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When Sleep is Elusive

Whilst it’s good form to start a piece of writing with an appropriate introduction, I’m keen to get in quickly with an assurance that this piece will not contain veiled criticism of the nation’s poor ‘sleep hygiene’; we mostly know about the downsides of blue light from our devices late at night .. and for that matter, being up late at night when going to bed would work better. We even know about the effects of caffeine and alcohol, and we likely have an idea about the ideal temperature of a bedroom. Whether or not we take all of this on board, sleep, sometimes continues to elude us and it’s affecting huge numbers of us, so what might be behind it?

It’s our assertion that the epidemic of impoverished sleep has much to do with modern life; that multiple aspects of the way we live (some of them completely out of our control) impact our homeostasis, or in other words, take us out of our natural balance and for some of us, one of the most noticeable casualties is our ability to sleep. If sleep challenges are indicative of an imbalance, then I too must confess to being ‘unbalanced’, and my sleep story over the last couple of decades resembles a roller coaster with some very pronounced dips.

I’ve ‘resolved’ insomnia before, only to discover that when it recurred more recently, the previous solution wasn’t what was needed now, at least not for falling back to sleep. Sleep deprivation makes optimism and ambition more than a little challenging and yet I have flashes of both as I work at uncovering the root cause(s) of my sleep problem. I cannot deny that I’m extremely fortunate not to be doing this alone; Graham is interested and tireless in his efforts to help and there are signs of progress. It seems I may ultimately be grateful that this experience has highlighted something I needed to address.

The Power of Nature for Sleeping Better Class then, is less about the well-known remedies (although they will get a mention), and more about the areas to look to do the detective work for bringing the body back into balance and maybe even turning the trial of insomnia into a ‘gift’, at least with the benefit of hindsight.

  • Graham and I will provide information about food and supplements, including relevant research linked to sleep. Graham is both qualified and well-versed in answering questions about food and supplements for sleep-related matters.
  • We will also highlight the relevance of stress-reduction for improving sleep, or coping better with not sleeping; my experience of teaching meditation plus the direct experience of applying it to my own circumstances may prove to be relevant to others.
  • Essential oils have multiple benefits in respect of sleep whether to induce a relaxed state to make sleep more likely, to lend support in re-balancing the body, or as a means to replace the more toxic substances that impact us on a daily basis with something that works much better with our physiology. We are very pleased to be handing over to April Birch for this part of the class. Her commitment to essential oils comes not just from working with them, but most importantly from using them for herself and with those she loves.

The class details are here. Please do get in touch if this of interest to you. 

~ Annette Henry

Life isn’t always a bed of roses, but it may still prove to be spectacular!

What We Bring To The Table

For a whole variety of reasons recently, we’ve had cause to put the spotlight on what we value and why. It never seems good enough to simply reduce or eliminate something that we know to be detrimental to us, in fact the prospect is dismal and uninspiring. Human beings need the reward of progress, achievement and perhaps above all, the creativity to pull it all together. It’s this part that fires us up and which we love to share with others, so that they too can be fired up about looking at new and creative ways to be well or contribute to a more naturally balanced world.

We almost certainly know by now that sugar, especially refined sugar, is one of those things that should ideally be reduced if not avoided altogether. The latter in particular, however, is especially challenging and for most of us unnecessary as long as we find ways of making sweet foods differently, better, in fact! This is the basis for this Pay As You Feel class in which we will talk about solutions to avoiding the white stuff in favour of more natural and even nutritious ingredients. It is worth noting too, that in the process of creating better desserts and sweet things, we also quite naturally make them free from dairy and gluten. Click here for more information about the class on Saturday 14th April.

Creativity in the context of resolving sleep difficulties may seem less obvious than creative approaches to dessert-making, but for Annette in particular, this has become a necessity which has ultimately had some significant rewards. We’re delighted to be hosting this new class on May 12th alongside April Birch. She will demonstrate the power and significance of essential oils in respect of supporting both day and night-time balance for achieving better sleep. We will also take this approach, in our case by looking at food and mind-related approaches not just for getting better sleep, but also for those times when sleep doesn’t happen, no matter what. There are more details including how to book by clicking here.

