Moving In – Moving On!

There is so much to do with this moving home lark! Not helped by the fact that the kitchen appliances seem to have taken exception to being moved. Sorted out the cooker and washer, or rather my son did. My slow cooker is no more, following an accident when it was left on the cooker – a result of moving from a large kitchen into a small kitchen where space is very limited – need I say more? Engineer due tomorrow to fix the dryer – hopefully. It’s at times like this we get a very small taste of what life was like before all our modern conveniences. I’m at the age where I can still remember washing clothes by hand and either ringing them out by hand or do using a manual wringer to take excess water out before hanging them on a clothes line or clothes dryer in front of the open fire. How far we have come in such a relatively short time. Luckily I have moved close to my mum and I’ve been able to use her dryer on occasion. I currently have a load of towels drying on various radiators after someone (who won’t be named) let the bath overflow, flooding the bathroom, (it’s downstairs in this house) hall carpet and part of the dining room carpet – life’s trials eh!

The house is taking shape. I still have doors needing to be planed and rehung after carpets were fitted. Curtain poles still need putting up in some rooms but I can’t find the tools at the moment – who knows where they are? I still don’t have sofas for the lounge. I’m absolutely sick and tired of looking for them. If I find one I like it’s generally not in stock or has a 3 month wait time for delivery! Thought I’d cracked it and found a corner sofa I liked – should have been delivered this Saturday but that now is not in stock – so back to the drawing board. At this rate we’ll be sitting on bean bags!!

Not done much cooking while I’ve been here. I’ve made one batch of chickpea curry but generally existing on fruit and buddha bowls. Luckily buddha bowls can be varied to avoid getting fed up eating the same thing.

One example of a buddha bowl I’ve been eating while settling into the new house

Continuing with the alphabet theme – we are at K in the alphabet of fruit and vegetables – delving deeper into the nutritional and health benefits of plant based food:

Kale

Nutritional values and health benefits of Kale – from http://www.healthline.comof all the healthy greens, kale is king. It is amongst the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It is a cruciferous vegetable like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and Brussels sprouts. A single cup of raw kale (67g) contains:

  • Vitamin A: 206% of the DV (from beta-carotene)
  • Vitamin K: 684% of the DV (daily value)
  • Vitamin C: 134% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
  • Manganese: 26% of the DV
  • Calcium: 9% of the DV
  • Copper: 10% of the DV
  • Potassium: 9% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 6% of the DV
  • It also contains 3% or more of the DV for Vitamin B1 (thiamin),Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), iron and phosphorus
  • 33 calories – given it’s incredibly low calorie content, kale is amongst the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. Eating more kale is a great way to dramatically increase the total nutrient content of your diet
  • 6 grams carbs
  • 3 grams protein)

Health benefits of adding Kale to your diet:

  • Kale is loaded with antioxidants that help counteract oxidative damage by free radicals in the body. Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the main drivers of aging and many diseases, including cancer
  • Antioxidants in kale have powerful heart-protective, blood pressure-lowering, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-depressant and anti-cancer effects, to name a few
  • It is an excellent source of Vitamin C. This is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, the most abundant structural protein in the body.Kale is much higher in Vitamin C than most other vegetables, containing about 4.5 times as much as spinach. A cup of raw kale contains even more vitamin C than a whole orange
  • Kale can help lower cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. Cholesterol has many important functions in the body. For instance it is used to make bile acids, which are then released into the digestive system whenever you eat a fatty meal. When all the fat has been absorbed and the bile acids have served their purpose, they are reabsorbed into the bloodstream and used again. Kale actually contains bile acid sequestrants, which can lower cholesterol levels. This might lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over time.
  • According to one study, steaming kale dramatically increases the bile acid binding effect. Steamed kale is actually 43% as potent as cholestryamine, a cholesterol lowering drug that functions in a similar way.
  • Kale is one of the worlds best sources of Vitamin K which is absolutely critical for blood clotting, and does this by “activating” certain proteins and giving them the ability to bind calcium. The well-known anticoagulant drug Warfarin actually works by blocking the function of this vitamin.
  • There are numerous cancer-fighting substances in Kale as it is loaded with compounds that are believed to have protective effects against cancer. One of these, sulforaphane is a substance that has been shown to fight the formation of cancer at the molecular level.
  • Kale is high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body can turn into vitamin A.
  • Kale is a good source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium , some of which, many people are deficient in.
  • Kale is high in Lutein and Zeaxanthin, powerful nutrients that can protect the eyes. Many studies have shown that people who eat enough lutein and zeaxanthin have a much lower risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, two very common eye disorders.
  • Kale should be able to help you lose weight as it is very low in calories but still provides significant bulk that should help you feel full. It also contains small amounts of protein and fibre, two important nutrients when it comes to losing weight.

I tend to add kale to buddha bowls, soups, stir fry, curry and anything else I can thing to add it to. I’m very conscious of eating sufficient greens, either kale, spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts so will add them to most meals.

I cut out the stalk and roughly chop kale before adding it to meals

Earlier this week I received a tip from a very good friend on how to use over ripe bananas. Cook some apples, plums, pears or anything you like to put in the bottom of a crumble. Mash your bananas and slowly add oats until it forms a crumb texture. Sprinkle this over your fruit and bake as you would your usual crumble. If you want extra crunch add chopped nuts or dried fruit. My bananas don’t ever get to the stage of becoming over ripe but if and when they do I will be making this – sounds delicious and I’m sure it will be quick and easy to make.

Wednesday night and just made another chickpea curry. Now usually I get all the ingredients out before I start cooking, but tonight I didn’t for some reason and when it came to adding the curry powder I discovered I had very little left! I had the onion, garlic and ginger sautéing in the Instapot and so was committed to cooking something. Added the little bit of curry powder I had and after some deliberation, thought what the hell and added some cumin. I expected the finished product to be underwhelming but I was surprised with the result. Tastes damn good! Getting more and more used to improvising. I learned early when starting out on wfpb to taste as I was cooking. In the beginning everything tasted bland – I realise now that I was adjusting to not including oil and salt to my food. Experimenting with herbs and spices aided in the transition to wfpb. Now I taste and appreciate the unadulterated true flavours of food.

So, February 2021 already – what does the rest of the year have in store for us? Tomorrow I have my first Covid vaccination. I sincerely hope that this vaccine is the key to getting back to something near normal. I, like so many others I’m sure, am desperate to meet up with extended family and friends. Wishing you all well.

Please like, share and comment on this post. Your support is much appreciated.

