Friday, 31 May 2013

Toddler Time

You know those times when your newborn baby is screeching at you to be fed and your toddler is bouncing out of control wanting your undivided attention, that moment when they are switching the light switch on and off above you and you are stuck to the baby so you can't stop them and all you want to do is scream... "STOP!!!!!" The thought of a bit of quiet time when know one talks, cries, or asks you a question is way too good to be true and bedtime is way too far away. Those moments have been quite frequent lately and it's simply because little P is bored out of her brain. She loves H baby, sometimes a little too much and we are only just starting to venture out, so home time is the most time and sitting around watching mummy breast feed and settle her new brother is not as fun as how life used to be. Don't get me wrong, she has been absolutely amazing and I am so proud of her sweet little soul and the love she has for this new little life in our family but the outings and adventures we were having pre-baby were the stimulation that toddlers need.  So today, after I blew a fuse from the dance party she had started downstairs at the computer with a loud, song on repeat (don't ask me how she worked this out), I got out the Wee can too* natural paints and crayons and as I fed the baby, we made a creative time. It was fun! It was colourful! And it was quiet!

Wee Can Too art products are awesome. They are all vegan, contain no wheat, no dairy, no sugar and no preservatives and the paints are safe enough to eat!!! You don't have to worry about petroleum or other toxic additives in their products as they are all made with organic ingredients; organic fruit and vegetable powders, they are practically good for you! Natural ingredients including REAL blueberries to make purple/blue, REAL beetroot to make Red/Pink, REAL pumpkin to make yellow and REAL spinach to make Green. Cool huh? You don't have to worry about petroleum or other toxic additives in their products as they are all made with organic ingredients; organic fruit and vegetable powders, they are practically good for you! Babies can start getting into art right from the beginning without any worry to the mumma bears out there, I highly recommend these products for any wee one! x

Cass xo

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


Have I told you my husband was a chef in his past life? Have I told you he is a diver? Have I told you that he is a passionate gardener? Have I told you how passionate he is about self sustainability? Well he's pretty amazing and he has been looking after us very well for the past month with baby. He loves cooking for us and stock is one of his specialities. Bone broth is a food that everyone should incorporate into their diet, it is super nourishing as it holds so many nutrients that you cant get easily from other foods. Its is great for digestion, it helps to rebuild and heal the gut, its builds immunity and it reduces stress just to name a few benefits. Its also amazing to add to soups and risottos as well as make gravy. Throw out those fake stock cubes full of additives and preservatives and make your own, freeze it down in portions for when you needs it or just drink it like tea, Its so easy! Everyone has been asking lately how we make our bone broth so here is the run down on how to make a good bone broth from the best. Andrew talks deer here but you can make it with beef or lamb bones too! ENJOY!


A freshly butchered Fallow Deer was recently delivered to my house from a close friend who had been hunting in the Barrington Tops region of New South Wales. The Venison was kept on ice and I was privileged enough to get four legs from the beast.
My initial plan was to create Venison Pies, however my first task was to use the bones for a rich venison stock.

  • 2 X LARGE ONIONS (peeled and quartered)
  • 2 X CARROTS (peeled and cut into large pieces)
  • 1 X BAY LEAF
begin by separating the meat from the bones. For this I recommend various sharp knives, ranging from a boning knife to a clever and also a standard cooks knife.
DSC_0507 Try to separate from the joints, this will reduce splinters DSC_0508
Into a large stock pot, sweat your vegies with some Olive oil, then add all remaining ingredients, bring to boil and return to a low heat and allow 4 hrs for the stock to reduce and infuse.
DSC_0510 as time passes a layer of scum will form on the surface. remove this with a spoon, but don’t worry too much if you can not get all of it.
At around the 4 hour mark the stock will have reduced in volume and presented with a light brown colour, give it a taste and if you believe it to be at the required consistency and flavour remove from heat and be ready for separation.
To extract the stock from the bones and remaining vegetables it is traditional to use a muslin cloth inside a sieve, however for this, i have just used 2 sieves inside one another and a cup to pour in.DSC_0531                                                                                                                                                                          DSC_0533
photo-227Upon completion you should be left with a rich flavoured stock that has a brown tinge with a fine layer of fat on the surface.
The stock can be kept in the fridge for around 5 days or frozen down and kept for around 3 months.
This process can be used for any type of meat bones that you may have left over, for example a chicken carcass or some fish bones from a recent fishing trip. I believe it is better to use what we have available to us now while it is still fresh, as opposed to using store bought powders or liquids that have added preservatives to last longer.
Believe me that by doing it this way, your food will have a much richer flavour.

