The Ultimate Guide to Doing hCG

When doing an hCG diet there’s no need to go to a retreat like the movie stars anymore. You can do the program easily at home – it just takes some planning.

Why You Need To See A Doctor
First you need to work with a coach like @hcgdietprogram – it will make all the difference to your results. They also organise the compound pharmacy hCG drops for you. This is because hCG is not normally #prescribed by doctors, and it’s not on the PBS either. So an hCG coach will organise a phone or skype appointment for you with a referred #doctor and your script will go straight to the pharmacy.

How To Get hCG Drops
Two days before your start date the pharmacy will prepare the drops and have them shipped to you overnight in an ice pack. The hCG hormone is actually very fragile and expires very quickly – it needs to be kept cold and in the fridge. Generally a 40 day bottle will only last 43 days from preparation.

How to Take hCG Drops
Once you get your drops, on your start day the measured amount simply goes under the tongue for 10 mins before swallowing, at 12 hourly intervals with nothing to eat or drink for at least an hour afterwards.

The diet itself consists of 3 phases …

hCG Phase 1: 2 Days
Phase 1 is two days called Gorge Days – it’s the most fun because you get to clean out your pantry of all those things you’re not going to be allowed to eat. This is also your time to handle any #cravings you might foresee – chocolate, peanut butter, avocado, even a burger!

You want to focus on lots of high fat foods and complex carbs whilst still trying to keep things like flours, wheat and refined sugars to a minimum. You can also drink alcohol in this phase. Yay!

The aim is to calorie load and you should see a slight weight gain over the coming two days on the scales. This is a critical phase, and those who don’t #gorge properly or put weight on during the gorge days will not be able to do a full round or lose much weight – their body goes into starvation mode early.

hCG Phase 2: 38 to 78 Days
Phase 2 of HCG (Days 3 to 40, or 3 to up to 80) is where your results will shine, but it’s also the most challenging. This is because the ‘allowed’ foods you can have are actually very limited and there’s no fats of any kind in your food or even on your skin allowed

This is because hCG is designed to mobilise the stored fats in your body. So if you at or use fats, that’s less fat that you’ll burn through and less weight loss. Naturally the choice is ultimately yours, but if you’re wanting great results then you stick to the plan, right?

By Day 3 you shouldn’t be hungry, you’ll be well fed from the previous two gorge days. In fact you’ll probably find it hard to actually eat your required 500 to 600 calories a day – trust me!

Most people on hCG skip breakfast – there’s no coffee allowed but you can have herbal tea or lemon and ginger in hot water. Pure Stevia is the only sweetener that’s allowed.

As I’ve said before I intermittent fast until 1pm, so that’s when I have lunch – 100g of cooked lean protein (chicken breast, prawn meal, lamb fillet, skinless white fish or two cooked eggs) and up to 200g of an allowed vegetable – think spinach, broccoli, Chinese greens, zucchini, asparagus or cauliflower.

To these I add ‘seasonings’ like bone broth, onion, celery, ginger root, lemon juice, or spices and herbs to make things more interesting. Varying your diet as much as you can and plating it up so it looks appealing is the key.

Dinner is pretty much the same scenario which I have about 7pm.

The only other additions are the inclusion of a piece of allowed fruit as a snack – 100g of unsweetened apples, strawberries, blueberries, orange or grapefruit (usually raw, but sometimes warmed) up to twice a day.

You can check out my recipes on my Instagram account or Facebook page.

What’s Not Allowed on hCG
So what’s not allowed on Phase 2 of hCG (Days 3 to 40, or 3 to up to 80)? Sadly a lot.

Firstly it’s a low sugar diet, so not only can you not consume any refined sugar (which means no packed or fast food or takeaway and generally no eating out) it also means that you can’t have any high GI vegetables as they contain a lot of natural sugars that will inhibit your results.

So sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, potatoes – anything starchy is out. Also green beans, beets, carrots, peas, corn, snow peas, parsnip, artichoke – they’re all out. And if you’re following the auto-immune version of hCG offered by @hcgdietprogram then you’ll also be avoiding nightshades like eggplant and tomatoes.

Sound too restrictive? It is if you want to get the results! And it’s not forever. But these restrictions mean that the hCG diet is actually perfect for those with fructose mal-absorption, irritable bowel (IBS) and chronic illnesses or auto-immune diseases like Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia and even arthritis conditions.

Fruit-wise, due to its high fructose content compared with vegetables, most are of the list with the exception of apples, oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, strawberries (these become your friends) and the occasional blueberry. That’s it.

By far the biggest thing I missed are healthy high fat foods like raw nuts, avocados, olive oil and coconut oil – they’re off the menu too. As are any grains, chia, teff or anything remotely grainy – mostly because they’re full of starch which quickly turns to sugar restricting your weight loss.

hCG Phase 3 – Maintenance: 21 Days
Maintenance is the critical 3 week period where you get to reset your body’s set point for its weight. This next phase is almost more important that the hCG Phase 2 because if not done properly, your body will try to go back to its original weight.

So strict calorie control is still in force, although calories gradually increase from 500 per day to around 1200 over a few days as you come off hCG drops and your body has to learn to regulate its new weight. And unless you’re an intermittent faster, the number of meals can increase from 2 to 3 per day.

Importantly in Phase 3 you can sate those cravings with the addition of fattier seafood like salmon, sardines, tuna, trout, John Dory, flounder, whiting, crab, muscles, oysters, scallops and squid (calamari). Meats like duck, turkey, goose, pheasant, quail, lean beef, kangaroo, pork and venison are also allowed. But no processed or deli meats allowed. You still need to focus on ingredients that are ‘one ingredient’ foods (i.e. in their natural state) before you prepare them.

On the vegetable front additions to the Phase 1 list apart from avocado include artichokes, leeks and olives (which is a fruit anyhow). So not much change on the veggie front, except you triple your vegetable volumes and can combine your vegetables, which makes a nice change.

It’s the same for fruit, and whilst almost any fruit is now allowed dates, bananas, mangoes, melons, grapes and guava are not due to their high sugar (fructose) contents. So think raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, kiwifruit, pears and stone fruit like peaches, nectarines and plums. But 100 grams of fruit twice per day is the maximum you can have.

The most exciting additions to Phase 3 Maintenance are healthy fats. This means you can go back to a LCHF (Low Carb high Fat) diet that is also paleo-ish in nature. Dairy is now included (OK this isn’t strictly paleo), so real grassfed butter, mayonnaise, milk, cream and cheese is allowed, although when following an anti-inflammatory diet dairy should still be minimised.

Oils like olive oil (cold pressed EVOO), raw coconut oil and even avocado oil are all back in so salad dressings become much more appealing. There’s also raw (activated) nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, pepitas, sunflower seeds, and coconut, although restricted to the equivalent by volume of 12 almonds a day total.

There’s still no processed foods while you’re on Phase 3 Maintenance, and to be truthful these foods should form much less than 10% of your total diet anyway. So there’s no sugar, corn, rice, wheat, flours, grains or cereals allowed. And no legumes. They’re not paleo anyhow.

As for other paleoish favourites like chia, teff, amaranth, sorghum and buckwheat they’re also off the menu until after Phase 3. This is because they’re too high in starch (which easily converts to sugar) and the body won’t successfully be able to reset your new lower set point for your body weight.

But there’s good news for the sweet tooths too … a small amount raw cocao powder and cocoa nibs are allowed and it’s best to continue using pure Stevia, SteviaSlim or the allowed fruits for sweetening where required. This means there’s plenty of raw sweet treats now able to be crafted to sate that sweet tooth, which should now not be quite so sweet thanks to retraining your palate and voiding your body of the effects of candida. Although, having said that it’s best to avoid getting too creative in order to give your body the best chance of resetting its set point. You’ve worked so hard for it after all!

