Vitamin D the Sun Vitamin 

vitamin D image

Vitamin D is a steroid vitamin, made by your body when your skin is exposed to the sun. So it’s often referred to as the sun vitamin.

It’s most known for it’s role in calcium absorption and keeping our bones strong, but more recently research shows it’s also important for the immune system, for muscles, the heart and lungs, it has anti-cancer effects and is important for brain development and mood.

Vitamin D deficiency is a huge problem around the world. In New Zealand  48% of adults and 57% of children are deficient in vitamin D.

The most common symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include a poor immune system, fatigue and tiredness, bone, muscle & back pain, hair loss, bone loss, poor wound healing and depression.  Fatigue, anxiety and panic attacks can often be improved by having optimal vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D is necessary for creating serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters that help with feeling calm and happy.   Depression and other mental health conditions can be caused by inflammation of the brain. Vitamin D helps dampen down the fire of inflammation to healthy levels. It also stimulates brain repair.

Aim to get 20 mins of sun exposure daily without sunscreen.  Avoid getting burnt, but get just enough to slowly tan.

Encourage little ones to play outside whenever possible.  For adults make an effort to work outside as much as possible, eat your lunch in the sun daily or play outside with your kids to soak up those healing rays.

Collecting enough vitamin D in summer to last all year is very important. Those with darker skins need more time in the sun than those with fairer skin.

Try to use sunscreen minimally.  When using opt for natural sunscreens with a zinc base.  Avoid chemical based sunscreens. Your local organic shop will have lots of options to choose from.

Being sensible in the sun is important but so is collecting plenty of vitamin D.  Find a balance that works for your own family and get in the sun and surf this summer.

Abby Soares
Registered Nurse | Nutritionist | Health Coach
Nourish Holistic Health & Nutrition Ltd

Grain Free Apple Muffins

apple muffins
I love these apple muffins, they are delicious and my kids adore them.  They freeze well, so double or triple the batch, they are great for lunch boxes or snacks on the go straight out of the freezer.
This is a great replacement for a sandwich in the lunch box or to settle sweet cravings in the afternoon with a cup of herbal tea.


  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup homemade stewed apples
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 2-3 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 T honey (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Grease a muffin pan with coconut oil.
  3. Put all ingredients into a medium sized bowl and mix with immersion blender or whisk until well mixed.
  4. Let sit 5 minutes.
  5. Use ⅓ cup measure to spoon into muffin tins.
  6. Bake 12-15 minutes until starting to brown and not soft when lightly touched on the top.
  7. Let cool 2 minutes, drizzle with honey (if desired) and serve.




x x  x

2014-08-03 14.47.04-1

Healthy Halloween


With three little boys I know how much kids ADORE halloween and who wouldn’t! Dressing up in scary costumes, trick or treating and seeing all the other kids in the neighbourhood doing the same is a super fun.

Because our family eats such a nutrient dense diet with only natural sugars from honey and fruit my kids feel quite horrible when they do eat sugar.  The colours, flavours, high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar puts too much toxicity into their little systems and they know this makes them feel horrible.

Often we think lollies as treats occasionally are ok and generally that is true, if 90% of what you eat is really healthy then your body can usually cope with 10% of your diet that isn’t.  However with my work as a nurse and a health coach I see time and time again the impact that even ‘treat’ foods have on our health.   The toxins from the lollies don’t just go in  and come out.  Our bodies are bombarded with so much toxicity these days, from the water we drink to the sprays on our food and in the environment, that our bodies have a hard time keeping up and getting them out.    These toxins congest our brains and organs and get stuck in our fat cells often staying in our bodies for years.


So what can we do to protect our kids health and still enjoy festivals like Halloween?

  1. I make sure everyone is really well feed before trick or treating.   When your hungry its impossible to resist eating the junk!
  2. If they have healthy sweet things to munch on along the way they won’t feel like they are missing out. So arm them with plenty of real food options such as…
    • annies fruit strips
    • ceres seaweed sheets
    • ceres raw bars
    • bliss balls
    • organic chocolate
    • kombucha or pure fruit juice drinks

    These are definitely not every day foods for my boys so they adore them when they’re on offer.

