Category Archives: Mind, Body and Soul

Health, wellness, fitness

A-*sigh*-ment time? Make it a little easier for everyone

I’ve just spent the last fortnight, in between my own studies, marking first year assignments. At times, I’ve seriously wondered about the future of Australian science, but then one wonderfully written piece arrives on my desk and I stop trying to design drinking games (a student wrote something unintentionally rude because they didn’t proofread – one drink). I feel like I need some particular comments on a rubber stamp, I had to say them so often. So from a tutor who isn’t quite so bitter and twisted yet, I’d like to offer my general advice as the end of semester approaches.

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by | May 22, 2013 · 8:23 am

Getting Your Hands Dirty – Adventures on the Emerald Isle

jessCheaper Than Rubies is honoured to have former Sky News journalist, and now globe trotter, Jess as our guest contributor. Jess is a CSU Communications graduate and has worked in the media in Tamworth and Sydney. This year, Jess ditched the workforce and ventured overseas. Here she shares her latest adventure with us.

Ireland had always been at the top of my list of countries to visit, so I feel very fortunate to actually be in the land of Irish luck, leprechauns and Guinness. After a whirlwind three day tour of Southern Ireland, I found myself volunteering on an organic farm just north of Dublin in the hope it would help me experience the real Ireland.

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Filed under Itchy Feet, Mind, Body and Soul, Ruby Reviews

What’s So Special About Soylent: a new frontier in food

Soylent - a meal in a cup.

Soylent – a meal in a cup.

Have you ever noticed that in science fiction movies there always seems to be some kind of food replacement with an incredibly unappetising name? I’m not talking about the three-course meal chewing gum from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, because that sounded amazing, besides the unfortunate side effects.

No, I’m talking about convenient, and often flavourless, food stuff that exists purely for nutritional value and survival. Firefly had the Alliance Food Bar, Lost in Space had Protein Pills, and in an amusing parody, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy had the The Nutrimatic Drinks Dispenser – a device which produced a liquid that was “almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.”

It seems that this fantastical notion of flavourless sustenance may be stepping out of the world of science fiction and onto the supermarket shelves in the near future, thanks to Rob Rhinehart – a 24-year-old software engineer from Atlanta. Rhinehart has managed to concoct a kind of creamy beige smoothie that supposedly contains all of the nutrients that the body needs to survive. The name of this scientific breakthrough? Soylent. That’s right, as in Soylent Green, which according to the movie of the same name was made out of people. Rhinehart has pointed out that in the original book, soylent green was in fact made out of lentils and soy, but his choice of product name is still incredibly amusing.

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Filed under Mind, Body and Soul, Stand Back: Science!

Ruby View: Why do we wax on, wax off?

bathroom pinupNext week, I’m going to a friend’s wedding. I’ve got my pretty dress, shoes, and I’m planning how I’ll do my hair. Oh, and I’ll be getting my legs waxed. All 5 months’ worth of growth.

Not undertaking any kind of hair removal on my legs this summer wasn’t any kind of feminazi protest against today’s beauty standards. And I certainly have been showing off my calves regardless – it’s been far too hot to shy away from my sundresses. And look, I have to be honest, my friends do get a little jealous that my leg fuzz is fair and thin – I’ve been waxing and epilating since I was 14, slowly destroying the hair follicles each time I rip the hairs from their roots. But when I put it like that, I do start to question why girls do what we do – why is it that hairy legs on a girl is considered gross? Continue reading


Filed under Mind, Body and Soul, Ruby Views

A Truly Colourful Workout: Putting the fun into running!

I don’t watch the television series Bones regularly at all, and coming from a strong CSI background it isn’t my cup of tea. But if I catch the start of the show I can’t stop watching. The writers know how to draw in the audience.

I recently caught an episode where the murder victim, before he died, walked through an Indian market. People had been throwing coloured powder as he walked by. The autopsy showed coloured spots on his lungs. This is how they ‘knew’ where he had been. I have no idea if that would actually happen or not, but after Sunday I think half of Sydney has rainbow lungs.

Last Sunday I was lucky enough to be part of the “happiest 5k’s”, the Color Run, to raise funds for Heart Kids. Based on Holi, a Hindu tradition to celebrate the coming of spring; a series of charity runs have taken on the idea to throw coloured corn flour at people to make things a bit more exciting than your generic fun run. Continue reading


Filed under Mind, Body and Soul

The Global Price of Quinoa

A Bolivian Farmer in her quinoa field.