Basically from the allowed foods it’s important to eat what you want when you want it, but it crucial to eat only when you’re hungry. So learning to listen to your body for when you’ve had enough is key.

The hCG “Steak Day”
Despite all good intentions, you might find a small weight increase during this phase as your bowels fill back up. So you still must perform a weigh-in every day and monitor this. And if your weight exceeds more than 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) above your lowest on the hCG Program then you must immediately perform what’s known as a Steak Day.

A Steak Day is where you skip breakfast and lunch and then eat a huge steak for dinner with only either a raw apple or a raw tomato (not for anti-inflammatory diet). You still drink the same amount of water to flush everything out. But following your steak day, you should see your weight drop again back within the 1kg (2.2lb) range.

If you’re wanting to shed that excess weight fast, and you’re ready and willing to commit to some serious self-imposed hibernation in terms of your social life, then hCG is a great solution. It’s quick, easy, painless and there are no negative side effects.

But having said this, the only hCG therapy that works is one prescribed by a medical Doctor, and dispensed by an approved compound pharmacy. Anything else is just an imitation, can cause serious side effects, and means you won’t get real lasting results.

Want to Know More?
Private message me on one of my social media channels, or head to and reach out to Cindy Marr, my coach.

#hcglunch #hcgdinner #hcgprorgam #hcg #hcgrecipe #glutenfree #grainfree #sugarfree #dairyfree #painfree #weightlosstransformation #spooniediet #adrenalfatigue #fibromyalgia #afs #chronicfatigue #weightloss #weightlossrecipes #paleorecipe #lowcarb #foodismedicine

The hCG Revolution, and Why It Can Change the Obesity Landscape Forever

In my previous blog I talked about the 4 steps to conquering weight loss … but following these 4 steps may yield results that are too slow for some. Rapid weight loss is a tricky subject – often quick losses lead to even quicker regains as the body is thrust into starvation mode. The result is yo-yo dieting.

The Set-Point Theory
But there is one other solution, and I’ve come to realise that it’s the only long term weight loss solution that lasts. This is because it not only ‘tricks’ your body into releasing (and using) its stored fats whilst preventing the dreaded starvation mode, it actually resets your ‘set point’ for your body weight – vital in the battle to keeping weight off long-term.

So what is your ‘set point’? It’s the term used to describe the weight at which your body likes to be where you stay with little effort. Remember those couple of kilos or ponds you took off that came right back on again? That’s your ‘set point’ at work. Your body fights to maintain a certain weight level, regardless of what you want it to be or your efforts.

It’s believed that your ‘set point’ is partially DNA-related, and partially learned behaviour from the environment you were first exposed to even as far back as conception. Wow.

Changing Your Set-Point
There are 4 ways to change your set point. The first is to change the composition of your diet – remove sugar and all simple carbohydrates and focus on a more wholesome paleo diet.

The second is to change the composition of your intestine bacteria – stop eating anything artificial (like sweeteners) and focus on fibre rich foods, fermented vegetables and bone broth. Pro and pre-biotics can also help.

The third is to change your circumstances or environment – remove yourself from the temptation of take away and fast food and take pre-prepared healthy meals instead. When eating out pick good eating venues where you can get a health balanced meal.

Fourth is to lose weight slowly – this is why slow long term weight loss is more sustainable. Your body doesn’t fight back to regain what you’ve lost. Slow is the key … real slow like half a kg or a pound a week.

The Problem With Slow and Steady
But there is one issue with the slow approach …
Regulation of your body weight is asymmetric – it’s more responsive to weight loss than to weight gain. So if you lose weight it will adapt to becoming more efficient. If you put weight on it doesn’t try to lose it and your ‘set point’ rises. This is what happens as we get older, partially through ongoing dieting and partly because our metabolism slows.

So whilst slow weight loss is the key, it’s a difficult routine to follow for months or years on end. And it doesn’t fit into our ‘quick fix’ minds programmed for instant gratification and results. But there is one solution, and only one solution, that will give you rapid weight loss and a rapid transformation … for good.

Isn’t Diet and Exercise Enough?
To be fair, after being obese pretty much all my life, back in 2005 I shed 70kg (154lbs) using the simple technique of diet and exercise coupled with mindfulness and NLP. But I never reset my ‘set point’ for my body weight and so over the years it’s crept back on.

Over the last couple of years since I got adrenal fatigue I’ve been looking for an easier method – one that doesn’t require hours of exercise of gym work because, quite frankly, I’m no longer capable of it, despite still having a passion for it – there’s nothing as good as the feeling of a really pumping weights work out, where you can actually feel your muscle fibres tear and start to regenerate … well almost nothing. But anyhow I digress, back to the easier method search …

I even seriously considered sleeve gastrectomy but the reality is my socialising revolves around food – cooking, dining out, entertaining – It’s far too integral to my life to remove it and resort to minuscule (often vitamised) meals and multivitamins because I can’t eat enough to get the nutrients my body needs to thrive. Seriously, that’s no life for me.

The Answer is Science
In looking for another answer, one that could yield rapid results and reset my body’s ‘set point’ so I didn’t put the weight loss back on, there was only one answer I found. All my research pointed to just one thing … a human hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin or hCG.

The truth is you won’t hear much about this hormone, and there are plenty of sham versions all jostling to take your money without producing any real results. So over the coming days I’m going to be revealing everything you ever wanted to know about this amazing treatment … one that ‘big pharma’ don’t want you to know about because … well because there’s no money in it for them – they can’t patent a human hormone.

So what on earth is hCG?
It’s a human hormone produced by women during pregnancy called human Chorionic Gonadotropin, and the science behind it is quite fascinating.

Discovered in the in the 1920s by German scientists Selmar Aschheim and Bernhard Zondek it was first used as a #fertility treatment in women before it’s weight loss properties being discovered by Dr Simeon in 1954 in his revolutionary “Pounds and Inches” book.

In the body, one of hCG’s main roles is to ensure a safe, sable pregnancy, and it does this via regulation of progesterone and estrogen production, which are essential for the development of the embryo and foetus. It’s also responsible for mobilising stored fats.

Let’s Talk Cavemen for a Moment
Now there’s a lot of misinformation on the internet when it comes to hCG so let’s talk prehistoric humans for a moment to understand the concept. If you think of pregnant women back then you would understand that there were times of feast, and times of famine, but the energy requirements of a foetus remain the same, growing slowly as the baby develops.

During times of famine the energy the baby required had to come from somewhere, without harming the mother, right? And that somewhere is by mobilising her stored fats into energy that can be used.

Using this theory, Dr Simeons proposed that the hormone could be used to shift unwanted stored fats in the body by simulating a time of famine. Now normally after a few days of very low calorie eating the body will jump into starvation mode causing a whole lot of negative chain reactions that end up putting more weight on that you took off. But in Dr Simeon’s research he saw that hCG actually lengthened the time it took, enabling a safe prolonged period of weight loss.

Why Dieting is Bad For You
If you’ve been on a weight loss journey or two before then your weight has probably jumped up and down a bit, or even yo-yoed. And you’ve probably lost more weight than 3 or 4 times your body weight if you add up all the pounds you’ve had to re-lose! I know it’s certainly true for me.

And as I’ve mentioned previously, this is the worst scenario possible because it’s the constant dieting that gradually raises your ‘set point’ – the weight at which your body naturally likes to level out to. And it’s why it’s so hard to lose weight in the first place.

hCG Maintenance is Key
So whilst hCG tricks the body into losing weight, the crucial part of your hCG journey after the weight loss phase is successful completion of a three-week maintenance phase specifically designed to reset you body’s ‘set point’ for weight.

