This edition's nutrition section comes from John Douglas, a chef who earned his stripes working at East Sydney fine dining institution Mario's. Since then he has worked at prestigious restaurants like The Summit, The Wharf, The Centennial Park Restaurant and The Four In Hand. He is current consulting on vegan food for several restaurants and cafes. He has a reputation for simple yet elegant and tasty food influenced by an assortment of cultural cuisines.

John cleared hepatitis C with interferon some years ago, but not before 20 years of living with the virus caused enough damage to see him on daily dialysis for seven years. He then had a kidney transplant two years ago. Despite the fact that he has not used illicit drugs for nearly 20 years, he is still so stigmatised for his drug use history that he was recently denied any pain management for complications directly related to the transplant.

We hope to bring you his story to User's News in a future edition, but we think you will agree he is well placed to give foodie advice on caring for your liver!

Hepatitis C is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver.  In order to reduce the impact of the virus and to maintain feeling well the best advice is to avoid foods that further inflame the liver. Processed food, fried and highly fatty foods such as processed meats, fatty beef and lamb and high fat dairy products should be avoided. Recent research also indicates that sugar can be worse than fats for some patients.  It is important to maintain a diet that is high in food with anti-inflammatory properties as well as foods that are good for rejuvenating the liver.

These ingredients listed below are anti-inflammatory and good for your liver. They will keep you feeling well. The probiotic properties of yogurt are also anti-inflammatory.



Leafy greens and green vegetables

Indian spices especially turmeric

Lentils and dahls

Garlic, onion and ginger


Olive oil

Coconut oil

I have chosen two of my favourite recipes that are cheap and easy to make and very high in anti-inflammatory foods and great for the liver. I have gone for foods that are low carb, low GI, low fat, high protein, high fibre and low cost.  They include some flours, spices and herbs that not everyone will be familiar with, but they are cheaper than you might imagine and will go a long way. If these tastes are new to you, I encourage you to try using them; they are not only good for your liver, they make very simple food taste special. Google some other recipes that use them. Your body - and especially your liver - will really thank you.


  • 1 bunch of fresh beetroot
  • A few cloves of garlic - skin on
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • 1 small bunch of watercress
  • 1 handful of rocket
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt and cracked pepper
  • a few walnuts
  • two table spoons low fat yoghurt

Remove the stalks and leaves from the beetroot and scrub any dirt off them, but leave the skin on. Place them whole in a baking tray and sprinkle with a little olive oil, cracked pepper and salt and the sprig of rosemary.

Cover with alfoil and place in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius. After about 20 mins gently and carefully lift a corner of the foil, wait for the steam to go out then remove the alfoil.  Toss in the garlic and give the pan a shake then cover with alfoil and place back in the oven for another 20 mins.

Remove the alfoil and check if the beetroot is cooked with skewer or a fork. It should be soft but form so the skewer goes through easily. If not quite ready put it back in the oven but leave the foil off.

When cooked remove from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature. When the beetroot have cooled down you can gently peel off the skin and pop the roasted garlic out of their skins as well.  You might want to use kitchen gloves to avoid staining your hands.

Cut each beetroot into wedges and place in a bowl. Add in the vinegar, olive oil and seasoning to marinate. Keep the garlic separate.

Line a dinner plate or flat pasta bowl with the sprigs of watercress and rocket then place the beetroot (around 6 – 8 wedges depending on the size) in a the centre of the plate and spoon the dressing over the salad. Place a few walnuts and roasted garlic cloves around the plate and add a dollop of yogurt on top. Finish with cracked pepper.

NB: If you have a lot of beetroot you can keep it marinated in the bowl in the fridge for a few days.


  • 1 cup besan (chick pea flour) (available in Indian grocery stores and larger supermarkets )
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • salt to taste(optional)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chopped green chillies or to taste
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • other vegetables as desired e.g. corn, carrot, cabbage, spinach, capsicum
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
  • Vegetable oil or coconut oil.

To serve: cucumber, tomato, yoghurt, chutney, pickles.


Grate the zucchini, chop the coriander, prepare other veges you are using and keep aside.

Mix all the dry ingredients and add the water slowly to make a smooth pancake batter then stir in the zucchini.

You can add or substitute other fresh vegetables like corn, carrot, cabbage, chopped spinach, capsicum and broccoli in different combinations. Grate what you can and cut the rest very finely. You want a thin, crispy dosa, so don't overload the mix.

Heat a non-stick pan and add a little oil. If it’s a good non-stick pan you can leave out the oil as long as the pan is hot enough (but not so hot that the food burns as soon as it hits the surface).

Using a ladle or large spoon add about three tablespoons of batter into the centre of the pan. You will need to work quickly. Using the back of your spoon, in a circular motion spread out the batter to form a thin dosa. Start from the centre and use a number of circular movements to get the dosa thin. It may take a bit of practice so don’t worry if it’s not perfect. You can learn how to spread dosa batter here:

Using a plastic spatula gently flip the dosa and lightly press down. Turn two or three more times until it is golden brown.

Serve the dosa folded over on a plate with assorted side dishes of cucumber, tomato, low fat plain yoghurt, chutneys and pickles. You can also grate some low-fat cheese onto the dosa just before you take it out then fold it over until the cheese melts making a dosa toastie.