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December 2016 $7.20 INC GST


STRESSXMAS LUNCH 4 top chefs show how


“Being a mother is the most amazing experience”

How well are you

AGEING? ...and how to do it better





l a r u t a N ty


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Trying to balance a diet with just fruit and veg? Well that’s bananas. SunRice Brown Rice & Quinoa, part of a balanced diet. Hundreds of grains. Millions of possibilities.


10 10 things we love about Shelley We reveal what we most admire about The Block co-host Shelley Craft.

26 Your best summer ever Stay happy, healthy and safe in the warmer months. Lindyl Crabb tells us how.

30 Your appetite: what you should know Fascinating facts that may explain why we eat too much. By Karen Fittall. 32 How well am I ageing? Could your lifestyle be making you age prematurely? Bonnie Bayley discovers the health challenges of five women, and how they can age better. 36 5 ways to fight fatigue If life is draining your energy, these tips will help bring back your va-va-voom.

38 Could your clothing be a health hazard? Yes, it’s true, the way you dress really can affect your wellbeing. Here’s what to be aware of. By Helen Foster. 42 Upgrade your brain How to boost your mental capabilities. It’s never too late, finds Sarah Marinos.

44 What your hair reveals about your health Nine surprising clues to look out for. By Helen Foster.

48 Clever ways to a super clean smile Keeping your teeth clean can protect your health too, says Helen Foster.

52 Happy, healthy sex Expert advice and ideas about what keeps sex interesting and enjoyable. By Sarah Marinos.

56 It’s good to give It’s better to give than to receive,


December 20 6 $7 20 INC GST




“Being a mother is the most amazing experience”

4 top chefs show how

64 72 52 38


...and how to do it better






How well are you


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Photography: Photography: Paul Suesse Styling: Julie Russell Hair and make-up: Craig Beaglehole for Mecca Cosmetica

for myriad reasons. Larraine Sathicq finds out why, and shares some inspiring charitable gift ideas. 60“Why I still live with my parents” Three young people share their stories with Sarah Marinos. 64 My festive table Four top chefs and foodies share their secrets for a stress-free festive feast. By Karen Fittall. 70 Cherry on top Small but mighty, there are so many reasons to love juicy, red cherries, finds Lindyl Crabb. 72 The glam kitchen Unique gift ideas that would make a welcome addition to any kitchen. By Lindyl Crabb. 76 Switch on for weight loss Struggling to lose those extra kilos? The latest technology can really help you reach your weight-loss goal. Sarah Marinos looks at what’s on offer. 78 Gotta love an ice-cream sandwich Cookies or a frozen treat? The ice-cream sandwich is the best of both worlds. Lindyl Crabb shares her top picks.

98 Top 6 fitness mistakes – and how to fix them You can remedy your workout slip-ups. Pip Harry tells us how.

102 Fitness: what we learned this year We discovered a whole lot more about exercise in 2016. Helen Foster has the details. 106 All natural, radiant you! Nourishing plant-based products are more popular than ever. In our 8-page natural beauty special, we showcase the top treatments for gorgeous skin, hair and make-up.

8 Letters 13 Health 16 Fitness 18 Nutrition 20 Mind matters 24 Social media 80 Cooking 87 Health book 114 Fashion 128 Travel 130 Ask our experts 136 Stars 138 This month… we love

118 The healing power of water Modern-day aquatic treatments that promise to improve your health and boost your mood. By Anna Christensen.

122 Daily rituals of natural health experts Wellness professionals reveal the practices that nourish them. By Bonnie Bayley.

126 Farewell 2016! To make way for the new year we must first bring closure to the current nine-year cycle, says Bonnie Bayley.

6 Bauer Media privacy notice 22 Subscribe to Good Health and save


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The festive season is upon us again! And if you are

wondering what to cook for your Xmas lunch, take inspiration from four of Australia’s favourite food personalities! In MY FESTIVE TABLE, page 64, they share their secrets for creating a delicious, stress-free festive feast. And of course, you’ll want to look your best at this time of the year. Turn straight to page 106, for ALL NATURAL, RADIANT YOU!, where we’ve rounded up the top green beauty bu uys for glowing skin, glossy hair and gorgeous make-up! It’s never too late to improve your mental capital – your brain is like a muscle, the more you stretch it, the stronger it becomes and the better it performs. In UPGRADE YOUR BRAIN, page 42, we show you simple tricks to boost its efficiency. And if you are one of those families where the ‘kidults’ simply won’t leave home, read “WHY I STILL LIVE WITH MY PARENTS” on page 60, for inspiring tips on how to make it all work!





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Karen Martini is one of our four fabulous foodies in My Festive Table.


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What do you think about Good Health? We would love to hear from you

I worry about my two children staring at their computer screens and phones all day. And when I encourage them to turn them off for a while they’re not impressed, so I often find myself giving up. Your excellent story ‘The 5:2 Digital Detox’ (November 2016) has given me a few ideas about how to tackle this issue again, so thank you. Carrie, via email

Georgie Gardner looks beautiful on your November cover and she offers some excellent advice about valuing your uniqueness. I have just dropped my copy around to my daughter’s house for a read. Thanks Good Health for all your inspiring cover stars. Phillipa, via email

Are you a It’s not you who’s sensitive, IT’S YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM Stud es have shown that HSPs bra ns are actually wired different y You have more act vat on in the area assoc ated with your emotional experiences as well as the region concerned with high order v sual processing which means you observe and process things deeply and are more perceptive of social cues Being high y sensit ve is in the genes l ke having b ue eyes or brown eyes black skin or white exp ains Ramsey You feel everything more acutely and can measure very fine differences in things that others don t have the capac ty to do Many people may share some of the traits such as be ng nsightful compassionate and demonstrably emotional but to be an HSP is more than that: you re sensit ve to sensory st muli that affect not just your emot ons but also some of your bodily responses such as a he ghtened sensit vity to hunger temperature l ght med cations and caffeine While there are plenty of posit ves that come with


Have you ever been ca led a cry baby or told that you re too emot onal? Are you easi y overwhelmed by loud noises bright l ghts and crowds? Do you find it hard to et t go when someone has hurt your fee ings? f so you may be a highly sensitive person (HSP) which is a b ological trait you share with up to 20 per cent of the populat on And in a culture that favours assertiveness resil ence and can do positivity those who think and feel things more deeply than most can face many un que cha lenges and may find their dispositions woefu ly

m sconstrued leading to feelings of isolation stress and even despair HSPs are a minor ty iv ng in a non HSP dominated world says sensitivity educator and counse lor Jan ne Ramsey Don t expect people to understand you or to accommodate you; if they do that s a bonus But you must take responsibi ity for yourself You can protect yourself from being judged or hurt by others and learn to l ve with your heightened sensitiv ty Here are some facts you need to know plus adv ce on how to navigate potentia ly challenging situations



Kay, via email

I’ve been a reader of your magazine for many years, but when I read your article ‘Are You a Highly Sensitive Person?’ in the October issue, it took my breath away! I did the HSP quiz and ticked all the boxes – my husband said he could have told me this years ago. Your magazine is so informative with so many great stories. Debbie, via email

This month the letter winner will receive a Plunkett’s 99% Pure Aloe Vera skincare pack, valued at over $70.

Mmm… the delicious-looking Mediterranean recipes in your November issue were a real treat. They look healthy, flavoursome and totally satisfying. I’m looking forward to cooking some of these dishes for a long lunch with friends and showing them that healthy food is far from boring. Sian, NSW


being an HSP – you are extreme y empathetic and caring tend to be creative and artistic and often have a deep sp ritual life you may also frequently find yourself out of sync with everyone e se or exhausted and ree ing when your senses become over oaded Additional y if you g ew up n a non supportive environment you may face deeper struggles f you re a chi d and you re being told that you re too sens tive or you re try ng to ive up to the standards of the non sensit ve world you may feel that you can t do what other peop e can do expla ns Dr Lauren Tober a cl nical psycho ogist and yoga teacher That can result in depress on The sensation of be ng overwhelmed or overst mulated can easily mim c anx ety she adds So if you re not aware of what s going on you can misinterpret this feel ng And t can become a self fu fil ing prophecy: once you call it anxiety it becomes anxiety >

I have just purchased the special Good Health Healthy Weight Loss Guide. It’s really good but as I don’t eat meat it would be great to have one that was vegetarian – a sevenday vegetarian meal plan would be fabulous. Thank you again for the guide – I note there are some vegetarian recipes included.

My back pain is crippling and I feel as though I’ve read everything regarding how to treat it. However, the expert advice in your story ‘Experts Share Their Back Pain Solutions’ (November 2016) really reminded me how important it is get up and move regularly to help relieve pressure. Thank you for sharing! Faye, Tas


Write to Letters to the Editor, GPO Box 4088, Sydney NSW 1028, or email us at

Shelley Craft is co-host of The Block. Here, we reveal what we admire most about her


Shelley has been on Australian television for 20 years, with many familiar presenting roles along the way, starting with Saturday Disney and most recently The Block. And that friendly, down-to-earth screen persona is just like her everyday private self. “That’s who I believe I am – accessible and likeable,” she says. “I don’t put on a front for TV. I’m not an actress, so I’m not trying to be anyone other than who I am.”

“I’m very grateful for the jobs I have had,” she says. “For someone who just fell into television with no real goal or qualifications to do anything else, to have worked for this long in television, I’m proud. “The beautiful thing about it is there’s so much variety. No day has been the same – and that keeps me interested. “The Block gives me the chance to have the perfect balance of motherhood and work. I work two days a week, travelling from Byron Bay down to Melbourne, Wednesday to Friday.”




Happy co uple: Shelley a nd Christian

Shelley with husband Christian and girls Eadie (left) and Milla

Shelley’s daughters Milla and Eadie are six and four. “It’s so exciting to see them growing up,” she says. “Becoming a mother is the most amazing experience. You don’t know who you are until you are a parent. I had seen myself as the Disney kid always cruising through life, and the girls, through necessity, have forced me to grow up. Becoming a parent is the greatest thing I ever did.”



She and her husband are still madly dl iin love l

Shelley says the keys to her marriage with husband Christian Sergiacomi are “love, lust and trust”. “The lust is still there, which is great – I don’t think you can create that, and friendship is definitely a huge part of our relationship, and honesty. We are really happy. We’ve been married for eight years and we’re still very much in love. We have a great time together.”

She’s a free-range parent

Shelley describes her parenting style as “free range and fluid”. “It’s hard to have very strict rules and plan when my work is so erratic. The girls have adapted very well to that. “They have strong characters. Milla likes to follow the rules and tries to please. Eadie is a free spirit, running her own show. “There’s just a little test every day when I think, do I step in or do I let them try themselves. Rather than overparenting, I think it’s better to work through things as they come along and know your children are going to be okay.”

“I love pizza! It covers all the food groups in one great meal – there’s even dessert pizza with Nutella and banana.”

“I was very lucky to have a horse as a pet from when I was about eight. He was my responsibility. “Whether it’s a cat or dog, fish or horse, I think having children grow up with a pet gives them responsibility and helps them to know that life is bigger than just you. “I have always had a dog in my life, and now we have a three-year-old Rhodesian ridgeback called Aldo.”

She loves decorating her own home “I love decorating,” she says. “I have lived in 19 houses in the last 23 years. Once I get settled in a place I decorate it quickly to resemble me at the time. I’d describe my style as coastal tribal. I rotate cushions a lot and use lots of neutral monochrome colours and timbers.”

“I didn’t have a lot of cares or worries as a kid but I worked really hard – I’ve had a job since I was 14 when I worked at McDonalds. That was instrumental in shaping me. Quality, service, cleanliness and value are the mottos we learned, and as a 14-year-old that stuck with me, and I still live by that today. It taught me so much about business and responsibility.”

Shelley supports RizeUp, a social media-based organisation that sources home furnishings for victims of domestic violence needing to relocate. “I thought that was awesome – your home is your haven, and if you don’t feel safe in your home it’s the greatest tragedy of all. That’s why I felt strongly about supporting this cause.” #


Join me and save a baby today! For as little as $1 a day you can join me and save a baby today at The Royal. I was a premature baby and my life was saved.

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Set up your day – and your long-term health – by making the most of your mornings. Try…

GETTING UP AFTER DAWN Any earlier and you’ll start the day off with higher than usual levels of the stress hormone cortisol – an effect that lasts for at least 45 minutes after you get out of bed. Over time, elevated cortisol levels can increase your risk of heart disease. EXERCISING FIRST THING Compared to working out later in the day, early-morning workouts boost mood 30 per cent more. One explanation is that because exercise feels like it’s harder first thing in the morning we perceive it to be more beneficial, which lifts our spirits. WEIGHING YOURSELF People who do that, and track the results every day, weigh less because it shines a light on the relationship between food choices and weight. Why do it first thing in the morning? That’s when you’ll get the most accurate reading, unaffected by food intake.

SLEEP ON IT That’s good advice if you’re taking antidepressants. They’re twice as likely to alleviate depression symptoms over a two-month period when you get eight, rather than six, hours sleep a night.

GOT ASTHMA? Consider a vitamin D supplement. Combined with standard asthma treatment, it’s a strategy that can halve the risk of experiencing a severe asthma attack. It may be thanks to the vitamin’s role in protecting against upper respiratory infections, which exacerbate asthma symptoms.


The World Health Organization ranks outdoor air pollution as one of the top 10 health risks we face.

Listen to orchestral music. That’s the type played at ceremonies like weddings and funerals. It’s proven to relieve the range of emotions commonly experienced during the festive season, like tension and fatigue.


One in 10 Australians takes an antidepressant daily – that’s twice as many as 16 years ago.

Forget the ‘fivesecond rule’ Instead, switch it for a ‘zero-second rule’. New research proves that while food does become more contaminated with germs the longer it’s in contact with the floor, bacteria ‘jump aboard’ instantly. So if it’s hit the floor, bin it.

Don’t by Bob Selden (Dennis Jones & Associates, $24.95).

2 OUT OF 5 That’s the number of Australian women who don’t have a Pap test as often as they should. Been more than two years since your last one? Remember that 80 per cent of cervical cancer occurs in women who don’t stick to the screening schedule.

The words you use shape your outlook and, according to Selden, positive language leads to more favourable outcomes. His advice could help you communicate more effectively with your partner, colleagues, in job interviews and with your children. Breathe by Jean Hall (Quadrille, $14.99). Did you

One drink a day can increase your stroke risk. How? With every 10g of daily alcohol (standard drink) the diameter of your heart’s left upper chamber grows. That increases your risk of atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition that makes you five times more likely to have a stroke. STAT CHECK: Up to 30 per cent of AF cases are undiagnosed. An irregular heartbeat can be a symptom.

In May next year, a five-yearly primary HPV test will replace the current two-yearly Pap test program. But if you’re due for your next Pap test before May, or haven’t had one for two years, book an appointment.

Do your Christmas shopping online. You’ll avoid jampacked shopping centres and car parks. At Christmas, that’s a combination that causes 47 per cent of women to develop a headache and pushes the body’s physiological markers of stress up by more than 50 per cent, say researchers.

know the way you breathe is tied to your wellbeing? Hall’s techniques will not only teach you to breathe correctly, they may also ease tension, restore energy, and even help you to fall asleep. All or Nothing by Mike McKinney (Exisle, $34.99).

If you are a high achiever with an uncompromising personality, your desire to succeed may be putting you at risk of burning out. Find out how to restore balance to your life and prevent your ambition from hurting your relationships and health.


FITNESS These videos and apps will inspire you to get moving wherever you are. try Flywell (charlottedodson. tv, $49.95). The routines in these videos include gentle yoga sequences to boost your circulation and keep you comfortable and mobile while you travel.

try NLNL Dance Break (free from iTunes or GooglePlay). From dance community No Lights No Lycra, this app sends your phone energising songs at random. Users receive them at the same time, so you can take synchronised ‘dance breaks’ with your friends.

What’s the best exercise for sculpted arms? 16

Keep up your fitness routine while you’re away! A small study shows taking two months off exercise could make it harder to regain fitness because most of your muscle memory is lost. Instead, increase incidental exercise and squeeze in quick workouts wherever you can.

t’s the most efficient way to tone your triceps because it activates more muscles.

Gadget of the month is an upgraded version of the Charge HR. It assesses your fitness, provides real-time feedback on workouts and creates interval training sessions. And to help you relax, it guides you through breathing exercises.

The Upside’s ‘Bamboo Spacer’ paddle suit, $299, provides long-sleeve coverage with SPF protection and has a back zip so it’s easy to take off. Speedo’s ‘Pinnacle Kickback’ one-piece, $120, is designed with compression panels which support your movement and technique.

Triangle push-ups are like traditional push-ups, but instead of placing your hands under your shoulders, place them flat on the ground in front of you and touch thumbs and forefingers together to form a triangle.


try the 1 Minute Desk Workout (free from iTunes). Every hour during work hours the app will remind you to get up and stretch and there are over 45 office-friendly exercises to try.

Funkita’s ‘Forest Fly’ single-strap one-piece, $89.95, is made with durable chlorine-resistant fabric so it’s ideal for pool swimmers.

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Y H T L A E H HT G I E W LOS Available at selected newsagents and supermarkets for a limited time only. Also available online at On sale October 3

EAT TO Here are three science-backed ways to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Eating unsaturated ‘healthy’ fats in place of refined carbohydrates and saturated fats can lower your blood sugar and improve insulin resistance. Go for nuts, seeds, avocados and eggs instead of biscuits, pies and butter.

has soft, large slices and comes in Mixed Seeds and Soy & Linseed varieties. $6.99 for 500g.

Eat more wholegrains, fruits, vegetables and legumes and less animal products to reduce your risk by 20 per cent. Just one or two less servings a day of animal foods can make a difference.

You’re 15 per cent less likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes if you eat between five and seven homemade dinners each week. Making your lunch at home also provides a small benefit.

has added five new cereals to its range, including flavours such as Berries & Toasted Coconut and Pear, Almond & Vanilla Bean. $6.99 for 350g.


(Kyle Books, $39.99) proves that you don’t need a professional pantry to make delicious food. Each recipe uses five ingredients – plus staples like butter and olive oil – which makes for uncomplicated, flavoursome dishes.

Drink some milk to extinguish the heat. Capsaicin – the chemical that gives chillies their fiery taste – attaches to receptors on the tongue, but milk contains a protein that can replace the capsaicin. Carbohydrates may also offer relief, so if there’s no dairy, eat some bread or rice.


FOOD ALLERGIES A high-fibre diet could help prevent you developing a food allergy. Preliminary research shows that fibre is good for your gut bacteria and immune system, and by upping your intake you may be less susceptible to allergies and reduce their severity.

Grow your own seeds and legumes with the GEFU Sprouting Jar, $59.95. Just like a miniature greenhouse, it provides the right conditions for growing and after one week you’ll have freshly sprouted ingredients.

Go nuts To reduce inflammation in your body, aim to eat five serves of nuts per week. Research has linked a greater intake of nuts with fewer signs of inflammation, which may be why including them in your diet helps protect against chronic diseases.

BANISH GARLIC BREATH Just eaten a garlicky meal? Snack on some raw apple or lettuce. Eating raw foods helps destroy the odours in your breath and reduces the volatile compounds that cause them. And if you’ve got some mint leaves handy, try chewing on a few to deodorise that lingering smell.

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Pet perks


Animal lovers may be better equipped to cope with feelings of rejection. Research shows if you’ve just been snubbed in a social situation, thinking of a beloved pet can immediately soothe the sting of rejection.

Recent research debunks some common ideas about work. ◆ “IN AN INTERVIEW, TURN YOUR WEAKNESS INTO A STRENGTH.” FALSE When you’re asked to identify your biggest weakness it’s better to give an honest answer because most potential employers prefer accurate responses over self-promotion.

Your daily affirmation Affirmations are a form of positive self-talk and the more you say them the more power they have, says motivational coach Kerrie Denton, author of My Secret is Your Secret (, $12). Try repeating this affirmation from her book.

Being career-driven doesn’t mean your romance is doomed. Relationship satisfaction is just as strong if you both make the most of your time together after work. ➜ “IT’S MORE STRESSFUL AT THE TOP.” FALSE Middle-management employees such as supervisors and managers are more likely to experience anxiety and depression than their bosses.



Caught up in a conflict with your partner? Defuse the situation by focusing on the future. Visualising your relationship in one year’s time helps you reflect on the argument in a more reasoned, positive light and forgive more easily.


“I can do great things if I give myself a chance. I am proving it to myself every day.”


This diary helps T Th you 365 days... for others, it’s a lifetime..

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Lisa Wilkinson




Today Show co-host, mother & wife.

Supported by The Australian Women’s Weekly, Commonwealth Bank and Avon.


