All posts by Henry Annette & Graham

How To Stay Young?

The recent BBC series How To Stay Young was probably well named from the perspective of getting high viewing figures, but actually, the series went much further by demonstrating the extent to which physical activity, brain training, mindfulness and food, not only maintain health, but, in many cases, reverse poor health and in doing so, impact very favourably on the ageing process.

The final part included a participant with Type 2 Diabetes and, encouragingly, she became non-diabetic in the course of 12 weeks by addressing and changing her food choices. This was not particularly easy (is it ever?) not only because she had to commit to relinquishing her sweet treats, predominantly cake and biscuits, but also because she was put on a strict calorie controlled diet which often left her feeling hungry. We wondered if this part could be done differently, and there’s reason to believe it could.

The prime objective of the calorie controlled diet was to reduce her visceral fat (the fat that resides around organs in the body). It’s highly likely that a predominantly raw food diet would have the same effect; it is, in fact precisely this that enabled Graham to reach what appears to be his natural body weight of just over 11st, having been uncomfortably close to 18st eight years ago. Clearly, this would never classify as hard evidence, but it’s not an isolated experience. Simply Raw released in 2009 showed the progress, struggles and transitions of 6 people with diabetes over the course of 30 days eating raw, living foods. The results were nothing short of spectacular. (The film seems to be unavailable currently on Amazon but it may well be available elsewhere for anyone interested).

We’ve often wondered why this way of eating might lead to these desirable results rather than needing to resort to meticulous calorie counting, and we can highlight a few suggestions here. The participant on the BBC1 programme was eating foods such as pasta, and white pasta at that. We do know now that refined carbohydrates spike blood sugar levels. A raw food spaghetti dish would likely have been made of courgette spaghetti adorned with a tasty sauce. This way of eating tends not to include grains other than sprouted grains, which are generally more digestible, and they would not be cooked. Eating a good proportion of fruits and especially vegetables raw prevents many of their nutrients from being degraded by heat and while some nutrients do benefit from cooking, a 50 : 50 approach at least seems to be helpful.

The matter of the sweet ‘treats’ is trickier as there is a degree of addiction and this really needs to be broken if optimum health is to be restored. But there are raw food desserts and they can be divine! The sweetness in these desserts doesn’t come from industrialised, refined sugar, instead, much of it comes from a food source such as coconut, dates or other fruit and as such there is more fibre in the food slowing down the rate at which the sugars are absorbed. Is it possible to over-indulge in raw sweet treats? Most definitely, but there is additional help from eating this way; the high proportion of nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits make it a very nutrient dense way of eating, meaning less of it is needed to trigger the ‘satisfied’ feeling, after all, from the perspective of the body, eating is a quest for nourishment and high nutrient meals make this easy.

For those who are interested or needing to make changes, our role, as we see it, is showing how it can be exciting to eat more like this, offering inspiration and ideas, none of which involve sets of rules or any sense of absolutism (we’re not 100% raw ourselves), and above all we hope to demonstrate that it can be enjoyable, creative and sustainable, in contrast, we believe, to a regimented ‘diet’. This is the prime motivation behind our classes and lunches (please take a look at the calendar if you’re interested to see what’s coming up for the rest of 2017).

We’ve already alluded previously to one of our plans for 2018, namely The Power of Nature for Ageing Well. This will be a 3 part class series, but additionally we’re working on plans for four other new classes; please let us know your thoughts on any of these:

The Power of Nature for:

  • Menopause
  • Mental health
  • Weight management
  • A healthy vegan lifestyle

As always, do get in touch if there’s anything you would like to know, of if any of our suggestions for new classes resonate with you.

Warm Wishes

Annette & Graham Henry

New Life Skills

Medication for lifestyle issues?

The doctor who wrote this article  for the New Statesman was recently interviewed on Radio 2, making the case that type 2 diabetes shouldn’t, in most cases, be medicalised. We wholeheartedly agree. This and many other modern day maladies are made worse or even caused by the way we live, and particularly the way we eat, as we have discovered for ourselves. It’s thoroughly encouraging to see changing attitudes in the medical community, but turning the world of medicine around is likely to have the ease and speed of a juggernaut doing a three point turn in a cul-de-sac. We can’t wait for this to happen and neither do we need to. We can act on what we know, both intellectually and, perhaps intuitively to live in better alignment with what suits our natural selves.

The class series coming up this month provides a starting point, or a little more motivation to look more to natural food and get excited about it. Each class comes with samples to support the theme of the class, many of which can easily be replicated at home.

