Tricky Little Hormones

Hormonal imbalances can occur at any age, whether you are a 15 or 55 year old female you may suffer symptoms of hormonal imbalances.  Unsure what that would look like – if you answer yes to any of these, it could be a sign of hormonal imbalance.  Whilst they are common, they are not normal.

❓ Do you get moody, for no apparent reason?

❓ Do you feel anxious for no reason?

❓ Do you experience PMS, cramps or nausea when you get your periods?

❓ Do you suffer breakouts or acne (especially cyclical) around your mouth or jawline?

It is definitely worth some investigation & perhaps devoting some time for rebalancing your hormones.  Why?  It enables your body to function better.

Here are my 3 top tips for re-balancing hormones which in turn can help your general health.

1 Diet

Getting your nutrient intake is a key point for rebalancing your hormones. 

Diet can be tricky to sort, so you may want to see a health professional who can help with what nutrients you need more of & what you need less of.  They can help you correct these with foods & or supplements.

There is no “fix all” food but there are some great foods you can include:

A variety of healthy fats THINK extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oils, salmon & even avocados.  Fats are nourishing for your hormones PLUS they contain anti inflammatory properties, honestly your body loves them.

Minimise saturated fats, as these increase inflammation & add to the stress load on your body.

Increase your leafy greens & fibrous vegetables – honestly, great for your whole body not just your hormones.  THINK spinach, kale, cabbage, watercress, rocket, or bok choy for leafy greens & parsnips, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, fennel, sweet potatoes, beetroot or carrots.  There are of course plenty of other options to try too but these are readily available at most supermarkets.

Make sure you are getting enough lean protein throughout the day (you need some with every meal).  This helps with stabilizing blood glucose levels which keeps your hormones happy.

2 Reduce Stress

No doubt about it, this is a hard one to implement.  Cortisol (our stress hormone) will elevate when we are stressed, which pushes our hormone balance askew.

For me I find the little things add up to a big effect.  Try to build some of these into your day.

Make meal times just about the meal, no phones or TVs (also a great suggestion to help your digestion).

Get at least 10 minutes of sunshine everyday.

Whilst in the sunshine, perhaps try walking barefoot on the grass or even better go for a swim in the ocean.  Sounds a bit woo woo, but if it works for you – who cares, just do it!

No screens 60 minutes before bed THINK phones, TVS or computers – try read a book instead, maybe listen to some music or try a warm bath/shower.  The aim is to start a wind down pattern prior to bed.

Try using a meditation app “Smiling Mind” is a free one created by Beyond Blue, but there are also paid options such as “Calm” or “Bloom” which are also great.

3. Exercise

Movement has a crucial role in hormones as it reduces inflammation, improves insulin sensitivity & builds muscle.  Regular exercise is fabulous for hormonal regulation as it modulates the body’s stress hormones (adrenalin & cortisol).  Plus, it boosts your endorphins (your happy hormones).

Mix up your exercise sessions to include high intensity, some resistance exercise & remember to include some gentle exercise also.  As is the case with so many things in life, too much of a good thing can be bad – so mix it up!

Whether you are 15 or 55 years old, try incorporating some of these into your everyday life.  They are a great starting point to getting those hormones back in balance.

It is a balancing act!

#Health #Lifestyle #TrickyLittleHormones #Hormones #NourishYourself #Life #Wellness #Nutriton #LifeHacks #HolisticHealth #LoveYourself #HappyHealthyLife #WednesdayVibes #MetabolicBalance #ConsciouslyNutritious

Why Bone Broth?

It’s become super trendy over the last few years, but I have to say, I love it.  You can make it yourself (seriously, it is pretty darn easy) or of course, you can buy it!  Whatever you choose to do, it is full of benefits.  Brissie is now coming into our cooler months (yeah, I know, it isn’t very cool…lol) – my point?  It is the perfect time to add some bone broth into your daily routine.

Here are some of the reasons I love it so much.

👉 Bone broth is super nutritious.  It is packed with lots of vitamins and minerals, THINK calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous, as well as vitamin A and iron to name just a few goodies in the mix.  What nutrition you get, will depend a lot on what type of animal bones you use – bottom line: there is a lot of goodness to be had!

