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 supposed 'high'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 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 began to feel I had discovered that 'holy grail' of diets, the one that works and yet doesn't seem like a diet.
So, fast forward to 2013. On a whim, Annette and I decided to attend a Raw 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, and have never looked back. We invested in a blender, a dehydrator, and a library of books, and have now been fully immersed in a raw food lifestyle ever since. I have continued to lose weight steadily, and now a healthy 12 stone (76kg), I no longer need to take medication for high blood pressure or to reduce cholesterol, and Annette and I now run our own business promoting a raw natural lifestyle. That's why we are here and why we would love to support anyone interested in learning more about raw food and what excites us.
As for me, my journey is ongoing, as I am continually learning and discovering more about myself and the part I play in the world in which I live.