These classes are also an ideal, but not essential, starting point for the Power of Nature for Ageing Well. We are considering this a new life skill and we will be launching this series of 3 classes in 2018. Why a new life skill? Because we’re living longer, but more often than not, we aren’t living well and at present our health care system doesn’t have a response to this beyond pharmaceutical interventions, which are often inappropriate. We believe the current cohort of pre-pension aged adults are likely to be less willing to accept this and will want something more holistic than that which has been the experience for our parents. This class series will also incorporate natural food, but will extend to looking at the whole person and what each of us wants from life. We’re very excited about this series and will be including a more detailed description on our website soon. In the meantime, we do encourage anyone with a possible interest to get in touch; we’re happy to keep you updated.

~ Annette & Graham

The Power of Natural Food class dates for September are as follows:

Class 1 – Herbs & Spices Saturday 16th

Class 2 – Nuts & Seeds Saturday 23rd

Class 3 – Fruits & Vegetables Saturday 30th

Back to School ….

….But with a difference, and not just because this class involves food samples, but because it’s more about being inspired than learning facts and figures. The facts and figures have their place but without inspiration, enthusiasm and enjoyment they’re just that, facts and figures which, especially in the emotive context of eating, may even prove unhelpful.

We have no intention of telling you or anyone else what to eat, but if you’re interested, we may be able to spread some excitement your way about the fabulousness of eating more plants. The class might include the occasional fact or figure, but it’s mostly about what’s changed for us, and how it happened without us really trying, or at least not much (we’ve included a list here of the ailments and conditions we used to suffer from but which have now disappeared from our lives thanks in no small part to what we eat).

This Power of Natural Food class is an hour long introduction to give you a flavour (really!) of what we’re all about and why we’re so passionate about our food. It’s a Pay-As-You-Feel class so no need to book, but if you want to express an interest and be kept up to date with any pre-class information, this is the event on Facebook; it will also give us an idea of how many samples to make available. About the samples: they’re made with organic ingredients, they’re completely suitable for vegetarians and vegans and they’re also naturally free from gluten. Please ask if there’s any more you’d like to know.

The key facts and figures:

Date – Saturday 2nd September

Time – 10.30

Venue – Super Sustainability Centre at Derwenthorpe, York


Hope to see you!

                        Annette & Graham

Know Your Nature, and Take Your Thyme

Did you by any chance grow up with the idea that vegetables must be second rate because they were never advertised on TV? Maybe that was just us, although they do seem to occupy the culinary category of ‘unsung heroes’ across our society, so somewhere along the way, they have been successfully shielded from their deserved limelight. We, Henry & Henry, are thoroughly enjoying shining more light on them and other plant-based foods. They are spectacular!

Our most recent class (co-hosted with April Birch) had a lot to say on the sheer fabulousness of edible plants, used either directly as food or as potent essential oils. Most of us have possibly learned to see the world through the eyes of modern medicine which, at times, is superb, but it plays no role in maintaining peak wellness and cannot replicate the level of diversity found in nature. Take the simple flax seed (linseed) or better still, take a good handful. Whilst it’s providing the body with some valuable omega 3 oil, it may also be binding to any excess oestrogen and removing it.

Terrific Thyme

And on the subject of omega 3 oils, emerging evidence seems to be pointing at a new-found talent of that cute little herb thyme; it may help in delivering one of these omega 3s to brain cells, wow! Due to the powerful oils contained in this plant, there are plenty of other benefits to be enjoyed, not least the antibacterial properties that have a role to play in treating respiratory conditions. And what about the humble Brazil nut? Don’t wait for Christmas to enjoy a few of these. You probably think this is a reference to the mineral selenium, found in abundance in these nuts … well, yes, you’d be right, but selenium merits special attention anyway! While it works on immunity, particularly in inflammatory conditions, it simultaneously helps to detoxify harmful chemicals and even heavy metals before they get to cause damage to cells. Brazil nuts are so rich in this mineral that it’s possible to overdose! (Six nuts seems to be about the upper limit at any one time).

All of this is just scratching the surface, for one very good reason, or rather two: the multiple compounds available both individually and collectively in natural foods perform so many functions that we’d be here forever, and secondly that only refers to what we know about! We can probably assume you’ve heard the term ‘phytochemical’ (antioxidants belong to this group)? But had you heard of them in the 1970’s? The answer to that is quite simply, no! Either you hadn’t yet made your debut in the world, or you just didn’t hear about them, because they weren’t discovered until the 1980’s!! How much more do we not know?! The point we’re making then, is that maybe partnering with nature is a good idea … a really good idea; it’s almost as though we forget that we’re ‘nature’ too and maybe it’s because we forget all this that we get so excited when we realise that plants and their compounds do terrific work for us, even acting adaptagenically according to what we need from them, and all this is happening without us even knowing the full extent of their capabilities. What an exciting world!

If you want to share any of this excitement with us, we have more classes coming up in September (the emphasis for August is all about providing lunches for various guests who have booked with us – that’s exciting, too!) We’re repeating the Power of Natural Food Class Series at Clements Hall in York, and just before that, there will be an Introductory class again here at Derwenthorpe. The details for these can all be accessed via our Calendar and Events page.

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.