This is one of the key aspects behind the diet, and why hCG lasts longer than pretty much any other diet program on the market. In fact it’s the main technique used by both celebrities and European royalty since the 1970s. They disappear into a ‘clinic’ for 10 weeks and re-emerge slim and svelte and looking incredible.

When doing an hCG diet there’s no need to go to a retreat like the movie stars anymore. You can do the program easily at home – it just takes some planning.

Why Celebrity Suicides Make Me Angry

I’m still reeling today from the suicide of Anthony Bourdain – the original rock star of the culinary world – coming hot on the heels of fashion designer Kate Spade … two legends gone in just three days.

With this latest passing begs the question: Why with so much talent, so much fame, and so much to live for did they feel the need to end it all? Why did life seem so unpalatable, undesirable, and useless?

I was never into Kate Spade – I’m not a fashion chick. I only own two handbags – a giant red leather carry all I bought at Danier Leather in Niagara Falls, and a tiny black strappy thing from the Queen Victoria Market just big enough to fit my keys, phone and Myki in. That’s just who I am.

But Anthony Bourdain? Seriously?

Anthony Bourdain (Photo by Robert Ascroft for Adweek)

After I started more-than-just-dabbling in the kitchen, creating degustation menus for friends and exploring making everything from scratch, I came across Bourdain’s book Kitchen Confidential. I devoured it feverishly, dreaming about turning my passion for cooking into a career. His book showed me a different side – it was an eye opener to the reality of kitchen life. I subsequently decided that a career as a chef wasn’t for me after all. But I admired him. Still do.

So I am at a loss for understanding. Why is oblivion a far more attractive proposition? What is not beautiful enough about food? Why would you not want to stay and cook, and create, and explore, and share it? Making something from a bunch of boring raw ingredients, moulding it like a potter moulds their clay, and injecting with passion and love is a gift. Creating something amazing to share with others is one of the greatest joys I know.

But it would seem others care less about the gifts they’ve been given. Certainly celebrity suicides by hanging have become a pretty big thing lately. Others have come before – David Carradine, Michael Hutchence, Paul Hester, Alexander McQueen, Charlotte Dawson, L’Wren Scott, Robin Williams, Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington … so who’s next? Who’s gonna take the easy route?

I would have thought celebrities owed a duty of care to the public who has adored them so much. Aren’t they meant to be a shining light, a beacon of hope that we can live our passion too, whatever it may be, and somehow achieve greatness? Otherwise what’s it all for?

Is celebrity suicide just a cop out?

Kate Spade circa 2004 (Photo AP)

Oh and for Lord’s sake, why hanging? Surely it’s got to be one of the most unpleasant methods of all time. In this word of technological advances, medicinal marvels and the dark web, is escape by an original form of capital punishment really the best you can do?

You know I’ve read that people who are successful at suicide actually go through with it because they truly, in their heart of hearts, believe there is something better for them waiting on the ‘other side’. (Although the irony of the sentence still makes me wonder how this could be known.) But what if there’s nothing? What if this was their one big chance to do all they could do with this life – to inspire the others that follow behind in their footsteps? What if suicide is simply like dining alone at the Last Supper? Haven’t they just fucked it all up?

And what sort of inspiration is taking your own life when you’re a person of solid means and have been hugely successful? Now if you had an incurable disease, or were locked up as a prisoner with no possible chance of escape ever, destined to rot on the floor of some unbearable infested rat sewer … then maybe I could understand that suicide might just be an attractive alternative. But when you’re the host of your own globetrotting television show, like Bourdain, that indulges you in your passion for food … or you have a design empire of creative fashion like Spade … and you have all the wealth you could honestly ever need … then where’s the sense in checking out?

Is it that the respect of your peers and the admiration of millions really makes you so incredibly lonely you have to leave the communal table and resort to dining alone? If so then maybe fame, the thing so many of us aspire to with our selfies and Instagram accounts, has its price after all.

Maybe, but frankly I just think it’s irresponsible … and down-right selfish. What about all your adoring fans who have travelled with you in your life’s journey? We bought your records, your books, ate your meals, watched your movies, and carried your handbags. So what up?

And, honestly, if you’re so egotistical and self-absorbed not to realise that your fans are the only reason you have everything you have, then think about this: What about your family and friends who love and care for the real you, regardless of your flaws that you’ve managed to hide (or not hide) so well from us? Do you care so little about your so called ‘loved ones’? Do you not feel a connection, do they mean nothing at all? Are you incapable of feeling empathy, of self-love to the point that you’d rather be gone?

I’m done.

Chris Cornell of Smashing Pumpkins (Photo

It’s not that I don’t care – in fact I care too much. but I’m over being sad and heartbroken. Now I’m just plain angry at the short sightedness of celebrities who top themselves. They taunt us by blooming like the most glorious flower, making the world a brighter place, for a moment or a lifetime, before taking it upon themselves to leave without even a goodbye or a reason. As if they had no choice or control in the matter. And without any explanation we are left wondering, pondering, and questioning how on earth we can possibly be happy if they, with all they have, are not?

So what’s the point of even trying anymore?

And that’s the problem with anxiety and depression … mental illness sucks the life out of you and changes you. Often coupled with feelings of being out of control, at a loss or without purpose. It’s not a rational disease. It doesn’t make sense. I know … I’ve been there. I’ve been close to self-harm too. Never close enough – no near misses – but closer than I want to admit to others, or to myself. It’s not a nice place. It’s not where I want to be.

It’s not who I am.

So, just like Bourdain and Spade who made their own choice, so I make mine – only it’s a vastly different one. I’m not going to check out and take the easy option. I‘m going to suck it up and put the ‘big girl’ panties on – whatever life throws at me. Because even in the darkness, like Roberto Benigni showed us, life really is beautiful.

So too, you have a choice to make.

The question is are you going to wallow in the anxiety and depression that seems inexorably linked to modern life? Or are you going to grab life with both hands, and climb out of that deep dark black you’ve fallen in to, and stop dining alone?

Life is not just like a box of chocolates. It’s like delicious gastronomic degustation menu just waiting to be explored and devoured. Come join the communal feast.

I dare you.

Come soak up the very marrow of life and relish in all its tastes, and aroma. Come wade in life’s rich jus and roll in its creamy lusciousness. Come feast on its sweet nectar and drink in its boozy ambrosia.

If not, then what’s the point?

Postscript: This article has deliberately been written to be controversial, so as to ignite the discussion around whether ‘celebrities’ owe their fans a duty of care to lead as an example, or whether we, as fans, expect too much from them. Tragically, suicide has touched most of us. So please join in this very important conversation on Facebook here

If you need help in Australia please don’t check out. Instead check in with Lifeline on 13 11 14  and know that you’re truly loved.

#depression #anxiety #mentalillness #anthonybourdain #katespade #chriscornell #suicide #selfharm #suicideprevention #ruok #diningalone #kitchenconfidential #noreservations #fame #celebritysuicide #hanging #help #gethelp #unhappiness #youchoose #getwell #beloved

Weight Gain, Obesity and the ‘No Diet’ Solution

The big news is that dieting doesn’t cure obesity … in fact in a study published by National Institute of Health Researchers showed that dieting actually lowers your metabolism which means long-term dieting of any kind will cause metabolic compensation, where your perhaps already low metabolism becomes gradually more and more efficient (i.e. lower still), requiring fewer and fewer calories to maintain your weight.

This means that you’d have to be calorie-deprived for the rest of your life just to maintain your weight, and you might still regain any weight you’ve lost … or even more. So for anyone who wants (or needs) to shed weight this is bad news … really bad news.

