Jun 28, 2013

Sisterhood Health + Wellness: Ursula Williams + Quinoa Salad recipe

This week is the fourth beauty in the Sisterhood Health + Wellness series and I'm delighted to show off Ms. Ursula Williams from The Aspirer down in Sydney.

Ursula Williams ~ Sydney~ Communications Executive (PR) ~ 24yrs young

Why do you do what you do? / Why did you start your blog and biz?

Like many other young professionals, I’m ambitious and take every day as an opportunity to learn and grow in my career. I aspire to be the best I can be and want to use The Aspirer as an opportunity to interview successful women and spread that knowledge to inspire and encourage others. I believe in the power of women helping women and about speaking honestly about the road to success. I love to help others and use The Aspirer as an outlet to share the resources I’ve found that have helped me.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up, and the last thing you do before bed?

First thing I do when I wake up? Well, hit the snooze button. After a bit of a pep talk, I roll out of bed, make a cup of green tea and turn on my laptop and make my blog post for the day. Last thing? I wash my face and apply rosehip oil. Lately I’ve also been using essential oils before bed and doing a few meditations that I got as a gift from Michelle at Sacred Self (www.sacredself.com.au).

How do you make sure you’re looking after YOU?

I have ‘me’ time. I go for long walks or bike rides. While I love being social, sometimes I just need to be away from people to recharge and re-energize.

Favourite place on earth and why?

It sounds cliché, but my favourite place on Earth is wherever my friends and family are. And if I could choose where we could all be together? Perhaps sitting around a bonfire in Sweden (in spring) with some great food and wine. I was born in Sweden and for some reason have a strong affinity with that country and the people. Perhaps it’s because they invented smorgasbords. I think that’s it.

5 things you’re grateful for right now?

My health, my friends, my mum, my apartment, my job.

What’s your food philosophy?

I am experimenting with a vegan diet (inspired by Jess from Live Healthy Simply). I also experiment with going sugar free at times and limiting processed carbs. I do eat a bit of everything though and try to eat well 90% of the time.

You feel most yourself when…

I am teaching other, or making their lives better. Or at the very least, making them laugh.

Who inspires you most?

Marie Forleo

Favourite quote?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Recipe to share…

Summer salad
This is one of my favourite healthy treats. It tastes like summer exploded in your mouth.

1 cup of quinoa
Punnet of grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tbs flaxseed oil
1 tbs vinegar
1 tsp garlic
1.5 cup of chopped basil
Juice of half a lemon
Rock salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook up the quinoa until light and fluffy and then mix all the ingredients together with a spoon. You can use this as a side salad or just have a sneaky bowl in between meals. The quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse and very filling!

Ursula Williams is founder of The Aspirer, an online career resource that provides advice, opinion pieces, reflections, and lifestyle information for young, ambitious women. From undergrads to budding entrepreneurs, to happily employed young professionals, The Aspirer is a resource for those working towards a goal, dream job or business.

She can be found at the following online spots:

Jun 26, 2013

A Girls Weekend in Melbourne + Botanical Cuisine food porn

My Melbourne weekend in pictures for you all...

It began on Thursday morning with a 430am wake up call and a 6am flight. My older sister and I arrived in Melbourne just after 11am. To an apparent 8 degree morning. Oh but that wasn't the coldest we would experience...

Just landed -- from 28 degrees in Cairns to 8 degrees in Melbourne. Suffice to say, we were cold.

Later that afternoon, mum and our little sister rocked up (literally - at the door, surprising the eldest). We rugged up and headed out to Chapel street as I was super eager to go see Lola Berry do her thang over at the lululemon store. I was psyched I was actually in Melbourne the same time she was doing this, and at one of my fav stores, and with crystals, chocolates, dream catchers and bliss balls, talking all things magical, inspirational, and motivational. Why the hell not wouldn't I go?!?! And I'm grateful my girly crew were happy to roll with.

First night on the town with all the girls

A super blissed out evening; I couldn't have pictured it any better. Like I said; confetti, cacao, almond milk teasers, bliss balls being passed around, smiles bouncing from one to another, and of course all in a hyperdelic colourful space that is lululemon Chapel Street. I was as excited as a kid in a lolly shop just sitting listening to Lola speak. Clearly grinning ear to ear with cuddles and a foodie chit chat afterwards :)

Meeting Lola Berry - absolute superstar - and we had matching thumb holes in our jumpers!

Pana chocolates all 'round (if you have not tried this brand of organic raw chocolates, you're more than missing out girl), and individually wrapped! Oof! Super cute I loved these! And ate them all up! YUM!

Mini Pana chocolates! Perfect handbag size - if they last. SO GOOD!

And we were all gifted a crystal to make a collective wish on just before we left, and thus walked outta that door buzzing!

Crystals, confetti, cacao... All part and parcel of a Lola chit chat

Oh did I mention the sensational lulu gear? We went back to Bourke street to spend almost an hour trying on gear, and all leaving with filled shopping bags to boot! Not having a lulu in Cairns, I'm now determined to get one up here. Who's with me?

A selection of fantabulous pop-colour lululemon gear... The 4 of us all spent a fair bit in there! LOVE

Wallets lighter and I'm ready to rock out with my new purple yoga tights this week.Oh and pink shirt. With my stripey headband.

The following day, after a good veggie burger dinner, a sleep in was fabulous, but we had to make a move to get over to Collingwood by midday to see my good mate Omid Jaffari, founder/creator/chef/genius behind Botanical Cuisine. Having drooled over every morsel of an ingredient put into his creations from writing all the nutritional information about each and every dessert, jam, tapenade, ice cream and more for the website, I finally got to get down and try them all! Now I knew I would be blown away - Omid's stuff never ceases to touch a tastebud I never knew existed, but holy guacamole, this stuff is the sh*t!

