Sleep is deeply important for our health and wellbeing. A good night’s rest is important for everything from memory to mood and physical wellness. Sleep is where we repair and rejuvenate our minds and bodies, so when we don’t get enough of it or the quality isn’t great, it can have long-lasting effects. It’s something I know most of us want to get right, so I recently asked sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo for her top tips on how to get a better night’s shut-eye. Olivia utilises her expertise in psychology, physiology and nutrition to help give her clients a multi-faceted approach to tackling sleep issues, and here she shares the top dos and don’ts when it comes to catching zzzz’s.
Do use magnesium
“Just like meditation, research indicates magnesium helps reduce anxiety – by 31 per cent. However, unlike meditation, this is a physiological tool for relaxation, which can be somewhat more helpful if you’re in a constant state of stress or find meditation ineffective.
Being physiological rather than psychological, it means your body is triggered to relax, even without you trying. Knowing how wound up we often are come evening; this is why I recommend it in everyone’ s bedtime routine.”
Do block out blue light
“As the number one factor to control your circadian rhythm, evidence pinpoints light to be one of, if not the biggest, impactor on how sleepy you are in the evening.
Because of this, blocking out blue light (an extremely stimulatory light spectrum) is critical. How? One hundred per cent blue light blocking glasses worn for two hours before bed.
A must-have for all in the face of phones, devices, and regular ceiling lights.”
Don’t take sleeping pills
“The toxins in sleeping pills build up in the muscles and exacerbate fatigue— the longer you take them, the worse the daytime fatigue.
Further, the more you take them the more the brain develops a psychological association that sleepiness = sleeping pills, so you become increasingly reliant upon them to fall and stay asleep.”
Do use a meditation app
“Let’ s face it—meditation can be hard, especially if you’re a novice.
That said, it has clinical links to improving sleep: studies show after meditating for 6 + months, 60 per cent of people experience a noticeable reduction in anxiety symptoms.
Given that anxiety—as in, an inability to switch off with ease—is often the prime reason of s sleeplessness, it’s a valuable addition to your day. I recommend an app as it keeps you on track – which is definitely what we want, right?”
Don’ t look at your phone in the middle of the night
“Looping back to the impact of blue light, studies show even five minutes of blue light exposure—like checking your phone—can result in a 2-3 hour delay in your melatonin (the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle) levels. This can leave you unable to return to sleep and further, exhausted in the morning too.”
Sleep on the right mattress perfect for you
“If you’re tossing through the evening, it’s worthwhile to consider your bedding.
Essentially, under stress, academic studies demonstrate your psychosocial pain— e.g. pain from psychological stress, rather than physical injuries – increases.
This means that even if you are usually A-OK in your bed, if you’ re stressed, you’ re more likely to feel those small niggles or dull aches which are caused by the incorrect mattress. Get fitted and invest in quality – you do spend a third of your life there, after all.”
Do diffuse lavender
“Want a long term, equally effective alternative to sleeping pills, as proven by science? Look no further—lavender is your answer.
Phenomenally, researchers have found lavender can reduce anxiety “as much as sleeping pills”. Lavender can reduce symptoms by 45 per cent, whereas sleeping pills reducing anxiety symptoms by 46 per cent – only a 1 per cent difference.”
Don’t ignore expert advice
“There IS a reason you can’t sleep, there IS a solution and there IS an avenue forward – be open to it, seek our experts such as myself and you’ll realise you CAN sleep properly again.”
Being in lockdown can really wreak havoc on one’s good intentions to eat well. Having access to snacks aplenty all day while WFH, not having access to all the ingredients we need and often feeling exhausted after a long day means that often we’re not eating as well as we could all the time. So, what are some ways to actually make it easier to eat healthily? I spoke to nutritionist and author Michele Chevalley Hedge recently, and here’s what she had to say…
What are some ways we can make it more feasible to eat well during lockdown?
“It has always been a general nutritional philosophy to eat with a plan but certainly now that is even more important as most of us are only working several tempting metres from our pantries and snacks. If you find yourself wandering in boredom to kitchen to eat throughout the day then please map an eating plan a day or two in advance. A plan with a vision becomes a reality and one that comes with no guilt.
If you are in insolation and find yourself moving less than please consider reducing the amount of carbs you are eating. Still have them, make sure they are smart carbs ( brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, sweet potato, barley, oats ) but only have them at breakfast and lunch. Smart carb, starchy carbs, slow carbs—the terms are interchanged—but what you really need to know is that they break down to sugars. If we are not burning those sugars with brain energy and physical energy they will end up on your new ‘corona’ muffins.”
What does a day of healthy eating entail?
