Using Sex As A Simple Stress Relief Technique

While sex can be the last thing on your mind when you’re highly stressed, it may be exactly what your body needs. Stress builds up tension and a great way to get rid of it is having a quickie – or two. Preferably a quickie with a happy ending!

RELATED Ooo Yes! How Women Can Orgasm Every Time

Why a quickie instead of a long seductive session, you ask? Well for one, stress lowers the libido, so you probably won’t feel like going at it for too long. Secondly, all you really need to do is reach orgasm and share some body contact – this encourages the body to release positive endorphins which will help you to cope better with stress in the long-term. Finally, having a quickie when you’re stressed will actually help to improve your libido, leading to longer love making sessions and generally a better sex life.

There’s been a fair few studies on stress and sex and interestingly partnered sex is far more effective than solo masturbation. It might be the physical connection we experience with another person, or sharing mutual satisfaction with your partner during times of turmoil. It might even have something to do with the fact that both partners get some stress relief. This can make your environment less stressful as well as make your body feel better.

There’s also evidence that regular sex makes us more resilient to stress when it arises by basically acting liking a buffer when things start to go off track. You see, instead of blood pressure rising significantly in stressful situations, people who have sex more often are said to have a lowered heart rate in similar situations.

Apparently it doesn’t only effect blood pressure, but can also have a positive impact on cortisol levels. This makes sense because cortisol is also known as the stress hormone and is secreted when adrenaline arises. It’s function helps to control blood pressure and our immune system among other things.

When stress arises cortisol release can have a positive effect on memory function, pain sensitivity and gives us that kick when our body needs to get into fight or flight mode. Long-term release can be really harmful, however. It can negatively affect cognition, thyroid function, blood sugar levels, our bones and muscles, give us high blood pressure and lower our immune systems. Therefore, when stress levels remain high over prolonged periods of time it has a derivative effect on our overall health – everything begins to suffer.

Using sex specifically as a stress reliever can reduce the impact this has on our bodies. It’s also a great way to keep your body working efficiently and your household functioning better. Plus, it’s far safer than tablets, pills and potions and way more enjoyable than a trip to the GP or therapist! Try it next time stress begins to impose on your life and feel the benefits it brings to you both in the short and long-term.

Image via Mens Health

Natural Remedies For Food Poisoning

While food poisoning is something that we have all experienced at one point in our lives, there are a few home remedies that could help to ease those common symptoms. Try these natural foods, which will help to nurse your body back to good health and flush those toxins out of your system.

RELATED: 5 Remedies To Beat That Cold

Apple cider vinegar

Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into one cup of water and drink on an empty stomach. It will help to ease any abdominal pain and will also assist in flushing out those bad toxins.


Just one tablespoon of ginger mixed into your tea or water helps to decrease the effects of heartburn, nausea, and intense abdominal strain.


If you can manage to keep anything down, have a few tablespoons of unsweetened, full-fat yoghurt. It has natural antibacterial properties which help to fight active bacteria and decrease your discomfort.


Add a few drops of lemon juice into cold water and drink 2-3 times a day. The lemon also acts as an antibacterial property and gently cleanses out the entire system.


Another antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral vegetable which helps to decrease symptoms of nausea and even diarrhoea. Simply boil some white rice and chop half a clove of garlic into the mixture before serving.


Basil will help to soothe an upset stomach and boasts many antibacterial properties. Use 1-2 leaves in your cold water and drink slowly throughout the day.

Chamomile tea

Any type of herbal tea, including chamomile and peppermint, is best ingested during the early signs of food poisoning. Enjoy a cup of tea before bed to soothe the stomach and to curb any tightness in the abdominal area.

Image via Quick Healthy Tips

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


Eat Healthy With A Busy Schedule And Tight Budget

Sticking to a healthy eating plan can be challenging at the best of times. Throw in a budget and a tight schedule and you’ve potentially got yourself a recipe for disaster. Rest assure, there are ways to ease the burden and ensure your lifestyle doesn’t interfere with your health goals. We chatted with Chef and co-author of the Real Food Kitchen, Cynthia Louise to find out how.

RELATED: 5 Cardio Exercises You Can Do At Home

Ease the burden of food prep

We’ve all heard the notion that preparation is key when it comes to a successful diet, but sometimes slicing and dicing on your day off can feel like a chore. Start by having all of your ingredients in front of you, says Cynthia. That way you won’t be overwhelmed at the task at hand. She also recommends: “Put some music on loud and start chopping… This is a must when preparing food. It makes time fly by and you get all caught up in the present moment.”

