Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Benefits of a Detoxification Program

I recently completed a six week detoxification program prescribed by my doctor and it got me thinking “What is this for and what are the benefits from it”. I then coincidentally stumbled across a detoxification section in the Diploma of Naturopathy course that I am currently studying which also sparked my interest and got me researching.

So what is detoxification and why is it so important? With today’s diet and hectic lifestyle, its no surprise that our bodies are full of unwanted toxins, pollutants and waste. This can cause us to feel sluggish or fatigued, feel out of sync, have aches and pains, bags under the eyes, suffer from digestive issues and bloating and the list goes on.

Detoxification is about giving the body a rest, nourishing it from the inside out, helping the body get rid of the build up of toxins, pollutants and waste products and letting the body’s own healing process take over. In simple terms, detoxification is cleaning the blood, which will help it circulate better.

There are many ways to detox. You can use a program prescribed by your doctor, which will involve the use of supplements specifically designed to flush out the toxins. You can also do a diet based detox (juicing, bowel-liver-kidney cleanses, fasting etc) as well as enemas, colonic irrigation, exercise and saunas. It’s these last two options got that got my attention.

It’s no surprise that exercise plays an important part in any detoxification program. It increases circulation, strengthens the heart, increases lung capacity, improves brain function, expels carbon dioxide and sweat cleanses out the sweat glands. The lymphatic and circulatory systems also play an important role in detoxification. Not only does exercise help the lymph move throughout the body, it also improves oxygen delivery.

So what exercise helps with the detoxification process? Well there are the obvious ones; low impact aerobic exercise to get the blood pumping and hot yoga to increase expulsion of toxins. What I found interesting though is that rebounding has been shown to be the best exercise to detox and improve the immune function.

So what is rebounding exactly? Well it’s simply jumping on a small trampoline! Who would have thought huh? Apparently, when you are at the top of the jump, the weightlessness experienced actually helps pump lymph through your body, which helps flush out toxins from the rest of the body. Not only that, rebounding can help initiate healing, improve the digestive system and speed of waste through the colon so that regularity is improved. The good news is that this exercise is low impact, simple and can be done by anyone, regardless of their fitness capabilities.

Did you know that using a Sauna is also a good way to detox as it flushes out toxins through perspiration? The intense sweating in a sauna can help your kidneys detox 1/3 of the toxins that they remove from your blood stream.

Through the use of a sauna, your white blood cell count can also increase up to 58%, which will help boost your immune system. Sauna’s can help lower blood pressure, strengthen heart muscles, improve cardiovascular system, improve the lining of the arteries and improve fat metabolism.

The benefits as a whole from a detoxification program include gaining more energy, glowing skin, balancing your hormones, stronger immune system, improved digestion and concentration as well as assisting with weight loss. However, it is important to also know that it can be coupled with symptoms such as fatigue, feeling unwell and clouded thinking while your body works hard and getting rid of the toxins from your body.

From a personal experience, I can say that I definitely noticed a positive difference in my skin, energy levels and concentration levels. Experts recommend that you complete a detoxification program once or twice a year to give your body a much-needed reboot.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Being gluten free is simply not a choice for some of us

Here is a great article about what it takes for a restaurant to cater for gluten free eaters. It also touches on the difference between someone being gluten free due to the coeliac disease and someone being gluten free simply for a "lifestyle" choice. Perhaps those "lifestylers" will think twice before ordering a gluten free meal followed by a (non gluten free) pastry for dessert.


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Raw Orange & Blueberry Cheesecake

So has anyone else heard about the 'Raw Cheesecake' craze? Gluten free, dairy free, vegan friendly cheesecakes? With so many "Raw" cafes and the like opening up here there and everywhere, My mission was to to find a 'Raw Cheesecake' that is nice enough to serve to family and friends.  So I did a bit of research, played around with a few recipes and finally found the most delicious 'Raw Cheesecake' ever! Yep that's right, EVER!

- 2 cups of raw nuts (I used mixed nuts)
- 1 cup of raisins
- pinch of salt

Orange Cheescake 
- 3 cups cashews
- 3/4 cup of fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup of maple syrup
- 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- zest of all the oranges you have juiced 
- pinch of salt

Blueberry Layer
- 2 cups blueberries (I used frozen)
- 1/4 cup of the Orange cheesecake mixture

To make the crust:
1. Process the nuts and raisins in a food processor until the nuts have become crumbs and the mixture becomes sticky. Press into bottom of of spring-form pan and put in the fridge.

