Catching Up on Sleep on Weekends… To Do or Not to Do?

Catching Up on Sleep on Weekends… To Do or Not to Do?


With tight headlines to meet and targets to hit, most of us think that sleep is something we can just catch up on. However, research shows that snoozing, more on weekends, isn’t really the solution.

In the short term, lack of sleep contributes to a foggy brain, reduced productivity, forgetfulness, reduced vision and midnight cravings. What is alarming is it can also be associated with heart disease, obesity and insulin resistance in the long term. Even though you feel more energised on a Monday morning, it doesn’t erase all the drawbacks of not getting enough zzz’s for the week. Studies show that even though an extra sleep on weekends can reduce your daylight brain fog and sleepiness, your focus and attention will still suffer.

Lack of sleep alters your metabolism and makes you crave sugar, which explains your desire for midnight snacks. This habit can lead to overeating, which can then lead to obesity. Research shows that sleeping longer on weekends won’t miraculously reverse your metabolic consequences due to sleep deprivation.

Napping on the other hand, especially in the early-to-mid afternoon is good, but this is only a short-term solution. If you depend on it every time, your circadian rhythm will in most instances, suffer. Thus, it will make it even harder to fall asleep at night, creating a poor sleep cycle.

The best thing to do, therefore is to get back on a regular cycle of sleep, which is 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. If you currently have a bad sleeping cycle, you can start by going to bed early and wake up at a normal time instead of sleeping late. Avoid bright lights, use a pro-sleep essential oil blend, and avoid use of your mobile phone 1 hour before sleep.

Check out these tips for a good night's sleep:

  • Wear glasses that blocks blue light

  • Download apps that block blue light on your phone and laptop

  • Stop watching TV 2 hours before heading to bed

  • Don’t consume caffeine late in the day

  • Reduce irregular or long naps

  • Sleep and wake up at consistent times

  • Consider taking a melatonin supplement

  • Optimise your bedroom environment and temperature

  • Avoid eating late in the evening

  • Relax or listen to calming music

  • Take a relaxing bath or shower

  • Exercise regularly – not before bed

  • Avoid drinking liquids before bedtime

With a regulated circadian rhythm, your sleep quantity will not only improve, but also your sleep quality. Sleeping is an important part of being healthy and if you want to live a balanced life, you have to make sleep one of your top priorities.

Why Eating Fat on a Weight Loss Diet Is Actually the Best Idea Ever!

Why Eating Fat on a Weight Loss Diet Is Actually the Best Idea Ever!


We are brainwashed to believe that fat is evil, but it turns out that not all fats are created equal. In fact, studies show that aside from being a crucial part of a healthy meal, good fats are also key to lose that extra weight. Seriously? Yes!

Based on a study conducted by the Institute of Medicine, researchers recommend we get 20 to 35 percent of our daily calories from fat. But not any kind of fat. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids specifically. Think fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados.

Research suggests that people tend to overeat when on a low-fat diet because they get hungry more often. As fat is digested more slowly, this results in a more filling and satisfying meal. When  you are full, it is easier for you to stick on a diet and cut out unnecessary calories. No wonder the Mediterranean diet, packed full of healthy fats, is so satisfying.

Christy Brisette, a registered dietician and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Chicago, suggests to keep the portion at 100 calories per snack to make sure weight loss is on check.

Starting with whole seeds that are full of polyunsaturated fatty acids and simultaneously reducing your intake of saturated fat could lower your risk of heart disease. As per the Dietary Guidelines, an easy way to remember it is to reduce intake of saturated fats like burgers, fats, meats and processed sweets.  

Try pumpkin, pistachio, flax, hemp and chia, that are full of both good fat and fibre. For breakfast and dinner, try eggs, as they are not only rich in fatty acids (which in turn help you to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins that are also found in eggs), but are also a high-quality protein source. For salad dressings, switch to olive, macadamia or avocado oil and garnish with seeds.

Other foods that you can consider are grass-fed beef, coconut, dark chocolate, Greek yogurt, wild salmon and the occasional serve of tuna.

And this is the skinny truth about fat: You can eat fat to burn fat!

What to Do When Your Life is Calling You to Jump Ship

What to Do When Your Life is Calling You to Jump Ship

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More than likely, we will all go through this at some point in our lives. Some of us will go through it multiple times. It doesn't happen overnight, but you might just realise one day that your life has been calling you to jump ship. You will realise that it's been a long time coming and that things need to change.

It can be a time of turmoil, though it doesn't have to be. Change can be exciting and in many cases, for the better.

Signs That You Need to Change Jobs

If indecision is causing confusion for you, here are a few things that might make it clearer:

1. You are Dreading the Day

If you are holding on for dear life just to make it to the weekend, only to dread Monday while trying to enjoy your weekend, this is a clear sign. You probably already feel unhappy, and long-term, it's bad for your overall health.

2. Your Job is a Dead End

It may not be the people or the commute that's the problem. It can be that you are not able to reach your professional goals at the company where you're at. If you have spoken to your manager and are sure that there is no way to grow in the company, either skills-wise or financially, it's time to go.

3. Your Job is Interfering With Your Life

Life changes. We start families, want to further our studies, or the long hours and stress start to weigh on us. While you will obviously need to put time into your job, you can take steps to get your hours reduced, move to a closer branch, or perhaps flexi-time or remote work is an option. If these aren't options in your current job, change is necessary.

How to Make the Transition Easier

Career change is right up there with some of the most stressful events in life and there are a few things that you need to consider getting in order first:

1. What is Your Motivation?

Before you make your final decision about whether to jump ship or not, you need to be real with yourself and ask yourself exactly why you want to do it and how the change will benefit you.
The saying ‘the grass isn't always greener on the other side’ is so true. You may end up working with annoying people again, or perhaps you realise that even though you got a salary bump you still feel unhappy and unfulfilled. If you are looking for growth, you will need to push yourself.

Changing careers means starting at the bottom again, learning new skills, and possibly putting in long hours. So make sure that you truly want to do this and that your motivations are good ones. This will also help you to be sure of what you're looking for and what to negotiate for when the time comes.

2. Put Money Aside

If you need to leave before you have found a new job, if you need to study, or if you are starting your own business, you need to have money put aside. It's a good idea to have enough money saved to live off for about 3 months. Not everyone is able to do this, but try to put some money away to ease the burden a little.

Alternatively, you may need to stay on while you look for a job or get a part-time job doing something else that will give you a break from the job you were doing before but gives you some money to support yourself or pay for your tuition.

3. Make Sure You Have a Good Support System

Having friends and/or family who can support you during this time will go a long way. Even if it's just someone to talk to about your worries, bounce ideas off of, or celebrate victories with. True friendship and support from those who love you cannot be underestimated.

4. Don't Let Fear Get in the Way

Fear is normal and it helps us to evaluate the situation thoroughly, but if you feel that things need to change, there is a good reason for it. Fear and complacency can hold us back, but we won't ever grow or improve our situation if we don't take those steps. If you keep putting it off, five years down the line, you're still sitting in the same situation.

5. Do Your Research

Know what your options are. Research the company you want to apply to or the career that you want to switch to thoroughly. It will help you to navigate this change more smoothly. 

Changing jobs is a big step and for most people, it's life changing. It can be freeing and we get a chance to grow and shape our lives for the better. If your life is calling you to jump ship, and you have properly weighed up the pros and cons, maybe it’s time to go for it!

Author: Cheanné Lombard

Author: Cheanné Lombard


Why Watermelon Seeds Are The New 'Apple A Day' (You Heard It Here First!)

Why Watermelon Seeds Are The New 'Apple A Day' (You Heard It Here First!)


It's likely that when you eat watermelon, you either get rid of the seeds or buy watermelons specially grown to develop without seeds. When I was younger I used to think that if I ate the seeds a watermelon would grow in my stomach! But this is definitely not the case; our stomach acid takes care of that.

Rather, watermelon seeds come with many benefits and if all that's stopping you from eating them is that you thought you shouldn't, let's look at why you should.

The Benefits of Watermelon Seeds

1. Rich in Antioxidants

Our bodies produce free radicals as they perform the various functions that keep us alive. Pollution, stress, pesticides, poor diet, excess alcohol, and smoking also cause free radical production. Antioxidants get rid of harmful free radicals and these seeds are little antioxidant powerhouses.

They contain mainly polyphenols, specifically tannins which you can also find in tea. Adding watermelon seeds to your diet can help to protect against many diseases and help you to age gracefully.

2. Rich in Nutrients

The amount of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in watermelon seeds is amazing:

  • Zinc: Needed for healthy hair and skin, wound healing, a strong immune system, and good male sexual health.

  • Iron: Helps to carry oxygen to your cells and is essential for energy metabolism.

  • Magnesium: Involved in over 300 processes in the body. Good for reducing headaches, anxiety and constipation as well as balancing hormones and improving sleep quality.

  • Copper: Necessary for iron metabolism.

  • Potassium: Keeps your heart healthy and is needed for muscle contraction and fluid balance and keeps your nerves functioning properly.

