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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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Give us this day our daily bread…

Posted on : 27-05-2017 | By : Cindy | In : Aging, Bread, New Zealand, Older-age, Policy watch & public health, Research



‘I need to eat more bread for protein,’ my 79 year old mother announced over the phone.

‘Bread?’ I countered in my ‘dietitian/daughter knows best’ voice. ‘Milk would be better, or nuts or tuna.’

‘Well, the report said that bread is a good way for us older people to keep up our protein so I’ve just bought myself a lovely, little loaf from the French bakery and eaten the whole lot!’ my Mum replied.

The moment I got off the phone I searched for the report she had cited, convinced that she was somehow mistaken. But there it was, the LiLACS study by Professor Ngaire Kerse and Professor David Cameron-Smith, Chair in Nutrition at the University of Auckland’s Liggins Institute following the health of almost 1000 people (Maori and European) aged 80-90 years. It’s the world’s first longitudinal study of an indigenous population aged 80 or over. Highly timely considering that over the next ten years there will be an estimated 166% increase in Maori reaching this age.

So where does the protein – bread story fit in? Protein is needed to maintain muscle mass. We need muscles not only to give us a great shape but more importantly to keep us strong and steady on our feet. Elderly people need strong muscles to stay active, mobile and to reduce the risk of falling. This is why the recommended daily amount rises an extra 10-15 grams for people over 70 to 57 grams for women and 81 grams protein for men.

How much protein is in bread? I raced to my pantry, pulling out bread, milk, tuna and peanut butter to check the labels. Here’s what I found.

Two 45g slices of my organic wholemeal bread = almost 10g protein  (Bread varies in protein content depending on ingredients so check your own favourite loaf.)

A small cup of milk (200mls) = 7.g

A small tin (95g) tuna = 15g

Two teaspoon 100% peanut butter (20g) = 5.6g

1 egg = 6g

150g fillet steak = 40g

Bread can’t compete with meat for being a protein powerhouse but it certainly helps. Some current ‘healthy’ diets vilify and exclude bread as a criminal carb. Yet bread, especially slow rise, sourdough, has been a  staple part of the diet for thousands of years, providing energy, protein, vitamins and fibre.

Prof. Cameron-Smith said that elderly people lose muscle on the current ‘healthy’ diet and that bread is an important protein to help combat this. A sedentary, middle aged person might well do with eating less bread but for those heading towards 80 who find their appetite waning or meat too hard to chew, a peanut butter or cheese sandwich might be just the protein boost your muscles need.


Preventing weight gain – is diet and exercise enough?

Posted on : 07-04-2012 | By : Cindy | In : Losing it - weight loss & obesity, Research


Is diet and exercise enough to stop us gaining weight? This is the question that Dr Berit Heitmann, obesity researcher from the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Copenhagen,  presented to us at a talk she recently gave in Sydney. And her short answer? No.

Having looked at all the studies to date including two Cochrane reviews she found that on average these diet/exercise interventions helped people to eat more healthy food and do more activity but had little or no effect on weight. So what else could it be?

Can a lack of sleep make you fat?

Posted on : 26-11-2011 | By : Cindy | In : Losing it - weight loss & obesity, Research


How long will you lie there you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber…and poverty will come on you like a bandit. Proverbs 6:9-11

Most cultures have wise sayings about the negative result of being lazy or sleeping too much. But in today’s culture we seem to have the opposite problem – not enough sleep. Stress, computers, television, long work hours and burning the candle at both ends are just some of the habits that steal our sleep – and it’s making us fat.

Sleep is not optional, it’s essential to good health. While we sleep our body releases substances that fight infection, build and repair muscle, control appetite, consolidate memory (remember this if you are studying) and promote maturation in teenagers.

Lack of sleep makes our body work differently. It reduces insulin sensitivity and alters two key hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin reduces hunger so it’s good to have plenty around. But lack of sleep, especially when combined with stress, drops those appetite suppressing leptin levels.

Eat more wholegrains: gain less weight

Posted on : 02-10-2011 | By : Cindy | In : Research, Super-healthy...er...stuff


If you’ve decided to cut back on bread in an attempt to control weight, think again. Wholegrains were one of a handful of winning foods in a new study looking at long term weight control. The researchers from Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health found that people who ate more wholegrains actually gained less weight over four years.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine this study of over 120,000 people found that people who ate more unprocessed foods, specifically wholegrains, nuts, yoghurt (reduced or full fat), fruit and vegetables gained the least weight over a four year period.

These people didn’t just keep on eating the same amount over the four years; they actually increased the number of serves of these foods they ate each day. More food means more kilojoules so why didn’t they gain weight? These foods are all high fibre (apart from yoghurt) nutrient rich foods which provide long lasting satiety. They keep blood sugars stable without the rapid spikes that experts now think contribute to weight problems. If you eat lots of these foods chances are you won’t feel quite so desperate to munch on crisps or slurp on a soft drink.