Summer is coming - woohoo!!!

Bring it on!

BeefBrothBlocks are Lola's favourite summer snack.

Lola thinks they are a treat. I think they are a nutritious banquet on a stick - so I have no problem with her eating several on a hot day.

Packed full of all the wonderful nutrients contained in bone broth, you can add some beautiful fats with an avocado, and some lovely antioxidants with fresh fruit.

You could add a sweetener (like honey - but maybe consider avoiding artificial sweeteners) if you have a sweet tooth - but it is worth trying them without first, especially for kids. You will be surprised how good they taste without extra sugar.

If you are feeling brave, add a pinch of chilli or cayenne. A bit of heat masks a lack of sweetness, and adds a bit more depth.

Or you could sprinkle some Fresh As powder into the molds (find it on the shelves at Farro - while you are there you can grab some of our broth - but look in the freezer, you won't find it in the chiller). Your BeefBrothBlocks will come out with a bright, sprinkled effect.

Here is our recipe, and here is a picture (thanks Jane!) of the finished product


Where can you buy The Essential Broth?

We are in some pretty great places these days!

Find us in the FREEZERS at...



Moreish Online Butchery


Huckleberry (selected stores – phone ahead to check)                             

Commonsense Organics (selected stores – phone ahead to check)

Farro Fresh (selected stores – phone ahead to check)                                                               

Ripe Deli Grey Lynn                            

Ceres Organics Ellerslie                       

Wise Cicada Newmarket      

Rich Ellis Personal Training Greenhithe                          

Gorganics Orewa   

The Raw Essentials stores


Taylored Fitness 

The Raw Essentials stores

NEW PLYMOUTH                                 

Down to Earth Organics 



Chantal Organics 


The Island Grocer   


Commonsense Organics (selected stores – phone ahead to check)         


If you know of any great food stores that you think might be a good fit for us - please let us know!

Mothers On a Mission

We are very proud supporters of Claire Deeks and her Mothers On a Mission tour.

I just got home from the first event (Auckland), and it was absolutely brilliant! Claire ran through what has gone wrong with kids' food, and then offered practical solutions for improving the nutrition of children. The talk was hilarious, and inspiring.

She also talked about why she is campaigning to ditch the 'Health Star Rating' system - read more about that here, and sign the petition if you agree.

The attendees all went home with some Essential Broth in the goody-bags. We were in good company alongside fabulous products like Cathedral Cove (their Raspberry-Chia Coconut Yoghurt is something else!).

I may have coerced a few people into having a go at baking and 'treats' with the beef broth. You can use beef broth (skim the fat off first and hang on to it for cooking with) for pretty much anything that requires a liquid - hot chocolate, brownies, smoothies etc. The favourite in my house are Beef Broth Ice Blocks, aka 'dinner & dessert on a stick.' So much goodness in them - Lola loves them, and will sometimes eat two or three a day.

Here is my recipe. Enjoy!



Beautiful, yet terrifying visual or what is happening in our food & medical systems...

The first antibiotic - penicillin - was discovered 88 years ago (for a magnificent re-telling of the discovery, THIS in one of my all time favourite reads).

A lack of foresight, or some might argue - greed, and a wilful obtusity, in the fields of medicine and agriculture has led to a modern crisis: Antibiotic resistance.

A team at Harvard University has produced this short film to demonstrate the evolution of antibiotic resistance in 11 days.

It is a strangely beautiful clip - a wonderful demonstration of the magnificence of evolution (if you are interested in evolution, then THIS BOOK is an absolute must-read); and a terrifying glimpse at how vulnerable we may be when we fail to adequately respect nature.

If our planet is to thrive, food and medicine must change in the coming years to preserve natural ecologies, and work in harmony with nature.

Rainy day dumplings

Seriously distracted by a lecture (see link below if you are a fellow microbaphile) on gut microbes by Alessio Fasano (the godfather of gut permeability) today, so food-prep time is limited. 

Hooray for a handful of dumplings and Bok Choy tossed into some Chicken & Duck broth (along with some garlic and coconut aminos). Got broth - got dinner! 


5 minute dinner for Lola

I'm playing catch-up rugby today, so I didn't get a chance to prepare dinner for Lola.

So I made '5 minute dinner' a.k.a. 'broth with chopped things in it.'

I got some of the Organic Chicken simmering and dropped in some NZ Salmon fillets, a splash of coconut aminos, salt and pepper, garlic, tsatsoi, and coriander.

A few minutes later, Lola's dinner is on the table, and George is gazing up at her with hopeful eyes. You get your broth later tonight, George!

