This morning I sought out some good old-fashioned inspiration by investing a good half an hour or so wandering around the store Planet Organic in the village-style suburb of Muswell Hill in North London. It is an especially good place for health-conscious people, vegans, vegetarians and anyone seeking to eat organic and natural foods.
The PALEO Way – meat, fish, nuts, leafy greens, vegetables, and seeds – runs through my mind as I peruse the vast selection on shelves and in the refrigerated aisles. The longevity research I have gathered of late and the vivid and vibrant portraits of centenarians living in Sardinia, Italy appear more real when I view the varied range of goats and sheep’s cheeses; for overall, all the centenarians I read about in a recent research study advocate sheep and goat milk and cheese in their minimum and specific list of optimum foods. I read the labels on some of the bio-yoghurts made with coconut and almond milk and then consider the Chai pods in flavours of vanilla and cacao. Such an array of choices call to me and draw me closer especially when I pass the cafe and observe a display of sweet-potato brownies and I wonder how I can make these at home.
It feels like Santa Monica in Los Angeles in Planet Organic in London. I feel sunny with optimism as I make-up alternative homely recipes as I go. On the West Coast of America requesting almond, coconut, soy or rice milk has been the norm for years; almond milk has been a daily staple in my fridge for seven years thanks to Waitrose and Sainsburys in London. It is not always available in cafes and restaurants in London.
In Downtown LA, one street over from the park that looks onto the ocean, Tender Greens at 201 Arizona Avenue (at 2nd Street) has been serving farm-to-table, vegan, vegetarian and protein meals with vegetables and salad options since 2006; and delicious desserts. At this welcoming eatery, that is furnished in natural wood, you can also sit outside any evening at any time of the year under lanterns hanging in the trees and feel the sweet warm air while you eat your greens and feel your body sigh with relief and then sing with joy. When you eat at Tender Greens you join a global community sharing similar food and healthy eating ethics and that feels good.
What the mind wants the stomach does not necessarily need – anymore. That is definitely the case in Western society. Everywhere you go in London you are bombarded by print media, as well as audio and visual messages, shop window displays and crowded counters and reams of menus prompting you with fare that invariably includes sugar, white goods such as white flour, white rice, white potatoes and white contents invisible to the eye such as salt, yeast and vinegar and that most deadly (for me) product white milk from a cow (and all its many derivatives) that my body can manage no longer.
But the issue of growing up in the West is the North of You, the mind has been inadvertently convinced or blatantly brainwashed into choices that soon become habits or desires or addictions (whatever words seem befitting to you) through the early feeding of incorrect unhealthy foods, mass media advertising for commercial gain and overt or covert temptation nearly every step of the way from childhood to adulthood, all of which could take a lifetime to eradicate or persuade the mind to relinquish so the South of You, your soul and your stomach has the best chance of being cleansed and fed the right food to power and empower all of you, the heart, the soul and the mind and the body. Phew, sorry about that long rant, but that is about the truth of it.
Thankfully the market has changed and people’s needs have changed. An individual seeking a more authentic way of eating that will support their need for longevity with their minds intact and their bodies functioning at their optimum, is now spoilt for choice. The global market is now deluged with new choices, new options, and new means to acquire new ways of being we never imagined. Demand creates change. Not only is the face and the body and the mind and the consumer purchase power of the Modern day consumer changing, the market is now leading the way drawing on both past wisdom and future innovation.
It is impossible here to talk about every good and wonderful change and option available to men, women, and children. I mention only a few examples to support my assertions and to celebrate what is on offer in the 21st century.
Pret A Manager (known as Pret) opened their first vegetarian-only shop called Veggie Pret in Soho, London in June 2016. The regular shops, (which currently total around 350 worldwide), in the U.K. offer daily, freshly-made natural, organic food. Istu, Pret’s sister company offers freshly made Asian-inspired food; mostly a lot of raw fish and a lot of greens and some delicious vegan, vegetarian (as well as meaty soups.) Istu says their food is ‘high in nutrients and low in calories’. This is an increasingly popular universal combination of benefits for all ages and cultures globally today.
