Getting it Right – Beginning with Eating Plant-Based

Trying to reset my body clock due to recently starting working nights. Aches and pains galore but my recovery time is better than it was in the first week.

Posture is important! Walking many miles and picking items from floor to ceiling means I have to strengthen my core and ensure I’m using the correct muscle groups. It’s also very important to work from a stable base. Feet shoulder width apart with a slightly bent knee. Also essentialis to pick everything square on with a straight back. It’s all I think about as I’m walking the length of 15 football pitches, stopping along the way frequently to pick items at different levels. The pain I get currently is between my shoulder blades so I’m constantly reminding myself to roll my shoulders back and tuck in my chin. This will eventually become an automatic action I am sure. Peak time (Christmas) is upon us, so the level of work is inevitably going to increase. I am so thankful that I overhauled my health in terms of what I eat. I know by eating wfpbno I am giving my body all the minerals, vitamins and micronutrients it needs to be as healthy as possible, while minimising the foods that cause inflammation in the body.

I’ve discovered that I need to make a variety of foods to see me through my night shifts. I have breaks at 10pm and 2am and so far have been taking one prepared meal, eating half each break. Not entirely happy with eating the same thing on both occasions so need to do more batch cooking of different recipes to keep my food interesting. I already have a few ideas.

I love wild rice, it has a rich nutty flavour and a satisfying texture. It can be difficult to cook and get it exactly right, but no problem when cooking in the Instant Pot. Rinse one cup of wild rice in a strainer under cold water. Put in the Instant Pot and add one and a third cups of water. Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes and let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and add as a side dish or put into a recipe. What could be simpler?

Wild Rice, adds a nutty flavour and texture to any meal

Just been to the fridge to see what veg I need to use up before it’s no longer edible! Broccoli, celery and a red pepper fall into that category so I’ve thrown together a quick stir fry.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 ribs celery, finely sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped into bite size chunks
  • 1 head of broccoli, sliced finely
  • Half cup soy sauce
  • Half cup maple syrup
  • Half cup water
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour

Directions:

  • Add onion to a preheated wok or large fry pan – add a little water if the onions start to stick. Cook until translucent.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes – add a little more water if starts to stick.
  • Add the celery and cook until softened.
  • Then add the red pepper and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli, add a little more water and cover the pan. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • While this is cooking, combine the water, soy sauce, maple syrup and corn flour. Add this to the pan, turn the heat down and simmer.
  • I had half a bag of quorn chunks in the freezer and added this to the Stir fry along with 2 cups of wild rice (previously cooked).
  • When everything is cooked to your liking, remove from heat and serve. I tend to serve mine with a large portion of salad leaves.
  • Finally, enjoy!
My throw together Broccoli and Red Pepper stir fry with wild rice and quorn chunks

Please, read, like, comment and share wide and far. Much appreciated.

Angie

A Shock to The System!

As I reported in my last post, I started work last week. Re-entering the workforce after 11 years away. None of my previous jobs have been physical work – this one certainly is – and long hours! Its a total shock to the system and will take some getting used to. At the moment I work and sleep, doing very little in between. Four nights on, three nights off. I’m sure it will get easier – I say more in hope than certainty! My first day off, got home at 6.10am, took to my bed and while not sleeping all the time, didn’t surface from my room, apart from the obvious reasons for more than 24hrs. When I did leave the room it took all my strength to walk upright. I think that was part having used muscles I didn’t even know I had as well as being horizontal for far too long. I have to point out here that I’m no spring chicken and I’m possibly asking my body to do more than it’s capable of at present. I do feel however, that there’s no way I would have even entertained such a physically demanding job two years ago. By virtue of my whole-food, plant-based lifestyle, I am happy that I have bounced back from the severe exhaustion I felt after the first week.

This is how I imagined I looked – didn’t actually check myself in a mirror!

My eating pattern has changed also – strange times to eat. I have half hour breaks at 10pm and 2am. I’ve managed so far with preparing food in advance, and I have my usual porridge and fruit before I go to work. I went to the fridge yesterday expecting to find some Sun-Dried Tomato and Spinach Pasta that I’d made a couple of days ago – couldn’t see it so ended up taking 2 onion bhajis and salad leaves, a banana and apple – obviously not enough to sustain me through such physical work. Back home after my shift, went to the fridge and there was the afore mentioned pasta staring me in the face!! This job is messing with my mind!

