Monday, 12 December 2016

A few of my favourite healthy dessert recipes for the festive season

Creamy berry chia pudding

This is one of my favourite snacks, breakfasts or even desserts. Its so fresh and creamy and not to mention nutritious. YUM!
Chia is full of so much goodness, being high in omega 3, fiber and many micronutrients. Plus as they swell in your tummy they will keep you full too.
·       1/2 cup chia seeds
·       1 can coconut cream
·       1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries
·       Stevia to taste ( I use 1/2 a pipet of Sweet leaf Vanilla flavoured liquid stevia)
Berry Chia pudding

Blend coconut cream and berries until smooth. Pour into bowl, add in chia seeds and stir until thoroughly mixed through. Add stevia to your liking. I use about 1/2ml of liquid vanilla stevia. You could also just add 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla essence or 1 vanilla bean pod.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Top with fruit and serve :)


Chocolate/ cinnamon truffles

We all love a delicious chocolate truffle, but wouldn’t it be great if they were actually good for us? I made these healthy truffles for my ‘not so healthy’ extended family and there were barely any left. Now I think that’s saying something!

·      1 cup medjool dates
·      1/2 cup almond meal
·      1/2 cup almond butter
·      1/3 cup cocoa powder
·      1/3 cup coconut oil
·      1/2 cup desiccated coconut
·      2 tablespoons chia seeds

Chocolate/ cinnamon coating:
·      2 tablespoons softened coconut oil
·      2 tablespoons cacao powder
·      1 tablespoon maple syrup
·      1 teaspoon cinnamon
Soak dates in warm water while preparing the rest of the mix in a big bowl.
Place almond meal, almond butter, cacao powder, coconut oil, desiccated coconut and chia seeds into a big bowl and mix together. Drain and remove pips from dates. Place dates with ¼ of other ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth, then add the remainder of the ingredients and blend completely.
Roll about 1 tablespoon size pieces of the mixture into balls. Then place them in the fridge to set for half an hour.
While the balls are setting in the fridge combine the coconut oil, cacao powder, maple syrup and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Mix together until smooth.
Once the balls have hardened roll them in the coating until fully covered. Once all the balls are covered sprinkle with extra cinnamon and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour to set.

Chocolate/cinnamon truffles


       Healthy chocolate mousse

This chocolate mousse is very rich so you will only need a small serving. I like serving it in little shot glasses, which looks great for presentation. It also goes great with a side of berries.


·      1 can coconut cream
·      ¾ cup cacao powder
·      ½ cup maple syrup
·      ¼ cup coconut oil
·      Optional extra 1 teaspoon peppermint oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. If you want a choc/mint mousse then add the peppermint oil or some fresh mint leaves. Place in the fridge for 3-6 hours to set. Serve with fresh berries, as an icing on cakes or just eat as a mousse.

Healthy chocolate Mousse

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

My top tips for surviving the silly season

Yes it's hard to believe but it is that time of year again. Whether it be a work Christmas party, Chanukah, Christmas or new years festivities there is always a reason for too much food and drink. If you don’t want to end up with those extra kilos once January hits or can’t stand the aftermath of these festivities but also don’t want to miss out this is the article for you. Have a read of my 5 top tips for getting through this time of year without doing too much damage to your body or waistline.

