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The Pounamu Prophecy - birth of a book Two women, two cultures and an ancient Maori prophecy that will change their lives. That's the tag line for The Pounamu Prophecy - my first novel. It has been a slow process, interrupted by moving...


Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol?Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol? The short answer is yes - you can eat mussels if you have high cholesterol. Mussels are low in kilojoules, cholesterol and fat. The little fat they do have is mostly healthy unsaturated fat with plenty...


Bran MuffinsBran Muffins These bran muffins (adapted from a recipe by Alison Holst) are super filling - a great snack when you are trying to control your weight. Enjoy these muffins with a cup of tea but don't expect to absorb...


Beat the flu with Chicken Noodle Soup It’s Queen’s Birthday holiday today in New Zealand and thank goodness, the sun is shining. I’m sitting in a sunny room writing this post, sheltered from the icy wind blasting up from Antarctica....


My nanna's recipe for homemade Rewena (Maori) bread Rewena Bread Step 1 1 c flour 1 tsp sugar 1 potato Peel and cut potato into small pieces. Place in pot with 1 cup water, lid on, and simmer to mashing consistency. Mash, cool and when luke...


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Living long, living well in the Blue Zones

Posted on : 13-10-2016 | By : Cindy | In : Aging, Conferences, Event buzz, Insightful perception, Legumes, Uncategorized



‘You don’t have to believe in God to live a long life but it’s a common feature of the Blue Zones,’ said Associate Professor Tim Crowe. I had never heard of Blue Zones so was really looking forward to the private briefing for nutrition communicators and dietitians at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney this week.

Yes, there was product to promote and yes, we were given a wonderful goodie bag of Be Natural’s new range of whole grain granola cereals and snack bars which my teenager will devour with delight! But the organisers did a great job of informing us through Tim Crowe’s fascinating talk and entertaining us with amazing food displays and even exercise bikes to power blenders to make our own smoothies!


Blue Zones are pockets of the world where people live especially long and healthy lives. The phrase was coined over ten years ago when Dan Buettner, National Geographic and a group of longevity researchers highlighted these pockets on a map of the world with – you guessed it – blue circles.

What I love about the Blue Zone concept is that they all eat different foods. Some eat lots of tropical fruit, others sourdough bread, red wine and olive oil, and others tofu, turmeric and a bit of fish. There is no one super food or super diet. But there are a few features common to all.

They all eat lots of plant foods – stacks of vegetables as well as protein rich foods such as beans (fava, borlotti, cannellini etc ), chickpeas, lentils, tofu and nuts. In fact around 80% of their food is plant based.


They do a lot of integrated activity which is a fancy way to say their daily routine involves plenty of movement – walking to get food or see friends, chasing goats up the hillside, gardening. None of the blue zone people do triathlons or go to the gym!

If you ask people in the Blue Zones, ‘Why do you get up in the morning?’ they will have an answer. And it’s not just ‘Because I have to go to work.’ They have a sense of purpose, of being necessary and needed. Imagine if we could give this gift to each of our teenagers and young adults.

Community plays a large role in each of the Blue Zone pockets. Connection and caring for others obviously helps keep you young. According to the Blue Zone philosophy ‘Happy Hour’ is not swilling back as much beer or wine as you can rather it is drinking, usually red wine, with friends or family. It is the social aspect that is so important.

And finally faith. People in each of the Blue Zone pockets have faith and a belief in the spiritual, mostly a belief in God. Research shows that when a person prays, there are positive changes in his or her brain’s activity and the chemicals or neurotransmitters produced. Perhaps this is partly why the Bible says repeatedly to ‘Pray at all times.’ Prayer, and faith it seems, is good for our health.


So how ‘Blue Zone’ have you been today? Have you eaten some hummus, beans or nuts? Have you filled your bowl or piled your plate with veges? Have you walked to work, the school or the cafe? Or done some gardening? Have you talked to or at least smiled at someone today? Do you have a great reason to jump out of bed tomorrow? Have you stopped and inhaled the fragrance of a flower, gazed at the view or enjoyed the warmth of the sun? Have you said thank you or laughed so hard your belly ached?

If you want to learn more about this latest buzz word, listen to Tim Crowe here on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/thinkingnutrition/videos/1183135265108172/




Toddlers who eat fruit as a snack rather than at meals have 3 times the risk of iron deficiency

Posted on : 27-11-2009 | By : Cindy | In : Brain, Conferences, Iron deficiency, Kids nutrition, Meat, Research


brain-fuelToddlers who eat fruit as a snack rather than with meals are three times more likely to have iron deficiency. “But I thought it was healthy to give my child fruit as a snack,” commented the health professional sitting near me. “It is,” replied Dr Clare Wall, one of three child nutrition experts speaking at a seminar I attended this week. “But it’s also important for toddlers to eat fruit with a meal because it increases iron absorption from that meal.”

One in six Kiwi toddlers are iron deficient and around two-thirds don’t eat enough iron to meet the recommended daily intake. For most, it’s not bad enough to cause anaemia but it is bad enough to affect their behaviour and brain

Saffron, snails and a surprise shot of rugby

Posted on : 19-10-2009 | By : Cindy | In : Conferences, On my plate, Recommended web places, Spices, Super-healthy...er...stuff



I’m on my way to the opening cocktail evening for the Food Writers Conference in Napier. The hotel lift opens at my floor and I stop, speechless, as Richie McCaw [current All Black captain] and a couple of his Canterbury Crusaders teammates smile nonchalantly out. No room for me – these boys are big! What am I doing wobbling off to eat and drink tonight? I should be in the gym chiselling my body like these amazing specimens. The momentary motivation passes as we enter the whitewashed historic Hawkes Bay Club, just a stone’s throw from our hotel.

“I’ve just walked into Brad Thorn’s stomach!” my friend Jenny from Beef and Lamb New Zealand says as we munch on large green Orcona jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and sprinkled with smoked paprika. “Those boys are big!”

NZ Food Writers Conference

Posted on : 14-10-2009 | By : Cindy | In : Conferences


fdFor the next few days I’ll be in Napier tasting the best of Hawkes Bay’s food and wine. It’s the New Zealand Food Writers annual conference and we’ll be visiting local vineyards, olive groves, organic gardens, restaurants and meeting the producers of all this yummy food and wine. A highlight will be hearing Maggie Beer from the Barossa Valley in South Australia talk about her life and work in food. Let’s hope the fickle New Zealand spring weather settles for the weekend! Look out for some interesting food stories next week.

Saffron, Snails and Rugby in Hawkes Bay NZ