Mel’s Hints For Healthy cooking

Want to start transforming the way you cook but not sure where to start?

Here are some healthy hints to change your cooking!

A Quick Guide to Sugar

1 cup sugar = 1 tsp liquid stevia

1 tbsp sugar = 6-9 drops liquid stevia

1 tsp sugar = 2-4 drops liquid stevia

White sugar can be replaced by granulated stevia, xylitol, dextrose/glucose, coconut sugar, or rapadura using a 1:1 ratio. In recipes that call for liquid sweeteners, rice malt syrup, honey, maple syrup, and agave are interchangeable. 

 Some helpful hints when using different sugars:

  • Xylitol will not be as sweet but you tend to get used to it quickly. It can be used in place of sugar in any recipe that doesn’t require the sugar to break down into liquid form - it is impossible for xylitol to caramelise even at an extremely high temperature or when cooked at length.

  • Dextrose needs extra wet ingredients, so you can add an extra egg. Make sure to not over-beat it, and to not let it burn.

  • Coconut sugar and rapadura are great for replacing brown sugar as they have a stronger flavour and a caramel colour and texture. They can be over powering in light baking, such as a sponge cake, but work great for banana bread or sticky date pudding.

  • Honey will give a honey taste as well as the sweetness.

  • Rice malt syrup will just add sweetness.

  • Agave can come in light, dark, and raw. The darker the colour, the more caramel-like the flavour will be. Light agave just adds sweetness.

  • When using natural sweeteners, remember to always keep the end product in the fridge and don’t keep for too long as sugar is a preservative but these are not.

 A Quick Guide to Oils

When using oil, there are a few options with slight differences:

Coconut oil and ghee are great for high heat cooking. Extra virgin olive oil has a stronger flavour and lower smoke point, making it good for dressings, marinades, sauces and low-heat cooking. Avocado oil is lightly flavoured, and carries other flavours well. It has a very high smoke point. Nut oils (almond, hazelnut, macadamia, peanut, pecan, walnut) are great but only certain nut oils can be used for cooking. Macadamia and peanut, for example, have high smoke points, but walnut oil should only be used in dressings. 

 In-The-Kitchen Recommendations

  • Use organic wherever possible

  • Use organic free-range eggs if available

  • Keep skin on vegetables

  • Use activated nuts and seeds

  • Use filtered water where possible

  • Use non-iodised salts such as Himalayan or Celtic sea salt

  • When using vanilla, try to always use whole vanilla beans. When buying, look for plump beans that look glossy on the outside and bend a little when you touch them. Beans that are dull looking and brittle are hard to scrape seeds from. 1 vanilla bean = about 3 tsp vanilla extract.

Healthy Condiment Options:

- Bragg’s apple cider vinegar

- Bragg’s herbal sprinkle

- coconut aminos

- red/white wine vinegar

- Bragg’s healthy vinaigrette

- organic Dijon mustard

- seaweed flakes

- Himalayan crystal salt

- organic cold pressed olive oil

- organic pepper

- any fresh herbs

- mashed avo + coconut cream makes a nice ranch dressing

- organic ‘nothing added’ coconut cream/milk

- organic unhulled tahini.

For more healthy cooking inspo, grab a copy of our latest cookbook here.

Why The Pill Doesn't Fix Period Problems

Special thanks to Lisa Henderson-Jack from Fertility Friday for the adaptation of this blog. You can find more from Lisa at fertilityfriday.com

I know it’s controversial to say that the pill doesn’t fix menstrual issues, but why should it be?

Let me start by saying I recognise that tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of women rely on the pill to manage their dreadful period-related symptoms.

By stating that the pill does not fix the root issue, I’m not saying that it doesn’t have it’s place.

Sure, the pill may mask some symptoms you are having and allow you to avoid pregnancy, but from experience, you don’t ever get a true menstrual period while on the pill.

The pill suppresses ovulation, and dramatically reduces the production of your main ovarian hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone — and the bleeding you experience between pill packs is a type of withdrawal bleeding caused by the sudden drop in synthetic hormones.

Although the pill alleviates symptoms (albeit temporarily), it does not do anything to address the underlying cause.


Period pain is an indication of a deeper problem. 

Once you address the root cause, your pain will decrease significantly or go away entirely. However, many women who've suffered through painful periods for years don't believe pain free periods are even possible.

In any other situation we recognise that pain is a sign of inflammation and/or tissue damage, but for some reason we place period pain in a different category and consider it normal?!

There’s a difference between suppressing your symptoms and addressing the root cause (i.e. reducing inflammation, addressing nutrient deficiencies, reducing your chemical exposure, balancing your hormones, etc.).

For women who experience severe pain, severe PMS symptoms, and even PMDD (pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder), the pill is often presented as the ONLY solution. And although it can provide temporary relief, we should be advising women about what can be done to address the underlying issues that are causing these symptoms.

Here’s why:

- What if you want to start a family some day? At some point you’ll have to come off the pill. How will you deal with your symptoms then?

- What if there is an underlying issue such as inflammation, endometriosis, PCOS, hormonal imbalances, endocrine issues, thyroid issues, immune problems? … and the list goes on. When will you tend to that?

- What if you have negative side effects on the pill? Then what can you do?

- What if you don’t want to be on the pill forever?!

We deserve better. 

What if the pill was used for symptom management in severe cases — in conjunction with root-cause therapies with the end goal of transitioning off the pill and having better periods and cycles naturally? What if healthcare practitioners supported women to do that as the standard of care?

What if we acknowledged that the pill is not a cure, and it does not fix period problems (only masks them and suppresses the symptoms)? What if we presented it as a temporary way to alleviate symptoms until we are able to address the underlying issue?

What if we prioritised women’s health and fertility instead of jumping to the pill as the one size fit’s all solution to period problems?

Lisa has a book you can read for further information about addressing menstrual issues, you can find it here The Fifth Vital Sign  with specific steps you can take to reduce or eliminate your pain.


PLEASE come and see me if you are interesting in treating the root cause of your menstrual issues and perhaps transitioning off the pill, there is so much we can do with herbs and supplements, as well as some lifestyle changes to address this.

All About Ferments & Pickling - Part Three

Go back and read part two of this blog series if you haven’t yet!

Fermenting food is like pre-digesting it for our gut. When we eat it, it is super easy to breakdown and our tummy has less work to do. This increases the bio-availability of the nutrients in the food and allows us to better absorb all of the vitamins and minerals.

In the first blog of this series, I shared my favourite ferments and why they are so good for you and in the previous one, you’ll find more of my favourite ferments!

You can find more information about these and how to make them in my latest book, From Peasants Food To Superfoods.

Here are the rest of my favourite ferments and why you should consider them too!

  • Pickled Jalapenos

Pickling is the easiest way to store vegetables and fruit for the future and it really is so easy. Before fridges were invented, everything was pickled, fermented or cured for preservation and longevity. These methods of food preparation also have the added benefit of preserving nutrients and in the case of fermenting, increasing the health benefits of the food.

