Category Archives: my health

Life begins at fifty – Healthy Life #14 My favourite way to eat quinoa and kale…at the moment!

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Up until last month, I didn’t like quinoa. I’d had it twice, once hot and once cold, but both times it was bland, wierd and gritty. I wanted to like quinoa. Whole grains are important in a plant based diet, and I was sure quinoa could be useful. Then I learned something interesting – add your flavourings to quinoa BEFORE you add water to cook it. This is my favourite way to cook quinoa.

Cooking quinoa

1 cup quinoa

1 cup water

1 tablespoon sesame/coconut oil (I cut this down to 2 tspns of sesame oil, and it works!)

1 teaspoon turmeric

salt and pepper

1 Toast quinoa in the oil and turmeric until you can smell the spices, and all the grains are well coated.

2 Add salt and pepper and stir again.

3 Add water. Bring to the boil and cook on a low heat for 12-15 mins. (Half cover the pan and stir at 10 mins to check all is well.)

The quinoa should puff up and all the water will be gone. Tip into another bowl. Fluff up with a fork and allow to cool.

This quinoa is tasty hot or cold, and a great way to get your daily turmeric, as well as being a whole grain.

Which leads us to kale…my delicious chickpea and spinach recipe https://wendysteele.com/?s=spinach+and+chick+peas

can be made with kale, but I’ve been looking for a way to eat kale raw, and Alyssa at Simply Quinoa gives a number of options. I’m working my way through them, and I’m sharing my favourite so far with you today. For more recipes, this is Alyssa’s YouTube channel  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKUDSBYR-rOFBflYGJ43Ixg

Kale and quinoa salad

1 cup red cabbage

1 cup grated carrot

½ cup quinoa (I used 1 1/2 cups)

4 cups chopped kale

¼ cup cashews

(I added ¼ cup raisins)

Dressing:

3 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

1 whole lime, juice of (I used ½ lime)

¼ teaspoon maple syrup

1 In a large bowl check through kale and remove all hard stems. Add dressing and massage for 1-2 minutes. (I added half the dressing, then a little more, so didn’t use it all and saved it in the fridge)

2 Mix in the rest of the ingredients and it’s ready to eat, or chill in fridge.

This salad is a great way to tick off lots of boxes of your Daily Dozen! There’s veg and cruciferous veg, whole grains and nuts. In the photo you can see I added more salad, with tomatoes, rocket and beetroot, as well as pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

I hope this has inspired you to try quinoa and kale for yourself, and do share your favourite ways to eat them! See you soon for more recipes and updates on my Healthy Life journey.

 

 

 

 

 

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Life begins at fifty – Healthy life #13 – Why Vegan?

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This post documents my personal journey from being brought up as a meat eater by my parents to my ethical and health based choice to be counted as a Vegan. Everyone’s story is different. My reason for sharing my story is my inability to understand how a person can stop being a Vegan, if they’ve made a stand to be counted as one, and return to eating animal products. Let me tell you why…

I was born and brought up in a typical, ordinary household, where we had a roast dinner on Sunday, that also made up a dinner of cold meat, chips and peas on Monday, and the remnants added to the curry on Tuesday. As a child, I always disliked hot meat.

It wasn’t until I left home, bumped into an old friend at a wedding reception, that I learned there was an alternative to eating meat and fish. I was in a position to cook for myself, but didn’t know how, so I signed myself up for an evening class in vegetarian cookery. I chose to give up eating living creatures when I committed to being a vegetarian. It wasn’t easy. Though I rarely ate out, omelettes were the usual choice available at a restaurant. Over the years I built up a repertoire of delicious vegetarian meals, sharing recipes in the school playground if asked. At that time, I believed I was doing my best for animals, the human family and the planet by not eating meat and fish. I’d read as widely as I could (before the internet) about the huge swathes of land and water given over to producing beef that could feed the world, and I wanted to be part of a movement that had that as a goal.