1.     Hydrate- this is the most important thing I can emphasis e. Dehydration makes you feel hungry so you will eat more, while drinking a glass of water before a big meal means you will feel full quicker. If you are drinking alcohol you need to hydrate so you don’t feel terrible the next day! Alternate one alcoholic drink for one glass of water. This will keep you hydrated while reducing the number of alcoholic drinks you will consume. The body needs extra hydration at time when there is so much sugar and alcohol intake. Keeping hydrated will make sure your body can work properly to detoxify the load placed on our bodies this time of year.
2.     Have a snack before you go out. If you don’t want to over-indulge then don’t turn up for a big meal starving. Having a small healthy snack before you go out means you will not eat as much of the bad stuff when you are out. A few nuts, a smoothie or some yogurt are great snacks to fill your belly a little so you still have space for something yummy but not so much that you will feel ill later. This is one of the best ways to prevent stacking on the kilos this time of year.
3.     Opt for the healthy option. There is always something healthy at the table but our eyes tend to wonder to the unhealthy option. Try making the majority of your meal something healthy with just a small serving of the naughty treat. For example fill your plate up with salad so there is only a small space left for pie or whatever else you love to indulge in. For dessert have fruit with a small piece of cake. If you fill up on the healthy stuff you wont have much space in your tummy for a huge serving of the bad stuff but you also won’t feel like you are missing out.
4.     Have a milk thistle supplement. Milk thistle or St Mary’s thistle is a particular herb that helps the liver detoxify waste. This time of year with all the extra indulgences and drinks it is important to give your liver a helping hand. This will rid your body of all these toxins you are consuming so they are not stored to play havoc at a later date. Milk thistle will reduce bloating and hangovers too. I often recommend taking the supplement daily for the whole month of December with an extra dose on those days of indulgence.
5.     Digestive enzymes. Our body naturally produces enzymes to break down our food. However, sometimes when we overeat our body is not able to produce enough of these enzymes to digest all that we have shoveling into our bellies. That is why after a big meal we often feel bloated, lethargic and unwell. The great thing is that these enzymes are available as a supplement so you can help your body out by taking some digestive enzymes with your meal. This will enable your body to properly break down and digest your big meal so it doesn’t just remain sitting in your gut fermenting. Goodbye overfull, sick feeling :)

But most of all don't forget to enjoy this special time of year xx

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Creamy berry chia pudding

This is one of my favourite snacks, breakfasts or even desserts. Its so fresh and creamy and not to mention nutritious. YUM!

Chia is full of so much goodness, being high in omega 3, fiber and many micronutrients. Plus as they swell in your tummy they will keep you full too.


1/2 cup chia seeds
1 can coconut cream
1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries
Stevia to taste

Blend coconut cream and berries until smooth. Pour into bowl, add in chia seeds and stir until thoroughly mixed through. Add stevia to your liking. I use about 1/2ml of liquid vanilla stevia. You could also just add 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla essence or 1 vanilla bean pod.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Top with fruit and serve :)

Creamy berry chia pudding

Monday, 21 November 2016

No Noodle Pad Thai

This recipe was taken from a book called ‘Green Kitchen Travels’ by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl with a few slight modifications. It is such a fresh dish bursting with flavour and is perfect for a hot summers night. I also love that it is very allergy friendly (except for peanut allergies but I will give you an alternative to peanuts) and so healthy.


2 zucchinis
4 carrots peeled
250g mung bean sprouts
4 spring onions finely sliced
350g organic, GMO-free firm tofu cut into quarters (grilled chicken can be substituted for tofu if you want soy free)
1 large handful coriander chopped
2 tbsp. black sesame seeds
4 slices lime to serve

Peanut sauce
125g peanut butter (tahini paste can be used if you want to go peanut free)
4 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. organic tamari or soy sauce
¼ red chilli chopped fine
2 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp. sesame oil
Approx. 3 tbsp. water to thin

Use a peeler or spiralizer to create noodle from zucchini and carrots. In a large bowl add zucchini and carrot noodles to mung bean sprouts and onions. Add tofu, coriander and sesame seeds. Stir all ingredients together.

In a separate bowl stir all sauce ingredients together. Add extra water if you need to thin more. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and mix thoroughly so the sauce covers all the vegetables.

Place in individual bowls, garnish with sesame seeds, coriander and a wedge of lime and enjoy!
No noddle pad Thai

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Is time just flying by?

This morning I had 5 minutes to spare and decided to go outside and stand in the sun. This is something I often do when I have a bit of extra time in the morning. I love the feel of the warm sunrays on my face and the cool earth under my feet. I love having a few minutes to breath in the fresh air and admire the beauty of the garden. This is a small practice I started a few months ago and have felt the grounding and centring benefits every time. It is the loveliest way to start the day.

