Fix Fussy Eating Habits

Got a fussy eater? Read on!

#in association with Blackmores

 Photo: Today.com

Photo: Today.com

Mini-mindfulness: Four ways to get ‘Ommm” with your Little Well Being
By Bianca Slade, Blackmores Superkids Cook

Think it’s impossible to get your kids to sit still, let alone meditate? Think again. Blackmores Superkids Cook, Bianca Slade (aka. Wholefood Simply) shares her tips on how the whole family can find inner and outer peace.

Taking some time each day to sit calmly and focus on breathing deeply and slowly has numerous benefits for you and your children. Research shows (https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/mental-health-matters/mindfulness) regular mindfulness or meditation sessions can help improve attention, memory processing and decision making abilities. It may also help improve children’s self-awareness and self-confidence, as well as awareness of others. 

So, what are you waiting for? Here’s four ways to introduce a little ‘Ommm’ into your family’s daily routine.

1.     Set a mindfulness alarm

It is easy for the days to slip away in to-do lists, extra-curricular sports and commitments. But regular mindfulness practice should become as frequent and common in the house as brushing your teeth or making your bed.

Ideally, set the time for some mindfulness aside before bedtime, as this will help calm busy minds and get the kids ready for sleep. At the same time every day, turn off all devices and aim for ten minutes of mindfulness practice.

2.     Eat mindfully

Children who eat dinner with their parents are more likely to have strong lines of communication with them and may even be less fussy about their meals. Research shows that children who eat dinner with their parents experience long-term physical and mental health benefits (Harbec & Pagani, 2017. Accessed from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171214092322.htm). Eating mindfully, whereby there’s no distractions, such as television or devices, can ensure everybody appreciates their meal and savours each bite.

3.     Be grateful

Tonight at dinner, try this mindfulness exercise: each person around the table shares one reason why they’re feeling grateful today. It’s an ideal way to allow children to express what they enjoyed about their day, and to bring them back to the present by communicating it with everybody.

4.     Go for a walk

A mindful walk is not just great exercise, but it’s a wonderful way to help calm busy minds. Keep chatter to a minimum, pay attention to the sounds you can hear, the smells in the air and any other feelings you experience. On the way back, you can discuss anything you felt or experienced to bring your selves back to the present.

Nutrients are important to support kid’s healthy growth and development. Children’s potential also comes from physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing. For more information, recipes and activities to help grow your little Well Being’s full potential, visit www.blackmores.com.au/superkids

ABOUT BIANCA SLADE

Bianca Slade is a mum of three (aged 10, 6, and 2), a recipe creator and owner of healthy cook blog site, Wholefood Simply. Bianca is passionate about creating whole foods that the entire family can enjoy, as well as recreating traditional treats and sweets to suit her family’s whole food ways. Bianca has published 10 cookbooks under the Wholefood Simply umbrella, including her most recent book Wholefood Simply: Natural Indulgence. Bianca has teamed up with Blackmores as their Superkids Cook.

 

Six Tips to Become a Super Work-at-Home Mum

Working mums - the superheroes of our time! They're the women who manage to have both a family life and a successful career. For some it might sound all too good to be true, but it's totally possible. 

By Claire Adams

Don’t forget to relax

We all need to blow off some steam from time to time, and when you’re a working mum, venting becomes an essential part of your lifestyle. Find what works for you, whether it is spending time with your friends, having a long bubble bath, meditating, or something completely different. It can be anything, as long as it helps you keep your nerves.

 Photo: Instagram @Chrissyteigen

Photo: Instagram @Chrissyteigen

Learn how to organise

Having a plan is essential when there are many things to do and not that much time, which is pretty much always if you are a work-at-home mum. If you learn how to organise well, you’ll never get stuck or lost in all your chores and responsibilities. Also, writing things down will enable you to visualise your goals and manage your time accordingly, so consider getting a simple planner that can help you organise your schedule much more easily. Even if you don’t stick to it entirely, you’ll learn from experience and will surely become much better at planning.

