I self care

Earlier this week I decided to set myself a little challenge (it involved putting my wellness-nerd hat on). The challenge was to focus a little more self care into an area of my body that didn’t usually receive attention. I scanned my body for the right spot and very clearly my eyes were looking, no pun intended, for a little more love. Thinking about this in more detail, in nearly 30 years I really couldn’t believe I hadn’t given my eyes much self care, aside from smothering them in make-up. After all, your eyes are a super-hardworking organ. I turned to a few of my favourite expert websites to see what I could be doing more of. I’ve done the legwork for you and summarised some key areas below.

Wear Sunglasses

There are a ton of options out there with sunglasses. Basically look for a pair that protects you from the sun’s UV rays. You’ll find the SmartBuyGlasses website is a great secret weapon with quality options. You’ll likely be stopping the wrinkes later on in life too by protecting yourself from the outside elements.

Eat Your Greens. 

Raw Kale is one of the most potent lutein rich foods, which is important for good retina health. Not surprising, spinach and broccoli also have those essential vitamins and minerals, including lutein and zeaxanthin to keep your eyes healthy.

Opt for a natural mascara

Most of us think we’re pretty healthy. But that’s taking into consideration the foods we eat and not the chemicals we are putting onto our bodies. Most mascaras on the market contain some unhealthy chemicals like parabens (endocrine disruptors that have been linked to cancer), aluminum powder, propylene glycol and the list goes on… Do you really want to be putting these chemicals directly into your organs? I opt for Arbonne, it’s vegan and cruelty free.

Amp up the lighting situation

If you can, turn off the fluorescent lighting and instead use lamps with full spectrum light bulbs, especially at work. Fluorescent lights are known to increase stress and mental fatigue as well as strain your eyes and cause headaches. Full-spectrum light bulbs can help remedy this, increasing mental clarity and reducing eye strain.

Rest Your eyes

To help prevent eye strain rest your eyes from a computer or digital device every 20 minutes.

Stay Hydrated

Most of us don’t drink enough water to stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause a whole lot of health problems, but particularly with your eyes and vision.

In addition to the above, make a regular eye appointment with your local specialist!

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When Life Gives You Lemons

lemons (1)Lemons are great for general skin health and acne.

Lemon juice contains citric acid, when applied onto the face it can help to remove dead skin. It also promotes skin elasticity and enables new skin growth. It flushes out your pores and keeps your skin fresh and glowing. You can apply pure lemon juice onto your skin if you can bare the sting. Otherwise mix the lemon juice with warm water and drink it. You shouldn’t drink the lemon juice straight because citric acid can be harmful to the enamel on your teeth (or at least you a straw).

Lemons rid your body of toxins.
Warm water and lemon juice enhances the ability of the liver to remove toxins from your body. It aids the body’s digestive system and helps remove waste from your body. It can help with weight loss, constipation and diarrhoea. Experts say it’s best to be taken in the morning or before bed.

Relaxing with lemons.
Lemon can be useful for sufferers of anxiety. Naturopaths say it’s calming for the nerves and the heart. It naturally relaxes the blood vessels in our bodies so it can assist with haemorrhoids, varicose veins and spider veins.

Lemons destroy intestinal parasites.
Lemons may appear acidic but once digested with warm water, the potassium in the juice creates an alkaline environment. Intestinal worms and bacterial infections like Candida thrive in an acidic environment. Lemons balance out the pH environment so parasites can’t survive.

Lemon juice prevents bladder infections.lemons
Lemon juice is a diuretic. The pH level in lemons can change the acidity of the blood and the urinary tract. The vitamin C content provides anti-oxidants and supports the immune system to reduce bacteria. For best results drink fresh lemon juice added to warm water in the mornings.

Little known fact about lemons.
Did you know? Before dish detergent was invented, Mexican bar tenders used lemons and limes to clean the beer glasses. Over time, the beer began to have a hint of lemon flavour to it and now this is the trademark for Mexican beer.

