Archive for June, 2012

Recipe of the Week – Dinner Party Chicken

June 28, 2012

Dinner Party Chicken – Serves 4

1 protein | 1 fat | ½ dairy protein


  • 4 (120g) chicken breasts
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 ½ tsp minced ginger
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Cooking spray
  • ¼ tsp saffron threads
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp ground almonds


  1. Rub chicken with garam masala and set aside.
  2. Heat large fry pan over moderate heat and add oil.  Fry onion until golden.  Add garlic, ginger and turmeric and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove onion mixture and set aside.
  3. Spray the pan with cooking spray, add chicken and brown lightly.
  4. Add saffron threads to the milk and warm slightly.
  5. Return onions to the pan and add saffron milk.  Cook on low-moderate heat until chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes but do not allow to boil.  The milk will curdle if it is boiled.
  6. Add ground almonds.  Add a little water if the chicken mixture is too dry.
  7. Serve with steamed vegetables.

Deb C – Bunbury

Natural Cold and Flu Remedies

June 26, 2012

It’s no wonder natural cold and flu remedies are popular — modern medicine has yet to offer a cure for these age-old ailments. While some medications can prevent and shorten the flu’s duration, most medications only offer temporary relief of symptoms. Many natural remedies provide temporary relief as well, and a few may actually help you get better. See which cold and flu remedies show the most promise.


Echinacea is an herbal supplement that is believed to boost the immune system to help fight infections. But it’s unclear whether this boost helps fight off colds. Most evidence shows echinacea doesn’t help prevent a cold, but some research shows it decreases symptoms by a day or two. Others show it has no effect. To try it, take echinacea when symptoms start and continue for 7 to 10 days. If you have a medical condition or take medication, check with your doctor before taking any supplement.

Some studies show that zinc appears to have effects against viruses, like the cold. There is some evidence the mineral may prevent the formation of certain proteins that cold viruses use to reproduce themselves. While zinc does not appear to help prevent colds, some research suggests it may help shorten cold symptom duration and reduce the severity of the common cold when taken within 24 hours of the first symptoms. The FDA recommends against using zinc nasal products for colds because of reports of permanent loss of smell.
Vitamin C

The cold-fighting prowess of vitamin C remains uncertain. Some studies suggest it can help reduce the duration of cold symptoms by about a day. In one study, participants who were exposed to extreme physical stress and cold weather and who took vitamin C were 50% less likely to get a cold. To help stem a cold, 2,000 milligrams seems to work best, but this high dose may cause diarrhea and stomach upset.
Chicken Soup

Grandma was onto something. Chicken soup may help cold symptoms in more than one way. Inhaling the steam can ease nasal congestion. Sipping spoonfuls of fluid can help avoid dehydration. And some advocates say the soup may soothe inflammation. Researchers have found chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties in the lab, though it’s unclear whether this effect translates to real-world colds.
Hot Tea

Drinking hot tea offers some of the same benefits as chicken soup. Inhaling the steam relieves congestion, while swallowing the fluid soothes the throat and keeps you hydrated. Black and green teas have the added bonus of being loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants, which may fight colds.
Hot Toddy

The hot toddy is an age-old nighttime cold remedy. Since you won’t want to drink black tea before bed, make a cup of hot herbal tea. Add a teaspoon of honey, a small shot of whiskey or bourbon, and a squeeze of lemon. This mixture may ease congestion, soothe the throat and help you sleep. Limit yourself to one hot toddy. Too much alcohol can disrupt sleep.

Garlic has long been touted for legendary germ-fighting abilities. One study showed garlic supplements may help prevent colds when taken daily. However, more research is needed to determine garlic’s real effects. But garlic is very nutritious. In addition, it can help spice up your meals when a stuffy nose makes everything taste bland.

For a heavy dose of steam, use a room humidifier — or simply sit in the bathroom with the door shut and a hot shower running. Breathing in steam can break up congestion in the nasal passages, offering relief from a stuffy or runny nose.
Saline Drops

Dripping or spraying saltwater into the nose can thin out nasal secretions and help remove excess mucus, while reducing congestion.Try over-the-counter saline drops, or make your own by mixing 8 ounces of warm water with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Use a bulb syringe to squirt the mixture into one nostril while holding the other one closed. Repeat 2-3 times and then do the other side.
Neti Pot

You can use the same DIY saline solution in a neti pot. This small ceramic pot is used to flush out the nasal passages with a saltwater solution — a process known as nasal irrigation. The result is thinner mucus that drains more easily. Research suggests neti pots are useful in relieving sinus symptoms, such as congestion, pressure, and facial pain, particularly in patients with chronic sinus troubles.
Menthol Ointment

Days of wiping and blowing your nose can leave the skin around your nostrils sore and irritated. A simple remedy is to dab a menthol-infused ointment under, but not in, the nose or on the chest or throat. Menthol has mild numbing agents that can relieve the pain of raw skin. As an added benefit, breathing in the medicated vapors that contain menthol or camphor may help relieve cough or open clogged passages and ease symptoms of congestion. Use only in children over 2 years of age.
Saltwater Gargle

