Thrive Magazine 2 - Medical Hub @ RMIT

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 Sally O’s family feasts  Useful thinking vs positive thinking  Beat the depression black dog  Overweight & uncomfortable? Think gut health  Ease your money pressures & stress  Don’t punish yourself to be perfect


Welcome Welcome to the second issue of Thrive magazine. We’re delighted by the feedback we’ve had to our launch edition last month; how much you appreciated the diverse, comprehensive health and wellness information designed to help navigate these ultra-challenging COVID-19 days. As well as entertaining and inspiring you, of course! The Thrive team’s aim is to deliver quality content that embraces the core pillars of living your best life: physical health and fitness and mental wellness, nutrition and recipes, mindfulness, work-life balance, financial wellbeing, “real” beauty and more, along with celebrity interviews and inspirational success stories from all walks of life. We want to make sure we keep tapping into the topics and issues that are vital to your physical and emotional wellbeing, and that will enhance your quality of life. So we’d love to hear from you. Please turn to Page 44, we ask for your feedback about Thrive. By way of thanks, five readers will receive

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$50 Amazon gift vouchers.

Enjoy the issue and we’ll see you again next month. PUBLISHED BY

Thrive Magazine | CONTACT US

105 Carpenter Street, Brighton, Victoria 3186 Phone: 03 9592 8986 PUBLISHERS Lachlan McPherson & Anthony McCabe EDITOR Jenni Gilbert PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER Kirien Withers PRODUCTION Mick Carney

Blue Banana Graphics & Design CONTRIBUTORS Dr Jessie Askew, Jennifer Chalmers,

Terry Cornick, Pete Lord & Carolina Flores, Chris Helder, Maddy King









































By JENNI GILBERT In 2011, at 41 weeks pregnant with her first child, Sally Obermeder was diagnosed with a rare form of aggressive breast cancer. Only 10 days after her daughter Annabelle was born, Sally started eight months of intense chemotherapy. She was only able to endure one mastectomy at a time because she was so weakened by the treatment: “For six months I had one breast,” Sally says. “It was awful.” After further radiation therapy, her other breast was removed and the reconstruction process began. She is now eight years free of cancer. She, husband Marcus, and Annabelle welcomed their new family member - daughter Elyssa Rose - via surrogate, in 2016.

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Sally is a much-loved TV personality - former co-host of Channel 7’s daily news and lifestyle program, The Daily Edition - radio presenter, best-selling author and entrepreneur. She co-founded and runs leading Australian wellness and fashion brand, SWIISH, with sister Maha Corbett. As well, she is a spokesperson and ambassador. Sally has worked with a number of big brands including international cosmetics giant AVON, Westfield, Specsavers (2019), Colgate (2019) and is currently an ambassador for Schwarzkopf Brilliance (2020). Amid Sally’s breast cancer battle, Maha recalls that Sally came up with the idea of, their “luxe for less” website.


“And I was like, ‘are you still high on some kind of medication?’,” Maha recalled. “`Aren’t you meant to be recovering? Haven’t you just gone through all this radiation and chemo and surgeries? Shouldn’t you just be focusing on your recovery?" “And she was like, ‘yeah I should, and I am,’ but at the same time for her she’d been sitting there thinking about if I make it through, then what is it that I want to be doing with my life and my time?’” The sisters share an unbreakable bond and have cooked up a lot of inspirational ventures together since, including their latest book, Dinner’s Done - a gamechanging new cooking system that will have weeknight meals prepared in 2-3 hours. The book’s 60+ recipes offer dishes for vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and egg-free options, as well as handy shopping lists and a nutritional index. “We wanted to create a super simple and easy to follow cooking methodology that eliminates the daily stress of deciding what to whip up for dinner,” Sally says. “You’ll spend a few hours in the kitchen, and at the end of it you’ll have cooked your weekday evening meals. Then you can do more of the stuff you love." “No more getting home and staring longingly into the fridge, wondering what to make the tribe for dinner!”

Sally and Maha are known for their effortlessly easy recipes, full of fresh, vibrant flavours and seasonal everyday ingredients. But Dinner’s Done brings something unique to the table, developing dishes in the slow cooker, on the stove top and in the oven – not forgetting a hearty monster salad or two. “For Maha and I, cooking has always been a major part of our life – it connects us. We grew up with Mum always cooking amazing meals, so if you wanted to chat to mum, you’d find yourself chopping an onion, or stirring a pot as you talked,” Sally says. ”I love being in the kitchen and both Maha and I are feeders! But we also lead very full lives. For us it’s about having delicious meals that don't take too long to make or cost a fortune. Although I’ve always loved cooking, it was the way I thought about food that changed dramatically after breast cancer." THRIVE #2 | 5


"I’ve always got the girls in the kitchen with me… whether it’s getting them to choose what they want us to cook that night, or just giving them a wooden spoon to help mix up some ingredients"

“It was no longer just about creating tasty meals, but instead about loading my body with as many vitamins, minerals, nutrients and greens as possible. Anyone who’s been through a serious illness like that knows that your body just feels it’s been stripped bare – running on empty once it’s over. “All you can do is try and build yourself up again though wholesome, nutritious foods, which for me still needed to be loaded with flavour.” COOKING WITH KIDS Food prep and cooking is essential family time in the Obermeder household. “I’ve always got the girls in the kitchen with me and I like to involve them wherever I can,” Sally says. “Whether it’s getting them to choose what they want us to cook that night, or just giving them a wooden spoon to help mix up some ingredients, I think it’s incredibly important to teach them the value of not only cooking – but nourishing your body at the same time. “Cooking is family time, they know this. After we’ve prepared a meal we sit down and enjoy this all together, catching up on the day and their little worlds. This time is precious. It teaches them that food and cooking connects people, and is good for your wellbeing in more ways than one.”



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THE DINNER’S DONE SYSTEM “The system we’ve created in Dinner’s Done was inspired by a need to cook smarter, not harder,” says Sally. “The less time in the kitchen, the better (even for someone who loves cooking as much as me!). It gets all your midweek meals prepped and ready to eat in a few hours.



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“One of the main points for us was that the process had to be streamlined – not to have 10 pots and pans on the go at once! It’s seamless, fuss-free and time-efficient.





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“For Maha and I, this system has been a game changer, giving us back precious time and energy – without compromising on delicious meals or spending a fortune!”

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A passionate advocate of causes, Sally is also an ambassador for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and The Sony Foundation, and works with the Breast Cancer Network of Australia and The Nelune Foundation, that provides psychological and practical support, assistance and care for public hospital and underprivileged cancer patients in the community – “Helping patients fight cancer with dignity”. She has also written Never Stop Believing, a memoir about her TV career, undergoing IVF and battling cancer. Maha is a best-selling author, entrepreneur and certified health and nutrition coach, not to mention the other half of the brains behind SWIISH. Together the sisters have produced bestsellers Super Green Smoothies, The Good Life, Simple and Lean and Super Easy.

Give Away






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GET YOUR OWN COPY OF DINNER’s DONE Thrive has three copies of Dinner’s Done, worth $29.99 each, to give away to the first readers who email and tell us how Sally and Maha’s innovative cooking system will make their life a whole lot easier!

Watch how Sally and Maha make dinner so easily here and then flip to page 39 for some great Dinner's Done recipes

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Life is overwhelming. In a hotel room on a business trip before COVID restrictions, I was watching a morning TV show with a guest who was one of a seemingly never-ending array of health and fitness gurus looking to make more noise than the last. Then I heard him say: “We are actually not advocating stretching anymore …”

There is also the constant “messaging” through media and social media that we, ourselves, are somehow not good enough. This is on top of the fact, it is well documented, that many of us have a level of addiction to the feel-good hormone – dopamine - that is boosted when we get affirmation through likes on our social media.