Finally caught up with this guy again - Omid Jaffari. Superstar, friend, raw dessert genius.

 Raw vegan cream cheeses...

Melbourne Nights... Olive Pate... Oh my

Mum and Lisa in the tasting room... Complete with head gear

I was ready to start digging my entire hands in these buckets... Rest assured, I did not.

Products ready to walk out the door

Products ready to go in my mouth...
Oh my golly gosh...

Needless to say, lunch was much later that day. We wandered, walked, hopped on and off the famous trams, tried on clothes and shoes, drank coffees and teas, bought little nik-naks, enjoyed an evening in with antipasto, vino rosso and Despicable Me (too funny - def going to see the sequel), some couch time resting, reading and drinking my Mojo, and all had an absolute ball.

Mojo gut = Happy gut... with a spot of light reading one chilly afternoon in on the lounge

Sunday morning consisted of markets down at St Kilda and some delicious Italian panini's before we all had to head back towards the airport for late afternoon flights.

Catching up with my sisters and our mum has to be the best ever. Doing so in Melbourne; even better!

Have you ever done a girls weekend trip somewhere? Where'd you get too? Where will you go next? Share in the comments below - maybe we can get an inspiring bucket list going!

Christie xx

Jun 24, 2013

Icy Melbourne to Sunny Cairns + My Fast Foodies Interview on Being The Tree of Life

Woo Hoo! Back in sunny warm Cairns after 4 amazing yet freezing cold days in Melbourne! If you follow me on twitter or facebook, or get my newsletters, you would have known I flew down last Thursday morning for 4 days of girl-fuelled wining, dining, shopping, laughing, resting, and pillow fights - yep. We had one. My sisters and our mum all went down for a surprise get-together (my older sister had no idea we would all be there). Needless to say, we had a ball. Even if we did freeze. Going from 28 degrees here to 8 degrees there when we landed... whoo!

Since getting back to Cairns after 10pm last night, exhausted but unable to fall asleep, I can say this morning has been slow. But not that delicious slow of mulling about with a cup of tea and a good book. I was not wanting to get out of bed. Not wanting to do anything. My body wanted yoga but my mind was racing with the million things I need to get done today - I won't bore you but I'm sure you've been in this place once or twice before. Getting yourself into a total tizz for no real reason. Who care's if my blog is posted later than I'd like? If I have to miss college tonight to get a bunch of things done, AND have a couple of hours to myself to really ground, mellow out a bit and bring myself back to here and now then I'll do that. My sanity (in bed with my journal, tea, choccie and candles) comes over 3hrs of solid college anyday - if it's needed.

In writing all this... only now I realise and can see that I'm already worrying about getting to college, and the stuff I might not have done by then. Instead all I should be 'worrying' about is now - and by that I mean 'not worrying'. Focusing on posting this blog. Once that's done I'll tackle that assessment. Maybe. We'll see.
For now it's blogging and lunching. College is later so who knows what will happen later...

Do you have days or moments like this?

This is a total un-planned ramble Monday post if you hadn't already cotton-ed on.

Moving along... I'm going to be editing a few happy snaps from my Melbs trip for some inspiring picture blogging post coming to you on Wednesday, but in the mean time, you can check out my interview with the gorgeous Carlee Modra from Being The Tree of Life.

Carlee is a Holistic Wellness Coach, a Naturopath in training and absolutely passionate about, Health, Wellness and Spirituality, and she asked me all about my life surrounding these things.

Find out:

+ what wellness means to me

+ what kick started my journey

+ my vital non-negotiables to a life of wellness

+ the big turning points

+ my can't-live-without superfood

+ a huge food myth I'm dispelling

Have a read over at Carlee's blog here

And comment below with what you think! I'd love to know :)

Christie xx

Jun 21, 2013

Sisterhood Health + Wellness -- Amanda Herries + Green Smoothie recipe

This week I have the pleasure of bringing you my closest friend since moving up to Cairns, who is also my manager. The gorgeous, bubbly, caring, kind...

Amanda Jane Herries ~ Cairns, Australia ~ Personal Trainer & Health Store Manager ~ 31yrs young

Why do you do what you do? / Why did you start your blog and biz?

Well, being involved in the "health" industry causes me to improve the quality of life for as many people as i can, hopefully for as long as i can, I originally helped set up the Cairns City Go Vita health store to help out my parents business and to learn, love and grow, which i continue to do daily.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up, and the last thing you do before bed?

First thing I do when I wake up is some form of physical activity - usually I'm awake at 5:30am and I get straight into my gym gear. I either train myself at the gym or with my own equipment, or train with a friend running or walking along the Cairns Esplanade.
Before I hit the sack I like to have a camomile tea, chat to my man about our days, read a health related book, and plan my mornings training session - and i never forget to brush my teeth.

How do you make sure you’re looking after YOU?

Looking after No. 1 Haha, I'm not the best at this. I'm always putting work or friends and family before myself, but I'd have to say looking after my health is important. I believe there is a strong link between what we eat and how we feel; I prefer food to have a lasting effect rather then a spike then come down. Keeping active is another thing I do for myself and I love the release of "feel good chemicals" after a work out, a hike, a bike ride or a swim. Keeping in touch with friends and family i think helps me feel included and cared for and helps me sort out the subconscious mind. Learning new things help also - my boyfriend is teaching me to surf at the moment, I'm terrible, but the ocean is so calming.

Favourite place on earth and why?

Well, I've lived in Canada for 2 years and in Whistler for 2 ski seasons, and the mountains are breathtaking and naturally beautiful. Europe was amazing for the history and the culture and the food. But there is really no place like home... I prefer the weather, being close to my family and close to the beaches. My favourite place in Australia would have to be Byron Bay.

5 things I'm grateful for right now...

