Nutrition and my Thermomix

It is astounding how many processed, additive-packed foods we are confronted by each day when we shop to feed our families. You can guarantee that any packaged item you pick up off a shelf has been processed in some way. Even if the product claims to be 'additive free', you can't escape heat processing of some type. All products that you find on a supermarket shelf have undergone pasteurisation or heat treatment to make them safe for consumption. This involves exposing the foods to high temperatures to kill off disease causing microbes. Unfortunately, this type of processing has the unwanted side effect of destroying valuable nutrients such as phytochemicals, antioxidants and some vitamins, which are unstable at these temperatures.

Processing doesn't just refer to heat treatment or the addition of additives to your food. In its most simplest form, it also refers to how ingredients are peeled, cut, crushed or ground ready for your consumption. All of these processes have an effect on the bioavailability of nutrients, this is of course the argument behind preparing just prior to consumption, for e.g. cutting an apple as you need it, rather than allowing it to sit around and go brown, which is an indication that oxidation of nutrients has occurred, which equates to nutrient loss. The same principle can be applied to the milling of grains or grinding of nuts into flours or meals. When you buy flour, particularly the wholegrain or brown variety, you may think you are making a good food choice, and compared to purchasing the white varieties you certainly are. However, you could be making an even better choice for the health of your family by purchasing the 'whole' grain (organic preferably) and grinding your own flour at home, as you need it.  We all know that wholegrains are better for us, but have you ever noticed the use by date on wholegrains compared to flours? They last much longer, especially if you keep them in a dark, cool place, and this is because they are most stable in their intact form. As soon as you grind into a wholegrain, you expose the natural oils, minerals and vitamins to the air. This oxidation of nutrients destroys them, so the longer a flour or nut meal sits around waiting to be used, the more likely it is to go rancid and for vitamin levels to deplete. An added bonus of home grinding or milling is that it allows for home soaking and 'activation' of your wholegrains and nuts to further maximise their nutrition, if this is something you like to do. 

When I do the regular food shop, usually twice a week, I can't help myself and often take a peek in the shopping trolley of my neighbour at the checkout. If a shopping trolley is an indication of how a family eats, more often than not,  I feel quite saddened by what I see. While my trolley is loaded with colourful fresh goodness in the form of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and other 'whole' foods, I see too many trolleys dominated by packaged, processed foods. At the risk of sounding condescending, I do believe for many that it is simply a lack of education or awareness about foods and nutrition, and this is why I feel very empowered in my role as a teacher of food and nutrition in secondary school, to help educate young people about healthy food choices. Although some may argue that is costly to purchase whole foods, particularly organic, and I know I am sometimes shocked by the expense of some of my favourite ingredients. I would argue that buying processed foods with little or no nutrition is very cost ineffective. But also, what price would you put on your health and that of your family?

One of the many things I love about my Thermomix, (and there are so many), is that it provides me with the means to make just about everything from scratch. For anyone who loves to bake, it's an absolute dream machine. I grind my own nut meals, flours, sugars, make my own nut butters etc. But it doesn't stop there . . if you love a good curry, why not make your own curry pastes and there's nothing like a good homemade jam, plus sauces, condiments, stocks, pestos, dips . . all so quick and easy in the Thermomix.. . and the best part, as far as I'm concerned, is that they are all nutritious and additive-free because you have made them yourself from scratch from ingredients that you can trust :)

Most people are put off by how time consuming it can be to cook this way, but if this is how you are thinking right now, you either haven't entered the world of the Thermomix-style of preparing and cooking foods, or haven't fully delved into the capabilities of your machine. It takes time to get to know your Thermomix and what it can do. This is half the fun I find. . . my Thermie is continuously impressing me with its seemingly endless capabilities as I do more and more with it each day. . . you should have come across some evidence of this in my blog so far :)

Wholesome foods need wholesome ingredients . . .

You will notice that some ingredients pop up time and time again in my recipes, and this is usually for good reason :) Owing to my nutrition background and general interest in all things wholesome, I like to seek out and recruit 'super foods' and nutritious ingredients in my recipes. In summary, if it's good for you, you will usually find it on my blog in some shape or form.


  1. Hi,

    I'm intolerant to egg, so could I replace all eggs in baking recipes with 'flax/chia eggs'?



  2. Hi Sadie. I have had very good success with using flax eggs as a replacement for chicken eggs in muffins, cookies, even cakes. Just make sure that you use freshly ground seeds and allow the mixture to rest for 10-15 minutes before using (see above). Good luck!