Worry… it’s (was) in my bones.

When I was a child I worried about playing with the purple crystals in the chemistry set, going to bed thinking I was going to die because I’d spilt it on myself. Worrying about my horse, worrying about my parents and that the minor disagreement they had at dinner… they were splitting up for sure! Later stressing out that I’d upset my friends with a comment or I was going to fail my exams etc. You might relate. However none of this prepared me for one of my most stressful and worrying stages of life… i.e. being a Mother and Parent.

Wow, the worries I created in my head, especially when they were babies (& I’ve got still got teenage years ahead of me)! How would they survive the night ahead let alone a few hours without me right there with them? For the Mums reading this I’m sure you can relate.

I realise now, for me, these stressors weren’t real. Rather, a self imposed, newly evolved type of anarchy within my own mind.

Note: My reference to stress is in regard to any thing that seriously threatens our homeostasis, (balance).

Knowing what I know now I would’ve been a lot kinder on myself and probably a better mother. No regrets though.

‘When the student is ready the teacher appears’ (or the lesson is heard) ~ Zen Proverb

What I’ve questioned as I’ve got older (and a bit wiser) is ‘what have I ever gained from worrying?’ As hard as it is to not worry, how has it ever helped resolve the situation or the issue at hand? (A reminder to self).

Even though stress responses are an adaptive process, ongoing or persistent worry and stress can create dis-ease.

Disease in our body is a lot more complex but very simply – along with nourishing our bodies deeply and eliminating toxicity – emotional health and managing stress (i.e. a balanced nervous system) is THE most important thing we can do for our energy, longevity, graceful ageing and joie de vivre.

Here’s why.

When stress is activated it affects pretty much every system in our body.

Stress has many, many different guises and many we wouldn’t consider a stressor. Each stressor can weaken our ability to handle stress e.g. we snap at the family, fly off the handle, don’t sleep well, overreact etc. OR it creates a physical reaction in our bodies e.g. headache, loose bowels, sweaty, don’t feel hungry, sugar cravings, increased heart rate etc.

Whatever it is and irrespective of the cause, the body uniformly activates the stress response in the same way.

Here’s what we need to know about the impact of stress on our body and 13 different guises of stress…

Stress and Our Body. What We Need To Know;

1. Stress hormones e.g. cortisol and adrenalin are produced by the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and the HPA (hypothalamic, pituitary and adrenal axis) making energy available for the body to use immediately.

Note: the hypothalamus sits inside the brain and links the nervous system to the hormonal system via the pituitary gland. The pituitary is a pea-sized structure at the base of the brain, just below the hypothalamus, to which it is attached via nerve fibres. Our adrenals sit on top of our kidneys.

2. Energy is diverted to the tissues that become more active during stress i.e. the muscles and the brain. Less critical activities are put on hold e.g. digestion and the growth and sex hormones.

With the change in chemistry that comes with stress, eating, growth, and reproduction go into a form of ‘shut down’ mode to ensure survival.

When stress is a one-off it can be considered ‘a good thing’ i.e. eustress, however much of the stress we experience today is persistent with long term damaging consequences.

Causes of persistent stress and it’s many guises;

  1. heavy metal toxicity either inherited or accumulated through environmental exposure
  2. pathogenic (good bug v bad bug) imbalance
  3. digestive disfunction
  4. poor food and beverage choices – too much sugar, carbs, meat, etc
  5. nutrient deficiency and malabsorption – not enough green vegetables
  6. silent inflammation
  7. childhood or prenatal trauma
  8. pollutants and chemical toxins
  9. too much exercise
  10. lack of purpose
  11. emotional stress e.g. relationship, financial, career, health, inherited beliefs
  12. constant medication without strengthening the immune system and body
  13. over exposure to radiation and electro magnetic frequencies

In addition to the above in isolation, with our constant exposure to pollutants and toxicity, less than ideal eating patterns and the busyness of our modern lives, most of us are not just dealing with one stressor, but many. Our bodies and our brains are not coping. We are experiencing low energy, overwhelm, disrupted sleep, digestive issues, mental illness, auto-immune issues, hormonal diseases and chronic illness.

