HOW many of us personally know someone suffering from a disease caused by poor eating habits?
It seems we're getting sicker, and part of the problem is our modern diet of intensively-farmed foods grown unnaturally using a cocktail of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
As long ago as 337 BC, Hippocrates, stated, "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food".
I think it's time we listened and invested more in producing high-quality food.
Author Hazel Key, who's written a book to help busy mums make healthy home-made lunches for children believes organic is the answer.
She is an advocate of home-cooking in preference to eating fast and manufactured foods.
She points out that the ingredients used in many processed foods are often sub-standard and bear little resemblance to the original produce.
It's been said you "should only eat food your grandmother would recognise". I think that's wise advice.
Hazel, a mother of two, jokes about being "the former CEO of a tuck shop".
But it's where she learned something important: that getting kids to eat healthily is made much easier if you offer nutritious versions of familiar foods.
"Kids are often wary of obscure food, so my approach is to offer them sushi, meatballs, pizza, even chocolate cake. But it's essential to use the best-quality and healthiest ingredients, especially organic and whole foods."
She believes in eating widely and including all the food groups while limiting the amount of processed food in the diet.
"We have to realise our food is the first defence against disease. Too often we rely on supplements, drugs and other remedies. Yes, those have their place, but preventing disease in the first place is surely what it's all about."
Hazel's sesame chicken toasties
Makes up to 18 serves
500g (1lb 2oz) lean minced chicken, not previously frozen
2 cloves minced garlic (about 1 tspn)
2 tspn fresh minced ginger
2 tblsp (about a handful) fresh- leaf coriander chopped
2 tblsp sweet chilli sauce
1 large loaf, sliced multi-grain/wholemeal bread
About ¾ cup sesame seeds
Combine the chicken with the garlic, ginger, coriander and chilli sauce.
Divide the mix between the slices of bread and spread to the edges.
Spread sesame seeds on a plate or other flat surface and press the bread, chicken side down, into the seeds to coat the chicken.
Freeze them in their own, separate, sealed container in layers with non-stick baking paper between the layers (raw meat must not be stored in the same container as cooked foods).
Remove from the freezer 30-60 minutes before cooking.
For cooking there are two options:
Toasting - Place the toasts, chicken side down in a lightly oiled pre-heated sandwich toaster (or under a medium grill) until the chicken is cooked through and browned a little.
Frying - Heat about 2 tblsp oil in a frying pan on a medium-to-high heat until hot. Shallow fry, chicken side down first, until golden, before lightly frying the other side. Drain on absorbent paper.
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