Tag Archives: health and fitness

Life begins at fifty – Healthy Life #16 -Sleep is your super power

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Deep down, I’ve always known how important sleep is for happiness and health, but over the years, I’ve made a lot of excuses.

During my teenage years, I could stay up late and snooze anywhere, determined not to miss a thing.

As a mother, sleep was a luxury for a number of years, especially when child no3 decided to sleep no more than two hours, day or night, for the first two years of her life, bless her. And then there was the Christmas Eve I didn’t sleep at all when same child decided she was putting up a stocking for Big Ted and Magic Ted, so I sat up all night knitting them scarves!

When I was poorly, I grabbed as much sleep as I could, especially when I was recovering. At this time in my life, in my mid thirties, I discovered the beauty of a power nap, and used it whenever I could. I took a lot of hurtful banter in the school playground, where other mother’s were critical of my need to have a break in the middle of the day, but if I was up at 6.30am and often didn’t finish teaching dance until after 9pm, I needed 40 minutes rest to keep going.

My family grew up, and I needed my sleep to pack in as many things into my day as I could manage – dancing, cooking, writing and looking after elderly parents, to name a few

And then we moved to Wales, and embarked on a new adventure! I’ve never needed good sleep more in my whole life! But you don’t have to believe me – believe the science! Watch this video in your tea break (just 20 minutes) and you’ll soon realise why I do my utmost to get 8 hours of sleep EVERY night! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MuIMqhT8DM&t=1035s

Matthew Walker is an English scientist and professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on the impact of sleep on human health and disease.Enjoy….and good night!

 

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Life Begins at Fifty – Healthy Life #15 – Everything is changing

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Finding the perfect, balanced vegan diet for my body is taking time, but I’m enjoying the challenge. Abandoning calorie restriction was the best move I made, as I’m loving eating bowls of plant based whole foods and feeling full and energised…and I’ve lost another two pounds.

Due to my daughter asking to come and live with us in June this year, everything has changed, and that’s one reason I’ve not been posting as much. I’ve taken my books to book fairs…

But there’s been little time for writing as I’ve been lime mortaring and painting to get a room ready for my daughter.

My eldest son married this year too, so it’s been a summer of family love.

The biggest change is the best one, and I’m going to shout about it….I’VE MORE ENERGY THAN I’VE EVER HAD! Eating a whole food plant based diet keeps me fuller for longer and nourishes my body so well. I’ve enjoyed my dance so much this year too, now I bend in the middle again! I’m not the same shape as I was, that’s definitely changed, but I don’t care…I can fit in my jeans and I feel well and healthy.

My lack of novel writing made me sad and angsty for a while, so I started writing short stories again and had a few published…

Witch Lit: Words from the Cauldron was produced by myself and the rest of the Witch Lit Admin team, Laura Perry, Sheena Cundy and Ruth Aitken. All proceeds go to Books for Africa https://www.amazon.co.uk/Witch-Lit-Witches-Who-Write-ebook/dp/B07SCVXR88

Zimbell House publishing brought out 1969, and my story is the first one in it. https://www.amazon.co.uk/1969-Zimbell-House-Anthology-Publishing-ebook/dp/B07S2L2HQX

But as the Wheel turns, making its way into autumn, I’m back writing ‘The Able Witch’, the fifth book in the Lizzie Martin series. Once its finished, I’ll continue with the final book, before publishing four, five and six for your enjoyment. You can start the series here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV

or here for my friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV

Don’t forget, you can listen to me reading you stories on my Welsh riverbank at Phoenix and the Dragon on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber

Plus I’m talking books and everything magical on the Witch Lit Podcast, as well as interviewing other magical writers https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHtAJO5uh6c9TSai1lhwF7g

I’ve continued my daily walks and using Dr Gregor’s Daily Dozen App, but I don’t worry too much about my activity levels anymore. I know that if I eat whole food plant based, and take my B12 supplement, I’m taking in all the nutrition and goodness my body needs. If I want a berry, banana and spinach smoothie, I’ll have one! I drink two or three mugs of hibiscus tea daily, which I love, boosting my antioxidants and keeping the colds away. I dance a minimum of six hours a week, not including performances, and I’ve been barrowing, chopping wood, fixing barns and moving stuff outside….

So I won’t be joining the gym anytime soon!

Apologies for my lack of posting, but I’m starting to create a new routine out of all these changes, and I’ll be back soon trying out new recipes and sharing useful and informative posts and videos to inspire you to eat well, nourish your body and live your life to the full. Bright blessings xx

 

 

 

Changing my routine

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I’m a creature of habit who loves a routine, but I don’t want to get stuck in a rut, especially if the routine is an ‘old story’ I’d do best to forget and write a new one.

With three weeks to go before I needed to go back to teaching dance four times a week, I wanted to re-establish the important routines in my life.

