The view from the hill

It's now some 18 months since I took early retirement. So, perhaps a good time to take stock of all that's happened.

On reflection I'm a little surprised how hard the readjustment was. Still, I had a 40 year mind set to unravel, so I suppose it was bound to take time if nothing else. To some extent I feel that I've arrived at the hill top now and have the luxury of scanning the view and what a wonderful sight it is.

From a health and happiness perspective if I had to pick out two high points without doubt they would be Laughter Yoga and Juicing.

I've written about  Laughter Yoga before and it's many benefits. I've since done a few taster sessions, a work shop and generally met some great people as a result of this life enhancing activity. More on the way as interest grows and who knows where this wild road will take me! So, watch this space!

If you live in the north east of England and you're anywhere near Newcastle on World Laughter Day (May 3rd) then do drop into a Laughter gathering, which will be  taking place in Exhibition Park (by the band stand) at 11am. Hope to see you there. Let's all just laugh for no reason and feel better for it.

The other aspect of my life which has developed to a new level is juicing. Carrot and fresh  beetroot juices have long been family favourites. However, since acquiring a macerator type juicer, I now make a huge batch of green juice at the start of the week and this lasts for 2-3 days. (Although fresh juice  is really best consumed with 24-48 hours of making.) I love the green juice because I can throw in all the green ingredients (like the outer leaves of lettuce) which I might not have otherwise used.

There's no fixed recipe and it's fun to mix and match ingredients until you hit on the right blend. That said my favourite combination is - Cucumber, lettuce, 2-3 crisp granny smith's apples, fresh root ginger, whole lemon and 2 oranges. The beauty of a macerator type juicer is that the food prep is minimal. Just wash the ingredients and then it's good to go! Lemons can be put in whole, although I peel the oranges as some of the oils in the peel might be an irritant. It's also a whole lot quieter and quick and easy to clean.

Making your own green juice is both fun and good for you. It enables the consumption of large amounts of life enhancing foodstuffs that might otherwise not be as palatable, or possible. If I've got a Yoga class coming up I'll replace a meal with a  green juice. If I feel the need to have something solid to eat I'll pair this up with either an avocado or an apple; so  much better for digestion and performance. If you're a performer and you're looking for ways to maintain good nutrition then  juicing might just be what you need.

I've written before about the issue of food as medicine. So much can be addressed with food. Regular juicing with root ginger is particularly good for the older woman as it can help normalise blood sugar levels, aid digestion and regulate bowel function.

Eating and enjoying real food is what it's about for me.

Live life to the max and enjoy the ride!