How to make a ripper raw strawberry cheesecake (vegan)

Cheesecake1Yo, it’s Sunday. The waves are flat. Whatever, I know it’s depressing. Put down the Doritos and get off the internet. You deserve better than that. Why don’t you get yourself together and whip up a vegan cheesecake – it’s seriously happiness in a tin. You can’t cook, no problem just blend that stuff. Nom nom mmmm nom.

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You’ll need 5 simple ingredients for the base:

  • 1 cup of macadamias – these nuts are packed with health benefits and they’re native to Australia, mate.
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts – walnuts are good for the brain and did you ever notice they’re shaped like baby brains too?
  • 1/4 cup of shredder coconut – coconut is a good source of iron and if you’re a vegan you’ll likely want to be snorting that stuff so it goes straight to your blood. Let’s not kid ourselves though, shredded coconut isn’t really that good for you on a regular basis because it’s not fresh and commonly has added preservatives. If you use an organic brand all the better.
  • 1/2 cup of pitted dates (Dates are really hard to measure – chill out, a little extra won’t hurt.)
  • pinch of Himalayan rock salt – Be picky here if you don’t have Himalayan rock salt, just drop this one off.

Here’s what you’re going to do next:

Grease a 22cm round tin with coconut oil and line the tin with baking paper – you’ll understand why at the end. If you don’t have a 22cm round tin, that’s cool use a couple of smaller tins. You can freestyle with what you’ve got in the kitchen.

So put all the ingredients in the food processor except for the dates and make some noise with that machine. (That’s the really loud sound of health baby!) When the nuts are smashed then add the dates and process together all over again. Empty the contents from the food processor and really press them into the base of the tin. There you go, good work! Admire that for a moment. Now slide the tin into the freezer while you continue to master the filling.

Here’s what you’ll need for the filling:

  • 3/4 cup of coconut oil – this stuff has a whole lot of health benefits like reducing the risk of cancer and helping to prevent wrinkles. Even though it’s pure fat. 100% fat? Yes. But that fat contains fewer calories than other fats and miraculously helps you lose excess weight. #Justsaying.
  • 1 vanilla bean (this stuff is more expensive than ski lift tickets, so make the most of it, split and scrape all of the flavour out.)
  • 3 cups of cashews – There’s no disclaimer on here so if you’re allergic to cashews, back away from the cashews, 5 steps back please, use your creativity and add another nut you’re not allergic to.
  • 3/4 cup of lemon juice – make sure that juice is freshly squeezed and not from a bottle.
  • 1/4 cup of agave – agave is a sweetener with a low GI and it’s natural! It grows on trees, similar to maple syrup.

Now use a blender and mix all that up until it’s smooth like Aimee Fuller in the pipe. Hah yes I did just use that metaphor. Winning! Now, back to it, pour onto the base layer and return to the freezer to set.

You’re nearly finished now. This is where you can get excited. For the topping you need:

  • 2 cups of frozen strawberries –  did you know strawberries are full of antioxidants?
  • 3/4 cup of pitted dates – yah more dates. Most people actually don’t get their daily intake of fibre, but not to worry because you’re going to have had enough for you and your neighbours.
  • 1/4 cup of fresh strawberries or blueberries, this is optional to make your cheesecake look heaps classy.

Now blend the frozen strawberries and dates until smooth. Go on give that stuff a little taste on it’s own. Ok that’s enough, just one taste, really save some for the cake, please stop! Pour on top of the cheesecake layer and return to the freezer for 4 hours, at least.

Once you’ve finished post a picture on Facebook – your friends will be really impressed.

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This recipe is pretty versatile (yes like Torah at the Olympics) you can mix it up a little bit using other fruits and nuts. I’ve used passionfruit and blueberries and it still drives me crazy every time. Not that I eat this all the time…. because man, this desert is really expensive compared to a store bought cheesecake, but that’s the price of health isn’t it little ripper?

