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Australia’s leading natural health & living magazine HOW TO LIVE A

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Terry Robson EDITOR Danielle Kirk Ph +61 2 9887 0640 MANAGING EDITOR Kerry Boyne EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Kate Duncan Ph +61 2 9887 0320 DESIGNER Rachel Henderson NATIONAL ADVERTISING MANAGER Kirsti Rae (Couper) Ph +61 2 9887 0369 QUEENSLAND ADVERTISING CONSULTANT Amy Frank Ph +61 488 424 232 SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SALES & MARKETING Sandy Shaw Ph +61 8 8342 5989 VICTORIAN ADVERTISING MANAGER Tracey Dwyer Ph +61 3 9694 6403 RESOURCE GUIDE SALES Chris Middleton Ph +61 2 9887 0629 ADVERTISING PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR Hannah Felton Ph +61 2 9887 0376 ADVERTISING SENIOR DESIGNER Martha Rubazewicz MARKETING CAMPAIGN EXECUTIVE Kye Blackett Ph +61 2 9887 0326 PUBLISHER Janice Williams COVER CREDIT Getty Images

CHAIRMAN/CEO Prema Perera PUBLISHER Janice Williams CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Vicky Mahadeva ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Emma Perera ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Karen Day FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION MANAGER James Perera CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Mark Darton CREATIVE DIRECTOR Kate Podger EDITORIAL & PRODUCTION MANAGER Anastasia Casey MARKETING & ACQUISITIONS MANAGER Chelsea Peters SUBSCRIPTION ENQUIRIES 1300 303 414 CIRCULATION ENQUIRIES to our Sydney head office: +61 2 9805 0399 WellBeing Issue 164 is published by Universal WellBeing Pty Ltd, Unit 5, 6-8 Byfield Street, North Ryde NSW 2113, Australia. Phone: +61 2 9805 0399, Fax: +61 2 9805 0714. Printed by KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd, Singapore. Distributed by Gordon and Gotch, Sydney Editorial advice is non-specific and readers are advised to seek professional advice for personal problems. Individual replies to readers’ letters by consulting editors are not possible. The opinions expressed by individual writers in WellBeing are not necessarily those of the publishers. This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Enquiries should be addressed to the publishers. The publishers believe all the information supplied in this book to be correct at the time of printing. They are not, however, in a position to make a guarantee to this effect and accept no liability in the event of any information proving inaccurate. Prices, addresses and phone numbers were, after investigation and to the best of our knowledge and belief, up to date at the time of printing, but the shifting sands of time may change them in some cases. It is not possible for the publishers to ensure that advertisements which appear in this publication comply with the Trade Practices Act, 1974. The responsibility must therefore be on the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisements for publication. While every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy, the publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. This magazine is printed on paper that comes from a mill that satisfies the requirements of ISO 14001. *Recommended retail price ISSN 0812-8220 Copyright © Universal Magazines MMXVI ACN 003 026 944 IMPORTANT: This magazine is intended as a reference volume only, not as a medical manual. While the information is based on material provided by researchers, the magazine does not presume to give medical advice. Be sure to consult your physician before beginning any therapeutic program. We are a member of



ne recent morning around 4.30am, one daughter woke up and came into our bed. A few hours later, on waking, the first thing she said to my wife was, “What’s your go-to song in your mind?” As a matter of public record she revealed that hers is One Call Away, a song with the lyrics, “No matter where you go/ You know you’re not alone/I’m only one call away/I’ll be there to save the day/ Superman got nothing on me/I’m only one call away.” On one level, I’m glad that is the soundtrack of my little girl’s life. I hope she always and ever knows that she is not alone. However, there’s a bigger question here: what is your go-to song? Do we, as was implicit in my daughter’s question, all have a go-to song in our heads? Maybe it’s not just one song; maybe it’s a few songs. I am pretty open with you here but I’m not going to tell you mine, as that would be too much information. What if you found out it was Bat Out of Hell or, much worse, Locomotion? If I divulged that my mental go-to song was Achy Breaky Heart or anything by Justin Bieber, I would surely have surrendered any last vestiges of respect. In any case, it doesn’t matter whether someone else knows what your go-to song is, but I’d suggest that it matters a lot that you should know your own. Your go-to song, if you have one, is in effect the soundtrack of your life and it will tell you a lot about the sentiment and shape of your mind. If you are thinking

it laughable that a person might have a recurring song in their head, don’t laugh too loud. If it’s not a recurring song, it could be a recurring phrase, thought, memory or hope. Whatever it is, that recurring pattern in your mind will tell you a lot about you. The essence of meditation in its many forms is to know your own mind; not to judge it, but to know it. If you don’t know how your mind works, how are going to work with it when it confronts the inevitable shifting winds of a lifetime? A sailor would be foolhardy if she set out to sea not knowing how her craft would respond to different conditions. Your craft is your mind and, if you refuse to know it, then you can expect to be tossed by every rising swell and to eventually wind up off course. Your go-to songs, your recurring thought patterns, are the instruction booklets for your mind. If you want to sail well, you need to know your song.

Terry Robson, Editor-in-Chief

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CONTENTS ISSUE #164 COMMUNITY 6 Your say WellBeing readers tell us what’s on their minds. 7 Twisdom Sharing your wisdom with the WellBeing community. 18 Road Test Is standing up at work really all that great? We trial standing desks to see for ourselves. 20 Holistic Journey Smitten Merino is bringing form and function to the people of Tasmania and beyond with its woollen garments. 22 Art for Art’s Sake Stefanie Ferguson’s art is inspired by nature and she uses it to help make the world a better place. 138 Real Life Experience One reader discovers it’s possible to both manifest an outcome and also leave things up to fate. 153 What’s On What we’ve been up to, plus what’s coming up for you.

BEAUTY, FOOD & HEALTH 8 The Pulse Read about how painkillers reduce empathy, and more, in our medical news section.


62 14 Supplement Hemidesmus root has long been revered for its healing properties and can be used to treat ailments ranging from arthritis to asthma to high stress. 16 Functional Food Pawpaw isn’t merely a tropical treat for your tastebuds: all parts of this fruit are nutritionally useful as well. 38 Glow Like a Yogi For naturally radiant skin, it’s important to nourish and nurture yourself on the inside with healthy food and nourishing selfcare practices. 62 Harvesting Vitality Want to obtain the highest possible levels of nutrients from your fruit and veg? Then it’s time to grow your own.

66 Natural Sweeteners Yummy sweet treats are just that — treats — but you don’t need to give them up in a bid to be healthy. You simply need to get a bit creative. 120 Recipes: Seasons to Share Aussie nutritionist and mum Jacqueline Alwill is a creative genius in the kitchen and we share some of her delicious seasonal dishes.

BODY, MIND & SPIRIT 10 Lifelines Read about the elements of an effective apology and more in our body and soul section. 24 Thinkers & Doers: Natalie Cunningham Award-winning fashion designer Natalie


Cunningham, the first Indigenous Australian to be invited to exhibit her label at New York Fashion Week, has a story that’s anything but superficial. 28 Creating a Lovely Life How often do you stop to appreciate beauty? Bring more of it into your life by slowing down to choose, create and cherish pleasurable experiences. 32 Massaging the Mind Shirodhara, a warm stream of oil poured over your forehead, is an ancient therapy that promises restoration. 44 Living a Yogic Life Discover yoga’s essential philosophies for living a more soulful, fulfilling life. 50 Tune In, Stress Less Your senses can be a source of overwhelming input, but they can also help you focus, stay present and remain calm. 56 Free Your Mind Mind worms are those recurring thoughts that form an unrelenting soundtrack in your head. We’ll help you find the off switch. 72 Special Report: Loving You It’s said that selflove is the shortcut to enlightenment. All growth springs from love of self, as does all love for others. True self-love can take you anywhere you want — and we look at how to achieve it. 82 Yoga for Work Overload Busy, busy, busy? Yoga

are out there just waiting for you to discover them. 114 Elephant Safari We travel to Sri Lanka in the hope of observing elephants and we leave in awe, with an encounter under our belts but also so much more.


114 38

66 can help enhance your mental capacity for work, allowing you to achieve what you need to with greater ease and balance. 88 What’s Holding You Back? If you dream of having a child, it’s important to adjust your diet and lifestyle for a healthy conception and pregnancy. 118 Counter Culture Find out what’s new in books, music and film.

HOME, PARENTING & RELATIONSHIPS 94 Out of the Mouths of Babes ... Has a child’s verbal blunder left you redfaced and apologetic? Never fear: it is possible to teach them social graces. 98 Not Cool Fridges and air-

conditioning units are common modern comforts, yet the refrigerants they require come with an environmental cost.

PLANET & TRAVEL 12 Green Beat Read about how climate will affect koalas, and more, in our environmental news section. 104 Going Solar Solar panels are no longer the domain of the wonderful eco-hippy — they’ve gone mainstream. We look at how you can go solar, too. 108 Authentic Adventures You don’t have to join the tourist throng to explore the wonders of coastal Far North Queensland: authentic eco-experiences

106 Education Focus News from our natural health educators, this issue Endeavour College. 124 Natural Source Health products from our advertisers. 126 Beauty Source News from the beauty brands that care for your skin, naturally. 127 Food Source Healthy food products from our advertisers. 130 Natural Beauty Carla Oates looks at how to optimise sleep, that essential beauty basic. 131 Quick Kitchen Lee Holmes cooks up warming dishes that will stave off any sniffles and sneezes. 132 DIY Detox Sally Mathrick poses questions to consider in your quest for a life free of toxins. 133 Digging In Jackie French falls in love with a window’s living curtains of green. 134 Pet Care Karen Goldrick discusses a few ways to ease your dog’s separation anxiety. 135 Stargazing Christine Broadbent reveals the planetary influences for September and October, 2016. 136 Ageing Well Michael Elstein examines the validity of different routes to weight loss. 137 Clinical Casebook Karen Bridgman shares the case of a man crippled by the pain of gout. 140 WellBeing Resource Guide A directory of holistic products and services.















Your say


Did something resonate with you in this issue of WellBeing? We’d love to hear your feedback. Write to us at WellBeing, Locked Bag 154, North Ryde, NSW 1670, email wbletters@universalmagazines., comment on our Facebook page or tweet us: @WellBeing_Mag. We reserve the right to edit all submissions.



’ve been thinking a lot about food lately. Oh, hang on ... I always think a lot about food. What I’m cooking for dinner, what healthy treat I’ll take to a friend’s place, which seasonal vegies will arrive in this week’s food box, what magic spices will make my next meal zing, whether it’s gluttonous to eat a huge slice of chocolate cake if it’s raw, vegan and contains vegetables ... And they’re just the thoughts related to my own stomach. Then there’s the curiosity about the people who grow and make food and how a food native to a country many thousands of miles away can be sold so cheaply at the local store; plus the environmental, social and political aspects of food production, distribution and consumption as well as the richness food adds to cultures, how it binds people together, the twin histories of agriculture and civilisation; the artistry of certain dishes, the medicinal properties of a plant, how food affects our physiology and psychology ... Food fuels our bodies and minds and — I’m pretty confident I’m not alone in this — can keep those minds occupied for hours on end. Our minds can turn food into a villain to be avoided or a friend to turn to for comfort. We can pile values onto food, labelling it “good” or “bad” depending on our individual attitudes and preferences, and judge others “good” or “bad” for what they eat. We can fetishise food, share photographs of it and turn it into a competition about whose dish tastes or looks the best. We can politicise food, using it as a means of power and control. Food deserves our attention. It keeps us alive, it becomes us and, given the privilege of choice, it seems right to select food that nourishes us as well as those who grow it and the ecosystem it’s part of. But the thing is, when it comes to food, it’s easy to lose perspective. For me at least, all my thinking about food comes from a place of abundance — there’s plenty more where my last meal came from. And, unfortunately, that’s not the case for about 800 million people around the world who think about food loads, too — but from a place of scarcity. They don’t have enough. They’re really hungry. So perhaps, just as we need to eat food, but not too much, we need to think about food, but not too much. And when we do think about it, perhaps we should approach it with an attitude of gratitude and respect, and compassion and generosity as well. We are so very lucky to have enough.

Danielle Kirk, Editor

I just wanted to say how much I love WellBeing. I really look forward to each new issue hitting the shelves! When it does, it’s an event: I prepare a cup of herbal tea, collapse onto the couch and there I stay until I have read the entire issue, devouring all the articles. I find the advice on health, lifestyle, nutrition, yoga, mental health and exercise so helpful. The past few years have been extremely difficult. I was suffering from back pain, extreme stress, anxiety and depression. Having a body that did not work properly and being trapped in a job that was very stressful, I felt stuck; it was too hard to try to change the situation. I was so exhausted I made excuses to not change things, and being injured I made excuses to not exercise. My weight crept up and I peaked at 90kg — and found myself in size 20 clothes (I’m only 161cm tall). Last July, I was made redundant and I found myself out of work. I was so tired that I actually felt some relief but knew I finally needed to face this situation, and quickly, as I needed an income! So I applied the advice I’d read about in each edition of WellBeing. I realised I could choose to view this as a positive opportunity to change the things I could change. I sat down and listed things that I could do. Employment was a priority, so I took a leap of faith and decided to find a new job, approaching an employer I actually wanted to work for. A new industry was a risky move, but I knew I’d feel happier. It just felt right and, although they had no vacancies, they created a job for me and I started the following week. I kept making small healthy changes to my lifestyle. I started taking vitamins daily, walking at the beach, meditating and preparing healthy food, adopting advice and ideas from all my back issues of WellBeing. As I got stronger, physically and mentally, I took up yoga and jogging. I also started journalling and keeping a gratitude journal. It has been nine months and I’m healing slowly, but the physical results are already evident. I’ve lost 29kg and dropped five dress sizes. I love my new lifestyle and feel so grateful. Life is looking so much brighter! Your magazine has been a big part of my journey. Thank you all for making such a helpful and relevant magazine. It really does make a difference.

Kay Parkin




INVERSIONS & BEYOND Thank you for the wonderful, insightful and practical article Upside-Down Yoga (#162). It offered me ideas and concepts to reflect on. While on the mat recently, I discovered that my fears of inversions were not actually fears but self-limiting beliefs disguised as fears. Thank you for helping me move forward with my yoga journey. Simone McClenaughan

We’d love to hear your tips for living well. Email us at wbletters@, comment on our Facebook page or on Instagram @WellBeing_Mag, or tweet us @WellBeing_Mag. We reserve the right to edit all submissions.


THE BUZZ ABOUT BEES WellBeing is so wonderfully awesome! I have just finished reading issue #162 and have to say that every article resonated with me on some level of my being. From all the regulars — The Pulse to Lifelines, Green Beat, Supplement, Functional Food, Road Test, Holistic Journey and Art for Art’s Sake — to all the columns — Natural Beauty, Quick Kitchen, DIY Detox, Digging In, Pet Care, Stargazing, Ageing Well, Clinical Casebook and others. Thank you all for your fabulous contributions towards making a magazine so informative and inspiring. The article that was most fitting for me in this issue was Where Are All the Bees? We humans need bees; without them, we’re stuffed! This article has inspired me to want to learn more about bees and do more to protect them. Thank you, WellBeing, and everyone who contributes to putting together such a fantastic holistic magazine. Sarah Gowling

Where are all the bees? ide. in decline worldw vative Bee populations are and meet three inno We investigate why s, all in northern NSW, per kee bee Australian . them save to t bes r who are doing thei WORDS / LOUISE


Never trust people who say they don’t hug. #quotestoliveby @rachaelhfield Supposedly helping to make banana bread, mostly just making a mess! @fran_roberts How can I expect to be a journo when I can’t even get small talk right? Man with dog: “Don’t worry, it won’t bite.” Me: “Morning!” #killmenow @MegGriffiths8 I am who I am and today I’m OK with that! @xxiggixx Lemon zest and fajita-spice butternut with gluten-free brown rice spaghetti. #lovefrommykitchen @VeronikaSophia Rainbow skies tonight in Redcliffe.

#thisisqueensland Beautiful way to end the day! @jenergy_88 Our planet will be restored when we remember, and act upon, the profound wisdom of indigenous knowledge. @DaniNierenberg Joy of watching the world and writing. #writing #observing #writinglife #dream #grow #inspire @beckyjoyholland Ch-ch-ch-changes ... New day, new job! Gandhi says to be the change you wish to see in the world. @sarzberry A good friend said to me the window of opportunity doesn’t stay open forever, so be bold and take the opportunities. @psychicjazzy

WE ASKED: WHAT ARE YOUR NEW HOBBIES? Stand up paddle-boarding and Iyengar yoga. Not at the same time ... yet! @simplicity.wellbeing Tarot reading and vegetable dehydration and fermentation! @maschac Meditating. I downloaded a fabulous app called 1 Giant Mind and I do it daily now! Plus, cooking healthy new recipes. @kelpiesgal Crochet! @sandiilyn Study and yoga. The yoga helps to keep

my mind clear for the impending exam time! @mf_browne Kundalini yoga, walking and painting. @gabriellethil Adult tap and hip-hop classes! Loving it! @tayanator76 Crochet — I taught myself a few years ago — plus scrapbooking and making lovely foods from scratch. I also want to walk more. @alimacmac Cooking and long walks. @personaljournalapp

Australian beekeepers are

of beeswax in the coming up with second-largest buyer a novel ways 35 of Australia’s Gibbs istoa man on effrey country) to talk with save their bees. all in white, (loosely defined as mission. Dressed 50 big beekeepers hair, he looks hives each), getting with a mop of white having at least 2000 his But eper. like a typical beeke the lie of the land. own he has just extends beyond his When I meet him, passion for bees the of these trips. And on the front line of returned from one hives. In fact, he’s in a massive he’s worried. “We’re battle to save them. knows a bit seen anything like Gibbs never say I’ve e. could You declin in been a commercial population of bees it,” he says. “The about bees. He has up to about 50 per cent. decades and set Australia is down beekeeper for four ic beeswax candle years haven’t been The last couple of Northern Light organ ago. it’s real bad. There rn NSW 20 years pretty, but right now company in northe the (he’s r roadtrips He also takes regula



ion beekeepers saying are third-generat they’ve ever seen. it’s the worst year trouble.” We’re in desperate Colony Collapse It has been called really just a grabDisorder but that’s al s of environment bag term for dozen worldwide, from bees ng stressors affecti trition to habitat loss disease and malnu ’t e. (Australia doesn chang e climat and — Varroa mites — yet have the parasitic ated bee populations which have decim world.) elsewhere in the or of them all, The biggest stress

Images Photography Getty

WIN OM.AU PM 2/24/2016 4:48:46

The writer of this issue’s star letter wins a pair of Creating My Dreams Earrings and an Honor Your Soul Necklace worth AU$437 from Ananda Soul. Ananda Soul is a jewellery brand based in Bali that’s committed to empowering women across the globe. This empowerment goes from the way the company sources their materials, to their production standards, their involvement in the local Balinese community, employing mothers of street children, all the way to the message of their jewellery, blessed with powerful intentions and prayers. Find out more at

Bees.indd 58 WBG162_058-062

such as helping them withstand the impact of neonics. Since 2005, Gibbs has been developing a high-protein “nectar” he feeds his bees to strengthen their immune systems; it’s mainly a lentil mash, mixed with honey, olive leaf extract, thyme (to repel hive beetles, another pest) and silica (to build up their

“What I love about beekeeping is that you tune in to the natural world that supports all life, including us.”

European beekeeping course in 2008, when he realised that stingless native bees offer a non-threatening way to teach kids about bees and beekeeping. “As soon as you say ‘bees’, you see kids tense up, because they’ve been conditioned [to think] that bees are going to hurt them,” he says.



Recent medical findings for a healthier body THE RIGHT SLEEP

HERBS FOR MEMORY & MOOD These researchers did two experiments. In the first, they had subjects consume either a chamomile or peppermint tea drink and tested their mood and cognition before and after drinking. The results showed that peppermint enhanced cognition and aroused mood, improving long-term memory, working memory and alertness in the process. By contrast, chamomile had a calming effect and slowed memory and attention speed. In a second experiment, healthy people over the age of 65 were placed in rooms that had been scented with rosemary or lavender essential oils. Those in the rosemary-scented rooms showed enhanced memory, doing an average 15 per cent better than people in the room with no aroma, and they were also more alert. Those in the lavender-scented room showed increased calmness and contentedness, but their prospective memory was slightly impaired. Source: Northumbria University


MEDITERRANEAN DIET HEALS HEART A Mediterranean-style diet is good for your heart even if you already have heart disease. A total of 15,482 people, average age 67, with stable coronary artery disease received a Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) that ranged from 0 to 24 depending on how close their diet was to a Mediterranean diet. For each one-point increase in an MDS score, there was a 7 per cent reduction in risk of heart attack, stroke or death. Source: European Heart Journal


ACUPUNCTURE FOR HOT FLUSHES For this new study, researchers gathered more than 200 women aged 45–60 who were experiencing at least four hot flushes per day. The women were randomly assigned to one of two groups: one group received acupuncture for the first six months while the other did not and then, for the second six months, the groups switched so that those who had not been receiving acupuncture did receive it for the next six months and vice versa. After the first six months, the acupuncture treatment group experienced 36.7 per cent fewer hot flushes a day on average, whereas the comparison group showed a 6 per cent increase. After a year, those women in the group who received acupuncture for the first six months still reported having 29.4 per cent fewer hot flushes. After their six months of treatment, the comparison group achieved a similar average of a 31 per cent reduction in hot flushes. Source: Menopause

PAINKILLER KILLS EMPATHY Paracetamol, known in the US as acetaminophen, is a massively popular painkiller worldwide. In the first of three experiments, subjects were given scenarios to read in which the characters experienced some sort of pain. Half of the subjects were given 1000mg of paracetamol beforehand while others were given a placebo. Those who had been given paracetamol rated the pain of the characters in the stories as being less severe. In a second study, those who took paracetamol thought noise would be less unpleasant for another person. In the third experiment, subjects who had been given paracetamol showed reduced empathy with other people excluded from a game. The researchers think this lack of empathy might happen because the same areas of the brain that feel pain are also used to imagine pain. If you need help, maybe you don’t want to ask someone who has just had paracetamol. Source: Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience

Photography Bigstock

This new study drew on data from almost 440,000 men and women aged 40–69 in the UK’s Biobank Resource. The researchers sought to see if there is a correlation between sleep and known risk factors for heart disease like smoking, sedentary behaviour and fruit and vegetable consumption. The subjects also reported number of hours slept per night. For the study, short sleep was defined as less than six hours per night, adequate sleep as 7–8 hours and long sleep as nine hours or more. The results showed that people who sleep either short or long hours or who are evening people are more likely to smoke, remain sedentary and eat fewer fruits and vegetables. It seems sleep is like so much else in life: it’s not just a matter of getting more or less; it’s about finding the sweet spot. Source: Annals of Behavioural Medicine

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Interesting slices of life WHAT MAKES AN EFFECTIVE APOLOGY? According to a new study, an apology needs to contain six elements but, if you can’t muster all six, two elements are absolutely essential. To arrive at these conclusions, researchers conducted two experiments. The results from both were similar enough to rank the elements of an apology in order of importance. The six elements of an apology were: 1. acknowledgement of responsibility; 2. offer of repair; 3. expression of regret; 4. declaration of repentance; 5. explanation of what went wrong; 6. request for forgiveness. The findings showed that acknowledgement of responsibility is the most important element and that “offer of repair” is also essential. Ranked next and equal were “expression of regret”, “explanation of what went wrong” and “declaration of repentance”. The least important element was “request for forgiveness”. Source: Negotiation and Conflict Management Research

WOMEN VS MEN ON FACEBOOK Researchers analysed the words used by more than 65,000 women and men on Facebook. The analysis showed that women mention friends, family and social life more often. By contrast, men swore more, used more angry and argumentative language and discussed objects more than people. On average, women used language that was more characteristic of compassion and politeness, whereas men used language that was more hostile and impersonal. Women tended to use words like

wonderful, happy, birthday, daughter, baby, excited and thankful. On the other hand, men tended to use words like freedom, liberty, win, lose, battle and enemy. Interestingly, even though men showed up as using more aggressive language, an analysis of assertiveness showed that women were slightly more assertive than men. It seems you don’t have to be an ass to be assertive after all, but in the end Facebook does have a language a-gender. Source: PLOS ONE


MINDFUL MULTITASKING People who often multitask their media usage are known to have difficulty maintaining focus and attention. However, a simple mindfulness technique can enhance focus for those habitual multitaskers. This technique simply involves sitting and counting breaths for 10 minutes. After this mindful breath task, all people show better attention scores, but heavy media multitaskers show even greater improvements than others. Source: Scientific Reports

ROAD RADIO RISKS In this new study, subjects used a full-scale driving simulator and had the radio on while they were driving. Half of them were asked to listen out for when the traffic reporter voice changed from a male voice to a female voice (low attentional load). The rest were asked to listen for a specific traffic update on a specific road (high attentional load). The researchers measured aspects of the subjects’ driving performance and also threw in the occasional visual surprise like an elephant or a gorilla by the roadside. The high attentional load group did worse on general measures of driving. However, of the low attentional load group, only 71 per cent reported seeing an animal and in the high load group only 23 per cent noticed the creature. It’s a warning to keep your mind, as well as your eyes, on the road. Source: British Psychological Society


For this study, subjects were put into two groups and were presented with messages/tweets. After reading each message, subjects in one group were given the option to either retweet it or just leave it and go on to the next message. The other group was not given the option to retweet but was only given the option of moving on to the next message. The subjects were all then given a test that measured how much of the content of the series of messages they could remember. The results showed that the group with the option to retweet gave twice as many incorrect answers as the other group and also showed poor comprehension of what they had read. The researchers theorised that the retweeters were suffering from cognitive overload as making a choice of whether to share or not consumed cognitive resources and that interfered with the subsequent task. Source: Computers in Human Behaviour

Photography Bigstock & Getty Images


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All the latest in environmental issues CLIMATE CHANGE & FLOWER FRAGRANCE

CLIMATE CHANGE LIKELY TO TURN UP HEAT ON KOALAS A changing climate means that by 2070 koalas may no longer inhabit large parts of inland Australia. University of Melbourne researchers mapped potential koala habitats in 2070 using information about koala behaviour, physiology, body size and fur to predict how much energy and water koalas need to survive at a particular location. The researchers also used models that correlated known koala locations with the climatic conditions of the recent past. They found that the climatically suitable area dramatically reduced by 2070, particularly in Queensland. The koala’s range across Australia was limited by water requirements for keeping cool, with the timing of rainfall and heatwaves limiting the koalas’ range. According to the researchers, the findings could help our ability to forecast future impacts of climate change on biodiversity and allow for an efficient focus of conservation efforts given limited funding. Source: Global Change Biology

LEGUMES FOR A FARMING FUTURE In a new paper, researchers looked at legumes as the future of agriculture. The authors noted that legumes can increase the sustainability of agriculture as they are protein rich, increase the amount of nitrogen in soils and reduce the need for fertilisers. Using models across five different regions in Europe, they found that while legumes are undoubtedly good for the environment they are not economically attractive to farmers as a single crop. However, when they looked at introducing legumes into cropping systems they found that nitrous oxide emissions reduced by 20–30 per cent and fertiliser use was down by 25–40 per cent. Most importantly, the modelling showed that, in all forage agricultural systems and in two out of five arable farming systems studied, gross profit margins actually went up. The researchers concluded that diversifying cropping systems through the inclusion of legumes could be both economically and environmentally viable. Source: Frontiers in Plant Science


FINISHING FOSSIL FUELS According to a new report, the move to renewable energy sources could see fossil fuels phased out within a decade. The new paper analysed energy transitions throughout history and showed the transition from wood to coal in Europe took between 96 and 160 years. The transition to electricity as a mainstream energy source took between 47 and 69 years. However, this time the researchers say improved technology and innovation could greatly accelerate a global shift toward cleaner energy. The study highlighted some rapid transitions that have occurred, such as Ontario completing a shift away from coal between 2003 and 2014. A major household energy program in Indonesia took just three years to move two-thirds of the population from kerosene stoves to LPG stoves. Government action complemented by consumer incentives could see burning fossil fuels to create energy phased out in a decade. Source: Energy Research and Social Science

Photography Bigstock

The tantalising and subtle scents of flowers inspire and soothe us but they do much more than that. On a practical level, flowers produce fragrance to attract pollinating insects to the flowers’ reproductive organs. So a flower’s scent is essential to the propagation of the species and, to produce it, flowers combine a mix of up to hundreds of volatile substances from several biochemical groups. We already know that increasing temperatures associated with global climate change have a negative effect on plant growth. Now, in this new research, it has been shown that increases in ambient temperature also lead to a decrease in the production of floral scents. In particular, it showed that petunia plants grown at elevated temperature conditions produced much fewer scent compounds due to reduced activity of proteins that allow manufacture of scent compounds. Loss of flower fragrance is not just an aesthetic concern; it’s about maintaining diversity. Source: Plant, Cell & Environment


Hemidesmus: the vital vine This Ayurvedic medicine has been revered for thousands of years and can heal many modern maladies. WORDS / DR KAREN BRIDGMAN


emidesmus indicus (Indian sarsaparilla) is a fast-growing perennial vine whose roots have similar properties (and uses) to those of the herbal sarsaparilla used in Western herbal tradition. In Ayurvedic medicine, it has been revered for thousands of years for its healing properties and aromatic qualities. It has also been popular as a magical-spiritual dream herb. Its Sanskrit name means “endless root”.

water and electrolyte absorption. Alcohol extracts have the opposite effect and can cause problems. Research on rats supports the traditional uses of hemidesmus for gut problems and found that the roots (especially those collected during flowering time) were particularly useful to repair stomach erosion (including that damaged by pharmaceuticals such as aspirin), thereby protecting against stomach ulcers. Its ability to repair membrane has seen hemidesmus used for lung complaints such as bronchitis and to relieve sore mouths of children.


ACTIVE INGREDIENTS & USAGE The roots contain coumarins, essential oils, triterpenoid saponins, tannins and flavonoids. There are six major therapeutic uses that have been time tested and shown to be efficacious, all based on three actions: anti-inflammatory, diuretic and vulnerary. In traditional Indian folk wisdom, healers or sages used the roots as a general tonic, to cleanse the blood of toxins, soothe skin irritations and rashes, reduce the burning sensations caused by urinary tract infections, reduce fevers and heal moderate acne. Women used this herb to improve fertility, promote a healthy pregnancy and lower miscarriage risk.

Hormonal effects

mental clarity while falling asleep and to achieve lucidity while dreaming.

Therapeutic uses today There is significant scientific evidence that hemidesmus can be used effectively as a treatment for arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, epileptic seizures, high blood pressure, immune disorders and high stress.

Antioxidant & antithrombotic

Hemidesmus improves testosterone production, thereby improving libido (in both men and women), and increases male sperm count. It has been used to treat venereal disease, proving efficacious where American sarsaparilla has failed.

Renal system & kidneys Hemidesmus roots have a diuretic effect on the kidneys, improving a variety of kidney ailments, including fluid retention and burning urine (due to inflammation or infection).

Hemidesmus root was tested for its antioxidant properties; it reduced reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxidation and scavenged nitric oxide. It was also shown to reduce platelet aggregation with similar effectiveness to heparin.

Bone metabolism

Immune system


Hemidesmus has been found to depress both cell-mediated and humoral parts of the immune system, making it very useful to manage various autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. With its antioxidant and antiinflammatory activity, it is also useful as prevention and in reducing the cytotoxicity of a variety of cancer cells, including leukaemia and hepatocellular carcinoma.

More unusual uses are the treatment of snake bites (viper and cobra) and scorpion stings (as an antivenom treatment) and the promotion of wound healing.

Of a range of herbal medicines tested, hemidesmus showed the greatest antiosteoclastic activity, thereby assisting in the prevention of bone loss, without adverse effects on bone precursors.


“Dream” herb

Digestive system & membranes

The root of hemidesmus is used traditionally to treat a wide variety of illnesses including rheumatism, impotence and urinary tract and skin infections. In-vivo and in-vitro research has shown this plant to have anticancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, fever-reducing, analgesic, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, renoprotective, neuroprotective and immunomodulatory properties. References available on request.

Ayurvedic practitioners (and shamans) have used hemidesmus root to promote a calm and tranquil state of mind, to maintain

Hemidesmus has a long history of use for diarrhoea and dysentery, particularly as an infusion, as the tea stimulates

Dr Karen Bridgman is a holistic practitioner at Australian Biologics, Sydney, and Pymble Grove Health Centre, Gordon.


Antimicrobial & antifungal Research has shown hemidesmus to be antimicrobial against a broad spectrum of multi-drug-resistant organisms (including Staph aureus) as well as the yeast Candida albicans.

Photography (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

Traditional preparation of hemidesmus calls for the roots of the plant to be dried and ground into a fine powder, which is then either mixed with other medicinal herbs to make salves and balms or steeped in warm water and then ingested as a tea. Hemidesmus root is used as an infusion but not as a decoction, as boiling dissipates its active volatile principle. Around 56g of the root is infused in 470–500mL of boiling water and left standing for one hour then strained off and drunk within 24 hours. Tribes in India crush the roots then press them to extract the vital juices, which are consumed immediately to minimise degradation of the active compounds and revitalise the body. In South India, the juice is often served in refreshment shops as a cooling syrup with a dash of lemon.



Pawpaw/papaya: a popular remedy Pawpaw (papaya) is one of the most popular fruits in the world and it’s not only delicious but nutritious and healing as well. WORDS / DR KAREN BRIDGMAN



high amount of pectin and can be used to make jellies.

of disorders, including cancer, with anecdotal reports of patients achieving remission following the consumption of a tea made of the leaves. This was studied further (in vitro) and the leaf extract was shown to have significant growth-inhibitory activity on a number of tumour cell lines, with accompanying antiinflammatory activity. Pawpaw leaves have shown cytotoxicity to human squamous cell carcinomas (skin cancer), and traditional Australian Aboriginal preparations for this plant showed their use of the leaf juice the most effective.


THERAPEUTIC ACTIVITY Much of the researched therapeutic activity of pawpaw (or papaya) has been shown to be in the green fruit, the leaves or the seeds.

Digestion Pawpaw fruit has been used traditionally to relieve digestive disorders. Clinical observations have revealed positive effects for patients with constipation, heartburn and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome after eating papaya preparations, and the corresponding research showed symptom improvement in the level of constipation and bloating after as little as two days.

Dengue fever virus Studies have shown the juice of pawpaw leaves has an important antiviral effect against the dengue fever virus. As this disease affects millions of people globally, this could have important implications for public health in tropical countries.

Pawpaw leaf tea has demonstrated an immune-modulatory effect, inducing a shift in the balance of the TH1 and TH2 components of the immune system, reducing the inflammatory response (and increasing the anti-infective component), thus being useful to ease the symptoms of allergies and to minimise any side-effects of vaccination (by reducing inflammation).

Antidiabetic & lipid metabolism Rat studies have shown improvement in the symptoms of diabetes when the subjects were given a tea made from pawpaw leaves. Pawpaw tea showed hypoglycaemic and antioxidant effects and improved lipid profiles as well as enhancing both liver and pancreatic function.

Papaya seeds Papaya seeds have been shown to have major antifungal (anti-candida) effects, including on candida that is resistant to anti-fungal medication.

Thrombocytopenia: low platelet counts A low platelet count is a potentially severe complication of dengue fever, with its risk of haemorrhage, and accounts for much of the complications and mortality. This is also a common problem with chronic viral illness (such as hepatitis C) and some cancers and often goes unnoticed until there’s a significant bleed, which in extreme cases can be life-threatening. Platelets are a major factor in the blood’s ability to clot when needed.



Dr Karen Bridgman is a holistic practitioner at Australian Biologics, Sydney, and Pymble Grove Health Centre, Gordon.

Various parts of the papaya have traditionally been used for a number

Selected people are allergic to the latex fluid in unripe pawpaw. Excessive consumption of the fruit can trigger carotenemia (a yellowing of the skin on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet) caused by the high carotene content (about 6 per cent that of carrots). This is not necessarily a problem — apart from the “fright factor”. References available on request.

Photography Bigstock

awpaw or papaya, Carica papaya, is a popular tropical fruit grown extensively throughout the tropical parts of the world. It’s native to Mexico and Central America. The delicious fruit is actually a “berry” from a tree that grows rapidly but is very frost-sensitive, and has three sexes: male, female (which need each other to pollinate) and hermaphrodite (which self-pollinates). Papaya has become the fourth most popular fruit in the world after bananas, oranges and mangoes, so growing and exporting the fruit provides a livelihood for thousands of people in Asia and Latin America. In Australia, Carica papaya is the botanical cultivar and the yellow variety is often called pawpaw with the red variety being called papaya; however, in America, the yellow and the red varieties are two different botanical fruits entirely. All parts of the plant are used. The fruit is delicious and is nutritionally useful. As a cooking aid it has a protein-digesting enzyme (papain) that can be spread on tougher cuts of meat to tenderise them. The seeds can be dried, ground and used as a substitute for black pepper as a seasoning, having a pleasant spicy taste. In traditional medicine the leaves were most often boiled into a tea. They have even been used to protect against malaria and dengue fever and have shown antimicrobial properties. As a food, pawpaw fruit is high in carbohydrates and low in fats and protein. It has high levels of vitamin C (100g containing 75 per cent of the RDA) and folic acid and moderate levels of a range of the B vitamins as well as vitamins E and K, a good balance of calcium and magnesium (with higher magnesium) and high potassium. It is noticeably high in the important polyphenol (antioxidant) lycopene and high in carotenoids (the yellow/orange colouring). Pawpaw can be eaten raw or cooked and is an important ingredient in many Southeast Asian curries and salads. The young leaves can be boiled and eaten like spinach and the flower buds are sautéed and stirfried. Papayas have a relatively

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Stand & deliver For the four of us working on a natural health magazine, it goes against the grain to be sedentary all day. But there is a way to keep at it for eight hours without hunching over keyboards: standing desks. WORDS / KERRY BOYNE, KATE DUNCAN, DANIELLE KIRK & TERRY ROBSON

DANIELLE I first contemplated standing up at work in 2013. I’d never considered myself inactive before then but full-time work, part-time study and a lengthy commute had created the perfect sedentary (non?)storm. I ummed and ahhed about forking out for a standing desk but eventually decided enough was enough. So I built my own. Out of boxes. To stand, I’d stack them one atop the other: screen on top of two boxes, keyboard on an old wine carton turned on its side, mouse on a smaller box with books on top. To sit, I’d pack them away under the desk. A tad unsightly, a bit of a faff, but free. It was glorious. A standing desk meant I could use my body in a more natural way than hunching it over in front of a computer for hours on end; and I felt mentally freer as a result. I eased into standing, starting with three hours a day so my body could adjust, progressing to half a day and sometimes longer. On my feet, I tried flats, then heels, finally choosing shoes with a 2cm heel for optimal comfort. I became the office curiosity but the improved posture, increased energy during the day and decreased tiredness at night was worth it. I stacked and unstacked boxes until late 2015, when I began reviewing a heightadjustable Pro Plus Varidesk: a sturdy 91.4cm-wide two-tiered contraption that sits on top of your desk. At AU$575, it’s not cheap, but it has revolutionised my working life. I can effortlessly raise and lower the desk with a squeeze of a lever at either side, there’s room beside my screen for knickknacks ... and it looks good, too.

