Firstly, I’d like to say how proud I am of my amazing twin sister. Tay writes and shares with such passion and love, she inspires me every single day and I am thankful to have her in my life. I speak daily of this blog and tays_way_ on instagram to anyone who’ll listen. Yes, I’m that crazy person shouting from the rooftops (I love you sissy).
Now, I was a little apprehensive to write this post. When Tay initially asked me I laughed and told her ‘don’t be silly’. Then I got to thinking. Although I’m not an expert and I don’t have any qualifications, why should that stop me from sharing my health journey, my story, my opinion? If you know me, you’ll know health is something I am extremely passionate (and at times quiet fiery) about.
Thanks to my parents, growing up I always had a fundamental understanding of the importance of health. One of my favourite memories as a child was going to the markets every fortnight with my dad to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables. My sisters and I would get up super early, jump in the car with blankets, arrive at the markets just after sunrise, take turns riding on the sides of the trolley, pick our favourite fruit, then come home to unpack all of our food. Because of traditions like this (and having a father who used to live off the land, literally), I learnt early on that ‘fresh is best’.
Until recent years, I hadn’t delved too far into the world of holistic health but always had a keen interest in the topic. What lead me to my awakening was a combination of some pivotal experiences and light-bulb moments, to which I am thankful for to this day. It really is true that so many of us have no idea how amazing we are supposed to feel each and every single day. The boundless energy, fiery passion, infinite love and excitement for life, to live is to thrive! Since choosing to make health my number one priority, I see the world in a different way. Yes life can be hectic and we all lead busy lives, but the question is are we busy thriving?
So I write this blog post as a point of difference and experience. My life is very different to Tay’s so I wanted to share with you all who work full-time and live in Sydney, that health does not have to be expensive and you do have the time. I believe, it’s all about choice and consistency. Consistently make the right choice, and you will thrive.
I’ve broken the following down into sections:
WIP (work in progress)
Hands up who feels like a hamster running madly on a spinning wheel? A swan floating elegantly on the water but paddling like crazy underneath the surface? I think it’s safe to say most of us can relate when it comes to work and getting your job done.
Do not get me wrong, I LOVE my job. But like everyone, it can get hectic. So, in order to maintain balance I do small things to keep me on track (remember, health is number one priority). I am constantly on the go, from studio to location to office, back to location to the next shoot and so on. My work also takes me interstate, so throw planes into the mix and let’s just say it can be easy to slip into the habit of convenience when it comes to food. I have the luxury of ordering catering for shoots, so I make sure we have only water, fresh fruit, salads and rice paper rolls (my catering lady makes a killer kale salad and her rice paper rolls are the bomb!). I never eat plane food, I take my own food or snacks and only drink water. In the office I drink green tea and water (can you tell I’m huge on water?) and don’t give into the temptation of office ‘treats’ that are delivered daily and are placed directly behind my desk! I actually never crave it or want it, which might seem unbelievable to some but once you stop consuming refined, processed, artificial sugar – you never crave it. In taxis I take time to stop and breathe, close my eyes and meditate. If I’m not doing that I’m usually deep in conversation with the drivers (who have the most fascinating stories!). Commuting on the train I stand every day, walk up escalators, take the stairs. Move your body as much as you can throughout the day. The sedentary office environment we have become so accustomed to is actually causing more damage to our health than smoking! Scary thought. I am guilty of not doing this, but make sure you take your lunch break. Fresh air, sunshine and a walk can do you the world of good!
For some, this can be a speed bump on their road to good health. How do we keep on track when we love dining with friends, enjoy the social drink after work, look forward to the weekend of partying? How do we find balance without missing out? Well for me I’m not a big drinker, so it definitely helps. I also find my time incredibly valuable and don’t want to waste my days hungover in bed. Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy a glass or two of organic red wine, but any more and I’m usually always regretting it the next day. Nominate yourself for designated driver (I know you’re thinking who wants to do that!?) it’s a great way to avoid having one too many drinks! As long as there is great company and good music it’s actually quiet easy to have an awesome time, no alcohol consumption needed.
I also like to organise lunches and brunches as opposed to dinners with friends. This way I avoid over-eating at night and of course the temptation of dessert. My go to places in Sydney are – Mint, Heart and Soul Café, Pilgrims, Bread and Circus, Sadhana Kitchen (dying to get out to Earth to Table and Orchard St. Elixir Bar in Bondi). Of course if my girlfriends have organised dinner or a get together, I will be the first to say yes and happily be present, but it’s just making the best choice in the situation you’re in. This same rule applies to everything for me.