To make the Orange cheesecake:
2. Blend all ingredients (except orange zest) in blender until smooth. Add in the orange zest with a spoon. Reserve 1/4 cup of this mixture for the blueberry topping. Pour the rest onto your crust and put in the freezer. 

To make the blueberry layer:
3. Blend the blueberries and the 1/4 cup cheesecake mixture in your food processor or blender until creamy. Spread this over your cheesecake and keep in the freezer or fridge overnight. 

I served it with shaved chocolate, but to keep it dairy free and vegan friendly, serve with sliced oranges. 

Original recipe is Courtesy of http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/recipe-raw-orange-and-blueberry-cheesecake/
Be sure to check out their page for plenty more yummy recipes! 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

My Saturday Lunch Date with Sylvia Jeffreys & Sarah Harris

*Photo Courtesy of Sylvia Jeffreys

On Saturday the 19th September 2015, I took a leap of faith and attended the 'Women in Media' luncheon at QT Hotel & Resorts on the Gold Coast, with special guests Sylvia Jeffreys and Sarah Harris.

Having not attended an event like this before, I was nervous, apprehensive and really not sure what to expect. Those people that know me well, know that walking into a room of 150 people without knowing a single soul was an incredibly hard thing for me to do, let alone a room full of 150 confident, successful women. And lets not forget Nine News legend Bruce Paige who also graced us with his presence.

Anyways, lets get back to the scary room full of successful women and then there is me, little ole Canberra girl who has always had a passion for journalism but somehow took a wrong turn in life and  has ended up in the Finance Industry for the past 15 years. Don't get me wrong, being in the Finance Industry has given me an incredible career to date with a major highlight being a six year stint in London working for six of the major Investment Banks. But is Finance something I am passionate about? Absolutely not.

So recently I completed a Diploma in Professional Freelance Journalism and was introduced into a world I automatically felt like I belonged in. I've always loved writing and sharing stories through writing, so I decided to become a Freelance Journalist and see where it takes me.

When I spoke to a friend of mine and explained my passion but my inability to know what to do with it or how to get involved in the journalism world, she told me to google a 'Women in Media' event. So I did and that's where I found this event.

It took me a good two weeks to book my ticket, because I was simply terrified of turning up to such a huge event and not knowing a single person. Would they be nice? What would I talk to them about? Would they be interested in my story? So many questions, but in the end I figured I had nothing to lose and just booked my ticket. I also signed up for the bus that they were providing that took us from Brisbane to the Gold Coast.

From the minute I stepped onto that bus, I was introduced to an array of amazing people. People from all walks of the media industry, all chasing their own dreams and all very eager to hear my story. We toasted to a glass of bubbles and off we went. It was such a fun journey and instantly I knew I had made the right decision to go to this event.

When we got to the hotel, we found our seats and Sylvia Jeffreys and Sarah Harris were introduced onto the stage, well a little platform at the front of the room as it was a very intimate setting even with 150 plus people.

Both Sylvia and Sarah spoke about their careers, how they started, the struggles they have faced, their ups and downs and the mistakes they have made along the way. The passion with which they spoke with was so inspiring and their love of Journalism was infectious. Both women were so down to earth, honest and funny. I have followed both of their careers for some time and really aspire to be as successful as them, but this event also made me realise that they are also just everyday people doing a job that they love. They aren't divas, demanding or precious. Not that I was expecting this at all, but it was so wonderful seeing them sitting in front of that many people and just talking like they were talking to a group of friends in a very natural manner.

At one point, Sarah was telling the story of when she had a "whoopsie" and swore into a live microphone, not knowing the sound into the studio had been accidentally switched to "on". Although this was an incredibly embarrassing moment for her at the time, she was able to laugh at herself while telling the story. I too have not laughed that hard in a long time. She does tell stories very well.

Listening to these two incredible women was definitely the highlight of the day. But just as rewarding was meeting lots of likeminded people. Women who not only have their owns stories of strength, determination and passion for fulfilling their dreams but who were equally as interested in my journalism career (or lack of so far) and what direction I am wanting to head.