Mum, TV presenter, dance and founder of Body by Finch - Rachael Finch multitasks by staying organised. Photo: Instagram @rachael_finch 

Ask for help

There’s nothing wrong with getting a bit of help when you feel like you need it – nobody can do it all, and the amount of work mums have can often be overwhelming. You might think that asking for help will make you seem weaker, or perhaps you simply feel uncomfortable doing so, but there really is no reason for such worries. It’s completely logical that a person who juggles both work and family does need a little help from time to time, so don’t be afraid to ask for it.

 So we don't all have a glam squad on call like Lara, but seeking the help of friends, family, neighbours & partners can make life that little bit easier.. and maybe leave time for mascara!  Photo: Instagram @laraworthington

So we don't all have a glam squad on call like Lara, but seeking the help of friends, family, neighbours & partners can make life that little bit easier.. and maybe leave time for mascara!  Photo: Instagram @laraworthington

Think about the future

Every parent wants their child to have a nice job and good life, so one of the main things they think about is their children’s education. Education is extremely important, which is why it’s a good idea to start saving up for college in advance. Plus, there are always tuition fees and other potential expenses, so you can never know for sure how much money your child will need. One thing is for sure, though – you can never save too much, so start saving as soon as you can.

 Actress Jessica Alba is the founder of Honest, now a billion-dollar company and has her third baby on the way. But just because you don't have all those zeros in the bank doesn't mean you can't plan to put a little bit away for your little ones.  Image: Instagram @jessicaalba

Actress Jessica Alba is the founder of Honest, now a billion-dollar company and has her third baby on the way. But just because you don't have all those zeros in the bank doesn't mean you can't plan to put a little bit away for your little ones.  Image: Instagram @jessicaalba

Stay fit

Staying physically healthy can make it easier for you to stay emotionally healthy as well. Eating the right food, exercising, and doing sports will keep you strong and energised, which can help you cope with stress and deal with all your obligations. When it comes to staying fit and healthy, it’s also important to get enough sleep. This way, you will have much more energy in the morning, and it will be easier for you to concentrate on your daily tasks.

 Mum-of-four Rebecca Judd mixes family with fitness Photo: Instagram @becjudd

Mum-of-four Rebecca Judd mixes family with fitness Photo: Instagram @becjudd

Believe in yourself

When you are a successful, working mum, there is no room for insecurities and self-doubt. In order to stay focused and on track, you need to actually believe you can do so. The mind can be a very powerful force, and if you manage to maintain a positive and confident attitude, there will be nothing to stop you from achieving all your goals.

 

Being a supermum can sometimes be very exhausting and demanding – but the rewards are worth it!

Claire Adams 2017.jpg

Claire is a personal and professional development expert who believes that positive attitude is one of the keys to success. 

She regularly contributes to High Style Life and you can follow her on Twitter @Adamsnclaire and Facebook.

Healing the gut could be the answer to your baby's eczema

Could gut health hold the answer to your child’s eczema?

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If your child has eczema, then you know how powerless you can feel if they’re scratching their skin, in pain, or discomfort. By healing your child’s gut, you may be able to heal their skin problems, says Dr Cris Beer.

Children’s eczema affects around one in five children under the age of two years of age, with a red itchy rash and dry skin giving discomfort and irritation.[i] It can appear anywhere, although is usually present across the face, ears and neck, behind the knees, in the creases of the elbows and across the ankles.[ii]

While eczema usually improves as your child gets older, addressing the health of your child’s gut may be the answer in finding relief now.

The link between the gut and good skin

A recent study published in the journal Nature may provide some insight into how and why keeping the gut in good condition can help soothe eczema symptoms.

Why is the gut so important? It’s the body’s wellbeing machine, which supports our overall health, including our intestine, skin and our immune system. When your gut isn’t in sufficient health, your skin will then reflect this imbalance, with a dull appearance, or skin conditions such as eczema can be exacerbated.

How can you have a happy gut?

Keeping your child’s gut healthy requires some attention to their diet, to get and keep your gut flora balanced. One study[iii] found that children with eczema contained a different make-up of gut flora, compared to those who don’t suffer.

Probiotics contain lactic acid-producing bacteria, which is thought to have a positive effect on gut flora, and help to stimulate healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.[iv] It’s been found that found that children with eczema contained a different make-up of gut flora, compared to those who don’t suffer. [v]  

The study – a round-up of 29 studies[vi] of the effects of probiotics on children with eczema - by the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that six to 14 out of 100 fewer children developed eczema by using probiotic dietary supplements.