KATE In the office, Danielle and I share the “sacred” WellBeing space. Despite the imagery that sentence may evoke, it’s probably more beautiful in your mind than it is in reality. But we’re slowly creating a wholesome, calming space with a selection of succulents — and standing desks. After witnessing Danielle move from sitting to standing, becoming more energised and posture-perfect each day, I decided to join in. So I called my dad. Dad is quite the handyman: when I was younger, he’d bring my ideas to life and I’d look on, helping out when allowed. I treasure those years and,


so excited and grateful. At first, I could only stand for an hour or two, but after a few weeks I could be on my feet for longer. I never stand the whole day, though. It improves posture and energy, plus it gives a different perspective on your work from when you’re sitting. The electronic raising and lowering works so smoothly that it doesn’t even disturb the clutter at the back of the desk — things I like looking at. I like that, whether I’m sitting or standing, I can just switch over to freshen my perspective and I don’t feel so sedentary on work days. because of Dad, I look at things and think, “I could make that myself” — and do. So I sketched a rough design and Dad and I went to Bunnings, picking up recycled timber, sandpaper and screws for less than $30. We built, bonded, swapped ideas and laughed until beer o’clock when, sharing a cheers, we admired our handiwork. Together, we’d made a standing desk. It was strong, stable, well-designed, sustainable, cheap and compacts neatly away. It’s perfect, although sometimes the thought of moving it manually into place hinders my standing and it becomes a bookshelf. But, regardless, each time I look at my standing desk I’m reminded of my dad and the fun we had making it.

KERRY I moved to the country five years ago and these days I mostly work from home. I go between being a restless worker doing a bit of this and a bit of that, to one so engrossed in a particular job that, hunched over my computer, I barely move for hours. A few years back, I bought a laptop so I can work in different parts of the house and take it with me to Sydney. My home office also has beautiful mountain views so, at some point, I thought about standing desks. I wondered if one would offer even more flexibility for the restless me and force better posture on the concentrating me. But I’m a bit of a procrastinator, so I kept thinking about it. Then one day my sister emailed me saying she’d bought me something: an electronically controlled standing desk! Someone at her work was selling it and my sis knew I was thinking about one and she can never bear my indecision. I was

TERRY I spend a fair amount of time perusing research and I keep reading that standing desks are good for individuals (promoting weight loss) and even for companies (boosting productivity). So I came to trying it with a positive mindset, although my body wasn’t quite so sure. As with most things, my expectation differed from the reality. The Varidesk I tried is “stand-capable”, so I could lower it to the seating position when I wanted and I expected I’d be doing that after the first half hour. However, the first time I put the desk into the standing position, I left it there for about four hours. After a couple of hours, I was feeling my calves a little and towards the end a couple of twinges in my lower back. I was a touch more tired than usual that night, but overall my body enjoyed standing far more than it did sitting. Suprisingly, the biggest thing I noticed was actually the mental aspect. Somehow, standing expands your mental perspective, or at least it did for me. It was as though the openness of a standing posture versus the closed nature of sitting resulted in a broader mindset. Initially, that meant I found it more difficult to focus on demanding tasks when standing, but gradually I found that standing enhanced focus but still allowed me to be broader in my thoughts. After a month, I found that all negative physical effects from standing had almost disappeared. In fact, my body was feeling much better and some old aches had gone. These days, I find standing to work both mentally and physically refreshing. I do it for at least three hours daily and honestly can’t imagine going back to sitting.


Smitten by Merino wool We chat with Nicola Mason from Smitten Merino and discover how the woolly sheep of Tasmania keep the locals warm. What was your initial vision for Smitten Merino and has that changed over time? When we first began Smitten in 2007, our vision was to establish a business that creates beautiful garments from renewable and sustainable resources. We wanted to offer quality Tasmanian superfine Merino products while also benefiting Tasmanian farming and manufacturing. Our philosophy was to be ethically based, locally made and to create jobs and a future for the next generation of Tasmanians. We foresaw an opportunity to use world-class Merino wool from happily grazing sheep in the midlands and we wanted our brand to be known all over the world. Over the years, we’ve witnessed the social conscience people have when it comes to shopping, wanting to buy locally made products, so that remains a critical part of our business plan.

How does the Tasmanian landscape inspire Smitten? The stunning Tasmanian landscape heavily inspires Smitten. As you drive through rolling hills, you find raking mountain ranges in the background with happy sheep dotted on the hillside. Plus, the four seasons in Tasmania are all magnificent! Autumn is incredible with the local myrtle beech tree turning golden and spring welcomes beautiful blossoms and birds. Winter is crisp and cold but exhilarating, especially when you’re wearing your Smitten leggings and cami under everything to keep warm. We find inspiration for Smitten everywhere, especially in the wonderful changes of season!

Mulesing is very controversial and was commonly practised to prevent the sheep getting flystrike around their tail area. None of our sheep have been mulesed.

Who is Smitten? Smitten is very much a family business! There’s my husband Carl, our three children, Holly, Brooke and Daniel, and I running Smitten. Carl is the main marketing man, I’m the designer and photographer, Holly is the face of Smitten and helps out in sales, Brooke is the Smitten model and chief swing-tag maker and packer in the university holidays and Daniel will soon be taking over as photographer on all our shoots.

What is Merino wool and why do you choose to use it? We believe circular-knitted superfine Merino wool is the world’s bestperforming fabric. In the outdoors, it has been proven to be unsurpassed for comfort, feel, low odour, warmth when wet and longevity. We saw an opportunity to use this new-generation wool in women’s fashion as there wasn’t a lot of it being used in the industry. Also,


Why do athletes choose Smitten Merino products? Tasmanian athletes and adventurers often choose Smitten garments as they love to wear locally made products. Tassie is a tightknit community and the people like to support local island businesses. We sponsor a lot of local sports people and adventurers and love to see them wearing Smitten garments. We also have a Smitten Pro Team, a group of diverse Tassie athletes that we sponsor.

when we moved to Tasmania and saw the abundance of Merino sheep, we were motivated to keep some of the Merino wool here in Tasmania, as most of it was being sent overseas. Where do you source your Merino wool? We source our Merino wool from Tasmania predominantly as well as some from mainland Australia. The wool that we use in our products is sustainably farmed and non-mulesed, as we aim to be as ethical as possible. What does mulesing mean? Mulesing is a surgical procedure during which the skin around the breech and tail area of Merino sheep is removed. It’s very controversial and was commonly practised to prevent the sheep getting flystrike around their tail area. None of our sheep have been mulesed.

What’s next for Smitten? We are busy currently growing our online store. We pride ourselves on our ability to produce quality long-lasting garments and on our sustainability. We also aim to be as environmentally friendly as possible; our products are delivered wrapped in tissue paper, free from plastic bags and plastic tag strings. All of our look-books are printed locally using recycled paper where possible. Lessening our environmental impact is important to us. We currently send Smitten garments to Hong Kong, US, UK, Canada, Paris and Alaska but we want to continue to spread the word to the rest of Australia and then across the world. We can imagine people in Berlin looking just great in Smitten!




Traditionally used for the temporary relief of bruising, mild sprains and minor sports injuries.

 Paraben free  Fast absorption  Australian made

THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT IS EXTRACTED FROM THE FLOWERS OF THE ARNICA MONTANA PLANT Available in health food stores and pharmacies Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist, please consult your healthcare professional. CHC 71328-04/16


WellBeing gives space to the creative souls in our community

STEFANIE FERGUSON W: E: As a child, I always dreamed of using art to help make the world a better place. I originally trained as a sculptor but began reusing objects to create new meaning in materials. Over time, my art practice has spanned across jewellery and photography and I like to exhibit my art for charitable causes. I have found that I take my deepest inspiration from the forms and textures of nature that I see in my travels and day-to-day life. My photography practice sees me take photos during chance encounters when I am in a state of awareness and serenity. I do not actively go out looking for the images but find the opportunity arises when I am immersing myself in nature. Radial 12×17cm, photography

Are you an amateur artist and would you like to see your art appear on this page? Email a high-resolution colour copy of an unpublished artwork to or post it to WellBeing, Locked Bag 154, North Ryde, NSW 1670.


, y a d My . e o h s y m

Fit your lifestyle.



sk Natalie Cunningham to describe herself and she’ll give a cheeky smile and say, “Um ... soccer mum, school helper and a designer.” In that order. She is also very modest. This warm and witty 34-year-old has just successfully taken her fashion label Emu Designs to the world stage, at New York Fashion Week. Cunningham is an award-winning designer and the first Indigenous

Australian to be invited to exhibit her label at the coveted event, an international fashion drawcard attracting the who’s who of the global fashion elite. “I was pretty excited to be selected to showcase our Indigenous fashion and designs to the world,” she says. The event was an eye-opener for Cunningham though not quite in the way she’d imagined. The cost of the trip to the Big Apple took a hefty bite out of the family’s savings and Cunningham’s

models were the first to sashay up the runway, meaning a lot of the buyers had not even arrived. “Expectations were high and there was also a lot of pressure,” says Cunningham, who paid thousands in expenses. She and husband Eli ended up in very modest digs while the smooth-talking public relations company that arranged it all clinked glasses of Cristal in the penthouse suite Cunningham had paid for.

CONNECTED FASHION Award-winning clothing designer Natalie Cunningham is taking Indigenous Australian artwork to the international stage, and she’s doing it from a space of deep connection and love. WORDS / CARROL BAKER

Swimwear designer Natalie Cunningham with her proudest creation yet: her family.

THINKERS & DOERS NATALIE CUNNINGHAM The upside, of course, was the opportunity to shine the light internationally on Indigenous art and the ethereal beauty of Cunningham’s designs. The luxury resort-wear is crafted from eco-friendly 100 per cent silk and the swimsuits from Lycra, in figure-flattering shapes and styles. “I wanted to design something to give women, especially mothers, confidence at the beach in styles to suit every body shape,” she says. “They tuck in some places and push up in others.” The designs that are digitally printed onto the fabric are Dreamtime stories sourced from Indigenous artists who live in rugged, remote parts of the k Northern Territory. Some of them speak only their own dialect, so a mediator hass n. to translate the meaning of each design. le Each Dreamtime story is an intricate tale of family, of life living on the land, and how it is all interconnected to Mother Earth and nature.

Photography The Studio Photography

A STITCH IN TIME Cunningham’s foray into fashion began as a young child, when she meticulously scoured op-shops for preloved, vibrantly coloured fabrics she could pull apart and craft unto unique designs. These days she also teaches others about upcycling and recycling clothing and accessories. You might say Cunningham’s passion for fashion is in the blood. Her grandmother Hari made clothes for daytime TV soaps in America in the 1980s and her mother Demi also sewed, albeit out of necessity. “Mum said she hated sewing but struggled to pay the bills, holding down two or three jobs because Dad was always in and out of work,” says Cunningham. Demi would visit shops and copy designer labels like Laura Ashley and Country Road. Not only were the kids nicely decked out, soft furnishings in their home were also clever knockoffs of designer décor. While growing up, Cunningham’s family didn’t have a television — but the decision wasn’t driven by lack of money. Her parents wanted her and brother Stevie to create their own fun, so they played sport, climbed trees and immersed themselves in books. Her mother also wanted Cunningham to spread her wings before settling down. For her 18th birthday, she declined her mother’s offer of a plane ticket to Europe and instead asked for an overlocker and sewing machine. “She wanted me to go and see

Each dreamtime story is an intricate tale of family, of life living on the land, and how it’s all interconnected to Mother Earth and nature. the world,” she said. “She settled down young and she wanted me to experience more from life.” Cunningham fine-tuned her sewing skills at TAFE and began crafting a range of fashion pieces but felt confused about what direction she wanted to take in design. Husband Eli helped her find her way back. “He said what I was doing was too broad; I needed to pick one aspect of fashion and then give it 100 per cent,” she says. Cunningham launched Emu Designs in 2006 and hasn’t looked back.

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS Cunningham credits her Greek mother Demi, who has established several successful businesses of her own, with giving her the strength and unwavering determination to succeed. “Mum has always been very business orientated and career driven,” she says. “She said never take second best and encouraged me to aim high and set goals for myself.” As a young child, Cunningham often found herself accompanying her mother to business meetings and motivational talks. While most kids would be scribbling in colouring-in books, she was riveted, hanging on to every word.

Cunningham’s father, Nudge, is a talented Indigenous artist from the Biripi and Ngarabal people in Glenn Innes, New South Wales. He picked up a paintbrush later in life, after a truck accident forced him to switch careers, and turned to painting as a form of therapy. These days some of his art is printed on his daughter’s designs. “My dad’s a real dude; he’s got the walkabout in him and he’s happy,” says Cunningham with a laugh. “He gets itchy feet and can’t stay in the one place for a long time. He might say, ‘I’m going to Tasmania to see my nieces,’ packs up his little dog and tosses a mattress in the back of his car. Then, a few days after he gets there, he’ll be off to Darwin.” Cunningham’s 31-year-old brother Stevie works as a chef but, when they were growing up, it was clever Natalie who’d be cooking up business deals. “I used to pay him five bucks to clean my room and dispose of any dead fish in my tank,” she says. Before Cunningham became a fashion designer, she was a beauty therapist. Her mother founded Demi International Beauty Academy and was eager for her daughter to follow in her footsteps. “I did it for Mum and enjoyed being a beauty therapist but I didn’t feel as though it was for me,” she says. “I know what I’m doing now is. When you’re in the right place or on the right path in life, everything flows more smoothly and falls into place.”

HOME SWEET HOME Cunningham’s story is about spirit and determination but, mostly, it’s about heart and the love of family. Far from New York City, she and husband Eli, 35, live in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland where they’re raising their three sons: Isaac, 13, Noah, 9, and Kade, 6. The designer’s chocolate-brown eyes light up with joy and words tumble out in carefree abandon when asked to describe her three boys. “My eldest boy Isaac is very smart and sporty, too. Kade is a little dynamo, full of fun, and also shares his father’s love of making music,” she says. Cunningham describes son Noah as her big-hearted boy. “I was so proud of him on sports day when he was winning a race and his mate fell over, so he turned back to help him.” Noah’s also the main custodian of the family vegetable patch. Cunningham’s eager to teach her offspring about living green and becoming more selfsufficient — in a world where, she says, we’ve become far too used to jumping in



From left: Natalie and her little green thumb, Noah; in designer mode.

Three generations: Natalie’s mum Demi, Natalie and grandmother Hari.

the car and racing around to the shops for what we need. “We need to be more resourceful and grow more of our own food,” she says.

LOVE, SUPPORT, COMMUNITY Natalie and Eli, who is from the Noonuccal people of Stradbroke Island, went to high school together — though, Cunningham confesses, they were far from being sweethearts. “I thought he was a bit stuck up; he used to hang out with all the cool kids, the footy crowd. But it turns out he was just shy.” After hanging up their school bags and joining the workforce, their paths crossed again when they were 17 and they’ve been inseparable ever since. Cunningham says Eli is her biggest advocate and was “incredibly supportive” when she began her fledgling foray into the world of fashion. “He’s my rock,” she says. “He always believed in me. Even when it’s been difficult and I felt like giving up in the early days, he was always there to offer encouragement.” When Cunningham talks of family, it’s also about her people — the elders whose wisdom and courage have shaped the community. She has a deep regard for her elders and what they can teach those who come after them. “In


“I wanted to design something to give women, especially mothers, confidence at the beach in styles to suit every body shape. They tuck in some places and push up in others.” our culture, we are very big on looking after our elders. We call them aunties and uncles; there’s a lot of respect.” In the Indigenous community, respect isn’t limited to other people. Australia’s first citizens had to hunt and forage to survive but underpinning that was a deep reverence for the land. They believed their role was not just simply to take but to live in harmony with nature, to give back and to share its bounty. For this Sunshine Coast family and their extended community, this sustainability ethos is very much a way of life. “I think everyone can live a greener life,” Cunningham says. “We’re all connected in our community. We give away what we don’t need and we share what we have — it’s really that simple. “I think the world is becoming selfish. We need to help and support one another more, to want less and to appreciate what we have,” she adds.

CREATING & SHARING Cunningham certainly does walk the talk — and goes on walkabout to do it, just a little bit. In an effort to share her knowledge and promote a grassroots shift in thinking towards adopting more sustainable practices, the designer holds recycling/upcycling workshops

in Queensland’s capital, Brisbane. She teaches others about how to use a little artistic flair (and a bit of bling) to create something unique. New made from old has a past, a tale to tell of where it has been, a rich history to share. According to Cunningham, there are endless possibilities you can explore through recycling and upcycling preloved items. “I show people that by making a few changes and thinking a bit creatively you can extend the life of an object, or totally reinvent it into something new,” she says. A current project is taking preloved clothes and turning them into a collection of handbags — all from items of clothing that are no longer wanted. Cunningham is also involved in NAIDOC week, a seven-day celebration held each year to celebrate the culture, history and accomplishments of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. It’s about looking back at the past but also embraces the here and now and looks to the future, empowering Indigenous communities and acknowledging their achievements. Cunningham has an active role in organising fashion parades and teaching Indigenous teenage girls about styling hair and applying makeup. “It’s really rewarding, seeing their increase in self-confidence and the difference in how they carry themselves,” she says. Another project in the pipeline for Cunningham is a way to empower the homeless and the needy. Called a Wall of Kindness, it’s something she’s seen overseas and would like to introduce here. It involves covering a fence or wall with an array of coathangers and inviting those who have clothes they no longer want or need to hang them up on a hanger to be passed on to others. “That way people can choose what they like, find clothes that suit them and it’s free,” she says. “It’s a hand-up, not a handout. so it gives those who need help a little dignity.” As for her own clothing, Cunningham now has her sights set on taking her designs into the tourist hotspots of Australia to promote not only her label but also Indigenous culture to the rest of the world. “Indigenous Australians have a voice and we want it to be heard,” she says. “Our culture is so old and our stories need to be told. They are part of Australian history.” For more information about Emu Designs, check out Carrol Baker is a freelance journalist who writes for lifestyle and health magazines across Australia.

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lovely life Beauty is about aesthetics, but it is also so much more. Creating — and witnessing — beauty in your life involves slowing down, savouring and making meaningful choices. WORDS / JESSICA STEAD


ow often do you intentionally slow down so you can see the world around you? Are you aware of the beauty that exists in your everyday life? What does it mean to live and create a beautiful life? I was pondering this question while walking the streets of Paris last year at Christmas time with my husband. We had been to Paris a few years previously but this time we were back as husband and wife, having just married a few months before. There was something about Paris that enticed us back and left a mark on our hearts. I wasn’t totally sure what it was


the first time, but being back it seemed so much clearer: it was the beauty. I’m not just referring to the twinkling Eiffel Tower at night, the stunning architecture steeped in history or the fashionable women walking the streets. The beauty that exists in Paris runs much deeper and appears to emanate from a choice to live a slower, more aware and more intentional life — to turn the everyday into something special. The Parisians take time out of their day to eat and chat over a long lunch, valuing quality over quantity in how they eat and drink. They take pride in their shopfront displays and care about the

aesthetics of how their products and produce are created and sold. Staying in a flat, we did all our grocery shopping at the local boulangeries, boucheries and fromageries. Our meats and cheeses were wrapped exquisitely and our pastries placed in boxes and wrapped in such a unique way to protect their shape and beauty. The smallest of details mattered. I could feel in Paris that there was an appreciation for balance and a commitment to enjoy life; a way of living reflected even in their laws, which govern that the work week be only 35


Beauty in life comes when life feels good, when you feel loved, when you feel deeply on-purpose and when your senses are engaged and you feel happiness and pleasure.

hours, allowing for a quality of life that most city-dwellers only dream about.

Photography Getty Images

RECONNECTING I needed this shift in perspective when I arrived in Paris. I was feeling pretty exhausted after a massive year of launching my business and organising our wedding. I’d put on hold so many simple everyday things that make me feel grounded and happy: weekly yoga, time in the ocean, sleep-ins, coffee with friends and family, reading a great novel. Living in the fast-paced city of Sydney and being part of the business world, it’s the norm to work long hours and be

forever pushing for the next big thing. The problem with this is that it leads to burnout and can take you away from the very things that restore you and make you feel great about your life. This way of living makes life feel hard, not beautiful. Travelling opened my eyes to how other people live and gave me necessary distance from my own life to see how I was living and what I wanted to change. Seeing some of the lifestyle differences in Paris, I knew my life could be far more beautiful if I slowed down and made time for the simple things that bring me joy. Having researched the brain and the latest in neuroscience, I know both

empirically and scientifically that what you focus on magnifies and sets the tone for your life. By being busy all the time and feeling as if I didn’t have the time to do the things I loved, I was training my brain to see life through a lens of scarcity rather than abundance. I wanted to return to a place of beautiful abundance and Paris showed me how, by demonstrating how to become more aware and intentional about how I lived my life and the choices I was making.

WHAT IS A BEAUTIFUL LIFE? One of the definitions of beauty in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is “the


HOME BEAUTIFUL LIVING qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind”. When it comes to thinking about beauty in life, however, I believe it’s both what pleases your senses and what pleases your soul and spirit. Beauty in life comes from those moments when life feels good, when you feel loved, when you feel deeply on-purpose and when your senses are engaged and you feel happiness and pleasure. I spoke with six people in my life to ask what a beautiful life meant to them and they shared experiences like seeing their child smile, seeing the ocean, achieving their long-held goals, having a beautiful bunch of flowers on their kitchen table — the simple things. When I close my eyes and think of what a beautiful life means to me, I feel a deep sense of contentment. There is no rushing. There is no frantic busy mind. There is a sense of spaciousness. I feel grounded and happy. I can see the beauty around me and I am making time to do the things I love: enjoying coffee in the sun, yoga, watching a stunning sunset, enjoying a hug from my husband. In these moments of beauty, the heart fills. You feel happy, blessed, excited, content and a deep sense of gratitude.

AWARENESS & GRATITUDE These moments of beauty are happening around you all the time if you’re conscious and aware of them. It’s not always the case that you pay attention, though, particularly when you’ve made your life as busy as I had. In his book Capturing Mindfulness, Matthew Johnstone writes: “This may come as a surprise to some, but we are constantly surrounded by beauty and incredible moments. The problem is we’re often too busy, self-absorbed and distracted to notice what is going on in front of us. If we train ourselves to become more aware of the present moment, the ordinary can become extraordinary.” Do you hit “pause” on your life so you can reflect and reconnect with what brings you joy? Do you take time to savour the simple moments in life or do you rush through them, not seeing and experiencing their inherent beauty? It was cartoonist and poet Michael Leunig who so insightfully said, “Nothing can ever be loved at speed.” By slowing down and appreciating the beauty that is all around you, you prime your brain to perceive yourself and the world in a way that is positive, not stuck in a mindset focused on stress, deadlines and scarcity.


Are you doing the things that reconnect you with yourself and which leave you feeling amazing? Do you make time to meditate, journal, get into the garden, have a warm bath, go jogging, enjoy a cup of tea, sit in the sun and read the paper, go to a yoga class, make art? Life becomes truly beautiful when you make time for these activities in your life and when you begin to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. From this place of awareness, you can move your mindset and outlook on life to a place of deep gratitude, which has a profound flow-on effect to all areas of your life. Studies have shown that feeling thankful for your life wires your brain for happiness and changes the way you see the world. In a recent article on, Jessica Stillman writes, “Practising gratitude seems to kick off a healthful, self-perpetuating cycle in your brain — counting your blessings now makes it easier to notice and count

3 STEPS TO A BEAUTIFUL LIFE 1. Be aware. Slow down and take the time to observe, connect and reflect. 2. Be grateful. Focus on and be thankful for all the wonderful and beautiful things you have in your life. 3. Be free. Be intentional about what you surround yourself with and what you need to let go of. Have the courage to be you.

Being in Paris reconnected me with what had been lost in the daily grind — and that was an appreciation for the beauty that exists in the simple everyday things. them later. And the more good you see in your life, the happier and more successful you’re likely to be.” Living a beautiful life is about being intentional in what you focus on, what you make time to do, but also what you choose to surround yourself with, because your environment greatly affects your mindset.

FREEDOM & AUTHENTICITY We lived in a small Parisian flat during our honeymoon and, coming home, I realised I had far too much “stuff”. It became clear that my home had become cluttered and this lack of spaciousness had brought feelings of stress and frustration. I wasn’t enjoying what I had: I was resenting it. I really wanted to embrace the idea of “less is more” and “quality over quantity” that I had experienced in Paris. In an article on the University of Minnesota’s website, the writers explain that “our home and work environments affect our emotional as well as our physical health. Among other things, research reveals that our physical

surroundings can increase or reduce our stress, which in turn impacts our bodies in multiple ways. ... Visual ‘noise’ increases stress. A cluttered, dirty or confusing environment can cause us to feel worried, sad or helpless.” Creating and living a beautiful life means considering not only what you’ve surrounded yourself with but also what effect this has on your mind and your life. I wanted to be at home and see beautiful things, be inspired and enjoy a clear mind. I looked to Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying to help me transform my living spaces. I thought it would be easy to toss things out. It wasn’t. I quickly discovered that objects hold meaning and energy and not all of that energy is positive.


Photography Getty Images


Kondo writes, “Attachment to the past and fears concerning the future not only govern the way you select the things you own but also represent the criteria by which you make choices in every aspect of your life.” I had never considered this before but it resonated with me as I came across objects that made me feel a sense of guilt when I thought about tossing them. I have always felt it “wasteful” to throw things away but I hadn’t realised I’d been surrounding myself with things that were holding me back emotionally. Peter Walsh, a professional organiser and writer, says, “If your house is full of stuff, all the blessings that could fill your house can’t get

in. The stuff takes over. It robs you psychologically. You can’t be at peace.” Being aware of what you are creating and hanging on to in your life gives you the chance to let go of the things that no long serve you. The act of decluttering became a process of reconnecting with myself and what truly mattered to me and what I wanted for my life. I was reminded of French fashion designer Coco Chanel’s words: “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” When you live a rushed, unaware and “unconscious” life, you move further and further away from your authentic self and the things that make your life truly beautiful. Being in Paris reconnected me with what had been lost in the daily grind — and that was an

appreciation for the beauty that exists in the simple everyday things. Creating a beautiful life is about resisting the need to be busy and “productive” and the temptation to devalue the experiences that bring you joy and spark gratitude. It begins by moving through the world more slowly, stilling your mind so you can notice, feel, sense, taste and see the beauty that exists around you. Creating a beautiful life is the art and magic of turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. Jessica Stead is a business and communications consultant and owner of The Spark Effect. She loves helping people find their true voice, purpose and passion in their life and business. You can contact her via and


MASSAGING THE MIND Shirodhara, a steady stream of liquid poured across the forehead, is a subtle Ayurvedic therapy that relaxes the body and cleanses the mind. WORDS / CAROLINE ROBERTSON


ouldn’t it be wonderful if you could wash stress away like sweat in the shower? Shirodhara’s warm waterfall over the forehead smooths lines and soothes the brain back to balance. Try turning off tension by turning on to shirodhara for relaxation and rejuvenation.

SERENE STREAM Remember how heavenly it feels to have your hair rinsed at the hairdressers? Ayurvedic practitioners in India have used shirodhara — Sanskrit for head (shiro) and stream (dhara) — for centuries to lull patients into serenity.


This hypnotic healing therapy is performed slightly differently according to each person’s needs and the practitioner’s approach. However, it always involves lying comfortably on one’s back while a continuous stream of liquid is poured over the forehead to overflow through the scalp. This dissolves depression, stress, anxiety, fatigue, brain fag, glandular imbalances and nervous system issues. The duration and substance used is adjusted according to the individual. Typically, warm herbalised oil is applied, but other options are milk, buttermilk, coconut milk, coconut water and water. A usual course is 60 minutes, preferably

performed for a consecutive three days minimum, but for some conditions it can be continued for 14 days with each session lasting up to 90 minutes. One may lie on a traditional wooden droni table or a massage table. The fluid flows from centimetres above the forehead, the stream either swinging left to right like a pendulum or staying still over the “third eye”. Shirodhara sounds like a strange water torture to some, but it’s really relaxing and healing on the physical and subtle sphere. The stroking sensation gently surrounds you in a blissful bubble, tuning your intuition and higher purpose. Dripping over the ajna chakra,

MIND SHIRODHARA a major marma, or meridian, shirodhara opens and cleanses this energy vortex and optimises its psychosomatic functions. The ajna activates the pineal and pituitary glands. These master glands harmonise all hormones including melatonin for sleep, growth hormone to thrive, thyroid hormones for balance, adrenal secretions for stress and sex hormones for fertility and more. It caresses the crown chakra over the cranium, soaking into the scalp through the blood-brain barrier to balance the brain and nervous system. This can resolve deep-seated disturbances by aligning the right and left brain hemispheres and clearing impressions. As Ayurvedic physician Rama Prasad explains, “Shirodhara is a simple solution to stress, exhaustion and emotional issues. It makes us mentally receptive to inner wisdom, which the body then responds to without resistance. It cleanses the mind as naturally as a river sweeps silt from a ravine.”

Photography Getty Images

ENTERING THE ZEN ZONE Abhishekam, the ceremonial version of shirodhara, is soothing to see. During festivals, delighted devotees bathe their beloved deities in liquid love of milk, honey or ghee. Pouring offerings over the divinity’s head is akin to the releasing ritual of shirodhara. It’s reminiscent of bathing a baby who is restless at the start and totally tranquil by the end. Initially in shirodhara, the mind remains alert to the curious new feeling. Then, as you become accustomed to the stimulation, sedation ensues and buried baggage slowly surfaces. Lapping liquid peels away layers of thought, revealing unconscious impressions. Surrendering to the healing baptism, you enter a dreamy alpha brainwave haze where thoughts bubble up and burst like effervescent insights. People tend to emerge reborn from the amniotic waters with sparkling perception and revived energy. The relaxation response induced by shirodhara is similar to a meditative state. Studies have shown it stabilises blood pressure, lowers heart rate, increases alpha brainwave coherence, reduces anxiety and alleviates insomnia. Repeating a shirodhara course at least annually reinforces these effects. An Ayurvedic practitioner tailors the treatment for you before commencing therapy by completing a preliminary consultation, assessing

you and explaining the protocol. After investigating your tissues, elements, body systems, past conditions and mental disposition, the ideal therapy is devised for the patient’s needs. Sometimes a full-body, head or foot massage is prescribed before the actual shirodhara. A full-body waterfall or deha-dhara may also be recommended as a powerful adjunct to shirodhara. It’s best not to eat one hour before a treatment and to avoid rushing, stress or exertion after shirodhara. Allow the serenity to sink in and integrate into your wakeful awareness rather than launch back into overload. Be prepared to have wet hair and a relaxed yet refreshed outlook.

IS SHIRODHARA FOR YOU? Renowned Ayurvedic doctor Robert Svoboda once joked that we need roadside shirodhara stalls to cleanse stress just as we have car washes to remove dirt. Shirodhara is a blessing for those who suffer everyday pressures or serious imbalances. Yet we all gain from regular realignment and reintegration. As my client Sarah Webber shared, “Shirodhara has a profoundly grounding effect on me. It takes me to a quiet space where I experience my true self and emerge with crystal clarity.” Everyone is happier and healthier when their soul is singing, their mind is peaceful and their body is performing at its peak. Shirodhara supports this state as it ignites your intuition, immunity, energy and internal balance. It lubricates the endocrine and nervous systems so you run like a well-oiled machine. Shirodhara is suitable for almost everyone. However, it’s not advised for those with a cold, fever, very low blood pressure or open skin on their scalp. It’s also not advised during the first trimester of pregnancy. Shirodhara dissolves stress in general but has also been prescribed to help the following specific disorders for thousands of years: Vata (air and ether) imbalances, for example insecurity, fear, nervous system strain, spaciness, sudden pain, nerve problems, depleted bones and poor digestion Pitta (fire and water) imbalances can benefit from a cooling, calming session to reduce anger, frustration, burning pains, inflammation and acidity Brain fag from mental strain, shiftwork or sleep deprivation Post traumatic stress disorder Insomnia

Menopausal imbalances such as hot flushes, weight gain and osteoporosis Psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, paranoia, bipolar, depression and anxiety neurosis Skin conditions including psoriasis and eczema Head pain such as headache, migraine, sinusitis, eye pain and neck pain Jet lag Hypertension Memory loss Alzheimer’s and dementia Tinnitis Dizziness Dandruff Hair loss Epilepsy Infertility Low immunity Residual effects from head injuries such as concussion Pain such as from arthritis, sciatica, muscular tension, tendonitis or spasm Chronic fatigue ADD and ADHD Temporomandibular joint disorders Poor concentration and lost direction Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis Ménière’s disease Facial palsy, paralysis and ptosis (drooping) of the eyelids Improve senses of hearing, sight, smell and taste Soften worry lines Stimulate the sixth and seventh chakras, which regulate respiration Increase lucid dreaming Clear any traumatic or unpleasant memories

WHAT TO EXPECT So how do you take a dip in this pure shirodhara spring? Previously only available in India, this therapy is now offered by most Ayurvedic doctors and body therapists worldwide. Some spas are adding it to their menu under exotic names such as Aveda’s “Himalayan rejuvenation treatment”. The experience varies according to the place, with some standard procedures. Generally, you remain fully clothed or wear a gown, leaving the décolletage uncovered and removing earrings and glasses. Your makeup is cleansed and hair placed within the catchment headrest in either two pigtails or resting inside the lip. Eye patches or an eye mask may be placed over the eyes. A dimly lit, quiet room sets a tranquil mood. Essential oils or



YOUR SHIRODHARA SYSTEM Shirodhara systems are an appealing addition to health clinics and yoga/ meditation centres. They attract more clients, increase income and can be customised to each centre. An easy option is the simple selfservice automated shirodhara system developed by Swiss doctor Bertrand Martin, who specialises in psychiatry, yoga and Ayurveda. His light, portable, temperature- and flow-controlled shirodhara machine makes it easy to apply shirodhara on yourself or others. Dr Rama Prasad finds that many patients with chronic conditions benefit from purchasing one of Martin’s devices. “I’ve used different shirodhara equipment over 20 years but this is by far the quietest, cleanest and most seamless shirodhara system I’ve utilised,” he says. “It’s especially useful for those wanting to get or give regular treatments in the convenience of their own homes.” Alternatively, you can arrange your own shirodhara system. Authentic shirodhara equipment can be a stunning showpiece: a hand-carved wooden table, handspun valved brass pot and copper inlaid wooden stand are like museum masterpieces. Yet, while jackfruit or neem wood and copper have their own medicinal properties, these are not the cheapest or lightest options. You can set up a modern, makeshift and inexpensive shirodhara spa with the following items: 1. A warm, dimly lit, quiet and preferably uncarpeted room 2. Massage table 3. Large modified photographic tray with a hole drilled on one side and a “U” cut out of one side, which sits under the recipient’s neck. Attach this to the table with strong double-sided sticky tape on


A copper vessel used for shirodhara.

WHAT LIQUID TO CHOOSE? Selecting a suitable solution is an important factor of successful shirodhara. The other essential aspects are a soothing environment, the correct temperature for the liquid and a rhythmic movement. Herbalised Ayurvedic oils are most commonly used in shirodhara, as they are said to penetrate the crown fontanelle and permeate the seven skin layers within 10 minutes. They can then cross over the bloodbrain barrier and directly nourish the nervous system. Ayurvedic oils contain herbs that are antioxidant, anti-ageing and purifying. The temperature should be around 20°C. Ayurvedic doctor Rama Prasad recommends the following herbs for shirodhara: “Dhanwantharam for bone or brain problems, ksheerabala for inflammation, maha-narayana for nervous system disorders, pinda for inflamed pains and sahacharadi to cool and ground.” You may also add essential oils such as lavender to relax, ylang ylang to balance, rose to uplift and sandalwood to enhance spiritual connection. Simple warm water also has a relaxing effect, purely from the sensation. Coconut water is useful when the head is overheated, milk is calming and buttermilk assists dermatitis, dandruff and psoriasis.

a slight slant, so that the liquid flows out with gravity. 4. 2–3L stainless-steel bowl with a 1cm-radius hole drilled in the bottom and three holes drilled around the edges, to tie three strings for attaching to the roof or a stand. 5. 10 thick cotton threads 6 inches long, tied together on one end to a thickness that can easily run through the hole at the bottom of the stainless-steel vessel.

The flow is controlled by increasing or decreasing the number of threads. The knot should be inside the bowl, suspended 1–2 inches above the bottom hole with the help of a curved plastic lid or stick. Traditionally, this is done with a carved coconut shell. 6. A beaked, flat-bottomed saucepan sitting on a small electric stove with a temperature regulator, to collect the oil pouring out the hole from the tray at the edge of the table. 7. Another beaked, flat-bottomed saucepan to rapidly swap over onto the burner when the oil in the bowl is empty and needs to be refilled with heated oil. 8. 2L of suitable liquid. This may be oil, milk, coconut milk, buttermilk or coconut water. 9. An assistant who will collect the oil from the heater, place another saucepan in its place and pour the oil into the overhanging bowl. 10. Lots of towels for wiping the recipient’s hair and face.