So, after hearing so many successful stories and speaking to so many people passionate about the media industry, where is it that I want to be? I'm still not sure yet and I still find it all very daunting and am a little unsure as to where to start, but I think I've taken the first step towards it. This event has opened my eyes to so many more opportunities. Perhaps I do want to seek experience in the Public Relations world, perhaps I do want to gain experience as a content writer and perhaps I do want to fulfil my lifetime dream of becoming a reporter. No matter where this path leads me and regardless of what doors and opportunities it may open for me, I will give it my all and be truly grateful for the experiences. And if anyone out there is willing to take me under their wing and guide me, Id be forever grateful for this also.

What I do know is that I will definitely be attending next years 'Women in Media' event and look forward to seeing some familiar faces. The bus ride home also introduced me to even more people from different areas within the media industry and their stories truly captivated me and I look forward to following their journeys also.

As for the venue, wow, is all I have to say about the QT Hotel & Resort on the Gold Coast. From the amazing decor to the friendly staff and what looked like the most impressive buffet lunch I have ever seen. Unfortunately with my gluten and onion allergies, I was unable to eat any of it, but when I spoke to one of the Chef's, he was more than accommodating. He offered to personally whip me a up a chicken stir-fry and delivered it to my seat. He wanted to make sure that I didn't miss out and I was incredibly thankful for that. Sometimes at events like this you can feel alienated by not being able to join in the deliciousness of the food, but he certainly made up for it. So thank you Mr Chef at the Bazaar restaurant.

A big thank you to all the amazing ladies I met yesterday (and Bruce Paige) for inspiring me to follow my dreams. Lets do it again next year.

*Photo courtesy of Women in Media

Thursday, 3 September 2015

An Afternoon With Michelle Bridges

*Photo courtesy of The Entourage's 'Entrepreneurs Uncovention' page

Inspiration comes in many forms. You can be inspired by a quote, a picture, a story, a person or an experience just to name a few. Inspirational opportunities are all around us, it's just a matter of recognising them. I make it my mission to find inspiration in something every single day.

There are two Australian women (excluding family of course) who truly inspire me. From their creativity, hard work and dedication to their down to earth nature, love of life and achievements.

The first one is Health and Fitness guru Michelle Bridges. On Saturday the 29th August 2015, I attended The Entourage's 'Entrepreneurs Unconvention' event in Brisbane, where Michelle was one of the guest speakers.

Having previously done her 12 Week Body Transformation courses, followed her on social media and subscribed to her emails, I thought I knew a fair bit about her. But what I didn't know was just how strong her drive to succeed is. Over 20 years ago, she packed up her car and moved with only $300 in her bank account. She had no idea what she was going to do, but she had a dream and knew she had to do something in order to pursue it. She has also had her fair share of rejections too, but each time it has made her even more determined to push further.

There are two main things I took away from her session. The first one is to stop making excuses and just frickin' do it. She spoke about the excuses people have for not looking after their health and exercising. "President Obama exercises at least 5 days a week and he is a busy man. If you claim to be busier than the President of the United States, then you perhaps have a valid reason for not exercising. If not, then stop making excuses and just get out there and do it". She also associated this with business, and if you have a dream or an idea, you need to make a plan and take action to achieve your dream.

She also admitted that she certainly doesn't jump out of bed everyday ready to run 10km. Like most other people, she considers pressing that snooze button and going back to sleep. But she doesn't give herself that option. She turns into robot mode and just gets on with it. So I love and embrace her #JFDI (just frickin' do it) motto.

The second thing I took away from the session is learning to believe in yourself and never giving up. If you have great ideas and dreams and you truly believe in yourself, then anything is possible. During her talk, she spoke about many of the rejections she faced throughout her career. The one that stood out for me was when she was looking for an agent and kept getting a no on every door she knocked on. Finally a friend gave her a number to an agent and told her to give it a go.

After writing an email requesting this agent represent her, she soon got an email back that said a big fat no. So what did she do that was so inspiring? Well she replied to that email, clearly stating what she was working on, what she had in the pipeline and what her past achievements were. She then finished the email with "This will work, so you better just get on board with me". That agent then replied with a meeting time and date. Moral of the story? Believe in yourself and be assertive. Stand up for yourself and don't let barriers knock you down. Your journey and dreams will happen, it's up to others whether or not they want to get on board for the ride.

So perhaps one day I will get to be a part of Michelle Bridges' team, managing and writing her blogs and being involved in a growing industry of helping others achieve their gaols? Never say never right?