“There has never been a more appropriate time to look at our diets and build our immune systems than now. What a day of healthy eating looks like today should be the same as it should in one year from now. A diet that is full of real, whole foods, unpackaged and unprocessed as often as possible. This type of diet with good fats, quality protein and smart carbs is abundant in vitamins, polyphenols, antioxidants, fibre and do not have added sugar.
I encourage everyone to be eating three meals a day right now to keep their blood sugar stable for sustainable all day energy to keep up with teaching the kids at home, tidying and tidying again, cooking and you might even be working whilst doing all of this. When people skip or skimp on a meal especially during times of high stress, they might be buzzing along fine and then hunger hits and you reach for anything that is easy and often sweet.”
What are some essentials to aim to have in every meal?
“Breakfast and lunch should have all three macro nutrients in your meal. Good fats are brain food they also balance hormones and dampen sugar cravings. Protein helps balance blood sugar, builds immunity, and underpins collagen. Smart carbs are fuel for your brain and your body, and a good source of B vitamins
Consider for breakfast avocado, eggs, and sweet potato ( leftovers from dinner the night before); smoked salmon with extra virgin olive oil on a slice of buckwheat bread.
For lunch consider a version of what you ate the night before.
When it comes to dinner leave out carb or go low carb for adults but leave in for the children and use that carb as your breakfast in the morning.”
What essentials should people aim to have in their pantry and fridge to help making healthy eating easier and tasty?
“Spices are full of antioxidants and can make the same old veggies and meat taste like completely different meal.
Eggs are brain boost food. As well as containing a wide range of vitamins and minerals, eggs are among the richest sources of choline, a nutrient that makes acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the brain involved in nerve and brain functioning and memory. Many of the B vitamins found in eggs are important for mental wellbeing. Egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that are critical for good vision. Eggs are among the few food sources of vitamin D, needed for bones, teeth, muscles and a strong immune system. Several studies have shown people feel fuller for longer when they eat eggs for breakfast.
Milk is a versatile and budget-friendly way to pack a variety of nutrients into your diet, including B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, and iodine. Great for healthy bones and teeth. Dairy products are especially important for bones—research shows higher intakes support healthy bone development and help maintain density and strength. Of course, that’s if you can tolerate dairy. If not try A2 Milk, almond, oat, or soy.
Canned tuna and fish is a no-fuss, economical, clean protein that needs no preparation – simply open the can. There’s hardly any waste and, unlike fresh fish, it has a long shelf. Check it is from a sustainable source and look at salt values as some canned fish can be high in salt, especially if it’s smoked, canned in brine or in a sauce. Salmon, anchovies, and sardines are high in heart and brain-friendly omega 3 fatty acids which are great for dealing with inflammation. They are also high in Vitamin D, which is important for immunity, as well as low levels being linked to depression in some studies.
Almonds and nuts generally are nutritional powerhouses. I know they do not appear to be economical, but they are when you consider the nutritional density. Nuts are heart-friendly and provide a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fats which helps explain why many studies link them to better heart health and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. There’s also evidence that, rather than encouraging weight gain, almonds may help us better regulate our weight and reduce belly fat, possibly because they help fill us up and replace other snacks in our diet that are higher in calories and lower in nutrients. Seven nuts and cup of herbal tea is the perfect snack, so we boost our brain and not our waistline.
Canned and frozen veggies are antioxidants that come in packages. Canning and freezing have come a long way and canned and frozen vegetables still provide lots of antioxidants, fibre and vitamins. Pick up frozen broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, mushrooms, broad beans, green beans which have long freezer life. Most vegetables include the essential vitamins and minerals needed for good health, including fibre, B vitamins such as folate, and vitamins A and C.
Tomatoes are packed with an antioxidant called lycopene, higher intakes of which have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers, such as prostate cancer. Better still, the body can absorb the lycopene from processed canned tomatoes more easily than it can from fresh. Use canned tomatoes in pasta, curry or soups. Remember, most vegetables are rich in flavonoids, which have been linked to better heart health – enjoy five serves a day, especially green ones!
Sweet potatoes/kumara are the “super taters”. Better than white potatoes as they contain a wider range of nutrients and are especially rich in beta-carotene, which the body uses to make vitamin A, a nutrient that’s vital for our immune system, vision and healthy skin. Keeping the skin on all potatoes boosts their fibre content so scrub then mash or chop and dose with olive oil and spices to bake.
Whole grains provide fibre and brain fuel. Oats, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, wholemeal bread and bulgur wheat are fantastic budget buys loaded with nutrients and will keep you pipes moving. The soluble fibre also keeps your blood sugar balanced, lowers LDL and provides satiation so you don’t binge later. Walk past the white rice, white pasta or white bread – the outer bran layer and germ of the grain are stripped away, with the result that the grain loses much of its fibre and many of its nutrients.
