About me (not skincare related)

Posted by: vitale in Categories: Uncategorized.

This blog is about me. Prompted by a blog I read from the Rejuvenation Lounge I realised I write a lot about organic skincare but not much else. Like most beings, my journey to this point has been winding, but mostly fun and I thought I would put it out there…feel free not to read if you only want to know about skincare :-)

Being a naturopath has provided me with so many opportunities to work with different people and follow interesting pathways.

My journey to natural medicine was an easy one and while I completed half a degree in politics, I quickly worked out it wasn’t where my passion lay (although I am still seen yelling at the TV occasionally).  My initial interest in health came from my mother, an acupuncturist and the creator of the most amazing flower essences. My brother and I grew up being poked with acupuncture needles, taking rye, salad and cottage cheese sandwiches to school (and swapping them for something white and likely from a package) and taking essences.

I finished my naturopathy degree when I was 23 and rather than practice went into research and development and essentially “thought up” new products for 8 years for various companies. I loved it, until I decided I wanted a change and so in 2005 I opened an organic skin care store.  This represented a big change in direction for me, going out on my own and into an area that up until this point had been a hobby, not something I knew a lot about.  After 7 years, and lots of hard work I know lots about organic skin care and small business…and burn out. So a change to online only, teaching and clinical practice which sounds like a lot but I manage quite well most of the time! And of course I have help with online.

My lifestyle is one of moderation based on whole foods. When I need to I commit to change but generally I tend to be fairly flexible (giving up dairy was big for me but made the world of difference to my skin). I love coffee and occasionally have wine. I absolutely make sure that my plate contains lots of veggies but I don’t much like fruit and prefer to eat it covered in chocolate. I haven’t always liked cooking but have recently been cooking curries from scratch – I have to say I do a fine vegetable curry. My secret (or not so secret now) pleasure is potato crisps, so they are rarely found at my house.

A selfie – I tried to get both Ed and I in the shot but failed. In any case this does show my updated hair colour.

I teach nutrition and I really enjoy watching students develop their knowledge and skill base. The subjects I teach are based in evidence and research and I like nothing better than discovering a good paper that enhances my understanding. However, I believe in a holistic approach and so I am also interested in the mindset and emotional blocks that can be barriers to real healing, after all, we are much more than just our biochemistry.  This is where I get to use techniques such as Psych K which I have seen effect big change in client’s lives.

I try to have some kind of work life balance, which includes multitasking wherever I can e.g. I ride my bike to College so I get some exercise and sunshine on the way. I find weaving things into my day, not every day but most helps me to feel good about what I am doing.

As you may from previous blogs, I am tragic about skincare. I love it and occasionally get distracted by a shiny new product but essentially, the brands are stocked on Vitale Natural Online are the brands that I love.

Oh and most importantly I am the mother of two furry babies and 3 feathered ones – all of whom I adore.

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Change and the Fertile Body

Posted by: vitale in Categories: Inspiration.
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In his article Change and the Fertile Body, acupuncturist Peter Kington outlines key health and lifestyle related changes that enhance fertility. The concept I particularly embrace (although all Peter’s recommendations have value) is that of “Fill the Tank”. While Peter relates this to fertility, I think this is a concept that can be embraced generally. I find that I can fill my time so easily that I don’t make time to fill the tank, meaning I don’t do this things that support my health as readily as I should.

Recently I have been working with a marvelous practitioner called Michela D’Addario (the practitioner’s practitioner) and we have been working together to identify what nourishes me, primarily so that I can play it forward and help nourish others. Michela has helped me weave these things into my daily life, rather than creating a hard and fast routine (not my strength!). I have noticed that I now have the time for self-nourishing activities precisely because they are part of my every day. To me these include: watering the garden, 5 minutes alone to ponder, walking the dogs (doubles up as exercise!), turning off technology and diving into a great book and being in bed by 9.30pm and asleep by 1opm to name a few. I love it because I don’t feel selfish or time poor but I am looking after myself and ‘filling my tank’ on a daily basis. I encourage you all to ‘fill the tank’ in whatever way works for you :-)

Click here to read Peter’s article


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Here is an interesting blog about the Paleo diet from one of our blog-hoppers Sarah George. I love seeing mainstream diets being challenged, not because I don’t think they have value for some, but I certainly don’t think there is ‘one’ solution for all. I value diversity, particularly when it comes to what we eat. Human beings are a diverse bunch and I think we need to embrace it rather than aim for homogeneity.