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Pssssstttt…..in the past I’ve had to glad wrap slices into small chunks so I don’t eat it all at once. #noonelikesafatassinawetsuit

 

 

Post-surf and snowboard green smoothies

There’s a lot lot of hype around green smoothies lately and for good reason. The difference between a smoothie and a juice is that a smoothie retains all its fibre! Our weapon of choice to create these concoctions are the Vitamix and The NutriBullet. The NutriBullet is small so great for travelers, but the old blender will do the trick too.

Try for 50% nutritious leafy greens or veggies like kale and spinach and 50% fruit. Then add your water. If you like your smoothies thick, add less water.

Green smoothie

We don’t use a strict recipe, but here’s a recipe good for beginner smoothie makers. It’s most likely that the more smoothies you have on a regular basis, the less fruit you’ll need to include because you’ll get use to the taste.

For now try:

  • 1 handful of kale,
  • 1 handful of spinach,
  • 1 small banana,
  • 1 fresh date (more if you like your smoothie sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon of cocau powder,
  • 3 brazil nuts
  • A dash of cinnamon.
  • 1 and a half cups of water

You can really create your own green smoothie with whatever you have in the fridge! There really are no rules.

TIP: It’s highly likely that your smoothie will send you to the toilet for a cleanse – in a healthy way, which is why we suggest if you’re going for a surf you should probably have your green smoothie post-surf or at least in your break, same goes if you’re going for a snowboard session!
If you’re getting up early and don’t want to prepare a smoothie in the morning, just create one the night before.

Happy blending!

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If you have smoothie recipes that you love to make, pre or post shred session,  feel free to leave the recipes below.

If you liked this article you may also like The Nutrition Prescription to a Great Day

Wanderlust, Sydney

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Check out Wanderlust and be sure mark the dates in your calendar for next year

Vie Active, created in the beautiful Bondi Beach.

Can you imagine creating a life of happiness and energy? Living and breathing the ocean and the outdoors? Working with and meeting inspiring people who motivate and educate you every day? Sounds like dream living, hey?  This is the reality for mother of two girls and Vie Active Founder Noa Ries. We are very excited to introduce you to her today.

Noah Ries

What does living an active life mean to you Noa?

“Living a life of happiness and energy. It sounds so simple, but being fit and eating healthy makes me much happier and a more energetic person. These days with two kids and a thriving business in start-up mode, I need all the energy I can get!”

One afternoon Noa had an epiphany: Sheridyn-ABOUT_large

“To create an active fashion range after realising I was spending my life in activewear and I would often get to the end of the day feeling cold or clammy and really quite daggy!” We’ve been there before right girls!

“I set out on a mission to create a truly technical activewear that would enable me to do an intense workout, but would also be chic and stylish enough to wear all day long.”

Noa could go on and on, about her love for Merino wool:

“Vie Active started with the finest quality Merino wool – an incredibly unique fabric and the ultimate performance fibre: it is naturally temperature regulating, anti-microbial, shape retaining, moisture wicking, odor resistant. It’s not only super soft and breathable on your skin but it also allows you to be dry, stink-free and just as comfortable after the most demanding run, yoga, or boot-camp session.”

The Noa Foundation Jacket is Noa’s favourite item and it’s where Vie Active began..

jacket“I designed it with all the product features I wanted but couldn’t find. Awesome leopard print, thumbholes, concealed racerback for ventilation, windblocking collar, chunky zippered pockets!”

You’ve come along way, do you have a motto or mantra:

“If you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up too much room. This is something my late father always used to say and it really resonates with me. I truly believe that it is important to constantly push yourself outside your comfort zone – boundaries are only set for safety or from fear. Break down your restrictive boundaries and make a point of testing them. Push against them. Break through them! Find your edge and be FEARLESS, for every accomplishment starts with a decision to try. Be bold. Be audacious. Be fearless.”

Noa’s not the only achiever behind Vie Active…  Bryan has put in the hard yards too. Bryan was raised in both France and the USA. He’s also a former competitive extreme skier and backcountry ski guide. Not to mention he’s a cyclist and a triathlete. (Calm down ladies!)

