September 2016 $7.20 INC GST
The truth about GiaAn “I would
love to expand our family”
Gluten free Paleo Sugar free
HOW GOOD IS YOUR SLEEP? See p32
8-PAGE NATURAL THERAPIES HEALTH BOOK + Give your pantry a (healthy) makeover
10 fun ways to
Are you getting
ENOUGH VITAMIN D?
“HOW I CAME OFF PRESCRIPTION PILLS” 3 women tell
4 TOP Wellness RETREATS
REV UP YOUR ENERGY!
A POT OF GOODNESS AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW
AVAILABLE in the FREEZER at COLES AND INDEPENDENTS
! W E N
10 Giaan TV presenter and former Olympic
52 Stay healthy on holiday Don’t let a
swimmer Giaan Rooney talks about Rio and her plans for expanding her family.
stomach bug – or worse – ruin your trip. Karen Fittall looks at how to stay well.
28 Your energy boost starts now!
54 7 questions to ask before you divorce Key points to consider before
Discover scientifically proven strategies to feel more energised today. By Karen Fittall.
taking the final step. By Larraine Sathicq.
58 How to be a better mind reader 32 Which sleeping position is best Learning this skill can enhance your life in for your health? Foetal position or side 34 “How I stopped taking prescription pills” Three women talk about the challenges of coming off long-term medication. By Bonnie Bayley.
38 Great sex through menopause and beyond Lovemaking can have its challenges at midlife, but there are ways to make it work, discovers Sarah Marinos.
42 Vitamin D: are you getting enough? It’s vital for so many aspects of our health, but how can you make sure you don’t fall short? By Karen Fittall. 46 Tune in to better health Listening to music can enhance your wellbeing in so many ways, finds Helen Foster. 48 Diabetes myths busted! Confused about diabetes? Larraine Sathicq sorts the facts from fiction.
myriad ways, discovers Bonnie Vaughan.
62 “I’m having an egg donor baby in my 40s” Falling pregnant in your 40s isn’t as easy as we sometimes imagine, as Cindy Lever discovered.
66 Train your brain to stick to a diet Can you trick your mind into helping you lose weight? Helen Foster finds out. 70 Your pantry makeover Nutritious home cooking starts with a well-stocked pantry. Lindyl Crabb goes shopping. 74 Take a green powder This new health trend is creating quite a stir. Lindyl Crabb looks at the potential benefits. 76 The truth about food trends Is going paleo or gluten free actually good for you? Karen Fittall seeks expert opinions. 80 The mighty olive Adding olive oil to your cooking can really amp up the health benefits. Karen Fittall tells us more.
70 42 34
Photography: Peter Brew-Bevan Styling: Julie Russell Hair and make-up: Craig Beaglehole for Mecca Cosmetica Giaan wears: Uniqlo dress
PHOTOGRAPHY PABLO MARTIN • STYLING SARAH SUTTLE
sleeper? The way you snooze can impact your wellbeing, says Sarah Marinos.
100 Fun fitness for mid-life Inspiring workouts to keep you fit and strong into your 40s, 50s and beyond. By Sarah Marinos. 104 Strut it! Looking for a new way to get fit and have fun? Dancing could be just what you’re looking for, says Lindyl Crabb. 108 Plump it up The very best facial oils to get you glowing for spring. 110 Shine on Banish bad hair days with these breakthrough beauty buys. 114 Brow wow Your toolkit essentials for perfectly groomed brows.
120 Natural therapies the experts love Five health professionals reveal their favourite holistic therapies. By Lindyl Crabb.
124 Soothing herbal teas There’s a brew for every ailment, discovers Karen Fittall.
126 Make synchronicity work for you Sometimes there’s more to coincidence than meets the eye, says Bonnie Vaughan.
8 Letters 13 Health 16 Fitness 18 Nutrition 20 Mind matters 22 Beauty news 26 Social media 82 Cooking 89 Health handbook 116 Fashion 128 Travel 130 Ask our experts 136 Stars 138 This month… we love
6 Bauer Media privacy notice 24 Subscribe to Good Health for only $69.99 for 12 issues and receive four bonus issues of The Australian Women’s Weekly – a total saving of over $44 for 16 issues.
EDITOR CATHERINE MARSHALL EDITORIAL
DEPUTY & FEATURES EDITOR Kate Minogue ACTING CHIEF SUB-EDITOR Carol Hawkins SUB-EDITOR Debbie Duncan WRITER Lindyl Crabb EDITORIAL COORDINATOR/BEAUTY ASSISTANT Jennifer Aitken TRAVEL EDITOR Michael Gebicki CONTRIBUTING BEAUTY EDITOR Aimée Leabon
Did you know that your sleep posture affects your health – causing symptoms from neck pain to snoring and heartburn? In WHICH SLEEPING POSITION IS BEST FOR YOUR HEALTH?, on page 32, we take a look at the pros and cons of four of the most common positions – check yours out! Quitting sugar, going paleo and eating gluten- and dairy-free are the most popular food trends around… but do they actually improve your health and help control your weight? Or could they even have the opposite effect? THE TRUTH ABOUT FOOD TRENDS, page 76, gives you the facts. Ever wondered what goes on in someone else’s mind? Believe it or not, it’s a skill you can learn! In HOW TO BE A BETTER MIND READER, page 58, we show you how to hone your abilities and develop a ‘sixth sense’. Spring is here at last…
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say it! What do you think about Good Health? We would love to hear from you
I am writing to say how much your magazine inspires me. It helps me to deal with the acute anxiety and depression I have experienced since my husband decided he didn’t want to be married anymore after 32 years. The article ‘Rev up Your Circulation’ (August 2016) was very helpful as I have bad circulation. I pass Good Health on to my mum who loves it too.
I love the way Good Health focuses on people who inspire us without realising it. They don’t have to be heroes or celebrities. So we should all look out for those who inspire us in our lives. I’ve recently started a gratitude diary and what inspires me will become part of my daily reflection. Helen, via email
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Thank you for the ‘Cancer Health Book’ in your August issue. In the last few years, a few close friends and family members have been diagnosed and although I’ve always been able to offer a shoulder to lean on, I didn’t know much about cancer myself. I now have a an extremely useful guide to refer to.
Karina, via email
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‘Love Your Leftovers’ in your August issue was a real eye-opener. I’ve always thought the leftovers from last night’s dinner wouldn’t be as nutritious as the original meal, but now I know that reheating can sometimes be healthy. Susanne, Tas
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Write to Letters to the Editor, GPO Box 4088, Sydney NSW 1028, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TV presenter and former Olympic swimmer, Giaan Rooney, talks about Rio and adding to her family What are you excited about with work? I’m off to Rio to cover the swimming for Channel 7. I feel quite honoured to be working on such a great event. Whether
I exercise because I want to be here for a long time – I love life, and I want to be physically capable and well into my 90s. I’m a big walker and I do Pilates twice a week.
you’re there as an athlete or a TV presenter, the Olympics is one of the pinnacles of your career, and I’ve been fortunate enough to go as a swimmer and as part of the media. There’s
TEXT KATE MINOGUE • PHOTOGRAPHY PETER BREW-BEVAN • STYLING JULIE RUSSELL • HAIR & MAKE-UP CRAIG BEAGLEHOLE FOR MECCA COSMETICA • GIAAN WEARS GIAAN BY SPALDING CROP TOP AND LEGGINGS (EXCLUSIVE TO TARGET)
nothing like the Olympics – it’s a melting pot of cultures, there’s always drama of some kind and everyone has got a great buzz. What stage is your family at? Our son Zander is two now, and my husband Sam (Levett) and I would love to expand our family after I get home from Rio. We always planned to have a sibling for Zander – I have no idea how many children we’ll have, but apparently you know when your family is complete. We had no issues with Zander and the pregnancy was very straightforward so we hope that next year there will be a another one on the ground! What makes your marriage special? Respect for each other is important for us. Sam has a strong sense of self, and that’s very attractive to me. He is so comfortable in his own skin and that allows him to respect me. That means we are on an even playing field and I’m grateful for that. We are also very good at communicating.
I have not swum a lap in a pool for 10 years and have no desire to. I was incredibly competitive with swimming but I’m not in all the other parts of my life.
We are very much about dealing with a problem straightaway and never letting things fester. How do you stay healthy? I prefer to try to prevent illness rather than treat it. I’m a very bad allergy and hayfever sufferer, and everything I read showed that taking probiotics in pregnancy could help you prevent passing it on to your baby – so far it’s worked for Zander. I’m the ambassador for LifeSpace Probiotics. I now take their double-strength formula, and as well as helping with allergies, it keeps me regular, which used to be a problem when I was travelling.
What values are important to you? I believe that with anything you really want there’s going to be a component of hard work and I’m not afraid of that. Hard work has done me a lot of favours. Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith and back yourself – you need to take advantage of your strengths and work on and be aware of your weaknesses. Also, there’s so much of this world to explore, and you only get one life so you want to make the most of it. Ultimately, when my time is up I want to have
lived a life without regrets. I hope to pass those values on to my children. What causes are important to you? I’m passionate about the rural community and I would love to see people feel more compassion towards what our farmers go through. I’m also involved with The Nelune Foundation which supports cancer patients who are going through treatment. And the Lort Smith Animal Hospital has a special spot in my heart because my dog Lester, a rescue dog, came from there.
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MOVIE The Notebook and James Bond films.
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BOOST THE BENEFIT
Small tweaks to your healthy habits can make them even better for you. Try these…
BOOST IT BY: turning your phone ‘off’. Just hearing a phone notification causes enough of a distraction to inhibit your ability to focus on the task at hand. In fact, research proves that even anticipating a phone call or message increases your crash risk when you’re driving.
BOOST IT BY: counting to 20 before you stop washing. Most of us only wash our hands for around six seconds, but it takes between 15-20 seconds of vigorous hand-washing – with both soap and water – to eliminate germs.
BOOST IT BY: choosing a wash cycle that allows the water to hit 60°C. That’s the temperature required to kill dustmites. Plus, bacteria and viruses like E. coli and the influenza virus can survive at colder temperatures. In fact, sheets washed at 40°C are only 14 per cent less ‘germier’ than unwashed ones.
To help new information stick in your brain, do some exercise four hours after you’ve heard or read something you need to remember. Your recall two days later will be much better. Exercising a few hours after learning increases levels of compounds in the brain that improve memory consolidation.
You’ll be more likely to say no to a second or third glass of wine with Attention Training. It’s an online brain-training program that’s proven to reduce alcohol consumption – it can lower your preference for alcohol after just four days’ worth of 15-minute training sessions. Head to attentiontraining.co.uk to get started.
Australian women drink 3.4 standard alcoholic drinks a day, on average. Safe drinking guidelines suggest no more than two standard drinks a day and two alcohol-free days a week.
SAVE THE DATE
is happening this month (September 5-9). It’s a free, online event that delivers need-to-know information and health advice about everything from sex to body image and mental health. Head to womenshealthweek.com.au to subscribe.
TEXT KAREN FITTALL • BOOKS LINDYL CRABB • PHOTOGRAPHY GETTY IMAGES
Your risk of having a stroke after you turn 65 falls by up to 37 per cent the more physically fit you are in your late 40s. It’s unclear why, but exercise seems to have a special magic: its strokepreventing effect isn’t just due to its influence on other risk factors, like obesity and diabetes.
The art of stress reduction
For 75 per cent of us drawing and painting is an effective stress reliever, regardless of skill. Spend 45 minutes doing something arty and your levels of the stress hormone cortisol could fall significantly, but you’ll feel the benefit in as little as five minutes.
If you say that after taking a sip of tea or coffee, put the cup down and let it cool off before you drink it. Piping hot drinks can cause cancer of the oesophagus (the tube connecting the throat and stomach), by damaging cells. Lower your risk by letting hot drinks cool to at least 65°C. Remember – freshly boiled jug water is at least 100°C!
Seeking out credible health information can help you live longer – research shows that poor understanding about health equals an almost two-fold risk of death.
Take a 500mg dose of olive leaf extract (OLE) twice daily for two months, and your top blood pressure reading will fall by almost eight per cent, and your bottom one by five per cent. That matches results produced by some blood-pressurelowering medications, say researchers. OLE is a good source of at least two hearthealthy antioxidants. Comvita Extra Strength Olive Leaf Extract ($43.70, 500ml); Nature’s Own Liquid Olive Leaf ($19.95, 300ml); or Vabori Olive Leaf Extract ($35.99, 500ml).
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton (Penguin Books, $32.99). Taking you beyond the lust and intensity of a new relationship, de Botton explores the highs and lows of a marriage over time, including the compromises, mistakes and fears that will have you reflecting on your own experiences. The Obesity Code by Dr Jason Fung (Scribe, $29.99). In the face of an obesity epidemic this book offers a new theory – that the hormone insulin is to blame for weight gain. Here he looks at how to develop life-long healthy eating habits to help control insulin levels and how to use intermittent fasting. Smart Work by Dermot Crowley (Wiley, $22.95). If you’re constantly swamped by deadlines and a growing workload, this book could be your lifeline. You’ll learn more efficient ways to prioritise tasks, manage your inbox and use technology to your advantage.
Kona by PocJox is a compression-fit underwear range for women. Designed to be worn in place of daily underwear when you exercise, the Crop Top, $69.95, and Half Short, $64.95, have pockets made with sweat-resistant fabric to hold your smartphone. Thinking about running your first 5km race? Running coach Damon Bray tells you how to prepare for race day.
Scholl GelActiv Sports Insoles, $29.99, can be placed inside your shoes to provide cushioning and absorb the shock of high-impact movements.
TRY THIS INTERVAL WORKOUT 30-20-10 training is an interval-based workout that can improve your performance and speed and feels less demanding than high-intensity workouts with longer intervals. Here’s how to do it: Walk, run, row or cycle slowly for 30 seconds, accelerate to a moderate pace for 20 seconds, then push yourself as hard as you can for 10 seconds. Do this five times in a row, rest for two minutes and then repeat the intervals and rest sequence three more times.
Dr Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt Foot Soak, Revitalize & Refresh, $19.99, relieves tired feet after exercise and helps reduce foot odour. Fit Kicks slip-ons, $39.95, move with the contours of your feet and have a flexible sole. Ideal if you like to wear footwear for Pilates or barre classes.
Q. Is it okay to have a massage before I compete? A. You can enjoy a deep tissue massage up until 48 hours before your game or race – any later and your performance could suffer, says physiotherapist John Miller. Deep tissue massage causes mild pain and swelling which decreases muscle power. A better option before you compete is a light massage for relaxation to warm up your muscles and increase circulation and flexibility.
TEXT LINDYL CRABB • PHOTOGRAPHY ISTOCKPHOTO
TRY TO START TRAINING 10 TO 12 WEEKS AHEAD. Run up to four times a week and do your longest run two weeks before race day. Incorporate hills to build strength as well as sprints and interval training. JOIN A RUNNING GROUP. They provide motivation, especially on cold, early mornings, and they’re a great way to pick up running tips. Train with people who are a little faster than you and work hard to keep up with them. HYDRATE. Electrolyte drinks containing magnesium and potassium help you avoid cramps, so take a few sips every 15 to 20 minutes during your long runs. Increase your water and electrolyte intake two days before your race.
Than a Multivitamin • Antioxidant & immune support • Vitamins • Minerals • Protein • Herbs • Greens • Vegetables • Probiotics & prebiotics • High nutrient fruit
Your total daily health supplement DAIRY FREE
3 STEPS TO
LOST A LOT OF WEIGHT RECENTLY?
DID YOU KNOW?
You shouldn’t drink green tea with an iron-rich meal. The antioxidants in green tea can’t be absorbed when consumed with foods high in iron like red meat and dark leafy greens, so researchers say it’s best to enjoy them separately.
Your hard work means you’re less likely to put it back on. Obese people who drop 15 per cent of their body mass index (BMI) have a much better chance of keeping the weight off than those who shed smaller amounts.
DOUBLE DIPPING PERILS A SALSA THAT HAS BEEN DIPPED INTO HAS LESS THAN 10 BACTERIA PER ML, BUT RESEARCH SHOWS DOUBLE-DIPPING IN THE SALSA ADDS UP TO 1000 BACTERIA PER ML.
SUPERMARKET Terra Firma Foods Tigernuts are the latest superfood snack that’s packed with fibre. You can eat these small, chewy root vegetables just like nuts and the peeled variety is $6.99 for a 140g pack.
Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit are sweet, juicy and gold in colour. In season from May to December, the fruit is high in vitamin C and contains fibre, potassium and vitamin E.
TEXT LINDYL CRABB • PHOTOGRAPHY ISTOCKPHOTO
The next time you’re thinking about a snack, try one of these tricks to stop temptation in its tracks. TELL YOURSELF YOU CAN HAVE IT ‘SOME OTHER TIME’. Using this line can help you avoid indulging because it reaffirms that the snack isn’t important and weakens your desire for it. PLAY A GAME ON YOUR SMARTPHONE. Focusing your attention on a game of Tetris for just three minutes can interfere with the desire for food and reduce the strength of your cravings. THINK ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES. You can improve your self-control and diminish the urge to eat by thinking about the long-term consequences of consuming unhealthy foods.
THE BRAIN BERRY Busy families who want to save time and money will love The MamaBake Book by Michelle Shearer and Karen Swan (ABC Books, $24.99). With over 200 recipes designed to be made in large batches and kept in the freezer, you can prepare a week’s worth of delicious meals in just one afternoon.
A cup of blueberries a day could protect your brain from the effects of ageing and even help prevent Alzheimer’s. And research shows that flavonoids in blueberries, called anthocyanins, may improve the brain function of people who are already experiencing some cognitive impairment.
2 KITCHEN STARS The Magimix Cook Expert, $2099, whisks, steams, kneads, slices and grates so you can create entrées, mains and desserts with one piece of equipment. Update your utensil cupboard with Zeal’s Reflecting Nature kitchenware, from $12.95. The range includes an airtight lid to perfectly seal leftovers, a baster, and a pretty petal on which to rest your cooking spoons to avoid mess on your benchtops.
SunRice Rain Fed Rice is grown in Tropical North Queensland where the plentiful rainfall produces fragrant, soft rice. Available in jasmine and brown wholegrain varieties, $4.49 for a 500g pack.
SIP ON THIS Drink three extra glasses of water every day and you could cut up to 850kJ from your daily energy intake. That’s the same number of kilojoules you’d find in 3.5 chocolate chip biscuits, which would take 40 minutes of brisk walking to burn off.
BFree Sweet Potato Wraps are a gluten-free wrap alternative and they’re suitable for vegans. They are also delicious warmed up before you add your ingredients. $7.99 for a pack of six.
The next time you’re wa shing up, focus on the smell of the soap, the warmth of the water and the feel of the dishe s. Researchers say it can decrease stress and calm the mind.
Picture this When you need to create a to-do list or learn a speech from memory, try drawing images that represent key words rather than simply writing them down. You’re likely to recall more words if you draw pictures of them, and research shows a rough sketch is all it takes to form the memories.
BREAK THE HABIT
USING YOUR SMARTPHONE DURING YOUR WORK BREAK COULD BE THE REASON YOU FEEL EMOTIONALLY EXHAUSTED IN THE AFTERNOON. WHILE SPENDING THIS TIME ON YOUR PHONE WILL DISTRACT YOU FROM WORK, IT WON’T OFFER THE SAME PICK-ME-UP AS GOING FOR A WALK OR CHATTING WITH COLLEAGUES.
When your tolerance is wearing thin and you’re becoming more impulsive, taking a 60-minute nap may help keep your emotions in check. To get the most out of your short slumber, try one of these apps. >Power Nap, free on iTunes. >Pzizz, free on iTunes. >Power Nap HQ, $1.49 on iTunes.
TEXT LINDYL CRABB • PHOTOGRAPHY GETTY IMAGES / ISTOCK PHOTO
¡ Crying can lift your mood. You might feel a little blue after watching a sad movie, but research shows shedding a few tears will make you feel better than staying dry-eyed. ¡ A bad mood can motivate you. If your morning hasn’t started well but you cheer up during the day, you’ll feel more engaged at work in the afternoon than if you were happy all day. ¡ Feeling sad could make you more persuasive. The best time to make your case is when you’re in a low mood. People who feel down produce more effective arguments than cheery people.
Canesten IN 4 weeks or less.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional. CH-00287 Aztec National Scan sales MAT 13/03/2016*
GRAND DESIGNS Lancôme Grandiôse Liner, $56, has been designed with a curved handle that pivots for greater control when drawing on your eyeliner.
SAVING FACE Asia’s skincare hero For Beloved One GHK-Cu Moisturizing BioCellulose Mask, $59 for three, is now available in Australia. Get ready to give your skin some serious TLC.
GETTIN’ LIPPY Givenchy Le Rouge Perfecto, $59, is a superior lip balm that moisturises, plumps and adds a soft wash of colour. We just love the gorgeous leather packaging too!
WHAT A GEM! The Handcut Soap Stones by Pelle, $16, are so pretty you’ll want to keep them for display. Made from all-natural ingredients, the soaps are inspired by the brilliant colours of wild gemstones.
SOFTLY, SOFTLY Formulated with the brand’s signature Miracle Broth, the new luxuriant La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Lotion, $365, soothes skin and restores suppleness instantly.
PURE GENIUS Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pure, $125, is the latest delicious fragrance from the Japanese perfumer. Think of an ocean breeze, cashmere and the scent of lily.
Short on time? Revlon’s Eyes, Cheeks + Lips Palette, $34.95, has all the shades you could possibly need to complete your entire make-up look in minutes.
TEXT JENNIFER AITKEN • PHOTOGRAPHY CHRIS JANSEN
Spring is your
time to shine!
Naturally high in ANTIOXIDANTS
P Assists in the maintenance of general well-being P Traditionally used in Western herbal medicine: > As an antioxidant agent > To support the immune system > To help relieve the symptoms of coughs, sore throats and common cold
P No artiﬁcial preservatives, colours or ﬂavours P Great daily boost for adults and kids 5+
Find Comvita’s Fresh-Picked™ Olive Leaf Extract in pharmacies and health food stores
Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.