While we are finally waking up in the West they have been fully awake in the East for generations. It was a great surprise and a delight – and also a privilege – during a walk I took on a beach in Beruwala, Sri Lanka as the sun was rising to meet a local native resident who has never eaten sugar or dairy from a cow or drunk alcohol or taken western medicine like antibiotics; a husband and great-grandfather who works all day but first casts his nets into the ocean from where he has taken fish all his life which he has eaten daily with fresh produce from the family garden. A local resident who walks daily by the ocean and has the appearance of a thirty-year-old when he is in fact seventy. Why it is taking so long for what works in the East to work wonders in the West, for the Western mind to listen, accept and embrace Ancient Wisdom and Modern Wisdom that is natural, tried-and-tested and preventative. Why are we still so behind in the UK?
Things are slowly changing for the good here in London particularly. I enjoyed an informative and inspiring feature in the new September 2017 ASDA Good Living Magazine called ‘The 7-Day Vegan Challenge’ even though it was not tagged on the front cover. This was a shame. The article is written in a chatty style with a dialogue from Chef Andrew who shares his experience at eating vegan for the first time for one week; he invents some very tasty-looking recipes. The photographs are most appealing, at least. I will try my hand at the Carrot Houmous, the Green Shakshuka (with spring onions, spinach, an egg and feta cheese with no peas), the Sweet Potato, Chickpea & Cauliflower Curry and the Sweetcorn, Courgette & Feta Fritters. ASDA at Colindale in North London is an American-style store with an extensive fruit and vegetable market; that is well-presented and well-stocked. Nearby, a less than three-minute walk are two new food courts; one Eastern and one Japanese. You see, the East is finally coming here to the West in supermarket format. Of course, there is no end of Eastern and Asian and very tasty vegetarian eateries to choose from all over London.
The Jellied Eel, London’s Magazine for Ethical Eating this September posts the forthcoming Urban Food Fortnight Guide 8 – 24 September 2017: events, activities and farmers markets taking place in London but mostly in the centre of London, or the East, or the South of London and over the river. Sadly, there are few events to mention in North London except for the Islington Farmer’s Market in Cheese Street N1 between 10 am – 3 pm on 24th September 2017 and 1st October 2017 and the Urban Harvest at the Regents Park Allotments where visitors are invited to take part in sharing the bounty. That is no far from where I live. If I wanted to go to anything else listed I would have to travel more than an hour or so to such places as Hackney, Walthamstow, Wimbledon, Fulham, Richmond, Brixton and beyond into the heart of the country to local farms and independent shops that sell orangic produce.
What is going on outside of London in the rest of England, or in Scotland, or Ireland or in Wales in this regard I am not sure at this precise moment. Ironically, I am well- informed with what is going on overseas. I can tell you what I discovered and experienced on my travels and adventures with regard to what healthful people ate, how they eat, what they looked like, how they conducted themselves, what their daily habits were and how happy they seemed; this is in such places as Thailand, India and Sri Lanka and other locations in the universe including America, Canada and on the Continent. Overall, my opinion is the world I have seen so far is a beautiful place and there is much to learn from local cultures. So much so I feel I can say, I am convinced there must be a multitude like those I met and talked to – both locals and travellers like myself from all parts of the world – visiting or living in the East and Asia and on the West and East coast of the USA, who are electing to live a clean and lean life or would like to sample such a way of life to feel and own the benefits for themselves.
When you walk through the Farmer’s Market on Arizona Avenue between 4th & Ocean in Santa Monica, LA, and chat with the farmers and the customers it is clear healthy natural living is part of their every day lives and it can be like that for anyone that desires it for themselves.
I met farmers who started with the market thirty-years-ago and their farms and the demands of the consumer have never been stronger than today. Americans seem to be ahead of the English by twenty years in many spheres of living but us Londoners are definitely catching up – I see it all around me when I am around town or locally near where I live. I am grateful for this change for my children’s sake as well as my own, and for future generations. It can only get better in this regard. Whereby perhaps it will be the norm for my grandchild one day in the future to have never eaten sugar or to simply say ‘no’ to unhealthy food without any stigma or embarrassment or pressure to conform to be part of a familial or social group, I know today all people of all ages still face challenges in this respect.
