Botox Blues: Does Anyone Go Au Naturel Anymore?

Have you ever had a mini-panic moment, when you looked around and wondered if you were only person not having work done to their face? I recently attended a fashion festival and was immediately struck by the plethora of super-shiny, unlined faces around me.

Was everyone else lining up to get Botox aside from me? I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with that – if that’s what blows your hair back, do it I say. But how did this become the norm in certain sections of the community? And is it a societal faux pas for a woman like me to be in her 40s and – gasp – leaving her house without a trace of injectibles? Is it now so commonplace to get Botox – an alleged safe and effective anti-wrinkle treatment – that we’ve lost sight of what it actually is? Why is it now commonplace to pay top dollar for poison – aka Botulinum toxin – to be injected into our faces, to plump out our wrinkles and make us appear less like ourselves?

No longer just for TV types and A-list celebrities, Botox is positively mainstream: it celebrated its 13th anniversary this April after being approved for the treatment of lines between the eyebrows in April 2002. And nowadays, the number of people who get it continues to rise; by 2018, the global market is forecast to hit $2.9billion.

I’ve previously written several features about the rise and rise of the plastic fantastic Botox age, which even saw me get my face jabbed full of injectibles once in the name of journalistic research. I have to say – I didn’t hate the results – and this is what scared me about it. I could see how easily you could become addicted to Botox – it’s a totally weird, yet wondrous thing to see lines on your forehead erased, if you ask me. And, being on a newspaper journalist salary at the time – you’re never going to earn a millionaire’s wage – I had better things to spend my money on, like say food, running my car, a mortgage, books, travel and shoes (always, the shoes).

Botox, anti-wrinkle treatments, health and wellness, vanity

Besides which, I had some ethical and moral misgivings about Botox – is it so wrong for a woman to let nature take its course? Did I want to come one of those super-vain types who can’t let themselves age gracefully? Would I really want to erase all those – dare I say it – lovely laughter lines that give our faces such beautiful life and character? And did I want my children to not be able to play with mummy’s face – eyebrows/frowning games amuse them no end – and not know when I was truly happy, sad, or angry? Thankfully, my husband would also kill me if I ever touched my face – not that it’s up to him – but I imagine life would be so much harder if your significant other was constantly begging you to get work done, as is the case with some heinous men I’ve heard of.

Some of my closest friends and numerous acquaintances have succumbed to the pressure to get Botox and it makes me a little sad and disappointed every time I witness someone’s newly frozen-face. I know and understand that if Botox makes women feel better about themselves, I have no right to judge. But for me at least, a more natural beauty is what I aspire to. Mind you, I’m constantly told I have very youthful skin for my age so I have my mum’s good genes to thank for that, for she too looks a lot younger than she actually is.

I foresee that the dangerous vanity of Botox – the never-ending search for the fountain of youth – will be a horrid conversation I’ll have to have with my daughters, in time, and I’m already dreading it. How do you explain it? I want to raise two proud feminists who constantly question society’s determination of what constitutes beauty, just as I do: that it’s far from OK for male (and female) plastic surgeons to decree that a woman’s smile/laughter lines and those fabulous crinkly bits around your eyes are unattractive – ugly, even.

And then, there are the safety concerns: do you really know what Botox is doing to your face, long-term? Is it really safe to get done at parties? And what if the nurse/doctor/surgeon who does your Botox has a bad day and makes a mistake?

Botox, anti-wrinkle treatments, health and wellness, vanity

While it’s fair to say the number of Hollywood celebrities who Botox the f*** out of themselves far outweighs those who haven’t had the jab, it’s refreshing to find in my research that some brave big names in the entertainment biz are still allegedly refusing to adopt the frozen-face trend. Among them are Salma Hayek; our “own” Cate Blanchett; Gwyneth Paltrow; Angelina Jolie; Jennifer Aniston; Tina Fey; Lady Gaga; Kate Winslet (pictured above); Sofia Vergara and Julia Roberts (pictured below).

Pretty cool, huh? I mean, it can’t be easy for A-list female celebrities to be bucking the trend in such a sexist, misogynistic industry as Hollywood. I adore luminous beauty, actor Kate Winslet for one – and love her even more after I found this delicious, feisty quote: “It [Botox] goes against my morals, the way that my parents brought me up and what I consider to be natural beauty. I will never give in.”

Botox, anti-wrinkle treatments, health and wellness, vanity

Here, the last word must go to the the ever-wonderful  Julia Roberts who recently said of Botox: “It’s unfortunate that we live in such a panicked, dysmorphic society where women don’t even give themselves a chance to see what they’ll look like as older persons. I want to have some idea of what I’ll look like before I start cleaning the slates… Your face tells a story… And it shouldn’t be a story about your drive to the doctor’s office.”

What do you think? Are you all for or against getting Botox?

Images via generationnext.com.au, medicaldaily.com, sheknows.com, popsugar.com.au

How Sarah Wilson Is Making $4M A Year From Quitting Sugar

If someone had of told me ten years ago that if I were to quit sugar and write about it I’d be a millionaire, I probably would have laughed in their face. Magazine editor Sarah Wilson did it, however, and now she’s laughing all the way to the bank.

RELATED: 8 Ways To Wean Yourself Off Sugar

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Wilson’s I Quit Sugar empire is on track to make at least $4 million this year, after turning over $534, 000 in its first year alone. In case you’re not already familiar with her story, the journalist was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease back in 2008 that forced her to eliminate sugar from her diet. She then began blogging about her sugar-free lifestyle, before co-founding I Quit Sugar.com with former colleague Zoe Eaton.

So, what’s been the secret to her success? The health mogul attributes it to a gap in the market – at the time there wasn’t much out there about quitting sugar and she soon discovered via her blog that people were hungry for more information. “It just went mental and everyone wanted to know more,” she told Smart Company last year. “So I went off and researched. I interviewed experts and cardiologists, and tried to get to the bottom of the problem of sugar.”

This then led to the digital I Quit Sugar Cookbook, which was so successful it was picked up by book publishers and distributed across 43 countries. It even made the New York Times bestseller list. “I went from being a journalist, to making ebooks, and then the traditional book publishers approached me about print books. Usually it happens the other way around,” she told the magazine.

Now, with ten ebooks, a one million strong social media following and over 3 million visits to the website each month, I Quit Sugar is one of most successful self-funded health companies in Australia. What’s more, the website also runs three eight-week diet programs every year in which participants pay $150 to get access to dieticians, specialists and recipes.

Speaking with the Sydney Morning Herald, Wilson’s business partner Zoe Eaton admitted: “Our primary revenue is from the program… [and] the advertising revenue, while we don’t rely on it, is also a very important channel to have and produces really beautiful integrated sponsored content, which is quite often our most read content every month.

“We are in a nice place with that side of our business; we can pick and choose who we want to work with at the moment.”

So, why can’t people get enough of I Quit Sugar? Eaton pointed out to the paper that besides Michelle Bridges and Kayla Itsines, “there is no-one else really doing what we do.”

The Fountain Of Youth: 9 Anti-Ageing Herbs And Spices

While superfoods are having their moment in the spotlight, we seem to have forgotten about the benefits of traditional herbs and spices. Used for centuries in medicinal remedies, not only do they help to fight disease and inflammation, surprisingly they’re also one of the best ways to ward off fine lines and wrinkles.

RELATED: How To Spot A Dodgy Diet Before It Spots You

We chatted to nutritionist and herbalist Stephanie Berglin to find out what herbs and spices are best for anti-ageing and how to incorporate them into your diet every day.


Inflammation is said to be one of the main reasons our bodies experience increased rates of ageing. Ginger, with its strong anti-inflammatory properties, helps to combat this while also stimulating digestion and calming the intestines, says Stephanie.

“Grated ginger is great to add to soups and stir fries. You can also put a small chunk in a vegetable juice, or try ginger teas during the colder months to help support the immune system and assist in protecting against potential colds and flu,” she insists.


This smaller version of a blue berry is rich in antioxidants and is believed to prevent the early signs of ageing. What’s more, bilberries are also said to promote better eyesight including night vision.

“Bilberries can be had in tea, as an extract, or dried for a small snack,” recommends the herbalist.


This particular spice is believed to speed up your metabolism by increasing your body’s temperature, therefore experts say cayenne can be good for weight-loss because it can help to reduce your appetite.

“Try cayenne as an alternative to chilli when you’re cooking next,” Stephanie insists. “Add the spice to your green juice to give it an extra boost, or combine it with lemon juice to toss with salad.”


Often referred to by the Chinese as the “Fountain of Youth,’ this ancient spice has been used for thousands of years to treat internal ailments. Thought to improve digestion and appetite, Ginseng is considered a restorative spice that can assist with stress. Enjoy “stewed in water to make soups and teas.”


Turmeric has made quite the comeback in recent years with supermodel and health nut Miranda Kerr admitting to adding it into her morning smoothie. Said to contain loads of anti-inflammatory properties, including curcumin which is good for your joints, it’s possibly one of the more versatile spices to include in your diet.

“A sprinkle of turmeric can help bring to life the most basic of veggie stir fries and can also be used in a morning elixir to help kick start your day with an antioxidant boost,” Stephanie recommends.


This miracle spice is believed to have strong anti-ageing benefits, detoxing properties and has the ability to aid digestion and heal the gut. It’s also known to stabilise blood sugar levels! So how do you get your fix?

“Ground cumin is popularly combined with other spices for a tasty taco seasoning with a rich, earthy flavour,” says Stephanie. “Cumin seeds can also be used to create crispy toppings on baked dishes like atop salmon or chicken.”


This particular herb is high in iron, calcium and vitamin B6, and according to some researchers can help to prevent brain ageing. What’s more, rosemary is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Pair with “lamb or aged beef before roasting,” says the nutritionist. “Alternatively, try combining crushed rosemary with olive oil to spread over toast with brunch.”


A superfood in its own right, cinnamon has been shown to assist with balancing blood sugar in the body, reducing cholesterol and can help women with insulin resistance. With a delicious flavour, Stephanie says “a small amount can be sprinkled over muesli, yoghurt and desserts.

“Alternatively, ask the barista to swap chocolate for cinnamon when you order a cappuccino next.”