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THE RULES HAVE CHANGED
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GOING TO RIO
“I love renovating in real life”
5 TOP ATHLETES
The truth about GiaAn
“I would love to expand our family”
Gluten free Paleo Sugar free
EMBRACE LIFE AFTER AN
8-PAGE NATURAL THERAPIES HEALTH BOOK
LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS
(they boost your health!)
WINTER SKIN CLINIC
STRESS BUSTING GUIDE
“MY ORGAN DONOR GAVE ME MY LIFE BACK” 3 women tell
+ Give your pantry a (healthy) makeover
10 fun ways to
Are you getting
ENOUGH VITAMIN D?
“HOW I CAME OFF PRESCRIPTION PILLS” 3 women tell
LOOK RADIANT EVERY DAY!
HOW GOOD IS YOUR SLEEP?
4 TOP Wellness RETREATS
REV UP YOUR ENERGY!
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[@spark_inside] Learning how to destress while on holidays with @goodhealthmag We had a ball working on this month’s fashion shoot. Find the latest activewear on page 116.
We were lucky to enjoy a sample of Pukka’s new range of matcha green teas – delicious and healthy!
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[@margolee78] Loving the holidays #goodhealthmag
When it comes to feeling more energetic, you can do so much better than relying on a cup of coffee to perk you up. In fact, research shows that for regular coffee drinkers, the stimulatory effects of caffeine are actually an illusion â€“ you might feel more alert after a coffee but itâ€™s simply the reversal of caffeine withdrawal, which causes fatigue. On the other hand, some energy-boosting strategies are genuinely effective. Here are 10 that are proven to work.
WHEN YOU NEED AN I N S TA N T H I T O F E N E R G Y. . .
Choose a moderateintensity activity, like going for a jog, for the biggest effect. When you do that, and exercise for at least 20 minutes, you can increase your energy level by 47 per cent, which is enough to improve your mood for the rest of the day. A single dose of exercise temporarily regulates the levels of hormones such as endorphins and leptin, as well as the neurotransmitter dopamine, to boost your motivation and energy. >
It’s a colour that temporarily boosts your energy levels, so that your reactions will be faster and stronger immediately after ‘seeing red’. Experts say it’s thanks to the colour red’s natural association with things like danger, emergencies and caution – so when you see it, your brain is subconsciously nudged into a more heightened state.
Research proves two things: even mild dehydration affects energy levels, and drinking three glasses of water has the opposite effect. When people were asked to do that as part of a UK study, their mental energy increased significantly – brain reaction times were 14 per cent faster afterwards. One explanation is that the water alleviates dehydration, which is key because dehydration temporarily shrinks the brain.
POSTURE PLAYS A BIG ROLE IN HOW ENERGISED YOU FEEL. WHILE WALKING WITH A SLOUCHED OR DESPONDENT BODY POSTURE DRAINS ENERGY LEVELS, WALKING WITH AN UPRIGHT, OPEN CHEST DOES THE EXACT OPPOSITE. THE REASON? SCIENTISTS SAY THAT POSITIVE, OPTIMISTIC BODY POSTURES OPEN UP THE SAME BIOLOGICAL PATHWAYS THAT EXERCISE WORKS ON TO INCREASE ENERGY LEVELS.
There’s a clear connection between fibre-rich diets and energy levels – you’ll boost alertness and reduce fatigue by 10 per cent by eating enough fibre every day. Fibre bumps up the amount of friendly bacteria living in the digestive tract and keeps you feeling fuller for longer, both of which help to maintain energy levels. So how much fibre is enough? Eat at least 25g a day, which is 25 per cent more than Australian women eat, on average.
PHOTOGRAPHY MICHELLE HOLDEN/TRUNKARCHIVE.COM/SNAPPER MEDIA / GETTY IMAGES
You might think hitting the snooze button gives you a few extra minutes of sleep, but it can actually make you feel more tired. Just before you wake up your body reboots itself, raising your temperature, heart rate and cortisol levels. If you drift back to sleep after hitting snooze, a new sleep cycle begins and you’ll feel groggy when you’re woken again. By getting out of bed when your alarm goes off, you’ll start your day more energised.
B U I L D A N D MA I N TA I N YOUR LONG-L ASTING ENERGY LEVELS BY DOING THIS...
After six weeks your energy levels will be 20 per cent higher. The energy boost is probably thanks to the long-term effect regular physical activity has on parts of the central nervous system that are involved in increasing energy and reducing feelings of fatigue, rather than increased fitness.
Stand up for at least 60 minutes more than you currently do every day and, over time, your energy levels will improve. The proportion of office workers who felt they had sufficient energy to get through the day increased from six to 44 per cent, when they stood for an extra 60 to 90 minutes each day as part of a five-month study. One theory is that sitting less leads to higher levels of two chemicals that fight fatigue.
Spend 20 minutes a day in a natural setting, like a park or the beach, to keep your energy levels topped up. And it really is ‘nature’ that does the trick – the New York-based study proved that just spending time outside isn’t enough to boost energy levels on its own. What’s so good about trees? Spending time at a park decreases activity in brain regions associated with negative thoughts and feelings – the same feelings that zap energy.
CONSUME 110MG A DAY – WHICH IS ALMOST 1.5 TIMES THE AMOUNT SOME NATIONAL ORGANISATIONS RECOMMEND FOR GOOD HEALTH – AND AFTER A MONTH-AND-A-HALF YOU’LL FEEL LIKE YOU’VE GOT MORE ENERGY. VITAMIN C ACTIVATES A NUMBER OF ENZYMES THAT BOOST LEVELS OF ENERGY-RELATED NEUROCHEMICALS IN THE BRAIN. TWO KIWIFRUIT, ONE CUP OF RED CAPSICUM AND TWO ORANGES ALL CONTAIN AT LEAST 110MG OF VITAMIN C. #
sleeping position for your health? W
hen you slip into bed each night, what position do you prefer? Perhaps you cosy up on your left or right side, or maybe you prefer the foetal position. Or do you relax on your back or front? Studies are finding that your sleep position can affect everything from the type of dreams you have and whether you snore, to back and neck pain and the risk of Alzheimerâ€™s. Here, we look at the pros and cons of the most common sleep positions.
From neck pain to snoring and heartburn, your sleep posture affects your health and wellbeing. By Sarah Marinos
PHOTOGRAPHY DARRELL EAGER/GALLERY STOCK/SNAPPER MEDIA / ISTOCKPHOTO
PROS: The foetal position provides a sense of security – it reminds us of childhood and being young and carefree. So it can help shrug off stress. Dr Chris Idzikowski from the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service in the UK has studied sleeping positions and personality and says people who favour the foetal position – mostly women – tend to have a tough exterior but can be shy underneath. CONS: “Often when we are curled up we clench our hands and that creates pressure on our carpal tunnel,” says Dr Andrew Lawrence from the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition affecting the hands and fingers, and is caused by compression of a major nerve in the hand and wrist. So if you like to sleep like a baby, keep your hands loose.
PROS: If you have heartburn or reflux, sleeping on your left eases symptoms. But sleeping on the right side relaxes a sphincter muscle between the oesophagus and stomach, allowing stomach acid to flow back up the oesophagus. Side sleeping may also help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. “The lateral (side) sleep position is the most popular in humans and most animals – even in the wild – and it appears we have adapted the lateral sleep position to most efficiently clear our brain of the metabolic waste products that build up while we are awake,” explains US researcher Dr Maiken Nedergaard. This build-up of waste products can contribute to neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. CONS: Your legs collapse on to each other, dragging down the hips and putting pressure on the lower back. “Sleep with your knees slightly bent and with a pillow in-between so your legs are evenly positioned,” says Dr Lawrence. “Sleeping on your side can also cause compression in the neck so use a contour pillow.” A study in Turkey also found sleeping on the left side is associated with nightmares, although researchers don’t know why.
PROS: Researchers agree this is the worst position of the bunch, but not if you like vivid dreams! Front sleepers have the most exciting and racy dreams, say researchers from Hong Kong Shue Yan University. The frontal position with your arms raised to the side is also good for digestion as the internal organs are in the best spot. CONS: “When you sleep face down you have to turn your head and the weight of your shoulders creates pressure on your neck,” says Dr Lawrence. “This twists the cervical spine and creates tension around the base of the skull, leading to headaches and stiffness in the neck and shoulders.” “People who sleep on their stomachs were found to be less self-confident,” he says, adding that research showed facial contact with the pillow was predictive of negative emotions. “When your face is squashed up against a pillow it shapes the facial posture in a way that is similar to a frown, pout or negative expression.” #
If you’re prone to nodding off on the sofa or in an armchair, don’t! “Your head lolls forward and this compresses the movement of joints in the neck and back, and the muscles get tight and sore,” says Dr Lawrence. “Have a good stretch to get blood flowing and to get the inflammatory chemicals that have pooled there to disperse.”
How I stopped taking prescription pills COMING OFF ANTIDEPRESSANTS, PAINKILLERS OR SLEEPING TABLETS ISN’T ALWAYS AS SIMPLE AS JUST FINISHING THAT LAST TABLET, AS THREE WOMEN REVEAL. BY BONNIE BAYLEY
BANK TRAINING FACILITATOR
For Maya, knowing what to expect from the antidepressant withdrawal process helped her to ride it out. I had depression and anxiety for years, starting in high school, but it got worse in my 20s. I became very closed off, some days I’d just burst into tears and I was having anxiety attacks. My doctor recommended antidepressants, which helped take the edge off my symptoms. I took them for about 18 months before I felt like I was
ready to come off them. I’d been regularly seeing a psychologist who had given me some great coping techniques, such as breathing and grounding exercises, and I’d used them successfully a few times. I was also finding that if I forgot to take my medication, for instance, on a busy day, I’d get a headache, feel uneasy in
my stomach and have a niggling sensation in my chest. I decided I didn’t want to feel like that just because I’d forgotten to take my tablet. I went into the tapering-off process well-informed. I’d spoken to my doctor about the likely symptoms, and she developed a plan where I reduced my dose gradually over four or five weeks. I also
PHOTOGRAPHY GETTY IMAGES / ISTOCKPHOTO
epression, chronic pain and insomnia are common health issues in Australia. In some cases, prescription medications may be useful, however not everyone wants or needs to take them long-term. Even when it’s done the right way under medical supervision, weaning yourself off prescription medication can be extremely challenging. Here, three women reveal how they did it.
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Peta took prescription painkillers for fibromyalgia, until falling pregnant meant she had to stop taking them.
communicated with my parents and partner about what I was doing, so that if I did relapse they would know they’d need to calm me down or call my doctor. While I was coming off the pills I had butterflies in my tummy and the occasional headache. I also felt fidgety. For instance, I’d play with my rings until it became irritating, then I’d realise I needed to stop. I wasn’t too fazed by these symptoms because I knew what to expect. At the same time I started going to Muay Thai kickboxing
classes several times a week, because I’d read about how exercise releases endorphins, which are natural antidepressants. It took about a month after the tapering ended before I felt like the antidepressants were out of my system. I actually felt better than I ever had, probably because I’d started exercising. I’ve been off the pills for a year now, and I’m in a really good place. The way I communicate with everyone has improved, I’m better at asking for support when I need it and I take better care of myself.”
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2008, after experiencing pain in my legs, feet and hips and a burning, tingling sensation in my hands. After trying up to six over-the-counter painkillers (a paracetamol-codeine combination), an ibuprofen and codeinebased painkiller plus several prescription anti-inflammatory drugs, I was put on a prescription painkiller. I was assured that I could easily come off it without any withdrawal symptoms, although I’ve since learned that’s not the case. I took it from 2011 up until I fell pregnant late last year, which is when I had to come off. The tapering process was done gradually over 11 weeks, under my GP’s guidance. Still, it was horrible. I had headaches, felt unwell and was agitated and jumpy. Each time the dose was reduced, I’d have a few days of feeling very uneasy while my body got used to the lower dose. Then, after a few weeks, the dose would drop again and I’d have another week of feeling agitated. I wasn’t sleeping either – it was driving me nuts. It took two or three weeks after finishing the last dose until I felt normal again. >
If I had known it was going to be so unpleasant and take so long to come off the painkillers, I wouldn’t have gone on them in the first place. I had a whole lot of leftover scripts and pills, and I went and handed them back to the doctor. She asked if I wanted her to keep them at the clinic for me and I said, ‘No, ditch them. There has to be a better way to deal with this.’ Strangely, pregnancy seems to make my fibromyalgia dormant. I’ve also been taking magnesium which has made a big difference. I’m hoping that when my baby arrives, the fibromyalgia symptoms don’t come back, because I want to avoid prescription painkillers at all costs.”
Lolly, 30, STUDENT For Lolly, coming off prescription sleeping pills triggered anxiety, frequent blacking out and irritability. I first started taking prescription sleeping pills after I left a violent relationship. I wasn’t sleeping because I was scared my ex was going to track me down. I took sleeping pills for about a year and a half, before I decided to come off them. At the time, I felt like I was dependent on them and I didn’t want to be. Also, I was scared that I might accidentally overdose, because sometimes I’d forget if I’d taken them or not. The first time I tried to come off them I was feeling anxious at night time, so I went back on them. Then, six months later I went straight off them. The withdrawal process was really difficult. I was blacking out every second day for about six months. Sometimes I’d just be sitting at the dinner table with my two sons (aged six and eight) and my head would fall forward, then I’d come to and hope the boys hadn’t noticed. Another time I blacked out in the bathroom and hit my head.
During the withdrawal, my anxiety attacks got worse to the point where I’d feel like I was having a heart attack. I’d have to ring people and get them to talk me down or sit with me until 3am in the morning. I was also irritable and I’d snap easily. My doctor ended up putting me on medication to help reduce my anxiety symptoms. When I stopped taking that after six or eight months, I was having trouble sleeping again so I turned to over-the-counter tablets, an antihistamine that helps me get to sleep. I’ve been taking them on and off for the last two years, but hope to eventually come off them. Even though I’m off prescription medication now, I’m not entirely back to normal. My head feels cloudy a lot of the time, and I’ll go to do something then forget what I was doing. I’d urge people to try to explore other options before trying sleeping pills. Also, if you’re taking them because of a stressful situation, try to remove yourself from that situation. I wish I’d done that sooner.” #
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THROUGH MENOPAUSE Lovemaking can present new challenges around menopause, but there are ways to make it work. By Sarah Marinos
ontrary to what your children probably believe, sex doesn’t end after 50. But age and the changes that are part and parcel of menopause may bring some differences in the bedroom. You might encounter vaginal dryness, tearing of vaginal tissue, or even prolapse during menopause and in the years after. However, there are practical steps you can take to make sex easier and, most importantly, fun. Here, top experts in women’s sexual health explain what you need to know.
Lubricate, lubricate, lubricate… As women age and levels of the hormone oestrogen drop, glands in the vagina produce less mucus or natural lubrication. Because the vagina is drier, women can experience discomfort or a burning sensation during sex. Along with hot flushes, vaginal dryness is the most common reason for women to see a doctor during menopause, says Dr Gino Pecoraro of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. “HRT is the best option as it boosts oestrogen and this helps increase natural lubrication, but women can also use vaginal lubricants,” he says. Other advice includes avoiding using soap in the vulval area as this dries out skin. Smoking, anxiety and some antihistamines and cold and flu medications can also cause vaginal dryness. So think about the best ways to manage your stress, and check with your GP in case the medications you are using are affecting natural lubrication. >
Use oestrogen creams to keep vaginal tissue supple
A vibrator can help
Vaginal blood flow falls due to hormone changes so the vulva can be a little less sensitive to touch. But a vibrator won’t damage tissue or reduce sensation. “If you rub a piece of skin enough the natural mechanism of the skin is for the outer layer to get thicker. But you’d really have to overdo it for that to happen,” says Dr Pecoraro. “Vibrators and similar sex toys can be a positive part of a woman’s sex life. Men of this age can have erectile difficulties too so for a lot of couples, a vibrator works well for both of them.”
Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with exercise Prolapse happens when the muscles, ligaments and tissues that hold the pelvic organs in place become weak so the uterus, bladder or bowel bulge out of the vaginal opening. This makes sex painful, uncomfortable and embarrassing. “If your mum or sister have had a prolapse, the chances are that you will as well. Having large babies, difficult vaginal deliveries, chronic
PHOTOGRAPHY ALAMY / GETTY IMAGES
“Less oestrogen makes vaginal tissues thinner, less elastic and more fragile,” says sex therapist Dr Rosie King. This is called vaginal atrophy or vulvovaginal atrophy and it affects 40 per cent of women. “Unlike other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, which disappear with time, vulvovaginal atrophy usually persists and gets worse over time,” adds Dr King. Regular sex improves vaginal atrophy as it increases blood flow that helps keep tissues more elastic. But if sex is uncomfortable, or if you have had a break from sexual activity, your GP or gynaecologist can recommend topical oestrogen cream to soften tissues. However, it can take up to several weeks to work. Fractionated carbon dioxide laser technology is a painless surgical option. A probe delivers thermal energy and stimulates blood flow to vaginal tissue for about five minutes. You’ll need a few sessions to see improvements. “This treatment is successful in 90 per cent of patients, even those who have not responded to topical vaginal oestrogen,” says Dr King.
Use contraception during perimenopause
constipation and a chronic cough also increase the risk of prolapse,” says Dr Pecoraro. Reduce the impact of prolapse with pelvic floor exercises that strengthen muscles and ligaments. Oestrogen treatment – usually tablets or patches – also strengthens these connective tissues. Your GP may suggest using a pessary – a plastic device placed inside the vagina that holds everything in place. In more severe cases, surgery and synthetic mesh can repair and strengthen vaginal tissues.
The end of your periods isn’t the end of your fertility – while the risk of pregnancy is much lower, it’s still possible. So use contraception so you can enjoy sex without the worry of an accidental pregnancy. “The ovaries slow down and periods become further apart before they stop,” explains Dr Pecoraro. “But in that changing phase, an egg is released every now and then and if there is sperm around you could get pregnant. Your fertility decreases during perimenopause, but it isn’t zero.” Continue to use contraception for at least one year after your period stops if you’re over the age of 50, or for two years if you’re under 50.
Give yourself permission to enjoy sex after menopause... “Menopause often affects the way women think about their own bodies and this can inhibit their libido,” says Dr Amanda Newman from Jean Hailes for Women’s Health. Around 10 to 15 per cent of perimenopausal women report having no sexual desire. “Women may be quite comfortable with either not having sex or having sex less frequently and so nothing needs to be done. The most important
thing is to decide if sex is important for you.” Dr Pecoraro adds that sex isn’t only about having children – it helps cement a relationship. “Ignore what your children say! Being young doesn’t give people a monopoly on sex,” he says. It’s also important to talk to your partner about what you enjoy and let them know if you want to try something new. And remember that making love can be more than straightforward penile/ vaginal sex – try ‘outer course’ and explore the powerful sensation of touch.
… But don’t expect it to be like in the movies “It’s okay to have sex without being wildly excited,” says Dr Newman. Make a start and you’ll feel more in the mood minute by minute. “For most women the decision to have sex precedes the feeling of being turned on. I remind patients that what we see in movies is not real life. But once you have decided that you are going to have sex, concentrate on it. Stop thinking about your tax return or what you’re having for dinner and think about what you’re actually doing at that moment.” #
PHOTOGRAPHY GETTY IMAGES / BAUERSYNDICATION.COM.AU
It’s vital for strong bones and may protect our health in other ways too, but vitamin D deficiency is worryingly common in Australia. Karen Fittall looks at how we can top up our levels
ore than 30 per cent of Australians are vitamin D deficient all year round, but for women, that number almost doubles in spring, after our stores run low over winter. It’s because the best natural source of vitamin D (which is technically a hormone) is the sun. Ultraviolet rays penetrate the skin and interact with a chemical called 7-dehydrocholesterol, to form vitamin D. And while Australia is a sunny country, even in the colder months, experts say the fact that we’ve become so vigilant about protecting our skin from the sun, coupled with longer working days and working indoors, could explain why so many of us are deficient.
But other things put you at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, including if you: Have naturally very dark skin. Have had skin cancer previously, or are at a high risk of skin cancer. Have a health condition that prevents vitamin D absorption, such as coeliac disease. Wear clothing that covers most of your body. Are housebound or spend long hours indoors. Or are taking medicines that cause vitamin D to break down (for example, some epilepsy medications). Your risk of being vitamin D deficient increases with age: 26 per cent of 25- to 34-yearold women are deficient, increasing to 57 per cent of those aged over 75 years. And while vitamin D is crucial for preventing osteoporosis, thanks to the role it plays in calcium absorption, low levels might be bad news for other areas of your health, too.
So should I take a supplement?
The vitamin D connection > Blood pressure. There’s a link between vitamin D deficiency and high blood pressure. For every 10 per cent increase in blood levels of vitamin D, blood pressure drops, say South Australian scientists. > Cancer. Women with higher vitamin D levels have a 67 per cent lower risk of cancer compared to women who are vitamin D deficient, according to a US study. > Dementia. If your vitamin D levels are too low as you grow older, your cognition and memory skills could decline three times faster than someone with healthy vitamin D levels. > Type 2 diabetes. People with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to an Australian study. > Your immune system. Without sufficient vitamin D, the immune system’s killer cells (called T cells) don’t react properly to fight off serious infections in the body.
If you’re at a high risk of vitamin D deficiency, or have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis, you should talk to your GP about taking a supplement for your bone health. But if you’re not in the high-risk group, you don’t need to. Even if you are mildly vitamin D deficient, it’s not yet known whether taking a supplement is beneficial. And don’t take a vitamin D supplement if you’re hoping to prevent non-bone-related health issues like diabetes, cancer and dementia. The benefit of increasing vitamin D intake for those health problems hasn’t been proven. Experts say one reason why healthy vitamin D levels have been linked to a reduced risk of a variety of non-bone-related health conditions could be because sunshine has other health benefits, on top of causing vitamin D production. >
The sun: striking the right balance
New recommendations provide clearer and simpler advice to Australians about how to maintain adequate vitamin D levels for good health, while at the same time reducing skin cancer risk. The advice hinges around what the UV Index is doing, no matter what time of year it is. ™When it’s 3 or above: Use a combination of sun protection measures, including sunscreen, a hat, clothing that covers, sunglasses and shade, when you’re outside for more than a few minutes. During summer, every Australian state experiences periods each day when the UV Index is 3 or above. So most of us can maintain healthy vitamin D levels during typical day-today activities, because just a few minutes of mid-morning or mid-afternoon sun exposure to your arms and hands on most days of the week, is adequate.
