Most ethical bars utilised for shampoo, conditioner and body wash reduce plastic consumption and one is equivalent to three bottles of liquid products.
Reusable goods can last longer and are better quality.
Not only does the move to ethical goods save expenditure but they last longer.
Take toothpaste, if one brushes their teeth twice a day, organic toothpowder will last twice as long as one regular tube.
The same goes with sustainable bars, depending on how often one washes their hair, the bars can last four to five months. Plus, they smell equally as wonderful and work as efficiently as any regular brand of shampoo, conditioner, or body soap.
Improve your health.
A lot of cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals such as volatile organic compounds that can be destructive to our health. In addition to damage caused to our natural environment, chemicals also cause illnesses and disease, such as cancer.
Unlike bulk cleaning products, sustainable alternatives are usually 100% natural and don’t contain harmful compounds. Alternatively, they are plant-based, pose minimal threat and work just as adequately.
Buying locally-made items is a great investment and there are several advantages to us.
Most ethical goods are made regionally so by buying them, we’re putting money back into our local economy and boosting its profits. Plus, it highlights to the government the areas the public supports and puts pressure on them to make sustainable changes.
Unlike these unethical businesses, the other advantage with locally sourced products is that they require fewer travel miles to deliver. They also tend to use much less plastic, which could prevent massive loss of marine life.
Fairtrade and not testing on animals.
In this day and age, equality and ethical rights are of high importance, yet millions of people, particularly children still suffer under unfair labour rights.
However, the remarkable thing about organic items is they use fair trade, meaning producers of the products are paid fair wages and have up-to-standard working conditions. So, by purchasing these items we can be reassured that the making of them is done morally and reasonably.
This isn’t the case with sustainable brands, which all refrain from using the harmful and destructive procedures.
They make you feel great because they cause no harm to the environment.
We like to feel good about what we buy and where it comes from, and with sustainable products, this is reassured. We can avoid feeling guilty about using multiple items, and throwing them away because we know they’re ethical, sustainable, good for us and good for the planet.
Young children often put non-food items in their mouths, such as grass or toys, because they’re curious about the world around them. However, children with Pica take this a step further and actually eat them.
What is Pica?
Pica is an eating disorder characterised by the compulsive eating of non-food items. A person with Pica may eat relatively harmless substances, such as ice, but many crave potentially dangerous ones, including hair, dirt or faeces. This can lead to serious complications and occasionally death. The name is derived from the word ‘pica’, meaning magpie, based on the idea that magpies will eat almost anything.
Pica is diagnosed when:
A patient persistently eats non-food items for greater than a month
This consumption is developmentally and culturally inappropriate.
If the behaviour occurs in a patient with another disorder, such as autism, it must be persistent enough to warrant a separate diagnosis.
Who develops Pica?
Anyone can develop Pica, however it is most common in young children, pregnant women and people with developmental disabilities. It is unclear how many people are affected, but it is believed to be more prevalent in developing countries due to higher levels of malnutrition and food insecurity.
Pica can also be found in other animals, such as dogs or cats.
There is no clear cause of Pica, but doctors have found that it is more common in individuals who experience:
Pica in pregnant women is thought to be caused by iron deficiency anaemia. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to crave strange combinations of food, however, to be diagnosed with Pica the woman must be craving and ingesting non-food items such as soil, ice, or laundry detergent.
Worldwide, Pica is thought to occur in 25% of pregnant women. The reasons for this are often attributed to the geographic region and the associated risk of malnutrition and anaemia.
Pica in children
Young children often put non-food items in their mouths, such as grass or toys, because they’re curious about the world around them. However, children with Pica take this a step further, and actually consume them.
Small children make up 25 to 33 percent of all Pica cases. The minimum age for diagnosis is two years, as children under two often eat non-food items due to lack of understanding.
Pica in adults
In adults, Pica is usually a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as iron deficiency anaemia. If not, it is often caused by psychiatric conditions or developmental disabilities.
It is difficult to determine the prevalence of Pica in adults, as many may not want to admit to craving and eating non-food items. In institutionalised adults, the prevalence is 21 to 26 percent.
In order for an adult to be diagnosed with Pica, the eating behaviour must be culturally inappropriate. In certain cultures, a non-food item may be considered appropriate for consumption. For example, eating dirt and clay is considered a custom in some parts of rural Mississippi.
Pica in animals
Many animals, such as cats and dogs, chew on non-food objects, but a much smaller percentage actually consume them. Pica behaviours are often caused by behavioural problems, such as anxiety, boredom, or compulsive behaviour. It is also seen in dogs who are teething.
Eating non-food, non-digestible and potentially toxic materials can have numerous consequences, including:
Damage to internal organs
Treatments for Pica vary depending on the underlying cause. For example, if symptoms are due to iron deficiency, supplements and dietary changes may alleviate symptoms without other treatment methods.
Behavioural modification techniques are often used, assisting sufferers to unlearn Pica behaviours. These techniques include:
Aversion therapy, where the individual faces a negative consequence for eating non-food items. For example, a child may have his or her toys confiscated, and a dog may be sprayed with water.