This morning after 2 minutes with my eyes closed just feeling the rays of sun on my skin I decided to check Facebook as I had brought my phone with me to keep track of the time. I scrolled through Facebook for about 1 minute and then checked the time to realise it had actually been 3 minutes. These 3 minutes had just disappeared whereas the 2 minutes I spent just standing felt like a much longer time. This realisation brought to the forefront of my mind our societal issue of not having enough time. Everyone I speak to says the same thing that time is juts going too fast. It made me think about the amount of time we spend on electronic devices whether it is our phones, computers, watching TV or checking social media. If my 3 minutes can just vanish like that then no wonder our days are disappearing when we spend so much of them connected to our appliances. Maybe if we spent a bit more time just being, time might slow down for us just that little bit. I think this is the basis of mindfulness and actually being present in the moment. When we are present our minds can relax and you will notice that the speed we experience normally stops and time just slows down. Imagine if we all just spent 5 minutes each day just being present. These moments bring clarity; reduce stress and anxiety, as our minds are not over stimulated. I hear so many people saying I just don’t have time for this type of thing, to dedicate 5-10 minutes a day to relaxation. Well first of all these practices actually help you have more time by slowing down our minds so we can be more productive but second of all you do have the time. We all do, it is just about priorities and allocating time accordingly. If you have time to check social media you have time for this, if you watch TV you have time for this, if you snack throughout the day you have time. Even if it is simply 30 seconds of being present 5 times a day that is a great place to start. Instead of having a 30 second break to chew a cookie allocate that time to being present. You can even do this while eating just shift your focus.

Our fast pace society is doing nothing for our health. It is causing massively high stress levels, which is a huge contributing factor to many diseases. It is our responsibility to take care of ourselves, no one else’s. If you feel out of control, with time just flying by try this simple technique. Put away your device and just spend a few minutes truly being present with yourself. It is amazing how something so simple can be absolutely so powerful.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Top strategies for improving mood when you are feeling down in the dumps

We all have those days where nothing seems to be going to plan. You have so much to do but are simply getting nothing done, sitting and wallowing in your own misery hoping that somehow you will come out feeling better, having achieved something or that magically all your problems will disappear. Yesterday was one of these days for me. Growing up I quite commonly fell into the trap of overwhelm. This would particularly happen around exam time but also occurred any time I had to do something out of my comfort zone. But now this does not occur very often. Luckily after many years of not coping too well I have developed some strategies that work fast and very well for getting myself out of that dark hole. So yesterday after a few things didn’t quite work out the way I was hoping and I had spent the majority of the day feeling sorry for myself, I decided enough was enough. I got up, put on my active wear and went for a run. One of the first strategies I learnt all those years back was simply to get moving. I know when you are miserable that is the last thing you feel like doing but it is the first thing you should do. After being outdoors, getting some fresh air, listening to some uplifting music and getting my heart pumping, I was feeling much better, clear headed and energised. I have had many years to learn what works for me when I am feeling down, stuck or overwhelmed. I hope my strategies can help you too.

1.       Get moving- My all-time favourite strategy for anyone feeling stuck, down or miserable is to put on your running shoes and get outside. Go for a 10 minute walk, go for a run or a bike ride. I don’t care just get moving. When your mind is stuck in a negative spiral, the best and fastest way to change that is to create some movement. When I would be studying for exams and would be feeling totally overwhelmed I would get up, go for a walk and I would always come back feeling so much lighter, so much better. This is exactly what I did yesterday to get myself out of my bad mood. The combination of fresh air, some music and moving your muscles is the greatest way to change your mood.
2.       Breath- Deep breathing can be so powerful. It is a great way to centre yourself. Something that can be done anywhere at any time. When we are stressed, overwhelmed and panicked we often forget to breath. If you feel these dreaded emotions coming over you stop and focus your mind on your breath. This can be enough to change the outcome of your emotions. It is one of my favourite strategies if you are at work, about to go into an exam or in a situation where you can’t just go off for a walk around the block. Simply excuse yourself and go to the bathroom where you can focus purely on your breath for 5 minutes until your mind begins to relax.
3.       Talk to someone- misery is a lonely person’s game. This is how I feel at least. It is much easier to be miserable when you are alone and often when you are feeling down all you feel like doing is retreating to your room and blocking out the world and all those people in it. However, this is actually the worst thing you can do. Talking to someone who can support you is often so helpful in these low times. It helps to get things off your chest, puts things in perspective and it just helps to know someone out there cares. I was alone all day yesterday and once my husband came home and I had some company and someone to talk to I realised I had to pull myself out of my mood. If you don’t feel like you have someone you are comfortable opening up to then there are professionals available and I highly recommend you speak to one.
4.       Rescue remedy- This is a handbag must have. It’s quick, easy and works fast. A few sprays helps to calm you down immediately.
5.       Music- music does wonders for the mood. It can lift you and it can bring you back down. For me I find it really depends on the day but sometimes all I need is to belt out an emotive song to release any pent up sadness while other days I need something fun and uplifting. This is something you will have to work out for yourself but if you are deep in sadness, music is an exceptional way to release emotions. With my run yesterday I had some fun pop music and then followed it with a few ballots to sing along to while stretching. I found that the uplifting music helped me get out of my bad mood while the more emotive songs were a good place to think and put things into perspective.
6.       Pets- Aren’t animals just the best. They are always there for us no matter what. They listen, they don’t judge and they just give some much love. If you don’t have a pet call up a friend who does and go give it a cuddle.
7.       Nature- my first point of getting outside touched on this slightly but nature has amazing abilities to help centre and heal. It has been shown that going barefoot on dirt for 30 minutes a day has amazing health benefits. I love going to the Dandenong ranges and walking in Sherbrook forest. I find it really helps to calm me and I always come home so positive and relaxed. But obviously that’s not somewhere I can go daily so just go outside and spend some time in your garden or walking the streets and smelling the flowers. Others may look at you like you are a crazy hippie but I promise you will feel better for it!