Legumes are both carb and protein. Canned or dried chickpeas, lentils, and beans such as kidney, haricot, butter, black, cannellini, borlotti, flageolet, adzuki, pinto and black-eyed are an inexpensive way to satisfy hunger with protein and fibre as well as add nutrients such as potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, manganese and B vitamins. Pulses and legumes are full of fibre, which is linked to reducing blood cholesterol and improving glycaemic control. Beans and pulses are a source of probiotics for friendly bacteria in the gut. We need a healthy gut for a strong immune system.
What are your tips for adapting cooking if you’re having trouble accessing certain ingredients?
“Adapt away without worries. Get creative. You cannot really fail at cooking…there is always toast! If the recipe is using herbs or spices you do not have, use something you like. If the recipe is a calling for a protein you do not like then swap it for another protein-based food. Lamb and beef can be replaced with chicken. Tofu can be replaced with chickpeas . When in doubt, google it.”
What are your top meal prep tips? How can people make it easier on themselves?
“Always double and sometimes triple the recipe. For example when I make chicken soup, I triple the recipe. The first night I will serve this on a bed of barley, the next day I will add a can of tomatoes and a fresh chili just for a new taste and look and serve with small pasta tubes and parmesan cheese. It is not only a time saver but a cost saving idea.”
If people do find themselves ordering takeaway, how can they make healthy menu choices while doing so? What are some things to keep in mind?
“Look for foods that you know you would make for yourself or your own family. Deep fried food, heavy syrups and sauces, sugar laden, heavily processed food should not be part of your takeaway plan—now or ever. If you are in doubt on what is in the food you are ordering, just ask. A quality takeaway outlet will be proud to share their ingredients.”
We’re all a little restricted in our movements at the moment, particularly when it comes to going too far afield for a holiday so it’s the perfect opportunity to embrace a good ol’ fashioned staycation. And yes, while it doesn’t quite beat being able to travel to an exotic, farflung location there is still something to be said for holidaying in your own backyard. Here are a few ways to make the most of it.
One of the best things about going away somewhere in my opinion is being able to check out the hotel spa. Being in luxe and relaxing surroundings while being able to enjoy a facial or massage is bliss. So, why not treat yourself to a pamper session at your favourite day spa? It’s the ultimate way to de-stress. Or if you want to stay closer to home, you can always enjoy a top-to-toe pamper session with a DIY facial and a mani-pedi.
Host a dinner party
Nothing says relaxation quite like a fun night in with friends. Choose a theme for the evening and either whip up a few dishes if you’re in the mood, or alternatively just order some nice takeaway (so many restaurants are doing at-home meal kits right now so take advantage of them) and sit back for a night of fun.
Play tourist in your hometown
We often take our local haunts for granted but there’s no doubt that here in Australia, we’re truly spoilt for choice when it comes to things to see and do. So pick out a spot that perhaps you haven’t been to in awhile or somewhere that you’ve always been curious about but have never got around to visiting and finally check it out.
Go on a day trip
The best thing about day trips is that you can go somewhere new without the hassle of having to pack for a longer stay. So pick out a spot on the map and head out for the day. The change of scenery is often what a holiday is about and this is a great way to do it.
Have a movie night
If you want to invoke those holiday feels then why not have a movie night featuring movies set in your favourite destinations. Paris, New York, Tokyo… there are so many amazing movies set around the world, and it’s a great way to get that vacation feeling, minus the airfare.
Draw up a hit list of places you want to eat
One of my favourite things to do whenever I’m away is to check out all the local food spots. Dining out is my fave way to immerse myself in what a destination has to offer, and it’s something that’s so easy to do at home. I’ve often got a mental list of new places I’d really like to eat at, but sometimes end up just heading to places I’ve been to before whenever we head out to dinner so a staycation is a great opportunity to tick a few of those spots off your list. Whether it’s a cool bar, a brunch spot that’s had rave reviews or a hole in the wall pizza place, here’s your chance to holiday one dish at a time.
There’s a seemingly endless array of supplements available out there and it’s hard to know what’s actually worth trying and what might be best left on the shelf. When it comes to Aussie supplements there’s generally a more stringent process involved with what gets approved for sale so you’re much more likely to find something that’s worth introducing into your routine. That said, I’ve tried my share with varying results. Now that I’m a busy mum juggling family and career I want something that delivers, something that enables me to see and feel a noticeable difference, especially if I’m making the effort to introduce it into my already hectic routine.