New Year Resolution – Living the best plant-based life

Apologies for not posting for almost 4 weeks but during that time I have moved home. They say moving home is one of the most stressful things you can do and I can honestly say that has been the case. The eldest grandchild has moved out and I can say wholeheartedly that I miss his presence in the house – especially his greeting of “hello darling” whenever he entered the house or passed me on his way to the kitchen. The middle grandchild has been an absolute star during this move. He is quite OCD about his own room and this has extended in part to the rest of the house. The move would not have gone nearly so well without him – I hope I’ve made it clear to him how much I appreciate his help (and his girlfriend too). The youngest grandchild is not at all happy that he has the smallest bedroom, after sharing a bedroom for years I would have thought his own bedroom, no matter how small would have been welcome. It’s not helped by the fact that he insisted on a double bed – not much space around that. This house has a really good feel to it. The middle grandchild tells me often how much he loves this house and how it reminds him of the house I lived in when they first came to me. That house only had 2 bedrooms so we couldn’t stay there – needed something bigger. This house is still a work in progress. We have moved from having a large kitchen to a very small kitchen. I still have 2 large boxes to unpack that are marked ‘Kitchen’. Haven’t attempted to cook anything yet because I can’t find a home for all my small kitchen appliances. Luckily we do have far more cupboard space in this house and I have plans to turn one in to a pantry – that should take care of the overspill!

Well I didn’t make any actual New Year Resolutions but remain committed to following a plant-based lifestyle – I can’t see there coming a time when I don’t to be honest. It is truly a way of life now – feeling too good to go back to my old eating habits and I believe 14 months (time since starting wfpb) is the longest I have ever stuck to any kind of eating plan! I remember some rediculous diets I’ve been on from the pineapple diet, the cabbage soup diet, the 1 poached egg on a slice of dry toast a day diet – how I managed that while holding down a quite energy sapping job working in a convalescent home one summer I’ve no idea – rediculous! I’ve done Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Atkins and a seemingly endless list of other diets in an attempt to lose weight but never before have I made the connection between losing weight while ensuring I’m taking care of my health too – Wfpb has been the game changer.

The alphabet rundown of fruit and vegetables and their nutritional values and health benefits continues with J:

Jackfruit – information taken from webmd.com

The largest tree fruit in the world, jackfruit – sometimes called “jack fruit” or “jack” – can be up to 3 feet long and 20 inches wide. Just one fruit can weigh as much as 110 pounds. The rind of the jackfruit is green or yellow. Although it gives off a smell of rotting onions when it’s ripe and ready to eat, the pulp inside smells and tastes far better: like a cross between pineapple and bananas. You can eat the seeds too – and a jackfruit has plenty of them – up to 500. Each can reach an inch and a half in length. There are two main types of jackfruit. One is small and mushy. It tastes sweet but it’s slimy. The other type of jackfruit has crisp, crunchy flesh that’s not as sweet.

Nutrients per serving (1 cup of sliced raw jackfruit has:

  • Calories: 157
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 38 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Calcium: 30 milligrams

Health Benefits:

  • Constipation – Jackfruit is a good source of fibre, so it could help you feel fuller for longer and help keep your bowel movements regular.
  • Ulcers – the natural chemicals in jackfruit may help prevent these sores from forming inside your stomach.
  • Diabetes – your body digests and absorbs jackfruit more slowly than some other foods. That means your blood sugar won’t rise as quickly as it might when you eat other fruits. One study found that jackfruit extract made it easier for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar.
  • High Blood Pressure – the potassium in this tropical fruit could help you lower your blood pressure, which can help stave off heart disease, stroke and bone loss.
  • Skin Problems – the high amounts of vitamin C in jackfruit may help protect your skin from sun damage. You need plenty of vitamin C to keep your skin firm and strong.
  • Cancer – Phytonutrients, like those found in jackfruit, are natural compounds that might have cancer-fighting benefits, such as preventing cancer cells from forming in your body.

How to prepare Jackfruit:

Jackfruit isn’t easy to peel because of its sticky sap. To keep it from gumming up your knife and hands, rub them with cooking oil before you slice open the fruit. Once you do, it will take time to separate the fleshy bulbs you can eat from the tough strips of membrane, which you can’t.you’ll then have to remove the seeds from each bulb.

You may prefer to eat jackfruit before it’s fully ripe and the rind starts to smell like spoiled onions. If you cut it into chunks and boil them in salted water until they’re tender, you can easily slice the meaty flesh from the rind. You can roast or boil the seeds like chestnuts.

If you don’t want to prepare your own jackfruit, look for canned or ready-to-eat jackfruit in supermarkets. Jackfruit can be used as a meat substitute. It also comes canned in a sweet, heavy syrup like some other fruits.

How to store:

Once a jackfruit is ripe, it will turn brown and go bad quickly. To keep yours fresh, store it in the refrigerator. When kept cool and dry, a ripe jackfruit can last up to six weeks.

Jackfruit as it grows
The bulbs of the jackfruit

I’ve exhausted my supply of ready made meals from the freezer so I need to start batch cooking again. It’s definitely going to be a challenge in my much smaller kitchen – I’m used to spreading out over several surfaces! I’m going to leave it at that for my first post back after almost a month.

Please like, share or comment and I’ll post again very soon.

Happy New Plant-Based Year!

I’m feeling so good health wise. However, we started this new year in tier 4 in another attempt to curb the spread of Corona Virus. When will it end? It occurred to me that for the first time in many years I was in a place in my life where I was able to dress up, feeling good about myself but actually had nowhere to go! Here’s to many more years where I will get that opportunity. Since initially writing this, England is now moving to total lockdown – for the third time. All we can do is stick to the rules and hope that the vaccination program does its job and enables us to return to some level of normalcy in the not too distant future.

Continuing the alphabet in delving deeper into the nutrition and health benefits of fruit and veg – we reach I and the only item I could find beginning with I – Iceberg Lettuce:

Iceberg lettuce has a cool, crisp taste and adds lots of crunch to a sandwich. If you choose to not eat bread, iceberg lettuce leaves can make a good food wrapper.

Nutritional and health benefits of iceberg lettuce – taken from healthline.com.

