Juice Fast

Have you seen this documentary yet?

Fat Sick and Nearly Dead by Joe Cross

It’s very inspiring. Joe has a website too dedicated to helping us regain our health and see our toes again – Reboot with Joe.

I wasn’t as brave as Joe and the people in his documentary. I just did a 7 day juice fast. It was great – my heart palpitations went away (no coffee or other caffeine products) and after one day with headaches, the rest of the week left me feeling clean and healthy. My teeth felt super clean. I lost 5 kilograms in weight.


Some tips for the journey:

  • mix dark leafy greens with something nice and light like pear
  • add some ginger and garlic to spice it up
  • after a few days on the journey, you may like to add some psyllium husk or Fibreplus or other aid to movement
  • keep exercising
  • explore and enjoy some great herbal teas – especially those from local markets or a place like Perfect Potion
  • reintroduce solid food slowly afterwards – start off with fruits and salads – or you may find yourself lying awake digesting your meals at night
  • enjoy your renewed sense of smell, the occasional belly gurgle and a feeling of achievement afterwards

Will I do it again? Yes, I think so … in fact, I’m planning to do it all over again in a month’s time – maybe 10 days this time!


The cost of coal seam gas and the mining boom in Queensland

With 80% of the Scenic Rim and much of Queensland’s, and Australia’s, food bowl region under exploration leases for coal and coal seam gas mining, the Queensland Government’s plan to divert water into northern Queensland areas that are dry for much of the year does not address the dangers of food scarcity in Queensland and Australia.

North Queensland food bowl?

Premier Bligh is talking about spending millions of dollars diverting water from the Flinders and Gilbert rivers so that highly water-intensive crops such as cotton and corn can be grown there (“Strategy heads north to new food bowl”). Does this mean that the water that would normally come further south to the existing food bowls will be reduced, contributing to the wasteland it could become with coal seam gas wells everywhere?

What food?

Can we eat cotton? Do we really need more corn to turn into high fructose corn syrup? Besides being completely unnatural, high fructose corn syrup inhibits leptin, a hormone that tells us we are full and to stop eating. And I’m sure the same Queensland government would tell us that they are worried about obesity rates in our society! At the same time, Australia has become a net importer of  fruit and vegetables, the food that contains vitamins and minerals we need every day.  At least with Indonesia cutting live imports of beef from Australia, the 95% of the population who eat meat may not starve in years to come! (If we maintain the herds and the farmers don’t go into corn and cotton instead!)

A recent study of a subsidised weekly fruit and vegetable box for indigenous families in Grafton, New South Wales, showed a decline in visits to doctors, hospitals, skin infections and use of antibiotics. If the complete population of Australia was to eat a recommended amount of fruit and vegetables, I wonder how much our imports would go up? While a recent article by Beef Central has expressed the opinion that putting land under intensive cropping burdens the environment more than farming for meat, this does not take into account new models of agriculture, including organic and biodiverse farming, where large amounts of pesticides and herbicides are not used.

When you can buy a 1 litre (or 1 kg) bottle of soft drink containing 12 teaspoons of sugar or high fructose corn syrup for $1.99 or a complete McDonald’s meal of starch, sugar and fat for $5.00 but broccoli costs $5.99 a kilogram, what are the choices for a healthy diet for a low income family?

image of soft drink in health food section of Coles Supermarket

I photographed this at my local Coles supermarket!

Sorry, Anna Bligh, I don’t think your North Queensland solution is going to solve anything! In my opinion, it is just a smoke screen to allow coal seam gas to decimate our Darling Downs and food regions here in south Queensland.

Getting children to eat brussels sprouts and like them

Brussels sprouts are one of the cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cabbage. They contain significant amounts of Vitamin A, B group vitamins, Vitamins C, E and K, according to Ramona French on Livestrong.com.

Last Tuesday, 13 December 2011, I picked loads of brussels sprouts from my vegie garden here in Queensland, Australia – summer here has been unusually cool. Usually by this time of year, most things have gone to flower and it’s really hard to grow anything except under shade cloth. The thrill of picking something from the garden and cooking or eating it that day is something that hasn’t left me in over two decades of gardening. However, I still sometimes have a hard time infusing that same degree of thrill into my children!