It’s thought that probiotics which contain the bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnonsus GG and Lactobacillus reuteri, are the most beneficial for those with eczema, particularly if it’s genetic.

Speak to your healthcare practitioner if symptoms persist. Always read the label. Use only as directed. Supplements may only be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate.

For more information, visit www.blackmores.com.au

Probiotics+ Eczema Relief (30).jpg

 

[i] https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/skin-allergy/eczema

[ii] https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/skin-allergy/eczema

[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2883099/

[iv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072584/

[v] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2883099/

[vi] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072584/

The two best sex positions for conception success

The best part about falling pregnant? The sex! The worst part? The waiting.

Speed up the process with the best positions to for making a baby.

 Image: Stocksy

Image: Stocksy

For the sperm to find the egg you need deep penetration and this isn’t just a theory, researchers have put the positions under an MRI scanner to confirm the tip of the penis reaches the cervix in your everyday missionary and doggy style positions.

A team from CMC Beau Soleil in France took MRIs of couples in the missionary position, which discovered it allows the penis to reach the area at the front of the cervix.

They also found that the rear entry position allows a man to reach the area at the back of the cervix. Hint – doggy style gives sperm a head-start.

There’s also advice out there about getting into some upside down yoga positions after sex – not always what you feel like doing. Well, thankfully Dr James Goldfarb, director of the infertility service at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, says it’s not really necessary. (Great, cos we’d rather cuddle!)

But Dr Goldfarb does advise against gravity-defying positions that involve sitting, standing or, umm, swinging, during intercourse when you’re hoping to conceive. He also recommends not jumping out of bed straight away after you’ve done the deed.

“It's good advice to lay in bed for 10 to 15 minutes after intercourse, but you don't need your feet in the air,” he says. “Your pelvis does not move when you put your legs in the air.” And hold on for the bathroom too… “If you wait 10 to 15 minutes, the sperm that is going to get into the cervix will be in the cervix.”

Sperm are quick little suckers and you don’t want them scampering off in the wrong direction because you’re desperate to pee.

So there you have it, mums-to-be, the two perfect positions that prime sperm for take-off. But if you have a few other styles in your repertoire too, keep it up, because what really makes a baby is sex. Lots of it at the right time of the month.  



 

Fertility tests are a waste of time and money, says new study

Tick tock. There’s no way to predict your biological clock.

This article first appeared on Body+Soul

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If you're a woman eager to know how much time you have left on the biological clock, you may have thought about ovarian reserve tests designed to tell you the quantity and quality of your eggs.

From a blood test, the AMH (antimullerian hormone) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels have long been used as a way to predict fertility treatment success. (You produce less AMH as eggs start to decline, and FSH rises as you near menopause, FYI).

In recent years, this “egg timer” test has gained popularity as a way to predict just how much longer you have before you think about combining the corporate ladder or jetsetting the globe, with motherhood.

But according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, these costly tests are a total waste of time.

The study of 750 women aged 30 to 44 years old, who had no history of infertility and had been trying to conceive for less than three months, showed that a low AMH or high FSH had no bearing on your chance of falling pregnant.

Researchers said: "Among women aged 30 to 44 years without a history of infertility who had been trying to conceive for three months or less, biomarkers indicating diminished ovarian reserve compared with normal ovarian reserve were not associated with reduced fertility.

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“I definitely was surprised by the findings,” said Dr Anne Steiner, a reproductive endocrinologist of the University of North Carolina, who led the study.

“Women that had signs of diminished ovarian reserve when their lab tests suggested they had a low number of eggs remaining, they were just as likely to get pregnant in six months or 12 months as a woman with a higher ovarian reserve.”

As Mother Nature would have it, you're born with all the egg cells, or oocytes, that you will ever have. Over time, oocytes mature and deteriorate, or are reabsorbed into your body. What’s left is called “ovarian reserve” and by your late 30s, your reserve is generally on the low side, and the quality of what’s left is often inhibited by age.

It was once thought that you should find out all you can about your fertility to take control of your future. But despite the voice inside your uterus reminding you it’s there and ready to grow a tiny human, the advice now for those worried about having a family? Cross these tests off the list of life’s to-dos - and avoid the added anxiety that comes with it. Not to mention that a snapshot of your ovarian reserve today has no bearing on what it might be tomorrow. So, really this test has no business masquerading as a family planning tool.