For this reason I recently started working with Aussie ingestible beauty brand Vida Glow and love the results I’m seeing so far. Founded by Anna Lahey, the brand started with an ingestible marine collagen supplement in 2014, and has grown exponentially and now has an online presence in over 50 countries. Along with their marine collagen range, they’ve recently released a new supplement called Vida Glow Anti-G-Ox which is an effervescent powder designed to fight the signs of ageing caused from environmental accelerators (sleep deprivation, stress, pollution/climate). As a friend of the brand, I’ve introduced it into my health routine and have really noticed the difference.
Collagen is the protein which binds cells and tissues together and is naturally produced by the body, however as we age it decreases which can in turn affect the condition of our skin and hair. Vida Glow’s marine collagen helps to boost the body’s natural ability to produce collagen. Since I’ve introduced a collagen supplement into my routine I’ve noticed my hair and nails are stronger, my skin feels more toned and hydrated and it even helps with muscle recovery. It’s so easy too—I just pop a sachet into a glass of water and I’ve had my daily dose without even really needing to think about it.
As someone who invests in their skin and hair a lot, everything from regular visits to the hairdresser to facials and skincare, it’s good to be able to boost the effects of those efforts from the inside out. After all I’ve always said that if you start with a good base of healthy hair and a great complexion then the rest of your beauty routine will fall around that.
This post was produced in collaboration with Vida Glow
It’s always great to be invited to host an event and I was thrilled to be asked to do so at the recent Vida Glow launch. The setting was in Sydney’s Botanic Garden so I was after an outfit that was both polished and on trend but also light and airy in keeping with the natural surroundings. I came across this Kate Spade dress in my search and it definitely fit the brief. The crisp white colour was perfect for a day event, while the beautiful floral detail was just the thing to really lift the dress and give it an elegant touch, and who can ever resist a pretty bow?
I wanted to maintain a uniform look throughout so instead of a contrasting heel, I went for a white minimalist shoe which helped tie the outfit together. Also, I can’t resist wearing white from head to toe as it’s such a strong look and looks really fresh. Simple jewellery and subtle waves were all this ensemble needed to complete the look.
Photography by Chloe Paul
Shop the Look:
Dress: Kate Spade (soon to be released); Shoes, Tony Bianco (soon to be released)
Personal trainer and founder of Fit Mamma, Jack Seymour knows that once you’re a mum, it can be tricky to get back into an exercise routine, having witnessed it first hand when his wife had their daughter. So he sought to remedy it by founding a gym that specifically catered to mums — and Fit Mamma was born! Understanding the unique needs of mums when it comes to establishing and maintain a training program is Jack’s forte so I thought who better to offer expert tips on getting back into a fitness regimen than him? Here he shares his tips for introducing exercise back into your life post-baby.
Get the all clear
“Most mums tend to get the ‘return to exercise’ clearance from their GP or obstetrician. While we highly recommend that these health professionals give you the green light, we also recommend all new mums see a female physio specialist for a post-natal screening. This is where you may benefit from identifying deeper (potentially harmful) physical problems caused from pregnancy or birth, regardless of whether or not you are planning on exercising. Generally, the screening consists of a thorough examination of your pelvic floor and an ultrasound to determine how much separation you have, how well your transverse abdominals are firing, and general harmony throughout your trunk area. If anything needs attention then your physio is there to lead you back to physical greatness.”
Make it a part of your day
“Simply getting out of the house and going for a brisk pram walk for up to 60 minutes is a great start. It’s also great to clear the mind and get some fresh air. Alternatively, get into the habit of doing a quick 10-20 minute workout in your living room when bub is having one of their (many) naps. The shorter the better to begin with. This ensures you don’t overdo it, but more importantly it’s a time frame you can commit to. If you overcommit yourself (with all the other crazy things you’ve got going on), you’re more likely to stop (See below for a quick in-home workout that gets harder as you get fitter).”
Incorporate your baby into your exercise routine
“Brisk pram walks as I’ve already mentioned are great! If your bub is still light enough then you can incorporate them into most of your in-home workouts. Some exercises will require them to be sitting next to you, but they like to watch you do those silly up-down-repetitive things. You can have lots of fun with bub— squats, lunges, sit-ups, baby presses with bub are great. You can create a really nice routine with your bub and it’s a nice bonding process. If your little ones are on the go, get involved with them, get outdoors, grab a ball and have a run about.”
Take your time
“[One of the biggest mistakes I see mums making is] not listening to their body. Pushing too hard too soon. Wanting to jump back into exercise with the same vigour and intensity as they had pre-pregnancy. It is soooo important to take your time after pregnancy. In some cases, it can take the body up to 18 months to fully recover and get back to normalcy. Take it easy!”
