My Journey to Wellness

illustration by Olive on Blonde

illustration by Olive on Blonde

I have been on a truly amazing journey of self discovery over the past year. About this time last year I was working full time, partying a lot (code for “drinking too much”) and while I has really good intentions about health I wasn’t really walking the walk. Skip forward I am now a mother to an absolutely gorgeous 3 month old girl and she has given me such motivation to be truly healthy. And now that I am actually doing it right it is amazing how good I am feeling. I heard a quote once that said something along the lines of “most of us go through lives unaware of how amazing our bodies are designed to feel”. I am starting to realise this is true. My new interest in wellness is changing my life and, therefore, also changing my blog and career path! I thought I would share some of the discoveries and decisions I have made…

New Career Path

I am a jack of all trades, master of none. It is actually an in-joke that my close friends and family direct at me at virtually every meet up. I have started studies in Journalism, Architecture, Graphic Design and Sustainable Development but not completed any of those degrees. But… I don’t regret any of it! I have learnt a lot and loved every bit of those studies but they have not made my heart sing and grabbed my passion by the proverbial balls. It was then I realised that there has been one recurring interest and challenge since I was a teenager – Nutrition. Since my teenage years I have had a completely tortured relationship with my body and confidence: I have spoken previously on this blog about my struggles with anxiety (see here). And while I am still wading through a lot of those issues (with the help of the Wellness Warrior… read on) I am getting better every day. So the bizarre little cocktail of my past experiences, how I used to feel, how I feel now and the people that have helped me have motivated me to change my course… and I ended up here.

I will be commencing studies with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to start my career as a health and wellness coach! This is a college that boasts such luminaries as Jessica Ainscough (The Wellness Warrior), Sarah Wilson (of I Quit Sugar fame among other things) and OF COURSE raw food guru David Wolfe. Beyond that one of my all time favorite bloggers and friends Vegan Sparkles will be completing the course also. I am so excited about this new direction and for once feel completely confident that it is the right choice for me. As I move along with my studies and keep going with my own journey I will blog about all the new things I learn. I am still going to be very focused on sustainability and DIY but with the added focus of wellness… in all seriousness they go hand in hand anyway!

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The Lifestyle Transformation Guide

This has been the vehicle I have used to change my life. I always talk about Jess (she was one of my Wonderful Women of Wellness in this last post) and the amazing work she does on her website The Wellness Warrior and have also mentioned that I was lucky enough to win a Lifestyle Transformation Health Scholarship. The Lifestyle Transformation Guide is a 12 step course that leads you to your dream life. There are no deadlines and you work your way through at your own pace – though an end date is recommended. My end date is April 13 (not so coincidentally my 27th birthday)!

Photo courtesy of www.wellnesswarrior.com.au

I will go into this in more detail in another blog post but the crux of it is practicing a serious amount of self-love as shifting your priorities so that your health sits above everything else. I have learnt the power of affirmations, believing in myself, setting your day up to achieve your goals and truly healthy eating. Before starting the LTG I used to eat well but still had unbelievably unhealthy habits. For example, I would still think of bad food as a treat, I still grappled with a bit of an eating disorder which I have never been able to quite crush and if I had a stressful day I would drown it in wine. I never really thought I could get rid of these down right shitty habits but slowly and surely they are melting away. It is feeling amazing. As part of the course you are also granted access to a private Facebook group where all of Jess’ scholars can share ideas, milestones, setbacks and everything else in between – it is an amazing support network. Not to mention the coaching calls from Jess. If you are struggling with anything in your life or even if you are not but just want to feel better then I sincerely recommend signing up for the course!

Next stop is conquering stillness and this is bound to be my biggest hurdle yet. Can’t wait.

It's all about visualising your perfect self!illustration by Olive on Blonde

It’s all about visualising your perfect self!
illustration by Olive on Blonde

New Diet

As part of the course I am not only retraining my mind but also my taste buds  I have adapted to a life free of gluten, most grains (I very occasionally have a bit of rice or Quinoa), refined sugar, caffeine (apart from the amount found in raw cacao) and anything packaged at all. My big challenge started yesterday and that is cutting out my 2 glasses of wine every evening. I realised that I have been eating this amazing alkaline diet that is free of preservatives and additives and then dosing up on an acidic glass of nasties every evening. It is going to be difficult as wine is my way of coping with my anxiety (not so healthy) so I am under no illusion that this will be my hardest task yet.

I have switched to an all organic diet. I previously would incorporate a lot of organic foods but not entirely: I always found the cost prohibitive (especially now on a single income). But having a baby changed it all because I want to ensure that she only ever consumes organic food (within reason – I will let her experience the wonder that is a choc-dipped soft serve icecream one day!). I seem to managed to get the formula down for how to live organically within fairly tight budgetary constraints. (I will blog about this this week!).

Exercise

illustration by Olive on Blonde

illustration by Olive on Blonde

Starting to exercise again after a year off and with a new post baby body to get used to was terrifying. But if I didn’t throw myself in the deep end it was going to keep getting scarier. So I have signed up for a 2 month intense training program which ends in a 10km obstacle race. *GULP*. Throw in some calming yoga and I am definitely moving again.

