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Anja Kussler

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Diary of a first-time SwitchFaster

Would you like to know how to optimise your current health status quick smart, prevent serious disease in future and turn back your body clock big time? One of our team members, Anja Kussler, participated in our new SwitchFast program late last year – to get an idea of what to expect, read her raw and honest account of her first-time extended fasting experience below, complete with the highs, lows and an epic sense of awakening in body, mind and soul!


I decided to participate in Deb’s new Switch Fast program, which kicked off in October last year, for a number of reasons. Whilst not deemed a weight loss programme as such, one of my main drivers was certainly to reset myself in that department and also getting back on track keto and health wise. 

The past couple of years living in these crazy times had come with a set of major changes and related stresses, such as leaving the big smoke and setting up off-grid life in a rural/coastal community from scratch. 

I’d also been living alongside a truly loving but highly carb-focused partner, so trying to maintain a keto lifestyle whilst transitioning into vegetarianism (which eventually led us to settle for pescatarianism!) came with its challenges too. On top of that, I’ve been in the throes of peri-/menopause for quite some time with my hormones going haywire and often leaving me moody, anxious, fatigued and mentally drained. 

As a result of the above, I sidelined into naughty not-so-healthy comfort foods along the way, leaving me with unwanted extra bits in the most undesired places. After a lifetime of being blessed with great skin and tone, loose, saggy bits were appearing out of nowhere, most notable my thighs and face. To say I was not feeling happy or comfortable in my own skin pretty much summed up my general state of being. 

Doing a 5-day fast, I felt, would be a great opportunity to get on top of this seemingly vicious cycle. And, doing it together with my partner, Muzza, it would not only keep us both and each other accountable, but it also offer us a chance to give our lives a much needed overhaul in terms of nipping bad lifestyle habits in the bud, as well as preventing future health issues and turning back our body clocks by going into autophagy

As I learned when doing my SwitchFast homework, autophagy is one of the main benefits of a prolonged fast. This is when, after 24 hours of not having solid meals, the body begins to recycle toxic and unwanted waste and proteins and sends it to any parts and organs of the body that need healing and repair.

Admittedly, we both went into this fast with a sense of trepidation. Our biggest concern was not being able to succeed and feeling hungry all the time due to the lack of food and being able to indulge in the pleasure of ‘chewing’. I was also a tad worried about doing a fast after years of struggling with adrenal fatigue, which is one of the reasons listed for not doing an extended fast. 

Well, I decided to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’, which happened to become one of the best things I ever did for me, for us, for our health and our relationship, in body, mind and sprit combined.

Please note: SwitchFast is conducted as a 10-day guided program, with a general introduction and a couple of prep and broth days to ease you into a water/herbal tea-only fast of either 3 or 5 days, followed by a few wind-down days, where we regular meals are gently reintroduced and maintenance suggestions provided. To fully reap the benefits of an extended fast, it is important to be in nutritional ketosis before you start, so a program like TKS, along with Intermittent Fasting (which already induces a mild ongoing state of autophagy), is a good way to set you up for the ride!


To set the scene for our fast, I start the day with a cup of Green tea in my favourite cup, and sip a litre of spring water straight off the bat to begin eliminating some toxins. At 10.30am we have our first recommended daily cup of spicy home-made vegetable broth with coconut oil and a pinch of Himalayan salt. It’s so tasty! The purpose of this ‘fat bomb’ is to optimise our nutrition levels as we ease into the fast for a couple of days, before the body starts tapping into its own fat storage for the following 3 water and herbal tea-only days. Both Muzza and I, having practised Intermittent Fasting on most days anyway, feel pretty energetic and clear-headed, and we have our second cup of broth by 2pm. Surprisingly, neither of us feel hungry at all, probably due to the hunger hormone Ghrelin shutting down, which happens during extended fasting.

In a quest not to think about food (or the ritual of preparing it), I keep myself busy with outdoorsy tasks by mowing the lawns and doing some gardening. I do find I need to take breaks more often than usual, but decide to just go with the flow…

During the course of the day I keep sipping lots of water, peppermint and detox teas, as well as my favourite healthy beverage of all times: fresh Italian parsley steeped in boiling water. At 4pm I hit a wall and feel the need to lie down for a bit. It’s like my head is ‘busy’ and ‘wants to do stuff’ but my body says: “Nope, just lie down and chill.”

So retreat to my bed and busy myself with some light online tasks; nothing too mentally taxing, just cleaning out my computer and doing the things that have been on the agenda for months and get routinely procrastinated on. So in a way, I’m finally getting ‘shit done’.

All through the day I’m peeing like a queen – apologies if that’s ‘too much information’, but it’s a very real part of the process! I am also experiencing quite a bit of water retention. I’m not too fussed by this as from experience, from when I first started on the TKS program back in 2017, it’s all about toxins rising to the surface and ‘wanting out!’ 

I’m also starting to feel quite sore physically, especially in the neck and shoulders. This could be, in part, from mowing our large, undulating lawn and lugging the mower uphill – or perhaps emotional issues that are stuck in my body manifesting themselves in the form of inflammation? The latter, as we learn from one of Deb’s daily SF support broadcasts, is quite a common byproduct of prolonged fasting. (I’ll elaborate on this in my Day 3 report!)

I decide to do a gentle but long yin yoga session is in order to help with the aches and pains (and as a measure to occupy myself before, during and after the usual 5pm hour when ‘wine-o’ clock hour’ beckons). I also indulge in a beach walk with my pups, to increase the feel-good factor and practise consciously inhaling that fresh healing salt air (4 breaths in, 6 out). It’s amazing what you focus on when your mind is not occupied by preparing the next meal!


I wake up feeling a bit rough around the edges, not headachy, but quite ‘fuzzy’. This dissipates quickly and makes way for a clear head, with a brief moment of grumpiness in the afternoon. Our broth time is now the highlight of our day – a sentiment shared by some of the other ladies in the TKS Team also doing the fast.

Muzza’s comment at end of this day: “Fasting gives you a good brain”, as we both experience ‘extreme’ mental clarity and keep bouncing ideas off one another. I, having been in a ketogenic state from the start, continue to have regular bowel movements, but Muzza feels a bit constipated so I summons him to have some psyllium husk with water. He finds it quite disgusting at first, but actually enjoys it when he has another batch with a little bit of salt added. His comment:“Anything tastes good once you’ve had Chartreuse.”


I’m feeling slightly shaky and anxious on waking. I’m 1.3 kgs down though, with a significant reduction in my tummy and thigh area – happy girl! We’re wondering what it will be like having to do without the broth fat bomb today but find it’s not an issue, as we still don’t feel hungry. It just gets a bit boring as we both love our food ritual. To mitigate this, we try Deb’s idea of ramping up our salt intake by licking it off our hand, followed by a swig of water. How good is that? I guess our taste buds are super ‘switched on’ when you don’t have much to compare it to!

Our energy today comes and goes in waves, and we both feel a surge in energy during the morning and are getting lots done, both physically and mentally, before flatlining in the afternoon. It’s weird experiencing a combination of physical fatigue and a mental boost at the same time. Both Muzza and I have started to think about ‘constructive hunger’ and accepting this into our lives. We’ve also gotten into the habit of high-fiving each other at the end of each day to celebrate our fasting achievement.

Today is a bit of light bulb moment for us. In Deb’s supportive daily Live she shares how fasting is an opportunity to break through our automatic responses to food as it makes us aware that the moment we feel uncomfortable about something, our usual tendency is to turn to food, alcohol (or drugs for some!) to self-soothe and deal with pain by avoiding confronting that discomfort and relating emotion.

