FOODS THAT CLEANSE

Summer is the perfect time to do your detox, because there is an abundance of different organic fruits and vegetables. Additionally, when it’s warm outside it’s easier for your body to enter the natural detox process that will make you feel healthy, energized and ready to enjoy summer to the fullest.

Angela Berry, Editor of Ripped me knows all bout the natural way you can cleanse your body of toxins that accumulate during the winter. Here's to looking fresh and healthy.

Detox foods - There are foods that make your liver work at peak efficiency and clean your body from the inside out. Eating a variety of these foods daily will do your body a great service. 

WATERMELON

Watermelon is probably the best food for a summer detox. It contains high amounts of citrulline that help create arginine which flushes out ammonia and other toxins from the body. It’s also rich in fibbers that keep the colon clean. It can improve your liver and kidney function with glutathione and potassium, and it reduces inflammations across the body. Also, one cup of watermelon contains less than 50 calories, so it’s great if you want to lose a couple of kilograms while still enjoying something sweet. 

CUCUMBER

Cucumber is a highly alkaline-forming food with a high water content that gets your kidneys and urinary system moving. Additionally, a cup of cucumber has less than 20 calories, so dig in and start detoxing. 

RASPBERRIES

Raspberries are a very low-cal food that’s ideal for people who want to lose weight. They have a low glycemic index which means they have almost no effect on your blood sugar. They're also packed with antioxidants and polyphenols such as anthocyanin, flavonols, and ellagitannins, that have the power to decrease free radical damage.

MINT

Mint is not only a great way to cool in the summer, but it also aids digestion by improving the flow of bile into the gallbladder and to the small intestine where the dietary fats are digested. 

WATER

Water flushes out toxins, hydrates your cells and helps the weight loss. In the summer, your body needs water even more than during the rest of the year, so hydrate often. Water itself is a great way to rejuvenate and cleanse your system, but if you add detoxifying ingredients to it, it becomes even more effective. You can boost your detox and add some extra flavour to your water by infusing it with different herbs and fruits. Detox water recipes are quick and easy to make, and they will not leave a hole in your wallet.

SMOOTHIES

Smoothies are healthy, refreshing, low-cal and you can drink them in any situation. If you mix your fruit with some greens, such as baby spinach, the result is a drink that will nourish and detoxify your body for the summer. You can try making a green detox smoothie with baby spinach, pineapple and celery, or a mango blueberry protein smoothie with chia seeds that are full of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Blend all the ingredients and you’re ready to go. There are many different blenders on the market today, but I swear by my Kenwood Australia blender that has been my faithful companion through many recipes. Smoothies are really easy to make, so there are no excuses! 

 

 

 

Stay Energised Under Pressure

Four ways to stay energised throughout the day

In today's digitally connected world, we're always 'on', and if we don't occasionally hit the off button, energy levels soon find their way to ground zero. If only we had a payroll of assistants on hand, then we could take on the world like Beyoncé. Well, if you're tired of being tired, and want to give Queen Bee a run for the money (as if it's not motivation that her and Jay Z are now  worth a billion dollars!) then these tips from Eagle Natural Health naturopath Teneille Newton for maximising all the 24 hours you have in the day might be just the solution. 

Cut the caffeine

Sounds counterproductive doesn’t it? But your morning or afternoon coffee may actually be making your more tired. Research indicates having caffeine even six hours before bedtime can disrupt sleep – meaning you may wake up tired, craving a coffee – continuing the cycle. Cutting caffeine will help you sleep more deeply, and keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Skipping coffee may also help to reduce anxiety and stress levels.

Go for H2O

Dehydration results in fatigue and takes away vital energy required for regular body functions. Staying hydrated will keep you feeling alert and awake and feeling energised. Staying hydrated will also help you digest food, resist unhealthy foods, and keep headaches at bay.

Say om

Meditation is a calming activity that can help minimise stress, improve sleep quality, and fight fatigue. In our modern lives stress from work, finances, and family can result in our body producing the stress hormone cortisol. Practicing meditation, mindfulness, or yoga can help to relax the mind and release stress and anxiety from your day, and prepare yourself for a restful sleep. If you’re not one to roll out the mat or play calming rainforest sounds with your eyes closed, studies have shown spending time with friends and family, and listening to music are also beneficial. 

Bring in the experts

If you find it difficult to maintain a balanced diet due to allergy or intolerance, nutritional supplements can support energy levels and help to maintain vitality. Energy supplements using natural ingredients and containing important vitamins and minerals such as activated B vitamins, zinc, iodine and potassium may help to support healthy energy production in the cell’s mitochondria. Supplements may also help to improve healthy mental and physical performance, and help to relieve stress and physical and mental fatigue. Vitamin and mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

For more information about maintaining energy levels visit www.eaglenaturalhealth.com.au/health-wellbeing

The Period Talk...

The Period Talk... here's how

Siobhan Komander, founder of organic tampon subscription service Liverpool St, shares her top five ways to make the conversation with your daughter about impending puberty as comfortable as possible.

1)    Don’t procrastinate – “Talking about menstruation with a nine year old child is unlikely to be fun – but it is necessary. Research shows that girls are starting puberty younger than the previous generation, which means you shouldn’t leave it until your daughter is 11 or 12 before initiating the conservation. Many parents actually find it easier to bring up periods earlier in life before the 'uncool' factor becomes part of the equation and the conversation is more open.

2)    Normalise – “Periods are normal. 50% of the population have them and they’re essential for the continuation of humanity, so they’re actually pretty damn important. Use first-person language when talking about your period. For example, “I freaked out the first time I got my period too, but it got a lot easier”. It’s also essential to stress that although periods may seem strange and inconvenient or a topic to blush at, there is nothing shameful about them.”

