Wine and Spinach, Hand in Hand

I’ve been struggling over the past few days with the concept of all or nothing. Tonight is my last night at Cranleigh House, and this place has certainly changed my attitude towards food, eating animals in particular…. But I am never going to be a vegan. I would miss cheese too much. And meat. And cheese. Aaand cheese.

HOWEVER! I have done lots and lots of educational reading while I have been here, in particular a book called The China Study. If you have not read this book and want some pretty conclusive, solid scientific advice on why a plant-based, whole foods diet is better for you in every way than eating the standard western diet, read it!

Seriously, its kind of changing my life.

But, in saying that, I have this weird connection to eating meat and dairy, because I grew up on a farm and I feel it is basically in my DNA to eat meat. I feel like I would be betraying my childhood roots if I turned my back on all animal products. Also, I feel as though my family and friends would look at me with great disdain if I declared I no longer eat gluten or any animal products. No one would invite me to dinner.

And I am a firm believer these days in ‘everything in moderation’. Apart from foods containing gluten, because that shit makes me unpleasant to be around.

So I have decided to keep my focus on plant-based whole foods, because they make me feel amazing! But when I am offered meat and cheese, I am not going to say no, because I am poor and if someone is offering me food then I will gosh darn take it, and be grateful. And a little bit of meat and cheese makes life happy. Its when you are consuming large quantities of processed meat, pumped full of chemicals and hormones, every day, that you run into problems (see standard American diet).

My fellow HelpXer, Darryl, calls himself a ‘conscious eater’, which I think is a wonderful way to put it. Be aware of what you are eating, where it came from, how far it has travelled and how many chemicals have been sprayed on it. If your family chicken has passed a gentle death and wrote in his will that he wants his parts to be donated to your mouth, then you had best honour his wishes. Choose the foods that are closest to nature, and grown closest to home. Choose the foods that work for you, and recognise that only you can know what those foods are.

Kayla, my other HelpX buddy, is flirting with the term ‘Flexitarian’. Eat the way nature intended most of the time, but don’t be anal about it. Have cheese when you want it, and ENJOY IT SO MUCH.

There’s a whole lot of hate on vegetarians and vegans, and how they are pale fragile waifs, blown about in a gentle breeze. There is the impression that they are snooty, self-righteous protesters, that hate people who eat meat. I’m sure there are some like that. But the people I have met are people who are just figuring out what works for them and what is kindest to our animals and our earth. What is to hate about that? Animals are cute.

I love cows, I used to ride one called Mrs Brown. Rest in peace my noble steed.

Please note, I can eat plants on the reg, and still party like its 1999. That’s important for me, because I love to party. I am not turning into some weirdo who would rather stay at home and cook lentils and do ecstatic awakening dance in my living room…. Oh wait.

No seriously though… nobody will ever take away my right to party. I am not putting myself in a box, or giving myself a label. There is a belief that adopting a certain lifestyle means that you have to adopt a certain persona. Nah, I’m just doing ma thang.

Bye Cranleigh House, you’ve been weird. I fear my blog post material will become boring when I leave. All normal and no aliens makes Rosie a dull girl!

Farewell, alien mountain. I probably won't miss you.
Farewell, alien mountain. I probably won’t miss you.

It’s all fun and games, until someone gets enlightened

Tis my fourth and final week in this bizarre, mind boggling place. On a regular basis I do wonder how I got here and what made me stay once I was here. It’s incredibly hard coming straight into someone’s life and having to conform to how they have lived for so many years, including how they wash the dishes and what they eat for dinner every day. But you have to respect that it is their home, and you are a visitor. Still, I have to bite my tongue on a regular basis, and most of the spiritual and religious stuff here would be enough to make a lot of people run away, fast. This is what my friends and family thought;

‘The challenging things are always the most rewarding’,

‘Stick at it for a few days and see how you go’,

‘Go to the shop and buy a stash of chocolate and eat it when no-ones looking’,

And mostly; ‘Get the f**k out of there, it sounds like a nut house and I don’t want you to turn into an alternative living vegan freak who smells like vegetables all the time. I won’t go places with you any more.’

You guys got my back. But at the end of the day, I knew I would stay. Even when I felt a violent urge to run away. Even when I started looking closely at the pictures on the walls, posters stating ‘UFO’s: Why Are They Here?’ and the such. It’s quite alarming when you come out of your room in the morning, dazed from sleep, and are abruptly confronted with an image of the guru, staring directly at you, asking you why you weren’t up at 6 that morning to honour him? Sorry dude, you don’t scare me. Its especially hard to resist the urge to run away when your host openly weeps in front of you the day after you arrive, dropping to her knees to tap her chest and release emotion from the heart chakra.

People around me being so open about their emotions really freaks me out. I don’t know why, but I just want them to shut up and tell me they are fine. You know when you ask someone how they’re doing? Normal people might say, ‘yeah, not bad!’, or ‘I’m fine, how are you?’

Not in this house. Oh no. You’ll think twice before asking around here. Picture this: 7.30am, you nip out of your room to the bathroom. You run into a skinny woman with wild eyes, wearing small boy’s flannelette pyjamas and carrying a tray of wheatgrass. You say, ‘How did you sleep’?