For a sore throat, the traditional saltwater gargle may have some merit. Gargling warm water with a teaspoon of salt four times daily may help keep a scratchy throat moist.
Nasal Strips

Another strategy for relieving nighttime congestion is to try over-the-counter nasal strips. These are strips of tape worn on the bridge of the nose to open the nasal passages. While they can’t unclog the nose, they do create more space for airflow.
Let Your Fever Work

A fever is the original natural remedy. The rise in temperature actively fights colds and flu by making your body inhospitable for germs. However, if your fever is making you uncomfortable, it’s fine to take something to reduce it. And be sure to stay well hydrated. Call your doctor right away if the fever is over 104, unless it comes down quickly with treatment. In infants 3 months or younger call your doctor for any fever greater than 100.4. Children with a fever of less than 102 usually don’t require treatment unless they’re uncomfortable.
Bed Rest

With our busy lives, most of us loathe to spend a day or two under the covers. But getting plenty of rest lets your body direct more energy to fighting off germs. Staying warm is also important, so tuck yourself in and give your immune cells a leg up in their noble battle.

Baby, we were born to run

June 24, 2012
The great thing I’ve discovered about running is that it really isn’t about comparing yourself against other people.

I would dream about being able to run like most people dream about being able to fly, for it was only when I was asleep that I could finally do something my body seemed unable to accomplish in real life: I’d put one foot in front of the other and propel myself down roads and tracks and over mountains and through the trees, all the while effortlessly filling and emptying my lungs with oxygen.

In real life, however, running the way I ran in my dreams simply wasn’t an option. As a child, I was a reasonable sprinter and was usually able to score myself a coloured ribbon of some kind in the 100 metre or 200 metre races at school athletics carnivals, but anything further than those distances had me gasping for breath, clutching at my chest and begging to borrow an asthma inhaler off a nearby student (I clearly believed puffers had magical powers that could even help those who had not been diagnosed as an actual asthmatic by a licensed medical professional). The idea of participating in the “cross country” event – a misleadingly named 3km run that saw competitors soaking up the sights and sounds of a couple of suburban streets before doing a lap of the school oval – was absolutely laughable to me.

By the time my school years were over and mandatory physical exertion was no longer a part of my life, I had already heartily embraced smoking, and once my tobacco habit made friends with my predilection for alcoholic beverages, it only took a couple of years for whatever vague level of fitness I may have had when I was younger to completely disappear.

“I can’t run,” I would tell people, probably with a cigarette dangling from my mouth and a beer in my hand, “I’m not actually physically able to, my lungs pack it in after about a minute.” As though I was built differently to every other human being on the planet, a flawed version of the factory model that had somehow, accidentally, been released onto the market with all the rest of the functioning people. I knew I was making the situation worse, what with all the recreational boozing and fagging, but still felt absolutely certain deep down that even if I did cease indulging in all my bad habits, running continuously for longer than sixty seconds was simply not an option for my body. I quite liked dreaming about running, but I had absolutely no desire to punish myself physically by attempting (and failing) to do it in real life.

Cut to the day my friend Paddy lent me a book called Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. I reacted the same way most normal people would if kindly offered a loan of a book seemingly about exercise – I smiled and graciously thanked Paddy for his thoughtful offer, and when I got home I put the book on my desk and didn’t go near it for months. I’m a busy woman, so the idea of spending any spare moments I had reading a text about running seemed about as appealing to me as pressing play on the Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits album, or repeatedly slamming my fingers in a door, or having Kim Kardashian read the Herald Sun letters page aloud to me.

However, there eventually came a time when I was suitably bored enough to pick it up and I decided that at the very least, I could finish the first chapter before returning the book to my friend. That first chapter was interesting enough for me to bother with the second, and by the time I completed the third I knew what I held in my hands was a book that was probably going to change my life in some way.

Without going into too much detail, Born To Run tells the story of a reclusive Indian tribe from the Mexican Copper Canyons called the Tarahumara whose society revolves around running, the eccentric American runner known as Caballo Blanco who studied their ways, and the ultramarathon event he decided to create which saw some of the world’s greatest long distance runners travelling to the  land of the Tarahumara for the chance to compete against the indigenous people. It’s a story so unbelievable, I often found myself grabbing my laptop to “fact check” what I was reading because it all seemed so impossibly wonderful. And while sharing the absolutely thrilling tale of the greatest running race hardly anyone got to see, McDougall peppers the book with facts and anecdotes that promote the idea that the human species, as both the book title and the Springsteen song insist, were born to run. And not just in short bursts, either – McDougall offers up to readers the “endurance running hypothesis”, which is the theory that before we learned to make weapons and hunt down creatures for food using spears, humans would chase animals over long distances until our prey collapsed from exhaustion. Once we mastered using weapons for hunting, most of us forgot how to run – but our bodies are still built to do it.