About AndrewAndrew Michelin is a man who believes in making the most from the natural environment. His thoughts and ideology have deep roots from his childhood, growing up on the far south coast of New South Wales between the picturesque town of Merimbula and the rugged and beautiful town of Eden. During this time he spent a great deal of his time around the water getting involved with Fishing, Surfing, Hunting, Diving and all the time developing a heightened level of situational awareness of seasons and his natural surroundings.
Andrew is a qualified Chef having worked in the industry for over 10 years.  His real passion lies with his professional and commercial Diving career, where he now Instructs and Supervisors at the highest level.
Andrew loves teaching and sharing with others what the world has taught him along his journey. Through simple and easy steps Andrew will give you the tips and tricks to eating good, healthy delicious food that you have hunted, caught, grown and prepared yourself.
Andrew now lives on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and has brought his skills to this area and has found that the fruits of nature are just as plentiful in his new home as they are in almost all parts of Australia, all you need to do, is know where to go, when to go, and what to look for.
Andrew is looking forward to sharing his experiences with you.
Find Andrew @

4 Great gifts for any new mum

Theres something amazing about gift giving! When you become a mum, whether it be for the first, second or fifth time there is something special about receiving a little gift for baby. They are so beautiful and new, you just want to wrap them up in the most precious things and keep them safe from the world! There is also something so special about giving a gift to anyone, its an amazing feeling to give a thought, small or big to someone to put a little smile on their face and bring something lovely into their lives. This time round, I have been so blessed having such beautiful people that have smothered us with love, meals, baked goods and little gifts for our precious little boy and I want to share a few of the great gifts I think are perfect for any new mum!

1. Certified Organic Change Mat Cover by Eco Nino - BEAUTIFUL! Funky looking change mat cover that loves your baby back, made only with the purist organic cotton they are very reasonably priced and a great addition to any nursery. 

2. Soft and lightweight bamboo and organic cotton baby terry bath towel  by Mitani Designs - LOVE! With a moto; "for baby. for the planet. for keeps." whats not to love about this brand? This is special, when baby comes out of the bath dont you just want to wrap him up in something oh-so-cosy? Mitani designs make the most amazing modern, eco friendly designs for baby, all handmade by a lovely mum herself.

3. Pee Pee TeePees - Look these up! Too funny but such a great idea for any mum of a little boy because, lets face it... Who wants a wee to shoot them in the face???

4. Organic Nursing Cami and drawstring short  by the luxury organic sleepwear and loungewear brand Sorella and Me - Because mums deserve to be super spoilt too!!! We do the hard work and when you have just given birth and in the weeks to follow you feel far from glamorous and want to live in your pajamas. These are what they say; luxury organic sleepwear that is so well designed and made I seriously haven't been able to take mine off! I LOVE THEM!

Cass xo

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Don't Give Up If You Have Stretch Marks!



If you have stretch marks don't give up, there is an easy solution to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and it is natural as well.  Stretch marks are a common problem that can affect everyone: people of any race, any age and any gender. Stretch marks can occur during sudden changes in body size, such as during pregnancy, puberty, or rapid weight-gain. Ninety percent of pregnant women will get stretch marks around their abdomen, hips and thighs. Stretch marks can look slightly purple or reddish colour lines that become a type of scar.  Many people, especially women, struggle trying to fade stretch marks.  Dry Body Brushing is a natural remedy you can do to reduce the appearance of both new and old stretch marks  and eventually turn them white in appearance and become less noticeable.


Dry body brushing is a very powerful skin exfoliator.  It digs deep into the pores to cleanse dirt, grime, dead cells and other toxins.  It helps to keep the pores open to help expel wastes, increases absorbtion rate of skin lotions, assists with stimulation of sweat and oil glands, contributing to the restoration of moist, pliable, supple skin.  It also helps streghtens the skin pores by gentle stretching of connective tissues which regenerate production of collagen and elastin fibres.

