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Simple Ways to Stress Less

From dull skin, weight gain, compromised immune systems and anxiety, stress impacts almost every part of our body, reducing our quality of life and productivity.

In an age where stress is almost an epidemic, it’s time to start focusing on how to manage and reduce stress levels instead of just †˜grinning and baring it.’ Use these simple coping strategies to help you stress less, banish busy and adjust your mindset.

1.  What’s the worst that can happen?

When we feel panic, anxiety etc we are usually working ourselves up into a mess because we’re focusing on the worst-case scenario. Stop worrying about potential problems that haven’t happened yet, you can prepare for the worst and have a plan, but worrying is just  like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain! Because right now, you are ok.

Stress only takes over when you overthink and fret about the future. Don’t worry about things you can’t control in the future. Be present, this moment is the only thing that matters. So let go of that thought, and come back to now. Meditation and yoga are great for training the mind to become more present.

2.  Jump in!

Go for a swim; take a bath or a hot shower. Research shows that the warmth and fluidity of the water help to release serotonin (the happy hormone).  This helps us  to chill out and therefore reduce the stress hormones: cortisol and adrenalin.

3. Laugh

Being social, spending time with friends, trying new things and laughter, not only release serotonin  but are also proven to reduce levels of the cortisol by nearly 40%!

4. Nourish yourself 

Cortisol causes food cravings, usually for comfort food or sugar that often leave us feeling worse (on the inside and out) . Not only can the right foods give you the sustained energy you need throughout stressful periods, but they can actually help you become more focused, even, and balanced.  Be sure to include foods rich in zinc like nuts, pumpkin seeds and green leaves as low zinc levels have been linked to depression and anxiety and magnesium rich foods like oatmeal, wheat bran and brazil nuts to reduce insomnia and relax muscles.

5. Exercise

Let the energies of anxiety, panic and fear move through and out your body.  Keeping them in your body causes adrenalin to start pumping in our veins and sitting still only makes it worse. As well as exercising regularly, try to do short stints of incidental exercise throughout your day like taking a short walk in your lunch break or taking the kids to the park after school, anything that just get’s your body moving to burn that nervous energy.

These are just a few simple solutions that can easily and immediately be implemented to help you stress less. Whilst in some cases there are more serious stressors that are so much more than a heavy workload or tight deadline, that just cannot be controlled,  you don’t need to make huge changes to your life to reduce their impact on your body, it can be a as simple as adjusting your mindset and keeping it simple!

Simple Ways to Stress Less

From dull skin, weight gain, compromised immune systems and anxiety, stress impacts almost every part of our body, reducing our quality of life and productivity.

In an age where stress is almost an epidemic, it’s time to start focusing on how to manage and reduce stress levels instead of just †˜grinning and baring it.’ Use these simple coping strategies to help you stress less, banish busy and adjust your mindset.

1.  What’s the worst that can happen?

When we feel panic, anxiety etc we are usually working ourselves up into a mess because we’re focusing on the worst-case scenario. Stop worrying about potential problems that haven’t happened yet, you can prepare for the worst and have a plan, but worrying is just  like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain! Because right now, you are ok.

Stress only takes over when you overthink and fret about the future. Don’t worry about things you can’t control in the future. Be present, this moment is the only thing that matters. So let go of that thought, and come back to now. Meditation and yoga are great for training the mind to become more present.

2.  Jump in!

Go for a swim; take a bath or a hot shower. Research shows that the warmth and fluidity of the water help to release serotonin (the happy hormone).  This helps us  to chill out and therefore reduce the stress hormones: cortisol and adrenalin.

3. Laugh

Being social, spending time with friends, trying new things and laughter, not only release serotonin  but are also proven to reduce levels of the cortisol by nearly 40%!

4. Nourish yourself 

Cortisol causes food cravings, usually for comfort food or sugar that often leave us feeling worse (on the inside and out) . Not only can the right foods give you the sustained energy you need throughout stressful periods, but they can actually help you become more focused, even, and balanced.  Be sure to include foods rich in zinc like nuts, pumpkin seeds and green leaves as low zinc levels have been linked to depression and anxiety and magnesium rich foods like oatmeal, wheat bran and brazil nuts to reduce insomnia and relax muscles.

