3 ways stress compromises our health

The Beauty Chef - 3 ways stress compromises our health


By Ashley Cameron


When was the last time you felt stressed? Last month? Last week? Yesterday?

The truth is, stress is a natural part of our busy modern lives – and while a little bit of stress is normal, ongoing or chronic stress can wreak havoc on our health, as well as our skin.


What is stress?

In simple terms, stress is a natural physiological response that occurs when we’re faced with a challenge – also known as the ‘fight or flight’ response – and cortisol (our body’s stress hormone) is released into our bloodstream. This natural instinct ensures we stay out of danger and can respond to any imminent threats. The trouble is that stress is not just something we feel on a surface level and our whole body can be impacted by the influx of cortisol in our system.


How stress affects our health


It damages the gut.

While you might not immediately think that an emotion like stress could impact your gut health, the truth is that your brain and your gut are intimately connected. This pathway is known as the gut-brain axis and while it works both ways, your gut is certainly one of your brain’s closest friends. So, when you feel stressed, your gut certainly knows about it!

In fact, studies now show that stress can actually alter the balance of bacteria in the gut and damage the delicate gut lining. This can contribute to leaky gut – or intestinal permeability – where the tight junctions in the gut wall become more permeable than they should be, effectively allowing undigested particles of food, toxins and pathogens to escape into the bloodstream. This causes inflammation, which we now know to be one of the leading contributors to virtually all metabolic disease.


It suppresses the immune system.

When it comes to our immunity, our gut is the gatekeeper! More than 70 percent of our immune system is housed in our gut, meaning that during times of stress, we become more vulnerable to infections as cortisol suppresses our immune response.

A robust immune system and healthy microbiome is also dependent on maintaining a good balance of bacteria and fostering microbial diversity in the gut so considering stress can upset this delicate balance, weakened immunity is often one of the first symptoms of stress.


It causes skin inflammation.

Just like our gut has a constant dialogue with our brain, it is also in constant conversation with our skin. This information pathway is known as the gut-skin axis so in the same way stress can damage our gut, it can also damage our skin. Gut inflammation – due to stress – is directly linked to skin inflammation as excess cortisol breaks down collagen, the protein essential for healthy, strong, plump skin. If you’re skin is looking dull, lacklustre or you’re noticing a few new fine lines and wrinkles, it could be your body’s way of showing you just how stressed you really are.

This link between our emotions and our skin is known as psychodermatology and describes how emotional triggers such as stress can also exacerbate pre-existing skin conditions like acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.


How to combat stress


While it’s impossible to avoid stress completely, it’s important we put measures in place to manage our stress response…

    • Practise meditation and mindfulness. If you’re yet to get on the meditation bandwagon, it’s time to jump on board! Meditation and mindfulness practices needn’t be complicated – simply taking the time to close your eyes and take 10 deep, belly breaths can have an incredible impact and help to reduce stress levels. There are also a number of amazing mediation apps these days to help keep you on track. At The Beauty Chef HQ, we’re currently loving Insight Timer!
    • Eat a nutrient-dense diet. Rebalance your belly and encourage microbial diversity by enjoying a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, healthy fats and lacto-fermented foods. Our microbes thrive on variety so opt for nutrient-dense wholefoods and keep your bacteria happy. A simple way to support your gut health and promote skin radiance is to add GLOW Inner Beauty Powder to your daily routine. Packed with 24 Certified Organic bio-fermented superfoods, it’s also rich in prebiotics and probiotics to nourish your microbiome.
    • Prioritise sleep. Disrupted sleep can disrupt your microbiome too so develop a nighttime ritual to encourage restful, deep sleep. Avoid stimulating bright lights from your television or smart phone in the lead up to bed, enjoy a nice warm bath or a soothing cup of herbal tea or SLEEP Inner Beauty Powder and get set to snooze.


How do you manage your stress levels?





The importance of protein for glowing skin, hair & nails

The Beauty Chef - The importance of protein for glowing skin, hair & nails


By Courtenay Turner

The majority of us now know that healthy fats are essential for plump and glowing skin. We add avocado to our smoothies, munch on chia seeds and drizzle extra virgin olive oil on our salads.  And while healthy fats contain a multitude of beauty-boosting benefits, there’s another macronutrient that’s equally as important when it comes to the health of your hair, skin and nails: protein.


