Archive for the ‘Health & Beauty’ Category

Lent: Natural Sweeteners on the shelves to substitute as alternatives to sugar

April 2, 2015

It feels poignant to me to write about sugar substitutes at this time, when, I am acutely aware that in under a week’s time it appears that half the population will gorge and double their average weekly Chocolate intake in a single day; Easter Sunday arrives!

However, for the few  of us who have essued the dark stuff since before March (feels almost like 1989…ie a long time!) this is a time for presents in my family, over excessive gifts of sugary sweet confectionary.

We love to Celebrate Easter in my family but since some of them are unwell, diabetic, on medication or simply seeking to not become unwell\overweight etc, we have universally chosen to celebrate rather more demurely, with small Easter gifts to bring great joy instead. I now like my new Easter\Spring shoes and Tea (which I have since becoming less interested in cooked foods, discovered an interest for, later on in life! 😉 )

For those who ‘shouldn’t’ have sugar (inc.most if not all of us…) here is a run down of the chosen alternatives available on the shelves…

  1. Agave – ALERT! I have rarely ever used it as it is a highly refined product (not a ‘nectar!’); v.sweet syrup or powder. I have found it to be a strong stimulant. When I recently asked the Store Manager at Planet Organic in Westbourne Grove, he agreed “it is too much” he stated; “it is simply too much for our system to handle”. Which does he prefer, I enquired {Q} “Date Syrup, Coconut Palm Sugar and Syrup…” He replied
  2. Date Syrup
  3. Sweet Freedom (fruit blend mix) Syrup
  4. Stevia: Syrups and powders (though still processed & refined) pref. natural state ground green leaf. Huhis ndreds of times sweeter than sugar cane or beet. 🙂 My Brighton based colleague grows it in his flat…
  5. Xylitol: Birch Tree sap
  6. Jaggery (conscious foods): I’ve never tried this Indian\Asian sugar but I hear from the followers that it is v.good, with extra vitamins & minerals (so they’d say…)
  7. Coconut Sugar and Nectar \ Syrup: 2 of my all time current favourites: for sweetness and the effect isn’t overly stimulating at all 🙂
  8. My favourite is: Yacon Syrup: I watched these being planted out and sown down out in Monkton Wild Court in Dorset many years ago on a Wild Raw Food Retreat I held over a weekend. These are like the gold of the tuber world! 🙂 Very nice (yet v.expensive in comparison…)

So if you are baking or making sweet creations this weekend (or ever) care to think about the substitutes which can be used instead of the standard sugar, which overly stimulates the pancreas, adrenal glands and overly numbs us as a result (not least robbing us of our vital nutrients).

I am seeking a healthier world view on all these areas, since I quit eating sugar back in 2003 and have rarely eaten it and no chocolate in general since Lent began. I am seeking also to find the best options for alternatives and to utilise them in my own and commercial foods. Less is most definitely, more! 😉

Happy Easter for the Kitchen Buddy friends & crew! 🙂

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Raw Chocolatier debut on SKY TV!

March 25, 2015

Florentine hearts

I few weeks ago, a researcher from Islam TV contacted me to attend an interview about my Raw Chocolatier, live on air. How very excited I was! They whisked me off to the studio within a couple of hours and I spoke about the great benefits to sugar-free and dairy-free Raw Chocolate.  Here’s our interview link from the day:

http://www.kitchenbuddy.eu/artisan-foods/raw-chocolatier/press-coverage/

London Eco projects

March 4, 2015

seeds for a swapping in the

South London Seed Swap organised by Lewisham Gardens (Anne-Marie at the helm)

This proved to be a lovely afternoon, out at the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden, with dozens of enthusiasts bringing their bulbs and seeds into the garden, to share, swap and exchange. I selected a range of veg, herbs and flowers to take in for my swap and as exchange, selected a range of others including; 2 varieties of kale, cress, swede (we shared out a pack), 2 types of cauliflower and lettuce, peppers, tomatoes (as a result of hearing Mihail from the nursery discuss his tips), plus basil, echinacea, 2 varieties of sunflower and half a dozen other flowering annuals 🙂