It also helps to explain why people (mostly women) throw good money after bad on a plethora of diet programs pills and shakes that don’t work in a fruitless effort to achieve an idea of beauty that doesn’t really exist anyway. It’s completely impossible. No wonder we get depressed.

You know that calorie counting old equation – weight loss or gain = calories in minus calories out, right? Did you know that it’s a complete fallacy? Aargghh … so what’s the answer?

Well, there are actually 4 steps to weight loss … and none of them actually involve dieting.

Secret #1 – Low Carb
The first step to is to correct the type of calories we consume … the reason people gain fat is due to unregulated fat-tissue due to insulin secreted in response to the carbohydrates – anything made from sugar, rice or any flours, including wheat, as well as starchy vegetables like potatoes – we consume.

Yes – you heard it – cheap delicious bready wheat-y rice-y soul nurturing carbs … they’re out for good – simple ones anyhow. Unless you want to stay fat. Your choice, you decide. Seriously.

Secret #2 – Portion Size
The second step is serving size. Remember those meal sizes were smaller when you were a kid? And when you go out to dinner at a Dennys, Applebees or Pizza Hut (let alone the plethora of awesome home-cooked restaurants in Melbourne serving huge pates to willing customers) how massive are they now? Eating out should not be about the experience, trying something new, and exploring new tastes … not just bang for buck

But it’s not just portion control you need to monitor. According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines serving size is better describe how much you SHOULD eat of a food, rather than portion size which describes the amount you ACTUALLY eat.

To get the volume you eat down, you simply eat less, right? Well, sort of. The problem is our stomachs have been stretched by ever increasing meal sizes so it’s only logical that the empty space in our stretched stomachs gives off a false sense of hunger that doesn’t really exist. Yep, you’re not REALLY hungry at all.

Eating smaller more regular meals is one of the tricks to help retrain your body … 4 meals of 300 to 500 calories over the day (every 3 to 4 hours) can help stabilise your blood sugar and shrink your stomach size.

So what is a serving size? Well that’s kind of the problem. The serve size tables aren’t very specific. Sure they list the number of serves a day of fruit, vegetables, protein and complex carbohydrates but they don’t really say how much a serve is. And to make it worse there’s no actual guideline for food growers or manufacturers for labelling serving sizes on their products – it’s completely up to them. WTF?

So what do you actually need? Well whilst it’s a bit different for everyone (based on body type and cultural differences) but it turns out it is pretty simple – a palm-sized piece of lean protein and 2 to 3 handfuls of vegetables at a meal. You can also have a piece of fruit up to twice a day and a small amount of complex carbohydrates (palm sized) like quinoa or sweet potato. And don’t forget your healthy fats … raw nuts, avocados and olive oil are essential to turning off your hunger hormone ghrelin. Simple, right?

Check out Dr Lisa Young’s other tricks to help you eat less.

Secret #3 – Intermittent Fasting
The third step is frequency of eating and the benefits of intermittent fasting. There’s a been a lot written about the benefits of intermittent fasting and programs like Michael Mosely’s “Eat, Fast and Live Longer” have certainly helped make the concept of fasting centre stage.

The truth is that fasting is in line with our ancestral DNA, and so the act of fasting has a whole host of benefits for our body including weight loss, lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, feeling full, fat loss, ketosis, metabolism booster, cardiovascular health and better insulin sensitivity – it’s a pretty amazing list. Which is why intermittent fasting is considered a big part of the cure for diabetes, obesity, heart disease and a plethora of other illnesses.

But which type of fast is right?

Well it turns out doesn’t really matter which one you do. Personally I do the 18/6 hour fast pretty much daily and I feel better for it. Dr Mosely prefers to 5:2 fast, whilst other people prefer a full fast or anytime fast. Really it depends on what fits in with your lifestyle and how you feel on it. For me it’s easy to finish eating around 7pm and not eat again until 1pm the next day.

The biggest benefit of any fast is that it gives your stomach time to shrink, thereby reducing your capacity for those large meals I mentioned about previously. What this means is you eat less – portion control sorted! And when you consider that every kg (2.2lbs) of fat equates to 7,000 calories you can start to understand why it takes a while to lose any weight you put on.

It took you ages for that weight to gradually come on, right? So the slow burn, the slow loss is always best and losing it slowly will help you keep it off … otherwise you might find that weight again! There is one exception to this rule and it’s something I’ll be talking about next week rapid weight loss .

Secret # 4 – Nutrient Density
The fourth step to losing weight and getting the body of your dreams is nutrition density.

All food is not created equal. The body needs a vast array of micro nutrients in the form of vitamins minerals and trace elements to function optimally. The best sources of all these things are found in a combination of (generally raw) natural foods with one ingredient – apples, oranges, berries, carrots, broccoli, greens, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, etc.

Cooking and manufacturing processes which turn these ingredients into ‘products’ are less healthy because the raw food is changed. Oils become oxidised through cooking; vitamins are destroyed by manufacturing processes; complex carbohydrates become simple like sugar when ground; and essential fibre is destroyed. And so the destruction goes on.

That’s why the best foods are raw and natural, lightly steamed or cooked to enhance texture and taste. Salads featuring a variety of leafy greens are your best option, but we’re not rabbits, and variety is the spice of life, so it’s important to eat a variety of colours and textures.

Although farming practices have improved, many crops are still gown from genetically modified stock in depleted soils with added fertilisers and herbicides which are unnatural. When you’re not eating organic, you’re also eating these additives placing an extra burden on your organs to remove them.

When it comes to eggs and meat those which are organic or bio-dynamic are best. Organic and bio-dynamic produce is grown in rich fertile soils without harmful additives or hormones. And whilst you can’t eat 100% organic all the time, eating local produce (rather than imports) and replacing what you can when you can makes a huge difference to your body and your health.

I’m still not sure how in our technologically advanced world that embraces globalisation, food manufacturers – who pack their products with unhealthy ingredients like wheat, highly ground flours, refined sugars, iodised salt, palm and oxidised oils – manage to get their products on our shelves cheaper than the local farmer with his home grown produce? It’s like we’d rather have a ‘Heston-ised’ thing that looks like something else rather than the genuine article

So aim for products that have just one ingredient, and combine or cook them at home to make super delicious, fresh and vibrant meals. Your body will thank you for it.

Next blog I’ll be talking about rapid weight loss.

#obesity #weightloss #dieting #diet #micronutrients #foodismedicine #portionsize #nutrients #nutrientdensity #oneingredient #backtobasics #foodismedicine #fasting #intermittentfasting #lowcarb #nosugar #lowcarbohydrate #organic #biodynamic #rawfood #rawmovement #raw #servingsize #youarewhatyoueat #metabolism #metabolismbooster #howtoloseweight #beslim #diettricks

Diversity, Limiting Perceptions and How to Reverse Ageing

Last night’s win in the Eurovision song contest to Israel’s Netta Barzilai may have come as a surprise, but it shouldn’t have. Whilst “Toy” was not my favourite song, I could appreciate the technical skill and talent required to perform its complexity. But its catchy little tune was not why it won.

Why the Eurovision Win is So Important
Netta’s win was about the power of Collective Humanity creating change in the world … a collective ground swell that eventually overtakes any opposition … where the rights of the individual outweigh those of the masses.

Looking back to 1891 it took a handful of dedicated women collecting 30,000 petition signatures on the streets of Melbourne for the Parliament of Victoria to change women’s’ rights. Each of those ‘powerless’ little ink marks combined (19 Bills later) got women the right to vote in 1908. Since then we’ve seen the rights of women’s liberation continue to evolve to new highs.

The 2018 win was, as Netta herself said, a win for diversity … a celebration of individuality and inclusion. And I hope that’s something we can all get on board with. ‘I’m OK You’re OK’ has very much become the catch cry of the decade, helped by the rise and speed of social media, despite its narcissistic overtones and selfie culture – and women seem to be leading the charge.