Plus, experts say that using sunscreen as it’s recommended during summer when the UV Index is 3 or above, has little effect on vitamin D levels. Remember, in Queensland and the Northern Territory the UV Index is 3 or above in the middle of the day all year round, while all other places still experience 3 or above UV Index days during autumn and spring (and even in later winter, in WA, NSW, the ACT and SA). ™ When it’s below 3: Sun protection isn’t recommended. Spend some time outside in the middle of the day, with some skin uncovered – like your arms – on most days of the week. Going for a walk at lunchtime, or doing some gardening, is ideal. The UV Index is below three in late autumn and throughout winter in Victoria and Tasmania, and for a portion of winter in WA, NSW, the ACT and SA. For accurate daily UV Index readings, use the Cancer Council’s SunSmart app, or log on to bom.gov.au.
Is it worth getting my levels tested? If you’re at a high risk of vitamin D deficiency, or have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis, talk to your doctor about getting your vitamin D levels tested. In those cases, the test is covered by Medicare. But if your risk of vitamin D deficiency is low (that’s you if you’re healthy, under 50 years of age, and are without symptoms or risk factors), don’t bother. Testing in those circumstances isn’t covered by
Medicare, and even if the results show that you’re mildly vitamin D deficient, the jury is out on whether taking a supplement is worthwhile. Instead, keep your vitamin D levels topped up by: > Following the safe sun exposure guidelines listed above. > Eating vitamin D-rich foods, like eggs and oily fish and those that have been fortified. Food only makes
a small contribution to the body’s vitamin D levels, but every bit counts. > And doing more weight-bearing exercise, like jogging and playing tennis. As well as building bone mass, exercise also reduces the risk of obesity, another risk factor for low vitamin D. Plus, people who do three hours of vigorous exercise a week have higher vitamin D levels, say US researchers, most likely due to spending more time outside. #
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Listening to music can enhance our wellbeing in so many different ways. Helen Foster explains
Music doesn’t just make us feel happier when we hear it – it can also directly improve our health. Here are nine ideas for a tune-up.
Afraid of heights? Then pop on a slow song – around 50 beats per minute (think slow classical music by composers like Bach) – and listen to it at a lowish volume and you could reduce your anxiety. “Listening to music can sometimes modulate the function of some important physiological reactions – for example, it can lower heart rate and make us breathe more slowly, relaxing us and reducing the anxiety associated with phobia,” says Sofia Seinfeld who researched the effect at Spain’s University of Barcelona.
PHOTOGRAPHY BAUERSYNDICATION.COM.AU / GETTY IMAGES
SLOW TUNES CAN HELP PHOBIAS
YOUR HEART LIKES MUSIC
FOCUSING ON LYRICS FIGHTS PAIN
Listening to songs that make you happy causes blood vessels to expand by as much as 26 per cent, increasing blood flow. This revs up circulation and reduces blood pressure, improving heart health, say US researchers. It’s best to turn off the radio if something you don’t like comes on, though – arteries narrow if you’re listening to a song you don’t enjoy.
A technique called ‘active listening’ can help you fight pain. Active listening means focusing on attributes in the music like the meaning of the lyrics or how chords change. It works, according to researcher Dr David Bradshaw, because the same parts of the brain that process music also tackle pain. Your brain can’t do two things at once, so focusing on the music prevents it acknowledging as many pain signals.
MUSIC IMPROVES RECOVERY FROM STROKE
SOFT MUSIC CAN HELP YOU EAT LESS The faster the background music, the more you eat – play soft jazz-like tunes though and you eat less and enjoy the food more, say experts at Cornell University in the US.
“Listening to pleasant music daily during the first months after a stroke can enhance the recovery of memory and attention and prevent depression,” says researcher Dr Teppo Särkämö. It’s believed music stimulates parts of the brain usually left undamaged by stroke, which then helps the brain form new connections and rebuild old ones.
YOU REMEMBER THINGS BETTER WITH MUSIC It’s not only the damaged brain that responds well to music, a healthy brain learns and recalls more effectively using music. For example, instead of just repeating a foreignlanguage phrase you’re trying to learn as normal speech, sing it to a tune to help you remember – or, do the same with your shopping list, repeating the items to the tune of a song you’re familiar with, such as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. “One theory is that song information gets more readily stuck in your head which means you repeat it over and over again in your mind and this makes information easier to recall later,” says Dr Karen Ludke from the UK’s Edge Hill University.
SONGS CAN REV UP YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM Listening to music speeds up production of an infectionfighting substance called IgA in your system – it also amps up activity of the natural killer cells that attack bacteria. For best results though, it needs to be music you enjoy – when researchers asked people to listen to annoying clicking tones their immune system performance fell.
IT HELPS US MAKE FRIENDS MORE QUICKLY The more social interactions and close friendships you have in your life the healthier you are, and it’s now been shown that doing things together that involve music, particularly singing, actually makes us bond faster. “Doing activities in sync appears to release endorphins in the brain, and these are linked to the social bonding process,” says Dr Eiluned Pearce from the University of Oxford.
YOU’LL POWER UP YOUR WORKOUT You’ve probably heard that music makes exercise feel easier, but choose the right songs and you’ll also feel more powerful, which will help you go faster or lift more weight. “Songs with a stronger bassline generate the highest feelings of power,” says Professor Dennis Hsu from the University of Hong Kong. He explains this is likely to be because we associate deep, rumbling sounds with power – powerful people are more likely to speak with a deep bass voice, for example. And it seems that the bass triggers similar feelings about ourselves too. #
Confused about diabetes? Larraine Sathicq sorts the facts from the fiction MYTH
This is only true if the empty kilojoules in sugary drinks and snacks leads to an unhealthy weight. Carrying excess weight increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, says dietitian Karissa Woolfe from Diabetes NSW. “The human body and brain are designed to run on glucose (from sugars), so it’s a myth that we should avoid all sugars,” she explains. “Low-GI fruit, legumes, healthy grains and milk are the best forms of sugar to include in a balanced eating plan for anyone.”
Diabetes is serious, even if not managed with insulin therapy, because it increases the risk of developing serious complications including heart disease, kidney damage, amputation and blindness. “Believing you have a ‘mild’ case of diabetes is the same as thinking you might be ‘a little bit’ pregnant,” says Woolfe. “The condition is progressive, and its management will change over time but lifestyle strategies do help.”
PHOTOGRAPHY ALAMY / ISTOCKPHOTO
ost of us are aware of the risk factors for diabetes like being overweight or having a family history. But if you’re slim and nobody in your family has diabetes, does that mean you’re off the hook? Not necessarily. Australians are developing diabetes at the rate of one person every five minutes and also increasing their risk for complications like heart disease, kidney failure and vision loss. And myths and assumptions about diabetes abound, particularly where type 2 is concerned, which accounts for up to 90 per cent of all cases in Australia. It’s important to understand the condition because it’s both preventable and manageable but almost a third of the estimated 1.4 million Australians currently living with type 2 diabetes are unaware they have it. Here, we dispel some common myths.
Insulin resistance, where your body no longer responds to insulin as effectively as it should, might mean you’re at high risk of a diabetes diagnosis, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it. “Simple changes like modifying your diet, increasing your exercise and giving up smoking can slow or even reverse the progression of insulin resistance,” says Woolfe. >
Being overweight boosts your diabetes risk, but it’s not the only risk factor. Slim people can develop type 2 diabetes, especially those who are over 40, have a family history of diabetes or smoke. Woolfe says every adult should know their own risk profile and see their GP for testing. “Diabetes Australia has an online self-assessment tool to help you get started,” she adds. Visit diabetesaustralia.com.au and click ‘What’s my T2 Risk?’.
“Being active is a key ingredient in preventing and managing type 2 diabetes because, as well as promoting weight control, it also helps move excess glucose from the bloodstream into cells where it can be used for energy,” says diabetes educator Dr Kirstene Bell. “Every minute of extra activity can help reduce the risk.”
There is no such thing as a ‘diabetic diet’. “Healthy eating to manage any type of diabetes simply means enjoying balanced nutritious meals across your day, in the right amount for your needs. So dessert can be on the menu, as can most foods in moderation,” says Woolfe. People with well-managed diabetes are generally more discerning about what they eat and drink but there’s no evidence that one food plan will suit everyone. “A dietitian can formulate an eating plan that suits your tastebuds, lifestyle and diabetes plan,” she adds.
There’s actually evidence that light to moderate drinking can protect women (but not men) from diabetes. Even if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, that doesn’t mean you can’t have alcohol at all. “Drinking in moderation can have positive health benefits, but we recommend no more than two standard alcoholic drinks per day for men and no more than one for women, with at least two alcohol-free days per week,” advises Dr Bell.
Diabetes occurs when your body is unable to use insulin, the hormone you need to convert sugar to energy. There are three different types: ¡Type 1 diabetes is a nonpreventable autoimmune disorder; you need to use insulin daily to treat it. ¡ Gestational diabetes appears during pregnancy – lifestyle changes such as diet and weight control are important to prevent it developing into type 2. ¡ Type 2 diabetes is often caused by insulin resistance, where your body is producing insulin but it is no longer working effectively, which can lead to potentially damaging blood sugar levels circulating around your body. Because it is linked to obesity and physical inactivity, it is considered a preventable disease that can be managed with lifestyle changes and/or medications that help control blood sugar. #
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tatistics show that one in two of us gets sick when we go overseas, losing up to four days of our holiday due to illness. Most problems are minor, but infectious diseases, like malaria, are a real risk depending on your destination. So what steps should you take pre-trip? Visit your doctor at least six weeks before you fly, so you can get the vaccinations you need. You can also reduce your risk of some common travel-related illnesses yourself – read on to find out how.
Don’t let a cold or stomach bug – or something more sinister – ruin your next holiday. Karen Fittall finds out how to stay well when you’re travelling 52
™ Use hand sanitiser, regularly, mid-flight. The transfer of cold-causing bacteria and viruses from airplane surfaces to your eyes or nose via your hands is to blame for 80 per cent of airplane-caught illnesses. And germs survive for up to seven days on seatback pockets and armrests. Choose a sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol. ™ Take an elderberry supplement. They lower your risk of catching a cold on the plane, because elderberry extract has antimicrobial properties that are effective against cold-causing viruses. And if you do develop a cold, it’ll be less severe and won’t last as long. ™ Use a saline nasal spray midflight. It helps to keep your nasal mucus
DON’T CATCH A COLD
thin during the flight, and fights the mucus-thickening effect of cabin air. Thicker mucus traps any viruses you inhale, making them more likely to trigger a cold. Try FESS Frequent Flyer Nasal Spray ($12.95, 30mL) or Flo Travel Nasal Spray ($13.95, 20mL). DID YOU KNOW? Compared to staying on the ground, your risk of catching a cold jumps by more than 100 times when you fly.
AVOID A DVT ™ Choose an aisle seat. On flights longer than four hours, window seats increase the risk of developing a serious blood clot, known as deep vein thrombosis or DVT, because you’re less likely to get up and move around. ™ Travel with a resistance band. Every couple of hours, wrap it around the balls of your feet and point your toes back and forth vigorously a few times. Sitting still for long periods can lead to impaired blood flow which contributes to DVT, but this is a quick way to restore proper blood flow in the lower limbs. DID YOU KNOW? The risk of DVT can last for a month after a long flight. Be vigilant about any pain in your calves and see your GP if you’re worried.
PREVENT DIARRHOEA ™ Take a probiotic. It will keep your gut’s levels of healthy bacteria topped up, which reduces the risk of a viral or bacterial infection taking hold. Choose a probiotic that contains the Saccharomyces boulardii strain, which is the most effective for reducing the risk of traveller’s diarrhoea. Start taking it five days before your trip and don’t stop until you get home. ™ And bovine colostrum tablets. They contain antibodies that bind to the variety of E. coli bacteria that’s the leading cause of traveller’s diarrhoea, preventing it from latching onto the intestinal wall. Try Healthy Care Super
Colostrum ($23.99, 200 tablets), Nature’s Care Super Colostrum ($34, 200 tablets), or Australian by Nature Colostrum ($28.99, 250 tablets). ™ Close your mouth in the shower. Steering clear of potentially unsafe water is the doctor-recommended preventative measure for traveller’s diarrhoea. So when the water isn’t recommended for drinking, for example in Bali, Thailand and India, keep your mouth shut when you shower. Visit isthewatersafetodrink.com to check the water quality at your destination. DID YOU KNOW? Traveller’s diarrhoea affects up to 50 per cent of people travelling overseas.
FIGHT OFF URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS ™ Take cranberry capsules. Pop them twice a day to reduce your risk of contracting a UTI by 50 per cent. Cranberries contain compounds that prevent UTI-causing E. coli bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall, but the juice form isn’t concentrated enough to be effective. ™ And a forskolin supplement. This herbal extract makes the bladder’s cells more active, encouraging it to flush out its contents, including any E. coli bacteria. DID YOU KNOW? Australian women who travel to China, India and south-east Asia have a higher risk of developing antibiotic-resistant UTIs.
BANISH MOSQUITOES ™ Use a DEET-based repellent. Compared to ‘natural’ mosquito repellents, DEET-based ones are the most effective against different mosquito species. Reapply every four hours to exposed skin. ™ Wear light-coloured clothing. Mosquitoes are attracted to colours that don’t reflect as much light, like black or dark blue. So choose paler-coloured clothes when you’re outdoors. DID YOU KNOW? One in five travellers visit their doctor post trip with a dermatologic illness, including insect bites. Mosquito bites are one of the main ways infectious diseases and viruses, including the Zika virus (which is a risk in parts of tropical Africa, Latin America, South-East Asia and the Pacific), are spread. #
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hen it comes to divorce, severing emotional and domestic ties is not the only thing to consider. Ending a long-term relationship is a life-changing decision often driven by powerful emotions, and it’s rarely simple or straightforward. We don’t always take into account the practicalities regarding children, money and property. If you’re not sure if you’re making the right choice for you, you’re worried about how your decision will affect your children, or you have concerns about your financial future, read on. Here are the key questions to ask yourself before officially ending your relationship.
It’s worth seeking professional advice, if only to help you make a decision about whether it’s worth trying to work on your relationship or confirm your belief that it’s really not fixable, says Alexandra Barbas from Relationships Australia, Victoria. “Many relationships are derailed because the dynamics of the relationship aren’t working,” she explains. “Counselling can help couples identify what’s wrong, what’s good and what could be good in a relationship. It can also help remind you of the things that drew you to each other in the first place.” If your partner refuses to try relationship counselling, it’s still a good idea to go alone, and at least you’ll feel you’ve tried everything before ending things.
Divorce itself only ends the marriage and orders about children or dividing property are separate proceedings, says Helen Campbell, executive officer of the NSW Women’s Legal Service. “For a divorce, if the parties are amicable you can do it without a lawyer,” she explains. “Legal Aid runs free do-it-yourself divorce classes and many community legal centres can help with the paperwork too.” If there’s unresolvable conflict that prevents you from coming to a mutually acceptable agreement about things like property distribution and arrangements for the care of children, it’s wise to get legal advice. “There are time limits on financial settlements after divorce but it can be done any time before a divorce so it’s a good idea to get onto it early,” says Campbell. “You can find a suitable lawyer at the Law Society website in your state. But be aware that family court litigation can be very expensive, so it’s better for all concerned if you can find a way to communicate with each other and reach an amicable agreement.” Arrangements made out of court are enforceable if you file the agreement at the court and ask for orders to be made by consent.
You may have come to a fair arrangement about where the children will live and who they will spend important holidays with but the reality is that the thought of the kids making happy memories that don’t include you can be painful for everyone. It’s worth thinking about how you’ll cope when the time comes. Even the most amicable separations can come unstuck over decisions about the kids, says co-parenting expert and divorce coach Naomi Douglas. If you both love your children enough to do everything possible to make your separation easier on them, preparing a solid parenting plan in advance can help. “You may be fighting for issues you believe are important to >
your children, like which school they’ll go to,” says Douglas. “But in the end the damage caused to children faced with ongoing conflict may overshadow the benefits of attending the best school.” Co-parenting is not always easy but it is possible, and consulting a divorce coach who can help you with the emotional and practical issues around ending your marriage may help, says Douglas.
Ending a relationship can be emotionally distressing,
so reliable support is important. This can sometimes be a problem if your own family lives interstate or if you’ve formed strong bonds with your partner’s family and they’re no longer accessible to you. There are no guarantees about who will get custody of your friends – even those who were in your life long before you even met your partner. “When you decide to end a marriage, it’s usually to escape a bad situation but you also lose some good things in the process,” says Barbas.
“Friends tend to draw alliances and while some of your own friends might side with your ex, others may pull away because they find it hard to maintain friendships with both of you.” Forward thinking can make a difference, so if you feel your support system is lacking, plan ahead by enlisting the help of people who will lighten your burden if times get rough. There are support groups all over Australia that offer help with emotional and practical issues via free online services and regular community events.
If you want out of your relationship because your partner no longer makes you happy, you may be putting responsibility for your happiness on the wrong shoulders. “It’s easy to blame your partner when things go wrong but so many people are walking out of marriage for the wrong reasons,” says Douglas. Cracks in a relationship can be more evident during times of emotional upheaval. These are the times when you really need to support each other but it may feel like you’re on opposing teams. Mid-life is a common time for marriage breakdown, especially if you have unfulfilled needs or dreams you feel you can no longer push aside, says Douglas. If that’s the case, the problem might not be with your relationship and deciding to separate may leave you just as miserable as you were before ending your marriage.
Even if you and your ex had a financial planner together, it’s important to consult someone else who will act just for you. They can help with independent financial advice about decisions around the divorce that will affect your future on your own, says financial adviser Catherine Robson. “It’s good to have someone who is not emotionally involved in the situation and is in your corner,” she explains. A financial advisor can also help separating couples formulate a Binding Financial Agreement, which is designed to have the force of law, says Robson. “The costs for professional advice can seem daunting, but formalising your financial affairs with your ex-partner confers many benefits,” she adds. “It gives everyone clarity, and there may also be some significant tax savings as a result.”
The family home might represent security and stability, particularly if you have kids. “However, you can find yourself disadvantaged financially by focusing on keeping the house at all costs,” says Robson. “It’s not an income-generating asset and it might also drain your cash flow, so keep an open mind and consider whether selling the house or taking other assets in the settlement might be a better financial decision.”
One of those assets might include superannuation. “When separating, much of the focus is on what the value of assets is today, but by not striking an equitable division of super, you might be significantly eroding your long-term financial security,” Robson advises. “It’s also a trap to assume that your home will be your super. Recent budget announcements mean that it will be much harder in the future to scale down and contribute the excess capital to super once your kids have left home.”
Relationships Australia: relationships.org.au Co-Parenting Australia: coparentingaustralia.com.au Financial Planning Australia: fpa.com.au Women’s Legal Service: wlsnsw.org.au Divorce Coach: naomidouglas.com.au Legal Aid: legalaid.nsw.gov.au Single Mum: singlemum.com.au Divorced Womens Club: divorcedwomensclub.com.au Department of Human Services: humanservices.gov.au #
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ou’ve probably been in countless situations when you’ve wished you could read someone else’s mind. It would certainly come in handy to help you figure out whether your partner is still madly in love with you or if it’s a good time to ask your boss for a raise. But more than that, tapping into other people’s thoughts and feelings can actually make you a more caring partner, friend and colleague – and definitely a more savvy one. The ability to effectively ‘read’ someone else requires cultivating what psychologists call ‘empathic accuracy’, a potent skill that can help you build closer relationships, avoid misunderstandings and deftly navigate others’ moods and behaviours. According to John Malouff, an associate professor of psychology at the University of New England, “Reading others accurately gives you information about what to do next: Do you kiss them? Invite them to lunch? Ask if there’s something they want to talk about? It strengthens your relationships and increases the likelihood of people responding to you positively, now and in the future.” With a little practice and a lot of self-awareness, you can develop a ‘sixth sense’. Try out these methods on your nearest and dearest to start honing your skills.
This is how you get the best read on what someone is thinking, says bodylanguage expert David Alssema, whether you’re trying to find out if your husband’s been having an affair or your son ate all the Tim Tams. “The eyes will tell you how a person processes information,” he says. “You’ll be able to get the response before they verbally communicate back to you.” It’s all about the direction: if their eyes move up and to the left, that means they’re reminiscing or trying to
recall something; to the right indicates a more creative thought process, which could suggest deceit. (Reverse this for left-handed people). “You can use this formula to figure out if someone is constructing an answer or actually remembering what happened,” Alssema says. The eyes send lots of other signals, too. If someone’s pupils are dilated, it means they’re interested in what you’re saying and/or attracted to you (hence the term ‘bedroom eyes’); if they narrow their eyes, it suggests disgust or anger; a glazed look means that person has mentally checked out; and darting eyes means they want out of the conversation, now.
PHOTOGRAPHY GETTY IMAGES
BETTER MIND READER
Watch the face closely Our faces telegraph our emotions – happiness, anger, sadness, surprise, disgust, contempt and fear – through a series of involuntary microexpressions that last a fraction of a second. A curled lip or a furrowed brow can tell a much bigger story than words – but only if you’re paying proper attention. “People provide subtle cues with their faces all the time that we respond to without even knowing it,” relationship expert Amanda Lambros explains. “This goes back to evolution – it puts us in a position of knowing if the other person is friend or foe.” >
Pay attention to posture “Body language can give you big clues about a person’s emotional state,” says Professor Malouff. “A hangdog posture can show depression, a fidgety stance can show anxiety, a clenching jaw and fist can mean anger, and so on. If you know someone well and notice a change in their physical demeanour, that’s a clue to investigate.”
If someone opens up to you about a problem – a rough day at the office, a failed relationship, issues with the kids – try not to hijack their story. “Don’t turn it around and make it about you by telling them what a rough day you had or how annoying your kids are,” says Lambros. “Just say, ‘I’ve had days like that. Tell me about yours.’”
