And the lowdown on my hol in Scotland – discovering how food can totally affect your health, along with ginger compresses, seaweed baths and fabulous cookery classes!
Last week I had one of the funniest nights out I've had in a long while – being entertained Henry VIII style at the medieval banquets in St. Catherine's Dock in London – and howling at Craigy's attempts at making some serious moves, dressed as a jester!
We had great food, fun entertainment, including singing and dancing from the wenches, plus acrobats and jugglers, then a fab 'fight' between two knights – ours was Sir Edward – who was the one who lost! Typical!
Part of the fun was dressing up – our Living Social voucher had included costume hire (it goes over the top of your own outfit) and the four of us ended up looking like we were part of the court – specially good pal Lee Hohbein (IT guest) and Justine Balmer (Gtech regular guest). Trust Craig to go the whole hog with the hat too – soooo funny even from the outset people were asking him for drinks 'cos they thought he was part of the staff! Lol.
Anyway after the 'do' was over, there was a disco, and that's when Craig came into his own. A good night, and a 'rehearsal' for what I'm doing for my 'big birthday' in May with 30 of my family! They don't know what they're letting themselves in for! Mind you, there won't be a Jester like Craig there I'm sure – or anywhere come to that! He totally totally made my night – haven't laughed so much for ages! So much so, he's…
…This week's blooper!
What more do I need to add!? Every night out should have a Craig attached! Lol.
At Penninghame in Scotland, I learned how to cook delicious macrobiotic food every afternoon, had some fabulous therapies every lunchtime, did lots of yoga and 'chi-ball' every morning, and learned daily about how the food you eat affects your health. Big time. All in some of the most unbelievable grounds and all with some wonderful people – including Marlene Watson-Tara.
Now if you're a regular you'll know how much I've been on about food affecting how you feel, and if you've seen the same videos as me you may well feel the same. But in case you have no idea about all this, here's an interesting fact.
The World Health Organisation and other major scientific-based agencies say that something like 65-70% of the major degenerative diseases amongst our Western world could be PREVENTED with the right diet. That's cutting out the aggravators – specially sugar and much dairy – and adding some of the most amazing foodstuffs we've lost sight of over the last 50 years or so – especially wholegrains and vegetables, including seaweeds etc. Compare the two food pyramids (just click on the pics to see them in a larger window).
I found out all about it on a week's course in superb surroundings, and met some marvellous people. We had such a laugh along the way and I've got to say Marlene and the gang are some of the most lovely people I've ever met! And some of the best times of the week were in the kitchen, concocting some amazing recipes and dishes – the macrobiotic way! 'Cos guess what – Debbie did cooking!
I'm certainly, almost at the end of the hol, feeling so much more healthy than before. I wasn't terrible before – you may know I exercise and eat quite well. But my gut had definitely got sluggish, and they diagnosed some kidney and adrenal issues in the making whilst I was there. So I had some excellent advice to take away with me, and the prospect of minimising my chances of ill health going forward.
It's not even new science. Although some of the latest studies make me wish every ill person I know – 'specially those with diabetes or arthritis or heart issues or tummy problems – could just open their minds to find out more. Marlene kindly had a little chat with me all about it one evening.
Now I know it's each to their own – and we all have to choose what's right for us. But if you don't know the facts, sometimes it's hard to know why some things are better than others. Marlene's book is very enlightening and packed full of recipes and fun ideas – plus it's not about being rigid and perfect. The 80/20 rule will probably be what I stick to!
Marlene and her lovely hubby Bill Tara, one of the pioneers of macrobiotic living, (more info on his site), even have the occasional glass of wine or champagne, so maybe I'll be able to sneak in the odd square of something tasty! But in the meantime, I'm aiming to keep going. Mainly 'cos after May 10th I'll be in my 50s. EEK!
