Category: Life style

Experience ASMR, the new food sensation!

Get ready for ASMR, or the latest onslaught on your senses…

Get ready for a sensory experience…

ASMR , or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is slowly becoming mainstream. ASMR you say…what on earth is that? In plain English, this means that you get a tingling sensation after exposure to something particular. Food and drink for instance. That sensation starts on the scalp and makes its way down the neck and spine. It is a feeling generally experienced as pleasurable. It plays on your senses of hearing, feeling, seeing, smelling or touching, and impacts your mood. It’s a response far more powerful that you know.

Tingle like a Pringle

For starters, we get a sense of ASMR when we get something to eat. Those chips you’re eating have just the right crunch to them. That chocolate has just the right density and bite to it. The cellophane wrapper crinkles in just the right way to get you exited about what you will shortly eat. The pop on the beer bottle is just loud enough. And so forth…

With fresh food, it is no different. Just like the chips, your fresh apple is crunchy, and juicy, and that’s what you like about it. If that apple sits in the fruit bowl for three weeks, it loses its crunch, and at best, you will cook with it, or perhaps compost it. It’s lost its appeal, it has lost its ASMR.

ASMR and Marketing

Do you think those chips have that crunch by coincidence? No way! As a matter of fact, deep science has gone into every manufactured food or drink product that is not essential to your survival. That means snack foods, impulse foods, fast foods. Teams of sensory experts and psychologists work on this behind-the-scenes, to create tempting experiences for foods and drinks you don’t need. Now, however, it is coming to the forefront as shown by the many You Tube videos available. Furthermore, the first ASMR TV ad went viral when it was played during the USA Super Bowl 2019. If you missed it, have a look here

ASMR in overall life

In reality, ASMR is used far more than you may realise. There are tricks such as the way certain shops light their fitting rooms, even the curvature of the mirror, right down to scents and music. All these tricks ensure that you linger longer in a retail space. The sensory experience is what counts. It’s even often age-appropriate; shops that sell clothes for young people have a totally different atmosphere than shops that cater to upmarket older clientele. Two extremes, but you get it.

Furthermore, another angle for ASMR use is the “whispering” audio and videos available online. You Tube has thousands of them. Some have a very calming effect, with soft whispering voices, and sounds of water, rain and so forth. As a result, some people find these effective for relaxation and sleep. Other offers are slightly weird (eating sounds only) or creepy (there’s a nurse doing ASMR head lice checks!). No matter what, the sense of ‘inclusion’ is really stimulated, and it’s easy to get dragged into the sensation. Have a look for yourself if this phenomena interests you; plenty on offer online. Please note that these videos may not all have appropriate content.

ASMR and the future

No doubt, ASMR is going to grow in the future. For example, your next TV will come with AI, or Artificial Intelligence, so it will know what you like. Potentially, it may be so smart, it will offer you targeted ASMR advertisements. You’ll have bigger screens with incredible pixilation. ASMR will ensure that all your senses are engaged when you watch an ad on your 8K supersize 92 inch screen. See how that Super Bowl beer would look on that! Of course, it’s all in the name of progress, and of course, it drives your consumer dollar into the right hands: the large multi-global juggernauts who can afford a team of specialists to tempt you beyond your wildest dreams.

Meanwhile, ASMR can be an exciting new experience, and lead to discovery of new-found sensations. It can help you relax, it can make you laugh, or it can just get to you, without you being aware. Now you know!

ASMR is exciting and stimulating, but the greatest ASMR trigger is nature itself

Charcoal: hype or benefits?

The latest trend is Charcoal…

From BBQ fuel to facial scrub and internal “magic” detox, charcoal is the latest trend

In the world of natural health, there is always a new trend, a “new kid on the block”. In this case, it’s actually an old kid, but rebranded and well marketed… the latest trend is Charcoal. What is it, why would you use it and what does it do? Read on and find out.