Protein for healthy hair

You’ve likely seen keratin hair treatments advertised at your local hair salon.  But did you know that you can also nourish your hair from the inside, out by eating foods rich in protein? Protein supplies the body with the amino acids it requires to make keratin – one of the structural proteins in our skin, hair and nails. To boost your body’s natural keratin production, you need to consume an adequate amount of protein, as well as specific vitamins and minerals that support this process. These include foods rich in biotin (nuts, beans, cauliflower and mushrooms), vitamin A (pumpkin, sweet potatoes, raw carrots) as well as sulfurous foods (meat, eggs, kale, Brussels sprouts). The Beauty Chef’s protein powder, BODY Inner Beauty Powder, is an all-encompassing wellness powder that supports healthy hair growth thanks to its unique plant-based protein blend that’s both easy to digest and absorb.


Protein for glowing skin

Given that protein is one of the building blocks of skin tissue, it’s no surprise that an adequate intake of this macronutrient is essential for plump, healthy skin. Protein also contains two amino acids, namely L-lysine and L-proline, that support the body’s production of collagen.

Choosing which source of protein is best for you (and your skin!) really depends on your preferences, taste, ethics and allergies and/or intolerances. It’s also important to note that not all sources of protein are created equal. Animal sources of protein like chicken, beef, fish, eggs and dairy are often called “complete proteins”, because they contain all the essential amino acids. Plant proteins, on the other hand, are considered “incomplete proteins” because they do not contain a complete amino acid profile. Vegans and vegetarians need not worry though – strategically combining different sources of plant protein can help to ensure that your body still gets the beauty-boosting nutrients it needs.

The Beauty Chef’s protein powder contains both pea and brown rice protein to form a complete amino acid profile. BODY is perfect for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores and, when incorporated into your morning routine, can make for a nourishing and satisfying breakfast. BODY Inner Beauty Powder also contains the added skin-loving benefits of ingredients like acerola cherry, mushrooms, grasses, berries, algae, cruciferous vegetables, seeds, spices, fruits and leafy greens.


Protein for gut health

When compared with high carbohydrate breakfasts, studies show that protein-rich breakfasts (containing upwards of 35g of protein) are more effective at suppressing ghrelin, your hunger hormone. Consuming protein-rich foods that are satiating enough to carry you through to your next meal is important for maintaining a healthy gut. This is because the time between meals sans food actually gives your Migrating Motor Complex (MMC) time to work its magic. MMC is like a cleansing wave that “sweeps” food particles out of the intestines. This helps to keep your gut in balance and allows your digestive system to take a well-earned break.

Studies also show that consuming around 25–30g protein at every meal benefits appetite, weight loss and metabolism. While this is easy to achieve at lunch and dinner, breakfast is often when most of us fall short. Unsurprisingly, sugary cereals and toast just don’t cut it! We recommend ditching your usual box of cornflakes or fruit toast for a nutrient-dense smoothie that boasts a balance of macronutrients. Simply combine a wholefood protein powder like BODY with fruit, vegetables, nuts or nut butter and your choice of milk and natural yoghurt. BODY Inner Beauty Powder is the perfect smoothie addition, as it contains the added benefit of both prebiotics and probiotics to help rebalance your microbiome, as well as an arsenal of amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to boost your metabolic rate and keep you feeling full for longer.

It’s important to note too, that if the gut is imbalanced, sometimes digesting protein can prove difficult – which is why a protein powder like BODY Inner Beauty Powder can be such a great addition to your daily routine. As it’s fermented and sprouted, it is therefore more easily digested by the body as the nutrients are more bioavailable.


How do you like to incorporate protein into your meals?

The link between acne & gut health

The Beauty Chef - The link between acne & gut health


As we age, wouldn’t it be great if we could enjoy the healthy skin of our youth without the spots that can sometimes arrive in your 30s and 40s?

The skin is a great barometer for what’s going on inside the gut and if you’re suffering from more than the odd spot, you may need to work on your inner beauty routine and address any dietary or hormonal imbalances.

