Back & Neck Stretches

We spend most of our days doing repetitive exercises such as sitting at a desk, driving, carrying a baby etc. This makes the muscles we use repetitively stronger and tighter than the other muscles in our body. Stretching is vital to reduce the pain caused by these repetitive movements as it relaxes muscles which have become tight from over use. Stretching also gives the muscles we don’t use often a chance to work properly by releasing the tight opposing muscles, giving the body a more balanced posture.

Thoracic Extension with towel and Pectoralis stretch

Thoracic Extension with towel and Pectoralis stretchThoracic Extension with towel and Pectoralis stretch

This stretch is a great way to ease your upper back from stiffness and pain. It also helps reduce back pain by allowing you to sit up straighter by lengthening the muscle which cause hunching. Benefits : Desk workers, taxi drivers, trades men, mothers, sporting athletes and most everyday people.

  • Lying on a flat surface, place a rolled up towel under thoracic spine (cross ways) to where you feel is most stiff. Place a pillow under head and neck for support and bring arms out to the side until you feel a stretch through your pectoralis muscles / chest.
  • Your will feel extension through your spine where the towel is sitting allowing pectoralis muscles to stretch out.
  • Hold for 20 – 30 seconds. Move the arms above your head, beside your ears to stretch further.

Continue reading “Back & Neck Stretches”

Winter Immune Boosting Tips

It’s that time of year when everyone starts to get sick.  Kids average six to eight colds a year and adults between two and four.  Everyone has experienced the feeling of a tickle in their throat, a runny nose or the building up of mucus in their sinus cavities.  This is our bodies sending us signals to slow down and rest!  Now is the time to get plenty of sleep, eat nutritious foods and have plenty of fluids.  It is vital to our health to make smart lifestyle choices and listen to our bodies. The choices we make affect our own immune system, the immune system of our families, as well as our general health and wellbeing.

Here are some tips to help boost your immunity this autumn and prevent colds and flus:


Tea and water

  • Drink plenty of water however make sure to avoid cold (from fridge) drinks.
  • Black tea, white tea and green tea contain antioxidants and polyphenols which contain anti inflammatory properties.
  • Thyme tea helps sooth the throat and coughing as well as and relieving headaches. Thyme is an expectorant, which means it helps to shift the mucous build up in the chest.  Use fresh thyme sprigs for each cup of tea.
  • Hot water, lemon and manuka honey tea:  The anti-bacterial honey, the alkalising lemon and the warming hot water make this the perfect combination to nourish, hydrate and flush out the flu. Continue reading “Winter Immune Boosting Tips”

Healthy Eating for Kids : start with the right breakfast and add a little protein throughout the day.

As you know, a growing child needs a healthy diet to ensure that they have enough daily energy and the nutritional building blocks to support them through their growing years. Starting healthy eating habits in a child’s early years will also help set the tone for their eating habits in adolescence.

Children are very responsive to foods, meaning they can be more sensitive than adults to preservatives and added sugars. As a children’s nutritionist working in Brisbane,   A common question I get asked is about the amount of fruit and fruit juice that is recommended for young children. Even though fruit is a healthy and natural food, high in vitamins and antioxidants, too much sugar (this includes too much fruit sugar) can overload a child’s body faster than they can break it down. Too much sugar can create a huge surge of sugar in their blood, resulting in  moodiness, hyperactivity and or and inability to concentrate. Following this, the body’s natural urge to normalise blood sugar, will secrete large amounts of insulin, creating sugar levels in the blood to drop below ‘normal’. This again results in inability to concentrate, moodiness, tantrums. Correct nutrition will allow your child to thrive.

The key is to includesome protein with breakfast, lunch and dinner and create good eating habits and attitudes towards healthy food. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring, it is yummy and enjoyable too and must be seen that way by children. The best way to start with nutritious meals is with breakfast. Continue reading “Healthy Eating for Kids : start with the right breakfast and add a little protein throughout the day.”

Wholefoods vs Fad Foods

These days life is fast, we’re working harder, for longer hours and trying to balance keeping fit, eating well and spending time with our loved ones. Show’s like Master Chef and Jamies Kitchen have become hugely popular, but I must admit even though they make me dream of all the fabulous new adventurous foods I would love to cook, the reality is that I’m so busy working as a Naturopath in Brisbane, that I don’t cook as often as I’d like to.  My answer is to have some quick, easy dinner options ready to go in the freezer that I’ve done up in a big old slow cooker.

In the 1950’s the average woman spent around 20 hours per week preparing food and cleaning up.  These days, women average 5.5 hours per week, even less for full time workers! So the dilemma is “how do I eat well when I live such a busy lifestyle?”

The modern solution we’ve all become so used to is convenience foods. Everything comes in a package these days, some foods look so different to their original state that they’re hard to recognize. Have a sneak peek into most peoples trolley’s at the super market  and everything’s in boxes, wrapped in plastic and tins. How many of the ingredients listed in the foods on the supermarket shelves these days would your Grandma have recognized when she was a girl? Food has changed from is original state and we’ve all gotten used to it without questioning it. The question we need to ask ourselves is “is this food nourishing my body?”  and “what are all these numbers and ingredients added to my food that I don’t recognize?”

Foods these days are marketed to us, appealing to us with claims such as “diet” “low fat” or “sugar free.” Take this ingredients list from a popular diet yoghurt, Yoplait forme: consider how many of these ingredients you recognize and if you think they would be easy to digest and healthy for your body: THICKENERS (1442 (FROM TAPIOCA), 440), GELATINE, SWEETENERS (950, 951), ACIDITY REGULATOR (331), FLAVOURS, NATURAL COLOURS (160b, 120), MALTODEXTRIN (FROM MAIZE), PRESERVATIVE (202), FIRMING AGENT (509), ENZYME (LACTASE)

An easy way to navigate your way through this minefield of processed, fake foods is to give them  the flick and opt for nutritious whole foods.  I opt for Jalna natural yoghurt – no nasties!

Whole foods are foods eaten as close to their original, natural state as possible. Whole foods are all about getting the maximum bang for your buck nutrition wise. They are full of vitamins and minerals, fiber and are most importantly easy for your body to process. Not sure if you’re eating whole foods?  Start reading the ingredients list on your food labels and if you don’t recognize a number or an ingredient, then don’t buy that food.

An example of a whole food breakfast cereal would be Continue reading “Wholefoods vs Fad Foods”