All posts by Henry Annette & Graham

The Power of Nature

April Birch

Every now and then you meet someone who makes an impression. It’s not necessarily those who make the most noise or even those whose achievements rank as outstanding in the context of measurable ‘success’ as we often understand it in an economically focussed society (although that may apply, too). The ‘impression’ referred to here by-passes such evaluation and is instead heartfelt, it’s known by the heart. ‘Impressive’, for us, is April Birch. If you’ve met us at any of the fairs and festivals in the region, there’s a good chance you’ve met April, too and if you’ve got to know her, you’ll know that she’s a pretty spectacular human being. Joining forces with someone to co-present a class is a first for us, and not something we would ordinarily have leapt at, however our reservations do not apply here, in fact the prospect of teaming up with April is thoroughly appealing!

So what is the class all about? 

The unifying theme of the class, as the title suggests, is the power of nature. Our natural world is abundant in plants that can keep us well, bring our bodies into balance when we’re off-centre and even help us to heal. We will present these ‘super powers’ through an enthusiastic presentation of natural food with some samples to engage the taste buds, too. Thousands of plants have been revered over the centuries for their health-giving and medicinal effects and when man’s ingenuity is used to harness these, rather than chemically alter them, it is possible to create something very potent; this is the power of essential oils. April will talk about what is possible with these oils from their healing properties through to culinary uses and how she incorporates them into her own life and that of her family.

This two and a half hour class starts at 10.00am on Saturday July 22nd in York and is £20 per person. If it is of interest, do get in touch as places are limited and booking has already started. There are more details available by clicking on the image below: 

Details of other classes are on the calendar and events page.

For The Love Of Food As Medicine

Have you been watching the BBC 1 series of Doctor In The House on Monday evenings? GP Rangan Chattergee spends time in the homes of those seeking his help to try and better understand the factors leading to their health issues, and he looks at multiple approaches to resolving them, mostly through lifestyle changes. Watching it has prompted us to recall the range of chronic conditions we’ve experienced in the last few decades and which we no longer have. We reckon that between us the list numbers 11 such conditions and here they are, in alphabetical order:

Acid Reflux



Blood Pressure (high)

Candida Overgrowth

Cholesterol (raised)

Depression (mild)


Hay Fever


Weight gain

Perhaps not surprisingly, we resorted to prescription and over-the-counter medicines for many of these and to surgery for one of them. None of them worked. Yes, they eased symptoms but nothing ever resolved them, so they persisted or recurred. But they have now ‘gone’ and we have very good reason to believe that it has pretty much everything to do with the way we live; specifically an emphasis on natural food and greater awareness (meditation). It is the former that is the feature of The Power of Natural Food Class Series starting on June 10th, and we’re really keen to share, not just what we’ve learnt, but maybe even more importantly our excitement and insights to inspire others to also develop a love for natural food.

Class 1 ~ Herbs & Spices  on June 10th looked at the range of chronic conditions that many people experience and which can often be at least improved by eating more natural foods. Herbs and spices have been used medicinally as well as in food for centuries and this class is a reminder of just how spectacular they are!

Class 2 ~ Nuts & Seeds on June 17th Annette talked in a little more detail about the very widespread condition endometriosis and how food reversed it for her when surgery and synthetic hormone treatments failed to do so. We also presented an overview of seed sprouting; one of the best and easiest ways of eating fresh powerhouses of nutrition direct from your own kitchen!

Class 3 ~ Fruits & Vegetables on June 24th will emphasize the knock-on results to Graham’s health that weight-gain implied until he was able to ‘eat his way’ to, not just better health, but good health and a natural weight. We will also talk in this class about the exciting and emerging area of the microbiome and the astounding and varied impacts on our health depending on the balance of bacteria in our gut, as well as how to both eat more of them, and feed what we already have! 

If you would like to join us, each class is £12.  We will bring samples so that you can try some of the ingredients we’ll be talking about, in combinations which may be new to you. Please get in touch if you’re interested; we’d love to hear from you!

The Calendar and Events page has details of this and other classes.

Natural Food – A Growing Consciousness

Have you noticed a growing consciousness around natural food? The media, social media in particular, is playing a significant role in this and likely accounts for the epicentre of activity appearing to be amongst the young and beautiful particularly in the south of England. This is not a criticism: Ella Mills is the picture of radiant health and she really does create some delicious recipes. Similarly too for the Hemsley sisters and others we could name, also young, attractive and typically living in or near London. But what does this mean for us who are older, ‘uniquely’ beautiful, and living anywhere north of the Watford Gap? Well, we have a ‘bring it on’ attitude, because we too can definitely get excited and creative with natural food!

Our three part series here in York is all about shining a light on the wonders of natural food from herbs and spices in the first class to nuts and seeds and then fruits and vegetables in classes two and three respectively. Each class will convey the exquisite natural benefits of these foods and will be supported by samples of our raw food creations to demonstrate some of the possible uses of them.