You can really pickle anything! Vegetables, fruits or meats. We grab these jalapenos for anything from our Mexican feasts to a simple toasted sandwich for lunch. They live on our kitchen bench and get better with time. Try pickling ginger as well for added flavour to any meal.

  • Pickled Carrots  

Bright coloured fruit and veg are loaded with antioxidants and healing nutrients that protect us from cancer and heart disease. Carrots in particular are the king of nutrition when it comes to root vegetables. They are packed with fibre, vitamin C and E and beta carotene. They help protect us against stroke, some cancers, lung disease and help protect our sight.

  • Pickled Red Onion

Having onion raw is like having a supplement each day which may assist in protecting you from a range of bugs. Onion is anti-microbial and can help block carcinogens. They contain antioxidants that assist with nasal congestion so are perfect for a stuffy nose. Eating them pickled increases these compounds and also makes them more palatable in their raw form. I am obsessed with adding pickled onion to my eggs in the morning.

It is always nice to have a fermenting friend or a culture comrade, especially when you begin the process. Preparing food in this way is foreign to most of us as Aussies and to the Western word in general. For cold countries, it is much more common and historically a method of survival. Why not get together with friends and ferment? Or get the kids involved?!

Stay tuned to our socials for a ferment workshop announcement and grab your copy of our newest book to start fermenting today! 

All About Ferments & Pickling - Part Two

Go back and read part one of this blog series if you haven’t yet!

Fermenting food is like pre-digesting it for our gut. When we eat it, it is super easy to breakdown and our tummy has less work to do. This increases the bio-availability of the nutrients in the food and allows us to better absorb all of the vitamins and minerals.

In the first blog, I shared my favourite ferments and why they are so good for you. You can find more information about these and how to make them in my latest book, From Peasants Food To Superfoods.

Here are some more of my faves:

  • Cultured Carrot

Carrot is a superfood. You only have to look at its vibrant colour to know that it is good for you. Food has an innate ability to attract us when it is good for us, and disgust us when it is bad. If we are in balance we can see, smell and feel Mother Nature's message through the food that has been given to us. This is certainly becoming harder as more food is processed and packaged and its origins and nature are more difficult to decipher.

The average garden carrot should not be underestimated, but we can power it even more by fermenting it. Cultured vegetables are some of the most potent and ultimate superfoods. By culturing the carrot, it allows the gut to absorb more nutrients including all of the minerals and B vitamins. Carrot is also one of the best ferments to start the kids on as it is sweet and colourful.

  • Cultured Beets

Beetroot is one of my favourite foods to use as it holds so many health benefits. The thing about beetroot, and most foods, is that once you heat or cook the vegetable, it changes the medicinal properties. Many people cook up a big garlic based meal when they have a cold or flu, not realising that heating the garlic will destroy many of its natural antimicrobial benefits. So, I am always looking for ways to enjoy the deep, earthy taste of raw beetroot. Culturing them is a great way to add softness whilst still maintaining, and in fact supercharging, the beetroot benefits.

  • Kefir Water

Kefir is a bacterial yeast culture that converts sugar into fructose and imparts incredible probiotic goodness into the water you keep it in. It is loaded with valuable enzymes, easily digestible sugars, beneficial acids, vitamins and minerals. It is a nice option if you are trying to avoid the caffeine present in kombucha, but still seeking a probiotic drink.

  • Kombucha

Kombucha has been around for centuries with cultures shared throughout communities. The major difference between it and kefir water is that kombucha uses tea and a SCOBY, while kefir uses water and grains. Unlike kefir, kombucha is aerobic, meaning it likes oxygen during its ferment. Both are full of vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes and good bacteria, so are great for our gut.

  • Pickling Brine 

Pickling food is an ancient way of preserving it, eradicating bad bacteria while isolating good bacteria and increasing bio-availability of the food. All of this adds to the health benefits of eating pickled food. The pickle itself will develop a different taste and texture to its fresh counterpart, adding to the diversity of your plate and palate. It is super easy to pickle most fruit and veg and you can play with the flavours by adding herbs and spices as well. 

Join us in the next blog to find out what the rest of my fave ferments are and why you should learn to love them too!

All About Ferments & Pickling

Fermenting food is like pre-digesting it for our gut. When we eat it, it is super easy to breakdown and our tummy has less work to do. This increases the bio-availability of the nutrients in the food and allows us to better absorb all of the vitamins and minerals.

It also does this for whatever food we eat with it. It’s a good idea to have a little fermented food with each meal, or at least once per day. Fermenting food has become trendy and popular due to the movement to better the state of our gut. This is due to the high amounts of good bacteria in properly fermented food and drinks. It is these good bacteria that do most of the work in a fermentation process. Good quality fermented food will have a similar effect in our bodies to that of probiotics. 

Fermenting also preserves the food we are using and it originated for this reason, before there was access to refrigeration. Food would be harvested in its peak, prepared and jarred for fermentation, and stored for the winter time when it was no longer abundant.

For all ferments it is important to use filtered water and always wash your hands before starting. It is even a good idea to throw a bit of vinegar over your hands before starting to massage cabbage or when handling your scoby (for kombucha).

The ferment will eat most of the sugar that you feed it, as you become more confident with fermenting you may be able to get away with less sugar but keep in mind your culture will die if it does not have enough to eat!

Over the next two blogs, I will be sharing my favourite ferments and why they are so good for you. You can find more information about these and how to make them in my latest book, From Peasants Food To Superfoods.

  • Sauerkraut

Plain old-fashioned sauerkraut is always the easiest place to start when you begin your fermenting journey. It is so easy in fact that all you really need to source is a cabbage. There are varying species of naturally occurring bacteria on cabbage leaves which make it the perfect fermenting vegetable. These include some of the common bugs seen in probiotics such as Lactobacillus species. For the little guys to do their job they need an anaerobic environment, which is why we seal the cabbage in a jar. Over time, the bacteria produce carbon dioxide and the acidic environment means that only the good bugs survive. These are the ones that we want to colonies our gut.

  • Kimchi

Kimchi is a must-have side dish that is on every table in Korea and Japan. It is rich in fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), calcium, and iron, and also contains many beneficial lactic acid bacteria.

  • Misomite

Whenever I run fermentation workshops I save this one for last. It is the easiest thing to do but is always the favourite and the one that makes it home first. This spread delivers everything you want from a morning started with Vegemite on toast, only you now have a wheat free, preservative free version. Misomite is also full of naturally occurring minerals and is high in calcium. Miso is full of enzymes and also contains a complete protein (see the glossary for more on protein) so will keep you full for longer than many commercially made breakfast spreads.

Join us next week to find out what the rest of my fave ferments are!

Food Prep For Healthy Guts

Do not underestimate the power of food prep! No you don’t have to spend your whole Sunday in the kitchen, but you do need to get organised. This could be the difference between you sticking to a healthy food plan or not.

If you don’t have the right foods at your fingertips, it’s easy to reach for simple, convenience foods which often are not going to serve you well. Getting organised saves you money too, you can buy in bulk (also saving the environment) and you spend less time running to and from the shops (win).