Despite its reputation for being a complete zero on the nutritional scale, iceberg lettuce provides significant amounts of vitamins A and K. It also has small amounts of many other nutrients. Although it’s low in fibre, it has a high water content, making it a refreshing choice during hot weather. It also provides calcium, potassium, vitamin C and folate. These nutrients can help you meet the standard daily requirements for several vitamins and minerals. They include:

  • Vitamin C: a powerful antioxidant that helps keep your immune system healthy
  • Calcium: which keeps bones and teeth strong. It also supports muscle function, and blood clotting
  • Vitamin K: a vitamin that works with calcium to prevent bone fractures. It’s also integral for blood clotting
  • Vitamin A: (as Beta Carotene), a powerful antioxidant that helps to maintain night vision and eye health. It also supports cell growth
  • Folate: a B vitamin that helps to make DNA and genetic material. It’s especially important for women who are pregnant or who are planning to become pregnant
  • Potassium: a mineral that reduces blood pressure by lessening the effects of salt in the diet

I’m sure we’ve all heard the old saying If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail” – well, there are times when I haven’t been prepared, meaning no meals in the fridge or freezer and I know for me that could be a danger time. Luckily, I always have wfpb resources available in the store cupboard, fridge and freezer, so I know to kick my lazy butt into gear and throw something together – often that will be a vegetable stir fry with rice or pasta – danger averted! There are also times when I can’t be bothered to cook (pre-planning comes into its own here!) and other times where I am happy to spend time looking for and preparing something new – like the Vegan Wellington I recently made.

Not the best photo I know and I’d eaten a portion before I thought of taking a photo! Tasted so good and will definitely be making it again

I often find when I make something new it is extra time consuming and so it was with the Vegan Wellington. However, I know the next time I make it, it will take less time because it will be more familiar to me. I have reproduced the recipe below from veganhuggs.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet vegan puff pastry, thawed if frozen (about 10×13)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax meal + 5 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil, or preferred cooking oil (I used water)
  • Half medium onion, diced
  • 2 small carrots, diced small
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, minced or finely chopped
  • 1.5 tablespoons tamari sauce
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained well but not rinsed
  • 3/4 cup unsalted walnuts, ground into a course meal (measured whole)
  • 1/2 cup panel breadcrumbs, more if needed ( I didn’t have these so used rolled oats)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1.5 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter melted

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside
  2. Combine the ground flax and water in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 min. It will thicken and gel up a bit
  3. Heat oil (water) in a large skillet over medium heat
  4. Add garlic, thyme, sage and rosemary. Sauté for 1 minute
  5. Add mushrooms and sauté until they soften and release their moisture, about 5 – 7 minutes. You do not want the pan to be dry. Now add the tamari and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes
  6. Add chickpeas to a large mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher. Don’t over mash – just mash enough to break down whole chickpeas, but leave lots of texture
  7. Now add the cooled mixture, breadcrumbs, walnut meal, flax mixture, Worcestershire, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Combine well with a spatula and use your hands if needed. Taste and add more seasoning if preferred. (If the mixture seems too wet, you can add another 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs or rolled oats – you should be able to form it with your hands easily)
  8. Using your hands, shape the mixture into a solid log that will fit in the middle of the pastry sheet (with a few inches of slack)
  9. Unroll puff pastry sheet and lay over the baking sheet. Place your prepared mixture into the centre of the pastry
  10. Now roll up the ends and press gently to seal. If you have a lot of extra length, you may want to trim the dough first before sealing. Otherwise the ends of the loaf will be very doughy. Flip the loaf over so the sealed edges are facing the baking sheet
  11. Brush the top and sides with melted vegan butter (or as I did with a little oat milk). Using a sharp knife, gently make diagonal slits across the whole top of loaf about 1-inch apart. Now repeat going the other direction to criss-cross slits
  12. place in the oven for 30-35minutes until heated throughout and the pastry is golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes before gently cutting with a sharp knife
  13. Enjoy!

A top tip: Top trick for preparing veg – chop a batch then freeze so you can grab and go. Or prepare and box up, place in the fridge – will stay fresh for up to five days. I’m up for anything that saves me time. One of the best tips that absolutely blew my mind was how to peel carrots using a vegetable peeler like the one below:

An amazing time saving gadget

I used to use this as a scraper, scraping a carrot for instance, from top to bottom. Until I saw someone scraping from top to bottom and then bottom to top in a continuous motion – so fast and easy – carrots peeled in no time at all. Why did I not know this before?

I firmly believe that what we eat determines how we feel – everything we put in our body affects the way we feel. I have been wfpb for 13 months and I have been open about not being consistently 100% but I do strive to be. What I do know is when I eat processed food or go off topic (food wise), my body lets me know about it with the resulting headache, stomach pains, gassiness and pain from inflammation particularly in my fingers etc. This “reminder” is what keeps me on the wfpb track.

So, as I finish this latest post, I’m reminded how challenging lockdown can be both physically and mentally for many of us. Playing Monopoly played its part in getting our family through the last lockdown (as detailed in a previous post) and a new voice activated version of the game started us off this time. This was a Christmas present for one of the boys and it proved to be a hit. No fiddly paper money to deal with – the voice activated banker takes care of all that!

Thanks for reading. Please like, share, comment and follow. Most of all stay safe and healthy.

Enjoying a very different Christmas – pandemic style

Life still isn’t back to normal (what am I taking about?) life isn’t “normal” for any of us since Covid reared it’s ugly head! but my sister is now out of isolation and has returned to work. Fortunately her COVID symptoms were mild, however, she is drained of energy. So while she is not infectious, Covid has taken its toll and continues to do so, in sapping her energy levels. Particularly difficult when staffing levels where she works are down resulting in those in work having to do more. As I’ve said previously, my sister works with the vulnerable and elderly and apart from her recent period of isolation, has worked throughout the pandemic, as have so many in the caring professions, putting themselves at risk to look after others.

Mum is home, discharged from hospital on 23 December, looking much better than the last time I saw her. She suffers from COPD and was a heavy smoker for many years. She gave up cigarettes about 6 years ago and I remember being so proud of her. I never thought she would succeed but she joined a support group, set a date to quit completely and actually gave up before the date she had set. I’m not exaggerating when I say she was a chain smoker. I can only imagine her COPD would be much worse if she hadn’t quit. Not being able to visit her in hospital was difficult – another impact of the virus, on families of loved ones at an already difficult and stressful time. Again, we depend on doctors and nurses to help our family members when we are not able to so so. Mum also receives support from carers on a daily basis to support her to remain in her own home. Where would we be without them?

