Best Aussie Beaches

This Australia Day, discover more of this Great Southern Land with our hitlist of the best beaches Down Under. 

Nudey Beach, Fitzroy Island, QLD

This former nudist beach in FNQ was named number one by beach specialist Brad Farmer. We can see why!

 Nudey Beach, QLD

Nudey Beach, QLD

Dreamtime Beach, Fingal Head, NSW

This little hideaway in Northern NSW won't stay a secret for long. Isn't it just.. dreamy!

 Dreamtime Beach, NSW

Dreamtime Beach, NSW

Seal Rocks, Central Coast, NSW

A favourite for Sydneysiders seeking a weekend away. And surfers searching the perfect break. 

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Binalong Bay, Bay of Fires, Tasmania

Just south of the spectacular Bay of Fires is this former fishing hamlet is now a cosy village perfect for holidaymakers. 

 Binalong Bay, Tasmania. 

Binalong Bay, Tasmania. 

Yallingup Beach, Margaret River, WA

Famous surfer Taj Burrow hails from here and is often found at the equally famous Caves House where locals and visitors down brew in after a salty swim. 

 Yallingup, WA

Yallingup, WA

Milk Beach, Sydney, NSW

A favourite Harbour beach amongst Sydney's cool set that is at is most popular on Australia Day. 

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Tallebudgera Beach, Gold Coast, QLD

A haven for families, the Tallebudgera creek and beach is bordered by the Burleigh Heads national park. 

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Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, QLD

Seven kilometres so spectacular it's won awards. You can take tours here by boat, chopper or seaplane and wander the pristine white sands. Heaven. 

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Health Tips for the Jet Set

FIVE tips for a healthy trip

from naturopath Teneille Newton

There’s no greater feeling than travelling to a new city or country. The excitement, anticipation and joy of discovering a new town, new people and new food. There’s so much to see and do – so many places to go – so there’s no time to get bogged down on the toilet with a dodgy tummy. Many adventurers experience traveller’s diarrhoea, naturopath Teneille Newton shares tips on how not to.

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1.     Don’t touch a drop

While water is the source of life, when travelling, water could be the source of the end of your holiday. Tap water in regions such as southeast Asia, South America and Africa may contain bacteria that can have you running for the loo, and staying there for the rest of your trip. Avoid tap water at all costs, even while brushing your teeth. It may seem annoying to have to buy water every time, but you’ll save yourself from illness which is a big payoff.  Also avoid ice in your drinks, salad that may have been washed in tap water, and fruit you cannot peel. Water safety is paramount to a happy and healthy holiday.

2.     Avoid runny for your tummy

Eggs – a versatile food that can be fried, poached, boiled, scrambled – you name it! While you might be a fan of a runny yolk at home, do not try this on holiday! Eggs are a product of chickens and may contain salmonella. Improperly cooked eggs may result in an improperly fun holiday – stick to well done.

3.     Wash and go

The humble sink and soap are your best friends on your overseas adventure. When travelling to a new country you are exposed to thousands of new bacteria and viruses. Riding the crowded train and squeezing into packed buses with locals is an exciting adventure, and shouldn’t be missed! Always wash your hands before meals or to protect yourself against bacteria that may make you ill.  

4.     Slip, slop, slap and wrap!

You may think holidays are all about getting a tan but, after experiencing the true wrath of the sun and spend the rest of your trip soaking in aloe vera, your mindset may change. Sunburn is serious, and can result in dehydration, sunstroke, and a lot of pain. Protect yourself with a barrier sunscreen containing zinc, a hat, sleeves and sunglasses. There’s nothing healthy about a tan, and there’s nothing good about a ruined holiday that could have been avoided.

5.     Protect yourself

While on your trip you’ll be trying amazing new foods with flavours your tastebuds have never experienced before – and same goes for your stomach. New foods with rich ingredients may not be welcomed by your digestive system and you may experience some diarrhoea. Supplements containing probiotics and vitamin A may help to reduce the occurrence of traveller’s diarrhoea and support the gut in providing a barrier to infection.

For more information about healthy travel visit www.eaglenaturalhealth.com.au/health-wellbeing

 

 

  Naturopath Teneille Newton

Naturopath Teneille Newton

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.

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.

New York's Coastal Cool

Montauk, a casual coastal town at the tip of Long Island in New York State, is where weary Manhattanites head to catch some of that beachside cool we Aussies are so accustomed to. 

Models, artists, surfers, fisherman and families blend with locals who look forward to the busy spring/summer months when Montauk blooms from winter's icy hibernation to The Hamptons' hotspot. 

I recently visited for a mid-week mini break (weekends were booked solidly on the accommodation front) with a girlfriend to recharge from NYC's suffocating summer. 

