Author Archive

Sprue

by on Saturday, February 28, 2015 3:06 under Health.

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This is an intestinal mal absorption syndrome affecting some people who live or who have lived in tropical areas. India, Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia and Puerto Rico are the most commonly affected countries. Some cases have been reported in North America, the West Indies, Southern Europe and the Middle East.

It commonly occurs in middle life, the sexes being equally affected. Nearly all have a history of tropical living for a period, although the attack may come on years later. The bowel fails to absorb fats and certain starches.

The main symptom is diarrhoea, with pale, frothy, foul-smelling and greasy bowel actions. A high-fat diet aggravates, as does stress. Indigestion, flatulence, abdominal cramps, weight loss (often marked), pallor and wasting take place. There is often irritability, abnormal sensations in the skin (paraesthesia) and muscle cramps. Vitamin deficiencies, abdominal distension and mild oedema (swelling of the extremities) may occur. As fat absorption is impaired, often the correct absorption of vitamins and other nutritional essentials starts to become impaired also.

Sprue Treatment

Proper medical supervision is essential, both to form a diagnosis, and then to supervise the correct therapy. Control of the diarrhoea and replacement of vitamins and minerals and controlling complications such as dehydration are necessary.

Antibiotics (the tetracyclines) and the insoluble sulfonamides usually control the diarrhoea, but may have to be given for many months.

Folic acid often gives remarkably effective benefits for the intercurrent anaemia. Diet is also important.

Viral Skin Infections

by on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 14:23 under Health.

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This is a common skin disorder that occurs in the form of small blisters usually around the lips. They may become very sore. Often the lymph glands under the jaw swell and also become painful.

A day or two before the blisters (“vesicles”) appear, there is often a dry, tingling sensation of the skin. Patients suffering from recurring bouts should learn to identify this sensation, for local treatment applied at this stage can often check an attack.

Viral Skin Infections Causes

The disease is caused by a virus called herpes simplex virus-1 (IISV-1), and it is aggravated by many factors. It has nothing to do with colds, but sometimes follows respiratory tract infections. Fevers, infections, allergies, exposure to sunshine and emotional upsets have all been blamed for bringing on attacks. Although most common about the lips, Herpes simplex, or cold sores, is an ivkinine2s)/222 rite skin 1101.Sell by a virus. herpes simplex can occur anywhere on the skin. If it occurs near the eyes, it is imperative that immediate expert assistance be sought, for it can cause serious ocular damage.

Sometimes the virus produces blisters in the genital region, and it has mistakenly been diagnosed as venereal disease. When it occurs here, it is called 1-ISV-2 infection. It has recently been found that in women with this disorder there is an increased risk of cancer of the cervix. Therefore prompt medical attention is essential, together with a “smear test” to check for cancer.

Viral Skin Infections Treatment

Most cases of simple cold sores can be treated quite effectively at home with routine remedies.

Local cream. Idoxuridine 0.5 per cent Cold Sore Ointment (Stoxil) applied early will often prevent the occurrence of blisters. It is best applied to the skin surface when the dry, tingling sensation (well known to chronic sufferers) occurs. Apply thinly every hour for the first day. and four-hourly after this. at is of little value after blisters have appeared.) This preparation should not be applied to the eyes.

Other applications. Spirits of camphor, or 10 per cent camphor in alcohol, or Bismuth-formic-iodide powder (BFI Powder) arc often used. These may assist’la drying out the blisters and bring some relief.

Avoiding the causes. Check for possible -causes in your case, and avoid them in :he future. For example, be careful when sunbathing early in the season; avoid domestic squabbles and keep away from emotional stresses and crises whenever Possible; do not eat foods you suspect can bring a recurrence of blisters; keep infection-free as much as possible.

Further Treatment. If simple measures do not bring relief, and particularly if the eyes or genital areas become involved, it is necessary to seek medical assistance.