  • Manganese: Needed to make various enzymes in your body.

  • Phosphorus: Keeps your bones and teeth healthy and balances the acidity in your body.

  • Sodium: Necessary for fluid balance, healthy muscle contraction, and to keep your nerve function healthy.

While a small handful of watermelon seeds won't provide you with large amounts of these minerals, they can still contribute to your daily intake which is great. Many people are deficient in potassium and magnesium which perform very important functions essential for optimal health.

They also contain fibre, protein, folate and other B vitamins which are important for foetal development and energy metabolism.

3. Easy to Digest

Watermelon seeds contain globulin and albumin which are proteins that are easy for the body to absorb and use. This makes them an excellent snack when you need that little something between meals.

4. Healthy Fats

Watermelon seeds are low in saturated fat and contain healthy monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. These fats help to lower cholesterol and keep your heart and arteries healthy. They also help to keep your brain, membranes, muscles and eyes healthy.

When you eat the correct balance of omega 6 to omega 3, which is a ratio of no more than 4:1, polyunsaturated fats will reduce inflammation.

5. Low in Calories

A 30g serving of watermelon seeds is approximately 160 calories. You will eat far less than that in a sitting. For every 28g, there are approximately 400 seeds!

Ways to Eat Watermelon Seeds

You can of course just eat the seeds as you eat the watermelon, but you can also extract them or buy a packet and:

  • Eat them as a snack on their own (fresh, roasted or dried).

  • Put them in your salad.

  • Use them along with oats, nuts, and other seeds to make granola.

  • Use them to make tea (use a half to one teaspoon of crushed fresh watermelon seeds per cup and brew them in water for 10-15 minutes).

How to Roast Watermelon Seeds

If you want to roast them you can do so at 180°C for 15-20 minutes and you can flavour them with salt or any other herb or spice you like.

What About Watermelon Seed Side Effects?

Watermelon seeds are perfectly safe to eat. If you do go overboard, which would be quite a feat, you may experience some bloating and possibly get the runs, but given the nature of these seeds, you probably will not be eating more than a tablespoon or two at a time which is fine.

To say that watermelon seeds are the "new apple a day" really isn't an exaggeration. It can be a bit strange to suddenly start eating something that you may have been told your whole life not to eat, but before you spit out the seeds again, be brave and try it.

Author: Cheanné Lombard

Author: Cheanné Lombard


What It’s Like to Live with Anxiety

What It’s Like to Live with Anxiety


In today's world, we are always on the go. Most people struggle to just switch off and relax. Even when we're away from our computers, our smartphones still get all our emails and messages. We juggle work, family, and household commitments.

For someone that struggles with anxiety, the constant worry while living in a busy world doesn't help. If you or a family member is living with anxiety, know that there is help, there is healing. Learning more about anxiety and how to treat it is the first step.

Types of Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems worldwide with 1 in 13 people suffering from some form of anxiety globally. In Australia, 14% of the population struggles with anxiety in a given year, the majority being women. 45% of people in Australia experience anxiety at some point in their lives.

Anxiety comes in different forms and a person can suffer from more than one form. The five main types of anxiety are:

  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Chronic anxiety, worry and tension often over small or unrealistic things in addition to actual stressors.

  • Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia): Being severely self-conscious or nervous in social situations, either in general or in specific situations like public speaking or being around new people.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This occurs due to being exposed to a traumatic event such as a car accident, sexual assault, military combat, and natural disasters or even just the threat of harm. Women are more susceptible than men.

  • Panic Disorder: Random and unexpected panic (anxiety) attacks. Symptoms of a panic attack include heart palpitations, dizziness, chest pain, feeling breathless, or chest pain.

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Obsessive thoughts and/or are compelled to carry out repetitive behaviours in an attempt to ease these obsessive thoughts, for example, counting, checking doors, or washing hands.

Living with Anxiety

It's hard to think that those in the public eye might have anxiety, but they are only human just as we are. One such person is singer-songwriter Adele. This woman with the amazing voice that mesmerises millions, struggles with anxiety.

Despite how talented and skillful she is, when it comes to performing, particularly in front of large audiences, she struggles with anxiety to the point where she has vomited. Because of her anxiety, she prefers to perform in front of smaller audiences at low-key events. This goes to prove that anxiety can reach you no matter who you are or how good you are at what you do.

When it comes to social anxiety, sufferers are sometimes stuck at home because leaving the house terrifies them. These individuals struggle to hold down a job outside the home due to an inability to cope at work. They are often lonely, as speaking to people is a major source of anxiety.

As for sufferers of panic attacks, the fear of an attack itself often stops sufferers from doing things that they would love to do since there is sometimes no warning. And those with OCD sometimes get judged by others which only worsens the anxiety and frustration they feel….

Tips for Treating Anxiety

Seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist is helpful if you can't get your anxiety under control. If you are struggling with the costs involved, try these resources:


  • Speak to a counsellor at your local church, synagogue, or mosque.

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14

  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78

  • Your family GP can provide discounted access to allied health professionals, through the Mental Health Care Plan.

Further Tips

  • Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet (fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains such as brown rice, and if you eat meat include fish).

  • Exercise… it helps to get rid of excess cortisol (the stress hormone). Even walking is great.

  • Journal

  • When you are anxious, draw a 5-minute drawing depicting how you feel. It doesn't need to be perfect. It can help to relieve some of the anxiety.

  • Listen to relaxing music.

  • Schedule worry time, i.e. 15 minutes that you take to write down your worries each day and work through them.

  • Meditate or do breathing exercises. There is HUGE benefit to gain through immersion in these subtle practices.

  • Most of all, don't fight for control, this just makes it worse. Acknowledge it and let it pass.

You may also find it helpful to listen to this podcast by The Anxiety Coaches. Find what works for you.

The solution is not one-size fits all, because we are all different. But taking out some time each day to take care of yourself and your mental health is important. Even speaking to someone you trust can help. It's nothing to be ashamed of and you are not alone. There is help.

Author: Cheanné Lombard

Author: Cheanné Lombard


Why 1 in 3 Aussie Women Will Suffer Anxiety This Year And What You Can Do About It

Why 1 in 3 Aussie Women Will Suffer Anxiety This Year And What You Can Do About It


For many years, those with mental illnesses have been thought of as crazy, faking it and even silly for not ‘snapping out of it’. This once-taboo subject is finally getting the attention that it deserves. Mental illness is more common than previously thought and people who are suffering from these conditions need help instead of being shunned or blamed.

If you or someone you care about is struggling, you’re not alone. Our goal here is to create mental health awareness and give you information on how to get help.

The Most Common Mental Health Conditions

Mental illness generally occurs between the ages of 18 and 85. Younger children also struggle with mental health problems, usually ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and anxiety.

In Australia, the three most prevalent mental health disorders are anxiety, depression and substance abuse disorders. Women are more prone to both anxiety and depression whereas men are more prone to substance abuse. Men are more likely to commit suicide as well as they are less likely to seek help than women are.

There are many factors that can cause these issues:

  • Chronic stress

  • Trauma

  • Abuse

  • Hormonal imbalances

  • Brain health problems

Mental Health Stats

According to the Australian Medical Association:

  • 45% of Australians between the ages of 16 and 85 will experience a mental disorder.

  • Nearly 64,000 people have a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia.

  • Around 14% of children aged 14 to 17 experienced a mental health disorder.

  • The mental healthcare sector is still underfunded with physical healthcare getting priority despite the impact that mental health has on so many lives.

Women and Mental Illness

Check out the gender differences here:

  • Women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety than men are.

  • 1 in 4 women will need treatment for depression compared to 1 in 10 men.

  • Postnatal depression affects between 8 and 15% of women.

  • A woman's risk of developing PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is 20.4% whereas the risk for men is only 8.1%.

Women, in general, have a lot of pressure placed on them due to working either full time or part time (earning a part-time salary is also often a source of stress), taking care of children and older family members, and running their households. That often equates to a lot of stress and very little ‘me’ time.

Women are also more likely to experience abuse both physically and sexually. Past traumatic experiences often cause PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Women also often fear for their safety more. The constant stress and possible hormonal imbalances all increase the risk of anxiety.

What Can You Do?

First off, if you are struggling to cope, get help. There is no shame in doing this. If you can't afford a private psychologist or psychiatrist, you can get help here:

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14

  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78


  • Churches, synagogues, and mosques often have counsellors and/or clergy that you can speak to.

  • Your family GP can provide discounted access to allied health professionals, through the Mental Health Care Plan.

If the above options are unable to provide you with the help you need, they will be able to refer you to the correct people.

More Tips to Improve Mental Health

It can be hard to take care of yourself or a loved one suffering from a mental health disorder. If you are the primary caregiver of children or other elderly or ill family members, taking time out to help yourself can inspire feelings of guilt. But bear in mind that you can't help in the way that they need if you are struggling due to health problems.

With that said:

  • Make time to relax and do something that you enjoy whether it's art, sitting in the garden, or spending time with your friends and family.

