Womens-health

17 Reasons Abortion Should Be A Basic Human Right

If you aren’t mad about this, you aren’t paying attention.

We Asked 16 Men What A Period Is. Here Are Their Shocking Answers.

“I think it feels like how your head feels when you’re sick. But your nose is a vagina.”

7 Total BS Lies We’ve Been Told About Drinking Water

We all need water to live, but how much do we really need?

It’s Taken Almost A Century But A Smart Tampon Is Coming

This may be the greatest breakthrough in women’s health in decades.

New Vaginal Ring Found To Reduce Risk Of Contracting HIV

“To see statistically significant HIV protection is a great step forward.”

UN Issues Compensation Order For Woman Denied Abortion

“It’s time for Peru to clarify and implement its safe abortion guidelines.”

Here’s What Really Happens To Your Body After You Give Birth

What happens to your body and your mind after you leave the hospital?

7 Surprisingly Healthy Vending Machine Snacks

Because sometime chips are the only dinner option.

The Down-Low Downstairs: How To Tell If Your Discharge Is Okay

Because nobody wants to talk about what happens down there.

4 Ways To Beat Belly Fat

Diet, exercise and most importantly lack of free time are all big time contributors that could keep you from having that flat tummy. Although is it impossible to achieve? Belly fat comes down to eating right and exercise, plus our four tips on how to beat the fat for good. Belly fat can take on one of two forms. Subcutaneous fat which is visibly the external roll of skin that you can grab with your hands. Whereas visceral fat is found within your abdomen, and can often be wrapped around your organs.

Regular workouts

Abdominal workouts are great for toning up any unwanted belly fat. Mostly lunges, sit ups, push ups and especially the plank are great ways to slowly tone your tummy without physically exerting yourself. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can transform your belly before you know it. Looking to burn some extra kilojoules? Try bikram yoga, where not only will the postures help you stretch and tone every muscle in your body, but the heat makes you sweat out those bad toxins in the system.

Change your diet

Eating fatty foods regularly won’t give you a flat tummy. Try to limit these types of meals instead as treats, and give your body some much needed nutrients instead. Foods like almonds, eggs and avocado are just a few suggestions that are packed with protein and essential fatty acids which will keep you full, instead of constantly snacking throughout the day. Drinking green tea is also a great way to end your meal, as it has plenty of antioxidants and works to quicken the metabolism and the way food is digested.

Allergies

If you’re prone to belly bloating, this could possibly be caused by wheat allergies or lactose intolerance. Rather than self diagnosing, your local GP will run some tests that could confirm your suspicions. Dairy is the most common food allergy, and if you suffer from it, try to cut down on cheese and yoghurt and see if you notice a difference in your belly.

Don’t skip breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, since it is the first time in over eight hours that the body receives any vitamins or minerals overnight. By skipping breakfast and going straight into lunch, you’re more likely to snack on fatty foods throughout the remainder of the day. Eating a breakfast packed with protein is a fantastic since they keep you full until the next meal. Eating meals every few hours is sure to keep your body sustained and your metabolism at it’s best.

Image Source via Shutterstock

Tax On Tampons: Should We Boycott?

Australia’s states and territories have decided not to remove an unpopular tax on female sanitary products.

RELATED: Chauvinism or Chivalry: Can Feminism Go Too Far?

Australian sanitary products attract the 10 per cent goods and services tax (GST) because they are deemed non-essential. Condoms and sunscreen, however, are tax-free as they are more essential to a person’s well-being. Should Australian women challenge the government’s decision by holding a public demonstration, boycotting sanitary items and letting the blood run free?

Hundreds of women bleeding through their pants and on the backs of their dresses would change the government’s decision in the length of time it took them to run back to their parliamentary offices in horror.  Very few women are that brave and it’s a shame, because bleeding into our underpants is something we do every month, unless you are a perfect person who would never let that kind of thing happen.

When I was at high school, we had a standard ritual among the girls. One friend would stand up, turn around and say, “Check me” and we would check the back of their dress for blood. Having an accidental bleed was the worst thing that could happen to a person and the “Check me” ritual was constant. We were vigilant. I didn’t get my period until year twelve and I still demanded a check in case it accidentally burst forth during math.

