How much more comfortable is the prospect of attending a class or talk if you have at least an idea of who will be presenting it? We’ve often recognised the relevance of this, but only recently have we found a way of doing something about it. This is what has inspired us to set up our own YouTube Channel with short unscripted videos on a range of the subjects that are important or just interesting to us. For example, in preparation for a talk next month on the subject of Chronic Fatigue, we’ve posted a conversation about something that’s (perhaps somewhat inevitably) overlooked. Here, Graham talks candidly about what it’s been like for him to live with someone who has Chronic Fatigue.
The Facebook link to the event itself is here. We are keen to convey that this talk, whilst intended primarily for those experiencing Chronic Fatigue, is also open to family and friends of those who have it. The class is on Monday February 18th. By all means share the Facebook link above with anyone who might appreciate knowing about it.
And finally, if you want to take a look at the evolving YouTube Channel, you can find it here.
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? The two of us seem to have let go of this tradition, mainly because we’ve come to realise that if something’s worth changing, it’s worth changing now … whenever now is. Significant changes can be justifiably classed as resolutions, but what do we call a progression of minor tweaks, adaptations and almost imperceptible shifts? They can amount to something really special, but on an individual basis, they’d likely remain nameless.
It seems that human beings really do enjoy the ‘comfort’ of labels and categories, or at least it makes our logic-seeking minds happy. We, Graham and Annette, have noticed our own and others’ unease when the realisation dawns that a category cannot easily be applied to our way of eating. Whilst some labels come close, they’re never a perfect fit.
But there’s an upside to this: freedom. Freedom to evolve. Freedom to keep making little changes that align with where we are, what we need and what we need to let go of or reduce. In terms of our food, which is constantly evolving little by little, we find we’re currently enjoying a fusion of raw and cooked foods which is probably unsurprising given the weather. The ‘fusion’ isn’t simply a case of having raw and cooked food on the same plate, although that frequently is the case, it’s also about drawing on the ‘wholefood’ principles that are emphasised in raw cuisine so that recipes don’t include artificial colourings, flavourings, bulking agents, raising agents, fillers etc. This and other tweaks to the way we eat are keeping us engaged and excited by the meals we prepare for ourselves.
Of course, it’s all well and good to recommend that we all “align with where we are and what we need”, but how does that process even start?! The answer has something to do with becoming aware, aware of why we do the things we do, especially those that we might be better off doing differently. This factor alone provides much of the motivation for our first talk of the year. It’s The Food Story ~ Where it Went Wrong. One of our fascinations over recent years has been the big food and health challenge that seems to be so prevalent in western societies. We sincerely hope that this talk will pique curiosity, inform and inspire some changes if they are desired.
We’d be delighted to play a part in some of your new year realisations. This and our other talks are listed here, and on our calendar where we’ve also suggested dates for some of our one-to-one classes. Happy New Year!
It’s fair to say that we live and breathe the content of the above, so condensing them to just one hour is possibly our greatest challenge. Our aim is to inspire, not just through information but equally by promoting new ways of looking at some of the big issues that impact so many on a day-to-day basis.
To access information about all of the talks along with the schedule and venue information, please clickhere.
We’ll be getting going again in January with an emphasis on new talks.
There’s information here about the first four talks of the New Year
The Christmas lunch on our calendar, Sunday 16th December, marks our final publicly advertised lunch. Lunches will still be available on request, but our calendar postings will emphasise talks in 2019. Talks provide a forum for us to share with others findings and discoveries that have excited us. We love to inspire others to question some of the accepted health-related wisdom, and become curious about doing things differently.
To that end, we have four talks in the calendar to get us started. These are at a central venue in York and each of them will take place on a Monday morning. The talks are:
Monday January 21st – The Food Story– Where It Went Wrong
Monday February 4th – The Fascinating Microbiome – Gut Feeling, Gut Healing
Monday February 18th – Chronic Fatigue– The Mystery Illness Explored
Monday March 4th – Calm InSight– Diminishing the Effects of Stress, Anxiety and Panic
——All the related information and booking options can be found by clicking here.——
Where a group already exists, whether in a work-place or social or community setting, we have a range of options for providing talks if you would like us to come to you. This page outlines some of the areas we talk about. These can be adapted to correspond more closely with the group’s requirements.