There were also a series of excellent workshops; demonstrations to educate on new skills. We learnt how to hold and twist a bouquet of flowers, to form the perfect jug, from every angle, by Sharmini, a local seasonal florist who designs the floral arrangements for the garden museum in Lambeth. She very carefully showed us how to add different colour stems and place them at angles which appeared to me odd, at first, plus foliage, but when all fully combined, yielded the prettiest of bouquets. She shared, too, her trick to displaying stems in a wide neck vase: place scelloptape in a criss-cross pattern across the top, to keep them in their place, to prevent them from falling over.seed swapping day Lewisham Gardens

Next up was Mihail from Dig this Nursery; a heath shop, plant nursery & cafe by New Cross ‘Venue’ club… it has recently moved there, from opposite New X Gate area (by the Hobgoblin Pub). Now they are in their new home and teaching us here, how to best sow our tomato plants; in to the smallest containers first, prior to planting into slightly larger pots, then into hanging baskets (in order to avoid slugs etc) or raised beds etc. This makes a lot of sense; to develop the roots gradually and to master the stems first.

Finally we learnt about Wildlife Gardening from Alison, who’d driven all the way up from Kent (where it had been snowing-proper) to teach us about easy ways to attract all sorts of wildlife & engage us with a nice quiz! 🙂

We left feeling v.happy (though I’d have felt happier had I not had a flat back tyre & had to walk, all the way home, to SE6…)

WM garden trowel

The V&A have launched a William Morris design range of garden tools; inspred by his paintings & art work, there’s a torch, tape measure, scissors, secateurs and hammer\screwdriver multi-tool (all of which I am much enamoured by) and I recently bought myself a garden trowel, in a ‘Daisy’ print design. It is both stunningly beautiful and utterly practical; Morris would approve, himself. 🙂 Re- the recent exhibition at the NPG in London; on his life & work 🙂

Other news: I recently attended an Introduction to Permaculture Course based at Stepney City Farm, which is a super-fab place to hang out, at the best of times. We enjoyed the course enormously; it was justthe right mix and balance of fun, studious design efforts & planning out projects that was needed. Plus we turned compost heaps and were left to roam the farm to develop our senses of this environment.

primula potSpring has sprung! My colour-co-ordinated Primula plant pots, in the kitchen (matching the blind!) 🙂

A ray of hope for January ‘Blues’; Case study Treatments & Special Offer

January 26, 2015

Following a ‘Blue’ themed party at a friend’s house on Saturday, to cheer us up from ‘Winter Blues’ l am adding my very own Seasonal speciality; a Special Offer for all those who felt the pinch a week ago, on the unpleasantly titled ‘Blue Monday’, as it was deemed the day which many may have abandoned their health aims & left their New year’s resolutions by the wayside…

This time of year is ideal for beginning our own, personal challenges to conquor and to find some assistance to assist us in these, where necessary.

Recent Case Study: I have spoken to 2 patients in both my Central and South London Clinics, who wish to have just that; support during times of their lives when their health issues are really crying out to be addressed and can be ignored no longer. Both had been prescribed medications through conventional means, though neither had proved effective.

A 1 hr consultation each later and both patients feel satisfied to accept the Naturopathic approach to their Treatment Plans complete with wholesome, easy to follow, individualized recipes sent to them post-session by email.

A new beginning could be just what the doctor ordered & if this is timely & relevant reminder for you, please take advantage of our Special Offer for January 2015.

An initial Naturopathic Nutrition Consultation for 1hr at either my Central or South London Clinic for the price of £64.00 (* 20% saving on standard clinic fees) (90 mins appts by practitioner discretion)

Home Visits from £50.00 (within London)

FREE 15 min consultation available NOW! 

For further details and appointments, please contact the clinics directly, or myself via email or phone (or message me on my blog here)

Friday and Saturday afternoons http://www.healthwisetherapy.com/

Weekdays (Mainly available Wednesday) www.londonnatural.co.uk

Alternatively, visit my main website www.kitchenbuddy.eu for all other routes of inquiry.

** Sessions may vary in length and duration, depending upon the individual medical & symptomatic conditions treated and assessed.

