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!


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: 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

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.