We all know we should eat more salad and non-starchy vegetables but how do we make them taste good? Learning to make your own salad dressing solves this problem. To add to this, making it yourself means you know exactly what is in it. There are so many sneaky industrial seed oils, refined sugars and preservatives in most commercially bought dressings and there is just no need.

This recipe will make enough dressing for 1 medium side salad (shared between 2) – about 2 tablespoons. You can make a lot more if you want to increase all the measurements however I like to make different dressings every night so I don’t get sick of the same flavours.

The general rule I follow with dressings is 2 thirds olive oil and 1 third acid or if you don’t like it as tart you can reduce to 3 quarters oil and 1 quarter acid (this is the more traditional French vinaigrette ratio). If you do reduce the acid you will also need to reduce the maple syrup.


  • 15mls Olive oil
  • 7.5mls Acid – red wine vinegar (my personal fav) or balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 3-4mls Maple syrup (use a small amount at first as you can always add more if you need to balance out the acid a bit more or you just like it a bit sweeter)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Optional extras – go easy with all of these as they are all quite strong flavours. Start small and taste before adding more.In a separate bowl, combine chicken thighs, oil, garlic and ginger and mix through until the chicken is fairly evenly coated.

  • Pea-sized amount of Dijon mustard
  • Small pinch crushed garlic
  • Pinch mixed Italian herbs
  • Pinch finely chopped fresh herbs


Combine all ingredients into a small jar and shake. Serve straight away or refrigerate for later.

Healthy eating isn’t always about sticking strictly to a certain diet. Sometimes it is about healthy swaps. Swapping more unhealthy food choices for healthier ones. If you have a sweet tooth but don’t want all the refined sugar that comes with many desserts then this little number might be for you!

These are super easy and quick to whip up last minute as you will likely have these spices in the cupboard already. They are also a crowd-pleaser if you are having guests over and your guests will think they are way fancier than they are!

I would use pears that are about 1 day away from being ready to eat. If you wait too long they do go a bit too soft once baked.

Serves 4


  • 2 pears
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cardamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tbs maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Cut pears in half and use a teaspoon to scrape out their cores. Place them flat side down into a baking dish.
  3. Place the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine. Pour this over the pears.
  4. Bake for approx. 15 minutes uncovered, turning the pears over halfway through.
  5. Enjoy with cream or ice cream* with some of the juices.

*If you follow a gluten-free & dairy-free diet like me, the best vanilla coconut ice cream I’ve found is Pana Organics. No one will even know it’s gluten & dairy-free!

Spices are a great alternative to using shop-bought marinades which are often full of refined sugar, gluten, seed oils and preservatives. Getting familiar with spices can really help expand your cooking repertoire. They have the ability to take your slow-cooked meats, steak and chicken to the next level!

This is such a simple recipe but so tasty. I cook this usually once a week for my partner and I but it is tasty enough to cook for guests even though it doesn’t sound very fancy. It is a crowd-pleaser!

Serves 2-3


  • 4 x Boneless chicken thighs (could also use breast but it is easier to overcook breast so I use thighs)
  • 2 tbs Olive oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves, crushed*
  • 1 tsp minced Ginger (or you could use fresh ginger grated)*
  • 1.5 tsp Cumin
  • 0.5 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 0.5 tsp Chilli Flakes
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 -2 tbs Chopped coriander (garnish only so not a necessity)

*Lazy version
Replace fresh garlic with garlic powder 1 tsp
Replace fresh ginger with ginger powder 1 tsp


  1. Mix all the spices, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine chicken thighs, oil, garlic and ginger and mix through until the chicken is fairly evenly coated.
  3. Sprinkle the spices over the chicken and again mix through until the chicken is fairly evenly coated.
  4. Put the chicken into a frying pan on medium heat. No need to use more oil as the chicken is already coated in it. Cook for approx. 6 minutes on each side. Sometimes I turn the heat up towards the end just to get a bit more colour on the chicken. Check for doneness by cutting one chicken thigh and making sure it’s no longer pink in the centre.
  5. Optional: Garnish with chopped coriander.

This dish goes well with just about any side but I usually pair with a salad and some roast vegetables or mashed sweet potato.


We all know (or should know) that we need to eat a balanced diet, exercise portion control and to do some physical activity if we want to maintain a healthy weight. But did you know there are other factors that can hinder weight-loss attempts that are not food related? We believe in using an understanding of our bodily systems and working with them, not against them, to make lifestyle change. Get these things right and you may well see the kilos drop off a lot easier!


