9 Tips to Strengthen Your Mind, Body & Soul to Uplift Your Health

  • This piece was commissioned for Coeliac Link magazine by Coeliac NZ. Many Kiwis live with coeliac disease, which is an autoimmune condition. This has wide ranging symptoms (including hairless, irritable bowel syndrome, anaemia or low iron, fatigue, weakness and lethargy, osteoporosis, and more). If you think you might have symptoms, please contact your doctor. If left untreated, coeliac disease can lead to serious health issues. It is estimated that one in 50 Kiwis have coeliac disease, but some of these cases remain undiagnosed.

9 Tips to Strengthen Your Mind, Body & Soul

By Rachel Grunwell

Your wellbeing is an inside job, and you oversee the controls. You can uplift your health any time you choose. You can do it through many ways – by either working on your mind, body, or soul. What I mean by this is that you can choose to improve how you move, sleep, eat (besides avoiding gluten if you have coeliac disease, of course) and think (aka stress management/mindset strategies/positive thinking etc).

I’m a wellness coach and I help clients with different ways to feel healthier and happier. Clients tell me their goals and what that looks like and feels like for them. I then look at their personality, what they desire, their lifestyle and create plans that are relatable, do-able and achievable.

Every client is unique and so no plan looks the same.

Here are some ideas below on some different ways you can start to elevate your health. Choose one to work on that resonates with you. Please don’t adopt all these ideas (because that could be overwhelming). Choose one idea that speaks to your heart. Keep trying it and see how it feels over time. Elevating your health is one tiny, courageous step at a time. Over time, those tiny steps will amount to a giant leap with your wellbeing. ps if I can go from a sugar-addicted, stressed-out investigative journo… into a greens-smoothie-lovin’ yogi… then anyone can transform!  

1.  Sleep like a baby at night so you can live life like a beast! Get 8 hours’ sleep nightly (if you are an adult). Children need more hours of zzzzzzzs. Sleep helps with things like having increased energy, shaper concentration, feeling happier, improved memory, better decision making, and it improves your ability to manage stress. Sleep helps you to feel more capable/have more energy and willpower with adopting healthy habits too! It also helps you over a longer period to look more youthful. Some tips include sleeping in a dark room. Try not to look at screens an hour before bed time. The blue light is potent and can impact melatonin levels ie keep us awake. Try to avoid caffeine in the afternoon or night if it impacts your sleep and remember that alcohol can also impact sleep quality.

2. Try to live a more active lifestyle. You don’t have to join a gym or lift heavy weights (although I love this and totally recommend it!) You can use your body weight to do some exercises for free (at home or in a park) if you wish. The latter is just as effective as going to the gym. You can do options like walking, jogging, dancing, skipping, vinyasa flow yoga or tennis. Resistance training is particularly important for strengthening your body and also your bones (which helps to combat osteoporosis). I’d personally recommend incorporating a more active lifestyle. If you want to start a fitness regime, then make it fun and start with roughly 30 minutes’ activity 3-5 times weekly. Ps doing resistance training with a friend or whanau will make it more fun. They can also help inspire you into action on days where motivation is hard!

3.  Actively carve out time for happiness in your life. You get to create happiness; You don’t find this. How to do this? It depends on what you love doing. Do things that bring you joy, awe and wonder. These things help you to feel energised, and smile. Some ideas are running, swimming, surfing, knitting, reading books, gardening, listening to music, going to a comedy or movie… There is cool research behind finding ‘flow’ – which is something you love doing that you are good at and you get immersed in the love of doing it! In the state of flow you lose track of time often because you are so happy. So it’s a great state to chase!

4. Find strength through stillness. Everything is getting faster and more efficient in this world. But going faster isn’t always better. Too much stress can lead to burnout, anxiety, depression and overwhelm. Try things like yoga, meditation, tai chi, or just walking in nature. Cultivate calm to unwind your stress nervous system. If you feel calmer then this allows you to be happier, more productive, and there’s more space for letting ourselves think well, dream more and live well.

5. Learn mindfulness techniques to help you to live more vibrantly alive and happier in “the now”. Mindfulness helps you to train your brain into more positive thinking. This tool can help you to do less rumination and to feel less anxious. It helps you on how to more mindfully consider situations that you can’t change etc.

6. Nourish your body with foods and drinks that are good for your wellbeing ie blueberries and salmon are great. But obviously not together (yuck!) Chuckle. Eat more plants on your plate that are all the colours of the rainbow – so you get lots of different micronutrients. Eat more real, fresh wholefoods that serve your body well. Try to avoid too much processed foods, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.