Continuing with the alphabet theme – looking at the nutritional and health benefits of at least two vegetables or fruit per post – H:

Herbs

I know, a general lumping together here, but herbs can make or break a recipe. Again, in general, herbs may help to prevent and manage heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Herbs may also help to reduce blood clots and provide anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour properties. Research continues, but studies have shown that: Garlic, linseed, fenugreek and lemongrass may help lower cholesterol. Information taken from: http://www.betterhealth.com

A selection of herbs that add wonderful flavours to any recipe

Haricot Beans – also known as Navy Beans

Haricot Beans are a great source of fibre, B vitamins and minerals and are low in fat. Amount per 100 grams contains roughly:

  • Calories: 67
  • Fat: 0.7g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 13mg
  • Potassium: 307mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 13 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Vitamin C: 31% of daily value (DV)
  • Calcium: 1%
  • Iron: 10%
  • Vitamin B-6: 10%
  • Magnesium: 25%

Health benefits of eating haricot (navy) beans: information taken from verywellfit.com

  • Lowers the risk of diabetes – as they digest slowly helping to reduce blood sugar levels
  • Supports heart health – the high fibre content is said to reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Improved memory and cognition through folate contained in haricot beans
  • Muscle growth and repair supported by the complex carbohydrates found in these beans
  • Can support weight loss as haricot beans are low in calories and high in fiber
  • Can lower the risk of some cancers. Research suggests the phytochemicals contained in haricot beans reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer and a lowered risk of colorectal polyps
  • Improved blood circulation – haricot beans contain good amounts of iron and copper shown to help with blood circulation
Really struggled to find a photo of haricot (navy beans) but here they are

I have been about 95% wfpb compliant over Christmas and this Boxing Day evening I’ve been taking stock over how I’m feeling – a bit below par to say the least! I came across an article from ronproject.com and it piqued my interest because it was about lemon water – as someone who drinks only water 99% of the time it took me back to a time when I started drinking lemon water (hot). I believe it was as part of a detox plan. When I ran out of lemon, I continued drinking hot water because I enjoyed it and it no longer made sense to drink coffee throughout the day, especially when working. Drinking hot water was the only habit remaining from the detox plan, although most days I would have at the most 2 cups of coffee per day. A few years ago I developed a bad Diet Coke habit, after a while, I realised it wasn’t doing me any good and went “cold turkey”. When I first started wfpb I would have 2 coffees per day with a little oat milk (very nice by the way) but unless meeting up with friends (which has happened very infrequently for the past 9 months due to Covid) I drink water all day. So back to the lemon water article:

“Drinking lemon water has been very popular in recent years, mainly because of the wide range of benefits you can get out of it. Aside from rejuvenating cells and detoxifying your body, lemon is a rich source of vitamin C and minerals, such as Calcium, iron and potassium”

Benefits of drinking lemon water:

  1. It improves mood and balances emotions. Adding turmeric to your lemon water can help relieve depression and anxiety. Aside from being a delicious spice, turmeric has tons of healing properties. One is reducing depression by stimulating serotonin and reducing the production of the stress hormone cortisol.
  2. It strengthens the immune system. Thanks to the high amount of vitamin C, potassium and folate in lemons, it can also help your body fight infections.
  3. It’s reported that it can ease colds. It is a great way of loosening up congestion and soothes a sore throat. Adding honey to a warm cup of lemon water packs quite a punch hence making it a super effective remedy.
  4. It’s a good source of antioxidants. Rich in vitamin C, it can also be a source of plant compounds called flavonoids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
  5. It can encourage us to drink more water. If you think that drinking eight glasses containing eight ounces of water is a myth, think again. People need varying amounts of water depending on their age, weight, activity level and environment. Adding flavour to your water, such as lemon, is a tasty way of reaching your daily hydration quota
  6. It can help people give up coffee. Caffeine provides a lot of benefits to our body, but when consumed too much, it can also serve a great deal of damage to our health. If you’re trying to reduce caffeine, drinking lemon water actually helps.
  7. It suppresses the appetite and thus helps weight loss (on a personal note, I can’t say drinking lemon water had this affect on me!) it is also said to keep you feeling fuller for longer. In addition, a tablespoon of lemon juice contains only 4 calories. The best way to take advantage of its appetite suppressant properties, is to drink a glass of it a half hour before eating.
  8. It can lower your risk of stroke. Vitamin C can help prevent stroke and heart disease. A single lemon contains 51% of the vitamin C the average adult needs.
  9. It can lower cholesterol levels. Lemons are a good source of fibre and phytochemicals like diosmin and hesperidin that can help lower cholesterol.
  10. It can help the skin. Drinking lemon water every day not only benefits you internally but it can also highly benefit your skin. Lemon can induce skin cells to detox and force out impurities and sweat which can clog pores. It can also help boost collagen in your body which gives skin its elasticity.
  11. It freshens breath. Lemon water is also known as an effective way of making sure that you always have fresh breath thanks to its rich as orbit acid. Not only does it freshen your breath, but it’s anti microbial properties also kills bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum infection.
Is so good cold but equally good with hot water

I do hope you are all enjoying the Festive period as best you can given the restrictions we are under. Here’s hoping 2021 brings some relief from Covid, sooner rather than later would be good, but who knows how much longer it will be. Wishing you all the best for the New Year. Please like, comment, share and follow this blog. Your support is very much appreciated.

A Tough Week

Events have overtaken me this week. My sister, who works as a carer, tested positive for COVID and is currently isolating at home. So far her symptoms are mild kind of flu-like along with extreme exhaustion. My sister is a carer and has worked continuously with elderly and vulnerable clients throughout the pandemic. So hats off to her and all key-workers who are looking after others through this unprecedented time. The day after I received this news, my mum was taken into hospital with breathing difficulties. This is her third day in hospital, she’s on oxygen. Mum has underlying health conditions and was really not well at all. She’s had tests and scans and we are waiting for the results of those. By the way, my sister hasn’t been near mum for many weeks because she knew her job could put mum at greater risk of contracting Covid. We haven’t been told mum has the virus by the way. I’m checking in with the hospital regularly and will know when mum is coming home so that I can be there waiting for her. She lives alone and I imagine there’s nothing worse than going home from hospital to an empty house. The absolute worst part of this of course, as many relatives of those who are in hospital know, is that visitors aren’t allowed!

I don’t want to make excuses but I’m aware that I have been relying on more processed vegan/plant-based foods lately. So easy to prepare but not as healthy as preparing whole-foods from scratch. Just watched a ‘live’ edition of “fatmanrants” on Facebook and they have just made a “No-Chicken Salad Sandwich”. I often make “no tuna salad”, but I’m going to make this version as soon as I can get some dill relish. So courtesy of “fatmanrants” I’m reproducing the recipe for this sandwich filling:

Ingredients for the “FatMan’s No-Chicken Salad

  • 2 cans of chickpeas drained
  • 1/4 cup dill relish
  • 3 ribs of finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup halved grapes

Directions

Place all the ingredients apart from the walnuts and halved grapes in a bowl and using your hands, mix everything together. The object is to “squish” the chickpeas until they mix with all the other ingredients, but not to the point where it’s all soft and mushy – need to leave some texture in there.

