Seriously, why has the book taken so long?

My friend asked me why it’s taken so long. That if I finished writing the book a year ago, why was I releasing it next month? And all I could say was ‘it’s taken this long’. It was actually the first time someone had asked me. Probably because people are so polite. I think I might have buckled under the question if I hadn't been asking myself the same thing. The truth is multifactorial but it largely comes down to vulnerability. I finished writing over a year ago and shortly after, I left Scout’s dad, she was 14 months old at the time. I started a new life. I owned a shop that needed me at the time and I needed it too, to survive (mostly financially but also to connect with other adults). It took me months to come back to the book, to find a new artist and a new editor. And then of course the fear sent me in to a spiral of two more rewrites. And even still I’ve only just  made it through to the manic end of the self publishing rainbow of emotions.  When my belief in myself and this project will shortly arrive on my front door step in the form of paper. The realisation that I may not really know what 2000 books looks like, when it’s in my living room, in fact what 2000 books even looks like at all. It’s the time when having to bet on myself has arrived. My biggest fear is that I’m not enough, that I’m going to mess this up. And it’s not because 2000 books x 156 pages is a waste of paper. It’s because this project needs to exist and it needs to do well. In my life time the annual diagnosis rates of breast cancer in Australia has grown by 300%.  And I’m happy to discuss the effect of an ageing population and better diagnostic techniques on these statistics but that still doesn’t add up to me. What I’m really sure it means is that finding a cure is important but identifying the cause and preventing it is imperative. This project doesn’t have the answers but it starts to ask the right questions, like if heart disease is the leading killer of women, how come no women in movies have heart attacks? If only 20% of smokers are women, why is the leading cause of cancer death in the developed world lung cancer? Why are women still scared to call themselves feminists? Or why a woman that’s been on the pill for 20 years, has rarely or never been asked if there have any recent lifestyle changes or changes to her family history by their prescribing doctors? And why documented carcinogens are still used in women’s personal care products? Sometimes the answers are not clear, but the fact that the questions exist is the bigger problem in its self. 

The book is just the beginning, the profits will fund the next part of the project which will move across to interviews, podcasts and short films (hopefully!).  Platforms that will reach more women than the book can.  If you would like to help your sisters and global sisters to begin to ask the right questions buy a book, maybe one for a friend...here is the link.  If you would like to become a wholesaler please email me on catie@staplestore.com.au there is only 600 copies reserved for wholesale. 

If this is the first time you've heard about the book, here is my elevator pitch.  I wrote it to elevator music, I encourage you to set the mood with some Kenny G for ambiance. 

It started off as a little social media project three years ago.  After 6 posts, I was told to go and find a publisher and to turn it in to a book. The premise was simple, I would write one note about women’s health and then sandwich it between 2 notes that were witty and relatable to all women. Lots of women related to it.  Even though a lot of the notes were a little counter culture they trended really well.  So I wrote more notes and it has now become a collection of notes that will hopefully make you smile, laugh, maybe cry, to speak kindly to yourself and to other women, to care for the earth more and want to make it a safer world for women.  

 

STAR ANISE Tea Party Tuesday on a Thursday

You don't have to limit our tea pot to the tea aisle.  Because looking outside of our tea chests awaits a world of delicious infusions that will rock your palettes.  Star anise, is one of these taste sensations.  Just by adding a star or two or three (depending on how much you love liquorice) to a cup of hot water.  This infusion makes an excellent accompaniment to rich, fatty dishes; aiding with digestion and motility.  Recently, whilst reading over the empirical evidence of star anise I found that star anise has been used to help induce sleep, aid digestion, alleviate constipation and treat colds and flus.  That's pretty impressive for a cup of tea right?  It's also the easiest tea to clean up  outside of a tea bag. 

As per usual I have a few ways to enjoy.

AFTER DINNER TEA: If you're bored of peppermint tea try warm water with 2-3 star anise per cup, enjoy before bed and after meals. 