If you have any kind of gut complaint, from a leaky gut to food allergies and intolerances, it can be as simple as adding some good quality gelatin to your pantry. Once you are comfortable with using this you may like to try some hemp seeds in a smoothie.

Whatever you do, don’t feel like you have to have a health food shop at home. Just start with a few little things, allow them to become the norm (if you like them), and add to your journey as you go.

If you don’t like it there is no need to force it down or upon the kids! Many of the properties also overlap so get through the bag or give it away if you do not like it and try something different next time. 

The best start to a gut healing journey is ensuring that we are using the highest quality ingredients possible, as often as possible. 

This means buying organic or chemical free produce whenever we can, looking at what our animals are fed, questioning faux foods in the supermarkets, and reading ingredient labels whenever we buy packaged food.

Here are a few tips to help get you started:

⋅ Head to your local markets - here you will find an array of fresh produce, grown by local farmers in the best way they can. The fruit and veg will also be seasonal which is very important for our primitive selves as the right food at the right time of year will help determine our weight, hormone production and mood.

⋅ Find a good quality butcher- start asking where your meat came from, what it was fed and how it lived. Choose grass fed meat over organic as the cattle can still be fed organic grain.

⋅ Buy organic where possible - but keep in mind organic certifications are very expensive so if its grown locally and ethically this is still a great choice. The low chemical produce from the markets will likely be better quality, better tasting and longer lasting than the organic section at the supermarket.

⋅ Stop refrigerating everything - try and keep your produce out of the fridge where possible (except for leafy greens) as it will retain much better flavour as it ripens. In winter, I often leave curries and stews out overnight after dinner or preparing for the week as they develop in flavour immensely.

⋅ I have mentioned canned food in this book. There are some foods that do well in a can and others that do not. Firstly, always buy organic canned food. Ensure the can itself is BPA free and make sure there is nothing extra added. For example, chickpeas in a can are great and super convenient but they should only have chickpeas and water (maybe some salt), no sugar, no numbers, no extracts. When using canned beetroot, it nearly always has sugar in it so try to buy fresh.

⋅ Avoid fortified salts such as those with added iodine and never use salts that are pure white as they have likely been chlorinated. Use natural salts instead, such as Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt.

Grab the new book, From Peasants Food To Superfoods for more on healthy food prep!

GET MOVING This Winter!

Getting yourself motivated and staying committed to your exercise regime that you may have had in summer is tough.

You may feel less inspired to move, especially now that the mornings and evenings are chilly. All of those common excuses start to creep in and the less you do, the less likely you are to do anything!

This can leave you lethargic, low energy and with a lowered immune system, hence being more susceptible to winter bugs. Exercise isn’t optional, it’s essential for your health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally.

Here are some excuse busters to nudge you, push you, or inspire you to stay motivated and keep moving through the colder months…

EXCUSE: "It's too hard to get out of bed on cold, dark mornings."

It's true that temperature and light have direct impact on our body rhythms in the winter extremes. But there are simple things you can do to encourage yourself to leave the comfort of your warm bed.

Create heat. Adjust the heater timer to warm your home or bedroom before the alarm goes off. If the temperature outside the doona is as enjoyable as inside, poof! the excuse is gone. Even better, put your workout clothes beside the heater so they are toasty warm and ready for you when you climb out of bed.

Tune your alarm. Rather than a normal, annoying alarm noise, use your phone to play specific songs that get you going. Nothing too loud (because cortisol) but something that lifts your mood and energy will do wonders for your ability to get out of bed on the first try.

Find a friend. Find someone who will commit to joining you in the morning for walks or workouts, and hold you accountable for showing up. Knowing someone is waiting for you to share the pain of the early darkness might be just the stimulus you need to throw back the covers and get out of the house.

EXCUSE: "I may be out of bed but I still don't want to go outside."

It's easy to fall into a vicious cycle of excuses that destroy momentum and kill motivation to be active. Use these ideas to boost your mood from the get go.

Put your head under water. Rather than clinging to the comfort of your favourite dressing gown while shuffling to the kitchen for a coffee, make a beeline to the shower. The water will wake you. Getting dressed right away also will help get you past the urge to lounge lazily over your latte. 

Dress the part. The truth is there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices. Is it time to upgrade to proper winter performance gear? If you've balked at the cost of higher-priced winter training gear for an outdoor activity, just ask anyone who's used them: The price is easily offset by the increase in enjoyment, comfort and enthusiasm that helps counteract the cold.

Keep it simple, smarty (K.I.S.S.).  The best way to overcome our excuses is to not create them in the first place. The more things that need to fall into place in order to get to the gym on time, the more likely we are to find a reason not to go. If you have to drive too far, you're creating extra hurdles that will attract excuses.

Keep it simple: go for a 25-minute run around the office block at lunch, do three laps of your neighbourhood first thing, or switch things up at the gym by using only the cardio machines you don't have to wait for. You'll finish a quality workout with less hassle and at a pace that feels rewarding.

Warm up indoors. Do some star jumps, leg lifts or pushups in your living room before heading out. Not only will it get your heart rate going and your blood circulating, it will make it very difficult to slide back into bed. Excuses be gone!

Tap into technology. Proclaiming your intention to workout each day on Facebook, Twitter, your blog or online community (e.g. Nike+) can strengthen your commitment, even if it is to avoid the embarrassment and guilt of not following through.

Excuse: "I can't find the same passion or fire to do it regularly."

What drives you in the summer is probably different from what motivates you in winter. When there's not a big race on the horizon, what fuels your daily ambition?

Use mini-goals for major rewards. Set small targets that lead to higher intensity, focus and discipline to stay on track each day. Perhaps the number of kilometres this week, the number of workouts over the next seven days, or steady improvements in strength gains. For maximum motivation, always write your goals down, making them specific and measurable, and track progress so you can reward yourself for the results.

Remember what works for you. If you find yourself suitably motivated in the summer, what specifically created that motivation: Targets? Goals? Friends? Coach? Competition? The great outdoors? How can you tap into the driving force and the feeling it creates in the summer and replicate something similar now?

Step out of the ordinary. Months of in-season intensity and pushing your limits will tire the best of us. Do you need a physical break from what you've always done to give your body time to recover and heal?

Take a yoga or pilates class. They are easy on the joints but provide great lasting benefits. Do you need a mental break from a tough season? Cross train with a different sport that doesn't require a stop watch or power meter. This will help ease your mind from information overload so you can stay active without stressing over stats.

Don't hesitate. Give one of these a try this week and share your ideas for what keeps you motivated in the comments below.

PLANT Medicine 101

Did you know that there are between 50,000 and 70,000 medicinal and aromatic plants?

Around 28,000 of these have reported medicinal value. In Australia, as a Western Medical Herbalist, we have access to around 300.

In my clinic, I use around 100 different plants as medicine every day for a range of complaints. 

Humans have used plants as medicine for millennia!

In fact, Barbara Griggs in her book Green Pharmacy talks of Neanderthal man laying eight different flowers around the grave of a loved one, seven of which are still used for medicine today.

