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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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Two unlikely foods that reduce belly fat

Posted on : 05-02-2015 | By : Cindy | In : Super-healthy...er...stuff



Belly fat or more scientifically, central obesity, is the most dangerous for health. It wraps around our vital organs and plays havoc with our metabolism. It increases our risk of heart disease and diabetes, amongst others.

You may think that carrot sticks and salads are the only way to get rid of that tummy bulge. They will certainly help but even more so if you add a handful of nuts to your salad and douse it with olive oil. Eating foods high in healthy fats makes it easier to resist those ‘naughty’ foods – you know, the cakes, biscuits, choc bars, white bread jam sandwiches and fizzy drinks. Of course if you wanted to you could stuff these foods in as well and end up expanding your waistline even more. The idea is to add nuts and olive oil in so you can enjoy your moderately sized meals and not feel hungry until the next meal time.

So how much are we talking about? The studies used 30 grams or a small handful of plain, unsalted nuts a day and around a litre of olive oil a week.

Now before you rush out to buy a barrel of olive oil, remember that small changes are much better than drastic diets that you soon tire of. Lots of little changes soon add up to make a big difference.It works with writing novels (lots of small sessions of writing rather than the odd enormous effort) and it works with healthy eating and living.

To reduce belly fat, try these ideas.

* Sit less, move more (Harvard School of Public Health says that reducing sit time is just as important as increasing fit time.)

* Less screen time

* Add a few nuts to your lunch-box

* Sprinkle nuts on your salad or stir fry

* Make Swiss Muesli with chopped apple and almonds

* Try carrot salad – grated carrot mixed with chopped garlic, lemon juice and olive oil – A winner for people who don’t like carrot sticks!

* Roast vegetables – beetroot, carrot, zucchini  in olive oil. Sprinkle with spices e.g. ras el hanout and toss with chickpeas (search Quinoa Roast Vege Salad recipe)

* Mix olive oil with either lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Add some chopped garlic or a generous dollop of mustard and pour over salads or steamed green beans or asparagus.



Going nuts with Paul West of River Cottage Australia

Posted on : 31-05-2014 | By : Cindy | In : Super-healthy...er...stuff


nut1“Would you like some nuts? I have just arrived at the Sydney Cooking School and am being welcomed with a bowl of enticingly fresh nuts. I pick out a macadamia. “They’re my favorite too,” says a friendly bloke with a beard. He pops one in his mouth. I soon discover that he is Paul West, the amiable and very relaxed presenter of the popular foodie show, River Cottage.

For the next few hours our little group of food writers and dietitians sit around a long wooden table laden with every type of tree nut, both in the shell and out of the shell. I recognize all the nuts out of their shells but it’s a different story seeing them in their shells. So often we buy nuts already shelled which means that their healthy unsaturated fats turn rancid quite quickly. “Keep your nuts in a sealed jar in the fridge or freezer,” the Nuts For Life people tell us. I dutifully do just that as soon as I arrive home with the enormous glass jar of nuts they give us.

Quinoa Roast Vege Salad – Middle Eastern style

Posted on : 22-12-2013 | By : Cindy | In : My idiot-proof recipes, Super-healthy...er...stuff



“How can I use up this quinoa?” I asked my good friend. A bag of the stuff sat in my pantry, a brown paper reminder of a moment of inspired healthiness while browsing the health food shop. Weeks later, my good intentions still sat there, waiting for me to be re-inspired. And inspired I finally was, not by my friend’s suggestions but by the recipe book she bought me as a present.

I flicked through the recipes, salivating at the gorgeous food photography and mentally noting which ones I would try first. Then one caught my eye: Spiced Vegetable Couscous.  I love roast vege salad and usually toss it with red wine vinegar. This recipe has the added fibre and flavour of chick peas, mint, coriander, tzatziki and a Moroccan spice mix called ras el hanout (paprika, cumin, ginger, coriander, turmeric, fennel, allspice, cardamom, dill, galangal, nutmeg, caraway, black pepper, cloves, rose petals and much more) which I bought at Herbies, a dedicated spice shop, just up the road in Rozelle, Sydney.

Breakfast reduces heart disease risk

Posted on : 29-10-2013 | By : Cindy | In : Breakfast, Super-healthy...er...stuff



“I can’t wait for breakfast!” If you want to join the minority who hang out for breakfast each morning, try eating less the night before. It’s a great habit that my family mostly does when on holiday. On our recent trip to London we couldn’t wait to get to Tinto Cafe in Fulham Palace Road each morning for a generous cup of their smooth Colombian coffee and amazing home-made granola, yoghurt and berry cups. This healthy combo gave us enough energy for at least four or five hours of exploring the wonderful sights of London. Upon our return to Australia I tried to emulate the granola, yoghurt, berry breakfast. It’s not half so good but we still love the contrast of crunchy granola with smooth creamy yoghurt and tart berries. It’s a fantastic start to the day – and it’s good for you.

Only a quarter of Australians eat breakfast each day despite it being a great way to control weight and reduce risk of heart disease. Part of the evidence backing up the new Australian Dietary Guidelines reports that eating cereals is