of my previous posts, I found that many flavouring and colouring banned in Europe and other countries are not in the US and manufacturers go as far as not using banned substances in any exported goods but use them for goods distributed around the US…I am guessing you can read my mind on the one…

BANNED means BANNED

Right??

Potassium Lactate... More confusing than gross being a white odourless solid made with Lactic Acid and Potassium Hydroxide.

Corn Syrup, Sodium Nitrate, Msg and antibiotics are also ingredients…All of these could be a separate post on the dangers to health. So watch this space…

Salt… A single hot dog contains 480 milligrams of sodium which equals 20% of RDA. How many people eat more than one hot dog per meal and more than a few times a week?

Another alarming fact is that 3% of Hot Dogs advertised as containing Beef only do actually contain Pork…Why??

Because a set of USDA Rules 1994 state any meat can be removed from the bone by Advanced Meat Recovery (AMM) and can be added to the Hot Dog mixture.

It seems to me that all of these rules are designed to aid food manufacturers and not the public…Their customers…The people who line their greedy pockets…The people who are trusting who believe the advertising…

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We should be walking with our feet…We should not be buying any products if it is not clear as to what is in the product. We should not be fobbed off by wording which is blatantly designed to fool.

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients that I cook with have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Thank you for reading this post and if you are as shocked as me please share far and wide…We are the consumer and we have the power…Remember that…We also have the final say in what we feed our family …Remember that xxx

“I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” by Eleanor Roosevelt.

I do hope you are enjoying my archived posts from 2015…I certainly am and it is giving time to do a little more writing so it is twofold …Enjoy!

Retired? No one told me!

Are we all happy with that?

I am because if I hadn’t retired to Phuket I most certainly would not be blogging, I would not be warm( it’s so hot and sunny here), I would not be making my own ham and bacon, I would not be a published author the list is endless.

Why? I can hear you all saying.

Choices, circumstances, call it what you may….. sometimes we have to just be brave, go with the flow, listen to our hearts, be a little selfish…..yes why not…… years ago and I mean years ago I wanted to study Law…..I got these looks, comments…why Carol? you have a good job, you have a family why…all these puzzled looks…..why? for me, because I wanted to……so I enrolled…… time to study!

” Mum, Can I? Mum, can you? it didn’t stop…

Enter my friend Gilly…….My neighbour, confidant, shoulder to cry on…

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Papaya Salad…. one of Thailands iconic dishes.

Papaya Salad Som Tam

Papaya Salad or as it is known here, Som Tam.

One of my favorite dishes which is eaten with nearly every meal and sold everywhere on markets, by the roadside with lovely chicken or fish and a dish that I would say every visitor to Thailand will sample and remember.

You will see the trees growing everywhere in gardens, by the roadside and waste land we have at least  6 in our garden alone and not sure how many on the farm and have planted one outside our house so that anyone passing can help themselves.

The papaya tree laden with fruit:

Papaya on tree

 

For those of you who are not lucky enough to be able to buy green Papaya then here is the recipe for you and some alternatives if you can’t buy green papaya.

Ingredients:

A Green Papaya…1 papaya unless you are making a huge dish full will make at least 3 two serving portions. If you keep it covered or put in a plastic bag it keeps very well in the fridge and doesn’t go brown like some fruits and vegetables once peeled.

  • 1 Carrot
  • Handful cherry Tomatoes or 2/3 med sized tomatoes.
  • 2 long green beans.
  • Dried shrimp (optional)
  • 1 Lime
  • 4/5 birds eye chillies
  • Fish Sauce.
  • Sm amount of palm sugar about a half teaspoon.

Method:

Shred green Papaya and Carrot.

Cut tomatoes up roughly in smallish pieces or cherry tomatoes in half.

Put the chilli, sugar and little fish sauce in pestle and mortar and pound away.

Add papaya, carrots, tomatoes and dried shrimps ( a bit at a time) and keep pounding.

Add lime juice and the lime cheeks, peel ..all of it….. a little more pounding, stir and serve.

Tip 1: TASTE, Taste and taste again because it is about balancing those hot, salty, sweet, sour tastes of Thai Food and your personal taste.

