Bread making as therapy


Kneading image from: Joe Pastry

I always thought that kneading bread made me feel good. Now there’s a report to back me up.

Rising Up is a report from The Real Bread Campaign (part of  the Sustain charity) on the therapeutic and social benefits that bread making offers to people living with mental health issues, or otherwise facing a tougher time than most.

In “a new survey of people living with mental health issues, or facing one of a range of other challenges, 88% …. said bread making gives them a sense of achievement, 87% said baking makes them feel happier, and 73% said it helped them feel calmer or more relaxed”.

This has also been covered in the press, but the message (about bread) seems to have been lost amidst cupcake imagery (eg the Independent).

Anyway – one thing I would like to emphasise is that this therapy doesn’t involve using a ‘breadmaker’!

Fruit and veg really are good for you


This article covers a European epidemiological study which analysed 25,682 deaths (10,438 due to cancer and 5,125 due to cardiovascular disease) among the 451,151 participants (in ten European countries) studied over more than 13 years.

“According to the results, a combined fruit and vegetable consumption of more than 569 grams per day reduces the risk of mortality by 10% and delays the risk of mortality by 1.12 years compared to a consumption of less than 249 grams per day.”

“Furthermore, for every 200 gram increase in daily fruit and vegetable consumption, the risk falls by 6%. ”

Unfortunately I can’t access the full paper – not unless I want to pay $35 for the opportunity – but there is an abstract that’s accessible.

My main question is how did they accurately measure the fruit and veg intake of those 451,151 Europeans?

What can I eat after dental surgery?


Image from:

I recently discovered that one of my upper canine teeth was beyond repair; a result of fall flat on my face in the street some years ago – I wasn’t drunk, honest! So I embarked on the long, painful and expensive road to a new fixed tooth. This involves having the old one removed, waiting for it to heal (about two months), having an ‘implant’ implanted; and finally after another couple of months getting my new tooth. How they do it in a week in Hungary or India, I do not know!

Well it’s now three days after having the ‘implant’ implanted, and I’m rapidly running out of ideas about what to eat. With stitches in my palate, even something like eating slices of cucumber can hurt.

So it’s been:

  • Breakfast: fruit compote with some ground up linseed (ground in an electric coffer grinder) with added water and Greek yogurt. The linseed makes you feel fuller;
  • Lunch: sandwiches – soft wholemeal bread with tuna mayonnaise or chopped celery and grated cheese mayonnaise have been OK;
  • Dinner: macaroni cheese with grilled tomatoes or fish pie (haddock in parsley sauce with mashed potato on top, baked in the oven (like shepherds pie));
  • Other ideas: soup, jacket potato with baked beans and cheese – what else?

Maybe I just repeat this stuff? Anyway it can’t possibly last more than another week – can it?

Try these when you’ve got a cold!

I’ve no idea whether these two suggestions really do any good, but they always make me feel better:

  1. Lemon juice, honey and ginger ‘tea’ – juice of half a large lemon, dessert spoon of honey (I use manuka honey) and a piece of root ginger (approx. 2cm x 4cm) grated. Mix the lemon juice and the honey in a cup, put the grated ginger in another container and add sufficient water to cover the ginger (put a lid on top and leave for 5 mins). Strain the ginger ‘tea’ into the lemon juice and honey and top up with hot water;
  2. Garlic soup – 5 peeled garlic cloves (chopped), 4 small potatoes (peeled and thinly sliced), about 10g of butter, a litre of chicken stock, a little chopped parsley. Gently sauté the garlic and potatoes in a pan with the melted butter, add the stock. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Blend the contents of the pan and add the chopped parsley to finish.
  3. I’d try this as well from Jack Monroe: Ultimate Feisty Soup