During the next 3 days I really need to make sure I have prepped enough food to see me through four night shifts. My stomach was constantly growling at me throughout my last shift, but I still resisted the free Halloween cupcakes! Fortunately there’s free fruit available in the canteen – I just forgot to take advantage.

Just made my go to chickpea curry. I’m sure I could make this with my eyes closed I’ve made it so many times. I’ve thrown everything but the kitchen sink into it. No, really, I just add as much veg as I can, be it fresh or frozen. It ends up being slightly different every time and I never get tired of it. Planning on making a stir fry tomorrow, not sure whether I’ll make it with noodles, pasta or rice but I will put loads of veg in it and the sauce will be maple syrup and soy sauce based. When I first started out on wfpb I felt the need to work to a recipe. Now I am comfortable just throwing things together and experimenting with flavours.Do you remember ‘bubble and squeak’, all the left overs from Sunday lunch, veg, mash potato etc. fried. Well, that’s what I made yesterday from the leftovers, minus any meat of course. I absolutely adore bubble and squeak but of course, prior to wfpbno – the ‘no’ stands for no oil, I would have cooked it in oil. This time, I dry fried it in a non stick pan and it was delicious. I’m thinking now that I could have formed it into balls and cooked in the air fryer – will definitely give it a go.

Short and sweet this week. I’ll be back with some new recipes I’ve found that I’m going to try and as I usually do, make them my own by tweaking here and there to my own personal taste. The best advice I can give to anyone starting out on a wfpb lifestyle is experiment with flavours. If like me, you choose not to use salt or oil, food can taste bland when you first start out. Your tastebuds will adjust however and you will really start to appreciate the true flavours of food.

Please like, share and follow. Your support is much appreciated.

Angie

New Challenge – Back to Work

After 11 years spent caring for family members, I am about to start full-time work. It’s going to be a shock to the system – 9+ hours on my feet per shift, and nights!! Not that my caring role wasn’t work, it was just a different kind of work. I’m simply talking about my own situation here, and in no way diminishing the role of a carer. Im just wondering if I’m fit enough for the task. Also, getting used to eating and sleeping at different times feels like it’s going to be a challenge. In a previous job, many years ago I worked 24 and sometimes 48hr shifts. This involved sleeping nights (not that I slept much). This was in the days before the working time directive. Any tips on how to survive this change in routine would be very welcome. Or am I making it a bigger deal than it is?

Having said that, I’m 2 years in to following a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle and I haven’t felt this healthy in years. I imagine though that I’m going to be using muscles that have long laid dormant. I’ll probably ache in places I didn’t know I had body! I’m sure you’ve worked out that the job I’m about to start is more physical than intellectual. A vast departure from my previous job. But that was in another lifetime.

Feeling surprisingly nervous about rejoining the work force – but nothing ventured, nothing gained!

So, in preparation, I am intending to batch cook so I have plenty of meals in the fridge and freezer to grab and take with me to work. What’s the saying, “if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail”. Don’t want to put myself in a position where I start making poor food choices , purely because my situation is changing. I’ll no longer have the luxury of time to whip up meals as and when. So, I’ll be cooking plenty of chickpea curry Whole-food plant-based and health benefits , Instant Pot Spaghetti Appliances – Saving Time! , Cauliflower and tomato coconut curry Cooking, whole-food plant-based style!

Just click on the links above which will take you to previous posts of mine where the recipes mentioned are detailed.

The internet of course is awash with a plethora of amazing plant-based vegan recipes, including tutorials on how to prepare and cook. My mantra when wondering how to make something is “Google it”, or check out YouTube. It’s almost as if we don’t have to think for ourselves any more because we have all this information at our finger tips. I imagine, until I get used to my new routine I’ll be sticking to what I know rather than experimenting.

That’s all for today. Please like, share, follow and/or comment, your input is very much appreciated. I’ll be back soon with an update on how the work situation has gone.

Angie

Felt like cooking something new!