Experiencing discomfort on a physical level works on the same premises.Today, for example, I have a nagging pain in my neck, trapezius and upper arm/shoulder area. According to Deb’, this is a sign that I’m putting all my emotion into that area as a result of past trauma. And because pain manifests the release of trauma during fasting, she advises not to suppress these emotions but instead not fear the discomfort, sit with it and let that energy flow through you. Remind yourself that life is not happy all the time and trust that we are spiritual beings just are having a physical experience.” So in that sense, releasing this pain by ‘going with through it’ is a spiritual release.

Another ‘emotional fasting’ aspect is the call to not associate ‘not eating’ with negative emotions, but instead use the absence of food as a chance to truly reflect, identify our eating triggers and rewire our brain. So we really start to become aware and think about what normally leads us to bad eating behaviours. Is it frustration, boredom, a stressful current situation or a negative memory of deep-seated trauma? And what can we do to rewards ourselves in a healthier manner?

Speaking of awareness, as we’re having a cup of chamomile tea with Stevia on this afternoon, Muzza comments: “It feels like heaven”. The thing is when fasting, is that the little things, when seen with new eyes, become sources of great appreciation, and a new avenue for experiencing gratitude.


Muzz and I awake bright and early (before sunrise) after a solid and restful night’s sleep, with a mind buzzing full of creative ideas. This is not really surprising, since our bodies haven’t been busy digesting food all night and can direct that energy towards improved brain function instead! I also notice that my water retention has gone and that I don’t pee like a Queen any longer as my body has become accustomed to utilising the liquids rather than merely expelling them.

I’m off for a grocery shop in the city today, to stock up for the next few days’ post-fast meals. I feel great and highly energised – until just after 1pm, when a 3-hour lull hits. It’s probably not my cleverest move to hit the supermarket as my last stop, with food stuffs beckoning from the shelves. The result: By the time I arrive back home, I have food on my mind and really just feel like chewing something, not just consuming liquid! Thankfully my ‘accountability buddy’ encourages me to persist, stay calm and carry on. So I take his advice, settle for a late afternoon of ‘therapeutic pottering’ and another soothing yoga session, which soon elevates my mood, catapults any Ms Neggy thoughts out of my head and remember Deb’s words: “Sit with the emotion, find a distraction, remember you’re not starving and don’t give in to instant gratification of food because that’s what your mind is programmed to do!”

And how did your day go, I ask Muzz as we head to bed? “I’ve been feeling floaty,” he says. “Like nothing is a problem.” I concur: Day 4 Tick.


Day 5 is a bit like the Day 4, and again I wake up at 4.30 with my mind buzzing and ready to rock ’n roll. I keep myself busy with a long dog walk, a trip to markets and chores; then again hit a wall around lunchtime. My head is still going but my body won’t quite cooperate but instead of getting frustrated about it, I follow my intuition to give it some rest, surrender and just go with the ebb and flow of how I feel at any given moment.


We are beyond excited to indulge in our ‘first supper’ (meal) post fast on Day 6. The key is to reintroduce meals that are easy to digest and avoid potential allergens like dairy, sweet foods and alcohol for a week or two after we’ve cleansed our bodies from all the toxins. 

It’s also crucial to consume everything very slowly (a process called mastication) to get our systems used to chewing and processing food again. Plus it’s a wonderful way to fully start eating mindfully again and preparing food with love, joy and gratitude! 

Our first post-fast meal is a Greek fish parcel with fresh herbs, spices, vegetables and spinach greens cooked in coconut milk, served on our deck overlooking the ocean with the sun blissfully shining down on us. And so we sit there ‘masticating’, with our eyes closed, chewing and enjoying every delectable morsel to the fullest! 

After having gone through all the above ‘(e)motions, both Muzz and I agree that the best thing about the fasting process is the ‘aftermath’. We both keep experiencing an increased sense of vitality, mental alertness and general wellbeing in the days and even weeks post fast. The inflammation and pain have completely disappeared, plus the weight loss continues and I actually have my biggest drop in weight and cms in the 3 days following the fast. I am also truly amazed (and delighted!) by the way my skin has tightened up and feels more youthful as all those loose bits seemed to have disappeared off the face off the earth as a result of autophagy ‘getting rid what no longer serves us’.

Having experienced the benefits of autophagy first hand, we are now more ready than ever to include regular long-term fasts into our lives, first and foremost to maintain good health future proof ourselves against chronic diseases like cancer. 

And last but not least: the physical, mental and emotional benefits aside, another huge bonus of doing an extended fast is, without fail, NOT having to do the dishes for five days in a row! 

For more details on SwitchFast and to join the next round, starting 14 February, click here.

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Looking After Number One: 10 Mini Self-care Goals For Sustained Wellbeing

So, we’re halfway through January already, and it doesn’t take long for the holidays and downtime to seem like a distant memory. And I bet, as we ‘fly’ back into our daily routines, those New Year’s resolutions we made just a couple of weeks ago, are at risk of becoming a distant memory too, am I right? 

Personally, I’m a firm believer that New Year’s resolutions don’t work. That’s likely because we usually have these ambitious aspirations just because it’s that time of year – often after a few New Year’s Eve tipples – and because we haven’t planned or thought our intentions through properly. Or maybe we have set ourselves goals that are so huge that we find it impossible to follow through with them.

The good news is, there are several simple, achievable mini goals that we can implement into our routines in order to set ourselves up for a happier, healthier life ahead, starting right now! After all, wellbeing, happiness and being content and at peace with ourselves begin by looking after Number One, both for our own sake and the loved ones in our wake! So I encourage you to take your pick from the following self-care suggestions…

Have a cold shower first thing in the morning, even if it’s frosty outside. This will instantly wake up your brain, improve your mental clarity, energise your body and boost your mood. Try to go for at least 30 seconds at a stretch or alternate between hot and cold showers; then try to build up the cold component to 2 or 3 minutes as your body adjusts.

Write down 5 things that your are grateful for when you wake up. We all too often moan and groan about the difficulties in our lives, or that endless to do list that needs tackling. But if we take a few minutes and just reflect on what we already do have, it’s amazing how this can instantly change our perspective on life and create a positive mindset. Something as seemingly simple as being able to breathe is a massive gift, if you think about it, and worth appreciating.

• Speaking of breath, taking five to 10 deep belly breaths whenever you start feeling a little frazzled or out of whack can work wonders for both body and soul. This is such an easy yet effective way to combat overwhelm and it can help us juggle life big time when we feel stressed.

Go for a walk, preferably in a natural setting. Forest, beach, bush or walking on grass (or in the snow if you live in the Northern Hemisphere) are good options. Take your shoes off (if the weather allows) so you can practise some earthing. Being with nature and connecting your feet to the earth is a wonderful way to connect to Mother Nature, ground yourself, de-stress and feel calm.

