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.

TK post

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

My Journey Continues to Detoxville

Just in case you have missed my last 5 million posts, tweets or instagram pics … I am on a massive journey of personal transformation.  God that sounds wanky… but it’s true! I said I will always be honest and transparent on my blog and I meant it! For some background on my journey so far see my last post here but in short I am renovating my life and removing everything I don’t need: bad food, thoughts, people and practices. If it doesn’t serve me well I don’t want it in my life. It feels so good to finally be walking my talk. It has been (and continues to be) surprising, confronting, empowering, consuming and energising. There have been setbacks and touchdowns. In fact this past fortnight I have hit my fair share of speed bumps…

What the pHuck?

What the pHuck?

I have been eating around 80% organic. I have been drinking plenty of water. I have been moving my body. I have been eating a largely plant-based diet. No grains. So I bought myself some pH sticks** and was not-so-quietly confident about the bright purple result I was about to witness.  You should have seen me approaching the counter – I had swagger (which is particularly impressive considering I was pushing a pram). So, imagine my surprise when my pH reading came up as fairly bright orange 5.5. How on earth was I so acidic? Where could I have gone wrong? I have been a saint, dangnammit!!! Or had I?

** I spoke about pH in this post about Wellness and Green Smoothies but to summarise; an acidic body is a breeding ground for illness and disease, the goal is to stay alkaline.

alkaline-acidic

Time to get real

The great thing about paring every part of your soul back is that you tend to reveal some overlooked home truths. Things that you may not have wanted to admit or habits that were so ingrained that you were truly unaware you were even doing them. So I looked hard in the mirror and realised there were some hurdles I needed to hurdle before I see the purple.

Acidic Behavior #1: Stress and Alcohol

The Real Deal: Even though I have been working hard on overcoming my anxiety it still rears its ugly head. If I am going to conquer it I need to pull out all stops and work a bit harder. And while the Cortisol (stress hormone) pulsing through my veins is enough to send me into the red I then self-medicate with a glass of red which is extremely counterproductive.

Action Step: Time to count anxiety butt-kicking as my full time profession and shelf the wine for special occasions only. And no Em… Thursday is not a special occasion.

Acidic Behavior #2: Too Much Superstuff

The Real Deal: I have realised that I a woman of excess. I tend to overload myself in virtually every aspect of my life (which includes the good bits). So when I discover a Superfood I tend to assume the more the better. Not so. Nuts are great… in moderation. Raw treats are fun to make… not every day. Coconuts are great… but it is possible to have a meal without one… put the goddamn coconut down woman!!!

Action Step: I am on the right track… I just need a little fine tuning. I have all the right ingredients I just need to get the proportions right to make this cake rise!

Raw Caramel Slice - NOT a healthy breakfast foodFollow me on Instagram @oliveonblonde

Raw Caramel Slice – NOT a healthy breakfast food
Follow me on Instagram @oliveonblonde

Time For A Cleanse

Master Cleanse goodness!Follow me on Instagram @oliveonblonde

Master Cleanse goodness!
Follow me on Instagram @oliveonblonde

So I decided to approach my life detox differently. I have been slowly removing all the bad elements of my life which is a great introduction to healthy changes but it seems I have stagnated.  Time to splash some cold water on me and kick this thing up a notch. So I have embarked on a juice cleanse. Now this is midday of Day 2 and considering I have so far written a page of semi-lucid thoughts and have not started hallucinating I must be doing alright. Pineapple Zanzibar.

Body

I have created my own tailored detox which is a mishmash of the many I have read about. I have combined ideas from The Blue Print Cleanse (which I heard about from ex-pat blogger Willy B Mum) with the Master Cleanse and a few cheeky recipes from Vegie Head. After I finish the cleanse I will write a whole post about it and include exactly what I did and include the recipes and results. I may even be brave enough to post pictures – Eeep. Well nothing like a bit of pressure to motivate you.