At home, you won’t find artificial snacks, soft drink, processed food, sugar, milk, microwave meals or cereal in our cupboards. If you don’t have it in the house, you can’t consume it. Simple. Set yourself up for success, not temptation, guilt and failure. I use our blender and juicer almost every single day. My fiance and I love to go to the markets, Marrickville and Ramsgate organic farmers markets are our go to places as well as Foodies Organic supermarket in Peakhurst. Invest in good appliances to make your life easy. A good food processor goes a long way! We sleep with the window open every single night (even through winter) as breathing fresh air while you sleep is vital. We also turn our wifi off whenever we are not using it, our phones are our alarm clock so they are switched to flight mode while we sleep. I have colonics (I love them!) and I recently bought a Gerson Therapy coffee enema kit, which I will be doing weekly! Joel and I go for walks together as often as we can, this helps keep us on the same page with one and other especially when Joel and I are both constantly travelling for work. I love to talk, I’m a huge talker and believe communication is key. Play music, dance around the house, be silly, light a candle, read a good book, grow herbs, play with your dog in the sun. A big thing in our house is doco night. I love to learn and documentaries are a great way to gain knowledge, grow and expand your brain. Read!!! Another great way to collect information. Next on my list are: Thrive by Arianna Huffington, You can heal your life by Louise Hay and Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas. I also love to attend seminars and being surrounded by like minded people.
I’ve recently taken part in a ‘Pay it Forward’ initiative and it’s made me remember the power of small acts of kindness. Post letters, books and packages to loved ones, it will make their day! Giving to others really is the ultimate reward. As the legendary Maya Angelou once said “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
I’ve recently become addicted to F45 training. It’s all about functional movement and HIIT (high-intensity interval training). I love the classes (cardio and resistance), I exercise every morning. It helps start my day right, increases my energy levels for longer and I feel like I’m ready to conquer the world! I also attend a “training for charity” class every Saturday at Target Life Fitness which is around the corner from Foodies Organic (again, set yourself up for success). I wholeheartedly support the Sharlz Taki Foundation and I love making my weekly contribution while training with people who inspire me. But you don’t need a gym membership to exercise. My favourite gym is the one nature provides – for free! There are so many beautiful hiking trails and coastal walks around Sydney, so get outdoors, explore and reconnect with the earth as often as you can. I recently completed a full marathon which I’m very proud of. A personal goal I’d set myself over a year ago. What your mind can believe, your body will achieve. I realised along my journey how important moving your body is for your mental health! I now exercise every day not just because it makes me feel good, but it makes me feel strong – mentally. I haven’t weighed myself in a very long time, as a teen I used to live by the number on the scales. A very unhealthy habit too many of us share. My new thing at the moment is to stop saying negative things about my body. Words are very powerful. Another lesson I have learnt.
I covered this in Home, juicing and blending is a daily occurrence in our house. If I feel like something sweet, I whiz up my favourite cacao smoothie or easy peasy paleo pancakes (1 banana, 1 egg – that’s it!). Marrickville and Ramsgate farmers markets (support local organic farmers and suppliers people!), Foodies Organic and the health food aisle of Coles/Woolworths are where you’ll find us. If you can’t get to markets, remember the ‘Dirty Dozen, Clean Fitfteen’ rule (you can find it online everywhere) or wash your produce in water with apple cider vinegar. It will help remove the nasty toxins/pesticides. Remember make the best choice you can in the situation. When shopping in supermarkets always look for the ‘Australian Certified Organic’ stamp on the label as many companies will use marketing trickery with words like ‘all natural’, ‘100% fruit’, ‘farm fresh’ and even ‘organic’. Load your plate up with salad or raw vegetables. We’ve fallen into the trap of being huge meat-eaters, which takes a toll on your digestion system. So I make sure the majority of my plate is filled with plants. We love to eat fresh produce, nuts, seeds, organic free-range poultry (or as my fiancé likes to call them ‘happy chickens’), grass–fed meats and coconut everything (oil, yoghurt, cream, milk, water). We steer clear of dairy (with the exception of cheese, I’m still working on it!). Water, water, water!
WIP (work in progress)
I decided to finish with this as there are many things I am still working on. Like meditation, I am one of those people who find it difficult to switch off and zone out. So I’ve decided to make meditation apart of my weekly routine (as opposed to just here and there in taxis). Cooking! I live a very fortunate life in that my amazing partner cooks just about every meal for us (if he is away, it’s boiled eggs and veg for me). So I’ve decided I need to lift my game. Especially if I want to raise a family with Joel, I must lead by example in the kitchen as well.
Breathing is another big one. I forget to find my breath, really suck the oxygen in and out, deep and slow. Usually I find myself shallow breathing. Rushing! I rush here, there, everywhere. I’ve fallen victim to the ‘rushing woman syndrome’ constantly putting my body in a state of fight or flight mode, adrenaline pumping. Rush to shower, rush to the office, rush to eat, rush to get the million things I planned over weekends done. It’s so important to nurture and take care of yourself with the little things in your day and I often forget this. Stretching needs a lot more time and attention from me. I don’t do it as regularly as I should and it’s essential for your body and optimal recovery. Spending less on unnecessary items like those new shoes I just have to have. Learning that your identity isn’t just defined by what you wear is huge for me. Something I need to let go of, which all comes from self-acceptance and self-love. I recently learnt that success should be measured by how well and often you truly live your values. I work on doing this every single day, in all aspects of life.
So there you have it, my first blog post.
Never stop learning, growing, loving, being curious and vulnerable, passionate and excited about life!
Lastly… ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE!!!