Holistic wellbeing

The Dangers of Treadmills

In this audio, Charlotte addresses the use of treadmills which are commonplace in most gyms in the country but many people are unaware of their dangers. Constantly using a treadmill can cause repetitive stress injuries and strain due the Read more

Kefir healed my skin

The power of Kefir I have been living in South Korea for a year now and I have become very sensitive to foods which may possibly have caused what looks like a fungal infection on my skin. When I went Read more

Ntosh's Journey to Health Part 2

I have been on the Better4life nutrition programme and I noticed something... For the past couple of days I've noticed that I'm happier, my mood is so much better – almost nothing can get me down. Also, the energy drinks – Read more

Kefir keeps me healthy!

All the Better4life products are a true God-send.  The kefir has been my medicine for everything. I have been applying the kefir on my skin for the past 3 weeks every night and my skin is producing such a Read more

Country living in the city

I picked up the March issue of “Country Life”, drawn to its fresh outdoor images. Print has suffered a decline and it’s amazing how this magazine continues to flourish, glossy and bright. And then it dawned on me. Many Read more

Kefir healed my skin

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Kefir skin healerThe power of Kefir

I have been living in South Korea for a year now and I have become very sensitive to foods which may possibly have caused what looks like a fungal infection on my skin. When I went to the hospital to see if the doctors could assist and they suggested cutting me up (I’m not exaggerating) so that they could get a sample and test it. I was about to have a ‘mini surgery’ and I wasn’t too sure about this. I was scared out of my socks! So I prayed and felt that this was not necessary.
I then spoke to Charlotte and told her about all symptoms as well as showed her photos and she told me to pray, treat it with Kefir, directly onto the skin, as well as consuming Kefir daily. I was to be consistent with this and also clean my diet to boost the immune system. Six months down the line, it, whatever it is, has almost disappeared. I praise the Lord for blessing me with Charlotte, a wonderful woman of wisdom.
Esther Busisiwe Machileka

Ntosh’s Journey to Health Part 2

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I have been on the Better4life nutrition programme and I noticed something…

For the past couple of days I’ve noticed that I’m happier, my mood is so much better – almost nothing can get me down.

Also, the energy drinks – I haven’t had one in about two weeks which is massive for me as I usually had 1 every morning. I don’t need them anymore!

Lastly, but the best part… I think I’ve lost some weight😊, I still have to work on getting the gut restoration programme right BUT 2 items that I wore this week feel looser (I’m not complaining!)

It is making a difference!

Thanks Charlotte


Kefir keeps me healthy!

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All the Better4life products are a true God-send.  The kefir has been my medicine for everything. I have been applying the kefir on my skin for the past 3 weeks every night and my skin is producing such a glow. When my skin is glowing I am so happy to show face even when I’m having a down day.
I have just moved to the northern hemisphere and I have noticed many of the native teachers are getting sick and I wondered why I haven’t caught the flu or any funny bug and it dawned on me that drinking kefir twice a day has kept me healthy physically and mentally.

Thank you for this, I am really doing well, I haven’t seen a GP in 9 months because you are a doctor with products that heal!


The Value of Belief

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In the last year, I’ve come across people with different beliefs about health. For example someone had a copper contraceptive removed because they believe it’s harmful, another person disagrees and believes that peace of mind in avoiding pregnancy is top priority. Another young couple express their belief that practising abstinence during fertile days will enrich their marriage. All of these people will have a different experience.

The power, the value of belief is profound. And mysterious. Belief shapes the course of my life, and it shapes yours. I’ve been thinking about my beliefs. What I really believe about a great number of things. Do I believe it’s more important to be polite or honest? Do I believe that people have a right to exercise free will, even when it harms others?

Beliefs based on the facts

What I believe must be reviewed based on the evidence of its truth. There are factual beliefs that you and I are responsible for checking. An interesting example: for years, a global advertising campaign was run to convince consumers about the health benefits of white potatoes. Now, decades later, we have realised that potatoes are not super foods and actually contain very little nutrition.

Beliefs based on personal values

On a deeper level, there are also values-based beliefs that we form and only we can change. Profoundly, my beliefs determine exactly how my life will look and play out. My beliefs also serve as a keen judge of my actions. I’ve seen this now. The minute I decide to do or not to do something that is in opposition to my beliefs, I feel a certain emotion which could be peace and satisfaction; an inner conviction; or guilt, anger and self-disappointment. And it doesn’t end here. My decisions based on my beliefs move into the proteins of my brain and build positive connections or negative interruptions. This produces a cascade of reactions that then affect the health of my body. I literally become my beliefs, or how my mind responds to my choices. I’ve realised that due to fear, shame, pain, even abuse, so many of us daily are making choices that we don’t really believe in, perhaps because we feel that we don’t have a choice or feel manipulated to choose something we don’t want. There’s a little voice protesting deep within, and although it’s faint, we hear it. The body senses the disconnect, and if repeated we can become ill.

