Cornwall LivingIssue #130
A new year awaits
Discovering how taking small steps to a healthier you could make all the difference for 2023 and beyond.
I’m not one for resolutions. I find that they’re too quick to be decided upon and all too easily broken. This year, I’m going to opt for some long-term goal setting instead, taking time to really think about what I want to achieve in terms of health and happiness, and adopting some sustainable changes that will see me through the year and beyond. I’ve recently become interested in breathwork and its associated benefits, so I’m going to start there. Having been tutored at a recent workshop by breathwork coach Anthony Mullaly (anthonymulllay.com), I was amazed by how, with just a little time spent on practising correct breathing techniques, these could have such dramatic benefits.
Nose breathing is something that we should all be doing and when combined with breath holding has myriad benefits. Breathing through the mouth is something our ancestors would only have done in times of stress, when the fight-or-flight response was activated and they were in need of greater volumes of air. They would revert to nose breathing as soon as the stressor was gone, however in modern times we have lost that ability, the reversion to nose breathing is no longer inherent, and this affects stress levels and subsequently our mental health. The Scarlet (scarlethotel.co.uk) and Bedruthan (bedruthan.com) hotels will be running workshops next year combining breathwork and cold-water immersion and I can highly recommend this as a way to let go of any stress and anxieties that you might be holding on to. Who would have thought that simply by changing the way we breathe we can achieve a freedom of thought and nourishment of the body?
While practising breathwork, some of which is done seated on the floor, I quickly realised that my ageing scatter cushions just weren’t going to cut it! In some ways, breathwork is akin to meditation and so I went on the hunt for a cushion that would help position my body correctly. Sati’s (satidesign.com) ethical meditation cushions are thoughtfully designed in Cornwall and hand made in a small village just outside Jaipur in India. Using only natural dyes and traditional block printing techniques, these firm cushions elevate your hips to the correct angle, dropping your knees below your thighs, allowing a good spine position and excellent overall posture while you sit.
I have also decided that it isn’t just my mind that deserves some attention over the coming year, how I nourish my body also needs some work. With the excesses of the festive period behind us, many of us will turn to dry January and embark on various diets to try and banish those extra pounds. Going ‘cold-turkey’ and suddenly depriving our bodies is great for short term gains, but should we be looking at longer term solutions where the choices we make can be sustained throughout the year? With so much in the news recently about rising infections from flu, Covid and a nasty strain of Step A, I’ve looked to a Cornish product that is bursting with vitamin C, made from a tiny orange berry grown on the Roseland. Agronomist Seth, discovered this magical berry while trekking to Everest base camp with his friend Kiran. Suffering the effects of altitude sickness, they were given a bright orange drink by a sherpa, and the effects were amazing. Made from sea buckthorn, Seth discovered that the plant could be found growing wild in Cornwall and so began cultivating his own crop, forming the Cornish Seaberry Co (cornishseaberry.co.uk). The resulting drink, VitaminSEA comes in 250ml cans, with each portion providing 76% of your daily vitamin C, plus lots of other health benefits too. Each of the small orange berries are crammed with vitamin C, E and A, and being high in antioxidants and containing omega oils, they help our immune system to function correctly, hydrate and heal our bodies, and support our digestive functions and respiratory systems. So, for 2023 I will be swapping my usual can of something fizzy for this, a perfect pick-me-up after a cold sea dip or just for a daily boost of the good stuff.
While on the subject of hydration, we should all be drinking two-litres of water a day. If you’re not a fan, like I am, try flavouring it with cucumber, mint or the fruit of your choice. On cold days, try it hot with a slice of lemon; it’s both cleansing and warm and counts towards your daily quota. That’s daytime hydration sorted, but what about when it comes to going out? I think that goals are better achieved when they taste good and so opting from a non-alcoholic drink that is a treat in itself will make sure you don’t feel like you’re missing out.
Joe Thomson, Co-owner and Head Brewer at the Firebrand Brewing Company (firebrandbrewing.co.uk) says that he became interested in developing an alcohol-free beer through a personal desire to live a healthier lifestyle. “I wanted to cut down on alcohol without giving up beer,” he says. “I tried many different styles of alcohol-free beer but found them watery, thin and lacking flavour. They were often full of lactose to add depth too. So, I decided to brew one that provides everything I like, the first really great Cornish alcohol-free craft beer.” Shorebreak now outsells Firebrand’s flagship beer, Patchwork Rocket, and it’s no wonder as it comes in at only 26 calories per can versus 150 calories in a regular can of IPA!
If beer’s not your tipple of choice then Pentire Drinks (pentiredrinks.com) create a range of botanical, non-alcoholic spirits made by distilling plants native to the Cornish coastline. Beautifully bottled and best served with a premium tonic, I always feel this is a very grown-up drink in spite of its 0% ABV. Crafted in Cornwall for those who live an active lifestyle and want to make a healthier choice without compromising on taste, sipping a Pentire serve, whether it be a Coastal Spritz, a Pentire Gimlet or a traditional Seaward and tonic, awaking clear-headed will allow us all to seize each day with renewed vigour.
And finally, it can’t all be about abstinence; wellbeing is about treating yourself as well. You can do that in a sustainable and ethical way with Trelonk Molecular Wellbeing (trelonkwellbeing.com), creating essential oil products for body, mind and sleep. I can’t be without my Head Strong nasal inhaler, a deep breath of which helps cope with stress and nervous tension, while the topical massage oils help everything from muscles, soft tissue, joints and bones to chronic conditions. Sister company Wild Cornwall (wildcornwall.net) takes advantage of crops grown on the extra and unused space at Trelonk, along with foraged ingredients, to create their own beauty and food products. This corner of the Roseland is a veritable feast for the senses, creating guilt-free products that are good for both people and planet.
Whatever goals you set yourself this year, be kind to yourself. Change can be hard and often takes time, forgive yourself for mistakes. Remember, by creating just a few realistic goals, they can have a long-lasting impact on your mental health and happiness.