Caveat: The study focussed on women getting pregnant, not carrying a healthy pregnancy to term.

Sugar OK for kids before bed. No, really.

A new study finds that kids can consume high amounts of sugar without their sleep being affected.

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Sugar before bed has long been blamed for disrupted sleep, decreased attention, memory problems, bad school performance, hyperactivity, aggression, and mood problems in growing children.

But a new University of South Australia study led by sleep expert Dr Emily Watson found children slept an average of nine and 11 hours each night and their sugar intake had no baring on behavioural problems.

The study did find that kids are consuming above average amounts of sugar which comes with its own range of concerns. 

Results were based on 287 South Australian schoolchildren aged from 8 years old to 12, who completed a food eating questionnaire with the help of their parents.

“While a high proportion of children consumed above the recommended amount of daily total sugar, which is problematic for other health reasons, total sugar consumption was not related to behavioural or sleep problems,’’ said Dr Watson.

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“This study demonstrated for the first time that diets containing a high proportion of total sugar do not exacerbate the relationship between parental reported sleep and behaviour.’’

The World Health Organisation recommends children consume only 20 per cent of their energy through sugar. But this study found that the average was 134grams a day which equals 26 per cent. Time to quit the fizzy drinks and sugary snacks.

A diet high in sugar poses significant health risks regardless of age, but as it turns out red cordial before bed doesn't affect shuteye. Not that that makes it a good idea!

 

Activate your pregnancy

Activated nutrients - how to get the best for you and baby.

The word 'activated' has been bandied around the health world for a while now, (activated almonds, anyone?!) but how exactly do “biologically active” nutrients benefit pregnancy?

Health Bird spoke to BioCeuticals dietitian and nutritionist and mum, Belinda Reynolds, about vitamins and their active counterparts...

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There's a particular buzz right now about activated B vitamins

•   Vitamin B2 - riboflavin sodium phosphate

•   Vitamin B6 - pyridoxal-5-phosphate

•   Vitamin B9 or folate - folinic acid or 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (also known as 5-MTHF or MTHF)

•   Vitamin B12 - mecobalamin (also known as methylcobalamin or methyl-B12)

•   Coenzyme Q10 - ubiquinol

These vitamins exist in foods and supplements in many different forms. When you consume the “inactive” vitamin, your body has to work harder to convert that nutrient into the “active” form so it can function and support your health.

These activation steps often require other nutrients, certain enzymes and the absence of specific imbalances. For example, as a mama to be, when you take folic acid (the inactive, synthetic form of folate), there are multiple reactions that take place to convert it to 5-MTHF (“active” folate), and these steps need healthy levels of active vitamin B6, vitamin B2 and amino acids, while active vitamin B12 is needed for active folate to then carry out its roles.

Sound like a whole lot of B.S? It's not.

If you are low in any of these supportive nutrients, or have inflammation in your body or any genetic variations that prevent the enzymes involved in these steps functioning at their peak, then the benefits you can expect for you and your babe may be reduced.

Most mums to be know about the importance of folate, so they might take a folic acid supplement or consume foods fortified with folic acid (e.g. processed breakfast cereals). Folate is involved in supporting many functions in the body, including DNA health, brain, nervous system and mood health, and immune and liver function just to name a few. But because folic acid is a synthetic, non-active form of folate, simply consuming more folic acid without supporting its use with good nutrition can mean that you don’t achieve the full benefit that you would otherwise. That's when the active 5-MTHF or folinic acid form is a more desirable option, as it's supporting the folate’s function a little more efficiently without the extra nutrients mentioned earlier. In addition, it can also be a good idea to take the other supportive B vitamins together with folate as part of a pregnancy multivitamin, rather than just a single supplement on its own (unless of course you have been recommended otherwise by your healthcare practitioner).

It's vital to remember too that healthy foods such as green leafy vegetables provide active forms of nutrients. To continually support each other during pregnancy, opt for a diverse diet providing many different coloured vegetables and fruits, plus raw nuts, seeds, wholegrains, legumes and lean protein.