DISCLAIMER 

This information is for guidance only and is not to replace medical appts or advice. This therapeutic approach is unable by regulation, to claim to treat or lay claims to ‘cure’ any diagnosed or undiagnosed disease or condition.

Theresa Webb BA Dip NT. has enjoyed enabling many patients to experience better health through Naturopathic Nutrition appts for over 6 years and qualified from College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2013. She has attended several clinics and also works from home visits, out of regular clinic hours.

Contact experienced Nutritionist Theresa for a non-obligation FREE 15 min consult now! 

New Year, new you… YOGA feature!

January 7, 2015

BEGINNERS’ YOGA POSES (& FOR THOSE WHO DON’T BELIEVE IN ‘IT’)

  1. Alternate Nostril Breathing; it makes us feel calm, peaceful and serene, all at once…!
  2. Spins and turns. Just moving your arms around your body or turning around on the spot helps us to rebalance. Those Buddhist Monks had it right all along when they devised the Tibetan Rejuvenation Rites, based on a series of moves which they practiced (religiously!) A combination of bends, twist and balances to make you feel balanced and special…
  3. Wrist and Ankle rotations. Especially for those of us who either walk, stand, sit, use a keyboard or play sport or an instrument (ie most of us). 3 X rotations in each direction, assists blood flow and circulation.

INTERMEDIATE & FOR MORE ADVANCED \ YOGIS

INVERSIONS

  1. I can’t get enough of Reverse Triangles – they make you bendy and focus on the twists.
  2. Back bends (Wheels and Arches); support the root, heart, solar plexus and throat chakras. This is wonderfully releasing whilst strengthening upper arms.

Where to go to practice?

Yoga isn’t always a conventional exercise; it doesn’t have to take place in a studio, on a mat or even indoors. Provided it’s somewhere that allows you to centre and feel comfortable, preferably a peaceful place, you can be as creative as you’d like.

  •  In your garden or in a Park          
  • In London, I enjoy Greenwich, Blackheath and Hampstead Heath http://bit.ly/1tPmhTr

Indoors:

At home

  • I first began my practice whilst seated (and lying \ rolling around) on my bed; on a soft, comfy mattress to support and cushion my self-styled semi-acrobatics (aged 12+). Practicing at home is a great way to continue what you learnt in class during the week…
  • The banisters and stairs; I love to dangle from the banisters, balance and use these for support when doing stretches on the stairs..!
  • In the shower! It’s a unique & peaceful place (no clothes required 😉 ) For a fresher stretch…

At a class with an instructor  http://bit.ly/1s6sfy7

Now almost everywhere inc. The Bishopsgate Institute at Liverpool St, Yoga Studios across the capital, local leisure centres & church halls…

Yoga can take place anywhere you wish!

Send in your photos of Yoga in unusual places… eg up a tree, on scaffolding…

Seasonal Beverage: Dairy & Alcohol Free Egg-Nog!

December 23, 2014

smoothie 'egg nog' in glass

I must confess to never having actually ever drunk ‘Egg-Nog’ – a blend of egg, milk and alcohol (I presume…) but I do rather like this alcohol-free version, which is what I’ll be making to drink over the Christmas period and holiday Season.

For those considering giving up or reducing their alcohol over the New Year, this Dairy-Free version is equally, if not more delicious as the original! Plus, it contains ‘Rose-root’ Rhodiola which has the added benefits of calming and de-stressing effects! Find it though a good local natural remedies or herbalist shop.

Ingredients (Organic wherever possible)

Almonds

1\2 Pt fresh water

1 Banana

1\4 tsp Grated\Ground Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Ginger (to taste)

1\4 Rhodiola Powder (Russian Rose Root)

1\4 tsp Vanilla bean powder or 1\2 bean pod (or 2-5 drops of a natural essence)

Method

1. Soak the Almonds in water overnight or for at least 20 mins minimum; soaking removes enzyme inhibitors surrounding the nut, which makes digestion easier and also allows the skin to be peeled off more easily!

2. Drain away the water and refresh in hot water (to make the skins peel off easier). The skins become easier to rub off; using your thumb and forefinger (and any other way!) press the almond skins to release them and discard. Keep the almonds to one side.

