The last fortnight has certainly brought a smile to the faces of Ms’s Kale & Cocoa. Firstly, Public Health England launched its One You campaign by quoting the very research we launched our blog with two years ago –the study showing how lifestyle and dietary changes made in middle age positively impact health in old age. And then Osborne announced a sugary drink tax in this week’s budget. Why he balked at a full sugar tax, we don’t know. But a fizzy drink tax is a great start. It seems the tide is finally turning… Catch up on the One You campaign at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/phe-launches-one-you, where you can also take the One You test to find out how healthy your retirement years might be.
Other things that brought a smile to my face were a report linking cardiovascular health to cognitive abilities (if your heart’s healthy you’ve a greater chance of a healthy brain), yet another study showing that a diverse diet increases our gut microbiota – and the return of Carole King. Yes, at the age of 74, King is to play at Hyde Park this summer. Every time I hear about an older person doing something extraordinary, I give a little cheer.
On a personal note, I’m thrilled because my debut novel now has a launch date (June) and a cover design. We don’t talk much about our day jobs here, but in the case of my novel the blog was very much a part of it. Having decided to reinvent myself at a reasonably mature age, I needed to make sure I was around (and healthy enough) to enjoy my second career. I’m a big fan of human reinvention – it keeps the brain engaged and gives one a strong sense of purpose. We now know that having a sense of purpose and a well-exercised brain are essential to a healthy old age.
But reinvention doesn’t need to be radical or career-altering. Indeed, this blog is a record of our journey as we reinvented our diets and lifestyles. We know, from all your wonderful emails, that many of you are doing the same. I think my journey is almost complete. I can no longer eat very sweet things. My intake of alcohol has fallen dramatically. Ready meals taste odd to my reinvented palate. And the other day my teenage daughter demanded, in a very petulant voice, why the pasta wasn’t brown (answer: the corner shop had run out – another sign of the times). To top it all, my ten-year old son asked for wholemeal bread (I’d given him the choice and fully expected him to opt for the white bread). My next family holiday is another walking holiday (less walking than Husband and I would like perhaps, but I can’t complain) and three of my four children now choose to walk to school rather than take the bus. None of this happened over night. None of it was easy (and that goes for the novel too). But old habits can be broken and we can reinvent ourselves. And the chances are it’ll add some healthy years to your life.
The problem with writing all day is that I’ve become very sedentary. I now need to reinvent myself (again!) as someone who moves more. I’m working on it. I’m also still working on the reinvention of my hair, from thin to thick and lustrous. It’s happening – slowly. Chicken livers are great for hair and I’ve been using them to make a very simply paté with lots of cancer-busting sage. I often make it on a Saturday morning and by lunch time, it’s cool and ready to eat with some wholemeal toast and a green salad.
CHICKEN LIVER PATÉ
- 400g organic chicken livers
- 1 bunch sage (approx. 20 leaves), roughly chopped
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 150g butter
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Saute the livers in 50g of butter with the garlic and sage. When they’re brown but still pink inside, put them (and the garlic and sage) in the food processor with the salt and mustard while you melt the remaining butter (I use the same pan). Add the melted butter and blitz everything until smooth.
Leave to cool in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Serve with plain toast as it already has plenty of butter in!