If you have adult acne, the first step is to ask your doctor to carry out hormonal tests. One of the more common hormonal imbalances associated with acne is an increased sensitivity to, or raised levels of, testosterone and/or androgens. Polycystic ovarian syndrome may be involved in androgen imbalances as well as insulin and blood sugar imbalances.

If your acne tends to worsen mid-cycle or around your period, an oestrogen/progesterone imbalance may be to blame. Nearly half of all women get acne at these times and your doctor may discover that this is due to oestrogen dominance.

Help reduce oestrogen levels by improving liver detoxification with foods, herbs and specific nutrients – while also limiting your exposure to non-organic dairy and meats, xenoestrogens (found in plastics and other industrial compounds) and phthalates (found in perfume).


Get gutsy

Gut health is also critical from a hormonal perspective and oestrogen levels are affected by digestion. A normal bowel transit time allows excess oestrogen to pass out of the body, rather than being reabsorbed. More and more studies are also supporting the link between gut health and acne with recent research illustrating how SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) is 10 times more prevalent in people with acne. Probiotics can be helpful in optimising digestion and some strains of bacteria that evidence shows to be helpful in the treatment of acne include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus salivarius.


Manage stress

Cortisol, released during times of stress, has a hand in controlling blood-sugar levels, metabolism and inflammation – which can influence skin health and may contribute to acne. Managing stress therefore, either through meditation or yoga or by taking herbal medicines and nutrients that help to lower and control cortisol, can help control acne. Vitamin B3 and zinc have both been shown to reduce acne and oily skin by regulating cortisol levels, while omega-3s can help to regulate and support hormone health. Again, probiotics can support gut function and reduce cortisol levels, helping you to maintain a sense of calm and peace.


Change your diet

Poor diet and food sensitivities can also be a cause of adult acne. The clue lies in the type of spot – fine red pimples or whiteheads on the face, neck and chest are often due to food reactions while large pimples and cysts are generally hormonal. The first step is to identify any food sensitivities via an elimination diet. Wheat, dairy, sugar and fatty deep-fried or creamy foods are the usual suspects. Eating low-GI, anti-inflammatory foods such as green leafy veg and taking sugar-metabolising nutrients such as chromium, magnesium, calcium and zinc can all help, as will avoiding dairy.


Consider a detox

Your skin is often the first place to show signs of an under-functioning liver as wastes and toxins are eliminated via the skin, resulting in pimples and acne. A detox can therefore give your liver and other elimination organs a spring clean and boost your skin health. Eating an abundance of plant-based foods – including leafy greens, cruciferous veggies – as well as easily digested and probiotic-rich wholefoods, will help. And don’t forget to exercise regularly and drink lots of filtered water! Traditional liver herbs like burdock root, chicory, dandelion root, turmeric and milk thistle can also be helpful.


Improve lymphatic flow

Your skin is your body’s largest elimination organ, so when you’re overloaded with toxins on the inside, it can show on the outside. Lymphatic fluid rests just below the skin so when the lymphatic system is sluggish or unable to rid itself of toxins, the skin suffers. There are lots of ways to improve lymphatic flow – start by drinking at least two litres of filtered, room-temperature water each day. And, incorporate 1–2 minutes of dry body brushing into your daily routine. Walking, jogging, swimming and cycling will also help.


A version of this article originally appeared in WellBeing magazine.

7 retreats your gut will love

The Beauty Chef - 7 retreats your gut will love

Photo credit: Aro Hā

Travel may be good for the soul but often, it’s not so great for our gut. Unfamiliar and overly rich foods, dehydration and more alcohol than usual are just some of the digestion-disruptors we can encounter while on holidays.

Finding nutrient-dense food and gut-friendly ingredients can be challenging unless you know where to go. Throw in a few food intolerances and you may even wind up wishing you were back home. While healthy holidays require a little more upfront research than your standard getaway – careful planning ensures carefree escapes!