Charcoal: the basics

Once used as fuel for heaters, or for artists as a drawing tool, now charcoal is popular for different reasons. Charcoal is the end product of solid fuel burns. That can be things like wood or coconut husks. Technically, this is a slow process, done in the absence of oxygen, in a contained environment. No air means the very slow burning of wood allows charcoal to form. Uniquely, the slow-burn process means that water and gases are removed from the wood. This so-called “activated charcoal” is now porous, like a sponge with millions of tiny holes in it. These pores can capture, bind and remove toxins, heavy metals, and poisons.

Charcoal commercialised

Of course, having a natural “toxin sponge” that is relatively cheap to produce, and is widely available, leads to commercial exploration of such a product. Until now, charcoal was used mostly by savvy travellers who had heard about its ability to help with travel bugs such as “Bali Belly”. A few days of charcoal caps usually solves the problem efficiently, without harmful effects. As such, charcoal has been used for decades, and this is not a new find. Yet now, charcoal is the latest trend in self-medication for health and beauty…

What you need to know about charcoal

Charcoal is natural. That’s great. In gastric upsets, it binds the toxin or bug, and removes it naturally. However, charcoal also binds essential minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Therefore, charcoal intake should be limited to a maximum of 3-4 days at the most, at any given time. Unfortunately, the current new products come to market as Detoxifiers, a magic buzz word that sells products really well! Charcoal is a magnificent detoxifier, but only in the gut. Charcoal will do nothing for toxins circulating in the body, or trapped in organs such as the liver, lungs, kidneys and brain. So, that claim makes it a hype.

Moreover, even though these commercial health products may have a small printed warning about extensive use, you may not notice this. If you buy it in a supermarket, nobody will tell you, and if you buy it in a pharmacy, it all depends on whether someone advises you on the harm of using charcoal long-term.

The latest trend is charcoal…

To be honest, charcoal is really useful. You’ll find it in facial and body washes or masks, to purify the skin. You can buy charcoal toothpaste, for whiter teeth (claim unsubstantiated). It is great for a few days use for upset stomachs, bloating and travel bugs. But now, according to advertisements, you can use it in capsule form for detoxifying and beauty from within…and those claims makes it both a trend and a hype! So, beware of this, and use it sensibly. If you are after a total body detox, contact the clinic for a proper treatment plan at

Don’t add charcoal to smoothies, as it will prevent the absorption of the nutrients of that smoothie. Same goes for juices; if you make you own, don’t add charcoal, now matter how trendy it is. Research shows commercial apple juice with added charcoal has a reduced vitamin C, B1, B2 and B5 content. Adding charcoal to health foods is a waste of time and money, and reduces absorption of those magnificent nutrients in that health food you just spent a fortune on. Be wise, use charcoal only when needed!

Charcoal…make it your friend but not your permanent companion!

USA declares war on eggs

Eggs are in the news again…let me unscramble the myths for you

Oh no…the decades-long debate about eggs has just flared up again. A new study from the USA declares war on eggs due to cholesterol content. However, reading the actual study (which I have!), I’d say this is open to interpretation. Let’s unscramble what the media outlets spew out, and put it in perspective. War on eggs. Really?

Good egg, bad egg

How do you like your eggs? Soft boiled? By all means, that’s a good egg. Fried in oil, with bacon? Unfortunately, that’s a bad egg. Why, you ask? Because of the cholesterol, that’s why. Frying…bacon…it all adds up. However, there’s so much more to it than counting milligrams (mg) of cholesterol in an egg in order to declare war on it. Let’s face it, eggs are one of the most debated foods in our daily diet, and guidelines keep changing. That doesn’t help you, and you feel confused. For this reason, I’m giving you all the key scientific facts. Then we’ll get back to the debate.

Egg facts

  • Eggs contain cholesterol in the yolk only
  • A large egg can contain up to 186 mg of cholesterol in the yolk
  • If you dry-fry an egg (no oil), the cholesterol content is about the same as for boiled, poached or scrambled.
  • Eggs contain vital nutrients: they are a superb source of protein, and have plenty minerals, vitamins and good fatty acids that are essential for vision, brain function and … heart health!
  • Raw, lean Sirloin steak contains around 100 mg of cholesterol per 100 grams. A strip of (uncooked) bacon contains around the same( average 1 mg for every gram)

The birthplace of cholesterol

First of all, your body makes cholesterol. It is a hormone. In fact, it’s the Mother of all Hormones, and essential to human survival. Under stress, the body produces more cholesterol. As a result, that vital, fatty, unwanted molecule helps produce cortisol and adrenaline. We need these hormones to cope with stressful situations. In cave-man speak: These are our fight-or-flight hormones. It’s natural for cholesterol to go up when stress is present. However, the cave folk did not have eggs and bacon for breakfast and perhaps a burger and fries on the way home to the cave. Oh no…they burnt up their cholesterol by utilising the provided hormones to fight or run.