A smooth three-hour ride on the Hampton Jitney took us east on the highway to Long Island, through the posher parts of The Hamptons including East Hampton and Amagansett and passed the must-stop Lobster Roll to our destination.

We stayed at the eco-chic Surf Lodge, located on Fort Pond, a 10-minute walk from the centre of town and the main beach. 

The Lodge was revamped in 2008 and has since become a staycation and nightlife destination for locals and visitors alike. Hosting 32 rooms, all with balconies and hammocks, Evo bath products and kitch pineapple wallpaper, it's just the place you want to rest your sandy toes and Vitamin D laden body after a day at the beach. There are paddle boards and bikes on hand for adventurers - a ten minute pedal will take you to Navy Beach where you can dine beachside on crab cakes and truffle fries. The lobby hosts 24/7 surf flicks on rotation and boutique, Surf Bazaar, with instragram-worthy caftans, beach bag and jewellery pieces for sale. 

My favourite eats in Montauk include Joni's for organic fare, the Gig Shack for mango salsa fish tacos and tunes, and the Surf Lodge's very own restaurant (the organic market-driven menu devised by Aussie chef Chris Rendell) that offers a killer Lobster Roll to be washed down with one of several tasty cocktails. The property's open-air deck hosts music in the afternoons til sunset and DJs entertain revellers late into the night. 

The only way to cure your hangover is to participate in one of the Lodge's weekend health and fitness classes. Wellness warriors from New York and beyond host Pilates, yoga and more to get you moving on the deck in the mornings. 

Healthy Eating in Tulum

The Real Coconut, Sanara, Tulum

‘'Every dish is designed to nourish and support both the body and soul down to a cellular level without dismissing the importance of flavor” says Daniella Hunter, the creative food maverick behind the beachside eatery.

Sitting above pristine white sands and looking out to the azure blue Caribbean seas certainly aids the restaurant's dining philosophy that eating is a regime for both personal and planetary sustainable living.

 Beachside eating at The Real Coconut

Beachside eating at The Real Coconut

Gluten-free, dairy-free and largely grain-free, the dishes at The Real Coconut are inspired by the sustenance of Mother Nature's coconut and were developed by Daniella in her Tulum home through trial and error and inviting guests over for dinner party tastings. 

The result is a unique and revitalising menu filled with energy-boosting, health-optimising dishes.

Upon arrival at Sanara, after a 12 hour journey from New York (note, the flight is actually only 4 hours from JFK to Cancun) I was starving. After checking into my room I headed straight for The Real Coconut and ordered Coconut Quesadillas and Fish Tacos, with a lime and basil-infused soda. Over the next six sun-soaked days on the Mayan Riviera I tried various different dishes.

 Coconut Quesadillas and Fish Tacos

Coconut Quesadillas and Fish Tacos

Highlights included:

Super Green Bowl – a tumbled salad of locally grown greens topped with hemp seeds and served on an avocado gazpacho.

 Super Green Bowl + Healing Green juice

Super Green Bowl + Healing Green juice

The Nacho Bowl – complete with grain-free, coconut flour tostada chips drizzled with melted chipotle coconut cheese, guacamole and pico de gallo salsa.

 Nacho Bowl

Nacho Bowl

The Hemp Burger & Malanga Fries – made from toasted hemp tahini, sweet potato, spinach and fresh herbs.

 Malanga Fries + Hemp Burger

Malanga Fries + Hemp Burger

Choco Nutty Smoothie – Mexican cacao powder, medjool dates, frozen bananas, vanilla and almond butter blended with home-pressed coconut milk and ice. Does it get any better?

 Choco-Nutty Smoothie

Choco-Nutty Smoothie

Then there were eggs or pancakes for breakfast, various cold-pressed juices and a smooth and creamy broccoli soup.

Click image to view. 

  

Miami Heat - Swimwear turning the temperature up

A girl cannot have enough cossies - for all you international girls, that's Aussie slang for costume/swimwear, be it bikini or one-piece. I regularly pile in between three and five cossies into my suitcase, no matter the destination, and rotate them with an array of favourite cutoffs.

A current fave is new-on-the-swim-scene Australian label Midnight Swim, they've got sexy little suits all tied up. Think itsy, bitsy bottoms topped with racerback bralettes and knot-tie tanks. Check out Midnight's sun-kissed Instagram for the ultimate beach vacay inspiration. 

I'm also loving KORE SWIM. Launched as a collection of modest maillots in 2011 by sisters Jessica and Nicole Tracy, the label has since grown to include a full range of beachwear. Their sleek pieces effortlessly contour the body while remaining functional for Health Birds who like to take the action from the sand to the waves. With SPF on, of course!

Top 5 Açai Bowls in Miami

During a few trips to Miami this year - one for a rather memorable birthday and another to shoot some exciting swimwear (watch this space) including hot new label Midnight Swim - I made it my business to uncover the best Açai bowls by the beach. 

