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A lot of gym bunnies are using BCAA'S and EAA’s - it’s all over the gram. But what actually are they?! I chat to nutrition supplement expert Greg Haglund (Founder/Director of Switch Nutrition) to get the low-down.

What are BCAA’s? 

BCAA’s stands for Branched Chain Amino Acid. These are 3 of the 9 Essential Amino Acids (EAA’s). Their branched nature allows for rapid absorption so this has lead marketing companies to promote then as the aminos of choice. Supplements usually come in a powdered form to add to water, juice or smoothies.

The difference between BCAA’s and EAA’s 

As mentioned above BCAA’s are 3 of the 9 EAA’s. When something is essential it means you must get from your food or a supplement. Your body can’t make them. This is why meta-analysis (the study of all studies) shows having all 9 EAA’s is close to 200% better than having only 3 BCAA’s. In addition to this, you need to be particular about the ratio of the EAA’s. If you get the wrong ratio you can prevent complete absorption because the transport system is overburdened.

Take home message: Try and find an EAA with a Perfect Human Ratio (PHR) or Master Amino Acid Profile (MAP) like this one.

BCAA Benefits 
  • Reduced muscle breakdown
  • Improved mental focus
  • Stimulated muscle protein synthesis (recovery)

However, to fully benefit from the increased mTOR (protein synthesis) you need all EAA’s present.

BCAA’s side effects and dosage 

BCAA’s and EAA’s are the simplest form of protein so the dosage depends on lean body weight and physical activity. As a general rule of thumb, 5 – 10g of BCAA's around training should be enough. Less is needed if you take EAA’s because they are more effective!

Take home message: Supplement with EAA’s over BCAA’s where possible to maximise the benefits, and find a product free of added sugars or artificial colours and sweeteners.

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You've heard about adrenal fatigue, or perhaps even felt it. You have a sweet tooth. You love chocolate. WE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE. I catch up with Greg Haglund, supplement expert (and founder of my personal fave Switch Nutrition), to chat about how we can support ourselves in times of high stress...with hot chocolate.

Firstly, what are our ‘adrenal’ glands and why do they need support? 

Adrenal glands are complex little triangular shaped glands that sit on top of our kidneys and secrete hormones that help us react to stress. They are also involved in water and salt balance hence the ‘renal’ part of the name. Renal refers to kidneys which are the major organ supporting hydration and filtration of the blood. In a high-stress life, the Adrenals tend to be on constant alert and can be overworked. However, people often think their adrenals get fatigued and tired and no longer do the job. This is actually very rare and is known as Addison’s disease. More commonly people become less responsive to the adrenaline or cortisol produced by the adrenals and become resistant. This manifests as being tired through the day and unable to get to sleep at night.

We seem to blame everything on ‘adrenal fatigue’ now. What are the symptoms to look out for? 

Adrenal Fatigue is a term coined by natural health practitioners and it's not entirely accurate (see above). The person may feel fatigued or tired but the Adrenal Glands are doing their job. It is more likely the adrenal receptors which activate when adrenaline and cortisol come into contact with them are resistant due to over activation. This is similar in ways to how we think of Type 2 diabetes.

What herbs and supplements support healthy adrenals? 

Adaptogens are a class of compounds that help our bodies adapt to stress and respond more effectively. The king of these is the Ayurvedic herb Ashwagandha as found in Adrenal Switch. However, many medicinal mushrooms like those found in Vitality Switch may also support healthy adrenal response. Magnesium is critical for helping cells switch off and calm down after over-activation. Along with many other vitamins, minerals and aminos Glycine is critical for nervous system health.

What can results can we expect when we support our adrenals properly?

So many benefits to healthy functioning adrenals:

  • Longer lasting constant energy through the day with less dependence on caffeine or stimulants.
  • Calmer, less anxious feelings
  • Reduced sense of stress
  • Better quality sleep
  • Help reduce body fat accumulation
  • support lean muscle
  • improve gut health
  • balance your body’s hormonal responses 
A lot of supplements contain common allergens and added sugar. What should we be looking for in a top-quality supplement?