One of the great horrors of my teenage years was watching my sister walk down the aisle of a crowded bus with the tell-tale circular red blotch on the back of her school dress. In my mind, I raced slow-motion through that aisle in order to throw myself over that public disgrace. I once saw a girl at school with this blotch, a girl who never seemed to have any friends and hence roamed ‘unchecked’ down a hall. I grabbed her and explained she had a blood stain. She laughed and said, “You’re lying.” I had to secure both her arms and plead my seriousness, “There really is a stain.” Her face froze when she realized she had passed to the other side. She had become The One Who Bled.

I haven’t really loosened up about this. Where did we get the idea a sign of our fertility was public death? We all have our accidents. I once met a boyfriend’s parents for the first time and then promptly bled onto their kitchen chair. I did what anyone facing imminent disgrace would do and flipped the cushion when no one was looking. Not every woman is quite so paranoid. I shared a house with a woman who regularly hung her permanently-stained white undies up on the hills hoist, for all and sundry to see. I was mortified someone might think they were mine. I was also impressed she didn’t care.

In April, Harvard grad and drummer for M.I.A, Kiran Gandhi, ran the London Marathon while menstruating. Before the race, she got her period and not wanting to run twenty six miles with a tampon inside her, she decided to skip it. The period blood ran down her legs and as she crossed the line with her friends, her arms held high in the air to celebrate their achievement, the world’s media collectively wretched. She broke the unwritten rule and it launched a new movement: the Free Bleeding movement.

I suppose it is the equivalent of our mothers burning their bras, only less hygienic. She made a wonderful point, though. What we can’t see, can’t be discussed and therefore, the Australian legislative authorities can tax what they consider an optional item. Who wants to go first and bleed on the steps of parliament? It would rather stand there naked with a tampon string tucked neatly inside of me. That is how confronting the idea is. But should it be?

The Art Of Self-Care: Why ‘Wellness Days’ Are Vital

Modern women are busier than ever before; it’s not unusual for a busy, working mother to have to juggle a multitude of vital roles such as domestic goddess, kiddie wrangler, peacekeeper, chef, sock finder and husband wrangler – all before she hits her desk for a full day’s work at 9am.

RELATED: Spring Clean: Top 6 Home-Office Beauty Essentials

And so burn-out can be swift; as women, we spend so much time looking after everyone else, we can so easily neglect our own self-care and well-being. When was the last time you took a mental-health day or “wellness day” for yourself?

Brisbane wellness advocate and hatha yoga instructor Heather Sartain, 55, (pictured) who’s just opened unisex boutique spa sanctuary, One Wybelenna, says as chief carers of the family, as is usually the case, women must regularly take time out for themselves. Heather’s interest in health and well-being extends back to her training as a registered nurse.

self-care, beauty, day spa

One Wybelenna, based at Brookfield in Brisbane’s inner-west, offers the most extensive selection of Ayurveda Aromatherapy products in Queensland. Set amid landscaped gardens, it’s an urban oasis just 12km from the CBD.

“It is so important to take care of ourselves so that we will have the energy and resources to care for others,” Heather says. “This self-care takes different forms for individual personalities and body types. Maybe it’s a gentle yoga class to help to clear the mind for some, while others would prefer to run, or play tennis with a group of friends, read a book or walk in nature.

“Whatever is your ‘timeout’ activity of choice, it is important to do something for yourself, no matter how small, each day. We must also eat healthy, wholesome foods to nourish our bodies. Eat live food; lots of plant foods and fresh foods, not dead, packaged and preservative laden foods.

“We must breathe, mindfully, deeply and frequently, not just the short shallow breaths that become so much a part of a busy life. And we must sleep well. Our bodies need rest to restore and rebalance. At One Wybelenna, we offer the perfect environment and treatments to assist our guests to relax and rejuvenate complementing their lifestyle choices.”

self-care, beauty, day spa

Heather, who practises yoga and meditation daily, says beauty treatments are also a great way for women (and men) to gain calm and zen in today’s crazy busy world.

“At One Wybelenna, our rituals incorporate the maintenance treatments in a serene environment, making the whole experience a sensory journey,” Heather says. “Massage should be acknowledged as being very important to our general well-being rather than an indulgence. The sense of touch is vital to life and helps reduce the levels of stress that build up physically and emotionally.”

