6ways plastic effects your health

The days of Tupperware parties being hip and sociable are over! Not just because they are so 80s, but we are also becoming far more aware of the environmental and personal effects of plastic (OK, Tupperware lasts a life time and soft, single use plastics are far more environmentally damaging, but plastic is plastic- you get the drift ).

Plastics and their chemical compounds are now considered the number one pollutant, not only for our planet, but in the human body too and they are causing havoc with your health!

 Plasticisers, the chemicals and toxicants in plastic, may be handy in the kitchen by making products flexible and durable, but they are also in items you would not consider to be plastics, like pesticides, detergents, cosmetics, medications, clothing or your shampoo. The two main culprits under investigation are Bisphenol.A (BPA) and Phthalates (“THAL-ates”), but there are plenty others that are damaging to our health such as polystyrene and DEHA.

According to EPA studies, plasticisers are found in far higher quantities than any other toxins in our bodies. We expose ourselves daily through our personal care products and they enter our food directly through the food chain – yes, plastics are now found in the fish we eat and have even been detected in sea salt. They also affect our food through a process called “leaching”. Higher amounts of leaching occur when plastics are heated or when plastic is in contact with foods that are fatty, acidic or salty. This process is not disputed or denied, in fact it is acknowledged by chemical companies- it’s just how much is released that is not yet known, but when you know just how damaging they can be, even in the smallest amount, why take any chances?

Here are just 6 ways plastics damage the body-

1: Hormone function. BPA is a synthetic oestrogen found in rigid plastic products, food and formula can linings, dental sealants, and on the shiny side of paper cashier receipts (say no to the receipt if you sure you won’t be returning the produce). BPAs oestrogen-like activity makes it a hormone disruptor. Hormone disruptors can affect how oestrogen and other hormones, such as thyroid hormones act in the body, by blocking them, preventing conversion or mimicking them. This throws the body’s hormonal balance into chaos. Because oestrogen can make hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer develop and grow, many women, wisely choose to limit their exposure to these chemicals. Phthalates have been found to affect and block testosterone function in both sexes as well as lowering testicular function and sperm production in men.

2: Essential fatty acid (EFA) damage, most importantly, the fatty acid, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Research has shown that exposure to these chemicals may lead to placental EFA deficiency and therefore may affect foetal development. EFAs are fundamental for making every cell lining or membrane. These fatty acids are the foundation for brain health including memory and recall.

3: Accelerated ageing- Due to Phthalates ability to decrease Zinc levels, which in turn can compromise the metabolism of vitamins A and B-6. This could lead to conditions such as indigestion, depression, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and accelerated aging. BPA has also been linked to vit D deficiencies.

4: Obesity – DEHA, a chemical found in PVC cling wrap has been linked to disruption of a gene (aptly named FAT for short) that is related to obesity as it is involved in fat metabolism.

5: Poor detoxification due to lower sulfation. Sulfation is required for the phase 2 detoxification that takes care of xenobiotics (foreign chemical substances that are not naturally produced) .This means that you are no longer able to effectively detoxify like you should and as we know, this in turn can lead to a whole host of separate health challenges.

6: Mood and behaviour- Phthalates have a negative effect on neurotransmitter production and conversion, as well as blocking the “happy hormones” creation, resulting in mood and behavioural disorders. They have been widely studied in relation to childhood developmental disorders.

These are only a few of the devastating effects of plastics in our bodies. Collectively, these harmful chemicals are known to cause severe health problems such as cancer, endometriosis, neurological damage, endocrine disruption, birth defects and child developmental disorders, reproductive damage, immune damage, asthma, and multiple organ damage. The CANSA association of S.A has stated:

 “Man-made chemicals are the last big piece in the cancer causing puzzle”

With this knowledge many people are turning to BPA free products, unfortunately this still is not a good option. Instead of BPA, manufacturers are now using bisphenol S (BPS) and other chemicals, yet recent studies are proving that this new approach is just as bad (if not worse) than the original.