7. Nurture good relationships. A Harvard study found that people who are more socially connected are healthier and live longer. So, forget trying to be celebrity or getting rich as a road to happiness; Seek out great play mates instead.

8.  Hugs. Do them often. With other humans or pets. It releases hormones in your body that helps you to feel gooooooooood.

9. Limit alcohol. The national guidelines are to limit alcohol intake to one or two standard drinks per day at the most. But even that is too much for many people. I advise clients to notice how alcohol makes you feel when you drink it and adjust your intake accordingly. It’s often high in calories too. And more than two units of alcohol per day can raise your fracture risk (according to Bone Health NZ).

Author background: Rachel’s mission is to inspire Kiwis to live healthier & happier. She is a “wellness geek” (PT, wellness coach, yoga + mindfulness teacher, wellness speaker, and healthy recipe creator for Good magazine). She’s also a “writing geek” (award-winning journalist, magazine writer and author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness, which includes 30 global experts sharing health + happiness ideas). Rachel co-leads the blissful Mindful Moments Retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. The latter has just been recognised as one of Conde Nast Traveller’s recommended places to stay for ultimate rainforest luxury experiences.

Facebook @inspiredhealthNZ

Instagram @rachelgrunwell

For more information on coeliac disease check out Coeliac NZ

Be Body Fit ‘Recipe’

By Rachel Grunwell (wellness coach)

The hardest part of starting a wellness journey is choosing to start. It’s the part where you decide to jump and commit to doing something.

This takes courage.

It also starts with self-love. You have to care about yourself, know that you matter and know that you deserve to take time out to nourish your body, mind and soul.

I do wellness coaching for people who want to work on either how they move, eat, sleep or manage stress. Sometimes people come to me with one goal, but end up realising that they’d like to work on some other things along the way. I can help anyone work on their nutrition, weight management, achieve a run goal or start a weight-lifting programme, to working on ways to manage stress or get more zzzzzzz at night.

Whatever part of your wellness you wish to work on… starting is everything. Choose any aspect and work on one small step at a time. One step builds over time and elevates your health.

Here are some ideas to start!

  1. Be body fit. ie move your body in a way that resonates with you that you enjoy and love. It could be walking with a friend at lunchtime, going for bike rides with your kids, attending a gym, running, swimming, dancing… whatever you like. Just move. It strengthens your bones, muscles and is healthy for your mind too. It helps you feel happy and alive and is a foundation for your mental health. If you have trouble sleeping… then this can be helpful for this too.
  2. Restrict your feeding window (time restricted eating, or also known as intermittent fasting) is a weight management strategy that’s worth giving a go. It could be as simple as finishing eating by 7pm at night and then not eating again until 7am the next day. You may not realise it, but you could be eating for 16-18 hours of the day and this trap of grazing non-stop is an easy trap to fall into. This strategy can stop us from over fuelling on too many calories.
  3. Not eating by the clock is another idea. We are not robots and programmed to be hungry at the exact time every day. Eat if you are hungry. If you aren’t then maybe wait a bit longer. For example, if I have had a big breakfast out with friends then I might not be hungry again until 1pm-ish. So I check in on how I feel and I’m guided by a more mindful-eating approach.
  4. Cut fruit juice. Drink water instead and the good news is this is free. Water is also free of sugar. There can be so many calories hidden in those soft drinks which give us a high, then a low.
  5. Move your body 150 minutes weekly. Get your heart rate up. Yes, I’m finishing with another movement idea because I’m so passionate about getting people moving. It helps us to look good, but importantly feel good. Ideally do this in nature if you can where you can soak up the sights and escape your never-ending to-do list!
  6. Lastly here’s a recipe for that smoothie pictured.
Add into a blender: 1 cup of milk of your choice, 1 banana (skin removed, of course), 1 scoop of protein powder (I use Clean Lean Protein by NuZest which is vegan and contains no nasties). Use the code INSPIRED to get 20% discount via nuzest.co.nz. 1 cup of strawberries (I use frozen Pams berries from my supermarket!)

Blitz this in your blender and then pour into a glass to enjoy! #ad #brandpartner #nuzest

20 Top Run Tips – from 4 passionate runners & experts!

AD/ Here are 20 top run tips in the lead up to the Rotorua Marathon event on September 17 – from an elite runner and three experienced marathoners including a top nutrition expert. If you haven’t already entered this amazing event then there is still time to enter. Join in on the fun by clicking HERE

5 Tips from elite athlete and Rotorua Marathon champion, Ingrid Cree:

Be Prepared! 

