It’s Your Life! Show Exhibitor Blogs – rawCo

At rawCo, we pride ourselves on offering high quality, versatile ingredients to encourage more people to start making delicious, nutritious homemade food from scratch. We regularly update our website with quick and easy recipes using our products to help show that eating well need not be expensive and time-consuming.


 We started rawCo in the Spring of 2015 with our Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. As big fans of coconut oil, we wanted to ensure we were providing the best quality coconut oil possible; hence, we stuck with a provider of cold-pressed coconut oil. The cold-press process entails coconuts being de-husked, grated, dehydrated and pressed at an average temperature of 40°C (105°F). The production does not use solvents or other nasty chemicals. Minimal processing ensures an unadulterated product that retains the full breadth of flavour and all the natural goodness of the coconut. rawCo Extra Virgin Coconut Oil has been produced on machinery that is used to manufacture only coconut products. It does not contain soy, eggs and milk products meaning this is an ideal for those following a Vegan diet.

rawCo Coconut Flour and rawCo Coconut Amino Sauce were added to our product range in Autumn 2015. Coconut Flour is a delicious and healthy alternative to wheat and other grain based flours. It is naturally gluten-free, high in fibre and low in digestible carbohydrates. Coconut Flour is ideal for use in cakes, muffins, pancakes and other baked goods.

rawCo Coconut Amino Sauce is crafted from the sap of the coconut tree. It is aged and blended with sun-dried, mineral-rich sea salt, resulting in a salty and tangy sauce with a sweet aftertaste. Naturally soy-free, gluten-free and wheat-free, it is ideal for coeliacs or those following a paleo or primal lifestyle. This sauce can be added to salad dressings, marinades, stir-fries or used for dipping.

Please visit our website where you will find further information on our products, an online shop, regular blog posts and easy to follow recipes.

Find us on Facebook or on Twitter & Instagram under the handle @rawco_coconut.

The rawCo Team.

It’s Your Life! Show Exhibitor Blogs – h by Maia

h by Maia is a Berkshire-based brand that handcrafts honest all-natural skin care for those who love a little luxury, value naturally radiant skin and want to limit the toxicity in their lives.

h by Maia is transparent about its ingredients and its philosophy encourages you to make informed choices about what you put on your skin.

h by Maia-OilsAs the skin absorbs as much as 60% of what is put onto it, h honest natural skin care is formulated solely with this in mind.  The result is a luxurious blend of high-quality organic oils and rich creamy butters bursting with nutrients, vitamins and essential fatty acids, carefully-selected for their known therapeutic and nourishing benefits to the skin.

Unlike many skincare brands h formulations are oil-based (anhydrous) and completely water-free , which means they have a naturally long shelf-life and do not need any preservatives, emulsifiers or thickeners. Instead every single ingredient is 100% active and selected for its specific therapeutic benefit for the skin. h formulations contain no parabens, petro-chemicals,  SLS, thickening agents, emulsifiers or other synthetic ingredients.

h started out of a love for things honest and natural.  Believing that natural beauty is about integrating nature into our daily lives, h skincare is about being pure and enjoying the simple things – there is nothing more beautiful than naturally radiant skin…

h stands for a host of things:            h by Maia-Cleanser

h is for health

h is for honesty

h is for healing

h is for happiness

It really is quite simple…

Creator and Founder Maia Smith set out to develop a range of products to soothe her own skin problems, which resulted in the first range of h by Maia formulations. “I realised the only way I could make sure the products I used on my skin contained no nasties was to make them myself”.  So that’s exactly what she did.

Having noticed the considerable difference the products made to her skin, Maia now has an increasing local client base who are also now reporting the difference these natural plant oils make to their skin. Two years later she still uses her products every day!

Maia With a background in public health, a key objective of  Maia’s brand is to raise awareness  – through social media and other channels – about undesirable ingredients, and make the use of natural skin care products the norm.

h by Maia exhibited at the November 2015 “It’s Your Life” show as it seemed the perfect opportunity to reach people interested in natural health and wellbeing.  The show included a good range and balance of nutrition, therapy, skin care and wellbeing exhibitors – both local and bigger known brands – which attracted Maia to the show.  It was the ideal opportunity for a start-up business like h by Maia.