Positive reinforcement, where the individual is rewarded for eating nutritious food, or for not engaging in Pica behaviours.
Overcorrection, where Pica behaviours result in the individual, usually a child, being required to dispose of non-edible objects, wash themselves, and participate in chore-based punishment when they engage in Pica behaviours.
Treatment may also include dealing with complications, such as surgery for intestinal obstruction.
Does Pica go away?
In young children and pregnant women, Pica often resolves on its own within a few months, or after childbirth. Similarly, if Pica behaviours are due to a nutritional deficiency, treatment and supplements should alleviate symptoms.
However, Pica doesn’t always go away. In those with mental illness or developmental disabilities, Pica may continue into adulthood. In these cases, ongoing treatment and support may be required, including counselling and behavioural modification techniques.
Children and adolescents’ reactions to traumatic experiences can differ from the reactions of adults. During the healing process, it is important they are shown love, support and understanding.
More than two thirds of children will experience a traumatic event by the age of 16 and, afterwards, distress is almost inevitable. Most need time to calm down and, depending on the child and type of trauma, this could take days, weeks, or months. During this process, it is important that everyone affected is shown love, support and understanding.
A traumatic event could include:
Witnessing domestic violence
Community or school violence
National disasters, such as terrorist attacks
Loss of a loved one
Serious or life-threatening illness
Children and adolescents’ reactions to traumatic experiences can differ from the reactions of adults. This can be influenced by age, development level, previous traumatic experiences and access to a support network.
Children aged 0 to 2
Infants can sense your emotions and will react and behave accordingly. If you are relaxed, your baby will feel calm and secure. If you’re anxious, agitated or overwhelmed, your baby may have trouble sleeping, sleep irregularly, be difficult to soothe or may refuse to eat.
How you can help
Though going through a traumatic event can be difficult for everyone affected, try your hardest to remain calm.
Help keep your baby’s emotions balanced by showing physical affection, smiling, speaking soothingly and making eye contact.
Respond consistently to your baby’s needs.
Maintain a routine.
Children aged 3 to 5
After experiencing a traumatic event, preschool and kindergarten-aged children may demonstrate regressive mannerisms or return to behaviours they’ve outgrown, such as bed wetting, tantrums, thumb-sucking or separation anxiety. They may demonstrate uncharacteristic behaviour, such as acting ‘babyish’ or withdrawn.
How you can help
Assure your child that the event is over and that they are safe.
Acknowledge and listen to your child’s fears.
When your child is upset, try to distract them. For example, play a game, read them a book or play with a pet.
Help the child to name their feelings, for example “you felt scared when the storm came.”
Protect the child from further exposure to the event. This may include footage or pictures of a natural disaster, news programmes, or conversations between other family members.
Make allowances for regressive behaviours, such as bedwetting or toileting accidents.
If your child is experiencing nightmares, don’t ignore them. Instead, comfort them until they’re calm enough to go back to sleep.
If your child is experiencing separation anxiety, assure them that you are safe. It may be helpful to talk to your child’s preschool teacher, babysitter or other carers about their anxieties.
Children aged 6 to 11
School-aged children react to trauma differently depending on their age and stage of development. Younger school children may not have the appropriate skills to effectively communicate their emotions to those around them. On the other hand, upper primary school children are usually able to articulate their thoughts and communicate distress.
School aged children may become withdrawn or anxious and may fear another traumatic event. They may become angry, moody and irritable, which can lead to fighting with family members and peers. They may also experience stress-related physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach aches and exhaustion.
How you can help
Reassure your child that they are safe, and that the people around them are safe.
Try to maintain a routine. This creates a sense of control and normality.
Keep your child busy. Organise playdates with friends, take them on outings, or play outside with them. If normal activities have been interrupted, provide alternate distractions, such as playing with toys or reading books.
When it comes to incidences of widespread trauma, such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack, pay attention to any rumours being spread at school. Assure your child that not everything they hear is true and correct any misinformation.
Limit a child’s exposure to news covering the event.
Avoid exposure to graphic images or footage, as this may magnify the trauma.
Talk to your child about the experience and encourage them to ask questions. Children often feel empowered by knowledge.
Answer questions honestly. If you don’t know the answer, don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.”
Talk to your child about your own feelings. For example, “I miss grandma too” or “I was very scared when that happened, how about you?” However, don’t give details about your own fears, as this can be harmful and increase a child’s anxiety.
Acknowledge any physical complaints and assure your child that they are completely normal. Encourage them to rest, eat properly and stay hydrated. If these symptoms don’t go away, it is a good idea to check with your doctor.
Assure your child that they won’t feel like this forever.
If your child experiences feelings of guilt or shame, let them know that it’s normal to feel that way. Assure them that they didn’t cause the event and that nobody thinks it is their fault.
Children aged 12-18
Teenagers may deal with their emotions by isolating from friends and family. They may become more aggressive, fight more with their family and peers, begin taking risks or turn to drugs and alcohol.