Other lines of treatment that may be included by the physician include:

Acyclovir. The antiviral antibiotic acyclovir has a dramatic effect on the herpes virus, rapidly destroying it. Medication is given early, and by oral administration. It may not be warranted for simple isolated bouts, but for severe recurring attacks, it quickly eliminates blisters, pain, itch and discomfort. It is a major step forward in the treatment of herpes infections.

Cryotherapy. The application of ice, or icepacks, in the very early stages of heroes infection, will often prevent the virus :rom multiplying further. Packs must be kept in place for 30-60 minutes, and re- –)eated 2-3 times a day. If applied at the :rst sign of an attack, it will often abort it. is simple, cheap and effective.

Eye applications. If the eyes arc involved and this may be serious), specially formulated Idoxuridine eye drops (Stoxil) may be used.

Thorough examination. Especially necessary in the case of genital herpes, _or there is an increased risk of cancer of :he cervix (neck portion of the womb that forms the upper part of the vaginal canal). The physician may perform a -smear test” to check for this.

Special Note. In these days of bulging some medicine kits, most people have .re:ady access to the steroid (cortisone) 1:earns and ointments. It is stressed that :eese must not be used on any herpes for they can rapidly make the conworse. This also applies to the eye.

This is one reason why steroid applications for any disorder should be given only under medical supervision. Shingles (Herpes Zoster or Zoster).

This is an annoying skin eruption affecting any age group, but is often more severe and more painful in older persons.

It usually occurs on one side only of the body, and the trunk is often affected in either the upper or lower part. Sometimes the limbs are affected. A severe form may occur on one side of the face and in unfortunate instances it will spread over the eye, causing serious damage.

It often commences with local discomfort and a hot, tingling sensation. This is followed by the appearance of a small blister on a red base. These increase in number and size, and often develop in a straight line roughly equivalent to the line of nerves just below the skin.

Shingles is caused by a virus (termed the Varicella or “VG” virus) that also produces chickenpox. In nearly every case there has been an attack of chickenpox in earlier years. The germ lies dormant in the nervous system for many years until a trigger mechanism causes a recurrence of activity in the superficial nerves. The course of the disorder varies. With children, there is often little discomfort, and the entire disease may be over within a fortnight.

However, in older patients (and particularly the aged, who may have an intercurrent infection) the pain may be intense and persistent. The blisters may break down and form skin ulcers. When the disease finally settles down, it is often followed by severe pain in the areas affected, called post-herpetic neuralgia. This may persist for months and even years, and may be difficult to cure. If the nerve leading to the eye is involved, this is serious, and an eye specialist must be called in for advice. Investigation shows there may be a relationship between shingles in older people and cancer, although other reports refute it. However, any older person contracting shingles should be thoroughly checked out by the doctor for the possibility of a hidden cancer.

Osteomalacia

by on Sunday, February 15, 2015 23:55 under Health.

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What is Osteomalacia?
Osteomalacia (and Rickets) This bony disorder is produced when body has an inadequate supply of vitamin D. It may be due to insufficient amounts of this vitamin being present in diet. But the body is also able to manufacture (synthesise) its own supply with adequate exposure to sunlight. Too little sunshine may also predispose persons to Osteomalacia, especially if aggravated poor supply in the food. It is far more prominent in places such as Great Britain, where summers are short. It is relatively uncommon in countries such as Australia, where there is a superabundance of natural sunshine, and exposure is a national pastime.
The body requires 400 international units a day for growing children, and substantially less in the adult state. The foods rich in vitamin D are few in number and are often not popular. They include the oily fishes such as salmon and herring, and margarine (that is fortified with vitamin D). There is a small, variable amount in eggs. Therefore, without sunlight exposure on a regular basis, it is easy for many people to be deficient. It also seems more probable in certain migrants (such as Pakistanis) who eat foods notoriously low in vitamin U, and come from an area where there is ample sunlight, to a country where there is a sudden deprivation.