Create fuss free meal plans

Deciding on what you want for dinner can be challenging, let alone trying to sort out seven days worth of meals. The solution? Go with what you’re craving, says Cynthia. “I make a note of all the dishes that crossed my mind from the past week, from there I look at what the recipes look like.”

Be sure to incorporate leftovers into your meal plan as they’re “king when you’re on a food budget,” and also factor in freezer friendly dishes. “Before you go to work, take your Indian dahl out of the freezer and pop it into the fridge to defrost. By the time you get home, your dinner just needs reheating on the stove,” says Cynthia.

Make friends with your freezer

Having a pre-cooked dinner ready and waiting for you when you get home is a sure way to ease the stress of cooking, but cheap and nasty frozen meals from the supermarket aren’t going to cut it. For a nutrient dense dinner that doesn’t taste like plastic, cook up a big batch of pumpkin soup or bolognaise at the start of each week and freeze in individual containers. Cynthia says curries, rice dishes, pasta sauces, homemade sausage rolls, Mexican black beans and baked beans are ideal for freezing. “Any bean and legume dishes freeze, so do lots of sauces, dressings, raw cakes and slices,” she insists. You can even freeze herbs and leftover cooked pasta!

Back to basics

If you didn’t have time to create a meal plan or prep any food for the week, instead of opting for takeout go back to basics. Think eggs, avocado, rice and oats – anything that’s versatile, cheap and which will deliver you the required nutrients. “My good old favourite is essene bread (you can freeze that bread too) with lashings of avocado, a pan fried egg and a sprinkle of chopped nuts and seeds,” says Cynthia. “In that I am covering all fats, fibre, carbs, sugars and protein… Saves me every time.”

Create a healthy relationship with sugar

Buying a chocolate bar every time those sugar cravings strike hinders healthy intentions and becomes costly over time. An alternative to this is coconut, advises Cynthia. It’s cost effective at around $2 per nut and is easy to grab and go once cut up. “Smash it on the floor to crack open [then] grab a butter knife and a tea towel – tea towel to hold the nut and the butter knife to leaver the hard flesh out,” says Cynthia. “You can then store the white hard flesh in a container and nibble on it every day – this will for sure stop the sugar cravings.”

Prolong your produce

Waste not, want not! There’s nothing worse than buying a whole heap of fresh produce, only to find it goes off before you make use of it. An obvious solution to this would be to buy as you go, but for some people it’s not really a viable option. If you want to make your fruit and veg go that extra mile, Cynthia insists: “Herbs get wrapped in a paper towel and put somewhere they won’t get crushed, apples and fruit in good containers, veggies to be stored in those green fridge bags and nuts and seeds in the freezer.”
Snag a bargain

While buying in bulk can certainly be cost effective, it’s pointless purchasing 5kg of grapes or two slabs of tuna if you’re not going to eat it. Instead, why not get your friends or flatmates involved and “split the kilos out,” encourages Cynthia. “When you buy in bulk… you buy in larger quantities and that’s a big saving, especially when your tribe gets involved.”

Alternatively, farmers markets are perfect for cheaper produce. And the secret to snagging yourself an even bigger bargain? Head there at the end of the day, says Cynthia. “Big deals are to be had when they are closing the stalls for the day – the farmers reduce beyond half!”

Image Via Dumb Little Man

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

Dr Sandra Cabot’s Liver Health Tips

We’ve all over-indulged this summer – endless parties, rich food and summer drinking. But now it’s time to get your liver into recovery mode so that 2014 is your healthiest year ever.

Did you know two million Australians suffer with liver disease? The liver tends to be the forgotten organ and yet it helps us in a variety of ways, including regulating fat metabolism and cholesterol levels, cleaning our bloodstream and removing toxic chemicals, producing energy to assist in our general wellbeing and manufacturing essential proteins and hormones.

Liver overload and dysfunction can be the cause of many health problems. Whist rapidly acting 24 to 48 hour liver detox kits have become popular, they will not be able to reverse a fatty liver or produce sustained improvement in liver function.  The good news is that liver problems are often completely reversible and the liver is able to repair and regenerate itself – just don’t wait til it’s too late!

The “Liver Doctor”, Doctor Sandra Cabot, author of the new book, Save your Gallbladder Naturally, shares her top tips to improve liver health:

1. Drink plenty of fluids such as water, herbal teas or weak black tea to hydrate all your cells and flush out toxins.

2. Increase the amount of raw plant food in your diet such as raw fruits and vegetable salads.

3. Take a good liver tonic to improve your liver function – there are various nutrients that support healthy liver function such as folic acid, the B vitamins, selenium, and turmeric.

