Category Archives: Health

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Cut for Cancer – My new Haircut

Often we don’t think about how important our hair is until we face loosing it. A Cancer diagnosis is never an easy thing to hear. After the initial shock, cancer patients are then faced with many decisions, one being which type of treatment to follow. One of the most common medical treatments is Chemotherapy. For many the most feared side-effect from this Cancer treatment is hair loss.

Why do cancer patients that undergo treatment lose their hair? Chemotherapy drugs are powerful medications that attack rapidly growing cancer cells. Unfortunately, these drugs also attack other rapidly growing cells in your body — including those in your hair roots. This can lead to not only losing the hair on your scalp but sometimes also you eyelashes, armpits and public area. Fortunately, most of the time, hair loss from chemotherapy is temporary. Hair will regrow in 3 to 10 months after treatment has ended.

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My latest project was to ‘CUT FOR CANCER’. As a cancer patient myself, I am blessed to still have all of my long hair. Being that I had very long, blonde ‘virgin’ (unprocessed or dyed) hair,  I decided to cut it all off,  and donate it to a good cause. I gave my cut off locks to the Australian Cancer Council to make a new wig for a fellow cancer fighter. With so much extra hair, that I know will grow back soon enough, I felt it was a waste just sitting on my head when I knew it would bring back a smile on someone else’s face. :)

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Recipe – Chocolate Bliss Balls

Superfoods Goji Berries and Chia Seeds are not only kid-friendly but are also incredibly healthy. Adding superfoods to your snacks gives you great benefits as well as being yummy to eat.

This delicious recipe for some sugar-free and healthy Bliss Balls are kindly shared from the beautiful people at Raw Life. They are filled with lots of superfoods including Goji Berries, Chia Seeds and Cacao, and full of antioxidants and healthy fats. They are sure to be a hit with your kids.  They are perfect for lunchboxes as well as a nice present idea.

 

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CHOCOLATE BLISS BALLS



1 cup       raw almonds

½ cup     raw cashews

10-12      medjool dates

¼ cup     goji berries

2 Tbsp    black & white chia seeds

½ cup     raw organic cacao nibs

½ cup     raw organic cacao powder

½ cup     organic coconut chips

3 Tbsp    raw unprocessed honey

¼ cup     organic coconut oil

1. Blend almonds and cashews in Thermomix (or blender) on speed 8-9 for about 5 seconds (you can blend for 10 seconds if you don’t want them so chunky).

2. Add goji berries and dates and give a quick blend with the nuts for 4-5 seconds on speed 6-7.

3. Add all other dry ingredients and them give a quick blend in the Thermomix on speed 6-7 for 2-3 seconds, just so it’s all combined.

4. Add honey and coconut oil and blend on speed 8 for about 15 seconds, you should get a mass of yummy dark goodness.

5. Scoop out mixture using clean fingers and roll into balls. This mixture will make 19-20 large balls.

6. Store in the refrigerator and try not to eat too many in one go!

Thanks to Raw Life  for your recipe, their awesome juice vans are located in the South West of Western Australia and are often out and about in various locations.  Check out their website and facebook page for more information and be sure to visit them for a delicious juice and grab a Choc Bliss Balls too.

 

 

Insomnia

8 tips to help you sleep

There are many factors that can interfere with attaining a good night’s sleep; from the stress of work or family to what you ate for dinner. These simple steps will help you achieve a full-rounded nights sleep.

1. Have a regular sleep schedule

Go to bed at the same time each evening and get up at the same time every morning, even on weekends. Having a strong consistency helps your body create a healthy sleep-wake cycle, leading to a better sleep each night. If you can’t sleep, try not to become anxious or annoyed and try to force yourself to sleep. The more anxious you become, the less likely you are to fall asleep, which will probably lead you to become more anxious. If this happens it’s better to get back up and do something calming for a around 30 mins and then try again.

2. Create a pre-sleep routine

Having a relaxing bedtime ritual helps your body wind down from your busy day. Find a relaxing technique to use before you get into bed. This may be meditation, reading a book, or listening to soothing music.  Try to avoid using your computer an hour before bedtime and always turn your phone off or on aeroplane setting to avoid the one last Facebook check. Turn your home WIFI off before heading to bed. Your bed is for sleeping, so its best to avoid having television and other distractions in your room as this interferes with your sleep, its better not to sleep with your TV on. This can confuse your body clock to understand when is entertainment time and when is sleep time. This is also the same as staying in bed when you’re wide awake.

