Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Musings of a 60 year old

Today is my 60th birthday and to me that is a milestone. Time has flown by. I still remember when I was 12, wondering what it would be like to be 25 and now I am way past that in terms of years. So I thought I would share some of my reflections and insights on the way up life`s mountain. The list is in no particular order and by no means complete xx

  • I get my best ideas and inspirations while sauntering among trees, along the sea shore or high in the hills.
  • My kids and grand children rock my world.

  • A smile warms the heart for both the giver and receiver.
  • If you feel lost, stop for a while to get your bearings.
  • Learn to laugh at yourself.
  • The mind needs training just like the body.
  • Exercise is not an option. We are built to move
  • Everyday is a new lesson.
  • I have more energy now than in my 30`s.
  • Friendships are amazing
  • Read a book, it can take you to another time and place.

  • Spend time with loved ones. Life goes by quickly.

  • Give thanks on a daily basis.
  • To feel free and alive spend time in the mountains.

  • Nature is our greatest healer.
  • I would be a very different person today, if I hadn't changed my way of living to macrobiotics 40 years ago.

  • Intuition is a blessing.
  • As much as we see, there is twice as much we don’t see.
  • If a path opens up, follow it, you never know where it might lead.

  • Allow rather than chase.
  • Nature doesn't judge. All are important and necessary in the natural world.
  • Plant based foods nourish the body and soothe the soul.

Change happens, best not to fight it.
Peace begins in the heart.

  • Others may not think like you but that's a good thing.
  • Take responsibility for your life and heath – it puts you in the drivers seat.
  • Love your work as much as your free time. You spend most of your life there.
  • Lend a helping hand with no expectations.
  • The thrill of the top of a mountain is because of the climb. 

  • Stand up for what you believe in
  • A cup of tea and a laugh with your children can be a healing experience.

  • Slow down. Live mindfully.
  • Spiritual is not a word, it is an experience that changes as we grow.
  • Life is a work in progress.
  • It's what we eat everyday that makes the greatest difference not once in a while as a treat.
  • We are nourished through all our senses.
  • All emotions are necessary.
  • My dogs bring me incredible joy, comfort and unconditional love.

  • Store  happy memories in your pocket. Take one out and relive it when times are hard. 

  • Life is Art in motion.
  • Please love and give great caring to the earth and all sentient beings. We all share this beautiful home.
Love Chef Mel xx

Monday, January 21, 2019

Easy Peasy Ginger Garlic Pasta

I thought you would enjoy this super easy yet incredibly tasty pasta dish that we had when my boys were visiting. My son, Andrew added his twist to an old recipe I used to make many moons ago. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did. The cool thing is that this dish takes less than 20 minutes to prepare.

Easy Peasy Ginger Garlic Pasta

Handful parsley finely chopped
A generous glug of olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic minced
¼ teaspoon chilli flakes – can add more to taste
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
500g wholewheat spaghetti or pasta of choice
1-2 cups broccoli cut into small florets
2 cups pasta cooking wáter
Dash of red wine (for the exotic in us!)
Sea salt
Lemon for garnish
1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Break the pasta in half and cook in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente.

pasta cooking water
Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.

Place the oil, garlic, chilli and ginger into a pan that's large enough to hold the pasta later. Lightly saute over a low heat for a minute and then add enough of the pasta cooking wáter to cover the bottom of the pan. Simmer for a few minutes.

Add a dash of red wine if you want a richer flavor and simmer for another minute or so.


Add the parsley and broccoli and mix gently. Season with sea salt.

Add the pasta to the fragrant mixture.
Make sure there is enough of the pasta cooking liquid to cover the bottom of the pan.

Cover with a lid and cook for 2 minutes on a high flame.
Remove lid and mix gently.
Serve garnished with fresh lemon and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.

Enjoy Love Chef Mel xx

Monday, December 31, 2018

Gentle Walk after Meals - ease into 2019

Many of us have be brought up to think that it isn't a good idea to exercise right after eating. Of course intense exercise might not be the best thing but a gentle walk is actually good for your health.