I am sure you have heard me say, many of the pharmaceuticals we use to save lives were founded in plants. Plants synthesise hundreds of different chemical compounds we call constituents. These constituents provide a range of functions to the human body when taken medicinally.

The liquid medicine that I use is not just picked out of my garden and juiced!

These herbs are methodically grown, picked, transported, stored and pressed. They are tested numerous times with deliberate and stringent methods and are held to higher testing standards than some pharmaceuticals. The medicine that results has a measured and known activity within the body, which is calculated from the active constituents.

I believe that herbal medicine is one of the best possible ways to prevent and treat ailments before they need pharmaceuticals. I am a big believer in taking conventional therapies when you need them, but if we can look after the little stuff naturally before it gets to that, why wouldn’t we?

Herbs have such a far-reaching hand.

Here is just a few of the things I have used herbal medicine to assist in clinic already this year:

  • Insomnia

  • Depression, anxiety, addiction

  • Fertility, PCOS, Endometriosis

  • IBS and food intolerances

  • Autoimmune diseases

  • Thyroid dysregulation

  • Fatigue.

If you would like to experience the benefits of plant medicine, make an appointment with me today!



Is Porridge Really Good For You?

As the cold finally creeps upon us I thought I would share my little porridge gold tips to keep you full, satiated, warm and well.

Yep, a whole blog on porridge! Why, cos it warrants it! BUT, not the same old blog on the health benefits of oats you may find elsewhere.

So many of my clients report porridge as their breakfast choice during winter and I am not surprised when they go on to explain that they are hungry just an hour after eating it. This then leaves them susceptible to the office morning tea and cake ritual, but also creates a situation that will see them battling cravings for the rest of the day.

But porridge is healthy you might say! It is on paper, but in today’s modern world it has many variables. Let me explain…

Oats are a carbohydrate. They is no denying this. Mostly, they are a complex carbohydrate but the glycemic index (GI) of oats changes when they are processed. This means that the way your body sees and uses the oats differs.

The slower it takes for your body to burn a food the lower the GI. Think of low GI foods as the large wooden logs on the fire that keep it burning all night long. High GI foods are the paper and twigs you start it with.  

The type of porridge you have for breakfast matters:

  • Steel cut oats have a GI of 42

  • Whereas oatmeal is 58

  • Then instant oatmeal is up around 83.

When oats are processed, it removes some of the fibre which increases the speed in which the body chews it up. 

Also, what you put with your porridge matters.

Rather than add more carbohydrates to your oats why not try to balance it out a little? Fruit, sugar and light milk will add more twigs to that fast burning fire making it go out quickly, leaving you cold and hungry. 

In our oats at home we opt for butter and cream. Don’t be shocked, we are not the first or the last. In Scotland this is how oats have been eaten for generations in a dish known as brose. Even Wikipedia agrees, stating  that brose is very much like porridge but much more filling. Plus it is crazy yummy.

Don’t knock it til you try it! Non-dairy eaters could try coconut cream and tahini as good alternatives.

Up the ante for your oats by adding butter (or nut butter), cream, nuts, seeds, full fat milk or plant milk, coconut oil and/or protein powder and feel the difference it makes to your day. 

Do You Enjoy A Hot Steamy Shower? Better Think Again!

Adapted from Zazen Water

Did you know that when water is heated in a shower it is THREE TIMES more toxic to your body than drinking it?

And, its important t note that filters used for cold water, such as activated carbon or charcoal, are not effective at filtering chlorine and heavy metals in hot water.

Chlorine and dangerous heavy metals are vapourised when tap water is heated. As you shower, you inhale and absorb these vapours through your lungs and skin and these chemicals go directly into your blood stream. This can have profound effects on your health! 

When we first started using a shower filter in our house, both mine and Sam’s skin cleared considerably. Not that we had ever had terribly bad skin. In fact, I would have said it was fine before. But after experiencing the difference there is no going back for us. Sam was sceptical, for sure, but after a week with the filter a very stubborn patch of eczema he had since before I met him disappeared from his nose. It has never come back. He was converted. Even I, as a strong believer was amazed at such a quick response. 

In addition to the health benefits of filtering chlorine from the water, there are cosmetic benefits. Symptoms of chlorine exposure are dry and/or flaking skin, dry brittle hair and red irritated eyes. Filtering your shower water reduces these symptoms. Skin and hair feel softer and eyes become less red and irritated. I had a little dandruff as well which is completely gone. Plus, who doesn’t want water that keeps us young and beautiful!

Now, when we stay elsewhere we can really smell the difference in our showers and on our skin afterwards without the filter. Have you ever had that experience of drinking filtered water for so long that when someone hands you a glass of tap water you think there is something terribly wrong with it? It smells funny, tastes even worse and certainly does nothing to hydrate you. We are now those people, but I don’t even care.

When I think of the effect our shower was having on our bodies as grown adults I imagine what all those nasties do to a little body. At home, we filter the drinking, shower and the bath water for Callie. It is a non-negotiable for us. We realise that when she is at our parents or her cousins having a bath it will not be filtered and we don’t get our knickers in a knot. I figure, if I can make the water as clean as possible most of the time, this is better than nothing. You still have to let the kids live (and I’m aware I am already that weird parent who told her not to eat the sachet of artificial sweetener at the café the other day as it was ‘pure poison’). 

It is really easy to make this change. It’s not something the whole family is going to resist (like taking away their favourite junk food) and it is surprising inexpensive to get good quality shower filters. Plus, even better, I can send them directly to your door!

I partner with Zazen Water filters for all my filtered needs. The Zazen Shower Filter media is considered to be the most effective media known for controlling algae, bacteria, fungus, mould, parasites, viruses, and other pathogens. It also removes iron oxides (orange discolouration and smell) and sulphide (sulphur smells).

Here are some of the benefits of filtering your shower water direct from Zazen:

  • Reduces up to 99% of chlorine as well as other heavy metals such as water soluble lead, mercury, nickel chromium and copper

  • Protect against the ageing and damaging effects of chlorine and heavy metals

  • Restore natural softness to hair, scalp and skin

  • May help reduce eczema and asthma

  • Remove odours and improve water clarity

  • Prohibit growth of bacteria, fungi and algae

  • Reduce soap scum and calcium build up on shower glass and tiles

  • Quick and easy to install (no plumber needed), attaches to existing shower pipe

  • Filter life of up to 12 months – simple to change by unscrewing shower head

  • Recent studies link excessive chlorine and chlorine vapour exposure to breast, kidney (renal) and bladder cancers. It can also cause dry irritated skin, acne and hair damage.

Purchase your Zazen drinking water filter from me here or email me to ask about the shower and tap filters.

Want Healthy Sleep?

Falling asleep may seem like an impossible dream when you’re awake at 3 a.m., but good sleep is more under your control than you might think! Following healthy sleep habits can make the difference between restlessness and restful slumber. Good “sleep hygiene” can help anyone maximise the hours they spend sleeping, even those whose sleep is affected by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work.

Sleep hygiene may sound unimaginative, but it just may be the best way to get the sleep you need in this 24/7 age.

