Daily Habits

Surfchickareta

I believe integrating small yet healthy habits each and every day is the key to long term success, overall health and living a truly enriched life. The way in which you move about your day today is an accumulation of previous habits formed over time. Routine used to be happy days surfer girlthe root of all evil for me as I had continual desires to be in a different country every few months, experiencing different cultures and riding different styles of waves.

Now I view routine as an important component of stability and closely intertwines with my habits, not forgetting spontaneity is what distinguishes between a routine and a mundane action.

I love that health seems to be “trending” where many, especially in my generation, are ditching boozy nights out for waking up at dawn for a workout followed by a green smoothie and organic muesli at their local cafe.

Social media in…

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The Status Quo

Surfchickareta

There’s a common theory that at the age of 28 a big transitional period in most people’s lives take place. You might get a panic or anxiety or that “old” feeling perhaps as you get closer to the big 30. The life structure that just worked throughout your 20’s mightn’t feel so fitting. It can also be a time of great pressure if you haven’t quite found what you’re looking for in terms of career satisfaction or relationship status. From an astrological and numerological perspective it is said the physical body goes through seven year cycles and 28041_10151118702540168_796332908_nthe emotional and personal body nine years. If you were to research more into this, you will see it is quite a powerful transition that can either be treated with respect and used as an inner compass, or resisted against and be seen as your own enemy.

Ever since I left high school…

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The Yin and Yang of Surfing & Vegetarianism 

Living on a predominately plant-based diet is a kind of energy that cannot be described unless you experience it for yourself. The same concept exists when it comes to the feeling of riding a wave, only a surfer knows that magic feeling. This to me is one of the great wonders of life, using a limited English language in an attempt to describe something so remarkable, particularly of the energy kind-whether the feelings experienced when in love, the flow and glide of surfboard under feet on a big wave or the flow of clean energy in the body from consuming food direct from mother nature.

There are many reasons why I slowly weaned myself off a meat diet, both ethically through self-education but also predominately due to the vast improvement I found in my energy and overall health. The reasons I find a vegetarianism lifestyle and surfing lifestyle go hand in hand are:

Natural energy 

The fuel I put in my body before a surf makes a big difference in the type of energy that flows through my body with each paddle stroke, duck dive and riding of a wave. I recall one surf in particular. It was a rainy, misty day in a small coastal town and not many were brave enough to step out in the dull ocean conditions.

I had just passed by an old fruit stand on the side of the road and stocked up on strawberries, papaya, bananas and other tropical delights. Having the fruit sitting on my passenger seat meant I had naturally put a large dent in my supplies in the time it took me to leave that fruit stand and make it to the 13015574_10153947667200168_2186227259656749826_nwater’s edge.

I paddled out into the ocean alone and by the time I had made it out the back of the lineup, the shoreline and land had entirely disappeared in the thick layer of fog that encapsulated the coast.

It was an eerie feeling but at the same time I found it comforting and at one with the sea. The waves were inconsistent which left plenty of time for me to sit in my own thoughts and feel each rise underneath me as the swell passed by in small trains. Before even catching a wave that day I recall a deep matching of energy from the fruit I had consumed to the environment around me.

It was kind of an “uh huh” moment for me as I was still in the process of eliminating animal meat from my diet. In that moment it just all made sense. I felt totally connected with nature, like a piece of jigsaw puzzle that had previously been missing from the world around me.

I was a living entity as much as every other animal that walked the earth and it didn’t make sense to destroy their existence for my own survival. Once I truly felt that “bond” with nature and that exchanging of energy I haven’t found a need to consume animal meat since that lonely surf.

Bountiful energy 

The Australian Department of Health recommend you consume two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables a day to maintain good health. While this doesn’t sound like much, there are many people not getting anywhere near the recommended servings. The amount of energy available in fruit and vegetables is pretty amazing.

When I lived in Byron Bay I met a man in his mid 60’s who absolutely owned the dance floors of local pubs every 307025_10150267079195168_8140935_nweekend. He had some serious style given his age, and he managed to pull more attractive young backpacker chicks than guys a third of his age.

The point of the story is not this but rather that I legitimately thought he was a bit loopy. Some of his moves were so erratic surely he had to be on some kind of drug, given Byron Bay’s colourful reputation in that regard. I decided to approach him and try spark up a conversation.

Turns out he had an organic farm in the hinterland with his wife and he loved his produce with a passion. He particularly loved his broccoli and swore to this particular vegetable to fuel his fire to dance all night.

Again, this one moment was a game changer in how I saw natural foods and their positive effect on the human body. Surfing of course is a pretty intense cardiovascular workout and you need all the energy you can get to sustain a lengthy session in the ocean.

Cardio & protein

The fats and proteins contained in animal meats are increasingly being linked to many diseases including cancer, the clogging of arteries, heart attacks and early death (see my article “The truth on cancer” here). The funny thing is many non-vegetarians are so quick to ask where vegetarians get their protein from yet many of the strongest and largest animals on earth are in fact vegan- take for example the elephant and baboon.