INSTEAD OF MULLED WINE:  Warm up two cups of apple or pear juice gently on the stove with 2 star anise and 1 stick of Cinammon.  Drink at the snow in front of an open fire.

BEFORE BED TEA:  I never knew that star anise had mild sedating properties until very recently.  I've been drinking it with chamomile before bed and it is working a treat.  And it tastes ALOT better than valerian. 

BEST TEA EVER:  I'm saving this recipe for when I write about rooibos tea.  If you want to possibly own the recipe for "the best tea ever", subscribe below and it'll magically end up in your inbox shortly.  

X Catie 

*For those wanting to stock up their tea artillery, we have a super range in store and great staff to help blend some up for you too.  If you own a cafe and need a range of really cool blends, email me at catie@staplestore.com.au

 

NETTLE tea party

If you're one of my patients you’ll testify to nettle being my absolute favourite herbal tea.  It is also one of my treatments that my patients end up being addicted to, and it’s not the flavour, it’s how it makes you feel.  I refer to it as the strongest, gentlest detoxes available.  Nettle works predominantly through the kidneys, it helps to reduce fluid retention, whilst restoring potassium levels which remarkable and impressive for a diuretic.

organic nettle available in store, on a Sophie Harle plate 

organic nettle available in store, on a Sophie Harle plate 

Reducing fluid retention is one of the key reasons that nettle is effective in reducing the pain associated with osteoarthritis.  It may also be attributed to it’s anti-inflammatory and antiallergic properties.

Nettle is also, I believe the highest source of plant based iron.  Used traditionally as a tonic after child birth.  It also has galactagogue properties, so a couple boxes of teabags for a new mama, sounds like an excellent plan.

Nettle might increase sex hormone binding globulin, an aptly named protein that binds to excess circulating hormones.  So a good herbal adjunct in the treatment of hormonal imbalances like endometriosis, PCOS, hormonal acne, PMS etc.  

I just found out that nettle contains serotonin and acetylcholine, I hadn’t heard this before.  These chemicals are the source of pain associated with a nettle bite.  But when prepared properly, these chemicals may make you feel more happy and relaxed? Maybe that’s why my patients are addicted?  Who knows, but because this herb grows like a weed in most areas of Melbourne, actually the world, maybe let’s all get addicted.  

Ways to drink nettle tea

Cold detox tea: 

This, I love! Add 1/4 cup of nettle to a coffee plunger, cover with hot water and allow to steep for about 30 mins.  Strain and add to 2 litres of cool filtered water.  Add the zest of a whole lemon to the water and drink through out the day.  

Hot with star anise: 

This is a fail proof way of getting anyone to enjoy nettle tea and a daily cuppa in our house.  Add 2-4 tea bags to a mug of hot water with a whole star anise.  Delicious!

Eat it:

Nettle is easily wildcrafted, because it grows in abundance.  The hard part is not getting stung. Maybe watch a YouTube how to video first.  When you have safely harvested your bounty, cook it like any other leafy green vegetable.  It makes the meanest green pie.  

Big love, over a decent cuppa.

X Catie 

*For those wanting to stock up their tea artillery, we have a super range in store and great staff to help blend some up for you too.  If you own a cafe and need a range of really cool blends, email me at catie@staplestore.com.au

 

GINGER TEA PARTY TUESDAY-ish

Ginger tea is one of our favourites. Chicken and I drink heaps of ginger tea for tummy aches to niggling colds.  We keep a giant piece of ginger in the freezer door at all times, but since working out to grow it in the living room we might do that from now on.  

With a multitude of medicinal applications, ginger tea can be prepared fresh, dry, steeped, simmered or with milk.  Known widely for its anti-nausea properties, ginger also has an impressive anti-inflammatory profile, containing gingerols that modulate pain receptors, successfully reducing pain associated with gastric disturbance, injury and arthritis.  On top of this, gingerols improve insulin sensitivity, improving blood sugar control, lowering blood cholesterol and reducing the incidence of atherosclerosis through its anticoagulant activity.  The therapeutic dose ranges from one gram for improved gastric motility through to three grams for HDL and LDL balancing in high blood cholesterol patients.  It tastes bloody delicious too, which can not be said about a lot of herbal medicines. 