  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and if you eat meat make sure it's lean, preferably free range and that you include some fish).

  • Exercise - walk, swim, jog, dance, weight train, do some gardening, or do yoga. Pick an activity that you enjoy and aim to do it 3-5 days a week.

As humans, we are complex. We can be physically healthy but if our mind struggles, we are lowering our overall health. Reach out for help. There are people who care and will help you. If you are a counselor or therapist, consider volunteering your services.  

Together we can break the stigma surrounding mental health problems. We can each do our part, whether it's being proactive about our own health or helping those who need help.

Author: Cheanné Lombard

Author: Cheanné Lombard


Living off the Grid: As Good As It Gets

Living off the Grid: As Good As It Gets


Ever wanted to run off to an island or some other beautiful remote place? No more horrible envelopes with the little windows and no more slogging away at a job you don't enjoy or that's just plain stressful. Freedom!

That dream is closer than you think. You don't necessarily have to run away to the middle of nowhere, but you could do that too if you'd like. Living off the grid is becoming more and more popular. Electricity from the grid alone is so expensive, never mind general living costs.

Going off the grid partially or fully is a great way to ease some of that pressure, but it can take a lot of getting used to and if roughing it isn't your dream life, you will likely need to invest quite a bit of money to get to living close to the way you are living now.

Still, making these changes are well worth it. Not sure where to start or what living off the grid even is? Let's get into those nitty-gritty details.

  1. What is Going Off the Grid?

When you are off the grid, you are essentially off the city's power grid. You can take it further by making use of a well or a tank to catch water and using a septic tank to take care of your sewerage too. This will mean that you are fully off the grid.

Some people do it the other way around by getting a septic tank and using a well, but still staying on the electricity grid. Some people also produce their own electricity selling the excess to the city or switching to the city's electricity grid when their self-produced power runs out.

You can rough it which is really like prolonged basic camping, but you can also convert your home or buy some land and set your homestead up there. You can even grow your own food. It all depends on your preferences and the law.

2. Electricity Options

Going off-grid can seem scary, but depending on your budget, there are a range of options:

  • Solar power

  • Batteries

  • Generators

You could also go the wind power or water power route, but this depends on what you can afford and if the area you live in is suitable for these options. Off-the-gridders find that a combination of the top three power supplies works best as depending on the size and number of solar panels, the system can get overwhelmed when using appliances with elements at the same time.

If you have the option of staying connected to the grid but installing solar panels, surplus energy can be sold to the city. Despite the initial cost of buying the solar panels and having them installed, you will ultimately save. It's also cheaper than connecting to the grid if you are buying land to build on.

3. The Deal with Water and Sewerage

  • Septic Tanks

Septic tanks can degrade pretty easily if you don't take care of them. Should you get one installed, take care of it by never using harsh chemicals in it and keeping foreign objects and anything other than toilet paper from getting in there. Installing a septic system also depends on the area as there should be no cars that drive over the pipes and the tanks should be far away from buildings and water sources.

  • Water

You can get a well or borehole installed, provided the area is suitable and you can also install a solar, wind or hand pump. It can be expensive, but so is being hooked up to the city's water. So if you are buying land to build on, keep that in mind. You can also catch rain and use it for flushing the toilet or if you get a filtration system to purify the water, you may be able to use it as drinking water too.

4. Grow Your Own Food

You can easily grow veggies in your garden. Even in a small space, the use of hydroponics or growing smaller veggies or spices in a crate can work.

5. Some More Things to Bear in Mind

It can take some time getting used to doing things in a new way. You will likely need to learn patience, and if you are away from the city, adjusting to the peace and quiet might take some time. But who couldn’t do with a little more peace?!

As long as you consider all your options, you may find that it's one of the best decisions you've ever made regarding your living situation. Independence, sustainable green living, lower living costs and a more peaceful way of life… if that's what you want, living off the grid could be your best decision yet!

Author: Cheanné Lombard

Author: Cheanné Lombard


Real Body Image and Instagram Trends

Real Body Image and Instagram Trends


The perfect body shape has changed over the years. In the last few decades, the "ideal body" has been skinny. Times are changing and nowadays, there are many proclaiming that strong is the new sexy for women.

While this is great, pictures are still airbrushed and it still leaves out the majority of women. Almost everywhere you look, there are still flawless bodies, no stretch marks, no cellulite, no scars, with very little body fat.

Fat-shaming, judging people by what they wear, and thinking of cellulite and stretch marks as ugly doesn’t help. Women in their 20's are even getting procedures done to keep those fine lines and wrinkles at bay.

When summer hits, some of us still walk around in trousers and long-sleeved tops with makeup melting off our faces to look "acceptable". No one is saying don't dress in a way that makes you feel good or stop working out and eating healthily.

What we are saying is, we all at some point develop these so-called flaws. So why are we so ashamed? Today we're taking a look at real body image, what normal is, and the latest Instagram trends specifically throwing up a storm when it comes to the traditional confines of how we view body image.

1. A Few Facts About Our Bodies

  • 93% of women have cellulite and around 10% of men too.

  • Stretch marks often first appear in adolescence when girls start getting wider hips and breasts start developing and when boys go through sudden growth spurts. If not then, pregnancy and weight changes cause them.

  • Most women will never have that coveted thigh gap simply because their bone structure doesn't allow for it.

  • Only around 5% of women have the body type of a traditional model.

  • We all age, men and women. It's a fact of life. Along with it comes wrinkles and parts of our body moving in a southern direction.

  • Breasts can sag slightly or change shape during pregnancy.

  • Bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. None of them are better or worse, and as you know, what matters is being healthy.

2. Problems Due to an Unhealthy Body Image

As you can see, these flaws are not really flaws at all. They are the norm. Those images in the magazine are photo-shopped. Many celebrities and models, and even some athletes in sports where weight is important go to extreme measures to look perfect and they still get photo-shopped.

This not only hurts those posing for the pictures but the general population too:

  • Around 90% of women are unhappy with their bodies.

  • In the US, 30 million people have an eating disorder. Less so in Australia, but it still exists.

  • The weight loss and anti-ageing market are worth billions.

  • More and more people are getting cosmetic procedures done.

  • Many women and even men are constantly on a diet and most women have tried a diet at least once.

3. Sex and Body Image

Sexual promiscuity and suicide are common among teens who have a negative body image. Many women beyond their teen years also seek out sex to get affirmation. Instead of helping, it just perpetuates the cycle.

On the flip side:

Studies indicate that body image has a definite impact on sexual function. Young adult and middle-aged women in particular often experience the following:

  • A lack of sexual desire

  • A lack of arousal

  • There may be an inability to orgasm

Sure stress and living a busy life can affect your sex life, but it's hard to feel sexy when you feel uncomfortable about your body.

Either way, a positive body image is far more important than any sexual encounter. When we feel comfortable with ourselves, we are more confident, we value ourselves and we expect the same from others. We have healthier relationships and healthier sex lives.

4. Body Image and Instagram Trends

More and more celebs are speaking out against being photo-shopped. While there are still those who put fake images on Instagram and of course, trolls are everywhere, here are some of our favourites who show that we are all beautiful:

1. @nude_nutritionist Nutrition meets realism, the healthy way!

2. @emilyskyfit A fit and fabulous mother - stretch marks, muscles, and all.

3. @denisbidot There is no wrong way to be a woman!

4. @healthyisthenewskinny A healthy body is beautiful, no matter the shape.

5. @missgeoburk With eating disorders in the fashion industry being rife, it's time for unattainable beauty standards to change.

6. @gabifresh Beautiful clothes should be made for women of all shapes and sizes.

Being beautiful should be about being healthy and feeling comfortable in your own skin, no matter what your body looks like. Nothing is as sexy as confidence.

Whatever your body looks like, treat it well. Eat healthily most of the time, exercise a few times a week, if not daily, and make time to enjoy life. The less we obsess about what's "wrong" with our bodies, the more we start to see how beautiful we really are.

Author: Cheanné Lombard

Author: Cheanné Lombard


Feng Shui Trends for 2019 You Have to Be a Part Of

Feng Shui Trends for 2019 You Have to Be a Part Of

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It doesn't matter whether you're a firm believer in feng shui or have categorised it as woo-woo stuff, you can't deny the fact that your environment affects you. Having too much stuff, or things that are out of place or that just don't feel right can niggle at you all day and cause frustration when you can't find something.

Life is stressful enough without your actual workspace or home adding to it. You can start your year off right and make it your year best yet by checking out these feng shui tips and trends. If you're thinking this sounds awesome, but what the heck is feng shui, we've got that covered too.

What is Feng Shui?

The ancient art of feng shui originated in China and is to do with how a space and all the objects in it are arranged in relation to the flow of energy. Simply put, you have an energy field, as does everything else around you. How the energy flows around and through you is either beneficial for you or not.

Top Feng Shui Trends for 2019

1. Get Rid of Clutter

Organised chaos may be your thing, but it's like a breath of fresh air when you have a clean, organised space. Get rid of your old clothes that you no longer wear or that don't fit you. Get rid of things that you no longer use. Put everything where it belongs and keep your surfaces uncluttered. It will do you a world of good.