👉 It is packed with loads of healing compounds, such as glutamine, collagen, proline, glycine and gelatine.  Such as essential amino acids which are easily absorbed and fabulous for soothing, healing, sealing and repairing the gut wall.  Making it a great choice for anyone with digestive issues (THINK food sensitivities, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation, even autoimmune conditions) but of course there are other benefits to be had too!

👉 Bone broth is rich in collagen.  Your skin loves collagen it helps with elasticity, smoothness, reducing wrinkles, and helping with sun damage.  Even eczema, psoriasis or acne prone skin, will see some benefits.  The goodness is working from the inside to the out!  It truly, does all start in your gut. 

👉 Because bone broth starts its work in the gut, that means it also helps to improve digestion, boost the immune, strengthen bones, teeth and joints PLUS it helps to reduce inflammation and improve the quality of your sleep.  What a fabulous multitasker – there are so many reasons to love it & the best part?  Your body just sends it where it’s needed to do its best work!

Need some tips for your bone broth?

👉 As a preference use organic bones, if you can’t source organic use the highest quality you can find.

👉 Sauté or roast the bones and vege (THINK carrots, leek , celery, onion and garlic) before adding them to the water.  It adds a wonderful depth of flavour.

👉 Add in some aromatic herbs (THINK rosemary, thyme, or bay leaves).  Even just salt, pepper and garlic will be a quick and tasty add in.

👉 Reuse the bones!  Either save the bones from your meals (roast chicken, lamb shanks or beef ribs) and store in a container in the freezer OR after making a batch of broth, reuse them for a second batch.  This works well with poultry, lamb, or beef – however, fish bones or prawn shells are more a onetime deal.  Why?  They disintegrate.

Stove top or slowcooker – you can make your own.
📷 Photo by Kadir Celep on Unsplash

Interested but need a recipe?  I’ve got you!  This can be tweaked to suit yourself, whether you use different vege; different herbs (turmeric is a great addition); or a combo of bones – loads of options and plenty of recipe variations on the internet.

Bone Broth


2-3kg beef bones, lamb bones, or chicken carcasses

A couple of handfuls of onions, leeks, carrots or celery – whatever combo you like.

1 tbsp. black peppercorns

A few dried bay leaves

Sprig of fresh thyme or parsley

Fresh garlic and ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

Dash of apple cider vinegar (assists in extracting the minerals from the bones)


👉 Optional step to roast (for extra depth of flavour) .

👩‍🍳 Preheat your oven to 180C and line 2 trays.  Put bones and vegetables onto trays, in a single layer.  Roast for approx. 30-40 minutes or until vegetables start to have some colour. 

👉 If not roasting start your broth here .

👩‍🍳 Place the bones and vegetables into a large stainless steel cooking pot. 

👩‍🍳 Cover the bones with cold water. The water level should cover the bones by 5 cm while still leaving room at the top of the pot.  Cover with a lid and bring to the boil.

👩‍🍳 Reduce the heat and simmer, with the lid ajar.  Skimming any foam that rises to the top.

Chicken for at least 6 hours; beef/lamb for 12 hours. 

NB: The longer the bones simmer, the more nutrients are released. 

FYI: You can simmer chicken carcasses for up to 12 hours and beef bones for 24 hours.

👩‍🍳 Strain the liquid and discard the solids.

👩‍🍳 Use immediately or leave to cool before storing (in glass containers).


👩‍🍳 Storage: in the fridge up to 4 days OR if undisturbed a week (the fat acts like glad wrap keeping the surface sealed from the air).

👩‍🍳 Freezer: friendly up to 3 months.

👩‍🍳 Slow cooker option: on low for minimum of 10 hours up to 24 hours.

👩‍🍳 Use broth for cooking rice or quinoa; add to soups, curries and stews; or even as a warming drink.

#HappyHealthyPeople #HealthyLiving #ConsciouslyNutritious


Seriously, these are pretty delish, that peppery crunchiness is fabulous. But if they are too “bitey” for you, have you ever considered roasting them?

So many colours to choose from, it makes my nutritionist heart sing!
Photo by philippe collard on Unsplash

First, some quick facts about radishes:

🔎 They are a root vegetable, come in several different colours & are related to cabbages.

🔎 Great source of vitamin C & the red skinned ones are super high in silica.

