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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
Hello everyone, just doing a really quick post today as I haven’t been on here for a while. Been a really difficult and emotional three months which has really sapped my motivation in all things except, I am happy to report, eating a whole food, plant based diet. I am not going to say I’ve stuck to it anywhere close to 100% every day but I have tried my best.
Today is June 1st and I have decided to join the fatmanrants June Triple Check Challenge – in an effort to keep me accountable to this lifestyle. So each day I will write down what I eat, write down everything I have done to move my body because as Tim and Heather Kaufman of fatmanrants say “all ya gotta do is move a little more than ya did yesterday”. The third check for me is to rededicate myself to publishing regularly on this blog.
I am excited and determined to complete the 30 day challenge. I’ll keep you updated on my progress through this blog. I’ve already achieved something new today – inserting a URL link! Don’t know why I’ve struggled with it for so long as it’s so simple. Feeling good!
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This week I have been determined to not rest on my laurels, meaning, not depending on my favourite recipes so much. I realise I’m eating pretty much the same few meals each week. Don’t get me wrong, I do vary them with different sides but still my repertoire has become quite limited. I have, as you know, bought the ‘5 ingredient recipe’ book and will continue to work through that. I also get recipes that pop up on my Facebook feed and with the intention of finding a “new favourite” recipe, will share with you later on in this blog what I found. But first, continuing to work through the alphabet, delving deep into the nutritional and health benefits of a particular fruit or veg – I have reached O and will focus on Okra.
Okra is a nutritious food with many health benefits. It’s rich in magnesium, folate, fibre, antioxidants and vitamin C, K1 and A. Okra may benefit pregnant women, heart health and blood sugar control. It may even have anti cancer properties.
What is Okra
Okra is also known as ‘ladies fingers,’ and is a green flowering plant. It belongs to the same plant family as hibiscus and cotton. The term ‘okra’ most commonly refers to the edible seed pods of the plant. It is low in calories and has a high dietary fibre content
Nutritional value of okra per 100 grams:
Calories – 33
Total Fat – 0.2 g – 0% Daily Value (DV)
Cholesterol – 0 mg – 0% DV
Sodium – 7 mg – 0% DV
Potassium – 299 mg – 8% DV
Carbohydrate – 7 g – 2% DV of which fibre is 3.2 g
It has been suggested that okra can help manage blood sugar in cases of type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. However if you are already on a treatment plan for your diabetes, you should let your doctor know if you’re looking into holistic treatments like okra. If you are taking metformin currently, okra is not something you should be experimenting with.
Okra is high in fibre. 8 medium-sized pods are estimated to contain 3 grams of fibre. This bulk fibre quality has several benefits. It helps digestion, cuts hunger cravings and keeps those who eat it fuller for longer.
There is evidence that the seed extracts of okra have an antioxidant, anti-stress effect.
Okra may help lower cholesterol.
Anti-fatigue benefit. One study notices that recovery times and “fatigue levels” can be improved by the use of the okra plant. Potentially, by including okra in your diet, you may be able to work out for longer and recover more quickly from your exercise. Cardiovascular activity is an essential part of preventing and treating diabetes. This means that the okra plant may contribute to a more active lifestyle.
As usual, I reproduce the above information as a guide only, and the benefits of fruit and vegetables detailed is reliant on eating an overall healthy diet. Of course I would recommend eating a whole-food, plant-based diet because of the results I’ve seen in myself. Always seek the advice of a doctor if you are making significant changes to your diet.
Recently, my sister who is experiencing some health concerns had a chat with her doctor who suggested she follow a plant-based diet – YES! Good to know there are doctors who recognise the validity of adopting this life style. Her advice was to eat a wide variety of colourful fruit and vegetables.
Expanding my horizons – the search for new recipes:
In my Facebook news feed this popped up – the amazingly tasty Vegan Goulash – taken from zardyplants.com. Normally I would click and save to my plant-based folder and then forget about it. But, I was determined to try something new.
Absolutely delicious and if you cook without oil as I do, this recipe is completely plant based. I added 4 sun dried tomatoes and used whole wheat pasta. Please give it a go as it is so tasty and I highly recommend it!