3)    Don’t dance around the facts – “One of the traps a lot of parents fall into is using ‘kid language’ to explain what menstruation is or they avoid an in-depth explanation altogether. By giving them all the facts, you’re arming them with information and ensuring they have the confidence to know what they're talking about in front of more knowledgeable friends or peers in the future. The sooner young people can communicate about periods in a mature way, the better. It is also useful for kids to fully understand the purpose and biological purpose of a period if they choose. And explain that they need to change their pad or tampon regularly to avoid blood seeping through their clothes or more serious issues such as Toxic Shock Syndrome.”

4)    Pick your moment carefully – “Pick a time when you have privacy and you’re not rushed so you can have a productive one-on-one (or one-on-two) discussion. The car is a good place as you have their undivided attention, or even in the kitchen, cleaning up after a meal. It's likely your young person will appear embarrassed, so you have to rise above it and keep the conversation going as you would any other topic. Reiterate that periods are absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about.”

5)    Communicate openly – “Often parents will ‘shush’ children who bring up inappropriate topics of conversation in front of others. Instead, parents should encourage open discussion. If a child brings up her period in front of her father, it shouldn’t cause an uncomfortable silence. Dads should be just as much involved in the education process as mums are. They can shed light on what it’s like for their daughter’s male peers who might be going through puberty at the same time.”

Liverpool St let's you have your tampons delivered, cos it sucks to run out! 

MEDITERRANEAN DIET BOOSTS IMMUNITY

How the Mediterranean Diet Can Boost Your Immunity Through Winter

I was thrilled when Naturopath and Herbalist and Organic Food, Health and Lifestyle Educator, Anthia Koullouros offered to write this piece for Health Bird. Anthea has a Greek/Cypriot background and knows all about the healthy (and tasty) benefits of a Med diet...

With a Greek-Cypriot background, I have grown on a Mediterranean diet, (what my grandparents ate) - plenty of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, plant foods such as vegetables, fruit and some nuts and seeds and pulses, pastured lamb and wild fish and seafood and pastured dairy yogurt, cheese, butter, poultry and eggs.

Several epidemiological studies have evaluated the effects of a Mediterranean Diet as protective against diseases such as obesity, atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome and cognition disorders.

Why? Because the Mediterranean diet is considered rich in nutrients necessary for a thriving healthy human being and is generally free from industrialized processed vegetables oils, refined salt and sugar, artificial additives and farming chemicals - ingredients and products shown to be detrimental to health. 

Photo from the Mother Nature Network

Photo from the Mother Nature Network


Winter can be a time of illness, fatigue or just feeling ‘under the weather’, a Mediterranean Diet may be helpful for supporting your immune system in the cooler months.

Some of the specific foods that make up a Mediterranean Diet include:

· Extra virgin olive oil. Possibly the most widely studied source of polyphenols in the Mediterranean Diet is extra virgin olive oil. Mostly made up of monounsaturated fatty acids, extra virgin olive contains a high phenol content which offers many health benefits. It’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have a positive effect on certain physiological parameters, including plasma lipoproteins, oxidative damage, inflammatory markers, platelet and cellular function, and antimicrobial activity – all important for building immunity.

·   Olive leaf extract.  As mentioned above, olive oil is considered an excellent source of both beneficial fats and polyphenols. However, due to the fact that many polyphenols are water soluble and not fat soluble most of the olive tree’s polyphenols are lost during the oil making process. Olive Leaf Extract however contains Oleuropein, a powerful antioxidant that provides immune support. Traditionally used in Western Herbal medicine to support the immune system and relieve symptoms of coughs, colds & flu, sore throats and upper respiratory tract infections, olive leaf extract is a winter pantry must-have.  Look for an olive leaf extract that is Australian made and ‘fresh-picked’ to ensure it is as close to nature as possible by retaining all of the plant’s phenolics that occur naturally in the olive leaf.

·   Fresh Vegies. Home grown or naturally grown vegetables (organic or free of chemicals), including fresh herbs such as parsley and oregano, weeds or wild greens such as nettle and rocket. Greens are rich in antioxidants and vitamins and minerals and bitters which enhance digestion. Lemon juice and lemon zest are rich in vitamin C and antimicrobial properties known to support the immune system. Mediterranean food is often drenched in lemon juice. Vegetables are consumed in abundance and served with every meal, raw in a salad or boiled or steamed and served with lots of olive oil and lemon juice.

·   Wild fish and seafood. Wild caught over farmed is preferable as this offers higher amounts of omega 3, and essential fats which have anti-inflammatory and protective properties for the heart, brain and nervous system. Whole fish is preferred over fillet of fish which offers a higher nutrient content derived from the fish fat, bones and organs. Be sure to consume fish during the winter months to ensure you’re receiving a high dose of nutrients.

·   Pastured lamb. A typical staple, lamb, that is grass fed is rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), omega 3, fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 and other healthy fats. These healthy fats enhance the immune system, reduce inflammation and keep winter weight stable. Only minimal amounts of healthy fats are found in grain fed industrialized farmed animals. Lamb also offers complete protein making it a great winter meal option.

 

 

 

Souped Up

Time to rug up and warm up with this delicious winter recipe that features multiple health benefits. Loaded with fibre, antioxidants, folate, iron and vitamins A, C, and K, you won't just be satisfying that cold-weather appetite, you're helping to keep your skin glowing and hydrated, you immunes system strong and your digestive tract on track.