Over the course of the last few days, most of us will have experienced first-hand the transition from an unseasonably mild Autumn to a much colder version, which serves to remind us of the close proximity of winter. This is typically a time when we are subjected to the doom and gloom brigade about the bugs and infections which are waiting in the wings to leap and slip through any chink in our armour and attempt to wreck our chances of a smooth journey through the course of the next few months.
It was with this in mind that we both tuned in to a recent episode of ‘Horizon’ on the BBC entitled “Vitamin Pills : Miracle or Myth?”.We were interested to see the researcher’s take on the efficacy (or not) of the supplement industry to aid in boosting our immune system in readiness for any attack. Unfortunately, the programme turned out to be rather superficial and it probably left many viewers with more questions than answers.
We have our own ideas and we share the view that we derive the best nutrition from food. Not only do the nutrients in food work synergistically, each supporting one another, but additionally, we still don’t really know the full extent of what natural foods can offer us; man-made versions of nutrients simply cannot cover the balance and diversity found in nature, and it is natural foods that we have evolved to fully utilise throughout our time on this earth.
But there are also ‘man-made’ challenges which may indeed require some of these ‘man-made’ solutions. Many of these challenges are, historically speaking, very recent and include
soil erosion through intensive farming practices meaning our plants grow in comparatively nutrient poor soil,
a bombardment of new chemicals and other invisible stressors in our homes, in the air we breathe, in our water and in our food,
the pressures and stress of life today.
In short, our bodies are subject to onslaughts which are very different from the manual labour challenges of previous eras and our food is not always fully able to meet the demands of the way we live. We do therefore believe that food supplements have their place; deficiencies are likely due to any combination of the above, but nutrient deficiencies are measured according to the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) which is the minimum required to prevent disease, such as the vitamin C deficiency disease, scurvy, meaning their role is to avert disorders rather than support optimum health. If we seek optimum health (and why wouldn’t we?) then supplementation at certain times may well be relevant, but it can never outperform real, natural food; in fact, supplements have a better chance of making a noticeable difference if there is a good dietary basis assisting their assimilation and effectiveness. For us, food comes first every time, but we wouldn’t be averse to assistance when it is needed.
With this in mind, we want to inspire anyone wishing to be inspired to enhance that ‘good dietary basis’ and hopefully get excited about learning new ideas to make it happen. We think the best way to do this is by sharing ideas over lunch and for this reason, the next class on our calendar, entitled Winter Warmers is all about suggestions for making a high raw diet possible in the colder months.
At some time or other, we all need some (or all) of the above. Inspiration to spark something new, motivation to implement it and encouragement to keep going, especially when it seems hard, or when it seems like we’re making strides but there aren’t many others going that way with us. We (Graham and Annette) certainly recognise all of this and often look to others for encouragement, inspiration and motivation from the books we read, the restaurants we visit, and the speakers we listen to, all of which keep us buoyed up, ignite new ideas and give us fresh information to consider.
Equally, we love to put ourselves on the other side of this equation whereby we set out to inspire, motivate and encourage. This is the primary purpose of all of our Talks, and we continue to add new talks to the list. It’s also why we’ve created a new series of classes, all based around lunch because inspiration to make new food is much more likely if you’ve already tried something and you know you like it. There are three Lunch Classes, each addressing questions that we’ve become aware of: how to use natural wholefoods to make things quickly / easily / in advance; how to make salads sufficently varied that eating one a day is a pleasure and never a chore; and how to make raw food appealing in the colder months. Dates for these classes are published on our calendar, but we can also take private bookings for between 1 and 4 people. Details are on the new Lunch Classes page.
And finally, if you fancy a day out in Pateley Bridge, we’ll be exhibiting at the Pateley Wellbeing Festivalon Saturday October 27th. It’s being run to coincide with the Food Festival so there should be plenty to see, sample, and talk about. Do drop by and say hello if you’re there, we’d love to see you!
Action for Happiness have created a new calendar for this month which they’re calling ‘Optimistic October’. We’d certainly like to second that sentiment!
“Life is short and precious! Wake up and appreciate the beauty in this moment! Be adventurous: dance, play, love and respect nature and the harmony of all things! Be part of the solution – one bite at a time!”
The quote above resonates so well with us and including it here gives us a chance to express our gratitude for one of those less common companies that not only blazes a trail, but maintains both ethics and passion in pursuit of their goals. The company is Inspiral who sadly have seemingly been a victim of their own success, and are about to hang up their aprons and make way for others who, quite probably have been inspired by them (although possibly don’t put quality first). We have also been inspired by Inspiral through their products such as raw crackers and desserts, as well as the exciting meals at the café they used to run at Camden Lock in London.