In the Herbs and Spices class, we will also devote some time to the universal impact that food has on our health. Class two will likely be particularly relevant for anyone who has removed or reduced gluten or dairy from their diet as nuts and seeds have a big role to play in making this easier to do; this has proven to be of particular relevance to Annette who will explain the role of natural food in overcoming endometriosis. The third class puts fruit and vegetables in the spotlight to demonstrate the wealth and variety afforded by these first rate foods, and Graham will explain how eating more of them led not only to considerable weight loss, but also to reductions in the associated conditions for which he had previously been on medication, namely high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Please do check the additional details via our calendar and events page if these classes sound interesting to you. Each class is £12, or £30 if you want to book all three.

The Power & The Glory!

We’re in full celebratory mood in terms of food, and we’re mad keen to share it, so we’ve got few things on the calendar which celebrate natural food, each under the heading of The Power of Natural Food.

The first is a ‘Pay As you Feel’ event on Saturday May 13th and it’s at a venue that’s about as close to home as we can be: the Super Sustainability Centre at Derwenthorpe in York. It’s a one hour introduction for absolutely anyone, but we anticipate it being of interest to those who would like to be eating more plant-based, natural food whether for health or ethical reasons, or both. We want it to be inspiring and therefore we’ll be bringing some samples with us. There are additional details here if you want to know a bit more about the samples and what we’ll be talking about.

We’re following this up with 3 classes in June, also in York but this time at Clements Hall which is closer to the centre of town. We want to go into some detail in these classes and really highlight some foods that frequently get second class treatment, but which, with some creativity, can be spectacular. The classes are as follows: (any of these links will take you to the full description).

And by the way, if you heard a certain Annette Henry contributing to the ‘clean eating’ debate on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 shortly before news of the general election took centre stage on all our national news and current affairs programmes, it was indeed our Annette Henry; delighted to have been asked.


This is no refusal, or shake of the head, it’s the abbreviation for the Natural & Organic Product Exhibition which was held at ExCel in London on the 2nd and 3rd of this month and was a big YES for us. There were so many favourites… Love Chock, Rebel Milk, Pukka Tea, Ombar, Yogi Tea, The Raw Chocolate Company to name but a few..

…and so many new and innovative start-ups. Rather than make this a long list, we wanted to present three here that attracted our attention. There’s one thing that links all of these, both the established favourites and the ‘new kids’, and that is a sense of passion and excitement for their product. Essential, surely?

To avoid favouritism, they’re coming up here in alphabetical order.

The first was sampled by Graham who loved this Dutch company’s organic, dairy-free yoghurts made from coconut milk and almond milk respectively. The coconut yoghurt is especially creamy, while the almond one is a little more fluid but not too much as the almond milk base is made with a higher-than-usual volume of almonds (and they’re proud of that fact). We’ve not yet seen any of these in the North of England, but they are stocked in Planet Organic in London. And the name? Abbot Kinneys

Annette meanwhile was stopped in her tracks at the sight of a chilled and sparkling maté drink and it seems the exhibitor was equally impressed to learn that not only have we heard of maté, we drink it first thing in the morning … pretty much every morning. This is sparkling, slightly sweetened and very refreshing Mahtay with the strap-line ‘live every drop’. What’s not to like?! This is a small London-based company who have quite literally just got started, so it may be a while before this makes it to our shops in Yorkshire. But of course, it’s available online, just click on their name highlighted above.

We’d already made our acquaintance with the third product before the exhibition… and we were already keen! This is Turmelicious, a luxurious turmeric latte in four different flavours all available dairy free. We saw the founder, Maggie Howell, pictured here with Annette, pitch to Holland & Barrett (Dragons Den style) and get the thumbs up! So this one should be appearing soon in a shop on your high street. Until then, they’re available from the online store, just click on the red link above.

Graham, ready to advise!

Our near obsession with natural and organic food meant that being at this exhibition was already a highlight made a little more special by meeting the radiantly-healthy-in-real-life Ella Mills (better known as Deliciously Ella), as well as by the unforeseen twists and turns that led to Graham being invited to accompany and advise the food buyer for a certain well-known national health and wellbeing retailer ….


And just to round this up, we’ve also been working on something new. In our case it’s a touch of re-branding, backed up by subtle but significant developments. We’ve changed 2 of our 3 Facebook page names from The Art of Calm Eating and The Art of Calm to The Power of Natural Food and The Power of Awareness respectively. We’ve already dipped a toe in the water with The Power of Natural Food; the one-off class / talk is about to turn into a 3 part series (and will also be available as stand-alone classes), with relevant, and perhaps surprising food samples each time. The classes are:

  • Herbs and Spices
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Fruits and Vegetables

The Power of Awareness is also set to be a 3 part series and will represent an exciting shift to ‘making life happen’, but creatively and without force. The classes in this series are:

  • Awareness
  • Beliefs
  • Resonance

The classes dates will be published on the calendar. The first series will be The Power of Natural Food in June at Clements Hall, York

Yours excitedly

Graham & Annette

Food Alchemy

Are you thinking of going to the York Health & Healing Festival this year? The dates are 8th & 9th April. For a change this year, we won’t be exhibiting but hope to attend as visitors, however we will have lunch before we go, and the lunch we have will be an exciting combination of natural foods, because that’s how we enjoy our food. If you would like to join us on the Sunday, we have arranged our Power of Natural Food event to coincide with the York Festival to make available natural, plant-based food which is completely suitable for anyone who is vegan or avoiding gluten or dairy. Better still, it is a means of getting excited about plant-based raw foods and how they can be turned into beautiful, vibrant dishes without using heat to transform them. If this sounds interesting, please get in touch. We have limited space so this will be on a first come first served basis.