3. Using a blender, add the almond and process together with the fresh water, to make a milk consistency.

4. Keeping the pulp (or strain, if preferred) add all the remaining ingredients into the blender and blend for 60 seconds until creamy, frothy and light.

5. Pour into a glass(es) and serve. 🙂

Nutrition Note: Rhodiola is a pale pink, rose flavoured powder with adaptogenic and calming properties, to calm, soothe, relax and de-stress! Ideal for the holiday season ahead! 🙂

Warm Wishes for a Very Happy Christmas and Healthy and Prospersous New Year 2015 ahead.

Theresa x

wreath on front door star dec 2

London Vegan Fair and Kitchen Buddy Nutrition Talks & Demos

August 23, 2014

Here is, a full, complete and updated version (for the 2nd time of writing as the first, perfect draft, ahem, did not appear to publish…)

The night before saw me finishing the hand-dipping of the organic apricots for the packets of Apricot Thins.

There was a hive of activity as stalls set up from everywhere inc Devon, Cornwall as well as local businesses. The Festival takes over the entire building (on 3 levels) and included a wide range of stalls and workshops on all subjects ranging from anarchism, to raw foods, to baby & children’s health.

My stall had a great position in the main hall with enough space and several chairs for people to sit & talk.
James Gorman, Award winning body builder and former Ice Skater and now director or EVOLVE! Campaigns dropped by and told me about his life as a nutritionist and animal rights advocate. An inspirational role model to us all… 🙂  Amazingly, he’s 67 yrs of age but looks at least 10 years younger; he has a very gracious demenour with an inspiring, positive and compassionate approach.  It was an absolute delight to meet and chat to him.

The Ginger squares sold out early and customers enjoyed cinnamon and sour cherry, orange, rose and Apricot thins; they received good feedback. Generally, there was so much sugar to be found though, in cakes and other sweets that some customers felt that they were too bitter! 😉 I felt flummoxed until someone pointed out the effects of the other stalls there; cake & sweets… health is important too u know

At midday my first session in the programme was a talk on Raw Chocolatier – the benefits of raw, sugar-free chocolate, which generated conversations around cacao types and the impact of raw nutrition, enzymes etc. The audience members (approx 25) enjoyed their Handmade samples of Classic Orange, Ginger chocolate and Apricot Thins tasters, made from 75% Fair-Trade Ecuadorian Cacao and Mediterranean Carob.

Immediately afterwards, followed the second session, with Superfood for Super kids – Smoothies. Dairy-free Almond Milk as a base for 2 fresh smoothie drinks; an energising and uplifting ‘Berry Burst’ and a ‘Cool & Calm’ green vegetable smoothie. We started out with a growing group and the room filled to 40 adults and children, and we looked at the ingredients for our recipes we were to use: Pre-soaked almonds for milk, fruit: bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and ground superfood leaf & root powders: passiflora (passion flower), alfalfa, barley grass and I poured 1 dsp flax\linseed oil.

Almond milk is often best made with pre-soaked almonds, in order that they are soft enough to remove the skins from. 2 4 yr olds, a boy & girl started to peel almonds, a few of which slipped a bit and flew around the room to begin with but we gathered the remainder together and each taking it in turns to operate the blender, we made a light frothy milk, followed by the ‘Berry Burst’ with the children taking it in turns to add fresh berries and oil and re blended it up again, to make a fruity smoothie which was very popular.

Finally, the children made a ‘Cool & Calm green vegetable smoothie using a remaining 100 ml Almond Milk, a banana (which we opened up bottom first – in chimpanzee style!) 1\4 cucumber, 4 handfuls of spinach leaves, 1 dsp flax oil and a teaspoon each of passiflora, alfalfa & barley grass powders. The result: a bright green drink which everyone loved, adults & children alike.
Nutrition Notes: Almonds are a rich source of protein, healthy fats and Calcium. Berries are anti-oxidant rich & also in vitamin C. Cucumbers contain cooling properties, sodium and are mostly composed of water, for adequate refreshment and hydration.
Other additions would also be Baobab for energy and Aloe Vera for digestion and skin clearing, healing properties.

