Brisbane, Australia

Once a British penal colony, now Australia’s New World City.

From award-winning architecture to rainforest national parks and boundless wildlife reserves, Brisbane is filled with a wealth of stunning creativity and endless natural beauty.

Why visit Brisbane

History of Brisbane

Facts about Brisbane

Why visit Brisbane

Known as the River City, for being built upon and divided by, the great, Brisbane River, the city of Brisbane is reputed for being a thriving multicultural metropolis with an innovation-led economy, friendly locals and an enviable outdoor lifestyle.

Near the heart of Brisbane lies Fortitude Valley, Australia’s first designated entertainment precinct. The Valley provides selection of trendy rooftop bars, live music and dance clubs. Come nightfall, the streets are pumping with the sound of laughter, live bands and club beats. Just next door, the newly developed, Howard Smith Wharves, have also become a popular destination for social drinks and casual dining, providing guests with a close-up view of the Brisbane River and the iconic, Story Bridge.

Eleven Rooftop Bar. The Valley, Brisbane

While the Valley certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, Brisbane’s inner-city regions are littered with food, dining, entertainment and nightlife precincts. One of the most diverse regions is Southbank, an urban paradise in the city, famous for its wealth of theatres, bars, restaurants, museums and art galleries, as well as a sandy beach that overlooks Brisbane City’s, North Quay, and the iconic Brown Snake.

The Brisbane River, affectionately known as the Brown Snake, connects the city to the Moreton Bay Marine Park, where visitors are spoilt for choice between Moreton Island, South Stradbroke Island and several smaller, uninhabited Islands. Here you can enjoy endless days in the sun, exploring underwater shipwrecks with dolphins, sharks and rays, or climbing enormous sand dunes in search of magnificent views or local natives, such as kangarooskoalas and wallabies.

Tangalooma shipwrecks in the Moreton Bay Marine Park, home to a vast array of Australian native wildlife. The park begins just 25 kilometers down the Brisbane River from Brisbane CBD and Dolphins are known to frequent Moreton Island’s beaches on a nightly basis.

The soft sandy beaches of the Gold Coast and Byron Bay are just a short trip south of Brisbane, easily accessible by both car and public transport. Directly north of Brisbane is the Sunshine Coast region, best known for the world famous, Australia Zoo, as well as the town of Noosa and Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island and the last home of the mighty dingo. For anyone hungry for a longer adventure, travelling further north will bring you to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, home to one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Earth’s largest coral reef.

Tropical Dome at the Botanical Gardens, Mt Coot-tha, Brisbane. A stunning display of flora from all over the world and home to an array of Australian native wildlife. One of two botanical gardens and countless open green spaces in Brisbane.

Nature lovers are also spoilt by a selection of local reservoirs, botanical gardens, tropical rainforest parks and open bushland reserves, where you can witness a range of iconic Australian flora and fauna, including birds, reptiles and mammals. For those less into wilderness adventure, but still want an experience with the unique, weird and wonderful Australian native wildlife, Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is one of the only places in the world where you can see a platypus in captivity and hold a koala.

Here's Where Can You Cuddle a Koala in Queensland | Queensland
In 1927, Lone Pine was opened as the world’s first Koala Sanctuary and to this day, remains a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Brisbane.

With a high safety index and world-class education facilities, from primary through to graduate studies, Brisbane is a popular destination for students and families of all ages. Most major Australian companies and a long list of international companies have offices in the city, providing graduates with exciting job opportunities among some of the world’s most reputable organisations.

While Brisbane is Australia’s largest city by size, and third-largest by population, the Sunshine State’s capital still has a low population density, meaning rent is still affordable, while inner-city public transport is relatively cheap, reliable and easily accessible. Most residents happily commute by bus, train or the world class, CityCat.

Brisbane’s CityCat ferries provide a reliable method of transport with a scenic view. Buses and trains operate in all areas where the river doesn’t flow.

With around 285 sunny days each year, it’s no wonder that most Brisbane residents spend a lot of time outdoors. From award-winning architecture to rainforest national parks and boundless open green spaces, Brisbane is filled with a wealth of stunning creativity, endless natural beauty and plenty to do. Both unique and beautiful, the River City is quickly becoming one of the world’s hottest destinations to live.

Historic overview of Brisbane

Brisbane has come a long way since colonisation in 1824, when the area was designated as a European convict settlement. Nearly twenty years later, after the British ceased the deportation of convicts to Australia in 1842, Brisbane was opened to free-folk and settlers began migrating to occupy fertile regions along the Brisbane River.

Over the next few decades, the rapid expansion of new settlements around Brisbane would bring about resistance from the local indigenous clans. Fighting between native aborigines and European settlers eventually led to a genocidal war, where tens of thousands of aboriginals were massacred at the hands of British troops and Crown-appointed authorities. 

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, Brisbane entered into a period of industrial development, continuing long after Australia’s federation in 1901. By the end of the 1920’s, Brisbane had transitioned into a major Australian city.

The true extent of the European’s brutality against the indigenous Australian’s is largely unknown

During the second world war in 1941, when Japan overpowered Allied forces in southeast Asia, American Asiatic Fleet submarines were forced to evacuate the Philippines, heading towards Australia.

Pictures of Australian Cities, Towns and Villages from 1941

For strategic positioning, the Port of Brisbane was selected as a United States Navy (USN) submarine base and the River City became home to 80,000 American soldiers.

While crowds were overly receptive of the American visitors, drunken violence between Australian and American forces became a regular occurrence in Brisbane City. At the end of 1941, after months of tension between the allied forces, the Battle of Brisbane was sparked when an Australian soldier was shot dead by an American Military Police officer conducting a routine check on a subordinate. It was a short-lived riot, but the Aussie Military Police were called in to stabilise the situation after numerous Americans were hospitalised.

Despite rapid progress after the war, Brisbane was always seen to be culturally lagging behind Sydney and Melbourne, however, following Brisbane’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 1982, the River City received an injection of cultural development, infrastructure and international sporting facilities.

Streets Beach, Southbank Parklands, Brisbane. Incepted after World Expo 88.

In 1988, the eyes of the world again turned to Queensland, when Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the ‘World Expo 88’. 18 million visitors flocked to Brisbane for the global exhibition, which is now known as the city’s historic rebirth. The site was later immortalised as the South Bank Parklands, now known as the heart of Brisbane’s cultural, art, entertainment, food and dining precincts.

Since 1825, Brisbane has developed into a multiculturally diverse metropolis and a global hub of scientific innovation, technology, education, cultural attractions, mining and resources. Once a British penal colony, now the River City is known as a land of opportunity, providing residents and visitors with a high quality of life.

Facts About Brisbane:

  • Brisbane is the capital of Queensland, the north-easterly region known as the ‘Sunshine State.’
  • With a population of over 1.6 million, Brisbane is the third largest city in Australia.
  • One third of the 2.3 million population were born overseas and nearly 20% speak a language other than English at home.
  • Brisbane is known for its scenic beauty, warm climate and friendly atmosphere.
  • Horse-racing events are popular among Brisbane locals, with numerous glamorous parties staged throughout the year, where everyone drinks a lot before forgetting to watch the horses.
  • With around 285 sunny days each year, Brisbane has more sunny days than any other Australian capital city. Temperatures remaining fairly stable across most seasons, and the sub-tropical climate makes it perfect for a range of outdoor activities.
  • Brisbane is Australia’s New World City, with a $154 billion economy and key economical sectors including, mining and resources, information and communication technology, scientific innovation, creative industries, food and beverage, higher education, tourism infrastructure, manufacturing, aviation, logistics and distribution.
  • On Australia’s eastern seaboard, Brisbane is the closest capital city to Asia.
  • Brisbane is Queensland’s epicentre for the arts with world-class galleries, museums, theatres, art-house cinemas, live-music venues and events.
  • The story bridge is the longest cantilever bridge in Australia and modelled on Montreal’s, Jacques Cartier Bridge.
  • The worlds first cultivated macadamia tree lives in the city botanical garden of Brisbane. It was planted in 1858 by Sir Walter Hill near Gympie.
  • Brisbane has an underground opera Hall, once used as the Spring Hill water reservoir, but now known as Spring Hill’s ‘Opera in the Reservoir.’
  • Flooding is an occasional issue in Brisbane, with numerous historic tides causing unimaginable devastation to homes and businesses throughout the city (1974 / 2011).
  • Brisbane hosted the G20 Leaders Summit in 2014, with Barack Obama drawing large outside the Brisbane Mariott Hotel.
  • The traditional owners of the land, the Turrbal people, called the area of Brisbane City “Meanjin”, which translates to ‘place shaped like a spike’. This ‘spike’ in the river is now where the Brisbane CBD is located. The name ‘Brisbane’ was drawn from the river, named after Sir Thomas Brisbane, the Governor of New South Wales from 1821 to 1825
  • The Brisbane River is affectionately known to locals as, the Brown Snake, for its bending shape and light brown colour. Along the river you can find some of Brisbane’s most iconic landmarks, so hop on a CityCat and enjoy the views.