It’s not a 5 ingredient recipe like the Moroccan Chickpea Soup I showcased last week – but still very easy and quick to make. See the recipe below:
Vegan Goulash Recipe:
1 pound pasta of choice (use gluten-free if needed)
4 cups vegetable broth (use half if not using TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)
2 cups TVP (I didn’t use this)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 – 14.5 oz can (or 1.5 cups) diced tomatoes
1 – 14.5 oz can tomato puree
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
3 tbsp reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce
2 tbsp nutritional yeast, optional
Vegan Goulash instructions:
Saute: add onions to a preheated large pot over medium high heat. Sauté for 3 minutes, adding water a tbsp at a time, only when needed (when it starts to stick to the plan).
Add the garlic after the onion becomes translucent and sauté another minute.
Add the diced red bell pepper and sauté for one more minute.
Boil: Add the tomatoes, purée, paste, spices and broth and stir. Bring it to a boil (you may cover with a lid to speed up the process).
Cook the pasta: Add the pasta in and stir well. Turn the heat down to medium and allow to cook for 5 – 8 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick.
Add the TVP if using: Stir right into the mixture, no need to rehydrate it first. Add in the tamari/soy sauce now too. Stir constantly for a minute or two to make sure everything is well mixed.
Serve: with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and a little fresh or dried parsley – Enjoy!
Well, that’s it for this post. I hope you find it’s content useful. Please like, comment and share wide and far. Your support is much appreciated.
Still getting to grips with all the recent changes. Still loving the house we have moved into although the smaller kitchen remains a challenge, but getting there. Still have bits of furniture to get and need to ‘dress’ the house with pictures and ornaments etc. I do prefer a simple uncluttered space though.
As usual I am starting this blog as I have for a while, continuing working through the alphabet delving deeper into the nutritional and health benefits of fruit and veg – we have reached N:
Nectarine – nutritional information for 1 medium fruit (information taken from very well fit.com:
Calories – 62
Fat – 0.5g
Carbohydrates – 15g
Fibre – 2.4g
Sugars – 11g
Protein – 1.5G
Vitamin A – 9.4% RDI (reference daily intake)
Vitamin C – 13% RDI
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – 6% RDI
Copper – 4% RDI
Potassium – 4% RDI
May lower risk of Obesity, Diabetes and Heart Disease – the antioxidants in nectarines are believed to offer health benefits by preventing or reducing the risk of these conditions (which are often associated with each other).
May slow growth of cancercells – research has found that the polyphenols in nectarines reduced the proliferation of Estero genes- independent breast cancer cells in test tubes by 50%, leading to the suggestion they may offer a protective benefit against certain breast cancers.
May lower Cholesterol – the antioxidant compounds in nectarines not only help lower vascular inflammation, improving circulation and blood pressure, but can also prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the type associated with atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.
Please note, these are potential benefits, there have been few human studies investigating the dietary impact of nectarines on any of these conditions.
As in all my blog posts, the information relating to the in-depth look at a particular fruit or veg is for guidance only. I am no doctor or trained nutritionist although I know more about nutrition since adopting a wfpb lifestyle. I would always advocate individuals do their own research and seek guidance from professionals. What I can tell you, is following a wfpb lifestyle is the best thing I have ever done.
In a chat with My sister this week, she reminded me that sometimes we don’t have time to make complicated meals and she recalled I’d previously mentioned 5 ingredient recipes. I remembered that I had indeed downloaded a small pamphlet on this subject, but could I find it – no! So, clicked on Amazon (no, I don’t benefit in any way from mentioning Amazon), but Amazon and Google are my go to tools for information and sourcing obscure products – like the Ras El Hanout – couldn’t find it in my local supermarket so I ordered it and it was delivered from Amazon the next day. Likewise, the book – “5 ingredient Plant-Based Cookbook by HAPPYHEALTHYGREEN.LIFE – (fits in with my ‘keeping it simple’ strategy) was ordered and delivered the next day. The first recipe that caught my eye was Moroccan Chickpea Soup which I made immediately – see below:
600g/3 cups chickpeas, cooked or canned
1 medium onion (minced)
1 clove garlic (minced)
360g/2 cups tomato cubes (I used a can of chopped tomatoes including the juice)
20g/2 tablespoons Ras El Hanout
480 ml/2 cups water
That’s six ingredients including the water, but who’s counting?