Add the walnuts and grapes and fold into the mixture. Make a sandwich using whole wheat bread. Add some greens and tomatoes and enjoy a wonderful whole-food, plant-based sandwich.

I will make this soon and take a photo to include in my next blog. It sounds as if it will be quick and easy to make – just what I need right now!

Continuing with the alphabet of fruit and veg, highlighting nutritional value and health benefits – this week we are at G:

Garlic – Nutritional Values as taken from http://www.healthline.com>nutrition

  • Garlic is highly nutritious but has very few calories
  • Manganese – 2% of the daily value (DV)
  • Vitamin B6 – 2% DV
  • Vitamin C – 1% DV
  • Selenium – 1% DV
  • Fibre – 0.06 grams
  • Decent amounts of – calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorous, iron and vitamin B1

Garlic – Health Benefits taken from http://www.nm.org>healthy-tips>nutrition

  • Promotes heart health
  • Contains cancer-fighting characteristics
  • Potentially combats the common cold
  • Acts as a natural antibiotic
  • Clears your skin

The second “G” this week:

Ginger – Nutrition facts taken from http://www.everydayhealth.com per 100 grams

  • Calories – 80
  • Total fat – 0.8g = 1% DV
  • Potassium – 415 mg = 11% DV
  • Total Carbohydrate – 18g = 6% DV
  • Protein – 1.8g = 3% DV
  • Vitamin C – 8% DV
  • Calcium – 1% DV
  • Iron – 3% DV
  • Vitamin B-6 – 10% DV
  • Magnesium – 10%

Health benefits of Ginger taken from http://www.healthline.com>nutrition

  • Contains ginger oil, which has powerful medicinal properties
  • Can treat many forms of nausea, especially morning sickness
  • May help with weight loss
  • Can help with osteoarthritis
  • May drastically lower blood sugars and improve heart disease risk factors
  • Can help treat chronic indigestion
  • May significantly reduce menstrual pain
  • May help lower cholesterol levels
  • Contains a substance that may help prevent cancer
  • May improve brain function and protect against Alzheimer’s disease
  • Can help fight infections

A shorter post than normal but my mind is distracted by other events and of course Christmas is looming!

I hope everyone is staying as well, (both mentally and physically), as they can during what remains of this crazy 2020 and beyond. Surely in 2021 we will find a way to live alongside Covid, without having to endure the sanctions that have restricted/changed the way we live our lives. Having said that, I personally feel that not all the restrictions have been detrimental and that there are lessons to be learned that can improve the way we live post Covid – But, that’s a whole other discussion right there!

Please visit, share, comment and follow my blog. Your support is much appreciated.

A Plant-Based Run Up to Christmas

The house is so busy right now in the run up to Christmas. The tree is already decorated – at least two weeks earlier than I normally put it up, but I couldn’t hold out any longer from the onslaught of requests to get “ in the Christmas spirit.” So tree up, Christmas presents bought, (well nearly all) and wrapped. One main topic of conversation is “what are you going to be eating for Christmas dinner.” Vegetables of course! There are those among us who do still eat meat and dairy so they will be catered for. Hopefully, there will be a few of us to share the chore of cooking the big meal and preparation is key. I will do as much in advance as I possibly can so it doesn’t become a huge chore. Vegetables have always been the star of the show anyway as I never was a big meat eater although I did enjoy pigs in blankets and Yorkshire puddings! I’ll be preparing some plant-based dishes and they will either be eaten or not – if not, no harm done it can be frozen or chilled – nothing will go to waste and I’ll have dishes I can use throughout the following few days.

Still playing Monopoly (other board games are available). A grandson bought a different version, its larger, where the original game has 3 and sometimes 2 properties in a set, this game has 4 and 3. As well as houses and hotels, it has skyscrapers and depots (specifically for train stations). Another addition – Bus Stop cards and 2 Bus Stop squares on the board – giving you the opportunity, when you land on it, to move to any space on the side of the board you are currently on. I have to say, in our family, there are some interesting interpretation of the rules…that’s all I’m saying!

Continuing the alphabet theme, looking at the nutritional values and health benefits of fruit and vegetables – F is for:

Fennel: information taken from http://www.whfoods.com

Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet. Composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family and is therefore closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander. Fennel has a licorice-like flavour.

Nutrition facts -one raw fennel bulb (234grams approx) contains: information taken from – medicalnewstoday.com

  • 73 calories
  • 0.47g of fat
  • 2.9g protein
  • 17g carbohydrate
  • 7.3g dietary fibre
  • No cholesterol
  • 360mg potassium
  • 43mg calcium
  • 10.4mg vitamin C
  • 0.64mg iron
  • 0.041mg vitamin B-6
  • 15mg magnesium

Benefits of eating fennel:

  • Bone health – builds and maintains bone structure and strength.
  • Blood pressure – the potassium in fennel (helping to meet the daily 4,700 mg recommended amount) plays a role in vasodilation, the dilation and contraction of blood vessels.
  • Heart health – the fibre, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B-6 and phytonutrients content in fennel, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health.
  • Cancer – Selenium is a mineral found in fennel but not most other fruits and vegetables. It contributes to liver enzyme function and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Selenium can also prevent inflammation and decrease tumour growth rates. Fibre intake from fruits and vegetables like fennel are associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Immunity – the selenium found in fennel appears to stimulate production of killer T-cells. This suggests it camps improve the immune response to infection.
  • Inflammation – Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in fennel that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. It also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and contributes to reducing chronic inflammation.
  • Metabolism – Fennel is a source of vitamin B-6 which plays a vital role in energy metabolism by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids. These smaller compounds are more easily used for energy within the body.
  • Digestion and regularity – the fibre content in fennel helps to prevent constipation and promotes regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
  • Weight management and satiety – dietary fibre is an important factor in weight management and works as a “bulking agent” in the digestive system. It increases satiety and reduces appetite, making us feel fuller for longer.
Fennel

My second choice is a fruit

Fig – Nutrition (one small 40-gram) taken from http://www.healthline.com

  • Calories: 30
  • Carbs: 8 grams
  • Fibre: 1 gram
  • Copper: 3% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Magnesium: 2% of DV
  • Potassium: 2% of DV
  • Riboflavin: 2% of DV
  • Thiamine: 2% of DV
  • Vitamin B6: 3% of DV
  • Vitamin K: 2% of DV

Fresh figs contain some calories from natural sugar, but having a few fresh figs is a reasonable low calorie snack or addition to a meal. On the other hand, dried figs are high in sugar and rich in calories, as the sugar becomes concentrated when the fruits are dried.