So when confronted with one cabbage and a feed of brussels sprouts, I challenged myself to come up with a meal that even my children would eat and enjoy! I put the cabbage aside for the next meal and concentrated on the sprouts.

image of brussels sprouts

With some shallots, also from the garden, this is what I created.


Brussels sprouts

2 shallots or spring onions (those long green ones – I never know what to call them)

I ear of corn

a handful of unsalted raw cashews

100 g cream cheese

a clove of garlic

1 tsp curry powder

a little oil or butter

I put a bit of butter in the bottom of a heavy based frypan and added the shallots and garlic to gently cook through.

image of frypan with shallots and garlic

Next I added sliced brussels sprouts and the corn kernels cut from the corn ear. I continued to cook on a fairly low heat until tender but not overcooked.

Image of corn and brussels sprouts cooking in pan

Then I tossed in the cashew nuts roughly chopped and the curry powder and stirred them through, cooking for another couple of minutes, before adding some dobs of cream cheese and turning the heat off.

While I was doing this, I also made some beans in tomato sauce as a side dish – 500 g beans, 3 cloves of garlic and 5 chopped tomatoes. You cook the garlic in a small amount of olive oil, add chopped beans and stir until bright green, add the tomatoes (you can peel them first), and then cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can add a little water if getting too thick, and put the lid on the saucepan.

image of beans and tomatoes in pan

Then I took the sprouts mixture and piled it on to some ready rolled puff pastry, wrapped it up and cooked it in the oven – it only took about 15 minutes to brown.

image of pastry and sproutsimage of wrapped puff pastry mixtureimage of cooked puff pastry parcels

Serve with a garden salad!

Childrens’ verdict: Yummy!

image of salad

Later that evening, we were watching TV and an advertisement for McDonalds came on – for under $5, you can buy a burger, fries and coke. Very cheap for all the processing involved – some of it did start out as real food, for example, potatoes, and so it was grown, transported, cut up, transported, fried, packaged and sold. However, quite expensive when you consider all the hidden costs – the use of fossil fuels, the pollution, the health costs of eating trans fats, phosphoric acid and high fructose corn syrup, white sugary bun…

But I’m sure our meal for 4 cost less than $20 and was better for us, especially with the salad thrown in.

And a recent article, “A Health Warning – Supermarket Shelf Poisons”, warns of the dangers of combining certain “foods”, like Mentos and Diet Coke, or Vitamin C and diet soft drinks.

Vegetarian Roast Vegetable Moussaka

In my part of the world, it’s winter…brrrrr. I love comfort food in winter and Moussaka is a favourite with my family. As a vegetarian, I look for different ways to make moussaka and this is a recipe I came up with just before the Winter Solstice where the days were short and took me inside early, giving me a longer time to cook a meal for the family.

Photo of moussaka meal on plate


Vegetables for roasting, chopped into small roasting size, 1.5cm by approximately 4 or 5 cm (I used a mix of potato, pumpkin, choko and carrot) – about 4 cups

Eggplant (large) cut into 1cm rounds

Sea salt – celtic salt

Rosemary – a few sprigs

Can organic tomatoes or fresh tomatoes skinned and chopped (leave the seeds in – apparently the coating is good for you)

Asian greens from the garden – about 1 cup chopped

1 leek chopped

Garlic (a few cloves) and some herbs from the garden

Milk or milk substitute – 2 cups

Wholemeal plain flour (or buckwheat flour or flour of choice) – 4 tablespoons

Butter 100 grams



Cheese, grated – just 1/2 cup or so (optional)


Lay eggplant slices on draining board and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 1/2 hour or so.

photo of sliced eggplant with saltMeanwhile, toss sliced vegetables in baking dish with olive oil and sprigs of rosemary and bake in moderate oven until cooked.

Photo of roast vegetablesIn a saucepan, braise leeks, add canned or peeled fresh tomatoes, together with chopped Asian greens of choice, garlic and herbs and simmer on low heat, while preparing everything else.

photo of tomato sauceRinse and pat dry the eggplant slices. Pan fry the slices with some olive oil. Use a heavy based fry pan if possible and a moderate heat to stop them sticking and burning.

frying eggplantMake a white or bechamel sauce, using about 4 tablespoons of flour and about 100 grams of butter. Melt butter, stir flour through and cook gently for a couple of minutes to thicken. Gradually add 2 cups of heated milk, stirring constantly until it boils. Turn heat down and let it bubble for a couple of minutes. Remove it from the heat and stir in one egg (can use 2 eggs for a richer sauce).