🔎 They are antibacterial & antifungal, as well as rich in antioxidants.

🔎 Radishes contain the phytochemical, indole, which promotes detoxification – seriously, your liver & kidneys love these little guys.

So, roasting radishes? I often chuck some radishes in when I’m doing a tray of roast vege – if you have not tried, it is super delish.  Even if you are not a huge fan of radishes, seriously give this a try.  The baking brings out the sweetness but tones the peppery flavour down.  Honestly, even my non radish peeps are onboard with roasted radishes!

Roasted Garlic Radishes

Serves: 4


🍴 500g radishes, ends trimmed & halved

🍴 1tbsp. melted ghee or butter

🍴 Pinch of sea salt & grind of black pepper

🍴 Clove of garlic, minced

🍴 Fresh herbs, finely chopped THINK parsley, chives or dill


🍴 Preheat oven to 220C & line a baking tray.

🍴 Add radishes, melted butter/ghee, salt & pepper to baking tray, toss to combine.  Spread evenly on tray for the best results.

🍴 Bake for 20 minutes, toss half way through cooking.

🍴 Add in garlic & bake a further 5 minutes or until radishes are golden.

🍴 Remove from oven & toss in fresh herbs.


🍴 Fabulous hot but also great tossed through a salad when they have cooled.

How do you like to eat your radishes?

#Recipe #DelishAnytime #EatWell #LiveWell #HappyHealthyPeople #HealthyLiving #MetabolicBalance #ConsciouslyNutritious

📷 Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Eating too much sugar?

Depending on your diet, reducing sugar can be a seriously hard task BUT the benefits of that decision are huge.  The impact of high added sugar in your diet links with so many medical conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, & of course, dental health to name just a few.

OK, so why is it hard to give up?  Sugar affects the brain’s reward system & that reward system helps us to survive but the downside is that same mechanism is linked with addictive behaviour.  Basically, it is a vicious circle – eat more sugar, want more sugar, need more sugar to get the same feeling, & repeat.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends the equivalent of 6 tsp./day for women & 9 tsp./day for men.  According to ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) the current consumption in Australia is sitting around 14 tsp./day – that is more than double for women.  OK, you can see it is not ideal, but you may need some ideas to assist with cutting down that added sugar load – try these.

These add up pretty quick!
📷 Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash

Read the labels.

Try doing a bit of detective work when you shop.  It is startling (or appalling, whatever adjective you want to use) how much sugar is hidden in things.  My suggestion is to flip the packet & check the ingredients list.  It will start with the highest amount & ends with the least amount, so if sugar is in the top 5 – forget it!  OR even better, opt to choose products with no sugar listed in the ingredient list.

Also, remember that sugar goes by a lot of other names.  Some common ones are dextrose, fructose, glucose, golden syrup, honey, maple syrup, sucrose, malt, maltose, lactose, brown sugar, caster sugar, maple syrup, raw sugar, sucrose.

Lastly when it comes to label reading & this tip is super important, (seriously, I cannot stress this enough), sugar is often added to many manufactured products (THINK bread to BBQ sauce, & everything in between).  My point – don’t just stop at removing sugar from your coffee, look at your WHOLE day of eating. 

Don’t drink your sugar!

Another great starting place for sugar elimination – cut out the soft drink, processed fruit juices, & sports/energy drinks.  Oh, & don’t forget to look at what you add to your tea or coffee, or even how much alcohol you are consuming.  Seriously, sugar in your drinks creeps up quickly!  Try keeping the alcohol to 2-3 times a month (& not a sundowner celebration every day, tempting as it is).  If you are thirsty, go for water.

Aim for an anti-inflammatory diet & lifestyle.

The most famous anti-inflammatory diet of all, is the Mediterranean diet (big fan here)!  Load up on oily fish, loads of fruit & vege, & extra virgin olive oil; these are a pretty key within the diet.  Another important part of the Mediterranean diet is exercise.  Aim for regular & consistent exercise, even a 30-minute walk daily is a fabulous addition to your lifestyle.  Honestly, the standard western diet is very high in inflammatory foods, so this type of lifestyle change can assist with reducing inflammation & sustaining that reduced level of inflammation.  

Add in some tummy loving ingredients.