Here are a few of our favourite holiday retreats that your body, mind and gut will love…


Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

When it comes to total body restoration and resetting bad habits, Gwinganna is the real deal. This health haven is easy to reach – just a short drive from Coolangatta airport – and feels like heaven on earth. Along with long daily hikes in the lush Gold Coast hinterland and guided workouts, the program includes daily seminars to ensure you take your new healthy habits home with you. The wholefood cuisine is seasonal, organic – often harvested daily from the extensive, onsite gardens – and prepared with plenty of TLC. Portion sizes are also cleverly curated to help reset your appetite and prevent overeating. Luckily however, the spa treatment menu is super indulgent so you certainly won’t feel deprived. Throughout your stay, you are encouraged to eat and move mindfully for deep, lasting effects.


Gaia Retreat

Gaia means spirit of Mother Earth and this retreat – located just 20 minutes from Byron Bay in Northern NSW – serves up some of the best cuisine our planet has to offer. The retreat restaurant, Kukura House, sources food from the organic garden plus taps into the abundance of local produce in the surrounding hinterland. Flexibility is also on the menu, allowing you to check in any day for a two, three, five or seven night stay. You can also choose which wellness package and spa treatments suit you best. Combine them with gentle daily yoga, nature walks, organic cooking classes and decadent spa treatments to complete your reset.


Natural Instinct Healing

While this one certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted, if you’re seeking total transformation, consider signing up to the NIH Fasting Detox Health Retreat. Hosted at the base of Mount Warning near Byron Bay, it’s an 8-night retreat that aims to purge accumulated toxins and acid wastes while activating your body’s healing responses. The program includes practitioner-prescribed herbs and natural supplements to encourage elimination, enemas, dry skin brushing, yoga, meditation, massages, herbal teas and 4–5 daily “detox” shakes made from juice, bentonite clay and psyllium husk. NIH also runs retreats in Ubud, Bali’s relaxation epicentre, where you can choose from a range of options including fasting detoxes or superfood cleanses.


Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat

When you need a quick escape, Elsyia is just a two and a half hour drive from Sydney – yet a world away from everything. While the wifi is weak (you need to take a long walk right down to the main gate) the surrounding – often parched, brown – Hunter Valley hills are strangely soothing for overstimulated minds. You can choose how little or how much you engage in the activities on offer which include cycling, tennis, sunrise tai chi, meditation, yoga and evening wellness seminars. Although it’s tempting to just divide your time between the steam room and the delicious wholefood dining room.



For those seeking a healing journey a little further afield, here are some ideas for healthy overseas holidays…


Como Shambala Estate, Bali

Whether you’re seeking a complete reset or simply a tropical retreat, this is the perfect luxurious and holistic solution. Offering three to 21-day programs – and located just a short drive from Ubud – the luxurious Como Shambala Estate combines the very best of east and west healing philosophies. There are two restaurants on the property: Kudus serving Indonesian and the health-focused Glow which includes many raw dishes on its menu. Both restaurants apply a field-to-table philosophy, sourcing local ingredients wherever possible. To get you moving there are jungle treks, yoga, pilates and hydrotherapy.


The Ranch at Live Oak, Los Angeles

If doing eight hours of exercise every day for seven days is your idea of a good time – then this is the place for you! LA’s most luxurious boot camp sits atop the Santa Monica Mountains, overlooking Malibu’s celebrity-studded coastline below. Upon arrival you will have your body composition and cholesterol tested before checking into your calm, white-washed, private cabin. Days begin at 5am with yoga before breakfast. Then, it’s a four-hour group hike, lunch, guided afternoon workouts and massage before more yoga and dinner. The meals are organic, vegetarian and low calorie but nutrient-dense. Strictly no alcohol, dairy, caffeine or sugar allowed. Just plenty of fresh air, exercise and sleep. Bliss.


Aro Hā, New Zealand

You’ve likely already seen the yoga asanas silhouetted against that stunning South Island backdrop on Instagram… but Aro Hā in New Zealand is also famous for its stunning (and challenging) three to four hour hikes along mountainous trails. After lunch, the afternoons are all about workouts and deep tissue treatments. Everyone follows the same schedule. Think cardio, stretch, restricted calories, and deep, restorative sleep – on repeat for five to seven days. Fortunately, you will also have the most mind-blowing scenery to distract you. The plant-based menu is delicious and as picture-perfect as that incredible yoga studio.