Take it away Sarah George:

I’m once again lecturing my favourite subject, Chinese dietetics, at Endeavour College of Natural Health this semester. And this has inspired me to write about dietary change for our change-themed Health and Happiness Collective blog hop.

Chinese dietetics is all about the joy of food! And how we can use it for healing according to Chinese Medicine principles. I love that last year some students with no interest in cooking were actually inspired to start cooking at home. That is a win for mankind in my books!

This semester I kicked off Lecture One with this TEDx video: “Debunking The Paleo Diet” by Christina Warrina, an archaeological scientist.

To read more click here

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Change…confessions of a skincare tragic

Posted by: vitale in Categories: Cosmetics, Inspiration.
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As a naturopath change sometimes seems like a mantra; I advise clients to change their diet, habits and sometimes lifestyle all to achieve a greater level of well-being. So when considering the topic of ‘change’ for this blog hop, any of the above could have formed the basis of my article. However when I think back to one of the biggest changes I made in my health it was to change from commercial, synthetically based skincare over to natural and organic products. I have to say at the time the decision was tough because organic skincare had none of the glamour or promise of instant youthfulness of big brands and I have always been a sucker for pretty packaging and instant results (this is a slightly embarrassing admission).

Despite the average packaging and lack of youthful promise, organic skincare changed not only my skin, but also my life. This is a slightly dramatic claim I know but I did end up quitting my job and opening an organic skincare store so my life literally did change. On a less dramatic note my skin also improved significantly. This was at a time when my skin was chemically sensitive, red and inflamed so as you can imagine, applying a soothing, organic and chemical free serum for the first time was like heaven. That was 10 years ago and my skin still looks better than it did back then.

For many however, when it comes to skincare, change often doesn’t occur so readily.  Brand loyalty is a significant barrier but so are product price; perceptions of quality and advertising spend. As you can imagine for these reasons the organic skincare industry took a while to make an impact on consumers. Fortunately it did and now even the big brands are making attempts to capture the organic skincare consumer dollar.

I think there are many reasons to make the change to organic skincare and I have outlined a few below that are particularly important to me. These reasons are key drivers in my decision-making and so also expand the use of organic products in my life generally e.g. house cleaning products, organic food and even organic clothing when I can find it.

  1. Toxins – from heavy metals in lipstick to hormone disrupting preservatives in baby products, there are just too many unnecessary chemicals in everyday skincare. Women use on average 14 personal care items a day, which adds up to a dizzying array of synthetic ingredients, many of which have toxic potential.  The especially problematic ingredients include formaldehyde, phthalates, artificial fragrances, parabens, Diethanolamine, 1,4-Dioxane, mercury & lead and triclosan but this list is by no means exhaustive.
  2. Animal Testing – according to the RSPCA “there is no testing of cosmetics involving animals conducted in Australia. However, the majority of cosmetic products sold here will contain ingredients that will have been tested on animals at some time.” The good news is that there is a worldwide interest in this area and the European Union has taken a significant step by banning the use of animals in all cosmetic testing. Go Europe! The rest of the world just needs to follow suit. Fortunately to achieve organic status, no animal testing on finished products or ingredients is allowed in any way, shape or form so you can be assured that all certified organic or natural products are humane.
  3. LOHAS or Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability which is essentially a socio-economic term that describes a segment of conscious shoppers i.e. people who not only consider their own personal benefit but the impact on the wider community and planet. Organic and natural products are part of this trend, achieving this by using eco-packaging materials, fair trade ingredients, stopping the use of palm oil, choosing sustainable ingredients and cruelty free products.
  4. Quality – it is especially important to me that the products I use on my skin work and I strongly believe that it isn’t just about active ingredients. For example, as a feature ingredient an anti-ageing peptide may make up 0.5% of a product but I want to know what the other 99.5% of the product is going to do for my skin. I think that organic skincare is more active. Excluding water, organic products often contain up to 95% active ingredients rather than 5% active ingredients in a 95% inert (non-active) base as in many of everyday personal care products and cosmetics.