  • Take your favourite naughty food and create a healthy, wholesome, keto-friendly version of it, whether it’s a pasta dish or a yummy dessert. There are plenty of options for this in our TKS program for one. So get into the kitchen, take your time to explore, enjoy and avoid FOMO in the process!
  • Bring colour into your life! Paint your nails in a colour you haven’t tried before. Dare to be bold (go green, blue or bright pink) and feel how liberating this can be. And: Wear a bright colour today (or every day of the month if you wish). Choose a colour that aligns with a chakra that needs a bit of TLC (such as blue to enhance or address your throat chakra and your ability to speak your truth) and wear it with pride! This is a wonderful way to tap into your girlie side, celebrate your femininity and feel joy!
  • Catch up with a friend who you haven’t connected with for a while, and who you know will nurture your soul and put a smile on your dial. We all have those lovely humans in our life! Don’t just text or message them via Facebook, but connect with them face to face if you if they’re close by, or arrange a video call if they live far away or abroad. Seeing each other in person (or each other’s faces virtually at least) ist just so much more fulfilling and uplifting!
  • Read one chapter of a book each day. Make it a real book, not just an audiobook or kindle, but the ‘old school’ tangible version that takes you away from the computer screen and its ‘synthetic’ lighting. I love doing this at night when I’m snuggled up in bed as it’s a wonderful way for me to unwind from the day’s activities and taking my mind off work. Reading at night is also brilliant for easing yourself into a natural, restorative sleep.
  • Enjoy an Epsom salt foot bath. This will draw toxins out of your footsies and your entire body. Add some lavender essential oil for a calming and soothing effect that will leave your feet feeling wonderfully soft as well. This is a lovely pre-bed ritual that will help ease you into a deep sleep.
  • Listen to a soothing meditation or indulge in a yin yoga session just before you go to bed to promote deep, restful sleep. I love this meditative sound bowl yin yoga class on You Tube and highly recommend you try it. You can watch it here.

    Implementing one or more these simple self-care goals is bound to set you up for a happy, healthy, nurturing start to your day, month or year ahead and beyond. Like I said, one of the most important things we can do for ourselves – and others – is to begin by looking after ourselves and enjoy doing it!

    Deborah xxx

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‘Tis the season!

It’s always an interesting time sitting down to write a Christmas blog. Sometimes, I find it hard to pick a subject: Should I talk about how to stick to healthy eating over the festive season? Or about the stress of funding Christmas? Should I speak to the thousands of women in our community who will be alone this Christmas? I’ve been there too! Or should I delve into how to navigate a relative that you’re dreading seeing at the annual family celebrations?

Whatever situation you’re in, this time of year can be both joyful and stressful, so here are my practical tips for navigating Christmas in order to stay balanced in body, mind and soul:

If you are worried about overeating, you have two choices. You can either go with the flow or learn to say ‘no’. Some of you will want to stick to your healthy eating regime because you know how good it makes you feel, but you might feel the pressure from others to eat things you wouldn’t usually indulge in. If your deepest desire is to eat well and not plummet off the wagon with a gigantic thud, then stand in your place of strength and power, drop the guilt of offending someone and remember to say the powerful words ‘no thank you’ whenever you need to!

If, however, you want to indulge in some of your favourite festive foods on Christmas Day, then by all means do so without guilt. Let yourself off the hook and enjoy yourself. Make sure you eat small amounts (not the entire Christmas pudding!) and get back on track after Christmas. Creating healthy boundaries and non-negotiables within yourself will make all the difference. You might want to adopt my motto when it comes to food: ‘If it’s worth it, eat it. If it’s not, don’t!’

When it comes to eating – over the festive season and beyond – the key is to stay present and mindful. There is no point in eating an entire box of chocolates, feeling sick and then beating yourself up about it. Enjoying one or two of your favourite morsels is a far more fulfilling option!

• Make sure you have plenty of healthy food options around that you enjoy without feeling as though you have to miss out. Making a healthy platter to take along to celebrations is a way of ensuring you have yourself covered.

Don’t overspend! It’s so easy to be over-generous and give more than you can afford.  I’ve always been guilty of that, but it’s easier to opt into a Secret Santa and make agreements on limits with family than it is to overextend yourself and be stressed out heading into the new year! Nothing beats a homemade gift from the kitchen made with love!

• Keep a check on your emotional wellbeing. It’s important to keep in touch with your moods over this time instead of switching off to them only to find yourself eating to self-soothe. It’s normal to have fluctuating emotions during this time; try not to avoid them, but let them be so they can move through you. The more we try to suppress and avoid our emotions, the more they persist. Feel them, and release them. 

If you’re lonely, reach out! Being a divorced parent, when my girls were younger, my ex-husband and I would swap the girls every second year after lunch on Christmas Day, so we’d have either the morning or evening alone. Some of those years were tough! But I reached out to whoever I could and gratefully accepted the invites that would come my way. Reaching out and connecting with others face to face is far better than sitting at home alone feeling lonely and depressed. So please put yourself out there if you are in this situation.

I also have friends who volunteer each Christmas at homeless shelters or rest homes. As the experts attest, the fastest way out of depression is to contribute to making other people’s lives just that little bit more joyful in your own way. 

If you’re dealing with grief this year or this is your first Christmas without someone important, try to focus on gratitude for having had that person in your life. Think of as many fun times and memories as you can, light a candle at the table in their honour and reminisce on the funniest moments that you shared. It is way more uplifting to focus on gratitude than it is on loss.

Lastly, if you’re dreading facing a family member who triggers you like no other person on the planet, be present! Take deep breaths, don’t bring the past into your mind or conversation, and try to focus on the present moment as much as possible. Be the observer! Other people are our mirrors, and those who trigger us the most have a lot to teach us about our own ego. Remind yourself that you aren’t what other people think or say about you. Don’t be affected by other people’s behaviour, as it’s none of your business. 

I like to refer to American author, speaker and self-enquiry teacher Byron Katie’s three businesses: your business, other people’s business and god’s business. Stay in your own business!

Whatever you’re doing over the festive season, set your intention on having as much fun as you can, and reach out to people you haven’t seen in a while, particularly if they are lonely. And never forget that food and healthy nutrition should always be a pleasure! Cook and eat with love and laughter knowing that you have the tools at your beck and call to quickly drop any extra pounds this season may bestow upon you!

Merry Christmas and lots of love
Deborah xxx

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Goodbye toxic household chemicals, hello healthy alternatives!

The products and household items we use on an everyday basis in order to keep ourselves and our living environment healthy and germ free, are often more detrimental and toxic than we think. Yep, even those supposedly ‘clean green’ potions can be riddled with chemicals that are dangerous to our health, and make us prone to disease.

This area is quite a minefield once you start delving into it! But for a start, let’s have a look at the not so clean truth about some of the most common toxic culprits that may be lurking around our homes, how they affect our health – and what we can do to replace those ‘nasties’ with safer, healthier and more natural alternatives.

  • Oven, drain and toilet cleaners: These potent agents contain highly toxic chemicals in order to be able to effectively tackle the grease, grime and muck they’re designed for. In the process, they can emit poisonous fumes when inhaled, or cause burns when exposed to our skin. Even some of the products sold as ‘eco-friendly’ can pose hazards, so always read the label before you buy.

    Safer alternatives: Nothing quite beats the trusty old baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and white vinegar combination. Sodium bicarbonate is a mild alkali and dissolves dirt and grease in water easily and effectively. For ovens, you can mix baking soda and vinegar into a paste with a little water and leave it for an hour or so to work its magic on the stubborn bits. For drains and toilets, sprinkle some baking soda into the drain or toilet bowl, then pour vinegar over it until it bubbles, before tackling the area with a brush and rinsing or flushing it with clean water.
  • Bleach: Bleach, which is often used to clean toilets and other extra-dirty areas in and around the home or yard, is made with sodium hypochlorite and varies in concentrations from 0.7 to 5.25%. The higher concentrations are pure poison! When inhaled, bleach fumes can easily and very seriously irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat, and if you come in direct contact with the liquid or gel, it can also cause a nasty rash, redness and swelling, or worse, dermatitis.