As well as increasing the visibility of the brand, the “It’s Your Life” show proved in particular to be an excellent opportunity for networking with other like-minded people and businesses, some of whom Maia hopes to collaborate with going forward.  “I think we are so lucky to have an event of this nature and scale in Reading, and everyone needs to know about it! I enjoyed the atmosphere and really look forward to the April show”.









It’s Your Life! Show Exhibitor Blogs – Inspire Healing

“Facial Reflexology is a unique treatment which focuses on the reflex points in the face to give an extremely relaxing treatment. It not only helps you to improve your health and wellbeing, but it can also help you look better, younger and have a healthy glow on the outside.

The face will feel and look smoother and more toned as the circulation is increased which helps to release muscle tension.

If you are reading this blog you would have most likely heard of foot or hand Reflexology, and Facial Reflexology works on the same theory that areas on your face are connected to areas of your body, and stimulating them improves underlying energy imbalances which can help promote wellbeing. The proximity of the face to the brain is key to the effectiveness of this original therapy.

Facial Reflexology is not a beauty treatment; however it does have some great beautifying side effects. The treatment ‘lifts’ the face to make your face feel and look smoother and more toned. It also encourages lymphatic drainage, stimulates the facial nerves, increases blood flow and muscle tone, helps to build up new skin tissue and improves skin tone. Facial reflexology helps to improve skin tone, strengthen layers of skin tissue and may also help to reduce lines and wrinkles over a series of treatments.  `

Facial Reflexology aims to help reduce the symptoms and effects of many common ailments including stress, IBS, back pain, arthritis, depression, MS and sleep disorders.

It is a really relaxing treatment, and most of the clients I treat fall asleep during the session. It is also great combined with foot reflexology, not only will you get the benefits of both treatments; it is also extremely relaxing to have the face and then feet worked on.

I was trained by Ziggie Bergman at the London School of Reflexology, and you can visit her website here.

If you would like to book a treatment with me, please visit the contact page where you can either call or email for an appointment.” Please click on the link below to see website.

Inspire Healing logo

It’s Your Life! Show Exhibitor Blogs – Active Silver

“Active Silver is Colloidal Silver of the highest quality, used as a very effective antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and tissue healing solution.

You can use it as a daily preventative to enhance your body’s immune system, or as a first defence to naturally treat infection, disease and heal tissue and skin. It’s also used by those with illnesses that cannot be treated or have defeated modern drugs, or who want an alternative/don’t like the idea of antibiotics or modern drugs. It can be taken orally or put onto skin. It’s also brilliant for pets too such as cats, dogs and horses.”



It’s Your Life! Show Exhibitor Blogs – A Basing Bakes


A Basing Bakes logo

” A Basing Bakes is a home baking business, based in Basingstoke, and specialising in gluten free products.  Helen Lang is the proprietor, she has been cooking professionally for 15 years and 3 years ago decided to branch out on her own.
Having many requests from customers to cater for special diets, and seeing the lack of good quality products on the supermarket shelves, Helen decided to teach herself how to bake gluten free.
Since then she has won 2 stars in last years coveted Great Taste Awards, for one of her quiches and is now a member of Hampshire Fare, sourcing as many ingredients locally as possible .
A Basing Bakes now has a dedicated gluten free food prep area, keeping the risk of contamination to a minimum.”


Cancer – Can We Prevent It?

Having lost four celebrities to cancer last month, I was motivated to write this. We are all to some degree, sad at the loss of these influential people because they touched our lives. But their deaths are just a drop in the ocean. These statistics are from the Macmillan website:

  • There are now an estimated 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK, rising to 4 million by 2030
  • By 2020 almost one in two people (47%) will get cancer at some point in their lives
  • More than a thousand people will be diagnosed with cancer everyday in the UK by the end of 2016

Around 160,000 people in the UK die from cancer every year


 I couldn’t find any statistics regarding the ages of sufferers, other than for specific cancers. However, it’s apparent that cancer diagnoses are increasing in young people. On my first ward as a student nurse in the 1970s, I remember a man who had the terminal stages of lung cancer. He was in his early 50s. I was chosen to accompany the ward sister on the consultant’s ward round whilst this gentleman was a patient and was witness to the discussion following the round. Even though they had seen cancers in people this young before, it was still uncommon to see terminal illness through cancer in someone so young. As was said at the time – “cancer is a disease of the elderly” – when the body’s usual repair functions, start to slow down and don’t work correctly. People as young as 30 are being diagnosed – and younger. What is happening?