Stretching? Really? I stretch every day. And every day the advice I hear seems to contradict what was given two weeks ago. It’s chaos! It is impossible to keep up. The world is full of noise that we are both addicted to and annoyed by. In this COVID-19 world it is noisier than ever, with an overload of information on our devices.

There are arguments to be made that this is the most complicated time in human history. While for the most part we are safe from dying at the hands of marauders from a neighbouring village, there are the highest recorded instances of depression, anxiety and general unhappiness. Now we add in escalated isolation, sickness and unemployment.

Sometimes I can’t believe the things I click on, from the Daily Mail headline about a famous sports personality’s drug addiction to the latest celebrity wardrobe malfunction.

Yet even with everything going on, we live in the greatest time in human history. It doesn’t seem like it right now but it’s complicated. Maybe we need to simplify it …

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WELL MIND Typical motivation speakers tell us to be positive. Our parents and teachers told us to try and be positive in life. But positive thinking doesn’t really work. Really.

"Chaos thinking leads to weak decision making." For example, if you've been in a rut in your life for the last six days, six weeks, or even six months, it’s not positive thinking that will get you out. If you are anticipating being in a rut for the next six days, six weeks, or six months it’s not positive thinking that will help you move forward, either. Imagine if you were in a bad mood at work and someone walked up to you and said: “Hey, snap out of it! Just try to be positive!”. What would you want to do them? It’s fair to say it wouldn’t be a positive outcome.

It’s the same as lying in bed in the morning and telling yourself: “Come on, you can do it. You can have a good day today. Just be positive. Walk into work and try to be positive.” But studies show that by 10 o’clock, if something bad happens, you are no longer able to sustain that level of positive thinking and feel worse than when you started. I don’t teach positive. I teach this word - USEFUL. Because if you have been in a rut the last six days, six weeks, or six months, it's not “positive” that’s going to get you out of it. It’s “useful”. If, for whatever reason, you are feeling at ground zero in your life, the question is not how can you be positive, but what is the most useful thing to do to get from zero to two, from two to five, five to eight?

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about what a useful response is (ie. respond unconsciously). That is like being a pinball being pinged around a machine by the moods and emotions of the day. That type of response leads to what I call “chaos thinking”. Let me give you an example. If the news is imparting bad information (stimulus) and you respond with a state of fear or panic, that leads directly to chaos thinking. This lends itself to blowing things out of proportion. Instead, when facing such stimulus and you respond by making a conscious decision about what is a useful response, this will lead to you making a courageous decision around beliefs and actions to take (response). To progress, the next question is what is the most useful thing to believe about your reality. This thinking leads you to discover what is really important and gets results. THE “SIMPLE SHIFT” TO COURAGE How do we start to execute Useful Thinking and become more courageous in tackling obstacles and adversity? It is to be “conscious” and make conscious decisions. Being conscious puts you in control of how you will respond to the many situations you deal with every day, instead of falling into a state of panic and victim behavior and living in a state of unconscious response where you let emotions control your mood and actions at every turn. Here is how it typically works … You are put in a situation (stimulus) and you respond to that situation (response). Generally, people respond all day to stimulus without thinking

Today is a world of media predicting doom and gloom. We have politicians who yell at each other and encourage chaos thinking. This is the time to step back and think about useful responses to the adversity in your life. Let me ask you: • •

What would be the most useful, courageous decision you could make with the information that you are receiving? How would that change your behaviour? Within the realm of what is possible, what is the most courageous stance you could take based on your values and belief system?

This does not mean to take unnecessary risks. Instead, I am encouraging you to be conscious about your decisions and responses. Part of the wisdom of courage is to pick your battles wisely – do your best to understand what is going on from your own perspective and make sure that you are in control of your response.

Chris Helder is an Australian international keynote speaker, business communication expert, master storyteller and bestselling author. He is the bestselling author of three books, The Ultimate Book of Influence, Useful Belief - which is one of the highest-ever-selling Australian business books – and Cut The Noise, about achieving better results with greater focus.

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Our mission is to provide a leading healthcare service to the RMIT community and Melbourne’s CBD by providing an environment for dedicated physicians and staff to deliver a holistic approach to primary health. At Medical Hub @ RMIT we offer excellent health services, but we’re not here just for RMIT attendees, our practice services many in the local and wider community with patients from surrounding neighbourhoods like Carlton, North Melbourne, West Melbourne, Fitzroy and of course city workers that come from across Melbourne suburbs. Our purpose-built facility is just a short walk from Melbourne Central located in the grounds of RMIT. We offer face to face or telehealth appointments via call or video.

Not everyone will cope well with stage 4 lock down. Your uni and social activities have changed, and accordingly your mental health may be tested. If you’re finding it difficult, make a booking with a qualified GP. We are here to help via bulk billed telehealth appointment, and aim to get you back on track. Click the ‘book online’ button below to book.

Due to demand, Medical Hub @ RMIT are now offering screening of asymptomatic patients ONLY for COVID-19. Do you need a test to return to work or be granted entry into your home country overseas? To learn more, visit our COVID screening page.

 RMIT University Building 8, Level 3 368-374 Swanston St Melbourne   (03) 9999 2778




*The Black Dog Institute (BDI) is a not-for-profit facility for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. It was founded in 2002 by the University of NSW School of Psychiatry Scientia Professor Gordon Parker and is based in Sydney.

As COVID-19 lockdowns, border closures and social restrictions wear on, you might find yourself struggling with all kinds of feelings. Recent research from the Black Dog Institute (BDI)* shows that more than 75 percent of people report that their mental health has worsened since the pandemic began. “With the first lockdown, even though it was incredibly stressful for a lot of people, it was also novel. Second time around [in Victoria, especially], the `fun’ has been taken out of it, and so I think that’s really impacting people’s ability to cope,” says Dr Alexis Whitton, psychologist and research fellow at the BDI. 12 | THRIVE #2

However difficult things get, there’s reason to be hopeful: even if you’re already feeling burnt out, making a few simple tweaks to your day-to-day habits can make the world of difference, according to Dr Whitton. IDENTIFY YOUR TRIGGERS During the first lockdown, did you often find yourself feeling overwhelmed? If your mood took a nosedive at the same time every day, you might have unwittingly been engaging in repetitive behaviours that didn’t serve you well. Be on the lookout for similar patterns and see if you can pinpoint the trigger. “For example, you could be waking up in the morning and scrolling through your work emails (or reading the latest COVID-19 news) and feeling like you can’t manage,” says Dr Whitton. “If that particular behaviour is setting you up to feel very stressed for the day, change it so that you’re not consuming that information first thing in the morning.”

CREATE A ROUTINE Remember the old adage about eating an elephant a bite at a time? If there is anything that lockdown conditions teaches us, it’s that giving some structure to your day can help break it down into manageable chunks. “It doesn’t have to be a completely structured routine, but just some little rituals that signal the start of the day, the end of the work day if you’re working from home, something to impose structure on the day so it doesn’t feel endless,” Dr Whitton says. Creating designated spaces for different activities can also be helpful in delineating work and leisure – use your desk or dining room table for work, move to the couch or kitchen during your lunch break, and head outdoors for some exercise during the day, or once you’re done with your formal work.

