Tag Archives: 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 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!

 

 

 

Book Review – The Wiccan Wellness Book by Laura Perry

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Having ‘met’ Laura Perry on the Witch Lit group on Facebook, and seen that she had updated this book, I treated myself to a copy, and I’m so glad I did! It’s been on my bedside table for me to dip into for a few months and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

Laura Perry, N.D. is a Pagan author and artist, herbalist and Reiki master who considers natural healthcare to be part of her Earth-oriented spiritual life, focussing on healthy living in body, mind and spirit. Here’s my review of The Wiccan Wellness Book by Laura Perry…

This is a gentle, beautiful and caring book, well put together and offering the reader a host of ideas and options for ultimate wellbeing. The author’s knowledge and experience is evident throughout the book, but more than that, her intuition and spirituality shine through, giving the reader the experience of being healed and nurtured.

The Wiccan Wellness book is an interesting read in its own right, the author paying heed to all aspects of our lives that have a bearing on our wellbeing. However, I can see it being a wonderful reference book in the future too. The reader is able to select a specific section or chapter, depending on their needs at that moment, finding help from the author, or links to other books or societies who can offer more help.

The concept that mind, body and spirit working in harmony leads to well-being, is the basis of this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring all the possibilities to seek further balance in my own life.

It’s a versatile and informative book, while still being a magical read. A perfect ‘pick me up’ when you need a personal, spiritual boost.

You can purchase this book on Amazon UK here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wiccan-Wellness-Book-Natural-Healthcare/dp/1720269459/ref

And for friends across the pond here https://www.amazon.com/Wiccan-Wellness-Book-Natural-Healthcare/dp/1720269459/ref

If you are interested in magical writing or reading, join the Witch Lit Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1055104057875422/

or subscribe to our new channel on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHtAJO5uh6c9TSai1lhwF7g

We’re hoping to interview Laura Perry on our podcast very soon!

 

Life begins at fifty – Healthy life #3 Ignore the images!

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I have no problem with young women taking charge of their lives, and looking to be as fit and healthy as they can be, but I do have a problem when the media bombards women with only images that are not attainable by most.

I was twenty three when I join a gym for the first time, and I wanted to look like this. The reality was, I trained twice a day, six days a week and in five months, I pretty much did, but it wasn’t sustainable…or rather it was if my whole life revolved around exercise.

At this stage in my life, I have so many things I want to do! Exercise can be part of my life, and I’m happy about that, but I want it to be part of who I am, so the exercise HAS to be enjoyable.

From all I’ve read about exercise and health, there seems to be two things that are important:

Consistency

Active exercise

Consistency means you do a certain exercise, in a certain way, often, and I’ve chosen walking for this. Every morning, I walk between 2k and 4k steps around my land before breakfast. I’m now following this with 3-5 yoga poses. So, my walking is consistent but the length and intensity of my walk may vary, depending on what else I’m doing for the rest of the day. When I started, I worried I wouldn’t make 10k per day and pushed the mornings too much, especially on a ‘dancing day’. I managed the day, but struggled to get up the next morning! I’ve let go the need to achieve the 10k, listening to my body more, and going with how it feels.

Active exercise is about raising your heart rate in order to burn calories and fat efficiently. I use my Fitbit to monitor this and its really useful…yes, I can programme in extra data, but I don’t want to get obsessed by this. My active exercise can be pushing the walking harder, dancing or working on the land….mattocking and digging works well!

Should you have a goal? Should you have a weight target or a dress size? Should you have a fitness challenge?

It depends what motivates you,

I’ve set myself the challenge to lose 14lbs – 21lbs, because I think my knees will thank me for it! Carrying less weight and fitting back into my jeans is my motivation, but I’m not setting myself a time limit.

I’m also not on a diet as such. My eating is whole food plant based and I’m using Cronometer to monitor the nutrients I’m getting in as much as the calories. Most days I’m eating between 1.3k and 1.8k calories, while burning more than 2.1k. As my body muscle increases and the fat slowly drops away, my weight will decrease and I’m happy for it to be a slow process.