Bet you never heard anyone prescribe sleep for weight loss? Well they should! According to Matthew Walker, Professor of Neuroscience & Psychology University of California, “dieting or attempts at weight loss while getting less than 8 hours sleep a night is futile”. Here are a few reasons why:

Our hunger and satiety hormones are interfered with when we don’t get enough sleep. Leptin is a hormone that gives us the sense of feeling full and Ghrelin gives us the sensation of hunger. When sleep deprived Leptin decreases and Ghrelin increases – not ideal! This means your hormones are telling you you’re hungry when you’re not and that you do not feel full when you are.

To add to the hormone disruption, sleep loss also increases naturally occurring circulating endocannabinoids (similar to cannabis). Endocannabinoids stimulate appetite and increase desire to snack.

Further to this, your pre-frontal cortex (the area of the brain responsible for thoughtful judgement and controlled decisions) is silenced by sleep deprivation and more primal deep brain structures are amplified which will mean your food choices are likely to not be good ones.

So in summary, when you are tired, your body is producing chemicals to tell you to eat, you will likely not be able to resist the desire to eat and you are more likely to eat high calorie foods. If you do happen to lose weight, the weight loss will likely be lean muscle rather than fat which is also not what you want. A sleep deprived body will cry famine in the midst of plenty!


The human body did not evolve to undergo long term or chronic stress. Our stress response was designed to fight or flee from predators and for that response to be over within a relatively short amount of time, when the threat was over. In our modern world however, many people experience stress of varying degrees on an ongoing basis – work, worrying about kids, money, COVID, elections, ill family members and the list goes on. Our body’s stress response was not designed to be ongoing and when that happens it makes us sick and fat.

When our stress response is activated our blood sugar goes up to make sure we have instant energy to get away from the “threat”. But we aren’t running from or fighting a threat these days so this increased blood sugar gets stored as fat, usually around the stomach.

When we are experiencing stress we also slow down our metabolism (the rate at which we burn calories and fat) which is obviously less than ideal if you are trying to lose weight. You are also likely to have high sugar or high calorie food cravings as well to keep up that blood sugar.

Something which might be considered a bit “woo woo” is that unprocessed emotions can make it harder to lose weight. Hear me out. Society has taught us that it isn’t socially acceptable to express certain emotions like anger or sadness. We try and hold our tears in and we suppress our anger because it looks ugly but when we hold all this emotion in it is stored in our body as stress.

Gut Health

Your gut. Goodness, gut health is the most talked about thing at the moment it seems and with good reason. Our gut is home to trillions of symbiotic bacteria which altogether are known as the gut microbiota. These little guys have many roles within hunger, digestion, metabolism, stress, mental wellbeing and more. What you put into your body can influence the bacteria in your gut and this can affect the likelihood of weight gain or staying lean. A balanced microbiome can help maintain a healthy body weight, but an imbalanced one may add on extra kilos.


Yet another buzz word in the wellness space at the moment – sorry! But mindful eating is actually a thing. Mindful eating is a technique that helps you gain control over your eating habits. It has been shown to promote weight loss, reduce binge eating, and help you feel better. It involves eating slowly and without distraction, listening to physical hunger cues and eating only until you’re full, engaging your senses by noticing colours, smells, sounds, textures and flavours, appreciation of food – where it has come from, who produced it, as well as noticing the effects food has on your feelings and figure and more.

There are many distractions that have shifted attention away from the act of eating and towards televisions, computers and smartphones. Eating has become a mindless act, often done quickly. It can take up to 20 minutes for your brain to realise it is full so if you eat too fast, the fullness signal may not arrive until you have already eaten too much. This is very common in binge eating.

By eating mindfully, you restore your attention and slow down, making eating an intentional act instead of an automatic one. What’s more, by increasing your recognition of physical hunger and fullness cues, you are able to distinguish between emotional eating and true, physical hunger.

What you eat and how much you eat obviously make up a large part of a weight loss plan but the above need to be factored in too. Why make life harder for yourself when we know these things will have an effect on how hard your weight-loss journey will be, how successful you are and on the likelihood of keeping the weight off long term. The best part is that all of the above factors, when managed and factored into your lifestyle will have flow on benefits that extend far beyond weight-loss.

I was a notoriously bad sleeper for many years so I know how much sleep deprivation affects your life. You aren’t yourself when you are sleep deprived. I went through stages of using sleeping pills, both prescription and herbal. Both made me feel better temporarily because I “slept” but like many I suffered from the psychological addiction to them. The fear of not being able to sleep without them caused me not to sleep. Or if I knew they were in my bedside draw I wouldn’t be able to sleep knowing they were just in there and if I took one I was guaranteed to fall asleep. So I’d have to take one. No one ever explained to me about the mechanics around sleep, how to manage my stress in order to calm my mind before bed or how to undo the conditioning around my bed and sleeping. There is so much you can do to improve sleep and I want to help others find the absolute pleasure of a full 8 hours natural sleep every night!