  3. We don’t eat the lollies we trick or treat for but we have another use for them.  My boys trick or treat and collect all the lollies as usual, but instead of eating them they cash them in to me for
    • money
    • raisins
    • toys
    • or a special trip like going to the movies

    They think this is really cool, they still get to have fun, eat heaps and be with their friends but instead of a headache and a sore tummy they get to trade their lollies for a bounty of cash or an exciting trip out instead!!!

This may sound hard out but it works well for my family and you might find it works for yours.


Yes as a parent this is a lot more work and more expensive but when you’ve had sick kids and they become well again you never want to go back there so your willing to go the extra mile!

I often throw a little halloween party with lots of fun games that don’t revolve around food and the kids have an absolute blast.

Summary of surviving a healthy Halloween!

  • Feed them up with a good dinner before going trick or treating
  • Negotiate to cash in their lollies for something else such as money, a trip to the movies or toys
  • Give them refined sugar free treats so they can still feel like they’re having fun and are not being deprived of the sweetness (refined sugar free means natural sugars such as fruit or honey, NOT sugar free sweeteners!)
  • Make it a great social night with likeminded friends

So there you go…a few tips to make your Halloween a little bit healthier




x x x


Paleo Granola


Granola is a lovely treat breakfast in our house.

I make a batch once a week and the kids love it.  Its also a great snack for after school activities or long car trips!

Nourish Paleo Granola

  • 1 cup of cashews
  • 1 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup of almond
  • 1 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  1. Soak all nuts and seeds (except chia, do this separately) in a bowl of water overnight with 1 teaspoon of salt to neutralise the phytic acid and activate.
  2.  Drain and pat dry (Chia drain as best you can and add wet to other nuts and seeds)
  3. Place on sheets in dehydrator at 40 degrees for 12 hours or place in roasting pan with  2 table spoons of coconut oil and bake at 40 degrees for approx 2 hours or until nuts and seeds are crunchy (every oven is different!)
  4. Once nuts and seeds are dry you can serve them as is or mix in 1 tablespoon of honey and serve.

Serve with any of these options

  • almond milk
  • blended berries
  • raw organic yogurt
  • coconut yogurt
  • banana and berry blend (1/2 a banana and 1 handful of berries blended)
  • dried fruit

The great thing about this dish is that it can easily be nut free or add or exclude any nut/seed that suits your tastes.   I usually double the recipe!

If your little one finds the nuts and seeds too bulky give them a quick pulse in the blender to break them down to a more agreeable size!

This sounds recipes sounds labour intensive but its not once you have done it a few times and the taste is certainly worth it!!!



x x x 

Easy crunchy linseed crackers

linseed crackers

I love this recipe which literally has 3 ingredients and requires minimal effort!

Replacing refined grain crackers with activated seed crackers will enhance your health significantly.


  • 1/4 cup of golden linseeds
  • 1/4 cup of brown linseeds (if you only have one type of linseeds just go for 1/2 a cup of the one variety)
  • Soak in glass jar in water overnight with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in to awaken the seeds, activate their nutrients and neutralise the physic acid and enzyme inhibitors.
  • In the morning tip off any remaining soaking water
  • Mix the two seeds types together
  • Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • On a lined baking tray spread salted seed mixture over the baking paper to a 1 cm thin depth.
  • Cook at 45 degree’s for 4 hours to keep raw
  • If in a hurray cook at 100 degree’s for 1 hour or until crispy
  • When hard and crispy break into cracker pieces
  • Store in airtight container.

Seeds are like the broom that sweeps the gut, cleaning out any debris lurking in there.

Seeds are also amazingly nutrient dense, holding all the nutrients required to grow a plant.  When we eat activated seeds these provide an excellent source of fuel to boost immunity and feed our healthy gut bacteria.


x x x

Sick Kids | Getting them back on track


Little ones recurrently unwell?  Feel like they just get over a bug and then they’re sick again?

Knowledge is power, so when you understand how the immune system works, what compromises and optimises it, then you have more control over your health.


