Canggu, Bali, August 2016

Buddhist Monastery, Banjar, Bali, August 2016

Yogi at Hindu Monastery, Kauai, Hawaii, March 2014

Many of us frequently feel tight & stiff, & believe that it would be nearly impossible for us to be flexible, or achieve good posture. Yet enclosed with our skin, we are mostly composed of water & space. Muscles themselves are estimated to be 65-75% water, while our blood is 95% water. If all of this space could be removed from the cells in our entire body, the average human body would be a three inch ball of matter. Denseness, stiffness & inflexibility are illusions when you realise that there is not much to us!

Flexibility is usually determined by the resting length of a muscle. If a muscle feels tight, that's because the nervous system is keeping it contracted when it does not need to be. A great athlete appears to move without any effort because he has so fine tuned his body that only what is needed is engaged, there's no unnecessary contraction, so his body moves fluidly. Contraction occurs when we have adopted habits or alignments that use muscles in ways in which they were not intended. To eliminate these habits, we must wake up parts of the body that are not doing their jobs & turn off muscles that contribute to poor posture habits. In YogAlign we focus on becoming aligned by teaching our bodies to do "less".

The process of yoga is about removing obstacles like excess muscle tension, or excessive worry. YogAlign is about creating a "sustainable body", the most energy efficient body possible. The same way that we are seeking to live on our planet using efficient, natural sources of energy that don't waste or pollute, we must seek out ways to conserve energy in our bodies. Those who are out of alignment & have chronically bad posture waste the lion's share of their energy because poor posture uses muscles inefficiently. When we are misaligned, we waste our precious energy stores, sap our strength, compress our joints, compromise our organ function, and in the long run, develop a life of chronic aches & pains.

YogAlign focuses on:

1. understanding how the body is supported & controlled, and

2. teaching techniques to eliminate unnecessary tension & recover natural flexibility, tone & ease. Our bodies are permeated by systems of connective tissue that align our body through a balanced, tensile force. By practicing safe & easy breathing exercises & positions, we can learn to work with this connective tissue to regain our fluidity, moving more like the water & space that we truly are.

Michaelle Edwards - Creator of YogAlign

Are you near a AA battery? If so, pick it up and feel its weight. That’s roughly how much of the mineral magnesium you have in your body — about 25 grams, or a little less than an ounce. Magnesium has many health benefits, and plays a vital role in many bodily functions, yet it gets almost no press compared to its more famous buddies, iron and calcium.

While magnesium abounds in nature — it’s the seventh most common element on earth, by weight — we aren’t getting nearly enough of it to achieve and maintain optimal health. Somewhere between 10-30% of people worldwide — and around 50% of Americans — appear to be deficient. Magnesium deficiency is so common and widespread that it’s been called a public health crisis

And compounding the problem is the fact that it’s hard to accurately measure magnesium levels in the body. Tests look at serum magnesium (in the blood) and not intracellular magnesium (the concentration of magnesium within cells, where it’s needed). It’s a little like trying to figure out the financial health of a bank by counting the money in the Brinks vans going to and from the building. There’s some relationship, but it’s far from the whole story.

But what exactly does magnesium do in your body? What are the health benefits of magnesium? And why are so many of us deficient these days? Read on to find out!

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral needed to support a number of critical functions in your body. For instance, it helps maintain normal blood pressure, keeps your bones strong through the metabolism of calcium and potassium, and helps to keep your heartbeat steady. It’s a cofactor involved in over 300 enzyme systems that regulate biochemical reactions. And it’s a necessary component for energy production, DNA and RNA synthesis, and muscle and nerve function.

Magnesium is also an electrolyte, which means it carries an electric charge when dissolved in bodily fluids like blood. However, the majority of magnesium in your body is uncharged and is bound to proteins or stored in your skeleton. Approximately half of the magnesium in your body is found in bone, with very little circulating in blood. In fact, less than 1% of your body’s magnesium is in your bloodstream. And it remains very tightly controlled — primarily by your kidneys — which determine magnesium excretion or retainment.

6 Magnesium Health Benefits

Magnesium-rich foods and health benefits

Getting enough magnesium is not only essential for everyday physiological functioning. It plays a substantial role in the prevention of numerous health conditions, too. Below are some of the most researched magnesium health benefits.

1. Improved heart health

A 2017 meta-analysis of 11 studies published in Nutrition Journal concluded that magnesium levels circulating in the blood are inversely associated with the incidence of heart disease and hypertension. While more research is needed to determine optimal serum levels of magnesium, researchers were able to identify higher levels as having a protective effect on heart health. Specifically, for every 0.1 mmol/L increase in circulating magnesium, there was a 4% lower incidence of hypertension.

Furthermore, a 2005 study reviewed 20 randomized trials and found that administering intravenous or intramuscular magnesium prior to heart surgery was effective in preventing post-operative atrial fibrillation (AF), or irregular heartbeat. Blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other complications can result from AF.

In other research, magnesium supplementation has also been beneficial in lowering high blood pressure, especially among people with insulin resistance, prediabetes, and other high-risk groups.

2. Reduced risk for osteoporosis

Magnesium and calcium work together to keep your bones strong and healthy, so it makes sense that getting enough of these minerals can help slow or prevent skeletal weakening that often happens with age. A 2017 study published in the journal Nutrients examined associations between skeletal muscle mass, grip strength, bone density, and dietary magnesium among 156,575 men and women ages 39-72 from the UK Biobank cohort. The researchers found a significant association between magnesium intake and bone health. This suggests that getting enough magnesium in the diet could help maintain musculoskeletal health as you age and even prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures.

3. May help prevent type 2 diabetes

In addition to the link between magnesium and heart health, the 2017 meta-analysis mentioned above also found that higher circulating levels of magnesium were associated with a lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes. However, there has been no determination of optimal blood levels yet. A 2016 study published in Nutrients evaluated the dose-response relationship between magnesium intake and type 2 diabetes risk, looking at 25 studies, including 637,922 individuals, 26,828 of whom had the disease. After adjusting for BMI and age, the authors were able to identify a 8-13% reduction in risk for type 2 diabetes for every 100 mg/day increment of dietary magnesium intake.

4. May improve sleep patterns and quality

Magnesium is known to have a calming effect for many people, which may help improve sleep. This could have substantial health benefits, considering that an estimated 50% of older adults have some degree of insomnia, or difficulty sleeping at night. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences found that 500 mg of supplemental magnesium, taken daily for eight weeks, resulted in subjectively improved sleep patterns among elderly individuals with insomnia, compared to a placebo group. Although total sleep time didn’t significantly differ between the two groups, those who received magnesium reported better sleep quality and less waking at night and early morning. In a 1998 study, a small group of older adults with insomnia were given 12.4 mmol of magnesium supplementation daily for four to six weeks. The study participants found that rates of restless leg syndrome decreased and that overall sleep efficiency improved.

5. May reduce and prevent migraines

heavily studied health benefit of magnesium is the relationship between magnesium and migraines. Many researchers believe that magnesium deficiency may trigger waves of altered cortical activity, clumping of blood platelets in the brain, constricted blood vessels, and release of certain neurotransmitters that can lead to migraines. How much magnesium helps? Research on this is inconsistent, perhaps in part because not everyone has the same level of need. Some people suffering from migraine headaches have found that supplemental doses of up to 1000 mg of magnesium can alleviate their symptoms. But some people also find that doses that high can cause diarrhea or abdominal pain.

6. May help regulate mood

Getting enough magnesium may also help uplift your spirits. And some people use magnesium against depression. A 2017 study published in PLoS One aimed to determine if over-the-counter magnesium chloride supplementation improved symptoms among 126 adults in outpatient primary care clinics with reported mild-to-moderate depression. The participants received an intervention of 248 mg of magnesium per day for six weeks. And then, they underwent six weeks of no treatment as the control. Using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, researchers found that magnesium supplementation resulted in significant improvement in depression scores. And 61% of the participants said they would continue using magnesium in the future.

How Much Magnesium Do You Need?

Magnesium in nuts

While a balanced diet that regularly includes magnesium-rich foods should meet your needs, most people in America don’t consume enough. Why? The modern industrialized diet — also known as the standard American diet (aptly acronymed as SAD) — is high in processed, packaged foods. And it tends to lack good, plant-based sources of magnesium.

So how much magnesium should you be aiming for? The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for magnesium are as follows:

  • 0-6 months: 30 mg
  • 7-12 months: 75 mg
  • 1-3 years: 80 mg
  • 4-8 years: 130 mg
  • 9-13 years: 240 mg
  • Boys 14-18 years: 410 mg
  • Girls 14-18 years: 360 mg
  • Men 19+ years: 400-420 mg
  • Women 19+ years: 310-320 mg
  • Pregnant teens: 400 mg
  • Pregnant women: 350-360 mg
  • Breastfeeding teens: 360 mg
  • Breastfeeding women: 310-320 mg

Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency

Scientific literature suggests that subclinical magnesium deficiency is rampant. And that it’s actually one of the leading causes of chronic disease — including cardiovascular disease and early mortality — around the globe. Subclinical magnesium deficiency indicates that your blood magnesium levels appear normal, but you still have an underlying mineral deficiency.

USDA survey called “What We Eat in America” found that men take in under 350 mg of magnesium per day (when they should be getting 300-420 mg), while women average 260 mg when at least 310 mg would be optimal. Surveys show that men over the age of 70 and teenage girls tend to have the lowest magnesium consumption. On the other hand, combining dietary and supplemental magnesium typically exceeds minimum requirements.

Normal blood magnesium levels are between 0.75 and 0.95 mmol/L, which means magnesium deficiency occurs at levels under 0.75 mmol/L. Remember that less than 1% of your total body magnesium is in your blood, so when these levels are low, it could indicate that you have a more widespread deficiency.

What Causes Magnesium Deficiency?

In addition to inadequate consumption of magnesium from food, low magnesium levels in the body may be caused or worsened by:

  • An excess of heavy metals due to soil contamination
  • A lack of minerals due to soil erosion
  • Having a digestive disorder, such as celiac disease or chronic diarrhea
  • Having type 2 diabetes
  • Being dependent upon alcohol
  • Being elderly, as magnesium absorption decreases with age
  • Taking certain medicines, including diuretics and proton-pump inhibitors, that can cause magnesium loss

Symptoms of early magnesium deficiency can include constipation, fatigue, loss of appetite, and weakness, which can eventually lead to more severe compilations. Some of these may be muscle contractions, seizures, low blood levels of calcium and potassium, abnormal heart rhythm, personality changes, and numbness in the limbs. Long-term, untreated magnesium deficiency can result in high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease.

Magnesium Overdose & Interactions

Magnesium supplements and types of magensium

Overdosing on magnesium is really only possible if you’re taking supplements that contain the mineral. Dietary sources of magnesium are highly unlikely to result in toxic levels accumulating in your body, as your kidneys can typically filter out any excess.

Large doses of magnesium from dietary supplements or medications can cause diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping. Diarrhea from magnesium happens because the unabsorbed salts in the intestine and colon stimulate gastric motility. In other words, magnesium makes things move pretty quickly through your intestinal tract. This is why magnesium is sometimes used to alleviate mild constipation. Magnesium carbonate, chloride, gluconate, and oxide are more likely to cause diarrhea.

Early signs of excessive magnesium intake can include low blood pressure, facial flushing, depression, urine retention, and fatigue. Eventually, if untreated, these symptoms can worsen and include muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, and even, in very rare cases, cardiac arrest.

Extremely high doses can result in hypermagnesemia — or very high levels of magnesium in the bloodstream. Hypermagnesemia can become fatal, especially if your kidneys are not functioning optimally. Large doses of laxatives and antacids that contain magnesium may be a contributing factor to magnesium toxicity, typically when they’re providing over 5,000 mg of magnesium per day.

Lastly, magnesium supplements can interact with certain medications. For instance, bisphosphonates used to slow or prevent bone loss, antibiotics for bacterial infections, diuretics to promote water loss, or proton pump inhibitors often prescribed for management of acid reflux. Interactions may include excessive loss of magnesium, formation of insoluble complexes, and reduced efficacy of the medication.

Recommended Intake for Magnesium Supplements

How much magnesium is too much? There isn’t any known danger from eating too much magnesium from food. But there is a recommended upper intake level (UL), which clarifies the highest amount deemed safe to consume per day supplementally. Please note that this is in addition to your dietary magnesium.

  • Birth to 12 months: None established
  • 1–3 years: 65 mg
  • 4–8 years: 110 mg
  • 9–18 years, including pregnant or lactating women: 350 mg
  • 19+ years, including pregnant or lactating women: 350 mg

Magnesium-Rich Foods

Magnesium-rich plant based foods Mysak

The best way to get magnesium in the right amount, and in a form your body can recognize and absorb efficiently, is through your diet.

Some of the best sources include:

  • Nuts and seeds, especially almonds, cashews, and peanuts (technically a legume) — including nut butters made from them
  • Spinach, especially when boiled
  • Plant-based milks
  • Beans and legumes, like black beans and edamame (soybeans)
  • Dark chocolate, especially when you choose types that are at least 70% cacao or cocoa solids
  • Avocado
  • Potatoes
  • Whole grains, especially quinoa and whole wheat flour
  • Tofu and tempeh
  • Bananas
  • Cauliflower

There is little to no magnesium found in meat, eggs, or dairy products.

Magnesium Absorption

Magnesium absorption

It’s important to get enough magnesium in your diet, but it’s also essential to do things that help your body absorb it well. Only about 30% to 40% of dietary magnesium is typically absorbed. So it’s helpful to know what you can do to keep that rate from dropping too much.

There could be several reasons for reduced magnesium absorption. The most common reason is that other nutrients and compounds eaten with magnesium-rich foods interfere and make absorption more difficult. One of these is phytic acid, a natural compound in many plant foods that can impair the absorption of magnesium along with other minerals, including calcium, zinc, and iron. Some nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains are high in phytic acid (levels can vary as much as 20x from one almond to another).

One way to mitigate impaired magnesium absorption is to eat foods rich in vitamin C (like citrus, red bell peppers, guava, and broccoli) when you’re eating foods high in phytic acid. It turns out that vitamin C essentially neutralizes phytic acid. One study found that  30 milligrams (the equivalent of less than half a cup of strawberries or broccoli, or ⅓ of a red pepper) was sufficient to eliminate phytic acid-related absorption issues.

In addition to consuming vitamin C-rich foods alongside food that are high in phytic acid, some other ways to boost your absorption of magnesium include:

  • Reducing or avoiding calcium supplements at least two hours before or after eating
  • Avoiding high-dose zinc supplements
  • Getting enough vitamin D
  • Eating some vegetables raw
  • Eating sprouted, soaked, and fermented grains to reduce their inhibitory phytic acid content
  • Not smoking

Should You Take a Magnesium Supplement?

Mg pills

The best way to get magnesium, as with most vitamins and minerals, is to eat foods that are rich in it.

If your blood levels are low, or you have some of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency, then you may also want to consider supplementation. But keep in mind that supplementation increases the risk of magnesium overdose, so it’s important to know the appropriate dosage and not take too much.

Magnesium Types

There are many types of magnesium supplements to choose from. Some of the most common include:

  • Magnesium oxide is often prescribed (and is the form found in milk of magnesia). But this type of magnesium is more likely to cause diarrhea because higher doses are typically needed to have an impact. Furthermore, magnesium oxide only has an absorption rate of around 6%.
  • Magnesium citrate (magnesium bound with citric acid) can have a laxative effect, which may help with constipation. It’s also often recommended for migraine prevention and is highly bioavailable.
  • Magnesium glycinate contains the amino acid glycine, which works with brain neurotransmitters like GABA to promote calmness and improve sleep. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect, but doesn’t work as well for alleviating constipation.
  • Magnesium gluconate treats magnesium deficiency. It appears to have the highest bioavailability among magnesium salts.
  • Magnesium chloride is a magnesium salt combined with chlorine. It’s well-absorbed and often prescribed for heartburn, magnesium deficiency, and constipation.
  • Magnesium lactate is a magnesium salt combined with lactic acid. It’s less common as an over-the-counter supplement than other forms of magnesium. It’s more commonly used to fortify foods and drinks. Still, supposedly gentler on the intestinal tract than some other forms, which can be helpful for people who require large doses.
  • Magnesium malate contains malic acid, which is found naturally in fruits and wine. It has a higher absorption rate, which may be useful for treating magnesium deficiency. This form is common in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, although the jury is still out on its effectiveness.
  • Magnesium taurate contains the amino acid taurine and may help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Its potential heart health benefits have primarily been observed in animal studies. So more research on human applications is needed.

Magnesium-Rich Recipes

Pancakes with blueberries

Whether or not you take a magnesium supplement, there’s little doubt about the health benefits of eating a magnesium-rich diet. You can boost intake throughout the day by incorporating magnesium-rich ingredients into your everyday cooking. The Blueberry Walnut Pancakes, Citrus Salad in a Jar, and Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos are just a few examples of nourishing recipes that contain ingredients high in magnesium, such as walnuts, oats, spinach, cashews, lentils, cauliflower and avocado (plus more!). To ensure you’re getting enough magnesium each and every day, consider adding extra magnesium-rich ingredients to a meal. Examples include sprinkling nuts or seeds to a grain bowl, slicing avocado into a sandwich, and tossing spinach into a stir-fry.

Blueberry Walnut Pancakes

Blueberry walnut banana pancakes - magnesium health benefits

Walnuts, bananas, oats, and plant-based milk not only make these simple-to-create pancakes delicious, but they also provide a decent dose of magnesium to start the day. Add blueberries, or your favorite fruit, for a little added natural sweetness and even more plant-based nutrition.

Citrus Salad in a Jar

Citrus salad in a jar - magnesium health benefits

This salad checks all the boxes: crunch from the cashews, creamy from the avocado, sweet and savory from the dressing, and magnesium from just about all of the ingredients, including spinach, cashews, lentils, avocado, and sunflower seeds. Prepare the salad the night before work in a mason jar for a delicious and healing plant-powered lunch. Or add all of the ingredients directly into your favorite salad bowl for a tasty, impromptu, and nourishing meal.

Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos

Buffalo cauliflower tacos - magnesium health benefits

Who knew that tacos could be so healthy? The truth is there are countless ways to prepare tacos using plant-based ingredients. With so many filling options, you could create a different taco for every night of the week! This one, in particular, is pretty special with its high-magnesium ingredients, including cauliflower, avocado, black beans, and whole-grain tortillas. They may seem indulgent, but rest assured they’re providing your body exactly what it needs for bone, nerve, and heart health.

Magnesium Is Essential for Your Health

Smiling woman in kitchen getting magnesium health benefits from food

Magnesium is an essential mineral, necessary for many bodily systems to function properly. It has a number of health benefits, but most people don’t get enough of it. This contributes to a host of problems impacting heart, bone, sleep, and mental health. You can boost your levels through regularly eating magnesium-rich foods, optimising its absorption, and, if necessary, taking a low dose supplement.

Thanks Ocean Robbins, CEO of Food Revolution Network for the Article, August 2020.





Fire in the body, fire on the brain

Inflammation could be described as fire in the body.

Sugar, gluten, physical, mental & emotional stress are just a handful of things that are inflammatory, setting off little fires in your body. Given the mind-body connection, the fire in your body can influence what's going on in your brain.

Fire - inflammation of the brain - can be experienced as mental & emotional discomfort.

That is why it's important that we not only aim to reduce our exposure to inflammatory foods, thoughts & behaviours, but to make an active effort to include a means of reducing inflammation, & extinguish the fire in our body.

In addition to lifestyle factors; sleep, breath work, yoga, meditation, being in nature, social connection - eating fresh, seasonal, organic foods whenever we can is another way to keep the flames at bay.

Perhaps an interesting perspective shift to experiment with is to ditch the notion of foods being 'good' or 'bad', but to ask yourself, will this food nourish me, or is it inflammatory?

Did You Know?

Around 70-90% of our serotonin (one of our feel good hormones) is made in our gut. Research has shown that the risk of developing anxiety goes up significantly in those who experience inflammatory gut issues such as IBS.

Thanks Ben Warren from Be Pure for the info.

Prioritising immune health can be the best line of defence.

Here, doctors and nutritionists share their game plans for supporting the body's natural immunity in the coming weeks and months:

1. Be kind to yourself and others.

According to psychiatrist Anna Yusim, M.D., immune health is largely predicated on mental health, and vice versa. "Being depressed or anxious, for instance, predisposes you to inflammation and infection, while having higher levels of inflammation increases your likelihood of being depressed," she tells mbg. "Therefore, one of the best things you can do to keep your immune system healthy and strong is to keep your mind and emotions positive, healthy, and strong." Here are three of her favorite strategies for doing so:

  • Remember three things you're grateful for twice per day.
  • Practice random acts of kindness at least twice per day.
  • Reach out to a friend in need at least twice per week.

2. Stay active and keep tabs on alcohol consumption.

In addition to wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and practicing hand hygiene, board-certified internal medicine doctor Julia Loewenthal, M.D., says that (safely) staying active might help protect you from COVID, based on what we know about how physical activity increases the efficacy of the influenza vaccine. "Though alcohol sales have soared in many U.S. states during quarantine," she adds, "keep in mind chronic alcohol use suppresses immune function."

3. Take a mood and immunity

supporting supplement.

Though there is some debate about how it affects COVID risk in particular, vitamin D plays an important role in immune support more generally.* "Optimal vitamin D levels have been shown to positively affect the innate and adaptive immune system in a variety of ways including boosting genetic expression of white blood cells, helping the immune system adapt and ward off infection, and managing inflammation," functional medicine physician Alejandra Carrasco, M.D., writes in a guide to the vitamin and hormone.*

This year, mbg formulated a new supplement that combines vitamin D with mood-supporting ingredients such as hops, rosemary, black cumin seed, and the real star of the show, full-spectrum hemp oil. The resulting hemp multi+ can be taken every day to support immunity and promote a steadier mood, giving it some of those all-important mental health benefits, to boot.*

4. Make your bedtime routine special and consistent.

Sufficient sleep has never been more important, as your immune system can't really fire on all cylinders without it. To promote deep and restorative rest, you can lean on a calming supplement like magnesium or take a page from herbalist and integrative doctor Aviva Romm, M.D.'s book and incorporate more plant extracts into your nightly routine. "One of my favorites right now is lavender oil—it's incredibly effective for a good night's sleep, especially when it's disrupted by anxiety," she said in a recent episode of the mindbodygreen podcast. To use lavender oil before bed, simply take a whiff straight from the bottle (being careful not to get any on your nose), run in a diffuser, or add a few drops of the oil into your nightly bath.

Our sleep also tends to improve when it's consistent: Board-certified sleep medicine researcher W. Christopher Winter, M.D., recommends setting a "go to bed" alarm, as well as your normal wake-up one, to ensure that your sleep schedule is similar night after night.

5. Prioritise immune supporting foods.

In her episode of the mindbodygreen podcast, Maya Feller, R.D., recommended supporting immunity by snacking on vitamin-C-rich clementines, eating fresh, raw ginger (for its antimicrobial properties), and adding garlic to everything.

Again, these strategies will not safeguard you (or those around you) from COVID. But combined with other protective measures, they can help boost your natural ability to fight infection.


By Emma Loewe


Thanks Mind Body Green for the article

Authentic Yoga is always a spiritual discipline ... even when the focus is on the body." Georg Feuerstein 

Benefits Of A Functional, Therapeutic YogAlign Class:

  • Empowering people, no matter what age & fitness level
  • Develops strength, flexibility & balance
  • Elongates our muscles, re-organises the matrix of the fascia
  • Efficiency in energy utilisation
  • Stabilises where we were too mobile & mobilise where we were too stable
  • Brings you into the joy of the present moment
  • Helps release physical, mental, emotional, spiritual & energetic blocks
  • Re-programmes the brain to set a new tension in the body 
  • An expression of self love to maintain your optimal wellness

Begin your self care practice by booking a class today - click on 'YogAlign' in menu then 'Booking' - join me for either a small class (maximum 4) or a private session. All yoga mats & props provided ... just play & walk away ;o)

Love Leonie x


It makes sense. As many of us spend more time at home, some of us staring at lawns whose only nutritional value is in the odd dandelion, and some of us just wanting to be more self-reliant, more and more people are feeling the urge to grow something edible. And it’s true that growing food can make us more self-sufficient and give us a feeling of control in a world in which so much is out of our control.

But growing food also gives us this triple whammy:

  1. People who grow more vegetables tend to eat more vegetables;
  2. People who eat more vegetables tend to be healthier; and
  3. Healthy people are far less likely to get seriously sick with COVID-19.

The truth is, growing nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables is one of the best health insurance policies you can take out.

Turning Lawns into Food Gardens

As a society, it’s not like we don’t have the land. Lawns are the single largest irrigated crop in the US, covering nearly 32 million acres. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables grow on only about 10 million acres in the United States. This means the space that American lawns occupy could provide enough land to literally quadruple the amount of fruits and vegetables grown in the country!

Home gardening is a rapidly growing movement. Heirloom seed companies like Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange are already overwhelmed with orders and have resorted to rationing on their websites. Nurseries and garden centers nationwide report booming sales of vegetable and herb seeds and plants. And Google Keyword Trends shows the newfound popularity for searches such as “growing food,” “vegetable gardens,” and “victory gardens.”

Wait, “victory garden”? What the heck is that?

The Origins of the “Victory Garden” Movement

Woman watering urban food garden

The first Victory Garden movement began during World War I. With millions of Americans fighting overseas, the US government diverted commercial crops to the European theater and redirected transportation towards moving troops and munitions instead of food. Ordinary citizens stepped into the breach and started a food garden wherever they could: rooftops, fire escapes, empty lots, schools, and backyards. The efforts of ordinary “stay-at-home” Americans saved entire European populations from starvation and disease.