I get lots of stuff coming into my inbox and sometimes I spot a recipe that I think is worth giving a go. “Creamy sun dried tomato and Kale pasta”, courtesy of Shane and Simple caught my eye for 2 reasons: a) I just happen to have bought a huge bag of sun dried tomatoes (in a bag because I didn’t want them drowning in oil) as you will know if you read my blog, I am wfpbno (whole-food, plant-based, no oil), I don’t use salt or sugar either, and b) I have half a bag of kale to use before its passed the stage of being edible. I’m not overly fond of Kale, but I know it’s a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, so I add it to lots of different meals. What wasn’t in Shane’s recipe is aubergine, but I had one in the fridge which needed using, so sliced it up with skin on and sautéed it along with onion and garlic. I have to tell you, it was such a delicious dish and the kale was absolutely fabulous coated in the creamy sauce – definitely a keeper. Check this and other recipes out at:

I forgot to take a photo of my completed dish, so this is courtesy of Shane and simplego check him out

For this blog I am always seeking out new content so am constantly reading articles on a wide range of food and health topics. I read an article about type 2 diabetes and this piqued my interest because my mum suffered with this for many years. I also have friends who are diabetic and say what I eat (I eat a lot of fruit) wouldn’t be right for them. I’m not saying they are wrong, but in her article, Dr Charlotte Norton says there are some surprising food choices that could be spiking blood sugar levels. Fruit flavoured yogurt and energy drinks for example, should be avoided, along with dried fruit, white bread and white rice. She does mention fruit in general and I was interested to read that grapes are high in sugar but also a good source of fibre. The fibre in grapes slows the digestive process down which in turn regulates blood sugar levels.

If you are interested in reading more on this issue, click on the following link – Dr Charlotte Norton speaking to the Express.

Through eating wfpbno, I switched to eating brown bread and rice and wholewheat pasta 2 years ago. I also limit the amounts of some foods, including dried fruit, mainly because of its calorific density. My brain automatically thinks of low calorie density foods that will fill me up more than a little dried fruit. It’s all about feeling satiated discussed in a previous blog post.

Enough of the preaching. I’m still in full blown job searching mode and there’s a high probability that I’ve secured a temporary full-time job for over the Christmas period. Will know for sure tomorrow and if I do get it, the time frame will tie in very nicely with a plan I have going forward. More about that in future posts.

Thanks for reading, please like, share or comment, I love to hear what you think.

Angie

The Right Food Matters!

How many times have we heard the phrase “You Are what You Eat”? Well, after eating stuff that was not strictly whole-food, plant-based while I was on holiday and beyond I can attest to that fact. Definitely feeling sluggish and demotivated for a while there. I’d say I was about 80% compliant and because of that my gut was not in a good way and certainly impacted the way I was feeling in general. Have you heard of gut microbiome? There’s lots of information if you look for it. Check out https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gut-microbiome-and-healthWhy the Gut Microbiome Is Crucial for Your Health – Healthline

Put simply, our body is full of trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi. They are collectively known as the microbiome. Yes, some bacteria are associated with disease, others are actually extremely important for your immune system, heart, weight and many other aspects of health.

Interestingly, the food we eat affects the diversity of our gut bacteria. For instance, certain bacteria digest fibre. Fibre may help prevent weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and the risk of cancer.

The gut and brain are connected and I’ve read lots of information suggesting that if our gut isn’t healthy it can impact on our mental health. It’s all starting to make sense and I guess when we know better, we should do better. I try so hard but have a few wobbles. Recognising how my overall wellbeing dips when I eat processed food is enough to get me back on track. I don’t deviate for long from whole-food, plant- based meals.

Signs of an unhealthy gut:

  • Upset stomach – stomach disturbances like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and heartburn can all be signs of an unhealthy gut
  • Unintentional weight changes
  • Sleep disturbances or constant fatigue
  • Skin irritation
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Food intolerances
We need bacteria in our system to aid the myriad of functions our body carries out

If you follow my biog, apologies, I’ve not been giving attention to it of late, and I know that’s not good for keeping my readership. But! What a year so far. Lots going on in my life – maybe my blog should be about that, I’d have lots of content! Anyway in a nutshell, my caring responsibilities are coming to an end which has prompted me to take stock of my life and to determine my next steps. First and foremost I need an income so I’m looking for work. After being out of the job market for 11 years I’m finding this task pretty daunting to say the least. I don’t want to go back to what I was previously doing, far too pressured and more responsibility than I want. So, it’s back to the drawing board. Job searching is very time consuming and I have to prioritise that right now.

I’ve also started furniture flipping, taking old furniture and up cycling it. Not sold anything yet because it’s very early days and I’m still in the finishing touches stage of a few pieces. Sourcing old furniture, researching paints, brushes and finishes took up a good deal of time before I even started sourcing, prepping and painting. Also, I’ve been working on a few short diploma courses I signed up for some months back – got to keep the old grey matter ticking over! What do they say “use it or lose it”.

