Last night Faiz & I had the pleasure of attending Your Mind, Your Body Seminar hosted by Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat. The talk was run by the General Manager of the retreat, Sharon Kolkka and discussed the best ways to handle stress & emotions.
I was given the opportunity to ask Sharon a few questions and here were her answers.
How did you start working in the health retreat industry?
I was invited to be a personal trainer in a health retreat 16 years ago. At that time I was fully engaged in the fitness industry and had been since 1980. I quickly realised the potential of guests living the perfect environment for a week and the impact this had on modifying their unhealthy behaviours. To this day I still believe the power of a health retreat is being able to feel the difference in oneself physically, emotionally and mentally by being in an ideal environment.
Why are you so passionate about health & wellness?
The answer is simple – the alternative is sickness and disease. Life is short. I love life and want to be fully engaged in all it has to offer into my 90′s and beyond.
What does your diet consist of? Do you follow a specific diet?
I eat organically always, apart from restaurants and when invited for dinner. I base my diet on vegetables, and ensure I eat protein (including legumes, fish, chicken, eggs and red meat) essential fats and carbohydrates at every meal. I eat 5 times a day with a lighter meal at dinner and avoid gluten and too much of any grain and dairy. I rarely drink coffee and have at least 5 consecutive alcohol free days a week.
Who are your food heroes and heroines?
Jamie Oliver springs to mind as does Maggie Beer. Both are focused on fresh, organic ingredients and both have a passion to change the paradigm for food in institutions, Jamie in schools and communities and Maggie in nursing homes and communities.
I am influenced and a great admirer of Caroline Scott our holistic dietician at Gwinganna, her passion for nourishing the body through food is extraordinary. Our Resident Chef, Herman Schellfaner is inspirational. He convinces our guests with every meal that healthy food can also be delicious cuisine.
What are your non negotiables when it comes to health & wellness?
I am organic all the way – food, skin care, cleaning my house etc. This is for health reasons and also includes a belief that where I spend my money is where I give my consent for how society produces saleable items. This is one of the ways I make a statement and contribute to Mother earth and society. I also ensure that I structure my life to include quality sleep and make sure I plan “me” time which includes time with my horses and time for regular baths and massage. “Me” time is essential to manage my emotional diet. For wellbeing, this is as essential as my food diet.
What is your favourite dish?
Currently as the weather is chilly at night and I follow a seasonal diet, I would have to say Gwinganna’s Morrocan lamb shanks with organic broccoli for dinner. Fresh eggs, avocado and spinach for brekky …… Yum!
What’s the best part of being the General Manager for Gwinganna ?
Working alongside inspiring, passionate people who share with me a love for what we do and how our collective energy has such an impact on our guests. Our environment here is divine. There is always some way every day that Mother nature makes us smile, like finding a possum in the Store, seeing koalas in the main village area, and the abundance of baby wallabies everywhere right now. With incredible views of the valley and ocean, we are surrounded by natures splendour.
What is the number thing you hope people staying at Gwinganna will take away with them when they leave?
To remember and embody that we are all the CEO’s of our health and wellbeing. Like any business the better you manage, the better the result. We hope to inspire better health management in all aspects of guest’s life physically, mentally and emotionally. We remind them (and ourselves) every day that all of these aspects contribute to optimum wellbeing.
For more information about Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat & seminars please visit their website.