Australia + Healthy Travel

Lessons From My 3-Day Retreat At Gaia

14 September 2017
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I just got back from a magical 3 days at Gaia Retreat and Spa in the hinterland of Byron Bay.

When I was there, I committed to the JSHealth 3-Day Cleanse.

On my wellness holiday, I cut out a host of foods temporarily in the name of wellbeing, better sleep, recharging and detoxing. At Gaia, this was easy as the food is designed to support the body’s own cleansing systems by removing or reducing ‘liver loaders’ – meat, refined sugar, caffeine, dairy, gluten and anything processed or artificial. While I don’t feel it’s sustainable for me to eat this way long-term, I found the food rich, nutrient dense and a nice break from my usual routine. Still, Gaia believes in a gentle and non-restrictive approach, so caffeine and alcohol are available for those who want it.


Taking a moment to do the JSHealth Pre-Meal Meditation before dinner (you can find it in the JSHealth Program)

When I was there, I felt supported in my goal to disconnect from the stress and fast pace of our nonstop lifestyle – I was able to slow down, switch off from digital madness and focus within. Yoga, meditation, spa treatments, limited mobile use and nature walks are a big part of the experience – but I think so is just getting somewhere outside of your usual space for a couple of days. (Or even hours, if your schedule doesn’t permit.)

Looking out over the Byron Hinterland


Picking fresh herbs for our salad, cooked with the Head Chef at Gaia – the brilliant Dan Trewartha

Truly the best part about my break was that the retreat encourages you to put YOU first for a change – with nourishing food cooked for you, a kind and holistic schedule planned by the staff every day, a break from social media/technology and more space for you to reconnect to your body again to regain your energy and vitality – that you so deserve. For me, the highlights of checking in to this excellent and award-winning spot were…

  • An intimate, boutique retreat with all the privacy needed to melt away from everyday life.
  • Individually tailored programs based on the personal choice of guests – from total relaxation to more specific goals like detox or weight-loss.
  • World famous on-site spa – I had the Kahuna massage, Macadamia oil/scalp treatment and a body scrub – which were all simply incredible.
  • A menu that changes daily and features organic, locally sourced produced – prepared by world-class chefs.
  • No set-date or schedules – you can check-in and check-out any day.
  • Ongoing support to transition you back into your everyday life.


The most incredible roasted sweet potato with coconut-lime sauce, chilli jam, chargrilled greens and snow peas, with a perfectly poached egg.


What’s perhaps more important – and realistic – is that so much of the experience at Gaia can be recreated at home. Consider these next time you’re tightly wound… or just need to take a step back before a big week….

  • Set technology boundaries: try to check emails at set times during the day and then switch off social media and technology by a certain time. Set your limit and stick to it! Mine personally is 7pm – after that I will focus on my wholesome, nourishing evening routine.
  • Practice conscious eating – away from phones, TVs and distractions. Try saying a positive affirmations before eating and feeling grateful for the food in front of you, being sure to remove all judgment from your meals.
  • Adding an extra serves of greens at most meals – especially the brassica vegetables (e.g. cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, broccoli) because they contain an enzyme that helps detoxify the liver.
  • Saying no to social arrangements when you need to – be social when you have the energy to do so and don’t be afraid to say no! It’s an act of self-love. Distance yourself from toxic social environments that don’t add joy to your life.
  • Practice breathing exercises twice a day. Personally, I do 10-20 belly breathes morning and night to help calm my nervous system.
  • Enjoy an Epsom Salt bath – Magnesium is a very cleansing mineral which is great for the gut and also very calming for the nervous system.
  • Be moderate with caffeine and alcohol in your day-to-day life. My rule is 1x coffee before 10am and having a moderate amount of alcohol during the weekend then keeping the working week alcohol free. Instead of caffeine, I’ll enjoy herbal teas, dandelion tea or turmeric lattes.
  • Add a nature walk, ocean swim or yoga class to your exercising routine – these can be incredibly cleansing.


To find out more or book your own incredible stay, visit


Originally published on Body & Soul

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