It’s true that plastics are found everywhere and it’s impossible to avoid them, but we can and should at least try to reduce our exposure, for ourselves and our environment. For practical ideas on how to do this, head over to plastic free July http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/ 

For information on cleanse programs that further address plastic chemicals in the body head to http://www.nutri-360.com/nutriclean-program.html 


Kerry Fugard is a Nutritional therapist practicing in Functional medicine. She has a passion for mental health for all ages and women’s health. In practice she conducts One-on-one consultations, which can be done in person or virtually, as well as group talks and cooking demos with her chef husband- you can find out more about her practice Nutri 360 here.

Busy? Overwhelmed? Stressed? 1 August 2017

Learn to say NO YES!

So many people believe that we need to learn to say “NO” to better cope with our overwhelmingly busy lives. I believe it’s time we change our minds, train our positive thinking and learn to say YES!

When we’re overwhelmed, stressed or just too busy, the first thing most of us do is say “NO”. NO to the exercise, NO to extra sleep, NO to taking time to eat nutritiously and NO to our social life. In other words, self-care is usually the first thing to go. I am convinced that all these “NO’s” backfire and make things worse by causing us to neglect our own needs, wear us resentfully out and often push us to the point of burnout. By discovering how and when to say YES, we can prevent reaching this point, reduce the negative effects of pressure and calmly refocus on our priorities, today!




Self-care is care provided for you, by you. It’s about identifying your needs and taking individual responsibility in thoughtfully making daily choices about lifestyle with simple things like nutrition, activity and rest. When we feel our best, we operate on a higher level and move through life confidently calmly and powerfully. So how can we change our minds and learn to say YES to self-care?


We underestimate how powerful it is to PAUSE and pay attention to our daily lives by taking a deep breath and turn off our “automatic pilot”. Just try to see how differently you “respond” to a stressful situation if you just take 1 minute to take a deep breath before “reacting”….


Nutrition experts and fad diets often encourage us to say “NO” to certain “bad” foods. We tend to punish ourselves or feel guilty when we eat those foods, adding to our daily stress. Try practicing a positive approach to nutrition by taking that mindful breath and asking “Why am I choosing this food?”. A mindful approach to eating gets us out of the vicious cycle of yo-yo-ing between “good and bad” and teaches us to trust our bodies to make appropriate decisions about foods that make us “feel” good rather than “be” good.


There is overwhelming evidence that people leading active lifestyles are healthier, sleep better, live longer, have better mental health, mood, stress levels and general sense of well-being. I challenge you to change your mindset from one of “NO time to exercise” to a mindset of “YES, non-negotiable, NO time NOT TO!”  Try to notice how you immediately benefit while avoiding the backfire of sedentarity ….


Our ability to concentrate, pay attention, react quickly, be creative, innovate, solve problems and make decisions are all less effective when we’re tired. Lack of sleep makes us more susceptible to stress, more likely to suffer from depression, more emotional, irritable and short tempered. Try changing your mindset to prioritize sleep and recovery throughout the day with a YES!  Within a few days you, and those around you, will likely notice that sleep is not a luxury but enlightened self-interest….


Do you say NO to self-care too often? Ready to change your mind and learn to say YES now? Here’s a life-changing opportunity to take a break from demands of family or office to focus on YOU!

Retreat from your busy life with a friend or on your own to join us to nourish body, mind, heart, and spirit and dig deep to explore mindful eating and resilient living. “Change your Mind and Body!” Mindful Eating – Mindful Living Weekend (English-French) November 4th-5th, Hotel de Chavannes, Chavannes de Bogis, near Geneva Switzerland. You’ll discover how to free up your time and energy to create the life you crave – at home and at work. Not only will you be enlightened and inspired during this 2-day retreat, you’ll also benefit from individual support from our team long after your suitcases have been put away. We promise that you will leave feeling re-committed to your good health, refreshed and guided, with a plan to go forward.

