Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen 2017

Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen 2017

Herbicide and Pesticide residue on fruit and vegetables has been linked to a long list of health problems including certain cancers, symptoms of ADHD, autism, and Parkinson’s. 

US-based Environmental Working Group has released its annual list of those foods most (and least) affected by herbicide and pesticide residue.   The lists are based on studies into American produce but illustrate the need for us to take care in choosing produce whether imported, or produced on conventional farms using toxic chemicals. 

Despite claims by a spokesperson at Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) that Australia uses DIFFERENT herbicides and pesticides and that levels are strictly set, I would suggest many mamas ‘on the ground’ would attest to these chemicals causing childhood problems like rashes, allergies and asthma. 

Of the few studies done into herbicide and pesticide use on Australian produce, a Friends of the Earth study found 125 pesticides on various fruits and vegetables including chlorpyrifos, fenitrothion, difocol and dimethoate which are highly toxic. 

Often ‘safe’ levels of these highly toxic chemicals are discussed but when the possible problems include disrupting the endocrine system, ADHD, lowering IQ’s, learning and behavioural problems and possible increases in Lymphoblastic Leukemia in children, any mama would be wise to question whether ANY level is truly safe. 

If you are committed to nourishing your family with wholesome foods but are struggling to swallow some of the prices for organic products here is a list to help you choose foods that are safer when organic and those that are OK to buy conventional. 

Remember, Farmers Markets are a great place to buy produce that may not be certified organic but will likely be chemical free.  Check with the market stallholder and enjoy the savings on delicious wholefoods.  Home delivery fruit and veggie boxes are another way to ensure you’re getting good quality produce at reasonable prices. 

Dirty Dozen 













(Also mentioned in recent years: Blueberries, Lettuce, Cucumber, Broccoli, Carrots, Kale and zucchini) 

 Clean 15 

 1.Sweet corn 





6.Sweet Peas 






12.Kiwi fruit 




(Also mentioned in recent years: Watermelon, Sweet Potato, Grapefruit, Mushrooms) 


 Friends of the Earth: http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/foe/legacy_url/378/TheDoseMakesThePoisonFeb2012_0.pdf?1471404362 

Environmental Working Group: 


Sustainable Gardening Australia: 


Is your ANTI-aging moisturizer actually AGING you?!

Is your ANTI-aging moisturizer actually AGING you?!

Beauty product labels and advertising make some pretty radical claims about how they will make us look and feel younger but if the products you are using are full of chemicals and toxic ingredients they could likely be doing the opposite of what they claim – and worse!!

The beauty industry is MASSIVE and the dollar amount companies spend on advertising to get you to buy their products astronomical. But in an industry with loose regulations, the products you buy claiming to reduce lines, wrinkles and spots could be aging your skin AND your whole body causing far worse health problems than just your smile lines!

Your skin absorbs the chemicals and toxins found in beauty products, in fact it takes just 26 seconds for them to reach your bloodstream. Keep your beauty routine clean and natural for the health of you and your family.

I have 3 easy, natural and economical beauty tips for you below.

First though, know what to avoid:

Parabens: widely used preservative found in make up, deodorant, body wash etc. Associated with increased risk of breast cancer & organ toxicity. Known to disrupt our delicate hormone balance.

Fragrance: Found in such products as perfume, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, moisturizers and others. According to the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database, fragrance mixes are associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential negative effects on the reproductive system.

Phthalates: Found in many deodorants, perfumes/colognes, hair sprays and moisturizers. Known to be endocrine disruptors and linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and birth defects.

Triclosan: classified as a pesticide by the FDA. Found in toothpastes, antibacterial soaps and deodorants. Known as a skin irritant and endocrine disruptor particularly thyroid and reproductive hormones.

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/ Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES): Found in a huge percentage of foaming personal care and cleaning products including shampoo, body wash, mascara and cleansers. Known to be skin, lung and eye irritants and possibly a carcinogen when combined with other chemicals.

Toulene: Found in nail polish, nail treatments and hair colour. It’s a petrochemical and a powerful solvent that can irritate skin and cause nausea and respiratory problems. Can cause damage to a developing fetus so pregnant women should avoid exposure.

Sunscreen chemicals: Protection from the sun is important but using sunscreens full of chemicals may also cause cancer cell formation and cell damage. Avoid products with ingredients like benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate and ethoxycinnmate. Use natural sunscreen as an alternative and a hat and clothing when spending hours in the sun.

Three Natural, Effective and Economical beauty alternatives:


1. Coconut oil is great used on its own as a moisturizer as well as an effective make up remover even for eye make up. Keep a jar in your bathroom.

