Are Nutritional Supplements The Key To Beauty, Gut Health & Mood Maintenance?

vitamins hair skin health

I have long taken vitamins in whatever form they come – tablets, capsules, liquids, powders. If it’s touted to be good for me, there’s every chance I’ll swallow it. I have even been known to make a thick paste of turmeric and gulp it down, or spoonfuls of chilli powder, an entire ginger root chomped through and even garlic bulbs.
I’m sort of the Bear Grylls of nutrition.
When I was a teenager, I had really bad acne. There were days I wouldn’t go to school because my sister had stolen my makeup and I refused to go anywhere without covering up the spots as thoroughly as I could. To this day, I’m super fussy about my skin and if I even get the whisper of a spot, I change what I’m using immediately. At the moment, I’m using Formula 10.06, Medik8 Vitamin C serum, Gernetic and Kryolan makeup. All of these are doing wonders for my skin and none of them will break the bank. I’m also undergoing laser for pigmentation caused by sun damage (and I had a skin check last week to make sure none of my freckles warrants concern).
Back to nutrition though. There’s every reason to believe that clear, radiant skin begins with gut health. Mood and brain function are also related to the gut flora and so is your overall energy. What you eat affects it, but also HOW you eat and your overall lifestyle. Under pressure, I can eat too much and too quickly. This is bloating and makes me feel lethargic and crappy. No matter how many superfoods you eat or how perfectly you’ve calculated your macronutrient intake, if you feel guilty or afraid of food, you eat that guilt and shame and that affects your guts and your mood too.
vitamins hair skin health

So, this is a holistic approach that you must take if you want to feel good, look good, and know you’re functioning in a way that this short life is lived with full energy and joy.
Coming up in May 2019, Melbourne Museum has a show devoted to gut health: Your Mind, Your Microbes.
I’ve been taking supplements daily to improve my overall energy and especially since becoming vegan a year ago, I am mindful that my diet doesn’t always meet my protein requirements, or I overdo the vegetables and legumes and end up feeling bloated and blah. I’ve been taking a probiotic and also magnesium powder daily, as recommended by a naturopath at Natural Chemist. You can get a free health check and ask any questions via their online or phone chat with a naturopath.
I’m also taking Arbonne powder supplements – pomegranate flavoured energy satchets are brilliant for the full spectrum of B vitamins and the magnesium/fibre supplement is great for calm, post-workout muscle maintenance and also improving sleep quality.
Whether you need supplements or not is up to you. I’d rather take them and know I’m plugging any holes that my diet isn’t meeting but I have had a doctor tell me I’m essentially peeing out all my money. Each to their own. Keep in mind that there’s so much we don’t know about the brain, gut and the body as a whole though so only you can know if what you’re eating, drinking, swallowing and doing is making you feel fit, well and alive. If not, change. Send me an email or post on Twitter letting me know if you take supplements and what works for you.

The Free Apps & Tools I Use

Free Apps For Content Makers

There is no debate over this. If you don't have a digital space where you communicate your work, your ideas, your services and how to get in contact with you, then you aren't being realistic about what it takes to run your own business. If you think you don't HAVE a business, then you're wrong. As long as you have knowledge, experience and something to express, teach or offer, then you have a business.

It took me much longer than I desired it to, but I finally organised my own website last year. My site CatWoods.me is home to information on Ballet Sculpt, my writing portfolio, my blog, my business as a content creator and my podcast. It also enables people to communicate directly with me and also links to my social media platforms. I designed it using Squarespace, which is super simple to use and enables you to embed existing content from blogs to podcasts, YouTube and so on. It makes the process of choosing a domain name and publishing your site simple for non tech people.

I use Canva to edit and create images for my website, social media, blog and and events. It is an easy-to-use layout with drag and drop function. Again, you don't need to be a whizz to choose a template then add your own elements. Canva has a new function in enabling video editing (great for Instagram short videos!).

I use Mailchimp to create email newsletters. Like Canva, this is a simple template-based site where you can choose how you want your end product to look and then take your own images and content (video, audio, text) and drop it in the right places. When you're done, you can track how people interact with it from how many people open it, to how many people click on the links and also, how many people unsubscribe! You can also choose whether to send the newsletter to a select group from your email contacts or to an entire list. You can have multiple lists. So perhaps, you have a list for the yoga participants who you want to update about your workshops for the month, and you also have a list of friends and family who you need to update about your travel plans.