We draw inspiration from many different sources and either sprinkle it into our own creations, or the opposite: we take a recipe and adapt it (usually to suit the ingredients we have in our fridge!) It always feels like a privilege to inspire others and we realised that as the summer gave us so much bounty, this post would be a good spot to highlight one or two of the foods we’ve really enjoyed and continue to enjoy, and who knows, some new ideas might be triggered as a result; we certainly hope so!
We could easily wax lyrical about the abundance of beautiful fruit this year .. the berries (we’re still picking blackberries), locally grown figs and now dozens and dozens of apples, but they’ve been so spectacular just as they are that we’ve mostly just enjoyed them in all their natural glory. Having said that, berries in particular often make it into a smoothie for breakfast and are delicious when paired with frozen banana to make a ‘quick blend’ ice cream. But there have been plenty of vegetables that we’ve welcomed multiple times into our meals and some of them are not so well known as ingredients eaten raw, so here are one or two that fall into that category.
Cauliflower is becoming increasingly well-known in the plant-based and paleo world as offering a different approach to traditional rice dishes, or as mash and even pizza bases, but we’ve also found that it works well in salads, ground up fairly small with other firm vegetables such as carrot, fennel, chilli pepper and then coated in a lemon tahini dressing. This is a super quick salad and pretty flexible with respect to ingredients. Not surprisingly, a meal like this works just as well with broccoli instead of cauliflower, but they aren’t the only cruciferous vegetables that lend themselves well to this quick and easy salad; we’ve just discovered kohlrabi … how did we both manage to miss out on it for so long?? Sliced kohlrabi also teams up very nicely with sliced apple and a sour cream-type dressing (for which we use cashew nuts).
If you’re keen to have grains but don’t fancy oats for dinner, and especially if you’re wanting to avoid gluten, have you tried raw sweetcorn? It’s sweet, juicy and slightly crunchy, so perfect in a leafy salad, but equally, corn kernels, blended with coconut milk and Thai spices make a pretty spectacular soup. We usually use hot water to make our soups unless keeping cool is desirable; a chilled pea and fresh mint soup was a favourite on some of the really hot days of the summer.
It still takes us a little by surprise when we’re asked whether or not beetroot can be eaten raw; it’s our preferred way to eat it. A ruby red salad made with grated beetroot and carrot, apples, raisins, coriander and walnuts is a feast for the eyes as well as a wonderful sweet and crunchy salad. But as the weather is cooling, there’s another way to enjoy raw beetroot; as a hummus with a baked sweet potato! Sweet potatoes (unlike their more familiar relatives) can be eaten raw, and we do make soups with raw sweet potatoes, but we’ve never set out to be exclusively raw, our aim is to find ways of enjoying minimally altered natural wholefoods, and this recipe hits the mark! The hummus is both sweet and spicy owing to the beetroot and the addition of cumin and chilli, and along with a sweet potato, we have simplicity and luxury all on one plate.
If you’d like to find out a little more about raw food (or indeed, if you’re already a fan!), there’s an event which might appeal called !Raw! Eat Your Way to Health at Spark York at the end of this month. It’s a meal, provided by York Nurturing Community, preceded by a talk given by us! Details are here.
As always, we’re happy to hear from you if you want to get in touch.
What a memorable summer this has turned out to be .. because of the weather! How often do we get to say that? As well as enjoying the sun, buying fabulous produce and growing some of our own to put truly fresh fruits and vegetables on our plates, we’ve also engaged in something we really value: sharing our passion with others.
Seeing just one person become inspired to make some changes is incredibly rewarding, so perhaps not surprisingly, having the chance to reach more people at one time is an opportunity we typically grasp with enthusiasm. We’ve talked this summer to various groups about a range of our favourite topics: the three ‘M’s for managing stress better, herbs & spices, nuts & seeds, fruits & vegetables, living the sweet life without refined sugar, and the why and how of eating mainly raw food. The groups have been as small as 3 (great for interaction) to groups of 30+ and the most recent one may have reached a larger audience still .. but that depends on how many people listen to BBC Radio Humberside’s Culture Evening* programme which last week was all about food, and Annette had the good fortune to be interviewed about our food and why we do it!