Avoid products with added sugar and manmade chemical sweeteners (950, 951, 954 or 955) or, colours (dyes) or preservatives.

Avoiding gluten, soy and dairy isn’t always necessary but if you can find products that don’t contain these common allergens then you will likely be better off.

Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe

Sal: I actually have this event night before bed. It kicks my sweet tooth after dinner and give me the magnesium I need for restful sleep. Plus...hot chocolate.

  • 1 scoop Chocolate Arenal Switch
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 drops peppermint oil (optional - if you like it minty!)
  1. Heat the almond milk over the stove on medium until just gently bubbling.
  2. Remove from heat, add chocolate and peppermint, then WHISK until smooth.
  3. ENJOY with happy adrenals!
Making the goods over on Instagram @thefitfoodieblog

If you want to try out any products from Switch - enter FITFOODIE10 for a delightful discount!

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Improving our gut health is on the lips of every health foodie right now. You can’t go into a bar in Sydney now without being offered a ‘healthy’ Kombucha Cocktail. But what is good gut healthy really all about? And how do we make better meal choices to support a healthy digestive system? I promise kimchi and kraut aren’t the only ways to go. Let’s take it back to basics.

There is much new research and science looking at the gut as a ‘second brain’ in our bodies. That is because it forms the Enteric Nervous System (or ENS) that can act independently of the brain and spinal cord to perform vital bodily functions. It can make independent decisions on secretions, local blood flow and muscle movements of the GI tract. The ENS is made up of millions of neurons that keep the colon moving. Gut bacteria can also impact hormone production, which can impact our mood and susceptibility to depression.  It makes sense then, that there is a big focus on how we nourish that system to perform at its best.

For a healthy gut, consuming both pre and probiotic foods is a great place to start. Prebiotics serve as the food for the bacteria in your gut, whereas probiotics are the live micoorganisms (bacteria or yeast) that live in your microbiome. Naturally found in food, prebiotics are not broken down or absorbed by the GI tract.

READ NEXT: 5 FOODS THAT CAN ACTUALLY HELP YOU SLEEP

Where to get your Prebiotics:

Whole grains - experts at feeding your careful balance of bodily bacteria. They’re packed with prebiotics - insoluble fibres that stimulate the growth of ‘good’ bacteria

Fruits + Vegetables – also packed with that all-important fibre. Onions, leeks, broccoli, cabbage, chia seeds, bananas, blueberries, tomatoes and asparagus are some of the major superstars in the prebiotic category.

Where to get your Probiotics:

This is where the popular cultured and fermented foods get the spotlight. Some of my favourites are listed below:

  • Yoghurt + Kefir
  • Pickles
  • Sourdough
  • Miso
Other factors affecting your gut health:

Avoid undoing your hard work and maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria by knowing other factors that affect bacteria production and growth:

  • Antibiotics 
  • Sugar
  • Processed foods
  • Being ‘too clean’
  • Stress
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Aerobic workouts
Want to give your gut a helping hand? Here’s an example of a simple gut-friendly diet.

Breakfast:

Plain Greek yoghurt with ½ cup high-fibre cereal and ½ cup blueberries.

Lunch:

Wholegrain Sourdough with poached eggs and avocado.

Dinner:

Miso soup with pan-seared salmon, steamed broccoli and lemon.

Snack ideas:

Apple + cinnamon + almond butter
Kimchi + brown rice crackers
Small baked sweet potato with ghee
Banana + tahini + nutmeg
Kefir + berries

Know that you can have too much of a good thing. Overdoing it on pre and probiotics can lead to digestive upset, so remember to eat everything in moderation a listen to your body!

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Arguably the must-have wellness ingredient of 2019, the talk around CBD is only going to gain momentum. If trends in Canada and America are anything to go by, it will soon be in your beauty products, your coffee and even in your lube.

I interview Georgia Branch, co-founder of CBD and hemp brand Hemple, to get the low-down.