Açai is a Brazilian super fruit said to have immunity-boosting, antioxidant and energising powers and it sure as hell tastes good. Frozen and whipped up, garnished with berries, coconut, cacao and whatever else you desire, it also looks like some damn fine breakfast-bowl art. 

Here's where to get your superfood fix when you're down in Miami-Dade...

Under the Mango Tree

There's plenty of bowls to choose from at this organic cafe located on sixth St in South Beach. But I can't go past the Superfood Bowl - a blend of raw açai, banana, spirulina and maca. Topped with granola, sliced banana, coconut shavings, goji berries and local honey. Hell, yes. Wash it down with their superfood frappucino. 

 Cacao Superfood Açai bowls with all the trimmings

Cacao Superfood Açai bowls with all the trimmings

Jugo Fresh

Head to their Sunset Harbour location for their namesake Sunset Harbour Bowl. Topped with Brazilian nut crumble, bananas, strawberries, coconut flakes, cacao nibs and raw honey.

Raw Republic

If you've got a sweet tooth, their PBA (Peanut Butter) Bowl will halt your craving. But my fave... the Arcadia that has all the usual trappings of a kickers açai bowl, with almond milk, dates, kale and peanut butter for a Florida taste sensation. 

Green Life Organic Bistro

When it comes to their almond butter bowl, it's more what's not in this deluxe medley of açai excellence than is. Berries, berries, berries topped with whipped açai that's been infused with guarana and banana. Granola, coconut and cacao nibs top it off. 

 Almond Butter Bowl ready to mouth full

Almond Butter Bowl ready to mouth full

Apple A Day

According to the Miami New Times, no one does açai bowls like the Apple a Day Natural Food Market in Miami Beach. Filled with massive amounts of raw, organic frozen açaí pulp, freshly peeled banana, and freshly juiced organic apples, their ingredients is whizzed up in a  Vitamix and churned into a mouthwatering frozen delight.

High heels to hiking boots

High heels to hiking boots – why I ditched my desk job to become a personal trainer and climb mountains...

Have you ever thought of chucking in your desk job for a life in the great outdoors? Catherine Walker  did just that and has never looked back - except over an eye-widening mountain scape or spectacular ocean view. She shares her story of wellness on the road with Healthbird

I have always been ‘that girl’. You know, the one who always gets up at 5am to go to the gym before work, who does food prep on a Sunday to take lunch into work during the week, the one who always says no to staff morning teas and the one who absolutely loves helping people live a healthy way of life. I remember it like it was yesterday, that moment when the light switch went off and I realised that I can actually do what I love for a living! No more staring at a computer screen for eight hours a day, no more sneaking out for a cheeky workout on my lunchbreak and no more doing what doesn’t make my soul happy. It was actually a trainer from the gym I train at who told me I should consider making the change and as soon as he said it, I realised he was right! So almost immediately I found myself signed up for a Personal Trainer course and smashing through it as quickly as I could, absorbing every piece of information that I got. Yes it meant studying while working full time – but it was worth it. Was there ever a moment where I doubted myself and thought twice about a career move? Of course. But the reality is that you know you have made the right decision in life when you feel lighter, both emotionally and mentally, and I couldn’t wait to start!!

There is not one moment, not one second that goes by that I regret my move. Sometimes the lack of holiday pay, insecure income and ‘bad’ weeks can put you down but reality is, I literally have the best job in the world and I will take the bad with the good any day. 

I actually get to change people’s lives! For a living! It is the most incredible feeling when one of my clients smashes a PB (personal best) or does a pull up for the first time or they now fit into clothes they hadn’t worn in years, the list goes on. Not only do I get to witness people changing their lives every day in the gym but I also get to see them achieve lifelong dreams of climbing mountains, going on treks and transforming their bodies during our Bali Bootcamp. I started my business ‘Climb Every Mountain’ just over one year ago and since then I have trained and travelled with a team of amazing people to ‘the roof of Africa’ Mount Kilimanjaro. I am so proud that each member of my team made it to the top of Kilimanjaro and when we all standing there watching the sunrise over the African plains it really reminded me how lucky I am to have the best job in the world!


5 REASONS WHY YOU NEED A BREAK FROM YOUR DESK JOB

1)      FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

It is no secret that exercise is good for you not only physically but mentally. Your body naturally releases endorphins (the happy chemical) every time you exercise so you are only one workout away from being in a happy and positive mood. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.

2)      RELEASE YOUR MUSCLES AND STRETCH YOUR BODY OUT

So you sit down for 8 hours a day, think about what your muscles are doing. Are they being stretched out or are they cramping and tightening up in one position? More often than not people who have a desk job have extremely tight hip flexors, poor posture and a weak core.  Releasing your hip flexors, activating your glutes and stretching your legs are all movements you can do while at work.  