I’ve been clearing out both mentally and physically and part of that process was clearing my emails. I came across a recipe for Vegan Chilli for the Instant Pot – this piece of equipment is an absolute must in my kitchen. Apart from a bit of preparation, it takes very little time to cook a meal and while it’s cooking you can be getting on with other stuff. This particular recipe comes courtesy of Shaneandsimple.

Instant Pot Vegan ChilliIngredients:

  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped with seeds (I didn’t have this but I did add 5 sun dried tomatoes. I knew this wouldn’t add heat but would add flavour)
  • 2 tablespoons chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 and half cups vegetable broth
  • 28oz can fire roasted tomatoes (I used regular)
  • 2 x 15oz cans red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 x 15oz can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Salt to taste (if using)

Instructions:

  • In the Instant Pot, sauté onions, garlic, chilli powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano plus chopped pepper. Add 2 tablespoons water or vegetable broth to prevent sticking. Stir and let sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add all remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot, stir, lock lid and seal the vent. Set to cook for 5 minutes. Manually vent at the end of the cooking time and serve with brown rice (my particular favourite) or whatever you choose.
Voila! Instant Pot Vegan Chilli – I served with brown rice

Please bear with me while I get back into the swing of things and post regularly. If you enjoyed this post please like, share and comment. Thank you for reading and following my blog

Cooking, whole-food plant-based style!

Once again, I feel I’m relying on the same few recipes so am determined to add more to my repertoire. This one, Coconut, cauliflower, sweet potato curry https://www.acouplecooks.com/cauliflower-and-tomato-coconut-curry/ caught my eye and while I initially looked at the list of ingredients and felt it would be time consuming – it wasn’t. Was absolutely delighted with the result. Thank you ‘a couple cooks’.

A messy plate of food but delicious

Easy Way to Make Food Healthier

Did you know you can take almost any baking recipe and make it healthier by replacing eggs, oil or butter.

Unsweetened apple sauce is great in cakes, muffins or cookies – it replaces the egg you would normally use.

Nut butters, like sunflower, homemade almond or cashew butter are great for making cookies. Use nut butters that are all natural without added oil. Use an equal amount of nut butter to the butter or oil in the recipe. Make sure these foods are not served to anyone who has a nut allergy.

Silken Tofu – use in baked goods with strong flavours like chocolate. Use a third cup of silken tofu for every half cup of oil in a recipe. You can blend silken tofu to make a purée and use it as an oil substitute in cookies, cakes and muffins.

Aquafaba – the juice in a can of chickpeas. It has a neutral flavour and the consistency akin to vegetable oil. Use equal amount of aquafaba to oil specified in a recipe.

Mashed banana, pumpkin or sweet potato. Use in scones, muffins or bread. Use a third of a cup of any of these in place of a half cup of oil.

The diagram below shows what you can substitute eggs with when cooking.

I have tried the apple sauce and ground flax seed – been successful with both

Also, I never use oil in my cooking. If a recipe calls for sautéing with oil, I always use water. All oils have a high calorie density so why use it when you can ‘spend’ your calories on more healthier delicious foods? When sautéing with water, just use enough to prevent the food sticking to the pan.

You can see from this that consuming 500 calories of oil is not going to fill you. Whereas eating 500 calories of potatoes, beans, rice, fruit and veggies will fill you.

I hope this information is useful. If you use any of the methods of egg replacement for instance, let me know how you got on. Please like, share and comment. Your thoughts and ideas are most welcome.

TRENDING 2021 – Vegan and Plant-Based

Can you believe we are almost two thirds the way through 2021? I’m so late in discussing what’s trending in the vegan and plant-based world this year. It makes for very interesting reading. Most people by now must surely be aware of the increase in eating in a manner that doesn’t harm animals and has less of an impact on the planet. There’ll always be those people and organisations of course that will do their best to refute the others argument. As you will know, if you follow my blog, I turned to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle for health reasons. As a consequence, I have learned that our traditional way of eating not only causes harm to animals and our planet but to us as well. I was never a big meat eater but I did enjoy most dairy products. All I can say is through switching to the whole-food plant-based (wfpb) ‘lifestyle I have never felt better and I feel that I’m doing what I can not only for me, but my family and the environment, in my own small way.