So I'm gonna go check out Marlene's recipe and fitness videos on YouTube (search 'the recommendation station') with tons of case stories about the illnesses she's helped tackle. And in a few weeks' time, when I do my proper full-on three week cleansing intensive, I'll feature her again – with a comp to win one of her books! And it was certainly one of the best weeks I've ever spent, and highly recommended if you'd like to go on the next one too, in the autumn (penninghame.org).
Marlene recommends some fascinating therapies, and considering how depleted we all are of minerals nowadays, and how bad some soil can be and therefore the food that's grown in it is not great, she gave us some seaweed (proper stuff from the Isle of Bute) to bathe in – very smelly but packed full of minerals and very relaxing!
Marlene taught us home remedies every lunchtime, and one of the days, I received a ginger compress on my back to help detox the kidney area – sooo therapeutic it was! And did the job of bringing the circulation to the skin – as this pic shows! (P.S. no, the tattoos do NOT say 'quality, value and convenience!' Hehe.)
One of the most amazing aspects of the course was face reading' – or Bo-Shin (the art of seeing), whereby recognising features on the face may indicate future health issues within the body. Bill Tara has written his own book on the general topic, and if you're looking for the quick lowdown on what dark circles under the eyes mean, for instance, maybe go read 'Your Face Never Lies' by Michio Kushi – utterly fascinating skill for a dinner party! Lol!
And finally, I ended up with so much energy, that when we got locked out one day I tried to climb in through a window – and got stuck! Now this followed two days of being absolutely pooped as I started to 'discharge' – unable to keep my eyes open, (and being such a numpty in the unaccustomed early mornings, I even put my scarf too near a candle and singed it!).
But days later, here I was trying to squeeze through a window as my two 'roomies' killed themselves laughing and took pics of me! Found a bigger window to climb in soon after though! Hehe! P.S. footnote to Mr Back Of My Tandem – I did NOT appreciate being asked 'wasn't there someone younger around who could have done it?'!! The failure of the first attempt was more to do with size of backside and the small dimensions of that particular window. Not my age. So ner! Lol.
'Solo Cougar's Survival Kit' tip #19 of 20. OK, it's an obvious one if you know about macrobiotic food, but ladies this week I'm recommending you get a daily dose of miso soup into your routine! We had it every day for breakfast! I even made my own on one of the days.
Sooo delicious, and it's the fermented bean curd enzymes that are so good for our digestion, therefore considering the vast majority of our immune system is affected by the gut, it's an obvious one to get yourself date-ready and healthy enough to enjoy a new relationship when it comes along! (along with sensible diet, blah blah!) Final tip next week!
Facebook and Tweet talk
By request of those on my Facebook page this week, who'd been following my progress all week and asking to know more, here's that link to a video doing the rounds on AOL etc. that summarises why sugar in particular is so bad. It's only 14 minutes long, and what's more, it's the high profile 'Sixty Minutes' programme in America, not a privately made or niche video at all.
So this week's WATCH is a DVD we saw together one night – 'Horrible Bosses'! Pat didn't like it much, but Maria and I thought it was quite fun! Three stories intertwine, of mates who hate their bosses, and the way they plan to get rid of them. I am, as you may know, a Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston fan, so with both of them in it, it was a must-watch! It was a bit silly in parts, but if you like 'The Hangover' and Steve Carrell-type slapstick, this is a good way of spending some time in front of the TV! Overall, it got 8 for me, mainly for the fab performances rather than the plot.
EAT - where to start! Such amazing food this week – all week. My favourite dish served at dinner by the Penninghame chef Jack was this one – wholewheat fusilli with veggies, including sweet potato wedges, with veggie mayo and smoked panfried tofu with maize coating. Yummmm!
QVC - am back on air on Saturday afternoon, including two Ojon hours (I really missed my Rub Out Cleanser this week!) and this week I are mostly been chopping up stuff! So I would have been using the Ninja Food Processor from QVC had I had one there! Looking forward to putting it all into practise at home.
What do you think of it all? How does food adversely affect your body? Let me know!
*TiFFT – Try it For the First Time club – for April, it had to be the lambing didn't it!