Spring has sprung

Poor sausage!

Gosh, am I glad that we have left March behind!

It has not been a good month for me, with quite a lot of bad news on the health front. It started early in March, in fact on my birthday, when I received the news that one of my uncles was in intensive care with complex health problems. As if that was not upsetting enough, two days later I found out that another uncle had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.  My mother-in-law had a lump, which appeared in January and had been growing steadily, removed from her throat. Luckily, the lump turned out to be benign, but it was a anxious wait for the results nevertheless.

A week later one of our dogs had a freak accident during a walk in the woods, whereby he tore open his right front leg from paw to elbow severing an artery in the process. Things got a bit hairy because getting him to a vet was made very difficult by the fact that I could not get a mobile signal and was miles away from our car. Anyway, as I write our dog patient is on the mend and I cannot wait to get back to normal.

I have also been to Holland to spend time with my relatives which was tiring but very enjoyable at the same time; both uncles live in The Hague where I studied and lived for 4 years, so it was also a bit of a trip down memory lane.


I managed to sqeeuze in lunch with a dear friend whom I met years ago on holiday – our contact has been mainly via e-mail and telephone, but when we do meet up it is as if we only saw eachother last week. She brought me three semi-precious stones, each with their own special healing powers, which I have put on my desk. I will tell you more about the stones, and the phone buddy I received, some other time.

Because of all this ill-health around me, including my own minor but painful inconvenience of chilblains, I have been thinking quite a bit about foods with specific therapeutic properties that can help us to improve our health. One book I often turn to is by Michael van Straten who is  one of Britain’s leading practitioners of alternative medicine.

I always cook fresh food for our dogs (yes, they are the lucky recipients of amongst other things freshly poached chicken + its broth, braising steak with rosemary), but over the last couple of weeks I have made a special effort to make their meals as nutritious and appealing as possible, to encourage our dog patient to eat.

Convalescence is a time for regenerating the body’s healing powers and repairing a weakened immune system, so I have included plenty of  iron rich red meat, lambs liver, green vegetables, small amounts of raw garlic and brown rice in their diets.

In the case of my chilblains, which have been a feature of my winter life since I was a child, and which are due to poor circulation, I have started taking vitamin K and a cayenne pepper supplement as recommended by our local health food shop. I think my purple and swollen toes are getting a little better but it is too early to say if this is because of the supplements or down to the milder weather.

Any ideas on how I can prevent chilblains next winter – please let me know! I would be eternally grateful.

Whilst I am on the subject of health, Savvy Cook has been invited to take part in a ThinkTank later this month to discuss how we can make sure that everyone has equal access to good information about their health; sometimes, and particularly when you are not well and need to make decisions about your health, the information out there can be bewildering and sometimes conflicting.

How could this be improved and? Do write to me about your experiences and suggestions.

Till the next time,



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