Goodness of nature


Every morning come rain or shine I head out with our four legged friends for a walk. It has become a bit of a ritual, in fact it has now got to the point where I don’t even think about walking or not …. I just get up, put on my exercise clothes and go. I have noticed, over the years, that not only is their behaviour and energy levels better during the day but so are mine! Sure some days the walk is less energetic than others. Some days the walk is shorter than others but everyday I know that if I miss our walk I just won’t feel as good that day.

When we’re out it is my time to reflect on the day before, thinking what I could have done differently, and also to ‘prepare’ for the day ahead by saying a few affirmations as I walk. We also invariably get to chatting to another walker (usually a neighbour) at some point, get distracted by some new ‘stinky’ highlights (that is more the dogs than me it has to be said) or just enjoy the birdsong and the elements. Not being that eager to venture out too much in a day if I can help it, our morning walk is the main time when I get to tick off some of the ‘Five Ways to Well-being’ in a day. It is my way of ensuring I’m taking action about my health rather than feeling on the back foot and reacting when things don’t feel so great.

There is a lot of research out there which backs up what I’m experiencing too. The benefits of exercise on our health are proven but actually getting out into nature when you’re being active can amplify those benefits. Making the time to go outside and be in nature – both green (trees, grass, bush) and blue (rivers, lakes, sea) spaces – can also boost your well-being in many different ways. Using the green and blue spaces around you as part of your well-being routine can improve and regulate your moods, reduce stress and also help you feel more connected to the world. Evidence suggests that being in nature for more than 120 – 150 minutes a week (around 20 mins a day) is related to the best possible physical, as well as mental, health and well-being.

Getting the benefits of the blue and green effect

Now I’m aware that not everyone is as fortunate as us to have a river walk on their doorstep but being in nature can refer to many different things. It doesn’t have to be a mammoth trek in the mountains or an epic swim in the sea. It may be parks, gardens and allotments in an urban setting or even a trip to a wildlife park. It may be working on the land or being on farmland. It may be short bush walks or just the local botanical gardens. Maybe a stroll along a creek, stream, river or lake. Even sitting by the water fountain in the park will help gain some positive blue and green health effects.

Just stepping out onto your lawn to do a few breathing exercises and moving the body will help boost the impact of what you are doing. Getting into your garden (not my specialty I have to say), reading outside, taking a lunch break in the outdoors or just making the most of that walk to the car can all count. The best thing is there is nothing to lose in trying to add a bit more nature in your life and everything to gain.

Hope this finds you exploring, enjoying and engaging in the nature around you.



Easy Gluten Free Bread


I have tried a variety of recipes for Gluten Free Bread it has to be said …. all with varying degrees of disaster!  I am a lazy cook by nature.  It needs to be fairly basic with not much brain power required.  It needs to be quick and easy.  I need to have the ingredients in the cupboard or readily available at the local shops.  Yes … I’m sure the sour dough, gluten free bread is delicious and very edible however I am almost guaranteed to forget about feeding the starter and it is way too much thought needed by me in advance of actually getting to eat.


Fresh out of the oven!

Then low and behold a miracle occurred!!  Yes … I’m fairly easy to ‘wow’ when it comes to food.  While down at my local organic shop the other week I noticed a recipe sheet for Gluten Free Bread that seemed to tick most of my boxes.  Mix, cook and eat all on the same day. 🙂  Turns out it is also a pretty good loaf of GF bread too!

Thought I would share it here for you all to try and let me know your thoughts.  It lasts for a few days pretty well if stored in an air tight container.  I even tried freezing a few slices to toast at an even later date with success and without it all falling apart on me.  Sorry to the original recipe writer as the shop didn’t source it and then I have done my usual adaptations.

Gluten Free Bread

Makes 1 loaf

  • 1 Tbsp Dried Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Cups Warm Water
  • 1 Cup White Rice Flour
  • 1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1 Cup Chickpea Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Tapioca Flour
  • 8 tsp chia seeds
  • 8 tsp boiling water
  • Sprinkle of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil

– In a large bowl whisk the water, yeast and honey and leave for 10 minutes to activate.

– Add all dry ingredients apart from chia seeds and mix well

– Mix chia seeds and boiling water then add to bread mixture with the oil.

– Mix well and pour into a lined bread tin.

– Leave to rise for 10-15 mins.  It doesn’t rise much on baking so if you want a bigger loaf then leave it to rise longer before cooking.

– Bake at 170 C for 45 minutes.


