How to squeeze in self-care when time-poor

The Beauty Chef - How to squeeze in self-care when time-poor

Online, there is an often-shared meme about meditation that goes something like this… If you’re too busy to meditate for 20 minutes, then you should sit in meditation for an hour. But the same can be said for all kinds of self-care. Because the better you take care of yourself, the more prepared you’ll be to deal with all that life throws your way.

The craving for self-care often begins as a quiet, niggling whisper – feeling average or sluggish in the mornings, relying on coffee to kickstart your day, a lacklustre or troubled complexion, puffiness or dark circles under your eyes, an unusual lack of motivation or enthusiasm for things that would usually feel easy. But gradually, those whispers get louder. If you’re too busy to hear them, however, your body may start to shout ‘slow down’. One way or another, the message will eventually become loud and clear.

Self-care does not just happen. You need to carve out time for it. Schedule it. Commit to it. But the good news is a little self-love can go a long way. And it does not take as long as you think.

Here are some simple ways to weave self-care into your super busy life…

Rise an hour earlier to make time for yourself… Dry body brush, take a long bath, stretch or foam roll, dance to some upbeat tunes, write in a journal, sit up in bed and meditate, or just breathe. It doesn’t matter what you do – just do something for you. Everyone else can wait a little while.

Move your body every day… Pop your workout gear next to your bed the night before (or wear your gear to bed if that helps!), arrange to meet a buddy at dawn, stream an online yoga class, buy a gym pass or simply walk to work. Taking the stairs at the office also counts as movement and self-care. The key is to find something you enjoy and put it in your calendar. Remember, every little bit counts so commit to moving your body daily.

Rest and reset… Working hard and working out sometimes claims all our attention. But often, the magic really happens when you do nothing at all.  Schedule rest days or active recovery sessions in between challenging workouts so you don’t overtrain or invite overuse injuries. A gentle walk, yoga session or massage can help clear lactic acid from your muscles as well as giving your mind time to slow down and reset.

Embrace JOMO (the joy of missing out)… Take a look at your social calendar and don’t be afraid to say no to social events or people who do not bring you joy. As the weather cools down, allow yourself to be beckoned indoors for more soothing rituals.

Plan your meals… When you eat better, you feel better. Take time on the weekend to plan your menu for the week ahead and spend some time in the kitchen preparing a few basics. Make nourishing bone broths or soups, granola, chia puddings or healthy bliss balls – you could even pre-chop your smoothie ingredients. By arming yourself with a fridge full of nutrient-dense food, you’ll be ready for whatever the week throws your way.

Find your flow… Social Saturday, Self-care Sunday, Friday Funday, Tucked-In Tuesday (when you go to bed super early) or Unwired Wednesday (when you ditch social media for the day) – build your week upon restorative rituals that you and your body can look forward to. Consciously ebb and flow like the tide and tune into your intuition so you know when you need to retreat into your own space. Allow the rest of the world to be switched on 24/7, while you discover the rituals and rhythms that work best for you.

Take your time… When it comes to self-care, be prepared to spend some time trying new rituals and exploring what feels right for you. Forming new habits takes time, but once you find a few things that make you feel good, commit to doing them daily until they become second nature. You could try adopting one new self-care habit each week – by the end of the year you’ll have added 52 tiny rituals to your life that ultimately change your big picture for the better.

What is your favourite self-care practice? How do you carve out the time for self-care?

5 ways to embrace Earth Day

The Beauty Chef - 5 ways to embrace Earth Day

By Courtenay Turner

Although there’s only one ‘official’ day dedicated to planet earth in the calendar – the truth is, every day provides us with a new opportunity to preserve and protect the world we all love.

Here are some simple, yet effective practices you can implement into your daily life to help make every day, Earth Day…

The challenge: Ditch single-use face wipes.

The majority of face wipes or wet wipes are neither ‘flushable’ nor ‘biodegradable’, regardless of what’s written on the packaging. In fact, Australia’s water service providers are spending an estimated $15 million a year clearing up blockages caused by wet wipes. And while popping them in the bin is the better option, it’s far from ideal – most wipes contain polyester, which prevents them from breaking down. According to Dr Laura Foster from the Marine Conservation Society, there’s been a 400 per cent increase in wet wipes washing up on beaches in the UK in the past decade.

Face wipes often fail in the skin department too, as they don’t completely remove makeup and grime. They can also wreak havoc on the skin due to the myriad of chemicals they contain. So, while they are quick and convenient, wipes are one product most of us could do without!

