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.
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.
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.
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.
The above is the subject of a talk we enjoy giving because we’re increasingly seeing that ‘getting it right’ works not just for the individual, but goes much further. Right, by the way, as far as we’re concerned does not mean following a diet sheet, or any other kind of list or set of rules, instead, it’s awareness of, and love for food that really nourishes the human body. If this sounds exclusively beneficial to the individual and thus largely selfish, well the initial intention may indeed be self-serving, but the wider positive impacts are likely to play out anyway. What might it mean for the NHS if more of us ate food that truly suited our bodies? Would our environment, our natural world experience any change? We think it would, and in a variety of ways.
Some people start with the macro, spurred on by compassion, ethics and a desire for something better; the rest of us, however, are more likely to get the impetus at the micro, personal level when poor health takes hold or weight seems unmanageable. This was our experience. For Graham it was a weight issue (with some corresponding health-related consequences) which started even before he became an adult and which continued long into his adult life, despite his attempts to take on board the best offerings of the diet industry. Perhaps the very fact that this industry exists and on the scale that it does, tells us something? In my case it was a health matter in my 30s which eventually persuaded me to find another way. I had already undergone major surgery along with some unpleasant synthetic hormone treatments and I was heading for a repeat performance – endometriosis, the condition I had, is chronic. I didn’t find an immediate and direct route to food largely because, despite truly marvellous care, none of the highly trained medics I came into contact with made even the slightest of references to food having any relevance to my health and recovery from this disease. I didn’t realise then that they couldn’t have told me because they simply didn’t know. When I did overhaul my diet with the help of a superb book, I realised I was no longer feeling unwell, and in fact, I never returned to see any medical professional for this condition. Ever. I realise I was more than a little fortunate to be open to these changes (I was later to experience ‘mind blocks’ and severe resistance in respect of learning meditation!) and I continued to eat in the ‘new way’, happy with my health, but not entirely excited about my meals. It was also fortunate that Graham was sufficiently easy-going to accommodate my eating habits and make many of them his own. This paid off immensely for him. His weight started to decrease, and kept on doing so until he reached a plateau – still overweight, but no longer obese. It was the move to a high raw way of eating that really started to make sense for us; Graham lost the rest of the excess weight he was carrying and we both got very excited about our meals, and still do!
Noticing that eating natural food makes so much sense, not just to us as individuals, but also in a wider context is like realising that the bonus is every bit as good as the first prize. It may not be surprising then, that we love to share our enthusiasm for eating natural food with anyone curious enough to know more. We do this in the full knowledge that there is often much more to a health or weight issue … I know from first hand experience that anxiety and stress can cause physical illness, and this is why the Art of Calm Detoxing makes room for whatever may arise in clearing blocks and moving towards a happier and healthier life.
The Art of Calm Detoxing program is an individual tailored program over the course of 10 weeks and includes regular contact with us during that entire period. The Art of Calm Detoxing course also runs over 10 weeks, starting in January, and offers the benefit of a shared experience comprising a small group of participants in a class situation once a week for the first 3 weeks. Please note the venue for this course, starting Saturday January 28th, will be at Breathing Space in Harrogate. This ammendment to the original publication.
Please do get in touch if you have any questions. We know that embarking on a program or course like this is not a small undertaking.
Graham and I wish you a very Happy Christmas. May your New Year go from strength to strength, inner strength and happiness, that is.
Anyone familiar with us and what we do is aware that we give priority to health, happiness and wellbeing and that what we typically offer involves us spending time with those who choose us to support them as they prioritise aspects of their own wellbeing. This post for November, however, is all about a couple of tangible purchases, otherwise known as Christmas Gift Ideas and a little bit about why they’re special.
The first is the book of poems by Annette which has already proven to be a popular gift purchase. The poems are mostly a reminder to value ourselves, to ease back from worrying thoughts and live more in the here and now. We’ve noted with some interest that there’s been a spike in sales in recent months and wonder if this is in response to the somewhat challenging times we’re living in? Our one retail outlet for the book is the Earth Spirit Bookshopin Hebden Bridge; perhaps the extra sales there have been in support of them and other businesses in the town as they rebuild after the Boxing Day floods last year? We would like to think so.
We’re making the book available inclusive of postage and packing with an option to receive it gift wrapped for Christmas at no additional charge. Please click here or on the photo above if you are interested.
The second is a voucher for a 3 course lunch with us. During the last couple of years, we’ve been more than a little encouraged by the enthusiasm with which our lunches have been received. The reasons our guests have come have been as varied as they are, from health reasons, to the pure enjoyment of a way of eating that doesn’t conform to mainstream offerings. It’s also been suggested on a few occasions that we consider increasing the price of these meals to better reflect what’s on offer from the varied dishes made with organic ingredients to the potential inspiration for new ideas along with information to support the experience. We’ve slowly come to the conclusion that this does make sense, and we will increase our lunch prices in the New Year. The current price of the voucher is £25 and will be valid until the end of 2017 irrespective of any changes to our pricing.
