Why I Ripped up my Manuscript
As many of you may not have been aware I am writing book, or I was…until recently when I ripped up my manuscript.
While this may seem like an impulsive and irrational move, I assure you this decision came after a great deal of reflection and contemplation. You see the problem was, I simply didn’t believe what I was writing and here I will share with you why…
My keynote and near trademark speech The Power of Food has become engrained in my DNA and for the past few years I have been recalling it with ease at events, in lectures and on podcasts without a second thought. I still believe every part of it; that food is the most powerful medicine. However as time goes on and I meet people living an amazing life, I realise that food may not be a ’cure-all’ and that it probably isn't the most influential factor in living a long and happy life… let me explain.
Last year’s visit to Ikaria, pretty much changed everything.
Ikaria is a small Greek island in the far east of the Mediterranean that is renowned for the health, vitality and longevity of its population. Not only do the people of Ikaria live an average of 10 years longer than those in the western world but they also have lower rates of cancer and heart disease, suffer significantly less depression and dementia, maintain a healthy sex life into older age and they remain physically fit and active deep into their 90s.
It is no surprise that Marcus and I were drawn to Ikaria, and soon decided to pay a visit to this magical island for “research” into the longevity of the population for our podcast 100 Not Out. We took a group of listeners and wellness enthusiasts across to the island with us, including my 15 (at the time) year old son Jackson and attendees far into their later years. Together we lived the Ikarian way; celebrating meal times together as a ceremony and feasting on only locally sourced and home cooked foods, including gluten containing breads and fermented wines, we took long walks along the coastline together to nowhere in particular, and began to slip into “Ikarian time”, where time was never obstructed by the rules of the west and the expectations of business that we had all been so accustomed to.
The magical thing about Ikarian time is that almost everything somehow always got done, and with the least amount of fuss. Take our evening meal for example, Thea our host, would ask if we were ready to eat, and when the group replied with a resounding “Yes!” a steady flow of beautifully prepared breads, olives, hand-crafted oils, vegetables, meats and wines would flood the table, and our meals often lasted hours. None of us, including the locals, were in a hurry to ‘chow-down’ our food and move onto the next ‘to-do’ and so instead we all sat, chatted, laughed, digested our meals in a state of ease (yes, even the gluten) and socialised with our community.
It became apparent to me that there was a lot more at play here than just nutrition in keeping these people fit and healthy long into their 90s, they ate bread and they drank wine, they were amused at the idea of going for a run to exercise when they dig the earth for theirs and they always took time for each other, without expectation of anything in return. Their sense of community, belonging and acceptance of different ages and generations was astounding to me, as I watched a community value the word of a grandson just as much as his grandfather.
Upon my return to Melbourne we implemented the ‘tools down’ approach to mealtimes to emulate the Ikarian preparation and eating of meals, ensuring that each morning and night we would prepare our meal ’with love’ with an intention of better receiving and digesting the food on our plate, and sometimes in the evening, accompanied by a cheeky glass of red wine.
With my new found appreciation for the various aspects of life that influence our health; socialisation, community, having more time for people and for food, I think it’s safe to say that my thoughts and values around food and lifestyle has evolved.
My upcoming book will look very different to my original Power of Food manuscript, as I acknowledge and explore the power of fun, fulfillment and food, whilst considering the impact of all of these things on longevity, with a well-deserved wine in hand.
Chiropractor | Naturopath | Nutritionist
Watch my seminar - The Power of Food
My keynote seminar, The Power of Food, is available to stream online.