Remember, self-care is not a reward, it’s part of the process, from this place, you will realize that what you may today consider “selfish” time for yourself can exponentially benefit your personal and professional life. Find the support and accountability you need to work you through this process now, and you will not only thrive and feel fabulous, but enhance your contribution to the world!

INFO: https://www.whealthness.ch/whats-happening/ or EMAIL: ekocher@whealthness.ch 


Core training. 1st May 2017

From Eva Gonzalez

I am sure you are getting used to hear about Core in all sorts of exercise you are reading or carrying out. Why is it so important ‐ and what is  it?

Our core has deeper muscles that include waist muscles, the transverse and rectus abdomens, and are those muscles that run from just below your sternum to your waist: many of these muscles are hidden beneath the exterior musculature people typically train. They make it possible for you to perform every day activities which can be anything such as housework, to daily carry your baby and to sports by helping support your back when you bend over and stand up. They work with other muscles to assist your  posture. Core work is therefore incorporated in almost every movement of the human   body.

When you feel a strong lower back pain it is the lack of core muscles you feel. With Pilates you work your muscles from the inner side to out and you therefore build your base up this way. Once these muscles    are stronger you can move over to more specific exercises for your  needs.

There are a few very easy exercises you can start with if you would like to build up your   core.

Exercise 1, the plank. If you have not than the plank for a long time, start with 20 seconds per day and build it up until you feel comfortable staying in the correct position the whole time. It can be useful to look at a picture of the position before you get  started.

Exercise 2. Lay on your back with your legs straight up. Lift bum and legs straight up towards the roof and do 20 repetitions of this.

By doing these exercises daily you’re kicking off a change towards a stronger core very   efficiently.

So, is our Core still going to be the center of our attention? Oh  yes.

From Ellen Kocher

Scared of the Scales? No Weigh!1st Apr 2017

With the warmer weather and bathing suit season lurking, many women are scared to step on the scales. Though Scales are an easy, safe, inexpensive means to measure progress, they can be very motivating for some people but can trigger emotions in others. Let’s ask ourselves some questions and consider some of the pros and cons for using the scales to find out if it’s right for you…

Consider this…the scale can be a trigger….For many, when the number isn’t what they want to see, anger, self-doubt, or judgment sets in, which can lead to giving up on healthy goals, surrendering to emotional eating, and getting stuck.

Ask: Do I associate the number on the scale with my mood, confidence or self-esteem? Does weighing myself make me feel good? Bad? Other? Do I really need a scale to know if I’m on track?

Consider this… the scale does not necessarily tell the true story…When you are eating right and moving your body, it can change the way your clothes fit, body shape, skin quality, energy levels and endurance. The scale may not show those changes. When you weigh in, you’re measuring everything that has weight, including not just body fat, muscle, and bone tissue, but also water from normal weight fluctuations.

Ask: How is my energy? How is my endurance? How do I feel? How do my clothes fit?

Consider this… the same weight can look completely different on each individual …Different people of the same height and weight can each wear different sizes, have different body shapes and have a different body fat percentage. While many people claim that “that muscle weighs more than fat” (a kilo of muscle and a kilo of fat both weigh a kilo), getting rid of a kilo of fat and gaining a kilo of muscle can have a huge impact on how your body looks due to the volume that kilo represents.

Ask: Why do I target a certain weight in the first place? Am I big-boned or small-boned? Do I feel and look toned? How do I feel? When do I feel my best?

Consider 9 other measuring sticks… Remember, the solution to well-being and health lies in raising awareness, taking action and in progress and NOT in obsessing over a number!

  1. Tight or form fitting clothes. Ask: How do they fit and feel?
  2. A tape measure since your goal is not necessarily to lose weight but to reduce body fat or change body shape. Ask: What measurements are important to me and why?
  3. Waist to hip ratio which can indicate susceptibility to a number of health issues.

Ask: What is my ratio calculation? For men, a ratio of .90 or less is usually considered safe while for women, a ratio of .80 or less is considered safe. 