For other events, including TWO Power of Natural Food classes coming up in May, please see our calendar.  

Love and Food

Do you have an underlying sense that eating and enjoying more natural foods has a significant relevance which goes beyond a purely functional approach to eating? Our combined experience both personally and through working with others has enabled us to see more clearly what we’re doing collectively and individually in respect of food, and how we can address it to become genuinely excited by food, and enjoy eating it.

This is our motivation for The Power of Natural Food and the Compassionate Mind which is a 90 min class to be held at Breathing Space in Harrogate next Saturday, 11th March and costs £15.

For anyone keen to experience a specially prepared lunch as part of their class, we have a 3 hour class called The Power of Natural Food here at Derwenthorpe, York on Wednesday 22nd to cater for anyone for whom weekends are unsuitable. The charge for this is £35 and booking is essential.


Meditation, Raw Food & York Press

Do you tend to think of meditation as a remedial intervention, something that may have a favourable impact on poor sleep, low mood, anxiety, chronic stress or even physical illness? It has indeed been shown to significantly benefit countless people, and that’s something to celebrate. But maybe it’s equally relevant to put the emphasis on the life-enhancing qualities of becoming more consciously aware, letting the ruminations of the head subside so as to really experience whatever the present moment is unveiling, and in doing so to have the space to be happy irrespective of circumstances, to be creative, and to explore our full potential. The latter is the among the reasons that ‘mind coaching’ of one sort or another is becoming increasingly sought after amongst sportsmen and women, to give themselves the best chance of experiencing their sporting potential. Could this be relevant to all of us? We believe it is. We would suggest, too, that genuine happiness is somewhat contagious and our world could benefit from more of it just now. We know (including from personal experience!) that learning meditation is sometimes met with reluctance for all sorts of reasons, and this is why we’ve decided to present a short class around calming the mind as both an introduction to meditation and to present techniques to use straight away. The class is at Breathing Space in Harrogate on Saturday 25th Feb and is just 90 minutes .. long enough we hope for you to determine if this is something you might want to make part of your life, but not so long to make it a challenging commitment. There’s more about it here.

And just a few words about food. We like to approach food from the perspective of enjoyment, so we are currently running short classes with a 3 course raw lunch all about the Power of Natural Food. The next one of these is on Saturday February 18th at our Derwenthorpe base in York. Do get in touch if this is something you would like to try. There’s more here.

Finally, there’s an article about us in York Press. The interview was conducted by Maxine Gordon over lunch at our house and we feel well represented by what she’s written. This is the link to the online version.

New Year, New Calm Consultations!

It seems to have been a long time coming, but we’re finally putting together all of our ‘parts’, in other words, all that we’ve learnt and implemented both formally and through direct, personal experience, the latter over many years. Alongside the launch of the Art of Calm Detoxing program starting in Harrogate at the end of this month, we are also getting something off the ground that has already been happening in a somewhat ad hoc manner. This is the Calm Consultation.

We know from the multiple queries we get that concerns about health and happiness are a part of many lives, and that conventional routes to resolving them may have proven unhelpful or may not even have been a consideration.  A Calm Consultation is about listening and discussing possible routes to wellness and increased happiness. Some of the matters raised with us are not complex and all that’s required is some direction and suggestions. It isn’t unusual, for example, for us to be asked for suggestions on removing dairy from the diet and ideas about what to use instead. We would anticipate that a Calm Consultation of 45 minutes could easily be sufficient in such a case. However, there are other matters, in which, for example, stress has likely played a role in impacting on health or happiness, meaning there is more to unravel. In cases such as these, we would recommend additional consultations so that, with the client, we can jointly work to alleviate such contributing factors. We have drawn up a list of questions on our ‘Health & Happiness Check‘ based on matters that have arisen in classes, workshops and one-to-one sessions. These may help to show the range of issues which could be addressed in a  Calm Consultation / Consultations

We wanted to make the price of the initial consultation affordable, but at the same time reflect the value that we hope to provide in setting a client on their path towards healing and happiness. This initial (and in some cases only) consultation is priced at £25 for 45 minutes. Any subsequent consultations are 90 minutes long and are priced at £50 (with the option to use the initial £25 as part payment for the first of these). There is more on the Calm Consultation page of this website, but as always, we would be very happy to answer any enquiries. Please get in touch!

If you’d like to hear Graham’s interview about the Art of Calm Detoxing with BCB Radio in Bradford, this is the program link, and the interview is 15 minutes into the hour.