Here are some simple tips for making the sleep of your dreams a nightly reality:

#1 Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, Nicotine, and Other Chemicals that Interfere with Sleep

Caffeinated products decrease a person’s quality of sleep.

Although alcohol may help bring on sleep, after a few hours it acts as a stimulant, increasing the number of awakenings and generally decreasing the quality of sleep later in the night. It is therefore best to limit alcohol consumption and to avoid drinking within three hours of bedtime.

#2 Turn Your Bedroom into a Sleep-Inducing Environment

A quiet, dark, and cool environment can help promote sound slumber. To achieve such an environment, lower the volume of outside noise with earplugs or a "white noise" appliance. Use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask to block light, a powerful cue that tells the brain that it's time to wake up. Keep the temperature comfortably cool and the room well ventilated. And make sure your bedroom is equipped with a comfortable mattress and pillows. (Remember that most mattresses wear out after ten years.)

Also, if a pet regularly wakes you during the night, you may want to consider keeping it out of your bedroom. 

It may help to limit your bedroom activities to sleep and sex only. Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.

#3 Establish a Soothing Pre-Sleep Routine

Light reading before bed is a good way to prepare yourself for sleep.

Ease the transition from wake time to sleep time with a period of relaxing activities an hour or so before bed. Take a bath (the rise, then fall in body temperature promotes drowsiness), read a book or practice relaxation exercises. Avoid stressful, stimulating activities.

#4 Go to Sleep When You’re Truly Tired

Struggling to fall sleep just leads to frustration. If you’re not asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, and do something relaxing, like reading or listening to music until you are tired enough to sleep.

#5 Don’t Be a Nighttime Clock-Watcher

Staring at a clock in your bedroom, either when you are trying to fall asleep or when you wake in the middle of the night, can actually increase stress, making it harder to fall asleep. Get rid of that bedside clock and put it either over the other side of the room or out of the room altogether. Use your phone as an alarm and also have this far away from your bed (and on airplane mode at night).

And if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep in about 20 minutes, get up and engage in a quiet, restful activity such as reading or listening to music. And keep the lights dim; bright light can stimulate your internal clock. When your eyelids are drooping and you are ready to sleep, return to bed.

#6 Use Light to Your Advantage

Natural light keeps your internal clock on a healthy sleep-wake cycle. So let in the light first thing in the morning and get out of the office for a sun break during the day.

#7 Keep Your Internal Clock Set with a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Having a regular sleep schedule helps to ensure better quality and consistent sleep.

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day sets the body’s "internal clock" to expect sleep at a certain time night after night. Try to stick as closely as possible to your routine on weekends to avoid a Monday morning sleep hangover. Waking up at the same time each day is the very best way to set your clock, and even if you did not sleep well the night before, the extra sleep drive will help you consolidate sleep the following night.

#8 Nap Early—Or Not at All

Many people make naps a regular part of their day. However, for those who find falling asleep or staying asleep through the night problematic, afternoon napping may be one of the culprits. This is because late-day naps decrease sleep drive. If you must nap, it’s better to keep it short and before 5 p.m.

#9 Lighten Up on Evening Meals

Eating a big dinner at 10 p.m. may be a recipe for insomnia. Finish dinner several hours before bedtime and avoid foods that cause indigestion. If you get hungry at night, snack on foods that (in your experience) won't disturb your sleep.

#10 Balance Fluid Intake

Drink enough fluid at night to keep from waking up thirsty—but not so much and so close to bedtime that you will be awakened by the need for a trip to the bathroom.

#11 Exercise Early

Exercise helps promote restful sleep if it is done several hours before you go to bed.

Exercise can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly—as long as it's done at the right time. Exercise stimulates the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which helps activate the alerting mechanism in the brain. This is fine, unless you're trying to fall asleep. Try to finish exercising at least three hours before bed or work out earlier in the day.

#12 Get Support

I have an amazing herbal remedy to accompany these tips for a healthy sleep. My Rescue Sleep Remedy Rescue sleep remedy is a blend of five Bach flowers with the added flower called White Chestnut. It has been formulated to specifically aid sleep, anger, irritation, frustration, worry and stress. 

When our emotions are settled it can allow for a better nights sleep. The addition of white chestnut to this blend eases the racing minds. It slows and dispels the many thoughts that can run around our mind when we are stressed and stops over thinking.

If you are STILL struggling with sleep, please make an appointment to come see me!

Combat Dry Skin NATURALLY

Winter has definitely arrived here in Australia, and along with it, our skin has turned pale, flaky and dry (I am sure that this is not just me)!

There are many possible causes for dry skin, so first and foremost, it's important to educate yourself and figure out what's causing your issues. The best way to treat dry skin is from the inside out, but conversely, it’s incredibly effective to treat dry skin from the outside in.

Anything from humidity to steamy showers to conventional soap can aggravate skin, and something as simple as drinking more water can treat it.

So how do we treat dry, itchy skin naturally and for good? Here are some ways that have truly changed my skin and my clients skin for the best ... forever!

1. Calendula Cream

Calendula is a soft orange flower which blooms with each new moon. It is soothing and moisturising and has a strong history of use on the skin. It is anti-inflammatory and mildly pain relieving.

Calendula improves neovascularisation in tissue, or the growth of new tiny capillaries, which improves blood circulation and helps skin wounds to heal.

It is perfect for dry, irritated and chafed winter skin, suitable as a body cream and a face cream.

Grab yours from our website here.

2. Fish oil and marine collagen

Fish oil and marine collagen are two very effective products to moisturise skin from the inside out. On their own, they work well, but when you combine them, they can lead to a near-perfect complexion.

High in omegas, fish oil will help your cells get and maintain their health, lead to supple cell membranes (which equals plump, hydrated skin), and keep moisture locked in to your skin. I find that it helps with everything from lightening dark circles to dry skin to acne. And since marine collagen is a fibrous protein extracted from the skin of a fish, when you add marine collagen to the mix it'll help slow the effects of ageing and reverse environmental damage (such as dry skin!).

ALWAYS purchase the best quality and do make an appointment with me so I can recommend you suitable supplements and herbs for your condition.

3. Hydrating masks

Using these is a great, easy way to combat dry skin, especially if you're going the DIY route and can control the ingredients. If you want to purchase a mask, look for ingredients like honey, sea kelp, oil, or berries, as they're all natural ways to treat the condition. To make your own, mix equal parts manuka honey, organic olive oil, raspberries, lemon, and turmeric. Whip them together in a bowl and then apply to face and dry areas for a potent anti-inflammatory, hydrating treatment.

4. Water

If you do nothing else for your skin, at least make sure you're drinking plenty of filtered water. Almost 60 percent of our bodies are made of water, so it's crucial to the health of not only our skin, but to every single cell we're made up of.

First and foremost, water helps to flush toxins from your body, so any nasties hiding inside that might be contributing to your dry skin are likely to get washed out with enough hydration. Water is also your skin's best friend, so drink up!

In terms of the water you're washing yourself with, it might be time to invest in a filtered shower head. Many cities have "hard" water, meaning it's high in mineral content. These minerals have the ability to dry out your skin or even leave a film on your body that will suck moisture over time. Where we live, the water is highly chlorinated which is only going to add to your dryness! You can buy filters easily online.