Almost fifteen years later, with my life maxed out with stress, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In order to stop the pain, I needed to change my diet. With little guidance, I struggled to work out what was causing the problem. Further tests revealed I was intolerant to wheat and dairy, as well as a list of other foods. Wheat and dairy were the main culprits, causing most of my pain, yet I’d spent years cooking and perfecting recipes that regularly featured both (hence the problem), and I struggled to cope with the change. I continued to cook for my family, while eating very little in an attempt to keep my pain small too.

Bellydance saved my life. I joined in a class at the age of 40 with my daughter, then aged 9. I knew if I wanted to dance, I needed to eat. I began to learn to put meals together for myself without wheat and dairy.

It took me years to get the balance of foods ‘right’ in my body, and I tended to eat less, just to be on the safe side.

Five years ago my partner and I moved to Wales. Around this time, one of our sons switched from vegetarian to veganism. He pointed me in the direction of videos and books, explaining how damaging dairy can be on the body. He lives with arthritis, has done since he was twelve, and he decided to remove dairy from his diet. The inflammation in his joints reduced significantly and he felt a lot better, so my partner and I took a step in that direction; I gave up the goat’s cheese I occasionally ate and the Magnum ice lollies (made with skimmed milk powder that didn’t affect me as much), and my partner cut down on cheese. The biggest change was adding more green vegetables to our diet and making them a much bigger part of our plate share. Eldest son and his fiancee joined in the plant based eating, switching from eating meat to focussing on plants. Recipe swapping was prevalent, though the youngsters were so much freer with trying new ideas, making up recipes as they went along.

January 2018 my partner and I gave up smoking nicotine. The hormones in my body went ballistic. Weight landed around my middle, I felt weighed down, depressed and anxious. I took up walking regularly. In the time we’d been in Wales, we’d watched documentaries and Youtube videos about the environment, knowing a crisis was coming. We’d always done our best to recycle and make as few trips in the car as possible. By December 2018 it was evident that the climate crisis was upon us. Everyone needed to do their best.

I knew eating a whole food, plant based diet was best for my body. I now know it’s best for the planet too. I can’t proclaim to care about the amazing planet we live on, if I don’t stand up and be counted as a Vegan. I know Vegan means different things to different people; it must do, or the vloggers who can quit so easily were lying all along. I was a vegetarian; I am now a Vegan, and for me that means not consuming animal products or derivatives, but it also means I live my life caring about the causes of all my actions; from driving to a supermarket for only three items, to buying a bag of salad in a plastic bag. I need to think, and make choices not just for me. I’m not perfect. I have a long way to go, but it’s no longer a good enough excuse to say ‘but plastic is so convenient’ or ‘but I prefer drinking from a plastic straw’.

The new array of Vegan products in the supermarkets made to taste like meat, are a step in the right direction for all meat eaters to join in Meat Free Monday, but small steps need to be converted to big strides quickly. We need celebrities to get on board now. I was appalled to read Dr Michael Moseley’s articles on why he won’t be going Vegan or giving up meat, and even more disheartened to read in the comments the hateful abuse against vegans. It’s time we woke up to what is really happening to our world, or there won’t be a world to wake up to. It’s time to care. The time has gone to say ‘I’ll think about it’. We need to act now, so why not join me on my Vegan journey?

I’m excited! I’ve thousands of new recipes and food combinations to explore. Plant based food tastes good and it does you good! My energy levels have definitely increased since the beginning of this year, and my excess weight is disappearing. Check out the recipes on this website – put in ‘plant based’ or ‘healthy eating’ into the search box and away you go. All recipes are tried and tested, and my tips and alternatives are listed for your convenience.

We already do clothes swaps within our tribe….why not organise a similar one with your friends? Use local swap sites rather than buying new. Recycle items yourself….the inside of a washing machine makes a fabulous fire pit!