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STRESSXMAS LUNCH 4 top chefs show how


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AGEING? ...and how to do it better







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TA K E A L O O K AT W H AT G O E S O N B E H I N D T H E S C E N E S I N T H E G H O F F I C E , S H A R E Y O U R T H O U G H T S O N T H E L AT E S T I S S U E , A N D F I N D O U T W H AT O T H E R R E A D E R S A R E U P T O .

FOLLOW US: Putting the finishing touches on this month’s fashion story In The Swim. Find it on page 114.

INSPIRE US! We love to see how you’re enjoying your healthy life! Ta g u s i n y o u r p i c t u r e s @goodhealthmag and #goodhealthmag

The irresistible summer fruits on offer at McPherson’s beauty product preview.

[@kimbossslimboss] Getting our daily dose of vitamin D. Bubba loves getting her health on with Mumma! Our art director Jennifer snapped a selfie with this month’s cover star Shelley Craft.

[@onehungrymami] Making the most of this season’s cara cara and blood oranges in this fresh salad.

[@chaedanielle_ natmed] Absolutely loving the article ‘The Power Of One’ in #goodhealthmag



or most of us summer means catching up with loved ones and spending time outdoors. But are you prepared for the sweltering heat or the temptation to overindulge during the festivities? To ensure you stay safe and get the most out of every day, add these 10 things to your to-do list.

Time spent outdoors over the years can lead to a build-up of sun damage and this incidental UV exposure leaves you vulnerable to skin cancer. In fact, it’s estimated two out of three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer, so it’s important to protect your skin every time you head outside. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply every two hours, remembering to cover often forgotten areas like the back of your neck, ears and upper chest. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen which protects from both UVA and UVB rays and replace it regularly as formulas deteriorate over time and when left in the heat. In the middle of summer, remember to stay in the shade between 10am and 4pm, and wear sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat and

clothing made from close-woven cotton or linen or fabric designed specifically for sun protection. Look out for fabrics with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) tag which tells you how much UV radiation can pass through – a rating of UPF50+ is recommended.

Learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is essential, especially if you go bushwalking, or swimming at the pool or beach, says Dr Kym Schmid from St John Ambulance. “CPR is required when a person is unconscious or not breathing normally and you may need to use it in the case of a head injury, heart attack, stroke, a near-drowning, or a venomous bite.” You’ll learn how to respond to emergencies and perform CPR at a nationally recognised training course, and Dr Schmid advises taking a refresher course every year. Visit or >


REJUVENATE Considering a summer holiday? Think of it as an investment in your health. Research shows a getaway could be just what your family needs to grow closer and improve how you communicate with each other. Holidays that include active and social leisure activities also provide a buffer against job stresses and help reduce feelings of depression and burn-out. And the benefits begin long before you’ve reached your destination – you’ll become happier in the lead-up to your holiday because feelings of anticipation create a greater sense of wellbeing.

Make the most of the clear night skies and go stargazing. Why? Being in awe of things that seem so much bigger than us, such as the natural world or a work of art or piece of music, can encourage you to be more altruistic, selfless and act with greater kindness. Gazing out across the ocean or up at a forest of towering trees may elicit the same emotional response because they are also reminders of your place in the world.


RETHINK As the mercury rises you need to drink more water to regulate your body’s systems and temperature. Not drinking enough leads to dehydration and even a mild case can cause fatigue, headaches and dizziness. The amount you need depends on your diet and physical activity, but if you’re satisfying your thirst and your urine is pale or clear you can be sure you’re adequately hydrated, says dietitian Dr Michael Leveritt. An easy way to increase your fluids is to keep a water bottle in your bag and at your desk, but water isn’t your only option. Tea, juice and smoothies are hydrating, as are foods with a high water content like watermelon, strawberries and cucumber.

Celebrations and gourmet gifts make sticking to a kilojoule-restricted eating plan difficult. But before you give up, consider this – taking a short break from your diet might be good for your weight-loss efforts in the long run. Research shows that up to three days of planned time off from a diet can improve the efficiency of your weight loss. It’s more sustainable than long-term kilojoule restriction, but the key is to eat a wide variety of nutritious foods while you indulge.



It’s time to kick off your shoes. Direct skin-to-earth contact, also known as earthing, is a natural way to recharge your batteries and provides surprising health benefits. When you walk barefoot the earth’s electrons produce an anti-inflammatory effect on your body and research shows this may strengthen your immune system, reduce pain and improve sleep.

Headed for the beach this summer? Sign up for surf lessons. Surfing gives you a great cardiovascular workout, and paddling and popping up on your board strengthens your entire body. Lessons with an instructor will ensure you use the right board, learn the correct technique and stay out of dangerous surf conditions, and just one hour of body boarding or surfing can burn up to 870kJ. To find an accredited surf school near you, go to Surfing Australia’s website,

ENTERTAIN When buying meat ask your butcher for lean cuts and palm-sized portions, advises Dr Jane Bowen, a dietitian and co-author of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet online program. She suggests trimming off fat before cooking and choosing one protein source rather than piling your plate with meat. Make your own marinades with citrus, herbs and spices, and rub beef with rosemary before you grill it to help prevent carcinogenic compounds from forming when it’s cooked on a high heat. Go for wholegrain salads with quinoa or brown rice instead of bread, and include a variety of vegetables drizzled with olive oil on the grill.

Alcohol often goes hand in hand with festive social occasions so it’s important to watch your intake when end-of-year events are in full swing. One standard drink is a small 100ml glass of wine or a 285ml middy of beer and Australian guidelines recommend having no more than two standard drinks per day. Drinking more than this can result in a hangover in the short term, and weight gain and memory loss over time. To avoid the consequences eat a meal and drink plenty of water before you consume alcohol. You could also alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and sip slowly.

¡ COOL YOUR PULSE POINTS FIRST. Applying something cold to areas where your blood vessels are closer to the surface will cool you down faster. Target the back of your neck, wrists, groin, the tops of your feet, behind your knees, and inside your elbows. ¡ USE HERBS. Lemon balm and peppermint are refreshing in an iced tea. Or, for a cooling facial mist, herbalist Ian Breakspear suggests adding 2 drops of lavender and 5 drops of peppermint essential oil to 50ml water in a spray bottle. Shake well before use, and spray with your eyes closed to ensure you don’t get oil in them. ¡ CHOOSE COTTON BED SHEETS. Sleeping on sheets made from natural fibres like cotton make hot nights more comfortable as they’re breathable and promote ventilation. #


The brain has a hard time understanding the fact that artificial sweeteners deliver a big hit of sweetness minus the energy, or kilojoules. The result? It triggers a process that increases your appetite to encourage you to eat more food – it’s the brain’s way of making your energy intake match the sweetness it has detected.


Next time you’re hungry for a snack, halve the portion. Testing that theory, food psychology researchers proved that when only small snacks are available, you’ll eat 400 fewer kilojoules than when there’s a large portion in front of you, but you’ll feel just as satisfied 15 minutes after eating.

A lack of sleep increases the body’s production of a natural appetite stimulant. Called 2-AG, it works by regulating the enjoyment you get from food – the more of it that’s circulating in your blood stream, the more pleasurable eating becomes. It helps explain why sleep-deprived people find it much harder to resist snacks like biscuits, chocolate and chips not long after they’ve eaten a meal.

Many women say their appetite changes when they’re stressed, and for 62 per cent, it increases. The type of food you crave might change too – research shows stress makes

‘comfort foods’ like pizza and ice-cream seem more appealing. One explanation is that sugar- and fat-rich foods may dampen down the body’s stress response, so we may use them to‘self medicate’in response to emotional upsets.


Hungry all the time? Karen Fittall discovers 10 surprising facts that could explain why we eat too much

So do something physically active after lunch to avoid that midafternoon snack. The best choice is aerobic exercise, because it affects the levels of two gut hormones, boosting peptide YY and lowering ghrelin. That’s a combination that suppresses appetite, and the effect lasts for two hours.

Looking forward to dinner tonight? Don’t look at social media if your friends like to post lots of food pics. Seeing too many foodie photos zaps your appetite and makes your next meal less enjoyable to eat, say researchers. Food photos increase something called satiation, where you become tired of the food you’re eating – or looking at.

It’s not just the hormones and substances released by your gut that influence appetite – a brain chemical called serotonin plays a key role, too. Serotonin activates neurons that curb appetite and blocks those that increase appetite. To increase your serotonin, have a massage – your levels will be 28 per cent higher afterwards.


When you need to eat, levels of the hormone ghrelin peak and, as well as stimulating appetite, ghrelin temporarily dulls areas of the brain involved in impulse control. The result? You’ll find it harder to make a sensible, rational choice. So delay any big decisions until after you’ve eaten something.

To keep your appetite under control, eat 40g of almonds a day. When people did that as part of a US study, their hunger levels and appetite at mealtimes fell significantly after four weeks. And, despite the nuts providing an extra 1000kJ a day, the participants’ weight remained unchanged. Researchers say this may be thanks to the healthy fats, protein and fibre nuts provide. #

Ever wondered how your lifestyle affects the way you’re ageing? We checked in with five women to find out. By Bonnie Bayley

etting older is inevitable – but we do have a lot of control over how well we age. “Many of the degenerative diseases of ageing are diseases of choice,” says Dr Albert Salmona, specialist in anti-ageing medicine and creator of the Healthspan Clinic. “We’ve got so much choice in how well we age, and it’s 99 per cent about having a healthy lifestyle.” The goal isn’t so much about living longer, it’s about staying active and vital for as long as possible. “Sometimes just making a few small changes is enough to start a positive, upwards spiral and improve your health,” he says. Here, Dr Salmona reveals what five women with common health challenges can do to age better.

Janelle Muirhead, 42 “My weight has been everything from 50kg to 115kg since my 20s. I was slim when I had my first child at 20, but during my third pregnancy I gained a lot of weight, and it kept creeping on. I tried every fad diet out there, but I’d usually end up gaining more weight. Then, last August, I bought myself a Fitbit and started walking regularly. I also overhauled my diet, cutting out soft drink and fried food. A year on, I’ve lost just under 30kg. I’d still like to drop two dress sizes, but I’ve plateaued.”

“Yo-yo dieting isn’t necessarily harmful in terms of ageing, because human evolution involved times of feast and famine. However, it’s better to

make permanent dietary changes. The main issue is what happened in the time that Janelle was overweight, as obesity is linked to many of the degenerative diseases of ageing, such as coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, gallstones, various cancers and dementia. Losing 30kg means those disease processes may no longer be active, reducing her risk. However, she should still get a check-up, particularly of her metabolic health, as well as an MRI or DEXA scan to check where her fat is distributed and if she has the harmful visceral kind of fat inside the abdomen. To age healthily, she should maintain and even continue her weight loss – high-intensity interval training could help her overcome the plateau.” >


Linda Moon, 50 exercise promotes high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, mood disorders and back pain. And prolonged sitting can be a problem because it switches on genes that cause fat storage and insulin resistance. Linda says she doesn’t have time to exercise, but exercising helps you to function more effectively – your brain works better and you’re more energetic. If Linda went for a half hour walk

You can’t overcome all the negative effects of lack of exercise through diet, and vice versa a gym; I’d prefer to go walking with a friend or do yoga. I don’t look my age – people think I’m in my late 30s – but I feel it!”

“Linda’s diet is healthy, but you can’t overcome all the negative effects of lack of exercise through diet, and vice versa. Inadequate


daily, that would be a huge improvement to how well her body ages. She might enjoy dancing several times a week. I’d also recommend getting up from her desk every half hour and walking around for a few minutes, which stops those gene expression changes.”

Katie Richards, 36 “I’ve had insomnia my whole life. I’m a lawyer with my own businesses and some days are harder to wind down than others. Most of the time I listen to a relaxation soundtrack which sends me to sleep, but then I wake up at 2am with a busy mind. I avoid taking sleeping tablets where possible, but if I’ve slept poorly two or more consecutive nights I may take a quarter of a tablet. I don’t do anything to sabotage my health outside of sleep deprivation: I eat well, exercise and try to get some yoga/meditation in, as I live life at a very fast pace.”

“We secrete growth hormones during the first few hours of deep sleep, so missing out on that accelerates ageing. Also, during sleep our brain cells shrink, permitting circulation of fluid which removes metabolic waste products including beta-amyloid, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. So, sleep deprivation can cause more rapid brain ageing. Katie may benefit from having a polysomnography test (a type of sleep study) to identify where her problem lies. It’s very positive that she meditates. Ideally she should do this daily, because it teaches you to stop paying attention to what the mind is doing. Avoiding screens before bedtime will help, as will a hot bath with Epsom salts, as it relaxes the muscles. Sleeping pills don’t give as good quality rest as natural sleep and can be addictive; melatonin supplements are probably a better option.”


“I’ve been vegetarian for 30 years, but eat a mostly vegan diet now, including things like tofu, legumes, nuts, fruit and organic vegetables. However, I’m a total slob when it comes to exercise. I’m a writer, so I sit for massively long stretches at my computer – up to seven or eight hours straight. I dislike exercise and because I work full-time and have a seven-yearold daughter, there’s no time left in my day for it. I could never see myself in

Natalie Carter, 33

“I’m a personal trainer and do weights and circuit workouts most days. My diet is balanced, but I could eat more greens and drink less alcohol. I generally drink one to two bottles of red wine per week from Thursday to Sunday, plus I may have an additional two or three beers or ciders. I’m generally alcohol-free two to four days a week. If we have friends over, we’ll have a big drinking session. Once or twice a year, I’ll do a detox where I have a break from alcohol for two weeks to

a month. While I’m doing it I feel virtuous, but it’s not realistic to sustain with my sociable lifestyle.”

mulled wine as an alternative to red wine. By reducing her alcohol intake, she’ll age better and lower her risk of alcohol-related

By reducing her alcohol intake, she’ll age better and lower her risk of alcohol-related conditions “Alcohol (usually wine) appears to be beneficial as part of a Mediterranean diet, but that’s drinking it with food and not excessively. The sensible drinking guidelines are no more than two standard drinks on any day. Natalie could try non-alcoholic

conditions like liver disease, high blood pressure, stroke and brain injury. Detoxing won’t make much of a difference: it’s just a temporary break from alcohol. Natalie’s exercise routine is excellent, so if she can reduce her alcohol intake and eat more leafy greens, she should age well.”

Christine Weston, 50 “In recent years I’ve experienced intense emotional stresses. I got divorced in mid-2012, and in 2013 my father was killed in a crash. The trauma is ongoing and as a family we’re only starting to put the incident behind us. There was a lot of stress last year too, juggling two teenage sons as a single parent and launching my business Divorce Resource (a website for people going through separation). In the past 18 months I’ve gained about 10kg due to too much time at

my desk. Despite life’s pressures, I’m grateful for every day. I see a counsellor regularly, and find it beneficial.”

“When there’s ongoing stress, there’s a lot of the stress hormone cortisol produced, which can damage memory centres of the brain and cause weight gain and insulin resistance. It’s good that Christine sees a counsellor. Regular meditation, massage or acupuncture would also help her deal with stress. I’d

like to see her exercise regularly, which will straightaway reduce the impacts of stress, improving mood, memory and insulin sensitivity. Her weight gain could indicate a hormonal imbalance such as oestrogen dominance, so that’s something she should investigate. At 50, it’s a critical time to make healthy changes that will make a difference to how well she ages. Practising gratitude is fantastic, because a positive attitude is one of the pillars of healthy ageing.” #


5 ways to

FIGHT FATIGUE Worn out physically and mentally? These reviving tips will help restore your va-va-voom...


ometimes when you’re feeling drained of energy you need an extra boost to keep you going. Here, we look at five easy ways to revitalise your body and mind.

Chances are you’re aware that getting enough iron and magnesium are important for keeping you fired up. But did you know that cobalt and copper are other metallic essentials? Cobalt is one of the elements that makes up vitamin B12, a well-known energy booster, while copper helps trigger the release of iron from food (which then carries oxygen around your system). There are supplements that will help but it’s important to consult a health practitioner first as too much of these nutrients can be problematic too. An easy solution is to include some unsalted mixed nuts in your diet, which will give you an excellent dose of both, as well as magnesium. They’ll also give you a boost from their high protein content. An all-round winner.



Get your metals

Just say yes “Simple yogic postures can be really helpful when you’re feeling fatigued,” says yoga teacher Catherine Turner. “You don’t need to do anything complicated – just a few minutes’ rest in a gentle forward bend with your head below your heart to bring blood and oxygen to the brain and body.” She recommends a posture called Uttanasana: “Stand with feet parallel, hip-width apart. Bend forward from the hips, allowing your head to be heavy, with your chin on your collarbone, then relax your shoulders and arms so you feel yourself move down through each vertebra. Allow your knees to relax. Bend slowly forward and down, breathing gently through your nose, until your tummy reaches your thighs – if it doesn’t, just concentrate on relaxing your head, neck and shoulders. Put your hands on the floor next to your feet if you can, or cross your forearms and hold your elbows. You should feel a lovely stretch in your spine. Keep your feet rooted and your knees bent to protect your lower back. Breathe and rest for a couple of minutes and then pull slowly up.”

When you’re feeling tired and weak, your go-to destination is probably the sofa. But when it comes to energy, often what you put in you get out. “Doing positive things will make you more energised,” says psychologist Miriam Akhtar. And, we’re not necessarily talking about exercise. Saying ‘yes’ to a bite of lunch with a colleague, dinner with friends or an evening stroll with your other half could shift you out of your funk. Vow to say ‘yes’ once a day this week when normally you wouldn’t and see if a change really is as good as a rest.

Just five minutes of being outside can recharge you, say researchers from the University of Essex in the UK. And the biggest effect was seen in those who spent that time near water. In fact, the blue stuff seems to have a powerful effect on our wellbeing, as research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology has shown that even looking at pictures of water can make us feel more restored and refreshed. Head for a park that has a river, or take a walk on the beach to get a boost of HO that works from the outside in. Failing all that, head to Pinterest and search for ‘sea’. Try it – it really does work!

Get a colour pop “Yellows, oranges and reds are great stimulating colours,” says interior designer personal and lifestyle colourist Bernay Laity. She has worked with a wide variety of clients, showing them how to use colour to affect mood and emotions. So next time you’re decorating, take a wider look at the paint chart. And in the meantime think about bringing exhilarating shades such as yellows, oranges and reds into your daily life in accessories such as cushions or throws, or even your morning cuppa mug for some instant get-up-and-go. #


Could your

clothing be a

Strange but true – experts say the way you dress can affect your wellbeing. By Helen Foster

hen you get dressed in the morning you’re probably more concerned about whether your outfit looks good and suits the weather than how it might affect your health, but it might be time to think again. In some situations, your clothing can trigger some surprising consequences – here are some of the issues to be aware of.


This is particularly true if you have breasts with a C cup or larger. “The shoulder straps on a bra carry some weight of the breasts and if they are too thin for your cup size they can press into the top of the shoulder and compress the nerves, causing pain in the shoulder, arm, neck or head,” says physiotherapist Tim Allardyce. He adds that a generally poor-fitting bra can also be a headache trigger. “If the bra is too loose the muscles in the neck and head have to work harder which can cause pain.” Get professionally fitted every time you buy a new bra.

DARK CLOTHES ATTRACT INSECTS If you’re a mosquito magnet it might be time to take a look at what you’re wearing. “Black, blue, green and floral patterns on clothing attract mosquitoes as they act as camouflage for them,” says insect expert Howard Carter from the repellent brand Incognito. “Wear white, beige, light brown or light olive if you want to reduce your risk of being bitten.” Mosquitoes can also bite through fabric and the tighter your outfit the more likely it is that this bite will break the skin – so go for floaty tops and skirts or palazzo pants. >



Last year the case of an Adelaide woman who had spent the day packing boxes in a pair of skinny jeans made headlines. The jeans had stopped the circulation to her calves, causing the muscles to swell, and this damaged the nerves enough that she fell over and couldn’t get up. It was an extreme case but ‘compartment syndrome’, as it’s called, is a risk if you’re squatting for long periods in tight clothing. As such, Professor Thomas Kimber, the neurologist who worked on the case, suggests wearing something loose for such tasks.

The type of knickers you wear are very important if you commonly suffer from thrush. “G-strings and nylon underwear increase moisture and reduce the circulation of air in the vulval region and this combination of heat and sweat exacerbates thrush,” says Sydney gynaecologist Dr Robyn Lloyd. White underwear might also be preferable to dark as there’s a theory that chemicals in dye can also irritate. “G-strings are also not recommended for cystitis sufferers,” says Dr Lloyd. Cystitis is triggered when bacteria from the bowel colonise the bladder, and the string shape of G-strings can transfer the bugs between the two.