A 10-20 minute relaxing stroll after a meal can help to increase your metabolic rate and increase the energy needed to digest your food.

Studies have shown that a quiet stroll after eating reduces the increase of blood sugar that occurs after consuming a meal. People that walked after a meal had a 12% lower Glucose level than those who did not. Walking or some form of leisure activity can be done after every meal, but especially after meals high in carbohydrates - bread, potatoes or rice. Research has also shown that those with diabetes who walked after meals had a 22% lower glucose level than individuals who didn't. 

After-meal walks can also provide other benefits. A gentle stroll outdoors helps your mind to relax and you can enjoy the fresh air. It lifts the mood and dissipates stress. 

Because the walk is leisurely, you can also take time to nourish the senses 
Listen to the birds singing or water gushing over stones  
Watch children playing or snow falling in the park 
Touch the bark of a tree or the soft petals of the rose  
Smell the freshly cut grass or the salty sea breeze 

If you cannot leave the house or office for some reason, a walk on the tread mill at an easy pace can still offer benefits as it increases your heart rate and creates a break from work or daily stress. You can listen to beautiful music and use aromatherapy in a diffuser to create a peaceful atmosphere.

Gentle walking can become a social experience too. Invite family members, friends or co-workers to join in as the fitness level is easy for everyone.

Leisurely after-meals walking is super simple, easy to implement and can bring about great results especially for those with weight and blood sugar issues. A smart lifestyle change for 2019.

Happy strolling!

Love Chef Mel xx

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Understanding Anti Inflammatory Foods

Understanding Anti Inflammatory Foods

Inflammation is the body's natural protective mechanism that defends infection, illness or injury. The signs of short term inflammation usually occur  on the surface of the body - redness, pain, heat or swelling. Inflammation can also happen on a more serious, chronic basis and is often due to poor diet, stress, lack of exercise, exposure to toxins, or weight issues. Chronic inflammation is persistent, silent and within the body. If this inflammation continues it can lead to more serious health problems including diabetes, heart disease, high colesterol and arthritis.
The foods we chose on a daily basis play a huge role on inflammatory response. Eating a diet high in processed, sugary, refined foods or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and sodas can increase inflammation. Anti-inflmmatory, plant based foods enjoyed as part of our regular diet  provide the key to optimum health.
Learning which foods can influence the inflammatory process is an important strategy for reducing any long term risks.
Include as much as possible

·     A wide variety of plant based foods - whole grains, vegetables, beans, sea vegetables, fermented foods, nuts, seeds, and berries
·   Plenty of fresh, local, and seasonal food as possible (ones that come straight from the fields rather than processed in a factory)
·   Vegetables cooked in different ways.
·   Whole grains on a daily basis including oats, brown rice, millet, buckwheat, or quinoa.
·   Olive oil as the main cooking oil.
·   More vegetable protein especially from beans and traditional soy such as tofu, tempeh, or natto.
·   Fruits and vegetables from the full range of the color spectrum, especially berries, avocado, celery, squash,      pumpkin, radish, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens
·   Organic produce.
·   Broccoli, cabbage, kale, and caulflower often.
·   Sea vegetables. Include them in soups, bean dishes, stir frys, and salads
·   Almonds, walnuts, flax, chia, and black sesame seeds
·   Fermented foods; miso, sauerkraut, kimchee, olives or umeboshi
·   Pure spring water, herbal teas, infusions, kukicha or green tea throughout the day
·   Ginger, turmeric, cinammon, garlic and fresh herbs in your meals
·   Mushrooms especially shiitake in soups, stews, and vegetable dishes

Avoid as much as possible

·         Processed, packaged and fast food.
·         Refined carbs
·         Saturated fats from dairy and animal foods
·         Palm oil, corn oil and mixed vegetable oils
·         Products made with high fructose corn syrup
·         Margerine and vegetable shortening
·         Coffee, energy drinks, and sodas
·         Sugar in cakes, cookies, biscuits, desserts, candy, ice cream
·         Excessive alcohol
·         Processed meats
·         Wheat
·         Food additives and synthetic sweeteners
·         Conventional fruits and vegetables that carry pesticide residues.