We can do this! Let’s join forces to save our planet.

 

Life Begins at Fifty – Healthy Life #12 Life and Exercise

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I’ve been walking for over a year, first thing in the morning before I get dressed with my garden coat over my pyjamas, on the land surrounding our house. It suits me starting the day this way, getting an idea how tired my legs are and how my body feels before I embark on another day. I pushed up the number of steps and the intensity, and it helped loosen the tyre around my waist that had arrived after my hormones went into overdrive.

I’m lucky to be surrounded by such magnificent, inspiring scenery, helping me churn out the steps that I know will lead to a fitter, healthier body.

Visiting our children before Easter, they too enjoy long walks, out in the fresh air with friends and family, and I love nothing more than walking the length of a beach at low tide. This is me at Poppet Sands last week. Walking is essential for me as part of my fitness regime. It suits my body. I used it, pushing a pushchair around with my first born in it thirty years ago, when he refused to sleep during the day and I used it to kick start my weight loss and help me increase my fitness levels.

Dance is a fabulous way to get, and keep, fit, adding the bonus of being sociable and supportive as well as looking after your body. Bellydance fits into my life easily, as I teach on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, fitting in writing and marketing into the rest of the week, as well as working on the land and the house.

Running didn’t work for me; there just aren’t enough flat surfaces to run on where I live, and the recovery time after a run was just too long, with everything else I have to do, and that’s why when you’re deciding on exercise, it needs to fit in with your life. That’s not to say you shouldn’t make space for it, but for me, for instance, if I ran on a Friday, I wasn’t up for gardening/bramble pulling/barrowing until the Monday at the earliest, sometimes not even then. The benefit wasn’t enough for the amount of effort.

I was enjoying yoga after my morning walks, just a few positions and balances, and then I decided to push it; a half hour session to gentle music….after walking 4k steps. I was in agony for three days where I’d overstretched, so my advice is, it is your mind that believes it is still twenty seven years of age, but your body has lived a lot more years! So I’ve left off the yoga for a week, and shall be returning, to just a few poses, every morning.

What exercise do you enjoy? Swimming, bowls, canoeing? Running, cycling, archery? Be inspired to try new exercise and see how much you can fit into your life.

 

Life Begins at Fifty – Healthy Life #10 HCH Lentil Loaf

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Welcome to another recipe post!

I’ve been looking for straight forward, practical, easy, tasty recipes that can be eaten hot or cold, and High Carb Hannah’s Lentil Loaf fits the bill perfectly.

HCH Lentil Loaf

1 cup brown lentils

1/2 cup red lentils

1 carrot, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped (I left these out)

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, finely chopped

3 cups water

 

Flax egg: 3 Tbspns ground flax seeds

6 Tbspns water

 

1-1/2 cups oats, blended or processed to make a flour

 

Seasonings: 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning 1 tspn fennel (I used punch puran), 1 tspn onion powder (I left this out) 1/2 tspn cayenne (optional)

salt (my addition)

2 tspoons bouillon (my addition)

Ketchup (or Glaze see below)

Preheat oven or air fryer to 350˚F.

Bring all ingredients from lentils to water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered until liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, mix flax seeds and water to make a flax egg. Set aside. Process the oats into a flour and set aside. Mix seasonings and flax egg together and set aside. When lentil-veggie mixture is done cooking, take off heat and mix in oat flour and seasoning mix. Spread mixture into loaf pan or pans and put into oven/air fryer. (I used two tins and made two smaller loaves.)

Cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Take out loaf, spread ketchup on top of loaf and continue baking for another 5 minutes.

 

Alternative glaze for loaf:

3 tbspns brown sugar

3 tbspns tomato paste

3 tbspns apple cider vinegar

3 tbspns Worcestershire sauce (I used 1 tbspn of tamari soy sauce)

This lentil loaf makes a great base to add other flavours and textures…I’m thinking cashew and apricot or almond and date to make a slightly sweeter loaf, or mushrooms and tamari to give it more umami.

