A Wonderfully Awful Diagnosis

Image by Emma Hack

Image by Emma Hack

Have you ever had one of those moments where everything all of a sudden just clicks? Yesterday I did.

And I am wondering if my epiphany can help you too.

It all started with Dry July

(which was actually not that dry)

Any Instagram or Facebook friends here would know that I have been participating with a group of girlfriends in a Dry July detox. Under extreme sufferance. I committed to a month of no animal products, refined sugar, gluten and most importantly – god forbid – no alcohol!

And while my food choices have been impressive I will be honest – for the first 14 days of Dry July I had a glass of wine every day. Sometimes two. Or three. However after a few pep talks to myself I complied and I have been delightfully committed to being alcohol-free. Not known for my self-discipline within the realm of burgundy deliciousness I have completed shocked myself.

But wait?..

I expected a near-instant transformation. I felt that my bloating would disappear, my mood would lift to dizzying heights, I would lose weight and the oppressive fog that had settled in my brain would evaporate.

Nope.

Even without the alcohol I felt permanently hung-over. I felt jipped and to tell you the truth my husband may have had to wrestle the champagne bottle from my desperate, disappointed hands at one point.

As hard as I tried to be patient I felt disheartened, especially when everyone around me was reporting these fantastic results – better skin, better sleep, weight loss, feeling happier. All those things I had wanted.

The nosedive continued and I started thinking about what I was doing wrong. Why wasn’t I reaching my goals after 3 years of trying damn hard at nearly every of eating style around? Vegan, high-carb, low-carb, no,-carb, juice cleanse, paleo and vegan a couple more times. I had tried everything and still wasn’t seeing results. I wasn’t losing weight, my brain was still foggy, my digestion was still shit, I still felt anxious a lot of the time. Even recently while I have been eating a totally alkaline diet and meditating twice daily my wee is still showing up an acidic pH. Something about the picture was wrong.

I tried to lift myself out of my funk by procrastinating and reading some wellness-nerd literature. All of a sudden three words jumped out at me; The Candida Diet. What the hell is that? I know what Candida is and I certainly don’t want to eat it. So I clicked on the link.

And then I REALLY clicked.

EUREKA!

The symptoms of a Candida imbalance read like my past 3 years of journaling. In fact in my very public journal (this blog) I have spoken about these symptoms here, here and again here. Here are a selection of symptoms that really got my attention.

  • Inability to focus
  • Inability to lose weight
  • poor memory
  • brain fog
  • irritability
  • anger
  • dizziness
  • depression
  • panic attacks
  • recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
  • cravings for sweets and alcohol
  • insomnia
  • skin sensitivies such as allergies
  • flatulence (‘fraid so)
  • bloating
  • unexplained stomach pain

Sounding familiar? The list goes on. Click here to see it for yourself if any alarm bells are going off right now!

For me it was like the crack of the cosmic egg of my universe. EVERYTHING MADE SENSE. I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t a hypochondriac. I don’t have some mystery disease. I wasn’t half-assing all my attempts at healthy living. I just have an unhealthy gut. Oh, the sleepless nights and wasted time I could have saved had I known.

What the hell is it?

Basically its all about the ‘Gut Flora’. If we are thinking of it in terms of gardens, Candida is the weed (a pathogen / bacteria) that exists within our guts and is kept at a healthy level by our guts diligent little gardeners (the microorganisms). The problem comes when there is an imbalance in your microorganisms: similar to weeds, the Candida multiplies and basically pollutes your gut. It pollutes your gut by releasing by-products (like uric acid and neurotoxins) that can then cause a host of nasty symptoms (such as the ones that I listed above).

How do you get it?

It has been estimated that up to 70% of people have Candida in their guts and that is not always a problem, unless there is an imbalance. Here are the three common causes of an imbalance;

  1. A course of antibiotics
  2. Eating a high-sugar diet 
  3. A long period of stress

I traced back to when I first felt unwell and saw a surge of these symptoms and it makes a lot of sense. 2006 I was a uni student living off a fairly poor diet that included an excessive amount of alcohol (aka sugar) and my dad had just been diagnosed with cancer (cue long period of stress). There was definitely a course or two of antibiotics in there as well. Then my body seemed to magically correct itself until 2010. A course of antibiotics, a very financially stressed time and (again) a diet that included an excessive amount of alcohol/sugar. 