Even hubby is getting in on the cleanse action. What an easy packed lunch!Follow me on Instagram @oliveonblonde

Even hubby is getting in on the cleanse action. What an easy packed lunch!
Follow me on Instagram @oliveonblonde

Mind

On top of the juice cleanse I am also mentally detoxing… considering this is a large contributor to my acidic reading. I have started myself on a magnesium supplement as well as taking Australian Bushflower Essences morning and night. I am halfway through the Oprah and Deepak Chopra 21-day Meditation Challenge and my goodness is this making a difference! Throw in the good bits like journalling, sleeping,Vitamin D and letting my feet touch the ocean every day.

Action Steps

So while my post at the end of this will be more detailed this is what I am doing to cleanse myself…

  • 3 days of 70% juice then 7 days of 100% juice
  • Oil pulling every morning
  • Dry brushing every morning
  • Apple Cider Vinegar every morning
  • Australia Bush Flower Essences and Magnesium Supplement every night
  • Regular exercise and sunshine
  • More sleep (if my 4 month old little goose allows!)
  • No alcohol!

Oh yeah… and I got rid of my microwave!!!

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A Final Word

When I have told a few of my loved ones that I am doing a juice cleanse they had a bit of a chuckle at me. They mentioned that I have just about tried everything health fad under the sun and getting rid of my microwave is proof that I am insane! I think it was meant as a snipe but surely there can’t be a better compliment? It shows that instead of accepting a body and mind that I am unhappy with, I will never stop working towards my perfect self. People always say that you should never quit but then sometimes when you put that into practice you are met with skepticism. I say that as long as you never quit quitting you are on the right track. As long as you never stop striving to be the best person you can then you are always improving. Even if every day I only move one step forward it is better than just standing still.

So if you are one of those people too – that is working towards that ultimate goal and trying everything that you can… bloody good on ya! I think you are amazing.

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Sustainability and Health – Learning’s from Perth Green Drinks

On Wednesday (24 August) I attended my first Perth Green Drinks event to watch three panellists discuss a topic of great interest and concern: “Sustainability and Health”. The Green Drinks crew lived up to their mantra ‘conversation, education and community’ and the speakers were fabulous and SO informed – so then, why did I walk away feeling so damn frustrated?

On the way home my husband and I realised why: it was because the solutions that the experts provided for opting out of the chemical maze were not quick fixes. It seems I am another victim of the ‘quick convenient trap’. We are smack bang in the middle of a very sticky web and sadly ‘just look for this little symbol’ doesn’t cut it anymore. Sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Like a light switch going off, I felt empowered again.  This is why I want to share the information with you so that if it concerns you as well you can take the necessary steps to leading a toxic free life.

Who, What, Why

The event flyer pointed at the ever increasing links of ‘convenience chemicals’ and the ever declining health of the environment and those that inhabit it. Allotted 10 minutes each the three experts were (drum roll please)…

Jane Bremmer – an environmental health and justice activist. Chair of the Alliance for a Clean Environment and secretary for the National Toxics Network (Australia’s peak toxic and pollution reduction NGO).

Dr. George Crisp – a GP who is WA’s chair of Doctors for the Environment Australia, a voluntary group interested in the relationship between human health and environmental damage.

Dianne Caine –On her crusade to help her daughter survive an inoperable brain tumour, Dianne was alarmed at the level of harmful chemicals in popular products that we use every day. She consequently went on to create her own very successful product range Always Purer.

After they spoke there was a short Q&A session which bubbled over into drinks and nibbles (not very vegetarian/vegan friendly I am afraid). It was a fantastic event and I only have one major gripe: the speakers were all given a plastic bottle of water! Not only is this one of the easiest steps one can take towards being a bit greener but when we are discussing chemicals in products (including BPA in plastic bottles) I found it a very bizarre choice. This being said that is a nitpick (i just found it odd). If you have a chance to get to one of these events make sure you go. The information I have learnt is invaluable (see their Facebook page here).