Occasionally, even now a bright, shiny new product will catch my eye however it takes about a second to remember that I made the change to organic skincare for a reason and the allure quickly fades. And excitingly, there are new bright, shiny organic products being launched these days so really I need look no further :-)

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Well it’s been a while since my last blog entry but my extended summer holiday is over and I have some exciting news! I am participating in a blog hop with a group of health practitioners called The Health & Happiness Collective with the aim of sharing knowledge from a holistic perspective. We are all going to write an article focusing the concept of change. Yep it’s a big topic but by following the collective blog hop, you will see the wide range of views we bring to the collective, with perspectives on change from aromatherapy to acupuncture, naturopathy to horticulture. Personally, I can’t wait to see what comes up.

As each blogger writes, I will let you know so you can ‘hop’ over to their blog, read their perspective on change and if you feel inspired, add your own – we would love to hear from you.

Below you can see who makes up The Health & Happiness Collective:

I hope you come along for our blog hop!


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New Beauty Essentials and Summer Favourites

New Beauty Essentials


A flawless matte look

The new velvety soft Lavera mousse make up, made with pure natural and organic ingredients, just simply blends onto the skin upon application giving a flawless matte look. The mousse make up is a glamorous light textured organic mousse foundation giving a light to medium coverage without feeling heavy on the skin. Available in 3 skin tones $34.95 each.

New 8 hour long lasting

This hydrating foundation blends easily and hides imperfections, creating a porcelain-smooth canvas. Free-radical fighting argan oil, organic blossom butter and vitamins A, C and E protect, rejuvenate and nourish skin. Available in 4 skin tones $33.75 each.



New Colour Essentials


Scarlett Blaze – “Downton Abby, rich velvety glamour.”

A woman consumes an average of nearly two kilograms of lipstick during her lifetime through drinking, eating and kissing – so keep lipstick natural! KM Lipsticks are made totally of natural ingredients. They do not contain any mineral oils, animal-based material, parabens or preservatives. Available in 10 essential shades $26.50 each

High Gloss – Freedom

This healthy, good-for-you gloss from Revolution Organic is rich in vitamins and antioxidants to leave lips beautifully moisturized and gorgeously glossy. Formulated with 100% natural and 85% certified organic ingredients, the product delivers all the benefits of a lip treatment in a gorgeous gloss. Available in 5 high sheen glosses $29.95 each.

Summer Colour Essentials


Heidi is a fruity, neon orange.

Zoya Professional Nail Lacquers are the first to remove toxic ingredients such as toluene, formaldehyde and DBP (dibutyl phthalate) from its formulations. Zoya Nail Lacquers are specifically designed to wear 7 to 10 days on natural nails. Over 30 Zoya nail colours to brighten your Summer only $16.50 each.



The ultimate beauty multi-tasker

100% natural and created with 85% certified organic ingredients, this beauty multi-tasker delivers an instant healthy glow anytime, anywhere. The all-in-one balm infuses lips, cheeks, eyes, and décolletage with a natural, dewy radiance. Perfectly portable and ideal for on the go, the easy-to-use formula provides skincare and color in one for a hydrating hint of tint. Available in 3 gorgeous shades $37.95 each.



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With the onset hotter, sunnier weather we will all tend to slather on more sunscreen and so what we are putting on our skin becomes even more important. I have pale skin, a history of Basal Cell Carcinomas and I use sunscreen regularly even in winter. I recently came across this excellent series of videos by Dr Oz. He looks at both sides of the sunscreen story and I definitely think they are worth watching:

I have had a close look at this topic and certainly agree with Dr Oz’s experts about choosing micronised zinc oxide based sunscreens. Read more about zinc oxide below:

There are definitely good brands of natural, micronised sunscreen available such as Eco, Wot Not, Devita and UV Naturals. Is is easy to choose a natural safe sunscreen as long as you know what you are looking for…so start looking at the label and find out what you are putting on your skin.


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Spring is here and the days are just gorgeous but the sun is hotting up and with summer on the way it is time to prepare your skin. Eating the right foods, topical products and sun practices can all help increase your skin’s resilience and improve health. This article reviews the most significant things you can do to stay sun smart.

The most significant thing you can do to prevent sun damage is to wear sunscreen (natural of course). Research completed in September 2011 (Diffey BL, J Cosmet Dermatol) evaluated the effect of daily application of topical photo-protective products and its effect on facial photo-aging (skin aging due to sun damage). The results show that regular use of topical photo-protective agents (SPF sunscreens) significantly reduces the lifetime exposure to UV. While this may seem logical interestingly, the SPF rating was of lesser importance that beginning regular use early in life. In addition many only use an SPF product in the summer months and this study identified that year-round use was preferable. To sum up this research, start early and use an SPF product daily.