New Health Habits

It is funny that embracing organic produce and raw foods is considered an ‘alternative lifestyle’. You often hear it in the media being described as ‘extreme’ but could anything make more sense? Ancient practices are often scoffed at these days – remember this Pete Evans fiasco regarding activating his almonds? I would have been one of those people a year or two again. Eating clay in the morning? Pull the other one. But I guess I should not have judged it before trying. I will blog about these new habits in further details but some of the quirky new habits I incorporate in my life include;

  • Dry Body Brushing – every morning I use this Ayurvedic cleansing method to kickstart my bodies system from the outside.
  • Oil Pulling – borrowing from Ayurveda again I also practice this cleansing method every morning.
  • Activating my food – Nuts, seeds and the occasional grain gets activated. (See my post about activating foods here).
  • Meditation – I am still practicing this… it is very hard. Who would have thought that just concentrating on your breath could be so difficult?
  • Affirmations – sometimes if you say something enough (even if you don’t believe it at first) you can change your own mind. Case in point saying into the mirror “You are beautiful and I love you”. Sounds insane… but try it first.
  • Gratitude journal – Write something that you are grateful for every day. This can turn your worst day around when you realise how lucky you are. I have a Gratitude Jar and I also write one on behalf of my daughter (its a nice way to remember her milestones i.e. “I am grateful that I learned how to laugh today!”)

More on those ‘crazy’ ideas later.

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Onward and Upward!

So I hope that wasn’t too boring or self-indulgent. I just wanted to share my revelations and also mention where I am going with my life. I am so excited and can’t wait to blog all the way along.

What about you? Have you made any major changes in your life? Any crazy, quirky health habits? 

Nicole Foss – How To Prepare For The Upcoming Financial Crisis

Fremantle Town Hall

So, last Friday night at around 7:46pm my brain exploded. It happened without warning and hurt quite a lot. When I decided to attend a seminar starring world renowned Peak Oil and Finance Analyst Nicole Foss I, somewhat stupidly,  thought I was going to be delivered with a bit of hope! Instead I was handed the dirty, stinking truth. We are in big economic, social and environmental trouble – at both an individual and global scale.

The crowd... about to get their minds blown

I intended for this post to provide a really succinct summary of the presentation in my own voice. Unfortunately, due to the size of the issue it could not be whittled down any more than Nicole already did – it is incredible that she managed to explain such a gigantic problem and possible solutions within an hour! Either way – I have employed her skills again and embedded youtube videos of her explaining. They are somewhat lengthy but really are worth watching. I just wanted to explain that it wasn’t laziness… just inability.

Who Is Nicole Foss?

Sweet looking... but don't be fooled. She will give you nightmares.

Nicole (who also goes by the moniker Stoneleigh) is virtually a giant brain with legs. She has degrees in biology, neuroscience, psychology, international law and air & water pollution. Like I said… GIANT BRAIN. She was also the Editor of The Oil Drum Canada where she wrote about peak oil and finance and now spends her days as co-editor of The Automatic Earth. I hate to say it but with all those achievements under her belt I expected to be fronted with the stereotypical academic -pompous, stuffy and possibly a little bit detached. Nicole shattered any expectations. Despite her formidable intelligence Nicole managed to communicate complex problems in a fairly easy to understand way.

What Is The Problem?

Nicole started by explaining that we need to focus on the financial aspect of this global problem not because it was the most important aspect of the crisis but instead because it has the shortest timeframe to work with. In other words – the financial ‘bubble’ is going to burst very soon. She spoke a lot about ‘bubbles’ and it was the part of her talk that resonated with me the most – perhaps because it was the simplest concept to grasp. (*ten minutes passes). Maybe it is still not simple enough for me to explain but when Nicole says it, it at least sounds simple. So here she is to do exactly that…

How do we prepare ourselves?

Well, she didn’t mince words. I kept checking myself because I couldn’t believe this little lady in the flowy sleeves with the sweet Canadian accent was saying all these mean things. She broke the news that the only ‘solution’ to this problem was adequate preparation of our homes, our communities and ourselves. She asked everyone to consider how they fulfil the big needs of their lives i.e. how do you get your heat, power, water, transport and nutrition? For example do you have a water filter? Nicole said that she wasn’t saying that water was about to run out but that the quality may degrade – it takes a lot of systems all running smoothly to produce potable water! Do you have practical skills? It left me looking at my home and thinking “Wow! If I didn’t have a car, power supply or communication… I would really be stuffed”. Below Nicole explains what she has done to prepare and what she suggests that you could do also. Well worth a watch.

If You Want To See Her…

Even though I have painted the whole thing as a negative experience it really wasn’t. It was eye-opening that is for sure but you need to have the information (no matter how scary) to pick yourself up and get ready for action. Nicole will be presenting on Sunday, March 11th 10am – 4pm at an All Day Ecoburbia Conference and the Fremantle Town Hall. It will cost $20 and is well worth it.

If you would like to see Nicole Foss please RSVP to Shani Graham on stay@thepaintedfish.com.au or 0417 941 991

Shani rallying the crowd

Loved all the sustainable transport outside the Town Hall!