The solution

Live from your heart. Act out your beliefs. Make good choices based on your beliefs.

Here’s an example: if I believe it’s important to be on time and I make sure that I am, for professional and social appointments, I’ll be able to see how important this really is within my own world. But if I allow myself to be delayed, controlled and influenced by a tardy (late) friend or colleague, I’ll feel emotions of resentment, stress, antipathy and self-guilt and feel ill. I’ll feel controlled and condemned.

You can choose!

As South Africans, we can often feel powerless – there’s the government, big business and the whole western world seemingly at odds with us, oppressing our free will and ability to choose. I believe we can choose. I believe that the value of belief is to choose, and it frees you and I to live more honest, health-filled lives. Go choose and become whole!

What are YOU hoping for?

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Hope it is a powerful thing. It is more than an emotion. Hope is having vision. It’s the promise of your vision becoming real. It is what you are looking FORWARD to in the future. This weekend, the question literally flashed across my mind: “what are you hoping for?” I was washing dishes, so I wasn’t really prepared for this profound thought…

I answered the question honestly, a little timidly. And then, surprisingly, joy came cascading into my heart! I felt God telling me, “I want you to hope; I want you to believe that what you truly hope for is good and I will make it happen.” And so I’m hoping again!

There are many dreams that I’ve buried and real desires that I’ve held close to my heart for a very long time. They didn’t seem to be possible. There seemed to be too many obstacles in the way. Trying to live without these dreams in a functional, “paying my taxes” way, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve realised that there is no life without hope.

There is no joy, there is no beauty, there is no delight without hope. Life receives its bountiful colour and richness in hope.

Let’s hope again. Let’s believe again! What are YOU hoping for?

Why Esther LOVES Charlotte’s Kitchen

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I have been thinking that my retirement plan is to live on a remote island and eat healthy wholesome food. I started having an appreciation of healthy eating since I began using recipes from Charlotte’s kitchen.

In March this year, I was told that I have Candida of the stomach as well as leaky gut. So it turns out that I am allergic to dairy products, wheat and sugar and these will be the death of me if I continue eating ‘junk food’. Therefore I was put on a four month very strict Candida diet in which I had to eliminate my favourite foods. Goodbye bread, cake, sweets, juice as well as certain fruits and vegetables.

I thought… What? I am going to go crazy. What is left for me to eat? Lettuce?

So I began this rather flavourless diet. I did however feel a huge difference, my energy levels were picking up and I was less bloated. After a month of Candida dieting, I could no longer carry on with the tasteless meals. There were just too many temptations and in my line of work I am constantly on the road so it is so much easier to buy already made food. I enjoyed ‘junk food’ too much and my health was further deteriorating.

Healthy, tasty foodCharlotte has been such a life saver, her dishes consist of healthy ingredients, plenty of vegetables, wonderful spices and not forgetting the Kefir, which can be used in just about any meal to bring out the flavour. I have been eating Charlotte’s recipes for about two months now and this is the healthiest I have been. My tummy is happy, I am regular, the bloating has calmed down significantly, I am sleeping better, and I rarely even crave the sweet stuff. Before I used to be bloated to the point where I couldn’t sit up straight at times, it was even uncomfortable to walk properly and I had to refrain from doing any form of physical activity such as running and playing netball.  I also find that I spend less time in bed during the weekends; I have become an early riser, even on the weekends.

Charlotte runs monthly cooking classes – why not come along and find out about the magic that takes place in her kitchen: admin@better4life.co.za

This healthy eating is all part of Charlotte’s ‘Better4Life’ programme. And I will even be better once I start exercising again. This week I will join Charlotte at one of her Pilates classes and see how it goes. I am pretty sure my body is ready for this, so much excitement! YAY! I am thoroughly looking forward to it as I do believe that a healthy lifestyle includes physical activity too.

You can find out about Charlotte’s Pilates classes in Horison and Northcliff: Better4life Pilates

As for my no make-up challenge, I went two days without make-up this week thanks to the wonders of Charlotte’s Africa Grace natural skincare range.

Thank you Charlotte!

Esther Machileka

More reasons to Love Kefir!