Osteomalacia Symptoms

In children this disease is referred to as rickets; in adults, as osteomalacia. Bony deformity and muscles that lack tone are characteristic features. There is a marked reduction of calcium in the blood. In growing children, due to an interference with normal bone growth, bowing and knock-knees can occur, and the skull may show softening. Softened bones may cause pain. Commonly this starts in the spine and may spread to the thighs, arms and ribs, and perhaps other bones. Usually the bones themselves arc painful, rather than the joints.
Muscle weakness is often a prominent feature, especially the upper muscles of the lower limbs. This can make many movements difficult, such as walking up stairs. A typical waddling gait may be in evidence.

Osteomalacia Treatment

This disease is easily treated  by making certain the diet is adequate in vitamin D, that supplements are given in cases where a deficiency is Possible (such as with babies), or  making certain that there is adequate exposure to sunlight. Vitamin capsules of vitamin D (often in the form of calciferol) 1,000 mg per day are given.
However, in the event of a deficiency being in evidence, this dose may be increased to 10,000 mg daily. Often this is best given in capsule form. However, as there is sometimes “patient resistance” to this treatment, a tailor-made method may be necessary.

Stenciling Equipment

by on Sunday, February 8, 2015 9:25 under Home & Garden.

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Materials

A variety of materials can he used for stencilling, from special stencilling paints and sticks to acrylics and latex. Each has its own properties and will create different effects.

Acrylic stencil paint: acrylic stencil paint is quick-drying, reducing the possibility of the paint running and seeping behind the stencil. Acrylic stencil paints are available in a wide range of colours, and can be mixed for more subtle shades.

Acrylic varnish: this is useful for sealing finished projects.

Emulsion (latex) paint: ordinary household vinyl emulsion can also be used for stencilling. It is best to avoid the cheaper varieties, as these contain a lot of water and will seep through the stencil.

Fabric paint: this is used in the same way as acrylic stencil paint, and comes in an equally wide range of colours. Set with an iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions, it will withstand washing and everyday use. As with ordinary stencil paint, do not overload the brush with colour, as it will seep into the fabric. Always back the fabric you are stencilling with scrap paper or newspaper to prevent the paint from marking the work surface. Gold leaf and gold size: these can be used to great effect. The actual design is stencilled with gold size. The size is then left to become tacky, and the gold leaf is rubbed over the design.

Metallic creams: these are available in many different metallic finishes, from gold to copper, bronze and silver. Apply as highlights on a painted base, or use for the entire design. Creams can be applied with cloths or your fingertip.

Oil-based stencil sticks and creams: the sticks can be used in the same ways a wax crayon, while the creams can be applied with a brush or your fingertip. With either one, there is no danger of overloading the colour, and they won’t run. The disadvantage is their long drying time (overnight in some cases); also, the colours can become muddy when mixed. Sticks and creams are also available for fabrics.

Equipment

Stencilling does not require a great deal of special equipment; many of the items used are commonly found in most households. A few tools, however, will make the job easier.

Brushes: it is worth investing in a set of good stencil brushes. The ends of the brushes should be flat and the bristles firm, to let you control the application of paint. A medium-size brush (4 cm/11/2 in diameter) is a useful, all-purpose size, but you may want to buy one size smaller and one size larger as well. You will need a selection of household paintbrushes for applying large areas of background colour, and small artist’s paintbrushes for adding fine details. Craft knife: use for cutting out stencils from cardboard.

Cutting mat: this provides a firm surface to cut into and will help prevent the craft knife from slipping. Masking tape: as the stencil may need to be repositioned, it is advisable to hold it in place with masking tape, which can be removed fairly easily from most surfaces.

Paint-mixing container: this may be necessary for mixing paints and washes. Pencils: keep a selection of soft and hard artist’s pencils to transfer the stencil design on to cardboard. Use an ordinary pencil to mark on your object the positions of the stencils before applying.

