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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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Kids need 3 – milk, yoghurt, cheese

Posted on : 20-08-2011 | By : Cindy | In : Kids nutrition


When the latest Dietitian’s newsletter arrives it’s like Christmas! I pull open the magazine and out drop a whole lot of brightly coloured advertisements, mini newsletters and information sheets telling me about the nutritional benefits of all sorts of healthy products – yoghurt, grain bread, eggs etc. This week the one that caught my eye was Dairy Australia’s current campaign to Aussie mums. It’s called kids need 3 and it’s a timely reminder to all us mums to make sure we are feeding our kids three serves of dairy a day.

It’s not a new message but I appreciated the reminder. Calcium is critical for children. This is the time they are growing most rapidly and it is their “window of opportunity’ to store up lots of calcium in their bones. Once they hit their twenties and their bone growth is complete, the ‘window of opportunity’ is shut.

Are you helping to send our dairy farmers broke?

Posted on : 22-03-2011 | By : Cindy | In : Uncategorized


We all know milk comes from a cow, right? But how often do we really consider the farmers who provide us with that milk? Living in the city it’s easy to forget about our primary producers – the industry that allows us city slickers to pop into the supermarket and grab a carton of milk with no mud, no sweat, no tears. This weekend I found out that plenty of dairy farmers are shedding tears.

I was in Moss Vale, an hour or so south-west of Sydney, on a day tour with Jill and Nick from Food Path culinary tours. I wanted to get out of Sydney and see some of rural New South Wales. Having never been to this part of Australia before I decided the best way to see it was to take a tour with some locals. I found Food Path tours on the internet and what a wonderful find. Jill and Nick treated us like old friends and took us to private farms that we would never have seen on our own. We met Mark Williams, an aircraft engineer turned cheese-maker who owns the award winning Small Cow Farm. We sat around a table laden with delicious cheeses that you only find in top delicatessens, such as my local ‘Gourmet Grocer’. I learned that cheese should be made from milk no older than three days and that I should store my cheese with the bag slightly open. I loved the fettice (fetta) and the St Aminay – a mild white log delicious spread on crackers.

We also visited a dairy farm and that’s where I was given an insight into how Coles Supermarket’s recent slashing of milk prices is affecting our dairy farmers.

“It’s very serious,” Craig from Mayberry Farm told me.

Can a healthy snack contain sugar?

Posted on : 27-02-2011 | By : Cindy | In : Kids nutrition, Super-healthy...er...stuff


My son brought a mini-assignment home last week. It was all about how much sugar is added to various foods. Then it asked the kids to say whether they thought sugar should be added to foods. After reading that a can of soft drink has nine teaspoons of added sugar, I guess their answer will be no. And yet sugar can be really helpful in getting people to eat healthy food. What’s more important to ask than ‘How much sugar’ is ‘What is it added to?’ If it’s added to some water, colour, flavour and carbonated fizz, it’s not that great. If it’s added to milk, yoghurt or rolled oats it’s helping you to eat a whole lot of extra nutrients.

Also last week I received a brochure on snacks through my dietitian connections. Funny thing – their criteria for a healthy snack didn’t mention sugar at all. Rather than vilifying sugar, they rated the nutritional value of snacks based on the following criteria: low kilojoule, low glycemic index, low saturated fat, plenty of protein, plenty of fibre and containing calcium. It’s not necessary to meet all the criteria, in fact none of the snacks listed did, but the more a snack meets the better. What’s great about using this criteria is that it’s positive – looking for the good things about a food rather than avoiding something. It gives you more control over your choices and reduces the guilt of eating something that everyone has told you is ‘bad’.

I’m not saying that eating lots of sugar is a good thing – we all eat more than we need. I just think it’s unhelpful to focus on it when there are so many other aspects of nutrition to consider. So here are some great after-school snacks that meet some or most of the healthy criteria.

Carton of reduced fat yoghurt

A 200 gram carton of most fruit yoghurt contains two or three teaspoons of added sugar. Although natural yoghurt is ideal, the added sugar encourages many more people to eat this high protein, high calcium, low GI snack.

Rice Pudding

If you have left-over cooked rice, add some reduced fat milk and a sprinkle of brown sugar. (Apologies to my lovely Indian sister-in-law who would never ruin rice by serving it as a dessert!)

Roasted chickpeas

I have discovered these amazing snacks since moving to Australia. They are high in protein and fibre, and have a low glycemic index, making them a filling, lasting snack. And they taste good.

Wholegrain crackers spread with hummus or peanut butter.

I like Vita Wheat 9 grains as they are low in saturated fat and salt, and high in fibre. Make sure the peanut butter has no added salt or sugar.

Dates and a glass of reduced fat milk.

This was my standard after school snack as a teenager. Like all dried fruit, dates provide a concentrated source of energy – that means a lot of sugar in a small amount. But for active, growing bodies, this is fine. The milk provides protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iodine and some B vitamins.

Fresh fruit – of course

Chop the fruit up; it’s more likely to be eaten. Or blend it into a drink. lately I’ve been making a delicious after school drink of watermelon, banana and frozen berries blended with a little iced water and low fat yoghurt. The colour is fantastic and it hits plenty of good nutriton buttons: high fibre and low fat with protein and calcium from the yoghurt. Try it!!

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