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While I do enjoy drinking Kefir for its many health benefits, I was surprised to discover it is healing for the skin as well…


Two weeks ago, I accidently grated the skin on my wrist while I was grating carrots. I quickly went to clean it off with water and thought about using some disinfectant to further clean the wound and apply a plaster. Instead used some Kefir on the wound and I did.

This was a surprise to me as I thought that Kefir was meant only for drinking. The following day I was so amazed at how quickly my skin was starting to repair itself. After 3 days of continuous application my skin looked like it had been “sewed” back together again, leaving no scars.

The same week of my kitchen accident, one of the kids in my drama class, managed to cut his foot outside while they were playing. Luckily I had brought some Kefir with me, for drinking purposes and medicinal it seems! I used some on the child’s cut as I knew that it would be the safest and most natural way to repair it.

Kefir for skinAcne Cream

For the past month or so, I have had what I call ‘stress pimples’ on my face. I thought, mmm let’s try Kefir. So I started using it as a base on my face before applying the Africa Grace Hydrating Cold Cream. The pimples have cleared and with continued use I know the scaring from the pimples with soon be a thing of the past.

Making Kefir is definitely worthwhile: order a kefir kit.

Esther Machileka

Is Saying ‘Yes’ Killing You?

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A few weeks ago, I lost my hubcap in Bloemfontein. A friendly young lady screamed out of her mom’s car, “Jammer dame, jy’t jou wiel verloor!” (Sorry lady, you’ve lost your wheel).  At that point, I was feeling rather chuffed with myself, making it all the way to the conference centre with no mishaps or detours. A long drive, a tired brain and rusty Afrikaans combined to make me wonder,” How on earth have I been driving on 3 wheels only?” Stopping my car, I got out ready to discover the worst, and there it was: 3 hubcaps and not 4. That happy hubcap was nowhere to be seen. I kept looking for it. I think it’s in some Bloemfontein “woestyn” (desert) now!

Long story cut short, I’ve felt like a beggar ever since I lost my hubcap. I feel embarrassed about my car, and ashamed about myself. It’s not a strong feeling; it’s just there like a grating reminder at the back of my mind. And during this time, I’ve felt a loss of power myself. People must be judging my car, and they must be judging me. JHB is a real car city. We don’t really drive dinged up or even old cars here. Everything new and shiny. In this strange place of irrational shame, I’ve found myself almost saying yes to things I haven’t thought through or really don’t want to do. I’ve been wondering about this, and the mysterious connection to my sense of reduced power. When I speak about power, I mean my personal autonomy. My ability to choose and say yes and no with freedom. It seems that this place of powerlessness attracts the controlling or co-dependent (excessive emotional or psychological reliance on someone else) like bees to nectar! You don’t want to know the messes I’ve walked into, or just narrowly avoided these last few weeks. Now, I don’t know a lot about this, and I’m just beginning to study more on the concept of personal power, but I’ve really got to say that it’s real and true.

Bullying, manipulation, control and co-dependency are all symptoms of powerlessness. A bully isn’t powerful. Neither is a person with a victim mentality. However, they are attracted to each other in an unpleasant dance. Saying “yes” or “no” to doing things when I don’t mean it is also a symptom of powerlessness. This makes me sick – in a state of disorder – because my mind registers the difference (cognitive dissonance) between what I said and what I really mean, and my emotions respond with resentment and a loss of control. Shame or guilt steps in and my body becomes filled with toxic, negative thoughts – thoughts centering on loss of quality of life versus receiving joy and contentment.

So many of my clients are stressed because of powerlessness. Just this week I saw how my own responses hinge on how powerful I decide to be or not. It IS a decision, but it’s really subconscious. An abusive boss, a destructive relationship; a co-dependent colleague; even a damaging view of good food – all of these are floating torpedoes on the sea of life, waiting for our response. My “yes” could be killing me, slowly or swiftly. And my “no” or “I can’t” could be getting in the way of what I really want to do.

A famous Proverb reads, “A desire fulfilled is like a tree of life.” So when I desire something, I can really state YES and my body is filled with life. A simple remedy is to examine my heart and my choices. Are my “Yes’s” really yes (I want this), and my “No’s” really no (I don’t want this)? I believe we can each build ourselves to be people of legitimate power, who encourage those around us to be equally powerful. Can you imagine a society that looks more like this? More truth, more freedom and more dignity? Beautiful!

Why we want to hibernate in Winter

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Take a break… Your body works hardest in winter.

Sometimes we forget that the internal combustion engine has been modelled on the human (and mammalian) body. And we forget, that exactly like a cold car feels on a winter morning, we too are working hardest when the air is coldest and driest.

