Banana Pancakes – 3 ingredients – easy

Banana Pancakes – 3 ingredients – easy

I discovered these banana pancakes one day while watching a Facebook Live with Luke Hines. They looked so easy, and a great way to have some good protein and fruit for breakfast, without overloading with all that flour and sugar.

So, tweaking the recipe a bit to suit my lifestyle (Luke made these originally with protein powder, which I don’t use), I made these for lunch one day for me and my 8 year old. Just a test batch, but they were beautiful. So, the next day we tweaked some more and made them for breakfast.

Now, we have our recipe just the way we like it. Feel free to swap out the flour to whatever flour you have, or change it to protein powder, like the original recipe. You can sub out the spelt flour for coconut flour or almond meal and make these gluten free. They are naturally dairy free unless you use a dairy based topping.

And then you can start to think about toppings. Obviously the most favourite is maple syrup, but if you are looking for sugar free you can top with lovely fresh fruit. Bacon is a great addition, maybe some avocado, that would bring in some really good fats for breakfast.

These take only a couple of minutes to make, and make 4 pancakes per person. The recipe is one serve so please feel free to either increase the ingredients for your family, or like me, I make a fresh batch per person. When one batch is cooking I mix the next batch. So easy.

I do hope you enjoy these. Let me know in the comments if you do make these, and what you think of the recipe. Oh, and what toppings you use. I’m always on the look out for more toppings.

Brazil Nuts: Are they good for you?

Brazil Nuts: Are they good for you?

Brazil Nuts - www.reneewrites.netBrazil nuts contain high levels of the mineral selenium.  Selenium is a micronutrient essential to a number of processes in your body.  Most NZ soils are deficient in selenium so supplementation is needed.  The best way to supplement is with a whole food rather than a manufactured tablet!

What selenium does:

  • Selenium assists thyroid function.  Healthy thyroid = healthy metabolism.
  • Selenium’s antioxidant properties improve the functions of vitamins E & C.
  • Selenium helps to strengthen the immune system to help protect the body against bacterial and viral infections.
  • Selenium assists in maintaining a healthy cholesterol ratio by raising your HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • Selenium helps in the production of antioxidants which fight against free radicals that damage cells.

Other Health benefits of brazil nuts:

  • Brazil nuts are a good, natural source of magnesium.
  • Brazil nuts contain a good source of vitamin E.  This is required for the development of red blood cells.  Vitamin E can also help boost the immune system.
  • Brazil nuts have a high content of zinc, which is good for fighting off acne and clearing blemished skin naturally.
  • The fibre content in brazil nuts makes them great for a healthy digestive system.  Fibre promotes peristaltic motion in the digestive tract, extracting as many nutrients as possible.  This can increase energy levels and assist in weight loss as it helps keep your digestive system clean.  It also aids in the prevention of such illnesses as constipation, gastric ulcers, bloating and more serious conditions such as bowel cancer!

How many brazil nuts should you eat:

Eating too many brazil nuts can lead to selenium toxicity.  Side effects include nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, nail discolouration, nail brittleness, fatigue, and hair loss.  You many also have garlicky smelling breath.

It is recommended to eat only 2 – 4 nuts per day.  As my diet is quite varied and I can get selenium from other foods I have chosen to supplement my diet with 1 – 2 nuts per day.

This is well within the daily requirements of selenium and there is no risk of an overdose.  Plus, 1 – 2 nuts per day is cheaper than 4!

How to store brazil nuts:

Here are some tips on storing brazil nuts:

  • Store in a cool dry area.  If taking them from the packaging it is preferable to store them in an airtight glass container.  This also prevents them from absorbing other food odours.
  • Brazil nuts can be stored in the pantry for 2 – 4 weeks without spoiling, the refrigerator for approximately 9 months, or the freezer for approximately 1 year.
  • Brazil nuts can go rancid if not stored properly.  If they develop a bitter, unpleasant taste or smell off, throw them out.

Where to buy Brazil nuts:

Your local supermarket should have small packets.  I picked up a bag, 175g (52 nuts) for $6.19.

Your local organic or health food store should also stock these.  Here you might be able to get them in the quantity you require.

The Natural Grocer also sells organic brazil nuts, $6.99 for 200grams.

Other interesting facts:

  • Brazil nuts are free from the gluten protein.
  • Brazil nuts come from a coconut like shell.  Each shell contains 15 – 25 nuts.
  • Selenium has been proven to lift moods and help dispel the onset of depression.
  • Brazil nut trees grow to about 50 metres in height and the trunk measures 1 – 2 metres in diameter.  They live for around 500 years.
  • In Brazil it is illegal to cut down a brazil nut tree.


**Disclaimer:  The information provided in this article is intended for your general information.  It is not a substitute for medical advice from a qualified medical practitioner.**

Recipe: Renee’s Green Smoothie

Renee's Green Smoothie

Everyone tells you how good green smoothies are for you.  You know, packed full of greens, healthy vitamins and minerals……you know how it goes.