What is CBD and where does it come from?

CBD or cannabidiol is a non-intoxicating active compound from the cannabis plant. Specifically, it's one of around 140 cannabinoids (a type of active compound) found in the flower of the female cannabis sativa plant. It won't get you high but it does have a huge number of scientifically-backed health benefits. 

How does CBD work?

Our body has an endocannabinoid system. It's a master signalling system that helps to keep the body in balance. CBD is a phytocannabinoid - a cannabinoid that comes from a plant. Our body actually makes its own cannabinoids - endocannabinoids, which lock directly into receptors in the endocannabinoid system. CBD actually has around 65 different functions in the body, but it doesn't lock directly into endocannabinoid receptors in the same way our endocannabinoids do. The latest research shows that taking CBD allows for the body's naturally occurring endocannabinoids to flow more freely and do their job better, meaning we feel pain and inflammation reduce, our moods balance and that's just the beginning. 

How can CBD benefit our health and wellbeing?

People are using CBD for a tonne of different conditions, ranging from psoriasis and depression to IBS, nausea, and even Parkinson’s disease - and reporting amazing success. However the most common reasons people use CBD are to help manage pain, inflammation, insomnia and anxiety.

Can we raise our internal production of CBD or the body’s equivalent? If so, how?

There are lots of ways you can increase your body's production of endocannabinoids. But why do you want to?  Having healthy levels of endocannabinoids provides benefits like less stress and anxiety, better focus and concentration, less impulsivity and hyperactivity, reduced inflammation, better sleep and an increased rate of new brain cell growth.  
Here are my 3 favourite ways to stimulate the endocannabinoid system without cannabis:1. Cold exposure: turning the taps to cold for the last 60 seconds of your shower can stimulate endocannabinoid production - it might be uncomfortable, but it's worth it! Cold exposure can also boost the immune system and support fat loss.2. Having sex (or doing any other medium intensity exercise you enjoy): the eurphoric "runners high" feeling has now been shown to be a result of the body producing anandamide, an endocannabinoid, rather than releasing endorphins.
3. Eating dark chocolate - yes you read that right! Dark chocolate made from raw cacao (as opposed to cocoa) is a great dietary source of anandamide.

Want more? Here's 15 ways to stimulate your endocannabinoid system naturally

What are the ways we can take CBD?

Wow, where to start. There's everything from edibles, mints, tinctures, vapes, pre-rolls, beverages, skincare, topical muscle and joint rubs, powders and even patches. 
Vapes, nano tinctures (like the ones we make) and smoking CBD are the fastest ways to deliver CBD directly to the cell, so most people find these the most effective to quickly reduce stress and anxiety. As a daily wellness supplement, I like a nano tincture as it's water soluble and doesn't cause any irritation of the respiratory system. 

Whichever way you decide to use CBD, my advice is to look for a company that uses organic hemp and provides third-party lab testing for every batch on their website. Here are is the only way to know you're getting a clean, pesticide and heavy metal free product; AND that the CBD content declared on the packet is actually what's inside the bottle. 

Any long term side effects?

Feeling great.
There are very few reports of side effects by people using CBD in clinical trials. The World Health Organisation in 2018 found CBD to have no public health risks or abuse potential.

READ NEXT: Cannais wihout the high: why CBD is the new true superfood.

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Do you want a diet that promises energy, clarity, mental focus? Welcome to the Ketogenic diet (Keto, if you're Gen Y).  The Keto approach has been gaining great momentum over the last 6 months, with people reporting reduced cravings, less snacking, and weight loss. What started out as a diet to help control seizures in epileptic patients, is now taking the world by storm.

Lets take a look and the inner-workings of the Keto Diet so you can decide if its right for you:

Ketosis

Ketosis is the end goal of the ketogenic diet. ‘ketosis’ is a state where our bodies are starved of glucose (it’s primary fuel source) and resorts  to producing ketones – a small  fuel molecule made by the liver -  in it’s place. Proteincan be broken down  into glucose too, if needed, so only moderate amounts are needed in the diet to induce ketosis.  With low  insulin levels (the ormone used to regulate that our blood glucose), your body then switches into ‘fat burning mode’, which makes it easier for us to tap into stored body fat as a source of  fuel. Hello weight loss!

