In this issue:
To ensure our clients get the freshest produce, we now grow it ourselves.
Currently we’ve growing corn, lettuce, kale, shallots, leeks, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumber, garlic, ginger, turmeric, zucchini, pumpkin, watermelon, button squash, collard and a range of Asian greens with plans to increase this diversity in time. We also have a chicken coop with ten healthy chickens providing fresh eggs to our clients every day.
Following organic principles, we don’t use any chemical inputs and rely on organic fertilisers like compost, gypsum, blood & bone and foliar sprays derived from comfrey, fish emulsions and seaweed emulsions. These foliar sprays supply micronutrients via leaves.
To control pests, we utilise companion planting – using marigolds, garlic, cosmos and alyssum flowers to control nematodes, attract beneficial insects and repel predatory organisms.
Keeping the soil healthy is a key focus in organic farming. To do this, we rotate crops between beds and always have 3 to 4 beds resting at any one time. Resting beds are planted with nitrogen fixing plants like Japanese millet and we take care to rotate crops appropriately in order to balance the nutrient soil profile and disrupt any pest reproduction cycles.
The Sanctuary collects compost and green waste from all our treatment homes as well as from our administrative headquarters, bringing it back to the farm to use, thus minimising waste. Waste from the chicken coops are also used as compost for the farm while leftovers from the farm (eg broccoli stalks) are recycled back to the chickens as feed.
Produce is harvested several times a week and our Sanctuary chefs have first pick of the crops – ensuring our clients enjoy fresh vegetables, ‘from paddock to plate’. Any remaining produce is given to Sanctuary staff, ensuring all the benefits of our farm are shared within The Sanctuary ‘family’.
The establishment of The Sanctuary Organic Farm marks an important transition for us to greater self-sufficiency, allowing us the means to provide only the freshest, cleanest farm produce to our clients and staff.
At The Sanctuary Byron Bay, we believe in living the best life we can, with physical fitness being an important goal. To inspire and encourage our staff, The Sanctuary Byron Bay offers free Yoga, Pilates and fitness training sessions five days a week, in our own Sanctuary gym and staff room area.
Our gym was completed a few months ago and is now available for use by staff, who can now enjoy treadmills, free weights, an elliptical exerciser and a rowing machine. All company staff are welcome to sign up to any of the classes on offer and take advantage of the wonderful training available.
Not only do staff members benefit from feeling fitter, The Sanctuary Byron Bay itself benefits from all the flow-on effects of having happier staff. This gives staff first-hand experience of the concept of peak health, something we try to achieve for each client.
As Jess Ferruccio, Assistant to the Director, gratefully notes: “It’s changed my life – given me a different focus; just to be able to start my day with yoga means my whole day begins on a positive note. Even my stress levels have gone down. My fitness levels have increased and I just really appreciate the opportunity to get fitter and feel better about myself.”
We are always trialling new ways of exercising, trying to find the best blend of efficiency and effectiveness. Recently, The Sanctuary Byron Bay introduced Tabata training as part of the fitness options available to staff. Tabata training is a type of high intensity interval training developed by a Japanese scientist named Izumi Tabata who discovered that combined cycles of four minutes intense exercise significantly increased both cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone. The basic outline of a Tabata class is 8 cycles of various 4 minute sessions of exercise, each session comprising of 8 repetitions of 20 seconds intense activity followed by a 10 second rest. If it sounds easy, it’s not! Tabata training certainly gets the heart rate going while building a sweat. Tabata training has become one of the most popular classes at The Sanctuary since being introduced, with many of our staff members preferring it now to conventional gym work-outs. A dedicated core of ardent Tabata followers are testing their limits each week and loving it.
“It’s one of the special benefits of working at The Sanctuary – we’re encouraged to live the full rich lives we encourage our clients to live, to practice what we preach. It’s rewarding not only to us, but also to those around us – our clients, our families and our communities. People see the effects of living well and it inspires them to give it a go for themselves” – Amos Hee, Process Consultant
In March of last year, The Sanctuary Byron Bay held a 30 Day Challenge for its staff. For one month, everyone was invited to live as healthily as possible, eating only organic, unprocessed foods, abstaining from coffee, sugar, alcohol and refined flour, and engaging in daily exercise, yoga and meditation.