Interested in visiting Brisbane, or anywhere else in Australia? Check out some of these posts to help you plan the perfect trip.

Everything you need to know before visiting Australia

Unique Australian wildlife

Living in Australia

Must-see Australian destinations

This post was written with love for CYNDIVISION, the lil’ Brazilian traveller.

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

About the Author: Harrison was born in Queensland, Australia, and got the taste for adventure from a young age. Since then, he has embarked on countless journeys around the east coast of Australia and believes that at least once in a lifetime, everyone should experience an all Aussie adventure and enjoy the great Australian hospitality.

Get in touch if you would like to find out more.

15 Unique Australian Animals

Some of the world’s most weird, whacky and wonderful animals can only be seen Down Under

Australia is well known for having some of the most spectacular wildlife the world has ever seen. Some animals are scary and some are dangerous, but all of them are fascinating and many can only be found on Earth’s largest island.

How many of the following Aussie natives are you familiar with?

Continue reading “15 Unique Australian Animals”

Barcelona, the Place to Be

The Catalan capital provides fun for all ages

Barcelona, a city that has its own culture, traditions and personality and a place where you can easily spend endless periods of time exploring.

While the Romans were the first to establish walls around Bàrcino in the first century before Christ, fisherman were the main settlers during the 18th century on the seafront land now known as Barceloneta.

A home to many masterpieces of great architects. The most famous is Antonio Gaudí. Gaudí’s work is admired by many people around the globe as being one of the most unique and distinctive styles in modern architecture.

The sea, the sun, the mountains, the yummy food, the nightlife and the museums make Barcelona one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities.

For others, Barcelona is the THC Paradise. Since the inception of Cannabis tourism in the Mediterranean, Spanish cannabis clubs are an exciting trend in the cannabis culture. Barcelona has gradually embraced the marijuana culture with dedicated cannabis clubs and museums.

Without a doubt Barcelona is a place to enjoy yourself!

See full post below.

Expat Life in Barcelona

Safety in Barcelona

Finding work in Barcelona for English speakers

CYNDIVISION

Barcelona, a city that has its own culture, traditions and personality and a place where you can easily spend endless periods of time exploring.

A home to many masterpieces of great architects. The most famous is Antonio Gaudí. Gaudí’s work is admired by many people around the globe as being one of the most unique and distinctive styles in modern architecture.

Casa Mila, popularly known as La Pedrera, is aUNESCO World Heritage Siteand the architect’s last civic architectural project.

La Sagrada Familia is a project that began in 1882. Although Gaudí made sure to spend his last few years dedicated to the project, it was clear that it wouldn’t be finished during his lifetime. When Gaudí died in 1926, only a quarter of the basilica had been built, with an estimated 100 years until the completion of his final project.

Park Güellis one of Antoni Gaudi’s most…

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10 Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Health and Wellbeing

What do vitamins do?

Vitamins and minerals are essential for fulfilling the body’s energy requirements and facilitating efficient, healthy and sustainable bodily function.

Not only do the following essential nutrients provide sustainable energy, they are also the building blocks for cell repair and fuel for of the body’s natural defences, playing a critical role in your overall health and wellbeing.

The word diet comes from the Greek root word, diaita, which means to live one’s life, and also from the Latin root word, diaeta, meaning a manner of living.

To provide your body with the strength and sustenance it needs for a healthy lifestyle, base your daily dietary intake around the following whole food products.

The most important daily vitamins and minerals for health and wellbeing.

Vitamin A

Regular intake of vitamin A is known to promote healthy teeth, eyes, kidneys, lungs and skin, as well as strong immune, reproductive and cardiovascular systems.

The fat-soluble vitamin comes in two different forms, preformed vitamin A and provitamin A.

Preformed vitamin A is found in meat, poultry, fish and dairy products, while provitamin A is found in various fruits and vegetables. Provitamin A is most commonly found as beta-carotene, the nutrient responsible for giving many fruits and vegetables their orange colour.

Sources rich in Vitamin A

Sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, spinach and kale are all high in beta-carotene, which is turned into vitamin A.

Preformed vitamin A can also be found in animal products such as milk, eggs and yoghurt. Cod liver oil is also a particularly good source of vitamin A.

B Vitamins

B vitamins are critical in maintaining good overall health and well-being.

Known as the building blocks of a healthy body, B vitamins aid in cell growth and metabolism, energy production and muscle toning, as well as maintaining healthy digestive, hormonal, cardiovascular and nervous systems.

Sources rich in Vitamin B

B vitamins are associated with a long list of health benefits but luckily, they are found in many whole foods, such as whole grains, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds, as well as seafood, soy, dairy, poultry and meat products.

There is also a range of B vitamin-rich fruits, including citrus, banana, watermelon and chilli peppers, and vegetables, such as beets, avocados, spinach, kale, potatoes and broccoli.

It is advisable to fill your body’s vitamin B requirements with a range of natural foods but supplements are readily available for those with special dietary needs.

Vitamin C

Commonly known as vitamin C, ascorbic acid is linked with a range of health benefits and commonly used to increase healthy blood cells and the body’s natural defences.

The water-soluble vitamin also assists in brain function, iron absorption and reducing the risk of heart disease, while also maintaining healthy blood pressure and elasticity of the skin.

Sources rich in Vitamin C

While citrus fruits are among the most obvious sources of ascorbic acid, there are actually a wide variety of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C.

Other fruits and veggies packed with the essential antioxidant include kiwifruit, grapefruits, strawberries, blackcurrants, guava, red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe and potatoes.

Humans are unable to synthesize ascorbic acid, so consuming the essential nutrient is critical for maintaining good health. Vitamin C tablets are the only supplement that I consume daily.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D assists the roles of calcium and phosphate in the body, promoting healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Vitamin D is also known to assist with weight loss and reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis, heart disease, depression and the flu.

Sources rich in Vitamin D

Just a few minutes in the sun stimulates vitamin D production but the fat-soluble vitamin is also found in numerous whole foods, including mushrooms, red meat, oily fish, egg yolk, milk, yoghurt and fortified orange juice.

For the less carnivorous, dietary supplements are another rich source of vitamin D.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is known to assist with blood circulation and promoting a healthy immune system, eyes, and skin.

Sources rich in Vitamin E

The fat-soluble antioxidant is found in a variety of foods including collard greens, spinach, red bell pepper, mango, avocado, tomato, pumpkin, seeds and nuts.

Almonds are the richest source of vitamin E, providing up to 50% of the daily requirement in one small serve.

Zinc

Zinc helps with different bodily tasks including muscle growth, cell growth and production, muscle growth and repair, processing nutrients from foods and wound healing through strengthening the immune system.

Zinc is also known to assist with fertility and a healthy reproductive system.

Sources rich in Zinc

Zinc is found in a range of foods including meat, shellfish and other seafood, spinach, cashews and other nuts, hemp seeds, beans, whole grains, egg, potato and dairy products, such as milk and cheese.

Believe it or not, dark chocolate is also a high-calorie source of your daily zinc requirements.

Iron

Iron assists with the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body and facilitate the growth and repair of muscle tissue.

