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We don’t need complexity to be healthy

Written by MARABOND on March 18, 2013

Many people I know feel that it is too complicated, expensive and impractical to be healthy.


In particular, I am thinking of people who work full time, arrive home and choose some pasta with ready-made sauce, then after dinner the body is starving for good nutrients is sending messages of starvation, then the person chooses snacks such as chocolate, ice cream, packed chips or salted nuts. Our brain does not know how to send different messages for vitamins and minerals, and is loaded with emotional needs.


Well, my tip is to teach your mind and body, to appreciate simple plain foods, without unnecessary or excessive sauces, additives, condiments and spices.


Start by adding a raw grated carrot on the side of your plate. In time, you may be able to distinguish the difference between one organic carrot and a supermarket one.


Then start cooking your vegetables, by steaming them, and leaving them ‘al dente’, to preserve the nutrients, and present them on the middle of the table informally, so everyone can pick and choose.

Another idea: make a simple broth with mild olive oil, orange or lemon, a tiny amount of salt and pepper, and steam your fish. This broth is not made to hide the flavour of the fish, but to emphasize, so you can taste the fish instead of cream, spices, and so on.


Eat consciously, thinking about everyone involved in planting your food, in bringing it to your house. Concentrate on how your choice of food today brings you health and motivation to achieve your health goals. Chew calmly and with positive thoughts. All this seems obvious all these, doesn’t it?


Once I went to a health retreat, where at every meal, we all sat alone, to exercise our conscious eating habits. I remember that I took 35 minutes to eat one piece of farm made organic bread and 150ml of juice, some guest took longer.


Although the act of chewing your food is essential for your digestion, the digestion does not start in your mouth, but in your brain. When we start thinking about food, our body is already preparing enzymes to digest it.


So there is truth on that phase, ‘I can’t even stare at sweets, without beginning to put on weight’


Lots of health and motivation for you


Mara Bond , Nutritionist, Enhance Wellness


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Are you safe drinking tap water?

Written by MARABOND on February 22, 2012

This is a very controversial topic and I hope I can help to clarify some questions around drinking water.

The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines specify that water “should contain no harmful concentrations of chemicals or pathogenic micro-organisms, and ideally it should be aesthetically pleasing in regard to appearance, taste and odour.” But the reality is that during the process of cleaning the water and transporting to your home, some chemicals are added to the water.




While tap water’s cost is less than a cent a gallon, with a very low carbon foot print, and no packaging or shipping is needed, it still contains small amounts of chemicals including heavy metals, such as lead and copper, basically from the pipes that bring the water to your house, as well pesticides and fertilizers. It also contains chlorine, a disinfectant widely used, which may leave an after taste, plus added fluoride.

Fluoride, reduces tooth decay, but in excess fluoride may be harmful. There is fluoride in toothpaste, rinses, cooking and shower water, food, medicines and even the air that we breathe. All the water we do not consume has added fluorine for no reason, and is a pollutant; this could be another debate!


Just to summarise: high doses of fluoride, as with arsenic and lead, can accumulate in our bodies causing a blockage in the way cells breathe and leading to the malformation of collagen. There are several diseases which are linked to chronic fluoride ingestion. Going back to the water choice:



Filtered tap water, has just a slightly higher cost per litre, as you need to add the installation and maintenance of the filter. Good filters remove most heavy metals, and other nasties, and improve the taste by removing chlorine. Notice that some filters leave the same amount of fluoride in the water. The micro-organisms are usually not filtered out of the water in a common filter. So if you’re not connected to town water, and use rain or bore water, invest in a high quality filter such as a distillation one or using reverse-osmosis methods.


Water authorities use different methods and disinfectant to ensure the safety of our drinking water, to stop the re-growth of microorganisms as water travels through the pipe system to your home. Usually in Australia the water is tested regularly to ensure that microorganisms like bacteria or viruses are not present.




So Why do Australians spend around $385 million a year on bottled water, despite all the negative press around the amount of energy wasted, costs of transporting and cost of bottle recycling (or not) ?