 

 

Breast is Best

WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK - AUGUST 1 – 7

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrating 25 years

#WBW2017

I love breast feeding. Truly I do. But that’s now. It was so hard at the beginning – as many friends had warned me it might be. I thought my baby and I would take to it like, well, a baby to a boob. But it wasn’t quite like that. When my newborn finally latched on, she’d stay there for 40, 50, even 60 minutes. So why wasn’t she putting on weight? Over a period of eight weeks I had so many questions for our pediatrician and lactation consultants. I was told she was tongue tied, a ‘snacker’, this that and the other. All the while I was supplementing with formula (against my best wishes) and pumping morning, noon and night in a bid to increase my supply.

What I worked out, during this time of bewilderment, bottle sterilizing and sleep deprivation, was that there was no right answer as to how breastfeeding should work, except that it’s what works for you and your baby. And, that I was not alone in my struggles.

For Wren, my daughter, and I, the uh-huh moment came at 12 weeks. It just started ‘working’. Whether my supply increased, or my sweet little babe had mastered the mechanism, I don’t know. But I was so pleased I’d persevered through tears and frustration and formula feeds, to get to where we are now at six months old.   

 Nursing Wren, 5 weeks old. 

Nursing Wren, 5 weeks old. 

For many, nursing their little one comes so naturally, with no issues whatsoever. But for others, the statistics tell the story.

An American study showed that while 3 out of 4 mothers started with breastfeeding, only 36 percent of babies were fed from the breast through to six months.

The top reasons women stop is due to worry about the infants’ ability to latch on, concerns over their own milk production, breast pain, and returning to work.

In no way, would I ever judge a mother for breastfeeding, or not. But I do believe that all these reasons could be negated with support and knowledge. I was so grateful that NYU where I gave birth provided ‘Latch Hour’ for the first four weeks after Wren’s birth. I went as often as I could with a long list of questions for the lactation consultants. From this and from sharing with other moms came information.

Support also came from my pediatrician, who gave me the best advice when I was reluctant to introduce formula. ‘Feed your baby’, she said. I did just that, with both formula and pumped breastmilk so I could monitor how much she was getting.

It really does take a village to raise a baby, so find your village. That’s one of the messages put out through World Breastfeeding Week, which is not just about encouraging, protecting and supporting breastfeeding, but raising awareness of nutrition and food security the Western world and in developing communities.

The event is recognized by more than 170 countries and this year focuses on “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together.”

The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life, with continued breast-feeding alongside solid foods up to at least 12 months of age. Unicef has published articles talking about the benefits from birth to 2 years and beyond.

 

For me, now that I’ve made it to six months, I’ll move towards 12 and continue breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by my daughter and I. The connection it provides is tremendously beneficial both on a health and emotional level, not just for her, but for me too.

 

Colostrum – what’s that?

The first milk or ‘colostrum,’ a sticky, yellow transparent liquid, is crucial for babies. Loaded with antibodies, it acts as a natural vaccine. It builds your little one’s immunity and fights against viruses and infections thanks to a high level of leucocytes (white blood cells). It also prepares your baby’s immature intestine for more mature milk and aids digestion and passing of meconium (their first stool). Rich in vitamins and nutrients including calcium, zinc, Vitamin A, K, B6 and B12, colostrum aids babies growth and development.

 

 

 

 

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! 

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.

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. 

 

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.

Stuff no one tells you about pregnancy...

With pregnancy come quite a few surprises. For someone who tried for a long time to actually get pregnant, I thought I was fairly prepared for what it would be like if by the miracle of god it happened. (Thank you, Universe!) While it's marvellous and miraculous in every way however, there are many (often uncomfortable and embarrassing) surprises that come with it. 

 Pic courtesy clipartbest.com

Pic courtesy clipartbest.com

Here's a list of straight-up stuff that no-one told me!

Gas Station - You fart. All. The. Time! Sometimes you're loaded up with gas and it won't actually come out so you walk around like a helium balloon hoping it doesn't erupt at some inopportune time. 

Burp Alert - From the moment I wake up, I'm burping. Air is everywhere. It's amazing I'm not floating. 

Ouch, WTF!? - Round ligament pain strikes in the second trimester. For me, it's any sudden movement such as getting up off the couch or rolling over in the middle of the night that might cause an almighty pain that feels like I may have torn a muscle. That's just your body expanding for baby in its own special way.