Sources rich in Iron

Aside from dietary supplements, foods rich in iron include oysters, clams, red meats, soybean, pumpkin seeds, nuts, beans, lentils and spinach.

Calcium

Calcium is important for a healthy heart, muscles and nervous system, as well as essential for bone strength.

Some studies suggest that calcium, along with vitamin D, may also have protective properties defending the body against diabetes, high blood pressure and even cancer.

Sources rich in Calcium

Calcium is present in numerous whole foods such as dairy, yoghurt, green leafy vegetables, tofu and other soy products.

In addition to whole food products, calcium and vitamin D compounds are supplemented to increase muscle strength.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that helps with nerve and muscle function, regulating blood pressure and supporting the immune system.

This important nutrient also helps turn the food we eat into energy and assists with the normal functioning of the parathyroid glands, responsible for producing hormones important for bone health.

Sources rich in Magnesium

Magnesium is found in a wide variety of foods, including leafy greens, banana, avocado, seeds, nuts, whole grains, legumes, tofu, fatty fish and dark chocolate.

A zinc and magnesium matrix, known as ZMA, is used by athletes to assist with sleep and energy levels, as well as muscle recovery, relaxation and growth.

Potassium

Potassium is a mineral and an electrolyte that balances fluids within the body and assists with muscle function, particularly in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

Alcohol is known to cause dehydration and the loss of potassium, so the following potassium-rich foods can also be helpful when dealing with a hangover.

Sources rich in Potassium

Good sources of potassium include avocado, beans, banana, cheese, seeds, nuts, fish, beef, poultry and some vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts.

There are more than 20 vitamins and minerals which are recommended for daily intake. To satisfy energy requirements and promote a state of health and wellbeing, focus your dietary intake on whole, unprocessed food products containing the vitamins and minerals listed above, or consider supplementing your diet with a multivitamin.

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About the Author: Harrison has more than a decade of experience on, and off, the rugby field as a representative player, junior coach and part-time referee. His passion for rugby led him to the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers where he studied the human body, exercise and nutrition, before being registered as a health and fitness professional with Fitness Australia and Fitness First Australia. Although the career path has changed, his passion for health, fitness, and Rugby will always remain.

Living in Australia

The positives and negatives of living on Earth’s biggest island

It’s no secret that Australia is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries on the planet, and a bucket list destination for travellers of all ages.

The world’s largest island is ranked among the safest, happiest and best overall countries to live by the United Nations, Wall Street Journal and Australian residents themselves.

While life in Australia is well beyond the global standard, make sure to read up on the positives and negatives of life in Australia to make sure it’s right for you.

The negatives of living in Australia:

International travel costs

For Australians, the most difficult part of leaving the country is usually how far home is from the rest of the world. Being so remote, international travel from Australia can cost a lot of time and money, so overseas holidays are a luxury not everyone can afford.

As most expats in Australia are so far from their home countries, it can often be too expensive, physically draining or time consuming for them to return home regularly. While this can be a deterrent for some, many people who visit Australia never want to leave, so the distance isn’t really a problem.

Local and domestic travel times

Not only is travelling to and from Australia both difficult and expensive, moving around inside can be a nightmare too.

Australian cities are so large and most have such low population density that even travelling locally can take a long time. On top of this, many cities have slow or unreliable public transport networks so most residents are unable to live comfortably without a vehicle.

Travelling between cities can also be a slow process as they are all spread out over great distances, however, Australian airlines provide a high quality service and are well known for customer satisfaction.

A dark history

Predating the arrival of the first European settlers, there were an estimated 700,00 indigenous residents living in tribal colonies.

From 1788 to 1868, Australia was invaded by over 160,000 convicts from the UK and during this time, most of the country’s original owners were massacred by the Europeans, who then tried to breed out the 100,000 indigenous survivors throughout the 1900s.

Immediately proceeding the federation of Australia in 1901, laws were introduced which barred the migration of anyone who was not a white European. Mixed race couples were also prohibited and the Australian government soon began kidnapping aboriginal children from their families in an effort to stop the regrowth of the indigenous population, a story told through the film, the Rabbit Proof Fence.

It was not until 1973 that the White Australia Policy was definitively renounced and replaced by a lifelong policy of multiculturalism. The Australian population is made up of migrants from nearly 200 different countries and 270 different ancestries.

While some parts of Australia’s history are dark and shameful, others are told with pride and much lighter spirits. My favourite Australian stories are of an outlaw bushranger, told through the spectacular films Ned Kelly and the True History of the Kelly Gang, as well as the true story of a legendary red kelpie, named Red Dog.

See if you can get through Red Dog or any of these Aussie history lessons without crying.

High living expenses

It’s no secret that living so far from the rest of the world comes at a high price. Imported supermarket products and every day household items can be surprisingly costly in Australia, while alcohol and tobacco products are more expensive than anywhere else in the world.

Thankfully, rental properties are still reasonably priced in most populated parts of Australia so residents are still able to live comfortably with a basic salary.

The local police

It’s expensive enough to live in Australia while obeying the law, but it will cost you even more if you step out of line.

Politely known as the Boys in Blue or Australia’s biggest gang, local police are constantly on the lookout for anyone to arrest and fine on misdemeanour charges.

The videos below detail numerous cases where police have acted unlawfully or severely abused their power, including a high profile case where a professional footballer was handcuffed, pepper sprayed and tasered, all while sleeping under a tree. He was then arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer.

While these events are uncommon and the actions of the arresting officers were condemned, this particular event has only fuelled the anti-law enforcement mentality that is growing in Australia.

As much as the citizens criticise the police for their revenue raising tactics, the Australian authorities do a fantastic job of keeping the country safe.

New South Wales Police under fire for numerous reports of police brutality. These incidents are far from isolated.
A professional Rugby player who was arrested, pepper sprayed and tasered by New South Wales Police, while sleeping in a park.
A new recruit from the New South Wales Police Force, drunk, disorderly and aggressively waving his badge.

Radelaide, the world’s meth capital

I’ve never been to Adelaide, but numerous sources confirm that it is in fact, the methamphetamine capital of the world.

Other parts of Australia are also plagued by the Ice Epidemic, with large numbers of users dependent on a drug which is notorious for gradually consuming the soul of its user.

Mother Nature on Steroids

Most people I’ve met throughout my European travels say it’s a dream to one day visit Australia, while others say that the thought of ever setting foot in such a barren wasteland is absolutely terrifying and never going to happen.

Although Australia is ranked among the world’s safest countries to live, between the creepy crawlies and mother nature herself, there is plenty to watch out for.

From crocodiles, sharks, and deadly jellyfish, to snakes, jumping spiders and boxing kangaroos, Australia has it all. Residents and holidaymakers also have to watch out for cyclones in the north, bushfires in the south, and the sun’s lethal UV rays.

The thought of facing the Australian elements can be daunting, but you really are safe if you know what to look out for. The country is home to some of the most magnificent and diverse landscapes and wildlife worldwide, so it’s only fitting that it has some of the most terrifying and dangerous as well.

The Australian Cyclone Season
The Australian Bushfire Season

The positives of living in Australia:

Good salaries and many opportunities

Australia’s average wage sits 30% above the global average, and ninth on the list of the world’s highest, above Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.

Prior to 2020, the unemployment rate had been fairly stable at 5.3%, but became more volatile due to changing labour requirements. This being said, Australia is still developing at a rapid pace and there are always opportunities available for those who are willing to work.

The Australian government also provides generous salaries to those who are looking for work, unable to work, and many who just don’t want to work, so most citizens comfortably have everything they need to get by.

Fairness and safety

Australia is governed by numerous legislations in place to protect its residents from business malpractice.

Employees are protected by the Fair Work Act, which guarantees a safe workplace and minimum requirements from all employers, and buyers are protected by Consumer Law, which guarantees a form of compensation for any faulty products or services offered by a business.

These regulations ensure that Australian businesses must operate in an ethical manner towards both their customers and staff, or risk serious penalties, which provides a comforting sense of security for most residents.