Individualism and Beauty
Could we finally be seeing the rise of the individual over well-funded corporations and conglomerates that dictate how we live through their persuasive advertising? Could the white-washing and careful playing of the public by government be coming to an end? Are we finally doing something about the injustices we see?

And when it comes to beauty is it really in the eye of the beholder? Or is there a standard ‘norm’ that women must conform to? If you ask @dove they’ll tell you it’s time we understand, when it comes to advertising, we’re being lied to.

If so, does body weight really factor into how we’re perceived? Does it affect our chances in success, and even love? Usually I’d say that’s a BIG YES, but recent talent competitions, including the 2018 Eurovision results, may indicate the tide is finally turning.

Limiting Perceptions of Weight
Back in the 80s if you were overweight or obese (like I was) then you were destined to a life of mediocrity, at best. You never won anything, sliding almost silently into the shadows bar the jeers and insults spoken (or yelled) your way. You certainly got passed over for job opportunities and promotions (sadly this still happens).

For me it was a constant battle to be accepted as ‘normal’ – I had to perform over and above what was expected of my peers or thought possible of someone my size. It was almost like I had to prove my worth again and again – that was the penance I had to ‘pay’ to apologise or compensate for the weight I carried, as if the weight wasn’t burden enough.

So consider past music competition talents Susan Boyle and Casey Donovan, and the current Eurovision songstress Netta Barzilai – it seems more overweight people are starting to take the world by storm, winning big in the process (pardon the pun!) These are talented women whose passion shines through their ‘abnormal’ façade to reach the hearts of millions and snag the popular (and judges) votes.

So why when confronted by people who look a little different to us do we often judge and discount them, even label them ridiculous? Why do we constantly try to stifle the artistic expression of those who are a little different or left of centre?

Diversity and Self-Expression
Our bodies are vehicles for that self-expression, but it’s not just clothes that maketh the man – makeup, piercings, tattoos or even our body weight – the choice is now ours to make, as we see fit.

When it comes to makeup artistry, openly gay icon Manny MUA (aka Manuel Gutierrez) is one of the industry’s top influencers with over 4 million subscribers on his YouTube and Instagram channels. With attraction power like that there’s no surprise that he was made the first male brand ambassador for Maybelline.

But Belgian artist Wim Delvoye’s has taken tattoos to a whole new level with “Human Canvas”, previously displayed at MONA, which takes the cake. Not only has Wim tattooed most of Tim Steiner’s body as a work of art, Tim has also sold his body’s artwork to be delivered to the German owner upon his demise.

But these extremes of self-expression are not new. In the 80s music industry Madonna started the trend of reinventing herself with each new single – a visual reincarnation, a metamorphosis. Lady Gaga continues that trend with outlandish makeup and outfits that often transcended sensibility like her 2014 inflatable octopus dress … but it sure got the media’s attention. Mission accomplished.

Reinventing Your Body
So what about our body size and shape … do we consciously, or unconsciously, chose the size of our own bodies as we do these other adornments? Do we create our physical presence entirely, or do we just make do with what we have?

Ask alternative medicine advocate Dr Deepak Chopra and he’ll confirm that we can design our bodies (and longevity) by choice, but usually it’s due to a lack there of. Whilst Body architect Lucy McRae believes it is possible to ‘design’ your body and even merge it with technology. And author Annette Noontil tells you in her book that the body is a barometer of the soul.

But for those of us who are not wanting to reinvent ourselves but rather turn back the clock and prevent ageing as we cling helplessly onto the impossible idea of maintaining the body we had in our 20s, what can we really do? Do we have to miserably bust our asses at the gym and eat like supermodels, or is there another answer?

It’s true, the ageing process isn’t pretty, and in fact it can be darn right nasty. Whilst a man becomes a distinguished ‘silver fox’ women become haggard, old, tired and crinkled. As if the ageing process isn’t bad enough the euphemisms used are even more offensive. So if we can actually redesign our bodies to reduce ageing, then how do we do it?

According to Dr Chopra it all starts in the mind. We’ve known for years that positive thinking not only changes your mental state, it can actually change your vision. And placebos work even if you know it’s a placebo – so it’s true, you can actually change things by thought alone.

In fact Debbie Hampton of The Best Brain Possible explains that your thoughts can even alter your cells and your genes – it’s the fascinating field of epigenetics. And it helps to explain why two cancer patients given the same prognosis can have very different longevities.

So if our brains and our minds are THAT powerful, why don’t we all have the bodies of our dreams?

Check my next blog to find out.

#eurovision2018 #eurovision #netta #obesity #diversity #acceptance #collectivehumanity #groundswell #individuality #inclusion #imokyoureok #advertisinglies #doveevolution #bodyweight #tideisturning #overweight #youarebeautiful #artisticexpression #makeup #tattoos #bodyart #piecing #fashion #musicindustry #ladygaga #madonna #caseydonovan #susanboyle #WimDelvoye #humancanvas #ManuelGutierrez #maybelline #deepakchopra #bodyarchitect #bodyisthebarometerofthesoul #reinventourselves #turnbacktheclock #preventaging #epigenetics

An Addict’s Confession

Hi everyone … I’ve made good progress over the past 90 days, but not in the way I’d originally envisaged. It’s interesting how something else quite perpendicular comes out precession-ly when you face a 100 day challenge.
The biggest win I’ve had is my commitment to focus on ONE project through to completion.
As an ideas girl I’ve lived the last (OK, four) years flicking between several different projects, all with huge merit and cash flow potential. But the end result was nothing got completed, which also meant no additional income and no goals being ticked off.
After doing much soul searching over recently weeks with my trauma counselor, I realised my fear of success was preventing me from committing fully to any project. But not any more … having shifted that I’m now focused on getting this first project completely finished (which also required me to define what ‘finished’ meant, for these project often go on forever) before moving onto the next one.
On the health front, after meeting with a friend a few days ago and hearing about his nicotine addition that he’s finally fessed up to, one that has also seen him quit alcohol (for how can you drink and not smoke), it’s forced me to admit to my sugar addiction. And addiction I’ve often said I have no control over, brought on by the residual stress of a long term illness I’m now pretty much cured from (got the all clear last week).
So … my friend is doing his 12 steps and it’s made me realise I too need to also have a crack at this … but not in a half hearted manner. Step 1 of the AA Big Book is I have to admit I am powerless over sugar – that my life has become unmanageable. I am … and it has. No doubt about it.
Whilst I’d reduced my consumption of sugar (which also means any simple carbs, breads, pasta, rice, and possibly alcohol) I hadn’t quit it totally … always making exceptions and feeling I somehow deserved a ‘fix’ after achieving something else or having a big day. And despite knowing everything I know about nutrition and balancing blood sugar, I still found it difficult in those dark hours not to raid my dark chocolate drawer. And once I’d start … well … it was pretty much all over for the rest of the day. Just like an alcoholic having ‘just one drink’.
The big issue was I’d been treating my sugar addiction like a needed dietary correction, rather than like the addiction and drug that it is. One that I am powerless over without help.
Today, thanks to my friend’s honesty, I’m 3 days ‘sober’ … It’s not easy – I just have to get through each day one day at a time. But it will get easier over the long term …
When I’m tempted instead of mindlessly acting, I take 3 seconds to think about the guilt, shame and remorse I’ll have if I fall off the wagon BEFORE I act. I give my self that space to be still and it sure helps me make the right decision … for now.
I’m not saying I’m gonna be perfect … as a human I’m fallible … as an ‘addict’ I’m driven with a relentless craving for a drug that doesn’t serve me … a drug that is legal, and the cornerstone of fast and processed foods, hidden in so many things we eat and take for granted. It’s insidious.
A lot of people think sugar is something easy to avoid, to quit, and a little bit won’t matter. But for those like me with this condition, sugar is 8 more times addictive that heroin. And when you start to look at it like that, like the most addictive substance on earth, you can start to understand, and perhaps have some empathy for us when we’re not in a position to control our food … like going out to eat; visiting a friend’s place for afternoon tea; a birthday or some other celebration. There we are confronted with our enemy … one, that like the sirens of Greek mythology who called the sailors into the rocks, calls us so sweetly with its innocent candy coloured fix … and we’re helpless to resist.
But now I have new glasses to wear and they’re no longer rose coloured. To take a like from the Johnny Nash song “I can see clearly now”. I just need the courage to continue.
So here’s to another 100 day challenge … who’s up for it?