If there is anything that lockdown teaches us, it’s that giving some structure to your day can help break it down into manageable chunks.

“For example, if you’re thinking 'I feel trapped in this apartment', try writing down all the things that you can do, both inside and outside that day. This will often highlight that you’re actually not trapped; there are plenty of things you can do to add some variety to your day.” MAKE GOOD HEALTH A PRIORITY If your first lockdown experience was characterised by too much food and not enough exercise, you’re not alone. But now you’ve got the benefit of hindsight to help you make healthier choices. Healthy food, portion control and an increased commitment to exercise can have really positive benefits on your weight and other aspects of your physical health, as well as on your emotional wellbeing. “When travel and social movement restrictions first began, there was a period where everyone was staying at home and eating junk food and drinking too much, but then as it went on, people started taking notice of how this was making them feel,” Dr Whitton says. “I think there’s now a greater awareness of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle – we know that if we’re physically healthy, we’re better able to cope with stress.”

TACKLE UNHELPFUL THOUGHTS The constraints of COVID-19 restrictions might make it difficult to engage in positive behaviours. However, if you find yourself having unhelpful thoughts, it’s important to challenge them before they overwhelm you. “One of the helpful ways people can watch out for and change this type of thinking is to write it down and add the nuance to the thought,” Dr Whitton says. THRIVE #2 | 13


Instead, do something different. Go for a walk if you can, play with the kids, drink a cup of tea in the sun – anything to get your day off to a more peaceful and positive start.


GO EASY ON THE ALCOHOL Feeling bored, anxious or stressed? For many of us, pouring ourselves an end-of-day drink became an increasingly common way to deal with the first round of COVID-19 restrictions – in fact, a Black Dog study showed that 50 percent of people surveyed in April said they were drinking excessively to get through it. But as time goes on, there are some good reasons to think carefully before you reach for that bottle of wine or spirits. “The rebound effects that you can get after having a few drinks can increase negative thoughts, can impact the quality of your sleep, and can reduce your tolerance for frustration – all things that can work against you in terms of dealing with added stress,” Dr Whitton says. “A few tips for cutting back include pouring yourself a smaller glass, incorporating more alcohol-free days into your week, and tracking how much you’re drinking to see where you might be able to cut down.” Switching to alcohol-free drinks or trading your drink for a late afternoon walk, a chat on the phone, or a virtual dinner party with friends, can also help you avoid temptation.

Worried how you’re doing?

If you are struggling to cope – or see that others are – or are otherwise dogged by dark thoughts, there is help at hand. The Black Dog Institute offers a free mental health assessment tool via its Online Clinic - - created by leading clinicians and based on research. It is suitable for anyone over 18 who is worried they may be developing a mental health problem or would like to get a better understanding of their mental health. NB: The Online Clinic is not a substitute for professional clinical advice. If you are having a particularly difficult time at the moment, BDI recommends invaluable free resources such as the Lifeline crisis hotline. If you are within Australia and are worried you might hurt yourself or feel you need to talk to someone and get immediate support, you can call Lifeline at ANY time night or day on 13 11 14.

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Creating a mentally healthier world, J one T-shirt at a time odie


#everythingwillbeok – THE T-SHIRT WITH A HEART FOR THIS COVID AGE A charity T-shirt with a difference, #everythingwillbeok, was founded in April as COVID-19 bit deep in the Australian way of life, with one clear mission – mental health awareness. Inspired by the Italian #andràtuttobene (everything will be ok), one of the most trending hashtags globally during the pandemic, a novel non-profit was born, to raise funds for The Black Dog Institute through a line of soft, lightweight cotton, ethically-produced T-shirts. “This positive and uplifting phrase is a simple reminder that we will get through this together, and that everything will be okay,” say co-founders Jodie Hart and Claudia Tosa. European-born, now living in Sydney, they were both deeply affected by the situation in their respective homelands; Claudia’s, Italy, and Jodie’s, the UK. Both had close family members and friends who were either seriously ill or hospitalised by the virus.

Proceeds from sales go directly to the Black Dog Institute, a global leader in mental health research, helping vulnerable communities and individuals. “Harnessing the latest technology and other tools to turn research findings into clinical services and e-health products, they have been improving the lives of people with mental illness and the wider community,” says Jodie. The #everythingwillbeok white tee is available exclusively online: https:// (RRP: $45).

“Mutual support and empathy is vital, something that’s not easy to give, or receive, while in isolation,” says Claudia. “With close family members hospitalised in my hometown of Genova, I felt helpless being thousands of miles away. “However, I knew there was something I could do in Australia to spread messages of hope.” THRIVE #2 | 15




Movement of the body and associated benefits for overall health is well known. Lesser known advantages include benefits for our mental and brain health – a vital component of living well in these unprecedented times. The vast majority of stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by movement of the spine, according to Dr. Roger Sperry, American neuropsychologist and neurobiologist, and 1981 Nobel laureate. “Better than 90 percent of the energy output of the brain is used in relating the physical body in its gravitational field,” Dr. Sperry said. “The more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy available for thinking, metabolism and healing”. Today, rather than “working from home”, most of us are more likely “living at work”. Seated posture can have a big part to play in how we feel and function, considering most people are doing this far more during COVID lockdowns than during the previous typical 9-5 working day. 16 | THRIVE #2

Posture and long-term health outcomes have a huge correlation. In a study published in the Medical Journal of Spine in 2005 by a team of doctors headed by American Dr. Steven Glassman (who specialises in adult and pediatric spine deformity), the posture of 752 subjects was measured using full spine X-rays. Researchers took measurements from the base of the neck to the top the pelvis and the findings were astonishing. All measures of health status showed a lower score as posture decreased. Meaning - those with poor posture had lower measures of overall health status. Even minor forward head posture was shown to be decrease breathing ability and heart rate health, increase pain and disability and all health markers worsened as the posture deviations increased. Movement and posture of the spine is vital in ensuring we remain physically and mentally strong. Here are five ways we can assist our movement and posture while at home:

BUILD MUSCLE Gym and fitness studio attendance is restricted (and many people simply want to avoid potential risks of COVID exposure) but there is a plethora of home workouts available for everyone. FITNESS

Muscle health directly relates to stronger bones and is proven to increase both longevity and our quality of life as we age. Large postural muscles, that allow us to hold our body upright, are under strain when we sit and are usually the tightest when we have sat too much. Think tight shoulders, sore and stiff hip flexors, weak glutes. Luckily, all these muscles are easy to train. These are our compound movements - squats, lifts, push-ups and pull-ups, deadlifts, rows and overhead presses. Set yourself a daily goal of doing 10 of each of the ones that you can and challenge yourself by adding weight gradually. For example, pull two tins of canned veggies or fruit out of the pantry, hold your tummy strong and push them over your head. You can try adding in a squat to utilise your upper and lower body at the same time. GET YOUR HEART RATE UP Outside cardio is perfect, as oxygen and Vitamin D are both beneficial for changing mood and improved sleep. If you are lucky enough to have a treadmill, cross trainer or rowing machine hidden in your garage then dust it off! As Dr. Sperry found in his research, movement maximises nutrition to the brain and has been shown to make us more productive. The base of the brain is called the cerebellum and is recharged by movement. This means the longer we are chained at our computers, the more tired we are. The more we slump towards our screens, the less productive our brain becomes. Take a break every day to get out, move and be upright. Attempt to keep your heart rate in a 60-70 percent maximum range. Your maximum heart rate equates to 220 minus your age. Cardio also extends to what is known as lower-load cardio. Gentle walking, riding a bike, yoga or Pilates are all great ways to raise your heart rate without damaging your joints.

