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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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6 reasons to eat legumes

Posted on : 28-08-2011 | By : Cindy | In : Bowel, Cancer, Diabetes, Legumes, Losing it - weight loss & obesity


“I don’t know what’s happened but all I want to eat each afternoon is peanut butter on a slice of grain bread,” my friend commented this week.

No, she’s not pregnant. But she has started a new job and hardly eats all day. No wonder her body is hanging out for a super combo of carbs, protein and healthy monounsaturated fat. That’s what you get in a peanut butter sandwich along with 1.5 grams of fibre per tablespoon of peanut butter. Spread it on wholemeal or grainy bread and the fibre could reach 5 or 6 grams – enough to tide a busy working mum through the hectic 4-6pm dinner rush.

It got me thinking about peanuts.

Jelly Baby Month

Posted on : 22-05-2011 | By : Cindy | In : Diabetes, Event buzz


Ball mask

“Would you like to go to a masquerade ball?” My good friend and fellow dietitian had a spare ticket for the Juvenile Diabetes fund-raising ball at the Sydney Town Hall.  Of course I wanted to go! Dressed in our sparkly frocks we teetered up the red carpet which rolled down the steps onto the pavement. I flashed my wedding ring around and gave an extra friendly smile to the waiter serving champagne, just to make sure everyone knew we weren’t THAT type of couple.

The Glycemic Index Foundation had kindly invited my friend ‘and partner’ to sit at their table. It was a bitter-sweet evening. The masks were fun, the bands great, the food delicious, the wine abundant and the conversation riveting. But we were there because of a terrible disease that has no cure. Every dietitian knows the diabetic diet. What we don’t know is how it feels to live with diabetes. I thought I

My scoops for 12.7.2009

Posted on : 12-07-2009 | By : Cindy | In : Food safety, Kids nutrition, Policy watch & public health, Research, Scoops, Super-healthy...er...stuff, Vegetables


Found these digging around on the net … mostly from down under!

dgrGlenn Cardwell: Getting kids to eat their veggies … Vegetables were probably never that big in the human diet. We evolved eating meat, seafood, nuts, seeds, fruits, tubers, fungi, berries and insects because that’s where the kilojoules are. When you need energy (kJs/Cals) each day to survive, why bother eating a leaf (lettuce), a flower (broccoli) or something else that is mainly water …

c: I don’t subscribe to the evolution theory, I’m more a creation girl – it makes me feel more special. And the people I have read about who lived 3-4000 years ago definitely knew their grandparents.  But I love the idea of talking positively to your children about vegetables! What about kids and meat?

Dieticians missed point on story: 60 Minutes – National – NZ Herald News … TV3’s 60 Minutes says criticism by nutrition experts on its report on the effects of food colouring on children was disappointing and failed to focus on the real issue – that Britain is phasing out some artificial colours while New Zealand is doing nothing….

c: Medical and other science experts such as dietitians get exasperated with some media reporters who either deliberately or out of ignorance use anecdoctal evidence or dubious ‘studies’ to sensationalise their story. Of course dietitians don’t condone artificial colours and, whether or not  they cause your kids to ‘lose the plot’, it would be good to see these unnecessary additives phased out.

Editorial: Don’t tinker with our daily bread – Health – NZ Herald News … It is not too difficult to see why many public health authorities support the mandatory fortifying of bread with folic acid. No one questions folate’s effectiveness in reducing the incidence of certain birth defects, notably spina bifida, if it is taken in sufficient quantity around the time a woman becomes pregnant …

c:Nice commentary but there are hints of negative effects on the US population –update today on kiwiblog and read my own folate posts.

Omega-3 deficiency causes 96,000 US deaths per year, say researchers … Omega-3 deficiency is the sixth biggest killer of Americans and more deadly than excess trans fat intake, according to a new study. The Harvard University researchers looked at 12 dietary, lifestyle and metabolic risk factors such as tobacco smoking and high blood pressure and used a mathematical model to determine how many fatalities could have been prevented if better practices had been observed …

c: This is really interesting but keep in mind it’s an analysis of numbers – and we all know how they can be manipulated! Still, I’ll be sure to keep up my weekly salmon dinner and salmon sushi snacks – delicious.

A rural town in Australia has voted overwhelmingly to ban the sale of bottled water over concerns about its environmental impact. … Campaigners say Bundanoon, in New South Wales, may be the first community in the world to have such a ban…

c: Good on them! Why pay for something you can get naturally. Bottled water has its place – it’s made it trendy to drink water – that’s got to be a good thing. But if you want to be even more ‘on trend’ and eco-friendly simply drink filtered tap water (see TIME mags megatrend on this).

Blood glucose control ranks high in US death causes

c: From the same mathematical analysis as the omega-3 story.  Blood glucose ranked 5th and omega-3 ranked 6th in preventable causes of death ie it doesn’t include accidents. I’m surprised at inactivity ranking 4th. I’d better go for that bike ride – even though it’s freezing cold outside and I’d rather sit inside and eat cake!

Price of milk too much for many families, study finds – Nutrition – NZ Herald News … Price increases for milk and other dairy products are having a detrimental effect on children’s health, University of Otago researchers say …

c: This means almost 2 out of 3 Kiwi kids don’t drink milk daily – that’s terrible! Instead of cereal with milk what are they eating for breakfast – toast and a can of fizzy? Perhaps we will have to re-introduce milk at schools. How about banana smoothies or Milo instead of sausage sizzles and lollies (see my article on toddlers healthy bones).