5. Exercise

Let the energies of anxiety, panic and fear move through and out your body.  Keeping them in your body causes adrenalin to start pumping in our veins and sitting still only makes it worse. As well as exercising regularly, try to do short stints of incidental exercise throughout your day like taking a short walk in your lunch break or taking the kids to the park after school, anything that just get’s your body moving to burn that nervous energy.

These are just a few simple solutions that can easily and immediately be implemented to help you stress less. Whilst in some cases there are more serious stressors that are so much more than a heavy workload or tight deadline, that just cannot be controlled,  you don’t need to make huge changes to your life to reduce their impact on your body, it can be a as simple as adjusting your mindset and keeping it simple!

Top yoga poses for stress

Top Yoga Poses For Stress

Yoga is one of the best ways to relax and recharge both physically and mentally to help us regain balance throughout our week, something we here at Luk are huge advocates of. 

So as we prepare to emerge from winter and blossom into spring, we’ve asked Sydney’s most loved yogi, Sasha Hawley (also founder of ‘Yoga By The Sea’) to share with us her top yoga poses for stress that can be done anytime, anywhere to release tension, ease the mind, stretch the muscles and rejuvenate skin. 

Recovery Pose

Also known as ‘chid’s pose’, this is a self-nurturing position which calms the central nervous system to help relieve stress and tension. It also gently stretches the lower back, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles and increases blood circulation to your head which help to easy headaches.

Yoga recovery pose

Recovery or ‘child’s’ pose

Forward Bend

Standing forward bend allows the blood to reach your head and circulate there to calm the mind and relieve stress whilst opening up the lower back to release tension. This pose will also stretch the hamstrings, calves, hips, thighs and knee and helps to reduces fatigue, anxiety and headaches.

Yoga pose forward fold

Standing Forward Bend

Pigeon

Whilst giving your glutes, groin and hamstrings a deep stretch, this pose releases pinched nerves in the hips and deep tensions in sacral and nerve belt around hips and stimulates the internal organs.

Yoga pose to reduce stress

Half Pigeon

Backbend

Backbends like bridge or wheel release the lower back and decompresses the spine to relax the entire body. This pose is extremely beneficial for those who sit long hours in front of the desk or computer and hunch over the desk all day as it relieves tension or stress and decreases ailments caused by it. 

Top yoga poses for stress

Backbend variation

And of course the ultimate stress buster is meditation.

Meditation in yoga is generally done in corpse pose where you lie flat on the ground, palms facing up, legs apart and the whole body is relaxed. Meditation in corpse pose relaxes the central nervous system, calms the mind and relieves stress all in one. It can also be used to improve sleep and reduce headaches and fatigue.

On a deeper level, yoga is a state of being in which all apparent opposites, distinctions and states are reconciled. From this state of union we live without  inner conflict and are able to embrace our whole being from the surface to the depths, encompassing both our transient limitations and our perennial limitlessness. We honour and live from, by, and within our true nature. This is the key to a life of peace and contentment.

Love Sasha xx

So next time you feel the tension rising,  take a deep breath and hit the mat. If you need a little help, Yoga By the Sea  runs at 5 different locations with over 20 classes running  each week.  For more information on their schedule, workshops and retreats, head to their website. 

lip nourish natural lipstick to nourish stressed lips

Stress and Your Skin

Stress and Your Skin

Ever looked in the mirror after a non-stop week and noticed your skin is lacking that certain glow? That’s because stress and your skin are intimately related.

From dryness, rosacea, sensitivity, acne, eczema, redness, dullness and wrinkles, there are few skin conditions that stress doesn’t exacerbate! In fact there’s even a name for it now – it’s called “psychodermatology† which is the study and treatment of someone’s emotions as they relate to the skin using psychological techniques.

As a scientist & nutritionist, Cindy Luken our founder constantly reminds us too many people today live with the fight or flight response turned on all the time. This response produces adrenalin, which is the main hormone that tells your body that it’s in danger and when you’re constantly living in that response, all the nutrients are diverted to ensure survival and are therefore unavailable to the ‘beauty bits’ like skin, hair and nails. This causes skin to become dehydrated, sensitive and more vulnerable to damage.

In fact, a study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that when women experience stress, their skin becomes more easily dehydrated, which can even lead to eczema. And in the case of acne, when you’re tense or worried, the brain releases a stress hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol tells your oil glands to increase production, which can lead to breakouts.

