Central Coast farmers markets: your guide to shopping supermarket-free

If you’ve never ventured outside of the supermarket for your food on a regular basis, it can be quite a daunting transition at the outset, especially if you don’t know what the alternatives are. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been discussing the myriad of benefits that come with purchasing the bulk of your food in season from local producers and this week we’re focusing on how to change up your shopping habits.

If you’re reading this as a Central Coast resident, rest assured that this transition might be easier than you’d think. You may not have even been aware of the fact that we are living in a food bowl! Unbeknownst to many locals, we’re surrounded by passionate small-scale farmers in the fertile coast hinterland who are producing some of the best quality produce and animal products right at our doorstep.

Here are some of the options available as you start to think outside the supermarket aisles.

Central Coast farmers markets

A...

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Getting started with seasonal eating

In last week’s column we explored some of the benefits associated with seasonal eating. This week we’re focusing on how to gradually master the process.

It’s ironic that reacquainting ourselves with such a simple, age-old tradition can require some initial effort. Before the development of such efficient global transport systems, seasonal and local foods were the only ones on offer.

After only a few decades of relying on supermarkets for our food, we’ve lost touch with the knowledge and skills required to eat this way. Most people no longer possess any awareness of which foods are in season or even an inherent understanding of the fact that most produce and even many animal foods, do in fact have a season!

We’ve been sold the idea that we can have whatever we want all year round, when this is not how nature works. Supermarkets perpetuate this illusion by responding to consumer demand for apples, oranges and bananas every single day of the year.

If we...

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The untold benefits of seasonal eating

As we move into Autumn, I thought it might be nice to take this, my second favorite seasonal transition of the year (nothing beats Winter to Spring!), as an opportunity to explore the untold benefits of seasonal eating.

Once upon a time, I had no idea where my food came from, other than knowing the location of the supermarket and the shelf I found it on. The concept of seasonal eating was merely a romantic notion that conjured up visions of pumpkin or apple pie in Autumn.

When I started on my journey to get closer to the source of where my food came from, I had no way to fathom the transformation that lay ahead. It’s been life-changing, let me tell you!

Seasonal and local eating has become one of the most important pieces of health advice that I can offer people. It’s central to everything I teach about food and nutrition. If you were to focus solely on this one idea, striving to eat seasonally, sourcing from local producers, it has the power to transform not only your...

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Beetroot: the humble mood booster

We’re midway through a six-part guide to feeling good. Thus far, we’ve explored the importance of breathing, sleep, rest, pleasure, human connection and the nutritionist in me feels compelled to indulge in a couple of posts about food and mood.

Researchers now believe that many mood disorders, including depression, are not just brain disorders, but whole-body disorders, with chronic, low-grade systemic inflammation as a major risk factor.

Chronic inflammation arises as a result of many of the environmental stressors that we’ve talked about, such as poor diet and sleep, sedentary lifestyle, stress, negative thinking habits – all the usual culprits that you probably already know are important to address.

All of these factors influence our gut bacteria, which are critical to virtually every aspect of health including our brain function and mental health.

Beetroot to the rescue

The humble beetroot is a vegetable that in my experience is sorely overlooked by many...

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How vitamin K2 fuels jaw growth

This week we’re hearing from my friend, local Dentist Dr Steven Lin who practices out of Luminous Dentistry in Long Jetty. He’s the author of the international best-seller, ‘The Dental Diet’ which touches on many of the dietary concepts we’ve been discussing over the past few weeks – namely, the importance of returning to a diet based on traditional foods, based on the findings of pioneering Dentist, Dr Weston Price.

Steven and I are equally passionate about the oft-overlooked vitamin K2 and this article expands on my introduction of this important nutrient from last week.

How Vitamin K2 Fuels Jaw Growth, by Dr Steven Lin

One of the biggest problems of modern dentistry has been a failure to address the cause of crooked teeth. However, as we’ll find out, nutritional science has misunderstood the vitamin that caused the problem in the first place.

Today, at least 75% of kids have some level of dental malocclusion. Many patients ask me,...

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The Forgotten Principles of Traditional Diets

Last week we introduced the findings of Dr Weston A Price, who studied the diets of indigenous peoples. His work demonstrated exceptionally clearly that any deviation away from their nutrient dense traditional diets would inevitably lead to a rapid decline in overall health, with rampant tooth decay, mental health issues and susceptibility to infectious and degenerative disease.