Personally, I like when my own children choose good healthy options over the other kind of choices when we shop together. The Kosher Kingdom supermarket in Golders Green, a haven for quality kosher food has a gluten-free and a sugar-free section like most kosher stores in the area such as Hadar in Edgware and Mendy’s around the corner or the B-Kosher stores in various North London locations. While these smaller concerns do not offer such an expansive selection like the Harrods of kosher shopping in Golders Green, the fact they offer natural health products is a sign of progress and a change in consumer habits and needs.
How the Shabbos table around the world – and the dining room and kitchen tables in general in all homes – is responding to the healthier needs and hopes of guests and the residents of the family household I cannot fathom. I can only tell you in our home the preference is: sugar sparingly, and usually once a week le kovod Shabbos koddesh; spelt flour (Grodzinski’s bakery in Edgware offers gluten-free bread and spelt challah); grape juice with no preservatives; fish first and foremost and if necessary only poultry such as turkey; all things green are now welcomed happily such as cucumbers, lettuce, kohlrabi, and spring onions and colorful peppers; butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots over anything white and no dessert because antioxidant fruit is the preference such as strawberries, blue berries, and raspberries. Are we feeling better and healthier; yes. Are the children benefiting; yes. Is everyone’s sleep pattern more regular; yes. Are the children carrying extra weight; no. Do they feel they are missing out; no. Am I dropping weight since I banned sugar from my life; I am happy to say yes.
Once upon a time, the mind used to rule our lives, now it is the stomach all for the sake of a clean colon, low blood pressure, low cholesterol, preventative health care to avoid diabetes and to fight off obesity and generally better sleep, a more energized day and for a more budget-conscious happier lifestyle. That all sounds pretty good to me and excellent reasons to be more food conscious.
Once the North, the mind ruled, now it is the South, the stomach; we are what we eat. We are what we think. When we think clean and lean we want to eat clean and lean food. It takes between 30 to 90 days to root out a bad habit and the same amount of time to put a good habit into our lives; it could take a lifetime to sustain that good new habit. Personally, I want that long life to be healthy and to enjoy my family and my own life; so making wiser choices and eating food that helps me be lean and clean is the only choice now. The will of man has to be iron-strong to battle the rhetoric of the mind and the desire of the stomach. It is all about good choices and preventative health care. It is utmost about being steadfast in our resolve regardless of the cry of the stomach and the call of the voices in our mind that could destroy our utmost resolve. I am not going to tell you it is easy to make the switch but I will tell you it is possible, vital and imperative if you want to feel and see a change in your health and body image and in the way your mind operates your life.
Regardless, we must be strong for the sake of good health and preventative measures. Why wait for curative healing and extreme measures due to circumstances you could have controlled or by-passed? Most illnesses are reversible or manageable even today such as cancer, even diabetes, even heart disease. If anyone in the Western world tells you otherwise they are not informing you of all the options. The East will tell you anything is possible. There are enough good role models in the world today who are good examples to all of us.
American woman Kris Carr is a cancer survivor. She is now a New York Times best-selling author and wellness activist. Her website is rich with exuberance and practical inspiration and delicious recipes as is her book, a 30-day guide to optimum health called Crazy, Sexy You. Watch her videos on youtube.com. Her dynamism and outlook are contagious. She is a vibrant ambassador for what is possible and what is happening right now in the world with regard to the power of change, and the empowerment of intention.
If you want to read about an American man who turned his Stage 3 cancer into remission through eating healthy food and denying himself chemotherapy then go to http://www.chrisbeatcancer.com to meet Chris and hear his story. Join his campaign to share his story with one million people; people with cancer, carers and those looking to prevent life-threatening conditions. Five years ago Chris was told he had a short time to live. Now he is in remission and clean and lean. Changing the way he ate and lived gave him remission and a new family and much more.
There are miracles all around us in people who are sharing their stories. Whether you are someone that relies on curative measures or who advocates the preventative approach, the story of your health and your life is up to you.
