Natural Food – A Growing Consciousness

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

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

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

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

The Power & The Glory!

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Graham, ready to advise!

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


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

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

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

  • Awareness
  • Beliefs
  • Resonance

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

Yours excitedly

Graham & Annette

Food Alchemy

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

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

Love and Food

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

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

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


Meditation, Raw Food & York Press

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

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

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

New Year, New Calm Consultations!

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

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

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

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


The Power of Natural Food

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!

natural-foodNoticing 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.

~ Annette Henry