Hope this finds you happy, healthy and enjoying some warm bread. 🙂



Becoming Healthy Chicken Soup


I have been a vegetarian for a long time now however my family are a long way off being veggie.  So whenever themselves are unwell, as the case has been over the past week, then we get to brewing up a big pot of chicken soup.  Chicken soup has long been a ‘kitchen cure’ for colds and flu, even the scientists have proved that it does have benefits, and it is quick and easy comfort food when you are feeling under the weather.


Homemade soup and bread for lunch.

Hot fluids in general are great for helping clear all those ‘blockages’ in the sinuses and re-hydrating you.  If you pop in a whole heap of other kitchen cures you will have a great healing meal.  Thyme for coughs, Sage for sore throats, garlic for its antibacterial properties, ginger for its anti-inflammatory  properties (and loads more beside) and a whole heap of vegetables along with chicken on the bone makes an awesome meal to help the healing along.  If nothing else though soup is incredibly comforting when you are feeling yuck.

Lots of families have their tried and true recipes however if you don’t here is one to start you off.  After that experiment and enjoy!!

Becoming Healthy Chicken Soup

  • Chicken on the bone (I use 2 chicken breasts with the skin on)
  • Garlic (the more you can sneak in the better)
  • 1 large onion
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried sage leaves
  • Ginger (fresh is better however ground is fine)
  • Vegetables of your choice – chopped or diced depending on your preference.

-Chop the garlic and onion finely.  Fry off little with some olive oil in a large pot.

-Add in the chicken and brown a little.

-Add in the vegetables for a quick fry then add in the herbs, stirring to ensure they don’t stick to the bottom.

-Cover with water and gently boil until the vegetables are soft and the chicken cooked through and is beginning to come away from the bone if knocked.

-Take the chicken out of the pot and get all the meat off, including the skin, then chop and return the meat only to the pot.

-Allow to sit for a bit before serving.


Hope this finds you all healthy, happy and enjoying your home comforts




Five things to quit this year.


Welcome to 2016!!  Hope you are having a fabulous one so far.

I’ve had a great break with the family and decided to ease back into work. So in line wiht that easing here is a cut and paste of a great wee article I saw at the end of 2015.  It is a good reminder about the things that really matter and stay the same year after year.  Thanks Healthy Balance Fitness for the blog post which I have copied below.

healthy balance fitness photo

Things you should quit this year (Sugar is not one of them!)

Fitness ‘Best of’, Mind body, The Moderation Movement

The top 5 things you should quit to improve your wellness

New Year brings a renewed focus on health goals, and unfortunately so many people feel like they need to quit foods to achieve improved wellness. Over the past few days I’ve heard people saying they’ll quit alcohol, sugar, bread, dairy, gluten… You don’t need to quit these things to be healthy.

A great majority of wellness messages in the media focus on what we need to cut out in order to be healthy. More and more foods are being heralded as the most important thing to quit if you’re going to achieve longevity, happiness, success and the validation of everyone around you.

You don’t need to quit the food you love in order to be happy and healthy. And how you eat does not determine your worth as a person.

Here’s my top 5 things you should think about quitting instead:

#1: Guilt

Try to let go of feeling bad about food, exercise and your body.  Food is morally neutral and neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’. You can enjoy all foods and still be healthy. Learn instead about mindful or intuitive eating, and a non-diet approach to eating. Similarly let go of feeling bad about inactivity. Try to move most days doing activities you enjoy, but if you have a few inactive days in a row don’t feel bad, just get moving again doing something you love.

#2: Shame

Quit shaming yourself and others for their food choices, their exercise habits and their body. There is more than one path to wellness. We all have to choose our own way.

#3: Comparison

Stop comparing yourself to strangers on the internet. What most people publish online is their most shiny, happy, glamorous moments. Comparing your life to someone else’s highlight reel is a recipe for unhappiness. Also stop comparing your body to others. We’re not all supposed to look the same.

#4: Seeking quick fixes and miracle solutions

Every time I blink there seems to be another ‘miracle’ diet, exercise plan, or supplement that will apparently be the end to all your insecurities and help you find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If we all stopped giving our dollars to the celebrities and online salespeople pushing such fads, we’d see a lot less of them! Unfollow the fads, find your own moderation.

#5: Believing you can see wellness

Health and fitness comes in all shapes and sizes. Truly. You cannot tell by looking at someone how fit or well they are. You don’t know if they have strong mental health, absence of illness, physical strength, and stamina or if they have a disordered approach to food, suffer from mental health issues or struggle with fatigue. A person’s size cannot tell you these things. Set yourself wellness goals that are not related to appearance and let go of thinking you can see who is fit by their body size.

By Healthy Balance Fitness (16 December 2015)


Hope this finds you exploring an exciting new year.



Seeing the good, despite the blah!