We didn’t interview Noa for her surfing or snowboarding, but being from the famous Bondi beach we could help ask about her surfing skills. 894471_438195642956791_730314548_o

I’m very lucky to have grown up next to the ocean and love being active and outside…I prefer to have my two feet on the ground or be swimming. I would however like to go back to Costa Rica to practice my surfing again – that’s one of my favorite places.”

Vie Active seems perfect for alpine skiing and snowboarding. Would we ever catch you on a snowboard?

“I’m still working on my skiing skills. My last trip to Whistler was amazing and I got to ski some pretty amazing powder. When I get some more time back in my life I definitely want to learn to surf and snowboard properly.”

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How do you stay healthy mentally and physically?

“I try to do something active every day. More for my mental sanity than anything else. I do a combination of barre workouts, HIIT classes, soft sand running, swimming and walking my two daughters in the pram. I try to nourish my body with food that is as clean as possible simply to provide me with the energy I need to get through the day as with a 10 week old, a 2.5 year old and a new business”

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We ask everyone we interview to complete this sentence… I’m happiest when…

“I am being active in nature. Whether its a hike, ocean swim or soft sand run. Nothing makes me feel more invigorated. I also can’t forget to say I love being with my family and am incredibly happy if I can be active with them.”

1374305_425962010846821_129255289_nImages supplied by Vie Active.

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The nutrition prescription to a great day

Nutrition and diet are extremely important when it comes to conditioning your body for surfing and snowboarding. Your breakfast will shape your day of riding. Now girls, you could think of breakfast like a prescription for a successful day! If you put goodness into your body you can just about guarantee a great day of riding. That’s because your mind will be focused and your body will have enough energy to follow suit. Meaning you’ll be progressing in all the areas you want to be.

A lot of ladies underestimate this, let me give you an example; they stay out at night partying, kissing boys, having little sleep and in the morning throw caffeine and an unhealthy breakfasts down their throat. I’m no nutritionist, but I’ve noticed by lunch time these girls (and guys) are grumpy or complaining – usually because of their riding skills and before long they are back inside having hot chocolate or drinking more beer. So how do we avoid this? A. Get a good night sleep and B. have a healthy breakfast.

But what exactly is a healthy breakfast, you ask? It’s not bacon and eggs, with sugar laden tomato sauce on white bread. I made my two girlfriends breakfast yesterday morning before a big day and they loved every mouthful!

ultimate surfie breakfast

What is it and how do you make it?

Simply put coconut oil, asparagus, brocolli, onion, garlic, turmeric, eggs and salt and pepper in a fry pan. Let it cook for a few minutes and instead of flipping it over, put it under the grill at 180 degrees to cook the top of the eggs. Grill until the eggs are cooked to how you like them. Serve with fresh avocado and baby spinach.

grill

What’s in the cup?

Blend water, kale, a teaspoon of coconut oil, brocolli, spinach, banana, frozen berries, bok choy and blend with fresh dates to sweeten. Add chia seeds, maca power, cacao powder or anything else healthy you love.

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bon appétit! xx

Keep strong with Pilates

Five years ago Kiwi born Fiona Duncan was a successful snowboard competitor and coach. However her snow-consumed life changed completely when she suffered what many athletes dread ­– a knee injury, adding to a string of niggly injuries. Fi remembers getting wheeled away onto a plane to go home to her family, knowing her snowboarding career as it was, was over. Soon after Fi’s life curved again. This time it was during physio rehabilitation when she was introduced to Pilates. Thankfully this helped her body to become strong and to develop confidence to get back into sports. Yoga may be the buzz word, but Pilates was the real life saver, says Fi who is now a Pilates instructor and surf coach.

Pilates was developed in the early 1900’s by Joseph Pilates, who was a sick child in Germany. He believed that mental and physical health were inter-related. Pilates teaches you muscle balance, awareness of your body and to relax the mind. Pilates practise works with smaller muscle groups to help support the bigger muscle groups, for example the hamstring muscles. Many people don’t understand that Pilates can prevent injuries, says Fi. Though she admits that Pilates probably couldn’t have prevented her knee injury, but it could prevent some. Now that Fi practices every day her muscles are much stronger and she is less fatigued after physical activity.