Misbehaving Breasts - Get ready for shooting/stabbing pains in your boobs. Yes, really. So painful it wakes you at night and you quite fancy punching someone in the face it makes you that mad. Mine also got lumpy and was slight cause for concern. A biopsy showed 'normal lactational changes'. In fact most breast lumps during pregnancy are benign, but it's worth mentioning to your OB or midwife and opting for a sonogram to be sure. About the only thing my boobs haven't done, is grow. Which is all I really want them to do!

Back it up - Constipation is a true beast during pregnancy. For me, it began at around 13 weeks and hasn't let up yet, nearly seven weeks later. I'm well hydrated, upped my fibre intake (in between pasta dishes, I admit) and eat prunes every morning. Whatever. Take the laxative!

Nap Attack - In the first trimester, honestly I have never been so exhausted in my life. I'm talking needing to go back to bed two hours after getting up. And then napping again in the afternoon. I definitely have more energy now, but will still take a nap when I can get one. 

Fitness Fail - A walk around the block will leave you breathless. Apparently it's all that extra blood running through your body. Blood volume will increase around 50% in a normal healthy woman. Walking up the stairs is a real feat! 

Sex Dreams - These can be quite obscene. Enough said. 

What Did I Do?! - I have anxiety dreams-slash-nightmares about everything from driving too fast to going out and getting drunk. I always wake up feeling guilty after these dreams. Apparently it's normal. Just your subconscious telling you life is about to change rather dramatically! And possibly I'm craving a glass of wine. 

 

Despite all these social inhibitors, I wouldn't change a thing about having this little babe flipping around inside me. x

Mum's Survival Guide to Winter Cold & Flus

Getting through the colder months without your little one coming down with a bug or two seems to be near on impossible. When children are feeling run down, unwell or generally out of sorts, the days can seem very long and the nights even longer. Fit Aussie Mum, Dani Stevens, gives Health Bird the lowdown on surviving the little one's lurgy. 

It’s never nice to see your children feeling sick, but I think it’s even harder when they’re very young and struggle to tell you exactly what they’re feeling. These are my go-to tips for handling the littlest members of the household during sick season:

·      Steam it out – Create a steam bath over the sink or bowl using steaming hot water, take a warm shower with your little one and sit in the steam for a while or use a steam device or humidifier in your child’s room overnight to help provide some relief; I like to add a few drops of eucalyptus oil

·      Dress them up – be extra diligent with keeping extremities warm; have plenty of socks, hats and gloves or mittens around so you can grab them easily, layer outfits with singlets and use slippers for cold floors at home  

·      Visit the pharmacistI always keep a few bottles of kids cough relief liquid in the medicine cabinet to help soothe a chesty cough, which can often keep the whole house up at night

·      Try to limit the damage – when anyone in the household comes down with a bug, be extra diligent with things like handwashing, not sharing utensils and avoiding kissing on the mouth so you can minimise the spread of infection or reinfection

·      Food and fluids – of course what we give our kids to eat and drink is important all year round, but even more so when they’re run down; keeping up the fluids is so important especially if their bug has left them without an appetite; I reach for lots of water and milk – and even add bananas or berries to the milk to make a nutrient-rich smoothie

·      Be prepared – use a thermometer to keep an eye on their temperature and have the numbers for your GP, their after hours support service or emergency services easily to hand if you suspect there is something more to your little one’s illness than a basic cold or flu

Dani Stevens, health and fitness personality and mother and four, http://danistevens.com/ on behalf of Demazin Kids

Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare practitioner. 

 

Mother's Day Matcha

As Mother's Day approaches, Health Bird speaks to mother and daughter team Erin and Jennifer,  the founders of Zen Green Tea, on how to work in harmony with your mum.

Four years ago they predicted matcha would become a huge health phenomenon and sourced the highest quality matcha from sustainable tea farms in Kyoto in Japan. Now with matcha bars popping up in hipster neighbourhoods and with Zen Green Tea being sold in over 3000 retailers across Australia - who better to offer these top five tips on creating a business and keeping a healthy relationship with your mum...

1. Understand your skills: I loved pushing forward to grow the business whereas my mum loved customer service so we both focused on those areas therefore each contributing the most value in tasks we most enjoyed.