These “war gardens” or “victory gardens” persisted following the war’s end during the social distancing that accompanied the global 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. Americans, Canadians, British, and Australians kept their gardens growing right through the Great Depression and World War II. At one point, 20 million backyard, school, and community victory gardens provided more than 40% of the vegetables eaten in the United States.

The World War II revival of victory gardens, while expressing solidarity, sacrifice, and patriotism, was tinged with an overlay of racism as Americans gardened to replace the lost labor of the many Japanese farm workers who were forced into internment camps. But let’s remember that at its roots, and for decades of hardship, the concept of a victory garden was birthed to help feed a nation and then help it survive a pandemic.

The Current Threats to Our Food Supply

Many people are experiencing disruptions in our food supply chain now, seeing empty grocery store shelves, waiting in long lines to buy staples, and hearing daily stories of food hoarding. Those of us used to next-day Amazon delivery are now waiting weeks or even months for food deliveries — if they ever come. Food banks and pantries for the poor are experiencing long lines, and in some cases, have had to resort to rationing. So what’s causing these problems?

For one thing, a large segment of the food industry caters to institutions that have largely shut down for the time being: restaurants, schools, hotels and conference centers, stadiums, theme parks, airports, and cruise ships. Manufacturers can’t just repackage industrial-sized bags of rice and flour into consumer sizes overnight. And tragic amounts of fresh produce are rotting in fields and orchards because the system isn’t set up to transport fruits and vegetables to hungry consumers. Meat and dairy are particularly affected, partly because it’s harder to transport animal-based foods safely and partly because the slaughterhouses, dairies, and processing plants are, themselves, hotbeds of COVID-19. (Editorial aside: Now could be a great time to go plant-based, if you haven’t already made the leap.)

Border closures, grounded airlines, closed ports, and restrictions on movement have also made it harder to continue food production and transport goods internationally. And since much of the food sold in the US today originates from overseas, supply chain breakdowns create the potential for shortages of critical ingredients or components.

Political issues are exacerbating the crisis, too. As more front-line workers in the fast food and grocery industries are hospitalized with or die of the virus, others are going on strike and engaging in protests against the apparent disregard for human life shown by the policies of Walmart, Amazon, and other large retailers that remain in operation.

Given all these present threats, which have arisen on top of a food system that was already fragile due to unsustainable farming practices and rampant inequities (food service and agricultural workers weren’t exactly being treated like royalty, to begin with), it’s no wonder home gardening is making more and more sense.

10 Reasons to Start a Food Garden Today

Woman holding basket of freshly picked vegetables

Even if you aren’t struggling to get enough food to feed your family, there are still a bunch of good reasons to start a food garden.

1. Self-reliance

The industrial agriculture system that provides most of our food is inherently unstable. In a few generations, we’ve depleted some of the richest topsoil deposits in the world. And we’ve resorted to using synthetic fertilizers and increasingly toxic pesticides and herbicides to maintain productivity. There’s no way this industrialized and chemical-dependent method of farming can continue to feed us long-term. By starting to grow your own food, you begin to assert control over your family’s food supply.

2. Sense of Purpose

I’ve seen a lot of “humorous” memes to the effect that the most patriotic thing we can do these days is stay home and binge-watch Netflix. While it’s true that social distancing saves lives, there are many things we can do that can make the world a better place. For one, we can plant and tend a garden to feed ourselves. If you’re not in the long line outside the supermarket, then the line is that much shorter for everyone else. Today’s food garden takes some of the pressure off an already teetering food system. And if that’s not patriotic, I don’t know what is.

3. Learn a New Skill

Gardening is a skill set — one that’s fun to learn and invaluable once you’ve gotten the hang of it. And I would argue that the ability to grow your own food is as fundamental to survival and well-being as reading, writing, and computer literacy.

4. Cleaner, Safer Food

Unless you’re buying only locally-grown, organic fruits and veggies, the produce that you get from the supermarket is often laden with pesticides, herbicides, and protective wax coverings. When you grow your own, you’re in charge of quality control. Growing a small food garden allows you to pick pests off by hand or use non-toxic pest management options. Therefore, you don’t need to rely on toxic sprays and powders to keep critters off your cauliflower. And since most “fresh” produce that you can find in the supermarket was harvested a week or two before you can buy it, the food that you grow yourself will be much fresher, with a higher nutrient profile.

5. Get More Fruits and Veggies in Your Diet

I’ve never seen a seed catalog selling Pop-Tart bushes and Snickers trees. Your food garden will naturally contain the healthiest foods on the planet: fruits, veggies, legumes, and roots. And what you grow, you’ll eat. Even picky eaters won’t be able to resist a ripe heirloom tomato or just-picked kale and cucumber salad that they harvested themselves.

About that delicious, funny-looking heirloom tomato: You will have a hard time finding that variety in your big supermarket. Most produce varieties aren’t bred for taste or nutrition. Instead, they were developed to withstand transcontinental shipping in 18-wheel freightliners. When you start a food garden, you have the opportunity to buy varieties that taste much better and are far more nutritious than the standard ones you’re used to. The only downside is that you have to eat them within a day or two of picking, which is not really a downside at all!

Global Public Service Announcement: If you’re doing OK financially, and looking for a worthwhile project to support, check out veganic gardener Will Bonsall’s Scatterseed Project. Will has been saving rare and heirloom seeds for over 40 years. And his collection contains the only known examples of certain varieties that may thrive under the pressure of climate change. As Will says, “Genetic diversity is the hedge between us and global famine.” The documentary Seed: The Untold Story features his work. Watch this segment of the film, and consider supporting Scatterseed to ensure that these infinitely valuable seeds survive. 

6. Reduce Your Risk of Chronic Disease

The science is abundantly clear that the more whole plant foods you consume, the lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. This is a compelling reason to add more fruits and veggies to your diet at any time. But it’s even more urgent an argument during the coronavirus pandemic. Studies out of New York are showing the link between chronic disease and COVID-19 mortality. Eighty-nine percent of those who died from the virus had pre-existing chronic conditions. And obese people were twice as likely to die as those of normal weight. This is the perfect time to clean up your diet, reducing your intake of processed and animal-based foods, and upping your consumption of life-giving plants.

7. Reduce Your Grocery Bill

Like any new hobby, you can start gardening frugally, or you can buy every labor-saving device on the market. If you begin with just a few packets of seeds and a couple of bags of potting soil, you’ll recoup your investment through a reduced grocery bill within a few months. If you’re converting a lawn into a garden, you may not even need new soil. And if you haven’t been spraying herbicides on your grass, you may have nutrient-rich soil ready for your first round of crops without adding any amendments. An added bonus is if you can compost your kitchen scraps, saving money on fertilizer by creating a nutrient cycle from garden to kitchen, back to garden.

8. Avoid Virus-Contaminated Food

Many of us pick up a piece of fruit at the supermarket, feel it for freshness, and then put it back down if we aren’t satisfied. If you assume that we haven’t broken that habit completely, then it’s likely that some of the produce on our supermarket shelves could already be contaminated with SARS-CoV-2, and possibly other pathogens as well. Sure, you can take it home and wash it well, but think of all the surfaces it can touch, as well as where your hands will go before you can disinfect everything. The produce you grow in your garden will contain only the pathogens that you bring to them.

9. Get Outside

If you have a piece of land — even a small yard — then gardening gives you a reason to spend time outside. Even as we try to stay safe through social distancing, we also need sunshine, exercise, and fresh air to be well, physically and mentally. There are also significant health benefits to being in contact with soil. Getting dirty supports our immune system, and many of the compounds in soil can improve our mood and cognitive functioning. Some researchers have gone so far as to call the soil microbiome a “human antidepressant.”

10. Grow It Forward

In addition to growing a bounty of beautiful vegetables for yourself, consider sowing a few extra seeds to support your local food shelf. Plant a Row for the Hungry (PAR) is sponsored by GardenComm to help connect local growers with agencies that serve the food insecure. No PAR committee in your community? No problem. Grow those plants, and then reach out to your local food pantry or soup kitchen to make plans to share from your harvest. If you grow an overabundance of anything, there’s no need for it to go to waste (or turn into compost) when it could feed hungry people instead.

How to Start Your Food Garden

Hand planting seeds in dirt

If you’ve never gardened before, the most important thing is to avoid overwhelm. There are many guides out there to help you get started with minimal investment, effort, and confusion.

1. Use a Planting Calendar

First, check a planting calendar for information on what grows where you live. The United States Department of Agriculture has a Hardiness Zone Map that will tell you what “zone” you live in. The zones differ by first and last frost date, average high and low temperatures, and hours of sunlight, among other criteria. Once you know your zone, you can check seed packets for information about when to plant and harvest in that zone. You can also Google “[Your state or city] planting guide” or planting schedule. You’ll find excellent information from seed companies, local agriculture extension offices, and universities that will tell you what grows well in your region and how to plant, nourish, and harvest those crops.

2. Do Your Research

Next, read up on edible gardening for rural, suburban, or urban environments (depending on where you are). Some good books include The Urban Micro-FarmEdible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist, and Edible Landscaping.

Once you’ve done a bit of research, talk with your family members about what foods they’d like to grow and eat. You’ll get a lot more help and enthusiasm when you gear the garden to their goals and desires. Once you’ve got a plan, it’s time to decide how you’re going to garden prior to ordering seeds or seedlings, gardening supplies, and potting soil.

3. Prepare Your Garden

The most straightforward method is to remove grass with a hoe, rototiller, or (for much bigger areas) a small tractor. And then, work the underlying soil for tilth and nutrients, and start planting directly into the ground. You might also want to conduct a couple of simple soil tests for pH and nutrient content. Gardening stores sell test kits for a few dollars. And local agriculture extensions and county agencies often allow local farmers and gardeners to bring in soil samples for free testing (Although check with them first since social distancing may have shut down this service in your area). Once you’ve tested, you can determine what (if anything) you might need to add to your soil and what plants are most likely to thrive in your conditions

Container Gardening

If you don’t have a yard suitable for cultivation, the easiest way to get started is with containers. You can use pretty much anything: large flower pots, milk crates lined with burlap, wicker baskets, and non-toxic grow bags can all serve. You’ll need drainage, so you’ll have to poke or drill holes in the buckets and plastic containers.

Containers are actually ideal in that you have total control over the soil. And you can position them for maximum sun and protection from wind. If they’re small enough, you can even move them around. Plants that thrive in containers include tomatoes, herbs, salad greens, beans, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, and dark leafy greens.

If you have no outdoor space, you can garden indoors with containers. All you need is a decent light source. Garden centers will sell you specialized grow lights, often on timers, but they can be pricey. You might do almost as well with LED or fluorescent shop lights from a home improvement store. Wire shelving makes a great place to grow plants with the shop light attached to the shelf above. And if you have good outdoor lighting from windows, then you can let your plants photosynthesize the natural way — from the sun.

Straw Bale Gardening

If you have more space, but no good soil, consider straw bale gardening. You can turn a bale of straw (not hay, which contains seeds that will compete with your plantings) into a growth medium by watering the bale for 10 days or so, topping with potting soil and planting seeds right in the soil. As the straw breaks down, its nutrients become available for the growing plants.

The Sheet-Mulch Method

If you have a lawn that you’d like to convert quickly to vegetable production, consider the sheet-mulch method. This consists of putting down cardboard or some other organic material to block the growth of grass. And then, adding layers of mulch, compost, and topsoil on top of the former lawn. This works much better with established seedlings than sowing seeds directly into the mulch, so you’ll have to buy seedlings or start them indoors in trays.

Raised Bed Gardening

Another option is to create raised beds and fill them with high-quality growth medium. You can build the beds out of wood, or order raised bed kits online and put them together yourself. These tend to be more expensive since you’ll need to purchase enough soil and amendment to fill them to a depth of at least one to two feet, but you’ll be able to plant in them right away. Also, if your lawn contains pesticides, herbicides, and toxic building materials, raised beds can give your veggies a “fresh start” with clean, imported soil.


If you’re fortunate enough to have space for a greenhouse, you can garden pretty much year-round. You can add weeks to the start of the growing season by starting seedlings in the greenhouse well before you can plant them outdoors. And you can grow fall crops like lettuce and kale in the greenhouse even in cold, snowy winters.

Whatever route you take, try to reach out to local gardeners, who will be able to balance your book knowledge with practical experience growing in your area. And don’t forget the University of YouTube as a great “how-to” resource for developing your green thumbs!

Thanks Ocean Robbins - The Food Revolution May 2020


Has your home office chair been killing you after COVID lockdown, with all that extra screen time? 

As children, our discs are more watery in substance, but the discs thicken with age & poor posture, leading to less mobility & stiffness of the spine. The thickening is a result of how our fascia system works: where there is tension or compression, the body will produce an excess of collagen fibres, thickening the discs. As the disc thickens, the gel-like nucleus losses water & compresses, leading to spinal nerve impingement, pain & stiffness.

We can assist our disc physiology by practicing good alignment & doing therapeutic exercises that increase spinal extension. 
Avoiding caffeine, cigarettes, & alcohol can help disc hydration, since these substances act as diuretics.

Practicing YogAlign that optimises engagement of the natural spinal curves can be like getting a good nights sleep, helping your discs & vertebrae to remain youthful & supple. 

Sitting well is an essential tool for surviving the modern lifestyle which often revolves around sitting in chairs. Learning to correct poor breathing habits & aligning the spine can fix much of what is hurting in the body. 
Modern life with increased use of technology can lead to round shoulders, kyphosis & dowagers hump & premature ageing! 

Contact me for an appointment if you would like to learn some simple tools to increase your awareness of how you are breathing & moving, so you can feel more at ease & comfortable in your own body, prevent dis-ease, & have more energy everyday.



Our genes are our predisposition, NOT our fate.

Three things that are critical for healing: It’s 

  1. What you eat
  2. Moving your body 
  3. Learning how to reset your nervous system through relaxing & dealing with chronic stress. EFT tapping is one of the most directed & powerful ways to peel away those layers of chronic stress.

Dr Mark Hyman

COVID-19 Update: My usual classes have been adapted to work with the current constrictions we have in place.  I am doing regular Zoom YogAlign sessions for my clients, click on YogAlign in Homepage Menu, then click on Booking to see times and contact details. 

If you would like a private session please message, phone or email me, so we can work out a time and day that suits you best.

While we are doing sessions via Zoom, we need to be creative and use whatever gear you have available, if you have a yoga mat that would be ideal. Other props you can use are a shoebox instead of blocks, a strap, belt or scarf, pillows or bolsters and maybe a hand towel to cover eyes for shavasana (these are not essential items), and some drinking water handy. Once you have confirmed your booking, I shall email you a Zoom link just prior to the class. Just click on link to join me and I shall click my end, to l let you in.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.  

In Health & Happiness

Love Leonie x



With stress and anxiety at an all-time high these days, it's more important than ever to find ways to process our difficult emotions. This goes beyond simply finding ways to cope and self-soothe, although these are also important.

Part of processing emotions in a healthy way is taking time to actually feel our feelings rather than immediately springing to "manage" or get rid of them. When we allow ourselves to sit with our emotions and identify what they are and where they come from, we can start to understand more about ourselves and our core needs.

Sexuality doula and sex educator Ev'Yan Whitney recently shared with us one particularly tactile way of doing this that can easily be done from home: sensual dance meditation. Think of it as a type of mindfulness-based, unstructured movement that allows you to fully be in your body—and your emotions.

How sensual dance can help process emotions.

If you instinctively bristle at the idea of dancing, just stay with me here!

Many of us tense up just thinking about dancing—because we feel self-conscious, because it perhaps feels silly, or because it's just not something we normally do. But sensual dance meditation, as Whitney conceives of it, isn't about performance, skill, or any structure at all really. This type of dancing is actually less about the dancing itself and more about tuning into yourself and your emotions. It's giving those emotions an outlet through which they can be expressed.

"Using dance or some kind of movement to move out that energy, to move out the anxiety, the fear, the lack of self-worth, the lack of self-confidence, is just a great way to connect to ourselves," Whitney tells me. "Emotions want to be moved out. That's why they call it e-motion."

Whitney says her dance meditations are often a mix of both joy and pain. "It's like getting more clear about what is underneath the surface... Allowing ourselves to feel sadness. Allowing ourselves to feel regret."

Dancing—when practiced mindfully and intuitively rather than performatively for others—can essentially be a way to move emotions that are stagnant in the body. You know that feeling of being overwhelmed, like your whole body feels heavy or weighed down by stress? Movement can help to relieve some of that pressure. While taking a walk or exercising shares some similar benefits with dancing, more unstructured movement taps into your intuition. You move the way you want to move, based on how you're feeling. In this way, emotions can be expressed more freely.

"There's something about just allowing our bodies to move the way our bodies want to move, without judgment, without trying to do any choreography," she explains. "When I dance, I give my body permission to do what it wants to do, to show up the way it wants to show up, to feel and emote in a way that it wants to feel and emote."


How to try it.

Whitney regularly leads sensual dance meditations on her Instagram if you want a little guidance, but she offers this exercise if you'd like to try it on your own:

1. Put on a song or two that gets you moving.

You may consider putting together a short playlist on songs you resonate with. They can be songs that you know. The idea is simply that each song "automatically and intuitively gets you moving, and then your body just does the rest."

Whitney adds, "They don't have to be fast songs. I actually like to play with both slow songs and fast songs because it just gives my body different ways to experience and to feel. But put on a song and just dance to it."

2. Be mindful as you move.

This is not necessarily supposed to be like "ooh, I love my body, and I'm moving it, and it feels so good!"

Although it might totally be like that when you're feeling great, this exercise is about getting in touch with any emotions you're feeling—positive and negative.

"Just say, whatever comes up, however my body wants to move, I'm going to let it move, and I'm going to be very mindful in the dancing. I'm just going to dance it out," Whitney says.

She recommends prompting yourself with questions as you move: What emotions are coming up for me in this moment? As I move my arms like this, what emotion wants to be released? As I move my hips like this, what am I shaking loose?

"Even if the questions can't be prompted, I always remind people that remembering to breathe is enough," Whitney adds. "Just connect to the breath."

3. Don't overthink it.

Try not to get caught up in thinking about how to move your arms or your hips. No one's watching you.

If you're struggling to get out of your head, Whitney again recommends just focusing in on your breath. When you focus on breathing and paying careful attention to the feeling of the air moving in and out through your lungs, you're better able to connect with your body. "It can be a really great way to disconnect a little bit from your brain, from that self-talk, and just really get into the flow of that movement," she says.

4. Allow yourself to feel your feelings.

Notice whatever emotions come up. They might sound like: I'm feeling scared. I'm feeling anxious. I'm feeling like I should be doing better right now.

Just notice them.

"I use dance as a way to move those emotions out," Whitney says. "Maybe they're not moved out completely, but just to get them moving. It helps to invite other new and more possible energies in like hope, joy, pleasure, things like that."

Caramel Apple Soft Serve

Trade dairy soft serve for this heavenly, creamy, fruit-based option. Made with banana, apple, and dates, this soft serve is a virus-fighting, liver-healing treat you can feel good about enjoying as often as you’d like!

This delicious recipe is one of over 75 recipes in the new book, Medical Medium Cleanse to Heal: Healing Plans for Sufferers of Anxiety, Depression, Acne, Eczema, Lyme, Gut Problems, Brain Fog, Weight Issues, Migraines, Bloating, Vertigo, Psoriasis, Cysts, Fatigue, PCOS, Fibroids, UTI, Endometriosis & Autoimmune.

Let's take a look at how some of the key ingredients in this recipe offer healing support:

Apples: Provide living water to support the liver’s hydration capabilities, so it can store the water and then release it back into the bloodstream when dehydration or dirty blood syndrome occurs. The fruit acids in apples help cleanse the liver by dispersing toxic films that build up inside its storage banks. Apples starve out bacteria, yeast, mold, other funguses, and viruses from the intestinal tract and liver. Great for dissolving gallstones.

Bananas: The fructose in banana is liver’s favorite source of food. It provides quick fuel to the liver and wakes up sleepy cells, increasing their ingenuity and work output. Soothes the linings of the intestinal tract and also soothes the nerves attached to the intestinal tract. Contrary to popular belief, bananas are one of the most antibacterial, anti-yeast, antifungal foods. A great food to combine with other nutrient-rich foods or to take with supplements, because they improve the liver’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Dates: The intestinal tract builds up mucus due to low hydrochloric acid and bile production, and that can slow down absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream. Dates expel and eliminate mucus, especially that produced by pathogens such as bacteria and fungus, from the colon. The sugars in dates feed the liver; they’re a great source of glucose for recovery and restoration that allows the liver to maximize its over 2,000 chemical functions.

Caramel Apple Soft Serve Recipe

1 apple, diced and frozen 

1 frozen banana 
2 to 3 medjool dates, pitted 
1 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (optional) 
2 to 3 tablespoons water, if needed to blend

Place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add as little water as possible and scrape down the sides as needed. Serve immediately. Makes 1 serving.

Learn more about how to cleanse to heal in my new book Cleanse To Heal available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere books are sold. 

Love and many blessings,
Anthony William

The tension we feel in our bodies often comes from weak & dysfunctional breath patterning. When our breath is powerful & balanced, it creates a sense of ease throughout our physical & emotional body. When we are not breathing well, our spine is collapsed, & the diaphragm is weakened, so we begin to rely on the neck & back muscles to hold up our structure & help us breathe.

Weak breathing habits lead to poor posture, which cause tightness & tension as muscles assume the burden of functions they are not designed to perform. It is no longer just the elderly who show signs of poor posture, as habitual slouching & poor alignment increasingly affect young people as well.

Observing muscle balance & posture may lead us to conclude that a slouched person might be holding feelings of depression. Are they depressed from slouching? or are they slouching from depression? If we focus on changing patterns through core breathing, our body will naturally feel light, & our mental energy will be free to express itself. We can become enslaved in a stress cycle simply from poor breathing & the resultant bad posture & negative feelings that this cycle can create. This is an example of carrying "issues in our tissues." When we are aligned & breathing well, it is actually difficult to frown. Conversely, it becomes difficult to smile when one is slouching. Poor breathing leads to poor alignment, which leads to depression, which leads to poor alignment, which leads to poor breathing, & so on. It's easy to become stuck in this stress cycle when our modern lifestyles demand that we spend so many of our waking hours in a chair. Utilising YogAlign core breathing to align our spine & balance our muscular-fascial web, we can positively impact our reservoir of mental & physical energy and the quality of our thoughts.

Your breath defines your movements, your posture, your mood, and eventually, determines your life span. Learn to breathe with purpose & passion, in order to re-create who you are - a vital, passionate & loving being!

Much Love to Michaelle Edwards creator of YogAlign

Your office chair is killing you! 
As children, our discs are more watery in substance, but the discs thicken with age & poor posture, leading to less mobility & stiffness of the spine. The thickening is a result of how our fascia system works: where there is tension or compression, the body will produce an excess of collagen fibres, thickening the discs. As the disc thickens, the gel-like nucleus losses water & compresses, leading to spinal nerve impingement, pain & stiffness.
We can assist our disc physiology by practicing good alignment & doing therapeutic exercises that increase spinal extension. 
Avoiding caffeine, cigarettes, & alcohol can help disc hydration, since these substances act as diuretics. 
Practicing Yogalign that optimises engagement of the natural spinal curves can be like getting a good nights sleep, helping your discs & vertebrae to remain youthful & supple. 
Sitting well is an essential tool for surviving the modern lifestyle which often revolves around sitting in chairs. Learning to correct poor breathing habits & aligning the spine can fix much of what is hurting in your body. 
Modern life with increased use of technology can lead to round shoulders, kyphosis & dowagers hump & premature ageing! 
Contact me for an appointment if you would like to learn some simple tools to increase your awareness of how you are breathing & moving, so you can feel more at ease in your own body & have more energy everyday ... perfect time to get fit & supple for all those fun summertime activities ?

Cut the CRAP and Live Your Life with Energy, Joy & Passion 

That’s Caffeine, Refined sugar, Alcohol & Processed food 

Now lets take a look at Refined Sugar ... a weakness of mine!

But, in reality, there's really nothing to love about refined sugar. It makes us put on weight, increases the size of our liver, makes us unwell, and ages us inside and out, leaving us tired, fat and wrinkled. As well as being highly addictive, refined sugar drags valuable nutrients out of our body.

How to give sugar up:

Don't use sugar as a reward - treat yourself with something else instead, like a beauty treatment, movie or a new book.

Eat plenty of chromium - helps control you blood sugar levels & banish sugar cravings. Good sources include eggs, molasses, liver, kidney, wholegrains, nuts, mushrooms & asparagus. 

Supplement your diet with glutamine - this amino acid squashes sugar cravings. It can be found in most health food stores. Take one tablespoon in a small glass of water whenever you get a sugar craving.

Include unprocessed, good quality proteins in your diet - sugar cravings often come from a lack of protein in your diet. If you are having a sugar craving, try having a slice of chicken or some nuts to banish the urge for sugar.

Include healthy essential fatty acids with your meals - they are important for optimal health & can help reduce sugar cravings, as you body is full of good fats.

If you feel you absolutely must have sugar, always eat sugar at the end of a meal, never before. Protein & fat slow the rate at which sugar floods into your bloodstream. The slower it hits your blood, the less of a rush you'll get, which means less of a slump. Better options would be a piece of fruit with a handful of almonds, thin-skinned fruit salad - cherries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries & raspberries.

Thanks James Duigan



Alignment Begins With Freeing the Breathing Process

Alignment is important in yoga & the poses we do should be consistent with good posture & good alignment. Good alignment should be practiced in all of our daily activities - both in your yoga practice & beyond the yoga mat. Becoming aware of how we use our body from moment to moment is the key to being well-aligned & pain-free. The ideal yoga practice enables one to create a state of presence in all actions of every movement.

