Inventor awarded £2m for diabetes invention

This week’s diabetes-related news includes a story about an inventor finally awarded the compensation he deserved following a 13-year legal battle.

Professor Ian Shanks built the first prototype of the electrochemical capillary fill device (ECFD). The technology* eventually appeared in most blood glucose testing products—a huge boost to those of us with diabetes. Professor Shanks was working for Unilever at the time.

The registration of patents by Unilever earned the company £24 million, though Professor Shanks argued it could have earned royalties for as much as one billion US dollars, had his invention been “fully exploited”.

Patents Act

He told the BBC that when he first applied for compensation, not one employee had benefited from the introduction of the Patents Act introduced 30 years earlier. The Act entitles workers who invent something that gives their employer an “outstanding benefit”, a “fair share” of the benefits.

At the Supreme Court in London, the judges unanimously agreed Professor Shanks was entitled to compensation because he had provided his former employer with an “outstanding benefit”.

Professor Shanks said most of the compensation would be taken up by his legal costs, but that he was happy on behalf of future inventors. If something they make turns out to be significant and really profitable, then it was only right they stood the chance of a reward.

“Disappointed”

Unilever told the BBC they were “disappointed” because the company had already given Professor Shanks the “salary, bonuses and benefits” when he was employed to develop new products for its business.

My t’upporth—gotta love a David Goliath battle, right? Though it seems peculiar to me Professor Shanks needed to take his claim to the highest court in the land when those preceding courts knocked him back… (A comment on the legal expertise Unilever can afford as compared to an individual.) 

I am with Professor Shanks. I want brilliant people out there working on technology and medical care that will change the lives of millions of we diabetics. And those individuals should be rewarded for the outstanding benefits they bring.

Read the full story on the BBC.

*Confession. I can’t work out the exact nature of his invention.

Miracle Mayonnaise #lowcarb

Bowl containing home-made Miracle Mayonnaise
Home-made mayo mixed with chopped celery, red peppers and tomatoes.

Chums, I have a new recipe for you that will TRANSFORM your life.

A bold claim, I know, but this nifty trick will help you bash up a batch of home-made mayonnaise in less than 30 seconds. I have timed it. No more standing there trickling oil in drop by drop and curdling it when you slip up and pour too much oil in. No—this is foolproof.

Several weeks ago, I watched TV chef John Torode make this on Celebrity MasterChef. He was demonstrating how the contestants should make mayonnaise if they were to recreate his recipe in the time specified. The two celebrities trying the recipe out did not use his method, opting for the conventional mayonnaise method, but John’s way intrigued me. That couldn’t work, surely…?

Glory be. It does. Super, super easy. I love Hellman’s Mayonnaise but I am also queen of the home-made, and with mayonnaise you get to control the oil. Commercial brands use cheap vegetable oils. For my version, I used Cretan olive oil—a mild one as the extra virgin stuff is too strong for mayonnaise.

Here is the recipe. Try it. Be amazed.

Miracle Mayonnaise

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A fresh, easy to make mayonnaise you can use for salads, veggies, fish, ham and eggs.


You will need a stick blender and a tall, narrow vessel. I used a Pyrex jug.

Ingredients


1 large whole egg

250ml lighter olive oil, or a mix of olive and rapeseed oil

salt and pepper

1 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

1tsp Dijon mustard

Directions

  1. Crack the egg into your vessel. Add the mustard and salt and pepper. Pour the oil on top.
  2. Push your blender down so it is on top of the egg. Press it on and whizz until you get a thick sauce.
  3. Add the lemon juice or vinegar, blend again and taste. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  4. Place in a sterilised jar and store in the fridge. It will last four or five days.

Please note: this recipe contains raw eggs. According to the NHS, in the UK vulnerable groups such as the elderly, infants, children and pregnant women can eat raw or lightly cooked eggs but they should be British Red Lion stamped, hen’s eggs and come from the UK.

 

 

 

 

#LowCarb Vegetarianism and other adventures

meat-free alternatives Maybe it’s the Extinction Rebellion folks gluing their hands to pavements, disrupting flights and parking their uncooperative crusty* posteriors on roads throughout central London.