  1. Skin Calliperfor measuring body fat since the higher body fat, the higher the risk of suffering from obesity-related conditions.  Ask: Where do I lie on the body fat risk scale?
  2. Compliments from others. Ask: What have others said recently?
  3. Other positive changes as a result of a healthier lifestyle such as energy levels, sleep, mood or appetite. Ask: How do I feel? Sleep? Move?
  4. Doctor’s measures. Ask: How is my blood pressure? Cholesterol? Heart rate?
  5. Who you see in the mirror. Ask: Who do I really see in that mirror: spirit, soul, body? 
  6. Emotions like self-esteem, confidence and happiness. Ask: How do I feel emotionally? Am I building a positive vocabulary to stay motivated? Am I setting a good example for my family? Am I inspiring Healthy Living?


Finally, if your main goal is weight loss, various research and my personal experience have shown that self-monitoring with a scale (whether daily, weekly or at your own personal pace) can spur people to reach their goals and keep behaviour in check. I usually recommend weekly weigh-ins, but you need to find your rhythm. Recognize how the scale makes you feel and only use it if you’re the kind of person that can handle the ups and downs. I would suggest not getting caught up on the actual number but focusing more on the incremental change in that number and understanding your body. Don’t think of the scale as anything other than a compass, something we use when losing weight to keep us going in the right direction. It’s just a tool, no more and no less.

However, different people are motivated by different things and a one-size fits all solution may not be effective. I suggest that if you do not like the scale, remove it from your world! Don’t give up out of frustration since all healthy behaviours are worth the effort! Start listening to the signs your body gives you and trust that your efforts are paying off. Focus on the journey instead of the result…it’s never too early to start being happy!

From Ellen Kocher


Why do you think you should be more physically active? Many people think we should “move more to burn more” and this is not always a great motivator for just doing it. Did you ever consider the beauty benefits of stepping up your activity? Check out these 10  …


  1. SKIN
    When we exercise, our heart rate and blood flow increase pushing vitamins, minerals, and oxygen to our skin. The oxygen delivers nutrients that repair damage from the sun and environmental pollutants and revs up collagen production to prevent wrinkles giving us that healthy, youthful glow we desire.
  2. HAIR
    The increased circulation and blood flow we obtain through activity stimulates hair follicles and promotes growth and strength.
  3. DETOX
    Sweating is one of the primary ways our body eliminates toxins. A good sweat session is like a steam clean for our pores from the inside out. It’s our skin’s way of detoxing naturally. Exercise also improves our immune system by increasing white blood cell production meaning fewer bacteria and viruses can invade.
    Regular exercise creates healing endorphins that can effectively counteract the harmful effects of cortisol – the stress hormone known to accelerate the aging process.

Nothing is more attractive than the self-assurance that comes from feeling good in our own skin! People who exercise generally feel better about their self-worth, their physical condition and their overall health and show that INNER BEAUTY!


Activities that stretch and strengthen muscles, like Yoga or Pilates, can correct imperfect posture and add height. As our posture improves we tends to look leaner, fitter and more confident.


Anxiety, fearfulness and uncertainty all drain our vitality and dampen our mood, which tends to show on our face and in the way we carry ourselves. Exercise has been shown to alleviate most mild to moderate cases of anxiety, and can very quickly improve mood.

  1. SLEEP

Sleeping well leaves us looking fresher, more vibrant and healthier. Exercise sharpens the body’s sensitivity to the stress hormone cortisol, which can enhance and improve sleep.

  1. FAT

Regular exercise trains the body to burn fat more efficiently. It is especially the loss of excess visceral fat – the fat deep inside the body – that boosts our overall vitality and looks.


A toned, fit body looks smoother, leaner, younger and stands taller…not to mention the potential weight management benefits!


So now what do you think? Does boosting your movement sound “worth it”? The bottom line…physical activity benefits virtually every system in our bodies – it’s not just about the burn – and it all adds up to a more radiant, beautiful YOU and YOU’RE WORTH IT!


Contact Ellen Kocher