How you can help
Assure your teen they are safe to express their feelings.
Encourage discussion. Often teenagers don’t want to show their emotions. It might be helpful to start a discussion when you’re doing something together, for example, going on a walk, so that the discussion doesn’t feel too confrontational.
Help them take action. For example, encourage them to volunteer at a charity or homeless shelter. This may help them regain a sense of control and purpose.
Some teens may become involved in risky behaviour such as drinking. Talk to your teen about the dangers of this, and discuss alternative ways of coping, such as going on walks or talking to someone.
If your child is having problems at school, talk to their teachers or school counsellor about what has happened. They may be willing to give your child extra time to complete assignments, or extra help if they’re struggling to keep up in class.
Suggest healthy ways your teen can get their emotions out. For example, if they’re angry, they might feel letter after going for a run.
Like younger children, teenagers may exhibit regressive behaviours such as sleeping with a stuffed toy. Assure them that this is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.
If your teen has experienced interpersonal violence, such as an assault, assure them that it wasn’t their fault, and that they aren’t to blame.
Helping children after the death of a loved one
Ages 3 to 5
Talk to your child about what the death means. For example, explain that they can’t see them anymore, but can still remember them and look at pictures.
Get your child to write them a letter. This is especially helpful if the death was sudden or unexpected, as it
may help them say goodbye.
Stay calm when your child asks questions. Questions are how young children process information.
It may be helpful to talk to them about the idea of an afterlife. If your family isn’t religious, you can talk to them about how the person lives on in your memories.
Do something to commemorate the loved one. For example, plant a tree or draw a picture.
Your child may feel angry, sad, or alone. Let them know that these emotions are normal and let them know you’re there for them.
Talk to your child about what impact the death may have on their daily life and routine. For example, ‘I
have to work more now that daddy isn’t here.’
Be understanding if the child experiences problems at school after the death. Assure them that this is normal.
Understand that their academic performance may be affected.
Avoid using vague answers, such as ‘grandma is in a better place’. Most school-aged children have at least a small understanding of what death means, so these phrases may confuse them.
Encourage your child to celebrate the loved one’s memory. For example, planting a tree or making a scrapbook.
Ages 12 to 18
Teenagers may have difficulty expressing emotions about death. They may fear showing vulnerability and ignore and deny what has happened. It’s important to:
Share your own emotions with them and encourage them to share theirs.
Be understanding if the death affects their academic performance and assure them that their wellbeing is more important.
Celebrate the person’s memory. Your teen may find it helpful to pray for them, look through photo albums or plant a tree in their memory.
If these feelings don’t go away
Often people recover from a traumatic experience in the weeks and months that follow. However, some experience long lasting, distressing or worsening symptoms, which may signal the need for professional help.
People who have been through a traumatic experience may develop post-traumatic stress Disorder (PTSD). Those with PTSD experience unwanted thoughts or memories of the event, nightmares, flashbacks and heightened levels of fear and anxiety. They may avoid people, places or activities that remind them of the event.
Symptoms of PTSD may develop immediately after a traumatic event or may not surface until later. PTSD is often accompanied by depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm and substance abuse.
In recent years, the keto diet has become a popular method of weight loss. Though there are very few long term studies of ketosis and weight loss, there are many reasons as to why it is effective.
The ketogenic diet, also known as the ‘keto’ or low carb, high fat (LCHF) diet, is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet in which one’s consumption of carbohydrates is reduced to 50-20, ideally 20, grams per day. When carbohydrate consumption is substantially reduced, the body’s supply of glucose is depleted, forcing it to turn to fat as an alternative source of energy. This metabolic state is known as ketosis. Ketosis leads to the production of ketones, which are stored in the liver and can provide energy to the brain.
In recent years, the keto diet has become a popular method of weight loss. Though there are very few long-term studies of ketosis and weight loss, there are many reasons as to why it is effective. The keto diet has been linked to the reduction of the hormone ghrelin; the body’s main ‘hunger hormone’. The reduction of hunger signals can lead to a lower calorie intake and less food cravings, resulting in weight loss.
Following a keto diet
The rule of the keto diet is to consume a high amount of fat, a moderate amount of protein, and small amounts of carbohydrates. Generally, a person following a keto diet should obtain:
Starchy vegetables (e.g. Potatoes and sweet potatoes)
Most milks, with the exception of unsweetened almond milk
Chips and crackers
Other uses and benefits
The keto diet was originally used as a medical diet to assist in the treatment of Epilepsy, primarily in children.
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder. It is characterised by a variety of unpredictable seizures, ranging from sudden unresponsiveness, confusion, abnormal behaviour, and loss of memory, to convulsions and complete loss of consciousness. A person is diagnosed with Epilepsy if they experience two episodes of unprovoked seizures (occurring more than 24 hours apart), that are not caused by another medical condition such as low blood sugar, alcohol withdrawal, or drug overdose.
Keto diets are traditionally used to treat and manage seizures in children when anticonvulsant medication has not worked. Higher ketone levels in the blood often lead to improved seizure control.
