Tag Archives: porridge

Life begins at fifty – Healthy life #9 – little things that make a lot of difference

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Here are a few things I’ve learned along this journey, little things that can help to make a big difference.

1 Checking the fibre

On a loaf of bread (or any carb high food), take the 100g reading for carbs and divide it by the amount of fibre. You want it to be 5 or less. This adds fibre to your diet without you having to physically add it or even think about it!

For those of you in the UK, I’d like to add that on a recent trip to Lidl (they had offers on their ground flaxseeds and chia seeds), I checked out their bread section and found both their white and brown seeded loaves were under 5, while in Sainsbury’s, the closest I can find is still 5 and a bit, and in Morrisons, 6 and a bit.

2 Porridge is brilliant

I enjoy porridge most mornings with soya milk, because with added flaxseeds (I don’t like chia seeds in this as it feels too gel like) and my small bowl of fruit before, according to Chronometer, I wrack up over 1/4 of my daily nutrients and vitamins before the day even begins.

3 Using a spoon to measure

Rather than just tipping, use a teaspoon or tablespoon to measure, just so you know in your head how much you are using. It’s so easy to overtip, especially something like oil, which is a fat we don’t want too much of in our diet. By measuring, I’ve been able to cut down on excess where it wasn’t needed, freeing up more calories to make sure I get the good fats like nuts, seeds and avocados.

4 Cook extra

Whenever I put the oven on, I think what else I could put in there that would be good for the next day. Cold baked potatoes are delicious, though I always reheat sweet potato, not keen on it cold. Potato, onion and vegan mayo make a quick additional salad that you can add seeds, raisins, chopped apricot, all sorts to. If you like pasta, cook extra and make a little salad with that for the next day. Lentil loaf is lovely cold with salad. This way, you’re saving energy and getting food prep underway in advance.

5 Don’t be afraid of supplements, be savvy

If you are on a plant based diet, you need to take a B12 supplement….at least. And if you get hassle about it from meat eating friends, then inform them that because the land has been drained of so much of its goodness by intensive farming, often to feed animals, the vegetables we eat don’t contain the same nutrient content as they used to. Most of us also get our water from the water companies, whereas well water has a good B12 content. At the moment, that’s all I’m taking. I cook most of our meals from scratch with very little processed additions, and most days, I get close to or if not hit my Daily Dozen, but my eldest son, who’s a pilot and often finds plant based food a challenge in Norway at eleven o’clock at night, takes a multi vitamin.

6 Eat what you enjoy

Confession time…I don’t like sushi and I’m not keen on quinoa, but you know what? It really doesn’t matter. I love beans, lentils, tofu, mushrooms, chickpeas, sweet potatoes….I could go on, but you get the idea. We have brown rice, and I’m working on perfecting a whole grain but wheat free bread recipe. I struggle to digest green pepper, especially raw, but orange and red are fine, so we eat lots of them instead. Making your plate colourful with veg is the most important thing.

Add sauces, either homemade or pre-prepared if necessary. We started making our own, but having a pot of vegan mayo in the fridge when you’ve forgotten to soak your cashews and you have no white beans to use is really useful!

I buy hummus. I’ve tried two different recipes and neither quite hit the spot, so we end up wasting it. I beat myself up for months about the little plastic containers, but now I use them to freeze individual portions of food, perfect to go in a cool box or for me to eat when my partner is working away. They make great ‘tasters’ for friends too, introducing them to delicious plant based food.

 

I hope you found the above useful….do comment and let me know, especially if you’d like me to cover another topic on plant based cooking and eating. Happy eating!

 

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Life Begins at Fifty – Healthy Life #8 Listen to your body – food

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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!