1. Hugs in the airport after an extended period of not seeing someone you love.
2. Low-maintenance friends who don’t require much from you other than you being caring and entirely yourself.
3. Music and how accessible it is, whatever i want to listen to at my finger tips
4. My Family all living in the same town after 6 years
5. My health and my Co yo and Coconut Chocolate butter Im eating right now

What’s your food philosophy?

Drink plenty of water .. preferably organic fruit and veggies... I try to only buy grass fed beef, wild seafood, organic eggs, and organic poultry... I went to a lecture of Stephen Eddy's and something that stood out is - "don’t eat anything with an ingredient you can’t pronounce". I try to do all my own cooking so i know exactly what I'm putting into my body. I have a good balance of protein, carbs and fats ... I think the most important thing is enjoying what I'm eating and sharing it with someone you love is always good

You feel most yourself when…

When i can help someone, when I'm with people that love me and I love too. And when I'm dancing or in nature.

Who inspires you most?

I'm very lucky to be surrounded by people who inspire me... at work my colleagues are always teaching me new things; my parents and there morals, dedication, love and guidance; my friends with their advice and all the memories we create; and my partner  for his strength, enthusiasm for life and his love.
Disabled people, 'strugglers' and people who have to face adversity & difficulty over and over, but get back up and keep going/trying, these are also people who inspire me....

Favourite Quote

I have so many, but this one has always stuck in my head -
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Recipe to share -

My favourite green smoothie at the moment...

1 banana
500ml coconut water
1 kale leaf
Few springs of Parsley
Few springs of Mint
Few springs of Coriander
1 tsp Spirulina

Blend all til smooth. Top with grated coconut to serve. And enjoy!

I pinched this combo form the Conscious Cafe in Byron Bay  - my favourite place to eat and hang out :)

Amanda is a passionate health enthusiast who loves training locals to achieve their fitness goals (and does so quite successfully), whilst running a busy Go Vita health store in the middle of Cairns City. In her spare time she enjoys mountain biking, hiking, preparing raw desserts in her kitchen, and spending time with her partner and their dog Mishy.

Amanda can be found at Go Vita Cairns on Facebook

Jun 18, 2013

6 Easy (and Healthy) Office Swaps for a Sexier You!

Not having ever worked in an office myself, I can only go by what my sister, cousin, and girlfriends tell me it's like. Yes to lots of suits. Yes to very little music playing. And yes to temptation from the donut box, the cake afternoons, and the 3pm slack off when sugar cravings spike.

So in helping them out, I thought I'd throw my ideas your way as I'm sure a few of you are also working in offices and face these temptations each day, or just get stuck on healthy alternatives to what you're already doing.

Here are 6 office swaps for a sexier you ~

SWAP: A donut for a piece of fruit

Sure, this doesn't sound at all like a fair swap (even though that's a pretty perfect looking apple no?), but this will get people talking, and in time you won't be the only one munching on a piece of fruit I guarantee it. Initially you're likely to get a few party-poopers raining on your health parade, but stand strong and know that it's likely they're beating themselves up for eating donuts everyday, and that's why they're taking it out on you (coz you're just "so damn healthy" right?). And who knows... you might end up changing the workplace into ordering fruit boxes instead! Hooray! Fruit is packed with fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants to keep your skin healthy, your hair shining, and your whole body happy.

SWAP: Chocolate bar for some raw chocolate

Now we're talking! It's no secret that I'm a big fan of chocolate (and think I've got mum to thank for that one), but I am not a fan of commercial, processed chocolate that has more sugar than cacao. And I eat cacao pretty much everyday, so I totally understand if you don't want to give it up. But limit your serving sizes to 2-3 pieces a day of good quality, dark, organic, raw of you like, chocolate. There are plenty of brands available these days that tick all those boxes. But a block and keep it at home, breaking a few pieces off and putting them in a mini tupperware container in your bag so there's no temptation to eat the whole lot. Loaded with antioxidants to keep you looking young!

SWAP: Store bought nut bar for homemade trail mix

Raw organic nuts, seeds and dried fruits are what they say they are. Prepackaged nut bars are not. They are often more sugar, fructose, glucose syrup, honey, and vegetable oil than they are nuts. I know there are a few good ones on the market but in general, they're no better than a Mars bar. Pack your own though and you're tipping the scales in your favour to better joint health, eye health, brain cognition, mineral levels, blood sugar balance and healthy digestion. My fav's are walnut / goji / macadamia, pepita / sunflower seed / dried apricots / almonds, and coconut flakes / raisins / cinnamon / cashews.

SWAP: Subway 6-inch for rye salad sandwich

White bread does nothing for us so choose a healthier alternative loaded with more fibre, more vitamins and more minerals. Rye is perfect as most sandwich places offer it these days. Fill up with fresh salad ingredients like beetroot, carrot, lettuce, alfalfa, tomato, onion, and avocado, adding in a little chicken, turkey or egg if you fancy some of that too. Stay away from the processed sliced meats, heavy condiment sauces made from who-knows-what, and anything fried in vegetable oil, or heated in a microwave. You'll be preventing wrinkles, clogged arteries, and an upset digestive system, which will in turn give you sparkling eyes, smooth skin, and a happy heart.

SWAP: Afternoon coffee for herbal tea

Last week I wrote about coffee and the confusion we too often read about surrounding it, but when I take an individual's health into account, there can for sure still be a place for coffee - it all depends on the amount, how it's had, what it's had with, and of course the individual. Having said that, I'm not a fan of anyone drinking it in the afternoons. It stays in our system too long, and we are seeing more and more people suffering from insomnia, feeling tired and wired in the evenings, and not being able to get out of bed in the mornings. So come afternoon slump time, reach for a green tea instead. Warm up with a chai. Or a Teechino with almond milk and stevia drops (my latest fav). Or something uplifting like lemongrass and peppermint. These all help digestion and keeping the bowels healthy, heat us up internally (perfect for chilly winters), provide our bodies with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits, and don't make us crash in an hour or so. Bonus!