3)      YOU NEED TO SET GOALS THAT ARE OUTSIDE OF THE OFFICE 

I firmly believe in goal setting, it is good for the mind to focus on something other than work! I train teams of people to climb mountains, trek through jungles and transform their bodies on my Bali Bootcamp retreat so I would definitely call myself a ‘pro’ in goal setting and smashing. Whether it is to climb to Base Camp on Mount Everest or to treat yourself to a Bali Bootcamp, that time away from your desk either preparing for the adventure or actually going on it, is important to function at full capacity while in work. If you give all your time and energy into work alone with no outside extracurricular activities you will start to resent your job and everyone at work who enjoys their live outside the office.

4)      YOU WILL BE MORE PRODUCTIVE, CREATIVE AND THINK CLEARER

8 hours straight of doing anything is stressful on the brain so it is important that you take breaks to make sure you are working at your full capacity. Even if you are ‘that busy’ you cannot take a full hour for lunch, you should make it a priority to go for a walk (in the sunshine if possible) half way through your working day to recharge the batteries. You will be firing on all cylinders once you get back to your desk, ready to take on the second half of the day with gusto and a clear head. 

5)      SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING!

Studies have shown that every hour of sitting cuts off 22 minutes of our life! Sounds a bit extreme does it? Well unfortunately it’s true! Most Australians spend over 80% of their working day sedentary, is this a coincidence that nearly 80% of people also experience back pain? I think not. Not only does it give you back pain but it also makes you fat as your body stops burning fat when we are sitting down. Your body was not designed to sit still for 8 hours a day, so if you have a desk job get up and moving every hour.

All-Natural First Aid Kit

Whether you're hitting the road, pitching a tent or going island hopping, a naturally-derived first-aid kit could very well save your vacay. 

Adventure seeker Courtney Capellan shares her tips on packing a chemical-free first-aid kit to nix any nasties on your next trip. 


All-Natural First-Aid Travel

Taking a break from life doesn’t mean taking a break from your healthy lifestyle. What you put in your body is important, but don’t forget about what you’re going to put on your body! You wouldn’t forget your vegan shampoo and homemade sugar scrub- and suffer with hotel soap! So you shouldn’t settle for commercial bug spray and topical toxins either!

Adventure awaits and it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. Here are the most important considerations for putting together an all-natural first-aid kit and an awesome list of essentials that are easy to pack and should treat the most common conditions you’re likely to encounter.

Ø  Take the conservative approach when purchasing the essentials. Especially oils- pure and undiluted is best! These can get expensive- but a little goes a long way.

Ø  Every destination is different, some things are more important to bring (if you’re going to be in the desert, pack extra water!) Understand that not everything is available everywhere! Maybe your hotel has a spa. “The best essential oils are available but aren’t typically for sale”, says Leah Preston, coordinator for staycation resorts in Florida. Be practical, bring your own!

Ø  Take what the doctor ordered. Obviously, if your son relies on an inhaler don’t forget a backup one and if an EPI pen belongs in your kit for your husbands’ severe allergies- bring it!

·       Coconut oil - Miracle oil that heals anything chapped and a good carrier oil for essential oils. Try fractionated coconut oil- the fat is whipped out and it stays liquid at room temperature. The best part: it doesn’t stain your clothes!

·       Oregano essential oil – Packed with phenolic acids and flavonoids, oregano is a powerful antioxidant (and a best kept secret). Apply a drop to the bottoms of feet to reverse the onset of colds and viruses- and for boosting immunity.

·       Peppermint essential oil – This minty menthol can clear sinuses and stop the itching from insect bites. Invigorating and fresh, one drop under the nose is great for jet lag.

·       Bentonite clay – An alternative to charcoal, applying a dollop of natural clay over snake and spider bites draws out venomous toxins. (If you don’t use it for first-aid- add water, mix and apply an on-the-go clay face mask!)

·       Epsom salt - Great for removing splinters and as a soak for sore muscles.  Also works as a natural laxative that works in a pinch.

·       Neem oil – All natural bug-repellent, safe for kids, pets and the environment.

·       Raw honey – Forget Neosporin. High quality honey soothes cuts and speeds healing and reduce the onset of infection. Honey is also effective for cooling and treating minor burns.

·       DIY sanitizer – super easy to combine, whisk and scoop into a squeeze bottle – 2 TBSP Aloe Vera gel, 5 drops any essential oil, 8 oz. Witch Hazel – soothes skin and sterilizes like alcohol without dehydrating.

·       Cloth bandages, needles and tweezers.

·       Veggie capsules – An alternative to applying oils to skin, bring easy to swallow capsules and take essential oils internally.