SHIRODHARA PROCEDURE Once the recipient is comfortably lying down, the therapist holds the overhanging bowl away from the recipient’s head by the rim with one hand and plugs the hole at the bottom with one finger. The assistant pours warm liquid into the bowl and the therapist places it around 3 inches away from the forehead. They then release the finger and allow a continuous stream to flow over the forehead. They may move it from temple to temple in a rhythmic flow. One cycle should take around one breath. Precautions should be taken to prevent the flow of liquid into the eyes. To avoid this, use a headband below the client’s forehead and over the eyebrows and place cotton pads over the eyes. Just before the bowl is empty, draw it back while the assistant refills it with warm liquid. There must be proper communication between the client and therapist to ensure the client’s continued comfort. Take care to be as quiet and continuous as possible and persevere for the prescribed time. Once the procedure is complete, very gently wipe the recipient’s forehead and hair with a towel. Encourage them to remain lying down for at least 15 minutes, then help them up, ensuring their hair is wrapped in a towel. Caroline Robertson is a naturopath, Ayurvedic practitioner and first-aid trainer. She arranges Ayurvedic retreats through To learn more about her courses, consultations or treatments, see

Photography Bigstock

incense may be burnt to induce deeper sedation. While you’re cocooned in a warm cover, the practitioner creates a safe and sacred space for you in their unique way. Some therapists centre themselves and you with a mantra, breathing or brief guided meditation. Once settled into a comfortable position, you’re encouraged to stay still, silent and aware of any arising thoughts or sensations. It’s best to rest for at least 15 minutes after a shirodhara session and avoid excessive mental or physical activity for a few hours following. You can wash oil or liquid from your hair by applying shampoo directly to your tresses then rinsing off in warm water.


FOR YOUR FACE LET’S FACE IT, SUPERFOODS ARE HUGE FOR INNER BODY HEALTH, FACT. BUT DO YOU KNOW HOW AMAZING THEY ARE FOR YOUR SKIN TOO? Which is why The Body Shop have created five sensational superfood facial masks, to pamper and feed your skin with nutrients derived from natural ingredients. And of course, formulated with no parabens, paraffins, silicone or mineral oils. In fact, each jar is packed with 100% vegetarian ingredients, crushed, pressed and blended, to nourish and purify your skin, just like a superfood….for your face!

BENEFITS OF CHARCOAL Himalayan Bamboo charcoal and green tea leaves are used in Ayurveda medicine for their beautifying and detoxifying properties. Enjoy a mud texture with real leaves inside and an authentic aroma coming from raw ingredients and essential oils. Charcoal is all the rage these days and has become a hot topic especially in the health and beauty industry popping up in anything from juice detox protocols to all manner of soaps, toothpastes, bath soaks, pore strips, and masks…for good reason, charcoal works!


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e all want to look our best and have naturally radiant skin shining with health. Beauty starts with healthy skin and the secret to a glowing complexion comes from within, as the skin is the mirror reflecting how well we nourish and nurture ourselves. Your skin is the largest organ in the body. It protects your insides from infection and radiation, helps control body temperature, aids in waste excretion and allows you to feel sensations such as touch, pressure, pain, heat and cold. The skin is also the organ most exposed to damage from the outside. Your genetic makeup, living environment, digestion, circulation, stress levels and diet all affect the condition of your skin. For example, cold sores can indicate immune system infections, clogged pores may be caused by air pollution, pigmentation can be induced by exposure to the sun, rash could be a reaction to something that has been eaten, nutritional sensitivity and toxic build-up may result in eczema and rosacea, under-eye circles can indicate sleep deprivation, dullness and dryness may be a body’s response to stress and dehydration, while saggy skin can be a result of a nutrient-deficient diet. The straightforward, effective and integrative methods that follow will help you improve the condition of your skin, enhance its glow and establish a regular self-care routine, all while boosting your overall health and wellbeing.

EAT YOUR WAY TO GLOWING SKIN Your diet and the health of your skin are intimately connected. A study published in 2012 by researchers at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, demonstrated this link, revealing: “Increased fruit and vegetable consumption confers measurable and perceptibly beneficial effects on Caucasian skin appearance within six weeks.” Skin and the digestive tract are closely linked in that both can absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins and body wastes. When the digestive system is stagnant and not functioning properly, the excess waste is excreted through the skin in the form of breakouts, redness, rashes, dermatitis, rosacea or eczema. Skin health improves when the digestive system functions properly. To keep your skin healthy and glowing, eliminate processed foods,


Glow like a yogi For glowing skin that radiates good health, nourish and nurture yourself on the inside with nutritious food and time-honoured self-care practices. WORDS / MASCHA COETZEE

refined sugars, alcohol and foods you are intolerant to and eat a balanced plantbased, fibre-rich diet incorporating the following essential nutrients. Antioxidants Antioxidants are healing nutrients that support the entire functioning of the body, help slow premature ageing and can neutralise free radicals, so preventing or decreasing the damage caused by stress, smoking, alcohol, sunlight, pesticides, air pollution and

a nutrient-deficient diet. Antioxidants are also recognised for their power to reduce the risk of skin, prostate, breast and liver cancers. Bountiful amounts of skin-boosting antioxidants are found in green tea, berries, grapes, raw cacao, broccoli, watercress, alfalfa sprouts, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes and pumpkin. The major antioxidant vitamins are skin-brightening vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene, minerals such as zinc

BODY YOGA FOR GLOWING SKIN (which assists in skin healing), copper and selenium as well as phytochemicals like the lycopene found in guavas, watermelons and tomatoes and the anthocyanin present in berries. One of the antioxidant functions of vitamin A, present in high quantities in sweet potatoes, carrots and leafy greens, is to assist in controlling proper keratin accumulation in the skin, without which the skin can become dry, saggy and rough. The skin-enhancing purpose of vitamin C, abundant in red capsicums, guavas, strawberries and Brussels sprouts, is to help regenerate collagen. Collagen binds cells together, keeping the skin firm and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Vitamin E, found in avocados, Swiss chard (silverbeet), sunflower seeds, walnuts and almonds, protects the skin from sun damage and keeps it young and supple. Digestive enzymes Digestive enzymes can be sourced from pineapple and papaya as well as from fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi (such ferments also contain pH-balancing and immunity-boosting probiotics). They boost skin appearance by assisting in nutrient and mineral absorption, rebuilding cells and enhancing the body’s digestive and cleansing functions. Omega-3 fatty acids Flaxseed oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds, salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and walnuts are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory and moisturising properties and keep the cell membranes plump, protecting the skin from dryness and damage. Water Hydrate your skin by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. Water delivers nutrients to skin cells and helps flush out toxins and body wastes, keeping your skin soft and smooth.

ABHYANGA: TO NURTURE & NOURISH Abhyanga is the term used for Ayurvedic oil massage, which has been practised for centuries in India to maintain health, enhance wellness and increase longevity by keeping the body youthful and full of vitality. Abhyanga involves massaging warm oil onto the skin before bathing. According to the classical Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita, “The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected

Digestive enzymes can be sourced from pineapple and papaya as well as from fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi. to accidental injuries or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.” Leading Ayurvedic practitioners Robert Svoboda and Vasant Lad, among others, suggest that abhyanga maintains the beauty and texture of the skin, keeping it soft and smooth; increases blood circulation, enhancing the functions of the internal organs and soothing the nerves; stimulates lymphatic flow; assists in detoxification; tones the muscles and benefits sleep patterns. Dr Claudia Welch, doctor of oriental medicine and expert on Ayurveda, also strongly believes in using abhyanga to support hormonal balance and prevent hypervigilance of the nervous system. By calming the body, selfmassage reduces the risk of release of the stress hormones that can trigger hormonal imbalance and aggravate skin conditions. Oils & technique For abhyanga, select non-refined, non-perfumed and, if possible, organic oil according to the season and your skin type. Use heating oils like sesame or almond in colder seasons and if your skin is dry; select cooling coconut or olive oils in warmer climates and if you have sensitive skin. Then, follow these steps: 1. Put about ⅓–½ cup of the selected oil in a bottle and warm the oil by placing it in a pan with hot water. 2. Pour a small amount of oil into your hands and gently rub into your scalp. If you want to keep your hair dry, massage the scalp without any oil. 3. Massage the oil onto your entire body, working to the middle of the body, using long strokes on your arms and legs and circular strokes on your joints and chest. 4. Use circular strokes when massaging the abdomen, moving clockwise, following the direction of the large intestine, to stimulate proper digestion and elimination. 5. Massage the rest of your body including your fingers and feet,

spending 5–15 minutes working the oil into the skin. 6. Keep the oil on for 5–15 minutes to allow it to absorb before showering. 7. Take a shower to rinse off the oil.

ACUPRESSURE FOR BEAUTY Acupressure is an ancient holistic healing technique that has been used as an integral part of Chinese traditional medicine for more than 5000 years. As described in Ilza Veith’s translation of The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, the Chinese discovered that pressing certain points on the body’s surface could promote relaxation, enhance wellness, relieve pain and treat certain illnesses, stimulating the abilities of the body to heal itself. Acupressure uses the same points as acupuncture but, instead of needles, the pressure of the hands and fingers is applied. Michael Reed Gach, PhD, an international expert and educator on acupressure therapy, explains: “As a point is pressed, the muscle tension yields to the finger pressure, enabling the fibres to elongate and relax, blood to flow freely and toxins to be released and eliminated. Increased circulation also brings more oxygen and other nutrients to affected areas.” Dr Gach also suggests that pressing certain points can improve the condition of the skin and tone the facial muscles. Together with tension release, nutrient distribution and improved circulation, applying acupressure helps clear the pathways through which the body’s life force flows. That lifesustaining force is referred to as chi or qi in China, ki in Japan and prana in the Indian yoga tradition. Chi passes throughout the body through a network of energy channels, known as meridians, which flow through all tissues. Dr Hiroshi Motoyama and his student and one of the world’s leading yin yoga teacher trainers, Paul Grilley, advise that the connective tissues of the body contain a water-rich energy system that can be positively affected by the way your body is treated. When these energyconductive channels are blocked, proper functioning of the bodily organs and systems is also disrupted. Acupressure and acupuncture, together with other disciplines such as yoga, qigong, reiki and tai chi, are based on encouraging freer flow of chi through the meridians in order to restore wholeness and vitality in body and mind.


BODY YOGA FOR GLOWING SKIN Points & exercises to enhance skin condition The following exercises describe the location and skin-enhancing benefits associated with three facial acupressure points: Four Whites, Facial Beauty and Third Eye.

relieve poor complexion and blemishes. Using your index and middle fingers, press the Four Whites and Facial Beauty points on each side of your face (see left). Hold for 1 minute, breathing deeply and pressing the points firmly enough so that you feel slight pressure in your eyes. Exercise 2 Third Eye point is located between your eyebrows where the bridge of your nose meets the centre of the forehead. Applying pressure to this point has a calming effect and stimulates the pituitary gland, the master endocrine gland, to enhance the skin condition and texture throughout the entire body. Bring your palms together and use your index fingers to touch the Third Eye point (see below). Concentrate on breathing deeply for 2 minutes.

Exercise 1 Four Whites point is located one finger-width below the eye socket in an indentation of the cheek in line with the iris of the eye. Pressing this point is employed in acupressure to remedy acne and reduce facial blemishes and eye redness. Facial Beauty point is positioned at the bottom of the cheekbone, directly below the pupil of the eye. Applying pressure to this point is used to improve facial blood circulation, firm up the cheeks and

The following yoga sequence aims to help reduce stress, detoxify your body, rejuvenate your internal organs and revitalise your skin by increasing the blood supply and nutrient absorption throughout the body and provide you with a radiant glow. Twisting postures enhance the functions of the liver and kidneys. They help massage the internal organs, flush out toxins and stimulate the digestive fire, improving your digestion and elimination processes. Inverted poses help stimulate your skin by nourishing the internal organs and increasing the blood circulation within the entire body, especially towards your face and the brain. When you invert the body, the skin hangs in its opposite direction, thus allowing more oxygen, nutrients and blood to flow towards the face, boosting your complexion and creating the effect of a gentle facelift. Those poses (asanas) will also calm your brain and help improve your sleep, which is essential for reducing inflammation and hence the possibility of breakouts. Sun salutations (surya namaskar) Perform 4–7 rounds of sun salutations to warm your body, increase circulation, enhance the release of toxins and prepare yourself for the yoga practice that follows.

Standing forward fold (uttanasana) Stand on your mat with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on the hips, inhale there. As you exhale, start to lower your torso, drawing it down and lengthening from the groin, lifting the sitting bones up towards the ceiling. Cross your forearms and hold your elbows. Relax your head. You can keep your knees bent if you have tight hamstrings. For a deeper variation of the pose, hold onto the back of your ankles and wrap your forearms on the calves. Stay here for 8–10 breaths. To come out, release your hands onto your hips and slowly come up on the in-breath, pressing your tailbone down and maintaining the length of your torso.

Standing forward fold

Standing forward fold: intense variation



Twisted chair pose (parivrtta utkatasana) Stand with your feet together. Inhale, lift your arms above your head. As you exhale, enter chair pose by bending your knees, shifting your hips back and transferring the weight into the heels. Bring your hands together in front of the heart. Inhale there. On exhalation, twist to the right, hooking your left elbow outside your right thigh as you press your palms together, opening the elbows away from each other and pointing the fingers towards the front

BODY YOGA FOR GLOWING SKIN of your mat. Remain in the pose for 6–8 breaths. To come out of the posture, on the in-breath bring your hands back to the heart and release on the exhalation. Repeat on the other side. Dolphin pose (ardha pincha mayurasana) Begin on your knees and hands. Keep your knees above the hips. Release your forearms shoulder-width apart onto the mat, leaving your hands flat on the floor or interlacing the fingers. Firmly press your forearms onto the floor. As you exhale, curl your toes under and lift your hips up, lengthening the tailbone away from the pelvis, lifting the sitting bones up towards the ceiling and lifting the sternum away from the floor. You can either straighten or bend your knees. Gaze between your hands or at your feet. Stay in the pose for 8–10 breaths, taking a break halfway through the pose if necessary. To come out of dolphin, lower your knees onto the floor, push your hips towards the heels


and rest in child’s pose with your arms by the sides. Fish pose (matsyasana) variation Start by lying on your back with your feet on the floor and knees bent. Lift your hips and bring your hands under the buttocks, allowing your thumbs to touch and keeping palms on the floor. Release your buttocks onto the hands, extend the legs and flex your toes. On the in-breath press into the forearms and elbows, lift your chest up towards the ceiling and release back or the crown of your head lightly onto the floor. Take 6 breaths. Come out on the exhalation, lowering your head and torso back onto the floor. Half lord of the fishes pose (ardha matsyendrasana) Sit on the floor (or a folded blanket, if you have tighter hips) with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring your left foot beside your right buttock. Then step your right foot over the

left leg, bringing the right foot on the outside of the left hip. Inhale there, lengthening the spine. Bring your right fingertips behind your right buttock and, as you exhale, either release your left hand onto the right knee or, to go deeper, hook your left elbow over your right thigh. Gaze to the right or over your right shoulder. Remain the pose for 8-10 breaths. Release on the exhalation, and repeat on the other side. Corpse pose (savasana) Lie down on the floor and rest in savasana for 5 minutes. Mascha Coetzee is a certified holistic health and wellness coach and yoga teacher who believes in using wholefoods and yoga to heal the body, tame the mind and improve wellbeing. She is passionate about intertwining the wisdom of yoga, Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine with modern research. Mascha lives in Launceston, Tasmania, where she teaches yoga classes and holistic health workshops. Contact her at coetzee.mascha@gmail. com or visit

Twisted chair pose

Dolphin pose

Fish pose

Half lord of the fishes pose

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Living the YOGIC LIFE Classical texts offer guidelines for living a yogic life but these 1000-year-old writings can be difficult to wrap your head around. Here, we outline yoga’s essential philosophies for living a more soulful, fulfilling life. WORDS / VERONICA JOSEPH



pproximately 2000 years ago, the great yoga sage Patanjali set out eight limbs of yoga in his classical text The Yoga Sutras. While all eight limbs are key to truly practising yoga as a whole, principles one and two, the yamas and niyamas, offer specific guidelines for living a fulfilling and meaningful yogic life. Yoga is such a personal practice and a yogic life is about living in a way that respects your true nature and helps you find union with all the sheaths of your being. The yamas and niyamas act as the stepping stones that work to cultivate self-awareness so you can find this balance and harmony within you. Having said this, Patanjali’s lengthy verses aren’t always the easiest to digest and some elements can feel slightly out of place in our day and age. That’s why we’ve unpacked the essentials of the yamas and niyamas and how they can be integrated into life off the mat and according to your own needs.

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THE FIVE YAMAS Yoga’s five yamas offer a moral code of conduct for living a truly spiritual life. What’s interesting about the yamas is that they aren’t just limited to how we conduct ourselves, but emphasise our relationships with others. Ahimsa: non-violence Ahimsa or non-violence might seem fairly self-explanatory but there’s more to this first yama than meets the eye. This is because ahimsa applies not only in a physical sense, but verbally and emotionally too. For instance, this means bouts of road rage where barrages of expletives are unleashed are considered a verbal form of himsa or violence. Putting yourself or others down is seen as emotional violence and pushing yourself to the point where you cause pain or injury on the yoga mat is also himsa in a physical sense. Practising ahimsa requires us to resist knee-jerk reactions where violence is directed towards ourselves or others. Instead, we must take the completely opposite approach. This means treating others with kindness, love and respect, even when they might not be doing the same to us. The next time negative thoughts arise or the temptation to act or react

Satya involves always speaking the truth, which means no lies (even white ones), no embellishments (even when they make your anecdotes sound that little bit better) and no gossip (even when it’s really juicy). in a way that could be considered “violent” occurs, step back and become an observer. Violence, no matter where directed, has a toxic, draining effect on the body and mind. When you realise the effect himsa has on yourself and others you can start to move away from resorting to violence and begin fostering greater peace internally. Satya: truthfulness The second yama, satya, is all about truth and the pursuit of one’s true self. Satya involves always speaking the truth, which means no lies (even white ones), no embellishments (even when they make your anecdotes sound that little bit better) and no gossip (even when it’s really juicy). Actively practising truthfulness requires us to slow down. It involves objectivity, thought and careful consideration of our words, actions and choices so they do less harm and more good. Satya asks we respect the power and weight of truth and untruth and the impact they have on ourselves and others. Patanjali says the purpose of practising honesty is to become open and fearless. When we embrace satya and uphold the truth to the utmost, we have nothing to be afraid of. Without worry or fear, the mind is clear and serene, which allows us to see our true selves and live in a way that respects this. Adopting satya can be as simple as evaluating your day objectively and thinking about when you practised truthfulness and when you did not. It’s amazing how many white lies — with no malice intended and often for no apparent reason — we can drop each day. Becoming aware of living in a truthful manner even in this smallest form is a conscious step toward embracing satya. Asteya: non-stealing Asteya or non-stealing applies in a literal sense and on a more conceptual level. To understand asteya and how it might apply to you, think beyond

the physical and of the immaterial, intangible things one can “steal.” For instance, we can steal a friend’s time when we turn up to lunch late. We can steal someone’s energy when we demand too much of them and we can steal happiness when we treat people without kindness and compassion. You might even go one step further and think about the air you breathe, the water you drink and other elements you take and depend upon without acknowledgement. Practising asteya is about becoming conscious of what you take from others and your surroundings and whether it’s freely given or not. Awareness of this yama helps us avoid taking more than we need and encourages contentment with what we have and who we are. Asteya also stresses the importance of giving back. If you have a friend who gives you a shoulder to cry on or is always there to get you out of a bind, you should return that love and energy on an equal level. This is kindness and gratitude in action and allows true “wealth” or happiness to come into our lives. Brahmacharya: sense control Brahmacharya has a number of interpretations, celibacy being one of them, which is why it can seem like a bit of a stretch to integrate into modern life. To help you better understand this yama, let’s consider what it aims to achieve. Traditionally, one of the purposes of brahmacharya was practising abstinence in order to conserve sexual energy, the idea being that this energy could be better controlled and directed into other areas in order to progress our spiritual journey. To make this more relevant to the present day, you can think of brahmacharya as an active practice that involves controlling your senses, urges and desires and using the time and energy saved to fulfil these needs more productively. For instance, think about what senses might rule your behaviour; what



temptations and vices you grapple with and how much time it takes to fulfil them. Whether you’re a shopaholic, love snacking on junk food or enjoy sleeping in till midday, the instant gratification you seek from these sense-driven excesses and indulgences is fleeting and takes you further away from your path or higher purpose. Considering this, practising brahmacharya can be as simple as devoting time to meditation, journaling or walking in nature. These are just a few of many ways you can explore and connect with your inner self by directing energy away from your outward desires. Aparigraha: non-possessiveness More than ever, we are becoming defined by our possessions. Whether it’s the clothes we wear, the gadgets we own or even where we live, our ownership and attachment to our possessions, and the never-ending desire to accumulate more, have become an ingrained part of our identities and a measure of happiness. The fourth yama, aparigraha, asks that we do something very radical for our material world: that is, let go of our attachments and recognise their impermanence. This doesn’t mean you have to start throwing away everything you own. Instead, before you start accumulating new objects, think about whether you really need the item in question and what purpose it will serve. This kind of thinking helps ensure your material possessions don’t come to define you. By slowly learning to curb the cravings of the ego and the desire to accumulate more, you can start to refocus and become content with and grateful for the immaterial things in your life. Letting go of greed and desire allows room for new energy and slowly lets us see we don’t need more objects to make us happy — we already have everything we need within us.


THE FIVE NIYAMAS Now that you have a grasp of the yamas’ moral codes, let’s move on to the niyamas or personal observances that you can actively adopt and use as a guide for living soulfully. Saucha: purity Saucha, the first of the niyamas, refers to purity and cleanliness. Outer purity can have a very literal interpretation and can be achieved by upholding a physical level of hygiene, choosing to eat nourishing, wholesome foods or maintaining a clutter-free living environment. On a deeper level, saucha can be achieved through asana practice to purify and detoxify the body, pranayama (breathing exercises) to cleanse the lungs and oxygenate the blood and meditation to clear the mind. However, according to Patanjali, this pursuit of purity should actually serve as a reminder that our bodies can never be perfectly clean. No matter how much pranayama you do, you can walk outside and inhale polluted air. No matter how much you scrub yourself clean, you’ll eventually break a sweat again. And, no matter what you do, your body will age and decay. Really, then, saucha reminds us of our transient nature and shouldn’t be done in the pursuit of vanity but out of respect for the consciousness within. It evokes the idea of treating the body

as a temple. Purifying the body on the outside, and cleansing it within, acts as preparation as you progress down the yogic path of self-awareness. Santosha: contentment The second niyama, santosha, focuses on finding happiness and peace within rather than from external sources. During life’s wonderful moments, contentment comes effortlessly. But true practice of this niyama applies not only during good times but during the bad as well. Life can throw a lot of curve balls and practising santosha is something that can help you get through the less-than-great moments. By taking things as they come and making peace with your present circumstances, you can cultivate contentment. Santosha’s priority is the present. No matter how difficult the road ahead might seem, santosha is that secret, inner source of happiness you can tap into in any moment. Choosing santosha is an active decision. In life, we often find ourselves in situations where we feel powerless and without any choice. However, you always have the ability to practise santosha if you truly want to. Contentment isn’t dependent on the past or future, on material objects or anyone else. Being contented with what you have, rather than unhappy with what you lack, allows you to rediscover

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the abundance around you and permits more joy and bliss to enter your life. Tapas: disciplined use of energy The translation of tapas is to heat or burn away impurities by way of practising discipline or “austerity”. Tapas is a complex principle and, with reference to words like “fiery discipline” in The Sutras, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by this niyama. However, there are lots of ways to integrate the idea of tapas into your life in a simple and palatable manner. If we focus on the idea of tapas as cultivating a sense of self-discipline, there are many ways it can be applied to our lives. For some, this might be simply finding time each day for asana practice, or it could mean progressing to the next level and dabbling in a more advanced posture. Tapas in reference to asanas, regardless of how you might apply it, shows the literal side of heating the body and cleansing it of impurities through a disciplined practice. However, tapas need not apply only to asana practice. It could also involve making the conscious decision to become more mindful in your day, adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle or even actively implementing the yamas and niyamas. In whatever form, tapas is about motivation, consistency and achieving your goals. It’s about commitment, dedication and focus to avoid the habits, thoughts and impurities, whether physical or emotional, that cause you to diverge from your purpose or path. Svadhyaya: self-study Svadhyaya is all about self-study and self-analysis. In yogic terms, many of us already do this through asana, pranayama and meditation, but there are other ways to practise svadhyaya. Svadhyaya can be as simple as studying yogic writings, whether ancient


texts or blogs by your favourite yoga teacher, in a conscious manner. This means not just reading for the sake of it but actively engaging with the writings and thinking about how they apply to you and your life. You can also practise this niyama by setting aside time to reflect on your actions, values and interactions and the impact they have on yourself and others. You can do this by keeping a journal or by simply finding a peaceful space to sit, focus on the breath and reflect. Self-analysis allows us to start knowing our true selves on a much deeper level. When we reflect, we start to recognise the intricacies and nuances of our being. More often than not, we see things that surprise us and are far removed from how we like to think of ourselves. Remember during these times to also practise ahimsa and not look at yourself with judgement or criticism. Instead, take an objective standpoint during svadhyaya and recognise and accept all layers of your being. Isvara pranidhana: self-surrender While the final niyama, isvara pranidhana, translates to surrendering to God, it’s important to note that you need not take a religious standpoint here. The idea of God instead refers to a divine universal force that is so much bigger than ourselves. Think of it as the

underlying order of the universe or the force that guides us along this thing called life, where we make up just one part of a great, big whole. Isvara pranidhana makes sense as the last niyama as we have done plenty of work to get to this point. We’ve cleansed, practised contentment, learned self-discipline and reflected deeply on ourselves. Along the entire way, we have striven to find union and cultivate self-awareness and now we must surrender to it. We must surrender to ourselves. You can do this in child’s pose or when you find stability and peace within challenging postures. You can do it during the course of your day, perhaps when stress is building up and you need a moment to yourself. To surrender, you quieten the mind, breathe deeply and become aware of your entire being and the unity within. Surrendering the ego and your desires requires trust and courage, for you must allow yourself to simply be, without the bells and whistles, without anything but that awareness of your true self. It’s a humbling and powerful experience where you simply let go and, in that moment, let it be. Veronica Joseph is a yoga teacher and writer based in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, Australia. E:

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By slowly learning to curb the cravings of the ego and the desire to accumulate more, you can start to refocus and become content and grateful for the immaterial things in your life.






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Tune in, stress less When sensory overload threatens your equilibrium, it’s empowering to learn that you can also use your senses to find internal focus and calm.


icture this: it’s 7am on a Monday and you’ve slept through the alarm. You wake in a panic, already feeling anxious about an important meeting today. Rushing around getting ready, you feel more agitated by the second. You trip over the dog, spill your coffee and yell at the children. Nothing is running smoothly. Once in the car, the children argue on the way to school and traffic is chaos. By the time you get to work, your palms are sweaty and your heart is racing. You feel like you’ve already run a marathon and it isn’t even 9am. Now for that meeting ... How will you concentrate when you’re so worked up? Relax. You just need to use your senses. As much as they can be the source of overwhelming input, your senses — sight, sound, smell, touch and movement — also have the power to help you focus, bring you back into the moment and calm your mind. Whether you’re at home or the office, relieving stress can be easy if you just give in to your senses.

(taste) and tactile (touch). In fact, there are actually seven senses. Vestibular and proprioception describe two senses that relate to movement. The vestibular system involves components of the inner ear and central nervous system, contributing to balance and your sense of spatial orientation. The vestibular sense is important for co-ordination, eye control, attention and some aspects of language development. Working closely with the vestibular system, proprioception is the sense of body awareness. It’s very important in relation to position, motion and equilibrium. It allows you to manipulate objects and move without observing


your actions; for example, clapping your hands with your eyes closed. Combined, these seven senses gather information about the outside world. Not only can you see, smell, hear and taste, you can also detect pain, pressure, temperature and the position of your body. Through these senses, your brain receives signals, allowing it to put all the information together to produce a picture of what is happening around you.

To fully understand the impact sensory input can have on your ability to regulate your stress levels it’s helpful to know how your senses work. Sensory integration is the neurological process that organises sensations from your body and your environment. It also makes it possible to use the body effectively within the environment. The term “sensory processing” describes how the brain receives, interprets and organises input from all your senses. It’s commonly thought that humans have five senses: visual (sight), auditory (sound), olfactory (smell), gustatory


Everyone responds differently to sensory experiences. A crowded, buzzing room may energise one person while overwhelming another.

SENSORY PREFERENCES In her book Living Sensationally, worldrenowned sensory expert Professor Winnie Dunn explains that our individual

sensory preferences affect the way we react to everything that happens to us throughout the day. Everyone responds differently to sensory experiences. A crowded, buzzing room may energise one person while overwhelming another. The texture of silk may feel smooth and luxurious to you yet make your partner’s skin crawl. Your sensory journey begins when you’re an infant, says occupational therapist Carolyn Fitzgibbon, who specialises in teaching adults how to manage stress. “To settle a baby we rock, swaddle and sing them lullabies. These are all sensory approaches. As adults, thumb-sucking is not viewed favourably, so we need to identify ageappropriate techniques to self-manage.” As your sensory preferences impact on how you interact with your environment, becoming familiar with the senses you use to self-soothe is the key to understanding how you can use your senses to relieve stress. Everyone, every day, uses sensory approaches without even realising. When agitated, stressed or tired, you may click a pen to stay focused during a boring meeting or tap your fingers on the desk to maintain calm. Fidgeting with your hair or the hem of your clothing is also a sensory technique you may unknowingly employ. “Even a glass of wine at the end of the day is a sensory experience,” says Fitzgibbon. (Albeit one that should be employed in moderation!) Individual sensory preferences will dictate which approaches are most effective for you. Finding what works may mean experimenting with a few different things, but it doesn’t need to be a complicated or costly exercise.

Photography Getty Images



Freshly cut flowers not only improve the aesthetics of your environment but can also have a calming effect on your mood.



At work, plug in to playlists that have a calming effect or slowly sip a warm beverage from your favourite mug.

SIGHT Surround yourself with uplifting or pleasing images or sights to help adjust your mood. Sometimes even a simple change of scenery can help. Try going for a walk outside to get a different perspective. Need to focus on your goals? Try making a vision board using inspiring pictures from magazines. At home: Freshly cut flowers or an appealing piece of art not only improves the aesthetics of your environment but can also have a calming effect on your mood. Decorate your home with colours and items that lift your spirits. At work: Make sure you look away from your computer screen regularly. Keep a treasured memento on your desk to focus on when you are feeling overwhelmed or off-centre. A photo of loved ones or a relaxing holiday memory can help take you back to a calmer time and place.

SOUND Noise can be a powerful trigger when we are stressed. Just think of


Keep a treasured memento on your desk to focus on when you are feeling overwhelmed or off-centre. A photo of loved ones or a relaxing holiday memory can help take you back to a calmer time and place. screaming children or dripping taps! However, sounds can also have a wonderfully calming effect, energise us or even lull us to sleep. At home: Put on some uplifting tunes to get you through a dreaded task like housework. Hang windchimes outside your window for a pleasant natural sound or perhaps listen to the gentle sounds of a water feature to soothe your soul. White noise or meditation tracks can help promote sleep and many apps with this purpose are available. A fan can also be a simple white-noise device that helps settle nerves and dampen other noise. At work: Plug in to playlists tailored to your needs. Sounds from nature

like wind, rain or waves will have a calming effect — just try not to fall asleep at your desk ... More upbeat tunes will help with motivation. Or perhaps earplugs are the key to focus by cancelling out the background noise of a busy office.

SMELL As with all senses, different smells can impact on your mood. Some scents will soothe and comfort, while others may energise and help you focus. Often lemon, ginger, peppermint or coffee beans are used to invigorate while softer scents like rose, vanilla and coconut have calming properties. Because scents can be strongly connected to memories, Fitzgibbon recommends using a scent that reminds you of a particular influence, whether that’s a person or place. “The smell of salt could remind you of relaxing at the beach,” she says. “Lavender might conjure the comforting presence of Grandma.” At home: Plant a fragrant bush or shrub such as jasmine outside your bedroom window. Use that special scented soap you have been saving for a special occasion. Spritz your pillow with a calming essential oil such as

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Here are some simple sensory approaches you can try around the home and office to reduce stress and improve your mood.


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MIND SENSORY STRESS RELIEF can also be turned over and fiddled with in your hand. A stress ball is great for relieving tension.

TASTE Food is a first resort for many in times of stress. Mindless eating, however, will do little but add to your waistline. Let’s face it: no one truly feels better when they reach the bottom of the chip packet. The key is to eat slowly, focusing on the sensation of the food in your mouth and the taste on your tongue. At home: Try sucking or crunching on ice, munching on crisp celery or savouring a single square of rich dark chocolate. Try a drink of warm herbal tea before bed. Avoid mindless eating in front of the TV or with a device in your hand. If you’re feeling a bit low, get the senses zinging with extra spice in your food. Try sucking a lemon or chewing on ginger if you’re craving something different! At work: Keep a packet of your favourite sugarless gum, mints or lollies in your desk drawer to chew or suck. Slowly sip a warm beverage from your favourite mug. Eat your lunch away from your desk and savour each mouthful, enjoying the flavour of your food.

TOUCH & MOVEMENT Do you cut tags out of your clothing or avoid a particular fabric? Maybe you love patting animals? You are already adapting your sensory environment to meet your needs. Experiment with different textures to discover what feels relaxing and renewing for you. Sometimes the feeling of deep pressure can have a calming effect, like a big hug. Movement can release pent-up tension and energy, giving stress an outlet and helping concentration. You don’t need lots of space; try jumping up and down or running on the spot. Lifting some weight can help burn off some steam — you don’t have to pump iron, but the laundry baskets or baked


Movement can release pent-up tension and energy, giving stress an outlet and helping concentration. bean tins you’re lifting can help your body feel more grounded. At home: The weight of a heated wheat bag can help calm your mind as well as soothe sore muscles, as can a warm bath or massage with some essential oils. Wear a favourite item of clothing that feels good to the touch or pop your PJs in the dryer so they are warm when you put them on. Wrap yourself tightly in a shawl or blanket for comfort. “Swinging in a hammock or egg chair is a very effective movement technique,” adds Fitzgibbon. At work: Make sure you regularly stretch those muscles if you are sitting down for long periods. Stomp your feet under your desk and get up to walk around often. “The reassuring weight of a laptop, bag or books on your lap can be an inconspicuous comfort in a crowded office,” Fitzgibbon suggests. And a stress ball is not just a gimmick — it’s a genuinely great tension reliever. A piece of Blu-Tack or a smooth rounded pebble

YOUR CALM KIT The possibilities for using sensory approaches to reduce stress are endless and can easily be adapted to suit your circumstances. Think about how these techniques can be applied in other scenarios outside the home or office. Perhaps you travel on crowded public transport daily or find the bustle and noise of shopping centres overwhelming. Whatever the situation, once you find what works for you, remember to keep it on hand. “At times of great stress, it can be easy to forget things we would normally do to calm down,” says Fitzgibbon. It’s important you choose sensory approaches that are small, portable or easy to access. “Some people even like to create a visual reminder or list of things that help them de-stress,” Fitzgibbon suggests. “Then they can refer to it if they find themselves struggling to ‘think themselves calm’.” You may even consider making a “stress kit” filled with items that help calm you. For example, this could consist of a small zip-up bag with a handkerchief scented with essential oil, headphones to plug into a device and some boiled lollies to suck on. Pop the kit in your handbag, briefcase or glovebox to ensure you are prepared for any stressful situation. Other members of your family or workplace can benefit from your newfound sensory awareness as well. The calmness that you achieve by changing the ambience of your environment through music, fragrance or imagery may be contagious. Just remember that everyone has individual sensory preferences. So, next time you are feeling a little overwhelmed, turn the radio on (or off), inhale deeply and take a moment to open your senses. You will soon be able to see, hear, smell, touch or even move your stress away. Renée Meier is a freelance writer with a professional background and keen interest in the field of mental health.

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sandalwood before retiring for the night. At work: Give yourself a hand massage using some of your favourite scented hand lotion. Dab peppermint oil behind your ears and on your temples to relieve tension headaches and improve concentration. Wear your favourite perfume on days when you may need some extra confidence.



ave you ever had a song go round and round in your head for days to the point where you wish you could reach into your brain and pull the music out? This is called an “earworm” and, according to famous neurologist Oliver Sachs in his book Musicophilia, earworms indicate the “overwhelming, and at times helpless, sensitivity of our brains to music”. The same can be said of recurring thoughts that whirl around in your head for days, weeks or months. These mind worms may similarly be a sign of our “overwhelming and at times helpless sensitivity” to the hurts, fears and unexpected twists and turns of life. Like earworms, mind worms can form an unrelenting soundtrack that you just can’t switch off. They are often triggered by a substantial stress or deep hurt, such as a relationship breakdown, a falling out with a friend, losing a job or fear over the health of a loved one or a possible future event. Then you may suddenly find that your self-talk goes into overdrive. The dialogue may lead you to worry, put yourself down and think about what you wish you had done instead, and endlessly play in your mind a conversation or situation that’s bothering or upsetting you. In many cases, mind worms take the form of an ongoing dialogue where the things you wish you could say to a person are on an endless cerebral tape loop in your mind. This process is known as rumination and is a normal but often energydepleting response to change or stress. Are you caught in a cycle where you just can’t turn your thoughts off and can’t get respite from a mind worm, night or day? Then your relentless thoughts can really weigh down on your shoulders and your life and make you feel depressed and overwhelmed. To end this upsetting and exhausting holding pattern, which can leave you stuck in a groove of depression and discontent, you need more than some positive self-talk. You need firm strategies designed to help you find the off switch in your brain. The tactics that follow will help set you on the right path.