    Safer alternatives: Again: baking soda, vinegar and water will usually do the trick!
  • Antibacterial cleaners: These products are designed to get rid of bacteria from surface areas, such as bench tops, sinks, stove tops and bathroom basins. They are often very potent, not to mention downright dangerous as they usually contain surfactants and also a pesticide such as phenolic chemicals or quaternary ammonium, both of which can burn your skin and throat, and irritate the eyes.

    Safer alternatives: I personally never buy any of these products, but create my own vinegar concoction that I keep on hand for just about anything that needs cleaning around our home – surfaces, bathrooms, ovens, appliances, you name it. Plus it works a treat at keeping glass and windows sparkly clean and stainless steel appliances and surfaces streak free.

    It’s super easy to make, too. Just add 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water in a large spray bottle with a squirt of additive-free dishwashing liquid, shake and use with a clean, soft cloth! I also add a few drops of lemon or lime essential oil, which creates a fresh, natural fragrance and helps dissolve grime at the same time. Oh and by the way, these citrus oils (applied pure with a cotton pad) are also super effective in removing pesky glue residue, such as that found when you pull the price tag or label off an item you bought!

  • Laundry detergents and softeners: The purpose of the enzymes in these products is to loosen dirt and help remove stains, but watch out for any so-called cationic or non-ionic ingredients as they can irritate the skin and over time even lead to asthma or other respiratory conditions. Many of these products, especially fabric softeners, also contain synthetic ingredients such as limonene, ethyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, benzyl acetate and ethanol. These are not only carcinogenic but also linked to central nervous system disorders.

    Safer alternatives: There are several low-chemical, skin-sensitive laundry detergents on the market, but again, read the label and make sure they are free from parabens, sulphates and other synthetic ingredients such as those listed above. Also look for products that have not been tested on animals and that are free from fragrances. Instead, for a fresh, aromatic touch, I recommend adding a few drops of lavender and/or lemon or other citrus essential oil into the washing machine. Your laundry will smell divine and your skin will love you for it!
  • Air fresheners: There are so many commercial types of air fresheners on the marketaerosols, plug-ins, automatic sprayers and so on, but I find most of them anything but ‘freshening’. In fact, they often have quite a sickening odour and that’s because there’s not much ‘natural’ about them! Many air fresheners contain petrochemicals that can wreak havoc with our health in a big way, and have been linked to issues like hearth disease, breast cancer, respiratory problems, as well as reproductive problems and birth defects.

    Safer alternatives: Essential oils are wonderful for creating a beautiful aroma around your home – and to get rid of cooking odours or ‘smellies’ in the bathroom. Make sure you use pure, top-grade essential oils and vaporise them in an ionic water diffuser as burning them can render them toxic! Or mix them with water in a spray bottle to use as needed. Citrus oils like litsea, wild orange, bergamot lemon, lemongrass or tangerine will create a lovely fresh fragrance that’s also therapeutic and uplifting for the soul. You can combine these with floral oils like ylang ylang, lavender or rose, or add minty notes such as peppermint and spearmint for an energising effect.

  • Plastic bottles, containers etc: Many cheap plastic bottles, food packaging and other plastic products, are made with the hormone-disrupting chemical Bisphenol-A or BPA, which has been linked to cancer. When these plastics are heated, for example a water bottle that sit in the sun in your car, they are especially prone to leaching these toxic chemicals into liquid or food.

    There are seven types of plastic and each of these can leach harmful chemicals in extreme conditions, such as heat. That said, there are three of these types that are considered ‘safer’: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, #1), High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE, #2) and Polypropylene (PP, #5).

    PET is a wrinkle-free plastic mostly used in food and drink packaging, because of its strong ability to prevent oxygen from getting in and thereby prolonging a product’s shelf life. That said, it contains antimony trioxide, which is can lead to cancer.

    Stronger and thicker than PET, HDPE is commonly used in opaque milk or juice containers, shampoo bottles and medicine bottles amongst others. It is considered a safer option for food and drinks, although some research suggests that it can leach oestrogen-mimicking, hormone-disrupting chemicals when exposed to UV light. The third type of ‘allegedly safer’ plastic is PP, which is more heat-resistant than PET and HDPE, and is therefore used to package hot food, but also in car parts, disposable nappies and even sanitary pads!

    Safer alternatives: Plastics are such a messy, grey area and I personally avoid plastics where I can, especially when it comes to food and liquids. I have done this for many years! I use stainless steel, glass or ceramic bottles or jugs for water and store food in glass or ceramic bottles or containers. And there’s always the super easy and safe option of keeping food in a bowl in the fridge with a saucer on top!
  • Non-stick pots and pans: Non-stick cookware aka Teflon revolutionised cooking back in the early 1960s. The coating in these utensils contains the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOA or C8. PFOA is known to play havoc with our hormones and lower testosterone levels, plus it can cause birth defects and certain cancers. And, when overheated, non-stick cookware can lead to polymer fume fever, which is potentially lethal.

    Due to these perils, PFOA production in Teflon products ceased in 2013, but that’s not where the story ends. Research shows that the hazards I just mentioned can persist long following manufacture, so it still pays to look for look for PFOA-free cookware (many of the currently products on the market are labelled as such) or other safer alternatives.

    Safer alternatives: Ceramic cookware is a safer non-sticky option, or you could use stainless steel or cast iron pots and pans if you’re on a budget and are prepared to put a bit more energy into cleaning them. Whichever type of cookware you choose, it’s a good idea to replace it once the bottoms start looking wonky or scratched, or they change colour.

Yes, there may be plenty of chemical threats ‘hiding’ in our homes and living environments, and I haven’t even scratched the surface on this topic yet (think carpet cleaners, insect repellents or personal products, to name but a few more). However, by keeping it simple and going back to basics, we can make a great start at safeguarding the wellbeing of ourselves and our loved ones!

Lots of love

Deborah xxx

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Are You In – Or Out Of – Alignment With Your Wishes and Dreams?

Whether we are aware of it or not, we all have blueprints for each area of our life. Blueprints are the dreams, goals and visions we have in these areas. When we feel most alive, content and fulfilled, it is because we are living in alignment with our blueprints where our goals are matched by reality. The opposite is also true: when we feel unfilled, it’s because reality doesn’t match our blueprints. Another way of putting this is: expectations versus reality. 

In relationships, we all know the feeling of having unmet expectations. We have expectations of those around us, but they are rarely met in reality. If we don’t take a new approach to this, we may never find peace in these relationships. We have expectations of our family, friends, colleagues and intimate partners. Sometimes we need to take a look at ourselves and alter these expectations so that we can find a sense of peace about them not being met. I’ve often told women at my retreats that having expectations of others is one of the great mothers of all f*@# ups! That’s because each person has a free will, their own story and their own desires. So, unless we make conscious and realistic agreements with someone else, we will continue to feel a sense of disappointment. 

Some areas, like relationships, are the most challenging when it comes to blueprints, because we are not in control of them. On the other hand, areas such as our health and nutrition are solely up to us, and therefore the power lies within.

If there are any areas of your life that are causing you a sense of dissatisfaction or disharmony, or even leading to anxiety or depression, take a few moments to sit and reflect on what your vision is for that area of your life. Is your blueprint matched by reality? If not, how far is that gap? The further the gap, the more discord you’ll feel within.

Once you identify these gaps, you have two choices:

  • Change your blueprint to match reality by becoming content and at peace with where you are right now.  
  • Change your reality to match your blueprint. Set goals, make decisions and step into that vision you have for your life.  

Sometimes we have to do a little of both and find a happy medium.  