The first step was to get back into my daily walking routine. I hadn’t stopped walking each morning, first thing, but I’d been doing less steps then, and far less during the day, as my time was spent renovating. Now that’s done, I’ve created a new morning walk that is working towards clocking up 3.5k steps and 30 minutes of active exercise on my Fitbit.

I started with 2.5k and 20 minutes, which was fine as I’ve also got back to pulling brambles and nettles, and barrowing stones, so they clocked up extra active minutes, but by pushing over the 30 minutes in the morning, I’m guaranteeing myself the minimum every day, and setting myself up to achieve a minimum of 10k steps too.

My 5 minute arm workout is also back as a daily one, especially as I’m not dancing as much at the moment. I was thrilled with how toned my arms looked in my sleeveless dress at my son’s wedding, and I want to keep them that way for as long as possible!

Having used Dr Gregor’s Daily Dozen App for over a six months, I’ve been able to keep my diet pretty balanced, and get the nutrients I’ve needed, but I have been eating a little more than I’ve needed. Vegan Magnum ice lollies are delicious, but don’t count as a whole food, unfortunately, so they, and a tendency to eat dates by the handful, need to be kept under control. I’m keen to return to eating until I’m full and then stopping, as the healthiest way to eat on a whole food plant based diet.

I’ve committed myself to more magic on my river bank than I have been this year so far. At the last full moon, I set off a powerful healing spell for a friend, that was added to and boosted by other magical creatives, and I’m happy to say our friend is a lot better.

But I’ve struggled to get back into a writing routine. I’m used to days, or big chunks of days, where my partner is at work and I can write. Even with a few hours to myself, I’m not writing, so I decided to hold myself to account. I have to write for ten minutes every day. It doesn’t matter what it is, but I have to sit and write for a minimum of ten minutes.

I’ve six short pieces so far (more by the time you read this!), some of which could be longer stories, or even novels.

Visit again for Holding myself to account, and a chance to have your say as to how I should expand my writing.

 

The Wheel turns. Everything changes Part 3

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The Wheel turns. Nothing stays the same. Since 14th June this year, my life has been chaotic. I’ve spent the past three weeks attempting to restore some of my familiar, important routines, but from the chaos I’ve emerged changed myself.

I don’t think we know what we’re capable of until we are challenged. Eighteen months ago, I stopped smoking, my hormones went crazy and I gained 30lbs in weight. I’ve never felt so ill, depressed and anxious in my life.

I didn’t look like myself, and felt like a totally different person. The doctor told me I’d have to get used to the mass of weight around my middle, that there was nothing I could do about it. I refused to believe her, and embarked on my own programme of diet and exercise, in a way that suited my life and body. Whole food plant based eating plus walking, dancing, yoga and a few specific exercises meant I attended my son’s wedding on 30th July, having lost all the weight and happy with my ‘new’ body.

And on the 14th June, we made a commitment to our daughter, to renovate the upstairs of our house to create a welcoming room for her by the 3rd August. We turned a barn-like space into a sanctuary.

Eating good food and not smoking helped our endeavours. Having lost a lot of weight and getting my waist back, helped me lime mortaring, lime washing, emulsioning and rubbing down woodwork, as I was able to bend and stretch as I always had, but realistically, I knew I couldn’t do everything. I still had dance classes to teach, and performances to lead my ladies in, so they had to stay, but without a deadline for my novel, I put my writing on hold.

I didn’t stop writing completely. I had a short story started, so I set myself the deadline to get it ready for the submission date of 15th July. I didn’t make it, but I’ll read you the story from my Welsh riverbank soon, and you’ll hear how much I enjoyed writing Secrets in the Water. (You can listen to other stories read by me on my YouTube channel Phoenix and the Dragon https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber)

And why have I changed?

I can do anything. All I need to do is go for it. Living my life with my daughter is wonderful. Who knows what adventures she and I will have in the future. Maybe we’ll start a business together. Deadlines are important, but spending time supporting and loving your family and friends is more important.

Visit again to find out which routines I’ve reinstated and a new way to get writing again.

 

The Wheel turns. Everything changes Part 1

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Nothing stays the same. The Wheel turns and all those plans go out the window. On the 14th June, a phone call from my daughter in Essex changed the course of my life for the foreseeable future – she wanted to leave Essex and come and live with us in Wales.

It wasn’t an unpleasant surprise, just an unexpected one, and her arrival that evening, distressed and upset that her relationship in Essex was over, was the beginning of my sleepless nights, but to survive, one must adapt. I’ve always believed being flexible with arrangements and filling life with new adventures is a way to keep young, so we made a plan to renovate a room upstairs in our house for her, and we would collect her from Essex on 3rd August. Somehow, we needed to turn a room from  a barn-like, cobwebby mess into a welcoming room in just over a month.