This recipe includes Ras El Hanout – had to Google this! Its a spice blend consisting of Allspice, Sweet Paprika, Black Pepper, Dehydrated Garlic, Coriander, Hot Chilli Pepper, Cumin, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Cloves and salt – a great combination of flavours and much easier dispensing from one pot rather than all the individual spices.
The Moroccan Chickpea Soup recipe shown above serves 4 and contains the following per serving:
Calories – 260
Carbs – 44.2g
Fat – 2.4g
Protein – 15.3g
Fibre – 16.7g
Sugar – 6.5G
If you follow or have read my blog before, you will know I follow ‘fatmanrants’ on Facebook and this week they were talking about calorie density. I’ve been guilty in the past of saying as long as you eat wfpb you can eat as much as you want. Not strictly true, because some wfpb food is more calorific than others. So, if you are looking to lose weight you do need to take calorie density into account. For instance, greens topped with a cup of cooked lentils is 200 calories but 10 cooked potatoes would be 1000 calories – both options are plant based but with the first you will be in calorie deficit and in a good position to lose weight. Moving your body through exercise of course, will counteract some of the calories and is beneficial to your health whether you want to lose weight or not. In terms of calorie density, I have chopped nuts on my breakfast every morning but only a small amount because I know nuts are high in calories.
If I feel I’ve overdone the calories one day I’ll cut back the next day. With wfpb, I feel I have the ability to monitor my calorie intake and make adjustments naturally and easily. Unlike previous diets when I would just compound a “bad diet day” with another and another undoing all the work I had done to lose weight.
I hope the information I provide in my blog is useful and also inspires others to look at how they can eat healthy food that supports good health.
Please continue to support my blog through reading, sharing, following and commenting on the content. Your support is very much appreciated.
Going through a really difficult time at the moment and I can’t disclose fully why because it would not be fair to others involved. Suffice to say that my mental health is taking a battering and it’s not helped by the pandemic which means I can’t meet up with friends who would normally be my respite from every day life’s trials and tribulations. I hasten to say my life’s trials and tribulations are no small thing – I’m generally quite resilient but my resilience has been severely diminished of late. Hence, not having posted anything to my blog for a while. My wfpb diet has taken a hit in terms of more over dependence on processed foods than normal. Now I know there is a link between our mental health and what we put in our body. So this may very well have impacted the way I feel. So here’s back to achieving 100% compliance as soon as possible.
Continuing a look in greater depth at the nutrition and health benefits of fruit and vegetables – we ate at L in the alphabet rundown:
Leeks are a good source of vitamins A, C and K (important for helping your blood to clot). They also contain minerals such as iron (which is important for red blood cells) and manganese (involved in the regulation of brain and nerve function). They are also a good source of dietary fibre
100g of leeks supplies 125 kJ.
Leeks belong to the same family as onions, shallots, scallions, chives and garlic. They look like a giant green onion but have a much milder, somewhat sweet flavour and a creamier texture when cooked.
Health Benefits of Leeks:
Contain a variety of nutrients – they are nutrient-dense, meaning that they’re low in calories yet high in vitamins and minerals. One 3.5-ounce serving (100-gram) serving of cooked leeks has only 31 calories
They are high in provitamin A carotenoids, including beta carotene. Your body converts these into vitamin A, which is important for vision, immune function, reproduction and cell communication.
They are also a great source of of vitamin K1, which is necessary for blood clotting and heart health.
A good source of manganese, which may help reduce premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms and promote thyroid health. They also provide small amounts of copper, vitamin B6, iron and folate.
Leeks are packed with beneficial plant compounds such as antioxidants, particularly polyphenols and sulfur compounds. Antioxidants fight oxidation, which damages your cells and contributes to illnesses like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
They are also a great source of allicin, the same beneficial sulfur compound that gives garlic its anti microbial, cholesterol-lowering and potential anticancer properties.