5. Moisturising soap

Using the correct soap is essential to winning your dry skin battle. Many soaps can be dehydrating because they’re conventionally designed to be industrial and contain sodium, which is disruptive to skin. Repeated use of this kind of soap will dry the skin out since sodium interferes with the body’s natural protective layer that keeps moisture in. Look for moisturising soap in which the first or second ingredient is a natural oil or butter, and that contains essential oils. If you can find some without water or sodium, even better!

If you’re doing all these things and still experiencing dry skin, you might want to try eliminating these things from your diet to see a difference:

Coffee

I know life without this seems daunting, but doesn’t a life with dull skin sound worse? If you’re doing all of the above and still experiencing dry, dull, or ageing skin, look no further. Coffee is an appetite depressant as well as a diuretic, meaning it depletes the amount of water your body gets, needs, and holds on to.

Caffeine

Speaking of caffeine-free, this dehydrating little bugger is sneaking into your life in all kinds of ways ... not just through your morning cup! Try other caffeinated drinks with ginseng, ginger, or lemon water for a natural boost of energy and a glowing complexion!

Alcohol

You wouldn’t put alcohol on your face when you’re battling dry skin, so why put it in your body? Alcohol is one of the biggest roadblocks we face when it comes to our skin. If you must drink, try drinking an alcohol that's organic or comes from a plant (like organic wine or gluten-free beer) instead of hard alcohol. This will minimise the damage, but the only way to completely avoid the risk is to stop drinking completely. I know it’s a bit of a bummer, but at least eliminating some days (or some hours) of drinking in a week can truly show a drastic improvement! Your skin will thank you.

And of course, if dry skin or other skin-related conditions are bothering you, be sure to make an appointment with me so we can see what’s going on.

The Lowdown On TURMERIC

Turmeric has been used for centuries for health benefits and has recently become popular once again as an anti-inflammatory. 

It's not the spice itself that's key, rather it's an active compound within turmeric called curcumin. Research has found that curcumin has some anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Turmeric has the added benefit of being a liver tonic so will help flush inflammation and toxins from the body.

Because inflammation is linked to a range of chronic conditions and diseases, among them arthritis, Alzheimer's and heart disease, researchers argue curcumin could help reduce the risk of those diseases by limiting inflammation in the body. Super exciting stuff!

PLUS, other research into curcumin has focused on its potential to improve cognitive function, particularly in older people.

The amounts of curcumin used in the above studies were quite high — from about 80 milligrams (in the cognition study) through to 200 milligrams (in the cholesterol research). There are between 100 to 150 milligrams of curcumin in a full teaspoon of turmeric, but it can vary from powder to powder (organic is best, all other spices are irradiated).

The other thing to think about is that curcumin passes through your body quite quickly. In order to keep enough of it in your body to be effectively absorbed and useful, you'd want to be having it with lunch and dinner most days of the week (as in some Indian diets).

Medicinal turmeric (featured in our Pain & Inflammation tonic) will give far better therapeutic effects than food grade turmeric. We also reduce the benefits of turmeric when we heat it, so getting it in herbal form is a lot easy to absorb.

Grab your Pain & Inflammation tonic here or book an appointment with Mel for an individualised tonic or supplement prescription with turmeric.

Treat Seasonal Sniffles Naturally

Wintery days are finally here! After a beautiful, long stretch of Summer those dark mornings and chilly evenings have definitely snuck up on us the last few weeks.

For those of us who suffer with hay fever, this seasonal change can symbolise a time of apprehension as we prepare for the increase in pollen, wind and drastic temperature changes.

Why does hay fever occur?

Hay fever is often seen as a reflection of the change in seasons that occurs during the transition from winter through to spring. Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen released primarily by grasses, but can also be triggered by pollen released from trees.

Pollen particles contain a protein that causes inflammation, irritation and swelling of the nasal passages, but can also affect the eyes and the throat. The pollen (the allergen) causes the release of a substance known as an inflammatory mediator called histamine. It is the histamine that influences the symptoms of ‘hay fever’ in the body.

The symptoms of hay fever can often be split into two categories:

1.Sinus congestion, watery eyes, copious mucus, itchy nose

2. Red eyes, itchy eyes, inflamed nose and mucus membranes, headache

These are a reflection of our current state of health. Those of us who are more prone to mucus accumulations will tend to suffer more from runny eyes and nose. Those who perhaps have a greater tendency towards hot, irritated and itching skin conditions will suffer more from itching and red eyes, ears and throat.

Luckily, help is at hand with some of nature’s finest herbs, in our signatire

Our Hayfever & Sinus Tonic!

  • Hayfever tonic works with your immune system to stop over reactions to everyday stimuli that may be causing your symptoms.

  • This mix is made specifically for the upper respiratory tract symptoms such as mucous congestion in the sinuses, pressure in the face, headaches, runny nose, sneezing and post nasal drip.

  • Horseradish will dry up excess mucous while elder treats clears mucous congestion in the sinuses.

  • Albizia will modulate the immune system in its response to everyday stimulants, reducing the overreaction that causes allergic symptoms and hay fever.

  • It is perfect for snotty noses, blocked sinuses, itchy eyes and allergies in general. 

    Here are some other simple tips to help:

  • For 3-5 days drink plenty of hot water with grated fresh ginger or honey, this will help to digest toxins and regulate digestion.

  • Favour foods that are warm and nourishing but easy to digest such as soups, grains and leafy green vegetables.

  • Avoid substances which are mucus producing such as dairy products and sugar.

  • Avoid cold foods such as salads and iced water. These reduce digestive capacity and can create stagnation.

And of course, make an appointment with me to understand your symptoms and how we can help prevent this allergy response in the future!

All About Our Rescue Remedy

Most of us have heard of Rescue Remedy. It is a blend of five different Bach flowers formulated as an all round emotional healer and re-balancer.

Rescue Remedy is well known for use in emergencies but can also be used for anxiety and day to day stress. Exam nerves, car accidents, relationships breakups or the death of a loved one. It can help you relax and stay calm.

It is designed to use immediately and can be taken numerous times throughout the day. It is very safe and can be used with small children and animals. 

The flowers it contains are as follows:

Impatiens: For those who act and think quickly, and are impatient with others. This flower gives and teaches empathy and understanding, and patience. In this way, it lowers tress for those who are rushing around.

Star of Bethlehem: For trauma and shock, recent and past. Allows us to move through trauma and recover. 

Cherry Plum: For fear of losing control. For those who do not trust their inherent wisdom or their own thoughts and actions. It gives confidence in ones decisions and allows trust and courage to follow one’s path. 

Rock Rose: For panic or terror. When someone freezes in an emergency.

Clematis: For those who when they are unhappy create and enter a dreamland and are no longer present i n the reality of day to day life. Clematis allows us to build a bridge between these worlds and plant our feet in the physical realm-and the ideas that are here. It can often allow creativity and clarity.

We blend ours with love!

Order here.

Anxiety Is Evil.