Sleep has been described by neuroscientists as the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of health. It is the single most effective thing you can do to reset the brain and for body health. It is so important that every creature on the planet has evolved to need sleep, however humans are the only species that will deliberately deprive themselves of sleep without legitimate gain.

We all know that a poor diet/obesity, smoking and drinking are leading causes of cancer and other diseases, but what many don’t know is that sleep loss is also a significant contributing factor. Less than 6-7 hrs of sleep a night damages the immune system so much that it more than doubles your risk of cancer. Every organ in the body and every process in the brain is detrimentally impaired by not enough sleep. Sleep disruption contributes to:

  • all major psychotic conditions ie depression, anxiety, suicidality
  • likelihood of cardiovascular disease, stroke and congestive heart failure
  • reproductive/fertility issues
  • poor physical performance
  • damage of genes & DNA
  • poor immunity
  • cancer
  • difficulty losing weight

In a nutshell, the shorter you sleep = the shorter your lifespan!

With 66% of adults in developed nations getting less than 8 hours sleep a night it is not a surprise that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared sleep loss an epidemic in industrialised nations.

How do you know if you are getting enough? If you are not getting 8 hrs quality sleep a night, you are not getting enough. If you are a notoriously bad sleeper, don’t despair, there are so many things you can do to help your body and mind prepare for sleeping. Learning to sleep again takes time and consistency but it is well worth the effort in the end.

Here are some helpful tips to get you started!

Stick to a sleep schedule (even on the weekends!)

Set an alarm for bedtime and alarm for wake time. Sleeping in on the weekend won’t make up for lost sleep during the week and it will only make waking up on Monday harder.


Try not to exercise later than 2-3 hours before you go to bed.

Stop drinking coffee!

One of the main systems that causes you to sleep is the build-up of the chemical Adenosine. Adenosine builds sleep pressure all day and when its concentration is at its peak you get that irresistible urge to sleep. This generally happens after 12-16 hours of being awake.

Caffeine competes with Adenosine for receptors in the brain. Once caffeine occupies the receptors it blocks and deactivates the receptors acting as a masking agent – like sticking your fingers in your ears to block out sound. Caffeine has a half-life of 5-7 hours meaning that 5-7 hours after consumption you still have 50% of it in your system. Age decreases the rate at which we can eliminate caffeine making us more sensitive to it as we get older.

But I drink decaf I hear you say? Decaffeinated coffee is not caffeine free! It still has about 15-30% of the regular dose (and if you knew how they extracted the caffeine you probably wouldn’t drink it!).

Don’t drink alcohol

It is a myth that a “night cap” will help you sleep. Brain waves of a ‘sleeping’ person who has consumed alcohol are not the same as someone sober. The brainwaves of the person under the influence of alcohol are more similar to anaesthesia. Sedation is not sleep! All the good stuff that happens during natural sleep do not happen when we are sedated.

Alcohol also fragments sleep. The sleeper may be unaware of their sleep being littered with brief awakenings and because the sleep is not continuous, it is not restorative. Even consuming small – moderate amounts in the afternoon or evening will affect your quality of sleep.

Quit smoking

Nicotine is a stimulant causing smokers to sleep very lightly. To add to this, smokers often wake up early due to nicotine withdrawals.

Avoid large meals/drinks late at night

A light snack is ok but a large meal can cause indigestion which will interfere with your sleep. Drinking too much fluid will also cause you to wake to use the bathroom.

No naps after 3pm

Power naps may momentarily increase basic concentration if you are sleep deprived but they cannot salvage the more complex functions of the brain ie learning, memory, emotional stability, complex reasoning and decision making.

If you need to nap as a result of sleep deprivation, make sure it is before 3pm so you don’t have trouble falling asleep that night. Naps are not recommended at all if you are getting sufficient sleep.

Sleep in a cool room (ideally 18.3 degrees)

To successfully initiate sleep your core body temperature needs to drop by 1 degree Celsius. Our ancestors used to sleep outside where the temperature naturally drops at night time initiating sleep. This doesn’t happen these days with heaters, pyjamas and temperature control. It might help to buy a thermometer for your bedroom so you can start to monitor the temperature of the room and make adjustments where necessary ie turn the heating off or down in the bedroom.

Sunlight exposure

Go outside into natural light for at least thirty minutes a day. If possible, wake up with the sun or let the light in in the morning (or if no sun, use bright lights).

