Dutch-born Shalke Gummels is a model, practitioner, healer, and jewelry designer. She traveled the world extensively before moving to the UK in 2000. She works with energy healing disciplines such as Reiki, Regression Therapy and Shamanic Healing. Shalke trained in Shamanism with world-renowned teachers Sandra Ingerman through the Shift network and Imelda Almvqvist. The latter with whom she completed a two-year intensive Shamanic practitioner training course.
When did you start modelling?
I started Modelling 25 years ago.
How were you discovered?
I went to Paris on a school trip and was approached by a scout for Metropolitan. At the time, I was quite unsure as I had not considered modelling at all and wanted to go and pursue dance.
How has the business changed as you have become a women and in terms of how it has responded to you?
I never thought that I would still be a model at this age (43). When I was in my modelling prime, I noticed other models would retire very early or be classed old before they were 30. But I feel that the industry has undergone a considerable change and is embracing different age groups, sizes, and cultures, as it should, which has been amazing. Work has been exciting and Inspiring. It’s great to be part of this industry at this time.
How would you describe yourself?
I would say I am curious and eager to explore and learn new things, I am somewhat impatient, but I am learning. I am the only one who laughs at my jokes. Adventurous certainly. I want to think I am a good friend.
What are your passions?
I am a Shamanic Practitioner, which I love and want to share. My journey of Shamanic healing has allowed me to heal challenges held around rejection, trust, and my sense of belonging. Through this work, I now experience a deeper understanding of myself and my place in the web of life. I now wish to share this beautiful and compelling work with those who feel called. I also love nature, travel, food, and my lovely family, which include our three cats and the rabbit..
Tell us about your jewellery business?
Shalke Jewelery is handmade by me from my home studio in Folkestone. When making the jewelry I draw inspiration from nature, symbols, and travel. I love creating pieces that feel personal to the wearer. This can include looking at the meaning of stones, inscriptions or creating a bespoke piece. Currently, I am working with Lotus love pieces, Chakra symbols, and stack rings which include birthstones.
This CBD Oil is completely organic and is the perfect way to support a healthy lifestyle. Recommended to start with 2-3 drops 3 times daily. It is produced from only the highest quality ingredients and is of pharmaceutical grade – even the distinct blue bottles are chosen for their pharmaceutical properties. The colour and thickness of the bottles is important as it prevents light effecting the quality of the product inside.
Welcome to our second issue of Frank, the new bi-monthly magazine for adult women who want to be informed, inspired, amused, look good and be healthy. We shine a spotlight on and celebrate women over forty and this our summer issue is stacked with great interviews.
We talk to an art dealer and art curator Fru Tholstrup about her life, work and the issues female artists face. We hear from Carol Morley, writer and film director of the recent hit ‘Out the Blue’ who talks about her career, process, latest project, and her star-struck conversation with her biggest fan and fellow film director Martin Scorcese.
Amid the menopause topic explosion, we talk to Meg Matthews about how she has pretty much started the conversation single-handedly with http://www.megsmenopause.com website
We feature the brilliant Dr. Louise Wiseman and her thoughts on sleep hygiene and how to get enough shut-eye through these summer nights.
In our fashion pages, we look at modern neutrals that will keep you cool in the city heat and beauty Editor Fiona Eustace shares her vital tips to best protect our skin from the sun.
The adrenals, a pair of triangle shaped glands that sit atop your kidneys, are critically involved in your body’s reaction to stress. They produce the hormones adrenaline, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA) and cortisol which are released in the famous ‘fight-or-flight’ response. When faced with danger, your adrenals produce adrenaline and other hormones to give you the burst of energy you need to survive.
The problem is, your body doesn’t differentiate among the various kinds of stress you experience. Whether it’s physical stress at the sight of a lion or mental stress caused by work, money worries, or relationships, your body reacts the same way – to release adrenal hormones. The danger is that we don’t metabolize these hormones properly and instead we are left in a state of constant stress with high levels of circulating cortisol.