My favourite place to escape to. The Dandenong Ranges.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Spring cleaning the mind, body and spirit.

So what is the meaning of spring?

Image result for spring cleaning

Spring is a time of transition. It is a time where we throw out the old and to make space for the new. Goodbye cold miserable winter and hello warmer days, bluer skies and sunshine.

It is the time of year when most animals give birth to their young, and sometimes a time of year when there can be a few deaths; letting go of the old to allow space for the new.

It is also an important time for reflection and letting go of any thoughts or beliefs that may no longer be serving us. This allows space for new thoughts, ideas and projects to begin.

This out with the old and in with the new is something to consider in all aspects of our lives.

We often think of spring-cleaning as a time to go through our house or cupboards and throw out (or donate) those clothes that we haven’t worn in years. This is however; is just one example of the type of cleaning out we should be doing during spring. This un-cluttering of our lives can be extremely therapeutic.

In terms of our thoughts/emotions it s very healthy to clean these out too as unhealthy emotions such as sadness, anger and resentment can negatively impact our physical health if not released. I always find crying, talking to someone or journaling the best ways to get emotions out of the system. According to the philosophy of Jin Shin Jyutsu, simply holding each finger like a hot dog for 5 minute each day helps to release any pent up emotions and relating physical conditions.

Your physical body also requires a spring clean at least once a year!

A detoxification program aiding your organs of elimination is something I make sure I do at least once a year. It is so important to give the body some help eliminating all the nasty toxins and chemicals we are constantly consuming, inhaling and getting through our skin. A few tips for helping your body in its natural detoxification pathways are:

·      Keep hydrated (drink at least 8 cups of water per day)
·      Start each day with a glass of warm water and the juice of half a lemon or 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
·      Take chlorophyll
·      Use a Milk Thistle supplement

Detoxing the lungs is something we are doing everyday simply by breathing. However, as many of us do not breath to the full capacity of out lungs there is old, stale air stagnating at the bottom. Every day we should be practicing deep breathing to aid with relaxation, optimising the amount of oxygen travelling around our bodies as well as to expel all that stale air we no longer need. Spring is the perfect time to get into the habit of deep breathing. ­

Our lymph (an important part of our immune system) can also become congested so another great way to spring clean the body is by getting a massage. This is a luxury most of us love so it shouldn’t be too hard to convince you to go treat yourself! Massage helps to stimulate lymph flow and boost the immune system. Dry brushing is another technique you can try. It not only stimulates lymph flow but it also removes dead skin making way for new fresh skin cells. This will leave you feeling refreshed and beautiful from the inside out.

The oral cavity is another area where bad bacteria and toxins can build up. Oil pulling helps to draw out toxins from the oral cavity reducing dental issues as it helps to remove any nasty bacteria. Simply swish 1 tablespoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes first thing each morning to experience these wonderful effects. It will also help reduce bad breath and naturally whiten the teeth too.