The Gut is said to be the root of all illness, in fact 85 % of our immunity is housed here as good bacteria, therefore if our gut is not functioning optimally then neither is our immunity!!

Our digestive lining is covered with billions and billions of friendly bacteria, these bacteria grab hold of toxins, bacteria, viruses etc and excrete them in the form of our stools!    Gut bacteria is depleted by stress, antibiotics, chemicals (i.e. cleaning products, chlorine, fly sprays etc) and processed food/drinks.  When our good bacteria is weakened our ‘army’ becomes weak too…our body then struggles to protect us from invaders.     The flow on effect is that these bad bacteria and viruses can then take over our bodies and make us sick.

So how do we strengthen our kids immune system (and our own) to be resilient to illness or recover from it???


1. Eat whole foods from nature, avoiding processed or packaged food wherever possible (these foods damage our bodies rather than nourish it).  Eat real nutrient dense food that our body can use for fuel. i.e veggies, greens, fruit, nuts, seeds, eggs, meat and wholegrains (non glutenous are best i.e. Millet, Rice, Buckwheat, Corn on the cob)

2. Double your Greens……Green leafy vegetables are an absolute super food when it comes to immunity.  They feed the good bacteria.  Greens feed our army making them strong! Try to  include greens at every meal.  The easiest way to get greens into kids is through smoothies, so add a green smoothie in every day and notice the benefits. (See previous posts on how to get your kids to eat their greens)

Green Goddess
  • 1 lemon (optional)
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 teaspoon of spirulina
  • 3 dates
  • 2 bananas
  • 750mls of water
  • 1 handful of ice
  • Blend and Serve
  • Makes 4 smoothies

3. Eat mushrooms.  Mushrooms have profound medicinal properties, they alert our immune system to invasion from parasites, bacteria, viruses and abnormal cells (cancer).  Eat raw or cooked either one is fine, just get them in!!!

4.  Bone broths are traditional broths/soups made from slow cooking bones/joints etc of animal bones (chicken, fish, beef, lamb) This process extracts minerals, collagen and gelation from the joints and bones into the broth.  Mineral salt is also added.  Bone broths help to heal our gut lining so good bacteria can grow and thrive in our digestive tract.  Broths also help to heal leaky gut syndrome, stopping toxins leaching into our blood stream (causing allergies and autoimmune conditions)

5. Have fermented food daily….now that the gut lining is strengthened with the broth and you have nutrient dense whole foods in place,  introduce fermented foods such as coconut kefir, coconut yogurt, kombucha and sauerkraut.  These foods bring the good bacteria (our army) back in to repopulate the digestive tract so it can once again function optimally and protect our bodies. Remember the more good bacteria you have the stronger your Army/immune system will be.

6. Take good quality supplements.  It is important to have a good multivitamin to bridge the gap between the nutrition coming in and the actual nutrition required by our bodies.  Also take a course of probiotics to really strengthen the good bacteria.  Cod-liver oil for  vitamin D and A as they are essential for immunity (make sure it is tested and proven to be clear of mercury) and Organic Flaxseed oil .  Taking vitamin C is also very helpful at really knocking down those horrible bugs once they have entered our blood stream.

  • If your child is sick its important to support their bodies with fluids and cooling measures and rest.
  • Allow them time to recuperate, don’t send them back to school/kindy straight away, let them have a day or two to regain their strength otherwise their immunity will again be faced with an onslaught of bugs when its at its lowest.
  • Rest and nourishing food is essential to rebuilding our bodies to optimal wellness.