CORE STRENGTH The core is a group of muscles that stabilises and controls the pelvis and spine, thus influencing how we can move our legs and arms and minimises damage to our spine or limbs. Core strength is less about power through movement, and more about the subtleties of being able to maintain the body in ideal postures and positions. This allows us to unload the joints and promote an ease of movement and to preserve mobility into later life, hence preventing injury. THRIVE #2 | 17


We automatically think of sit-ups and building a six-pack as core strength. However, it is completely separate muscles that link to the pelvic floor. A good core program relies less on boring repetition of exercises and focuses more on awareness.

If you are hot-desking or having to use your dining table as an office, sit at the front of your chair. Perch so that your knees sit lower than your hips to maintain your balance.

Pilates or yoga are wonderful to learn how to engage your core and then ensure it is activated during any activity – whether it be walking, driving, standing, sitting or exercise.

Did you know dogs stretch over 37 times a day? Humans, on the other hand, average a stretch less than once per week. Sitting for long periods freezes our frame into a seated position and tightens our frontal muscles to make our posterior muscles sore. This results tight upper shoulders, stiff legs, tight hamstrings, rolled-forward shoulders and headaches from tight neck muscles. A lack of mobility of our body also increases our risk of injury. Torn rotator cuff muscles, hip flexor strain, hamstring tears, weak glutes, spinal disc problems, headaches and migraines are all linked to too much sitting and not enough stretching.

STAND UP! Research supports standing desks for productivity, better postural fitness and less spinal pain. If you have a standing desk at work but not at home, why not replicate one? Raise your monitor to eye level. If using a laptop, invest in a separate keyboard. If you are sitting, get up every hour. It takes two minutes of movement during the hour of sitting to counteract the damage. Set an alarm on your phone to go off once an hour and do some of those compound movements. Why not see how many squats you can do in two minutes?


The message?

Stretch, stretch, stretch!

Take Care

For those not used to strenuous physical activities, as well as individuals aged 45 and over, it's important to consult a doctor before starting an exercise routine. As with any exercise program, if during your workout you begin to feel faint, dizzy or have physical discomfort, you should stop immediately and consult a medical professional. Dr Jessie Askew completed her masters in clinical chiropractic in 2010, and has since invested many postgraduate hours studying paediatric development and pregnancy care. She received her first adjustment as a child and has been receiving regular chiropractic care ever since. For the past 15 years, she has been passionate about providing care for people of all ages. INSIDEOUTCHIROPRACTIC.COM.AU

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In 2002, working dozens of hours a week at her dental consulting business and “feeling overweight and tired at 38”, Erica King wanted to find new meaning in her life. She decided she needed a new challenge and – as you do! – picked training for and running the New York Marathon, even though she was not a runner. Nine life-changing months later, she achieved her goal. “I desperately needed something else in my life,” she says. “The thought of turning 40 was really playing on my mind. I did not want to go into a new decade feeling unhealthy and overweight." “So I brainstormed every option imaginable and thought that I would learn to run. I had never run before. I’d just gone to the gym and done lots of aerobic classes."

“Then I thought: if I am going to learn to run, I need a huge goal that will keep me motivated – so I’m going to run a marathon. If I am going to run a marathon, where in the world should this be? New York of course! One of the most incredible marathons in the world. “Yep, that was my goal. Everyone around me, including my family, thought that I had lost my mind. I was in no way athletic. In fact, as a kid at school I used to forge my mum’s signature to get out of PE.” As a “complete non-runner” at the outset, Erica couldn’t do 100m without puffing. It took her nine months to go from zero to crossing that finish line in New York. “I had no idea how to train for a marathon and no one to support this training process. I researched online but this was 2002 and there was almost nothing to help women with running,” she says.

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“So I slogged it out solo. It was seriously tough. Every muscle in my body screamed `what are you doing?!’. I learned through trial and error about building slowly, including alternating walking with running and taking rest days. There were many days that I thought my goal was impossible, but I had made a commitment and that was it. “It was probably three to four months into my training that I started to feel good when running; that my body recovered better after the long Sunday run. I wasn’t worried about my pace. For me it was all about achieving this goal.” Erica started to love the time on her own away from the office, to just enjoy the cool, fresh air: “This was my time. Being alone with my thoughts became my favourite time in the day and spurred me on towards that start line." “And to arrive at that start line in New York with 35,000 other runners from all over the world was absolutely incredible. “There were marching bands, singers and entertainers along the entire course, plus two million cheering spectators. I loved every step and soaked up the incredible atmosphere with pure joy in my heart.

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“Even though my body was pushed to the max I was swept away by the extraordinary atmosphere of celebration. As I was getting closer to the finish line and entered my lap of Central Park the screaming spectators who called out my name helped me keep going. “To cross that finish line and have the medal around my neck I cried tears of both elation and exhaustion. I knew in that moment for the first time in my life that I could truly achieve anything. Nine months of hard slog was worth it to experience being part of such a mind-blowing world event.” Since 2002, Erica has run 31 marathons around the world, including all world major marathons (“a very exclusive club1”): New York, Boston (three times), London, Berlin, Chicago and Tokyo. To celebrate her 50th birthday, rather than “hide away”, Erica ran 12 marathons in 12 months to prove once again to herself that she could do anything she decided. ERICA’S TOP TIPS TO GET A MOVE ON Before you start running, do five mins of a dynamic warm up – leg swings (about 20 each leg) and cross-body leg swings (again, about 20 each leg), high knees for 10m x two repeats, butt kicks for 10m x two repeats and skips for 10m x two repeats.

If possible, at some time in the day use a foam roller to stretch out your muscles more. Do this in front of the TV for five to 10 minutes. As you increase distance and time per run, have a bath with soda crystals (eg. Epsom salts), as this significantly reduces muscle soreness and injury. A good physio; acupuncturist; chiropractor is also great for runners for prevention rather than waiting for an injury. Don’t run more than two days in a row. Cross train in between – it means significant injury reduction strategy and adds in strength training to your program. Cross training can be a combination of things like Pilates, yoga, cycling, spin bike, a strength gym program, or swimming. At least one full rest day each week, essential. Never start a run dehydrated and make sure you know where the water fountains are where you are running so that you can stop along the way. Regular small sips of water is a great strategy, especially when the weather is hot or humid. On longer runs an electrolyte drink is great to ensure not just hydration but energy levels as well. Nutrition is an essential part of any fitness program but for runners even more so. Time meals around your run – avoid eating too much before a run; eat a combination of good quality protein and carbohydrates in even quantities following a run to improve muscle recovery. BE A DIVA In 2009, Erica started Running Divas because there was nothing specifically for women who wanted to run. “I also wanted to share my love of running with other women and build a community to share our journey together,” she says. “Running Divas was very successful and supported thousands of women to achieve extraordinary goals. Running is so much more than completing a run event, although this is brilliant and uplifting; something that you never could have imagined yourself doing changes you in the best way possible.

You gain greater confidence, improve self-esteem and better body image, which then flows into every area of your life. You are a happier more joyful person which then means you a pleasure to be around. You are a better partner, mother, friend, leader, co-worker, business owner. “It was my true love in life. I absolutely adored supporting women to achieve their goal, it enriched my own life tenfold. This community gave women a safe space to be themselves, to share and be fully supported with zero judgement. That is what I am most proud of achieving. “It was with great sadness that I gave Running Divas away, it was a part of my soul but life goes in different directions and that is okay. “I have decided after much reflection to utilise my business development skills and start a new business called Life Lessons Erica King; 30 life lessons in 30 days. “The essence is to assist business owners at any point in the life cycle of their business to improve productivity, profitability and efficiency. This is my superpower!” Watch that space!