2. Bring in Some Plants

Houseplants are great and some even purify the air. If you have an office, having a plant will help to soothe your stress and bring some life into the room. You can do the same with your lounge, or why not keep a tray of herbs in your kitchen? They're good for the soul, your body, and your taste buds.

Having said this, keeping plants in your bedroom can make it vibrant instead of serene. Most plants also release carbon dioxide at night and while this isn't dangerous, it can affect your sleep which will impact your health negatively.

3. Use Soothing Colours

Striking colours can be too harsh. For example, a red wall can promote hostility and anger. Your walls don't all need to be white, but keep the colours pale and choose a colour that makes you feel good. Yellow works well in the kitchen whereas blue or white works well in the bedroom. You can check out these tips for choosing the perfect wall colours.

4. Open the Windows

Stuffy air is stifling. Opening your windows, provided it's not too noisy outside or letting in traffic fumes, helps you think more clearly and can even eliminate the feeling of being trapped if that is something that you struggle with. Open windows promote freedom and help fresh air to circulate.

5. Keep Technology Out of the Bedroom

The blue light emitted by laptops, televisions and smartphone screens interferes with your melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone that is responsible for sleep. So use an app with a blue light filter if you need to use any of these devices within an hour or two of bedtime.

If you can't keep tech out of the bedroom, cover up those LED lights and turn your phone face down. It seems inconsequential, but even one tiny light can disrupt your sleep. You may not wake up, but your mind will struggle to settle down and your sleep won't be very restful.

Most importantly, whatever you do, don't bring your work into the bedroom. Your bedroom is only for sleep and sex.

6. Leave Your Shoes at the Door

While this can be a bit awkward for some of us, this simple action can help to keep work stress out of your home. As you go through stacks of work and meet deadlines, you are likely wearing your shoes. When you take your shoes off as you enter your home, you are mentally leaving your cares at the front door. It also minimises dust!

If you don't like being barefoot or prefer to wear some nice comfy slippers after being on your feet all day, feel free to put on those comfy slippers or any other shoes that you feel comfortable in and that never leave the house.

Most of these tips are fairly simple and even just doing one or two of them can help you immensely. Whatever your goals are for 2019, providing yourself with a stress-free space will help you live a more balanced life, stay motivated, and have a positive outlook. Make your office and home a space that you enjoy.

Author: Cheanné Lombard

Author: Cheanné Lombard


Is the World Getting Better or Worse?

Is the World Getting Better or Worse?


A breakdown of the TedX talk by Steven Pinker, Cognitive Scientist.

If you're anything like me, you don't even watch or read the news anymore because most of it is just doom and gloom. It's all about global warming, the poor economy, terrorism, crime, and natural disasters. It's almost surprising when you avoid the news that the world doesn't look so bad anymore.

Sure, there are still many problems, some of which you may be experiencing yourself, but you can look around and find a lot to be grateful for even through the tough times.

Avoiding the news is tough, it's all over the headlines on the side of the road and the radio too. We can't ignore that there is a great big world out there and overall, things seem to be going downhill. But are we getting all of the facts?

Were Things Really that Good in the Past?

When people think of the past, they see kids playing outside in the streets, homes with picket fences, no one locking their doors or cars, and less fear. Overall, they see a better and happier life. In this TED talk which will change the way you see the world, Steven Pinker, the author of Enlightenment Now, says that we look at the past with rose tinted glasses.

30 years ago, there was no Twitter or YouTube or any other social media sites. Nowadays, most of us have access to news reports and social media sites with the opinions and news from people and places all over the globe.

There was still crime, poverty, and injustice, just as there is now, but decades ago, it just wasn't as well publicised. Considering all that's happening these days, that can be hard to believe.

Is the World Really Getting Worse?

This may surprise you, but the world really is a better place than it was a few decades ago, and certainly much better than it was a century or two ago. Looking further back at the dark ages, of course, the way we live now is much better. But the distinction isn't so obvious when we consider the more recent past.

The standard of living and the problems of the world, however, have been improving even into the 2010s. Here are a few of the statistics that Steven Pinker mentioned in the talk:

  • In the US, poverty is at 7% which is down from the 12% that it was 30 years ago.

  • Pollution is down from 35 tons of PM (particle matter) and 20 million tons of SO2 (sulphur dioxide) to 21 tons of PM and 4 million tons of SO2.

  • Wars are down globally from 23 to 12 and autocracies down from 85 to 60.

  • Nuclear weapons are down from 60,780 to 10,325.

  • We are 96% less likely to die in car accidents and 99% less likely to die in plane crashes.

  • We are even 89% less likely to die due to natural disasters.

  • In developed countries, the literacy rate is 100% and in developing countries, it's at around 85% compared to only around 15% in the 1400s.

Medical care, health, technology, and education keep improving. Our cars, our appliances, and cities are becoming more environmentally friendly. The stats above are just a few. The video is filled with even more stats that are inspiring and reassuring.

But, What About the Future?

Clearly, there are still many problems in the world and it's human nature to assess threats and risks by looking at negative circumstances and bad events. We also tend to remember bad things better than good things. But, we can use this for good.

Yes, scientists will keep researching, tech giants will keep inventing, but you can make a difference too. It starts by treating the world and people around you with kindness and respect and teaching your kids to do the same. Even if that's all that you can do, you will be making the world a better place.

Take it a step further and make your home a green household by recycling and saving water and electricity. Donate your old clothing to homeless shelters. Make sure the food on your plate is from sustainable sources, for example, eat less fish and meat and eat more veggies. Donate time or money to causes you care about. These are simple things that everyone can do.


If you've been feeling down about the state of the world we're living in, we hope that these facts help you feel more optimistic about the future. As we learn more about ourselves and the world around us and use that knowledge to improve our communities and the lives of ourselves and our families, progress will be a trend that continues well into the future.

Author: Cheanné Lombard

Author: Cheanné Lombard


Why Are Greens Such a Big Deal?  5 Nutrients That Make Greens the Perpetual Go-To Food

Why Are Greens Such a Big Deal? 5 Nutrients That Make Greens the Perpetual Go-To Food

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When we were kids, we were told (forced?) to eat our vegetables. Even Popeye, the popular cartoon sailor from our childhood, showed us that when he ate spinach, he’d grow muscles, defeat all his enemies with a single punch and save the love of his life or whoever it was in trouble.

This may have encouraged some of us but still, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli and all those other green leafy vegetables tasted oh so awful - and we didn’t grow muscles the way Popeye did. So what was the point?

Most of us on reaching adulthood have become aware of the need for eating those leafy greens and quite clearly, it’s not because we’ll grow instant muscles like Popeye - but because they’re filled with so many nutrients. You might have even grown a taste for these greens and salads as you grew up. Just think about how tasty your last crunchy salad was!  

However, if you still don’t like the taste, these reasons might make you change your mind and see why eating greens are such a big deal.

#1 Fibre

If you ever find yourself having trouble with your digestive health and bowel movements, you’ll likely benefit from increasing the amount of fibre in your diet. Greens can do just this. Fibre also helps in weight maintenance and even weight loss. More importantly, it slows down sugar absorption. This is what particularly makes greens a great option for those with diabetes.

#2 Calcium

Yes! Calcium is not just found in milk and dairy products as many of you will liekly know. If you’re lactose intolerant but still want to get your daily dose of calcium, eating vegetables is the right choice for you! Calcium is needed in our bodies to help our bones stay healthy and strong. It helps with our muscular, urinary and central nervous systems. And if we don’t get our suggested daily dose, our likelihood of conditions such as osteoporosis increase. Accidents resulting in fractures are also more likely for those that don’t consume their recommended daily intake of calcium.  

#3 A Whole Lot of Vitamins

With vitamins A, C, E and K, leafy green veggies are a fantastic source of nutrients.  

  • Vitamin A: for immune and reproductive system health, cell growth, heart and kidney maintenance and vision. For a Vitamin A hit, try kale and spinach.

  • Vitamin C: contains antioxidants for immune system health in order to prevent common respiratory disorders such as the cold or flu. Vitamin C improves your skin’s health and lets your body absorb iron better. Cabbage, spinach and kale are your best sources for this vitamin.

  • Vitamin E: for protecting cells against free radical damage, for improving immune system function and for blood vessel health. Your best green sources for this vitamin are spinach, mustard greens, beet greens and Swiss chard.

  • Vitamin K: found in in spinach, kale and lettuce, Vitamin K assists in our body’s processes of blood clotting, so when wounded, we don’t bleed excessively. It’s also imperative for heart and bone health.   

#4 Iron

Our body needs iron not because it turns us into Iron Man (pun intended), but because our body needs it to oxygenate blood and deliver it to the rest of our body. Iron deficiency makes us weak, causes frequent headaches, reduces our appetite and results in a rapid heartbeat. We are also more prone to infection if we have an iron deficiency. Your antidote? Green leafy veggies, of course!  