CARROT AND LENTIL SOUP

Ingredients:

·       1 onion, chopped

·       2 cloves garlic, crushed

·       1 teaspoon grated ginger

·       3 cups vegetable stock

·       1 cup red lentils

·       1 carrot, chopped

·       3 tomatoes, chopped

·       2 teaspoons ground coriander

·       1 teaspoon ground cumin

·       ½ teaspoon turmeric

·       ½ cup light coconut milk (optional)

·       ¼ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped

·       Vegetable salt, if desired

·       Black pepper

 

Directions:

1.     Place brown onion, garlic and ginger in a non-stick saucepan.

2.     Add stock, lentils, tomatoes and spices

3.     Bring to boil and simmer for approximately 45 minutes

4.     Add coconut milk and heat through.

5.     Season to Taste

6.     Garnish with Coriander Leaves

 

 

IsoWhey has some wonderful recipe ideas that will keep your readers warm throughout the rainy season while also tackling the age old issue of weight gain in winter.

Mother / Daughter Fitness

Like Mother, Like Daughter: 3 Bonding Fitness Breaks for Mother’s Day

My first Mother's Day is approaching and it's got me thinking about the unbreakable bond we all have with our mothers, and our daughters. I'm now in the middle of three generations and hoping we all live happily and healthily for a long time to come. That means staying fit and healthy with workouts and good eats. Feeling good inside and out will bring positivity to all our relationships, including those with our mums. 

That's why this idea of mother/daughter fitness from Health and Fitness Travel, is an ideal post for Health Bird. The leading experts in tailor-made wellness holidays worldwide, shine the spotlight on three unique mother-daughter fitness breaks, which make for the perfect Mother’s Day surprise. From stand-up paddleboarding in Thailand to Bollywood dance classes in India, strengthen your body and your bond on these female-friendly fitness breaks.

Thailand: Amatara Fusion Fitness

Treat mum to a luxury tropical paradise in Phuket, Thailand to give her a complete mind and body makeover. Set by a private beach, allow her to explore breath-taking coastline views in new and exciting ways through yoga, stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking. Pamper her with holistic wellness treatments and let her experience optimal relaxation and healing with the state-of-the-art salt relaxation room and the world’s first Thai Hammam. With an extensive variety of healthy gourmet delights to choose from, she is sure to satisfy her taste buds without the guilt and the bloat.

India: Atmantan Fusion Fitness

Escape with mum to a tranquil corner of the Sahyadri Mountains and be truly immersed in the natural healing properties of nature. Mums and daughters can achieve their health and fitness goals with a tailored wellness program, from functional training and Bollywood dance classes to kick boxing and TRX suspension training. Unwind afterward with yoga and meditation, with beautiful views of Lake Mushi to calm the mind and enjoy each other’s company. Indulge with a selection of treatments including deep tissue massages, acupuncture and sleep ritual bath.

Bali: Ocean Soul Retreat

Exclusively for women, bring mum to this luxurious wellness holiday at Seminyak, Bali for a Mother’s day treat. Leave it to the experts to help her pick up healthier habits and de-stress through guided morning beach walks, spa therapies and massages. Boost your fitness with a combination of yoga and Pilates or try something new with surf and SUP lessons. Give her a renewed glow from gourmet whole foods cuisine that gently cleanse and nourish the body from within.

Detox the Natural Way

5 natural anti-inflammatory ingredients for detoxification

As we get older, our immune system starts producing small levels of inflammation in the body. Not only does this inflammation cause painful swelling and tenderness but it can also lower bone density, reduce cognitive function, and create insulin-resistance. Our joints and our intestinal tract are especially sensitive to processed foods with added sugar, salt and artificial flavours.  When your body has been put through stress, it’s a good idea to detoxify your liver with natural anti-inflammatory ingredients that can help to keep arthritis and chronic illness at bay.  

Naturopath, Erika Morvay, recommends these five natural anti-inflammatory ingredients for detoxification:

Ginger
Ginger is bursting with anti-inflammatory properties, and has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Studies have shown ginger may help to reduce inflammation within the intestines, relieving some gastrointestinal issues. Ginger is also packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which is why it’s a popular ingredient in detoxes. It’s thought to stimulate digestion and circulation. On a side note, ginger may aid in weight loss due to its satiating properties. Ginger is delicious in stir-fries, juices, and tea.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and bok choy all belong to the wonderful family of cruciferous vegetables. These mean greens are rich in antioxidants and are even touted as the most nutrient-dense foods on earth! Veggies such as cabbage, watercress, and cauliflower are rich in sulfur that contains glucosinolates and indole-3-carbinol compounds which support detoxification.  

Cinnamon
Not only is cinnamon delicious, it’s also full of medicinal properties. Cinnamon has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years as an effective anti-inflammatory. It’s also been found to lower blood glucose levels and cholesterol, reduce pain and inflammation, and aid weight loss. Cinnamon also has antibacterial properties that may help reduce symptoms of bloating, aid in digestion, and treat the symptoms of diarrhoea.

Liquorice
Liquorice is one of the most divisive flavours in the world - you either love it or loathe it! Extracted from the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra, liquorice is used in Ayurvedic medicine for rejuvenation and to soothe inflammation. Liquorice contains glycyrrhetinic acid which protects the liver and helps neutralise the chemical reactions occurring in this vital organ.

 Turmeric
Turmeric is an effective anti-inflammatory that also assists to flush out toxins from our bodies, and contains properties that are thought to help regenerate damaged liver cells. Turmeric is a great addition to Indian food and also makes a tasty tea or turmeric latte.

