Tag Archives: plant based recipes

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 #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 #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:-)

 

 

 

Plant based recipes 2019 #1 Mexican Beans

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I found this recipe on The Happy Pear. I love their enthusiasm and love of food! Subscribe to their channel here https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=happy+pear

This is the first recipe I’ve tried where I’ve taken out the oil and I can’t tell the difference. Enjoy!

Easy Mexican Beans

2 tablespoons oil (I used water)

2 tins beans (they suggest buying cheap baked beans and washing off the juice, but any beans will do)

1 red onion, chopped (white works fine)

2 gloves garlic, crushed (I used four cloves)

1 red pepper, chopped (any colour is fine)

1 green chilli, finely chopped (any chilli you have works well)

1 tin sweetcorn

2tspns cumin

black pepper

1/2 tspoon paprika

1 tspoon salt

2 tins chopped tomatoes

4 tablespoons tomato puree

11/2 tablespoons maple syrup

Juice 1 lime

Fresh coriander

Method

Rinse and drain your beans.

Heat pan and add onion, garlic, pepper and chilli. Add a splash of water to the hot pan and cook until veg begins to soften.

Add cumin, black pepper, paprika, salt and sweetcorn. (I left out the salt at this point.) Coat all the veg and cook for a minute.

Add tomatoes, puree and beans and stir.

Add your choice of sweetener – I used 1 tblspoon agave syrup (I’m using up before buying date syrup/sugar that’s even better for you!) Because I added less sweetener, I only used the juice of half a lime.

Add fresh coriander and cook for five minutes.

We found this recipe was still quite sharp to taste….I think it depends on the quality of the tomatoes. I added 1/2 tablespoon of tomato ketchup and it made all the difference!

I love making this recipe for dinner for the two of us because it leaves enough for lunch the next day too, perfect with salad and pitta bread. Enjoy!