Before 1998, bottled water was a rare sight, but after a ‘The Sydney Water Contamination Crisis’ happened, when giardia and cryptosporidiumwas were found in water. Everyone rushed to buy bottled water, despite the fact that the biggest issue was the misinformation of the authorities at the time, which shook popular trust in tap water. (Read Sydney Water Contamination Crisis: Manufacturing Dissent By Lyn Carson and Stuart White)


While some organisms are extraordinarily difficult to avoid and detection used to be a challenge, today’s testing methods have improved, and safety levels are better defined worldwide. The main reason Australians spend so much on bottled water that they do not need was basically a result of media and social hysteria.


I personally wonder if the bottled water companies did not encourage or even created this fear of contamination.


Bottled water cost is between $2 and $5 a litre, with a huge carbon foot print, high costs related to packaging, shipping, marketing, profit and others. Usually it does not contain heavy metals and chlorine, unless the supplier is sub-standard, and this applies as well to microorganisms and other chemicals in the water.The suppliers do not need to disclose how much fluoride it is added. If you want fluoride free water, you’ll have to check with its supplier.


When you turn on your tap, you should see clear, un-cloudy water, without any taste or smell, otherwise you may opt for a water filtering system. If you want to invest in a good filter, look for one with these certifications NSF 42 (covers chlorine, taste, odour and particles.) and NSF 53 (covers organisms such as giardia, cryptosporidium and a range of organic chemicals such as THM and pesticides) and heavy metals.


Which bottles are safe?

Recently, many councils have decided to discourage the use of bottled water and added fountains in public areas, but which re-usable bottles are safe to re-fill with water?


While plastic bottles are hugely popular for their convenience, reusing them is not recommended, as it increases the likelihood of impurities, bacteria and the potential leaching of plastic compounds into the water.


The plastics used for bottles are numbered 1 to 7. 1 is the PET plastics, used for disposable plastic water bottles; 3,6 and 7 are considered unsafe for this purpose. Some contain bisphenol A (BPA), which is under much scrutiny for its potential health risks.


All plastic bottles, when reused are subjected to high levels of bacteria due to contact with hands and mouths, creating moist conditions that encourage bacteria growth. When these bottles are washed, chemical compounds can be released.


Even the most common PET plastics and BPA plastics have been shown to leach after being exposed to sunlight, heat and time. BPA may affect reproductive development in animals and is also linked with cardiovascular disease and diabetes in humans.


Some aluminium bottles may also leach chemicals. Stainless steel bottles are considered durable and the safest alternative to plastic bottles. Glass is another safe alternative but less practical.


Concluding, I would recommend consuming filtered water. Even the cheapest filter bring benefits over tap water, and when going out invest in a stainless steel container, or buy occasional bottled water from a reputable supplier.

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Psychology of losing weight

Written by MARABOND on December 3, 2011

Have you noticed that when contestants on The Biggest Loser TV Program do some emotional work, and cry a lot, they shed more kilos during the week?


Well, it’s not a coincidence! By engaging their emotions they’re giving their rational decision-making that extra boost it needs, and getting the result they want.


So how does that work?

Research on dieting behaviour paints an initial gloomy picture: of all the people who intentionally try to lose weight, only around 20 per cent are able to lose just five percent of their body weight and keep that off for five years.


So just eating less and exercising more is not enough, even when you try to hold it together with willpower. In fact, the more brutal you are with yourself, the less likely you are to sustain any loss you do make.


When you think about it, it’s obvious – nobody wants to starve, and feel restricted, and go against their pleasures in life, and put their bodies though some exercises they don’t enjoy, and keep doing this until the end of their lives !!!


So what’s the secret?

Don’t worry – I’m not saying it’s a mug’s game to even think about trying to lose weight!


I am saying that success rests on three strong foundations, not just two:


• nutrition, which means good eating and drinking habits with possible needed supplements


• movement, I prefer to say movement, because most exercise is performed informally


• and awareness and good management of your emotions.