 Erika Morvay is a qualified Naturopath and Holistic Nutritionist. She has over a decade of experience working within the natural therapies industry and continues to educate herself to grow her expertise. She is part of the technical services team at Global Therapeutics (Fusion Health), providing expert advice to consumers, practitioners and retailers alike. She is also a founder of an online natural fertility coaching business, educating and supporting couples on their fertility journey. She is especially passionate about empowering and supporting women to live a nourished, fulfilled life. She can be contacted at www.erikamorvay.com

The 2017 Superfoods You Need to Kno

5 Antioxidants and Superfoods Trending for 2017

 

Move over kale, quinoa, matcha, kelp and kefir, there’s a new selection of key superfoods and antioxidants on the wellbeing block. Here are 5 ingredients set to soar in the health and wellness space this year.

 

1.    Royal Jelly

Royal Jelly is known to be one of nature’s most nutrient-rich substances. Produced by honeybees to feed their Queen, royal jelly is the reason she lives 40 times longer than worker bees. Royal Jelly contains all three macronutrients; antioxidants; vitamins B1, B2, and B6; minerals; and essential amino acids. Similar to honey, Royal Jelly is used for a number of health reasons including; healthy bone development, immunity support and when applied topically it can help to transform dull skin into a radiant, healthy-looking complexion. You can try using Royal Jelly in its purest form, or if you’d prefer to use it in your beauty products, try Burt’s Bees new Skin Nourishment collection.

2.    Watermelon Water

On the subject of Queen Bee, Beyoncé has invested in a new watermelon water start up. Produced from the fruit's flesh and rind, watermelon water is set to be as popular as coconut water and a major beverage of choice this summer. High in lycopene (a powerful and protective antioxidant found in plants), potassium and electrolyte minerals, watermelon water has numerous health benefits which include regulating digestive health, reducing inflammation and improving circulation and heart health.

3.    Ubiquinol

Ubiquinol is the active (more readily absorbed) form of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a powerful antioxidant that is found naturally in the body. Its role is to assist in powering the body’s overall energy levels as well as supporting the health of major organs, including the heart. If you’re feeling drained, Ubiquinol supplements can actually help to support your natural energy levels to function at your prime. Speak with your healthcare practitioner first to discuss your supplement needs.

 

4.    Milk Thistle

Fusion Health Naturopath and Holistic Nutritionist, Erika Morvay, says Milk Thistle is one herb to keep an eye on in 2017. The super-herb contains silybin and other antioxidant compounds that support the health of the liver and may help to protect it from free radical damage.

5.    Hemp

Predicted to be the superfood of 2017 – hemp is a plant-based, rich source of Omegas, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and is also free from soy and diary. Hemp seeds contain more polyunsaturated fatty acids than any other food and are the only food to contain Omega 3 and 6 in just the right amounts to meet our nutritional needs. You might have seen your favourite foodie blogger sprinkling hemp onto smoothie bowls or salads on Instagram, however strictly hemp is still not permitted for human consumption in Australia. If legalised in April this year, Australia will join a legion of other countries already chomping down on hemp, including the UK, the United States, Canada and parts of Europe. For now, you can make good use of hemp in body scrubs and facials as a powerful antioxidant for your skin. 

Valentine's Fitness Getaways

For the Mind & Body Conscious Couple - SUP & Yoga:

Amatara SUP & Yoga, Thailand

Set on the south-eastern peninsula of Phuket in Thailand, Amatara is an ideal wellness escape for couples looking to either deepen their practice or try something new. Boost your yoga practice whilst increasing feelings of sensuality, then inject some fun into your active holiday with stand-up paddle boarding. Return home stronger and revived, having experienced the benefits of healthy cuisine, as well as having been led through the depths of yoga and the highs of SUP by expert practitioners. 

 

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights in Thailand from $2,100pp. Price includes accommodation, full board, a SUP & Yoga program, and transfers.

 

For the Zen & Active Couple - Boxing & Mindfulness

Atmantan Fusion Fitness, India

They say variety is the spice of life. So, if you’re the kind of couple who likes to mix up high intensity with deep relaxation, why not combine them with an exclusive Fusion Fitness holiday at Atmantan in India. Indecisive couples can choose from a range of options to bring variety to their workout. After you’ve challenged yourselves with Bootcamp training and group hiking, why not silence your mind with private meditation classes. If you’ve pushed each other to the limit with a kick boxing workout, then reward yourselves with invigorating massages for a much-deserved treat.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights in India from $2,835pp. Price includes a Fusion Fitness program, accommodation, full-board, and transfers.

 

For the Outdoor Couple – Hiking & Mountain Biking:

Discover Recover, Morocco

Experience Morocco with your loved one on an outdoor adventure wellness holiday and explore a world filled with untouched landscapes, ancient cities, centuries-old customs and an inescapable air of uniqueness. Choose from a selection of exceptional tours like hiking trips to the Atlas mountain, city tours, cooking classes and mountain biking. Then recover together on a wellness holiday where you can unwind and recharge with daily spa treatments, yoga classes on the beach, surf lessons and a variety of activities from paddle boarding to group exercise classes.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 10 nights in Morocco from $5,170pp. Price includes a Discover Recover program and transfers.

 

For the Super Fit Couple - Bootcamp:

Marbella Club Bootcamp, Spain

Work up a sweat at the luxurious Marbella Club in southern Spain, where you and your partner will have fun whilst exercising in the beautiful outdoors. This comprehensive Bootcamp includes a healthy Mediterranean diet and individual support ensuring you and your loved one maximise your fitness goals. Twice daily personal training sessions and group classes help you learn invaluable information on continuing your training at home. Then relax together as you soothe your muscles with a variety of re-energising spa treatments and embrace the luxury Thalasso Centre.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights in Marbella from $4,735pp. Price includes accommodation and breakfast.