“Well, I’m a human,” I thought to myself once I had finished the book, trying to process everything I had read, “or at least I was the last time I had a check up at the doctors. Is it possible that… that even I could learn to run for an extended period of time?”

I talked about it with friends of mine who I knew loved running, people I had previously written off as sick bastards but who now possibly had advice that could be useful to helping me to join their sweaty cult. One pal, JP, told me that when she started running she used to imagine herself as Cliff Young, the late great runner-slash-potato farmer who captured the heart of the nation in 1983 by winning the inaugural Sydney to Melbourne Ultra Marathon at the age of 61. “I would imagine myself in a pair of gumboots,” she said, “just shuffling along slowly but surely, like Cliffy did – the important thing is to keep moving, not how fast you’re going.”

I’m not going to lie to you – this seemed to me to be a piece of absolutely useless advice, and I made a mental note to avoid asking JP for running tips in the future. If this was the best guidance I was gonna get from my jogging chums, I had no choice but to try and make a fist of it on my own.

I got some myself some running shoes, made a killer playlist on my iPod (surely the most important of all pre-exercise rituals, no?) and headed to a nearby park that has a 1km loop track around it. I started running, and sure enough after a couple of hundred metres, I began to feel the familiar sensation of not being able to breathe properly kicking in… and then, I heard the voice of JP in my head.

Imagine yourself as Cliffy Young, Jess”, the JP in my head whispered, “you’re wearing gumboots now, so just slow down and shuffle along, take your time, just keep moving, that’s all that matters!”

With the image of Colac’s finest in my head, I slowed down but kept moving. My breathing got better. I did one lap of the park, and since my lungs had suddenly decided to play ball for the first time in my whole entire life, I kept going until I had finished another. Afterward, my chest felt like it was going to burst. Not just because I’d run – well, plodded along continuously for – 2km and I was exhausted, but also from excitement because I’D JUST RUN 2KM! AND SINCE I TRULY BELIEVED I HAD BEEN BORN WITHOUT THE ABILITY TO RUN,  WHAT JUST HAPPENED WAS ACTUALLY MIRACULOUS! SOMEONE ALERT THE VATICAN!

This happened a couple of months ago at the beginning of February. As I lay in bed later that night, I decided that if I could manage to do something so previously unfathomable as running 2km without stopping, I could probably do 3km. Which I did, later that week. I started looking at my body in a new light. No longer was it the disobedient failure I had loathed for so long; I’d underestimated it, for it was capable of things I could’ve never imagined. A few weeks later, I cracked 4km. A few more, and I’d conquered 5km. I set myself a goal of finishing the 8km Mothers Day Classic run in Geelong, and two weeks ago I’m happy to say that despite the miserable weather and a head cold I was battling, I completed the course. Sure, at one point a woman pushing a pram managed to overtake me with embarrassing ease, and yeah, okay, I was one of the last to cross the finish line. But you know what? The great thing I’ve discovered about running is that it really isn’t about comparing yourself against other people. The only person I’m trying to better whenever I put my trainers on is myself. And there’s something fantastically liberating about smashing through my own self-imposed limitations, too. All those old mantras – “I can’t run. This is just the way I am and I can’t change” – were just falsehoods that were holding me back. I know that sounds like the kind of nonsense you’d hear on a late night informercial for a cheeseball American motivational speaker, but I swear to god it’s true. If I can run, and keep breathing, and even occasionally smile while I’m doing it, then there’s a pretty good chance I can do almost anything I put my mind to.

On the off chance reading this has sparked a desire to give running a go, I’m going to leave you with two inspirational things to help motivate you.

First: the words of acclaimed Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, a man so enamored with the sport of running that he wrote a book about it (called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running).

Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life.

Second: a picture of Cliff Young hurtling through the fields of Colac wearing gumboots as running shoes and looking as graceful as a gazelle in the wild.

Article sourced from :

Chargrilled Vegetable Terrine

June 21, 2012


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 red capsicum
  • 350g ricotta
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 45g rocket
  • 3 marinated artichokes, drained and sliced
  • 85g semi-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 100g marinated mushrooms, drained and halved


  1. Heat the grill to high. Slice the eggplant and zucchini lengthways into ½ cm thickness. Slice the capsicum lengthways into large pieces. Place sliced vegetables under the grill and cook on both sides until lightly coloured. Remove and cool.
  2. Line a 24 x 13 x 6 cm loaf tin with plastic wrap, leaving a generous amount hanging over the sides.
  3. Place the ricotta and garlic in a bowl and beat until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  4. Line the base of the tin with half the eggplant, cutting and fitting to cover the base. Top with a layer of half the capsicum, then all of the zucchini slices.
  5. Spread evenly with the ricotta mixture and press down firmly. Place the rocket on top.
  6. Arrange the artichoke, tomato and mushrooms in three rows lengthways on top of the rocket. Top with the remaining capsicum and then eggplant.
  7. Fold the overhanging plastic wrap over the top of the terrine. Put a piece of cardboard on top of the terrine and weight it with small weights or food tins. Refrigerate overnight.
  8. To serve, peel back the plastic wrap and turn the terrine onto a plate. Remove the plastic wrap and cut the terrine into thick slices.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

June 17, 2012

How Sleep Changes Throughout Your Life

How Sleep Changes

Sleep, Can’t Get Enough?