Very recently we’ve got rather ‘wrapped up’ in the whole issue of packaging, waste, plastic and other single-use materials. As a birthday was approaching, the prospect of wrapping paper, some of which is unrecyclable due to plastic coating and other materials, seemed decidedly unappealing. So we set about looking at ways to do this differently and decided the Japanese way of wrapping might well be the ideal model for doing something more beautiful. The only potential challenge appeared to be that neither Annette nor Graham are adept with a sewing machine … and we did say beautiful! The answer for us came from Annette’s sister Jane who is both ‘can do’ and talented such that she now has a bit of a production line which we are proud to be making available for others like us who don’t have an affinity with needles and thread, but do like the prospect of enhancing a gift with something attractive, more tactile and reusable (at least for the recipient). Does wrapping like this appeal to you? Would you consider answering the super short poll in this link?

Finally, we wanted to draw attention to our Power of Plant-based Food classes. We ran a number of these last year under the heading The Power of Natural Food and noticed that sometimes they were well suited to individuals with specific requirements and who preferred the intimacy of a private class rather than a group setting. In most such cases participants have known what needs to be addressed, but are not always clear on ways to do so. These classes for one allow us to attend specifically to the individual and their wishes through both information and inspiration about food and the opportunity to enhance this by having lunch with us. We bring something different ‘to the table’; we aren’t medical practitioners or nutritionists and we can’t heal you, but we believe that you can heal yourself with a helping hand and exciting ideas based on our own experiences and extensive knowledge acquired over a number of years. The link here is for a class in our calendar. The format is similar for a tailored option.

Do please get in touch in any way that suits you if you want clarification on anything. We would love to hear from you!

Creative & Reusable

The combination of an impending birthday, and the not-so-suprising news that a lot of wrapping paper cannot be recycled made me stop and think. Plastic coatings, shiny foil, glitter and of course sellotape all contribute to the unsuitability of wrapping paper for recycling once the present is unwrapped and then, as it can rarely serve any other useful purpose, it’s destined for landfill. When David Attenborough demonstrated that our blue planet is now a speckled one, and that the speckled bits are plastic which is harming our marine life and working its way into our food chain, lots of us took notice, and the uplifting news is that this hasn’t simply become a hand-wringing response; people are taking action!

Graham and I are keen to phase out wrapping paper from our lives, and we know just the person who can help us, my sister, Jane. Within two days of mentioning the idea, a prototype landed on our door mat. This is material wrapping, two-sided cloth which can be used in all sorts of creative ways, not just to wrap gifts, but for other things too. The Japanese already do it and are seemingly very adept with a single square of decorative cloth. In Japan it’s known as Furoshiki (with the emphasis on the ‘o’ in the middle, in case you want to drop it into conversation!) We’d like to make it more widely available either by inspiring people to make their own, or for those like me with an allergy to sewing machines, to be able to buy, knowing that anything wrapped this way is an enhanced gift which also makes a statement.

Do let us know what you think. The poll is the very short kind …yes, no, maybe, and you’ll find it by clicking on the ‘Contact Us’ button below this photo. Thank you!

~ Annette Henry

Living The Sweet Life

With sugar having such prominence in modern life, we’ve put together a class that looks at how it happened and why it’s so pervasive and challenging to us. Much of this is already known; the tricky part is figuring out ways to take more control of it and examining other options, especially if we do still want some sweetness in our lives (and most of us do!)

There are details in the poster below. Click on the image for more information, or you can access it via the Facebook Event

Don’t Panic!

For those of us who like to keep an eye on seasonal, locally grown produce where possible, early March can be a little demanding when you live in the North of England; in other words, there isn’t much! And it gets a little bit more ‘interesting’ still when a blast of cold air comes in from Siberia and paints the landscape white, such that getting to any shops takes a little more planning and once you’re there, will the shelves be as well stocked as we’ve come to expect? Not only might the transport of goods be delayed, but there’s the knock-on effect of panic buying; we’re no longer used to not having the option to buy food 24/7 and we don’t much like it.

At the risk of sounding a little smug, we were very well prepared for the reminder from nature that it can slow us down and change our plans. But this actually wasn’t a case of foresight and planning, it was more a case of it happening to be the way we do things and then realising afterwards that it had served us well.

Red Cabbage Sauerkraut, Carrot, Coriander & Poppy Seed, and Crunchy Salad with Arame

Part of our food evolution has given us a heightened interest in fermenting food and drinks, meaning that there’s pretty much always some kimchi or sauerkraut on the go these days which is essentially value-added cabbage as a minimum (there’s rather more in kimchi). And it isn’t just the nutritional and probiotic highlights, this stuff can be really tasty. If you haven’t ever tried sauerkraut with cumin seeds, it really is worth giving it a go, especially when fresh produce may be a little harder to come by, or just in short supply in the fridge! 