Alignment, to a great degree, is dictated by how we are breathing. Shallow breathing creates poor posture. Deep-centred breathing aligns us in a natural position. In YogAlign, we emphasise that it's not what we're doing, but how we are breathing when we're doing it, that determines postural balance & quality of movement. YogAlign teaches us to have truly functional breathing skills, not just in our yoga practice or exercise positions, but in every way we use our body all day long. Using the movements of deep breathing, we can align ourselves from the inside out. The emphasis & intention of each pose in the YogAlign method is to practice functional body positions that empower our ability to move efficiently & breathe deeply. This supports our body's natural alignment & fosters function, ease, & comfort in our daily life. 

Michaelle Edwards - Creator of YogAlign

If you feel you are not performing at your peak, have discomfort or pain, need tools to create awareness around deep, functional breathing that helps calm the nervous system and heal the body, want more energy to do more of the activities you love, contact me for an appointment time that suits you. YogAlign is beneficial at any age or fitness level. Click "YogAlign" then "Booking" under the menu on the home page. Scroll down to "Book a Session" and fill out your details, day and time preference, or you can ring me to discuss, thanks Leonie 0274 96 96 33.



Cut the CRAP and Live Your Life with Energy, Joy & Passion 

That’s Caffeine, Refined sugar, Alcohol & Processed food 

Let’s look at caffeine first.
Caffeine can have some real benefits but it’s the way most of us drink it that’s the problem. 
Excess caffeine stimulates your nervous system, causing your adrenals to pump out cortisol, a hormone which helps your body respond to stress. All that extra cortisol floats around your system for hours after you’ve drunk caffeine. So people who are drinking coffee or tea all day are basically flooding their bodies with fat storing hormones. 
Caffeine past lunchtime also disrupts the way you sleep, & a lack of good quality sleep encourages your body to store fat, especially around your middle. 
On the plus side, caffeine can help your body burn fat & it also boosts your performance when your exercising (have it at least an hour beforehand). Organic coffee is also packed with antioxidants, & it’s great for your digestion, helping to get your bowels going in the morning, keeping your body nice & clean & toxin free.
Reduce your daily brew to 1 or 2 cups of organic coffee or tea, in the morning. 
A splash of organic milk or cream, could be cow or coconut, helps your body burn fat more efficiently & helps keep your blood sugar levels steady ❤️☕️❤️

Thanks James Duigan 

The quality of what you eat and drink creates the foundation for your health or illness. To eat the most nourishing foods you can afford and have access to is vital to long term health.

The perspective of acidity concerning foods and drinks is similar to the ancient Ayurvedic system of high and low ash foods, and modern naturopathy of the mucusless diet. Ash and mucus being substances that clog up the inner space creating resistance to proper functions in the physical, nervous and energetic systems.  Similar comparisons could be a haze of smoke or fog obstructing your vision, or sinus congestion making breathing difficult, or trying to speak clearly when there is a mucus ball in the throat.  Except in this case the acidity or mucus is systemic – it is everywhere in your body.

“The quality of what you eat and drink creates the foundation for your health or illness.”

The connection is that the body uses mucus, cholesterol, water and dissolved calcium to neutralize acidity. When you are in the process of working to alkalize and detoxify the body, consuming acidic inducing foods and drinks could slow down the process and can be counterproductive to what you are working to achieve.

What to eat to alkalize

The best foods for detox are mainly fruits of all varieties.  From the perspective of nutrient density, berries are denser in nutrients and antioxidants than melons and fruits. For practical purposes you can consume as much as you can find, considering seasonality and the place you live on the planet, and also budgetary considerations of course. Overall, fruits of all varieties are the best for detoxification and provide readily available nutrients without taxing the digestive process.

“The best foods for detox are mainly fruits of all varieties.”

Many often ask, “What about the sugar in fruits?”  Fresh, raw fruit sugar is fructose which absorbs directly into the cells and does not need insulin produced by the pancreas to transport it into the cells like glucose.  All the other forms of starch from grains, nuts, seeds, roots, vegetables, honey, even meat have to be broken down to glucose and need insulin like a taxi to transport it into the cells.  The energy factory in the cells called mitochondria use the sugar molecules to produce energy.

In this sense fruit sugar from raw fruits is a superior food when you are detoxing because it requires minimal loss of energy.  Whereas everything else you eat will require more energy to break down into the single element of glucose.

The human system runs on sugar so there is no way around it. Grains contain more sugar than fruits when broken down. This is why grains are complex carbohydrates and fruits are simple carbohydrates. So to make it simple—we can take in easy to digest fruit sugar or difficult to digest glucose sugar.

Sprouting is one of the very best and easiest ways to get proper nourishment.  The sprouts are strongest, most packed with qi, protein, enzymes, vitamins and minerals during days 2-4.  It is best to sprout a variety of beans and seeds enough for consumption within 2-3 days.  You can learn how to do this on Youtube.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan and your diet is not predominantly raw fruits and green juices then you may not be getting enough nutrients, sprouting is the best way to fill in the nutritional gaps.

Green juices are amazing.  Although raw and cooked veggies are very good, the juice is better for alkalizing for the simple reasons of having more readily available nutrients and less energy expenditure towards digestion. Humans do not have enzymes to break down cellulose. This means you get minimal nourishment from a supposedly healthy bowl of salad and that’s why we mention green juices as the most efficient way to get the nutrients and alkaline effect.

Seaweeds are also an amazing source of nutrients, and the super minerals they contain are alkalizing.  They are far superior than vegetables grown on land because of soil quality erosion through many decades of bad agricultural practices.  Organic farms are better, but the food is nowhere as strong as it used to be. Therefore seaweed stands out as a super food and alkalizing agent.

What to avoid eating in order to alkaline

The major acidic, high ash, mucus food and drinks are meat, dairy, coffee, soda, caffeinated tea, pharmaceutical drugs, alcohol, nuts, seeds, chocolate and grains.

This may seem like “all the fun” stuff for some people. But with everything taken into consideration you can still do the best you can under the given circumstances.  Try to eat as much fruit and green juices all day long if possible before you dive into the other foods. Work toward consuming 60%-80% of your overall food intake as fruits and then greens. It is definitely easier to do this diet if you live in the warmer climates. In colder climates you have to be proactive by freezing whatever you can find in the summer months. It takes some work and planning but its very doable.

Other major sources of acidity

Stress hormones like adrenaline and too much estrogen and testosterone in the body are extremely acidic. Therefore chronic stress is the number one contributor to many illnesses.  Yoga, relaxation and balancing the sex hormones will go a long way in contributing to a healthy system.

The Low FODMAP Diet 

If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gas, bloating, bowel incontinence, constipation, diarrhoea or other digestive disorders, you may be surprised how something as simple as restricting certain foods from your diet can dramatically reduce the symptoms you’re experiencing.

An example of such diet restriction is a low FODMAP diet. FODMAP is an acronym for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, which are types of carbohydrates that may stay get stuck in your gut and ferment there.

What exactly are FODMAPS?

The mentioned saccharides (sugar chains) and polyols (sugar alcohols), if left undigested, end up in the lower portion of the large intestine. Here, there are broken down by bacteria.
Based on an Australian study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology last October 2009, this fermentation process sucks in water and lets out hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane gas which collectively expand and stretch the intestinal walls. This leads to bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain and distension as well as other related functional gastrointestinal symptoms.(1)

Here are examples of such carbohydrates considered under FODMAPS:

  • Fructose (a monosaccharide): corn syrup, honey, fruit sugars, agave
  • Lactose (a disaccharide): Dairy such as yoghurt, cheese, milk
  • Fructans (oligosaccharides): Wheat, asparagus, onions, artichokes, garlic
  • Galactans(oligosaccharides): Legumes like lentils, soybeans, and beans
  • Polyols: fruits with seeds or pits such as avocados, cherries, apples, plums, peaches, and figs.

When you consume FODMAPs, they may pull water into your small intestine, leading to diarrhoea. In people with IBS, FODMAPs can travel to the gut or large intestine without being digested fully. Bacteria in the gut interact with these undigested food particles which cause bloating, gas, and pain.

Note, however, that not everyone is sensitive to the same type of FODMAPs. Therefore, it is crucial to identify the actual culprit.

What is the low FODMAP diet?

The low-FODMAP diet is a dietary plan that avoids or removes FODMAPs completely for up to four weeks. It is designed to relieve patients from digestion-related problems caused by FODMAP. It is assumed that if FODMAPs are the actual cause of your condition, you will feel better during or after this diet.

In this diet, you are still allowed to eat a lot of food choices. The only difference is limiting your carbohydrate intake to only the foods with low FODMAP content, hence the diet’s name.


Aside from those already mentioned, here are examples of foods that are high-FODMAP and are not to be consumed by someone under the diet.

  • Anything made with whole grains like wheat, rye, or barley
  • Artificial sweeteners like those in chewing gum and other candies
  • Watermelon
  • Cauliflower
  • Dried fruits
  • Mushrooms
  • Cashews
  • Ice cream
  • Pistachios

On the other hand, here are low-FODMAP foods that are recommended for consumption:

  • Kale, spinach, and other green leafy vegetables
  • Almond
  • Tomatoes
  • Bananas
  • Coconut
  • Bell peppers
  • Tangerines
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Grapes
  • Oats
  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Soy milk

Of course, there are other food choices that make it to the high-and low-FODMAP lists. So, it is still recommended to consult a dietitian and gastroenterologist to limit your FODMAP consumption without sacrificing a well-balanced, healthy diet that provides all your nutritional needs.

Who will benefit from a low-FODMAP diet?

Since it is designed to relieve symptoms related to digestion, it can benefit anyone who is suffering from such. However, it is now emerging as a treatment for other conditions such as:

  • Specific autoimmune disorders like eczema, multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Other Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (FGID)
  • Fibromyalgia, recurrent migraines, and other conditions known to be triggered by eating specific foods
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)

A low-FODMAP diet has also been specifically proven to be a treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.

A study published in the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Journal in 2012 suggested the low-FODMAP diet as a treatment for IBS(2).

About four years later, another study published in the Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology Journal cited evidence on the efficacy of the low-FODMAP diet.(3) Reportedly, it caused relief for up to 86% of IBS patients that participated in the diet, with significant improvement in other gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation, distention, and gas.

Severe constipation can be debilitating and can lead to straining during bowel movement, haemorrhoids, and bowel prolapse. However, it is still recommended to be a short-term diet since the long-term effects are still unknown. Strict low-FODMAP dieting is also not advised due to the risk of inadequate nutrition and negative effects rooting from changes in the gut microbiota. FODMAPs are not actually all bad, many foods rich in FODMAPs encourage good bacterial growth in the gut.

In fact, about 3 out of 4 people with IBS were found to have eased symptoms right after starting a low-FODMAP diet while the most relief was experienced seven days or more into the plan, according to a study published in the journal Gastroenterology.

However, before starting a low-FODMAP diet, it is crucial first to confirm that you actually have IBS which can be improperly misdiagnosed or mistaken for bladder pain or uterus pain. These are entirely different conditions that require a different treatment approach.

How a low-FODMAP diet is followed

Following the diet does not simply involve getting rid of FODMAP-rich food, but is more complicated than what you could be expecting. It involves three different stages: restriction, reintroduction, and personalisation.

Stage 1: Elimination or Restriction

The first stage involves strictly avoiding high-FODMAP food for no longer than about 3 to 8 weeks only to maintain your gut health. Some people already notice symptoms to subside and improve during the first week, but many continue to finish all eight weeks.

Once you have found relief for your digestive symptoms, you can continue to the next stage. If your issues were not resolved, like what happens to about 30% of the people who try the diet, talk to your doctor about other non-diet treatments or alternatives.

Also, review and recheck your ingredients list and FODMAP information, and look at other factors that could be contributing to your IBS.

Stage 2: Reintroduction or Rechallenge Phase

The next stage involves reintroducing high-FODMAP foods through a system. Its purpose is to identify which FODMAPs are tolerable and establish your tolerance or threshold level because most people are only sensitive to a certain type.

In this step, you have to test specific FODMAP foods for three days each. Preferably, do this under the supervision of a dietitian. All throughout this stage, your low-FODMAP diet continues. Meaning, even if you can tolerate a FODMAP food, you still can’t eat it regularly until the next stage.

Stage 3: Personalization

Also called the modifies low-FODMAP diet, this still restricts your FODMAP intake. However, the types and number of servings will be adjusted to cater to your threshold as determined in the previous stage.

This is an important stage which will determine your diet flexibility and variety. These are associated with long-term improvement in your quality of life, overall well-being, gut health, and compliance.

Benefits of the Low FODMAP diet

More than 30 studies(4) have proven the low-FODMAP diet to provide the following benefits:

  • Reduce digestive symptoms including bloat, reflux, bowel urgency, prolapsed bowel, constipation, diarrhoea, and stomach pain.
  • Better quality of life

Numerous studies have provided evidence that a low-FODMAP diet can be beneficial for patients suffering from IBS and other gastrointestinal conditions. If you have any of these, give the low-FODMAP diet a try. It might be the answer to your digestive problems.

Add this shot of sunshine to your morning routine, to maintain winter wellness & boost the immune system!

  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-oxidant
  • helps digestion
  • reduces nausea
  • helps fight winter bugs
  • good source of vitamin C
  • prebiotic 
  • good fibre
  • mood booster
  • benefits your skin & so much more

Blast in your nutribullet (or something similar):

1 cored apple

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 - 1 tsp fresh ginger

1/2 - 1 tsp fresh turmeric

tsp oil

2-3 grinds of black pepper 

The oil & pepper helps the goodness of the other ingredients to be absorbed & utilised by your body. I add a little warm water so it is easier to drink. Serves 2 peeps. Bon appetite! 

This shot makes you glow from the inside out. 

Hot tip ... turmeric turns things yellow, so if you want to brighten your toothy grin try Ayurvedic oil pulling. I use coconut oil, about a teaspoon. Swish it around your mouth for about 10 mins, it lso helps to remove built-up toxins. After swishing, spit oil out into a paper towel & bin or compost.

Health benefits of Turmeric


While the pharmaceutical industry searches for the ‘magic bullet’ to boost ageing minds, the ultimate mind food has been flavouring Indian curries for 5000 years. We take a look at the health benefits of Turmeric.

Turmeric has been lauded as potentially the most effective nutritional supplement in existence. Whilst this is a huge call to make, the health benefits of tumeric for your diet have been researched over hundreds of studies.

The common Indian spice contains bioactive compounds called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin.

This active ingredient is responsible for its powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is also an incredible antioxidant. Whilst the level of curcumin in fresh turmeric is not that high (by weight), taking extracts that concentrate the content of the antioxidant are incredibly beneficial to a variety of ailments.

Note: Curcumin can be poorly absorbed in the body, foods containing piperine, such as black pepper, can aid in its digestion and absorption. The compound extract is also fat soluble, so taking the supplement with good fats will also aid in its digestion.

Health benefits of Turmeric

Health benefits of Turmeric

It’s anti-inflammatory

Turmeric has traditionally been used to fight inflammation in cases of stomach ulcers, gut inflammation and people suffering from arthritis and colitis.

Inflammation, of the gut in particular, has also been linked to chronic diseases, and obesity, so reducing inflammation can lead to a whole new world of health benefits.

Here are more foods that fight inflammation.

Boosts brain repair

According to a report in the journal Stem Cell Research, turmeric can encourage the growth of nerve cells thought to help aid brain self-repair.

The farming village of Ballabgarh in northern India has lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease than anywhere else in the world.

Clinical studies confirm the common cooking spice turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory effects that may prevent and even reverse the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s and other dementia diseases.

Fighting symptoms of PTSD and depression 

Now, scientists are claiming curcumin, the yellow curry compound found in turmeric, can help prevent fear from being stored in the brain while removing pre-existing fears from the brain’s storage.

Psychologists from The City University of New York are hoping the findings will pave the way for more sophisticated treatments for psychological disorders.

“This suggests that people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological disorders that are characterised by fearful memories may benefit substantially from a curcumin-enriched diet,” told Professor Glenn Schafe who led the study.

Similarly, a study conducted by universities in China found that curcumin can have significant antidepressant properties.

Fights infection 

Studies have shown that turmeric has the ability to inhibit the spread of certain viruses and prevent infection.

Curcumin has powerful antioxidant effects. It neutralises free radicals on its own, then stimulates the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.

A word to the wise

If you are looking for supplements online, the FDA in America doesn’t regulate supplements like they do pharmaceutical drugs, as such it is important to do your research and find out exactly what the supplement contains before taking it.

Thanks MiNDFOOD for the article.

By Lena Schmidt

Have you been feeling “off” lately? Are you making silly mistakes at work? Are you sick for the third week in a row? Although any number of things could be the explanation for these distressing circumstances, they could also be indicative of an imbalance in your chakra system. What are chakras? And what are the signs your chakras are out of balance? Chakras are energy centers throughout the body. Although there are hundreds of chakras, there are seven main chakras that are generally focused on. These wheels of brilliant energy line up along the central channel of the body, the shushumna nadi.

The chakras along the shushumna nadi are the power centers where the left channel (ida nadi) and the right channel (pingala nadi) intersect. These energy channels and psycho-power centers make up what is known as “the subtle body.” The subtle body is in a different realm than the physical body and the mind, but has a powerful impact on the body, mind, and entire system. The human body system thrives when the chakras and the nadis are open and prana, or life force, is allowed to move throughout the system with ease. Any kind of disturbance or disease in the body, mind, or spirit can cause blockage and imbalance. The goal is harmony. So if you’ve been feeling out of sorts, take a closer look at your chakras to investigate what’s going on and begin to find balance.

If you are feeling out of balance, consider what you have been consuming (food, drink, ideas, experiences), your current life circumstances (traveling, moving, big transitions), and the current season (wind, cold, rain, heat, dryness). Each of these elements has a potentially big impact on your sweet, sensitive human system as a whole.

In the philosophies of yoga and Ayurveda, where the chakras play an important role in understanding the human system, “like increases like” and “opposites balance.” This means that if you already have excess heat in your body (in the forms of anger or indigestion) and you add more heat (like a warm day or spicy food), you may feel even more heat and agitation than you already do—like increases like. On the other hand, if you add the opposite to that equation and take a cold shower or eat some fresh fruit, you may feel better and more in balance—opposites balance. Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit, and an expert in energy medicine, explains that your biography becomes your biology with each thought you think and each experience you encounter.

Are Your Chakras Balanced?

In general, there are five warning signs that your chakras may be out of balance. In striving for balance, too much or too little energy in each of the chakras creates imbalance. Remember: the goal is harmony—balancing your chakras does take effort. The general warning signs are:

  1. Something feels “off.”
  2. You get sick.
  3. You get sick. Again.
  4. You start making silly mistakes.
  5. Everything seems to be falling apart.

Each of these general imbalances manifests as specific physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual imbalances in each chakra. Let’s take a closer look at how imbalances in each chakra can influence a sense of disharmony in the body system as a whole.

Root Chakra—Muladhara

This chakra, physically located at the feet, legs, and “roots” of your being, is connected with the element of Earth. The root chakra is associated with your sense of safety, security, and feeling at home within your skin. This chakra is also related to your family of origin and your human tribe.

Warning Signs this Chakra Is Out of Balance

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have an imbalance in the root chakra:

  • Pain and stiffness in your feet and legs
  • Excess flexibility in your hamstrings/low sense of physical stability 
  • Feeling ungrounded, unsafe, and insecure
  • Home life feels chaotic and unsettled
  • Feeling stuck in life/low sense of flexibility

To Bring into Balance

  • Connect with the earth: go for a hike, walk in the sand, or garden.
  • Eat vegetables and fruit—food from the earth.
  • Practice grounding pranayama like sama vritti and alternate nostril breathing.
  • Wear the color red.
  • Stretch and strengthen your legs.

Sacral Chakra—Svadhistana

This chakra, physically located at the sacrum, hips, and sexual organs, is connected with the element of Water. The sacral chakra is associated with your emotions, creativity, and senses. This chakra is also related to your one-on-one relationships and your connection to intimacy.

Warning Signs this Chakra Is Out of Balance

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have an imbalance in the sacral chakra:

  • Pain and stiffness in your low back and hips
  • Feeling easily overwhelmed emotionally
  • Loss of imagination and no creativity
  • Out of touch with emotions and closed off
  • Sexual and reproductive issues

To Bring into Balance

  • Connect with the element of water: drink water, swim, take a soothing bath.
  • Dance.
  • Get in touch with your feelings through journaling or therapy.
  • Wear the color orange.
  • Move and stretch your hips.

Solar Plexus Chakra—Manipura

This chakra, physically located at the abdomen, mid-back, and side body, is connected with the element of Fire. The solar plexus chakra is associated with all of your thoughts and feelings about yourself. This chakra is about your relationship to yourself.

Warning Signs this Chakra Is Out of Balance

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have an imbalance in the solar plexus chakra:

  • Digestive issues and abdominal pain
  • Low self-esteem
  • Overinflated ego
  • Inability to commit
  • Inability to follow through with goals

To Bring into Balance

  • Connect with the element of fire: meditate on a candle flame or bonfire.
  • Eat foods that are easy to digest.
  • Get out in the sunshine.
  • Wear the color yellow.
  • Strengthen your core and practice detoxifying twists.

Heart Chakra—Anahata

This chakra, physically located at the heart, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, and upper back, is connected with the element of Air. The heart chakra is associated with love of all kinds: kindness to strangers, romantic love, compassion for others, friendship, family love, and self-love.

Warning Signs this Chakra Is Out of Balance

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have an imbalance in the heart chakra:

  • Pain in your upper back or chest
  • Tight shoulders or, alternatively, overly flexible shoulders
  • Inability to receive love in any of its forms
  • Lack of self-compassion
  • Feeling a sense of lack or loss with regards to love

To Bring into Balance

  • Connect with the element of air: get outside in fresh air and breathe deeply.
  • Practice loving-kindness/Metta meditation for yourself and others.
  • Practice self-care, self-love, and express love to others.
  • Wear the colors green or pink.
  • Stretch your chest, upper back, shoulders, arms, and hands.

Throat Chakra—Visshudha

This chakra, physically located at the throat, neck, mouth, jaw, and ears, is connected with the element of Ether/Space. The throat chakra is associated with communication, expression, using your voice, and knowing when to stay quiet. This chakra is related to your ability to speak from your heart and mind with clarity and to listen with compassion.

Warning Signs this Chakra Is Out of Balance

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have an imbalance in the throat chakra:

  • Sore throat or laryngitis
  • Jaw pain or habit of grinding your teeth
  • Pain or stiffness in your neck
  • A habit of talking all the time/not knowing when to stay quiet
  • Inability to speak up, set boundaries, or stand up for yourself

To Bring into Balance

  • Sing or chant mantra.
  • Drink soothing tea or lemon water.
  • Practice silent meditation.
  • Wear the color turquoise.
  • Listen to beautiful music.

Third Eye Chakra—Ajna

This chakra is physically located center of the forehead in the space between the eyebrows and inside the mind. The third eye chakra is associated with your intuition, imagination, inner wisdom, and insight. This chakra is also related to your ability to see deep within your heart spaces to the truest, wisest parts of yourself. When the third eye chakra is open, you see the bigger picture and have a positive view of the future.

Warning Signs this Chakra Is Out of Balance

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have an imbalance in the third eye chakra:

  • Headaches
  • Brain fog
  • Lack of intuitive guidance
  • Lack of inspiration
  • Overactive, overwhelming imagination

To Bring into Balance

  • Listen to and honor the messages your body sends you.
  • Keep a dream journal.
  • Wear the color blue.
  • Practice balancing postures like Tree Pose and Dancer’s Pose.
  • Practice yoga with your eyes closed.

Crown Chakra—Sahasrara

This chakra is physically located at the top of the head and skull. The crown chakra is associated with your sense of enlightenment and remembrance that you are a small part of a greater whole. This chakra is also related to your sense of place in the universe.

Warning Signs this Chakra Is Out of Balance

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have an imbalance in the crown chakra:

  • Headaches
  • Inability to concentrate or focus on the task at hand
  • Seemingly constant drama in your life
  • Inability to see beyond your own small corner of the world
  • Inability to take on other’s perspectives or practice empathy

To Bring into Balance

  • Practice meditation.
  • Get involved with volunteer work.
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Wear the color purple.
  • Practice Headstand and other inverted yoga poses.

The chakra system is one way to understand the human body. Even minor disturbances in the “subtle body” can manifest as pain, disease, discomfort or general disharmony in your body, mind, heart, and spirit. As you make your way on your journey toward balance, bliss, and happiness, consider checking in with your chakras regularly. Investigating the chakras can be a good temperature gauge for the entire system. Allow your journey to be intuitive and guided by your inner wisdom. Happy harmonizing!

*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.


Words From Dr Libby Weaver (PhD)

nutritional biochemist, author & speaker

Craving something sweet in the evenings is usually one of these three things

Nutritional: Your food choices throughout the day may have been missing

some key nutrients, and so your body drives you to eat unresourcefully at the 

end of the day in an attempt to get these needs met. This is particularly 

common if you haven't had enough nutritious fats throughout the day, 

if you've missed a meal or swapped food for a coffee.


Biochemically: When we race around all day living on adrenaline due to

our perceptions of pressure & urgency, the body will predominately burn glucose, 

rather than fat, and you will crave more sugar to replenish your stores.


Emotionally: Often our craving for sugar has more to do with an emotional need that 

isn't been met as we seek more "sweetness" in our lives. Identifying this and 

cultivating ways to bring more joy into your life can transform these cravings.


for more info check out






Cold showers may not be your preferred way to start the day, but studies reveal that taking one a day can help make you fitter, slimmer, happier and healthier. Here are 10 reasons it might be worth the “brrrrr” every morning. 


