Hayley’s BLOG



Coffee is one of those things – you either love it or hate it.

I am firmly in camp LOVE it!

And on those few occasions I have stopped drinking it, the headaches and withdrawal symptoms were unbearable! Which actually suggests I am one of those individuals who perhaps should avoid coffee, but more on that in a moment…

Like so many of my clients, you may be confused by all the mixed messages out there on whether coffee is good for you or not. The media love nothing more than pulling out stories on coffee that one day say coffee is great, and the next that you should avoid it!

Like most things in health, you can usually find research that supports either side of an argument.

Thing is, coffee really is an individual thing.

Whether YOU should be drinking coffee is really one of those “it depends” type situations.

There is science behind why different people react differently to coffee. It’s a matter of your genetics and how much coffee you’re used to drinking. It’s also about whether you are adrenally fatigued with cortisol issues, have anxiety, stomach ulcers, IBS…. the list goes on.

Let’s look at caffeine metabolism, its effects on the mind and body, and whether coffee drinkers have higher or lower risks of disease. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not.

Caffeine metabolism

Not all people metabolise caffeine at the same speed. How fast you metabolise caffeine will impact how you’re affected by it. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 40x faster in some people than others.

About half of us are “slow” metabolisers of caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel “wired” for up to 9 hours after having a coffee. The other half are “fast” metabolisers. They get energy and increased alertness and are back to normal a few hours later.

Another thing that affects caffeine metabolism is DOSE. Obviously, the more coffee you drink, the more there is in your system, the longer it will take to clear and the effects will be stronger.

For me, I can have one strong coffee in the morning and feel great. If I have any more throughout the day I get anxious, jittery and nauseous. So I stick to that one cup :)

This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much – because we’re all different!

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body also differ between people; this is partly due to the metabolism I mentioned. But it also has to do with your body’s amazing ability to adapt (read: become more tolerant) to long-term caffeine use. Many people who start drinking coffee feel the effects a lot more than people who have coffee every day.

Here’s a list of these effects (that usually decrease with long-term use):

  • Stimulates the brain
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Boosts energy and exercise performance
  • Increases your stress hormone cortisol
  • Dehydrates

So, while some of these effects are good and some aren’t, you need to see how they affect YOU and decide if it’s worth it or not.

Coffee and Health Risks

There are a tonne of studies on the health effects of coffee, and whether coffee drinkers are more or less likely to get certain conditions.

As a busy working mother of two young boys, I drink that one cup of coffee so that I am more likely to remember to put on pants and less likely to be late for things 😉

Here’s a quick summary of what coffee consumption is linked to:

  • Caffeine addiction and withdrawal symptoms (e.g. a headache, fatigue, irritability)
  • Increased sleep disruption
  • Lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
  • Lower risk of certain liver diseases
  • Lower risk of death (“all cause mortality”)
  • Mixed reviews on whether it lowers risks of cancer and heart disease

And really, this all comes down to DOSE again. Most of these studies show that drinking one to two cups of coffee a day (and no other caffeine containing drinks) leads to these health benefits. Drinking more than this can lead to more of the unwanted effects like sleep disturbance and increased anxiety)

Many of the health benefits exist even for decaf coffee (except the caffeine addiction and sleep issues!) which suggests that it’s not just the caffeine in coffee that has these positive effects. Like all plant medicines (yes, coffee is herbal!) there are thousands of compounds all working in harmony and it’s hard to isolate one chemical.

Mother Nature is one complex lady!

NOTE: What’s super-important to note here is that coffee intake is just one of many, many factors that can affect your risks for these diseases. Please never think regular coffee intake is the one thing that can help you overcome these risks. I know you are smarter than this, and you are health-conscious and know that eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all critical things to consider for your disease risk. It’s not just about the coffee. Dammit.

So, should you drink coffee or not?

There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should drink coffee. No one food or drink will make or break your long-term health.

Caffeinated coffee is not recommended for:

  • People with arrhythmias (e.g. irregular heartbeat)
  • People who often feel anxious
  • People who have trouble sleeping
  • People who are pregnant
  • Children
  • Adrenal Fatigue sufferers
  • Those who just don’t feel well after drinking coffee

If none of these apply, and you LOVE your coffee, then monitor how your body reacts when you have coffee. Does it:

  • Give you the jitters?
  • Increase anxious feelings?
  • Affect your sleep?
  • Give you heart palpitations?
  • Affect your digestion (e.g. heartburn, etc.)?
  • Give you a reason to drink a lot of sugar and cream?