By Stephanie English

You’re wide awake at 2 a.m. and trying to remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep. You remember sleeping well — and a lot — when you were young. Since then, you started working, had children, and perhaps moved into menopause. Having trouble sleeping is just part of getting older, right?

Well, yes and no. How much sleep you need, your ability to get enough sleep, and the quality of your sleep changes a lot throughout your life. But you shouldn’t compromise your sleep habits just because you’re getting older.

General Sleep Needs

“Sleep needs vary from individual to individual, and changes can occur at any stage in the lifespan,” says Michael Vitiello, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. The amount of sleep you need is the number of hours necessary to wake up without an alarm, refreshed and alert.

But many adults find themselves stealing only a few hours of sleep each night during busy work weeks. Is that OK?

“A big myth is that people can learn to adapt to only five or six hours of sleep and they’re functioning ‘fine,’” says Donna Arand, PhD, clinical director of the Kettering Sleep Disorder Center in Dayton, Ohio and a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “People aren’t functioning fine with five or six hours of sleep. You really don’t adapt to that. Most adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep.”

It’s not clear yet whether adults 65 years and older need seven to eight hours of sleep. One poll found that seniors felt like they needed more sleep than that. There’s no evidence that older people can function well on less, but some recent studies indicate that they might.

“There is probably a small reduction in total sleep time that occurs across the lifespan,” Vitiello says. “Most of that probably occurs after puberty and by retirement age, say in the 60s. If you make it into your 60s or 70s and you stay healthy, your sleep probably doesn’t change as much.”

Are you getting the sleep you need? You might require more sleep if you:

  • Need a stimulant like coffee to wake up or get going
  • Feel down, irritable, or tense after not getting enough sleep
  • Have poor short-term memory
  • Have a hard time staying focused and productive after you’ve been sitting for awhile

What Affects Your Need for Sleep

In addition to age, your sleep needs change due to:

  • Gender
  • Genetics
  • Internal clock (circadian rhythm)
  • Quality of sleep
  • Recent lack of sleep

Gender. Women undergo more sleep changes and challenges than men because of their reproductive hormones. Women who are pregnant need more sleep in the first trimester. Pregnant women also struggle to get enough sleep because of heartburn, snoring, and uncomfortable sleep positions. Arand says that once women become mothers, they tend to have problems sleeping because their children wake them up or cause them to worry.

Later in life, as women enter menopause, they face new sleep challenges. These come from drops in hormone levels, hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia. “Women tend to report difficulty with insomnia more than men,” Arand says. “We don’t know if it’s a social issue or if women are more willing to report it than men.”

Genetics. Genes may play a role in some sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy and insomnia. There hasn’t been enough research to know how your family tree affects your sleep. Arand thinks that the treatments for sleep problems will work despite any genetic flaws.

Biological clock. Each of us has an internal clock, which makes some people “night owls” or “early birds.” A process in the brain called circadian rhythm controls this. This process influences when we wake up and go to sleep. It also determines how sleepy and alert we are. (It’s because of teenagers’ circadian rhythms that they’re geared to stay up later and to wake up later.)

Our internal clock makes us drowsy naturally between midnight and 7 a.m. and between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. [As people age, changes in circadian rhythm eventually make older people feel sleepy earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning.

Quality of sleep. The type of sleep people get changes most between ages 19 and 60. Children and teens experience a lot of deep sleep, which is believed to restore the body. This also fuels their growth. Arand says that children spend about 50% of their night in deep sleep. By the time they’re 20 years old they get half that amount. She said some people as young as 40 may lose the ability to go into that restorative sleep. Older people spend little time in that sleep stage. As a result, they are more easily awakened.

The most obvious change in sleep to older people is how light their sleep becomes. They also notice how broken up sleep is because of waking during the night and staying awake awhile before going back to sleep. Half of seniors complain of these changes as well as waking early in the morning and feeling sleepy during the day. “The problem for this age group is that it’s very difficult to get an uninterrupted seven to eight hours of sleep,” Arand says.

Recent lack of sleep. If you haven’t been sleeping well or have had insomnia, the lack of sleep affects how much sleep you need. If you’re over 65, the chance for poor sleep and insomnia is high. “The older people get, the more common insomnia becomes,” Arand says. A National Sleep Foundation poll found that 44% of older people had at least one symptom of insomnia two or more nights a week.