There are two kinds of fat in your body - white and brown fat. White fat forms when we consume more calories than our body needs to function and when we don’t burn those calories for energy, they gather around the waist, lower back, neck, and thighs. Brown fat however is good fat. Its function is to generate heat to keep the body warm. Cold water exposure promotes the production of brown fat cells in our body, and when brown fat is activated due to extreme cold, it burns calories to keep you warm, which in turn, burns the white fat. How effective is this process? Scandinavian researchers found that exposure to cold temperatures increased the metabolic rate of brown fat by 15-fold, which could help a person drop 4 kilos or 9 lbs in a year if sustained.


Because cold causes the arteries to constrict, which in turn reduces pain-giving inflammation, athletes often take ice baths after training to ease muscular soreness. For the non-pro athletes, a cold shower after the gym can provide similar soothing benefits for super-fast recovery which means less stiffness, aches and pains.


Regular cold showers can effectively reduce fatigue. An icy blast boosts  blood flow to the heart, increases heart rate, lung function, and oxygen transportation around the body, which in turn, wakes up those alertness-boosting hormones.


Because cold water boosts metabolic function, the immune system is also given a kick which allows it to release virus-fighting white blood cells that will help you fight illness. Cold showers also increase your overall blood circulation, which can help you avoid hypertension and the hardening of arteries.



For a complexion to be smooth and dewy, skin must produce oil and fat to lubricate the surface layer. Hot water removes this oil and fat which results in a dry and dehydrated complexion. Cold water however tightens cuticles and pores which stops them becoming clogged. Cold water also closes the hair cuticle which gives hair a gleam and stops dirt accumulating in your scalp.


According to researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, cold showers can be effective for reducing stress and anxiety. They asked patients with depression to take short, 20-degree showers daily and reported that “cold hydrotherapy can relieve depressive symptoms rather effectively”. They explained cold showers boosted endorphins and hormones in the blood and sent an “overwhelming” amount of electrical pulses to the brain, “which could result in an anti-depressive effect”.


Swapping your piping hot morning shower to an icy one can be challenging. Because the first 30 seconds are the worst, start your shower warm, then simply switch your water temperature from hot to cold every 10-20 seconds. When you’re feeling brave and have the mental toughness you need to survive the shivering, try a full blast cold shower on for size. At first you might begin to hyperventilate, so use your breathing as an anchor and focus on the physical sensations, rather than on your thoughts. Taking a cold shower is an amazing exercise in mindfulness and non-resistance. And then of course there is all those benefits. Worth the “brrrrrs”? We think so.


Here is Australasia we are amidst a very hot summer season

To keep up your focus & energy levels try increasing your hydration with these two tips

Hydrate from the Inside: To hydrate your skin from the inside, the first thing to realise is that drinking 8 glasses of water a day is not the way!! Instead you must increase your intake of water in gel form— as it exists in foods like berries, cucumbers, oranges, lettuce, and lemons. In fact, adding a lemon or cucumber slice to drinking water with a tiny pinch of Celtic sea salt or Himalayan sea salt will do wonders for the hydrating quality of your water. Adding a tablespoon of chia seeds to water and a pinch of Himalayan salt— and letting the seeds sit for 15 minutes until they swell before drinking will also hydrate your body far better than simply drinking a glass of water. This practice will also eliminate constipation in most cases. 

Remember…….alcohol and coffee are dehydrating. So for every alcoholic drink or cup of coffee you drink, just drink the equivalent amount of water or herbal tea— ideally with a little pinch of salt. You will be amazed at the improvements in your health simply by hydrating yourself optimally. 

Hydrate from the Outside: You can hydrate your skin optimally throughout the day by spritzing with a Hydrating Mist & Toner. Just spray on your face, neck, and décolleté after cleansing & before your moisturiser. Then press the fluid into your skin with your hands and fingers. Since your hands have healing power and are directly linked to your heart, we recommend that when gently pressing the hydrating mist into your skin, you do so with loving intent. Try making your own beautiful Rose Hydrating Mist.

Who's motivated to practice more self-love this year? Begin by joining me in taking action to complete Dr Mark Hyman's 10 day detox?

Clean out your cupboards & fridge of all the food that's robbing your mind, body & soul of nourishment. Replace with fresh, local & nutritional goodness.


This time of year I see many patients who feel that their food cravings have gotten out of control. Overindulgence from the holidays has led to a steady stream of poor food choices in their everyday lives. 

From a heightened caffeine addiction to constantly consuming flour-based items and sugary sweets, many people feel trapped in poor dietary patterns after all the celebrations and busyness of the holiday season. But there’s good news! In just 10 days you can feel lighter, leaner, happier, and healthier without those nagging cravings for foods that don’t truly serve you. 

The truth is, we blame people for being overweight and sick, but it’s not their fault. Our taste buds, hormones, and brain chemistry have been hijacked by the food industry. And sugar is a major villain here. Being addicted to sugar and flour is not an emotional eating disorder. It’s a biological disorder, driven by hormones and neurotransmitters that fuel sugar and carb cravings—leading to uncontrolled overeating. It’s why we are seeing an epidemic of type 2 diabetes and obesity but also heart disease, hypertension, many common cancers, and Alzheimer’s.

My 10-Day Detox is the perfect reset button to get back on track. 

I gained a deeper understanding of the biology of food addiction and how it is so often at the root of people’s failure to change their behavior and their diet, and it is through this understanding that I created a plan to help reset your hormones and brain chemistry and turn off inflammation in just 10 days. The result is not only a significant jump-start on weight loss but also a dramatic change in health. Here's the gist of it:

For 10 days, you’ll remove the following foods or anything containing them from your diet:

  • All processed foods.
  • Gluten, dairy, and all forms of sugar and sweetenersincluding artificial ones!
  • Grains, starchy vegetables (like potatoes), beans, and fruit (other than a ½ cup of berries or kiwi a day).
  • Inflammatory beverages (regular and decaf coffee, alcohol, soda, and juice).

And here is what you want to focus on including:

  • As many non-starchy vegetables as you want in all meals and snacks.
  • 4 to 6 ounces of protein with each meal (eggs, chicken, fish, lean animal protein, nuts, and seeds).
  • One serving of healthy fat (like ½ avocado, or 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil, sesame oil, extra virgin coconut butter, or nut or seed butter such as almond or cashew) with every meal.
  • Lots of self-care practices: detoxifying Epsom salt baths, deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga or any other kind of movement you enjoy, and 8 hours of sleep a night. 
  • Keep in mind that quality counts! So choose organic produce, grass-fed meat and dairy, and pasture-raised poultry and eggs, if possible. 

You’ll be amazed at what just 10 days can do for balancing your blood sugar, eliminating cravings, and revving up your metabolism. 

For more in-depth information on the full 10-Day Detox protocol along with my recommendations for how to talk to your doctor, what tests to ask for, the best supplements to support your detox, and more, check out my #1 New York Times bestseller The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet.

And for some extra support, you can find my Starter 10-Day Detox Kit here.

Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD

How a Lack of Touch is Destroying Men

By Mark Greene 

Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives


Platonic relationship modelingThere needs to be more modeling for men of a range of platonic relationships.

The Value of Touch

We have seniors in retirement homes who are visited by dogs they can hold and pet. This helps to improve their health and emotional state of mind. It is due to the power of contact between living creatures. Why are good-hearted people driving around town, taking dogs to old folks homes? Because no one is touching these elderly people.

We know the value of touch, even as we do everything we can to shield ourselves from it.

They should have grandchildren in their laps every day, or a warm human hand to hold, not Pomeranians who come once a week. And yet, we put a dog in their laps instead of giving them human touch, because we remain a culture that holds human contact highly suspect. We know the value of touch, even as we do everything we can to shield ourselves from it.

Animals help to alleviate loneliness for old peopleOlder people are brought therapy animals to alleviate the lack of touch in their lives.

Fear of Judgement

We American men have a tragic laundry list of reasons why we are not comfortable with touch:

  1. We fear being labeled as sexually inappropriate by women.
  2. We live in a virulently homophobic culture so all contact between men is suspect.
  3. We don’t want to risk any hint of being sexual toward children.
  4. We don’t want to risk our status as macho or authoritative by being physically gentle.
  5. We don’t ever want to deal with rejection when we reach out.

But at the root of all these flawed rationalizations is the fact that most American men are never taught to do gentle non-sexual touch. We are not typically taught that we can touch and be touched as a platonic expression of joyful human contact. Accordingly, the very inappropriate over-sexualized touch our society fears runs rampant, reinforcing our culture’s self fulfilling prophecy against men and touch. Meanwhile, this inability to comfortably connect via touch has left men emotionally isolated, contributing to rampant rates of alcoholism, depression and abuse.

The fear around touch leads to isolationThe fear that surrounds physical connection results in men becoming isolated.

The Prohibition Against Platonic Touch

And what if the lack of platonic touch is causing some men to be far too aggressive toward women, who, as the exclusive gatekeepers for gentle touch are carrying a burden they could never hope to fully manage? Women, who are arguably both victims of and, in partnership with men, enforcers of the prohibition against platonic touch in American culture? The impact of our collective touch phobia is felt across our society by every single man, woman and child.

Brené Brown, in her ground breaking TED Talk titled The Power of Vulnerability talks at length about the limitations men face when attempting to express vulnerability in our culture. She notes the degree to which men are boxed in by our culture’s expectations about what a man is or is not allowed to do. I would suggest that the limitations placed on men extend to their physical expression though touch. And are just as damaging in that realm.

Men are unable to express their vulnerabilityMen are limited in their attempts to express their vulnerability.

The Awakening of Touch

But here’s the good news.

There are many reasons why full-time stay at home dads are proving to be such a transformative force in American culture. One powerful reason is the awakening of touch. As full-time dads, we are presented with the absolute necessity to hold our own wonderful children. We are learning about touch in the most powerful and life-affirming way. In ways that previous generations of men simply were not immersed in.

Once you have held your sleeping child night after night or walked for years with their hand in yours, you are a changed person. You gain a fluency and confidence in touch that you will never lose. It is a gift to us men from our children that literally has the capacity to transform American culture.

The awakening of touch is possibleThe awakening of touch is possible for men who let go of their fear and reach out.

How to Reach Out

Accordingly, now, when I am with a friend I do reach out. I do make contact. And I do so with confidence and joy. And I have my own clear path forward.

The patterns in my life may be somewhat set but I intend to do everything I can to remain in contact with my son in hopes that he will have a different view of touch in his life. I hug him and kiss him. We hold hands or I put my arm around him when we watch TV or walk on the street. I will not back off from him because someone somewhere might take issue with our physical connection. I will not back off because somehow there is an unspoken rule that I must cut him loose in the world to fend for himself. I hope we can hold hands even when he is a man. I hope we continue to hold hands until the day I die.

Ultimately, we will unlearn our fear of touch in the context of our personal lives and in our day-to-day interactions. Learning how to express platonic love and affection through touch is a vast and remarkable change that has to be lived. But it is so important that we do it. Because it is central to having a rich and full life.

Touch is life.

Like Mark Green’s Facebook Page Remaking Manhood for article updates and more!

Listen to Mark Greene on the UPLIFT Podcast: Mark Greene: Solving the Masculinity Crisis.

Article by Dr Christiane Northrup MD

When you were a child you were probably told that going in the ocean would help heal your cuts and scrapes faster. Or, perhaps your mother had you gargle with warm salt water to soothe a sore throat. (Today, many holistic dentists continue to recommend salt water rinses to heal inflamed gum tissues and mouth sores). Yet, there is a huge debate as to whether salt is good for the rest of your body. For example, many people are told that they need to watch their sodium intake or they risk having“>high blood pressure. In fact, sodium has long been the villain when it comes to hypertension and heart disease and stroke.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns Americans to consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, less than your kidneys can filter in five minutes! If you use the My Fitness Pal app, you’ll notice that it warns you if you come within 1,000 mg of the limit. Other health organizations recommend even less than 2,300 mg.

But, sodium is an essential nutrient that your body depends on. And like any essential nutrient, getting the right amount is important for maintaining good health.

Why You’re Confused About Salt

There are a few pieces to the salt puzzle that keep people confused. One part of the confusion when it comes to dietary salt is that many people—doctors included—use the words “salt” and “sodium” interchangeably. However, they are not the same. Sodium is a mineral found in salt. Salt is a naturally-occurring compound comprised of sodium and chloride. Then there is table salt, which is created from natural salt but then is refined through a process of heating it to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which destroys most of its beneficial compounds. To use the words sodium and salt interchangeably is not accurate. But, to confuse table salt with natural salt is where you get into real problems, as with any refined foods.

Another area of confusion is the theory behind why salt is bad for you. The theory stating that sodium (and therefore salt) causes high blood pressure stems from the myth that when you eat salt, you get thirsty and drink more water. Your body holds onto the extra water in order to dilute the saltiness in your blood. This results in increased blood volume, which the theory suggests leads to high blood pressure. Therefore, the theory states, a low-sodium diet reduces blood pressure.

However, this theory has never been scientifically supported. In fact, some studies show that salt actually helps your body conserve water and makes you less thirsty. Additional studies show that the connection between salt and high blood pressure is more complicated or even non-existent. The Framingham Offspring Study—an offshoot of the Framingham Heart Study—found that participants who ate a low sodium diet (under 2,500 milligrams of sodium per day) had higher blood pressure than those who consumed higher quantities. And, more recent studies show that there is really no link between salt intake, high blood pressure, and risk of heart disease.

Why You Need Salt

Despite the fact that you will probably continue to hear messages that sodium is bad for you, your body cannot function without enough sodium, and the best way to get enough sodium is through dietary salt.

There are many studies that show the adverse effects of too little salt. Some of these adverse effects include insulin resistance and an increased risk of death from heart failure in patients with heart failure, plus an increased risk of death for both type 1 diabetics and type 2 diabetics. Low-sodium or low-salt diets are also associated with elevated LDL cholesterol and tryglicerides and low blood pressure (hyponatremia), which can be particularly concerning for certain populations such as athletes and the elderly.

And these effects aren’t just the result of purposeful salt restriction. Low-carbohydrate diets, such as Paleo and Keto, and certain medications can cause sodium loss. And even if you don’t eat a low-carb diet, if you don’t have a healthy microbiome, you may not be absorbing enough sodium from your diet.

Symptoms of sodium deficiency from salt restriction or poor salt absorption include dehydration, muscle cramps, headaches, weakness, irritability, and even cognitive decline. In addition, when you restrict salt, your body eventually will start to increase insulin to help your kidneys retain more sodium. Over time this can lead to chronically high insulin levels, a craving for sugar and refined carbohydrates, and a cycle of weight gain, insulin resistance, and even diabetes.

By contrast, adequate salt intake can help you to stay hydrated, prevent muscle cramps, support a healthy nervous system and a healthy metabolism, and even help you sleep better. And, while a diet too low in salt may reduce libido in both sexes, increase erectile dysfunction in men, and reduce a woman’s likelihood of getting pregnant, adequate salt intake may support reproduction.

How Much Salt Do You Need?

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the minimum physiological requirement of sodium simply to sustain life is 500 mg per day. However, in The Salt Fix, author James DiNicolantonio, Pharm. D., a cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in St. Louis, says scientists have found that when people’s consumption of sodium is unrestricted, they typically consume between 3,000 to 4,000 milligrams per day. This amount holds true for people across all populations, in all hemispheres and climates, and across a range of cultures and social backgrounds. In other words, all humans gravitate toward the same sodium intake range every day. That’s because this amount of sodium intake is optimal and is driven by the hypothalamus, the part of the reptilian brain that keeps your body in homeostasis.

That said, whether you need to increase your healthy salt intake depends on many factors, including your diet and lifestyle. For example, if you eat a whole food diet, you may benefit from adding more healthy salt to your diet because unprocessed, all-natural foods are low in sodium. In addition, athletes, people who sweat a lot, people who take diuretics and other medications that cause sodium loss, and people recovering from adrenal fatigue can benefit from added natural salt.

However, sodium is present in high amounts in processed foods where it is often used as a preservative or a flavor enhancer—think monosodium glutamate (MSG) and “natural flavorings.” And even foods that don’t taste salty can have high amounts of sodium, including breakfast cereals and bread. So, if you eat a lot of refined foods (which I don’t recommend), you are probably already getting more than 4,000 mg of sodium per day.

The Best Natural Salts and How to Use Them

Adding natural salt to your diet is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you get enough sodium and other essential minerals, especially if you are active. The most common natural salts are sea salt, Himalayan salt, and Celtic salt. Each has a unique flavor and mineral composition. For example, sea salt often contains high levels of trace minerals, including potassium, iron, and zinc. It also contains small amounts of natural iodine. Himalayan salt comes from the ancient sea beds of the Himalayan mountains. It is rich in iron, which gives it a pink color, as well as 83 other essential trace elements, including magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Celtic salt is hand-raked in Brittany, France, and is gray due to the clay and sand where it is harvested. It is a moist salt that is rich in many minerals.

Other natural salts include black and red salt from Hawaii, and Fleur de Sel, a solar-evaporated sea salt typically used as a finishing salt. There are many more natural salts that you can experiment with, including exotic salts such as Vietnamese pearl sea salt. I encourage you to try many and use them in different ways.

Here are 7 rules of thumb if you plan to incorporate more salt into your diet:

Determine if you need more salt. If you eat primarily whole foods or are on a low-carb diet, such as Paleo or Keto, you may want to add natural salt to your diet. In addition, if you sweat regularly or a lot, you will probably want to try adding more salt. Finally, if you suffer muscle cramps, have trouble sleeping, or crave salty foods, these are signs that you need more salt. (Muscle cramps also indicate the need for more magnesium.)

Salt your food. If you want to try increasing your salt intake, start by adding a little to your food. It’s a great way to improve flavor and increase essential minerals. Salt also helps to improve your digestive process by activating amylase (an enzyme that allows you to taste your food), creating hydrochloric acid to support your stomach wall, and stimulating intestinal and liver secretions to help break down food and aid digestion. Plus, salt adds a satiety factor, so it may encourage more mindful eating and even help with weight management.

Drink sole water. We are often told to drink lots of water in order to stay hydrated and to flush out toxins. However, drinking too much water can cause your body to flush out minerals and electrolytes. It can also lower your metabolism. But, when natural salt and water are combined, the positive ions in salt surround the negative ions in water and vice versa. This creates a new structure, called sole, that is more absorbable. To make sole water start, by adding about 1 cup of natural salt to a jar and fill the rest with filtered water. Cover the jar with a non-metal lid and let it sit overnight. If all the salt is dissolved in the morning, add a little more until the salt no longer dissolves. (This is how you know you’ve reached saturation). Take 1 teaspoon first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Start slowly and work up to taking 1-3 teaspoons throughout the day as you feel necessary.

Track your salt intake. If you want to track your salt intake to determine what level is optimal for you, try using an app such as My Fitness Pal. Track your intake when you enter your foods and then take notes regarding how you feel, your energy level, your sleep quality, and more. After a few weeks, you’ll notice what amount of salt you need to feel good.

Monitor your blood pressure. If you have been told to restrict sodium due to high blood pressure, be sure to track your blood pressure at home while increasing your salt intake. You can buy a good quality blood pressure cuff online or at a medical supply store. Be sure to speak with your health care provider before changing your diet or using any supplements, and have your blood pressure checked during your visits.

Eat foods rich in potassium. It’s important to maintain the correct balance of electrolytes in order for your body to work optimally. The electrolytes that most commonly can become unbalanced include potassium, sodium, and calcium. To offset any potential imbalance while increasing salt, be sure to eat foods rich in potassium, including bananas, spinach, sweet potatoes, edamame, cantaloupe, and lentils.

Listen to your body. As with any new protocol, the best way to proceed is to listen to your body. Start by allowing your salt cravings to dictate how much salt you consume and in what form, then be sure to track how you feel.

Have you tried adding healthy, natural salt to your diet? What were the results?

Last Updated: November 20, 2018
Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, MD, is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.

The silent killer affecting more than 7 million Australians



How do you get people to care about a disease with no symptoms? That’s the challenge for doctors worried about non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which can lead to liver cancer and liver failure – often with little warning.

“By 2020 more people will have liver cirrhosis caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease than with hepatitis C and hepatitis B combined,” says Dr Alex Hodge of Melbourne’s Monash Medical Centre and University.

The Gastroenterological Society of Australia estimates that translates to more than 7 million Australians by 2030. About 5% will have developed cirrhosis.

“That’s 400,000 people with liver cirrhosis that could be avoided,” says Hodge.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is an umbrella term for a range of liver conditions affecting people who drink little to no alcohol. As the name implies, the main characteristic of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is too much fat stored in liver cells.

The condition is also closely linked to metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of abnormalities including increased abdominal fat, poor ability to use the hormone insulin, high blood pressure and high blood levels of triglycerides, a type of fat.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease usually causes no signs and symptoms. When it does, they may include: Enlarged liver, fatigue and pain in the upper right abdomen.

Experts don’t know exactly why some people accumulate fat in the liver while others do not. Similarly, there is limited understanding of why some fatty livers develop inflammation that progresses to cirrhosis. However, experts do know the disease is linked to being overweight or obese, having insulin resistance, high blood sugar and a high level of fats in the blood.

They also have a threefold risk of type 2 diabetes and double the risk of heart disease.

Losing weight around the middle and eating healthier food is the only way to reverse or reduce it, Hodge says.

His research found evidence that fasting might improve fatty liver disease. A study of patients at Monash Medical Centre found that restricting eating (but not kilojoules) to just an eight-hour period between noon and 8pm improved markers of fatty liver disease and reduced abdominal fat.

Dr Sandra Cabot says other things you can do to help reverse a fatty liver include, avoiding sugar, increasing the amount of raw plant food in your diet, eating protein with every meal and avoiding huge meals.

Thanks MiNDFOOD for the article


Remember the power of presence. The past is the past and the future unscripted - but we so often miss "the power of now" by dwelling on both. Reduce your speed and luxuriate in this full moon's earthy and all-natural vibe.

How is your Plastic-Free July going? Don’t fret if you’re finding it difficult. Cutting out plastic requires a great deal of commitment, organisation and time. Raewyn from Little Bit Daily  has put together a few handy tips that will help you to develop simple plastic-free habits and routines.

1. Put Together a ‘Zero Waste’ Tool Kit 

If you can, invest a little more on items that will last, are functional and maybe a bit cute so that you actually enjoy using them.

An ideal kit includes:

  • A tote bag
  • Cutlery, chopsticks and a stainless steel straw (in a handmade cutlery wrap or cotton bag)
  • Reusable coffee cup (KeepCup)
  • Drink Bottle (Lifetime Bottle)
  • Container (stainless steel or reusing a plastic one is fine)
  • A couple of small cloth bags (for bulk bins/baked goodies). I roll these up tight and secure with a hair tie/rubber band.

2. Be a Crazy Bag Person (reusable bag that is!)

Get bags. Lots of bags. If you’re on a budget, check out your local op shop, or you can sew your own bags from old sheets/fabric. If you’re buying new reusable bags, choose cotton, hemp or recycled fabric. Thin bags that fold up small are perfect for stashing away in handbags, jacket pockets and the glove box. You can never have too many bags.

plastic free july

3. BYO Snacks

Scroggin (nuts, seeds, dried fruit and chocolate) isn’t just for tramping! Have some on hand in order to resist the temptation to buy packaged snacks. Popcorn is another healthy and affordable snack you can easily buy in bulk. I also like to make bliss balls and mini muffins.

4. Switch to Soap Bars

Shampoo, conditioner, body and hand wash bottles can all be replaced by soaps – check out the full Ethique range. Keeping soap dry between use will help them last longer.

plastic free july

5. Avoid Plastic Wrap

Give up cling film (plastic wrap) for a month and you’ll realise you don’t really need it. Use containers, jars, cloths or beeswax wraps instead. You can also use a plate or saucepan lid to cover leftovers in the fridge. 

6. Reuse Jars

There are endless uses for jars. To remove lingering smells, soak the jars with a baking soda and water mixture. To get rid of stubborn labels, soak in boiling hot water and scrape away, you can also use eucalyptus oil to easily wipe off sticky glue. Then use a china pencil to write on jars, it’s waterproof but can be rubbed off easily.

7. Make Your Own Products

Cleaning products are the easiest to make. All you need is white vinegar and baking soda. You can DIY all sorts of beauty, bathroom and kitchen products. Try to learn to make one new thing each week.

8. Check Out Your Local Farmers Market 

Supermarket produce is often covered in plastic. Get up early, take a coffee and get down to your local weekend fruit and veg market. Just make sure you take your bags! You can reuse old plastic bags or get some reusable mesh produce bags. They also often sell free-range eggs, bread, and local honey in jars. Return the empty egg cartons and jars to the famers next time you go.

plastic free july

 9. Try Bulk Food Shopping

If you’re unsure, just take one jar/cloth bag or even a paper bag to a bulk food shop and get one thing to start with. Places like GoodFor make it easy for you to use your own jars and bottles too.  It’s really fun. You’ll be hooked first time.

Finally, share the plastic-free message, there’s a steadily growing ‘zero waste’ online community happy to give advice and share in your success. Join the ‘Zero Waste in NZ’ Facebook page and check out the #zerowaste hashtag on Instagram. Spreading the message and inspiring others is a powerful way to make a difference.

Contributed post by Raewyn Pearce (@littlebitdaily)


Pumpkin is a powerhouse of mental health nutrients. It is also one of the most versatile vegetables that can be served many different ways. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin beer….there are so many ways to fix pumpkin! Pumpkin is widely available all winter and is very inexpensive. Pumpkins are also easy and fun to grow!

What’s so good about it?

  • Fiber

Pumpkin is high in fiber, which not only aids in digestion, it acts as a prebiotic for healthy gut bacteria. As we learn more about the important connection between gut bacteria and mental health, the more we know how critical it is to have good gut health. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that strengthen our immune systems and even regulate our moods. Probiotics need fiber in the gut to colonize and flourish. A cup of pumpkin has 3 grams of fiber and only 49 calories. Adding pumpkin to a meal will help you feel full longer.

