Goodbye to Gaia

She woke up feeling refreshed. She wasn’t tired, she wasn’t restless, she wasn’t anything – just plain refreshed.

She’d thought about doing yoga that morning but decided to get on the road and back to her life, her loving family, her little world outside of Gaia.

She did take a little walk across the grass to look at that view one last time. She had breakfast with Shana, a new found friend, then she said her farewells and left.

“Goodbye Gaia…” she whispered to the trees as her car turned off the driveway and back on the road to reality.

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……..

I really hope you have enjoyed reading these posts as much as I have enjoyed reminiscing as I posted them.

We all have those thoughts; you know the ones that sound like ‘gee I wish I could just stop time for a day, catch up on life, and take a breath!’ Well Gaia for me was like stopping time. It was about switching off from the outside world and diving deep into myself for a change. Life is so busy, so hectic at times that we forget about ourselves. I know it sounds weird, but, we do! We stop listening to our bodies, our hearts, our minds. We get up, get dressed, go to work, tend to the kids, do the chores, the shopping, the cooking, go to bed, get up the next day and do it all again! Rarely do we stop to enjoy the little things in life; rarely do we give in to what we really want. Maybe it’s mid-week, the house is a mess but all you really want to do is have a hot bath and read a good book.  Gaia was about learning to say yes to the bath and book. It was about learning to enjoy life, every precious moment and it was about living in the present moment too. We rush and we live in the future and sometimes the past. We don’t just be, in whatever moment we are in. This is what Gaia taught me.

I went to Gaia because I wanted to centre myself, calm my thoughts and learn to harness my emotions and energy. You see, I live in the future A LOT. I’m always thinking about what will come next – when will we get to travel again, where will we buy a house, when will we have kids, what job will I go for next, what is my destiny in life. I have these questions swirling around my head all the time and not being able to answer them drives me crazy! It’s like I need to know the answers, like my entire life depends on it. It was this attitude, this strange obsession with the future that was holding me back from living my life right now. I was missing things because I wasn’t even aware they were happening around me. Then there were those rare moments when I would ‘snap back’ to the present and be startled by its beauty. One day, for example, I was out in my backyard and realised there were the most beautiful white flowers growing next to my fence. There were just a few, a handful of tall stems shooting up from the soil. It was impressive. I couldn’t believe I’d never noticed them before!

flowers

Gaia taught me not to worry about the future. In fact, now I don’t even dwell on it. I have a book and every time I think about what I want in my future, I write it down in detail, and then I close my book and leave it. In June, I will go through the pages and see what themes reoccur. Then, when I’m ready, I will know which path I’m supposed to take.

By the time I left Gaia, my heart was open, I was letting life in, feeling positive, and I was physically rejuvenated too. The organic, healthy meals and the massages were divine and certainly helped regulate the internal creaks and cracks. All wrapped up, Gaia was like a warm blanket, a soothing touch on the body and soul. Gaia brings you back to where you want to be, where you should be. But only if you let it. It would be easy to go to Gaia for the massages alone. But if you open your heart and your mind, Gaia will fill you with love and wisdom…

Namaste

namaste

http://www.gaiaretreat.com.au/

An inner peace – Day 5 at Gaia

She awoke before her alarm sounded at 6.45am and prepared for her first yoga session. Obviously her body had gotten the rest it needed and was ready to face an earlier day. And she was so glad it had. Yoga was blissful – breathing, stretching, flowing through the poses for 90 minutes, lengthening her sore muscles, strengthening her limbs, by the end she was awake and buzzing with a happy, healthy glow that she was sure shone from the inside out.

Breakfast that morning was also a new experience, it was the first time she had sat at the communal table. Her and three other ladies enjoyed breakfast over chit chat and friendly conversation.

In fact, her day continued this way with a cooking class taken with new found friends by the head chef. There wasn’t much taste testing, but the learning was fun and everyone had a laugh and took home a little information they didn’t have before.

Before lunch the girl decided to take a walk. She had already ran around the property but this time she wanted to savour it. She wanted to look at the trees, feel the wind and take it all in because after all, this was her last day here.

