Get into the festive spirit with this diabetes-friendly dessert

Managing your diabetes can feel hard at the best of times but the festive season makes all those delicious, indulgent treats even more desirable. This Christmas you don’t have to miss out though as we have the perfect, diabetes-friendly Hot Chocolate and Chestnut Soufflés courtesy of Channel 4’s Dr Dawn Harper and dietician Azmina Govindji which are quick and easy to make.

Hot Chocolate and Chestnut Soufflés

If Eve had got her eye on these little mini-soufflés, I doubt she’d have bothered with the apple, for they are almost sinfully indulgent, but oh-so-delicious! They have to be served in the little pots in which they are cooked, otherwise they will collapse, but there’s no reason why on a special occasion you shouldn’t go the whole hog and have a scoop of reduced fat ice-cream on the side.

Prep 10 mins. Cook 15–20 mins. Serves 4
55 g / 2 oz 70 per cent cocoa chocolate
115 g / 4 oz / 8 level tbsps unsweetened chestnut purée
15 ml / ½ oz / 1 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
Butter or margarine to grease
four ramekins

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 / 200 °C / 400 °F. Put the chocolate into a small pan with 15 ml / 1 tbsp water and heat very gently until the chocolate has completely melted. Add the chestnut purée and caster sugar and cook, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolk, mixing thoroughly. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites using a large metal spoon, and transfer the mixture to four lightly greased ramekins. Stand the ramekins in a roasting tin with enough hot water to come halfway
up their sides, and bake in the centre of the oven for 15–20 mins until risen and set.


As Dr Dawn says, ‘. . . “delicious” rather than “deprivation” is the keynote to healthy diabetes management!’

Dr Dawn’s Guide to Healthy Eating for Diabetes is available now via Amazon or all good bookstores.


Dr Dawn’s tips for having some ‘me time’ as a new mum

The first few weeks and months after having a baby can be a busy time but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take some time for yourself. As a GP and mother of three Dr Dawn Harper (as seen on Channel 4) knows only too well what the experience of being a new mother can be like. Here are her top tips for having some ‘me time’:

Make the most of when your baby is sleeping

There is nothing wrong with soaking in a bubble bath, shaving your legs and doing your hair at two in the afternoon if that’s when the opportunity arises and it will make you feel so much better about yourself.

If you are breastfeeding, try to express early on

Having a supply of breast milk to hand means that someone else can give the occasional feed meaning you and your partner can take the opportunity to be a couple again even if it is only for an hour or two.

Accept offers of help

Friends and family really do want to help and if they offer to sit with your baby while you pop round to see a friend or nip to the shops say ‘Yes, please!’ It’s normal to feel that no one else can look after your baby as well as you but you are only human and the truth is you will be an even better mum if you can take a few minutes out here and there, so don’t feel guilty. Do it in the full knowledge that when you get back, you will be refreshed and able to give even more of yourself.

Extract taken from Dr Dawn’s Guide to Your Baby’s First Year.

Dr Dawn’s Guide to Your Baby’s First Year is available now.

Identifying sociopathic behaviour

Sociopathy affects an estimated 1- 4% of the population, but not all sociopaths are cold-blooded murderers. They’re best described as people without a conscience, who prey on those with high levels of empathy, but themselves lack any concern for others’ feelings and show no remorse for their actions.

97818470927621In their book, The Empathy Trap: Understanding antisocial personalities, Dr Jane McGregor and Tim McGregor draw on real life cases to explore this taboo subject, looking at how people can protect themselves against these arch-manipulators.

Identifying sociopathic behaviour is an important topic in the book, with a section dedicated to some of the traits of the sociopath. These include superficial charm, the need for stimulation, a parasitic lifestyle, manipulative behaviour, pathological lying, faking illness, aggression and anti-social behaviour, and a lack of empathy and remorse,

The following extract is taken from that section.