By the time I was starting to put these pieces of the puzzle together I was virtually crying tears of relief. 

What next?

Since diagnosing the problem has taken so many years surely this solution of a couple of months should be simple. Surely. Simple? Yes. Easy? No! It is going to take an awful lot of drive – but that I have! Basically Candida feeds off sugar and so I have to completely starve it.

Step 1. Cleanse

The first week is the most restrictive and consists of a strict diet of organic vegetables only. Absolutely no sweet, starchy vegetables like beetroots (beets), carrots, pumpkin (yams) or sweet potato (kumara). In the initial phase I need to allow the body to kill off as much of the candida as possible and support the liver while it does the hard work. Luckily select herbs, spices and oils are permitted as is steaming and grilling. Phewph.

Step 2. The Diet 

After this initial cleanse other foods are allowed to be introduced. The emphasis is on the word organic. Conventional produce is treated with all sorts of chemicals and farmed animals (including fish) are dosed up with antibiotics. We do not want any more of that in there! So in this stage you can add to the above mentioned vegetables;

  • organic unprocessed meats (except pork)
  • probiotic yoghurt
  • kefir
  • some wild fish (herring, anchovies, salmon, sardines)
  • gluten-free grains (millet, oat-bran, quinoa, rice)
  • herbal teas (except green)

Basically I can eat anything on this list. 

Yes you are correct in noticing a complete omission of all fruit. No honey either. And safe to say Dry July will be extending into September. If you are interested, here is a list of the foods to avoid

On top of just eating those foods I also need to eat a diet that is heavy on probiotics and anitfungals. To give you a few ideas;

Probiotic Foods

  • Probiotic Yoghurt
  • Kefir
  • Fermented vegetables (raw, unpasteurized saukraut, kim chi)
  • Prebiotics (like chicory root tea)

Natural Antifungal Treatments

  • Aloe Vera
  • Black Walnut
  • Caprylic Acid
  • Cloves
  • Coconut Oil 
  • Garlic
  • Goldenseal
  • Grapefruit Seed
  • Olive Leaf Extract
  • Oregano Oil
  • Oregon Grape
  • Pantethine
  • Pau d’Arco

Besides the simple grocery store heroes (cloves, garlic and coconut oil) you can find a lot of the listed items at good health food stores; most commonly Aloe Vera, Olive Leaf Extract and Grapefruit Seed. 

Relief

While Candida Overgrowth is a fairly icky diagnosis to receive – images of a garden in my belly wig me out -I am over the moon about it. Knowledge is power and while I know that I am going to have a hard slog ahead for the next few months I also know the pay-off is going to be so unbelievably worth it. 

So wish me luck on this quest! I cannot wait to update you with my progress as I move through it and I am beyond excited to reveal the new improved Em. What a bloody relief! 

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Did any of this ring a bell for you? Do you think this could also be a piece in your puzzle? Would love to hear about it in the comments.

The Best Break-Up I Ever Had

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Have you ever had a relationship that has sucked you completely dry? Left you feeling tired and worthless… heavy? The person hurts you time after time yet you find yourself back in their company so often.  You don’t know if you are a sucker for punishment or whether you are just trying to prove them wrong… you just know they are there. Magnetic aren’t they? For the past few years I have been in one of those relationships and on Sunday I got sick of it and left. There was no anger. There were no dinner plates being thrown. No clothes gracefully floating out of the third floor window. No swearing. No crying.

I simply said goodbye and watched her disappear.

I broke up with myself.

The old me.

The me that was holding onto my coat-tails. That was planting seeds of doubt. That was making me give up on my dreams. Sabotaging myself. Talking shit behind my own back. Resenting myself.

The writing has been on the wall for a long time and I finally listened and decided that I deserve better. I want more. I need more.

To say this realisation has been eye-opening would be an understatement. This for me has been an earth-shattering epiphany that all started with Dry July. From 1st through to 6th July I drank every day. I drank even when (if I had listened to my body not my brain) I didn’t want to. At first I found it funny in a tragic kind of way, until it dawned on me that I was in a toxic relationship. The kind I would be whisking my best friend out of in a jiffy. Every step towards greatness I took, my ego undermined.