Another layer to this is being in full alignment with our values and living a life of congruence within ourselves. We may deeply want a healthy and vitality-strong body, yet in reality, we aren’t taking the actions to make that happen. Weeks, months and years slip by making it even harder to get on track and stay on track. What then happens, over time, is that the mountain becomes too big to climb and before we know it, we might even become apathetic toward the things we deeply desire for ourselves. We may tell the outside world that we are happy just the way we are when deep down there is a longing to live a healthy life. I believe the soul desires an abundance of energy and wellbeing, so it can live its best life here in the only body it gets!  

Here are some questions for you to ponder this week:

• Are you living in congruence with what you deeply desire for your health and wellbeing blueprint?

• How would life feel if you were? 

• What is one habit you could change today that might lead you towards your blueprint? 

• Which action can you take today to begin stepping closer to the vision you have for yourself?  

Here’s to being in alignment with our wishes and dreams, and creating the blueprint for the life that we truly aspire to! 

Lots of love
Deborah xxx

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The Mantras That Saved Me and My Sanity

There have been periods throughout my life when I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. And there have been stages when I dreamed that a knight in shining armour would come and rescue me and solve all my problems. And then there are those fantasy moments when, in the depths of despair, my fairy godmother appears, waves her magic wand and ‘poof!’, all my woes simply disappear.  

Wanting the pain of a situation to be gone is a human instinct. After all, we are wired to avoid pain and seek pleasure! During stressful times we either fight, flight, freeze or fawn. And in different situations, we respond in either or all these ways. 

The truth is, in each enormous life event, I know that I played a starring role. A series of events may have occurred that sometimes seemed outside of my control, yet the stories I made up about those events and the decisions I made, would ultimately lead me to a crisis point. 

When I look back now, I am grateful for each and every one of my tragedies and traumas – and trust me, I am human and still find myself going in and out of the rabbit hole. The thing is, no one escapes the school of life. And if life is too perfect for some, maybe it’s because they find it easier to stay in a safe zone and not push themselves enough to find their edge of fear and growth. But regardless of whether we create our life dramas and star as the ‘main character’ or play a supporting role, we are ultimately the lead role in our life movie.  

That said, when we’re in the depths of the darkness and the nights of terror, it’s almost impossible to acknowledge that these tragedies and traumas are there for our growth; and that they can manifest a breakthrough that literally catapults us from the tragedy we are in, into another reality where everything has worked out – if only we could shift our vibrational frequency and attract something new. The law of attraction is hard to see when all we are doing is attracting more and more drama, and that makes it easy to lose faith.  

However, if you look back on your life, you will see that there is also wisdom in having these beliefs. Not only can they provide context and meaning to suffering, they can also give us hope and a sense of control. What’s more, these beliefs can empower us to stop being a victim (ouch, no one likes to relate to that!), and have us realise what’s inside and outside of our control.  

I’m going to make a huge confession here: I am a high achiever and honestly, this is due to childhood trauma, some of which I am still working through despite 35 years of trying to ‘figure it all out’. I often push myself to the limits and take on too much, to the point where I used to get burnout. These days I know not to get to that stage and pull back accordingly by creating strong and clear boundaries. I dropped the sword of perfectionism years ago, and no longer need to people please or prove myself.  

I’ve also learned to love and accept this madly driven, motivated and inspired part of me that became who I am because of trauma. It’s my beautifully crazy divine feminine side that has learned to stand up for herself, love open-heartedly and be generous beyond measure. My wounds didn’t break me, they made me who I am. And over the years I’ve healed the egoic drive to ‘prove’ my worth in this world because I healed the core belief that I’m unworthy. Being a self-confessed workaholic who is driven by a soul mission has its costs sure. But it also has its payoffs, and I’ve learned to have enormous self-compassion for both my strengths and weaknesses. I am a work in progress.

Nowadays, I am not afraid to throw myself in the deep end as I know I’ll get through it. I’ve developed a fearlessness where I am not afraid to lose anything because I know I won’t lose myself. I’m not driven by money or fear of losing it – I’ve lived through that more than once and survived. I’m not driven by the loss of relationships either as I have loved and lost many, still love openheartedly and no one can take my capacity to love away from me. And I’m not driven by what other people think of me as I am true to myself, my spirit and my calling in this world. Over the years, I’ve developed resilience and am now ‘anti-fragile’ where I don’t just bounce back from hard times and challenges, I grow stronger because of them.  

So what got me through each challenge? Mantras and belief systems that enabled me to rise from the ashes, many times over. Mantras are the programs we put into our consciousness and minds to empower us, give us a focus and let the universe know that we are focused on getting through, ready to sit our final exam in each of life’s lessons and move on.

The following are some of the key mantras that have helped me rise from anxiety, depression, self-worth issues and feelings of being a failure, and that have been integral to me overcoming even the most challenging times of my life. While we sometimes simply hold onto a thread of hope, if we can muster just enough belief that we are living in a magical universe and that we can change our own reality, that little ounce of faith is what can begin to pull us through and back into the light. 

You never know how close you are to success when you quit. So never quit!’’

This mantra lets us know that our efforts aren’t wasted, that we don’t know what we don’t know and that maybe this is all a test to see if this is really something we want. So if we give up, then not following through means we’ll never know if we could have made it. 

We must balance our inner belief with just enough evidence that we are on track. I ask the universe for signs that I’m on track all the time despite how hard it seems. Signs are everywhere if you look for them, whether it’s a number you keep seeing repeatedly or an auspicious registration plate on a car!

Conversely, I’ve seen people not quit when they should have, and this in itself is why we have to learn to meditate and trust our inner guidance system. External advice isn’t always what we should listen to either. I’d be a real estate agent by now (albeit a successful one), if I’d given up over the 20 years of trying to succeed in my soul mission of helping women to be well and able to reach their full potential in life. But trust me, if you have a soul mission and are willing to put your ego aside, you will be divinely supported and your sense of purpose then counteracts any sense of sacrifice and perceived loss. 

Wherever you go, there you are”

We cannot escape our own life lessons. We can play the victim, run and hide, and we can blame others, but ultimately we find ourselves stuck in the same pile of mud only in different circumstances. We can leave that job only to find the same boss or colleagues somewhere else. We can break up a relationship only for our unhealed wounds to surface in the next relationship yet again. We can earn more money, only to spend more if we don’t heal our relationship with money and self-worth. Or we can overcome one health crisis and then manifest another because we haven’t done the required inner work to love and value our physical body that’s working so hard to sustain the nervous system of unhealed trauma and core beliefs. 

This mantra has helped me stop running – despite my innate flight response! Trust me, I used to run from everything. Nowadays I follow through and push things to their absolute limits of growth before I decide to take the ‘easy road’ and walk away. Which brings me to a Tony Robbins quote: The path of least resistance is the path of pain.”  

A journey of a thousand miles… starts with a single step”

This Chinese proverb has helped me dig deep and find the strength to carry on more times than I can remember, when I was so far down the rabbit hole that it seemed impossible to get out! What I’ve learned is to break down the overwhelm into single increments

Do what’s in front of you” is a quote from the late inspirational self-help book author Louise Hay that is closely related to this notion. I heard this 35 years ago when I had my own spiritual awakening and saw my life’s purpose. I never knew how I could ever achieve it, and am still going! This is due to Louise whispering in my ear giving me the advice to do what’s in front of me. See the signs, say yes to opportunities and follow your calling without having to know the end result. It’s the journey, not the destination that matters, so stop looking at what you’ll gain in the end, and focus at how you’re growing in the moment.  

The edge of fear is where growth resides”

This saying speaks for itself. It also reminds me of Theodore Roosevelt’s famous Man in the Arena speech (please consult Dr Google for the full quote). Basically the gist of this quote is that we have to be in the arena to play. Critics like to sit on the sidelines and point fingers, but why should we care about any of their opinions – this is our life after all, not those of others!  