4. Avoid the unhealthy fats found in processed margarines, processed foods and deep fried foods – these unhealthy fats contains trans-fatty acids which disrupt cellular metabolism.

5. Reduce your consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates found in refined grain flours.

6. Protect yourself against toxic chemicals such as solvents, glues, plastics and insecticides.

7. Do not over indulge in alcohol, soft drinks, sugary drinks and diet drinks containing aspartame.

What are your health goals for the year?

3 Quick Bloat Busters

Still feeling bloated from all that festive overindulging? You’re not alone! Whether you need a quick fix for bloating, gas or inflammation, leading gut guru and naturopath, Michèle Wolff, shares 3 easy bloat busters to deflate that tummy and help you squeeze into your jeans!

1. Morning Bloat Buster
Combine 2 tsp. barley, 2 tsp. coriander seeds, 2 tsp. fennel seeds, 4 raisins. Put all of these ingredients in a thermos of almost boiling water overnight. In the morning strain and squeeze these ingredients and add a few drops of lemon juice, 2 tsp. aloe vera juice, 2 pinches of turmeric and 2 pinches of cinnamon.

If you are celiac avoid barley and use slippery elm instead. If you have candida, avoid the raisins.

2. Bloat Buster Tea
Mint/peppermint has a calming, soothing effect on the gut and is cooling. It helps get rid of gas and bloating. It is also helpful if you have nausea or travel sickness and works well with ginger as a tea.

3. Bloat Buster Salad
Use caraway and fennel for bloating/wind and liquorice root for digestive inflammation. The leaves are delicious used in salads and yoghurt dips. It tastes good in soups and sauces too.

What are your health goals for 2014?

10 Ways to Love Your Liver (and Improve Your Health)

If one of your new year goals is to work on your health, a good place to start is with your liver. And good liver health means more than just watching how much you drink.

Loving your liver is pretty easy when you know how. Follow these 10 tips to protect your liver and watch your wellbeing improve.

1. Maintain a healthy weight
It’s estimated that 60% of Australians are overweight or obese. And of those classed as obese, approximately 30% will have fatty liver disease, putting them at high risk of liver scarring (cirrhosis), liver failure and liver cancer.

If you carry any excess weight around your middle, it can cause insulin resistance which often leads to fatty liver disease. Measure your middle and  keep it at a healthy circumference. Men should maintain a waist of less than 102cm and women, less than 88cm. Exercising and eating a diet that’s low in fat and high in fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals will help you maintain a healthy weight and liver.

2. Avoid fad diets
Fad diets that make your weight yoyo can put excessive stress on your liver. Avoid any products that promise large amounts of weight loss in an unrealistically short period of time. These diets are usually lacking in essential nutrients and are not beneficial. Aim to lose weight at a healthy rate of ½ -1kg per week.

Liver cleansing and detox diets should also be avoided. Contrary to popular belief, no particular diet is liver cleansing, but a healthy diet improves wellbeing. Take a look at our diet page and ask your doctor or dietitian to help you create a healthy and nutritious diet plan.

3. Limit your fat intake
High levels of fat in the blood (hyperlipidaemia) and high levels of cholesterol (hypercholesterolaemia) are common causes of fatty liver disease. Keep your levels low by keeping your fat intake low. And of the little fats you do eat, make sure they’re unsaturated (poly- and monounsaturated fats). If a low fat diet isn’t working for you, speak to your doctor about medications that can help.

4. Drink alcohol in moderation
Sensible consumption of alcohol is critical to your health. While alcoholism is more common among men, women are more susceptible to the adverse effects of alcohol on the liver. In fact, it takes as little as 20 grams of alcohol daily (only two standard drinks) for women to develop liver problems. If you can’t cut back, talk to your doctor about getting professional help.

5. Go for regular blood tests
A blood test is the best way to keep an keen eye on the levels of fat, cholesterol and glucose in your blood – all of which are associated with fatty liver disease. Too much glucose can be an indication that you have Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Diabetes – in both cases you’ll need to carefully control your blood sugar levels through diet, medications and/or weight loss.

Have you ever experimented with intravenous drugs? Did you have a blood transfusion, or organ transplant prior to 1992? If so, make sure you get tested for hepatitis C.

6. Quit smoking
It’s been proven that smoking cigarettes is linked to the development of liver cancer. Smoking can also enhance the toxic effects that some medications (such as Paracetamol) have on the liver. Talk to your doctor, or ring Quitline to get help.

7. Get a jab
Talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and B. If you choose not to get vaccinated against hepatitis A, make sure you avoid sushi, or raw/partially cooked clams, oysters, mussels and scallops, as these fish often live in hepatitis A-contaminated rivers and seas. If you choose not to get vaccinated against hepatitis B, practice safer sex.