 Courtney writes about yoga, adventure, travel and treasure hunting

Courtney writes about yoga, adventure, travel and treasure hunting

Hunting & Gathering

Paleo convert, Amanda Bensted, has been busy hunting and gathering for Health Bird readers across the US. Whether you're a full-time paleo or even a sometime paleo, read on for her tips. 

Eating Paleo in an unknown destination is one thing, but when you’re constantly on the go, it can be pretty hard to keep up the fresh eats. Thankfully, on my recent travels down the US West Coast I think I got the hunting and gathering gig down-pat. It really isn’t so hard to do.

Dining out

When you’re travelling with others, you don’t want to be “that person”, unable to eat a cluster of important food groups and just ordering a side of greens.

Don’t get me wrong, those salad and veggie sides can be yummy. But if you have a hankering for a little more meat – as I almost always do – most restaurants are pretty flexible. Some, such as the Bell & Whete restaurant I mentioned in this Paleo in Seattle post, even cater specifically for such tastes. An easy order is a steak burger minus the bun. You’ll be surprised how accommodating restaurants can be with this request.

In Portland, you’ll even find a Paleo-based chain called the Cultured Caveman. These super-cool restaurants and three food carts across the city offer a scintillating menu free of gluten, soy and dairy. And trust me, when you can order something straight off the menu without asking for a variety of changes, it’s a massive relief.

Local restaurant and café chains

If you’re after something a little more reliable – and a little cheaper – there are a number of restaurant and café chains dotting the West Coast that cater to your fussy tastes. Jimmy Johns and Chipotle are two such chains that readily substitute bread with lettuce.

In San Francisco and Los Angeles, Mixt Greens is mixing up a storm with its seasonal menu and build-your-own salads. It is an eco-conscious salad bar serving organic, sustainable and local take away food.

The Plantanotherr San Fran organic café sourcing its products from local Bay area farmers and artisans. Almost all its food is organic. Even better, you don’t have to go half way out of town to snap up this delicious fare; there’s a location right on the waterfront at Pier 3. The Plant Café Organic serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner with a wealth of vegan and gluten-free options.

Markets and supermarkets

It might not be the most exciting dining venue, but if you really want to be in control of your daily dose of meat, fruit and veg, the West Coast offers a ton of organic Paleo fare at farmer’s markets and supermarkets in every town.

Wholefoods supply just about everything you’ll ever need, from a host of pick-and-mix boxes containing trail mixes and nuts for when you’ll be on your feet all day to meat and salad bars to satiate you for the rest of the day!

Amanda Bensted is a wanderluster, travel addict, and storyteller. You can read her travel stories at her blog aroamertherapy.com.




Paleo in Seattle

Eating Paleo in Seattle

Paleo enthusiasts, I hear it can be a struggle to have your dietary needs met when you hit up the foodie scene with your girlfriends, significant other, neighbour's dog... And when you're travelling, it's even harder to stick to your no-grains guns, am I right? I'm not Paleo but I'm all sorts of other things when it comes to food, so I know jetsetting takes the eat-right-for-your-type challenge to a whole new level. That's why wanderluster, and Paleo advocate, Amanda Bensted is here to share Paleo eating guide from her recent trip to Seattle with us. 

Thankfully, Seattle is a great place for Paleo pit stops. Here are just a few great dining options:

Local 360

This classy Belltown restaurant is popular place for clean and ethical eating. For a start, they source most of their ingredients from within a 360 mile radius of Seattle, with organic produce and ethical rearing a priority.

If you want something reliably hearty and healthy, go for the devilled eggs or the seared steak. Local 360’s popularity means you’ll often find extensive waits for a table. But there are mercifully reliable alternatives just around the corner, including Local 360’s sister café Bell & Whete.

Bell & Whete

Bell & Whete offers a scintillating Old World-inspired menu and marks out gluten-free and vegetarian meals.

The chefs are happy to manipulate a meal to cater to Paleo tastes. You can, for example, ask for the House Ground Steak Burger without the bun – and I highly recommend it. Other options include a beet and kale salad and house-made pickled veggies.

The Grill from Ipanema

In the same vicinity as the above options is The Grill from Ipanema, a Brazilian steakhouse that roasts all its meats in a special charcoal grill to lock the natural flavour in. The food here is served buffet-style and caters to gluten free and vegetarian diners, but will put a dent in your hip pocket.

Fast Food outlets

A large part of travel is about being constantly on-the-go, which can make it even harder to find fresh, clean and satisfying Paleo meals. While you’re unlikely to get the same rich tastes and quality meat cuts from a fast food place, there are a few helpful joints you can head to for a grab-and-go meal.

Jimmy John’s serves up gourmet sandwiches with the helpful “Unwich” option, which allows you to order your sandwich wrapped in lettuce instead of bread.