  • Potassium

Pumpkin is a great source of potassium. A cup of pumpkin has about 500 mg of potassium – more than the boastful banana! Potassium is a critical electrolyte that contains a positive electrical charge and works closely with chloride in regulating blood pressure and PH balance. Potassium is necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work properly. Potassium allows our muscles to move, our nerves to fire, and our kidneys to filter blood. The right balance of potassium literally allows the heart to beat.

Low potassium levels have been associated with greater risk for mood disturbances and depression. Potassium deficiency can cause irritability, fatigue, muscle weakness, cramps, Restless Leg Syndrome, and chronic pain. Depression and pain are intimately intertwined. People with chronic pain have three times the average risk of developing psychiatric symptoms – usually mood or anxiety disorders.

Potassium also helps regulate serotonin, the neurotransmitter that is primarily targeted by antidepressants. Potassium acts as a facilitator in the brain’s ability to utilize serotonin. Potassium’s positive electrical charge is necessary to spark neurotransmitters like serotonin to make us feel better. Even a slight decrease in potassium levels can trigger significant feelings of anxiety. “When levels of serotonin are high, you’re in a better mood, sleep better, and have a higher pain tolerance,” says Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, author of numerous nutrition books, including her latest, Eat Your Way to Happiness.

  • Amino acids

Pumpkin is a good source of the amino acids tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine, all of which are associated with mood-regulating neurotransmitters. Tryptophan converts to serotonin in the brain. While antidepressants attempt to make serotonin more available, tryptophan is the only substance that can make serotonin. Pumpkin seeds are especially high in tryptophan and can be roasted for a delicious snack.

Pumpkin seeds are also high in magnesium. Just half a cup of toasted pumpkin seeds has 92 percent of your daily value of magnesium. Magnesium is nature’s relaxer. Most Americans are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium has long been used to calm nerves and to relax muscles. Its therapeutic role in both depression and anxiety is well documented.

  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids play a very important role in the management of inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to depression and anxiety as well as many other modern diseases and disorders.

Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatories. They are extremely important for many aspects of health, including mental health.

Omega-6 fatty acids are inflammatory. In other words, they cause inflammation. We need inflammation sometimes. When we have a wound, we need inflammation to protect the wound and promote healing.

Many people are experiencing chronic inflammation, which is detrimental to our physical and mental health. Diseases of chronic inflammation are more prevalent in societies that eat a Western Diet. This is likely due to the high amount of processed food, junk food, and fast food that is full of omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils. Oils like soy oil, corn oil, and canola oil are very high in omega-6 fatty acids and very low in omega-3 fatty acids.

The proper ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s is critical for maintaining an inflammation balance. The ideal ratio is 1:1 to as high as 1:4. The Western Diet has a ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s that typically ranges from 1:25 to 1:50! It’s no wonder we suffer from chronic inflammation.

Increasing the omega-3s in our diet while decreasing omega-6s can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety. Many of the foods we eat commonly are high in omega-6s compared to omega-3s. Pumpkin is one of the relative few foods that have the perfect balance of omega-3s to omega-6s in a ratio of 1:1!

How to eat pumpkin

Pumpkin can be baked, boiled, roasted or pureed. It can be made into soups, smoothies, desserts, and casseroles. There are countless recipes online for the myriad ways to eat pumpkin. Pumpkin can also be substituted in almost any recipe calling for other types of winter squash. And don’t forget about the seeds, which can be eaten raw or roasted.

Here is my recipe for Pumpkin Overnight Oats. This recipe is full of mental health nutrients like tryptophan and omega-3s. It’s super easy, healthy, and a great way to start your day with pumpkin!

Pumpkin Overnight Oats

¼ cup regular rolled oats

¼ cup milk, almond milk, or coconut milk

¼ cup Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)

¼ cup canned or pureed pumpkin

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

1-2 teaspoons maple syrup to taste

¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (recipe below)

Mix together all ingredients or place in a jar and shake until well blended. Leave in the refrigerator overnight and enjoy in the morning garnished with pecans.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Mix 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, and ½ teaspoon cloves until blended. Store in an airtight container.

Thanks for the article Angela Dailey



Moving meditation ideas to quiet the mind


Find the right moving meditation practice for you.

For those who find it difficult to quiet the mind by stillness alone, consider these movement-based meditation options that may be your key to finding inner calm.



Gentle yoga often referred to as restorative, has a gentler pace that many other styles of yoga. It promotes attention to breath and tuning into the needs of your body. Other forms of yoga that are gentle specifically designed for quietening the mind are Kripalu, Hatha, Viniyoga and Sivananda.


Runner feet and shoes

Whilst also triggering ‘happy’ hormones, walking is a great way to relax your mind by focusing on moving forward, whats happening in your body and your planned route.

Gentle stretching


Focusing on the breath is a key to moving through stretching positions in a safe way. This attention to breath triggers the slowing down of your heart rate and allows you to “go into your body” to get vital biofeedback, listening to what your body needs as you go.

Feldenkrais Method and Alexander Technique

Woman in reclining twist yoga position

Both are considered therapies that are designed to treat pain and improve physical function, using gentle repetition of movement and practicing new patterns of self-awareness. These techniques both provide the tools of “self-observation through movement.”

Dance meditation

Woman with long brown hair, dancing

Kundalini meditation takes you through four stages of movement starting with shaking out the stress, heading into stillness. 5Rhythms send you on a journey through five different qualities of movement led by a meditation guide.

Traditional Martial arts and movement systems

Group of people doing thai-chi pose in field

Qigong, a posture, movement and breathing meditation practice and peaceful martial arts techniques like Aikido and Tai Chi involve the practice of kata, a sequence of movements performed carefully in mindful slow patterns.

Thanks for the article.


The Wellness Routine You Should Follow This Winter


Three tips to help you adapt to the seasons for better health.

Winter is the time for restoration, nourishment and nurturing, says Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat Program Manager, Donna Abbate. While venturing out into the cold might not seem like the most appealing idea, ensuring you get enough fresh air and exercise is just as important during the colder months as it is in summer.

1. Change up your exercise regime

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, our energy and overall health are better balanced by adapting to the seasons. Adapt your exercise regime to the weather and get moving in the form of yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong. This will help you consolidate your energy in preparation for the burst of new life in spring.

2. Nourish the body

Remember also to adapt your diet to match the season. Eat more cooked foods, root vegetables, spices, porridge, hearty soups and stews. Support your immune system by keeping hydrated with more drinks, such as herbal teas and hot water with lemon and ginger. These will also help you feel warm and nourished.

3. Adjust your everyday rituals

Finally, align your daily habits with the change in weather. Go to bed earlier to ensure adequate rest, and keep the kidneys warm by rugging up in the cold. Keep your head, neck, upper back, and belly warm and safe from wind. Wear a hat and a jacket with a warm collar or scarf.

Gwinganna offers a speciality program designed around Winter Wellness from 7-10 June and 19-22 July 2018. For more details visit

Thanks for the article.



3 Lifestyle Hacks to Dampen Inflammation  

Inflammation is a natural and needed process in the body; it is part of an effective immune system response. The body uses beneficial acute inflammatory reactions to direct blood flow, immune cells, and nutrients to areas in need of healing, such as wounds and infections. But when inflammation gets out of hand or occurs in the wrong place, it can result in tissue damage, hormonal imbalances, and even death.

The body releases chemicals, hormones, and other mediators to bring about and direct an inflammatory response. You have likely experienced the pain, redness, immobility, swelling, and increased temperature that occur when your body initiates acute inflammation in response to a cut or infection. On the other hand, chronic insidious inflammation often occurs deeper in the body where the signs may not be as obvious right away.

How Chronic Inflammation Affects the Body

Chronic inflammation may result from the failure to eliminate the cause of an acute inflammatory response, such as an infection, an autoimmune disorder where the body mistakenly attacks normal tissue, or exposure to internally or externally generated toxins or irritants. These inflammatory processes can also be triggered by chronic food allergies and sensitivities, imbalances of bacteria and fungi in the gut, constant psychological or physical stress, and environmental toxicity.

When these inflammatory chemicals circulate in the body over time at a certain level, they can disrupt normal function and cause damage. This may result in symptoms of fatigue, pain, fever, and psoriasis. Over time, chronic inflammation may contribute to many lifestyle-related disorders, including:

Lifestyle Strategies to Balance Inflammation

Like many chronic conditions, the development of inflammation-related disorders is often influenced by lifestyle choices. There are some powerful steps you can take to optimize your lifestyle habits and build abundant health. Since each body and lifestyle is unique, always check with your healthcare provider before making major changes. Consider some of these strategies to reduce chronic inflammation and prevent future disease.

1. Fill Up with Fresh, Real Foods

Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet is a good start to keeping chronic low-level inflammation at bay. To keep inflammation levels in check and blood sugar levels stable, it is important to eat real, whole foods without added, refined sugars, processed carbohydrates, and artificial ingredients.

An anti-inflammatory diet that is rich in a wide variety of colorful organic vegetables, natural fiber, essential phytonutrients, and probiotics can help to nourish a healthy microbiome and squelch excess inflammation.

There are also some specific foods that have anti-inflammatory properties:

  • Berries
  • Dark leafy greens including kale and spinach
  • Cold-water fish such as salmon and mackerel
  • Spices like ginger and turmeric
  • Herbs like basil and parsley
  • Organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • Naturally fermented foods like raw sauerkraut and supplements like probiotics

2. Reduce Your Stress Levels

Your levels of chronic inflammation are also highly influenced by stress. Like inflammation, stress is a normal process that your body uses to protect you, but too much ongoing stress can become harmful and contribute to chronic inflammation. Relentless emotional, physical, and psychological stress weakens the immune system and promotes unchecked inflammation.

Research suggests that chronic psychological stress results in the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response. The stress response involves the release of hormones, like cortisol, which help to prepare the body to fight or flee a perceived threat.

Immune cells are also influenced by cortisol. In normal amounts, cortisol seems to influence immune cells to limit and regulate the acute inflammatory response. But when immune cells are chronically exposed to stress hormones, they become insensitive to the normal regulatory effects of cortisol, and inflammation can become out of control.

People who respond to stress with anger and hostility are also at risk for increased inflammation and heart attacks. Unhealthy coping strategies such as smoking, alcohol use, and overeating can worsen the impact of chronic inflammation and contribute to the risk of chronic diseases.

Instead, opt to cope with stress in a way that soothes the mind and body.

3. Remember Your Oral Health

Keeping your mouth clean and healthy not only results in great oral health, it can also help reduce your overall levels of inflammation. Good dental hygiene keeps bacterial levels in the mouth under control and gums healthy so that bad oral bacteria do not escape into the bloodstream and trigger inflammation.

Consider incorporating some lifestyle habits that help to maintain good oral health.

  • The mouth needs fat-soluble vitamins, like D and K, along with the right balance of minerals, like calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium, to stay healthy.
  • Tongue scraping (jihwa prakshalana) is an Ayurvedic self-care practice to support oral hygiene. It reduces undesirable bacteria and volatile sulfur compounds, which are linked to bad breath, dental decay, and inflammation.
  • Oil pulling is another Ayurvedic self-care ritual that can benefit oral health. Use one tablespoon of organic sesame or coconut oil and squish it around your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes before disposing of it in a trashcan (avoid spitting it in your sink as it may cause clogs).

Use these lifestyle practices to allow your nervous system, mind, and body to stay balanced and keep inflammation in check!

*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.
Thanks for the article.

Natural Ways To Boost Your Energy


Does your energy need a boost? Try these eight tips from human behavioural expert

Dr John Demartini.

It is commonly believed that we lose energy as we grow older, but the level of energy one has in life is not so much connected to age as it is to state of mind. Naturally, when someone is coming to the end of their life and is more susceptible to disease, they may not have the same reservoir of energy and vitality as someone much younger.

The people who are at the most risk of ‘suffering’ a lack of energy are those who do not feel like they are living purposefully; they feel lost, overwhelmed and out of focus. They are scattered and are trying to live other people’s lives. Often their diets and lifestyles are not all that ideal.

The body and mind are inseparable in their interactions and, therefore, we need to be accountable for how our psychology may be affecting our overall health. For instance, distraction and lack of direction in life can be a major contributor to low physical energy. Often people spend their day carrying around a long list of tasks in their mind; things that they think they have to do, should have done, or could do. The mental energy expended just thinking about this never-ending to-do list can leave you feeling drained, lethargic and completely overwhelmed.

In today’s fast-paced world it is essential we learn how to delegate and not try to take responsibility for everything. Try putting this imaginary list on paper, reviewing it and then separating what only you can do from what you know you can delegate to someone else. Once you have done this you will not feel as overwhelmed and immediately more motivated and energized.

There are several other ways we can enhance our energy and vitality, without reaching for the coffee or cola:

  1. Prioritise your daily actions. When you fill your day with high priority, energizing and inspiring actions your day won’t fill up with low priority, de-energizing and despairing distractions. The former elevates your self-worth and the latter drains and lowers it.
  2. Prioritise what you eat. Eat the most vital and invigorating foods. Eat them with moderation, rhythm, and consistency. Eat to live. Don’t live to eat. Fuel your body with quality nutrients.
  3. Drink clean water – the universal solvent – more than sweet or falsely energizing drinks that initiate volatilities in your blood sugar levels that induce rises and falls.
  4. Do moderate exercise such as walking, swimming, yoga, or dancing.
  5. Breathe deeply and diaphragmatically until it is your daily standard and habit and you will have a tight abdomen and loose shoulders instead of tight shoulders and a loose abdomen.
  6. Do not eat heavy and lie down. Eat light at night.
  7. Read classical and inspiring books written by inspiring originators and masters.
  8. Document what you are grateful each day. When you are grateful for what experiences you receive you receive more experiences to be grateful for, and you will generate an increase in energy and physical well being.

By making changes to the way you approach your life and by placing greater emphasis on personal fulfilment, purpose and congruence with your highest values, you can enhance your vitality naturally, and without outside stimulants.

Dr John Demartini is a renowned entrepreneur and human behaviour expert, founder of The Demartini Institute and author of 40 books. For more information visit

Thanks MiNDFOOD for the article



The One Practice That Taught Me To Shed Labels — And Embrace Freedom

Katina Mountanos - mbg


From the time we are young children, we place labels on ourselves to make sense of the world. We are either skinny or big-boned; cool or unpopular; a musician or an athlete.

And while these labels at times can be helpful to create some form of an identity, they are often extremely limiting. They place us into boxes—or out of them—and continue to follow us well into adulthood.

For a long time, I labeled myself as inflexible. I was a strong runner with an athletic build—not like the tall, lanky women we see gracing the covers of magazines. I completely took myself out of the "yoga" box because I assumed that in order to do it, you needed to have a certain body type.

It also didn’t help that by social media standards, yogis seemed like they could pop into an oddly formed shape anywhere—whether they were on a yoga mat or in an airport. It was intimidating to think that I could barely touch my toes while sitting down, let alone put my foot behind my head on the beach.

But I soon realized that the purpose of yoga was quite the opposite. Because yoga is really a practice of shedding labels, of removing the layers to get to your true self.

I realized that yoga as a practice only really begins on the mat.

As I began going to yoga class regularly, I realized that practice only really begins on the mat.

Asana, or the physical practice that we typically think of when we imagine yoga (beautiful studios and class memberships aside), is really just the first step on our yoga journey. It’s considered preparation for all the deeper aspects of our practice such as pranayama (breath work) or pratyahara (meditation).

Really, though, all of these parts of yoga are meant to prepare us for those tough moments in life—like when we get frustrated with our boss at work or our train is running late.

Because at the end of the day, the majority of us humans don’t have the flexibility—in terms of both our time availability and physical limits—to pop into a yoga pose in the middle of the day when things get rough. We need to be able to access that mindset wherever we are in the world—and it begins by being kind to yourself on the mat, whether you're flexible or not.

I was forced to confront my deeper feelings and emotional roadblocks.

After a couple of years of regular yoga practice, I decided to take the next big step and complete my 200-hour training. I realized that I was seeking to learn more about yoga than a 60-minute class in between work and dinner could give me.

Of course, I thought that at that point I had come to face all of my fears (don’t we all?). I thought that I had resolved my issue with inflexibility. I was growing more flexible by the day, and heck, it didn’t even matter to me anymore—or so I thought.

But oddly enough, before I even entered my teacher training, I spent hours practicing the perfect handstand. I wanted to walk into that room confident that I was a true yogi, that I was capable, that maybe I was even the best.

But yoga has this funny ability to shine a mirror on our deepest issues and make us confront them head-on. And my experience was about continuing to shed those self-induced labels.

During my training, I quickly learned that yoga practice is different for every body—and sometimes even varies by the day. That on some days, you may be strong enough to hold crow pose, and on others, child’s pose is the most you can do.

I had to learn to stop comparing myself to my neighbor and even to myself the day before.

I had to really sit with the labels that kept coming up and negative self-chatter that we all know so well: You’re not good enough, strong enough, flexible enough for this. Maybe you should just quit.

I had to stop defining myself by my outward "successes" and really get in touch with my true self, which if you've tried, is not an easy thing to do.

I released self-limiting beliefs and embraced kinder thoughts.

It is the first experience I’ve had that you can’t just "achieve" and complete. Almost everything in life that I’ve done had an end point. As a runner, you could only complete so many marathons. But with yoga, your teacher training is really just the start of an entirely new world and mindset.

For me, setting an intention to be kind to myself before each practice has helped me continue to shed those labels. Whenever I find myself looking over to my neighbor’s mat or beating myself up for falling out of a pose, I take a breath and come back to my intention. It’s a difficult, continuous practice that we all must work at—but one that overflows into the rest of our lives.

Over time, I’ve also come up with daily rituals that help me reset and continue to dig deeper toward the truest version of myself. While a daily yoga practice is on that list—it’s not the only thing. Taking time to meditate, journal, and even take a 10-minute solo walk (without music blasting into my ears) have all helped me quiet the noise and continue to shed those labels.

Of course, it’s a process. But with each step comes the beauty of finding your most raw, beautiful self—without labels.



Natural Ways To Manage Period Pain


Feeling queasy? Sick of cramps? Try these six tips for relieving pain associated with menstruation, naturally. 

Queasiness and stomach cramps often go hand in hand with menstruation, and while painkillers may temporarily provide relief there are natural ways you can ease discomfort. Susan Johns, clinical dietician and distributor of Lunette in New Zealand shares her top tips for managing period pain naturally.

Why whole grains?

Whole grains are complex carbohydrates that stimulate the brain in order to release serotonin, a hormone which makes you feel good. Ever notice that your body feels like it took a thrashing from the inside-out about a week before your period is due? Studies have shown that whole grains can reduce that tension and fight depression because they are loaded with vitamin E and magnesium.

Put it on your plate – almonds, spinach, quinoa, cashews

Your best spud

Vitamin A plays a huge role in saying goodbye to our PMS symptoms. An increase in Vitamin A will fight PMS symptoms, like acne and heavy bleeding, as well as problems that occur like fatigue when vitamin A levels plummet. One sweet potato provides 120% of our daily recommended intake of Vitamin A.

Put it on your plate – kumara, carrots, kale

The good kind of fat

Good fats make good hormones; bad fat makes bad hormones. Simple, right? Keep your saturated fat intake low and boost your intake of unsaturated fats, especially in the week leading up to your period. This’ll help keep your hormones happy.

Put it on your plate – avocado, coconut and olive oil, whole eggs, salmon

Cereal killer

B vitamin deficiency, particularly B6, is known to play a role in increasing PMS symptoms such as forgetfulness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and moodiness. Add period pain to the mix and your day just got a whole lot worse.

Put it on your plate – fortified breakfast cereals, chickpeas, chicken, tuna, banana

Nuts about nuts

While your uterus is busy cramping your style, the muscle lining can get fatigued and develop a lactic acid build up, just like your legs after an intense session at the gym. Magnesium, found in high concentration in nuts, is key here to give relief to cramping pains.

Put it on your plate – nuts, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, spinach, fish

Zinc overdose

Upping your intake of zinc-rich foods a few days before you are due has been shown to have a positive effect on cramps, bloating and inflammation. Zinc needs vitamin B6 to be absorbed, so be sure to pair your zinc-filled foods with foods rich in B vitamin.

Put it on your plate – peas, asparagus, spinach, red meat, seafood.


By Robyn Youkilis 28 February 2018

I created my Good Gut Rule of Five to show you exactly what to put on your plate at lunch and dinner. Eating in this way will ensure that you are getting a balance of both macro- and micronutrients, as well as my favorite gut-healing superfoods (which I talk about more in my book, Thin From Within). Aim to include one ingredient from each of the five categories that follow for a complete and balanced meal:

1. Greens:

Kale, collards, arugula, spinach, lettuce...I love ’em all. Aim to have at least two or three big handfuls of greens with most meals. Greens do it all when it comes to gut health and weight loss: They are packed with fiber, which helps fill you up and keep you regular. Plus, leafy green veggies are some of the most nutrient-dense foods, and when you are filling your cells with nutrients (I mean real nutrition, not just calories!), you have more energy and fewer cravings.

2. Healthy fat:

Avocado, olive and flax oils, almonds, butter from grass-fed cows (so the cows have healthy guts too!), and coconut oil all count here. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil, 1 to 2 ounces of nuts, or ¼ to ½ of an avocado at each meal for a good dose of flavor and satiation. Plus, fats are essential for proper absorption of most vitamins and minerals. I used to be terrified of fats, but now I include them at every meal and am lighter than I’ve ever been.

3. Protein:

Wild salmon, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, tempeh, sprouted lentils, and canned wild sardines are some examples of great go-to protein options. Protein keeps you full and stabilizes your blood sugar, so you won’t keep dipping into your raw chocolate stash or crash halfway through your afternoon meetings.

4. Fermented food:

Including fermented foods on your plate is the good-gut secret to weight loss through a healthy microbiome (you need all that great bacteria throughout the day to keep your digestion humming!). Examples include raw sauerkraut, fermented beets, fermented carrots or radishes, and kimchi. Try adding 1 to 3 tablespoons at each meal, and feel free to work your way up to ½ cup or more. If you’re not used to the flavor of fermented veggies, try mixing them with avocado to mellow the flavor.

5. Cooked vegetables:

Having a cooked veggie or two with my meal (in addition to greens) always makes the meal feel more grounding and filling. Roasted zucchini, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash, and carrots are all examples of delicious cooked veggies, but this can really be any veggie. I try to roast a bunch of seasonal veggies at least once or twice per week so I always have some cooked veggies on hand and ready to go. If you’re on the run, many takeout spots and fancy restaurants have awesome veggie choices these days.



The Freedom to live a Healthy Life requires commitment, planning, action & resilience.

Periodically re-evaluate your growth in the following areas to find your Optimal Wellness.

  1. Eat nutritious, seasonal wholefoods, mostly organic or spray free
  2. Allow yourself adequate rest & quality sleep 
  3. Cultivate a peaceful but alert mind, open to love, joy & growth
  4. Social connection with family, friends & colleagues 
  5. Regular exercise & a movement rich life including time out in nature
  6. Minimise exposure to environmental toxins



By Dr Libby Weaver

We’ve all heard the term ‘go with your gut’ when it comes to decision-making.  But is there really such a thing as gut feelings? And just how connected is our brain with our gut?

Well, scientific research has found that our brain, our gut, and the gut microbes inside it (the different strains of bacteria that make up our gut’s ecosystem) communicate with each other. Doesn’t it just blow your mind how amazing our bodies are?

This is part of an ever-growing body of research that confirms a powerful link between our gut and our brain—more than we’ve ever realised. In fact, the gut is often referred to as our “second brain”.  It has its very own nervous system (the enteric nervous system), and signals can be transmitted in both directions, meaning that our gut can send messages to our brain and our brain can send messages to our gut. This connection is termed the ‘gut-brain axis’ and it’s why when we feel anxious we can feel sick in the stomach or when we’re nervous we sometimes get butterflies. It’s also why those with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) may notice that their symptoms worsen when they’re stressed.

Yet, many of us have become disconnected from the way we eat and the impact that it has on our bodies. We don’t always consider that it was dinner the night before that left us with a food hangover and feeling lousy the next day. We can be left thinking it’s ‘normal’ to feel exhausted at 3pm, to snap before we’ve eaten our lunch or to constantly feel bloated by the end of the day.

Our relationship with food is complex and often has a strong emotional component. Take for example a stressful day – many people might find themselves drawn to chocolate, alcohol, or takeaways, not a health-promoting bowl of broccoli and other nutrient-dense foods! If we’re feeling tired and sluggish we tend to reach for caffeine and sugary foods, anything that will give us a quick surge of energy.

This is not to mention that our emotional state can also radically impact on how we digest our food. Eating while we’re upset can potentially lead to indigestion, as digestive processes are not prioritised when the body is churning out stress hormones.

One of the things we do know about the gut-brain connection is that around 80% of the serotonin in our body (the neurotransmitter in our brain that leads us to feel happy, calm and content) is made in the gut. Which means, if gut health is compromised, serotonin production may also potentially be altered.

The good news is, the power to change our gut health is entirely in our hands. Our gut microbiome (the ecosystem of bacteria in our gut) changes according to what we eat. What’s quite remarkable is that the bacteria in our gut can change within three or four days, so even a few of days of eating poor quality foods can completely change our gut flora picture and therefore our gut health. The same goes for nourishing foods. What we eat is that powerful!

It is however, important to remember that the foods that are nourishing for one person may not be nourishing for another. I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve met who have continued to eat foods they have been told are “healthy”, despite their body sending them clear messages (often in the form of gut symptoms!) that these foods aren’t right for them.

When we begin to pay more attention to how we feel after we eat, we can learn how to identify our body’s messages and improve our intuition around what’s right for us and what’s not. This includes what we eat and how to take better care of ourselves, but also extends beyond that to having the clarity of mind to make important decisions and the ability to get through our daily tasks without feeling overwhelmed.