8. Ask your doctor
Mixing medications is never advised without seeking advice from your doctor or pharmacist. This applies to herbal supplements as well as prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Some medications require the liver to work extra hard to metabolise them, and taking too many medications at once can damage the liver. Some herbal supplements can actually be toxic to the liver, such as kava, comfrey, chaparral, kombucha tea, pennyroyal and skullcap. Read our common toxins page for more information.

9. Protect yourself
Practice safer sex and protect yourself from hepatitis B. Unlike hepatitis B, hepatitis C isn’t classified as a sexually transmissible infection, but if there is a chance of blood to blood contact, you should practice safer sex. Less commonly, toothbrushes, razors and other personal care items can also transmit hepatitis B or C, so don’t borrow, or share yours with anyone!

10. Don’t ignore your liver
If you’ve been told that something is wrong with your liver, ask your doctor for a referral to a liver specialist (hepatologist). You might feel fine, but the signs and symptoms of liver disease and hepatitis are not always present.

What are your health goals for 2014?

Cameron Diaz Regrets Botox Injections

Cameron Diaz has revealed she tried Botox, but refuses to use it anymore.

“I’ve tried Botox before, where it was like a little tiny touch of something,” the 41-year-old actress said. “It changed my face in such a weird way that I was like, ‘No, I don’t want to be like that.”

The Counselor star has been promoting her new book Body Book, which promotes positive health and body image.

“I’d rather see my face ageing than a face that doesn’t belong to me at all,” she told  Good Morning America.

Since ditching the Botox injections, she’s become proud of her wrinkles. “I love them,  I don’t mind. It’s like, “Guess what this means, I’ve smiled my whole life.” I love life,” she said. “I’m happy I don’t have a problem with that.”

The former model admits she struggled with “terrible, terrible skin” and serious acne in her teens and 20s,

“It was embarrassing, and I did everything I could think of to make it go away” she writes in her book. “I tried to cover it with makeup. I tried to get rid of it with medication: oral, topical, even the harshest prescriptions. Nothing helped for very long.

How did she cure her acne? “I used to have bad acne and little white bumps. I cut out dairy and my skin changed completely.”

She also offers a tip to help achieve her enviable butt.

“Squeeze your butt muscles,” she writes. “Yes, right now, while you’re sitting….With the recognition that we can build muscle by engaging it anytime, anywhere, all of our movements can become strengthening movements.”

And if you want to know what one of the best bodies in Hollywood eats for breakfast? Savoury porridge.

I’m always looking for new ways to build flavor and have fun with my carbs,” she writes in Body Book.

“For instance, I prefer savory over sweet, so in the mornings when I make oatmeal, instead of eating it with something sweet, I make a yummy concoction of sautéed zucchini with collard greens, caramelised shallots, and egg whites.

“I top it all off with ponzu sauce (a Japanese sauce made from rice vinegar and citrus) or some lemon juice. It’s a breakfast that is delicious and savoury and all the things that I love to taste.”

What do you think of Cameron Diaz’ ageing and body advice?


Is Your Kitchen Damaging Your Health?

Forget sharp knives and boiling water: our kitchens are full of dangers that could be affecting our health. Naturopath and author of Digestive Solutions, Michèle Wolff, looks at the nasties hiding in our kitchen and how to avoid them.

The metal-food reaction with aluminium can produce aluminium salts that are absorbed into your body and may be associated with impaired motor coordination and chronic inflammation which can result in a number of health conditions. Aluminium pans get thinner over time, and the only place for it to go is in your food.

Tip: Buy baking paper to wrap your beetroot, fish or potato or put your food in a glass casserole dish.

Teflon-coated vessels
Over time, Teflon can get scratched off into the food. The fumes can also be toxic when cooking in these pans at high temperatures. Never leave Teflon pans on the stove unattended; the toxicity becomes worse with overcooked or overheated foods. Although these non-stick pans are popular there are alternatives that do not harm your health.

Tip: Look for chemical free cookware, such as pans with an ecolon coating which is ecofriendly and chemical free, such as neoflam.

Although seen as a speedy and convenient option, microwaves release electromagnetic waves that cause friction and heat to your food. Nutrient damage also occurs and there is a concern with plastics coming into contact with food.

Tip: Do not put breast milk, plastics or metal into a microwave. Exposed to microwaves, breast milk will lose lysozyme (an enzyme with antiseptic action) and antibodies, can foster the growth of pathogenic bacteria, and result in uneven heating which may cause burning in a baby’s mouth. Metal and plastics can create toxic fumes which can cause serious injury.