Thanks to the strength and efficiency of the police forces, resulting in very low levels of crime, Australia is considered one of the safest countries on the planet. Citizens are proud of the society in which they live and this feeling, coupled with a sense of safety and security, makes Australia one of the happiest countries in the world to live in.

Tropical climate

Australia is so close to the equator that northern regions experience a year-round tropical climate. While the temperatures can soar to some pretty extreme highs, southern parts of Australia receive snowfall over the Winter months and most regions enjoy comfortable weather year round.

Basically, the North is tropical, the South has seasons and Winters are mild compared to North America and Europe, making Australia’s unique climate ideal for enjoying the showcase of natural beauty throughout the national parks, aquatic playgrounds and the world famous beaches.

The natural environment

Australia is home to the world’s most diverse range of flora and fauna which can be witnessed when visiting some of its 600 national parks, which cover more than 275,000 square kilometers of protected land.

Aside from the 10,000 pristine beaches along the 35,800 kilometer coastline, there are also 60 marine parks which cover more than 3.3 million square kilometers of Australian ocean. The most famous is the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral ecosystem.

Here is a list of my all-time favourite Australian destinations.

While most Australians love to get out and explore the wilderness, in all cities you are able to feed kangaroos, cuddle koalas and get up close and personal with all of Australia’s unique wildlife.

An international and culturally diverse environment

Australia was federated by immigrants and today, residents identify with more than 270 different ancestries.

In 2019 there were over 7.5 million migrants living in Australia and 29.7% of the more than 25 million residents were born overseas.

Since the abolishment of the White Australia Policy in 1973, the nation has embraced the beauty of multiculturalism and taken a hard stance against racial discrimination, making it a pleasant place for people of all colours and religions to live.

The people in general

Although Australia is a tropical island paradise, it’s biggest selling point has to be its citizens. Australian’s are said to be strong, loyal, diverse and most of all, good hearted.

While the country is so large, and both people and vibes differ from state to state, the general good natured characteristics of the Australian people remain consistent countrywide.

Why are Australian people so loveable?

There isn’t a more commonly used phrase than no worries mate, which epitomises the Australian culture and laid back attitude of its citizens. Our humour is something you have to get used to, but there is no doubt about the kindness, generosity, happiness and caring natures exhibited by the Australian people.

All in all

Life in Australia is amazing and nowhere else on Earth can you find such a diverse mix of lands and people, with such a high quality of life on offer for both citizens and residents alike.

If you get the opportunity to experience life in Australia, you will only regret not going.

For more on my island home, check out everything you need to know before visiting Australia & unique Australian wildlife.

About the Author: Harrison was born in Queensland, Australia, and got the taste for adventure from a young age. Since then, he has embarked on countless journeys around the east coast of Australia and believes that at least once in a lifetime, everyone should start their own all-Aussie adventure and experience the great Australian hospitality.

Get in touch if you would like to find out more.

Expat Life in Barcelona

Are you thinking about moving to Barcelona?

There’s no doubt that Barcelona is one of the most exciting cities in the world and filled with history, culture and life.

Colonised by the Romans in the first century BC and withstanding the ages since the Catalan capital is now known as the political and economic centre of the Western Mediterranean. The eco-city is ranked among the world’s best for numerous accolades, including equality and quality of life, but at what cost to residents?

Amidst the excitement, living in Barcelona comes with challenging experiences as the city is plagued by greed, corruption, chaos and desperation.

While the capital of Cataluña is ranked amongst the world’s best cities for expats, it is important to know a little bit about what goes on before moving to a place like Barcelona.

What you should know before moving to Barcelona.

Low salaries and high rental prices

The average monthly salary in Spain is less than the average monthly salary across Europe, however, the cost of living in Spain is also relatively low.

In saying this, Barcelona is an outlier with an average rental housing price of 17.6€ per square meter, 10% higher than the price in Madrid and 70% higher than the national average. Barcelona’s general pricing of food and other essential items is also significantly higher than the rest of both Cataluña and Spain.

The combination of low incomes and a high cost of living in Barcelona make it much more common for expats to seek shared accommodation than to rent their own property. There are also numerous traps renters have to watch out for when house-hunting so many feel more comfortable renting through a subletter than an agency.

Rental scams

It’s hard enough to find reasonably priced accommodation in Barcelona without having to filter through all the scams or listings requesting thousands of euros in deposits.

While the housing prices are already highly inflated, many landlords and property agencies make a lot of money from fleecing tenants for large “refundable deposits,” which are just never returned. This isn’t just limited to Facebook listings either, numerous, well-marketed agencies are notorious for shady business practices.

On top of this, renters also have to watch out for sophisticated internet scams run by people posing as landlords with a property for rent. You guessed it, someone transfers them a deposit and they disappear forever. It’s not hard to identify the fraudulent listings, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.

My poorest experiences were with a private landlord, who refused to return deposits to any of his tenants renting individual bedrooms, and similarly with a holiday letting agency called Stay Barcelona Apartments, who refused to return my partner’s deposit on the grounds of enormous utility bills which predated our arrival.

Property lawyers are in huge demand due to the number of cases there are between tenants and their ex-landlord or agency. My experiences have been pleasant compared to some friends, including one who is fighting for the return of her 6000€ deposit, which was retained for “cleaning fees” by an agency which has since closed.

Renting in Barcelona can be a stressful experience but, since the loss of tourism in 2020, both Airbnb owner’s and hotel chains alike have been offering reduced rates on their apartments and rooms, providing more secure and somewhat more affordable opportunities for renters. The bottom line, always do some research into who you give your rent money to.

Thieves and violent robberies

Barcelona has a 13% rate of unemployment, the second-highest of all EU states. Coupled with such a high cost of living and so many residents either unemployed or unable to work, many are driven to crime to survive.

From January to October 2019, there were more than 83,000 thefts and 5,300 violent robberies reported within the city. The national police also confirmed that the degree of violence had risen.

The problem is, thieves are a protected species in Barcelona and there’s no real penalty for the theft of items valued below 400€. What’s worse, even repeat and violent offenders are quickly released following the “processing” of their crimes, meaning they are immediately sent back to the streets to continue terrorising the innocent and defenceless.

The most shocking part? If someone tries to defend themselves in a robbery situation and causes any harm, the thief is the one who ends up pressing charges. Go figure.

Drug and mafia presence

Barcelona is well known for its festivals, parties and nightlife in general. Along with such a huge presence of party animals, there’s also a free-flowing supply of narcotics.

The Costa Brava coastline is home to numerous different mafia factions, including groups from Italy, Albania, Nigeria and Russia. While these factions are all present in Barcelona, the Catalan capital is also home to numerous other organised crime groups originating from parts of Asia and Eastern Europe.

As Spain is so close to Northern Africa, paperless visitors are illegally taxied across the Mediterranean Sea and into Spanish territory. Although these people are only seeking a safer life, there is no way for them to receive an income after arriving in Europe so many end up working for criminal organisations to survive.

Most areas of Barcelona are free from violence but the presence of so many Moroccan street gangs and numerous organised crime groups greatly contributes to the city’s free for all mentality.

My post about safety in Barcelona details where and how caution should be taken in Spain’s most dangerous city.

Ocupas and narcopisos

It’s common knowledge that you have to keep your bags close when out and about in Barcelona but, would you believe, in certain areas you also have to protect your home from being stolen as well?

Like street thieves, squatters are also protected in Barcelona. Whether they are tenants who have stopped paying rent or addicts who have broken into an apartment before changing the locks and claiming it as their own, removing squatters can be a traumatic experience costing a lot of time and money.

The following documentary from Vice explains the lengths one woman had to go in order to remove squatters who took over her Barcelona flat to sell drugs.

Banking cartels

Living in Barcelona has taught me how important it is to read both business’ customer reviews, as well as their terms and conditions.

I see daily social media posts from expats who are trying to understand why their local Catalan bank has just drained their accounts with inexplicable fees. I also fell victim to this after mistakenly believing a BBVA employee’s promises that the account I was setting up had no fees, without also reading the terms and conditions.

