Bride’s Inspiring Weightloss Journey

Everyone has different wellbeing goals. Some people want to lose weight or get fit, while others want help to sleep better…

I’ve noticed some people can stay “stuck” in the dreaming phase with their goals. While others take that brave leap to make positive changes. Having a wellness coach is research proven to help.

I love coaching clients. They often come to me feeling confused about where to start. I love breaking it down into an easy plan that fits their lifestyle. It’s so heart-lifting to educate clients so this sets them up so they know what to do long after they leave me. Actually, that’s always the plan: To empower change that’s relatable and sustainable. 

I want to share a client’s inspiring wellbeing story. Not because it’s a radical transformation. What clinical psychologist Lotte Williams achieved is something most people would like to do: Shed 5kg.

When she walked into my office, she knew her goal: “I want to look good in my wedding dress”.

The aim was to lose 5kg, feel more toned and to improve her sleep.

Lotte already has an amazing fitness base as a runner. So she wanted guidance on nutrition and lifestyle factors to feel more in balance. I also helped her with yoga-for-runners stretches for injury-prevention.

After nine-weeks’ coaching, she smashed her goals. She lost 5.8kg.

Lotte shares some things that helped her journey. 

What was the hardest part?

Having a total diet overhaul and reducing sugar (as I have such a sweet tooth).


What helped you on your journey?

Having regular check-ins with Rachel so that I was accountable for the choices I made. Rachel being positive and supportive and giving me new recipe ideas. I realised that I wasn’t eating enough and could actually eat much bigger portions of protein and plants. I found that I can be “balanced” (rather than having an all-or-nothing-style approach. I learnt I could have wine or a slice of cake and still lose weight.

(as long as I made mindful choices for the majority of the time).


What do you love about your wellness journey?

Feeling more confident and happier with how I look. But also finding that my running performance improved. Also remembering how much joy I get from running and any other movement. 

My wedding dress fit perfectly (which was what this journey was originally about). But I intend to continue with making mindful choices with food. I know it has such a big influence on my running performance, mood and how I manage what life throws at me!

What is your advice to others wishing to be fitter or healthier?

Find a way to exercise that you love. Cook food that you enjoy – making healthy choices doesn’t have to be boring. There are so many delicious recipes that are plant-based. And know that you can still eat chocolate and drink wine!

Find out more about Rachel’s wellness coaching by emailing her [email protected] . Or check out the rates here. Follow Rachel for inspiration and advice on her  Instagram & Facebook

  • This article originally appeared in Indulge magazine and is on the Herald online too.

Protein-Packed Choc Orange Bliss Balls

This snack is easy-peasy and quick to make. They’re a good snack for the kids and us “big kids”. I keep them in the freezer and so feel free to double the mixture and make twice as much so they’ll last a while. If you are lucky… My kids could eat the lot in one day. In fact they actually did, which made me a little grumpy ’cause I like these too!!

If you try them let me know what you think. Feel free to change up the ingredients. Perhaps yours will taste even better! A lot of people tell me how they change up my recipes in my book Balance, and I love hearing what they do! It’s really cool.

Protein-Packed Choc Orange Bliss Balls

Ingredients:

2 Cups of raw nuts (I used a mix of almonds and hazelnuts, but you can also use cashews etc or whatever you have in the cupboard)

¼ cup cocoa powder

3 tablespoons of rice malt syrup (or you can use maple syrup or coconut sugar instead etc)

salt (one grind)

1-2 scoops of protein powder

3 tablespoons of coconut oil

1 orange (finely grate the outside/ squeeze the juice of the orange too)

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 cup of coconut (half into the mixture, half set aside to roll the balls in this)

Method: Place the nuts into a blender and grind them down to a fine powder. Then add all the other ingredients (except the ½ cup of coconut left over).

Blend the mixture well. Set aside and put the ½ cup of coconut into a bowl.

Place a golf ball size of mixture in your hand and roll it into a ball. Then place this into the bowl of coconut to coat the outside. Repeat…

Check out Rachel’s book Balance which features 30 nourishing recipes and 30 experts sharing science-backed wisdom on how to live healthier & happier. Click Here

5 Ways Get out of a Fitness Funk + 2 Nourishing recipes

By Rachel Grunwell

Tough times can either grind you down and spit you out. Or tough times can make you stronger, better and even more kick-ass resilient.