Low carb, moderate protein – what’s left? Fat. High levels of the ‘healthy’ unprocessed fats from food sources such as coconut, olive oil, nuts, seeds, butter, halloumi and avocado. Sounds delicious! But be aware that the average person is recommended to eat 130g of carbs per day. To induce true ketosis however, you have to limit carbs (including vegetables, not just the processed stuff) to 50g a day.

A rough guideline is about 5% energy from carbohydrates (the fewer carbs, the more effective), 15-25% from protein, and around 75% from fat.

Main Keto principles:
  • very low-carb diet
  • focus on good fats, then a moderate amount of protein
  • any carb choices to be low GI and low sugar
Reported benefits:
  • burn fat more effectively
  • mental clarity
  • increased energy
  • less cravings
  • improved health markers
What to eat:
  • Fish, meat, seafood
  • Eggs
  • Avocado, nuts and seeds
  • Full-fat dairy
  • Butter, olive oil, coconut
  • Vegetables that grow above ground
What to avoid:
  • Vegetables that grow below the ground
  • High sugar fruits
  • Alcohol
  • Rice, pasta, grains, cereals
  • Bread
  • Soda, chocolate, candies
  • Honey, sugar, syrups

It is important to note that whilst some scientific studieshave shown that compared to other diets, low carb or keto diets are often more effective for weight loss and for improving certain health markers in obese patients, this dietary approach may not be a sustainable answer to fat loss for everyone. Our own Bio-Individuality means that we all react to foods differently.  What may work for one person may not work for another.

If you’re keen to try it, check out this keto-friendly recipe below!

Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup almond meal
2 tbsp cacao nibs or sugar-free chocolate chips
2 tbsp granulated stevia
1/4 tsp pink salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2-3 tsp almond milk, as needed

Preheat the oven to 165 C (fan forced). 

In a bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients well.

Add wet ingredients and stir again to form a dough. 

Shape into cookies and place on a baking tray, cooking for 10-12 minutes. 

Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes before handling – they’ll firm up when completely cool.

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CBD. Cannaboidol. You've probably heard of it, or have a girlfriend whos taking it, and you're wondering what all the buzz is about. Touted as an appetite suppressant, acne treatment, anxiety and pain reliever amongst many other things, this phytocannabinoid was actually discovered back in 1940. An extract of the cannabis and it's relative hemp plant, CBD is the non-psychoactive component of weed that doesn't get you high. In fact, it actually works against the compound that gets you high (THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (pssst - the “delta-9” is silent…)) acting as a buffer against the effects of weed. It's has been approved for medical use in Australia (think reducing seizures in epileptic patients and nausea control in chemo patients), but currently is VERY strictly controlled.

via: @viktoria.dahlberg and @weloveplantstlv

Before we go on, I have to clear up one thing. Cannabis of any kind (unless prescribed by your licenced GP) is not yet legal within Australia without a prescription. Whilst CBD is an extract of the cannabis plant that has no psychoactive effects, it still remains illegal to purchase, carry or hold in your home. That being said, there are retailers overseas (and a few in Australia now!) selling CBD products that are flying under the government radar. Interested? Check out Hemple, Floria and Ananada.

NB: I am not condoning this, merely providing information for the canna-curious.

Go here to read the official statement on hemp seed oil’s legality in Australia.

Whilst clinical research is still so desperately needed to confirm the mass of anecdotal evidence emerging from frequent CBD users, this phytocannabinoid still desperately requires a solid research base. Fortunately, my very own college is leading the way in a world first clinical trial investigating whether medicinal cannabis can benefit patients with malignant brain tumours. I'm hopeful more research will begin to appear around the globe focusing on the benefit for the everyday consumer. Let's be honest - who isn't anxious and/or struggling to get enough sleep?

