A few years ago, in December 2009, my life changed. I invited Annette, who I had first met in 1983 as a student in Germany, to visit me in my home city of York. Except for meeting once over the course of an afternoon back in the mid-1990's, we had barely been in contact since, other than via the odd postcard or phone call. I later realised just how much we were meant to maintain that contact, however loosely, because Annette, who is now my wife, has been a constant and much-appreciated support on my journey. It is through meeting Annette again that I was able to incorporate changes in my own life that proved to be so dramatic. The most significant of these relates to my weight and, ultimately, my health. When I met Annette in 2009, I weighed well in excess of 17 stone (110kg), I was on medication for high blood pressure and raised cholesterol. I desperately wanted to do something about my weight, but nothing I tried seemed to work, the various 'diets' were never sustainable and only ever seemed to result in minimal weight loss, and within a short time I was always back to where I started. Annette then worked her magic, though she was largely unaware of any active role she played in this. In short, I learned from Annette the power of eating natural wholefoods with the emphasis on plants and the huge influence this can have on our health. There was no element of persuasion or pressure, I simply ate the same foods that Annette chose for herself, because I was intrigued and ready to learn. Incredibly, I began to see and feel almost immediate benefits. I started to lose weight, gradually and consistently. By the time we got married in April 2011, I had lost almost 2 stones (12kg) without ever feeling I was actively trying. This was exciting, I felt I had discovered the 'holy grail' of diets, the one that works and yet doesn't seem like a diet.
Fast forward to 2013. On a whim, Annette and I decided to attend a Raw Vegan Food retreat in Wales. By this time, we were both travelling full steam ahead with our healthy eating adventure, continually finding and trying new recipes and combinations and sharing our passion for natural wholesome food. But something about 'raw' food intrigued us, and we really wanted to indulge our curiosity. Indulge is a fitting verb, as we spent three fascinating days on the retreat, sampling great food creatively prepared by Renee Maguire (now Preston), aka Raw Chi Lifestyle. We were hooked! We invested in a blender, a dehydrator, and a library of books, have completely eliminated animal foods from our diet and have immersed ourselves in a wholefood plant-based lifestyle ever since. To my delight and amazement, I have continued to lose weight steadily. I now weigh 11 stone (71kg) and have been able to maintain this weight over the course of the last 2-3 years without deviating. I no longer need to take medication for high blood pressure or raised cholesterol. Annette and I have been so completely convinced about the huge benefits that a fully plant-based diet confers that we want to share our experiences and help others to take the same steps that we took in order to achieve optimal health. We have created our business, Henry & Henry, so that we can support anyone interested in learning more about the benefits of eating whole plant foods.
In October 2020, we moved from the UK to Germany and now live in Berlin, one of Europe's major vegan hubs, where we feel we can really tap into the energy and vibe of the plant-based movement.
So that we are able to provide the most accurate and comprehensive information possible with just the right balance of rigour and accessibility suitable for a general audience, Annette and I are now certified Mastering Raw Food Nutrition Educators after successfully completing a year long program run by two of America's leading Raw Food and Plant-based Educators, Drs Rick and Karin Dina. Their research-based education is exceptional and provides a solid and authentic foundation for our own classes.
The Before Picture
This is me in about 2005, probably at my heaviest. Looking back now, I can't quite believe how big I was. I think I was in denial. I knew deep down that I was building up potential health issues. I only wish I knew then what I know now.