Hey Girls!

Here I am again, this time from Down Under, where I already spent my first two weeks. As you probably know, summer is nearly over here and it’s supposed to be autumn. By the time I arrived at the South West coast in Perth, summer had no intention to leave very soon and greeted me with it’s full power of 41 degrees! And I thought Asia was hot…

Surfing rock in WA

Although it’s really nice to soak up the sun, it brings a lot of dangers along, especially in Australia, where the Ozone hole is. Everybody always talks about the Ozone hole, so I thought it would be a good idea to gain certain knowledge of how to protect myself against sunburn. If you’ve ever frazzled yourself in the sun, you’ll know how painful this can be, but the long-term effects are even scarier. Many of the skin changes that were thought just to be part of the ageing process, including wrinkling, broken veins and ‘liver spots’, are known to be due to sun damage. Worst of all UV rays can damage the metabolism of skin cells, leading to skin cancer. Skin damage doesn’t just start with sunburn; any time you spend in the sun contributes in the long term. It is thought that sun overexposure results in suppression of the immune system and may make you more vulnerable to infections. Although a suntan can protect against sunburn after two to three weeks, it won’t protect you against the ageing or cancer-inducing effects of UV radiation.

Now if you spend a lot of time outdoors where the sun is almost always shining be on your guard all the time! Generally think of doing the slip, slop, slap thing:

– slip on a shirt – covering up with clothing; special protective tops (rushy) and sun suits are ideal for wearing on the beach and doing water sports

– slop on sunscreen – use liberal amounts of high protection factor (SPF 50 is available at Boots) on any exposed bits of skin

– slap on a hat – a wide-brimmed hat will help to keep damaging rays off your face, ears and back of the neck

Covering up in Oz

Sun does just as much damage to your eyes, so you’ll need to protect your eyes with sunglasses. And when trying them on and checking out which ones make you look most like Victoria Beckham, check that they have also UV protection.

Another thing I came across a few times during travelling and especially now in Oz, is wheatgrass. If you’re not too much into green vegetables this is your ideal solution: only 30grams of wheatgrass is equal to having 1.5kg of green veggies! The benefits of wheatgrass are immense. It’s a powerful detoxifier, helps to heal quickly, builds up the immune system and red blood cells. Further studies have shown that a certain type of pigment (chlorophyll), found in high concentration in wheatgrass, can prevent certain types of cancer. It provides high dose of vitamin C and iron, has 30 times more vitamin B than fresh milk and 11 times more calcium.

Wheatgrass shot

Now don’t you get worried that soon you’ll have to chew on a bit of grass every day like a cow, as wheatgrass is often available in juice bars as a shot or in mixed fruit and/or vegetable drinks. Or you might be able to find it in health food stores as fresh product, tablets, frozen juice or powder. If you drink it, go for the mixed fruit and/or vegetable drink as the shot by itself tastes – hmm…. not very nice (especially compared to all the tasty wine they grow here!)

Fitness wise I’ve done some more running in the early morning hours or shortly before sunset, when the heat is more bearable, swimming and snorkelling in a rather cold sea and cycling – many times against a strong wind as it can get quite windy in SW Australia. But the most impressive thing I did was that I dared to climb the Gloucester Tree, which is laddered with a daunting metal spiral stairway that winds to the 60m top. It took me two attempts as the first time I looked down after 15m and considered this as a mad adventure. The second time I just forced myself only to look up and when the thoughts started creeping up on the first platform that I’m only standing on a wooden plank, 45m above ground, I had to push this thought quickly aside. Once on top I was overwhelmed by a stunning view over the Warren National Park and I didn’t regret it a bit (well maybe on my way down I did a tiny bit…).

Coming down from the 60m tree

Well, that’s it for now. Shortly I will move on to the West coast, where I’m sure I will find more to tell you about.

G’day and see you soon!

Cycling with added weight