Tips and Tricks for Dry Brushing: 
  • Always use a plant bristle body brush.  Plant bristle body brush (commonly called Tampico, Jute or Sisal bristle) provides the best exfoliation and stimulation for your skin.  They are the highest quality, long lasting and don't scratch the skin. 
  • Always brush on dry skin with dry brush bristles. Plant bristles are nice and firm when they are dry, which is why they exfoliate skin and stimulate circulation.  When plant bristles are wet they go soft and clump together and you won't get the same results.
  • After each body brush, spray brush bristles with an Organic Tea Tree Hydrosol.    Regularly cleaning your brush will prolong the brush life, optimize brush performance and most importantly, reduce risk of bacterial infection on the skin.  A lot of dead skin is sloughed off when dry brushing, so it is essential to wash your brush once a week with hot soapy water and leave in the sun to dry or a well ventilated area.  Never leave a plant bristle body brush in a wet area, they will mildew.
  • Stroke brush in one upward movement.  Except when brushing fingers and toes, you can brush back and forth between them.  The stomach you can brush in circular strokes going clockwise and anti-clockwise to really get the circulation moving.
  • We recommend brushing upward and towards the major lymph nodes in the body, such as the groin, armpits and base of neck.
  • Work from left to right, which is the natural direction when massaging the body.
  • Follow dry body brushing with some form of hydrotherapy, this may be a bath, shower, steam room, body mud mask or massage. When you have loose skin after pregnancy or weight loss, keeping it hydrated is an absolute must. Always apply an organic body lotion to nourish and feed the skin, this will help keep it supple and hydrated. For extra healing power to the areas of concern apply organic body oil like Jojoba Oil or Rosehip Oil and massage into the skin.  Rosehip is high in Vitamin C which helps to heal scars and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.  Hydrating the skin is really important to improve the skin's elasticity.  If your skin is undergoing a lot of stretching it is less likely to tear and create stretch marks if it's hydrated.

Which body brush should I choose for Stretch Marks?
I recommend a firm brush for feet, legs, buttock and arms and then I use a softer bristle for torso (front and back).  If you only have one brush and it has firm bristles, then I suggest using lighter pressure on the more sensitive areas.  Tampico Long Detachable Handle is the most versatile brush of the bodecare range and most suitable for reducing stretch marks.

To get the best results combine your dry body brushing with a healthy regime.  Most importantly eat fresh fruits and vegetables to nourish your body and skin each day, learn about eating raw foods and do cardio exercise at least 3 times per week.

While all of these tips can help you, make sure you give yourself time to heal and for your body to adjust to your new shape.  Scar tissue can take a while to recover and with the help of this healthy routine your whole body will benefit from the results you achieve from dry body brushing.

Jodie Smith
Owner - Bodecare

About Jodie: Jodie Smith, Director of Bodecare, has always loved to dry body brush. While living abroad Jodie had the privilege to experience dry body brushing in luxury day spa's and wanted to offer similar treatments and brushes here in Australia. Once returning to Australia Jodie spent a year conducting research on each brush with therapist colleagues who would test run the brushes. The end results are a beautiful range of traditionally crafted natural bristle brushes in varying firmness to cater for specific areas of the body and different preferences of bristle texture. Jodie has a keen interest in contributing to the preservation of the environment, which is why each product is made of eco materials or recycled timber, minimal packaging and reducing plastic where-ever possible. I have finally found me niche and am loving the journey it is taking me on.

WEARING: Embracing the "big girl" baggy pants

So the plan was to postpone the wearing posts until I had shed some kg's and felt good in my post baby body, but most of us Mumma's know that it can be harder said than done and maybe a little (a long) while off before I fit in my jeans again so I have decided to embrace my post baby body and just buy bigger pants, baggy big girl pants... AND THEY ARE SO COMFORTABLE, not to mention that they came at a bargain price at a dodgy little shop at the mall for $12.50 so I bought 2 pairs of cause... WIN all around. You have watched me over the past 9 months grow rounder around the edges so heres to the coming months of (hopefully) shrinking back. This is it then, out and about with my baby boy all rugged up in this super cute organic wrap hand made by Juniper Wilde and myself cuddling up to him on this sunny winter afternoon in my big girl pants. 

