A York couple have overcome their own health issues to set up a wellbeing business

GRAHAM Henry is almost unrecognisable to how he looked a few years ago.

For most of his life, Graham was overweight, tipping the scales at a hefty 18 stone. He took blood pressure medication and statins and when doctors warned he was at risk of heart disease, he tried to lose weight.

But it was a struggle. “I was in a pattern of always having a beer, or two or three glasses of wine at home. I didn’t eat junk food or snack, but ate too big a portion. In 2009, I weighed 18 stone. I went to the doctor and was told I had an irregular heart beat and needed to do something about it. I probably just went out and bought some low-fat houmous, some celery and carrots. I managed to loose a few pounds.”

Today, Graham, 53, weighs 11 stone, is off his meds, and looks and feels like a new man. His weightloss is linked to meeting Annette, whom he married in 2012.

She had her own health problems and had found that eating healthier helped her tackle her endometriosis, which had been a long-standing problem and had required surgery.

After going to a retreat, they learned about the benefits of raw food and never looked back. At their home in Derwenthorpe, York, they rarely use their oven or hob, instead relying on a dehydrator which slowly removes the moisture from food, locking in all its nutritional benefits and often improving flavour.

Annette, 53, also teaches meditation. It something she has practised for several years, finding it a successful tool to tackle another of her health problems: insomnia.

Two years ago, the couple decided to bring all this knowledge together and set up their own business, Derwenthorpe Wellgood, offering workshops, programmes and consultations designed to change people’s lives for the better.

They teach meditation and mindfulness as well as provide healthy eating guidance, through a range of packages and programmes.

Clients can also book in to have lunch at their home, where they can get first-hand experience of raw food.

I call round to see Graham and Annette at midday to try out one of their raw menus. I had been to a raw food retreat once before, so knew that the dishes would be a lot more exciting than fruit salad and some crudities – and the Henrys didn’t disappoint.

Their “Art of Calm” lunch consisted of Mediterranean dolmas (a bowl of sundried tomatoes, raisins and pine nuts in olive oil and dill); walnut pate (walnuts, blended with red peppers, olive oil, sundried tomatoes and lemon juice) and caulifower miso mash (blitzed florets and Brazil nuts with a miso, orange, garlic and dates topping). It was served with a mixed salad featuring rocket, leeks, pumpkin seeds and a tangy lime and ginger dressing (which was absolutely delicious). The couple had made crackers too, in the dehydrator, first making a paste featuring blended flax seeds, Brazil nuts, carrots, tomatoes and onions, layering it into a tray and putting it in the dehydrator for 24 hours. The end result was a crisp, satisfying cracker with a pleasant savoury flavour, perfect for spreading with lashings of creamy walnut pate.

For dessert, Annette had made her own chocolate cup cakes, with raw chocolate made from cacao, lucuma and carob, and filled with a fudgy mix of chocolates and cashew nuts.

The lunch was a delicious adventure, which is exactly what the couple want to promote.

“It’s all about joyful eating. We want people to sit down together and really enjoy their food,” says Graham.

Besides eating a largely raw diet, the couple also practise meditation twice a day, which they say, keeps their stress in check.

Annette said: “I’m not willing not to feel well anymore.”

Graham said people don’t need to follow the absolute extremes of a raw diet to gain health benefits. They advocate taking small steps at a time. He said: “We probably come across as quite extreme. But we say you can start by incorporating one of two things into your diet once or twice a week. Give it a try: small changes can lead to big changes.”

Find out more at: derwenthorpewellgood.com

Here are some raw recipes to try at home...

York Press:

Salad with Ginger & Lime Dressing

(adapted from a recipe by Tanya Maher)

A medium salad to serve 2 - 3 people

Dressing ingredients:

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp sesame oil

1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2.5cm grated ginger root

1 tbsp white miso

1 tbsp coconut blossom nectar

Juice of 1 lime

Himalayan salt to taste

Salad ingredients:

1 generous handful of rocket

1 grated carrot

Half a leek thinly sliced

Handful of sprouted beans

Dulse seaweed approx 1 tbsp

Handful of pumpkin seeds


Process the dressing ingredients in a mini blender and set aside. Immerse the dulse in water for a couple of minutes to soften and then remove from the water and slice. Mix all the salad ingredients together, sprinkling the pumpkin seeds on last and finally drizzle with the dressing.

York Press:

Raw Chocolate Cup Cake

(for 4 standard size cup cakes or 8 mini cakes)

Chocolate outer casing ingredients:

100g cacao butter

3 tbsp cacao powder

2 tbsp lucuma

1 tbsp carob (the lucuma and carob can be replaced by a granulated sweetener such as coconut palm sugar ground to a fine powder)

Filling ingredients:

100g cashew nuts

1- 2 tbsps cacao powder

1- 3 tbsp coconut blossom nectar or other liquid sweetener Half a tbsp sesame oil (untoasted)

Half a tbsp water Himalayan salt to taste (optional)


Melt the cacao butter slowly over a low heat to retain the properties of raw chocolate. Add the powders, stirring continuously. Pour a small amount of the liquid chocolate into the base of the cup cake cases, and place them in the fridge while you make the filling. Blend the cashews and cacao powder together to a powder, add in the other ingredients and blend again until a sticky mass is formed. Add more water if necessary. Take the cases out of the fridge and evenly distribute the sticky filling mixture on top of the chocolate bases, ensuring that the top of the mixture is below the rim of the case and isn’t packed tightly into the sides. Pour the remaining liquid chocolate on top of the mixture, letting it flow down the sides. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, or take out after about 20 minutes if you choose to decorate the tops, and then return them to the fridge.