This lentil loaf works well with no fat or oil, but I added a little salt and two teaspoons of bouillon powder after experimenting a few times.

It’s delicious hot, and with the tomato topping, perfect cold…it went down well on the sharing table at our charity dance event!

You can freeze it…I cut into portion sizes and freeze this way, so you can extract just one slice if you wish.

Happy eating!

 

 

 

Life begins at fifty – Healthy life #9 – little things that make a lot of difference

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Here are a few things I’ve learned along this journey, little things that can help to make a big difference.

1 Checking the fibre

On a loaf of bread (or any carb high food), take the 100g reading for carbs and divide it by the amount of fibre. You want it to be 5 or less. This adds fibre to your diet without you having to physically add it or even think about it!

For those of you in the UK, I’d like to add that on a recent trip to Lidl (they had offers on their ground flaxseeds and chia seeds), I checked out their bread section and found both their white and brown seeded loaves were under 5, while in Sainsbury’s, the closest I can find is still 5 and a bit, and in Morrisons, 6 and a bit.

2 Porridge is brilliant

I enjoy porridge most mornings with soya milk, because with added flaxseeds (I don’t like chia seeds in this as it feels too gel like) and my small bowl of fruit before, according to Chronometer, I wrack up over 1/4 of my daily nutrients and vitamins before the day even begins.

3 Using a spoon to measure

Rather than just tipping, use a teaspoon or tablespoon to measure, just so you know in your head how much you are using. It’s so easy to overtip, especially something like oil, which is a fat we don’t want too much of in our diet. By measuring, I’ve been able to cut down on excess where it wasn’t needed, freeing up more calories to make sure I get the good fats like nuts, seeds and avocados.

4 Cook extra

Whenever I put the oven on, I think what else I could put in there that would be good for the next day. Cold baked potatoes are delicious, though I always reheat sweet potato, not keen on it cold. Potato, onion and vegan mayo make a quick additional salad that you can add seeds, raisins, chopped apricot, all sorts to. If you like pasta, cook extra and make a little salad with that for the next day. Lentil loaf is lovely cold with salad. This way, you’re saving energy and getting food prep underway in advance.

5 Don’t be afraid of supplements, be savvy

If you are on a plant based diet, you need to take a B12 supplement….at least. And if you get hassle about it from meat eating friends, then inform them that because the land has been drained of so much of its goodness by intensive farming, often to feed animals, the vegetables we eat don’t contain the same nutrient content as they used to. Most of us also get our water from the water companies, whereas well water has a good B12 content. At the moment, that’s all I’m taking. I cook most of our meals from scratch with very little processed additions, and most days, I get close to or if not hit my Daily Dozen, but my eldest son, who’s a pilot and often finds plant based food a challenge in Norway at eleven o’clock at night, takes a multi vitamin.

6 Eat what you enjoy

Confession time…I don’t like sushi and I’m not keen on quinoa, but you know what? It really doesn’t matter. I love beans, lentils, tofu, mushrooms, chickpeas, sweet potatoes….I could go on, but you get the idea. We have brown rice, and I’m working on perfecting a whole grain but wheat free bread recipe. I struggle to digest green pepper, especially raw, but orange and red are fine, so we eat lots of them instead. Making your plate colourful with veg is the most important thing.

Add sauces, either homemade or pre-prepared if necessary. We started making our own, but having a pot of vegan mayo in the fridge when you’ve forgotten to soak your cashews and you have no white beans to use is really useful!

I buy hummus. I’ve tried two different recipes and neither quite hit the spot, so we end up wasting it. I beat myself up for months about the little plastic containers, but now I use them to freeze individual portions of food, perfect to go in a cool box or for me to eat when my partner is working away. They make great ‘tasters’ for friends too, introducing them to delicious plant based food.