So, begin to pay more attention to how you’re left feeling after each meal. It can help to jot down what you’re eating and any symptoms you experience for a couple of weeks to help you identify any common denominators that might better serve to be avoided for a trial period of time.


By Dr Libby Weaver

The impact that gut health has on overall health never ceases to amaze me, and the bacteria living in the gut is an important part of this. We have anywhere from one to three kilograms of bacteria residing in our large intestine, and this is collectively known as the gut microbiome. It could almost be considered an organ given its vital role in so many aspects of human health. From digestion to immune function, to our mood and our body shape and size, a healthy gut bacteria profile is key.

It’s therefore not surprising that people want to enhance their gut health (who wouldn’t, considering how central it is to every aspect of our health!). And it’s not surprising that companies want to create food and supplement products to help us do this. Probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics are three such products that are often confused despite playing different roles for gut health. So what are they and are they worth your while?


Probiotics are beneficial bacteria. Or, more specifically, they are live microorganisms that benefit the host (you) when consumed in adequate amounts.

For probiotic supplements to have any potential benefits, they must be scientifically proven to survive digestion (meaning they need to survive exposure to stomach acid) and reach the large intestine alive. They also need to be in a sufficiently high dose to have an effect, plus the pH level of the local environment (inside the intestines) needs to be appropriate for the bacteria. Whether or not a probiotic supplement is scientifically proven to survive digestion is therefore an important consideration – in other words, the quality of the supplement matters.

But there isn’t just one universal probiotic. Different strains of bacteria have different actions and health benefits, and the actions of a particular strain cannot be extrapolated to other strains, even within the same species. So supplements can contain different probiotic strains as well as different doses of the strains, which influences their effect in the body. Adding to this complexity is the fact that we don’t all respond to probiotic supplementation in the same way – our individual response can depend on the species that are already residing in our gut, as well as our own health status.

Research has shown that within about two weeks of ceasing probiotic supplementation, the strains that were present in the supplement are no longer detectable in the waste leaving the body, indicating that they don’t colonise the gut and therefore may not have long-lasting effects.

We know that our gut microbiome is greatly impacted by our food choices, so rather than supplementing probiotics, I prefer to encourage people to focus on eating real whole foods (including some fermented foods) to support and maintain a healthy gut bacteria profile.

Probiotic supplements aren’t necessarily needed for good gut health, however there is some encouraging evidence that suggests they can be beneficial for certain gut conditions:

Antibiotic-associated diarrhoea

There is good evidence that certain strains of probiotics can help to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhoea; specifically Lactobacillus rhamnosis GG (LGG) and Saccharomyces boulardii (S. boulardii).

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

There is emerging evidence that probiotics may reduce IBS symptom severity. However, given that IBS can manifest as different symptoms depending on the person, probiotics are unlikely to be a magic fix and a probiotic supplement may or may not benefit you. What helps one person may not help another, and in fact, could actually worsen their symptoms. If you decide to trial a particular probiotic supplement, it should be taken for at least four weeks to assess how it affects you. Remember, your body is your best barometer.

However, if you have IBS and you are currently in the elimination or challenge phases of a low FODMAP diet, I do not recommend taking a probiotic supplement, as this could cloud your results and make it more difficult to identify which (if any) of the high FODMAP foods you react to.

Ulcerative Colitis

In patients with mild to moderately active ulcerative colitis, studies suggest that specific probiotics may help to induce and maintain remission. The specific probiotics that may assist include E. Coli Nissle 1917 and a mixture of eight strains, similar to those showing promise in IBS.

Generally, probiotics are safe for adults to take, however those with food allergies should always check that the probiotic is free from their specific allergen, and they shouldn’t be taken by immunocompromised or critically ill people unless medically supervised. 


Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotic bacteria. They pass through the gastrointestinal tract undigested, which stimulates the growth and/or activity of certain ‘good’ bacteria in the large intestine. While all prebiotics are considered fibre, not all fibre has prebiotic effects.

Prebiotics are naturally present in foods such as onion, garlic, leeks, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, chickpeas, lentils, peas, oats and cashews – yet another reason why a plant-rich way of eating is so important for our health and wellbeing. While some people choose to take a prebiotic supplement if they do not consume enough prebiotic-containing foods, there is no substitute for a ‘real food’ way of eating when it comes to our health and vitality.


Synbiotics is the term used to describe a food or supplement that contains both probiotics and prebiotics; a food example is unpasteurised sauerkraut.

In summary, if you already take a probiotic and feel you benefit from it, then by all means continue to do so. I simply wanted you to appreciate yet another health-enhancing offering of eating whole, real foods.


Inspired by fresh new ideas for breakfast from Carla Oates's cookbook The Beauty Chef. 

Sticky black rice with mango, strawberries and coconut cream

This lovely dish is made with black rice, the only rice that contains anti-inflammatory anthocyanins, and mango, which is rich in digestive enzymes.

Serves 2

1/2 cup black glutinous rice, soaked in cold water overnight

11/2 cups water

2/3 cup coconut cream

large pinch of Himalayan salt

11/2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 ripe mango, cut into cubes

6 strawberries, sliced

Drain & rinse the rice.

Place the rice & water in a medium saucepan & bring to the boil. Decrease the heat to the lowest possible temperature. Gently simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all of the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, cover & set aside for 10 minutes, to finish cooking.

Meanwhile, gently simmer the coconut cream & salt together for 2-3 minutes, until thickened slightly. Set aside.

Once the rice is cooked, add the maple syrup & stir to combine. Set aside to cool slightly.

Serve the sticky rice warm or at room temperature drizzled with the salted coconut cream & topped with fresh mango & strawberries.


I didn't have a few of the ingredients in house, so I swapped out a few goodies. I mixed in a heaped teaspoon of coconut oil into the warm rice then added kelp salt & maple syrup, & served with organic natural yoghurt, fresh cherries, peach & blueberries and still absolute deliciousness! Perfect start to a sunny day.





We often believe the arrival of certain things – more money, the perfect partner, a better job, bigger house or new car – will make us happier. But Harvard psychologist and author of the New York Times best-selling book, Stumbling On Happiness, Dan Gilbert says our brains constantly misjudge what really makes us happy.

In fact, studies have shown it’s the little things that make the biggest difference to how we feel and function. Being happy is actually a lot like exercise. It takes discipline and daily effort. But if you do the work, you reap the rewards.

We can strengthen our happiness muscles daily by adopting simple, healthy habits that make us feel better. Happiness is not an emotion that just magically happens. It’s state of mind you can create.

Here are some ways to start cultivating your own self-renewable supply.


Everyone needs a reason to get up in the morning. The Japanese call this “ikigai”. In Hindu, it’s called dharma. Knowing our purpose and feeling needed helps us connect with our communities. But sometimes we say yes to doing more than we can manage, with studies showing people who are time-pressured report feeling less happy. Prioritise things that matter most to you. And, wherever you can, practice saying no to the things you say yes to out of obligation.


It can sometimes feel like a challenge while you’re doing it. But a runner’s high is real. Exercise releases feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins that trigger positive feelings and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) which calms our nervous system.

Countless studies have proven exercise makes us feel better, reduces tension, boosts our energy and improves our body image. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week or five, 30-minute sessions. Or just break it up into 10-minute bursts whenever you can fit it in. Every little bit counts.


Humans are hardwired for social connection. While online likes and followers may flush the reward centre of our brain with the addictive neurochemical dopamine, connecting with our loved ones in real life produces the stress-reducing, bonding chemical oxytocin. Face-to-face conversation and physical contact are powerful mind-body medicines that lower blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels, boost immunity, relieve pain and anxiety and make us happier. Don’t mistake online connection for real connection. Screens and virtual relationships are no substitutes for seeing our favourite people in the flesh.


It’s been proven happiness is contagious. Spending time with happy people makes us feel happier and also makes us more likely to be happy in the future. You wouldn’t sit next to a smoker and deliberately breathe in their second-hand smoke. So don’t hang out with negative people and soak up their bad vibes either. Seek out friends who have a positive outlook and bask in the warmth of their sunny disposition.


Studies have shown when we give to others we produce oxytocin, also known as “a helper’s high”. People who volunteer are happier, healthier and less likely to suffer from depression. One study found spending money on others even makes us feel happier than spending it on ourselves.

The father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, says there are three types of lives: pleasant, engaged and meaningful. While a pleasant, pampered life may sound most appealing, engaging in service to others and doing meaningful work will deliver more lasting happiness.


The good bacteria that live in our gut produce many of the neurotransmitters that affect our moods including 80 to 90 percent of our happy hormone, serotonin. To make key neurochemicals we need a diet rich in whole foods including complex carbohydrates (from whole grains and starchy vegetables), amino acids (mostly from lean protein), antioxidants and phytonutrients (from plant foods), vitamins, minerals such as folate (found in leafy greens and legumes) and essential fatty acids (from oily fish, nuts and extra virgin olive oil).

The Beauty Chef’s BODY Inner Beauty Powder is packed with four clean sources of bio-available plant proteins, superfruits, vegetables, alkalizing greens and probiotics, with the added benefits of pure matcha green tea. Joining 40 other superfoods found in the wellness supplement, Matcha is known to increase metabolism, enhance focus and concentration, detoxify the body and boost the immune system, enhance mood and energy, and improve general wellbeing.


Feeling tired can make us irritable and impatient. Sleep deprivation also increases our stress levels, risk of depression and lowers our libido. Conversely getting seven to nine hours’ rest a night boosts our immunity, productivity, motivation and memory and helps stabilise our emotions.

One study found that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to experience repetitive negative thoughts. Another study found sleep-deprived people are worse at gauging subtle emotions such as happiness or sadness in others – making them less able to get along with them. The Beauty Chef’s SLEEP Inner Beauty Powder contains natural sedatives, lemon balm and passionflower to soothe the nervous system and promote quality sleep. It also contains bio-fermented turmeric, rich in anti-oxidants to help combat and repair free radical damage while we sleep.


Keeping a gratitude journal sounds time-consuming but is scientifically proven to improve your health. In fact, it’s been shown to lower pain levels, stress hormones and blood pressure, boost motivation and optimism and improve your sleep, moods and life satisfaction. Start by writing down three things you are grateful for each night. Show your gratitude to others by sending them a card or giving them a call to say thank you. Or simply spend time outdoors and take the time to appreciate the beauty of nature whenever you can.


Which habits will you start implementing into your daily routine?




Essentials for a fabulous summer holiday - Manduka's eKO SuperLite Travel Yoga Mat, the great outdoors, hat, swimsuit, water bottle, sunblock & towel! 

Gift for your beautiful self, or family & friends.

Exceptional for traveling – folds to fit in any travel bag.

Surface texture offers superior grip, even with light perspiration.

Tightly woven scrim resists tearing or stretching.

Closed cell design will not absorb bacteria.

Made from non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber.

No PVC, toxic plasticizers or harmful dyes.

99% latex free, weight 1kg.

Two colours - Midnight Blue & Thunder Grey NZ$85

Go to Shop / Yoga Mats


Article from mbg - Vincent Pedre M.D. - Gut Health Specialist & Best-Selling Author 

Many of my patients don’t have time to cook, resorting instead to unhealthy takeout, prepackaged foods, or skipping dinner altogether.

Ultimately, I encourage patients to forgo takeout and hot bars. Instead, I ask them to preplan a little and prep one of these three uncomplicated dinner recipes. My approach takes a simple but nutritionally comprehensive approach to dinner that takes the guesswork out of calorie-counting: Fill your plate with one-quarter protein and healthy fat, and for the other three-quarters, add a large salad or vegetable side dish.

I also try to incorporate fermented and cultured foods to support the growth and proliferation of healthy gut bacteria. These include:

  • Cultured foods, such as coconut yogurt or goat milk kefir
  • Fermented foods, such as Japanese fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, or kimchi
  • Cultured beverages containing favorable live bacteria, such as kombucha

Eating the right foods, including cultured or fermented foods, keeps your gut healthy and prevents dysbiosis, an imbalance between favorable and unfavorable gut microorganisms that leads to leaky gut, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and many other gut disturbances.

I’ve discovered a few other simple rules to follow to make every dinner gut-friendly and avoid overeating:

  • If you know dinner will be late and you’re getting hungry late afternoon at the office, have a healthy snack.
  • Take a moment to reflect on your day during dinner. As you strive to get a handle on your gut issues, I encourage you to keep a daily food and symptom diary. And in addition, keep a gratitude journal entry for each day.
  • Slow down and be mindful with your food. Some people confess to things like reading through social media, thumbing through their favorite magazine, or checking email while eating. These actions don’t let you be present in the relaxed state necessary for smooth and easy digestion.
  • If you suffer from gas, bloating, and other post-meal miseries, watch how much fluid you consume, drink less during meals to avoid diluting your digestive enzymes, and try a comprehensive digestive enzyme supplement about 15 minutes before meals. These three meals are designed to be easy on your digestive system, but symptoms can still occur if you don’t follow these rules.
  • Try to finish eating dinner no less than three hours before going to bed to reduce the chances of acid reflux from undigested food still sitting in your stomach pushing acid up into your esophagus.


Research suggests that drinking spearmint tea twice daily may improve liver function and support clearing excess testosterone. BePure created this Sparkling Spearmint Iced Tea, a tasty non-alcoholic option to support hormone balance. A glass of this tea is light, refreshing, and best enjoyed with friends.



Spearmint Cold-brew Tea


  • 1 litre jug
  • A large handful of fresh spearmint leaves (organic) or from your garden
  • 500mls of boiling filtered water 
  • 500 mls of sparkling soda water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Ice to serve


  • Place spearmint leaves in a jar and fill with 500 mls of boiling filtered water.
  • Stand for 10 minutes.
  • Refrigerate your brew until cold or overnight for best results. 
  • Once cold fill the rest of your jar with sparkling soda water.
  • Add juice of lemon and lime. 
  • Serve with Ice. 
  • Enjoy!

The above recipe is compliments of Ben Warren & Team


Katy Bowman spoke at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Queenstown, New Zealand October 2017 on Move Your DNA: Movement Ecology & the Difference Between Exercise & Movement

Here are a couple of exerts:

Movement isn't only affecting your arms, legs, and abs; through a process called mechano-transduction, movement influences the behaviour of your cells.

We are currently experiencing unprecedented sedentarism.

There are local effects of movement, as well as systemic.

Within an active body you can have cellular sedentarism ie running with supportive shoes (your feet have restricted movement), having smoothies & juices instead of chewing whole foods (there is minimal movement of the muscles of the jaw, tongue & face). 

The key to increasing our personal movement lies in understanding how movement works & expanding our thoughts & actions away from exercise & towards a movement-rich life.

Katy Bowman has a live event this weekend in Wellington, followed by events in Nelson & Auckland before she heads back home to the States. For more details check out Katy's live events at






Ageing Breakthrough


Scientists have found a way to rejuvenate old cells.


A team led by Professor Lorna Harries, Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Exeter, has discovered a new way to rejuvenate older, inactive cells.

Within hours of treatment with compounds called reversatrol analogues, the older cells started to divide and had longer telomeres – the ‘caps’ on the chromosomes which shorten as we age.

The treatment is based on a substance found naturally in red wine, dark chocolate, red grapes and blueberries.

The discovery has the potential to lead to therapies which could help people age better, without experiencing some of the degenerative effects of getting old.

Supermarket giant to ban plastic bags


A supermarket chain has announced it will be getting rid of single-use plastic bags by the end of 2018.


Globally, we use and discard approximately 1 trillion plastic bags each year. In Australia alone, over 7000 plastic bags are dumped into landfill every single minute. The effects of this are great: bags pollute the ocean, choke waterways and are ingested by wildlife.

Given these horrifying statistics, when Australian supermarket giant Woolworths announced in July this year that it would stop giving out single-use plastic bags within 12 months, eco-conscious consumers heaved a collective sigh of relief. Despite its parent companies’ decision, Countdown supermarkets in New Zealand did not follow suit – until now.

By the end of 2018, all Countdown supermarkets will stop giving single-use plastic bags to consumers. “We have been tracking customer sentiment for two years,” says Countdown’s managing director Dave Chambers. “Our most recent research, concluded in August, indicates that 83 per cent of our customers support phasing out single-use plastic carrier bags.”

Instead of offering to sell plastic bags for a small fee, the supermarket will reduce the price of reusable shopping bags to $1. Taking effect from October 9, this initiative is the only way to prevent plastic bags from being used, Chambers maintains. “We’re confident Kiwis will get in behind this change across the country, and we’re committed to making the move from check-out bags as simple for customers as we can,” he says. Other sustainable alternatives, such as selling compostable bags, may also be introduced.

Auckland Mayor Phil Gof has applauded the announcement and encouraged other supermarkets to follow suit. “If other businesses make efforts to reduce plastic bag use and the Government introduces a levy on plastic bags, we can likely cut around 500 to 600 million plastic bags a year out of our waste stream in Auckland alone,” he says.

With fellow New Zealand supermarkets FreshChoice and SuperValue pledging to follow suit, it is estimated that 350 million plastic bags will be eliminated from the country’s waste per year.




Before the invention of the chair, squatting was part of everyone's daily life.

Today, few people can squat without pain or injury. The YogAlign squat helps release tension in your hips & legs.

This is a pose that will tone your pelvic floor & abdominal organs & in particular, your bladder. In cultures where squatting is done every day, people stay flexible & aligned well into advanced age.

Prostate & colon cancer, knee & hip replacements, & osteoarthritis are rare in cultures that still squat. This pose also aids the digestive & elimination processes & brings a feeling of lightness to your body. 

Unless you are a seasoned squatter with excellent knees, it is best to use a strap for support in this pose, to keep compression off your knees.

Place a strap around a post or tree, holding one end in each hand. Slowly drop into a squatting position, with arms straight & engaged strongly through your lats to your hips & into your trunk. Activate your shoulder blade muscles to keep the blades stabilised & your neck elongated. Position the strap just below shoulder level, & keep your feet slightly turned out. Stay on the balls of your feet as you slide back, pulling on the straps while you squat with a lift in your waist, curve in your lower back & your entire spine & skull in natural alignment.

For further details consult your local YogAlign teacher or check out Michaelle Edwards's book YogAlign - Pain-Free Yoga From Your Inner Core



If You're Not Eating This Food, You're Going To Have A Hard Time Getting in Shape

by Dr James DiNicolantonio 20 September 2017 mbg 

There are five main factors that determine performance. Everyone knows the first factor, and that’s training. Whether we are hitting the gym to build muscle or running to improve our cardio, the first step is always going to be lacing up your sneakers and getting active.

The other four factors are less obvious. Those four factors determine how well you perform during a workout, marathon, or an athletic competition. They are:

  1. Staying hydrated
  2. Keeping heart rate down
  3. Staying cool
  4. Maintaining blood circulation

What you may not know is that salt helps with each of those four factors—so much so that I’m proposing we consider it the sixth factor for achieving peak performance. Consuming more salt can even help to prevent overtraining, which may actually be caused by our tissues becoming depleted in salt. Consuming more salt improves those four factors by increasing water retention and vasodilating the arteries. When these two effects are combined, you are more hydrated, circulation and blood flow to muscles improves, sweat production increases (helping to keep you cool), and heart rate goes down.

How does salt help with hydration? you might wonder. Most tap or bottled water contains zero sodium, and this increases the risk of hyponatremia, or low sodium levels in the blood. Hyponatremia is a very common problem, especially among endurance athletes, and it can be fatal. We don’t just sweat out water; we sweat salt. We need to consume salt with our water if we want to reduce the risk of dehydration, cramps, and hyponatremia. Indeed, one study concluded that the primary cause of muscle cramps during exercise in warm weather was sodium deficit. 

This makes biological sense. When your body works hard, you sweat. And when you sweat, you sweat out salt. Failing to replace the salt that is lost drains your tissues of salt, with wide-ranging negative effects on your ability to keep going. For example, salt depletion can lead to muscle cramping, dizziness, and fatigue, the exact opposite effects that you want during competition.

But wait—what about blood pressure? All of our health agencies, government bodies, and dietary guidelines tell us to consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium (or 1 teaspoon of salt) per day. The American Heart Association goes as far as telling Americans to consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Never mind that the average person loses around 1,200 mg of sodium per hour of exercise, with some individuals losing more than 2,000 mg of sodium per hour. And based on the above sodium losses, even if you are eating a normal sodium diet, if you are an avid exerciser you can still be at risk of salt deficit. It’s not hard to calculate how following the low-salt advice while exercising could lead to more harm than good, so you might want to think twice about holding the salt.

I’m often asked about whether consuming sports drinks gives us all the salt we need while we are exercising. The answer is a resounding no. Most sports drinks contain only around 300 mg of sodium per liter of fluid, four times less than the saltiness of our sweat (or around 1,200 mg of sodium per liter of sweat). The reason sports drinks are missing an extra 900 mg of sodium or so is because no one wants to drink something that tastes like sweat. It’s literally too salty, so the manufacturers of sports drinks simply leave that extra sodium out.

Closing that sodium gap is where you may find your competitive advantage. And dosing yourself with salt prior to and during exercise may be the best way to close that gap. The average person may lose about a half of a teaspoon of salt per hour of exercise in sweat. If the loss of salt through sweat is not replaced this may lead to symptoms such as exercise intolerance, muscle spasms and cramps, fatigue, elevated heart rate, dizziness, hypotension, heat stroke and even circulatory collapse. The average person may also lose about 50 mcg of iodine per hour of exercise in sweat (which is why I recommend Redmond Real Salt, which contains almost this exact amount of iodine per half teaspoonful of salt). Preventing the depletion of salt and iodine that occurs through sweating is a great strategy to help reduce the risk of overtraining syndrome and even potentially hypothyroidism. You can drink the salt, or simply put it on the food you eat before or after working out. While I lay out a more precise salt dosing regimen based on ambient temperature in my book, The Salt Fix, this is a good place to start.

By Dr James DiNicolantonio author of The Salt Fix

Article from mbg mindbodygreen

ps I have just started using Harker Wholefoods Celtic & New Zealand natural sea salt enriched with NZ deep water sea kelp. It has 84 known minerals & trace elements & naturally rich in iodine. No chemicals, additives or preservatives.

Sweet tooth causes mass deforestation in Africa

A farmer holds an open cocoa pod at his farm in Anyama, Ivory Coast. 

West Africa's Ivory Coast has lost 80% of its rainforest as a result of a worldwide demand for chocolate. 


The ever-growing chocolate industry is having disastrous effects on Ivory Coast’s protected rainforest. Throughout the West African country, national parks are rapidly being deforested to make way for cocoa plants. These illegal beans are then mixed with legal ones and sold to big chocolate brands including Nestlé, Herschel and Mars, reports The Guardian.

With 40% of the world’s cocoa originating from Ivory Coast, it’s no surprise that since 1960 the country’s rainforest has reduced by over 80%. Where rainforest initially covered a quarter of Ivory Coast, it now covers less than 4%. This has severe repercussions on wildlife and plant species, presenting a gloomy outlook for the future; environmental group Mighty Earth estimate that by 2030 Ivory Coast will have no rainforest left at all.

Ethical issues also surround the illegal deforestation, wherein local farmers and residents lose their precious forest for chocolate bars they cannot afford to buy.

In light of the recent revelations, Nestlé issued a statement declaring they regard deforestation as “one of the most serious environmental challenges facing the world.” Chief Sustainability officer at Mars, Barry Parkin, agreed with his competitor: “Sustainable cocoa is too big a challenge for any one company to address,” he said. “That is why we are partnering with others in the industry to try and drive change at a global scale.”

Along with Herschel, the two chocolate businesses said they intend to sustainably source 100% of their cocoa by 2020.


August 31, 2017

If you're a woman who regularly practices yoga, a new study published in Environmental Health Perspective last week may have sounded a few alarm bells: Apparently, there are chemicals in yoga mats that can make it more difficult to get pregnant.

These chemicals are called organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs), and they're a class of chemicals found in most yoga mats. So while your mat won't catch fire while you're in downward-facing dog, it probably is slightly toxic. In an attempt to find out what impact PFRs have on fertility, researchers followed 211 women who were trying to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The researchers tested for metabolites of PFRs in each woman's urine, and they found that the women with higher levels of these metabolites were 31 percent less likely to have the embryo successfully implant in the uterus, 10 percent less likely to achieve fertilization, 41 percent less likely to get pregnant, and a 38 percent less likely to give live birth. Yikes. 

Can you do anything about the chemicals you've already been exposed to?

If you hit the yoga mat seven days a week and don't love the results of this study, Aviva Romm, M.D. and natural women's health expert, notes that PFRs aren't only in yoga mats. "Flame retardant chemicals are everywhere," she says. "And yes, it's a real risk. Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about the ones we’ve been exposed to, per se, but we can keep our detox systems and elimination healthy and strong."

Erica Chidi Cohen, doula and co-founder of the reproductive wellness company LOOM, says that you should evaluate how much time you're actually spending on your yoga mat. "I like to get people to adopt a 70/30 rule," she says. "So if someone is working out every single day and using a yoga mat at a studio that probably contains PFRs, buy your own mat. If you’re doing yoga only three or four times a month and don’t want to make the investment, maybe it’s not worth it. So it’s really about how often you’re using that product. But we can and should do our best to avoid them whenever and however we can."

What you should know about PFRs if you're trying to get pregnant.

When it comes to fertility, Cohen says the most important thing women can do is lower their stress levels. "The No. 1 thing we’re trying to reduce for people trying to get pregnant is anxiety," she says. "While that study is helpful—because knowing more about chemicals and solvents and how they impact your fertility is always important—in terms of being alarmed, I wouldn’t necessarily go on red alert, but I would definitely look more closely at every yoga mat I do have and try to make a quick switch. There are tons of great natural yoga mats out there!"