Happy cows
Happy as a pig in mud!

So, to highlight just a few of the trends

  • Healthier and less processed plant-based meals are here. There are shorter ingredient labels and a move to less fat and fewer additives.
  • Cheaper plant based foods. One of my pet hates is that foods that are considered healthier come at a premium cost.
  • 2020 was the year of Covid but also the year that alternative proteins went mainstream (in part because of the pandemic).
  • The bio sector revolution is happening. Cell based meat matures. Get ready for totally animal free food in the form of cultured chicken etc.
  • There’s renewed focus on plant based cheese.
  • Better, more eco responsible packaging for Plant-Based products. Sustainability is a 360 degree affair. As well as eating less animal products, we need to stop using plastic, embrace reusable and, dare I say it, stop shopping so much! We have to move away from the throw away society we have become.
  • More supermarkets are embracing the change in our eating habits and have their own label vegan and plant-based ranges.
  • There’s a rise in veganic farming – an agricultural approach to growing food that is based on respect for animals as well as the environment and human health. Were you aware that organic agriculture permits the use of animal-based fertilisers (manure, bone meal, fish emulsion, egg shells?). Vegan farming uses plant-based options.
  • Another trend in 2021 – fish-free seafood! Watch this space!!

All of the above is adapted from an article produced by green queen.com.hk

There’s much more in the article than I have detailed here. I recommend anyone to read it whether you eat a traditional or alternative diet. I prefer to use lifestyle rather than diet because I’m 21 months into eating wfpb and can’t envisage me eating any other way. If ever I deviate from it, I get right back to it at the very next meal. No diet has ever had that impact on me before.

I in no way reproduce any of the information above stating it as fact. My aim is to promote discussion that is, excuse the pun – seriously interesting food for thought! There is no denying that alternative lifestyle choices are on the increase. There’s also no denying that the big corporations are on board with it, recognising that those wishing to eat less or no meat will seriously impact their profit margins if they don’t move with the times and provide choices for all their customers.

For my part, I seriously need to think about growing my own food. That in itself will be a challenge for someone who doesn’t possess a green thumb or have any successful previous success growing plants!

I will again stress that I am not 100% wfpb, but I do strive to be. I do use convenience foods from time to time and when I eat out, I aim to get as close to 100% as I can but don’t beat myself up when I fall short.

An example of vegan processed foods available at some Aldi stores – I could have used any supermarket as an example – I don’t receive anything by mentioning this particular one!

All vegetables, seeds, grains and fruits are plant-based, but here you have meatless burgers and sausages etc. Of course, many supermarkets have their own branded vegan and plant-based foods. I have tried a few and have been very pleased with most of them. However, I’m always conscious of the amount of ingredients and additives they contain. So it’s good to read that the big companies are planning to reduce these in their products. Can’t wait to see where this all leads!

Of course, Making your own food from whole foods gives you peace of mind from knowing exactly what goes in to the food you prepare. But, I appreciate not everyone has the time to make everything from scratch.

I hope this has been informative. It is never my intention to preach or force my opinion on any one else. Just sharing what changing to a healthier lifestyle has done for me.

Please like, share or comment. Knowing someone is reading my ramblings provides me with the encouragement to continue. Many thanks in advance.

It’s Been a While?

What a year so far! So much going on in my life that often I don’t know which way is up! Huge changes have yet again derailed me. So I have taken time out to look after me and take stock of where I’m going and what I need to do to ensure my well being.

Anyway, what is still going well, is my commitment to the wfpb ( whole-food, plant-based) lifestyle. Not perfect, but it remains the core of what I do to be as healthy as I possibly can. I must be doing something right, because I feel physically healthier and have maintained my weight for months. What’s more, I know exactly what I need to do to lose more weight, if I choose to. However, I am happy with my current weight and feel comfortable in my own skin. Haven’t felt like this for many years.

Be sure to fill up on the good stuff

I was recently wondering why some people seem to naturally maintain a healthy weight while others struggle. So I did a bit of research on the subject of metabolism.

What is Metabolism?

Metabolism covers the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy. Your metabolic rate is the speed the metabolic actions occur and is measured in calories. So, in simple terms, a fast metabolism converts food into energy quicker than a slow metabolism.