You get to choose.

Yep, that’s right. You are always choosing how you view the world. This lockdown period due to Covid 19 – and the postponement of the Rotorua Marathon event to September 26 – is either the hardest thing ever, or a blessing. It just depends on what way you choose to view it.

For instance, when I messaged TV and radio personality Mike Puru (who is running the event along with radio colleagues Stacey Morrison and Anika Moa) to tell him about the postponed marathon, his reply was awesome. “Ooooh, more time to train!” He replied.

Isn’t that response choice!

Happiness researcher Shawn Achor (who is one of the 30 global experts in my book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness) calls having a brighter view on life in tough times “falling up”, instead of “falling down”. He reckons we should capitalise on the “downs” to build “upward momentum”.

So, what I’m trying to say, is instead of feeling gutted that the event will instead run in September. Think of the bonus sides to this…

Look, isolation still sucks, I get it. There are things we just can’t do right now for important health and safety reasons ie like be social and run with our run buddies. But there are things we CAN do. So, focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do. Here are some ideas to get you inspired & two recipes including these yum Choc Orange Protein Packed Bliss Balls…

5 Ways to Get Out of a Fitness Funk:

  1. Take a good look at your attitude and adjust it to one of gratitude. You can still run! Just keep the Government guidelines in mind and keep your social distancing at all times. And please do it solo. You health (and the health of all Kiwis is crucial right now). With the marathon further away, it’s a bonus that you can run this event even better with more time – if you use your time well.
  2. Think about how you can build yourself up as a better runner ie are there warm up and cool down exercises and yoga stretches you can learn to keep you injury-free? Here’s a cool 1-minute yoga flow for better mobility on my insta page . Click HERE
  3. Do you have a strong core and good posture that helps to keep you upright during the long miles (rather than having that slumped over look with collapsed shoulders). Could you fine-tune your running by upping your education through wellness or run books or find a coach who can help you to get where you want to be (ps research shows that coaches help you reach your goals in a smarter way and quicker). Or do you simply want to get stronger so you have more pep in your step up those gnarly hills?
  4. View your body like a brand spanking new race car and consider how you are fuelling it. Do you fuel your body for optimum performance? Could you lose a few kilos so you are lighter and faster on your feet? Are you curious on how to eat in a way where food can aid your running better? You CAN fuel your body to perform better – and as a positive spinoff you might be able to fit your jeans a bit better, which is always a bonus. Here’s my recipe for Choc Orange Protein-Packed Bliss Balls if you are after a healthy nourishing snack. Click HERE. And here’s my Banana Chia Smoothie recipe to get you started on something yum, yet healthy.
  5. Try meditation to help you get the re-set to feel more calm and grounded. Tapping into something yin, can help you to get stronger! Here’s a 1-min meditation that’s easy peasy on my insta. Click HERE

You can work on any of these ideas NOW. You have a month with no excuses. I’d love to know how you are choosing to view this lockdown time. Tell me by connecting with me on social media. Follow me too for more wellbeing inspo, recipes and advice. I’m here on Instagram & Facebook and I love these these social communities.

Yoga can strengthen and stretch your body. Having good mobility can help you “move well”, and ultimately “run well”.

Rachel is the Rotorua Marathon ambassador. She has run this marathon four times, and the half marathon once. She’s a coach, yoga teacher, wellness magazine columnist and author of the book Balance. She’s also a Rotorua gal born and bred and she loves this race and place!

Check out the deets on the Rotorua Marathon event. Click HERE

Go Green Expo Workshop Event in Auckland!

As an award-winning writer, qualified coach and yoga instructor, Rachel helps people to manage their weight, get fit and feel happier.

About this Event

Sick of the wu-wu health stuff and wellness white-noise that’s just so darn confusing?

Get science-backed health and happiness hacks (that are proven to work) from global experts by spending an hour in this workshop with Rachel Grunwell.

Drawing from the key principals in her book, Balance, Rachel will share the wisdom she’s learned from 30 worldwide experts to help you live healthier and happier with wisdom that actually works. Tips include nutrition hacks, psychology smarts, emotional intelligence advice, fitness motivation strategies and wellbeing wisdom that will motivate you into action. 

Rachel has been on a remarkable health journey herself. She shares how she transformed her life… and what to do to transform yours.