Or it could be the underlying anxiety about eating meat that has always bothered me since I took it up again after more than 20 years of vegetarianism. But lately I have drastically cut down on the amount of it I’m eating and embraced the substitutes.

Vegetarianism and particularly veganism aren’t natural fits with a low-carb diet, the one I follow because I believe it’s the best one for helping people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. Heck, the good Doctor Morrison and I even wrote a book about it!

Quorn slices

But the meat substitutes have come much further than the last time I ate them. Quorn makes decent fake ham slices. Cauldron sausages and marinated tofu work for me too—all of them low carb, though not as low-carb as the real thing. Even the Diet Doctor—the best source of everything you need to know about a low-carb diet in general—recognises that many people do want to follow a low-carb diet that they can square with their conscience and the website offers low carb vegetarian and even vegan plans these days.

While I question some of the health claims people make for a plant-based diet (and I’m picky about the word being used to mean ‘veganism’—I’ve always based the bulk of my diet around vegetables), poor Mama Earth’s resources will run out far too quickly if meat consumption continues at its current levels.

As I have no children, I can tick that big box on the green credentials list but the other two are eating a plant-based diet and not flying anywhere. As someone who’s not that fussed about travel, the latter might be easily achieved too. That just leaves me with what I choose to eat. As I don’t do absolutes any more, opting to be a vegetarian with limited dairy most of the time is what appeals.

Low-carb vegetarian recipes

How about you? Have you changed your diet because of environmental concern s or do you plan to? We do have veggie options on our website if you are looking for low-carb meat-free recipes. They include low-carb curried cauliflower cheese, aubergine and pepper parmigiana, baba ghanoush, Tofu with teriyaki sauce and crustless spinach and feta quiche.

*As Boris Johnson called them. Maybe he was attempting ‘wit’ as a distraction from the chaos he is in midst of creating in the UK.

Diabetes and the roller-coaster ride

Just a quickie from me this week… I thought I’d share an interesting info-grab with you. The flash glucose monitoring system collects all sorts of info which is easy to see at a glance, such as your daily graph.

The graph shows you how often you have been in or out your target blood sugar range. The Monday one here (right) is me on holiday. Happy days, eh? Let’s loosen the reins on low-carb eating as boy, do the Cretans know how to do miraculous things with potatoes. While over there, I tasted what must count as the BEST CHIPS IN THE WORLD. A bold claim, I know.

And Wednesday is me back from holiday, determined to jump back on the low-carb wagon*. Goodness me, those graphs tell their own story, hmm? From wild jumps—the roller-coaster ride, to a far more sedate and steady line. A week’s potato bingeing is fun, but long-term I prefer to stick with the graph that doesn’t soar and plummet all over the place.

 

*Sorry for all the mixed metaphors.

Lamb in almond sauce #low-carb

woman using a pestle and mortar

My husband bought me a new pestle and mortar this week—mainly because we are watching Celebrity MasterChef on the Beeb and every time I spot one of the stars pounding their garlic, I sigh and wish out loud that I had such a big one…

Cue the delivery of a weighty package. I crushed eight cloves of garlic in it at once to celebrate. Vampire-proofed to the max, what else could I do? How about a lamb curry where I roasted whole spices and then pounded them to dust?

This lamb curry in almond sauce is a recipe I adapted from the Spice Sisters Indian cookbook. The whole spices are cumin and fennel seeds, and cardamom, all of which will scent your kitchen beautifully as you roast them. Serve your curry with cauliflower rice or this low-carb naan bread. Normal rice and naan bread will keep the carb-lovers in your family happy.