Stencil card (cardboard): the material used to make the stencil is a matter of preference. Speciality stencil card is available waxed from specialist art stores, which means that it will last longer, but ordinary cardboard or heavy paper can also be used. It is worth purchasing a sheet of clear acetate if you wish to keep your stencil design, to reuse time and again.

Tape measure and rulers: some patterns may require accuracy. Measuring and planning the positions of your stencils before you begin will aid the result.

Tracing paper: use to trace and transfer your stencil design on to stencil card

Wallpapering Ceilings

by on Thursday, February 5, 2015 20:53 under Do it Yourself.

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Many people regard the papering of ceilings with horror. In reality they are easier to deal with than walls because they are flat, do not have any awkward angles (except in rooms with sloping ceilings and dormer windows), and have few obstacles attached to them apart from the occasional light fitting(fixture), which can in any case usually be removed quite easily.

The only thing that takes getting used to when papering ceilings is working on an upside-down surface. The basic technique is no different from working on walls. The wall covering is simply positioned, brushed into place and then trimmed where it meets adjoining surfaces.

The most important thing to plan carefully is access equipment that will safely allow a complete length to be hung across the room. Nothing is more dangerous than attempting to step off of the chair; proper access is a must. The best solution is to use scaffold boards or lengths of staging, supported by stepladders, trestles or home-made supports to create a flat, level walkway spanning the room from wall to wall at a height that allows the ceiling to be reached comfortably. It will take only a few seconds to reposition after hanging each length, ready for the next.
This is also a job where an additional pair of hands will be a big help, at least before gaining the knack of supporting a concertina of pasted wall covering with one hand while:.-rushing it into position with the other— this can be done only with practice.

The first length should he hung to a guideline on the ceiling. The best way of marking this is with a chalked line against the ceiling at both ends snapped against it.

PAPERING CEILINGS

1. Paste the wall covering in the usual way, but fold it up concertina-fashion with the starting end of the length folded over on itself. Lining (liner) paper has been used here.

2. Hang the first length to a chalked line just less than the width of the call covering from the side wall. Support the folds on a spare roll of wall covering from the side wall. Support the folds on a spare roll of wall covering.

3. Trim the overlaps at the ends and along the side wall. Then hang the second length in the same way, butted up against the edge of the first length.

4. On meeting a pendant light fitting (fixture) pierce the wall covering over its centre and make a series of radial cuts outwards front the pierced point.

5. With the power turned off at the unscrew the cover and trim the tongues off, flush with the base of the fitting. Replace the cover.

6 Where the ceiling runs into an alcove, CIA the wall covering in line with the sidewall of the recess and brush it into place.’

PAPERING ARCHES

The shape of an arch makes it impossible to get a pattern match along the curved join. It is best to choose a wall covering with a small design motif and a random pattern, to use different but complementary designs for the face walls and the arch surface, or to use lining (liner) paper inside the arch and paint it a plain colour.

To paper an arched recess, cover the face and hack walls first turning cut tongues of wall covering onto the arched surface. Then cover the arch surface as described below.

To paper a through archway, hang the wall covering on the two face walls and trim out the waste to leave an overlap of about 25 mm in all around. Make cuts in the edge so that the tongues can be turned on to the arch surface. Then cut a strip of wall covering a traction narrower than the width of the arch surface and long enough to cover it in one piece, and brush this into place. Work from the bottom of one side upwards to the top of the arch, and then down the other side. Always use special overlap adhesive with washables and vinyls.

Otic Barotrauma

by on Sunday, January 18, 2015 15:57 under Health.

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What is Otic Barotrauma?

This fancy name merely indicates the discomfort that can occur in the ear when situations creating pressure differentials between the middle ear and the exterior take place. In today’s jet era any people travel by air, and during transit, the problem is most likely to arise. It is far more likely if the person is suffering from a mild head cold, or any infection that may block the patency (openness) of the Eustachian canal. This canal maintains air pressures within the middle ear equal to that on the outside, and this is vital to continued comfort. Other conditions where a similar problems can occur include tunneling, and scuba diving in deep water.

