Alice in Wonderland, Blog, Lewis Carroll, Library, Love, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Poetry, Reading, Rudyard Kipling, Shakespeare, Sonnet, W H Auden, Writing

The Power of Poetry

photo of man sitting on camping chair during dawn
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Poems really can influence your world…

As January draws to a close I’ve been looking back at poems that have influenced me in some way.  After writing a few of my own poems, I’ve found a new appreciation for great poetry.
A poem can capture so much about the subject with a few words, through the mood or feeling. I want to share some of my thoughts about these with you and perhaps hear your comments.

If… by Rudyard Kipling

Probably one of the most famous of all poems, has to be a favourite; it’s strong, uplifting words are based on a masculine ideal.

Reading it at a time when you are feeling low and not certain of the way forward; can help you feel stronger and find purpose.

Jabberwocky (from Through the Looking-Glass) by Lewis Carroll

You have probably all guessed by now that one of my favourite authors is Lewis Carroll and the classic book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

On first glance Jabberwocky appears to be written in strange words, but you can get the general sense of the words from their sounds. Although a number of the words have been adopted and are now in the dictionary. Jabberwocky has a enchanting quality about it that’s unusual.

Love’s Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley

As we approach Valentines Day, Love’s Philosophy expresses love in a magical and dream like way. It appears to be more about the fantasy of being in love than reality. Shelley originally wrote it for a young lady he admired. He was obviously smitten by her!

Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

A poem by Shakespeare had to be part of my list in some form. In this sonnet, Shakespeare writes a more mature love sonnet describing marriage and includes words used in the marriage service. Sonnet 116 is a favourite poem for couples to choose to recite at a wedding or civil ceremony.

Twelve Songs by W H Auden (Stop all the Clocks)

I’ve always admired this poem it’s a favourite of mine. It’s a love song about two gay men. The dramatic tone and descriptive words are immensely striking. It’s popularity rose when it was recited in the film ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’; in the funeral service.

What do you think of my selection? What are your favourite poems and why?

Blog, Books, Cheese, Cholesterol, Diet, Heart, Uncategorised

Trying to loose #weight?

sliced cheese served on white tray
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If you choose cheese, are you aware how high in cholesterol it is?

I am a cheese lover;

I particularly like goats cheese for its strong unusual flavour.  In the past, I would regularly tuck into cheese sandwiches every day; selecting different cheeses to eat every week. 

I’m not in a minority enjoying cheese with around a third of us eating cheese regularly in a meal. 

The top five most popular cheeses in Britain at the moment are:

English Cheddar

Red Leicester 

Brie 

Mozzarella 

Parmesan

This trend seems to be growing with the increase in popularity of vegetarian foods recently. More people are becoming aware of the health benefits of cutting down on red meat and are also aware of the environmental impact of production processes. An appealing alternative to this appears to be cheese.

The most surprising fact is that one in ten people habitually eat a chunk of cheese as a main meal.

I’ve been trying to cut back on saturated fat intake along with my carer. Until recently I’d eaten cheese and thought it was not particularly any more fattening than any other type of food; except fruit and veggies which you can eat in abundance.

I discovered reading food labels in detail, that it is very high in saturated fats. Much higher than most red meats in fact and therefore not much help if your trying to cut back on saturated fat.

Cheese can contribute to increased levels of saturated fat in the diet fast if it’s eaten regularly. An alarming fact if you have switched to cheese recently and thought it was a healthy option to meat products.

Why is saturated fat something to be aware of in a diet?

Saturated fat in a nutshell……

Eating too much saturated fat in your diet leads to your body producing excess cholesterol which causes blood arteries to become blocked or restricted. This in turn increases the risk of cardiovascular disease which includes heart attacks, angina and strokes.

The easiest way to reduce this risk is by lessening the intake of saturated fats. There are some quick and easy ways to start making a difference. Avoid or reduce full fat dairy products such as cream or cheese (skimmed or 1% fat milk is much better than full fat milk). Also cut back on pasties, pastries, pies, cakes, chocolate, coconut milk, coconut oil and palm oil. When eating meat choose low fat meats such as chicken, turkey, venison, veal or rabbit.

In addition you can have foods that reduce cholesterol in the blood.

Soluble fibre (e.g. fruit, vegetables, oats and nuts) absorbs and carries the cholesterol out of the body.

Plant stanols or sterols inhibit cholesterol absorption in the gut. These are available in fortified foods such as Benecol.

For more information about diet and healthy eating have a look at the following website:

NHS Live well, eat well

Further details about heart disease and stroke:

British Heart Foundation information and support

Stroke Association

Look after your health and your heart….