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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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When your body turns against you – part 3

Posted on : 28-08-2010 | By : Cindy | In : Behaviours, Eyes


Deteriorating eyesight

Why it happens

Around 40-45 we develop a new mannerism – pulling our head back while peering at the paper or brochure held at arm’s length. It’s called presbyopia, it’s normal and there’s nothing we can do to prevent it. From adolescence the lens in our eye slowly thickens and becomes less flexible making it more difficult to focus.

What to do

Visit the optometrist regularly to monitor eye health and vision changes.

Buy reading glasses if necessary.

Eat plenty of yellow and dark green fruit and vegetables such as corn and spinach.

Fruit & vegetables – the more stress, the more antioxidants

Posted on : 28-10-2009 | By : Cindy | In : Fruit, Maori kai, Super-healthy...er...stuff, Vegetables


puhaRelax, relax. Isn’t that what we are meant to be trying to do in this hectic world we live in? I was doing exactly that a few weekends ago at the NZ Food Writers conference. After a hard morning of visiting food and wine producers, and having to choose between blue cheese wontons with pear and rocket salad or grilled mackerel on toast with harissa at Clearview Estate Winery, we were now at Millar Road – seriously stylish accommodation – tasting yet more wine and food. Oh well, someone has to do it!

Relaxing by the pool in the afternoon sun, lapping up the Hawkes Bay countryside and Pacific Ocean spread out below us, I summoned up just enough energy to ask antioxidant expert, Dr Carolyn Lister, “Do organic vegetables have any more antioxidants than others?” She replied, “It depends how stressed they are. The more stress, the more antioxidants.”

Carrots or corn – which is better for healthy eyes?

Posted on : 02-10-2009 | By : Cindy | In : Eyes


eye 3“Eat up your carrots – they help you see in the dark.” Most of us have heard this saying. But are carrots really the best food for our eyes? Sure, carrots have lots of beta-carotene which keeps vitamin A levels up in the body. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness hence the ‘see in the dark’ reputation of carrots.

But it’s the green and yellow foods such as corn, egg yolk, spinach and silver beet that really protect our eyes. These foods are rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin (pronounced zee a zan thin). The macular region (part of the retina) of healthy eyes has rich deposits of these antioxidants but it needs regular replenishing. Macular degeneration is a major cause of blindness so it pays to keep this critical part of the eye well stocked up with nutrients. Try these green and yellow meals: corn on the cob, corn fritters cooked in olive oil served with avocado and tomato, omelette with spinach, quiche with salmon, spinach and corn, or a salad of baby spinach leaves, hard boiled eggs, tomato, tuna, olives and anchovies.

Macular Degeneration Foundation (Australia)

Olive oil in the NZ Waikato? I thought it was all farms!

Posted on : 30-08-2009 | By : Cindy | In : On my plate, Super-healthy...er...stuff


rich olive oil

Are the following words types of cheese, pasta, grapes or olives: frantoio, koroneiki, leccino, pendolino, picholine, picual?

If you answered olives, you would be right. But even more interesting than their unusual names is that they are grown in the Waikato. Believe it or not, the Waikato, New Zealand’s premier farming region, produces more than great meat, milk and cheese. A group of around forty olive growers, including retired farmers, an accountant, a marketer, a builder, and a debt collector are now producing extra virgin olive oil – this year about 1500 litres of it – and it tastes yummy. I know because my uncle Richard is one of them. A born and bred sheep and cattle farmer, he now makes delicious, nutritious extra virgin olive oil. He has just sent me three bottles and I can’t wait to try it.

What I like about this oil is that each bottle is made from pressing just one type of olive. The Olive Estate (that’s the brand name of the oil this group produces) doesn’t blend varieties. Not that there’s anything wrong with blending but it is fun to taste the difference between a koroneiki and a frantoio. From a nutritional view point the most important thing is that this oil is extra virgin. ‘Extra virgin’ is the best quality oil made from the first press of the olives. It is the richest in antioxidants and other nutrients. Virgin olive oil is made from a second pressing so it’s not quite as good as extra virgin. Lower down the quality scale you have ‘pure’ and ‘light’ olive oil. ‘Light’ olive oil is simply a lighter flavour and colour – it’s no lighter in kilojoules or fat!

If you want to try a little extra virgin pendolino, visit the farmers markets at Pirongia, Morrinsville and Tamahere, or e-mail: theoliveestate at yahoo.co.nz  —  As for me, I’m looking forward to drizzling some of the koroneiki olive oil over a classic Italian salad of fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil. Thanks, Uncle Richard!