The solution: Our Founder & Director, Carla, uses coconut oil and a reusable muslin cloth to cleanse her face. When applying topical products like our Probiotic Skin Refiner, she also suggests opting for reusable organic cotton rounds, which you can find on Etsy.

The challenge: Commit to cold water washing and air-drying your laundry.

Drying your clothes in the great outdoors will not only greatly reduce your electricity bill, but also lessen your environmental footprint. According to The Guardian, the way you do your laundry can contribute a surprising amount to your carbon footprint. A load of laundry washed at 30°C that’s dried on the line will create approximately 0.6 kg of CO2 emissions, while a load washed at 60°C that’s dried in a dryer will create approximately 3.3 kg of CO2 emissions. Over the course of a year, that’s a huge difference!

The solution: Only wash your clothes when necessary and make sure you have a full load ready to go before turning on your machine. Opt for cold water and select the ‘eco’ setting – and, make friends with your clothesline. These simple swaps will not only benefit our planet, but also save you money and extend the life of your clothes.

The challenge: Use essential oils, vinegar and baking soda in the quest to keep your kitchen clean.

Harsh chemical cleaners not only impact our environment, but they may also affect our health and the health of our kids. If you’re not game enough to make your own cleaning products, eco-friendly cleaning products can often be purchased in bulk and then refilled over and over again at your local co-op or bulk-food store. Trying to reuse what you already have is a simple way to reduce the amount of plastic containers entering the recycling stream – or worse still, landfill.

The solution: Look into some of the amazing eco-friendly cleaning products that are now on the market, or make your own using vinegar, essential oils and baking soda. Thankfully, most of the ingredients needed to make DIY cleaning products are super affordable, too.

The challenge: Incorporate more plant-based proteins, like BODY Inner Beauty Support™, our plant-based protein and wellness powder, into your diet.

For all of us – vegetarian, vegan and meat-eaters alike – reducing our consumption of meat and dairy products is one simple way to reduce our environmental footprint. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the livestock sector is responsible for around 14.5 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions (more than the transport industry!). What’s more, eating a diverse range of fibre-rich plant foods also benefits our microbiome, meaning a healthier, happier gut – and a healthier, happier you!

The solution: Try going meat-free at least one day a week. If you choose to buy animal products, opt for those which are Certified Organic and ethically-raised and produced, wherever possible. Seek out pasture-raised dairy, grass-fed meat and eggs.

The challenge: Reduce food waste by shopping smarter and composting fruit and vegetable scraps.

When food is thrown in the bin, it’s sent to landfill where it emits a cocktail of methane and carbon dioxide as it decomposes. In fact, if food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third highest polluter, ranking only behind the US and China! We also waste one-third of the food we produce globally, despite so many of not having enough food to eat. By improving the way we consume and dispose of food, we’ll improve the health of our planet and the people who inhabit it.

The solution: Put simply, the answer is not to create more food,  but rather to stop wasting what we already produce. Use this handy guide to adopt smarter shopping habits or consider purchasing a compost bin for scraps and other household items.

If you’re keen to implement more earth-friendly practices into your everyday life, resources like the WWF Ecological Footprint Calendar and 1MillionWomen are a great place to start.

Have you implemented any of these tips at home?

Get gutsy with Carla | Why you should opt for organic skincare

The Beauty Chef - Get gutsy with Carla: Why you should opt for organic skincare

 

As our body’s largest organ, our skin – like our bellies – needs to be nourished with clean, pure, wholefood ingredients in order to stay healthy. That’s why applying topical treatments that are neither organic, nor natural, can affect to our overall toxicity levels – contributing to both gut and skin health issues.

 

By opting for organic, natural skincare, however, you can help to nurture and boost your skin’s own ability to regulate and rejuvenate.

 

Did you know our skin has its own microbiome?

Our skin (like our gut) has its very own microbiome, that acts as our protector against pathogens, irritation and inflammation. Essentially, our skin is also our immune system’s first line of defence so it’s important to keep our skin’s natural barrier robust and healthy.

Commercial cleansers and harsh exfoliators however, can strip the skin of its natural oils, as well as beneficial and pathogenic bacteria. As our skin is also porous, any chemical or topical treatment we apply may be absorbed into our bloodstream.

There are loads of chemicals to try and steer clear of, but some of the most common offenders include parabens, synthetic colours and fragrances, phthalates, and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).

 

Choose organic, botanical ingredients instead.