Train hard, taper to freshen up, study & visualise the course, check the weather forecast & adjust your race plan to suit. 


Say hi to someone at the start, share your journey & encourage each other. Having supporters along the way and your name on your bib can be great for motivation too. 

Rehydrate & Refuel!

You need to frequently replace some of the fluid & energy you lose while you are running. A sports drink you are familiar with or gels & water work great. 

Pace Yourself!

Don’t get carried away at the start, the race really begins in the last 10km of a marathon. Relax up & down the hills so you still have strength in your legs for the final stages. 


Enjoy the day & the stunning course. This is going to be an amazing achievement, so be proud of yourself! Studies have shown smiling can actually lower your perception of effort. 

5 Tips from Marton Salisbury, a member of the Rotorua Survivors Club, who has run 120 marathons including 30 Rotorua Marathons. He has done 30 marathons with his brother Ants, who sadly can’t do it this year due to injury. Marton’s son Matthew has also been doing this marathon for 10 years now too!

Train to Race , don’t race to Train

Never give up, keep moving forward, the end will come.

Plan, Plan, Plan – training walks/runs (Record and celebrate all improvements , no matter how small).

Set small distance goals and increase slowly each week.

Tapering towards the event.

Have fun, and train with a friend. (Helps keep you committed and is so much more enjoyable).

5 Tips from PhD qualified, registered nutritionist, 14 x marathoner & sub 3-hour marathoner, Mikki Williden

Start your day with a decent hit of protein. This helps recovery from the early morning training session, stabilise blood sugar and promote better energy levels. A lot of runners feel tired through the day that they attribute to training, but it is also diet driven. Eggs (at least 3), protein smoothie, a breakfast bake like this (https://mikkiwilliden.com/recipes/chocolate-apple-zoats-bar) or dinner for breakfast can all be great ways to achieve the 30g protein you need.

Hydrate well throughout the day. Another energy sapper, being dehydrated does make the heart work harder to pump the blood around the body, making you feel more fatigued and the perceived effort in your next workout a lot harder. Rehydrating and replacing 1.5x the amount of fluid lost in your workouts within 2-3 hours can offset dehydration. Weigh yourself before and after training to figure out what this equates too.

Don’t avoid the salt shaker. We need sodium to pull water into our cells, to help with ATP production (i.e. energy) and we need more than we think. Adding ½ tsp salt to your 1L of water will provide a decent hit of the sodium (salt) you need, as will salting your food. As an athlete, it is difficult to overdo this.

While you burn more calories than the average person, you also use way more nutrients – so food quality is important. Don’t use your training as an excuse to eat a less than stellar diet. This isn’t saying you can never enjoy convenience or fast foods if you like them, but focusing on good sources of animal protein, eggs, quality sources of carbohydrate (such as potato, kumara, fruit), nuts, seeds and non starchy vegetables, using butter, olive oil and coconut oil to cook in, will help you meet your nutrient requirements. 

That said, magnesium, fish oils and vitamin D / K are three supplements I most recommend runners take for their beneficial roles in reducing inflammation, promoting immune health and replenishing the stress pathways. With creatine to support recovery (and brain!) and a Blackcurrant supplement as other recommendations for those who are able to spend more in this area. 

5 tips from Rachel Grunwell, wellness expert, run coach, 25x  marathoner  including four full Rotorua Marathons, run guide for the Achilles charity (guiding disabled athletes through marathons). Author of the book Balance: Food, health + Happiness (which includes 30 global experts on how to live healthier and happier).

It’s common not to sleep well the night before race day  because you feel nervous/anxious/excited– and that’s ok. You are not alone; It’s common. And don’t worry about it impacting on your performance. You’ll have the energy and adrenalin to get you through to the end of race day if you have trained for this race, no problem. Try to aim for a good night’s sleep two days out from race day to bank some zzzzz in case you don’t sleep well the night before.

Get loved ones or a friend to cheer you on when you are ¾ of the way through the race. This is when it starts to get hard and the support will lift you up and make you smile. Even better, run this event with a loved one! I’ll be running the 10km event with my dad, Nick, and son Lachlan, aged 15 (and possibly my sister Bex! So this marathon event will make for some amazing memories!!!

Fuel yourself well after a race – ideally with a good protein hit! Here’s a yum nut butter smoothie recipe to try

A marathon event is the test of your mind ultimately. Believe you can and you will do it.

