Monday, 30 May 2016

the Reassuringly Accidental Way..

….to living on purpose

It was in October 2014 that Graham and I pretty much stumbled upon the Raw Food Scene in all its glory. We had already been charmed by the possibilities of raw food thanks to a raw retreat in Wales only a year previously. Prior to that, I had incorporated ‘something raw’ into most of my meals in line with, frankly excellent, nutritional advice. However, being purely utilitarian, this experience had been neither charming nor rich with possibilities. Our new way of eating, triggered in no small measure by the Raw Chi retreat in Wales, was effecting changes, not just to our day to day lives, but also to our work. A full day meditation workshop, especially one which may well be attended by a disproportionate number of participants who experience insomnia, proved for some to be particularly challenging after a high carb lunch, so we increasingly offered lunches alongside the workshops that might lessen the soporific effects experienced with meditation plus fatigue-inducing foods. Raw Food Lunches, or Art of Calm Lunches as we also call them became part of the offering wherever possible. 

It was almost by accident that we realised our lunches were wonderfully accessible; we never planned for them to be vegan, they just were, so there was no need to cut out meat or dairy for anyone who needed or wanted to avoid either of these. An unintended consequence of this is that I seem to have waved goodbye to eating meat; I don’t know if it’s two, three or even four years since I last ate any (I’d avoided dairy for much longer for personal health reasons), and now I’m hearing the reasons for meat avoidance put forward by compassionate non-meat eaters; it’s so much easier to hear something when you no longer need to drown it out with the noise of your own resistant thinking! As if that weren’t enough, it had almost completely passed us by that there was no gluten in our food; ‘raw’ is a way of eating that simply isn’t based on grains; they may on occasion be included, but then they’re typically sprouted, making them more digestible (although not necessarily free of gluten!) Our lunches, therefore, are naturally available to more people and are hopefully a source of ideas and inspiration for doing things differently, perhaps more ethically, and certainly more health-promoting than many conventional offerings.

I started this post with a reference to an event in October 2014. We had been given the opportunity to assist Raw Food Chef Dani Mitchell in being the sole caterer for the nearly 500 guests at David Wolfe’s Longevity Masterclass in London. I tossed and turned in my hotel bed the night before, not having fully recuperated from the labyrinthitis, a literal collapse, that appeared to be my body’s response to my Dad’s death earlier that same month. I knew it would be a long day, but I never anticipated that I would work tirelessly for 11 hours non-stop, and absolutely love it! I was mostly in the kitchen, but Graham got the full force of the extraordinary energy of the day by somehow getting to be the stall holder and thus coming into contact with nearly everyone. This was our insight into a ‘scene’ that we hadn’t been fully aware of until then: mostly young (20’s and 30’s), predominantly based in the South East of England, and quite simply b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l people. This wasn’t a fashion parade, and there was little evidence of make-up; these people radiated beauty through vibrant health. But what did this mean for a couple of fifty somethings, based in Northern England?

Graham & Me
Sometimes it isn’t immediately apparent that not fitting into a scene may well be a gift, a means to uniquely express and fulfill a passion or purpose. It’s taken us a couple of years to recognise that our minority status, with no established platform, is also an ideal basis for generating something new. The majority of the people we come into contact with live in Northern England and fit into an age group higher, sometimes much higher, than that alluded to above. Thus far we’ve successfully demonstrated numerous health and weight-related benefits of eating more raw food, but this passion is extended and enhanced through the creation of beautiful dishes that can also be enjoyed in their own right. This is increasingly the experience we’re sharing: there needn’t be a divide: healthy food can be sensational, and really good food is surely that which continues to be enjoyed through vibrant health after it’s been digested and assimilated? Meanwhile, living ‘on purpose’ may well ensue from a series of accidents, or in other words, going with the flow.

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