3. Include exercise in your daily routine

Regular physical activity can promote a better night’s sleep. Exercise is best done in the daytime and not too late in the evening or before bedtime. Exercising too late in the evening may make it harder for your body to slow down and relax before sleep.

4. Pay attention to what you eat and drink

Don’t go to bed either hungry or too full, this discomfort might keep you up. Also limit how much you drink before bed, to prevent disruptive middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet.

5. Avoid Nicotine, Caffeine and Alcohol

Alcohol, Caffeine and Nicotine should be avoided, particularly in the evening. Alcohol may help you get to sleep, but it will decrease the quality of your sleep. Nicotine and Caffeine (tea, coffee and soft drinks) have stimulating effects and take hours to wear off, so that can lead to a more difficult time getting to sleep as well as the quality of your sleep.

6. Create a comfortable environment to sleep in

Ensure your bedroom is what you feel is perfect for sleeping. Most people feel the most comfortable is a room that is cool, dark and quiet. Your room should have comfortable bedding as well as good temperature control. A good mattress and pillow will also help to get a better night’s sleep.

7. Avoid daytime naps

Having daytime naps will make it much harder to sleep well at night, especially if you suffer from insomnia or poor sleep quality at night. If you absolutely feel its necessary for a nap then try to limit it to around thirty minutes, preferably in the middle of the day or make sure that you are awake for more than 4 hours before going back to bed.  If you do work night shifts, then you will have to make an exception to the rules. If this is the case, try to keep your windows closed of all sunlight so your body doesn’t get confused with a daytime nap and a good night’s sleep.

8. Stress management

Many people get a sleepless night due to high stress levels during the day. Try to manage your stress levels otherwise your sleep is likely to suffer also. Simple changes such as being more organised, setting priorities, delegating tasks, taking a break and letting go of your worries can help to restore calm and peace in your life. If you have a lot on your mind before bed, write your thoughts down and then leave them there until tomorrow.

Contact your Doctor

Insomnia affects as many as 1 in 3 people, and almost anyone can do with a more restful sleep. Adults should aim to have approximately 8 hours of sleep, although most people will occasionally have a sleepless night. If you are continuously having problems sleeping, contact your doctor. Your doctor will be able to identify and treat any underlying causes and can help you get the better sleep you deserve.

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Natural Baby Care

When a beautiful baby arrives into our world, they are pure. As mothers, we all try to keep it that way, not wanting anything to taint our little one’s perfection. These things might range from harmful attitudes, emotions or physical harm. It can also include the chemicals that are rife in our environment. Baby showers are often filled with gifts of wipes and care products that we aren’t sure are good enough to put onto virgin skin. While we don’t want to wrap our babies in cotton wool or become too worried over what is good and bad, it helps to be informed of the best products out there to reduce any future harm.

The below are my favourites that I have used on my baby since birth and will continue to travel down this path of 100% natural and chemical-free products.

SKIN

Starting with the skin, for both myself and my son, we only use 100% organic virgin cold-pressed coconut oil. There are many brands of coconut oil in the market now, which is a positive for the consumer. Not all are organic or virgin and even less are cold pressed. Our favourite is Nui ‘Wild Harvest’ Coconut Oil. It’s produced from Vanuatu coconuts, which are cold pressed to keep all of the goodness. It’s great on your skin and smells lovely, as well as using for cooking and its tastes good too. It’s also great to place a couple of drops into a warm bath.

Almond Kernel Oil is also another great natural oil that I would suggest placing on babies skin or in their bath if their skin is very dry or is showing signs of skin irritation such as psoriasis or eczema.

Sunscreen for both yourself and your baby: WotNot30+spf sunscreen is my recommendation. 100% natural sunscreen, which is gentle enough for babies. It’s broad spectrum protection, UV-A and UV-B and is enriched with certified organic aloe vera. A positive is that it’s also free from titanium dioxide which is unfortunately in most sunscreens. Also free from chemical UV absorbers, sulphates, petrochemicals, parabens, glycols and artificial fragrances and preservatives.