A simple moisturizer recipe is:

½ cup coconut oil
1 tsp vitamin E oil (or pierce 2-3 capsules and squeeze)
5 drops of lavender oil or tea tree oil

Mix together in a bowl. If the coconut oil is hard in the cooler months use a hand blender to combine until smooth and creamy.

(recipe by wellnessmama.com)

2. Rosehip oil for dark eye circles – apply a few drops by patting tips of fingers under your eye.

3. Vitamin C serum (lasts for 3-5 days so make in small batches)

1 tsp vitamin C powder (use a pure form free from additives)
1 tsp purified water
1 tsp glycerin (optional) (use organic vegetable glycerin. I found mine on iherb)
¼ tsp Vit E oil (or capsule) (optional)

Mix in a small bowl until granules are dissolved. Add a tsp of water if you don’t use glycerin and Vit E.Transfer to small dark glass bottle.

Apply to skin on face at night after cleansing and apply moisturizer as usual. Apply to backs of hands as well.

Tingling is normal but if you feel burning wipe off immediately. Adjust recipe with more water and/or glycerin so that it suits your skin.

(Recipe from primallyinspired.com)

Remember, your skin and your family’s skin is precious. The best way to promote youthful, glowing skin is to use natural and safe personal and cleaning products, eat wholefoods and minimize processed food in your diet and to enjoy an active lifestyle. LIVE YOURSELF YOUNG from the inside out!


Detox Your Home: Kitchen (How to get as plastic free as possible)

Detox Your Home: Kitchen (How to get as plastic free as possible)

Before I had my babies, I didn’t give much thought to what food came in, what I cooked it in or what I ate it from. In fact I was less concerned about food in general and more worried about which champagne or wine I would drink and if I had enough (but that’s a different story)!

Having my precious angels enter the world changed me in many ways and one of these was to worry more about what I was putting into them.

We are unfortunately bombarded with unavoidable chemicals, toxins and poisons and while there are many we can’t control, in our own homes we can create a healthy living environment for our families. It’s unreasonable to think we’ll be able to totally eradicate all plastic from our lives but as mamas we can, and should make a stand to do what we can for our children. Every little helps.

Plastics (especially those used in ‘take and toss’ items like coffee cups, straws and plastic bags) have a massively detrimental impact on the environment, marine life and our own health. Just small changes can have a big impact. You will have a bunch of plastic stuff in your kitchen right now that seems wasteful to just toss but being aware for future purchases will make a big difference.

Plastic food packaging

a) Use your own shopping bags when buying groceries
b) Shop at farmers markets for produce and butchers for organic, ethically raised, grass fed meat.
c) Purchase dried goods from bulk bin shops (they have them now in some grocery stores).
d) Try to eat more wholefoods and less processed and packaged foods.

Food storage at home

a) Recycle jars and bottles or use Pyrex containers (even though the lids are plastic) for leftovers and storage. Make sure to leave about 2.5cm of space at the top of jars and Pyrex if freezing.
b) Invest in a stainless steel ice cube tray as they’re great for ice and for freezing stock in small batches to use in cooking.
c) Try to cut down on plastic film and plastic sandwich bags by using glass storage for leftovers. Keep leafy greens fresh by wrapping in a damp tea towel to store in veggie compartment.

Cooking and food prep

a) Ditch Teflon coated pans and bakeware. While there is debate about whether chemicals are released from Teflon while cooking, the fact that the chemical in Teflon has been linked to cancer is enough for me to avoid this kitchen item. There are green/eco companies making non-stick pans or try cast iron and enamel lined cast iron like Le Creuset.
b) For baking in the oven you can use glass bakeware, ceramic, stoneware and stainless steel trays and dishes.

Leaving the house

a) Use glass or stainless steel water bottles for you and your family.
b) Send the kids off with any of the green/eco options available for lunchboxes, snack and sandwich bags.
c) Take your own lunch in a stainless steel thermos, Pyrex container or pinch one of the kids’ lunch boxes.

What you eat from

a) If your babies and kids are eating from plastic bowls, plates and cutlery replace all of these items with stainless steel or bamboo alternatives. There are so many beautiful products available these days.

Cleaning products

a) Opt for natural, chemical free cleaners or better yet, make your own. The best ingredients are often the simplest. Try vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and essential oils.
b) Replace toxic dishwashing liquid, dishwasher tabs, powders or gels with chemical free alternatives. If you’re washing the items you eat your food from in chemicals, you’re also consuming the chemicals with your next meal!

Sources: lowtoxlife.com, mygreenaustralia.com, abc.net.au, mnn.com, drfranklipman.com

How Healthy Are Your Hormones – and How Would You Know?