Stretch after a long run to bring length back to tight muscles (and to avoid you walking like a lego man!) Here are some stretches to try from one of my blogs.

ps the last time, and only other time, my dad and I have done a race together was a Rotorua Marathon. I finished this event before he did, and then went back out on the course for him … we crossed that finish line together, holding hands and it will forever be one of our most special memories. Ever! I actually framed that picture and it’s in dad’s lounge. When I look at it… I always smile! Heck, so much sweat shared chuckle!

Rach’s Remedy

AD/ If the thought of drinking apple cider vinegar neat makes your lips pucker, then try this elixir which helps to stimulate digestion, packs a nutritional punch, and is delicious! Warning: You’ll feel seriously virtuous after knocking this baby back…


1 tablespoon CoralTree Organics Apple Cider Vinegar 1 large orange (skin removed)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (skin removed and grated) 1/2 cup fresh turmeric

(or use 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder instead) 3 grinds of black pepper
1 cup coconut water (or use plain water instead) 1 teaspoon manuka honey


Place all ingredients into a blender and blitz into a juice. Pour into a glass and savour!

To make a grown-up version, add a shot of gin and rename it a “Coral Reefy”! 

Rachel Grunwell is a wellness expert and author of the book Balance: Food, Health and Happiness, as well as a healthy recipe creator for Good magazine. She has been taking apple cider vinegar daily for years as one of her wellbeing rituals and as part of her philosophy to live life more in balance.

Race Nutrition Tips from Run Experts

By Rachel Grunwell

(AD – the post is sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon which is on May 8, 2021. Enter HERE)

Carb-loading or no carbs? Gels, or no gels? Thoughts around race fuelling change constantly.

But the fact remains: Fuelling well helps you run well.

Fuelling right for optimum performance is something every runner cares about – whether you are at the back of the pack, or in the lead.

I’ve got some insight and tips below from an elite runner, nutritionist, seasoned runner and I also share some tips too as a coach and multi-marathoner. Some of these tips and anecdotes blew my mind and others had me laughing out loud!

Ultimately, fuelling comes down to an individual approach. So what works for one person, might not be the ideal solution for another, So it’s important to have tried and tested a few different ideas before you race – so you can run with confidence on race day knowing what to do. Here are the thoughts on nutrition from a few different peeps. Which one do you mostly connect with?

Simon Cochrane. Based in Hamilton, Simon is an elite endurance athlete who is an official pacer for the 3-hour group racing this year’s event. He is using this year’s event to pace as a training run in the lead up to an ultra-marathon in Wellington in July. He reckons there might only be about five people racing at this hot pace and so he hopes to help them all through. Simon is a top NZ athlete. He came 3rd in the Tarawera 100km Ultra in February. He has had 5 international podium placings over the Ironman distance in his careers and has raced the World Champs in Hawaii. At the Rotorua Marathon event previously, he has placed 2nd in a half marathon (1hr 13 mins) and won the 10km event (34 mins). He is a coach too through his business, Athletic Peak Coaching. Here are his nutrition tips:

“The usual breakfast for me is eggs, toast, and a couple of coffees. That every day – whether it’s training or race day.

“There’s no need to change it up race morning, as your body knows it’s normal routine best. You can maybe just eat a little bit earlier than normal to make sure everything is digested. 

“Same with during the race. Have the same nutrition plan as every long key session. 

“So mainly aim to keep everything the same – no need to carb-load or eat more as you will have tapered off the run volume and be storing more energy anyway,” says Simon.

I asked Simon about his thoughts around gels?

“Haven’t had a gel in 10 years! 

“I have Tailwind drink, and some real food (bars/bananas) if longer than 3hrs or so,” he says.

James Crosswell, age 71, plumber from Opotiki who is part of the Rotorua Marathon Survivors’ Club (this club includes runners who have done more than 15 Rotorua Marathon events to be an official member). He will run his 44th Rotorua Marathon this year (among almost 100 marathons in total). His fastest marathon is 2hr 52 mins at Rotorua previously. Last year he ran this event in 5hr 20 mins (he now walks and runs so he doesn’t put too much pressure on his heart, he says). Here are his nutrition tips:

“Before a marathon I usually have two pieces of (brown bread) toast with honey on and a cup of tea. I’ll have breakfast at 6.45am on race day.

“Then I just have water at the water stops usually.

“However I’m trialling a vitamin C energy tablet with water now while doing this year’s marathon. I tried it on a run recently and it was quite good.