The cooler weather has hit and we are yet to venture out much but we are getting there. Our big girl was taken to the zoo today by her amazing Aunties so the daddy, H baby and I ventured out to the city to the March against Monsanto even. There was a great turn out and some excellent informative speakers. Then when H baby started his screeches we bolted to the car and went home for some quiet time. It was a lovely saturday! 


H baby wears his ORGANIC "HELLO" Baby Blanket - Swaddle c|o  Juniper Wilde

View more wearing posts and fun maternity finds here.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

That moment...

That moment when you realise how perfect things are, how amazing the people around you are and just how lucky you are to be where you are today!
That moment is now! The past 3 weeks have been some of the most amazing times that our little family has had. My husband has been home from work and he has been so incredibly hands on in every way; he has cooked, cleaned, done bucket loads of laundry, washed, bathed, 
Fed and kept me going and sane in my dazed new baby bubble. We have had the most amazing time together as a family, going on very small but fun adventures out to our favourite cafes and parks and then, burning out and sitting back on the couch to watch a good movie. The time has been precious and it has been fun but tomorrow is the moment that I have to face when the help I have had for the past 3 weeks is going back to his "real" job and I will be left to face the day with 2 children in my own. I'm nervous, I'm a little sad but I'm also excited for the fun that is to come. 

Just quietly; I think I will be asking my mum to come and stay next week... 

Cass x x

Really? Who doesn't love baking??? I find it totally therapeutic... There is just something about it that calms me down, settles my angst and takes me to a place of creating delicious dreamy food! Its the best! Every home day for us, is a baking day! I am not big into crafts but a cooking lesson with my toddler is a piece of cake... Literally! Within 10 minutes of receiving my bakers box from Honest to Goodness I was preparing some date and walnut muffins (RECIPE HERE), and we had spelt pizza the following night (RECIPE HERE), I couldn't help myself, I just wanted to get baking!
Honest to Goodness sells an enormous array of different organic and natural foods. If you need something they are sure enough to have it, their range is endless. They source sustainable organic, natural products from all around the world and bring it to you online, at the markets and in their warehouse in Alexandria. 

And their products are amazing! They have by far the BEST organic desiccated coconut I have ever come across! Its not dry like most, has no additives and carries so much of the good coconut fats that we love. Its amazing! 
What I love most about using the honest to goodness baking products is that you can make something deliciously tasty and impressive that holds zero guilt. You are making real food with whole food ingredients, no nasties! Check out what they have to offer here.

I am super excited because Honest to Goodness want to give one lucky Choose life, live it, do it reader a chance to WIN:

- 1 x $50 gift voucher to spend on baking products at Honest to goodness online store

- 1 x Copy of Jude Blereau’s NEW ‘Wholefood Baking’ Cookbook. Jude is a legend in wholefood cooking for families and children. All her books are so inspiring and knowledgable filled with many wonderful recipes. They are all must haves!

All you have to do to enter is; Simply leave a comment below telling me what food you love to bake!

For extra entries:

  • Be a follower of Choose life, live it, do it via Google Friend connect just on the right of our site.
  • Like Choose life, live it, do it on Facebook
  • Like HONEST TO GOODNESS on Facebook.
  • Like @chooselife_liveit_doit on instagram.
  • Share this give away on any of your social media platforms (instagram/facebook/twitter/pinterest)

Leave a comment for each! The lucky winner will be announced one week from now on Wednesday the 29th May, 2013! GOOD LUCK!

.giveaway closed. 

Terms: This giveaway is open to all Australian followers of Choose life, live it, do it. All entrants must provide a first name along with your comment entry and ensure I can contact you via your blog/social media or email (you can subscribe via email if you don't want to list your contact details publicly) . Once the giveaway has ended and winner is chosen they will be contacted via email and put in touch with the sponsors. Giveaway items are not distributed by Choose life, live it, do it, alot of them are directly distributed to the winners by the sponsors themselves. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

It's time to stop eating bread...