So many things can affect our metabolic rate: our size and body composition; how active we are; how much sleep we’re getting and if we have a history of dieting. Some of us are born with a higher metabolism than others. I think all of us know someone who can eat what they want (or so it would appear) and never put on weight. I always thought I had a low metabolic rate (my excuse for easily gaining weight). However, it turns out that it’s a misconception that larger people have low metabolic rates. The larger they are, they actually need a higher metabolism to fuel their larger body.

If, like me, you have been a yo-yo dieter – losing weight fast and putting it back on even faster – your body will have replaced muscle with fat which hinders the metabolic process as muscle burns more calories than fat. Your resting metabolic rate will be lower the less muscle you have.

Move that body

So, that’s a good reason to exercise and build muscle isn’t it? I wish I could catch the exercising bug! But, I look at it this way, even boring housework is moving the body and I deliberately make several trips up and down stairs while cleaning and tidying rather than one – that’s moving the body purposely, and every little helps

Just a short post today. Just a reminder that I am still around and a metaphorical kick up the backside to me to get back in to the habit of posting my blog. I was just thinking about why today? Where did the motivation come from to publish a post today? Well, it’s because I spent yesterday with wonderful friends, having a laugh while putting the world to rights. Laughter is great food for the soul and I came away feeling uplifted. These women and my family have my back. They don’t all share the wfpb lifestyle but they support me in my choices. For instance, a good friend bought a vegan coffee and walnut cake recently and as we live in the same village thought about inviting me down to share some with her. Until she read the ingredients and saw that it contained milk – she has my back and I really appreciate that!

Have a great day everyone and remember, we all can start somewhere and we can all choose to make little changes and build on them. Look after you.

Upping My Game!

The #fatmanrants 3 check 30 day challenge is turning out to be very good for me. Following it keeps my eating honest, and I’m always truthful about eating out – as regular readers know, I get as close as I can to wfpb but don’t beat myself up about it if it’s not strictly wfpb. After all, eating out means that I’m spending time with family and friends and that in itself is absolutely wonderful after many months of restrictions due to Covid.

Where I feel have improved beyond recognition is upping my activity level. From a standing start, an improvement wasn’t difficult! I’m taking every opportunity to get this body moving. Helped very much by buying a second hand exercise bike/cross trainer. Motivation is still an issue – I’m not perfect but any exercise is better than none and I am trying.

Also, because I stated my wild card was recommitting to publishing my blog regularly, the challenge is keeping me on task with that although I’m still struggling with low mood, which does get in the way! It’s the recording progress in all 3 areas that is keeping me on track and progressing in the right direction.

So, what have I been eating? – my chickpea curry of course! It still remains one of my favourites. I change it up regularly by adding different vegetables into the mix. Frozen veg comes in very handy here and using the instant pot means it’s a very quick simple meal to prepare. I change it up also with the various sides I eat it with i.e wild rice, couscous, baked potato, air fried fries or a huge green salad. I also make sure I add spinach in the curry, every time I make it.

An absolute favourite of mine – Chickpea Curry

Buddha bowls or power bowls (same thing) are easy to put together and can of course contain anything you have to hand. They never get boring because you can have different ingredients in every time if you so wish.

So good!

I’ve mentioned eating out! I have to say, unlike before the pandemic, vegan and plant based options have reduced on each menu I’ve seen, so I’ve had the 3 bean chilli burrito bowl a few times recently, at a local cafe.

Three Bean Chilli Burrito Bowl

I very often start each day with oats and fruit and most bowls start with chopped apple and banana and then I add whatever other fruit is to hand. Sometimes I add a few chopped nuts and always have a tablespoon of flax seed and a drizzle of pure maple syrup. Sets me up for the day.

Oats and fruit – have this most days for breakfast

Stir-fry is another favourite of mine. Nowadays I just throw together whatever veg I have available, fresh or frozen. I might serve it with rice, pasta or couscous or a baked potato. Great when you are getting to the end of the week and wanting to use up the last bits of fresh or frozen veg before restocking.

My throw together stir-fry, might not look that great but it was delicious

Despite the 30 day challenge that has kept me on task the majority of the time, I have had low mood for a few days – dealing with lots of ‘stuff’. Prior to wfpb that would have derailed me and I would have eaten everything in site, but now I’m more likely not to eat enough. All I ate yesterday was a baked potato with a beetroot salad while visiting family – being in the company of family for the evening was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed the food, but I know thats not enough for a whole day! There’s been a few days where I’ve had 2 meals during the day – not necessarily a bad thing as long as I’m getting the right food. Today I’m back on track and started with my usual breakfast. I’ve got a chickpea curry in the instant pot and trying to remain chilled.