All these techniques will leave you feeling lighter, fresher, happier, more energised and ready for summer!

Monday, 22 August 2016

3 things everyone needs to know about mental health

Are you or is someone you love suffering from a mental health condition? Some information you need to know.­

Last week I attended a seminar on mental health and mood disorders. As this is an area I focus on in my practice I was very much looking forward to hearing all the latest research and clinical applications. However, walking out the door at the end of the day there was one thing prioritising my thoughts. That one thing is the importance of education. Yes, all aspects of education are important but what I am actually referring to is the education of our community when it comes to mental health.

The three main things I feel need to be emphasised are:

1. How common these conditions are.

2. The huge variety of treatment options available.

3. The detriment of not seeking help when you need it.

Mental health is a huge umbrella under which many disorders are placed. The most common include:

·      Depression
·      Anxiety
·      Substance use disorders

How common are these disorders in Australia?

I myself was astounded to hear that Australia has the second highest rate in the WORLD of antidepressant prescriptions per capita, and this is increasing by about 25% each year.

Between the years 2012-2013 anti-depressant prescriptions increased by 96%.

Nearly half the population (45%) will experience a mental health disorder at some stage in their lives.

Over 25% of Australian adults report high levels of anxiety and/or depression.

35% have a significant level of distress in their lives.

26% have above normal levels of anxiety symptoms.

26% have moderate to extremely severe levels of depression symptoms.

In 2015 the number of Australians living with anxiety was higher than ever before.

Depression is one of the most common conditions in young people and increases during adolescence.

At least one third of young people have had an episode of mental illness by the time they are 25 years old.

Are antidepressants the only treatment option available?

The huge rise in antidepressant prescriptions is most shocking but what is even more concerning is the number of our youth being put on these medications. The medication on its own is only a small part of the concern but my main worry is why so many of our youth need these types of medication. More than that many clinical trials have found these medications to only have moderate superiority to placebo and they do not reduce suicidal tendencies. 

This is why I believe it is essential for people to be aware of the multifaceted approach necessary when it comes to mental health. What I mean by this is that anti-depressant medications are not the only option and that their efficacy can be greatly improved when combined with other treatments. The human body is hugely complex and simply focusing on the brain means we may be missing many other contributing factors when it comes to mental health.

Research has found that several factors can actually change the brain structure making a person more prone to mental illness. Stress is a large contributing factor, which can result in neuronal death and structural changes in the brain.

Some other factors that have been shown to contribute to poor mental health include:
·      Neurotoxic substances
·      Inflammation
·      Poor nutrition
·      Challenging life events
·      Loneliness

This shows how multi factorial mental health treatment should be as it should be addressing all of these factors.

Apart from medication, other essential treatments for boosting mood and enhancing brain function include:

·      Adequate nutrition
·      Physical activity
·      Adequate sleep
·      Meaning and purpose in life
·      Social connections
·      Natural treatments such as herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and flower essences.

Why it is so important you seek help.

If you find yourself struggling with stress or anxiety on a regular basis you should do something about it. What seems like a normal way to be in today’s society may actually be changing your brain structure in a negative way that makes you more pre-dis
posed towards other mental illnesses. This is why it is so important to seek help as soon as possible. The longer you delay it, the more damage that may be occurring within your body, the longer it will take to reverse (to whatever extent is possible), the more reliant you may be on medication and the worse your symptoms will get. Don’t delay seeking help as you think ‘I can cope with this for now’ or ‘ill get help if it gets worse’ as by the time it gets to that stage so much more damage may have occurred. Possibly all you will need are some dietary and lifestyle modifications at the beginning but if you leave it too long, medication or more serious treatments are much more likely to be required. I am particularly passionate about supporting our youth as many of these conditions begin in adolescence. If correct support is given to these teens it reduces the likelihood that they will be reliant on medications and will teach them better coping mechanisms that can be employed for the rest of their lives.

One more thing that I think really needs to be emphasised is that mental illness and especially asking for help is absolutely not a sign of weakness. The more we learn about mental health, the more it is discovered that it is caused by many physiological changes in the body that are often not within the individual’s control. What is a sign of strength is actually having the courage to say to someone I NEED HELP. That is the scary part, that is the part that shows you are bigger than your problems and that it the part that means you are willing to put in the work required to change.