Here Is What I Learnt…

Where/When Are We Exposed To These Chemicals?

  • Food –pesticides used in agriculture, chemical additives used in production
  • Personal Care products
  • Consumer Goods
  • Environmental exposure (there is no legal requirement to put any signage in a public urban area that is being sprayed with potentially dangerous agricultural chemicals)
  • Medicine

An Overview of Chemical ‘Regulation’ in Australia

The chemical regulation in Australia is complex and fragmented and – let’s face it – a bit of a joke! In fact, chemical regulation in Australia and New Zealand is considered amongst the worst in the world. We have a host of government bodies dedicated to the regulation of them yet when we look at the AICS – the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances – we see that there are a whopping 38,000 chemicals that have not been assessed.

A huge amount of chemicals that we are readily using in Australia are completely banned elsewhere. One example is Dimethyl Fumarate, a mould prevention chemical (fungicide) commonly found in shoes, jackets and furniture. Banned in EU, Used unhesitatingly in Australia.

Who Regulates Chemicals in Australia

The (self-regulated) government bodies that are responsible for the assessment and registration of chemicals within Australia and NZ are as follows;

  • NICNAS (National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme).
  • APVMA (Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority) – The rightly infamous Monsanto lists them under their ‘Who Are We’ section… just sayin.
  • TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration)
  • FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand)

Luckily, those organisations (ACE and NTN) that Jane is involved in are working towards better accountability, public knowledge and regulation for Australia.

Stockholm Convention and POPs

My completely unscientific interpretation of a POP (Persistent Organic Pollutants) is this: a chemical that once created does not ever leave the planet, once ingested never leaves the body. It is rarely naturally occurring more commonly a huge by-product of industry: a Frankenstein. Because these POPs do not breakdown they accumulate in our environment and bodies and are major area of concern in terms of global warming and health. The Stockholm Convention  is a global treaty that aims to protect human health and the environment from them.

 3 chemicals you need to get out of your life RIGHT NOW!

Triclosan – is an antibacterial and antifungal chemical that was originally developed for medical settings. It is now used extensively in hand washes and other personal care products and its overuse has exploded since Swine Flu came about. In Australia we currently have no limitations on its use whereas it is completely banned in Canada and EU and limited in USA.

Triclosan is an endocrine disrupter – which basically means it messes with your hormones in a very scary way. A major area of Global Concern is its link to worldwide trends of antibiotic resistance.  It has also been linked to impairing muscle functions (see the study here) at our current level of exposure.

If Triclosan is affecting humans in this way you can only imagine what happens when it hits the aquatic environment which inevitably all products do! It damages ecosystems and the organisms within them, bioaccumulates and then ends up back in the food chain.

Bisphenol A (BPA) – this is the guy that you hear about the most. He is found in plastic containers, water bottles, canned food and drinks and (alarmingly) baby products. Bisphenol A is another endocrine disruptor: it mimics oestrogen and may fool the body by stimulating reactions that are unnecessary and potentially harmful.  In 2010 all the aforementioned government bodies (in conjunction with ACCC) collectively considered the possible risks of BPA and they remain convinced that BPA is safe for the whole population at the very low levels of current exposure. Canada, Japan and parts of Europe and USA obviously disagree and have banned it in all infant products.

Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs or PBDEs) – Jane feels that this is the biggest con of our time. These chemicals apparently contribute to public safety by reducing flammability of products like computers, furnishings and mattresses.  Same issues – hormone disruption, environmental damage, stuck record. Following strong evidence of increasing contamination of the environment, wildlife, and people this POP is soon to be phased out under the Stockholm Convention (see it here with the 8 other chemicals added to the annexes).

Before learning about this I had never seriously thought about how important organic materials and mattresses were. I thought you would invest in them as an environmental decision only -which of course is important too – but it is now very clear that there are strong causes for concern regarding our health. We sleep inhaling the chemicals released from these mattresses as well as wrapping our bare skin within then. I am expecting a baby in November and this has hugely affected my decision towards mattress selection.