Reported Health benefits of CBD
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Mood boosting
  • Pain relief (oh HEY menstrual cramps)
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Alleviates cancer-related symptoms
  • Reduces acne, eczema and psoriasis
  • Neuroprotective properties - reducing tremors and seizures
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Anti-ageing (thanks to the stress reduction)
  • Appetite suppressant
@420booksociety How it works in the body

It gets a bit technical here, but for the purpose of this (already lengthy) post, a quick overview: the endocannabinoid system (ECS) part of your body's internal communication system that is located in the brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. 

Your natural chemical messengers produced in your bod that interacts with the ECS are called cannabinoids. They interact with receptors, including the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, to regulate many physiological systems in the human brain and body, helping to improve health and homeostasis (balance within the body). Ingesting a cannabinoid like CBD is essentially a replication of the body's own natural defence system to boost it back to good health. OH YEAH. Not only that, CBD is a legitimate alternative plant-based option for those currently taking chemical medications.

via @gldleaf My personal experience

I can report that after many research trips to Canada where Cannabis use is now legalised (both medical and recreational) as of October 2018, I have had my fair share of experiences with legal CBD. Experiences with the plant extract so far have been everything I had hoped and given I'm a Type-A inherently anxious person, I have definitely experienced many benefits - notably deeper sleep, anxiety relief and pain reduction on my torn ankle ligaments via topical application.

Where you'll find it.

The black market is growing, and fast, in response to consumer canna-demand in Australia and a quick search online bring up a number of stores selling CBD products - just like this one.

Overseas where it's legalised, you'll find CBD in everything from bath bombs, gummies, face creams and vape pens to medicinal chocolate peanut butter cups. Jealous.

Interestingly, after a recent trip to the HHI Expo in Sydney, I found that there are even Australian-based companies selling products that allow you to make your own perfectly-dosed edibles at home with 'medical butter' machines.

Note: Products called hemp oil or hemp extract may contain little-to-no actual CBD. Unless the label tells you how much CBD is in the bottle and how much CBD there is per serving, you can’t be sure it’s legit and you may be wasting a LOT of dollars.

DISCLAIMER: Please for the love of god do your own research on CBD and speak to your GP if you plan on using it (which again, is currently illegal in Aus, officially). Although a natural product, CBD can interact with other medications. The results of any CBD product will vary depending on a person’s own biology. After all, cannabis is complex and it can affect people in different ways. Your receptors will be different to my own, and Felica on Instagram who's waving her vape pen around. If you do decide to try it (medicinally, of course) - always dose low, and go slow.

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Cravings happen to all of us. I don't understand people who say they don't crave a sweet treat every now and again - WHO EVEN ARE YOU?! A little sweet treat here and there makes food a joyful experience, to be savoured and shared with friends, or enjoyed solo with a healthy hot chocolate for dessert.

Here's my current go-to when sweet cravings kick - without the guilt of a sugary chocolate bar! Just note that as it's Easter, I totally admitted to eating a Lindt Bunny for lunch - full sugar, milk chocolate bunny - with zero regrets. It's all about balance baby!

1. Coated Almonds

Sometimes raw nuts just don't hit the spot. We all know almonds are packed with healthy fat, fibre and protein, so why not try some yoghurt coated ones when you need a healthy, sweet snack? I LOVE the new 'Dipped + Dusted' range from Shelby's. The Rasberry Dark Chocolate and Matcha Yoghurt Almonds (made with ceremonial grade matcha sourced from Kyoto) are my absolute favourite. Best of all? They have no refined sugar, gluten, artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols!

2. Progurt

Greek yoghurt + protein powder = progurt. Amazing if you're super hungry and really need to amp up your protein intake. If you're dairy free, try it with coyo or soy yoghurt and your favourite vegan protein. I usually go for traditional chocolate with 1/2 tsp raw cacao for that extra chocolatey kick.