As for my second inspirational female, well, you will have to stay tuned for the next article.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Smart Snacking

When snacking throughout the day, it's important to choose the right snacks. I like to keep my snacks interesting and colorful, as well as healthy of course.

It's no secret that vegetables are good for you as they provide our bodies with vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential oils and phytonutrients (chemicals that help protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs etc). They are also very low in fat, calories and nasty additives. But did you know that cooking vegetables can destroy the essential nutrients and also kill vital enzymes in some vegetables? 

For example, cooking broccoli deactivates an enzyme that helps cleanse the liver of carcinogens, a substance that may cause cancer or promote cancer in living tissues. If you cook certain vegetables in water, you may also lose water-soluble vitamins such as vitamins B & C and folate. In saying this, some vegetables are more nutritionally beneficial when cooked, such as tomatoes and spinach. So it's worth doing your research on what vegetables are best eaten raw.

By eating raw vegetables, you not only gain more nutritional benefits, but it also helps with weight loss, hydration, energy levels as well as preventing cancer and heart disease. 

Today I have a mixed bag of raw vegetables - carrots, beans and red capsicum. I am a visual person, so if something looks bright and colourful I will be more drawn to it. If you want to mix it up a little and add some flavour and protein, trying having your raw vegetables with cottage cheese or a hummus dip.

Happy snacking everyone! 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

This sums it up

This pretty much sums up my motto and my main reason for starting a blog. If I can help support someone with their health hurdles or help them with their health and fitness goals, then I will have achieved my goal. 

Friday, 21 August 2015

The Dreaded Haircut

So this is what I look like after a haircut. If there is one thing I hate more than baths, it's got to be haircuts! To get me into the place I either need to be dragged, which gets a lot of people laughing or I need to be picked up and taken in there. 

My mum always says to me "sorry buddy but I promise you will feel so much better after". How would you like it if you were put onto a table with your legs and head controlled by a pulley and people cutting and snipping around your private parts?? Not to mention people sticking things in your ears to pluck the hairs? Exactly, enough said! 

I do actually feel better for it after though. When I get home I run around the house barking "look how handsome I am, look how handsome I am". I'm not sure if my humans understand what I'm trying to say to them but it makes me feel good. Then the minute I get outside I roll around on the grass so I can get back to smelling like a dog instead of like a box of pot purri. Nobody likes going to the dog park smelling like a girl. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Healthy Cooking Oils. But Which Ones Are Best?

With so many cooking oil options out there, it's no wonder we end up confused and overwhelmed. I am certainly no expert on the cooking oil front, but through my own research, study and trial and error, here is my summary on some of the best healthy cooking oils.

In no particular order:

Sesame Oil - Rich in monounsaturated (healthy dietary fat) and polyunsaturated fats. The taste can be overpowering, so only a little oil is needed. Studies show that it helps lower cholesterol and may also lower blood pressure also.

Good quality Olive Oil - A major component of the Mediterranean diet, which is said to be the healthiest diet in the world. It's Easy to buy, affordable and cooks well at high heat

Grape Seed Oil - Good source of Vitamin E and essential fatty acids. It helps raise good cholesterol (HDL) and helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL). Beneficial for people who have diabetes. Cooks well at high heat.

Coconut Oil - A healthy form of saturated fat. Full of vitamin E, K & iron. Research also shows that coconut oil can help digestive issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It can also assist with weightless. Cooks well at high heat

Avocado Oil - Rich in vitamin E, omega-3 fats and can help lower cholesterol. It is an anti-inflammatory and also prevents damage to artery walls, which means it can lower the risk of heart disease. It also aids digestions. It also cooks well at high heat.

Monday, 17 August 2015

I love my walkies!!!

I have to admit, I am one spoilt puppy. I get to go for walkies every morning and every afternoon. I know sometimes it's cold outside because my mum wears lots of layers. But no matter whether it's hot, cold, sunny or raining, I always get taken out for my walks. 

I always have people coming up to me and wanting to pat me which I don't mind. I just sit there and lap it up. Sometimes I do bark at big dogs if they get too close to my mum, but that's just me being protective while my dad isn't around! 

Although I do have a confession to make, German Shepard dogs and chocolate Labrador dogs really make me angry and I do snap at them. I was attacked by a big German Shepard dog when I was only a wee little fella, so now I think all Shepard dogs are out to kill me. As for my dislike for chocolate brown Labrador dogs, I'm not really sure where this one came from. But I'm a dog, so I don't really Need an explanation! 

