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Happy Easter! 31st March 2024

Updated: May 11

Wishing you a very happy Easter… or spring bank holiday if you prefer. Finally the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the blossom is out on the trees. The better weather definitely helps with our efforts to eat healthily and to take more exercise, but the ubiquitous chocolate and the call of the hot cross bun can still be a challenge for those of us who have not yet decisively made it to the top of the plant-based and/or food addiction staircases. And for vegans, the ever-presence of the dairy and egg industries can also be a source more of trauma than of joy. But whatever your decisions, religious or spiritual beliefs and feelings at this time of year, keep in mind that we can all still find ways to celebrate the spring and the turning of the seasons: new life, eggs, chicks, baby birds and bunnies are an absolute reality of nature and the ultimate origin of all the Easter paraphernalia.

Last month I set up a new bird feeder at my holiday flat ‘Vegan Heaven’ in North Wales near Snowdonia. The birds I have seen at the feeder so far include blue tits, great tits, coal tits, long-tailed tits, goldfinches, a blackcap, a nuthatch, a greater spotted woodpecker and a dunnock. They have already eaten a whole bag of peanuts and a whole bag of Nyger seeds! On the estate there are also sparrows, warblers and two resident peacocks, and you can hear owls in the trees at night. Down by the beach there are bats at night, and herons, redshanks, seagulls and curlew…

It can be so easy to get depressed about the state of the world and the environment, but I believe that nature has incredible healing and regenerative powers. Our bodies are like mini-environments: they can become polluted and degraded as a result of toxins and neglect too, but given the space and time - left to their own devices - nature quickly moves in and gets to works cleaning and rejuvenating. Rest, fresh air, clean water, sunlight, organic plants and the absence of radiation are all we need to give our bodies in order for them to thrive.

You might have noticed that I did not include exercise on this list. Most lists of ‘lifestyle factors’ include exercise as second only to diet as a vital component of health. I view exercise slightly differently. I view exercise as a product of health. When we give our bodies all the things I have listed, we will naturally want and need to move them in ways that are good for them, and when we remove all the artificial constraints our society places on them, like high chairs, car seats, buggies (yes it starts early), seat belts, and office jobs, we will just naturally do it. But when our bodies are toxic, stressed and exhausted, it might be that the first thing we actually need to do is rest. Giving in to our bodies’ natural need for rest is not easy in our society. We might need much more rest than we think before we are ready to get up again. Forcing ourselves to get up and go to the gym and move our bodies in ways that are difficult and painful when we are not ready to do so is not conducive to excellent health in my view. If we are overweight and out of shape the best first thing to do might be to go to bed and fast for a short period (1-3 days max. if you are at home by yourself), or to focus on eating only raw fruits and vegetables to your hunger. You may need to go through a period of withdrawal from all the nasties you have been consuming before you come out the other side and start to see the light.  

Trust me, there will come a point in this process when you won’t be able to lie in bed any more. You will absolutely need to get up, get outside, stretch, move, and smell the flowers.

Sometimes we might just need an extra-long lie-in before this happens. Other times it could be days or weeks. It depends on our situation and the state our body is in.

I have set up Vegan Heaven to be a place of such deep rest, both for myself and for my guests. It has a Vitamix, a juicer and a dehydrator. It does not have a television, WiFi, or a mirror. These are deliberate decisions on my part. I offer the flat for regular holiday lets, but I also offer bespoke/1-to-1 mini retreats. If you would like to get away from it all in beautiful surroundings and really focus on you for a period of time please do check it out and get in touch!

Eventually I also hope to be able to start running longer group retreats in or near Snowdonia, focusing on all of the things I have just described, somewhere in this incredibly beautiful place between the mountains and the sea.

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