“In the past I used to put corn syrup in used mini toothpaste tubes and have that while out on the marathon course. It was like a petrol boost,” he says, chuckling.

Mikki Williden, PhD, registered nutritionist and seasoned runner. Mikki is the 2005 Rotorua champion. She has an impressive personal best marathon time of 2hr 55 mins at Auckland where she nabbed a 4th placing in 2010. Check out a Mikkipedia podcast where she interviewed Kathrine Switzer. Here are her nutrition tips:

“With regards to carbohydrate ‘loading’ per se, this has moved on somewhat. There isn’t too much you need to change with regards to carbohydrate load of the diet – in effect, by tapering, you will be carbo loading and restocking your glycogen stores. That’s a really good thing! However, if you follow a pretty low carbohydrate approach, then adding in another 100-150g in the 3 days leading up can just ensure this process is on point. Think: a couple of pieces of fruit, 200g kumara or potato, 1 cup cooked white rice.

“Importantly, you want to be hydrated – so ensure you are drinking adequate amounts of water with electrolyte (such as Nuun tablet or LMNT electrolytes) – ideally not a lot of full sugared electrolyte drink as this isn’t really necessary – but you want to ensure you drink across the day and not backloading or front loading it – that you are just having it regularly. Going in to an event dehydrated can definitely impact negatively on performance outcomes. Becoming a little dehydrated throughout though, is no big deal and may in fact improve race outcomes.

“With protein load and fat load, no need to change things here, however some people feel anxious in lead up to race and therefore their stomach can play up. Dropping fat down a little bit can help. In addition, dropping out vegetables in the 2-3 days prior can also help with the overall gut-related issues that some experience – as the additional fibre at this time isn’t necessary and may interfere with your digestion and that in itself can be nerve wracking. We call this a low residue approach. For example, your meals have a few vegetables, but half what you normally would.

“Don’t make meals too big, and you might be better with a smaller dinner earlier in the day, and then a snack prior to bed in the lead up to the race (i.e. night before) so you don’t feel too loaded down with food. IE this might be a dinner at 5pm and a snack at 8pm (snack could even be just some protein powder mixed into coconut yoghurt with a few berries, or it could be banana and peanut butter or something like that.

“Dinner meals the night before are really individual. What has worked well in the past? Psychologically, it can be good to keep it familiar. Some favourites might be:

  • salmon, rice, broccoli,
  • chicken, rice, carrots, green beans
  • sweet potato with salmon mixed with mayo and a hardboiled egg or two
  • Could even be GF toast with avocado and salmon or scrambled eggs

“Breakfast the morning of, again, very individual. Don’t need a ton of food here, enough to restock liver glycogen which would have been depleted overnight, but that’s about it. Some people have nothing except coffee and cream, others have full on breakfast. Most are in the middle. Prior to my 2005 win of Rotorua I had 5 white bread buns with jam, a spirulina drink and a banana. Probably wouldn’t do that now, but looking back, it obviously didn’t do any damage on the day! Some ideas might be:

  • Protein shake with banana and peanut butter
  • oats + protein powder + almond milk + peanut butter
  • GF toast with 2 hardboiled eggs

“These are all some options – something to help keep you from being hungry, but not leave you so full. This might be 2h or so before the start of the race.

“Most importantly, don’t try something new on race morning! I made this fatal mistake in 2010 Christchurch marathon, leading to a DNF at 40k because my digestive tract had other ideas. That confirmed for me that dried apricots were not a goer for me pre-race. A mistake that, as a registered nutritionist, I probably shouldn’t have made, but we all live and learn! Good luck!”

Rachel Grunwell, Rotorua Marathon ambassador and 25 x marathoner, who has conquered 4 x Rotorua Marathons in this tally including guiding disabled athletes through three of these races. Rachel is also a run coach and author of the book Balance, which includes science-backed tips on how to be healthier and happier. The book includes four nutritionists too.