Exercise with others
“Commit to working out with a bunch of mums from your mothers’ group. Commit to 2 days a week working out together. This might be on your own, with a trainer, at a gym, or better yet a post-natal specific class. But set the days and times. Organise lunch or coffee after the workout, thus making it easier to commit to.”
Try this workout at home
“Don’t work for reps. Work for the ‘burn’. Different levels of strength and fitness make specific rep counts ineffective. Some exercises are too easy – some, far too hard. When you start to fatigue and that burn kicks in, move onto the next exercise. For cardio stations simply do the set number of reps shown. Keep a nice controlled tempo, and great form. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, then seek some professional advice to ensure you don’t injure yourself.”
This workout is called The AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible). Start with a 10 minute timer, increasing to 15 minutes, and finally 20 minutes, as fitness level improves.
Leading a healthy lifestyle is important to me. I think if you’re eating well and staying active you’ll generally have much more energy to get you through a very busy day. However juggling being a mum along with work and any other commitments means – and I’m sure a lot of women will agree with me – that I don’t always have as much time to focus on my health regime. I know some days are definitely better than others, but ultimately I’ll always try and approach each day with a healthy mindset. Here’s a peek at what I try and do each day.
I go for long walks…
Before I became a mum, I used to run a lot, go to the gym twice a week and do Pilates twice a week. I was really, really into it. However being a busy mum I’ve had to get creative with how I stay active as it’s not always easy finding the time to head to the gym or go to a class. I’m always running around after Sophia and Grace whether it’s at home, in the park or at the beach so that’s my cardio! I also do a lot of walking with the girls. Every morning we’ll do a pram walk and sometimes we’ll go in the afternoon as well. They love going for long walks so it’s a win-win for all of us.
I keep my meals simple…
I eat out a lot for work so when I’m at home I try and keep things as basic as possible. Typically we’ll have something like chicken and salad or steak and vegies. I also eat a lot of fruit and vegetables throughout the day and drink loads of water. I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen but still want to eat well so I will always try and find the quickest and easiest way to whip up a healthy meal.
I love juices…
I think freshly squeezed juices are great, especially when I’m on the go. They’re quick… and they’re portable! I always try and incorporate some vegies into my juices so I can squeeze in an extra dose of vegetables each day. When I’m running around I always get an orange, carrot and ginger juice. If I’m pressed for time, a juice is an easy and healthy option for me.
Tell me – what are some things you like to do to stay healthy?
We’re all so health conscious these days that it’s often hard to differentiate what’s fact and what’s fad. Nutritionist Jessica Sepel is one person who is aiming to make being healthy easier, more sustainable and most of all, enjoyable. Jessica, through her popular blog, books and new app is trying to ensure that looking after our health becomes a lifestyle rather than a chore. We caught up recently to chat about the one question she gets asked the most, why she’s packing up and moving to LA and why she wants me to cook kalettes for dinner…
Hi lovely. Good to see you. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Thank you for having me what a gorgeous morning.
What have you been up to lately?
So I have just launched my app and vitamins so it’s been a really busy 2018 for me. A lot going on but also moving to LA next week. Very exciting.
What’s a day in the life of you?
Day in the life of me is wake up probably seven, 7.30 and I practice yoga normally, either yoga or a walk in nature and I have a JS Health [Jessica’s health program] breakfast. I actually don’t check social media or my emails or any of that until after a really beautiful morning routine, then I hit the office just like everyone else about 9 o’clock and full of meetings, recipe creation, technical meetings now because of the app and then finish work six, seven o’clock, make dinner for my husband and I, and I go into bed early.
You’ve had such an incredible journey did you always want to be a nutritionist?
I always wanted to be a nutritionist, but I absolutely didn’t have a dream bigger than that. I’ve studied health and nutrition for five years. After school, I went up to study nutrition, and then in my fourth year of study I started a blog just very casually, but I’ve always just wanted to be in private practice, that was my end goal. But then the blog took off and that’s how it kind of turn into a brand which is JS Health and JS Health turned into the books. And the books turned into a program and the program turned into an app and vitamins.
Did you have any idea that you’d be doing books, vitamins… apps?
No, no way. I always say if I can do it anyone can because I have zero business skills, zero business training…but I guess I’m really passionate about the healthy life and that as you know, when you’re passionate about something you can make it work. The best part of JS Health is that it’s this community, this really strong loyal community who have supported me and I’m supporting them on this journey to live a healthier life.
What would be some of your top tips for living a healthy lifestyle?
I actually think removing the pressure to do it all right. JS Health really is all about balance, of course making the best choices that you can most of the time, but then also allowing for flexibility, balance, moderation.