FREE YOUR MIND Can’t get those recurring thoughts of worry or hurt out of your head? Then adopt these strategies to release your relentless thoughts. WORDS / STEPHANIE OSFIELD


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You’ve heard this a million times before and it sounds so obvious and straightforward but, in truth, mindfulness is a skill that requires constant practice and cultivation. No matter how hard you try right now, you may find it incredibly difficult to be more mindful of the present moment when a mind worm is dominating your thoughts. Apart from the tactics of noticing the world through your senses, the mindfulness exercises below can help you better direct your focus: Unhook from your thoughts Giving your fears a title makes them easier to unhook from. So, next time your mind worm appears, mindfulness expert and author of The Happiness Trap Russ Harris suggests you acknowledge your story by saying something like, “Ah, there it is again, the ‘I’m unlucky in love/I’m never going to get over this pain/there must be something wrong with me story’.” Then ask, “Is it helpful for me to dwell on this, hold on to my fear or sadness and play it over and over in my mind?” This will encourage you to realise that worry is no protection and does not better prepare you for the worst but actually wears you out. This is your cue to bring your thoughts back to the present and become mindful. “By being in the now and engaging in life through your five senses, you cannot get caught up in fearful thoughts of the future or regretful feelings about the past,” says Harris. Sing your sad thoughts Instead of trying to deny negative feelings, allow them to freely flow through you without a struggle. “It helps to say, ‘I am having the thought that I am unlucky/hate my life/never cut a break and so on,’” says Harris. Now try some diffusion tactics. “Silently sing your angry thought or feelings to the tune of Happy Birthday, or imagine your unhappy or negative self-talk in the voice of a famous actor or sports commentator,” Harris adds. “These techniques help to create distance from those feelings so you learn to observe them without feeling upset.”





Just as words of sadness and anger and frustration have the power to hurt (and to hurt you if they keep going round and round in your head), they also have the power to heal. Consider adopting one of the following approaches: Keep a gratitude journal Note at least three things every day that have happened that you appreciate. Write a letter If you’ve been hurt by someone close and you know it would be too stressful or fruitless to meet with them to talk things over, a letter can be an incredibly soothing way to achieve some closure. Similarly, writing can work if you feel the need to say something to someone who has died or who makes you feel afraid or nervous. You can set your feelings down without being interrupted and say exactly what you mean without being distracted or getting tongue-tied or feeling so emotional that you become less articulate.


Many people report that writing a healing letter can provide a powerful emotional release that can help mind worms lose some of their power. Best of all, you don’t even have to send the letter to the person it’s directed to. The simple task of stating your thoughts openly and with clarity can feel like a cerebral salve. Addressing a letter to yourself can be equally cathartic — and this may take many forms: an apology, a letter of self-love or a statement of support to yourself that outlines all your unique and wonderful qualities. Write your story Most people can find great psychological relief and improved immunity simply by expressively writing their story down on paper. That’s the finding of research by Dr James Pennebaker, chair of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin in the US. His research has shown that such short-term and very focused reflective writing can benefit people in all different kinds of circumstances, from

those who have been victims of violent crime or have a chronic or terminal illness to those who are very stressed about the transition to a difficult new life stage such as leaving home to go to university or learning to function and thrive again after the end of a longterm relationship. To make this writing as effective as possible, it helps to follow these rules: 1. You need to write for a minimum of 20 minutes a day for four consecutive days. 2. Write in a place where you feel secure and at a time of day that you are unlikely to be interrupted. 3. Aim to establish a writing ritual where you write in the same place at the same time of day (for most people, this is at the end of the work day and after the children are in bed). To aid the process, turn off anything that might distract you, such as your mobile phone. 4. Write continuously. Don’t worry about punctuation or grammar or even formal sentences if it feels more natural to simply write in a stream-ofconsciousness style. 5. Write your deepest feelings about the issues that have become mind worms and keep turning up in your thoughts and dreams. That does not mean they need to be recent — sometimes a current upset can trigger feelings that have been unresolved from the past and writing about both situations can be a helpful way to heal. 6. Write for your eyes only. This will ensure that you can be open and truly express what you are feeling. 7. Go with the flow. If your writing takes you into a related topic and that feels comfortable, then explore it. Chances are your subconscious is directing you to something that is also important for you to address in your story. 8. Stop this process when you feel your story is complete — preferably

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Most people can find great psychological relief and improved immunity simply by expressively writing their story down on paper.

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Shame can often lie at the heart of mind worms. after four days. “I’m not convinced that having people write every day is a good idea,” Pennebaker says. “I’m not even convinced that people should write about a horrible event for more than a couple of weeks. You risk getting into a sort of navel gazing or cycle of self-pity. But standing back every now and then and evaluating where you are in life is really important.”

In order to do this, it helps to remind yourself: What you’d say to a friend if they had the same mind worm going around in their head. This can help you identify ways in which you are being too hard on, or unkind to, yourself. Of all the other relationships that provide evidence that you are valued and there are people who love you. That you did your best and had the best of intentions. That the reason you can’t stop thinking about this issue is simply because it means so much to you and the fact that you care is what also enables you to be a giving, insightful and thoughtful person. What the main feelings are that keeping cropping up and why you are feeling them (eg shame, worry, hurt etc). That after any kind of upheaval there is an adjustment period but then the change and stress often lead to emotional growth where your new skills and wisdom inform you in ways that help your life, even if those gains involved great sadness and pain.



Shame can often lie at the heart of mind worms. It can make you feel disconnected and extremely vulnerable and cause you to go over and over a mental conversation with someone in your mind because you have a deep-seated fear that they blame you. Whatever the cause of that shame — whether it arises from feeling demoralised by a relationship breakup


or your inability to lose weight or make peace with your parents — it’s important to realise that, sometimes in life, events are not a reflection of you or your worth but a reflection of the nature, needs and actions of others around you.



The mind has a will of its own. So, if you tell it right now not to think about a white polar bear for the next five minutes, then it most likely will do just the opposite. In light of this, when you’re affected by a mind worm, getting frustrated with yourself and demanding that your brain stop ruminating is unlikely to be helpful. When it doesn’t work, your ultimatums to stop thinking those thoughts will make you feel more powerless. What you want to do instead is shift your focus. A good way to do this is by engaging in activities that bring pleasure. This will provide temporary relief from your recurring worries until the other strategies start to effectively cause your mind worm to fade. So, instead of scheduling time out, schedule time for more play and fun. That may include: Enjoying board games with your partner, family or friends. Lying on a comfortable couch with the sun on your face. Going out dancing. Laughing at a funny movie or yourself when you tell a funny joke badly. Connecting with people you love and

spending time with them for meals or movies or picnics. Doing something thoughtful for someone you love. Acts of altruism are not only pleasurable for the receiver, they also make the giver feel good and may, again, help provide a very positive way to take your mind off your own upsets and hurts.



Though it’s not healthy in the long term to sidestep emotional work by staying busy, it can be an effective way to help turn the volume down on mind worms until they fade away. So avoid weekends where you are stuck at home and stuck in your head. Get out, go to a gallery, catch up with a friend, take a yoga class or walk in a scenic location. On weeknights, schedule in a few treats, such as reading a good book, Skyping with a friend or sibling or spending intimate time to talk or cuddle or share a movie with someone you love. Similarly, sticking to simple routines for exercise, sleep, meditation and meals can also be helpful. It creates a sense of normalcy and safety that can feel like a comforting blanket to warm you when you’re still healing from a big emotional life-changing event. Stephanie Osfield is an award-winning freelance health journalist, published in Australia and overseas. She is an advocate of nutritional medicine and specialises in all aspects of health from exercise and disease prevention to stress, depression and women’s health issues.

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Harvesting vitality If you want to obtain as much delicious energy from your fruit and veg as possible, it’s time to get out of the supermarket and into your garden.

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resh, healthy food is necessary for a thriving, active lifestyle. Fresh fruit and vegetables are a central part of nourishing daily eating habits and more people are realising the importance of including organic foods in their diets to benefit their wellbeing and also the planet. The availability of organic and locally grown food is on the rise, too, thanks to many farmers’ markets and local food co-ops. These are great if you can access them regularly but, if you don’t have a market or co-op nearby or can’t afford fresh food each day, you could be left wondering how to keep your healthy eating habits going. You could go to the supermarket — purchasing fresh produce would seem to be easy these days as there are plenty of supermarkets advertising fresh food to us. But “fresh” food sometimes isn’t really all that fresh, and by fresh I mean grown locally and seasonally. Fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables are best eaten when in season to avoid extended storage and diminishment of nutrients. The best way to gain valuable nutrients and maximum vitality is to eat plant foods that have been recently harvested and preferably organically grown in your own garden. Homegrown organic food provides you with the highest degree of nutrients. The reason for this is that homegrown produce, or food grown at a community garden or local organic farm, grows in healthy soil filled with life and vitality. Organic gardeners like me just love healthy soil! It’s the life that our food is grown in and is an important part of

a thriving, sustainable garden. Healthy soil helps plants to build resistance to pests and disease and gives plants the nutrients they need to grow strong. So, if you’d like to maximise the vitality you’re getting from your food, consider growing a few plants to harvest yourself and enjoy taking an active role in building your health and wellbeing.

EDIBLE ENERGY Your daily vitality, or energy level, is directly related to the energy or vitality you extract from your food. The body converts food vitality into body vitality, or chi or prana. This is most efficiently done when foods are at their energetic peak, which is when they’re grown in your own garden or organically grown and seasonally eaten. Artificial treatments to either ripen foods or prevent them from ripening are detrimental to their vitality, as are synthetic chemicals used in the soil and sprayed on our food. Local, organic and seasonally grown food, on the other hand, is full of energy that efficiently converts into vital energy in the body. Enjoying foods that are grown, harvested and eaten in harmony with the environment leaves you feeling balanced, vibrant and full of stamina. Here are a few of my favourites, which you can experiment with in your own vegie patch or pot-plant garden.

PARSLEY This has to be my number-one favourite and most-used herb. Parsley is perfect for first-time or time-poor gardeners. Simply grow it in a container near your kitchen door or window or scatter a few



CELERY Both the stems and leaves of celery can be used raw or in cooking. Celery improves digestion, is high in silicon and vitamin K and is also antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Celery, like many other leafy greens, is highly sprayed during the conventional growing process. Plants grown in this way contain harsh chemicals that can adversely affect your health and wellbeing. The best way to avoid this is by growing your own organic celery to cut and use regularly. For crunchy, sweet stems, harvest when your celery stalks are still narrow, about 1–2cm thick, and apply organic fertiliser to the soil and regularly water. This provides moisture to keep the stems juicy. Celery stems are great in kids’ lunchboxes with a small tub of hummus. You can use the stems and leaves in green smoothies or run them through the juicer. Celery plants are also easy to grow and,


Enjoying foods that are grown, harvested and eaten in harmony with the environment leaves you feeling balanced, vibrant and full of stamina.

once established, will grow for months, producing crunchy stems and leaves to eat. In warm climates, plant celery seedlings in part-shade positions to reduce moisture evaporation. Grow celery from seeds using plastic punnets or purchase seedlings from a quality grower. When planting your seedlings in the garden, group small plants together to assist with moisture retention, apply a slowrelease organic fertiliser and mulch with a fine organic mulch.

CUCUMBER These crunchy little treats are great to grow in your garden up a wire trellis or on a tepee. Cucumbers attract bees to the garden, especially when grown alongside nasturtiums, fennel or dill, all of which are good companion plants for these cucurbits. Cucumbers are a handy little plant to have growing in your vegie patch. Picked as small fruit, they are great in lunchboxes, or you can allow them to grow a little longer and add to your morning juice for extra nutrients. The skin of cucumbers contains vital nutrients so avoid synthetic chemicals when growing them or, when purchasing them, buy only organically grown or spray-free produce where possible.

Pick regularly to encourage more flowers ... and more fruit. Cucumbers are cooling on the skin (yes, a fabulous skincare product) and help to relieve burns, especially sunburn.

TOMATO If you’ve ever eaten homegrown tomatoes, you’ll know what an amazing flavour they have and it’s difficult to enjoy supermarket tomatoes again. These sweet little mouthfuls have amazing antioxidant benefits. They’re high in vitamin C, biotin, vitamin K, potassium, copper, manganese and fibre, plus many other vitamins and minerals. Tomatoes have a low GI (glycaemic index) and a low calorie count as well. Tomatoes help to clean the liver, purify the blood and detoxify the body in general. They also help to encourage good digestion. Vine-ripened tomatoes have a delicious, sunny flavour. Grown in a sunny, warm position, tomatoes can partly ripen on the vine and then be picked and fully ripened indoors in a warm location. You can grow tomatoes in the warmer months, sowing them in spring then growing through spring and into the summer months. In cooler climates,

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parsley plants throughout your garden to pick as needed. Parsley is a source of remarkable nutrition. It contains several times the vitamin C of citrus and is one of the higher sources of provitamin A, chlorophyll, calcium, sodium, magnesium and iron. Parsley has a long list of medicinal uses but is mainly known for its high vitamin C content as well as its ability to aid digestion. I guess that’s why it’s widely used as a garnish — to help digest our meals. This nutrient-abundant little plant is also so easy to grow. Being a biennial, meaning it has a two-year growth cycle, parsley grows well for the first two years and will then flower and produce seeds. These seeds, if left to disperse, will spread throughout your garden and sprout when enough water, sunshine and warmth appear. I leave baby parsley plants growing everywhere, as I love to pick the leaves and eat them straight from the garden. Parsley is easy to harvest but it’s best to pick the outside leaves, allowing the smaller centre leaves to grow. The more leaves you pick, the more new leaves grow.


Berries are a delicious crop for your children, or grandchildren, to grow. Finding them is like a treasure hunt.

plant tomato seeds in plastic seed trays and store under cover until the outside and soil temperatures increase. For strong, healthy crops and delicious fruit, grow your plants in a rich soil with added compost, rotted manure and a sprinkle of blood and bone. Good companion plants to grow with tomatoes are celery, chives, parsley, basil and marigold. Apply mulch around your plants to contain nutrients and moisture in the soil and also to help suppress weeds. When growing tomatoes, it’s best to water from below and avoid watering the foliage as this can cause fungal diseases including black spot. Tomatoes grow either as a bush variety, which can be grown in small garden spaces, or as taller-growing or climbing tomatoes, which need a strong trellis, cage or other support for good growth.

CITRUS FRUIT I’m sure most people love to use lemons and limes regularly. Packed with many vitamins, especially vitamin C, fresh citrus juice is great to have on hand for adding to warm water in the morning, squeezing over salad and adding to curries or Asian cooking and to beverages for extra flavour.

The skin on many citruses can be used for cooking cakes, muffins or slices. When using the zest of a citrus, however, keep in mind that the regular growing and packing process for most fruits includes spraying with chemicals and waxes. If using purchased fruit, always wash well or soak in a diluted mix of water and apple cider vinegar. Of course, homegrown or spray-free is best when using the skins of fruits and vegetables, so I suggest growing the citrus plants you use the most. I love fresh lime juice, especially added to natural mineral water in summer. This is my summer staple beverage, especially delicious with freshly picked mint leaves. Lemons and limes have antiseptic properties and also boost the immune system due to their high levels of vitamin C. This is great for our bodies as most citrus fruits ripen in winter — just when we need to boost our health through the cold and flu seasons. I love how nature supports us. Citrus fruits are grown in most parts of the world and many varieties are available. I grow tangelos, lemons, limes, oranges and mandarins. My boys love picking fresh fruit to eat while outside playing, then they throw the skins around the trees.

BANANAS Bananas are one of the easiest plants to grow and are best suited to a subtropical to tropical climate. They’re not trees or palms; rather, they’re perennial (many life cycles), herbaceous (soft, moist flesh) flowering plants that grow from a rhizome or corm in the ground. The corm produces a stem, which then produces flowers and fruit. Bananas are packed with nutrients and are a great snack for kids or after sports. Bananas contain high levels of vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium and they help to detoxify the body. They have a low GI, which means they provide sustained energy. If you live in a warm climate, bananas are a fabulous plant to grow. When planted instead of palm trees, they add shade, green glossy leaves and a nice tropical feel to the garden. Dwarf bananas are available, which are easier to grow and harvest, especially if you live in a suburban area. The plants grow well in a mound of compost with added manure and organic fertilisers. Banana plants are also heavily sprayed in commercial production and

SOME GARDENING TIPS For strong plant growth, prepare your soil before planting by adding compost, rotted manure and organic fertiliser. Include a monthly application of organic liquid fertiliser for all leafy greens. These organic products are available at your local hardware or produce store.

fed with chemical-based fertilisers. Accodingly, it’s best to grow your own or, when purchasing bananas, find a farmer who uses spray-free and organic growing methods.

STRAWBERRIES, BLUEBERRIES & RASPBERRIES Among their many other benefits, berries such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, silicon, vitamin K, manganese and fibre and are antiinflammatory and anti-cancer. You can grow berries in containers or in the ground; however, I suggest using a trellis or wire support for your raspberries and planting strawberries in tubs or raised garden beds. Blueberries do well in large tubs. Most berries prefer their own space and it’s important to apply organic fertiliser to the soil and then mulch. Berries are a delicious crop for your children, or grandchildren, to grow. Finding them is like a treasure hunt.

GET GROWING Once your vitality-giving crops are established in your garden, try to eat them daily. Add homegrown vegies or fruit to your morning green or fruit smoothies, pick some leaves for a healthy salad lunch, then stirfry or steam vegetables or add them to soups for a hearty dinner. You’ll find it’s easy to add a few freshly picked, nutrient-packed vegetables, herbs or fruits to your family’s everyday meals when you have them to hand. As well as adding vitality, you’ll also be adding delicious flavours for the whole family to enjoy. Bon appétit! A qualified horticulturist, permaculturist and organic gardening expert, Cath Manuel has many years’ experience in the gardening industry and a great passion for growing fresh, organic food and encouraging others to live a sustainable lifestyle. She shares her knowledge and experience worldwide through coaching programs, events, radio, TV and other media. W:



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Chocolate Brownies




reats are definitely something I only indulge in occasionally, but there’s no way I’ll ever reach for anything refined. Instead, I opt for nourishing ingredients with just a little bit of natural sweetener. That’s because it’s important to remember a treat is called that for a reason: sugar is still sugar, regardless of the source. When I was younger, I used to love freshly squeezed fruit juice until I realised it was doing me more harm than good. You see, fruit juice is very high in fructose, and any excess sugar, whether from natural sweeteners or the nasty refined stuff, causes you to gain weight, accelerates the ageing process and has a cumulative effect, meaning it builds up in your system over time and causes numerous mental and physical diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. It’s also highly addictive. Sugar triggers the release of chemicals that set off the brain’s pleasure centre, in this case opioids and dopamine. In a similar manner to the way the brain responds to highly addictive drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, people develop a tolerance for sugar. A high sugar intake can also lead to metabolic disorders. New research is emerging that suggests Alzheimer’s disease (becoming known globally as type 3 diabetes because of its connection to sugar intake) is a metabolic disease caused when the brain’s ability to use glucose and produce energy is damaged. All this makes for even more food for thought when it comes to the amount (and kind) of sweet stuff we choose to consume, because it’s not just about ditching the fizzy drinks and the obvious sugars. I also encourage you to really read your labels because there’s so much hidden sugar in packaged foods. Needless to say, my family avoids the likes of muesli bars, biscuits, sauces, cakes and anything processed and packaged in favour of making our own sauces, dressings and, occasionally, treats using sweeteners such as green powdered stevia and raw honey. You see, my goal as a paleo chef is to reinterpret family favourites by removing ingredients that have a negative impact on your health. By simply replacing white flour with coconut or nut flour, butter with coconut oil and refined sugar with stevia, honey, yacon or maple syrup, you can still bake cookies or a cake for a birthday celebration and know that

what is on offer is delicious and, even more importantly, so much easier on your system. It’s why I like to use unheated, unfiltered honey straight from the hives on the farm because raw honey retains natural enzymes, antioxidants, minerals and some vitamins. One type of raw honey, known as Manuka, is particularly amazing. My wife Nic comes from New Zealand, where flowers from the native Manuka tree are used to make honey that has exceptional antibacterial properties. In 1962, the antiseptic properties of honey were attributed to its hydrogen peroxide component, but research in New Zealand by Professor Peter Molan from the University of Waikato named the unidentified component that makes Manuka honey special — the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) — in 1998. This is the only worldwide standard in identifying and measuring the antibacterial strength or quality of some strains of Manuka. It’s a guarantee that

Another way I love to naturally sweeten treats is to use organic fruit and vegetables. the honey being sold has the special UMF antibacterial property. This is really important in the new age of “super bugs” because, unlike with antibiotics, studies support evidence that microbes do not become resistant to UMF. Normally, bacteria have the ability to mutate and become resistant to elements that are attempting to destroy them. However, Manuka honey destroys bacteria in a different manner, by drawing water out of the bacteria, making it impossible for the microbes to survive. To date, there has been no reported bacterium that has been able to develop a resistance to Manuka honey. Along with its superior antibacterial properties, Manuka honey has been found to have a number of health benefits, from improving overall immune system function by killing harmful bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract to protecting against colds and flus by killing bacteria in the throat to fighting mouth infections, soothing burns, acne and eczema and as a good natural remedy for heartburn and acid reflux. Manuka honey has so many health benefits and that’s why it’s my favourite natural sweetener (although

I won’t ever eat more than a teaspoon a day because I don’t want my blood sugar levels to spike). The next time you’re baking for a school fundraiser or creating something with the kids in the kitchen on a Saturday afternoon, I encourage you to choose nourishing ingredients and a natural sweetener that fully supports the health of your family.

NATURAL FAVOURITES One of my favourite family afternoon baking recipes is featured in my book Fast Food for Busy Families. It’s a coconut macaroon recipe that uses coconut oil as its base ingredient. Coconut oil is great because it’s high in lauric acid and also has excellent antibacterial properties. Another way I love to naturally sweeten treats is to use organic fruit and vegetables. When it’s a very special occasion, I’ll make delectable mud cakes using beetroot as a base. This delicious recipe was created because of my dear friend, nutritionist Dr Libby Weaver. Dr Libby speaks the same language I do: food can be medicine or poison. In this recipe, I love the richness of the beetroot because it injects a whole new level of texture and flavour into the dish but also works to support better health. You see, beetroots have excellent antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties and can really help to detoxify your system. When it comes to a chilly night, I can’t go past apple crumble. If you are going to indulge in this type of dessert, then a paleo version makes a better choice. What is so brilliant about this dish is how my paleo makeover has made the traditional crumble even more tasty and delicious. Use whatever organic or chemical-free fruit you can get your hands on and go for gold. It’s really important to understand that eating for good health and being paleo doesn’t mean going without — quite the opposite, in fact. It’s about educating yourself so you can make wiser choices through the foods we consume to help us live happy, healthier lives. By replacing refined white flour, dairy and sugar with paleo alternatives, we can lessen the impact treats have on our systems but still enjoy the good things in life. Just remember that a paleo treat or cake is a once-in-a-while option only (if at all). Now that sounds pretty sweet to me! Cook with love and laughter, Pete


FOOD NATURAL SWEETENERS CHOCOLATE BROWNIES Makes: 16–20 pieces 200g raw dark chocolate (at least 80 per cent cacao, with no refined sugar), chopped 185mL coconut oil 3 tbsp cacao powder, plus 2 tbsp extra to dust 6 eggs, separated 300g honey 200g activated walnuts, toasted & roughly chopped Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease an 18×28cm baking tin and line the base and sides with baking paper. Combine the chocolate, coconut oil and cacao powder in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) a saucepan of just-simmering water. Stir the chocolate mixture occasionally with a spatula until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and 175g of the honey in a bowl and beat on high speed with an electric mixer until doubled in size and fluffy. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture with a metal spoon.

Apple & Berry Crumble

By simply replacing white flour with coconut or nut flower, butter with coconut oil and refined sugar with stevia, honey, yacon or maple syrup, we can still bake cookies or a cake for a birthday celebration and know that what is on offer is delicious but, more importantly, so much easier on your system. Whisk the egg whites and the remaining honey in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture until well incorporated, then gently fold in the walnuts. Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared tin and level the top with a palette knife. Bake for 30 mins, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the brownie comes out clean. The brownie

will puff up a little during cooking. Allow to cool completely in the tin, then refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting. Turn the brownie out onto a chopping board and cut into portions. Dust with the extra cacao powder and serve. The brownies will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

APPLE & BERRY CRUMBLE Serves: 6 4 apples (about 750g in total), peeled, cored & chopped into 2cm pieces 85g honey 1 tbsp coconut oil Finely grated zest of 1 orange 1 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp vanilla powder or 1 vanilla pod, split & seeds scraped 320g fresh or frozen mixed berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries & blackberries) Coconut yoghurt, to serve


Crumble Topping 100g almond or hazelnut meal 65g activated macadamia nuts, finely chopped 60g activated pistachio nuts, finely chopped 40g shredded coconut 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted 85g honey ½ tsp ground cinnamon Pinch sea salt Preheat the oven to 160°C. To make the filling, combine the apple, honey, coconut oil, orange zest, cinnamon, vanilla pod and seeds or powder and 3 tbsp of water in a saucepan. Cover and cook over medium–low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apple softens, about 5 mins. Add the berries, cover and cook for 3–4 mins until the berries start to burst. Remove the vanilla pod (if using). Meanwhile, to make the crumble topping, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Spoon the filling evenly into a 1.5L baking dish. Sprinkle on the crumble topping to cover. Bake for 15–18 mins until the crumble is golden brown, checking from 10 mins onwards to make sure it doesn’t burn. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 2–3 mins before serving. Serve with coconut yoghurt.

* FRee


at *BAsed on the orIgInal 200g pack

FOOD NATURAL SWEETENERS COCONUT MACAROONS Makes: 16 2 egg whites Pinch sea salt Pinch cream of tartar ½ tsp apple-cider vinegar 2 tbsp honey 50g almond meal 1 tbsp melted coconut oil 100g shredded coconut 200g cherries, pitted & chopped Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a large tray with baking paper. Beat the egg whites and salt in a bowl until soft peaks form. Add the cream of tartar, vinegar and honey and continue to beat until thick and glossy. Fold in the almond meal, coconut oil, shredded coconut and cherries. Using a tablespoon, drop walnut-sized portions of the macaroon mixture onto the prepared tray, allowing a little room for spreading. Bake for 12–15 mins until the macaroons are golden brown. Allow the macaroons to cool a little before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the cupboard for up to a week.

Chocolate Beetroot Mud Cake

CHOCOLATE BEETROOT MUD CAKE Makes: 8 300g mixed activated macadamia nuts & Brazil nuts 6 medjool dates, pitted 55g currants, dried blueberries or dried cranberries 4 tbsp maple syrup 3 beetroot, grated, plus extra to decorate 200g desiccated coconut, plus extra to decorate 4 tbsp cacao powder 4 tbsp carob powder ½ tsp vanilla powder or 1 vanilla pod, split & seeds scraped 2 tbsp golden flaxseed meal Icing 2 avocados, halved, stoned & peeled 60g cacao powder 175g honey 2 tbsp coconut oil ½ tsp vanilla powder ½ tsp sea salt Chocolate Shavings 125mL melted coconut oil 1½ tbsp cacao powder, sifted 1½ tbsp carob powder, sifted 1 tbsp honey

Coconut Macaroons


Place the nuts in a food processor bowl and process to the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the dates, dried fruit and maple syrup and process until

smooth. Add the beetroot, coconut, cacao, carob, vanilla powder or seeds and flaxseed meal and blend until well combined and even in texture. Line a tray with baking paper. Place eight 5cm cake ring moulds on the tray. Divide the nut mixture between the moulds and transfer to the freezer for 40 mins to set. To make the icing, combine the avocado, cacao, honey, coconut oil, vanilla and salt in the clean food processor bowl and pulse until smooth. Using a palette knife, cover the cakes with the icing, then refrigerate for 30 mins. Meanwhile, to make the chocolate shavings, mix the coconut oil, cacao, carob and honey in a bowl. Line a tray with baking paper and spread the mixture onto the paper as thinly as possible. Leave at room temperature for 5 mins, then carefully roll up the paper to form a cylinder. Place in the fridge for 10–20 mins to harden. Peel the paper away; you will be left with chocolate shavings. Place these on the baking sheet and return to the fridge for 2–5 mins to firm up again. Decorate the mud cakes with the extra coconut and beetroot and the chocolate shavings. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Pete Evans is a chef, paleo ambassador, health coach, restaurateur, media personality and author of his new book, Fast Food for Busy Families. W:




“You love yourself” was a common childhood taunt aimed at shrinking us back to short poppy status. But self-love is a feat, not a flaw. Genuine self-love can take you anywhere you want, so step aboard the self-love express for an awesome life journey. WORDS / CAROLINE ROBERTSON




obody else in eternity will ever look, talk, walk, think or act the way you do. You are special. You are rare. Like anything that’s rare, you’re valuable. Loving yourself and others is your ultimate life lesson. It’s said that self-love is the shortcut to enlightenment. Self-love is the root from which all growth flourishes. Success, serenity and satisfaction blossom when you nourish yourself with love. As psychologist Tim Sharp ( shares, “It’s virtually impossible to be happy if you’re not happy with yourself; it’s also virtually impossible to love and be loved by others if you can’t love yourself. “So self-love is one of the cornerstones of good mental health and living a good life.” Do you want to be happy? Well, you have to uproot self-loathing and cultivate self-love. Self-hatred and happiness can’t coexist. Self-esteem empowers you to experience a limitless life. “Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand brake on,” wrote Maxwell Maltz, author of Psycho-Cybernetics. Maltz believed that if your self-image is unhealthy all of your efforts will fail to bring fulfilment. Filling yourself with feelings of self-love feeds your deepest needs. Cultivating self-love requires constant self-awareness and conscious choices. You’ll find self-love is the most positive and productive state while selfloathing is the most destructive state. Understanding yourself, love and your attitude to self-love is the first step on your ongoing adventure.

Photography Getty Images

WHAT IS SELF-LOVE? The self is our eternal essence that, when thwarted, farts toxic gases and when appreciated effuses fragrant selflove. Just as electricity manifests itself through machines, our immortal energy expresses itself through our body, mind and actions. Our perfect soul-self dances through fallible forms with designated genders, relationship roles and status. However, our true identity isn’t defined by our transient body, possessions or positions. Our changeless self is an infallible life force, a perfect player in a harmonious, unified field. Eckhart Tolle had this enlightening epiphany when he despaired, “I can’t live with myself,” leading him to question who the “I” is that he can’t live with. The real “I” is this energy that flows freely when you’re tuned to station self-love.

SELF-LOVE Your energy is static and self-destructive when you’re on a faulty frequency. So, just as an expert conductor creates magical music, your mind creates a lovely life by synchronising your vibration with self-love, your supreme state. So what is love? Love is a feeling. It’s a sentiment stemming from the perception that something is lovable and valuable to you. Are you lovable and valuable? Are you enough and worthy of love? Do you deserve love because you do certain things or are a certain way? No. There are no conditions on sincere self-love. It’s unconditional. Only from this purehearted place can you sustain self-love through all circumstances. Feeling secure that you’re lovable irrespective of external validation is true self-love. This is a steady, unshakable sense of self that sees you through all storms. You may say you love yourself and others but the proof is in the practice. True love is a verb, a doing word. You must show yourself love through the way you talk to and treat yourself. Self-love comes from connecting with your inner energy, not from outer appraisal. If you base self-worth on your appearance, achievements, relationships, possessions or status, then it vacillates wildly. The poignant Robbie Williams documentary Nobody, Someday illustrated that we can hate ourselves even when millions love us. The singer was suffering from suicidal self-loathing and depression; fortunately, he shifted his state, illustrating that we can make or break ourselves. Your self-esteem determines whether you enjoy or endure life. You’re worthy of love simply by your existence: there are no other criteria. You are worth loving because you exist. You deserve affection, appreciation, attention because you are you. As the Love Guru preached, “G-U-R-U!” Be your own cheerleader, pamperer, personal trainer, bragging boss or proud parent. See self-love as the oxygen that sustains your spirit. You were born from love, you’ll thrive in love and you’ll return to love.

VAIN OR SANE? Ever encountered someone who is all about themselves? Always admiring their reflection, only talking about themselves and going for what they want oblivious to others? Is this what self-love looks like? No. This is self-centredness, selfobsession, narcissism, conceit or selfishness. Dr Sharp agrees: “Self-love



As Voltaire said, “Self-love is the instrument of our preservation.” is different from being self-centred or selfish or hedonistic because we know the happiest people are none of these things. Instead, the happiest people love themselves for all they are, including their shortcomings, so they can love others and be loved, so they can feel good and do good, and so they can give all of themselves to bettering life for themselves and their loved ones.” Ironically, attention- and approvalseeking behaviour compensating for low self-worth drives others away in droves. Obsessing over yourself while narcissistically neglecting others is just as damaging to yourself as it is to others. You miss out on the richness of a reciprocal relationship with its joys of connecting, caring and sharing. Selfish people shouldn’t be judged but pitied for the growth opportunities they forego. Some religions condemn selfish behaviour to the point where only selfless, self-sacrificing martyrs are stamped spiritual and all others are condemned as guilty, selfish sinners. Even Buddhism slams self-cherishing as the root cause of all suffering. Yoga considers surrendered service or karma yoga as offering ourselves to a higher purpose to enjoy higher pleasures. This sense of pleasure from giving feeds self-love.


exceptional existence. It’s ungrateful to take the gift of life for granted. As Voltaire said, “Self-love is the instrument of our preservation.” When we take care of ourselves, we’re less likely to have to depend on others to take care of us. Neglecting yourself to please others may serve others but denies you what you deserve. So Shakespeare believed: “Self-love is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting.” We may see self-love as ego but ego is the opposite of self-love. Psychologist Erich Fromm wrote that loving yourself is different from being arrogant, conceited or egocentric. Ego is loving the false self based on external approval. Ironically, people with big egos are driven to prove their worth through wealth, status and fame because they lack self-worth. This is like building a house on sand, where the slightest wave washes away self-worth. Doc Childre, founder of Heartmath Institute (, shares his insights on self-love in Heart Intelligence: “Years ago, the term self-love put me off, as it sounded too self-centred. My perception changed as I realised that loving myself was simply practising natural heart qualities such as gratitude, patience, being kinder and more compassionate with myself, including

my heart more in decisions and choices, being mindful and non-judgemental of my inner and external environment, releasing the vanity around failing to get everything perfect, etc. “These practices bring forth the essence of our true self. Our true self is already perfect; it doesn’t require fixing — it’s like a perfect orange that’s full of sunshine but we have to take the peel off to free up the juice. We advance as we peel off the old perceptions and behaviours that no longer benefit us. Doing this reveals the light from our true being.”

SELF-LOVE PANACEA Have you felt complete unconditional love for someone or something such as a child or an animal? Didn’t it feel good to fully embrace them with an open heart? Didn’t they thrive under your adoring attention? Imagine how good it would feel to have a lifelong love affair with yourself — to cherish yourself like you really matter. You do matter. Your life matters. Make the most of it by making the most positive choices for happiness, health, growth and abundance. Unlike external love, inner selflove can’t be taken from us as we continually cultivate it. And as we shine with self-love it inspires others to love themselves. Meeting someone with self-love is infectious. Because they’re beyond external approval, they’re often unashamedly eccentric. Being comfortable with themselves, they make others comfortable. Their centred stability makes them more self-sufficient and able to empathise. They’re impervious to criticism or slights as inner belief bolsters them against outer botherations. In the wise words of Lao-Tzu, “Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” It’s the paradigm “I’m OK, you’re OK”, or I’m love and so are you. Self-love is the first step to enduring success, a panacea for all problems. Research reveals that those with high self-compassion are happier and overcome difficulties such as divorce and disease with more resilience. Self-love decreases perfectionism, anxiety, addictions, bad relationships, depression and discontent. It outshines criticism, suppression, guilt, anger, shame and blame.

Photography Getty Images

However, self-love is evident by how you feel, not how you appear. If you give while feeling abused, used, unappreciated, disrespected or suppressed, the service you’re offering is bound to be tainted with negative feelings such as resentment, depression and denial, which eventually overshadow exalted feelings. If you’re to “love your neighbour as you love yourself”, then you must first love yourself. Many doctrines believe we’re created in the image of God, are one with sublime creation and are divine sparks with the pure qualities of our perfect origin. In the film The Footprint of the Buddha, narrator Ronald Eyre asks a Buddhist monk, “Can a person who does not love himself love another?” The sagacious monk replies emphatically, “It is impossible!” Self-love signifies sanity, not vanity. It’s not selfish to show yourself love; it’s essential for survival. Treating yourself with love and respect is treasuring your

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SPECIAL REPORT: MIND SELF-LOVE The ability to care for yourself also increases your ability to care for others. As self-love expert Louise Hay says, “I found that there is only one thing that heals every problem, and that is: to know how to love yourself. When people start to love themselves more each day, it’s amazing how their lives get better. They feel better. They get the jobs they want. They have the money they need. Their relationships either improve, or the negative ones dissolve and new ones begin.” Sometimes we resist self-care but are forced to show ourselves love to survive. Remember when you were sick or sad and the only thing that pulled you out of it was a big dose of self-love and attention? Before you get to that stage, take stock of which type of self-love you’re lacking. There are 11 types of self-love according to Christine Arylo, acclaimed “Queen of Self-Love”, founder of international day of self-love and author of Madly in Love with Me. Arylo says, “Self-love isn’t something you have, it’s something you choose. Choose love over criticism, stress, neglect and doubt for yourself.”