When selecting your topical skincare, it’s best to keep things simple. Choose products that are derived from wholefoods and botanical ingredients which are more gentle and designed to nourish and feed your skin. As I often say, if you can’t pronounce an ingredient – or you wouldn’t eat it – don’t put it on your skin.

One of my favourite topical products is our Probiotic Skin Refiner which is made using the bioactive liquid from the fermentation of our powders. It’s my biggest skin secret and a product I have loved for many years now. This little miracle worker is naturally rich in lactic acid, so it helps to synthesise collagen, refine the complexion and boost skin cell turnover. The probiotics that naturally occur in the product also help to balance the skin’s natural flora, so your skin feels softer, smoother and more radiant.

 

What are your top skin secrets? We’d love to know!

The other microbiome you need to know about

The Beauty Chef - The other microbiome you need to know about

 

The importance of cultivating a healthy gut microbiome for immunity, skin health, brain health and longevity is an established fact with studies repeatedly showing that the good bugs in our gut may deliver many health benefits.

While research is ongoing, there is also growing evidence to suggest that your other microbiome – that is, the ecosystem on the surface of your skin – also plays an important role in your inner and outer health. Thinking about it might make you squirm, but it’s estimated that every square centimetre of your skin is home to at least a million bacteria along with an array of fungi, viruses and even mites. (Yes, mites!)

 

Along with your gut microbes, your skin bacteria affects your immunity and skin health, with your skin essentially acting as your body’s first line of defence against environmental pathogens. Your skin is also your largest organ, and the microbes on the surface of your skin are in constant communication with your gut, as well as your immune system.

Interestingly, your skin’s microbiome is about five times larger than researchers initially thought. It actually extends deep beneath the dermis to the subcutaneous fat beneath the surface of your skin, including the subcutaneous follicular surfaces of the hair follicles and sweat ducts beneath the visible surface of your skin. This diverse ecosystem helps you to ward off infections and environmental pathogens, boosts your immunity, supports wound healing and helps to keep your skin hydrated.


In a 2014 study titled, “Bacteria on the skin: Our invisible companions influence how quickly wounds heal,” it was suggested that the presence of certain bacteria on the surface of an individual’s skin could influence how quickly wounds heal. The researchers concluded that while much of the current research on chronic wounds focuses on improving antibiotic dressings to prevent infection, a better understanding of skin bacteria could lead to new treatments that protect against harmful bacteria, without also eliminating the bacterial communities that may play a beneficial role.

 

Research has found that when the skin’s barrier is broken, increased exposure to certain toxin-producing bacteria can cause problems such as inflammation and infection. It makes sense then that your skin’s delicate microbiome can be damaged or disrupted by overzealous exfoliation, topical steroids, antibacterial soaps, sanitisers and cleansers. And the consequences of upsetting your outer ecosystem can include breakouts, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, dandruff, dehydrated skin and heightened sensitivity.

 

The good news is, your skin’s unique microbial community is surprisingly stable and there are a few things you can do to protect your skin’s hard-working microbiome…

Exercise.

Working up a sweat a few times a week is not only good for our physical health, but one study suggests that the ammonia-eating bacteria (that are a major component of sweat) may also improve skin health.

Get your hands dirty.

Swedish research found that children of families who washed their dishes by hand instead of using a dishwasher, suffered fewer allergies – suggesting that exposing skin to the microbes on dirty plates had beneficial effects. Avoiding the overuse of harsh soaps, cleansers and exfoliants that can strip beneficial microbes from the surface of your skin will also help protect your outer microbiome.

Cultivate good gut health.

Gut imbalances have been linked to skin inflammation and other skin manifestations which is why nourishing our inner microbiome is so important for our outer microbiome as well. Eating a diet rich in lacto-fermented probiotic foods (such as yoghurt, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut) as well as prebiotic foods (fibre-rich veg), colourful fruits and vegetables and healthy fats is a great way to support your gut health – as well as your skin health.

 

How do you support your skin’s microbiome?

5 ways to cultivate inner beauty

The Beauty Chef - 5 ways to cultivate inner beauty


By Courtenay Turner

 

When it comes to ‘beauty’ – our mind often turns to our physical selves and the changes we make on a surface level. But as we know, true beauty comes from within and often, it’s the changes we make on the inside that are the most transformative.

Cultivating a sense of inner beauty is a delicate dance as we move between turning inwards to embrace practices of self-care, while also turning our gaze outwards to focus on the people around us, doing our best to show up and support the ones we love. Here are five inspiring ways to cultivate inner beauty – with balance and grace…

 

Practise kindness.

