Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Bring Back the Bitter Taste

Have you noticed that the modern diet has way less foods that are bitter in flavor. In fact farmers are growing the bitter out of greens and other vegetables. Apparently over the past 100 years, the bitter taste has been selectively removed from our modern meals.

This means our receptors for bitter taste are not being used - these receptors appear on the tongue, throughout the digestive system and even on the pancreas. We actually have 25 bitter receptors in our gastrointestinal tract but only 1 receptor for a sweet taste and 1 for the umami taste.

When something bitter hits our tongue, a message is sent to the gut to stimulate the production of enzymes and to start the digestive process. Today, without this important flavor, we are aren't getting the vital stimulation, and as a result, digestive issues, cravings for sweets, or weight gain can happen.

A bitter taste is one of the important 5 flavors in Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with salty, sweet, sour, and pungent. Bitter corresponds to the season of summer, and is the flavor of the Fire element. Bitter is a powerful mover especially for the heart and small intestine. Of course, too much can be damaging. Coffee is bitter and overdoing it can spike blood pressure levels and affect heart health. In the long term coffee drains our reserves of energy.

Traditionally, bitter foods - greens, herbs, and roots - were brewed into a tonic.  This tonic was taken after a meal to help the digestive pocess. Bitter greens and herbs were also used after the long winter months to detox the system, and provide important nutrients.

Bitter foods have been known throughout history to have powerful medicinal properties

Here are some of the ways that bitters can boost your system

Help to stop over eating
Control sugar cravings and excess hunger
Stimulate the liver to produce bile which makes it work more effeciently
Increase nutritional absoption
Support a smooth and healthy digestion
Protect against cancer, diabetes,and heart disease
Promote healthy blood sugar levels
Improve energy and endurance
Provide plenty of vitamins and minerals

Bitter Tasting Foods 
that can be easily included in our meals

Dandelion greens
Radish greens
Mustard greens
Carrot tops

Orange and lemon rind
Green olives - traditionally prepared

Daikon (smaller ones)
Cucumbers (sometimes)


Sesame seeds especially black

Grain coffee
Green tea

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Golden Paste for Dogs

This paste is super easy to make and will last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

I have been making it or my dogs and they love it mixed in with their food - all home made of course.

Here are some of the wonderful benefits of Golden Paste

  1. Natural detox
  2. Has anti-inflammatory properties
  3. Nourishing to the heart and liver
  4. Fights bacteria
  5. Aids the digestion
  6. Helps with allergies
  7. Cancer prevention
  8. Good for arthritis
  9. Natural pain relief
  10. Helps with seizures
  11. Aids in reduction of tumor 
  12. Prevents cataracts
  13. Immune support

The basic recipe only has 4 ingredients
1/2 cup organic turmeric powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup spring water
1-2 teaspoons ground black or cayenne pepper

Can also add 
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric

Here's what you do

Make sure you add the turmeric carefully as it can dye anything it comes into contact with, a bright yellow!

Place the powder into a small pan
Add the water
Heat on a low flame and stir until it becomes thick and smooth. Make sure the powder is well blended. You may need to add a little more water if it is too thick.
Add the coconut oil and mix well.
Remove from the heat and add the pepper. You can also add the additional ingredients at this point.
Pour into a glass storage container and allow to cool.

How much to give

Start small so your dog gets used to the taste. Too much too quickly can cause loose stools.

The amount is about 1/4 teaspoon per 5kgs of weight.
So smaller dogs may have between 1/4-1 teaspoon.
Larger dogs could have 1 tablespoon.

Happy healthy dogs everyone! Love Chef Mel xx

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Please Pass the Watermelon

On a scorching, hot day, there is nothing more refreshing than a large slice of juicy watermelon. The burst of sweetness and bright red color is both uplifting and delicious.

This vine-like flowering plant is actually native to Southern Africa, where many wild varieties grow in abundance and range from super sweet to bitter.  

Watermelon is both a fruit and a vegetable and the rind, flesh and seeds, can be consumed in various ways from soup to pickles. 

Watermelon can be served with a pinch of sea salt which helps to balance the potassium and high wáter content. It can actually make the watermelon taste even sweeter.

Watermelon has a long list of health benefits as a result of its unique nutrients. These include high levels of vitamin A and C, calcium, magnesium, fiber, protein, and a significant amount of potassium. It also contains a wide variety of carotenoids and phytonutrients, including lycopene.

Here are some of the amazing benefits of this delicious veg/fruit

Watermelon contains a rich supply of the amino acid, citrulline which  can help artery function, reduce muscle soreness, and relax blood vessels. Citrulline also provides other cardiovascular benefits such as increased blood flow and a drop in blood pressure.

It is good for weight management as it helps you to feel full for longer and is very low in calories, containing less than a gram of fat per slice. The citrulline in watermelon has been shown to reduce the accumulation of fat in the fat cells.

Watermelon is at least 90% wáter which is perfect for staying hydrated in hot weather. It is also good for lowering body temperature, and preventing heat stroke. The high wáter content and anti-oxidants in the fruit slow down the aging process especially wrinkles and age spots.