Practicing your breakfast and fuelling for race day is a must. If you don’t, you are asking for trouble! I love porridge with cream, blueberries and maple syrup before I run a marathon and have that two hours before I run. I also like a small coffee. While on the run, electrolytes are awesome and I take fuel on board only if I run a long run, or a half marathon or marathon. Under 10km, I’ll run without eating and will just have water mid-run. These days I don’t like the gels and prefer real food to fuel me. Dates or banana is great, but I’ll take on board something like chomps in a marathon. I like the latter because you can break off a bite sized piece of the chomp bar fuel when you need it and I like the taste of it. I guide disabled athletes through marathons from time-to-time and fuelling is something I advise the athletes on while on-the-run. It can make or break the experience. One athlete was feeling tired and took on too much sugary drinks about 34km through a marathon. It ended up in him feeling light headed and puking (I won’t name and shame here but we still laugh about this learning experience together. He learnt that lesson and has thankfully never repeated it!) You learn your lessons hard on a marathon and my hardest lesson with fuelling was not taking on board enough fuel early on in an event and then hitting the wall about 30-something kilometres and my running came to a crawl (I also ran too fast in that same race by the way and so I learnt two hard lessons from that event). What saved me that day and got me to the finish line? A mate meeting me to help me get through that run and him insisting I have a flat coke drink 5km near the end. That caffeine hit had me then fired up and running the fastest average pace in that entire race. Caffeine can uplift your performance and I definitely needed it that day!  

This blog was kindly sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon

Sunshine Smoothie Bowl

(AD) Sunshine Smoothie Bowl 

We can’t get to the islands right now. But we can bring a taste of that decadent island holiday food and sunshine like feels to our table!

I’ll be demonstrating how to make this smoothie bowl at the Go Green Expo in Auckland (March 27 & 28 on the Vitamix stand between 11am-2pm). Come along and learn some smoothie bowl tips and tricks and how to use a Vitamix to make smoothies, soups, bliss balls, juices, ice-cream and more!

I’ve had a Vitamix for years and back it. It’s sturdy, safe, powerful and has a seven year warranty. It never breaks!

By the way, this smoothie bowl is best served on a hot Summery day. Slurp it up loud. It will cool you down and that sweetness in the bowl will make you smile.

This bowl is nutrient-dense, delicious and you can make it up pretty quick.

One of the superfood ingredients is turmeric, which can aid digestion and is seen as an anti-inflammatory food.

Sunshine Smoothie Bowl 

½ cup almond milk

2 cups mango flesh (you can use fresh or I just buy it in frozen chunks in 1 kilo bags from the supermarket)

1 cup banana (skin removed)

½ teaspoon each of vanilla cinnamon and turmeric

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon’ Manuka honey


Place all the ingredients into the Vitamix blender in the order listed above. Blend the ingredients quickly until smooth. Don’t blend for too long (I do it for around 10 seconds) otherwise it will make the smoothie less thick and more liquid-like. Pour the mixture into a bowl and eat just as it is. Or you can top it with whatever you have at home. I had mint leaves, shaved dark chocolate, passionfruit and coconut chips. Eat and savour!

  • Rachel is a wellness expert, author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness and a healthy recipe creator for magazines and brands. She is a proud ambassador for Vitamix! Follow her on Instagram or Facebook 

This post was proudly sponsored by Vitamix

5 Tips to Avoid a Hangover

AD This blog was created for those training for the Rotorua Marathon event on May 8, 2021

By Rachel Grunwell 

It’s the festive season and I too love to savour some wine and soak up social gatherings and the fun. 

I thought I’d share some tips and advice  around alcohol for those of you who love “the sweat life” too. Alcohol can impact on your performance if not drunk in moderation. So it might be helpful to know some of this stuff for when you are next contemplating how much to drink at a party or social gathering.

Firstly, a standard drink is 100ml wine (12% alcohol – and not that much liquid in a glass!) or a 330ml beer (5% alcohol).

According to the National guidelines, the consumption of any more than two standard drinks for women and four for men in one sitting is associated with increased risk of health problems (obviously if this is sustained over a period of time).

According to the Nutrition for Life book by Catherine Saxelby, hangovers are caused by dehydration and things like the substances in alcohol like congeners, such as tannins, volatile acids, methanol and histamines.

Dark-coloured drinks like red wine, brandy, and sherry can cause the worst hangovers – especially the cheaper brands, she says. Mixing drinks can also spell bad news for a sore head (and leave you witch-like the next day – likely! Or is that just me? ha ha ha ha ha).

Here are 5 tips to help avoid a hangover:

  1. Stop at one drink. That’s smart! Or have none, if you have a very long run planned the next day. I totally recommend this. I’ve drunk ONCE the night before a long run and I will never do this again. I felt nauseous!! However, some people can get away with this WAY better than me.
  2. Don’t mix a whole lot of different drinks. This is REALLY bad news for a hangover.
  3. Drink non-alcoholic drinks in-between an alcoholic one to slow down how much you drink ie water, fruit juice etc

2.   Have lots of water to combat the dehydration.

3.   Have something like milk, or cheese, before you drink – as this lines your stomach. So our mothers telling us to “line the stomach with food” wasn’t just them being bossy.