My favourite online butcher...

 Visit the Moreish website  here .

Visit the Moreish website here.

We are super chuffed to be on the Moreish website!

If you haven't checked them out already, Moreish are a fabulous online butchery based in Palmerston North. They offer a wide range of free-range and organic meats - from wild and farmed animals.

I order a box every couple of months, and it always arrives looking immaculate and nutrient-dense. The diced-wild goat was the highlight of my last box.

"We believe the food you feed your family should be as naked and natural as the day you were born. You should know what has gone into your food. If you buy meat, it should be just that – meat. Not that indecipherable stuff pumped full of additives or antibiotics. It’s no good for the animals – and it’s no good for us either."  Moreish

Beef Broth – Is there no end to your talents?

Bone broth is full of beneficial nutrients, so I love to eat some every day.

There are so many ways to eat broth – my go-to is the simple ‘BROTHEE.’ This is a heated cup of broth with a whole lot of optional extras (salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger, coconut aminos, fish sauce, a raw egg, chopped veges or meat).

But did you know that broth can be used for SWEETS, DRINKS and BAKING too?

Beef broth has a mild flavor – if you scrape off the fat (hang on to it and roast veges in it), the remaining liquid can be used in a huge range of beverages and baking.

This week I have been drinking HOT CHOCOLATE WITH BEEF BROTH. This adds some lovely, healthful flavonoids (from the cacao) to all the goodies in broth. And it is delicious!

Here is my version… Hot Spicy Beefy Chocolate

The New Broths hit the stores today!


From today you will be able to choose from:

Chicken & Duck
Organic Chicken,
and Grass-Fed Beef.

They are all lovingly brewed with the best, locally sourced ingredients we can find.

We have a shiny new logo, and some quirky characters to represent our three broths.

Our staff have been busy taste-testing and experimenting. The consensus is that they are all super delicicious!

You can grab your Essential Broth from these locations.

More info below (let me know if you have any questions)...

click here to enlarge

Coming up...

We make bone broth because we care about gut health.
Gut health is all about inflammation, acidity and microbes.
I've got some cool posts about these three things coming up in the next little while.
Watch this space.
Happy brothing!

Chicken&Duck has some new friends...

 The Essential  Chicken&Duck  has some new friends: watch out for them in store over the next couple of weeks...

The Essential Chicken&Duck has some new friends: watch out for them in store over the next couple of weeks...

  OrganicChicken  - made with Bostocks organic chicken and Chantal Organic ACV, and...

OrganicChicken - made with Bostocks organic chicken and Chantal Organic ACV, and...

  Beef  - made with Neatmeat beef, and Chantal Organic ACV.

Beef - made with Neatmeat beef, and Chantal Organic ACV.

The new broths are being labelled now, and will be hitting the stores over the next couple of weeks.

They are all pretty fabulously delicious. The Beef broth tastes just like the bouillon soup that my Oma used to make for my brothers and I when we were little. Oma would let us watch the Billy T James Show while we ate our soup. Good memories.

Speaking of soup - every week my leftover Ooooby vegetables go into the pressure cooker with some broth. Thanks to Ooooby I have started to use a much wider range of veges. Last week MyMostFavouriteSoupEVER emerged from my precious pressure cooker. Who knew jerusalem artichokes, swiss chard, and organic chicken broth were so utterly destined to be together? The recipe is here (along with the recipe for the Kombucha Sourdough that I ate it with). You can find the artichokes and chard at places like Ooooby, Naturally Organic, and Harvest Wholefoods.

Do you want beautiful hair like one of those celebrities who is famous for no obvious reason?

So apparently the Kardashians (if you haven’t heard of them – don’t google – you are probably better off not knowing) are promoting a new miracle supplement - SugarBears - touted to give you lush, movie-star hair. Today's Herald ran a wee piece on it - you can read it here.



SugarBears are cute and blue and taste sweet. A month’s supply (including shipping) will set you back about $53.

They contain a collection of vitamins and minerals, glucose, additives and artificial colouring (‘Blue 1’).

So if nothing about that ingredients list bugs you (it all bugs me), and you can afford it, you could give them a go.

Or... could just drink broth.