If you're in the market for an all-natural, chemical-free yoga mat, you have options. Manduka has an excellent selection of nontoxic rubber yoga mats, as does Jade and Yoloha, which makes cork yoga mats. 

The reality is that while there are plenty of toxic yoga mats, there's no need for a yoga-related meltdown. After all, yoga is supposed to lower your stress—and you can avoid PFRs a lot more easily than you think.




Normally I'm not one for detoxing as the body does an amazing job constantly! But after a fabulous holiday which included much over indulging I feel like I'm going to give my liver and other organs a helping hand to start the Spring Season with a little more vitality and energy.

I like the following guideline from MBG by Tiffany Cruikshank and decided that I would be more likely to follow through if I had a plan :) 

After an inspiring evening from Dr Libby Weaver last night, I purchased her Bio Blends Liver Love, and I shall use Welleco's Alkalising Greens and Protein Powder and the Detoxify Tea Blend from So modify the following plan from Tiffany Cruikshank as you need to and join me! Take it away Tiffany ...

Below is my 7 day detox, I recommend reading it through and tweaking it a little to fit your lifestyle if you need to. Remember anything you do will be helpful but try to make a plan that you can stick to. The most important items I recommend are doing the smoothies, not eating after 7pm, trying to keep dinner smaller than breakfast & lunch and the Gymnema is key for the sugar cravings and balancing the blood sugar so you feel better in the process.   

7 Day Detox

Yes: Veggies, fruit, nuts, water and plenty of fresh, organic, local produce

No: Sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, artificial sweeteners

Water: Half your body weight in ounces daily 

Day 1-2 & 6-7:

  • 7-8am: smoothie
  • 10-11am: snack
  • 12-1pm: steamed veggies & nuts for lunch with olive oil, lemon and sea salt
  • 3-4pm: snack
  • 6-7pm: smoothie

Day 3-5:

  • 7-8am: smoothie
  • 10-11am: snack
  • 12-1pm: smoothie
  • 3-4pm: snack
  • 6-7pm: smoothie

Snacks: a piece of fruit & nuts, celery & almond butter, snap peas & nuts, rice crackers & hummus, plain rice cake with almond butter, steamed veggies & nuts, avocado with sea salt, even just a few nuts will do if you don’t have time to plan ahead 

Simple Smoothie:

  • Fresh or frozen fruit (½ a banana or ¼ avocado make a good creamy base)
  • Veggies (pick 2-4:spinach, cucumber, kale, chard, collard, fennel, celery, carrot, parsley, mint, avocado, etc- careful with some of those if you don’t have a heavy duty blender like a Vitamix)
  • Handful of hemp seeds, almonds or walnuts
  • 2 scoops Mediclear Plus protein powder by Thorne
  • Water to desired consistency (maybe half coconut water)
  • Greens powder supplement (Earth’s Promise, Vitamineral Greens, Greens First or Paleogreens)

With Meals (optional): Liver-GI Detox by Pure Encapsulations 1 pill 3xs a day with meals/smoothies, Gymnema Sylvestre 400-1000mg 3xs a day with meals/smoothies (to help balance the blood sugar and eliminate sugar cravings), B complex 100 by NOW with lunch (for an energy boost) 

Yoga: 3-6 times/week & meditate at least 10 minutes a day 

The supplements, greens & protein powder above are available for purchase online, just Google them.   

I love this detox because it is really simple (not easy) and if you’re busy and don’t have a lot of time to cook and prepare food this detox is for you. If you drink a lot of coffee take a week to ween off prior to the detox don’t just go cold turkey. The gymnema will help a lot with the food cravings & appetite and will help regulate the blood sugar so you feel better during the detox.   

Since you won’t be spending as much time cooking or eating out, try to keep it simple and enjoy your down time even if it’s brief. Feel free to modify this detox as you need to (make it longer/shorter, easier/harder, etc), doing part of it is better than nothing at all. 

When you’re finished you can continue on the day 1& 2 regimen as long as you like if you’re feeling good. I find that I get hooked on it and like to continue it this way for a while and maybe take a day off here and there to have a glass of wine from time to time.   

Happy Detoxing!  

Deep Ties to the Earth: How One Northern Cree Tribe Finds Peace of Mind

Dreamcatcher in natural light


A new study reveals that the community’s strength and resilience are tied to the people’s spiritual openness, community engagement, and connection to the land.

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money. — Cree Proverb

In northern Ontario, near Hudson Bay, lies a remote, fly-in only Cree community with significantly lower rates of depression and suicide than other aboriginal communities in the area. In an effort to understand why this is so, a couple of researchers obtained grant funding, ventured into the area and asked the community members themselves. The findings of their study are published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.

The researchers wanted to avoid the Western medical model of focusing on pathology, or illness, alone, so they chose to interpret the participants’ responses according to the “medicine wheel” of traditional healing. This wheel reflects the four dimensions of the self (mental health, physical health, emotional health and spiritual health) as equal parts of a larger whole.

Overall, the findings reveal that the community’s strength and resilience in all four of these areas of health are tied to the people’s spiritual openness, community engagement, shared parenting, and perhaps most notably—a very deep connection to the land and traditions. In fact, most striking to the researchers was the way in which a connection to the land was interwoven throughout all of their responses.

For example, the community members said that their practice of harvesting and hunting their own food provides them with several important benefits: healthy meals, physical exercise and a connection to Cree traditions and cultural practices. They also believe in the importance of benefiting from the entire animal with one respondent saying “when people just harvest this for the sake of the meat and throw away a lot of stuff…they’ve lost their culture totally.”

Seeing wild animals on a regular basis is another fantastic perk, and the land is open and free, allowing people to feel comfortable where they are. In what was perhaps a particularly telling response, one participant said that the community did not “administer social assistance” as it has the potential to make “people totally quit from living off the land.” 

The land itself is considered a source of spiritual renewal and healing. The respondents spoke of having a way of life that is still in touch with the natural flow and rhythm of wildlife. A majority referred to their relationship with the earth as a spiritual connection: “when you’re there, it’s like your spirit, your mind, and your physical well-being – everything improves when you’re out there; it’s like you rejuvenate while you’re out there.”

Perhaps the rest of us can learn from these important findings as well and give us substantial food for thought: How disconnected do you feel from the land? Do you take long random walks in nature? Do you see animals on the regular? Do you garden—or at least know where your food comes from? If not, make an effort this week to forge a deeper connection to the earth. Perhaps you will notice a different state of mind—and even a little peace of mind.

Traci Pedersen is a professional freelance writer who specializes in psychology, science, health, and spiritual themes.  Some of her most recent work includes covering the latest research news in science and psychology, writing science chapter books for elementary students, and developing teacher resource books.  When she is not researching and writing, she is spending time with her family, reading anything and everything, and going to the beach as often as possible.


Most of the ‘breakdowns’ and chronic pain patterns in the human body occur in the joints. When you change alignment patterns, joints are no longer compressed and misaligned, so the real healing by the body itself can happen on a deep level. 

As you gain the tools that will connect all parts of your body with better oxygenation, nutrition and proper alignment, the bio-intelligence can then heal the joint tissues that have become thin, damaged or arthritic. The best way to do YogAlign is to walk, run, dance or move with a focus on maintaining upright posture. Eventually naturally aligned posture becomes innate and just the way you are naturally…. without effort. 

With YogAlign you can get back into good posture without painful positions, compressive twists or toe touching poses. You can literally breathe your way to a pain-free life.



Poor posture, chronic pain & tension are seen everywhere in the Western world, & sitting in chairs is the biggest reason why.

In the Western world, most people over the age of fifty have little suppleness to their spine, & lack freedom in their movement & breathing processes.This is because our lifestyle is built around sitting in positions that put our hips in a constant right angle to our legs. The L-shaped position taken during sitting causes compression of the spine & damages the spine's functional & supportive natural curves. 

After years of being in these static, unnatural positions, our bodies develop bad posture, toughened connective tissue, compressed vertebrae & nerves, chronic pain, & arthritis. These right-angled positions also affect our breathing process - the expansion of our lungs, the contraction of our diaphragm, etc. The diaphragm weakens & the breath becomes shallow as we lose the connection to our deep core breathing & spinal muscles. Poor alignment also invites us to rely on our extremities for support, forcing muscles to perform unnatural functions. We begin to over engage our neck and upper back muscles, leading to ingrained (and unconscious) bad postural habits.

Sitting in chairs is unnatural, often uncomfortable, & is counter to our natural design. Over time, we begin to adapt patterns of movement & alignment that are not functional, sabotaging the ability to move & breathe from our centre. Our nervous system becomes imprinted with movement patterns & positions that waste precious energy, impeding our ability to be at ease in our body. 

Unless you know how to reboot the brain's signals that direct the intricate posture & movements of your body, you are stuck with a less than optimal alignment on an innate & intrinsic level.

Contraction occurs when we have adopted habits or alignments that use muscles in ways in which they were not intended. To eliminate these habits, we must wake up parts of the body that are not doing their jobs & turn off muscles that contribute to poor posture habits. In YogAlign we focus on becoming aligned by teaching our bodies to do "less".

The process of yoga is about removing obstacles like excess muscle tension, or excessive worry. YogAlign is about creating a "sustainable body", the most energy-efficient body possible.

When we are misaligned, we waste our precious energy stores, sap our strength, compress our joints, compromise our organ function, & in the long run, develop a life of chronic aches & pains.

YogAlign focuses on:

  1. understanding how the body is supported & controlled
  2. teaching techniques to eliminate unnecessary tension & rediscover natural flexibility, tone & ease. 

Our bodies are permeated by systems of connective tissue that align our body through a balanced, tensile force. By practicing safe & easy breathing exercises & positions, we can learn to work with this connective tissue to regain our fluidity.

The above exerts have been taken from Michaelle Edwards's book "YogAlign - Pain-Free Yoga From Your Inner Core" books & DVD's available at

Possible Solutions for people who spend extended periods of time in chairs could include:

  • taking a five minute break every hour to stretch & do some deep breathing
  • use or alternating your work time at a standing desk
  • try swapping your chair for a Swiss Ball
  • Saddle chairs where you knees are below your hips 

Thomas Myers has more information here










Turmeric Latte

One the best things about winter is being able to cozy up with a soft blanket and a hot cuppa. So let’s make our next tea break an exotic health tonic that is sure to warm us up and tickle our taste-buds.

This delightful vegan friendly latte (obviously dairy free too) is enriched with warming spices, heaped with an entourage of healing qualities from antioxidant to anti-inflammatory and packed with the power to ease viral infections, osteoarthritis, heart disease, indigestion and the list goes on.

So provided you like the taste there are plenty of reasons why this hot tonic may make it to the top of your favourites list. 


The following measurements are variable based on how spicy you like it, we suggest starting with the smaller amounts and playing with it until you get it just right you!

  • Turmeric – fresh 3cm piece peeled or 3/4 tsp of ground
  • Ginger – fresh 2cm piece peeled or 1/4-1/2 tsp of ground
  • Cinnamon – 1 stick or 1/2-3/4 tsp of ground 
  • Cardamon – 3 pods or a pinch of ground
  • Pepper – small pinch of ground
  • Honey – optional (or coconut syrup for vegan friendly)
  • Milk – your choice of Almond, Rice, Coconut or Soy
  1. Add the milk to a small pot and heat on low temperature.
  2. Add the turmeric, cinnamon stick, cardamon pods, raw honey or coconut syrup, and pepper and stir frequently for about 3 minutes until the milk is warm, but not boiling.
  3. Remove from heat and take out the cinnamon stick. You can reuse it a couple of times. Strain the milk either through a strainer or small colander.
  4. Add more raw honey or coconut syrup for taste.
  5. Optional – you may want to go all out and froth the milk after all it is a ‘latte’, if you don’t have a conventional milk frother try a quick whisk or pour a portion of your milk into a coffee plunger and plunge up and down a few times to aerate.

Kick back and relax, take a moment to breath in the delicious armoas of your healing, exotic tea before you devour with a warm glow.

Thanks Mana Kitchen for the winter warming Turmeric Latte 




Why Some Superfoods are Not Being Absorbed By Your Gut


Quickly becoming staples in our diets, superfoods are often touted as the secret weapon to longevity. But did you know that some of these superfoods are not being absorbed adequately by your body, and may even wreak havoc on your digestive system?


There is a conundrum when it comes to superfoods – your body can potentially benefit immensely from them; however, if not consumed correctly, you may be flushing them down the toilet as your body lets them pass right through you without absorbing the important nutrients. However, with a little research, you can maximise the nutrition your body can gain with the right pairing or natural processing such as sprouting or fermenting.

A Tough Nut to Crack

Take nuts and grains. All seeds, nuts, grains, even the mighty chia and flax are coated with digestive barriers such as phytic acid and other inhibitors that make it hard for it to digest. Flax, for example, is hard for our bodies to break down so we have been told to mill or pulverise it in the hopes of achieving greater absorption. Unfortunately however, milling a grain does not remove the outside barriers that protect the seed, so these ‘super-flours/powders’ may still negatively affect your digestion. This is because the acids that coat the seed are often the culprit of digestive issues such as indigestion and leaky gut.


When it comes to grains, you can give your body and digestion a leg up by consuming them in their sprouted form. When you soak grains to sprout them, the harsh outer coating of the seed is broken down when the seed germinates, changing the nutrient profile. Sprouting literally produces proteolytic enzymes that assist the body in breaking down the carbohydrates and proteins. It also can double or triple the antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and proteins found in the grain or seed while lowering the calories.

Pairing Up

Pairing certain the superfoods with the right partners can also be helpful when amplifying the nutrients. For example, matcha has a high antioxidant profile and is great at revving up your metabolism. However, when a matcha latte is made with dairy, you might as well throw that in the bin. The calcium from the dairy prevents the body from absorbing the antioxidants and minerals from the tea. It’s best paired with a non-dairy milk or warm water.

The same goes for Turmeric. Turmeric is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties however, it’s incredibly hard for the body to digest. Pairing it with black pepper or healthy fats makes it more digestible and fermenting it takes it one step above that as it metabolizes the curcumin and 300 other powerful compounds outside of the body allowing for quicker absorption into the blood stream.

Jayta Szpitalak is a Nutritionist, Psychologist and Found of Fermentanicals. To find out more, view their website here

Article from


Preserve 2 pristine polar regions

Add equatorial rainforests (intact)

Set aside 4/10ths of the world's oceans

Sprinkle with reallocated military spending

Whisk in 1 energy revolution

Season with sustainable agriculture

Add fresh, clean drinking water

Let cool.


Recipe compliments of GREENPEACE


Bio Blends
Bio Blends

Do you desperately await your period's arrival each month so you can be alleviated from frustrating symptoms? Or do you struggle through the week your period arrives? Maybe it's both. If yes, you need to know that you don't need to suffer in this way. 

Your periods are supposed to just turn up - no uncomfortable symptoms or feeling like your usual personality upped and walked out the door. It is possible to stop your monthly silent turmoil.

It starts with recognising your symptoms and what your body might be trying to tell you.

If you are at the end of your cycle years and in a perimenopause, menopause or post menopause stage, it's also possible to experience a smoother transition - provided you give your body what it needs. Find out more about how to support your body through the stages of menopause here.

For those of you with period problems, here are some of the reasons why you may be experiencing such discomfort - and what you can do to support your body.

Bio Blends


If you suffer from headaches or migraines, especially premenstrually, this can be due to an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone and/or compromised liver detoxification pathways. This simply means your liver isn't able to efficiently process the substances your body no longer needs. Tension can also lead to headaches - holding your body tightly can affect blood flow.

To support your body, amp up your intake of anti-inflammatory fats from foods like oily fish and walnuts. To address the cause of your premenstrual headaches, balancing sex hormones and modulating your response to their natural fluctuations through your cycle is key - and this is where herbs can really make a difference. Cycle Essentials contains paeonia and licorice, two beautiful herbs that help to re-establish healthy sex hormone balance. They also have anti-inflammatory properties which is great for your sore head! 


Bio Blends

Increased appetite 

For many women, in the days before their period arrives, it can feel like no matter how much they eat, it's never enough to satisfy their ravenous appetite. During this time, they may also crave sugar or find that they are predisposed to emotional eating.

This change in appetite can be due to sex hormone imbalances. Low progesterone can affect our mood (progesterone is an anti-anxiety agent and an antidepressant), and for many women, a low emotional state can lead to emotional eating. An excessive production of insulin can also interact with our sex hormone balance and can drive changes in our appetite and cravings. This is one of the processes linked to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). 

If this sounds like you, then you may like to increase your intake of nourishing fats as these will keep you satiated for longer and help you to avoid the blood sugar rollercoaster that comes with consuming sugar. Cycle Essentials acts to re-establish healthy sex hormone balance as well as modulating the stress response. 


Bio Blends

Abdominal pain 

Cramps and abdominal pain in the lead up to or during your period can be painfully debilitating. They can be due to menstrual blood clots, which is often related to too much estrogen. It's the passing of these clots that contributes to the pain. 

The best way to bring high levels of estrogen back to an optimal level is by supporting the liver to process any old forms of estrogen that may be cycling around our body, and by increasing your progesterone levels to help even out the delicate dance between estrogen and progesterone that occurs in your body each month. It can also be beneficial to make sure you are getting enough magnesium as this nutrient will help to relax your muscles and work to reduce the severity of the cramping. 

In the Bio Blends range, both Cycle Essentials and Liver Love work with your body to assist these processes - the herbs in Cycle Essentials support great progesterone production and help to relieve painful menstruation, and Liver Love supports your liver to detoxify any old forms of estrogen the body no longer requires. Cycle Essentials can also be wonderfully supportive for women with endometriosis. 


Bio Blends


If you experience acne or pimples with your period, particularly if they appear around your jawline, it can indicate an imbalance in your estrogen and progesterone levels. It can also be due to elevated androgens, which tends to affect women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). 

In addition to balancing sex hormones, usually the liver and digestion also need additional support as they are involved in the detoxification and elimination of our sex hormones and other problematic substances. Our skin is simply another pathway for elimination. 

In the Bio Blends range, both Cycle Essentials and Liver Love work with your body to help prevent hormonal acne. The herbs in Cycle Essentials work synergistically to modulate sex hormones, and have been shown to regulate ovarian production of androgens, while Liver Love supports your liver to detoxify any old forms of estrogen that your body no longer requires. 


Bio Blends

Breast pain 

Swollen or sore breasts in the lead up to menstruation can indicate excess estrogen and/or low progesterone.

You may like to look at the things in your life that are causing you stress and what you can do to reduce these stressors, as our body's natural stress response hinders adrenalproduction of progesterone. Even just a busy life with no downtime can activate our stress response. The combination of food and herbs Dr Libby chose to use in Cycle Essentials provide your body with additional support to rebalance your progesterone and estrogen levels. Liver Love also works wonderfully alongside Cycle Essentials to support estrogen detoxification and elimination. 


Bio Blends

Mood changes 

Mood changes with your period can leave you feeling like you swing from feeling happy, to sad, to angry - all in the space of what feels like about three seconds. The causes of such drastic mood changes are often a combination of low progesterone, high estrogen and high cortisol, a stress hormone. 

To support your body, mind and soul, embrace restorative practices such as diaphragmatic breathing, yoga, tai chi and meditation - stress reduction is essential to support optimal adrenal production of progesterone. Eliminating caffeine can also be hugely beneficial - try eliminating this for two menstrual cycles to see how it affects you. 

Cycle Essentials can provide additional support as it helps with optimal production of progesterone, which has powerful anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects, and the herbal ingredients also work together to support the adrenal glands, which produce many hormones, including stress and sex hormones.


Bio Blends

Fluid retention 

It is not possible to gain three kilos of body fat in a day, yet for those women who suffer from fluid retention it can certainly feel like that is the case. If you experience fluid retention around your period this can be due to many factors, including poor progesterone production, sluggish lymphatic flow, mineral deficiencies or a congested liver. 

To support your body to restore balance from fluid retention you want to make sure you are making enough progesterone as this hormone acts as a diuretic (among many other functions), assisting your body to eliminate the excess fluid. The combination of food and herbs in Cycle Essentials will work with your body to produce optimal levels of progesterone. To stimulate your lymphatic flow, daily walks, diaphragmatic breathing or bouncing on a trampoline can be helpful and be sure to increase your intake of leafy greens - both to amp up your mineral intake and support your liver. 


Remember, the symptoms our body gives us are its way of letting us know when it needs some extra support. 

If you suffer from uncomfortable symptoms associated with your period, you may benefit from taking Cycle Essentials. It can often take two to three menstrual cycles for noticeable changes to take place in your body so you may like to take advantage of our special three-month bundle offer here

We hope the above offered you some insight into where your body may need support. 

With warmth, 

The Bio Blends Team 







We recently received this email from one of our customers who had been having a terrible time with her periods – while our hearts went out to her for just how much she had been suffering, we were thrilled to hear about the changes she has experienced. We’ve included the email below with her permission. 


Hi Dr Libby and team, 

Ever since I was a teenager I have had terrible periods although they have worsened over time. For many months each year I had extreme back and chest pain for about two weeks leading up to menstruation. Then the day that I started, I’d usually either pass out or vomit and experienced extreme body temperatures (I would suddenly start sweating from every pore making puddles of sweat on the floor in minutes) due to the intensity of the pain. My cycle was not regular so I never knew when I was going to experience these symptoms. It's really hard to explain to colleagues that I didn't need an ambulance after passing out at work! I have tried many different things through the years to alleviate these symptoms...extreme diets, cutting out caffeine and alcohol for months, several different birth control pills, massage, constantly taking pain medication so it was always in my system just in case, Chinese herbs and I even went to a doctor to discuss removing my ovaries. Some of these had a small effect on the pain level experienced, but nothing seemed to "fix" me. 

 I decided to try your cycle pills. I thought "why not try them, I have tried everything else." I ordered them as a birthday present for myself and I honestly can't believe how well they have worked. I actually experienced menstruating last month without any pain leading up to it and hardly any pain during it. This has never happened to me in my life (I just turned 36)! I am so excited to have found something that actually seems to be working for me. Thank you to you and your team for developing such a life changing (for me anyway) solution. 

Thank you very much for your expertise and dedication to women's health! 





I make up batches of buckwheat crepes in advance and freeze them. It makes a stunning breakfast come together very quickly – even on a weekday! My instructions for scrambled eggs will ensure you have gorgeously creamy eggs and a breakfast to rival any fancy café fare.

1 cup (145 g) buckwheat flour

1 cup (250ml) milk (dairy or non-dairy will both work)

¼ cup (60ml) olive oil or melted butter

3 free-range eggs – lightly beaten (for crepes)

¼ teaspoon salt

8 free-range eggs (for scrambling) – lightly beaten

200g slices Regal smoked salmon (feel free to add more than this to each plate!)

Ghee or butter for cooking eggs and crepes


To serve: finely chopped chives, avocado slices


Whisk the buckwheat flour, milk, oil, eggs and salt together in a large bowl until smooth. 

Heat a spoonful of oil in a sauté or crepe pan over a medium heat. Pour ¼ cup of batter into the pan and swirl the pan a little to spread the mixture thinly. Cook for 1 minute before flipping, and cook for a further minute. Watch the temperature of the pan. You are aiming for lightly golden. Repeat until all the batter is used. Add additional oil as needed. Store completed crepes, covered, in a warm oven until ready to use, or make up to 24 hours in advance.

Crepes can be reheated gently in a warm sauté pan or in the oven on a low heat.

Season the beaten eggs with salt. Heat a large sauté pan over a low heat. Add three tablespoons of butter and wait until melted and foamy. Add the eggs, leave to sit for 5 seconds and then use a spatula to gently move the eggs around the pan. Use long swirling motions, bringing the eggs in from the outside of the pan into the middle. Once the eggs are 80 percent cooked, remove from the heat (they will continue to set).

Place a warm buckwheat crepe on each plate and divide the scrambled egg among these. Add two slices of smoked salmon to each, sliced avocado (if using) and fold crepe over. Garnish with freshly chopped chives.


Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Prep time 15 mins. Cooking time 15 mins.



Shoulder Anatomy Animated Tutorial

In this episode of eOrthopodTV, orthopaedic surgeon Randale C. Sechrest, MD narrates an animated tutorial on the basic anatomy of the shoulder.


The Candida-Fighting Tropical Fruit You Didn't Know Could Heal Your Gut

April 29, 2017 

With its unmistakable golden cone topped with spiky green leaves, the pineapple is an emblem of the tropics. First cultivated by indigenous people in South America, the pineapple caught the attention of the Europeans, who brought it around the world, from the Philippines and India to Africa and Hawaii, where it took root and flourished. 

In Cuba where I'm reporting from, pineapple cultivation is on the upswing for export to Europe, supporting the incomes of farmers growing this fruit on the island. In modern times the most common variety of pineapple has been Smooth Cayenne, evidently because it's consistent cylinder shape made it well-suited for canning. Today, as fresh pineapple is in vogue, more varieties of the fruit are gaining popularity. 

You would think that this fruit, bursting with sweet flavor and enchanting aroma, would have some very special nutritional qualities. And you would be right! And vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium are just the beginning. Pineapples are also packed with the enzyme bromelain, which was discovered in 1875 and takes its name from the family Bromeliaceae to which the pineapple belongs. Renowned for its ability to fight inflammation, bromelain is often called pineapple protease. 

Naturally, pineapple has been prized in traditional folk medicine, which has inspired intensive nutritional study in recent decades. So what does the literature say? Here is a look at what the science has turned up on pineapples and their powerhouse enzyme:

1. Pain and inflammation relief. 

Because of the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects of bromelain, the earliest studies were on arthritis. Subsequently, an investigation from the University of Reading found an improvement in stiffness and function in acute knee pain for people using bromelain.

2. Liver protection. 

Research from Benin in Africa discovered that the fruit was helpful in correcting liver damage in laboratory rats. This means it can help support our detoxification pathways, which is never a bad thing. 