There is a danger of cooking meats at high temperatures which uses the production of Heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Research has show that these are the carcinogenic chemicals formed when amino acids (from protein) and creatine (a chemical found in muscle) react at high temperatures.

Tip: Avoid medium-well or well-done meat to minimise health risk.

High temperature cooking
Grilling or pan-frying can still cause high amounts of HCAs if the temperature is high.

Tip: Frying is fine, as long as you use the right oils. Cook with ghee, coconut oil or rice bran oil. Coconut oil is slower to oxidise and is not chemically altered when heated at a high temperature. These are the best oils to use when stir-frying as the nutrients in the foods are not compromised by the oxidising oil.

The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture published a study done on the effects of antioxidants in different methods of cooking. In varying amounts, there was a reduction of antioxidants in all methods of cooking:

Microwaving: 74-79% loss

Boiling: 66% loss

Pressure cooking: 47% loss

Tip: Ideally, it is best to cook in stainless steel, ceramic or glass pans and to cook at low temperatures to conserve nutrition.

Michèle Wolff is a leading health practitioner and a qualified naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and nurse, owner of Ultimate Detox Solutions www.detoxspecialist.com.au. Her new book ‘Digestive Solutions – 101 Proven Methods to Solve Your Tummy Problems Naturally’ is available from bookstores and good online booksellers. Visit www.digestivesolutions.com.au.

10 Ways to Beat Balloon Belly

Do you suffer from ‘balloon belly’ – that awful explosion in your tummy that leaves you feeling full, frustrated and fat? Don’t despair there are some simple and effective ways to beat balloon belly!

Leading gut guru and naturopath, Michèle Wolff, says bloating is usually caused by diet, lack of exercise, hormones or digestive disease, but can be addressed with a few simple remedies.

Author of the new book, Digestive Solutions, Ms Wolf says the main culprits in belly bloating are weak digestion, lack of digestive juices, parasites, fungus, food intolerances, fluid retention, small intestine bacterial overgrowth and gas.

“Regardless of the culprit, a healthy diet of anti-bloat foods can help battle your swollen stomach,” says Ms Wolff.

“If you pay attention to what you’re eating, you can usually prevent ‘balloon belly’ and if you do become bloated there are ways to de-puff your pouch.”

“Bloat-busting foods can help you quickly eliminate excess water and gas-producing debris that accumulates in the gut.”

Here’s how you can stay in bikini-ready shape all year long with these bloat-busting tips.

1. Don’t skip the sip
Don’t be fooled into cutting back on fluids when you’re bloated. Water is essential to reducing bloat. Aim to drink in-between meals rather than during meals to avoid diluting digestive juices, and avoid ice-cold water as it can slow down the digestive process. Warm or room temperature water will encourage proper digestion – even better if lemon is added!

2. Easy foods
Eat foods that are easy to digest.

Vegetables – take only 30-45 minutes to digest. Eat green leafy vegetables with every meal. Bitter leaves like rocket and endives assist with digestion and support the liver

Beans, grains & other starches – take 2-3 hours to digest. Soak them the night before, remove the soak water. The legumes will digest better and stop gas in your belly if you cook them with a kombu stick (seaweed) and/or a little cumin.

Meat, fishpoultry: Take 3 or more hours to digest. Incorporating lemon, apple cider vinegar and marinating meat with kiwi fruit and or lemon helps these digest more effectively.

Apple cider vinegar: Use apple cider vinegar (or lemon) and olive oil together as a salad dressing. Combine 1-2 tbsp. in 50mls of water sipped with meals helps digestion.

Lemon: Use lemon on lots of foods and in water to help digestion.

Bitter foods: Use bitter foods in your meals e.g. rocket, bitter melon, alfalfa, endives, artichokes, dandelion leaves, neem leaves, or any dark green leafy bitter vegetable.

3. Flat belly herbs
Incorporate the following herbs into your cooking as they are all digestive aids: ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, fennel, dill, oregano, thyme, liquorice and aniseed.

4. Moisturise the gut
Kudzu is a small, white root that helps to get rid of dryness in the body and supports good bowel function. Simply mix a teaspoon in cold water and drink it, or use it in cooking as an alternative to corn starch/potato starch. Kudzu also helps with wind and ulcers.

5. Good bacteria
Probiotics or good micro-organisms (flora) in fermented foods prevent the bad bacteria, nasty parasites and fungus from overtaking the gut and playing havoc with your health. These good micro-organisms can play a significant part in the recovery of irritable bowel, inflammatory bowel, bloating and poor digestion.

6. Wiggle it 
Moving may be the last thing on your mind when you feel bloated but a little exercise after eating speeds the digestive process and significantly reduces bloat.