Manage your light (both in your home and on your devices)

If you have dimmers on the lights you should definitely use them after dusk and have them as low as you can (to mimic the outside light). Despite LED lights being more environmentally friendly, the old incandescent light bulbs are more conducive to sleep. Red wavelengths of light are the most conducive to sleep so you could try installing red (or even pink) bulbs in your bedroom or bedside lamps.

Blue light which is emitted from phones, laptops and LED lights will cause delays in falling asleep but it will also affect the quality of sleep and you will feel less rested in the morning.

Check to see if your smart phone/ipad has a ‘night time’ setting. Many of them have the ability to warm the light at night time.

Noise & Pets

Your pets on the bed or the floor will wake you up when they move or snore. Kick them out of the bedroom (I know how hard this is but it is worth it!). Same goes for partners I’m afraid. If your partner snores I cannot recommend sleeping in separate rooms highly enough. If your partner is causing you to have poor sleep it is damaging your health. You can’t be a good partner when you are sleep deprived so please consider this as an option.


Electromagnetic radiation from wifi and phones. There are so many arguments and so many studies both supporting and denying claims about this. My stance is that we know for sure that certain types EMR have negative effects on human health so it is possible that sleeping next to your phone or close to your wifi will lead to interrupted sleep. Our DNA has not evolved to deal with such a high level of EMR exposure so I’d rather just turn my phone and wifi off at night. It certainly won’t do any harm.

Don’t fast

Restricting calories can impact your sleep. By significantly restricting calories (usually less than 800 a day) you will put your body into starvation mode. Your body will keep you awake so you can search for food – the only thing more important to your body than sleep.

Manage your stress

Our stress response has been designed to be able to fight or flee from predators. When our stress response is activated our core body temperature increases, our metabolic rate increases, our stress hormones are released our heart rate increases which are all great things if you need to run for your life but not great if you want to sleep.

Learning to manage stress is not only hugely beneficial to your health it will also mean a better night sleep.

Don’t lie in bed awake

If you haven’t fallen asleep within 20 minutes and are starting to feel anxious, get up and leave your bedroom. Do an activity such as reading until you start to feel sleepy again. Then return to your bed.

Other tips

Clients have also had success with using either white noise apps (which are often used for babies), guided sleep meditation or calming music all set on a timer for 10-15 mins whilst you fall asleep. If you are more like me and these aren’t enough distraction from your busy mind you could try Blinkist or other audio books/story telling apps. Blinkist is an app where they summarise books into a 15 minute audio. I never make it past about 3-5 minutes! If you download these you can play them whilst the phone is on airplane mode so you don’t have to leave your phone on.

If you are still having trouble sleeping there are more tricks up any good CBT-I (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia) therapists sleeve!! CBT-I is an evidence based approach to combating insomnia and is usually recommended as the first line of treatment. Unlike sleeping pills, CBT-I helps you overcome the underlying causes of your sleep problems.

Life is pretty horrible when you are battling with sleep deprivation and dreading the nightly insomnia routine. If this is you, you are not alone and there is hope. I cannot recommend finding a sleep coach or CBT-I therapist highly enough. Your body wants to sleep. Millions of years of evolution went into fine tuning sleep so you can do it, and once you get back into a quality sleeping routine it will change your life!


Walker, M 2018 Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams, Penguin Random House, UK.

Are you familiar with the silent conversations with yourself about drinking? The anxiety, worry, regret & remorse after a night that went from a casual work dinner to shots at a bar at midnight to not remembering leaving or how you got home? Fretting about what you might have done or said and having to wait for your friend at work to wake up and tell you that everything was fine?

You probably don’t even drink every day but when you do you wake up in the early hours of the morning feeling anxious, recounting the night before. But you get up, go to work and function pretty well during the day. You go for a run or to the gym, eat a balanced diet or exhibit other “healthy” lifestyle choices. Other days though, you experience wasted mornings and weekends, you cancel plans, feel hungover and angry. Other people don’t know about these days though, they don’t see your sleepless nights, your self-loathing, your racing, anxious mind. What goes on internally regarding your drinking is not what you present externally.

You drink just like everyone else in your work and friendship groups and to others your drinking doesn’t look problematic. If you spoke to them about it, they might say, “You don’t have a problem, why are you worrying so much about this?”. So you tell yourself you’re not that bad. There are others who are way worse. You say things to yourself like “why be so restrictive?” and “surely I can do moderation”. You might not have experienced any really negative consequences from your drinking like losing your job, partner or had a DUI but you know deep down that it is not healthy and it is stopping you from having the life you want.