Very recently, I did a quick spot of “Pinteresting” and found out ginger grows from store bought roots at home indoors in a pot and it looks gorgeous and you can harvest it to use as it grows in as little as 3 months, that’s pretty sustainable.

Fresh ginger tea: steep a few slices of fresh ginger in boiled water, leave for a couple of minutes to   infuse.  At this time of year I add a couple of pieces of mandarin peel too.  Delicious and apparently, fat burning, it’s winter right?

Dried ginger tea: We sell kibbled ginger it’s chopped dried ginger.  It is really strong, you only need about a teaspoon.  I leave it to steep with out a strainer because I like to chew on the pieces afterwards.  For a sore throat it is really great with honey.

Simmered ginger tea: this is more like a syrup and less like a tea.  You can make this using fresh or dry kibbled ginger.  To make just add 1 cup of freshly chopped ginger (1/4-1/2 cup of kibbled ginger), 1/2 c of coconut panella or brown sugar and 2 cups of water.  Simmer down very gently for 30-40 mins, stirring until all of the sugar has dissolved.  Once it is cooled you can strain it and keep it in the fridge for a month or so.  

Ginger latte: heat up a cup of your favourite milk and add a good swig of the ginger syrup, you can add a sprinkling of Cinammon and nutmeg for extra spice but it is incredible on it’s own.

I hope you've loved the first tea party tuesday-ish session.  Until next week, bottoms up.

X Catie 

*For those wanting to stock up their tea artillery, we have a super range in store and great staff to help blend some up for you too.  If you own a cafe and need a range of really cool blends, email me at catie@staplestore.com.au

 

 

why do I have wrinkles? and do you maybe want to be in my anti-saggy-skin-gang?

why do I have wrinkles? and do you maybe want to be in my anti-saggy-skin-gang?

I’m half Chinese, so I was going to leave the fate of my skin to my genes.  But since having Chicken, somethings have happened.  Pigmentation, wrinkles, puffiness and saggy bits. Enough for me to start ‘google-ing’ botox before-and-after photos.  Thoughts, that really aren't so cool when you're a naturopath.   

As a herb nerd, I can draw up the difference between using nutrients to enhance your skin’s health versus using injectable neurotoxins, in an interactive powerpoint presentation in my sleep.  But geez it’s tempting, isn't it?  And if I'm tempted, I figured there’s tonnes of you that are as tempted as me.  With that being said I thought maybe we could start a little gang and we could just try some nutrients first.  

#NB I cast no judgement, many people I love dearly swear by botox, and they look fabulous.  So, each to their own, they can eat these foods and take these supplements too.  Maybe they might even need it more?

Before I answer how the hell this little gang is going to stop getting wrinkles, I thought I’d look at why we get them in the first place.

Firstly, it’s because you're getting older.  Apparently, you produce one percent less collagen every year after the age of 20.  Collagen keeps your skin firm.  Elastin and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) stop being in abundance.  So your skin is less elastic and doesn't hold moisture the way it used to.  Then there’s the environmental factors, like food, sun and air…seriously, they all age you too.  If you've been a smoker or hung out with heaps of smokers, well, oh dear.  Or pollution, that causes free radical stress too. 

So, does it sound like you need to be in my gang? I’ve never been in a gang or a pose before so I'm pumped.  Actually, I was in girl guides and they did have pacts and a special hang shake.  So this is the second gang I’ve been in. 

Here are some suggestions for my anti-sagging-skin-gang memebers.

If we’re talking supplements, my top 3 picks* would be:

  1. Zinc picolinate 30 mg daily for 1-3 months (available on iherb)
  2. Vitamin C with Rutin (Thompson’s Bioflavanoid Complex looks great)- you could be on this long term.
  3. Quercitain- 1-2g daily (Bioceuticals, Quercetain is a good product, I use normally for inflammation and allergies) also safe long term.