Health Benefits:

  • Promotes digestive health.
  • May improve vascular and heart health.
  • May help manage blood sugar levels.
  • Potential anti cancer properties.
  • May promote healthy skin.

I have never eaten a fresh fig but I will definitely be including them in my diet from now on. I did used to enjoy fig biscuits dunked in coffee – but that’s in the past!

Fig

The what shall I eat dilemma:

This afternoon I found myself once again in the position of wondering what to eat and having nothing prepared in the fridge or freezer so turned to my go-to option – a throw together veggie stir fry, using in the main, frozen veg from the freezer. Diced an onion and sautéed with a little water in a pan on a medium heat for a few minutes until tender. Added a tablespoon of minced garlic and cooked for a further minute. I had 2 red peppers in the fridge that I’d forgotten were there so finely sliced them and added to the pan. From the freezer I added broccoli, sprouts, chopped leaks and green beans. Placed a lid on top of the pan and continued to cook on a medium heat. In the meantime I’d found some mushrooms, sliced them and added to the pan. Didn’t need to add any more liquid because the frozen veg took care of that. I had already decided to add rice and a look in the cupboard revealed a microwaveable pack of whole grain rice. 2 minutes later that went in the pan along with some soy sauce, maple syrup, water and a teaspoon of cornflour whisked together. Then I remembered I’d bought some frozen quorn pieces so put them in the pan and left this to cook on medium heat for a further 10 minutes. The result was a delicious, very simple and easy to make dish. I would say temptation had been avoided at this point but in reality, even though my food preparation had been lacking this week, any thoughts of grabbing something “off plan” is a fleeting thought these days.

A thrown together stir fry – tasted so good! By the way, it’s not your eyes, the photo is a bit blurry – apologies

Thanks for reading, please like, comment, share, follow

The only constant thing in life is change!

It’s been quite a week. Back to having 3 teenage boys in the house makes for a busy, chaotic household! Other family commitments have meant that I haven’t given my blog the attention I should have this week – hence being late in posting!

Talking about change, we are currently in the second period of lockdown in the UK this year and it means that once again we are not able to freely meet with family and friends. So what to do whilst confined to home and with members of our own household! Well, during the first lockdown back in March of this year I tried to buy some board games. Everyone must have been thinking the same thing because the only game I could get was Monopoly, but the price was so inflated I didn’t buy it! This time, I was able to purchase one at a reasonable price. Since it’s arrival a couple of weeks ago, we have had quite a few games. Funny how a “fun” game can be so competitive! I’ll skip over the arguments it’s caused. During a recent epic game (after 4 hours and at 1.30am we agreed to end the game). During it, I don’t know how or why the conversation turned to photos but I discovered one of my grandchildren was in possession of a photo of me pre wfpb!!!! I have previously said in my blog that I don’t possess a before photo and I truly believed this was the case. My question to them was “how?”, because I would never knowingly have allowed a photo to be taken. I was amazed that I suddenly felt so vulnerable. All the old insecurities came flooding back and I said “it really shouldn’t bother me now, but it does”.

But, aside from that, this game has meant we spend time together as a family, experiencing every human emotion you can think of, where normally we would all be doing our own thing in our own space. Thank you Monopoly (other games of course, are available!)

so, the before photo. I was reluctant to see it, never mind share it with anyone! Wow, it has really stirred up some powerful negative feelings. But, here it is. I remember this unhappy, unhealthy woman very well.

This photo was taken shortly before I began wfpb in November 2019

Unfortunately my after photo is not a truly comparable picture but the best I have. The jumper in the before photo is now so big on me, I can turn around in it!

This photo was taken towards the end of August this year. I am so thankful that I was open to following a whole-food plant-based lifestyle. I’m sure If I hadn’t, I would still be on the yo-yo dieting treadmill, losing weight and then putting it all back on and more, as has always been the case. I’m not saying I am always 100% compliant but I strive to be – and it’s working for me. I am still a work in progress but I’m confident this change is not a flash in the pan.

Continuing with the alphabet and my random choice of vegetables and fruit, we have arrived at E:

Edamame – preparation of immature soybeans in the pod, found in cuisines with origins in East Asia. The pods are boiled or steamed and may be served with salt or other condiments.

Nutrition facts per 100g:

  • Calories: 122
  • Total fat: 5g
  • Sodium: 6mg
  • Potassium: 436mg
  • Carbohydrate: 10g
  • Protein: 11g

Health benefits taken from healthline.com

  • May lower cholesterol
  • Doesn’t raise blood sugar
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals
  • May reduce the risk of breast cancer
  • May reduce menopausal Symptoms
  • May reduce the risk of prostate cancer
  • Might reduce bone loss
I’ve discovered I like this vegetable

Occasionally, I add edamame beans (frozen) to the chickpea curry I highlighted in last weeks blog. I also put them in Buddha bowls and stir fry – a versatile vegetable.

Endive, is a member of the lettuce family, is shaped like a bulb and has slightly bitter-tasting leaves that overlap each other. It’s delicious, I am informed, in a mixed salad with sweet tomatoes and slices of orange.

The humble endive

Taken from http://www.verywellfit.com one cup (50g) of chopped endive provides:

  • Calories: 8.5
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Sodium: 11mg
  • Carbohydrate: 1.7g
  • Fibre: 1.6g
  • Sugars: 0.1g
  • Protein: 0.6g

Health benefits:

  • AIDS in cancer prevention
  • Promotes heart health
  • Supports good vision
  • Aids weight loss
  • Supports a healthy pregnancy

I don’t believe I have ever eaten endive. Unless it’s included in the bags of salad leaves you can buy in supermarkets. Some salad leaves can be quite bitter tasting and I’ve definitely had that experience!

As always, I hope you enjoy this brief look in to my wfpb life. Please like, share, comment and follow my site – I appreciate your support.