Otic Barotrauma Symptoms

Often in a person who has a cold or upper respiratory tract infection there is sudden onset of pain in the ear(s) as the plane descends. The pain may become extremely acute and may even be excruciating. Examined soon after, the drum may he very red and infected, and on occasion bleeding may result. Fluid may accumulate and deafness occurs.

Otic Barotrauma Treatment

Being sensible and avoiding flying whenever possible if a head infection is present will avert trouble. If this cannot be avoided, or if it is not noticed that there is a mild infection, or if the condition occurs during flight, using this simple maneuver may give prompt relief. This involves holding the nose between the forefinger and thumb, and then trying to blow into the nose.
This may help open the canal, and a “click” to occur, so allowing the pressures to equal. It should be repeated many times over. Sucking sweets may also help by opening the partially blocked canal. If unsuccessful, medical attention may be necessary. The middle ear must be aerated, and this will probably be done by the ENT doctor through Eustachian catheterisation or by paracentesis under antibiotic cover.

Undescended Testes

by on Friday, January 16, 2015 14:45 under Health.

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Undescended Testes happens fairly frequently. Normally the testes descend from the body to the scrotum shortly before birth. But occasionally they seem to get lost. They may partially descend, then return to the body. This may keep on occurring. Alternatively, the testes may have developed in an abnormal manner, and are situated in some different place. This is termed an ectopic testis.

The testes belong in the scrotum from birth onwards. If they remain in the body, as age progresses, the sperm-producing capacity is adversely affected and infertility may take place in later life.

The other may be very hazardous. Testes remaining in the body have a high risk of turning cancerous. What’s more, it may be a very serious, rapidly growing and spreading type.

Undescended Testes Treatment

If a parent notices the testes are missing or come and go, referral to the doctor is essential, and the sooner the better.

What treatment is carried out? This will vary with the patient and the exact diagnosis. Some doctors prefer to give hormonal treatment a trial run first. They administer the hormone chorionic gonadotrophin, and this is occasionally successful in bringing the testes into the scrotum.

What if this fails?

And fail it often does. Then a surgical approach is taken. This is invariably successful. The testes are found and anchored securely into the scrotum. The operation is quite straightforward; the patient rapidly recovers, and usually the beneficial effect is lifelong. It is a highly successful procedure. But as you said earlier, the sooner a parent takes action, the better. Never neglect any disorder in this region. It’s often quite obvious, and a check is very simple.

Von Willebrand’s Syndrome

by on Thursday, January 8, 2015 11:48 under Health.

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This is also an inherited disorder, and is practically identical to haemophilia. It occurs about once in 150,000 persons. Bleeding occurs from mucosal surfaces, particularly the nose and gastrointestinal tract. Excessive menstrual bleeding is also common. Pregnancy may be hazardous. The chief difference is that after infusion with Factor VIII, the level rapidly rises, and is maintained at the high level for 24 – 36 hours.

Hereditary Haemorrhagic Telangiectasis. This is another rare inherited disorder. Telangiectases (prominent capillary blood vessels) occur in the nasal lining, on the tongue, lips, face and the alimentary system. They increase in size with time. Although they are seldom serious in youth, with time they may cause serious blood loss and anaemia.

Continuous nose bleeding may become a problem in later years, necessitating the continual use of iron therapy. There is no cure. Nasal lesions must not be cauterised (a common treatment for recurring nosebleed in normal patients). Therapy is similar to that of haemophilia. Sometimes female hormone is given, as this may produce a protective layer over the lesions.

How to Make a Stencil

by on Thursday, January 1, 2015 21:58 under Do it Yourself.

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Materials

A variety of materials can he used for stencilling, from special stencilling paints and sticks to acrylics and latex. Each has its own properties and will create different effects.

Acrylic stencil paint: acrylic stencil paint is quick-drying, reducing the possibility of the paint running and seeping behind the stencil. Acrylic stencil paints are available in a wide range of colours, and can be mixed for more subtle shades.