For more wellness inspiration, visit The Digest.

Why spring is the best time to cleanse

The Beauty Chef - Why spring is the best time to cleanse


By Courtenay Turner

Take your cues from the rhythms of nature and embrace spring as a period of renewal and rejuvenation for your skin and body…

In the natural world, spring is a period of new growth – blossoms bloom, new leaves begin to develop, snow melts and life returns to even the most desolate of places. In Australia, we smell the coming of spring on the breeze, as pollen takes to the air after a winter of crisp and cool winds.

This period of transition is the perfect opportunity to refresh and reset your body… so dust off your joggers, put the puffer jacket back in the closet and get ready to bloom!

Perk up your plate

There’s no better time to refresh your eating habits than in spring. While winter is the perfect time to embrace warm, grounding foods like soups and stews, spring is the perfect time to enjoy fresh, alkalising greens, nourishing salads and seasonal vegetables. If you’ve fallen into the habit of eating stodgy meals over the winter period, think of spring as a time to reset and refresh your palate – and your plate. By spring cleaning your insides with fresh herbs, bitter greens, microgreens and plenty of spices, you’ll set yourself on a path to radiant skin and re-energise your body. Where possible, opt for organic produce too in order to avoid pesticides, hormones and heavy metals which may increase your body’s toxic load.  


Incorporate a wholefood supplement

To maximise your spring cleanse and give your body some extra support, take a wholefood supplement like CLEANSE Inner Beauty Powder. CLEANSE contains detoxifying herbs, liver-supporting ingredients, vitamins, minerals, fibre and natural pre- and probiotics to support both your liver and your immune health. When you cleanse, you are primarily cleansing your liver, kidneys and skin, as these organs are responsible for eliminating wastes and toxins from the body. Assisting your body’s natural detoxification process with a Certified Organic, super-greens formula is the perfect way to kickstart the cleansing process.


Brush and move

Regular exercise and dry body brushing are the perfect pair when it comes to cleansing the body and the skin because together, they support the body’s lymphatic system and detoxification process. If you’ve been in hibernation over the winter period, don’t despair – you don’t need to launch into a daily session of HIIT or pound at the treadmill for an hour every day. Start by walking, preferably uphill, to elevate your heart rate. Do this is in nature and you’ll no doubt feel refreshed and renewed as the world around you brims with new life. Pair moderate but regular exercise with dry body brushing for an effective way to improve lymphatic flow, eliminate toxins and help reduce cellulite.


Make it safe and achievable

If a “Spring Detox” program sounds too good to be true, chances are, it probably is. Harsh detoxes, extended juice cleanses and extreme deprivation will likely do your body more harm than good. In fact, to best support your body’s natural detoxification system, you need to be eating a nutrient-dense wholefood-based diet. Simply drinking juices and apple cider vinegar is not enough. Certain macronutrients – namely protein – are key to a successful cleanse. Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids which bind with toxins in the liver and carry them out of the body. As you embark on your cleanse, be sure to include a small serving of protein at every meal to support your liver and keep energy and blood sugar levels stable – good sources include organic lead meats, sustainably-caught fish and nuts and seeds.


Have you ever done a seasonal cleanse? We’d love to hear about your experience!

5 ways to reduce your toxic load at home

The Beauty Chef - 5 ways to reduce your toxic load at home


By Courtenay Turner

Your “toxic load” refers to the accumulation of chemicals, toxins and other substances in the body that are ingested or absorbed through the skin. We encounter many of these harmful substances in our daily lives, whether it’s from second-hand cigarette smoke, urban pollution, conventional cleaning products or your daily makeup routine. In fact, even the food and water that we consume to nourish our bodies can sometimes contain harmful toxins.

While the body works hard to eliminate and detoxify itself from these substances, it can easily become overloaded. If it remains in this state for extended periods of time, you’ll not only experience unpleasant symptoms, but may in fact develop chronic health problems. For this reason, it’s important to actively reduce your toxic load at home, while simultaneously supporting your body’s own detoxification system.