Preventing and repairing skin damage from stress needs to be approached from both the inside and out. Leading experts suggests that bringing restorative and relaxing practises into your life can be †œgame changing† as it gets you out of the stress response.  An ideal beauty ritual is to do some restorative practises like restorative yoga, ti chi or a an early morning walk somewhere close to nature. Other practises include an Epsom salt bath, swimming, meditation or simply spending time with ones you love.

From the outside in, be sure to nourish your skin with gentle, all natural ingredients that will moisturise the skin and enrich it with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Try one of our DIY spa treatments, followed with a natural facial oil and our 100% Pure tinted moisturiser for a dewy glow and lip nourish for luscious, moisturised lips.

 

Sasha Hawley, Founder of Yoga By The Sea

Natural Beauty Interview with Sasha Hawley of Yoga by The Sea

From the Alps in Austria, tropical islands of Asia, concrete jungles of South America and now Bondi Beach, Sasha Hawley (founder of Yoga By The Sea) has taught yoga in some of the most incredible locations imaginable.

With fresh coconuts in hand and a view of one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, I found out how Sasha’s decade long †˜round the world adventure’ brought her to establishing one of Sydney’s most loved yoga studios, plus some of her top tips for glowing skin, finding balance and of course, yoga. Almost a local celebrity, it’s easy to see why Hawley is loved and admired by all.

Business

Tell us about your journey in becoming Sydney’s most loved yogi, has this always been your dream?

No! I actually studied Arts/Lit/Psychology at University, got fired from most every job I had, before deciding I wanted to be pursue acting (my poor parents!).  Then I did a TAFE course in Advertising & Events, landing a †˜corporate’ job (which I loathed, although I learnt a lot).  Basically I figured out what I didn’t want to do, saved some money, and took off to work out what I did want to do.  I travelled for years, survived as a travel journo, waitress and model, and studied and taught yoga, tai chi and meditation.  Writing and travelling gave me the time to ponder the greater purpose of my experiences, create a lifestyle I enjoyed, and think about how I could sustain it.

How did Yoga by the Sea come about?

I had been teaching yoga in these beautiful outdoor environments for so long, and I didn’t want to go back inside a studio. When I returned to Sydney, I was walking along Bondi with a friend, saw this place [Icebergs], and thought how awesome would it be to do yoga here, not just for me and the locals, but the tourists as well!  It just sort of blossomed from there.

At first I had to finance the venture by working at other studios but when I eventually began †˜Yoga by the Sea’ it was with a handful of students, a few yoga mats and me.  Due to the benefits of fresh air and sunshine, the sea life cruising past and the iconic location, the business grew organically over 7 years, making the most of Sydney’s incredible outdoor environment.  Not to downplay the hard work, sweat and tears I’ve personally invested, eventually opening more studios and hiring staff to help me manage.

Intent is important too – it makes me feel good to make other people feel good, and I’ve built the business on generosity, rather than the cut-throat business tactics I’d witnessed in my corporate job.

What can we expect at a Yoga By The Sea class? 

People no longer have to sit in zero oxygen, claustrophobic, over-heated studios!  The oceanic scene and soundscape at Yoga by the Sea helps the practice become more of an †˜experience’ than just a yoga class. We get splashed by waves, whale-watch, and enjoy perks such as the Icebergs sauna and pools, herbal tea and fresh juice after classes (all-inclusive).

Our styles – Yang yoga is a power vinyasa (flow) for people who want to improve fitness, strength and stamina, as well as Yin yoga, a traditional hatha style which is more meditative, relaxing and ideal for beginners. There is a spiritual side to the practices  too- not in a religious way, more in a connection to oneself, using techniques to calm and balance the body, mind & soul.

Yoga By The Sea at Bondi Iecbergs

Yoga By The Sea in action at Bondi Icebergs

How do you keep a work/life balance?

I work to live, not live to work.  I make a little pie chart in my head, with time for family, friends, exercise, work etc and try  to spend a little time each every week, although it’s much easier to lead a balanced lifestyle when you can dictate your own working hours and don’t have kids. Like everyone, I get sick or depressed when I lose that balance, so I make an effort to practice what I preach and take time when I need to.