Acrylic varnish: this is useful for sealing finished projects.

Emulsion (latex) paint: ordinary household vinyl emulsion can also be used for stencilling. It is best to avoid the cheaper varieties, as these contain a lot of water and will seep through the stencil.

Fabric paint: this is used in the same way as acrylic stencil paint, and comes in an equally wide range of colours. Set with an iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions, it will withstand washing and everyday use. As with ordinary stencil paint, do not overload the brush with colour, as it will seep into the fabric. Always back the fabric you are stencilling with scrap paper or newspaper to prevent the paint from marking the work surface.

Gold leaf and gold size: these can be used to great effect. The actual design is stencilled with gold size. The size is then left to become tacky, and the gold leaf is rubbed over the design.

Metallic creams: these are available in many different metallic finishes, from gold to copper, bronze and silver. Apply as highlights on a painted base, or use for the entire design. Creams can be applied with cloths or your fingertip.

Oil-based stencil sticks and creams: the sticks can be used in the same way as a wax crayon, while the creams can be applied with a brush or your fingertip. With either one, there is no danger of overloading the colour, and they won’t run. The disadvantage is their long drying time (overnight in some cases); also, the colours can become muddy when mixed. Sticks and creams are also available for fabrics.

Equipment

Stencilling does not require a great deal of special equipment; many of the items used are commonly found in most households. A few tools, however, will make the job easier.

Brushes: it is worth investing in a set of good stencil brushes. The ends of the brushes should be flat and the bristles firm, to let you control the application of paint. A medium-size brush (4 cm/11/2 in diameter) is a useful, all-purpose size, but you may want to buy one size smaller and one size larger as well. You will need a selection of household paintbrushes for applying large areas of background colour, and small artist’s paintbrushes for adding fine details.

Craft knife: use for cutting out stencils from cardboard.

Cutting mat: this provides a firm surface to cut into and will help prevent the craft knife from slipping.

Masking tape: as the stencil may need to be repositioned, it is advisable to hold it in place with masking tape, which can be removed fairly easily from most surfaces.

Paint-mixing container: this may be necessary for mixing paints and washes.

Pencils: keep a selection of soft and hard artist’s pencils to transfer the stencil design on to cardboard. Use an ordinary pencil to mark on your object the positions of the stencils before applying.

Stencil card (cardboard): the materialised to make the stencil is a matter of preference. Speciality stencil card is available waxed from specialist art stores, which means that it will last longer, but ordinary cardboard or heavy paper can also be used. It is worth purchasing a sheet of clear acetate if you wish to keep your stencil design, to re-use time and again.

Tape measure and rulers: some patterns may require accuracy. Measuring and planning the positions of your stencils before you begin will aid the result.

Tracing paper: use to trace and transfer your stencil design on to stencil card

Stencilling is not difficult to master, and you can create some wonderful 3-dimensional designs but it is worth practising first to get used to handling

TRANSFERING TEMPLATES

1. To transfer a template on to a piece of stencil card (cardboard), place some tracing paper over the design, and draw over it with a hard pencil.

2. Turn over the tracing paper and, on the back of the design; rub over the lines you have drawn with a soft pencil. Turn the tracing paper back to the right side and place on top of a sheet of stencil card. Draw over the original lines with a hard pencil.

PAINTING TECHNIQUES

1. Block stencilling: Use for filling in large areas in a single, solid colour. As in all stencilling, remember not to apply the paint too heavily – less is more. Always blot the paint on to a piece of cardboard before you begin.

2. Block stencilling with second colours tippled: When applying two colours, always apply the lighter shade first, then the darker. Do not cover the entire surface with the first colour; leave a gap for the second shade, then blend later. Use a separate, clean brush for each colour.

3. Dry-brushing, rotating from edge: Using big circular strokes, work from the outside of the whole stencil, moving inward. This should leave you with more paint on the outside, as there will be lesson your brush as you move inward.