We don’t engage in physical fights anymore. Our stress-cholesterol has nowhere to go. Instead, we add to it by not-so-good food choices at times of stress. Burgers, fries, donuts; those are the foods we go for when we need a ‘stress fix’. Nasty bosses, horrible traffic, too many bills, emails, and grumpy teens…high fat, high sugar is what the body craves at such moments. All high-cholesterol foods.

Back to the egg…

In short, the findings that stood out in this latest research looked at egg consumption over 17 years, and involved around 30.000 people. That’s a good study set-up in itself. Risk factors for heart disease went up in 27% of the group at two eggs per day. However, critics of the study, and even the authors, point out that many other foods are unaccounted for. Red meat, processed meats and high-fat dairy such as butter and whipped cream also have high cholesterol content. In other words, do we declare war on the egg? Not necessarily. Furthermore, according to Harvard and other medical powerhouses, the link between dietary intake of cholesterol, and heart disease is hard to prove. And that’s why the egg debate will rise…and fall…and rise…and fall.

Enjoy your eggs responsibly!

Of course, you’re sensible enough to not eat two eggs daily. Not only that, try something new. Swap bacon for wilted spinach, or grilled mushrooms and tomatoes. Have them scrambled with chives, and use low-fat milk. Poach to top navy beans and a bit of chilli sauce for a high protein, high fibre filling meal. Whatever you do, don’t cut out these healthy gifts of nature, jam-packed with healthy nutrients

For an assessment of your dietary cholesterol intake, why not do a three-day Foodzone? Then you’ll know exactly where you’re at.

Shrinkflation…smaller food sizes, same old price


These delicious mini tomatoes are the best form of avoiding manufacturer’s Shrinkflation

We have a new buzzword…Shrinkflation! What does it mean? Well, simply put, shrinkflation is what you experience in the supermarket. Smaller food sizes, smaller packaging. Not only do we see this in ready-to-eat meat products like sausage rolls, but also in confectionery and in snack foods. Smaller size, but at the same price. Generally speaking, it may only be a 10 or 15 gram reduction, but in some cases it can be up to 17% of the original size. No doubt, you have noticed this yourself. And you probably were not too impressed…less bang for your buck, that’s shrinkflation for you.

Shrinkflation, the good side…

Being offered a smaller portion size is good for our health. Recently released statistical data from the UK shows that by reducing portion size, it helps curb the obesity trend. In that case, with Australia being at the top end of the World Obesity Ranking, that is probably not a bad thing. Considering that 1 in 4 Aussie kids is obese, and that 68% of adults carry too much weight, shrinkflation may help us in a subtle way. Not great for your hip pocket, but better for your waist.

Less calories, less sugar, salt and fats, that’s Shrinkflation!

The media can come across with messages about smaller sized products in different ways. Mostly, it’s negative, and focuses on the “rip off” aspect to the consumer. However, data now shows we actually benefit from these reduced serves of foods we shouldn’t really have anyway.

Fresh foods never suffer from shrinkflation

When choosing a healthy and balanced diet, make sure at least 80-90% of your daily intake is made from scratch. That means fresh, seasonal and home cooked. This way, you avoid manufacturer’s shrinkflation, and you eat much better. Fresh foods come in “shrunk” sizes too these days, but not as a rip-off. Mini cucumbers are the latest rage, and are rich in minerals, water, fibre and other nutrients. Mini tomatoes are readily available in many varieties, from cherry to Roma, and contain vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. 

So…snack away on mini natural foods and you will beat Shrinkflation by a mile. Good for your hip pocket, great for your waistline, and better for the planet too! 