Bottom line, sugar absolutely wreaks havoc on the gut.  So, add in some foods that are rich in nutrients which promote healing the lining of the gut.  OK, like what?  Look for foods high in zinc (THINK beef, capsicum, pumpkin & sunflower seeds); vitamin A (THINK sweet potato, green leafy vege & even add in some cod liver oil capsules); & glutamine (THINK most proteins & dairy products, cabbage, even rolled oats).  Your gut also loves fermented foods because they are rich in probiotics (THINK kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, or yoghurt), so add these in too. 

Reduce that stress level.

Often when we are stressed we reach for something which is sugar laden (hello, chocolate, glass of wine or bag of jelly snakes) but that relief is only temporary.  Why?  Because it makes you more reliant on sugar & increases your risk of obesity PLUS other related diseases.  Additionally, stress exacerbates symptoms of so many common issues (THINK upset tummies, poor sleep habits, even your hormones can get out of whack, to name just a few).  The solution is to find a stress buster that YOU enjoy doing & then do it regularly.  Maybe walking, yoga, deep breathing, meditation, swimming, bush walking or hula hooping, whatever, as long as you love it ‘cos then you will do it.

Cold turkey vs the taper down.

OK, you have made the decision to cut the sugar – fabulous!  Go you!  I would advise you to also be prepared for the sugar detox because depending on your current sugar intake it can be brutal.  Symptoms can include bloating, headaches, nausea, cramps & fatigue.  Honestly, sugar is incredibly addictive, so be patient as it will take a couple of weeks to create this new sugar free lifestyle habit but seriously – it is totally worth it. 

#MovingForwards #YouCanDoThis EatWell #LiveWell #GetWise #FlipThePacket #HappyHealthyPeople #HealthyLiving #MetabolicBalance #ConsciouslyNutritious

Lets talk about your liver

OK, so you’ve heard of it – but what does your liver actually do?  It leads the charge in eliminating toxins from your body, it is an eradication powerhouse.

Often we don’t help the liver to do its job for a multitude of reasons that are just happening in our regular everyday lives (THINK 🧐 poor diet, stress, medications, even chemicals & pesticides which are in our food chain).  Hmm, so where do the toxins go?  Great question – repercussions can be seen in a lot of different areas, such as energy, aging, mental performance, obesity, & hormone balance.

Sounds important right.  Some symptoms of a stressed liver 🍎 Poor morning appetite 🍎 Nausea 🍎 Fatigue 🍎 Headaches 🍎 Fluid retention 🍎 Itchy skin 🍎 Hormone imbalances 🍎 & Irritability (as you would be with all that going on!)

Hmm, some of these sound familiar?  Whilst there is no magical food that will protect your liver, you can add in liver loving foods as part of a balanced diet & healthy lifestyle.  It is only part of the picture, along with maintaining a healthy weight, assisting digestion & reducing cholesterol & blood pressure.

Your liver loces cruciferous vege – like broccoli. i Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

Here are some liver loving foods + a brief why (because I do love a why!)
🍏 Cruciferous vegies such as broccoli, cabbage & cauliflower (stimulates liver detoxifying enzymes that help flush out toxins.).  PLUS a special mention for some great cabbage based food options THINK 🧐 kimchi, coleslaw, cabbage soup, & sauerkraut
🍏 Lemons & limes (aids in synthesising toxic materials so they can be absorbed)
🍏 Garlic & onions (activate the liver enzymes)
🍏 Leafy green vegetables THINK 🧐 spinach, rocket AKA arugula, lettuce, chard (increases bile function & flow)
🍏 Beetroot & carrots (stimulate & supports overall liver function)
🍏 Turmeric (honestly it is the liver’s favourite spice)
🍏 Apples (the pectin, cleanse & release toxins from the digestive tract making it easier for the liver to do its thing)
🍏 Oily fish such as salmon, herring or mackerel, alternatively use fish oils (reduces inflammation & increases liver function)
🍏 Avocados (produces glutathione to help cleanse)
🍏 Olive oil (an alternative lipid base to absorb the toxins)

A few easy options to add into your diet & show that liver some 💗 💗 💗.