BEST FOOT FORWARD Erica says: “After much trial and error, I believe that you need to wear a mix of brands of running shoe”. Her key advice: • Buy your running shoes half a size bigger than your regular shoes. Your toes should not touch the top when you stand up. This allows for room as your feet swell when running and, so, help prevent pain and injury. Consider what style of run shoe suits your run experience. As a beginner, I recommend going for a more supportive style. As you increase in kms you can then try on a neutral shoe with less support. Don’t start running in non-supportive flat shoes: you are guaranteed to become injured quickly. •

Buy two different brands and styles – one that is more cushioned for longer runs and one that is lighter for shorter runs, sprints and intervals. Don’t wear the same shoe two days in a row. Swapping is a much better strategy. THRIVE #2 | 21


After a run, take five mins to do some stretches – any combination of calf, glutes and hamstrings



By TERRY CORNICK My mind loves to compartmentalise and segment things so it can attempt to process them: ideas, events, thoughts, feelings. A challenging upbringing, tragic events and trauma pushed me so far into a shell that I never thought I would emerge. During the okay times, this was okay with me. My introverted character and lack of self-esteem meant that hiding was easier and far less painful than attempting to be “happy” in front of people - or, worse, open up to the ridicule of others - until the occasional but inevitable explosions of emotion, anger and tears (in private usually). Life would then quickly return to the blur. 22 |


My Great Escape, as I call it, took me to the other side of the world traveling. Less than two years later I was back in Australia for good, and the deepest, darkest scene of my life. After a night out on the Gold Coast I stood on a balcony peering and leaning over, looking at the bus station below, contemplating that this was an ideal time to jump and end the pain in an instant. Thankfully, I stepped back. After a few more substantial blips and obstacles, somehow my life started to become what others would term a “success”. More money than I knew what to do with, travel, a waterside apartment and a beautiful partner. One of my best mates teased me at work and called me Mr Perfect. It was a chaotic scene backstage. I came close to taking my life on a handful of occasions but thankfully backed down.


"When I heard the confirmation that I was suffering from, or had suffered from, suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, PTSD and OCD, the relief was temporary." Approaching my 30th year, I made some changes as I was about to get married and my absent dad passed away in the UK. I was also sick of my job. When my partner and I started to talk about having a family, I couldn’t imagine putting my child through a similar existence. I then visited a GP who looked me in the eye and asked: “How long have you felt like this?” I paused. “For as long as I can remember.” His usually relaxed face turned serious. “I know a great psychiatrist I would like you to see,” he said. It took every ounce of energy for me to bring myself to do so but, eventually, I sought professional help. When I heard the confirmation that I was suffering from, or had suffered from, suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, PTSD and OCD, the relief was temporary. I then wanted to know the pathology of this. Feeling particularly dark and depressed had generally occurred since childhood roughly every few months and rarely changed especially after a heavy night of drinking. Depressive or potentially harmful periods decreased in my late 20s as I “succeeded” (at least superficially) at work, but anxiety started affecting me multiple times a day.

As a child, I was anxious before talking to groups of people and I retreated into a shell. Romantically, I imagined it all stemmed from one incident when I was four and attempted a Singing In The Rain solo in a school assembly, only to have the room burst into laughter. But it clearly went far deeper than that. At 16, while working in a supermarket, I would hide in the toilet during my breaks. I would be riddled with anxiety the night before a school or work presentation so I called in the next day sick to avoid it. But it presents somewhat differently now. My anxiety is short and sharp. I will worry about my sons hurting themselves or panic if I am two minutes late for work. I will obsess over existential questions of “why the hell we are all here” and “what we are doing”, but minutes later be achieving something fairly substantial at work or with my charity. I will quickly get on the runaway train and escalate an argument with my wife from step one to 10 in a matter of minutes, ruminating over my imagined outcome. Then as quickly I will appear the most chilled guy in the room.

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And that is part of what started Mr Perfect, a grass roots charity with a vision to create a judgement-free society for men and their mental health. The movement gained momentum, spurred on by a chat in the pub with mates. Mr Perfect as a platform and community has been successful, we think, because we could not be more inclusive if we tried and conversations can glide seamlessly through work, mental health, football, struggle, relationships and comedy. All with a supportive, judgement-free ear to listen. To back this up, men have regularly sent messages after the meet-up to explain why it works for them. Many suffer from social anxiety and were overwhelmed by the friendly and calm approach to the BBQ meet-ups, particularly the lack of masculine bravado.

There have been many blips in my own journey - after all, I am not perfect - from stopping my medication without advice, to stopping my doctor appointments, to finding professional help again when the cloudy spells turned into storms and into hurricanes. It seems these weather systems of mine are here for life, they linger, and that’s okay. However, with the right strategies I can turn my experience into something impactful for others. Life is still a daily battle, and anxiety is a big part of it. But I am working on channeling my overactive and creative mind into positive, mostly selfless pursuits. It is definitely more enjoyable and far less exhausting.

Terry Cornick is founder and CEO of Mr Perfect, “Mental Health's Mate”, a grassroots pre-crisis charity that creates community and connection by bringing men together at BBQs in local parks across Australia, to reduce isolation and encourage better mental health. He is dad of two young boys, 2 and 4: “My most important job and priority”. He lives on the Sydney’s northern beaches. His "day job" is as a consultant in healthcare and health technology.

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Tens of thousands have lost their jobs, others their work hours reduced. And, by the looks of it, the worst is yet to come. The pandemic has affected Australian households in numerous ways but one of the biggest effects has been to personal and family finances. If you are finding yourself in a tight money spot, know that there are things you can do to pull yourself out of it. The crisis shall pass, but how you treat your money from here on will really shape your future. Here at Best Financial Friend, these are rules of thumb we share with clients who are stressing out over their money situation:

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PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE SAND At BFF we believe that the first step to getting a grip on your finances is to get real, but also be kind to yourself. We know that sometimes looking at our bank statements can get emotional, especially if you are stressed about your current circumstances. But starting your journey towards a healthier financial position is to understand where you are now. If you are not able to cover some of your major financial commitments you can absolutely call your providers and work with them on a payment plan. Alternatively, there are financial counsellors – such as at The National Debt Helpline, - you could go to for help. They are free and their advice can be life (and money) saving! You’d be surprised to find how empowering it is to get real with yourself; it’s like all of a sudden you get control of your life back! One thing we can assure you, doing something about it is better than sticking your head in the sand and hoping your bills disappear. X-RAY YOUR FINANCES De-stressing your money life is about understanding your money personality, values and spending habits. Taking an X-ray of your finances means grabbing three months of your bank statements and going through each line and highlighting those that didn’t bring as much value into your life. The disconnect between our values and our spending habits shine a light on some areas where we might be spending some money without any real purpose.


Go through each line of your last bank statement and highlight with one colour the charges that are vital (and non-negotiable) for you to live, like rent and bills.


Highlight with a different colour those charges that brought you the most joy, like that dinner out with your friends or that much-needed bag you had your eye on for a long time.


Highlight with a different colour those charges you could have gone without, like that online purchase that you never returned because you felt too lazy to do it.