LOVE WELL How can you give something you haven’t got? You can’t give love if you don’t have it. Can you receive love if you can’t recognise, feel or accept it? Maya Angelou said, “I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ ... There is an African saying: ‘Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.’” Loving yourself doesn’t mean you love others less. It actually enables you to sustain love because it’s coming from an inexhaustible reservoir of self-love. When you show yourself love, you can give it to others from a full heart. We’re all interconnected so, when we love ourselves, it flows freely like breathing. Just as when a plane plummets and we take oxygen before sharing it, we need to fuel up on self-love to extend it. Self-love is the source of all other loves, the air beneath the wings of all relationships. John Lennon recognised this formula for love: “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others.” How many times have you heard people say, “I only met the love of my life once I loved myself.” Awakening love inside empowers us to manifest love outside. Conversely, if you don’t feel love,


YOUR LOVE TYPES Tick off which love types you lack and resolve to practise them: 1. Self-awareness and honesty. Are you aware of your emotions, attitudes and needs? Do you know yourself and stay true to what you want? 2. Self-acceptance. Can you embrace all aspects of yourself? Vulnerabilities, strengths, quirks and preferences? Can you accept where you are and what you’re doing as perfect to learn what you need to? 3. Self-care. Do you prioritise your mental, physical and spiritual needs? 4. Self-compassion and selfforgiveness. Do you build yourself up or beat yourself down? 5. Self-trust. Do you follow your instincts or allow others’ opinions to override it? 6. Self-esteem. Do you recognise the unique abilities and achievements that you offer the world? 7. Self-expression. Are you open to express yourself through communication and creativity? 8. Self-empowerment. Can you accept that you’re the co-creator of your life, responsible for your choices without apology or need for approval? 9. Self-respect and self-honour. Do you act in your best interest and maintain boundaries that nurture respectful relationships? 10. Self-pleasure. Do you enjoy fun, pleasure and joy? 11. Self-worth. Do you value yourself as well as your time, worth and contribution?

it’s hard to give and get it. Barbara De Angelis says, “If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself.” Just as inner peace ripples out to others, inner war catches others in the crossfire. Clearing beliefs that we’re unworthy or unable to love is essential for a loving connection with others. Self-loathing blocks our ability to accept love, often attracting relationships that reinforce our negative beliefs. What beliefs are inhibiting your self-love? Write them down and examine if they’re really eternal truths. The love you receive is a reflection of the love you feel for yourself. We may attract abusive, absent or incompatible relationships because they

match our self-beliefs. It’s impossible to fill an inner love deficit with outer love. Focus first on self-love to naturally attract love from others; being real will attract real love. Accept your authentic self rather than hiding aspects to attract others. Your nature will be revealed eventually and, when the façade falls, we may sabotage a relationship to avoid anticipated rejection. Taking responsibility for your relationships, mind, body, finances and health shows self-love. Relish this self-sufficient, secure state as inner love can’t be taken away from you unless you allow it.

INNER ENEMY “Your problem is you’re ... too busy holding onto your unworthiness.” ~ Ram Dass

Though every person is a precious gift to the planet, we often undervalue ourselves. Dragging yourself down when you could uplift yourself thwarts your true potential. Low selfesteem causes shame, inferiority, perfectionism, fear, anxiety, sabotage, self-doubt, depression, emptiness, anger and confusion. The origin of self-loathing is often childhood. Were you ever treated with neglect, abuse, criticism, mistrust and deception? This can darken and disable your life if you interpret it negatively. However, with greater awareness, you can shine light on trials and make them positive lessons. You can see obstacles as opportunities for growth or ditches to dwindle in. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.” You may learn low self-love from the example of others, such as people who constantly denigrate themselves or denigrate others. You may feel unworthy because you can’t match up to society’s or your own expectations. You may take temporary failures as proof you will always fail because you’re permanently cursed or incapable. Let’s dispel these destructive delusions. Recall a time when you felt unlovable. Write down who was involved, the dialogue, the actions and reactions. Did this really mean you were unlovable? What did you gain from this? Talk to your past self and offer acceptance, support and a hug. Smile to yourself as though you’re an adorable animal or perfect baby. Acknowledge how this revealed and moulded your character. Forgive and thank all involved for helping you evolve.

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Low Love Sign


1. Overwhelmed and stressed

self-care, self-worth

2. Unhealthy relationships

self-honour, honesty, self-respect

3. All work and no play


4. Doubt yourself, settle for less

self-empowerment, self-expression

5. Compare and criticise self

self-acceptance, self-compassion

6. Abuse or hate mind/body


7. Say sorry or shrink in situations

self-esteem, self-worth, self-empowerment

8. Anxious, obsessive, self-conscious

self-trust, self-empowerment

9. No boundaries

self-trust, self-care, self-worth

10. Directionless and pessimistic

self-empowerment, self-awareness, self-expression

11. Feel unlovable

self-worth, self-honour, self-esteem

12. Unrealistic expectations, ignore achievements

self-acceptance, selfcompassion, self-pleasure, self-care, self-worth

From now on, trust your own opinions, instincts and approval above others. Pleasing yourself is paramount. If people try to pull you down, look at their motives. Dismiss or accept it as impetus to grow. Above all, accept yourself. As Byron Katie put it, “It’s not your job to like me; it’s mine.” Christine Arylo highlights the 12 signs of low self-love and the corresponding need in the box above. Circle any you feel and resolve to meet your needs.

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SELF-LOVE STEPS “There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself.” ~ Brian Andreas, author of StoryPeople

A modest mate’s response to the topic of self-love was, “Oh, that’s easier said than done.” However, it’s just as hard to hate yourself as it is to love yourself.

DO YOU LOVE YOURSELF? You need to replenish your selflove stores if you answer yes to the following statements: 1. I say negative things about myself silently or aloud. 2. I neglect my needs for sleep, food, exercise, security and pleasure. 3. I often do things I don’t want to and delay doing what I want. 4. I allow others to treat me badly. 5. Criticism crushes me. 6. I don’t feel I deserve what I desire. 7. I never feel like I’m enough or I do enough. 8. I envy and criticise others. 9. I find it hard to request help. 10. I often doubt myself. 11. I find it hard to treat myself. 12. I wonder how anyone could love the real me.


Self-esteem is instilled in us from childhood.

You’re engaging the same energy, only opposite polarities. How you direct your energy comes down to moment-bymoment beliefs and decisions. Self-love isn’t a static state; it fluctuates. Self-love is essentially attained by always asking two questions: what do I need now and what would I do if I loved myself? Being aware of your emotions, words and actions enables you to catch yourself when you’re steering off self-love street. Try these tips to top up your love tank and skyrocket your self-esteem: Appreciate all you are and have now. Be aware of negative beliefs, feelings, assumptions, stories and self-talk. Listen to a self-love guided meditation regularly. Journal to explore feelings and understand yourself deeply. See everything as a lesson, everyone as a lecturer and every experience as a test towards graduation. Try the HeartMath Quick Coherence Technique ( Lie with a large rose quartz over your heart and inhale love, exhale love with a soft smile for five minutes or more. As often as possible, let your attention rest on your heart centre. Say, “My heart is my home,” and relax into it. Identify your needs and prioritise them. Include eating, exercise, work, rest and recreation. Enjoy your own company, being your best friend. Surround yourself with loving people or animals. Accept compliments. Lovingly share and care for others.

Perpetual praise becomes impotent and makes a child constantly expect external recognition. Do what you want without justifying, explaining or hiding in shame. Enjoy pleasure and play. Enjoy creative or expressive pursuits such as music, art or dancing. Pursue your passion irrespective of others’ opinions and possible outcomes. Flex your confidence by tackling a fresh challenge. Practise regular self-love rituals such as massage and manicures. Clear things you don’t love from your life: habits, professions, people, places and possessions. Transform comparison into inspiration. Forgive yourself; there are no failures, only steps to success. Sit somewhere serene and soak it up. Do something you love and are good at. Regularly look at your reflection and say nice things to yourself. See Louise Hay’s mirror work ( Set boundaries, saying no if something doesn’t serve you. Think loving thoughts about self, life and others. Accept your perceived imperfections and have courage to be real. Speak up for yourself and express your truth. Celebrate yourself, your triumphs and your efforts.

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“All self-worth issues stem from one thought. That thought is, ‘I am not enough,’” writes Teal Swan, author of Shadows Before Dawn: Finding the Light of Self-Love Through Your Darkest Times. “You need to ask yourself, ‘How am I enough?’ By focusing on and accepting what we are, we can cultivate self-worth and self-love.” Hunching over with humility doesn’t make you or anybody better. Stand tall and celebrate your strengths, skills and idiosyncrasies. Reinforce that you are enough, you are doing enough and you have enough. Write down your accomplishments, qualities, ambitions and abilities. If you get stuck, ask others what they admire about you. Write down all you love in your life now. Remember all the times you’ve triumphed and thrived through life. Recall all you’ve shared with others. Stay positive and censor what you say to yourself. Whenever you say something negative about yourself, be conscious of how you feel and counter it with a positive statement. When uncertain say, “I choose the most loving choice for me!”

SPECIAL REPORT: MIND SELF-LOVE Surrender. The universe is teaching you and taking you where you need to go. Accept uncertainty as well as change and criticism. Trust yourself and your intuition. Have a “love-me” day doing whatever you want. Consider counselling or assistance. If you feel judged by others or yourself, say, “I’m the best I can be. I love me!”

CONFIDENT KIDS Self-esteem is instilled in us from childhood. Our psychological foundation is formed from genetic tendencies, experiences and observations. Growing up presents kids with constant tests. Clinical psychologist Dr Siham Yahya explains the difficulties: “Each time a child is faced with a challenge, they can worry that they’re not good enough or able to cope. Unpleasant peers may say nasty things to a child making them feel more incompetent, such as, ‘You’re stupid!’ Sometimes teachers feed the feeling of unworthiness, saying things like, ‘Everybody else has finished; we’re just waiting on Johnny.’ This further erodes a child’s self-esteem.” Yahya suggests giving a child praise, nurturing, affection, love and tangible

rewards. “This has the magical power to create positive self-regard, which is the feeling of self-worth, positive self-image and high self-esteem. It provides them with strong armour, protecting them from the arrows that life shoots at them.” Don’t only compliment kids but set them challenges and responsibilities, as Richard Branson’s parents did. In his autobiography, he recounts that at four years old his mother made him get out of the car miles from home and insisted he found his way back solo. He never forgot the sense of accomplishment and the proud expression on his mother’s face. The adrenalin of adventure has since spurred him on to great success. Perpetual praise becomes impotent and makes a child constantly expect external recognition. Save it for special moments so they feel it’s genuine. Encourage kids to expand by trying new things and taking calculated risks. Let them explore answers themselves instead of jumping in to solve issues. Nurture their uniqueness so they feel free to grow and go where their bliss beckons. As Dr Seuss said, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” Berating kids for making mistakes only discourages them and closes down

communication. Instead, discuss what they learned so they can do better next time. Being a present parent forges a strong connection so a child can openly express issues. “A child needs 15–30 minutes with each parent daily to fill up their ‘Parental Attention Thermometer’,” advises Yahya. “Be curious about their day, friends, games and likes. Always greet your children with a smile and a warm embrace. Say, ‘I love you.’ Be a role model by loving yourself, showing them how self-love looks and acts.”

PARENTAL PRESSURE Constant caregivers have less time and energy to care for themselves. Showing yourself and others love simultaneously is all about balance, time management and asking for assistance. Nancy Mattos, family worker, celebrant and mother of five, shares her experience: “When my cup is full, I seem to have many skills to draw upon such as abundance of love, understanding, compassion, fun and laughter. But, when my cup’s empty, the ability to draw from all of these amazing qualities [is] very limited; therefore my parenting ability is also limited. Selfcare and self-love as a mum takes a lot

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SUICIDE TO SELF-LOVE Nothing is more self-destructive than suicide or more constructive than selflove. Self-love is accepting one’s life as worthwhile; suicide is rejecting one’s existence as useless. “Enlightened people accept the meaning in everything as they are one with everything. They feel love for all because they realise all is love. They are swasthya, or seated in their true self, and nothing sways them from that blissful state,” says Sanskrit scholar and Ayurvedic doctor Rama Prasad.


“We need to work on finding happiness within.”

Until we see everything as valuable, we may want to discard it as rubbish. Throwing yourself away may seem to solve insurmountable issues or at least stop suffering but these feelings are calling you to change your perception and approach. Sometimes it takes a breakdown to make a breakthrough. Extreme pain can trigger an epiphany of purpose. Yoga teacher and health coach Nikki Ayres learnt this after a suicide attempt. “The lowest moment in my life was a beautiful blessing,” she says. “It taught me how I needed to be gentle on myself, it taught me to drop judgement and that our mind has the power to dictate our life.” Ayres posted a video of her story to raise awareness that one in seven Australians dies from suicide. She says, “You need to make yourself your biggest priority and balance out the giving and receiving ratio. If you constantly give love, you become burnt out.” Her near-death experience led to a fuller life: “Self-love starts from within, shifting the mindset and turning to compassion. I decided to change my mind and in doing so my whole life shifted in a huge way; it was the moment that my soul passion showed up and it was crystal clear what I have come here to do.” Ayres feels that happiness dependent on anything that can be taken away is a precarious position. “Instead, we need to work on finding happiness within, love ourselves unconditionally, do things that set our souls on fire and be our own best friend. So if areas of our life fall to pieces our foundation of self-love saves us.” Enjoy life by patiently allowing it to unfold organically. Life is frustrating when we worry, micromanage, expect

perfection and permanence. Trust there’s a plan propelling you to deeper understanding. This is the “wisdom model” as opposed to the “achievement model” of understanding life, according to Greg Neville, author of The True Cause and Cure of Depression and founder of Melbourne’s Anti Depression Institute. For many, life’s purpose is to prove themselves worthy by achieving what they feel is valuable whether it be an image, position, possessions and so on. The wisdom model states that life is inherently worthwhile because we’re always gaining and giving wisdom. Neville explains, “In the wisdom model, you’re always valuable because you’re always performing your valuable role of serving as data to other people’s minds and their consequent development in understanding reality.” The wisdom model goal is to awaken yourself and others, which you are always doing consciously or unconsciously. The achievement model is a rollercoaster of supposed success and failure as you hate or love yourself according to your sense of achievement. In the wisdom model, you’re always successful and feeling self-love as you are always teaching and being taught. So celebrate yourself and your life. Why wait to awaken inner love? Paradise is in the present, as author Alan Cohen says: “To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now.” References available on request. Caroline Robertson is a passionate practitioner and teacher of natural therapies. For consults, classes, treatments and retreats in Sydney or via Skype, visit

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of awareness and dedication — and it should be a priority.” Rather than measuring yourself against a Florence Nightingale ideal or your parents, it’s important to have realistic expectations. Doing your best is all you can do. Shake off self-criticism, “comparisonitis” and doubt. Put yourself in your ward’s place and ask, “What would I really require in their situation?” Sharing things like love, affection and attention for allotted times is enough; one person cannot provide 24/7 service. During her workshops “Emotional Awareness: A Doorway to Healthy Parenting”, Mattos sees burntout parents who are too tough on themselves. “I regularly see parents who struggle with self-love, guilt, blame and judgement,” she says. “Due to life pressures they’ve taken on immense responsibility. Many of them are single mums who have forgotten what fun is, what play is, and the importance of connecting to the self and their children. This connection only happens when we are able to stop, accept what is, and just be. At times we’re on ‘auto-pilot’, doing and achieving. We need to slow down, take a breath, look around and see our lives, our families, our homes and realise that we could probably be doing it a little easier for ourselves and others.” Tending to your own emotional and physical needs makes you more able to meet others’ needs. Our children soak up our sense of self and model it. As Naomi Wolf said, “A mother who radiates self-love vaccinates their daughter against low self-esteem.” Show them that life is an amazing adventure where everything unravels for a reason. Caring for others and yourself along the way reaps rewards that enrich your life. Fully focusing on others may be a way to avoid yourself or control others by creating dependence. Nurture others’ selfsufficiency while nurturing your needs with contemplation, meditation, action.

Yoga for WORK OVERLOAD If career commitments and a never-ending to-do list are grinding you down, practise the yoga of conscious choice for greater ease and balance. WORDS / KYLIE TERRALUNA PHOTOGRAPHY / TAWFIK ELGAZZAR


o you have too much to do and can never get through your to-do list no matter how hard you try? Do you feel like you’ve “dropped the ball” in important areas in your life to maintain your career commitments? Is your energy or health affected? Let’s examine the physiology of stress from a yogic perspective and give you practices to enhance your mental capacity for work, leaving you feeling refreshed and empowered to achieve what you need with greater ease and balance in your life.

PHYSIOLOGY OF STRESS Your nervous system treats modernday stress with the same physiological response your ancestors had when chased by tigers: the body is flooded with hormones like cortisol for “fight


or flight”. With chronic stress like work overload and not switching off from your task lists, the sympathetic nervous system remains triggered and your body stays in hyper-alert mode, shutting down digestive functions and immune responses and depleting all other bodily systems. Is your career worth all the stress — or can you have your career and adapt your lifestyle for change? Through the yoga of conscious choice it is possible to balance your doshas (bodily humours) and manage your workload without taking on negative stress states. The aim of yoga is to create a sattvic (pure) mind for harmony, promoting joy and stress-free living.

AYURVEDA ON STRESS As the nervous system is ruled by vata (wind and air), Ayurveda views

chronic stress as a vata imbalance no matter your constitution. When you’re under stress, the downward-moving apana vata heads up in the wrong direction, blocking prana (life force) and reducing your energy and health. Yoga ameliorates this by opening the nadis (energy channels), redirecting the free flow of prana and purifying the mind. A distracted mind is nothing new. Some 5000 years ago, Patanjali explained the goal of yoga as the “cessation of the fluctuations of the mind”. Even if your work is your passion and fuels you, without the equanimity of sattva (purity), an overly rajasic (passionate) or tamasic (heavy) mental state will ultimately lead to stress. An imbalanced mind douses the digestive fire (agni) in the body, causing ama (toxins) to accumulate. Ama then creates the stress hormone cortisol

BODY YOGA FOR WORK OVERLOAD and before you know it your nervous system responds as though a tiger is chasing you. How you react to stress depends on your doshic (body type) constitution. Vata (wind/air) types are most vulnerable to fear and anxiety. While creative, under stress they exhaust themselves, lose focus and space out. Pitta (fire/water) types competitively push themselves, responding to stress with irritability, frustration and anger. They are most at risk of burnout. Kapha (earth/water) types work diligently, slowly and steadily. Under stress, they procrastinate, become resentful, lazy and depressed, gain weight and lose productivity.

HOW TO THRIVE AT WORK Keep your workspace clean and clear of clutter. A calm, fresh space positively affects your mental peace and harmony. Eat healthy, good food regularly and drink plenty of water. If you are pushing through and overreacting (pitta), procrastinating (kapha) or spacing out (vata), go for a walk outside. Feel the sun on your face, move your body and free your mind by taking a much-needed break. Move your pelvis in your chair and rotate your shoulders and neck regularly to release tension. In the moment, stop and breathe. Ask yourself, is the addiction to a habitual reaction worth the pain? What will it cost your health? Each time you choose a powerfully positive reaction, a new samskara (mental imprint) for more positive choice develops. Make your work your meditation by giving it your full attention. There is satisfaction in the joy of concentrated effort. One-pointed concentration allows for more efficient, effective results and frees you up for less stress. Focus on serenity to allow the mind to stay on task. Turn off distractions like email and social media and simplify your thoughts for greater ease. Practise kindness when others distract you then reframe, breathe, refocus. Apply your best efforts as you gift back to the universe, no matter what your work involves, then surrender the outcomes to Spirit.

YOUR TO-DO LIST Be honest with your to-do list. What niggling tasks consistently remain unattended and add to your accumulated stress? Could they be easier to address than ignore? By calmly attending to small tasks, you can ease your list and feel empowered. Prioritise time

to beautify your space for harmonious living. Plan in sattvic eating, breathing and thinking, prioritising peace. Rushing imbalances vata and makes mistakes more likely. Take moments for joy, gratitude and love, adding these to your list. Extend time in small increments by choosing to relax your whole being as you walk to the bathroom. Say an affirmation of love to yourself in the home/office bathroom mirror. Remind yourself that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re achieving success and your health is important for your career. Listen to your body and notice your stress responses so you can consciously choose new outcomes. Celebrate success in key areas of your life. Include not only your career wins but also the less noticeable yet rewarding ones such as relaxed cuddles with your children, kind words to someone in need, time for family and self-care, and any ability to react in a healthy way during a stressful moment.

Even if your work is your passion and fuels you, without the equanimity of sattva (purity), an overly rajasic (passionate) or tamasic (heavy) mental state will ultimately lead to stress. Importantly, on your list, ritualise the beginning and end of each day. Dinacharya, the Ayurvedic daily routine, will drastically improve your stress levels and moment-to-moment reactivity as you physically attend to Spirit. Nourish the soul first and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re well on your way to a stress-free life. The more the ritual becomes habit, the less effort is involved and the healthier your thoughts, words and actions.

MORNING ROUTINE Dinacharya balances all three doshas and vastly improves the quality of your life. Slowly incorporate this new sattvic daily routine into your life and watch how things fall into place. Wake before sunrise, gently weaning yourself off the need for an alarm. Eminent Ayurvedic physician Dr Vasad Lad ( says, immediately after waking, look at your hands for a few moments then move them over your face and chest, down to your waist to clean the aura.

Next, say a prayer of thanks for your life and the day to God/Universal Consciousness/All That Is before getting out of bed. After the prayer, Dr Lad says, touch the ground with your right hand then touch your right hand to your forehead with great love and respect for Mother Earth. Rinse your face and mouth, wash eyes, gently rub eyelids, blink, rotate eyes in all directions. Drink warm water with lemon. Empty bladder and bowels. Scrape tongue, brush teeth. Perform abhyanga oil massage, gently stroking warmed sesame oil onto the limbs up towards the heart, circling around each joint as you go. Make the ritual sacred, quiet and loving. This beautiful practice regularises vata. As vata moves, it is balanced by the patterned movement of the massage. In this way, abhyanga is essential for stress management. Practise yogic breathing while the oil soaks in. Shower. Practise sun salutations and meditate afterwards. Have breakfast in silence, expressing gratitude for daily nourishment. Eat the main meal of the day at around 12pm, when pitta is at its peak, for best digestion. Once this morning routine is established, add gandusha: oil pulling before abhyanga to release tension from the jaw and remove toxins. Gandusha involves swishing refined sesame or coconut oil inside the mouth and through teeth for 20 minutes, spitting out and rinsing with warm water.

EVENING RITUALS Spend time in soft lighting with gentle music and sweet scents of lavender. Reflect on your stress levels from the day and how you could improve your reactions. If you responded with fear or anxiety, consider grounding vata with gentle movements, cooked soups and supportive thoughts. If you became hot headed, cool pitta with non-competitive thoughts and action, drink peppermint tea and aim to chill out. If you became lazy or resentful, choose to move kapha by incorporating strong asana into your day, add a run and play upbeat tunes to get out of the negative state. Purifying the small responses, uplifting them, makes the bigger picture more inviting, enjoyable and fulfilling. Make evening sacred by reading ancient scriptures, sacred works or


BODY YOGA FOR WORK OVERLOAD sacred poetry to relax and bathe your being in the gifts of Spirit. Meditate. Apply oil to the soles of the feet before going to bed. This soothes vata for a sound sleep. Ensure adequate sleep each night.

Tree pose (vrksasana) Standing, firm thighs and place weight evenly across feet. On inhale, lift right foot, place sole of foot against left inner thigh. Bring hands together above head, shoulders down. Draw right hip down, square navel and chest to centre, relax gaze. Keep your heart centred on balanced living and your mind strong for peace. Breathe. Bring foot and hands down simultaneously, repeat on other leg.

PRACTISE INVERSIONS Inverted or upside-down poses encourage an enriched blood supply to the brain, flushing out toxins and purifying blood and lymph throughout the body. Inversions increase self-confidence and uplift all negativity. They increase mental power and concentration with patience and perseverance.

FINDING BALANCE Dedicate your life to sattvic acts of devotion for peace, removing disturbances for focus and bringing joy to the tasks at hand. Create space for what is truly important, giving those your full attention and spending time on the things you love. Determine to be more productive through the lifestyle designs of yoga. Apply the tools given here, reduce fear and anxiety (vata), temper and frustration (pitta) or resentment and procrastination (kapha) for a stress-free existence with equanimity, joy and sacred love. Om shanti (peace).

A SEQUENCE FOR WORK OVERLOAD The purpose of this sequence it to increase your capacity to sustain your workload without feeling overburdened. It can be practised as part of your daily routine or included at any point in your week. It involves balancing poses for focus and co-ordination, to stabilise and balance the mind, and inversions for stress reduction. If you are depleted or exhausted, refer to restorative yoga sequences in my articles Yoga for Difficult Times, Yoga for Compassion and Yoga for Conscious Living (available at, before returning to this sequence another day. Set your intention. Say, “I embrace health with balance for stress-free living. I allow yoga to support my work efforts and offer my life’s work back to the source of all. I am liberation. I am love.” To begin, sit down and centre yourself with the yogic intention as above. Perform joint rotations of ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck. Warm up with a few rounds of sun salutations that include lunges to open hips and plank to warm the shoulders.


Side staff pose (vasisthasana) Place hands and feet on the ground in plank position. Draw abdomen toward spine. Drop heels towards the left, raise right hand, rotating body up, aligning hips and shoulders vertically. Balance on left hand and outside of left foot. Turn chest toward sky, look up. Breathe in strength and commitment. After a few moments, return to plank then drop to right, repeating on other side.

Crow pose (bakasana) Squat down with hands on floor in front. Separate Tree pose knees, lean torso forward, bend elbows as you raise hips, placing outer arms deep on inner thighs. Lift onto balls of feet, lean further forward and begin to balance on arms by taking feet off floor, toes touching. Embrace play and courage. Note: Do not perform inverted poses if you are pregnant, menstruating or have high blood pressure.

Crow pose

Side staff pose

BODY YOGA FOR WORK OVERLOAD Forearm balance preparation pose (salamba pincha mayurasana) In this headstand preparation position, your head never touches the floor. Stand with back towards wall and come onto all fours near wall. Bring elbows on floor, shoulder-width apart, clasp hands. With head off floor, lift hips, walk feet up wall to perpendicular, straighten legs. You may need to come down initially to adjust distance from wall. Lift thighs to elongate spine. Breathe. Lift shoulders away from floor. Remain for a few minutes then rest in childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pose after release. Supported shoulderstand

Supported shoulderstand (salamba sarvangasana) Carefully stack three or four half-fold blankets on floor close to wall. Sit on blankets, roll into position, shoulders on blankets, with head resting on floor, feet on wall, knees bent. Lift pelvis, bring elbows in line with shoulders to hold and straighten back. Remain here, or choose to lift one leg, then the other, off wall into full shoulderstand, straightening legs, softening gaze. Remain in pose for a few minutes.

Forearm balance preparation pose

Inverted lake (viparita karani) Line up bolster or three-fold blankets with a small gap close to the wall. Sit sideways on the edge of bolster with left hip touching wall. Bring legs up the wall as head and shoulders rest on floor. Adjust so buttocks touch wall. Strap thighs together just above knees to allow for deep restoration. Enjoy the detoxifying benefits, relax, refresh and rebalance. Stay here for a few minutes at least. Humming bee breath

Inverted lake

Humming bee breath (bhramari) Seated in a comfortable meditation position, lift spine. Close eyes, relax. Focus attention on the third eye centre: ajna chakra, the space between the eyebrows. Raise arms, place index or middle finger inside ears as a plug, relaxing shoulders down. Breathe in through the nose. Keeping mouth closed, release a soft, slow, humming sound on the exhale. Continue for a few minutes at least. This breath can be practised at any time to provide immediate relief for mental tension, anxiety or anger, and is helpful when experiencing insomnia. Note: Do not do this breath if you have an ear infection. Kylie Terraluna is a writer, speaker, retreats host, yogini and mum. She illumines the beautiful, blissful, deeper aspects of yoga for luminous living. Find out more about her webinars, 90-day online programs, workshops and conscious-living retreats at


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What’s holding you back? If you dream of having a child, it’s important to adjust your diet and lifestyle for a healthy conception and pregnancy. And yes, men, that goes for you, too. WORDS / KELLIE HOLLAND


ou would make the best parent. You would love your child more than you love yourself and give it the best life he or she could ever possibly imagine. So why can’t you achieve that dream of having a baby? What could possibly be blocking you? About one in eight couples have trouble either falling pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. What most of them don’t know is that diet and lifestyle play a major role in fertility and reproductive health.

IT’S 50:50 IN FERTILITY Many men don’t realise that 50 per cent of fertility issues are male related. It really does take two to tango — it’s not just up to the girls! The health of the male’s sperm is imperative not only for a healthy conception but also for sustaining a pregnancy to term. Diet and lifestyle factors contribute to the health of the sperm and, just as with females, males also require certain vitamins and minerals that are more important than others to the health of sperm and the reproductive system. These include zinc, selenium and essential fatty acids, just to name a few. For women, many vitamins and minerals are important, especially iron, iodine, magnesium, vitamin D, essential fatty acids, folate and vitamin B12. The key is to ensure you are both eating a healthy diet and leading a fairly active, toxin-free lifestyle. Taking a good-quality multivitamin, magnesium


and omega-3 supplement may also help you to improve your reproductive health.

FOLATE FIRST For women, folate is one vitamin that is most essential prior to conception, not after. Women are told frequently to take folate in the early stages of pregnancy for neural tube health and to prevent spina bifida in the baby. What many trying to conceive are less commonly told is that the neural tube closes at around three or four weeks after conception. Most couples aren’t even aware they are pregnant until about week six — too late if you’re trying to prevent spina bifida. If you’re trying for a baby, have your folate levels tested by your naturopath or GP and supplement about three months prior to conception if you’re a bit low. Eat a diet rich in folate-dense foods such as beans, eggs, green leafy vegetables, asparagus (a very good source), lentils and sprouts.

YOUR PRECONCEPTION PROGRAM If you visit a naturopath, especially one who specialises in fertility, chances are you and your partner will be put on a preconception program for a minimum of 100 days. The reason for this is that, for men, it takes around 76 days for sperm to develop, mature and then be utilised. The sperm he ejaculates today is essentially reflective of his health status 11 weeks ago. For this reason, it’s

Diet and lifestyle factors contribute to the health of the sperm and, just as with females, males also require certain vitamins and minerals. important to ensure the father-to-be has a healthy diet and lifestyle. Similarly, it’s also important that a woman cares for her health about three or four months prior to conception. Though it is said that women are born with their lifetime supply of eggs, it takes about three to four months for an egg to mature and prepare for ovulation. The health of that mature egg is crucial to conceiving and sustaining a healthy pregnancy right through to term. A preconception program will usually consist of diet and lifestyle modification, stress-reducing

protocols, nutritional and sometimes herbal supplementation and, best of all, lots of conception practice!

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DIETARY FACTORS A healthy, well-balanced diet should feature fresh fruit and plenty of fresh vegetables of all colours (but especially green), lean protein sources including vegetarian protein, ample fresh water and healthy fats. In the preconception period, it’s ideal to eliminate refined sugar, alcohol, fruit juices, takeaways, fast food, deep-fried foods and pastries and

any known intolerances such as dairy or gluten. Ideally, the couple should be eating protein with every meal and snack, five serves of vegetables a day (roughly 3–4 cups), two serves of fruit per day and 2 litres of fresh water. Hydration is very important for both sexes, as reproductive fluids are all water based and required for healthy conception.

LIFESTYLE FACTORS It’s not surprising that lifestyle choices have a great impact on your reproductive health. Sedentary lifestyles are linked

to lowered fertility. This makes a lot of sense, as exercise has many benefits for health such as balancing hormones, making us happy, reducing stress, increasing libido and reducing fat percentage — all things which positively affect fertility and reproductive health. On the other end of the scale, too much exercise can also lower your fertility. It’s vital to find a happy balance and allow your body some rest days to recuperate. Too much exercise puts stress on the body and leads to hormonal imbalances and many other problems down the track.


Smoking is an obvious lifestyle choice to give up before trying for a baby. Many people vow to quit the minute they fall pregnant; however, the toxins you absorb through cigarette smoke and their effects on the body are still present long after the last cigarette has been smoked. For men, smoking can not only affect the quality of sperm but also lower sperm count and volume of semen. Cigarettes contain toxic substances such as cadmium, arsenic, nickel, benzopyrene and, of course, formaldehyde, which cause damage to the genetic material within the sperm cells. This means cigarettes would need to be given up about three months prior to conception for the health of the male’s sperm to be acceptable. The children of parents who smoke are more at risk of developing childhood cancers and many other health issues. There are so many support systems in place for smokers who wish to quit such as, which also provides an awesome app. Alcohol intake is another lifestyle factor involved in lowering fertility and affecting the health of your baby


Hydration is very important for both sexes, as reproductive fluids are all water based and required for healthy conception. even before he or she is conceived. Research shows that alcohol intake can decrease a woman’s ability to fall pregnant even if her intake is only five drinks or fewer per week. Many couples find it difficult but, if you’re trying to fall pregnant, it’s essential to abstain from alcohol to increase fertility as well as improve the health of your future baby. All scientific data studying the effects of alcohol on fertility conclude that complete abstinence is best.

DON’T STRESS How often have you heard someone say that when a couple stops actively trying to fall pregnant and stops stressing about the whole ordeal, they will fall pregnant?

Many couples hate to hear this speech but there is a lot of merit to it. Stress can do pretty awful things to your health and, although a small amount of stress is healthy for the body, small amounts of stress are quite rare in this day and age. Research clearly shows that stress negatively affects the body’s hormones and thus lowers chances of conception; this includes fertility-related stress and not only everyday stress. Stress may also negatively affect fertility treatment outcomes such as IVF. It’s all well and good knowing that stress can lower the chances of conception, but it’s a task to actually lower your stress — especially if you’ve been actively trying to fall pregnant for a considerable amount of time. So, what can you do to actually reduce your stress levels and the associated detrimental effects on your body? Take up meditation or yoga. Studies show that yoga and mindfulness meditation are not only effective in lowering stress, thus increasing chances of conception, they also help couples who are undergoing fertility treatments with patience and enhance

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Studies show that yoga and mindfulness meditation lower stress, help build patience and enhance reproductive qualities in men.

the reproductive qualities in men. Lower your workload. Many people who work long hours or run their own businesses know the effects of stress firsthand. Allowing yourself to reduce your workload without taking on any guilt is a difficult but rewarding decision to make. Your health is a priority and, if becoming a parent is your dream, chase that dream by taking care of your stress levels. Become addicted to herbal tea! Now that you’re abstaining from alcohol and caffeine (yes, I said caffeine: continue read on to discover why), you’ll require a new drink to fill that void. Herbs such as chamomile, passionflower, skullcap and even catnip taste fantastic and reduce stress. Make it a daily ritual to sit down with your cup (or pot) of herbal tea, shut the world out and sip slowly. Listen to some soft music, burn some relaxing oils, take a bath ... schedule in some daily me-time and let it soothe your nerves. Laughter is the best medicine. It’s an old adage but completely accurate. Laughter not only signals to the body that you’re not in danger, which in turn lowers the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, it also helps us to forget what is troubling us. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you happy. Anyone who makes you feel sad and anxious is not worth your time.


Your health is a priority and, if becoming a parent is your dream, chase that dream by taking care of your stress levels. CAFFEINE INTAKE I warned you I’d come to caffeine and here we are! Before all you coffee lovers tear this page out in rage, hear me out. I am a coffee drinker. I allow myself one coffee a day and I encourage clients to do the same as coffee does have its health benefits. However, for couples who’ve been trying to fall pregnant for some time, complete abstinence is a good idea. Research shows that high consumption of caffeine leads to delays in conception. There’s evidence to suggest that caffeine actually reaches the follicular fluid — the fluid that surrounds the ovum in its follicle — and is harmful to reproduction. Caffeine crosses the placenta quite easily and high coffee intake during the early stages of pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage and has even been shown to increase the risk of birth defects. This is why it’s so important to refrain from drinking caffeinated beverages during the three months leading up to conception.

PLASTICS & BPA The impact of plastic on the human body is extremely underrated. Regardless of the countless studies indicating the negative impact plastics have on the body, many people remain sceptical and continue to drink from plastic water bottles, heat their food in plastic containers, wrap their food in clingfilm and even cook with plastic. Recently, bisphenol-A (BPA) has received a lot of attention due to its endocrine-disrupting abilities. A study conducted in 2009 found evidence of BPA in maternal blood, fluids such as the amniotic fluid and follicular fluid, in the placenta, umbilical cord and even in the mother’s urine. This particular study concluded that even low doses of BPA exposure increase the risk of pre-eclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, premature birth and even miscarriage. BPA can even be absorbed through the skin — a terrifying thought. Lowering your exposure to this substance is very important. How can you lower your exposure to xenoestrogens such as BPA? Here are just a few changes you can make to begin with: Buy a reusable glass or ceramic coffee mug instead of using the plasticlined coffee cups from cafes. Switch your drink bottle to glass or stainless steel. Buy glass storage containers and throw out your plastic ones. Switch to wooden or stainless steel cooking utensils. Drink from glass cups and tumblers.

ACT NOW, REJOICE LATER Taking these steps to increase your fertility and prepare for a healthier conception may feel daunting or too much of a hassle; however, three months is a very short time considering a child is forever. Ensuring the healthiest preconception period is essential to giving your baby the best possible chance for a healthy pregnancy, healthy childhood and even healthy adulthood. The choices that you make in the months leading up to conception will have long-lasting and dramatic effects on your baby long after he or she is out of the womb. Kellie Holland is a qualified clinical nutritionist, naturopath and medical herbalist who works with patients in person and on line in Sydney and around the world. She also offers e-books, meal plans, health programs and e-courses through her website. To find out more, visit

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Laughter is the best medicine. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you happy.


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While most childhood verbal blunders are unintended, children will also knowingly push the boundaries.



Out of the

mouths of babes ...