It seems sometimes that no matter how much we try to focus on being positive and living a life of gratitude all it takes is one annoying slow driver when you’re in a rush or some minor hiccup in the day for any iota of positivity to disappear.  Or maybe that is just me! 🙂

Our brains seem determined to mull over, replay and get frustrated with the ‘bad, blah’ bits of our day, no matter how insignificant,  rather than focus on all the fantastic things that are around us.  Maybe it is a survival thing or maybe it is that we are so accustomed to all our ‘pleasures’ and ‘freedoms’ that we are beginning to take them for granted.

Yet when we take even a minute to focus on all the good things that are happening to us or around us it never fails to lift our moods and our health.  Yes, being positive and giving thanks actually improve your health and help you to live longer!

I am so grateful for a clear, crisp day; for my ability to climb up my kids 'adventure' trails; for my kids; for an obedient dog; for a camera to record the memory, for an injury free walk; for such a beautiful spot to live and much more.

I am so grateful for a clear, crisp day; for my ability to climb up my kids ‘adventure’ trails; for my kids; for an obedient dog; for a camera to record the memory and much more.

Just like one shower will never keep you clean for very long the practise of gratitude needs to be a regular thing though. The practise of gratitude needs to be something that we make a point to do because without it our lives don’t feel quite as good.

Even in times when the world feels like it is falling in around you there is always something positive that you can be grateful for. The fact that you are alive, that the sun is shining, that you have unlimited access to the Internet, that you live in a culture that allows you personal freedoms could all be reasons to be grateful.

Give it a go with this little exercise that I have modified from Christiane Northrup, M.D’s book.

-First think of something you can ‘brag’ about, something you are proud of. It could be a recent or distant achievement.

– Second identify something you are thankful for or appreciate having.  What do you have in your life that others don’t and wish they did?

– Lastly think of a time when you were happy, truely happy, and let that bring a smile to your face as you move into your day.

It is an effort, I know, to halt the wheels of negativity however it is an effort worth making each day.  Taking time to remember all the things we have in our lives that are great and wonderful will only benefit you and the people around you.

Hope this finds you counting your blessings already.



What is so good about Kombucha?



I am being a bit lazy here and also sharing a good source that I found in the Food Renegade website.  Kristen Michaelis summed it all up so nicely that I have decided to repost on here.  Like a said a bit lazy but it is a good article with all the bits you need to know in it 😉 If you would like a copy of the quick and easy recipe which I have then feel free to message me.

Kombucha Health Benefits

by Kristen Michaelis (Copyright © 2014 Food Renegade)

Have you heard of Kombucha, the beverage the ancient Chinese called the “Immortal Health Elixir?” It’s been around for more than 2,000 years and has a rich anecdotal history of health benefits like preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.

Made from sweetened tea that’s been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (a SCOBY, a.k.a. “mother” because of its ability to reproduce, or “mushroom” because of its appearance), Kombucha didn’t gain prominence in the West until recently.

In the first half of the 20th century, extensive scientific research was done on Kombucha’s health benefits in Russia and Germany, mostly because of a push to find a cure for rising cancer rates. Russian scientists discovered that entire regions of their vast country were seemingly immune to cancer and hypothesized that the kombucha, called “tea kvass” there, was the cause. So, they began a series of experiments which not only verified the hypothesis, but began to pinpoint exactly what it is within kombucha which was so beneficial.

German scientists picked up on this research and continued it in their own direction. Then, with the onset of the Cold War, research and development started being diverted into other fields. It was only in the 1990s, when Kombucha first came to the U.S., that the West has done any studies on the effects of Kombucha, and those are quite few in number. As is typically the case in the U.S., no major medical studies are being done on Kombucha because no one in the drug industry stands to profit from researching a beverage that the average consumer can make for as little as 50 cents a gallon.

Thanks to it’s rising commercial popularity in the last decade, the older Russian and German research has been made available in English to Westerners, and a few wide-spread anecdotal surveys have been sponsored by Kombucha manufacturers, but that’s about it. While there are limited amounts of research done on the beverage, there has been lots of research done on many of the nutrients and acids it contains in large quantities (such as B-vitamins, antioxidants, and glucaric acids).

Regardless of the “lack” of scientific evidence, the fact remains that this beverage has 2,000 plus years of tradition behind it and an ardent and addicted following.

What are the health benefits of Kombucha Tea?