AVOID THE CREDIT CARD TRAP One big trap many of us have fallen into is the credit card carousel. It is so easy to “treat ourselves” because we are going through an emotionally tough time and well, some online shopping might just help a little. Unfortunately, the psychology behind a credit card (or the cashless payments, tap tap tap) is that the emotional reward is disconnected from the emotional “pain of payment”. In the moment it feels like free money but down the track can be a real lifestyle creeper. Don’t get us wrong, we are not against credit cards. In fact, if you are in a really tough spot and need to use your credit card to buy the basics like your groceries, it’s common sense. But if you fall into the “I’ll just pay the minimum this month and buy myself a cute top because I’m feeling sad today” zone you might want to reconsider. Credit cards still need to be paid off, and if you don’t pay them in full by the end of the month you’ll be paying extra in interest and fees.

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Nothing positive ever came out of a rushed decision. Understandably, when our income seems threatened or the economic outlook feels very uncertain, we might feel tempted to kneejerk and do things like to sell valuable belongings to bring in some cash, to pull savings out of the bank or shares out of the stock market. Our advice here is to take a deep breath and reassess when you are calmer. Think, what advice would you give to a friend if they were in this situation? Trying to approach things as rationally as possible is your best answer to crisis management.

Give Away



CURRENT SITUATION It’s been said that in times of crisis lies so much opportunity for those who look for it. Try reframing your situation and look for places to bring in alternative income.


Start by thinking about current expenses where you could be saving some money: for instance, refinancing your mortgage, renegotiating your rent, renegotiating your phone plan … you get it. Then look for other places where you can utilise your extra-curricular abilities. Could you be selling any crafts online? Or are their services you could hire out? Think of areas in high demand now, especially in your local community.


BFF PERSONAL MONEY-TRAINING SESSIONS TO GIVE AWAY Worth $299 each, three Thrive readers have the opportunity to get a grip on their finances with a complimentary Design Your Own Money System consultation. What they’ll get: • A 2-hour intensive meeting with a BFF • Interactive Zoom call • Complete personal budget • Their buffers and customised Money Map • Their ideal account structure • Their transactions automated • Dollarbird bills calendar • A system built they can stick to Email your entry to

Remember, times like this affect everyone in one way or another, positively or negatively. We are all in this together and the crisis will pass. The question is: how will you want to come out of it? If you’ve ever had the intention to get on top of your cash flow, this is it. If it feels too daunting to do it by yourself, why not see a financial planner. They will help you get your money and spending habits in order so that next time a crisis strikes you can buy yourself some certainty with savings in the bank.

Pete Lord and Carolina Flores are co-founders of Best Financial Friend, an affordable digital financial coaching start-up, with a mission to build financial security by connecting users with personalised support from a qualified “personal money-trainer”, to help them take control of their finances and enjoy a less stressful, debt-free life.

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GET to the GUTS of your ISSUES


“second brain”


By MADDY KING Bloating, gas, stomach pain, reflux, intolerances, constipation, diarrhoea … do I have your attention yet? These uncomfortable symptoms, that have become extremely common, usually stem from issues within our digestive system, aka “the gut”.

struggle to find simple answers when attempting to resolve their gut issues. And why a few pills don’t always fix the problem. MY STORY

Our bodies are amazing and complex systems. There is literally a universe inside us, filled with living microorganisms that call our bodies home.

When I was 19, I gave my healthy, young body a “14-day detox” box, bought from the local chemist. In a matter of days, my digestive system was damaged and I started experiencing many horrible gut symptoms.

What makes the gut even more complex is that your inner universe is very different to anyone else’s little universe. This is why most people

I turned into that annoying person that was intolerant to the entire menu. I was constantly bloated and in severe pain. I started getting

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Countless doctors, specialists, nutritionists, naturopaths, witch doctors, healers … you name them, I saw them. While many practitioners had good intentions to help me, many of them had me coming back, time after time, giving me a few tablets here, a couple of herbs there and a few more supplements the next. Yet nothing was getting me anywhere. I spent a fortune with doctors and specialists telling me it was “in my head” or that I had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

"Diet can either be your medicine, or your long-term poison" I knew it definitely wasn’t “in my head” and that my issues were much more than so-called IBS. Every time I spoke to another fellow “IBS” sufferer, we all had completely different symptoms. It didn’t make much sense to me. One of the most important lessons I learnt on this journey was that whether you have gut issues or not - diet can either be your medicine or your long-term poison. Don’t forget this. RELIEF AND INSPIRATION After four, long years of torture, spending lots of money, doing many tests and trying a lot of treatments, I finally found a man who was able to help me.

He was the first to tell me that something was wrong. That what was going on wasn't just in my head. This man completely changed my life and this horrible experience turned into something beautiful. It led me to my passion - becoming a practitioner and helping others with their own gut issues. I can now eat anything I want without getting into that horrible pain and, since then, when my gut has gone out of balance, I have known how to fix it. Often, many gut issues stem from your little microorganism universe being out of balance. Many cultures have known this for a long time and is why they have their own fermented creations - to add in the “good” critters and keep the “bad” guys at bay. EVERYONE IS UNIQUE In saying that, every underlying cause of gut issues are unique to each individual and this is why it can be so difficult to treat. I like to treat each client by finding out the cause, not just removing a symptom. If you don’t get rid of the main cause, the expensive supplements, treatments, diets and pills usually just have a nice little Band-Aid effect. After all, would you put a small Band-Aid on a big, nasty infection that hasn’t been treated first? I really believe that there is always a reason for what you are feeling. You just haven’t found the cause or the cure yet. If you are not happy with the attention or the answers you are getting about your health issue, please, go get another opinion. Your body is ultimately your responsibility – and the more you care for it, the more it will care for you.

Maddy King is a Sydney-based nutritionist, abdominal detox massage practitioner and breath work coach who specialises in gut health issues and chronic fatigue. She found her passion as a practitioner after healing her own severe gut issues and has trained under a number of naturopaths, iridologists and herbalists. Maddy now helps people around the world using a holistic approach. THRIVE #2 | 31


pimples, my weight was very hard to control and going to the bathroom became a rare event.



By JENNIFER CHALMERS I typically consult with women presenting with a range of symptoms that can usually be put under the heading “hormonal issues”. These include hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and depressed/anxious feelings, tiredness, low motivation, decreased libido and vaginal dryness, and may or may not be accompanied by irregular periods. Weight gain - especially in areas such as the breast, hips and thighs - when there has been no change in diet or exercise is also a common complaint. And with these hormonal changes, that weight can be difficult to shift. 32 | THRIVE #2

For most women, menopause occurs naturally at about age 51. With increasing life expectancy, this means many will spend up to 40 percent of their lives in the post-menopausal stage. However, for more and more women – in their 20s, 30s and early 40s – it may be a lot longer than that. In my clinical experience, so-called early, or premature menopause is becoming more common. I have seen a gradual increase in younger women presenting with these “hormonal issues”, that can have a huge impact on self-esteem, relationships, work life and fertility.

Most of the symptoms experienced at this time are dependent on state of health. In other words, good lifestyle choices in the years prior to the menopause can have a significant impact on how the body copes with the changes. Dietary approaches to alleviating hormonal symptoms have their origins in the study of lifestyle practices of some of the healthiest cultures in the world, in particular Asian and Mediterranean diets. Comparative studies of these cultures and ethnic groups have discovered a significantly lower incidence of hormone-related conditions such as endometriosis and breast cancer than in Western countries. Menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and weight gain are negligible compared to the West.