It was a daunting task, especially as we were still working at our day jobs (my partner lays and sands wood floors, while I was teaching dance and writing my tenth novel), but we set to, clearing the room and sorting boxes and suitcases. My Mum died four years ago, and much of the sorting involved going through boxes from her house, so this wasn’t just a physical task, but an emotional, draining one too.

But looking back, remembering, grieving and looking forward is good for the soul. We were sorting our house for one of our precious children to live with us. It was a good kind of sadness, and we burned a lot of unwanted rubbish on our Midsummer bonfire, thinking of Mum and how happy she would have been that her grandchild was coming to live with us.

While my partner concentrated on getting the insulation, board and plastering fixed to our wobbly ceiling, I started work on the lime mortaring.

There weren’t enough hours in the day, but I made time to make fresh, whole food plant based meals which kept our energy levels up, and gave us a chance of completing our task on time. (We had our son’s wedding on 30th July in Rugby which took up three days – see Part 2 coming soon) Once my partner had plastered the ceiling, I switched tasks often between lime mortaring and painting, and then applying the coats of lime wash to the newly mortared walls. The scaffolding was too wobbly for me but I used steps and step ladders to reach almost to the appex and my partner finished the rest.

The other room upstairs also needed to be cleared,

and my partner was playing a gig at a birthday party, Tribal Unity were dancing at a steampunk weekend in Blaenavon and we were both performing at the Lampeter Food Festival. We worked late into the evenings.

Finally, we arrived at the days before we needed to go and collect our daughter, three cats, a rabbit and all her possessions. We pulled back the old lino to reveal the wooden floor.  

There was only time for one buff and coat on the floor as we needed to furnish the room, but apart from a wobbly board and a few repairs to do, it came up beautifully. I made a curtain from some new sparkly organza that was given to me, and a seat cushion, cover made from a new cream curtain. With the bed and a chair, it was beginning to look more welcoming. The room had a new door, but we ran out of time to finish the panelling and had to put a dustsheet back up. Chests of drawers and a hanging rail were accompanied by rugs and bedding, and the room was finished to the best of our ability in the time allotted.

Our daughter loves her room, the bunny likes her home in the byre and the cats are getting used to being part of a bigger cat family. The angst of the past weeks is over, and we’re all looking ahead to new beginnings.

If we’d still been smoking, I don’t believe we’d have had the capacity to keep working at this pace for so long, and the good, wholesome food really helped too. There were sacrifices (see Part 3 coming soon) but those things in life that are worth working for often require compromise.

We’re all enjoying the sunshine, catching up on outdoor jobs and looking forward to new exciting projects next year.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Life begins at fifty – Healthy Life #4 Best smoothie ever!

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Thank you so much for joining me again on ‘Life begins at fifty – Healthy Life’. Thank you for liking my posts and following me for more. It’s been lovely to visit your blogs too, and something struck me…I don’t know where any of you are starting your Healthy Life journey from, I mean, I was already a vegetarian (a wheat free one at that!), so I’d already made changes from my previous typical British ‘meat and two veg’ type diet in my twenties and then again, in my thirties.

Making changes to eating habits isn’t easy because that’s what they are…habits, and we get really hooked on them. I remember the realisation that I might never be able to eat wheat based bread again, and how impossible that seemed, but after more than twenty years, I don’t really think about it.

This recipe is something everyone can try, and it ticks a number of the boxes on Dr Gregor’s Daily Dozen (You can find out more about plant based eating and Dr Gregor here https://nutritionfacts.org/)

My good friend Cate gave me the recipe for this awesome smoothie….and I’ve tweeked it for even more goodness!

1 cup blueberries

1/2 cup cherries

1/2 banana

2 cups spinach (or 3)

2 tablespoons ground flax seeds

1 tablespoon peanut butter

6 dates and/or tablespoon date syrup

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

11/2 cups of water (warm if using frozen berries)

2 teaspoons maca powder

2 teaspoons spirulina powder

This makes enough for two people and is great for elevenses or as a boost during the day. The additions I’ve made are the final two, maca powder and spirulina. Maca powder is high in certain minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium and zinc as well as some B vitamins including B3 (niacin). Its also a good vegan source of iron. Spirulina is known as a nutrient-dense food and is packed full of vitamins, including vitamins A, C, E and B vitamins, as well as a whole host of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium. In particular, vitamin C and selenium are both antioxidants and help protect our cells and tissues from damage. This algae is also an excellent vegan source of iron.

One glass of this smoothie ticks off 1 berries, 2 fruits, 1 greens, flax seeds and nuts and seeds off your daily dozen and I promise you, you won’t taste the spinach at all! We often add 3 cups of spinach if the blender will take it.

Feel free to experiment….would kale work in this? Can I add more banana to make it more creamy? Or avocada? Or mango?

Have fun and experiment with this versatile and healthy smoothie.

Join me next time when I introduce you to one of my favourite YouTube channels and for an insight into my lunch time salad bowl!