Perfect for the cooler months, oregano is considered an immune boosting herb that boasts antibiotic properties. Some research also suggests that it can be used to help fight yeast infections.

Combine “chopped oregano with lemon juice, olive oil and red-wine vinegar to make a delicious vinaigrette and drizzle over salad.”

Belle Gibson Shows No Remorse In 60 Minutes Interview

Last night in an exclusive 60 minutes interview Belle Gibson was given the chance to come clean. After being exposed in recent months for profiting on the back of lie and giving false hope to terminally ill cancer patients via her wellness empire, the disgraced food blogger instead insisted that she was the victim.

RELATED: Has Belle Gibson Been Caught Out Lying Again?

“I’ve not been intentionally untruthful,” she told journalist and reporter Tara Brown after insisting that she was led to believe by immunologist and neurologist, “Mark Johns,” – yet to be confirmed by records – that she had terminal brain cancer.

Describing her diagnosis, Gibson argued: “He went to my home and did a series of tests. There was a machine with lights on the front. There are two metal pads, one below the chair and one behind your back, measuring frequencies and then he said to me that I had a stage four brain tumour and that I had four months to live.

“At the time, I believed I was having radio therapy. When he gave me medication, I was told it was oral chemotherapy and I believed it.”

According to 60 minutes, the evidence provided by Gibson didn’t stack up – and Brown, who was relentless in trying to get to the truth, was quick to call her out by consistently challenging the 23-year-old to “just be honest.” At one point she even asked: “Do you accept that you’re a pathological liar?” only to be met with a firm “no” from Belle.

Giving the disgraced entrepreneur a lashing, easily likened to that of the literal terminology, the reporter insisted that Gibson had a history of claiming dramatic health problems including three heart operations, two cardiac arrests and a death on the operating table.

Proving that she’s either in way over her head, or that she does in fact have a serious mental health issue, Belle continued to insist that she believed she was dying of cancer until earlier this year.

“I’m not trying to get away with anything. I’m not trying to smooth over anything,” she said. “It’s not easy for me to be here.”

“Once I received the definite, ‘No, you do not have cancer,’ that was something I had to come to terms with and it was really traumatising and I was feeling a huge amount of grief,” she said.

What’s more, Gibson was given an out more than once in the interview. In one part, Brown said: “I just wonder, Belle, if – and I don’t know if you’re at a stage where you’ll ever admit it – but whether you just didn’t know what you were getting yourself into. You probably thought you weren’t doing any harm … you thought you could get away with it.”

The 23-year-old replied: “There was nothing to get away with, Tara.” She also denied, or more so wouldn’t accept, that she might have Munchausen syndrome, a mental disorder in which someone pretends to suffer physically or psychologically to get attention. So this raises the question: Is Belle Gibson’s mental health issue far more complex than initially comprehended?

The final indicator being that the former entrepreneur couldn’t give a definitive answer to a simple question regarding her age. While her birth records, according to 60 minutes, show that she is 23, , she said: “I’ve always been raised as being currently a 26-year-old,”

This then prompted Brown to ask: “This is a really, really simple question. How old are you?” to which Gibson replied: “That’s probably a question we’ll have to keep digging for.”

Image via Daily Telegraph

10 Things To Consider Before Having A Breast Augmentation

As the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure on the planet, more than 12,000 breast augmentations take place in Australia each year. With more women choosing to go under the knife, The Cosmetic Institute has put together a check list of 10 things to consider before signing on the dotted line to have surgery.

“Breast augmentations make up more than 90 percent of the surgeries we perform,” says Dr Huy Tang, cosmetic surgeon at The Cosmetic Institute, which performs some 5,000 breast augmentation procedures each year. “While it’s a fairly straight-forward procedure, any time a patient is considering surgery, we want to make sure they’re informed, educated and armed with the right questions to ask,” he said.

Here, Dr Tang outlines the 10 most important things to consider before going under the knife. 

1. Be healthy

“Prior to your procedure it is critical that you are in excellent health,” says Dr Tang. “In particular, if you’re a smoker, it’s a very good idea to kick the habit at least eight weeks prior to your surgery.” According to Dr Tang, smokers have a much higher risk of serious complications during and after surgery, including infections and impaired wound healing.

2. Get educated

“It seems obvious, but make sure you’re well informed,” says Dr Tang, who recommends visiting forums, talking to people who have had the procedure and looking through the social media pages of the clinics you are interested in going with. “It is a very good idea to do this research before you meet your prospective surgeon so you can ensure all your questions can be addressed in your initial consultation,” he says. 

3. Shop around

“Although it can be tempting to go with the first surgeon you find and book your procedure in straight away, don’t settle with the first clinic you visit,” says Dr Tang. “Ensure you have a consultation with at least two or three other clinics to gain some perspective on what’s out there and where you feel the most comfortable. In addition to getting to know the surgeon, you can familiarise yourself with the type of work they do by looking at before and after pictures.”

4. Get clear about costs

To avoid any surprises, make sure you are aware of the costs associated with your surgery up front. “Many clinics have hidden costs such as a facility hire fees, post op follow up fees and anaesthetist fees, so make sure all costs are laid out on the table before you decide,” Dr Tang advises.

5. Stay local 

“I can’t stress strongly enough that patients need to think carefully before being lured overseas by the promise of cut-price surgery, as doing so exposes you to a number of unnecessary risks,” warns Dr Tang.  In addition to being away from the comforts of home and the support of family and friends while recovering from surgery, Dr Tang points out that you’re likely to be travelling to a very hot, humid climate where the risk of infection can be increased and the standard of sanitation may not be as high.   “You’ll also have no access to your surgeon once you return home, which may be crucial should complications occur weeks or even months after your surgery.  We are lucky that Australia has one of the best medical systems in the world, so you couldn’t be in safer hands,” he says. 

6. Ask for accreditation

“One of the very basic things you need to do is make sure both the clinic and the surgeon are accredited,” stresses Dr Tang, who warns that while the surgeon you’re talking to might be accredited, the facility may not be.   

7. Ask about anaesthetic

“Enquire about who will be administering the anaesthetic and ask whether you will have a specialist anaesthetist on site dedicated to your care for the full duration of surgery,” says Dr Tang. “Make sure your surgeon discusses the type of anaesthetic that will be used and that you are well informed about the different types of anaesthetic options available.”

8. Get the low down on the implants 

In terms of implant options, Dr Tang suggests you discuss everything from the type of implants your surgeon is planning to use (silicone gel or saline), to the size of implants they recommend based on your proportions, and their shape – which can be round or tear drop. “You’ll also want to ask about the texture of your implants’ surface – rough or smooth, whether your implants will be placed under or in front of the muscle, and the location of your incisions,” he says.

9. Be aware of the aftercare

“What happens after surgery is just as important as what happens during surgery,” says Dr Tang. “Following your surgery it is vital that you attend the recommended post op consultations with your surgeon and follow the aftercare directions they provide you with to the letter,” he says. He also suggests that you have a designated post op care partner to help look after you the days and even weeks following the procedure. “It is highly recommended that mothers in particular have assistance with general day to day activities as their upper body will be restricted and they won’t be able to do things like pick up their children, take a pram out of the car, or reach for anything above shoulder height.” 

10. Keep your expectations in check

“Although breast augmentation is a relatively simple procedure, many people are unaware of the lifestyle adjustments that will need to be made following surgery and come in with unrealistic expectations about their recovery,” says Dr Tang. He advises that most patients will need to take a week or so off work and won’t be able to drive for a week either. “It’s also important to keep in mind that your new breasts will change dramatically in the first six to 12 weeks and will continue to settle over the 12 to 24 months following, so don’t expect immediate perfection,” he says. 

In terms of scarring, Dr Tang says that patients are usually left with a thin line across the base of the breast, which fades over the following 12 months.  And finally, because you’re breasts will still be healing, Dr Tang says that underwire bras are off limits for about six weeks.

Improve Your Life With Feng Shui

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese art that is said to improve your environment and creative positive energy. And while it’s strange to think that rearranging your lounge-room a certain way or keeping particular entrances clear will impact your life, the Chinese believe that good feng shui brings good fortune.

RELATED: 3 Simple Mindfulness Techniques To Use Anywhere

So, if you’re feeling stuck, lacking in energy and abundance, or are simply moving into an new apartment, here is a basic guide to feng shui.


With clutter comes chaos, so simplify your living space by getting rid of anything that you don’t use or no longer need. It might seem like a bit of a chore at first, but once you’ve created some extra space you’ll be surprised at how ucmh more calming you’re environment will feel. Good feng shui is about creating free-flowing energy and this is achieved through a fresh, clean space. Stagnant energy keeps you trapped in the past, so get cleaning, girlfriend!

Clear the entry to your home

In feng shui lingo the entrance to your home is called the ‘mouth of chi’, because it’s where all the good energy – known as chi – enters your house. To allow it to flow into other spaces, remove any clutter from the inside of your door such as bikes, toys and bags, so as not to cause any energy blocks. If you want to bring more prosperity into your home and improve the overall mood, paint your front door a new and vibrant colour. Green is said to bring growth, blue relaxation and red, wealth.

Let some light in

A brightly lit room is a happy room. You see, the amount of light present in a space greatly influences the way you feel because it’s the strongest manifestation of energy. How many times have you walked into a dark and dreary room only to feel your spirits dampen? On the contrary, how many times have you felt your energy soar when the sun shines on your face? It’s imperative in feng shui to have smart lighting and good quality air, so pull back those drapes, open up the windows and invest in a few warm globed lamps if need be.

Rearrange your bedroom 

They say we spend nearly one third of our lives asleep, so there’s no doubt that the bedroom has a huge impact on your life. To create a safe and harmonious environment, place your bed in the commanding position of your room. This spot is facing the doorway, but not directly. Move your bed to the farthest position you can where it’s still possible to see the doorway and anyone approaching when lying down. This position is said to bring strength and charge.

Bring the outdoors in

Plants bring good energy into any environment. They’re vibrant, vigorous and the source of all life. While large trees such as lily, bamboo and jade are best – according to feng shui guidelines – a small pot plant will still do the trick. What’s more, placing three new plants in your bedroom is said to liven up your sex life, with pink flowers delivering the most spice. Make sure to keep your greenery well fed by watering them appropriately and exposing them to sunlight if recommended.