Sleep Challenges for Older Adults

Seniors have certain sleep changes due to aging, but sleep problems aren’t part of getting older. Vitiello says the key for better sleep when you’re older is staying healthy. Most seniors’ sleep problems are because of an illness or a medication. Seniors have poor sleep due to:

  • Illness, such as arthritis or another condition that causes pain, heart or lung disease, enlarged prostate, acid reflux, or depression. In people aged 65 to 84, 20% have four or more medical conditions. Eighty percent of them say they have problems sleeping.
  • Medications, especially those for high blood pressure and asthma.
  • Sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or restless legs syndrome.
  • Behavioral or social changes: retirement, lifestyle change, death of a loved one, napping, using social drugs.
  • Sleep environment: Noise, heat, bright lighting, or bothersome bedding in the bedroom; moving to a new home or a nursing home.

An older person in excellent health will still probably have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep than when they were younger. Otherwise, they can expect to sleep fairly well. Vitiello studies older adults in good physical and mental health. “None of them sleep the same as they did when they were 18. I know that their sleep is radically different than younger people’s,” he says. Yet most of the healthy aging group has no sleep complaints.

Meeting Your Sleep Need

For older people with health problems, napping during the day may be the only way to get enough sleep because their sleep at night may be disrupted. For healthy older adults, napping isn’t a great idea. It might make falling asleep or staying asleep at night more difficult.

Vitiello says people assume all older people nap because of their age. “While napping does increase with age, it never penetrates more than one third of the population – even out into the 80s,” he says.

If you have a medical condition and have trouble sleeping, tell your doctor. Your doctor can determine whether you have a sleep disorder, such as insomnia, or if your health condition or other medical treatment is affecting your sleep. For example, if one of your medications makes you sleepy during the day, talk to your doctor about changing the time you take it. Or ask if there’s a different medication that would work. (Never change your medication without talking to your doctor.)

Know the Basics

At any age, good sleep habits are important for quality sleep. These include sticking to a regular bedtime, having little or no caffeine, and sleeping in a cool, dark, comfortable room.

“Probably around age 60 or so, adults really need to be careful about having good sleep hygiene and watching side effects of medication, what they’re eating and drinking in terms of stimulating beverages or foods,” Arand says.

Arand and Vitiello agree that staying physically and mentally active is vital for a good night’s sleep. “After the age of 40, or especially after the age of 60, individuals who are very physically active can tend to sleep deeper and have better quality sleep at night than individuals who may not be very active,” Arand says.

Kick Insomnia Out of Bed

If you’ve had difficulty sleeping for more than a month, the problem has become chronic.  Be sure to tell your doctor, who may refer you to a sleep clinic. If you have insomnia, you need to act. It usually doesn’t go away on its own.

You may not have realized all the changes that can affect your sleep. Now that you know what to expect, you can work on getting the best sleep possible.

Information Sourced from:

What is Chia?

June 14, 2012

Chia Plant

  • Chia is Nature’s Complete Superfood.
  • Chia is the highest plant based source of Omega 3, dietary fibre and protein.
  • Chia is a great tasting seed that is easy to include in the daily diet for improved health.
  • Chia seeds were first used as food as early as 3500 BC and were one of the main dietary components of the Aztecs and the Mayans.

Black and White Chia

What's the difference between black and white seed?

This is the most common question we are asked about Chia.

The answer is simple. The ‘black’ variety of Chia naturally contains a combination of black, grey and white seeds. The ‘white’ Chia variety was formed by specially selecting white seeds from the black variety. We grow dedicated paddocks of black and white seed. Aside from the obvious colour difference, the seed itself is virtually the same in all of its properties – size, taste and smell, with the exception of a few minor seasonal nutritional differences.


When it comes to incorporating Chia into your daily diet, the sky's the limit!

Chia is a fantastic way to enhance your daily diet with a bonus nutritious boost. Chia has a pleasant mild nutty taste and can be added to any food or beverage without altering the original flavour.

It is recommend a daily serve of 15 grams which is the equivalent of 1 level tablespoon.

Chia can be sprinkled over salads, cereals and muesli or incorporated into breads, muffins, slices, cookies or porridge.

Why not try Chia as a gel? When mixed with water (ratio – 1 tablespoon of Chia to 1 cup of water), Chia seed forms a unique nourishing gel that can be added to smoothies, juices, breakfast shakes, herbal teas, yogurts, soups, salad dressing or sauces.

Chia in History

Chia seeds were first used as food as early as 3500 BC and were one of the main dietary components of the Aztecs and the Mayans. Chia seeds were eaten as a grain, drunk as a beverage when mixed with water, ground into flour, included in medicines, pressed for oil and used as a base for face and body paints.

The Spanish conquests of America destroyed much of the intensive agricultural production systems that were in place however small pockets of producing regions remained in Central and South America.

