Finding Joy NIcOLE JOY ON HEaLTH, DIET aND sELF-LOVE
WAYS TO EMBRACE CHANGE
AUS. $8.50 Inc GST
NZ. $10.20 Inc GST
change ISSUE THE YOGIC PATH TO
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TIps FOR a mORE sUsTaINabLE LIFE
THE aRT OF
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YOUR SKIN THE LOW-DOWN ON a
VOL. 18 NO.1 / FEB - MAR 2018
Love, love, love!!
“These are great. never buying plastic straws again. I keep one in my handbag for when I’m at work or out and about. Brilliant!” Written by Rochelle on 8 December 2017
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P R O M O T I O N A L F E AT U R E
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ith three key ingredients – gotu kola, tamanu and papaya – P’URE Papaya Renew is a unique, 100 per cent natural cream that your skin will love. Gotu Kola – also known as pennywort – has been used for thousands of years to help speed up the healing process. Research has indicated that gotu kola reduces inflammation and promotes type 1 collagen formation, which may help improve the appearance of new and old scars and stretch marks. Tamanu oil is a natural oil extracted from the nut kernel of the tamanu tree. Tamanu oil is helpful in promoting the formation of new tissue and supporting the healing process. Fermented Australian papaya is a nutrient-rich fruit containing high levels of vitamin C and unique enzymes that exfoliate dry and damaged skin. The papaya fruit used in P’URE Papaya Renew is organically grown in tropical parts of Queensland and is fermented to ensure it is rich in nutrients and gentle on your skin. Supporting these active ingredients is a combination of rich and nourishing moisturisers such as almond oil, macadamia oil and shea butter, which protect, hydrate and help to reduce inflammation.
THE PROBLEM: STRETCH MARKS Stretch marks occur when your skin becomes stretched beyond its natural level of elasticity. This may occur during pregnancy, changes in body weight or during periods of growth. THE FIX: P’URE Papaya Renew softens and hydrates skin and helps promote collagen formation, skin elasticity and the development of new tissue. This may assist in reducing stretch marks forming,
4 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
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THE PROBLEM: DRY AND/OR SENSITIVE SKIN Dry, sensitive skin is a common condition in men and women. THE FIX: Providing moisture to sensitive skin that is often difficult as heavy creams can cause irritation. P’URE Papaya Renew is a light, gentle, non-greasy formula that is suitable for sensitive skin. P’URE Papaya Renew can be used on the face and body to calm and hydrate.
THE PROBLEM: SCARS Caused by wounds and surgery, including C-sections, scars occur due
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HEALTH & WELLNESS 24
Finding joy Nicole Joy on embracing change, health and nutrition
Roadmap to change Six steps to living an authentic, spirited life
The river of change Looking at the core yogic principles of change
FOOD & DIET 46
Slow it down The origins and benefits of the slow food movement
Seasonal sense Investigating the health-related benefits of seasonal eating
Summer nourishment Lola Berryâ€™s beautyboosting tips and recipes
mIND & SOuL
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FInding clarity Tried-and-tested methods for keeping your cool
Rising sisters The art of connecting with sacred, divine feminine energy naturalhealthmag.com.au
EARTH & ENVIRONmENT 80
Earth-loving living All you need to know about sustainability and living green
BODY & BEAuTY 90
Plant-based beauty boosts Your vegan-friendly guide to skincare from the inside out
The beauty list Natural body and beauty products weâ€™re coveting
Journey to wellness A round-up of holistic retreats for some R&R
In the know The latest in health for mind, body and soul
Traditional Chinese medicine Nat Kringoudis on tackling stress, naturally
Real talk Jessica Sepel on changing our mindset around food
Inspired life Helen Janneson Bense on health, healing and natural living
Wellness hub Emmanuel Jal on spreading conscious global awakening
104 Buying natural Hot products from our sponsors 106 Living well Going organic with Marcus Steve from hannahpad naturalhealthmag.com.au
Editor’s letter I don’t know about you, but each and every New Year’s Day, my social media feed is swamped with resolutions. From ‘New year, new me’ quotes to promises that the coming year will be the ‘best one yet’, I’ve seen and heard it all. Now, while I think a healthy dose of enthusiasm is imperative for implementing change – and leading a joyous life – there’s danger in a drastic lifestyle overhaul. Often, we place too much pressure on ourselves to do better or to be better. Soon enough, we fall back into old, comfortable and often unhealthy patterns only to set new resolutions again the next year. What if, instead of wishing we were different, we accept ourselves as we are in this very moment? By acknowledging our weaknesses and celebrating our strengths, we can objectively recognise opportunity for growth. The ancient Indian yogis knew that surrendering to the natural flow of life is where peace, serenity and stillness are attained. From a spiritual perspective, surrendering simply means being at one with the present moment. Whether we’re feeling anger, sadness or uncertainty, simply by feeling our emotions and acknowledging their presence, we can begin to heal and evolve (page 38).
The yogis also pointed to nature as one of our greatest sources for learning. When we spend time in nature, we’re able to see the natural laws of the universe in motion; trees effortlessly shed their leaves in autumn, only to grow new ones again come spring. If we take a leaf from nature, maybe the secret to change is in welcoming it rather than fighting it. While our mental, emotional and spiritual progression is a foremost focus of this issue, so too is the state of our planet. We’ve reached a pivotal point in caring for our earth and we need to take action to effect change. By being more aware of our actions and how they affect our environment, we can create a brighter future for the next generations to thrive (page 80). Ultimately, our power in effecting change comes down to choice; it’s empowering to realise that in each moment we’re able to choose our thoughts and actions, but the key is to do so with mindfulness. To borrow the words of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, “The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” With that realisation, we’re more equipped to focus on the present moment and create a life that lights us up. In love and health,
Danae Dimitropoulou, Editor
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VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO ACCESS FEATURES, RECIPES, REMEDIES AND HEALTHY TIPS.
ORGANIC FOOD Jessica Sepel Jessica Sepel is a clinical nutritionist, international health blogger, travel expert and bestselling author of The Healthy Life. She is also the beloved voice behind ‘JSHealth’, passionately advocating how to achieve a balanced lifestyle through wholefoods. Her philosophy is focused around building a healthy relationship with food, placing emphasis on balance, rest and indulgence in moderation.
Nat Kringoudis Nat Kringoudis is a doctor in Chinese medicine, acupuncturist, author, speaker and all-round natural fertility expert. She’s also the founder of Melbourne women’s health clinic The Pagoda Tree, and producer of HealthTalks TV. Her mission is to educate and empower women to take control of their hormone health.
MOVEMENT AND MEDITATION
Emma Palmer Emma Palmer is the founding principal and director of education at the Moksha Academy of Yoga, located in Bentleigh, Victoria. She’s registered as an E-RYT-500, RYT-500 and RPYT with Yoga Alliance and is a level 3 senior yoga teacher with Yoga Australia. She’s also an accomplished freelance writer and public speaker. mokshayoga.com.au
JOIN THE NATURAL HEALTH COMMUNITY
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We Can Help!
Healing Your Life is a 5 day residential program at the Quest for Life Centre in the Southern Highlands NSW, designed to meet the needs of people seeking peace and healing after a difficult experience or life event. Our nationally acclaimed programs change people’s lives in practical and positive ways through natural health principles. You will be nurtured, nourished and restored with the confidence to embrace the world again. Early bird pricing from $1695. • 4 - 8 Dec •19 - 23 Feb
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Executive Editor Alina Morelli Editor Danae Dimitropoulou
Copy Editor Molly Morelli Associate Beauty Editor Liz Gray Contributing Writers
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IN THE kNow
WHAT’S ON OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
1–28 February With no early detection test, a key focus for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is to educate Australians on the signs, symptoms and risk factors of ovarian cancer. Australians are encouraged to host an afternoon tea to raise vital funds to support those who are living with ovarian cancer. You can also help by purchasing and wearing a Teal Ribbon on 28 February. ovariancancer.net.au
THE MODERN WORLD OF YOGA
16–18 March, Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne Join like-minded yogis to exchange ideas about the practice and philosophy of yoga. This annual Yoga Australia conference is designed to provide a deeper understanding and continuing professional development for students, teachers and therapists alike. yogaaustraliaconference.org.au
1–31 March During the month of March, WaterAid is inviting Australians to take a break from alcohol, coffee, tea and soft drinks for the healthiest beverage of them all: water. Through taking the Water Challenge, participants are asked to fundraise for the one in nine people – or 844 million – worldwide who don’t have clean water. wateraid.org
HEALING WITH FOOD
CREDIT: MADELINE BOuRkE
Looking for a café that caters to vegan, paleo and FODMAP diet requirements? Or are you seeking something free of gluten, yeast, peanuts or dairy? Market on Malvern can meet to your nutritional needs. Co-located with Prahran’s Beingwell Healthcare, MOM chefs have created a menu to heal the body and mind, with the philosophy that ‘Food is served as medicine and made with love’. momcafe.com.au
BE HAPPY AT WORK
Make 2018 a year dedicated to happiness with The Happiness at Work Program. Research has shown that a positive work environment has been shown to improve mental health and impact productivity. Over six weeks, the program introduces daily exercises that aim to become daily rituals and mindfully set a positive outlook to start the day. $59.95, thehappinessatworkprogram.com
The Wellness Collective podcast Hosted by Natural Health expert columnist Dr Nat Kringoudis, and Cecelia Ramsdale, this podcast provides an invaluable source of information for all things women’s health, wellbeing and hormones. With commentary from leading experts around the globe, it’s designed to de-bunk common health concerns to help you feel happier and healthier. Now available on iTunes and podcastone.com.au
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in the know
CSIRO research has revealed that two-thirds of Australian adults are not eating enough vegies. If you fall into this category, fear not, because the CSIRO is determined to inspire Australians to form long-term, healthier habits through their new VegEze app. This app will track your intake, with reminders and rewards to help you stay motivated.
The hAdzA dieT The latest addition to the ever-growing interest in gut health hails from the huntergatherer Hadza people of Tanzania. The Hadza diet aims to diversify the good bacteria we have in our gut. Essentially, our digestive system is happier and immunity is stronger when there are a variety of bacteria present. Mimicking their diet is perhaps too challenging, but similar rewards could be obtained by increasing our fibre intake, reducing the amount of processed foods and be sure to always have in-season fruits and vegies on hand.
WALK IT OFF
Recent findings from the Australian institute of health and Welfare show that nine in 10 Australians could reduce their risk of heart disease simply by walking as little as 15 minutes more each day. Not sure where to fit that in? Consider taking the stairs instead of the lift or parking the car a little farther away.
Kreol’s range of sparkling prebiotic drinks will make your gut as happy as your tastebuds. With flavours such as mango, lime and turmeric, it’s the perfect summer beverage. Available from selected grocery stores. $4.90
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WhOLeSOMe heMP Since its recent legalisation in Australia, hemp products are being touted as the next big thing in wellness. Although, one of Australia’s largest suppliers of hemp, Lariese Purely Hemp, gently reminds us that hemp is actually a whole food, containing healthy fats, protein, calcium and vitamin E. Now that we have the thumbs up from the government, head to lariesepurelyhemp. com.au to see the available products.
IN THE KNOW
SLEEP EASY Getting enough shut-eye is imperative for health, with new research from Harvard finding that adequate sleep aids our immune function, metabolism and memory, along with other bodily functions. It’s estimated that we spend around one-third of our lives sleeping, so let’s make the most of it. Here’s a four-step routine to help you along: 1. SIP HERBAL TEA Studies have shown that drinking herbal tea in the hour leading up to your bedtime aids the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you rest, digest and prepare for bed. We love Madame Flavour’s Soothing Mint, Lavender and Tisane tea, which has a relaxing blend of lavender flowers and peppermint gum leaf. $6.40, available at Coles and Woolworths.
BODY KEEP IT KETO It seems that your daily cup of joe might have longterm health benefits, with researchers from the University College London finding that drinking coffee is associated with a 40 per cent reduction in liver cancer risk.
TRY To supercharge the health benefits of your coffee, experts recommend adding a tablespoon of organic butter or ghee and MCT oil. Proponents of the ketogenic diet – which contains a low amount of carbs and a high amount of fats – hail the mood-boosting benefits of this coffee. This recipe is courtesy of Melrose and the ingredients can be purchased from the Low Carb Emporium (lowcarbemporium.com.au).
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2. PUT DOWN ELECTRONIC DEVICES The blue light emitted by electronic devices suppresses melatonin, the hormone that controls our sleep cycle and circadian rhythms. So, ensure you make your bedroom a device-free zone.
1–2 shots of espresso coffee 15ml or 1 tbsp organic ghee or butter 15ml or 1 tbsp Melrose MCT Oil 80ml boiling water Place coffee, ghee, MCT oil and water into a small blender. Blend on high speed for about 10 seconds until coffee is creamy and smooth. Remove from blender and serve immediately. If using cold drip coffee, use 50ml. If using filtered coffee use 100ml. If you are new to using MCT oil, start with 1 tsp in your keto coffee and gradually build up to 1 tbsp.
3. TRY A YOGA POSE Practising the yoga pose viparita karani, or legs-up-thewall, is considered a restorative inversion that helps to relax the mind and body, preparing you for restful sleep. 4. GET A SLEEP MASK Sleep masks block out the light, enabling you to get a deeper, uninterrupted sleep. The Slip Silk Sleep Mask is made from pure silk, which is a breathable, natural fibre that reduces skin irritation. $49.95, slip.com.au
Poisons (Pesticides & Herbicides)
IN THE KNOW
SMOOTH MOVES Dandruff is one of the most common (and annoying) beauty woes. Thankfully, it’s pretty easily remedied with tea tree oil, an anti-fungal that kills dandruff-causing bacteria. Simply add five drops to your usual shampoo massaged into the scalp will keep you totally flake free. TRY: Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Oil, $6.99, priceline.com.au
WASTE NOT, WANT NOT
beauty BY LIz GRAY
Green beauty The winners of the 2017 Sustainable Beauty Awards were announced at a ceremony in Paris in November, with more than 100 entries from all over the world. Neal’s Yard Remedies won the Sustainability Ingredient Award with its Frankincense Boswellia sacra resin extract, while Bulgarian company Alteya Organics took the Green Formulations Award, with Kiwi brand Trilogy Natural Products runner-up. The Sustainability Pioneer Award was won by Swedish brand AAK with Neal’s Yard Remedies coming in as the runner up. American company Aveda took the Sustainability Leadership Award due to its comprehensive sustainability initiatives, including natural ingredient sourcing, green energy, sustainable packaging, waste management and corporate philanthropy.
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It’s great to try new things, but there’s nothing more frustrating than spending hard-earned dollars on antiageing skincare only to wake the following day with undesirable skin miseries. What works for one person may not work for another, we accept that, but what to do with the remaining product in the pot, bottle or jar? If a product is too rich for your face, there’s a good chance it won’t be too rich for your hands or neck, so put the product to work in these areas. Which, by the way, give away a gal’s age just as conspicuously as her face!
According to research carried out by the Shiseido Research centre in Japan, exposure to a dry environment – such as air conditioning and heating – results in decreased skin elasticity, which leads to the development of fine lines and wrinkles. This is because dry air sucks the moisture from your skin whereas humidity allows skin to maintain its moisture levels (hello, plump, youthful complexion). Drinking plenty of water certainly helps, but to give your skin an added boost, consider sleeping with a humidifier beside your bed. TRY: Osim uMist Dream Humidifier, $138, osim.com.au
OUR PHILOSOPHY IS SIMPLE WE ARE COMMITTED TO MAKING QUALITY 100% AUSTRALIAN EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL SKINCARE, HAIRCARE AND BEAUTY PRODUCTS.
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IN THE KNOW
YOGA FOR CHANGE Yoga is a profound instigator of change. With regular practice, you’re able to increase flexibility and strength while observing a development in mental focus and emotional wellbeing. A yoga retreat is a wonderful way to kickstart this change. At Byron Yoga Retreat Centre, the retreat programs include up to three yoga classes each day, including a flow class, a hatha alignmentbased session plus one in a yin or restorative style. For more information, visit byronyoga.com
KEEP GOOD COMPANY Good company refers to the
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
ENVIRONMENT IS EVERYTHING
A new study published in Royal Society Open Science has found that there’s a common thread among groups of friends when it comes to their moods, feelings and happiness levels. Researchers analysed more than 2,000 high school students for a period of six months to a year. They found that both good and bad vibes were more or less contagious, although researchers noted a difference between depression, which can’t spread, and a low mood, which can influence others.
relationships you have, the music you listen to, the movies you watch, the books you read, your daily rituals and the company you keep. Spend time with people you aspire to emulate. Surround yourself with positive people. Read about people who inspire you. Find people who believe in you, will challenge you and inspire you to do your best. Make sure your environment is clean and orderly and surround yourself with things that uplift your spirit. For more inspiration, pick up a copy of Petrea King’s new book, Up Until Now, available on questforlife.com.au
WE LOVE: Anouk Gania’s collection of perfumed candles evoke a sensory feeling of being in Greece’s most iconic destinations. The candles are created using plant-based wax, essential oils, resins and extracts, with signature scents such as The Villa, The Island and The Church, the latter of which is an ode to incense, which has been used in spiritual, meditative and religious traditions since antiquity. $69, anoukgania.com
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Activate your Beauty within Collagen exists naturally in your skin as structural support. Amazonia Raw Açaí Skin Active has been scientifically tested to show antioxidants which may help support collagen production. As you age your skin loses some of the elasticity and firmness, reducing the collagen levels. Nature has provided us with something wonderful, the Açaí Berry. It is rich in many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that may benefit skin and collagen production. By supporting the connective fibre of the skin you may help slow the process down.