Get to know the other person The longer you interact with someone, the more your empathic accuracy will improve, says Professor Malouff. Over time, you’ll build a memory bank for how they telegraph their feelings through tone of voice, actions and facial expressions, and learn how to interpret their behaviours in various situations and in context. “By paying attention to someone’s emotions, you’re learning a deep, important story from that person,” he says, “and there’s a lesson in that for you, too.”
Your own body language matters, too. “When you mirror another person by subtly matching their posture, the speed of their speech and the words they use, in essence you ‘join’ that person,” says Professor Malouff. “This tends to be reciprocated, and that person will more than likely join you.” Studies show that the more you mirror other people in this way, the more you physiologically tune into their feelings and emotions. “It puts you on the same wavelength and you quickly build a rapport,” explains Lambros.
As you’re trying to read someone, come up with a ‘feeling’ word to test how accurate you are, suggests Lambros. Say something like, ‘It sounds like you’re upset/sad/stressed’, which they will either accept or reject – and most likely they’ll correct you, which helps clue you in on how this person portrays particular emotions to give you a better read next time. #
F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N G O T O magazines.org.au/research
I’m having an
EGG DONOR BABY IN MY 40s Seeing celebrities like Julianne Moore and Halle Berry getting pregnant in their 40s, it’s easy to imagine it’s not that difficult. But, as Cindy Lever discovered, the reality can be very different. Here, she shares her story 62
The IVF rollercoaster
am about to board a plane from Athens home to Australia carrying very precious cargo. I have travelled across the world to use another woman’s eggs, hoping to fulfil my dream of having a second child. Thanks to the generosity of this anonymous donor I now have two tiny embryos nuzzling into my uterus. My journey began several years earlier when I was 40 and my new partner and I visited my fertility specialist after failing to become pregnant. I knew my chances of conceiving at this age were slim but when my doctor spelled out that I had less than a 15 per cent chance and I would probably need to consider using donor eggs, I fell apart. Once I recovered from the shock my stubbornness kicked in and I refused to believe that, despite my age, I didn’t still have a chance with my own eggs. I would walk around saying to my partner, “Look at such and such a celebrity, she’s in her 40s and pregnant”. I have always been extremely health-conscious – a vegetarian since my teenage years, a yoga teacher, never smoked and rarely drank – so I thought even if I had a dwindling egg supply those that were left were still likely to be good.
I was determined that I was not going to be a statistic and we embarked on IVF. We had three cycles which resulted in the collection of a meagre six eggs and only two little day-three embryos. One was transferred, but didn’t implant. Each day I prayed our last embryo would continue to multiply in the petrie dish, but it didn’t. The pain was overwhelming. I had to let go of the dream that we would one day have a baby that was made from the fabric of
I got onto Google and found Egg Donation Australia (EDA), which had a forum and Facebook page. I chatted with many women here who were in similar desperate positions to me. Recipients are forbidden from directly approaching the donors. Instead you put up an advertisement on the forum along with all the other couples pleading for a donor and then wait and hope that a donor will contact you and agree to donate their eggs.
My partner was adamant he did not want to have an ongoing relationship with the donor… It felt complicated us. Fortunately, my partner is pragmatic and was accepting of the idea of using a donor. He reminded me that my body would nourish the child and give birth to it, and that our arms would hold it.
First steps to egg donation
I researched donor eggs. My specialist recommended The World Egg Bank, used by an Australian IVF organisation, which sources eggs from American donors. However, at a cost of about $30,000, with long waiting times, and as there’s no certainty with these things, this wasn’t a viable option for us.
EDA donors often wonder what sort of ongoing relationship the recipients may want to have with the donor. Many of the donors and recipients form close bonds and become dear friends. My partner was adamant he did not want to have an ongoing relationship with a donor. I wasn’t sure I was comfortable with this idea either. It felt complicated and I worried about pressure to maintain ties with the donor throughout our lives. Finding a donor in Australia was also time-consuming and emotionally exhausting. If and when a donor approached us, it meant first building a relationship and hoping that we all ‘clicked’. >
I began to look at overseas options where donation is anonymous and there are far more donors. It can potentially work out to be a cheaper, quicker and easier option than receiving eggs from an Australian donor. After many evenings spent on forums, Facebook pages and Google, I discovered Embryoland in Greece. I sent off an email and the following Sunday I was talking to Dr Nikos Kanakas on Skype. He put me in touch with two Australian women who had been to the clinic – one was about to deliver twins, the other had already had her twins. They both spoke highly of him.
™ A donor egg cycle at Embryoland costs about €6000, including all medication. Embryo donation can cost up to €7000. Freezing costs an extra €500. ™ It is illegal in Australia to pay for donor eggs. ™ Donors in Australia can be found by placing ads in the community,
The decision was made and a couple of months later my partner and I headed off to Greece, feeling incredibly nervous and excited.
Finally, off to Greece
Prior to leaving we had sent the clinic photos of ourselves as well as my son from my first marriage so that we could be matched with a suitable donor. The trip was incredible – like a honeymoon. Greece is fun, romantic and so relaxed, and everything went smoothly. After the donor’s eggs were fertilised with my partner’s sperm we had six blastocyst
Cindy with Dr Kanakas
embryos on day five. We were thrilled with this result. Five days after fertilisation I watched a monitor showing two tiny blastocysts being delicately transferred through a fine tube into my uterus. I was so overwhelmed I was crying and any doubts I had about whether this child would be mine vanished. Devastatingly, it didn’t result in a pregnancy. A couple of months later I returned to
remained and yet none of this was at the forefront. As I watched the last two embryos being transferred I lay clutching a little good luck card my son had written me. This time, once the transfer had taken place, I watched them move down deep into my uterus. I was moved to a small room where I fell into a blissful sleep for two hours. Everything felt right and the following day I
I was so overwhelmed I was crying and any doubts I had about whether this child would be mine vanished
asking friends or relatives, or through groups such as Egg Donor Angels or Egg Donation Australia. ™ Egg donation in Australia cannot be anonymous. ™ In some states there is a cooling-off period for donors and all parties must undergo counselling sessions before proceeding.
Greece to try again. Another two embryos were transferred, this time exactly five days after I had ovulated. Again I was incredibly unlucky. All but one of the women I had been communicating with had managed to get pregnant on their first trip. Knowing this only intensified my distress.
I felt different this time
With the last two precious blastocysts waiting frozen in Greece I headed off again, but this time I felt different. I had an inner calmness. I have no idea what shifted for me or why. The pressure and stakes
boarded the plane home with a feeling of quiet confidence. Ten days later and already suffering morning sickness, I was on Skype crying tears of joy as I shared my wonderful news with Dr Kanakas. The blood test revealed my levels of HCG [a hormone produced by pregnant women] were soaring.
My happy ending
As I write this, at six months pregnant, I feel blessed to have had this opportunity, to have had the support I have had, and so grateful that there are women generous enough to donate their eggs. #
PHOTOGRAPHY GETTY IMAGES
Casting the net wider
T E I D A O T K C I T S
OUR MIN U TRICK Y
D INTO H
U LOSE ELPING YO
OSTER F ? HELEN F
oing on a diet is one thing, sticking to it is another matter entirely. But if you can get your brain in the right place you have a greater chance for success. Here are 12 tips to try.
The most successful diet is not successful because it’s high protein or low carb, it’s successful because you stick to it, say Canadian researchers who compared plan results. Ensure whatever plan you choose includes foods you enjoy and that it can fit into your life. “I suggest clients rate their confidence on sticking to a particular diet out of 10,” says dietitian Sanchia Parker from Corporate Bodies International. “If you score seven or below, then look at why it might be hard and if you can come up with solutions to those barriers.” If you can’t, then it’s not the plan for you.
BUY A RED PLATE
You eat fewer kilojoules if you eat from one, finds Dr Nicola Bruno from the University of Parma in Italy. He isn’t exactly sure why, but says it might be related to “cultural associations of red to danger and avoidance”.
SET THE RIGHT GOAL
While some people can plan a whole week of eating and stick to it, others might only see all the hurdles in a full week and therefore fail to get going. “Never actually starting your diet, or starting but quitting time and time again, is a good sign that your goal or time-frame is too big,” says clinical psychologist Gemma Cribb from Equilibrium Psychology. “Find a change you can actually commit to – and just concentrate on repeating that.” That might mean focusing on making the right choices day by day, or even just meal to meal.
Can you imagine driving down the freeway, missing the exit, then saying ‘Well, I might as well keep going’? No, you’d turn around and head in the right direction. “Yet every day dieters think, ‘I’ve blown it for the day so I might as well keep going and I’ll get back on track tomorrow’,” says Deborah Beck Busis, co-author of The Diet Trap Solution. “In no other area of your life would you do this, so why do it when you diet? If you go off track, get back on track at the next meal.” >
ASK THIS QUESTION BEFORE YOU CHEAT ‘How will this make me feel an hour after I’ve eaten it?’ “If it will make you feel sluggish, tired, guilty or take you another step away from what you’re trying to achieve, then it’s best avoided,” says Sydney-based mind coach Kylie Ryan.
People who say ‘I don’t want to eat xxxx’ are more successful than those who use the words ‘I can’t eat xxxx’, say researchers at the University of Houston in the US. Saying ‘I don’t’ reinforces the idea that you’re making a conscious choice so your brain wants to help you succeed in making it.
Filling up on low-kilojoule foods like fruit or vegetables is likely to be a part of many diets – but it can be a problem for those who don’t like the taste. The solution is to change how you feel about them. “Eating a
mouthful of any food you don’t like immediately after one you do like can retrain your thoughts about that food,” says personal trainer Ali Cavill. “Your mind starts to associate the positive treat feeling with the fruit and vegetable. Gradually you’ll find you start to eat more of the good stuff.”
“Many dieters I work with are afraid of feeling hunger and this makes them vulnerable to overeating,” says Beck Busis. “Actually, hunger comes and goes and compared to other physically uncomfortable things it’s barely on the same scale. It’s important for dieters to learn that nothing bad happens if they get hungry now and again. Once you realise this you never have to worry about breaking your diet because there’s nothing nearby that fits it – you can handle waiting until better things are available.” Beck Busis suggests a hunger trial. Pick a day when you’re not too busy and write down on a scale of one to 10 how much things hurt – so, childbirth and labour might be a 10, a headache might be a five, sore feet after walking a one. Have a healthy breakfast, then don’t eat again until dinner. Every hour check how you’re feeling. “Most people find, to their surprise, that hunger and cravings are never more than mildly uncomfortable and that they generally disappear,” says Beck Busis.
PHOTOGRAPHY ALAMY / GETTY IMAGES / ISTOCKPHOTO
Lose your fear of hunger
Researchers at the UK’s University of Exeter have created an online game that helps you train your brain to stop before reaching for tasty treats. “It helps you replace your automatic ‘go’ response to these foods with ‘stop’ responses,” says creator Professor Natalia Lawrence. Pictures appear on your computer screen of healthy food, unhealthy food and neutral items like clothing. Whenever you see something healthy or neutral you push a key on your keyboard, but when you see, say, a biscuit, you don’t push anything. “This helps your brain get used to putting the brakes on when you see this type of food, which then gives you a chance to change your behaviour in real life too,” says Professor Lawrence. People using the game regularly reduced their food intake by 924kJ a day. Find it at foodtraining.exeter.ac.uk.
Put tempting food next to your non-dominant hand
So you’re in a meeting and there are biscuits or cakes on offer – place them on your left if you’re right-handed and right if you’re left-handed and you’ll be less likely to give in. “We naturally associate good things with our dominant side and bad things with our non-dominant side,” says Professor Daniel Casasanto from the University of Chicago.
BEWARE SCALES SABOTAGE So your diet always fails in the evening? Well, this doesn’t surprise Sanchia Parker. “Willpower is strongest in the morning and weakens throughout the day,” she explains. “It’s depleted every time we make a decision – no matter how big or small.” Having some simple meals ready for those nights when you get home and have no willpower left (and takeaway starts calling) will help counteract this common diet derailer.
Weighing yourself regularly increases diet success, but psychologist Dr Kelly McGonigal, author of Maximum Willpower, explains that a good result on the scales can send you off track. When you’re trying to lose weight your brain is controlled by two halves – one keeps you focused on your long-term goal, the other is interested in instant gratification. Your long-term goal brain is dominant most of the time, but after a good result, your brain decides to satisfy the ‘instant gratification’ part, making you more likely to give in to temptation. “It’s as if one step forward gives you permission to take two steps back,” says Dr McGonigal. The key is to celebrate your result briefly, then spend a few minutes reminding yourself why you want to lose weight and how much you want to succeed. This makes your long-term goal brain dominant again so you get back on track. #
almost every home pantry youâ€™ll find staples like rice and pasta. But there are plenty of other ingredients that can transform simple meals into sophisticated dishes. And despite their long shelf-life, pantry-stored foods can be just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, says dietitian Sharon Natoli. Here are 10 healthy items to add to your shopping list.
These low-fat legumes are a satisfying substitute for meat because theyâ€™re a rich source of protein, folate and iron, as well as fibre which supports the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. Brown lentils are a great addition to stews. Green lentils are firm and work well in salads. Red lentils are best for Indian dhals with spices, vegetables and stock.
Chickpeas transform basic meals into more substantial dishes because they contain plenty of protein and fibre. They also provide amino acids and niacin, a B vitamin that helps your body convert food to energy. Add chickpeas to a leafy salad or soup, and you have a tasty and filling meat-free meal. If friends drop by, blend chickpeas, garlic, herbs and olive oil to make a delicious hummus dip.
A can of tuna provides the same heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids as fresh fish. It’s also a source of immunity-boosting zinc and lean protein. Use tuna in a quinoa salad or pasta dishes with a drizzle of lemon and olive oil. To make fish cakes, mix it with mashed potato and herbs and spices, then roll in breadcrumbs and cook in a pan.
This gluten-free wholegrain is packed with iron and fibre so it helps you feel satisfied. It’s also a complete protein – that means it contains all nine amino acids which are usually only found in animal foods. Quinoa can be used in place of rice – simply add vegetables, tuna or legumes. You can also stuff baked capsicums with quinoa, tomatoes, olives and herbs.
Made from pureed tomatoes with the skin and seeds removed, tomato passata has a deliciously rich flavour. Just like fresh tomatoes it’s a source of potassium, vitamin C and the powerful antioxidant lycopene. Passata is smoother than canned tomatoes and runnier that tomato paste which makes it perfect as a base for your pasta sauce. If you want to flavour the sauce with herbs, choose basil or oregano. >
Rich in healthy fats that contain fatty acids like omega-3s, eating olives may help lower your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Plus, they provide antioxidants and vitamin E. Like anchovies, olives make for a creative, salty pizza topping and they complement Mediterranean cuisine – toss them through salads with feta cheese or in pasta with tomato and chilli. To make a simple tapenade, blend pitted olives with garlic.
Mustard seeds have lots to offer including selenium, which aids thyroid function, and the powerful antiinflammatory compound curcumin, which gives mustard its yellow colour. Made from the ground seeds, mustard powder can be used as a spice rub to coat meat, poultry or fish. It’s a key ingredient in Indian cuisine and a tasty addition to homemade vinaigrettes and barbecue sauce.
These tiny fish are a source of omega-3s, calcium, iron, protein and niacin. You can buy them preserved in olive oil but once opened refrigerate any leftovers in the oil. When your cooking calls for depth of flavour or a little salt, add some anchovies. Their savoury taste is great in Caesar salad dressing, in casseroles, pasta sauce, or as a pizza topping.
PHOTOGRAPHY PABLO MARTIN
Made from fermented apples, this vinegar variety enhances the flavour of food and contains antioxidants, amino acids and pectin, a prebiotic which promotes healthy digestion. Consuming it with your food can prevent a spike in your blood glucose and help to fill you up. Liven up salad dressings with a splash of vinegar or drizzle it over cooked vegetables to add acidity.
When you want to amp up the flavour in your cooking without adding salt, sugar and fat, herbs and spices are ideal replacements. The absolute essentials for every pantry? Black pepper, dried chilli and oregano. Abundant in antioxidants, these three provide anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing and heart protective properties â€“ and you only need to use a little for the benefits. Oregano complements garlic, vinegar and Italian tomato-based meals. Black pepper is pungent and fiery, while green peppercorns are mild and theyâ€™re best ground straight onto your food. Dried chilli suits slow-cooked curries and smoky, spicy sauces. #
Green is good – and in powder form it can be very beneficial. By Lindyl Crabb
But taking a green powder won’t make up for a poor diet, she adds. “Powders should supplement a good diet, they’re not intended to replace it. You’ll get optimal results from a varied diet with plenty of plant foods.” Look for a green powder that includes dark leafy greens and other whole ingredients because they provide a balance of nutrients which are more easily absorbed by the body. Here we look at what’s inside some of the most popular products.
IsoWhey Wholefoods Organic Mixed Greens with Matcha, $18.95 for 150g. Get your dose of spinach, nettle, kale, celery, prickly pear and broccoli with this pineapple-flavoured powder. The added matcha green tea also provides potent antioxidants called catechins which help protect your body from disease. Mix it in water, coconut water or almond milk or try stirring it into a salad dressing.
PHOTOGRAPHY ISTOCKPHOTO / GETTY IMAGES
etting your five serves of vegetables a day can be tricky if you’re time poor, travelling or you simply don’t like eating them. A green supplement powder could be the answer. Made with vegetables, fruits and sea algae concentrated into a powder, a daily dose mixed with water or juice will support your vitamin and mineral intake and fill in the gaps when your diet is lacking nutrients, says nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan.
Vital Greens, $32.95 for 120g. Superfoods such as spirulina, spinach, sprouts and berries are among the 76 ingredients in this blend, while probiotics, prebiotics, vitamins and minerals have been added to create a complete daily supplement. For an extra health boost, it also includes herbs that help support the liver and nervous system. Try two teaspoons daily in water or juice.
Amazonia Raw Prebiotic Greens, from $34.95 for 120g. This option is made with apple juice, vanilla bean and mint flavours so it’s a treat for your tastebuds. The mix includes organic green leafy vegetables, sprouts, spirulina and sea minerals and a blend of nutrients that promote detoxification. If you don’t like drinking your greens you can sprinkle the powder onto cereal or yoghurt.
NuZest Good Green Stuff, from $36.95 for 120g. NuZest’s powder provides a wide spectrum of nutrients and is packed with more than 75 ingredients including vegetables, fruits and herbs. It’s supplemented with extra vitamins, minerals and pea protein and has been flavoured and sweetened with stevia. Drink it chilled and avoid mixing it with a hot drink.
Bare Blends Bare Greens, from $29.99 for 100g. Organic spinach and kale, matcha green tea, microgreens, grasses and chlorella are blended with freeze-dried apple, mango and lemon juice in this green powder. Sweetened with monk fruit powder, there are no extra ingredients or flavours. If you want to get creative add it to pesto, scrambled eggs or in a salad dressing.
WelleCo The Super Elixir, from $49 for 150g.
The Beauty Chef Cleanse Inner Beauty Powder, $59.95 for 150g.
Two teaspoons of The Super Elixir provide nutrients from a variety of green vegetables, grasses, mushrooms, fruits and herbs. Probiotics, vitamins and minerals have been added and flavours and sweeteners give the powder a pineapple flavour. It’s best mixed in a cold drink and should not be heated.
Pulses are a key ingredient in this organic greens formula. As well as the usual vegetables, grasses, sprouts and algae, this powder contains fibre-rich chickpeas, beans and lentils. The product has also undergone fermentation so it’s a source of gut-friendly prebiotics and probiotics. Have it daily in a smoothie or sprinkled on your breakfast.
Forest Super Foods Organic Super Greens, $63.90 for 500g.
Nature’s Way Super Greens Plus, from $22.99 for 100g.
There are just five ingredients in this powder – wheatgrass, spirulina, chlorella, kale and barley grass – which provide a balance of antioxidants and nutrients including calcium and iron. All ingredients are organic and there are no added sweeteners. Mix one or two teaspoons daily in water, juice or a smoothie.
This powder’s extensive list of 81 ingredients includes spirulina, chlorella, vegetables, berries and seeds. The formula is boosted with antioxidant-rich green tea leaf extract which contains caffeine, added vitamins and minerals and pea protein. To enhance the taste stevia and a mixed berry flavour have been used. #
The truth about
Quitting sugar, going paleo and eating gluten free are popular food trends, but are they actually good for you? Karen Fittall goes in search of the hard facts
On the face of it eating less sugar,
saying no to refined carbohydrates and making sure your diet contains plenty of fresh produce sounds like a good idea. And to some extent, going gluten free, eliminating sugar and following a paleo diet are three ‘eating trends’ that can help you achieve all of those things. But are they really effective for improving your health and controlling your weight? Or could they have the opposite effect? Here’s what you need to know.
A GLUTEN-FREE DIET avoiding foods that contain gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, barley and oats. It takes a lot of healthy foods like wholegrain bread, pasta and cereals off the menu. that a gluten-free diet is healthier, even for people who don’t have coeliac disease. One in three people believes that’s true, and a similar number think going gluten free will help them lose weight. Some people also say they feel better when they avoid gluten, and self-diagnose themselves with a gluten intolerance, as a result. that sticking to a gluten-free diet doesn’t provide any health benefits for the general population, and doesn’t improve feelings of wellbeing, digestion or inflammatory responses. In fact, not only can gluten play a role in heart, gut and immune system health, unnecessarily sticking to a gluten-free diet increases the risk of nutrient deficiency, partly because you’re skipping foods that contain
wholegrains. “The potential ‘at-risk’ nutrients include the B vitamins, dietary fibre, iodine and vitamin E,” says Dietitians Association of Australia spokesperson Tania Ferraretto. “Plus, going gluten free has absolutely no benefit for weight loss.” Research shows that gluten-free foods can actually lead to weight gain, because they often contain extra fat and sugar compared to their gluten-containing equivalents.