While local banks are notorious for robbing their customers, I’ve had excellent experiences with international banks such as ING and Transferwise. ING has been a fantastic alternative to BBVA and Transferwise has been incredible for receiving, converting and sending any fiat currencies to any destination. The bottom line, always do some research into who you give control of your money to.

Shopping experience

When it comes to Spanish customer service, you never know what you’re going to get. From restaurants and cafes to specialty stores and supermarkets, the varying levels of hospitality in Spain are something that takes a long time to get used to.

While I have had some fantastic customer service experiences in Barcelona, the general rudeness and attitudes of laziness I’ve witnessed have been nothing short of astonishing, but no one moves to Cataluña for the people.

What you can enjoy while living in Barcelona.

An eco-city

In 2013, Barcelona introduced an urban sustainability plan which aimed to reduce global emissions from tourism and transport. Numerous planning restrictions were introduced and the transport industry was reshaped with the prohibition high emission vehicles.

Barcelona is perfectly designed for the use of motorbikes, bicycles and scooters, but you don’t need a vehicle, or even public transport, as the city-wide Bicing service is conveniently available for use 24/7.

The electric YEGO scooter and the council Bicing services are my favourite methods of transport in Barcelona.

Magnificent architecture

The works of the world’s most famous architect, Antonio Gaudí, are scattered throughout the streets of Barcelona and have been preserved timelessly for all to enjoy. While the great architect passed almost 100 years ago, his final masterpiece is not due for completion until 2026, almost 150 years after commencing construction.

World class transport

Not only does Barcelona boast a world-class public transport system, but it’s also an international travel hub providing easy access to numerous domestic and international travel methods.

Take a boat ride to Ibiza, hop on a bus to Portugal or catch a high-speed train to France. Or just fly low cost to pretty much anywhere in Europe, the options from Barcelona are endless.

Quality public health

Spain is consistently ranked at the top of the worlds healthiest countries, as well as amongst the world’s best public healthcare providers. CatSalut, the Catalan public health system, is also known for its high-quality facilities but better known for its painfully long waits so many residents choose Sanitas as a health care provider.

Liberty

Lazy police and forgotten laws make Barcelona a haven for rebellious activity and, while this does work both ways, it certainly makes the capital of Cataluña a very exciting place to live.

International environment

Barcelona is one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities, attracting both short and long-term visitors from all over the world. The city is home to 190,000 university students and is consistently ranked by Top Universities as one of the best 10 cities in Europe, as well as one of the best 20 cities worldwide for university students to live.

In the business world, Barcelona has become a base destination for small startups and multinational corporations alike. The expatriate community is made up of more than 300,000 foreigners from more than 170 different countries and one expat group alone has more than 52,000 members.

Statistics report that 49.9% of Barcelona’s 1.62 million residents were also born abroad so, if you want to make some friends from other countries, the Catalan capital is a pretty good place to start.

World-class food and dining

Spain is ranked among the very best in the world when it comes to the cuisine and locally produced wine. Although modern Spanish cuisine has been influenced over the years, the cooking methods have been shaped over centuries by societies inhabiting the Iberian Peninsula.

While the Mediterranean dining experience is incredible, there are 179 different cultures in Barcelona which help to create one of the world’s most diverse mixes of international cuisines, however, “Spanish” restaurants in should be treated with caution as many are just low-quality tourist traps with expensive menus. It pays to read reviews about anywhere you plan on spending money in Barcelona.

Many beaches

Residents of Coastal Cataluña are spoilt for choices when it comes to beaches.

La Costa Brava, translating to The Rugged Coast, is known for its beautiful old Mediterranean fishing towns upon rough landscapes which overlook clear blue waters. Starting at Blanes, 70km northeast of Barcelona, the rugged coastline stretches 200km all the way up to the French Border and is the favourite summer holiday spot for locals from both Cataluña and southern France.

Anyone more into the island vibes doesn’t have to travel far from Barcelona to experience the magic of the Islas Balearies. Minorca, Mallorca and Ibiza are hot destinations for travellers from all over the world and sometimes even visible from the Spanish coastline, making them perfect for a quick weekend getaway.

For anyone that doesn’t want to travel too far from home, there are always good vibes and good times to be had at playa de la Barceloneta. Just don’t leave your belongings unguarded.

Mediterranean lifestyle

Barcelona is a hub of activity, rich in history, culture and energy. Residents love to enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle with world famous paella by a Mediterranean harbour or basking on the beach under the summer sun. All with a crisp local beer as well.

Barcelona is ranked among the best cities worldwide for both equality and quality of life and residents have easy access to a healthy lifestyle through beaches, mountainous national parks, urban green spaces and a city plan that’s been remodelled for ecological transport and sustainable living.

All in all?

You don’t need to spend long in the Catalan capital to understand why it’s one of the top-ranked destinations for expats to live and work.

Make yourself aware of the less glamorous side of Barcelona before deciding if the city is right for you.

Staying Safe in Barcelona

Finding Work in Barcelona

Staying safe in Barcelona is easy, if you know what to look out for. Harrison has been a resident of this city since 2019 and aims to help others have a safe and enjoyable experience in this magical city.

10 Skills of Success Mastered by Elite Sales Professionals

Everything in life is a negotiation

To many people, the word selling implies manipulating or pressuring someone into purchasing something they neither want or need. Fair.

With this being said, what do both CEOs and business owners both agree on as being the strongest skill contributing to success in any given field?

Thats right, sales skills.

Sales skills are simply enhanced communication skills and regardless of the industry, selling is little more than explaining the logic and benefits behind a concept or idea.

As an employer, employee or freelancer, offering a product, service or idea – you are always selling something and when it comes to business, the art of communication is critical for success.

Forbes attributes sales professionals as the best CEOs through their understanding of the intangible side of business. While sales jobs are not always very glamorous, learning how to sell is the ultimate training for the business world.

Here are some of the skills and habits shared by elite sellers and successful people:

1: Relationship Building

Building rapport is critical for every relationship in the life of a salesperson. Whether its in person or over the phone, effective salespeople know how to find a common ground with whoever they’re talking to, as well as their likes, dislikes, wants and needs.

Salespeople are experts at finding out about a person and then being able to talk to them for a long time, however, being able to build relationships is not only a critical business skill, but a critical life skill if you want to achieve success in any given field.

2: Goal Setting

Efficient salespeople always have a target in mind. While working, they’re constantly thinking about this target and what it’s going to take to get there, automatically making them more likely to achieve success.

If you set a goal and embed it into your mind, your decisions are going to be far more likely to lead to success. Goal setting helps you to understand your long-term destination while providing the short-term motivation to get there. Just figure out where you want to go and what it’s going to take to get there.

3: Confidence

Arguably more of a state of mind than a skill, confidence is usually what tells a person that they want what you have. It is the act of putting someone at ease through talking with sincerity and conviction and, due to it’s power, many elite sales professionals rely on confidence as their main selling tool.

Confidence is also a belief in abilities and a certainty that a chosen course of action is the most effective. People who are self-confident acknowledge their capacity for success in any given situation and if they want something, they go after it. They do not rely on approval from others to affirm their existence and they capitalise on opportunities that come their way. People aren’t always born with it, but it’s a valuable attribute that can be continuously refined and improved.

4: Active Listening

Not only do efficient sellers find the right questions to ask, they also actively listen to everything their prospects say. They are looking for any mutual interests or talking points, as well as making a mental list of all of the clients wants, needs, likes and dislikes. This allows the sales professional to modify their sales pitch to the tune of the customer while already in conversation, sounding like a knowledgable expert and not a sales bot.

Effective communicators know the difference between hearing and listening. You can hear everything but listen to nothing and, like most things in life, the key to success in sales is in the finer details. Active listening is a skill developed by sales professionals, effective leaders and anyone wanting to build lasting relationships with those around them.

5: Resourcefulness

Successful sellers are quick thinking problem solvers. They are often faced with difficult situations, tough negotiations and time restraints with not much more than their wits and the internet, but the best always figure it out.