3150mg Fermented organic Açaí per serve
12 billion probiotics per serve
1 Shot Per Day Available Online & At All Good Health Stores:
credit: HeLeN JANNeSON BeNSe @GYPSYLOViNLiGHt
IN THE KNOW
Beach lust list
Seafolly Hyams Sky Blue Sunglasses $79.95, seafolly.com.au
The Beach People The Mirage Towel $99, thebeachpeople.com.au
Seafolly Pom Pom Beach Basket $89.95, seafolly.com.au Spell & The Gypsy Collective Cloud Dancer Short Kimono $189, spelldesigns.com.au
Herbivore Botanicals After Sun Soothing Aloe Mist $26, herbivorebotanicals.com
Miss Frankie Text Me Nail Polish $22, missfrankie.com.au
Seapia Puerto One Piece in Saffron $169, seapia.com.au Glasshouse Fragrances Tahiti Scented Candle $42.95, glasshousefragrances.com
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Seed Heritage Marley Frayed Espadrille $39.95, seedheritage.com.au naturalhealthmag.com.au
Full on flavour, light on the earth
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H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S
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It’s fitting that Nicole Joy’s surname accurately depicts her sunny disposition and approach to life. On any given morning, you’re likely to find Joy, 35, at the beach with her husband, Adrian. The couple reside on the Sunshine Coast, just a few minutes’ walk from the beach. Joy says her home helps her connect with nature and life’s simple pleasures: being barefoot on the grass, with the sun on her face and the salty sea air on her skin. It’s the iconic Australian lifestyle and for Joy, it’s the ultimate source of inspiration and relaxation. “It’s such a cruisy, laid-back place to be,” she says. “Most mornings start on the beach, whether I’m walking my Aussie bulldog, Nobby, doing some yoga on the sand, or just chilling while my husband surfs. I don’t wear shoes that often, and I pretty much live in a bikini and denim shorts.” While, for the average person, this sounds like the idyllic summer holiday, a sunshine-filled, beachside existence is what Joy has always known. Joy grew up in Brisbane, with a strong influence from her family’s Italian heritage. From her earliest years, she was surrounded by her grandparents’ passion for nutrition and nourishment. “As you could probably guess, food – and its preparation – played a large part in my naturalhealthmag.com.au
She’s a model, author and health blogger whose wholesome approach to life has helped her flourish. NICOLE JOY chats to DANAE DIMITROPOULOU about embracing change, cultivating health and developing self-love. life,” reflects Joy. “I’m pretty sure this is why I love to cook. Being with my mum and nonna in the kitchen was the best.” Although Joy describes her childhood as vibrant and full of love, she admits to losing her way. She spent years struggling through anxiety, self-esteem issues and, despite her foundation of nourishment in her early years, she soon developed an unhealthy relationship with food. These dark times led her into a journey of healing and self-enquiry, which she’s now able to reflect on.
FOOD, DIET AND HEALTH
“[A few years ago] I was in a pretty dark place with my sense of self and body perception,” says Joy. “I was on the verge of competing in those fitness model competitions, was strictly adhering to calorie-restrictive diets and everything I did for my body was because I hated it, not because I loved and cherished it. There is a big difference between the two.” Joy admits to experimenting with every diet and putting herself through endless cycles of restriction. “I have seriously tried everything,” she says. “I have found [that] the more rules and regulations around something... the harder it is to stick with.”
Soon enough, eating became a chore and she was pummelling into a fearbased thought pattern. “When mealtimes become stressful and you have lost the enjoyment food can bring, then what you’re doing is not right for you,” she says. With time, Joy educated herself on nutrition and she drastically changed her mindset around food. “I think it’s so important for us not to be tied down to a set of rules that can’t be changed. It’s absurd for us to think that our nutritional needs won’t evolve over time,” she says. “We, as individuals, change, so why wouldn’t the way we eat change over time? Strict rules and boundaries keep us behaving the way that we think we should be, not necessarily who we truly are.” When Joy came across the National Geographic Society’s Blue Zone study, which identified the five areas across the globe where people consistently live the longest, she became fascinated with the findings. “Researchers discovered that it wasn’t just food that played a key role in determining whether you saw your 100th birthday,” she says. “Cultivating meaningful connections, managing stress effectively, engaging in work that you love and exercising regularly were all powerful contributors.” Joy has worked to incorporate these principles into her AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH | 25
daily life, taking inspiration from her Italian roots. “Research keeps showing that diets close to a Mediterranean diet – primarily plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and healthy fats – play a key role towards living a long, healthy life. So, that’s what I stick to. I really don’t eat a lot of meat anymore. “For the most part, I will cook things from scratch, avoid processed foods, additives and ingredients, but if I really want something – a glass or two of prosecco, a chocolate bar or the decadent dessert at a fancy restaurant – then I am going to have it, and enjoy it,” she says.
A HOLISTIC APPROACH
Aside from internal nourishment, Joy’s understanding of health encompasses a holistic perspective on our lifestyles. “I strongly believe it’s not just what we put into our mouths, but also the environment we create around eating, the amount of physical activity we engage in, how we handle stress, the connections we have with those around us, the joy we find in life, and doing things that align with us – not what works for our friends or the people we see in the media, that influence our overall health.” It was around the time that Joy established a healthy relationship with diet that she discovered Pilates and yoga. During the first few months of her practice, Joy met a teacher named Erin, who would become one of her greatest sources of inspiration and a catalyst for her healing. “Erin introduced me to meditation, which I strongly believe has been the glue that has held me together when it seemed all I could do was fall apart,” says Joy. Soon enough, Joy found herself in more and more yoga classes, enjoying the postures but holding out until the final savasana. “Once I realised that I could tap into that blissful state whenever I wanted, I really gave a lot of energy into my own practice at home.” Today, Joy still enjoys a daily meditation practice as part of a mindful morning routine. “Recently, I’ve been making a 20-minute morning 26 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
“Unapologetically be yourself and take care of yourself before you take care of anyone else.” meditation a priority,” she says. “I believe that morning routines are key in setting you up for your day. As Tim Ferriss [an author] says, ‘If you win the morning, you can win the day.’ “Meditation has taught me not to resist or pretend things are different than what they really are,” says Joy. “It’s taught me to welcome emotions, even
the so-called negative ones.” Joy notes the difference between denying our feelings and accepting them. “It’s not a blanket ‘positive thinking’ approach, because I believe that can do more harm than good. By pretending we’re not feeling a certain way and masking it with a fake emotion, we’re only increasing our suffering.” The solution? Joy says we can unlock our true power when we invite fear, anger, anxiety and overwhelm into our lives and acknowledge their presence. “Acknowledge them, allow yourself to feel them and they’ll pass through. Nothing is permanent.” naturalhealthmag.com.au
LIVING AN AUTHENTIC, FULFILLING LIFE
If there’s one thing Joy could tell her younger self, it would be: “Unapologetically be yourself and take care of yourself before you take care of anyone else.” She also places importance on being true to ones’ self and avoiding the temptation of pleasing others. “You will not please everyone – that is guaranteed – so don’t seek the approval of everyone. Stay true to what feels right for you.”
“Self-love is not indulgent; it’s a necessity.” And when it comes to change, Joy embraces it and welcomes it into her life. As demonstrated in her many career paths, she’s constantly chasing passions and walking to the beat of her own drum. “From primary school teaching and starting my own sleepwear company, to becoming a Pilates teacher and essential oil advocate, I embrace change like I do the weather. We all evolve as human beings. Everything about us changes through life: what makes us tick, what brings us joy, what we dislike and what makes us furious. We need to welcome and embrace these changes, not resist them.” But perhaps her most profound tip for living a healthy life is developing a healthy respect and acceptance for yourself – and not apologising for it. “Self-love is not indulgent; it’s a necessity,” she says. “Developing a full-blown love affair with yourself is the only way you will begin to know the real you, your true spirit or essence. It is only when you take care of yourself that you will be able to stay true to your inner voice, your passion and purpose here on this Earth.” naturalhealthmag.com.au
QUICK 5 WITH NICOLE What’s your go-to essential oil?
Wild orange. It’s cheap and can make you feel amazing in an instant. And it’s the best with chocolate! What does your beauty routine consist of?
I cleanse, tone and moisturise with doTERRA’s Verage range and in the evening I add frankincense to pure jojoba oil for a luxurious face massage. I make my own scrubs with either jojoba oil or hemp seed oil and brown sugar and use that on my face once or
twice per week. I also love a good body scrub with grapefruit and rosemary. What’s your personal mantra?
I open myself up to the abundance of the universe and allow the divine to work through me. What are you grateful for?
Past teachers who have been able to share their lessons with us. What’s your favourite yoga pose?
AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH | 27
FIG & ORANGE CAKE SERVES 12 FOR THE BASE 1 cup pecans ½ cup pistachios ½ cup shredded coconut 1 tsp orange zest, finely grated 1 tbsp coconut oil, softened 1½ cups dried figs, tips removed FOR THE FILLING 3 cups cashews, soaked in water overnight, rinsed well 500ml orange juice 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped ½ cup honey 2 tbsp coconut oil, softened ½ cup coconut flour TO MAKE THE BASE Grease a 23cm-round springform cake tin and set aside. Process all of the ingredients, except for the figs, until crumbly. Add the figs, one at a time until a ‘dough’ is formed and no large chunks remain. Pinch the mixture together between your fingers – if it holds its shape it’s the right consistency. If not, add 1 tbsp cold water at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared cake tin and set aside while you prepare the filling. TO MAKE THE FILLING Blend all ingredients, except for the coconut flour, until smooth. Taste and adjust sweetener if desired. Add the coconut flour and mix well. Pour the mixture over the prepared base and freeze for 6–8 hours or overnight for best results. Cut into even slices when still firm and allow the cake to come to room temperature for about 1 hour before serving. Top with fresh figs, orange slices and pistachios. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.
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These recipes are taken from Life’s too Short for Diets by Nicole Joy, with photography and styling by Jo Anderson, $29.95. This book is self-published and available online at nicolejoyinspire.com
THE PROCESS STEP 1
RECOGNISE CHANGE IS NEEDED
Do you often find yourself daydreaming about escaping your current reality and living a better life? Often, that’s a very strong sign we’re disenchanted. “At a gut level, intuitively, you’re unsettled and know there’s more you could be doing and you know you’re not living up to your potential,” says Annika Rose, founder of The Wellbeing Collective (thewellbeingcollective.com). “[If ] you feel stuck and you’re hitting the snooze button a lot, [then] those are signs there’s something there to address.” According to Emma Maidment, a mindful marketing expert, yoga teacher and writer (emmamaidment. com), another way to sense that change is needed is to tune in with your body. Our feelings manifest themselves physically, so unconscious beliefs always have a physical symptom. Maidment points to the chakras – or the seven spinning wheels of energy in the spiritual body – and says that discomfort can be felt in the throat chakra. “We store our emotions physically in our body and when you’re not speaking your truth, you’ll have this sensation of tightness or like there’s something in your throat and you just can’t clear it,” she says. The throat chakra is the epicentre of our communication, and to be aligned, we need to speak, listen and express ourselves with clarity and honesty. That said, there’s a fine balance between speaking our truth while maintaining a sense of diplomacy and delivering our messages with love.
“Embrace failure as a lesson and a gift moving you closer to success through hard work, effort and persistence.” 32 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
ADOPT A GROWTH MINDSET
“Our brains are wired to keep us safe and sometimes that means staying in our comfort zone, but we’re not going to thrive there and reach our goals,” says Rose. “Our minds are designed to keep us safe from an evolutionary perspective and sometimes we make barriers and hurdles for ourselves as sabotage for hitting our goals or even creating our goals.” The fixed mindset comes hand-inhand with the inner critic, which keeps us in a repetitive, unconscious pattern of conditioned actions. The inner critic comes up with great lines such as telling you somebody else has it easy, which is why someone else can live a certain lifestyle, or that someone else is capable of geting a certain job and you can’t. We need to buddy up with a growth mindset, which sees challenges as opportunities for expansion. “The growth mindset tells us we can learn something new from an experience and if I fail, then that’s one step closer to me learning how to succeed,” says Rose. “Embrace failure as a lesson and a gift moving you closer to success through hard work, effort and persistence – which is a totally different mindset and a much healthier one. A fixed mindset is either ‘I can do it’ or ‘I can’t do it’, which stops you before you even start.” If you notice that a fixed mindset is your modus operandi, Rose says one tiny
adjustment to each thought can steer you in the right direction. “The first step is awareness: notice that fixed mindset and when it’s happening add the word ‘yet’ to the end of your sentence,” she explains. “I can’t do such and such…yet. Those three little letters give you this expansiveness of ‘I can’t do it yet’ but in the future it’s possible!”
GIVE YOURSELF SPACE TO CREATE
Although you might have identified that you’re ready for change, you might not know which direction you want to go in. If that’s the case, don’t fret; it can be a great opportunity for selfexploration. “So many people are intimidated by [the question] ‘What’s my purpose?’ and the comparison to other people who have their purpose figured out,” says Rose. “Accept that it’s a journey and there isn’t one pathway to discovering your purpose.” Rose says one of the best ways to get going is to understand your strengths naturalhealthmag.com.au
“Accept that it’s a journey and there isn’t one pathway to discovering your purpose.” and play to them. “People struggle to identify what their strengths are,” she says. “We’re much quicker to identify what we can’t do than what we can. Take a strengths test; there are a lot of free ones online and I recommend the VIA character strengths test made by positive psychologists. Knowing your strengths will give you more confidence and energy.” If you’re struggling to find inspiration, Rose says it’s helpful to consider what you’re naturally drawn to. She also recommends giving yourself permission to dream big. “Let yourself go there to dream it up, give yourself that permission to explore,” she says. “Is [your dream] to write a book, travel the world, start a charity?” If money, time and location weren’t an issue, what would you spend your time doing? If those steps still aren’t working for you, Maidment says a change in your environment could be what you need. “Experiencing different cultures and different ways of life challenges your perception of what life should be,” she says.
‘how’ and the ‘what’ continue to change, evolve and manifest in different forms,” says Maidment. “But if the ‘why’ is there, then everything else flows.” To discover your why, Maidment suggests spending three minutes writing from your stream of consciousness on what your values are. “Whatever comes to mind, just write [the thoughts] down and then choose three values that mean the most,” she says. “It’s a really profound process when you have all of these things written down and all of a sudden you have to choose three; it makes you consider what you actually value. Have really honest conversations with yourself, too. For me, it’s freedom, flexibility and health and wellness – and every decision I make comes from that.”
START WORK ON THE ‘HOW’
Once you’ve determined your ‘why’, it’s time to start thinking about the actions you can take to effect change in your life. Rose recommends asking yourself questions such as, ‘How am I going to do this?’ and ‘How can I be an active
agent in my life so I can empower myself in this situation?’ Being proactive about your goals keeps the energy flowing and prevents inactivity. First, start with daily rituals that make you feel aligned with your core values. Rose says the ideal way to create permanent positive habit formations is using the psychology technique of a neurological loop. “The neurological loop is created with cue, routine and reward,” she says. “You have your cue: a trigger to do the habit which is best attached to an existing habit – such as brushing your teeth or getting up in the morning. Routine is the new habit, the new thing you want to do and then a reward that supports you in a healthy way. In the early days, you cultivate the neurological loop of cue, routine, reward, repeat and eventually you’ll crave it because your brain has been trained that it’s a good thing.” Maidment recommends surrounding yourself with likeminded people. “If you like yoga, go to some yoga workshops; if it’s poetry, go to The School of Life,” she says. “Ask people you admire: ‘What
FIND YOUR WHY
Understanding the reasoning behind wanting something different and moving towards it provides clarity, inspiration and motivation. “Be really clear on your ‘why’ because I believe [that] if you know why you’re doing something, the naturalhealthmag.com.au
AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH | 33
was your journey?’ and ‘How did you get here?’ Don’t sit around saying you don’t have a community, because you have to create it. If you’re hanging around with people who aren’t living the lifestyle you want to lead, go find the people who are.”