So why do people who haven’t been diagnosed with an intolerance say they feel better when they quit gluten? One explanation is that to avoid gluten they cut out desserts and processed foods, which leads to weight loss. Another is that they may be intolerant to the fructans in wheat. Fructans are a type of FODMAP, a group of dietary sugars that can cause uncomfortable digestive symptoms for some people. While that can mean following a low-FODMAP diet for a period of time is a good idea, it doesn’t require avoiding other glutencontaining foods like oats or quitting wheat full-time. There’s no advantage in sticking to a gluten-free diet unless you’ve been diagnosed with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance. “If you suspect you might have a gluten intolerance, talk to your doctor about getting a proper medical diagnosis,” says Ferraretto. >
A SUGAR-FREE DIET
foods you cut out. “Some foods that a strict sugar-free diet eliminates are rich in fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients,” says Ferraretto. “For example, many healthy foods – like fruit and dairy food – contain some sugar.” “While eating foods high in added sugar can contribute to tooth decay and weight gain, there’s no need to completely eliminate sugar from your diet,” says Ferraretto. So keep eating fruit and dairy foods, but do cut back on ‘free sugars’, which are the ones that are added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, a chef or yourself, and also watch out for products with naturally occurring sugars such as honey and fruit juice. Try to stick to no more than 50g, but ideally 25g, or six teaspoons, of that type of sugar a day. Preferably, choose foods that contain less than 5g of sugar per 100g, but up to 15g is okay. Likewise drinks should ideally contain less than 2.5g of sugar per 100ml, but up to 7.5g is okay.
A PALEO DIET cutting out dairy food, grains and legumes and sticking to a diet of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Highly processed foods and salt are also out, and devout paleo eaters don’t eat potatoes either. the human body is better suited to eating like our caveman ancestors did, before farming influenced our diets. According to the paleo diet, the introduction of grains, dairy and legumes outpaced the body’s ability to adapt and properly digest them, so it’s those foods that increase the risk of obesity and ‘lifestyle’ diseases like diabetes and heart disease. that the human brain wouldn’t have evolved like it has if cavemen really did eat today’s paleo diet, which avoids starch-rich vegetables and grains. It turns out that starchy carbohydrates, along with meat, were responsible for the increase in the size of the
PHOTOGRAPHY GETTY IMAGES
eliminating sugary foods, both processed varieties that contain added sugar, like cakes, drinks and breakfast cereals and, in extreme forms of the diet, foods that contain natural sugars too, such as fruit. that sugar causes everything from weight gain and dental problems, to heart disease and faster ageing. Some research has even suggested that sugar is addictive, because it affects the same neural pathways that some drugs tap into. that Australians need to cut down on their sugar intake. More than 50 per cent of us eat too much added sugar – up to 27 teaspoons per day, on average. And regularly consuming high-sugar foods and drinks, like fizzy drinks, does increase the risk of stroke and shorten your life span. The reason? The high sugar load accelerates the ageing process, as well as causing insulin resistance and inflammation, which makes hardening of the arteries and blood clots more likely. But many health experts believe completely ditching sugar from your diet can be harmful because you risk missing out on other importants nutrients in the
A DAIRY-FREE DIET
human brain 800,000 years ago. There’s also conflicting evidence about whether a paleo diet helps weight loss. While one study found that people who ‘went paleo’ lost 2kg more in four weeks than those sticking to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, other research suggests following a paleo diet for two months caused weight gain and health complications, including increased insulin levels. And even when paleo diets were linked to improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol levels, it was likely a result of weight loss, not the diet itself. On the other hand, diets rich in legumes and wholegrains reduce the risk of both heart disease and diabetes, independent of weight loss. A paleo diet has a fair few positives. It’s rich in fruit and vegetables, as well as healthy fats, fish and meat – a good source of protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12. Cutting out refined carbohydrates and highly processed foods is also a plus. “A paleo diet does include some healthy foods, but it also excludes important nutrient-rich foods like wholegrains and dairy,” says Ferraretto. Even the scientists who proved the greater weight-loss results associated with going paleo are wary: “Despite the greater weight loss, we should be cautious about advocating a diet that cuts out entire food groups,” says Angela Genoni from Edith Cowan University. “Significantly, the paleo diet markedly reduces calcium intake because it excludes all dairy products, which could have a negative impact on bone strength, particularly in older people.”
steering clear of cow’s milk, cheese and yoghurt, as well as products made using them. the natural sugar in dairy food, called lactose, is to blame for bloating, cramps and wind. Of the one in six Australians who has chosen to go ‘dairy free’, 74 per cent cite digestive problems as their reason for quitting. Others avoid it because they think it contributes to weight gain and heart disease. not only is lactose intolerance, which can cause wind and bloating, relatively rare, but even people diagnosed with it don’t need to quit dairy completely – they can tolerate 250ml of milk each day and most cheeses are very low in lactose. Eating the recommended amount of dairy doesn’t increase heart-disease risk, and it may actually help weight loss. Plus, ditching dairy can be a health risk. Dairy foods are the major source of calcium in most people’s diets, so removing them can lead to increased risk of osteoporosis. And they also contain other vital nutrients including protein, potassium, vitamin B12 and zinc. There’s no reason to eliminate dairy, even if you have been diagnosed with lactose intolerance. Women should eat 2.5 serves of dairy each day, increasing to four if you’re over 51. A serve is 250ml milk, 200g yoghurt or 40g hard cheese. #
OLIVE It’s no secret that olive oil is good for you. Rich in ‘healthy’ monounsaturated fat, it also contains antioxidant compounds called phenolics which have free-radical-scavenging properties so may be able to reduce oxidative damage to DNA. But what does that really mean for you? The latest research shows that olive oil can help your health in a host of different ways. Read on to discover just how.
Stick to a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil and your risk of breast cancer falls by 68 per cent. The same diet supplemented with nuts doesn’t have the same effect. The reason? Olive oil suppresses the activity of genes and proteins that play a role in cancer development and growth.
Eat olive oil regularly and you’ll be 41 per cent less likely to have a stroke. One explanation is that olive oil’s antioxidants reduce levels of oxidised LDL, or ‘bad’, cholesterol – and the more LDL you have, the higher your stroke risk is.
Mix olive oil with vegetables that are rich in compounds called nitrites and nitrates (like spinach, celery and carrots), and the oil’s unsaturated fat combines with the compounds to form nitro fatty acids. Studies show that those acids lower blood pressure.
Olive oil contains oleocanthal, a phenolic compound that boosts the production of proteins and enzymes that remove beta-amyloid from the brain. Beta-amyloid is a protein that creates plaques in the brain which cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Eat a meal that contains olive oil and you’ll consume 700 fewer kilojoules during the rest of the day, because you’ll feel fuller for longer. Compared to other oils, olive oil triggers a bigger release of a satiety hormone and contains compounds that slow down how quickly food affects blood sugar levels, which is key to controlling appetite.
PHOTOGRAPHY GETTY IMAGES
Adding olive oil to your food can be a real health kick. Karen Fittall discovers why it’s so powerful and how to maximise its benefits
Including more olive oil in your diet is good for your health, as long as you know how to choose, use and store it properly. Make sure you…
™ Extra virgin olive oil. Because it’s made from fresh olive juice, it’s the highest and most nutrient-rich grade of olive oil, which means it offers the greatest health benefits. “If you see words like ‘pure olive oil’ or ‘light’ and ‘extra light’ on the label, it means the olive oil is refined, and is a much lower quality than extra virgin olive oil,” says dietitian Lisa Renn. ™ An Australian-grown oil. According to tests commissioned by the Australian Olive Association (AOA), 85 per cent of the olive oils labelled as ‘extra virgin’ that are imported into Australia don’t meet Australian standards. Half of them failed because they tasted rancid or musty, while others were refined olive oil, not extra virgin. AOA’s chief executive officer Lisa Rowntree says it means buying Australian-grown oils is a smart move. “Consumers can trust Australian extra virgin olive oil. Australian farmers use modern harvesting equipment, which means the olives are picked and pressed in the shortest amount of time, to maximise quality, flavour and antioxidant content.” To make sure you’re buying the best quality olive oil, look
for the triangle-shaped Australian extra virgin certified trademark – certified oils undergo regular taste and chemical testings. ™ An oil that’s as fresh as possible. Olive oil gets worse, not better, with age. “It is at its peak just a few months after pressing, and the nutrient content degrades over time,” says Renn. “So the fresher the oil, the greater the health benefits – and the better the taste.” Check the label for the harvest and best-before dates. Choose an oil with a best-before date that’s at least 12 months away (but no greater than 24 months from the harvest date), and try to consume it within one year of harvest. Once the bottle is opened, use the oil within four to six weeks. That will ensure it has the best flavour and health benefits. To achieve that, only buy as much oil as you need for the next few weeks.
™ It in a cool, dark place. Three things cause olive oil to deteriorate: light, heat and air. “So we don’t recommend putting your bottle of extra virgin olive oil next to the oven,” says Rowntree. “Store it in a dark glass bottle in
your pantry, and replace the lid as quickly as possible after you’ve used it, to avoid as much exposure to air as possible.”
™ It for every type of cooking. You can use the same extra virgin olive oil to barbecue, roast, fry and dress a salad. “The ideal temperature for deep-frying food is 180°C, and a good-quality extra virgin olive oil has a high smoke point of 210°C, so you can definitely fry with it,” says Rowntree. In fact, research proves, compared to several other seed-based oils, olive oil is more stable at high temperatures, which helps to maintain the nutritional value of the food being cooked.
Pack your pantry with these Australian-grown extra virgin olive oils Cobram Estate Everyday Essentials range (375ml, $6.99). Comes in light, classic and robust, so you can mix and match depending on the dish you’re cooking. The Olive Tree Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil Fruity (500ml, $4.69). An olive oil with a fruity peppery flavour – ideal for dipping with crusty bread. Red Island Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray (150g, $3.99). Packed in a spray bottle, this is a good choice when you want lighter coverage. Pukara Estate Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil (500ml, $28.50). An earthy truffle flavour makes this oil a great match for mushroom dishes and risottos. Grampians Olive Co Lemon Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil (375ml, $20). Australian lemons are cold pressed with organic olives to produce a bolder lemon flavour than infused oils. #
It’s an eating plan that will help you lose weight quickly and easily. You stick to just 500 calories a day two days a week and eat normally for the other five days. The 2-Day Super Diet could be just what you need to kick-start your healthy eating plan. These five delicious recipes have been designed to fit into your 500-calorie days – all are around the 200 calorie mark, or under. They’ll make your reduced-calorie days a breeze.
Preparation + cooking time: 15 minutes 200g cauliflower florets 1 egg 2 teaspoons water 50g button mushrooms, sliced thinly 1 clove garlic, crushed 1 green onion (scallion), sliced thinly 25g shaved 97% fat-free ham, shredded 2 tablespoons frozen peas, thawed 1 teaspoon soy sauce 1 fresh small red chilli, chopped finely
Double the quantity and keep half covered in the fridge for up to two days.
1. Process cauliflower using pulse button until chopped finely. 2. Whisk egg and the water in a small bowl, and season. Heat small non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Pour egg mixture into pan and swirl to coat base. Cook omelette for 1 minute, without stirring, until cooked through. Gently slide omelette onto a plate and roll tightly. Cover to keep warm. 3. Heat the same frying pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add half the onion, then the ham, cauliflower and peas. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until hot. Stir in soy sauce. Season to taste. 4. Thinly slice omelette. Serve cauliflower â€˜riceâ€™ topped with omelette, remaining onion and the chilli. SERVES 1 Nutritional count per serve: energy 790kJ (189 cal); total fat 6.7g (sat fat 1.9g); carbohydrate 8.1g; protein 19.4g; fibre 8.9g. >
Any firm white fish fillet can be used. If pesto is too thick, thin down with a little warm water.
Preparation + cooking time: 30 minutes 45g broccoli florets Âź cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves 5g roasted almonds, chopped coarsely 2 teaspoons finely grated parmesan 1 small clove garlic 2 tablespoons water 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar 150g cherry truss tomatoes cooking-oil spray 100g firm white fish fillet 1. Preheat oven to 200Â°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper. 2. Boil, steam or microwave broccoli until just tender and drain. 3. To make the broccoli pesto, place broccoli, basil, nuts,
parmesan, garlic, the water and vinegar in a blender. Blend until almost smooth. Season to taste. 4. Place tomatoes on tray. Lightly spray with oil. Roast for 10 minutes or until just starting to soften. 5. Score fish with a sharp knife. Heat a small frying pan over high heat and lightly spray fish with oil. Cook fish skin-side down for 3 minutes, turn and cook for a further 1 minute or until cooked through. 6. Serve fish with broccoli pesto and tomatoes. SERVES 1 Nutritional count per serve: energy 833kJ (200 cal); total fat 6.8g (saturated fat 1.5g); carbohydrate 5.1g; protein 26.4g; fibre 4.7g.
Preparation + cooking time: 40 minutes cooking-oil spray 50g kumara, cut into 1cm thick slices 30g small broccoli florets 1 egg 1 egg white 1 tablespoon low-fat ricotta 1 teaspoon finely shredded fresh basil 15g watercress 1 tablespoon lemon juice lemon wedges, to serve 1. Preheat oven to 180Â°C. 2. Spray a 11cm (top) x 7.5cm (base) round pie tin with oil. Place on an oven tray. 3. Place kumara and broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100%) for 2 minutes or until tender and drain. 4. Meanwhile, whisk egg, egg white, half the ricotta and the basil in a jug. Season. 5. Arrange vegetables in tin and pour egg mixture over. Bake for 25 minutes or until set. 6. Meanwhile, combine watercress and juice in a small bowl. 7. Top frittata with remaining ricotta. Serve with watercress salad and lemon wedges. SERVES 1 Nutritional count per serve: energy 732kJ (175 cal); total fat 7.7g (sat fat 2.8g); carbohydrate 9g; protein 16.4g; fibre 2.2g. >
Recipe is best made just before serving. If you canâ€™t find micro basil, baby basil leaves are fine to use.
Preparation + cooking time: 15 minutes 75g lean lamb fillet 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning mix 1 large roma (egg) tomato (90g), cut into wedges Âź small red onion (25g), cut into thin wedges 1 tablespoon micro basil 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar 20g wild rocket
heat for 4 minutes on each side or until cooked as desired. 2. Remove lamb from heat and stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Slice lamb thinly. 3. Combine tomato, onion and basil in a bowl. Drizzle lamb with vinegar. Serve lamb with tomato salad and rocket. Season to taste. SERVES 1
1. Rub lamb all over with Italian seasoning. Cook the lamb on a heated grill plate (or grill or barbecue) over medium-high
Nutritional count per serve: energy 608kJ (145 cal); total fat 4.5g (sat fat 1.5g); carbohydrate 6.4g; protein 18g; fibre 2g.
PHOTOGRAPHY WILLIAM MEPPEM, LOUISE LISTER • STYLING VIVIEN WALSH, LUCY TWEED • FOOD PREPARATION CHARLOTTE BINNS-MCDONALD, SARAH HOBBS, ANGELA DEVLIN
Preparation + cooking time: 20 minutes 80g extra-lean minced (ground) pork 1 tablespoon fresh breadcrumbs 1 tablespoon low-fat milk 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind ½ teaspoon fennel seeds ¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes ½ medium red apple (75g), sliced thinly ¼ cup loosely packed small mint leaves 1 tablespoon lemon juice 20g baby spinach leaves lemon wedge, to serve 1. Combine mince, breadcrumbs, milk, rind, fennel and chilli in a medium bowl. Season. 2. Divide mixture into six portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Thread balls onto two skewers. Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook kebabs for 6 minutes, turning, or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm. 3. Meanwhile, combine apple, mint and juice in a small bowl. 4. Serve kebabs with apple salad, spinach leaves and lemon wedge. SERVES 1 Nutritional count per serve: energy 683kJ (163 cal); total fat 8.1g (sat fat 2.9g); carbohydrate 12.2g; protein 19.3g; fibre 2.7g.
Recipes from The Australian Women’s Weekly 2-Day Super Diet, RRP $35. Available where all good books are sold and at awwcookbooks. com.au. #
8-page HEALTH BOOK
Natural therapies WE HELP YOU GET A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF NATURAL THERAPIES AND WHAT THEY CAN DO FOR YOUR HEALTH
ore and more Australians are turning to natural therapies to support their health. From osteopathy to acupuncture to naturopathy, there is a wide range of popular treatments, some of which are based on principles that are not recognised by science. Some natural therapies, like naturopathy, are used alone as a whole system of alternative medicine, and others like massage are often used as complementary therapies to support conventional medical care. This health handbook will give you a basic understanding of some of the therapies available in Australia, what they are used to treat, what to expect during a consultation, and where you can go for more information. >
WHOLE MEDICAL SYSTEMS
The term ‘natural therapies’ is used to describe a wide range of modalities and products that aim to prevent, treat or manage illness. Therapists work on a holistic level and take into account lifestyle and diet to try to identify the underlying causes of ill health. The many therapies described as complementary, alternative, traditional or natural available in Australia can be grouped into the following categories: Whole medical systems. These are built upon complete systems of practice such as Traditional Chinese Medicine. Natural products. These include herbs, foods, vitamins, minerals and dietary supplements. Body-based methods include manipulation of soft tissue, muscles and joints, and massage. Mind-body interventions work on interactions between the brain, mind, body and behaviour and include meditation, tai chi and yoga.
WHO USES NATURAL THERAPIES?
Energy therapies are based on manipulation of energy fields in the body. Examples include reiki and kinesiology. Movement therapies include modalities such as Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais.
TCM originated in ancient China and has evolved over thousands of years to treat a wide range of conditions and prevent illness. Practitioners use a variety of therapies. The most common ones are: Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. Exercises such as tai chi, which combine movement with meditation. Chinese massage. Dietary therapy. TCM is based on the belief that what happens to one part of the body affects every other part. The mind and body are not viewed separately but as part of an energetic system. Organs and organ systems are seen as connected structures that work together to keep the body functioning. The emphasis is on balancing the flow of qi (pronounced ‘chi’), which is considered a vital force or energy responsible for controlling the workings of the human mind and body. Qi flows through the body through pathways called
meridians. There are a total of 20 meridians: 12 primary meridians, which correspond to specific organs, organ systems or functions, and eight secondary meridians. Imbalances in the flow of qi cause illness so the emphasis is on correcting this flow to restore balance in the body. The flow can be disturbed by stress, poor diet, disease, weather, and other factors. In Australia, the most popular forms of TCM are acupuncture and herbal medicine.
>The TCM practitioner will look at the appearance of your skin, eyes and hair to detect any signs of imbalance. > Your tongue will be carefully examined as the colour, texture and coating is considered a good indicator of health. > Your pulse will be measured. > The practitioner will take into account any existing issues as well as your medical history.
TEXT DEBBIE DUNCAN • PHOTOGRAPHY ISTOCKPHOTO
TYPES OF THERAPIES
Whole medical systems are often centered on a philosophy, such as the power of nature or energy in the body. These include ancient systems like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda, and more modern systems such as naturopathy.
CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE
The World Health Organization recommends acupuncture as an effective treatment for more than 40 medical conditions.
ACUPUNCTURE During an acupuncture session extremely thin needles are inserted into your skin at strategic points on your body to clear energy blockages and encourage the normal flow of qi. The needles generally don’t cause any pain but some people feel a dull ache or tingling. Several needles may be used at different points on the body and they may be left in for as little as a few seconds and
up to 45 minutes, but a typical treatment session lasts from 20 to 30 minutes. After a treatment, you may feel either energised or relaxed. Other methods are sometimes used to stimulate the acupuncture points, including: Moxibustion – burning moxa, a cone or stick of dried herb on or near the skin. Cupping – applying a heated cup to the skin to create a slight suction. Laser therapy. Electro-stimulation.
Acupuncture can reduce the number of hot flushes and night sweats associated with menopause by as much as 36 per cent, according to the findings of a 2016 study.
More than 450 substances are commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine and most are plant based. Herbs are based on five elements – fire, earth, metal, water and wood – and each corresponds to particular parts of the body and is classified into one of five tastes – sweet, salty, bitter, pungent and sour. Herbs can act on the body as powerfully as pharmaceutical drugs and should be treated with the same caution and respect. * To find a registered acupuncturist or Chinese herbal medicine practitioner, visit the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association website (see Useful Contacts).
Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient Indian medical practice that uses herbal medicine, dietary changes, meditation, massage and yoga to maintain or restore health. According to Ayurvedic philosophy, everything in nature contains some of the universe’s five basic elements: earth, air, fire, water and space. These elements combine in the human body as three body types or doshas known as vatta, pitta and kapha. Practitioners believe that illness is caused when an imbalance occurs in any of these three doshas, resulting
in toxicity in the body and mind. The aim is to restore balance by decreasing excessive elements and increasing others. WHAT TO EXPECT > The Ayurveda practitioner will ask about your physical traits, lifestyle, emotional temperament and mental attributes to determine your dosha. > Once it’s identified, a combination of Ayurvedic treatments will be prescribed. The frequency and duration of visits varies widely.
AYURVEDIC HERBAL MEDICINE More than 600 herbal formulas and 250 single plant drugs are used in Ayurvedic treatments. Sometimes herbs, plants, spices and oils are mixed with metals or other natural substances to create formulas. Because it is not always clear what is in these formulations, there have been some concerns relating to toxicity and interaction. Speak to a qualified practitioner if you have concerns about the use of herbal formulas. ™ To find an Ayurvedic practitioner contact the Australian Natural Therapists Association (see Useful Contacts). >
Homeopaths treat health problems by using minute doses of natural substances that in larger amounts would produce symptoms of the problem. There are more than 2000 homeopathic substances which are made from sources such as plants, animals and minerals. These substances are repeatedly diluted with water or alcohol and shaken until the original ingredients are present in minuscule doses. Remedies can be given in the form of liquid, granules, powder or tablets. A single dose or repeated doses of medicine may be given. If illness has developed over a long time several remedies may be needed over a course of days, weeks or years. â„˘ Contact the Australian Homoeopathic Association for more information or to find a practitioner (see Useful Contacts).