The choices we make affect the way we live our lives and how we feel and look. Our story can be so different if we listen to our bodies and give our bodies what they really need not what our mind thinks they need; or what the mind has been conditioned to think and do.
The American wellness expert David Wolfe, who promotes raw foodism and alternative medicine is a longevity expert; he hosts seminars and has an enlightening website that has become a reliable resource and inspiration to thousands. If you sign up with him, daily you can receive research-based posts that will inform and guide you to better well-being and a clean and lean and better version of you.
I know above I have mentioned three Americans. I must be honest, I wish also I could have cited three English role models. From my experience (because I have mostly American friends and mentors, and I have been connected to America through work since 2002) Americans are always ready to share and give their life stories as a good example. I wish us English would open our hearts and our lives more.
Russell Brand’s soon-to-be-released book called Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions, (which I just ordered and is due for release in hardback on 21 September 2017) I hope will encourage more English people (and people in general) to realise vulnerability is not a weakness; strength of character is revealed when someone speaks from their authentic self, asks for help, does the work and inspires others along the way and leads others to good choices and good health.
Russell Brand, who is a comedian, actor, radio host, author and activist (and who most of us know is originally from Grays, Essex in England has had the opportunity to travel the world and I sense has been inspired by the Amerian way for his communication style is honest and open) is someone I admire and respect and I hope I have the honor of talking to one day: I will tell him I am mostly here on this blog due to his good example. He has a voice and he is using it to help others. I also have a voice. So do you. The world is our home. We are one family. We need to help each other more; if we do, I sense things could only get better in the world, there will be more peace, harmony and productive means to achieve world peace and to reduce suffering and much more.
Yes, I am an idealist and an optimist. As, well as a person striving each day to change my own self for the better; removing sugar is one way I am choosing to achieve this. When you remove sugar from your life the mind has a chance to fulfil its truest potential. By removing sugar I am finally getting my own mind back.
While the body has needs, it is the mind that will determine what the body ultimately receives. Today we have to train our mind to listen to our bodies; today we are so out of touch with the authentic needs of our true selves. Too often we allow our minds to be led astray in the wrong direction by the wrong people for the wrong reason.
Imagine a giraffe being fed the food of a lion, red meat. The giraffe would malfunction.
Imagine a lion being fed the vegetarian food of a giraffe, he would roar and rage with anxiety and frustration. He would become a raving lunatic. He would be angry and be going crazy from hunger.
What animal are you? Vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, or carnivore? Or a sugar-addict who is distorting and waylaying your mind and destroying the chance of your colon and body becoming lean and clean and your mind being alert and excited about life and all the possibilities open to you with a clear head and a body bursting with natural pure energy.
The mind can become an empowering ally if it is feed with the right information. The cells in your body respond and are powered by everything your mind tells it. What about inviting the mind and body into a new partnership? What about cooperation rather than the leadership of mind over body?
Are you eating the right food for your unique body? Are your eating choices and habits inherited from your familial home or have you created a way of eating and living that is tailored to who you are and how you want to live today?
What is your blood type? Do you know? Are you eating the appropriate food for your particular chemical design or are you eating what everyone is eating for speed and ease?
Do you perhaps need to do some new research to find out what will really make your body and mind and heart and soul cooperate and operate at their optimum?
Look in the mirror; do you love what you see? If not, what can you do about it today?
Are you permitting the body you see to get the love it needs through the right food and the appropriate personal care?
Why not let the North part of you, your mind look for better ways to give the South part of you, your stomach something better. This way the place that feeds the whole of you can support the life you really want?
Good luck new friend. Here’s to your health; to your mind and body cooperating for a long life and new blessings from a united front for better health.
Planet Organic, Muswell Hill Road, N10 3HS, England.
Tender Greens, 201 Arizona Avenue, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, USA.
Santa Monica Farmer’s Market
Kosher Kingdom Supermarket, 7 Russell Parade, Golders Green Road, NW11 9NN, England.
Itsu, Asian, freshly made food.
Kris Carr, New York Times best-selling and Wellness Activist.
Grodzinski Bakery, 4-6, The Promenade, Edgwarebury Lane, HA8 7J2, Edgware, Middlesex, England.