This blog may be triggering for some people. Please seek help from Beyond Blue and your medical professional if needed.

Anxiety is fucking evil. Excuse the language. If anything deserves vile language it is anxiety. It is all consuming and brain changing. It sucks me dry and makes me think things are 100 times worse than they are. The ironic thing is, I am usually anxious about bad stuff. So, it doesn’t need to be made any worse, thank you.

Most people I share these feelings with find it surprising. I get up, I go to work, I look after my amazing little baby and have a wonderful husband. I am fairly successful at what I do and extremely good at it. Life looks pretty good from the outside. But when a bad day hits, it takes everything I have to face it all.

Rather than stay in bed and make me sad, my anxiety drives my head into spinning worse case scenarios where the most horrific things happen in everyday life. If you know what I mean, you will know exactly what I mean. Mostly these things happen to my family, Sam or Callie. The people I care most about.

Cruel, evil anxiety. Taking my worst fears, putting them into vivid colour and playing them out in my head over and over again, all day and all night. 

The catch is, anxiety drives me to be good at life as well, as this is the only way to shut it the hell up. If I clean the house, go to work, help other people, stay busy, stay focused; I can have short-lived breaks from the constant noise. Or it can be simple stuff, like today I bought myself some flowers, a magazine (which sits unread on the table next to me as I have instead worked all morning) and made myself a pot of coffee. I have two blissful hours to myself. 

BUT, the bliss is the hardest with anxiety! Also, probably the most important. If I keep going, running with the endless ideas, thought, projects, I know I burn out. It’s not like a maybe, it’s a certainty. And then, stuck in bed with a migraine (usually my downfall) there is no escape and I am sucked into the deep hole of darkness until I can drag myself up and distract, distract, distract.

If I take this downtime (yes, my downtime is writing blogs apparently!), look at those beautiful flowers I indulged in and spent 5 minutes (a lifetime for me!) putting into a nice vase and just try to breathe, I will be able to carry on and if I get myself at the right time these days, I can actually enjoy the downtime.

Anxious is a vicious beast, but if we can learn how to tame it as it individually affects us then we can use it to our advantage. Essentially, it is there to drive us into some action, so why not make it positive if we can? And I am not saying that we always can, that I always can, but I am learning how to. I am 30 and I am still learning. I am also most days enjoying this process. I have never known myself better, nor loved myself more. 

Beating my anxiety is about accepting myself. Accepting that anxiety is part of my personality and that is ok. Doing the things I need to do to stay sane and practicing some serious self-care, just like I tell my clients to do. Take some of those pots off the boil, please!

Most of all, for me, it is about being super true to myself. I have run from this for a long time. It has given me a lot of success but a lot of sickness as well. So, it’s time for me to look at it through clear glass and realise some limitations to my capacity (oh, shit!) and that it is ok to have a nap if I’m tired, or buy the flowers and the magazine today. I deserve it (yes, I like to justify even the simplest things).

Need help? Get your butt into clinic because without my herbs, I would be a bigger mess. See your GP, there are options here as well. Short or long term. It is ok. Slow down. See a therapist. We anxious types LOVE to talk!

If you don’t already know you can head to your doctor and get a mental health plan to help cover some of the costs of a psychologist. Or jump online and use some quality resources to learn more about your anxiety. Try Black Dog Institute, Beyond Blue, SANE Australia or Head to Health

Stay Well This Autumn

Ahh, autumn. We just love this time of year. As much as we enjoy the warm, sunny days of summer, who can deny the wonders of autumn? Time to unpack your jumpers, break out the heaters, and prepare for the cooler temps to come.

Cold weather prep also means taking better care of you, so while you're prepping for fall and the upcoming holiday season, add the 11 health tips below to your autumn to-do list and everyday wellness routine.

1. Replenish Your Stash of Immune-Boosters

Help keep yourself and your family healthy by stocking up on immune health essentials now. Try a good quality vitamin C, L-lysine, zinc and immune-supporting herbs like full-spectrum olive leaf and echinacea.

And since at least 70% of your immune system is in your gut, it’s a good idea to reinforce digestive and immune health with probiotics and prebiotic fibre.

2. Get a Checkup

Did you know more heart health concerns are discovered during cold months than any other time of year? That’s because cold weather may affect circulation and make your heart work harder. 

Autumn is an ideal time to get your checkup with a naturopath like myself to make sure you’re in tip-top health before winter weather begins.

3. Embrace the Flavours of Autumn

Eating whole foods that are in season is the way to go year-round for nutritional impact. Tables and baskets at farmers markets fill to the brim with seasonal produce like squash, apples, beets. kale, and brussel sprouts—and the list goes on!

The fun doesn’t stop at the farmers market. Fall is the perfect time to try healthy soup recipes, experiment with nutritional powerhouse spices like turmeric, Ceylon cinnamon and ginger. And get in on superfoods that are perfect for cooler temps like bone broth collagen and matcha green tea (you can find some inspo in my new cookbook here).

4. Shift Your Exercise Habits with the Season

Start planning your cold-weather activity routine now so you’ll be less likely to skip a workout later when the weather changes and going outside isn’t as appealing. If joining a gym or taking a fitness class isn’t for you, try online workouts or make up your own!

If you take part in our online detox program, we’ll give you a two week workout plan you can follow at home! Find it here.

5. Hydrate from the Inside Out

Staying hydrated is just as important now as it was during the summer. Your body uses water for everything, all year long! Drink up to benefit digestion, fluid and mineral balance, waste removal, energy, mood, skin, joint lubrication and more. Herbal teas are a great way to stay warm and keep up your fluids, as well as broths.

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAM) an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups (3.7 litres) of fluids for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 litres) of fluids a day for women at a minimum.

6. Keep Your Sleep in Synch

There’s nothing like a time change to throw off your sleep schedule. The daylight savings shift combined with shorter days means it gets dark early and leaves many of us feeling tired. That’s because when the sun goes down and lights are dim our bodies are triggered to produce melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles.

If going to and from work in the dark makes you feel like napping on the couch by 6pm despite getting enough sleep the night before, it’s time to make some changes. Combat the urge to snooze too early by being more active in the evening—even if it’s just a brisk walk or a set of star-jumps in your living room—get your body moving.

Also, consider switching out your lightbulbs to an option that gives you natural, balanced light indoors. And don’t forget possibly supplementing with good quality vitamin D. Your body needs sunlight to produce this essential nutrient and the lack of sun leaves you more likely to be low in vitamin D, which can also contribute to feelings of fatigue.

7. Detox from Digital Overload

Chilly weather may keep you indoors more often, but that’s no excuse to spend all of your time in front of a screen. All that blue light from electronic devices can harm your eyes!

Instead of all that screen time, discover indoor activities that are interactive without the use of screens—like board games, creative hobbies, reading and puzzles that challenge your mind. Autumn is also the perfect time to start a self-care routine (go back and check out our blogs on self care here and here).

Have a Healthy Autumn!

Autumn is an amazing time to up your wellness game before cold weather! We hope these 7 healthy tips for you will help you make this the best season yet. 