What are manufactured meats?

A plate full of quality cold cuts is preferable to many other products

Manufactured meats…mystery foods with strange ingredients

Almost everyone will have some form of manufactured meats in their fridge. (Unless you are vegan or vegetarian). Manufactured meats are a common staple food. Your family likes them, is used to them and expects them. But, do you know what is in them? Generally speaking, manufactured meats are mystery foods with strange ingredients. Read on, and be prepared to be shocked.

Ham, kabana, salami, sausages…

Of course, ham is a favourite for sandwiches. Kabana or salami cannot be missing from any decent party platter.
Not only that, but your BBQ is simply not complete without a dozen humble sausages sizzling away. Manufactured meats are everywhere, are a common part of the Australian diet, and can be of a good, or a terrible quality. Which meats are okay for your family, and what should you avoid, or at least be aware of?

What can you expect in manufactured meats?

What can you expect in manufactured meats? Good question. It all depends on the manufacturer, the type of meat, the quality and its shelf life.

Meat products ingredients are governed by regulations. However, regulations use the term “meat” loosely. Meat can be anything that is connected to an animal, except for offall. Unfortunately, everything found between the nose to the tip of the tail is regarded as meat, apart from the heart, tongue, liver, kidneys, brain and tripe. That leaves a lot of body parts you don’t really want not eat! Manufactured meats need to have a minimum of 50% “meat”, and no more than 50% fat.

In general, products that are hand-made or from an artisan source (such as special salamis, Polish sausages, and other delicatessen) may potentially have the best( i.e. cleanest) ingredients. Most often, these products are made with care, love and traditional recipes. However, be aware that salt will always be high. Sodium works as a preservation agent, and seals moisture in the product. Ask about the use of preservatives; real craftspeople won’t mind.

Not just sausages…

Sadly, it’s not just sausages filled with the cheapest and nastiest body parts permitted. The same goes for Frankfurters, hot dogs, cocktail sausages, Devon, Spam and the so-called “Smiley” or “Thomas the Tank Engine” sliced meats you can buy at any supermarket. Not only is the meat content of extremely low quality (that’s why it’s cheap), these products are also full of additives. The colours of the meat (red, pink, and mixed in the Smiley) stand out as quite un-natural. That’s because they are! Bright pink hotdogs look like that because of the use of nitrites/nitrates. Same for the patterns in kids’ cold meats. Other additives will be present too, making these foods very undesirable. Meat pies have come under scrutiny too, as they are well-known to contain huge amounts of fat; some pies only contain 23% meat! The rest is…you don’t want to know…

Nitrates, sulphates and sodium

Generally speaking, manufactured meats contain Nitrates/Nitrites, Sulphites and Sodium. Nitrites give meat a bright, fresh, red colour. Nitrates occur naturally in plants and foods and pose no risk. Chemical nitrites do. They are regarded as potential carcinogenic. Sulphur is a naturally occurring chemical too, and does no harm. In fact, it is an important component of the anti-inflammatory effect of foods such as cabbage and broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. It is also in eggs. However, sulphur dioxide (SO2) is approved as a preservative. As a result, sulphites can cause severe allergic reactions in those who are sulphur sensitive.

Shape, colour, texture…your clues to manufactured meat choices

Let’s be real. The shape, colour and texture of the manufactured meat can tell you a lot. Is it a natural ham-off-the-bone? Great. If you like ham, enjoy! Is it a square, pre-sliced piece of meat, in exactly the right size to fit a sandwich? Run as fast as you can…Surely, no pig is born with a square bum the size of your bread. This is not real. This is compressed meat. Highly likely, it’s injected with salty water. Water increases weight, (increases profit) and salt holds the water! Furthermore, expect preservatives for long shelf-life(sulphites) and nitrites to give it colour. The same applies to the Smiley and Thomas sliced meats. No meat is born that way!