Here is why I choose broth:

  • Broth contains the natural forms of zinc, b-group vitamins, and the other goodies that the SugarBears contain – as well as a whole lot more (lovely gut inflammation-reducing amino acids? Yes please!).
  • Broth also has protein – the building block of hair. SugarBears contains no protein.
  • Broth doesn’t contain sugar, or artificial colours. SugarBears do. Here is what Scientific American has to say about the safety of ‘blue 1,’ the colour used in SugarBears:
“Although toxicology studies have demonstrated that both of these dyes are relatively safe, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and other advocacy organizations have long argued that these and other artificial colorings may be linked to attention deficit disorder (ADD). In September 2007, a study in the U.K. medical journal The Lancet came to a similar conclusion, leading the European Parliament last July to order such products to carry a label warning consumers of the potential risk. Such concerns are behind the decision by the Nestlé–Rowntree candy company in England to pull its blue Smarties—an M&M look-alike—from shelves in 2005.”

A couple of packets of Essential Broth each week (dinner and supplements in one serve – boom!) will set you back about the same amount as the supplements.

Or you could DIY broth, and save even more.

Last night we cooked our pork belly (brilliant value from Moreish online butchery) in some Chicken & Duck broth with a few veges tossed in. Haircare that tastes good and fills you up. Good ol broth!

 Last night's dinner

Last night's dinner

Win 'What The Fat' & some free broth...



When picking up Raw Essentials for their pets, many of our clients joke “They eat better than we do!”

Wholesome food should be species-appropriate and delicious, and we would love for all our clients to feel like they eat a delectable, species-appropriate diet - just like their pets do.

Here are two ways that we can help…

1) We have opened a shiny new human-grade broth kitchen, brewing a delicious and nourishing bone broth for people. You can find out more about our Essential Broth for people on this website and follow us for news on the facebook page.

2) We have two signed copies of the New Zealand book ‘What The Fat’ to giveaway – kindly donated by Dr Caryn Zinn and Prof Grant Schofield. Dietician Caryn feeds her beautiful dog, Pepper, a Raw Essentials diet (read Pepper’s story here). ‘What The Fat’ explains the science and practicalities of attaining and maintaining optimal health by eating a wholefood diet, low in processed carbohydrates, and with plenty of healthy fats. This book is seriously good, and has already been life-changing for many Kiwis.

To enter the competition to win a copy of 'What The Fat' plus six packets of Essential Broth Chicken & Duck – just tell us why you, or someone you know, needs this book: You can comment on the link to this post on either the Raw Essentials, or Essential Broth Facebook pages.


We will announce the winner on Monday the 4th of April.


Want to lose weight and get healthy? Start by cleaning up your kitchen!

So a few weeks ago, Steve came home from work with a tape-measure and grand plans to build more bench space into our kitchen. He had finally had enough of having to move three appliance to three different spots just to access the toaster.

This threw me into the action that I had been dreading for several years now - a kitchen spring clean. Two days later I emerged, exhausted but triumphant, from my over-hauled kitchen. Bench-space as far as the eye could see; crisis-averted.

Over the next little while, I noticed a strong sense of renewed energy, enthusiasm and creativity in my food preparation. By cleaning up my kitchen, I had re-ignited my food-mojo.

And then an article on a recent study published in the journal 'Environment and Behaviour' landed in my inbox. It found that women were more likely to binge on junk food in a cluttered kitchen, and less likely to in a tidy kitchen.

The authors hypothesised that:

"Being in a chaotic environment and feeling out of control is bad for diets. It seems to lead people to think, 'Everything else is out of control, so why shouldn't I be?'"
"Although meditation, as a way of feeling in control, might be one way to resist kitchen snacking for some, it's probably easier just to keep our kitchens picked up and cleaned up."

This makes so much sense to me. And I really do think that my morning 'brothee' tastes even better now that the view is better.

Cheers all.


Chaos in your Fridge? Let Broth be your Souperhero...

A first-world problem, but a problem nonetheless:

My Oooby box arrived this morning.

I opened my fridge to start putting all the beautiful Oooby-ness away - only to find every shelf full to the brim with all the veges we didn't eat last week because we were out and about too much.

Oh how I LOATHE trying to find room in a crowded fridge!!!

 If you happen to like fresh, seasonal, local, organic produce delivered to your door - you will love Oooby. Click   here   to find out more about them.

If you happen to like fresh, seasonal, local, organic produce delivered to your door - you will love Oooby. Click here to find out more about them.

Wait - don't panic - I have broth!!!

So I haul all those unused veges out of the fridge.

And with a quick chop-chop, a splash of oil, a sprinkle of delicious Just Season salt (saves time on chopping your own herbs), a handful of lentils and farro (in my Ceres Soup Mix), and a couple of packets of Essential Broth - my slow-cooker will take care of the rest.