Whether you’re a surfer or a snowboarder it’s essential to have a strong core. This is why Fi has compiled a basic Pilates sequence to complete so you will be ready to charge when your board comes out to play. These exercises can be done anywhere. All you need is a mat. They will activate muscles in your body, keep you flexible and strong in the core, says Fi. If you can do this every day then your body will love you for it!

Relaxation position.
Start lying on your back with your feet, knees and hips in line. Relax your shoulders down your back and lengthen the back of your neck. Pay attention to your breath. Breathe in your nose and out your mouth, expanding the breath into your rib cage.

Pelvic Tilt to Bridge.
Start by activating your deep abdominal muscles (pelvic muscles) and begin to tilt your pelvis forward and back. This will give your lower back a little massage. When you exhale press your lower back into the mat and inhale when you roll your pelvis forward. Repeat six to eight times.
Now begin to peel your spine off the mat and up into a bridge position. Take each vertebra up one at a time, becoming more familiar with your spine and working the little muscles around your spine. Repeat six to eight times.

Dead Bug.
Keep your lower back pressed into the mat using your abdominal muscles. Bring your legs up to a position where your hip and knees are at 90 degrees. Maintaining this position will work your abdominals. If you want to increase the workout try to lengthen your legs away, one at a time, whilst maintaining your lower spine in contact with the mat. Exhale your breath when you lengthen your leg and inhale when you change legs. Repeat 10 to 12 times or until you feel fatigued, but don’t over do it.

Side to Side.
For an added stretch you can lower your legs all the way to one side and let your shoulder come up. Stay in this position for five breaths or more. Exhale on the movement and inhale to stretch. This is a great exercise as it gives you movement in your thoracic spine, which is important for any rotational movements like in surfing and snowboarding.

Chest Lift.
Keep your lower back and tail bone imprinted in the mat, with your hands cradling your head gently reach your chest up towards the sky, funnel your ribs to your hips and maintain the contact with your tailbone and lower back to the mat. Repeat 10 times. For a challenge add leg extensions while you’re in the chest lift position. Best to work up to this. Control the movement in both directions, up and down.

Hamstring Stretch.
Using a scarf or stretchy band push your heel up towards the sky. Keep your pelvis still. You can alternate your foot position by pointing your toe and heel towards the sky to stretch your ankle. Breathe as necessary to help flush out unwanted muscle soreness.

Assisted Roll Up.
Hold the back of your thighs and control the movement of your spine up to a sitting position, challenge yourself to be slow and controlled and avoid momentum to initiate the exercise. Use your abdominal muscles to control the movement up to sitting and back down to the relaxation position.

Back Extension.
Lie on your front, abdominals engaged, arms up in the grasshopper position. Whilst keeping your rib to hip connection lengthen your chest forward and up. Open your shoulders and lengthen through the crown (top) of your head. This is a small movement and it is important to keep your abdominals engaged to support your lower back. This is great for your posture and to practice your surfing. Inhale to prepare and exhale to move up into the extension. Inhale at the top and exhale to release back down with control. Note: your legs and your butt should be relaxed.

Quadricep Single Leg Stretch.
Keeping your body even on both sides and your pubic bone pressed slightly into the mat, take one leg to stretch your thigh (quadriceps) muscle.
Quadriceps Stretch Double Legs.
If you are flexible enough try to stretch both. Be sure to keep your rib to hip connection and pubic bone pressed into the mat.

Mermaid.
Sit with both sit bones in contact with the floor. If you are unable to do this or your knees don’t like it, sit up on a cushion, or with the cushion on one sit bone to even your hips. Stretch one arm up and over to reach to the opposite side. Imagine you are stuck between a small space so you don’t move forward or backwards. This is a wonderful stretch so take your time and end enjoy. Inhale to prepare the stretch, exhale to stretch up and over, inhale to stretch further and exhale when you return to the start.

Child Pose.
As the picture shows, stretch your arms forward to stretch out your back and reach your tailbone down to your heels, for more of a side stretch walk your hands out to the side.