A Bolivian Farmer in her quinoa field.

It seems that you can’t walk into a restaurant or pick up a food magazine these days without being threatened with quinoa. Quinoa salad, quinoa smoothies, quinoa ice cream… No, really. That’s a thing.

For those who haven’t been exposed to the cult yet, quinoa is a nutrient-dense, gluten-free grain that comes from the Andes. The locals have been growing it alongside potatoes, corn and alpacas for thousands of years. In fact, the Incas considered the grain to be sacred and referred to it as chisaya mama or ‘mother of all grains’.

The Incan accolades for the grain was justified. The protein content of quinoa averages at around 23%, whereas most other grains sit at around 16%. Furthermore, it has an exceptionally nutritious balance of good fats, oils and starches. Considering that anything containing gluten is being deemed unholy in modern day society, it’s hardly surprising that quinoa has become immensely popular with foodies and overly protective mothers whose children don’t actually have special food needs.

Quinoa isn’t the first superfood to be embraced by healthy lifestyle communities and hipster cafes. It’s been preceded by the likes of Goji berries, chia seeds, kale and agave – just to name a few. It seems that us diet conscious Westerners believe in equal opportunity when it comes to impacting on developing nations. Continue reading


Filed under Mind, Body and Soul

Melt Proof Chocolate – Friend or Foe?

There’s something seriously wrong with a chocolate if the instructions suggest that it should take half an hour to eat!

In the past few days, various news sources have reported on a £600 million scientific grant to develop heat resistant chocolate.  This seems to be in response to the rise in global temperatures, evidence of which can be found in the 46°C day that hit Sydney a fortnight ago.

These developments would also assist in opening up the market in countries such as India, where chocolate sales suffer due to constant high temperatures. Reports also state that the developments are focused on ensuring that this new chocolate will have an extended shelf life.

Now, I want to assure you that I’m supportive of anything that will enable more people to experience high quality chocolate. Chocolate for all! However, as a food historian who has worked for a chocolate company, I have some concerns and about this alleged miracle chocolate. Continue reading


Filed under Mind, Body and Soul

Start Your New Year’s Resolutions NOW!


The New Year offers a chance for a clean slate, a fresh start, and renewal. That’s why millions of people the world over will spend a little time making a list of all the things they want to improve about themselves and their lives in 2013.

Last year, a study showed the top 10 resolutions were:

  1. Lose weight.
  2. Get organised.
  3. Spend less, save more.
  4. Enjoy life more.
  5. Get fit and healthy.
  6. Learn something new.
  7. Quit smoking.
  8. Help others in their dreams.
  9. Fall in love.
  10. Spend more time with family.

That same study goes on to explain that 25 per cent of people give up on their resolution within the first week. Just eight per cent of people are successful in achieving their resolution overall. Depressing, right?

I’m going to tell you a way you can have a better chance of achieving your resolutions for 2013.

Start now.

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Filed under Mind, Body and Soul

Going (Coco)nutty!

After last week’s post, you probably think I am some kind of oil fanatic, yes?

Okay, it’s true!

These natural miracle workers happen to be one of my favourite topics, and today I would like to bend your ear about what some have called the Alpha and Omega, the Holy Grail, and the best health secret of all time: coconut oil.

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Filed under Mind, Body and Soul

Oils and your face: a surprising match!

This week, Alana suggests a new cleansing regime that may challenge the way you think about your skin!

It may seem counter-intuitive, but using oil to cleanse, treat and moisturise your skin is one of the most effective and cheap skincare routines available. It even removes make up!

Oil cleansing is based on the principle of ‘like dissolves like’, and therefore, when using the right combination of oils for your skin, using this method will dissolve the oil on your face and give an effective clean without stripping or irritating your skin. This is important, because if you get all sudsy and eliminate the natural oils from your skin, it will go into overdrive trying to compensate. That’s right: clean now, shiny later.

Oil cleansing can work for all skin types, including sensitive, irritated or dry skin, and acne sufferers. You just need to find the right combo for your skin. Continue reading


Filed under Mind, Body and Soul