Studies have shown that the keto diet is effective in treating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease occurs when too much fat is stored in the liver. In the past, fatty liver was attributed to those who consumed excess amounts of alcohol. However, today, it is more likely to be caused by other factors, such as obesity and insulin resistance.
A keto diet can assist in the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by:
Reducing fat stored in the liver.
Decreasing insulin levels.
Promoting weight loss.
Other Neurological Issues
Due to extensive evidence that the keto diet effectively reduces seizures in children with Epilepsy, it has been suggested that the diet may assist in the treatment of other neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and even brain cancer. However, there is currently not enough evidence to support these claims, and more human studies are required.
Risks and side effects
The ‘Keto Flu’
A sudden decrease in carbohydrate intake can come as a shock to the body, which may cause a variety of flu-like symptoms. For most people, the ‘Keto Flu’ is a group of short-term side effects that will resolve within a few weeks. These symptoms may include:
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
As the majority of fruits and vegetables contain high levels of carbohydrates, they are often not consumed while following a keto diet. This increases risk of deficiencies in nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B, and vitamin C.
Lowered Bone Density
Ketosis can have negative effects on bone health. Though there have been only a few studies regarding the keto diet and bone health, results have showed depleted bone density and an increase in fracture risk.
High fat animal products, such as meat and eggs, contain little to no carbohydrates (for example, one boiled egg contains approximately 0.6 grams of carbs) and are therefore staple food items in a keto diet. Eating a lot of these foods leads to a higher risk of kidney problems, such as kidney stones.
Heightened Risk of Chronic Illnesses
Medical evidence suggests that following a ketogenic diet increases the likelihood of chronic, potentially life-threatening illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer.
Who shouldn’t follow a keto diet?
Those with impaired kidney function
As mentioned earlier, those who consume high quantities of animal products, such as meat, eggs, and cheese, are more likely to develop kidney problems. Because of this, those with pre-existing kidney issues should not follow a keto diet.
When it comes to the keto diet and pregnancy, there is little research, mainly due to ethical issues regarding studies performed on pregnant mothers. However, the main consensus between doctors is that following a keto diet is not safe during pregnancy and can lead to a higher risk of developmental delays and issues with organ growth. Following a keto diet during pregnancy may also be linked to organ dysfunction and behavioural changes after pregnancy.
Those who are underweight
Though the keto diet involves consuming high amounts of fat, it often leads to, sometimes rapid, weight loss. For this reason, it is not recommended for those who are underweight.
Those who suffer from, or have a history of, eating disorders
Without the advice of a dietician, it is not recommended for individuals with a history of eating disorders or disordered eating behaviours to follow restrictive diets. There is a ‘slippery slope’ when it comes to eating disorders and dieting. Obsessing about the nutritional content in food may trigger eating disorder sufferers to fall back into dangerous behaviours. What’s more, those with a history of eating disorders or under eating may already be suffering from nutrient deficiencies, and these may be exacerbated while following a keto diet.
Keto and diabetes
There are two main types of Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas is unable to produce an adequate amount insulin, which is vital in converting glucose to energy. Type 2 Diabetes is a progressive condition where the pancreas slowly loses its ability to produce insulin.
There is no simple answer as to whether a keto diet is safe for those with diabetes. In some, following a keto diet may be possible and beneficial, provided they are closely monitored by a medical professional. As many with type 2 diabetes are overweight, the weight loss benefits of a keto diet may be helpful. A keto diet also lowers blood sugar levels, which may also be beneficial. Monitoring carbohydrate consumption is recommended in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, as large consumption can cause blood sugar spikes.
However, there are numerous risks involved. Firstly, a keto diet may cause blood sugar levels to drop too low, leading to symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Secondly, following a keto diet puts sufferers at risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis occurs when ketone bodies produce a dangerous amount of acid in the bloodstream. The kidneys then begin to excrete ketones in the urine, which can result in fluid loss. Cases of diabetic ketoacidosis usually occur in those with type 1 diabetes, due to their inability to produce insulin, which prevents the body from producing too many ketones. However, in rare cases, it has been observed in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Before making any changes to your diet, it is vital that you seek advice from your doctor or dietician, monitor your health closely, and report any concerning symptoms. If you are taking any medications, it is also important to talk to your doctor about any effects a keto diet may have on them. All in all, trust your body. If you don’t feel well while following a keto diet, speak to a professional about whether or not the diet it is right for you, and discuss alternatives.
Codependency can cause you to lose touch with yourself, your life and your entire identity.
Of course it isn’t bad to care about your partner. If you love someone, it’s natural to feel the need to look after them. However, there is a difference between caring for your partner and being codependent. Codependency can cause you to lose touch with yourself, your life and your entire identity
It’s true; relationships are about compromise. We give and we take. We care and are cared for in return. But how much is too much?
What is codependency?