We wanted to encourage staff to enjoy a period of peak fitness and health and to do so, the 30 Day Challenge was presented as a light-hearted competition based on a points system. To help inspire staff, The Sanctuary provided free exercise sessions every weekday throughout the entire 30 days. A list of acceptable unprocessed foods (with organic preferred) was posted along with a list of unacceptable processed foods including white flour, white sugar, white rice and coffee.
In the spirit of it all, quite a few Sanctuary staff participated, digging out running shoes from their closets, throwing away tempting forbidden foods from their pantries and stocking up from local farmers’ markets and bulk food stores. Tallying up points each day and feeling brighter eyed and bushier tailed as the month progressed, the 30 Day Challenge ended with a clear winner: Rachel Emmett, a Client Services Consultant, who threw herself into the challenge with gusto. These are her reflections on the challenge
“Before the challenge I was rarely getting any exercise and my diet consisted of lots of carbs, dairy, sugar and other processed foods. I had never done Yoga or Pilates and had not meditated for over a year and to top it all off, I was a smoker! Over the 30 day Challenge I completely stuck to the non-processed foods rule 100%. At first I found this time consuming and very hard to adjust to, but over the last 30 days it has become easier and easier, and now it just feels natural and like a “normal” healthy diet. My skin and eyes are brighter and I have lost some weight. The challenge has given me a massive kick start in exercising which is exactly what I needed! I now exercise in the morning, I go for a 30 min power walk at lunch and most days where possible I go for a swim or the gym or at least a run/walk with the dog. I have attended all of the Yoga and Pilates classes made available to us, which I am very grateful for! I am amazed with the transformation and strength gained in my body already! I have been taking 15 mins out morning & night to meditate which has which has been wonderful. I have smoked since I was 15 really, so the fact that I have managed to not smoke throughout this whole challenge is a massive thing for me and has made me wonder why I didn’t do it sooner! I have quit! I feel inspired, energetic, healthier, happier, fitter and grateful for the kick up the backside I needed to make positive changes in my life. Thank you everyone!”
Thank you Rachel, for showing us what a determined spirit and willingness to participate can achieve in such a short time!
Welcome to the Summer 2014 edition of The Sanctuary Byron Bay newsletter. Once again, it’s been a little while between newsletters as we’ve been very busy at The Sanctuary Byron Bay – meeting increased demand and improving our self-sufficiency. Understandably, we’ve had little time to maintain the regularity of our newsletters, so thank you for being patient.
In this edition, we focus on our own organisational commitment to holistic health, where our own staff are encouraged to live as healthily as possible. We recently built a gym next to our staff room and over the past year, The Sanctuary has been providing free fitness and body conditioning classes to our staff. Since last year, The Sanctuary Byron Bay has also developed a working organic farm from scratch, from which fresh produce can be delivered to treatment homes within a 24 hour period, ensuring adherence to a ‘paddock to plate’ philosophy. All our staff are able to enjoy any surplus produce ensuring that holistic health is not just a theory, but something we inspire every day.
In this edition we interview Rachel Emmett, the winner of this year’s Staff 30-Day Challenge, an inaugural fitness and wellbeing event created by The Sanctuary Byron Bay to challenge all our staff to live as healthily as possible for 30 days, eating only unprocessed, organic foods and exercising and meditating where possible.
In March of last year, The Sanctuary Byron Bay hosted a community event in the Gold Coast, where international speaker Jerry Brunetti delivered a lecture on the links between cancer, nutrition and healing. This event was well attended by many people from the Northern Rivers and Gold Coast regions. For more details of this special event, visit our Events page.
Last year we also hosted a “Meet and Greet” event in Melbourne for local doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists. I am also happy to arrange such a meeting in any region where there is interest from local health care professionals. I also spent some time this year attending key international medical conferences and visiting key treatment centres in the United States, connecting with my counterparts there. I was greeted very warmly and I thank all the staff at those institutions, especially those from the Betty Ford Center, all for their warm hospitality and interest in our work.
We’re also about to launch an exciting new development – the Sanctuary Recovery House – a group living environment dedicated to those seeking support with sober living. Our Recovery House will be based in Byron Bay, a short walk from the beach and open to anyone wishing to live in a recovery environment with others sharing the same commitment to sobriety.
With so much going on, I nevertheless thank you for continuing to be a part of The Sanctuary Byron Bay family and as always, welcome you to contact me any time to find out more about what we do.