Her favourite treatment is a 90 minute Custom Facial, which begins with a skin assessment and includes a back and neck massage. She also highly recommends a Subtle Energies Ayurveda Aromatherapy package of Blissful Marma Massage combined with the Mukha Chikitsa facial or the Germaine de Capuccini Crystal and Pearl Elixir. “Both of these rituals combine bodywork with facials and induce the deepest sense of wellbeing and rejuvenation,” Heather says.

And blokes aren’t forgotten – they can also treat themselves to the Amor for Men Facial. This treatment starts with a back, shoulder and neck massage and includes a 24-step Shiatsu Zen facial massage and detoxifying mask. One Wybelenna’s professional therapists also use Germaine de Capuccini skin care products.

self-care, beauty, day spa

The spa is open for bookings Tuesday-Saturday. Visit www.onewybelenna.com.

What Is The Bachelor Doing To Mental Health?

I am a reality television junkie – and it hurts to admit that. It’s pretty shameful to say that I love watching TV shows in which either a) celebrities go about their daily lives, b) normal people get into a competition for something, or c) outrageous people are actually paid to party and do stupid things. I like to justify it by saying that it comes from my own stressful lifestyle where watching trashy TV shows is like time out for my brain.

RELATED: Woody Gets Hard At Work In Bachelor Season 3 Premiere

However, it’s impossible to turn my brain off completely and that’s why when watching The Bachelor the other night, I thought about how completely immoral and stupid it is to pit women against each other for a man they don’t even know. But of course, this is obvious, and often why the show is opposed by feminists and anyone with a brain.

It’s the fact that strong women still put themselves in this situation, where they are quite literally competing against other women for the affections of a man that they barely know. While watching the show from the comfort of your own home, you actually feel uncomfortable in the way that these women are portrayed as petty and jealous, with every move and look scrutinised purely for the entertainment of the audience.

self esteem, women, mental health, the bachelor

For the women on the show, being in The Bachelor mansion could be having a detrimental effect on their self esteem. Putting all their energy into trying to win the affections of a man and whether they are successful or not in gaining his attention and affection is almost a cry for help regarding self-worth and self-esteem.

However, it could go both ways. On one hand, these women could be so sure of themselves that whether or not they win a competition to get a boyfriend will not affect them or the way they see themselves. On the other hand, they could be taking to heart the producer’s choices and/or Sam’s choices and making mental notes of all the things that they deem not good enough to land them a man on a television show.

In that respect, we do have to praise the women who leave the show and tell their last piece to camera in a way that empowers them to get back out there and be themselves to find the right man for them.

It’s a bitter world out there and while I do love a good Bachie romance and am looking forward to Sam Frost killing it on The Bachelorette, we do need to ask ourselves whether someone’s self esteem should be worth our entertainment.

Images via popsugar.com and yahoo.com

5 Ways To Get A Better Night’s Sleep

While it might feel impossible to get a good night’s sleep nowadays, there are a few ways to switch-off your body and relax before bedtime. Beauty sleep is certainly no myth – after all, a woman needs her eight hours per-night, right?

RELATED: Is Sleep Making You Gain Weight

Herbal tea

A warm cup of tea is the perfect way to unwind after a tiresome day at work. Enjoy Pukka’s dreamy new blend which is caffeine-free and packed with ethically sourced, 100 per cent organically grown ingredients to relax and unwind.

5 Ways To Get A Better Night's Sleep

Pukka Night Time Tea, $7.95

Log off

Make sure all phones, tablets and laptops are turned off at least two hours before you hop into bed. The constant light could be harming your eyes and be a big reason why you can’t fall asleep naturally. Instead, read a relaxing book which is the perfect way to relax.

Exercise

Sometimes not enough physical activity is the reason you can’t get to sleep at night – your body simply isn’t tired enough! Why not choose a local yoga class, or even take your dog for an evening walk to the park?

Diet

Could your diet be the main culprit when it comes to bad sleep cycles? All those refined sugars and trans-fats could actually be keeping you up at night and risking your long-term health. Make small switches to your diet and remember to drink lots of water to flush out those toxins.

No-caffeine zone

Keep away from energy drinks which are packed with caffeine and really bad for your heart. These drinks might give you a burst of energy in the late afternoon, but your body will crash soon afterwards. Try something like fruit-infused water which is a natural way to fuel the body.

