Kia ora SuperChicks!

I’m on the South island of New Zealand now and am thoroughly enjoying it’s natural beauty and it’s natural foods!

New Zealand is one of the new age wine countries and known for it’s white wine, especially it’s Sauvignon Blanc. Together with my friend and former yoga teacher, who now lives in Blenheim, I went wine tasting in several wineries and I can confirm that the Kiwis do have some truly good wines!

And there are health benefits linked to wine too: It has been scientifically proven, that if you drink wine in moderation it can effect the following:

• anti-aging process (in red grape skins) – Harvard Medical School, Boston, 2004

• improve lung functions (antioxidants in white wine) – American Thoracic Society, 2002

• reduce coronary heart disease – University of California, Davis, 1995

• healthier blood vessels in elderly – University of Ferrara, Italy, 2004

• reduce ulcer-causing bacteria – American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2003

• protein kills cancer cells (in red grape skins) – University of Virginia Health System, 2004

• polyphenols keep arteries clean (in red grape skins) – William Harvey Research Institute, 2002

• decreases ovarian cancer risk – The Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Australia, 2004

• stronger bones – Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology Unit, St. Thomas’ Hospital, London, 2004

• lower risk of strokes – Centres for Disease Control & Prevention, 2001

Now, what’s moderation? Moderation is defined as a glass or two each day, and no, you can’t save them up all week and drink all of them on the weekend. I’m sure everybody is familiar with the negative health effects of too much wine/alcohol in a day, but isn’t it great when you discover that something you enjoy could actually lead to better health?

Another brilliant main ingredient for different health products that comes from New Zealand is Manuka Honey.

Manuka Honey is exclusive to the New Zealand region and costs significantly more than the ordinary grocery shop honey. This medical-grade honey is made from bees that feed off the nectar of Manuka flowers, or what is commonly more know as tea tree. Tea tree oil is another common antiseptic that is derived from this medical plant. Manuka Honey is packaged with a UMF rating or ‘unique Manuka factor’ label. This lets a consumer know what kind of antibacterial properties that jar of honey contains. The higher the UMF, the stronger the antibacterial potency. It is much darker than normal store bought honey and has a richer flavour. It can be used as a sweetener for variety of drinks and products while providing extraordinary health benefits.

Being aware of the ingredients in your skin care products is important. Check all of your personal care products and avoid ingredients such as preservatives, petrochemicals and added fragrances. Antibacterial cleansing has become increasingly popular, but the antibacterial agent found in most body washes and soaps is triclosan, which is bad the environment and suspected of causing cancer in humans. There’s no reason to risk exposure because there are natural antibacterial agents, including Manuka Honey. Manuka Honey soap is an excellent choice for daily skin cleansing. Products that include exfoliation is damaging and unnecessary. Micro-beads cause irritation, inflammation and free radical damage which leads to wrinkles. There are a lot of skin care products available with Manuka Honey as a main ingredient. I love ‘Dr. Organic Manuka Honey’ products, available in the UK.

But it’s not all about self-indulgence in New Zealand, the wild beauty of the country is absolutely fascinating. From soft and gentle rolling hills to snow covered rocky mountains, from white sandy beaches to rough cliffs, from river to glaciers, from bushland to rainforest. It’s another great country for outdoor sports. And as it offers such impressive nature, hiking is one of the must-do’s. The Milford Track is regarded as one of the worlds most beautiful tracks and it takes four days to walk the 54km, staying overnight in huts.

As there is only a limited number of people allowed on the track, you have to book it in advance, bring your own sleeping bag and food. The area has over 200 days of rain per year and good wet-weather gear is needed for this hike. I got all geared up and made it to the first hut. Just in time, before it started raining. And it rained and rained. The next morning the ranger informed all hikers, that we had to stay an extra day at the hut due to flooding on the track. And flood there was: only 2min from our hut the river burst its banks and we couldn’t go anywhere. One night more and we were informed that all three huts will be evacuated as the floods damaged bridges. Hut two and three were already to far into the track so they received a free helicopter ride. But as we were only in the first hut and not too far into the track, we had to wait for the water levels to drop by 2m and then wade back to the jetty, where we were dropped off by the boat 36h before. Forget the over-trousers, gaiters and waterproofing of boots, once you’re hip deep in the water you’re just wet! And cold! To protect my body from dropping in body temperature and coming to a state of hypothermia, I fuelled up on food and sweet snacks to boost my energy supplies. I put on several layers of clothing to prevent me from sweating and cooling down too much. Since the human body loses so much heat from the head I also put on my beanie. Trust me, a hot shower never felt so good than after this adventure

Since the hike adventure was finished a day earlier then expected and since it left me back a bit disappointed for not seeing some of NZ’s best country side, I had very much the feeling, that I had to do something typical Kiwi. And what’s a typical Kiwi thing to do? To throw yourself off a perfectly fine bridge on a bungee rope. Yep, I did it and I have to say that you’ll figure out if you’re an adrenaline junky or not afterwards – I’m not! The heart pounding, the adrenaline rushing through the system ready to fight or flight. I’m a flight person. I didn’t feel invincible afterwards nor was I exhilarated. Anxiety is probably the feeling I experienced afterwards. But I do LOVE the photos of the jump!

Watch Gaby in action here

That’s it from New Zealand, Fiji and Canada are calling.

Gaby xx