What can we do?

The resounding pieces of advice from the panel were;

  • Use chemicals as little as possible
  • Read the label

This is the hard bit…

  • Investigate the companies

Apparently even certified organic ingredients can be manufactured in a way that can damage the ingredient and lead to some sort of chemical contamination. What? So even making all the right choices, supporting all the right companies I am not doing enough? I was getting mad. I make all my own beauty products (like this deodorant) and cleaning products from natural ingredients like Bicarb, vinegar and coconut oils. Surely this is okay? Well this is better but we still need to take a serious look into the companies and processes used in the production of products. For example, in terms of Bicarb soda, truly natural products are mined from the ground and are presented as untreated, pure sodium bicarbonate… the way the earth made it. Others however are heated, treated and processed and are therefore not as great.

I calmed myself down and reasoned with myself. I have figured that it goes back to the primary principle of awareness – educate and investigate. But now there is an added dimension. We all need to read our information as critically as possible and try to avoid green-washing (see here). It frustrates me unbelievably that we need to look this damn hard to verify that natural products are what they say. Why is it that we need to prove that big companies are doing the wrong thing? Surely the big companies should have to prove to us that they are doing the right thing? Oh well.

Sum Up

I am sorry if that was incredibly long, wordy and dry. I try to steer away from articles like that but the information I learnt was so shocking and important that I really felt I needed to share it. I hope it helped!  Would love to hear from you in the comments as always. In the meantime I love the way Annie Leonard explains things.. it is light and bright and always provides solutions. Here is here take on the chemicals in cosmetics…

Wellness and the Perfect Green Smoothie

It would appear that all Area Managers from my different life ‘zones’ have convened and decided on a very different strategy and direction for my body – and that direction is Wellness. Not just wellness but glorious, radiant, toe-tapping, skirt twirling, early rising, hair shining wellness.

It started when I fell pregnant. Suddenly I realised that I actually do have the willpower to eat well I just haven’t had the motivation; namely someone else’s health not just in my hands but in my belly, blood and brain. Then came the life changing event that has been the Plastic Free July challenge. As I mentioned in this previous post, during the challenge I realised that I had been taking my own health for granted and in turn disregarding the planets state by patronising too many supermarkets and too few organic farmers markets. It was time to get serious and by all accounts the first stepping stone towards this brand of vitality is to get familiar with Green Smoothies. But first I will explain why…

Staying Alkaline

For our bodies to function properly we need our internal environment to lean towards the alkaline side of the pH scale rather than the acidic. If our bodies are too acidic they become a breeding ground for loads of diseases including cancer. It also causes exhaustion, premature aging, muscle and joint pain and osteoporosis. To see a full list of ‘acidic’ symptoms see here.

Basically, if ‘Acidity’ was a nightclub within your body then the Who’s Who of unhealthy living would be invited – stress, lack of exercise, alcohol, drugs (both pharmaceutical and recreational) and lifeless, packaged food. To be Alkaline we need to focus on a diet of clean, organic, plant-based foods and live a lifestyle that encourages calm and tranquillity. But you don’t need a science degree to know what to eat! I found this really handy guide for making sure you consume foods that are on the right side of the scale.

If you want to find out what your pH level is then you can get the tests from any Chemist. Here my favourite wellness blogger (The Wellness Warrior, Jess Ainscough) explains how to pee for pH! She also has an amazing post about acidity in relation to cancer here. A must read!