SWAP: Coke for kombucha

LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! Kombucha that is. As I'm seeing less and less people around me drinking coke, I still have no doubt it's the number one fizzy drink worldwide. And it's the sugar and caffeine that has everyone addicted to it. Next time you want something to give you a little perk up whilst still being effervescent, fizzy, bubbly and uplifting (like a Coke), reach for a kombucha instead. This stuff has got to be my all time favourite drink that I now make my own. A fermented tea (and no, it doesn't taste like off tea) that is so good for your gut, your skin, your immunity, your stress levels, your adrenal health, your moods and your energy. You'll find it at good health food stores (Mojo is nation wide in Oz, and Buchi which is my fav are only along the east coast between Sunny Coast and Byron I think at the moment... let's try to change that!). Grab some each weekend and keep them in your fridge ready to throw in your handbag. I'll be posting how I make mine in about a month.

So there you go. You'll be looking sexier, feeler fab-er and glowing from inside out sooner than you know it with these swaps. Do you already make supercharged swaps at work? Please share in the comments below.

Christie xx

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Jun 17, 2013

Why Doing Nothing on Your Day 1 Means Everything

In India, the menstrual cycle is a highly respected cycle that is an expression of the female connectedness to the cycles of the moon. This cycle regulates the tides, migrations, mating times, and, of course, the twenty-eight day cycle of menstruation. Menses is seen as a natural time of cleansing and rejuvenation, traditionally accompanied by a time of rest or light duty, and some Ayurvedic doctors even comment that our menstrual cycle and monthly cleansing is one of the factors that lead to our generally longer life span (compared to men that is). But ignoring this cycle will often lead to a great number of premenstrual and menstrual complaints.  (1)

Taoists tradition believe that a woman's energy loss is at its apex when she is releasing blood. As we all know, during our menstruation, we tend to get tired much quicker, feel moody, exhausted, and can become a little short tempered. Women in past traditions knew all this in listening to their bodies, and would gather during their monthly cycles and have time to rest and meditate together.

Women in our modern world today however, work all through the month, no matter what. Single successful young women, double-income families, high costs of living, multi-tasking – modern women have learned to ignore their natural rhythms - be it conscious learning or not. Personally, this is what I believe has led to the high instances in womens hormonal problems and all that is associated with them.

The crankiness, impatience or annoyance so infamously called Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), that we may experience in the last two weeks of our cycle, is really more about the feelings we have because we are not flowing with what our body really wants us to do - that is slow down, withdraw from the busyness of the outside world and look after our self, not everybody else.

A great website I stumbled across this weekend says  -

"In your premenstrual week you feel less interested in the outside world and desire quiet time to yourself. If this doesn't happen or isn't possible because of your living arrangements, you may become very edgy, easily upset and in a 'bad mood', this serves its purpose and usually drives others away from you anyway.

Often times, the bad moods, so to speak, associated with the end of the cycle are due to the woman knowing that even though she'll be bleeding next week, and would really rather be having sometime to herself to do that, she will have to carry on regardless, looking after everybody else and not herself. If she knew at this time, that next week she was going to have 3 days to herself, to rest, read, write, draw, whatever, her moonlodge, red tent time she wouldn't be cranky, she'd be looking forward to it." (2)

What we need to learn to do now is follow our energy. Make listening to our body (and what it wants) a priority, and we'll get much better at following our energy. The problem in our society though is that most women do the absolute opposite - numbing their body's wisdom and trying to fit around everyone else, working long hours, running around the shops, getting up early for boot-camp everyday, and pushing against the exhaustion, hoping to feel like a super hero for "getting it all done". But forever (and likely habitually/unconsciously) going against what our body needs every month only results in more pain, irritability, discomfort, manic moods, and so on. And what most women do not realize is that years of ignoring the natural inward pull of the body during menstruation weakens the libido over time.

Once we know the timing of our cycle, the next thing is to make a conscious choice to rest more when our energy is at its lowest ebb. When your body naturally wants to rest, do everything in your power to rest. We are bleeding after all. If you were bleeding from your leg, or had a gash across your back, would you still be forcing yourself to run around, do the groceries, get to work, netball training, and do those extra 100 crunches for those abs you're working towards? Hell no! We are pouring out, releasing toxins, and blood: this is a big deal and it all takes a lot of energy. It's not the time to be giving it all out to others. Its time to go inward and rest. Meghan Goodman and Sara Avant Stover, both yoga instructors, say during the first few days of your monthly period (48-72 hours) we should aim for complete rest. Amen to that!

If we feel a desire to rest during menstruation and we don't allow ourselves to do so, this is exactly when all the symptoms of PMS, PMT, and related disorders begin to appear. I mentioned it in this post HERE, that the few days I was at Vipassana meditation before my period, meditating all day everyday, I was surprised (and then not) to have very little period pain in comparison to previous months. So don't think resting is a sign of weakness as it couldn't be further from the truth: it is a time of pulling back, and recharging the batteries, so we can jump back into the flowing river of life later on - and keep our heads above the water without feeling like we're drowning!

                     YouTube clip - The Yoga Pose Every Woman Should Know for the First Day of Her Period - Sara Avant Stover

"But I can't rest when I have my period - there are things I have to do!!"

There is always a way to change how we do something if we can't actually lie down and rest all day. For example, tell your personal trainer that you want to do gentle restorative exercises next session. Make your training more relaxed, follow your energy and listen to your body. If you're in a workplace where you can do less physical work (like unpacking orders) and get into something else that's not as exhausting (like tidying shelves), mention this to your boss. Ever since I made the decision to do absolutely nothing on the first day of my period, it just so happens I've never been rostered on to work since. And never had any plans I've had to change. I've always had the day free to lie in bed.