Book your ticket by clicking HERE

Rachel’s retreat are usually almost $500. This workshop is just $55 and includes the book Balance (retails $40) and a bonus beauty product from the New Zealand made beauty brand Linden Leaves.

Ex War Vet Fundraises via the Rotorua Marathon a Tough Way – for a Heart-Connected Cause

Blog by Rachel Grunwell

Ex war vet, Tracey Dender, will be running the Rotorua Marathon in May – and doing it tougher than most. She’s running 42km in a weighted vest. So those hills around the back of Lake Rotorua are going to be haaaaard, long and slow. (I know this for a fact, as I’ve done this marathon without a weighted vest and it was haaaaaard, long and slow enough. By the way, that weighted vest weighs 6kg. Can you imagine carrying around a sack of 6kg potatoes around 42km?

Tracey is also making her run miles count with a passionate purpose. She’s raising money for a Veterans support charity, called No Duff Chartitable Trust.

Why? This 37-year-old – now Rotorua-based baker – is a veteran herself. She did 11 years in the NZ Army including a tour to East Timor and one to Afghanistan.

But here’s her big WHY behind why she is making her run miles count with a true mission:

She tells this best in her own words:

“I have struggled with depression and anxiety, during my time in the Army and since leaving the Army. I am living life as best I can nowadays but some of my friends and colleagues weren’t so lucky. Some days are still tough. “Running definitely helps with the mindset and wellbeing. No Duff was set up and is run by veterans out of necessity and gaps in the support network for veterans.

“I’m passionate because there are so many veterans suffering and who need help.

“No Duff has had its funding decreased and so this is my way of helping a bit.”

This will be marathon number 3 for Tracey.

How does she think she’ll get on?

“I think I’ll go ok with the vest. It’s going be painful, but I am stubborn and have a good training group to run with (Jogging the Powerpoles, in Rotorua).”

Meanwhile, here’s a pic of Tracey after receiving a medal on Anzac Day in East Timor. This was to acknowledge working with the UN in 2002.

So far Tracey has raised $720. Please help her to make a difference for a deserving bunch of Kiwi legends by donating on her Givealittle page HERE And share this blog with anyone you know who may like to back this amazing runner. Her mission is the definition of inspiring.

Meanwhile, you can join Tracey and thousands of others chasing their own goals at the Rotorua Marathon too. You can check out the event by clicking HERE

If you’d like to know more about the charity Tracey is supporting click HERE.

Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Rotorua Marathon ambassador and passionate multi-marathoner (25 marathons at the last count including 4X the Rotorua Marathon full course). Qualified coach. Yoga teacher. Wellness expert. Freelance journalist. Author of the book Balance, which includes 30 global experts sharing science-backed hacks on how to be healthier and happier.

7 New Lifestyle Books

By Rachel Grunwell

A version of this column ran as my weekly wellness column in Feb 2020 for Indulge magazine.

I never put my nose in other people’s business. I keep it instead in good books.

I love to expand my mind and challenge my thinking. Books transport me to different worlds. I have hundreds of books in my office. I re-read lots of them. Here are some new lifestyle books that are pretty rad. They’re all really different, but offer a great read in their niche:

So You’re Having a Teenager. An A-Z of Adolescence by Sarah MacDonald and Cathy Wilcox

Help! I will soon have two teenagers in my house. And I know how embarrassing I am already for only existing chuckle! I laughed lots through this book (so loud that I sometimes snorted). It’s a real view ie the authors tell readers that when it comes to teenagers, “your approval counts. A bit. A tiny bit.” I love ‘M’ which stands for:

Mumble, monosyllabic, moodiness, meltdowns, memes, masturbation, marks, money, mirror, mental illness. If you have a teen, get this.

Human Kindness – Renee Hollis (ED)

This features positive stories about human kindness. It’s stories from people all aged over 60-years including six Kiwis.

The Art of Rest by Claudia Hammond

Perfect life balance is a personal thing. This book is helpful for those who wish to slow down – and want ideas on how to be happier. It’s for those who can handle sitting alone with their own thoughts.

Lab Rats by Dan Lyons

This book entertains around how the working world has changed – for the worse. ie from management fads to enforced fun to unpaid internships. Dan gives advice on surviving (with your sanity).