“You can’t stop drinking – it’s how you relax.

You can’t stop drinking – it’s such a huge part of your personality.

You can’t stop drinking – you aren’t confident when you are sober.”

All bullshit. My own ego was trying to dull my sparkle because she wasn’t ready to let me soar. She was trying to guilt me into staying behind with her, on her level. Comfortable in mediocrity.

But enough is enough. And just like that… I was free. Are you ready to free yourself? Yes you are…

Say it out loud

Have you ever had reservations about a relationship that you have purposefully kept to yourself? You don’t want to voice them to your friends because you know once you say it, it’s real. It’s called accountability – and good friends will hold you accountable for the way you treat and are treated. Step up and be a good friend to yourself. Are you constantly making the same mistake? Are you not living bravely? Are you undermining your greatness?

Acknowledge it. You are in control of every decision you have ever made. Nothing changes until you change. Everything changes once you change.

Tell them it’s over

The hardest part; time to tell them it’s over. And luckily in this particular break-up a letter is totally acceptable! Like most break-ups mine started sheepishly. I wasn’t saying the whole truth but then as I kept talking the words start to flow out of me. I finally got real about all those mistakes I’d made, the bad judgements and the times I let myself down. I was brutally honest. It’s not you, it’s me.

Write yourself a break-up letter. Get out everything you need to. The anger, sadness and regret. Read it a couple of times… you are about to say goodbye. Get clear on why.

Remove the reminders

You may be feeling a little tender at this stage. You are out on your own and in control of your own destiny and it may be tempting to relapse into that negative little comfort zone. You need to ‘ex’ proof your house and remove those reminders that could make you relapse. For me this meant taking the bottles of wine off the fridge. Putting the wine glasses in a different cupboard than the one that I keep my mugs in. Throwing out my sloppy clothes; the ones that are so nice to hide in. Replacing photos.

Remove the visual cues. Vision boards work because they provide a constant reminder of who you want to be. So everything that is in your home is providing a constant subconscious reminder of who you are. If you have realised the two don’t match up – then change it!

Remain dignified

If you do bump into your ex, keep your dignity. You may argue, you may relapse, you may cry or ignore them or whatever. Saying goodbye can be difficult and as long as you stay focused then don’t beat yourself up for the bumps along the way. I am not embarrassed at the fact I ‘failed’ for the first six days of Dry July. If I hadn’t then I wouldn’t have had this giant light bulb explode above my head and illuminate the world!

Keep trying. Keep failing. I promise that the good stuff is just around the corner.

Trust the process.

Welcome your new life with open arms

You are free! It can be so easy to lament what you are missing rather than celebrate all that you are gaining. Change your focus. Last night – the first of my new sober relationship – instead of having lids weighed down by shiraz I was buzzed: making business plans, chatting to amazing inspiring future collaborators, signing up to my local gym, buying tickets to wellness events and studying. This was what I had been drinking to suppress? I thought I was stilling my mind but I wasn’t… I was dulling it. Now that I know what I have been missing I am so damn excited. Tasted so much better than even my most favorite Semillon Sauvignon.

Remind yourself every day what you are gaining. Make a vision board and meditate on it daily. Start every morning with an affirmation. Every day encourage yourself to keep going.

Strut.

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Do you need to sit yourself down and have “the chat”? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Or maybe you have a friend that seriously needs to break-up with themselves – why not give them the nudge by SHARING this post.

Wellness Women We Love: Therese Kerr – KORA Organics

Therese EH ambassador

When you hear the words ‘Kerr’ and ‘KORA’ together your mind probably jumps straight to images of radiant health, organic living and (in the words of Zoolander) really, really ridiculously good-looking people. And whether you are talking about the face and Owner of KORA – Supermodel Miranda Kerr – or her mother and Former General Manager of the company, Therese, you would be correct.

Therese was given a life-or-death ultimatum that forced her to evaluate the everyday decisions in her life and change path to a life focused on nutrition and wellness. Therese now lives a spiritual existence that is deeply rooted in positive psychology, organic produce and connection with nature. Her enthusiasm for spreading the good word is contagious and inspiring and I am sure her upcoming literary debut will be testament to that. Her website www.theresekerr.com is a daily dose of clean-living for the body, mind and soul.