 

Sprouting chickpeas, lentils & sunflower seeds

For a longer time now, we’ve been growing seed and bean sprouts, so that’s fresh food grown in our kitchen. They’re a real bonus on those days when you go to the fridge and realise that you’re going to have to be really creative with its minimal contents. Bean and seed sprouts extend the options, and sometimes even form the basis of something quite special; we’ve finally discovered a thoroughly enjoyable hummus made with sprouted chickpeas, and on a cold day, we have lashings of it with a baked sweet potato …we never said we were 100% raw. Sprouts are incredibly nutritious and it takes so little effort to grow them. If you like the idea but would appreciate a bit more motivation, maybe broccoli seeds would be a good place to start; they have wow factor!  

Both of the above are easy to do .. certainly easier than we used to think they were, but there’s something that’s easier still and so worth having in the store cupboard and that’s seaweed; nori, wakame, arame etc. It may take a little while to accommodate the taste (if you don’t like it already), but it’s rarely eaten in splendid isolation, so it needn’t be the focus of a meal. Seaweed can seem a bit pricey, but there’s often more than meets the eye; some varieties have to be rehydrated but this means that within minutes, you have green, brown, or red sea vegetables which really do have such a lot to offer!

Nori Rolls, Cashew Mayo, and Seed Sprouts

Seaweed is a very mineral rich food, typically containing minerals such as iodine, zinc, calcium, magnesium and when it claims to offer magnesium, it probably really does; soil depletion appears to have turned many of our other high magnesium foods into moderate or low magnesium foods, and deficiency is now extensive, estimated to be around 70% of the population at least. If you think you could be among that high percentage, along with us, then this YouTube video (30 mins) provides a clear and helpful starting point for understanding more.

Wishing you good health and exciting, creative food!

Get in touch if you want to know more.

~ Annette & Graham Henry 

York in the big freeze … not too beastly!

Taking Charge

At the risk of being controversial so early in the year, might we ask you to consider how you feel about the capacity of modern medicine to support you in maintaining or returning to good health, really good health? How do you perceive ageing and health? For us, the almost reflex response to pull out the prescription pad and address symptoms, rather more often than the root of a problem is disheartening and at times wholly inappropriate. Ageing is definitely a part of life that would potentially feel different if medicalising those over a certain age was not becoming standard practice under the apparent assumption that we need drugs, sometimes purely as a preventative measure, in order to be ok.

Fortunately this practice is starting to be viewed a little more questioningly, especially as we realise that many of our ills relate to aspects of modern life. If the way we’re living is impacting on our health, then bringing ourselves back into balance is likely to be much more rewarding and far-reaching than attacking symptoms with synthetic chemicals. Our bodies are amazing and complex and are constantly working to keep us and our systems in balance, so assisting them in this process through the lifestyle we lead, what we eat, how effectively we manage stress and even through recognition of our beliefs and perceptions can be genuinely life-enhancing at any stage of life. 

All of the latter forms the basis for how we live our lives and what we share with others, no more so than in the Class Series The Power of Nature for Ageing Well. The classes are recruiting well and at the time of writing, all three classes still have spaces available, especially class 1. If you would like to be involved in any or all of the classes, do get in touch; we’re happy to answer any questions. Information about the classes including dates, times and the venue in York are accessible via this page on our website.

Annette & Graham Henry

Plant-based 2018?

Is it just us or is there really a heightened interest in plants as food? News reports and interest in the food we create would suggest that this move is really gaining momentum and with good reason. There are three really big reasons for prioritising plant-based food and whichever of them leads the way, the news is inevitably good for the other two. Our interest grew initially from a need to take better care of our own health, others we know have taken steps to eat in such a way that reduces or eliminates harm to other living beings, and the third reason is becoming ever more urgent; our environment cannot sustain the way we’re currently eating such that changing appears to be our only option.  So whether we’re saving ourselves, saving animals or saving the planet doesn’t really matter because by significantly prioritising real, natural, vibrant, and colourful plant-based food, we’ll be doing all three anyway. Do you care to join us for more of this in 2018?

We’re on Facebook as Henry & Henry where we post articles, photos and dates for forthcoming classes, or The Power of Natural Food where the emphasis is firmly on food.

We’re also on Twitter and for more on food, there’s Annette’s Instagram page.

Happy New Year!

Thank you for your company.

~ Annette & Graham

Happy Christmas!