NAVIGATE YOUR ROADBLOCKS
Following your dreams often requires stepping out of your comfort zone. When you have hurdles to overcome, it’s important to have strategies to leap over them. “Everyone will hit those roadblocks at some point, so at the start when you’re most motivated, add into the planning stage what you will do in those moments,” says Rose. “Create some go-to strategies for pulling yourself out of a rut, such as a phone call to a friend, looking through some photos, meeting up with somebody in person, journalling and getting the crap out of your head or even a nice cup of tea. Know ahead of time what will work for you so when the difficult moment arises you know you have your list, your roadmap to getting back on track.” Accountability buddies can make all the difference when giving up looks all too appealing. “It’s always good to share your new habits or goals than keep them a secret, especially with someone who really cares about you, who will support you no matter what because they want the best for you,” says Rose. “When you’re having a weak moment, you can turn to them and they’re your cheer squad.” Rose also suggests keeping visual reminders handy for when you need an immediate boost. “Have something around you that reminds you to keep going, [such as] your screen saver, a vision board, something on your desk, or even a piece of jewellery that reminds you of why you’re on this journey,” she says.
it’s important to find ways to practise regular self-care. “I think the word ‘selfish’ gets a bad rap,” says Maidment. “If we spent a bit more time looking after ourselves and being kinder to ourselves, think how much kinder we’d be to everyone around us. Having a daily practice of doing something for yourself is really empowering. I have a regular practice of yoga and meditation that really helps. Find a ritual that nourishes you and [you’ll see that] everything else flows from that.” But self-care extends beyond the physical and spiritual; it extends to our
self-talk. Rose says it’s important to monitor the voice in our head and offers an effective way to re-route our self-talk. “If a friend was having a rough day, what would you be saying to them?” she asks. “I can pretty much guarantee it would be the opposite to what you say yourself. So, flip that on its head and say, ‘I’m going to show myself some self-compassion here. I’m just having a tough day, maybe I need a day off and I can get back on it tomorrow. Top athletes don’t run marathons every day; they know that part of the journey to reach their overall goals is to stop, rest and recoup.”
While following your dreams can sound invigorating, on the other hand, it can be hard work. To avoid burnout, 34 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
stay fresh, naturally
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TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE
THE NATURAL STRESS SUPRESSORS Itâ€™s the cornerstone of modern-day life, but with a few age-old modalities, you can leave stress at your front door. DR NAT KRINGOUDIS shows us how. 36 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
tress is the modern-day health epidemic. The simple fact is that we’re not designed to work and live in a 24/7 world. The result? It’s making us sick, overweight, tired, hormonally challenged, infertile and depressed. With new health research constantly emerging, we’re now able to acknowledge the feeling of stress, although we’re still not equipped with the tools to assist us in reducing our everyday stressors. So, what if we learnt to channel our stress in productive ways? What if stress became our superpower? The trick is in understanding exactly what stress is, how it shows up in our bodies, and managing it to help you get what you want out of life.
DETERMINE YOUR STRESSORS So, how do you really know if you are stressed? First up, identify where it’s really having its way with your life. Thankfully, your body serves you up some pretty obvious signs and symptoms every day that may be indicators of your stressmeter. There are a few key things I like to help patients look out for when trying to identify stress.
COMMON SIGNS OF STRESS • Recurrent illness: colds, coughs and infections • Digestive upset • Gaining weight easily • Common insomnia • Continual bodily aches or pains • Frequent headaches • Recurrent eye pain • Non-existent or irregular menstrual cycles • Feeling very tired
These are just some of warning signs you will notice when falling prey to the grips of stress.
STILL THINK YOU’RE NOT STRESSED? Maybe you’re reading this and recognising some – or all – of these symptoms, but you’re still kidding yourself thinking, ‘I’m not stressed’ or ‘I’ve got this’. I have no doubt that
EvERybODy wIll bENEfIT fROm lIGhTENING ThINGS Up A lITTlE AND lEARNING SOmE pOwERfUl SKIllS IN STRESS mANAGEmENT. you do, but modern life is super stressful in even the tiniest ways. Listening to the same children’s song on repeat while sitting in traffic is stressful; digesting less than average food is stressful; trying to conceive is stressful; carrying unresolved grief or emotional turmoil is stressful; over exercising is stressful. As you can see from these everyday examples, stress is so much more than having a heavy workload.
THE EFFECT ON OUR HEALTH Stress is upsetting our hormone balance and this is disastrous for our health. When you consider that our hormones are responsible for all of our body functions – these are the messengers that ensure your body systems communicate effectively – you start to understand the magnitude of the problem. But once we can admit that we are stressed, we can then use this knowledge to create change and take steps towards reclaiming our health. Once we’ve developed more awareness and are in tune with our bodies, implementing some simple strategies can make the world of difference.
SIMPLE SOLUTIONS I love talking about stress so much that I created an entire e-course around it. My course, Debunking Stress (debunkingstress.com) fast became a resource worldwide because it not only helps you identify your stressors but gives you tangible tools – both simple and in depth – on how you can take control of your stress. Here are some of my favourites from the course:
STRESS RELIEVERS Rest in the tub: Research shows that the warmth and fluidity of the water helps to release serotonin – the feelgood hormone. This helps to dial down the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenalin, plus it’s simple, easy and effective. If you don’t have a tub, a shower can have a similar result. Eat with purpose: Eating fast foods places unnecessary load on your digestive system, which adds stress to your body. By fuelling your body with antioxidant-rich foods – think bright, colourful vegies – you help the body to mop up damage from environmental toxins. If our bodies don’t have adequate vitamins and minerals, they can’t run well. Food is either of benefit or deficit – there is no in between. Laugh it out: Get out more, spend time with friends and be social. Getting your giggle on has been proven to reduce cortisol by almost 40 per cent. It also helps to release serotonin and increases blood flow, which helps to deliver more nutrients and oxygen to your insides. Oh, and it’s also an immune booster, too! Get it out: Writing down your thoughts, planning and journalling are all great ways of getting worries, thoughts and ideas out of your head. Making lists is another great way to ensure you can calm down the mind a little too. These are just a few super-simple solutions that can be immediately implemented into your lifestyle. Obviously, there are some cases of ‘serious stressors’, but it’s important for anyone facing any kind of pressure to keep things as simple and realistic as possible. Everybody will benefit from lightening things up a little and learning some powerful skills in stress management. It’s important we really understand what’s going on with stress and not push it aside and use it to manifest the life we were born to enjoy.
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H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S
The River of CHANGE The way we navigate our way through change is a fundamental yogic teaching. EMMA PALMER examines the core principles of change and explains why surrendering to the process will bestow us with more peace, serenity and stillness than ever before.
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There have been many times in my life when I vehemently denied to accept change. In fact, I resisted the inevitable with great might. It was after years of self-enquiry that I came to the realisation that pain comes from using every ounce of energy to resist what we cannot change. One of the most profound teachings I’ve encountered has been the ancient wisdom of yoga, which helps us to develop our awareness, open our hearts and trust in the flow of life. When we’re in tune with the natural laws of the universe and trust in the process, we can learn how to navigate the river of change with wisdom and discernment.
THE RAPIDS OF CHANGE
When we resist change, we either try to control ourselves with military precision, or we do the same to others. When we resist it, we create a tendency to harden. Physically, the body starts to stiffen; the muscles get tense and systemic changes aim to manage this inner hardening. But from our initial dismay and disappointment, unexpected gifts of opportunity and expansion arise, even if we don’t recognise them at the time. Change can be viewed in one of two ways. It can be viewed as an exciting aspect of life that brings in muchneeded transformation or something to fear that brings about a deep level of crippling anxiety. Which one tends to predominate boils down to how we perceive change. Either way, our response is a choice, and how we choose to apply the wisdom teachings to that great life lesson is up to us. The important question to ask is:
Why do we fear change so much? The brain biochemistry in the limbic system doesn’t recognise good or bad change, it just knows to keep us safe, so we tend to self-sabotage when we begin to initiate change. That’s why persistence over a prolonged period is necessary to make any sustainable long-lasting change.
THE TEACHINGS OF NATURE
When we tune in with our environment, we’re able to observe profound teachings about the natural laws of the universe. Like nature, life is forever changing, evolving and growing. In nature, change is cyclical and seasonal. Deciduous trees lose their leaves every winter, only to trust their new buds will bloom again come spring. Similarly, the seed of an acorn starts its journey in the deepest and darkest layer in the soil with the desire to find the light. It knows the journey is not a predictable route, but it finds the light anyway. Humans, on the other hand, resist the natural flow of change, loss and rebirth. As a result, we miss the opportunity to learn the natural laws of the universe. But what if we trusted that life will only send us what we are equipped to handle? Our very nature is to consistently grow and transform, to realise our fullest and greatest potential. But we can’t do that if we’re stuck in old, fearbased thought patterns. As we can see in nature, our own lives are subject to constant change, but if we learn to ride each wave with presence and awareness, we can become equipped to survive – and even thrive – through the journey.
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THE YOGIC TEACHINGS OF CHANGE DUKHAM
THE TEACHING OF SUFFERING
Yogic philosophy is anchored in the understanding that clinging to life results in dukham [the Sanskrit word for suffering]. Impermanence reminds us how precious life is, and so the wisdom of change calls us to go inwards to question our need for safety and the futile desire to control that which is uncontrollable. So why do we resist change with strong will? The essence of spiritual growth is rooted in the soil of transformation, and with that comes the evolution of change. To build our spiritual muscle, it is essential for us to learn to welcome in the challenges that are unfamiliar and, at times, quite painful. It is in this realisation that we begin to navigate change with greater ease, more wisdom and less resistance.
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THE TEACHING OF IMPERMANENCE
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – a widely regarded yogic text – refers to the teachings of impermanence and change. This sutra outlines how we experience suffering as a direct result of our reaction to change rather than the change itself. It also relates to the experience of rumination, and continually living in the past with an excruciating inability to move forwards. There is, however, an essence of grace that manifests once we understand and embody the wisdom of how we ride the rapids of change. In The Bhagavad Gita – another key ancient Indian text – it is stated that, “Change is the law of the Universe”. The Gita teaches us that according to the natural law, nothing ever remains the same. When we accept change, we welcome it into our lives, and even
...It's your choice,
allow ourselves to get excited about that which is occurring. Moreover, we’re able to recognise that change is a natural part of growth and evolution. The more we build the openness to life’s natural ebb and flow, the more we will experience an unwavering sense of peace and stillness. The teachings of impermanence – known in Sanskrit as anitya – are shared in the Katha Upanishad, an ancient yogic text believed to be written between 1400 and 800 BC. Even as far back as 800 BC, the yogis knew nothing that exists in the material world lasts forever. They also recognised that the source of suffering is experienced through wanting everything to stay the same. Anxiety often presents itself when the nervous system intuits life’s impermanence. Thankfully, a yoga practice provides us with the tools to transform fear to faith. If we allow it, impermanence has the power to open
our hearts so that we can live with more conviction and passion than ever before. As B.K.S. Iyengar – one of the foremost yogic teachers in the world – stated, “Our yoga practice not only changes the way we perceive life, but it changes the person who sees.” So, if these ancient teachings divert our attention away from that which is impermanent, what does it direct us towards? It asks us to go deeper, to connect with that part of us that does exist forever, that is unchangeable and ever-present, and that is the nature of our soul.
“To build our spiritual muscle, it is essential for us to learn to welcome in the challenges that are unfamiliar and, at times, quite painful.”
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APARIGRAHA THE WISDOM OF NONATTACHMENT
Aparigraha [the Sanskrit word for nonattachment] is a powerful yogic teaching that supports us to learn ways that we can be open to change without being attached to the outcome. This presents an opportunity to build faith in the ways life naturally unfolds and to let go of the need to control the outcome or influence the ways we would rather experience situations. Through this exercise, we build faith and trust that life’s intelligence may in fact guide us on a path we may not have necessarily chosen, but one that in the long run teaches us most.
THE WISDOM OF SELFENQUIRY
Through the practice of svadhyaya [the Sanskrit word for self-enquiry] we begin to discover ways we can identify the blocks of inner resistance to change and transform them into effortless surrender, faith and flow. Through our yoga practice, we take the journey inwards. When we develop our
practice, we are able to ask the internal guidance system for the wisdom that equally awaits our questioning. With this, we’re guided to a place of indisputable faith, as we navigate the inward journey of life, open to change, and the teachings that are yet to come.
“The essence of spiritual growth is rooted in the soil of transformation, and with that comes the evolution of change.” When we practise yoga through the sequence of vinyasa krama [a step-bystep progression] and as the breath weaves its way through each asana, we find ways to honour the inevitable river of change. As we deepen our practice, we learn how we can draw from the ancient wisdom of yoga to support us to choose to release from the struggle and learn how to swim downstream with the flow of life versus upstream. When we follow the natural current of life, the opportunity for learning and wisdom become available to us.
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R E A L TA L K
MINDSET MATTERS JESSICA SEPEL investigates why changing our mindset around food can bring about physical change and weight maintenance.
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his is what I know for sure: you have to have a wholesome mindset and relationship with your body in order to look and feel your best. Your body listens to your thoughts and your thoughts have an impact on your physical health. When we think of health, many of us associate it with the physical: fitness, exercise, movement, weight control and just looking good. Often, we don’t think about the importance of fostering a positive mindset as a part of the healthy life. See, I used to view food as the enemy. I used to fear food. I was a fad dieter and I believed in food restriction. I used to feel anxious and wary around food, and to my utter frustration, my weight kept creeping up. I also had a terribly negative relationship with my body – constantly body shaming and immersed in poor body image. As a result, I never looked or felt my best; I struggled to maintain a balanced weight. I looked depleted and exhausted from the negative thoughts.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MINDEST Having a positive mindset is the foundation for a healthy body. When I started healing my relationship with food and my body, I physically started seeing balance in all aspects of my life. I slept better, my energy increased and I found balance with my weight. This marked the biggest lesson for me: you need to have a healthy relationship with food if you’re struggling with your weight. Having a controlling and negative relationship with food has an impact physically. Why? It has a lot to do with your nervous system, your digestion and the power of your thoughts.
NOURISH YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM Many typical dieters have high cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone that can make weight loss a real struggle. I’ve seen this first-hand, because mine was through the roof. In order to lower cortisol, it’s imperative to rebalance your nervous system. A great way to do this is to practise yoga, get more sleep, rest more and drink less caffeine.
AID YOUR DIGESTION Negative thoughts add physical stress to the body, and stress slows down the digestion.
JSHEALTH SLEEPY TONIC
OBSERVE YOUR THOUGHTS
If you tell yourself all day that you are fat, or that you can’t lose weight, you’re just making it extra hard for yourself. We have to turn our negative thought patterns around and feel gratitude for our body, right now in this moment. It’s fine to have goals for your body, but be aware of how you are speaking to yourself from now on and replace the negative thoughts with kinder thoughts. Once you do this, you’ll start to notice how much calmer your entire body feels.
TIPS FOR CHANGING YOUR MINDSET Let go of diets: they do not work long term and, in fact, they cause us to think about food in an unhealthy way. Be aware of your negative thoughts: when you catch yourself saying something nasty to yourself, instead be kind and be grateful for something about yourself or your body. This will have a physical impact on your body over time. Become a mindful and intuitive eater: this means being conscious at meal times, which helps to reduce stress eating. Remove your phone/ computer/TV from your meal times and be present with your food – this will help you feel more connected to your body and appetite.
I adore this tonic; it’s so soothing, nourishing and comforting. It contains everything your mind and body craves before bed. The warm almond milk is full of protein, good fats and tryptophan, which is an amino acid that promotes sleep. Nutmeg has a calming effect and cinnamon acts to control blood sugar, which helps you from waking up suddenly between 2 and 4am. Passionflower extract is a powerful herb used for calming anxiety and insomnia. Plus, the stevia adds a lovely sweetness without spiking blood sugar levels, which can interrupt your sleep. I drink this when my nervous system is overworked and my sleep is interrupted. I hope it helps you too. 1 cup almond milk ½ tsp cinnamon pinch of nutmeg 1 tsp organic passionflower herb or passionflower drops (optional, see note) 3 vanilla stevia drops or 1 tsp raw honey Heat almond milk on stove until desired warmth. Stir in spices, passionflower and stevia. NOTE Passionflower Sprinkle a little herb and extra cinnamon passionflower drops on top and pour can be found in into a mug. health food shops and online.
Practise yoga: I find it helps me have a kinder relationship with my body. I feel more connected to my body after a class – it’s powerful! Commit to stress reduction: this is such an essential part of a healthy life.Schedule in 10–20 minutes of rest a day (no phone!), go to bed earlier, say no to social arrangements when you need to and switch off social media when you can.