Image via Shutterstock

5 Celeb Men Who Are Regulars At The Day Spa

Gone are the days when men required just a quick shave to look good, now it’s taking almost as much effort as females to get ready. With celeb heartthrobs making beauty treatments are “cool” thing to do for men, there’s been a growing increase in the number of males visiting their local day spa and indulging in some pampering.

Contrary to popular belief, a trip to the day spa is not just a feminine activity. Thanks to celebs like George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Keith Richards, David Beckham and many others; the day spa is no longer the dominion of women. More attention to beauty is now are regular thing for men – manicures are no longer just a female luxury, waxing is more widespread than just the back or chest area and facials are actually a way to spoil yourself.

These days, men are taking a lot more pride in their physical appearance and want to look great in the public eye. Day spa treatments for men are booming in popularity so we decided to check out the top male celebs that are regular goers at their local day spa and exactly just what treatments they get.

1. David Beckham

Crowned the biggest male beauty icon last year, David Beckham is renowned for his sexy well-groomed looks. From regular at-home beauty treatments with his wife Victoria Beckham, the footballing legend has indulged in the likes of Botox injections, facials and waxing. Both Beckhams’ have given the bird poo treatment a go and swear by the Japanese face mask which acts as an exfoliate and unclogs pores. It is believed this beautifying facial was recommended to the Beckhams by Tom Cruise.

Beckham’s attention to detail and pride in the way he looks has sparked inspiration all over the world, with many men following closely in his footsteps. Thanks to his regular beauty treatments, David Beckham regularly tops male celeb polls for his handsome and fashionable style.

2. Snoop Dogg

This rap superstar is known for posting pictures on his Instagram account showing off his freshly manicured French nail. Occasionally mixing up his style with Rasta graphics and dollar sign prints on his nails, Snoop Dogg is definitely guilty of enjoying the odd beauty treatment – and loves it too!

And why shouldn’t he? It’s been proven that such beauty treatments offer a much needed way for people to spoil themselves and feel good. According to a study done by lastminute.com, the top reason men listed for taking a trip to their local day spa was simply for a “pick-me-up” – and almost everyone can relate to that. Other male celebs that too have enjoyed the odd manicure or pedicure include Johnny Depp, Al Pacino and Keith Richards, just to name a few.

3. Jay Z

Rap icon Jay Z has also proven that regular trips to your local day spa are definitely a normal part of life – even if you are a guy. Known for his regular appearances at New York day spa Skin by Mamie, Jay Z pampers himself with hydrating facials and skin extractions to stay looking fresh and sexy.

Usher too has been known to indulge in a variety of facials at the same day spa, proving these beauty treatments are pretty contagious for those male celebs. Even if the trend has stemmed from female partners motivating their men to pay more attention to their looks and attend day spas as a couple, the benefits these treatments are having on men are undeniable.

4. George Clooney

As far as handsome and well-groomed men go, actor George Clooney is definitely up there with the very best. Closely followed by Brad Pitt, these guys know what it takes to look (and feel) great. Famously known for his ridiculously good looks and extremely toned figure, Clooney goes all out with his beauty treatments.

Whilst the norm – facials, waxing and the occasional Botox treatment – is on Clooney’s list of beauty rituals, he has inspired a new Hollywood craze in your not-so-average beauty treatments. Referred to as “tightening the tackle”, celeb men are becoming increasingly motivated to get the skin on their genital area “ironed” out thanks to various comments made by Clooney to get it done instead of his eyes.

It’s become a Clooney-inspired cosmetic treatment that like a women’s Brazilian wax, will eventually become very much of the norm. A similar procedure to that of an eye lift, the cosmetic treatment is said to offer men some pleasing results.

5. P.Diddy

In a bid to look luscious for the ladies, P.Diddy has admitted on many occasions his chosen beauty treatment – waxing, down there. Urging all men to follow in his footsteps, P.Diddy has expressed the importance of such beauty treatments to keep things “in shape” for their female lovers. To top off his regular day spa visits, P.Diddy is also known to treat himself to a manicure and pedicure too.

By Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Keturah Day Spa, Australia’s multi award winning spas for relaxing and pampering treatments for men

Belle Gibson’s Fall From Grace

When Belle Gibson founded The Whole Pantry with the story of healing herself from terminal cancer via alternative health and nutrition, she gave hope to thousands suffering with the disease. Now, after months of speculation, the 23-year-old has confessed to lying about the whole ordeal.

RELATED: Are We Being Fooled By The Health And Fitness Industry

Sitting down with The Australian Women’s Weekly, the disgraced blogger admitted: “No, none of it’s true,” when she was asked if she has, or has ever had, cancer. Failing to give an appropriate or clear reason as to why – “I am still jumping between what I think I know and what is reality. I have lived it and I’m not really there yet,” – Gibson instead directed the blame to her troubled childhood.

“When I started school, my mum went, ‘My daughter is grown up now’. All of a sudden I was walking to school on my own, making school lunches and cleaning the house every day. It was my responsibility to do grocery shopping, do the washing, arrange medical appointments and pick up my brother. I didn’t have any toys.”

So does not having parental guidance pardon the fact that she created one of the biggest hoax’s the health industry has ever seen? Or the fact that she deceived several charities by withholding up to $300, 000 in promised donations from the sales of her app? Or what about potentially putting the lives of those who made choices about their cancer treatment based on her advice in jeopardy?

No doubt Belle Gibson has copped furious backlash, with the 23-year-old being slammed via social media, but is mental illness behind her wrongdoings? The Australian Women’s Weekly speculated that Gibson suffers from a psychological condition called Munchausen syndrome — a condition where sufferers often lie about disease or illness for attention.

“I think my life has just got so many complexities around it and within it, that it’s just easier to assume [I’m lying],” said Gibson in the interview. “If I don’t have an answer, then I will sort of theorise it myself and come up with one. I think that’s an easy thing to often revert to if you don’t know what the answer is.”

Regardless of her reasoning, financially the former health guru’s web of lies has left her in turmoil. The Whole Pantry app has been dropped by Apple, Penguin Australia have stopped supplying her book and she has also been instructed by accountants to give any leftover profits to the charities she pledged money to. So, what’s next for Belle Gibson?

She says she doesn’t want forgiveness. Instead, she wants people to say: “‘Okay, she’s human. She’s obviously had a big life. She’s respectfully come to the table and said what she’s needed to say, and now it’s time for her to grow and heal.’”

Sorry Belle, but it’s going to take a lot more than a measly apology for your followers to let you off the hook that easy.

Image via Sydney Morning Herald

Coach Yourself To Better Health

Have you ever decided to make a change towards a healthier lifestyle, then found yourself returning to your old ways within a week or a month? This often happens because the goal we set for ourselves is too ambitions and we’re trying to change too much, too fast. There’s a gentler way to better health – taking one little step at a time and celebrating your wins along the way.

RELATED: A Shortcut To Changing A Habit For Good

While the cold-turkey method can work for some people, it leaves most of us disappointed and feeling bad about ourselves. Lifestyle food and wellness coach Magdalena Mandryk shows us how to coach ourselves to better health from a place of gentleness and self-love instead. So grab something to write with and follow along!

What would you like to change in your lifestyle?

Magdalena believes that a happier and healthier life starts in these three areas: good nutrition, regular physical activity and positive mindset. It’s important to create good habits in all three, but without being too strict on yourself. It’s okay to enjoy a bit of chocolate or a glass of wine from time to time!

What area do you feel needs most attention right now? Pick one positive change to focus on: it could be drinking more water, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep. It’s always better to define your goal in positive terms and move towards something you want rather than away from something you don’t want. For example, losing weight has an element of loss attached to it and what do you do when you lose something? That’s right, you want to find it again! Instead, focus on eating healthy food that nourishes your body and all of a sudden your goal seems a lot more attractive.

Why is this important to you?

Your motivation is everything. If you’re doing something just because your friend or an expert told you it was a good idea, the chances are you won’t stick with it. Imagine yourself achieving the result you want. How is your life going to be different? How are you going to feel? Is that what you want for yourself? If not, now is the time to go back to the first step and make adjustments to your goal.

What are your strengths?

List 3-5 of your innate strengths (your strengths are activities and qualities that come naturally to you and bring you joy). They don’t have to be related to the goal you’re setting for yourself, but when you’re stuck for inspiration you can always get creative and draw on your strengths to overcome obstacles.

What could get in your way?

Make a list of the challenges that can come up along the way: work emergency, losing motivation, kids getting sick, all the things that can happen to distract you from your goal. This list can get long, but don’t let that discourage you. It’s better to be prepared than to fall apart and forget all about your goal at the first sign of something not going to plan.

What are some possible strategies?

Here’s where you brainstorm strategies to achieve your goal and overcome your obstacles. It always helps to have a list of strategies ahead of time – in the heat of the moment you may not be able to find a solution and you might not even remember that you need one.

Are you having a hard time coming up with strategies for some of the things that could get in your way? Now is the time to call on your strengths. How can you engage your strengths to overcome your obstacles?

For example, you may be trying to get enough sleep, but you’re struggling to detach yourself from your computer at night because one of your strengths – curiosity, is always driving you to look for more answers online. You can consciously send your curiosity in a different direction and get curious about interpreting dreams. Then you’ll need to dream first before you have something you could interpret.

Choose a task for next week

Finally, it’s time to make your goal a reality. Choose a small, doable task for next week. It has to be achievable, measurable and attractive, something you want to do. For example, you could choose to go to bed 15 minutes earlier, exercise every day for 10 minutes or drink one glass of water. While it doesn’t feel like much, it’s easy to do and you’re far more likely to succeed than if you decide to stick to a bed time of 9 pm and exercise for 45 minutes a day.

Magdalena recommends that you focus on each task for at least a week before you move on to the next step. Once the week is up, review how you went, do something to celebrate your success and set a new task for the following week. When you succeed week after week, you start feeling great about yourself and you build momentum, so it’s much easier to keep going. One little step at a time and you’ll see that better health is well within your reach.

Image via Pixabay

Why Power Naps Are Clinically Proven Health Boosters

Ever wondered, when tired, if you should opt for a really strong espresso coffee or a power nap to help you push through the day?