Image via Pinterest

7 Reasons Chia Seeds Are Good For You

Chia seeds are one of the healthiest foods you can add into your diet. They are packed with omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial for healthy brain function. Add just a one tablespoon of chia seeds into your diet to receive all the benefits of this remarkable superfood.

RELATED: Meet The New Supermarket Superfoods

Weight loss

Chia seeds are associated with weight loss since they are packed with fibre and provide more than 40 per cent of your daily intake. It can help to decrease bloating and will keep you fuller for longer.

Good fat

They are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids which assist in healthy brain and heart health.

Blood sugar

Chia seeds are also beneficial when it comes to keeping blood sugar at a healthy level. Enjoy them in your breakfast cereal, in your smoothie, or even in a glass of water.

Arthritis

Who knew that chia seeds are also rich in calcium and phosphorus? They are ideal for someone suffering from arthritis and can assist in healthy bone function.

Anti-inflammatory properties

Incorporate chia seeds into your diet if you are suffering from a cold or flu. They boast many anti-inflammatory properties which can help to get your health back on track.

Improves digestion

Ever feel sluggish or bloated after a big meal? Enjoy one glass of water with chia seeds to regulate your body from the inside out.

Energy

For a boost of energy in the afternoon, enjoy a snack with added chia seeds to get you past 3:30itis.

Image via Bon Appetit

7 Foods To Beat The Bloat

Feeling bloated even when it’s not that time of the month? It is probably due to the food you’re eating on a daily or weekly basis. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative this summer, try the following foods which are proven to beat the bloat.

RELATED: 9 Fruits and Vegetables For Clear Skin

Parsley

Who knew that parsley could be so good for a bloated belly? Enjoy some of this fresh herb in your salad, sandwich or even a healthy quiche to enjoy its diuretic benefits.

7 Foods To Beat The Bloat

Water

Stick to the standard 8 glasses of water each day to help flush out those toxins from your kidneys. You can also enjoy a cup of green tea to help de-bloat your belly after a filling meal.

7 Foods To Beat The Bloat

Pineapple

Enjoy a pineapple and papaya tropical salad to help break down the food in your body. These fruits are packed with enzymes to help aid digestion, and also keep your body looking trim and healthy.

7 Foods To Beat The Bloat

Peppermint tea

A warm cup of peppermint tea is another great way to kick-off your metabolism after lunch or dinner. It helps to relax your muscles, and breaks down gas.

7 Foods To Beat The Bloat

Probiotic yoghurt

Treat yourself to a few scoops of probiotic yoghurt with fruits to decrease gas after a filling meal. Yoghurt is also packed with good bacteria which will settle an upset stomach.

7 Foods To Beat The Bloat

Brown rice

Swap the white rice for brown rice which are rich in fibre and won’t have your body feeling too congested.

7 Foods To Beat The Bloat

Fresh vegetables

Most fresh vegetables are packed with digestive enzymes to help combat against a bloated stomach. A fresh summer salad is a lightweight meal option which won’t leave you unbuttoning your pants soon afterwards!

7 Foods To Beat The Bloat

Images via Simple Provisions, Reality of You, 36th Avenue, Fit Girls Diary, Mind Body Green, Gluten Free Girl, Food and Cook

Banish Bingo Wings With Strong Triceps

While half the world is in the sweater season, the other half if taking some time off in the sun. Whichever season you’re in, you’re probably also trying to find a way to cover up those bingo wings or stuff them into sleeves. Luckily, bingo wings can be banished. Yes, it is possible to get rid of the wiggly, wobbly bits that sit under those arms. As Denise Austin says, we can always use some “sexy arms!”

RELATED: 5 Breakfast Ideas To Boost Weight Loss

If you’re reading this article thinking, “I’m safe, no bingo wings here!” then read on for some exercises to add to your workout to ensure that those bingo wings stay at bay!