I find that in papaya salad the heat of the chilli is more pronounced so if you only like a little heat start with half a chilli or 1….and TASTE……lime juice and fish sauce the same… taste……..Thai food is all about balancing of the sweet, sour, spicy, salty flavours so once again TASTE as it’s very personal and individual…

I love the fish sauce so I am probably..well… nought probable about it… I am….bit free and easy with it…..but that’s my taste and maybe not yours ……I am now becoming in danger of overusing a word…but TASTE…….

Tip 2: If you cannot get Green Papaya where you live then you can use shredded Cucumber or Swede as a substitute. Both are good and particularly with the swede unless you are a connoisseur of Papaya Salad then it would be hard to call.

Another variation on the Papaya is substituting shredded  Green Bananas ..I have not seen it made everywhere… it seems to be more regional but it was good, very good.

I hope you enjoy my little recipes they are not all precisely measured but just how we do it here ….whatever we have goes in the pot or pestle i.e the addition of crab ( in its shell) and yes you do get mucky fingers because again it’s eating with what you were born with.

Som Tam with Phla

Oh, and you serve Papaya Salad with Khao Neow (sticky rice), Chicken or fish..fresh veggies of your choice….

Whatever you fancy and this is one of my favourites and so many variations..but I have found me a little man who makes it just the way I like it… Sometimes I just want to eat and the beauty of Thai street food is it is just like it has come from your own kitchen… How fresh does that  Papaya look? Freshly shredded…

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So when I am on my morning walk …I tell my favourite papaya man I will be 30 mins or however long I think I may be..pick up my fresh coconut juice and then my Som Tam and maybe some freshly cooked chicken on the way back home …

I am so blessed that I have such lovely food on my doorstep.

I hope you enjoyed this post if you did please share or reblog as I am sure at least one of your friends would also love the recipe for an authentic Papaya salad and sharing is caring…

It is simple food at it’s best…

Until next time stay safe, have fun AND laugh a lot as laughter is the best medicine and IT’S FREE so please also do me a favour…ASK a question because as you know…I love it when I hear someone question something, please don’t be a follower be a questioner and ask!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Eating …

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I try to eat healthy or as much as I can or I want to…I like the occasional treat and why not???

I am careful about what I feed my family and my cooking methods and I do what I reasonably can… I check out things or products I am not sure of and make my own mind up as to whether I buy it or not.

I believe it is all about balance and not being fanatical as that just makes you miserable and laughter is good for you as well.

I know it is hard to check and there is a mine of information out there and some very believable I will say…But I love digging and not just the garden and sometimes I get really frustrated and just save the links for another day when my brain is clearer…

What annoys me most and there is one in particular that when I see his name connected to a statement of supposedly valid, 100% true facts….I read, double-check and read again….I also came across and interestingly…and no I am not going to name drop…I believe he has a regular tv show … But the other week I  was reading something which stated a fact and provided the name of the organisation which conducted the research… BUT… it wasn’t a clickable link..an error??? We all make those…

So  I copied and pasted the link…. yes there was a study and it totally contradicted the statement this doctor had made…

My conclusion was that he is very famous and a lot of people hang on his every word and take it as gospel and wouldn’t click the link if they had been able to anyway…Total faith in his word.

Today I read a post that mentioned him, Two in fact …One interested me as it was the topic of a post I am currently writing…. This is where the red mist took over… My husband always used to tell the kids it was “tin hat” time…lol

Real life medical doctors have investigated claims made on this show and stated that not even half of the recommendations made were based on any proven evidence at all….Now that is scary..don’t you think????

Rant over ..normal service will resume with a smile with my next post and I promise I will research everything as much as I can but please..check for yourself…Promise me that…. You owe it to yourself and your families…

Until next time…Stay safe, laugh a lot and ASK a question.

 

 

 

 

 

Foods which can help reduce your cholesterol levels naturally.

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Cholesterol.… there has been so much bad publicity about taking statins, however, if you are taking prescribed medication for your cholesterol please speak to your doctor before you stop taking any prescribed medication.

If your doctor is suggesting that you take medication then now is maybe the time to look at natural ways of reducing your cholesterol before you start medication and it does work as my mum did just that and she got her cholesterol level down and didn’t need medication so diet does work for a lot of people.