I am beyond delighted to present the utterly gorgeous Therese Kerr…

Thank you for walking onto this virtual stage! Now if you were walking onstage in real life what tune would you have playing as your theme song?

Hmmm…. Brendan James:  “All I can see”. I love this song, it starts with: “I want to walk through this doorway, I want to open my mind, I want to pledge my allegiance to all I can find, I want a car that will crash through the barriers to a road no-one knows, I want to feel less controlled, want to bend and I want to land far from home………”

It goes on to say: …… “So if I cannot learn to journey and return, to never rest til I see all I can see…..

I want to learn a completely new language, one I don’t understand,  I want to help someone lost, someone helpless, with the strength of my hand (that’s my favourite bit) …. And feel their hope in my tears

What motivated you to take the first step on your wellness journey?

The turning point in my life was when I lost my spleen due to tumours. I always thought I was healthy but I never truly understood the impact of applying chemical-laden products to my skin or eating non-certified or market-fresh produce. I also never truly understood the impact of stress or suppressed emotions on the human body – I now do. Having tumours in my spleen inspired me to truly look at my  life in every aspect, to question my life in the fullest detail, to look at why I behaved in the manner I did (pain in the neck over-rated achiever) and to transform so many areas of my life. Things happen to us in our past and I share a lot of my story in my new soon-to-be-released book “Live, loving you – living from the heart”.

The challenge is that we make those things “mean” something about us. As human beings, we are “meaning making machines” and unfortunately we live into the story we create and our story becomes our reality and most of the time the “story” is so just that “a story”.  My mum died when I was 17 and pregnant with Miranda. When mum died I created a “story” that firstly because I fell pregnant in the first place I was an embarrassment to her and secondly that I would prove to her that I could be anything she had hoped I could be. Basically, when mum died all I wanted was to make her proud of me.  So for twenty odd years, I worked my backside off, always striving to be the best I could be with an attitude that I could do anything but I never understood, until I did a lot of work on myself, why I was so driven. You see, the story became my reality. The truth is mum died and she would have been proud of me anyway.

I have done so much work on myself over the past twelve to thirteen years.  I am not the same person I was and I will continue to evolve in every minute to hopefully always be a better version of me.  I have true power in my life over my past, I have a calm and a peace within me that I never thought was possible, even when difficult things happen, I am still at peace and know that it is all part of the bigger picture of my life and whatever happens, happens because there is a lesson to be learned and an opportunity for growth on a persona level.

I am blessed to live a life I love, because I choose to live a life I love and create my “being” every day.  After all, we are human beings, not human doings and by choosing our “being” we get to say how life goes moment by moment and that is such a blessing.

Further, health happens by choice, not by accident. We cannot live in today’s society and expect health to fall in our lap, that won’t happen. With the highly refined, highly processed, high sugar-content foods that most people fill their body with, and that coupled with the amount of chemicals, preservatives, colourings, etc that traditional food and personal care products contain, our bodies are basically working over time just to survive, let alone prosper. Just about everyone’s liver is so taxed at trying to rid their body of toxins that it can’t perform vital roles like breaking down fat and chemicals, toxins etc in our body effect all of our organs and every part of us.

Personally, I want to be around for a long time, but I only want to be around for a long time if I am healthy and enjoying life. I am 48, my mum died of a heart attack as a result of over work, stress and possibly genetics at the age of 50. I want to be around and be vibrant, lit up and alive by life. I have been told that our cells have the ability to live to an average age of 122, yet how many people live anywhere near that?

Simply “choosing health” even when you have a super active, busy life is the answer. I am committed to my health (mind, body and spirit) and I am further committed to continually gaining and then sharing knowledge – the purpose of my website is to do just that – share information such that people can take from the information, anything that serves, leave behind what doesn’t and in the process, hopefully, leave with the ability to at least make informed choices for their own personal health and the health of their family.  I intend to be a vibrant, spontaneous great great grandmother.

What do you do every morning to set up your day for success?