4. Two-colour blocking: When you apply the first colour, do not fully block out the petals; instead, outline them with the first colour and leave the centres bare. Use the second colour to fill. Take care not to apply your paint too heavily.

5 Stippling: This method uses more paint and less pressure than rotating or flicking. Taking a reasonable amount of paint on the bristles of your brush, simply place it down lightly. This gives a rougher look. Do not go over it too many times, as this spoils the effect.

6 Dry-brush stippling: This is similar to stippling, except that it is essential to dab most of the paint off the bristles before you start. This gives a softer effect.

7. Rotating and shading: Using a very dry brush with a tiny amount of paint, place your brush on one side of the stencil and rotate the brush in circles. Repeat, using a slightly darker colour on the edges for soft shading.

8. Flicking: For the flicking effect on the leaves, use slightly more paint on the brush. Working from the centre, flick the paint outward once or twice. Be careful not to overdo.

9. Flicking upwards: Using a reasonable amount of paint (not too wet or too dry) on your brush, flick upwards only. This creates a line at the top of the petals and leaves.

10. Dry-brushing and rotating: Apply a tiny amount of paint by rotating the bristles from the centre and from the outside tips, to give more paint in these areas. Work along the line, using less pressure than on the centre and the tips. This gives a soft shade in between.

11. Brushing up and down: Using slightly more paint on your brush than you would for rotating, brush up and down only, taking care to keep your lines vertical

How to Use Fresh Ingredients

by on Friday, December 26, 2014 20:09 under Do it Yourself, Featured.

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Fresh ingredients are essential to a healthy, balanced diet, and we are now encouraged to eat at least five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day. Vitamin C is found almost exclusively in fruit and vegetables and because it cannot be stored by the body, levels need to be topped up continually.

Fruit and vegetables are also extremely rich in fiber, particularly when eaten with the skin in tact. High-protein foods such as meat, game, poultry and eggs contain many other essential nutrients. Use frozen produce when fresh is not available; it is perfectly acceptable from a nutritional point of view.

Fresh ingredients

Fresh Fruit

Fruits are very versatile and can be enjoyed raw or cooked, on their own or as part of a recipe. They are also good sources of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C. A piece of fresh fruit makes a quick and easy, nutritious snack at any time of the day. Try topping whole wheat breakfast cereals with some fruit such as raspberries for a tasty and nutritious start to the day.

Fresh Vegetables

Vegetables are nutritious and are valuable sources of vitamins and minerals, some being especially rich in vitamins A, C and E. Vegetables also contain some dietary fiber and those that are particularly good sources include broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, fennel, okra, parsnips, spinach, spring greens (collard) and sweet corn. Vegetables are also very versatile and many can be eaten either raw or cooked. Add vegetables to dishes such as soups, stews, casseroles, stir-fries and salads, or simply serve them on their own, raw or lightly cooked and tossed in a little lemon juice.

Potatoes

Potatoes are one of the most commonly eaten vegetables in the world and are valuable in terms of nutrition. They are high in carbohydrate, low in fat and contain some Vitamin C and dietary fiber. Wash old and new potatoes thoroughly and cook them with their skins on, for example baked, boiled and roasted. The flavor will be just as delicious and you will be getting extra fiber.

Potatoes are very versatile and are used in many dishes. Mashed potatoes (with their skins left on, of course) make an ideal topping for pies and bakes. For roast potatoes use a minimum amount of oil, and if you like to make chips, leave the skins on and cut the chips thickly using a knife. With baked and mashed potatoes avoid adding high fat butter, soured cream or cheese and instead use skimmed milk, reduced fat hard cheese and herbs to add flavor.

Fresh Beans and Other Pulses

There are many varieties of fresh beans and pulses available, either fresh or canned, including peas, broad (lava)beans and runner beans, and more unusual ones such as fresh flageolet beans, black-eyed (peas) beans and butter (wax) beans. Fresh corn on the cob and sweet corn are also popular.