Nuts…

If you’re looking for a snack food that lowers your cholesterol levels, research shows that you should get cracking! Ha Ha… In a study published by The Medical Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that people who munched their way through 1.5 oz of whole walnuts 6 days a week for 1 month lowered their total cholesterol by 5.4% and LDL cholesterol by 9.3%. Almonds and Hazelnuts are other great options.

The picture above shows the little cob nuts we used to pick and enjoy at Christmas also known as Hazelnuts they are sweet and incredibly nutritious edible kernels from the “birch” or Betulaceae family of trees.

They are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic as well as essential fatty acid, linoleic acid that helps lower LDL or bad cholesterol and raises HDL or good cholesterol.

Spinach…

This popular green food contains lots of lutein, the sunshine-yellow pigment found in dark green leafy vegetables and egg yolks. Research suggests that just ½ cup of a lutein-rich food daily guards against heart attacks by helping artery walls “shrug off” cholesterol invaders that cause clogging.

Just take…

25g butter 

100g fresh breadcrumb

zest of a lemon

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 red chilli, finely chopped

500g spinach…. then melt the butter in a large frying pan add everything except for the spinach. Cook until golden and crunchy. Remove from the pan and put to one side. Add the spinach to the pan and wilt, Stir and season then put in a serving dish and top with the crispy crumbs and serve as a lovely side dish with a pasta or ????? You choose!

You choose!

Fruit……..

Fruits such as apples, citrus fruit, berries, apricots, cherries are high in soluble fibre and pectin both shown to be helpful in lowering cholesterol. A bowl of beautiful fruit in season is just wonderful or make it into a smoothie….I use fresh and frozen fruit for my smoothies, if you have some bananas that are getting too ripe and they do ripen so quickly don’t they?..then pop in a bag ..remove the skin of course and chop into pieces and when you do a smoothie just pop in frozen.

My smoothie recipe....  a couple of strawberries, a banana, a few frozen raspberries and 3 cheeks of lime and about half small glass of coconut milk. I like my drinks a bit tart and I don’t do sweet drinks so if you like yours sweeter you may want to cut the lime a little and add some honey to sweeten but the beauty of the smoothies is anything goes ….you can make them to order.

I also sometimes add a slice of tomato, beetroot( not in vinegar), and carrot…Play with your flavours you will be surprised and you are getting your 5 a day beautifully served in a glass of deliciousness.

If I want it colder and more frozen then I use frozen bananas.

Fatty Fish….

Omega 3 fats found in fish are one of the natural health wonders of the world these fatty acids can lower cholesterol replacing saturated fats with omega-3 like those found in salmon, sardines, and herring can raise good cholesterol as much as 4%.

Do you think that fish looks appetising? It is one of my favourite dinners and so quick and easy to do click here for the recipe     I hope you love it as much as I do. For ease, I buy a piece of fish and portion and freeze it so if you are busy or working you can just take it from the freezer before you leave the house and it is nice and thawed ready to cook when you get home.

Garlic…

Aside from adding zing to almost any dish, garlic makes the list of foods that lower cholesterol; Research also finds that it helps stop artery-clogging plaque at its earliest stage by keeping cholesterol particles from sticking to artery walls.

Oats….

If you are looking to lower your cholesterol then get out the Scotts Porridge Oats.  I grew up on those… a lovely warming bowl before I went out into the cold to walk to school. Yes…shock horror..walk to school…

Now that is another post as I still walk …my longest walk….26.2 miles which is the official length of a marathon and I did it!

Back to that bowl of oats…Eating two servings of oats for breakfast can lower LDL (Bad) cholesterol by 5.3% in only 6 weeks.

The key to this cholesterol buster is beta-glucans, a substance in oats that absorbs LDL, which your body then excretes.

Don’t like porridge then what about some lovely oat biscuits?

Coconut Biscuits

I don’t make biscuits very often..almost never but I food because of the humidity doesn’t last long here it either goes off or the ants take residence. I was guided by the desiccated coconut and the golden syrup which was a gift from afar aka visitors and the rolled oats which I mistakenly bought instead of the porridge oats.

These cookies are my basic recipe and next time will be my experimental recipe I am already planning what I can add to them.

Ingredients:

  • 150gm rolled oats
  • 100gm plain flour
  • 100gm light brown sugar( I used raw sugar)
  • 100gm desiccated coconut
  • 100gm butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp of boiling water.