Please see our Raw Food Lunches page to get an idea of what a lunch with us is all about, and who it might be most suitable for.
And finally, we hope these do prove to be useful gift ideas for friends and relatives at Christmas, but equally, they may suit you and we would be delighted to send you either or both of these, whether they’re for you, or to offer as a gift to someone else.
Can you guess what question we most frequently hear as winter approaches? It’s a perfectly understandable query, and relates to the perceived challenge of eating mostly raw food in the colder months; surely it’s difficult to eat only cold food? Our response has two parts, and the first is that not all of our raw meals are served cold; we frequently have a range of different soups which we blend with fairly hot water, however, it isn’t just the heat of the water (or the dehydrator in the case of certain of our other meals), but also the spices we use that make raw food more appealing in winter. We have become increasingly interested in spices both for their significant contribution to various dishes, and also for their often spectacular medicinal properties: did you know that turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory? That mustard seeds assist circulation? Fenugreek plays a role in lowering blood sugar? Chilli has a thermogenic effect and is thus relevant in weight loss? Coriander helps with digestion? And ginger is a carminative? All of these spices are in the curry powder that we use for some of our soups and also to give a twist to other dishes such as guacamole. The following recipe has been a favourite with us for a while, and there’s rarely any left when we serve it for our guests, so we thought we’d include it here so you can give it a try:
Chunky Curried Guacamole
(adapted from a recipe by Judita Wignall from her book ‘Going Raw’)
2 avocados, chopped
1 tablespoon (15ml) lime juice
1-2 teaspoons of curry powder
sprinkle of sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
dash of cayenne pepper
1-2 small or medium tomatoes, diced
40g or ¼ cup of diced red onion
2 dates, chopped
Makes 4 servings – Prep time 10 minutes
1. Place the avocados, lime juice, curry powder, salt, garlic and cayenne in a medium-size bowl and mash with a fork
2. Add the tomatoes, onion, and dates and combine gently
3. Adjust flavours if desired according to taste
To store, cover with an airtight seal and place in the fridge. The guacamole should keep in the fridge for 2 days.
We’ll be going into rather more detail on all of the above later this month at the Ilkley Complementary Medical Festival when we will have the stage for an hour on each of the days of the festival! Our talk will be about the power of natural food to heal and transform and the times are as follows:
Saturday October 29th at 2.15
Sunday October 30th at 2.45
After some superb conversations and great participation in each of the talks at the Harrogate Health & Healing Festival last weekend, we are collating some very helpful feedback in response to the Art of Calm Detoxing Program, and we are looking at ways to also make this a three-part class, including lunch, for small groups.
We will keep you informed, but in the meantime, do get in touch if there is anything you would like us to consider in the planning process. We aim to have this up and running for the New Year.
And last but not least, we are running two November courses with an emphasis on getting excited about food that the human body thrives on, alongside Calm Meditation to also contribute to living life more fully and and with greater enjoyment. Please get in touch if either of them is of interest as places are limited. Click here for Calm Saturdays, and here for Calm Tuesdays.
Do come and talk to us if you’re at the Ilkley Festival! Hope to see you there.
We know full well that the word ‘detox’ conjures up a process of restrictive eating, if at all, to cleanse the body and then carry on with life, more often than not, in the same way as before. But this is not what we mean by Calm Detoxing. The detoxing we refer to is a means of moving forward by seeking to resolve the obstacles that prevent us from living more fully. We’ve chosen to lead with The Art of Calm Detoxing for Healthy Weight Loss because of the prevalence of the issue, and because of Graham’s first-hand experience in finally managing his own weight, but this program would have worked equally well for me in progressing through endometriosis, anxiety and insomnia. I know this because I effectively applied the program to myself, but every step of this process was new to me and I was both the coach and the client. It’s little wonder then that the ‘program’ had no foundations and took several years.
What we have here is a combination of our training, our own personal learnings and our experience in all aspects of the program through working with others. An Art of Calm Detox then, may include any of the following depending on personal requirements:
Calm Meditation – Mind Calm & Body Calm and all the related insights
Mind Detox – we place a lot of value on finding and dealing with the root cause of a problem rather than simply attending to symptoms
Food inspiration – we have both benefitted significantly from making lasting changes to how we eat and we know that lasting changes are possible if the changes make a difference, if there is some knowledge to underpin the reasons why, and above all, if the new way of eating can be enjoyable; we love our food!
I will be outlining some of the above at talks on the Saturday at 10.45 and Sunday at 2.45, at the Harrogate Health & Healing Festival on September 24th & 25th, and I will coach a couple of techniques to ensure that participants have something they can take away and use.
How’s your summer going? We hope it’s proving enjoyable, and that you’ve found some time for relaxation and regeneration, commonly known as ‘holiday’, whether away or at home.