This pregnancy has definitely brought the worst out in my eating. Not feeling great alot of the time, I wanted bread! Not gluten free bread, not wheat free... I wanted big slices of fluffy sourdough smothered in butter. And then cheese was a great addition to this Bombard on my sensitive digestive system... A vintage cheddar, the strong stuff! None of that boring tasty stuff. Wheat is pretty hard to digest at the best of times and then throw the cheese in with it, my body isn't happy. But it just tasted so good and it kept the morning sickness feeling at bay... Eating so well for over a year, my body was running at a pretty good speed, introducing these 2 particular aggravating foods into my diet (almost daily) as well as the added hormones of making a baby I have packed on the kgs, oh yes I have definitely done well at that job! I put on a lot of weight when I was pregnant with little p and I felt huge... This time, somehow, I managed to beat my last record and put on a few more. I haven't worried, and I'm not going to obsess over it but it is time to get my act into gear and start eating more of the foods that work well for me and less of the foods that don't and budge some (a lot) of this baby weight in the process. So here's to Monday bringing me motivation, self control and a hole lot of energy!!! 

Cass x x

Thursday, 16 May 2013

New baby bubble

photo by Evolve Photos
My H baby is now 2 weeks old and our little family of 4 has been enjoying our time hibernating in our new baby bubble. We have been enjoying the quiet time while still having fun with generous visitors that have smothered us with love, gifts and home cooked meals which we are so very grateful for. It has been amazing! We are loving the family time and getting to know the new little face in our foursome.

We arnt venturing out to playgroups, playgrounds, supermarkets, shopping malls, no where that a slimy germy hand can reach out and touch my brand new, clean, sterile baby. Yes, we are going for little walks, enjoying the fresh crispy air and a bit of sunshine when it shows its face.  But we are doing this by ourselves and the main reason is that I'm not ready for the winter bugs to enter my toddler, me, my house or my new baby. With so many crazy bugs going around, they scare me and I don't want them! We are all tired, run down and we are only at the beginning of getting used to our family so right now I want us to all stay in tip top condition, no colds or flu's! 

My new baby bubble is blissful, full of support and relatively germ free, its full of a new kind of love and I am happy to stay here for a while...

How long did it take you with your second addition to get back into the swing of things???

Cass xo

Sunday, 12 May 2013

RECIPE: Simple Asparagus Kumquat & Avo Salad with Spiced Walnuts by Juli Novotny from PURE MAMAS


I'm not only very flattered to be asked to guest post here today but I'm proud to be able to help a fellow blogger with some fun healthy content while they are busy with new baby!! I mean, that's what motherhood is all about, right? Moms helping moms!

I am Juli, from the blog PUREmamas, where we talk health food, create veggie recipes, share design ideas and modern parenting and pregnancy stories. It's a good peruse for some clean diet motivation…if you will.

Today I'm sharing with you a salad that I created at home last night. I loved the simplicity of the salad and yet also the complex flavors that come from the vegetables, herbs and nuts.

The nuts were fun. I often like to dehydrate soaked nuts  overnight and I add different flavors - sweet or savory! They are awesome to have around because a) they are a healthy vegan protein, b) they make a wonderful snack and / or salad topper and c) my kids like them, too, so why not?

But last night I decided to bake walnuts in the oven. I coated them in fresh basil, smoked sea salt and coconut sugar first. The result was a lovely toasty crunchy addition to the simple delicate salad of asparagus and cumquats. Perfect for a light Springtime Salad. Not oily or too filling but full of nutrients.

Sweet Basil + Smoked Sea Salt Walnuts

2 cups raw walnuts
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/2 tsp smoked sea salt
1/2 - 1 tsp coconut sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
spray coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl add nuts and then the rest of the ingredients. Toss everything together. Spray the nut mixture with spray oil until well coated. Using your hands mix the nuts until they are evenly coated in oil and the herb/spice mix.

Transfer nuts to a baking dish or cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes. Mixing once in between. Be sure nuts don't burn but turn only a light brown.

Simple Asparagus Kumquat & Avo Salad with Spiced Walnuts

5 asparagus, cut into pieces {lower stems removed}
10 kumquats, sliced into small pieces
1/2 - 1 avocado, cut into slices
2 cups arugula or butter lettuce
2 Tbls sweet brown rice vinegar

toasted basil walnuts {recipe above}
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

In a sauce pan cook the pieces of asparagus with olive oil on low to medium adding pinches of salt and pepper. Keep tossing and cooking until asparagus has softened and cooked through. Add more oil if the asparagus seems to be burning or dry.