You go between ignoring the voice in your head that knows you need to stop drinking and deciding that you are over-thinking it and you should just enjoy life. You aren’t an alcoholic but you aren’t an ‘every now and then’ drinker either. You drink between the two extremes. If this resonates with you, like millions of others, you might identify as a ‘grey area drinker’, a term originally coined by Joline Park, a former grey area drinker herself. I was one too.

So many of us want to reduce or stop drinking altogether, we know how bad alcohol is for our health so why is it so hard to stop? The answer is the perfect mix of unconscious conditioning & the fact that it’s addictive. We live in an alcohol saturated culture. Most of us are taught by our parents from as young as babies and by society that alcohol is the ‘elixir of life’. Alcohol is the only drug you have to justify not taking, which if you think about it is just crazy! So if you make up one of the many people who want to cut down or stop drinking but haven’t been able to yet you are not alone and it isn’t your fault.

I could go on forever describing how we all got here but instead I thought I’d give you some practical tips on reducing the amount you drink.

  1. Mirroring is the subconscious replication of another person’s nonverbal signals. For example, when you are having a coffee with a friend and they lean back in their chair, you will mimic that and do it too. Or when someone you are speaking to touches their face or crosses their arms, you will too. We all do it. It takes place in everyday interactions and often goes unnoticed by both the person enacting the mirroring behaviours as well as the individual who is being mirrored. What does this have to do with drinking? Well, every time your friend or colleague has a drink you will too. So if you have a partner or friends who are big drinkers, this is not a good thing. You end up drinking far more than you would have otherwise. So what can you do? Drink placement! If you are drinking, always have a water or non-alcoholic drink as well. If you are at a table and are right handed, have your non-alcoholic drink in front of your right hand and your alcoholic drink in front of the left hand side. This way, every time your friend has a drink you will pick up the drink closest to your preferred hand which will be the non-alcoholic drink.
  2. Always take a non-alcoholic drink that you really like with you. You are probably more likely to drink that than you are water. I love ginger kombucha probably more than any alcoholic drink so I take a bottle of that to dinners or bbqs. Leave it out on the table, just like we would do with wine, so you don’t forget you have it.
  3. Always eat with drinks. It is super annoying that we have a culture that goes to “drinks” before we go to dinner. This is a trap! 20% of alcohol is absorbed through the stomach straight into our blood stream so if your stomach is empty this happens very quickly which means you will feel the effects very quickly. It usually leads to drink #2 then #3 happening much quicker. Make sure you eat something preferably before drinking or if you can’t, at the same time just to slow down the alcohol being absorbed.
  4. Don’t drink in rounds! This leads to drinking more than you had planned.
  5. Try planning catching up with people at places or times that don’t usually involve alcohol. Like breakfast, or the beach, or going for a walk.
  6. Change your after work routine. Try a new hobby or do some exercise after work so you avoid the after work drinks. You might be surprised that your colleagues, friends or partner might also be interested in this – it just takes someone to suggest it. Friday after work in particular is a hard one so try and lock in a regular activity then. A game of tennis, a sunset swim or even volunteering somewhere will either result in delaying the starting time of drinking or not drinking at all – both great outcomes!
  7. Limit how much alcohol you keep in the house. Easy access is the ultimate enabler!
  8. Have appealing non-alcoholic drinks at home and don’t be afraid if they contain sugar! I often have clients say they can’t find a healthy alternative to alcohol or one that doesn’t contain sugar. My response is that alcohol contains calories too – what about those? A lemon lime and bitters has approx. 29 calories per 100mls and a wine has 80 per 100mls. Yes, a lemon lime and bitters is far from being a health drink but a tasty drink in moderation to replace alcohol can really help you cut down or stop drinking.
  9. Find a new hobby that you love. This will mean you are more likely to go and do that hobby and refrain from drinking. When you are doing something you really love you will get a dopamine response which will make you feel good, similar to what happens when you drink. You will also stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system which will help your body relax. If you are someone who likes a drink to quieten the noise in your head then being in a more relaxed state should reduce the craving for alcohol.
  10. Download a support app such as Day Break or join a local non-drinking social group to meet like-minded others who also want to reduce or quit drinking.

Many of us grey area drinkers, me included, tried to do the whole moderation thing for years. Some people can do it but some of us can’t and if you feel like you really are ready to give it up and would like some help doing it please get in touch. Being free from alcohol is one of the best things I have ever done. The process we go through shines a light on exactly what alcohol is and does to your body and undoes the unconscious conditioning which means you don’t feel like you are missing out.

If you have a dependence on alcohol please seek the help of a medical professional so you can detox safely. Your local GP can refer you to either public or private withdrawal management centres.