“Don’t eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” – Michael Pollan
Good morning peeps , meditation done.
Quote for the Day:
“Don’t eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”
I love today’s quote, it is one of my favourite quotes definitely in my top three of all time, because it reminds me of my grandmother who was my all time favourite person in the whole world and because it helped me understand nutrition and form part my own lifestyle philosophy, which I call the Elysium Way.
Elysium as a noun means a place or state of perfect happiness.
Elysium as a verb means beautiful, blissful, creative, divinely, inspired, peaceful and perfect
Put simply it is PARADISE
And I believe wellness is a journey to a better place
When I was growing up my mother had to go to work everyday so it was my grandmother who brought me up. She would wake up ever so early and would always wake me up with a cup of tea every morning, even when I had to get up really early to do a paper round before going to school.
Her answer to everything seemed to be,
“Why don’t you just have a cup of tea and a rich tea biscuit?”
Her closest friend was Mrs Baynetan or ‘Mrs B’ as she would call her and ‘Mrs B’ would call my grandmother ‘Mrs Mac’ and I never heard them call each other by their first names. ‘Mrs B’ would pop in for a cup of tea and biscuits on the way to the shops and on the way back from the shops as she lived on the same road as us in Grand Avenue, she lived at 88, we lived at 64 and my best friends Pricey (David) and his brothers John and Keith Price lived at 72.
When I got home from school at 4pm we would have afternoon tea with scones, if Mrs Baynetan was there my grandmother would bring out her best china and bring the pot of tea in a tea cosy with the pretty cups, saucers and scones with real silver cutlery and sugar container plus matching tea set china jug for the milk on a tray pushed in on a trolley. Tea at our house was always served from a tea pot using real leaves and left to stand for a few minutes, your milk was put in the cup first and then you poured the tea through a tea strainer.
Supper would be served at 7pm. My grandmother would cook everyday very traditional English dishes with meat, vegetables and potatoes, I used to love her shepherd’s pie and my favourite meal of the week was her Sunday roast, with all the trimmings, Yorkshire Puddings, roast potatoes and gravy etc. Sunday roast is still my favourite meal of the week.
I was only allowed sweets on Thursday’s and after school on Thursday’s my grandmother would meet me and I would be allowed to get a quarter of wine gums from Hattons the local sweet shop. I would eat them one at a time and make them last for ages by sucking them and not chewing them so the flavour would really last and I would make that quarter of wine gums last nearly the whole week.
Today I still love wine gums, but I wolf them down after writing this I might go back to sucking them so they last longer and I enjoy them more.
My grandmother, Inez Elaina Barrett, was born on 5th September 1906 in Crouch End, North London. She was the youngest daughter of Walter Barrett and Emily Wright. Walter was born in Kentish Town, London and left England in 1887 to be a cowboy in Mexico!
In September 1908, my granny left England with her mother, brother, sister and governess for Sabinas, Mexico to join their father. The family returned in 1910, following the start of the Mexican Revolution – by all accounts a hasty departure.
In 1911, granny and her parents left again this time for Brazil, heading for Rio Grande do Sul, the southern-most state in Brazil, where her father managed a cattle ranch. Here she led a life of outdoor freedom, and according to a letter from her mother to her sister in England:
“She is out from morning till night. Tre (her father) has been teaching her to shoot – she loves it and is becoming a splendid shot. She has a wonderful nerve, and is afraid of nothing. She ought to have been a boy”.
I should add that my granny was only eight years old when that letter was written, and would accompany her father to ‘receive cattle’, “loved farm work” and one of her favourite pets was a monkey.
In October 1916 the family returned home, when unfortunately in tragic circumstances her mother died, and so granny spent the next six years at boarding schools. Up to then, she had had no formal education. After leaving school, she returned to Brazil to live with her father. In 1931 she and her father returned to England, and in 1932 her father died. Sadly, by the time my grandmother was in her mid 20s she had lost both parents.
My grandfather, Hector Macdonald, married granny on 1st June 1933 at the Anglican Church in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Hector Macdonald was born on 15th July 1894 at Wester Urray, Muir of Ord, Ross-Shire. He was the seventh child of Alexander Macdonald and Duncanina MacInnes. They had 13 children, of whom 10 survived to adulthood, and owned a farm, which remained in the family until the mid 1990’s. Granddad was a Highlander through and through and won the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry in the 1st World War, whilst serving as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders.
My mother Sheila Ann Macdonald was born in Rio De Janeiro, when the 2nd World War ended the family travelled back by boat to the UK and lived in the Highlands of Scotland.
Together with my mum’s brother Angus the Macdonald’s lived on a farm called Ellan Vannin in Cullicudden.