In a large bowl add the rest of the ingredients, except the nuts. Toss until avocado has mashed up and mixed in pretty well. Add asparagus. Top with nuts when ready to serve. Salad should be room temp. Add pepper or sea salt to taste.


ABOUT JULI: Juli Novotny is a mom of 2 young boys - just 12 months apart - her enthusiasm for CLEAN, healthy, organic food and her passion for children has been the vision for her PUREmamas blog.
In highschool...Juli was the head pastry chef at a popular pastry shop near her house. 
By age 24...A few years after she graduated from UCLA, she started a vegan health food company, Kookie Karma, in Santa Monica, CA where she resided for over 8 years. She also studied to get her masters in holistic nutrition while simultaneously running her business. 
Now 33...Juli lives in San Diego as a full-time mom of two little rascal boys: Pierce and Roman! A few years into motherhood, Juli decided that Kookie Karma {a labor of love} needed more attention and care than she could give it. She and her family spend their days at the pool, at the beach, at the park or watching mommy cook while eating yummy food in the kitchen which then she blogs about.

You can find Juli @ 
instagram: @julinovotny
Twitter: @julinovotny

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

'Beating the blues... naturally.'


Birth and parenthood are two of life's major transitions.

More couples are turning to birthing classes and natural therapies to create easier, more natural birth experiences because birth is after all, an emotional journey reflecting how we feel about our bodies, our parents and our relationships with each other.  It is integral to our emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. If we feel good about ourselves, connected to our own inner power and focused on creating positive intentions around birthing, then post natal depression or symptoms of post-natal depression can be reduced.

Post natal depression or post partum depression (ppd) is a form of depression that affects a high percentage of new mums and if left undiagnosed and untreated, can pose a serious health risk for families.
Many of the causes remain a mystery but there are some contributing factors that have been linked to ppd, namely women who feel unsupported by their relationships and partners, those who are burdened with financial or emotional stress and women who may have a past history of psychological problems. 

Some symptoms to look out for in first year:
1 feelings of low self esteem, lowered body confidence in particular
2 feelings of guilt and unworthiness
3 regrets around the birthing experience, particularly if it was traumatic
4 sadness at having to release your 'old' life - resentment and reluctance to let go
5 and inability to be happy or positive or plan for future celebrations
6 socially withdrawing from friends & family
7 exhaustion and consequential irritability and foggy mind
8 sleep deprivation (considered amongst all mums to be a 'form of torture'!)
9 returning to work too early, not giving yourself enough time to recover from birthing.

Personally I believe how a woman approaches her pregnancy and how well she supports herself before conceiving and during pregnancy, with food, exercise, (particularly yoga) and regular body treatments, will make a big difference to how well she will adjust after birthing her baby. Good birthing experiences will help reduce the instances of postnatal depression.

Some other elements that have been connected to ppd susceptibility include:
1 formula feeding over breastfeeding (can give rise to feelings of inadequacy, failure)
2 traumatic birth experiences
3 smoking/drinking/drug abuse
4 inadequate or spasmodic diets
5 minimal or decreased vitamin and mineral intake. 