Well, I had listened to all this for years but it wasn’t until I came through the other end of chemotherapy that I realised I really needed to add a smoothie into my daily food choices.  But, hey, I’m only human, and I don’t do it religiously every day….sometimes I want to go out with a friend for lunch!  Sometimes it’s just too cold!

So, over the last month or so, I have been trying to have one a day, most days of the week.  I find them super easy to make, and easy to drink.  It has taken me a while to perfect my own recipe, adding in ingredients that are beneficial to me.

Here goes my list of ingredients and why I add them:

Banana:  This is the base of most smoothies around the world.  It helps to make it thick, and creamy, and is a good source of potassium in your daily diet.  I add one banana.

Kale powder:  I use kale powder as my green element.  I just find it so hard to grow that much kale or spinich to sustain my daily habit.  One teaspoon of kale powder is equivalent to approximately 1 plant of kale.  A great way to have at least one serving of greens a day.  I add one teaspoon to my smoothie.

LSA:  a mix of ground linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds.  LSA is a great source of protein, omega 3, essential fats, B vitamins and fibre.  The protein in LSA helps to keep your blood sugar levels balanced and curbs sugar cravings.  I add one tablespoon of LSA.

Psyllium:  Psyllium husk is a great source of fibre.  Being a bowel cancer patient I need a bit of fibre in my diet to help keep my bowels regulated.  Psyllium is a soluble fibre and acts as a binding agent to prevent constipation.  Great for me.  I add one teaspoon a day.

Frozen yoghurt:  I don’t eat too much dairy, and if I buy some good quality yoghurt I find it tends to go off before eating, so I freeze it into ice cubes.  My favourite is the DeWinkel brand, I find it is far less sugar than most brands on the market and it freezes well.  I add two frozen cubes into my smoothie.  This ensures I have a bit of dairy, and some of the good stuff that yoghurt provides.

Ice cubes:  This is purely optional.  I find adding a couple of ice cubes helps to make the smoothie a wee bit smoother.  Less runny.  It is totally optional if you add this in, or how many you add in.  I usually use two, but sometimes I leave it out…especially on a cold day!

Water:  Now, here you can add water, coconut water, a nut milk, cows milk, more yoghurt….any liquid you like really.  I use water as it is easier.  The perfect amount I have found, with all the other added ingredients is 3/4 cup.

Once you have added all your ingredients, mix it up.  I have only ever tried making smoothies in my Nutri Ninja.  I assume it would work just as well in a blender, although you might have to stop it and scrap down the sides.

I am always on the look out for new ingredients to make my smoothie more superfood like.  This is a great way I have found to get a whole load of good fats, nutrients and minerals into my diet, with little effort.

Good luck with your smoothies….go forth and smooth.  Let me know what you make.

Green Smoothie

Here is a recipe of my own green smoothie. I have developed this for my diet, but it is good for anyone to add these ingredients into their daily lifestyle.
You can add or remove whatever you want.

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp kale powder
  • 1 tbsp LSA
  • 1 tsp Psyllium husk
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt (My ice cube trays are 1tbsp)
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 3/4 cups water
  1. Add all ingredients in the order listed above to your blender/smoothie container.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into a glass and enjoy.

Welcome to Renee Writes…..2017 edition

Welcome to Renee Writes…..2017 edition

renee writes 2017


Welcome to the 2017 edition of Renee Writes.  I’m Renee and I love to write.  My favourite topics are food and travel, and about changing my lifestyle for health reasons.

In 2016 I spent my year fighting bowel cancer.  It consumed my whole year, starting in February when I had my first symptom, ending in November, when I took my last dose of chemotherapy, although recovery is still ongoing.  I am now undergoing regular testing to keep this disease at bay.

So, its now time to change my lifestyle, enjoy the important things in life, have more life experiences, eat better food, drink more water, enjoy more exercise and heal my body and mind.

I’d love to share with you all my journey, my learnings along the way.  I’d also love to show you how easy it is to change your lifestyle and diet, small tiny baby steps at a time.

My journey to better health and wealth isn’t going to be a sprint.  Its all about small incremental changes, forming good habits for a lifetime of future health.  In April 2016 I faced an uncertain future when my Dr showed me a picture of my CT scan.  Now, having successfully come through surgery and 8 rounds of chemotherapy, my future is looking good.  Bowel cancer may return, it may not.  But it is now time to make changes so it has a lesser chance of taking hold and returning.

Another passion I have is travel!  Doesn’t everyone love to experience travel.  I’ll be sharing along the way through my journey to better health my travels around New Zealand (because you have to know your own back yard) and around the world.

2016 saw me travel to Melbourne and Singapore, so I’ll catch you up on parts of these journeys soon.  Before I was overcome by the effects of chemo I started writing my stories.  You can check out some here and here.

The beginning of 2017 has already been booked quite well.  April will see me taking a family trip to Blenheim, May has us heading to a conference in Brisbane and July/July I’m heading away with my hubby on one of our “to do before we die” trips to the United States.  I’m so excited for the year ahead.

So, stick around if you love food, health, wealth and travel, with the odd bit of education on bowel cancer.  This is the reason I started my journey so it sort of has to feature somewhere.

Until next time


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