Hip Stretch.
Bend one knee/leg towards your midline and stretch back to stretch out your hip and butt. You can relax your body down or sit up. Inhale and exhale to relax and flush out your muscles.

Standing Roll Part 1.
Starting at the bottom stretch your sit bones up to the sky. Begin to activate your abdominal muscles to tilt your pelvis, sit bones to heels as you move your spine one by one to become stacked to a standing position. Keep your shoulders away from your ears in a lovely postural position. Exhale to initiate movement and breathe to stand.

Standing Posture.
Feet tracking forward, ankles, hips, knees stacked lengthened spine, shoulders down and back being tall and open! Good posture is beneficial for your body and all your organs so try to keep a good posture through out the whole day. We can’t forget breathing – breath is the key to life. It is what we need to keep us alive, so take mindful air in and exhale completely. Breath helps us to have present moment awareness. If you are feeling like you need a good deep breath – take one and sigh it out. It’s yours to own.”

Fiona Duncan is Polestar trained and is continually training, attending conferences and networking to share the benefit of conscious movement. She currently works at Michelle Franks Pilates. She wears MonsRoyale and Lululemon pants.

Good Girls Do Swallow

Food obsession in the western world is not uncommon. I spoke to to Miss Snow It All, aka Rachael Oaks-Ash about how she spent many years as a gym junkie and food obsessor.

Let’s face it, most of us can relate to feeling unhappy and reaching for a packet of biscuits or a tub of ice cream in search of comfort and fulfilment and we can also relate to wishing we had a better body shape – thinner thighs, a flatter belly, less arm flab, the list goes on. Then there are those who have had their hearts crushed from losing a close friend to an eating disorder. The truth is that becoming healthy for some people and having a positive relationship with food is not such an easy option.

According to the Eating Disorder Foundation of Victoria, about 3 to 7 per cent of the Australian population is affected by a binge eating disorder. Most people suspect binge eating disorders affect mostly women, but this is not the case. In Australia, the ratio of men to women who suffer from binge eating disorders is almost equal, whereas, woman are the primary sufferers of anorexia and bulimia.

Rachael Oaks-Ash, journalist and author of Good Girls Do Swallow, has struggled with eating disorders for over 20 years. Her book tells the story of her personal challenges faced whilst dieting, binge eating and torturing herself at the gym, but it also tells of her road to recovery.

“If I calculated the amount of hours I have spent obsessing about my own thighs when I should have been studying or working or enjoying sex, and if I added those hours to the time I have spent weighing and measuring in the kitchen and the bathroom and then if I added the combined sum to the number of nights I have spent gorging from the third shelf of my fridge, the total sum would be over two-thirds of my thirty-odd years on this earth,” Rachael says. 

Of course Rachael knows that food is not really the problem. How can it be? Food is food. As humans we use it as energy to survive, she says. The real problem is lack of self worth and doubting our ability to achieve success and happiness. Rachael believes her relationship with herself is the cause.

During the hard times Rachael used her body image to determine her self-worth. “I was forever asking tape measures and clothing sizes to validate my worth in the world,” she says.

When Rachael took the emotional investment out of food and saw it for what it was, nourishment, then her desire to compulsively eat was lessened. She has tried for many years to develop a positive relationship with food, however she still struggles. She takes on each day as it comes. “One day at a time,” she says.

“I am at my most positive with food when I eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full, regardless of the social pressure to eat at certain times or to finish all that is on my plate,” she says.

After many years of learning about herself, after countless therapy sessions and after hours of rummaging around the dark corners of the pantry Rachael is still not cured from her food obsessive behaviours.

“Occasionally I still want to ditch myself – that’s when I find myself opening the fridge door in the hope last nights leftovers can help me rid myself of the empty feeling…” she says.

Rachael certainly is not anorexic or bulimic anymore and she hasn’t been for a long time. “I still compulsively eat and I still occasionally think a diet will sort my life out, but I don’t go on them, I just wish I could!” she says.