As usual, everything is optional in this recipe, except the broth.

Plenty of room in the fridge. Dinner made. Crisis averted. Here's to broth!



The Angry Post

So here are a few facts that make me lose sleep at night:

  • Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
  • NZ adults and children are around the third most overweight of all countries in the OECD.
  • We are right up there for diabetes too – and the rate is increasing yearly.

Crikey – that adds up to a whole lot of kids being robbed of a healthy childhood.

“So just eat less and exercise more (calories in, calories out) – it’s all about individual responsibility – people are overweight because they are greedy, or lazy, or both.”

Yeah – I used to think along those lines in another life. But these are really just useful catch-phrases much loved by industry and government departments as they absolve them of doing anything about the problem.

The calories in-calories out theory (balance your calorie intake with your exercise) is a flawed equation based on the first law of thermodynamics. It only works if humans are a simple, closed system – they are not! There are so many factors that affect how many calories we extract from different foods, and how much is stored as fat. This Zoe Harcombe lecture explains it very well.

And it is well established that calories from different foods act very differently (this book by a team of NZers explains the concept rather well).

Exercise is super important for optimal health, but as a weight-loss/control tool, it has very minimal effects. This has been well established in a multitude of studies.

Weight control is mostly about the food you eat, and the state of your gut health (your microbes).

The fact is things have changed rapidly in the last fifty years

  • Our food chain has become highly processed.
  • Our nutrient intakes have changed as a result.
  • The populations of microbes living in the human gut have altered drastically (the brilliant Martin Blasser explains why in this book) – this is hugely significant given that microbes play an instrumental role in determining whether or not our food makes us fat (this is why two people can eat exactly the same diet – but one person gets fat on it, while the other stays slim).

What are those three facts that are keeping me awake at night really about?

A global food chain that in which profit and health are largely mutually exclusive outcomes.

Nanny States

The argument goes that a government who regulates a food industry too tightly (ie limits advertising, restricts and taxes unhealthy ingredients, requires health warning labels) is creating a “nanny state” in which the right of the people to buy their kids a coke is being infringed upon.

It is clearly a strong argument, as evidenced by this: When the USDA tried to regulate the sale of soft drinks in schools, the fizzy drink companies successfully sued the USDA for ‘exceeding its authority’, and Congress removed the control that the USDA had over nutrition in schools. They later restored that controlled, but only on the condition that the USDA promise not to ban fizzy drinks and junk food in schools (Marion Nestle’s latest book is a wealth of information on this topic). The rights of children to have coke and chips for lunch prevail!

We have a right to eat our way to an early grave, damnit.

So this is an argument about rights.

I agree – rights are very important, but I would rank rights a little differently.

I would suggest that foremost should be the rights of children to grow up free from a pervasive, cancerous, ubiquitous, multi-billion dollar, direct and indirect (stealth) marketing-campaign designed to sell ‘food-like products’ (because it sure as hell isn’t actual food that Big Food companies sell) made of incredibly cheap ingredients – most of which have been shown to be detrimental to health – at a maximum profit.

I think ‘food-like products’ may even be too generous a term for many items (eg fizzy drinks and most breakfast cereals) – I just looked up the definition of poison: “a substance that is capable of causing the illness or death of a living organism when introduced or absorbed.” I think a lot of this rubbish is allowed to be sold as food simply because it doesn’t kill people obviously, or immediately.

I would rank the rights of a business to make money at the expense of the health of consumers somewhere further down my list of priorities.

But the food industry is working hard to make food healthier, isn't it?

So nutritionist, Nikki Hart would have you believe in her rather entertaining video series for the NZ Food and Grocery Council, as she appears to suggest that choosing a smaller sized can of sprite is the answer (watch an hilarious parody of the clip here). The big players in the food industry are answerable to their shareholders. Their job is to maximise profit. You can hardly blame them for coming up with creative and clever ways to protect profits. They know that by creating the appearance of self-regulation (with a few voluntary token restrictions) they can avoid pressuring the government into imposing external-regulation. They are expert at finding the level of compromise that will bring in the most coin, while keeping both government and consumers onside.

Alright, but the government will sort this out, won’t they?

Nope. Not really. Much as I favour democracy over other political systems, it sort of shoots itself in the foot on some issues of social-good. Industry has an enormous amount of influence over governments – this is documented very well in many books – ‘Death by Food Pyramid’ by Denise Minger being one of them.