During the course of the day, back at the stall, the Festival of Life team handed out fliers (inc Mary, Paz & Chris) Aniel shared a Saf stall in the upper foyer and Tim (from the new Juice Tonic bar) shared that we did not appreciate the alcoholic bar being present and felt it could be nice without it but appreciate that it is appealing to many vegans to have own ferments…

Memorable moments:
After a flying visit around, I enjoyed re-meeting up with Mark from the Third Estate eco clothing & footware shop, Gail & Graham at Braintree clothing, Will from Will’s Shoes, Sophie & Martin -Permaculture gardens in Oxfordshire) Alex Bourke ‘Vegetarian Guide’ with a new upcoming Paris Issue currently in print, an exchange on a new beige SpaRitual nail varnish, more rose and chai nut milks by Helen and the lovely Conscious Cake Caribbean couple! 🙂
A delicious Rainforest Creations wrap for dinner

Thank you to all the lovely, kind voluntary volunteers who took great care of all the customers whilst I was off hosting at my workshops, in my absence: Salim, Mary, Samantha, Chris K, James Gorman, and the lovely Festival photographer, Vicky Alhadeff from Happy Dogs & Cats (behaviourist) for taking many lovely pics during the children’s non-cookery Drink demos. You are all wonderful! 🙂

Rawfest UK Wild Food Walks: Foraging at the UK’s no. 1Raw & Living Foods Summer Festival

July 21, 2014

RawFestUK Wild Edibles food foraging 2014

Rawfest UK 2014 comprised of 3 days camping\glamping (4 if you’re a performer\crew) in the East Greenstead countryside; comprising of 1 large main field space with camping and a smarter ‘glamping'(glamorous camping… = individual bell-tent-yurts)plus all the marquees for workshops, talks, performances and traders selling all varieties of foods (Pure on Raw are the inventive & delicious main caterers, along with Rawgeous and Mama Tierra) and a variety of healers. There were other stalls selling Indian & Balinese jewellery, clothing and pictures, fermented products, hemp, coconuts, free imploded water, pea, sunflower & wheatgrass shoots & shots, Veggie power-vehicle oil and a selection of other raw foods (mainly desserts). Healers (Massage, Magic-Hat Reiki Facilities inc toilets, taps etc).

There evolved a busy & very varied programme of daytime & evening activities, including my daily Wild Food Foraging walks and talks (for those unable to attend at the practical times).

Next to the main field were a few others ‘Sacred Space’ designated by law, as they possess a similar energy field to that in Glastonbury areas. Walking into these areas felt so beautiful, many of the healing had set up their spaces in here, which felt utterly blissful, just being in that same area. My London friends and I had arrived last Thursday to set up, ready for campers & visitors on Friday, when fellow speaker & international visitor, Loren Lockman and I took a walk around the sacred space area, to look at the medicinal plant foods growing around there. The grass and plants felt like a soft, springy carpet under bare-foot; a delightful way to explore this open wooded countryside.

We identified the following medicinal & edible plants: Blackberries (to ripen over the coming months), Hazelnuts (edible, though still yet unripe),Self heal, growing in patches, all across the uneven lawn; its pretty, purple flowers, bright like bonnets against the bright green grass. Followed by clumps of Plaintain leaves; their seed heads standing up straight on their stalks, awaiting a ‘seed-pod shooting’ game.
A short, little Mallow bush, bearing pale pink blossoms and many seed heads. The group later found baby Sorrel leaves with a strong lemon flavour.
Several clumps of Nettles and Red and White Clover,.

Going into the next field on the right yielded a discovery of Plantago Major the wide-leaf Plantain with a stalk full of seed head, following a later (group) discovery of Wild Mint, clustered by Thistles and a baby Hogweed plant about to flower. A tangled clump of Cleavers grew around a few more mature Hogweeds.

Recommended further reading: In addition to Food for Free, I’ve also fallen in love with the ‘Wildflower Handbook & Key’ by Francis Rose (a huge thanks to the excellent & widely knowledgeable wildsman, Dougal, for his v.welcome suggestion).

Sadly, my copy of Richard Maybe’s ‘Food For Free’ that I’d leant out to one of the female walkers & her daughter has not been returned; if you have it, please contact me ASAP!