I’ve got 3 days this week planned going out with family and friends – it will involve eating out so we’ll see how the last few days of this challenge go. However, rather than a challenge, the 3 elements of it have formed a habit so I’m sure I’ll continue logging my food intake, upping my activity level and continuing with my blog. You will of course hear about it in future blogs.

Thanks for reading, please, like, share and comment.

Challenging Myself

At the beginning of June I joined https://fatmanrants 3 checks June Challenge. This comprises of:

  • Recording everything I eat maintaining a whole-food plant-based diet
  • Moving purposely every day. As #fatmanrants states “all ya gotta do is move a little bit more than ya did yesterday”
  • The Wild Card – anything you choose to do that encourages you to be your best self. I chose to commit to publishing my blog on a more regular basis. Life happened and I lost my motivation over the last couple of months, it’s what happened and I took the time to get through it the best way I could. Now I’m ready to recommit to my blog which in itself ensures I remain accountable to myself and the wfpb lifestyle.

So, to give you a brief run down of how I’ve been doing during the first 9 days of the challenge. Recording everything I eat has resulted in me eating smaller portions and not snacking, even though what I snacked on before the challenge was wfpb compliant. It is possible to overeat on this diet and sometimes it’s not easy to steer clear of the more calorific whole foods, for instance, nuts and avocado. It seems that writing down what I eat is a way of ensuring I set limits as well as remaining as far as possible wfpb compliant. I have been out with friends and family for meals twice in the last 8 days, so this is where “remaining as far as possible compliant” comes in. Unless you make all your own meals from scratch, you won’t know exactly what is in your meal or how it’s been cooked. I wish there was a plant based restaurant or cafe nearby, but there isn’t. However, There are vegan options on most menus so I don’t let the fact that meals aren’t going to be strictly wfpb compliant stop me from enjoying meals out with family and friends. Yesterday was an amazing day out with 2 best friends. We laughed until we cried, so much fun and so good for the soul. My spirits were well and truly lifted.

Mangalorean Roasted Cauliflower and Spinach Curry – so delicious
Lunch at our local supermarket cafe – 3 Bean Chilli Burrito Bowl

In terms of moving more with purpose (not difficult, I pretty much began from a standing start!). At the beginning of the week, movement consisted simply of shopping and house work – boring I know, but one way of ensuring the house is clean and tidy! I have endeavoured to walk more, even if that’s just going up and down stairs by purposely making far more trips than I would normally do. I also spent a lovely few hours at a local country park and walked around the lake – that’s far more walking than I’ve done in a while. Since losing weight I’m not happy with my saggy arms so I’ve started using dumb bells to try and put some muscle under my layer of saggy skin. Maybe soon I’ll feel able to wear short sleeves or dare I dream of going sleeveless? I am now including squats, press ups, sit ups and lunges. Believe me it’s all been a shock to the system but I’m persevering. I would recommend to anyone that a change of diet for weight loss purposes should include regular exercise from the get go, especially because as we get older, our skin loses some of its elasticity. I have yo-yo dieted for as long as I can remember prior to wfpb and any exercise was sporadic at best. My body is now paying the price!

Below are a few photos I took while walking round Poolsbrook Country Park in Derbyshire, England. It’s so good to be out in the fresh air enjoying beautiful scenery and enjoying great company, chatting with my brother who I haven’t spent a great deal of time with since he moved overseas 22 years ago. I may not have been walking at a great pace but at least I was moving my body.

Views from my walk round the local lake
A swan came to say hello…
Sat chilling, looking out over the lake – so peaceful. I love being around water, it’s so calming
A view from the other side of the lake

The last check of the 3 Check Challenge is the Wild Card, something that produces the ‘best version of yourself’. In my case, as well as living the wfpb lifestyle for health purposes I also need something to keep my mind active so I am committing to my blog, because I am passionate about the whole-food, plant-based lifestyle and hopefully through this I can inspire others to benefit from concentrating on their own health through recognising the part our food choices play in it. I said I would commit to publishing my blog posts more regularly and this is the second post produced within 10 days so I feel It’s a promising start.

Thank you for visiting my site and reading this post. Your support is much appreciated.