The world’sInfographic-the-dangers-of-eating-meat strongest man is vegan and many other vegan athletes and body builders have been enjoying the “vegan limelight” that has emerged of late.

Unfortunately most of the information society gather is what is viewed through television and therefore drilled into their minds and considered normal or right.

It takes enough love and care for your own body to go out of your way and research the true facts which lie in every place other than the TV screen.

The only thing that truly lacks in a vegetarian/vegan diet is iron & B12 which you have to be conscious of where you will obtain these important vitamins & minerals from. B12 is largely obtained from the structure of animal meats and not plants, therefore I take additional one a day B12 supplements.

Lighter periods (sorry male readers) 

A diet consisting of minimally processed raw foods largely of the plant variety have long been reported to reduce the intensity of a menstrual cycle. I recall finding an old hippy book from the 70’s that even described women eliminating their cycle entirely from a vegetarian diet.

I have also found Youtube clips claiming the same, however I find it a bit extreme for the body to completely eliminate a cycle that is so natural to the body! The one thing however that I have noticed since going vego is less cramps and intensity of periods which is another great match being a surfer as I can have plenty more wave time instead of being at home with a hot water bottle on my cramping stomach.

More restful sleep

I don’t know what it is but there is something about the sleep cycle that becomes affected when you have a high fruit/vegetable consumption. It’s like you notice more  of the natural sounds around you, the crickets, the owls, the wind as it rustles through the palm trees.

Again I can only put it down to the clean type of energy, free of preservatives and man-made ingredients that otherwise come with the majority of supermarket foods. I can recall one day my mother saying that she had a terrible night sleep full of bad nightmares for no apparent reason.

She then realised it must have been the marinated steak she had purchased from the meat market, as that was the only thing different to the usual foods she ate. It’s scary to think what was in that meat sauce. More restful sleep=more waves.

Other than the reasons above that I can relate directly to surfing, there are so many other benefits from being vegetarian that I’ve welcomed into my daily living such as:

  1. Deeper passion for all animals great and small.
  2. Conscious choices, guilt-free living, finding the truth about the way society operates, 10455561_10153097108683689_2906821006535925838_n.jpgrealising that most of our supermarkets are stocked with unhealthy food.
  3. Appreciating nature 10 fold.
  4. Rarely visit the dentist.
  5. Meeting like-minded vegetarians/vegans that also have a deep care for their health and for the welfare of animals.
  6. Less and less of my food comes in packages.
  7. Influencing others in a positive way that can improve their health too.
  8. Knowing each cell, tissue, bit of fat and muscle in my body have been built by predominately plants.
  9. Thriving compost for healthy gardens.
  10. No animal blood in the kitchen.

And the list could go on forever…

Resources: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/red-meat-clogs-arteries-bacteria/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/new-study-links-l-carnitine-in-red-meat-to-heart-disease-201304176083

http://www.pcrm.org/health/cancer-resources/diet-cancer/facts/meat-consumption-and-cancer-risk

http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vsk/vegetarian-starter-kit-protein

The Status Quo

There’s a common theory that at the age of 28 a big transitional period in most people’s lives take place. You might get a panic or anxiety or that “old” feeling perhaps as you get closer to the big 30. The life structure that just worked throughout your 20’s mightn’t feel so fitting. It can also be a time of great pressure if you haven’t quite found what you’re looking for in terms of career satisfaction or relationship status.

From an astrological and numerological perspective it is said the physical body goes through seven year cycles and 28041_10151118702540168_796332908_nthe emotional and personal body nine years. If you were to research more into this, you will see it is quite a powerful transition that can either be treated with respect and used as an inner compass, or resisted against and be seen as your own enemy.

Ever since I left high school I never had any intent to take on any further education. While I loved school and received good grades I just wanted to get out into the world and learn and study from just ‘living’.

Even though I was stuck in a city for the first six years of my working life, I wasn’t overly fussed with what kind of work I was doing. As long as it meant I was able to set sail on the weekend and embark on a two day action-packed adventure to find the best waves on offer. While I accidentally carved myself a career along the way as a legal secretary in between travel, eight years have now gone by.

With what feels like a passing of extended surf trips overseas (for seasons at a time), I’ve taken this year as more of a year of grounding and quiet. I had only ever heard of the “28 year theory” briefly while I was travelling in Tahiti last year, and have since not paid any attention to it.

To say this year has been easy would only be one half of the truth. Somehow I have found myself a little lost, even lonely in the post travel realm. Friends have moved away, married up and started families. Confusion mounts and laps at my feet as to the once warm feeling of a true ‘home’.