Good luck for the rest of winter and let me know how you get on

x x x x



  • 1 Whole Organic Chicken
  • 6 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • A few sprigs of thyme, rosemary, or other herbs (remove after cooking)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • Place Chicken in large pot, add all ingredients.  Cover with filtered water (around 4 – 5 litres)  Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer for about and hour and 20 mins.
  • Remove chicken, allow to cool and shred meat.
  • Place shredded meat back with soup .
  • Eat soup at least regularly when unwell and several times a week when well to keep immunity high


Abby Soares
Registered Nurse | Nutritionist | Health Coach
Nourish Holistic Health & Nutrition Ltd
4735311 | 0272766268 | |

Getting little ones to eat their greens – part 3


In part 1 and 2 of ‘How to get your kids to eat their greens’ I touched on
1. The importance of keeping little ones amused at the table, getting their taste buds used to vegetables from an early age.
2. The importance of learning about nutrition ourselves, so we as parents can gently educate our kids to eat healthy food. How food is used in the body and what our immune system actually is!
3. Easy ways to get loads of veges in with minimal fuss

See ‘Getting Little Ones to Eat their Greens’ part 1 & 2 for more info

Today I’m going to be talking about the bigger picture of health and how it all starts with us as parents. How to get educated around Nutrition, and lastly how to teach our children to cook for themselves, providing them with the knowledge and know how that will follow through generations to keep our grandchildren and their children healthy and happy.
The more you know about good food the better that good food will taste. Increasing your nutritional knowledge will make health foods more appealing, not only due to taste but also their nutritional content. Knowing what you’re eating and what it’s doing is extremely empowering and it’s the same for kids. If we can impart our (correct) knowledge then we can instil in them the knowledge of longevity and a disease free life. Surely that is what we all want for our children? Think of food as medicine (in fact it’s far better than medicine) the best preventative pill you’ll ever take!
We as parents have the window of opportunity to instil life long eating patterns, the foods you serve and the habits you promote become your Childs nutritional norms. Helping your children to crave foods that are healthy for them.
Remember the food your children eat in their first 10 years of life determine their genetic expression…. this decides whether undesirable genes for cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity are turned on or not. Food determines this. What we eat affects our hormones, which in turn affects our Genes.
Again, Childhood diets are the number one cause for adult diseases! But we as parents have the power to ensure this is not our children’s destiny, we have the choice to determine our children’s health.

Since we teach mostly by example we have to evaluate and change our own eating habits before we can shape our children’s. Getting the right food in the house is number 1….
1. Get rid of the packets (packets don’t grow on trees!) and processed junk. Chuck it out and replace it with real food that is grown in nature and minimally processed. Clear out the cupboards so there is not temptation to eat foods that don’t serve your health.
2. Eat lots and lots of vegetables and fruit (low glycemic load carbohydrates). These should make up the majority of our diet, vegetables especially. We need to eat plenty of these.
3. Eat moderate amounts of protein i.e. meat/fish/tofu/tempeh and complex carbohydrates potatoes, grains etc (no bigger than palm of your hand at each serving)
4. Eat moderate amounts of good fat i.e. avocados, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil and its products, nut oils, flaxseed oils these are all great food sources of fat that are essential to our diet and provide omega 3 and 6.
5. Avoid processed food!!
6. Eat 90% good food 10% bad (birthday parties etc). If we go 100% good it’s not sustainable and we’ll set ourselves up for failure, there has to be some give and take in today’s society. Try to keep home food good and the food you can’t control at other people’s homes can make up the 10%.
7. Drink lots of water (30mins either side of meals)

– Here at the Nourish Blog and Facebook page!
– Food Matters website and all the films they have to view on The food Matters Film and Hungry for change are two films that are a great place to start, especially to get your partners on board!!!
– Dr Sears
– Dr Joel Fuhrman
– Katy at
– There are soooooooooo many more but there is a start!!
– If you are interested in studying nutrition I thoroughly recommend The Institute of Integrative Nutrition, it is life changing and the most informative, comprehensive nutrition and lifestyle education I could have ever hoped for. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to make a career out of nutrition. If this sounds like you let me know and I can tell you more about it x

