Tag Archives: food

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!

 

 

 

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Plant Based Recipe of the Week – Week 4 – Aditi’s lentil daal and BONUS Vegetable Pakora!

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I hope you enjoyed your December festivities, have dodged the January germs and are ready for more new, fresh food ideas now Imbolc, the first day of Spring is here. Today’s recipe, Aditi’s lentil daal is one I use often, is easy to double up and freezes well.

When my youngest daughter was approaching her seventeenth birthday, I contacted Aditi. She advertised Indian cookery lessons in her home and we arranged a vegetarian morning with her as a birthday present. I learned to make this daal that day and have been cooking it ever since, more than seven years. Aditi and I have remained friends. She’s a beautiful lady inside and out and is always happy to share her natural beauty tips too. You can find her on Facebook here

https://www.facebook.com/groups/HealthyNaturalLiving/

 

Aditi’s Yellow Daal Tadka

Serves 4

1 cup yellow daal – split peas (I often use red lentils to save time)

3 cups of water to cook daal

 

4 tablespoons ghee (I use 3 tablespoons of oil)

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

¾ tspoon turmeric

Salt to taste

1 tspoon cumin seeds

Whole red or green chilli

Fresh coriander leaves, chopped

 

Boil the daal in a pan/pressure cooker with 3 cups of water and open the lid carefully. Stir well to check consistency. (I simmer red lentils in a saucepan for about 10 minutes while making the seasoning. If using yellow split peas, soak overnight, discard the water, rinse, bring to boil and simmer for about 35-40 minutes. Stir often. NB: the first time I made this recipe I didn’t own anything to measure ‘a cup’ so I always used the same mug and it was always perfect. I’ve measured it since and it’s just under half a pint)

Heat the ghee/oil. Add cumin seeds and split chilli and let splutter in oil to bring out the flavour. When they change colour, add chopped onion and garlic and sauté until golden. Add turmeric and salt to taste.

Add this seasoning to the daal or the daal to the seasoning and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Transfer to serving dish and garnish.

 

Daal is great on its own with bread or popadoms but we often have it with a dish packed with vegetables and something to dip in it like…

Vegetable Pakora

This is a Hari Ghotra recipe which you can find here

https://www.harighotra.co.uk/indian-recipes/courses/starters/vegetable-pakora

My tweeks are in brackets…

100g gram flour, sieved

1 medium onion (I used large)

3 medium potatoes

1 tspn of salt

2 tspn of garam masala

1 tspn of turmeric

2 chillies, finely chopped

1 tbspn ginger, grated, optional

Handful of coriander, chopped

2 tspn of dried fenugreek leaves (I didn’t have these so used 2 tspn Panch Puran that I discovered in a World supermarket in Swansea: cumin, fennel, nigella, black mustard and fenugreek seeds, delicious!)

1 tspn of cumin seeds (I still added this)

½ tspn of red chilli powder

Water

Oil for deep frying

 

Heat up the oil in a karahi or wok to a medium heat. (We use a large, ancient, thick bottomed aluminium  saucepan)

Slice the onion lengthways very thinly and place in a bowl.

Peel and grate (or very finely chop) the potatoes into the same bowl. (The first time, I grated and had to add extra flour. Second time, I did half and half and it was perfect) You can also use aubergines and cauliflower – chop into very small pieces.

Sprinkle all the dry spices and freshly chopped coriander, chillies and ginger into the bowl and then sieve in the gram flour – mix together using your hands.

Add a small amount of water a little at a time to create a thick batter that coats all the vegetables. Squeeze the mixture through your fingers to ensure all the spices mix through. Do not leave the batter and vegetable mixture for too long before cooking.

Test your oil is hot enough by dropping a little batter into the oil. If it browns and rises immediately then it is ready. Very carefully drop in spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil and fry until golden brown.

Using a slotted spoon move the pakora around, be careful not to overcrowd the karahi.

Once golden brown and crisp remove from the oil and set on some kitchen paper.

 

I hope you enjoy making these recipes and will visit again for more.

You can also join me on my YouTube channel, Phoenix and the Dragon, reading short stories and extracts from my novels, from my Welsh riverbank  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber

I’ll leave you with one of my new kittens discovering snowdrops for the first time…Bright Spring Blessings