The bacteria that cause body odour don’t just live on skin, they can also start to grow on clothing, particularly polyester. Washing at high temperatures can help reduce numbers, as can drying clothes outside as the sun contains UV light which helps kill off the bacteria, says odour researcher Dr Chris Callewaert from Ghent University in Belgium. If you try both these tricks and the odour remains, however, the bacteria has taken hold and you will never get rid of the smell in that garment.

Close-fitting collars or waistbands can slightly restrict your breathing which, for susceptible people, can trigger an attack. “Panic attacks happen because something makes us feel scared, in this case the feeling that it’s slightly difficult to breathe,” explains Brisbane psychologist Lana Hall. As you start to worry about this you breathe faster – and this cycle is what triggers a panic attack. This might make you want to dump all your tight clothing, but Hall says a better approach is to manage your thoughts. “A panic attack occurs because you’re worrying about your breath. If this happens simply try telling yourself it’s just the anxious part of your brain talking and thank it for trying to keep you safe. Then distract yourself by thinking of something else.”

YOUR SHOES CAN COLLECT NASTIES There are more than 400,000 bacteria on the surface of an average shoe, including bacteria that cause stomach upsets like E.coli and C.difficile. “On top of this there’s a definite risk of indoor air pollution via contamination from shoes,” says Sam Crothers from SpaceCheck Building Biology and Environmental Health. “Dirt on shoes can include pesticides sprayed by local councils, mould spores and heavy metals from car and truck exhausts. Once these substances are inside they can be released into the air and breathed in.” The solution is super simple though – take your shoes off when you get home and leave them outside.

THE WRONG SPORTS BRA MIGHT HURT YOUR KNEES You probably know that wearing an unsupportive bra is bad for your breasts, but it can affect fitness too. If you run when your breasts aren’t under control you land more heavily, increasing the risk of problems like knee pain, stress fractures or shin splints. Poor support might also slow you down. How effectively you swing your arms is one of the key things that determines running speed. “When we’ve measured how people run, we find that if the breasts are moving too much women tend to reduce their arm swing to compensate,” says Dr Deirdre McGhee from Breast Research Australia at the University of Wollongong.



BRAIN It’s never too late to improve your mental capital. Here we show you how. By Sarah Marinos

ur brain is like a muscle – the more we stretch and use it, the stronger it becomes and the better it performs. “Our brain has the ability to change – we can always upgrade it,” says Dr Jenny Brockis, a medical practitioner and author of Future Brain. “When you service the engine of a car it drives so much better, and your brain is exactly the same.” Here, Dr Brockis reveals some simple ways we can boost our brain efficiency.


Eat omega-3s in salmon, sardines and olive oil. Other good sources are flaxseeds, walnuts and avocados.

Exercise raises your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain, which provides it with more oxygen and nutrients. Exercise also helps release brain-derived neurotrophic factor – brain‘fertiliser’that stimulates the production of new cells. Any exercise that leaves you out of breath or makes you huff and puff – aim for five 30-minute sessions a week.

Waste products build up in the brain as it works and when we sleep it flushes out

Aim for seven to eight hours’ sleep each night. Avoid smartphones, laptops and tablets that emit blue light two hours before sleep.

To maintain plasticity – the brain’s ability to form new connections between cells – you need to stretch your brain. We increase plasticity by learning something new, different and hard. Stretch your mental muscle by tackling a new language, learning to play a musical instrument, or learning three new words and their meaning each day.

Doing more than one thing at once reduces performance and productivity by up to 40 per cent. If we do two things at the same time, our two brain hemispheres split our attention between the tasks. This gives the illusion that we’re multi-tasking,



The brain is 60 per cent fat and needs healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids to keep its cell membranes flexible. Studies show that a lack of omega-3s means poorer memory and problem-solving skills. Eating poor quality fats, such as those in cakes and biscuits, causes cells to have a stiffer membrane, reducing their function.

waste 10 times faster than when we’re awake. Also, during sleep your brain regulates information and forms longer-term memories and forgets any irrelevant bits of information.

when we’re just giving half our attention to each task. Do one thing at a time, give it your undivided attention, and do it well.

Work on a can-do attitude to foster brain agility. If you have a fixed mindset, you don’t try new things because you’re afraid of failure. The opposite is an attitude that believes when you put effort in, you’ll get better and achieve. Be aware of times when you think ‘I can’t’. Having a can-do attitude helps maintain brain plasticity so you continue to process new information.

We establish ways of doing things that we’re comfortable with, so the brain sees change as a threat. It then has to work hard to weigh up the pros and cons of a situation.

Look for reasons why change is beneficial. It brings a sense of achievement and confidence. It creates mental flexibility so you handle ongoing change better.

Where do you come up with your best ideas? Is it when you wake up? During an exercise

Healthy stress boosts brain performance by keeping us alert. ‘Eustress’ is the term given to the everyday stress that keeps us going and allows us to look forward to the challenges we face.

session? Creativity can be fostered in the right environment – one that encourages inward reflection and an uncoupling from our focused attention. Allow your mind to wander. Sometimes the best ideas come when we allow our brain access to the subconscious and make links between our memory bank and new things.

Recognise that some stress keeps your brain agile. Positive stress is the ‘butterflies in the stomach’ feeling that comes with anticipation, excitement and the wonder of tackling something new.

A lonely person’s brain is on permanent guard duty, hyperalert to threats from the outside world, and this has a negative impact on brain performance. But having friends boosts brain power, helping to release a chemical called oxytocin which reduces anxiety. Nurture your connections with other people. And don’t underestimate the importance of a simple hug or touch on the arm. #




HOW LIKELY YOU ARE TO VISIT THE DENTIST Redheads are half as likely to go to the dentist as those with other hair colours. Why? Because they can carry a version of a gene that means they don’t respond as well to injected dental painkillers as other folk. As such they may have experienced past painful procedures that now put them off going to the dentist, say researchers at the US’s University of Louisville. If that sounds like you, ask your dentist about other potential types of painkiller.

If your hair starts to look thinner around the temples, crown or middle parting, it can be a sign of a hormonal imbalance. “Conditions that cause an elevation of the normally weak male hormones in the female body often show up as this type of thinning,” says Anthony Pearce, a NSW trichologist. In younger women the most common cause of this is polycystic ovary syndrome; in older women a more common cause is the fluctuating hormones of menopause. Your doctor can order blood tests to check your hormone levels and offer appropriate treatment.


id you know that spotting what’s going on with your body could be as simple as paying attention to your hair? Here are nine need-toknow health secrets it can explain.

Low levels of protein, not enough fat in your diet, or eating too few kilojoules to get all the nutrients you need are all common causes of dull, dry and thinning hair, says Brisbane trichologist Carolyn Evans. “If your diet is low in nutrients the body will concentrate on using these to sustain your vital organs rather than your hair. This means your hair will still grow, just not well,” she explains. A healthy diet makeover can be all it takes to create shinier, thicker hair in these cases. For a more in-depth analysis, book a test called hair tissue mineral analysis. This tests a sample of the hair and specifically shows what nutrients you’re lacking – or if you have too high levels of some toxic minerals in your system. “High levels of lead, arsenic, mercury or aluminium can be another cause of dry hair,” says David Salinger from the International Association of Trichologists.

HOW OFTEN YOU GO TO THE GYM If you’ve got a complicated hairstyle, or hair that’s chemically processed and prone to damage from over-washing, you may be more likely to skip your workout than a woman with a wash-and-go style, found dermatologist Amy McMichael at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in the US. While changing your style is one solution, it’s a bit drastic, so Professor McMichael suggests the following: “Lighter exercise right after having the hair styled, then more vigorous workouts the closer it comes to washing day.”

Generally, the lighter your hair, the lighter your skin and so the more vigilant you need to be with your sun protection, but redheads need to be extra cautious. The form of the gene that gives red hair its colour also causes a specific reaction in the skin when UV rays hit it that increases risk of tumour formation. >


IT’S TIME FOR A THYROID CHECK “Hypothyroidism (where the thyroid performs more slowly than it should) can show up as very dry hair and/or diffuse hair loss from the entire scalp,” says Salinger. “Another telltale hair-based sign of this problem is that the outer third of the eyebrows starts to thin.” If your hair is thinning but gets oily rather than dry, hyperthyroidism (where the thyroid speeds up) can be a cause. The good news is any hair loss will reverse if you start medication to correct the problem. Again, a blood test is the best way to get a firm diagnosis.

Stress clearly shows up in the hair. The worst-case scenario is that major stressors like bereavement can actually trigger it to fall out.“But most of the time this isn’t what people under stress experience. Instead, they complain that their hair just doesn’t behave as normal. It might become thinner, look limp or hair that was curly might go frizzy,” says Evans.“This isn’t caused by the stress itself, but people who are chronically busy tend not to eat, sleep or generally look after themselves that well, which causes the hair to suffer.” Start slowing down, take better care of yourself and things will change.

Some drugs can trigger hair to fall out. Salinger tells us it can happen with forms of the Pill containing certain progesterones called levonorgestrel and norethistrone which mimic male sex hormones. This can trigger hair loss from the crown and temples in genetically prone women. Other medicines strongly linked to hair loss are antidepressants, including tricyclics and SSRIs. These can force more of the hair than normal into the resting phase from which it normally sheds and this increase can cause thinning across the scalp. Beta-blockers and warfarin may also cause this type of general hair loss. If you’ve recently started taking a drug and have noticed changes in your hair, speak to your GP to see if the two might be linked.

Insulin resistance is a condition where your cells stop listening to the signals from the blood-sugar-balancing hormone insulin. When this happens you start to produce more and more insulin to try and get results – and this is a common trigger for type 2 diabetes. “One outward sign of insulin resistance can be hair loss,” says Pearce. “High levels of insulin interfere with the production of oestrogen in the body and this can cause a hormonal imbalance that causes hair to be lost.” If you are suffering hair thinning across your scalp and have risk factors for diabetes like carrying fat around your middle, or notice dark, soft, velvety patches of skin around your neck or armpits, ask your doctor to check your blood sugar levels. #



*With continued use. Starts ямБghting plaque and protecting enamel from day 1.


W H I T E N I N G | E N A M E L | F R E S H B R E AT H

CLEVER WAYS Keep your teeth clean and you’re on the way to protecting your overall health. Helen Foster finds out how

leaning your teeth well is no longer just about keeping your smile healthy. It’s now suspected inflammation in the gums caused by leftover plaque bacteria increases the risk of heart disease, memory decline and some cancers. Cleaning your teeth is therefore akin to having a mini-health makeover. Here are 10 tips for maximum results.

As you chew you increase saliva and, alongside toothpaste, saliva is your teeth’s best friend. It neutralises the acid that erodes tooth enamel leading to sensitivity, plus it contains compounds called salivary mucins that actively trap the bacteria that cause tooth decay, preventing them from attaching to your teeth.

“Brushing too forcefully can cause irreversible damage to the gum and damage the tooth enamel leading to sensitive teeth,” says Melbourne dentist Dr Jacob Chan. ”If the bristles of your toothbrush flatten as you brush you’re likely pressing too hard.”

Most of us brush teeth with the toothbrush head flat straight and flat – at a 90-degree angle to the gums – and scrub back and forth or up and down. But according to Dr Chan the best technique is to angle the brush at a 45-degree angle between the bristles and the gums and then brush in a gentle circular

motion. This allows you to gently sweep under the gum line where plaque collects.

Teeth actually have five surfaces – the front, the back, two sides and the biting surface, “and they all need cleaning twice a day,” says Sydney dentist Dr Quincy Cheuk. He says it helps to think of your teeth as cubes all lined up a row. Use your brush on the front, back and biting surface, then floss or use interdental brushes in between to reach each side.

“If the brush is worn the bristles no longer come into contact with the tooth’s surface, which limits the removal of plaque,” says Dr Deborah Cole, chief executive of Dental Health Services Victoria. She describes a

worn toothbrush as looking like a shaggy dog – it’s time for it to go if any bristles are splayed, frayed or missing.

A technique called ‘oil pulling’ can act as a natural mouthwash for the teeth. You take a mouthful of coconut oil and gently swish it around your mouth for a few minutes until the oil goes liquid. At least seven days of swishing can reduce plaque and gum disease. “Coconut oil leaves a coating on the teeth that stops bacteria attaching,” says Professor Faizal Peedikayil from the Kannur Dental College in India who measured the results. “We also suspect antibacterial agents it contains may kill some bacteria.“ >

4 NEW REASONS The wealth of evidence linking poor dental health with serious diseases like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s has been growing for a while now. Here are four major new findings:


“Fluoride in toothpaste plays an important role in preventing decay. The longer it is in contact with the teeth the more time it has to strengthen them and reverse the early signs of tooth decay,” says Oral-B consultant Clinical Associate Professor Matthew Hopcraft. “Rinsing with water straight after brushing washes away all that good fluoride. I recommend patients spit out excess toothpaste but don’t rinse.” Everyone should brush their teeth before bed, but it’s even more important if you breathe through your mouth while you sleep. Research from New Zealand’s University of Otago has found that mouth-breathing dries out saliva that neutralises plaque, making tooth decay more likely. Signs of mouth breathing include snoring and a very dry mouth in the morning. If you suspect you’re doing it, it’s particularly vital to brush and floss before bed to remove any plaque that might cause damage. Keeping a glass of water by the bed and sipping it if you wake up in the night will also help.

¡ To protect your brain: Poor gum health is linked to faster cognitive decline, and new research suggests that Alzheimer’s disease might progress up to six times faster if the sufferer has gum disease when the disease starts. ¡ To beat stroke: Doctors think a type of oral bacteria – Streptococcus mutans – actually binds to blood vessels, weakening them, which increases the risk of stroke. ¡ To prevent bowel problems: There’s a definite link between losing teeth and developing irritable bowel syndrome

Hearing the sound of the bristles on your teeth makes encourages better brushing, say researchers in Japan. They’re so convinced it’s a great idea they’ve actually created a device that sits on a toothbrush and magnifies brushing noise!

(IBS), say Iranian experts. They suspect it might be because losing teeth makes it harder to eat high-fibre foods. This then causes constipation and associated problems like bloating, wind and abdominal pain. ¡ To guard against cancer: It’s just been suggested gum disease might cause oesophageal cancer. A type of bacteria called P. gingivalis that causes gum problems was found in 61 per cent of samples of cancerous tissue – but didn’t appear at all in healthy samples. #


While they’re no substitute for a toothbrush, crunchy, fibrous foods like celery or apple remove some plaque from the teeth as you eat them, but there’s more you can do. A substance called arginine, found in foods like dairy products, red meat and poultry, actually breaks down dental plaque by preventing the bacteria that contribute to its formation from sticking to your teeth. Red wine has also been shown to reduce bacteria that cause dental decay.

It doe s mor e f or my face t han a ‘miner al Mask’ N ADIA , 38 #MYFACEM Y RULES Spa days can give you great results…for a while. But sometimes the effects only last for a few days. That’s why millions of women like Nadia choose facial fillers. As you age, your skin elasticity gradually decreases. Fillers are proven to restore fullness and revitalise your face for up to 24 months. Inspired by natural ingredients, you can be confident of natural looking results. Find your cosmetic consultant at


Allergan Australia Pty Ltd. 810 Pacific Highway, Gordon NSW 2072. ABN 85 000 612 831. Allergan New Zealand Limited, Auckland. DA1635CB. ™ Trademark(s) of Allergan, Inc. © 2016 Allergan. All rights reserved. ANZ/0092/2016. Date of preparation: September 2016.



The state of your relationship might at be reected in wh room. goes on in the bed arn So what can we le s? from happy couple By Sarah Marinos


hat are the secrets of a satisfying sex life – whether couples have been together for years or are enjoying a new romance? We asked some experts to share their advice and ideas on what keeps sex interesting, intimate and enjoyable.

Life is busy and so there’s nothing wrong with booking in a time for sex. Just as you schedule a dental appointment or a trip to the hairdresser, make a sex date. “If you notice a change in sexual intimacy or frequency, schedule in sex,” says Desiree Spierings, director of Sexual Health Australia. “People think sex has to be spontaneous to be amazing and that’s why they’re waiting a long time. But when you’re busy, that spontaneous desire won’t happen. Plan sex. Get excited for it. Send each other a sexy text message before your date. The desire will return – but sometimes it needs a bit of a push and that’s okay.”

Talk about why you’re having sex Why are you having sex? A lot of couples don’t ponder that question, says sex and relationship therapist Cyndi Darnell. It is to have an orgasm? Or because you want to connect with your partner? “Sit with your partner and list the reasons why you both have sex,” says Darnell. “You make the decision to have sex – there is an agenda and there’s a pay-off that gives you satisfaction. Think and talk about why you have sex rather than going on autopilot, and help your partner feel included and valued. And if sex at the moment isn’t satisfying, talk about what you can do to increase satisfaction for both of you.” >


Remember that sex is not a ‘must do’ – it’s a ‘want to’

Your sex life is influenced by physical changes, your psychological state, your environment and your living situation. Those things change and impact how often you have sex, whether you feel like sex and how enjoyable it is. “For example, during menopause a woman’s body changes and men fear they are going to ‘hurt’ their partner and that can lead to erectile problems,” explains Dr Mandy Deeks, psychologist with Jean Hailes for Women’s Health. “Or you may no longer be as happy in your relationship, end up not having sex for months or more and that becomes the new norm. You don’t talk about that change and so don’t do anything about it. Communicate about changes in your sex life and you can potentially stop further difficulties from arising.”

Try something new… Variety is the spice of life. Do you have a standard formula, and can you introduce something a little different to your sex life? “Think about what you used to do together and what used to work and revisit that,” says Spierings. “And try something new with foreplay. It isn’t just the five minutes before sex. Flirt outside the bedroom. Whisper something nice in your partner’s ear when you are having dinner with friends or give them a sneaky touch. Try a new position or have sex in a new place. Be creative together.

Don’t assume sex has to happen at the end of the day By the time you go to bed you’re probably tired, low on energy, and your mind is filled with what you did or didn’t do today and what you need to do tomorrow – hardly conducive to sex. “The idea that sex has to happen in bed at night comes from historical times when it was associated with shame and had to be done under cover of darkness,” says Darnell. “But if you are more of a morning person, have sex in the morning. You need a certain amount of energy and if you’re tired and your partner initiates sex, you can feel resentful because you’re physically and emotionally drained.” So forget history and get intimate when it suits you.


Don’t feel you must have sex because if you approach it as something you must do, you kill desire. “Kiss a little or have a massage without expecting sex to eventuate. If something else happens, great. But don’t focus on that end point,” says Spierings. “You may be wearing your work head or your mum head and not feel like sex, so you need to build a bridge between your work or mum life and sex. Have a glass of wine with your partner, give each other a massage or wear something nice to help shift your mind to the moment. Once you build those bridges, you may want to take things further.”

“If you are withholding anything in your relationship, you have a problem,” says Darnell. “Whether it’s sex, conversation or love, these are valuable in a relationship and if you are actively withholding any of these from a partner it’s a form of emotional abuse and it’s not okay. It’s manipulative behaviour.” That doesn’t mean you have to have sex against your will, but if you are avoiding sex to punish your partner, recognise that is a problem and try talking about it. Consider getting some professional help to work through the issues behind your anger and resentment if needed.

Take care of your appearance “If you don’t love yourself, how can you let someone else touch you or get close to you? If you feel good, you’re more willing to share your body,” says Spierings. She says it’s important to make the most of your health and appearance for the sake of your own selfesteem and confidence. “Look after yourself. Feel good about your physical and emotional health and how you look. Eat a healthy diet, exercise and sleep well so you feel attractive and sexy!” #


When you look at all the presents under the Christmas tree, are you more excited about the ones you wrapped yourself than you are about the gifts with your name on them? It’s actually better to give than to receive, and generosity not only makes you feel good, it also has measurable health benefits.

Spending your money on someone else can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke. The benefits are greatest when you give to your nearest and dearest, but only if you stick to your budget and avoid maxing out your credit card. The stress associated with giving beyond your means cancels out any health benefits your thoughtfulness may provide. “Giving to others definitely makes you happier,” says Dr Brenton Mayer, director of Effective Altruism Australia. “Gallup surveys have shown that people who donate

to charity are as happy as people who earn twice as much but don’t give.” Generosity is often driven by compassion, which scientists say is an important factor in human evolution. We live happier, healthier lives by embracing kindness rather than adopting an every-manfor-himself attitude. They even have a name for it: ‘survival of the kindest’. And this kindness activates the vagus nerve, which is responsible for regulating breathing and heart rate and triggers the release of the ‘cuddle chemical’ oxytocin. Oxytocin is known to boost resilience, strengthen emotional stability and reduce stress.