Depending on how your body reacts, decide whether these reactions are worth it to you. If you’re not sure, I recommend eliminating it for a while and see the difference. Some of my clients say that they actually find they have MORE energy once they’ve given up coffee.

IMPORTANT: As coffee and tea are some of the most heavily sprayed crops, it’s really important to only drink organic coffee and organic tea. Regardless of how you handle caffeine, what you DON’T want is a cup full of pesticides!!


NOTE: Coffee does not equal caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine/cup, averaging around 100 mg/cup. Coffee is one of the most popular ways to consume this stimulant. But… a cup of coffee contains a lot of things over and above the caffeine. Not just water, but antioxidants, and hundreds of other compounds. These are the reasons drinking a cup of coffee is not the same as taking a caffeine pill. And decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine; but, it still contains some.


Recipe (Latte): Pumpkin Spice Latte

Serves 1

3 tbsp coconut milk
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp pumpkin puree

½ tsp maple syrup (optional)
1 cup Rooibos Tea (it’s naturally decaf)


Add all ingredients to blender and blend until creamy.

Serve & enjoy!



Category: Featured

What is Metabolism?

This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.

You probably know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight. But what exactly does this all mean?

Well, technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body. It’s how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive. And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

  • Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.)
  • Allow activities you can’t control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.)
  • Allow storage of excess energy for later

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “Metabolic Rate”….

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

  • Work (i.e. exercise and other activity)
  • Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions)
  • Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat)

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate. One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) also called the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you’re not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

In clinic, I can show you what your current Basal Metabolic Rate is using the Bodystat QuadScan device. We can then look to see how much more energy you’d need if you increased your activity levels. This is a handy tracking tool for weight loss :-)

What affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: a LOT!


The first thing you may think of is your thyroid. This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism. Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you’ll burn.

But that’s not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate…


Your body composition is crucial to a healthy metabolism.

As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does. So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be. Even when you’re not working out!

This is exactly why I always recommend appropriate weight training as a key part of my weight loss programs. Because you want your muscles to be burning fat while you sleep (what busy woman doesn’t want more time efficient fat loss?!)

The thing is, when people lose weight via some crazy starvation diet with restrictive calorie intake, their metabolic rate often slows down which you DON’T want to happen. You need to be building muscle tissue so that you maintain your metabolic rate. That’s really the secret to sustainable weight loss.

Aerobic exercise (where you increase your heart rate) also temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they’re doing “work”.


The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolise your food. This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).

You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolises foods differently.

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%. By trading some of your carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow. By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.


And don’t forget the mind-body connection. There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

Your body is ALWAYS striving for balance, so if you are chronically in the stress-response state then your body will slow down other systems to conserve energy. Your digestion will slow, your metabolism will slow and you are more likely to gain weight.


This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

If you would like to find out more about YOUR metabolism, then please book in for a FREE 15 minute chat (via phone or in the clinic) and we can see if I am able to help you reach your health goals.

Call (02) 4965 4881 to make an appointment. 


Recipe (Lean Protein): Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

2 lemons, sliced

1 tablespoon rosemary

1 tablespoon thyme

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)

dash salt & pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive old

Preheat oven to 425F. Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.

Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper. Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).

Serve & enjoy with plenty of veggies!

Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!


Category: Weight Loss

Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing.

And it’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance. It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.

But it doesn’t always stop there, does it?

Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or All. The. Time.

Here are my three tips to avoid overeating at meals….

(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

Tip #1: Start with some water

When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food cooking, it’s too easy to fill a plate and dive into the food.

But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger? Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

So while you wait for that meal to be ready, drink a glass of water. Not only will the water ensure that you’re not mistaking thirst for hunger, but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.

Please note that it needs to be at least 30 minutes before you chow down, otherwise that water is going to dilute your stomach acid and make digestion a struggle. Same goes for drinking too much water right after you eat.

I know, I know, there are so many diet gurus out there who say you can lose weight by drinking big glasses of water before a meal, but this is WRONG!

You need to be hydrated, but you don’t want your stomach full of water when you’re trying to fill it with food.

Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”

You’ve heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?

This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.

Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.

Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.

This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less.

When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.

So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), in a relaxing environment, and put your fork down between bites. It’s how those sophisticated French women eat, so it’s gotta be good!