An article from Harvard Business Review calls them Modern MacGyvers, without the life and death situations. Joseph Curtis, VP of enterprise sales as Salesforce, says that this is because resourcefulness is as much a mindset as it is a skill.

6: Persistence

Constant rejection can be a tough pill to swallow, but if a salesperson wants to be successful, they have no choice but to shake it off like water from a duck’s back.

The best never let short-term failures throw them off the path to achieving success and they move from opportunity to opportunity with the same levels of energy and enthusiasm. Someone said no today? Challenge accepted. An elite seller will call and try again tomorrow, the day after and again next week.

“Refuse to attach a negative meaning to the word ‘no.’ View it as feedback. ‘No’ tells you to change your approach, create more value or try again later.” – Anthony Iannarino

Whether it be in sales, or life, every failure is just an opportunity to find another road to success and persistence is what will take you there.

7: Time Management

As the old saying goes, Time is money, and every minute a seller is not engaging in selling activities means lost opportunities and lost revenue. Success in sales involves managing numerous tasks, some both tedious and time consuming, but all critical to overall success.

A seller will quickly learn to prioritise tasks and work in an efficient manner, or risk being lapped by the pack when it comes to results. Same goes for success in life, do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do.

8: Knowing When to Walk Away

As important as it is for a salesperson to be persistent with their prospects, the best also know when to walk away. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for efficient salespeople to be chasing dead end leads or barking up empty trees. The best quickly learn to recognise when it’s time to move on to other opportunities.

Successful people often ask themselves “is this really the best use of my time,” and just like salespeople, they know when to count their losses and walk away from things that no longer benefit them. Just because something has had a large time investment, it doesn’t mean it’s still worthwhile.

9: Always Selling

Elite sales professionals know that sales is a long term game and that they constantly have to be searching for opportunities to achieve success. When meeting a new person, they leave the best impression possible and make sure the person knows about they products and services they offer.

Success in life also comes from recognising opportunities and chasing them down. Always be selling. Even in the simplest of tasks, like sending a CV or going to a job interview, you are selling the idea of yourself to another person or organisation. Sales professionals learn this as a second nature and take it into any aspect of their lives.
If you want something then use every opportunity to take yourself closer to getting it.

10: Taking Time Out

A sales professional’s energy alone can make or break their chances of success in any given situation. Small mistakes can be costly so when an elite seller sees any dip in performance, the take some time out to recharge. On top of regular breaks throughout the day, elite sellers will also achieve adequate sleep on a daily basis.

Sleep promotes cognition and memory, reduces stress, aids learning and recharges our mental and physical batteries, helping us make the most of every day.

Efficient salespeople will recharge at regular intervals throughout the day, while always ensuring to get a good nights sleep. Plentiful sleep and regular breaks improves mental and physical health while reducing stress and allowing our body to perform at maximum capacity.

The best sales professionals are elite communicators and effective self-managers.

Anyone who has worked in sales knows that emotion drives the process while logic and facts rarely win over potential buyers. While the list above skills are critical to the success of an elite sales professional, while also stepping stones for success in life, the most effective tool in the sales process is the art of communication.

“Great leadership is found at the intersection of wisdom, persuasion, and empathy. Sales professionals have a unique understanding of the human element and tend to embody this mix of skills in just the right amounts.” – Chris Myers.

Regardless of your career path, you’re always going to be selling so consider investing some time into developing the skills listed above.

About the author: Harrison has more than five years experience transacting both residential and commercial assets in Australian property markets and is currently the trainer and supervisor of an international sales team based in Barcelona.

If you are looking to start a career in sales, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

24 Foods for a Stronger Immune System

We are collectively beginning to understand the importance of making healthy food choices.

What we eat is what provides the energy that we rely on to complete our daily tasks. Not only this, it provides the fuel that powers our internal defences to keep us healthy. With this in mind, what do you think happens if you load it with refined sugar or other factory items?

Food manufacturers are always searching for ways to cheapen their production process’ and often by looking for cheaper products to include in their recipes.

Laboratory extracted sugars, and other simple carbohydrates which, aside from usually offering minimal nutritional value, come with many adverse health risks when consumed regularly or in large quantities.

To overcome the temptations of unhealthy foods, it’s essential to have healthy meals planned, prepared in advance or at least readily available. The following is a list of food items that any healthy diet should be based around.

For a stronger immune system, base your diet around the following foods:

1: Berries

Berries are a highly effective way to load up on nutrients and they are also a delicious snack or sweet addition to meals. You don’t have to give up snacking!

Blackberries are full of Vitamin A and well known for their antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, while blueberries, elderberries, açai berries, strawberries and raspberries are loaded with antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C. Unlike most animals, we are unable to produce our own vitamin C so, it is an essential dietary component for boosting white blood cells and fighting infections.

2: Citrus fruits

Grapefruit, oranges, clementines, tangerines, lemons and limes are all fantastic sources of vitamin C. Citrus fruits are usually the first food choice for anyone looking to fight the cold or flu.

3: Broccoli

Broccoli is absolutely packed with nutrients including vitamins A, C and E, as well as fibre and other antioxidants. Broccoli is also super high in protein but is best only lightly cooked to support nutrient retention.

4: Cauliflower

Like broccoli, cauliflower is a valuable source of minerals, fibre and vitamin C.

5: Garlic

Garlic is cultivated for all cuisines worldwide and contains a strong antibiotic called allicin. It is known to fight infections, slows arteries hardening and even protects against atherosclerosis and stroke. It is also said to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

6: Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a good source of protein and contain selenium, B-vitamins and powerful polysaccharides called beta-glucans, known to fight inflammation and support the body’s immune health.

7: Carrot

An immune booster, rich in potassium, fibre, antioxidants and beta-carotene, in addition to vitamins A and C, which act as antioxidants and protect immune cells from free radical damage.

8: Apple

Known for a range of health benefits, apples are full of natural sugars, fibre and potassium, as well as vitamins C and K. The skin also contains quercetin, a type of flavonoid which boosts your immune system and aids in reducing inflammation. As corny as it sounds, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

9: Ginger

Well renowned for its powerful antiviral and antibacterial properties, ginger is commonly used for reducing sore throats or other inflammatory illnesses. Ginger is also known to lower cholesterol and relieve chronic pain, motion sickness and nausea. Best enjoyed in juices, smoothies and many cuisines for added spice.

10: Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are another food rich in beta carotene and known for its immune-boosting properties. One medium-sized red bell pepper contains enough vitamin C to fulfil your recommended daily intake.

11: Spinach

The super leaf. Spinach is packed with nutrients including fibre, beta carotene, antioxidants and vitamin C. It also contains folate which aids in the production of new cells and protection against oxidative DNA damage. Avoid overcooking for nutrient retention.

12: Raw Honey

Raw honey is rich in phytonutrients and well known for its antibacterial and anti-fungal power. The phytonutrients responsible for honey’s immune-boosting benefits are destroyed during heavy processing so, it’s best to avoid the cheap and sweetened versions.

13: Low-Fat Yoghurt

Both plain and Greek yoghurt are great sources of both vitamin D and probiotics. Look for live and active cultures on the label to be sure that the product contains probiotics. Mix with oats, berries, fruit and chia seeds for a super healthy breakfast.

14: Watermelon

A summertime staple which contains potassium and vitamins A, C and B-6. Watermelon also contains glutathione and lycopene, antioxidants which strengthen the body’s defence against heart disease and cancer.

15: Nuts

Pistachios, almonds and walnuts contain vitamin E, which assists the immune system in fighting off bacteria. 

Sunflower seeds are also a rich source of phosphorous, magnesium, selenium, vitamins E and B-6.

16: Turmeric

A bitter spice used in curries, rice and numerous other dishes for its taste and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric contains curcumin, which helps relieve conditions involving pain and inflammation. It is also used for hay fever, depression, high cholesterol and fatty liver disease.

17: Tea

White, black and green teas are rich antioxidants which seek and destroy cell-damaging compounds. Many teas also contain the amino acid, L-theanine, which may play a role in producing bacteria-fighting compounds in your white blood cells.