Leeks may reduce inflammation and promote heart health. The kaempferol in leeks has anti-inflammatory properties and are associated with a lower risk of heart attacks or death due to heart disease.
The allicin and other thiosulfinates in leeks may benefit heart health by reducing cholesterol, blood pressure and the formation of blood clots.
Consuming leeks may aid weight loss as the fibre and water in leeks can promote fullness and prevent hunger, which may aid weight loss. Furthermore, this vegetable is very low in calories.
I should have food shopped today but I obviously found other stuff more pressing to do as when it came to preparing meals I had to be more creative than usual. So it was a case of using vegetables from the fridge that needed using up quickly supplemented by frozen veg. So my evening meal became a pot luck stir fry using my go to stir fry sauce – soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder, onion powder and cornstarch.
I used a whole head of broccoli from the fridge, an onion, minced garlic, frozen mixed peppers, the remainder of a bag of mixed veg, and half a bag of frozen mixed beans as well as mushrooms and spinach. I also added a bag of microwaveable mixed grain rice. I wasn’t disappointed with the result. I find I create some kind of stir fry using up remnants of vegetables at least once a week. I try to make sure there is very little waste so regularly keep a close eye on utilising fresh produce, adjusting planned meals accordingly. I had to downsize appliances when I moved house so I no longer have my small chest freezer. It means I don’t have the capacity to freeze as many meals as I used to. It’s taking time to adjust to having less space so it’s still a work in progress.
Apologies for the blurred photo – believe it or not this was the best of a series of photos of my pot luck stir fry!
As for the new house, after 2 revised delivery dates the sofa arrived last Wednesday so I didn’t have to resort to buying bean bags! So pleased with it and so glad it eventually arrived. I’d taken a risk in buying it from a Facebook page but had investigated the company to determine it was genuine and read all the reviews and also it was cash on delivery. So if it hadn’t arrived it would have meant a further delay in sourcing another one but it was no risk financially. So good not to be confined to my bedroom any longer.
I’ve had my first dose of the Covid 19 vaccination and suffered no side affects fortunately as I’m aware some people have. My second dose is due at the end of April. I recall a sense of relief following the jab (by the way, the vaccination process was so well managed – operated like a well oiled machine). The relief came from knowing that I was doing what I could do to mitigate the risk of this virus and it is heartening to know that millions have also had the first dose of the vaccine in this country. I, like so many others not only want to return to some greater level of normalcy but need to for my own sanity, sooner rather than later.
I’m going to leave this post as it is otherwise I fear it won’t get posted for a while longer and it’s already 3 weeks since I last published. I still have a few challenges to work through but I will get there.
I appreciate every one of you that takes the time to stop by and read and follow my blog. Please like, share and/or comment. For my part, I will knuckle down and focus on producing more content. Keep safe.
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.
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:
Nutritional values and health benefits of Kale – from http://www.healthline.com – of 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-densefoods 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.
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.
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:
Fat: 2 grams
Carbs: 38 grams
Protein: 3 grams
Calcium: 30 milligrams
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.
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.
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 VeganWellington I recently made.
I often find when I make something new it is extra time consuming and so it was with the VeganWellington. 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
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
Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside
Combine the ground flax and water in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 min. It will thicken and gel up a bit
Heat oil (water) in a large skillet over medium heat
Add garlic, thyme, sage and rosemary. Sauté for 1 minute
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 fromheat and set aside for 10 minutes
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
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)
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)
Unroll puff pastry sheet and lay over the baking sheet. Place your prepared mixture into the centre of the pastry
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
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
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
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:
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.
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:
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
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:
Total carbohydrate: 13 grams
Protein: 6 grams
Vitamin C: 31% of daily value (DV)
Vitamin B-6: 10%
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
It suppresses the appetite and thus helps weightloss (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.
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.
It can lower cholesterol levels. Lemons are a good source of fibre and phytochemicals like diosmin and hesperidin that can help lower cholesterol.
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.
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.
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.