Give my husband a kiss, and my dog a cuddle

Meditate for anywhere between 20- 50 mins depending on my day

Post my instagram affirmation or positive post to the world.

Complete my gratitude journal and thank the universe for everything

Make a “Juic-thie” (a combination between a juice and a smoothie – my own made up name – recipe is on www.theresekerr.com)

There are so many nutritional untruths floating around out there. What is your favourite myth to debunk?

That’s easy:  “There is no difference between certified organic fruit, vegetables, foods and products compared to general products” – crazy!!! There is a huge difference and the only way to know is to change over and discover this for yourself.

It is said that the average woman applies between 200-500 chemicals a day to her skin and we wonder why we have hormone and health problems. What we put on our skin, soaks in so don’t put on your skin what you would not put in your body – consume only certified organic food and apply only certified organic products to your body, it is really that simple.  Take a look at Dr Libby Weaver’s posts on my website for the impact of chemicals in skin and personal care products on the reproductive organs.

How do you handle your dietary non-negotiables when you are invited over or out for dinner? 

Like Miranda, I believe in the 80/20 rule but in saying that anyone who invites me to dinner knows me well enough, (or I make sure they do) to know that I prefer to eat only certified organic foods when possible.

If you had to cook one meal to impress a tough crowd of unhealthy eaters, what would it be? 

Well, most unhealthy eaters love sugar and sugar is so addictive – the more you have, the more your body craves so the sooner you can get away from sugar, the better.  I would make “Jen’s scrumptious Pear Cake” (from my co-authored book: Lunchbox Solutions which can be found here – that is the full interactive I-pad version, there are other version, I.e. A light interactive version without the videos or there is a pdf version that can be opened on a computer if you don’t have an iPad. It is  interesting to note that some of our chapters are #1 downloaded worldwide on iTunes in various categories which is very exciting and we have been receiving constant wonderful testimonials from people using and loving our book – so simple and so user friendly).

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Do you have any natural products/alternative therapies that you cannot live without? 

Plenty….

1)             Coconut Oil – it is a MCA (medium chain fatty acid and converts to energy in the body as opposed to converting to fat, reportedly assists with prevention of Alzheimer’s, boost the metabolism, is great for purging – I.e. Removing toxins from the mouth, is the only safe oil to use when cooking as it has a high heat tolerance… and the list goes on)

2)            KORA Organics Certified Organic skincare – it is amazing and as the ex General Manager of KORA Organics I saw so many great testimonials with our products. KORA is only skincare, but I am bringing out my own range of Certified Organic Haircare and personal care products soon. The product range will consist of the following:

  • Shampoo, Conditioner and Certified Organic Argan Oil Blend
  • Deodorant
  • Tooth Mousse
  • Moisturising Hand Soap
  • Moisturising Hand Lotion
  • Sanitising Hand Gel (Hand Sanitiser)

How do you ‘zen-ify’ your home?

Every morning I “play” my Tibetan singing bowl and carry the intent for the new day from my mediation and create the energy for my home.

I light incense on the odd occasion and sometimes burn sage to clear any energy.  I have my blinds up so as to let natural light in and I play music a lot of the time. I personally very rarely watch TV so that energy is not in the house at all until sometimes in the evening when my husband comes home from work and watches the same.

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What is your favourite imperfection about yourself and why?

I have several keyhole scars on my belly where I had to have my spleen removed. These scars remind me of the journey I have undergone from having first had tumours to now. Having had tumours in my spleen was a blessing to my life. I would not be who I am but for that experience and I would not have made health my life if that had not happened. I am so fit and healthy now, I honestly feel like I am 20 years young! I recently did an Ayurvedic Retreat at Sukhavati Retreat and Spa in Bali (one of the most amazing experiences of my life – the treatments were world class and the Balinese people have a grace, in my opinion, that is unmatched by any other culture) and the Ayurvedic Doctor could not believe that my Dosha’s were perfectly in balance and my pulse was perfect – so I must be doing something right.  Stay tuned as I am bringing out health and wellness programs to share everything I do in relation to wellness with the world.

What is one question that everyone should ask themselves?

What is my health worth to me?