My tip is making one to two small changes a week that creates profound physical change in the body. Also, developing or fostering a wholesome relationship with your body is probably the first step when it comes to living a healthy life. Because when you love yourself and you want to take care of yourself, you automatically make healthy choices. We have to start to change our mentality around a healthy life and see it as this long term journey and make small changes week by week.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people make?
Definitely the attachment to extreme and fat diets that is the biggest mistake, because unfortunately the minute we restrict and deprive our foods it always leads to overeating, binging, emotional eating and having this really complicated relationship with food. We’re not meant to be so complicated with food. Food is here to nourish us, to energise us.
Social media, especially in your world, must have such great benefits but also such negatives as well.
Yeah, definitely and I feel like I’m in the middle of both of those worlds because I’m trying to encourage people to live a healthier life, but I don’t want them to feel like that is the perfect life. I always say the healthy life does not mean the perfect life, but obviously it’s my role to inspire my community with healthy food all the time. I also always encourage people to only follow people who inspire you and unfollow the people that you are comparing yourself to. You know when you’re following an account do you feel good when you look at it? Does is it inspire you, does it excite you, does it motivate you or you’re like, “oh gosh, I wish I had that, I should be looking like that.” If you’re feeling pressure and anxiety in any small way, it’s a good idea to unfollow.
Tell me about your app. Congratulations, it’s very exciting.
Thank you, so with the app I feel like it’s been like 10 years in the making to get to this point because I had a very complicated relationship with food as a young teenage girl as a chronic fad dieter. I was like 13 when I just got into dieting, which is very weird at that time because there was no social media. So I think I was actually reading those trashy celebrity magazines and following what they were doing.
It’s amazing how young that all starts.
Really young. And then I have had this complicated relationship with food until after school and then that’s when I went to study health and nutrition and then that’s when I started documenting my transition from being this fad dieter to becoming more of a balanced eater. And then I started documenting it into a blog and then I start writing about the recipes that I was creating and developing into the blog and so the app is really just a manifestation of my philosophy, of my principles, the recipes that people have loved all these years, and really it teaches you how to give up dieting for life. It is giving you access to a nutritionist 24/7. I have a whole team someone can just ask at any time.
It’s kind of a game changer, there’re 53 health guides, so kind of a virtual online nutrition clinic. So if you suffer with your sleep you’ll go into the sleep room and you’ll capture the JS Health sleep guide, nutrition guide, lifestyle guide for sleep, and then if you need further support there’s a nutritionist there guiding you through that whole journey or whatever you might be struggling with. I guess everyone wants a nutritionist in their pocket. We’re all on our phones all the time, so the app is really just this way for people to have access to my philosophy and my recipe with absolute ease.
You gave me these amazing kalettes for my dinner tonight, what am I cooking tonight with these?
I’m inspiring you to cook tonight, well firstly because you have kids and kids love chips, and kalettes are basically a very nutritious chip. You can bake them in the oven with some olive oil and sea salt, pop them into the oven for like 20 to 30 minutes and they turn into crispy chips and then you can use Hummus or Tahini to dip them or I chop them up and I sauté them with leeks and mushrooms and then I add goat’s cheese. So it’s like a kale stir fry topped with goat’s cheese and leeks and it’s just so delicious. I bought you some mushrooms and leeks to go with the kalettes, which you can get from Coles!
So you must be a good cook?
I wouldn’t say like I’m an amazing cook, but I’m really good at discovering healthy alternatives to our favourite foods and cooking simply but tasty, like I think you can still be a foodie even if you’re health conscious. We have this perception that healthy food is bland and boring and tasteless, I’m really trying to break that conception and show people that healthy food can be really delicious and satisfying and rich and decadent.
What’s your go-to recipe?
Probably the JS Health Japanese salmon, which is basically like a healthy teriyaki sauce over salmon with probably cauliflower mash.
What’s the number one question that people ask you?
Definitely energy, how do I get more energy? I think energy is such a big issue, right now for women especially so that’s one of them. Sugar cravings, how do I combat sugar cravings and gut health? I think those three are the most commonly asked questions in the JS Health community.
What do you say when it comes to energy?
So when it comes to energy, you really want to make sure that your gut is in good shape. So with gut health I will really give them a gut treatment protocol to get their gut back in shape. Really starting with food and not being too worried about it but cutting out those foods that will probably make you feel tired, and the two most common triggers are gluten and wheat and refined sugar. So if you just take a four week break from those two and see if your energy improves, which 90 percent of the time it does, then those are the two culprits to kind of reduce. When I say give up gluten, I mean you can still go out on the weekends and have your piece of salad and have your toast it’s just I have found from clinical experience, gluten does make people feel tired. A lot more sleep and also going to bed by 10.30, 11 anything after that can, people wake up feeling really tired.