Over the past year I’ve also considered my position in society as a giver, a contributor and what I truly have to offer in this lifetime. I seem to always have had the opportunity to help clients daily at work, through horrific motor vehicle injuries or encounters with the 10301118_10152556715340168_4391682234274403263_nwrong side of crime, have always put time aside for volunteer work at nursing homes and spent many trips away assisting at orphanages, however lately I’ve labelled myself selfish to pursue the never-ending wave of perfection.

I’ve re-evaluated just how many hours, days, years I’ve spent in the ocean deeply encapsulated in that pursuit. Sadly I’ve been so hard on myself I’ve actually spent less and less time doing what I love but never quite found that substitute for happiness. In that ‘hardness I’ve also re-evaluated my career path, which has always worked in terms of stability and closeness to the ocean and a healthy lifestyle, but that true lack of passion for the work seems to surface more and more often of late.

Over the past few months I’ve also found myself attracting those that pour their everything into their work, where their satisfaction lives, their purpose in this life. What I’ve come to realise is that while that is their story, it doesn’t necessarily have to be mine.

Giving myself some much needed time out from my own hardness, I’ve discovered a message that keeps rising up from inside- with passion comes a deep love and a desire for life itself. When you extract passion, the days seem dull and lacking in colour and you can rather unconsciously begin to give up hope.

To me I’ve always seen surfing as a relationship withhappy days surfer girl the ocean. This has remained my view as I see others have close relationships with their partners, their true loves. I see mine as a close relationship with my lover the ocean. Both are in a way self-fulfilling but makes us (through that love) better, softer, more compassionate humans.

The moral of this story is never give up doing what you love because of the pressures of the outside world.

If you’ve already found your passion in life, there’s no need to find it elsewhere because of the “status quo”. Simply pursue it with all of your heart and live in that happiness and joy.

Creatures of the deep

The moon is big in the night sky, illuminating the towering volcanic mountains and bringing the ocean beneath my feet to life. Reef sharks frequently pass by, blatantly weaving around my fishing line baited with fresh tuna from last night’s dinner, on the hunt for something bigger. I eagerly scan the coral gardens which shimmer under the bright moonlight, waiting for the next shadow to pass by my line. I roll the thin nylon between my index finger and thumb feeling the current in the water, taking a long inhale of the thick tropical air. My peace is abruptly broken by a sudden bite. I jerk back on the rod with equal strength and start to reel in, mechanically lifting, pulling and reeling, it takes no time at all to land the fish on the rock wall. It’s a solid catch and my night has been made, with visions of tomorrow’s lunch and dinner meals served. I place my foot near his head and edge the hook out, which has miraculously held on lightly on the skin behind his eye. Something from below suddenly rips the fish away before me and drags it into the dark crevice between the rocks and out of sight. I jump back in fear, nearly stumbling on a rock and into the deep blue, but catching my fall and my breath. I try to search for an answer as to what could have taken my prize catch but don’t stick around the now frightening rock wall to find out. I decide to call it a night and quickly pack up my gear and walk back to my beach shack with my head hanging low.

Dawn is surprisingly fresh and light fog encapsulates the highest mountain top on the island. I know it won’t take long for the burning tropical sun to heat the air and I can’t shake the curiosity of the night before. I decide to take to the water that embodies the same rock wall I fished from the night before and explore the surface beneath.

The swell has built overnight from the north and a strong current passes the lagoon that girl divinglaps at the rock wall, matching the same speed as a fast flowing creek. I enter the water at the furthermost end of the lagoon, armed with a mask and fins and float effortlessly with the current. I weightlessly hover over every shade and shape of coral, with breathtakingly beautiful tropical fish ducking and weaving for safety as I pass by. In no time at all I approach the same rock wall in which I had cast multiple lines the night before. I dig my fingers into the edge of the wall to hold my place, my body tugging in the current like a rag doll, yet I’m able to use my strength to crawl along the rocks and into the safety of a small bay.

Visibility is perfect & I spot a large cluster of rocks close by. Given the close distance to the wall, my instinct tells me that it could be home to the creature that took last night’s catch. I fight hard to swim back into the open lagoon for a closer look but I’m instantly taken in the current and forced sideways over the top of the suspicious cluster of rocks where a huge alien-like creature lashes out at me. Air bubbles dissipate from the edges of my mouth piece as I squeal underwater, struggling to catch my breath. I’m forced directly overfishing girls top of a large green monster, teeth sharpened and head as big as a humans. I kick as hard as I can to pass the rocks but what I can now tell is a mammoth size moray eel, slithers its way out, opening it’s huge mouth and thrashing its teeth down, making a loud snapping noise that I will never forget. I’m caught in the downstream current and able to kick far enough away to be clear of its distance, fearfully looking over my shoulder hoping it wasn’t coming after me. I quickly swim to the nearest shallow bay and drag myself to where the water laps the thick crushed coral edge, happy to exit the water without any injuries. With adrenaline pumping through my veins, a huge smile creeps over my face as I try to piece together what just happened. Curiosity got the best of me- that’s what happened!