Join me next time for a delicious, versatile smoothie that you’ll love!

Life begins at fifty – Healthy Life #2 – Whole food, plant based diet

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I’ve been a vegetarian for thirty five years, but it’s only been over the past five years that I’ve cut down on my dairy intake, and now taken eggs also from my diet. We’re influenced by so much advertising online that it isn’t always easy to know whose advice to take, but my information first came from my children.

My middle son has suffered from arthritis since the age of twelve. He’s always been vegetarian, but five years ago, he took dairy from his diet and the difference to the pain in his joints was massive and very noticeable. Where he’d been walking with a stick, he was free of it, and he put this down to cutting dairy from his diet after reading articles and watching videos by people like Dr Michael Gregor, T Colin Campbell, Dr Neal Barnard and Dr Caldwell Esselstyn.

My eldest son followed his advice, and he and his fiancee gave up meat in favour of a whole food, plant based diet.

I was already wheat intolerant and struggled with other foods too, so the thought of giving up goat’s cheese and the occasional Magnum ice lolly made me sad at first, but worth it….no, say it louder, REALLY WORTH IT! I waked up every morning and none of my joints ache anymore. Yes, I get achy if I’ve danced too much or overdone the bramble pulling or barrowing, but since giving up dairy I don’t wake up hurting every morning.

The longer I’m without dairy, the better I feel and out of all the advice and videos, one person resonated most with me and he is Dr Michael Gregor. His website has it all and his short to the point videos on YouTube cover every topic imaginable.

Dr Gregor’s advice isn’t about ‘dieting’ as such, but about changing the way you eat for a happier, healthier life. If you start with the veggies, pack in all the nutrients and vitamins you need, no one says you can’t have a couple of slices of pizza as well!

Dr Gregor’s website: https://nutritionfacts.org/

Dr Gregor’s YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/NutritionFactsOrg

Dr Gregor reads all the medical papers, so we don’t have to, and draws together all the relevant information you need to make decisions on health for yourself.

I highly recommend the App that was made for him called Dr Gregor’s Daily Dozen, as a guide to getting the most from your food for the benefit of your body and mind.

It takes practise to fit everything in, but that’s the fun part, trying new, tasty recipes and foods along the way.

For food ideas, type ‘plant based’ into the search on the home page and my favourite tried and tested recipes will come up. I’m always trying new recipes and will share with you all.

I hope this is useful for those of you looking to change and embark on an exciting journey of discovery, towards a happier, healthier you.

Life begins at fifty – Healthy Life#1

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There are plenty of blogs and vlogs available to inspire everyone to make their lives healthy ones. There are less by women over fifty.

One year on without nicotine has changed me, and not always in the ways one would hope for. You can read more here https://wendysteele.com/2019/01/24/1-year-without-nicotine-how-was-it-for-you-darling/

For 2019, all blog posts that begin ‘Life begins at fifty’, will be for everyone wishing to know more about the menopause, and looking for support and help with their healthy eating and fitness challenges.

There will be inspiration, recipes, links to blogs and videos, but there will be honesty too, and I’m starting with photos of how I look right now. I’ve suffered with body dismorphia all my life, so this isn’t easy, but though I’ve been inspired by fab videos online, either the women have had surgery first, or they’re almost half my age! Light is limited in my old farmhouse, but as I’m not focussing on weight, but shape, I’m hoping to see the difference over this year when I look in the mirror.

My routine at the moment:

Walking 10k steps every day (including at least 30 ‘active’ minutes)

Yoga every morning, between 3 and 5 poses or stretches

Teach 5 hours regular bellydance each week

Following a whole food, plant based diet every day

 

The idea is for the walking to build up my strength and stamina, while the yoga stretches out my body and calms my mind. Bellydance does everything!

I shall be exploring all sorts of ideas and possibilities for health and fitness this year, and telling you all about it….I’ve only been doing the yoga for a week and I’m loving it!

Join me on my fitness journey to be the fittest, healthiest and happiest I can be:-)