All of the above boost collagen production and reduce inflammation.  Whoop. 

What are we going to put on our skin*?

Zinc based sunscreens: I love LaMav and Kora tinted sunscreens (BB creams) I use them instead of make up.  Zinc improves skin repair and cellular regeneration.  They both need a good moisturiser underneath.  I use Jacqueline Evans’ argan and rose-hip cream, it’s like a glass of water for your skin.

*These aren’t paid endorsements, I just thought It’d make it easier for you knew where to get them. 

What we’re going to stop putting on our skin:

Synthetic chemicals, fragrances, oils and preservatives.  These things can make your skin appear great.  But a lot can cause inflammation and inflammation causes ageing.  Short term gains and long term loses.  And seriously, there are a plethora of amazing skin creams and cosmetics that are organic and chemical free.  There’s not really room for excuses anymore.  If you're looking for a great range, try LAB in North Carlton, they have everything.

what are we going to eat:

Heaps of tomatoes (cooked is even better, which is great because they're out of season)

Lots of Citrus with the pith (that’s where all of the great bioflavonoids like quercetin live)

Avocados- High in the antioxidant glutathione*, the queen of free-radical scavengers.  Glutathione isn’t absorbed whole, your body will have to take the components apart and put them back together.

Buckwheat- Is the best source of rutin around.  This bioflavonoid improves the integrity of all of the vessels that deliver and remove nutrients and metabolic waste away from the skin. Incidentally, it reduces the appearance of varicose veins too.

Organic and pasture fed bone broths or eggs from happy chickens: they contain good levels of glycine, proline, and lycine these are the major amino acid components of collagen.  

Berries and beets: the red colour that stains your fingers is known as proanthocyanidins. They are condensed tannins that keep your microcirculation strong, making sure that your skin is fed with oxygen and nutrients.

What we’ll eat less of:

Sugar. Excessive sugar in our diets causes inflammation and ageing.

 

What we’ll drink more of:

Water (about 2.5L) and green tea (3-4 cups per day) (A chemical called EGCG in green tea, is an antioxidant that protects us from sun damage).

What we’ll drink less of:

Alcohol. It's ageing.  Yes, red wine is a good source of antioxidants…by the glass is fine, by the bottle, err, not so much.

 

What we’ll do more of:

  1. Sleep 

  2. Taking our make up off before bed.  (you probably do this, because you’re a grown up, this is more of a personal note)

P.S I’m working on the hand shake and the secret pact. I’ll keep you posted.

Peace out Catie x

 

BONUS MASK FROM OUR MATE LINDY THE ORGANIC THERAPIST

Better Than Botox Mask.

 

You will need.

  1. 2 teaspoons of rice flour or ground oats. 
  2. 1 to 1 1|2 teaspoons of hibiscus powder(to make hibiscus powder place hibiscus tea in a coffee grinder or high speed blender and grind in to a fine powder)
  3. Just enough yogurt* to form a thick paste when the dry ingredients are added.

 

Mix all the ingredients together in a glass bowl to form a paste.

Spread all over your face to form a thick layer, avoiding your eye area.

Leave on for 15 minutes and remove with a warm damp face washer.

Follow with your favourite balm or skin oil of choice. 

  

Hibiscus is known as nature's botox due to its powerful anti-ageing properties.  High in AHAs that naturally exfoliate the skin, as well as being anti-bacterial and firming.
 *Full fat plain organic greek yogurt or coconut yogurt.  Yoghurt contains lactic acid, a natural hydroxyl acid which aids in exfoliating, healing and hydrating the skin.  Dairy yoghurt additionally contains zinc, which assists in healing scars and lightening pigmentation marks and smile lines.

 

Rice Flour is a traditional ingredient used in Japanese skin care that's rich in vitamin E and helps exfoliate, smooth and lighten the skin. 