RELATED: 5 Tips To Help You Fall Asleep Fast

The science is in, lady, and you should choose a power nap every time. NASA research has shown pilots who had a 26-minute nap in the cockpit were more alert – by 54 per cent – and had improved performance by 34 per cent. Of course, if you aren’t an astronaut and work in a corporate environment, your boss may not love you napping at your desk! However, you can always try to counter this by telling your superior power naps boost productivity; ease stress; and are good for our heart, blood pressure and even weight management. Or, you could always don one of these to drown out the world – including your boss’ shouting.

women's health, power naps, sleep problems
I recently had the good fortune to meet a preeminent sleep specialist and he gave me some amazing tips, which I’m going to share with you here, dear reader. Sleep specialist guy says power naps of 29 minutes exactly are clinically proven to be the best for us. He says it’s just the right amount of time to refresh and revitilise ourselves, thereby boosting our alertness, learning, memory and performance.

One method he advises is grabbing a set of keys, laying down, and holding the keys in the palm of your hand over the edge of the bed. When you fall into a deep sleep and drop the set of keys, it’s time to wake up. I’m feeling sleepy just writing about all this!

women's health, power naps, sleep problems
Another great tip sleep specialist guy gave me was the power of sleep apps: he advises all his clients to try these two from the App Store on iTunes: 1) A free audio app called Power Nap With Andrew Johnson and 2) A free audio app (although the paid one is better and well worth the money) called Health Through Breath – Pranayama. Both these apps have greatly helped me unwind of late and get better quality sleep after my sleep patterns have been destroyed by two pesky toddlers under three, who wake often and cry out repeatedly in the night.

Andrew Johnson is a Scottish clinical hypnotherapist renowned for teaching relaxation and coping skills and even has a pleasing accent to boot. Meanwhile, Health Through Breath – Pranayama is a training tool that uses music and animated visuals to guide you to slower, deeper breathing. It’s not specifically designed for sleep, but makes me so relaxed, I usually drop off fairly quickly. It works off the concept of slow diaphragmatic breathing alleviating stress, anxiety and depression. Happy power napping, ladies!

Images via YouTube, Keep Calm-O-Matic and Hammacher


Can You Give Up All Earthly Pleasures For A Meditation Course?

Imagine taking a vow of silence, cutting off all contact from your loved ones and the outside world, giving up grog and only eating vegetarian meals – all for the duration of a 10-day, live-in meditation course, in the name of personal enlightenment?

RELATED: Common Myths About Meditation

Personally, I’d struggle on all fronts – particularly with not being able to see my husband and two toddlers for that long – but for countless others, this is nirvana. For in the eternal quest for peace of mind and happiness, people are flocking to a residential meditation centre in regional South-East Queensland, set in landscaped gardens within 60 acres of bushland.

And once there, thousands of meditation students will, each year, willingly take a vow of “noble silence” for the duration of a 10-day adult course which caters for up to 70 people.

Participants must also eschew all modern luxuries, such as the use of technology, including all electronic devices. Eek!

Following the age-old technique of Vipassana meditation one of India’s most ancient practices hailing back to the time of Buddha more than 2500 years ago Dhamma Rasmi is located at Pomona, Queensland, about two hours north of Brisbane.

This Vipassana meditation centre is hugely popular with both men and women and even offers 20-day courses for “old students”. About 40 courses in total are run annually, including one-to-two day classes for teenagers and children, and pregnant women are welcome at the adult courses.

meditation, meditation retreat, mindfulness

So, why on earth would you do it? The benefits of such a 10-day meditation course are said to include:

  • It’s a practical way to achieve peace of mind and boost your happiness and productivity.
  • A 10-day residential course with a qualified teacher gives students the opportunity to be “free from distractions”, according to the course terminology. This apparently helps you tap into your reality within.
  • This technique is said to help participants “come out of suffering”.
  • The course is non-sectarian and so suitable to all people, regardless of religion, gender, race or nationality.
  • It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, and “dissolves mental impurity”, resulting in a balanced, uncluttered mind full of love and compassion.

mindfulness, Buddhism, appreciation

And a word of warning, dear reader: this residential meditation course is a serious undertaking and not for the faint-hearted.

Before you apply, you’re encouraged to “read and accept the code of discipline”, including what is expected of you, lest you get chucked out. And note well: all journalistic attempts were made to interview a course convenor or teacher for this story, but all such requests were declined. Apparently, publicity is neither sought nor welcomed, hmph.

For more information, visit www.rasmi.dhamma.org or www.dhamma.org.au.

Images, in order, via www.dailymail.co.uk and www.popscreen.com.

Top 5 Weightloss Superfoods You Need Right Now

Are you determined to get fit and trim this year, in manner of a superhero? Look no further than your fridge, girlfriend, for you’re going to need some superfoods.

RELATED: Make 2015 A Fresh Start

Leading Sydney dietician/nutritionist and author Susie Burrell says rather than spend your hard-earned on expensive detox programs to lose weight, it might be high time for a diet overhaul.

This means investing in your health the easy way: by focusing on nutrient-rich, low-calorie superfoods which make for super-healthy snacks. Susie, (pictured) who just launched her new program: Shape Me, The 30 Day Plan, lists her favourite superfoods as: berries, beetroot, salmon, walnuts and broccoli (or broccolini).

“Superfoods are foods that are chock-full of nutrition and, in a world where many of us do not burn as many calories as we would like to eat, in order to maximise our nutrition, targeting superfoods on a daily basis is a good way to help improve our overall nutritional intake,” she says.

superfoods, weight-loss superfoods, weight loss, diets, dieting

And while overhauling your diet isn’t always inexpensive, as good-quality food can be relatively costly, especially if not in season, Susie advises we counter this by making smart choices. “Targeting a few key superfoods, in a budget-conscious way, is a good way to improve your daily nutritional intake,” she says.

“Adding in green tea, tinned salmon and frozen berries for example, won’t break the bank, but will instantly improve your intake of omega-3 fat and antioxidants.”

Let’s examine the goodness in Susie’s top picks: berries, beetroot, salmon, walnuts and broccoli.

Berries: Any berries are great for you, and taste amazing, but Susie says blueberries in particular are packed full of antioxidants, vitamin C and fibre, while also being relatively low in calories and carbohydrates. You can enjoy them as a light snack in between meals; as a fibre boost to smoothies and juices; or as a sweet treat after dinner with a little Greek yoghurt and seeds or nuts. Yum! Another good option is strawberries.

superfoods, weight-loss superfoods, weight loss, diets, dieting

Beetroot: This pretty purple-crimson veggie is of exceptional nutritional value; especially the greens, which are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. Beetroots are also an excellent source of folic acid and a very good source of fibre, manganese and potassium. And, did you know? The greens should not be overlooked; they can be cooked up and enjoyed in the same way as spinach. Handy tip: If your hands become stained during preparation and cooking beetroot, rub some lemon juice over them to help remove the colour.

Salmon: This yummy superfood – or should that be superfish – is packed with healthy fats and high-quality protein, plus lots of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12. Of all the different types of fish, salmon has received the most praise for being a nutritional marvel and is said to be perfect “brain food”. Above all, it is salmon’s omega-3 fatty acids content which makes it particularly nutritious – health experts advise us to eat such oily fish (tuna is another) at least three times a week. It also makes for a versatile dish. Sold!

superfoods, weight-loss superfoods, weight loss, diets, dieting

Walnuts: These delicious, brain-shaped little pocket rockets are often called the King of Nuts for their health-boosting properties. Just ten walnuts provides a massive dose of long-chain polyunsaturated fats known to optimise the composition of the cell wall, which can allow our fat-burning hormones to work better. Cool! What’s more, they also contain cancer-fighting properties and boost both your heart and brain health. The unsalted, raw kind are obviously preferable.

Broccoli: Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family, whose large flowering head is used as a popular green veggie. And, it’s so nutritious, a slightly health-obsessed former personal trainer of mine used to advise me to eat it raw and often to ward off cold and flues. It’s said to lower cholesterol, particularly when steamed, and contain cancer-fighting properties and a wide range of phytochemicals which protect against many chronic diseases. Broccoli is also a good source of beta carotene, vitamin C, folate and fibre. Broccolini, if you prefer, is also similarly nutritious and is smaller, milder and sweeter.

Susie Burrell’s new e-book Change Your Mindset And Lose Weight Fast: The Motivation You Need To Lose Weight is out now. Visit www.shapeme.com.au or www.susieburrell.com.au.

Images, in order, via en.paperblog.com; supplied; www.livingfoodslifestyle.co.nz; and www.thankgodimnatural.com.

The Hidden Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Looking for an at-home remedy which can be used to cure almost any type of skin and hair condition?

Apple cider vinegar has been used for years to control common skin conditions, and is also cheap and cheerful! We show you just a few different ways this do-it-all product can create a tremendous difference in your life.

RELATED: Natural Remedies For Morning Sickness


Use one part apple cider vinegar and two parts water to create a gentle toner for sensitive skin. Apply with a cotton pad over selected areas of the face to minimise pores, and reduce the amount of acne-related breakouts.

Shiny hair

Combine apple cider and warm water onto freshly washed hair for an instant treatment. Not only does it help to remove the build-up of dandruff, but will make hair look shiny and sleek.


To reduce redness on sunburnt skin, add one cup of apple cider vinegar into a lukewarm bath. The concentrated formula helps to reduce the look and appearance of sunburn without unsettling the skin.

Upset stomach

Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into a warm tea with ginger to control an upset stomach. It has healing properties which helps to control indigestion and acid reflux.


Add a few drops of apple cider vinegar into your bath for a cheap and effective detox. Not only is the smell amazing, but it will help to soothe tired muscles.

Bad breath

Combine 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into 1 cup of water and gargle. This should eliminate any source of bad breath – especially if you’ve just had garlic!

Yeast infections

Any nasty yeast infections can be cured with a simple bath. Soak in a lukewarm bath filled with 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to decrease any irritation.

Sore throat

Gargle with equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water to relieve a dry, itchy throat. Use it multiple times a day, and remember to drink lots of liquids!