#5 Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients are specific components that are present in plant foods and are essential due to their wide-ranging benefits to our bodies. They protect against disease and lessen the risk of heart diseases, cancer and macular degeneration.

There are also six major types of phytonutrients:

  • Carotenoids – a class of orange, yellow or red fat-soluble pigments that act as an antioxidant.

  • Ellagic Acid – a phenol antioxidant that helps protect against cancer.

  • Flavonoids (bioflavonoids) – plant pigments that help reduce the risk of asthma, coronary heart disease and selected cancers.

  • Resveratrol – has a multitude of biological activities, including anticancer, antioxidant, cardio-protective, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, chemopreventative, neuroprotective and immunomodulation.

  • Glucosinolates – sulphur-containing antioxidants that protect against certain cancers and coronary heart disease.

  • Phytoestrogens – naturally occurring compounds that mimic oestrogen and can lower the risk of endometrial cancer and bone loss in women.

With such promising evidence that greens are not your ordinary group of vegetables, isn’t it time you upped yours today? Give them a go (again!) in your salad, as part of your meal (steamed, stir fried or slow cooked), in your smoothie or smoothie bowl or alone, with a drizzle of your favourite healthy sauce (tahini, cold pressed olive oil, tamari, a homemade vinaigrette or even with a handful of roasted seeds for some added crunch). Go on, your body deserves the added nutrient boost.   



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Did you know that the quality of your home environment can have an effect on everything from your  respiratory system to mental health? Check out this holistically-minded list for easy and effective ways to improve your household’s wellness from the inside out!

1. Bring in the fresh air! The easiest way to improve the indoor air is to let more of the outside air in. Keep windows and doors open as much as possible to allow good air flow around the house. The indoor air climate should feel as fresh and alive as the outdoor environment.

2. No shoes in the house. Removing your shoes will significantly reduce levels of dust, dirt, germs, pesticides, and many other unwanted things you’ve been walking around outside in. Place door mats at the entrances to wipe shoes and remove dirt and residue.

3. Invest in a good vacuum. Conventional vacuums without a quality HEPA filter will recirculate up to 80% of materials back into the air! HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters will filter particles down to 0.3um which traps the smallest of dust, mites, mould spores and dirt, preventing it from becoming airborne.

4. Switch it off at night! Electrical appliances should not be in the bedroom. Sleep is essential for our bodies to repair and regenerate and our bedrooms should be treated like a sanctuary. Turn off ALL bedroom electrical appliances at night – especially WIFI. Power boards, phones, bed lamps, baby monitors, need to be at least 1.5 meters away from your head, not under the bed, on the side table or under the pillow – and switched OFF at the wall. If your phone is your alarm, put it on flight mode and away from the bed so then you have to get up!

5. Read the labels. If you need a chemistry degree just to understand it, avoid it. The first third of ingredients (usually the top 5) listed make up over 95% of the product! If you wouldn’t eat it, why would you cover your body in it?

6. Reduce your chemical burden. Women put over 500+ chemical on their bodies every day, and it takes less than 25 seconds to be absorbed through the skin.  Replace these products with organic and natural alternatives. Look beyond their ‘claims’ and ensure it has proper certification from legitimate organic bodies. Don’t be discouraged by pricing of organic products – your long term health depends on it. Remember health is a cheaper option than the cost of illness and disease.

7. Clean Green. Many commercial cleaning products contain toxic chemicals and with dangerous label warnings. How safe can a product labelled ‘POISON’, ‘CORROSIVE’ or ‘TOXIC’ be? Disinfectants, oven cleaners, drain cleaners, mould cleaners, window and floor polishes often contain a potent mix including solvents, bleach, ammonia and chlorine. Replace chemical cleaners with natural, non-toxic alternatives, many ingredients are common household products! Recommended brands that actually work include Abode and Ecover.

8. What’s that smell? Volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) are often released from things such as synthetic carpets and furnishings, commercial cleaning products, dry cleaning, polishes and waxes, paints, plastics, air fresheners, pesticides and aerosol sprays. VOCs can irritate skin, eyes, nose and throat, and cause dizziness, nausea and headaches when inhaled. Rely on your sense of smell to act on problem areas and remove the cause of the problem without masking odours with fragrances.

9. Filter your water! Our drinking water is purified or disinfected before flowing out our taps. Chlorine is universally used to chemically disinfect water and is added to your water to destroy germs, bacteria and living organisms. You are also a living organism, and your body is affected by chlorine internally as well as externally. Inhalation and skin absorption of chloroform and chlorine by-products are greatest in the shower, where these gases are vaporised. Chlorine is known to cause skin irritation, dermatitis, eczema, asthma or breathing difficulties. Only 4% of the world’s drinking water continues to be fluoridated, and 97% of western European countries banned it due to insufficient evidence to prove its safety, and is considered ‘mass medication’. Invest in quality water and shower filters. Reverse ozmosis systems will remove 99.9% of chemicals, including fluoride, bacteria, cysts and heavy metals from tap water.

10. Bring the outdoors inside! Indoor plants are amazing air filters and purifiers. They help maintain ideal humidity levels and add colour and life to any room! NASA actually tested a range of plants to determine their ability to remove certain pollutants from the air including common volatile organic compounds (VOCs) - benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. The results were impressive. Native Kentia Palm, Mother-In-Law tongue, Peace Lily, English Ivy and Bamboo Palms and are some of the best plants for absorbing these pollutants and suitable for indoors.

11. The power of sunshine. Sunny, hot days are perfect to air your mattresses, rugs and doonas out. Did you know that an average queen size bed contains over 2 BILLION dust mites, plus lots of other gross things…. and that favourite pillow you’ve slept on every night for 2 years – 10% of its weight is now dust mite poo and carcasses! Yuk. A whole day exposure to full UV sunlight will sterilize and kill dust mites. Airing doonas, rugs and pillows weekly will also kill bacteria and dry out any moisture.

12. Be proactive! Simple changes to daily habits and purchases can make a big impact on your long term health. Consult a qualified Building Biologist to come assess your home or workplace to ensure the long term health and safely of you and your family.

Recommended links:

Find a Building Biologist: Australasian Society of Building Biologists (ASBB)

Courses in Building Biology: Australian College of Environmental Studies (ACES)

Author: Bree Fisher

Author: Bree Fisher


5 Health & Lifestyle Apps You Need Today!

5 Health & Lifestyle Apps You Need Today!


It’s undeniable that technology has made its way into the daily routine of many individuals. Can you recall a day where you didn’t check your phone first thing when you woke up? Or a day where you didn’t check your notifications on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or whatever social media application you use?

The Smartphone’s Smart Advantage
With smartphones, it has also become much easier to connect to the internet. Smartphones offer more possibilities, from taking pictures and videos, playing music, downloading games, ordering food and even doing your groceries! Indeed, it’s amazing how technology and smartphones have made the lives of people so much easier. With our smartphones, there’s no need to bring a separate gadget for each activity.

The Inevitable Downside
Due to the convenience they bring, however, some of us are opposed to smartphones and technology. Studies have found that gadgets are lessening our physical activity. Apart from that, constant use of gadgets also causes obesity, eye ailments, and disorders in children. These facts are agreeable to some extent. However, this is due to a lack of moderation and misuse of technology and gadgets.

Smartphones: A Fitness and Lifestyle Companion
This brings us to putting technology and gadgets into a brighter light regarding health and lifestyle. While misuse of smartphones causes physical disorders and issues, they can also be a great companion in
exercising and keeping your body fit.

No, I’m not talking about the music app on your phone - which is indeed helpful when you’re working out to keep you pumped and hyped. There’s nothing more encouraging than listening to your favourite jam as you stretch your limbs.

What I’m referring to are health and lifestyle apps. Both Apple and Android phones also have default apps that measure how many calories you’ve eaten or burnt, how much time you spent doing an activity, how much hours of sleep you got, how far you’ve walked or jogged and so much more. You can even pair these up with special fitness watches so you don’t have to constantly check your phone. Sound great, don’t they?

If you want to step it up a notch, Apple’s App Store and Google Play are gold mines filled with so many more health and lifestyle apps that are guaranteed to give you real results.

Here are our five picks of health and lifestyle apps that you should try out today:

1. Seven

If you’re starting on the road to fitness and don’t have much free time on your hands but are a determined warrior, this app is for you. This app’s name is born from New York Times’ featured 7-minute workout. The app gives you 38 choices of workouts and over 200 exercises - each of which is good for seven minutes. Each workout and exercise shows you an illustrated model with instructions below and a timer. It also lets you know what exercise is coming next so you can prepare your body and mind for the next move. There is, however, a catch for this app. You are given three lives as you start using and if you miss a day, you lose a life. When you run out of all three lives, it resets your progress - bringing you back to zero which no one really likes to do after all that effort, right? With its three lives, you’re sure to be motivated to allocate time for fitness in your daily routine. Last but not least, this app is free for both Apple and Android users!

