Wow, what a couple of days!
Fly to New York for 48 hours of publicity for the book then back to Australia to start shooting a new Wiggles DVD. I think that qualifies as a long commute. Nevertheless, I’ve had a ball this week, thanks to the more-than-two-dozen good folks on US television and radio I got to speak to about How I Got My Wiggle Back and a great friend in New York City who treated me to an amazing dinner. Of course, I forgot to pack enough clothes and it was ch-i-ll-y in the Big Apple early in the week, so it was probably a positive I had to be locked in a studio for a day for satellite interviews about the book.
If my cousin and co-writer Greg Truman had his way, I would have been stuck in there until I dropped, but I did manage to escape one night to my great friend Anastasios Hairatidis’s magnificent Middle Eastern themed restaurant, Casa La Femme. This joint is something to behold. A luxurious Middle Eastern experience in the heart of Greenwich Village — complete with bellydancer (not me, I hasten to add). Anastasios, who I met years ago when his kids were preschoolers, is flying high with his restaurant but it wasn’t just the food and the atmosphere that made for a great night: it was seeing my friend, happy and healthy.
Last time I was with Anastasios a few years ago he was as engaging as always, but I was worried about him: his health was a problem. The stress of owning restaurants and bringing up a young family in Manhattan was taking its toll. He’d had enough. He felt unhealthy and the idea of continuing to build his career to benefit his young family seemed impossible. But, not unlike me, he’s found a way to face up to his health challenges and take them on. For him, a vegan diet was the path to losing 15 kilos and adding years to his life. He hasn’t sworn off meat completely (if you saw the offerings at Casa La Femme you’d know why), but he’s made it his usual routine.
In How I Got My Wiggle Back, I touch on my positive vegetarian experience as a kid at university. Now, I know why that approach works so well — it embodies the concept I discussed in the book advocated by Dr. Rich Gringeri of eating easily digestible foods. That doesn’t mean you have to become a vege or a vegan, but it pays to recognize the benefits of eating raw and unprocessed foods.
Now Anastasios, who has always had far too much energy and drive for a normal human being anyway, has found yet another gear — not only is he running a bunch of restaurants he’s decided to become a dry cleaner! With our informal lifestyle and warm climate, it’s hard for Aussies to get their head around this, but in New York where tailored suits and heavy coats can be a daily consideration, a first class valet dry-cleaning service is something revered. Full of new found energy, my buddy has launched himself at becoming the go-to guy in the business and it’s working, big time, mainly because of his dedication to service.
So next time you need a fine feed, or beautifully refreshed outfit in NY, I know just the man for you. Regardless, it’s worth evaluating what Anastasios has done — a frantically busy middle aged guy who was ready to pack it all in, he’s faced the facts, drawn a line in the sand and decided to do something wonderful for himself.
If he can do it … if I can do it, you can too.