So my advice to you is: Don’t listen to anyone who hasn’t walked beside you or is walking just ahead of you in life, and also be willing to dive in and have the courage to push yourself. An easy life is one where someone rests within the centre of their comfort zone. Ask yourself: Do I want easy, or do I want to leave nothing behind in this lifetime? I’m sure most of us would choose the latter! In order to live a meaningful life and live our purpose we have to get out of our comfort zone and into the arena, and choose courage over fear.  

A time for everything and everything in its time”

This one is all about patience. And that, when we really believe in something and can hold that vision clearly in our heart and soul, it will come to pass. Our mission is to get into alignment and do our inner work so that we can allow what we desire to manifest in our life.  

With that said, bear in mind that there is a time to work, a time to rest, a time to sow and a time to harvest. So we need to learn to trust that nothing lasts forever and that ongoing change is all part of our journey.

This too shall pass”

In the depths of anger and despair, these words have literally saved me many times over and they still do! No only do they instil calm instantly but also give us the inner strength to keep going forward.

When we’re grateful for the things we have, the universe gives us more to be grateful for”

Gratitude is the ultimate source of manifestation. Healing our relationships stems from gratitude, for one. The more we express our gratitude and appreciation to others, the more love and connection grows.

In healing our relationship with money, we must value and appreciate our belongings and take care of them. And yes, this includes cleaning our homes and maintaining our cars. Taking care of whatever little or much we have results in feelings of abundance and goes hand in hand with the saying Where energy goes, energy flows”.  In other words, the universe gives us more of what we value. If we take anything for granted, it will slip away. 

So wherever you are in life today, find empowering mantras with personal meanings that give you energy and help you build courage. Without these mantras to guide me I would not have written this blog for you! Remember, it’s what you tell yourself that creates your world. So choose your words wisely.

Lots of love, 


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How To Live In Tune With Your Body Clock

Do you find that you feel more energised at certain times of the day than others? Or wake up at some ungodly hour every single night without fail? Maybe you get up first thing firing on all cylinders and then feel groggy and burnt out by mid afternoon? Or – and this is the ideal scenario – feel sleepy at night, rise and shine refreshed and feel energised all day? 

Most of us experience some or all of the above fluctuations at some stage, or on a regular basis. The thing is, how well we function – while asleep, or emotionally, mentally and energetically during the day – may have something to do with how our body or biological clock – and our circadian rhythm. It also tells us which of our main organs  – think liver, heart or lungs – may be out of whack and in need of a little TLC!

In fact, our body’s daily rhythms impact everything from mental alertness, hunger, stress and our mood to the health of our organs. By understanding our biological clock, how the body functions at certain times of day, and syncing it to our daily schedule, we can stay motivated, energised and productive all day, not to mention stay on track health wise.

To explain how this works, let me first define the terms ‘body clock’ and ‘circadian rhythm’. Our body clock is an inherent biological timing mechanism that controls a great deal of how well we function physically and is an indicator of how healthy we are. It is made up of specific molecules that interact with all the cells of our body. There are several different biological clocks in our body, including ones determined by age, fertility, our menstrual cycle – and circadian rhythm.

So the circadian rhythm is a result of our biological clock and it regulates the production of different hormones throughout a 24-hour cycle. When the sun rises, the body produces cortisol, which makes us feel alert. A healthy person will then become increasingly tired throughout the day until the sun sets and the pineal gland releases the hormone melatonin to reduce wakefulness.

Circadian rhythms also regulate hunger and digestion, body temperature, mood, fluid balance, and other important bodily processes. 

The best way to explain how circadian rhythms work and how they impact our health is by looking at the Chinese Body Clock. This 2,500-year-old system relates the functioning of our internal organs during our sleep-wake cycle and is widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. There are 12 main organ systems in the meridians (energy pathways) of the body through which energy flows. This energy moves through these organs in two-hour intervals, which is when they function at peak. In the first 12 hours of the day, organs that keep us healthy and productive are involved and when we’re asleep, the body draws on its energy to restore balance, protect and repair.

Do you often feel dehydrated, moody or experience brain fog? This might be a sign that the energy of a specific organ is blocked or out of balance.

So let’s look at the main meridians and organ peak times of the Chinese Body Clock…

3am-5am: Lungs

During this time, our lungs are at their strongest. Breathing aside, our lungs also work to transport energy through the body and strengthen our immunity. Coughing or wheezing is usually a sign that our lungs aren’t functioning as they should. And, on an emotional side, if you often wake up at this time then it could be an indication that you’ve been holding onto grief.

5am-7am: Large Intestine

It’s this organ’s job to expel waste from the body so it’s the ideal time to hit the loo! If you are constipated, drinking a glass of warm water first thing in the morning can help get things moving. I find a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in warm water also does the trick, which is why I include it in my TKS program as part of our morning ritual!

On an emotional level, the large intestine signals our ability to let go of the past and move on. So if you’re feeling ‘stuck’ or have slow digestion, I encourage you to venture outdoors, get moving and ramp up your water intake.

7am-9am: Stomach

According to the traditional Chinese body clock, this is the ideal time to have breakfast –  This is not quite in line with what I promote in my TKS programme, but we’ll get to this later! If your stomach feels full without having eaten, it can be a sign that you worry too much!

9am-11am: Spleen

This power organ transports our food into nutrients, and directs that energy throughout our body. If it’s out of sorts, we may experience bloating, fatigue, loose bowel movements or feelings of despair.

11am-1pm: Heart

The heart now works at its max to circulate nutrients and it’s a great time to have a nutritious meal. The heart represents peacefulness, so it pays to keep stress levels at a minimum, for example by participating in a restorative yoga session.

1pm-3pm: Small Intestine

Its’ this organ’s job to separate our body’s usable energy from waste and this is the best time to have a substantial meal. Emotions that are processed during these hours include feelings of abandonment, insecurity and vulnerability.

3pm-5pm: Bladder

Our bladder works to eliminate liquid waste from the body. To keep it healthy, make sure you stay hydrated and add some Himalayan salt to top up the electrolytes. Or enjoy a cuppa of miso soup or bone broth!

5pm-7pm: Kidneys

Kidneys purify our blood and support our body’s natural cleansing process. When they’re functioning optimally, our energy levels will still be high at this time. If they’re not, your adrenals might be in need of some attention, for example by getting an early night’s sleep! This is also a good time to have a light meal and to practise some self care.

7pm-9pm: Pericardium

The pericardium is a protective, fluid-filled sac that surrounds and protects our heart, and helps it function properly. To support this heart healing process, I highly recommend winding down with a bath, meditation or reading a book.

9pm-11pm: Triple Burner

This is a good time to ease into sleep so that our bodies can perform their job of distributing heat and water throughout the body, in order to regulate our endocrine and metabolic systems and generate fuel for the next day. The endocrine system is responsible for homeostasis and balancing all the body’s intricate systems. When this system is out of balance, we may experience feelings of hopelessness or confusion, or wake up groggy the next day.

11pm-1am: Gallbladder

This is the regeneration power hour when the gallbladder works hard to repair damaged cells and build new ones. If you stay awake during this time, you may be prevent your gallbladder from properly excreting bile and digesting good fats.

1am-3am: Liver

This is one of the most important periods as it’s when the liver cleanses our blood and the body prepares to drive energy outward to fuel us the next day. If you wake up at this time every night it could be a sign that your liver is working over-time and it’s time for a detox!

