Posts

Chronic Fatigue?

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I’ve a strong urge to answer the question above with a swift ‘No thank you’ and let that be it, but it seems that opportunity has passed despite my best attempts at denial over the course of several months. In fairness, some of the denial was heavily influenced by a complete lack of some of the symptoms that categorise this rather complex condition, and by many standards, even the glaringly obvious symptoms are relatively mild: at no time have I been confined to my bed with totally debilitating fatigue, and neither have I been crippled with pain or been dangerously close to collapse when out and about in public places.

But I am fatigued, chronically, and sleep has been hit and miss with the emphasis on miss, so I’m also frequently tired. And whilst I haven’t fallen apart in public, I’ve certainly come crashing down emotionally at home with angry and tearful anxiety over highly important matters such as which coat to go out in! And whilst I still maintain that I’m one of the lucky ones…

Sleep and the Soil

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Several years ago, plagued by around five dismal years of insomnia and anxiety, I finally learnt to meditate. I really hadn’t wanted to go down this route due to a multitude of preconceived ideas about what it was. These prejudices, however, evaporated when, within a few months I was sleeping again, and didn’t appear to have turned into a kaftan-wearing, joss-stick-burning, religious hippie.
But recently it all started again; three or four hours’ sleep a night, only this time, I appeared to be ‘getting away with it’. I was barely tired at any point during the day, sometimes walking around 10 miles and still feeling bouncy. Meditation didn’t ‘work’ at least not to get me back to sleep, but the years of learning to be aware of all the activity in my mind was a gift, enabling me to get rest if not sleep. Shortly before Christmas, I stopped getting away with it when the flu virus easily passed my immune defences and thus Christmas ended up being pretty much cancelled. The poor sleep patte…

Are We Absolutely Raw?

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It’s an interesting time to be a raw food enthusiast, especially when the raw food is plant-based. All indications point to a quiet but definite plant-based revolution as more people consider the knock-on effects on personal health, animal welfare and environmental matters of our collective and individual food choices. And this may also account for some of the questions about how Graham and I eat, or perhaps more accurately, the perception of what we do and don’t eat. It’s becoming harder to dismiss us as just plain odd as the fringe on which we find ourselves is getting progressively wider whilst our waistlines are not. Similarly we’re bucking the trend in respect of prescription medications; as the list of sometimes lifelong medications extends for some of our age group, ours has gone the other way and currently stands at zero. Maybe it piques the interest to see us walking often several miles a day without getting tired? I’m speculating; there could be any number of reasons why peo…

Are We Vegan?

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It’s an obvious question considering how we, Graham and I, live and considering in particular the nature of the food we make available via the work we do. The answer, however, is no. If you are vegan, I urge you not to run away at this point, assuming the worst, in fact can I ask you to stay a while longer? There’s something I’d like to say to you.
The ‘no’ is because veganism isn’t big enough (this is not to be confused with not good enough; action based on compassion is always good enough). Like so many people, we were driven to make changes to what we eat essentially for selfish reasons, to better our health, and we have done just that. In doing so, our food choices have transformed significantly from what they once were and these changes have brought with them new realisations that extend way beyond our own personal health. What seemed to be borne primarily out of self-interest now looks more like an act of self-love, something the British, at least, are culturally uncomfortable wi…

Car-free Living

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The following is an inteview with York Bike Belles about the challenges and pleasure of becoming 'car-free':

Meet Annette, who with her husband, Graham, recently gave up their car and now live happily in York without one. They walk, cycle and take public transport everywhere. Why did you want to give up your car? We decided to give the car up for multiple reasons; we were mostly only using it for longer journeys - taking a car into the centre of York is not a good option. We were already walking a lot and starting to cycle more, and feeling fitter as a result and pleased to be contributing less to poor air quality. Additionally, we were keen not to be spending money on something that spent most of any given month parked up and waiting for us to use - an expensive convenience. What helped? We were helped by really needing to cut back on our expenditure, living on a sustainable development (Derwenthorpe) and, particularly in my case, disliking car journeys so much! Where there any …

Your Own Scientist

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If most of us are interested in answering questions and acquiring knowledge concerning the observable universe, then science must surely be important to us? We’re curious beings, ambitious to know and understand more than we did before and science provides us with both the means to investigate the world, as well as the ensuing results that impact so significantly on what we believe and how we behave. If you think I may be building science up only to knock it down.., no, absolutely not. I’m definitely a fan.
But there is something I would like to question which is less about science itself, and more about our relationship with it. Have you heard of opiorphin? Possibly not, and if you were reading any scientific papers prior to 2006 then definitely not; there was no such thing. Well, actually that’s hugely inaccurate, it’s likely to have been in existence for … who knows? Thousands of years? But if it hasn’t been discovered, does it exist? (I still don’t know if a falling tree makes any …

A Health Service

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With a UK General Election just one week away, I’ve been encouraged by the level of appreciation for the National Health Service, first launched in the summer of 1948. It strikes me as a mark of a civilised and compassionate society that values the cradle-to-grave care of all of its citizens, knowing that in doing so, the financial burden must be shared. But what do we do when this much loved institution is in crisis? Is it exclusively a political matter that will be resolved if we make the ‘right’ choice at the ballot box next week?
It is my fervent hope that our votes will support the continuation of our universal free healthcare system, but this can only be part of the response to the crisis alluded to above. My affection for the NHS is at odds with my views on how we ‘do health’. Our medical care responds exceptionally well to acute conditions and emergencies, however, as a nation, we don’t prioritise health, but rather wait for disease and chronic conditions to take hold and then …