A Message From Babette

19 December 2020

Babette Bluett-Duncan


I have been once again delighted to the point of being overwhelmed by your reactions, words of encouragement, feedback on me following my intuition and remaining in charge of my own health, offers/ideas of meditation groups, cards, ideas of recipes, and that is without counting the flowers and other tokens of your thinking about me. There were also a number of questions which I will attempt to address now, especially as I have only managed to answer/acknowledge about half of all the emails I've received so far. Questions about why fasting, who said it was good, what do “the doctors” say and why 40 days. 

Starting backwards, the 40 days was advice from the French naturopath with whom I started my first long fast 2 years ago (I did 19 days then). I will start another one fairly soon after Christmas, with the aim of also doing a 3rd one before the end of 2021. My very first knowledge of fasting and it's benefits came in the form of a French Documentary in 2012, (sorry it is in French), Le jeûne : une nouvelle thérapie ? (Il digiuno: una nuova terapia? [sottotitoli in italiano]) which talked, amongst other things, about the findings of Dr Valter Longo and his findings on Fasting for Longevity and fasting to help with cancer.

I did my 1st fast, 2 days, before a chemo, 2 and ½ years ago, and thought I “could never do it”. I was in tears in the car with Andrew and Jeanne the day before fasting, and I was so sure I would fail that Andrew said he would fast with me to encourage me, and then Jeanne said “me too”. That has helped me start, and also the permission to self of not doing anything, not achieving anything, and just playing scrabble online for 48 hours.

I have since found out that the most difficult part of fasting is fear. Fear to skip breakfast, fear that we are going to flag, fear that we are endangering our health, to name just a few. But in nature, not only does it happen often, but some species fast when they mate, as they then have more strength, not less. My compatriots are quite strong on fasting and there's a plethora of 1 or 2 weeks sessions of “Jeune et Randonnees” (Fast and walk) all over France, or simply Fasting retreats with nutrition advice and support.

There is also a clinic in Germany, which has been doing medically supervised fasting for a 100 years, and they advocate 4 weeks for “heavy pathologies” BUCHINGER WILHELMI - Therapeutic fasting & integrative medicine (buchinger-wilhelmi.com). This last one I am very tempted to go to, but it costs an arm and a leg, and above all, Covid is a deterrent as for the 1st week I would have to be isolating in my room, hence I might choose to do my next one solo again.

I shared last week how I was sent to a very vulnerable place some 2 weeks ago, but my experience of fasting is generally not only not too difficult but even easy often. My understanding of this is that when we are fasting, our bodies are not starved, they just get the food somewhere inside, and so the hunger disappears. What happened to me this time round was compounded by medicine I was taking to begin with (for pains that actually disappeared after 6 or so days of fasting), and 2 scans on the same day on day 10, each with a huge amount of chemical intake on an empty stomach… won’t be doing that again ;)

What was very difficult, and actually, I only did it for 2 days, was to eat just 1 meal a day! Wow, my body appeared to go straight into “IT’S SPRING, FEED ME” after my first salad and I was starving and ended up definitely overeating in the evenings. I could see this didn’t work for me, remembered that the reason for the 1 meal a day was to avoid putting all the weight back on, whilst my aim today is not to lose weight, but is to starve the cancer. So, I remembered the SMART objectives we often talk about in business where A stands for Achievable and concentrated on eating the right food. I am pleased to say that I feel I have found a way, and basically, I eat very Low GI food, so I do not generate hunger much… I had shed well over 2 stone, but have put 7lbs back on, and remember reading somewhere that most of us carry 4 to 6lb of stuff in our digestive system at any one point. So, I am very happy with feeling satisfied both in my energy levels and in eating really yummy food and to have “only” put on 3 lbs after 2 days of binge eating.