My view is that it’s never just one thing – it’s usually several. Yes this man smoked, but so did my grandmother (like a trooper!) and she died at 83 – not surprisingly, from lung cancer. My grandmother out-lived this man by 30 years! The difference, I believe, was that my grandmother had a wonderful diet – rich in good fats and free from toxins. The 70s saw the uprising of toxic vegetable oils in preference to butter, lard and dripping. I could relate many more anecdotes, but suffice to say, that there are more anecdotes.

Can we protect ourselves? I don’t have the definitive guide to preventing cancer, but I can cut your chances:

  • Reduce your use of toxic household and personal products. Get rid of the products under your sink that have hazard warnings and try these instead.
    Use just water for showering or find some very pure organic toiletries.
  • Eat organic food – especially the things you eat daily.
  • Get some sunshine for the vitamin D3 it gives us. Read the sunshine blog.
  • Stop eating foods that cause inflammation – especially seed oils, margarine and anything loosely called “vegetable oil.” Sugar – need I say more? Remember that all carbohydrate foods provide sugar to the body (limit grains), so don’t base your diet on these. Stop smoking.
  • Some medications are vital, but in general, try to find other ways to deal with illness and discomfort. Our main source of defence against illness, our microbiome (the good bugs in our gut and on our skin) is so easily disrupted by medications. We all make rogue – or potentially cancerous – cells in our bodies every day, but a strong immune system will dismantle them. Nurture your immune system.
  • Don’t overdo anything! If you drink – have days off. If you smoke (give it up!), cut them down. If you run, (this can cause inflammation in the body if overdone), relax or meditate as well. If you must have a Big Mac, please, make it a monthly occurrence! (I can’t bring myself to say treat!)
  • Always take time for relaxation – read, meditate, take a long bath and so on. These are anti-inflammatory practices.
  • Read my guidelines for health.



These measures will take you a long way towards protecting against cancer, but there may be others. I’ll keep you informed!




More Deception – Bowel Cancer

We have become used to believing what is said in the media. They must be right mustn’t they? The government say it’s OK or not OK so we think we’re OK.

There is a saying that goes something like, “Just because the majority believe it, doesn’t mean it’s not a lie” and how true that is! When it’s concerning our health, these lies make us ill and for me it’s just not acceptable.

Starting from basics: Why does organic food need to be labelled so? It is FOOD. Why do foods that have been tampered with genetically, sprayed with toxic chemicals, or come with a side-garnish of antibiotics, get to be called “food”? We have got used to this system. To my way of thinking it should be turned on its head. The goods that grown/bred with chemicals, should be labelled as such because they are extra to the food.Dairy CowNow let’s look at the recent, scary news headlines. “Eating bacon, sausages, ham and salami increases your chance of bowel cancer.” Then they added – red meat probably does too. What a load of twaddle! We have been eating most of these foods for millennia! Before we had refrigeration, many meats were salted, spiced and dried or “cured” because they lasted longer without rotting. Sausages were a great way to use off-cuts of meat and made to go further by adding breadcrumbs. I don’t know where to start with red meat! Actually, yes I do. We have eaten red meat for millions of years – or we would not be here in the way that we are. Please remember – it is NEVER one food that makes someone ill – it is their diet that has this dubious accolade. See my guidelines.

Cheap foods with added toxic chemicals, should come with a health warning. Look at the list of ingredients on a pack of sausages, talk to a butcher – get wise. If you vote with your feet and buy organic food, more farmers will turn back to the traditional ways of producing food – real food. You could grow your own of course – and keep a few hens!

It is a sad fact that cheap food is produced through greed. The producers will say that it is  consumer demand, so let’s change it. Don’t be a victim – eat food the way nature intended.


The “It’s Your Life!” Show – Growing Up!

After a lifetime in nursing and five and a half years as a Clinical Nutritionist, I had an idea – a good one! The “It’s Your Life!” natural health show opened its doors at Rivermead Leisure Complex in Reading, April 2015.