Other healthy take-out options scattered around Seattle include the Homegrown chain of sustainable sandwich shops, and The Juicy Café, which sells wholesome salads and soups as well as fruit juices.


Amanda Bensted is a wanderluster, travel addict, and story teller. You can read her travel stories at her blog aroamertherapy.com.


Marathon Madness - Trainer Tips To Win The Race part 1

5 Tips for an Amateur Runner Leading into Running Season

Part 1

 Neil on the RUN

Neil on the RUN

CREATING YOUR PROGRAM

Whether your aiming to notch up a 5K run around you local park or complete a 20K half run, the full 40K or hit the 26.2-mile New York Marathon  ... preparation is key. 

I'm not much of a runner, yoga's more my jam, so I turned to expert exercise physiologist Neil Russell Exercise Physiologist and owner of Atleta Fitness to write up this piece on how to train for the jog of your life. 

When you start planning your training sessions, there are a number of things that you should consider. These include your strengths and weaknesses, any conditions or injuries that you may have, and of course, your fitness level.

When you start training, remember that progression is the key. Don’t just come to your first session thinking that you are going to run 21km, that kind of thinking generally leads to unnecessary injuries and over training. Build your distance, run intensity and run difficulty (hills!) gradually every training session, also monitor your over all training load week by week.

Remember to factor in some hill sprints and interval training. And train on different surfaces such as on stairs, concrete, grass or even sand to condition your body for any scenario that you may face. You also want to get your body use to the lactic acid build up and other anaerobic byproducts, particularly if you are pushing yourself on for a PB or up hills the day.

In a typical training week, consider adding the following training sessions:

-       Interval Training. Run for 1km, then rest for half the time that it took you to run. Start with 4 x intervals on your first two weeks, then gradually build up to 6 intervals and attempt to complete your intervals in a faster time.

-       Hill Sprints. 5 x 1 minute Hill Sprints with a slow jog or walk back down the hill. This is a shorter training day, but it is a tough one

-       Weights room day. Focus on strengthening your legs, hips and core. Strengthening your whole body is important as you want to maintain good posture throughout your run to help prevent any injuries.

-       Long run day. Run for 40-60 minutes the first week, then add 10 minutes to your long run every week until the event. Keep note of how far you run in this time to give you a good idea of how long your will be running for on race day.

Technique

Technique drills are the cornerstone of any good running program. They should be performed as part of the warm up to reinforce good technique in the ensuing training sessions or the race.

Running drills maximises efficiency during running, increase speed or pace and reduce the risk of many common running injuries. They should focus on posture/alignment, foot striking, stride recovery and muscle activation.

 Some drills include:

-       High knees - running keeping perfect posture and quick contact with the ground

-       Butt Kick - running keeping perfect posture

-       Perfect Starts - Standing tall, lean as far forward as you can until you have to take a step, then start running. This will get you running with a slight forward lean, helping you contact the ground underneath your body rather than out in front of your body (striking in front of your body not only decelerates you every stride, but it also puts a lot of stress on the knee joint). This drill, when done correctly, is great for maximising speed and minimising impact.

Perform at the start of every running session.

WANT MORE? Check out the Isowhey® Sports free e-book featuring articles from Neil Russell, Matty Abel- elite endurance athlete, Andrew Pap- elite endurance athlete and Instagram influencer, Matilda Reynolds- professional Triathlete and Belinda Reynolds- Sports Dietitian.

Stay tuned for part 2 of Neil's expert advice on the Health-bird blog


Provided by NEIL RUSSELL VIP TRAINER Atleta Fitness at IsoWhey® Sports

BA(Hons) HMS, AEP, MAAESS

Neil Russell has over 10 years experience in Personal Training, Strength and Conditioning coaching and exercise rehabilitation. He has been a strength and conditioning coach for Australian and NZ representative athletes and a PT for internationally acclaimed actors, models and media personalities.

 

Crushing on New Orleans

NOLA's stolen my heart - I recently ventured down South to The Big Easy for the second time in as many months to get another dose of the music, food and local life.

In addition to this piece I wrote for Sporteluxe here's my fave spots in the city of soul music, soul food and so-cool people. 

EATS

Café Du Monde - you'll need a workout after the irresistible mouthwatering beignets on offer here. 

Café Rose Nicaud - the veggie scramble is off the southern hook. Be sure to say hi to Sarah, the Aussie waitress

Royal House Oyster Bar - the fired oysters, I can't even. Just do it and regret it later.

WORKOUT

Wild Lotus Yoga - a totally zen experience in the Healing Centre 

Xtend Bar - my fave place to plie, chassé jete. Burn baby, burn.