Green tea is said to be the superior choice when it comes to health benefits as, unlike other teas, green tea is steamed and not fermented. This process preserves the powerful antioxidant, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).

18: Papaya

Papaya contains high levels of vitamins A, B and C, all known for reducing the oxidation of cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

Papaya also contains potassium, magnesium, folate and a digestive enzyme called papain, known for its anti-inflammatory effects.

19: Sweet Potato

Nutritionists as the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) have recently confirmed that sweet potato is the world’s most nutritious food.

Not only does it come with a super low glycemic index rating, sweet potato is high in beta carotene, fibre, thiamine, niacin, potassium, copper and vitamins E, C and B-6.

20: Poultry

Chicken and turkey contain both vitamin B-6 and carnosine, both assisting with the metabolism of other foods.

Stock from boiling bones contains gelatin, chondroitin and other nutrients for gut health and immunity, making it a powerful antibacterial and antiviral remedy.

21: Miso

A traditional Japanese seasoning made of fermented soybeans, usually in the form of a salty paste. While Miso is famous for being the star ingredient in Miso Soup, it can also be added to many savoury sauces and dishes. Miso contains probiotics that aid in neutralising harmful bacteria within the body.

22: Tomato

Tomatoes are loaded with an antioxidant called lycopene. It gives them their bright red colour and helps protect your cells against damage from free radicals. Tomatoes also have potassium, vitamins B and E, and other nutrients making it widely used for both its health benefits, and taste.

23: Kiwi Fruit

Kiwi fruit is packed with essential health-promoting nutrients such as folate, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K.

24: Seafood

Seafood is loaded with nutrients that reduce inflammation including vitamins A, B and D, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and numerous minerals such as calcium, selenium, phosphorous, iron, zinc iodine, magnesium and potassium.

Varieties of shellfish, including oysters, crab, lobster and mussels are also high in zinc, assisting in the development of cells that make up your body’s line of defences.

While all diets should be based around this list of foods, it is important to note that your first line of defence is a healthy lifestyle. 

On top of a nutritious diet, other healthy living strategies include not smoking, minimising alcohol consumption, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep and minimising stress.

10 Vtiamins and minerals to consume daily

12 Easy ways to cut sugar from your diet

10 Fitness tips for beginners

The BEST exercises for getting fit at home

6 Tips for improving your mental health

10 Reasons to avoid sugar

About the Author: Harrison has more than a decade of experience on, and off, the rugby field as a player, junior coach and part-time referee. His passion for rugby led him to the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers where he studied the human body, exercise and nutrition, before being registered as a health and fitness professional with Fitness Australia and Fitness First Australia. Although the career path has changed, his passion for health, fitness, and Rugby will always remain.

12 Tips for Cutting Sugar from Your Diet

A personal trainer’s advice for achieving a sugar-free lifestyle

Excessive sugar intake is linked to many adverse health effects

While it can be said that occasionally consuming small amounts of sugar is perfectly safe, it’s advisable for anyone to minimise their consumption of added sugars and other processed carbohydrates for optimising their health and wellbeing.

Thankfully, the first step towards a naturally sweetened lifestyle is just being conscious of the sources of sugar in your diet. Being mindful of exactly what is going into your body allows you to decide what you are ready to give up, and what you need to hang onto for a little bit longer.

Some expert tips on reducing your intake of refined sugars:   

1: Ditch the sweet drinks

Swap the juices, sodas or energy drinks for water or unsweetened beverages.

With a blender, you can just mix water with your favourite fruits and vegetables for a nutrient-rich smoothie that will provide lasting energy.  

2: That includes sweetened tea and coffee

You don’t need to sweeten your tea or coffee, milk contains enough sugar.  

3: Go easy on the condiments

Most sauces, marinades and dressings are loaded with sugar but, olive oil and vinegar are healthy substitutes for sweetened salad dressings and you there are usually unsweetened options when it comes to marinades and sauces.

The palate only misses sugar when there is nothing interesting to replace it. Add some spices to your meals if they lack flavour! 

4: You don’t have to give up snacking!

Swap sweet treats or snacks for natural alternatives.  

Fruits, nuts and trail mixes can be eaten throughout the day to satisfy hunger and your body’s energy requirements and not only do they satisfy sugar and salt cravings, they are also rich in vitamins and minerals. 

5: Start your day right

Your morning sets the pace for the rest of your day. Avoid processed grains and other simple carbs, especially sugary drinks and breakfast cereals. The body quickly breaks down simple carbs to sugar which causes a spike in blood sugar levels and a potential crash

If you’re looking for a sustainable breakfast full of vitamins and minerals, try a mix of plain or Greek yoghurt, oats, chia and any of your favourite fruit and berries. 

Cooked eggs are also a highly nutritious way to start the day. I love mine Brazilian style, scrambled and mixed with tapioca powder for natural protein, fats and carbohydrates. 

6: Watch your consumption of alcohol

Alcohol is detrimental to your health regardless of what form it comes in so, avoid alcoholic beverages mixed with sugary juices and sodas. You’ll be grateful the next day.

7: Make your shopping list sacred

If you don’t want to be tempted to buy foods you know you shouldn’t be eating, don’t put them on the shopping list!

When shopping for food, follow the store perimeter. Focus on the fridges, fresh foods and whole food items.   

The most nutritious diets do not focus on how much you eat, but what you eat. Countless experts recommend basing your diet around foods such as fruit, vegetables, fish, whole (unprocessed) grains and legumes, dairy, nuts and seed, as well as lean meats or vegetarian alternatives.

Fill your fridge with natural products so that you always have healthy alternatives to combat cravings. Avoiding packaged and processed items in the supermarket is a big leap towards a healthy diet and lifestyle. 

8: Meal Prep

It’s hard to sustain a diet without a plan. We are all guilty of going for the easy or unhealthy option when we are feeling hungry or lazy. Of course, you are far more likely to reach for the sweet snack when you have nothing nutritious at hand. 

If you are making sure your fridge is full of healthy foods then the next level is to start converting those ingredients into wholesome meals for the days ahead. When you have a fridge full of delicious, homemade meals, are you even going to want to open the bag of simple carbs waiting for you in the pantry? I think not. 

Many efficient meal preppers will do their shopping and preparation for the week on the same day. While this is ideal, my ‘weeks’ meals usually only last a few days and THIS IS OKAY. I know that when I eat one of these meals prematurely, I am usually saving myself from a poor food choice and at the end of the day, that’s what they’re there for. 

I have a weakness for cookies, cakes and brownies. The workaround for this? Baking your own reduced-sugar alternatives at home! You can easily take control of your diet by preparing your meals in advance. Make decisions your future self will be grateful for.

9: Think twice about artificial sugars

While they are sweeter than regular sugars and contain little to no calories, eating artificial sugars can actually trick the body into believing that it is consuming sugar. 

Scientists are divided between whether or not artificial sweeteners are safe or unsafe, but numerous studies suggest sweeteners cause weight gain, brain tumours, bladder cancer and many other health hazards, including carcinogenicity in humans. 

10: Make gradual changes

If done so gradually, there is a greater chance of success when transitioning from a full sugar diet to a no sugar diet.

A sugar junkie will rarely be able to sustain a no sugar diet if they decide to cut stop their sugar consumption overnight, the cravings, or withdrawals, are just too much. 

Not sure where to start? Try banning your worst sugar habit from the shopping list or choose any one of the points on this list.

Every step you take towards a lower sugar intake is a step towards a healthier lifestyle. Never underestimate the significance of each decision you make. 

11: Start reading product labels

There are two reasons to do this. The first is to understand the macronutrient composition of your food items meaning, how much protein, fats and carbs.

There are also 61 different names for sugar so, once the individual sources of sugar have been eliminated from the diet, it is advisable to look at some of the items on the shopping list to determine whether or not it is something that aligns with your fitness goals.

12: Recognise your progress

Remember that health and fitness is a journey. You can always go further but you should also always recognise how far your have come. 

Never ignore a kilogram lost, a bad habit kicked or an extra kilometre you can run. Progress is good progress, no matter how small.

