It’s fair to say Courtney Chambers is not your average Sydney Sprouts customer. While originally from Sydney, recent years have seen Courtney spend much of her time living in the middle of the Indian Ocean – more specifically, the Maldives – where she hosts the most blissful of yoga retreats through her business, Holistic Escapes.
Deeply passionate about holistic living (and a true advocate for sprouts!), Courtney has long been fascinated by the influence our diets have on overall wellbeing. “I’ve personally struggled with gut health for most of my adult life,” she explains. “I’ve been on my own journey for the past ten years or so, lots of research, lots of trial and error. I found that traditional medicine wasn’t really answering any of my questions. Nothing was making sense. When the pandemic took hold last year and the Maldives were locked down, I decided to do an online course about the microbiome of the stomach, and thought, wouldn’t it be great to put on a different kind of retreat.”
“One of the things about gut health is that so many people struggle with it, yet it can still be very isolating because no-one really speaks about it,” Courtney continues. “There’s also a lot of information out there, good and bad, and it can be quite overwhelming. What we wanted to do was create a safe and relaxing space where women could come to learn about these things, really nourish themselves mentally, and learn ways to start better managing their lives through the foods they eat.”
With that, the concept for ‘Belly, Mind & Soul’ was born, with the very first retreat taking place between February 12-14 at Wybalena Organic Farm in the pristine hinterland of Byron Bay. Attended by 19 guests it was a tremendous success, and Sydney Sprouts was delighted to be part of it as an official supporter.
“The response was just fabulous,” says Courtney. “The retreat sold out really early and we actually had a waiting list. Clearly it was something that’s very needed by a lot of people. All of the women who came were just so happy to have had the opportunity to do something to really help educate themselves and turn things around.”
Alongside Courtney, the retreat was co-hosted by Georgie Collinson, a gut health expert and certified naturopath. Through a series of relaxed sessions, workshops and cooking demonstrations – interspersed with plenty of time for quiet reflection and yoga – guests learned new techniques and practical tools for improving their lifelong gut health.
“We helped guests begin to set up their own gut health plans, and also held cooking demonstrations, which is where we spoke a lot about Sydney Sprouts and all the amazing nutritional benefits of activating nuts and sprouting seeds,” says Courtney. “We actually pre-sprouted quite a few of the seeds and kept them on window sills around the farm, so everyone could see exactly what we were talking about. It was really well received.”
“Every meal was also very interactive, speaking about each dish and the nutritional balance of the different ingredients,” she adds. “It’s all well and good going to an event and having everything done for you, but you want to be able to go back home and repeat it. That was a really big part of what we wanted to achieve.”
To help the guests continue their gut health journeys after the retreat, each took home a complimentary gift pack from Sydney Sprouts featuring a selection of sprouting seeds and microgreens. We’re so happy to have been part of it!
Plans are underway for ‘Belly, Mind & Soul’ to return in 2022.
If you’re interesting attending, you can put your name on Courtney’s waiting list here.