Catching eels with my grandmother {Part 2}

Posted on : 08-07-2009 | By : Cindy | In : Maori kai, Traditions



This is Part 2 of Haare’s story about going out and catching eels with his grandparents. ( Part 1 is here.  Also see added footnote at the bottom of this post, about my husband’s eel hunting experiences too) ..c

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It was late afternoon when we settled down beside a blazing fire with Wairemana positioning herself close to the edge of the river. Other kuia were settling down along the riverbank for some distance away.  We were positioned near a dark, swirling pool, which looked quite threatening.  Wairemana was adept and had great skill in catching the eels hungry for the bait with muka, threaded through its body.  The hand held muka line was suspended from her frail but anxious hand and as she dipped it into the water, the bite was immediate as dozens of eels rushed to grab the bait.

The swirl of the eels in the water and the rhythm set up by Wairemana meant that the eels, whatever their size, were flung with ease onto the shore.  With just a single effortless movement she flicked the line over her shoulder and with a quick flick, the eel let-go of the bait landing some way away from the river.  It was so quick; Rimaha and I had to work fast to recover the snaking fish in the dim light of the fire.

It was a joy to watch her in action.  So rhythmic and composed.  She had done this so many times before.  It looked second nature.

Yes, during the night she let me have a go as well.  But I could not flick the eel over my shoulder.

She held her position all night and by dawn we had several sacks of the choicest eels in the river.  All dead.  The smaller ones were put back.

As they lay stretched out on the ground, I was a little scared to even touch the gleaming black and grey yields of the river.  Eels everywhere.

Rimaha and I then cleaned the slime off them by passing them through the ashes of the dying fire.  And then clean them.  A job I hated.

Wairemana had earned the right to sit and rest with her torori tobacco pipe in her mouth.

Further along the river others were gathering around and cleaning their cache.  It looked like a great night for everyone.

After the karakia we said goodbye to the river and headed home.  Lady, our trusted old horse had a very satisfying load to take home.

Pawhera tuna (eels) everywhere.  They were opened up from the belly across its spine and along the back. It was then smothered in salt, rubbed in and hung out in the sun to dry.

This is tuna pawhera.  Each night the hundred or so eels were gathered in and put out again the next day. They took up every vantage spot around our kainga. And after a week of drying in the sun, the delicacies were ready to be stored away for special occasions and for our meals over a long winter.

“Mauria mai he tuna pawhera e moko kia tunutunua ki runga i te ahi o te kauta nei. Kei te rongo koe i te kakara, nera?”

“Tino rawe tena e Ma,” showing my enthusiasm to slowly smoke pawhera tuna above the smouldering embers of the open fire in our kauata.

What a meal.  Oil under the thick skin of the smoked tuna running down my cheeks and arms.  I can still savour its unique and special taste. Still taste it now.   ..Haare

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* Cindy’s footnote: My husband recalls his eeling days as a teenager on his tribal farm, Mangatu …

what22“I’ll never forget it!” my husband started. “I was about 15 or 16, and staying with my cousins on our farm – 50,000 acres of rugged sheep farming country in my tribe’s Mangatu farm blocks, Whatatutu, near Gisborne (you can see how rugged the country is on this google map). Freezing cold – a night just like tonight”  – at the moment we are sitting warm and cosy at home on a cold New Zealand winter evening as he tells me this story of his teenage eel catching adventures.

“We got up at 3am mid-winter and drove in the old Land Rover beside our river until the road ran out. We then walked inland another couple of kilometres through the river’s freezing water and up over cascading waterfalls in the pitch dark (no moon), except for light from our kerosene lamps. I’ll never forget seeing the eels (NZ long fin variety) once we arrived at our posy – the water was teeming with them, attracted by the lamps.”

“They just lie there on the bottom of the stream, blissfully unaware what’s going to happen next. You sneak up to them, whack the metal hook under their bellies, jerk up and fling them up onto the bank. It took four of us – Uncle Tiny, my cousin Laurie, another cousin and me – about two hours to catch 60 or 70 eels – huge black slimy monsters.

I’ve never been so cold in my life, frozen to the bone.”

“I’ll never forget that cold and carrying those massive eels back on my shoulders – thick bodies, and this long.”  He stretches his arms out as wide as they can go.

“How did four of you carry so many back?” I ask.

“I don’t know how we did it, but we did. We threaded them with No. 8 wire through their mouths. They were so heavy. And we had to trek back down those treacherous waterfalls and through the river. We got home about 7am – soaking wet, freezing cold, knackered! We dried and smoked the eels the next day for a wedding celebration at our marae (Tapuihikitea) that was coming up – all the trouble we went to, to get them, was worth it.”

My husband’s whanau (family) on the farm are strong, tough as, rugged types, Maori – if we all had to work that hard for our food we sure wouldn’t need gyms, weight watchers or protein powders! ..c

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Related articles:

For the nutrition part, read this: Maori diet of eel could help stop diabetes rise | NZ Herald
See Haare’s other story about cultivating Kumara

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