Me Too

This is probably the most important post I’ve even written. But it comes with a WARNING: only read this if you’re wondering what might be preventing you from losing weight.

It’s a bad day today … the return of my adrenal fatigue was confirmed with my urine test results showing my body is producing 263 nanomole/day of U-F-Cortisol – that’s over twice times the normal maximum of <110. Not high enough to be Cushing’s Disease or a tumour on my adrenal or pituitary glands (that requires of 1,000nmol/d), but high enough to know something’s off whack – likely PTSD from the childhood sexual abuse.

A while back when discussing an recurring day-mare I had as a child with my counsellor, Emily, and it’s recent return at nights she posed the question of whether the traumatic event as a 6 year old, the one that caused me to put on all my weight in the first place, actually had never been ‘cured’. And that even when I shed the 70kgs (150lbs) I was not cured, but rather I channelled the ‘fight or flight’ I suffered daily into other avenues: being a high performing individual whilst running 13kms (>8miles) a day.

In my book “Half The Woman I Was” (see link in bio if you’re curious) I talk about how I crave carbohydrates (that’s the adrenal glands at work producing all the extra cortisol) and even that I was officially a carbohydrate addict. My desire for sugar is sometimes so overwhelming that I can do nothing, and think of nothing else, until I get my fix. I explained how I often used sugar to trigger my sugar coma so I was able to zone out and wind down. But what I haven’t realised until very recently was quite how intrinsically trauma, AF, sugar, adrenals and cortisol are all linked.

I’ve Dr Googled extensively and sought advice and consult from all manner of health professionals, and my journey is still ongoing. Next week I see an endocrinologist to see what the next steps are in this journey to heal, to get well once and for all. I’ll keep you posted there.

Sadly for me the last few months have seen some rapid weight gain, muscle weakness, mood swings, anxiety and depression, impaired cognitive function (fuzzy brain), blood sugar imbalances, poor sleep, lowered immune function and slow wound healing. All symptoms of high cortisol production. And when just one of these happens, it’s a cascading trigger for the others to soon follow suit. Put on weight, get depressed, eat, can’t concentrate (or work), feel lethargic, have a mood swing, eat, put on weight … so the cycle continues.

In an effort to understand what’s driving this and to seek some solace and comfort in community I started reading Roxanne Gay’s “Hunger”, a book recommended to me by my dear friend Aubrey. It’s probably the most challenging and confronting book I’ve ever read … because so much of it is exactly how I feel. I applaud Roxanne for the courage to write, to share. It’s the sort of book that helps to lift the lid on how childhood trauma, specifically sexual abuse, can affect your size and shape for the rest of your life … without any ability to control it.

Today is not a good day. I’m in pain, constantly tired, overwhelmingly lethargic … and craving sugar. I want to hibernate, escape … time travel to another world where I’m thinner and healthier. I’m holding off on the sugar as long as I can, knowing that every grain causes additional pain in my joints. Knowing consciously it’s not the solution. And knowing I need, for my sanity, for my body, for my life, I need to find and resolve ‘the cause’. Subconsciously my desires are not rational, they’re not logical, they’re chemical.

I think that’s what most people, including many in the medical profession, simply don’t understand. I have a chemical imbalance in my body, caused by trauma, which causes me to suffer these symptoms. It is not my choice. It is not my desire. It is not my cause. But it’s my reality …. for now.

#metoo #childabuse #childabuseawareness #sexualabuse #survivor #adrenalfatigue #adrenalfatiguerecovery #fibromyalgia #chronicpain #spoonielife #chronicfatigue #chronicillness #invisibleillness #spoonie #fibro #cfs #adrenals #cortisol #weightgain #ptsd #cushingsdisease #pituitarytumor #adrenalglands #pituitarygland #ptsdrecovery #seekinganswers #seekingwellness #overit #iwanttobewell #nomorepain




Is Kale really good for you or is it just a fad?

Click here for my published InShape News article.

What is Kale?
Kale is a green leaf annual or biennial vegetable, similar to cabbage, but a variety that doesn’t form a ‘head’. It’s from the family Brassica oleracea, reaching heights of 6 or 7 feet, but is generally known for its high fibre content. It has a number of different varieties with either flat, curly, or bumpy leaves, or the ornamental variety that varies in colour but is not as palatable.

Kale was one of the most common green vegetables in Europe up until the Middle Ages when it fell out of favour. After recent introduction to America and Asia-Pacific, kale was grown for the beauty of its curly leaves, which added much needed decoration for salad bars all over the world. Its resurgence in popularity for ingestion and nutrition is relatively recent.

Why is Kale So Popular?
Eve Turrow of MindBodyGreen did a deep dive into the creation of the cult status of kale. Her fascinating kale article, a product of weeks of research, reveals that kale’s rise to stardom was actually a brilliant PR campaign of Oberon Sinclair, founder of My Young Auntie PR, masquerading as the American Kale Association (which isn’t real). That campaign produced a worldwide phenomenon that puts production pressure on farmers, downward pressure on prices, and plenty of kale on everyone’s plates, all of which is good for the consumer.

Hype Aside, is Kale Good For You?
Kale, like most vegetables is good for you. lists a range of amazing health benefits, as does Helen Nichols of who lists 23 science-backed benefits including an aid for depression, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity, as well as eye, heart, bone, skin and hair health – common with many other cruciferous vegetables. One reason that kale is promoted over its cruciferous compatriots, apart from the marketing, is that it has been far more heavily researched than say broccoli or cabbage.

What’s The Nutrient Value of Kale?
One hundred grams of raw kale yields 84% water, 9% carbohydrates, 4% protein, and 1% fat. According to Wikipedia it also contains a large amount of vitamin K: several times the Daily Value (DV). It is a rich source (20% or more of the DV) of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and manganese (see table “Kale, raw”). Kale is a good source (10–19% DV) of thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin E and several dietary minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Kale is also a good source of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as glucosinolate compounds such as glucoraphanin, which contributes to the formation of sulforaphane, a compound under preliminary research for its potential to affect human health. Obviously cooking kale diminishes these benefits.

What Makes Kale Better Than Spinach or Broccoli?
Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense plants on the planet for its calorie count, according to Kris Gunnars, Bsc. It’s also high in antioxidants, which is why it’s often turned into a superfood-style powder. And whilst these powders can have their place as part of a busy modern lifestyle, they do contain less nutrients than the real thing due to nutrient loss during processing.

It is difficult to compare the nutritional content of kale, versus broccoli or spinach (from the chard family) due articles reporting different values for different weights with some reporting raw values and others cooked. Fortunately, gives you the low down.

The site shows raw kale has more than twice the calories of spinach, but half the sodium; and 47% more protein and niacin. Spinach is 37% higher in folate than kale; 48% more lutein and zeaxanthin; and a whopping 68% more phosphorous. Broccoli seems to have less of every nutrient than the others, with the exception of selenium, which is crucial for thyroid function. Interestingly broccoli has almost three times the selenium content of kale and spinach.