Enter The Dragon(fruit)

What better way to start your day then, than with a huge glass of green to alkalise your body and protect you from illness? As The Wellness Warrior so rightly explains;

“These vegetables act as mini-transfusions for the blood, a health tonic for the brain and immune system and a cleanser of the kidneys”

Here are some additional benefits you will get from your glass of greens;

  • Green leafy vegetables are full of chlorophyll which (molecularly speaking) is very similar to human blood. So when you consume chlorophyll you almost trick your body into producing more haemoglobin which is full of oxygen and therefore great for our cells.
  • Smoothies are full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, proteins, photo-chemicals and health bacteria which build muscles and help your digestion.
  • They taste yummy and are quicker to eat and digest than a massive bowl of spinach (unless you’re Popeye – his skills are mad).
  • A strange discovery that seems to be echoed by other devotees – the more green you have, the more green foods you crave.

Formula for the Perfect Smoothie

There is a simple formula you can follow to make the ultimately balanced smoothie which will maximise the health benefits you receive. This being said though – there is no limit to the amount of flavours and ‘breeds’ of smoothies. If you are more of a recipe inclined individual then I have provided links to some of my favourite recipes too (go straight to next heading, pass go, collect $200).

Recipes

Basic Green Smoothie from Wellness WA– This is a super simple but uber tasty smoothie!

Banana Kiwi and Mango from the amazing Vegan Sparkles– With the added awesome of Spinach!

Raw Cacao Smoothie from Vegan Yack Attack – Chocolate can be a breakfast food!

Wellness WA also has this amazing database with heeeeaps of recipes.

More Recipes – Sign up to The Wellness Warrior and you not only receive this amazing e-book chock-a-block of Green Smoothie Recipes but get updates straight to your email. Click here to sign up.

Happy Blending! I’d love to hear your favorite Green Smoothie Recipe in the comments…

DIY Herbal Facial Toner

Hate to harp on about it… but I hate single-use items. Things like plastic containers and wet-wipes. Things often found in cosmetics. So as I suggested in my DIY Cucumber and Coconut Facial Cleanser, the best place to start if you want to avoid these things is by making your own cosmetics.

I decided to make a herbal toner because my herb pots are going crazy at the moment. My first thought was to head for the mint but after a little research I discovered I was over-looking a herbal superstar in my sage plants.

Health Benefits of Sage

  1. Sage is rich in calcium and vitamin A which are needed for daily cell regeneration. In short it stimulates cell renewal and increases blood circulation which minimise the onset of wrinkles.
  2. Sage is high in Ursolic acid which acts as a natural exfoliant and antiseptic and treats acne, eczema and skin fungus.
  3. Sage has astringent properties which will help clear your skin and make it soft and smooth.
  4. Sage oil also assists in improving skin conditions like athlete’s foot and chapped skin as well as relieving symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.
  5. Because it increases blood circulation it is the perfect weapon for cellulite. Weekly use of sage oil on cellulite affected areas has been shown to reduce it.
  6. The oil is great for brittle and dry hair.
  7. Tastes and feels nice and is a pretty colour.

Ingredients

  • 100 gms fresh sage leaves (or 40grams dried sage)
  • 400 mls boiling water
  • 400 mls Apple Cider Vinegar
Pug and Allen consider the health benefits of sage

Pug and Allen consider the health benefits of sage

Method

  • Place chopped fresh or dried sage leaves in a bowl.
  • Pour boiling water over the leaves.
  • Cover the infusion and allow to steep for 15 minutes.
  • Drain the liquid from the sage leaves and discard the leaves and pour the infusion into a measuring cup.
  • Pour an equal amount of cider vinegar into the measuring cup with the infusion and mix the liquids gently.
  • Pour it into a reused glass bottle and close tightly.

Storage

  • Store your sage facial toner in the refrigerator.
  • This toner will last a long time – a couple of months.

Application

  • Use your sage facial toner after cleansing.
  • Moisten a cloth with the toner and wipe gently over your face
  • Pat your skin with warm water.
If you have sensitive skin and it stings or shows irritation then stop using the toner. However, my husband has very sensitive skin and he was absolutely fine and actually loves the product.
Good luck and if you give it a go let me know! 