Our modern-day environment is often anything but conducive to a harmonious relationship with our circadian rhythm! Think social events, family commitments and late nights at the computer. Not to mention lying awake all night because you can’t get the day’s stresses out of your head.

With that in mind, there are ways we can sync our body clock to our daily schedule and perform certain activities at the times when our organs are programmed for activity and energy release. By the same token, we can make sure that we slow down when our organs are in repair mode. By organising our days accordingly, I believe we can improve our productivity quite significantly, and with it our health. 

Here are some tips and considerations for restoring your circadian rhythm.

Sleepy time: The body’s natural sleep cycle changes as we age, and tends to move backwards, so we go to bed earlier and rise earlier. Many of us will also find that our sleep becomes interrupted, especially during the menopause years or leading up to it. Getting up early so that you’re nice and tired by the time you go to bed may help with this. And you may also want to give napping during the day a miss! 

Combatting fatigue during the day: Intermittent fasting, (yes, skipping breakfast!) and restricting our eating to a 12 to 15-hour window is not only great for promoting weight loss, it can also help keep fatigue at bay as the body needs to work less to digest. Also try to eat your last meal at least three hours before bedtime to take the pressure off the digestive system. That’s why I encourage our TKS ladies not to eat after 7pm!

Exercise: Exercising regularly can help regulate our circadian rhythm and improve the quality and duration of our sleep. The time we exercise is also important. For example, you might perform best when you work out between 3 and 6pm, when the body is less prone to injury. The ideal time to strength train is between 2pm and 6pm, when our energy levels are high and our physical strength peaks.

In the evening, when the body is relaxed and least prone to injury, is a great time for exercise that requires flexibility, such as yoga. And remember that exercise is also stimulating, so doing a high-intensity workout close to bedtime might keep you awake at night!

Brain power: Many people (excluding night owls!) tend to be most mentally alert late in the morning, so it’s a good idea to complete any tasks that require focus and concentration by lunch time. Generally, our cognitive abilities take a dive following meals, as the body is using the energy to digest food. That’s why I only have One Meal A Day (OMAD) whenever I have a super busy day, plus eating ketogenically also helps keep sugar levels stable and prevents mid-afternoon slumps!

Creativity: This may come as a bit of a surprise, but studies have found that our creative thinking and problem-solving abilities peak when we’re tired, as the mind tends to wander, prompting us to think ‘outside the square’ and come up with innovative ideas. So early to mid-evening might be the best time to get your brush and easel out and start painting!

A good bedtime routine: This is vital for preparing our organs for their nightly repair work, and to make sure we wake up refreshed the following day. I suggest keeping your room cool, and free from electronic devices as they may interfere with our circadian rhythm. I like to set the scene by running a hot bath with candles, meditating or listening to soothing music. 

If you find it hard, like me, to shut down your mind, keep a journal next to your bed and write all your thoughts, worries and to do’s in there to offload for the night! 

Also avoid caffeine later in the day – it takes five hours for the body to process half of the caffeine consumed, so I recommend having only one cup of coffee or black tea in the morning, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine like I am. Also limit or avoid alcohol for the same reason. Oh, and spending time in nature every single day is my absolute favourite recipe for a good night’s sleep!

For the serial insomniac: If you have trouble sleeping, try keeping a regular sleep schedule to help reset your circadian rhythm. By going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, your body will learn to adjust. Even if you can’t fall asleep when you’d like, set your alarm and rise and shine at the set time. Your body will soon get in the groove with the new rhythm and love you for it!

I hope this read will provide you with some useful tools so you can live every day of your life to the fullest, with energy to burn followed by a delicious night’s sleep.


Deborah xxx

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Why We Can All Benefit From Our Daily Dose of Broth!

There’s a lot of truth – quite literally – to the ancient proverb “A good broth will resurrect the dead”. I sip a cuppa or two of bone broth on most days and encourage our TKS ladies to include it from day one of their programme as an elixir for boosting weight-loss, preventing disease and maintaining good health long term. It is just jam-packed with so much goodness and I believe it is one of the most potent medicinal ‘super liquids’ on the planet! 

And just to rule out any confusion from the start, let me tell you that there are as many benefits to sipping broth made with either beef, chicken, fish or just veggies, so if you’re Pescatarian or vegetarian/vegan, please keep reading… 

Let’s first look at some of the wide-ranging benefits of this magical potion. 

Broth is great for bone, muscle and joint health. Bone broth, in particular, is a rich source of collagen and amino acids such as glycine, arginine and glutamate, which provide our body with the raw materials it needs to rebuild and repair tendons, bones, ligaments, muscle and connective tissue.

Its capacity to boost collagen production in a big way, along with the nutrients from the vegetables added, broth works wonders for the health of our hair, nails and skin. In fact, once you start ingesting it regularly you may find that your hair appears shiny, skin looks luminous and your nails feel stronger within days!

Bone broth is a wonderful gut healer and I use it clinically for clients with gastrointestinal problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Coeliac Disease. It is rich in amino acids, including a low-reactive form of glutamine, which helps repair and strengthen the gut lining. The collagen in broth also protects the stomach lining so that it can absorb nutrients more efficiently and promotes better digestion.

The gelatin found in bone broth can aid digestion and reduce inflammation throughout the body as it contributes to healing the stomach lining and digestive tract. (If you’re a vegetarian, there are some great plant-based sources to try, such as kombu leaves). The amino acids found in bone broth have inflammatory properties as well, thereby helping with pain relief and reducing muscle soreness, including after exercise. Vegetables recommended for broths, including carrots and celery, are also high in anti-inflammatory glutamine, and may help fight chronic inflammation that contributes to health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.

Broth contains electrolytes, such as magnesium, calcium and potassium, which are essential for a number of functions, including hydration, regulating nerve and muscle function and balancing blood acidity. In addition to electrolytes, the vitamins and antioxidants in broth (think vitamins A, C, E and K) boost our immunity and can prevent help prevent colds and flu as replacing electrolytes when we sweat as we’re sick helps the immune system recover faster. As such it also helps eliminate keto flu symptoms early on during the adaptation phase of a low-carb programme like TKS.

The veggies and high water content in broth are a great detoxifying and weight-loss agent! They not only help our bodies absorb nutrients more effectively but the soluble fibre in the vegetables also helps pull toxins out of our digestive tract and gets rid of them through our large intestine.

Sipping broth regularly helps turn back our body clock! Being rich in antioxidant-rich vitamins A and C combats ageing, irons out wrinkles and boosts collagen production, which takes care of sagging skin and broken capillaries.

Broth makes a wonderful addition to a fasting protocol and helps ease us into a longer fast. Not only does it give us all the essential nutrients we need in order to function physically and mentally, it also staves off hunger cravings and takes the pressure off our bodies in having to work hard to digest food.

Longer fasts, of 3 to 5 days twice a year, is something I personally do and highly recommend for you too! It’s such a wonderful way to kickstart your weight loss, promote overall health and longevity, plus it can help prevent serious disease including cancer. That’s because a longer fast gets us into a stage called autophagy, where our bodies recycle toxic proteins and replenish our cells and repair our organs where needed.

Now, not all broths are created equal and making your own is by far the best option, as many store-bought varieties contain health-damaging additives such as MSG and other nasties. It’s very easy to do, affordable and a great way to ‘recycle’ kitchen leftovers – think beef or chicken bones, and veggies. You can sip broth by itself – I recommend a cup or two a day – plus it’s super versatile as you can also add it to soups, casseroles and to add flavour to sauces.