We continue to extend our range of talks, and are keen to keep doing it. Please do get in touch if you know of a group that might appreciate having us as guest speakers, whether in the workplace or at a more social gathering. The Henry Talks page covers the sorts of areas we love to talk about.
*Here’s the link to the BBC Humberside programme for anyone interested in listening. It was played in two parts, the first at around 1 hour 33 minutes in and again 2 hours 40 minutes in. There are still a couple of weeks left to listen.
Resolving endometriosis through food is spectacular, but when Graham used the same way of eating and lost a significant amount of weight, the results were spectacular and highly visible! There’s more on this in the radio broadcast.
Finally, Annette is privileged to be involved in the Salus Fatigue Foundation’s endeavours to go national. The Foundation which started in the West Midlands, established for people with ME / CFS and other related chronic conditions is establishing a group here in York. Annette is the volunteer support group facilitator and it is hoped that the workshops, educational classes and special events that have been so well received in Birmingham and the West Midlands will grow from this. The first group will be on Thursday September 20th at 11.00am and will be in room 6 at the rather fabulous Explore Library at the Burnholme Centre. Please pass this on to anyone who might it find it useful. For practical information, Annette can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org Salus have a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
If you’re not old enough to remember the summer of 1976, it really doesn’t matter because the summer of 2018 is proving to be pretty spectacular, and highly reminiscent of that season over four decades ago. Whilst ‘playing out’ had all of our attention back then, this year’s summer is wowing us with its colourful magnificence and wonderful edible produce.
It’s the edible produce that we want to talk about here, and not just because it’s the foundation of the food we eat ourselves, as well as the lunches we provide for guests, but also because we’re starting to really understand the immense value of these natural foods. If you watch TV, you’re likely to have noticed that in the past couple of months both of the major channels, BBC1 and ITV have had a thing or two to say about diabetes and carbohydrates: The Big Crash Diet Experiment – BBC1, The Truth About Carbs – BBC1 and the ITV documentary The Fast Fix: Diabetes. It was encouraging to see pretty unequivocal evidence of the role of ‘modern’ foods in creating or contributing to chronic illness, primarily type 2 diabetes. Less inspiring was the limited (or almost total lack) of references to the scope and excellence of natural foods. Whilst that part is disappointing to us, it’s not a criticism levelled at those who created and contributed to these programmes, they were, in fact pushing boundaries by revealing that diabetes can be reversed, and without medication.
The lack of reverence for natural food is cultural; we’ve had decades of the promotion of pre-packaged, convenience, processed foods whilst natural, just-as-they-are fruits and vegetables have been left to wither in the public consciousness with no marketing budget to sustain them. But there are signs of a revival, plant-based foods are capturing the imagination and for a variety of reasons, all of them uplifting, but based at least in part on what we no longer want: poor health, damage to the environment and massive commoditization of animals. This approach can leave us feeling that it’s all about ‘giving up’, ‘doing without’ and a loss of pleasure. Research and knowledge has come on in leaps and bounds since we as a species were eating only whatever was naturally available to us, and we do now know that fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices are immensely beneficial to our health but in all likelihood, the ‘natural food’ story is far more exciting than the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that we are aware of.
In order to adapt to modern life with all its rapid change, perhaps we need to fall in love again with what we’ve always had; think of the ‘plain’, quiet boy or girl at school who reappears as a vibrant and self-assured adult with revelations and insights about life that have us captivated. This could be our new relationship with natural food. We almost forget that natural foods of all kinds, but especially plants, have sustained humanity since the very beginning; if they weren’t ‘that good’, we wouldn’t be here! Unlike the analogy above, it isn’t the food that’s changed, it’s us, or at least our knowledge, the knowledge (proof?) we seem to need to convince ourselves that these are appropriate foods to eat. And the sooner we recognise the arrogance of our constant evaluation of nature along with our compulsion to deconstruct and then extract whatever we deem to be a key factor, the better. Every item of natural, plant-based food operates as a symphony that our bodies know exactly how to appreciate (providing they aren’t in a state of disharmony), and it always has done.
Has science revealed everything we need to know about natural food? We can be confident that it hasn’t. So while the research continues, revealing perhaps only a fraction of what nature knows, eat those brightly coloured vegetables and luxuriate in the fabulous sun-drenched fruits that are so abundant at this time of year; they’ve kept us alive and thriving as a species, we’re still here, because they are ‘that good’.