All are good sources of dietary fiber and contain other nutrients including vitamins and minerals. Beans and pulses are very versatile and can be used in many dishes including hot and cold salads, stir-fries, casseroles, pasta sauces, soups and curries. Some varieties, such as sugar-snap peas and mangetouts (snow peas) can be eaten either raw or lightly cooked.

Eggs

Virtually a complete food and extremely versatile, eggs provide protein, iron, zinc and vitamins A, B and E.

Fish

Increasingly research points to the great benefits gained from a diet high in fish. All fish is rich in protein, B vitamins and minerals; white fish is very low in fat. Oily fish, such as sardines, mackerel, herring, tuna, trout and salmon, also provide vitamins A and D and Omega 3 fatty acids, which are believed to be beneficial in helping to prevent coronary heart disease.

Poultry

A good source of quality protein, B vitamins and some iron, poultry is also low in fat, particularly if the skin is removed.

Meat and Game

Although the general health advice is to moderate your intake of red meat, thus reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet, red meat is still the best source of readily absorbed iron, zinc and B vitamins. Meat today is much leaner than it used to be, and it fits the profile for a healthy diet if it is cooked with low-fat cooking methods.

Storing

Because nutrients in fresh foods, especially valuable vitamins, deteriorate as food ages it is important to always buy the freshest and best quality available. Storing the food correctly at home will also ensure that the minimum of nutrients are lost before they are eaten. Whilst some fruit and vegetables can be kept at room temperature, they will not last for long in a hot kitchen and should be stored in a cooler environment. Quickly perishable foods such as meat, poultry, fish and dairy products should be stored in a refrigerator.
A freezer is useful for keeping many fresh foods longer term. You can buy them when they are plentiful and cheap for the freezer, using them when they become out of season or more expensive in the shops. Follow the freezer manufacturer’s instructions for storing and blanch fruit and vegetables as required.

Storing Fresh Fruits

Those fruits that can be kept at room temperature while still unripe include apricots, kiwi fruits, mangoes, nectarines, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples and plums. Once ripe, refrigerate and eat within 2-3 days.

Fruits that can be stored at cool room temperature include apples (although they will be crisper if refrigerated), bananas, dates, grapefruit and oranges. Apples can be kept at room temperature for a few days, dates for several weeks, and grapefruit and oranges for up to a week. Unless you intend to eat them on the day of purchase, refrigerate fully ripe and perishable fresh fruits. These include berries, cherries, figs, grapes, lemons, limes, melons, pomegranates and tangerines. They can be kept refrigerated for 2-3 days.

Storing Fresh Vegetables

Like fruits, there are some vegetables that can be stored at room temperature. A dark, cool place (about 10°C/50°F) with good ventilation is ideal, however. Suitable vegetables are garlic, onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes, swede and pumpkin can be kept for about 2 months. Store tomatoes at room temperature until they are ripe, after that, refrigerate.
Perishable vegetables should be refrigerated. Some, such as peas or sweet corn, should be used quickly, while others like carrots or cabbage, can be kept for a longer period. In most cases, do not wash the vegetable until just before using. Celery, frisee, escarole, spring greens (collard), herbs, lettuce, spinach and watercress should be washed before storage.

Cold Storage

All foods kept in the refrigerator or freezer should be well wrapped or stored in sealed containers. This preserves flavor and moisture, and prevents the flavors and odors of other, stronger foods being transferred. It is essential to keep raw meat and poultry well wrapped as their drippings can transfer bacteria to other foods.

Perishable fresh foods, such as meats, poultry, fish and seafood, eggs, cheese and other dairy products, and many fruits and vegetables must be kept refrigerated at a temperature ofI-5°C/35-40°F. For longer storage, many can also be frozen at 18°C/0°F or lower. Cooked leftovers must also be refrigerated or frozen. Use a special thermometer to check temperatures; integral thermostats often give false readings over time. If temperatures are too high, food will spoil rapidly