Teeth whitening

Gargle with one cup of apple cider vinegar after brushing your teeth. The concentrated formula helps to remove any stains which your toothbrush can’t reach.


Combine apple cider vinegar and water to use a a facial cleanser for acne prone skin. It has antibacterial properties which help to cleanse pores, and create a clear face.

Those are just our top 10 ways to use apple cider vinegar! What are some of yours?

Image via Balanced Babe

BBQ For Kidney Health This Australia Day

The great Aussie barbie is a national tradition, especially on Australia Day. You won’t have to venture too far to get a whiff of that awesome smell either. Communities come alive with events planned in most neighborhoods and if you carry on festivities after dark the fireworks will complete your day. All in all, it really is the one day of the year when the great Aussie spirit is celebrated, alive and well.

RELATED: What You Need To Know About Organ Donation

This year, Kidney Health Australia is asking us all to show that Aussie spirit by signing up for the Big Red BBQ. It doesn’t need to be held on Australia Day (in case you can’t organise it in time) but anytime during summer. Surely we can manage that, yeah?

BBQ, Kidney disease, Kidneys, Kidney Health Australia, Fundraising, Health Awareness
I suppose the folks at Kidney Health Australia figured while we’re celebrating Australia Day with all those BBQ’s we may as well roll up our Aussie sleeves and raise some much needed awareness and possibly a few bucks for our Aussie mates. Very little gets spoken about this disease despite how lethal it is so to get a glimpse of how it is effecting us Aussies, I’ve included some pretty startling facts.

Risk: 1 in 3 Aussies at risk

Estimated effected Aussies: 1.7 million

Fatalities: 56 a day

Hospitalisation: 15 per cent of all hospital admissions

Dialysis patients: 11, 446

Dialysis: 3 days a week, 5 hours a day

Awaiting transplants: 1087 – average wait 3.5 years (7 years not uncommon)

Symptoms: None.

Up to 90% of kidney function can be lost without individuals experiencing any symptoms

Pretty shocking stuff hey? So, do you recon you could raise some awareness and a few bucks for Kidney Health Australia? Registration is free, plus, you’ll receive a free event pack in the mail containing an official Big Red BBQ apron.

BBQ, Kidney disease, Kidneys, Kidney Health Australia, Fundraising, Health Awareness
Additionally, they have a 5 ingredient cooking challenge going on, prizes for the highest fundraising efforts and are now being sponsored by some big companies and talented individuals like Barbeques Galore, IKEA, Lombard the paper people and Aussie home cooking hero, Lyndey Milan.

BBQ, Kidney disease, Kidneys, Kidney Health Australia, Fundraising, Health Awareness
So come on everyone, lets enjoy our great Aussie tradition and help out some mates at Kidney Health Australia at the same time. If you want more information on registration or ways to get involved Australia Day and beyond, head to https://bigredbbq2015.gofundraise.com.au/cms/home

Image via kidney.org.au

Battling Anxiety: How To Be More Mindful This Christmas



  1. The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
  2. A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Christmas is coming and with it, giddy highs and stressful lows, as we strive to make things absolutely perfect for our loved ones, including our precious children and other family members.

Is my eggnog good enough for hard-to-please Aunt Myrtle? Will everyone get along this Christmas, or fight over the turkey? What if my toddlers misbehave? Agh!

RELATED: Top Five Christmas Stress Busters

So, in order to combat such anxieties, relationship psychologists say it’s vitally important to be mindful and enjoy the present.

Mindfulness is a hot topic and buzzword at present, but it has long been recognised as an effective way to reduce stress, increase self-awareness, enhance emotional intelligence and effectively handle painful thoughts and feelings.

So, how on earth do we practice mindfulness?

Some simple tips to live in the moment, as advocated by Buddhists, include consciously focussing on the present. Practice staying in the moment, focusing on the here-and-now and putting worries and concerns aside to be dealt with at a later time.

mindfulness, Buddhism, appreciation

In addition, pre-planning and setting aside time to be organised can help us to relax on the big day, knowing that we’ve done our best to have things “just so” as we want them to be for Christmas lunch. And, as any psych will tell you, it’s important to be kind to yourself, be realistic and don’t expect perfection!

Unexpected problems and issues will always arise, but we have to try to be happy with having done our best.

Using relaxation techniques such as slow, deep breathing, not letting yourself worry about things that you could have done –  instead, visualising a scene of peace happiness and tranquillity – can also help you to be mindful and relaxed during the festive season.

As well as combating anxiety, another great goal this Christmas is to develop a sense of gratitude, or appreciation for what you have, or towards a particular person who has done something good for you.

For having a strong sense of gratitude can act as a strong antidote to counter depression.
Writing a list of the good things in your life can a cool, fun place to start and experts say this is also a great habit to teach the kids.

Another idea is to write a gratitude letter – a letter to someone who has done something for you that has changed your life in a good way – especially if you’ve never told then how much you appreciate what they did. You don’t even have to actually send the letter!

Peace out.

mindfulness, Buddhism, appreciation

Images via www.pixabay.com.

4 Ways The Festive Season Has An Effect On Your Skin

While the festive season can be a wonderful time of light and love, it is also a time where the pressures of work and Christmas shopping combine with the pleasures of Christmas parties, high fat and sugar laden foods and perhaps a little too much Christmas spirit!

According to endota’s skincare expert, Cara Doncovio, “most of us are aware that some of our lifestyle choices around this special time can have a damaging effect on our bodies and generally it’s our skin that can bear the brunt of a hectic and stressful festive season. From Christmas-induced, to eating a diet high in sugar and fat, drinking alcohol or suffering from fatigue – all of these lifestyle choices can take a toll on our skin and we tend to forget that the skin is actually the body’s largest organ!”

Cara says: “There’s no fool proof recipe for clear and glowing skin, but there are a number of steps and precautions you can follow to increase your chances of maintaining a festive Christmas glow this year.”

endota spa, Australia’s largest day spa, has teamed up with independent GP, Lily Tomas to provide their top tips for a skin survival guide this Christmas:


endota spa recently revealed that 56 per cent of Australian women report an increase in stress levels at this time of year.

According to Cara: “Most of us are aware that high levels of stress can play havoc on our skin, but we often don’t realise quite how much of a direct effect this can have. I’m often asked if there is anything you can do to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and the first thing I tell them to do is relax and stop frowning! It may seem obvious but constant muscle tension (like frowning) can lead to permanent wrinkling, as facial expressions used when we are stressed can cause deep lines (like crow’s feet or frown lines), often lasting beyond the stressful period.”

The best way to tackle stress as advised by Dr Tomas is to get to the root of the problem – take a look at what the triggers are which are causing you to be stressed and then explore ways in which you can address these triggers, as opposed to attempting to only remedy the skin which is affected. “The best gift someone can give at this time of year is the gift of relaxation! The most effective way of reducing your stress levels is to solely dedicate time to relax; I recommend a relaxation massage at your local day spa as during a treatment is one of the only times you are asked to turn off your phone. Spas are an oasis of calm and the dramatic reduction in the levels of cortisol is generally a sign of a massage’s effectiveness.”


Put down the piece of chocolate. We all know that too much sugar is a no no for our skin, but do we really know why? Well, research has shown that high sugar foods can significantly damage the collagen and elastin in your skin.

“Sugar attaches to the collagen through a process called glycation and when this usually springy and resilient collagen and elastin becomes dry, brittle and inflexible, the more likely it is you’re your skin will sag and develop wrinkles in the long term,” Cara says.

“This Christmas your collagen and elastin are going to need all the help they can get. A fabulous natural ingredient which helps look after collagen is extract from a type of Aloe Vera plant called Aloe Vera Barbedensis; the extract from the plant is full of the necessary co-factors, i.e. the vitamins and minerals that are needed to stimulate the dermal fibroblast (a cell which looks after the maintenance of our collagen).”

Aloe Vera Barbadensis is one of two core ingredients that makes up all of the products in endota spa’s ceutical anti-ageing range – the collagen serum is a must for those who are looking to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


“I’m sure many of us can appreciate the feeling of dehydration the morning after a heavy night at the work Christmas do, but it’s not just a lack of liquids which our bodies are struggling with the morning after; the effect of alcohol on the skin has a similar effect to the rest of your body,” Cara says.

Drinking too much is also thought to deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients; specifically Vitamin A, which is essential for cell renewal and turnover, which is why sometimes the skin can lose its glow.

“Water serves as a type of internal moisturizer for your skin, which is why staying thoroughly hydrated can help to smooth out wrinkles, and make your skin appear brighter and younger. It is therefore key to remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water – try and drink a glass of water between every alcoholic drink you have and this will improve your chances of staying hydrated,” Cara explains.

“There are a number of natural ingredients I recommend looking out for when trying to rehydrate the skin; for example, macadamia oil is extremely hydrating and penetrates the skin brilliantly. I also recommend shea butter, lillypilly and rosehip and myrrh oil as they are packed full of antioxidants. I personally love endota’s organics lilly pilly body moisturiser!

“As increased blood flow can leave the skin drier, I recommend maintaining a consistent skincare routine which includes cleansing, toning but most importantly moisturizing day and night. I always opt a regenerating night cream for the night time and a hydrating, but SPF moisturiser for the daytime.”

Lack of sleep

“If you are consistently not getting enough sleep it can affect your skin’s regeneration function, resulting in dullness, fatigue, under-eye circles and bags and bloodshot eyes,” Cara says.

“It is important to remember that the skin around the eyes is where it is the thinnest on the entire body, with just 10 layers – it is for this reason you’re eyes are extremely sensitive and often the first giveaway if you’ve had a late one the night before!

“If you suffer from puffy eyes, use cucumber slices as mini ice packs on the eyes; they constrict the blood and lymph vessels that bring fluid to the area – there is a genuine reason behind this!”

Similarly to using cucumber, there a number of healing properties associated with natural ingredients, for example pea extract has been known to stimulate collagen which improves skin elasticity and firmness. Green tea extract is also packed with antioxidants which help to shield against environmental damage and fortify against future damage.

Dr Lily Tomas recommends “sleeping with your head slightly elevated to prevent fluid from pooling around the eye area.”