2. Talk about your goals: Make sure you set up your business so you are both working toward achieving your goals. I wanted to grow my business whereas my mum wanted to help and spend more time with me until my dad retired and they could travel. 

3. Clear Communication: Establish time every week to provide feedback to one another to ensure clear and honest communication. Don't let your personal relationship stop you from raising concerns or improvement points.

4. Be ThankfulOften with family it can be easy to take them for granted. Ensure you always praise and thank your mum or daughter and be grateful to be able to work with them.

5.  Spend time together away from the business: It’s easy to let every conversation be about the business but it’s important to also get away from that and do other fun non business activities together

 Entrepreneurial Mother-Daughter Duo, Jennifer and Erin

Entrepreneurial Mother-Daughter Duo, Jennifer and Erin

The Endless Health Benefits of Matcha

• 137 X antioxidants of standard green tea

• Boosts metabolism to aid in weight loss

• Cancer fighter and preventer

• Detoxifies naturally

• Increases energy

• Reduces stress, enhances mood

• Improves concentration

• Supports the immune system

• Clears, protects and maintains healthy skin

Eat this! Top 10 Superfoods 2016

Superfoods - The Top 10 Superfoods to Have in your Kitchen this Year

 

Superfoods, the must-have in the nutrition toolkit if you are seeking optimal wellbeing and to nourish the body from the inside out. Below are 10 superfoods you should aim to keep stocked in your kitchen for 2016.

 

Blueberries

Blueberries have long been thought of as just a delightful indulgence, but new research shows they contain natural substances that can help fight cancer cells and reduce inflammation in the body. They’re also an excellent source of Vitamin C.

Goji Berries

Goji berries have been eaten as a health food for thousands of years by people living in the harsh conditions of the Himalayas. They’re packed with beneficial nutrients such as vitamin C, iron and beta carotene. Traditional Chinese medicine uses Goji berries to improve circulation and assist the immune system.

Kale

It’s hard to find a café these days that doesn’t have something containing kale on the menu, and for good reason. Its dark green leaves even look super healthy, so it's no surprise they contain high levels of many beneficial nutrients such as iron and vitamin C.

Broccoli

Not all superfoods are recent arrivals to our health food stores and supermarkets. We've all grown up with broccoli on our plates, and sometimes wished it wasn't there. Knowing what we know now about broccoli, this attitude has changed, and our fantastic ways of preparing it today are a far cry from the overcooked methods of yesteryear. Its bacterial fighting properties and high Vitamin K content make broccoli one of our most important superfoods.

Raw Cacao

When chocolate is included amongst the ranks of superfoods, we are not really referring to the sweetened, high fat treat that many of us love to eat. Superfood status does however belong to the raw cacao bean. Without the processing that turns it into a sweet dessert, raw cacao maintains its high nutritional value and is full of antioxidants, magnesium and calcium.

Matcha Powder

Matcha powder is made from dried and powdered green tea. One cup of matcha tea contains a much higher volume of antioxidants compared to one cup of ordinary green tea. Matcha powder is high in B vitamins and is also used to create the tea used in the ancient Japanese tea ceremony.

Flaxseed

Also called linseed, flaxseed is a great vegetarian source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are known to be useful for circulation and heart health. Ground into a powder, and mixed with other seeds and nuts, flaxseed is delicious sprinkled on many dishes, both sweet and savoury, or added to soups and stews.

 Cold Pressed Coconut Oil

The fatty acids in cold pressed coconut oil have many health benefits. Some studies even suggest they are beneficial for blood circulation and mental functionality. It is important to use the cold pressed product since heat and processing reduce its superfood properties.

Chia Seeds

These tiny seeds are in all sorts of supermarket products now, from chocolate bars to sliced bread. To make sure you are getting their full superfood benefits, pick sources of chia seeds that do not also contain high levels of sugar or saturated fat. Chia seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamins B & C and soluble fibre.

Avocado

This soft green fruit is not very sweet and has a unique texture, leading to it being considered an acquired taste. Perfect in salads, as a dip or as a spread on toast as a replacement for butter or margarine, raw avocado contain no cholesterol and lots of vitamins and minerals to help keep you healthy.