Soaking in the sunshine and the view

Soaking in the sunshine and the view

The walk turned out to be even better than she had hoped. She wandered through nature, smile on her face and found the labyrinth; a section perched high on the property, in fact, at the highest point in the Ballina Shire. At its center was a Buddha statue. She bowed her head, put her hands to her heart in prayer and took the first step. She knew about the labyrinth, knew it was a section of the property that had a vortex of positive energy around it and she felt it straight away. Inside this labyrinth you are supposed to work out the meaning of your life. Ask and answer questions of yourself and the girl knew exactly what to ask. And, strangely enough, after all she had learned this week, she also now knew the answers. So instead of trying to work her way around the maze she just put one foot in front of another and trusted that she would get to the end. And she did. That’s what she had learned about life. You have to look up, trust in yourself and enjoy the journey.

Let your heart guide you through life

Let your heart guide you through life

She said another prayer and kissed the Buddha’s head before letting the paths lead her back out again, her heart bursting with love. She had opened up that space inside her chest and was able to let life in. Everything around her sang and life seemed to dance in the wind; she was at one with nature, and she loved it.

She touched the trees as she wandered along the rest of the walkway; she smiled, inhaled deeply, listened to the insects, the birds and heard them a little differently. It was as though their song was in time with her own breath. It felt surreal.

That afternoon she made her way back to the spa for a lymphatic drainage massage with Angelique. It was soothing, it was strong, lively and the chimes that centered her at the end left her buzzing. Everything about this day felt heightened and she knew she was ready to go home.

At dinner she sat with her new friends, enjoyed a glass of organic wine, another delicious meal and great company. It was her last night and she enjoyed every moment. Tomorrow she would see her amazing husband. She couldn’t wait to share this experience with him and cuddle up to her pup Sookie. She went to be that night feeling very content.

http://www.gaiaretreat.com.au/gaia-experience

Run in the sun – Gaia day 4

She slept until 9am. This was becoming a bad habit, but she took the advice of both her practitioners from the previous day; the acupuncturist who said she may feel overly tired, and if so, to rest, and the astrologist who said to listen to her heart not her head when making decisions. This morning’s decision was ‘get up for yoga or go back to sleep’. Sleep won.

After a quick shower she went over to breakfast and found one of her favourite workers, Josh, was there. He was a young guy, always happy and always helpful. He served her corn and ricotta fritters and a lemongrass tea to go with the porridge she poured out for herself.

She felt great today. The acupuncture had definitely done something because she had energy, and she wanted to get out and see some things down this end of the world. So running gear on, she packed some bathers and a towel and drove the half hour to beautiful Byron Bay. It’s funny because although she had been here before, she didn’t remember it at all. The beaches were stunning – blue and silver hues with crashing white waves and azure patches of green. The streets were filled with hippies and holiday makers walking, riding bikes and driving their cars in search of the best car park. She found her park just a block from the main beach, paid the $12 to park there and set off on a 7km run to the lighthouse and back.

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In the hot sun she ran along the beach track, up steps and steep winding pathways, down similar tracks and back up again to Palm Valley. From there, she had 1.7km to go to the lighthouse and with determination, sore legs and a lot of sweat she pushed on up even steeper paths and slimmer tracks until she reached the top. It was a great accomplishment and she felt a sense of pride. It was getting even hotter so she had a sip of water and carried on back to the starting point, this time stopping here and there for a photo and to take in the breathtaking views out over the rocks, the ocean, the beach, the trees – it was magnificent and in that moment she felt totally content just being who she was, where she was.

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Back at the main beach she ran onto the sand, stripped down to shorts and a sports bra and dived in to the powerful swell. The cool water hit her skin and she inhaled the smell of the salt, licked it off her lips and dived under the waves one by one until she felt ready to get out and walk back to her car barefoot.

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Back at Gaia a smoked trout salad was awaiting and she ate it all before meeting with the retreats owner Gregg for a chat about how this amazing place all came to be. He was an interesting man, wearing a suit with thongs, she felt envious of this amazing life he has made for himself out here. She really enjoyed their chat; he was easy to be around.

That afternoon she was treated to an hour of luxurious bliss at the spa which presented itself in the form of a steam room body scrub and facial mask. Wow. 20 minutes in a spectacular steam room, complete with twinkling lights on the roof, she lay there almost naked and let the steam engulf her from head to toe until the therapist returned and lathered the most deliciously scented lemon myrtle and wattle seed salt scrub on her body. Starting with the legs, the feet, the back, the arms, the chest and stomach and then finally the face. A mask and cucumber on the eyes then soothed the face and she was left once again to absorb this into her skin while the steam took her into a warm cloud once again. By the end her skin felt crazily soft as the therapist showered her right there on the bed.