1. Overhead triceps extension

Add some weights to your workout to build muscle and burn up the fat that lives in the back of your arms. Hold one weight with both hands above your head, hands facing forward. Slowly lower the weight down your back to your shoulder blades and raise it back up to starting position. Feel the burn in your triceps after completing three sets.

triceps workout, women's fitness, tricep, body tone, bingo wings

2. Tricep pushups

A tricep pushup is just the same as a normal pushup, except the hands are placed right under the shoulders. When lowering down into the push position, the elbows should be close to the ribs and not pointing outwards like a normal pushup; instead they should be pointing down towards the feet. They’re hard, but once you start to strengthen yourself, your toned arms will be well worth it.

triceps workout, women's fitness, tricep, body tone, bingo wings

3. Tricep kickbacks

Using a bench for stability, place your left knee on the bench. Hold your weight in your right hand and lift the arm so that your elbow forms a right angle. Slowly straighten your arm back behind your body and then return to starting position. Make sure you really squeeze your tricep as you go.

triceps workout, women's fitness, tricep, body tone, bingo wings

If you’ve tried to eliminate your bingo wings in the past, just remember: living a healthy lifestyle means making the right decisions about what goes in your mouth, not just which exercises your body does.

Images via realsimple.com and fitwirr.com

Beauty And Health: The Many Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

If there’s one product we should all have in our cupboard, it has to be apple cider vinegar. Not only is it great for cooking, but it has been proven to assist in beauty, hygiene and skincare routines as a natural agent. Ditch the nasty chemicals in favour of some apple cider vinegar – your body will thank you for it!

RELATED: The Hidden Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Health

Blood sugar levels

Apple cider vinegar has been proven to lower blood sugar levels, especially for those suffering from type 2 diabetes. Vinegar improves insulin sensitivity, reduces blood sugar and lowers blood glucose levels.

Weight loss

Enjoy 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar after every meal to aid digestion and kickstart your metabolism.

Heart health

Apple cider vinegar contains chlorogenic acid which protects LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidised. This slows down heart disease and reduces blood pressure at the same time. Pretty impressive!

Stimulate digestion

Kick-start your metabolism by indulging in 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar after every meal. It’s ideal if you’re feeling bloated or sluggish.

Antimicrobial benefits

Feeling a little under the weather? Apple cider vinegar can help kill pathogens including some types of bacteria which can make us feel seriously ill.

Beauty

Bad breath

Banish bad breath by combining 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of water. Gargle every 10 seconds, spit, then repeat the process. You will be left with fresh breath.

Toner

Use apple cider vinegar as an all-natural toner to combat fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also safe to use over scars and pimples!

Remove dandruff

After washing your hair in the shower, rinse with apple cider vinegar to remove excess build-up of dandruff and dry skin.

Whiten teeth

Gargling with apple cider vinegar will help to remove stains and kill bacteria sitting in your mouth – eek!

Acne treatment

Combine one part apple cider vinegar to three parts water, and apply this solution over your face and body as an acne treatment. Rinse, then apply a nourishing moisturiser over the top.

Images via Scaling Back Blog

8 Ways To Naturally Detox For Summer

Who else wants to get fit and healthy for summer? Get the body you’ve always wanted by trying some of these natural detox tips to start clean and healthy in August. Do you have your own detox tips? Mention them in the comments below – we would love to hear more!

RELATED: How To Do A Digital Detox At Home

Take a bath

Did you know that epsom salts can actually help your body detox? Run a warm bath filled with baking soda, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, and essential oils to relax and unwind. It will also have a positive influence on high stress levels.

Smoothies

Nourish your body from the inside by enjoying a green juice or smoothie. Lemon, cucumber, kale, and spinach are all natural ways to detox the body first thing in the morning. Add some sweet fruits to make the drink taste a little better!

Have a massage

Massages – particularly those such as foot reflexology – can have help to stabilise the entire body. Regular massages have also been proven to boost circulation, ease chronic pain and even detox the body.

Drink water

Fill up a large water bottle and keep it with you all day long to flush out those bad toxins. It really is as simple as that!

Exercise more

Sometimes sitting around waiting for your body to feel better just doesn’t work. Take a brisk walk in the park, go to a pilates class, or even run it out on the treadmill for 15 minutes. Your body will feel much better and the rush of endorphins is always a good thing.

Superfoods

Incorporate more superfoods into your daily diet since they are packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Salmon, tuna, olive oil, flaxseed oil and avocado are just a few main superfoods that are beneficial for good health.

Avoid processed sugars

Get rid of those bad toxins in the body by cutting out processed sugars in your diet. Replace these foods with legumes, protein and lean meats to make your body feel fuller for longer.

Green tea

Or chamomile teas are a great alternative since they help to relax the body after a long, stressful day. If you find the taste a little sour, a few drops of honey or lemon juice can make it naturally sweeter.

Image via Bembu

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