Australians drink a lot of coffee. I love coffee I’m never giving up my one a day, but I normally say one a day before 10:00 AM because having caffeine from midday onwards can really interfere with your cortisol and adrenal glands, which can really affect your sleep and can make you feel really tired the next day. So I say try and stop at 10 or maybe the latest midday and you should notice the energy started to pick up.
Is going out to restaurants ever tricky?
I mean restaurants are also catering to the health conscious so you can always find a healthy option wherever you are. I think it really is just about making sure you have the macro nutrients to keep you full and satisfied at meals. So making sure you have your protein, your veggies and making sure you have your fibre from your veggies, making sure you have a bit of a complex or releasing carb, lots of good fats.
Do you ever indulge?
What is your biggest indulgence?
I love gelato. I love going out on a Saturday night and having wine and definitely trying the dessert. I’m a foodie so I want to go to these beautiful restaurants and experience the food. So actually because my life is so healthy and every day is based around the healthy life, I actually got out of my way to break that and be flexible with food and travel and go to new restaurants and try the food because I think that is the healthy life.
What do you do for fun when you’re not working, what do you do with your husband?
That’s a good question. I definitely need to improve on getting the fun back into my life because my husband is the CEO of JS Health so we work together, it’s really challenging. For me, honestly like fun is taking Saturday off going for a massage, practicing yoga, really not checking my emails and my phone and having a really beautiful dinner somewhere. And travel is what brings me so much joy and fun. Seeing the world, seeing different cultures, seeing more different food, experiencing different food I guess that to me is what I really look forward to in life.
What is it like working with your husband?
Interesting. We work really well together because we have so much respect for each other. And when you respect someone, it’s very rare that we break each other’s boundaries or speak to each other in a negative way. But it’s challenging in the fact that our life is work now, but there’s this amazing holly bow underneath, this is like my dream. We work together, we spend every waking moment together.
Tell me about moving to LA are you excited/ nervous?
Yeah, there’s a lot of fear. It’s a big move. I guess I have such a beautiful loyal community here and I will never leave that and I’ll always continue to nourish an Australian community, but this app, the app and the vitamins really does need to be in the American market and I think, I hope to build a JS Health community over there. The JS Health message is really unique because it’s really helping women around the world give up the diets, give up the fads, give up on the extremes around food and finally find balance and peace with food and their bodies, and so I really think America needs that. Hollywood needs that.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Well, my mum always has said hard work never goes unnoticed, and so every time you know, we all have those days and those moments where you’re like, is all of this work actually worth it? But then I remember she says, you’ll see, you’ll see the hard work will get acknowledged and noticed. I think people don’t have a really true perception of what it takes to build something. It’s really not easy, it’s really not glamorous, it’s gruelling and you actually have to be relentless. My dad has always said, keep going, keep going, keep pushing it’s the only way I guess to do what you want to do and create what you want to create.
Amazing. I wish you the best of luck over in LA!
Thanks Kate, thank you so much.
Try Jessica’s recipe for this one pan dukkah crusted salmon dish below.
This easy one-pan dinner shows how to make a meal that’s nutritious, quick and easy.
2 x salmon fillets
1 x packet kalettes, stem removed
½ cauliflower head, cut into florets
2 tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray
Himalayan salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 tbsp dukkah spice
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C if fan-forced). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place two salmon fillets in the middle of the baking tray, surrounded by the kalettes and cauliflower florets.
Spray olive oil over the veggies and salmon. Season with the salt and pepper, to taste.
Top each salmon fillet with 1 tbsp of the dukkah spice. Pat it down.
Place the prepared baking tray in the oven for 12–15 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and the vegetables are lovely and roasted. Serve warm and enjoy. Pro tip: make extra veggies for lunch!
I’m sure there are a lot of you out there who are in the same boat—juggling work, family, and friends can become a neverending spiral of busyness. From school drop-offs to meetings and trying to get my inbox clear (one day I’ll get to Inbox Zero!) it doesn’t stop. I’ve realised along the way that if I just keep going without looking after myself no one benefits. My energy levels drop and I can become rundown and end up not functioning at my best and this affects both my family and career. This is why I’ve tried to incorporate some little rituals into my week to ensure that I give myself the best chance to stay fit and healthy. Whether it’s five minutes to have a cup of tea or a daily run, I know everyone has their own little ways of nourishing themselves. Here are mine…
Go for a daily walk and coffee run
It’s become a daily event for the kids and I to take a leisurely stroll down to my local cafe to grab a coffee. It’s a nice way for the three of us to start the day and it’s especially nice during summer as we can enjoy the sunshine. I’m able to get my daily caffeine hit and find it’s a great way to ease ourselves into what’s sure to be a busy day.