People need to slow down and stop distancing themselves from what makes them happy, from who they are without the constant activity.  Yoga and meditation encourages me to stop and sit, to just be, to feel, mindful and self-aware, instead of running in circles stressing myself out. There is a completely different way to live your life if you have the courage to step away from the rat race.

BEAUTY

What is your daily skincare or makeup routine?

Lipbalm and sunglasses are my daily makeup, and I don’t put anything on my skin unless it is 100% natural (even sunscreen).  Everyday I use a natural rosewater and chamomile spray on my face, a light moisturizer with essential oils, and occasionally  I do gorgeous papaya, coconut oil, Manuka honey and yoghurt  DIY facial.  My skin does well when it’s left alone too, without over-cleansing or scrubbing.  Eating well and yoga helps you get that natural glow from the inside-out.

What is your best-kept beauty secret?

Virgin coconut oil! Put it all over your hair for healthy, strong locks and your skin for an intense nourishing treatment and moisturiser. I also use it for oil pulling each morning, which whitens teeth and helps remove bacteria that causes illness and teeth decay. That and lot of sleep – I’m called Sasha The Crasher amongst my friends! I sleep 8 hours a night plus a siesta if I can get away with it. 

I’ve heard that there are a number of yoga poses you can do to get glowing skin, is this true?

Yes, this is true.  Inversions, including downward dog are fantastic for glowing, fresh skin.  Anything where you’re upside down and all the blood and oxygen is running up to your heart and face, flushing away trapped toxins.  This includes backbends and shoulder stands and if you don’t want to do something where you’re holding your body weight, just try a simple forward bend in the shower each morning, which also decompresses the spine.

Sasha Hawley Founder of Yoga By The Sea

FOOD

What foods should people ideally be eating pre and post yoga?

Before yoga you don’t want anything to bulky because it will give you reflux when you’re upside down, and you’ll feel uncomfortable when you do twists etc. Smoothies or juices are a great option pre yoga, my favourite is a smoothie with maca, chia, spirulina, spinach, three fruits, and sometimes frozen mango ice cubes on hot days. Post yoga you’re on a wellness kick, so I’d say a green salad and sushi hits the spot.

What is your philosophy when it comes to food and diet?

I’m pretty relaxed when it comes to food, although I avoid meat except for seafood.  During the yoga retreats I run, we eat the most exquisitely healthy foods – beautiful seafood, vegies and fruit dishes, encouraging no other meat, booze, dairy, or sugar for a week.  I try and stick to that for awhile after the retreat, but then I’ll come back to Sydney, go out with my friends, have a bottle of wine, pizza and indulge because I’m a real food lover and I can’t say no to dessert. I call it Gin and Yang, everything in moderation.

What is your day on plate?

My morning smoothie gets me through to lunch time, when I’ll have some sushi or a salad, rice crackers and hummus.  Then at around 3-4pm I hit the organic dark chocolate or nuts as a snack.  Aside from being delicious, dark chocolate is an anti-oxidant, helps control blood sugar, is good for your heart, and full of vitamins and minerals. Then for dinner my husband cooks, so I get what I’m given which is usually vegies and fish. I’m in charge of dessert!

LIFE

What is happiness to you right now?

For me right now, happiness is space, like personal space, whether it be travelling, writing or simply lying in the bath. I give out a lot of energy to my students and relationships, so it’s essential to recharge with self-nurturing.  Space and time for myself is essential to maintaining the balance I need to stay happy.

What has practising yoga taught you about happiness?

To simply be content living and breathing in the moment I’m in, with the people, place, solitude or lesson that moment brings.  Yoga helps me look on the bright side, to be true to myself, to dance to the beat of my own drum, and respect my boundaries on and off the mat.  I remember feeling depressed in my twenties, often anxious and a little lost.  That’s when I found yoga and meditation, read †˜The Art of Happiness’ by the Dalai Lama, and reassessed.  Happiness is simply a state of mind, depending on how we decide to process what happens to us.

What’s next for Yoga by the Sea?

We’re about to kickstart our Winter Warmer Workshops, open another studio in Manly, and promote Yoga Rocks the Park, a yoga event I’ll be teaching later this year in Centennial Park.  I’m always scouting for new yoga retreat locations, with Broome, Sri Lanka and Fiji possibilities for the future.

dividers R1-beautifood left yellow

Ready to get your own savasana on?  Yoga By The Sea, Yoga from the Sky, and Yoga Under the Sea runs at 5 different locations with over 20 classes running around Sydney each week.  For more information on their schedule, workshops and retreats, head to their website or check outYoga By The Sea’s Facebook for daily inspiration on all things yoga.