WHAT TO EXPECT Homeopathy aims to treat the whole person, taking into account personality, lifestyle and hereditary factors as well as the history of the disease, so the homeopath will need to know all about you to find the right remedy. This initial consultation may last an hour or more. Follow-ups or consultations for acute situations may only take 15 to 30 minutes.
part of a team of health professionals, providing patients with conventional and naturopathic support.
WHAT DO NATUROPATHS TREAT? Respiratory conditions. Skin conditions. Anxiety and depression. Colds and flu. Infections. Gastrointestinal and digestive disturbances. Hormonal abnormalities such as menopausal symptoms. Allergies.
WHAT TO EXPECT
This approach focuses on non-invasive treatments to help your body do its own healing using a variety of techniques. Naturopaths believe illness indicates the body is out of balance and will develop a treatment plan to restore balance and support your health in the long-term. Treatment may include but is not limited to: Nutrition and lifestyle advice. Herbal medicine. Homeopathy. Hydrotherapy. Massage. Naturopaths sometimes work with other practitioners as
The first consultation typically lasts about an hour. During this time your naturopath will want to know about your diet, lifestyle, family background and environment as well as the history of any illness or complaint. As well as taking a detailed health history the practitioner may examine your eyes, hair, nails and skin. Naturopaths often use pathology testing as a way of monitoring progress. â„˘ For more information and to find a naturopath, contact the Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association (see Useful Contacts).
Doctors who incorporate complementary approaches into mainstream healthcare are called integrative health practitioners. More people are turning to integrative health because it offers a broader range of treatments. Integrated health practitioners are usually GPs who have additional training and qualifications to equip them with the skills needed to understand elements of nutrition, Chinese herbs or other therapies. To find a practitioner visit the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine website (see Useful Contacts).
MIND-BODY THERAPIES Mind-body therapies influence the way your body works and promote health using the mind, thoughts and feelings. Techniques that fall under this banner include acupuncture, meditation, tai chi and yoga. It is possible to learn some of these techniques, particularly meditation, using self-help books or online programs, but most practitioners recommend that beginners join a class and learn from an experienced teacher.
MEDITATION BENEFITS Meditation has been practised for thousands of years, largely to help deepen understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. These days people mostly meditate to reduce stress. There are many different techniques to choose from but most forms of meditation result in clearing your mind and creating a sense of calm. Methods used to focus and calm the mind include looking at an object, or concentrating on the breath, or repetition of specific words or phrases called mantras.
Research suggests that meditation may help people manage the symptoms of conditions such as: Anxiety disorders. Asthma. Cancer. Depression. Heart disease. High blood pressure. Pain. Sleep problems. When you meditate, you’re clearing away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to feelings of stress. It can help you:
Gain a new perspective on stressful situations. Build skills to manage your stress. Increase self-awareness. Focus on the present. Reduce negative emotions.
Tai chi originated in ancient China as a martial art, but over time people also began to use it for health purposes. It is often described as meditation in motion, as practitioners move their bodies slowly, gently and with awareness while breathing deeply. Tai chi is said to enhance the body’s energy flow, which maintains the health of our organs, systems and mind.
TAI CHI BENEFITS People practise tai chi to improve overall health and for specific health purposes such as: Improving coordination and balance. Reducing pain. Alleviating joint stiffness.
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that aims to connect the mind, body and spirit through a combination of structured poses (asanas), breathing practices (pranyama) and meditation. There are several types of yoga, each with a slightly different approach. Generally, a session will begin with asanas and work up towards the more challenging poses to exercise every part of the body. It should include pranyama, relaxation and meditation. Popular types of yoga in Australia include: Ashtanga – a fast-paced series of postures. Iyengar – postures that are held for longer. Bikram – takes place in a sauna-like environment. Hatha – a gentler style with slower-paced stretching. Good for beginners.
YOGA BENEFITS A new stud y shows that for patients with painful kne e osteoarth ri tis, tai chi is as helpful as physical the rapy in redu cing pain and im proving physical fun ction.
As well as soothing the nervous system and increasing feelings of calm and wellbeing, the regular practice of yoga is said to improve: Cardiovascular fitness. Digestion. Joint mobility. >
ENERGY THERAPIES These therapies focus on the energy fields thought to exist in and around the body. They aim to create a free flow of energy by stimulating, clearing and balancing the energy system. It is believed a balanced energy system encourages emotional, physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
Reiki – an ancient Japanese hands-on form of healing that can incorporate other methods such as chakra balancing, meditation, crystals, aromatherapy and spiritual healing. In a reiki session, the practitioner’s hands are positioned either very lightly on you or a few centimetres above you. The goal is to raise the amount of energy in and around the body. The practitioner uses up to 15 different hand positions, holding each one for several minutes until the flow of energy slows or stops. Kinesiology is a form of therapy that uses muscle monitoring to look at what may be causing imbalances in your body. Weak muscles are considered an indication of energy excesses or deficiencies. The practitioner works to correct the imbalance by applying pressure to meridians – similar to the points used in acupuncture – or through soft-tissue manipulation. Craniosacral therapy is a hands-on healing technique,
where the therapist mobilises and releases the craniosacral system by applying gentle touch to the cranium. This therapy focuses on irregularities in the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid, which practitioners believe is the root cause of many structural and spinal imbalances.
BODY-BASED METHODS These practices focus on the structure and systems of the body including the bones and joints, soft tissues and circulatory and lymphatic systems. Therapies that fall within this category include spinal manipulation and massage therapy.
An osteopath focuses on your whole body, including the soft tissues, such as muscles, ligaments and tendons, the spine and nervous system, and may use a variety of different hands-on methods like spinal manipulation and soft-tissue massage. Osteopathy is used to treat: Back and neck pain.
Sports injuries. Headaches. Whiplash. Postural problems. Sciatica. Knee and heel pain. Shin splints. Arthritis. Occupational injuries.
Massage – one of the oldest healing therapies – is used in many natural systems of healthcare. It can treat a variety of disorders including pain, anxiety and insomnia. A massage therapist works on the body’s soft tissue using pressure, tension, motion or vibration. Massage is usually performed manually, but
There are more tha n 80 different types of massa ge therapy a vailable in Austra lia.
mechanical aids are sometimes used. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints as well as lymphatic vessels and/or body organs.
BENEFITS OF MASSAGE One of the immediate benefits of massage is a feeling of deep relaxation and calm. This occurs thanks to the ability of massage to release endorphins, the brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that produce feelings of
wellbeing. Levels of stress hormones, such as adrenalin, cortisol and norepinephrine, are also reduced, and studies indicate that high levels of stress hormones impair the immune system. Some of the physical benefits of massage include: Reduced muscle tension. Improved circulation. Stimulation of the lymphatic system. Reduction of stress hormones. Increased joint mobility and flexibility. Improved skin tone. Speedier healing of soft-tissue injuries. Heightened mental alertness. Reduced anxiety and depression.
WHAT TO EXPECT A massage session may last from 15 to 90 minutes, depending on the type of massage. No matter what kind of massage you have you should feel calm and relaxed during and after a treatment. Some forms of massage can leave you feeling a bit sore the next day but it shouldn’t be painful or uncomfortable. If you are uncomfortable or unsure, or you feel pain during the massage, let your therapist know straightaway. ™ To find a qualified massage therapist go to ausmassagedirectory.com.au.
TYPES OF MASSAGE ¡ Aromatherapy Essential oils made from selected flowers and plants are added to the massage oil for their particular therapeutic properties. For example, the scent of sandalwood is thought to reduce nervous tension. ¡ Therapeutic Also known as Swedish massage. One of the most popular forms of massage in Australia, this technique is designed to promote relaxation and improve blood circulation. ¡ Remedial This encourages healing of injured soft tissue, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments. ¡ Shiatsu An oriental massage technique that aims to improve energy flow by working certain points on the body. The underlying principles of Shiatsu massage are similar to those of acupuncture. ¡ Sports A blend of techniques that aim to enhance performance and help overworked muscles to recover quickly. ¡ Lymphatic drainage This involves a gentle rhythmic pumping
technique to move skin in the direction of the lymph flow to encourage the body to eliminate excess toxins and relieve fluid congestion. ¡ Bowen therapy Pressure is applied to muscles, tendons and ligaments to stimulate the fascia – a system of thin connective tissue through the body. This promotes healing at a physical, emotional, mental and energetic level as well as giving relief from pain. ¡ Foot reflexology By working on a particular area of the foot, a corresponding organ or body part is also stimulated. ¡ Rolfing This technique aims to increase flexibility, mobility and energy and involves slow stretching around joints and posture work. It’s based on the belief that memories of physical and emotional trauma are responsible for many physical and psychological problems. ¡ Myofascial release therapy Based on the idea that poor posture, physical injury, emotional stress and illness can throw the body out of alignment.
MOVEMENTBASED THERAPIES These therapies use techniques to show you how to avoid patterns of misusing your body and to improve posture by relearning everyday activities such as sitting, standing and walking. Having a freer, more balanced body helps relieve stresses and strains that lead to illness. A series of sessions over a period of weeks or months is usually required.
The Alexander Technique. This focuses on posture and the effect it has on the way your body moves. It shows you how to use the appropriate amount of effort for a particular activity. The Feldenkrais method. A system of gentle movements designed to create body awareness. Current habits are identified and new movement options are looked at for everyday activities. >
NATURAL PRODUCTS Herbal medicines, vitamins and minerals, and other nutrient and non-nutrient substances (including those used in aromatherapy) derived from animal, plant and marine sources come under the umbrella of natural products. These come in the form of pills, powders or liquids. Examples include fish oils, herbal teas, probiotics, flower essences and echinacea. Two types of natural therapies that use these natural products are: > Western herbal medicine Plants and plant material are used to create medicines to help prevent or treat various illnesses. These materials may use some or all parts of a plant, such as flowers, roots and bark. > Nutrition Food provides the vital nutrients necessary to remain healthy. A nutritionist examines our dietary intake to look for any imbalances that may be caused by the food we eat – or don’t eat.
5 THINGS TO THINK ABOUT It is always a good idea to discuss any healthcare options you are considering with all your health professionals. Sharing information with all the members of your medical team will help them devise the best treatment for you and help you avoid unsuitable practices, interactions and side effects. Here are some tips: Sit down and make a list of all the therapies and treatments you use. Tell your healthcare providers, including your GP, about all therapies or treatments – over-the-counter and prescription medicines as well as natural products. If you are considering a new health treatment, ask a qualified practitioner about its safety and effectiveness and whether it is suitable to treat your particular condition. It’s especially important to involve your doctor if you are pregnant, have medical problems or take prescription medicine. And don’t stop or change your conventional treatment – such as the
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dose of your prescription medications – without talking to your doctor first. Don’t assume that your health insurance will cover the practitioner’s services. Contact your health insurance provider and ask. Insurance plans differ greatly in what natural health therapies they cover, and even if they cover a particular approach, restrictions may apply.
Two-thirds o people who f u complemen se tary and alternat iv medicines d e o not inform their medical doctor.
Some suggestions for finding a reputable practitioner include: Contacting the professional association for your chosen therapy and asking for a list of members in your area. Some websites offer a ‘find a practitioner’ service. Asking your doctor for a referral. Asking your friends for word-of-mouth recommendations. Asking your practitioner about their training and qualifications. Being very cautious about any practitioner who advises you to abandon your conventional medical treatment.
USEFUL CONTACTS The National Institute of Complementary Medicine nicm.edu.au ❘ Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database
naturaldatabase.com ❘ Natural Therapy Pages naturaltherapypages.com.au ❘ Medicines Line 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) – for information on prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines ❘ Australian Association of Massage Therapists aamt.com.au ❘ Osteopathy Australia osteopathy.org.au ❘ Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association acupuncture.org.au ❘ Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA) australiannaturaltherapistsassociation.com.au ❘ Australian Homoeopathic Association homeopathyoz.org ❘ Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association (ANPA) anpa.asn.au ❘ Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS) atms.com.au ❘ Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine acnem.org ❘ Australian Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique austat.org.au ❘ Australian Feldenkrais Guild Inc feldenkrais.org.au ❘ Australasian Integrative Medicine Association aima.net.au ❘ Australian Kinesiology Association Inc akakinesiology.org.au ❘ National Herbalists Association of Australia nhaa.org.au ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The information in this health book has come from a variety of sources including the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (US), Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association, the Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association, Australian Homoeopathic Association, National Herbalists Association of Australia, Australian Association of Massage Therapists, Natural Therapy Pages, the National Institute of Complementary Medicine, NPS MedicineWise and Better Health Channel. 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. #
It’s important to stay active in your middle years and beyond – and if you’ve never enjoyed exercise it’s not too late to find something that inspires you. By Sarah Marinos
PHOTOGRAPHY CLAIRE BENOIST/THELICENSINGPROJECT.COM/SNAPPER MEDIA / ISTOCKPHOTO / GETTY IMAGES
maybe you’re not up for running as fast and as far as you used to, or going as hard at the gym, but reaching a certain age isn’t a reason to stop exercising. In fact, about half the physical problems we associate with getting older – such as loss of muscle and strength, declining flexibility, increasing body fat and high blood pressure – may be due to a lack of physical activity. About 23 Australians die every day because they simply aren’t doing enough exercise, says Professor Rob Newton, co-director of the Exercise Medicine Research Institute at Edith Cowan University in Perth. “The problems with not exercising are that your risk of heart attack or stroke increases three-fold. Your risk of Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes and macular degeneration is also much higher if you’re sedentary,” he says. “One of the best things you can do for your health – at any age – is to get active.” So, rather than doing less exercise as you reach your 40s and beyond, it’s really important to keep moving – even if it’s in different ways. If lack of confidence or boredom with your current routine is an issue, finding new and challenging activities may be the key to keeping you moving. Here are some fun options to try.
MAKING THE RIGHT MOVES
S O W H AT A R E S O M E O F T H E M O S T B E N E F I C I A L A C T I V I T I E S TO KEEP YOU FIT IN YOUR 40s, 50s AND BEYOND? READ ON.
PILATES This is good for your postural alignment and for strengthening the deep tummy muscles in the core that form a cylinder and attach to the spine to support the trunk. “People shrink and slump, their shoulders roll forward and their tummy sticks out,” says Victoria Gill, founder of Green Apple Wellness Centre. “Pilates moves lengthen and strengthen the body. The movements also help with balance and maintain your range of motion.” AQUA AEROBICS “Aqua fitness gets your heart rate up, it takes the weight off your joints, your
body works as a unit and it’s a lot of fun,” says trainer Ian O’Dwyer from Fitness Personally. Because you’re floating in water, there is less stress on joints and muscles when you stretch, and you can also increase your range of motion to improve flexibility.
HULA HOOPING Revisit your childhood and try hula hooping. These hoops date back to ancient Greece when they were made from grapevines. For a challenge use a weighted hoop – you’ll also burn more kilojoules. A 30-minute session of hula hooping can burn about 880kJ, says the American Council on
Exercise. The swivelling exercise uses muscles in your back, stomach, arms and legs so it’s good for tone and strength.
YOGA Hatha yoga focuses on poise, balance and strength. It’s a gentler form of yoga and uses basic moves that gradually build flexibility and strength. “Look for a class with people of a similar age and ability to yourself,” recommends >
Gill. That way, if you’re a beginner you won’t be inclined to do too much too soon and you can increase your range of poses as you get stronger and become more flexible.
HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING This type of training involves bursts of intense exercise with short breaks. A study at McMaster University in Canada found it boosts the numbers of mitochondria in our cells – the ‘power station’ within cells. Professor Martin Gibala, who carried out the research, says high-intensity interval training does not have to be ‘all out’ to be effective. “Doing 10 one-minute sprints on a standard stationary bike with about one-minute of rest in-between, three times a week, works as well in improving muscle as many hours of conventional less strenuous long-term biking,” he says.
FIT BALL Sitting on a fit ball improves core stability.
“They can also improve and maintain coordination and you can step and lift the ball to work your upper body,” says Gill. “Or look for a fit ball drumming class where you drum on the ball as you squat up and down and move side to side to music.”
STAND-UP PADDLE BOARDING (SUP) It’s like windsurfing without the sail. Instead, you stand in the middle of the board and use a long paddle to push your way through the waves. While it’s a lot of fun, it’s also good for your core and helps improve balance. Being on the water is usually a great release for busy minds, too.
WALL PUSH-UPS Maintain strong arms and a strong upper body by doing wall push-ups, says Gill. Face a wall, stand about a metre away and place your hands flat against the wall. Lean in towards the wall before pushing back with your hands until you are standing upright. Do these for 5 minutes three or four times a week. Increase the number of push-ups as your arms and upper body become stronger.
SKIPPING This helps to maintain bone density, says Professor Newton. “Bone responds and grows due to a change in force. With skipping, you constantly impact the ground and that provides
stimulus for bone to grow,” he says. “When you walk the impact on bones is low, so walking doesn’t really stimulate bone growth,” he explains.
AEROBICS Aerobics classes improve flexibility, mobility and cardiovascular fitness. “Maintain muscle mass and your metabolism will be higher. These kinds of activities also improve coordination and balance,” says Gill. Aerobic exercise makes the heart beat faster, it stretches blood vessels and it conditions the lungs and vascular system. Exercise at a moderate pace – so you are slightly breathless – for 150 minutes a week, or do 120 minutes of harder
aerobic exercise that makes you huff and puff.
INDOOR CLIMBING Climbing builds all-over muscle strength as you climb the rock or wall face. It builds strength in your back, shoulders, arms and fingers, in particular. Our muscle mass and muscle fibres decrease as we get older and we lose around 3kg of lean muscle every decade after the age of 40. “Muscle is also important for metabolic health and how well your body maintains levels of body fat and blood glucose,” says Professor
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Newton. “As we get older we develop more fat tissue and less muscle and that can lead to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
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ZUMBA AND ZUMBA GOLD These dance classes work on balance, coordination, range of movement and flexibility. Your brain also gets a workout, as you remember steps and movements in time to fast-paced music. The American Council on Exercise says Zumba burns more kilojoules in an hour than kickboxing and step aerobics.
FE E L
If you haven’t been physically active for a while, see a GP before starting any fitness program. Risk factors such as a family history of stroke or heart disease, being overweight or obese, and high blood pressure or high cholesterol need to be managed and you should continue to have a check-up with your doctor every six to 12 months, or as recommended. “Any discomfort in the chest or discomfort around the arm and neck could be signs of a heart attack,” warns Dr Robert Grenfell, former National Director of Cardiovascular Health at the Heart Foundation. “So if you get any of these symptoms when exercising, stop, and if they don’t go away after about 15 minutes call 000.” #
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oes your fitness routine leave you feeling uninspired? It might be time to swap your gym class for a dance class. “Dancing is for everyone,” says Australian Ballet soloist Dana Stephensen. “By trying your best you’re guaranteed to get a great workout and share a creative experience surrounded by others.” Not only is dancing a social and playful way to
stay fit, it also protects your heart. Participating in dancing almost halves your risk of cardiovascular diseaserelated death, and styles that involve fast bursts of movement can provide a highintensity workout. The most important thing is to enjoy yourself, adds Stephensen. For most styles aim for two classes a week. Here, we look at what six popular classes have to offer.
Zumba Zumba is a high-energy cardiovascular workout that feels like a dance party. “You can burn at least 2500kJ in one session,” says DancefitZone instructor Rachael Jones. “But it’s so much fun you’ll hardly notice!” The dance routines work your legs, waist, hips and thighs, which can accelerate weight loss and toning, says Jones. You’ll also feel stronger, more flexible and coordinated, and mentally resilient. “It’s an effective mood-enhancer – for one hour you can enjoy yourself,” she adds. If you’re an absolute beginner, Jones recommends taking it slow, but after two classes you’ll begin to improve. “I want everyone to leave feeling successful, whether that means nailing a new routine or pushing yourself harder during your favourite song.” What you’ll need: Water, a towel, supportive sports shoes and your usual gym gear.
Retro aerobics Retro-style aerobics classes are your chance to channel your inner Jane Fonda. Routines are based on ‘80s dance moves and provide a whole body workout, explains Shannon Dooley, creator of the Retrosweat workout. “They’re designed to strengthen your cardiovascular system, and you’ll learn simple choreography too.” Each routine involves lunges, star jumps, squats and ceiling thrusts, so you’ll break a sweat and improve your muscle tone. Your coordination, self-awareness and balance will also improve, she adds. “It’s about all the parts of your body working together. Participants gain more confidence because the classes allow you to move freely and express yourself in your own space.” What you’ll need: Comfortable clothes, sneakers and a towel – feel free to wear ‘80s-inspired exercise gear!
Belly dancing Embracing this style of dance can help you build better body image and self-esteem. “My students gain confidence in their own bodies,” explains Dance Central Sydney instructor Kate Turner Mann. “Belly dancing looks gorgeous on every body shape and it gets you in touch with your sensuality.” It also transforms your posture. By increasing your core strength and easing tension in your lower back and shoulders you’ll stand taller. Learning to control each body part separately improves flexibility and strength in your hips, stomach, back and chest. Precise hip movements engage your thighs, glutes and obliques, while the shimmy is more mind over matter, advises Turner Mann. “You need to embrace the jiggle and let go.” What you’ll need: Loose-fitting, stretchy clothes – there’s no need to show your belly. If you like to feel connected to the ground you can dance barefoot. >
There’s something for everyone here. Modern ballroom includes the waltz, tango, quickstep and foxtrot which are all danced facing your partner. Latin American styles encompass the cha-cha, samba, rumba, salsa and jive which give you more freedom, explains professional ballroom dancer Monique Savill. “Latin dancing explores emotions – the cha-cha is cheeky while the rumba is sensual.” Moving across the floor gives your calves a great workout, and holding your body weight works your upper body and core too. And as your balance, coordination, flexibility and endurance improve, you’ll master more steps. Ballroom takes time to learn so Savill suggests starting with a social class. What you’ll need: Comfortable clothes and enclosed shoes without too much grip are ideal for beginners. Before buying a pair of ballroom shoes with heels, ask your teacher for a recommendation.