After analysis I reached the same conclusion that the HuffingtonPost did – that kale and spinach are nutritionally very similar – and “kale is a better source for some essential vitamins and minerals … [while] spinach is a richer source of folate and an equally good source of iron and fibre.”

So Is Kale A Superfood?
The term ‘superfood’ is actually a marketing term created to promote products. There is no strict definition and the term is open to wide interpretation and misuse. For more information read my previous article “Superfoods: Fact or Fiction”.

It is important to remember that any vegetable in its raw form is packed with macro and micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, which means it’s exceptionally good for you, including kale. Rather than following the latest ‘Superfood’ trend and over indulging in what may turn out to be an ineffectual (or harmful) dose, a better option is to eat a diet wide in variety that’s rich in raw natural ingredients and low in processed foods.

Why is Kale Bitter?
Some people find kale bitter and others don’t. This is because different classes of phytochemicals in varieties of kale (alkanoids, phenols, terpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids, glucosinolates and isothiocyanates) can trigger a bitter taste.

Further the ‘bitter’ phenomenon of green leafy vegetables (including Brussels sprouts) may have a genetic link. Compound Interest’s Andy Brunning explains that some people are especially sensitive to naturally occurring chemical compounds called glucosinolates, which are broken down into isothiocyanates when cooked, and which taste bitter to around 70% of people.

How Do I Get The Bitter Taste Out of Kale?
If you’re worried you have the ‘bitter gene’ and can’t eat kale, think again. Stephanie Eckelkamp reports that salting, roasting and all can all help to block the bitter taste. Christine Gallery adds acid, braises or adds strong-flavoured ingredients to mask bitterness. But Chef Cary Neff, author of “Conscious Cuisine”, explains the best way to remove the bitter taste is by blanching the kale before use.

How Do I Blanche Kale?

  1. Wash your kale and cut the stems off
  2. Fold your kale in halves or thirds and push the kale firmly into a pot that they barely fit in
  3. Fill the pot 1/3 with water and bring to the boil
  4. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for up to 20 minutes, occasionally stirring
  5. Drain the kale, and wash or plunge in cold water to prevent further cooking

How Much Kale Should I Eat Per Day?
Eat as much kale as you like without going overboard, especially when it’s raw. Raw kale is packed with fibre so you’ll fill up quickly and stay full for a long time. Having said that too much of any good thing is a bad thing. And there is such a thing as eating too much kale. Fast Company’s Jessica Leber reports kale fails can include low-level poisoning of the toxic heavy metal thallium even from organic kale, however this is very unusual and medically unproven.

Other than eating large amounts of leafy green vegetables leading to gas, bloating, and constipation, the main danger is for those on beta-blockers, blood thinners or who are prone to DVT and clotting. Kale contains a high amount of vitamin K, which aids blood clotting. If this is an issue then switch to other vegetables.

Kale also contains oxalates, which are substances sometimes linked to kidney stones and gallstones. It also affects those with lower kidney functioning. Those with kidney conditions should instead eat a low-oxalate diet.

What Are The Best Kale Recipes?
Recommendations are always the best, so look for recipe sites that include user ratings to determine whether a recipe is good or not. Here’s a smattering of recipes I found to tempt even the fussiest tastebuds.’s Chicken, kale & mushroom pot pie lists 34 kale recipes, of which the most highly rated are Kale Tabbouleh, Spicy Clam and Kale Linguine, Kale Pesto, Kale Salsa, and Chicken, Kale and Mushroom Pot Pie which looks completely delicious (see above). has a lovely slide gallery of 16 recipes linking to blog sites featuring recipes like Kale Pesto Pizza, Sweet Potato Kale and Quinoa Fritters and Kale Slaw, great speedy share plate recipes for impromptu gatherings. claims to have eight killer kale recipes like Sesame-Roasted Kale, Super Noodle Ramen With Kale and Barbeque Mushrooms, and Kale And Ricotta Omelette perfect for any time of day.

Finally Meghan Telpener has put together 8 Kale Chip flavour recipes almost guaranteed to obscure even the most bitter tasting kale, with oven and dehydrator options, as well as a number of tips to ensure your chips get really crunchy.






What are the best exercises to do in winter when it’s cold or wet?

Click here for my published InShape News article.

It’s winter … cold, often wet, and maybe even snowing. Sure it can be darn right uncomfortable to get your ‘sweat up’, let alone the lack of motivation that comes with those limited hours of sunlight.

We all think that winter is the time for snuggling, getting sedentary with a good book and enjoying some hearty meals … comfort food … winter warmers. Yep, winter, according to Hollywood and popular belief, is time to hibernate, become a recluse, turn on the TV or grab a good book and bunker down until spring.

But with the joy of the first budburst signifying spring, we often also realise that those skinny jeans no longer fit … and we make a defiant resolution to lose that winter weight, go on a mad (and often crazy) diet in an often fruitless attempt to get our bikini body back for summer.

But imagine a different reality for a moment. What if, during winter, we found ways to be more active, to keep the gradual addition of those surplus pounds and kilograms at bay? What if when spring arrives there didn’t need to be a mad ‘spring clean’ of our waistline … ?

Really the secret to keeping active during the cooler months is all about finding ways to keep yourself motivated and challenged. The best way to do this is by:

  1. Finding The Right Winter Workout
  2. Adjusting Your Approach
  3. Keeping Yourself On Track, and
  4. Employing The Buddy System, when all else fails.

Finding The Right Winter Workout

Here are some winter-weather-proof solutions you can try:

Home Fitness
There are literally dozens of ways to work out at home. If you’ve got a home bike, treadmill or some other piece of equipment – use it. If not, hire it or use a 7 Minute Workout app on your smartphone. Failing that check out Fitstyler’s simple home fitness routine that you do without equipment – click here. Yoga, Pilates and workout routines on DVD like Beach Body’s Insanity can get your core strength up and your body looking trim and toned regardless of the weather outside. If all else fails, find some indoor stairs to climb.

Alternative Outside Workouts
For the winter bunnies out there are a number of alternatives that you can switch to during the cooler months. Try these:

  • Go for a swim at your local pool (added bonus is you can sauna or spa afterwards)
  • Get a temporary membership at your local gym (many are now open 24 hours)
  • Embrace the winter with ice skating, skiing, cross country skiing or hiking, snowboarding
  • Get indoors with sports like basketball, volleyball, rock climbing, dance classes, boxing, trampolining, dodge ball, plyometrics, soccer, self-defence classes, martial arts, cricket, squash, bowling, table tennis, badminton … get the gist?

 Find a Workout Group
If you need more motivation or a personal trainer then trawl Google for “exercise groups near me”. It’s sure to return plenty of results at lots of different venues including indoor halls and sports centres – you’ll just need to sift through the results to find one that looks like it suits you. Failing that ask your friends for any recommendations.

Adjusting Your Approach
Many people chose not to exercise in winter because they think it’s bad for you. But Rodale Wellness’s Celia Shatzman debunks that myth as well as several others. Exercising in the cold is no riskier if you follow these simple rules.

Do A Longer Warm Up
WebMD’s, Richard Cotton PhD explains getting your body warmed up actually makes is psychologically easier to get your workout started. As it’s colder outside getting your body warmed up and ready for a workout is going to take a bit longer. But giving it this time to properly warm up will ensure you prevent injury or shock in muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.

Don’t Stop
In warmer weather you can afford to take a few breaks during your workout – the ambient temperature is higher and you cool down less quickly. But in winter it’s a very different story so keep it moving when out in the cold. And don’t forget once you’re done, move immediately into the warmth in order to stretch, so that your muscles do not become stiff.