Michael Rosen’s Book of Play

101 ideas on how to play. This is helpful for parents wanting to get their kids off computer screens. I’ve earmarked the page on how to make a garden in a bottle to do soon with the kids…

Create Your Own Midlife Crisis by Marie Phillips

This book is for those contemplating a tattoo, divorce, affair or fast car… This book had me laughing so much it hurt. You flick through to the page depending on what way your life might turn. You can glimpse into an imagined future on how things might turn out in a very real kind of way. I like this book’s fun take on a serious subject. Midlife crisis points are times to either laugh or cry. This book will help you laugh more.

Fucking Good Manners by Simon Griffin

Don’t buy this book if you hate swearing. But if you don’t mind the word that rhymes with “duck”, then you will dig this. It’s hilarious. It’s a how-to-guide on how to behave at the cinemas, while driving, to having basic manners full stop.

 Find out more about Rachel’s coaching and wellness workshops services, public speaking engagements and her book Balance: Food, Health and Happiness via inspiredhealth.co.nz  Instagram @rachelgrunwell

Hangover Cures that Actually Work…

By Rachel Grunwell

A shorter version of this column appeared in Indulge magazine. Rachel is a weekly wellness columnist for Indulge. She is a freelance health journalist for several of NZ’s top lifestyle publications. She’s the author of the book Balance, which features 30 global experts sharing science-backed wisdom on living healthier and happier. Follow Rachel on Instagram & Facebook.

So, everyone has had the hangover from hell. Come on. We’ve all experienced it at some point. Let’s be honest. Me included. We all know how easy it can be to be carried away at a social event. One friend even put me to bed after her party once as the party was ending. I was the last one dancing due to a few drinks that got me “happy”.

I had too much of a good night. I felt mortified the next morning of course over my unintended sleep over. That is, until I heard another guest slept outside their posh place under some bushes. So my night ending was (slightly) less dishevelled. The party story that won out was about the bush-sleep, rather than sleeping beauty if you get my drift. Chuckle.

As I get older, I’m less eager to return to that hangover state. Maybe it’s because I’m older and wiser (and like sleeping in my own bed..). But really I think it’s that I’ve got to a stage in my life where I’m more excited about training hard at the gym or running because I’m so goal-driven these days. And I usually have to take one of my kids to a swimming lesson or birthday party in the weekend and the suffering can be absolutely punishing then, right! So I’m a glass or two to celebrate these days kinda girl…

You know that feeling you want to try and avoid….the pounding headache, fuzzy brain, nausea, low energy, and a mouth that’s desert-like dry…

I interviewed nutritionist Catherine Saxelby about her new updated book, Nutrition for Life, which is full of lots of great info on how to fuel your body well. Her expertise is epic. She has been an authroity on diet and healthy eating for three decades. I skipped immediate to the section on how to handle hangovers. I dig her real-world approach and that she included this. Rather than trying to be virtuous – like some nutritionists kinda do. She knows in the real world people generally enjoy wine or beer and her nutrition bible helps with everything… so why not include hangover cures. I loved it. I also coach clients around how to balance some drinks in their week if they ask for advice around this…

Saxelby and I end up spending an hour on Skype. She’s so cool. And I love her lowdown on alcohol from our chat and some bits from her book… So here goes… this stuff is good!

She says hangovers are caused by dehydration and things like the substances in alcohol like congeners, such as tannins, volatile acids, methanol and histamines.

Dark-coloured drinks like red wine, brandy, and sherry can cause the worst hangovers – especially the cheaper brands. Mixing drinks can also spell bad news for a sore head (and leave you witch-like the next day – likely! Or is that just me? ha ha ha ha ha).

However, you won’t escape a hangover if you drink lots of other things too like beer, white wine, whiskey, gin, and rum too…

However Saxelby says the least effect around hangovers is caused by vodka. I bet a whole lot of you are vowing to celebrate now with that drink on the next celebratory occasion!

Meanwhile, champagne can get you intoxicated quickly as the bubbles push the alcohol into the body more quickly, the nutritionist says.

Speaking from Australia via skype Saxelby quips there’s only one sure way to avoid a hangover: “Don’t drink too much in the first place!”

But if you do over indulge, here are her top tips to avoiding a hangover – because you can’t always count on a bush-sleeping guest to outdo your party girl/Goldilocks-style-behaviour the next time…

1.   Drink non-alcoholic drinks in-between to slow down how much you drink ie water, fruit juice etc

2.   Have lots of water to counteract the dehydration.

3.   Have something like milk, or cheese, before you drink. So our mothers telling us to “line the stomach with food” wasn’t just nonsense!