For further info on any of the above, please leave your comments below.
Pictures of our walks, to follow, courtesy of Loren Lockman, with grateful thanks 🙂

An unforgettable floral and feathery afternoon at Kew

July 8, 2014

This afternoon, a friend took me to visit Kew Gardens again, with the premise of viewing the art exhibition currently available to view by Marianne North and the garden shop for a plant present.
We began by visiting the Gin & Tonic section (only open at weekends) as part of the Plantasia exhibition and learnt that many medicinal plants are traditionally used in the drink.
We ate our packed lunch in the grounds; sprouted green lentils, avocado, linseed crackers and lettuce tacos with hummus, cucumber, mallow flower and freshly picked wild rocket from near my garden. For dessert: A fresh Chocolate Orange Cream.
We made our way towards the art gallery via the main lake and palm house; collecting a pine cone and Ginko Biloba leaves on the way as momentos….
the lakeside planting is so beautiful; vibrant red crocosmia highlighted by a mauve flowering plant. There is also a beautiful old fountain in the centre which adds a historical feel. We went into the Lilly house where we heard a tour guide explaining the pollination techniques of one of the grand lillies and how the Beautiful Lotus flower plants have leaves that allow the rain water to fall straight off (a lesson for life here, as was explained later, by an Indian doctor).
The Lilly pad leaves are huge by all standards and look like you want to jump into the pond and sit on them, like Alice in Wonderland! 🙂

Then we went into the main palm house to see more tropical plants: Coffee, Mangos, Bananas, Macadamia Nut and Neem, the natural anti-septic, anti-fungal (anti-everything-undesirable!) native from India. (Akin to the Australia Tea Tree). We met a couple of Indian Doctors who stopped to explain their personal experiences & benefits of Neem… now in their 60s\70s, they both experience perfect dental health (with no cavities… unlike their children) due to using Neem twigs as toothbrushes\floss extensively during their childhoods. Neem is so good for teeth and gums it appears, that it is still used today. Plus, the eldest said, the only place he knew where to get them from, is in Lewisham…  That’s handy, then! 🙂

They went on to talk about further natural herbal and gastronomic remedies: Coconut Oil benefits also include Cholesterol reduction, Turmeric uses inc. as a preservative and skin cleanser\detoxifier for conditions and Darjeeling tea beats coffee any time (but then, he would say that.. 😉 )  We sat in the humidity and talked about Ayurvedics and the ‘5 holy tree effect’ (for meditation inc Oak for air purity, Neem for medicine, banana for energy etc.)

Their parting words were concerning the beautiful, pink Lotus Flowers, growing in the Lilly house pond next door; that we should be like the Lotus, which sits tall above the water level; its roots stretch deep into the murky waters below. The plant lets the water from rain roll straight off its leaves; the message being to remain beautiful and unaffected – of the world but in the world. This is a Krishna based belief but has a direct reference and similarity to Christianity.

The heat rose to a level to warrant a breather outdoors.  Thanks to Dr Ghosh (whose son is an obesity GP specialist) 🙂

We moved onto the shop, which contains an amazing assortment of every seasonal vegetable, fruit and shrubs etc plus all lovely garden paraphernalia.  We found some nice presents in the form of plants for friends & family, a vintage floral print tea towel and magnet (a cook’s essentials…)   http://shop.kew.org/homeware/tea-towels-and-aprons  The delightful thing is that these images at Kew’s shop, match the very postcards which I’d purchased 5 months earlier at a postcard fair (which is now no longer in existance) but I have the postcards and soon a whole collection of inspired things for the home. (now on my b.day present list…)

Since the Marianne North botanical art exhibition was closing, we viewed the prints in the shop instead; a rich, vibrant, tropical mix of flowers and foods. (view) http://prints.kew.org/category/botanical-art/marianne-north I could almost smell the scent of the Red Hibiscus!