The instinct to hibernate

Listen to yourself. We’ve done enough separation of body, mind and spirit. Human beings have the gift of functioning in tandem with all our parts, all the time. Winter comes approximately half-way through the year in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a good half-way point pegged for rest and reflection. The body knows that it’s now time to battle viruses, lower temperatures and less viable air for respiration. This means greater output, and in a way, greater “fuel consumption” – more calorie-rich foods, like our winter squashes and meaty stews. We need more to stay in balance and maintain homeostasis (a balanced body). So, the desire to hibernate is good, instinctual and a healthy guide for activity. Reduce the length of our overall day,  spend more time at home, warm and resting and  generally breath deeper and working more restfully. This will keep our immune system humming and allow us to reflect and process on an emotional and spiritual level. No reflections= no direction.

The desire for a lower gear

Other seasons of the year, especially Spring (renewal) and Summer (harvest) speak to us of super- energy and great physical- holistic stamina. It’s easy to get caught up in this kind of thinking and “energy hype” all year round. I always use the ocean as an example of ebbs and flows. We would have no tides, and ultimately no life in the ocean without ebbs and flows. Human beings and all creation, to a certain degree, are oscillating creatures. We move from first gear to second, to third and beyond. To stay in one gear will completely and very quickly wreck a good engine. Continuing with our car metaphor, one gear can only provide a specific output of power (speed) flat and torque (strength) uphill.  When the landscape and conditions change, you and I need a different gear. My mechanic would physically remove my car if I chose to stay in second or third gear on the highway. This is abuse! And so too is our expectation to stay in one gear all the time. This is self- abuse. Gear down. Listen to your “revs” and celebrate the ebbs and flows in you!

The value of old fashioned sense

I recall growing up with an understanding that “gran will know” or an older neighbour always had a solution for a cold, a burn, rash or some other ailment. There were plenty of people who continued with the old traditions of protecting and celebrating life. Simple things like growing lemons, grapefruit and paw-paws in the garden. Filling the house with dried herbs and taking out carpets and rugs weekly for a good “dusting”. And also eating heavier vegetables ( eg. butternut, pumpkin, winter squash) in winter, and easier to digest foods like soups, bone broths and casseroles. Now, the “collagen diet” is doing the rounds and the medicinal world is singing its praises. But my grandmother knew all about saving the chicken carcass, boiling marrow bones and adding dried peas, lentils and pulses to soups. Old fashioned sense took a backseat to technologically driven medical research. Now this very same research is proving its validity. Do what your grandparents and  great grandparents (if they were healthy) used to do. Have a look at how artisanal (DIY) communities function, and take some simple pages from their books. To stay healthy, is more about maintaining your wonderful engine-mind, body and spirit – all year round – than jumping for the vitamin C or antibiotics. Above all, rest! Your body needs it.

There are No Negative Emotions

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Only Negative Responses


I’ve been thinking about emotions lately. How we’re quick to call some good (positive) and others bad (negative). I’ve done my best to keep the “negative” emotions out of my life. Like hate, rage, sadness or depression. Aren’t these the bad emotions we shouldn’t have? And so I pursue the “good” emotions of love, peace and contentment. But they don’t come without a fight.

Without a resolution of the less popular emotions, I find I cannot respond authentically. My realisation: there are no negative emotions. Only negative responses. There will be times when you and I are called to love, or to hate, to feel anger or to express peace. Emotions (e=motion) mobilise us to action. It’s HOW we react that determines the outcome. An ancient biblical proverb says, “When you are angry, do not sin.” It’s guaranteed that you and I will feel anger. It’s in how I respond that makes my anger positive or negative. Here’s an example: We need to get angry about things that are wrong; about injustice, about someone abusing us or someone else, or even our own failings. When we are positively angry, we do something constructive about the problem. If we don’t get angry, we don’t do anything. If we do get angry, and decide to resolve the anger negatively e.g. blaming someone else, pretending the problem doesn’t exist, we bring the opposite of life – death – into our lives. And our heart is shaped by this.

So I’ve been digging deeper. I’ve been asking myself, “What determines how I respond to life?” I’m sure most people know this, but I need to be reminded. The answer: It’s my values. What I believe. What I hold as most important. Values sit deep inside of me, hardly speaking at all, until there’s a challenge, and I need to choose. I’ve realised that I don’t know all of my values. Values are very deep. Some are thoughts; some are convictions. Others, we’ve simply taken on. What I’ve learned from this recent season is that I can choose my values and know them. They help me navigate powerful emotions according to my conscience and my true self. This means I grow, mature and become a safe person. Know your values. Know your heart. Live your values. Become the person you’d like to know.