The main reason fad diets and exercise programs don’t work for most people, is that they don’t work in the most important leg of the tripod, which is the EMOTIONS.


It’s a truism that changing a habit for life is an emotional journey. Short sharp shocks are not sustainable. You need to discover your real motivation – find the right buttons to press – and then work at integrating the change into your subconscious so that it becomes automatic.



When you wake up, you don’t consciously think: ‘I am going to take two minutes to brush my teeth’. Most of us just do it without thinking about it. So wouldn’t it be good to choose healthy foods and move our bodies without even thinking about it? To make what’s good for us automatic, not some distant, unattainable goal we have to think about all the time?


And it CAN be done!

Yes it can – though it’s not a quick fix. (Nothing worthwhile ever is, is it?) Shifting the mind from ‘restrictions’ to ‘delicious choices’ can be difficult, otherwise we wouldn’t have this epidemic obesity we’re experiencing today. But with real one to one coaching to remove stress around eating and self-sabotaging thoughts and beliefs, and some nutrition counselling, it’s something you can achieve.


Some people may need deep level psychotherapy to deal with emotions attached to food, due to past traumas and family of origin issues, but for most people, it is very beneficial working with a qualified wellness coach, for some sessions to find their real motivation, an inspiring health vision broken into achievable goals, and work though the strategies to achieve these goals, building new thoughts and beliefs around health, and lastly implementing sustainable habits to stick with them for life ! ! !


Do you have a food intolerance?

Written by MARABOND on November 8, 2011

First it is important to differentiate between an allergy and an intolerance.


An allergy is a fast response (within minutes) by the body’s immune system to a perceived invader. Symptoms are typically immediate, dramatic and visible: coughing, sneezing, vomiting, migraines, watering eyes, rashes, swelling tissue, hives, or severe (but rare) anaphylactic shock. However other symptoms like the gastrointestinal responses nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea can be delayed for hours or even days.


On the other hand, food intolerance is a slow onset reaction, taking hours, days or even weeks to appear. It is an inability to properly digest certain foods. It can be caused by the immune system response, lack of enzymes or abnormal chemical breakdown. Symptoms include cramps, diarrhoea, flatulence, bloating and also it can damage the lining of the intestine allowing foreign particles into the bloodstream (leaky gut).


The long term consequences include low resistance to diseases, skin irritations, respiratory distress, and also deficiency of vital nutrients like iron and/or calcium causing anaemia or osteoporosis. Other signs are headache, fatigue, migraine, inability to concentrate, sleep disorders, mouth ulcers, urinary problems, weight fluctuation and obsessive (addictive) eating.


Australians are known to be one of the most frequently allergic people in the world, 4.1 million Australians (19.6% of the population) have at least one allergic disease, like Rhinitis (hay fever), Asthma, Eczema and others like food allergy including food induced anaphylaxis, most commonly to peanut, shrimp (prawn), cow’s milk and egg.


In the USA, although 25% of people think they’re allergic to certain foods, studies show that about only 6 percent of children and 2 percent of adults have a food allergy. However, this does not take into consideration that there is NOT one test that can detect accurately food intolerances, except to sufferers of Coeliac disease, who can receive a referral to a gastroenterologist for a gut biopsy.


And then just to add to the equation, many people think they have an intolerance, when they just have an OVERLOAD of the same compound, for instance gluten is overly consumed in our diets these days. For instance, some people just have Wheat bix in the morning, pastry for lunch, biscuits, and more pasta for dinner. Therefore, a chronic constipation may be only a a way for our body to say ‘STOP, give me break!’


If you suspect you have a food intolerance, I would suggest you keep a food diary for at least a week, recording all timings, quantities, and symptoms, then you consult with a nutritionist or naturopath who can help you to find the cause and also find a yummy diet that reduce or eliminate the culprit.