In simple terms, codependency involves caring for another to the point where it becomes unhealthy. In a codependent relationship, an individual sacrifices their own needs in order to meet the needs of their partner. One party takes on the role of the ‘giver’ and the other, the ‘taker’. The ‘giver’ often loses their own identity while trying to heal or ‘fix’ their partner’s illness, addiction or dysfunctional personality. Eventually, the two begin to rely on one another for relief of insecurity and loneliness, rather than love.
What causes codependency?
More often than not, codependency stems from childhood. It appears in those who grew up in unstable households, where they were exposed to abuse, emotional neglect, family issues, and lack of communication. A dysfunctional upbringing can cause people to develop an insecure attachment style, which can lead to further difficulty in relationships. A person with an insecure attachment style is more likely to become jealous, clingy and constantly seek reassurance from a partner.
Individuals with low self-esteem, fear of abandonment, or trust issues, may enter a codependent relationship in order to feel wanted or needed. If an individual feels they are being relied upon, they are less likely to worry about being abandoned.
But I care about my partner. Why is that bad?
Of course, it isn’t bad to care about your partner. If you love someone, it’s natural for you to feel the need to protect and look after them. However, there’s a difference between caring for your partner and being codependent. Codependency can cause you to lose touch with yourself, your life and your entire identity. A Codependent’s life revolves around their partner’s needs and emotions, leaving them with little time for themselves. This leads to isolation and loss of connection to friends and family. If your partner struggles with addiction or mental illness, your codependency may be enabling them and preventing them from seeking help. This may have negative, and potentially deadly consequences.
If you’ve lived in a codependent relationship for a long time, it can become difficult to notice or accept it, let alone change it. Though it is possible to overcome codependency on your own, many couples require professional treatment or counselling. If both parties are willing to make a change, they can work towards a healthier relationship.
As codependency is complicated, it’s important to find a therapist with experience in dealing with them. A professional can help you to:
Identify codependent behaviour and take steps to address it.
Work through unsolved childhood trauma.
Work on increasing self-esteem and self-worth.
Help with anxiety and fear of abandonment.
Challenge negative thought patterns.
Help you develop an identity beyond your relationship with your partner.
Remember, in a healthy relationship, it’s important to:
In a healthy relationship, people are able to function away from their partner. Spend time with your friends and family, go to the beach, out to dinner, to a movie or a solo outing… maybe that shopping spree you’ve been dreaming of!
Set yourself boundaries
If your partner is constantly texting you, decide that you’ll no longer answer while at work or after a certain time.
Don’t cancel plans to spend time with them. If you planned a day out with friends, don’t cancel it just to be with them.
Don’t be afraid to say no if you don’t feel like spending time with them. If you’re sick, busy, or tired after a long day at work, tell them.
Organise a ‘date night’ with them, or plan time you always spend together. That way, you have time to yourself, while still having a scheduled time to spend time with them.
When you have become used to giving and giving, spending time on yourself can feel selfish and wrong. However, self-care is vital in relieving stress and anxiety, strengthening coping skills, and increasing resilience. Whether it’s putting on a face mask, taking a warm bath, or going on a peaceful walk in the woods, self-care can help revitalise your mind and body, leading to a calmer and healthier you.
Embrace positive communication.
Be open with your partner and express your feelings. If they do something to upset you, tell them. If they aren’t respecting your boundaries, talk to them. The more open you are with them, the easier it will be for them to open up in return.
Trust that your emotions are valid.
In a codependent relationship, it’s common to ignore or hide your emotions in fear of causing an argument. However, in a healthy relationship, both parties should feel comfortable sharing how they feel, without fearing the outcome. Regardless of whether you deem an emotion as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, you are entitled to feel it.
If you and your partner both decide to make a change, a therapist who specialises in relationships may be able to help you. A professional can assist you in establishing healthy boundaries, work on self-esteem and self-worth issues, and help you to recognise unhealthy thought patterns. Since codependency often stems from childhood, a therapist may also work through any traumas or unresolved feelings that may be related to your need for codependency. Overall, the goal of treatment is to allow an individual to regain their sense of emotions and identify which, in turn, leads to a healthier relationship.
Remember: it’s not your job to ‘fix’ your partner.
We all want to support the ones we love. But remember, you are not your partner’s therapist. It is important to love them without hurting yourself in the process.
“In our study, meditation appeared to provide as much relief from some anxiety and depression symptoms as what other studies have found from antidepressants,” Goyal explains.
While meditation can be dated back to ancient Hindu and Buddhist traditions, this age-old practice is gaining traction from its ability to ease symptoms of depression and anxiety without the harmful side effects of prescription medication.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all that mindfulness performs as well as or better than medication,”Adrian Wells professor of psychopathology at Manchester University states.
Mindfulness meditation works by establishing concentration to observe inner thoughts, feelings and emotions while focusing attention on the present moment to not be reactive or overwhelmed by what’s happening around us.
The University of Oxford released a new study finding mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) to be as effective as antidepressants in preventing a relapse of depression, further enhancing the credibility of this ancient practice.
In the study participants were randomly allocated to either the MBCT group or antidepressant group. The rate of relapse in the mindfulness group was 44%, with the rate of relapse of those on antidepressants at 47%.