Increased activity will actually help kick-start your digestive system and raise your production of digestive enzymes. A gentle 15-minute walk about 45 minutes after eating will work wonders and try 5 minutes of half-sit ups a couple of hours after eating to really rev up your intestines.

7. Clockwork
Timing is important if you want to beat ‘balloon belly’.  Eat regular healthy meals and eat at the same times of day to regulate your digestive system.

8. Slow down and relax
Your digestion starts in your mouth and chewing makes the stomach’s job easier. Avoid bolting down your food. Your stomach is not designed to digest large pieces of food, and you are more likely to get bloating, indigestion and discomfort if you do eat quickly. Create a calming atmosphere when you eat and after you have finished, sit for 10 minutes. Plan time to prepare, cook and eat your meals.

9. Posture makes perfect
When you slouch you put extra pressure on the digestive organs in your belly. This can cause poor digestion. It is best if you practice sitting with your shoulders back and your chin tucked in. This allows more room for your digestive organs and will help improve digestion.

10. Timing
Avoid eating after 7pm as this is when your digestion is weaker. When you eat late at night you don’t produce enough enzymes and other digestive juices to digest your food well. The food sits in your stomach and this can disturb your sleep, make you tired and bloated in the morning. It can also make you foggy in the head and grumpy.

Michèle Wolff is a leading health practitioner and a qualified naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and nurse, owner of Ultimate Detox Solutions www.detoxspecialist.com.au. Her new book ‘Digestive Solutions – 101 Proven Methods to Solve Your Tummy Problems Naturally’ is available from bookstores and good online booksellers. Visit www.digestivesolutions.com.au.

Cut the Craving Chain Reaction

The craving merry-go-round can send you around the twist and put your diet into a spin – and be hard to get off.

Naturopath and nutritionist Michèle Wolff says certain foods can create a ‘craving chain reaction’ that leads to diet derailment and digestive problems.

“If your diet has too much of one type of food and ignores the balance of what your body needs (protein, fat, carbohydrate, vegetables, salad and fruit) it will catch up with you and cause cravings.

“Cravings often arise from a dietary imbalance. For example, a craving for sweets and white flour can be caused by eating a diet too high in protein and fat.

Here’s how to beat your food cravings for good:

A craving for sweets and white flour can be caused by eating a diet too high in protein and fat.

It could be a sign of protein deficiency where more beans, lentils, fish, eggs or meat are required.

It could also mean a fungal infection as bad bugs in the intestines love to feed off sugar.

Low blood sugar can also cause sugar cravings. Fix it by eating savoury foods every 3-4 hours with adequate protein, fat and healthy carbohydrates.

If you crave sugar, then have more whole grains and less salt and dairy.

Salads/Fruits (Acid/alkaline foods)
Although alkalising foods like salads and fruit are generally positive, too much will cause you to want more acidic foods to balance your body. Without protein and grains (which are healthy acidic foods if eaten in balance), the craving for acid forming sweets will be high.

If you crave coffee, have more vegetables and salads and less meat and sugar. You can use chicory or dandelion to replace the taste, or have green tea for less caffeine.

If you crave milk, have more leafy greens, brown rice and fish and avoid sugar and fruit. You can use nut milks instead. Just make sure you keep up other calcium foods like tahini, boned fish, almonds and leafy greens.

If you crave alcohol, have more healthy carbohydrates and bitter greens and eat less fat, salt and animal protein.

Salad and Fruit Cravings (acid/alkaline foods)
Although alkalising foods like salads and fruit are generally positive, too much will cause you to want more acidic foods to balance your body. Without protein and grains (which are healthy acidic foods if eaten in balance), the craving for acid forming sweets will be high.

Next time you crave a certain food, give it some serious thought and consider what changes you can make in the rest of your diet to help beat that craving and improve your overall health.

Michèle Wolff is a leading health practitioner and a qualified naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and nurse, owner of Ultimate Detox Solutions www.detoxspecialist.com.au. Her new book ‘Digestive Solutions – 101 Proven Methods to Solve Your Tummy Problems Naturally’ is available from bookstores and good online booksellers. Visit www.digestivesolutions.com.au.

What foods are you addicted to?

Q&A with Nutritionist Emma Sutherland

Emma Sutherland is not only a naturopath, nutritionist, and busy mum, but she is also the co-author of 50 Foods that Will Change your Life and the expert Nutritionist for Wagner’s Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract. It is Emma’s mission to encourage and inspire women to take control of their lives through advocating healthy eating and making positive lifestyle choices – she is such an inspiration for all of us who feel like we need that little extra motivation.