Principles of traditional diets

Given that Price travelled to all corners of the globe, the foods consumed by each indigenous group varied widely, however, regardless of where he went, they intuitively followed the same dietary principles and there were no exceptions.

These principles can serve as a flexible blueprint for us in this modern age.

I thought I’d expand on just a few of the ways we’ve deviated from the traditions and practices that Price noted were common to these cultures.

Thankfully we’re already witnessing a resurgence in popularity of some of these ideas.

1. Proper...

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Bitter: the abandoned flavour

Bitter: the abandoned flavour

It’s a flavour that is universally associated with harshness, pain and the downright intolerable, yet bitter foods (and especially greens like radicchio, endive and dandelion) are an overlooked and very essential food group. It’s possible that many of the health complaints that plague us in the modern era, such as reflux, indigestion and type 2 diabetes, may in fact be traced to a deficiency of bitters in the diet.

For the health conscious folk among you, who probably prioritise getting enough fibre, vitamin C, iron and calcium – and for the finger-on-pulse types, probably also bone broth, liver, kale and chia seeds – when was the last time you pondered whether you’re including sufficient bitter foods in your diet? Did it ever make your checklist, I wonder?

Certainly not mine, until several years ago when my all-time favourite food author, Jennifer Mclagan penned the modern classic “Bitter: a taste of the...

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Easy Rose Petal Vinegar: Your skin will drink it.

Two things sprung to mind when I spied the red roses growing outside our new country home. Rose petal jam. Rose petal vinegar. The latter won, as it turned out. It’s been far too long since I made a floral or herbal vinegar. And Spring seemed like the perfect time, with fresh salads stealing the lion’s share of the menu. Having a few novelty dressing additions on hand, never goes astray.

Flowers and fresh salads. I LOVE this time of year!

The wonderful thing about rose petal vinegar is that it’s equally at home in your bathroom cabinet and pantry. Well, to be honest, my entire beauty routine originates from the pantry anyway, so nothing special here.

Roses & vinegar: allies in beauty

As an ex-beauty therapist, I have a long-standing appreciation for roses. Their extensive list of active constituents and healing properties mean they have unparalleled scope when it comes to treating skin issues. You’ll see it recommended for dry skin, inflamed skin, acne...

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Food Waste: how to avoid it in your kitchen

Are you throwing away 20% of the food you buy? Unfortunately, according to Food Wise food waste is a real problem. Australians are tossing 1 out of every 5 bags of groceries purchased.  That’s a staggering 4 million tonnes, worth $8 billion dollars of edible food going in the bin each year.

Thankfully, food waste can be a thing of the past. Waste-free cooking is pretty simple, once you know the ropes. We just have to rekindle some of Grandma’s know-how.

Why bother with waste-free cooking?

Firstly, there’s the financial benefit: $1,036 per year for the average household (enough to feed a family for a month)!  This Sustainability Victoria report found food waste in 2014 to be even higher, at $2,200 per household.

Secondly, the environmental impacts are quite significant. When food waste ends up in landfill, it produces methane gas. This greenhouse emission is a staggering 25 times more potent than the carbon pollution from your car’s...

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Offal for beginners: Delicious ‘Hearty’ Bolognese

food as medicine recipes Sep 14, 2016

f you grew up in Australia (or the US) during the last few decades, then it’s unlikely that organ meats – collectively known as offal – made an appearance on your dinner plate too often. But if you flick through your grandparent’s cookbooks, you’ll see it was the norm only one generation ago.

Granted it’s nowhere near as sexy as kale or goji berries, but offal deserves a place in the superfoods hall of fame. In fact if we’re defining them by their nutrient density, it truly puts all the others to shame! Many health conscious consumers are surprised to learn that organ meats are by far the most nutrient rich foods available. Even if you’re already in the know, chances are you have no idea how to incorporate them into your family’s diet.

I recently had the opportunity to test my most popular beginner offal recipe, Hearty Bolognese, on Body & Soul features writer and offal virgin, Rosie King.  (And she survived!)

Offal: Body+soul

Why we...

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