Work in Progress

I am committed to following a wfpb lifestyle and am always striving to make it as simple as possible. To achieve that I do a lot of research and experimenting because I do like variety in my meals. However, I found a recipe very early on in my wfpb journey that I continue to enjoy and what makes it so simple is it’s cooked in an Instant Pot – you’ll find my step-by-step photo guide to cooking a Chickpea Curry later in this post. But first, continuing with the alphabet theme – D for Date:

Date: These fruit come from the date palm tree and grow abundantly in the Middle East. Dried dates make a super sweet snack and are full of fibre. They can be chopped and sprinkled on cereal or baked into a muffin. But for an energy boosting snack, try the following recipe:

Date Energy Balls from detoxinista.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups walnuts, or other nut/seed of choice
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups soft Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a large food processor fitted with an “S” blade, process the walnuts and coconut until crumbly.
  2. Add in the dates, vanilla and sea salt and process again until a sticky, uniform batter is formed. You don’t want to over process, or the batter will become oily, so process until crumbly but sticky when pressed between your fingers.
  3. Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons, then roll between your hands to form balls. Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place in the fridge or freezer to set for at least 30 minutes before serving. Store the balls in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for an even longer shelf life.

Nutrition:

  • Calories: 123
  • Carbohydrates: 11g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Sodium: 50mg
  • Potassium: 149mg
  • Fibre: 2g
  • Sugar: 8g
Delicious as the date energy balls are, they are quite calorific so should be eaten sparingly if you are wanting to lose weight

Below is the recipe I make most, because it’s so simple to make and so easy to change up with vegetables of your choice and what you choose to eat it with. Be that rice, couscous, air fried chips etc. I have made my own changes to this recipe but the original recipe was from acouplecooks.com

Chickpea Curry

Step 1: place 1 chopped onion into the instant pot on sauté for 3 minutes.

Step 2: Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic and 1 tablespoon minced ginger and sauté for 2 minutes.

Step 3: Sauté until softened.

Step 4: Add 2 tablespoons curry powder and toast for 1 minute.

Step 5: Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and stir to deglaze the pot.

Step 6: Add a tin of drained chickpeas and a tin of lentils (I always add lentils). Add a tin of coconut milk (I have started using oat milk instead). At this point I add 8 ounces frozen green beans. You can personalise your curry with whatever vegetables you choose to put in.

Cook on high for 6 minutes

Step 7: Put the lid on making sure the vent is turned to sealing. Press Pressure Cook and set the timer for 6 minutes. When finished you can either leave to let the steam disperse naturally or turn the vent to venting and perform a quick steam release.

Step 8: Remove the lid and add a huge handful of fresh spinach. Stir in until the spinach has wilted.

The Finished Dish

Step 9: Serve with a side of your choice. I enjoy it with wild rice or couscous. Sometimes I make my own fries in the air fryer – very good!

Please let me know if you make either of the recipes in this post and tell me how you get on. Please read, like, comment, share and follow my blog. Suggestions for future posts are always welcome.

It’s Personal

Every day is a challenge in one way or another isn’t it? Particularly as we in England are back in lockdown. My challenge at the moment is to come up with engaging content every week for this blog. Am I getting through to those who read it, the absolute passion I have for this diet lifestyle? It is truly amazing how easy, simple and effortless it is or can be. It can be more complicated of course. There are recipes with lots of ingredients and more complicated techniques and if you have the time, why not? Why not indulge and prepare a wonderful intricate meal? Not for me most of the time though! The simpler the better- keep it simple. I hesitate to say kiss (keep it simple stupid) because stupid it is not. Whole-foods – no additives, plant-based – no animal, dairy or processed foods – that’s the ideal. That’s what I strive for, but I’m certainly not perfect, not 100%. Simply put I’m doing the very best I can and don’t put pressure on myself if I fall below the ideal. The results in terms of weight loss and how well I feel is enough to keep me motivated to continue.

We are at C in the alphabet where I choose 2 or 3 whole-foods and dig a little deeper into the nutrition and health benefits of each one. It is clear to me these foods are truly beneficial when eaten as far as possible, as nature intended. C is for:

Courgette -also known as zucchini

Courgette (sometimes called zucchini)- https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zucchini-benefits.

Courgette is a member of the squash family. You can enjoy these in stews or soups, roasted, grilled or pickled. Key nutritional values are as follows for one cup of cooked courgette:

  • Calories: 17
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fat: less than 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Fibre: 1g

Courgettes have a high water content so are a great way to eat your way to better hydration.

Courgettes are high in antioxidants. They contain plenty of carotenoids such as lutein and beta-carotene, which can benefit your eye, skin and heart health.

Vitamin C – with lots of immune system supporting vitamin C, particularly in the skin, eating courgettes may help to protect cells and keep them healthy. It is also essential for maintaining healthy skin and bones.

Potassium – mostly found in the darker green skin of the vegetable so use the whole plant in your cooking. Potassium is good for controlling blood pressure, can help maintain, water levels, digestion and heart health.

Carrot – some say it’s a super food

Carrots: information taken from healthline.com. Nutrition facts for 100g:

  • Calories: 41
  • Water: 88%
  • Protein: 0.9g
  • Carbs: 9.6g
  • Sugar: 4.7g
  • Fibre: 2.8g
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Vitamin A
  • Biotin
  • Vitamin K1
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B6

The carrot is a root vegetable. It is crunchy, tasty, and highly nutritious. They are a particularly good source of beta carotene, fibre, vitamin K1, potassium and antioxidants. They also have a number of health benefits:

  • They are a weight-loss-friendly food
  • Are said to lower cholesterol levels
  • Linked to improved eye health
  • Carotene oxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer.

Keeping with the theme of keeping it simple and as I haven’t been doing much batch cooking recently, I thought I’d wing it and throw a simple stir fry together. Apologies if any of the following photos are a bit blurry – it’s due to the steam!

Step 1: Sauté 1 cup diced onion and 1 tbsp minced garlic in a little water until the onion has softened

Sauté diced onion and garlic in water

Step 2: Chop up orange, yellow and green bell peppers and a head of broccoli – add to the pan on a medium heat. Cover and cook for 7 – 10 minutes or until veg has softened. Add extra water if the veg begins to stick. I could have added some vegetable broth at this point, but to be honest I don’t like the flavour (odd I know!)

Add yellow, orange, green bell peppers and broccoli

Step 3: mix 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1 tsp crushed chilli and 1/4 cup water and add to the pan, stir well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes

Mix water, soy sauce, maple syrup and a teaspoon of crushed chilli and add to the vegetables.

Step 4: Add a large handful of fresh spinach and stir in until it’s wilted

Add spinach until it wilts

Step 5: Add 8 ounces cooked spaghetti and stir through the vegetables and sauce.

