Enjoying a very different Christmas – pandemic style

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

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

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


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

A selection of herbs that add wonderful flavours to any recipe

Haricot Beans – also known as Navy Beans

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

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

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

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

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

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

Benefits of drinking lemon water:

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

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

Published by smith57angel

Passionate about a Whole food plant based lifestyle. After years of yo-yo dieting I decided to tackle my weight problem once and for all. The difference this time being I focused on my health in terms of what I was putting in to my body. Health improved and weight reduced.

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