We’re familiar with most of the causes listed above and we’re acting on it or them in some way. There are others however that we’re not familiar with and that are placing a constant stress on our bodies. Perhaps choose one or two that you know or you haven’t yet explored e.g. investigating heavy metal toxicity with hair tissue analysis or slowing down enough to discover your true purpose or work more on limiting beliefs with a qualified practitioner. Begin to make the preventative changes you need to make now before stress forces you to STOP & listen and manifests into something far more chronic and debilitating.

We’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain and the best part is it’s in our control.

It’s a very big topic and we go into it in more detail at my next workshop ‘Redefining Stress’ this week on Thursday 25th of May. Jill Dare and I will be giving practical and simple ways to alleviate stress and improve energy, joy, longevity and overall wellbeing while looking at how to get to the core of stressful beliefs. If managing stress is something you know you need to do, join us for an engaging and practical session with simple ways to ‘Redefine Stress’, this Thursday 25th May, 9:30am – 11:00am.

And I’m excited to have Toni Everard, Neurolinguistic Programming Practitioner and Life Coach joining me for my online workshop of ‘Redefining Stress’ the following Tuesday 30th of May at 7:00pm WA time! I did a short interview with Toni and Jill last week, chatting about what we’ll be sharing, find our videos on my Facebook page.  Register for either workshop at https://www.katebarnes.com.au/workshops-events/

‘To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world’
​​​​​​​ ~ Bill Wilson

A while ago I had a conversation with the kids while driving to school. I can’t remember the full context of it but we were running late and I had some work on I wanted to get to, when the kids grumpily said, ‘all you care about is your work’! It was a comment that made me stop mid flow. We pulled up at school and I looked at them and said… ‘my work is important to me but my most important job is being your Mum and it’s a job I take very seriously….’ I can’t remember what else I said, however the look from my youngest is etched in my mind… It was a look of adoration with a loving smile on his face. Nothing else had to be said and the conversation stopped.

I’d never said anything like that to them before so how would they know how much I value being their Mum?

It made me realise that one of the few ways our kids understand that being a parent, especially a primary caregiver, is an important role to have is by telling them and showing them. We teach them how to read, write, use their manners, the value of money, of getting a job etc. What about parenting and mothering?

One day it’s likely they’ll be parents and mothers, I’d like our kids to value their new role, to know the privilege and importance it bestows and that it’s something they can be very proud of and enjoy whole heartedly.

The statement, ‘I’m just a Mum’, is a real term alive and well in our homes and communities. I’ve said it myself! We all do and have done. Even if we don’t mean to marginalise the role of being a Mum, subconsciously it does.

I think the belief begins at home and it begins with us, as Mums. I’m not suggesting we add more responsibility to the heavy load we already carry, but rather to remember and be strong in the knowledge that shaping the lives of future generations and citizens IS an important job. It’s a tiring, thankless job at times yet there is no one that can do it better than we can or our family can. So that kind of makes it one of the best jobs in the world too!

I know it starts with me. If I’m not proud of the role I have or if I don’t value it how can my children?

Which is also why it’s so important to take time out to refuel and recharge, especially when children are little and we’re more tired from lack of sleep and we’re running on empty. If we’re not looking after ourselves and taking time to do more of what makes us happy, how can our children or our families be happy? And how can they look forward or prepare themselves for that most important job in the world, being a Mum?


For more inspiration to help navigate motherhood and reignite your joy of life, visit my 21 day vitality reset – Get up & Glow with Kate at https://www.katebarnes.com.au/getup&glowwithkate

‘We are all visitors to this time, this place.  We are just passing through.  Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home’ ~ Australian Aboriginal Proverb


Gubinge in the Nyul Nyul language of the Kimberley in Western Australia, has one of the highest known contents of Vitamin C on the planet!  Incredibly good for our immunity.

Our native plants e.g. bush rosemary, desert lime, davidson plum, kadadu plum or gubinge commonly have an extraordinary amount of medicinal nutrients.  Perhaps their evolution across predominantly harsh conditions and their high tolerance for heat, drought, salinity etc has equipped them with a unique intensity of nutrients, in particular antioxidants such as Vitamin C (that help fight cell damaging free radicals).

For example, let’s take a closer look at the kakadu plum or Gubinge…

Gubinge has been used by indigenous Australians for healing and strengthening for thousands of years.  It is said they’d take it on long hunting expeditions as it was considered as medicine more than food.   The sap and the bark was used to treat skin conditions, sores and as a tea for sickness.