When cortisol is chronically elevated, blood sugar and insulin levels also rise while serotonin, the calming brain chemical, drops; leading to anxiety, nervousness or depression. Food cravings increase, your sleep is disturbed and your health takes a hit.
When the adrenals are busy making stress hormones, they divert your stores of DHEA, which would have been converted to sex hormones – such as oestrogen and progesterone. The result is that the female sex hormones and thyroid function suffer.
The liver is the key organ for detoxifying excess hormones. Our liver becomes sluggish due to poor diet – excess fats, sugars and artificial sweeteners, fried foods, and not enough vegetables and good protein.
Regular alcohol consumption also negatively affects the liver’s ability to maintain hormone balance. The basis of a healthy hormone function is a diet full of cruciferous vegetables and lean protein from wild, free-range sources. There are also key herbs and nutrients that have been researched to support the adrenals, liver and thyroid.
The liver is the key organ for detoxifying excess hormones. Our liver becomes sluggish due to poor diet – excess fats, sugars and artificial sweeteners, fried foods, and not enough vegetables and good protein. Regular alcohol consumption also negatively affects the liver’s ability to maintain hormone balance. The basis of a healthy hormone function is a diet full of cruciferous vegetables and lean protein from wild, free-range sources. There are also key herbs and nutrients that been researched to support the adrenals, liver and thyroid.
What can I do to keep my hormones in check?
A diverse variety of whole foods will provide the foundations of a healthy diet that will support overall wellbeing.
Choose unprocessed, complex carbohydrates.
Colourful fruit and vegetables, particularly the deep colours (blue, red, purple, green) which are bursting with phytonutrients to support the immune and endocrine systems.
Dark coloured berries are rich in polyphenols which also help the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Oily fish and foods with anti-inflammatory properties such as turmeric and ginger may help reduce inflammation.
Fibre rich foods such as beans and legumes and a wide variety of grains will encourage the growth of different gut bugs, which send signals to the brain to let them know it’s all good.
Plenty of protein – it is the building block for making hormones and for hair/skin regeneration.
Vary your fibre to include things like leeks, garlic and onions. They are rich in inulin, a type of fibre which acts as food for the gut bacteria to grow.
Include some fat – from plants, nuts and seeds. Hormones need some fat to be made, so ensure you have adequate amounts in the diet to enable the production of hormones.
I was a fashion designer. I went to Central Saint Martins College specialising in tailoring and I went on to work in the industry here and in Los Angeles. I made everything from men’s suits to leather jackets and even fetish gear! By the time I started teaching yoga I had moved into commercial and film costume design.
When did you start getting interested in Yoga?
I was 26, living in Los Angeles and doing martial arts training while working in the fashion industry.
I was an avid martial arts fanatic, competing in hard core full contact stuff and training for my black belt.
My knees were bad from the years of high impact kicking and I was only being offered surgery as a solution. I heard there was a “knee guru” yoga teacher called Bikram so I went to observe a class and afterwards he told me to join in next time for him to assess me.
I was very fit but I could do very little of the class. I could barely bend one of my knees at all and I couldn’t kneel. I was in so much pain.
In those first classes I realised my feet were flat, my spine and hips were stiff and my knees were weak. I thought he’d tell me he couldn’t help me but he said “No problem, I’ll fix your knees in 15 lessons.” I realised a knee problem is usually a whole body problem.
Tell us about your practice and your rehabilitation?
Bikram told me he would fix my knees if I gave up martial arts and went to his class 6 days a week. I was not going to give up my training and I only intended to do yoga until my knees were better and then I could take my Black Belt. I went to martial arts each morning at 6.45am, went to work in downtown LA and got back to Bikram’s class every night. He really pushed me and It hurt so much but I did what he said and thought I may as well trust this man and see what happens.
Within a few lessons the pain in my knees was only in class. Outside of class they already felt much better and gradually over about a year 80% of the mobility returned. Studying yoga with Bikram developed commitment and discipline. He taught me to not be afraid of the body and that the body thrives on intensity.