In addition to diet it is very important to

Have enough deep and restful sleep. Go to bed before midnight and get up with the morning sun.
Reduce stress by spending time in nature, learning simple meditation techniques, and slowing down.
Do a daily body rub. Briskly rub your entire body with a hot damp towel.
Laugh with friends and family or watch funny movies.
Get plenty of outdoor exercise for at least 1 hour a day. The hour can be divided into shorter sessions such as 4 x 15 minutes or 2 x 30 minutes.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Buckwheat Porridge

I have been enjoying this quick and easy porridge now the weather is getting cooler.

Buckwheat is a wonderful grain - actually more similar to a fruit seed - and has been used throughout the world. It is super high in flavonoids especially rutin which can help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The nutrients in buckwheat help blood sugar control and the high fiber content can prevent gallstones. Buckwheat is high in magnesium which improves blood flow and nutrient delivery.

Buckwheat can also make you feel less hungry and more satisfied so great for weight control.

Here is the simple recipe that also gives great energy

Buckwheat Porridge

1 cup buckwheat 
2 cups of spring water
Ground flax seeds - optional
Toasted black sesame seeds - optional
Shiso powder - optional
Chia seeds - optional
Toasted walnuts - optional
1 tablespoon of Sauerkraut - optional

Rinse the buckwheat and place into a bowl.
Add 2 cups spring water
Leave to soak overnight
In the morning bring to a boil on a medium flame.
Simmer for 10 minutes or until soft
Mix gently and serve garnished with a mix of nuts, seeds, shiso powder or sauerkraut

Enjoy Chef Mel xx

At a Glance Home Remedies

At A Glance Home Remedies 

Here is a quick list of some easy yet powerful home remedies and their benefits. 
Enjoy Chef Mel xx


Cabbage -  helps reduce bruising, inflammation, swelling and cools body. Place a crushed, cold leaf over area and replace with another cool leaf when the first one becomes warm.

Sauerkraut - aids digestion, probiotic, contains living enzymes and helps digest fat/protein

Daikon -  dissolves fat and protein - can be used in many ways. Large pieces cooked until soft take out excess salt and generally relax the body. Raw grated daikon helps to break down fat.

Dried daikon tea - ear problems, fever, headache back and sides of head, migraines, SAD, weight loss

Lotus root - coughs, clearing mucus, allergies, anemia - for a tea, grate 1/2 cup and squeeze out the juice. Cook for 5 minutes and add a pinch sea salt. Drink warm

Burdock - strengthens the blood, increases vitality and is a remedy for anemia

Jinenjo or mountain potato - helps overcome emotional and nervous disorders. Good for vitality. Can be used raw and finely grated with a few drops of shoyu and finely cut scallions. Serve over rice or in soup.


Apple cider vinegar - good for prevention of hot flashes, improves digestion, increases weight loss, lower chloresterol, helps prevent diabetes as it lowers glucose levels. Use one tablespoon of ACV to 1 cup water. Also very good for the skin and can use it for a soak or bath.

Apple juice - served warm can help headaches in back of head, detox gallbladder/liver , relax, soothe, and improve sleep. Can use grated apple and squeeze out juice. Apple juice kuzu drink is good for muscle pain, jaundice and stomach cramping from excessive consumption of chips/salt.

Granny smith apple - raw and finely grated can reduce a fever. Lightly steamed is a good detox for the liver.


Aduki, bean tea - helps bone, joints, kidneys, adrenals, constipation - soak 1/2 cup aduki beans in water for 3 hours and simmer with a small strip of kombu in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes. Strain and drink warm.