Superficial charm

Have you ever come across someone with magnetic charm? Perhaps alongside this he affects an air of importance and has a grandiose view of himself? Sociopathic charm is not like any other. It is not in the least self-conscious. Sociopaths rarely exhibit social inhibitions, so they hardly ever get anxious or tongue-tied. Nor are they afraid of offending you. They aren’t held back by the social convention that ensures most of us take turns in talking. They talk at you, confident that you will agree with everything they say.

Often they have a lot to say. A ‘conversation’ with a sociopath can feel like a bombardment. To the untrained ear sociopaths’ pronouncements sound authoritative because they tend to use words and phrases intended to make them sound knowledgeable, but which on dissection sometimes prove nothing more than gob- bledygook. This peculiarity in their mode of expression can be exacerbated by their use of muddled-up phrases and mixed meta- phor. No one really knows why this is the case, but it seems to be a common feature.

When you first meet a sociopath, you may be impressed by her good manners. She tends to be charming at first, may go out of her way to please you and often falls back on flattery. These tactics are designed to draw you in. But beware, for she is not what she appears, which is why sociopaths are often called ‘social chameleons’. It seems counterintuitive that someone so charming can be so dangerous, but many people are duped this way. Being charming is a sociopath’s most potent trait. Targets often later remark that they were over- whelmed by the sociopath’s charm offensive. He may seem larger than life, a go-getter, an adventurer. His grandiose air and smooth conversation add to the illusion of being in the presence of someone special. He makes you feel boring and insipid by comparison.

Everything a sociopath does is calculated to have an effect on you. Just as his charm is superficial, so too is everything else about him. The smile looks phoney because it is phoney. The sociopath has blunt emotional reactions and fakes emotions to appear sincere. Occasionally you might catch him looking closely at your mouth as you speak, as though mouthing words and rehearsing. One com- monly observed habit is frequent pursing of the lips or chewing the sides of the mouth, while he may twist and contort his mouth in peculiar ways. It is not clear why sociopaths do any of these things. Perhaps they are practising facial expressions, or perhaps there is some physical reason. But the only natural smile you will see exhibited by a sociopath is a sneer as he derives pleasure from seeing others suffer.

It is hard to recognize the shameless. In her book The Sociopath Next Door, Martha Stout claims that the sociopath will make it his business to know how a person can be manipulated, hence his use of flattery and charm. It is quite common for sociopaths to create a sense of similarity and intimacy. They will tell you that only you understand them, that you are their special ‘soul mate’. In our earlier case histories all the central characters possessed this quality in varying degrees. John the workplace bully is a master of flattery. He compliments Mary in order to ‘play’ her and to unwittingly involve her in his sociopathic games. Our 15-year-old schoolboy James possesses a phoney charm. He uses it to blindside those in authority. As a consequence, no one guesses he is manipulating everyone behind the scenes. In other sociopaths, such as Peter, the ‘charm offensive’ is more muted.

The Empathy Trap is available online. To be in with a chance of winning a free copy, enter our #FridayFreebie over on Twitter.

The authors’ new book, Coping with Aggressive Behaviour is published in April 2017.

Pain Management – The Mindful Way

Chronic pain affects an estimated 14 million people in the UK and is the most common reason for seeking medical help. But there’s increasing evidence to show that mindful practices can have a beneficial effect on pain and associated anxiety and depression. 

9781847094216In her new book, Pain Management Dr Cheryl Rezek combines the principles of mindfulness with research from the clinical field of psychology to help you to improve your emotional, psychological and physical state.

As well as offering guided meditations and other practices to help to control discomfort and distress, Pain Management presents evidence to suggest that in some cases, mindfulness and psychological input can reduce the intensity of pain by as much as 40 per cent, and promote other positive effects.

The book is accompanied by audio downloads.

Pain Management is out 17 November 2016.

You can read the first chapter, which includes a practical exercise, here. 

Disclaimer: Do not listen to the audio material while driving or operating any machinery or item. This book makes no claim to act as a cure or treatment of any conditions, nor does it advocate discontinuation of any intervention or treatment. 


Are you dying for a drink?