WELL! WELL! I COULDN’T SLEEP UNTIL ABOUT 2AM BECAUSE I HAD A LOT OF VIBRATIONS AFTER THAT FILM WE WATCHED LAST NIGHT ABOUT THAT MAN WHO DESERTED ALL HIS MATERIAL POSSESSIONS AND WENT OFF THE GRID AND THEN DIED IN A CARAVAN! I MEAN, I REALLY HAD TO SIT ON THE GROUND AND RELEASE ALL OF MY BLOCKS! YOU KNOW? OH AND THAT REMINDS ME, HAVE YOU THOUGHT ANY MORE ABOUT THAT OTHER THING? AND THAT OTHER THING? AND COULD YOU DO THIS WHEN YOU GET A MINUTE?

Ommmmmm.

After a while, I realised I had to use this place as a lesson. A lesson in how not to be. I’m not saying its bad to talk about how you feel – am definitely learning to stand up for myself and say what’s on my mind every now and then. Which is a big deal for me! In general I like to avoid all confrontation.

I’m just saying that for somebody who has dedicated a lifetime to health and reaching a level of ‘higher consciousness’, she does not seem to be a happy, focussed or balanced person.

All due credit to her for the work she does, and her passion for helping people, because I have learnt so much about health whilst working here, and it is pretty awesome to have that knowledge. But I do think you can take it all a bit too far.. There comes a time when you have to ask yourself, am I making myself happy by doing liver flush every morning instead of a nice cup of tea? Am I really so toxic that I need to detoxify all day every day? How many blocks can one person truly have? What am I going to do when I reach this higher consciousness? Do I just keep on going, up and up, until I’m in the clouds? Where does actual LIVING come into it?

I’m going to take away from here all that I’ve learnt about yoga, how to cook green vegetables in many versatile, exciting ways, and how to be selective in a world full of overwhelming information on health and nutrition.

Also I am going to take my enema kit.

Haha! Joking. Kinda.

What can I say, weird is contagious.

Kayla getting her weird on

It’s so awkward, it’s almost fun

It’s been another eventful weekend in the nuthouse. I had a VERY ROMANTIC Valentine’s evening watching a movie about an alien lady who lives on earth and can travel and read your mind. (I faked a phone call and ran away after about 20 minutes, and that was a long 20 minutes..)

On Saturday Kayla and I had a day off together so we decided to go on an adventure. We realized that, actually, the weather wasn’t terrible (meaning just a light drizzle), so we packed some nutritious fruits and ventured out into the wild, heading for Ilfracombe which is about 7 miles away.

BOOM hail storm. Soaked for the rest of the day.

We soldiered on, because we are strong like oxen.

Here are some pictures:

20140216-202229.jpg

20140216-202242.jpg

20140216-202254.jpg

We got to Ilfracombe, about two and a half hours later, smashed some jacket potatoes in a small vegetarian cafe and I read my book titled “A Guide to Naturopathy”. It was pretty cute.

Went to the charity shop, bought matching jumpers for Β£2.50, rejoiced at the warmth of an old man’s woollens then went to the health food shop and stared at the shelves for about half an hour. I realised I couldn’t justify spending any money on carob ginger, and decided I really didn’t want that anyway… If I’m going to eat chocolate it’s gonna be actual chocolate, DELICIOUS MILKY SLABS.

We then decided, having spent so much money on potatoes and things, (like 5 pounds but that’s so much in my mind), we would hitchhike home! Kayla had never hitchhiked before so it was all exciting. We trooped to the outskirts of town, stood in a lay by and waited. And waited. And….waited.

I think I probably looked a bit scary because I had so many layers on at that point, and also a large black hat that almost completely covered my face, so in hindsight I can see why no one was picking us up. Three cars pulled over, and every time we rejoiced and began walking towards them they would pull out, turn around and go back the other way. It was so mean of them, teasing like that.

We were about to start walking to find a bus stop (getting late in the day at this point), I said, “Let’s give it 2 more lucky minutes!!”, and a nice young sir picked us up. A kind local lad, not afraid of the crazy hobo ladies on the side of the road, said he would take us where we needed to go! The kindness of strangers.

In other news, today I had a fun experience. And by fun I mean SO AWKWARD I wanted to run away.

The lady of the house asked me to do some typing on the website for her, I was all like “Yeah sure I’m super speedy at the typing no probs mate!”…

She says “ok great, I’ll start this section off for you”, as she types “Jesus comes again….”

I say oh! Oh! Ok! Sure! I am so weak and I avoid confrontation at all costs. As anyone who knows me well will know. The stuff she had me typing was about how a man went up the mountain and was guided by a voice and a shadow, and then he saw Jesus pop out of a UFO and they had a chat and he fired some holy energy into his body with a wand…. And stuff.

So as I typed away, I realised that NO I DON’T WANT TO.

After lunch she asked me how I was getting on, and after a conversation we had earlier in the week about being open with our feelings (yuck) I said, well actually, I feel quite uncomfortable doing it to be honest. It makes me feel weird. I no like. I no do.

Rosie 1, crazy lady 0. I feel EMPOWERED, SISTERS!

Then I went for a run to clear my mind of the strangeness and E.T. by Katy Perry came onto my iPod.

The UFO Jesus is sending me signs…. Over to the dark side.

Just kidding guys! I’m still here! Haha!