If you’re looking for a style that’s more artistic and disciplined than your usual gym class, give ballet a go. Although it appears effortless, the combination of balance, strength and coordination required delivers a dynamic, whole body workout. “Ballet requires strength and power in your legs, feet, arms, core and back muscles and it’s excellent for working the tiny supportive muscles, for example in your lower glutes, that you wouldn’t use every day,” explains Stephensen. Your awareness of your body and posture will improve with regular practice and Stephensen says it’s a powerful stress reliever. “Ballet can feel like meditation as you focus on your body and move with the music.” What you’ll need: In a beginner’s class, socks or ballet shoes made from canvas are acceptable. Ballet requires lots of leg raises, so wear tights or pants that allow you to move freely.
Hip-hop dancing is a high-intensity workout that gives you the freedom to express yourself. “Other dance styles are based on technique and a straight posture,” explains Sydney Dance Company instructor Manuela Oliveira. “In hip-hop you loosen up, relax and feel the music. You can put your own style into it.” Hip-hop incorporates powerful movements which work your thighs, glutes, arms and stomach. The stretches, core exercises and body isolations warm up each part of your body separately, while maintaining a groove and repeating each dance step tones and builds strength. What you’ll need: Comfort is essential so wear loose-fitting clothes and supportive sneakers and leave your inhibitions behind. #
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absorbed. Light yet nourishing, expect plumper, softer skin that’s primed for make-up.
a few drops to your foundation for a dewy finish. BEST FOR:
Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil, $254. Like a liquid moisturiser, this fragranceand chemical-free formula will replenish delicate complexions without causing irritation. Tip: Add
Estée Lauder Resilience Lift Restorative Radiance Oil, $120. Give your tired complexion a caffeine hit with this nutrientrich oil. Plant-based ingredients restore moisture and ramp up radiance so you can fake a full eight hours. #
shine BANISH BAD HAIR DAYS FOR GOOD! HERE, WE REVEAL THE BREAKTHROUGH BEAUTY BUYS THAT ADD VOLUME, BOOST SHINE AND BEAT FRIZZ
In the past achieving glossy, lustrous lengths would require a stylist appointment. But thanks to advances in technology, the latest hair innovations promise to produce salon-worthy results from home – and for a fraction of the cost of professional treatments. From clever cleansing conditioners that wash and condition strands in one step, to a seven-day body booster, we reveal the products set to revolutionise your daily regimen.
THE SHINE BOOSTER Shu Uemura Art of Hair Straightforward Time-Saving Blow Dry Oil, $45. If your hair is looking lacklustre, a spritz of shine spray can add a glossy finish. This product’s benefits are threefold: it also smooths strands and promises to cut down blow-dry time by 50 per cent. Boasting the same blend of oil and polymers found in foundation, it acts as a ‘primer’ for hair, coating each fibre for maximum softness, simpler styling and a polished finish. Spray the lightweight formula to damp mid-lengths and ends before blow-drying for best results. >
1. Pantene Pro-V 3 Minute Miracle Daily Moisture Renewal Conditioner, $7.99. Frayed ends? Breakage? Blame it on frequent brushing and blow-drying. But here’s good news: this conditioner promises to repair up to three months of damage when lathered in for just three minutes. The star ingredient is histadine, a protein that works to penetrate the core of the hair follicle to purge impurities and protect the hair’s structure. Posttreatment, strands are softer and glossier, akin to an in-salon keratin treatment. The best bit? You can find it at the supermarket.
THE SALON-WORTHY STYLER Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, $699. Yes, you read right. Renowned for their top of the range vacuum cleaners, engineers at Dyson have developed an equally impressive hair dryer with over 100 patents pending. Don’t let the unconventional shape fool you though – this tool is lightweight yet more powerful than regular hair dryers, thanks to an advanced digital motor. A controlled heat element prevents big temperature spikes to avoid damage, and three attachments make it easy for you to achieve a range of different styles.
THE INSTANT ROOT CONCEALER 2. L’Oréal Professionnel Hair Touch Up, $21.95.
Got a glimmer of grey? Stretch out your colour appointments with this clever root-concealing spray. Packed with professional make-up pigments, each of the four shades work to blend away roots and provide seamless coverage. Freeze-dry technology means that there’s no wet or sticky effect after use, and the formula is waterresistant, sweat-proof and washes out after one shampoo. Spray to your roots and brush through gently to blend and remove any excess product.
THE NEW WAY TO WASH
3. Matrix Biolage Cleansing Conditioner Coarse Hair, $39.95.
Forget frothy shampoos. Co-wash products or cleansing conditioners – which wash, condition and treat in one step – are gaining traction for their low-lathering formulas which are believed to be gentler on hair, particularly the coarse, curly or coloured variety. Sulphate and paraben-free, they purify without stripping strands, while minimising friction, frizz and static. This creamy formula is infused with avocado to smooth the cuticle and restore manageability, and can be used everyday or in-between regular shampoos.
TEXT AIMÉE LEABON • PHOTOGRAPHY ALEXANDRE WEINBERGER/TRUNKARCHIVE.COM/SNAPPER MEDIA / PABLO MARTIN
THE DAMAGE REVERSER
THE BODY BUILDER
4. John Frieda Luxurious Volume 7 Day Volume In-Shower Treatment, $16.99. Transform limp hair into bouncy locks with this semi-permanent treatment that lasts for up to a week. A cinch to apply, simply coat your locks from root to tip after shampooing and conditioning and leave for three to five minutes before rinsing. The gel formula contains water-resistant polymers that create a flexible coating around each fibre when activated by heat, while fruit acids penetrate the hair shaft to pump up the volume.
THE STRAND DEFENDER 5. Sachajuan Protective Hair Perfume, $69. Pretty packaging and sophisticated scent aside, this is more than just a hair perfume. Spritz to mid-lengths and ends to hit refresh, reduce static and boost moisture and shine. A natural citrus oil extract is at the core of anti-odour technology, which traps odour molecules and breaks them down, creating fresher lengths. This multitasker offers broad-spectrum SPF protection, too – perfect for those with dry or coloured hair.
THE WAVE MAKER
6. Remington Perfect Curls 2-in-1 Styling Wand, $49.95.
Whether you want loose waves or barrel curls, achieving this at home can be challenging. Unlike traditional curling wands, this has a protective heatresistant cover to ‘guide’ hair around the barrel. You can also change the width of the wand from 19mm (tight ringlets) to 32mm (looser curls) by twisting the top. Simply section hair, clip the ends into the base and wind lengths around the barrel. Hold for a few seconds, then release the clip.
THE FRIZZ TAMER
THE STYLE REFRESHER
7. R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste, $46. This is ideal for when you want an extra day (or two) out of a professional blow-dry. An alternative to dry shampoo sprays, this product provides extra hold to set your style. One part dry shampoo, the other part styling paste, rub it between your fingers and apply to lengths to absorb oil and add texture to second-day strands. Volcanic ash naturally cleanses and balances the scalp, coconut oil defines and thickens hair, and argan oil softens and shields locks from environmental aggressors.
8. 3More Inches Life Extending Haircare Magic Oil, $52. Unmanageable mane? Keep flyaways and frizz at bay with this botanicalbased oil. Infused with nourishing argan oil, a few drops hydrates hair on contact and seals the cuticle to smooth wiry strands. Apply to damp mid-lengths and ends before heat styling, and use once or twice weekly as a deep treatment or smooth a few drops over hair for a glossy finish. #
YOUR TOOLKIT ESSENTIALS FOR PERFECTLY GROOMED BROWS
es it’s true, your eyebrows frame your face. And gone are the days of thin wispy styles, it’s now time to embrace a fuller and more natural look. To achieve a symmetrical and well-groomed shape you’ll need a trusted product. Here are 10 cult favourites you need to try.
TOP MARKS FOR:
Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil, $50, has a unique triangular-shaped tip for bespoke sculpting and a shaping brush on the other end to comb brows into place. TOP MARKS FOR:
The award-winning Kevyn Aucoin The Precision Brow Pencil, $39, replicates the look of real hair with careful brush work. The ultra-slim pencil fits neatly in your handbag.
TEXT JENNIFER AITKEN • PHOTOGRAPHY BAUERSYNDICATION.COM.AU / PABLO MARTIN
TOP MARKS FOR:
Benefit Gimme Brow, $39, is a brush-on gel that adds volume and colour to brows, creating a natural yet defined look. Available in three shades. TOP MARKS FOR:
Bobbi Brown Brow Kit, $75, all-in-one compact boasts a mini brow brush and tweezers for on-the-go grooming, plus soft powders to plump up sparse brows.
TOP MARKS FOR:
LONG-WEARING M.A.C Fluidline Brow Gelcreme, $32, pot gel is sweat- and humidity-proof so your perfectly applied strokes won’t budge. TOP MARKS FOR:
HIGHLIGHTING For contrast and definition, you can’t go past Clinique’s Instant Lift for Brows, $38, a convenient duo with brow pencil on one end and highlighter on the other.
TOP MARKS FOR:
Keep your unruly brows in line with Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel, $39. With soothing chamomile, the formula also conditions hair. TOP MARKS FOR:
EFFORTLESS APPLICATION Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Color, $33, is a breeze to use and creates lovely feathery strokes that elongate short brows.
TOP MARKS FOR:
AFFORDABILITY With its super soft formula that glides on, Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil, $8.95, gives a gorgeous finish. TOP MARKS FOR:
Inika Certified Organic Brow Liner, $29, works wonders on sparse brows and is perfect for those with sensitive skin. #
MAKE ALL THE RIGHT MOVES IN THE LATEST EYE-CATCHING ACTIVEWEAR
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PHOTOGRAPHY CHRIS HANSEN â€¢ STYLIST JULIE RUSSELL
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Which holistic therapies do alternative practitioners turn to for their own health? Lindyl Crabb asks five to reveal their favourites
M I M B E I M , N AT U R O PAT H
cured my asthma. “I was encouraged to try Buteyko to treat my asthma. Buteyko is a breathing technique used to heal many health conditions and after doing three sessions it cured my asthma and relieved my hayfever and sinus problems for good. I also suffer from anxiety and practising Buteyko has a profound impact on how I deal with it – I sleep better and I respond to stress better. It takes about four lessons to learn the technique and the best way is to join a group class where you can see how other people breathe. The classes teach you to breathe through your nose and from your diaphragm and you can practise the exercises in your everyday life until you’ve trained yourself to breathe correctly. Buteyko shows fantastic results in people with high blood pressure, sleep apnoea and snoring as well as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and reflux because it relaxes the muscles in your gut. If you get headaches or feel you store stress in your shoulders Buteyko can also relieve this. I recommend Buteyko to my patients and I’m still blown away by the positive results.” Find a practitioner at buteyko.info.
M E R C E D E S D I V E R I O, I R I D O LO G I S T
K A R E N A D E S , AC U P U N C T U R I S T
I absolutely love “I’ve been using a combination of foot, hand and ear reflexology for 20 years. Most people associate reflexology with just the feet, but I’ve found this is a powerful combination. Your hands and ears are also a good alternative if you don’t like having your feet touched. A session lasts for 60 to 90 minutes and usually starts with a foot bath. It involves massage techniques applied to specific points on your feet, lower legs, hands and ears. These points correspond with your body’s organs and systems and by targeting them reflexology maximises their function. I use reflexology to treat stress, sleep issues and for my general wellbeing and health maintenance. Not only is it effective but I find it very relaxing and it enhances my mind and body awareness. I even schedule treatments when I’m on holidays and overseas. I often rely on professional recommendations and word of mouth but sometimes it’s best to try a few practitioners to find the right person. It’s tempting as a practitioner to want to self-treat. However, it’s very important to allow yourself to ‘be the patient’ and to embrace another practitioner’s care, nourishment and expertise.” Find a practitioner at reflexology.org.au.
makes me feel alive “As an alternative practitioner I believe many of our body’s ailments can be caused by joint or spinal misalignment. I was referred to a chiropractor to address several health conditions and since then I’ve used it to treat musculoskeletal, respiratory and digestive issues. I’ve been going to the same chiropractor in Sydney, Emma Macri, for 23 years. She understands my body and we have a strong rapport. With each session I continue to experience benefits – I feel I’m healthier and can breathe again. A 15-minute session involves assessing my spine and joints and manually adjusting my body. Emma also uses kinesiology, which tests my muscles to identify imbalances in my physical and emotional energy. During a session I feel my body’s joints shifting and relaxing. I recommend my chiropractor to clients, family members and friends who have a variety of ailments, from reflux to urinary incontinence. If you’re considering seeking chiropractic treatment, ask for recommendations and do your homework. Ask the practitioner how many treatments you’ll need, how long it will take for you to feel better and whether they have treated your condition before.” Find a practitioner at chiropractors.asn.au. >
K A R I N A F R A N C O I S , N AT U R O PAT H
No other pain treatment came close to
Find a practitioner at naturaltherapypages.com.au.
D R S T E V E N LO C K S T O N E, C H I R O P R AC T O R
I use to prevent injury “I do triathlons so I’ve always suffered from tight muscles. Six months ago one of my patients referred me to Jean-Pierre Olivo, a remedial therapist in Sydney, to treat the discomfort. It really had an impact on my performance and recovery so I’ve been going ever since and now I recommend it to patients with muscle tightness. A session starts with stretching, followed by deep tissue work in specific areas that are causing me concern. Then my therapist puts hot towels on the affected area to increase blood supply and speed up repair. You can often choose the length of your session and you’ll feel tired afterwards, so I recommend going after work. Remedial massage can be painful so during the session I have to remind myself that it’s good for me. I see my massage therapist once a month for maintenance. In-between sessions I do my own stretches and I visit a fellow chiropractor every week to get chiropractic adjustments. I also use remedial massage to make sure I’m not at risk of a sports injury – prevention is better than cure in my book.” Find a practitioner at maa.org.au. #
PHOTOGRAPHY GETTY IMAGES / ALAMY
“Biomesotherapy is a pain reduction therapy that combines the use of needles in the body with homeopathy. Sometimes referred to as biopuncture, it’s a wonderful alternative for treating pain that massage alone can’t fix. I discovered biomesotherapy after sustaining a whiplash injury. I tried several therapies and medications without success but with just one biomesotherapy treatment I noticed a 60 per cent reduction in pain. After two more sessions I was pain free – the results were amazing. During a session, your practitioner will massage the affected area and insert very fine, short needles filled with a saline solution into shallow pain points underneath the skin. The saline triggers a rush of blood to the area which stimulates your body’s healing abilities and speeds up recovery. Your practitioner will also give you oral homeopathic medicine to complement the treatment. It’s used for alleviating chronic pain, inflammation, tendonitis and migraines, and repairing scar tissue and injuries. If you experience muscular pain or tightness after exercise you’ll also benefit. Qualified practitioners follow strict guidelines and you’ll find some naturopaths, physiotherapists and chiropractors are trained in biomesotherapy.”
DISCREET AND ABSORBENT
BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSYTEM TO BEAT THE FLU
Sidestep the flu this winter with Comvita’s Fresh-Picked™ Olive Leaf Extract. Olive leaf extract is used in Western herbal medicine to boost the immune system and relieve symptoms of coughs, colds, sore throats and upper-respiratory tract infections. RRP $29.80. See olea.com.au.
Offering the best in discreet protection, Depend® Real Fit® underwear looks, fits and feels like the real thing. While its cotton-like fabric makes it comfortable to wear, it has also been designed to be highly absorbent. Available in pharmacies, supermarkets and distributors for $12.99. For a free sample, see depend.com.au.
SOOTHE NIGGLING ACHES AND PAINS
Tiger Balm brings temporary relief to muscle and joint aches and pains which may limit your active lifestyle. RRP $8.95. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional.
The choice of the best buys in store this month from...
RELIEF FROM DRYNESS
Vagisil ProHydrate® Plus Internal Hydrating Gel provides lasting relief from vaginal dryness for more comfortable intimacy. The single-use applicators contain a bio-adherent formula that coats the vaginal wall and slowly releases moisture over time. The gel also contains ProHydrate® Complex, a unique blend of moisturisers, including hyaluronic acid, which mimic a woman’s natural moisture and offer relief for up to three days per use. See vagisil.com
TACKLE CRAVINGS FAST
CANESTEN FUNGAL NAIL TREATMENT SET
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 4 weeks or less, getting you on track to a healthier looking nail, RRP $59.95. CH-00346
Quitting smoking is tough, so take control of your cravings fast with Nicorette Quickmist Mouth Spray. Once you spray, it starts to work in 60 seconds, giving you fast relief. The nicotine is absorbed into your body through the mouth lining, helping to rapidly relieve the urge to smoke. Pick up your exclusive triple pack from Chemist Warehouse, available for $69.99. See chemistwarehouse.com.au
CINNAMON reduces diabetes risk Cinnamon tea contains a unique set of antioxidants that help to keep two risk factors for type 2 diabetes in check. All cinnamon brews have a warming flavour, but choose one that contains Indonesian or Chinese cinnamon – those varieties are most effective at protecting against diabetes. TRY: Pukka Three Cinnamon Tea Bags, which contain Indonesian cinnamon ($7.95, 20 sachets, pukkaherbs.com.au).
GINGER controls appetite Swap your morning coffee for a cup of ginger tea and you’ll not only feel fuller for longer after breakfast, you’ll eat less at your next meal, too. Plus, drinking ginger tea with a meal increases something called thermogenesis – or how many kilojoules your body burns digesting the food. It’s thought that consuming ginger activates brain pathways involved in appetite control. Choose a ginger tea that delivers at least 2g of ginger powder, per cup. TRY: Planet Organic Ginger Tea, a blend of organic ginger root and lemongrass ($5.95, 20 teabags, planetorganic.com.au).
PEPPERMINT IMPROVES YOUR MEMORY Drinking just one cup of peppermint tea makes it easier to remember the things you see and hear shortly afterwards. The effect is thanks to the way peppermint tea stimulates specific brain waves that have been linked to improved concentration. Brew peppermint tea for at least five minutes to draw out the mint flavour. TRY: T2 Mint Mix Tea, made from peppermint, spearmint and lemon verbena ($16, 50g loose-leaf tea, t2tea.com).
PHOTOGRAPHY ISTOCKPHOTO / GETTY IMAGES
Swapping a cup of regular tea for a herbal or flower-based one can deliver serious health benefits, as Karen Fittall discovers
HIBISCUS lowers blood pressure anti-cancer effect. It contains high levels of quercetin and ellagic acid, two antioxidants that may inhibit the growth of human cancer cells. If you buy a good-quality, loose-leaf rosehip tea, each 3g serve of ‘tea leaves’ can be re-steeped up to four times in 100°C water. TRY: Zee Tea Rosehip Tea, made from organic rosehip granules ($9.50, 80g loose-leaf tea, zeetea.com.au).
ECHINACEA minimises cold symptoms CHAMOMILE eases period pain Chamomile tea boosts the body’s production of glycine, an amino acid that relieves muscle spasms. Plus, glycine also works as a mild nerve relaxant – combined, the two effects work to relax the uterus and ease period pain. For pain relief, drink five cups a day, ideally a few days before your period’s due, which allows levels of glycine to build up. TRY: Love Tea Chamomile Tea, which is dried chamomile flowers ($10, 50g loose-leaf tea, lovetea.com.au).
ROSEHIP protects against cancer This vitamin C-rich tea has been found to have an
As soon as you feel the first symptoms of a cold or flu, start drinking three or four cups of echinacea tea a day. Do that for five days and you’ll get rid of the bug and feel better a few days earlier. The jury remains out on the benefits of echinacea supplements to prevent and
fight cold and flu symptoms, which suggests echinacea tea might contain a unique blend of the plant’s roots. TRY: Beaming With Health Sniffle Blend, which contains echinacea, ginger, spearmint and rosella ($24.95, 50 tea bags, beamingwithhealth.com.au).
PASSIONFLOWER helps you sleep Drink one cup every day and after a week, your sleep quality will have improved by about five per cent. It’s because passionflower tea contains high levels of an alkaloid that has a sedative effect. Look for teabags that contain at least 2g of dried Passiflora incarnata, per bag. TRY: Botanica Medicines Snooze Tea, a blend of passionflower and other herbs, including lavender and valerian ($9.95, 50g loose-leaf tea, botanicamedicines.com.au).
CHRYSANTHEMUM protects your liver Had a couple of red wines with dinner? Drink a cup of chrysanthemum tea before you go to bed. It accelerates something called ethanol metabolism, which is how quickly your body is able to process the alcohol. And that’s key for preventing alcohol-induced liver injury. Like all herbal teas, chrysanthemum tea is best stored in a clean, dry, airtight container in a dark place and at room temperature. TRY: Tamborine Tea Chrysanthemum Tea ($11.95, 70g loose-leaf tea, tamborinetea.com.au).
Drink three cups of hibiscus tea a day, and after six weeks your blood pressure should be in better shape. The effect is due to the tea’s high anthocyanin content – compounds that help relax blood vessels. With a tart, cranberry-like flavour, you can drink this tea cold: its blood-pressure properties remain for up to 12 hours after it’s brewed. TRY: The Loose Leaf Tea House Hibiscus Tea ($12, 100g loose-leaf tea, thelooseleaf teahouse.com.au).
ROSEMARY fights a UTI Rosemary contains acids that have antibacterial properties, which are strong and effective against the strains of bacteria that cause UTIs, including E. coli. Next time you feel the familiar UTI symptoms (like wanting to urinate more often and urgently, or a burning pain when urinating), make a cup of rosemary tea – the dried rosemary that teabags contain is just as effective, if not more, than the fresh variety. TRY: Morlife Rosemary Tea ($24.33, 1kg, morlife.com). #
Sometimes there’s more to coincidence than meets the eye – find out how you can tap into the hidden potential of synchronicity. By Bonnie Vaughan
What is synchronicity? “Synchronicity relates to meaningful coincidence that’s so uncanny in its timing that it seems to go well beyond chance. Psychotherapist Carl Jung, who coined the term, described synchronicity as, “the simultaneous occurrence of two meaningfully but not causally connected events.”
PHOTOGRAPHY ISTOCKPHOTO / GETTY IMAGES
ave you ever thought of a friend you haven’t spoken to for months and then suddenly they ring you out of the blue? Or got a job offer just as you were thinking that you needed to make a change? Or faced an insurmountable obstacle and then unexpectedly met someone who gave you the very guidance you needed to tackle it? If so, you have experienced synchronicity, a phenomenon that psychologist Chris Mackey, the author of Synchronicity: Empower Your Life With the Gift of Coincidence (Simon & Schuster, $24.95), believes can act as a guide along your life path and help you tap into your own intuition and spiritual sense. We asked him to explain how.