Watermelon is rich in phenolic compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids, and triterpenoids which makes it a wonderful choice for antioxidant and anti inflammatory health. Choose a lovely, ripe fruit because then the levels are even higher.

The high levels of the antioxidant, lycopene, makes watermelon a great choice for building stronger bones. The high potassium levels, which help to retain calcium in the body, are also nourishing for the bones and joints.

Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C which is vital for immune health and healing in general.
It is is a natural diuretic and is helpful for washing out any toxic deposits in the kidneys. It can also help to lower the concentration of uric acid in the blood. The fruit contains glutathione which can improve liver function and help lower colesterol.

It is alkaline forming which keeps the immune strong and reduce the risk of illness. Munching on a few pieces of watermelon can also help with heartburn.

The lovely rich ,red color of the fruit means it is high in beta carotine which converts to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is super nourishing to the eyes,  skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, and mucus membranes.

Watermelons can be good for diabetes as the  mild, sweet taste is very satisfying and gives few calories.  At least ninety percent of its total weight comes from water and roughage. The potassium and magnesium content aid in the proper functioning of insulin in the body, thus helping to keep blood sugar levels down.

The high wáter and fiber in the fruit is great for colon health as it helps the elimination process. A common problem for people with colon issues is dehydration. Incorporating more liquids into the daily diet is key in achieving a cleaner colon, and smooth digestion. Watermelon helps to lubricate digested food and provides hydration to help break it down.


A watermelon fast a wonderful and simple way to cleanse and detox the body during summer months. This fast is a great way to get started with a healthy eating plan as it resets your appetite, and eliminates cravings for unhealthy foods.

It is super easy and all  you do is consume a large bowl of freshly cut watermelon, nothing else, for 3-4 meals throughout the day. You can fast for one day or few if your health allows. You can also make a delicious juice from watermelon, including the rind. This part has a high concentration of minerals and makes balance with the sweetness of the flesh.

Fasting or not, watermelon is a marvelous addition to any summer menú. Enjoy x

I decided to post this article here as it has lots of great information. I actually wrote it for the SHA magazine in 2016

Friday, May 3, 2019

Agar Agar Power

Agar Agar Power

Agar Agar literally means Cold Heaven and is a gelatinous substance that is comes from the cell walls of the red seaweeds Tengusa (Gelidiaceae) or Ogonori (Gracilaria). It is often used as an alternative to animal dirived gelatine.
As  Agar Agar is low in calories, carbohydrates, fats, and sugar, it is an ideal addition to any weight loss plan. Agar agar is also an appetite suppressant as it consists of water-soluble, indigestible fibre.  The fiber absorbs water giving a feeling of fullness and making  it easier for people to lower their food intake. Agar agar also absorbs glucose in the stomach and passes it quickly through the digestive system. This helps to stabilise blood sugar and block the storage of fat
The Kanten diet in Japan is used by women who want to maintain or lose weight. They simply add a teaspoon of the agar agar powder to tea or hot water and have it before every meal.

The soluble fibre in Agar Agar also absorbs toxins from the gastrointestinal tract and moves the waste easily out of the body. It is often used as a remedy for constipation as the fibre in Agar Agar forms bulk by absorbing the water in the gut. This acts as a healthy and natural laxative.
Agar agar contains both calcium and magnesium and the combination is excellent for increasing bone density and for bone health in general.
Agar Agar also contains galactose which is commonly known as “brain sugar”. Galactose could play a vital part in removing neurotoxic compounds from the brain in patients that suffer from Alzheimer's disease”.

Fresh berry aspic with agar agar

Agar Agar often replaces getatin in cooking. It can be used to make healthy and delicious jellies, mousses, ice cream, jams and to thicken soups and stews. Agar agar comes in bars, flakes or powder form. A special infusion for constipation consists of agar agar disolved in boiling water and sweetened with rice syrup.

Here is the Recipe for Agar tea

 Place a little more than 1 cup of spring water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Add a tablespoon of Agar-agar flakes or one teaspoon of Agar-agar powder.
 Simmer on a low flame and stir continuously until the flakes have melted 
and the liquid becomes clear.
Add a tablespoon of rice syrup and drink warm.

Good for

Bloating and gas
Weight management
Relaxing and cooling for the body

Grain Coffee Mousse using agar agar

I highly recommend everyone have agar agar in their kitchens and have a go at adding it to simple mousses, puddings, and savory aspics. You will love the results.

Love Melanie xx

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Eat Healthy with Melanie

My revised edition of Eat Me Now! is out under a new title Eat Healthy with Melanie.
It is packed with easy to prepare, yet yummy recipes. I encourage you to dive in and have a go at cooking some delicous, healthy, and satisfying dishes for you, your friends, and family.

You can get the book on amazon in any country.

Here is the link to

Eat Healthy with Melanie includes -
  • How to keep your immune strong
  • Ways to eat healthy foods in college
  • How organic, living food increase your energy levels
  • How to heal the earth with the way you eat
  • Natural and healthy ways to maintain weight
  • Over 140 heavenly, sugar-free vegan recipes
  • How to go green and get fit 

Step by step we can change the world for all living beings xx

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