Tag Archives: plant based

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.

 

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

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!

 

 

1 year without nicotine – how was it for you, darling?

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If you’ve been following my posts you’ll know I haven’t found stopping smoking easy. One of the reasons was I didn’t feel any better or healthier, in fact, for a number of months, I felt dreadful. I’d made so many changes already. Why didn’t I feel any better?

More than twenty years ago, the terrible, scary pain in my side was diagnosed as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), and I spent the next four years coming to terms with a massive change in diet and trying to find a work/exercise/eating balance that worked for me.

For a couple of years I ate very little because the less I ate, the less pain I was in, but gradually, I built up my eating (I was already vegetarian) and rebuilt my body with bellydance.

I believed I was strong, slim and fit due to my diet and dancing, but what I didn’t realise was that the nicotine was playing a part in this equation. Taking it out of my life, my hormones were like socks in a tumble dryer; all over the place. My IBS returned with a vengeance for a couple of months, as did violent menopausal symptoms, and on top of all this, I’d sleep for two hours and then lie awake for the rest of the night. Mood swings were violent. I experienced chronic anxiety on top of depression…

But this didn’t last! Yes, I felt terrible, but now I’m finally feeling some benefit for giving up my addiction. I’m no expert, but here are a few things I wish someone had told me….

Firstly, make sure you’re giving up for the right reasons. The Alan Carr book is really good, challenging you, making you face what you really know but don’t want to believe. Stop smoking nicotine because it is best for YOU. YOU are worth it! YOU deserve to live a healthy life.

Secondly, they say (whoever they are!) you don’t need to replace smoking with another habit, and maybe that works for some people, but I needed something else. The day I chose to begin my day walking, was the day I began to feel better. I chose walking instead of choosing that first cigarette, and that really helped me in a number of ways:

I changed my routine

I set myself a new challenge

I quickly found I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was!

Walking is the BEST exercise

Thirdly, make sure you’re supported by friends and family. I’m so glad my partner and I stopped together, and support and encouragement from my tribe kept me going at the hardest times.

My final piece of advice I can tell you, but you might not believe me….you don’t have to feel as rubbish as you do. Your joints don’t have to ache. You can feel SO MUCH BETTER than you do now.

Why did I find life so difficult without nicotine? One reason was because I put on two stone which appeared on my body like a weighty, solid belt, and undermined all my confidence. All my old hang ups about my weight and appearance returned. I felt old, heavy and weighed down and I didn’t look or feel like I was the same person. Unable to show my ladies dance moves was devastating.  

The doctor was kind. I’m back on a very low dose HRT and I sleep better now, but as far as the fat orbiting my stomach is concerned, I’m told it is my lot, middle age spread I’ll have to put up with….

NO WAY!

I’m making even more changes for 2019! If I’m going to be a different person, I’m going to be the person I want to be. I am now committed to a wholefoods, plant based diet and to exercising for a fitter, healthier me. There will be changes on my blog too…

I’ll be encouraging you to watch videos, read books and check out the data about plant based eating as the best diet for you, your family and the planet.

I’ll be trying and testing new plant based recipes and sharing them with you.

Dance will always be my favourite exercise, but I’m going to be trying out other exercise which I’ll share with you.

No longer will I ‘fit in’ those aspects of my life that make me happy….I’m going to begin with them and work my life around them.

I’m looking forward to a busy, exercise packed, fun filled, exciting 2019! Come and join me xx

 

NB: even if life throws a curved ball, don’t give up. Check out my latest video from Phoenix and the Dragon and see what I mean…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dz7O480_fws

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now!

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For the first time, since I was eighteen, my Christmas dinner was cooked for me this festive season. We were away at our eldest son’s house, joined by our other children and partners. I shall remember it as one of my favourite Christmas times ever.

We walked and talked, catching up on life and sharing our thoughts and ideas for the future. After four glorious days, I made some decisions….

Now! Is the time to spend days and weekends with family and friends, the ones that make my heart sing.

Now! Is the time to embrace the fitness challenge with both hands, and see what I can achieve in 2019.

Now! Is the time to commit to plant based eating and to spreading the word by sharing recipes and ideas.

Now! Is the time to get the groundwork in place for our potting shed/greenhouse and new raised beds, so we can grow lots of veg.

Now! Is the time to finish my Lizzie Martin Witchlit series, inspiring women to embrace magic in their lives.

Now! Is the time to work magic every day, be it a lighted candle of thanks to the goddess or a chosen tarot guide to seek guidance or assurance.

Now! Is the time to push all our plans on our house and land forward, creating the warm, cosy home we seek.

 

Life’s too short not to do it now! ‘It’ doesn’t have to be big, but whatever ‘it’ is, don’t put it off until tomorrow.