What’s the difference between synchronicity and coincidence? “When you experience synchronicity, it tends to resonate. It’s what I like to call a ‘numinous’ experience, which means it’s profoundly meaningful and it has a somewhat mystical, curious quality. It moves us in a different way than just an ordinary coincidence.”
How can synchronicity enhance our lives? “If it’s repeated and profound, synchronicity is like a tick from the universe that you’re on the right track for your life. It helps you find meaning; it gives you a sense of connection with people; it empowers you and gives you a sense of conviction. It’s like you’re having experiences that are meant to be. Similarly, if you encounter a run of negative experiences, blocks or barriers coming up in your life, I think that’s a clue that the direction you’re heading in may not be so suitable for you.”
You say in your book that dreams play a big role in synchronicity. Should we pay more attention to our dreams? “Yes. I think that we are connected with some hidden order in the universe and our
dreams can be a way of tapping into that as well. Dreams can be prophetic: they might have an authentic message that comes from a deep authority within yourself.”
You also say that synchronicity can alter our brain chemistry, which can have a positive effect on our mental health. How does that work? “Research has shown that when people experience something awe-inspiring, it triggers the release of brain chemicals that relate to pleasure, motivation and new learning. It can also lead to neuroplasticity, or the development of new brain cells and connections between them, which is also positive for your mental health.“
So how should we respond when we recognise a synchronistic event in our lives? “If something gives you a curious or mysterious feeling, be prepared to pause and not just rush on to whatever you were going to do next. Allow yourself to have a sense of wonder and be curious about what that moment might mean to you.”
How to be Chris Mackey believes that the more aware you are of synchronicity, the more you invite into your life. Here he shares his top tips for how to tap into your potential. ™BE PRESENT. Synchronicity may happen more when you are in a somewhat free, or playful, state of mind. It is important to be in the present moment, and to have your senses attuned outwardly. Be ready to respond to what you see and encounter in a symbolic way and allow yourself to be open to whatever connections or associations arise in your mind. ™SUSPEND YOUR DISBELIEF. Synchronicity doesn’t seem to occur as readily when you’re in an analytical or logical thinking mode. It is most important to be responsive to your intuition – it helps to follow your nose. ™TAKE NOTICE. You don’t have to be able to put your finger on why you might have had a numinous feeling. The potential meaning of synchronistic experiences sometimes only becomes obvious at a later time. If it has meaning, it will make itself known. Focus your intention while remaining open to answers that come your way. ™KEEP A JOURNAL. It seems recording synchronicity can help increase its frequency and intensity. It can be worth noting whether you have experienced the synchronicity as mild, moderate or strong. It can also help to record your associations, or any symbolic meaning you attach to the experience. What details or associations stood out the most to you? What about the experience contributed the most to the strength of your numinous feeling, even if you can’t explain why? Some time later, a compelling meaning might arise without effort. ≥For more on synchronicity, visit synchronicityunwrapped.com.au. #
... T S E B HE T F O 4
he wellness retreat is the boost we all need from time to time – a hands-on, how-to holiday with one-on-one consultation and guidance aimed at achieving a healthier, happier you. Here are four that more than make the grade.
ise… re-energ Heal and yurveda Resort A Barberyn
This has been one of the quiet achievers of the wellness industry but over the 30 years since it was founded, Barberyn has established a high reputation among European clients in particular for its strict Ayurvedic treatments. There are two Barberyn properties, the original on the south-west coast and the newer Barberyn Beach Ayurveda Resort at Weligama, located on jungle-clad hillside stepping down to the sea. The aim is to rebalance the three biological doshas of Ayurvedic taxonomy through herbal therapies, oil massages, diet, yoga and meditation. It’s rigorous. Barberyn is all about healing rather than pampering. There’s even a diet doctor in the dining room to ensure that prescribed food regimens are adhered to. There are good reasons for this. Many come here to recover after treatment for serious health issues such as cancer or stroke. For guests who want to re-energise in marvellous surroundings, it’s no less miraculous. barberynresorts.com
Queenstown and its surrounds are more often associated with hardcore adventure than New Age therapies but that’s no longer the case since this handsome wellness retreat arrived on the scene. Set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu south of Queenstown, Aro Hā is a reboot camp, an opportunity to experience how your mind and body work under optimal conditions. Rather than clearer skin, brighter eyes and a fitter body, the focus here is on physical, mental and emotional health – although all of the above are outcomes you can count on in Aro Hā’s one-week programs. The road map to a new you involves daily hikes and ‘un-cooking’ classes with fresh as the underlying ethos, as well as yoga, mindfulness practice and massage. The vegetarian menu takes its cues from the paleo diet. It’s also gluten- and dairy-free, intended to cleanse while exciting the palate with fresh ingredients. The style approaches the minimalism of a Japanese ryokan – raw, blonde timbers, natural colours and big windows. And while classes and activities are communal, they are tailored to your own health and fitness level. aro-ha.com
Discover beautiful escapes that restore and heal your mind and body. By Michael Gebicki
Yoga, Pilates and detoxing are all on offer at Koh Samui’s Absolute Sanctuary
Blissed o u The Yog t guests at a Barn (a bove)
Cascading down a hillside in a sequestered part of this holiday island, this Moroccan-inspired health retreat has acquired a legion of loyal fans who return year after year. There are several programs here – yoga, de-stress, Pilates and fitness and weight management but the detox program is the standout, under the guidance of Australian naturopath Janelle Castle who brings a wealth of experience and good plain-speaking sense to the business of healthy eating. The massages, spa therapies and beauty treatments score high even by Thai standards, which is to say world’s best. The sanctuary’s yoga and Pilates teachers are tip-top but there are some rough edges. Service can be patchy, towels are not necessarily fluffy and bleached white and the restaurant lacks personality – but the accommodation costs are reasonable and the therapies and the food are just as they should be. absolutesanctuary.com
How could this not be great? Bordered by rice fields and a rainforest ravine at the southern end of Ubud, the setting alone is heart-meltingly gorgeous and mind-calmingly blissful. As the name implies, yoga in all its forms is the bedrock of the Yoga Barn and most yogis are in for the day only, but there are good reasons for a longer stay. This is a holistic centre with an array of therapies as diverse as sound medicine, Kirtan, ecstatic dance, Chinese medicine and meditation, best experienced on the one-week retreats that take place every month. Another option is a 3-day Foundation Cleanse, essentially a self-guided program that includes an initial consultation with a therapist, with one colon hydrotherapy session, sauna sessions, a five-class yoga pass and daily green juices and fresh coconut water.
The Yoga Barn has nine simple but comfortable double guest rooms, at less than $100 per night. The open-fronted pavilions where classes take place make good use of the vernacular elements of Balinese architecture – bamboo, thatch and ponds with golden carp, ideal for quietening the mind. theyogabarn.com # The delightfu l op fronted pavilio enns
Many mothers are worried about their teenage daughters taking the Pill and usually have three main concerns. Firstly, they’re worried taking the Pill long term may impair their daughter’s future fertility – this is not true. In fact, the Pill is used as a treatment for two conditions that can interfere with fertility – endometriosis and ovarian cysts. Secondly, they worry the Pill may stunt growth – this is also not true. Finally, mothers worry the Pill may encourage their daughters to be promiscuous – I reassure them that this is not the case and encourage them to warn their daughters that alcohol is the drug that does that! Additional benefits of the Pill include lighter periods and being able to skip periods if desired.
Thyroid function is measured by a simple (non-fasting) blood test. If you’re on long-term treatment, you only need to have it checked once a year, unless there is a major change such as pregnancy, menopause, or a weight change of more than 5 per cent of body weight. Certain heart medications and lithium can also change thyroid function and your doctor will usually advise more frequent testing if you take these. It takes six to eight weeks for your thyroid function to ‘settle’ after a change in your thyroid hormone dose, so there is no point testing any sooner than that.
WHENEVER I GET A COLD, I GET A BAD SINUS INFECTION AS WELL AND NEED TO TAKE ANTIBIOTICS. HOW CAN I AVOID SINUSITIS?
Sometimes following recurrent sinus infections, the mucosal lining of the sinuses gets swollen and the openings through which the sinuses drain become blocked. If you have an allergic tendency, mucosal polyps may also be blocking your sinuses. This leads to a build-up of infected mucus when you get a cold. It would be a good idea to get a referral to an ENT surgeon. You may require a small operation to clean out the sinuses and widen the drainage openings to stop them becoming blocked.
Ring dermatitis is a common condition and has two main causes. Firstly, it can be caused by irritation from soap and water trapped under the rings. Removing your rings for hand washing and drying your fingers carefully may improve the condition. Sometimes it helps to wear your rings on a different finger for a few days. Prolonged wearing of rings can also lead to allergic dermatitis – usually to nickel, which is added to gold to increase its strength. Applying a cortisone cream (available on prescription from your GP) will often clear the dermatitis but it tends to recur. Strategies to minimise contact with your rings such as taking them off at bedtime or painting the inside with clear nail polish can help. In severe cases, changing to platinum or titanium rings may be necessary.
PHOTOGRAPHY GETTY IMAGES / ISTOCKPHOTO
Q. I’m on long-term thyroid hormone replacement for an underactive thyroid. How often should I get my thyroid function checked?
Q. I like my own space, but my partner gets offended when I tell him I need to be alone. What can I do to reassure him?
First, let’s deal with the main issue here – and that is that you’re letting your mother-in-law come into your home and criticise you. That worries me. Talk to your husband about it and discuss putting into place some boundaries about acceptable behaviour. Your partner needs to back you up on this. Your home is your safe haven and you need to protect your sanctuary from toxic behaviour. Finally, say ‘no’ to her emotional manipulation. Nobody has the right to make you feel guilty and judge your relationships.
I FIND IT DIFFICULT TO BE ON TIME AND AM OFTEN RUNNING LATE FOR MEETINGS AT WORK. HOW CAN I CHANGE THIS BAD HABIT?
When you tell your partner you want to spend time alone, he may interpret that as – you don’t want to spend time with me. He takes it as a sign you don’t care enough about him or the relationship. You become irritated because you feel suffocated by his neediness. It’s these types of small misunderstandings that can cause a breakdown in otherwise healthy relationships. Talk to each other about your needs. Make sure he understands that you like to spend time alone – but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to spend time with him too. It’s about finding a balance that works for both of you.
You can change it, but first you need to work out why you’re chronically late. Are you always trying to squeeze in just one more telephone call, or that extra task before a meeting? If so, you may need to relearn how to tell the time by keeping a task diary. For two weeks write down how long you think tasks take – and then how long they actually took. This will enable you to retrain yourself into allowing a more realistic timeframe for all your tasks – and it will help you be on time.
Deciding to seek therapy is a big step, requiring you to be open about private matters, attend regular appointments, and spend a fair amount of money. If you‘re unsure, ask yourself: > Do you feel like you are running into the same problems again and again? > Do you spend a lot of time thinking about past trauma? > Do you feel you could be functioning better at work and/or home? > Do you no longer enjoy things that once gave you pleasure? > Are you overeating/ drinking/taking drugs to feel better? If you answer ‘yes’ to a number of these questions, therapy could help. Ask your GP for a referral, or visit psychology.org.au and use the Find a Psychologist service. Make sure you feel comfortable and supported by your therapist, and that you feel you can trust them.
Q. I hate weights but know how important muscle is. What is the minimum I need to do training-wise to maintain muscle mass?
This is a high-intensity style of training developed by Dr Izumi Tabata. The idea is to create a quick but effective workout using the 20-second on and 10-second off method. You select an exercise and execute it with as much intensity as you can for 20 seconds before resting for 10 seconds and repeat this pattern for a total of 4 minutes. Ideally you would choose at least four exercises to complete the 4-minute routine so your workout lasts for a minimum of 16 minutes. Studies have shown that this is a great way of training to improve both aerobic and anaerobic fitness in a short period of time, but it is not suitable for those with a low fitness level.
Q. SHOULD I EXERCISE WHEN HUNGOVER?
Maintaining muscle is easier than having to build it. And you’ll be happy to hear that there are many studies showing that just 20-30 minutes of resistance training twice a week provides adequate stimulus for muscles to maintain their strength and tone – and sometimes even grow. When doing the bare minimum, however, choose large compound exercises (using large muscle groups), be consistent and work out with a good level of intensity because just going through the motions simply won’t cut it!
I don’t encourage high-intensity exercise when nursing a hangover due to your hand-eye coordination, balance and reaction time being compromised, which increases your chance of injury. Also, as your body is already dehydrated you may do more harm than good, dehydrating it more by sweating through a tough workout. However, choosing a more gentle form of activity such as walking, yoga or swimming will help boost your mood. The most important thing is to hydrate before, during and after your activity and try to be kinder to your body in future!
Osteoarthritis can develop when the cartilage that protects a joint becomes damaged due to repetition of certain movements and age. While we can’t control the age factor, we do have some control over how we wish to move and how often. If you have been a runner most of your life and haven’t focused on other forms of cross-training, there’s a good chance your knee cartilage will begin to break down before other joints. This is why cross-training (doing different types of exercise) is so important. To prevent further damage to your knee joints I recommend strengthening the muscles surrounding the joint through low-impact exercises such as swimming, cycling and controlled body-weight squats and lunges to help reduce excess stress on the knee joint. Maintaining a healthy body weight is also important.
IS PORK CONSIDERED A RED OR WHITE MEAT?
A modified Mediterranean diet has been found to significantly reduce the symptoms of depression. Aim for 5-8 serves of wholegrains, 3 serves of fruit, 6 serves of vegetables, 2-3 serves of dairy, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 30g of nuts each day. Then include 3-4 serves of legumes, 3-4 serves of lean red meat, 2 serves of fish, 2-3 serves of chicken and 6 eggs throughout the week. Motivating yourself to cook can be difficult when you’re depressed so try to pre-prepare meals and store them in your freezer, organise fresh food to be delivered on a regular basis, and organise some loved ones to share a meal with you when you’re feeling low.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and may help reduce your risk of heart disease and dementia, as well as aid digestion. Most research shows using 1-3g per day can help. Rather than taking it as a supplement, try adding the spice to soups, curries, rice and roast vegetables. Combining it with black pepper helps to increase the absorption of the curcumin compound in turmeric to have an even greater impact on health, so add a few shakes of pepper to your dishes as well!
Red meat contains more myoglobin than white meat. Myoglobin is an iron-binding protein that gives meat its red colouring, which is why red meat often has more iron than white meats. Although pork is pink in colour, it contains more myoglobin than white meats, so is usually classified as a red meat. Pork contains twice as much iron as chicken, providing approximately 0.8mg per 100g serve.
Q. I love nibbling on chocolate in front of the television after dinner. How can I stop? Many people turn to chocolate as a result of habit more than hunger. The best way to break the habit is to avoid keeping it in the house, but that doesn’t mean you can never eat chocolate again. Instead, save it for occasions when you’re out socialising as opposed to eating it out of habit when you’re at home. If you’d like to continue eating it, but want to decrease the amount, swapping to dark chocolate with high levels of cocoa can often help you to reduce your portion sizes as it has a bitter taste compared to milk varieties.
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LIBRA SEPTEMBER 24 – OCTOBER 23 If you want to change the rhythms and routines of your daily life, act now. We might be nearing the end of the year, but when it comes to your timetables and schedules, it’s all change for you now, if you want it to be. Release the habits which are stopping you from being the best you can be (for example – and no judgment – too much TV or alcohol). Replace them with healthier ways of being. Also be sure to allow time out for meditation and contemplation.
SCORPIO OCTOBER 24 – NOVEMBER 22
SAGITTARIUS NOVEMBER 23 – DECEMBER 21 How far do you want to go in your career and how hard are you willing to work to make your professional dreams real?
ILLUSTRATION SARAH SUTTLE
AUGUST 24 – SEPTEMBER 23 Prepare to be amazed. There is an eclipse in your sign and your Love Zone. In other words, the coming 12 months are going to be memorable, hopefully for all the right reasons. Work with the eclipse energy by releasing anything or anyone you know is doing you no good. The eclipse in your Love Zone means you need to be really proactive about who you allow into your inner friendship circle and into your heart. Be really aware of who is supportive and unsupportive this month.
Make 10 wishes just before you go to bed on September 1. That day brings a super lucky New Moon eclipse for making wishes. And you have to know that these sorts of astrological anomalies don’t come along every day, not even every year. While you’re at it, set some proper intentions and make some commitments regarding what you can do to make your dreams come true. Wishes followed up with firm action now will really impress the Universe. This is not a drill – it’s a rare cosmic event and opportunity.
The reason for asking is this month brings a highly auspicious New Moon eclipse in your Ambitions Zone. So if you’re one of the Sadges serious about making it to the top of the tree, aim higher now. And remember, you have workhorse Saturn in your sign still, until the end of the year. He’s a tedious taskmaster but the higher you aim now the more you’ll achieve.
CAPRICORN DECEMBER 22 – JANUARY 20 Making the most of yourself, having a big dream and vision for yourself and your future, doing whatever it takes to widen your horizons (study, travel) – this is what September is all about for you. Be gone small-mindedness, petty concerns and insular viewpoints. Hello, seeing the big picture and counting your manifold blessings every single day. You know it makes sense. Also, if you’ve been considering studying or doing some teaching or travel, the New Moon eclipse this month supports you. Just do it!
AQUARIUS JANUARY 21 – FEBRUARY 19 Money might not really make the world go round (love does) but it surely helps grease the wheels of life. And this month there’s eclipse action in your Cash Zones. It’s time to start manifesting more cash
(if you want more). Write yourself your dream cheque and then make concrete plans for how to raise the funds. Don’t scoff. This is a well-known manifesting method. Literally write yourself a cheque. Can you believe you can bring that money in? If you can believe it, you can achieve it.
PISCES FEBRUARY 20 – MARCH 20 If you have loved and lost and need to get back in the saddle, draw a line under the past now. Make a wish list of what you want in your next relationship on the night of September 1. And if you’re in love and you want a boost, the New Moon eclipse in your Love Zone could bring exactly that. The eclipses this month are in your sign and your Love Zone so you have a chance to change your life however you would like to. Change is progress!
ARIES MARCH 21 – APRIL 20 We all need some kind of spiritual life and alone time. But if you want to be happy in the coming year, focus on your daily life and your work. Most importantly, think less about your own potentially soaring success, and more about how you can be of service to others. Believe it or not, it’s there that true happiness lies for you now. Also, the eclipse’s energy
suggests that while doing your own thing can be fun, imposing stricter discipline on yourself is a key to success in the coming year.
to implement but once you do your whole life (including your work output) will start to benefit.
JUNE 23 – JULY 23
APRIL 21 – MAY 21
It’s a strange fact of the modern age that it’s become almost a cliché to talk about positive thinking and the ‘New Age’ idea that we create our lives with our thoughts and our emotions. But we really do. Have you actually understood this idea? Pay close attention to this eclipse month and you’ll see that your thoughts really do shape your reality. What you focus on is what you get, for better or worse. Thoughts become things. As they say, if you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.
It’s time to get smarter about who you’re spending time with. Negative people emit a toxic vibe and you seriously don’t want them messing with your aura, right? Or, to put it another way, the skies want you to start having way more fun as the September eclipse lights up your Happy Zone. Ignore anyone or anything that brings you down. You need to shake off any workaholic tendencies you have developed. Decide that you will be relaxed and successful at the same time. Embrace pressure as it can help you to surge ahead.
GEMINI MAY 22 – JUNE 22 With Saturn pressuring you from now until the end of 2016, more or less, you may be tempted to work all the hours that Goddess sends. However, your horoscope suggests that you need to integrate some quality downtime into your hectic schedule. In particular, time at home with people you love is the path to happier days for you for now – also known as getting the infamous ‘work/life balance’ right. This might not be easy
LEO JULY 24 – AUGUST 23 There are big changes afoot for you regarding cash now and over the next six months, thanks to the September eclipses across not one but two of your Cash Zones. So if you’re happy with your financial status quo, things could get better. There could even be some kind of unexpected boost to your cash set-up. This could come in the form of a pay rise or financial win. And if you’re not happy financially? This is the time to focus on your best possible achievable, believable cash outcome.
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SUCCESSFUL COUNTRY MUSIC ARTIST
Directed by world-renowned actor and singer Dame Julie Andrews and starring a stellar cast of Australian theatre royalty, My Fair Lady is a show not to be missed! Performed at the Sydney Opera House throughout September, for tickets and dates go to myfairladymusical.com.
SHARES HER FAVOURITE THINGS
He was a rescue puppy, a shih tzu/ poodle cross. He’s our little boy and always comes on the road with us. We’re so lucky to live in this amazing country. I love travelling up and down the east coast, especially the beaches near our home in Newcastle.
I’m obsessed with all their products, especially their professional eyeshadow palettes. They’re so colourful and well-pigmented. >
This month, Catherine will be performing at the Deni Ute Muster alongside musical legends Keith Urban and Adam Brand. For more festival information visit deniutemuster.com.au.
ROYAL MELBOURNE SHOW
Get up close to the animals, try your hand at agricultural activities, sample diverse flavours, and enjoy world-class entertainment at the annual fair held at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds. Spread over 11 days, from September 17-27, the show has something for everyone. For ticket prices and times, check out royalshow.com.au.
COMPETE In partnership with the McGrath Foundation, the female-only obstacle course and mud race Miss Muddy will be held over two days in Brisbane. You’ll walk, run, climb, crawl, slip and slide over an 5km obstacle course, which guarantees loads of mud but, most importantly, lots of fun! For dates and entry details head to missmuddy. com.au.
Showcasing contemporary and traditional indigenous art, local culture and stories, Parrtjima is a breathtaking light show installation, stretching over 2.5km of the MacDonnell Ranges near Alice Springs. The free festival runs for 10 nights, opening on September 23. For more information visit parrtjimaaustralia.com.au.
TEXT JENNIFER AITKEN • PHOTOGRAPHY GETTY IMAGES / ISTOCKPHOTO
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