Let’s Cook!

Set oven to heat at 175C, gas mark 4.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Combine the sugar, flour, coconut and oats mix to combine well.

In a small pan add the butter and golden syrup and melt the butter. meanwhile, bring the kettle to the boil and add two tbsps of boiling water to the bicarbonate of soda in a small cup. Add this to the melted butter/syrup mix. It will foam a little.

Make a well in the centre of your dry mix and pour in the melted butter/syrup mix. Stir to thoroughly combine and it will form a slightly sticky dough.

Roll out balls and put on a baking tray leaving a space as they will spread on cooking ( the mix made 15 balls) Slightly flatten with your hand.

Put in the preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

THE BISCUITS WILL BE SOFT TO THE TOUCH BUT WILL HARDEN ON COOLING.

Don’t make the mistake I made when I first made them and thought they weren’t cooked and gave them another 10 minutes. They were a tad harder than required when they cooled down…haha…I could have built a wall with them…Opppps

Olive Oil…

Good news: This common cooking ingredient can help your health. Olive Oil is full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids which lower LDL cholesterol—and have the welcome side effect of trimming belly fat. Use it to make your own salad dressings, marinate chicken and fish, or roast vegetables.

Isn’t healthy eating delicious???

Red Wine….

I love science especially when it tells me that a glass of what I love is healthy for me….It doesn’t get better than that…Does it???

Now, who doesn’t love a good Rioja? Well, those lovely high fibre Tempranillo grapes may well significantly lower our cholesterol levels.

A study by the Department of metabolism and nutrition at University Health News 

Confirmed this …That’s good news a glass of Red wine is beneficial to our health, isn’t it…..Cheers!

 

I hope you enjoy these posts ..my aim is to encourage healthy eating but also to help you realise that most of us only need to tweak our diets a little as much of what we eat is good for us as long as we buy fresh produce or grow our own… don’t buy processed foods but hey I don’t buy processed foods and we eat well…I also have a budget and buy foods in season, on special offer, if it is something I use, we swap vegetables and fruit here so if I have too much of something I share it with my family or neighbours and they do likewise.

Just a few little adjustments sometimes make so much difference.

I could tell you about so much more…name everything which helps lower your cholesterol…It would be akin to War and Peace BUT I want you to use google, ask and decide for yourself what you want to cook and what you want to buy……If only 1 person does this then I will be a happy bunny.

 

And if you think I am being too frivolous as health is a serious subject……..Laughter is also good for your health.

Until next time…Stay safe, laugh a lot, have a glass of red wine and  ASK a question.

 

Salt of the earth…

 

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Salt seems to be a topic of conversation around here at the moment so I have decided to resurrect this post from aunt juju which I reblogged over a year ago.

Since then I have purchased a salt block as a present for my daughter and am awaiting feedback as she has had it for a good few months now.

This article by aunt juju is a very good comprehensive view of salt block cooking backed up by some wonderful recipes. So please take a look you will love it as much as I do… I just know you will.

Once I self-host this blog I will be offering these amongst other things for sale…..I will not have loads of ads all over the place but the sale items will be relevant to my posts. Which means folks you will still get recipes and hopefully some good advice to get you thinking about your health alongside them.

Young Sally also penned a very good post on salt and our health and I discovered salt farming as some of you know on my proverbial doorstep.   So much to do and discover in this little corner of Thailand.

Salt is definitely being featured in our corner of the world of WP and is worth a look as that and so many other things which we were advised to steer clear of consuming don’t seem to be really as bad for us….What are your thoughts on all this backtracking?

A short post to read as you drink your morning coffee…well depending on where you live…ha ha ….coupled with some interesting links for when you put feet up later.

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I hope you enjoy all of this and it links everything together for you….Do you have any What are your thoughts on Salt and your health?

We would love to know so please comment and if you have used salt blocks ..tell me your experience did you love it or hate it?….Good or bad…. I would love to know.

Thank you for reading I hope it gave you food for thought? Stay safe and laugh a lot..it’s free and it releases all those good endorphins which are responsible for our feeling of wellbeing…. it is the biochemical of the substrate aka ” The Spice of Life”

Until next time……..