My life has been all about health – it is my passion. We are a species that should be born to wellness, not illness and I have seen far too much unnecessary ill-health. As a nutritionist, I have met people who have become poorly through no fault of their own (not knowingly at least), or the fault of others who are may also have been misguided. To me, there is absolutely no point in treating anyone unless I also tell them why we’re doing what we’re doing. Education – period.

During my yoga class at Rivermead Leisure Complex in Reading in October last year, a light came on – and burned brightly! Educating people on a one-to-one basis is great, but why not get lots of people in one place, on one day and have knowledgeable, natural health and wellbeing professionals to guide these people to better health choices? An event, in fact! Taking the bull by the horns, after the class, I sought a manager. He loved the idea! I was thinking a few stands and demonstrations but when the events manager showed me the hall available – I was truly astounded! It was huge! “Oh yes,” he said. “You’ll easily get eighty stands in here.” Gauntlet thrown down!

IYL 12th April 2015  001

After a chat with my friend Isabel (Once Upon a Cook), the show was born. The main aspects of healthy life would be demonstrated as:
Moving – how we exercise
Nourishing – how we feed ourselves
Wellbeing – how we live

For the next four months, the computer and I were joined at the hip. I only wanted the best people exhibiting. Wherever possible, exhibitors would be fairly local or be selling goods online. It was important to be showcasing that which is on the doorstep in Reading.

After a many sleepless nights, I had my exhibitors. (Inspiration often visited at that time! A pencil and paper at the side of the bed was vital.) This bunch of people were bursting with enthusiasm!

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The day was fabulous. Let me say now, many years as a nurse and nutritionist does NOT make one an event organiser! I made mistakes and lessons have been learned. Nonetheless, from the feedback forms, it seems that the visitors had a great time. The feedback from the exhibitors was that they had done well and had loved being in a hall with so many like-minded people – I couldn’t agree more! Most of the exhibitors will be back for the next show.


From the visitors
“Exceeded expectations – absolutely brilliant!”
“Brilliant! Really enjoyed myself!”
“Two days needed!”
“It’s perfect, but more stalls!”

From the exhibitors
“Excellent for the first time”
“First time – we’re impressed!”
“A good quality event”
“Great to meet like-minded people!”
“We had a blast!” (read testimonial here)

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Planning has begun for the next event in Reading. It will be bigger and better! I have been approached by several more companies who would like to exhibit in November. There will be more healthy food stands, more holistic therapists, some exciting new skin products and it is a great place for your Christmas shopping! Join us:


AND, the It’s Your Life! show will be in Birmingham in the new year, hosted by Isabel Natrins of Once Upon a Cook… Food wisdom, Better Living!

A New Health Event for Reading – It’s Your Life! April 2015

All of my working life has been concerned with health. I spent over 40 years in nursing – the NHS, private nursing and a charity. Observing over this length of time makes obvious what poor diet and lifestyle can do to a body – and most of us are aware of this even if we don’t always live up to it.

The price we pay when we take prescribed drugs

file000237973770The other problems that I have witnessed have come from drugs – legally prescribed for some ailment. It has to be remembered that in order to bring about help for an ailment, drugs must (or it happens coincidentally,) “poison” another anatomical or physiological part of us. Take arthritis or other inflammatory conditions. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often used for pain relief and these damage the gastric lining. Antibiotics prescribed for an infection usually decimate all the bacteria living on and in our bodies, indiscriminately. Hence, the bacterium causing the infection is conquered – but so are our beneficial bacteria – leaving our immune system wide open to attack from opportunist micro-organisms, making us sick again.

There is a price to pay for having our ills treated. Don’t misunderstand me – I for one would not be here writing this if I had not had mega-units of penicillin after a cat-scratch hospitalised me! There is a place for medical intervention – as a nurse, I saw many lives saved.

Wellness not illness

Disease prevention is where I am concentrating now. I am not necessarily talking about early detection of ill-health – although some methods are a good idea. We are born to wellness (for the most part) – not a life of illness. What is needed is proper education to help people with this, hence the “It’s Your Life!” show at Rivermead Leisure Centre, Reading. Everyone needs to feel that there is choice when it comes to their health and I set about the organisation of the event with this is mind. Health education should be free so there was no charge for entry to the show and neither will there be in the future.