Kickstart A New You With A 30-Day Dietitian Plan

Have you ever fantasised about how much quicker you’d achieve your weight-loss goals if you could make like a celebrity and have unlimited access to a dietitian, personal trainer, nutritionist, chef and more? Me too, sigh.

While she can’t offer you all of those services, leading Sydney dietician/nutritionist and author Susie Burrell (pictured) is promising her new program, Shape Me, The 30 Day Plan, is like having your own personal dietitian by your side to help you make healthy choices and better achieve your wellness and weight-loss goals. This would sure come in handy at Christmas too, right?

RELATED: Dieting Myths: Facts Vs Fiction

Susie is determined, via her new program, to decode confusing nutrition advice and offer one-on-one service which takes into consideration your personal preferences and dietary requirements. The dietitian/nutrionist is a spokeswoman for the Dieticians Association of Australia and a media commentator on diet, weight loss and nutrition. She is the author of three books and blogs regularly at www.susieburrell.com.au.

“Each plan is specifically designed for the needs and goals of each client, with a range of diet options available,” she says. “I have some clients who message me 100 times a day. I offer persoanlised service, 24/7. Shape Me is meant to be dietitian direct not a whole body transformation.”

Options include gluten-free, flat belly, insulin-resistant and low fodmap diets for IBS sufferers. Plus, there’s some 700 recipes you can draw inspiration from (pictured). What’s more, Susie’s online program also provides access to her e-Books, blog, and a community forum. Cost is $99 for 30 days. Visit www.shapeme.com.au.

weight loss, dietitian, nutritionist

Q & A with Susie Burrell

What sets Shape Me apart from other diet plans? Shape Me has been designed as your own personal dietitian. Not only is every single meal plan individualised based on activity, food preferences and specific dietary requirements, but you have unlimited access to a dietitian (me), allowing you to ask any questions at any time. It is your one-stop diet shop.

Who is your core customer? Shape Me is designed for busy people who spend lots of time online and who like to have resources and diet guides readily available, but who do not necessarily have the time or money to invest in actually seeing a dietitian. Shape Me is designed to support weight loss and healthy eating long-term.

How does a 30-day plan provide real and sustainable healthy eating habit-changers? Shape Me is anything you want it to be ­– if you want to be making meals each night from a large variety of recipes, it caters for you. If you want to eat the same thing every day, it caters for you. There are no special meals or foods or recipes you have to make, it is simply easy to prepare meals based on calorie controlled meals that you can follow forever.

Does having 24hr access to you, make this diet plan more achievable? It simply offers the support so many of us need when we embark on any new program, so if you are unsure, need to fine tune your plan, have gone off the rails or simply need a little more motivation, you can talk to me directly online.

You’ve been a dietician for almost 15 years. What’s best and worst about the job? I love meeting people and hearing all about their lives and working out how to build them a strong nutrition platform to help them be at their best every single day. The worst is knowing that people are not in the right mindset to achieve their nutrition and weight-loss goals, but still having to see them and try and help them to identify their motivation.

What’s the ultimate professional thrill for you? Any unfulfilled burning ambitions? I love what I do, and after a great day of seeing clients I am feeling on top of the world, but if I am honest ultimately I would like to write books that sell well, that tap into a specific area of weight loss and are really useful to people, ideally in a market bigger than Australia. That will be the ultimate achievement for me in my career.

Why do you think there’s so much confusion about dieting and weight loss out there? Everyone is an expert and social media has given people who should not have a voice on these topics, and who are not qualified to be talking about diets, the opportunity to do so. Then, the messages become about the hype and marketing, not the science and what is applicable in the real world. Diets makes a lot of people a lot of quick dollars and the consumer needs to remember that before they become a convert to yet another restrictive fad diet peddled by someone who needs to make a quick buck.

Who should the public steer clear of when it comes to diet and nutrition advice? The completely unqualified individuals such as chefs who have completed a health course and/or journalists or simply individuals who have lost weight themselves preaching specific dietary recommendations we need to be wary of.

What are some of the worst eating habits you deplore? People wasting their calories by making silly choices, such as large milk coffees (no one needs a large coffee) which are 200-300 calories – the equivalent of a small meal – and “healthy” recipes packed with brown rice malt syrup, coconut oil and coconut sugar. I mean, c’mon!

5 Healthy Snacks in Under 5 Minutes

Do Cellulite Treatments Actually Work?

There’s no denying how cute dimples are when you smile, but dimples that appear on your other cheeks is one that most women and men would like to change. The dimple-like appearance that finds a home on your hips, thighs and buttocks – known as cellulite – is one of the biggest body complaints among women.

RELATED: An Expert’s Tips To Treating Cellulite

A cosmetic condition that affects nearly 90% of women and 10% of men, cellulite can affect all body shapes and sizes in men and women of all ages. Whilst not everything has been proven, there’s many factors said to influence the on-set of cellulite from hormonal issues to genetics. Whilst the condition is known to men too, it’s much more common in women due to the lack of strength in the tissue fat (septae) compared to that of men.

With so many myths surrounding the treatment of cellulite, women and men question all over what will really work for them. Here’s a few to get you started:

1. Cellulite is just regular fat

When it comes to treating cellulite, one of the biggest myths people believe is that cellulite is just regular fat. Women and men attempt dramatic dieting to rid the dreaded dimples and wonder why it’s not working. Whilst cellulite does indeed involve fat, it’s not that extra weight we immediately think of. Cellulite is a type of fat that accumulates in small sections just below the skin which cause the skin to appear dimpled.

Because it’s not the standard fat around you stomach and thighs, it goes without saying that cellulite can occur on anyone. You can be super skinny and still suffer from the cosmetic condition, or you can be a regular weight or obese. That being said, its important drastic diet measures should not be taken to try rid cellulite.

What you can do instead: Maintain a healthy weight and a healthy diet. Whilst this will by no means cure cellulite, a healthier lifestyle will minimise the chance of your body fat converting to cellulite fat.

2. Cellulite can be cured by miracle creams

Contrary to popular belief, applying creams and other body lotions that claim to make cellulite disappear won’t help either. The problem with cellulite is below the skin’s surface to using over-the-counter treatments that get applied to the outside of your skin aren’t going to do the trick.

The reason these creams are promoted as cellulite saving solutions is because of the caffeine they contain in them. Caffeine can be a useful ingredient to temporarily tighten the skin and consequently, it can give the impression it will work. Unfortunately though, this really is just a temporary solution and doesn’t tackle the underlying problem.

What you can do instead: Opt for an in-salon treatment known as mesotherapy. This process requires the use of vitamin and plant extract injections which assist in improving your body’s circulation and metabolism. Alternatively, the non-invasive Velasmooth is the newest laser treatment out and works by ‘smoothing out’ the cellulite by radio frequency and a vacuum suction which helps to break down the far cells under your skin.

3. Liposuction is an ideal treatment for cellulite

Whilst liposuction can be a good treatment for some conditions relating to the build-up of fat in your body, it’s not ideal for cellulite. It’s not uncommon for both women and men to consider liposuction to remove cellulite as a quick and easy fix, but it can end up causing your condition to be much worse.

This myth goes hand-in-hand with “if I lose weight, I’ll be less likely to get cellulite”. But, if all women and men in any shape can get cellulite, losing weight is not going to fix things. Lipo is a process that enables you to lose weight very quickly – and it’s this fast unnatural weight loss that’ll cause your skin to sag and your cellulite to appear more obvious.

What you can do instead: Another in-salon ‘smoothing out’ treatment that’s beneficial for cellulite is Endermologie Lipomassage. Based on a French method that focuses on massage, the idea behind this treatment is to deliver a serious deep-tissue massage. By massaging deep into the skin, Endermologie helps to boost circulation, drain excess fluid, firm the skin and re-sculpt your figure to smooth out the cellulite. This treatment is effective for both women and men that may struggle with a slow and steady weight loss, is non-surgical and FDA approved.

4. Cellulite cannot be cured with exercise

There’s a lot of talk going around that exercise won’t cure cellulite… and in that sense, it’s right. While exercise will not cure cellulite, leading a healthy and active lifestyle will help to eliminate the chance. Specific exercises like weight training will help tone your body and define your mussels resulting in smoother skin.

As with any healthy lifestyle plan, excessive drinking, caffeine intake and smoking doesn’t do any favours for your body so should be kept to a minimum. Foods that are process or high in artificial flavours are all liable to contribute to that dreaded dimple cellulite skin too.

What you can do instead: Maintain a healthy lifestyle by giving your body adequate rest and watching what you put into it. No exercise and diet alone can cure cellulite, but giving your body the best chance it has to fight against excess fat is ideal.

5. Tanning doesn’t hide cellulite

Summer-bronzed skin may look attractive, but unfortunately it’s not going to hide your cellulite. Women often apply fake tan to mask that orange-peel appearance of cellulite, but it can cause the texture of your skin to look worse as the golden colour fades.

For those that hope getting a good dose of vitamin c by baking outside in the sun will eliminate cellulite, it’s not going to work either. The sun’s UV rays are harmful to your skin with and without cellulite and can contribute to your skin thinning out, resulting in a more prominent condition of cellulite.

What you can do instead: It doesn’t mean to say though, you need to avoid the sun altogether – just be smart. Applying adequate sunscreen to your body and cellulite prone areas will help to protect your skin from the UV rays.

By Jemma Stergiou, the owner and director of Keturah Day Spa Group, a leading provider of massages and Endermologie treatments in Perth, WA. Keturah also own the only Integral Endermologie machine in Perth! Connect with Jemma on Google+

Top Five Christmas Stress-Busters

Has Christmas stress got you reaching for the eggnog and/or Veuve Clicquot and Christmas cake you stashed away early for your party guests? Or, instead of gift-shopping, are you fantasising about punching Santa Claus in the face?

Related: How To Prevent School Holiday Hell

Never fear, help is at hand to combat that crazy Christmas stress thanks to Escape Haven Wellness Retreats and founder, Janine Hall. Here, Janine (pictured) shares her top wellness tips to destress and decrease your waistline over the silly season.

Janine is a wellness expert who’s been helping women unwind at her Bali, Byron Bay, Portugal and Morocco retreats since 2010.

Having founded the retreats in an aim to bring peace and well-being to the lives of increasingly stressed out women, Janine 40, recognises how hard it is to find time to yourself to unwind during the festive season.