4.   Foods like toast, fruit, flat lemonade, weak black tea with sugar, boiled rice, and eggs, can be kinder on the stomach when you have drunk a lot.

5.   Sleep it off. You should feel better after 24 hours.

ps an extra tip from Catherine Saxelby is not to bother with those effervescent tablets. She reckons they are just expensive urine!

Meanwhile, when I coach clients on how to move, eat and live healthier and happier, I advise clients too that alcohol has a lot of calories (7 calories per gram). A lot of my clients are chasing weight-loss goals. So there’s that to consider too.

ps remember all things in life in “balance” can be okay. Just make informed choices about how you fuel your body and have moderation in mind.

Set your next run goal by entering the Rotorua Marathon event held on May 8, 2012. There’s a fun run, 10km, half marathon and marathon distance to contemplate. Enter HERE

Rachel is a wellness coach, keen runner (25 marathons at the last count) and Rotorua Marathon ambassador.

Rachel is also the author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness.

Follow her via  Instagram @RachelGrunwell or click here for her business Facebook

Protein-Packed Choc Orange Bliss Balls

This snack is easy-peasy and quick to make. They’re a good snack for the kids and us “big kids”. I keep them in the freezer and so feel free to double the mixture and make twice as much so they’ll last a while. If you are lucky… My kids could eat the lot in one day. In fact they actually did, which made me a little grumpy ’cause I like these too!!

If you try them let me know what you think. Feel free to change up the ingredients. Perhaps yours will taste even better! A lot of people tell me how they change up my recipes in my book Balance, and I love hearing what they do! It’s really cool.

Protein-Packed Choc Orange Bliss Balls


2 Cups of raw nuts (I used a mix of almonds and hazelnuts, but you can also use cashews etc or whatever you have in the cupboard)

¼ cup cocoa powder

3 tablespoons of rice malt syrup (or you can use maple syrup or coconut sugar instead etc)

salt (one grind)

1-2 scoops of protein powder

3 tablespoons of coconut oil

1 orange (finely grate the outside/ squeeze the juice of the orange too)

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 cup of coconut (half into the mixture, half set aside to roll the balls in this)

Method: Place the nuts into a blender and grind them down to a fine powder. Then add all the other ingredients (except the ½ cup of coconut left over).

Blend the mixture well. Set aside and put the ½ cup of coconut into a bowl.

Place a golf ball size of mixture in your hand and roll it into a ball. Then place this into the bowl of coconut to coat the outside. Repeat…

Check out Rachel’s book Balance which features 30 nourishing recipes and 30 experts sharing science-backed wisdom on how to live healthier & happier. Click Here

Go Green Expo Workshop Event in Auckland!

As an award-winning writer, qualified coach and yoga instructor, Rachel helps people to manage their weight, get fit and feel happier.

About this Event

Sick of the wu-wu health stuff and wellness white-noise that’s just so darn confusing?

Get science-backed health and happiness hacks (that are proven to work) from global experts by spending an hour in this workshop with Rachel Grunwell.

Drawing from the key principals in her book, Balance, Rachel will share the wisdom she’s learned from 30 worldwide experts to help you live healthier and happier with wisdom that actually works. Tips include nutrition hacks, psychology smarts, emotional intelligence advice, fitness motivation strategies and wellbeing wisdom that will motivate you into action. 

Rachel has been on a remarkable health journey herself. She shares how she transformed her life… and what to do to transform yours.

Book your ticket by clicking HERE

Rachel’s retreat are usually almost $500. This workshop is just $55 and includes the book Balance (retails $40) and a bonus beauty product from the New Zealand made beauty brand Linden Leaves.

Hangover Cures that Actually Work…

By Rachel Grunwell

A shorter version of this column appeared in Indulge magazine. Rachel is a weekly wellness columnist for Indulge. She is a freelance health journalist for several of NZ’s top lifestyle publications. She’s the author of the book Balance, which features 30 global experts sharing science-backed wisdom on living healthier and happier. Follow Rachel on Instagram & Facebook.

So, everyone has had the hangover from hell. Come on. We’ve all experienced it at some point. Let’s be honest. Me included. We all know how easy it can be to be carried away at a social event. One friend even put me to bed after her party once as the party was ending. I was the last one dancing due to a few drinks that got me “happy”.

I had too much of a good night. I felt mortified the next morning of course over my unintended sleep over. That is, until I heard another guest slept outside their posh place under some bushes. So my night ending was (slightly) less dishevelled. The party story that won out was about the bush-sleep, rather than sleeping beauty if you get my drift. Chuckle.