 

Blackmores has recently launched its new Superfoods range, offering six superfood products that are created with the highest quality ingredients and boosted with natural nutrients, including Vitality Super Greens, Matcha Green Tea, Wild Blueberry Blend, Coconut Water, Cacao, and Raw Chia.

The Blackmores Superfoods are available in a convenient powdered form and can be easily added to any type of drink to help boost your daily nutrient intake in a way that’s accessible anytime, anywhere. 

Chemical-free baby

Talking to Therese Kerr is like talking to your best friend’s mum. The one that makes the tastiest school sandwiches and has your favourite icy-poles in the freezer after a summer Saturday spent cartwheeling in her backyard.

So what if you weren’t cartwheeling with her supermodel daughter, Miranda Kerr, you know the mum I’m talking about. She’s friendly, knowledgeable, interested, advice-driven and maternal. No wonder Therese has launched a line of organic baby products, Divine Baby, to complement her growing range of personal care products including Divine By Therese Kerr, Divine Man and Divine Woman.

Not only are all of Therese’s products certified organic, they’re vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free and chemical-free.

Health Bird chatted to the passionate wellness advocate about choosing health, for you and your baby.

You chose the path of a holistic lifestyle after discovering you had cancerous tumors in your spleen. Has it been hard to maintain?

I choose health. With every choice you are either moving away from health or towards health and I choose health with everything that I do.  Considering the amount of illness and toxicity in the world it’s about making that commitment to yourself and to your family.

Why did you choose to add Divine Baby to your organic range?

I’m about babies been born without chemicals in their bodies. Every day we place a chemical burden on our body with products we use and babies are being born with around 200 chemicals in their little bodies. Divine Baby is about removing the toxicity from your life because one of the fastest ways we detox as a woman is to have a baby. But what we do is we transfer our fat-soluble chemicals to our children in utero. It’s really awful.  And breastfeeding is by far the best thing for our baby however we need to really cleanse first. Fat-soluble chemicals are wreaking havoc on our kid’s health.

How different is the level of toxicity in women’s and baby’s bodies than when you had your children Miranda and Matthew?

Years ago there, Bill Statham (author of The Chemical Maze) said there were around 80,000 chemicals in our world, now there is about 140,000. If I had known about this when I was pregnant with Miranda and Matthew, there is no way in the world I would have used chemical laden products. We just didn’t know. People assume that the products on our shelf are safe.  They are far from safe. There’s over 12,500 chemicals just used in skincare, baby care and oral care products alone, most of which have never been tested for safety. Unfortunately chemicals are used in everyday products on basis they are safe until proven otherwise.

How are your products different to other skincare on the market?

They are all ACO certified, so Australian Certified Organic, that’s the most stringent certification body in Australia.  There’s a huge misrepresentation of the use of the word organic, a company can say something is organic if it has one natural ingredient but it may contain hundreds if not thousands of chemicals. For example someone can claim a can of coke is organic if they put a wedge of lemon in it. That’s how lax the laws are. Just ridiculous.

What ingredients do you include in Divine?

Beautiful, certified organic, natural plant-derived ingredients that support the body. What you put on your skin goes into your blood stream and into your organs. The Environmental Working Group states that our skin will absorb chemicals 10 times quicker by way of digestion and that’s because our skin doesn’t have digestive enzymes available to break the chemicals down. Nor does it have the detoxification process of the liver to further break the chemicals down. If you can’t eat it don’t put it on your skin. All our ingredients are nutrient rich with antioxidants that support the body and don’t harm it in any way.

And that includes Divine Baby?

A baby’s immune system and central nervous system is immature and still developing and doesn’t have the ability to detoxify so you don’t want to put chemicals on it. Children have roughly double the skin surface per body weight of adults so they have more ability to absorb chemicals.

Do you think chemicals are contributing to infertility too?

One in seven women are infertile. We are the only species on earth that are contributing to our own extinction. I don’t want people to get tumors in their spleen or have endometriosis so bad they can’t have children. It’s all about education and providing a healthy alternative that actually works.

Yourself and Miranda are such advocates of this holistic lifestyle. You must be so proud of her range of Kora products too?

Yes, as a family we are committed to providing certified organic products. We have a public profile as a family and we use that. Be a champion for yourselves and your children and your children’s children. Stop buying the products that are causing this.