I have plenty of diet, lifestyle and mindset tips on my website that will help you to find balance with food. Visit jshealth.com.au to read more
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FOOD & DIET
PIP TAYLOR examines the origins, benefits and how-to of the slow food movement. 46 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
It’s a scenario that we all know too well: it’s late, you’re tired and not in the mood to cook, so you stop by your local supermarket or take-away store and grab something to go. It’s a common occurrence in our fast-paced, 24/7 world, where our workdays feel longer and our rest times feel shorter. Unfortunately, for most people, convenience with food isn’t a rare occurrence, but has become commonplace. Over the last 50 years, our relationship with food production and preparation has changed rapidly, and the result is having devastating effects. Packaged meals, drive-through restaurants, pre-prepped dinners and pre-made lunchboxes are all aimed at reducing the time we need to spend thinking, shopping for and cooking our food. To make matters worse, we demand year-round access to our favourite foods, regardless of the season, and we’re outraged when prices fluctuate. Food is always readily available, with minimal expenditure of our own time and effort. This streamlined convenience does come at a cost, though, evidenced by our increasing battles with obesity, diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases, as well as our decreasing interest and knowledge in food.
The movement now boasts more than one million supporters and 100,000 members, spanning across 153 countries. There are 950 convivia [local branches], including 31 within Australia, where volunteers work to support the growth of local food markets, encourage establishment of community and school kitchen gardens, promote local producers and sustainable food projects.
The movement is simply an antithesis to the fast-food phenomenon.
The aim of the slow food movement is to reconnect us to our food and food supply by celebrating local foods, customs and traditions and recognising the importance to health and culture for retaining traditional foods. Fair trade, sustainability and ethical production are also tenements of the movement.
THE PLEASURE OF FOOD
While much of the movement is about food, health and sustainability, it is also about a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the pleasure derived from food, as well as food experiences: the delight in new flavours, sensual experiences associated with food,
Despite our fast-food culture, there’s a small, growing group with the aim of directly counteracting our fastfood, fast-life culture. The slow food movement began in Bra, Italy, in 1989, with a group of 62 food-loving and eco-conscious members, led by Carlo Petrini. Despite the name, the slow food movement does not equate to spending vast amounts of time in the kitchen, or tending to complicated or overambitious menus. Rather, the movement is simply an antithesis to the fast-food phenomenon. In direct contrast, the slow food movement encourages a greater connection to food. It encourages people to shop locally, to be aware of the impact their food choices have on themselves as well as the environment and community more broadly. naturalhealthmag.com.au
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the rich social and community connections that are intertwined with food from the growing, cooking, preparing and eating. Eating is described as ‘not only a biological necessity, but also a convivial pleasure to be shared with others’.
Replace packaged and processed foods with fresh ingredients wherever possible.
The Three sTaTed TeneTs of The slow food philosophy are: GOOD: a fresh and flavoursome seasonal diet that satisfies the senses and is part of local culture; CLEAN: food production and consumption that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; FAIR: accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for small-scale producers. Under these aims, individuals shift from passive consumerism and become active and powerful participants in the food system, believing that as a collective, we can bring positive change. In other words, what we choose to eat and where we purchase it from have a direct impact on our food system and the direction in which we drive it. It’s easy to see the appeal, reflected not just in the slow food member numbers, but in the growing popularity of farmers’ markets and the on-trend push for greater sustainability and reduced waste. But for many, the ambitions of the movement seem too daunting – too at odds with the demands of busy work and family lives centred around cities. Even those of us who recognise the value in the goals of the movement at both a personal as well as wider community and environmental level are daunted by the prospect of incorporating them into our daily lives. The movement has also been criticised as being elitist – positioning itself as being for the wealthy, who have more time and money to invest in educating oneself about food and then procuring ethically produced and local food. But a slow food lifestyle does not have to be either slow or expensive. 48 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
SLOW FOOD PRINCIPLES
• Seek out local farmers’ markets or grocers that support local producers. Farmers’ markets are growing in popularity around the country, so it’s likely there is one local to you. • Replace packaged and processed foods with fresh ingredients wherever possible. Take an interest in your food – where it is from, how it was grown or produced. Start by reading labels and asking questions. Support local cafés and restaurants, which, in turn, support local growers. • Reduce food waste and learn how to use more of the produce you buy. Most of us eat just the broccoli florets and throw away perfectly edible stems and leaves. • Eat the lesser-known cuts of organic, grass-fed meat. Go beyond the prime cuts because the cheaper cuts will not only save some money, but they have key nutrients in the
tough connective tissue. Slow cook for melt-in-your-mouth texture and out-of-this-world flavour. • Develop simple cooking skills. To make the most of your food, reduce waste and cost, learn a few tricks of the trade. And if you’ve got them down pat then spread the love – teach someone else to cook and how to increase their enjoyment of food. • Enjoy your food – sit down,
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preferably with others, and really enjoy the taste, texture and full experience of food and eating. • Try growing your own food. You don’t need to move to a farm, just a couple of pots on the windowsill can make a big difference. Adding nutrients to your dishes, connecting you to the origin of food and bringing some green pleasure to your day.
WHY GO SLOW?
There are some obvious health benefits that come from eschewing the convenience of prepared, packaged and fast foods. Here are just a few reasons: • Eating locally means you will eat fresh food. Seasonal, local foods will naturally be higher in vitamins and minerals compared to those that have been in cold storage for weeks or months or have travelled across the globe. Seasonal food is usually more abundant, so can be more cost effective. • Sustainably produced food means less pesticides, chemicals and antibiotics in the food system. Good for you, and good for the environment. • Eating fresh equates to eating a greater diversity of foods, which increases nutrient intake and is linked with improved health and wellbeing. Most packaged foods are comprised of the same ingredients with different flavourings. • Greater diversity of foods as well as fresh produce support a healthy gut microbiome through the delivery of fibre and nutrients – a healthy gut microbiome is critical for health and mental health.
OTHER SURPRISING BENEFITS
The slow food movement tries to connect people to their food and to each other, fostering a greater community connection and retaining food cultures and traditions. Research shows that greater social and community engagement is important for physical health,
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longevity and mental wellbeing. The slow food movement fosters a sense of belonging through retention of cultures and traditions. It also encourages a more conscious, mindful approach to eating that can promote a more mindful approach to other aspects of life – from relationships to work, life goals, etc. This reflection and sense of appreciation has also been linked in
A more conscious, mindful approach to eating can promote a more mindful approach to other aspects of life research to greater wellbeing. It not only benefits our health, but supports food sustainability and future food security by encouraging a more localised approach to food and food supply with a direct link between producers and consumers. Encouraging biodiversity in foods makes for a more resilient food supply, better able to adapt to climate change, disease and other threats. Growing some of your own food has additional benefits: Research shows that getting outside amongst greenery has enormous health benefits, but even just looking at plants can have a positive impact.
GET INVOLVED Join the movement: slowfoodaustralia.com.au Visit your local farmers’ market: farmersmarkets.org.au
MY DAILY GREEN
SUPERFOODS COMBO Lucinda Dennis, age 29 Founder of Snowluxe.com @Lucindadennis @snowluxeofﬁcial
Poor eating habits and stress have become synonymous with the modern lifestyle, so it’s no wonder allergies, recurring colds, ﬂus, chronic fatigue, and so many forms of under-active and over-active immune system dysfunction are on the rise. That’s why a nutrient rich wholefood diet is essential for a healthy immune system. Super Greens is a combo of four of nature’s most nutrient rich wholefoods - Spirulina, Chlorella, Barley Grass and Wheat Grass which contain a vast array of natural vitamins and minerals and are high in anti-oxidants to assist in the removal of free radicals. To optimise your daily nutritional intake, simply blend Synergy Natural Super Greens powder with juice, seasonal fruits or your choice of liquid base for a delicious smoothie. Or take as tablets if preferred.
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FOOD & DIET
Eating in line with nature not only offers a host of health benefits, but it can also expose you to a broader range of nutrients, which positively impacts your gut microbiome. GRACIE BALEV examines the intricacies of seasonal eating.
Hippocrates once said: “Whoever wishes to investigate medicine properly should proceed thus: in the first place to consider the seasons of the year and what effect each of them produces.” As the father of medicine was alluding, eating what’s in season (known as seasonal eating) is a highly intuitive means to sustenance and vitality, as well as disease prevention. It’s thought that the behaviour taps into innate biological intelligence that we aren’t necessarily aware of, but that dictates out palates. On a physiological level, as the climate changes, the body’s nutritional requirements will shift to adapt, maintaining homeostasis or balance, and overall wellbeing. In short, our nutritional needs are – at least to an extent – environmentally conditioned and met by the consumption of fresh, seasonal produce.
When it comes to seasonal eating, the view of evolutionary adaptation is applied by anthropologists and nutritionists alike. As we have evolved over the past 200,000 years to consume foods that will support our survival needs under specific living conditions at any 52 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH | 53
given time, the theory posits that because our bodies are sensitive to climactic change, they have adapted to respond best to what is seasonally available. “As human beings, we are strongly influenced by our environment, including the change of seasons. Seasonal appetite change may certainly be accounted for by evolutionary adaptation,” says naturopath Amanda Harasym of Elevate Sydney Clinic (elevate.com.au). “Humans have evolved to consume certain foods at appropriate times of the year to provide our bodies with adequate nutrients to survive in the face of seasonal changes. In the spring and summer, raw, fresh, leafy, cooling foods flourish. This includes vegetables and fruits such as apricot, artichoke, arugula, asparagus, beet, Swiss chard, kale, cherries, parsley, dandelion greens, kiwi, leek, lettuce, nettle, spinach, pea greens, and strawberries. These foods are light and detoxifying, perfect for preparing your body for summer.” So, when the cravings kick in this summer, know that it may be more than just social or cultural conditioning chiming in to inspire your next meal – it might just be a matter of evolution.
oBEying SuMMEr CravingS
Consider this scenario. It’s a long summer day and you’ve been frolicking outdoors in 30-degree (plus) heat from sunrise at 5am right through to sunset at 8pm. Your seasonal fruit salad and froyo cravings are more than just a matter of taste – they’re a matter of biology. The temperature soars, the days get longer and the sun’s rays are felt more intensely as summer settles into full swing. Culturally, this means more time spent outdoors, increased physical activity and plenty of socialising. Physiologically, our bodies call for support through these changing conditions and turn to nutrition – specifically in-season wholefoods. This is where your summertime food cravings stand justified for helping to balance your body’s key physiological processes, including temperature, metabolism, pH and blood sugar. 54 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
A study published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine concluded that “food intake appears to be controlled as if it is a mechanism of temperature regulation” and that the “food eaten appears to be determined, at least partly, by the organism’s ability to dissipate the heat of food metabolism”; demonstrating why summer heat could compel us to choose fresh and cooling seasonal food to keep the body in balance.
“Seasonal food cravings emerge to support and protect the body’s delicate physiological balance under changing conditions.” These foods also boast higher water content, as the body seeks hydration to counter the loss of electrolytes during physical activity and sun exposure. “When active outdoors, our bodies sweat, losing fluid and electrolytes. It is not uncommon for people to crave either sweet or salty foods as the body seeks to replace sodium and electrolytes,” says Harasym. “Low sodium levels combined with low hydration levels is a very dangerous situation and can lead to a condition called hyponatremia.” In addition to rehydrating, the body will also seek to protect itself from the detrimental effects of time spent in the harsh Aussie sun, ushering cravings for plant foods rich in flavonoids – a class of compounds known for their ultraviolet UVB photoprotective properties. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Natural Products assessed nutritional compounds quercetin and rutin as agents that could be potentially used in sunscreen products. The study concluded that both flavonoids gave sun protection factor (SPF) values similar to that of standard sunscreen ingredients and also provided a non-negligible level of photoprotection in the UVA range. So while we aren’t suggesting you ditch your sunscreen, the study results do
help to explain that insatiable appetite for summertime cherries and berries. Once again, seasonal food cravings emerge to support and protect the body’s delicate physiological balance under changing conditions, and that fruit salad-topped cup of frozen yoghurt you just can’t get enough of becomes an even greater hero.
Diversifying your diet via seasonal eating appears to also diversify your health. By eating what is seasonally available, we are more likely to experiment with new kinds of produce and broaden our eating horizons, consequently expanding our naturalhealthmag.com.au
You can find a full list of what’s in season in your area at seasonalfoodguide.com, which also lists details of local farmers’ markets throughout the country. “[Farmers’ markets] have fresh, seasonal produce, which typically lasts longer and tastes better. Local foods are harvested at the peak of their season when their nutritional content is at its highest and delivered to markets shortly after,” says Harasym – so you really are getting the best for your body, not to mention your buck. “If you eat in season and shop at local markets, you are supporting your local farmers, and making a positive contribution towards the local business community as well. This too will save your wallet some extra cash, and market foods are often far less expensive (especially organic) in comparison to big-name supermarkets.” As you gradually incorporate more seasonal foods into your diet, you’ll find that health aligns with harvest and you’ll identify new opportunities to seriously savour your summer.
range of consumed nutrients, according to dietitian Anthony Glanville, also of Elevate Sydney Clinic. “Many people in Australia eat a very narrow spectrum of foods. Repeating meals and not varying ingredients means you may be missing out on key nutrients in your diet. Eating more seasonally means that you will ingest a wider variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients,” says Glanville. “Additionally, some studies have suggested that exposing yourself to a wider variety of foods is important for your microbiome, encouraging the proliferation of beneficial bacteria.” naturalhealthmag.com.au
This nutritional advantage is amplified by the fact that in-season, locally sourced fruits and vegetables are often higher quality than remotely sourced goods that are not in season. A 2008 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition compared the vitamin C content in conventionally and seasonally grown broccoli at the same stage of ripeness and freshness from varied supermarkets in Northern New Jersey, USA. Broccoli collected out of growing season was found to contain half the amount of the vitamin C as the same variety when picked during its prime season of growth.
“Additionally, some studies have suggested that exposing yourself to a wider variety of foods is important for your microbiome, encouraging the proliferation of beneficial bacteria.” AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH | 55
Summer’S beST pIckS
The following is a list of some of the wholefood goodness that is now in season, and some of the ways these offerings are nutritionally loaded to prime your body for another stunning Aussie summer.
Summer-loving nutrition FruitS apricots, berries, melons, nectarines, peaches, plums, strawberries
These tasty summer fruits are hydrating, packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds such as quercetin and rutin, as well as collagen-boosting vitamin C, to protect our skin from sun damage and the inflammatory effects of excessive heat. They are also naturally cooling and provide quickly absorbed energy to fuel increased outdoor physical activity, in the form of natural sugars. These sugars contain low GI levels and a steady metabolism is supported by high amounts of fibre. vEgEtaBlES
asian vegetables, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, parsley, zucchini, radish, rhubarb
Boasting high levels of water content to help quench thirst, these summer vegetables are loaded with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, and other antioxidant compounds such as apigenin, luteolin, and kaempferol, to combat oxidative stress from outdoor activity, sun exposure and higher body temperatures. They also induce detoxification enzymes, stimulate the immune and digestive systems through high amounts of fibre, regulate metabolism through an abundance of B vitamins and effectively reduce inflammation.
Beans, beetroot, cabbage, eggplant
This group of summer vegies are hailed for their ability to detoxify the digestive tract with ample amounts of fibre, and for their high levels of antioxidants that neutralise the free radicals produced when playing in the summer sunshine. Collagenboosting vitamin C once again helps to keep our skin and tissue structures formed and firm, while electrolyte minerals such as potassium and magnesium help to keep the body hydrated.
red capsicum, tomatoes
These bright red beauties are loaded with high concentrations of lycopene, an antioxidant that can combat the age-accelerating effects of free radicals from sun exposure – with the ability to devour more than 10 times more oxygenated free radicals than vitamin E – and are known to protect against a variety of cancers, including skin cancer in summertime.
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Similar results have been produced when comparing seasonally picked versus out-of-season spinach and endive, with naturally produced pigments indicating crops should be picked when in season to ensure maximum nutrient content, including levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals. “Fresh, seasonal food hasn’t been stored for long periods and therefore generally contains a higher amount of nutrients, particularly antioxidants, which can decrease with time spent in cold storage,” says Skye Swaney, a dietitian at Shift Nutrition (shiftnutrition.com.au). “Seasonal produce tends to also taste better, which encourages us to eat more of it.” That said, Swaney notes that many frozen fruits and vegetables are snap frozen immediately after picking, so they’re generally just as nutritious as fresh varieties.