SHOP

Hattie Sparks - stocking sweet homemade home goods from local designers like the awesomely talented General Public Designs 

Neon Heart - trinkets & fragrances sources from across the land

MUSIC

The Spotted Cat - a brilliant bloody mary and brass band sounds

One Eyed Jacks - saw the immensely talented Benjamin Booker here, right in the heart of the French Quarter on what has to be one of the best weekends I've ever had. Download his album. now!

DRINK

Bacchanal - like the best backyard party you've ever been to.. with fairy lights, all the wine you can drink and the raddest ever cheese plate

SLEEP

International House - walking distance the Quarter and across the road from a traditional Southern diner, this boutique hotel has dope art, cool staff and a bar. What else is there?

Woodstock Wanderings

With nothing but wanderlust and a yoga mat, I hit the road with a girlfriend and headed upstate to New York's famed Catskills with only one destination in mind, Woodstock. 

While most famous for the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival in 1969 (which actually took place in Bethel), the now somewhat-sleepy town still has music and history pacing its streets - two things I can't get enough of. Along with yoga and tequila. 

Woodstock is the kind of place you want to go to record an album - I settled for buying some vinyl at the flea market. It's the kind of place you might find yourself headstanding on a deck under a canopy of trees which I definitely did and it was a world away from my usual NYC yoga destination amidst noise pollution and skyscrapers. 

A girlfriend and I rented the upstairs of a skylit little cottage only a few minutes from the main town and Tinker Street. We brunched at vegan destination The Garden Cafe, sampled craft beer at hot spot Commune Saloon, lunched at Shindig, shopped vintage homewares at Little House and visited nearby Saugerties for an afternoon of antique shopping. 

I sure do love a road trip.. so does the guy! Peace out. 

Tapping - The Totally Free Holistic Treatment Changing Lives

Tapping - heard of it? I'm not talking about dancing (as my mum thought I was!). This is a new holistic treatment gaining momentum faster than your fingertips, can umm, TAP. 

I wrote this piece for Australia's Sunday Life Magazine after the universe started telling me about Tapping, or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) via friends, acquaintances and a random newsletter that found its way to my inbox. And, it turns out an old friend of mine is now a practitioner, changing people lives at Tap to Freedom in Melbourne. 

Here's an extended version of my piece that appeared in Sunday Life this month. 

Fingertips to Freedom

You’ve mastered meditation and perfected your asana practice. Now it’s time to tap into tapping – the latest therapy claiming to nix everything from anxiety to addiction.

I first heard about Tapping, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), at a cocktail party in New York City. There I was sipping my tangerine lime-infused liquid, listening to an Italian life coach (who was sipping on sparkling water) talk animatedly about Tapping and how it had changed her and that of her client’s, life. The host of the party, a former news anchor turned creative director, chimed in that she too was tapping twice daily and how miraculous the results were.

Tapping involves drumming on specific meridian energy points of the body with your fingertips while vocalising your fears and concerns. By doing this, the life coach had overcome heartache set off by a breakup that had levelled her, while the hostess’s goal was to repair a rapidly dissolving relationship with her parents.

EFT differs from many other holistic principles in that it focuses on acknowledging both the positive and the negative feelings surrounding a specific issue.

“In EFT we name emotions in order to let them go, not in order to dwell on them or continue to carry them around,” explains Melbourne-based EFT practitioner Chelsea Miller of Tap To Freedom  

“We’re often taught to suppress our emotions. Expressing how we feel and what we think isn’t encouraged for most of us. Yet ask any traditional psychologist and they will likely tell you unresolved emotion is a major contributor to pain, stress and disease. If we don’t let it go it can start to define us.”

The body/mind technique has roots in modern science and psychology as well as ancient Chinese acupressure and applied Kinesiology and first gained popularity in the 1990s.

“Western medicine now acknowledges what Eastern philosophy has always known; that our bodies are made up of an electrical network,” says Miller. “Energy flows through our bodies in specific pathways known as the ‘meridian system’.”

Let’s decode that; meridian points are responsible for our internal energy flow, the Chinese call it ch’i, and when it’s flowing smoothly we experience health and wellbeing and are travelling with a Louis Vuitton carryon. But when something messes with our chi’i (heard that one before?) we get all out of whack and weighed down.

By ‘tapping’ on specific energy points of the body, and simultaneously voicing our feelings and desires about what we want to overcome and achieve, we unblock displaced energy. The result is said to be a relief and release that allows the mind and body to heal. As had been experienced by my cocktail party converts. Although the technique is still in its infancy, EFT claims to cure addictions, sleep disorders, phobias, physical pain, anxiety… whatever you feel, you can ‘fix’.

“EFT gave me instant relief from stress and anxiety,” tells Chelsea. “I was like a car after a full tank of gas and an oil change. Instantly, I was running smoother and clearer with more energy.