 

For the Spa & Fitness Couple – Fusion Fitness

Shanti Maurice Fusion Fitness, Mauritius

From strength training and coastal running to tennis lessons and paddle boat yoga, you and your loved one will never get bored on this exclusive Fusion Fitness holiday at luxury retreat Shanti Maurice in Mauritius. A tailored wellness program offers you both the flexibility to choose exactly what you want. At the end of the day, calm your mind and strengthen your bond with yoga and guided meditation overlooking the beautiful turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Then indulge in a selection of spa treatments from Swedish, Balinese or the signature Shanti Fusion massage, facials and reflexology to soothe your muscles and ensure you both return home fully rejuvenated.

Health and Fitness Travel (1300 551 353 healthandfitnesstravel.com.au) offers 7 nights in Marbella from $2,840pp. Price includes accommodation, return transfers and half board.

Pregnancy Christmas Wishlist

All mamas deserve these goodies in their stockings this festive season!

Book

The Minimalist Mom - How to Simply Parent Your Baby

As I live in a tiny space in New York City, I've tried to keep the baby gear to a minimum. For both space and budget sake. Although, I can safely say my mini-me to-be has a wardrobe to rival my own! This guid to living with less and enjoying your brand-new life with baby is a must for moms and mums trying to navigate an overloaded world of the unnecessary. 

Yoga DVD

Yoga for a Healthy Pregnancy with Emily Spurling 

I've continued to downward dog during my pregnancy. Doing both a regular ashtanga practice and pre-natal yoga classes has been a wonderful way to prepare for childbirth and stay zen during all the trimesters. Now that I'm on the home stretch, having a yoga DVD to engage with at home (especially when it's snowing outside!) is my new-mum mantra. I love Emily's calm manner of instruction and poses that are designed for a speedy birth. 

Emily also hosts retreats - you can purchase her DVD and learn more about her at Karma Being

Prenatal Massage

I avoided these for the longest time, until I was gifted on at my baby shower. After an hour long rub down at Exhale Spa in Manhattan, I now can't wait to go back. While I consider myself blessed that I haven't suffered any pregnancy aches and pains, it was still so soothing and relaxing to lay down and be pampered. 

Image courtesy of Lime & Lotus

Image courtesy of Lime & Lotus

Aromatherapy

Hanako Therapies Pregnancy Blend is something I spritz on every day. It's uplifting, soothing and calming all at once. As well as calming the heart and setting you on a path of relaxation - moods which have a trickle down effect on your baby - it smells just wonderful and is made from all-natural ingredients in Australia. 

 

Summer Skincare

Summer skin needs special care. There's salty air, chlorine, humidity and sun to deal with. 

So I've narrowed down my go-to skincare brands for the season ahead for those of you in the southern hemisphere. 

La Mav

There are so many products to love in this organic skincare range. Every morning after cleansing with the Sweet Orange Foaming Cleanser, or even before, I start with a spritz of the Rose Hydrating Mist. It's the perfect wake-up call to summer skin that's dealing with everyday oils, grime and salty air. The alcohol-free toner works to re-balance the skin's pH and diminish visible signs of ageing. Follow with the Hyaluronan Daily Moisture Creme to lock in hydration and radiance. 

Biology Smart Skincare

This genius brand balances the pH in your skin so it holds nutrients and hydrates with an acid mantle that acts as a barrier. The alternative is skincare with ingredients like sulphates, soaps, artificial fragrances.. that strip skin, lead to severe dryness and possibly infection. No thanks.

Typically, healthy skin has a slightly acidic pH balance of 5.6. Biology keeps it that way - neutralising chemicals and bacteria and keeping age at bay. I scrub with the Skin Smoothing Body Buff every other day and indulge skin in the Moisture Therapy Body Lotion after showering. For best results, apply to damp skin. 

Tata Haper

This purifying cleanser is my skin saviour. Gentle and exfoliating it's natural ingredients polish the skin to improve glow while purifying the complexion, ridding dead skin cells, minimising pores and maintaining the skin's natural hydration - a must after a day in the ocean. It's free of soaps, alcohol, parabens and detergents and packed with fresh enzymes, clays and essential oils. 

Spring Clean Your Gut

GUT HEALTH

By now you know that your gut is queen with comes to overall health and wellness.

But after winter indulgences, sometimes it's harder to get our digestion back on the right path. So Health Bird spoke to Amy Jordan, a nutritionist at BioCeuticals, and she offered these top five tips to ensure your insides are always doing your outsides a favour. Follow Amy's tips, not only for  inner beauty, but for glowing skin, happier mood, more restful sleep and increased concentration. 

 

Image: The Nava Center

Image: The Nava Center

1. Cut down on caffeine 

A tough one for most of us, but an excess of caffeine may cause an imbalance in the gut by producing too much stomach acid. Coffee has been known to exacerbate the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – if you're frequenting your local cafe or Nespresso machine more than once a day, try cutting back to one per day and see if this improves your bloating. If you’re struggling with fatigue, instead of reaching for a jolt of java, ditch social media from the bedroom, and instead see your bed as a place of sleep and sex only. 

2. Go herbal 

Swap out coffee for herbal tea. There are a number of herbal teas that can do wonders for your gut, particularly if you’re feeling bloated and irritated. Chamomile, peppermint and liqorice root teas all help to reduce bloating and gas, and support the digestive process.

3. Drink more water

Our body is more than 60% water, and the gut actually needs this water to keep bacteria and waste travelling through the digestive system, without experiencing unpleasant side effects such as constipation and bloating. While sugary drinks such as soft drinks are accessible and cheap, resist the urge to hydrate with these – all they do is feed the ‘bad’ gut bacteria in the bowel, which is exactly what you don’t want!

4. Manage stress

Did you know that your digestion is controlled by your entire nervous system?