Another option in sunscreen when children start to spend lengthy times in the water and sun is Soleo Organics Sunscreen . As a surfer myself, all other natural sunscreens rub off when in the water for too long. Soleo stays on your face and doesn’t wash off. It’s organic and safe, and protects from both UV-A and UV-B solar radiation. It’s also free of UV-absorbers, titanium dioxide, PABA, SLS, benzoats, parabens, artificial colours and fragrances and synthetic preservatives.

Vanessa Megan ‘Big Off My Baby’natural mosquito and insect repellent is a fantastic roll on to have on hand at all times, especially in the Australian summer. Also good to take travelling. It’s Australian made products that are free from mineral oils, parabens, PEGS, artificial preservatives, colours or fragrances. All Vanessa Megan products are lovely and I recommend them.

Nappy Rash

There are many good natural nappy rash options on the market now, which is great to see for our babies pure little bottoms. Using a chemical-free cream is the best option to place on such a sensitive area for babies. I recommend Natures Child ‘Bottom Balm’which is made from all natural and certified organic ingredients.

Bathing

Often, we assume that since we may use a body cleanse or soap ourselves, we must use one for our babies. I believe that babies don’t need any or little bathing products. The more natural and the less the better, just warm water and a touch of organic virgin coconut oil is the best option. If your baby is unsettled you can also place a couple of drops of pure lavender oil into the bath to calm them down. If you really want to use a product, or when they grow older, then I would suggest Gaia baby products, as I do use this brand for other reasons. It’s a great brand which all products are free from parabens, soaps, artificial fragrance, petrochemicals and sulphates. I also feel the same with hair shampoo, less is more, babies don’t need shampoo just water and lots of love and fun at bathtime

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Wipes

Babies bums are constantly in need of a wipe. When you think about how many nappies you will change in a child’s life that is also a lot of wipes needed. I was lucky to be introduced by a friend, who is a naturopath, to a homemade wipe option. It’s as simple as making up a natural concentrate shown below and placing in a glass jar with a spoon to mix. Then using either a cloth wipe or face-washer or a paper towel/sheet to soak up the water concentrate and use it as a wipe. I find that Viva Towels are the best, as they soak up the water perfectly.

Home-Made Natural Wipes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp 100% pure virgin Calendula Oil
  • 1 tbsp natural shampoo (I prefer Gaii)
  • 2-3 drops either Lavender or Tea Tree Oil
  • 1.5-2 cups of water

Place all in a glass jug or jar with a lid with a spoon to mix it up. The best thing is that its 100% natural and cost effective.

Of course I don’t carry a jar around with me at all times, especially when I’m out or travelling. On these occasions I would highly suggest WotNot baby wipes. You can buy them in three different pack sizes.

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WotNot Wipes are not only Natural and Organic but they are also 100% biodegradable and compostable, enriched with Australian Certified Organic Aloe Vera and are not tested on animals. And my favourite thing is that they are free from parabens, sulphates, petrochemicals, caustics, glycols and artificial fragrance.

WotNot is definitely my favourite. The Facial wipes are also great for us mama’s too, made from Australian certified organic aloe vera, rosehip and sweet almond oil.  The second option if you can’t get hold of WotNot wipes would be Bambeco wipes.

Teeth

Unfortunately in our society there are a lot of not-so-good toothpaste available for both adults and kids. For babies as soon as they get teeth and for kids I recommend Jack N JillToothpaste and Toothbrush.

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Its 100% safe for young children and is all natural, hypoallergenic toothpaste made with organic ingredients. All packaging is recyclable and BPA free, plus its super cute and inviting to young kids learning to brush their teeth.

As for the not so fun times of teething, Wedela produce a fantastic homeopathic baby ‘teething powder’ that works beautifully to help those teeth through the gums with less pain for our bubs.

Actually, Wedela have a fantastic range of baby products including nappy rash creams, nursing tea, nipple cream plus a lovely pregnancy oil that I used and loved. All Wedela mother and baby care products are natural and use Calendula as the main ingredient and have been developed in conjunction with doctors and midwives. Highly recommend checking this whole brand out.

If you are ever unsure of a product, firstly check out the ingredients on the back or the leaflet and if still unsure its always best to leave it out. Less is best . . . just use love and kisses instead.