“[Now] I’m more creative, more open, more relaxed, I eat better, I drink less, I’ve lost weight, I feel more harmony with my family, I am more social and opportunities open up for me like never before. I live with much more ease, flow and joy.”

After hearing about all these miraculous stories of healing, I got to thinking. I’d been living in New York for five months and my search for a new career-defining job in the Big A was eluding me. My motivation had slipped and I’d started to question my skills, experience and dedication to the international move I’d made. Perhaps I too was road-blocking my dream gig with emotional baggage. Not the designer kind, but the overflowing sticker-covered suitcase that’s impossible to lift off the carousel. So, could I ‘tap’ my way out of this career funk and into a job, or at the very least an interview?

At the advice of the life coach, I watched an online instruction video from EFT guru Nick Ortner. I then found a comfortable and quiet place to sit and started Tapping, and talking, about what was bothering me. I acknowledged the pain and disappointment I was experiencing and followed it up with a positive goal or affirmation to confirm belief in myself.

It’s been proven that our minds are more powerful than we give them credit for and that our bodies have the ability to heal themselves. So why accept a life of emotional trauma or physical pain when you can simply put your fingertips to work and tap it away?

I did two to three rounds of tapping each afternoon over a period of three weeks. During this time I started interviewing for a job and (drum roll) I was presented with an offer soon after. Was it the tapping? I can honestly say it allowed me to emotionally retune and take the pressure off myself, which allowed me to see new opportunities rather than focussing on only one career path. The job I’ve taken is a slight change of direction for me but it’s an exciting one and I’ve got that invitation to a cocktail party to thank for it.

 

Eco-loving Yoga - Save the world while downward-dogging

This December, on the eve of internationally acclaimed ocean ambassador, surfer, and karmic yogi Eoin Finn’s birthday, he ventured to the Florida Keys (along with a group of yogis from around the world) as part of the Eco Karma Project to gather information on the state of our fragile coral reefs, volunteer with the coral reef foundation, and replant stag horn coral. Eoin amassed about $10,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to go towards rehabilitation America's reefs with an additional $25,000 donated by Lululemon (he was one of the fit fashion star's first yoga ambassadors). 

As Eoin travels around the world to teach yoga, he will continue his series of Eco Karma Yoga Missions bringing together communities from Sydney to LA to highlight ocean specific environmental causes in dire need of rescue and support. As he gathers people from all walks of life to get hands on during the day, in exchange he will offer free yoga. This will be an ongoing project where people will also be able to select “retreat style” accommodations to stay for 3-4 days to join hands in helping during the day, a once in a lifetime opportunity to practice free yoga from an acclaimed teacher, combined with sustainable meals and mediation, and hammock enlightenment talks. 

Yule Love This

Union Square Holiday Market is aflurry with trinkets, eats, sips and treat for young and old. Rug up and brave the cold to meander through this European style alfresco Christmas market that has 150 vendors vying for your shopping dollar. 

The impressive selection of gifts you could snap up for loved ones (or yourself) include locally-crafted jewellery, a 'brew your own beer' kit from Brooklyn Brew shop, tree ornaments imported from Indonesia, fresh-baked cookies with flavours as delectable as 'Earl Grey almond choc chip' and hot apple cider to wrap your gloves and your lips around. 


Taking 'Beach Read' to the next level

How cool is this! Coogee Beach has added a sand library for summer so sun-seeking punters can improve their knowledge, vocab or uncover conversation starters to chat each other up with.

There's more than 1000 novels, non-fiction, magazines, international language and children's books on offer and no library card is required. Just front up in your cozzie!

“Modern libraries are thriving educational and social centres and the beach library will bring our resources to even more members of our community,” says Randwick Mayor Ted Seng. 

“Imagine if the Coogee Beach Library is able to encourage even just one child to pick up a book and discover the joy of reading, then this project will be well worth it.”

The Coogee Beach Library will be open during lifeguard patrol hours of 7am to 7pm and will be at Coogee Beach until end of February 2015.

 

Swim Style Crush

I'm crushing on this Lady Liberty one-piece cozzie from Island State

It perfectly reflects my life right now!.. An Aussie girl in New York missing the Down Under summer and lazy beach days but loving all the bright lights, big city action of NYC

Thanks to Island State, I know what I'll be sun-worshipping in (with SPF on!) when I jet back home to Coogee Beach.

I've reserved a spot for it in my Hamptons overnight bag for when the Northern Hemisphere warms up too!

Check out Island State's range of bikinis and one-pieces designed by two globetrotting Aussies and emblazoned with imagery from their travels - think Marrakech, Positano, Santorini, Amalfi Coast, New York City and beyond - on their website. There's boldy-printed resort wear that'll have you mentally booking your next holiday, and cute swim diapers for your mini me.