3. Snack or Protein Bars

There are so many natural snack bars on the market now - the choice is yours! Make sure you avoid added sugar, fillers, preservatives and sugar alcohols (anything ending in -ol, like malitol). My ultimate indulgence is THIS Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate + Coconut Bar. They also have 10g of protein!

4. Berries

If you've ever visited Australia (or are lucky enough to live here!) you'll know the berries here are NEXT LEVEL. They're so juicy and flavourful - I always have stacks of them in my fridge and grab a handful when I'm not super hungry but just need that sweet kick in my mouth.

5. Healthy Hot Chocolate

I have one of these after dinner every single night. I'm such a creature of habit. I think having 'pudding' every night growing up in the UK is to blame for me needing after-dinner sweet somethings. Instead of tucking into Jam Roly Poly, I heat up 200ml of almond milk and a whisk in a few tsp of stevia chocolate drinking powder. YUM.

What are some of your favourite healthy sweet snacks? Help your fellow sisters out and leave a comment below!

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It feels like you’re juggling a thousand things and you jump from one priority to the other. I do it all the time. It’s a constant dance of dealing with deadlines and responsibilities that can leave you feeling exhausted. Whilst managing 3 businesses, blogging, accounting, a social life, a fitness regime, meditation practice, family contact (across the world) and a Clinical Nutrition degree at Endeavour College, I’ve learnt a thing or two about managing my time effectively.

Try following these steps to an effective, productive, balanced life when you have many balls in the air!

1. Set boundaries

Boundaries are essential to maintain a balanced life. Knowing and understanding your own limits is key here – which only comes with practice. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t manage everything perfectly all of the time. It’s a work in progress, and four years after leaving full-time work I’m still finding my groove! Consider what triggers your stress, what workload you can actually tolerate, and the quality of life you want to maintain. This will help you with step 2 below.

2. Batch + Compartmentalise.

Create a schedule by blocking out time for certain tasks and follow it. You have roughly 16 waking hours to play with so use your time consciously to make the most of each one. Eg. 1 hour workout, 1 hour for social media engagement, 2 hours for study or self-improvement, 1 hour social time, 1 hour answering emails etc etc. Be sure to leave room for personal appointments, interruptive phone calls and errands, and don’t forget to add important deadlines such as exams or project end dates.

3. Learn how to best manage your own stress

When you’re juggling a million things and your to-do list seems never ending, stress management needs to be something you really focus on. This can be trail and error – what works for me may not work for you. There are SO many ways to get your zen on – meditation, a jog, walking the dog, chatting to a mate, painting your nails, reading, taking a bath. Whatever it is, add it into your schedule DAILY. It’s a non-negotiable, like brushing your teeth. If you want / need to juggle so many things at once, you just need to do it.

4. Nourish,  Move, Hydrate + Sleep.

Your brain doesn’t function well if one of these 4 pillars is lacking. Prioritise 7-8 hours of sleep a night, feed yourself wholefoods full of vitamins and minerals, drink 3 litres of water a day and don’t neglect your steps.  Helpful tips to make this easier:

  • Keep a big bottle of water next to you so you mindlessly sip on it.
  • Stretch on waking and before bed.
  • Set a timer to stand up and move for ten minutes for every hour your sat working.
  • Fatty fish, dark chocolate, green tea and blueberries and my go-to brain foods for focus.
5. Reward yourself

You’re working yourself to the bone with a new structure (including self-care time) – here comes the reward to pat yourself on the back to keep that motivation buzzing. Give yourself permission to put yourself first and  lock in a monthly massage, a weekly facial, a coffee with a loved one - whatever truly brings you joy and lets you completely detach yourself from your responsibilities. Make sure it’s something you really look forward to. If you hit a speed bump, it can keep you eye focused on the end goal.

So now it’s time to put this into practice - grab a calendar and get scheduling.

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To help celebrate International Women’s Day, female media and influencers (including me!) were invited to the Heart Café in Bondi Beach courtesy of The Body Shop. Aren't I lucky?!