When stress activates your ‘fight or flight’ responses in your nervous system, your digestive process can be halted and can exacerbate other gastrointestinal issues. Adopt a practice like yoga or meditation. Even taking 10 simple, deep breaths a day can help to lower your stress levels by relaxing your body and mind. 

5. Incorporate probiotics

If you’ve been on antibiotics throughout winter, or if your immune system has taken a bit of a hit, you may be experiencing an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. If the bad bacteria continues to be present in larger proportions your body may struggle to fight off viruses and gastrointestinal upsets. 

The good news is, there are plenty of probiotic rich foods that you can add to your daily diet with very little fuss. Yoghurt, fermented vegetables (like kimchi and sauerkraut) and tempeh are just some of these sources. A probiotic rich diet will help ease the imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. If you’re struggling to include probiotic foods in your diet, consider speaking to a healthcare practitioner about adding a high quality, multistrain probiotic supplement to your daily routine. Specific probiotic strains have been shown to benefit in different areas. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilusLactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium breve may provide temporary symptomatic relief of medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Additionally, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium breve and Streptococcus thermophilus may provide temporary relief of diarrhoea. 

 

Incorporating one, or preferably all, of this tips will have you well on the way to a healthy gut. A healthy gut makes a happy life!

 

For more strategies on how to improve your gut health, visit http://www.bioceuticals.com.au/education/articles

 

Pregnancy Eats

Healthy Pregnancy Snacks Sorted!

As I get further into my pregnancy I've noticed I'm wanting to snack more. While choc chip cookies and vanilla sorbet are on my mind, so is staying healthy. But not the broccoli type of healthy - although that's definitely important. I'm talking snack healthy. 

So, a little investigation and a lot of sampling I wanted to share my top five pregnancy snacks with you - that you can both make yourself or buy for those on-the-go days. 

Trail Mix

It's so easy to mix up your own trail mix, specifically tailored to mamas-to-be. My fave ingredients to throw in the mix includes: almonds, walnuts, dark chocolate chunks, goji berries, coconut, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and bee pollen. This mix will give you a boost of fibre, Omega-3 & Vitamin E (nuts), antioxidants (goji berries), flavinoids (chocolate), folate & magnesium (pumpkin seeds)

Barnarna 

Not only do these organic bites taste sensational, but the company's mission is to eliminate food waste from organic banana farms. And... the brand was invented by three sexy guys! With a range of chewy banana-infused flavours including chocolate, peanut butter and coconut, there's a bite for every craving. 

Smari Yogurt

Smari organic icelandic yogurt uses four cups of whole milk per tub not only making it superbly creamy, but ensuring you get just the right dose of protein and calcium in one serving. Ideal for your little babe's continuous growth. None of their ingredients are treated with hormones, pesticides or herbicides so it's better for you than a lot of dairy and better for your babe too. 

Avocado

Nature's green goddess is full of unsaturated fat and if you use your imagination you can adapt it to almost anything in your cupboard. Smash it on toast and add chilli flakes and a poached egg, slice it on crackers with juicy cherry tomatoes, add it to salads, or whizz it up in a smoothie. 

Cherry Tomatoes

I haven't really experienced any cravings, it's more like I just enjoy the foods I always have that little bit more. But.. cherry tomatoes have become much more tasty than I every imagined and I could just eat them like grapes. Full of Vit K, Vit C and folic acid, they also help purify blood and increase circulation as well as protect against infection thanks to an antiseptic effect. 

May Gibbs for Bubs

If, like me, you grew up with the beloved May Gibbs' bush fairies in her books, including 'Gumnut Babies' and 'Snugglepot & Cuddlepie', you'll be thrilled that the author's timeless tales that celebrate the Australian Bush are being bought to life on a range of kid's bedlinen. 

Wattle Pom Pom Baby Blanket 

Wattle Pom Pom Baby Blanket 

Bush Friends Flutter Baby Wrap 

Bush Friends Flutter Baby Wrap 

Surf's Up Pillow Case

Surf's Up Pillow Case

Peek-a-Boo Pea Cushion

Peek-a-Boo Pea Cushion

The capsule collection for kids and babies which lovingly honours May Gibbs’ original artwork includes bedding, blankets, swaddles, cushions, play-mats, sleepwear and Santa sacks. It's now available for pre-order at https://kipandco.com.au/

For more on the centenary of May Gibb's literary bush works, visit http://www.maygibbs.org

 

Healing Therapies for Mamas & Babies

The Hanako Discovery - blends for pregnancy and beyond.

Rachel and Willow

Rachel and Willow

Rachel Holm, is mother, an energetic healer and the founder of the incredible brand, Hanako Therapies. Rachel and her husband Jeff suffered an immeasurable loss with the stillbirth of their daughter, Sierra, in 2009. This put them on an unchartered journey of discovery, travel, the birth of their daughter, Willow, and the creation of Hanako.

Hanako offers essential oil blends for Mamas, mums-to-be and babies. The all-natural therapeutic products are a healthy alternative to synthetic scents, they smell divine and embrace the healing powers of nature.

Health Bird chatted to Rachel about these most divine, organic, chemical-free products that I just can't get enough of!

 

What inspired you to create Hanako?

Hanako Therapies came about after a move to the USA for a year of adventure. After arriving, I realised that I now had to find a new circle of trusted practioners - acupuncturist, massage therapist, energy healer etc and while I was yet to find those people I began blending for balancing energetic purposes and as a natural perfume. Having studied a diploma in Energetic and Spiritual Healing, and Aromatherapy and Kundalini Yoga Teacher training in the US, the worlds all started to come together and I began infusing the blends with knowledge from my studies and my intuition. There was definite force coming from within, that I couldn’t quite make sense of at the time…. In the end I had a line of 34 products.