Even if you don’t have money to spend you can still reap the benefits of generosity that go far beyond Christmas day. Much of the scientific evidence is based on volunteerism, giving time instead of treasure. Volunteering 200 hours of your time per year improves fitness, relieves stress and lowers potentially harmful cortisol levels in your blood. Volunteering also strengthens your social connections and slashes your risk for depression. It can reduce your chances of dying early by 44 per cent, providing a greater benefit than four weekly sessions of exercise does.

Where to start Most local charity organisations, schools and community groups are happy to receive help in any form. You could also visit and download their app to help you find a perfect match. >


If you want to donate money but don’t know where to begin, it may help to think about the issues that are important to you or your gift recipient. Here are some ideas to get you started.

This social movement identifies areas where every donated dollar makes a real difference, especially in developing countries. Five dollars can buy a mosquito net to help prevent malaria and $50 to $100 can provide a year of healthy, quality life for someone living in extreme poverty.

The United Nations Children’s Fund in Australia raises funds for overseas programs and advocates for children’s rights both here and abroad. Visit their online charity gift shop. For less than $100 you can buy 150 measles vaccines, 10 wool blankets, or 125 therapeutic food sachets.

This charity aims to help impoverished children living in developing countries. You can buy livestock that’s delivered directly to a community in need. You can get two chickens for $19, a goat for $55 or a baby pig for $99.

Promotes safety for children and the prevention of child sexual assault. Show your support by purchasing a tie, scarf or T-shirt for someone this Christmas.

Provides support, services and equipment for children living with sickness, disadvantage or those who have special needs. A $30 donation can provide specialised nutrition for a child with cystic fibrosis and $100 can help buy a wig for a child with alopecia.

Delivers personal care packages to children going into foster care. Backpacks contain pyjamas, clothes, toiletries, a toy or book. Donations start at $5 or you can send in items to fill the backpacks.

This internationally recognised organisation investigates animal cruelty and runs regular campaigns aimed at raising awareness of the issues. Buy your cruelty-free Christmas gifts from their online store.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals works to protect the rights of pets, farm animals and wildlife. Donate, adopt a pet, volunteer some time or buy your Christmas cards and 2017 calendar online.

Provides healthcare and emergency medical services to people in rural and remote areas of Australia. Donate, volunteer or pick up a unique gift from their online Christmas catalogue.

This organisation encourages Australians to buy a bale of hay to help struggling farmers. You can donate online, volunteer your services or even give farmers a much-needed break by registering as a farm sitter.

If you’re concerned about global warming, pollution, sustainability or the damage caused by mining in Australia, you can support ACF by donating, becoming a member or volunteering.

Promotes an environmentally sustainable and socially fair future. Buy a 40th anniversary T-shirt or other merchandise. You can also help by volunteering, donating or registering for online e-lobby activities.

This Christmas you can adopt, feed, sponsor or help to rehabilitate these endangered animals. Buy a loved one a Christmas e-card for $35 to keep 30 orphaned orangutans fed for a month, or provide 12 months of medicine for an animal for $75.

This Melbourne-based charity provides educational support to girls in Africa. Buy a wide range of Christmas gifts for family and friends by visiting their website and clicking on ‘Gifts that don’t suck’.

Your online Christmas shopping could include unique handmade jewellery, bags or knitted toys. You’ll also be helping to make childbirth safer for women in Ethiopia.

Support global conservation and help protect threatened species by adopting an animal from WWF. An adoption kit will get you a plush toy of your chosen species, an adoption certificate and a gift bag. #

“Why I still live with my parents”

“RENTING WOULD MAKE A SERIOUS DENT IN MY INCOME” Maria, 28, is a schoolteacher in Melbourne’s inner suburbs. Property prices and tradition have kept her in her family home.

The rising cost of living, studying for longer, and delaying that first step into the workplace are some of the reasons why more adult children are remaining in the family home. For some 20-somethings, the cultural and religious expectations of not leaving home before marriage are also keeping them at home for longer. “Across the Western world we are finding young adult children living with their parents much later than they were 20 or 50 years ago,” says Associate Professor Cassandra Szoeke from the University of Melbourne. “They get financial and domestic support but for many young people the emotional support and comfort of being around family is also important.” Research suggests children who live at home for longer tend to have a closer relationship with parents after they leave, but there are drawbacks. Adult children delay achieving full independence for years – something psychologists refer to as ‘failure to launch’ syndrome. This can mean kids fail to develop the essential life skill of resilience as they are shielded from the realities of providing for themselves and making their own decisions. “Children often fail to launch because they want the ongoing security of their home life when their lives change,” says Professor Szoeke. “Delayed independence and multi-generational households result in changes in family structure and relationships, and have a strong impact on the lives of both the parents and adult children. Parents can feel they’re being taken advantage of financially and that they’re still picking up after their children. And if parents still treat young people like children, that leads to tension.” Here, three young people talk about their situations.

“I’ve been working at a primary school for six years. I earn a decent wage but it wouldn’t go far if I bought a property or had to rent. I’d scrape by, but I enjoy going out to dinner and to the theatre, and I love weekends away. That would disappear if I paid a mortgage. Mum and Dad don’t make me pay board as long as I save for a house deposit. I’d never save if I lived alone. My older brother moved out four years ago but my parents are happy for me to be home. Dad and I get on well – we love talking about what’s happening around the world, although we don’t always share the same point of view. Mum and I enjoy shopping and go for breakfast on Saturday mornings. My parents are Greek and I’ve got plenty of Greek friends – male and female – who live with their parents. A couple of friends only moved out when they got married, so amongst my friends my living arrangement is normal. I’ve had a few relationships but I wouldn’t bring a boyfriend to sleep over. It’s an unspoken agreement. Mum and Dad are pretty traditional and I respect their values. They know I stay at my boyfriend’s place and they’re fine with that, but they don’t want my sexual relationships waved in their face. We avoid conflict by respecting each other’s boundaries. My current partner has talked about renting a place and if things are going well next year, I’ll think about it. I want to leave home one day, but it’s got to be the right time and for the right reason.” >


“WHEN I MOVED BACK HOME I COPPED SOME FLAK” James, 25, is a carpenter in Adelaide. He left home at 19 but returned four years ago because living independently was too expensive. He lives with his dad.




“When I finished my apprenticeship I moved into a flat with my mates. There were constant arguments about the rent, the gas bill, who used up the milk and who would clean the shower. I moved in with Dad because it was less hassle and because paying rent and bills was hard. I copped flak from friends and I had a moment when I thought, ‘I’m going backwards. I should be able to stand on my own two feet…’ But it was a smart move. Dad and I split the bills. Last year I put a decent deposit on an investment property with Dad. That unit is rented out now, but I want to keep saving, buy Dad’s share and then move into the unit myself. I want to own my first property outright by the time I’m 28. I’d have no chance of doing that if I was paying rent. I’ve bought a second-hand ute and I’ve been overseas – that wouldn’t have been possible if I was living out of home either. Dad works long hours and he’s got a partner so he isn’t around that much. But living out of home gave me an appreciation of how important it is to contribute to a household and to respect who you live with. Dad’s happy for me to have mates over as long as everyone leaves the house clean. The only time we’ve fallen out was after a party when he found someone in his bed the next morning! Moving back home probably wouldn’t work for everyone, but it’s set me up for the future.”

Outline expectations at the start. Will children make a regular financial contribution? Is there a curfew?

Recognise children are now adults so talk to them on an equal footing.

“MY CHILDHOOD BEDROOM IS MY REFUGE AFTER MY BREAK-UP” Lisa, 27, from Melbourne returned to her parents’ home earlier this year after separating from her husband. The emotional support has made the move worthwhile.

“I met my husband just after I left high school. We worked in the same hotel – I was in the restaurant and he was a concierge. We dated for a couple of years and married when I was 21. I’d already moved out of home and was living with him by then. Earlier this year I found out he’d been cheating on me and I left him the same day. My first reaction was to go home. At the worst time in my life I knew I’d be safe there. It’s been that way since I was a kid. It’s an ordinary brick veneer in the suburbs but I step through the front door and feel protected.

My family has listened to me crying and raging about what’s happened and they’ve done everything they can to get me back on my feet. Mum and my sister packed up my stuff for me because I couldn’t face that. And my sister has sat up with me for hours and helped me make plans. It hasn’t been easy because I’ve got my own way of doing things. I do the laundry one way and Mum does it another. My sister’s become used to spending ages in the bathroom and now we’re sharing again. And I feel angry that I’ve gone from being in my own home to being in the bedroom I had as a 13-year-old. I’ve taken that anger out on my family but they just pick me back up again. Once my settlement comes through I could buy a place, but at home I have people who look out for me. And my old bedroom is my refuge.”

Appreciate how hard it can be for children to want to be independent but to be held back by financial pressures and the cost of living.

For children, remember that parents have their own lives, too.

A key issue for parents is children not helping with domestic duties, so pull your weight around the house. #

™ Respect parents’ boundaries – you’re living in their home.


MY CHRISTMAS COOKING ST YLE IS VERY AUSTRALIAN. I love a bit of tradition at this time of year, and my family always requests turkey and a traditional ham. But you’ll also find me grilling some Moreton Bay Bugs on the barbecue. I serve them straight from the grill, drizzled with some lemon juice, alongside two or three really fresh salads and a show-stopping potato dish. THIS YEAR, I’M BRINING MY TURKEY. Brine is a salty solution, but I add some extra flavours, too. Make up a brine (you’ll find instructions at and then submerge the turkey for about six hours – I line my crisper drawer in the fridge with plastic, and do it in there. Then, for golden crispy skin, mash up >

some butter and garlic and push it under the skin at the breasts before cooking. A brined turkey takes less time to cook on the day, and is very succulent and full of flavour.

THERE’S AN EASIER WAY TO DO TURKEY, THOUGH. If you can’t cope with a whole bird, cook a boneless turkey breast. It takes half the time and is much easier to carve and serve. You can still do stuffing – just add it to the same tray that you’re cooking any side dishes in. Choose a tray that can go straight from the oven to the table for less washing up!


I STOCK UP ON FRESH ORGANIC EGGS AND GOODQUALIT Y CREAM. And make sure that I’ve got lots of fresh cherries and berries. That way I can cook my favourite Christmas dessert – the classic pavlova. The other things I always have plenty of are cheese, nibbles and champagne – because it’s a celebration, after all! I order and shop in advance, buying as much as I can online. I’M A ST YLIST AT HEART, SO PRESENTATION IS IMPORTANT TO ME. Little touches, like wrapping the hock of your ham in a piece of muslin and tying with some pretty string and a sprig of foliage before serving, make all the difference. And I get all of my platters and bowls out a few days before Christmas so that I know exactly what I’m serving everything in.

THERE ARE FIVE THINGS I CAN’T BE WITHOUT AT CHRISTMAS. Prawns, a free-range organic ham (always on the bone!), a selection of fresh cheeses, very ripe, well-chilled watermelon and freshly roasted coffee beans. I need those to help me get through that inevitable post-Christmas lunch slump.

START PLANNING BY WRITING A ‘WISH LIST ’ MENU. And then be realistic about what you can achieve, sticking with as many dishes as possible that you can prepare early and serve cold or at room temperature. It’ll buy you so much time and confidence on the day. And don’t worry if something falls off the list – there’s always too much food at Christmas!

TREAT ANY COOKING JUICES WITH LOVE. Spike the juices from anything you’re roasting with verjuice, balsamic, saba juice or wine, after you’ve removed the meat from the pan. Throw in plenty of butter and fresh herbs at the last minute, before serving the flavourpacked juices with the meat.

I NEVER SHOP TOO EARLY FOR FRESH INGREDIENTS. When your fridge is overcrowded you can end up with sad-looking produce. Bring soft herbs back to life before you use them in a salad, by picking the leaves and putting them in cold water to rehydrate. That also works well for celery, fennel, radishes and carrots. A SALAD CAN REALLY JA ZZ UP A TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS MEAL. This year we’re heading down to the Mornington Peninsula to have Christmas at my parents’ house, so Mum’s doing most of the cooking.

But I’ll make two of my current favourite salads – a take on the Caesar salad, with white asparagus and fried onion rings, and a super-healthy shredded silverbeet, chickpea sprout, sorrel and hazelnut salad. >


BUY THE BESTQUALITY TURKEY YOU CAN AFFORD. Goose is my first choice for Christmas, so I’d never cooked turkey until my husband Colin started breeding them. Because his turkeys were free-range and corn-fed, I cha changed my mind com mpletely. To ensure a beautifully b juicy turkey, make sure it’s w bred. Cooking it well in n an oven bag, which


you can buy from the supermarket, will also stop the turkey from drying out. And always rest it once it’s cooked, for up to an hour, breast-side down, with a sheet of foil covering it. I MUST ADMIT TO A STREAK OF EXTRAVAGANCE AT CHRISTMAS. The house will be overflowing with flowers, the cellar will be raided and a roast goose will be at the centre of the table with lovely salads and vegetables, and we’ll plan to finish with Christmas pudding. But that always gets put back into the fridge uneaten, which is fine! In the evenings that follow, you can take it out a slice at a time, warm it and enjoy with a cup of tea after dinner.

A STRESSED HOST IS NEVER FUN. The trick to making Christmas work is organisation and preparation. Two days before, I make a huge dish of jelly from sparkling shiraz filled with fresh raspberries, to serve with fresh cream. Then, the night before, I make a stuffing for the goose, prepare the ham by stripping the skin, scoring it and mixing the glaze, and I get all the salad ingredients prepped.

NOW’S THE TIME TO CHECK YOUR PANTRY. Staple ingredients, like dried fruit, nuts, good extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and anchovies make a real contribution at Christmas – but you don’t want to find you’re missing something you need when it’s too late to source it.


SHARING GOOD FOOD IN A TRULY RELAXED WAY IS ALWAYS MY PRIORITY. We’re a Christmas lunch family, because it allows for a longer, lazier run into the afternoon. We keep it really simple so there’s no fuss or bother, with everyone chipping in, and most of the preparation is done the night before.

I LOVE PRAWNS AT CHRISTMAS. Seafood is such a lovely, weather-friendly Australian way of celebrating the season. But I hate the messy side of prawns, so I cook, peel and devein them on Christmas eve. Serve them on their own, or in a zingy salad, made with fresh fennel, radish and horseradish. You can prep it all the day before, which is what makes a great Christmas dish. PICKING A THEME PAYS OFF. I have a big Brady Bunch family, so everyone brings a plate at Christmas, based

around a theme. Last year it was a Middle Eastern, Mediterranean theme, so people brought beautiful smoked lamb and labneh, and then my brother-in-law rocked up with baked potatoes. It started out as the joke of the day, but do you know what? I stole that recipe. Sometimes the simplest things are the most delicious, so don’t overthink it.

The flavours are amazing and with all the vibrant colours, it’s so Christmassy!

LET THE VEGETABLES TAKE CENTRE STAGE. And choose a dish that can be prepared the day before. My slow-roasted tomato, eggplant and balsamic onion dome, or one of my upside-down salads, would be perfect, because they need to be ‘set’ in the fridge, before being turned out the next day.

KEEP YOUR GUESTS WELL WATERED. Infuse big jugs of water with interesting flavours, like lemon or orange rind with rosemary, or mint, frozen raspberries, and cinnamon sticks. Use the jugs as centrepieces for the table – beautiful!

IT ’S NOT ALL ABOUT TURKEY! I love a poached salmon or trout for Christmas lunch. You can prep it the day before, it’s quick to cook, and is impressive visually. Or what about an eye fillet of beef? You can prep it, and make a herb mustard crust the day before. Then on the day, just seal it, pop the crust on, and cook. +


ome summertime, cherries appear in greengrocers and supermarkets. Rich in vitamin C, fibre and potassium, this small, juicy stone fruit can be enjoyed fresh by the handful, or in desserts and salads. Cherries get their colour from anthocyanins and quercetin, two antioxidants with powerful antiinflammatory activity. Read on to learn how you can unleash their goodness.


Here are six researchbacked reasons why cherries deserve super fruit status.

pressure by 7 per cent – an effect that is similar to taking blood pressure medication.

WEIGHT SLEEP QUALITY Cherry concentrate is naturally high in the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, and drinking it may help improve the quality of your sleep and the duration. For those with insomnia, two cups of cherry juice a day could help you fall asleep faster and snooze more soundly.

BLOOD PRESSURE Montmorency cherry concentrate – made from sour cherries – has shown potential to reduce blood

Including cherries in your diet could mean you’re less likely to gain belly fat, thanks to the positive effects of anthocyanins on blood sugar and insulin levels – when these aren’t functioning normally, it can lead to abdominal weight gain.

DIABETES The effect of cherries on blood sugar and insulin is also good news for diabetics, with researchers looking at sour cherries in particular as a potential treatment for lowering blood sugar.

ARTHRITIS AND GOUT Thanks to their antiinflammatory action, cherries may work to lower your body’s levels of uric acid, the culprit behind painful swelling of the joints. Eating them regularly could reduce the inflammation related to these conditions.

POST-EXERCISE RECOVERY Competing in an endurance event? Drinking Montmorency cherry juice twice a day for five days before the race and for two days afterwards may help you regain your strength and muscle function faster.


Cherries are a sweet and juicy summer snack with bonus health benefits. Here’s what you need to know about this bright super fruit. By Lindyl Crabb

When fresh cherries aren’t in season opt for these versatile products. CherryActive Cherry Juice is a concentrate made from Montmorency cherries and contains no added sweeteners. $35.95 for 473ml.

There are more than 80 types of cherries grown in Australia. Here are some of the most popular supermarket varieties. ¡ Bing cherries are a sweet, rich variety that are delicious fresh and suitable for cooking. They have a large heart shape, dark red skin and ruby flesh. ¡ Lapins are a dark red, large heart-shaped fruit with juicy, firm golden-red flesh. Ideal for making jam or preserve.

CHOOSE: Plump, firm and shiny cherries with the green stems intact. Colouring varies depending on the variety but avoid soft or bruised fruit.

¡ Stella cherries are sweet, medium to large and they’re available in mid-December – just in time for your festive spreads. ¡ Sweet Georgia is a new variety from Tasmania that is similar to the Lapin. ¡ Also look out for: Montmorency tart cherries. This sour variety is grown in France, Canada and the US. In Australia, they’re only available in juice concentrates, canned, dried or frozen.

BUY: From October to February. The Australian cherry season lasts just 100 days. STORE: In the refrigerator in a loosely packed

airtight bag or container. Cherries stop ripening when picked so they’re best eaten within four days of purchasing. The fruit will last up to six months if frozen.

Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate contains cold-pressed Montmorency cherries and needs to be diluted with water. $24.95 for 473ml. The Source Bulk Foods Sour Dried Cherries can be eaten as a snack or added to salads, granola and baked goods. $12.50 for 250g. Raureni Sour Cherry Jam contains sour cherries and sugar and no other added fruits. $3.95 for 370g. Always Fresh Pitted Morello Cherries are preserved in syrup and can be used in sauces or desserts. $4 for 680g. Spoonfed Foods Ham Jam is a sour cherry jam made with herbs and spices that adds sweetness to roast meats. $13.95 for 375g. #










Keeps tea and coffee hot for at least six hours!


Tea time is made extra special when served in the Made from chrome-plated stainless steel, it has a special coating on the inside which prevents odours from lingering after each use. And not only does the jug make a beautiful centrepiece, it keeps tea and coffee hot for at least six hours so there’s no need to boil the kettle again.



The from the BlueBell Collection is an ideal gift for those who make food with love. The 1.9L enamelled cast iron dish will become an essential part of your cooking arsenal. Prepare dishes ranging from slow-cooked roasts to baked bread and cakes and serve straight from the dish.


Oh so pretty!

is an elegant three-piece set containing a cheese knife, fork and cleaver. Each piece is crafted with polished stainless steel and marbled acrylic handles but is durable enough to go in the dishwasher.

Beautiful design meets smart function with the Alessi Voile Spaghetti Measure, $44. It adds intrigue to your kitchen and takes the guesswork out of pasta portion sizes. Whether you’re preparing a meal for one, two or five, use the three rings to determine how much you need to cook.

FOR THE COFFEE BUFF Thinking of buying someone a coffee machine but not sure how they like their coffee?

will suit every household. It’s compatible with three types of coffee capsules, including Nespresso’s range, or traditionalists can use fresh beans and create warm, frothy milk with the steam wand.


is for families who like to have fun in the kitchen. In just 20 minutes, the 1.5L machine will whip up summery treats like ice-cream, frozen yoghurt, and slushies. You can also add your favourite ingredients to create your own unique dessert. >



Do you know someone who loves cooking from scratch? The Italian-made


A new chopping board is a useful gift, and with a

is a great introduction to pasta making. Secure the machine to your benchtop, select the dough thickness you want to achieve, and choose from three types of pasta styles – lasagne, fettuccine and tagliolini.

you can add a bespoke touch by having it engraved. Prices for engraving start from $33. To help minimise odour and staining on your board, pair it with Savannah’s Rejuvenating Board Oil, $7.95.