"Herbs high in phytoestrogens are able to prevent the body from storing excess fat." Herbal (botanical) medicines have been used for thousands of years and their efficacy and safety has ensured their popularity as a form of treatment. Herbs work most effectively when prescribed in a “dynamic” formula tailored to suit the individual and their needs rather than the application of an individual herb. There are some classic herbs that will always be used to treat hormonal disturbances of all kinds, and some of my favourites include Vitex, Dong Quai (Chinese Angelica), Wild Yam, Red Clover and Black Cohosh. HRT is commonly prescribed medically. However, many women are looking to pass through menopause with the least amount of medical intervention possible. Herbs can be used alongside HRT with no contra-indications.

The traditional societies of these areas have diets that favour the inclusion of substances known as phytoestrogens, which are found predominantly in plant-based foods. Some foods are richer in phytoestrogens than others, so it’s important to include a wide range of plant-based foods, such as soy and soy-derived foods - for instance, tofu, miso, nuts and seeds, especially linseeds, lentils and legumes, fruits and vegetables. A mostly plant-based diet is also advantageous in that it is high in fibre, and low in fat, which helps lower cholesterol and protect against cardiovascular disease and keeps the digestive system in top form.

"Exercise helps relieve stress and depression by boosting the level of endorphins, the “feel good” chemicals produced by the brain. "

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Blood tests can rule out critical health issues, as well as to determine if premature menopause is the cause. But some form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), whether prescribed by a doctor or in the form of herbal phytoestrogens, is essential to reduce symptoms and lessen the long term health consequences associated with premature menopause.

things to know about 5early menopause. WELLNESS

1. It’s important to consult with a health practitioner. If you are experiencing premature menopause, you are at risk for multiple long-term health consequences, including cardiovascular disease, dementia and osteoporosis. I frequently hear women complaining that despite regular exercise and a healthy diet, they still gain weight. It can be a very frustrating and even depressing time, especially if the weight gain is substantial. Because oestrogen stores in the fat deposits in the body and as the hormones are diminishing, the body tends to hold onto these fat stores more readily in order to hold onto hormone levels. This is where a plant-based diet high in phytoestrogens comes in preventing excess fat from being stored. Herbs high in phytoestrogens such as those already mentioned are also able to prevent the body from storing excess fat. It seems that no matter how frequently we hear about the enormous benefits of having an active lifestyle, we still don’t really get the message. Regular physical activity can help manage the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause. Exercise stimulates the adrenal glands, one of the major sites of hormone production in the body. Strength training exercise builds muscle mass and developing muscle effects the whole metabolism. The metabolic rate increases and we burn more fat when we have muscle. All of which makes it easier to keep the weight in check. You sleep better when you exercise and you generally feel more energetic. Weight-bearing exercise as well as moderate aerobic activity is necessary, with a minimum of half an hour a day recommended. Exercise helps relieve stress and depression by boosting the level of endorphins, the “feel good” chemicals produced by the brain. It is also worth noting that regular exercise reduces abdominal fat, which is where most women gain weight due to hormonal changes.

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2. Your family plans may change. If you wish to have children, you may need to consider options such as freezing eggs or embryos. It may be necessary to consider IVF with donor eggs, adoption or surrogacy. 3. Concentrate on eating foods that are high in phytoestrogens, found predominantly in plant-based foods. 4. If you are not exercising regularly, it’s never too late to start and reap the benefits of an active lifestyle. Your bones and brain will thank you for it. 5. You can get your sexy back. If you are experiencing low libido or vaginal dryness, talk to your health care provider. Oestrogen creams may help with vaginal dryness, and some women benefit from testosterone treatment to improve sexual desire. And talk to your partner too. Good communication is associated with higher sexual satisfaction.

Jennifer Chalmers has been a health practitioner specialising in herbal medicine for more than 30 years. She has a particular interest in women’s health, with a wealth of knowledge and experience in this area. Originally training with Dorothy Hall in Western herbal medicine, Jennifer went on to merge East and West with the study of Traditional Chinese Medicine both here and in China. Jennifer is co-founder and co-director of the Phoenix Holistic Centre in Sydney’s Bondi Junction.

The COVID Times Resource Centre

 TAKE A MINDFUL NATURE HIKE Being in nature and meditation are two of the most powerful ways to relieve stress, anxiety, and calm a mind crowded with worries, fears and "to dos". But it's not always possible to break off from what we're doing to get into the great outdoors for some soothing down time. And with many still under lockdown restrictions, they just can't. The next best thing is to take a mindful hike, strolling through a stunning, sunlit virtual forest as peaceful music plays. Escape for a few minutes any time of day by watching this video and taking a nature walk in your head. Your much calmer mind and body will thank you for it!

WATCH: 5 WAYS TO WELLBEING Dr Christian of The Royal Melbourne Hospital says: “There are five simple ways to dramatically enhance our daily wellbeing - and make a difference to others'.” Connect Make new friends and get together with old ones as often as you can. Be active Regular exercise you enjoy keeps the body and mind in good shape. Keep learning Try new things or do old ones differently to stay motivated and engaged. Help others It doesn't take much to make a big difference to the life of someone who's struggling. And it makes us feel good in the process. Be aware Take a few minutes out of the day to just chill with your thoughts and feelings, to help put things into perspective and ease stress and worry.

Yes, there are some things in this video we can't do at the moment due to Covid conditions and for now, we have to remember social distancing when supporting each other, but we can all send love and support with our eyes, words and gestures. THRIVE #2 | 35




Save face with skin serums NO MATTER YOUR SKIN TYPE, EVERYONE CAN BENEFIT FROM A TOPICAL SERUM. THINK OF THEM AS A PERSONAL TRAINER FOR THE SKIN, BOOSTING THE RESULTS OF MOISTURISERS AND TREATMENT CREAMS. GET GLOWING! By JENNI GILBERT , Editor of THRIVE If moisturisers are a drink for the skin, serums are food. That’s because they have concentrated ingredients and much smaller molecules, so are absorbed into the skin more quickly and penetrate deeper, providing more significant results.

emulsify their ingredients on the surface before they’ve had time to penetrate and act within the dermis. Wait until the product is fully absorbed and skin is dry to the touch before applying moisturiser or treatment cream.

These powerhouse formulations assist with your body’s own natural processes of skin cell generation to attain the highest possible appearance of youthfulness and health.

WHICH TO CHOOSE There are a wide range of serums on offer for a multitude of concerns. For instance:

Whatever your skin concern – lines, wrinkles, dryness, dullness, redness, blemishes or brown spots – the right serum will give your complexion extra oomph. Always follow instructions for use, but most will indicate that you supply a serum to cleansed skin before moisturising. Smooth it over areas being treated but don’t massage serums in. It could

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Moisture-boosting: In these formulas, targeted skin-drenching ingredients such as hyaluronic acid (HA, a hydrating agent that occurs naturally in the skin), algae extracts and antioxidants quench thirsty complexions, addressing moisture balance and helping to soothe and protect against irritation. They directly address dryness and dehydration, helping to re-plump, rejuvenate and prevent damage that arises from a compromised protective lipid barrier.

Radiance-enhancing: These pack a punch with hydrating ingredients that plump fatigued skin and improve cellular function. They address fatigued complexions, greyness and dullness. The secret lies in their formulas, such as tiny mother-of-pearl particles or other light-reflecting treasures that brighten the skin upon application. Wrinkle-busting: Expression lines, wrinkles, fine lines and furrows are all addressed with these potent serums, which include ingredients such as collagen and elastin (the skin’s natural “building blocks”) to plump from within. Also retinol (a Vitamin A derivative), and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to rejuvenate and smooth the skin’s surface, and antioxidant-rich fruit extracts such as pomegranate, to protect against free radical damage and help prevent more furrows.