How Healthy Are Your Hormones – and How Would You Know?

There is often discussion and mention of hormones in women’s health but do you know what they are, what they do and if yours are imbalanced or healthy?

As I’m not a doctor or scientist I’ve rounded up the work of Dr Chris Kresser (drchriskresser.com), Dr Josh Axe (draxe.com) and Dr Christine Horner (Institute of Vibrant Living) to give you my simple interpretation on the role hormones play.


HORMONES are your body’s chemical messengers and assist practically every physiological process in your body including:


  • Metabolism
  • Immune system
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Reproduction


The endocrine system is the control centre for hormones, and the brain, specifically the hypothalamus and pituitary glands play an integral role in regulating all hormone production in the body.


Our hormones are secreted by various glands and organs including the thyroid, adrenals, ovaries and pancreas. There is a complex interplay between different hormones so hormonal imbalance could mean that having too much or too little of one hormone will affect the performance of other hormones. Even a slight imbalance can cause major health problems so balance is vital for our body to function properly.


Hormonal imbalance could be caused by a number of factors including poor diet, elevated omega 6 oils (found in processed and packaged food), lack of exercise, inadequate sleep, elevated stress, long term use of birth control pills, genetics, and environmental toxins like heavy metals, mould, pesticides and chemicals like BPA in plastics.


So how do you know if your hormones are unbalanced?

Symptoms are many and varied but some signs include the following:


  • Infertility and irregular periods
  • Weight gain/weight loss (with no change in diet)
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Low libido
  • Changes in appetite
  • Digestive issues
  • Brain fog
  • Hair loss/thinning


The good news is that balancing hormones is achievable naturally by making some tweaks to diet and lifestyle choices.


To balance hormones naturally:


  • Eat healthy fats like avocado, nuts, olives and olive oil (unheated) or coconut oil (heated & unheated)
  • Balance your intake of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fats by consuming good quality wild caught fish, cod liver oil, sardines, mackerel etc as well as adding chia, flax and hemp seeds and walnuts to your diet while avoiding processed & packaged foods containing vegetable oils high in omega 6.
  • Improve gut health by consuming a nutritious diet of wholefoods incorporating bone broth and fermented foods if possible and lots of leafy greens.
  • Eliminate toxic kitchen, beauty and body care products from your home replacing them with safe and natural alternatives. This includes bake ware and pans with Teflon coatings and all makeup, skincare and perfume containing chemical ingredients.
  • Exercise – any exercise that you enjoy and can stick to is great but HIIT (high intensity interval training) is best.
  • Reduce and/or manage stress as high cortisol levels can wreak havoc on the body.
  • Take adaptogen herbs to regulate hormone function. For example Ashwagandha (for thyroid, adrenals), Chasteberry (for PMS) and Maca root (for stamina, stress relief).
  • Get more sleep and improve the quality of it by following a sleep routine.
  • Watch caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Back off birth control pills as they deplete the body of zinc, magnesium, B6 and other nutrients.


We can also help our kids grow up with healthy hormones by following the same lifestyle tips. We need to ensure they get enough sleep (without screen time before bed which will disrupt their circadian rhythms) and try not to overschedule them with too many activities and classes that could increase cortisol levels.


We all want the best health for our families so setting them up with healthy hormones is a great start. Our aim is to have our hormones working in harmony so balancing our own hormones is a fantastic way to get our groove back and feel our absolute best.

Natural remedies for cold and flu season for the whole family

Natural remedies for cold and flu season for the whole family

Yesterday I felt it. You know the little tickle in your throat? The little ‘itch’ deep in your ears? I knew it was the start of a cold or flu so I decided to fight it!


Cold and Flu viruses are uncomfortable and annoying, especially for many of us with busy lives today. We tend to dose ourselves with over the counter cold medicines to suppress our symptoms so we can soldier on which is logical especially if you are a mum with young children!

But think about the last time you were ill, was it at a time when you were tired, run down or stressed? I know for me, and I suspect for you too, feeling an illness coming on is our body’s way of communicating our need to chill out, slow down, rest and for goodness sake, press the pause button on life!

Like having a baby, there is never a convenient time to get sick but our bodies are pretty amazing at knowing what they need, and when they need it. Imagine if more people listened to their bodies and didn’t go to work while suppressing an illness, there would be fewer germs around!

A fever is an important process the body performs to fight the virus while the mucus produced acts as the rubbish disposal carrying the bacteria and virus out of us. Without even knowing it, we’re brilliant at making ourselves well again!

Of course the best way to deal with a cold or flu is to prevent catching it in the first place! A nourishing diet of real food based on vegetables and fruit can help you ward off viruses. Good quality sleep and regular exercise will also support a strong immune system.