2. Headspace

Do you find it hard to put down your phone or take a moment to stop what you’re doing, breathe and meditate? If yes, Headspace is the perfect app for you! It features over a hundred meditation guides that will let you practice meditative activities such as focusing, sleeping and exercising. It also lets you know how long you’ve taken to meditate and relax. If you get days where you panic, get anxious and are overstressed about certain events or problems, it also has SOS sessions to help you relax and ease your anxiety. If you find yourself finding it difficult to sleep and calm your mind during the nights, the app also has sleep sounds which can induce sleep. The catch with this app is that it has subscription renewals, with $12.99 USD for monthly subscriptions and $94.99 USD for yearly subscriptions. It may come as pricey for some, but it sure has a lot of benefits especially for individuals who are always on the go.

3. Alarm Clock Sleep Sounds Free: Guided Meditation for Relaxation Cycle, Hypnosis and Insomnia

Who hasn’t had nights left lying awake, tossing and turning, counting endless sheep and sleep still hasn’t come? It even gets more annoying when you think about how you’re going to be tired the next day because you’re not going to get the right hours of sleep. It’s time to say goodbye to those stressful and sleepless nights with this app! With guided meditations, sleep and wake-up programs, it helps give you the sleep your body needs and energy for when you wake up. It also has a collection of ambient sounds that can help your mind relax and it allows you to set as many custom alarms and timers as you need. The good news about this app is that it is 100% free!

4. Sworkit: Workouts & Plans

If you’re in need of a workout app that can be tailored according to your individual needs and goals, this app is the one for you! It features guided workout plans, over a hundred pre-built workouts inclusive of over 300 exercises and a custom workout according to what you need. If you only have five minutes, you can find the perfect workout combo in this app. The first 30 days for this app are free and it’s cancellable if you find that it doesn’t suit you. For those who find it perfect for their needs, $29.99 USD is the price for quarterly subscriptions and $79.99 for yearly subscriptions.

5. Pocket Yoga

If you don’t have the time to find a yoga instructor or to attend a live classes, Pocket Yoga is the right app for you! For $2.99 USD, you can get an app that allows you to practice yoga at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home. It not only has a visual guide, but it also has a detailed voice guide, ensuring you get the right poses and the correct way to inhale and exhale. You can also log all the yoga practices you’ve gone through for progress tracking. It also has default music while practising, however, you can play music from your own library even with the app running.

Sick Building Syndrome: The Top Culprits

Sick Building Syndrome: The Top Culprits


Are you at risk of “sick building syndrome”? Many of us are now suffering a variety of ailments that come from interior pollution. Read on to learn about common culprits that may be lurking in your home.


If it’s in your airspace…it will get into your lungs. This is particularly the case since people may spend 90% or more of their time indoors. One of the most (if not, the most) important factors affecting our health is indoor air quality.

Australia has the highest prevalence of allergies in the developed world and the CSIRO estimates that the cost of poor internal air quality in Australia may be as high as $12 billion per year. The US EPA and its Science Advisory Board have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top 5 environmental risks to public health, with indoor air being up to 5 times more polluted than outside.

The increasing demand to make homes more ‘energy efficient’ has resulted in us sealing houses tight like plastic bags – with a reliance on air-conditioning and heating to regulate temperature. With not an open window in sight, this increase in exposure to indoor air pollutants is then amplified by chemical off-gassing from household cleaning and personal care products, synthetic building materials and furnishings, and air-conditioning and cooling (HVAC) systems that are commonly not serviced and maintained.

Other common air pollutants include dust and animal dander, dust mites, air fresheners, carpets, mould spores and un-flued gas heaters.


Electromagnetic fields exist everywhere in the environment including our home, school and work place. They are naturally occurring – the earth, sun and ionosphere are all natural sources of EMF. Every day, we are continually exposed to many sources of radiation including power lines, mobile and cordless phones, electrical appliances, and building wiring.

Electrical Hypersensitivity (EHS) has been a documented medical condition since the 1970’s and is characterised by adverse reaction to exposure to both electric and magnetic fields.

There is growing body of evidence linking the following symptoms to EMR’s and the use of wireless technology:

∙ headaches and migraines,

∙ learning and behavioural problems,

∙ memory loss and poor concentration,

∙ fatigue, sleep disturbances and insomnia,

∙ muscles and joint pains and spasm,

∙ numerous tumours and cancers.

Long-term exposure to magnetic fields has also been associated with childhood leukaemia, brain tumours, immune disorders and cancers.

Occasional exposure to high electromagnetic fields is not likely to pose a health risk to most people; however exposures over a long period of time (while sleeping or work) are when problems are likely to arise. Building Biologists use specialised testing equipment to measure certain frequency levels to determine sources of EMR in homes and offices. The ’precautionary principle’ is adhered to when advising clients on the best options to reduce hazards in our environment, as it is the belief that uncertainty about potentially serious hazards does not justify ignoring them.


Moulds are common allergens, with an estimated 40 percent of people having some sensitivity to breathing in mould spores. Growing research into mould has found its impact on health is far more wide reaching than just triggering asthma attacks, respiratory irritation, and allergic reactions. Breathing in toxic mould spores can seriously compromise the body’s immune system. Symptoms can include:

♣ Fatigue not relieved by rest

♣ Recurrent colds, sinus or throat irritation and congestion

♣ Asthma related respiratory symptoms (wheezing, coughing, difficulty breathing)

♣ Chronic lung infections, pneumonia

♣ Eye irritation (burning, watery or reddened eyes)

♣ Skin rashes or allergies

♣ Mood swings, apathy and depression

The elderly, infants, those with chronic illnesses and people with pre- existing respiratory conditions are most at risk. In documented cases, toxic mould exposure has been fatal to humans and animals.

Wet rooms, existing water damage to building materials, floor coverings or wall paper, causing peeling paint, staining of walls, ceiling, carpet or timber are likely areas for mould growth.

Not all mould is obvious; it can grow inside walls, under carpets or above ceiling tiles. If you suspect mould is an issue on your home, it is best to contact a professional Building Biologist, Mould Remediation Company to test for mould and assess the situation.


Reading ingredient labels on our food and personal care now requires a chemistry degree to understand!

Chemicals are found everywhere in our environment – in our air, water, soil, food, cleaning and skincare products and furnishings which ultimately end up in our body. The umbilical cord blood of newborn babies was found to contain over 200 toxic and cancer-causing chemicals, passed directly from the mother.

Currently more than 140,000 different chemicals have been manufactured and available for use. With regards to cosmetics and personal care products, almost 90% of all chemical ingredients have never been safety tested for human health effects.

Fragrances and perfumes, preservatives, plastics, washing detergents, artificial colours and dyes, makeup, skincare, hair care, kitchen, bathroom and laundry cleaning products, air fresheners, pesticides, food packaging, paints (the list is endless!), are all things we expose ourselves to on a daily basis, bombarding our bodies continually with chemicals to no avail.

The known health effects of many of the chemicals that have been tested include; endocrine disruption (influencing and affecting hormones), carcinogenic (cancer causing), infertility and reproductive issues, eczema and skin allergies, headaches and fatigue, lung irritation and breathing difficulties.

Thankfully, there are now many excellent alternative brands available that produce non-toxic, chemical free, natural and organic products.

These sick building risk factors are complex, but fortunately there are lots of things you can do to improve the situation and take control of your wellness.

Author: Bree Fisher

Author: Bree Fisher


World’s Worst Meditator Uncovers 5 Meditation Styles That You Need to Discover Today!

World’s Worst Meditator Uncovers 5 Meditation Styles That You Need to Discover Today!


I’m not going to lie to you. I’m no meditation expert, guru or even dabbler of the art. In fact, I downright suck when it comes to meditation. I fidget, so in true meditation style, I try to accept my fidgeting. I fall asleep, so again, I try accepting my need for sleep. I have thoughts come into my head, and these too, I try to accept. I listen to suggestions about letting go and going within but hey, that’s what got me to this point. You feeling me?!

So when I was recently challenged to do just 5 minutes a day, I could hear my yoga teacher’s deeply meditative voice breathing down my back saying, “you got this”.

“No girl, I aint got this.” I want to retort. What is it within me that rejects this limitless, time-hath- no-boundaries practice?   

Always one up for a challenge however I cave and decide to embark on a meditation adventure. Who know there could be so many different types? Read on to find out which you’re most suited to.

  1. Transcendental Meditation (TM)
    Ok so I had heard about this one. Didn’t know what it was about but do I still score brownie points? I think so.

    Apparently I have heard about it for a reason. It’s the most popular type of meditation according to Dr Google. And the most scientifically studied. It can be adapted to suit the individual, using a mantra or series of words specific to the person delivering the practice.

    It’s for those that prefer structure and the goal is a state of enlightenment. Somehow I feel this is not the right type of meditation for my naive soul.

  2. Kundalini Meditation
    Another type of meditation that I have heard of, but my limited knowledge is well, limited. As I draw blanks on what it actually is, all I can see in my ‘mind’s eye’ is a picture in what at the time was called a ‘new-age’ newspaper, of a relationship expert, albeit one with a high sexual energy, claiming that Kundalini will fix any faltering relationship.

