Archive for the ‘Webinar Questions’ Category

Cleansing Your Body and Mind

Cleansing Your Body and Mind

The Quest for Life Foundation recently held a webinar Cleansing your Body and Mind; a conversation between Petrea King and Joanna Rushton. You can see the video at the bottom of this post. There were many questions asked and we were not able to respond to them all live, so here are the answers from Joanna.




Candida is a yeast infection of an overgrowth of Albicans strain of yeast.

Addressing candida is similar to addressing fungal overgrowths where the following foods need to be eliminated from your diet;

  • All processes sugar and foods containing sugar
  • Fruit – fruits contain natural sugars that can still support the growth of yeast. As dieting protocols can often be very restrictive and hard to adhere to, I would certainly look to eliminating fresh stone fruit, frozen, canned and dried fruits and juices.  Limiting ones intake of green apples, blueberries, strawberries and other fruits low in sugar.
  • All foods containing yeast such as; pastries, breads, crackers, bagels, muffins, wine, beer
  • All foods containing gluten; bread, crackers, pastries, sauces
  • All vinegars;  white, rice, balsamic, red, apple cider and any foods made with vinegar such as; Mayonnaise, commercial salad dressings, ketchup, Worcestershire  sauce, steak sauce, BBQ sauce, soy sauce , mustard, pickles, pickled vegetables, relish, horse radish and chili sauce to name but a few.

An emphasis is placed on quality sourced meats, fish, low starch vegetables, fresh salads and high enzyme foods. If using fermented vegetables during this period, prepare yourself using filtered water and quality salt eg Celtic sea salt or Himalayan rock salt.

Foods to limit but not rule out:

  • All dairy products. Candida is thought to impair the body’s ability to digest fat, so dairy should be had sparingly.
  • Creating a natural herbal remedy for addressing candida needs to be done on an individual basis and often includes garlic, oregano oil, colloidal silver, edible clay, pre and pro biotics, caprylic acid in conjunction with an anti-candida diet. However, I would consult your naturopath as the program needs to be individualized.

General Wellbeing and the CSIRO diet

I’ve been asked to share my thoughts on the CSIRO diet. I’ll start with the fact that there is merit in the overall philosophy where no foods are excluded, and variety is encouraged. However, my concerns lie in their recommendation for low fat products, the use of grains and unstable vegetable oils. It also doesn’t put any emphasis on where and how we source our foods and it advocates low fat options which I avoid even when assisting people to lose weight.

Choosing an eating plan that meets your individual biochemistry is exactly that, individual. We must move away from the mindset that a ‘one size fit’s all’  works for everyone and instead educate ourselves on firstly where we source our foods from and ensure that all foods come in their complete ‘form’ as mother nature intended, without human intervention.

To increase your energy levels follow the 3 steps in the webinar;

  1. Drink more water  according to the formula .033 x your body weight kg =Lts per day
  2. Learn how to breathe diaphragmatically
  3. Follow a diet that honours the LHI philosophy (Low Human Intervention)

If you missed the webinar that Petrea King and I did on the benefits of cleansing, you can listen to the replay here:


In terms of the need to cleanse your body, learning to listen to your body and how you feel will guide you as to your need to cleanse.

If you are ticking all the boxes, however, still not feeling energized, clear headed and vibrant then clearly something is still not functionally optimally. It is at this point that I would have the function of your gut addressed by your naturopath. In my experience time, money, and energy can often come of no avail when the function of the digestive system is not functioning as it should.

Water; tap,  purified or bottled?

The topic of water is a loaded question and often rich in debate. My personal experience in  Australia, UK, USA and parts of South Africa, are that in the built up areas of industrialization, tap water is no longer the healthiest option. The main concerns being Fluoride and Chloride and trace chemicals.  I therefore recommend filtered water, I’ve used a Dalton counter top filter system that filters all chemicals except Fluoride. Systems that extract Fourfold are often costly however I would invest in such system for home owners.

Brita water filters in my opinion are the least effective as they don’t extract many of the chemicals, the filters require changing far more regularly than other systems.

In terms of bottled waters, I would recommend ones that have a minimum of 350 tds (total dissolved solids), minerals and trace minerals and bottled in glass where possible to avoid xeno estrogens.

If using a home filtering device, that extracts all minerals and chemicals, it is important to re-mineralise your water with quality salt. I would always recommend a small pinch of Celtic or Himalayan rock salt.