#LiverLove #DidNotKnowThat #GutHealth #Digestion #HappyHealthyPeople #HealthyLiving #MetabolicBalance #ConsciouslyNutritious

📷 Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

Sugar Substitutes

Refined sugar is not good for you & I don’t think that info is a big surprise to anyone.  It has no nutritional value; zip, nil, nada – no fibre, no nutrients & no healthy fats.  Evidence suggests that too much sugar & too many refined carbohydrates actually cause inflammation & curbs your immune system.

Sugar, it’s pretty addictive.
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

However, our taste buds love sweet & concentrated sources of sugar have a long history as part of our diet.  Sugars in fruit & honey have provided carbohydrate energy of millions of years.  So, what do we do?  There are some healthier natural sweeteners available but not all are created equal.  If you are looking for something to use as a steppingstone on the path of cutting out sugar – look for minimal processing, so it still contains minerals & phytonutrients, but not the extra chemicals or enzymes.    

Here are some commonly available options which I see pop up in recipes.  It is a balancing act, some have good points, some bad, & some have both.

Agave Nectar

This has a higher fructose content than most common sweeteners, even high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  It has a low GI & doesn’t affect blood sugar levels in the short term.  It can increase your risk of fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, & high cholesterol in the long term.

Rice Malt Syrup / Brown Rice Syrup

This may start from organic brown rice but there is a lot of processing using enzymes to break down the starches to produce a liquid mix of sugar with the excess water then cooked off.  Hmm, I don’t think good health is a goal here, it is just a sweet syrup with clever labelling.

Sugar Alcohols

You may have heard of these as xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol or isomalt.  They can be found naturally in foods, but they are also added to a lot of processed items.  These taste sweet but they have a different chemical structure, so your body doesn’t absorb them very efficiently.  They can have a negative impact on your digestion, blood sugar levels & oral health.


Honestly, this one is a mixed bag.  Commercial varieties of this are often highly processed & mixed with other sweeteners.  This can disrupt healthy levels of gut bacteria & may contribute to a higher body weight in the long term.  On the flipside, it doesn’t affect blood sugar levels & generally you don’t get sugar/carb cravings.  If you decide to go for stevia, find one that is JUST stevia as a lot of the options have added maltodextrin, flavours, glycerine & alcohol.

Maple Syrup

This is made from tapping sugar maple trees for sap, the sap is then boiled to produce a thick syrup.  It is generally produced in Eastern Canada.  Whilst it does have good amounts of some minerals, it has loads of sugar too.  OK, it is a great source of manganese & zinc, plus antioxidants.  So, if you choose to purchase maple syrup make sure you buy organic as many commercial brands use chemicals in the processing.

Raw Honey

The best way to describe raw honey is “as it exists in the beehive” – meaning it is extracted from the hive, strained & poured into the bottle.  Commercial processes often involve heating or pasteurization which destroys the goodness in the honey.  Why is this done?  To extend shelf life & make the product smoother.  Some manufacturers also add in sweeteners or sugars to reduce the cost.  I am a big fan of raw honey but use it sparingly.  Raw honey contains antimicrobial properties, antioxidants, plus a range of vitamins & minerals.

Rapadura Sugar

This is an unrefined cane sugar, so you get the natural caramel taste.  However, it is still a sugar & should be enjoyed in moderation, as any added sugars can be a factor in weight gain and obesity.

Special Mention – Dates

These are often used in cooking/baking to add in some sweet.  Be aware they have a very high sugar content & should only be eaten in moderation.  On a positive note, they contain potassium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium & vitamin B6.

You have probably heard (over & over) about the message of eating less sugar.  Natural sugars don’t get special treatment from your body, it tries to break it down as sugar.  Bottom line – sugar consumption will still impact weight, so have sugar as a treat on special occasions & try to consume less added sugars in your daily diet. 

OK, nutritionist vs dietitian – what’s the diff?

This is a question I get asked A LOT & often. I don’t mind because they are pretty similar in that they both deal with diet – but the approach is where things get a little different.

A nutritionist has a holistic approach to health management. The emphasis is identifying a root cause of the disease state by looking at diet, lifestyle choices and even genetics. They can utilise functional testing, such as blood tests, hormone tests, etc. This will help to analyse patterns within diet and lifestyle and also help to identify where improvements can be made to improve health.