Ppd is manageable, starting with regular exercise, supplementation and whole food support. Yoga practice has proven to elevate levels of Serotonin, the feel-good hormone, to stimulate all body systems such as the circulatory, respiratory and endocrine systems   (particularly the thyroid and parathyroid glands), as well increase your digestive capacity so you can effectively absorb and eliminate. The beauty of Yoga, prenatal and post natal yoga in particular, is that it helps us to connect deeply with ourselves and our babies and after birth, re-connects us to our pelvic floor, the figure-eight shaped muscle sling that supports the entire uro-genital area.  Pelvic floor health is essential not only to re-establish physical strength but also to rebuild our confidence, sexual integrity and energetic connection to the earth.  If we are weak in our foundations then we will feel as if there is nothing keeping us together, we will feel unsupported, ungrounded and under nourished, which again, can contribute to feelings of depression, anxiety and overwhelming sadness.  Focusing on the breath during yoga is known as Pranayama, and studies have now directly linked brain function, mental clarity, lung strength, emotional balance and overall vitality, with this remarkable ancient practice. Bringing ourselves into a meditative state can help resolve many issues or disturbances, not just ppd, but it is the particular practice of Pranayama that unifies body, mind and spirit. Depression is often described in natural medicine circles as a dis-connection to self, an intense state of introversion and feeling alone.  Yoga is so much more than just physical postures, it is about establishing that connection and unifying it with the Divine, or universal connection.  We are no longer alone. 
There are many ways to treat pnd and natural medicine aims to treat the root causes as well as how they are manifesting as symptoms.  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) regards pnd as a Qi (energy) deficiency, in particular a deficiency of the Heart element as a result of unbalanced Heart Fire.  The Heart meridian is governed by the Fire element and is all about connection, communication and love.  Often along the journey of pregnancy and childbirth, the emotional and energetic Heart has weakened.  Instead of feeling elated, joyous and completely connected, we feel lethargic, weepy and generally despondent.  The Heart is our Emperor, the organ that keeps us in touch with everyone, everything and ourselves.  If we lose this then of course we will feel emotionally isolated and exhausted. 
A chemical imbalance can occur when the brain doesn't receive the right amount of hormones, blood and feedback from the rest of the body.  When internal communication breaks down, the mind becomes susceptible and over-sensitive, affecting behavior, rationale and emotional stability.  This hormonal imbalance also often contributes to incontinence, constipation and post-natal depressive feelings.  It is in this instance when everything seems just too hard to deal with and either mother or baby is in immediate danger, that drug-therapy is the best solution.  Ppd can and has, driven many women to acts of regrettable acts of violence, just because they have lost touch with their normal coping mechanisms.  Compounding stresses leave them feeling like there is no other alternative, their sense of perspective and consequence lost in the moment. 
Blood quality plays a big role in regaining postnatal health and vitality.  During pregnancy your body produces about an extra one third of your total blood quantity to nourish the   placenta and fetus.  During birthing we lose quite a lot of blood, which would be increased in the instance of tearing, hemorrhage or other trauma.  We also bleed up to 2-4 weeks after birthing where the uterus expels residual tissues and blood and sometimes this blood loss can lead to anemia, particularly if iron and B12 intake is inadequate.  Blood is our life force; it feeds every cell of the body and keeps our brains functioning properly.  If it lacks strength and quality then of course we will feel depleted.
Naturopath Nicola Lowe specialises in Women’s' Health and suggests getting yourself primed properly with all the essential omega 3 fatty acids, good oils and supplements before getting pregnant, so your blood and hormones are as strong and as healthy as possible.  "This will go a long way to supporting your emotional and physical well being during your pregnancy", she says, "and help reduce the risk of experiencing symptoms of post natal depression after birth."

By including some of these natural supplements & foods in your diet, you can strengthen your blood & help reduce ppd symptoms:
1 folic acid
2 St Johns Wort - a natural anti-depressant herb, although not suggested if breast feeding
3 catnip - a safe sedative herb for mums, full of helpful minerals. (Safe when pregnant too)
4 valerian - a natural sedative particularly useful for insomnia
5 omega-3 fatty acids to support brain and hormone function
6 S-adenosinemethionine (SAMe) - a natural anti-depressant that assists in the production    of many 'happy brain' chemicals, namely Serotonin.
7 Thenylaolanine & Tyrosine - amino acids that assist in the production of 'happy brain' chemicals.
8 Flaxseed oil
9 Zinc, iron, selenium, Vitamins C, A and E, B12
10 TCM suggests feeding the Spleen, Liver, Kidney and Heart meridians with yellow and orange vegetables, beans and lentils and seaweeds in the form of warm, easily digestible foods, and avoiding cold, raw foods, alcohol, fried/greasy foods or curries, which will     aggravate and deplete further. 
11 Oat and brown rice porridges cooked with seaweeds, are also excellent for calming nerves and easing stress, as kelp is jam packed with vital trace elements and minerals.