Being smart about manufactured meats

Being smart about manufactured meats will help you determine what you permit in your body. Want some bacon on a Sunday morning? Of course, not really a great food, full of sodium and the above-mentioned preservatives, but view it as a treat. Not too often, then it’s (sort of) okay. Serving a party platter? Look for alternatives to pre-packed mass-produced hams, etc. Try Prosciutto or Parma ham( expensive but worth it) or local ham-off-the-bone. Same for salami; good quality hand-made, but accept some sulphites and nitrates as well. Ask your local butcher or deli if you can read the label of the product if available. Avoid hot dogs, cocktail sausages, Devon, Smileys and the lot. After all, you can live without those!

Choose wisely, look for quality over price, and enjoy your occasional manufactured meats as a treat

Mango Iced tea

A cool recipe for hot days…Mango Iced Tea

Use per 1 liter water
4 teabags
1 large ripe mango or two small ones
1 tbsp. of honey or raw sugar (optional)
squeeze of lemon or lime juice

Make this recipe as is, or dilute it with ice-cubes or water

Full of anti-oxidants and vitamin C

Boil half of the water and pour over teabags. Brew 3-5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea. Meanwhile, peel the fruit. Slice the outer layer of the mango into small chunks of flesh, drop them in the remaining 500 ml cold water. Hold the remaining mango above the cold water and squeeze the flesh around the pip while removing the remainder of the flesh as a pulp. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime, and stir.

Remove teabags, stir in honey/sugar until dissolved. Mix the tea brew with the mango water. Set in fridge to cool. Make it taste super special by serving it sprinkled with some coconut flakes and a dusting of cinnamon. Do it as a mocktail? Serve in cocktail glass and add a thin slice of lemon on the side of the glass  to make it look super fancy

This recipe works with all current seasonal stone fruits, and is a great way to use up fruit that is getting almost too ripe. Mixing fruits can be really good too; adding pineapple creates an even richer flavour to your iced tea.

Have a great summer

Ten tips for a Great Christmas

Ten tips for a great Christmas

It’s here, whether you like it or not… the race to Christmas has begun…

We know we’ll have a good time in the end, but the road to Christmas day is most likely paved with cobblestones. Loss of sanity and a painful credit card come to mind.
So, especially for you, Ten Golden Tips for a Merry, healthy and happy Christmas:

Tip One: Drink lots. Water that is. Keep alcohol intake within proportion. Be sure to make every other drink a glass of water. Good for the liver, no headaches and no regrettable events at the office party or family get-together!

Tip two: Moderation. Boring, but your body will be grateful. Enjoy all the marvellous food on the table, but have a little of each instead of lots. The brain takes around twenty minutes to register that we’re full. So, the chance of over-eating is a real thing. That’s is when you say…Ah, I wish I hadn’t eaten that last bit of pudding!

Tip three: Increase your vitamin C intake. Fresh fruits, salads, and stacks of colourful vegies will provide you with plenty, and you’ll need it. When we’re stressed and busy, we need adrenaline; it’s the ultimate stress hormone that the cave man used to tackle a bear. Your own adrenaline is pumping while you fight for a spot in the parking lot and battle the Christmas shop crowds. Vitamin C is superb at helping your adrenal glands. That way, you don’t burn out.

Tip Four: Take some B vitamins. Naturally present in almost all foods, B vitamins are unstable and affected by storage, age of food and cooking methods. Most B vitamins are lost or reduced in the process of paddock to plate. A good supplement will help.

Tip five: Relax! In modern-day life, we have lost the ability to relax when we have holidays. We’re so used to our social connections via our media devices, that, when we have time off, we don’t disconnect. It is good to stay in touch but put the devices down and walk in nature, play, and connect in real life. Magnesium can help relax our busy minds and tense muscles. Find it in nuts, seeds and whole grains, and in green leafy vegies such as salad varieties.

Tip six: Keep kids happy with sweet treats like pineapple, stawberries and water melon pieces on skewers, or bowls of cherries. Just as colourful as all the tempting lollies, but these are natural colours and sugars. Not only that, these foods are packed with important vitamins and antioxidants. Go on, you can be a child too, and have a face full of cherry juice!

Tip seven: Something that was never considered years ago, but is very important these days: Know your guests’ allergies, and make sure that there are alternatives. Some allergies can be deadly. Cross contamination can also cause problems for people who have intolerances, so keep nut -, gluten-, or dairy-free separated in different containers, and use different utensils.