Kombucha Health Benefit #1 — Detoxification

Detoxification produces healthy livers and aides cancer prevention. One of kombucha’s greatest health benefits is its ability to detox the body. It is rich in many of the enzymes and bacterial acids your body produces and/or uses to detox your system, thus reducing your pancreatic load and easing the burden on your liver. Kombucha is very high in Glucaric acid, and recent studies have shown that glucaric acid helps prevent cancer. I know 2 people in my immediate circle of friends who have had cancer (pancreatic and breast) and fought it into remission without any chemo or radiation therapy. Instead, they warded it off by detoxing their lives (going 100% organic, removing chemical cleaners and agents in their home, changing their diet to be at least 80% raw or fermented, etc.) Central to the detoxification process was drinking Kombucha regularly. Even Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the recently deceased Russian author and nobel-prize winner, in his autobiography, claimed that kombucha tea cured his stomach cancer during his internment in soviet labor camps. (And because of this testimony, President Reagan used Kombucha to halt the spread of his cancer in 1987. You’ll note he didn’t die until 2004, and that was from old age, NOT cancer.)

Kombucha Health Benefit #2 — Joint Care

Kombucha contains glucosamines, a strong preventive and treatment all forms of arthritis. Glucosamines increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. Hyaluronic acid functions physiologically to aid preservation of cartilage structure and prevent arthritic pain, with relief comparable to NSAIDs and advantage over glucocorticoids. Hyaluronic acid enables connective tissue to bind moisture thousands of times its weight and maintains tissue structure, moisture, lubrication and flexibility and lessens free radical damage, while associated collagen retards and reduces wrinkles.

Kombucha Health Benefit #3 — Aids Digestion and Gut Health

Because it’s naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast, Kombucha is a probiotic beverage. This has a myriad of benefits such as improved digestion, fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, mental clarity, and mood stability. As such, it’s noted for reducing or eliminating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, etc.

Kombucha Health Benefit #4 — Immune Boosting

Kombucha is extraordinarily anti-oxidant rich, and you all know the benefits of anti-oxidants for boosting your immune system and energy levels.

Where can you learn more about kombucha health benefits?

Here are a few articles on the health benefits of kombucha:

Are the health benefits of kombucha for real?

When I first read about the panacea of benefits, I was skeptical. How could one beverage do so many things? But then I realized that it’s not so much that the beverage does something to our bodies, like a medicine targeted at curing specific symptoms. It’s more that this beverage promotes health. It gives your body what it needs to heal itself by 1)aiding your liver in removing harmful substances, 2)promoting balance in your digestive system, and 3)being rich in health-promoting vitamins, enzymes, and acids.

The general consensus seems to be that with regular, daily consumption, you’ll notice improvement in immune system functioning and energy levels within about a week, the healing of more minor ailments within a month or so, and the healing of more radical illnesses within a year or so.

Want to know more about kombucha tea?

Check out these other articles on kombucha tea I’ve written:



Six weeks in and ……


So it has now been 6 weeks since I have begun this sugar free lifestyle.  I haven’t really keep count,  as it just feels like a nature part of life now, it’s  just that someone asked me the other day and I really had no idea so decided to count it up 😉  It has taken a bit of work to be sugar free at times especially in double checking labels of food that we had regularly and replacing them for homemade versions when I found they contained sugar, pre-made tortilla is a perfect example of this. However on the whole, with the cupboards set up with heaps of sugar free foods it has been pretty easy. 

I got through Easter sugar free (though not fructose free as I had some dried currents in our homemade hot cross buns) and a weekend away then last week a few bit of sugar did creep in.  Some as part of meals out (stewed fruit given to us, cream sweeten up and in a salad dressing) and some through choice (curry paste with less than 3gm per 100gm).  I have got to say that while there was a bit of guilt I do try to work on the 80/20 rule in life so figured that as long as the serves were small and I wasn’t making a habit of it, things were all good.  The thing is that I really noticed the difference in my moods on the day after having that wee bit of sugar.  I suddenly felt irritable and a bit volatile along with a mild headache which nagged ever so slightly at me. Thankfully I had a few Bach Flower Remedies to get me through along with a bit of tapping and by the following day I felt good as gold again 😉  Maybe it was coincidence that I had those feelings all in the same week as I had bits of sugar, maybe …….. and then again maybe not.  I certainly felt calmer when no sugar was in my diet that is for sure and it has been a good reminder of why I really began this – to improve my health and well-being (emotionally and physically).


What was left of the second batch minus the crosses as little ones were eager to begin munching.