The government, like big business, is answerable to its ‘shareholders’ – but not all shareholders have equal power. I think it is fairly obvious that the CEO of Nestle will have more power than an overweight, diabetic kid from a low socio-economic group. I’m not saying ‘down with big business’ – we need to drive the economy, right? I’m just saying I wish we could balance competing interests in a slightly more egalitarian manner.

Does this have anything to do with broth?

Well it sort of does a bit. Broth is just a good example of a real food – one that is cheap, good for you, and really quite accessible in New Zealand (easy enough to DIY if you can’t find an affordable local supplier).

Ultimately – I reckon that taxation and legislation are the best ways to protect people’s health on a population basis. But taxation and legislation won’t happen without the simmerings of public discontent. I am hoping that social media will grow as a tool for promoting real-food revolutions – that it will stir the pot of discontent, and lay the foundations for change.

Righto – I feel a bit better for getting that off my chest. Time to go a simmer a pot of my own for lunch. Cheers all.

A rainy start to the year calls for a bit of umami…

So this is the view from my window today:

 Omakiwi Cove, Bay of Islands

Omakiwi Cove, Bay of Islands

We are inside being entertained by the expressions on Lola's face as she watches 'The Princess Bride' for the first time.

There are a few sore heads and delicate appetites around here today, so I am thinking I need to get some umami on the table tonight. Japanese for “yummy,” umami is also (as of 2002) the fifth taste - alongside sweet, salty, bitter and sour. I am not sure how to describe umami properly – I guess it is the most intense of flavours, and it makes me think of rich, nutrient-dense, and fermented foods.

So I have thrown together something quick, easy, and umami-loaded. All the other tastes are catered for too…

  • Umami & salty – miso paste, soy sauce
  • Sweet –honey
  • Bitter – bulls blood beets
  • Sour – lime juice

And the other stuff...

  • Carrots
  • Edamame beans
  • Garlic
  • Sesame seeds (great source of calcium)
  • Kelp noodles
  • Chunks of salmon
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Bone broth

I have tossed it all into a bowl, except the broth, and left it to sit for a while. Later I am going to simmer it in the chicken and duck broth until the salmon is just cooked.

This meal is going to get everyone hungry again (hopefully), and the kelp, salmon and bone broth will give us an iodine hit. There is a resurgent problem with iodine-deficiency in New Zealand. Children are particularly at risk - iodine deficiency is the leading preventable cause of cognitive impairment. If you manage to eat enough iodised salt to get your levels up, you will be overdoing the salt – so getting some iodine into your diet via food is a must (and many would argue preferable to relying on supplementation).

No need for a New Years Resolution when super healthy food tastes this umami!

Cheers everyone.

Why broth? Because it doesn’t release opioid molecules across your gut when you are on a lovely beach holiday – hooray!

So we are having a family getaway at some pretty amazing beaches in the far north. Cooking good food on the go is a bit of a challenge when you have a dairy-free girl (or any kind of sensitive gut issue to cater for).

 Otaio Bay, Urupukapuka Island

Otaio Bay, Urupukapuka Island

What better to eat with our kai moana than a salad; and a blob of hot, buttery mashed potatoes? Turns out you can leave out the butter and milk, and replace them with a good splash of bone broth to make a dairy-free version. I also added a spoonful of this lovely miso paste (soybeans, water, slake salt and koji seed - but many misos contain wheat, so you have to do some label-checking if you have sensitivities) for a more intense flavour.

The mashies were a rich, savoury hit of delisciousness!

So what does all that have to do with opioid molecules?

Well it turns out that A1 milk (the most commonly available commercial milk), and wheat-based products (like bread and pasta) release molecules called ‘food opioids’ which cross the gut barrier and reach the nervous system. A dose of morphine (a pharmaceutical opioid known for its pain-relieving qualities) is lovely if you have just had a particularly painful operation, but a chronic low dose of ‘morphine’ infusion from our daily bread/milk may not be quite so good for us.

While many people appear to be able to tolerate these molecules, there are lots of people who don’t do well on wheat, or A1 diary products. A complex interaction of individual genetics and gut bacteria populations will inevitably mean that some people can chow down on bread and butter every day and still function fairly normally, but others will be better off avoiding these foods. Food opioids have been associated with a host of issues including schizophrenia, autism, diabetes, and various other inflammatory disorders.

So if your doctor, dietician or health professional has suggested that you try a DF, GF (diary-free, gluten(wheat)-free) diet – it’s not all bad news - broth could be your new best friend!

Now I just need to figure out how to incorporate it into a New Years Eve cocktail. Any ideas?

Happy New Year everyone!