Going nuts for nuts…

A new study published in the Journal of Proteomics research shows that the consumption of nuts might affect neurotransmitter levels.

Researchers found that in people with metabolic syndrome, eating just 30g of mixed raw nuts per day increased the levels of serotonin in their urine. Serotonin is a chemical in the body that plays a role in decreasing hunger signals, in heart health, and in making us happy.

There were a number of other health benefits experienced by the subjects in the study, which the researchers suggest was due to the increased levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet.

The subjects were consuming raw almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts – in case you want to add these into your

own diet, 30g works out to roughly:

  • 20 – 24 Almonds.
  • 8 – 11 Walnuts.
  • 18  – 20 Hazelnuts.
    Presumable other nuts would have similar effects, so you could also try:
  • 6 – 8 Brazil nuts.
  • 18 – 20 Pecan halves.
  • 16 – 18 Cashews.
  • 45 – 47 Pistachios.

What’s your favourite way to add nuts into your diet? I’d love to hear some new recipe ideas…

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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Uncategorized


Chocolate walnut delight. A sugar-free smoothie recipe.

My flatmate had a completely wonderful baby shower yesterday… and it was full of amazing cakes! Unfortunately, for a lady who is doing a paleo, sugar-free challenge, many of them were off limits. 😦 So, craving a healthy sweet treat, I whipped up this lovely smoothie.

It’s antioxidant rich, full of healthy fats and best of all, totally sugar-free:


1/4 cup Coconut Water (try a few – some taste more like coconut than others)1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup Ice
5 tablespoons Avocado
1/2 medium Frozen Banana
2 tablespoons Walnuts
2 teaspoons Cacao Powder (this is raw cocoa – much higher in antioxidants, and free of chemicals that may be used to treat cocoa)1 heaped tablespoon of Pea Protein Powder
Cacao nibs (for garnish)


Blend. Sprinkle with cacao nibs.




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Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Uncategorized


Stress less to live longer.

A new study has brought to light yet more information about how stress affects your life (or death as it were). According to research done at Oregon State University, the relationship between stress and mortality risk is not as linear as previously thought.

It’s a well known fact that high stress levels increase mortality risk and decrease quality of life. However, we used to believe that the risk was in proportion to the amount of stress experienced. This research indicates that those who have moderate or high levels of stress have a much higher risk of dying than those with low stress levels. Experiencing anything more than two stressful events per year was shown to be a harmful level, at least for the men in the study.

So how can we stress less?

  • Learn to meditate, and do it regularly.
  • Exercise, or get moving, in whatever way you enjoy.
  • Drink green, chamomile or passionflower tea, which have calming effects.
  • Put things in perspective – when something stresses you out, ask how much you’ll care about it 20 years. Chances are you may not even remember the event.
  • If stress is really getting to you, book in to see your Naturopath – they can probably suggest some herbs and nutrients to help manage it.

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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in Uncategorized


Is this the new food pyramid?

When I was growing up, I learned all about how I should eat via the food pyramid. Heavy in grains this traditional pyramid is still what is endorsed by Nutrition Australia today…

In the last few years, I’ve learned a bit about the construction of the pyramid that’s made me think twice. It seems the process of building the food pyramid was fraught with lobbying, criticism and controversy.

It’s been quite an evolution. In the 1930s, the US government published recommendations involving 12 basic food groups, which shrunk to 7 in the 1940s and four in the 1950s: protein (usually referred to as meat), dairy, fruits and vegetables, and grain products.

With the growing problems of obesity and cardiovascular disease becoming an issue in the 1970s a fifth area was added – sugar, fat and alcohol, which we were told to consume in moderation. Saturated fat also became an evil, and for a while there the place of dairy and meat in the pyramid was a bit perilous. Following intense lobbying from those industries, the recommendations shifted again, in favour of eating more animal foods. Even now, as we learn more and more about carbohydrates, and how they are affecting our waistlines and risk of chronic diseases, grains remain the base of the conventional pyramid.This is probably due to the huge role they play in the agricultural economies of the world.

I’m a reader of a blog called Mark’s Daily Apple, and he recently published his version of the food pyramid… he’s a proponent of the Primal diet, which closely mimics the diet of our paleolithic (caveman) ancestors. Please note, before you look at this pyramid, that it’s arranged in terms of calorie contribution to a diet, not food bulk. Mark suggests the bulk of food volume come from vegetables and the bulk of calories from animal foods. I’m not sure I totally agree, and it’s not practical for vegetarians, but it’s an interesting flip on the conventional pyramid.

I’m now on a pyramid hunt, so expect more here over the next few weeks…. here’s Mark Sisson’s


Posted by on November 4, 2011 in Uncategorized


Breakfast? An egg-cellent idea!

Breakfast is one meal where it’s easy to fall into a culinary rut. Not only that, but it can be a nutritional minefield sometimes, working our way through the million and one sugar packed options that await us in the cereal aisle. I generally advise staying clear of all cereals for breakfast, as none of them are that nutritionally sound.

I thought I was being really creative this morning, as I ran out of my normal breakfast foods and reached deep into the pantry, to come up with…. curry powder? I managed to throw together an amazing tasting scrambled eggs, but congratulated myself a little too early, only to find out that it’s a staple for a lot of people in India, where they call it Egg Bhurji.

Eggs are a wonderful breakfast food, as they’re packed with protein, good fats (yes, you heard that right, good fats) and will keep you full for ages. The turmeric (and other spices) in the curry powder are anti-inflammatory and believed to be part of the reason Indian people are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Finally, this is an easy and tasty way to get a few serves of veggies into your day right at the beginning.

Withouth further ado… my Egg-cellent Breakfast…

Curried Egg Scramble or Egg Bhurji


serves: 2 (large servings)

4 eggs
finely chopped celery 0.5 cup
1 diced onion
2 cloves diced garlic
diced tomatoes 1 cup
baby spinach 1 cup
Olive oil

1 tbs of curry powder, or:
minced ginger
cumin powder 1 tsp each
turmeric powder 1 tsp
coriander powder 1/4 tsp
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
(optional) fine chopped green chillies 2 tsp or to taste

Chopped fresh coriander or parsley


  1. Whisk eggs in a bowl until frothy.
  2. Heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent.
  3. Add the celery, chilli (if using) and the spices and stir til the room fills with the scents of the spices.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook for one minute.
  5. Add the eggs and cook, stirring and breaking apart as it cooks, like you would with scrambled eggs.
  6. Add the baby spinach and stir into the ggs until spinach is wilted and eggs are fairly set.
  7. Serve garnished with coriander/parley and cracked black pepper.

This recipe is so flexible, it can be made with pretty much any vegetables you have on hand. Feel free to serve with sourdough toast, or some paratha and chutneys for a real Indian feast.

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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Can science be bad?

For all of us aiming to live a healthy life, it can be hard to make sense of the hundreds of studies we hear about each week….
It seems like there are continual new studies released with contradictory findings:

Alcohol causes breast cancer
Oh no, wait, new study shows wine prevents breast cancer“.

How do doctors, nurses, nutritionists and the rest of us make sense of all this conflicting evidence?

In this TED talk, doctor and epidemiologist (a person who studies the transmission and control of epidemic diseases) Dr Ben Goldacre, talks about scientific studies – the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

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Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Uncategorized


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The underlying key to health.

Underpinning all of the physical intircacies of our health lies an emotional component.

So a simple Sunday reminder….

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Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Uncategorized



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