But there are loads of other things we can do to nurture ourselves if we can't drop everything ~ taking regular brisk walks, seeing uplifting movies, reading books we love, creating art or practicing a gentle martial art, are excellent ways to follow your energy and go with the more restful states your body wants.
Resting does not always mean taking a nap, or taking the day off, although, if your life allows, by all means, go ahead girl! Cultivate the attitude that rest is what your body wants, and rest is what it's going to get!

Our energy is not only going inward during menstruation, but we are much more sensitive to everything around us - I'm going to assume you know what I mean - so it goes without saying that it's best to avoid crowds of people or ball-busting jerky activities (a big sweaty pack of Body Combatter's at the gym... um might give it a miss). Additionally, don't be swayed or pressured into doing things that you know will bring you stress or conflict while you are menstruating (like hosting a dinner party). For me, I love a weekend market shamble of people, fresh produce, music, munching and more. But if I'm menstruating or close too, I'm useless there. Nothing gets bought, I stress and shake, fall to pieces, need peace and quiet, and leave with B wondering what the hell's wrong with me.

We've got to deliberately place ourselves in inspiring situations, not stressful ones. Try to be more contemplative and put our inward energy to good use. I jump in bed with my laptop for inspiring youtube clips, my journal and pencils, the latest health mag, a pot of tea, some choccie, and any self development goodies I'm working on and I feel the best ever. Most importantly, allow yourself to do the things you most enjoy. (3)

What do you do when you first get your period each month? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

Christie xx

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(1) http://www.sbwellnessdirectory.com/articles/smooth_cycles-ayurveda-menstrual.htm
(2) http://www.moonsong.com.au/spiritualmenstruation.html
(3) http://www.menstruation.com.au/periodpages/taoofpms.html

Jun 14, 2013

Sisterhood Health + Wellness -- Lori and Michelle Purey Twins + Vegan English Muffin Recipe

This week I am so excited to have these girls on my blog as I have been following theirs for a couple of years now, and their enthusiasm, recipes, motivation and vulnerability around their own health is inspiring to say the very least. Please welcome Lori and Michelle...

Lori and Michelle ~ Charlotte, NC ~ Personal trainers, chefs, authors, sales associates + ambassadors, social media managers, bloggers ~ 29yrs young
Why do you do what you do? / Why did you start your blog and biz?

We started our blog out of our love of creating recipes that we wanted to share with others. And we wanted to share our health journey as we know others out there may be suffering from the same thing in hopes that our story and issues may help someone else. We started our personal training business out of our passion for working out and fitness. We wanted to show others that they can get in the best shape of their life. We also wanted to show that eating healthy can be fun and exciting.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up, and the last thing you do before bed?

Morning: Lately the first thing we do is drink a little water and then go workout.
Evening: After checking emails and blog comments, and playing on Instagram we do our oil pulling on our face and put moisturizer on, lay in bed and mediate a little before really falling asleep. Some nights we do some reading.

How do you make sure you’re looking after YOU?

Good question. Well we usually go off how well we are feeling and how our skin is doing. When we go through our periods of acne flare ups or stomach issues we know it is time to stop and reflect on ourselves. Realize something got out of handle and we need to fix it. We need to take the time to slow down and focus on us. Because if we are not feeling good than we can not help someone else.

Favourite place on earth and why?

The beach because we love the sound of the ocean and the waves as we find it very calming. Nothing beats the warm feeling of sun on your body.

5 things you’re grateful for right now?

1) Our family.
2) Sharing our passion of healthy and fitness with others.
3) Friends that support and challenge us every day.
4) Grateful having a green juice every morning.
5) Grateful for being able to start up a new business - personal training.

What’s your food philosophy?

We try to keep things simple yet have a little fun too. We believe in eating whole foods and not putting any labels on yourself. To enjoy food and the whole experience that comes with food. To eat in the moment. Focusing on eating real food while listening to the body making sure it is being fueled with the best foods that fit your individual body. We believe in experimenting to find what foods work for you.

You feel most yourself when…

We are working out or in the kitchen creating a recipes. Or enjoying a good cup of coffee or wine with a dear friend.

Who inspires you most?

Each other. We inspire each other to live our best life everyday.

Favourite quote?

Oh this is hard, as we love so many.
But one favorite quote that we love lately is, "Never give up, there is no such thing as an ending, just a new beginning."

Recipe to share…

Single Serving Vegan Plain English Muffin (gluten-free, protein rich)
Makes one English muffin

3 tablespoons brown rice protein powder
2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons water*
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, liquid

+ In a bowl or glass measuring cup (is what we used), place all your dry ingredients (protein powder, arrowroot starch, baking soda) into the glass dish. And mix.
+ Add in your apple cider vinegar and water.
+ End with adding in your coconut oil. Continue to stir it all together to form a wet, paste looking batter.
+ You can cook in the microwave (we did and used the same glass measuring cup to do it in) for 1 minute and 15 seconds, or you can pour batter into a muffin pan (lightly oiled) into 350 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes.
+ Let cool before removing from pan. Then carefully remove from pan and slice in half. Can eat as is with favorite topping or can toast it up. We toasted ours and felt it tasted even better toasted.

Christie xx

Lori and Michelle are twin sisters, Fitfluential Ambassadors, chefs, cookbook authors, multi-passioniate entrepreneurs, inspiring photographers and designers, and Lori is a NASM personal trainer. The twins share their passion of eating healthy, staying active, and creating innovative recipes and workouts to do at home.

Find these gorgeous girls on:
Instagram Lori and Michelle

Jun 12, 2013

Does PMS ruin your month? Here's 12 Proven Lifesavers

I'm sure we've all experienced the crazy person we become when it's our time of the month. It doesn't happen to everyone, and it doesn't happen every month, but when it does it can be nasty - for everyone involved.