As I get older, I’m less eager to return to that hangover state. Maybe it’s because I’m older and wiser (and like sleeping in my own bed..). But really I think it’s that I’ve got to a stage in my life where I’m more excited about training hard at the gym or running because I’m so goal-driven these days. And I usually have to take one of my kids to a swimming lesson or birthday party in the weekend and the suffering can be absolutely punishing then, right! So I’m a glass or two to celebrate these days kinda girl…

You know that feeling you want to try and avoid….the pounding headache, fuzzy brain, nausea, low energy, and a mouth that’s desert-like dry…

I interviewed nutritionist Catherine Saxelby about her new updated book, Nutrition for Life, which is full of lots of great info on how to fuel your body well. Her expertise is epic. She has been an authroity on diet and healthy eating for three decades. I skipped immediate to the section on how to handle hangovers. I dig her real-world approach and that she included this. Rather than trying to be virtuous – like some nutritionists kinda do. She knows in the real world people generally enjoy wine or beer and her nutrition bible helps with everything… so why not include hangover cures. I loved it. I also coach clients around how to balance some drinks in their week if they ask for advice around this…

Saxelby and I end up spending an hour on Skype. She’s so cool. And I love her lowdown on alcohol from our chat and some bits from her book… So here goes… this stuff is good!

She says hangovers are caused by dehydration and things like the substances in alcohol like congeners, such as tannins, volatile acids, methanol and histamines.

Dark-coloured drinks like red wine, brandy, and sherry can cause the worst hangovers – especially the cheaper brands. Mixing drinks can also spell bad news for a sore head (and leave you witch-like the next day – likely! Or is that just me? ha ha ha ha ha).

However, you won’t escape a hangover if you drink lots of other things too like beer, white wine, whiskey, gin, and rum too…

However Saxelby says the least effect around hangovers is caused by vodka. I bet a whole lot of you are vowing to celebrate now with that drink on the next celebratory occasion!

Meanwhile, champagne can get you intoxicated quickly as the bubbles push the alcohol into the body more quickly, the nutritionist says.

Speaking from Australia via skype Saxelby quips there’s only one sure way to avoid a hangover: “Don’t drink too much in the first place!”

But if you do over indulge, here are her top tips to avoiding a hangover – because you can’t always count on a bush-sleeping guest to outdo your party girl/Goldilocks-style-behaviour the next time…

1.   Drink non-alcoholic drinks in-between to slow down how much you drink ie water, fruit juice etc

2.   Have lots of water to counteract the dehydration.

3.   Have something like milk, or cheese, before you drink. So our mothers telling us to “line the stomach with food” wasn’t just nonsense!

4.   Foods like toast, fruit (fresh or canned), flat lemonade, weak black tea with sugar, boiled rice, and eggs, can be kinder on the stomach too.

5.   Sleep it off. You should feel better by 24 hours later.

6.   Don’t bother with the effervescent hangover remedies. “I think you just produce expensive urine,” says the author.

 Meanwhile, another nutritionist I met last year, also Australian- based and also super lovely and knowledgeable, Michele Chevalley Hedge, says “fish oils at bed are key to avoiding a hangover”.

Meanwhile, when I coach clients on how to move, eat and live healthier and happier, I’m guided by the national guidelines when it comes to alcohol. Firstly, alcohol has a lot of calories (7 calories per gram). A lot of my clients are chasing weight-loss goals. So there’s that to consider too.

Importantly, the guidelines are to limit alcohol intake to one or two standard drinks a day at the most. These guidelines warn that a daily alcohol intake in excess of four standard drinks for men and two for women could lead to serious health problems. Alcohol impacts people differently too. For example, I’m a bit of a light weight with it. So I’m really considered about what and how much I drink these days. Except for that night of the party with the unintended sleep over…. chuckle. We can all got a bit wild sometimes, right!

Also, it’s important to note that the national guidelines idea of a standard drink could be different to what you may think. For example a standard stubbie of beer contains 1.3 and 1.5 standard drinks. Watch the percentage of alcohol amount too on the beverage. Some can be quite high.

ps remember all things in life in “balance” can be okay. Just make informed choices about how you fuel your body.

Find out more about Rachel’s real-approach coaching and wellness workshops services, public speaking engagements and her book Balance: Food, Health and Happiness via inspiredhealth.co.nz  Instagram @RachelGrunwell or click here for her business Facebook