If your child has ever said or done something that made you want to hide in the closet, join the club — it’s all a normal part of growing up. You can teach your child to get socially savvy, though, and here’s how. WORDS / CARROL BAKER

Photography Getty Images


n holiday at Queensland’s Gold Coast when my son was a bright and cheery four-year-old, we decided to go for an early-morning stroll. Rounding a corner in the busy tourist mecca, Mitch stopped dead in his tracks, eyes wide with wonder and pointed at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab and very long, flowing jacket. He then said very loudly (as only a four-year-old can), “Why is that lady wearing a sheet?” and then dissolved into fits of giggles. She had the good grace to smile, while I turned 20 shades of red and offered an apology. As parents, most of us have experienced a few, well, awkward moments with our offspring. Perhaps your child has shouted something they shouldn’t. “Daddy, why is that lady in a wheelchair dribbling?” or “Why is that man really really fat?” Maybe your child has shared stories of what they’ve seen or discovered when they shouldn’t. “I found some funny balloons in a packet in Dad’s bedroom drawer but he said I can’t play with them.” Issues such as respecting others’ privacy, exploring cultural differences and learning the art of tact and

discretion are part of teaching a child to be socially savvy as they immerse themselves in a multicultural and diverse world that is constantly changing.

knowingly push the boundaries. Grose says a good example of that is with language. “Kids will learn to swear and they’ll knowingly test it out, ‘I’m going to drop the F Bomb.’ And they’ll do it when other people are around, often accompanied by a wicked grin,” he says. It’s up to parents to determine whether it’s an innocent social gaffe or they’re being knowingly naughty.

IT’S OK TO ASK QUESTIONS Kids need to know they can ask you about what they have seen, but not always straightaway and not always at full volume. Point out that talking about someone when they can hear you can sometimes hurt their feelings. According to Cann, you should tell your child that, if they want to say something about someone, to whisper it in your ear. “Explain that it’s a conversation for a quiet inside voice, not a loud outside voice,” he says.

SPEAK UP One of the best ways to foster empathy and understanding with your child about different races or religions or those with a disability is to speak up yourself if you witness something that is not appropriate. It shows your willingness to take a stand for groups or people who are treated unfairly. If someone slanders another race or tells an inappropriate joke about another religion, say your piece with quiet dignity. Chances are your child will be listening.

KEEPING IT REAL While exposure to different ethnicities, religions and other cultural groups will expand your child’s world, kids will say and do things that can embarrass — these often-innocent faux pas are really just part of growing up. It’s how you navigate awkward situations like these without creating fear, shame or humiliation to everyone concerned that counts. Warren Cann, CEO of The Parenting Research Centre at Raising Children Network, says young children are innately curious and the occasional verbal slipup is simply that. “Observing is what drives their learning. Kids can be intrigued by things that are different,” he says. “If they ask questions they’re looking for understanding, or for the adult to give them context in a situation they are unfamiliar with.” Author and parenting expert Michael Grose acknowledges that most childhood verbal blunders are unintended, but children will also

CULTURAL CONNECTIONS Australia is fast becoming a cultural melting pot, a rich and vibrant fusion of beliefs, humanities and societal groups. Children are fortunate that they can experience many cultures and sample lifestyles, traditions and cuisines that may be vastly different from their own. Globally aware kids celebrate and value diversity. They understand that discrimination of any kind can be hurtful. How your child responds to different cultures and ethnicities is reflected in the way you as a parent accept and embrace them. How much do you support cultural diversity? Be honest and put aside any of your own prejudice or bias; to live in peace and harmony, more now than ever before, we need to accept the multiplicity of the exciting brave new world we live in. Dr Hass Dellal from the Australian Multicultural Foundation says that, when it comes to learning to accept a different reality from our own, the


PARENTING EMBARRASSING MOMENTS earlier parents start to immerse their child, the better. “Young minds truly benefit from being introduced to the diversity that exists in our world,” he says. “It dispels the fear of the unknown and gives them the opportunity to learn the very real value of different cultures.” Here are some fun ways to expose your children to diversity and multicultural experiences: Dish it up. Put foods from other countries on the menu at home. Give your taste buds a treat — grab some recipe books and start experimenting with different cuisines. Get the kids on board. They’ll love it. Grab a globe. Take a world trip. Buy a globe or a large map or world atlas and spend time discussing different countries. Come up with a wish list of countries you might visit one day with the kids, just for fun.

As for whether you should get your child to apologise, according to our experts, the short answer is probably not. Read all about it. Source some books from the library that talk about diversity. Mem Fox’s Whoever You Are, Tania McCartney’s An Aussie Year and Pat Thomas’s Don’t Call Me Special all deal with differences. Gross suggests that, after you’ve read a book that deals with diversity, talk to your child about their feelings around characters in book. How did that character in that book feel? Empowering a child’s emotional intelligence through reading is very helpful, he says. Put cultural events on your to-do list. Celebrate Chinese New Year, take your child to see an Egyptian exhibit at a museum or get along to a Greek festival and sample how other nationalities celebrate as well as the customs they share. Attend a multicultural music festival and also tune into cultural programs on TV or movies from time to time. Make diversity normal. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, don’t make a big deal of it. It’s just about understanding and appreciating the value of things that are different in our world. Teaching kids about diversity is no different from teaching them about the colours of a rainbow or the different tactile sensations of crunchy sand or smooth cool water.


Come up with a wish list of countries you might visit one day with the kids, just for fun.

TACTFULLY SPEAKING The art of being tactful isn’t always easy, even for grownups. No doubt as an adult you have planted both feet firmly in your mouth from time to time: “When’s the baby due?” to a co-worker you haven’t seen for a while, who has just put on weight, or “I didn’t realise it was fancy dress” to a friend who has just blown a week’s wages on what she thought was a gorgeous new frock. If your child says something they shouldn’t, it’s important to monitor your own reaction. Cann says getting angry, shushing the child or telling them off will just be confusing. They probably don’t understand that their comment could hurt another’s feelings. “Look at it as a teachable moment, an opportunity for the child to not only learn something about their world but also how they can approach situations,” he says. For example, if there is a disabled person in a wheelchair and the child points them out, first acknowledge what the child has said, in a dispassionate way. “That man is in a wheelchair because he can’t walk”, but then build on that, suggests Cann. “Isn’t that good that he has a wheelchair so he can get around just like you and me?” It is really a three-step process: acknowledge what the child has seen, validate it with genuine understanding and empathy towards the other person,

and then build on the learning with your child so they understand more about their world. As for whether you should get your child to apologise, according to our experts, the short answer is probably not. “It’s unwise to get the child to apologise; it will leave them feeling embarrassed and the other person probably feeling more uncomfortable,” says Cann. Grose adds that if the other person looks offended you can apologise on the child’s behalf. “But it shouldn’t be necessary. Children will often struggle when they are in the social domain to say the right thing — most adults will understand that.”

NO-GO ZONES — KEEP OUT! It’s not just verbal faux pas that can get our little cherubs into strife. Understanding personal space and respecting another’s privacy are also big learning issues. A child who grows up and understands respect for privacy and personal boundaries will be well equipped to navigate their way through social situations and loving intimate relationships throughout their life. A good way to teach personal space is illustrated in Julia Cook’s book Personal Space Camp: she uses an example of a hula hoop to help a young child define personal boundaries or their own personal bubble. The idea is that family

members can be inside the bubble but strangers shouldn’t be. Teaching the concept of personal space can also help your child to understand and be alert to any potentially unsafe situations. As for privacy, Cann says that children tend to be aware of their own need for privacy well before they understand the actual concept. This usually occurs during the latter part of the primary school years, when your child may start to lock the toilet door or be embarrassed if you see them in a state of undress, he says. “You can introduce the idea of respecting privacy well before children understand the concept by developing a few rules,” says Cann. Have conversations with your kids about respecting others so they know what’s acceptable and what isn’t. According to Cann, it’s also important that you show them what you mean. “Modelling respect for privacy is important, too — knocking on closed bedroom doors, for example,” he says. Kids should also learn that it’s not polite to listen in to others’ conversations and that going through another’s personal possessions isn’t OK. Practise with your child shutting the bathroom door and knocking before they enter. There might be a few false starts and giggles along the way, but lessons learnt with a bit of fun thrown into the mix are often ones well remembered. A way to teach your child about respecting another’s things is to designate a space that’s theirs — a drawer or trinket box. “Even getting siblings on board to ask before they play with a child’s toy is showing respect for another’s belongings,” says Cann. If your child does step over the line, remind them that taking a sneak peek at their sibling’s journal is not OK. Explain that it hurts their feelings. Ask your child how they’d feel if someone was to rifle though their possessions uninvited. Make rules explicit: sometimes when a rule is broken it can simply be enough to point out that a child has overstepped the mark and broken the rule. Another approach could be a consequence for breaking that rule. Taking quiet time, or the loss of a favourite activity, could be a response. Cann says it’s important to also be on the lookout when your child does respect those rules and be quick to notice that. Praise the child if they do the right thing; for example, “I think that’s great that you asked before you borrowed your brother’s toy truck.”

Photography Getty Images

WHAT’S NORMAL ANYWAY? Kids are growing up in an ever-changing world that challenges gender stereotyping, embraces different cultures and religions, and respects sexual orientation and those who might be different from us in any way. Let’s face it, it would be a pretty boring old world if we were all the same. Sometimes all it takes is just a simple explanation or answering a question — that’s all kids need to validate what they have seen or gain a deeper level of understanding. Carrol Baker is a freelance journalist who writes for lifestyle and health magazines across Australia.

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NOT COOL Refrigerants are a valued part of everyday modern living, but they come with an environmental cost. WORDS / MARTIN OLIVER




espite having been around for less than a century, refrigeration and airconditioning are now widely seen as essential in a modern home. What tends to be overlooked, though, is the environmental ramifications of this technology. Refrigerants are generally absent from the media and product brochures and are very rarely mentioned by environment groups that are more focused on more tangible issues, such as land clearing and coal seam gas mining. However, the stakes are high. In 2012, the refrigeration and airconditioning sectors consumed an estimated 22 per cent of Australia’s electricity production, while other greenhouse emissions come down to the powerful global warming potential (GWP) of some refrigerants where released, measured against carbon dioxide with its GWP of 1. A further related issue is ozone depletion.

Photography Getty Images & Bigstock

THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL & BEYOND In the late 1970s, thinning of the Earth’s ozone layer was observed over Antarctica, in turn increasing UV radiation levels. Areas affected included New Zealand and southern Australia. The finger was pointed at a range of ozone-depleting chemicals including chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) synthetic refrigerants (GWP 4660–10,200). In 1987, the world came together to sign the Montreal Protocol, under which these substances would be phased out. As a result of this action, ozone damage is now slowly mending. With the prospect of CFCs being largely banned from developed countries by 1996, industry hunted for substitutes and came up with new synthetic hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Fluorocarbon lobby groups were established, including the US-based

Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy and the European Partnership for Energy and the Environment. Both of these misleadingly named organisations manufactured and promoted the use of synthetic refrigerants. HCFCs (GWP 79–1980) were chosen as an interim solution because they had a significantly lower ozonedepleting potential than CFCs, but they are greenhouse-polluting. The most commonly used is R22 (GWP 1760). Subject to a phase-out under the Montreal Protocol, all HCFC usage is scheduled to end in 2040, but developed countries have largely stopped using them. Today, HFCs are the most widely used refrigerants in Australia and New

German appliance manufacturer named DKK Scharfenstein to create the Greenfreeze fridge. By arranging tens of thousands of pre-orders with German consumers, Greenpeace was successful in not only launching Greenfreeze onto the market the following year but also saving DKK from bankruptcy. Europe’s largest fridge producers quickly gave up their resistance to hydrocarbons and jumped on the bandwagon. From there, hydrocarbons have spread across most of the world and in 2013 represented about 40 per cent of the world refrigerator market.


Zealand despite their typically huge GWPs (4–12,400). Commonly used are R134a (GWP 1300) and R404a (GWP 3922). Despite global trends being pointed upwards, HFCs are being phased down as a climate change mitigation measure and are about to be incorporated into the Montreal Protocol. Australia’s schedule to reduce HFC use by 85 per cent between 2016 and 2036 is unimpressive compared to overseas benchmarks and New Zealand is yet to offer any tangible figures.

Hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide and ammonia are today widely used in a range of settings and have several advantages. Hydrocarbons (GWP around 3–11) are ozone-safe and are more energy-efficient than their fluorocarbon relatives. While they have become fairly mainstream in Australia, they are yet to make the same inroads into New Zealand. Carbon dioxide is non-toxic and non-flammable and can be recovered from industrial sources, so avoiding the polluting effect of releasing the gas into the atmosphere. It is increasingly being used by supermarkets. Ammonia (GWP 0) is corrosive, flammable and toxic, with a strong odour useful for leak detection. Being highly energy efficient, it’s widely used by the food industry and for cold storage. Ammonia-based equipment is far more expensive upfront but pays for itself over its lifetime.



In 1992, as the switch from CFCs to other fluorocarbons was underway, a German Greenpeace campaigner named Wolfgang Lohbeck hired scientists to research the use of propane and butane hydrocarbon refrigerants, teaming up with an East

Growing global pressure to slash greenhouse emissions is giving hydrocarbons an upper hand in the marketplace, but the refrigeration debate has stirred up some controversy regarding their flammability, largely from the fluorocarbon lobby and allied groups.

Hydrocarbons (around 3–11) are ozone-safe and are more energyefficient than their fluorocarbon relatives.



FRIDGES & AIR-CONDITIONING A few years ago, despite the energyefficiency advantages, the only hydrocarbon fridges and freezers to be found in Australia and New Zealand were a few pricey European imports. Since then, hydrocarbons have made huge inroads and now account for more than half of the Australian market. In New Zealand, progress has been slower. Equally important is the chemical used in blowing the foam. An increasing number of models use the environmentally sound hydrocarbon, cyclopentane. This compares very favourably with HFCs and perfluorocarbons that have a whopping GWP of 7390–12,200. In both cases, the key is to ask questions. If you are replacing the compressor of an existing fridge or regassing a home air-conditioning system, switch across to a hydrocarbon.

At present, no new vehicles being sold in Australia or New Zealand have a natural airconditioning refrigerant.


Essentially, hydrocarbons are safe where safety precautions are being followed, and the very small number of incidents covered in the media result from sloppy behaviour, often compounded by a lack of necessary safety equipment. Where a system is retrofitted, labelling the new refrigerant is crucial. Aware that both HFCs and HCFCs have a limited future, large fluorocarbon players such as Honeywell and DuPont have thrown themselves a synthetic chemical lifeboat in the form of hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs, GWP around 4–6). The efficiency of HFOs is roughly on a par with fluorocarbons. The HFO R1234yf is seeing a steady increase in automotive use, spurred by HFC restrictions in Europe. However, it is mildly flammable and in a fire will release the toxic gases hydrogen fluoride and carbonyl fluoride.

Inevitably, a portion of the refrigerant found in car air-conditioning systems is lost to the atmosphere every year, giving most of these units elephantsized ecological footprints; as a rule of thumb, the release of one kilogram of fluorocarbon has the same greenhouse impact as two tonnes of carbon dioxide. The solution is to re-gas at a facility that uses hydrocarbons and, if cost is not a consideration, to swap the existing refrigerant (if a fluorocarbon) with a hydrocarbon. Aftermarket hydrocarbon use is permitted everywhere in Australia and New Zealand, except for Queensland where it is severely restricted. Leak holes must be identified and sealed at the same time as the refill and regular servicing is a good idea. In addition to being slightly more fuel efficient, hydrocarbon recharging offers very good cooling performance. Its usage is growing and, according to the latest estimate, around 10–12 per cent of vehicles in Australia are running with hydrocarbon airconditioners, with the figure in New Zealand substantially lower. At present, no new vehicles being sold in Australia or New Zealand have a natural air-conditioning refrigerant.

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for the degassing and be prepared to walk away if there is no cost or no clear answer is forthcoming.


Energy tips for home refrigeration are to buy a model that is no larger than needed, keep the fridge thermostat at 3–5°C, check fridge seals for possible replacement and allow space at the back for ventilation. In the case of refrigeration items, foam-related releases limit the quantity of collected gas to about half of the potential total. Without certainty that a hydrocarbon foam blowing gas was used, this suggests keeping the fridge in a corner of the garage, if feasible, until the severity of climate change leads to policy shifts on foam gas collection. Otherwise, government collection schemes are operating in some areas. For parts of New South Wales, the government-run Fridge Buyback scheme allows some types of second fridges or upright freezers to be collected and for just the refrigerant to be collected, with a small incentive payment made in most cases. A similar program is being run in the ACT by the electricity provider ActewAGL; however, no equivalent initiative exists in New Zealand. A less definite approach is to rely on the facility or business where the fridge or car is going to be disposed of. Ask them how much they charge

A further consideration for domestic refrigeration and cooling products is energy consumption. Both Australia and New Zealand have efficiency star ratings, with a maximum for fridges of 10 stars (Australia) and six stars (NZ), and a 10-star rating for air conditioners (Australia only). In addition to reducing bills, energy-saving appliances cut greenhouse gas emissions. Generally, hydrocarbon models are more efficient. Australia’s highest-rated fridges stop at an uninspiring 4.5 stars. In New Zealand, a list of Energy Star fridges is available, but with no cross-referencing to star ratings it’s difficult to pick out the most efficient. Energy tips for home refrigeration are to buy a model that is no larger than needed, keep the fridge thermostat at 3–5°C, check fridge seals for possible replacement and allow space at the back for ventilation. To save energy, look at minimising usage, clean the filter regularly, shut windows and doors and set the thermostat for 19°C in winter and 26°C in summer.

CREATING A BETTER FUTURE Following the outcome of the Montreal Protocol, positive change in the refrigerant industry was inevitable. What remains undetermined is the policy directions and the speed at which this change occurs. New Zealand is accelerating the transition away from HFCs with a levy that was introduced in 2013. Australia introduced a similar levy with the carbon tax, under which some HFC prices more than tripled. However, a big step backwards was taken when the levy was repealed in 2014. Especially where there is no price signal to motivate a faster shift to environmentally benign refrigerants, consumers can play an important role by demanding such moves from the industry — motivated in part by the energy savings. Martin Oliver is a writer and researcher based in Lismore, NSW.

Photography Getty Images

In Australia and New Zealand, the law prohibits venting of refrigerant gas into the atmosphere. When you take your old fridge or freezer to the tip, you are typically charged a fee for gas recovery unless you have a degas certificate. Similar gas recovery rules apply to unwanted domestic air-conditioning units and for vehicle air-con systems. From here on, things become more complex and ambiguous. Australian contractors are paid a financial incentive of AU$3 per kilo for returned gas, while in New Zealand no equivalent arrangement exists. Unfortunately, this is dwarfed by the disincentive of paying around AU$20 per item to have refrigerant collected by an accredited technician. The 2013 Cold Hard Facts 2 report prepared for the Federal Government points out that, while 500 tonnes of refrigerant are collected annually, this leaves a shortfall of up to 1200 tonnes per year unaccounted for. Tim Edwards of the Australian Refrigeration Association challenges this figure, which he feels is far too low. Another commissioned report estimates refrigerant recovery rates of 80 per cent for air-conditioning equipment, compared to just 35 per cent for fridges and freezers. Financial disincentives are combined with insufficient policing, with a focus instead on “education”. Fridge insulation foam probably contains a greater quantity of highGWP greenhouse gas than is found in the coolant system and most is released into the atmosphere when a fridge or freezer is recycled in Australia or New Zealand. Although recovery is technically feasible, and is mandated in the EU, the necessary equipment is expensive and is yet to be introduced in this part of the world. In 2014, Australia commissioned a costbenefit analysis and decided against product stewardship. So how do you go about disposal? For a vehicle or air-conditioning equipment, pay to have it degassed. In Australia, accredited refrigeration technicians are identifiable through a green and blue tick symbol, whereas in New Zealand no equivalent logo exists.


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hereas once solar energy was largely for off-grid homes, today the primary motivation is often economic. In Australia, both South Australia and Queensland lead on a per-capita basis. More than 1.5 million homes and business have installed panels on their roofs with a capacity of 4.8 Gigawatts (GW), representing more than 2.5 per cent of national generation. Following accelerated growth between 2011 and 2013, industry expansion has slowed down slightly over the last few years, but we still have the world’s greatest concentration of rooftop PV systems. For New Zealand, the Tasman and Marlborough regions are the standout leaders in per-capita installations. About 8400 systems have been wired up, representing less than 0.1 per cent of the country’s electricity production. In recent years, New Zealand has been seeing exponential growth from a very small base, with installed capacity roughly doubling every 12 months.

SOLAR BENEFITS The range of motives for going solar include wanting to help the environment via non-polluting electricity generation. This is far more of an issue in Australia than in New Zealand where about 80 per cent of power comes from renewable sources. Other householders want to save on their electricity bills. After doubling between 2007 and 2014, Australia’s electricity prices have levelled off but are now the fourth highest in the world. In New Zealand, bills are continuing to rise. Some are drawn to solar by a sense of self-reliance and independence and this group is likely to be attracted to battery options that have recently appeared on the market. A similar priority is the desire to avoid polluting

fossil-fuelled transport by running an electric car charged from the roof. On the downside, the manufacture of solar panels typically uses greenhouse gases with a high global-warming potential (perfluorocarbons, nitrogen trifluoride and sulphur hexafluoride.) Production energy use is high and toxic chemical hazards in the workplace need to be managed. Embodied energy associated with manufacture and installation is typically offset within 0.7–2 years, compared to the 30-year expected lifetime of a panel.

ROOF ANGLE & DIRECTION Panels will need to be free from shade for most of the day and ideally face north but, if your roof lacks a north-facing aspect, don’t despair. Solar panels on east- or west-facing roofs lead to a drop in production of roughly 15 per cent but this loss is most easily offset by adding an extra panel. Some people choose a west orientation because they are interested in optimising generation later in the day after they return from work. Ideally, the best angle for panels is the angle of latitude minus 10 degrees. Where roofs are facing east or west or are too flat, mounting frames can be used to tilt the panels in a more desirable direction. Frames are likely to take a few years to pay themselves off.

ECONOMICS Solar is a long-term investment that assumes you’ll be occupying the home for years to come or using a solar system as a selling point when it comes time to move. It has a higher yield than term deposits and is safer than shares. At the same time, a good suggestion is to initially prioritise cheaper energy efficiency expenditures that pay themselves back faster. These include swapping incandescent and halogen

SUN POWER Over the space of a decade, rooftop solar photovoltaic panels have gone from being the preserve of an environmentally conscious minority into mainstream society. So how can you go solar? WORDS / MARTIN OLIVER


globes for LEDs, switching to waterefficient showerheads, installing ceiling insulation and replacing old, inefficient appliances with others that have top energy star ratings. Over the past few years, the cost of solar PV systems has been on a steep downward curve. Australia saw an 80 per cent drop from 2009 to 2014. While the average cost of a system varies by state, the average is about AU$3100 (1.5kW) and AU$6700 (5kW.) In New Zealand, solar prices fell by 75 per cent between 2009 and 2015. A system there is significantly pricier

than in Australia, averaging NZ$6000 (1.5kW) and NZ$16,000 (5kW.) System prices vary a fair amount and bargains are liable to mean poorer-quality panels, less attention to detail and inferior installations, including a lack of corrosion protection. Australian government rebates to encourage solar PV uptake are largely limited to Small-scale Technology Certificates that can be sold to recoup part of the system cost. For a 2kW system, these are worth around AU$1200â&#x20AC;&#x201C;$1500, depending on whether an agent is used. Adelaide

City Council also offers rebates of up to AU$5000 on residential and commercial systems. New Zealand has no equivalent financial incentives. In Australia, the financial payback period varies across climatic zones, from about four years in the Northern Territory to about 11 years in Tasmania. For New Zealand, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s roughly 10 years. Two alternatives to outright purchase are known as solar leasing and power purchase agreements. Zero-upfront-cost options are available from a range of companies, which retain ownership of the panels


PLANET GOING SOLAR as payments are made and are responsible for maintenance. This arrangement works best if in-home electricity usage is high, but obtaining a loan and buying outright is probably preferable where possible. As usual, look carefully at the contract.

INVERTERS & FEED-IN-TARIFFS Every grid-connected solar installation requires an inverter. These convert generated DC current into usable AC and are rated according to their capacity. One Australian company named Tindo Solar offers a special type of micro-inverter that’s rated to match an individual panel or a pair of panels. For other inverters, system performance is limited by the deficiencies of the weakest panel but the Tindo system allows each panel to operate independently.

System prices vary a fair amount and bargains are liable to mean poorerquality panels, less attention to detail and inferior installations, including a lack of corrosion protection. Metering works so that solar power generated is first consumed in the house and any excess is typically exported to the grid. At times of day when the panels are not generating, power is sourced from the grid. This brings up the issue of the feedin tariff (FiT), a payment for power fed to the grid. A “gross” FiT is one where power is fed back for a retail-equivalent price, the equivalent of the meter running backwards. In Australia and New Zealand, this is only available in the Northern Territory. Elsewhere, there are “net” FiTs in operation. From a recent high point of up to 60c/kWh, most of Australia’s FiTs have fallen dramatically to far below the peak retail cost, the exception being the Northern Territory. Switching power companies can yield a better FiT. As a consequence of the drop in FiTs, most households going solar are now looking to match system size to usage based on their recent electricity bills. Another tip is to run units such as pool pumps and heat pump water heaters off rooftop solar by adjusting the timers to operate during the maximum sun period.


SOLAR POLITICS In a complex transition, centralised power generation and distribution is being disrupted by a rival decentralised model. Overinvestment in Australia’s poles-and-lines network during the late 2000s and early 2010s, known as “goldplating”, may result in unused assets. There are a number of ways in which solar users are being disadvantaged, in subtle or not-so-subtle ways. Some network and electricity companies that have been leaking revenue have been trying to recoup it via what are dubbed “solar taxes”. These have been introduced in Spain and Arizona and also by the New Zealand network company Unison for solar gridexporters in the Taupo and Rotorua area. Moves to introduce them in Australia have so far been unsuccessful. Proposals have been made in Australia to restructure bills to tilt the playing field against solar users, who would pay higher network charges. Sometimes solar owners are knocked back from discounts available to other customers. Following a directive by the Australian Energy Regulator in late 2015, solar customers are now required to pay their own meter charges, which were previously shared by all energy consumers, but fortunately these only amount to about $7 per quarter.

THE BATTERY OPTION Even more disruptive to the traditional network model are storage batteries. These were traditionally of the clunky lead-acid variety and intended for houses with no grid connection. Everything changed in April 2015, when Tesla made headlines with its Powerwall battery. Sleek and sexy, this unit can easily be attached to the wall of a garage. It is based on lithium-ion technology, with a 6.4kWh capacity, and requires a solar PV system of at least 4kW plus a new inverter. With Australia’s average daily electricity consumption being 18kWh per day and New Zealand averaging 22kWh per day, multiple units will probably be needed unless the household is frugal. A battery enables exiting the grid, storing all of the power generated, postponing power usage to a lower-tariff time of day (load-shifting) and keeping the lights on during power cuts. Choice in Australia has estimated a cost of at least AU$12,000 (with existing solar) or AU$14,000 (without solar.) Payback periods are long and likely to be well in excess of the 10-year

warranty. While the economic case fails to stack up the moment, prices are likely to drop significantly over the next few years. While no figures are available for New Zealand, they are likely to be broadly similar. A major environmental side-effect from most lithium-ion batteries is linked to the use of rare-earth elements. Radioactive thorium produced during refinement of rare earths is a major disposal headache with a half-life of 14 billion years. The world capital of rare-earth production is the Chinese city of Baotou, which has created a vast tailings pond full of toxic and radioactive dark sludge. Several other companies have entered the battery market in this region including AGL (Power Advantage),

Photography Getty Images

Redflow, Enphase, Panasonic and Daimler. Of these, Redflow uses a zinc bromide liquid and is rare-earth free. The biggest problem for network companies is that, as they raise their costs, increasing numbers of solar users will be motivated to jump ship and avoid them by going down the battery route. For those who like the best of both worlds, another option is a hybrid system that combines both battery storage and grid export functions.

TAKING THE PLUNGE When going down the solar route, write down what you’re hoping to achieve and talk to a few different companies. Here is a short checklist of the steps: When choosing an installer, look at how long they have been around,

and their experience, especially with your type of system. The Clean Energy Council has a list of approved installers. It’s important to have a site visit so that the solar company can look at your roof. Ask whether you can choose the type of meter and consider avoiding a smart meter (also known as an “advanced meter”) for a range of reasons including radiation risks. A range of different solar calculators is available online, some of which compute an estimated payback period. The ideal system size can be arrived at by looking at electricity bills and estimating or determining the time of usage. Each 1kW of capacity generates 3.5–5kWh per day in Australia depending on the climate, and 2.5– 5kWh in New Zealand. Unless definitely

going down the battery route, there is no incentive to choose a larger system than one intended to match home usage in real time. Read the fine print of a contract and be prepared to obtain legal advice if necessary before signing. In Australia only: Organise the Small-scale Technology Certificates paperwork or assign an agent to do this. Make an application to connect to the grid. Remember to keep records about the installation safe with the system manual. Keep up with maintenance, which involves paying for scheduled cleaning and regular checks. Martin Oliver is a writer and researcher based in Lismore.



Authentic ADV ENTURES Far North Queensland is much more than the sum of its holiday parks and tourist traps: scratch beneath the tinsel and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll uncover an eco-touring delight. WORDS / CLAIRE DUNN



Photography Getty Images


The riot of colours, shapes and textures that is the Great Barrier Reef.

passed a hitchhiker on the highway once, stars and stripes on his backpack, socks and sandals on his feet and, in his hands, a sign saying “The Reef”. He didn’t need any more explanation as to his destination; he just needed someone with a penchant for his particular company over the next 2000km. One of our iconic natural wonders, The Reef has always been on my bucket list. However, when I found myself pinned to the wall by a Pommy backpacker tout in Cairns who presented me with a dozen different options of how to be shepherded onto a boat with upwards of 100 others and chugged out to a welltrodden pontoon, I began to wonder whether there was another way. A week later, I find myself climbing aboard Big Mama, a 60-foot sailing boat, where a shell-beaded Lisa ushers me and 11 other guests below deck into the family kitchen to help ourselves to a cuppa and scones. Taking mine upstairs, I locate a beanbag on the top hull and snuggle in for the 90-minute sail out to the reef. Chartering from Mission Beach, 140km south of Cairns, this threeperson sailing crew of mum Lisa, dad Stu and 10-year-old Fletcher — all equally brown-skinned and blondehaired — are tour guides about as down to earth (or ocean) as you could find. The ocean is calm and the sea breeze just cool enough to make the sun into a shawl. Coco, the tiny sea dog, nestles in beside me. I’m almost asleep when the call of “Whale!” jolts me upright in time to see two forked humpback tails splash in unison. Lisa comes over to chat. Since meeting Stu 20 years ago it’s been life on the open seas, sailing and racing throughout Australia and Asia. Fletcher sits behind me doing his maths homework. Without a land base, Big Mama is home, school and workplace. The sail is so enjoyable I almost forget about the destination. Like a migratory bird finding its way back to the same tree, Stu drops anchor at his pick of reef in what appears to be open ocean. “It’s intuitive,” Lisa says. “He grew up on boats.” I’m handed a snorkel and goggles (fins can damage the coral) and suddenly I’m in there — The Reef — and it’s more spectacular than I’d imagined, a riot of colours, shapes, textures and sounds. Giant purple clams, schools of fluorescent blue fish at my fingertips, tiny spirals of fringed animals that



The sailing boat Big Mama and its crew, at home on the ocean.

I’m handed snorkel and goggles (fins can damage the coral) and suddenly I’m in there — The Reef — and it’s more spectacular than I’d imagined.

recoil on touch — it’s as bright and strange as an animation. Homebound, the wind picks up and the spinnaker is raised. Without an engine, we fall silent and rest in the flap of sail, the swish of water against hull, in the captivating simplicity of life at sea. “Some nights when whales breach in phosphorescence and you can hear the fizz of shooting stars, it’s just magic,” Stu says. The fishing line dragging behind us brings in a large Spanish mackerel, lunch for tomorrow’s guests. I’ve seen the reef, but I’ve also had a peek into a way of life as free as the winds this family travels on.

NATURE’S OFFERINGS Far North Queensland is home to two World Heritage hotspots — the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforests — and visitors can find themselves trapped inside a tourist town rather than immersed in the wild nature they came to see. Scratch a bit beneath the tinsel, though, and the traveller intent on an authentic eco-experience amid the jungles, reefs and white-sand beaches can find an adventure.

IN & AROUND THE DAINTREE Our Daintree dreaming list went something like this: immersed in wild nature but with a touch of luxury, no mobile reception, healthy food cooked for us, hammocks, croc-free freshwater swimming holes close by as well as secluded beaches, walking trails enough to satisfy my desire for adventure, massage and yoga classes. The boxes were ticked shortly upon


arrival at Prema Shanti Yoga and Meditation Centre in the heart of the Daintree. Two wide hammocks swung invitingly on a large wooden verandah overlooking lush tropical rainforest. The nearby swimming hole was so blue it could have been Photoshopped. Every morning the 10 or so guests gathered in the yoga hall to meditate before breakfast; we met again in the evening for a yoga class before crossing our legs under the long wooden outdoor table where the hearty vegetarian dinner was served. Meeting the others became part of the experience. Rather than an anonymous holiday hotel, this felt like a yoga retreat, with all of us, including the owners Janardhan and Mara, stretching, “aumming” and dining together. I could have easily spent the week mooching between hammock, library, waterhole and yoga mat, but exploration of the Daintree beckoned. Each day I ventured out to find a new walking trail, doubly glad when I returned for the evening stretch and delicious curry and a mobile phone silent and still.

Prema Shanti Yoga and Meditation Retreat Australia offers boutique rooms, a yoga temple, a meditation room, library, bikes for hire, a network of rainforest tracks and a long stretch of safe freshwater swimming holes, plus of course a seven-day-a-week program of yoga and meditation classes and vegetarian dinners. Mount Sorrow Walk. Captain Cook didn’t have such a lush time of it up in FNQ. Cape Tribulation was so named when his ship Endeavour ran aground on a reef in 1770; nearby Mount Sorrow was similarly named in a fit of despondency. The walk to the top however is stunning and relatively quiet. The 7km trail climbs from the coastal lowlands of Cape Tribulation up the rainforest-clad ridge to a lookout offering views of the coastline, Snapper Island and beyond. Allow 4–6 hours. Walkabout Cultural Adventures is an Indigenous-owned and -operated cultural tour company in the Daintree. Juan, a Kuku Yalanji guide, offers half-day or full-day adventures along the coastline and rainforest, sharing the knowledge and understanding the Kuku Yalanji people have of the land and sea. The Botanical Ark. The life’s work of Alan and Susan Carle, The Botanical Ark is one of the world’s greatest collections of tropical ethnobotanical plants, boasting more than 3000 tropical species that Indigenous rainforest cultures use including fruit, spices and nuts. The private villa accommodation is limited to eight guests, who also enjoy a private beach and freshwater swimming hole.

IN & AROUND MISSION BEACH Two hours’ drive south of Cairns, we found a little piece of paradise at Mission Beach. The gateway to a string of tropical islands along the Cassowary Coast, Mission also backs onto the pristine World Heritage rainforest at the Clump Mountain National Park. While well equipped for tourists, the town maintains a low-key village feel — Byron Bay 20 years ago — with plenty of opportunities to explore the natural beauty. Paradise was even sweeter a few beaches north of the main Mission

Beach, when we discovered Bingil Bay campsite. This was what we’d travelled 2000km for, tumbling out of bed and straight onto a quintessential tropical beach to watch the hibiscus-red sunrise while resting against a coconut tree. When the opportunity came to swap my land legs for a sea kayak and paddle out to Dunk Island, I didn’t hesitate. The day dawned so still I could see my reflection in the water. Soon I was no longer a landlubber but out on the deep



From left: Finding calm at Prema Shanti Yoga and Meditation Centre; kayaking around the white-sand coastlines of Mission Beach.

blue, equidistant between two green spires of land, my arms, like fins, my only means of travel. David, our guide from Coral Sea Kayaks, directed us first to a mangrove sandbank between two islands, inaccessible to even the smallest of dinghies. A turtle darted mere metres in front and a pair of pied oystercatchers raised the alarm over our heads, close as we must have been to their nest. “It’s a booby,” called David, seeing me crane my neck to glimpse an unfamiliar sea bird. We rounded the white-sand coast to Dunk Island — named, David told us, after the second Earl of Halifax, George Montague Dunk, when Cook sailed past

the island on June 9, 1770. David turned out to be a wealth of both naturalist and historical knowledge of the area and a passionate advocate for conservation of his local patch of paradise. I was amazed to hear that the canopy of green that covers the island was stripped bare by cyclone Yasi only five years ago. The damaged rooftops from the abandoned resort could still be seen from the water. We landed on a small bay for lunch and a snorkel. Like the tourist industry, the coral suffered badly from the cyclone, but I was still enthralled by the variety of fish finding life among the ruins. An onshore wind whipped up on the way back. The great wilderness

TOP ECO PICKS Coral Sea Kayaking offers ecologically sound paddling trips ranging from short half-day seakayaking tours to week-long wilderness expeditions, group charters and private sea kayak hire. Big Mama is a family-operated sailing business operating out of Mission Beach offering a range of sailing expeditions from day-long reef snorkels to overnights private groups of up to six. Big Mama operates between April and January. Sanctuary Retreat is an affordable and unique rainforest eco-lodge and yoga retreat set on 50 acres of natural tropical rainforest near Mission Beach. Less than 2.5 per cent of the land area is actually used for the hotel, the rest set aside under a perpetual Conservation Agreement for wildlife preservation. As such, it is one of the most likeliest places to see a cassowary, for which I can vouch. The 15-minute rainforest walk from the carpark to the retreat centre delivered my


first up-close encounter with the rare bird. As well as a wilderness experience, Sanctuary is also Australia’s biggest yoga retreat centre with yoga schools from all over Australia running retreats year round. Accommodation is rainforest huts or deluxe canopy cabins. As well as being spacious and quiet, Sanctuary has a homely feel, with a communal kitchen, library and outdoor dining area offering a view of the ocean. Bingil Beach Cafe. A visit to Mission Beach isn’t complete without a visit to the locals’ favourite, Bingil Beach cafe. Decked out like a hippy beach shack from the 70s, the Bingil Bay Cafe is a place to spend hours writing postcards, reading a book, checking out the local art, chatting to the family owners and indulging in the delicious home-cooked delights, great coffee, fresh juices and beer from around the globe. The kitchen is open from 7am to 8.30pm every day. Check out the Facebook page.

of Hinchinbrook Island lay as long and shadowy as a sleeping whale to the south. “We’re heading out there for a sevenday paddle on Sunday,” David said. “Wanna come?” “I’d love to,” I respond wistfully. “Next time.”