She floated back to her room and there she stayed lost in thought for a few hours until it was time again for dinner. She stared blankly out the window, something that felt natural to her from the day she arrived, but something she didn’t feel at ease doing until now. It’s funny how society tells you something is normal and something else isn’t, she thought. People don’t just sit and ponder these days. Now she was.

Dinner was fantastic as always – beetroot and ricotta arancini balls, Cajun chicken breast and black bean salsa finished with mango and peach crumble. Another day in paradise she thought as she made her way to bed, but that niggling headache that had found her every night since the massage found her again. She took it as a good sign though, if not an annoying one, but to her it meant there was change inside her body, things were moving and energy was flowing. It was a sign of re balance so she sucked it up and tried to fall to sleep.

And she glowed from the inside out…

When I started operation nutrition my skin was dull, slightly red and it didn’t look as smooth as I’d probably like it to.

Now, 11 weeks on (almost to the day) my skin has a glow about it. The redness is subsiding and it’s smoothing out. My cheeks don’t look so dull and the softness is returning.

At the start of the journey back in September

At the start of the journey back in September

After the 11 weeks!

After the 11 weeks!

It’s amazing what a difference food can make. Just by putting the right nutrients inside your body you can make a real difference to the outside appearance as well.

For example, if you are stuffing your face with fast food, processed food and bad fats, your skin will start to reflect the amount of grease and saturated fats you’re ingesting.

Similarly, foods that are good foryour body weight seem to be equally as good for your skin. So if you consume a lot of fruits, veg, lean meats, nuts, legumes, etc then your skin will reflect this freshness and radiate health! This is what I’m now starting to see!

And, appearance aside, after 11 weeks I’m really starting to FEEL a difference as well. My energy is up, I’m finding that by eating the right types of food for my body I now have more energy to do longer gym workouts or to push myself more which in turn equals fat loss (bonus!!). I am getting less tired during the day, I feel happier in general and my mood swings are not so frequent. Even my periods are becoming more regular and less painful (which any woman knows is a bloody good thing!).

Bloating was a regular thing at the start of the journey

Bloating was a regular thing at the start of the journey

At the 11 week mark, bloating is gone!

At the 11 week mark, bloating is gone!

When I started on this journey with my wonderful nutritionist Jessica Cox I had an idea of what I wanted to get out of it. I really wanted to learn what foods weren’t right for me and I wanted to learn how to replace those foods with ones that were right for me. I have certainly achieved this! I suppose in the back of my mind I wanted to be eating better so I could lose some weight, which I also achieved! Simply feeling better in general was the main purpose of seeing a nutritionist in the first place. This, I have absolutely achieved. The cramps, nausea, fatigue, headaches and bloating have pretty much stopped completely. Of course I’m still adjusting to this lifestyle so there are occasional slip ups which leave me a little bloated but these are few and far between now.

They say new habits are formed and results start to happen after 12 weeks and I think this is pretty spot on! One important thing I’ve learnt throughout this journey is that you need to be patient and you need to be kind to yourself and your body. Health is a journey and there is no quick fix. Sticking it out is the only way to prosper. And getting support, such as I did with Jess, makes the journey soooooo much smoother and soooooo much easier. I could not have made these changes without her!

So for all of those working on their 2014 resolutions, if getting your health back on track pops up, see a nutritionist. You will not regret the investment. And if you give it a bit of time and stay positive and on track, when you get to the 12 week mark you WILL be able to look back and see some stand out changes to your health, your body and your skin!

Check out www.jessicacox.com.au –make health your priority next year!

PS she has some DELICIOUS recipes on the site as well!

It’s not the end of the world after all!

I was freaking out last post, not going to lie, and of course Jess had read it before our latest session on Wednesday, but as it turned out, it was not the end of the world.

Despite throwing the nutritional guidelines out the window for a bit of indulgence when the extended family were in town, Jess actually looked at this as a good thing; a lesson learned if you will.

You see, apparently its quite normal to stuff up, especially when you are just starting to make these changes in your life and your diet. And chatting to Jess about it this week, it became very clear to me why having a nutritionist is so important.

She broke it all down for me, pointed out the pros of the situation – I discovered that eating bad made me feel bad, I took the opportunity to let my friends, family and colleagues know about my wheat and dairy cuts, and I now understand why the guidelines are in place.

The stuff ups and the subsequent discussing of said stuff ups focused me again. I remembered my goal and why I was seeing a nutritionist in the first place.

So I think it’s fair to say, I’m back on track and on a new batch of gut bacteria supplements.