With the KitchenAid Sparkling Beverage Maker, $399, you’ll have effervescent beverages on tap. Simply fill the bottle with water, add flavouring and choose your bubble size. It’s compatible with SodaStream carbon dioxide carbonation cylinders. FOR THE HOME BAKER

is part of the on-trend pastel-hued Colour Collection range. The mixer has a 4.6L bowl, intuitive speed controls and a splash guard to prevent mess when mixing ingredients. The five mixing tools can aerate, whisk, beat, knead dough or easily mix dry ingredients. #


NEW We call it a little ray of breadliness Gluten free life is full of tough moments. That’s why we raise our bread soft, big and tasty – tasty enough to enjoy without smothering in jam. It’s a little ray of breadliness in a grey world of plain gluten free bread. Abbott’s Village Bakery®. The way it should be.


Activity trackers such as a Fitbit, Up by Jawbone and Nike+ FuelBand SE remind you to keep moving and burning kilojoules. Worn on your wrist, they count the number of steps you take and can be set up to give you a little buzz to prompt you to get up and move around. For weight loss, they work best when combined with professional dietary and exercise advice, shows recent research.

High-tech bathroom scales work by sending a low electrical current through your body via your feet. The current passes through muscle quickly but fat is more resistant so the scales measure the amount of resistance and calculate your body fat percentage. As you see the numbers on the scales gradually decrease, this can serve as encouragement to stick with your weight-loss efforts. Try: The EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale, the Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale, or the Soehnle Contour F3 Body Analysis Scales.


Social media keeps you in touch with friends, and it can also motivate you to exercise for weight loss. Strava ( is a ‘social network for athletes’ but you don’t have to be training for the Olympics. The app and website work with your smartphone and smartwatch to record your exercise efforts. You can share that information online and use friendly competition as motivation. “My friends are seeing who can run the fastest 5km,” explains Dr Christian Barton from the Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre at La Trobe University in Melbourne. “We use Strava to post our results on our WhatsApp group, Facebook or Twitter.”

Link up with a friend who can keep you accountable with texts or emails – and talk you out of scoffing that piece of cake when you feel tempted. The key is finding a buddy who is readily available. “Most people put their effort into finding the right diet or exercise program but don’t put any energy into creating a support and accountability system, and too often, that’s where the devil lies,” says Adam Shafran, exercise physiologist and author of You Can’t Lose Weight Alone: The Partner Power Weight Loss Program. Try: Websites such as or


If you’re time poor or don’t want to attend a slimming group, try webbased programs that offer meal plans, exercise programs and forums where members share diet tips. Research shows that logging in to online programs at least four days a month helps maintain weight loss. “This can be a great support for people wanting to lose weight in rural and remote areas,” says Alex Lawrence of Exercise & Sports Science Australia. Try: Recognised programs like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet.

Use your smartphone to keep a photo diary of what you eat. US researchers found people who kept a record of everything they ate lost about 6kg in a six-month period. “The more food records people kept, the more weight they lost. Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records,” says Dr Jack Hollis from Kaiser Permanente’s Centre for Health Research Try: Apps such as the Easy Diet Diary or Pic Healthy.

app by Change4Life uses your smartphone to scan barcodes on food packaging and shows how much sugar is in each item. The shows the amount of sugar in supermarket foods and takeaway dishes.

compares packaged food products by assessing the amounts of salt, fats and sugar per 100g. The food is given a red, amber or green traffic light – with green meaning it’s a healthier choice for weight loss.

figures out how many kilojoules you’ve eaten using a database of five million foods. It also works out the amount of fats, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals in your diet.

by MyNetDiary has a barcode scanner that gives you the nutritional information of more than 416,000 foods. You can also record what you eat and keep track of your weight-loss goals. #


This option is pure indulgence. Butterscotch pieces and caramel sauce are whipped through vanilla ice-cream, then sandwiched between two caramelflavoured biscuits on one side and chocolate and peanuts on the other. You can also choose from Iced Coffee, Vanilla, Honeycomb and Peanut Butter & Jam flavours. $8.79 for a pack of four.


Looking for a chocolatefree dessert? This all-vanilla option delivers mouthfuls of ice-cream and sweet biscuits that crumble like shortbread. Your inner child will also enjoy the Cookies & Cream flavour. $3 for a pack of four.



For many Australians, Monaco Bars are a nostalgic childhood treat. This no frills ice-cream is a classic combination of creamy vanilla ice-cream sandwiched between soft chocolate biscuits. $7.49 for a pack of four.

You’re sure to find a favourite in Pat and Stick’s range of ice-cream sandwiches which includes Strawberry Chocolate Chip, Mochaccino and Vanilla Lace flavours. The Caramel Pecan is a real treat – it combines salted caramel ice-cream and pecan-packed cookies. Best of all, they feel homemade. $19.95 for a pack of four.

These mini ice-cream sandwiches are dairy-free and a great choice for vegans. Chocolate lovers will also enjoy the velvety filling and biscuit wafers and because they’re snack-sized they have fewer kilojoules than many other options. $7.92 for a box of eight.

Love coconut ice-cream? This bite-sized frozen treat is for you. Made with dairy- and soy-free coconut milk and chocolate biscuits, it’s just 418kJ so you can enjoy dessert without overindulging. From $14 for a packk of eight.

Made with low-fat mint-flavoured vanilla ice-cream and two chocolate biscuits, this icy delight offers the same decadent experience as the full-fat version without the kilojoule overload. Also available in Creamy Vanilla. $7.99 for a pack of four.

This dessert packs lots of crunch. The combination of hokey-pokey pieces blended through honeycombflavoured ice-cream – nestled between two chocolate biscuits – creates a delectable texture. $3 for a pack of fo our. #


Ta ke a t r i p a r o u n d t h e g l o b e to c re a te a m o u t h w a te r i n g fe s t i ve fe a s t

100g butter, chopped 1 cup honey 1 cup bread flour ¾ cup rye flour pinch salt 1 cup sour cream 3 eggs, whisked 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest 1 tablespoon Dutch cocoa 2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon ground cloves ½ ground cardamom 1 cup dried currants 1/3 cup flaked almonds

GLAZE ¼ cup ginger marmalade ¼ brandy 1. Place butter and honey in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until melted. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the sifted flours and salt. Stir to combine, then cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 2 hours until firm. 2. Preheat oven to 150°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a deep 20cm cake pan, bringing paper 2cm above the edge. 3. Add the sour cream to cake mixture, stirring until well combined. Add eggs, in two batches, mixing well. Stir lemon

zest and remaining sifted dry ingredients. Stir until smooth, then stir in currants. 4. Spread mixture into pan. Scatter with the almonds. Bake 1¼ hours until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cover top loosely with foil if overbrowning. Cool cake in the pan. 5. TO MAKE GLAZE: Combine marmalade and brandy in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until melted and combined. Brush glaze over warm cake. SERVES 10 Nutritional count per serve: energy 1907kJ; total fat 22g (sat fat 12g); carbohydrate 58g; protein 7g; fibre 3g. >


Preparation + cooking time 1 hour 50 minutes (+ cooling and resting)

Cake is suitable to freeze for up to three months, either whole or in serving-sized pieces.

To test if turkey is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. Remove and press flesh to release juices – if they’re clear turkey is cooked. Alternatively, insert a thermometer into thigh; it should read 90°C.

Preparation + cooking time: 30 minutes (+ resting) 700g whole flathead, cleaned, scaled 1 tablespoon roughly chopped thyme 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 250g cherry tomatoes 10 kalamata olives 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 garlic clove, sliced 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon torn flat-leaf parsley 1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Season fish inside and out with freshly ground black pepper. Rub thyme and extra virgin olive oil over inside and outside of fish. Set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes.


2. Season fish inside and out with salt. Place in a baking dish and roast for 3 minutes. 3. Mix together tomatoes, olives, capers, olive oil and garlic. Spoon mixture around fish and roast for a further 10 minutes, until fish is cooked and tomatoes collapse. 4. Transfer fish to serving platter. Place tomato mixture and pan juices in a bowl. Add vinegar and parsley, season to taste and toss to combine. Spoon tomato mixture over fish and serve. SERVES 6 Nutritional count per serve: energy 964kJ; total fat 8g (sat fat 2g); carbohydrate 1g; protein 29g; fibre 1g.

Whole roast turkey with bacon, onion & sage stuffing Preparation + cooking time: 4 hours 5kg turkey 50cm square muslin 125g butter, melted 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoons sea salt 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves BACON, ONION & SAGE STUFFING 50g butter 4 rashers rindless, chopped 1 onion, chopped 2 trimmed celery sticks, chopped 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves 4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (day old bread) 1 egg, whisked PORT GRAVY 40g butter 1 onion, chopped 1 trimmed celery stick, chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed ¼ cup plain flour ¼ cup port 2¼ cups chicken stock 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. 2. TO MAKE BACON, ONION & SAGE STUFFING: Heat the butter in large frying pan. Cook the bacon, stirring, 3-4 minutes until browned. Add onion and celery, cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until soft. Cool for 10 minutes. Combine onion mixture, herbs, breadcrumbs and egg in a large bowl. Season and mix well. 3. Pat turkey inside and out with paper towel. Fill the large cavity with stuffing. Tie legs together with string. Fill the neck cavity with any remaining stuffing and secure the skin over the opening with

toothpicks. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. 4. Place the turkey on an oiled wire rack in a flameproof baking dish. Dip the muslin in the melted butter, place the muslin over the turkey. Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake for 2 hours. 5. Remove the foil and muslin from the turkey, brush with the pan juices and olive oil. Bake the turkey, uncovered, for a further 1 hour until golden and cooked through when tested (see Tip). 6. Remove turkey from dish, sprinkle with salt and thyme and set aside, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. 7. Meanwhile, drain the pan juices from the dish into a large jug, skim the fat from the top of the juices, reserve juices, discard fat. 8. TO MAKE PORT GRAVY: Place the same baking dish over a medium heat, melt the butter in the dish on high. Sauté onion, celery and garlic, for 2-3 minutes, until tender. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes, until the flour is well browned. Remove from the heat, and stir in the port. Return to the heat. Gradually stir in the combined reserved pan juices and stock. Cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens. Strain gravy into a large jug. Serve turkey with gravy and vegetables and accompaniments of choice. SERVES 10-12 Nutritional count per serve: energy 4361kJ; total fat 55g (sat fat 18g); carbohydrate 36g; protein 96g; fibre 3g. >


Preparation + cooking time: 25 minutes 12 asparagus spears 12 plain grissini 2 teaspoon truffle oil or extra virgin olive oil 6 slices of prosciutto, halved lengthways 1. Trim base of each asparagus spear to the same length as grissini. Heat a frying pan or chargrill on high. Cook asparagus for 3-5 minutes, until tender. Remove pan from heat. Season

to taste and brush truffle oil over asparagus. Cool. 2. Wrap 1 grissini stick and 1 asparagus spear in 1 prosciutto slice. Repeat with remaining grissini, asparagus and prosciutto. Serve. MAKES 12 Nutritional count per serve (1 piece): energy 140kJ; total fat 1g (sat fat <0.1g); carbohydrate 4g; protein 2g; fibre 1g.

Cherry tomatoes with eggplant & mozzarella Preparation + cooking time: 25 minutes


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Nutritional count per serve (1 piece): energy 225kJ; total fat 4g (sat fat 1g); carbohydrate 1g; protein 2g; fibre 1g.


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1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Cut tops off cherry tomatoes and reserve. Using a teaspoon, scoop out and discard pulp and seeds. Sprinkle inside of tomatoes with a little salt and set aside, cut sides down, for 5 minutes. Rinse inside of tomatoes under cold running water to remove salt. Pat dry with paper towel.

2. Meanwhile, place olive oil in a large frying pan on high. Cook eggplant, stirring, for 5-6 minutes, until browned and softened. Transfer to a large bowl and cool. 3. Add mozzarella, anchovy and torn basil to eggplant and season well. Mix to combine. Fill tomato shells with mixture and top with lids. Place on an oven tray and bake for 3-4 minutes, until just starting to soften. Transfer to a platter, scatter over small basil leaves and serve. MAKES 20


20 (600g) large truss cherry tomatoes ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 small eggplant, trimmed, very finely diced 125g buffalo mozzarella, very finely diced 8 anchovies in oil, drained, finely chopped 10 basil leaves, torn, plus small leaves to serve

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Preparation + cooking time: 30 minutes (+ freezing)




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16 x 1cm-thick slices ciabatta bread, cut into 4cm squares 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 6 baby zucchini with flowers 100g fresh ricotta 100g smoked salmon slices


1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place ciabatta squares on an oven tray and brush with half the oil. Season well. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until squares are lightly toasted. 2. Meanwhile, separate zucchini from flowers and chop zucchini. Cut flowers along one side, remove and discard stamens, and open flowers out flat on a work surface. 3. Heat remaining oil in a small frying pan on medium. Cook chopped zucchini for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Place in a food processor and process until smooth. Add ricotta and process until combined. Season to taste. 4. Place a long sheet of plastic wrap on a work surface. Top with smoked salmon, slightly overlapping slices, to form a 12cm x 24cm rectangle. Spread ricotta mixture over salmon and top with zucchini flowers. Starting from a long edge, tightly roll up salmon, using plastic as a guide, to form a log. Wrap in plastic wrap, securing ends. 5. Freeze for 30 minutes, until just firm. Unwrap and cut into 1.5cm-thick slices and place each slice on a ciabatta square. Serve. MAKES 16 Nutritional count per serve (1 piece): energy 908kJ; total fat 5g (sat fat 1g); carbohydrate 34g; protein 8g; fibre 2g. #


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seems like everyone is talking about gut health and how it affects our physical and mental wellbeing. In this health book we take a close look at the digestive system: what it does, what can go wrong, and the most effective ways to keep it healthy. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll learn about different gut conditions and disorders and how to prevent or manage them, as well as foods to eat and what the latest research has to say about keeping our gut in tip-top shape. >


Your gut

To understand how to keep your gut healthy, it helps if you have a basic understanding of your digestive system and what happens when it is working normally. As a whole your digestive system has two main functions: to extract nutrients from the food you eat for the body to use, and to help protect the body from disease.

1.Your mouth: The digestive process starts in your mouth, where an enzyme in saliva begins to digest starch.

4. Liver & pancreas: More enzymes and digestive juices from the liver and pancreas break down nutrients in the small intestine. These are then absorbed via the walls of your small intestine. Some starches and dietary fibre are not digested here and pass through another valve into your large intestine.

2.Your oesophagus: Once food is chewed and mixed with saliva, the muscular contractions of swallowing move it down your oesophagus.

5.The small intestine: The small intestine has two important functions – this is where most digestion occurs and vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are absorbed here.

3.Your stomach: Food is then pushed through a valve into your stomach where it is mixed with hydrochloric acid and enzymes that begin digesting protein. Small amounts of food then pass through to your small intestine.

No artificial colours or ğCzeupq

6. The large intestine: The large intestine is a muscular tube about two metres long consisting of the colon and rectum, and its main function is to absorb water and allow fibre and starch to be broken down by bacteria. The bacteria and any food residue pass along the colon to form faeces.

Homemade goodness

So delicious!

A well-functioning digestive system is extremely important to your overall wellbeing. So knowing how to keep it running efficiently is vital. The same rules for healthy living apply to your gut health. >Eat a healthy diet. A healthy, balanced fibre-rich diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and grains will help keep your digestive system on the right track and help the good bacteria in your gut flourish. >Move every day. Physical activity can help stimulate your digestive system. Exercise also helps you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. >Don’t smoke. Air swallowed during smoking can produce bloating. Smoking causes cancer and contributes to ulcers and Crohn’s disease. >Keep alcohol to a minimum. Excessive drinking increases your risk of gut health problems. >Maintain a healthy weight. Symptoms such as bloating, constipation and heartburn tend to be more common if you are overweight. >Stress less. The brain has a direct effect on the stomach. When you’re stressed your digestive muscles exert less effort, digestive enzymes are secreted in smaller amounts and the passage of food waste through your digestive

1 in 20 Australians will develop bowel cancer, yet most bowel cancers can be prevented, with diet playing an important role.

tract slows. This can cause bloating and constipation. Stress can also do the opposite – speeding the passage of food through your bowels, causing abdominal pain and diarrhoea. >Use medicines wisely. Many medications can affect your digestive system, such as common over-the-counter painkillers containing even small amounts of codeine, which can cause constipation. Non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – including aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen – can cause nausea, stomach pain, stomach bleeding, ulcers or diarrhoea if you take them regularly or exceed the recommended dose. High blood pressure medications and antacids can cause diarrhoea or constipation, and some antibiotics can cause diarrhoea.

Delicious, wholesome,


Our digestive system

include prebiotics. These are dietary nutrients found in foods, including legumes, wheat, oats, onions, banana and honey, which can help enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria. Some probiotic products also include prebiotics.

When it comes to the health of our digestive system, fibre is vital. Six out of 10 Australian adults aren’t getting enough fibre and most aren’t getting the right mix of fibres. WHY A MIX OF FIBRES? ◆ Insoluble fibre keeps you regular and helps to eliminate toxins. Find it in fruits, vegetables, oat bran, barley, seed husks, flaxseed, psyllium, dried beans, lentils, peas and soy products. ◆ Soluble fibre slows down digestion, allowing for a more gradual release of glucose from foods into the bloodstream, and helps you feel fuller for longer. Find it in wheat bran, corn bran, rice bran, the skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried beans and wholegrain foods. ◆ Resistant starch (RS) encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the bowel and helps keep the cells in the wall of the large bowel healthy for good digestive health. Find it in unprocessed cereals and grains, unripe bananas, potatoes and lentils. Cooked and cooled rice, pasta and potatoes are also good sources of RS, as the temperature

One to two bowel movements a day to one every three to four days is considered normal.

change causes some of the food’s starch to convert into RS. WHO’S AT HIGHEST RISK OF LOW-FIBRE INTAKE? ● Low-carb or high-protein dieters. ● People on restrictive diets, like ‘gluten-free’ or ‘wheat-free’ diets. ● People who skip breakfast. ● Older Australians (over 65 years).

Your colon contains about 1-2kg of hundreds of different bacterial species that break down food, keep the lining of the colon healthy and give your immune system a helping hand. Researchers believe that all sorts of problems can arise – from allergies to indigestion to mood disorders – when the balance of healthy gut flora is disturbed, which can occur

after an infection or antibiotic treatment. When this happens probiotics can help. WHAT ARE PROBIOTICS? Probiotics are helpful bugs thought to stimulate the immune system within the colon, possibly by destroying harmful bacteria and promoting the growth of healthier bacteria. Fermented foods have been consumed for their probiotic effects for thousands of years, via foods like yoghurt, kefir and miso. You can also purchase a variety of commercially produced probiotics in the form of tablets, capsules or powders. To encourage the probiotics to do their job it’s helpful to also

HOW THEY CAN HELP YOU Although more research is needed, there’s encouraging evidence that probiotics may help: > Treat diarrhoea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics. > Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections. > Treat irritable bowel syndrome. > Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections. > Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu. > Reduce allergies such as asthma and eczema. > Alleviate bloating and discomfort associated with IBS. >Weight loss, with research showing that gut bacteria may play a role in determining how our bodies break down and process food. Before taking supplements check with a health professional to be sure they’re right for you.

It’s no secret that our emotions have an effect on our gut, like that feeling of butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous. But science is revealing it may work the other way around too, meaning our gut health could influence our emotions and impact our mental health. So now it’s more important than ever to keep your digestive system in good shape. >

homemade yogurt.

Your gut

What can go wrong? At some point in our lives, most of us will experience a problem with our digestive system, which can be in the form of pain, discomfort, altered bowel habits and bloating.

WHAT YOUR ABDOMINAL PAIN IS TELLING YOU The location of stomach pain can tell you a lot about its causes, but it is important to see a doctor to rule out serious conditions. If the pain feels like it is coming from high up in your stomach or under your rib cage: ◆ If it is associated with heartburn, belching and made worse or relieved by food, it may be caused by acid and could be related to reflux or an ulcer (see Indigestion). ◆ Pain high up in your stomach, which is made worse by exercise, could be angina or heart pain. If the pain is in the middle of your stomach: ◆ If you feel severe pain in the middle area of your stomach going through to your back, this may be related to gall stones.