‘Old Macdonald had a farm ee ey ee ey oh’
Sorry I couldn’t help myself.
Farming in those days meant hard physical work; it was a mixed farm of crops, fruit, sheep, cattle, pigs (occasionally), chickens and turkeys. Granny was now back leading a similar life to that of her childhood, and she too had a busy life running a household and helping with various farm jobs. At harvest times and ‘tattie’ lifting, there were meals to be provided for the helpers and they were never short of visitors enjoying a holiday in the Highlands. And of course, it was a very healthy lifestyle with much of the meals provided by the farm – eggs, milk (granddad did the milking), cream, butter (made by granny), vegetables, rabbits and chicken or turkey.
Mod cons such as electricity and mains water did not arrive in Cullicudden until the mid-fifties. Granddad always ensured the children had regular jobs to do on the farm, such as feeding hens, collecting their eggs, fruit picking, hoeing ‘neeps’ and helping when herding sheep. Incidentally, my granny’s knowledge of cooking was nil when she returned to the UK, having always had servants in Brazil, but she soon mastered the art. Her mother, however, had been a good cook, and from her letters she often mentions her garden and her crops of fruit and vegetables in Rio Grande do Sol.
After a short illness, granddad died at the early age of 61 on 1st April 1955 at the Royal Northern Infirmary, Inverness, which was particularly tragic for a man who had survived the horrific traumas of the First World War and was so enjoying his life of retirement in his beloved Highlands. I understand during the First World War an officer’s life expectancy was about one month – a junior officer was 11 days.
Within 3 months of granddad’s death, the family had left the Black Isle for Sussex, and stayed with my grandmother’s sister and husband on a smallholding. In 1956, granny bought a house in Hassocks, West Sussex, which is where I was brought up.
When I was growing up, I was amazed by granny’s strength and fitness. She walked miles everyday (which I still do today) and when we moved to Cyprus when I was 6, we would have lunch on the beach after school everyday (we went to school from 8am until 12 noon) and then go running along the beach. Her hands were incredibly strong from years of wringing out washing and the necks of chickens on the farm. She always washed and dried clothes by hand and felt no need for a washing machine and drier right up to her death, on the 8th November 1994 at the age of 88.
I miss her so much and still think about her everyday. I can still feel her watching over me. I hope I have made her proud, and she does not disapprove of my use of grammar too much!
“Don’t eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”
– Michael Pollan
I love this quote by Michael Pollan so much because my grandmother played such a major part in my growing up; we all lived together, and it was she who took me to and picked me up from school and cooked all my meals whilst my mother went to work and many of my habits and philosophies in life today come from her
This quote really struck a chord with me, and I wanted to know more about the author, Michael Pollan and his book, The Omnivores Dilemma, which is about his search for the perfect meal in a fast-food world. I have read and studied literally hundreds of books and articles about nutrition, and had been getting more and more confused, due to the wealth of conflicting information that is being touted by scientists and so-called experts. But when I read this one book, it seemed to make this minefield of information make sense.
The more I have studied and researched nutrition, the more I am convinced that nutrition is a key factor in obtaining the body and healthy lifestyle you have always dreamed of. More importantly, I believe that making the correct nutritional changes to your lifestyle could save your life.
It is a fascinating book, and literally changed my whole approach to nutrition. I try and eat as much natural food as possible: butter over margarine, whole grain bread and pasta as opposed to white bread and pasta, basmati rice instead of white rice, chickens and livestock that live and graze outside in grassy fields, vegetables and fruits that are grown naturally and not artificially treated to make them a certain size and colour. I try and stay away from processed food as much as possible, as I believe they are one of the main causes, along with smoking, alcohol and lack of exercise, of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Extensive research is pretty conclusive in backing this up; nutrition is a key contributor to preventing and helping cure heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and mental illness. Nutrition also plays a major part in physical and intelligence performance, and can be a contributing factor to the controlling of aggression issues.
Taking all these factors into consideration, it seems a no-brainer to take more care in what we put inside our body.
On top of this, fresh food, whether it be meat, fish, poultry, vegetables or fruit, tastes much better than processed foods. Yet people continue to eat processed food, putting time, cost and convenience against taste and health.
With the emergence of developing countries adopting a more western approach to lifestyle, obesity-related diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent all around the world. There is little doubt that the increasingly widespread application of some modern food processing technologies has contributed to this development. In general, whole, fresh foods have a relatively short shelf- life, and are less profitable to produce and sell than processed foods. Thus, the consumer is left with the choice between more expensive, but nutritionally superior, whole, fresh foods, and cheap, usually nutritionally inferior, processed foods. Because processed foods are often cheaper, more convenient (in both purchasing, storage, and preparation) and more widely available to purchase, the consumption of nutritionally inferior foods has been increasing throughout the world, along with many nutrition-related health complications.