Black soybean tea - aids digestion, bones, lungs, coughs - use the same recipe as for the aduki beans using the black soybeans instead

Unique Remedies

Umeboshi Plums - food for longevity - strengthen intestines, alkaline, counter affects of sugar, and alcohol, makes absorption of nutrients and other foods easier - immune booster
Ume concentrate - very alkaline, headaches, intestinal issues
Ume vinegar - dilute with a little water and dab on cuts/wounds/tick bites

Kuzu - contains high levels of flavornoids that are responsible for the healing affects to digestion and circulation - starch helps to overcome bacterial infections in digestion and excess water in case of diarrhea. Aids stomach problems, vomiting, food poisoning from fish, shellfish,  or meat

Brown Rice cooked soft into a cereal with umeboshi - aids flu, colds, fevers

Rice cream - soft rice put through a fine strainer is easy to absorb and good for those who are weak from illness or have digestive problems.

Tofu as a plaster - cooling and can be used topically to help ankle problems, burns, front headache, muscle problems, swellings, inflammation, bruises - mash and add enough white flour to bind and a small amount ginger.


Basil - anti inflammatory, relieves constipation and stomach cramps

Parsley - cleans blood, breaks down gall and kidney stones, packed with nutrition especially vitamin C, and iron

Cilantro - detox for heavy metals and other pollutants even mercury, good for food poisoning/bacterial infection, immune boosting, helps production of digestive enzymes, lowers colesterol

Ginger - morning sickness, motion sickness, slows cancer growth cells, migraines, flu, colds, congestion, reduces pain and inflammation, heartburn relief


Ume sho bancha - alcohol, anemia, strengthen blood, regulates digestion, circulation, relieves fatigue, weakness, relief from sugar or acid forming foods

Ume sho kuzu - strengthens blood, promotes good digestion, restores energy, helps with digestive issues - gastric, colds, flu, frontal headache, heart conditions, strengthens organ function - kidneys, bladder, liver, and stomach
Dilute 1 heaping teaspoon of kuzu in a cup of cold water. Place in a pan and heat on a medium flame. Stir constantly until the kuzu thickens. Add 1/2 to 1 umeboshi and 1/2 teaspoon of shoyu. Mix gently and drink warm. Can add fresh ginger at the end for colds and flu.

Sweet kuzu drink - blood sugar/relaxing for mind and body/menstrual cramps/PMT/lower fever/monks used this tea to mellow out so they could study
Dilute 1 heaping teaspoon of kuzu in a cup of cold water. Place in a pan and heat on a medium flame. Stir constantly until the kuzu thickens. Add 1 tablespoon of rice syrup and mix through. Drink warm

Kukicha tea with tekka condiment - offsets excess sugar, diabetes, anemia, bones.
Add 1 teaspoon of tekka to a mug of hot kukicha tea. Stir and drink warm

Shiitake tea - PTST, nightmares, pain, weight control, bronchitis, lowers cholesterol, liver tonic
Soak 1 dried shiitake until soft - Simmer in a cup and half of water for 15 minutes. Add a pinch of salt. Drink warm and eat the shiitake

Agar Agar  tea helpful for constipation and bloating.
Simmer 1 tablespoon of agar agar in a cup of water until dissolved. Add a tablespoon of rice syrup or barley malt and drink warm.

Kombu tea for aches and pain even toothache. Shio kombu condiment helps  bones, joints, food allergies, lyme, or vascular issues
Simmer a strip of kombu in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes. Remove the kombu and drink warm


Pain - kombu tea, shiitake tea, relaxing teas like chamomile

Wounds - calendula cream or rescue remedy for blows, rashes, burns, cuts, razor burn, diaper rash

Tea tree oil - anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti viral - acne, cuts, athletes foot, insect, flea bites

Hot Water Bottle - relaxes tight muscles, increases circulation, helps gastric issues, relaxes tight kidneys, and creates warmth, helpful for menstrual cramps.

Salt Pack - arm, hand problems, earaches, gastric issues, stomach aches