Toothpaste – Not So Squeaky Clean

How can something so minty fresh be so sinister? Whenever I picture the great villains of this world they never smell nice. Freddie Kruger, Gollum, Colin Barnett… I just don’t get a peppermint-y vibe from them. Maybe this is how toothpaste snuck into our bathrooms, seemingly unnoticed? It seems so non-threatening. However toothpaste has earned the title of Head Villain in our bathrooms. Why?

Image by Em Ehlers – Old Envelope

Packaging

I have never found toothpaste that has been wrapped without the use of plastic. Whether it is polyethylene coated aluminium or an upright container, whatever way you look at it is an item designed to be thrown away made from a material that is designed to last forever.

About 1 billion toothpaste tubes and dispensers are sent to landfills every year, many of which are recyclable. Though both typically end up in landfills, the average tube of toothpaste produces about 70 percent less waste than a pump dispenser, so is the preferable packaging option.

– Green Your.com

Animal Testing

I am not for shock tactics. I think conning someone into reading an article about DIY toothpaste and then punching them in the face with pictures of rabbits and puppies having chemicals poured into their eyes is not the way to go. But, if you in anyway doubt that this is the reality of the situation – google it. It is happening in cosmetic labs across the world every day and approximately 100 million animals suffer or die from testing and experiments every year. As hard as it is to look at, I think the alternative of looking away is harder.

Image by Emily Ehlers

Health

It is pretty hard to find a scientific study that categorically proves that toothpaste is unhealthy for you. Then again, I trust my common sense far more than a piece of paper handed to me by a scientist being commissioned by a cosmeceautical company. Here are some ingredients you may find written on your standard tube, and some side-effects that I am sure you won’t…

  • Triclosan – registered pesticide
  • Aspartame – Street talk for sweetener. AKA a neurotoxin linked to lupus, Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS): Suspected carcinogen.
  • Methylparaben, Ethylparaben (Parabens) – linked to fertility problems (and hell for the environment)
  • Potassium Nitrate – a water soluble mineral that is toxic to the environment
  • Polyethylene glycol (or PEG) – Suspected carcinogen (especially linked to breast cancer)

And what about the highly contentious Fluoride? Here are some quotes I found…

“A 14oz tube of toothpaste, theoretically at least, contains enough fluoride to kill a small child”

– Proctor and Gamble, “Fluoride the Aging Factor”, Page 14

“In point of fact, fluoride causes more human cancer death, and causes it faster than any other chemical”

– Chief Chemist at the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Dean Burk, Congressional record 21 July 1976

(also a reason you may want to look into a water filter for the home).

Environment

All the aformentioned chemicals are the reasons that it is unhealthy to swallow toothpaste. It is the reason we spit them out and wash them away. But where is away?

wAterWAY

Parabens reak absolute havoc on animal hormones, triclosan (a toxic antibacterial) kills off good bacteria in ecosystems and sodium pyrophosphate contributes to the growth of algae in water which leads to lower oxygen levels that kills marine life and creates deadzones.

Even though you only use a little toothpaste imagine every person in every household sending all those chemicals into our delicate ecosystems with our birds, froggies and fish. Not good.

Image by Emily Ehlers

So what are the options?

There are eco brands around that cancel out some of the issues associated with your standard tube of whitening goo – but rarely all. You will never avoid the packaging but you can at least cancel out animal testing and chemicals.

If you are shopping in an Aussie supermarket the best you will probably find will be Naytura (Woolworth’s brand). It still has loads of nasties in it but is guaranteed cruelty-free at least. Otherwise health stores can provide organic alternatives. While these are better you could always go one further…

Make Your Own!

I learnt how to make my own toothpaste on Saturday at the Less Is More Festival. I am not going back. It is all natural, leaves my teeth feeling and looking amazing, isn’t tested on animals and has virtually no packaging associated with it. And an added benefit… you food doesn’t taste gross after you use it!

Come with me and learn how to make your own toothpaste here!