I was surrounded by incredible women from all walks of life, and the energy in the room was crackling with excitement. Mutual admiration was felt all-around for such strong, gifted, driven ladies all in one space. I felt so privileged to be invited, and check out the beautiful new Shea Range from The Body Shop at the same time. Did you know all their products are not tested on animals? They're also VEGAN now too, if that's your jam.

Speakers included Australia’s first female Foreign Minister The Honourable Julie Bishop MP (who incidentally demonstrated how to check your breasts for lumps - what a legend!), author and academic Dr Susan Carland, CEO of the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria Antoinette Braybrook, and specialist breast cancer surgeon Dr Chantel Thornton. Whilst they all were all rockin' totally different careers – the underlying message was the same: realising gender equality.

I'm such a fan of The Body Shop as a brand - they're huge supporters in empowering women and have been for many years. The stories of their humble beinnings are enough to inspire any girl boss. If you havent read up on that, google it.

I was incredibly lucky to be sandwiched between the incredible Charlotte Blakeney - jewellery designer and owner of ByCharlotte, and TV Host Maddison Sloane. What a duo!! Massive girl crushes on both of them now.

Check out the beautiful snaps from the day below thanks to Shayben Photography. Massive thanks to One Daydream PR who organised the coming together of such incredible women in one room.

We heard from some of the most influential women in Australia discuss gender equality. The Body Shop's Community Trade Shea Butter product alone helping the women of Ghana by providing community projects like healthcare, sanitation, water and education that benefit 49,000 people every year.

Drooling over that vegan food? Check out there 7 Vegan Sydney Cafes!

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With long nights, social commitments and work deadlines filling up on inboxes – stress and poor diet choices can start to creep in. Not only does it take a toll on our sleep and usual healthy habits, but it shows in our skin too. We’ve all been there. That’s when we really need to carve out a bit of self-care time, once or twice a week, to help manage your hectic schedule. You can’t conquer the world without your confidence!

When it comes to the skin on our face, you might be so kind as to cleanse and moisturise it morning and night, but how often do we give it some real TLC with a nourishing deep treatment? Forget expensive facemasks and creams from the beauty giants – all the nourishment you need is sat in your kitchen cupboard for a tenth of the price. Superfoods aren’t just for your insides – when applied topically, they can provide your skin with all the nourishment you need to boost that healthy glow.

Here are three super-simple DIY face masks for you to try at home, minus the hefty price tag.

1. Pick your favourite mask below based on your skin concern.

2. Mix the ingredients well and apply to clean, dry skin.

3. Grab a girlfriend and lock in some couch-time to let these penetrate your skin for 20-30 minutes.

4. Remove using a clean, damp face towel and warm water.

5. Drink a large glass of water to help boost that glow!

For Dry Skin

Combine 1/4 cup oatmeal with 1/3 cup hot (not boiling) water.

Site For 3 Minutes, then add 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 tablespoons manuka honey and 1 tablespoon plain yoghurt. Mix well.

How it works:

Manuka Honey is packed with antioxidants to help fight wrinkles and aging skin. It’s  also a natural antibacterial, which helps to prevent and fight acne, and draws moisture into the skin to leave it feeling soft.

For Dull Skin

Mash together 1/2 avocado, with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp sea salt flakes and 2 tsp manuka honey.

How it works:

Salt works as an exfoliator to remove dead cells, whilst the vinegar helps to brighten the complexion

For Redness and Breakouts

Mix ¼ cup plain yoghurt with 1 tsp manuka honey, 2-3 drops of tee tree oil and 1 tsp activated charcoal powder.

How it works:

Clinical trials have shown that manuka honey is an effective broad-spectrum antibacterial agent. Breakouts caused by bacteria will benefit from a bit of honey loving! Tea tree is an anti-inflammatory, so any redness or skin infections can benefit from just a few drops. Activated charcoal draws out bacteria and micro0-particles to the surface of the skin, so you can cleanse deeply.

READ MORE: 6 Reasons to Drink Lemon Water

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