 

 

 

I'm a single mama.

"I'm a single mama" .

I really didn't think that was going to take as much courage as I thought it would.  I wrote it and then for about 5 minutes my fingers froze over the keys.  "I'm a single mama", chokes in my throat like it's a confession.  Like an admittance that I am not good enough to be in a committed relationship, to have the perfect family.  That somehow I have failed.  It's a heart breaking thing to admit to feeling this way, but good that I'm acknowledging it so I can do something about it.  

Don't get me wrong, sometimes I can feel like a super hero too.  Last night was one of those nights.  I got home from work and walked up the stairs like a 1950's dad.  Patting myself on the back all the way to the front door.  I was going home to my daughter who was so excited to see me.  The start of the renovations I'd done to the shop were really well received, I built my website, I picked up a doll’s house for Scout, I’d bought my first big appliance for our home (by myself) and it had just arrived.  She went to sleep like she’d put herself to bed.  I poured a glass of wine and sunk in to the couch.  It’d been a good day.

The very next day, was the one of those other days.  

The funny thing is about these days is that they never feel like that in the beginning.  I lay in bed, for some reason I have a minute to *plan the day ahead and it all made sense. (*Planning as a single working mum is a fool’s errand, actually scratch the single part, planning with a toddler, full-stop is a fool’s-full-time-job)

So we imagine the best omelette of our lives and go shopping.  She keeps her cool in the grocery store, she  doesn't even notice the carob bears.  We spot 17 birds, 8 puppies and 2 ducks on the walk home.  She eats all of her omelette.  Jumps on to the bed with her book we spot 18 puppies, 3 meows, 1 toot toot and 7 cars.  And then because I know better, I think, let’s sneak in a nap before play group, you’re tired enough chicken, I’ve seen most of the signs...But I was wrong.  And she doesn’t.  And she protests. And the protest exhausts both of us until we’re both crying.  At this point the super-hero cape isn't neatly folded and put away, it’s thrown in the bottom of my bag with a leaking sippy cup, a half eaten mandarin, loose tampons and lip gloss with no lid.  With all of my worldly treasures, I head out the door.  Wrangling a toddler that insists on walking down all of the stairs like a kamikaze is breathtaking (in all of the ways).  We made it down alive.  Of course, I realise that telling a 1.5 year old not to put my phone in the pond was stupid, so I confiscate it just in time.   What I’d failed to negotiate, was not climbing into the pond to play with the “sushi” (she means fishes, I didn't teach her that). 

Leaving...take 2.  We make it down the stairs with abrand new outfit.  In the split second I'm putting my bag under the pram, she bolts for it.  And I swear, she looks back at me raises her eye brows like, “lady this ain’t your day”, trips and grazes down the front of her face.  ‘By the by’ we only just got the bandage from where they superglued her forehead back together, off.  And the permanent marker face drawings have finally faded.  So, it was perfect timing.

Man I feel like a shit mama.  Don’t get me wrong these are all rights of passage with a toddler, but when you're a sole parent it weighs hard.  And you flood with all kinds of judgements.  And all I want to do is print her a t-shirt that says I have a vocabulary of over 50 words, I’ve started to make sentences (the first was “more cheese”) and I’m 17 months old.  And my mama didn't catch me in time before I fell, but at 5:30 this morning, she was reading books with me in bed and then she goes to work.  But it didn't fit on a size 2 t-shirt and I'd spelt vocabulary wrong. Just kidding.  I don’t make spelling mistakes.

The funniest thing of all is, the day before I’d sent the appliance to the wrong house, I’d left my phone and keys in a pile of hard-rubbish, I’d almost broken my finger getting the doll’s house out of the car andI back-ordered a domain (website) name I already own.  So maybe it’s just perspective or the size of the moon or the time of the month that determines if I’m/ we’re super mamas or maybe we just are all of the time and somedays we just need a little reminding.  

To all of the mamas, single/ not single, babes, I feel ya.

X Catie