This pic had to happen :)

Pass My Shotgun, Pardon My Sobbing, Perpetual Munching Spree, Pimples May Surface…

PMS jokes are everywhere, as it is probably the most common female hormonal disorder. Many women accept monthly changes to their mood, appetite, energy and sleep patterns as an annoying but inescapable part of life, with up to 75% of women in Oz experincing PMS at some stage in their life, but PMS is a treatable condition.

For the most part of my life, I never got PMS - not pain, no cramps, no crankiness, anxiety, sore boobs, nothing. But in the last year or so I have. And I gotta say, it sure made up for all those years I got nothing.

So in trying everything I could to make my life a little easier each month, I've come up with my best tips for getting through with ease and grace. Here are 11 things YOU can try for yourself:

+ Eat warm foods

Cold foods tend to have a hastening up of the lower regions if you know what I mean, and around our period, females also tend to experience constipation. The cramps and muscle spasms are on the same nerve endings as our bowel muscles, so if we eat warming foods, this whole area will relax, and both our cramps and constipation will ease up.

+ Eat magnesium rich foods

Magnesium will help those nasty cramps, and will relax and distress the muscles the same way it does for crampy calves when we’ve been running and not done our stretching. Leafy green vegetables, almonds, cacao (not just Cadbury chocolate please) are all great. If you need more, Scheussler magnesium tissue salts and the (lactose free) spray are also absolute gems. Acute doses are every half hour, for up to 6 doses which I'm usually taking, and then I take a couple each day throughout my period. Brilliant.

+ Eat good quality dark chocolate

Yes you heard me. Everywhere I read says otherwise, but this is a magnesium rich food, and the emotional benefit far outweighs everything else in my books. Good chocolate is in a category all on it's own. When I buy chocolate, B will eat it willy nilly. But if it's my time of the month, he knows not to go near it, only once asking "baby may I please have a piece of your chocolate?" Awww. But in order to eat more than you otherwise would at any other time of the month, it's gotta be the good stuff. Dark. Rich. Velvety. No milk products. And no regular sugar. Aim for little sugar as it's inflammatory and we've likely already got plenty of that going on. Coconut sugar, stevia, honey, and xylitol are all good. My fav's were Loving Earth's Orange and Gubinge, or anything from Pana, but now it is (without a doubt) a Daintree raw cacao bar you can't get anywhere but here. O-M-G (and I've just demolished a whole bar. Yep 100g. It's my time of the month)

+ Ensure you're getting your essential fatty acids

Fish oils (anti-inflammatory) and Evening Primrose oils are both very good at keeping our hormones in check, and therefore doing the same for our moods, skin issues, bloating, and any other symptoms you may see come your monthly. You can take these daily, or for the week leading up to and during your period.

+ Chlorphyll

This is essentially the blood of plants so it goes without saying that it's going to be of benefit to our blood. Get drinking it. Daily. And tell me it doesn't improve your symptoms if only slightly.

+ Tell your partner when you're due

This way you both know a few days before that if you start tearing up for no reason, going a little OTT when he leaves the toothpaste lid off, or want a serious bucket-load of cuddles, it's all good. Work through it together.

+ Meditate

I was surprised (and then not) at how dramatically different my period pain was after 3 days of solid meditation away on retreat. From being crippling/get me to bed/my day is a write-off to being able to walk around and travel from one place to another, still with a little pain though, I was amazed. Have I kept it up? I'm getting there...

+ Do nurturing things for yourself

We can all get a little teary and a tad emotional at this time of the month, so it’s a good thing to know when you’re due and start slowing down a bit the few days leading up to your period. Have a bath each night. Add Epsom salts to really mellow out. Light sweet scented candles. Grab a good book and a big fluffy blanket and curl up early in bed. With a hot water bottle. Meditate a little more. Breathe deeply. And give gratitude for your magnificent body.

+ Try to do nothing

I know what you’re thinking – yeah right! But depending on your schedule you might just be able too. Ever since reading The Way of The Happy Woman by Sara Avant Stover, I have done nothing the first day of my period. She explains in detail why, but in short, we are bleeding. Would you run around all day if you were bleeding from your leg? I sure hope not. We’ve been conditioned to believe that we should just get on with it. At school, swimming lessons, work, and around colleagues; particularly males. There’s a much deeper meaning to our “moon day” as Sara refers to it as, so try (or just manifest!) doing nothing on your first day. I love this day now, and I never used too. I give myself permission to do nothing and usually lie in bed all day with reading great novels, writing in my journal, watching cool stuff on YouTube, listening to music, getting up to make pots of tea, munch on chocolate, and feel super snuggly, cuddly, warmed up, loved and totally nourished. It’s an extra 2 weeks break each year too (but don’t tell any male that).

+ Add some hippy sh*t

You know what I'm talking about. Bush Remedies, crystals, essential oils, chakra oils, the lot.
I use Australian Bush Flower Womens Essence acutely (that is when I’m feeling or acting like a raging lunatic and need some space and deep breathes) and it works wonders. My Angel Cards when I feel I need to ask for something to help me, self love oil when I'm feeling urgh, and calming essential oils in the bath tub. Mmm.

+ And start to Heal...

Everything I've mentioned above will indeed help you with your PMS symptoms - because that's all they are. Diet changes will definitely help if your diet is sh*t to begin with. A few additional supplements may be of help to some. But these might only work for a few months, more if you're lucky, because underneath it all is very often trauma of some sort that our bodies are trying to bring to our attention. We need to feel it, release it and heal it. Total nurturing of oneself along with silent reflection and focusing in on what our bodies are doing and how they are feeling is vital to releasing PMS and period pain.

And one thing you might need help with once you've tried all the above:

+ Do you have adrenal issues or a liver not doing it's job properly?

Get to your nutritionist or naturopath to suss this one out if you're not sure. Both these issues effect our hormones, which in turn effect things like PMS. Either of these might just be the reason you're now getting PMS.