Bondi Icebergs - just one of the beautiful backdrops to Sasha's classes

Bondi Icebergs – just one of the beautiful backdrops to Sasha’s classes

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Natural Beauty Interview with Lola Berry

Introducing the Steve Irwin of fruits and vegies, Lola Berry. She’s the most real, passionate and enthusiastic nutritionist you’ll find, dedicating each day to getting people excited about eating fresh, real foods and with a Bachelor of Health Science and a best selling cookbook behind her, the world is listening.

We don’t know how else to describe it, but Lola just radiates awesomeness. When she’s not teaching yoga, writing, filming or cooking, Lola is inspiring Aussies everywhere to eat the best they can, giving themselves the energy to shine.

Read on to find out how Lola became one of Australia’s leading nutritionists and most loved yogis as well as her top tips on food, beauty, staying real and living your dream. Prepare to be inspired!

Business
Tell us about your journey in becoming one of Australia’s leading nutritionists; has this always been your dream? 

Back in the day I lived a completely different life, I was working as DJ and partying five nights a week. I’m not going to lie I was having a lot of fun and I knew that I hadn’t found my passion or my bliss [or as yogis would call it, my dharma]

I was feeling a bit lost in general and one morning I just woke up and thought †˜stuff this I’m going on a detox’ and during that I just became really fascianted, obsessed even by healthy, clean foods. I wanted to study nutrution but I didn’t think I was academic enough, I mean I don’t have a science brain at all, before that I had studied drama! But my best friend convinced me to do it so I dove straight into the deep end and started studying nutritional medicine.

Whilst I was studying, it hit me one day that I was going to be the Steve Irwin of fruits and vegies. That’s me. Steve Irwin had always inspired me because he just had so much passion and almost this urgency to send such a cool message to people. That’s how it all came about!

What is a typical day for you? How do you keep that work/life balance?

Hahaha it changes! One day I’m teaching yoga, the next day I’m on radio or TV or writing, it’s so random.

I’ve just signed a new book deal for my fourth book so from today I’m going to really crack into writing.

But an ideal for me would be to get up go for a run on the beach, make an awesome smoothie, practice some yoga, do some writing and some filming, make a good healthy meal and then watch some kind of surf doco with a cup of tea and go to bed.

That’s a perfect day for me, but it doesn’t happen very often but at the moment because I’m doing all these random adventures!

And in terms of work/life balance? To be completely honest with you that’s something I’m still working on so. I’m a yes girl, I love to say yes to everybody and I love to give energy but I can’t keep up with it sometimes. I’m not going to sit here and tell you i’m the golden girl and I mediate everyday and I eat perfectly everyday, I’m always working on myself and I definitely burn myself out, I’m still trying to get that sorted!

For others out there wanting to start living their dream-  what is your advice?

Simple- just be real.  Do something that you’re truly passionate about not just because you think it’s a good idea that will do well in the market or because you want people to like you. I don’t think that makes longevity, longevity is authencitiy.

Lola working her magic in the kitchen

Lola working her magic in the kitchen

Beauty
 What is your daily skincare/make up routine?

Even though I’m very time poor, I do have a routine.  I use a lot of coconut oil on my face and hair as well as other oils like olive oil. I also eat a lot of fat when I notice that my skin isn’t looking good.

I take a lot of pride in my appearance, especially working in the media; you want to look after the way you look. There’s nothing worse, especially for me as I’ve gone through a lot of body issues, than not feeling confident so I just work on being the best that I can be inside and out.

Do you have any advice for other girls out there who are struggling with body image or self-confidence?

Get help. It’s a bit of a taboo subject not many people talk about it, but get help. I see a therapist and I have been for a while and I think that the reality is that we’ve all got a story and we’ve all got issues but at the end of the day it’s just about being ok with it and just accepting that it’s something you have to deal with.

For me, things still pop up and I still have really bad days where I just want to go binge eat or over exercise but there’s no shame in saying that.  But on those days when you do feel crap about yourself, just remember that if you just honour your health, you’ll come good.

 What is your best-kept beauty secret?