Go to bed early
I used to go to bed quite late but that all changed when I became a mum. My girls are early risers so I’ve got into the habit of heading to bed between 9.30-10.30 every day. By sticking to this religiously I’ve found I’m able to get enough sleep and have enough energy to deal with a full day constantly being on the go with Sophia and Grace.
Incorporate exercise into my week
I’ve recently joined a local mum club that trains at the beach near my house and have found it to make such a difference to my overall health and state of mind. I do it twice a week, and I’ve found that being able to do a workout helps boost my energy levels and gives me the stamina to get through my hectic schedule. We do lots of circuit training so it’s definitely helped my fitness.
Try and incorporate ‘me time’ into my routine
It’s hard not to get caught up in the craziness of work and family life but I’ve tried to make a point of taking a little time out for myself every so often. Even if it’s just an hour or so to do something on my own. I’ve found it works wonders for my mental health and wellbeing. I’m also lucky in that a lot of the time my work commitments and ‘me time’ intersect. If I’m going to a few racing events for example, getting my nails done and my hair tended to is all part of the process, so I can combine the two and enjoy a little break.
Samuel Leetham and Saasha Burns are the husband and wife team behind achingly cool vitamin brand BEAR. The brand’s minimalist aesthetic from its packaging to its Instagram account would not look out of place on a beauty campaign however its their commitment to producing quality products which makes BEAR stand out in an overcrowded vitamin and supplement market. Their bespoke line of essential vitamins (there are four in the range) focuses on using quality ingredients of the highest quality and proven efficacy.
According to the couple, “We’re working with some amazing suppliers all over the world, from a globally certified organic farm on a Tibetan plateau to a family owned organic farm in the Byron Bay hinterland. BEAR uses activated ingredients which are more readily absorbed by the body and can therefore provide more immediate benefits.”
Here Samuel and Saasha chat to me about all things wellbeing including their tips for a healthy lifestyle and number one go-to meal…
What is a day in the life of you?
Every day is so different, which we love. We could be focusing on BEAR product development, working on our marketing strategy, catching up with our team, creating content, or organising our next trip away. We love being close to the beach and getting away to Byron Bay whenever we can, but spend most of our time between Sydney and our hometown Melbourne.
We are currently based in London and are planning our BEAR US launch in Palm Springs next month, which is pretty exciting. We love starting the morning with a glass of water with lemon and our EXPLORE Essential Daily Vitamins. We find walking is the best way to clear our mind and discover a city, and at the moment we love the routine of getting a coffee from Modern Society and wandering down Redchurch Street to The Ace Hotel. It’s a great spot full of creatives working away in the heart of Shoreditch. It’s going to be hard to leave!
What does healthy and fit mean to you?
For us, health is all about balance. We love enjoying simple, high quality food and seeking out unprocessed, unrefined ingredients to support and strengthen our body and mind. We love spending time outdoors and enjoy running, walking, yoga and swimming in the ocean to stay physically fit, and most importantly motivated and inspired.
What inspired the BEAR range?
We both love thoughtful design and quality products. We love discovering bespoke international brands on our travels and have always been drawn to objects with a clean, minimalist aesthetic with a clear point of difference. Throughout the BEAR journey, we have been inspired by strong Australian brands such as Aesop and New York based Le Labo. We wanted to create a gender neutral product that fit seamlessly into your morning beauty and grooming routine, and contained the highest quality, simplified ingredients proven in efficacy, safety and stability.
What is your favourite product in the BEAR range?
We love EXPLORE which was specifically designed for travellers. It’s a great ‘all rounder’ with a strong B Vitamin foundation for energy support, together with Vitamin C to help promote improved immune function and antioxidant Vitamin E to protect against cellular damage. Rhodiola is another great ingredient to help fight fatigue, improve stress adaptation and enhance physical performance.
BEAR’s minimalist approach to holistic health sets it apart in an overcrowded market
What’s your go-to healthy meal?
We naturally eat meals that contain fresh, wholesome ingredients that are unrefined and unprocessed wherever possible. We love starting the day with a good brekkie, and can’t go past poached eggs on sourdough with avocado.
What are your tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
Get a good night’s sleep, walk wherever possible, drink lots of water, take a BEAR Essential Daily Vitamin everyday, and spend time in nature.
What do you do to wind-down?
Spend time with family and friends, ideally by the beach, drinking wine in the sunshine.