If the pain is felt either all over your stomach area or low in your stomach: ◆ Pain that’s associated with constipation, bloating, diarrhoea or wind is likely to be coming from the bowel. It may be due to spasm in your digestive tract muscles, in which case antispasmodic medications may help. ◆ The pain could be due to gas, which is often caused by dietary factors (see Gas). Consult a dietitian for advice. ◆ If lower abdominal pain is recent in onset, associated with bleeding or a change in bowel habits, and you are over 40, it could signal a more serious issue.


of Australian adults regularly suffer from stomach aches and cramps.

Here are a few of the most common gut complaints, the potential causes and how to best deal with them. Speak to your doctor before taking any medication or if symptoms persist. DIARRHOEA ◗ Causes: An infection, taking antibiotics, stress, food poisoning or certain foods can all cause it. Chronic or recurring diarrhoea is usually due to bowel disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance or coeliac disease. ◗ Self help: A bout of diarrhoea usually resolves itself in 24 to 48 hours. It’s a good idea to let nature take its course and allow your body to flush out the toxins. Most importantly, make sure you have enough fluids so that you don’t become dehydrated.

CONSTIPATION ◗ Causes: There is usually, but not always, a definite cause for constipation. Changes in diet, travel, stress, or altered work patterns can interrupt an otherwise regular bowel pattern. Certain medications can cause constipation. Most constipation is not serious on its own, but it can be associated with more serious conditions like an underactive thyroid or cancer, so see your doctor if it persists. Simple constipation is related mainly to diet. ◗ Self help: To correct simple constipation ensure you are

Real yogurt in three easy steps:

eating a healthy mix of fibres (see Fibre Facts), drinking plenty of fluids, and exercising regularly. A stool-bulking or softening agent may help. Often an osmotic or stimulant laxative will also be required. GAS ◗ Causes: It is normal for gas to be passed out through the rectum on average between seven and 20 times a day. Most gas comes from swallowing air when you talk, eat or drink. ◗ Self help: Try to modify your diet to reduce the amount of foods that are known to cause gas (see Strong Gas Producers).

Strong gas producers >High-fibre breads and cereals. > Vegetables such as onions. > Legumes (dried beans and peas). > Brassicas (cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli). In the short term you could also try over-thecounter remedies like charcoal tablets, which absorb gas. Other tablets cause gas bubbles to join together, making burping easier and reducing flatus. Peppermint tea and ginger also aid digestion.

Gut reaction Some foods and common ingredients can play havoc with your digestive system if you suffer from an intolerance, causing a range of unpleasant stomach and bowel upsets.

One of the most common food intolerances is to lactose – a carbohydrate found in milk. People with lactose intolerance can’t easily digest this carbohydrate as they do not have enough lactase in their system – an enzyme produced by the small intestine, which breaks down lactose in food. The symptoms usually begin 30 minutes after eating or drinking foods that contain lactose and include: ◆ Nausea. ◆ Abdominal cramps. ◆ Bloating. ◆ Gas. ◆ Diarrhoea. WHAT YOU CAN DO Several tests can be done to identify if you have lactose intolerance. It generally isn’t serious and can be controlled by eliminating excessive amounts of lactose from your diet. Most people can consume 8-10g of lactose a day without a problem. That’s roughly the amount in a small glass of milk (200ml). Choose full-cream rather than low-fat

or skim milk. Full-cream contains more fat, which slows the passage of lactose through your gut, giving your body more time to digest it.

If you have signs and symptoms of food intolerance, talk to your doctor: several tests can be done to identify if you have it or not. Some foods and ingredients that can cause reactions in sensitive people include: ✤ Fructose: Fructose can produce gas, loose stools and discomfort if you have too much of it. It is abundant in honey, apples and pears and their juices. Fructose is often used as a sweetening agent along with sorbitol (see below), especially in foods for diabetics. ✤ Sorbitol: Sorbitol is also widespread in plants,

particularly in apples, pears, cherries, apricots and plums. It is added to low-kilojoule foods, diabetic foods and sugar-free soft drinks, sweets and chewing gum as a stabiliser as well as a sweetener. ✤ Sulphur: Foods rich in sulphur occur naturally but sulphur is commonly added as a preservative to both food and drinks. Sulphites are found in wine and dried fruit. Many processed foods have sulphur added. Sulphites have to be declared on all packaged products. The additive numbers for sulphites are 220-228 and appear in the ingredients list. Foods that naturally contain sulphur include meat, nuts, milk, eggs, broccoli and garlic. ✤ Wheat: In some people wheat products can cause bloating, nausea and abdominal discomfort. This is due to fermentation in the colon of the undigested fibre and starch. Restricting the amount of wheat you eat will control these symptoms. Note: Wheat intolerance and coeliac disease (see Coeliac Disease) are two different issues.


Your gut

Gut disorders The digestive system is complex and so there are several conditions – or digestive disorders – associated with it. Here are a few of the more common ones.

Indigestion, or heartburn, is a sense of burning discomfort usually high in the abdomen under the rib cage or behind the breastbone. It’s more likely to occur after meals, especially after you have eaten a large or fatty meal. Once it begins it might continue intermittently throughout the day and night, occurring when lying down or standing. WHAT YOU CAN DO Occasional indigestion is common and no cause for alarm. Most people can manage the discomfort by making simple changes to their diet and lifestyle. In general, avoiding high-fat diets, limiting caffeine and alcohol, and not smoking are important. Also, the way you eat can have an impact. Take your time to eat. Sit down, chew each mouthful well to break food down properly. And avoid eating immediately before going to bed – allow about three hours for food to digest.

Don’t start a gluten-free diet before being tested for coeliac disease. If you remove gluten from your diet before testing, the results may be falsely negative.

Over-the-counter medications can help but see your doctor to rule out acid reflux or an ulcer, which are two common causes of indigestion.

Coeliac disease is not a food allergy or an intolerance, it is an autoimmune disease triggered by eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, triticale (a hybrid of rye and wheat) and oats. When a person with coeliac disease eats food that contains gluten, an immune reaction occurs, resulting in damage to the lining of the small intestine. This results in an inability to absorb certain nutrients from food.

Eventually, decreased absorption of nutrients (malabsorption) can cause vitamin deficiencies, which can lead to other illnesses including malnutrition, osteoporosis, miscarriage, infertility, and a small but increased risk of some forms of cancer. The exact cause is unknown but it is often inherited. SYMPTOMS > Anaemia. > Gas and bloating. > Diarrhoea or constipation. > Stomach cramps.

> Fatigue, weakness and lethargy. > Nausea and vomiting. > Weight loss – although weight gain is possible. Some people have coeliac disease without even knowing it because they don’t have any obvious symptoms. WHAT YOU CAN DO It is important that you discuss the possibility of coeliac disease with a doctor if you have a close relative with the condition, or if you have been treated for anaemia in the past. A blood test can, in most

IS IT GORD? If you get heartburn symptoms more than twice a week, or if it wakes you from sleep or is severe, see a doctor. Frequent heartburn can be a symptom of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). If you have GORD, you may have a weak lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) or the valve muscle relaxes when it shouldn’t, allowing stomach contents to flow into the oesophagus.


(see Useful Contacts.) Gluten is a protein found in: ◗ Wheat (including spelt). ◗ Rye. ◗ Barley. ◗ Oats

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can occur at any age but is most common between the ages of 20 and 60, and symptoms usually start before age 40. Females are affected more often than males, and symptoms may be worse around menstruation or during times of stress. Among the most common are:


cases, give you an answer, but an accurate diagnosis relies upon proving that the small bowel lining is damaged, which involves taking a tissue sample from your small intestine. A strict gluten-free diet is the only medical treatment for coeliac disease. Removing gluten from the diet enables your gut to heal and your symptoms to improve. Even small amounts of gluten can do harm. A dietitian can give you advice about adopting a gluten-free diet

1 IN 70

> Abdominal pain, usually in the lower abdomen, often worse in the morning and relieved by having a bowel movement or passing wind. > Bloating or a feeling of fullness. > Offensive wind is common. > Diarrhoea. > Constipation. > Erratic bowel movements. You may experience all the symptoms at the same time or just one or two. Symptoms may come and go or be constant and get worse over time. CAUSES Normally the muscles in the digestive tract work in a

TREAT IBS WITH A LOW-FODMAP DIET One of the best ways to alleviate IBS symptoms is to restrict intake of foods that contain a family of carbohydrates known as FODMAPs (fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols), which are poorly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. Researchers at Monash University have developed the Low FODMAP Diet app that applies a‘traffic light system’to simplify FODMAP content: a green light indicates safe foods low in FODMAPs, amber for foods to be eaten in moderation, and red indicates a high level of FODMAPs. From the App Store, $12.99, and Google Play, $9.50.

coordinated fashion, but if you have IBS the muscles contract irregularly and spasm, causing alterations in bowel habits. The exact cause is unknown, but some experts believe the interaction between the brain and bowel is abnormal in people with IBS, causing the nerves controlling the gut to be particularly sensitive. WHAT YOU CAN DO Treatment is generally aimed at alleviating the symptoms. Medications can help but there is also a lot you can do for yourself: ◗ Keep a close eye on your diet and avoid foods that trigger symptoms. ◗ Stop smoking and restrict alcohol intake, as both stimulate bowel movements. ◗ Learn to stress less. Yoga, meditation and massage therapy can help you relax.

The term inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is used to describe two chronic disorders – ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The difference between the two is that the inflammation associated >



Your gut

with Crohn’s disease can occur anywhere in your digestive tract, often spreading deep into the layers of affected tissues. Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, usually affects only the innermost lining of your colon and rectum. CAUSES The cause of IBD is unknown. Scientists do know, however, that IBD is not triggered by diet and it is not contagious. Common symptoms can include: > Diarrhoea. > Bleeding from the bowel. > Mucus in stools or pale, bulky floating stools. > Abdominal pain and discomfort. > Tiredness. > Fever. > Loss of appetite and possibly weight loss. > Nausea and/or vomiting. > Mouth ulcers. > Occasionally, swollen joints, inflamed eyes and skin rashes.

WHAT YOU CAN DO Your doctor will arrange for some tests. Medications can ease symptoms and inflammation. What your doctor prescribes depends largely on the condition, its location and its severity. In some cases, surgery may be required. Although IBD tends to be life-long, many people experience symptom-free spells. Lifestyle changes, good nutrition and stress management can assist with the healing process and help your body respond to medication. Diarrhoea and absorption problems can prevent your body accessing available nutrients, so a healthy, balanced diet is vital. Some people, however, find that when IBD is active, they need a bland, low-fibre diet to reduce stimulation of the muscles in the bowels and ease symptoms. Trial and error will show what suits you best. See a dietitian for advice (see Useful Contacts).

The most serious gut disorder is bowel cancer. It’s the second most common cancer in both men and women in Australia. It causes no symptoms until advanced, so see your doctor without delay if you experience any of the symptoms listed in Alarm Symptoms. You can help reduce your risk of bowel cancer by: ◆ Eating less fat, especially saturated fat. ◆ Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and legumes. ◆ Eating more high-fibre foods such as wholegrain breads and cereals. ◆ Drinking alcohol only in moderation. ◆ Not smoking. ◆ Exercising regularly and maintaining a normal weight.

Remember… ◆ Early diagnosis and removal of polyps is important. ◆ Check if you are in a high-risk group. Go to ◆ Do not ignore rectal bleeding.

ALARM SYMPTOMS You should make a visit to the doctor a priority if you notice any of the following signs and symptoms: ● Any sudden, unexplained change in bowel habits. ● Blood in your stool. ● Constipation that alternates with diarrhoea. ● Rectal pain. ● Thin, pencil-like stools. ● Unexplained weight loss. ● Difficulty or painful swallowing. ● Repeated vomiting or vomiting blood. ● Heartburn associated with exercise. ● Severe pain or pain that is getting worse.

USEFUL CONTACTS The Gut Foundation ❘ Coeliac Australia ❘ Bladder and bowel health ❘ Dietitians Association of Australia ❘ Crohn’s & Colitis Australia ❘ Irritable Bowel Information & Support Association of Australia

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This health book has been compiled using information from The Gut Foundation website. Some information was also sourced from the Better Health Channel, Coeliac Australia and Cancer Council Australia. GENERAL NOTE This is intended as a general introduction to the topic and in no way should be seen as substitute for your own doctor’s or health professional’s advice. All care is taken to ensure that the information contained here is free from error and/or omissions, however, no responsibility can be accepted by the publisher, author, editor or any person involved in the preparation of the material for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the published information. Before commencing any health treatment, you should always consult your doctor. #



Made fresh at home for extra goodness, delicious EasiYo Yogurt has no artificial ingredients and billions of live cultures in every delicious spoonful. HOMEMADE GOODNE SS Store-bought yogurt is often modified with artificial ingredients to give it a longer shelf life. But when you make it yourself at home with EasiYo, you know it’s fresh, tasty and not full of unwanted additives. EasiYo couldn’t be simpler to make. And with live cultures from day one, it’s simply a fresher alternative. Discover the EasiYo difference for yourself.

Bircher Muesli with Pear Serves 4 180g (2 cups) rolled oats/any grainy cereal or muesli 480ml (2 cups) water 250g (1 cup) EasiYo Vanilla yogurt 1 grated pear Honey, to top (optional) Combine the oats or cereal with the water and soak overnight in the fridge. The next morning, drain off any excess moisture and stir through the yogurt and pear. Texture should be thick but smooth. Add extra yogurt or milk to get your desired consistency. Spoon into a serving bowl and top with extra yogurt, pear and honey to taste. Serve immediately.


It's the gut-friendly live cultures, like Lactobacillus acidophilus, that transform milk into thick, creamy yogurt. EasiYo is made from the very finest milk powder and live cultures, and unlike many chilled yogurts it requires no artificial thickeners, stabilisers or gums to maintain its thick creamy texture.

Available in the dessert aisle of your local supermarket.



SCHEUSSLER TISSUE SALTS Mag Phos is traditionally used in Tissue Salt Therapy* for the temporary relief of muscle cramps, spasms and twitches. These easily absorbed micro dose minerals are suitable for the whole family. Available in chewable tablets at Health food stores and Pharmacies. See *Tissue salts are homeopathically prepared formulations. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. CHC71940-0916

Frustrated by painting your fungal nail infection over and over and seeing no improvement? Try Canesten Fungal Nail Treatment Set where you’ll see visible results in four weeks or less, getting you on track to a healthier looking nail. RRP $59.95. CH-00346




Olive Pomegranate Body Lotion contains a luxurious blend of plant extracts including extra virgin olive oil, olive leaf extract and pomegranate fruit extract. The nourishing formulation is easily absorbed, helping your skin retain moisture and leaving it feeling soft and smooth. RRP $14.95.

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The first and only clinically proven foam treatment to regrow hair in women, Women’s REGAINE® Foam is easy to use and integrates into your daily hair care routine. For female hereditary hair loss only. REGAINE® Foam Hair Loss Treatment Women's 2 mths 60g RRP $57.95. REGAINE® Foam Hair Loss Treatment Women's 4 mths 120g RRP $84.95. See Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.





FITNESS MISTAKES Not getting results from your workout? The reason may surprise you, says Pip Harry




eel like youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re training regularly, but getting nowhere? It can be easy to have your fitness goals derailed by small bad habits. Our experts reveal the most common slip-ups in training regimens and how to remedy them.

1 WINGING YOUR WORKOUT It’s a mistake to just ‘wing it’ during a training session. “Working out without a plan is like going to the office and not having a clue what your schedule is or what you’re supposed to do,” says personal trainer Casey Miller.“You may get something done, but you’ve also wasted a lot of time.” Having no plans can also mean you settle into your comfort zone and opt for activities you just like, rather than what’s challenging. Miller suggests checking in with a personal trainer and mapping out a tailored plan of attack, including a warm-up, main set, cool-down and stretching. “To be efficient in the gym, you need to have a specific goal,” explains Miller. “Think beyond just losing weight – you might want to strengthen your legs, improve your flexibility or increase your endurance. “If your goal is targeted, you’ll reach it faster and be able to get to work quickly,” he says. “Having a plan also means you can monitor your progress and make tweaks when needed.”

NOT RECOVERING PROPERLY Skipping rest days is a recipe for sore muscles and will mean training sessions start to drag.“Our ability to‘bounce back’ declines as we age, so we need to become more sensible with our training and focus on quality over quantity,” says personal trainer Rebecca Rule.“It’s okay to do some form of movement or training every day, but it’s wise to break up tougher sessions with more gentle activity, such as yoga, Pilates and foam-rolling.” Lack of quality sleep will also slow down progress on your fitness and weight-loss goals, says Rule. “Deep restorative sleep after training is important as it can lower the stress hormone cortisol and assist in fat loss.” >




NOT BEING HYDRATED Forgetting to fill up your water bottle can make for a lacklustre workout.“Dehydration affects physical and mental performance and can cause dizziness, fatigue, headaches and cramping,” says Rule. “Conversely, good hydration will regulate body temperature and lubricate joints.” Don’t wait until you’re parched to guzzle some H20.“It's best to hydrate prior to sweating or feeling thirsty as there’s usually significant fluid loss prior to these body mechanisms.” Your water bottle is your best gym buddy, says personal trainer Justin Rosales.“Fill it up 30 minutes before you train, and consume it beforehand,” says Rosales.“Do the same 30 minutes after your workout. For the rest of the day carry a water bottle with you and take small sips often.”




ALWAYS RELYING ON YOUR PL AYLIST Blasting your music during every session can lead to a loss of mindful, connected movement. “Rather than ramping up your music at every workout, take off your headphones and focus on the quality of your movement,” suggests Rule. “If you’re running, concentrate on your breathing or the placement of each foot as it connects with the treadmill or ground. When weight training, focus on the neuromuscular connection (how your mind and muscle work together) and visualise the muscle you are working. This will enhance the quality of the movement.” If you’re training outside, try turning down the volume or leaving your music at home sometimes. “A break from your music will help you refocus on your surroundings, put you ‘in the moment’ and melt away stress,” says Rosales.

Bypassing a warm-up is a classic mistake.“As we age we are accumulating years of repetitive movements and a growing number of niggles, aches and pains,” says Rule. “Add high volume training or frequent HIIT (high-intensity interval training) sessions, without a warm-up, and these niggles could become more serious injuries.” Aim for 10 minutes of warm-up. Start by using a foam roller to reduce knots, trigger points and scar tissue and follow up with dynamic actions like lunging and bridge poses, which take the joints through a range of movement.“This type of warm-up will increase joint lubrication, tissue and core temperature, as well as fire up the nervous system,” says Rule.“Stretch at the end of the workout to help muscles relax and return to resting length, and improve flexibility.”

Cardio doesn’t have to mean long, boring workouts on the bike or treadmill.“Long cardio sessions at a steady pace aren’t a mistake from a fitness perspective, but doing the same thing every time you hit the gym is, as it could lead to overuse injuries, results plateaus and lack of motivation,” says Rosales. “New challenges and a varied program not only help to keep you motivated, but will challenge your body and continually improve your fitness. Swap cardio machines for a training circuit of HIIT exercises like burpees and squat jumps, with short periods of rest. It’s intense and will get your heart rate up, and it will build more lean muscle tissue, which will help burn kilojoules more efficiently.” #




Are you one of the four million Australians who sometimes struggle to hear? Well, imagine if you could easily test your hearing online for free and order a hearing aid, all from the comfort of your own home. This is where Blamey Saunders hears can help! IT’S THE SMALL SOUNDS IN LIFE THAT COUNT LISTEN TO THIS.

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FwhatI weT learned N EthisSyearS A year is a long time when it comes to exercise research. Helen Foster reveals what we discovered in 2016

When is the best time of the month to build muscle? What exercise is as effective as running, but twice as fun? This was the year we found out the answers to these questions – plus lots more useful fitness facts. Here we share our discoveries…

When it comes to burning kilojoules and improving fitness, that is. In fact, you’ll blast your way through 35kJ per minute jumping on a trampoline – the same amount as running at a pace of 10km an hour. However, it feels easier than running at that speed, say experts from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the US.

Menopause saps your workout motivation If you seem to have lost your love of training in your 40s, don’t blame your willpower, blame your hormones. As levels fluctuate in the years up to and after menopause, they trigger a knock-on effect in the reward part of the brain that actually means we don’t get the same joy from exercising that we used to. “But simply being aware of this helps, allowing you to make the choice to just move anyway,” says Dr Victoria Vieira-Potter from the University of Missouri in the US.

Working out makes your brain act 10 years younger It’s confirmed. Exercise delays the ageing of the brain. Keep moving into your 70s and you’ll have a brain that performs as if it’s 10 years younger than those of your peers. We now understand why this happens: exercise releases a substance called cathepsin B from the muscles and this is involved in healthy brain function and memory.