Nigel Reed, participant from the study explains how mindfulness based therapy gave him life long skills to deal with depressive thoughts and episodes.
“Rather than relying on the continuing use of antidepressants, mindfulness puts me in charge, allowing me to take control of my own future, to spot when I am at risk and to make the changes I need to stay well.”
Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, psychiatrist at the Centre for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders believes it makes sense to use meditation to treat disorders such as depression and anxiety.
“People with anxiety have a problem dealing with distracting thoughts that have too much power. They can’t distinguish between a problem-solving thought and a nagging worry that has no benefit.”
“If you have unproductive worries, you can train yourself to experience those thoughts completely differently. You might think ‘I’m late, I might lose my job if I don’t get there on time, and it will be a disaster!’
“Mindfulness teaches you to recognize, ‘Oh, there’s that thought again. I’ve been here before. But it’s just that, a thought, and not a part of my core self,’” Hoge explains.
While meditation can be dated back to 1500 BCE the benefits aren’t just an old wives’ tale as science and studies have repeatedly proven.
Meditation is known for changing the way the brain processes thoughts and emotions but new research by Sarah Lazar at Harvard University reveals it can also change the structure of the brain.
These significant findings explore the powerful outcomes that can result from using mindfulness meditation practices to alter the way the brain processes thoughts of anxiety and stress.
While there is no magic cure for depression or anxiety, meditation brings hopeful benefits for those not wanting to take medication long term, or those who suffer from the intolerable side effects of antidepressants.
Although many studies suggest the benefits of mindfulness for those with depression and anxiety, it is best to consult a professional to find the best treatment option for you.
After only two months in lockdown, I was horrified to jump on the scales to find I had gained 15kg.
I found myself to be eating whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and too much of it and because I
wasn’t exercising regularly (thanks to the gym being closed down), the weight piled on.
I’ve never been someone who diets. I’ve tried shakes, cookies, all protein and Keto, but I could never stick to them and even if I lost weight, I put it back on again. Knowing this, I used intuitive eating and I got creative with the meals I made. They were still my ‘naughty’ foods, but they were much healthier for me. Lesser in carbs, fats, sodium and sugars. Before I knew it, I started to lose weight.
Intuitive eating is making smarter decisions but not banning myself from the foods I loved. If I
wanted chocolate – I ate the chocolate, but I was intuitive in how much I ate. I listened to my body
when it told me I was full and didn’t binge eat because I wasn’t restricting myself from the foods I
Within 2 months I had dropped 10kg by staying within my calorie deficit, but I didn’t count any
calories. I dropped carbs and sugar, and increased my protein intake. Combined with my averaged
day of activity, half an hour walks and household cleaning, it was able to lose 10 kilos the weight I
had put on.
One of the main ways that I managed to lose weight was by swapping out my favourite foods with
low carb and vegetable alternatives. These are the foods I used:
Instead of whole grain pasta, I used red lentil pasta or edamame fettuccine as an alternative, which
are available at Coles, Woolworths and online.
I also used zucchini or sweet potato spaghetti. Coles has these already pre-cut and packaged ready
to eat, but I also made these using a vegetable spiralizer. This helped me increase my daily vegetable
I followed the packet serving instructions and paired it with my choice of sauce (usually bolognaise).
I used the same sauces as previously but whole grain spaghetti changed.
Spaghetti Squash is also a popular alternative. I cooked the squash in the oven for 40 minutes and
used a fork to scrape it out.
I swapped white rice with cauliflower or sweet potato rice, which are available in the freezer section
of Coles or Woolworths. Similar to the approach with the pasta, I paired it with anything I
traditionally ate. People often boil cauliflower rice, but it goes gluggy, so instead I fried this for 5 to
10 minutes and it tastes much better. My favourite meal with this is curried sausages.
Wraps and bread
I swapped bread or wraps that I loved for lower carb alternatives and I could barely taste the
difference. If anything, I preferred these lower carb options. I avoided cereals or muesli as much as
possible because of their high sugar. Instead, I found a slice of toast with an egg would be perfect. I
would also make myself a ‘McDonald’s’ brekkie wrap with scrambled eggs, fried bacon and BBQ
sauce (lower salt).
Companies are slowly becoming much more friendly to low-calorie options when it comes to sweets.
I found Halo Top’s ice cream fantastic for curbing my cravings for sugar. Each tub has 360 calories or
less so I didn’t feel guilty about eating it. They’re stocked at both Woolworths and Coles, but Aldi has
a cheaper version called Kenny’s 360. Keep an eye out for these products because more variety are
To make the base layer, add the ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor and blend until it resembles fine crumbs and sticks together when pressed. Spoon mixture into a 24 mini muffin pan (see note below) and press down with the back of a teaspoon. Place it in the freezer.
To make the caramel layer, add the ingredients to a high speed blender and process until completely combined and smooth. Spoon the mixture onto the bases and smooth over with the back of a teaspoon (see note below) and place back into the freezer for at least 1 hour to set.