Mix Chia: Spiced Sweet Potato and Lentil Dip

Preparation Time

10 mins

Cooking Time

20 mins


Makes 4 cups of dip

Lentils contain protein and have a low glycemic index making them ideal for vegetarians and people with diabetes.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Heaping 3/4 c red lentils, washed
  • 2 c sweet potato (1/2 a large sweet potato), peeled and diced
  • 3 c vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon Chia Bran
  • 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoons White Chia Seeds (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Saute onion for 2 minutes. Add spices and continue to saute for another minute.
  2. Add lentils, sweet potato and vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until sweet potato is tender, but not falling apart. Stir frequently.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in chia seeds and allow to cool. Blend with a stick mixer until almost smooth.
  4. Stir in yoghurt and cilantro. Garnish with a sprinkle of White Chia Seeds. Serve with crispy pita bread wedges.

 Bake with Chia: Chia and Roast Vegetable and Hummus Flan (gluten free)

Preparation Time

15 min prep, 10 mins in fridge

Cooking Time

1 hr total


4 – 6

Vegetables can help to reduce the risk of cancer of digestive track.


Chia Pastry

  • 2 cups besan (chickpea) flour
  • 3 tbs chia seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3-cup chia oil
  • 80 ml cold water


  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups pumpkin, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
  • 1 red capsicum, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 3 large zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 250g flat mushrooms cut in quarters
  • 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbs miso paste
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup tahina
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • Black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Place the flour, sea salt, chia seeds and chia oil in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles yellow breadcrumbs. Slowly add the cold water, a little bit at a time until it clumps together into a firm ball of dough. Remove the dough from the food processor and roll it out into a flat sheet.*
  3. Line a flan dish with the pastry and prick the pastry with a fork and leave it aside in the fridge for 30 minutes. Toss the veggies in olive oil and divide the mixture into two baking pans to bake for 30 minutes. While the veggies are cooking place the chickpeas in the food processor. Add the water to the miso paste a little bit at a time stirring until it is free of lumps and then pour the miso into the processor with the tahini, lemon juice and black pepper and process until smooth.
  4. After the veggies have been cooking for 30 minutes remove them from the oven. Line the pastry with baking paper and dried beans and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and cook for a further 10 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 160C.
  5. Fill the pastry case with the chickpea cream and top with the roast veggies and place it back in the oven for a further 15 to 20 minutes.

Information Sourced through:
You can also purchase Chia here:

Why You Should Drink Warm Water & Lemon

June 12, 2012
By Ashley Pitman
The way you start each day is incredibly important. Whether you’re a mom, a coach, a writer, a small business owner or a yoga teacher, what you do first thing in the morning matters.
According to Ayurvedic philosophy, choices that you make regarding your daily routine either build up resistance to disease or tear it down.
Ayurveda invites us to get a jump-start on the day by focusing on morning rituals that work to align the body with nature’s rhythms, balance the doshas and foster self-esteem alongside self-discipline.
Your mind may say you have to check emails, take the dog out, get the kids out the door, that you can’t be late for work or that you just don’t have enough time to cultivate your own morning rituals.
But, if you can only make time for one ritual that will improve your health, let it be this…..
Start the day out with a mug of warm water and the juice of half a lemon.
It’s so simple and the benefits are just too good to ignore. Warm water with lemon:
1. Boosts you’re immune system 
Lemons are high in Vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C is great for fighting colds and potassium stimulates brain & nerve function and helps control blood pressure.
2. Balances pH
Lemons are an incredibly alkaline food, believe it or not. Yes, they are acidic on their own, but inside our bodies they’re alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized). As you wellness warriors know, an alkaline body is really the key to good health.
3. Helps with weight loss
Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. It also has been shown that people who maintain a more alkaline diet lose weight faster. And, my experience is that when I start the day off right, it’s easier to make the best choices for myself the rest of the day.
4. Aids digestion
The warm water serves to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and peristalsis—the waves of muscle contractions within the intestinal walls that keep things moving. Lemons and limes are also high in minerals and vitamins and help loosen ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract.
5. Acts as a gentle, natural diuretic
Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Toxins are, therefore, released at a faster rate which helps keep your urinary tract healthy.
6. Clears skin
The vitamin C helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes. Lemon water purges toxins from the blood which helps keep skin clear as well.
7. Hydrates the lymph system
This cup of goodness helps start the day on a hydrated note, which helps prevent dehydration (obviously) and adrenal fatigue. When your body is dehydrated, or deeply dehydrated (adrenal fatigue) it can’t perform all of it’s proper functions, which leads to toxic buildup, stress, constipation, and the list goes on. Your adrenals happen to be two small glands that sit on top of your kidneys, and along with your thyroid, create energy. They also secrete important hormones, including aldosterone. Aldosterone is a hormone secreted by your adrenals that regulates water levels and the concentration of minerals, like sodium, in your body, helping you stay hydrated. Your adrenals are also responsible for regulating your stress response. So, the bottom line is that you really don’t want to mess with a deep state of dehydration!
Adopting just this one practice of drinking a cup of warm water with lemon in the morning for a month can radically alter your experience of the day. Don’t be surprised if you begin to view mornings in a new light.
Like I said, the recipe is really simple – a cup of warm (not hot) water and the juice from half a lemon.