4.   Foods like toast, fruit (fresh or canned), flat lemonade, weak black tea with sugar, boiled rice, and eggs, can be kinder on the stomach too.

5.   Sleep it off. You should feel better by 24 hours later.

6.   Don’t bother with the effervescent hangover remedies. “I think you just produce expensive urine,” says the author.

 Meanwhile, another nutritionist I met last year, also Australian- based and also super lovely and knowledgeable, Michele Chevalley Hedge, says “fish oils at bed are key to avoiding a hangover”.

Meanwhile, when I coach clients on how to move, eat and live healthier and happier, I’m guided by the national guidelines when it comes to alcohol. Firstly, alcohol has a lot of calories (7 calories per gram). A lot of my clients are chasing weight-loss goals. So there’s that to consider too.

Importantly, the guidelines are to limit alcohol intake to one or two standard drinks a day at the most. These guidelines warn that a daily alcohol intake in excess of four standard drinks for men and two for women could lead to serious health problems. Alcohol impacts people differently too. For example, I’m a bit of a light weight with it. So I’m really considered about what and how much I drink these days. Except for that night of the party with the unintended sleep over…. chuckle. We can all got a bit wild sometimes, right!

Also, it’s important to note that the national guidelines idea of a standard drink could be different to what you may think. For example a standard stubbie of beer contains 1.3 and 1.5 standard drinks. Watch the percentage of alcohol amount too on the beverage. Some can be quite high.

ps remember all things in life in “balance” can be okay. Just make informed choices about how you fuel your body.

Find out more about Rachel’s real-approach coaching and wellness workshops services, public speaking engagements and her book Balance: Food, Health and Happiness via inspiredhealth.co.nz  Instagram @RachelGrunwell or click here for her business Facebook

Strong Girls Are Trending – Rachel’s A-Z Guide on how to Goal-Crush in 2020

It’s time to goal-crush for 2020. Rachel Grunwell shares an A-Z guide to being a ‘Strong Girl Boss in 2020′.

Picture by Jack Neale from Indulge magazine.

It’s 2020 and strong girls are trending.

Stop standing back or holding yourself back. Step up, stand strong, be brave and work hard to get what your God damn heart dreams.

Stop living a beige life. Instead, live the s*** out of this life and get your best life. Choose to be a Girl Boss.

Crush goals in the arena you want to fight for most. Is it work, finances, relationships, life, sport or more play?

Here’s my “how to” Strong Girl Boss Guide”. Join this strong girl march and follow singer Stevie Nicks’ lyrics: “Don’t be a lady, be a legend”. Tune into researcher Brene Brown’s teachings too. She preaches: “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

A- Awareness. Have the courage and confidence to know who you are and what you want – and then chase it down. You lead your own orchestra. You can change the song any time you darn well please.

B- Boundaries. Set them and be unapologetic about not breaking them. Protect your space to be able to focus and flourish. That doesn’t mean becoming bossy though; Keep those soft, vulnerable and kind layers. 

C- Courage.Have the courage to be the real, true , authentic you. After all, it’s your quirks that set you apart from the rest. Own who you are and don’t shift your views or values for anyone. And, remember no one likes a chameleon – those species that change to fit in. 

D- Darkness. Acknowledge the darkness you’ve experienced but don’t let it pull you down into the trenches. Choose instead to fall up. Let the richness of your experiences propel you forwards with a new sense of inner strength and empathy for others.

E- Eudaimonia. I first came across this word while interviewing neuroscientist Dr Kerry Spackman. He was sharing tips on how to live your best life for my book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness. This word is Greek for happiness or welfare, human flourishing or prosperity. It’s all about striving for genuine happiness and contentment, not Hollywood-style happiness. The latter is fleeting. Us strong women are smart. We know that our own kick-ass success beats any bauble some bloke can gift. 

F- Fear less. The only thing holding you back from living your best life is you. Fear of failure is a handbrake. Instead get out of your own way honey. But remember not to be reckless.

G- Goals. You need strong, solid well thought out goals to know how to take those powerful small steps towards your dreams. Otherwise you’ll remain “stuck”.