Embrace green cleaning products

Swap harsh chemical cleaners for natural, plant-based products and you’ll do your body a world of good. While occasional contact with commercial cleaning products is unlikely to cause any harm, it’s best to avoid daily use and make the switch to toxin-free products for long-term use. Many common cleaning products actually contain chemicals that are known to be harmful, especially for pregnant women and children. Certain chemicals in the ‘phthalate’ class, for example, have been linked to breast cancer, asthma and fertility issues. Surprisingly, phthalates are commonly found in household cleaning and beauty products. By embracing true green cleaning brands like Bondi Wash, you can dramatically reduce your toxic load. Bondi Wash is crafted using Australian botanicals, essential oils, plant-based soaps and sugar-derived alcohol, all of which are kind on the body.


Ditch the perfume

Those attempting to embrace a more natural lifestyle have likely moved on from the use of commercial perfumes – and with good reason. Some of the chemicals used in conventional perfumes are known hormone disruptors and can irritate the skin. For this reason, they’re a surefire way to increase your body’s toxic load. In fact, many common perfume ingredients are actually listed on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s “Hazardous Waste list”. If applying perfume is your thing, why not go down the natural route? Pure essential oils can be diluted in a carrier oil, such as coconut, and applied to the skin for a therapeutic, toxin-free scent.


Detox your beauty cabinet

It’s a little ironic that the products we use to enhance our outer beauty may be doing the opposite to our insides. In Australia, cosmetics are regulated by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS). In short, if a product is on the shelf, that means it’s been deemed safe to use by the NICNAS. However, many of the chemicals used in skincare and makeup products are known to be dangerous in high concentrations. While “safe”, conventional cosmetics may only contain small doses of these chemicals, we’d rather avoid them altogether! If the mechanism for detoxification in the liver gets sluggish, these toxins may remain active longer than our systems can handle. Make the switch to green beauty products to avoid allergic reactions and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which may have negative side effects, even at small doses.


Fix your gut

Your gut plays an integral role in the detoxification process. While attempting to reduce your toxic load, it’s important to keep the bowels moving regularly, as this is the main way to expel waste and toxins from the body. If your bowel movements are a little sluggish, or you suffer from leaky gut, IBS or similar conditions, fixing your gut health is a crucial step on the path to reducing your toxic load. For starters, drink warm water rather than cold or room-temperature water, incorporate chia seeds and freshly ground flaxseed into your diet and exercise regularly. If you’re not consuming enough fibre, you won’t be able to adequately to eliminate waste, which can lead to reabsorption of these toxins. To help the body’s elimination process, enjoy two teaspoons of our fibre-rich CLEANSE Inner Beauty Powder per day. Our unique phyto-greens blend works to support the liver’s second phase of detoxification and nourishes your gastrointestinal tract for more efficient removal of toxins.


Incorporate detoxifying foods and nutrients

Clinical evidence shows that cruciferous vegetables, such as watercress, garden cress and broccoli, aid detoxification. Other foods such as beetroot, kale, barley grass, rosemary, St Mary’s thistle and dandelion all contain crucial components that support the liver’s phase 2 detoxification pathways. Incorporating more of these foods into your daily diet will aid your body’s natural elimination process, meaning that it can better expel toxins. In conjunction with a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, a purifying powder like CLEANSE Inner Beauty Powder can help to lower your body’s toxic load. CLEANSE provides a concentrated dose of these “detox” foods and is rich in prebiotics and soluble fibre which feed beneficial bacteria and promote detoxification.


Visit @thebeautychef on Instagram to enter our competition with Bondi Wash.



Ruby grapefruit & rosemary frappe

The Beauty Chef - Ruby grapefruit & rosemary frappe


SERVES 1–2 (makes 2 cups/500ml)

Boost your beauty and health with powerful antioxidants from tangy grapefruit and antioxidant-rich rosemary that help to prevent skin damage. Grapefruit may also assist in fighting parasites in the gut while rosemary, an anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antiseptic herb, helps soothe the stomach.


  • 1 1/2 cups ice
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) coconut water
  • 2 tablespoons ANTIOXIDANT Inner Beauty Boost
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until rosemary is finely chopped and ice finely crushed to make a thick slushie-like consistency.


Have you tried our ANTIOXIDANT Inner Beauty Boost? Check it out here.