Strength training should be part of every woman’s fitness routine to counteract the decrease in muscle mass that occurs with age. “To optimise results concentrate your strength sessions in the first two weeks of your cycle,” says researcher Dr Lisbeth Wikström-Frisén. That’s the 14 days from when your period starts. Oestrogen levels are high at this time and oestrogen is known to be a muscle-building hormone.

It’s not a common complaint but some people can break out in an itchy rash when they do exercises that involve impact, like running or dance classes. The problem, called vibratory urticaria, runs in families and is triggered when cells in the body release the allergy-causing chemical histamine in relation to vibration or impact.

There’s a growing list of diseases that exercise can protect against, and this year cervical cancer was added to that list. Exercisers are two-anda-half times less likely to be diagnosed with the disease than sedentary folk and just 30 minutes of activity a week reduces your risk.

Getting active after a hard day at work might not seem like something you want to do, but it’s the best way to prevent falling into the ‘I’ve had a hard day’ treat food trap. People who relax after a mentally taxing day at work eat more kilojoules that evening than those who do even just 15 minutes of exercise, says Professor William Neumeier from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He suspects exercise produces chemicals that refuel the brain, making cravings less likely. >

If you’re a reluctant exerciser or just want to give your session a power-up, try having a coffee before you work out. According to Professor Samuele Marcora from the UK’s University of Kent, it’ll give you a little caffeine buzz that actually makes you think exercise is easier than it really is, boosting motivation. It takes about 20 minutes for caffeine to enter your system, so try a small black coffee about that long before your session.

If you head off for your workout thinking it will improve your health, sculpt your body and that you’re going to love every second of it, you’re more likely to get the results you imagine, says Dr Hendrik Mothes from Germany’s University of Freiburg. “If you’re not in the mood to exercise, try and improve your mindset before you go,” he suggests. “Spend a few minutes imagining what you’ll get out of the session and how good you’ll feel afterwards.”

You don’t build muscle as well if you drink after you exercise. Alcohol actually interrupts the process of muscle growth that makes us stronger and fitter. “No-one has studied how long you should leave between a workout and alcohol but my advice would be to keep alcohol intake to a minimum on days you’re lifting weights,” says Professor Jakob Vingren from the University of North Texas.

It gives your pedalling speed a greater boost than simply doing more cycling each week. As you build more muscle you expend less energy per pedal rotation, which then frees up the extra energy you need to pedal faster. Try two 20-minute leg training sessions a week incorporating moves like squats, lunges and leg presses.



Working out with a friend is often suggested as a way to stay motivated and now it’s proven – people with a new fitness buddy are more likely to exercise. But, choose wisely. According to Dr Pamela Rackow from the UK’s University of Aberdeen, the best results come not just from a buddy who turns up, but from one who offers encouragement and support.

Forty per cent of women experience breast pain while riding horses – yet only 19 per cent of large-breasted riders, and 14 per cent of smaller breasted women actually wear a specialist sports bra when riding. Interestingly, not only will you suffer less aches by making the swap, your horse will be happier. If a rider’s posture is tense (which may happen if you’re trying to avoid breast bounce), the horse picks up on this and this increases its heart rate and stress level.

Just to prove that you don’t need to be pumping iron or sweating buckets to get benefits from exercise, we now know that playing golf adds five years to the average life span. “A round of golf means being outside for four or five hours and walking at a fast pace for 6km or 7km, something which is known to be good for health,” says Professor Anders Ahlbom from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. #





ears ago, if you strolled into a cosmetics department for an olive oil lipstick or almond oil mascara, the pickings would be slim. Fast forward to today and effective eco-offerings boasting natural ingredients span several categories and are more sophisticated than ever. And women are taking notice: a recent study found that 35 per cent of cosmetics consumers plan to spend more money on earth-friendly finds in the next two years. For good reason, too – they’re free from chemicals and other nasties, making them better for you and the environment. We’ve rounded up the top green beauty buys across skin, hair and make-up so you can look your best, naturally. >


Best for…

Best for…

The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution, $24.95. With 100 per cent Community Trade tea tree oil, which is a strong antibacterial agent, this fast-absorbing serum penetrates deep into pores to clear dirt and debris.

Dr Roebuck’s Eye Regeneration Cream, $39.95. Dab this around your eyes to fake a full eight hours’ sleep. Dark circlees appear lighter and excess baggage is reduced thanks to a cocktail of seven natural actives. Best for…

Best for… Antipodes Reincarnation Pure Facial Exfoliator, $42. Buff away dead skin cells with this gentle scrub. Avocado oil and jojoba beads refine texture and replenish skin without causing irritation.

Jurlique Calendula Redness Rescue 85. Restorative Treatment Serum, $8 Soothe sore skin with one pump. Calendula extract comforts and prickly pear extract replenishes to calm irritated complexions. Best for…

Best for…


Mádara Time Miracle Ultimate Facelift Day Cream, $83. Slather on this luxe cream for a tightening effect. A cell-repairing bio-complex is combined with hyaluronic acid for firmer, more supple skin.

The Jojoba Company Natural Pigmentation Oil, $39.95. Give dark spots a shove. A blend of jojoba and vitamin E softens skin, while powerful plant extracts and antioxidants fade and prevent future pigmentation.

Best for…

Best for…

Aveda Tulasāra Bright Concentrate, $80. Liquorice root extract works to minimise discolouration, molasses extract evens tone and glucosamine promotes cell turnover.

Estelle & Thild Super BioActive Age Control Serum, $107. A certified organic super serum, it works to smooth fine lines and restore suppleness for springy, youthful skin.

Best for… Mŭќti Deep Cleanse Antioxidant Masque, $74.95. Your shiny skin will love this purifying mask. Made from bioactive native extracts including Kakadu plum, it detoxifies and balances oil production. Best for… Iluka Fine Line Eye Serum, $29.99. Forget Botox. Smooth fine lines and furrows around the eyes with this hardworking cream that contains cucumber extract, marine collagen and aloe vera. Best for… Burt’s Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream, $29.95. Formulated with soothing aloe and hydrating cotton extract, this light lotion promises a moisture surge without causing redness or irritation. Best for… A’kin Pure Radiance Rosehip Oil, $19.95. Give thirsty skin a tall glass of water with this replenishing oil. Apply on its own or mix with your night cream for a potent dose of antioxidants. >


Best Zuii Certified Organic Flora Blush in Melon, $28.95. Fake a post-Pilates flush in seconds with this highly pigmented powder, which provides a pop of colour and a dose of skinsoothing chamomile. Best Pixi by Petra Shea Butter Lip Balm, $15. The rich shea butter formula soothes the driest of lips, and the sheer wash of colour provides a hint of tint. Best bareMinerals bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation, $42. This liquid mineral base blends seamlessly and contains coconut and radianceboosting vitamin C for a lit-from-within


effect without silicone, fragrance and oil. Best Nude by Nature Mineral Finishing Veil, $39.95. Keep your base in place with a dust of this translucent mineral powder. The satin-finish formula controls oil and shine and camouflages fine lines. Best Dr Hauschka Kajal Eyeliner 05 Black, $30. Soft, smudge-proof and a cinch to use, create a cat’s eye or a subtle smoky effect with this certified natural pencil. Best

Eco Tools Brow Shaping Set, $17.99. Keep your

brows groomed with this all-in-one kit, which contains a brow fill brush, angled brush, brow groomer and comb, and brow stencil. Best Vapour Illusionist Concealer, $34.50. Hide dark circles and banish blemishes with this full coverage formula. Boasting sunflower seed oil, stash the stick in your handbag for quick touch-ups. Best Jane Iredale In Touch Highlighter in Complete, $49. Packed with radiance-boosting tangerine oil and vitamin C, blend this creamy highlighter to the high points of your face for a soft-focus effect.

Best Ere Perez Almond Oil Mascara, $29.95. For those wanting a fuller flutter, you’ll love this. Organic almond oil strengthens and lengthens lashes, while vitamin E stimulates growth. Best

Eco Tools Blending and Bronzing Brush, $24.99. Soft, synthetic bristles allow you to create an even sun-kissed glow with bronzer or carve killer cheekbones when paired with blush. Best Nude by Nature Natural Illusion Pressed Eyeshadow in Seashell, $17.95. Champagne shades suit all eye colours, and this velvety formula is enriched with desert lime and quandong to help protect the delicate eye area. Best Bite Beauty Luminous Crème Lipstick in Sake, $36.95. A universally flattering berry shade provides kiss-proof colour, while potent antioxidant resveratrol fends off free radicals. >


Best for…

Best for…

O&M Frizzy Logic Shine Serum, $35.15. Smooth frizz with a few drops of this serum, which contains a blend of native Australian ingredients including certified organic argan and macadamia oils.

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo, $29.95. Refresh limp locks and add extra bounce in a few sprays. The light mist absorbs excess sebum, while sea buckthorn berry boosts hair health. Best for…

and conditions without stripping hair colour. Best for… Hairprint One Hair Color Restoring Kit, $54.95. This treatment works to restore the melanin pigment missing from grey strands in just 75 minutes.

Best for… Andalou Naturals Age Defying Thickening Spray, $14.95. Spritz to damp strands to fortify hair fibres and improve texture. Fruit stem cells combine with a vitamin B complex to enhance growth.

Acure Clarifying Shampoo, $16.95. Clinically proven, this organic formula promises a deep cleanse to remove product build-up without stripping natural oils.

Best for…

Best for…

Grown Alchemist Colour Protect Shampoo and Conditioner, $39.95 each. Boasting eight amino acids from quinoa, as well as antioxidants and fatty acids, this duo cleanses

Sukin Protein Hair Treatment, $12.95. Fix frayed ends with this once-weekly treatment. Wheat protein fortifies split ends, sesame nourishes and chamomile soothes dry strands.

Best for…

Kelapa Organics Intensive Conditioning Treatment, $34.95. Organic coconut and argan oils provide a hydration hit to smooth and strengthen the hair cuticle.



Best for… L’Occitane Sublime Repairing Oil, $36. Apply this multi-use product for a potent dose of five essential oils to soften, replenish and protect dry and damaged lengths.

Best for… Ecostore Dandruff Control Shampoo, $10.49. Massage into your scalp to fight flakes. Thanks to a cocktail of essential oils and natural ingredients, this won’t irritate or dry out hair. Best for… OGX Coconut Curls Curling Hair Butter, $17.99. Heaving with coconut, shea butter and citrus oils, leave it in as a replenishing treatment after shampooing, or use as a deep conditioner and rinse out. Best for…

Weleda Oat Replenishing Treatment, $19.95. Made with organic ingredients including oat extract, sea buckthorn oil and shea butter, it’s ideal for repairing damage caused by hot tools or chemical processing. #




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Orange crush 1







or thousands of years, people have turned to the healing properties of water. With its remarkable ability to alter the body’s blood flow, water therapy is said to treat everything from skin concerns to muscle pain. While the Romans relaxed in bathhouses and Native Americans purified their bodies in sweat lodges, cultures such as ancient Greece and Egypt have long believed in the power of water to treat illness. So what water therapies are effective today? We went in search of some of the best treatments to boost your health and improve your mood.

You’re in a pitch-black pod that’s warmed to body temperature and pumped with half a tonne of magnesium Epsom salts. For a full hour, the body is completely afloat in an environment with no brain or nervous system stimulation. It might sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but float tanks have a laundry list of benefits. Forty minutes into the session the mind ‘switches off’, producing pain-dulling beta-endorphins and stress-busting dopamine, says float facilitator Jonathan Gibbs. “There is no pressure on any one part of the body, which offers huge relief for painful or chronic injuries.” Plus, floating can improve sleep through a reduction of the stress

hormones cortisol and adrenalin. “And better sleep means more creativity and improved problem-solving skills,” says Gibbs. What else? Find float tanks or pods at dedicated flotation therapy centres. Expect to pay from $60 per float.

If you’re in need of some serious TLC, look into Watsu, a combination of shiatsu massage, joint mobilisation and muscle stretching performed in warm water. “You’re cradled in the arms of your therapist in a warm pool, and stretched with beautiful free-flowing movements and then moments of stillness,” says Brigid Walsh from the Hunter Valley’s Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa in NSW. “People

say it creates a ‘womb-like effect’, which brings relaxation and a feeling of being nurtured.” The warm water also acts as a muscle relaxant, making it a great choice for people with musculoskeletal issues or chronic pain, says Walsh. What else? Find it at specialist spas that have a trained Watsu therapist. A massage costs about $200.

to constrict, encouraging blood flow to internal organs and reducing inflammation. By contrast, the heat helps to relax the body, causing blood cells to dilate which reduces blood pressure and eases muscle tension. All this circulation gives the body an immunity workout, boosting white blood cells and reducing the incidence of colds and flus. What else? Find it at a naturopathy clinic that offers hydrotherapy treatments. Expect to pay about $50.

Struggling to shake a stubborn cold? Try constitutional hydrotherapy, a naturopathic method that involves using compresses soaked in hot and cold water over the chest area and lower back, and low-volt electrical stimulation. The cold water causes your blood cells

Don’t be deceived by the name: a steam ‘bath’ rarely involves a tub. “It’s a fully tiled room, usually with low lighting and soft music, pumped full of steam,” says Alan Butters from Sauna & Steam. Often >


Seaweed wraps can also be an effective way to shed a few centimetres, as the high concentration of iodine helps to speed up the metabolism and burn fat.

If you’re struggling to move your body after a muscle injury or a shoulder repair, try aquatic physiotherapy. Unlike water aerobics, it’s all about gentle therapeutic movements in a warm pool. The buoyancy of water virtually eliminates gravity, greatly reducing body weight. This diminishes your risk of injury, making it a safe option for post-surgery rehabilitation. “The viscosity of the water assists in the reduction of swelling,” says physiotherapist Paul Haskin.“Most hydrotherapy pools are heated to 35°C, which has a beneficial effect on circulation and soft tissue injuries.”

What else? Find it at spas that offer thalassotherapy treatments. Expect to pay upwards of $80 for a treatment.

What else? Find it at a physiotherapy practice with a hydrotherapy pool. Cost starts at about $60 per session.

What else? Find them in local gyms or aquatic centres, which often have steam rooms as well as saunas. The cost is usually included in the admission.

Ever noticed how your skin seems to glow after a day at the beach? Thalassotherapy – the therapeutic use of ocean bathing and marine products – is often used to treat acne, eczema and improve the appearance of ageing skin. The benefits of treatments like seawater baths and seaweed

body wraps all come down to a potent concentration of seaweed and minerals. “Ocean water contains a unique blend of nutrients that only occurs in nature,” says Luke Simpson, founder of Ocean Fix, a range of therapeutic bottled ocean water products.“The mineral content makes it very effective for eczema,” he says.

Turns out a soak in a hot bath can do more than just relax your body, with studies showing mineral-enriched baths are effective in detoxifying and treating areas of pain. “A hot bath is


very beneficial to anyone wanting to soothe muscles, calm the nerves and get a good night’s sleep,” says Karan Gilmour from Western Australia’s Ka’Da Spa. Minerals such as magnesium salts further amp up the benefits.“It’s been proven that the skin can absorb the salts which may

help reduce symptoms of stress and fatigue, and relieve stiff muscles by stimulating blood flow,” says Gilmour. What else? You can get the benefits from your own bathtub, or for a treatment find it at holistic spas. Expect to pay about $50. #


referred to as ‘wet saunas’, humid steam rooms help congestion and breathing difficulties by effectively clearing your airways of any gunk. They also help to relax the muscles and mind. “Aromatics can be run through the steam, which is a gem after a stressful day,” says Butters.

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Leading wellness experts reveal the daily practices that invigorate and sustain them. By Bonnie Bayley

t’s been said that what you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while, and that’s particularly true when it comes to your health and wellbeing. Introducing even one small, positive habit into your daily life can have a big impact in the long-term, as these experts explain.


Victoria O’Sullivan, naturopath

“One ritual that I swear by is two capfuls of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, sipped with each meal. Apple cider vinegar increases stomach acid, helping with the digestion of protein and the absorption of minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium. With improved protein digestion, you feel full for longer and have less crashes in energy following your meal. I choose unfiltered apple cider vinegar that has the ‘mother’, a cloudy substance that contains good bacteria.”

Duncan Peak, founder of Power Living yoga

“I do yin yoga as soon as I wake up each day. Cats and dogs get up in the morning and stretch. They want to bring a sense of fluidity back to the body, and we are no different. Yin yoga uses the same stretches you see in vinyasa (flow) yoga, but you hold poses at 60 per cent effort, for up to five minutes. It focuses not just on releasing muscles, but targeting connective tissue such as fascia. Each morning I do four to six poses, and each pose leaves me feeling like I have regained full range of flexibility, with abundant energy flow.”

Rebecca Campbell, spiritual teacher and author of Light Is The New Black

“My daily wellness ritual is a form of meditation called Light Sourcing. For less than 15 minutes, you ‘hand over’ the things that you are striving for, struggling with and trying to heal, and allow yourself to be replenished. It’s an ultimate prayer of surrender, where you connect with the ‘universal source energy’ and allow yourself to rest, be filled up and receive the gifts the universe has for you. This daily ritual enables me to connect with my intuition and fill up my inner well, so I’m not running on empty.”

Dr Vishal Sharma, practitioner at the Ayurvedic Wellness Centre Sydney Mim Beim, naturopath and author of Natural Remedies: An A-Z of Cures For Health & Wellbeing

“Every day, I practise a breathing technique called Buteyko. It involves breathing slowly through the nose, instead of the mouth. Throughout the day, I’ll bring awareness to how I’m breathing – it’s basically mindfulness in action. It improves circulation and oxygenation and switches on the parasympathetic (relaxing) nervous system. Since I’ve been practising it, I’ve had no asthma or hayfever and my anxiety levels are way down. I’m able to cope with a lot more and even if I am faced with stressors, I respond to them better.”

Dr John Demartini, performance and behaviour specialist

“My daily wellness habit is taking an Ayurvedic herbal compound called triphala. I take it early in the morning with two glasses of warm water on an empty stomach. Triphala (the legendary ‘three fruits in one’) has been used for thousands of years in India. It is made up of three components: haritaki, a liver and digestive aid, amalaki, a super antioxidant, and vibhitaki, a colon cleanser and detoxifying herb. The key benefits I get from taking it include detoxifying the liver and whole body, improving metabolism and reduced ama (undigested food residue) accumulation.”

“I have a list of internal dialogue statements or affirmations that I say to myself every morning. I’ve been doing this since I was 18, and I don’t think there’s anything on my list that hasn’t come true. I have hundreds of them, but some examples are: ‘I love what I do and I do what I love’, ‘I’m an international professional speaker travelling the world inspiring millions of people to live extraordinary lives’, ‘I’m a master of persistence, presence, love and gratitude’ and ‘I’m a prolific writer and a prodigious encyclopaedist’. They serve as a reminder of what’s highest in priority to me, because if you don’t fill your day with high-priority actions that inspire you, your life will fill up with low-priority distractions that don’t.” >

Carolyn McCallum, director of Feng Shui Harmony

Dr Nat Kringoudis, Chinese medicine practitioner

“My sleep routine before bed is a priority. I ensure all devices are shut down by 10pm, to give my eyes a rest from the blue light emitted from screens, which can confuse our brain with day and night. I generally then have a shower, and then read for 30 minutes. Once I’m in bed, I do some diaphragmatic breathing. I’ve


found this routine gives me more restful sleep, more balanced hormones and less signs of excess oestrogen in my body, which leads to issues like long menstrual cycles and weight gain.”

Cassie MendozaJones, naturopath, kinesiologist, author of You Are Enough

“I make time each day to tune into myself and reconnect with my own energy. Some days it’s just making time for a yoga class, on others it might be more involved, such as doing some journalling, using energetic essences and oracle or angel cards. Other times, it might be a short meditation or a walk around the block. It’s important for me to do this because life is busy! Some days I feel a little bombarded with outside‘stuff’, so tuning in helps me to clear what I no longer need, which helps if I’m feeling overwhelmed.”

“As soon as I wake, I consider what I’m grateful for. Sometimes this is as simple as a comfy bed or being able to breathe clean fresh air, because I live in such a beautiful environment. Even in the face of grief or disappointment, there’s always something positive in our lives, for example, having eyesight or a home. I then meditate, sometimes just for five minutes, noticing my breath and setting an intention for the day. This ritual helps me begin each day in the parasympathetic or‘rest and digest’ nervous system, balancing my mind and body and preparing me for the day’s challenges.” #


“Each day I welcome the chi or positive energy into my home. I do this by opening the blinds in my bedroom and letting the light flood in. I also open the windows to allow the fresh air in. This ritual enables chi to flow via light and air into my sacred space. I take a moment to stand there and breathe in the chi, which welcomes the energy of the day.”