Bright blessings, peace, health and happiness for the coming year xx

 

Plant based recipe of the week – week 11 – Two Potato Vindaloo

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My good friend Cate loaned me her Yotam Ottolenghi cook book and I found this recipe. I’ve cooked it half a dozen times now because it’s delicious! Do not be afraid that it is a vindaloo – it’s full of tasty spice but not too hot. I rewrote the recipe in a way I could use it more easily than the way it is printed in the book, and I’ve given you the options I used when I didn’t have exactly what the recipe called for. Once you’ve made it a few times I’m sure it will become one of your ‘go to’ favourites….in our house it’s now  affectionately known as 2PV.

Two Potato Vindaloo

8 cardomon pods        )

1 tbsp cumin seeds     ) a) dry roast these and add to… * in a pestle and mortar and grind.

1 tbsp coriander seeds)

1/2 tsp cloves*

1/4 tsp turmeric*

1 tsp paprika*

1 tsp cinnamon*

 

b) cook the following on a medium low heat for 8 minutes or until shallots are brown

2 tbsp vegetable oil

12 shallots 300g (I used 4 small onions)

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (I used 1 tsp panch puran)

Stir a) into b) and add c)

c) 25 curry leaves (I left out once and dish was still fab!)

2 tbsp fresh grated ginger

1 red chilli, finely chopped

Cook for 3 minutes and then add d)

d) 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped (I used 1 tin tomatoes, 1 tbsp tomato puree, 1 tbsp ketchup)

50ml cider vinegar

400ml water

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt to taste

Bring all to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, then add e)

e) 400g potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces

2 small red peppers (I used 1 red and 1 green)

Cook for another 20 minutes then add…

400g sweet potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces.

Uncover pan for 10 minutes to thicken

I did all the prep first, leaving the skins on the potatoes. This dish tastes good immediately, but fabulous the next day and it freezes well.

Do pop back for more plant based recipes, book reviews, interviews, dance and magical musings. Bright blessings xx

Plant based recipe of the week – week 10 – Holly’s Jammy Flapjack

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My children visited at the end of August and I was looking for a different cake to bake to go with my lemon curd slice, which you can find here https://wendysteele.com/2017/12/04/plant-based-recipe-of-the-week-week-2-happy-birthday-to-me/

Camping with my tribe, we all brought food to share and Holly brought along this delicious flapjack, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you all.

Holly’s Jammy Flapjack

 200g butter/margarine

175g golden syrup

300g porridge oats

200g jam

Preheat oven 200C/Fan 180/ Gas 6.

Grease 20cm X 20cm tin and line with greaseproof paper.

Melt margarine and syrup. Turn off heat. Stir in oats.

Press half the mixture into the tin. Spoon over the jam. Spread over the rest of the mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Cool and cut into 12 bars.

 

I used dairy free margarine and doubled the recipe to in the baking tray above.

 

Enjoy this delicious sweet treat. For more tried and tested plant based recipes, type ‘plant based recipe of the week’ into the search box on the home page. Do pop back again soon.

 

Getting the balance right part 2

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It’s life, isn’t it? Mind and body, work and play, life is all about balance.

Living in a renovation project makes balancing really difficult. There’s always something to do on the house, byre or land, but since stopping smoking on 21st January, I’ve struggled to find a balance for my body.

The terrible gnawing pangs in my stomach could not be sated with food. I found that out after a couple of weeks, but even though I stopped eating so many granola bars, my hormones were going balastic. My IBS symptoms and menopausal symptoms returned with a vengeance. The new HRT my doctor insisted on didn’t agree with me and I gained weight really fast. My usual six hours of dancing each week wasn’t enough to stop me continuing to gain weight and on top of that, I wanted to cry every morning because I couldn’t have a cigarette.

That’s when I decided to start walking and counting steps every morning. It began with 1k in the morning, and then I made it morning, noon and night. It quickly rose to 2k when I discovered that was approximately one mile. Every morning when the alarm goes off, I get up and walk around our land, sometimes accompanied by Loki, who loves being carried around.

I do the same at lunchtime and in the evening and these past two weeks I’ve added in 3 barrows full of brambles and 3 Wendy barrows of stones moved, to try to achieve every day. This gives all my arm and back muscles a good work out too.

But this exercise has to fit around my writing plans for August; to complete the fourth Lizzie Martin Witchlit book, The Eloquent Witch. And then, of course, there’s marketing and promotion. I’m using my power naps, but my family is visiting next week and I’ve less than half of the novel completed.

Have I got the balance wrong? I hope not because I’m feeling more energised. I don’t know if I’ve lost weight because I don’t have scales but there’s no doubt the equator-like ring around my middle is decreasing…and last night on the river bank, I jogged the length of it for the first time. I asked myself the question ‘Can you jog?’ It’s been over thirty years since I’ve run and I’m going to build up to 1k steps, 200 jog and 200 walk and repeat, by the end of the month.

Balance of mind and body has to be a personal thing, but if walking, dancing and maybe even jogging, give me more energy and keep my depression away, enabling me to write and enjoy life more, I’m going for it. I’m sure the plant based diet helps too, with fresh vegetables from the garden.

For tried and tested plant based recipes, type ‘plant based’ into the search box on the home page.