 

I hope you found the above useful….do comment and let me know, especially if you’d like me to cover another topic on plant based cooking and eating. Happy eating!

 

Life Begins at Fifty – Healthy Life #8 Listen to your body – food

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In case you missed it, check out the previous Healthy Life post, #7 Listen to your body – exercise https://wendysteele.com/2019/04/02/life-begins-at-fifty-healthy-life-7-listen-to-your-body-exercise/

I was worried about changing to plant based eating, after having to make so many changes when I became intolerant to wheat and other foods. I’ve had problems with food in the past, using it to control my life when every other aspect was spiralling way out of my control. It was important for me when I knew I had to lose weight, to not feel I was on any kind of restrictive diet.

It’s taken me since 22nd December, the day I downloaded Dr Gregor’s Daily Dozen App to figure it out, but I’m starting to settle into an eating routine that enables me to eat well, feel full, work hard AND lose weight.

I’ve found the formula that works for me, one I can wiggle whenever I need to, depending how much exercise I’ve done or am going to do that day. I’m sharing with you a way that’s working for me at the moment, because everything changes, including our bodies.

After my walk, I start every day with a mug of hot water and a bowl of chopped up fruit. The fruit varies, depending what’s in season, and I’m not too proud to open a tin to add to what I have available fresh. This morning I had half an apple, half a satsuma and three tinned apricots.

About an hour later, I have a small bowl of porridge made with soya milk and with a tablespoon of flax seeds added. I have a teaspoon of brown sugar sprinkled over it and a teaspoon of raisins. I’ve tried blueberries and mixed fruit on it, but I don’t like my fruit messed about with. As a child I hated fruit and custard together, but was happy to eat them in separate bowls, though I’d have been happy to leave the custard! Occasionally I have brunch at this point, beans on toast with mushrooms and tomatoes is one I enjoy, but most days I eat porridge.

Lunch is salad time whenever it is possible and I try to vary them with additions of mini salad pots like potato and pasta salad. I’m trying and testing recipes that work well hot and cold, and The Happy Pear Mexican Beans recipe is delicious with salad. https://wendysteele.com/2019/01/28/plant-based-recipes-2019-1-mexican-beans/

Because I’m intolerant to wheat, I often have Ryvita with my lunch to tick off a grain on my Daily Dozen. Salads are a great place to add seeds and nuts adding texture, flavour and good fats, but measure with a spoon so you’re aware of exactly how much you are eating. A single brazil nut and a walnut provide an enormous amount of goodness, but the two tally up to about 60 calories, so it’s worth being aware of that.

From waking until lunchtime, I’ve consumed three small meals, and if I’m working outside on the land or I’m going to be teaching a two hour bellydance class in the evening, I will have my favourite green smoothie in the afternoon. If I’m having a more sedentary day, I won’t but I’ll be sure to include berries for a supper snack, and aim to get spinach or kale into my evening meal. https://wendysteele.com/2019/03/06/life-begins-at-fifty-healthy-life-4-best-smoothie-ever/

I try to eat my evening meal as early as possible, but as I teach three evenings a week now, I often end up eating between nine and ten at night. For me it’s best I keep this meal no bigger than lunch, and you can find the meals I’m enjoying at the moment by typing ‘plant based’ into the search box on the home page. The recipe for lentil loaf is coming soon, so look out for it! It’s really portable, like the mushroom burgers, and great hot or cold.

I was asked the other day what I have for treats, but all this food is so delicious, I feel like I’m treated all the time. I do enjoy bliss balls though, and I’ll get the recipe up for that too…I’ve been experimenting!

What I eat in a day won’t necessarily suit your body, so make sure you give yourself time to listen. One problem people have had venturing onto a plant based diet for the first time, is their inability to cope with the quantity of fibre, especially if they’ve come straight from a western carniverous diet. Don’t try and change too many things at once. Try swapping first, like wholemeal bread for white bread, wholemeal pasta for white pasta. Enjoy one plant based meal a week, build up your repertoire of recipes you enjoy, and then add a couple more. Start changing the ratios on your plate; 2/3 vegetables and 1/3 protein and carbohydrates.

