Is there such a thing as food addiction?

Having just attended a food addiction symposium, the evidence says YES, food addiction is alive and kicking.  In fact it is believed amongst experts that over 50% of obese people have a food addiction and that sugar is at least as addictive as coccaine! Food addicts spoke out at the symposium, reporting lives dominated by an insatiable drive to eat and stating how relieved they were to realise they are not alone in their plight and that their overeating is not gluttony (as many believe) but a valid addiction.  There are still many non-believers however – their view is that since we have to eat to live, food cannot be considered an addictive substance.  But they only need to look at the way our food supply has changed over the past 50 years – real foods like fruit, vegetables etc increasingly sidelined by products that simulate food; products that are manufactured and would never exist naturally. “Foods” with hyperpalatable combinations of sugar, fat and salt are carefully engineered to hijack the brain in a way that overrides willpower, judgement and personal responsibility and it is these “foods” that are the key culprits when it comes to addiction.
Dr Doug Sellman, an expert in addiction says that “behind every addiction is an engineered moreish product” Think alcohol, tobacco and soft drinks and you can see what he means.  And what is behind engineered moreish products….big companies driven by profit! Continue reading

Gluten free blueberry muffins

This version of blueberry muffins uses brown rice flour and ground almonds instead of wheat flour.   I personally love using alternative flours to wheat flour and think that the results are often better. They can be healthier too as gluten free flours do not require as much fat and sugar to tenderise.  These muffins are light and very delicious – served warm they just melt in the mouth!

Makes 12 medium muffins
Time to make 30 minutes

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Ginger and walnut stuffed pears

Ginger and walnut stuffed pears
I love ginger and walnuts so anything using them is a hit with me. The slow cooking of the pears first ie before adding the stuffing, caramelises and intensifies the natural sugars making a deliciously sweet dessert with little added sugar. Good enough to serve for a special dinner!

Serves 8
Time to make  5 minutes plus  2 hours cooking time

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Power oat pancake

This pancake is so easy to make for one person and has great sustaining powers.  The egg together with the fibre from the oats and oatbran will keep you going for 4 hours at least.  Topped with fruit and yoghurt it is so delicious it will have you leaping out of bed in the morning!
Serves 1
Time to make  5 minutes

So delicious it is worth getting up for!

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Snacks – do they look after our health and weight?

A muffin or slice with a milky drink can provide 1/4 the kilojoules you need each day!

Do you regularly snack or graze? Are you driven by hunger, boredom, habit or the belief that the body needs a constant supply of food? Whatever the reason, the reality is that in most cases snacking works against our health and weight.
Snacking is almost a given these days. The 3 meal a day pattern (with little in between) is threatened as a profit driven and growing food industry needs us to eat more and more. Psuedo science tells us we need to drip feed ourselves with food, just as it tells us we need to do with water, where people cling limpet-like to their water bottles, fearful that letting go will cause instant dehydration. Continue reading

What is happening to our cooking skills?????

London supermarkets have become ready-to-go food outlets rather than a place to source ingredients.

Michael Pollan has just put out a new book called “Cooked, a natural history of transformation”. I love the catchphrase on the cover as it sums up craziness of the food world we live in. ” In a culture of food reality shows, in countries which are crammed with fresh ingredients from every corner of the earth, we none the less wade even deeper into a swamp of processed foods. The more we watch food on television, the less food we actually prepare and cook”

Ring true? Cooking has become a spectator sport that encourages eating rather than the honing of our personal food skills. We cook less but eat more as a myriad of tantalising
foods tempt us at every turn. Supermarkets, particularly in the UK and USA have moved away from selling ingredients and instead have become giant take away stores. Ingredients are relatively expensive and hard to find while attractive and conveniently presented ready to go options dominate the food aisles. With competitive pricing it is no wonder people flop on the couch with a ready to go meal rather than having to spend valuable TV time in the kitchen preparing and cooking food! Continue reading

Gold star to Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

With more than a third of London’s 11 year olds overweight the Mayor of London Boris Johnson is launching a £600,000 project called ‘Healthy Schools London’. This will recognise schools that are tackling obesity; it will give them monetary rewards if they provide healthy lunches and encourage children to exercise. I wish some of our New Zealand politicians would do the same; first however they need to recognise and acknowledge we have a problem, something they seem incredibly loathe to do!!! Continue reading

Apricot curry chicken with quinoa

I am sorry that recipes and comments have been thin on the ground this year – am on extended leave at the moment in Europe and recipe development has not been easy.  I will be back on home turf early July so promise to be more diligent then.  In the meantime I hope you like this delicious take on a recipe I found while in London (by Charlie Trotter).

Apricot curry chicken with quinoa
Serves 4
Time to make: 30 minutes Continue reading