I use Audacity and Voice Recorder to make my podcasts and my music comes from Creative Commons, where artists specify how they'd like their work to be credited when you use it and whether there are any limitations or restrictions around how their work is used (ie. only for personal use, or only for commercial use where they are openly credited).

I use Issuu to publish my work as PDFs that are readable online and this is also a great way to ensure your articles are stored somewhere beyond your hard drive.

Need a fancy new font and Helvetica just isn't rocking your boat any more? I go to DaFont. Icons are at DryIcons

When you need some creative inspiration or a tutorial, try Creative Bloq

If you would like me to set up your website for you, assisting with content creation, or even setting up your podcast or YouTube channel, let's talk. You can reach me via the form on my website.




Music For Yoga Practice

I am an unashamed lover of Om Aloha on Soundcloud. By the way, are you following me? Do It Now.
In the meantime, have a listen to Dances of Unity - sure, it's an  ideal soundtrack for practicing your headstand, but it also doubles nicely for writing articles (everyday), tuning out your co-workers (occasionally) or responding to emails (every hour!)

Plant Based Food Melbourne

Plant Based Food Melbourne

There's so many places for great food and great vibes in Melbourne. If you're vegan, vegetarian, gluten, lactose intolerant, paleo, raw, any and all of the above or NONE of the above, you will find options that cater to you and do so with flavour, joy and generosity.

Herewith, and I must confess I haven't tried all of them, are some great finds in Melbourne. Some I have dined at, some I am YET to dine in, but all of them come highly recommended by friends, colleagues and fellow Melburnians.

I'm also going to give a shout-out to my raw food workshop on February 7 at Kotch Lane Cafe in St Kilda. For $45 you get a handbook, goodie bag of products, entry to a doorprize, hands-on raw food meal making, and the fun of being in a group of curious, inspired people.
Plant Based Food Melbourne

Fed Up Project
South Melbourne


Good food, local produce. This relative new-comer is a haven of nutritious and yummy offerings located right near the South Melbourne market so you can dine and then be inspired to go and buy your own ingredients. OR you can walk in circles around the market to build up an appetite and then go nourish your body and soul. Visit Fed Up Project.

Uncle & Jak
Fitzroy

Plant Based Food Melbourne

Easy parking, yes please. This is a menu that doesn't turn into a novel, which is promising. Doing the menu options you offer WELL with fresh, carefully selected produce is worthy of respect. Pretty easy to park this end of Johnston Street, especially on weekdays. A brunch or lunch post yoga is easily catered to. I can vouch their coffee is excellent and George is a sucker for the turmeric latte here (I can vouch it LOOKS cool.) Visit Uncle & Jak.

Fourth Chapter Cafe
Prahran

Plant Based Food Melbourne
All day breakfast menu? Yes, please! Lunch available from 11am. There's meat for your carnivorously inclined friends and fam. There's some absolutely belly loving bounty on the menu here and like most things in Prahran, the venue is super chic. Environment is vital! Visit Fourth Chapter Cafe.

Vegie Bar
Fitzroy

Plant Based Food Melbourne

This is a stalwart of Fitzroy and you simply must. Their raw food offering is genuinely divine. Raw Pad Thai, tacos, cheesecake. This is an offering that goes beyond superfood salads and proves raw food is creative, expansive and exciting. Visit Vegie Bar.

Vitamin C For Body And Skin


So many products, from bottled juice to hand cream, claim to be rich in vitamin C. It's a great marketing spruik, but do we actually know what value it has and whether it is effectively absorbed? Do we even need it?

Vitamin C is an antioxidant (fights free radicals) that plays an essential role in collagen synthesis. It is responsible for healing cells and this explains why it is so often a key ingredient in skin care. Vitamin C has been shown to prevent and treat ultraviolet photodamage (pigmentation/burn). The skin is made up of layers of dermis. Both the epidermis and he dermis have high levels of Vitamin C concentration, though this declines with age. Concentration of Vitamin C in the skin also decreases with exposure to pollution (car fumes, cigarette smoke, etc), UV light and stress.

Vitamin C benefits for the skin include increased hydration and a more youthful appearance as a result. The skin is also more resilient to sun exposure and pollutants.
Both topical and oral supplements have shown to have positive results for skin health. Since Vitamin C in the skin is normally transported from the blood stream, an oral supplement that delivers sufficient dosage is beneficial but excessive doses don't increase the concentration of vitamin C in the skin so be sure to follow instructions on any supplements.