You see, I believe everyone and I mean everyone should use certified organic products on their skin and use certified organic personal care products and should also eat certified organic food.  I also believe people eat far too much and we recommend buying your certified organic produce from a farmers market and eating less  don’t eat until you are over full, that is a mistake we make, eat until you feel just comfortable (note: all of the farmers markets in Australia are shown on my website under “Wellness Directory” http://theresekerr.com/market-directory/ )

If you swap to certified organic I believe you will reap the rewards and your body will thank you, I see it every day

What is the most important decision you make to ensure you are a conscious consumer?

Buying certified organic. Certified Organic not only benefits you, it also benefits the planet. I buy certified organic for two reasons:

  1. healthier for my body
  2. Certified Organic products including skincare and personal care products, fruit, vege’s etc are free from pesticides, insecticides, TEA’s, DEA’s, Glycols, Parabens, Synthetic and Artificial ingredients, Sulfates, Ethoxylates, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde derivatives – just to name a few/

Don’t be fooled into thinking “Organic” is the same as “Certified Organic” – there is a huge misrepresentation around the world in relation to the use of the word “Organic”. Only Certified Organic products are the ones that don’t contain all of the nasties. Certified Organic has to contain the wording” “Certified Organic” and have to have the name of the certifying body somewhere on the packaging plus in most cases the logo of the certifying body.  Do your research and know that companies can say a product “Contains” Certified Organic ingredients or can say: “Containing Certified Organic Ingredients” but the product, because it is not certified will more likely than not still contain chemicals – the only real exception being if the company hasn’t been able to afford to certify their products, but if that happens, who is the governing body ensuring what the company is saying is correct? There is a big difference between “Organic” and Certified Organic and we only recommend “Certified Organic”, not just “Organic” and/or “Natural ingredients”.

Pretend this is your mountain… what message do you shout to the world?

Let your little light shine. Stop trying to be everything you think other people want you to be and just be the magic of you.  You are a unique and incredible gift to the world, go out and be just that. Let go of limiting beliefs (they aren’t real anyway) and go make a difference to the world.

http://ThereseKerr.com/utopia-womens-wellness-event/  Jessica Ainscough Ashy Bines and Tara Diversi.

Can’t get enough of Therese? Of course not! Find her here…

Twitter: @Therese_Kerr
Instagram: @theresekerr

Wellness Women We Love: Jessica Ainscough – The Wellness Warrior

The world is simply abounding with amazing, wonderful women that are doing so much good! So from now on every Wednesday** I will be interviewing an amazing woman that is sending some serious good juju into our world… because goddamn they should be celebrated!

For anyone who has read this blog for a while you would be aware that there is one woman in particular who inspires my life…

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Jessica Ainscough. The Wellness Warrior. Blogger. Health Coach Extraordinaire. Public Speaker. Author. #girlcrush.

She is a bonafide superstar in the health and wellness world and is doing a damn fine job at spreading the message that our bodies can heal themselves. Jess kicked cancers ass via natural therapies, positive psychology and basically just simplifying her life (less stress, getting back to nature).

She also changes my life on a daily basis through her Lifestyle Transformation Guide. I am part of her tribe and while I continue to work through her program I am constantly bolstered by encouraging emails from her, answers to my silly questions and an awesome community to boot. She gave me to tools to get myself healthy. She inspired me to take the step that found me on this path… going in a direction I am finally happy with.

Basically I am unbelievably honoured to have Jessica Ainscough as my inaugural Wellness Women We Love.

Bucket list item… tick.

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Thank you for walking onto this virtual stage! Now if you were walking on-stage in real life what tune would you have playing as your theme song?

Dark Fantasy by Kanye West.

What motivated you to take the first step on your wellness journey?

A double kick up the butt from the universe! I was leading a lifestyle that was a tonne of fun, but not good for me in any way. I was working long hours, eating food that came from a microwave, and drinking like a fish four nights a week. When I was 22, my body gave me a huge ultimatum in the form of a terminal cancer diagnosis. With no conventional treatment options available, I had to radically change my lifestyle and commit 100% to healing myself.

What do you do every morning to set up your day for success?

I start my day with a walk up Mt Coolum or a walk by the beach, followed by oil pulling, dry body brushing, and meditation. I finish up my meditation with this mantra: ‘Always speak your truth, always follow your intuitive, always act with love and kindness.’ Then I pick an Angel card to find out what my angels want me to know for the day.