Resting for as long as you need to after giving birth is an absolute necessity, not a luxury, as many think it is.  I know I only got out of my pajamas to wash them during the first eight weeks!  Some cultures even insist that new mothers remain housebound until they have not only stopped bleeding, but also until other family members deem them recovered enough to engage in activities again. For example, in Greece new mums stay house bound for 40 days with their babes, allowing plenty of time for physical healing as well as bonding, not to mention preparing newborns with strong energetic protection before they engage with the outside world.  This delayed contact with the environment would allow infant immune systems to be as strong as possible, as well as giving mum the chance to regain her sense of self without pressure or expectation from others.  Our modern lives don't often allow for 40 days but still, I feel we often rush back into work without really considering & digesting the effects that may have on our relationships with our children and ourselves, later on in life.
Yoga guru Swami Saraswati even suggests that "Motherhood is the ultimate yoga practice" and as one of the main principles of yoga is 'Ahimsa' or non-violence, to self or anyone else, it is so important to recognize symptoms in yourself or a loved one, to get help and to talk about it.  Discuss options with your GP or Naturopath, keep connected to other new mums for support, even try a class in Mums'n'Bubs yoga as it's a great way to balance and rebuild your sense of self whilst deepening your bond and respect for each other. 

Remember you are never alone and that there is lots of support available if you feel you may be at risk.  Contact for more information or Gidget Foundation info.

About Denby: When Denby discovered yoga in 2000, she felt the universe had finally revealed her true purpose in this lifetime. She felt blessed and inspired and left behind a successful career in the Film and Television industry to be in service to others as a yogi and teacher.

She started her yoga journey by completing an intensive 2 year Ki Yoga Diploma teacher training course in 2002 with Master teachers Jack Marshall and Richard Paton and simultaneously began studying a variety of natural therapies at Nature Care College, including Energetic and Spiritual Healing, Kinergetics, Bowen Therapy and Massage. Since then she has completed Pre natal and Mother and Baby Yoga training with Suzanne Swann, (inspired by the teachings of Active Birth pioneer Janet Balaskas); the Hatha/Purna Yoga Diploma with John Ogilvie at Byron Bay Yoga; advanced workshops with Donna Farhi, Tara Judelle, Kathryn Budrig, Lisa Masters, Simon Borg-Olivier and Duncan Peak and birthed a beautiful son, Max, who is her greatest teacher and friend.

She continues to hone her skills as a therapist specialising in pre and post natal yoga; is a certified and registered Level 3/Senior teacher (Hatha and Ki) with YA, a Reiki Master and an Alumni Ambassador with lululemon athletica. Ever the perpetual student, Denby is inspired by leading yogis including Shiva Rea, Donna Farhi, John Ogilvie, Simon Borg-Olivier, Tara Judelle and Francesco Garri Garripoli and guided by the teachings of Gangaji, her husband Eli and the luminosity of healer Caterina Pellegrino-Estrich. Denby is currently studying Cranio-sacral therapy and distributes the incredible DoTERRA organic essential oils through the studio.
Denby is now one of the most sought after yoga therapists on the Northern Beaches, well known for her insightful, compassionate and natural affinity with teaching and healing.
All of Denby’s classes incorporate remedial yoga sequences and seasonal insights that build physical structure, emotional foundation & energetic integrity. The more subtle and energetic aspects of Ki and Hatha yoga are woven within these sequences designed to open the heart and encourage a deep exploration of habits, behaviours and memories. Shifting weakness into strength through this system of corrective yoga helps restore balance on all levels and helps awaken the complete Self.
With over a decade of teaching experience and exploring this relationship between the seasonal cycles, the five element theory and body/mind/spirit, Denby has founded the innovative vinyasa-style practice that she calls ‘Ki FUSION Yoga’, a unique style that reflects her own personal journey with yoga, energy and motherhood.

She encourages students to let go of the physical and mental struggle connected with trying to find the ‘perfect pose’ and instead, to find and feel the energies within each pose, with ease, attention and a sense of adventure. Their practice then follows the path of self-inquiry and self-expression, rather than just being a physical activity. Students come away from classes feeling that they have been ‘held’, opened up and safely challenged, at their own level.

“I am humbled to witness the amazing commitments my students make to themselves, each time they step onto their mats. They are all my brave yogi warriors!”
Denby’s other calling in life is writing and she is currently working on two pioneering books, “AWAKENING SHAKTI: HEALING THE WOUNDED FEMININE THROUGH YOGA, RITUAL & SEASONAL WISDOMS”, and “KI FUSION YOGA: DISCOVERING YOUR YOGANATURE”, both to be published and available as ebooks in the new year. (*Both titles/concepts subject to copyright and trademarked.)
Her popular Ki Yoga Active Birth poster, the first of its kind, is now available for sale and the 5 seasonal Ki FUSION posters and DVD’s will be released later in 2012.

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