Honouring your health and one of my other biggest secrets is getting in 8 hours of sleep. I know if there’s a week where I’ve had some bad sleeps, I look crap and I feel like it too. When you’re getting enough sleep your leptin and ghrelin hormones are at the right level, your face is fresher and you have more control over your hunger levels.

Lola getting in her daily green smoothie

Lola getting in her daily green smoothie

Food
What is your core philosophy when it comes to food and diet?

Listen to your body. Food is here for two reasons; one to share and celebrate with the people you love and two, to nourish your body.

But my overall core message is show up and be the best you can be. Have the courage to listen to you heart and act on that.  Most people go throughout life without really living their passion or without really falling in love, but just step up to the plate!

Describe your day on a plate for us?

Breakfast: I love a green smoothie in the morning but in the winter I’ve started making chia puddings for breaky.

Snack: nuts, bliss balls or an alkalising juice.

Lunch: I’m an avocado freak so it will be a big salad with smashed avo, and I’ll try and put my carbs in at lunch time too so sweet spud and quinoa… but if I’m writing then generally all carbohydrate rules go out the window and I just snack all day!

Dinner: I have my protein and salad generally and then if I want to go for a bit of desert I’ll have some raw chocolate.

What foods do you eat to keep yourself looking your best?

For skin and nails I eat a lot of fats, like avocado, coconut oil, olive oil and salmon as well as a lot of greens like brussle sprouts, kale and broccoli. Plus I just constantly eat fresh, real foods. I used to tell my clients to count your colours, the more colours in a meal the more nutrient dense it will be!

What are your top three †˜cant’ live without’ ingredients when you cook and why?

1. Coconut oil/ olive oil – because you can just use them to cook anything

2. Chilli – I have to have my chilli, I love it so much!

3. Kale – because it is so versatile

Life
What is happiness to you right now?

Listening to your heart and having the courage to live that, because it’s one thing to listen to your heart and to know it but it’s another thing to act on it. When you do that, it’s pretty freakin cool, and how good is this for a quote? It’s a Benjamin Franklin one: †œMost people die at 25 and are buried at 75† how good is that?!

What is the best advice you have ever been given and how do you live it?

When I was around 4 years old, my babysitter would always take us to the milk bar and I’d always be like †œI’ve got all these big dreams! I want to be the next Cate Blanchett!† and she would turn around and †œsay of course you can, you can do it Lola and never let anybody tell you anything different†.

I think that is poignant to me because the older we get, (I’m 28 now) you become more and more aware of the pressures of society, you compare yourself more, doubt yourself more, there are pressures from the outside telling you that you need to live this stable life.

Before I started studying, I took out a $12,000 loan and pretended it was a student loan to pay for a film crew for when I wanted to be an actress, so I guess my point is live your dream because you’re the only person who can get you there and you’re the only person who can stop you.

What’s next for you?

My new book! It’s going to be lifestyle and recipe based which has been awesome to research and I’m doing some really cool stuff with Channel 9. I really want to start focusing more on filming; it’s my favourite thing to do!

And personally, I simply want to keep living my dream everyday [and one day live in a tree-house, that’s really important to me I say that with such seriousness] On top of that I just really want to live, breath, eat and sleep my beliefs and I want to be more in the now and really shine.

Lola at the farmers market stocking up on her fresh produce for the week

Lola at the farmers market stocking up on her fresh produce for the week

Want to connect with Lola? Check her out on her website (which has heaps of awesome videos we might add!) instagram  or facebook.

Read other inspirational stories and awesome tips from our other delicious women here. 

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The gorgeous Lee Holmes

She’s Delicious Interview with Lee Holmes of www.superchargedfood.com

Introducing health coach, yoga teacher, author, blogger and all-round wellness goddess- Lee Holmes, founder of Supercharged Food. When we met with her at Watson Bay’s Dunbar House, Lee was glowing from the inside out, this is a woman who lives and breathes health in the most holistic way possible.

Read on to find out how Lee built Supercharged Food from the ground up, how she nourishes her body and soul, and how her new upcoming yoga movement will take Australia by storm. There’s not much that this girl can’t do.

Lee at the Farmers' Markets

Award winning author & blogger Lee Holmes at the Farmers’ Markets

 

LEE’S GORGEOUS BUSINESS

What was your driving motivation to create Supercharged Food?