However if you feel yourself succumbing or notice symptoms in your little ones, here are my top 10 tips to fight off the virus, decrease the intensity and shorten the duration without resorting to cold, flu and cough medications that will only suppress symptoms.

1. At the first sign of a cold or flu I put a dropper full of 3% hydrogen peroxide in each ear. You will hear bubbling and when that subsides, drain onto a tissue and repeat on the other ear. This remedy has worked more often than not for me but it has to be done very soon after the first symptoms appear. More on using hydrogen peroxide can be found at mercola.com

2. As soon as the symptoms start I also take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and after gargling briefly, I swallow it. I do this about every hour or 2 until symptoms disappear. I use this method on my kids as well.

3. As soon as I hear someone so much as sniff in winter I light an oil burner (with a beeswax tea light candle which can clear the air as well) and burn oil like oregano, tea tree or eucalyptus. Good quality oregano oil would be my top pick.

4. I also use drops of oregano oil in coconut oil to rub on my kids’ chests and on the soles of their feet (then put socks on) before they go to bed. My kids have had temperatures only to wake up fine in the morning with this method.

5. I start supplementing more in winter to prevent illness and choose to use good quality Vitamin D (preferably from the sun but if unavailable a supplement is fine), Vitamin C, Olive leaf extract and zinc.

6. I nourish the family with homemade chicken bone broth and also cook more with coconut oil, garlic and up our intake of fermented foods. Gut health is so important when boosting the immune system.

7. I make sure everyone in the family drinks plenty of good quality water to keep hydrated.

8. If someone is struggling to drink water a fresh ginger, lemon and honey tea can sometimes be a bit easier to drink. Boil on the stove with plenty of water and the other ingredients to suit your taste. I usually cut the lemons in half and put it all in (skin included) with sliced ginger and just a bit of honey.

9. Wash hands often to avoid spreading germs.

10. Finally, and most importantly, REST. When you are sick with young kids this can be extremely difficult but even short naps throughout the day will help you recover sooner. In this instance, a bit of TV will be fine! 😉

5 Exercise Tips for Busy People

5 Exercise Tips for Busy People

It takes time and effort to take care of your body. It’s incredibly important to find time to exercise because the benefits of exercise are too important to ignore.

Yet most of us are too busy to even make time for what we WANT to do, let alone find time to create new, healthy habits. It’s not exactly relaxing to start a new exercise routine when you’re already exhausted from work.

Thankfully, there are lots of ways to fit exercise in without having to go to the gym every single day. Doing the same thing day in and day out can get boring, and habits we find boring aren’t habits we’re likely to keep up forever.

Here are six great ways to sneak exercise into your daily routine. Each tip is tested for sustainability, and will make exercise a lot more fun than those one-size-fits-all routines you’ve probably tried in the past.

1. Rethink your seating. At your workplace, do you sit in a normal office chair? If so, consider shifting to a standing desk, which exercises your leg muscles much more actively than if you sit passively. Even sitting on an exercise ball forces your core muscles to activate, helping your body exercise to keep stable. It may not seem like much, but those efforts stack up to greater muscular strength over time.

2. Rethink your commute. If you’re in a position where you can walk or bike to work, that can be a start to your day that’s both active and relaxing. You’ll walk into the office centered from the movement and time spent listening to your own thoughts. Even doing exercises based around sitting can add up. Some shoulder flexion action during the morning traffic jam can go a long way toward preventing stiffness and tightness in the body.

3. Do what you’re a fan of. Love watching Dancing With The Stars? Take up ballroom dancing or even Zumba. Like watching sports? Try a few drills that the players are doing next time you’re at the park. By building upon what you already love, you’re setting the stage to have a lot more fun than doing exercise you “have” to do.

4. Recruit your friends. Ever hear the saying, “The more, the merrier?” It applies to fitness, too! Grab a friend or two for a hike, jog, bike ride, or leisurely stroll. You’ll find that the time flies – and you might even find yourself looking forward to your next excursion!

5. Don’t punish yourself for low activity. The body adapts to activity levels, but it also loves resting. Even if you just stretch your body during commercial breaks, keeping your body from growing sedentary is a very good thing. So keep it going to see benefits! You’ll never regret exercising, even if it feels like “not enough.”

6. Join a competition. Do you consider yourself to be a competitive person? Then joining a competition could be the perfect option for you! Even if you don’t have the skills to compete in a league for your activity of choice, you can still challenge your friends or yourself to up your game.

How do you make sure you get enough exercise? How do you make your exercise work in your routine? Share your experience in the comments!