“Seasonal produce tends to also taste better, which encourages us to eat more of it.” gEt CrEativE
Combining seasonal foods to create whole meals as much as possible is a terrific way to allow seasonal nutrition to support your physiology, according to Harasym. She encourages her clients to have fun and get creative with seasonal wholefoods for an optimally nourishing and enjoyable summer diet. “A delicious, seasonal lunch might be a fresh salad, mixed with arugula leaves, dandelion greens, and lettuce, sliced apricots and strawberries,” says Harasym. “Top this with green peas, dressed in a refreshing tahini, lime, honey and ginger dressing, eaten with your choice of a lean, organic protein.” naturalhealthmag.com.au
FOOD & DIET
NOURISHMENT Superstar nutritionist, yogi and author LOLA BERRY chats to Natural Health about nutrition, skincare and her ultimate beauty-boosting recipes. PHOTOGRAPHY: Armelle Habib
THREE BERRY COLLAGENBOOSTING PORRIDGE SERVES 2 2 cups (200 g) almond meal ¼ tsp ground cinnamon ¼ tsp ground nutmeg pinch of salt flakes 1 tbsp maca powder 2 cups (500 ml) coconut milk ½ cup (60 g) fresh or frozen raspberries ½ cup (75 g) fresh or frozen strawberries, quartered 2–3 drops of stevia (optional) ½ cup (80 g) blueberries handful of chopped macadamia nuts, to serve mint leaves, to serve
TIP If you’re really craving sweetness (or if you’re only just starting to cut sugar out of your diet), adding a few drops of stevia is a great way to sweeten this up without actually adding sugar or having an impact on your blood glucose levels.
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Heat the almond meal, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, maca and coconut milk in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Boil for 1 minute, then reduce the heat and simmer for another 2 minutes. Add the raspberries and strawberries and cook for 1 minute more (or 2 minutes if using frozen berries). Taste and, if you’d like it sweeter, stir in a few drops of stevia. Divide the porridge between two bowls, top with the fresh blueberries and macadamia nuts and scatter with a few torn mint leaves. Tuck on in.
We asked Lola What inspired you to write your new book, Beauty Food?
It came from a passion for food, health, make-up, skin health and yoga – there are some sweet yoga poses in here for beauty. You see, I used to be a makeup artist, so I love the idea of looking after our hair, skin and nails from the inside out. It’s amazing how much food can affect our body, mind and soul. When you eat well, your skin glows, you feel great and you look unreal, too. I love the idea of medicinal effects of food, and this is really cool when it comes to beauty, too. [Take] turmeric and its anti-inflammatory effects, or honey being an antibacterial, [which is] a great addition to face masks.
What role does our diet play in the overall appearance of our skin, hair and nails?
I think it’s huge. In the book, I interviewed David Gillespie, who talks about the damaging effects of refined sugar on not just the body, but specifically our skin health. It’s amazing how much of a key player our diet is when it comes to hair, skin and nails. I think hydration is key, too. When I’m not hydrated I can see it in my skin. When you’re eating whole foods that are naturally nutrient dense, your skin just glows, and your energy is clear. I will also say this: one key to looking great is loving who you are, and not worrying about what other people think about you. That’s where true beauty lies. Kind people are always the most beautiful in my eyes.
Why is it important to incorporate antioxidant-rich foods in our diet? What effect do they have on our skin? They help to prevent free-radical damage, which can speed up the ageing process of fine lines and wrinkles. The best sources of antioxidant-rich foods are berries, prunes, goji berries, turmeric and, of course, chocolate – but you want to stick to the dark stuff – at least 70 per cent cacao – to get the health benefits. A great nighttime treat to help beat sugar cravings and give you an antioxidant hit is to get a bowl of berries (any kind), melt some coconut oil, mix with a teaspoon of cacao powder, then add a few drops of stevia. Tip your healthy, sugar-free mix over your berries and place in the fridge. It’s delish, guilt free and jam-packed full of antioxidants.
TIP You can substitute the dates for 1 tbsp rice malt syrup or maple syrup. You can use any nut milk for this recipe; I like to use macadamia but almond works really well, too.
MACA, MACADAMIA & CAROB SHAKE SERVES 2 1 frozen banana (peel it before you freeze it) 2 medjool dates, pitted 1 tsp maca powder pinch of ground nutmeg pinch of ground cinnamon 1 tbsp carob powder, plus extra to sprinkle on top ¼ cup (40 g) macadamia nuts, plus extra, crushed, to serve 1–1¼ cups (250–310 ml) macadamia nut milk Pop everything into a blender and blitz it up, adding a little extra nut milk, if necessary, to reach your desired consistency. Pour into glasses, sprinkle with a little extra carob powder and a few extra crushed macadamia nuts, and serve.
What are your top tips for a healthy, glowing complexion?
Sleep, drink water, eat loads of fruits, vegies and good fats. I think people are scared of fats and they really shouldn’t be; I eat an avocado a day sometimes! Salmon is great too, and cooking in coconut oil is a great way to get more good fats in. A handy trick is to add a teaspoon of coconut oil into your tea or coffee – it tastes amazing! Think about making topical masks, too. I do two face masks a week as they help to nourish from the outside. There are some really simple recipes in the book. And you know what? They’re a bit of fun, so do it with a mate, have a laugh and nourish your skin at the same time.
Another trick is to look after the backs of your hands and your neck, as they tend to age faster and we forget about them. Whenever I do a face mask, I’ll put it on the back of my hands and my neck, too. My mates laugh at me but I love it, and I know it’s working magic!
What’s something that all women should know about beauty? That it really comes from within and until you love yourself, there won’t be any magic. You really need to value and love who you are; that’s where the true beauty is and that’s where the self-worth comes from. Look after yourself and make it a priority because you believe that you deserve it. Self-worth and loving who you are is the key.
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CELERY & APPLE SLAW SERVES 4 AS A SIDE 8 celery stalks, sliced into little half moons, baby leaves reserved to serve 2 large granny smith apples, cut into thin wedges Â˝ cup (50 g) walnut halves Â˝ cup (65 g) dried cranberries salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper zest and juice of 1 lemon 1 tbsp dijon mustard 2 tbsp honey 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil Grab a glass serving bowl and pop in your celery moons, apple wedges, walnuts and cranberries. Season with salt and pepper. In a separate small bowl, mix the lemon zest and juice together with the mustard, honey and olive oil to make a dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss together well, then top with a few baby celery leaves. Eat straight away.
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SALMON POKÉ BOWL 400 g sashimi-grade salmon, cut into 2 cm cubes ¼ cup (60 ml) gluten-free tamari zest and juice of 1 lime 1 tbsp sesame oil 1 cup (15 g) shredded red cabbage 1 avocado, diced ¼ red onion, thinly sliced 1 carrot, grated
3 radishes, finely sliced 1 zucchini, spiralised or grated 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted shredded nori, to serve Pop the salmon in a bowl, then add the tamari, lime zest and juice and sesame oil. Set aside to marinate briefly while you assemble the salad.
Place the shredded cabbage on the bottom of four serving bowls like a little bed, then arrange the avocado, onion, carrot, radish and zucchini in pretty clusters on top. Tumble the salmon on top of the veg, spooning over the leftover marinade (which becomes a handy dressing for the salad), then scatter over the toasted sesame seeds. Serve topped with a little shredded nori.
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CHOC-COCONUT RAW MOUSSE SERVES 4–5 2½ avocados 400 ml coconut cream ½ cup (60 g) cacao powder, plus 2 extra tbsp ½ cup (125 ml) maple syrup 1 tbsp rice malt syrup pinch of salt flakes 1 tsp vanilla paste
FOR THE TOPPINGS bee pollen coconut flakes edible flowers Scoop the flesh out of the avocados into a blender or food processor, add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until smooth and creamy. Spoon into
a serving bowl or individual glasses and transfer to the fridge to cool for 2 hours before serving, then make it pretty with your favourite toppings (I like to have mine with bee pollen, coconut flakes and a few edible flowers).
Recipes and images extracted from Beauty Food by Lola Berry, with photography by Armelle Habib, published by Plum, $24.99, available in all good book stores now.
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NUTRITION TO LIVE BY
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MIND & SOUL
Clarity Major changes in our lives can rattle our nerves, disrupt our sleep and erode our sense of control and calm. There are lots of brilliant, evidence-based ways to help you manage changes without losing your cool, writes LANA NOWAKOWSKI.
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While some of life’s changes are celebrated, others – like breakups, losses and redundancies – can be crippling and throw us into despair. With life comes both the good and bad, so learning how to tackle change with a powerful combination of tough questions and gentle self-care is not only helpful, but absolutely necessary.
WHAT WE’RE FACING
The biggest changes we face usually involve family and relationships, work and career, and loss and trauma, says psychologist and life coach Sacha Crouch (qiyoga.net). Any one of these changes can throw up big questions that we may not have spent much time thinking about before, along with a barrage of intensely unpleasant emotions. Suffering the loss of someone or something we love can even shake us right to the core, causing us to question our beliefs and re-evaluate our perspectives on life. “Something changes, and suddenly people have to work out who they are again, how they want to spend their time, and who they really want to be,” says Crouch. “There are often really difficult emotions to deal with, like sadness, regret, guilt and anger, and those emotions might be all over the place.”
Suffering the loss of someone or something we love can even shake us right to the core, causing us to question our beliefs and re-evaluate our perspectives on life.
CREDIT: AVI RICHARDS
CHANGE AND BIOCHEMISTRY
During stressful times of change in our lives, we can be deeply affected by high levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin, says Dr Adam Fraser, a biomedical researcher and peak performance consultant (dradamfraser. com). There are many ways that these hormones manifest physically: AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH | 65
pounding heart, racing mind, disruptions to our usual sleep patterns, and even the way we’re behaving. “Stress hormones make us more impulsive and less cognitive, rational and considered, so during periods of change it’s really important to look after ourselves,” says Dr Fraser. The impacts of stress hormones will depend on many things, including how we perceive the changes, and what, if anything, we do to process the stress hormones. “During stressful periods of change, exercise is often the first thing to drop off or stop, which reduces our serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline levels,” says Dr Fraser. There’s a place for exercise like gentle yoga and tai chi during stressful times; they help us breathe slowly and calmly, practise mindfulness, strengthen our mind-body connection and ground ourselves. But Dr Fraser says the most powerful weapon against stress hormones is usually getting your butt into high gear and chasing down a stress-busting endorphin rush. “People often talk about the endorphin rush they get from exercise, but what they’re usually feeling is just an absence of adrenalin and cortisol,” says Dr Fraser. “Any type of high intensity exercise will really burn off stress hormones and boost endorphins.” Think running, boxing, power yoga or high intensity interval training.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT
It’s not just the big changes in life that can leave us zapped. As a society, we spend most of our waking hours highly alert and at least moderately stressed by a host of rapidly changing work, family, social and financial pressures. Dr Fraser says humans are not naturally wired for this. “The human body isn’t designed to be in fight or flight mode all the time,” he says. “Prolonged periods of stress, change, uncertainty and decision-making put the body into a totally unnatural state. Stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol are supposed to visit, do their job and go away, but most people are in stress constantly.” 66 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
“When we’re trying to decide and we get physical reactions, like fluttering in the stomach, it’s the fightor-flight reaction of the nervous system.” YOU NEED SUPPORT
The other thing humans are not naturally wired for is going through change and upheaval on their own. One of the most important things is having people around you who can validate what you’re feeling, says Crouch. “Many people have got the message that their emotions aren’t
okay; it’s not okay to feel sad or disappointed or frustrated, and you’ve just got to get on with it.” Instead, Crouch suggests spending time with friends, family, mentors, peers and support networks who believe it’s a good thing to ask for help and who can understand and empathise with why you feel the way you do. A little soothing self-talk can go a long way, too. Crouch never ceases to be amazed at how tough and uncompassionate we are towards ourselves. “One of the most helpful things you can do during times of change, or any difficult time, is face and accept your emotions, but notice then let go of negative self-talk, like beating yourself up.” naturalhealthmag.com.au
top 10 • • • • • • • • • •
social contact support network Exercise Nutrition Do things you love Get out into nature Daily relaxation practice Mindfulness and letting go Relaxing sleep routine soothing self-talk
Surely change is an easier and happier process when we have some control and choice in the matter, right? Actually, having to make a decision to change – or not to change – can be the biggest problem of all. Crouch says it’s incredibly common for people to struggle to leave a relationship or job that’s not working, even when they’ve been seriously unhappy for many months or years. “They don’t want to start again when they don’t know if the next thing will be any better,” she says. “People get stuck, wondering if they are the problem: Maybe I’m too idealistic. Maybe I shouldn’t be this sad or angry. Maybe if I change, things will get better.” It’s the little things, too: even seemingly simple, everyday decisions can send us into a cold sweat. Stress hormones can hijack the decisionmaking process in the blink of an eye, says Dr Fraser. “When we’re trying to decide and we get physical
reactions, like fluttering in the stomach, it’s the fight-or-flight reaction of the nervous system,” he says. “We can suddenly find ourselves in a hyper-aroused state in which we make less rational decisions, or in an avoidant state in which we can’t decide at all.”
SITTING WITH DISCOMFORT
Before you ditch your partner, quit your job and buy seven of the same t-shirt plus that set of Monday to Sunday underwear you’ve had your indecisive eye on, try sitting with your discomfort and seeing what it’s telling you, other than to fight or run. For many decisions, you will feel considerable emotional discomfort. The key is to sit with it. “Emotional discomfort is a normal and natural reaction to stress, such as when we have a difficult decision to make,” says Dr Fraser. “We want to feel good all the time, but it’s just not possible. So, rather than thinking you shouldn’t be feeling bad, remind yourself that it’s really normal.”
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For some decisions, you might be able to feel some sort of deep-down wisdom or guidance in your gut. “It’s just this sense that you kind of know, that there’s part of you that knows something,” says Crouch. “You can’t quite explain it.” Dr Fraser is a biomedical scientist, and even he often goes with his gut. “Gut reaction often tells us which decision is probably the right one, and this happens before we rationally do any decision-making,” he says. If uncertainty makes you squirm, Crouch suggests a regular practice of making small decisions that could have pleasing or disappointing results. For example, try ordering a meal you haven’t had before. “Learn that you can cope with discomfort, even when something comes that you don’t like,” she says. “Time and time again, you’ll have situations that turn out well. When they don’t, you’ll be okay. You’ll become more able to make decisions despite uncertainty.” If you’re still craving some certainty, Crouch suggests putting it around your decision-making process. “Give yourself a set amount of time to think about something and to make a decision. You might say to yourself, ‘I’ll sit down for half an hour a day for two weeks and research and think, and at the end of that time I’m going to go with what I’ve got, and make a decision,’” she says. “You don’t have to get it right or perfect; you’re just deciding to decide.”
FOR THE PEOPLE PLEASERS
Chronically indecisive people often find it hard to tune into themselves, says Crouch. “They’re so used to pleasing other people and trying to get things right rather than trying to get what they want,” she says. “They’re not in touch with their values and desires, or will push away what they know they want because they think other people won’t be happy.” If this is you, Crouch suggests trying an experiment for a few weeks. Every time you’re making a decision, work out what you would prefer to do if it didn’t matter what anybody else thought. Once you get good at that, Crouch suggests you start asking yourself a 68 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
“Gut reaction often tells us which decision is probably the right one, and this happens before we rationally do any decision-making.” few additional questions, to check your beliefs about the consequences of your decisions: If you got the decision wrong, what do you feel it would mean about you? What are you afraid people will think about you? How
would it feel to make a choice to do what you want to do in spite of those potential consequences?
THE FREEDOM OF FINALITY
Once you’ve made a decision, enjoy the freedom of having chosen to make it instead of staying stuck on the decision-making roundabout, Crouch suggests. Then let the decision go without looking back. “Get strict with not re-weighing the advantages and disadvantages,” says Crouch. “You made that decision already; it’s time to move on.” naturalhealthmag.com.au
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Love + Light
A former biomedical naturopath and healer turned wanderlust traveller and blogger, HELEN JANNESON BENSE is the creative force behind GypsyLovinLight. She chats to Natural Health about health, healing and being at one with nature. ON LIFE AND PASSION
I love to create and to inspire others to live a life of joy, love and passion. I worked as a biomedical naturopath for 15 years before transitioning into the world of blogging. I’m a mother of two children, Jade, 11, and Jacob, nine. In just a few months I will have been married to my amazing husband, Bobby, for 10 years. It’s been a wonderful journey so far and I’m grateful every day for all these precious moments and excited for all that is to come.
ON BEING A NATUROPATH
I always knew I wanted to help people. My Finnish heritage has given me a lot in the way of understanding how important our connection to nature is. After about 10 years of practice, working with so many lovely clients, I moved into a specialised area known as nutrigenomics. I started to use my extensive biochemical and genetic knowledge to decipher and correlate multiple test results for my clients and give them an overall picture of what was happening in their bodies. This enabled me to tailor very specific nutritional regimens for them. I worked with a lot of children with neuroimmune disorders, naturalhealthmag.com.au
autism, ADHD, helping to improve their quality of life. It was the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. Naturopathy has always felt right to me, and even though I don’t practise anymore, the tools I’ve learnt are still keeping my family, friends and me healthy.