 

Did you already have an interested in organic/chemical-free ingredients?

Absolutely. Not only from many years earlier, but a more natural movement after I fell pregnant with my first baby. Something changes within you when you fall pregnant, where you want to make your environment as natural and toxic free as possible. You naturally start to think not only of your health but the health of your little growing one and wanting to create the best possible environment.

 

Why is this sort of product important for pregnancy and baby?

You want to look after yourself as much as possible when pregnant. Knowing that what you are putting onto your skin is natural and organic and above all supportive of the journey is huge. During pregnancy you are dealing with changing hormones, a changing body, a possible change of lifestyle, so at times it can feel like an emotional roller coaster. Hanako wants to support the process and bring focus back to the beauty and miracle of the moment.

 

Tell us more about the four products in the Mother/Baby range and how they compliment mums and bubs?

I AM… Bliss was created for new Mummys and the transition into parenthood. Supporting your space, keeping you calm, relaxed and spiritually and emotionally nourished at a time when it can seem slightly overwhelming. I AM… Bliss is an elixir of 14 different pure essentials along with gem and flower essences, crystal infused water and bathed in a beautiful ancient mantra. Simply spray it over the crown of the head and on and around the body. Take a deep breath, repeat the affirmation “I am calm, centred and at peace. I live from moment to moment. All is well" and let go.

HAPPY BABY was developed for little ones and their sensitivity to the new world. This blend helps to support their emotional balance by the essential oils and flower essences used specifically to soothe, calm and uplift their moods. Simply mist over the crown of their heads, onto their feet or mist into their room and on the pillow.

GOODNIGHT BABY is a blend of soothing and relaxing essential oils and flower essences that support your little one to let go of the day's adventures. Massaging their little precious feet before they go to bed has a very grounding effect and the benefits are plentiful. It is also a beautiful way to connect and bond using the power of your touch. 

PREGNANCY BLEND is a soothing, calming and uplifting blend for the Divine Mother to be. An elixir that encourages the calming of the heart and mind as you allow yourself to “be”, bloom and grow, and embrace the changes that go along with pregnancy. You are a miracle creating a miracle. Spray liberally on the neck and wrists and over the crown of the head, letting the mist fall through your energy field. Take a deep breath, repeat the affirmation and let go. Affirmation: I surrender to and embrace the change. My beautiful body adapts with ease and grace. I am joyous, relaxed and filled with peace."

As an energetic healer  - do you believe these products hold their own energetic healing powers - how so?

I do. Each ingredient that goes into the product is a beautiful, powerful and natural product of nature, which in itself carries their own vibrational and medicinal healing powers, and on top of that, is then made with conscious intention, love and care.

Travel-friendly APPS to download now

 

The Best Apps for the Frequent Traveler

 

Apps have made travel so much easier, but there’s a lot of hype out there for travel apps that don’t actually get used but end up taking up space on your smartphone or tablet. So Health Bird teamed up with Cassie from Culture Coverage to uncover just what travels well and what doesn't!

So from one traveler to another, these are my favorites that stay on my phone no matter where I’m heading or just getting back from. Stay tuned and get your app store ready; these are my best recommendations for an unforgettable trip and help from keeping healthy while I’m traveling or finding the perfect place to grab the subway.

1.    Dark Sky

Hypersensitive radar weather mapping—those are the only four words you need. But if you’re looking for more, this app goes beyond charting the breakdown of temps during the day to show you the weather systems that are hovering over your head. With alerts that will let you know in minutes exactly how far away that raincloud is, Dark Sky is indispensable for a traveler who doesn’t like to be caught unawares. While to some the $4.99 price tag is $4.99 too much, I say it’s worth every penny for every time it’s saved me from a drenching.

2.    My Fitness Pal

I like My Fitness Pal for traveling and for my every day. Its easy-to-use step and calorie counters make my life easier when I’m trying to be healthy on the road. It’s always ranked one of the top fitness apps in the industry, and its partnership with Under Armour shows it’s the real deal. With over 5 million food barcodes in its database, it’s useful even when you’re overseas and taste testing new foods, and the simple interface will not detract from your jam-packed travel plans. 

3.    HearPlanet

With free walking tours in hundreds of cities worldwide, HearPlanet can make solo traveling really enjoyable, especially if you’re on a tight budget and aren’t a fan of big bus tours. Pop in your location and grab your headphones—it’s the only thing required to make a new city come alive, and it’s completely free. For those who may have trouble with the location settings, try a Virtual Private Network like those recommended by Secure Thoughts; it’ll disable any geo-location blockers in place.

4.    MINDBODY

If you like to work out while on vacation, MINDBODY is the go-to app for you. Whether you’re looking for a yoga class, a massage studio, a spa or even a local CrossFit gym, this app is a fantastic resource for picking up something that’s close to wherever you are. With a location-based system that goes off your zip code to provide viable options, you can check out different services, special offers, ratings and reviews as well.

5.    Citymapper

While Google Maps can take care of public transportation, it just doesn’t do it as well as Citymapper, and for a girl or a guy on the go, it’s a must. Citymapper has an easy-to-maneuver interface that offers real-time transit times from arrival to departure, as well as additional means of transport, such as bike routes and Uber availability, when you need more options. With 30 cities worldwide, it’s not at as widespread as Google yet, but where it is applicable, it’s irreplaceable.

6.    Duolingo

If you’re looking for more obscure languages like Zulu or Czech, you’re out of luck. But the mainstream languages such as Italian, Russian, German, Chinese, French and more are on the Duolingo app, and the lessons are very easy to use and learn from. With daily activities that depend on your skill set and language level, Duolingo is the best way to keep your skills fresh before a trip abroad. Duolingo is constantly adding new languages, though, see keep an eye out!

