Tag Archives: kale

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


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)


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 #8 Listen to your body – food


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!




How much juice is enough?


My son Ed is twenty four and suffered from arthritis since the age of 12, culminating in him taking the strongest meds the hospital could give him for the past two years. When I spoke to him last, he had switched his diet from vegetarian to vegan and included juicing and was off all his medication. He said he felt like a young man again. I was overjoyed, of course, and on his recommendation looked into juicing and watched the video ‘Fat, sick and nearly dead’. I can’t begin to describe the film as I’d miss out too much but it’s a great watch.

My partner and I decided to take the plunge, bought a juicer and ordered the book of juices, recipes and advice that accompanied the video. DSC_1424

We had our final meal DSC_1426 and were ready to fast.

Some background….Mike and I are vegetarian. I make most of our food so we eat few processed and packaged items but, when we saw the video, we were surprised that, balanced against fruit and vegetables, we still ate too much. Our aim was to cleanse our systems and then change the balance so fruit and vegetables, be they eaten or juiced, were to become the major part of our food intake. This leads perfectly to the fruit and veg we want to plant and grow in our raised beds and greenhouse (when they finally happen!)

We tried detoxing while we carried on working…….we were mad! So my first piece of advice once you’ve watched the video, read the book and have your juicer set up is….WATCH THE VIDEO AGAIN! We realised that fabulous Joe Cross spent the first ten days with himself in a hotel room dealing with the detox and Phil was at a beach resort by a lake, but we only realised this on the second viewing. We missed lots of useful advice the first time around.

Not only am I a vegetarian but I eat very little dairy and am wheat intolerant. We don’t drink alcohol and have very few take-away meals. I teach dance classes while my partner lays and sands wood floors and together, we are attempting to renovate the Grade II listed house and byre that we live in and rescue four acres from thirty years of neglect.

Neither of us was carrying much fat so we attempted to juice fast and keep working with very little reserve….the first night I fainted, luckily in the bedroom and was able to get on the floor. So my second piece of advice is, be kind to yourself. For at least five days, give yourself time to adjust, rest…the video says all you want to do is curl up in bed but….it does get easier.

Nearing the end of the third day, Mike needed to drive to Cardigan to give a price for a wood floor and I was wrapped up in layers and a hot water bottle trying to get warm. We felt dreadful and made the decision to add some food at this point. Mike had eggs and in the evening, I made leek and potato soup (loads of leek, little potato;-)) with the broth I made from the vegetable pulp. On the fourth day, we had our fruit juice breakfast, green juice and took our Berries and Beet coconut water to the beach. Home made hummus, crackers, ryvitas, grapes and carrots for lunch followed by Beet delight juice and hot carrot spinach salad (v v hot!!), home made vege burgers and sweetcorn for dinner and apple crumble with nuts and seeds topping for our evening meal. We have continued to drink lots of water.



It’s day five today. Coconut water contains electrolytes to help with the dettox symptoms…tricky to know if it works as I’m not feeling great but, the Berries and Beet recipe is delicious!

I’ve learned a lot about the foods our bodies really need and what my body needs to stop it keeling over! Maybe we stopped too soon to get the full benefit of a detox but I’ve been shopping today so I can try the Quinoa burgers and Veggie meatballs recipes, and I’ve bought more kale and spinach. I’ve learned I can’t ‘eat’ cucumber or it repeats on me all day but has no effect on me if juiced. I’ve learned that I may actually be allergic to celery as after the first green juice, where I thought someone had hit me on the head with a sledge hammer, I reduced the amount to no avail until yesterday when I removed it and no head slam! While I’m drinking the juices, I can eat apples and oranges with no tummy ache. A delicate but necessary detail…instead of around five visits each morning, I’m now having a much more comfortable one or two.

Please join me next week for the next five days of this juice journey where I try to decide, how much juice is enough!