A quick trip to Miss M’s curious curiosities – Medicinal Plants at Kew – we learnt about the pharmaceutical properties and uses of the plants: from opium poppy – to morphine\heroine, meadowsweet to quinine (and how Oliver Cromwell had died without it).  A male peacock appeared and strutted his stuff with his plumage lying low, I stood, taking photos. Miss M remarked “Oh look, he’s leaving you a feather…” and sure enough, as he walked off, a feather dropped out and I ran to collect it, waving it proudly! “A feather!” I exclaimed. This day is now complete! (even though we had missed the real art… 😦 ) Feeling utterly delighted that I had a feather, given to me, directly from the bird (without any cruelty involved), we went home via the city; from floral tranquillity into commute-life humdrum.

kew peacock

Palm House @Kewkew 2 ph roof kew 7 ph oldest tree trunk kew ph 3 red berries kew ph 4 view kew ph 5 coffee kew ph 5 oldest tree kew ph 7 timeline

The Future of Hairdressing Part 2: Release

June 27, 2014

Since my slightly radical haircut (read-shorter*) on Wednesday, I must say a thank you to those who have written compliments as my ‘before & after’ photos were posted online. Although, my dad thought I looked like I’d gone through the proverbial hedge backwards.. .(but it was v.late p.m. by the time we’d met).

The second part of the Spiritual haircut process is to actually return the remnant cuttings, back to nature and the Earth.

This morning, after 5 hrs sleep, I awoke with the knowledge that today was the day, to return my old locks to a natural place and I felt the drawn to visit my local nature reserve. The scene had appeared in my mind’s eye on Wednesday during our session (by a park area but near to a patch of nettles, elder tree and oak tree).  So I took my precious green envelope (and ubiquitous cloth plant collecting bag) up to the reserve for the first time this year. The last time I’d been there was at a full moon, possibly at the Equinox or Solstice.

As I walked into the reserve area along the pathway, I observed that the grass area had recently been mown and it was peaceful early in the morning, before the school run had begun. I noticed that there was a big old Oak tree on the right of the path but then, another Oak, set back on the left, towards the woodland area which I felt an instant connection with. As if this were the female tree, to the other male.

It reminded my that years ago, someone gave me a card depicting a drawing of an Oak tree on it and when questioned, replied that it just felt right for me; like I had a similar energy to that tree. (I’d felt surprise that someone else could tell these things…) A couple of years ago, I also designed my Christmas cards using Oak leaves as I felt inspired by what I’d seen at a craft fair. So it felt entirely right and proper that if I was going to be doing something like this, then this would be the tree.

I ducked underneath the branches through an invisible entrance way, towards the trunk, straight ahead. Here is a good tree, I felt. After a week where symbolism, my yoga practice, etchings and photography have all been tree related, finally; here is a real, proper tree, surrounded by a good energy!  The lower branches had been cut off and stumps stuck out of the trunk (which reminds me of a connection to ref.J15 from church… of being part of the heavenly vine).

I took the envelope from my pocket and know that this represents a part of my history being here, even when I move on and away from this area of London; a little piece of my being remains in connection.  I noticed that tall grass grew at the right side of the trunk, between which was an opening where the grass grew around but not up so closely.

As I opened the envelope, I saw all my old hair, in a flat, smooth clump and rather than to touch it, I placed it at the entrance and it all slid out in one piece, into the opening made between the grass and the trunk, somewhat concealed.

Breathing consciously, I meditated on the life journey of the tree; roots, to shoot to trunk, branches, boughs and twigs, plus now, leaves in Spring and later found a sprig of fresh leaves as a memento, a connection to that tree too.

I left and walked along the embankment of Rose Bay Willow herb and Vech and pondered that not so long ago, I would have baulked at the thought of anyone telling me to take away my hair clippings and return them to anywhere other than a bin!

I’m sure some may still scoff but Gary’s instructions were clear and written on the envelop too; as a ceremony to let go and release. Now it seems like a responsible action to take. After all, it’s only going to waste and end up on a land-fill site somewhere, anyway, if cut at home or a salon!

So here’s a challenge, to place hair cuttings in places wherever I am having my hair cut in the world (preferably with Gary 😉 ), in a natural place, away from any other being.  (It is a hygienic process!)  I think it could catch on… exciting! 🙂

Gary can be contacted at https://www.facebook.com/garywiner.healings    Special Offers available.

single hairdressing image photo