The Supercharged blog began roughly three years ago when I found myself in hospital and basically unable to function properly. I had gotten to the point of being so sick that I just couldn’t get out of bed anymore. I was absolutely exhausted all the time, I thought I had chronic fatigue but I tried to push through it, like many women do, we think we’re invincible!

In hospital I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease and they put me on a cocktail of drugs; immuno suppressants, anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-cancer drugs and a lot of steroids. The drugs weren’t working; in fact they were making me feel worse, so I slowly weaned myself off them and decided I was going to use food as my medicine.

I started researching different healing ingredients and travelling overseas to learn more and more. When I came back I started creating recipes using the ingredients I had learnt about, and they were so popular, everyone wanted them so I created a website where everyone could have access to them, and it evolved from there!

Tell us about your work in improving the food in public hospitals and why you are so passionate about it? How can we help?

During my time in hospital I was astonished at the food they served. It was high in sugar, salt and preservatives and was so processed I couldn’t believe it. At the moment, the system relies on friends and family to bring patients fresh food but it’s hard enough already for those who have a loved one in hospital let alone having to prepare food and bring it to them, so I started a petition to lobby for change within the NSW government, which you can sign here. I challenged the minister of health to eat hospital food for a few days she didn’t take me up on the challenge but as a result of the petition is rolling out a new hospital menu in selected hospitals across NSW.

Tell us about your new book ‘Eat Yourself Beautiful’?

‘Eat Yourself Beautiful’ is my third book and it focuses on delicious recipes made with anti-inflammatory ingredients. All of the recipes are sugar-free, gluten-free, and yeast-free and many are dairy free.

I was inspired to create a book based on eating an anti-inflammatory diet because of the amazing effect it has had on my own body. My skin is glowing, my hair is thicker and my eyes are whiter. In terms of beauty, an anti-inflammatory, nutrient rich diet is the way to go.

What is your business philosophy?

I feel that your business philosophy is not set in stone, it changes as you and your business grows. My philosophy at the moment is to keep following my passion and as long as I’m still enjoying it and being inspiring to others I’ll continue to do it.

The other philosophy for me and my advice to others is to make gradual, small changes and steps towards your goal. Take one day at a time; if you just do little things towards your business, one thing every day, then you’ll reach your milestone.

Have you got any tips on maintaining a †˜work life balance’?

For me having a routine is really important. In the morning I’ll get up and have a hot water with lemon and do some yoga poses to come into my body and clear my mind for the day ahead. I find that this little routine gives me energy and focus.

At night I meditate to clear my mind and write a to do list for the next day so I don’t lose sleep stressing and I can wake up fresh and ready for the day.

For others wanting to improve their work life balance I encourage them to create a routine for yourself and also to practice meditation [alternate nostril breathing is a great way to start!]

BEAUTY

What is your daily beauty and skin care regime?

In the mornings I’ll do a dry body brush then jump into the shower. After my shower I’ll put rose hip oil on my face and coconut oil all over my body.

Instead of perfume I have some essential oils that I put on my neck, and then finish with my favourite lip nourish – the NUDE –  vanilla and cinnamon (which my daughter always steals because she loves it so much too!)

What is your best kept beauty secret?

I make up a little mixture of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar that I dab on my age spots and any dark spots from the sun to fade them. It absolutely works.

How do you nourish your body from the inside to keep yourself looking so gorgeous on the outside?

I do it by eating a clean, anti-inflammatory diet filled with real, mostly organic food. Good fats are also an important part of my diet like coconut oil, krill oil, olive oil and sardines as I find they give my skin a beautiful, natural glow.

I also do a yoga routine that energises the body from the inside out and makes my skin appear fresh and ‘blushed’.

FOOD

What is your food philosophy?

My food philosophy is to eat organic food as close to its natural state as possible and eating local produce to support local farmers.

I also think it’s important to celebrate and appreciate your food by sitting down at the table, savouring each bite and enjoying food as an experience.

So through your Health Coaching how do you get people to apply these philosophies to their daily lives?

The way that I do that as a Certified Health Coach, is I give them a couple of little things to do every day. The client and I will put a plan together and we do everything gradually, one step at a time.

So for example, it might be starting your day with a hot water and lemon and then having a green juice every other day and we build on that. Once they start to feel the positive changes and see the physical benefits, people tend to get motivated by themselves to do more and more and they become open to making bigger changes.