Tip #3: Start with the salad

This is what I have taught my children, start with your veggies!

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fibre and water.

Fibre and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller. They’re “satiating”.

And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a meal.


Make sure you’re not thirsty, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

Recipe (Water): Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Hydration Water Ideas (30 minutes before, remember?!)

If you’re not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:

  • Slices of lemon & ginger
  • Slices of strawberries & orange
  • Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick
  • Chopped pineapple & mango
  • Blueberries & raspberries

Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning (you know, those hipster ones with the straws?) They’re already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.


Category: Featured

As a Modern Mama, YOU are the most stressed out and depleted person in your family. You are statistically getting less sleep, less nutritious foods and work longer hours than your own mother did!

And besides the completely unhelpful advice of As a Modern Mama, YOU are the most stressed out and depleted person in your family. You are statistically getting less sleep, less nutritious foods and work longer hours than your own mother did! And besides the completely unhelpful advice of

Category: Featured
What do your symptoms and food cravings really mean...

Did you know that your body is always communicating with you… but that often you just aren’t listening? 

Symptoms, gut feelings and even food cravings are what our very intelligent body uses to try to get our attention. In our frantic, busy, goal-oriented lives these [click to continue…]

Category: Featured

Or ‘Why Business does not have to mean ‘Busy-ness’!

See what I did there in that headline? That clever play on words? Like it?

I’ve been helping women with their energy levels for about 8 years now, and one of the most common challenges I see us all face is stress. Yuck! Chronic stress is so detrimental to our energy levels and our overall health – why is it that we’ve all just accepted this constant overwhelm as our new normal?

As a business owner, high achiever, constant student and mother, I have a deep appreciation for exhaustion. I get what it is like to have so much on your plate that you just feel overwhelmed and can’t see a way out of the ‘busy-ness’.

From my training and experience as a clinical naturopath, nutritionist and health coach, here is what I know to be true:

If you continue to overwork yourself, constantly pushing yourself to get more done, achieve more, hustle more… after a period of time, this will inevitably lead to BURN OUT.

Our bodies cannot handle being in a constant state of stress.

Our nervous system needs some downtime from the ‘fight or flight’ mode, otherwise our health will quickly begin to deteriorate.

In other words, we women need to get a handle on our stress response.

More like a zen monk, less like a crazy lady.

So how do we do that? How do we manage to be in a state of calm in the middle of a busy day?

Here are my top 3 tips to integrate into your work day, to help you bring a little downtime for your frazzled nervous system:

The 20 Minute Meal: Every lunchtime (EVERY DAY) schedule yourself a 20 minute lunch break (the operative word here is break!) We owe it to ourselves, to our clients, to the business, to take a bloody break! In your 20 minutes, physically move away from your desk to somewhere quiet where you can focus on eating your meal. Don’t answer emails, don’t talk or look at your phone. Eat mindfully and relish the opportunity to nourish yourself with your delicious lunch.

Breathe: Okay, so I know we’ve all heard this one before… but how many of us actually practice calm, deep breathing? I promise you, if you take a moment whenever you feel those stress levels rise to actually stop and focus on taking slow, deep breaths you’ll feel the difference. It’s not woo-woo, it’s science. Slow, deep breathing triggers our stressed out nervous system to calm down.

Try the 5-5-7 breath: Stop what you’re doing (close your eyes, if you like) and consciously breathe deeply into your abdominals to the count of 5. Then hold that breath for 5 counts. Now sloooowly exhale for 7 counts, pulling in your abdominal muscles as you breath out to help expel the air. Your tummy should ideally move in and out as you do this exercise. Try 3 rounds and see how you feel. Go longer if you need to and feel free to try this technique any time you feel stressed.

Move your body! When we are in the stress-response, we have all these stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol flooding our body. As long as they’re cycling around in our bloodstream, we are going to feel stressed. Best way to clear them out? Exercise! Go get moving to use up all those hormones and the glucose they release and you’ll feel so much more balanced. A brisk walk around the block, 5 minutes on an exercise bike, a run, the gym, swimming, high-energy yoga, even running up and down on the spot for a few minutes can help. Do what you can.


I really hope these tips have been helpful. I’d love to hear of your experiences trying them, or even any other little de-stress hacks you have that help you at work. Please feel free to comment :-)

Hayley xx


Category: Featured Stress
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