I also got my indicants test results back after the first batch of supps and…. drum roll please…. my acidity levels are down 2 points (I was 5.0 now Im 6.0)! My bad bacteria didn’t budge though which means one of two things. 1. My crappy eating affected the results, 2. I’m actually intolerant to something else as well and we need to do the full test of intolerants. Either way, we find out in another 3 weeks.

acidity

So there’s the update on Operation Nutrition, stay tuned for more!

Body 1, Lahnee 0

So it seems as though my willpower is not as brilliant as I thought it was. Not that I ever really thought it was that good, but I’m learning now more than ever that our bodies are sneaky little buggers. They are tricksters!

When your body gets addicted to something, like sugar, or carbs or whatever it might be, you start to crave it. So the more you have eaten of it over your lifetime, the more your body starts to expect it. When you simply take this particular thing away, your body has withdrawals, your brain has withdrawals, and you start to crave it. Now here is where the willpower and discipline is supposed to kick in and say “NO Lahnee, you don’t NEED that piece of chocolate, you just THINK you do!” I’ve come to the conclusion that my willpower is broken; because that didn’t happen. Now I’m all ‘oh no, I’ve wrecked my nutrition plan, Jess is going to kill me,  how am I going to fix my body and make it healthy if I can’t say no to a bloody piece of white chocolate!’

Vicious cycle.

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After the craziness of feeling naughty, like I’ve cheated, or like I’ve done something really wrong calmed down, I realised that all I did was be human. If I have spent 26 years eating chocolate, of course my body doesn’t understand why I’ve suddenly stopped eating it. It takes time, and there’s no point in beating myself up about it. Jess is not really going to kill me (I hope!) and all I need to do is get back on track and keep on pushing forward. This is a journey after all and its one I will be on for a long time. So stuff ups are going to happen.

On a good note, I’m learning what my body craves when, like savoury stuff in the am and sweets in the afternoon. I’m also learning what foods make me feel good and satisfied, and which ones leave me groggy and bloated. I’m learning to look more closely at labels and to be aware of what I put in my mouth. Despite a few setbacks, I am learning, and this is the important thing.

So, til next time – eat well!

Nutrition rollercoaster

Increased saliva, nausea, fatigue, moodiness, increased gas.

Hmm, I’m either preggers or having an odd reaction to the metagenics supplements.

Now Jess did warn there may be side effects, so I’m figuring this is what I’m experiencing.

But, I’m curious to hear from others who have been on these types of supps. What side effects did you have? How did you feel? How did they help you?

Another weird thing that’s been happening this week is my appetite roller-coaster.

Some days, I’ve been ravenous! Other days, I’ve not been hungry at all….

confused face

And my diet has not changed. I’m still no wheat, no dairy. In fact, if anything my diet is getting better every day.

The only ‘new’ thing is the supps. But then again maybe that’s how these things work?

Anyone who is going through the process of changing their diet and lifestyle would probably feel the same as I am right now. It’s all a bit new and uncertain. Things are changing slowly inside you and your body, and mind, is adapting.

I think the thing I’ve learnt from this week of ups and downs is that it really is a process, and even though I’ve felt better already, it’s a long road ahead to being ‘fixed’. There is a whole journey in front of me and I’m only just beginning.

So, I’ll keep chugging along, and when I catch up with Jess in 2 more weeks, we will have plenty to talk about!

Feel free to get in touch either in the comments section or on facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Lahneeland

Parex, Metagenics, what the?

Well the days have come and gone and the post I’d hoped to get on here last Thursday is now finally making an appearance.

Last Wednesday I had my first follow-up appointment with Jessica Cox.

I was actually really excited about it! I wanted to tell her all about how I’d been going and I wanted to see what her feedback was, and the results of the tests were to be discussed. Anyone would have thought I was going for a job interview… for a job I really wanted that is. Nerves, butterflies, excitement, curiosity! All wrapped up (in a wheat free wrap of course).

So throughout the hour session, we chatted and I talked poor Jess’s ear off about what I had been eating, how I was finding it, how I felt.

I had actually been away on a work trip the weekend prior to Spicers Clovelly (a whole post in itself! OMG that place is heaven) and I was served up a few slices of fresh cooked bread straight from the over (drool!), so not wanting to be rude, I ate them. Yes you can cue the hand slaps and tisk tisk but it turned out to be a good thing, because I confirmed the fact that wheat does upset me. So I was able to tell Jess about this too and she seemed really happy with the progress we were making on breaking down the food groups and seeing what things were good for me, and what things were not.