If you want more information about plant based eating, or anything you want to know about nutrition in general, visit Dr Michael Gregor’s site or Youtube channel https://nutritionfacts.org/

Happy eating!

 

 

 

Life Begins at Fifty – Healthy Life #7 – Listen to your body – exercise

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I began the Healthy Life blogging on 22nd February, well into my plant based living journey, but striving to find the right balance of food and exercise to suit my newly ‘nicotine free’ body. It’s for anyone, not just those of us with those numbers beginning with 5, because the problem with any choices we make about diet or exercise won’t necessary be perfect for our bodies. We need to find the balance that works for us.

This post ‘Listen to your body – exercise’ will be followed by ‘Listen to your body -food’. I really hope you enjoy them and find them useful.

Not getting hung up on what the scales say has made me get on with my life, do my best and feel a whole lot better…well enough to show you the changes in my body shape since 22nd February. I’m not sure how well you’ll see them as I live in an old farmhouse with tiny windows, so lighting is always tricky…as is the fact we are effectively living inside a renovation project so there’s mess everywhere, but I’ve done my best.

It’s only been five weeks, the changes are subtle, but what you can’t see is how tight my bum is getting and how the hills on my walks are much easier to climb now.

For me ‘Listen to your body – exercise’ has been about working out the exercise routines that work for me, while still aiming to reach achievable targets that I know are beneficial to my health and fitness.

What I’ve learned in 5 weeks

Walking 10,000 steps EVERY day isn’t essential – I was quite obsessive to start with, but now I aim for more ‘active minutes’ on my Fitbit, minutes of exercise that work my heart and my muscles a little bit harder. I’ve kept my Fitbit minimum on 30 minutes though, because on a particularly heavy writing day (it does take time to write a novel!) a good morning walk and another in the evening, might be all I can manage. I know this works for me…on my Fitbit, my cardio fitness has risen to 38-42.

I can use a lot of what I do to aid my reaching exercise targets without needing to go to a gym – After the weight piled on, I worried I might need to go to the gym to address specific areas of my body that needed to be exercised. I’m learning to use what’s around me…

I move a lot of wood! My partner chainsaws while I do the picking up and barrowing…I make sure I’m  doing single or double arm curls when I pick up logs, and depending which way round I barrow, I’ve found this uses different muscles in my shoulders, back and arms.

Collecting tiny new trees on our land gives me a great squat work out. I collect one plant on each squat, come up, walk to the pot and plant the tree and walk to the next one….I have knee damage after falling about fifteen years ago, so I find repetitive squats hurt almost immediately and I can’t do more than half a dozen. This way, I get to do more and I don’t hurt at all.

Due to back damage, I find digging in the usual way with a spade down into the ground undoable, but using a mattock to break up the earth, and my new, smaller curved handle spade to scoop up the soil and stones, I’ve turned the final corner digging out the foundations for my potting shed (an old conservatory we helped to take down that we’re recycling) I can mattock straight in front of me with my legs bent, or to either side, all three positions have strengthened arms, shoulders, back and legs. Digging out the earth and throwing it up into the barrow works my triceps really well!

Dance is the best and most fun exercise ever! I always bill bellydance as a full body work out, and having started another beginners class in Aberystwyth, I’m now teaching six hours each week, plus a regular private lesson, plus any events we dance at.

I’m thoroughly enjoying my yoga when I get back from my morning walk. I do as many and which ever poses I feel like (sometimes I just sit and breathe) and I’m loving the peace it’s bringing me.

