Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pesticides Linked to Hyperactivity in Children

Children exposed to higher levels of pesticide found on commercially grown fruit and vegetables in the United States were more likely to have attention deficit/hyper-activity disorder (ADHD), according to a study published on Monday. Researchers in the United States and Canada studied data from 1139 children aged between 8 - 15 and found children with higher residue levels of pesticides known as organophosphates were roughly twice as likely to have ADHD, the study in the journal Pediatrics found.

"The present study adds to the accumulating evidence linking higher levels of pesticide exposure to adverse developmental outcomes," the study concluded. Roughly 40 organophosphate pesticides are registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency for use in the United States, and about 33.11 million kilograms of the pesticides were used in agricultural and residential settings in 2001, figures cited in the study said.

Although residential pesticide use is common, the National Academy of Sciences found that the major source of exposure for infants and children comes through the diet, the study added. According to a 2008 report cited by the study, detectable levels of pesticides were found in a range of vegetables. A sample of produce tested found 28% of frozen blueberries, 20% of celery and 25% of strawberries contained traces of one organophospate, known as malathion.

Other types of pesticides were found in 27% of green beans, 17% of peaches and 8 per cent of broccoli. According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 4.5 million children aged between 5 - 17 had been diagnosed with ADHD up to 2006. Between 3 and 7% of school-aged children in the United States suffer from the condition, figures show.

So, the importance of organic food for children is no longer just a health fad. There is compelling evidence to show the advantages of avoiding pesticides.

As always, organic is simply the best for many reasons!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pear and Goats Feta Salad

What a special weekend we have had, i am in complete admiration for Jessica Watson who sailed around the world solo at age 16 - what an inspiration to us all !

This afternoon, i made another favourite staple of mine pear and goats feta salad. Here is my recipe, enjoy! Michelle

Pear and Goats Feta Salad
Serves 1
3 baby cos lettuce leaves, washed and shredded
1 corella pear, cored and thinly sliced
40g goats feta, crumbled
8 nuts (peanuts, walnuts, brazil), chopped
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1. In a large bowl toss all ingredients together and serve generously into one bowl and eat immediately while lettuce is crisp.

Recipe, photo, words by Michelle Thrift copyright 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cheesemaking Workshop

This week i had the most amazing experience of learning how to make soft cheese in a home style kitchen environment. It was a full day of cheese making jammed packed with loads of interesting facts and tips for making cheeses. In soft cheese class we learnt how to make Camembert, Fetta, Ricotta, Quarg (Cream Cheese), Mascarpone and Yoghurt. To top it all off at the end of the day we were given a goodie bag which included a sample of each product to take home. Visit: Happy Cooking! Cheers, Michelle

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chia - My New Favorite Ingredient for You!

Chia seeds were first used as food as early as 3500 BC and were one of the main dietary components of the Aztecs and the Mayans. Chia seeds were eaten as a grain, drunk as a beverage when mixed with water, ground into flour, included in medicines, pressed for oil and used as a base for face and body paints.

Chia is one of nature's complete superfoods and contains the highest plant based source of Omega 3, dietary fibre and protein. It is a great tasting seed that is easy to include in the daily diet for improved health.

Omega 3’s – chia contains 20% omega 3 which means that chia is anti-inflammatory, great for your skin and essential for healthy hormone balance

Dietary fibre – chia contains 36% fibre so this will help to keep your cholesterol low and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Antioxidants – chia is bursting with antioxidants that help to neutralize free radicals and promote health and vitality.

Here is a fantastic recipe courtesy of The Chia Co, who grow chia in the pristine Kimberley region of South Australia at a latitude that maximizes omega 3 content.

Crunchy apricot & Chia Granola


300g rolled oats 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/3 cup honey, warmed 2 tablespoons light olive oil 100g sultanas 100g dried apricots, diced120g hazelnuts, roughly chopped 100g shredded coconut 60g sunflower seeds 30g black chia seeds


Pre-heat oven to 160oC. Combine oats, hazelnuts, shredded coconut, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, honey and olive oil in a large bowl. Make sure the honey coats the grains and nuts evenly. Spoon mixture into a large baking tray lined with non-stick paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the granola becomes golden and crunchy. Stir frequently while cooking.3. Add sultanas and apricots and stir through granola. Store in an airtight container and serve topped with a dollop of your favorite yoghurt.
PS My favorite breaky at the moment is Dovedale's Chia bread with sauteed spinach and a poached organic egg. This keeps me feeling energetic for hours and hours!