I’ve always felt that my naturopathy work was so much more than just prescribing some herbs, nutrients or diet advice. I would really sit and listen. I’d open my heart to people and really let them be heard. I think there might not be anything more healing than this: to feel heard, and create intimacy and connection with another human being. We all crave this and need this in our lives. At one point I started up a women’s healing circle and created a space for women to come together once a month, to meditate, feel safe, laugh, connect and be heard. It was wonderfully healing for so many and for myself.
ON THE AWAKENING MOMENT When my son was little I battled with postnatal depression after a very
challenging, threatened pregnancy. Thankfully, my precious boy made it into the world, though I was left exhausted from the emotional trauma of it all. I had lost my passion and my joy for life. I finally broke down one day and realised everything had to change. I began taking better care of myself in small ways; I stopped making excuses like, ‘I don’t have enough time’ and I made myself a priority. I reached out for help and allowed my vulnerability to be seen. I transformed my life one little step at a time. I questioned and changed my mindset and my beliefs about myself. I rediscovered my self-worth; my joy, my passion and my daily practice of self-love began. In just a couple of years GypsyLovinLight was born.
ON LIVING THE GYPSY LIFE
I’ve always wanted to explore more of this beautiful world; there is just so much beauty to be seen and experienced. The more I put myself in these situations, the more I see my own inner light. I feel the connection with everything around me and I feel at home in nature. AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH | 71
QUICK 5 WITH HELEN ON LESSONS LEARNT THROUGH TRAVELLING
I’ve learnt that we are all one; we are all essentially the same at our core and completely connected. Yet, at the same time, we are all different, and it’s our differences that make us so beautiful. The more tolerance and acceptance we have of these differences, the more we can begin to celebrate others. The more I travel, the more I see how much our earth needs our help. It saddens me to see so much poverty and environmental degrade. There is so much beauty in our world, yet so much pain, disrespect and intolerance. It makes me realise that I want to be a shining light of inspiration for as many people as I can be, to be the change, and share as much kindness and love as I possibly can.
ON LIVING IN NATURE
I love nothing more than walking barefoot in the sand, absorbing the natural healing energies. Time in nature brings me back into alignment. It’s my meditation time. My mind relaxes, it switches off, and all those happy neurotransmitters start building up. It’s a natural anti-depressant. [Spending time in nature] has to be my biggest health tip I can give to anyone.
ON FOOD PHILOSOPHY
I think of food as medicine. Generally, everything in moderation works for most. If you have a specific condition you can really tailor your diet to help 72 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
1 2 3 4 5
Favourite asana: Child’s pose, I find it so restorative and nurturing Personal mantra: Breathe in love, breathe out gratitude Style of meditation: Sound healing meditation with crystal bowls Favourite affirmation: I love and accept myself, just as I am Favourite book: Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain
heal your body. So many diseases begin with improper digestion. I’ve noticed that happy tummies has always equated to happy, healthy humans. I’m a big advocate of plant-based diets and keeping gluten and dairy to a minimum. For many reasons, I’ve switched to a vegan, gluten-free diet this year. The ethical and environmental implications are my biggest drivers, though my daughter also decided to become vegetarian and it’s been really great to support her on this journey.
The moment we realise just how amazing and magnificent we truly are, we really step into joy, into happiness. Self-love begins with acceptance; when we allow our thoughts to be, we can really stop being so hard on ourselves. When we give ourselves permission to live without judgement, we will have that awakening moment and realise we are enough, just as we are. It takes courage to let yourself be truly seen and to be vulnerable. Though this opens up the pathway to acceptance
and true self-love and inspires others to do the same. We stop comparing and we start celebrating others and ourselves. Our love grows, our heart expands, and we start to feel joy on that same level we did when we were kids. Mantras, yoga, healthy, vital food and spending time in nature are simple and effective ways to inject more self-love into your day.
ON LIVING YOUR PASSION
[Living your passion is] when you are following the joy in your heart. And this actually changes through life. I’ve taken time in my life to sit, meditate and reflect on what brings me joy, what excites me and drives me. I’m most passionate about my family. I love those silly moments laughing together where your belly hurts, where you’re just so caught up in the moment [and] nothing else exists. I am very passionate about travel and we’ve been lucky enough to bring the kids along on so many adventures and share this with them. This has honestly been the best experience of our blogging so far and brought so much joy to our lives.
Accepting and allowing our own thoughts and those of others is key [to happiness]. Our resistance is a barrier to the freedom of an abundant pool of joy and happiness that awaits us all. Spreading kindness, taking good care of yourself, and helping others is a wonderful way to open your heart up to a path that will lead you there. naturalhealthmag.com.au
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MIND & SOUL
74 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
Around the world, thousands of women are gathering in circles to connect, uplift and transform together. KRISTINA IOANNOU explores why sisterhood circles are becoming increasingly popular and how you can host your own.
Sisterhood circles and their perfunctory charms are trending in a big way. The world is seeing a steady rise in women coming together to unite and dive deep into their well of inner knowing through a supportive, encouraging and nourishing place of compassion, love and acceptance. “They are an opportunity to have genuine conversations, share experiences, learnings and challenges authentically with each other,” says Sammie Fleming, a life coach and women’s circle facilitator (sammiefleming.com). “They are a safe space to be welcomed exactly as you are, and perhaps partake in some ritual or do something like set intentions for the future.” Interestingly, circles stem from ancient times where they were an honoured part of womanhood and society. In modern times, you can do a quick search on Google or Facebook and you’ll be met with endless events promoting full moon ceremonies, divine feminine group meditations, collective soul retrievals and more. Teacher and facilitator Lauren Burns (soulcode.me) believes that this upwards trajectory is no coincidence. “We too often see the highlight reels of other women’s lives and a sense of emotional disenfranchisement is naturalhealthmag.com.au
a total epidemic. Ironically, we are disconnected through technology rather than connected by it, and sisterhood circles are a way to make real, in-person connections that work on a physiological level,” says Burns. “Sitting in the physical presence of other women actually creates oxytocin – a de-stress hormone – in the body to create a sense of ease and connection.”
According to Burns, sisterhood circles are a sacred space to share in and be witnessed in the experience of life as a woman. Some circles may focus on womb work or address moon cycles and so forth, whereas others may be more of an exploration around common challenges and experiences. “On the whole, it’s a chance to pause, connect deeply, and to come into a sacred space to share wisdom, experiences and insights with other like-minded women. We sit in a circle, and often start and end with a guided meditation, maybe some breath work, or simple rituals such as sharing vocal intentions. There may also be journalling work, chanting or singing or activities set by the facilitator – no circle is the same,” explains Burns. A range of emotions may be experienced after a circle – often you
will leave feeling lighter, more connected and in touch with what you have been dealing with in day-to-day life on a more symbolic level. “The key to a circle is around conscious communication and conversation, and to be fully witnessed in the sharing of life’s experiences and insights. In this witnessing a huge energetic shift can be felt,” says Burns. According to lightworker and shaman Olivia Gynell (oliviagynell.com), sisterhood cricles are relevant for all ages, depending on the focus of the group. “There are some really sweet ones run for young girls and teens, with a focus on manifesting, learning about crystals and age-appropriate rituals. I also know of men who host their own circles; [they’re] guys who are interested in spirituality, living more holistically and consciously, and those who are interested in healing and supporting each other,” says Gynell. “Women enjoy getting together for the sense of community, understanding, inspiration and togetherness; especially if they are interested in becoming more present, living a more spiritual and intentional life.” The positives about attending a circle are endless: you may experience a sense of support, shared wisdom, and the comfort of an elder or person of experience to go to for advice AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH | 75
and learning. “It’s a safe space to set intentions, celebrate and be ceremonial and spiritual,” says Gynell. Sometimes, however, it’s not all love and light. Gynell warns that vulnerable people can be misguided by those who do not have pure intentions. “Some people can become negative and like to dwell on the past rather than move forward positively into the future. There may also a clash of personalities – egos can often get in the way when it comes to spirituality and healing.” Want to She recommends find a circle doing your research near you? and visiting the Check out Facebook, Eventbrite host beforehand to or ask your local yoga and get to know them health studio if they as well as chatting to know of any. other attendees.
“Having refined facilitation skills is crucial to ensure that each person of the circle experiences a feeling of safety to share deep stories.” HOSTING YOUR OWN
Contrary to popular belief, sisterhood circles aren’t just for the esoteric or yogic warriors among us – anyone can be a hostess. To create your own, Burns stresses the importance of setting a very clear intention as to why you want to hold the space, and what it will elicit, and to be prepared to hold it with total reverence and respect for all. “Having refined facilitation skills is crucial to ensure that each person of the circle experiences a feeling of safety to share deep stories,” says Burns. Starting small by inviting women you resonate with is one way to go. “Esteemed healers such as shamans may hold a group or be open to starting one in your area, so search them out if you need guidance and assistance,” says Gynell. If you are used to holding space for 76 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
others, Burns advises to trust that ability, find a suitable venue to host and invite the group to open. They can be held anywhere that privacy and a sense of total safety can be upheld. Fleming suggests creating a beautiful space with flowers, candles and crystals as a centrepiece or ‘altar’ in the middle of the circle. You may also choose to share delicious food together, hold your circle under the light of the full moon and make a flower mandala in the centre of circle. “I often use tools such as white sage or palo santo to energetically clear the space. There are usually oracle cards in the centre of the room, too, for women
to pull if they want to. The options are truly endless and it can be such a fun and loving way to spend time with the women in your life,” says Fleming. “Being seen for the amazing woman that you are, in a space like this, is really special and you get to see yourself as others see you – absolutely enough, exactly as you are.” So, what’s it really like to attend a women’s circle? Kristina Ioannou and Natural Health editor Danae Dimitropoulou tried it out. Here, they share their unique experiences and the realisations they made along the way.
THE TOOLKIT A great launching pad for women to share the magic of a sisterhood circle, this beautiful box is brimming with what you need to create your own sacred circle. There’s everything from crystals for the circle’s mandala centrepiece, ritual items and a hosting guide that covers everything you need to know from start to finish and all the magic in between. $185, sistersandthesea.com
KRISTINA’S REVIEW: an evening of releasing & intention with Sammie fleming sammiefleming.com/events
these, and over the course of the evening, my heart space went from feeling blocked and tight to deeply open and warm. as a final closing of the circle, we charged the energy of releasing and intention-setting by singing together to
one of the most therapeutic and relieving parts of attending the healing circle was being able to connect authentically with others, without feeling as though i had to alter the true nature of my being in order to belong.
the song – raMadaSa (or Love Vibration) by Snatam Kaur. With my eyes closed, i sang and chanted effortlessly and unashamedly. the melody spilled from my lips like warm honey and my hands embraced my heart like an old friend. as i drove home that night, i felt that something had shifted within me. the restlessness that i’d felt previously had been replaced with what i can only describe as a giddy, joyous feeling i used to get lying in the grass with friends at school, marvelling at clouds and knowing that the future was ripe and ours for the taking.
i ponder that as women, we require mirroring and closeness. We need beauty, ritual and sisterhood. and i make an oath to manifest all these things and more for 2018. i slept well that night.
Credit: Fi MiMMS PhotograPhy
i was invited to partake in a sisterhood circle to honour the last 12 months of 2017 and call in fresh energy for 2018. it sounded kind of interesting, but on the drive over, i felt frazzled. i felt resistant. it had been a long, exhausting day and the last thing i wanted was to feel exposed and vulnerable in a public arena. i stepped through the door of a well-decorated townhouse in Coburg, Melbourne and was greeted with open arms by our facilitator and coach, Sammie Fleming. a mandala made up of flora and fauna, flower petals, candles and crystals was splayed magnificently in the centre of the communal room, as women from all walks of life – mamasto-be, corporates, peace seekers, soulpreneurs and artistic types – mingled eagerly with one another around it. rhythmic meditones played in the background – which i later found out are by the talented tahlee from Sonesence (sonesence.com). a spread of organic, wholefood treats, fruitfilled water and herbal tea had me instantly salivating. this may not be so bad after all, i thought to myself. the night proceeded with a medley of sharing, journalling, listening and learning. there were tears, there was laughter, and there was unconditional acceptance. one of the activities that resonated deeply with me was writing a letter to ourselves exactly one year from now. this exercise was putting manifestation in motion. it was followed by a ceremony where we picked flowers from a vase and collectively added to the flower mandala in silence with the rhythmic music spurring us on. i felt the feminine energy in the room envelop me securely. the theme that seemed to be present among this tribe of fearlessly brave women is the need to receive, connect, feel safe, love and be loved unconditionally. i resonated with many of
AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH | 77
EDITOR’S REVIEW: Divine Feminine Urban Goddess Morning with Sian Pascale thelightcollective.yoga view of the beach. The sun had started to rise and the water’s waves crashed over the sand. I placed my mat on the floor as I scanned the room and noticed women of all ages, from 16 to 60, who had gathered to share, connect and delve into ancient feminine wisdom. I was soon greeted by Sian who opened her arms, engulfed me in a warm hug and thanked me for attending. Instantly, I felt a burst of energy and my tiredness subsided. Sian soon took her seat before an altar that had been constructed from a mandala print and decorated with incense,
CREDIT: THE LIGHT COLLECTIVE
I awoke at dusk on a Sunday morning, engulfed by the pitch black sky. The night was still and the sun was yet to rise, but I willed my tired body to get out of bed, get ready and attend a divine feminine goddess morning led by Sian Pascale, a breath, meditation and yoga teacher. Soon enough, I arrived at the venue in St Kilda, Melbourne, where the retreat was to take place. I made my way up a staircase that was littered with the flickering light of tea candles. I could smell the wafting aroma of burning sage – an ancient tradition for energetic cleansing – and I was soon cleansed from head to toe. As I entered the room, I was taken aback with the expansive, floor-to-ceiling
78 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
roses, candles, crystals and a statue of Ganesh – the Hindu god of prosperity. She sat in silence, and when the surrounding voices subsided, she began speaking about the idea of the sacred feminine through the myths of the goddess Saraswati, who represents grace, flow and the highest form of creativity. Sian meditated on how we can develop a connection to the divine through meditation, chanting, yoga, creativity and being in nature, before leading us through the mantra for Saraswati: aum aing Saraswati-ya namaha. We moved into a guided, hour-long flow of asanas, or physical yoga postures. After, we formed a large circle as platters of fresh fruit, chia seed puddings, vibrant rice paper rolls and smoothies were placed in front of us. Since ancient times, food has been viewed as an integral part of spiritual life and the yogis believed that the energy we emit during mealtimes affects our digestion. Sian guided us through a blessing extracted from the Bhagavad Gita that is said to purify our food and connect us with the spiritual experience of nourishment. After we consumed our breakfast, we gathered in our circle and paired off for a one-on-one exchange with the woman next to us. We ended the morning with a final group chant, prayer and a long 20-minute savasana. There was an impossible stillness that infiltrated the room, as each woman was left to ruminate on the morning’s teachings. As I left the retreat, I felt a deep sense of calm and serenity. Sian welcomed us to hold a sacred space to delve deeply into the notion of the divine feminine. She showed us how to open our minds and hearts and tap into the uninterrupted creative flow that’s at the core of us all.
It all comes from within.
Join the holistic health community. naturalhealthoz
EARTH & ENVIRONMENT
We’ve reached a pivotal point in caring for our planet and ensuring its survival for future generations. DIANA TIMMINS explores how to do your bit – big or small – in your home and community to find a solution to pollution and fight the war on waste.
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Do you consider Australia a ‘greenliving’ nation? Despite being surrounded by vast natural beauty and passionate people lobbying for its protection, results from the Climate Change Performance Index (2018) rated Australia as very low performing in three of four key categories: greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and climate policy. Our nation was considered low performing regarding renewable energy, and shamefully ranked 57 out 60 countries in overall performance to reduce climate pollution; beating only Iran, Korea and Saudi Arabia. Widespread pollution and waste contribute drastically to global warming. This concerning climate change – and subsequent extremities of recurring floods and droughts – is detrimental to various facets of our lives such as our health, homes, cities, jobs, wildlife, oceans, reefs, forests, food and water. We may feel powerless amid reports of global devastation, but scaling back and making small changes to adopt a more sustainable approach to living (remember the three Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle!) could have profound ripple effects. “Sustainable living essentially means an average person or family balancing a mix of financial, social and environmental needs as responsibly as possible,” explains Adam Hammes, author of Stress-Free Sustainability (self-published, 2014). “In terms of environmental [actions], this would include recycling, conscious consumerism, energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation and quality, public transportation, alternative fuels and habitat restoration.”