It’s a small green fruit with a slightly sour taste that goes by many other names including, the bush plum, the billygoat plum, and murunga.

Gubinge truly is Natures Medicine.

1.  Vitamin C.   The incredible thing about Gubinge is it’s vitamin C content.  At 1000-5000 mg of vitamin C per every 100 grams of the fruit, gubinge contains over 5% vitamin C by weight.  This is about 50 times more vitamin C than an orange, making it a fabulous whole food, that includes all the additional cofactors (nutrients to help with absorption), to be adding into our diets and to help boost our immunity naturally.  And check out this article for more great reasons to be including vitamin C in our diets.

Vitamin C is one of the first nutrients to go when undergoing stress, smoking, drinking alcohol, medications or engaging in any other stress inducing activities. When this happens, our immune systems are compromised.  Taking vitamin C or foods high in Vitamin C helps give our immune systems a much needed boost.

2.  Antioxidants and Phytonutrients.   Gubinge contains even more antioxidants than blueberries, making it one of the most remarkably high-antioxidant foods available and we know of.

‘Edith Cowan University’s Foundation of Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease explains that the Kakadu plum contains antioxidant properties possibly up to seven times greater than curcumin, which is what places turmeric so high on the list of superfoods. The foundation states that the Kakadu plum has a protective ability that may make it even more powerful than turmeric’ (Dr Joshua Axe).

That’s all well and good, but HOW do we source these wonderful foods and how do we use them?!

Gubinge is becoming more readily available and I’ll be sharing lots more about it and simple ways to use it, even for sensitive kids in my workshop next week.    I’ve also shared a list of suppliers below.

As for other incredible foods to boost our immunity, most of them can be found in our local supermarket or farmers market,  a much cheaper alternative to Doctors visits and medications.  At my next workshop, ‘Building Strong Immunity in Little Bodies‘ I’m sharing what those key foods are, plus common, natural foods that can also feed illness unknowingly, loads of quick recipes and remedies, all packaged up into a neat mini book to take home with you and use straight away!

Come and join me at ‘Building strong immunity in little bodies‘ either online or sample some delicious, immune boosting produce at my morning tea!  y u mmm.   I hope you can join me.

FYI businesses supplying indigenous foods online include;

Daleysfuit.  https://www.daleysfruit.com.au

Australian Desert Lime. http://www.australiandesertlimes.com.au

Dandelion Eco Store.  https://dandelionecostore.com.au

The Australian Superfood Company http://austsuperfoods.com.au

Remember learning about European explorers, who travelled on their long journeys with certain foods like sauerkraut, to help prevent scurvy?  An illness caused by a Vitamin C deficiency. 

… we’ve known about the vital roles nutrients play in promoting health and how deficiencies are instrumental in contributing to illness for a very long time.

If any of our family are unwell or ‘run down’, while there’s no fear of scurvy, I always ‘add in’ a good dose of Vitamin C either with native plants or a good quality supplement (details below) to help fight infection and aid our recovery.

Along with our food and lifestyle choices, it works.  I can’t remember the last time any of us, even the kids who are 13 and 15, went to the Doctor.

So with the change of seasons on the way and bugs aplenty, it’s a good time to consider adding vitamin C into your meals & routine.

And this ESSENTIAL Vitamin is so much more than an immune booster!  Vitamin C is involved in protein metabolism and collagen synthesis i.e. it’s needed to help make these molecules accessible for the body to absorb and use.  It’s also vital for other critical functions including our happiness and youthful skin.

In this post discover 8 great reasons you need Vitamin C daily, especially with the change of seasons, how we become deficient AND simple ways to get more into your day.  

Why Vitamin C is essential in your daily diet.

  1. The body doesn’t produce vitamin C i.e. we simply must get it from our diet i.e. itis an essential nutrient.
  2. It is a water soluble vitamin which means our bodies don’t store it and we need to ingest foods with vitamin C on a daily basis to maintain the amount our bodies require.

6 more good reasons.

