How this opportunity to relax in the sun could cost you nothing

The Good Life Letter

22nd January  2009

  • Why my wife is right about 'the good life' being more
    than just about what you eat...

  • Fancy a freebie holiday in the sun or a spa break for
    two? Here's how you could get the opportunity...

  • How hemp could improve your heart health, regulate
    your blood pressure... and even ease joint pain

There are two overriding obsessions in the Collins household...

First off.... FOOD... and this is almost entirely my fault

The cupboards are filled with raw honey, flax and kelp... herbs
grow out of ramshackle pots dotted around the place... there's
constantly a simmering stock on the stove, or a stew, soup or
casserole being made from that stock... and every week
Amazon deliver a new book about the evils of the modern food
industry or the latest alternative health cures...

But it's one of the side-effects of writing a letter like this... you
can't help but follow up on all the nutritional tips you discover!

After all, these are remedies that could help us fight off
disease, lift our moods and feel younger... healthier
... so
they're too important to ignore, right?

The trouble is, the more remedies I discover, the more I have to
do to put these remedies into practice. And the more food
experimenting I do, the more I discover!

"Aaaarrrgh!" cry my wife and kids. "When will it stop?""

But it's not just me on a maniacal quest. There's a second
obsession in our household...

...WINNING stuff.

And this is almost entirely my wife, Lara's fault. She's a
seasoned, dedicated 'comper'. That is, someone who enters all
those competitions offered by various companies and
publications in the UK every day.

Not a day goes by where she's not posted an entry or gone
online to fire-off her details...

And not a month goes by where she's not won something,
whether it's a small cash prize, tickets and vouchers, or holiday

"For you, Ray, The Good Life, is all about food," she says, "For
me it's about getting all the good things in life for free."

And this got me thinking...

In a way, Lara's got a point. What we call 'The Good Life' isn't
just about natural remedies that do our bodies good... or about
avoiding pain and disease... it's about having a sense of
adventure and fun.

Some people sniff at the idea of enjoying material things. But
for compers, it's as much about the thrill of the chase... finding
those little known competitions that hardly anyone enters... and
winning things that add randomness and sparkle to your life.

It's not all about 'winning a toaster'... it's about freebie holidays,
garden makeovers, spa days, theatre experiences and all sorts
of mini-adventures.

To see what I mean, have a look at this website, which is my
wife's favourite.

Simply Prizes

How to 'feed your soul' in the streets of Paris

This prize-finding service does all the work for you. It lists
details of all the best competitions and prize draws in the UK
(and some from overseas) every month.

In the recent month, for instance, here was what was up for

  • A family holiday to Florida.
  • A Volkswagen Beetle Luna 1.4
  • A weekend break in Paris for two people.
  • £3,000 Thomas Cook Vouchers.
  • A football training session with John Terry.
  • A VIP theatre trip.
  • A Champneys Spa break for two people.

Those aren't prizes that feed a lust for material wealth... they're
fun prizes that will bring you new experiences and everlasting

A romantic weekend in Paris, a fun family holiday or a night at
the theatre may not boost your levels of iron or vitamin B... but
they could certainly feed the soul.

Take this email from one of Lara's fellow compers:

"Words cannot describe the amazing holiday we won: a week
on Richard Branson's own private Caribbean Island! It was out
of this world. And all from entering a competition that cost just
60p. My wife and I will never forget this for the rest of our lives."
Barry Heggie

If you're interested in trying out this easy little hobby, it could be
a great way to bring a bit of adventure, optimism and happiness
into your life. Especially this winter, where tragedy, extreme
weather and gloom seem to be the order of the day.

This site is my wife's top recommendation:

Simply Prizes

Okay, now back to MY obsession....

A little-known food that could help your heart

A reader has emailed me to say:

"I have read that hemp hearts are a very healthy food and taste
like nuts. Help with pain relief and decrease swelling along with
numerous other benefits. What's your input on this?"

Well, my view is that hemp hearts are definitely worth
considering. And I'll explain quickly...

Hemp hearts are shelled hemp seeds. The hemp plant is a soft
fibre that comes from the Cannabis plant. However
consumption of this material doesn't have anything to do with
getting stoned and listening to Jimi Hendrix.

Hemp is now a widely used material that goes into paper,
textiles and plastics.  This usage is quite well-known...

But less well-known is hemp's growing reputation as a health

Hemp oil, for instance, is an anti-inflammatory, good for
problems like joint pain.

Hemp seeds are packed with omega 3 fats which are good for
your brain.  They are high in protein, and also contain high
concentrations of vitamins and enzymes, while being very low in
saturated fats and carbs.

In the same way as flaxseeds, you can add hemp hearts to your
food. You can sprinkle them on your muesli or yoghurt, mix
them into your porridge, or grind them into a meal and add to
your bread, cake or muffin recipes.

People who add 2-4 tablespoons-worth of hemp hearts to their
breakfast each morning claim the following benefits...

  • More energy and a brighter mood
  • Fewer cravings for high-carb food, sweets and snacks
    during the day 
  • Faster weight loss, when used as part of a healthy,
    balanced diet
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better levels of bad cholesterol
  • Reduced inflammation in the joints
  • Healthier, naturally moisturised skin

They're not something I've personally tried yet. But all the
material I've read points to these seeds being a really beneficial
addition to your diet. And I'll definitely check them out.

You can get the seeds and the oil in the UK and the USA. In
both places they're a legal food product. However, as of yet I've
not got a recommended supplier for you. So ask at your local
health store, or type "hemp seeds UK" into a search engine and
shop around online. 

I'll be back with more on Sunday. In the meantime, if you're
interested in a chance to enjoy the 'good life' in the sun... and
win holidays, cash prizes and weekend breaks... here's that
Simply Prizes website again:

Simply Prizes

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