Allowing kids to participate in cooking is so essential in getting them to eat healthy food. It is hard to do this when you are a busy Mum or Dad who just wants to get dinner out and get everyone feed with minimal time and mess! Unfortunately they’re never going to learn like that.
We need to welcome our children into the kitchen, allow them to make their own food (with guidance), gently passing on our knowledge around nutrition and cooking skills so they can adopt this as their own.
For example I have always been open to the kids joining me in the kitchen (my mum was the same)…..a lot messier this way but it is now starting to pay off tenfold. The two oldest boys can competently make the family salad for dinner, they can bake on their own and produce beautiful meals!
My oldest Jesse is a bit of a star in the kitchen…..his latest dish is sautéed tomatoes and mushrooms in coconut oil and garlic….he does it all himself without any help from me and it tastes amazing! I love it when he gets his cook on!!! He wouldn’t have a bar of mushrooms before he started doing this….now will happily guzzle back 4 in one sitting.
We have to let go and let them get in there and feel what it’s like to cook, with successes and failures. Each one is an equally good lesson in life, we learn from every experience.
If our children have the knowledge around food, how to grow it, prepare it, soak it, ferment it, blend it and cook it…..then they have that for life, to teach their partners, to nurture their children, to pass this on from generation to generation. You can be the start of that!

Eating Green food is essential to every human. There are so many different dietary theories out there and rightly so as we are all different and a diet that works well for one person may not work well for another. However the thing all these diets have in common is that they all agree that green leafy vegetables are essential to optimal health. Now I totally appreciate how hard it can be to get your kids into to this stuff. But it’s just like anything that we have to teach them in life… learning to sleep, learning to share and learning to read. It all takes time and is essential for them to function in life. Eating green vegetables is no exception!!!!
Recently we have added capsicum and mushrooms to our family meals. My husband Scotty is scarred for life from childhood memories of mushrooms cooked within an inch of their lives into a black slop and likewise from similar experiences I cannot stand the smell of cooked capsicum to this day! But after learning about the medicinal benefits of mushrooms and why we should have them in our diet daily we decided to give them a try again….likewise with capsicum you can’t go past their antioxidant properties, making them wise choice to include in our diets when in season. So be both reluctantly agreed to give these two veges a try.
To our amazement the kids LOVED them……especially Riley our middle boy, who now eats capsicums like apples and is always stealing mushrooms out of the fridge….we never would have known that if we hadn’t tried these foods. So this is my new mantra….try a new food every week…..not only will the nutritional benefits be profound, but you may find that your children LOVE something you never expected they would!
Let me know how you get on

Getting Little ones to eat their greens – part two



Last week I posted about getting younger kids to eat well by keeping them engaged at the table with reading stories.

This week I’m still including preschoolers but this is more relevant to those with older children too.

I’m covering 2 points this post
1. Immunity / body growth
2. More ways to get the good stuff in

I think it is important to talk with kids about why we eat food. That food isn’t just something to fill our tummies, it has a purpose, that each food has many many nutrients and how our bodies use those nutrients to grow and develop an immune system to protect us from becoming sick.

Even really young children are interested in the body and how it works. It just needs to be explained in a way that they can identify with and understand. This is how I explain our immune system and how food makes us grow to my kids…….

“Inside our bodies we have an immune system…it is like having a special army of super heroes in our body. Our army keeps all the baddie bugs out that can make us sick. We need to feed our army really healthy food so that our superheroes can be big, strong and fight to kill the baddies. If we eat junky food (lollies, chips, fizzes, packet foods, no vegetables) our army gets really tired, they start lying down and the baddies creep past them and make us sick!!! BUT if we eat lots of green food made by nature and food with lots of colours, veges, fruit etc then our Army gets strong and healthy and the baddies can’t get past them.”

Praise them for attempting every bite of a healthy food, ‘wow your army is going to love that piece of capsicum, it will be giving the army special powers to get those nasty baddies’ (you can tell I have boys, but you could make a fearless force of Charlie’s angels for your girls or beautiful fairies that kick some serious ass!)

“Every bite of food we eat gets made into a part of our body, a bone cell, a blood cell, a bit of our muscles or our brain. I really want my body to be made of healthy food so it isn’t weak. If our body is made of junk food then that part of our body is weak and can’t work properly “

Using analogies like this teach our kids the importance of looking at food as fuel and what nutrients each food gives our bodies….. For example we love seeds in our house, they are such a nutrient dense food, full of essential minerals for our bones and teeth, good fats for our hair and skin, and they’re like a broom that sweeps our gut and bowel so all the dirt gets cleaned out. We also talk about how the gelatinous coating around chia seeds suck up the toxic poisons that get into us like the fumes we breathe in when a bus goes past … the chia sucks that smoke up and takes it out of our body into the toilet! They’re not only learning about how awesome chia seeds are they’re learning about how our body uses food to eliminate toxins.

