At Chase the Alpine, we are equipping ourselves to escape the urban life and getaway to nature where we go to challenge ourselves and conquer mountains. We love to hike and explore and to be able to perform at our best we are beginning to discover that our health and wellbeing are essential.
Over the last couple of years, my health has been, let’s say a rollercoaster. One day I would be on top of the world hiking, and within hours I would be consuming Ventolin as the next fixer-upper to take away my asthma. I would blame my stamina and my stupid body, and I would come to accept the fact that my body was against me. I had become a walking pharmacy. Purchasing medications as a quick fix over the counter to make me feel better. After many doctors appointments with doctors telling me that they don’t know what is causing it and maybe it is just stress, I became a little scrunched up ball of anxiety. Perhaps it was my 9-5 job that was causing me stress; the travel consultant role was taking years from me and my health. I could not cope anymore. It was affecting my marriage, my anxiety and frustration at my body had me at my lowest. I would consume my days and not remember them as my brain fog was taking over me. My beautiful friend Bec, who is also my Osteopath, suggested blood tests and seeing a Naturopath. Blood tests, why? How could she tell from treating me that a blood test would be helpful? One morning, early this March, I booked my self into a Naturopath. Looking at the consultation fees and then further supplements costs, I began to question, is this all a scam, to feel better?
One consultation later, I am on an elimination diet. Winning. Not really what I had hoped to hear. The naturopath is treating me for SIBO, an overgrowth of bacteria in my small intestine. As well as histamine intolerance.
On an elimination diet, I could not have gluten, dairy, high histamine foods, no alcohol or coffee. Everything I wanted to eat had to be prepared for the day. I’m sure you get the gist. Let’s say the non-fun, party for one diet. This diet began the day I had organised a pizza and Rob Bell night with friends. I made a chicken salad and rocked up, feeling pretty uncool.
Being a foodie for years, It was all new. Surely I couldn’t feel better after living off some celery, a piece of chicken and broccoli. Day two and three were terrible; my body was trying to cope with no sugar, no coffee and a lack of sneaky cheeseburgers. A week in, I began to feel a little better, I had started to feel normal. No bloating, no tight throats and I am beginning to lose some much-needed weight.
Six months later, I turned 30, ten kilos lighter and on around the world trip. A little nervous to see how much body copes, but after being diagnosed with Celiac disease a month ago, discovered from the results of blood tests, life is getting comfortable again. I am still suffering from high histamine foods and cannot consume Soy anymore without symptoms. Life looks a little different now to how I used to travel.
Every morning, before breakfast, I take a dairy-free probiotic. When the meal commences, I begin the next process. An allergy supplement powder, a magnesium and thyroid supplement powder, an iron tablet, a clear histamine tablet, a B-12 supplement and to finish off an essential multivitamin capsule. There have been days frustration has overcome me where I want to eat a piece of toast without taking all of these supplements.
After a few thousand dollars of consultations and capsules, what makes me keep taking them? To be honest, my energy levels have tripled, I have the overall body function of a 27-year-old instead of a 33-year-old, compared to when I first started. I don’t get brain fog, and my anxiety levels have decreased. At least I now feel healthy, energised and a weight has been taken off my shoulders. Not only have I learnt that control is required to heal your body, treating your body with respect is essential. I have been able to hike without feeling sick or lethargic.
Also, stress can affect your whole body. I was thriving off stress and anxiety, and by applying some necessary rituals into my daily routine, this has helped me to take each day as it comes and be able to travel comfortably and confidently. Here are some ideas from my journey to a healthy mind that has helped me tackle the trail or calm my mind when at work – think of them as my healthy snackable tips to go!
1. Life can still go on without a pill box.
I have begun trialling little canisters to store my powders in if I go out or on the trail. I have also purchased a collapsible cup to use for on the road. My husband always reminds me that you can’t let it stop you living each day.
2. Treat your body, once in a while
I don’t mean buying doughnuts for yourself. I suggest taking the time to be mindful. Try switching off from your devices and close your eyes and focus on your breathing. I like to sit in silence and breath in and out three times. I find breathing centres me when I am feeling anxious.
3. Go for a hike
When starting out Chase the Alpine, I was encouraged by doctors to relieve stress by spending time outside and exercise. As I began to do more and more hikes for Chase, my emotional wellbeing was positive, and I enjoyed challenging myself more as my confidence grew.
4. Try Yoga
Ok so I can’t get into a crow pose just yet but taking the time to stretch your body is essential. If you have never tried it, sit in Childs Pose and take the time to scan your body for tightness and let it go. Another alternative is choosing a Youtube yoga channel for some guidance to help you get started.
5. Be present
If you are out hiking in the woods, take time to bathe in the smells of the trees, the wildflowers and allow yourself to be one with nature. It is so easy for me to take photos and make notes for the blog when on a hike. Recently, on my Torrey Pines hike, I stopped myself from consuming the experience and paused and appreciated the wildflowers. Each one had a different shape and style.
6. Find some water
Ok, it sounds funny, but science has proven that finding “blue space” such as rivers, lakes and sea can be fantastic for your wellbeing. Just listening to the sound of water, smelling it and feeling it can calm your mind. One of my favourite times of appreciating a “blue space” was at the Latourell Falls, in Oregon. I stood under the waterfall, taking in the smell of freshness and the sprinkling of water on my face.