    Apparently however it is so much more than a sexual tool. Kundalini focuses on the rising stream of energy within the body. With roots in Buddhism and Hindu principles, the term Kundalini translates into the word ‘coil’. Part of Kundalini yoga and meditation’s sole purpose is to awaken the Kundalini energy present at the base of the spine, wherein our power lays, coiled snake-like.

    The energy must be beckoned or metaphorically drawn up the spine from the base chakra, through all seven chakras in total, up to and including the chakra that resides above the head.   

    This energy is purported to have a purifying action, helping to rid the body of disease and provoking a deeper awareness of self. This form of meditation can lead to supreme bliss.

    Sound too good to be true? I love the idea of an energy so strong that it can lead to profound consciousness, though it is a little ‘woo-woo’ for my conservative Capricornian self. On to meditation #3….  

  3. Mantra Meditation
    Also known as Vedic meditation and prominent in many teachings, this type of meditation originates from traditions and religions including Hinduism and Buddhism.

    The repetitive use of words, phrases or sounds seek to clear the mind, with one of the most popular mystic syllables reverberating around the country in yoga studios here, there and everywhere, “om” or its enlightened cousin, “om namah shivayah”, which roughly translates to “I bow to my inner self”.

    This meditation style is useful for those who find it difficult to focus on their breath, for those that dislike silence and for the (meditative) beboppers who enjoy a little bit of repetition here and there.

    Hmmm this is sounding more like my style of meditation. I start to feel a glimmer of hope in not drifting off to the land of nod where fairies sprinkle me with sleeping dust made of blue and pink glitter. In fact, I might be so bold as to say we’re heading down the right path now.

  4. Visualisation Meditation
    Perfect for manifesting your heart’s desires into reality or imagineering something into existence, this meditation style caters to all walks of life and with so many different themes and teachers, will never leave you listlessly walking away from class.

    This newer technique is not only good for personal development, it can also aid stress release and foster spiritual healing. Indeed, using the principles of relaxation and reflecting on positive experiences, guided visualisations have their place in positive psychology, helping the body to release feel-good chemicals. The key to a powerful experience is in the teacher and having a guide take you from one place to another.

    Despite my earlier qualms of too much ‘woo’ for my Capricornian mind (flash-back to Method Numero Due, Kundalini Meditation), this type of meditation is appealing, most likely as it seems somewhat of an adventure, where I am taken from one place to another and most of all, I am guided along the way. I’m not convinced it’s a ‘true’ form of meditation, whatever that even means, but I am starting to think I need to give meditation another crack.

Moving Meditation
Also known as Walking Mediation, this type of meditation caters to people like me! (Cue excitement, an ounce of trepidation and potential awakened bliss). Though it sounds like exercise, this type of mindful meditation isn’t quite that. There is no heart-pounding music, no fast dashes and no fancy HIIT stops on the pavement to up your heart rate. Instead, it involves walking through the woods, gardening, gentle stretching and other similar low-impact exercises. In essence, it’s performing meditation where you are guided as to what movement you perform. It’s placing your attention on the sights, smells and sounds around you. And most of all, it’s tuning in to your heart rate and becoming slow and deliberate.

Not quite the meditation I thought it was, but I think maybe just maybe, I really can give this one a go as I already do a variant of it as I hang out my washing, as I wash the dishes and as I stroll through my garden.

Perhaps I’m not that much of a meditation dud after all.  

Author: Samantha Kirton

Author: Samantha Kirton





Wellness is more than absence of disease, and a healthy home that truly nurtures one’s health is far more than a clean house with 5 star energy rating.

Our homes are a reflection of who we are. Every area of our lifestyles – what we eat, drink, touch, wear, what we use to build, clean and furnish our homes – is directly linked to our state of health and wellbeing.

Current research has shown strong environmental links to many prominent health issues including:

- Allergies -   Asthma and respiratory problems

- Recurrent colds and flu -   Depression and anxiety

- Headaches and migraines -   Insomnia and sleep disturbances

- Electrical sensitivity -   Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

- Chronic fatigue -   Autoimmune diseases

- Eczema and dermatitis -   Learning and behavioural problems

- Many forms of cancers -   Hormonal problems and infertility

According to Building Biologist Nicole Bijlsma, author of best-selling book Healthy Home, Healthy Family ‘in the past 30 years childhood allergies have increased by 400%, 1 in 4 children have asthma, breast cancer has more than doubled, sperm count has dropped by 50% and there is a 400% increase in testicular cancer’.

Could your home or workplace be making you sick? The unfortunate truth is yes. Read more about the top sources of indoor pollution here.

What is Building Biology?

Building Biology is a field of work promoting the use of healthy building principles to improve living and work spaces and the health of people who occupy them.

Post World War II, houses and buildings were erected quickly and cheaply as a means to rebuild Germany. After many people living and working in these houses and buildings soon became noticeably ill, and it was discovered that commonly used building materials and certain methods of construction were causing these health problems, now commonly known as ‘Sick Building Syndrome’. Sufferers commonly notice changes to their symptoms and health when moving from one building to another, and often symptoms improve when away from home or work.

Building Biologists address the home as a living organism, considering the home as the ‘third skin’- the second being our clothing. Building Biologists investigate potential health hazards in the built and surrounding environments, addressing factors like;

♣ electromagnetic radiation from nearby power lines, phone towers, smart meters, WIFI, household appliances and building wiring;

♣ poor indoor air quality from dust and mites, allergens, poor ventilation, heating and cooling systems, airborne germs, pollens, grasses and toxic mould

♣ household chemical exposure from cleaning and personal care products, fragrance and perfumes in air fresheners, pesticides and toxic off-gassing from synthetic furnishings, carpets and building materials.

♣ Water quality, proper building design, non-toxic and eco-friendly materials.

The problems created by “sick buildings” are complex, but there’s no need to be overwhelmed!

Check out next months blog for the top ways to curb indoor pollution in your home or workplace.

Bree Fisher   Building Biologist & Green Living Guru  BHSc (Naturopathy) Cert IV (Building Biology)

Bree Fisher

Building Biologist & Green Living Guru

BHSc (Naturopathy) Cert IV (Building Biology)


The Top 10 BEST Vegan Ice-cream Recipes You Have to Try Today!


The Top 10 BEST Vegan Ice-cream Recipes You Have to Try Today!

With World Vegan Day fast approaching (November 1st), and warm and sunny spring days at our heels, what better time to celebrate veganism than by chowing down on some deliciously healthy and ever-so-tasty vegan ice-cream?

There is literally no need to eat conventional ice-cream any longer, especially with the potential health consequences. Not only is ice-cream loaded with calories (be mindful however; non-dairy alternatives can also be heavyweights when it comes to energy density), but more so, the high sugar levels can cause multiple health problems.

Think low fat ice-cream is your answer? Don’t be so sure. According to high-quality studies referenced recently in Business Insider, there is a strong correlation between high carbohydrate consumption (sugars) and weight gain. Sugar is not the only ingredient you need to be mindful of – dairy can also wreak havoc for some.  

Going dairy-free has a whole range of touted benefits however, from reduced bloating and improved respiratory function right through to clearer skin and a lessened chance of oxidative stress. Whatever the reason, we can’t see why not include a dairy-free ice-cream alternative with how divine they taste. Check out our favourite recipes below.


Piña Colada Ice Cream



Mint Chocolate Nice Cream

Raw & Vegan Chunky Monkey ice Cream from “My New Roots”

ice cream.JPG

Raw & Vegan Chunky Monkey ice Cream

from “My New Roots


No-Churn Vegan Chocolate Ice -Cream


2-Ingredient Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream

(No Churn, Dairy-Free, No Added Sugar)


Roasted Honey & Fig Coconut Ice Cream


Cherry Bakewell Ice-Cream

Vegan + Paleo


Choc Chip Cookie Dough Ice -Cream


Chai Coconut Ice-Cream


Raw Vegan Blueberry Vanilla Ice Cream

Author: Samantha Kirton

Author: Samantha Kirton



Newly Vegan? Here's What You Really Need to Know

Newly Vegan? Here's What You Really Need to Know

So you’ve heard how important it is to eat iron-rich foods when going vegan, and you probably realise how important it is to keep a check on your B12 levels. But did you know that iodine is also important and that animal-free substitutes aren’t always what they claim to be?

Scroll down to find out more and to ensure you get the most out of your vegan lifestyle today.

Low FODMAP? … Unfortunately not.
You might find your new-found vegan diet perfect for shedding excess kilos and leaving you more energetic, but for those of you with gut issues, veganism may not be the way to go or at best, you’ll have to be super mindful of what vegan options work and which ones you need to give the flick.  

Vegan food generally speaking is high in FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols). In other words, foods that are high in fructose and are prone to causing digestive issues such as cramping and bloating for those individuals with sensitive tummies.    