IN & AROUND CAIRNS A trip to Cairns isn’t complete without a visit to the iconic Rusty’s fresh food market. You’ll think you’re in Asia with the hullabaloo of fruit sellers and coconut vendors. It's open Friday to Sunday but if you plan your visit in time for the Sunday closing you’ll soon find yourself loaded up with boxes of avocados, custard apples, black sapotes and dragonfruit. In the mountains above Cairns lies the popular tourist destination of Kuranda. For a true retreat, consider a week at the raw vegan sanctuary that is Fairyland House. Owner and fruitarian Zalan offers a range of escapes including yoga, massage, meditation and, of course, as much tropical fruit as you can eat. Check out Airbnb for details. Venture a bit further inland to explore the beautiful (and infinitely cooler) Atherton Tablelands. Visit the biodynamic Mungali Farm, home to one of the best yoghurts in the country. For a true wildlife experience, consider staying at The Canopy Treehouses near Tarzali. With six treehouses set amid 100 acres of rainforest in the Cairns Highlands, this eco-rainforest resort blends awardwinning luxury accommodation with a passionate regard for environmental and wildlife principles. Claire Dunn is a writer, rewilding facilitator and author of memoir My Year Without Matches: Escaping the City in Search of the Wild. Find out more at


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s we thump along a muddy track, not a wild thing moving under the hot Sri Lankan sun, a big pungent pile of steaming dung sends everyone in our jeep into a giddy state of excitement, necks craned, cameras poised, for just around the bend — perhaps over the next rise — we are finally about to encounter our first Sri Lankan elephants in the wild. And suddenly, there they are: four enormous females, bristly infants at their feet, grazing silently on tall lime grasses in a tiny pocket of Sri Lanka’s Hurulu Eco Park, rendering us awestruck with each nonchalant flap of their big wrinkled ears. As our jeep slows to a silent stop, the elephants patiently ignore us, turning their backs and carrying on grazing while we gaze on mere metres away with the rapture of first-timers. The intimacy of the encounter has me transfixed, drawn to tiny details: eyes staring out beneath big, curling eyelashes, the pinkish tinge of unexpectedly mottled blue-grey skin, a trunk curled around an equally wrinkled infant, coaxing it gently and safely underfoot. I can’t say just how long we watched that first little matriarchal unit but, of all the marvellous elephant scenes we witnessed that afternoon, this elephant encounter is the one most vividly imprinted in my memory. As the afternoon sun shifts overhead, our expert local guide navigates on, detouring along unmarked trails to encounter more and more elephants that amble across our path, shepherding infants along invisible routes to join great grazing herds of 20 or 30 beasts. Only when we have clicked a thousand images and our expectations have been blown sky-high do we make our most amazing discovery: an enormous male, close enough to see the mating musk glistening on his cheeks in the afternoon sun. He mills around a group of females on the ridgeline above us and then, to our amazement, the mating begins. It’s a brief, noisy scene but later, when the females move on, they head straight for us: four mothers, one grandmother and three infants, the smallest bundle just four or five months old. As we watch, the elephants’ wariness wanes and they move closer, bringing their remarkable physical individualities into clear view. The gap between our jeep and the herd closes; they graze and watch, graze and watch, until suddenly I realise I’m eyeballing an elephant that’s so close I could reach out and touch her. Immobilised by her presence, no one


Elephant safari Encountering some of nature’s most striking animals in near solitude is an experience that’s hard to beat — and even harder to forget. WORDS / CATHERINE LAWSON PHOTOGRAPHY / DAVID BRISTOW



TRAVEL SRI LANKA speaks or moves, but I spy our guide’s hand on the ignition, ready to flee if the elephants flex their significant muscle. Eventually the herd shuffles on, leaving us reeling as we watch them disappear into towering grassland. We climb a granite knoll to catch our breath and capture ourselves in beaming photographs, standing above the plains where distant herds have come to graze in the golden hour before sunset. Covering more than 10,000 hectares in the heart of central Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, Hurulu Eco Park is part of a much bigger forest reserve and biosphere declared in 1977 to provide sanctuary primarily for Sri Lankan elephants. Female-led elephant herds migrate seasonally between Hurulu and neighbouring Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks, as well as Ritigala Strict Nature Reserve and other nearby sanctuaries, in search of water and food. When water levels at Kaudulla and Minneriya Tanks are high, covering the fresh green pick that elephants love, the beasts move on. Frequently, they head for Hurulu Eco Park, officially opened on the edge of Hurulu Forest Reserve in 2008 to cater for visitors. Although the elephants share Hurulu’s dry evergreen forests with endangered Sri Lankan leopards and rusty-spotted cats, they're undoubtedly the park’s biggest drawcard and what drives a popular safari venture. From the town of Habarana, a 20-minute drive from the park’s entrance, open-top jeep safaris set out in the afternoon cool, spending three to four hours locating and observing the elephants. This adventure's simplicity — one jeep, one driver and a hotel pickup — is matched only by its affordability. Our trip, including jeep hire and park fees, sets us back less than AU$60 for three, a fraction of what you’d pay in Sri Lanka’s more famous Yala National Park. Despite its shabbiness, Habarana makes a handy base for adventures into Hurulu and neighbouring wild lands, including Sigiriya’s World Heritage-listed archaeological ruins, atop an imposing, flat-topped mesa, and the sacred caves at Dambulla that house 2000-yearold Buddha relics and vast rock art canvases. Online digging will direct you to quality hotels in the hills that surround Habarana, all providing meals and transport to nearby cultural attractions.

RITIGALA RUINS On a rugged rainforested hill outside Habarana, Ritigala Strict Nature Reserve provides an intriguing escape and a


Clockwise from top: Encountering elephants in Hurulu Eco Park; an elusive leopard in Wilpattu National park; the jungle fowl, Sri Lanka's national bird.

Clockwise: Wilpattu's freshwater wetland; a cheeky macaque investigates; exploring ancient remains at Ritigala Strict Nature Reserve.


ELEPHANTS UNDER THREAT? An extensive Sri Lankan governmentled survey conducted across the country in 2011 put the elephant population at around 6000 in the wild, with numbers predicted to be on the rise. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) paints a less optimistic picture, currently listing Sri Lankan elephants as endangered, numbering between 2500 and 4000 and with mortality rates due to elephant-human conflict of 6 per cent per year. To find out more, head to

rigorous uphill stroll to monastic ruins and meditation caves dating back to the 4th century BC. Abandoned for almost a thousand years, this ancient refuge is a tumbledown affair but several eyecatching structures remain, including a magnificent pond at the park entrance, monastic buildings complete with stone urinals, a hospital with grinding stones and stone baths, and a palace. Poking through the forest, we follow a path to a chiselled stone lookout providing views down the river valley and marvel at enormous quarried stone foundations and fantastic staircases, all but hidden among the undergrowth. Entrance fees and mandatory guides have both been abandoned at Ritigala, leaving travellers free to enjoy an amazing walk and the forest wildlife. Cheeky macaques are easily spotted on the climb and, while driving through the lowlands, we sight mongoose, peacocks, jungle fowl and enough elephant poo and tracks to raise our hopes. Make a donation and hire a park guide if you please and allow about two hours to hike and explore. Beat the heat by leaving early from Habarana, a scenic AU$10 return trip away by three-wheeler.

WILPATTU NATIONAL PARK For travellers keen to tick off a more diverse species list, you can’t beat a safari into Sri Lanka’s largest national park, the freshwater wetland of Wilpattu. Located far off the beaten track on the country’s northwest coast, the park, whose name means “natural lakes”, supports an incredible ecosystem dominated by elephants, sloth bears, spotted deer, sambar, wild boar, mugger crocodiles and that most sought-after creature of all: the Sri Lankan leopard. Protected since 1938 and closed during Sri Lanka’s long war years,

Wilpattu reopened in 2003 and rapidly gained a reputation as one of the best places in the country to spot elusive leopards. This fact alone should lure the kinds of crowds that seek out the overrun Yala National Park in the island’s far south. Yet travellers who make it to Wilpattu regularly report the serenity of sharing their visit with only a handful of other jeeps, as was the case for us. Difficult public access and the lack of a tourist scene in the neighbouring towns of Saliyawewa and Kala Oya keep this destination off the radar of many short-stay visitors. It guarantees a great wildlife experience — but you’ll need to be pretty motivated to get there yourself. Our epic journey from Negombo is an all-day affair spent riding a trio of local buses to a tiny two-room guesthouse at Saliyawewa, a 20-minute drive from the park entrance. Despite significant language issues, the friendly guesthouse owner manages to find us a

Sensing our presence, the leopard stretches and yawns, revealing its spectacular dentition and long, slender limbs, then rolls onto its back and resumes its slumber. jeep and driver for the next day and puts together a humble menu; his spacious but spartan rooms might well be recommended if it were not for the bed bugs that devour us overnight. Our safari begins under the cover of darkness and, after handing over pricey park entry fees and picking up our compulsory guide, we bounce off into the wilderness. At 1317 square kilometres, about the size of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Wilpattu is too large to explore in a single day, so there’s no telling what you might encounter. Jungle fowls kick-start our spotter’s list, a proud and attractive bird that Sri Lankans love to point out is their national bird. We stop counting when our tally hits 15, hungry to see creatures that look a little less like a chicken. A hush falls over the jeep when we spy our first pair of spotted deer grazing in the undergrowth and, soon, a promising pile of elephant dung and footprints across the track. We follow these into the scrub, spooking a big herd of wild boar and sending monitor lizards scrambling up trees.

There’s a big, solitary sambar, tiny, flighty barking deer that disappear quickly into the scrub and lots of birds — serpent eagles, pond herons and black hooded oriels — but no prized leopard in the hours before we stop for breakfast. Stopping at a scenic lakeside clearing with a handful of other tourist jeeps, we unpack our Sri Lankan breakfast of steamed hoppers, dunking the little nests of thin rice noodles into still-warm bowls of curried potato and coconut soup while gazing across the lake, hoping to spy elephants on its distant shores. With plenty of ground to cover and a rather slim spotter’s list so far, our driver eagerly moves us on, searching down track after track for that one creature everyone silently yearns to see. Suddenly our jeep is buzzing, arms are pointing and we jump up to catch sight of a big, lazy cat sleeping out the mid-morning heat under a nearby bush. Immediately sensing our presence, the leopard stretches and yawns, revealing its spectacular dentition and long, slender limbs, then rolls onto its back and resumes its slumber. When it finally rises to its feet and stalks slowly away, we gush, awestruck by its brilliant spotted physique: the defining moment of our Wilpattu wilderness experience. Lost in the exhilaration of our leopard encounter, we exit the national park past distinctly rural scenes of farmers drying corn and grains on the hot bitumen road and green rice in soggy fields. Past bungalows that might provide a convenient base for safaris, we return to our guesthouse to recount the experience over cold Lion beers. Some naturalists say Sri Lanka’s once war-torn interior offers wilderness experiences that rival any East African safari. That may be raising expectations a little far, but these two wild destinations do provide ultra-affordable, utterly memorable safaris that can be organised with ease and shared with few. What really shines about a visit to Wilpattu in particular is what you don’t see: the hundreds of jeeps that vie for wildlife sights elsewhere in the country and the carnival atmosphere this evokes. There’s no denying the diversity and density of animals and birds at Wilpattu, but what really thrills is the pleasure of exploring its pristine lakes and grasslands in perfect near-solitude. Journalist Catherine Lawson, photographer David Bristow and their three-year-old daughter Maya form an intrepid travel writing team whose first book, Highway One: The Ultimate Australian Road Trip, was published by Australian Geographic in 2012.





Hunt for the Wilderpeople




HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE DIRECTED BY TAIKA WAITITI STARRING SAM NEILL, JULIAN DENNISON, RHYS DARBY From opposite corners of the globe comes a pair of remarkable and very different films about rebellious, parentless children. Both movies have made waves around the world but it’s the Turkish-set Mustang, with its dark themes and an exceptional, largely inexperienced cast, that perhaps has the stylistic edge. In a village on the Black Sea, five high-spirited sisters celebrate the end of term by romping in the surf — fully clothed — with some boys from their school. Before they’re even dry a nosy neighbour has reported their wanton behaviour to their grandmother and uncle, who are the girls’ guardians following the death of their parents. Moral panic ensues. Uncle Erol puts the house in lockdown while Grandma keeps the girls busy with cooking and sewing lessons to prepare them for marriage. In short order, suitors are recruited and the eldest two sisters are married off. First-time director Deniz Gamze Ergüven, herself a Turk who lives in France, imparts a deliberate erotic charge to early scenes of the girls entwined in sun-dappled repose, all golden limbs and flowing hair. But this


princesses-in-the-castle idyll is soon bound for murkier waters where the only ray of hope is the luminous Güneş Şensoy who, as the youngest of the siblings, is not surprisingly the most defiant and resourceful. It would not be drawing too long a bow to see Ergüven’s “taming of the mustangs” as a tale of the new Turkey, whose 90-year-old secular democracy is under serious threat as the country edges towards fundamentalist repression. It’s not mustangs but wildebeest that fire the imagination of the young antihero of Hunt for the Wilderpeople, New Zealand’s biggest-ever box-office smash. Supposedly intractable, repeat juvenile offender Ricky finds himself dumped by welfare services with Bella and Hector, a childless couple whose ramshackle hut is surrounded by a million acres of spectacular North Island bush. No sooner has he settled in when an unforeseen tragedy sends Ricky and his curmudgeonly “Uncle Hec” on the run, prompting a massive manhunt for the self-styled wilderpeople. Anyone who saw Taika Waititi’s 2010 hit, the equally charming Boy, will recognise the sly, left-of-centre humour and visual ingenuity at play here. A grizzled Sam Neill and wideeyed Julian Dennison (Paper Planes) are perfect comic foils, playing it perfectly straight, while all around them whirl incidental wackos like Rachel House’s deranged social worker, Rhys Darby’s conspiracy-nut hermit and the director himself in his own hilarious cameo. Like the more thoughtful and measured Mustang, this light-hearted romp seems to recall the old adage that, when the whole world goes mad, a little craziness is the only sane response. CS

RICHARD CORNISH, MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY PUBLISHING As a WellBeing reader, there’s a high chance you’ve dabbled in veganism, go meat-free on Mondays and are aware of the health impacts of eating barbecued and processed meats. Award-winning food writer Richard Cornish, however, was once dubbed “Mr Meat” at Epicure, the food-and-wine section of The Age, before he gave up his carnivorous habits for a month to immerse himself in vegetarianism for a story. A month turned into 12 and this book is the result. You might expect Cornish, who grew up on a dairy farm, to have an agenda, but his examination of what it means to eat meat is considered and broad-ranging, based on firsthand experience and interviews with stakeholders across the spectrum, landing firmly on the side of sustainability and ethics. DK

GETTING TO THE HEART OF STRESS MARGIE BRAUNSTEIN, DAVID BRAUNSTEIN These days “stress” may be a dirty word, but registered somatic psychotherapist Margie Braunstein suggests it’s not so black and white. In Getting to the Heart of Stress, she details the different shades of stress, beginning with good stress, or eustress, which can be highly motivating and help people to perform well and thrive. Push beyond this point and you get bad stress: distress. It’s at this point that Braunstein’s teachings come in; she aims to give us, her readers, methods to regain mental and emotional peace through awareness, acceptance and action, returning us to a joyful existence rather than one overcome by negativity and self-doubt. HC




ELEANOR MORGAN, BLUEBIRD In public forums, mental health issues are often tiptoed around or approached with as much tact as a semitrailer hurtling down a bush highway. But Eleanor Morgan tackles the topic of anxiety disorder with a winning combo of whip-smart writing, journalistic rigour and the incisiveness available only to one who’s been there. She recounts her own experience of living with severe anxiety and depression in frank and heart-wrenching detail, drawing in extensive research and interviews with neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and fellow sufferers to provide a guide for the countless people knee deep in nerves and those who love them. Anxiety for Beginners humanises a mental illness that so many of us struggle with and gives sufferers hope for a way forward. DK

SIMON BAJADA, HARDIE GRANT The light is different in the Scandi latitudes: the soft, ethereal glow of midsummer twilights; the bright, crisp winter mornings haloed with frost. Food photographer Simon Bajada is more sensitive to this than most, but in Nordic Light his focus is on Scandinavian cuisine — reimagined. In this follow-up to his successful first cookbook The New Nordic, Bajada meshes the clean, classic flavours and fresh, wild nature of food from the far north with aspects of other modern diets that focus on healthier eating. The results sound fancy (ahem, Kombucha Gravlax, Burnt Chive & Kohlrabi?) but they’re delicious and humble at heart, with an emphasis firmly on whole foods, sustainable proteins and seasonal, organic and locally grown produce. It helps that they’re incredibly photogenic, too. DK

BRENÉ BROWN, VERMILLION Brené Brown is a researcher, mother, selftitled “story catcher” and listener. She asks deep questions, listens to people’s stories and makes sense of them by applying a rigorous methodology, known as grounded theory. For over 13 years, Brown has been researching vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame, and Rising Strong is the product of her learnings: a personal and practical guide to embracing fear and failure. In it, Brown reveals how you can challenge your stories, revise your “shitty first draft” and rewrite your future. Using light-hearted words and honest, personal accounts, she looks at the vicious cycle of fear, self-doubt and regret. She also discloses her 10 rules for rising strong and offers a roadmap to embracing vulnerability and living a more courageous life. KD




KRISTA TIPPETT, PENGUIN PRESS Krista Tippett has interviewed the most extraordinary voices of our time, with poets, scientists, activist, theologians and others opening up to a compassionate conversation with her on US national radio. Tippett’s latest book offers a fiercely hopeful vision of humanity. She delves into the mysteries of human existence, inviting you to join a conversation on meaning, community and identity. She revisits her most memorable interviews, shares practical yet profound insights and reveals a vision of personal growth, renewed public life, human spiritual evolution, resilience, redemption and love. Through beautiful storytelling and brilliant thinking, Becoming Wise offers the strength needed to meet the world where it really is — and then to make it better. KD

KIM FORRESTER, FORRESTER CONSULTING This is Kim Forrester’s attempt to explore and convey the capabilities of the human mind. With 15 years’ experience in the field of intuitive insight, she provides a snapshot of the scientific world’s shifting view of the psi (psychic) phenomenon as the science behind it continues to strengthen. Each chapter begins with an individual’s encounter with an overwhelming and unquestionable sense of intuitive insight and finishes with an explanation of the psi phenomenon that person experienced and current related research. The stories, some from well-known and world-famous figures, are compelling and the science intriguing. If you’re open to or interested in the idea of psi, this is well worth a read. HC

CASSIE MENDOZA-JONES, HAY HOUSE “I used to find it so hard to accept myself and — those scary words — love myself. Even just the concept of self-acceptance seemed completely foreign to me.” Do those words by kinesiologist and naturopath Cassie Mendoza-Jones ring true? If not, that’s wonderful. However, if you nodded in agreement, as I did, this purse-sized paperback could be helpful. In it, MendozaJones shares her story of overcoming perfectionism and self-doubt as a young woman and offers self-care tools you can use to cultivate self-love and abundance. If her writing is a little light, there’s no denying that she radiates enthusiasm, warmth and authenticity, leaving you feeling supported, uplifted and inspired. And that seems a good way to begin a self-love journey. DK




BEETROOT, BUCKWHEAT & WALNUT SALAD Serves: 4 Small red onion, finely sliced 50g raw buckwheat, rinsed 1 red capsicum, seeded & finely sliced in long strips Handful flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked & stalks finely chopped 60g walnuts, roughly chopped 75g currants 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 tbsp lemon juice Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper 1 beetroot, peeled & grated Place the onion in a small container of water and soak for 30 mins to take the bitter onion flavour away, then drain. To cook the buckwheat, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the rinsed buckwheat, place the lid on and bring back to the boil (this will take approximately 2 mins), then cook for 12–15 mins. This is a boiling rather than absorption method of cooking the buckwheat, so ensure you have plenty of water in your pan. Once cooked, drain the buckwheat and set aside.


utritious, seasonal wholefoods hold an innate power — in just one bite, they can bring people together to share in “a moment”. And that is Jacqueline Alwill’s precise intention in Seasons to Share: to create beautiful memories with people you love by celebrating food, all year round. The Australian nutritionist’s new book is divided by the four seasons to ensure you’re buying and cooking with the freshest produce and subdivided into categories such as date night, Japanese feast, detox lunch, barbecue and more. Dishes such as pumpkin and ginger dumplings, slow-roasted pork shoulder, cacao bean crepes and sesame honey mocha attest to Alwill’s creative genius in the kitchen. She also lists pantry essentials, helpful kitchen gadgets and wonderful entertaining ideas, and shares her insights from being a nutritionist and a mother, asking us to digest this book mindfully and with the intent of keeping the moment sacred and the food fresh. Recipes & images from Seasons to Share by Jacqueline Alwill, Murdoch Books, RRP AU$39.99


100g feta cheese (optional) Small handful coriander leaves Small handful basil leaves 1 tbsp dill, finely chopped Lemon wedges 125mL smoky tomato sauce (recipe below)

Drain and rinse the onion, then combine with the buckwheat, capsicum, parsley, walnuts, currants, olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl and toss together. Season with salt and pepper, then lightly toss through the beetroot and serve.

GREEN PEA PANCAKES Serves: 4 Pancakes 2 cups frozen peas, blanched Red onion, roughly chopped Juice & finely grated zest of 1 lime 3 tbsp coconut flour 1 tbsp coconut oil, plus extra for frying 5 eggs, beaten Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Warm the oven to 150°C. Place 1¾ cups of the peas and the rest of the pancake ingredients in a food processor and blitz to create a pea batter. Transfer to a bowl, then stir through the remaining peas. Warm a large frying pan on a medium– low heat and melt ½ tsp of coconut oil at a time to cook the pancakes. I like to make small pancakes, which generally hold together best. To make these, drop 1 heaped tbsp of the pea batter into the pan and press down lightly so the pancakes remain about 1–1½cm thick. Cook the pancakes for 3–4 mins on each side, or until golden, being careful not to flip them too soon on the first side as they may fall apart. Once cooked, place on a platter, cover with foil and keep them warm in the oven while you cook the rest. Pack these up in a little container to carry to the beach — or wherever you’re headed — and keep the sauce separate.

FOOD SEASONS TO SHARE Once you’re there, simply sprinkle with feta (if using), herbs and a squeeze of lemon, then serve with some smoky tomato sauce and eat.

SMOKY TOMATO SAUCE Makes: 350mL 1 tsp coconut oil Red onion, finely diced 400g tomatoes, blanched, seeds removed & diced or 1×400g tin organic chopped tomatoes 1 tsp smoked paprika Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp maple syrup In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil over a low heat then add the onion and sauté for approximately 4 mins. Add the tomatoes, smoked paprika and a good pinch of salt and pepper and simmer for 10 mins, or until the sauce is slightly reduced. Add the maple syrup and continue to cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few mins, then transfer to a food processor and blitz to create a smooth sauce. Note: This can be served cold or warmed up a little. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

BAKED HERB RICOTTA Serves: 4 360g full-fat ricotta cheese 2 eggs Good pinch sea salt 45g Kalamata olives, pitted & roughly chopped (optional) Handful mixed soft herb leaves (basil,

parsley or dill), finely chopped 2 tsp olive oil Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 7×25cm loaf (bar) tin with baking paper. If you don’t have a loaf tin, an ovenproof ceramic dish will also work. Whisk together the ricotta, eggs and salt, then spoon half of this mixture into the loaf tin. Scatter over the olives and herbs, then spoon over the remaining ricotta mixture. Brush the top of the ricotta with olive oil and bake for 1 hour and 15 mins, or until the ricotta is cooked and is a beautiful golden colour on top. Allow to cool for 30 mins, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior to serving, or the night before if you want to get really organised. Remove from the tin and cut into thick slices.

RAW ALMOND CARAMEL SLICE Makes: 24 slices Base 60g walnut halves 40g almonds 125g Medjool dates, pitted (about 7 dates) 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted 3 tbsp raw cacao powder 1 tbsp linseeds 1 tbsp chia seeds 2 tbsp rice malt syrup Raw caramel 70g almond butter 2 tbsp hulled tahini 2 tbsp rice malt syrup 75g Medjool dates, pitted (about 4 dates) 2 tsp vanilla paste or extract 1 tsp maca powder 115g chopped almonds

Chocolate topping 3 tbsp coconut oil 3 tbsp rice malt syrup 3 tbsp raw cacao powder Combine all of the base ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a crumb, or until a paste is formed if you prefer a smoother texture for your base. If you need to loosen the ingredients to assist with blending, add a touch of water. Line a square 20cm cake tin with baking paper, then spoon the base mixture into the tin and evenly spread it around. Place in the freezer while you prepare the caramel and topping. Place all of the raw caramel ingredients, except the chopped almonds, in the food processor and blitz until a smooth caramel-like texture forms. Take the base out of the freezer and spread the caramel evenly over the surface. Sprinkle over half of the chopped almonds then return the tin to the freezer. To finish the slice, make the chocolate topping by melting the coconut oil in a small saucepan on a low heat. Once the oil has melted, remove from heat and add the rice malt syrup and cacao powder. Whisk well to create a smooth melted chocolate. Pour this molten chocolate over the slice, then spread it out evenly over the top and finish by sprinkling over the remaining chopped almonds. Return to the freezer and allow to set for approximately 4–6 hours. Serve straight from the freezer.





or 28-year-old nutritionist, TV personality, cook and MasterChef grand finalist Georgia Barnes, food was always an integral part of life. It was this overriding passion, combined with a love of working with people, which led her both to study nutrition with Endeavour College of Natural Health and to audition for MasterChef. The latter turned out to be a pivotal decision in Georgia’s life, as she quickly proved she had what it took to take on some of Australia’s most talented home cooks with their eyes firmly on the prize. It was Georgia’s talent combined with her creative flair and laser-like focus that saw her battle her way through the MasterChef Australia 2015 grand final. Narrowly missing out on winning the series, she finished two precious points behind fellow competitor Billie McKay but emerged humble in defeat and full of praise for the victor. Twelve months later, Georgia has been busier than ever making her mark in the food industry. Since becoming runner-up in July 2015, the motivated nutritionist has been travelling the country demonstrating her unique cooking style, appeared as a guest on a number of TV programs and also secured a monthly column with Taste magazine. Driven by her success, her passion and her desire to make a difference, Georgia is ready to embark on her biggest challenge yet. She has plans underway to open a multifunctional food space in Brisbane dedicated to cooking classes, catered events and food photography and is excited about what the future holds. “Since wrapping up with MasterChef I haven’t really looked back and I’ve been working really hard on making my dreams come to life,” she says. “I’ve finally reached a point in my career where my love of wholesome food, creative cooking, natural health and sharing my knowledge with people are merging for the first time.” From an early age, Georgia was curious about good produce, where it came from and what it tasted like. It was her grandmother, affectionately known as Mama, who most influenced her love of food. “She never wasted a thing and would transform very simple, fresh ingredients into the most delicious dishes.”


This planted the seed for Georgia to complete a nutrition degree with Endeavour College of Natural Health. She says she became interested in learning about natural health after her mother took her to a naturopath. “I learned how to nourish myself and it helped me understand my own body. The whole approach was very holistic and made perfect sense to me.” Her natural health studies marked a shift whereby food became about work and play. As she learned the health benefits of unprocessed and whole foods, she started to use her home-cooking skills to develop allergy- and intolerancefriendly recipes to help those in need. “Food as medicine is such a beautiful term to me — the most organic foods can do so much for you and you can feel it,” says Georgia. “I swear, if you drink something green, alkaline and packed full of nutrients, it’s like your body says something to you.” Reflecting on the way her approach to nutrition had changed over the years, the MasterChef alumna says her meals are now always “oomphed” with something special. “I like to take a basic recipe and get creative with it by upping the nutritional profile with wholefoods and interesting ingredients. My pumpkin cheesecake is a great example: the filling is still

creamy and delicious but made with pumpkin and turmeric. I make the base using pepitas and throw in cinnamon and spices. Before you know it, the cheesecake isn’t looking too bad!” Although Georgia’s cooking is creative and inventive, she still sticks to the basic naturopathic principles, making bone broths and green smoothies and fermenting her own vegetables. Using her profile to encourage and influence people to become more connected with their food is the most important motivator for Georgia. “It’s really important to me that I encourage and teach people how to make their meals at home from scratch,” she says. “[If you’re] not making your own food you’re not connected to it and you’re definitely less mindful. The more connected we are to the ingredients and the food we eat, the more we nourish ourselves and make better choices — life is more balanced this way. The best part is it has a better health outcome!” W:

ENDEAVOUR COLLEGE OF NATURAL HEALTH Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australasia’s largest degree-conferring tertiary institution offering qualifications in complementary medicine and natural health. It has six campuses in Australia and two in New Zealand, six Bachelor degrees, three Honours degrees, 5000 students, 350 staff, leading academics in the field and an active Office of Research. Endeavour College of Natural Health offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Naturopathy, Acupuncture, Myotherapy and Complementary Medicine. Endeavour is hosting an Open Day at each of its campuses nationally on Saturday, October 8, for people interested in exploring a natural health career. For more information, call Endeavour on 1300 462 887 or apply online at



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AUSTRALIAN TRADITIONAL MEDICINE SOCIETY ATMS is Australia’s largest natural medicine association, representing over 10,000 practitioners across naturopathy, massage, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy and more. It provides its accredited members with a wide range of continuing education events and also promotes the benefits of natural medicine and lobbies on behalf of members and the industry. W:

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is a natural beauty expert and the author of Feeding Your Skin.

Light a calming candle or stick of incense, turn down your covers and tidy or declutter your room.


leep is a basic but essential part of your beauty routine and the great news is that it’s completely natural — and free. A good, deep sleep boosts your immune system, improves cognition and short-term memory, enhances moods, balances hormones and gives your skin a radiance that no cosmetics can replicate. After a good sleep, you wake feeling energised and ready to cope physically and emotionally with whatever the day brings. Great sleep also supports your skin and digestive health. Conversely, poor sleep can make you feel depressed, forgetful and lethargic. It impairs your ability to regulate glucose and increases the stress cortisol that triggers a rise in insulin and inflammation in the body and contributes to premature ageing. In the long term, insufficient sleep can raise your risk of suffering from high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. It can also make your skin age more quickly, as it’s less able to recover from free-radical damage caused by the sun and environmental toxins. That’s because during sleep the body secretes growth hormones that stimulate cellular repair and the production of collagen and new skin cells. There’s a reason it’s called beauty sleep. And it has a huge impact on how you look, feel and function along with your longevity. But most of us are not getting enough (all adults require seven to nine hours a night). Once upon a time, sunset would signal your brain’s pineal gland to begin releasing melatonin. When your internal body clock, or circadian rhythm, is working properly, melatonin levels in your blood rise about two hours before bed and encourage you to start feeling sleepy. Melatonin is also a free-radical-scavenging, anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory hormone that plays a vital role in the repair work that unfolds while you sleep. When the sun rises and sunlight hits the retina of your eye, your melatonin levels should drop and be replaced by serotonin, the happy, calm hormone that helps you feel good all day. Nowadays, our internal clocks get confused and our melatonin and serotonin cycle is interrupted when we fly between time zones, work late into the night and use artificial light, TV screens and other back-lit devices. We also stimulate our brains right up until bedtime with nonstop data, screens and social media. But, just as you sometimes reset your digestive system with a detox, you can take some simple steps to clean up your sleep routine, stimulate melatonin production (which drops dramatically after the age of 40) and get your circadian rhythm back on track. Setting up a sleep routine with clear steps to prepare you for bed can help you enjoy deep restorative sleep again and reap the benefits it delivers to your brain, body and beauty.

Step 1: Calm down If you spend your day on the go, consistently releasing adrenalin and cortisol stress hormones, it’s no wonder your poor mind finds it hard to slow down and stop thinking at night. To switch your nervous system from a state of fight-or-flight to rest-and-restore mode, try doing one, some or all of these exercises half an hour before bed as well as during the day to stop stress building up: meditate for 10–20 minutes, lie with your legs up the wall for 5–10 minutes or practise restorative yoga or deep-belly breathing.

Step 2: Practise an electronic sundown Turn off all devices at least an hour before bed, or by 9pm at the latest. Switch your phone to airplane mode so you can’t hear incoming messages and remove all devices from your bedroom so you’re not tempted to reach for them before going to sleep or during the night.

Step 3: Stretch Stretching your tired and tight muscles can help soften the body and prepare it for sleep. If you sit for long periods in front of a computer, your neck, shoulders, lower back and hip flexors are all likely to be tight. Studies have shown that gentle yoga or stretching about an hour before bed can result in better-quality sleep.

Step 4: Spoil yourself In traditional Chinese medicine, it’s believed the energy in your head needs to descend before bed. So you could try soaking your feet in a hot bath. Ayurveda prescribes a daily self-massage with cold-pressed sesame oil, starting from the soles of your feel and working up to your scalp to soothe the thousands of nerve endings in your skin. Follow with a hot shower or soak in a warm bath with a few drops of lavender oil or a cup of magnesium salts to relax your muscles. After cleansing your face, gently massage it with a hydrating formula that supports the repair and rejuvenation process the sleep cycle brings.

Step 5: Soothe your senses Ensure your bedroom is quiet and dark. Dim your lights at least an hour before bed. Light a calming candle or stick of incense, turn down your covers and tidy or declutter your room so it feels like a relaxing place to retreat to.

Step 6: Make a bedtime brew This could be a cup of herbal tea such as chamomile, valerian or another sleepy tea blend.

Step 7: Read a bedtime story Choose a novel that sets you up for sweet dreams rather than heavy or disturbing reading material. Inspiring biographies or affirmative self-help books can also get you in a restorative mood.

Step 8: Develop a routine Rest, restore and repeat ... Going to bed and rising at the same time every day, even on weekends, will help regulate your circadian rhythm. Studies also show that people who work out daily sleep better than those who don’t.




Oven-Baked Peach & Berry Pancake Serves: 3–4 1 tbsp ghee, melted, for greasing ¾ cup almond meal 2 tbsp rice malt syrup, plus extra to serve ½ tsp Celtic sea salt 4 eggs, lightly beaten Grated zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract 125mL almond or rice milk 1 large peach, sliced 1 cup mixed berries, plus extra to serve

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease a 25cm ovenproof frying pan or baking dish with ghee. Put the almond meal, rice malt syrup, salt, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine and gradually pour in the milk, whisking until smooth. Put peach and berries in the prepared pan. Pour the batter over the top. Bake for 20–25 mins or until puffed and golden. To serve, slice into wedges and top with extra rice malt syrup and berries.

Tuna Tikka Curry Serves: 4 4 tuna steaks Ghee, for frying Salad leaves and home-made raita, to serve Marinade 1 cup sheep’s milk yoghurt 2 green chillies, seeded & chopped Handful of coriander leaves, chopped

2 tbsp lime juice 1 tbsp crushed garlic 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger 1 tbsp mustard oil 1 tsp Celtic sea salt ¾ tsp ground turmeric ½ tsp garam masala ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper ½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted in a dry pan

LEE HOLMES runs Supercharged Food and has just released her new book, Eat Right for Your Shape. Visit her blog at superchargedfood. com for more cooking inspiration, recipes and tips.

Rinse the fish, pat dry with paper towel and place in a large shallow dish. Combine marinade ingredients in a blender. Add this mixture to the tuna and mix gently with a spoon to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Heat a little ghee in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the tuna for 4–5 mins on each side or until cooked to your liking.

Chai Crème Brûlée Makes: 4 400mL tin additivefree coconut cream 125mL almond milk 1 tbsp rice malt syrup 1 chai tea bag ½ cinnamon stick 6 whole cloves

4 cardamom pods, bruised ½ tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract 1 tsp agar agar ⅓ cup coconut sugar

Combine coconut cream, almond milk, rice malt syrup, tea bag, spices and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to simmering point but do not allow to boil. Simmer for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Strain then return the liquid to the saucepan, discarding the solids. Place the agar agar in a small bowl and ladle over a little of the coconut mixture. Stir well, then slowly pour back into the saucepan, stirring well until dissolved. Pour into ramekins and refrigerate for 3–4 hours or until set. To serve, cover the top with an even layer of coconut sugar and place under the grill set to high, or use a blowtorch, until a caramelised crust appears.

During winter, make delicious anti-inflammatory bone broths or try my tuna tikka, packed with powerful healers.

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f you want to stay fighting fit during the colder months, one of the first things to tackle is your sleep. Studies show sleep is our biggest ally when it comes to the health of the immune system. It’s particularly important for initiating effective adaptive immune responses, so sleeping well equals quicker immune responses. Loading up on antioxidants through your diet can also help ward off any bugs. Make a batch of protein-dense quinoa on the weekend and place in jars in the fridge ready for early-morning starts, then just warm in the morning and layer with vitamin-C-rich fruits. Or, on weekends, try my delicious peach and berry pancake. Another area to look at for winter health is the gut. The gut wall houses 70 per cent of the cells of your immune system, the first-in-line area for attack. Nourishing your gut with healing foods is the best way to combat infection. Why not try my chai crème brûlée with its gut-friendly spices? Anti-inflammatory foods are Mother Nature’s natural painkillers. Inflammation can occur within the body when it’s stressed from infection. When your body’s systems experience a constant inflammatory response, you can also become more susceptible to disease. During winter, make delicious anti-inflammatory bone broths or try my tuna tikka, packed with powerful healers. Eating good fats can help boost your brain power because of the essential fatty acids (EFAs) they contain. Beyond their vital role in building brain structure, EFAs, as messengers, are involved in the synthesis and functions of brain neurotransmitters and in the molecules of the immune system. Studies show that a diet rich in EFAs is another way to help your immune system. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin commonly associated with the sun yet naturally present in very few foods. Vitamin D is linked to bone, muscle and overall health and is produced by UVB sunlight, which converts cholesterol in the skin into vitamin D. This vitamin influences the natural responses of the immune system; therefore, the more sun you can safely soak up, the better. Plus, eat more vitamin-D-rich foods. You also need to keep moving! Exercise helps flush bad bacteria from your airway and, by raising your heartbeat, encourages white blood cells and antibodies to move more quickly around the body, finding and fighting infections faster.