Overall

The best way to lower your sugar intake is through mindfulness of what you are eating and always having healthy alternatives available to satisfy the cravings. 

Take control of your diet by preparing your own healthy meals at home and having them on hand to combat cravings. 

Just being aware of what sources of sugar you are consuming, while focusing on eating whole, unprocessed foods, will instantly lead to a reduced amount of sugar in your diet. 

If you are struggling to kick some unhealthy dietary habits, try some of the simple changes above and see how quickly your relationship with sugar changes. 

10 Fitness tips for beginners

The BEST exercises for getting fit at home

10 Vtiamins and minerals to consume daily

6 Tips for improving your mental health

10 Reasons to avoid sugar

24 Foods for a stronger Immune System

About the Author: Harrison has more than a decade of experience on, and off, the rugby field as a representative player, junior coach and part-time referee. His passion for rugby led him to the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers where he studied the human body, exercise and nutrition, before being registered as a health and fitness professional with Fitness Australia and Fitness First Australia. Although the career path has changed, his passion for health, fitness, and Rugby will always remain.

10 Reasons to Avoid Sugar

The dangers of consuming the world’s most addictive substance

Everyone wants to look good and feel healthy, but at what cost?

As children we used to laugh about a saying, you are what you eat, but as I have grown older I’ve realised that there have not been truer words spoken concerning health and wellbeing.

The word diet comes from the Greek root word, diaita, which means to live one’s life, and also from the Latin root word, diaeta, meaning a manner of living. Your diet is the root of your energy and a huge influence on the overall quality of your life.

So, why do we need to limit the intake of processed carbohydrates?

Processed carbohydrates, also known as simple or refined carbs, are just sugars and grains which have been stripped of all bran, fibre and nutrients. Everyday food items in this category include white flour, white bread, pastries, pasta, breakfast cereals, packaged snacks and added sugars, such as those found in sweet foods, sodas and juices.

While these foods are not unsafe when consumed in moderation, eating them regularly or in large amounts can bring undesirable health effects.

“Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.”
[Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are]
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1826

“Der Mensch ist, was er ißt.”
[Man is what he eats]
Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach, 1864

The dangers of excess sugar consumption

1: Sugar can lead to weight gain

Worldwide obesity rates are still on the rise after nearly tripling since 1975. In 2016, 39% of all adults were considered overweight and of these 1.9 billion people, more than 650 million were obese.

The root cause? Increased global production and consumption of refined sugars.

Diets high in sugar are usually high in calories. A caloric surplus, meaning more calories consumed than burned, is responsible for weight gain so, if you want to reduce your waistline, before anything else, reduce the number of sugary products that you consume.

Sweetened beverages, like soft drinks and juices, are loaded with fructose. Fructose induces a fake feeling of hunger and excessive consumption can also lead to your body developing a resistance to leptin, a hormone which regulates hunger.

The average can of soda contains around 50 grams of sugar (50 x 4 = 200 calories) meaning, just one sugary drink each day can put you out of the healthy range of sugar consumption. So, not only does a can of Coke contain 10% of the average person’s daily caloric needs, it has more sugar than you need each day and it can make you hungry

What do you get when you mix a faux feeling of hunger with a bottomless pit? Weight gain, amongst many other potential health complications. While you should reduce your sugar intake if you are trying to get into shape, it’s important to note that sugar alone does not cause weight gain or obesity. An unhealthy state of being is caused by a mix of diet, physical activity and genetics, as well as social and environmental factors. This being said, high sugar diets are usually one of the leading causes of big bellies.

2: Sugar can increase your chances of depression

Are you familiar with brain foods? Sugar is basically the opposite. Excessive consumption of sugar can not only lead to impaired memory and an increased risk of dementia, it can also increase your chances of developing depression.

Separate studies conducted with more than 75,000 men and women concluded that those with higher sugar intakes had a significantly greater risk of depression than those who consumed less sugar than recommended. While depression is curable, degeneration of the brain is irreversible. Look after your mind by reducing your sugar intake.

3: Sugar provides unsustainable energy

Eating sugar-rich foods will spike blood sugar and insulin levels, resulting in a short burst of energy. If only consuming foods lacking protein, fat or fibre, this increase in energy will be followed by a drastic decrease in blood sugar, also known as a crash.

Blood sugar swings lead to fluctuations in energy levels and underperformance from both the body and mind. Consistently failing to meet your body’s nutrition requirements can lead to physical health complications. Similarly, under-powering your mind can lead to depression or accelerated cognitive degeneration.

For sustainable energy, swap the processed carbs for fruit, vegetables or other natural foods rich in protein, fat or fibre.

4: Sugar can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes

While the increasing global prevalence of diabetes can be attributed to several reasons, there is a definite link between high sugar diets and the risk of developing this chronic condition.

People who are overweight are considered to be the most at risk, however, anyone who consumes large quantities of sugar is at risk of developing an insulin resistance which leads to elevated blood sugar levels and therefore, a heightened risk of diabetes.

5: Sugar is detrimental to dental health

Eating sugar throughout the day can lead to tooth decay which also leads to the development of cavities. Bacteria in our mouths feed on sugar and react by releasing an acid that causes tooth decay and demineralisation. Reducing your sugar intake is a simple means of preventing tooth cavities.

6: Sugar can lead to fatty liver disease

A condition in which fat builds up inside of the liver and common in people who have obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, all of which are consequences of excessive consumption of sugar.

Your liver is responsible for detoxifying ingested chemicals and filtering blood which is en route to the digestive tract. Liver failure can be fatal but like most organs, you can keep it functioning through sustaining a healthy diet.

7: Sugar increases your risk of heart disease

There is a direct link between high sugar diets and heart disease, the number one cause of death worldwide. An AMA study was conducted over 15 years and the following results were published in 2014.

A higher percentage of calories from added sugar is associated with significantly increased risk of [cardiovascular disease] mortality. Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is also associated with elevated CVD mortality… Basically, the higher the intake of added sugar, the higher the risk for heart disease.

The message here is pretty clear. You can look after your heart and cardiovascular health through maintaining a low intake of refined sugars.

8: Sugar has been linked to acne

Risks of developing acne have been linked to diets high in refined sugars or other processed carbohydrates.

High glycemic index foods, or any foods with a lot of sugar, spike blood sugar and insulin levels. This causes an increase in androgen secretion and oil production which greatly contribute to the development of acne.

9: Sugar increases your risk of cancer

Diets high in sugar can increase your risk of numerous types of cancer. Insulin resistance, inflammation and obesity are all the result of excess sugar consumption and are all significant risk factors for developing cancer. Reduce the risk by reducing your sugar intake.

10: Sugar accelerates skin ageing

Wrinkles are a natural sign of aging, we all get them one day. You can, however, reduce your biological age through sustaining a healthy diet.

Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) are compounds formed by reactions between sugar and protein cells in your body. When formed, these harmful proteins seek and destroy beneficial proteins like collagen and elastin which are responsible for maintaining the elasticity and youthfulness of the skin.

Not only do AGEs accelerate skin ageing, but they are also implicated in the development of many degenerative diseases including diabetes, kidney disease and Alzheimer’s.

Is a no sugar diet the secret fountain of youth?

Many adults eat more sugar than necessary. Countless studies have confirmed that some of the negative effects of consuming added sugar include increased blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes and fatty liver disease, which are all risk factors for heart attacks, stroke and cancer.

Aside from the many associated health risks, refined sugar is just an empty calorie with no nutritional benefit so limiting the consumption is advisable for anyone wishing to achieve better health.

While all sugars are safe in moderation, a natural source of sugar will always be more beneficial than its processed alternative. There are so many delicious foods which are great for achieving a healthy body, immune system and lifestyle, so strive to make choices that your future self will be grateful for.

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About the Author: Harrison has more than a decade of experience on, and off, the rugby field as a representative player, junior coach and part-time referee. His passion for rugby led him to the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers where he studied the human body, exercise and nutrition, before being registered as a health and fitness professional with Fitness Australia and Fitness First Australia. Although the career path has changed, his passion for health, fitness, and Rugby will always remain.