Clean energy Cares for our air
Recent reports released by the Australian Federal Government reveal a steady increase in greenhouse emissions, with a large portion coming from home energy usage powered by fossil fuels such as coal and gas. Population growth naturally means naturalhealthmag.com.au
AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH | 81
increased energy use, which presents even greater need to become wiser about environmentally friendly power sources. “Coal and gas must be burned to generate energy. This releases pollution into the environment – including carbon dioxide – that collects in the atmosphere and acts like a blanket, trapping the sun’s heat and fuelling global warming,” explains Suzanne Harter, Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) climate change campaigner. “Carbon dioxide is also responsible for chemical reactions in our oceans, making them more acidic and contributing to destruction of our precious reef ecosystems.” “Carbon dioxide is not the only pollutant released when fossil fuels are burnt. Many pollutants like mercury, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter damage health. Across Australia, the annual health cost of coal-fired power stations is approximately $2.6 billion.” Not only is the burning of coal and gas problematic, but also the process of how it is obtained. As they can only be burned and used once, constant mining of coal and gas is destroying wildlife, polluting and wasting ground water, spoiling prime agricultural land and contaminating soil. So, what is the alternative? Renewable energy – which ACF is working alongside other groups under the Repower Alliance to bring into mainstream effect by 2030. “Renewable energy is harvested from naturally clean and abundant sources: sun, wind, waves. It will never run out. It doesn’t pollute the air we breathe or water we drink, or wreck our climate. Australia has some of the best clean energy resources and technologies to turn them into sustainable, reliable sources to power our lives. What we need is political will to plan for a clean energy future and set policies to accelerate and manage the transition.” So, how can we personally support this transition? Harter suggests installing rooftop solar panels and buying green power from a retailer 82 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
“Sustainable living essentially means an average person or family balancing a mix of financial, social and environmental needs as responsibly as possible.”
Quick grEEnliving tips Shop wiSely: support co-ops and utilise refillable containers, reusable bags and travel mugs Try a cloTheS Swap: Your trash can be someone else’s treasure, so crack the bubbly and host a clothes-swap party! Save energy: ensure all devices don’t become a power drain using an EcoSwitch Don’T waSTe waTer: Australia is one of the driest continents, so save water by installing rainwater tanks, washing only full loads and turning off taps clean waTerwayS: refrain from flushing harmful items like wet wipes, cotton buds and pads, sanitary products and condoms down the toilet geTT arounD: try alternatives like carpooling, cycling, strolling, public transport, and discover how to reduce vehicle emissions at greenvehicleguide.gov.au Join The compoST revoluTion: see if your local council is a participant in this initiative to obtain discounts and guidance on composting, worm farming and bokashi bins at compostrevolution.com.au
that favours renewable energy. Be energy-efficient by turning lights off, switching lightbulbs to LEDs, using the most efficient appliances possible, insulating homes, and turning the heat or aircon down a tad. Little changes make big differences!
fight food waste
Come on, fess up: how much food wastage happens in your home? If you lead a busy lifestyle and have kids under your wing, chances are good grub regularly gets tossed in the bin. If so, you are scarily not alone. OzHarvest’s sustainability strategist,
“Expose people to desired behaviours through practice – without being preachy” naturalhealthmag.com.au
Annika Stott, says Australia is among the world’s biggest food wasters; a disturbing fact that inspires OzHarvest supporters nationwide to rescue and re-gift unloved foods (look out for their bright yellow food trucks doing the rounds!). “One-third of all food produced is wasted, which has an astounding detrimental impact on the environment. Wasting food wastes everything: labour, valuable land, resources, money, love. Consider this: throwing away a burger wastes the same amount of water as a 90-minute shower! Food waste costs the Australian economy over 20 billion dollars a year – with over 50 per cent of this coming from homes. The average family wastes $3,000 a year on good food that could have been eaten,” says Stott. AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH | 83
EAt grEEn Did you know that swapping the steaks and snags for tofu and tempeh may not only improve our personal wellbeing, but also help save our planet (not to mention our nation’s 500 million plus animals confined and slaughtered yearly for consumption!)? Many people may switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet for spiritual or ethical, cruelty-free reasons, but recent studies into the destruction animal industries can inflict on our environment provides another very valid reason for making a plant-based dietary switch supporting sustainability. The United Nations currently considers the animal industries as one of the most concerning contributors to worldwide environmental problems; having a detrimental impact on global warming, availability of fresh water, pollution, soil erosion, loss of habitat and rainforest destruction. Concerningly, approximately one-third of land on Earth is used to produce meat and animal products. Closer to home, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reports that animal agriculture takes up 58 per cent of Australian land, causes half of our greenhouse gas emissions and uses almost one-third of our scarce freshwater resources. The amount of water needed to feed just one meat-eater could feed three vegetarians, and the water required to produce one hamburger equivalent to one month of showers! Transitioning to vegetarianism or veganism can profoundly enhance the abundance of our planet, and is a step we can all take – but ensure you seek sound nutritional guidance. Visit peta. org.au for a free vegan starter kit.
“You can fight food waste by buying only what you need and eating what you buy. This boils down to planning meals, writing a shopping list (and sticking to it!), cooking up what is in your fridge before buying more and loving your leftovers. Also, store food correctly – moving food to the freezer when close to expiry.” 84 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
“Creating and sustaining a brighter future for younger generations starts within our own hearts and homes” Buying only the necessities also decreases the purchase of plastics, and to take it the next step, growing our own produce is even more effective. A backyard vegie patch will bypass harmful chemicals commonly used in food production. Plus, homegrown fruit and vegies further enriched by healthy soils and fertilisers create a trusty compost – an ideal solution for food scraps.
Sydney’s Green Living Centre claims that approximately half of the average bin is filled with organic waste; mainly food scraps, which become rotting landfill that forms greenhouse gases. Composting – which can be done simply on a smaller scale using a bokashi bin – and worm farming are natural recycling systems that break down scraps into smaller nutrients; compost bins ideal for homes (recycles food scraps and garden waste), compact and odourless worm farms (limited fruits and vegies) most convenient for apartment living.
A collective desire to lead a greener lifestyle has a beautiful way of naturalhealthmag.com.au
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connecting communities; not just through petitioning and volunteering with charities, but also joining green thumbs to create community gardens. With Australia’s first community garden established in Melbourne in 1977, these peaceful places unite communities nationwide to grow and share food, learn about composting and connect with nature. Located in various places like schools, community centres and public parks, these gardens often contain fruit trees, vegies, flowers, insect hotels, bee hives, chickens and frog ponds – perhaps a tranquil meditation space too. Sounds inviting, right? If you are keen to start a community garden, the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network (ACFCGN) encourages you to consider key points, including: type of community garden (shared or allotment), purpose (recreation, community-building, nutrition or education), organic or non-organic gardening, types of plants and animals, featured structures like lockable shed, required training, cooperation with local government, water conservation, waste reduction, funding and site requirements. Firstly, however, it may prove most productive to form a passionate team to collaborate with to develop the idea and management plan, and support you in approaching landholders, creating a site design, constructing and assisting with ongoing management of the garden.
spreading the message
Of course, inspiring others to take environmental action means being mindful of not coming across as overbearing or judgemental. Despite our best intentions, standing on our soapbox is an easy trap when we feel passionate about something. Hammes encourages us to lead by example rather than making an example of someone. This includes being mindful of littering social media with posts that may quickly flick from potentially influential to critically pestering! 86 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
“Believing or communicating in a way that insinuates others have a social or moral responsibility to make the same choices is where environmentalists put up a barrier for would-be converts” “Believing or communicating in a way that insinuates others have a social or moral responsibility to make the same choices is where environmentalists put up a barrier for would-be converts,” she says. “People feel turned off. The conversation tone is that they are inferior for not having made the same choices. They feel judged.
“Instead of saying we should all be powering our homes with solar panels (particularly if you are not a homeowner) or that there’s no excuse for being so wasteful with our natural resources (especially if you don’t compost), can you practise what you preach first? Expose people to desired behaviours through practice – without being preachy.” Creating and sustaining a brighter future for younger generations starts within our own hearts and homes; gently influencing others with our actions to change their own lifestyles in respect for the environment may then organically occur. As Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi famously encouraged: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Visit ACFCGN at communitygarden.org.au to connect with local like-minded people. Download a free copy of Stress-Free Sustainability at eco-fluence.com
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Omega-3 essential fatty acids are, as their name suggests, essential for good physical and mental health. They are also one of the most potent ways to improve the youthful appearance of skin. Omega-3 fatty acids maintain the health of the cell membrane – in a (wal) nutshell: they prevent the bad guys entering the cells while inviting the good guys in. And since membrane health is what determines the cells’ ability to hold water, a healthy barrier means hydrated cells, which in turn means plumper, smoother skin. According to dermatologist and skin care expert Nicholas V. Perricone, MD, author of The Wrinkle Cure, the need for omega-3 fatty acids goes beyond reinforcing the cell membrane. He claims omega-3 fatty acids also help reduce the body’s production of inflammatory compounds, which are the natural chemicals involved in the ageing process that affect the look and feel of our largest organ: our skin. When people think of omega-3 they usually think of oily fish and fish oil supplements. However, fish-based omega-3s are problematic as they are often accompanied by a cocktail of heavy metals, toxins and in the case of farmed salmon, antibiotic residues. If you are keen to increase your intake from a safe, sustainable vegan source, you can get all the benefits without the risks by getting long-chain omega-3s from tank-grown algae – algae being where fish get their omega-3s from in the first place. This way, you are essentially cutting out the middle men. It’s worth noting that it is more complex than simply consuming high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. It is just as important to reduce dietary levels of omega-6. “We only need a tiny amount of omega-3 fatty acids and these can be obtained in a plant-based diet via ground flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, leafy greens and other vegetables,” says Dr Roex-Haitjema. “The key is to keep omega-6 fatty acid intake under control, because a high level of omega-6 will compete for 92 | AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH
the same enzymes as omega-3, where the latter always misses out. So, your intake of omega-3 can be adequate, but will not be metabolised adequately in the presence of too much omega-6. “An animal-based diet is usually high in omega-6 fatty acids [arachidonic acid] which is a pro-oxidant, causing oxidative stress that promotes the ageing process. Processed plant foods, such as mock meats and vegetable oils – including sunflower, safflower and grape seed oil – are also high in omega-6 fatty acids and should therefore be avoided,” says Dr Roex-Haitjema.
“As well as supporting the process of collagen formation, vitamin C reduces oxidative damage”
Seeds: Sunflower, saffron, pumpkin, flaxseeds, hemp and chia seeds Greens: Spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts Beans: Mung, kidney and soybeans Algae
Zinc is a renowned natural sunscreen and sunspot fader. Dietary zinc has been proven to be effective at reducing acne, soothing sensitive skin, as studies show a correlation between increased zinc intake and relief from skin irritation. It’s also a powerful antioxidant proven to keep skin looking younger, longer. Zinc also plays a key role in healthy hair growth and nail strength. According to naturopath Janella Purcell, 85 per cent of Australian women and 67 per cent of men are falling short of the recommended daily intake, which for men is 14mg and for women, 8mg. Zinc is most commonly found in meat, shellfish and dairy, but it can also be sourced from non-animal foods such as wheat germ, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, alfalfa, peas and dark chocolate. While zinc supplementation may be necessary in some cases, generally minerals are best absorbed from whole food sources. If you’re concerned you are not getting enough through diet, there are a range of dietary supplements that can be consumed.
Soy products: Non-GMO tofu and tempeh Beans: Pinto, black and kidney beans Legumes: Lentils and chickpeas Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, cashews and peanuts Seeds: Sunflower, sesame, pumpkin and chia seeds Fortified nutritional yeast Miso
BEAUTY BOOSTERS Primal Collective Omega 3 Marine Algae Oil Capsules $40 for 60, optimoz.com.au
Welle Co The Super Elixir
Nourishing Protein $59 for 500g, welleco.com.au The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost $39.95 for 500ml, thebeautychef.com Bio Blends Organic Zinc Extract $54.90 for 60 capsules, bioblends.co.nz
Collagen is the wrinkle-preventing protein. It occurs naturally in our bodies and works tirelessly to keep our skin plump and youthful (as well as strengthening all connective tissue throughout the body). “Collagen is a protein that gives support to tissues and together with elastin keeps the skin looking young. Over the years, we produce less of both, hence less firm and elastic skin,” says Dr Roex-Haitjema. Around the age of 20, we produce around one per cent less collagen in the skin every year. As a result, skin becomes thinner and more fragile. To tackle this, we’ve seen the rise of collagen drinks, supplements and powders, which promise increased collagen levels and a reduction in wrinkles. Not surprisingly, most are produced from the collagenrich bones, skin and connective tissue of cattle, fish, horses, pigs, and/or rabbits. The ‘eat collagen to increase collagen’ pitch may be as much of a myth as ‘eating fat makes you fat’ though. “If you consume proteins – collagen is a protein, enzymes are proteins – your body will break them down to their smallest units called amino acids. This happens in the small intestine. These amino acids are then absorbed into the bloodstream and our body puts them back together into proteins – our own proteins. Therefore, the idea that eating certain enzymes (or proteins) is more healthy does not really make much sense; we will break them down and then make our own,” says Dr Roex-Haitjema. “We do not ‘take in’ collagen as such; it is not in food, but there are foods with components that promote collagen production such as carotenoids in the orange-coloured plant foods, vitamin C and certain amino acids.” The amino acids that promote collagen production include glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. Vegan food sources of hydroxyproline include carob seeds and alfalfa
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sprouts, while sources of proline include cabbage, soy, chickpeas, alfalfa sprouts and peanuts. Sources of glycine include legumes, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, whole grains and nuts. Consuming adequate protein daily is essential for healthy skin, hair and nails the recommended daily allowance (RDA) being 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. As well as supporting the process of collagen formation, vitamin C reduces oxidative damage, so add broccoli, spinach, strawberries, goji berries and kiwi fruits to your shopping list. Sulpher-rich foods including beans, cabbage and garlic aid the collagen formation process and help to maintain skin’s natural, healthy pigmentation. One of the easiest ways to boost collagen production is hydration, as collagen and elastin both need optimum hydration levels to thrive. Water, plant foods and skincare that promote hydration levels are ideal. In terms of topical collagen enhancers, both retinoic acid and retinol have the ability to ‘turn on’ genes and cells involved in collagen production. Also, look for the word ‘peptides’ when shopping for skincare. These compounds act as messengers, telling cells to ramp up the collagen.
Legumes: Chickpeas Greens: Broccoli, spinach, green beans and alfalfa sprouts Fruits: Blueberries, strawberries, goji berries and kiwi fruit Citrus fruits: Lemons and oranges Seeds: Carob, pumpkin, chia, hemp, sunflower and flaxseeds Nuts: Peanuts, walnuts and chestnuts Chlorella
TOPICAL BOOSTERS La Mav Omega-3 Advanced Night Repair Crème $49.95, lamav.com
REN Vita Mineral Omega 3 Serum Oil $46, mecca.com.au
Vanessa Megan Marine Collagen Anti-Ageing Night Cream $34.95, vanessamegan.com
Antipodes Hosanna H20 Intensive Skin-Plumping Serum $54, antipodesnature.com
BO DY & B E AU T Y
French Girl Organics Crème Lumière Facial Moisturiser
This nourishing cream is formulated with blue green algae, rooibos tea and hyaluronic acid to brighten and revive dehydrated skin. It’s formulated for dry and combination skin types.
Youth to the People Superfood Age Prevention Cleanser
This superfood face wash is pH balanced to help cleanse your skin without stripping your natural oils. It’s packed with antioxidantrich superfoods like kale and spinach, so your skin gets added help in protecting itself against free radicals.
100% Pure Fermented Rice Water Toner This toner works to soften and brighten the complexion for an all-over, natural glow. A concentration of white mulberry, shiitake mushroom, liquorice and citrus balance skin tone and lessen the appearance of dark spots. $44.95, nourishedlife.com.au
Beauty and body products we’re coveting.
100% Pure Tea Tree & Willow Acne Clarifying Cleanser
A concentration of antibacterial tea tree and willow washes away excess oil, makeup, impurities and bacteria that clog pores and cause acne breakouts. A plant-based face wash with detoxifying herbs for a refreshed complexion.
Olivine Atelier Love + Roses Beauty Mist
An intoxicating blend of natural anti-ageing beautifiers, essential oils, sacred flower essences and waters work to soften skin and hair. Mist liberally on face, hair and body for instant hydration and soul-affirming aromatherapy.
Herbivore Botanicals Jade Facial Roller Lanolips Lano Lemon Hand Cream Intense
Ere Perez Australian Blue Cypress Face Nectar
Hydrate and nourish hardworking hands and nails with this rich hand cream made from a blend of pure lanolin and lemon oil. The cream coats hands in a silky protective veil, leaving them velvet soft.