3. Multifaceted inflammation fighter. 

review from India and Malaysia explained that bromelain decreased key inflammatory mediators in numerous studies. For example, bromelain helped down-regulate an important component of inflammation called COX-2. In another example of its therapeutic impact on inflammation with soft-tissue injuries, bromelain was able to help athletes recover from bruising more quickly. 


Photo Credit: iStock

4. Digestion support. 

Pineapple has been long praised as a digestive aid because of its potent enzymes. In a rather dramatic example of this, a study appearing in the Turkish Journal of Gastroenterology said that drinking pineapple juice led to the dissolution of undigested food in the stomach due to the enzyme in the juice.

5. Improves bowel cleansing. 

Cleansing is paramount in prepping for a colonoscopy since an incomplete cleanse can lead to unsuccessful procedures. A study from Turkey discovered that adding pineapple juice to the cleansing regime significantly helped to clear the tracks for colonoscopies.

6. Fights diarrhea.

Research from the University of Maryland School of Medicine indicates that bromelain can fight diarrhea from GI infections such as the notorious E. coli. The authors concluded that "It may be clinically useful as an antidiarrheal drug."

7. Fights yeast like candida. 

Yeast infections are a major health concern. In a lab experiment done in Germany, bromelain demonstrated an ability to support the immune system and kill candida. 

To learn more about delicious fruit, vegetables, and herbs that can help reduce inflammation, check out the anti-inflammatory program in my new book, The Allergy Solution.




I tried the Chocolate & Zucchini cake this Easter weekend and would definitely bake and indulge again. It is dark and moist with Whittakers 72% cocoa Dark Ghana Chocolate, chopped up for my chocolate chips. Chocolate ganache was poured over the top & then a sprinkling of dried rose petals.


By Jennifer Pilgrim


Yields: 6 mini bundt cakes or 12 cupcakes

  • 1 ¼ cup flour (preferably gluten free)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (preferably coconut)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (preferably dark)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray or use liners.
  3. Use a paper towel to blot and squeeze zucchini dry.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. In an electric mixing bowl, add egg, egg white, oil, honey, and vanilla. Mix on low until smooth.
  6. Add in zucchini, apple sauce, and almond milk and mix.
  7. Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  8. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  9. Bake 22-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Total time: 40 minutes


Endometriosis: Why The Conversation Needs To Change

Heba Shaheed - 

Physiotherapist and Women's Health Coach, Heba Shaheed, talks about the importance of advocating and raising our voice, and how her own experience with Endometriosis has shaped her practice and allowed her to help hundreds of others who suffer in silence. 


What sparked your interest in working with women who were experiencing pelvic pain?

I have a personal history of endometriosis and pelvic pain including pudendal neuralgia and bladder pain. I was trying to find information to help myself, but at the same time I was a physio and I had seen patients with similar symptoms as myself and wanted be able to give them the best possible treatment plan – because we know with endometriosis, the answer is not just surgery.

A lot of the time it’s the diet worsening their pain – inflammation can be from the food you are eating, a lot of the time the muscles around their pelvis can be quite tight and the connective tissue and the organs can all be impacted. I wanted to offer a holistic approach that was more than just the surgery.

And open that side of the conversation – that you can have a good life just knowing what you need and how to deal with it, in a way that’s best for you.

In my case, I have had period pain since I was thirteen. It was pretty severe my whole life, but everyone told me it was normal and no-one suggested that it could be anything more than that. In 2010 it got really bad to the point where I was experiencing chronic pain in my pelvic area. From 2010-2013 I pretty much had pain every single day.

In 2010 I became a physio. So I thought – it could just be musculoskeletal pain. So I went and studied everything I possibly could from that point of view and that helped me and my patients.

In 2011 I went into women’s health because I thought there is more to the pelvis than just the outside, there is internal stuff too. I went and studied courses in women’s health physiotherapy, which is pelvic floor based. By 2013 I had completed a large number of courses in pelvic health and this was when I learnt about endometriosis and thought to myself, I wonder if that’s what I have?

So I went and saw a pelvic floor based physio and they agreed that it looked like I had endo. I went to a gynaecologist and she confirmed I had endo and I had the excision surgery, but I still had a lot of pelvic and abdominal pain. That’s when I started putting everything together- treating the musculoskeletal side of things both externally in the pelvis, back and hips, and also internally through the pelvic floor. I did two nutrition trainings and one was specifically in women’s health and endo, and radically changed my diet. The nutrition trainings looked at how gluten can be really inflammatory, and people with endo very often have a gluten intolerance.

Basically, it was my life story and my professional history, as well as my patients and trying to help them, that lead me down my chosen path.

Everyone is different. I teach a yoga-based method, which releases tension around the nervous system. It’s more important than stretches. It’s about getting the nervous system to flow, while lengthening and strengthening muscles. That’s where I am today and now I work collaboratively with some of the best endo-surgeons in Australia.

What is the most important thing to do when women are experiencing pain?

I believe certain things happen and I was given this experience to help change the world and make an impact in this area. I think the most important thing as a health or medical professional is to listen. A lot of people just don’t listen to the woman, because it doesn’t show up on scans. It’s important to come up with a plan based on symptoms not scan results. When you have a chronic illness you have to look at it through a holistic lens. You don’t want the endo to rule your life. You want to find whatever means possible to live your life normally.

What do you do when a woman comes to you presenting these symptoms?

When a woman comes with endo it’s a different kind of assessment to a normal physio assessment or women’s health assessment. When it comes to endo you need to put on every lens possible, you can’t look at it with narrow eyes. I listen and clinically reason. I try and pick up what’s going on and what I need to target. I might not do any treatment in the first session, I just listen. I ask a lot of questions to do with everything including their bladder history, bowel history, sexual history, their musculoskeletal pain history, fertility, diet, stress, other doctors they’ve seen and what pain they have experienced. I ask them everything! I also ask a lot about their hormones because there are certain symptoms that point to endo.

Their therapy would then involve a lot of things. One thing I do is nutrition and hormone coaching. With endo and pelvic pain, there can be an imbalance in their endocrine system (hormone) and an imbalance in their nervous system (brain and nerves). These two systems dance together so if one is out the other will likely be out. You need to restore balance. I get them to do a food-mood-poop diary. After looking at that, I can go ahead and make nutrition recommendations based on whatever their nutritional and hormonal imbalances are and then give them a specific dietary plan.

From the physio perspective, think about how the women who are always in pain hold themselves – they often move into the foetal or ball position. This makes the ab muscles tighten. The muscles of the pelvic floor and surrounds can also tighten so we look at this muscle imbalance. Every time you have a period everything down there contracts and your muscles go along for the ride as well. Very often, women with endo will have an overactive pelvic floor. So we do a lot of pelvic floor release work.

A lot of the time doing this can reduce period pain by 50%. Abdominal and cranial release work too. For all my endo girls I do a six-week pain education and exercise program, which I call stretch and relax for pelvic pain. Here I go through posture and how important it is, alignment though a yoga lens, getting the body to flow and open out the hips and pelvis but in a safe and controlled way, strengthening some of their muscles, and educating about the nervous system of the pain. Understanding pain reduces pain. There is no cure but you can manage it. Make the symptoms the best they have ever been.

Do you have a lot of women who come to you with a preconceived idea of what endo is? What’s the most frustrating thing you have seen in the media of how endometriosis has been portrayed?

There are so many things! The common ones are that the cure is pregnancy or hysterectomy. That period pain is normal - that probably frustrates me the most. I am of the belief that period pain is not normal. It might not be endo, but it could be another hormonal imbalance. Advice like have rye bread and don’t have white bread, this made things ten thousand times worse and is so frustrating to hear. Then there is the other end of the spectrum - you’ve got it, you’ve got to live with it and this is your life. Or you have pain, you have surgery and your pain should be gone. If you still have pain then it’s in your head and you should go and see a psychologist. So many patients come to see me, telling me they have been told that by medical professionals.

Then after 6 sessions of physio and classes their pain is significantly reduced. Often girls will have the endo surgery and their pain is exactly the same and then they are not even given advice on where to go and what to do about. They are just left stranded.

I think for so long endometriosis has been a surgical procedure (and yes it is 100%), but we can’t have the attitude that it is only surgery. It needs to be a multidisciplinary approach and a holistic integrated approach of everything. Your whole lifestyle needs to change. We need to advocate for ourselves because the doctors aren’t going to do it. We need to do this for our sisters, daughters, friends and future generations. We don’t even know if this affects 1 in 10 it could be more!

I run regular period pain workshops, I will go to uni groups and school groups and just give a talk about period pain. The first question I ask is who here has period pain? Alarmingly, about 80% of the hands in the room will go up. Period pain itself, you are not supposed to live with that! Being 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and you’re experiencing period pain that you’re vomiting from or you can’t get out of bed, obviously something is wrong.

It is a combination of the food we are eating, the toxins going into our body, the amount of stress we are under at such a young age – all of these things. Hopefully we can make a cultural change on this topic! There is still so far to go. We’ve got to get in early.

So what can we do to change the conversation?

Because it’s a women’s issue and affects strictly women, that means that unfortunately it’s an issue that gets swept under the rug. Now we are thankfully seeing women’s rights improve in the workforce but now we need to see it in health. It’s also up to the women! When men have issues they go and want to find out but women will suffer in silence. Especially if they are told it is normal. We need to empower ourselves and put our foot down. It starts with education, that this isn’t normal, then we as women need to assert ourselves and acknowledge that we don’t need to live like this. We should be able to go to work and be able to care for ourselves. We need to advocate. No one is lobbying or advocating but because our generation is more educated, I think in the next 10-20 years we will have what Deborah Bush has achieved in New Zealand.

We are doing this for the betterment of society, this isn’t about my personal treatment, but about how I can use my experience to help others! How can I change the world from what I have been through? I think if we can get (celebrities obviously) people in government, who don’t necessarily have endo, but might know someone with it and we can get them to open up about it, then they can lobby and start to make changes on a national scale.

When was the last time you saw endo being discussed on tv? The intensity and depth of endo is not appreciated. When someone says to me “period pain”, my first thought is endo and that’s how it should be. You have to work backwards from worse case scenario so that you can rule it out. We need to change the language.


Heba Shaheed is a Physiotherapist & Women’s Health Coach. The Founder of  The Pelvic Expert, she works in physiotherapy for women’s health and treats: Chronic pelvic pain, sexual pain and dysfunction, vaginismus, incontinence, bladder dysfunctions, bowel dysfunctions, constipation, pelvic organ prolapse and abdominal separation.

Heba is also an exercise specialist and is trained in Pilates and Yoga. She draws on this experience to create individualized exercise programs for women tailored to their needs, with particular specialized programs for pregnancy, post-partum, and pelvic pain. Heba works closely with some of Sydney’s leading urogynecologists, endogynecologists, colorectal surgeons, obstetricians and fertility specialists.

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As summer fades and we prepare for shorter days and lower temperatures, a few simple steps will boost your immunity and help you stay well this season. 

Slow Cook for Health

Now is the time to swap cooling salads and iced food to warming, nourishing dishes such as soupscurries and casseroles to give your immune and digestive system a boost. Make the most of foods that have been fermented or pickled and promote gut health. “Raw, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi are also great,” says functional nutritionist Jo Grabyn.

Try our favourite nourishing Autumn recipes here. 

Check Your Levels

The skin manufactures vitamin D when exposed to the sun, but shorter days mean fewer rays. “Vitamin D can start to become an issue from March because of the way the sun is angled,” says Grabyn. “Vitamin D is crucial for your immune system. If you are prone to colds and flu, suffer from allergies, or have an autoimmune disease, it’s worth getting your vitamin D checked.”

Combat Dry Air

Now the humidity has dropped, the air can be very drying for the nose, eyes, skin and throat. Grabyn says, “When the mucous membranes dry out, this natural barrier is impaired, and it increases your risk of catching a cold or flu. Staying hydrated with water, vegetables and fruit is important. It’s also vital you have adequate healthy fats to ensure the cell walls stay strong.”


Source: Yoga International


The psoas muscle has gained a great deal of attention in recent years. Wellness expert and holistic doctor Christiane Northrup calls it “the most important muscle in your body.” I became intimate with my own psoas muscle a couple of years ago, after developing chronic lower back pain.

Learning how to find the perfect balance between stretching and strengthening my psoas became my mission in life, and it led me to attend a five-day workshop at Kripalu with Michaelle Edwards, founder of YogAlign. I learned so many things from Michaelle, but the psoas lunge is my absolute favorite. It has become a regular part of both my home practice and my teaching. Every time I teach it, at least one student will approach me after class with bright, wide eyes and say “That new lunge you taught us—It. Was. So. Awesome.”

Here’s how to incorporate the psoas lunge into your own practice.

Step 1: Think: “The Opposite of Sitting”

I find it very helpful to keep in mind the phrase “the opposite of sitting” when I’m practicing or teaching the psoas lunge. Picture yourself seated in a typical chair. Notice that your hips are in flexion, with your knees bent toward your belly. Chances are that your back is resting against the back of the chair (which means the chair is doing the work of your core muscles). Your shoulders may be hunched forward slightly.

Sitting has been called the new smoking, and the negative outcomes of too many hours spent in this position are countless. Since the psoas muscle connects the hips to the spine (it’s actually the only muscle that connects the spine to the legs), it becomes short, weak, and tight from too much sitting.




Recognizing the negative impact of sitting inspires the question: What does the opposite of sitting look like? One answer: the psoas lunge.

Step 2: Balance Strength and Stretch




As a result of an initial visit to an orthopedist, subsequent physical therapy, my own anatomy detective work, and various yoga trainings, I learned that I am hypermobile—with loosely set hips, as confirmed by an X-ray. Overstretching had pushed my body past its natural edge. The experts I spoke to believed that to be the source of my back pain, and they suggested I develop a greater focus on strength rather than flexibility in my practice. That’s what makes the psoas lunge so powerful: It’s a dynamic stretch in which the muscle is engaged and active (versus passive).

With two blocks handy at the top of your mat (on the lowest level to start), come to your hands and knees in tabletop position. Step your right foot between your hands. Shift your left knee back so that your weight is slightly above the kneecap rather than directly on the center of it. You’ll immediately notice a nice opening in the front of the left hip here in low lunge (anjaneyasana). The toes of your left foot should be pointed, the top of the foot resting on the ground.

Place a block beneath each hand. Depending on the length of your arms, you may want to use the medium or taller height of the block, with the goal of making sure your hands feel steady and supported. Bringing hands onto blocks also keeps the heart open and prevents the back from rounding. Bring your gaze toward the floor and slightly forward so that the back of your neck is in its natural alignment. Avoid either pressing the chin to the chest or lifting it toward the sky. Notice your shoulders: If they’ve crept up toward your ears, allow them to soften. Take a breath here.

To come into the psoas lunge, press evenly into the top of your left foot, making sure not to let it collapse either left or right. This will lift your left knee off the ground. Your hands remain on the blocks. Stay here for three to five breaths. Silently saying “the opposite of sitting” can help you visualize the anatomical work being done in this pose. You might wish to draw your breath and attention to your deep core, envisioning your psoas muscle being both stretched and strengthened in this posture. On an exhale, allow the left knee to return to the floor.

Return to your starting point on hands and knees. Then repeat on the opposite side by stepping your left foot forward between your hands, drawing the right knee back, and pressing into the top of the right foot, with toes pointed.

Step 3: Harness Your Breath

As with any yoga posture, the use of your breath can greatly complement the psoas lunge. Since the psoas is connected to the diaphragm through ligaments and fascia, making sure that you are using the full capacity of your breath, with deep belly breathing (also called diaphragmatic breathing), will allow you to harness the maximum benefit of this posture. The breath works the lunge from the inside out, creating powerful shifts in your deep core.

Step 4: Sit Differently

Writer Annie Dillard once famously said, “How we spend our days is, in fact, how we spend our lives.” Be mindful that spending most hours of your day in a hunched, seated position cannot be balanced by an hour on the mat, although it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Start by noticing how you sit, and how often. When sitting, don’t lean against the back of the chair—instead allowing your core muscles to do the work for which they were designed.

Take regular walking breaks, try a standing desk, or sit up on a yoga block while seated in a chair (another one of Michaelle’s great recommendations for decreasing hip flexion). Sitting on an exercise ball can also be a good option, if the ball allows your hips to come higher than your knees—as that’s the indicator of the quality of your seated position. Be mindful of keeping both legs forward, and consider how tucking or crossing one leg could lead to long-term imbalances.

Added to your practice of the powerful psoas lunge, these various modifications to your daily habits may gradually have their effect on your strength, your comfort, and your confidence. And finally, you may find that spending your days differently will change how you spend your life.  

Click on this link for more information on the psoas by Holistic Doctor Christiane Northrup



by Dr. Ilene Ruhoy 8 February 2017


Many health discussions focus on heart disease. And while this is an important discussion because it can help many prevent heart attacks, just as importantly, the blood vessels that feed the brain (known as cerebral vasculature) are equally as vulnerable and in need of protection. And it is the health of these cerebral vessels that's important in preventing a stroke. 


Ever wondered how blood gets to your brain?


Briefly and simply, the brain receives its blood supply from the two internal carotid arteries that course up the sides of the neck and the two vertebral arteries that travel up the back of the neck. All of these arteries combine and form what is called the circle of Willis, a ring of vessels from which all major cerebral vessels arise. Before combining, the vertebral and basilar arteries also send off branches to feed the other parts of the brain like the brainstem and the cerebellum.


A stroke is a blockage of a cerebral vessel and can be devastating, resulting in impaired quality of life or even in end of life. The area of the brain affected by the stroke is based on the specific vessel that has been unable to deliver proper blood supply to its corresponding brain tissue. And each region of brain tissue has an associated function, whether its motor, sensory, visual, perception, speech, or cognition. There can be some stroke warning signs—but oftentimes there are none.


To prevent a stroke you have to tackle inflammation.


Known risk factors for cerebral vessel disease include elevated blood pressure, elevated lipids, diabetes, smoking, alcohol, obesity, genetics, underlying disease such as autoimmunity or blood disorders, medications and drugs, stress, poor nutrition, poor sleep as well as sleep apnea, age, or a previous stroke or heart attack. The common pathway for many of these risk factors? Inflammation. Many of these risk factors result in inflammation of the vessels, known as vasculitis.


So what can we do? Some of the very same things we do to hopefully prevent a heart attack can also help to prevent a stroke. And remember: Your lifestyle choices always matter.


1. Adopt a plant-based diet.


The vast array of vitamins, nutrients, and essential compounds that are found in plant-based foods help to lower blood pressure, improve glucose control, reduce inflammation, and help in weight loss. Try to minimize or eliminate pro-inflammatory animal products.


2. Normalize your sleep.


If you have sleep apnea, get it treated because sleep apnea results in less oxygen delivered to the brain during sleep—a critical time for many of the brain's functions. For example, sleep helps to form and retain lessons and memories from the day before. Sleep hygiene is important, so try to go to sleep and wake up at the same times each night.


3. Don't skimp on fresh air and exercise.


Regular daily exercise—preferably outside for the added beneficial effects of the great outdoors—is important to reduce blood sugar, lower weight, and reduce stress.


4. Avoid alcohol and tobacco.


If you need help quitting, please reach out for help or speak to your physician.


5. Supplement to fight inflammation.


Herbal formulations are great for preventive purposes. Boswellia lowers brain inflammation and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a powerful antioxidant that will work to scoop up those inflammation-causing free radicals. Meadowsweet and white willow bark are natural sources of salicylate acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. Important: If your risk factors are great enough that you need aspirin, these herbs are not a substitute.


6. Give acupuncture a try.


Studies have demonstrated the positive effects on cerebral blood flow with particular head acupoints.


7. Start the day with a juice.


Start each morning with a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant combination that includes turmeric and ginger, along with fruits and vegetables. It is the perfect time to infuse your hungry cells with crucial vitamins and nutrients to set them up for physiologic success!



You have the power to heal your body, improve your health, and prevent disease. So harness that power and take one day at a time.




We can’t wait to try this alkalising take on pesto pasta, perfect for a romantic night in - or a dinner party for 10.

You'll need

2 large zucchinis, julienned or spiral cut, preferably organic

24 fresh pearl onions, peeled (substitute frozen if need be)

2 cups organic frozen peas

3 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp maple syrup or 3 drops liquid stevia

pinch himalayan salt or good sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

To make

Using a spiral noodle slicer or a julienne peeler make your noodles from the zucchinis. Place in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Place the pearl onions in a covered steamer basket over boiling water and steam for 8-10 mins till layers just begin to separate and they appear translucent. (If using frozen pearl onions your steam time will be a little less). Add frozen peas and steam for 2 minutes longer, stirring at the one-minute mark to ensure even cooking.

Remove from heat and pour half the mixture into a small bowl and the other half into your food processor–be sure to divide the onions evenly.

To the food processor, add the olive oil, lemon juice, mint, salt, pepper and maple syrup. Process until creamy but not completely smooth, leaving a little texture.

Now let’s put it altogether. Pour the creamy pea and onion pesto over the noodles, Top with remaining steamed peas and pearl onions. Garnish your bowl(s) with fresh mint and freshly ground pepper.

Source: My New Roots & Welleco


You Need This: The Definitive 3-Day Gut Reset Diet

By Dr Amy Shah MD
2 January 2017


In my practice, I try to blend the best of ancient medicine practices with modern medical wisdom. This three-day gut cleanse utilizes modern science and Ayurveda. In both Ayurveda and modern medicine, we're learning just how much gut health is the crux of our general physical and mental health. This quick, easy cleanse will make you feel better in your belly, body, and brain.


1. Before you begin, do an intermittent fast.


Just like you, your gut needs a period of rest and rejuvenation to function optimally. Giving your gut a break can reduce inflammation, shed water weight, and reduce bloating. Studies are coming out all the time supporting the benefits of intermittent fasting, which gives the body a break for a set number of hours so that your gut can repair, reset, and rest. The night before you start your cleanse, I want you to plan to fast for 12 to 16 hours. This is easier than it sounds—a 12-hour fast simply means ending your consumption at 7 in the evening and not eating breakfast the next day until 7 a.m.


2. Start your morning with water.


Drinking water, especially warm water on an empty stomach, is one of the best things you can do for digestion. Warm water takes less energy to digest and stimulates digestion while detoxing the system and aiding digested food through the digestive tract. Start your day with at least one full class of room-temperature water before you consume any food.


3. Have a sugar-free breakfast.


Fruit sugars are OK (berries are best), but make sure they're accompanied by plenty of fiber and fat, so you don't have a blood sugar crash. Try this green smoothie recipe or this sweet potato hash. Buckwheat overnight oats are a great choice, as is a quinoa breakfast bowl.


4. Midmorning, have a cup of chai.


Boil 1 cup of water, then add in 1 heaping tablespoon loose chai tea. To this, add additional gut-boosting spices: ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger. You can also add nutmeg or clove. Strain tea and add a splash of almond or coconut milk for creaminess if you'd like. Enjoy!


5. Have a broth-based meal with probiotics for lunch.


Not only is broth mentally soothing, but it aids in the production of gastric juices and strength of intestinal lining, soothes the gut, and aids liver and kidney function. Choose bone broth from high-quality animals or a vegetable broth, and add some vegetables to it for a filling, gut-friendly meal. Adding 1 tablespoon of kimchee, sauerkraut, or some pickles to your meals is an easy way to work gut-friendly bacteria into your lifestyle. Try 1 teaspoon or less (it packs a punch!) of miso in your soup or sip on Kombucha, nondairy kefir, or kvass with your meal.


6. Don't snack between meals.


If you're feeling peckish, have another glass of chai instead.


7. Add prebiotics to your dinner.


Hunter-gatherer societies ate 200 grams of fiber daily, while we get 15 grams with a typical modern-day diet. The best source of fiber is from complex carbohydrates from fermentable plant fibers or "prebiotics," which are likely to encourage the growth of good bacteria already present in the gut. Endeavor to eat more cellulose fibers, present in the tough parts of veggies and fruit (think of broccoli stalks, the bottom of asparagus, kale stems, and orange pulp). The following foods are especially rich in prebiotics:


Yams and other tubers



Leeks (green and white parts)

Fibrous parts of fruit and vegetables


Try to include at least one serving (extra credit for two or three!) of prebiotic food in your dinner. These curried sweet potato noodles are a great option, as is this lentil soup or this squash salad.


8. Minimize stress.


Stress, as you can imagine, has a negative effect on the gut. When you're stressed, you release peptides that lead to increased inflammation, gut permeability (leaky gut), visceral hypersensitivity, perception to pain, and gut motility. Today, try one of the following to minimize stress:


Try a mini-meditation: Take three long deep breaths, with five counts in, and five counts out. Try not to think about anything but the breath going in and then going out. Do this two or three times a day.

Do at least five yoga stretches. Moving and stretching your tight muscles can really help get you into your calm state. I recommend a standing stretch, standing forward fold, seated twist, backbend, and a seated forward fold. Forward folds are especially helpful for stress.

Think to yourself when you start to get rushed: "I have plenty of time; there is so much time." This will give you the calm to do your task without being rushed. You'll be surprised by how much faster you are when you're calm!

When you get angry, repeat this mantra: "I am peaceful. I am happy. I don't let anyone change that."


9. Go to bed early.


Getting adequate sleep—more than eight hours a night—helps overall physical and neurological health and has a significant impact on stress levels, which will give your body the rest it needs to heal and reset your gut.


Repeat on Day 2 and Day 3, then check in with how you are feeling.


If you can take away just a few of these changes, you'll be setting yourself up for long-term gut success. I recommend minimizing sugar, eating tons of fiber every single day (I always tell my patients not to counter calories—count fiber!), eating more fermented food, sleeping a lot, and getting dirty regularly. Remember pills, colon cleanses, hydrotherapy, enemas, and all these other quick fixes aren't the answer. In fact, they can do more harm than good. The power is in your food and in your life choices!