It may sound simple, but kindness is a seriously underrated trait – one which we believe to be an incredibly important characteristic to cultivate. Kindness encapsulates acts of compassion and selflessness, so it’s no surprise that research links kindness to feelings of happiness and contentment – for both the giver and the receiver. It’s been suggested by writers and academics that we are living in the age of anger, so replacing anger with kindness (even when we feel it may be undeserved) is a surefire way to make you – and the world around you – a kinder, happier place.

 

Look up.

We have a lot to thank technology for – ease of communication with friends and family, the ability to let our loved ones know of our whereabouts, as well the convenience of an all-in-one device that doubles as a camera and an encyclopedia. But, nonetheless, most of us know that too much phone time – namely time spent on social media – may be harming our mental health. A recent study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that people who limited their social media use to just 30 minutes a day reported reductions in feelings of depression and loneliness and felt significantly better after the three-week trial period. The solution? Look up. By looking up and out at the world around you, you allow your brain to play, daydream and improvise, thereby encouraging it to enter into its natural cognitive state.

 

Eat well.

When you eat well and nourish your body with nutrient-dense wholefoods, you’re likely to sleep better, experience better moods and see increases in energy. All of these factors play a role in making us healthier, happier humans. And as we all know, when we’re feeling content and vibrant, this also benefits our loved ones, friends and colleagues too! According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Certain foods are key components in the manufacture of powerful chemicals in the brain. These chemicals, called neurotransmitters, can boost mood, improve sleep, increase pain tolerance and enhance performance”. Check out our favourite pantry essentials for more healthy eating inspiration.

 

Move mindfully.

Hate running? Don’t do it. Can’t stand pilates? Find an alternative. By finding forms of movement that we love and look forward to, we’re far more likely to feel energised and nourished when we exercise. Regular movement plays an important role in our mental and physical wellbeing, and when we’re doing it in a way that works for us, we shouldn’t feel bored or depleted. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise promotes better sleep, improves mood and boosts energy, so grab your friends and get moving! (Just be careful not to overdo it).

 

Be grateful.

Gratitude is a simple practice, but it doesn’t always come naturally to us. Sometimes, in order to actually feel grateful, we need to take a more disciplined approach to this lofty concept. What’s more, approaching gratitude in a more calculated way can often filter down into our everyday lives. Why not try taking five minutes every day at 8am to pause and ponder the things in your life that bring you joy? Then, write them down in a gratitude journal or in the notes section of your phone. This provides a tangible reference to reflect on in times of stress. Gratitude also helps us to counteract 21st-century syndromes like “FOMO” – by training ourselves to deeply appreciate what we have, we focus far less on what we believe to be lacking. Perhaps more than any other practice, gratitude helps to cultivate inner beauty by making us aware of all the abundance and joy in our lives.

 

How do you cultivate inner beauty? We’d love to know your favourite practices…

Dessert tasting platter

The Beauty Chef - Dessert tasting platter

 

SERVES 4–6

This is my absolute favourite way to have dessert and share it with family and friends. It looks so beautiful, is healthy, and caters to varying tastes and dietary requirements. It is also a wonderful way to experiment with the very different combinations you can create.

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g good-quality dark chocolate, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 150g strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 125g blueberries
  • 1 small handful Brazil nuts
  • 1 small handful hazelnuts
  • 1 small handful pecans
  • 2 tablespoons desiccated (shredded) coconut
  • 1 small handful basil leaves, torn
  • 1 small handful fresh edible rose petals*
  • 1 tablespoon edible dried lavender
  • 1 long red chilli, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

METHOD

  1. Arrange the ingredients on a serving platter or chopping board and share with friends.
  2. This is a wonderful way to experiment with the very different combinations you can enjoy with dark chocolate: chocolate and lavender, chocolate with basil and blueberries, chocolate and sea salt.

*Pesticide-free

 

For more recipe inspiration, visit The Digest.

Blueberry & pear GLOW smoothie

The Beauty Chef - Blueberry & pear GLOW smoothie

 

SERVES 1

Antioxidant-rich blueberries and pear combine in this delicious gut-nourishing smoothie. Enjoy for brekkie or as an afternoon snack.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup (125mL) coconut water
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 small pear, quartered and cored
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) coconut milk kefir
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon ground yellow linseeds
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon GLOW Inner Beauty Powder™
  • Fresh blueberries, to serve (optional)

METHOD

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a high-speed blender and blitz until smooth.
  2. Top with fresh blueberries, if desired.

 

Looking for more recipe inspo? Visit The Digest to view our latest recipes.