My grandson had walked into the kitchen as I started to cook this dish and he had his own thoughts on what should go into it. It was his idea to add the spaghetti (I would have used wholewheat spaghetti) but he wasn’t having that. Originally I was going to stir in some wild rice – but I was happy to go along with what he wanted knowing there was more chance of him eating it – he did, and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Add cooked spaghetti
The finished dish – I am told by my grandson that it was delicious

A very simple dish, easy to prepare and took very little time to cook. KEEP IT SIMPLE

Please visit, share, comment and follow my blog. If you try this recipe, please let me know what you thought of it.

Are You Eating Enough of the Good Stuff?

Continuing with the alphabet theme:

Broccoli

Wikipedia describes Broccoli as an edible green plant in the cabbage family whose large flowering head, stalk and small associated leaves are eaten as a vegetable.

  • One cup of broccoli (91g) 31calories
  • Carbohydrate: 6g
  • Fibre: 2.4g
  • Protein: 2.5g
  • Fat: 0.4g
  • Potassium: 230mg
  • Vitamin C: 40.5mg
  • Folate: 49.4mcg
  • Vitamin A: 6.08mcg
  • Beta-carotene: 70.7mcg
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin 566mcg
  • Vitamin E: 0.11mg
  • Vitamin K: 77.5mcg

Health Benefits – studies have shown that Broccoli:

  • Can reduce the risk of cancer
  • Improves bone health
  • Boosts immune health
  • Improves skin health
  • Aids digestion
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes
  • Protects cardiovascular health
  • Information taken from http://www.healthline.com>foods>broccoli

Of course! The benefits from foods can only be effective in conjunction with eating a healthy balanced diet.

Blueberry

One of my favourite fruits. Oddly, the only way I could eat blueberries pre wfpb was if I put one inside a raspberry! Unless I was eating a blueberry muffin of course! I still like blueberry muffins but now they are wfpb compliant.

Blueberries are a superfood, packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids. They are also high in potassium and vitamin C. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory.

  • A cup of blueberries contains 84 calories
  • Fibre: 4 grams
  • Vitamin C: 24% DV
  • Vitamin K: 36% DV
  • Manganese: 25% DV
  • Small amounts of various other nutrients

Several studies suggest that blueberries and blueberry juice reduce DNA damage, which is a leading driver of aging and cancer.

The antioxidants in blueberries seem to benefit the brain by aiding brain function and delaying mental decline.

Blueberries may also help fight urinary tract infections. They are closely related to cranberries, they boast many of the same active substances as cranberry juice. These substances are called anti-adhesives and help prevent bacteria like E. coli from binding to the wall of your bladder. All information taken from http://www.healthline.com

Blueberries are incredibly healthy and nutritious. They are also sweet, colourful and easily enjoyed either fresh or frozen.

A Bowl Of Pure Deliciousness

Brussels Sprouts

This will divide opinion, I know – a bit like marmite, you either love it or hate it! I love Brussels sprouts and always have done – just as they come. I also like them on the soft side, not crunchy. I know they are not everyone’s favourite vegetable but they are full of wonderful nutrients that are good for us. Check out http://www.healthline.com to find out how Brussels Sprouts benefit your health including being high in nutrients – 78g (1/2 cup) provides:

  • Calories: 28
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Fibre: 2 grams
  • Vitamin K: 137% of the RDI (Reference Daily Intake)
  • Vitamin C: 81% RDI
  • Vitamin A: 12% RDI
  • Folate: 12% RDI
  • Manganese: 9% RDI

Brussels Sprouts are especially rich in vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting and bone health. Also high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps promote iron absorption and is involved in tissue repair and immune function. Check out the health benefits at http://www.facty.com/

Such a maligned vegetable

This recipe is from shaneandsimple.com – Roasted Brussels Sprouts cooked in a delicious balsamic glaze.

  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • Slice the bottom off the Brussels sprouts, cut them in half length-wise and place them in a large bowl
  • Toss them with some low-sodium veggie broth and season with a little salt (if using) and ground black pepper
  • Lay the sprouts cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes. They should be a little browned and tender
  • While the sprouts are roasting, make the balsamic glaze:
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Just before the sprouts have done roasting in the oven, preheat a non-stick skillet. Cook the sprouts for 5-10 minutes in the skillet with the balsamic glaze over a medium heat. You want the glaze to disappear and the Brussels sprouts to caramelise and get that bit of “char” on them. Remove from heat and enjoy. Go on I dare you, (for those who don’t like Brussels sprouts!)

Back to Basics

In my last post I shared that I was joining the “fatmanrants” #fmrbootcamp. A 7-day challenge – going back to basics. For me it proved that following a whole-food plant-based lifestyle does not have to be complicated. Can’t tell you how much weight I’ve lost because I don’t weigh myself – don’t own a set of scales! However, I can tell you I feel great. I ate lots of potatoes, boiled, mashed and chipped and loads of truly flavoursome vegetables. No need to stand peeling vegetables for hours either, grab bags of veg from the freezer and away you go. There were 3 components to the challenge each day:

  1. In the morning, write down 3 things you are grateful for.
  2. Eat simple, plant-based, basic foods. For the next 7 days eat only greens and veggies, starchy veggies like potatoes and squash, whole grains and fruits. Hold off on nuts, seeds, tofu and flours until after the 7-days and then eat them in a very limited amount. Avoid meat, dairy, eggs, processed foods and oil…for ever!
  3. Move your body on purpose for 30 minutes – meaning over and above what you normally do in a day.

I’ll be honest and tell you I didn’t achieve full compliance every day. The first was easy. The second I achieved 4 days out of the 7. Ate out twice and while I aim to be as wfpb as possible it doesn’t always happen. The third…well still working on that one, but am trying to walk more than I normally do each day and a couple of days followed some basic exercises on YouTube – Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Eating Out

Before Chesterfield was put into tier 2 restrictions, I visited the Sorbo Lounge for lunch. This time I ordered the Vegan Bombay Sweet Potato & Lentil Curry with roasted sweet potatoes, lentils and fried potatoes served with lime & coriander rice, spring onion and red chilli. Another delicious meal.

Vegan Bombay Sweet Potato & Lentil Curry – at Sorbo Lounge in Chesterfield

Kids and veggies

Earlier this week I was eating a really simple meal with a huge helping of mixed veg and one of the grandkids looked at it and said he could eat a whole plateful of just the mixed veg – music to my ears. Not pushing it just setting an example with a gentle nudge in the right direction.

Technical difficulties!!!!******

My blog post is late this week. Apologies for this, I was trying, (unsuccessfully) to provide links to information within this post – spent some considerable time trying to sort it out – so frustrating! Another work in progress! Please like, share, comment on this post and follow my blog. I appreciate you taking the time to read my posts and look forward to your comments and suggestions.