Other than immunity, Vitamin C is necessary for these vital functions;

  1. Healthy, youthful skin.  It helps produce collagen which is great for our skin and thereby helps to prevent premature aging.   Collagen is necessary for strengthening bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments.
  2. Wound repair and maintaining the health of our bones and teeth.
  3. Absorbing iron.   It plays a role in helping our body absorb iron which is necessary for good energy and keeping our blood well oxygenated.  If your iron is low, perhaps vitamin C is actually low?
  4. Preventing cellular damage through it’s function as an antioxidant.  Antioxidants protect our cells against free radicals which we are exposed to everyday.
  5. Builds and maintains healthy blood vessels, helping them dilate and potentially helping reduce high blood pressure.
  6. Brain health and happiness.   Vitamin C helps make neurotransmitters (chemicals assist communication in the brain) including serotonin i.e. our happy hormone!

Why we may not get what we need;

  1. Caffeine.   Drinks and food containing caffeine such as coffee and tea can inhibit the absorption of vitamin C plus the diuretic effect of these drinks mean we excrete the vitamin C in our urine.
  2. Medications.  Certain medications, antibiotics and birth control can reduce the amount of Vitamin C in our bodies.
  3. Stress.  Prolonged stress also depletes Vitamin C and this is why we should take extra Vitamin C during periods of stress.
  4. Deficiencies in our food.  The amount of Vitamin C found in food depends on the variety of the plant, soil condition, climate its grown in, the length of time since it was picked, how it’s stored, and then, how the food is prepared.  For example, if you heat fruits and vegetables, or store them in water for a longer period of time, or expose them to light, Vitamin C is denatured and is then less available to your body.


9 Signs of Deficiency.

  1. Easy bruising
  2. Swollen gums
  3. Bleeding gums
  4. Slow wound healing
  5. Gingivitis
  6. Dry and splitting hair
  7. Rough, dry, scaly skin
  8. Nosebleeds
  9. A weakened immune system e.g. inability to shake coughs and colds

The best source.

Our food.  Especially fruits and vegetables, in their whole form, fresh and local;

Eating foods in their most natural and whole forms give our bodies more nutrients and the ‘co-factors’ i.e. the other nutrients and enzymes that allow those nutrients to be easily and effectively absorbed by our bodies.

While many of us turn to supplements first, it’s important to emphasise the best source of any vitamin, mineral, or nutrient is fresh, raw and local food sources.

However, in saying that, with the change of seasons I always add in a Vitamin C supplement.

Specific foods to be adding in;

  1. Fermented and pickled vegetables e.g.  a simple sauerkraut, a basic kimchi and pickled carrots.
  2. Dark leafy greens e.g. kale, silver beet, spinach and other vegetables e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts etc.
  3. Herbs e.g. coriander, cilantro, parsley and basil.
  4. Fruit.  Commonly think of oranges, better fruits to choose with more vitamin C; berries e.g. blueberries and strawberries, papaya, kiwi fruit, pineapple and lemons. And the foods with the highest amount of vitamin C are;
  5. Native plants. Camu Camu, a fruit from the amazon and Kakadu plum also called, gubinge or billygoat plum and is grown in the North of Western Australia in the Kimberley.  These foods usually come in a powdered form and can be found at your local health food store.  If you’re in Australia try the gubinge before the camu camu, it is extremely high in Vitamin C, is a whole food i.e. more absorbable plus you’ll be supporting our local businesses!

These foods can easily be added into our meals or another easy way to add them in, is in smoothies.  I’ve got lots of great smoothie ideas on my site. Check them out. 

Handful of Blueberries


Supplementing: If we need to supplement be certain that the supplements are high quality, they are bioavailable i.e.  in a liquid form (e.g. a lioposomal vitamin C) or powdered, with few ingredients, are free of additives, fillers, or synthetic ingredients and are preferably bottled in glass.

And THE best ways to boost our immune system overall… sleep well, move more and stress less. 

Key Messages

  1. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and it’s needed in our diet daily, even for our children.
  2. The best source is through breast milk babies (mother), food, fresh, local, raw, gently steamed, however many of us aren’t absorbing well…
  3. Check for any factors that may be inhibiting absorption (listed above).
  4. If you do supplement. Look for a good quality brand in a liquid or powdered form.

And some more inspiration and information on boosting our immunity simply;

A checklist for great immunity.  24 tips to nurture and nourish.

14 tips your immunity will love.

7 tips to improve gut health.


Be curious. Experiment. Listen. Be enriched.


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