Dairy and yoghurt

As a rule with dairy in general, because of the pastuerisation process that the milk goes through, any value dairy could offer us is essentially made redundant.

All beneficial enzymes and bacteria are destroyed in the pastuerisation process of heating.  Common dairy allergies and intolerances such as lactose intolerance, stems from the inability digest lactose, which requires the digestive enzyme, lactase, to break down the lactose. Lactase is naturally found in raw dairy products.

Lactase however is killed during the pastuerisation process. Lactase is a digestive enzyme that we do not produce ourselves, hence, the common problems associated with diary with respiratory issues such as sinus, excessive mucus production.

Only raw dairy such as raw goat or sheep products that are legal in Australia offer us beneficial gut flora and enzymes. Cleopatra milk (for cosmetic purposes only) is another well-known brand of raw cow’s milk.

All homogenization, where the blending of the fat into the milk, changes the molecular structure of the fat, making it harder for us to digest. I there for recommend, at the very least, sourcing biodynamic or organic unhomoginised, full fat dairy products. A word of caution for all low-fat dairy products, where the fat is removed, additional sugars are added in replacement of the fat.


Cleansing your digestive system is firstly a process of avoiding all processed foods and excessive sugars. Working with your naturopath to support the killing off of unwanted bacteria/parasites/fungus and then re colonizing the gut with beneficial gut flora. Supplementing each meal with a tablespoon of fermented vegetables, aids in supporting us with digestive enzymes and gut flora.

There is no need for fermented vegetables to be pastuerised, traditionally they are prepared with sea salt as the preservative and if available to you, a whey protein as a starter. Whey protein is the bi-product of raw milk and can be easily sourced by working with Cleopatra’s milk.

Chewing our food is essential in supporting optimal digestion. By chewing our food to a liquid, (known as ‘Chew’) we utilize the digestive enzymes within our saliva to assist in the pre digestion process. By  breaking down the food particles, the bacteria of our food can be neutralized by the hydrochloric acid released from the lining of our stomach, therefore aiding in a healthy digestive system. Undigested food particles contribute to immune responses especially in a leaky gut, where these food particles pass through the cell membrane wall into the blood stream where they are attacked by white blood cells creating excessive inflammation and food intolerances.


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Fear? or Intuition?

Hallmarks of Intuition

When we experience Intuition, there’s often a feeling of simplicity, clarity, peace that comes along with the knowledge, even if it’s about an outcome we don’t want. In other words we feel calm.

Intuition deals with the present moment , what’s in front of us, and how to navigate through the options to the best choice. There is strength, clarity and conciseness behind an intuitive voice.

Intuition coveys information neutrally and unemotionally. It feels right in the gut. It also has a detached sensation as though we are observing.

Intuition is always supportive, creative and provides a “road map” for our lives.

We need to recognise and believe that our intuition is the greatest tool we can have.

Our bodies respond differently to intuition. We feel calmer, stronger, and there is no tension and we breathe more easily.

Our bodies are always in the present, never in the past and never in the future. When we stay present to what is, rather than to what is not, we are able to access our intuition rather than our fears.

Hallmarks of Fear

When we experience fearful, ego based thoughts, we often feel confused, upset, jumbled, agitated and feel we have to know more.  If there is an emotional charge with our thoughts, it’s probably not intuition, but fear. Fear diminishes our perspective and  feelings of being centred.

Fear is about stories from the past and projections in to the future. It freaks us out, it is confusing and puts emphasis on other people’s reactions rather than our own responses. Reactions are always fear based. They come from a mind in confusion not clarity. Fear can often appear logical. Our mind is a great tool but not our best guide. It is full of reliving the past and projecting in to the future.

For some, the most obvious voice of fear is the inner critic. It often comes with “shoulds”, judgements and attacks on our self esteem. Fear often reflects past psychological wounds.

As children we are often taught not to trust our intuition and to give our power away to others who appear “to know better”.

It is our job to practice recognising what are our fears and what is our intuition. And choose which one we want to guide our lives with.

Remember that fears often speak in a loud voice and can scream while intuition speaks in a small voice until we choose to listen to our intuition and not our fears.

When we focus on listening to our intuition that small voice grows and we lose our fears.