Dress Appropriately
Check the outside temperature before you head out for your workout and make sure you layer up appropriately. Wind chill factors can have a huge influence on your core temperature, so make sure you use a Weather App that has a ‘feels like’ temperature guide so you can dress appropriately before you head out. And remember to take off any wet or sweaty clothes afterwards to avoid chills which can lead to illness.

Watch Your Breathing
It’s true that colder wet air can lead to higher levels of infection and a bout of a cold or flu. To know all you need to on this one see my article last month on “How Long Do Colds Last & What Reduces Severity”.

Pick The Right Time
To prevent chills work out during the warmer part of the day. This also greatly increases your chance of grabbing a few rays to stimulate the production of Vitamin D and prevent sadness, depression or SADs, often suffered during months of reduced daylight and sunshine. Vitamin D is not only particularly important for bones and joints, it will also lift your spirits.

Nurture Your Body
Most people forget about drinking adequate fluids during the cooler months, but it’s almost just as easy to suffer from dehydration. So drink plenty of water, and eat a balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruit to support your immune system. Take a multivitamin, 2000mg vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and a super greens supplement to boost your intake if required.

Keeping Yourself On Track
The best way to keep yourself motivated during the winter months is to use an App or chart to measure your progress. There’s plenty of them around, depending on the exercises you want to do. For wearable fitness trackers check out my article “How Do Personal Fitness Trackers Work, and are They Any Good?”

Employing The Buddy System
When all else fails it’s time to employ the buddy system – having someone keep you accountable is a terrific motivator. Need more convincing? Check out FitBodyHQ’s ten reasons to get a workout buddy from safety, form and accountability, to simply making workouts more fun.

In the end, what should be driving you to exercise is not the fear of weight gain (or other) if you don’t. Instead you need to get ‘plugged in’ to the feeling you get inside as a result of getting your workout done. Only then, can you truly remain motivated even throughout winter.





How Long Does A Cold Last, And What Can I Do To Reduce The Duration And Severity?

Click here for the original InShape News article.

Each winter comes everyone’s dreaded fear … the dreaded lurgy.

You see people everywhere, sick people. Try to avoid them if you can but living in a modern society means exposure … it’s almost inevitable.

So what is a cold, how does it differ from the flu, and what can you do to avoid it?

 What is a cold?
The common cold, as detailed on Wikipedia, is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that tends to mostly affect the sinuses and sometimes also the throat … think runny or blocked nose, tight head, sore eyes and a cough or sore throat. explains cold can be caused by an adenovirus or coronavirus, but the most common culprit is the rhinovirus, responsible for up to fifty percent of colds. To make it worse, according to there are up to 200 different forms of cold-causing viruses, so avoiding one can be difficult.

However there is an old wives’ tale we need to debunk right now. Contrary to popular opinion you can’t actually ‘catch a cold’ from anything other than coming into contact with the virus. So being out in the cold, or getting cold, won’t actually cause a cold … it’s just a myth.

How is a cold different to the flu?
The human flu is caused by a different virus, called the influenza virus. It’s a different virus from the cold-causing varieties in type, severity and duration, but it does share many of the same symptoms, which can make it hard to distinguish between the two.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the easiest way to identify a flu is the severity of the following symptoms: “fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness)”. If you have a cold the symptoms will be much milder, although still pretty unpleasant.

How do you catch a cold?
The cold and flu viruses are spread through airborne or surface contact. Usually the cold virus spreads through tiny, air droplets that are released when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or blows their nose near you. Dr Margaret Stearn explains when a sick person sneezes, up to 40,000 infected droplets can travel up to 30 feet and survive for up to 3 hours. Think about all of the surfaces those droplets can land on!

Photo Credit: Flu Virus Drift – NIAID – 2010

Why are colds more common in winter?

Whilst colds are not just a winter thing, they do tend to be more common in cold weather. This is not due to the cold, moist air, but rather, according to, due to the body’s immune system being less effective at colder temperatures.

Akiko Iwasaki, professor of immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine adds “It has been long known that the rhinovirus replicates better at the cooler temperature, around 33 Celsius (91 Fahrenheit), compared to the core body temperature of 37 Celsius (99 Fahrenheit).” Not only can the body lower its temperature during cold weather, but your extremities like your nose and mouth, where viruses can enter, are often less warm.

Dr. Sorana Segal-Maurer, Infectious Disease Specialist, has a slightly different theory. She says “When the weather turns cold we all run indoors, where air is recycled and we’re often in close quarters with other people and viruses. We all sneeze on top of each other.”

Regardless of which theory is correct (and there’s probably some truth in both of them), there are a number of thigs you can do to prevent catching a virus.

How do I prevent catching a cold or the flu?
The FluVax can immunise you against Influenza type A (seasonal in animals and humans) and type B (seasonal in humans only) but there is no immunisation against type C which causes mild respiratory symptoms as explains. However the FluVax is a ‘best guess’ for what is likely to be caught in the following season, so it’s an aid and not a guarantee for flu prevention. That said, the vaccine can actually help to lessen the symptoms for many.

Dr Margaret Stearn and WebMD’s Suz Redfearn suggest the following as the best prevention for catching a cold:

  • Washing your hands a lot – more often than you are now;
  • When you can’t wash your hands use an alcohol based sanitiser;
  • Avoid being around people who are sick;
  • Minimise touching your eyes or nose especially after touching ‘public’ surfaces which may have been sneezed on;
  • Wear gloves when you travel on public transport;
  • Rug up in cold weather, covering your nose with a scarf, to keep your core temperature high;
  • Eat lots of fresh vegetables and some fruit, and avoid sugary foods, take away and fast food;
  • Exercise daily to boost your immune system;
  • Use a nasal spray with antimicrobial and slightly acidic properties;
  • Reduce stress, especially chronic stress, and laugh lots to boost your immunity
  • Superdose on Vitamin C
  • Keep your home clean and surfaces sanitised

How long will a cold (or flu) last?
Before you get the symptoms of a cold there is roughly a two or three day incubation period where the virus has started to spread and your immune system has just begun fighting the inner war.

Kristina Dud, R.N. explains the duration of cold symptoms often last only two or three days, although it can, depending on your health and the strength of your immune system, last up to three weeks. During this time you can spread the virus to others unless you take precautions.

According to Harvard Health Publications the flu, in comparison, has a slightly longer incubation period (one to four days) and the more severe symptoms tend to last seven to fourteen days.

If your symptoms last longer than this, explains you may have developed a bacterial infection in your lungs, sinuses or ears. If this happens or if your mucus turns bright yellow (or green) then best to see your local doctor who may prescribe medication.

 How can I ease the symptoms of a cold?
It’s actually your immune system that causes you to feel unwell says During the internal  battle, inflammatory mediators are released, including histamine, interleukins and prostaglandins, which cause the symptoms.

But it’s not all bad news. The Mayo Clinic identifies the best ways to alleviate many of the symptoms of a cold or flu:

  • Getting plenty of rest;
  • Drinking lots of water and warm liquids;
  • Use a humidifier or vaporiser to help loosen congestion;
  • Suck on medicated lozenges for a sore throat or use a salt gargle;
  • Treating a cough or sinus conditions with over the counter medications;
  • Taking pain relievers (for the flu only) to lower any fever or aches;
  • Avoid alcohol, coffee and smoking;

In summary
Whilst prevention is better than the cure,  knowledge is your ally.
If you put all of the preventers into practice you’ll be unlikely to catch anything. And if the inevitable happens, then you’ll know exactly what to do so you can bounce back quicker!



Sigrid de Castella – weight loss achiever, paleoish intermittent faster, adrenal fatigue recoverer, foodie, cook, writer, globetrotter & dog lover