From a dietary perspective there are many good foods that can help your improve your skin’s resilience to sun damage. The phytochemicals found in many foods are powerful antioxidants, which can improve many aspects of skin health by reducing oxidative stress. These benefits include the reduction in UV light sensitivity and therefore long term sun damage. Eaten in high enough quantities, key antioxidants can promote a healthy glow that rivals a tan! Some good examples are outlined below:

  • Caroteniods – not only provide antioxidant benefits but also improve the appearance of your skin. Plant foods rich in carotenoids include carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens and red capsicum. Dark green vegetables are included as they contain carotenoids (yellow) and chlorophyll (green) so overall appear green.
  • Green Tea – daily consumption can help improve skin antioxidant levels and may help reduce inflammation associated with UV damage.
  • Vitamin C rich foods – helps maintain the underlying structure of the skin by promoting collagen production. Foods rich in vitamin C include capsicum, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, dark green leafy vegetables and paw paw. Topically vitamin C provides photo-protection from ultraviolet A and B and also assists with the reduction of inflammation.
  • Keep up the intake of good fats. Eating plenty of good fats such as omega 3 and good saturated fats will support skin by reducing inflammation and indeed overall health. The anti-inflammatory effect will reduce the likelihood of free radical damage in the skin and reduce moisture loss by promoting the protective oil barrier. Choose foods rich in omega 3 such as deep-sea fish (salmon, sardines, anchovies), green leafy vegetables, flax oil, chia seeds, fish oils and even grass fed meats in moderation.

Other tips include:

  • Get enough sun. This might sound strange but the paler your skin is, particularly after winter, the easier and faster your skin will burn when exposed to the sun. Slowly increase your sun exposure over the hotter months so your skin gradually builds up colour. Some sun exposure is of course essential for vitamin D production as well as improved mood and reduced chronic disease risk. For those that burn and never tan (me) sun exposure is still important. Choose wisely the time of day for exposure and you will avoid burning, which is what causes the most significant sun damage.
  • Apply antioxidants as well as eating them. Green tea and vitamin C are found in many natural sunscreens and anti-ageing products. Research shows that these two ingredients in particular help minimise the effects of sun damage.

Daily Sun Protection

Related Articles:

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Ten Tips for 10/10

Posted by: vitale in Categories: Inspiration.
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World Mental Health Day is this month on October 10th and this year the focus is based on the understanding that mental health begins with you. To achieve this the website 10/10 (10 out of 10) is encouraging people to make a mental health promise to themselves. So it doesn’t matter if you, a family member or friend has a mental illness or just care about good mental health, you can take part by making a promise that’s meaningful to you. The advice given by the 10/10 website is to keep it short and meaningful. You can post it on the website, facebook and twitter or just keep it personal.

Here are some ideas that have been posted at 1010.org.au:

  1. sleep well
  2. enjoy healthy food
  3. plan and prioritise your day
  4. tune into the music you love
  5. cut down on bad food and booze
  6. switch off your devices and tune out
  7. hang out with people who make you feel good
  8. join in, participate and connect
  9. exercise your body and mind
  10. seek advice and support when you need it

I have chosen number 6 – switch off devices and tune out. What is your mental health promise? Share the love and ask your friends and family what they promise.

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In my recent interview with Jodie Smith from Bodecare I mentioned Dry Face Brushing. I have had so many enquiries about this practice since then. Gentle manual facial brushing will speed up cell turnover and strengthen the skin’s inner structure much like body brushing does for the body skin. However, unlike the body, dry skin on the face builds up and can clog open pores. Dry facial brushing will very effectively exfoliate dead skin cells and minimise congestion as well as increasing circulation (nutrition) and draining away lymph congestion (toxins) around the nose and eyes. Once a week is often enough to achieve these beneficial effects.

The dry face bristles have to be a soft plant bristle, like Jute. Jute is a very fine plant bristle that is delicate enough for the skin around the eyes but still stimulating enough to drain away puffiness. Avoid choosing a brush that is harsh on facial skin, as it is can scratch and damage. For example bristles like Boar’s hair, coconut plant, Tampico plant are not suitable for delicate skin. Bodecare’s Dry Facial Brush is made from the finest Jute plant bristles. The brushes are vegan friendly, eco-friendly and manufactured under fair trade laws and really easy to use.

View Bodecare Dry Face Brush

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