Some quotes from notables

“ The only real valuable thing in intuition.” Albert Einstein

“Faith is a passionate intuition.” William Wordsworth

“ Cease trying to work everything out with your minds. It will get you nowhere. Live by intuition and inspiration and let your whole life be revelation.” Eileen Caddy

“Train your intuition and trust that small voice inside you which tells you exactly what to say, what to decide.” Ingrid Bergman

“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself”. Oprah Winfrey

Wendie Batho

Wendie Batho

Wendie has co-facilitated residential programs with Petrea for more than sixteen years. Prior to that Wendie spent over 25 years as a teacher, school principal and was involved in educational leadership and facilitation of school executive groups.

Ten years of this time was spent in PNG where she taught and worked for the government. Wendie has been travelling since the early sixties and is especially attracted to Asian cultures. She holds degrees in Anthropology, Education, Sociology, Theology and Political Science. Her current passions are her grandchildren, travel biographies, exploring Asia, 4×4 driving, reading everything she can get her hands on, and watching movies on the big screen at home.

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On Monday night’s webinar Petrea shared this exercise and we promised to share it on our blog!

Living with a greater awareness of our outer and inner environment provides a foundation for living an authentic and joyful life. From this inner equilibrium and stability we make our unique contribution to life. When we practice mindfulness continually we find an increased ability to recognise what is happening in each moment as it unfolds. We live with a greater acceptance of life and its unexpected challenges. We feel a sense of being at one with others and separateness begins to dissolve. We live from a stance of authenticity. We live with an openness to our feelings, a constant awareness of the activity in our mind, an awareness of our body and its senses, an intuitive sense that we are living our life purpose. We develop an awareness of our feelings but with less attachment.

I am not my feelings. I have feelings. I am…..a spark of the divine, consciousness, awareness, spirit, soul, life, energy or however you might like to describe it, and right now I’m feeling sad, scared, hopeless or whatever the feeling might be. It’s not who I am. It is what I am feeling.

Mindfulness leads to a continuous awareness of what is unfolding in the present moment.

Following are some instructions to practice mindfulness. You might like to light a candle before you begin your practice and you can leave the eyes open or shut them if you prefer during the practice.

Set your intention in the following way:

For the next (number of) minutes…

  • I choose to be aware of my mind in each moment as it unfolds
  • I choose to let go all thoughts regarding the future and the past
  • I commit to silently witnessing my experience without any inner chatter of my mind
  • My focus will be the breath, just the breath
  • I commit my attention to every stage of the breath including the resting point between each inward and outward breath
  • I commit myself to complete absorption in the deepest stillness of Life

This is the state that the Indians speak of as Samadhi – the state of being absorbed in attentive stillness. The regular practice of this spills over into your daily awareness and allows you to live with clarity, compassion, wisdom and skill.

Taking small ‘pauses’ throughout the day enables you to drop all stress, come to your senses and steady your breathing. Gradually you’ll find that you are as fresh at the end of the day as you were at the beginning.

Petrea King

Petrea King
N.D., D.R.M., D.B.M., Dip Cl. Hyp., I.Y.T.A.

Petrea King is a well-known author, inspirational speaker, counsellor and workshop leader. She has practiced many forms of meditation since the age of seventeen and she is also qualified as a naturopath, herbalist, hypnotherapist, yoga and meditation teacher.

In 1983 Petrea was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and was not expected to live.  Meditation and the integration of past traumatic experiences became paramount in her recovery, much of which was spent in a monastery near Assisi in Italy.

Since then, Petrea has counselled individually or through residential programs more than 60,000 people living with life-challenging illnesses, grief, loss, trauma and tragedy. Petrea sees crisis as a catalyst for spiritual growth and understanding and as an opportunity for healing and peace.

Petrea has received the Advance Australia Award and the Centenary Medal for her contribution to the community. She has been nominated for Australian of the Year in each year since 2004.


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On a recent webinar with Petrea King, a participant asked: How do you stop an immediate response of anger?

Margie has written her response to this question in her words… inspired by Petrea.

Firstly, anger is really more of a reaction than a response and there is a BIG difference between these two. If you find yourself reacting angrily then there are a few quick steps I recommend.

  1. Notice that you feel really angry
  2. Feel it in your body
  3. STOP
  4. If possible, remove yourself from the situation (go to the bathroom?)
  5. Still yourself. Close your eyes. Allow your body to calm down
  6. Take as long as you need to do this before you respond (‘I need an hour / week / month to think about this” can be a useful line to have tattooed on your inner arm)
  7. Reflect afterwards on what happened and make a firm resolve NOT to respond in future during a full blown reaction

Finally, I reckon Grandma may have been on the money when she told us to “count to ten before you respond”…

Petrea speaks beautifully about this in her book ‘Your Life Matters’ which you can find at our shop.