What does September signify for you, if anything? You’d be in good company if you regard the coming of September with a tinge of disappointment; it was probably reinforced in our school days that this is the month the holidays end, that the daylight hours start to recede, that nature starts to batten down the hatches for the change in season, and for some, there’s a hint of trepidation as the relative ease associated with summer is replaced with a sense of a faster-paced ‘back-to-the-grind-stone’ transition, that gives way all too quickly to attention to a certain event at the end of December!
What if it’s possible to experience all of this differently? We suggest that it can be. The enjoyment of the here and now is typically disrupted far more by the activity of our minds and their sometimes overwhelming tendencies to look to the past or ahead to what’s coming, than by actual events. And the associated cascade of thinking makes inspiration and creative ideas less likely, resulting more often than not in uninspiring routine, which in turn makes the ‘here and now’ seem dull, rather than vibrant and full of potential. We know from personal experience, and from those we’ve had the privilege to come into contact with through our workshops, that a meditation practice can make a difference, sometimes a very significant difference to the experience of life. It is for this reason that we’re running a unique program in September which we’re calling Calm Saturdays.
Calm Saturdays involves two consecutive Saturdays next month, the 10th and 17th of September during which you can learn the Calm Meditation technique along with all the insights, plus some supporting facts and figures, from Mind Calm and Body Calm. In many ways though, it may be the intervening week that proves to be transformative; learning to meditate is generally considered easy, but as we know, maintaining the momentum to keep going in ‘real life’ is the greater challenge, making the practice week in between the two Saturdays potentially the best teacher of all, especially once it is followed up by the opportunity in the second class to discuss progress, both the ‘good’ and the challenging.
If this is of interest to you, there is an event pageon our website with details of the classes including times, prices, information about the optional lunches and the special arrangements we have for anyone who has done a Mind Calm or Body Calm workshop or class with us before; it is our policy to always make our classes more accessible to those who have already completed a class with us.
As always, we are delighted to answer any questions, and hope to see you soon, if not at this event then perhaps at one of the coming fairs in the region.
With the berry season in full swing, and blackberries just starting to make an appearance, we wanted to share a recipe with you that inspired us on the recent Channel 4 ‘Hemsley & Hemsley Sisters’ series. They called it Acai Berry Bowl (the ‘c’ in acai is pronounced as an ‘s’, so pretty much ‘a sigh’… it was a while before we realised that!) and we’ve made it a few times now, never quite the same way on any occasion which is pretty encouraging because it’s been superb every time; there’s nothing like a flexible recipe! However, if you’d like this for breakfast tomorrow morning, it might be a good idea to put a small, chopped banana in the freezer now.
The recipe calls for about 2 tablespoons of acai powder but as it also involves a good handful or more of berries, including frozen, it will taste fine without it, too. These go into the blender along with a ripe avocado, a frozen banana, a date or two to add sweetness,1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil according to preference, and 200ml water. Blend until smooth and lovely and top it with …. whatever takes your fancy.
We tend to choose more fresh fruit or dried fruit, & or cacao nibs. If you can’t get hold of acai powder, we have tested this with carob powder instead and found this works very well. That’s the beauty of natural food ingredients, the possibilities are endless, and it’s fun to experiment!
While we’re on the subject of frozen bananas … more or less, there’s a non-dairy ice cream recipe on our website, 4th recipe down on the recipes page.
Staying on the subject of food, we’re often asked to demonstrate what we do, and we wondered how to do this in such a way that it would really work. The idea we’ve come up with is actually preparing meals with you in your home with the sorts of natural ingredients that you might have in and using your equipment, so that you can repeat the ideas without the need to invest in lots of new gadgets. How do you feel about having us in your kitchen?? The details of The Art of Raw Food are here.
Something else we’re often asked for is advice and food suggestions for supporting health, such as what to eat if you’ve suddenly decided / needed to eliminate dairy products. Such questions tend to be the easier ones to answer whereas others would require far more than a short, factual answer, as any useful response would need to acknowledge the full spectrum of complexity which may have led to the problem a person is seeking to resolve. We’ve decided therefore to make it possible to do just this through something we’re calling Calm Consultations.
There is a dedicated Calm Consultations page for this on our website and as always, we’d be very happy to answer any of your questions, especially as this is new.
Meditation coaching is continuing and currently includes two weekly classes for York Nurturing Community. Annette is the facilitator for both classes. The first is a class for tweens and teens (our favourite definition of a ‘tween’ is “too old for toys, too young for boys.” although this appears to highlight just one gender, which is certainly not the case!) The second class is for adults and both of the classes take place on Thursdays throughout the summer holidays. The classes have begun, but are open to new participants at any time during the holiday. These are the Facebook event links: For Tweens and Teens and for adults.
If you’ve looked at either of the Facebook events listed above, you may have seen that they are co-hosted by The Art of Conscious Living which is our new Facebook name. If you’re on Facebook and you’d like to join us, we’d love to see you there! Please like our page, The Art of Conscious Living @derwenthorpewellgood.