I eventually got my black belt but my pursuit of it did slow down my rehabilitation.
What made you want to run your own yoga classes?
I didn’t. When I was about to leave Los Angeles to live back in the UK, Bikram called me into his office and told me I should teach in London. No thanks, absolutely not interested, I told him. I’d spent my life getting good at my job, I was earning great money and loved what I did.
It was 1994 and London had very little in the way of dynamic yoga classes. I tried it all. None of it had the intensity I wanted. So I started practising at home with my fiancé and a few friends would show up simply to keep the practise going. My living room was soon full. I found a room in Swiss cottage with a mirror which we hired and we all split the cost. It grew quickly so I hired it three nights a week and taught there after work. With so many people now showing up I couldn’t just practise, I had to turn around and correct people’s posture. I had listened to Bikram teach the public every day for 4 years, so I knew what to say. After 6 years of dragging heaters around in the back of my car and running home early from film shoots to teach (I was the only Bikram teacher in the UK) Bikram thankfully started his teacher training. One of my students went, as did I. Once qualified we decided to open a little studio to teach students.
What is the difference between Yoga and Hot yoga?
The term ‘Hot Yoga’ now has no meaning. It just means the room is heated. It used to mean Bikram yoga but now people put all styles of classes into the heated room. In fact not all yoga styles are even suitable for the hot room.
So “regular” yoga or non heated, also means nothing – one needs to understand the style of yoga, or what combination of styles, and then the credentials of the teacher.
Fierce Grace as a yoga method works in any temperature. We choose to heat the rooms in the studios as this ensures safer stretching, more benefit to the muscles and joints as well as cathartic benefits and the detoxification of the skin. So the official answer is it isn’t about the heated room It’s about the yoga itself and these days it’s almost impossible to know what yoga you will be doing, as Hot Yoga could now mean hatha, vinyasa, Bikram, a hybrid or anything else.
Where does the name ‘Fierce Grace’ the name of your studios come from?
I had been fascinated by the play between male and female energies in people’s practise, in their personalities and in class. The balance between strength and flexibility, outwardness and inwardness and intention and surrender. I saw that alpha types were unlikely to go to a slower more inward turning class. Just as more inward people were unlikely to go to a hardcore “alpha” class. So I was designing sequences that would encompass both energies. I have had a spiritual teacher Adi Da since my early 20’s and have studied meditation and spirituality since I was 18. I had seen the documentary ‘Fierce Grace’ in my 20’s about the spiritual teacher Raam Daas. When I was searching for a name for my new yoga method it suddenly jumped back into my consciousness 25 years later! It not only summed up my method and the way that it is taught but it also has a lovely spiritual meaning which is that with (divine) grace comes responsibility, fire and challenge which applies to yoga and life.
Do you get a lot from teaching ?
There is nothing like it. I feel privileged every time a room full of people go through this intense and rewarding process and share it with me.
When I teach I look at each person and imagine their body 30 years from now and what it would be like if they don’t address their postural issues now. I’m actually teaching the older version of them, the little old lady or man and I hope that older version of themselves will be standing tall and walking without a stick. Teaching gives me as much as practising does. You are being allowed to witness people’s struggle, their limits, their bravery. It’s a non-verbal intimacy with people that is very touching. I believe the teacher goes through a transformation along with the student so it’s a two-way street.
How does Yoga benefit the body as we grow older?
Yoga is just the body’s natural range of movement. We need to maintain that full range of movement all our lives. A well-rounded practise will reduce wear and tear on our joints – and that is what every older person needs to start taking very seriously. Yoga strengthens muscles in the lengthened position, meaning strong long muscles, increased joint mobility and good joint support. One’s postural habits if not addressed can sentence us to a small space to live in as we age – rounded shoulders, contracted ribcage, less space to breathe and neck pain as the neck has to compensate for a rounded upper back. We will suffer compression on discs in our spine through lack of movement, lack of back bending and even weak feet – they cause endless issues for the older person. Flat feet impact the knees and hips, weak feet impact balance. Every 10 years over the age of 40 we lose several seconds from our ability to balance on one leg, unless we work on it.