Emma recently had the chance to visit Japan, the home of Aged Garlic Extract, and experienced first hand the garlic aging process and the research behind its benefits. Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is the only aged garlic product in the world and recent studies have shown that taking Aged Garlic Extract supports healthy immunity and maintains healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It is fast becoming the secret super unique extract that everyone should be taking.

Recently, SheSaid had the opportunity to catch up with Emma to get her advice on healthy eating, her time in Japan and the benefits of taking Aged Garlic Extract.

You’ve just released your book, the ultimate guide to healthy eating, 50 Foods that Will Change You Life. What have been the key foods that have changed your life?
Avocado would be the number one food that has changed my life. As a child I didn’t like it but once I hit puberty I couldn’t get enough. Full of beautiful monounsaturated fats, avocado supports optimal hormone health for women. Avocado also contains high levels of vitamin E, vitamin B6 and fibre.

Fennel is another favourite due to its ability to reduce bloating. The essential oil anethole combats digestive complaints such as IBS and works beautifully to alleviate painful menstrual cramps. I love fennel finely sliced with orange, walnuts and rocket.

 50 Foods That Will Change Your Life

What are your top 3 tips for maintaining a balanced and healthy diet and lifestyle?
1. Avoid chemicals in any form and eat clean, fresh wholefoods instead of packaged, processed foods. A book called The Chemical Maze is a great user friendly guide to avoiding chemicals.

2. Practice mindful eating – take 5 deep breathes before each meal, avoid multi tasking and put your utensils down between mouthfuls.

3. Have a huge side splitting belly laugh at least once a day.

You are the expert nutritionist and naturopath for Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract and recently had the opportunity to go to Japan. What did you take from the Japanese lifestyle and their approach to health?
Japanese people have a completely different approach to health – it’s hugely preventative and they are very proactive about preserving good health rather than waiting until they are sick to take action. They walk instead of drive, eat small portions of a wide variety of foods, practice regular tai chi and they really take the time to care for their health. Its no wonder Japan has the lowest rate of cardiovascular disease in the world!

What did you learn about the ageing process behind Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract?
First of all the 20-month ageing process takes away the strong odour that raw garlic has. Harsh compounds found in raw garlic that cause nausea and stomach upsets are eliminated. The antioxidant properties are boosted which results in AGE having more antioxidant capacity than vitamin C! The process also produces new compounds that are incredibly beneficial – S-allylcysteine is a great example which is responsible for the blood pressure lowering effect of AGE.

What are the key health benefits of taking Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract?
Research from over 700 scientific papers shows that AGE will boost immunity, increase your antioxidant levels, reduce stress, reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol.

Who would you recommend to take Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract?
I thing everyone would benefit enormously from taking AGE. It has so many proven benefits that it will not only support your immediate health by improving immunity and resilience to stress but also lower your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, Australia’s number one killer. Personally I have been taking it every day for nearly two years as I have a young child and need to boost my immunity and avoid getting infections.

4042 High Potency 60C

Michelle Bridges: The Motivation Myth

Forget motivation – The Biggest Loser’s Michelle Bridges shares the real secret to achieving your fitness and weight loss goals.

Extract from the book Get Real!: Inspiring Stories and lessons from the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation revolution by Michelle Bridges and photography by Jane Allen published by Viking RRP $24.99. 

When people tell me they’re struggling  with their training, the first thing they say is that they’ve lost motivation. Most people believe that if they inject some motivation into their lives, they’ll be fine – right? WRONG! It’s like we have all become motivation junkies, just waiting for the next hit.

If you’ve done my 12 Week Body Transformation you’ll already be aware that I think motivation is a complete crock – in fact, it’s a trap! I always say that motivation is like a bad boyfriend – never there when you need him most!

I know, as a personal trainer and a human being, motivation is not always going to be there, so what’s going to happen when you wake up and it’s gone? Is that game over for you? Motivation is like any emotion – it comes and goes, so if you’re going to rely on motivation to get the job done, it will let you down. And that’s the trap – motivation is an often an excuse in disguise:

‘As soon as I don’t FEEL motivated, I’ll just stop’.

Don’t get me wrong here – it’s great to set goals and be positively motivated by them, but understand that you do not need to be constantly motivated or even have set goals to exercise. And knowing THAT should make you feel relieved! You don’t need to be wound up like a spring coil in order to get a training session done, and you don’t need to feel anxious and vulnerable when motivation disappears.

Motivation is not necessarily your friend. So…what’s left if not motivation? Well, there is something far more effective, and here’s the secret…athletes know it, coaches know it, and successful business people know it. There is something out there that will support you and will take you where you want to go. It will not let you down. What is it…? Consistency.

