Naturopath Natalie Jacques Talks Fuelling the Female Body and Surf Adventures in New Zealand

So Nat, tell us a little about yourself?

Well surfing has pretty much ruled my life since falling in love with it and the ocean as a teenager, I just knew that surfing was something I was always going to do. This has paved my road since then and has led me around the world, usually to the coast, to explore and experience different places, cultures and of course waves. I’m an adventurous type and always up for mission somewhere, wherever that may lead me!

Why did you decide to become a Naturopath?

From a young age I always liked to eat healthy and enjoyed tasty food. I’ve always felt very connected to nature; as surfers we are really at the mercy of it. This just naturally progressed into wanting to learn more and more about foods and herbs and their healing benefits, so I thought I’d study something that would help me to share this with others.

What would an ultimate pre surf meal look like?

It depends on how long you are going to eat before a surf. If it’s the first surf of the day I would tend to go for something light so you can digest it easily before going out. This is when smoothies really come into their own. I like to throw in bananas, berries, some nuts and seeds, a bit cacao and maca, some protein powder and either some almond milk or yoghurt. Really the sky’s the limit when it comes to smoothies, just as long as there is a combination of carbohydrate (in this case fruit), protein and fats (nuts and seeds) to give you sustainable energy. If it’s to refuel between surfs I like to have a quinoa or brown rice salad with either some chicken, fish or egg on top.

As active surfing women, what vitamins and minerals are especially important for us?

I would say the most important are B vitamins and Magnesium. Both are used by the body to change food to the body’s energy source ATP. Without sufficient amounts of these vitamins and minerals you can eat all the food in the world but still feel tired, especially if the foods you are eating are nutrient void. Magnesium is also really important for muscle recovery. Eating meals that are based around whole and organic foods where possible increases the likelihood of you getting it from your diet. However, depending on the person, supplementation may be necessary.

Tips for recovering from a hard day of surfing? 

Glass of wine!!! Haha. Or a beer if you are lucky enough to be in the tropics! Just kidding. For me yoga is the best way to balance your body. It lengthens tight muscles and strengthens small muscles that often get overlooked or not used with repetitive paddling and duck diving, preventing injuries and improving muscle recovery. On a mental level yoga can help calm you, focus you and make you become more aware of yourself in every sense.

Any other secrets on keeping well and energised?

Learn to listen to yourself. You know more than you realise about your own health and wellness. If you feel tired, rest, if you are hungry eat, if you are thirsty, drink, if you feel unwell ask yourself why…is it food that you are eating or a situation that is making you uncomfortable. If you are injured, look at what your body is trying to tell you. And remember to breathe, look around and smile at least a couple of times a day.

You run an all womens surf retreat. Can you tell us a little about that?

Yes I started up Wanderlust Surf Adventures a couple of years ago. It’s a surf and yoga retreat with a focus on tasty and nutritious food set in Raglan.  I aim to show women around the beautiful Raglan beaches, allow them to relax and unwind with yoga classes that are held around surfing and also provide some education while giving them a taste of healthy New Zealand food.

What do you hope your surfers will accomplish? 

My main objective for women on our retreats is that they enjoy themselves but also that they take away something about surfing, yoga or nutrition that they didn’t know before.

Why is New Zealand such a great destination for travelling female surfers?

There’s heaps of waves, you can drive from coast to coast in some parts of the country in half hour,  it’s safe, it’s clean, green, stunning and uncrowded.

Thanks so much for your time and knowledge Natalie, you can check out her retreat schedule here.

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Featured Image:  Jo Caird

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