“You will likely feel an immediate change in your skin when you use a serum” Firming: Targeting loss of elasticity and firmness in skin of any age, firming serums seek to relieve temporary sagging due to loss of moisture, as well as the longer-term effects of collagen degradation and gravity. They directly target the effects of loss of collagen and elastin that lead to jowling on the face and neck. They do this by employing specific tightening ingredients, such as egg white extract, to deliver both immediate and cumulative effects.

menopause. Ingredients often include non-irritating substances such as glucosamine or rice extracts, to help smooth and refine pores. They may also include calming essential oils, such as lemon and bergamot. Lightening: These superhero formulas target pigmentation, age spots, freckles and generally uneven complexions – hot issues for skins under the Australian sun – improving clarity and consistency of skin tone. The ingredients they employ include Vitamin C, licorice extracts and other such brightening or whitening agents. Anti-redness: Skin can appear red for several reasons: from rosacea to inflammation from an acne breakout - even the weather. Serums to counteract this contain ingredients that help calm and cool skin. They relieve redness while leaving skin tone more even and without clogging pores; providing intense comfort and balancing hydration levels of ultrasensitive skin without tipping it over into oiliness. They also support the skin barrier to help reduce penetration of allergens. Popular ingredients include niacinamide (Vitamin B3), zinc, mulberry extract, cucumber, thyme and chamomile, ginger root, and oats. WHEN TO USE AND HOW MUCH For best results, serums should be applied morning and evening, underneath moisturiser. You can choose a different serum for day and night wear, just as you would moisturiser. A drop or two is all you should need to cover face and neck. Add a couple more drops to cover the chest area – too often neglected in skincare regimes. Smooth serums into the skin with gentle upward motions.

Balancing: Blemished, oily and generally unbalanced skin will benefit here. These serums are tailored to complexions troubled by issues such as open pores and irregular oil flow. They can also be useful in treating skin disturbed by post-pregnancy hormonal fluctuations or

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Eyes only: These aim to de-puff, brighten and tighten skin in the orbital area. It’s important that their formulas can be readily absorbed because the fine skin there can’t cope with overload. Expect to find ingredients such as light-reflecting pearls to counteract dark circles, antioxidants to ward off lines and wrinkles, and cooling botanical extracts to soothe and de-puff.


HOW SOON THEY WORK You will likely feel an immediate change in your skin the first time you use a serum – it may feel softer, smoother and perhaps a little firmer.

A NOTE OF CAUTION If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or have a chronic health concern, use of some ingredients is not recommended – for instance, retinol/Vitamin A.

Most formulas suggest you will note a visual change in your complexion after around a month, especially if you have fine lines, wrinkles, redness or large pores.

Check with your medical practitioner if you are thinking of embarking on a new skincare regime but are unsure if certain ingredients are right for your health profile.

Thrive editor Jenni Gilbert is a veteran newspaper, magazine and digital journalist and editor, including of New Idea magazine, with a personal passion for the beauty, skincare and medi-cosmetic industries. She was previously editor of SPA+CLINIC and Clinical Aesthetics magazines and websites; highly respected brands that targeted professionals in salons, spas and medi-cosmetic clinics. Prior to that, she was the launch editor of Younger You, a website (and later print magazine) that focused on beauty and wellness for the "mature-age" woman before that became a mainstream industry "trend".

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FAST FEASTS Travel the world on a plate, even if we can’t do it ourselves right now!

Spend just a few hours in the kitchen each week and you’ll have your weeknight meals cooked for the whole family. These dinners are bursting with exotic flavours, created by sisters Sally Obermeder and Maha Corbett for their new book, Dinner’s Done.

Dinner's Done, by Sally Obermeder and Maha Corbett, $29.99, available at or your favourite bookstore. THRIVE #2 | 39



Chicken Teriyaki PREP AND FORGET 4 hours 30 minutes 2 tbsp olive oil 8 (1.36kg) chicken thigh fillets, thickly sliced 1/2 cup (125ml) soy sauce or tamari 1/2 cup (125ml) hoisin sauce 4 garlic cloves, crushed 11/2 tbsp honey 2 tbsp cornflour 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted 2 spring onions, thinly sliced Serve with green tea soba noodles (or rice noodles) and steamed baby bok choy Place the olive oil, chicken thighs, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, garlic and honey into a 6-litre (24-cup) capacity slow cooker. Mix to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours, or until chicken is tender. Stir in the cornflour and cook for a further 30 minutes or until thickened. TO SERVE: Spoon chicken and sauce over noodles. Top with sesame seeds and spring onions. Serve with baby bok choy and any extra sauce on the side.



Can be frozen for up to 3 months. Make this recipe gluten free by using tamari instead of soy sauce,

using wheat-free hoisin sauce and serving with rice noodles instead of green tea soba noodles.

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Easy Fast Frittata PREP AND COOK TIME 35 minutes 8 eggs 1/3 cup (80ml) full-cream milk 1 medium red onion, sliced 1 cup (120g) pitted black olives, halved 1 cup (190g) drained roasted red peppers 200g Danish fetta, broken into pieces 260g cherry truss tomatoes or cherry tomatoes Preheat the oven to 200°C. Whisk the eggs and milk in a bowl until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the onion, olives, red peppers and fetta between the bases of two small non-stick ovenproof frying pans. Pour the egg mixture evenly between pans. Top with the tomatoes. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. TO SERVE: Sprinkle with basil leaves and black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.



To test if the frittata is cooked through, insert a skewer into the

centre. If the skewer comes out clean, the frittata is ready. If you don’t have two small frying pans, you can cook the frittata in a medium non-stick, ovenproof frying pan for 25 minutes.

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Chilli Con Carne PREP AND COOK TIME 40 minutes 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil 2 medium brown onions, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, crushed 1 medium red capsicum, finely chopped 2 medium carrots, finely chopped 500g beef mince 3 tsp ground cumin 3 tsp smoked paprika Âź tsp ground chilli powder 400g can chopped tomatoes 1 cup (250ml) beef stock 400g can red kidney beans, drained, rinsed Serve with corn chips, sour cream, sliced fresh jalapenos, fresh coriander sprigs and purchased guacamole Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, capsicum and carrot. Cook for 8 minutes or until softened. Add the remaining olive oil and beef to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cumin, paprika, chilli powder, tomatoes and beef stock to the pan. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the kidney beans and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season to taste. TO SERVE: Place corn chips into a large serving bowl. Top with the chilli con carne, sour cream, jalapenos and coriander. Serve with guacamole on the side.


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You can find guacamole in the refrigerator

section of the supermarket.

Monster Fetta Cauli Salad PREP AND COOK TIME 10 minutes 300g packet cauliflower rice 400g mixed cherry tomatoes, halved 2 small cucumbers, thinly sliced ½ medium red onion, finely chopped ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped ½ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped ½ cup (75g) golden raisins 200g Danish fetta, crumbled DRESSING 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil 2 garlic cloves, crushed Serve with canned tuna, lemon wedges and flatbread Place the cauliflower rice, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley, mint and raisins in a bowl. Toss to combine. To make the dressing, whisk the olive oil and garlic together until combined. Season to taste. Set aside until ready to serve. TO SERVE: Add the dressing to the salad and mix until combined. Top with fetta and tuna. Serve with lemon wedges and flatbread on the side.


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