Describe your day on a plate for us?

When I wake up I have a hot water and lemon and then a green juice after yoga which usually has spinach or kale, celery, mint, cucumber, coconut water and a green powder. For days that I need extra energy I’ll add nut milk or coconut oil. I tend to have a light breakfast and not eat until lunch time because it gives my body the chance to heal and cleanse itself. That’s what I do but it’s not for everyone, everyone is different.

If I’m hungry before lunch time I’ll have sardines and then for lunch I’ll have some left over’s from the night before or some stir fried veg, salad or fish.

For dinner I have some sort of grass fed lamb or slow cooked meal that I’ve made during the day with vegetables. I always eat dinner before 7 pm.

What are your top three †˜can’t’ live without’ ingredients when you cook and why?

  1. Garlic
  2. Kale- I’m obsessed with kale
  3. Herbs- for flavour

My ‘can’t live without meals’ are avocado and sardines on chia and flaxseed loaf, slow cooked lamb shanks and my shepherd’s pie with cauliflower mash.

Can you share with us your favourite †˜skin loving’ recipe?

Yes of course! Here is the recipe for my amazing cranberry and walnut granola:

Ingredients:

300 g (101/2 oz/11/2 cups) quinoa or brown rice flakes
90 g (31/4 oz/3/4 cup) chopped walnuts
75 g (21/2 oz/1/2 cup) dried cranberries
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 tablespoons almond flakes
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) coconut oil
60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) rice malt syrup, or sweetener of your choice
1/2 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
15 g (1/2 oz/1/4 cup) coconut flakes
almond milk, to serve

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and line a baking tray with baking paper.

  1. Combine the quinoa, walnuts, cranberries, sunflower seeds, pepitas, almond flakes, flaxseeds, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and mix well to combine.
  2. Place the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat and heat until it has melted. Add the rice malt syrup and vanilla and stir for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well, ensuring the dry ingredients are coated thoroughly.
  4. Transfer the granola to the baking tray in a single layer, then cook in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring frequently and breaking up any clumps that form. Remove from the oven, add the coconut flakes, and bake for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and cool.

To serve, place in a bowl and top with almond milk. It also tastes great on its own.
This granola keeps for 4 weeks in an airtight container in a cool dry place.

Lee's delicious cranberry and walnut granola

Lee’s delicious cranberry and walnut granola

 

Visit the bookshelf to read more about my recipe books.

LIFE

What is happiness to you?

At the moment, happiness to me is having peace of mind and clarity.

What is the best advice you have ever been given and how do you live it?

To never stop having the ability to believe in yourself and be inspired by others. Don’t give up after the first time you get knocked back, keep on trying and keep on believing in yourself. I believe you can always get to where you want to be, you just have to find ways to get there because it may not always be the straight and narrow, and it could be the scenic route!

This has not been advice, this is something that I have learnt from myself from when I was in hospital thinking that my life was over but I overcame that through self-belief.

What is your personal Monday morning mantra?

‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’

I say to myself that I can’t do everything; I’m just going to take small steps to get to where I need to be and do it brick by brick.

What’s next for Supercharged Food?

For me personally, I’m creating my own yoga movement which is going to be yoga for older people because I feel we are a very ageist society and we don’t look after our elderly. I’m calling it ‘foga’ – yoga for fogies!

I’ll be working with Seniors Week and at all the age care homes and rehabilitation centres to create a community using yoga to get people socialising, moving their bodies, getting their blood circulating and getting them meditating. Part of the program will incorporate old school music in class so it’s going to be a really community focused movement and I’ll be taking it all over Australia.

I’ve also got another 3 books coming out this year and between all of that I’m going to India in June to further my studies in Ayurvedic medicine!

 

The gorgeous Lee Holmes

The gorgeous Lee Holmes

Supercharged Food is THE go to website for health and wellness and is currently the 2013 BUPA health influencer blog of the year! So if you want to learn how nutrition and lifestyle can make you look and feel amazing, or you’ve been running low on energy or unwell, be sure to visit Supercharged Food and follow Lee on Facebook– you’ll find a range of super healthy recipes to suit all tastes, researched articles on the latest health trends, weekly food planners as well as competitions and reviews of the latest health and wellness products.

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