According to Monash University, high FODMAP foods include onion, garlic, artichoke, asparagus, cauliflower, green peas, leek, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, apples, dried fruits, pears, plums, almost all legumes and pulses and some nuts and seeds.

Though there are plenty of alternatives to these foods, for a vegan, high FODMAP foods present a problem in that in lieu of meat, dairy, eggs and seafood, generally speaking, more legumes, pulses, fruits and vegetables are consumed, thus bumping up your FODMAP intake.

Solution? Invest in a high-quality low-FODMAP vegan cookbook (try saying that quickly ten times in a row!) or get an app to help you create mouth-watering creations worth sharing.

Abundant Micronutrients from Increased Vegetable Intake
You’d imagine that with an increase in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and pulses you’d be glowing from the inside out. And yes, this is possible, but often, you need to consume a larger proportion of vegetarian foods in order to reach the same level of micronutrients as that found in non-vegetarian sources.

Unless you’ve been in hiding, you would have heard how important it is to eat iron-rich food. Iron is vital for the health of your blood – it helps carry oxygen from your lungs throughout your body. It inversely supports your immune system by mode of fighting infection. It helps maintain healthy cells, hair, skin and nails and it even helps with cognition.

You likely would also have heard about the importance of Vitamin B12. So important that without adequate B12 levels, your nervous system is so severely shunted that it can cause permanent and irreversible nerve damage and degeneration of the spinal cord. Low blood levels of Vitamin B12 have even been implicated in hyperhomocysteinemia, a risk factor for atherosclerosis.

Something that is surprising however is that veganism has links with low iodine levels. You might be munching on sea vegetables (seaweed) but without the higher intakes of iodine associated with seafood consumption, you could be at risk of a deficiency. Low iodine and iron levels have been linked to cognitive impairments and long term behavioural changes.
If you have any concerns for your micronutrient intake, consult a trained healthcare professional such as a nutritionist or naturopath to ensure your dietary choices support your body in whatever stage of life you are in.

Can’t Stop Thinking About Food?
If you’re thinking about food every waking moment, chances are you’re not getting the right ratio of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) to adequately sustain your body. Try tweaking your newfound diet by upping whatever it is currently low in (be it carbs, proteins or fats). You might be on a vegan diet, but your body type might be crying out for more sustenance. Experimenting with your macros is the easiest way to fix this.

Chocolate cravings can also be helped with the same theory, though micronutrients are also at play here.

If you’ve had years of healthy eating, listening to your body can do wonders in your own healing. If you’re new to healthy eating however, start to tune in to what makes your body feel good and to what leaves it lacking in energy, vitality and strength.

It’s Not Just About the Food
As a new vegan, you’ll know to avoid bee products, leather, sheepskin and wool and other products of animal origin. Be careful with your substitutes however. You might be honouring your values, which is to be commended, however pay heed to synthetic alternatives that do no good for the environment, let alone your skin, respiratory and reproductive systems. For more information on the deleterious effect of chemicals found in some clothing and other products, read this review publishing the findings that the Endocrine Society released as a caution to the scientific community on environmental endocrine disruptors and their adverse effects on health.
The easy solution here is to buy non-synthetic clothing made of organic fibres such as organic cotton, hemp and linen.

Author: Samantha Kirton

Author: Samantha Kirton


Shopping Consciously: How Small Decisions Can Impact the Whole World

Shopping Consciously: How Small Decisions Can Impact the Whole World

All of us produce some footprint on the world; it’s impossible to exist without impacting the environment and economy in some way. In our modern world, many of us buy and dispose of an incredible amount of plastic and other non-degradable materials every year. As awareness of the fragility of our natural world has spread, a number of conscious brands have sprung up to try to help reduce or eliminate the negative aspects of our material needs. Whether it’s fair-trade coffee, made-in-Australia clothing or a toothbrush made from recycled plastic, there are plenty of ways to “vote” for more sustainable products with your wallet. Taking your money away from large, irresponsible companies is also a great way to send a message that you won’t participate in wholesale exploitation of resources and people.   


When you first start researching smarter choices for your clothing, food and household products, you’ll find that many of the issues conscious brands are addressing are interwoven. For example, transitioning to organic skin products not only lessens your exposure to artificial and potentially toxic ingredients, but it also supports responsible farming and helps make your wastewater less harmful for the aquatic creatures living downstream.


A word of warning, however!  As you begin to change to support environmentally- and socially-conscious organisations, it’s important to beware of “greenwashing.” Unfortunately, some large corporations have caught onto the ‘sustainable’ trend and may present a product as being healthier or more environmentally-friendly than it actually is. For example, the word “natural” is very vague and there is no existing legal definition. A “natural” dish soap without dye or perfume could still contain harmful ingredients like phosphates. Always read labels carefully and look for 3rd-party certification seals for organic, fair trade or vegan products.   


If you feel overwhelmed by the number of options out there or can’t always afford to buy the most eco-friendly version, start small! Pick an issue that matters most to you and start there. Even changing a few buying habits can support organisations that are working to create big changes. One easy way to prioritise your money is to shop locally-produced products and brands whenever possible; this simple rule will bring a whole set of benefits. For example, going to your local farmers market instead of the chain grocery store not only gets you the freshest (and lowest-carbon) produce, but you’re supporting the local economy with small businesses who actually care about long-term issues like stewardship of the land.


To accommodate the sometimes higher prices of organic or responsibly-produced brands, there are other ways to live a more environmentally-friendly life while saving money. For example, adapting a “zero waste” approach to food and packaging is another way to help the earth while saving you money in the meantime. The important thing is to do what you can, when you can and take heart in making even small changes. The more you can do to support conscious brands, the greater the healing impact for our world will be.    

Author: Natalie Millis

Author: Natalie Millis


Filling Winter Snacks to Stay Healthy While it’s Cold Out

Filling Winter Snacks to Stay Healthy While it’s Cold Out

As the weather is well and truly cold, you may find your appetite going into overdrive. Plan ahead with these healthy snacks so you’ll have something to grab when you’re hungry instead of chips, chocolate or unhealthy takeaway.

Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables Seasonal food is having a moment. As we become more aware of the importance of eating local, support local farms by eating foods that are traditionally available instead of imported. Plus, seasonal food is often easier on your wallet.

  • On-the-go: If you’ve got school, work or traveling to do, apples and mandarins are probably the most “travel friendly”. Great portable veg that are in prime season include snow peas, carrots and celery. If the idea of plain carrots is unappetising, try bringing a small tub of Asian-style dressing as a healthy and tasty dip.

  • At Home: Keep pears and grapefruit for that afternoon pick-me-up. Try cooking a batch of mini quiches or gluten-free muffins at the beginning of the week so you’ll have an easy, protein-filled way to nourish yourself and beat cravings.

Roasted Snacks The oven is a great way to make all sorts of savory, healthy snacks. Roasting brings out fantastic flavors and textures, while requiring less oil than other cooking techniques.

  • Pumpkin Seeds: If you’ve bought pumpkin for soup, don’t throw away the seeds! Instead, toss them in olive oil and your choice of spices: salt and pepper, curry powder or lemon pepper are all delicious. Spread them on a baking sheet at 180°C and roast for 30 minutes or until puffy and golden-coloured. The roasted seeds make a fantastic vitamin-packed snack you can keep in your bag while you’re out and about.

  • Spiced chickpeas: Roasted chickpeas may sound strange, but they’re a convenient snack and a great substitute if you’re craving salty crisps. Simply drain a can of chickpeas, rinse and toss with a spice mixture, as much as you would with pumpkin seeds. For the best tasting results, enliven the bland flavor of the chickpeas with curry or another bold combination like cumin-ginger. Roast at 180°C for 30 minutes or until the edges of the peas start to caramelise.     

  • Sweet Potato Bites: Sweet potatoes are another great winter staple. Roasting provides a delicious depth of flavour and texture and can make a great healthy snack if you’re at home watching the telly. Dice into cubes or cut into chip-shapes, toss in olive oil and the seasoning of your choice and roast at 180°C for an hour or until the sweet potatoes start to darken. You’ll get a vitamin-packed alternative to salty, fatty foods, as well as plenty of fibre to keep you full. 

Traditional Treats

  • Anzac biscuits: You don’t have to go to Gallipoli to enjoy this staple. This traditional veteran’s biscuit not only lasts for a long time after being baked, but is actually packed with healthy whole grains to keep you energised if you’re on the go. Ahead of your busy week, take some time to try this easy, cost-effective homemade recipe.  

  • Avo on Toast: Even if you only have five minutes before you need to dash out the door, this snack is a great choice. Mash half an avocado and mix with lemon juice, salt and black pepper to taste. Slice a thick piece of sturdy sourdough bread for the toast so that you stay full for longer. Don’t forget to leave the pit in the other half to help it keep in the refrigerator for next time!

    With one of these healthy options, junk food really shouldn’t be an option. Treat your body right and you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll likely look better, sleep better and be on more of an even emotional keel than those who elect to ‘treat’ their bodies.

Author: Natalie Millis

Author: Natalie Millis