Thanks for reading my blog. Be sure to stay tuned for more updates. 


Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Gluten Free Anzac Biscuits

These delicious gluten free Anzac Biscuits couldn't be any easier and they taste AMAZING!

What you will need:
- 125g butter, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of golden syrup
- 1 cup of gluten free self raising flour
- 1 cup quinoa flakes
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 1/2 cup flakes almonds
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of hot water

Step 1: Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celcius fan forced. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper

Step 2: Place chopped butter and golden syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring for 4 or 4 mins, or until melted

Step 3: Combine flour, quinoa flakes, coconut, almonds and sugar in a large bowl. Add butter mixture and hot water. Stir with  wooden spoon until well combined. Set aside for 5 mins.

Step 4: Roll the mixture into individual balls. Place on trays, 4cm apart. Flatten slightly with the back of a fork. Bake for 15 mins or until golden brown. When they come out of the oven they will be very soft. Don't fear, just let them cool down on the tray for 10 mins before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Can we shake on it?

I like to think I'm a pretty well mannered kind of guy. My mum taught me how to shake hands and now I do it at every chance I get. More so when I know there is food around. But sometimes I will just walk up to mum or dad and offer them a hand shake. If anything, I get a few giggles out of it and there is no better sound than the sound of the human laugh. Hi five to that! 

Delicious breakfast smoothie

- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 sliced banana
- a couple of sliced strawberries
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
- a handful of goji berries

Blend, pour and enjoy! With the benefits of the super foods chia and goji berries, this is a great way to kick start the day! You can also add protein powder to stay fuller for longer. 

Sunday, 9 August 2015

No bake, gluten free Nutella cheesecake


Guilty pleasure alert! This recipe, inspired by Nigella Lawson, definitely isn't a healthy one, but I do believe everything is good in moderation. This cheesecake is definitely one to do for that next birthday or special occasion.

It's best to use a springform cake tin to make it easier to remove and serve.

Base Ingredients:
- 250g of Gluten Free biscuits 
- 75g unsalted butter, softened

Filling Ingredients:
- 1x 400g jar of Nutella at room temperature
- 100g chopped toasted hazelnuts
- 500g Philadelphia cream cheese, original (the light ones won't set properly)
- 60g icing sugar (sifted)


Step 1: line the bottom and sides of the cake tin with baking paper (makes it easier to remove)

Step 2: blend the biscuits, the softened butter and approx. 25g of the hazelnuts in a food processor until it binds together. 

Step 3: press the base mixture into the cake tin, evenly with the back of a spoon.  Place in the fridge to chill.

Step 4: beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together and then add the jar of Nutella until well combined.

Step 5: place the cream cheese and Nutella mix into the cake tin over the biscuit base. 

Step 6: blend the hazelnuts in a food processor for a few seconds to dice them up. Then scatter across the top of the cake. 

Step 7: place in fridge to set. Cake is best when left overnight, but if time is not on your side, allow at least 4 hours. To serve, use a wet knife. 


Health benefits of regular exercise

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and exercise! 

My first time at the dog park

Oh check me out! This is a picture of my first time at a dog park. Boy did I have a blast. I ran around checking out all the different smells and I even managed to make a few friends, even though I was the smallest dog in the park. Then all of a sudden I came across what looked like a chocolate pool. I thought all my doggie wishes had come true so I decided to jump right in. Turns out, it wasn't a chocolate pool and my parents were far from impressed. But I managed to have a great time, even if it did result in me being banned from the dog park for the next week.

Introducing Teddy

Hi, my name is Teddy and yes I really am as soft and cuddly as a Teddy Bear. Sometimes I get called Ted, but this is only when I am in trouble. I was born on the 11th November 2012 and joined my human family at the end of December 2012.

I love going for walks, playing at the dog park and going for car rides. Nothing makes me happier than being around people. But I definitely do not like having a bath.

Follow my adventures to see what I get up to.

The Delicious Green Blast

Want a quick way to get a good dose of essential vitamins and nutrients? This green blast is not only delicious but is also a super healthy snack.

Guide (when using a blender such as the NutriBullet):

  • Fill half the cup with kale
  • The fill the remainder of the cup with apple, celery, pineapple & Goji Berries
  • Add some water and then blend
Yep, its THAT simple.