7.    Splittr

If you travel with friends, which I highly recommend, Splittr can come in handy. With a simple platform that is geared toward sharing traveling expenses, Splittr keeps track of the budget as well as who has paid what, and that’s all it needs to make sure your expenses stay straightforward. This app can also handle multiple currencies, which makes longer, multidestination trips easy to keep track of without having to do the conversion rates yourself.

8.    Airbnb

Airbnb may be getting a bad rap from hotels and bed and breakfasts all over the world, but I’ve never had a bad experience with them, and they always make my trips feel more authentic and less rushed. With places to stay all over the world at every price point (I look for a range of $40 to $100 a night, depending on my budget and whom I’m traveling with), I get a personalized experience and sometimes a local friend who can really open my eyes to a new place that a hotel or hostel just wouldn’t be able to do. Having the app is a bonus that allows me to contact my host directly whenever I need to get in touch, and that’s such a convenient perk.

Whether you’re headed somewhere within 100 miles of home or you’re off to the other side of the world, these apps are great tools that will complement any trip abroad.

About Me: Cassie is a digital nomad and avid traveler, putting to use the best ways to get around for the least amount of money while having the greatest time. Always on the search for new apps to help ease the burden of unknown travel mysteries, she’d love to hear which apps you live by, so don’t forget to leave a comment or recommendation below.

Follow Cassie on Twitter - @cassie_culture

 

Decoding Omega-3s

Just what are omega-3s?... and why should you get your levels tested?

There's so much talk about omega-3s in the wellbeing world that it feels like we're just expected to know exactly what the heck they are! In a bid to decode these 'good fats' Health Bird spoke to International omega-3 expert Dr Bill Harris.

It's pretty handy info to have in your health tool belt considering even the diet-conscious and regular exercisers amongst us possibly aren't getting the recommend intake of omega-3s.

 

omega-3-foods_dollarphotoclub_71010660.jpg

84% of the world's population is deficient in omega-3s, and according to a recent survey, more than half (52%) of Australians are not meeting the recommended 2-3 serves of fish

Omega-3s are a group of “fatty acids” necessary for overall health. Like proteins and DNA, they're a fundamental building block of life, found in every cell in our body. Most fatty acids in the body are made from scratch by our cells, so we don’t need to think about them, but omega-3s can't be manufactured; they need to come from our diet, like vitamins and minerals. Problem is, typical western diets don't include enough of these essential fatty acids, therefore our tissues are running on ‘low’. Much like oil in an engine, the right levels of omega-3s in our tissues keep our cells running smoothly and not generating too much “heat” or inflammation.

Not a good result considering omega-3s play a role in brain function; reducing symptoms such as pain and stiffness in joints; and lowering high blood pressure and blood triglyceride levels (a type of fat in your blood that can increase your risk of heart disease). Most importantly, they may be the main way to reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your cardiovascular system.

Know your levels!

The only way to accurately know whether you are consuming enough omega-3s is to test them.

The new Omega-3 Index Test has recently been made available in Australia. It’s a simple, self-administered finger prick test.

The target Omega-3 Index is 8% to 12%, a range associated with the lowest risk for developing cardiovascular disease. An Omega-3 Index of 4% or less is linked with a relatively high risk.

In Australia the average omega-3 level is low and falls between 4-6%.

Ready to test?

Omega-3 Index testing is available through select practitioners and pharmacies. Visit www.omega3.net.au for a full list of participants.

How to increase your omega-3 levels...

There are two ways to increase your omega-3 levels: through diet or by taking supplements. These essential fatty acids are mainly found in ‘oily’ fish. Make sure your diet includes two to three servings a week of marine sources of omega-3 fats such as salmon, tuna, barramundi mackerel and sardines. 

If fish isn’t your thing, taking a daily omega-3 supplement of essential fatty acids such as krill or fish oil, may be of benefit. The recommended intake is 250-500 mg of EPA+DHA per day.

Remember to always check with your healthcare practitioner to ensure that a supplement is right for you before adding to your diet.

Remember to always check with your healthcare practitioner to ensure that a supplement is right for you before adding to your diet.

ABOUT DR BILL HARRIS

Dr. Harris is an internationally recognised expert on omega-3 fatty acids and how they can benefit patients with heart disease. He obtained his PhD in Human Nutrition from the University of Minnesota, and completed post-doctoral fellowships in Clinical Nutrition and Lipid Metabolism at the Oregon Health Sciences University. 

 

Gym Bag Essentials

Health Bird caught up with yogi and all-round great gal Kate Kendall ahead of the Blackmores Running Festival this weekend (there's still time to register!) about what she keeps in her gym bag to keep her feeling fresh and energised during a hectic teaching and training schedule.  

Water – I always carry around a large bottle of water and try to drink at least 2L a day 

Water – I always carry around a large bottle of water and try to drink at least 2L a day 

Beauty wipes – I never leave home without my Simple Kind to Skin wipes  

Beauty wipes – I never leave home without my Simple Kind to Skin wipes

 

Magnesium – Blackmores Magnesium tablets are my secret weapon. Taken daily, they help my often over worked muscles recover.

Magnesium – Blackmores Magnesium tablets are my secret weapon. Taken daily, they help my often over worked muscles recover.

Healthy snacks – clean, raw and slow release energy snacks like nuts and protein bliss balls are my favourites

Healthy snacks – clean, raw and slow release energy snacks like nuts and protein bliss balls are my favourites

My laptop – I never know when I’m going to have 10 minutes to catch up on emails

My laptop – I never know when I’m going to have 10 minutes to catch up on emails