Be consistent and you will achieve. No bells and whistles, no hype. And we don’t just do it for three days and then go out and celebrate with cake! You don’t think, you just do. Consistency isn’t something that you need to recharge and it’s not something you need to go out on the hunt for! Consistency is steady, it’s relentless and it’s steadfast all the way through. Take the emotion out, go into robot mode, and get on with the task at hand.


No More Diets! Mireille Guiliano’s Manifesto for Aussie Women

Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat, has a simple message for Australian women: you can be a healthy weight and still enjoy good food and the things you like.

The international bestselling author is renowned for inspiring women all around the world to lose weight without dieting. Mireille’s philosophy is about a balanced approach to life and wellbeing that doesn’t include extreme diet or exercise regimes.

“We spend so much time worrying about eating bad food that we forget about the enjoyment that comes with eating good food, and sharing it with family and friends. Everything is fine in moderation,” says Mireille.

The French-born writer is in Australia to help bust the common myth that dairy foods are linked to weight gain and/or obesity. “Australians are blessed with some magnificent produce like cheese and yogurt that rivals some of the best in the world. There is no reason why you cannot enjoy this as part of a healthy lifestyle.”

Mireille says the secret to enjoying food and staying healthy is to not over indulge and to eat seasonal and fresh food. In her acclaimed book, Mireille writes about yogurt as a secret to tame hunger, revealing that French women often enjoy two servings a day to help them feel satisfied for longer.

“I believe we don’t need diets to tell us what to eat and drink but you need to listen to your own body to do it. Balance your food and drink with regular exercise on a daily basis.

“Enjoy food and all that comes with it, going to the market or shops, cooking and sharing. You will soon find that there is more to enjoying food and being healthy than counting calories,” Mireille advises.

Mireille’s healthy eating tips for Australian women:

1.    Start each day with a real breakfast.

2.    Introduce two servings of natural yogurt as a breakfast or snack food or dessert  – the protein will keep you fuller for longer.

3.    Enjoy milk, cheese or yogurt every day. Many people avoid these foods because they think they’re fattening – this is a mistake. Eating these foods as part of a balanced diet is not linked to weight gain.

4.    Stop dieting.

5.    Take the stairs and laugh more, it’s good for the waistline and for the soul.

6.    Never let yourself get too hungry or over eat.

7.    Good food isn’t pretentious. Don’t take yourself too seriously, and don’t let recipes intimidate you – they’re a guide not a formula.

8.    Cooking is slimming. Love is slimming. Happiness is slimming.

9.    Eat smaller amounts of more things, rather than bigger amounts of less things.

10.    Australians love their coffee, so take pleasure in the ritual of your morning latte or cappuccino.

11.    Choose and enjoy your weekend rewards, like your favourite dark chocolate rather than worry about eating ‘bad’ food.

12.    Explore Australia’s great outdoors with regular physical movement. Choose things you can do in street clothes like a daily walk or a leisurely bike ride.

13.    Avoid anything that demands too much effort for too little pleasure.

14.    Eat and serve what’s in season. With the Australian summer in sight, enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables aplenty.

15.    Don’t save Champagne for special occasions, being in good company is reason enough.

Do you believe everything in moderation is important for a healthy lifestyle?

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?

Michelle Bridges’ Tips For Back At Work Lunches


Michelle Bridges believes we should look after our health – and the environment. As an ambassador for SAFCOL tuna, she supports the brand’s sustainable “pole and Lline” fishing method as opposed to the more traditional “Purse Seine” method, which catches excess unnecessary marine life in nets while fishing for tuna – known as by-catch. SAFCOL is one of only two canned tuna brands in Australia that fish sustainably.

“Tuna is a convenient and healthy staple in my diet, rich with omega 3 and protein to keep me energised and ready to to,” says Michelle. “I was shocked to learn of the destructive ways the tuna gets from the ocean to the tin – so now I only eat tinned tuna that is responsibly caught with a pole and line – SAFCOL tinned tuna.”

With this in mind, Michelle has put together these top tips for healthy lunches that are also sustainable: great to keep in mind every day.

1. Portions

You don’t have to miss out on the variety of great foods available to us at lunchtime. Have sensible portions and enjoy an occasional treat.

2. Think sustainability

Consider how your food has ended up on the table. Purchase responsibly sourced products like Safcol Tuna and head out to the local fruit and veg shop.

3. Go for a lunchtime walk

Get outdoors during lunch…You will work better in the afternoon and sleep much better at night.

4. Recycle

Glass, cardboard, paper and plastic – pop it in the recycle bin at work! Simple but it all helps!