IYL 12th April 2015  172It was hard work looking for the right people to exhibit – but an absolute joy to feel people’s passion for it! What better way to spread the word about improving our chances of a long and healthy life than to have eighty stands, manned by knowledgeable and sincere people? The feedback from the public was extremely encouraging. Berkshire has obviously been waiting for this and we are going to deliver. Bigger and better next time!

The aims of the show

The main aim was to show healthier choices in Moving, Wellbeing and Nourishing – which all add up to our lifestyles. We had a yoga and dance demonstration; there was a Nordic Walking specialist; Rivermead’s gym manager was on hand to answer questions about their facilities. There were many natural and holistic therapists offering taster treatments; product exhibitors were many, selling natural foods, personal care and other products to help preserve and nurture our health and our planet.

Another aim of the show was, where possible, to find small local companies. It is good for the economy, the carbon foot-print, Berkshire dwellers and the businesses themselves. One of the new local businesses wrote a lovely review of the show and you can see it here. Those companies from further afield offered goods by mail order.

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This show will continue twice yearly for as long as I am able! There will be a Christmas show in November and you will see all the natural therapies and hear the health advice, but with the opportunity to do some shopping for gifts too. See you there!

Email me

Photographs courtesy of Kathryn Fell Photography

Me Jane – You Tarzan! Part 2

Becoming Farmers

It was around 10, 000 years ago that we decided to settle. This meant that we could keep animals for food and grow some of the tastier plants. We also began growing grain. It is generally believed, due to the examination of human bones and teeth from this era, that farming heralded the beginning of the deterioration of aspects of our health. However, over subsequent millennia, we have adapted to this diet. When nature sees a genetic advantage, it is quick to switch off some genes and switch on others.



People in the Northern Hemisphere ate and tolerated dairy products at this time. We had the digestive equipment in place for most of the nutrients. The milk sugar lactose needs the enzyme lactase to digest it. We naturally produce this during infancy so as to digest breast milk, but then the gene is sometimes switched off.  With a small genetic adjustment to switch it back on and the fact that raw milk contains lactase, we were then able to benefit from raw dairy products. In fact much of the milk at that time would have soured into “yogurt” and some, ultimately used as a type of cheese. These products contain less lactose anyway, as the sugar is used by the bacteria and yeasts that ferment milk.

New Foods

Grains, peas and beans are a relatively new food for humans too. It was only when we settled that we were able to choose the biggest and the best of the seeds to produce future plants. These may well have been grown for fodder initially. Whilst they undoubtedly have some decent nutrients for humans, most are unavailable to us until the grains are processed thoroughly. All plants contain “antinutrients”. These are natural chemicals that aid the survival of plant species – they do not want to be eaten into extinction! We are all fighting for our place on the planet and we all have to defend ourselves.

These substances have the ability to make us unwell or at least uncomfortable. They can stop us digesting proteins properly (protease inhibitors); slow down starch digestion (amylase inhibitors); they can prevent the absorption of vital minerals (phytates, oxalates, glucosinolates, tannins and more). Plants are out to get us!

OBack in those times, slow food was the only way. We would have learned very quickly that grains and beans cannot be eaten raw without lengthy processing. Even then, some are just not edible raw due to the presence of lectins, another antinutrient. Red kidney beans are a good example. During the 1960s, it became trendy  to become vegetarian, but little had been published on the subject and people just did their own thing. Consumption of raw beans is downright dangerous and hundreds of new vegetarians were hospitalised with varying degrees of digestive distress. Death can occur as we have no digestive way of processing this lectin, to make it non-toxic. It can enter the bloodstream unchanged.

Processing beans and grains involves soaking and fermenting or sprouting, which renders the antinutrients less harmful. There are usually still traces which today, can still be problematic for some.

This, and part 1 of Me Jane – You Tarzan!, gives you a little insight to how our digestive systems have evolved. It is my belief that if we eat the diet we have evolved with, we are less likely to suffer the modern illnesses. Eggs, nuts, fish, meat, green vegetables, roots and a little fruit. (Remember that the fruit and veg we have now, bear no resemblance to those we ate in the past.)

However – we have evolved to be able to tolerate, without too much problem – the odd slice of cake or a meal in a restaurant. Just as well I’d say!