As usual, for extra support during this time, please make an appointment with me!

Not All Nuts Are Created Equal

Nuts are one of the best and easiest ways to pump your diet full of good healthy fats, a range of vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein. Plus they taste great, add texture and oomph to the boring-est of salads and make you appear healthy and interesting to your friends. 

They are responsible for a host of health benefits for sure, but each nut has his or hers own unique make up of nutrients. I see so many clients that are like “yeah, I eat nuts” but when questioned further really only enjoy almonds or cashews on a weekly basis. To get the most out of nuts we really should be having an array of varieties. This will also add to your meals with each nut having a unique texture and flavour. 

Together, these little guys hoard a combination of more than 28 different and essential nutrients. Essential nutrients essentially means you gotta eat that stuff because your body can’t make it.

SO, all in all, we need to include lots of food in our diet that has essential nutrients. WHICH MEANS we have to mix our nuts and eat them up!

Need more reasons? Eating a palm size serving of nuts 5 times a week can significantly reduce the risk of getting cardiovascular disease, plus those little guys fill you up and keep you feeling full for longer so you don’t reach for the Kit Kat on Thursday afternoon. 

Lastly, have you ever noticed how a walnut looks like a little bitty brain? Well some people reckon that your food looks like what it’s good for. So, eat those walnuts to keep your beautiful brain happy and healthy (it’s mostly made of fat!).

Having A Child Changed My Life, Profoundly

Having a baby has profoundly changed me.

Or at least, I think it has because I can't really remember who I was before. Or what was important to me. Even if I do get a flashback on how I used to spend all of my time and energy, it doesn't seem all that important anyway. 

When I'm out and about instead of checking out people, I'm honing in on the new mum in the corner breastfeeding her baby. Did she have the same struggles as me? Or will she as her bub grows? Should I offer help? Can I even help? Because I don't seem to be doing that great some days anyway. 

Yes, profoundly changed.

And then at the same time, all of a sudden not. I still am a healer at heart and want the best for my clients. I love being in clinic and for me not going back to work would have crushed me. I must say though going back to work so early just about broke me. I still put everyone else before me, love to cook and feed others and get to the occasional yoga class (Sorry Claire!). 

But, that amazing baby comes first, before everything in the world.

Nothing else matters, right? Except the washing and the kitchen and the rest of the house and that client I just can’t figure out how to help exactly plus the rising anxiety, lengthy menstrual bleeds, dire low iron and ongoing guilt about wanting to ween and how the hell to start.

Back and forth back and forth. My brain is a sailing pool of emotions. And those babies I mentioned earlier? Yep, I get teary just as an onlooker. I feel everything deeper. People's pain, their struggles. At times, I wonder what is the point of it all. Then Callie runs, full speed, to me when I pick her up from daycare. She jumps into my arms and holds on as if she hasn’t seen me for weeks (despite dropping her there a few hours earlier) and happiness spreads through me, warming my heart, waking me up, and I wonder how could the world be any better.

What can I do?

Well, rather than continue to drive myself crazy I started seeing a therapist. Having someone tell you that all of our deepest darkest fears and worries are normal is surprisingly soothing, whilst at the same time infuriating. Applying simple tools to manage the thoughts in my mind has given me back some clarity and some sanity. What else? Start taking some of your own medicine Mel, literally.

We can all get lost sometimes and having a baby is one of the biggest life things that we will do. I know I need to cut myself some slack, stop feeling guilty for wanting some me time and trust that everything will be ok for that hour or two. As well as take my herbs, see my therapist, get some new bloodwork, cook dinner for my family tonight, send that invoice……. (you get the idea).

I also know that there is always tomorrow and some of that stuff can just wait. 

Having a baby is life changing. If you need help, please ask…anyone. Just asking feels good and takes some pressure off. If you feel there is no one to ask, get on the phone.

Depending on what you need, you can talk to Lifeline, Beyond Blue, Parent Line or Australian Breastfeeding Society

Could Self Care Be The Secret To Being Well? Part #2

We understand that self care is a huge part of health and healing.

This is PART TWO of our blog about self care - If you haven’t already, head here to find the first five tips on how to bring self care into your daily life and cement it as part of your wellness practices!

6. Cook something

It really doesn’t matter what it is – don’t feel you have to create some Instagram-worthy paleo recipe to be practising self-care. Try not to turn eating into yet another way of putting pressure on yourself. Cooking a meal is about nourishing and caring for yourself, which is a a great mindset to be in when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Of course we love this tip and advocate making healthy meals in our three cookbooks (available here). We love simple, wholesome meals that the whole family can enjoy. Our tip? Plan a week out. Write the shopping lists, the meal plan and put it into action to reduce the stress.

7. Take a bath

Do this at the end of the day instead of reaching for a glass of wine. It’s good to have a winding down routine that doesn’t always involve letting off steam with alcohol.

Add Epsom salts to your bath – they’re full of magnesium which will relax your muscles and help you sleep. Add a few drops of lavender oil for its calming properties.

This is one of Mel’s favourite ways to unwind. We make sure we have time to bathe and enjoy some downtime regularly.

8. Bye-bye binge watching

Now we’re not saying that you need to give up Netflix! But there’s a big difference between watching a few episodes of a show you truly love, and zoning out to countless re-runs of the Real Housewives of Wherever. The first makes you feel good, the second makes you feel like a zombie. Choose your viewing with love and attention.

We don’t watch much TV at all, preferring reading, talking and going to bed early. Make a bedtime ritual that doesn’t revolve around screentime and prioritise your sleep over catching up on your favourite shows.

9. Do a friend detox

This one can be harder than a juice cleanse, if you ask us, but real self-care means establishing strong boundaries with your friends. If you have a friend who always makes you feel bad about yourself, or if you’re always the last to get the invitation – you can do better.

Let go of unhealthy friendships and make space for the people who truly have your back (and make sure you have theirs, too).

It’s important to maintain friend time, especially when you have a busy family life. Make friend dates part of your everyday life - Maybe you can meet for a beach walk and include this as part of your exercise regime, or meet for a coffee when you’re out grocery shopping.

10. Put yourself in your own diary

Most of us are so busy rushing from one commitment to another that we rarely stop and make time for ourselves.

Put self-care in your diary the same way you would anything else that’s important to you. Taking time out from the crazy treadmill of work, eat, sleep and repeat is the best way to resource and refuel.

Love this. Do this. We do!

11. Love more

So the news is terrible, your commute was hellish and you’ve got an inbox full of urgent emails that should have been answered yesterday.

The world can feel like a harsh place sometimes, and we can feel too small and helpless to change it.

In truth, the best cure for that feeling starts with you. If you think the world should be more loving (don’t we all?), then get out there and make the difference.

You don’t have to smooch a stranger, just a smile or a compliment can really make someone’s day. In turn, that’s going to make you feel better, too.

The world could do with a little more love, as could you! Hugs are great. Quality time is great. Touching base with friends and family is great. Spread the love!

We hope you enjoyed our two-part self care series. We’d love to hear from you if you have implemented these into your life! Comment below.