This lightweight, balancing nectar works to promote a dewy complexion by deeply hydrating the skin. With jojoba, cedarwood and jasmine flower, it's enriched with anti-inflammatory properties to prime, lift and soothe the skin.
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The benefits of facial rollers are plentiful: they are said to improve circulation, aid skin elasticity, promote lymphatic drainage, reduce puffiness and work to tighten and reduce the size of your pores. $32.65, herbivorebotanicals.com
BO DY & B E AU T Y
Unplug from the daily grind and find the perfect escape for your muchneeded R&R. From a holistic retreat in Bali to an eco-luxe hotel hidden in the lush green woodlands of northern France, these wellness retreats are guaranteed to rejuvenate and revivify. RAYMOND VIOLA investigates.
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WHERE: Svarga Loka
Aptly situated on the banks of the sacred Campuhan river in Ubud, Bali, Svarga Loka is a holistic sanctuary for wellbeing and transformation. It’s a place inspired by paradise with its name described in the Hindu epic poem, The Mahabharata, as the ‘Good Kingdom’, a heaven for the gods. Apart from its otherworldly charm, the retreat boasts luxury accommodation alongside a variety of wellness offerings such as holistic healing, spa, detox and yoga. They also offer monthly transformational programs designed to address specific issues in your life, be it sleep, stress or abundance. Leave with a new sense of self, armed with the skills and knowledge to continue your wellness journey long after your stay. WHAT’S INCLUDED: Seven nights’ accommodation, full board, return private transfers, a choice of wellness program, daily complementary activities like morning treks, morning yoga, afternoon white crane silat martial arts, qi gong and kirtan sacred song circle. WE LOVE: The rustic ambience and its back-to-nature approach to help you dive deeper into the experience. PRICING: From $3,150pp twin share for seven nights
WHERE: La Clairiere
Bathe in the crisp woodland air of northern France at the La Clairière Bio & Spa Hotel, where your wellbeing is at front and centre. The retreat espouses an approach of overall wellness, achieved through a combination of holistic spa treatments, clean eating, and the ambience of an exceptionally beautiful natural environment. Take your oms outdoors as you practise yoga and meditation barefoot on the forest floor. Sleep easy at night on your organic wool mattress with the knowledge that 100 per cent of their electricity is powered from renewable energy sources. This secluded wellness haven will let you feel closer to nature while still enjoying the comforts of a luxurious spa break. WHAT’S INCLUDED: Seven nights’ accommodation, full board, return private transfers, a choice of wellness program unlimited access to the spa and attendance to yoga and pranayama classes, qi gong, beginner’s meditation course and outdoor exercise sessions. WE LOVE: The Vosges du Nord forests surrounding this retreat are said to have therapeutic qualities. It’s abundant in phytoncide, an antimicrobial vapour derived from plants. PRICING: From $2,465pp twin share for seven nights naturalhealthmag.com.au
AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH | 99
WHERE: COMO Metropolitan Bangkok Lifestyle Retreat
This urban wellness escape set in the heart of Bangkok finds itself quietly removed from the busy city yet within convenient proximity to local haunts, shopping centres and cultural attractions. Experience wellness in the lap of luxury with private fitness sessions and mouth-watering healthy cuisine. Following the COMO Shambhala signature wellness approach, indulge in the best possible body care therapies to soothe you into deep relaxation. The hotel boasts a 20-metre lap pool, a gym and a movement studio to accommodate a wealth of complementary activities. WHAT’S INCLUDED: Three nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast, return private transfers, a lifestyle retreat program, complementary attendance to yoga classes and access to gym, hydro pool, steam room and outdoor lap pool. WE LOVE: It’s a good introduction to wellness holidays where you can reap the benefits of a health retreat and enjoy the perks of city life. In between pamper sessions, the Met staff can put together a tailored boutique shopping itinerary just for you! PRICING: From $770pp twin share for three nights
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COMO Metropolitan Bangkok Lifestyle Retreat is exclusively offered by Health and Fitness Travel. Visit healthandfitnesstravel. com.au or call 1300 551 353 for more information. WHERE: Absolute Sanctuary
When it comes to comprehensive wellness, there’s nothing quite like Absolute Sanctuary. Located on the north-eastern side of Koh Samui – also known as the island of healing – this wellness escape is the personification of health and restoration. Choose from a wide array of programs that offer different solutions including detox, weight and stress management, fitness, lifestyle change and more. For keen yogis or Pilates fans, this is the place for you. It caters for beginners and experts alike, boasting three fully equipped yoga studios and a dedicated Pilates reformer studio. Absolute is a blend of luxury, relaxation and health-giving activities perfect for the discerning wellness traveller. WHAT’S INCLUDED: Seven nights’ stay in a private suite, return shared transfers, a choice of wellness program, wellness consultations, spa treatments and massages, access to pool, sauna and gym and complementary attendance to group fitness classes. WE LOVE: Cooking classes are not to be missed. Learn to prepare healthy gastronomy at home as if you were still on retreat. PRICING: From $2,540pp twin share for seven nights
PHILIPPIneS WHERE: Atmosphere Resort
Nestled in an old seven-acre coconut plantation cradled by lush flora on one side and an expansive seascape on the other, Atmosphere Resort is a slice of tropical heaven on Earth. Indulge in boutique hotel comforts together with daily yoga sessions and a whole gamut of treatments at the award-winning Sanctuary Spa. Treat your taste buds and refuel with a nourishing healthy living food menu to complement your pursuit of overall health and wellness. Atmosphere is also eco-friendly, where a lifestyle of sustainability is well observed and adapted in every aspect, sourcing products locally, minimising waste and even enforcing a strict diving etiquette to protect the nearby marine ecosystem. WHAT’S INCLUDED: Seven nights’ accommodation, full board, return private transfers, a choice of wellness program, private yoga and meditation sessions, signature massage treatment and access to group yoga classes. WE LOVE: A resort with a heart of gold, Atmosphere sponsors a soup kitchen program that aims to feed children five days a week all year round. PRICING: From $2,200pp twin share for seven nights
WHERE: SHA Wellness Clinic
Taking wellness to another level, SHA is a five star medical spa destination that encompasses the best of Eastern and Western philosophies to promote optimal health. Set near the beach in L’Alfas del Pi, in the province of Alicante, this retreat is inherently blessed with a stunning vista conducive for any wellness pursuits you may have. A range of physical activities, lectures, cooking classes and spa therapies are on offer depending on your chosen program. SHA is also the world’s first macrobiotic wellness resort, featuring a healthy cuisine designed to bring balance to your life. Outside the retreat, explore the nearby town of El Albir, which has a wide variety of shops, restaurants and cafes to explore. WHAT’S INCLUDED: Seven nights’ accommodation, full board, return private transfers, a choice of wellness program, use of hydrotherapy facilities, attendance to SHA Academy activities like yoga, tai chi, walks and healthy cooking lectures. WE LOVE: After a massage, we recommend spending some time in the tea room – perfect for a reflective ambience. PRICING: From $6,820pp twin share for seven nights
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Rapping for peace EMMANUEL JAL is a former child soldier from South Sudan, a highly acclaimed musician, political activist and peace ambassador. He chats to Natural Health about his lifeâ€™s journey and passion for spreading conscious awakening around the world.
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Tell us a little bit about your life growing up… Life was simple growing up; we got everything from the land. There was a lot of connection to nature and respect for the elders. I never knew what poverty was, because everybody was looking after one another. But everything changed when [the Second Sudanese Civil] War broke out. The war robbed the soul of my villages. All of my aunties died, all of my uncles, except two, died. My mother was claimed by the war. By the age of seven, my father gave me out to go to ‘school’ in Ethiopia. I was enrolled in Sudan People’s Liberation Army training camp for child soldiers. We walked hundreds of miles. Some children were eaten by wild animals, while others died of starvation and dehydration. Children were burning their own dead and we made our own prayers. When I was eight, I got trained to become a child soldier. This changed everything; [there was] a shift in my mind. I wanted revenge for my family.
When and why did you decide to run away? When did you meet your adoptive mother, Emma? After five years in the SPLA, I was one of 300 child soldiers who escaped from the front in Juba, South Sudan. We took three months to walk. We were so weak, we had no water and no food. When I reached the town of Waat in South Sudan, I met Emma McCune, a British aid worker and a passionate purpose-driven young woman. She smuggled me on a flight to Kenya and put me in a boarding school, paid for my fees and gave me her clothes.
You’ve described those years as a very tumultuous time. What did your escape and survival teach you about your own strength? What I learnt about staying alive is [that you need to] have a purpose or a dream. I always wanted to be part of [a] solution. I used to visualise and see myself helping people. Kids were dying next to me and I would say to myself: 'I am going to stay alive and tell the story. I am going to stay alive and learn in school so I can help
my people.' This used to bring joy to my life and gave me hope and strength to carry on.
“My biggESt pASSioN iS to crEAtE coNScioUS gLobAL AwAkENiNg”
When did you discover a passion for music? I like music and went to concerts at church [in Kenya]. I found myself writing music and it made me happy, so I started to perform it. I didn’t write about my struggle; I wrote about peace. I recorded my first single, Gua, in 2004 and it reached the number one song in Kenya.
What inspired you to create a company dedicated to health and diet? When I was travelling and performing on tour, my blood pressure began to rise and I showed early symptoms of diabetes. [So] I started to eat like the people in my village. My blood pressure lowered and I felt revitalised. I founded a superfood company called Jal Gua, which produces a powdered superfood of sorghum and moringa – two staple ingredients of the African diet. I believe peace is when my belly is full. Food can bring peace. Healthy bodies lead to healthy minds.
Tell us about your work as a political activist, spreading the messages of peace and harmony… My work has evolved now because my experiences have increased. Apart from sharing my childhood experiences, I also do mindfulness workshops. There is so much happening now in my life: from my speaking engagements, performing, coaching, writing and teaching. I also love going to school to share my experiences with young people as a way to plant the seed of positivity.
Tell us about the non-profit charity, Gua Africa, that you founded… Gua Africa is a charity I founded that works with families, individuals and communities to help them overcome the effects of war and poverty. We are passionate about education and hope to build more schools in Kenya. We’re passionate about finding sponsors so that survivors of wars can complete primary education, high school and university.
What’s your biggest passion and what are you currently working towards? My biggest passion is to create conscious global awakening. I believe that through stories, we can get people to look within themselves so they can connect with their inner being, which has better solutions for themselves and the world at large.
How can people get involved with your charity? People can get involved with Gua Africa by sponsoring a child to go to school. They can also get involved in supporting the charity’s vision, which is working with individuals, families and communities to help them overcome the effects of war and poverty through education. Emmanuel Jal is the creator of the award-winning documentary War Child, architect of the We Want Peace campaign and has co-starred with Reese Witherspoon in The Good Lie. He’s an indemand speaker who has addressed the UN, US Congress, The Carter Center and the high tiers of several governments. In 2017, Jal received the Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowship. For more information, visit emmanueljal.com
AUSTRALIAN NATURAL HEALTH | 103
Proganics Organic Whey Chocolate
Aussie Bronze Instant Tan
This whey is flavoured with organic cacao and can be used as a delicious low-calorie and low-carb shake, which is perfect to help battle afternoon cravings. Make it with milk or cold water. You’ll wonder how a shake that tastes this delicious can be so good for you. $54.99, proganics.com.au
Get a beautiful instant bronze tan by simply applying and walking out the door with a healthy glow. It smells great and washes off in your next shower. It’s free from GMO, silicone, sulphate, parabens and it’s vegan and not tested on animals. $34.95, sassyorganics.com.au
Life Basics CoQ10 Daily Facial Oil
Lifestream Aloe Vera Juice
This skin-loving formula is enriched with certified organic rosehip oil, jojoba oil, vitamins B2, C and E, to name a few. The lightweight and non-greasy serum is instantly absorbed by the skin and is ideal for all skin types. $24.95, nourishedlife.com.au
Planet Organic Carob Powder
This organic carob can be used in any recipe in place of cocoa; simply use the same amount of carob. Now supplied in a striking new resealable pouch. Available from leading healthfood stores and independent supermarkets. 325g for $9.75, planetorganic.com.au
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This Aloe vera juice soothes the lining of the stomach and intestines to support smooth and natural digestion. It’s 99.7 per cent premium quality clean tasting aloe and supports the immune system and helps maintain wellbeing. $19.95, lifestream.co.nz
Broth of Life Beef Broth
This broth is made with certified organic grassfed bones that are cooked for a minimum of 48 hours to ensure nutrient extraction. It can be used to treat a leaky gut and can relieve joint pain. Plus, it’s rich in gelatines, vitamins and minerals, with no added nasties. $22, brothoflife.com.au
P’URE Papaya Care Vapour Balm
Breathe easy with this natural and warming blend of native Australian oils and herbs that work to clear, warm and soothe. Better yet, it’s free from all nasties and 100 per cent certified natural and suitable for the whole family. $11.99, purepapayacare.com.au
Amazonia Raw Acai Skin Active
When taken in conjunction with a healthy diet, this supplement has been scientifically tested and proven to support collagen and reduce free radical damage. With 12 billion probiotics per serve, it’s non-synthetic, alkaline and vegan, helping you shine from the inside out. $39.95, amazonia.com.au
Ethique Butter Block in Coconut & Lime
With 100 per cent pure essential oils, organic cocoa butter and coconut oil, this moisturising bar is a nourishing blend of skin-loving ingredients. It’s easy to use and is perfect for heels, elbows or anywhere that needs a little TLC. $24.95, nourishedlife.com.au
“There’s only one very good life and that’s the life you know you want and you make it yourself.”
- DIANA VREELAND
With inspiring personalities, revealing first-person stories and expert insights into modern life issues, muse is not just a compelling read, it’s your guide to self-empowerment. Think… Create… Become. www.musemag.com.au
Make it organic
Natural Health caught up with Marcus Steve, director of hannahpad in Australia and New Zealand, to chat about the importance of organic sanitary items and eco-friendly living.
When did you first discover hannahpad and what did you find appealing about the product? My wife, Jenny, first discovered hannahpad back in 2014 when she decided to make a switch to cloth pads. She realised how many toxic chemicals she was encountering in her daily routine that could be contributing to the health struggles she was experiencing. hannahpad is made from certified organic cotton that does not contain chemicals such as bleach, dioxin, fragrances and formaldehyde. It’s also washable and reusable for two to three years – meaning there’s less menstrual waste in landfills, plus it is a cost-effective solution that will save money in the long run.
What’s unique about the product? hannahpad has six sizes to enable the management of periods, postpartum bleeding and light bladder leakage. The sizes and absorbency provide the perfect coverage and protection for both day and nighttime use. It also has an external patterned layer that comes in various colours and floral patterns. More importantly, it’s also about allowing people to think positively about a very natural part of their body.
What are the benefits of washable organic cloth pads? The initial reactions people might have about cloth pads is that it is backwards or unhygienic. Using cloth pads is like washing clothes and underwear. Plus, they’re small and can fit in any small pouch, handbag or backpack. Besides the surprising ease of use, hannahpad’s certified organic cotton is extremely soft and comfortable. The multi-layered design allows for better breathability and there is also a coating on the inside of the external patterned layer making the pad leakproof.
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How does hannahpad benefit the environment and the earth? We’re aware of the environmental impact conventional single-use pads can have on the planet, which is why we steer away from any unnecessary packaging. There are no plastic or adhesive bits and we endeavour to use recyclable paper options for all retail and online store packaging. Because our pads are washable, our customers aren't tossing out four to five pads a day – contributing to about 45,000 tonnes of menstrual waste into landfills across the world each year. Also, hannahpad is compostable, making it an earth-friendly product.
Why do you believe it’s important to empower everyone to talk openly about menstruation? We need to reconnect with the body and how it changes with age. Often, we lose confidence when we feel we are not taking care of ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally. For the longest time, stigma and shame have been associated with menstruation across different countries and cultures when it is simply part of human nature and completely normal. By sharing experiences between family and friends, we can build a support network and encourage everyone to openly discuss periods and other health-related topics.
What’s your ultimate aim? Our aim is clear in our simple slogan: ‘Healthy you, happy planet’. Firstly, we want to provide the healthiest and safest washable solution that is not detrimental to anyone’s health. Secondly, we want to preserve the wonders of the environment for generations to come by providing a zero-waste menstrual product. Everyone’s combined efforts will create a happier planet.
ĂœBERZINC your daily UV moisturiser
A daily moisturiser with 21% zinc oxide for broad spectrum UV protection. Suitable for all skin types and ages, ĂœberZinc is also enriched with the antioxidant green tea to neutralise free radicals and combat cellular damage. Healing, anti-inflammatory and 100% free from chemical sunscreens. Available exclusively at our partner skin clinics and medically affiliated practices WWW.SYNERGIESKIN.COM