H- Healthy high. Your health is the foundation of your wellbeing. Build a healthy, strong, resilient body – and mind – and chase those healthy highs. Raise your standards and look after your body. Fitness boosts your mood, energy levels, focus and brain power. Fitness fuels more creativity and productivity. So strong girls are smarter. Please remember that fitness ain’t about the aesthetics; It drives how you think and feel.

I- Inner voice. Recognise that mean-girl voice inside your head. This can make you doubt yourself and feel unworthy. Speak to yourself like you are your own best friend. Self-love is crucial to success.

J- Judgment. Don’t judge yourself – or others. It’s ugly. Use your energy to focus on positive thoughts, feelings and actions. Don’t waste or energy on stuff that doesn’t serve you – or others – well.

K- Kindness. It’s a boomerang. Throw it out and I promise more kindness will return.

L- Love. To love others and to feel loved is the meaning of life.

M- Mental Health. Do what makes you feel well, healthy and happy and guard that like a fierce boss bish. Looking after yourself also means you can help others more.

N- Nourish your body with real foods that grow in the ground, on trees or move (ie meat if you are not a planteater, that is). It fuels your energy levels and smart-girl thinking power.

O- Open Up your heart wide to friends and have more courageous conversations about your real feelings. Letting others in on your failures, fears, and joyful moments deepens connections. 

P- Purpose. Live life with a powerful purpose, not just for a pay-cheque. If money drives everything then you will hit a mid-life crisis – it’s just a moment of “when”.

Q-Questions. Get curious and ask questions. Knowledge sparks an understanding of fresh perspectives to evolve to a deeper level.

R- Re-set your body, mind and soul when you need to with play that sparks an inner-joy. Is it surfing, reading, running or gardening? Do what lights up your soul. It keeps you centred.

S- Stand tall, lift your sternum and behave like the goddess you are. You deserve to be seen, heard and loved. Everyone does.

T- Thief of Joy. “Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt. Never compare who you are to anyone else. You are beautifully imperfect. We all make mistakes, stuff up and fail. No one is the sum total of their Facebook highlights reel.

U- Unite with other soul sisters to help each other.Adjust another queen’s crown when it falls off. There’s stronger power in the collective.

V- Values. Know what is most important to you and live your life by these.

W- Worth. Know your worth and never settle for second best: Ever.

X- X-Factor. What is your super-power that sets you apart from the rest? Share it more with the world. We all have something special to share.

Y- Yes. Say this word more to connect more and experience more. Because isolation can fuel depression.

Z – Zip it with the B.S. The truth is the opposite to what you’re likely telling yourself. Know what are thoughts, and what are facts.

• Find out more about Rachel’s coaching and wellness workshops services, public speaking engagements and her book Balance: Food, Health and Happiness via inspiredhealth.co.nz

Instagram @rachelgrunwell

Get the lowdown on Rachel’s Mindful Moments retreats at the Polynesian Spa polynesianspa.co.nz

This feature was published in Indulge magazine. Rachel is the weekly wellness columnist for this weekly magazine.

The Number 1 De-Stress Tool I Share with Corporates

Rachel Grunwell plank yoga pose

By Rachel Grunwell

Feeling stressed, anxious, or sad? Firstly, I want to assure you that you are not alone. Life is a roller coaster – for everyone. It is full of ups and downs. We all have tough days. It’s part of being human.

I share lots of de-stress strategies in workshops with corporates. What’s my number 1 tool that I always share that’s science-proven? It’s called diaphragmatic breathing (or in simple terms, it is just plain belly breathing. This can powerfully help you to calm your nervous system in a matter of moments.

What do you do? Essentially… just sit, soften your shoulders, and take three, slow calming breaths into the belly area.

For example, you can count to four on the in-breath. Pause. Then, count to four on the out breath. Pause. Repeat this 2-3 times.

I hope this helps to re-set your body, mind and soul.  

Ps remember to reach out and talk to loved ones, friends, colleagues, anyone. Connection helps to uplift you too.

And keep believing in the power of love and kindness. Always.

For more wellness tips follow Rachel on Instagram and Facebook. Rachel is the author of Balance: Food, Health + Happiness. She’s an award-winning journalist. Wellness expert. Coach. Qualified yoga a + meditation teacher. Rachel is also a key note wellness speaker and runs wellness workshops for corporates.