This is a brief message from us to wish you a very Happy Christmas, and may the unfolding days of December each be special and enjoyable in their own right, with an underlying tranquility to offset the madness that so often comes to the fore in this season. There’ll be more  from us in 2018, but for now thank you for interacting with us whether in person at classes and lunches, by responding to our emails (let us know if you would like to be added to our mailing list), or by engaging with us on social media. We really appreciate it!

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Classes starting in 2018 are The Power of Nature for Menopause and The Power of Nature for Ageing Well. The red links take you to our website, or you can be kept up-to-date on the Facebook events pages:

The Power of Nature for MenopauseFacebook Event

The Power of Nature for Ageing WellFacebook Event

The Power of Nature for Ageing Well

This class series has been building for some considerable time now, as we recognise the relevance of having the understanding and skill set that may give us a better chance of good health and a happier take on life irrespective of age. It sometimes seems as though we’ve been a victim of our own success; we certainly are living longer, but we’ve a long way to go before it becomes the norm for those extra years to be vibrant and healthy rather than inevitably medicalised because we see no other options.

The class series then takes into account not just the practical aspects of health, in particular the food we eat, but also encourages a reassessment of ageing and personal value as we do so. The following is a summary of what to expect in each of the three two hour classes which will be interactive for those who are happy to share some of their own accounts, and each class will also include relevant food samples:

Class One: Awareness and Thought for Food (completed)

In this class we demonstrated the immense value to health and wellbeing of becoming more consciously aware and how to go about training it. We also shone a light on natural food, not just why it makes sense for us to eat more natural foods, but also what is meant by ‘natural’ in the context of food and eating.

Class Two: Beliefs and the Health of the Mind – February 24th

Our beliefs are our filters for how we see the world, so becoming gently and curiously aware of them can be a revelation, but more importantly, doing so can make change possible. We hope to make this part of the class a mostly light-hearted look at some of the beliefs that influence our behaviours and preferences, as well as looking at the incredible power of belief as shown in certain medical contexts. In considering the health of the mind, we will be looking primarily to our guts and why the resident bacteria and fungi there can have such an enormous impact on our overall health, especially our mental health. We will look at how to maintain or restore gut flora balance, and we will include suggestions and samples of foods that support mental wellbeing.

Class Three: Creativity and Living the Sweet Life – March 3rd

Being as healthy as possible is always high on our agenda, but unless it is accompanied by a sense of purpose and enthusiasm for life, its capacity for supporting a healthy and long life is limited. This class then looks at the unique creativity that exists in all of us and how we can better see what that is and how to let it guide us to flourish at any age. For this class we will bring in some very physical creations, primarily sweet samples to demonstrate how one of our greatest pleasures, sweet foods, can be enjoyed without needing refined industrialised sugar. Ever. And how when these foods are made with whole foods instead of white flour, they are typically more satisfying, making over-indulgence less likely.


Who are these classes intended for?

The classes are for anyone for whom the descriptions above sound relevant. Despite the title of the series, we have no fixed age in mind. All of this has already proven completely relevant to us and we are in our mid 50s, so we would not be surprised to find that the content of these classes proves to be appropriate for anyone our age or as much as 20 years either side of us.

Can the classes be attended individually?

Yes, each class can be a stand-alone class, but we have designed the course in such a way that one class forms a good (but not mandatory) basis for the next one(s).

When will the classes start? And where will they take place?

The venue for all three classes is Clements Hall in York. The dates are as follows:

Class 1 — 17th Feb
Class 2 — 24th Feb
Class 3 — 3rd March
Each class will start at 10.00am and finish at midday.


What does it cost?

Each two hour class is £20 Pre-payment (£20) for individual classes will guarantee your place on your chosen class. 

Payment options are listed here:

For direct bank transfers our details are as follows:

Acc name: Derwenthorpe Wellgood

Number: 25298651

Sort Code: 05-09-94

Payments by cheque can be made payable to Derwenthorpe Wellgood, and sent to our address which will be provided on request.

If you are booking with us, we will want to have contact with you to ensure that you have as much information as you need, and so that we can confirm that any booking payment made by you has been received. You can contact either of us by whichever means suits you best, or you can send an email to: payments@derwenthorpewellgood.com If you are paying via the PayPal button below, we will confirm receipt of your payment using your PayPal contact details, but please do let us know you have submitted a payment, especially if you prefer to use an address which is different from the one supplied via PayPal.


Single Class / Full Series



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