We need to eat locally- grown produce like our grandmothers did, and their mothers before them.
Nowadays, in modern farming, a lot of cattle only spend the first six months of their lives eating grass. They are then put in pens, and are taught to eat something that they are not evolved to eat, which is grain, and mostly corn. From an ecological point of view this makes no sense; but from a financial standpoint, it does. It makes them grow much more rapidly. It makes them get fat, and it allows us to speed up their lifespan. In capitalism, time is money.
The food industry is taking cows that we used to let grow to be four or five years old before we eat them, and now have got it down to 14 months, which is obviously a lot more profitable.
The problem with this system, or one of the problems with this system, is that cows are not evolved to digest corn. It creates all sorts of problems for them. The rumen is designed for grass, and corn is just too rich, too starchy. So as soon as you introduce corn, the animal is liable to get sick. When animals get sick they are fed antibiotics to help make them get better, the same as humans.
We are eating unhealthy, drug-fed, fat cattle, and creating a cycle leading to unhealthy, drug-fed, fat people. We then do the same thing with chickens in battery farms, and salmon in fish farms, and chemically sprayed and enhanced vegetables. The food industry is sacrificing our health for profits! But this suits western national economies, because then the pharmaceutical companies make huge profits from selling drugs to fat, unhealthy humans, and to the food industry for their fat, unhealthy cattle. It’s a win-win situation for the finances , and a lose-lose situation for our health.
By taking a little bit of time to plan and source where to obtain and what foods to eat, you will be saving a lot of time and money in the future. If you get a major illness, it will cost you a lot of time and money, and eventually your life. This is why I am so passionate about improving people’s health, fitness and lifestyles.
According to cancer research experts, nearly one in ten UK cancer cases are caused by unhealthy diets. You can reduce your cancer, heart disease, diabetes and mental illness risk by eating a healthy, balanced diet.
A healthy diet mixed with regular exercise of a 30 minute walk at least three times a week will lead to a much healthier, energised and illness free life.
I eat very healthily and walk for at least an hour everyday and I have practiced yoga and meditation everyday for the last 10 years.
I find the practicing of yoga everyday really helps me in all in all aspects of my life.
The more I practice the stronger my breathing becomes and the more control of it I have and the calmer I have become.
The better I fuel my body the better I feel both mentally and physically.
The yoga poses and breathing teach me that if I control my breath I can control my mind. The pain and discomfort I feel in the awkward yoga poses, will go away if I breathe and stay calm. This mirrors situations in life which can seem impossible with no way out, but if you stay calm, focused and breathe then your head clears, the situation does not seem as bad as you first thought and you can see a way forward.
Yoga has taught me to focus my mind and not be distracted by outdoor forces and things that I cannot control.
I have also learnt that I cannot do all the poses or asana, but this is not failure, the point of yoga is not to be able to do all the poses, it is the daily process of trying to achieve them that is important. Because as soon as you have mastered a difficult pose, you will come across another one that you will feel is impossible, when you first start, but if you practice every day it will become a little bit easier as you improve every day.
Together with nutrition and sleeping, this is the basis of my Elysium Way Training System.
The Elysium Way enhances and enriches lives allowing you to reach your full potential physically, mentally and spiritually.
And one of the main components of the Elysium Way is practicing yoga.
If you would like to improve your breathing and clear your mind by introducing yoga into your life or to strengthen your daily practice to help you focus, smile more and achieve your goals and live the life of your dreams?
Why not take your first step and come on my yoga retreat in Morocco from Saturday March 18th to 25th and join me at the Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort the new five-star luxury destination in El Jadida Morocco
The location is amazing.
It is a truly unique coastal destination resort, less than an hour drive south of Casablanca and set in a region abounding in contrasts that has preserved all its authenticity.
Rooms and suites overlook the lagoon, the golf course, the swimming pool and the patio, plunging down to the sea from the terraces and offering a 180-degree view over the Atlantic Ocean.
The view will take your breath away.
So if you would like to learn more about yoga and lose your fear of failure, come and join me for some fun in the sun at a beautiful, exotic location in Morocco, then Click Here
This really is the trip and chance of a lifetime.
But hurry there is less than three weeks left.
Have a thoughtful Thursday peeps, funnily enough I am off to Dingwall today where my Mum went to school and will pass Muir of Ord on the bus where my granddad Hector Macdonald was born.
“Don’t eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”
May all your dreams come true.
Breathe, Believe and Achieve
Be Happy, Healthy and Wise
Keep on Winning, Smiling and Living the Dream
Keep on Winning Smiling and Living the Dream