Cooking bechamel sauceAdding egg to bechamel sauce









Then assemble moussaka in layers in an oven proof dish (round or square and at least 8cm high). First, a layer of eggplant (1/2), followed by the roast vegetables, then the tomato sauce, followed by a second and last layer of moussaka, topped by the bechamel sauce, spreading it over the entire top, and sprinkled with cheese. Place in moderate oven and cook for about 1/2 hour or until browned on top.

moussaka ready for ovenFor added taste sensation, you could spread some pine nut, coriander and basil pesto over the upper layer of eggplant before adding the bechamel sauce.

Cooked moussaka

I’m finishing with a quote from the chef in the documentary movie by Chris Taylor, “Food Fight” : “If we all ate with pleasure and intention, we could change the world.”

Green Garden Frittata

This recipe does contain dairy (butter, cheese and yoghurt) and eggs.

Today, I picked lots of green things from my garden to make this quick meal, together with four eggs from our lovely chickens.

I melted a small dollop of butter in a heavy-based fry pan on a low heat and added:

One sliced spring onion
A handful of young beans
About 2 cups of sliced leafy asian style vegetables

letting them slowly cook.

While they were cooking, in a bowl, I mixed together:

4 eggs (free range)
About 1/3 cup biodynamic  or home made plain or greek yoghurt
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs (parsley, coriander (cilantro), oregano, tarragon, basil and garlic chives)
1/4 cup grated cheese

and added the mixture to the pan, cooking it over a low heat. I grated a little parmesan cheese on the top once it had almost cooked through and placed it under the grill on a medium heat to complete the cooking process.

(The garlic chives give it a delicate taste.)

Serve with a salad and a tomato based or mushroom sauce if you like, or your own favourite sauce, although it’s fine without any sauce and goes well with salad.

Now here is where the picture should be – but it got eaten before I remembered to take a photo! I’ll update the post next time I make it with a photo!

Food as Medicine

We all know that eating healthy is good for us. Some of the impacts of eating unhealthy food may not appear for several years. Others are rapidly apparent, such as mood swings and susceptibility to common illnesses. Michelle Obama unveiled a new representation of healthy eating, called MyPlate, this week, replacing the old Food Pyramid system. The MyPlate design leaves no doubt that fruit, vegetables, grain and protein are the foods we need, with a bit of dairy on the side. Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics, commented that we can get protein from grain and dairy products. Others may dispute the need for dairy.

The US Government MyPlate design for healthy eating, replacing the Food Pyramid

The good news:

The MyPlate design does not include snacks like lollies, potato chips and biscuits often incorporated into the image of the Food Pyramid.

Fruit and Vegetable Subsidy Programs

A fruit and vegetable subsidy program has been run by the Bulgarr Ngaru Aboriginal Health Service in  Grafton, New South Wales, Australia for many years. It includes a market garden at the Baryulgil Public School as well as providing $40 of fruit and vegetables for $5 to eligible families. A study called Fighting Disease with fruit by Dr Raymond Jones and Fiona Smith, Dietician, found that before the program began, most of the students on the program were deficient in Vitamin C and iron.  After being on the program for 7 months, the number of children with skin infections decreased from 75% to 20% and the number with normal eardrums increased from 25% to 80%. Prescriptions for antibiotics to treat skin infections and otitis media decreased.

image of fruit

Great news – now we just need to ensure that families everywhere can afford fruit and vegetables!

Nutrition and Violence

An Aylesbury prison (UK) trial gave inmates multivitamins, minerals and essential fatty acid supplements at the Recommended Daily Intake; 40% fewer serious violent offences were committed. When the trial ended, inmates were no longer given the supplements and the number of offences increased by the same percentage (Lawrence 2008).

Why isn’t this a part of every rehabilitation program?

Lawrence, Felicity. 2008. Eat Your Heart Out. Why the food business is bad for the planet and your health. Camberwell, Australia: Penguin Group.

And, why, when even our affluent societies are suffering with the consequences of malnutrition, is nutritious food so expensive and junk food so cheap?

I snapped this picture with my mobile phone in my local supermarket last night!