Re Meditation, I always knew it was good for you, but the penny dropped 2 days ago as to why. I went to have a craniotherapy session and the lady doing it said “Healing happens when we are still” … of course, we need our Sympathetic system (fight or flight) to be still, so that the Parasympathetic can restore calm and that is when the body repairs itself. In a society where we never stop, always have our phones on (I’m working on my dependency to my phone) then our restorative system never has a chance to do its healing job.

Onwards and upwards.


Covid-19 Update

Andrew Bluett-Duncan

Director, Art of Living cookshop

Disclaimer: this information is correct at the time of publishing 06/07/2020, our situation will be under continuous review. 

  • Art of Living's Reigate and Cobham shops are now open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 3.00pm.

    At the entrance of the shops, we have a unit that I built with sanitiser and we are encouraging you to use it, especially if you want to touch things in the shop. This also applies to people wearing gloves. 

    We are all wearing visors, which is a great find (thank you Em) because they are far more pleasant to wear than masks, and enable us to be facing you without the 2 metre distance, and above all they allow us to be understood by customers and colleagues alike. I have built a screen in front of the tills and these are working well. We also have more sanitiser there.

    We are still allowing only 3 customers in the shop at any one time. If you come in as a couple, we would ask you to stay together if there are other people in the shop. 

    We’ll be asking you to pay by card if possible and the floor is marked out to give you a guide on distancing.

    Our website shop remains open, alive and kicking.

    Kind regards

    Andrew Bluett-Duncan

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are pleased to say that we are operational, our website is open for you to place orders and we are dispatching at an unprecedented rate. Our incredible warehouse team have been working non stop to make sure we can still pick, pack and dispatch your orders as quickly as possible. As with most companies, we are operating with fewer staff than we normally would be, so we hope you understand that it may take a little longer than usual to answer your phone calls and respond to your emails.
Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

To make sure we can answer all customer queries as quickly as possible, please consider the following Frequently Asked Questions before contacting us:

When should I expect my order?
We are currently asking customer to refrain from calling us to chase up delivery dates for orders. This allows us to prioritise actually getting your goods out for delivery. Unfortunately we are not able to answer telephone queries at this time, though you can leave a voicemail message for us. This may, at times, mean that our response times are a little slower than usual but we would ask that you bear with us. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience, but please rest assured that all customer enquiries will be dealt with.

Our warehouse team is working hard to make sure that most products are dispatched within our standard lead time and many items are going out much quicker. Some items do have longer lead times due to our suppliers also working with fewer staff and taking longer to deliver to us.

Depending on whether you gave us your email address or mobile number when you placed your order, we will email or text you once items are dispatched and on the way. Your order confirmation will give you a 'worst case scenario' delivery date.

Why have we suspended taking telephone orders?
We are currently unable to take orders over the phone and so we ask all customers to visit https://aolcookshop.co.uk/ to place orders.

I received my order, but it was incomplete.

We do sometimes part ship orders to ensure the products arrive as quickly as possible. So if you receive a delivery and think something is missing, please check the delivery note as this will let you know what should be in the parcel and if there is anything to follow in future deliveries.

My delivery tracking shows my items have been delivered but I haven’t got them.
Our carriers are currently operating “Contact free” deliveries. If you receive confirmation that something has been delivered but haven’t received it, it’s worth checking around your property or in your designated safe place before contacting us.

Do you have plenty of stock?
In short, yes we do! We are constantly ordering more stock so that we can not only continue to fulfil orders as they are placed, but also reduce the amount of time you have to wait. However, a number of our suppliers have gone from delivering to us in 24 – 48 hours to 10 - 14 days and this, along with a spike in demand means that some items may be delayed, or temporarily unavailable.

I have another question or problem

We would like to assure you that we continue to be here if you need us. Like most of our customers, many of our staff are spending the vast majority of their time at home and we realise that cooking and baking are becoming a sanctuary. We are committed to making sure we do everything we can to continue to supply you with the best quality products at great value.

Please email info@artoflivingcookshop.co.uk.

Thank you for your continued custom and for your support and patience at this challenging time.

We really appreciate it and wish you all health and best wishes.

The Art of Living Team