Dietitians often help people with diet related diseases. They assist with food choices often in relation to weight loss, diabetes and heart disease to name just a few. They are important players in the allied health team, and often are working from government guidelines such as the food pyramid and focus on calorie intake.

Bottom line: we know diet can impact disease states; however, it isn’t ethical to do a double-blind placebo-controlled trial for a set period of time focusing on particular food choices. This makes it hard for dietary impact to be explored when a disease already exists. The reality is, we are all working towards healthy people – just approaching from different angles with different philosophies. Subsequently, we may make different recommendations or treatment plans as we try to find the root cause of the issue. Dietitians and good Nutritionists both hold Bachelor of Health Science degrees; we just have different approaches to solving the puzzle.

Here is an article which I found great for showing similarities and differences. It was written by an ex student from Endeavour (where I studied). Have a read – you might be surprised.

What should I eat?

There is so much information out there about diet & let’s face it there are a lot of people who fancy themselves as experts.  Seriously, it gets confusing & honestly more than a bit overwhelming – I mean keto, paleo, grain free, intermittent fasting, FODMAPS, AIP – the list goes on (& on & on).

Truly, everyone is different – so a diet that works for me, won’t necessarily work for you.  It is about choices.  Yup, whether we want to believe it or not there are a lot of factors influencing our food choices.  THINK family, peer pressure, religion, income, education, allergies, our values, even our general wellbeing will affect our choices..

Even if we take all those influences into account, the best advice is to eat real food.  Sometimes you will hear it referred to as whole food.  Real or whole, it is food in it’s natural state.  If it is unprocessed or minimally processed, then that has to be a good thing!  Make this a key part of your eating plan, the cornerstone or pillar if you like.

Why?  Real food delivers loads of benefits for your body – micronutrients give you your vitamins & minerals, whilst the macronutrients deliver protein, carbohydrates & fats, plus fibre.  There is a wide range of foods to choose from such as, fruit & vege, fresh herbs, whole grains (choose no or minimally processed grains), nuts & seeds, dairy (again minimal processing).  Plus, there is unprocessed meats or fish, even eggs, & legumes.  This is great a pattern of eating because you are looking at a lifestyle diet with NO added fats, sugar, salt or additives. 

Another benefit of eating this way, is that you are more likely to get your recommended 5 serves of vege in each day!  Additionally, you are also more likely to eat in season which means you can eat fresh local produce & not items which have loads of miles on them due to road transport or time spent in storage.  Often once you start eating this way, you will naturally reduce your intake of processed foods.

Whole real foods are best.
Photo by Marisol Benitez on Unsplash

Unsure where to head to pick up more whole or real foods.  Farmers markets are a great place, so too is the local fruit & vege shop, or your butcher, even the fishmonger will have some great options.  Honestly, even the supermarket, just make sure to shop the edges where the fresh stuff is!

There are so many health benefits for eating this way & seriously, your body will love it.

Goals…They Change!

Your goal 10years ago probably aren’t the same goals you have now.  Why?  Our lives change daily, sometimes stress makes it difficult to focus but you can still work towards your current goals (yes, even in 2020).  Here is what keeps me on track for my much revised 2020 health & wellness goals because let’s face it – it’s been a weird year.

Make yourself a gameplan & re-evaluate regularly.

My current health & wellness 2020 plan

📌 Revisit your goals, change the game plan – seriously, if you need to adapt, that is OK.

📌 Plan your menu.  Use what you already have in the pantry & fridge.  It helps reduce wastage & potentially saves a trip to the supermarket plus it saves money & often you get some delish one off creations or as I like to call them Shânno’s Spesh Surprise.

📌 Make sure there are fruit & vege at every meal, as well as good quality proteins, healthy fats & fibre.

📌 Start a little herb patch so you can add herbs to meals, or even grown your own vege to cut down on the food bills.  Need some ideas, check out my Fresh basil in a summer salad…yummo!

📌 Exercise each day, yup get your heart rate up – even a 30min walk each day is valuable for your health.

📌 Help family & friends where possible, it’s good for both of you – even if it is a checkin phone call.

📌 Be grateful for what you have, don’t focus on what you don’t. 

Get yourself organised & figure out what works best for you….& do it!