I wish someone had told me I would feel like this a year ago

A year ago, having to go back on HRT after the lack of nicotine in my body sent my hormones manic, and being put on a different dosage to the one I’d had before, I put on at least two stone in weight in a matter of weeks. Only now, one year on, after trying jogging, walking millions of steps and trying all sorts of different foods and combinations am I starting to feel like ‘me’ again.

The return of the menopausal symptoms dragged me down, both physically and mentally. I felt like my whole body was out of my control, condemned to be ‘down’, droopy and saggy, being pulled without my say so. Although my doctor was keen to recommend ‘Couch to 5k’, which proved too much for my knees, she told me I’d have to put up with the band around my middle….lucky for me, I’m a fighter.

It’s been hard work…actually, it’s been DAMN hard work! There have been mornings when I’ve wanted to stay in bed and let the world carry on without me, but I didn’t give up….all life is far too precious to waste it.

One year on I do still get ‘down’ days, but life is generally on the ‘up’, and I make the most of every one of them.

Thank you for reading. Join me next time for Healthy Life #8 – Listen to your body – food. Bright blessings xx

 

Life begins at fifty #healthy life 6 – The scales are not your friend

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I never owned bathroom scales because I didn’t need them. While I was smoking, if my jeans felt a little tight, I increased the amount of exercise I did, watched what I ate, and over a few weeks, the jeans would loosen, but not anymore….

My absolute conviction that eating five hundred calories a day less than I’m burning would make me lose weight has been shattered. I’m sure it plays a part, but I should have realised my mistake; we’re amazing, complex individuals – why would only one formula apply to everyone?

In a bid to affirm my belief, however, I bought bathroom scales in the January sales. I read lots of helpful advice online about weigh ins, the best I thought was weigh myself three days running, once a month to get an average of the weight loss….

What I did was weigh myself every morning, even though I said I wouldn’t. Why? Because I was exercising loads, following my plant based diet to get good nutritional benefit from my food and logging my calorie intake into Cronometer, so my reward would be to watch the pounds drop off, right? Wrong!

On the first three mornings I gained weight. Even though I knew I was being dumb, I got upset about it…and then I increased the exercise, to the point I was permanently exhausted. I continued this self berating/weighing scenario for about a month, before sharing with women in my dance class to find that they too were experiencing the same problem….their shape was changing, but they weren’t losing any weight, even though people were commenting that they had.

You may ask, why am I hung up on the amount I weigh and it’s a simple answer…the less weight I have to carry, the less pressure it puts on my already damaged knee. Yes, it would be nice to fit into my clothes again, but carrying less weight while increasing my exercise has to be better for me.

I am starting to listen though…my shape change could be because the fat is going and muscle is appearing, which we know is heavier. Since my body did its ‘return to factory settings’, I’m beginning to feel the benefit of the exercise in my legs…I’m walking quicker but getting less breathless…

On Saturday, my ATS® Bellydance tribe, Tribal Unity Wales and I hosted a hafla, a bellydance party, to raise money and collect donations of clothes, blankets and toiletries for S.H.A.R.P., Swansea Humanitarian Aid Response. We had so much fun, raised £132 and took in bags of donations….and I clocked up the most active minutes ever on my Fitbit!

I’m not getting hung up on the weight anymore, but instead, I’m looking for more ways to have fun with exercise, eat new, interesting food, try new recipes and live my life to the full.

I hope you’re enjoying Life begins at fifty – Healthy Life! Please like and follow and let others know!

Visit again for recipes, tips and sharing.

 

The magic of writing, dancing and healing – International Women’s Day 8th March 2019

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I am author, wise woman and goddess. I write, I dance, I teach, I heal, I inspire.

In March last year I published my first Witchlit novel, The Naked Witch, contemporary fiction, magical realism, where the magical and the mundane co-exist. Since then, I’ve published two more, The Orphan Witch and The Flowerpot Witch, gritty and believable stories with magic sprinkled through them, offering the reader a new perspective on reality. There are layers to my novels, making them enjoyable to all readers, hopefully teaching and inspiring too, dispelling the myths about modern day witches.