There are so many nutritional untruths floating around out there. What is your favourite myth to debunk?

That being healthy is boring and bland. It’s the most fun thing ever!! Those of us over here on the clean side feel like we’ve been let in on a big secret. I love seeing people’s faces when they taste the food that I eat on a daily basis. Most of the world has no idea about raw desserts, natural sweeteners, the fact that you can make milk and cheese from nuts, and that green smoothies taste incredible.

How do you handle your dietary non-negotiables when you are invited over/out for dinner?

Unless I’m going somewhere that will serve me organic food, I take my own. I pack an esky full of yummy home-made food so that I don’t feel deprived while I watch others eat. I even went to a Thai restaurant recently and took my own coconut curry. I just always call ahead first to make sure it’s okay.

If you had to cook one meal to impress a tough crowd of unhealthy eaters, what would it be?

I would probably make healthy Mexican – spiced beans, guacamole, cashew sour cream, homemade chilli sauce, lots of fresh salads and potatoes cooked in coconut oil and spices. Then for dessert, it would either be raw chocolate brownies or a raw avocado-lime cheesecake.

Do you have any natural products/alternative therapies that you cannot live without?

Coconut oil! I use it for everything – cooking, moisturising, hair mask, make-up remover, sunscreen …

How do you ‘zen-ify’ your home?

First, I make sure my home is always flooded with natural light and air. I have doors and windows open all day. I also have house plants displayed around the place to add to my air quality. I have so many Himalayan salt lamps in my home that the place glows orange at night. These guys neutralise positive ions by emitting negative ones, to create a healthier space (particularly good around electrical items). Plus, I have an oil diffuser going most of the day spitting out beautiful essential oils in scents like peppermint or lavender.

What is your favourite imperfection about yourself and why?

I’m very loud. People are always telling me to use my indoor voice, but I don’t have one. I’m not sure why I like this. It used to be embarrassing, but now I just think it’s funny.

What is one question that everyone should ask themselves?

Am I experiencing joy on a regular basis?

What is the most important decision you make to ensure you are a conscious consumer?

Always buy, eat, apply and clean with 100% natural and certified organic foods and products.

Pretend this is your mountain… what message do you shout to the world?

Be kind to yourself. Do what makes you happy. Eat real food. Drink green juice.
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Find Jess

Twitter – @jessainscough
Instagram – @jessainscough
**Editors Note: I am aware it is Thursday but I had major technical issues yesterday. In future WWWL will be every Wednesday. Damn interwebs!

IWD 2013 – Wonderful Wellness Women!

Happy International Women’s Day! To tell you the truth I never really got on the whole IWD train… practically every day of the year is ‘Something Day’ and I just thought they were created willy nilly. But I looked into it and found out that IWD has actually been around since 1910, is on the agenda at the UN and is an official holiday in a whole range of countries (including Afghanistan which surprised me). So according to our trusty Wikipedia International Women’s Day is;

A celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women.
A celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements.

That is something I can totally get on board with! And I’ve decided that in keeping with this blog I wanted to share with you 5 of my wellness heroes. When you have special women inspiring and motivating you they need to be shared…

My Mum

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Having become a mum recently myself the love and respect I have for my mum transcended to a whole new level. Mind you, I was also hit with a massive pang of guilt (see years 16 through 21). Back to my mum though, she has been a career mum (and a damn good one at that) and has devoted her life to me and my brother.

Recently, she stepped right out of her comfort zone and embarked on a career of her own (a reasonably scary one involving needles!) and despite some jitters about getting back into the workforce is doing amazingly! She has also assured me for as long as I can remember that the only time I will ever see her running is if a mass murderer is on her tail. Which is why it is particularly impressive that she has recently purchased a treadmill and is training herself on it every morning. She has decided to take her health seriously and is making some major changes accordingly. My mum has always been impressive but seeing her face some pretty major fears has been ultra motivational as well as incredibly satisfying.

I am so proud of you Mother Goose!