Tip eight: Keep active. Go for walks daily, have a game of backyard cricket, or a swim. Whatever you do, be appropriately dressed and hydrated, and protect your skin with sunscreen.

Tip nine: Don’t test your limits on really hot days. Jogging at noon on a 38 -degree day may be some people’s form of training for endurance marathons, but if you don’t regularly do this, this can be detrimental to your health.

Tip ten: Enjoy whatever this holiday season may bring. Don’t sweat the small stuff, it’ll all be okay. Have a Merry Christmas and a great 2019!

PS: that credit card…I have no remedy for that:)

HRT , risk or benefit?

Blossom through menopauseHRT, or Hormone Replacement Therapy has come under fire again. This ‘magic pill’ to stop those annoying hot flushes and reduce bone loss in menopausal women has been around for much longer than most people realise. The first experimental oral forms date back to the late 1930’s but in the sixties, after many concerns, new dosages were established, and further adapted over the years.

This time, research shows that it may increase the risk for breast and uterine cancer. In late 1999 there was a similar scare; it was concluded that HRT may play risk in heart attacks and blood clots. Of course, this creates a feeling of panic for women who have been prescribed HRT. It leaves them with the choice of stopping, and facing up to the symptoms of menopause again, or continue taking it, and being at possible risk. Hard decisions to make.

Menopause is regarded as a disease by the medical world. That’s why they have invented a pharmaceutical for it. In traditional cultures a menopausal woman is revered, and viewed as a woman of wisdom who deserves to be cherished. Often, these elders are the advice givers to the younger generation. Menopause is treated with herbs,  ‘sweat lodges’, and local remedies and is accepted as a normal stage of life. This is the time where a woman can sit back and reflect on her years as a mother or worker, this is the time where she can have a rest from all her hard work during her life, and ‘smell the roses’.

However, in our modern Western world we have no time for hot flushes. Women of any age going through menopause are often still working and you can’t have hot flushes in your office or job. It’s embarrassing, inconvenient and frustrating. With women generally opting for having children at a later age it may well be that a woman is not only dealing with hot flushes but teenage temperaments too. Or she may be going through a divorce, be made redundant and so forth…life is not traditional anymore and the answer for many menopausal women is HRT. And now the worry about it.

Menopause is not a disease. It is a phase of life. It causes symptoms, just like any other age change. (Remember those pimples you had as a teenager?) The symptoms vary per woman, and natural treatments can help ease them or even totally eradicate them. Some women find relief with herbal ‘over-the-counter tablets sold in pharmacies and health food stores. Responses vary per woman. Why do the tablets that work for your friend not work for you? This is linked to many factors. Your genetics, whether you’ve had children, and how many, your diet, your weight, your general health…these are all influencing factors when it comes to determining what works.

To get the best possible help and the right products tailored to your specific needs and symptoms, invest in a consult. It will be worth it and give you an  effective, safe and graceful solution to your menopausal issues. You’ll feel so much better for it, and you’ll work on long term health as well. Be smart, see a naturopath with special experience in the field: pick a mature aged female practitioner and you’re guaranteed to find a solution, compassion and support to help you ease through  this time in a healthy and happy way.

Beware of ‘Extreme’ Products

The FDA (America’s Food and Drug Administration) sent another alarming message this month after discovering the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen in a number of ‘ extreme’ protein powders. These type of products are often used by body builders to enhance muscle growth. Tamoxifen prevents breast tissue growth , which ‘sort of’ explains the presence of that in an Extreme Muscle Builder. A weird sort of Man Boob prevention. Still, Tamoxifen is not a good thing for a male, or any body, unless needed for medical reasons.

It’s not just the extreme powders that put you at a health risk; at the opposite end a large number of weight loss products contain many dangerous ingredients such as L-citruline, sibutramine, and oxedrine. All these have proven links to serious conditions.

So people, please be mindful of what you put in your body. Check ingredients; if it sounds unfamiliar, look it up at reputable sites. That is not necessarily the sales site! Or call a practitioner who cares and knows!

Live happy, live healthy:)

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