Vitamin C is absorbed through topical application where the pH level is below 4.0 (greaer acidity) and greatest absorption is seen in a 20% vitamin C solution. It crosses the epidermis and reaches he underlying layers of skin. Exposure to heat, air and light degrade the quality and concentration of Vitamin C though. Don't store any skin care in sunlight or leave open longer than required.

Vitamin C has shown benefits in boosting skin hydration and improving healing time for wounds.
I like to hit my skin and body with double barrels, so I take high quality oral supplement, Viviscal (all the celebs and models do it, you know!) and Medik8 C-Tetra Cream. Both are not cheap, but they last at LEAST a few months and the high quality means you get results rather than cheaper products with lower concentration and shelf time.
Make sure Vitamin C rich foods are part of your diet too - I don't believe any of us are about to suffer scurvy but better safe than sorry.
I'm a little bit in love with Nourish Atelier for great recipes and inspiring ideas with food. Her latest genius recipe is Butternut and Kale Lasagne with Quinoa and Red Pepper Sugo. Go there.

Thanks to Oregon State University for Vitamin C info.

Makeup Must Have List for 2016 - bronzer for fair skin, bold lips, pastel nails


There's a zillion makeup brands and products out there - I should know! I find myself in seventh heaven any time I am near a Sephora or a Mecca Maxima. So many colours! The packaging! Oh, the sparkle!

But.
There's what is absolutely worth the spend and the space in your makeup cabinet, and there's the novelty factor. Herewith, the products absolutely worth your hard-earned dollars and my solid gold assurance that I use them, I love them and I totally recommend them.

Bold Liquid Lipstick that Lasts: Estee Lauder Pure Envy Liquid Lipsticks in Savage Garden and True Liar. Savage Garden is a deep, midnight purple that can be a subtle stain if you apply one coat, or a dark, violet gloss if you apply 3. True Liar is a fuschia-pink that applies dark and lasts and lasts and lasts. Much more daytime friendly if you’re not going for an A+ in Bold at the office!

Foundation That Does Double Duty: Bobbi Brown Skin Perfecting Fluid is the ultimate! Sure, it's not cheap, but consider Cost Per Wear. Every damned day if you want to convince people you are from an alien planet where everyone has glowing, flawless skin. I also love Bobbi Brown Cushion Foundation - again, not a bargain basement product but you get what you pay for - A Grade Skin.

bobbi brown estee lauder evelyn iona
Concealer You'd Take To A Desert Island: Organic, perfecting Evelyn Iona concealer. God forbid I use up my current stash. I am obsessed. Whatever any makeup artist says, I apply BEFORE foundation. Then touch-ups later in the day as required. #GreenBeauty y'all.
Matte Bronzer for Fair Skin: Bobbi Brown Golden Light Bronzer. Because nobody likes to have a smear of orange or glitter across their face, combat style. Your bronzer is meant to give you a healthy glow, not look like you’ve been shoving your face into a bag of Twisties. Hard to find the perfect blush for fair skin, that does subtle but complexion-boosting, but I have. Bobbi.

Nude Lip Pencil: Bobbi Brown Art Stick is a lip defining pencil that works just as you'd use a lip liner, except that it glides and has a softness to it that means no dry lips, no sharp lines and no vanishing within an hour or at the first sign of lunch. I use the nude shades alone for definition or as a base for stronger colours. My favourite shade is Bare.


Overnight Serum That Makes You Glow: I can't pick just one here. I alternate between two and both are fantastic. I work out daily and wear makeup daily and these are the maintenance tricks required to rejuvenate and fully refresh my skin. It's like a 3 hour facial in an overnight serum! Both Mesoestetic Collagen 360 (Available at RY) and Alpha H Liquid Gold (via Sephora) are Must Haves.

Pastel Nails That Aren’t Sickly Sweet: OPI (available at RY) does 5-free nail colours that have a cult-like following for a reason. Beyond the snappy, laugh-out-loud names, their formula and colours are pure salon quality and the packaging is simple, chic and collectable. That’s my excuse for housing a zillion more than I need, though! What you must Add To Cart is the gelato hued gorgeousness of Gelato On My Mind (pale mint green), Mod About You (pastel pink), Your Such A Budapest (pale lilac purple).