Whether you’re a carnivore, Pescatarian or herbivore, there are many broth recipes to try – or you can easily create your own! Don’t be too pedantic about the quantities, just choose your base ingredients – either marrow bones, the remnants of cooked organic chicken or fish. Add to these a variety of colourful vegetables such as carrots, mushrooms, cauliflower, orange or red peppers and zucchini or celery. And don’t forget to chuck in a generous portion of leafy greens like spinach and kale (or use veggies on their own if you’re vegetarian or vegan). 

Cover the ingredients with filtered water in a slow-cooker, large pot or pressure cooker, add apple cider vinegar to create flavour and alkalise the mixture; and then add fresh spray-free herbs such as parsley and anti-inflammatory spices like peppercorns, lemongrass, garlic, ginger and turmeric. You can also add bay leaves, miso paste and tamari for an extra flavour boost. 

Cook the broth for at least couple of hours (depending on the method you’re using) before straining the liquid and refrigerating it. Homemade bone broth will keep for five days in the fridge or up to six months in the freezer.

I prefer using marrow bones for my beef broths as I then render the marrow fat to cook with. After making the broth, I strain and refrigerate it, and the fat will solidify on top. All I do then is scrape it off, add it to a pot and boil it to evaporate any water/broth, then strain it and place it into a glass jar to keep for cooking. There’s a lot of marrow goodness in that fat and the highest ketone readings I’ve ever had were from marrow!

Enjoy your magic mineral broth as part of your staple diet and your body will thank you for it in a big way!



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The Brown Fat Secret to Weight Loss

“If I continue to follow the TKS food plan once I’ve reached my goal weight, will my metabolism slow down due to the calorie intake being lower than that of a ‘standard’ diet?” This is a question I have often been asked over time. Well, it is definitely a very valid question, with so much misinformation around ketogenic eating and how it affects metabolism circulating on the Internet. 

Let me assure you: The answer is a definite “no”! To maintain at a healthy weight long term, it is important to keep a healthy lower-carb, higher-healthy fat balance. There are plenty of options to achieve this on a program like TKS once you’re reached your goal weight, by cycling in and out of keto and including higher-carbohydrate and lower-fat days.

To explain how this process works, let’s talk brown fat for a bit. This cutting-edge field of science is currently under a lot of investigation worldwide, and is not yet fully understood. But it is becoming more and more evident that brown fat has many ground-breaking benefits when it comes to our health, including weight loss and our metabolism.

Previously, we used to believe that there were only two types of fat: the adipose tissue or visceral fat around our organs – the bad, toxic fat that causes health issues – and then the subcutaneous fat that coats our skin. What we now know is that there are two types of fat within the subcutaneous fat. The one type is called white fat, which are the holding lipids or fat cells stored as energy for later use, such as that accumulated when you’re on a sugary, high-carb diet. Have you ever watched one of those horrible medical shows where they perform liposuction? The white or yellow fat that’s extracted is the stored white fat I’m talking about! 

The other type of fat found in the subcutaneous layer is brown fat. Brown fat has the miraculous effect of burning energy fast; in fact, it will burn twice the intake of carbohydrates. This is why once you are fat-adapted, carb cycling has no impact on weight gain. This is due to brown fat. 

Brown fat is packed with mitochondria (the powerhouse of our cells) and also so-called ‘uncoupling proteins’. What these do is they take energy from the food we eat and go through an uncoupling process with the mitochondria, which then creates heat in the body. So each time we eat our body temperature rises and, rather than converting energy into white fat cells for later use, it burns the energy straight away. So essentially, brown fat is the fat that burns fat; it’s a bit like a little energy machine!

If you’re eating a ketogenic diet and feel hot when you’re having a meal, this explains why! You’re most probably in brown-fat burning mode! I’ve had to shed a layer of clothing each time ever since I’ve started eating a ketogenic diet 20 years ago! If you can relate to this, remember it’s only normal! 

But wait, there’s more! There’s actually another form of fat within the subcutaneous layer called beige-ing fat, which promotes the browning of white fat into brown fat. You can promote this by upping the ante on omega 3 fatty acids (such as those included in TKS), like salmon, fish oil and coconut oil, thereby stimulating uncoupling proteins and activating fat-burning heat in the body.

Looking at some of the science around brown fat I have a theory which is heavily backed by anecdotal evidence within our TKS community: that during plateaus where we see reductions in our waist circumference, it could be due to a shift from white to beige to brown fat! Hence our waist shrinks while the number may remain the same on the scales. So keep taking your measurements ladies! 

With all this in mind, the lower our body weight gets, the more brown fat cells we accumulate, which then increases our fat-burning capacity and metabolism. Kids are the best example of this. They naturally have high amounts of brown fat in their bodies, and so can eat a lot more as they burn fat straight away. 

What I have experienced, as someone who’s been doing keto for a long time, is that this uncoupling process is working extremely well for me. When I went to Fiji with my daughter (a long time ago now), I ate and drank whatever I liked, including pinacoladas! I laughed to myself at the time, thinking I was going return home 5kgs heavier, but found that I was exactly same weight as before I’d left. Keto really is the secret to increasing brown fat and keeping that little fat burning machine running!  The same thing happened a few years ago when I spent a week in Rome enjoying pizza, pasta and Aperol Spritz. It seems I am immune to weight gain these days!

Nutrition aside, there are a couple of other interesting key factors to keep in mind when it comes to brown fat. One is that people who live in or are exposed to colder climates, naturally start producing brown fat cells. That excludes obese people who already have good insulation and so don’t require brown fat to heat up their bodies. 

In addition, there are two ways that can quite significantly increase our brown fat production other than maintaining weight that scientists have looked at. The first is to decrease temperature in our home. One study reduced the home temperature from 24 to 19 degrees Celsius and found it resulted in weight reduction of the people living in this environment. So this means, we can literally lose weight by living in a colder environment! 

The second way of increasing brown fat production is to turn our shower from hot to cold. There a many health benefits to this such as improved lymphatic and oxygen flow in the body, increased mental clarity and better mood, but exposing our body 2 to 3 minutes of cold water per day regularly can also produce brown fat production. Ice baths and cold water plunges are great, too; in fact 5 to 10 minutes is optimal. Our body remains cold for up to 5 minutes; then it begins to regulate. Think Wim Hoff here, as combining conscious breath work into our regime regulates the nervous system. Shivering is GOOD for brown fat production!

If you don’t want to freeze your butt off to increase your brown fat production, milder temperature-reducing methods will do the trick. One is to reduce your heating around the home in the colder months and also in bed. Keep your room cool at night, use blankets instead of a heater and don’t sleep with an electric blanket on! Also don’t be one of those cooped-up people who are afraid to go for a walk on a brisk winter’s day! My family and I love to sit wrapped up outside in the cold at night watching the moon and stars… and it works wonders for the soul, too!

Another trick to kicking those brown fats into action is by including the equivalent of one jalapeño, 1/3 tsp cayenne pepper or half a tsp chilli flakes in your daily meals. This will create thermogenesis (heat production) in the body, stimulate the uncoupling process and serve as a browning tool for white fat into brown fat. Curcumin and turmeric also help turn white fat into brown fat, while arginine-rich foods such as seeds and nuts are worth including, too, as they contain uncoupling proteins and can increase brown fat production.

Remember, self-preservation has very little to do with calorie intake. If we give our body the required nutrients, it’s not starving. This is why I don’t like the whole ‘calorie in, calorie out’ argument and believe we need to take a paradigm shift around it! 

If you give your body the nutrition it needs, combined with the little tricks I mentioned above along with a bit of cold shock therapy, then you’re well on your way to keeping our metabolism in good working order and maintaining your weight long term. Go the brown (and beige-ing) fat!