I discovered belly dance at the age of forty, having been told I was a fairy elephant and too fat to dance as a child. Fifteen years on, I’ve been teaching for eleven years, encouraging women to shake off their inhibitions and dance for themselves. I learned Egyptian belly dance first and taught that, before being bitten by the tribal bug, and completing my training in American Tribal Style® Belly dance. I began Tribal Unity Wales in March 2014. We take our dance into the community, not to perform but to share, offering other women the opportunity and the freedom to dance irrespective of age, size, shape or ability.

I’m reiki and aromatherapy massage trained, so mixed with my latest facilitator training in Kate Holland’s Awakened Bellydance ™, and my magical practice, I heal in my classes and workshops and through my writing.

I’m a riverbank witch, a hedge witch, living my life with the Wheel of the Year, honouring the Sabbats and loving and respecting all that lives on our amazing planet.

Embracing my crone phase, I am wise woman, not necessarily right, but reflective and contemplative where once I jumped in feet first. Looking back, I learn from my mistakes, let go of old stories and embrace new beginnings and exciting ideas.

 

The goddess is in me and in every woman. She is the tiny voice that tells you how beautiful and perfect you are. Trust in her helps us remember, because we all know, but it is just that this reality encourages us to forget who we are and where we came from. Hers is the voice that has inspired women to stand up for equality, for equal pay and equal rights, throughout history. The more we trust in her, and ourselves, the possibilities are infinite. Listen. She is here.

 

 

 

 

 

Life Begins at Fifty – Healthy Life #5 High Carb Hannah and my salad bowl

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High Carb Hannah was one of the first whole food, plant based YouTube channels I began watching, and I loved her immediately. She’s refreshingly honest and inspiring to watch, her recipes are straight forward and she isn’t afraid to tell it how it is!

She’s been YouTubing for a while and lost loads of weight with a whole food, plant based, high carb diet. Her channel is stuffed full of videos of recipes, what she eats in a day, her workouts and hilarious mukbangs, where she, and sometimes her husband, make and try different foods.

Let me say straight away, I can’t eat carbs the way she does! White rice and white potatoes aren’t easy for my body to digest, but she’s found a way of eating that works for her, and she wants to share it to help other people. It doesn’t matter though, because I can alter her recipes to suit my body. I love watching someone make fresh, wholesome food, because it makes me want to eat it. Tune into her channel here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCs1uwp7bB1J_3r5xN2ioL_w

Watching videos about plant based eating has inspired me, and helped me make the changes to plant based eating.

I’ve discovered I love rocket, or arugula (love that word!), and that’s a good thing as it counts as a tick in the box for cruciferous vegetables on Dr Gregor’s Daily Dozen (Use this link to take you to Dr Gregor’s website https://nutritionfacts.org/)

Cruciferous vegetables are vital to our health and wellbeing, protecting us against cancer and other diseases. You can watch videos about the benefits of cruciferous vegetables here https://www.youtube.com/user/NutritionFactsOrg/search?query=cruciferous+veg

In my salad bowls above I’ve included rocket and red cabbage for cruciferous, mixed salad leaves for greens, carrot, tomatoes, potato and onion for other vegetables, hummus for beans and sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds and a couple of walnut halves and a brazil nut for nuts and seeds.

The beauty of the bowl is you can have lots of different food. Get creative! Go for lots of colours. Sweetcorn and peppers brighten up any bowl of food. And with every new creation, there are twenty different salad dressing options! High Carb Hannah has a sauce book out, and you can find all sorts of options on her vlogs. I put ‘salad’ in the search box and here are the results. Enjoy, and share the love for the salad bowl https://www.youtube.com/user/Rawkaholics/search?query=salad

 

Tip of the day

Whenever you have the oven on for baking or cooking, pop in an extra potato, or sweet potato, as they’re both great cold in salads the next day.