My journey to giving up sugar has been a gradual one in improving my health, until this final cutting off of all sugar (apart from fresh fruit) that is.  When we decided to have kids I gave up alcohol, luckily for me I was pregnant 2 weeks after that so I had to continue with that sugar loss 😉  From there a realisation that wheat was playing havoc with my stomach made me reduce baked goods. My daughter then developed eczema and while there were no allergies it seemed that the more processed i.e. the more ingredients in it, the more she flared up.  So that meant that I began reading labels more and once you read those labels it isn’t long before you are buying food stuffs without sugar.  I was however still a big fizzy bubbly (soda) drinker, tomato sauce user and a humongous honey hogger!  These were my staples for coping, and feeling normal, until I read an article last December about how fizzy drinks can deplete the calcium in your bones not to mention what it does to your teeth.  Being a runner – well that is what I call the thing I do in the mornings 😉 – I didn’t want to be breaking any bones so the fizzy bubbly was the next to go.

That left my trusty friends honey and tomato sauce (ketchup), along with fresh and dried fruit giving me most of my sugar hits.  It is at this point that I read about Sarah Wilson’s book. ‘What??!! Give up fruit and honey?’ ‘She must be mental’ I thought.  It planted a seed though. A seed that niggled at me and grew till I eventually went to the library to order her book.  It was then that I found and read David Gillespie’s book and the rest is history 😉  No more tomato sauce and no more honey!  I can hardly believe it some days.

I have kept in the fresh fruit for a snacks if needed (dried fruit has been left a bit abandoned on the shelf except of Easter buns)  and use this in baking. It just comes down to preferring to use naturally occurring products versus processed, like dextrose, for me.  I save the dextrose for those occasions, like my Mum’s birthday cake, when the receiver really just wants to taste a yummy sweet baked good and not banana dense wholemeal option 😉 My experiments with the glucose syrup, which I found out is made with completely GM free corn from NZ thanks Queen Fine Foods, have not been that successful so that has be ditched too.  I’m happy to have fresh fruit, mostly oranges, pears and kiwifruit now, as the sweeter in my life (baking  and raw) instead of all the other stuff.  I can go into shops and walk down the lollie (sweets) aisle with ease and even the chocolate section isn’t a big attraction anymore.  I do still have cravings for food however it is just that food, not the sweet sugar stuff that I used to think about.  Usually nuts can quell it pretty fast, thankfully, along with my trusty Bach Flower Remedies 😉


The past 6 weeks have certainly been an interesting journey into what works best for my body and also just how much I don’t miss all those sugar laden foods when I am eating whole, nourishing foods. Here is to continued health, vitality and enjoying life.

Till next week.




Some sucrose facts to chew on


Been away for the weekend – yes another one 😉 – and still catching up on the household bits so thought I would re-post an old post from my old blog which I read before beginning a bit of a sugar-free challenge  back in 2011. Back then I just cut out the white stuff (including sugar in foods where labelled) while consuming heaps of honey and dried fruit so not sure how ‘sugar’ free is was 😉 


Anyway …….. I found this interesting article in an old edition of ‘Her Business’ Issue 58 July 2005 which my sister had given me and it was the impetus to begin thinking more about the food I was putting in my gob. 

It all makes good sense no matter how delicious the stuff is – and how hard it is to give up!

  1. One can of Coke raises blood sugar to five times its normal level for four hours.
  2. The indigestibility of sucrose means the initial buzz you feel on chugging that coke down is simply the ‘fight or flight’ adrenal reaction of the body.
  3. Sucrose blocks digestion and ‘tricks’ the body into accommodating ever-higher levels of contaminants and sticks to proteins like meat, forming new complexes that enzymes can’t break down.
  4. Sucrose destroys the ‘good’ bacteria (flora) in the intestinal tract producing a half-digested carbohydrate mass that seeps into the bloodstream, causing problems in joints, muscles and organs.
  5. Sucrose disrupts the alignment between phosphorus and calcium, which can lead to osteoporosis, and permits calcium to solidify in the organs in the form of gall, liver and kidney stones.
  6. Sucrose is also a factor in asthma because undigested sugar can lodge in the bronchioles of the lungs.
  7. Sucrose depletes muscle mass because the body’s elimination attempts use up valuable calcium, magnesium, and chromium.
  8. Drugs, in the form of synthetic insulin have never cured anyone of diabetes: the only way to reverse adult onset diabetes – the most common type – is giving up all sucrose, alcohol included.
  9. Alcohol places an enormous strain on the body because it’s essentially refined sugar; bypassing the digestive system altogether, it’s absorbed immediately into the bloodstream and speeds up the ageing process.
  10. And finally, lest you thought is was safe to crack open the sugar substitute, consider this: two of the three core molecules that make up aspartame – the #1 food and beverage additive in the world – are aspartic acid, a major neurotoxin linked to a variety of neurological disorders and methanol (wood alcohol) which converts to formaldehyde in the body!

Hope this finds you all dry, warm, happy and healthy.