Do not feel overwhelmed and disheartened. Today there are so many products to cater for intolerances, the most common ones are wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, soy free and egg free. I know a person who cannot eat gluten, eggs, soy, dairy and still cooks beautiful food and in fact wrote a cookbook for food intolerants which I recommend for some clients.

If you suffer from a intolerance, you may have to reduce processed foods, but for our health this is a positive move anyway!


Some people may resume eating the food that caused the intolerance, after some gut treatment, others like coeliacs are better eliminating the ingredient totally, as the long term risks are greater than the inconvenience.


Do you need a Spring detox?

Written by MARABOND on October 6, 2011

Toxins are not new, they can be naturally produced and eliminated when digesting a meal or exercising, most are harmful substances that pollute our bodies and make it work harder. What is is new is the amount and variety of such substances these days.


It is well known that we have amazing natural resources to get rid of toxins from our bodies, the most obvious systems are our skin, liver, bowels and kidneys.


However, our bodies are very intelligent, and when overloaded and unable to cope, will give signs that need some action. If you answer YES to some of these questions, you may benefit from a detox program:


  • Are you often constipated? Any diarrhea? Flatulence? Bloating? Water retention?
  • Are you constantly tired?
  • Is your skin spotty or dull? Any skin rashes? Eczema?
  • Other allergies or intolerances?
  • Is your hair dull?
  • Do you suffer from headache or migraine?
  • Do you have aches and pains in your joints or muscles?
  • Do you suffer from catarrh and sinus problems? Hay fever?
  • Do you have problems sleeping? Concentrating?
  • Do you suffer from depression, anxiety or mood disorders?
  • Any immune disorder?

Other reasons to detox include if you over consumed alcohol and/or Winter fatty foods. Spring is a great time to re-start your body clock!


Note that the need to lose weight should not be the main reason to detox, however a detox program may be beneficial to break yourself from unhealthy habits, and feel the difference after a few days!



Which program is best?


There are many detox diets and programs that promise miracles, packages in the shops and pharmacies which say that it is recommended by naturopaths, but certainly do not give their names or credentials!! Whatever you do this Spring, DO NOT go on the Lemon Detox Diet. I don’t want you to experience a serious drop in metabolic rate, lose muscle mass and possibly harm yourself.


Also there are situations where a detox program can be very harmful, for instance if you suffer from diabetes, after flu or any illness, if you are under extreme stress or recovering from an addiction.


There are many types of healthy detox programs, you may choose to go to a good health retreat like Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, which is not just pampering. You may choose to stay for a minimum of a week, eat organic food and learn a lot about your health, a huge immersion which will bring benefits back to your daily life.


Or you may choose to work with a nutritionist of naturopath and have a program designed to fit your needs, budget and lifestyle, with or without supplements. The length of the program can also be tailored to your needs; to feel the benefits it is usually recommended as a minimum of 5-7 days and maximum of 21 days. Also when you finish it, a entire healthy week day or detox meal can be incorporated in your life for maintainance.


What to expect?



I also suggest a preparation of 1-2 days before you start the program, to reduce the called ‘cleansing crisis’. Side effects depend how toxic you are, how your body responds, and the length of the program you choose, and may include tiredness, headaches, nausea, feeling cold, bad breath, furry tongue, differences in bowel movements and irritability. These signs can be very positive and indicate your body is eliminating toxins.


Again, it is good if you have a professional you can call, and discuss your side effects to keep you on track.


After the program finishes, I also suggest you not rush for a sugary treat, a coffee or a glass of wine, allow your body to enjoy the benefits.


Speaking of benefits, it is difficult to measure them, but common ones are better metabolism, digestion, circulation, skin, hair, energy, ability to cope with stress, mood enhancement, usual feeling of relaxation and inner energy!




Other considerations?



If you choose to embark yourself in a program, use the time to reflect, de-clutter your home/office, rest, incorporate a bath, a lymphatic drainage or relaxing massage, meditate, write a journal, so you can detox your mind as well !


If you have questions and want to discuss your needs, feel free to call me.


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