However, she says these quick and easy stress-busters, see below, will help save your sanity in the busy holiday period. What’s more, stress is one of the biggest contributors of women’s weight gain, as well as other symptoms including loss of sex drive, nausea, headaches and frequent colds.

“When we experience stress, cortisol – also known as the stress hormone – is released which leads to high levels of fat being deposited in the abdominal area. An area of fat many women struggle to lose,” Janine says. “Many women will also emotionally eat when they are stressed, and not pay attention to the foods they are ingesting.

“Women will often put their family and careers ahead of their own well-being, and this is has a long-term negative affect on both their health, particularly their weight.”

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Top Five Christmas Stress-Busters:

  1. Think happy and be happy. Your thoughts are extremely powerful and can have a major impact on the way you act and look at life. Next time you are feeling overwhelmed, take a minute to take a few deep breaths from your stomach and think about what makes you happy and calm. You’ll begin to see an instant mood raiser.
  2. Take time out to feel and think. For a few minutes each day, take the time to switch off your mind. Going on a walk and getting some fresh air can help give you a fresh perspective on the day. Taking the time to experience nature and immerse yourself with your surroundings will help give you a sense of calm and inner peace, giving you the strength to combat any problems you may encounter.
  3. Aromatherapy is your best friend. Scent is one of our most powerful senses, and can have a profound impact on how we feel in our day-to-day lives. Using calming oils can easily promote a tranquil and soothing mood. Try using different scents to evoke different moods such as energising, calming, and relaxing – the possibilities are endless!
  4. Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Sleep is key to maintaining health and well-being. Without a proper night’s sleep, you will find yourself irritable and easily stressed out. Giving yourself the time to sleep provides you with good energy levels and will also help you to feel better and make calmer decisions.
  5. Don’t take things so seriously. Remember to take the time to enjoy yourself; laughter is so important to our overall well-being. Joking around will help boost your mood and fight off small worries.

For more information on Escape Haven, visit www.escapehaven.com.

How To Stay Fit And Healthy During The Silly Season

There’s a lot of hype from leading nutritionists and personal trainers alike right now about the extreme importance of eating clean and raw foods all-year round, but how do we mere mortals battle the bulge – and resist temptation – over the festive season?

Husband-and-wife team Scott and Jodie McKay at Jungle Fit Health and Fitness, based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, via www.facebook.com/JungleFitPT, which services clients both locally and nationally, has this advice for SHESAID readers: there’s no shortcuts, you’ve got to eat clean and exercise regularly to stay trim and healthy over the holidays (bugger).

Related: Get Raw For The Christmas Party Season

Jungle Fit Health and Fitness offers personal and group training, massage, health and wellness coaching and nutritional therapies both in person and online. Fuelled by a passion for health and wellness, and each other, the couple is striving to secure clients all over the globe. 

Scott (pictured), who’s the PT side of the business, is Australian Institute of Fitness-qualified and brings a unique style of training to Jungle Fit Health and Fitness, which he also co-owns, having served more than eight years in a combat role in the army.

He says remaining active during the festive season is a must, especially if you overindulge. “Get straight back into exercising now. I highly recommend people don’t put it off for the New Year resolution of: ‘I’ll get back into it next year’ because January 1 turns into February 1.

“Keep active. The weather is so good this time of year, so there are no excuses not to train, even if it’s not at the same intensity as you normally would during that Christmas/NY week. Go for a walk, or play in the park with the kids. It’s all about keeping your motivation going so you don’t lose all the gains you’ve made pre-Christmas.”

4 Easy Exercises To Reduce Stretch Marks

Meanwhile, Jodie is a health and wellness coach and co-owner at Jungle Fit Health and Fitness, having studied nutritional medicine, remedial massage, nutritional therapies and health and wellness coaching. So, what simple steps can we all take to eat clean? It’s all about small, sustainable steps, says Jodie.

“Look at substituting your favourite things for a cleaner version or recipe,” she says. “There is so much online these days, it is super simple. Start looking at the labels of things you are eating, make sure that you look at the first four ingredients in that label – if its sugar, canola oil, wheat etc., that is what the product has most of.

“Stick to the outer areas of the supermarket. Don’t go into the other aisles (except the health foods). Many people go straight for the “bad” aisles and are eating processed food that’s masquerading as real food.”

And as to why eating raw food/clean is important, especially in the lead-up to Christmas, Jodie says a clean, healthy diet is the key to optimal health and nutrition.
“Wholefoods will always make you feel vibrant and energised. A healthy body can ward off sickness and is less susceptible to certain cancers or obesity-related diseases,” she says. “Processed foods and acidic foods make us feel sluggish and miserable while also bringing on more illness.”

Jodie’s top holiday tip is to eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, unprocessed (lean) meats, fish (salmon), non-homogenized dairy, legumes and eggs. “Clean eating with wholefoods does not have to be boring, there are many recipes easily available that you can whip up, such as our Raw Peppermint Slice (see below).

“And you can replicate the Christmas food for healthier clean recipes – you don’t have to go without. For example, with rum balls you can make a healthier clean version.

“And a lot of people eat seafood at Christmas, so make sure that you fill your plate with it. There are also some amazing mango, avocado, prosciutto salad recipes around, which are all clean.

“So, you can still have nibbles and enjoy the Christmas period, while still remaining nutritious and clean!”

Raw Peppermint Slice

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1 cup of almonds and hazelnuts

1/3 cup of cacao powder

3 tblsps melted coconut oil

1 cup of pitted dates (Medjool, if possible)

Middle layer

1 and 1/2 cups raw cashews, preferably soaked

1/2 cup of desiccated coconut

Pinch of salt (Himalayan, if possible)

1/2 cup of organic maple syrup

5 drops of peppermint oil

Top layer

1/2 cup of melted coconut oil

1/2 cup of cacao powder

1/4 cup of organic maple syrup


  1. To make the base: Add the base ingredients to a food processor and blend until it resembles fine crumbs and sticks together when pressed. Place mixture into a lined slice tin and press down. Place it in the freezer.
  2. To make the peppermint layer: Add cashews and desiccated coconut to a food processor blend until nice and smooth. Add the remaining peppermint layer ingredients to the mixture and blend until creamy. Add to the base and smooth over with a spatula and place into the freezer.
  3. To make the chocolate layer: Melt the coconut oil in saucepan or microwave. Once melted, add the maple syrup. Then add the cacao powder, stirring until well mixed through. Pour the chocolate on top of the peppermint layer. Put back into the freezer.
  4. Yum – it is now ready to slice and eat! Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

fitness, eat raw, eat clean

First recipe image via plantbasedmunchies.wordpress.com and secondary image via livingonpulse.blogspot.com.

Simple Ways To Help An Anxious Child

Stress from home, school and friends could have your child feeling anxious at the drop of a hat. Relieve them of their stress by having an open dialogue with your children, especially in an environment that they feel comfortable in. Kids can often bounce back from these feelings, so try and make them feel loved and cared for, regardless of how anxious they’re feeling.


Keeping children in a consistent school and home routine will help them take their mind off of things – if even for a little while. We’re not suggesting anything strict here, but a routine is fantastic because it gives children an idea of what to expect. This is a very comforting feeling, even though other problems could be worrying them.


Inform your child about any changes that could happen in their school or home life. If a new baby is on the way, try to engage the child as much as possible so they don’t feel left out. First-born children can often feel left out when a new baby comes along, so try and engage them as much as possible about any new changes which are coming about. This will help children to process the new situation, since they are aware of what to expect.


Encourage children to regularly talk about their feelings. If they’re old enough, get them to write down in a diary some things that are worrying them throughout the day, which occurred at school or even at home. This will allow both parties to understand what the child is currently going through, and keep the child in touch with their own emotions.


Whether it’s sports or even arts and crafts, make sure your child has an outlet to have fun and unwind after a difficult day. Team sports are great ways for children to stay active, make new friends and would also be part of their routine.

Model good behaviour

Monkey see, monkey do. If you’re constantly displaying unhealthy behaviour, your child is sure to follow. Show your kids how to take control in anxiety provoking scenarios, and this will no-doubt help them with their own.

How do you handle an anxious child?

Image via Healthy Kids Today

Talking Organic with Therese Kerr

Therese Kerr (yep, Miranda’s mum!) is on a mission to get more Aussies to go organic. As an Australian Organic ambassador, she’s part of a campaign to educate Australians about how to purchase 100% honest organic products, and what certified organic really means.

The simple mission of the One Logo Says It All campaign is to spread the message that when purchasing organic products, look for a certification logo before buying. There are over 14,000 products on our shelves today that are classified certified organic.  However, thousands more claim to be organic yet have not passed any testing or auditing.

SheSaid chats with Therese Kerr to find out why organic is so important to her, a sneak peak into her new organic skin care range and how she keeps calm and stress-free at Christmas.

Why is certified organic important to you?
Our body consists of trillions of cells, all needing nutrients to function effectively. We live in a highly processed, highly refined, high sugar-content world, so the food we are consuming, for the most part, is incapable of sustaining our bodies. To add further insult, we subject our bodies consistently to chemical cocktails not only in the foods we consume, but also in our homes, personal, hair and skin care products. We consume genetically modified food, eat food that is gas or artificially ripened or hormone injected and we wonder why dis-ease in every sense of the word is so apparent.

Our bodies are continually bombarded with free radicals and to combat this we need to consume and apply foods and products rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Our body even produces its own free radicals and our liver, because of all of the toxins in our world, is so overloaded trying to perform its vital role of detoxification that it can’t perform other vital roles, e.g. breaking down fat.

In saying all of that, I believe our body has the ability to heal itself. Our body is incredible, but it can’t heal itself if it lacks the nutrients to do so. That is why I only eat and use certified organic food and personal care, skin and hair care items and only use natural cleaning products in my home.

Health happens by choice, not by accident. Good health won’t just fall into your lap, in fact the opposite will be true and the key to living a long and healthy life, is education. When we educate ourselves we have the ability to make informed choices for our health and for the health of our family.