Men and women are advised to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol each week, spread through the week. Despite this, more than 9 million people in England drink more than the recommended daily limits, with the NHS estimating that around 9% of men in the UK and 4% of women in the UK show signs of alcohol dependence. In the UK in 2012-13, there were 1,008,850 hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption.

Alcohol causes more misery, illness and death than any other substance but it is possible to beat the booze.


Dying for a Drink is a practical and comprehensive guide to alcohol and alcoholism by Dr Tim Cantopher. This new edition gives advice that is needed more than ever as rates of alcohol-related health problems soar – in particular liver disease, now the fifth most common cause of death in the UK. It explores how to beat problem drinking in a no-nonsense, lively and accessible manner.

Dying for a Drink is the definitive book for problem drinkers and their families and friends – as well as doctors, counsellors and therapists.


Note: This is not a medical book and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor. Do consult your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms with which you feel you need help.

Read the Preface and Introduction to the book..

Praise for the 2011 edition of Dying for a Drink:

‘An excellent book on problem drinking.’ Amazon reviewer

‘A very informative book.’ Amazon reviewer

‘Excellent.’ Amazon reviewer

‘If you are a serious drinker, or indeed a partner of same, you must have this book on your shelf.’ Amazon reviewer

‘This is good as a reference if you have a family member with a drink problem and need to understand the issues involved.’ Amazon reviewer

‘A brilliant book from a brilliant psychiatrist.’ Amazon reviewer

‘As a Counsellor I found this book very helpful.’ Amazon reviewer

‘I can related to a lot of the content. Bit of an eye opener.’ Amazon reviewer

‘Brilliant.’ Amazon reviewer


Dr Paul Grant answers five questions on Gestational Diabetes

We recently caught up with Dr Paul Grant, author of Gestational Diabetes: Your survival guide to diabetes in pregnacy to ask him five questions about Gestational Diabetes.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational Diabetes is a metabolic problem which affects pregnant women – meaning that their blood sugar (glucose) levels rise and can cause problems with the unborn baby and the pregnancy.

Who is at risk and why?

Gestational Diabetes can occur completely at random with no clear explanation, but tends to be more common in certain ethnic groups, women who are overweight, those with a strong family history of Diabetes and big babies.

What are the problems associated with Gestational Diabetes and does it mean that women will get stuck with Diabetes forever?

Gestational Diabetes can cause several problems with how the baby develops within the womb. The commonest problem is that the baby can get too large because of the high levels of sugar present – this then creates problems with delivery. There is also unfortunately an increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Interestingly, as soon as the baby is born, the metabolic changes of Diabetes go away and things go back to normal (until the next pregnancy). There is a slightly increased risk of developing type 2 Diabetes later in life if you have had gestational diabetes, having gestational diabetes can often act as a warning signal and stimulate people to make changes to their diet and lifestyle so that they can avoid getting full blown diabetes in later life.

How do you treat Gestational Diabetes?

There are several approaches to managing gestational diabetes. The mainstay of treatment is dietary change as the body cannot handle certain food types (carbohydrates) in the most efficient way – dieticians advocate a ‘low glycaemic index’ diet which means eating more slow release type carbs e.g. eating porridge or weetabix (which are low GI), rather than cornflakes or Special K (which are high GI). Other treatments include increasing activity – exercise tends to burn up the extra glucose in the bloodstream, so taking a walk after the largest meal of the day can significantly reduce your blood sugar levels. Medications are also used such as Metformin tablets (which are safe in pregnancy) or Insulin injections (insulin is a very important hormone which controls the movement of glucose from the bloodstream into the muscles, tissues and brain).

How can you avoid Gestational Diabetes?

You may not be able to avoid gestational diabetes entirely but the risks can be significantly reduced through healthy eating, regular activity / exercise and maintaining a healthy body mass index (less than 30) is recommended. Women who have had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy have found that by losing weight and sticking with a low GI diet before they get pregnant again means that they either do not get diabetes again or it far less problematic in subsequent pregnancies.

Did you find this useful? Gestational Diabetes by Dr Paul Grant is now available.