Tap into the wisdom of the cycle and use it to your advantage.

Christie xx

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Jun 10, 2013


That seems to always be the question doesn't it? We smell that alluring waft of rich aromas on walking past a cafe mid morning. We see people everywhere, all over the world, sipping on fluffy cappuccinos, shotting back espressos at bars, or casually carrying their jumbo caffe lattes down the street. All happy they've got their morning fix.

Jun 7, 2013

Sisterhood Health + Wellness -- Jessica Nazarali + Chocolate Chai Ice Cream Hearts Recipe

Welcome to the very first Sisterhood Health + Wellness interview! As mentioned here last week, this is going to be a short and sweet series of 7 females in the health and wellness industry, who are going to be giving you their tips, letting you in on how they look after themselves, what foods they eat, who inspires them, AND sharing a recipe of their own. Eek! I'm so excited!

And to hit off this week with a bang is the gorgeous Jessica Nazarali --

Jessica Nazarali ~ Sexy chic currently living in Sydney, Australia ~ Holistic Health Coach ~ 25yrs young

Why do you do what you do? / Why did you start your blog and biz?

I started Live Healthy Simply as a way to share wellness information and recipes and to connect with other likeminded women who have similar goals and interests to me. In “real life” I didn’t have many friends who were interested in health and wellness and I thought through blogging I would be able to virtually meet others who did. (I’m pleased to say this has definitely been the case!)

Overtime I introduced LiveAspire Blog networking events with my friend Ursula from The Aspirer and my new online group health coaching program, Cosmopolitan Wellness. Through this my blog as turned into a business. I have also just launched an online health food store with my husband called Shop Healthy where you can buy a range of super foods, vitamins, teas, snacks and healthy chocolate!

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up, and the last thing you do before bed?

The first thing I do when I wake up is lie in bed with my eyes closed and set a positive intention for the day. Sometimes I try to mediate for 5 minutes but if I’m in a hurry the 1 minute of stillness is enough for me.

I usefully fall asleep listening to a guided meditation.

How do you make sure you’re looking after YOU?

I always make sure I eat well. If I eat poorly I don’t have enough support and energy to get me through the day and I’m then ill-equipped to deal with the challenges life throws my way!
I also make sure I have enough downtime and if I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed I take timeout and have a break instead of pushing through.

Setting boundaries and being realistic with how much stuff I can actually get done in a day has been a big eye opener for me. Before I used I used to try and do way too much, but I’ve now learnt to be more realistic with my to-do lists and in turn, be easier on myself.

Favourite place on earth and why?

I love Sydney! It’s so beautiful; in all my travels I’ve never found a city I would prefer to live in. (Aside from moving to Bali or Thailand for 6 months…I’m trying to convince my husband to go!)

5 things you’re grateful for right now?

+ My husband

+ Incredible friends

+ My almost healed leg (I fell off my bike two weeks ago), after a week of hobbling around it feels wonderful to be able to walk properly again.

+ That I’m a part of such an amazing and supportive community

+ The fact that people actually read my blog, that still blows me away!

What’s your food philosophy?

I’m somewhere in between vegan and vegetarian. I don’t eat any meat, fish, chicken, dairy, products with added sugar, eggs and I avoid wheat wherever possible. I eat organic at home and try to include lots of raw foods in my diet.
I try to look at my food choices as an experiment and don’t beat myself up if I eat something that isn’t really in align with how I want to be eating. I do the best I can each day, sometimes it works out well, sometimes I fall a little short but the positive intention is always there.

You feel most yourself when…

I’m by myself; reflecting and meditating.

Who inspires you most?

I draw inspiration from everywhere! I love Marie Forleo, Gabby Bernstein, Alexandra Franzen and all the inspiring young entrepreneurs in Australia and throughout the world who are mixing things up and challenging the status quo.

Favorite quote?

Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

Recipe to share…

Chocolate Chai Ice Cream Hearts

Makes 24

3 heaped tbs raw cacao powder 
1 cup coconut oil 
1/4 cup sesame seeds 
3 tps of Natvia  
1/8 cup brewed chai

Brewed Chai Recipe
Black tea 
Dash of milk of choice - I like to use almond milk 
1 tps masala chai spice mix or cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in a bowl 
Fill your heart shaped ice cube containers to the brim and allow to set in freezer for 2 hours 
Dust with raw cacao powder or eat straight out of the freezer!

Jessica Nazarali is a Holistic Health Coach and Health Blogger at www.livehealthysimply.com. She helps professional and entrepreneurial women up their wellness, so they can achieve all their professional and personal dreams.

You can find Jessica at any of of the places below:


Love it? Love Jessica? Let us know what you think of Jess and her delicious looking recipe, and what you're looking forward to in the next weeks in the comments below.

Christie xx

Jun 5, 2013

7 Ways To Tone Up Without Counting Calories

We've heard it time and time again - make the energy we consume less than the energy we burn and presto! We're on to toning up. Well I'm here to tell you all and reaffirm others who say the same thing - it ain't that easy and it's way more complicated than that. But at the same time it's super easy if you listen to your body.

Here are my top 7 tips to getting trim and toned without that horrible calorie counting guide.

+ Eat nutrient dense wholefoods

This has got to be the biggest tip in weight loss and toning up (not to mention simply the healthiest way to live). Ditch the fad diets, the calorie counting, the portion sizes, and simply eat fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, sprouts, meats, eggs, seafood, and grains that are organic. As nature intended. Nothing added. Nothing tinned. Yep I'm talking bananas, broccoli, sweet potatoes, almonds, sunflower seeds, alfalfa, grass fed beef, free range chicken and eggs, wild salmon, quinoa, oats... All delicious, super nutritious, and feeding every cell in our bodies which is what most of us are deficient in - real food and real nutrition into our cells, not merely an isolated vitamin. Our bodies don't care about calories, they care about nutrition.