Image of supermarket shelves with soda and  soft drink, with health food sign above it.

Perhaps, healthy for the profit margins?

YouTube: A story about Food Security

This video is an attempt to express some of my thoughts about food security issues and what we can do here in Australia to make our food more secure.

Links for information referred to in the video:

Australian Government Department of Agriculture Fisheries andForest, National Food Plan


Nutrition and Health:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2006). World hunger increasing. FAO Head calls on world leaders to honour pledges. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000433/

Lauder, S. (2011) Australia holds record for food allergies. ABC News. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2011/s3183421.htm

Lauder, S. (2011). Not enough nutritious food in Australia. ABC News. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/04/05/3182716.htm?site=melbourne

LE Magazine. (2001). Vegetables without Vitamins. Retrieved from http://www.soilandhealth.org/06clipfile/0601.lemag/le%20magazine,%20march%202001%20-%20report%20vegetables%20without%20vitamins.htm

Marler, J. and Wallin, J. (2006) Human Health, the Nutritional Quality of Harvested Food and Sustainable Farming Systems. Nutrition Security Institute. PDF (498KB) Retrieved from http://www.nutritionsecurity.org/PDF/NSI_White%20Paper_Web.pdf

Genetic Engineering:

AUSTRALIAN Certified Organic MAGAZINE (2007) Genetically modified catastrophe. PDF (184KB). Retrieved from http://www.bfa.com.au/Portals/0/BFAFiles/SUM07-GMO-article.pdf

Biello, D. (2007). Genetically Modified Crops Survive Weed-Whacking Herbicide. Scientific American. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=genetically-modified-crops-survive-weed-whacking-herbicide

Brown, P. (2005). GM crops created superweed, say scientists. Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2005/jul/25/gm.food

Grieve, O. (2011). Organic farmer decertified in WA after crop contamination. ABC News. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/201101/s3105958.htm

Madsen, K.H. & Streibig, J.C. (n.d.) Benefits and risks of the use of herbicide-resistant crops. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/y5031e/y5031e0i.htm

Union of Concerned Scientists. (2004). Genetically Engineered Crops & Pesticide Use. Retrieved from http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/impacts_genetic_engineering/genetically-engineered-crops.html

Food Prices:

Australian Food News. (2011) Flooding and Yasi reduce vegetable buying. Retrieved from http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2011/05/03/flooding-and-yasi-reduce-vegetable-buying.html

Courier Mail (Queensland). (2011). Banana prices set to soar after 75 per cent of the industry’s crops were destroyed by Cyclone Yasi. From AAP. Retrieved from http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/banana-prices-set-to-soar-after-75-per-cent-of-the-industrys-crops-were-destroyed-by-cyclone-yasi/story-fn7kjcme-1225999551804


Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority. (2010). Are agricultural chemicals responsible for Colony Collapse Disorder? Retrieved from http://www.apvma.gov.au/news_media/community/2010-11_bees_ccd.php

Moynihan, R. (2011). ‘Unhealthy’ pesticide use lost as Macadamia industry massages media. Crikey.com.au. Retrieved from http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/02/21/unhealthy-pesticide-use-lost-as-macadamia-industry-massages-media/

US Environmental Protection Agency (2011). Pesticide issues in the works: Honeybee colony collapse disorder. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/about/intheworks/honeybee.htm

Coal Seam Gas:

Tozer, J. & Cubby, B. (2010). List reveals toxic chemicals used in coal seam mining. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/business/list-reveals-toxic-chemicals-used-in-coal-seam-mining-20101018-16qt5.html

ABC News. (2011). Farmers count cost of coal seam gas rush. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/21/3144688.htm


Coleman, H. (2008). Chemical Contaminants in Cattle Feedlot Wastes. UNSW Water Research Centre. PDF (3.7MB) Retrieved from http://water.unsw.edu.au/site/wp-content/uploads/June_08_Coleman.pdf

Cronin, J.P. (2005). Animal health in beef cattle feedlots. Infectious diseases. Biosecurity – Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (Qld). Retrieved from http://www2.dpi.qld.gov.au/health/3549.html

US Environmental Protection Agency (2010). National Enforcement Initiatives for Fiscal Years 2008 – 2010: Clean Water Act: Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/oecaerth/data/planning/priorities/cwacafo.html

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