Dads pretty awesome too but it isn't International Man's Day!photo courtesy of White Tulip Photography

Dads pretty awesome too but it isn’t International Man’s Day!
photo courtesy of White Tulip Photography

Jessica Ainscough: Wellness Warrior (Surprise, surprise)

Photo courtesy of www.wellnesswarrior.com.au

Stuck record much? I can’t sing this girls praises enough. Jessica is a gorgeous young lady who survived a pretty grim cancer prognosis through a natural therapy that focuses on the unlimited potential of our bodies, and their abilities to heal themselves. Since this she has gone on to create The Wellness Warrior website (check it out here) which has achieved a cult like following from people around the world (including moi!).

She has also created the Lifestyle Transformation Guide (see that here) which I was lucky enough to win a scholarship to! This scholarship is slowly but surely leading me towards the life I have always wanted – where I am well, calm and following my dreams with a bit of self love thrown in there too! I will talk more about my journey on Monday… but imagine knowing that you are giving countless numbers of people the key to living life the way they were always meant to. That deserves a round of applause I reckon.

P.s. If you are living in Sydney, Jessica is going on tour with Earth Events and will be speaking with 3 other amazing girls (Amanda Rootsey, Tara Bliss and Mellissa Ambrosini) on Self Love and Sisterhood. I am so jealous it’s not coming to the west coast but if you are in the position to go, get your ticket here

Vegan Sparkles

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I dare you to read Bex blog without smiling… c’mon… just look at that face! Not only does she create absolutely delicious food but each post is full of health, happiness and (most importantly) sparkles. While some vegan sites can lean towards dogma, Miss Sparkles is a breath of fresh air who just inspires with her contagiously happy personality and her insanely delicious recipes. And the best is yet to come as she is currently studying at the Institute of Intergrative Nutrition. She also happens to now be a friend of mine and we are hoping to collaborate on some exciting projects this year.

You don’t have to be vegan (I’m not) to love Bex food! Some staples that now reside in my culinary repertoire include this AMAZING healthy, Mint Choc Chip Smoothie (see it here), the Good For Everything Tea (here) and this Quinoa and Mushroom Gravy Shepherds Pie (here). WOW. Must stop dribbling on the keyboard!

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Tara Bliss: Such Different Skies

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As a renowned (actually… maybe infamous) champagne guzzler, Tara is providing me so much inspiration to change my nasty habit. I have virtually conquered all the demons (sugar, grains, caffeine, dairy) but I still find myself very much craving my Friday night wine. Tara herself is a reformed party girl and she is trying to spread the word that has brought her so much peace. She motivates me with awesome blog posts that really drive home the fact that you don’t need alcohol to feel calm or have fun. And if you want to go further she has also created the aptly titled online program The Party Girl’s Guide To Peace.

She is also an awesome foodie who is very focused on raw and green too. Check out her awesome recipe that featured on The Wellness Warrior here (bit of cross-pollination never hurt anybody). If you want some sassy, spiritual vibes i really recommend giving this blog a read! (see Such Different Skies here).

Jodi Duval: Revital Health

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Another Perth local! Jodi is a Naturopath with a list of qualifications as long as your arm included Natural Science, Hypnobirthing and even Colonic Hydro Therapy. She is also a raw chef and raw chocolate entrepreneur and is one of the four co-founders of Revital Health – a team of holistic health coaches. (You can read about all of them here).

Jodi (and the wider Revital team) have a Facebook page (here) which provides me constant inspiration for raw food and general health inspiration and is well worth a look if you are dipping your feet into the world of raw as I am! She also helps run affordable workshops like this upcoming event which i hope to attend (and give you all feedback afterwards). The world needs more people that are helping to inspire and guide them to be the healthiest versions of themselves.

Do you have any wonderful wellness women inspiring you?

Add your thoughts here… (optional)

Olive on Blonde

Well, D-day is here! Today is the first day of December which means, Christmas is coming. Ah, Christmas! That magical time where we are encouraged to be frivolous with cash, credit cards and environmental consideration. Wait? No? That’s not right? Last I checked Christmas was about spending quality time with your family but a whole heap of department stores have me convinced that I am wrong. It is not about spending time at all, it is about spending money – and lots of it! On crap that wastes natural resources, is unfairly produced and is wrapped in a whole heap of packaging!

But it doesn’t have to be this way…

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