When your business grows are you mindful to keep your personal practice going?
Oh absolutely. I’d probably be a wreck from the stress if I hadn’t been practising all these years. It’s not always easy to keep taking the time out though. Running seven businesses, (4 studios, the retreats business, teacher training business and the brand PR) travelling all the time, appearances and all the paperwork makes time to practise tough but I’ve never stopped.
Can people come to the mat for the first time at any age?
One can begin to stretch and strengthen at any age. The body is crying out for it. Don’t be scared of your own body – use it. If you don’t use it, you lose it. An unfit 70 year old should not however show up to a vinyasa class! Fierce Grace is a new integrated yoga system of 12 interconnecting classes with mixed styles to address, every need, every level and every mood. I developed The Stiff Old and Broken class for all ages and all levels, from an athlete with an injury that wants to keep working or a person recovering from knee surgery to the 75 year old who needs some personal attention. The body wants to stretch, it wants to open at any age. Just 15 lessons will see every single person no matter how old feeling the benefits to their body, mind, mood, sleep and energy levels. We pay into pension plans all our life and doing yoga pays back dividends far greater than that. As we get older it’s not our age that causes our symptoms, its being sedentary. Being sedentary is the disease.
The skin of the neck and chest are sensitive and thin compared to other parts of the body. Combine that with gravity and the constant looking down over your mobile or screens plus sun exposure, it’s an area at risk of fine lines and sagging.
The décolletage, the delicate area from the chin to the chest is one of the first places to reveal signs of ageing and perhaps the most noticeable and in some cases more ageing than the hands.
For the winter months this area has been swathed with scarves and covered with polo necks but its time to peel off and start getting ready for warmer times and lower necklines.
We’ve rounded up our stand out moisturisers, serums, and creams that will help your skin become smoother and firmer.
Revitalise the neck area with Sisley Neck Cream £116
This skincare treatment is designed to help combat the signs of ageing that particularly affect the area of the skin around the neck. This cream can help skin look firmer and more toned; with prolonged use, the delicate neck skin will be contoured and re-shaped for a smoother, more even complexion.
Fermitif neck renewal cream £105
With broad spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen. This luxurious rose-scented cream is designed to renew skin on the neck and décolletage while protecting from the harshness of sun.
Rejuvenating Lift For Neck & Décolleté £59
This is an anti-ageing treatment that rapidly firms, smooths and reduces the appearance of wrinkles on the neck and décolletage. It has a patented formula that increases skin firmness by 42% after one application, evens skin tone and smooths skin texture, reducing the appearance of thin, crepey skin and wrinkles.
Miucciu Prada’s spring /summer ‘19 collection was accessorised with 1960’ style padded head bands, some were finished with contrast studs and Handbags, teamed up with Mary Jane mules and butterfly sunglasses. “ I love these feminine girly silhouettes with peep hole sweaters and full satin skirts.”
We love our skin. We spend hours comparing it with others, nurturing it, feeding it with lotions and potions. When we look for recognition, beauty or health we are looking at skin, neglecting the bones that lie beneath. As women, the natural decline in oestrogen after menopause means we are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition where bones are thinned and may fracture with minimal trauma. What does this mean for those of us with younger bones and why is it so important to make changes now?
Bones are dynamic powerhouses with a complex system of cells regenerating,remodelling themselves. They thrive on our movement that literally jolts them into action. Astronaut studies are a massive insight into what lack of gravity and motion do to bones, so dancing is far from frivolous to our frame.
Turn the dial back to your teens. There is a surge of mineralisation (bone laid down and strengthened) from age twelve in girls, fourteen in boys, when the body needs morecalcium and activity against gravity to jolt the cells to grow bone as strong as possible. If you have teens in your life, surgically attached to their screens, they need to get up and be active for at least an hour every day during these years or their bones will never meet their full potential. Our sofa ensconced lifestyle as adults is now similar. We are obsessed with how much exercise we do but scientists are now concerned over our ‘box set loving’ sedentary lifestyle between the bouts of exercise.