Her next webinar is on Resilience on Monday 21st February at 8pm EST. You can register here.

Love to all

Margie Braunstein

Margie Braunstein

Margie is a somatic psychotherapist and counsellor providing psychotherapy services to the people of the Central Coast and Sydney.  Margie lives on the beautiful Central Coast with her husband, two children, two dogs and a cat.

Over the last 12 years, Margie has also been engaged in the design, delivery and marketing of transformational learning programs. During this time she has regularly facilitated personal development programs for up to 50 people on weekend workshops, week-long intensives and advanced programs of 3-4 months.

Margie has a Graduate Certificate in Adult Education from UTS, Diploma in Psychotherapy from the Australian College of Contemporary Somatic Psychotherapy and qualifications in somatic therapy, executive coaching and relationship counselling.

Margie has a passion for personal development and regards people with respect, empathy and compassion in the belief that while we all do the best we can, a little bit more kindness and care can lead to even greater peace and joy in life.

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At a recent webinar Gail Ross asked” How do you know that the life you are living now is in fact the life you are meant to live? Here are some of my musings…

In Yoga philosophy ‘the life we are meant to live’ is called our Dharma.  There is no one English word to describe Dharma, it has many meanings and is a term of great importance.

Dharma is what your ‘duty’ is in this life.  Another translation I love is “that which upholds or supports” It is also described as

  • That which brings well-being and elevates  one
  • Leading to happiness
  • The cementer and sustainer of social life.
  • All external deeds, as well as thoughts and mental practices which elevate the character
  • The principle of righteousness, the principle of holiness, the principle of unity.
  • Whatever puts an end to conflict and brings about unity and harmony.
  • Anything that helps to unite all and develop love and universal brotherhood. (Anything that creates discord, split and disharmony and foments hatred is not Dharma).
  • The means of preserving one’s self.
  • That which helps you to have direct communion with Peace.
  • The regulation of daily life.

We serve others by living our Dharma, our soul purpose, completely.   In the Bhagavad Gita, a yoga scripture, it says, “It is better to perform one’s own duties imperfectly, than to master the duties of another. By fulfilling the obligations you are born with, you will never come to grief”

Sometimes we feel that what we do is insignificant or unimportant. We may belittle our roles of raising children or keeping house, we may resent the necessity of mundane tasks, administrative work or paying bills. We may compare ourselves, and our lives, to others and see ourselves as lacking.    Again the Gita says “No-one should abandon duties because he sees defects in them”.

So even if we feel our Dharma/our duty/that which is given us to do, is tough or goes against the grain it can get easier the more we try to find what my teacher calls an ’angle of repose’ in the midst of it.

The more we can pause, rest and access a larger vision, the more we enoble our life. We may even get a sense that our life is important to the world.   I quote my yoga teacher “the inner expansion of oneself as a human being is always intimately tied to one’s relationship with the world”

So I ask myself “what are the qualities of the heart that I bring to the situation?”  And importantly,  “what is my intention?”

Our intention colours all our experience, it doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it has to be sincere -the way we set the table, greet loved ones, make the bed.

I like to pause and ask – Is this bringing me closer to peace?  Am I becoming more agitated?  How am I looking at my life? What judgements and opinions am I heaping onto certain situations?  Are there moments of joy? Does this action bring me joy? Am I being of service?

If we are loyal to the practice of pausing, resting, to clearing the mind, we will have a safe harbour in times of challenge.  Again the teacher says “let the mind lie down and the wisdom of the heart take over”

And finally a beloved Poet says to make it a task to love the questions.

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.” – Rilke

Bernadette Arena

Bernadette Arena

Bernadette has worked with the Quest for Life Foundation since early 2006 and is the Senior Facilitator on our residential programs.  Her work is treasured by our participants and our team. She has also been developing and refining a deep understanding of the use of appropriate yoga and meditation approaches for use in oncology and with serious illness.

Bernadette maintains close association with International Yoga Teachers Association and is a senior lecturer for their Teacher Training Course.  She has designed and delivered yoga teacher training courses for other organisations.  During 5 years in the UK she taught retreats, workshops and classes across the UK and in Europe and worked as a personal ‘lifestyle’ coach.  Bernadette brings a gentle and loving nature with insight and compassion borne out of her experience. She can assist a deeper connection with the body as a means to rejuvenate the spirit.

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