my daily health routine…since you asked for it

Posted on June 27th, 2014

Gosh, we’re really getting down to the rats and mice of my life here…but I’ve been getting too many emails from you asking how I order my wellness habits to ignore the topic much longer. I’m no expert (on anything much), but I have taken consulting of experts on this topic to pedantic levels and have a thing or two I can share with you. As always I share as an invite, not as a didactic instruction!


Jumping into my day (awkwardly) with 20-40 minutes of exercise (outdoors as often as possible).

I’m a big fan of having very regular morning movements. (Ablution entendres not really intended.) I’ve written about the benefits of having a morning routine before. It’s the one thing about 80 per cent of the health experts I’ve interviewed, from HH The Dalai Lama to Oprah’s life coach, have in common.

1. When I wake up

* I wake at 6.30am or so… naturally. I scrape my tongue (an Ayurvedic practice) and clean my teeth.

* I drink 1 litre hot water with lemon juice while I make my breakfast and lunch.

* I take my thyroxin and then I potter (listening to news radio) while I drink…and, let’s be frank, hang about until nature calls.

* I drink 100ml of kombucha. This gives me a little spark to get through until breakfast.

* I tend to ablutions and head straight out the door to do exercise.

2. Exercise and meditation


* Me, I do something every day, even on thyroidy days and days when I’ve had no sleep. I just scale it back if I’m feeling crap. The “doing it every day” bit is what counts. Deciding whether I should exercise or not is not an option; less options in the morning is very key. Studies show we have limited decision-making energy and that it’s best to “auto pilot” our mornings as much as possible so we can eliminate as many angsty choices.

* I don’t do fuss. I carry only a key – down my bra or in a small pocket in my shorts. Equipment just bogs you down and acts as a disincentive (“Where’s my water bottle?! Oh, darn, look, now I don’t have time to go for a jog”). Read more

how hiking heals

Posted on September 3rd, 2013

The other day I had a twiddle with my social media feeds. It was one of those nights we all have – where we go down that rabbit hole of toggling between feeds to see…to see…what other people are doing and thinking and seeing… and what they’re thinking of us. It’s both comforting and disconcerting. It’s like picking a pimple…wrong and yet so viscerally satisfying. We all do it. We all have those nights. I don’t care what you say.

Screen Shot 2013-08-26 at 10.40.32 AM

So I twiddled my Instagram profile. Changed the picture. And changed my little bio line to include this:

“I have a crankin’ auto immune disease that I tame with food and hiking.”

I wrote it. Then I realised the potency of it. Yes, food and hiking are how I manage my illness. I’ve been doing it for years. And I only just – in that late-night pimple-picking-ish moment – appreciated exactly why I’ve done it. It’s because it works.

Let’s talk hiking. Hiking is my default travel raison d’etre. When you travel solo, you have to create a travel raison d’etre. Couples and groups of friends have shared experiences and the very process of negotiating and compromising becomes a motivating and guiding raison d’etre in and of itself. It creates boundaries. When you’re on your own you can literally do whatever you want. So you have to reign things in and create a framework of purpose. It needs to be a framework that can stand up to the loneliness of moments, and the most angst-ridden existential meltdowns. Hiking does this.

PS I’ve recorded all my hiking journeys around the world and in Australia too with the hashtags #worldwanders #hike #bushexcursion

PPS I’ve written a hiking guide to Iceland, Provence and Andalucia.

But it also does more. As I say, it tames and heals any dis-ease, whether it be illness, angst, pain, longing, Read more

the best tweak I’ve made to my exercise routine

Posted on August 7th, 2013

Yesterday I ranted about biking around New York. Today I share my #1 trick for staying fit at home and when travelling. I walk. And I walk. And I walk.

Photo by Eugene Tan, Aquabumps

Photo by Eugene Tan, Aquabumps

I used to be a runner. I’d run ten kilometres to and from work each day. I’d run on the beach, and in the bush. I’d compete in soft sand races and go for 3-hour bush runs on weekends. But it all began to take its toll. I got injuries, hip complaints and, in general, the rushed, harried nature of running felt wrong. We’re not meant to push ourselves. We are meant to move, and be energised, yes. But, like New York Times writer Gretchen Reynolds says,

Humans are born to stroll.

I’ve since tweaked my exercise routine. I’m softer and gentler on myself these days. I still exercise daily, and I’ve shared how I exercise recently.
But to walking: It does all the stuff running does – strengthens the heart and lungs, increasing overall fitness, help with weight loss and tone up muscles (people who live in walkable neighbourhoods are 2.7-4.5kg lighter), is great for your bones and, done the right way, it burns as many calories as running without the high impact injuries. It is also the best cure for anyone (me!) who gets inflammation and water build up – it helps to drain the lower legs of excess fluid, and helps prevent varicose veins by the pumping action of the calf muscles.

And because you end up walking at a more consistent speed than running, it’s a more beneficial form of tissue-cleansing:

Walking pumps out toxins.

And the benefits go on.

But, says the science and my own experience, the trick is…do it every day. Every day. Several times a day.

And here’s how to get more walking into your day.

1. Walk to work. And parties. Don’t use excuses. Everyone can walk at least part of the way – park 20 minutes from Read more