Sharon Kolkka, general manager and wellness director, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

o move forward in the new year, we must first farewell the old, says spiritual teacher and healer Juliet Martine. “Numerologically, 2017 is a number one year and the beginning of a new nine-year cycle in our lives, so it’s particularly pertinent to bring closure to this period.” Try these rituals to farewell the old year and welcome the new.

The end of the year is a reflective time, as you reminisce on both the highlights and heartaches you experienced. Turn this process into a powerful ritual, by writing down the best things that happened in 2016, and thanking the universe for them.“Then, write down the so-called negatives, asking yourself what your lessons were and the ways you grew personally from each challenge,” advises energy healer and holistic counsellor Nicole Bayliss.“If you wish, you can burn each list, which is symbolic of letting the year go.” Next, write down everything you wish for in the year ahead. “Thank the universe in advance for these gifts and let it know you are willing to clear and heal any limiting beliefs that are blocking these things from coming to you,” advises Bayliss.


In feng shui, it’s believed that our homes are like energetic records that absorb the vibrations of any conflict, stress or illness. Doing a ritual called space clearing helps remove any stuck energies of the year that’s been, so you can start the new year afresh. First, tidy and declutter your home.“Then, starting at the front door, walk around your house in an anticlockwise direction, going around each room ringing a bell or clapping your hands,” advises feng shui consultant Natasha Watkins.“As you go, think‘I’m letting go of all the things I don’t need in my life’.” Repeat holding incense or a smudge stick (a bunch of dried herbs tied together), saying ‘I invite new opportunities (or whatever it is you want) into my home’.


Standing near an ocean or lake, look for a small rock, then hold it in both hands, facing the water. “Think of the things you don’t want to take from this year into the next,” advises spiritual practitioner and modern witch Stacey Demarco. “One by one, feel what it’s like to have each of those burdens, and breathe those feelings out into the rock.” Checking carefully that there’s no-one nearby, throw the rock into the water, saying ‘Be gone!’, then wash your hands in the water. “You’ve just used a cleansing body of water to take away what you no longer need,” says Demarco.

Mandalas are often detailed, geometric works of art, however they don’t need to be. “The whole purpose of a mandala is to create in the physical whatever energy you are reflecting on,” says Martine. She suggests drawing a large circle on some paper, then sitting quietly, contemplating the year that’s been. “Use textas or pencils to draw whatever you are moved to draw within the circle, without judging it,” says Martine. You could also create a mandala in nature, using twigs, rocks and leaves. Afterwards, you may want to dispose of your mandala (for instance, burying it in the ground) to symbolise farewelling the old year.

Find a doorway in your home, which will serve as an energetic gateway or ‘threshold’ between the old year and the new one. “Prepare a list of the things you want to leave behind, and a list of the things you do want, holding one list in each hand,” advises Demarco. Standing on one side of the doorway (which represents the old year), read aloud the things you want to farewell from your life. Then, scrunch up the paper and throw it on the ground as you jump through the threshold. “Take the list of things you want with you, then welcome them in aloud, on the other side,” says Demarco. #


Ready, steady, Get the insider tips for making your next trip a breeze. By Michael Gebicki

A little bit of expertise goes a long way, and so it is with travel. It’s a fast-evolving landscape with an ever-widening gap between those with the know-how and those without. Here are some apps, gear, fixes and workarounds that will keep you in the fast lane.


Google Translate is the must-have app for those places where you just can’t get your tongue around the local lingo. Type in what you want to say and back comes the translation. If you’ve got a wi-fi connection, say whatever you want and the app speaks it back, in Afrikaans, Welsh, Mandarin, Maltese or dozens more languages. Hold your camera up to text – a subway station sign on the Moscow Metro or a Thai menu – and Google translates

it instantly. For iDevices or Android. Time Out is the essential city guide, with an ever-expanding list of cities, from Accra to Zagreb. Sociability is its strong point, with bars, restaurants, attractions and events under its all-seeing eyes. The event finder is an excellent tool, with the most popular concerts, festivals or one-off happenings at your fingertips. For iDevices or Android.

Some smart preparation could ensure your next holiday is your best!

The ZUS smart car charger plugs into a vehicle’s cigarette lighter and gives you two USB charge ports. It also tells you via a smartphone app where you are parked – ideal for when you’ve left your hire car in mystifying European streets that all look alike. The Grid-It Organizer is a grid of wide, stretchy rubberised bands that lasso pens, charge cables, travel adaptors and phones and hold them firmly in place – perfect for when you’re flying. Available in many different sizes.

A seat in the Quiet Zone cabin on AirAsia X flights and ScootinSilence on Scoot costs just a few dollars more and it’s worth it. Since travellers flying budget airlines are looking for the cheapest possible ticket, they aren’t inclined to pay the small extra fee for flying with a little bit more comfort, and these cabins typically see far fewer passengers than the

standard economy cabin. Children under 12 are not allowed in ScootinSilence, nor under-10s in the AirAsia X Quiet Zone., Moisturisers, hand sanitisers, detergents and even soap can raise a red flag if you’re swabbed by an explosive detection device at the airport. Many of these products contain glycerine and this is one of the substances that explosive detection devices scan for. False positive readings happen all the time, and security personnel should be aware there are many products that can falsely trigger a red alert but that pose no danger – but you can expect to be grilled.

For a modest deposit, STA Travel lets you lock in your flight booking and pay the balance later. Available for most flight tickets, just pay a $99 deposit and your seat and ticket price is held, with the balance due 60 days before departure. In some countries your waiter will probably go home to a more interesting meal than the one he brings to your table. Home is often where the gastronomic stars rule in the kitchen, and there are now several websites such as Traveling Spoon, EatWith and Feastly that put you in touch with locals for a home-cooked family meal. travelingspoon. com,,, Waiting until the last minute to book airfares is a losing game most of the time. Airlines release their cheapest fares first, generally 11 months in advance, and they’re the first

to go. Prices then ratchet higher as departure time approaches. However, hotels that find themselves with too many empty beds will often slash prices close to the date. Cruise lines will do the same, although luxury cruise lines will rarely drop prices just to fill cabins., cruising., Not all economy class seats are equal and many airlines sell their best seats for a few extra dollars. If any of these seats are unsold, they can be yours. Just smile and ask at the check-in desk – you might get a nice surprise. # 129

Q. I’m too embarrassed to ask my GP about this: when I open my bowels, I have to wipe several times. I think I felt some soft lumpy skin at the opening. What could this be? Australians spend a lot of time outdoors and therefore we all need to be aware of skin cancer prevention and check-ups. You should look at your own skin regularly and any new skin lesion should be checked by your doctor. You should have scheduled skin checks annually if you fall into one of these groups: 1. Hair colour – naturally fair or redhead. 2. Multiple moles – more than 50. 3. Family history of melanoma. 4. Previous skin cancer of any type. 5. Sunbed use.

Firstly, never be too embarrassed to discuss anything with your GP – we’re experts in ‘embarrassing’things and comfortable checking out any part of the body! It sounds like you have anal skin tags, which can form following haemorrhoids or anal fissures. It’s important to get your GP to examine you as, although this is the likely diagnosis, another possibility is genital warts. Both can be treated. In the meantime, try baby wipes to clean this area after you have opened your bowels. Don’t forget, these shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet but put in the rubbish bin.

SINCE I RETURNED FROM BALI THREE WEEKS AGO I HAVE HAD REPEATED BOUTS OF DIARRHOEA AND CRAMPS. WILL TABLETS TO STOP THE DIARRHOEA HELP? Taking anti-diarrhoeal medications at this stage may stop the diarrhoea but there could be an underlying infectious agent that needs treating. As a general rule, when you have diarrhoea following a trip overseas, you should see your GP if it lasts for more than five days, if you have a persistent fever or if you have blood in your bowel motions. Your GP will order stool tests, including a new test called a faecal pathogens PCR, to check for bacterial and parasitic infections that may require specific medication to eradicate.


‘Keto rash’ is the colloquial term for prurigo pigmentosa, a rare inflammatory skin condition of unknown cause. It usually starts as itchy red lumps that eventually fade but can leave pigmented marks on the skin in a symmetrical pattern on the chest and back. It seems to be more common in people who go on fasts or no-carb diets as part of a weight-loss or body-building program. This causes the body to produce excess ketones (substances produced when the body breaks down fat for energy), hence the name ‘keto rash’. Often the rash will resolve by simply re-introducing some carbohydrates into the diet. Sometimes using a tetracycline antibiotic (also used in acne) is required. There is no treatment for the residual excess pigment but it usually resolves with time. With the increasing incidence of ketogenic diets, it’s predicted that keto rash will become more common.

Q. I recently started seeing a therapist. I’ve had a few sessions and feel much better, but my therapist has recommended I stay in therapy. If I’m feeling better, why would I need to keep seeing a therapist?

It’s awful to feel excluded. And it can be draining to have to endure office politics – but you will only exhaust yourself if you try to work out why they are shutting you out. It could be they feel threatened by you, or fearful their little group has been invaded. Be reassured this is about them – not you. You have been hired to do a job, be efficient and pleasant to your co-workers – but stay focused on doing your job well and moving ahead with your career.


In the early stages of therapy you can often leave each session feeling relaxed and refreshed. You’ll feel greatly relieved as the issues you’ve been bottling up are finally being heard. But the goal of psychotherapy is not a ‘quick fix’. It’s a change process that takes time and helps you grow in self-awareness, understanding and acceptance. Speak to your therapist about your concerns. He or she should be able to explain to you why you need long-term therapy and how the process works.

Age is irrelevant to finding a partner, so that isn’t an issue here. What is interesting is your use of the phrases ‘happily ever after’ and ‘the one’. These are fantasy terms – which makes me think you’ve been looking for something that doesn’t exist outside of Bridget Jones’ Diary. All relationships are two-way streets, requiring compromise and work to make them fulfilling. When you let go of your quest for finding ‘the one’ you might be pleasantly surprised with how quickly you connect with someone.

Early menopause can increase the risk of depression and anxiety. What can make your situation even more difficult is your friends, who you would normally confide in, may not understand how you feel because they haven’t experienced menopause – and may even be having babies. How well you deal with this will depend on your coping skills, support networks and individual circumstances. Try to think about your current roles and what gives you purpose. Most of us have many fulfilling roles which we overlook when we get stuck wanting to fulfil a particular role but can’t. It’s essential that you get treatment for any long-term mood changes. Visit to find a psychologist in your area.


Unfortunately, much like wrinkles, cellulite is something we can’t completely avoid. As we get older the skin begins to thin and the strands of connective tissue become thicker. Add a bit of extra post-30s fat and all of a sudden the dreaded dimples are much more visible! However, we can definitely help reduce cellulite by eating well and having a healthy body fat percentage as well as increasing

muscle mass through regular weight training to encourage a more toned physique. To help the appearance of your legs, train them at least three times a week. Include at least three different leg exercises, two sets of 12-15 reps, as well as exercises that target all angles of the legs (laterally as well as back and front), for example squats, side lunges, sumo squats and side step-ups.

Q.WHICH IS BETTER FOR A CORE WORKOUT – PILATES OR YOGA? While there are similarities and benefits to both practices, Pilates is much more focused on core training than yoga. However, it’s important to remember that yoga does still incorporate core work, so ideally it would be great to do both but it’s ultimately it’s up to what feels right and works for you.


You will benefit from a daily routine of doing each of the following exercises: forward flexion (where the chin approaches the chest); backward extension (look towards the ceiling); rotating head to the right and left (look to the right, pause, then look to the left); and lateral flexion to the right and left (where the ear drops towards the shoulder). Aim to do these a few times a day, holding each move for up to 30 seconds. Move the head slowly, and never push to discomfort.

The smaller intrinsic muscles in our feet can have a tendency to become lazy and weaken due to wearing shoes all the time. This leads to the bigger muscles of the feet over-compensating, which can then cause further problems. I suggest walking around the inside of your home barefoot to start off with and then include basic daily exercises that consist of sitting down and repeating the following at least five times each: ➜ Spread the toes out as much as possible, hold, relax, repeat. ➜ Create 20 circles in the air with your foot and then reverse. ➜ Point and flex the foot 20 times in the air. ➜ Lift the big toe only and then progress to lifting one toe at a time. ➜ Lift a sock off the floor with the toes of one foot, drop and repeat. ➜ Stand up on your tippy toes, hold, relax, repeat. Do this standing on a wobble board or Bosu ball to make it more challenging.



Q I’ve heard legumes and dried beans are really healthy, but I don’t know how to cook them. Can you recommend where I should start?

You’ve already taken the first step by acknowledging that you are doing this and asking for help. The next step is to determine why you are bingeing. Try journalling your feelings while you binge. Are you bingeing to fill a hole in your heart instead of in your stomach? Are you trying to hurt yourself? Are you trying to drown out other thoughts? Once you you’ve isolated the reason for your bingeing, make a list of strategies that you could use to deal with that issue. For example, you may need to treat yourself with something other than food, such as massages or old movies. If you’re still struggling, contact a health professional such as your GP or a psychologist for support.

Most cheeses are a good source of calcium, but they generally contain more kilojoules than milk or yoghurt. Be aware of white cheeses such as ricotta and cottage cheeses which are much lower in calcium, containing only 60-160mg of calcium in 100g compared to yellow cheeses such as cheddar, which has approximately 800mg of calcium in 100g.

Legumes are rich in protein, fibre and nutrients such as folate, iron and zinc. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming them at least twice a week. The simplest way to start is by using canned legumes. Just open the can, drain and replace half of the meat in your dish with the legumes. For example, if you’re making a chicken stir-fry, use half the usual amount of chicken and add chickpeas to make up the rest. Or for spaghetti bolognaise, replace half the mince with red kidney beans. Canned legumes are pre-cooked, so only need to be drained and heated. Once you’ve mastered that, look for recipes for vegetarian burgers, lentil soup or bean salads.

WHICH IS BETTER FOR ME – MINERAL WATER OR SODA WATER? Mineral water and soda water are both good choices! Neither contain any kilojoules so don’t cause weight gain. They both contain a little bit of salt, and although soda water generally contains a little more than mineral water, it really depends upon the brand, and either way, the amounts are so tiny (approximately 5mg per 100ml) that there’s nothing to be concerned about. Mineral water is often sourced from mineral springs, but not always, whereas soda water is usually manufactured.

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CAPRICORN DECEMBER 22  JANUARY 20 December could be a rather strange month. On the one hand you’re going to feel like forging ahead with life. On the other, you also need to spend a bit of time looking backwards at where you went right and wrong. You may have left the past behind – or have you really? Don’t second-guess yourself. Let life unfurl a bit. In both the home and work parts of your chart, there is a lot of room for manoeuvre. A complete change of direction isn’t out of the question.


PISCES FEBRUARY 20  MARCH 20 Expect a financial turnaround this month, thanks to a clash between big spender Jupiter and changeable Uranus. Get the Money Goddesses on your


NOVEMBER 23  DECEMBER 21 Money issues? Change the way your finances are set up and/or running before the year ends. Yes, it’s busy in December, but you don’t get chances like this every day. At least draw up your 2017 financial intentions list. Let go of someone who is no longer a good fit for you. The good news is that something which happens this month could shock you out of the rut you may feel you’re in. Stay open to new ideas and adventures and new ways of doing things. It’s time to freshen things up.

JANUARY 21  FEBRUARY 19 Think about which fears are holding you back. Deal with them fastest by remembering where they came from. What do you gain by allowing this fear to fester? If you can take some time out amid the end-of-year madness, a bit of meditation and contemplation will go a long way. Also note that Venus spends a lot of this month in your sign, which means you can expect the love and abundance to flow more freely, especially around Christmas Day.

side by only spending what you have and believing that you deserve financial abundance for all that you do. For some, an old friend is back in your life. For others, there’s a frustrating mix-up with a pal. Love-wise, you may have to do a lot for someone you care for without getting too much back in return. It’s a very good chance to build up some good karma.

ARIES MARCH 21  APRIL 20 Any changes in your life this month should turn out very positively for you. New developments around love, work and anything overseas are well starred. This is the time for you to break free from anyone or anything that cramps your style. Don’t be afraid to make changes. They will liberate you! This can be a turning-point month. Approach the end of 2016 with a positive attitude. Start to institute the changes you want to make for the New Year now.

TAURUS APRIL 21  MAY 21 There are some powerful and very positive energies in the air this month and they are affecting your working life and your finances. With even just a little bit of luck and positive thinking on your part, there could be some kind of financial

bonus or upswing. This goes triple if you work in the spiritual arena, or in a hospital or other institution. The arrival of abundant Venus in your Career Zone this month suggests you should go out of 2016 feeling optimistic about your financial prospects for the coming year.

GEMINI MAY 22  JUNE 22 The Full Moon in your sign this month makes it really easy for you to do your New Year’s resolutions list. The lunar energies are telling you it’s time to turn the corner. So who or what do you need to leave behind as you move towards 2017? You should have no trouble being brutally truthful with yourself and others. If you feel 2016 has been tough, then you can thank cantankerous Saturn, currently sitting opposite your Sun, draining you. However, you are learning important life lessons, too.

CANCER JUNE 23  JULY 23 You have the chance to start all over again with someone who really matters to you. It could be your partner or an ex but it could also be someone special who is a friend or even a colleague. You actually get this chance once a year. The silly season is always a time for you to move forwards in at least

one important relationship. How do you want things to be different in your relationship in 2017? At home and work there is a massive chance for very positive developments.

LEO JULY 24  AUGUST 23 If you want to change your life – especially if it’s relating to work – then you may need to change your thinking. And the good news is that this is very easy to do this month. In fact, coming up with just one new idea to solve an old problem could turn everything around, so stay open to doing things differently. If you sense it’s time to get away from it all, follow your heart. The skies totally support you. Love-wise, things are going to start looking up.

stars are urging you to have some proper fun this month.

LIBRA SEPTEMBER 24  OCTOBER 23 Something which happens in your love-life this month could totally surprise you – hopefully in a good way. The planet of happiness, Jupiter, is in your sign and is triggering the planet of the unexpected in your Love Zone. Singles could meet someone. Declarations of love are not out of the question. Even your ex might start behaving better. One of the things you are learning right now is that people are unpredictable and you just have to accept that. Hopefully those people are surprising you in wonderful ways.

SCORPIO VIRGO AUGUST 24  SEPTEMBER 23 Have your finances started to improve yet? If not, it could finally start to happen this month. Obviously don’t go overboard with your December expenditure until you see the turnaround. But keep the faith – 2017 will be a bumper cash year. Actually, more than ever, the trick to you earning good cash for your efforts is for you to believe in you. Once you do that, everything else will fall into place. Also, get out and enjoy the silly season. Your

OCTOBER 24  NOVEMBER 22 Life could be a tad confusing this month but don’t panic! All the weirdness coming up is helping you to see how different life could be. Don’t be afraid to go over and over an idea before you make a final decision. The best thing you can do is get spiritual. Meditate, do yoga or chant and let your ‘inner-tuition’guide you. Life is a roller-coaster for you right now as chaos planet Uranus wends his way through your Daily Life Zone. Releasing control is a challenge but it’s your best bet.

For more on your stars, call 1900 999 888. (Phone Australia. Calls cost $3.96 per minute. Mobiles higher.)




I grew up surrounded by animals in South Africa, so horse riding is natural for me. Now on Sundays I take my kids, Estella, 12, and Hunter, 4, for a ride.

I like to kee m sk care routine very simple but also high quality. The La Mer range is amazing; their Illuminating Eye Gel does wonders.



We enjoy holidaying in n New Zealand as a family. This sspot, in particular, is breathtaking aand very relaxing.

This month Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced, an exhibition of the designer’s creations, is on at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.


Challenge yourself to complete one of the various courses at the Carman’s Women’s Fun Run in Melbourne on December 4. The event is held in support of Australian women affected by breast cancer. Register at carmanswomens

This year’s Woodford Folk Festival will showcase 2000 local and international entertainers, performing over six days from December 27 to January 1. The program features concerts, comedy, circus acts, workshops and more. For tickets go to

This popular summer event is a feast for the senses. Sample local produce, wines and boutique beers while enjoying the entertainment along Hobart’s waterfront. From December 28 to January 3. For tickets visit

Dance lovers won’t want to miss The Australian Ballet’s performance of Coppélia at the Sydney Opera House. A story of romance, comedy and magic, the costume design is simply exquisite. From December 2-21, buy tickets at


It’s always been a passion of mine and it’s blossomed into a professional interest. I really enjoy it because it’s very different to fashion.


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