Rachel Grunwell personal coaching

Rotorua: Five Experiences that are WOW

By Rachel Grunwell

You can visit Rotorua many times and always experience a fresh, fun and exciting side to this city that wows.

I visit for 48 hours and experience the geothermal earth forces. I do stand-up paddleboarding on one of the 18 lakes. Luckily, there were thrills with no spills. This fussy Auckland chick also got to savour some epic kai. I left wishing only
I had more time in this place that’s home to the world’s best mountain biking trails.

  1. Water, glowworms and wonder: Walking on water with Paddle Board Rotorua sets my heart soaring. I’m on Lake Okareka, a 15-minute drive from the city centre. Deep blue waters are below. Blue skies stretch overhead. Sunshine warms my back. I breath in fresh air. There’s a vista of green soothing hills in every direction. There are coves to duck in and out of, which light up with glowworms at night (the twilight tour is the most popular). We glimpse rare birds. This. Is. Bliss. Every parent needs to take their kids to do this. www.paddleboardrotorua.com

2. Waimangu Volcanic Valley: If, like me, you are a Game of Thrones fan then you will understand this likeness . . .

The Inferno Crater Lake at Waimangu Volcanic Valley has the same ice-blue as the eyes of the White Walkers. It’s that darn beautiful it will leave you in absolute wonder.

This is Rotorua’s premier tourist attraction for good reason.

The valley formed in 1886 when Mt Tarawera erupted. There are unique geothermal features on the self-guided eco-walks of varying lengths. This protected scenic reserve is a 20-minute drive south of Rotorua. You can also do
a boat cruise on Lake Rotomahana. This gives visitors a view of the reserve’s volcanic displays from a cool perspective. www.waimangu.co.nz

3. Jetboat Thrills: Okay, I was a bit of a wuss about doing this at first with the New Zealand River Jet Crew. I was a bit wobbly, worrying about going fast and flying on water and doing 360-degree turns. But I ended up loving this thrilling jetboating trip. It winds through the spectacular Tutukau Gorge. The canyon walls rise up to 50m. The tour guide shared history of the area (and lots of laughs) along the way. He helped us spot rare birds too. I loved the stop off at the world-renowned Orakei Korako thermal attraction. The bright yellow and pinks of the boiling mud, geysers and silica terraces are so memorable. Then there’s the option to go through The Squeeze. You wade through knee-deep warm water towards a narrow gap in the cliff face, then squeeze through crevasses top end up resting in the waist- deep thermal waters for a soak. www.riverjet.co.nz

4. Terrace Kitchen: Food resembles art here, and tastes so darn good I almost licked the plates. The chefs make fresh, seasonal, sustainable food, showcasing local ingredients at their best. You know what’s epic about this place though? The super-friendly staff.

So, here’s what I ate: My starter is a vegan warm salad (turmeric tahini emulsion, slow-roasted aubergine, truffle butter, and oyster mushrooms); my main is fish with turmeric and lemon marma- lade, asparagus, fish and herb beurre, and with buttered kamokamo and pan- roasted carrot; dessert is a berry parfait (it has coconut, biscuit, berry sago, cider coulis and edible flowers). The food, staff and this modern, friendly place lived up to my fussy Auckland-girl-expectations. terrace.kitchen

5. Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua: The city’s largest hotel is nestled on the edge of Lake Rotorua. A short walk to the city centre, it’s close to lots of attractions. They have Ma ̄ori bread at the buffet breakfast. I scoffed four pieces. I couldn’t stop, it’s that good. The coolest thing here though is the kids’ area at the entrance. It’s so inviting with colourful beanbags, a giant ‘connect four’ game and TV screens to amuse. Adults like this hang out as much as the knee-high-folkwww.sudimarotorua.co.nz

The kids area at Sudim Hotel Lake Rotorua is epic…

●  To find out about more amazing experiences in Rotorua check out rotoruanz.com

●  Rachel Grunwell was kindly hosted by Destination Rotorua

This feature was published by NZME including the Bay of Plenty Times and on the Herald on-line.

Rachel Grunwell is an award-winning journalist, columnist for Good magazine and Indulge magazines + the Herald online. She’s a wellness expert and author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness (which boasts 30 global experts on how to live healthier and happier). Find Rachel at inspiredhealth.co.nz, Instagram @rachelgrunwell, and Facebook InspiredHealthNZ