The jury is still out on dairy so after 2 more weeks, I’ll be slowly reintroducing sheep and goat dairy only in the form of hard cheeses for 3 consecutive days. I’ll see how I feel and if I feel ok, we then reintroduce the softer stuff, then all going well, we bring back the cow dairy. Although, just quietly, I’m hoping I’m no good with cows dairy because it’s a good excuse for me to cut things like chocolate, cappuccinos, cheese – all the things I liked to munch on a little too much! I’ve actually lost 1.5kg JUST from the change in diet!!!

Now to the test results. I mentioned it before; I’m not allergic to gluten. No coeliac disease which is great news. I have low iron (no surprises there) so I’m taking Essential Nutrients Iron Plus daily for that. I do however also have bad bacteria in my gut. So the goal over the next 3 weeks before Jess and I meet again is to flush these bad bacteria out with the use of 2 different Metagenics supplements. Parex, which I take twice daily, 1 tab in the am and 2 tabs in the pm, is a potent anti-parasitic herbal combination which will rid the body of intestinal worms and parasites and provide anti parasitic, anti-microbial and anti-fungal activity. Gastro AG, a powder that provides fuel for beneficial bacteria, I’m having in water 2 x daily. I won’t lie, it kind of tastes kind of like what chalk might taste like but sweeter.

parex

So that’s all folks and I’ll touch base again very soon when I take you all on a journey into my pantry…. Oooohhhhh, aaaahhhhhh J

To get in touch with Jess, visit www.jessicacox.com.au

Operation Nutrition

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So all my regular readers know I’m on a bit of a health kick lately both inside and out – The Insanity Challenge (which you will see and hear the results from soonish) most recently the 10 Minutes for 10 Days (which I am on day 9 of and going strong) and now, let me introduce you to Operation Nutrition…

Tomorrow a very special journey will begin; a journey that really should have started a long time ago.

Let me go back to the start for a moment and give you a bit of an intro on me and why all of this is so important.

I was always very fit and healthy as a kid. I was part of numerous sporting groups, surfed every day, I ate well – I felt great. Then like a lot of adolescents, I fell from grace. Long story short I put on about 20kg, felt like shit and was very unhealthy and unhappy.

At 19 years old and 80kg I had a meltdown and with the help of my now hubby I lost about 15kg and was back on the healthy trail. And to see just how far I could go, I enlisted in a great trainer and decided to compete in a Sports Modelling comp. I trained my ass off (literally) for 12 weeks, lost another 10kg, went on stage and won! Yep… I looked hot! And I felt great! Momentarily. You see as great as you look on a body building diet, it really isn’t very sustainable. Well it wasn’t for me anyway. I fluctuated for a few years, competed in a few more comps and pushe my poor body to the brink. I was burnt out by the end. So much so I gave up on the gym, quit that membership and did a backflip with my nutrition. Before I knew it I was 65kg again. Rollercoaster right?

I suppose it’s quite important to point out at this stage that during all of this craziness it wasn’t just my weight that suffered. My insides hurt. For years I would go back to the doctor, different doctors, and every time they would suggest I might be pregnant (which I never was). Why you ask? Because my symptoms were always the same: nausea, fatigue, headaches, bloating, cravings, cramps.

After blood tests, urine tests and ultrasounds over and over again, well apparently there was nothing wrong with me. So on I went.

Which brings me to the present – I am currently working out again, about 5 x per week, and eating reasonably healthy, I still weigh 65kg and still have the weird symptoms.

Naturally, I went back to the doctors, because now I also taste metal in my mouth (yay!) and finally we had a breakthrough… this wonderful doctor suggested it might be as simple as acid reflux caused by my diet. Hmmm, ok. So a few tablets later and well, I felt better. This is good! But what it means is that I am probably intolerant to something in my diet, if not numerous things.

Enter stage right… Operation Nutrition!

In a bid to right this for good, to get off the rollercoaster and start living a better life, I decided to enlist the help of a nutritionist.

So last week I met up with the very lovely Jessica Cox, a Brisbane based nutritionist who is about to get my life and my health back on track. Over the next few months I’m going to be seeing Jessica every couple of weeks and documenting the journey. Through the good and the bad, the hard and the easy times, the failed and successful recipes, the cravings, the delicious times – through it all – join me and see how this works. If you have ever wondered whether seeing a nutritionist is for you, well use me as your guinea pig. Follow my journey and make up your own mind.

Tomorrow it all begins – my initial consultation and then it’s all go!

Keep in the loop on here, my instagram and facebook page! And wish me luck.

Peace!

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