To make the chocolate layer, melt the coconut oil in saucepan on low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and add the sweetener. Whisk briskly until well combined. Then add the cacao powder, stirring until well mixed through. Pour the chocolate on top of the caramel layer and place back into the freezer and let it set completely, approximately 3-4 hours. Once frozen, they are much easier to remove.
I keep mine store in the freezer in an air tight container and remove them a few minutes before serving/eating.
Since the 1960’s, this tiny hormone-packed tablet has been treated as a miracle pill admired by women who now have the power to plan their periods and pregnancies.
With depression being one of the most predominant and devastating mental health issues in Australia, the prized benefits of the pill no longer outweigh the newly discovered evil it can create.
So what exactly is the pill?
The oral contraceptive pill is a tablet taken daily that contains both estrogen and progesterone hormones. It works by stopping the ovaries from producing an egg each month, preventing it from being fertilised.
The pill is used for many different reasons including; pregnancy prevention, improving acne, making periods lighter and more regular, skipping periods and improving symptoms of endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
While the pill has many benefits for women, research suggests that it can be linked to causing mental health issues, a detrimental side effect that doctors aren’t telling patients.
Evidence from a large Danish study on links between oral contraceptives and low mood rings alarm bells as 23% of women on the pill are more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant compared to those who aren’t.
The study also found that depression was diagnosed at a 70% higher rate amongst 15 to 19 year olds taking the pill and women between the ages of 15 and 33 are three times more likely to die by suicide if they have taken hormonal birth control.
Medical practitioners are quick to point out the less harmful physical side effects of taking oral contraceptives, yet seem to fail to mention the psychological damage it can trigger to a women’s mental health.
The praised pill has seen doctors handing it out like candy on Halloween to every women complaining of cramps, blemished skin or wanting an ‘easier’ option for birth control.
So why are the mental health side effects of oral contraceptives being hidden from unsuspecting patients who are being prescribed them?
Dr. John Littell, a family physician, explains that the side effects of the pill are not often told to patients as they are seen as not important.
“Physicians in training during the past thirty years or so have been taught to find any reason to put women on some form of contraception without mentioning the possible risks associated with these methods.”
With studies revealing the truth and doctors trying to hide it, the alarming facts point to a deadly pill polluting the brains of innocent, unsuspecting women.
While the oral contraceptive pill still remains the most popular and accessible form of birth control in Australia, it should be taken with caution and use should be monitored daily to prevent the occurrence of harmful side effects.
You know that what you put into your body affects how you look, but do you know how the foods you eat can benefit or hinder your overall health? With modern nutritional science, dieticians and other experts know precisely how and why different foods cause changes in the human body and what an optimal diet looks like.
However, just because science has discovered the facts about healthy eating doesn’t mean everyone is going to adopt the best possible diet necessarily. As humans, we tend to poison ourselves with things that give us short-term happiness but contribute to long-term health issues (such as smoking cigarettes or drinking too much alcohol), but healthy eating will have a long-term positive impact on your happiness.
If you want to live as long as possible and avoid chronic health conditions later in life, you should switch to a healthy diet. The following will examine some common dietary lifestyle behaviours and how they affect your health.
Leaning on takeaway meals
One trend that’s becoming more noticeable with younger generations is a lack of ability and will to cook at home. Even people who rent apartments or buy houses with lovely kitchens will never touch them other than to use the microwave or prepare something simple like scrambled eggs.
This is because spending a little extra money to avoid cooking and have a pizza delivered or go through a drive-thru is more convenient than learning to cook. This is especially true for people who may be overworked and find it too difficult to prepare food from scratch every evening when they feel exhausted.
If you want to cook healthier recipes at home and still enjoy the convenience of home delivery, then a meal-kit delivery service could be the perfect answer. This involves having fresh ingredients delivered to your front door along with easy instructions that remove a lot of the often frustrating and dull parts of cooking that might have preciously dissuaded you from giving it a go.
Consuming too much sugar
Too much of a good thing never turns out well, and our relationship with sugar over the decades has become one of the leading causes of issues like obesity in modern society. In our quest to make food taste better we have become accustomed to seasoning all our food, even savoury dishes that you wouldn’t typically classify as being sweet.
It can be hard to avoid the consumption of sugar when it seems to be everywhere that we go and prevalent in so many social activities. For example, going to the cinemas with friends often mean stopping by the snack bar and buying sweets to snack on while you enjoy the film together, and you might feel like you are missing out on the full experience if you refrain.
You should try to make a commitment to consume less sugar and let your friends and loved ones know about it, so they don’t pressure you or put you in situations where consuming sugar is encouraged. Doing this won’t just help you, but it will also inspire others to follow suit and enjoy the health benefits of reducing sugar from their diets by making the switch to low sugar alternatives or simply not consuming as many sweetened products.
Eating too much red meat
Over the last few years, the vegan movement has caused millions to swear off the consumption of animal products to promote a more sustainable and ethical relationship between humans and animals. While the choice to become vegan or not is still a personal one for many people, you should be aware of the net negative effect that overconsumption of red meat can have.