How: Visit your local growers markets this weekend and stock up!

+ Eat essential fats

They are called essential because they are. Omega 3, 6, 9. Our bodies need these are they cannot manufacture these themselves. These function in our bodies to keep our brain cells working, soften and moisturise our skin, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels in the blood (therefore preventing against heart disease, stroke, diabetes and arthritis), lubricate our joints and tonnes more.

How: Eat salmon, mackeral, tuna. Munch on walnuts. Drizzle flaxseed oil on your salads or add to smoothies. Take fish oil daily.

+ Know your body (and the diet it thrives off)

This is where we need to do the work on our own; but the rewards are well worth it. Not everything can be handed to us on a silver platter now can it? By paying attention to how our bodies feel after we eat certain foods, we begin to see what works best, and what should be avoided. And this is different for everyone. If we are eating foods that do not agree with us, they are causing an inflammatory response inside our body. Pasteurised milk for example is a huge cause of childhood eczema, asthma, and teenage acne. Whether inflammation is noticeable (eczema, acne, rashes, swelling) or not is not the problem, as most inflammation is not easily detectable until it has become a much bigger problem. Cancer, asthma, heart disease, arthritis - these are all inflammatory conditions. When we eat foods that do not cause inflammation in our bodies, then we are preventing these conditions from occurring. Like I said, this is different for everyone. One man's food is another man's poison. 

How: Begin by keeping a food journal writing down everything you eat for a week or two, as well as how you feel after the meal. Tired? Heavy? Light? Energetic? And then any symptoms you may notice - bloating, cramps, constipation/diarrhoea, sneezing, etc. Look back and see if you notice any patterns.

+ Exercise (cardio and toning)

It goes without saying that exercise is necessary in a balanced lifestyle, but it's crazy important if you're tryna tone up! Exercise helps shed stubborn fat stores, shedding excess kilos, and also stimulates the lymphatic system to get rid of any toxins lingering around. Sweating does this too. Those feel good hormones called endorphins are also released during a workout, cleverly making you want to continue everyday. 
Cardio work increases your heart rate keeping it ticking along for many years to come and it burns fat - but overdoing this long term can undo your good work, and ramp up your cortisol, leading to storing belly fat (speak to a nutritionist or personal trainer if this may apply to you). 
Strength work is what builds and tones our muscles and our strength. More muscle also means more fuel burned on standing so girls, muscle is not the evil gremlin we want to avoid. "Bulking up" as we see men do is in fact quite tricky for females to do by just lifting weights. It takes a lot to build bulk as a female, so honestly, we've got nothing to worry about.

How: First thing in the morning, walk briskly or jog on an empty stomach for 30-45 minutes. This will force your body to burn fat instead of carbs (the preferred fuel source) as you haven't eaten yet. If this doesn't fit into your daily schedule, any exercise is better then none. Do what works for you. And what makes you smile :) Not a fan of jogging? Try dancing, swimming, karate, rock climbing, surfing, canoeing, ice skating...

+ Hydrate

Dehydration decreases memory, digestion, body temperature and blood pressure... the list goes on. It can also decrease our metabolism. For our hormones to work properly and to repair muscle tissue, our bodies need water. When we sleep, our body is recovering and our metabolism is recharging for the next day.
A lack of water is the number one trigger for fatigue in the daytime (when we are then more susceptible to skipping that gym sesh, and/or reaching for that choccie bar), and thirst is also often mistaken for hunger, which leads to overeating, and potential weight gain, making dehydration a double whammy against you toning things up.

How: Filtered or spring water is best. Add mint leaves and strawberry slices to jazz it up. Fresh lemon or lime segments. Or try some chlorophyll.

+ Have regular bowel movements

A favourite topic of mine that most people pretend to not hear - poo talk. I'll keep this one short and sweet. We should all be having 1-3 full bowel movements each day. And by full, you'll know if it feels like you've only half gone. Any less than this could be constipation, or you're not eating properly (or you're fasting). Any more than this, and there's a possibility that you're not digesting your foods correctly as they are clearly running outta your system before they get the chance! Poo says stacks about our internal health and if our poo health is not cool, then we're not cool. Poor colon health, cramping, bloating, pain, farting more than usual, irregular bowel motions, horrid smells, undigested food particles, clay coloured poo, black poo... these are all signs of poor colon health. If we are not visiting the throne at least once a day, there's a good chance that a back-log is happening, and amongst everything else, we are literally and physically holding onto sh*t, which adds to the kilos on the scales, the centrimetres around our (bloated) tummy, and the baggage we end up carrying emotionally.

How: Eat fibre from fresh fruits and vegetables every-single-day. Drink 2-3L of filtered water every-single-day. Look at what emotional crap you may be holding onto. Stop worrying over nothing. Resolve any unresolved issues with your mother (these are all related issues in and around the solar plexus and sacral chakra's). And if you still need help, visit your nutritionist or local health store for individual based care on fibre supplements and herbal remedies.

+ Alkalise

Green vegetables, good foods, fresh air, filtered water, stress relief, meditation. These are all things that help to alkalise our body. So the stuff that is making us acidic? White bread, white pasta, white sugar, processed foods, inhumane meat products, pasteurised milk, stress, anxiety, tension, dehydration, too much exercise, anger. All of which lead to inflammation, mood disorders, mental issues, asthma, and of course weight gain. Or at least, a severe lack of toning up, feeling fab and looking good. Enough said.

How: Eat fresh fruit and vegetables every meal. Add chlorophyll to your water daily. Enjoy green juices when you can.Avoid stress. Meditate. Rest and relax. Read uplifting books. Don't watch the news. Laugh.

So there you go. What do yu think? If you've got any others you think I've missed by all means share in the comments below.

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Christie xx