Your bone health
What you do every day can literally drain or replenish your 206 bones. You cannot change your genetics but you can show your bones some nurturing love. We get to our 30s and there will be no new mineralisation of our bones and we have to make the very best of what we have! That’s it honey, no going back! You eat well, keep fit and think your bones are in good shape? How about we get them even better?
Smoking– slows down bone building cells (osteoblasts) almost doubling the risk of osteoporosis! Time recovering from fractures is slower because smoking constricts the blood vessels supplying bone.
Excessive alcohol– reduces the ability of the bone to remodel (plus you might fall over but that’s another story).
Drinking more than 4 cups of coffee (effects not seen in tea) and caffeinated fizzy drinksmay reduce calcium absorption. The milk taken with coffee will help balance this and we know there are many benefits to a cup of java so everything in moderation.
Underweight– women are at risk. After the menopause a large source of our oestrogen is from fat so being underweight does not do bones any favours. Oestrogen keeps our bones strong. We know about choosing between our derriere and our face but now we have to add bones into the mix!? Being very overweight increases the power of falls and stresses our joints.
Women who excessively exercise andreduce nutrient intake may find their periods halt and Oestrogen falls prematurely and bones can thin.
Medicines–long term steroids, hormonal breast cancer treatments, some antiepileptic medicines and other meds can put you more at risk. This is not how ever a reason to stop them! Discuss with your doctor methods of bone protection.
Early menopause –important to discuss bone protection with your doctor and whether HRT or other methods are appropriate for you in protecting your bone against the early decline in oestrogen.
Inactivity–A screen driven lifestyle means we are moving less. Even after 30 minutes of sitting our bones, circulation, immunity and metabolism may suffer. This does not occur while sleeping! Future medicine will tell us more- for now move your bones at least hourly. ‘Standing desks’ in offices will be invaluable as we anchor ourselves electronically into this virtual world.
All nutrients are best taken from your plate not a bottle. If you feel your diet is inadequate it is worth talking to your doctor to see if supplements are needed. Simply takingsupplements may be wasting money on something that your body will remove in waste or in fact may domore harm than goodif your doctor has not recommended it.
Dairy is a great source of calcium. Check any non-dairy milks are fortified with calcium. (Non dairy milks do not have the iodine content of cow’s milk. Low iodine can be detrimental to the developing foetal brain, and iodine is essential for thyroid health in all of us. So if exclusive non-dairy is your thing ensure you have iodine in your food e.g. (white fish, eggs, nuts, meats and breads). Check for added sugars in such milks and their salt content. Excess salt can reduce calcium absorption. Try adding garlic, spices and herbs to food instead of salt when cooking. Green leafy veg, fish including tinned, almonds, sesame seeds, tahini, chickpeas, other pulses, fortified breads all pack a healthy calcium punch. Beware spinach, dried fruit, beans, seed and nuts which have oxalates or phytates-chemicals that reduce how much calcium your body can absorb so have plenty of other calcium rich foods along side these beauties.
Needed to absorb the calcium from our food. We cannot obtain enough from diet alone (eggs, oily fish, fortified cereals/spreads) and 15 minutes in the UK warmer months spent outside (before we apply sunscreen) theoretically manufactures enough in your skin. If you are dark skinned/elderly your needs may be more. Supplementing in the winter months with the recommended dose after discussing with your doctor may be the way forward and in some cases year round. Care should be taken to adhere to the recommended dose because vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and does not just get peed out if you take excess over a long period.
Vitamin Cand Protein.
Needed to build collagen (like scaffolding within bones and joints). Vitamin C from vegetables and fruit. Protein from meat, fish, beans, pulses and so on. Thoroughly chew your protein to aid digestion.