While there is still a lot of debate around red meat, with biases that inform opinions on both sides, there’s no doubt that it is possible to consume too much of it. Studies have shown that many types of red meat are high in saturated fats that can contribute towards issues like cholesterol, which is notorious for clogging arteries and stressing the heart, potentially leading to heart failure. Also, the cooking of red meat (especially on smoky grills), can produce carcinogens in the meat, which are known to contribute to the development of some cancers.
After your genetics, your diet is the primary determining factor in your health and well-being. Proper nutrition is the basis from which healthy and long-lived people operate, so if you want to enjoy the benefits then you might need to think about changing some of your eating habits.
Yvette Clarke, an internationally-renowned Wellness Consultant, Empath, Light Worker and Soul Room Specialist, shares how she is able to help break through emotional barriers and explains why the parental word is so important in developing healthy self esteem in our children.
I have been blessed with the unique gift of acute empathic perceptivity, which allows me to feel and hear the subconscious emotions of my clients as though I am them.
I help women suffering from low self-esteem cut through confusion and trauma to create clarity, understanding and best of all personal empowerment, allowing them to take back control of their emotions and their lives.
For over 20 years I have had the privilege of being invited into a sacred place – the inner self – where everything that makes a person who they are is stored; I call this place The Soul Room. In this room, I come to converse with the subconscious emotional layers of the human body. In here I shine a light on the suppressed hidden beliefs and emotional injuries causing conflict and obstruction to my clients’ wellbeing, happiness and success. My job is to give voice to the subconscious self so that it can be heard and not shoved under the proverbial carpet.
I have sat with thousands of emotionally-scarred, disempowered women, who don’t understand why they bring into their lives the same bad experience – or relationship – over, and over, again. These experiences come wrapped in a different package each time and initially appear to be different than before, but once she is caught up in the euphoria of ‘duplicitous nice’ being shown to her, the relationship partner appears to have metamorphosised into someone who becomes unkind, cruel and detrimental to her already delicate self-esteem.
She loses her voice and becomes a doormat to others. This causes her self-esteem to become even more diminished than before, she becomes fearful of making another wrong choice, her anxiety levels reach catastrophic heights and she wonders what it is about her that has this continue to happen… What is wrong with HER?
Her friends don’t understand either. They wonder why such a lovely, caring and kind woman would continue to attract abuse and mistreatment.
I have been asked by numerous women over the years why they can’t break this cycle and here is the reason from a soul room perspective.
It all comes down to the power of the PARENTAL WORD. The words from a parent can make or break a child’s belief in themselves. These parental words will stay with this person for the whole of their life replaying in the background of their subconscious mind and within the emotions of the inner child self. They will replay like bad Christmas music that has become stuck in your head after you’ve done your Chrissy shopping at a major department store.
It’s like that song that just keeps replaying over, and over, again in the background of your mind and no matter what you do, it’s stuck in there.
The parental word has the same effect on your child self as that background music does, the only difference is the Christmas music won’t harm your self-esteem, the negative parental word will.
Without realising it, the parent has the power to subconsciously brainwash their child into feeling inadequate, incapable and downright unlovable.
Without realising it, the parent has the power to subconsciously brainwash their child into feeling inadequate, incapable and downright unlovable.
I have had the most beautiful, healthy women sit in front of me telling me how fat and ugly they are, they can’t even see their actual body shape because all they hear in the back of the mind replaying over and over again is the parent’s criticism of their physique and weight. The continuous jabs at a tiny bit of tummy fat has now created a woman who binge eats and then throws up to keep slim. All she is a distorted image of herself, fed by the niggling of parental criticism. As an adult, it doesn’t matter how much she is told how beautiful she is, the internal child state is stuck, glitched on the relentless parental music telling her she is fat.
As children we are emotional sponges, we absorb into ourselves the emotions and wording repeating itself in the home environment. We are like steaks marinading in criticism sauce.
When a child’s point of view is repeatedly dismissed, or their emotions are conveyed to them as drama, this teaches the child that their feelings have no value and that their emotions are ridiculous. As an adult they are likely to attract a partner who will treat them the same way the parent did.
As children we are emotional sponges, we absorb into ourselves the emotions and wording repeating itself in the home environment. We are like steaks marinading in criticism sauce.
When a child is treated with irritation when they speak, as adults they often attract relationships that treat them with the same tactic of abuse.
When a child is told continuously what is wrong with them and what they didn’t get right, they become excessively self-critical or they become very critical of others.
The parental word is so very, very, important to the innocent child. This child will remain inside your children for their whole lifetime. This child needs to be encouraged to believe in themselves, they need to be reminded how much they are loved – and loved for simply being them – not love earned from behaving in a manner that pleases the parent.
The innocent child needs to hear that they matter to you and that you are willing to listen to their feelings when needed, without prying into everything that is private and personal to them.
The greatest chance our children have of growing into emotionally healthy adults with a healthy self-esteem is from them feeling that no matter how big they mess up, your love for them will not be diminished.