About Stress…

It is International stress awareness week this week, so I thought it a great time to post about stress.  It is common to feel stressed occasionally & stress is a normal part of life, at any stage of life.  However, when it is all the time; that is when stress can cause a lot of harm to your health. 

OK, so why do we get stressed?  It is a survival strategy.  Yup, it is a physical response triggered by your nervous system & adrenal glands when you are in a stressful situation.  Hundreds of years ago it was to help us escape threats to our life THINK situations similar to a lion chasing us.  However, now we stress over things more in keeping with our modern lifestyle (& no, it doesn’t usually involve being chased by lions).  THINK an exam block at uni; a constant barrage of phone calls &/or text messages; relationship or money issues; even car problems; to name just a few.

Love street art – totally get the stressed vibe here!
Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

Sometimes you will hear it referred to as a “fight or flight response”.  This is really well named, as your body will prioritise vital functions like increasing your heart rate & respiratory rate – allowing you to run or fight.  Cool right?  Basically, full power is being diverted to get more blood to our muscles, brain & vital organs (such as your lungs). The result is our senses are sharper & we are ready for action.  I mean the flip side is “rest & digest” as the name suggests it is all about digestion & sleep, which let’s face isn’t really a priority during a crisis situation.  This is more what assists with calming you down after the crisis. 

OK, but what happens if you are always in crisis?  Your body only sees a threat, it can’t discern whether it is life threatening or just “life drama”.  When people are living in a world where they are constantly stressed, often they describe themselves as “wired but tired”.  They can’t dial it back; their bodies aren’t adapting & their lifestyle isn’t allowing them to resolve the stress nor it’s knock on effects.

Stress has lots of effects on the body, that is no secret.  Your digestive processes are slowed (poor digestion, fluctuating appetite, upset tummy, constipation or diarrhoea), inflammation increases & your sleep is disrupted.  Another by product of that stress is how your body absorbs & stores some nutrients; triggering symptoms such as fatigue, low mood &/or mood swings, even muscle pain/tension.  These are warning signs, which if ignored can lead to serious health issues.  The goal is to keep the body nourished so it flourishes.  Realistically, good foods in to fuel your body & you will get better results; or on the flipside, junky rubbish stuff in & things ain’t gonna shine. 

Stress is super hungry for B vitamins, magnesium & vitamin C.  Unfortunately, B vitamins are water soluble, so your body doesn’t store them for long – you need to have them every day, seriously EVERY day.  These help your body cope with the stress, however if you are chronically stressed they get depleted so your body needs even more – creating a cycle.  THINK leafy greens, bananas, nuts & seeds, eggs, dairy products, meat & fish. 

Vitamin C is well known vitamin & I gotta say it’s a great multitasker involved in lots of functions within your body.  However just like Bs, they are also water soluble.  This is another must have in your daily diet.  THINK kiwi fruit, broccoli, capsicum, or of course citrus. 

Magnesium is involved in over 300 chemical processes & reactions in the body, yup it works seriously hard.  As you can imagine, working within that many processes in the body it is not surprising that it is also depleted when the body is stressed.  THINK leafy greens, avo, bananas, nuts & seeds, & wholegrains.  Even add in a regular foot soak or bath with Epsom salts, because that is magnesium sulfate.  Some of that magnesium soak is absorbed through your skin –  winning!

Stress has a BIG impact on digestion.  The flight or fight response is a short term survival strategy.. Your body either eliminates or slows down on the digestion front, both of which mean – you don’t get to absorb any nutrients.  Let me explain further.  Stress weakens your gastric secretions.  Your stomach relies on these to help break down food, so your body can absorb the nutrients.  However, if the gastric secretions are declining, then your food is not being broken down & your body is hampered in it’s ability to absorb the nutrients.

Of course, when you are stressed you also tend to indulge in unhealthy habits THINK chocolate, craving stodge meals, skipping meals or upping your coffee or alcohol intake.  OK, my personal fav a packet of Smiths crinkle cut potato chips for the salt & crunch.  These add to the depletion of nutrients, sometimes even hindering nutrient absorption. Bottom line – stress management is important.  Your game plan needs to be a mix of nutrition plus some holistic practices (THINK gentle exercise like walking, breathing, or even yoga to start) these assist with the mental & physical load of stress.  There are many influencing factors, but you need to find what suits you.