“Food makes us feel happy or sad. Junky food makes us feel sad afterwards, sick, tired, grumpy, angry……Healthy food makes us feel happy, excited and gives us energy to have fun” This can be especially seen after a birthday party, when kids go hard on sugar and come down with a crash….it’s important to acknowledge how they are feeling and explain how that food made us feel that way, what we could try to eat instead next time or maybe have a little bit less of the sweet food so we don’t feel so yucky. (essentially they’ve been poisoned by excess sugar!)

When we eat we usually have a chat about what I’ve served up and what each food is giving us nutritionally….this gives the kids buy in, they innately want to be healthy, they want their Army to be strong and their cells to be healthy. Take parsley for example, not generally a favourite among the younger ones, but once we talk about our army and how they love parsley because it cleans the armies blood and gives them supersonic powers ….. Gulp in it goes no questions asked! My youngest isn’t too into textures and wasn’t too keen on nuts, but he knows that Brazil nuts give him selenium that keep his throat healthy (thyroid) so he will happily chow down a couple a day…”there mummy now my throat will be happy” he says! Since he learnt the connection between his body’s health and that food, he happily eats his brazil nuts in the morning no questions asked.

I feel that it is really important to teach our children the correlation between food and health, physical health, mental health and how we interact with others. If this awareness is fostered in them they become aware of their bodies, its wants and needs. Most importantly awareness of how they feel and what foods makes them feel good and bad. This will help them make well informed choices as they grow up.



Last week I talked about keeping them happy at the table once their attention wavers. This week I’m going to suggest trying smoothies and fresh juices with your kids.

These two methods are one of the easiest ways to get nutrients in.

Smoothie tips
– Make sure you have a good smoothie maker that doesn’t leave chunks.
– Start basic, banana, berries, milk…..slowly add in more good stuff, spinach, kale, soaked seeds / nuts or oats as a milk replacement. Sweeten with pineapple, bananas and dates.
– Keep offering and don’t give up. Even ¼ of a cup of these smoothies contain more nutrients than packet cereal could ever offer.
– Offer the smoothie first. Explain they can still have their usual breakfast food, but they need to try their smoothie first, explain how their army needs it. The more of the smoothie they have the more it fills them up and crowds out the other less desirable foods. Soon they’ll be having half a smoothie and only 1 piece of toast instead of two. Or a smoothie and only 1 weetbix instead of 3.
– The aim is to move away from packaged processed breakfasts completely, opting for nutrient dense smoothies and say oatmeal or eggs as other options for breakfast.

They’ll be loaded with amazing nutrients for the day and full till morning tea. You would have crowded out the bad stuff!

If they don’t like the texture of the smoothie try using a straw, all kids love straws, makes smoothie drinking super easy. I highly recommend starting with one.

Again you can try reading stories to little ones snuggling them on your knee reading while they’re sipping on a smoothies, it will be gone in no time.

I give my kids smoothies for breakfast (they have porridge as well in winter) and juices with other healthy snacks for afternoon tea.

A juice gets those amazing nutrients into them without the effort of eating all that green food (of course it is still important for them to eat veges in their true form but juicing is a fantastic way to double their green intake with every little effort.)
The ratio for juicing is 2/3 green i.e. cucumber, silver beet and 1/3 sweet i.e. orange.
Starting with cucumber, lettuce and apple its very palatable; it just tastes like apple juice…you very slowly move into more dark green veges or different flavours. Again a straw is your best friend here.

Juicing tips
– Get the kids to help
– Name the juice i.e. green hulk juice
– Use a cool straw
– Talk about the army in their body and how excited they are to get all that goodness!

So keep trying to get the good stuff in, learn together about food and respect your body with the food you give it
Abby x