About Ashley Pitman
As a Wellness Educator, Cleanse Specialist crusader for whole-body nourishment, Ashley Pitman supports thousands of people in achieving a hot body and radiant beauty with a blend of raw food education, Ayurvedic inspiration, guided detoxes courses, and lots of loving encouragement.

There’s a lot more to losing weight than just calories in & calories out

June 10, 2012
You have to keep pushing yourself to get the benefit of the exercise as you get fitter.  That’s the message  in The Sydney Morning’s article called The Diet Dilemma.  You might think weight loss is simply about  kilojoules in/kilojoules out but there is a lot more to weight loss and health professionals it appears have been getting it wrong for years.
Keep pushing yourself ... you won't weigh less if you eat less.
Keep pushing yourself … you won’t weigh less if you eat less.

Eat less, weigh less. Simple? Not quite, writes Nick Galvin.

Losing weight is simple in principle. The rule of thumb has been that if you cut out 2100 kilojoules a day – the equivalent of two large lattes or a blueberry muffin – you will lose about half a kilo a week until you reach that magic number on the scales.

Simple – but, as it turns out, probably way too simple.

It now appears that dietitians, doctors and others may have been getting it wrong all these years. There’s a lot more to losing weight than just kilojoules in/kilojoules out.

Losing weight ... juist reducing your food intake is not enough.Losing weight … just reducing your food intake is not enough.

When you start to lose weight, your body slows down your metabolism. In other words, you use less energy for the same activities.

This reaction has its roots in our primitive past, says Professor Michael Cowley, director of the Monash Obesity & Diabetes Institute. “If you go on a diet, your body says, ‘Aha, here is a famine’, and it decreases energy expenditure, so you need less energy just to stay at that weight,” he says. “This is probably because we evolved in conditions where famine was frequent, and if you had an appropriate physiological response to famine, you were more likely to survive and your genes got propagated.”

The result is that if you stay on the same reduced-kilojoule diet, over time the gap between kilojoules in and kilojoules out narrows. In a paper published last year in The Lancet, researchers from the US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) found that for a given weight-loss goal, half the loss would occur in the first year, but the remaining kilos would take another two years to lose.

Battling the bulge ... there's a lot more to losing weight than just kilojoules in/kilojoules out.Battling the bulge … there’s a lot more to losing weight than just kilojoules in/kilojoules out.

“The duration of diet you need to achieve meaningful weight loss is much longer than we used to think because there is a law of diminishing returns,” says Cowley. “If you are only decreasing food intake, it will take a lot longer for that weight loss to occur because your body fights against it.”

All this goes a long way towards explaining why so many dieters shed the first few kilos easily, then get discouraged because it gets harder to lose the rest of the weight (and then hit the nearest bag of chips out of frustration).

The NIDDK researchers also produced an online calculator that shows how many kilojoules you need to consume to lose a given amount of weight and how much you need to reduce your intake for good to maintain that goal weight.

The good news, however, is that it is possible to trick the body and override that primitive instinct to slow your metabolism in times of “famine”. You guessed it: exercise.

The National Weight Control Registry is an American research project that tracks people who have lost a significant amount of weight (at least 30 pounds, or 13.6 kilograms) and, critically, kept it off for at least a year.

Researchers are interested in what these successful slimmers have done to keep the weight off. One common tactic is sticking to a regimented diet, but another, says Cowley, is that they “exercise like crazy” for more than an hour a day. “We think this is how they are dealing with the fact that although their body wants to decrease energy expenditure, they are forcing it to [burn energy] by running on the spot or whatever.”

Exercise physiologist John Felton, from The Exercise Clinic in Sydney’s Crows Nest, says that, as well as prescribing an exercise plan, one of the things he focuses on are the “activities of daily living”.

It is all too easy for people simply to stop moving enough. “If you are in a sedentary job or you have got yourself into a sedentary ‘hole’ – you come home in the afternoon and sit down and watch television – that sedentary life becomes self-fulfilling,” says Felton. In essence, the less you move, the more difficult moving becomes.

Felton has clients wear an accelerometer for a week. The device monitors movement, from waking to going to bed, detecting spikes of energy and periods of inactivity. Incidental exercise can be as simple as doing the ironing or walking to a printer on the other side of the office.

“It doesn’t have to be a lot of exercise as long as it keeps people moving during the day to cut down those big periods of sitting,” he says. “It’s very easy to double the amount of energy expenditure with those daily activities if you start off at a low level.”

Another element, however, also contributes to the “plateau” effect in weight loss. Even as we get fitter, we often keep exercising at the same intensity rather than upping the effort and employing a training principle known as “progressive overload”.

“A lot of time that is not adhered to,” says Felton. “People will do their 40-minute or hour walk, and instead of looking for hills or aiming to maintain a heart rate, they do the same thing. If they maintain the same pace as they get fitter, their efficiency will improve and their heart rate will drop, so they will burn less energy as they do it.”