Lamb in almond sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 500g diced lamb
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1tbsp grated ginger
  • 2-3 chillies, chopped
  • 1tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1tbsp fennel seeds
  • 6-8 cardamom pods, split and seeds removed
  • 1tbsp turmeric
  • 1tsp ground black pepper
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 1tbsp garam masala
  • 200ml passata
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 4tsbp natural yoghurt
  • 2tbsp ground almonds mixed with 50ml water
  • 1tbsp rapeseed oil
  1. In a small pan, dry-fry the cumin, fennel and cardamom for a few minutes. Pound to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the meta in batches until it is browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and add the onions.
  2. Fry until translucent. Add all the other ingredients (except the lamb and the lemon juice) and bring to a simmer. Cook for ten minutes and then use a hand-held blender to make the sauce smooth.
  3. Add the lamb back in, pop on a lid and allow to gently simmer for 30 minutes. Add the lemon juice at the end.
  4. Allow 15g carbs per portion.

The golden rule with curry is it almost always tastes better the next day.

How Your Hormones Impact Physical Activity

Dr Colberg’s article: useful to know…

Dr. Sheri's Blog

Insulin injection

The human body only has insulin to lower blood glucose but has five hormones that raise it (with some overlap). This hormone redundancy tells you is that, at least from a survival standpoint, your body is desperate to make sure you do not run out of blood glucose; it is not as concerned about you having too much. Insulin is an important hormone for regulating your body’s storage of fuels (carbohydrate, fat, and protein) after you eat. It tells your insulin-sensitive cells (mainly your muscle and fat cells but also your liver) to take up glucose and fat to store them for later as muscle and liver glycogen (the storage form of glucose) as well as stored fat. During exercise, any insulin in your bloodstream can make your muscles take up extra blood glucose. In people who have a pancreas that functions normally, insulin levels typically decrease during exercise, and…

View original post 771 more words

Seven observations on using the FreeStyle Libre for a week

hand holding FreeStyle libre meter
You will prise this from my cold, dead hand…

Blood, I miss the sight of you… I’d gotten used to those tiny beads that popped from the tips of my fingers several times a day. This week, not so much.

And as misses go, it’s a rubbish one, right?

As the proud new owner of a FreeStyle Libre (may the universe rain her blessings down on NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde), I know the much-vaunted advantages. Ability to test more often and easily. Probable positive effect on your HbA1c levels (the long-term measure of blood glucose in the body) and reduced likelihood of complications.

Here, then, are my observations on the lesser quoted points you notice when you wear one…

  1. I’m clumsy as heck. Yes, I keep bumping into door frames. Maybe I always have walked into them on a regular basis but when I hit my right arm (the one I’m wearing the sensor on) off a door frame, I notice. Three times in the first four hours of wearing it.
  2. The absence of black dots. Those of us who’ve spent our lives doing five or six blood tests a day (see above) can hold out fingers tips covered in tiny black dots. Occasionally, the skin peels away in protest. Three days in and mine VANISHED.
  3. Oh, the joy of the night-time test! You wake up, roll over, grab the sensor from our bedside table and wave it in the direction of your arm. Voila! The result. No messing around opening that wee case up, taking out the tube of sticks, popping it open, finding a stick and taking three attempts to insert it into meter, pricking your finger and missing the stick with the dot of blood, etc. And all done in the dark because you don’t want to disturb your other half.
  4. No more vampire impressions. I did blood tests on public transport, in offices, when out and about, in the gym, the cinema, the pub, restaurants and more. And I was discreet about it, but when your finger bleeds you suck it to get rid of the excess, right? Some folks think that is disgusting or that you should always wipe it on a tissue or surgical wipe. Who has the foresight to carry all that around as well as everything else?
  5. Having to remind yourself you can test whenever the heck you want. I’ll get used to the feeling quickly but I’m still adjusting. Shall I test again? No, no I only pricked my finger an hour ago and I’m only prescribed XX amount of sticks every months so no… Stop right there, lady. Shall I run the meter over my sensor again? Yes, yes, yes!*
  6. Staring at your graph. Oh the fascination of watching what your blood sugar levels get up to over eight hours. Telling yourself you will record this properly, oh yes you will, and work out patterns so you can make educated adjustments, rather than relying on guesswork.
  7. Missing the sight of blood. As you might have guessed, the intro to this piece was a big, fat lie. I’m one hundred percent happy that bloody fingers are a thing of the past (ish, you still have to do some).

* Ten’s the recommendation, in case you were wondering. Too many’s not good on the sanity levels.