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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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Should I drink bottled water?

Posted on : 01-04-2012 | By : Cindy | In : Drinks, Water


Why would you pay for water when you can drink it straight from the tap? Why indeed?

Recently I joined a throng of thirsty wine drinkers at the annual ‘NZ in a Glass’ wine tasting evening in Sydney.  Squeezing through the crowd was worth it to find fantastic wines like Te Pa Sauvignon Blanc and Grasshopper Rock Pinot Noir. But at around 500 kilojoules per 150ml glass (that’s roughly the same as eating five squares of milk chocolate) it was a relief to stumble, not literally, upon Antipodes Water. It was the elegant shape of the bottle that caught my eye and discovering that it was sourced not far from where I grew up that made me stop and taste.

“Can you taste the smoothness? It’s the silica that gives it that smooth mouth feel,”  Simon enthusiastically explained to us. I had never thought of water as smooth but, yes, I had to agree that it did taste smooth on my tongue. Very nice. He reeled off the names of some top restaurateurs who refused to serve any water except Antipodes. And then he answered my unspoken question: why pay for something you can get from the tap?

“I can’t drink alcohol and whenever I would ask the waiter if they had something non-alcoholic they would

Healthy aging {part 2} – think like a pot plant!

Posted on : 21-07-2009 | By : Cindy | In : Older-age, Super-healthy...er...stuff


… continued from part 1

beach oldiesThink like a pot plant! That’s the message a dietitian colleague of mine tells older people – water yourself well and get out into the sunlight.

Getting some sun

Just half an hour of activity outside each day is enough not only to keep reasonably fit and toned but also to allow our skin to make its own vitamin D. Older people have about one-quarter the ability to produce vitamin D compared to younger people so it is important to get some sun exposure each day. It’s the sun that causes the skin to make vitamin D. Vitamin D helps carry calcium into the bones to keep them strong. It’s also important for your immune system. Sitting in a sunroom behind glass won’t do it. If at all possible, get up and take a walk around the garden for 30 minutes. Older people who can’t get outside each day may need a low dose (10ug a day) vitamin D supplement. But too much can be toxic so check with your doctor before taking a supplement.

Well watered

As we age we lose our sensitivity to thirst. On top of not feeling thirsty some older people deliberately drink less to avoid embarrassing moments of incontinence. This drying out of the body can lead to headaches, constipation and more concentrated (even toxic) medication levels. It’s important to drink fluids even when you don’t feel thirsty, especially in hot weather. With some medication, the doctor may tell you to restrict fluids but for everyone else it’s good to drink enough to keep your urine clear – about eight glasses of water a day. If that much water sounds too daunting fill a two litre jug with water, add sliced lemon and ice, and drink slowly over the day. Or have a few cups of herbal or green tea. Green tea has more antioxidants and less caffeine than black tea.

Fruit juice also counts as fluid and is good for people who need to gain weight or have no appetite. A glass of unsweetened juice has about three teaspoons of sugar (mostly from the fruit) along with vitamins and antioxidants, depending on the variety. Too much coffee and alcohol causes dehydration. However a study of almost 6000 people aged over 65 found that those who had 7-10 alcoholic drinks a week (not all in one session!) had a third less risk of heart failure compared with abstainers. Maybe it’s due to the relaxing effect of a glass of wine with a meal each night!

Part 3 tommorrow…

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).

My scoops – 4.7.09

Posted on : 04-07-2009 | By : Cindy | In : Food safety, Mediawatch, Policy watch & public health, Research, Scoops


Digging for food&nutrition scoops on the dub-dub-dub … found these; someone might find them interesting :-)dgr

The war on bottled water – Top 10 Food Trends: No. 4 – TIME

… In 1992’s The Player, Tim Robbins’ character, the consummate Hollywood insider, showed his sophistication at restaurants through his ability to differentiate among various kinds of bottled water. But today, that same Hollywood macher would never ask for anything but tap …

An excerpt from Time magazine’s Top 10 food trends from 2008. No 4 about bottled water … hmmm … the way things change :-)

Meat, Eggs, or Dairy Intake Not Consistently Linked to Risk for Breast Cancer

… Intakes of meat, eggs, or dairy products are not consistently linked to risks for breast cancer, according to the results of a prospective study reported ahead of print in the June 2 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition …

Deborah Coddington : Spoonful of meddling helps medicine go down – Politics – NZ Herald News

… It’s hard to argue with grieving parents. They make successful lobbyists. Crippled Children’s Society deserves applause for convincing the former Minister of Food Safety to change our bread standards by adding folic acid. Why? Because a few hundred women in the first months of pregnancy …

See my related comments (and links to others) on NZ proposal to fortify bread with folic acid …