Magnesium is a major component of bones and helps the body use calcium but its role is not entirely clear. Wholegrains, fruits, veggies, nuts, dairy and seafood should all give you the essential minerals needed for your bones.
If you were my best friend this is what I would tell you. Activity has a huge effect on bone health. You will thank me for it. You will never regret optimising your exercise schedule before or after menopause. Tailor it to you. If you are already very fit and active, you need to do a variety of impact exercises – ideally ‘50 impacts a day’ against gravity working in different planes on your body. This can range from brisk walking (great for the spine) to jumping around in a class. Strength training is best for hips. If you are more worried and less fit, try a gentler approach. Walking less fast, for longer, may be key.
Yoga has shown benefits on bone density in some studies but more importantly may improve strength and stability to prevent falls. A brisk walk to yoga class and you are winning!
Swimming and cycling don’t show direct improvements on bone density (no gravity) but new techniques of looking at bone might suggest other bone benefits- that is more future science.
Let’s not forget dancing random movement and bounce, the effect on your body creates a stronger heart, muscles and bones. What’s not to love? Dance while the tea is brewing…make like a Mamma Mia extra!
From all of my work one message is always keep your muscles strong. They will naturally decline with age and it is one way of keeping us super active, healthier and energetic as the years pass.
How will you know if you have bone thinning?
You sadly might not. Osteoporosis is the ‘silent epidemic’. You may not realise until you are lying in a hospital bed with afracture and the doctor tells you they suspect bone thinning from the x-ray. You might have a simple fall, nothingattention seeking like a ski jump, and suffer a broken wrist or hip. You may loseheight, your posture may change if you have tiny spinal fractures that heal but leave the spine compressed and you in pain.
If you have a family history, risk factors and are referred by your doctor you may be sent for the gold standard test- aDEXA scan of your hip and spine. This is only really accurate after the menopause. Itis simple, painless and importantly not claustrophobic.
The result is a ‘T score’ which will label you with either ‘normal’ bones, osteopenia (less severe bone thinning) or osteoporosis (more severe). The ‘honeycomb’ pattern inside bone is more empty the more bone mineral you have lost. Osteopenia does not mean you have osteoporosis, but if untreated may go on to develop it. You will be given Vitamin D and Calcium supplements and lifestyle advice. Osteoporosis means more bone density has been lost.
Do not despair or be fearful if the diagnosis of osteoporosis is made. The message from the hugely respected Royal Osteoporosis Society is to keep movingand not be fearful of moving. Fall prevention is the main focus. Your doctor has an integral role if you have a diagnosis and will prescribe you specific bone medication and discuss lifestyle issues. Don’t dismiss the need for medicine. The Royal Osteoporosis Society in the UK is a fantastic source of support and information as is the National Osteoporosis Foundation in the USA.
Dr. Louise Wiseman MBBS BSc (Hons) DRCOG MRCGP
My writing does not constitute medical adviceor replace any consultation with your own doctor who knows you, can examine you and understands your medical and family history. Always seek the opinion of your health care professional if you have a question about your health or changing your lifestyle.
Louise is a former GP, who worked for 15 years in the NHS. She researched the effect of exercise in preventing osteoporosis in postmenopausal women when she was a young med student. She is now using her medical and life experience to write a book about women’s health over 40.
After the beating your skin endured throughout the winter months from the cold weather and the heat from our homes, it’s time to give it some love and attention.
Skincare is essential. If you want your makeup to look and feel amazing you must take the time to look after your biggest organ and drink plenty of water.
When the skin is protected and hydrated, increased skin cell production can take place as the skin isn’t busy fighting for hydration. This leads to smoother and plumper skin cells.
To get that Spring glow you need to nourish your skin with healthy ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid. This is key in reducing fine lines and wrinkles and retaining moisture in the skin, which creates a plumping effect and can be found in many of the beauty products I have chosen for you.
Whether you’re having pamper time in the bath, or looking for a quick beauty fix, there is a mask for every occasion, providing your skin with that extra bit of tender loving care.