What role does eating certified organic play in your overall health and wellbeing?
It plays a huge role in my everyday life. In 2001/2002 I developed tumors in my spleen, which resulted in my spleen being removed. This was a wake up call and the start of my journey to wellness and the journey of sharing of my journey through my world of wellness. My family and I have always been healthy, and growing up in the country provided us access to the freshest of produce.

Unfortunately, like most people, I wasn’t fully aware of the dangers of the chemicals found in our everyday foods and beauty, skin and hair care products. I unknowingly used to lather myself in copious amounts of highly fragranced body wash, body lotion and perfume. Most people don’t realize that in the cosmetic industry alone (beauty, skin, personal and hair care products), according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), there are over 10,500 chemicals found in our everyday products and only 13% of these over the last 30 years have been tested for safety. That’s alarming. My goal now is to educate people and I do this through my website.  I have contributors from all natural modalities in health: Chiropractors, Kinesiologists, Nutritionists, Naturopaths, Acupuncturists and many others contribute to my website – all intent on sharing the message of wellness.

I am intent on creating a world of wellness and in my world of wellness, I take a holistic approach to health: physical, mental , emotional, and spiritual.  Ever since my health scare, I have been a sponge for learning new information on everything health. When we give the body the nutrients it needs it impacts every part of our life and I even have a Psychologist who specialises in the link between diet and the functioning of the brain coming on line in the new year to share her knowledge with anyone who wishes to learn about health.

My site is about providing information on health such that people can take from the site whatever it is that serves them, leave what doesn’t and in the process, hopefully, above all else, have the ability to make informed choices as to their health.

I was the CEO of KORA Organics for three years. KORA Organics is Miranda’s certified organic skincare line. I stepped down from that position in January 2013 to further develop a personal care range and to expand on my own personal wellness journey. Our goal as a family is to bring total certified organic goodness to the world and while Miranda wanted to keep KORA Organics as a certified organic skin care brand, it was my goal to share a range of truly beautiful certified organic products with the world and hence I am releasing, in February 2014 a range of certified organic personal care products, under the name of Divine By Therese Kerr namely: deodorant, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, mouthwash, mouth spray, hand wash and hand lotion and in April hair care products will also be released.  These products will compliment the KORA Organics range and eventually I will also bring out a baby range.

I also offer podcasts through my website for anyone interested in living a healthy life and will be adding podcasts from professionals in their fields from mid-January next year.

What are your favourite organic brands and products?
KORA Organics of course, which is my daughter’s Certified Organic skin care range. I am also releasing a line of my own: Divine by Therese Kerr, which will have certified organic personal and hair care products. This range will compliment the KORA Organics range offering even more certified organic goodness to the world.

Who and what inspires you?
Making a difference and contributing to other people’s lives, especially to the lives of young people is what inspires me most. You see, we are all incredibly unique, gifted human beings and sometimes we lose sight of that. Reminding people of that is what I love to do. Sometimes, people lose sight of how amazing they are and all it takes is for someone else to see the greatness in them and remind them of just how incredible they are. They then get the opportunity to discover it or rediscover it for themselves.

My family also inspires me; my son Matt, my daughter Miranda and my husband John. The people I work with and who share my passion for making a real difference and the people who are genuinely out there wanting to share this message of wellness inspire me daily. The manufacturers and growers of certified organic ingredients and produce inspire me because they are at the ground roots of an industry impacting and bringing about change to so many people’s lives and all of the people in the certified organic industry, without exception are doing what they do, I believe, because of their genuine intent to make a difference not only to people’s lives but to our planet. The generations that follow will benefit greatly from these innovators and they all inspire me, without a doubt, to be the best person I can be.

Sharing the world of wellness and seeing light bulb moments occur during one of my presentations or public speaking engagements inspires me, as does connecting to gorgeous souls during my presentations and via my website and social media sites.  I love seeing young people especially take up this message of wellness and adopt it totally into their lives.  Healthy can be and is simple. Healthy is also tasty and it can be reasonably priced if you know where and what to buy. I have heaps of beautiful healthy recipes on my website for you to take and use and soon will be adding products to my site such that it will become a one-stop wellness shop for all.

What are your best tips for a calm and stress-free Christmas?
Christmas is a busy time of year, but it is also a very special time of year where families come together to celebrate and create life-long memories. We often forget that while rushing around trying to make everything perfect.

My best tip is to just take time to be in the moment, to be present to the beauty of life and to those who you are blessed to share life with. If things are getting hectic or a little too much, take 10 – 15 minutes time out for yourself and meditate. I personally mediate for at least 20 minutes every single day as it allows me to shut out the world and to go deep within. This 20 minutes of a morning sets me up for an event filled, productive day where my body is transported (for the day) into parasympathetic nervous system state where it rests and digests and performs at its optimum.  Most of us operate in Sympathetic Nervous System State where we are in fight or flight and Christmas especially with us trying to be everything to everyone and be here, there and everywhere constantly find ourselves in this state. Sadly, when we are in this state (and most of us are consistently due to our hectic lifestyles) our bodies cannot digest food or burn fat and we wonder why we are feeling lethargic and worn out.  Time to meditate, eat healthy certified organic and use only healthy certified organic personal, skin and hair care products.


Exclusive Interview With Dr. Libby Weaver On Women’s Health

Dr. Libby Weaver is a leading health and weight loss expert, and explains how to cope with what she calls Rushing Woman’s Syndrome, also the title of her new book. Rushing Woman’s Syndrome describes the biochemical and emotional effects of constantly being in a rush and the health consequences that urgency elicits including weight gain, lethargy and lack of sleep.

1. Most women can relate to Rushing Woman’s Syndrome. What are the first steps in overcoming the pressure we feel in our day-to-day lives?

Pressure is a perception; it is not real, which is why you can have two people face the same experiences and have a very different attitude, outcome and also health status. So the first thing to explore is your attitude. What makes your day pressured? I suggest people capture their tasks and then instead of approaching it by repeating to yourself over and over again “oh my goodness, I have so much to do” ask yourself “what outcome do I want to achieve today?” and focus on that. You will feel far less pressure and far more rewarded with this shift in psychology.

From a health perspective I suggest starting each day with movement, whether that be going for a walk, doing a few simple yoga poses, or simply breathing and stretching like a cat would on waking. We were designed to move and can often feel out of balance when don’t incorporate movement into our schedules frequently. Secondly, eating a nourishing diet and providing your body with the nutrients it needs is a huge factor as to whether you feel in control or overwhelmed. Many people feel rushed and pressured from too much caffeine. If you feel anxious, you need to take a break from caffeine as it drives the very hormone (adrenalin) that is behind anxiety. Eating a low human intervention diet with a primary focus on plant foods will provide your body with the best template for optimal health. However, I live in the same world as everyone else and sometimes it can be a struggle to eat this way all the time particularly when travelling overseas. USANA Health Sciences have the most outstanding nutritional supplements in the world – both demonstrated scientifically and clinically – and I personally take their multivitamin for this very reason. I always take time to slow down breathe deeply and be grateful for all that I have. It is impossible to feel overwhelmed or stressed when you feel gratitude.

2. How do you get your mojo back when you’re out of energy and sex is the last thing on your mind?

The answer to this lies in managing your body’s stress response. There are two branches of the nervous system that are of particular importance here: the parasympathetic and the sympathetic. The sympathetic is responsible for the fight or flight response and historically was activated when there was a physical threat to your life. However, our biochemistry is ancient and although there are no longer animals jumping out at us, you may have three deadlines on the same day, 20 missed phone calls and 300 emails to answer before you head home. It is no wonder upon returning home after a day like this the last thing you feel like is intimacy. If your body believes it is in danger whether this is perceived or real, reproduction is the last thing you will be geared for. If you need to survive, all non-vital processes are not prioritized and this includes sex, digestion, skin regeneration and hair growth. It is so important that we restore ourselves every day with relaxing practices. Parasympathetic activation can be triggered by diaphragmatic breathing, listening to relaxing music, or slow and restorative movement. To keep the connection alive with your partner, relax together but also be sure to schedule some blissful time to yourself so your parasympathetic nervous system has some time in the sun and allows your libido to be reawakened.

3. How do you de-stress and get a good night’s sleep when you’ve got a lot on your mind?

It is always helpful to get whatever is on your mind out and onto paper. Once an issue is out of your head and onto paper, you’ll be surprised at how much more manageable the task at hand is. I don’t watch television or do anything stimulating before I go to bed. I could: my work often asks me to, but I cannot contribute to the world in the way that I want to without good sleep. I suggest reading or a breath practice or meditation about one hour before bed to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Using oils or a lovely hand cream, a cup of chamomile tea are also other lovely ways to come off the stress mountain. Minerals are vital to the optimal function of our nervous system, which includes our ability to relax and for this I suggest USANA’s Active Calcium Plus, which contains both calcium and magnesium, two minerals critical for relaxation that are readily absorbed in the form USANA offers.

4. What healthy snacks do you recommend for energy throughout the day?

My absolute favourite snacks are these delicious nutty treats called Brain Balls, a new recipe I have developed for my latest project ‘The Real Food Chef’. Brain Balls are a mix of ground nuts and seeds, shredded coconut and organic cocoa. They are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. These are perfect for an afternoon snack or energy burst. Alternatively, a handful of raw nuts for morning or afternoon tea provide a nice even energy release or a green smoothie. Green smoothies are a delicious way of increasing the nutrition in your diet but also provide a satiating snack. Aim for around 150g of leafy greens, preferably organic and include one piece of fruit (eg. A frozen banana) and then add around 1 cup of coconut water or filtered water until you reach your desired consistency. I offer great tips in my regular newsletters. Visit www.drlibby.com for more information.

5. What are your best tips for losing a few kilos when you don’t have time to exercise?

Read my first book Accidentally Overweight! There are 9 factors that determine whether a human body is using fat as it’s fuel or not. These include stress hormones, sex hormone balance and emotions. Diets don’t work. Not one. You may lose weight when you follow a diet but unless a far greater shift has happened within you, you will not keep it off. My work explores the why behind weight loss. Eating a real food diet and practicing diaphragmatic breathing are good places to start.

Dr. Libby is a guest speaker at the USANA Health Sciences Asia Pacific Convention at the Sydney Convention Centre on Friday 9 March.

What do you think of Rushing Woman’s Syndrome?