In other words, you have to keep pushing yourself to get the benefit of the exercise as you get fitter.

And stay away from the muffins.

Read more:

Healthy Trail Mix

June 7, 2012
Healthy Trail Mix

Healthy Trail Mix

Prep Time:
5 minutes
Cooking Time:
20 minutes
10 servings

2 cups almonds, raw
1 cup pecans
2 cups walnuts, raw
2 cups pumpkin or squash seed, raw
2 cups dried cranberries
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

  1. In a bowl mix together almonds, pecans, walnuts and seeds. Cover with water and soak overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  3. Rinse and discard soaking water.
  4. Add cranberries and add olive oil. Mix until everything is coated well.
  5. Spread the mixture out evenly on baking sheet and place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until you can smell the roasting nuts and they start to turn a lot.
  6. Cool and store in air tight glass container.
  • Try any nuts and dried fruit you like.
  • The nuts and seed do not have to be soaked or can be soaked for a few hours, but doing so helps their digestibility.

Love your body, love yourself

June 3, 2012

I don’t feel bad about my body

by Jean Hannah Edelstein

"Not feeling bad about my body is something I’ve never articulated because feels like such a defiance of convention."
“Not feeling bad about my body is something I’ve never articulated because feels like such a defiance of convention.”

I don’t feel bad about my body, though heaven knows, I’ve tried.

I’ve found myself splitting a bottle of wine with friends who get on to the topic of how they’re trying to change or improve their figures; I’ve remained silent. I’ve pored over fashion spreads that purport to offer the right swimwear (or dress, or jeans) for my figure, provided I can categorise my figure by what is wrong with it, the way in which it is too much or too little; I’ve failed. I’ve pondered whether ill-fated romances fell apart because of something repellent about my physique; I’ve concluded that while there are many reasons someone might not want to date me, they’re all more compelling than my being too tall or too short or too hippy or too anything.

Not feeling bad about my body is something I’ve never articulated because feels like such a defiance of convention. An utter subversion, when in the cultural narratives most familiar to me are so often focused on the problems that women have with their bodies – and that the rest of the world has with women’s bodies. From the hundreds of daily articles in the tabloid press breaking them down into a collection of inadequate parts; to the products endlessly marketed to help us conceal and improve and reshape them; to the perfectly well-meaning people we all know, who greet a woman they haven’t seen in a while with, ‘Oh, you’ve lost weight!’ because they assume it must always feel like a compliment.

I don’t feel bad about my body not because it’s a particularly outstanding one. In fact, it’s fairly average, a sturdy UK size 12 topped with a kind of enormous head that I suppose should give me a complex. I don’t feel bad about my body because I made a conscious decision not to. In the late years of my teens, with friends and classmates in the evil clutches of eating disorders, I decided that this was one area of self-abuse in which I would no longer be a participant. I stopped weighing myself, because I knew that whatever the number on the scale, I would want it to be smaller. I stopped reading magazines that attempt to explain to me how to fix my body through fashion or exercise or diet. I did start doing more exercise, though – not to lose weight, but with the aim of feeling healthier and more at ease in the body that I had so that I would not be seduced by the prospect of longing for a different one.

And for the most part, it worked: I am these legs and arms and back and bum and spleen, and I remain determined not to feel bad about any bit of it, even in spite of the plenty of things about my body that people have now and then pointed out to me as things that are wrong, because that’s just something that people feel they can do to women. The university boyfriend who told me that at first he didn’t think I had a pretty face, but that over time it had ‘grown’ on him. The lingerie saleswoman who screamed: ‘this is so weird!’ at the sight of my breasts, exposed for a bra fitting, because one is ever so slightly larger than the other.  The gym instructor I shocked at my induction session when I declined her offer to weigh and measure me, because I wanted to use the gym to maintain my fitness level but not to attempt to fix things about my body that I hated (and also because I am not competing to be a prize farm animal).

Regarding our bodies as flawed things that need to be fixed is pretty much the reverse of the truth, isn’t it? They are the only things in life that we really can’t get rid of. Which makes them all, in their way, intrinsically flawless. Instead of despairing that we’re not good enough to fit into clothes or work as supermodels and blaming ourselves for these shortcomings, we should be blaming the dresses for being badly cut and the aspirations for being unrealistic. We can wear a different T-shirt. We can celebrate different kinds of beauty. But we can’t get a new body, not really, no matter what the plastic surgery ads tell us.

And that’s why I think it is time to admit that I don’t feel bad about my body. And I hope that more women will admit it, too – to encourage an interrogation of why we’re made to feel that we should consider ourselves flawed, rather than continuing to analyse how we can mitigate the so-called flaws. To stop assuming that as women, it is natural to consider our bodies to be flawed; that we need to be fixed. That anything can make our bodies perfect except loving them ourselves. Unless someone can recommend a bikini that will make my giant head look smaller. In which case, of course, I’ll take six.

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