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is a practising naturopath in Melbourne and Bendigo. Her detox course, which has been developed to support people safely and effectively through detox, is now fully available online at learn.

One or more [questions] ... might resonate with you, which you can use to make the decisions that detox your world.


roadly we can define a toxin as something that hinders life, vitality, health or wellbeing, meaning toxins are everywhere. Once people start to identify the toxins in their world, it’s like inviting overwhelm and despair for dinner. It’s not pleasant. However, this discomfort is valid, if not even vital for survival. It alerts us that something is threatening our lives. Over the past year, I have run six Detox Your World workshops at a range of festivals and events, have collected many people’s ideas, opinions and knowledge and generated some fresh thinking on how to detox our world. It’s worthwhile to share it around and illustrates how all of us hold part of the solution. Each workshop is based on considering the deeper ways of thinking and living that require us to detox. While taking chlorella tablets and dry skin brushing are great detox aids, they are not resolving the systemic issues that generate the toxicity in the first place. A Detox Your World workshop divides the world into four realms, namely the physical, environmental, social and inner realms. We recognise that these realms are interwoven systems, all affecting each other. We then brainstorm to identify the toxins that are commonly found in each realm. There are many. The next step of the workshop is to consider what alternatives exist to replace these toxins. Then the final step is to generate powerful questions that support us to make changes to our way of life: fresh ways to incorporate and be open to the solutions that are available and emerging now and to reduce the toxic burden we face. Over 100 human brains have mulled over these questions. A wide variety of people have contributed, from bankers to permaculturists, yogis to retailers, mums to hipsters. Many excellent discussions, solutions and some inspiring powerful questions have been generated. New thinking is often palpable. People have been stumped; they’ve struggled and applied effort to come to see things from new perspectives, using their intelligence to break out of the conditioning that continues the toxic quagmire. They’ve found fresh eyes to see with. If you would like to see the breadth, depth and scope of what’s been generated, I have posted the outcomes of the workshops on my blog. The most transformative aspect of these workshops is the powerful questions that arise — questions we can use to help us to adopt the alternatives and to be open to emerging solutions. These questions help us to break out of our patterning. There might be one or more that might resonate with you, which you can use to make the decisions that detox your world.

Does this make life more wonderful? Who does this serve? Does it serve life or destroy it? Is this part of the solution or part of the problem? How can we nurture the bees? Does it serve me or some other force? Does it serve the Earth or some illusionary construct (like a corporation)? Does this (choice) feel really good to me?

Do I really need or want this? Is this just well marketed to me? Can I co-own it? Is it even necessary? Do we need to do so much? Am I being true to my ancestral instinct or conforming to social norms? Do I need to sit with this before I action it?

What impact is this having? Will this juice me or zap me? Is this money supporting wholesome and ethical practices? Does my action put me closer or further away from life? What is the end consequence of my actions? What will this be in 20 years from now? How is this affecting my body/the waterways/the air/the soil? What are the real costs of this decision?

Am I living my truth? What is my truest heart’s desire? How can I be a good role model? How do I define success? What’s a healthy idea of success? Will this thought/action head me in the direction of my core/our communal values? Am I valuing myself? What’s my motivation?

How can I be more inclusive? How can my/all voice/s be heard? What are the different ways of listening? What is emerging? How can I be present and open to that? At the end of each workshop, I retell the Tibetan Shambala warrior legend, as told by John Seed and Joanna Macy. It foretells of a time when barbarians rule the world in perpetual war (ie now). The barbarians use powerful weapons made by the human mind, and which can be unmade by the human mind. At this time, the Shambala kingdom emerges. The Shambala warriors are not recognisable. They wear no uniforms. They do not come from any specific lineage or land but wander among the barbarians. Each one trains in the use of weapons that, when used together, can dissolve the barbarians’ mindmade ones. The Shambala weapons are insight of interconnectedness and holding compassion in the heart. Ultimately, these simple weapons allow us to see there are no good people or bad people, only the choices and relationships that bring consequences we cannot measure or see. There is no foretold conclusion to the legend. No one knows how things will unfold. With so many systems in flux, the possibilities sit within each one of us. We may well be creating it as we go but, from what I’ve witnessed, the Shambala have great odds.





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have fallen in love with a garden. Again. This time it is with the windows of a cafe that have green curtains. Genuine green, not fabric — solid rails across the window that support four lines of hanging pots, just enough to let in needed sunlight but block the interior from the outsider’s gaze. And they are beautiful: stunningly wonderfully lovely and, even better, watered with a tiny thin pipe along each rail and a single dripper onto the pot, so they stay moist but never overflow to leave dirty trails coursing down the window. Window boxes look gorgeous in Europe, where you need to cherish every bit of sunlight that peeps through the clouds, but here we need protection from the sun. Even in midwinter there’s enough to share with a window full of plants. The window I saw used low-care succulents but any plant that can be grown in a small pot would work. I began dreaming of tiny pots of many kinds of thyme. Orange thyme, which is small-leafed and slightly tough but stunningly fragrant; soft-leafed lemon thyme; pungent Westmoreland thyme; pizza thyme ... And winter savory, because I can’t make my lime and vegetable soup without it. Winter savory looks much like thyme but isn’t; try it and you’ll love it. And oregano, too. Oregano can be a bit tasteless if grown without enough sun. I reckon it would be stunningly flavourrich grown in a window. And all the basils as well, because even in winter the top row of basil plants should be frost free. Purple-leafed basil and sacred basil and giant ruffle-leaved basil. And parsley, of course, because it’s impossible for a kitchen to have too much parsley. And lemon grass, for herbal tea, and to use the tender stems for cooking. And definitely mint: mint-sauce mint and eau-de-cologne mint or orange mint for fruit cups and fruit salads, and giant-leafed Egyptian mint to add to tabouli or to chop into a cucumber salad dressed with yoghurt and a little red onion ... I forgot about spring onions! They’d do wonderfully in window pots; just cut the tops as you need them and let the bases regrow. And chives — every cook needs at least 10 chive plants and a couple of garlic chives for when the other chives die down. Although, if they’re grown indoors in that sunny window, you may have ordinary ones all year long. Maybe watercress, too, if you like watercress sandwiches or a little snipped into a salad or onto your soup to add colour and a hint of pungency. You might even have one whole window devoted to baby lettuce plants, several baby

plants to a pot and the leaves snipped when they’re big enough for miniature greens. Red frilly lettuce and red mignonette, which are really brown, and a coarse-leafed cos lettuce for crunch. If you feed them well, more leaves will grow, to be plucked in their turn. Have you ever hankered for a caper bush? Caper bushes like growing on dry hillsides — and an indoor window pot seems like a pretty good approximation of a rocky hillside. Perhaps you might grow some peas, too, not for the pods but for the young tendrils to add to a salad or to serve with poached eggs. Though, come to think of it, I’d rather have sweet peas. The old-fashioned fragrant ones, with smaller flowers and smaller leaves but a scent that can fill a room. Imagine a whole window curtained in sweet peas. Or baby nasturtiums, deep red or yellow or orange, or vivid flowers of zygocactus for winter. As the pots hook on the rail, you could take one lot off when they look dull and replace them with flowering ones, rotating them so your window is always gloriously leafy or flowering or delicious. Anyone who has a window can have a garden. Not a horizontal one, maybe, but horizontal gardens tend to need mowing or weeding or raking. A window garden, especially with a dripper system, just needs trimming now and then, a bit of rotation and feeding every month or so with something organic but not stinky. If a plant is actively growing then it’s time to feed it and little and often is better than bunging on a great feast, for humans as well as plants. The only problem, of course, is beginning. If I’m to realise my dream, I need to start with new window frames, strong ones that will support the rails. And then the rails, good tough ones that won’t rot if damp or sag when the pots are full or even heavier still with moisture. And then at least a dozen pots, with good thick wire around them bent into sturdy hooks. And then the plants to fill them, and the drippers ... It’s a few weekends’ work. But in exchange you’ll have a garden. Or six gardens, if you have six windows. Nor will you need curtains, as your windows will grow their own, not to mention the herbs and greens and flowers. You will see the world though a haze of flowers and greenery and gently dapped sunlight and, while you’re warm all winter, your plants will be warm, too — and growing in a way they never would in the cold outdoors. In summer they will shade you and grow even more luxuriantly, just when you need the protection of their leaves. So now to find the sunniest of our northfacing windows, and begin.

JACKIE FRENCH is the author of The Chook Book (Aird Books). Her oldest chook, Gertie, is now 17. Although Gertie’s sisters have all long since fallen off the perch, Gertie still lays extremely large brown eggs most days of the year.

Have you ever hankered for a caper bush? Caper bushes like growing on dry hillsides — and an indoor window pot seems like a pretty good approximation of a rocky hillside.





D KAREN GOLDRICK is a holistic veterinarian at All Natural Vet Care, Russell Lea, Sydney. T: +61 2 9712 5844 W:

oes your dog bark or howl all day while you are at work? Does he destroy your sofa cushions, dig holes or frequently escape? It may be that he’s exuberant and playful, with extra energy to burn, but if that’s the case then he will usually do these things whether or not you are home. What may also be happening is that your dog is stressed when left alone. Separation anxiety occurs in dogs when they are overly attached to their owners. Dogs that have been rehomed, or shelter dogs, are more likely to feel insecure. Older dogs may show anxiety due to medical issues, so make sure they have a veterinary checkup. There may be clues your dog is stressed when you are away. She may continually seek contact with you, following you from room to room. She may excessively greet you when you arrive home. Signs of anxiety such as panting, crying, shaking or pacing may become obvious when you begin the departure routine. Overdependence is something we have fostered over years of domestication of dogs. These days, puppies are likely to be separated from their dam and siblings at 6–8 weeks of age. We may also be selecting for breeds that are affectionate and dependent. We tend to treat dogs like children, so they remain dependent and “need” us rather than learn independence as they would in the wild. Separation anxiety causes stress and anxiety for owners, who have to deal with the destruction, escaping pets and possibly irate neighbours who can’t handle the noise. It can lead to rehoming and even, in the worst cases, euthanasia.

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Reducing this anxiety requires a combination of behaviour modification, exercise, training, strategies to encourage calm, and the use of Bach Flower remedies, nutritional supplements and herbs.


There is no magic cure. Reducing this anxiety requires a combination of behaviour modification, exercise, training and strategies to encourage calm, and the use of Bach Flower remedies, nutritional supplements and herbs to help reduce anxiety. There are medications that may be tried short term in the most severe cases but these will not work without behaviour modification. The first step is to see your vet to ensure there is no other health issue. To help with behaviour modification, they may suggest an appointment with a specialist animal behaviouralist. This may sound extreme, taking your pet to the “doggy psychiatrist”, however you will be living with your dog for many years and it’s vital for both of you that the relationship is not stressful. I always recommend general exercise and training. If at all possible, your dog should

have a long enough walk or run in the morning before you go to work in order to wear her out. A tired dog simply has less energy to be destructive or anxious. I also recommend daily general training. This can be done in the evenings and is designed to teach your dog mental focus. Daily training sessions in the home can be combined with a weekly training group activity. To reduce overattachment, you need to teach your dog independence. One strategy you can use is to try not to make too much fuss when you leave or return. As your dog welcomes you home with excited barking and jumping, you must try to ignore her until she has settled, then reward her calm behaviour with something she likes: a treat or a pat. You must be the one to initiate the connection. Be calm and remember, when you first start ignoring her, she will try even harder to get your attention. Take it a step further. You may need to teach your dog to sleep on her own bed, at a distance from your own. If your dog is especially attached to you and there are other people in the household, encourage your pet to have a relationship with them by having them undertake feeding, walking and training. The second step is to create a safe and happy place for your dog to stay when you are out. Keep the talkback radio on, or classical music. Give him a positive time-consuming treat that is only used for going out, such as a Kong with frozen food or a treat-releasing toy. Consider using DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) in a diffuser, or sprayed on a bandanna, to encourage calm. This is a synthetic chemical that mimics that secreted by a mother to her pups. It may help to provide a den or even a crate for your dog to use while you are away. This crate is only ever a good place. Perhaps feed your dog in there and include his favourite bed. The third step is to desensitise him to your leaving routine. You probably have a set routine before your leave every morning, so try to vary this. Also, run through some of it when you are not actually leaving. These simple steps will help some dogs but others may need a gradual desensitising program, changing in increments as his anxiety reduces. Separation anxiety is a common and complex behaviour in dogs as well as other pets. In some instances it’s mild and in others really stresses the relationship between pet and owner. There is no “one size fits all” solution and I have only covered a few options. Above all, use positive strategies and ask your vet for help.





When Sun entered Virgo on Aug 23, Mercury and Jupiter added a strong theme: expanded interests, juicy ideas, exciting meetings of colleagues and friends. But in September your ruler Mercury is “retro”, so you may need to revise some of August’s plans. Virgo New Moon adds further mental intensity: a solar eclipse Sept 1, driving a burst of problem-solving. Get busy, give loved ones time and attention Sept 16–21; then October’s mad rush will leave no guilt or regret.

SCORPIO If you've recently seen a great business idea stall for months, September revives it. Your ruler Mars has been back in action since August but Sept 7–16 offers a powerhouse of reconnecting. On Oct 1’s New Moon, travel, networking, team building are smiled upon. If you reach out to others in October’s first half, it’ll be easier to slow down and watch the interior dynamics of business and personal relationships. Necessary, since Oct 19–31 you join Pluto’s “rapid transformation club”.

SAGITTARIUS Saturn goes nowhere fast and carries Sagittarius now on a slow groundswell of hard effort, clear intentions — no wasted time but many hurdles. When Sun enters your networking sign Sept 23, equalise imbalances in life to expand or contract relationships accordingly. Do more with less is Saturn’s rule. Venus is in friend-gathering mode in September but you may feel locked into others' chaos Sept 2–17. Remember, only you have the key, then Oct 5–27 can be a very good time.

CAPRICORN Pluto in Capricorn has been putting you through your transformation paces for years but September and October are special opportunities. September’s challenge? Hold firm to your principles but don't feel you have to talk, and argue, about them Sept 2, 6–8 or 11– 15. These are sensitive times. Sept 21 to October, you’re on a roll. With Jupiter in your career

Libra is diplomatic if possible, hard-line when necessary. You’ll explore a larger version of this Sept 9, 2016, to Oct 10, 2017, when Jupiter transits Libra. This will reveal a revitalised version of “relationship”. Some friendships become business oriented. All relationships will need boundaries and tact to thrive. Be very aware of this Sept 11–14 and Oct 6, 8, 14–16 & 20. Brainstorming, impromptu meetings are most fertile Sept 17–23; Oct 1’s New Moon in Libra is time to get moving.

zone for a year, ask yourself what “real vocation” feels like and if you’ve lost sight of that. October is ripe for change.

AQUARIUS The slow shift into the Age of Aquarius is a muchdebated timing in astrology but now, with your serious “ruler” Saturn in Sagittarius, it's time to embrace more fun, lightheartedness, learning. Also recently revved up by Mars, you rush into September but may be forced to slow down. Listen to any prompts: your health will thank you. Mental gymnastics tend to be most successful after Oct 1’s New Moon when thinking and communication skills come to the fore.

PISCES A solar eclipse and New Moon in your partner sign Sept 1 opens the month with a strong statement. If you feel dominated or overwhelmed, it will wash out at Pisces Full Moon Sept 17. Consider a tactful friendly chat Sept 6 or 7 to relieve pressure beforehand. These are “mutable challenge” times and Sept 10–15 is the climax of the restlessness and uncertainty of the past 10 months, as well as months of creative rush. Oct 12–30, you easily negotiate potent group dynamics and attract support.

ARIES As warrior Mars’ “day sign”, you have great resilience. This has been essential with Uranus throwing curve balls at Aries since 2011. Now Mars is back, having been “retro” for months. Travel plans, study, grand ideas all look much

healthier from mid-August and Sept 4–10 builds up the excitement. The best is still to come in October. From Oct 1’s New Moon to the surprises of Full Moon in Aries Oct 16, things move fast. Do your “homework” then others help you achieve what matters.

TAURUS Lover Venus rules your sign, so your earthy good sense and caring ways look after you in September. Communicator Mercury is also nudging you to reconnect with loved ones, so September is a month to get back to basic tasks like tax or accounts while also being open to feel-good social times. Both will lift your spirits. By Oct 1’s New Moon, you’re glad you did the work; Oct 11–28 is ideal for creative ideas and group commitments. Any changes around Oct 16 can work for the collective good.

GEMINI Ruled by the planet of communication, less talk is more in September! Watch your energy levels Sept 2–17 as “mutable challenges” abound. This means too much on offer, and a depleted you, if you always say “yes”. Plans will change often in September or people prove unreliable; but that changes Sept 26 to Oct 11. You turn a corner and will find receptivity to ideas in October, with New Moon and Jupiter enhancing creativity and love. Oct 27–30 sees you reconnect to thank your supporters.

CANCER New Moon and solar eclipse kick-start September.

CHRISTINE BROADBENT loves her work as a writer and consulting astrologer. She offers in-person readings for Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland and pre-booked consultations by phone and Skype, and elects propitious dates for special events. For information, to book a reading or for Christine’s seminars, email christine@ or call +61 402 664 101.

By Full Moon Sept 17, you’ll be busy with commitments, travel plans, connecting with loved ones. Since Communicator Mercury is also “retro”, some plans may change, so don’t get too attached and be sure to schedule personal time. An old challenge may come back for a final resolution Oct 14–20; if so, be clear and concise. When you drop old grudges and move on, your creative energy soars. Oct 27–31 is a completion time, freeing you considerably.

LEO From Sept 9, Jupiter amplifies your communication skills for a year. A month to capitalise on this begins when Sun joins Jupiter Sept 23–26. You can make late Sept a special time by equalising your researched “facts” and creative presentation style. Boost whichever is lacking, then communication-related tasks will be very successful Oct 5–27. With Venus in your love sign Oct 18 to Nov 12, you’ll be able to intrigue and impress. A commitment is needed as October ends.






Photography Bogstock

is an anti-ageing physician and writer based in Sydney, Australia. He is the author of three books including his latest, The Wellness Guide to Preventing the Diseases of Ageing. He has also designed the app The Diet Guide To Ageing Prevention.

A host of weight loss supplements are regularly promoted. ... [Of these], the one category that is the least sexy but with the most potential is simple tea.


harmaceutical companies would love to make it easy for us to lose weight. They also know that we love to eat. Factor in the obesity boom and our recidivism with weight-loss programs that might initially yield spectacular waistline reductions only to culminate in devastating disappointments once layers of fat reaccumulate with interest and we have the recipe for a medicinal superhero. In March 2016, with glittering Facebook fanfare and gilded media hype, Saxenda, a drug that suppresses hunger and promotes rapid satiety, was unveiled by pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk. The research scientists behind this drug commence their rationale by indicating that one of its commendable contributions is preventing the weight gain that inevitably occurs over time once anyone who attempts long-term weight loss succumbs to the reverse pedal. It was around the time of the Saxenda launch that one of my patients, who had previously found that her once trim waistline had buckled under the weight of an explosive appetite fuelled by cortisone medication for a medical condition, embarked on her own mission to reclaim her slimness. Her new regime saw her have her last meal soon after sundown, dramatically reduce her consumption of carbohydrates, battle surging pangs of hunger by increasing her intake of protein and maintain a rigorous exercise routine. She managed to lose 10kg over a six-month period but then hit the wall and her weight ceased to budge. With a blood test showing that her sugar metabolism was inefficient, making it more difficult for her to continue burning fat and also leading to repeated bouts of interrupted sleep, as elevated sugar can trigger the need to urinate incessantly, she needed a backup plan. I suggested she start taking alpha-lipoic acid, a supplement that can enhance sugar metabolism, as well as melatonin, a hormone that can facilitate better sleep patterns and improve sugar utilisation. Over a three-month period, she lost another 4kg and at the time of writing this article she had attained her weightloss goals. So, for those seeking non-drug-related ways to achieve weight loss, what other options are available?

THE DIET Most diets are a variation on the theme of increasing protein and limiting fats and carbohydrates. While increasing protein can make you feel fuller quicker, leading to reduced food consumption and accelerated weight loss

in the short term, maintaining this type of eating behaviour as a long-term strategy isn’t easy. This is because our genetics and our habitual pattern of protein ingestion establish a set point for the amount of protein we eat to which we are compelled inexorably to return. Aside from high-protein diets offering limited palatability and enjoyment, together with our exposure to easily accessible calorie-rich foods, there is the biologically driven need to go back to eating the daily rations of protein we’re accustomed to. Hence these diets show early impressive returns over limited periods of time but have yet to deliver over the longer haul. For those who are committed to the highprotein diet, as it does curb appetite and promote satiety, it is wise to ensure that this form of eating is balanced by foods that have a high alkaline content, and those foods are green leafy vegetables. Protein, especially that derived from animal sources, increases acidity, which in turn ignites inflammation or an overactive immune system. What inflammation does is compromise hormone function, especially hormones like thyroid hormones, which are the principal fat metabolisers. Female hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone can also be compromised by excess acidity, as might testosterone in males. Once hormone function is disturbed, a slew of emotional and mental difficulties can ensue. An upcoming column of mine focuses on strategies to facilitate weight loss while limiting acid-forming foods.

THE SUPPLEMENTS A host of weight-loss supplements are regularly promoted in the media with more anecdotal hype than scientific evidence to substantiate their claims. Of these, the one category that is the least sexy but with the most potential is simple tea. All teas, other than “herbal” teas, are derived from the leaves of the herb Camellia sinensis. Essentially, there are four types with different chemical composition based on the degree of fermentation, these being nonfermented (green) tea, partially fermented (oolong) tea, fully fermented (black) tea and postfermented (Puer) tea. While high-dose green tea and Puer have the most scientific credibility to generate weight loss, at least over an initial 12-week trial period, question marks remain about the persistence of these benefits. When weighing up the heft of Saxenda versus the modesty of green tea stacked against the herculean efforts of my patient, I’m hoping that her longstanding resolve prevails.



THE GOUTY ARTICLE (or fructose) show an increase in fasting uric acid levels. Epidemiological studies have linked increased soft drink intake with increased risk for gout (particularly those with high fructose corn syrup), but eating fresh fruit (high in fructose) is not such a problem, possible protection being provided by the extra vitamin C and antioxidants. So low-GI fruits were added to his diet. Alcohol is known to increase serum uric acid by altering liver metabolism and reducing uric acid excretion. Beer is a particular problem, followed by hard liquor, with the risk of gout from wine being lower (unless it is fermented in lead containers). Non-alcoholic beer can increase uric acid levels just as much, as the yeast used in the manufacture of beer is high in purines.

FURTHER CHANGES While this man’s symptoms improved with the change of diet, to better manage his condition we needed to consider further aspects, including increasing uric acid excretion and reducing uric acid production by inhibiting xanthine oxidase (the enzyme involved in purine metabolism). Continuing the dietary improvements, he was encouraged to lose weight (which he did) by better managing his blood sugar (supplementing with gymnema, fenugreek, R-lipoic acid and chromium) to stop sugar and fat cravings. He gave up soft drinks (a common alternative for those quitting alcohol). As better options, we introduced various herbal teas — herbs known to inhibit xanthine oxidase such as chrysanthemum flowers, green tea, rosemary and peppermint along with lavender and ginkgo. Olive leaf, cinnamon and resveratrol also show xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity. Green tea also increases lead excretion (as does magnesium) and cinnamon helps manage blood sugar. He varied the teas, adding nettle leaf, parsley and dandelion leaf, as these helped remove excess uric acid (and provided extra minerals). The teas also helped to increase his fluid intake, as drinking 2–3 litres of filtered water daily keeps the urine dilute and reduces the deposition of uric acid crystals. He added cherry juice (2 cups/day) and felt it helped. Cherries contain anthocyanidins, which help lower uric acid. Celery seed was added to increase uric acid excretion and quercetin to lower inflammation. A high-dose vitamin B complex helped liver health. To improve his diet further and maintain adequate protein, I recommended low-purine foods. Chicken, pork, turkey, crab, lobster and eggs are good, as are lentils, chickpeas, sunflower seeds and grains like oatmeal and rice. Green leafy veg provided vital nutrients including magnesium but had to be chosen carefully to minimise oxalate intake. Parboiling them, tipping off the water then steaming them before eating removes most of the oxalic acid.

KAREN BRIDGMAN is a naturopath who has worked as a private practitioner at Pymble Grove Health Centre and Australian Biologics Testing Services for 30 years. She has been an academic and has a Doctor of Philosophy, researching women’s experience in (and with) medicine, along with three Masters degrees in Science (Hons), Higher Education and Applied Science.

Parboiling [leafy greens], tipping off the water then steaming them before eating removes most of the oxalic acid.

Photography Bogstock


45-year-old man presented to the clinic, crippled by the pain of gout. He had been prescribed colchicine, the derivative of the autumn crocus (and it helped); however, prolonged use may cause bone marrow damage or side-effects such as dermatitis, neuropathies, myopathies or kidney and liver damage. Pain relief is essential though for several reasons: the person’s quality of life, for one, plus the trigger for pain (inflammation) can cause significant damage in itself. The pain of gout can sometimes be controlled with anti-inflammatory herbs or drugs if caught at the onset of an attack, but this is not dealing with the cause. Gout, a painful form of arthritis, is defined as dysfunction in purine metabolism, leading to an increase in uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia). This can be a result of excessive production of uric acid or the inability to excrete it efficiently. As a result, urate crystals build up in the body, forming deposits in the joints. The clinical symptoms of gout include severe pain, inflammation and swelling of the affected joint. There is also a strong association with gout and metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes) and vascular disorders such as atherosclerosis, all of which have similar diet and lifestyle issues. This gentleman was overweight (being overweight decreases uric acid excretion) and his glucose levels were slightly high at 6.3. He had been reducing his sugar intake over several months and had stopped drinking alcohol (a common factor) but was still experiencing acute attacks. So what were his specific triggers? He had a strong family history of gout. Although certain foods, lifestyle factors and some medicines may trigger gout, it is primarily an inherited condition with sufferers having a decreased ability to eliminate excess uric acid. High dietary protein (purines) is a common trigger. Purines are primarily found in meat, offal, meat extracts, fish, especially salmon, trout, herring, mackerel and sardines, and seafood (caviar, mussels, scallops). Yeasted products such as beer are also high in purines. My patient had recently reduced his consumption of animal proteins to 2–3 times a week. A major trigger for him was canned or smoked fish (which he loved). High dietary oxalates can also be an issue. These are mainly found in vegetables and include soybeans, Swiss chard, spinach, rhubarb and the nightshade family (potatoes, eggplant, capsicum and chilli), so not eating these more than twice a week may help. From a naturopathic stance, there are other potential non-dietary triggers. Lead toxicity was a distinct possibility here, as he had worked with heavy metals and solvents for years. Chronic lead poisoning can result in reduced urate excretion. Subjects regularly eating refined sugars




MANIFESTATION & FATE Do you ask the universe to fulfil your desires or do you leave it up to fate? One reader found that both can deliver.


hear people talk about needing to “manifest” their future, then adding the flippant phrase that “what will be, will be”. To me, they are polar opposites of each other. Manifestation is believing in something that eventually becomes universally tangible; for example, asking the world to meet the love of your life and the next day it happens. Then there is the “what will be, will be” process, where you don’t wish for anything and let fate do its job. I now believe in both. You can will something to be true and also leave it up to sheer chance. Both happened to me in the same week.

Photography Bigstock


Well, we hit 40 — and no trip to New York was in sight. However, the idea was always in the back of my mind and I had secretly asked the universe to make it possible.

Natalie and I have been best friends since we were 12. During our time together, we would jokingly state that, if we ever won the lottery (ha ha), we would take each other to New York. Of course school, marriage, mortgages and kids all became priorities. Once our kids were in primary school, we would jokingly talk about going to New York by the time we hit 40, which was only a few years away, to fulfil our fun dream (double ha ha). Well, we hit 40 — and no trip to New York was in sight. However, the idea was always in the back of my mind and I had secretly asked the universe to make it possible. Many times. Four months after my 40th birthday, I came across a competition on Facebook. It was for — surprise, surprise — two plane tickets to visit New York. I remembered our promise and intuition inspired my answer to the 25-words-or-less question: “What place would you visit if you won this prize?” It was also my intuition that prompted me to participate in this competition, even though I’m a social media expert and constantly warning my loved ones, family, friends and clients about Facebook competition scams. Three weeks later, I found out I’d won. While we were still 40 years old, my best friend and I could now fund our way to


become obsessive, every month I’d still feel a certain disappointment when my period came. For me, my 40th birthday was my deadline. If I wasn’t pregnant then, I would get my tubes tied; it wasn’t meant to be. I had totally given up. And I was OK with that. Getting my tubes tied meant I had accepted my fate and had made the choice not to be a period clock-watcher any more. Three months after my birthday, I booked in to see my gynaecologist, who convinced me to get an IUD in place instead. I remember his words: “There are no issues. Just wait until your next period as this will be the best time to insert it.” Sweet. I waited for my period. Then I won the tickets to New York and I was over the moon. This was what fate was telling me; this was making room for other wonderful things to enter my life. And then I waited. And waited. Then I started peeing all the time. I thought I was either diabetic or ... no ... it couldn’t be! Yes. Yes I was. I was pregnant. On the final stroke of the final hour: “What will be, will be.” I’ve passed the danger period of the last two miscarriages and this little one has a strong heart of 162 beats per minute. I am going to give birth just after my 41st birthday. Thank you, Fate. So now, I will be trooping off to New York with my best friend and a bun in the oven. It will be an amazing experience and an awesome year. My advice is to never give up on what you want in life. But, if you do give up (and you are allowed to), then simply accept the fact that what will be, will be ... and live life.

New York, a prize we’d be taking before my 41st birthday. Thank you, Universe.

WHAT WILL BE, WILL BE Natalie and I were revelling in our newly won plane tickets and awesome husbands who would take care of home, but I was also going through what I felt was a difficult decision in my life. My son Jack was born when I was 29. Complete accident. Hubby and I decided to try again when I was 34, when we more financially secure ... and then nothing happened. Every month, my period came and went. We’d agreed that IVF wasn’t an option for us and “what will be, will be”. At 37 years old, I became pregnant. Excitement ensued, until we had the devastating blow of watching the little heart on the ultrasound beat 70 beats per minute, instead of the 120 beats per minute it needed to survive. I was watching our little creation die. Sure enough, a week later, there was no heartbeat. At 38, I was pregnant again. A little trepidation followed but I was determined to be excited. Yet the same thing happened. At eight weeks, I lost the baby. Then, two years of nothing. Although I didn’t have an ovulation calendar or

Marina Cook is a writer, mum, teacher and entrepreneur. She loves inspiring other people and is a big believer in making things happen. She incorporates motivating practices into her business life as a digital marketing strategist (motivatingmarketing. and has run painting workshops in Italy ( for more than 10 years.

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We have four Dinosnores Baby Sleep Soundscape CDs (RRP AU$79.96) to give away. Each baby soundscape provides a steady, relaxing, natural soundscape while speaking to your baby in soothing tones. Dinosnores help babies to sleep while building their listening and language skills. Find out more at For your chance to win a CD, simply tell us in 25 words or less what has been your most disastrous bedtime experience with kids. Send your answers on the back of an envelope to: WellBeing Resource Guide Giveaway #164 Reply Paid 75687 North Ryde NSW 1670 Conditions of Entry: 1. Entry into this competition implies full acceptance of all conditions of entry, including the instructions on how to enter. 2. Entry is open to all residents of Australia and New Zealand. Employees and immediate families of the promoter, associated companies and agencies associated with this promotion are ineligible to enter. 3. Entries close last mail on October 21, 2016. The winners will be notified by mail or email. 4. Entries should be mailed to WellBeing Resource Guide Giveaway #164, Reply Paid 75687, North Ryde NSW 1670 Australia. 5. We have 4 copies of Dinosnores Baby Sleep Soundscape CDs to be given away. 6. Prizes will be posted to the winner within 4 weeks of notification of winning. 7. Prizes are subject to availability, are not transferable or exchangeable and cannot be taken as cash. 8. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Prizes will be awarded on the basis of merit. Chance plays no part in determining the winners. 9. All entries become the property of the promoter. The entries may be entered into a database for future promotional, marketing and publicity purposes, unless otherwise stated by the entrants. If you do not wish to be entered into this database, please indicate this on your envelope. This will not exclude you from entry to the competition. Please refer to the Privacy Note below. 10. No responsibility is accepted for lost, misdirected or delayed mail. Privacy Note: With your permission your details may be recorded so we can send you information about similar publications/services from Universal Magazines or carefully vetted third parties. Universal Magazines is committed to National Privacy Principles. We do not sell data to list brokers. If you wish to see our policy, go to and look under ‘Privacy’ or call us on +61 2 9805 0399.


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SEXY & SUSTAINABLE, UNDERWEAR BY WITJUTI. Crafted with 95 per cent viscose from organic bamboo (one of the most regenerative and eco-friendly materials in the world), these adorable briefs are light, airy, durable and cheeky! Viscose from organic bamboo is one of the most breathable fabrics available, wicking moisture away from your body and allowing your most intimate places to breathe easily. Slip these on and indulge in the luxurious, butter-soft texture without worrying about unsightly panty lines or irritating labels (Witjuti’s are heat-sealed). Bamboo provides feel and function, spandex lends some extra stretch, the cut screams sexy and the pretty lace trim adds just the right touch of sweetness. These beauties are called “Darroogoo”, which is Indigenous Australian for “secret”, but these ultra-soft lace-trimmed briefs might end up as a secret you just can’t keep! W:

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HERO CONDOMS HERO - Australia’s only socially responsible condom company whereby for every condom sold, one is donated to a developing country to help fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and save lives. In 2015, HERO donated 500,000 condoms to the people of Botswana with their goal for 2016 being 2M. W:

KARPATI PVP/PVA FREE HAIR SPRAY BY KARPATI NATURAL “Ultimate Styling without Compromise…” Aerosol Free Made with quality natural ingredients, Karpati PVP/PVA Free Hair Spray supports Eva Karpati’s personal mission to inspire generations to become better educated and make informed decisions about the substances they put into their bodies and the impact of those on the Earth. Boasting a fine mist with a natural hold, Karpati PVP/ PVA Free Hair Spray delivers a quality finish without the chemical propellants and other nasties associated with aerosols and regular hair sprays. This hair spray possesses the ability to hold shape and add volume without weighing down the hair, and is a naturally derived product, making it one of the safest hair sprays on the market. W:

HYDRABOTANIQUE SKINCARE COLLECTION BY ALEXAMI Nature’s solution to smart hydration. Exotic8 Facial Oil regenerates, nourishes and restores, increasing hydration and elasticity and leaving your skin feeling silky, supple and soft for a more youthful complexion! Fighting the signs of ageing! Sign up to our newsletter to receive exclusive offers and discounts! W:

VITAMIN C SOAP OAP UMPY BAR BY SCRUMPY SOAP CO Enjoy knowing that you are anic using on your skin organic oducts and natural healthy products with no chemicals and pesticides. This is also a great ap. fragrance-free face soap. used no Guaranteed to have caused nimals. harm to the planet or animals. W:


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Illustration Tams at Soul Stories:

Emma Leslie

E Editorial assistant Kate (top left) fled the cchilly south for tropical Darwin, celebrating rremote Indigenous communities and cculture at Barunga Festival near Katherine while she was at it. w Meanwhile, editor Danielle whipped up a solstice feast at Foodbank NSW & ACT headquarters in Sydney to help feed four of the 81,000 people the charity provides food for each month in NSW and ACT alone. She’s pictured (left) with Foodbank’s ambassador Matthew Hayden, Foodbank NSW & ACT CEO Gerry Andersen and blogger Josie Gagliano. Find out more about the charity’s work at

WHAT’S COMING UP FOR YOU August 2–September 2, Global World Water Week August 20–27, Kangaroo Island, AU Kangaroo Island Food Safari southernoceanlodge. ki-food-safari August 21, Sydney, AU Italian Food + Wine Festival sydneyitalianwine August 21–28, AU Hearing Awareness Week hearingawareness August 22–28, AU Keep Australia Beautiful Week

August 26, AU Daffodil Day August 26–September 4, Melbourne, AU Melbourne Writers Festival August 28, Melbourne, AU A Walk in the Park August 28–5, Nevada, US Burning Man

September 11, Global Sustainable House Day sustainablehouse September 12–15, Melbourne, AU Fine Food Expo finefoodaustralia. September 17–25, AU National Organic Week September 22, Global World Car-Free Day

August 31, AU National Meals on Wheels Day

September 25, Perth, AU The Bloody Long Walk au/perth

September 4, Sydney, AU The Bloody Long Walk au/sydney

October 1–9, Blue Mountains, AU Leura Garden Festival leuragardens

October 1–31, Sydney, AU Good Food Month sydney.goodfood October 2, Brisbane, AU The Bloody Long Walk au/Brisbane October 7–9, Sydney, AU Festival of Dreams festivalofdreams. October 9–15, AU Mental Health Week October 13–16, Berry, AU Berry Gardens Festival berry-gardens-festival October 14–30, Orange, AU Orange Wine Festival winefestival.htm October 20–23, Sunshine Coast, AU Wanderlust Festival festivals/sunshinecoast/ October 22–23, Brisbane, QLD The 10th Australian Homœopathic Medicine Conference homeopathy

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“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.” ~ Edward Abbey 154 | WELLBEING.COM.AU

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WB Issue#164  

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view." - Edward Abbey. Join us this month for the lat...

WB Issue#164  

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view." - Edward Abbey. Join us this month for the lat...