Beat the post-Christmas bloat

Tuesday, 30 December 2014


Christmas can leave you feeling bloated and constipated.  There are several reasons for this. Firstly we tend to eat more sugary treats at Christmas, chocolates, mince pies (vegan hopefully), Christmas cake etc.  The candida in your gut flora love it and flourish.  As their numbers grow, your body responds by retaining fluid to dilute their toxins and this can add inches to your waistline (ouch!).  Alcohol too has a negative effect on gut flora balance and is dehydrating to your body which may lead to constipation.  Make sure you drink plenty of fluids other than alcohol. If you are not used to them, foods high in sulphur such as brussel sprouts can also cause bloating. Sitting watching television does not help either.  Your bowels needs to be massaged by walking or another form of exercise in order to work efficiently.
The solution? Take a probiotic supplement and/or eat probiotic and prebiotic foods. Whereas probiotics deliver 'good' bacteria directly to the gut flora, prebiotics encourage the growth of 'good' bacteria in the gut. Probiotic foods include miso, saukraut, and kimchi. Prebiotic foods include bananas, leeks, onions.
A good digestive system is the basis of good health, so keep yours happy.
Be well, be happy
Janet x

You may also wish to read - 'Tired all the time - Could it be candida?'-  
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/tired-all-time-could-it-be-candida.html

Article Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

Meatless Monday:New Year Nut Roast

Monday, 29 December 2014

Start the new year with this nutty feast!



Serves 4-6
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
50g organic quinoa
50g couscous
50g organic brown rice
50g bulgar wheat
1/2 large squash, peeled and roasted
2 sticks celery, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
100g mushrooms, sliced
100g chestnuts (shell on weight), roasted and peeled
100g walnuts 
2tbsp nutritional yeast
4tsp organic reduced salt bouillon
In a saucepan, cover the brown rice and quinoa in cold water. Bring to the boil then reducing the heat, simmer for 20 minutes.
Place the couscous and bulgar wheat in a bowl and cover with boiling water.
Fry the onions in the coconut oil for 2-3 minutes then add celery, pepper, mushrooms and garlic.  Fry for 2 minutes more.  
Transfer rice/quinoa mixture and couscous/bulgar wheat mixture to a mixing bowl.  Add the onion/celery/pepper/mushroom/garlic mixture, the squash, the bouillon and nutritional yeast and mix thoroughly.
Add the chestnuts and walnuts and press into 2 loaf tins.  Bake at 200 degrees for 40- 45 minutes.  Leave for a few minutes before turning out.


Enjoy!
Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

What's happening on Flexiladiesyoga

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Winter is now with us, it's even snowing in some parts of the country. Please try my 'Winter Wellness' yoga playlist on YouTube which you can find on my blog http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/winter-wellness.html

I looked at the lessons the Patanjali's Yamas from the yoga sutras can teach us about Christmas http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/the-yamas-at-christmas.html

To compliment 'Love your brain' http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/love-your-brain.html I wrote an article on the yoga blog about how yoga can help boost brain health. There is also a link to Flexiladiesyoga's YouTube video on the blog http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/how-yoga-helps-boosts-brain-health.html

If the children are getting bored over the Christmas holidays, you might want to play this yoga game that I made up. You and the children will feel better for having a good stretch! http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/a-christmas-yoga-game-to-play-with-kids.html

To accompany my article 'Love your heart' I have written an article 'How yoga can help boost heart health' http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/how-yoga-boosts-heart-health.html This will help you if your New Year's Resolution is to have a healthy heart in 2015. There is also a link to Flexiladiesyoga's YouTube video on the blog article. 

Even though Christmas is over, my Christmas and New Year message is still worth thinking about. Please read by following this link http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/happy-christmas-and-peaceful-new-year.html

Happy Christmas and a healthy, peaceful New Year

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you for viewing my blog. I hope you will continue to enjoy the articles and recipes next year. For now I want to wish you all the very best for Christmas and a peaceful, healthy New Year.

Janet x 

Love your heart

On the yoga blog, Flexiladies yoga, we have been looking at the ways in which yoga can boost heart health http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/how-yoga-boosts-heart-health.html

Here we will look into some other ways you can look after your heart.

  • Exercise - exercise works the heart muscle maintaining heart strength.  If you exercise it is also more likely that you will maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Give up smoking which damages the lining of your arteries making it more likely that plaques of cholesterol will stick to them.  Smoking also reduces oxygen supply to the body meaning that your body has to work harder to supply the body with the oxygen it needs.
  • Eat healthily - we have already discussed how the Mediterranean diet is good for cardiovascular health.  If you are a vegan base your diet on fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, lentils, beans, soya protein, nuts and seeds.  Avoid transfats and hydrogeated fats found in processed foods.  Make sure your diet includes omega 3s.  If you are not a vegetarian or vegan this means including oily fish in your diet.  For vegetarians and vegans please read http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/where-do-vegans-get-their-omega-3s-from.html
  • Try a garlic supplement if you do not like to eat garlic.  Garlic is scientifically proven to help reduce 'hardening of the arteries' and lower blood pressure according to WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-300-garlic.aspx?activeingredientid=300&activeingredientname=garlic
  • Reduce stress which impacts on heart health.  See http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/reduce-stress-increase-wellbeing.html
  • While a little red wine may be beneficial to heart health, it is important to be moderate in your alcohol consumption as too much can lead to high blood pressure and cause abnormal heart rhythms.  For men this means 3-4 units of alcohol per day, women 2-3 units.  Personally, I think your body is better without any alcohol.  The same benefits can be gained from drinking red grape juice as an alternative to wine.
  • Reduce salt which can lead to high blood pressure.  When blood pressure is high, arteries walls are at risk from damage and where artery walls are damaged this could lead to plaques being deposited on the walls.  These plaques may eventually lead to a blocked artery.


Be healthy, be happy
Janet x

Article Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

Christmas herbs and spices

Monday, 22 December 2014


Rosemary-legend has it that this herb bloomed and bore fruit out of season when Jesus was born.  It would add a great flavour to my Festive Nut Roast (substitute for sage) or in my Mushroom and Chestnut Pie for Christmas Eve supper.
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/meatless-monday-mushroom-and-chestnut.html
Rosemary has many health benefits such as helping with digestion, which is great at this time of year. It is bursting with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds and protects the brain from aging.

Sage-legend has it that Mary and baby Jesus hid from Herod in a sage bush.  It is a great addition to my festive nut roast.
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/meatless-monday-festive-nut-roast.html 
This herb is also great for digestive problems and if you get a sore throat from all that carol singing, you could try a sage tea which is antiviral, antiseptic and astringent. Add boiling water to 10 sage leaves, add 2 tsp lemon juice and sweeten with stevia to taste.

Ginger-ginger has been associated with Christmas since at least Elizabethan times when Elizabeth would present courtiers with gingerbread likenesses of themselves at Christmas.  This spice is great sprinkled on melon as a starter.  In the run up to Christmas, I used ginger to make some ginger cookie Christmas tree decorations.
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/ginger-cookie-tree-decorations-vegan.html
Ginger is great for nausea, inflammation and it relieves congestion.

Cinnamon-traditionally used in mulled wine this spice has the fragrance we most associate with Christmas. It is often used to make decorations. This spice has many benefits. It balances blood sugar reducing cravings, it is anti-bacterial and it reduces inflammation. Try sprinkling a little on your porridge or smoothies. I used cinnamon in my 'Breakfasts to go' Banana Porridge Blend, a great start to the day.
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/breakfasts-to-go.html

Meatless Monday: Festive Nut Roast


My festive nut roast is bursting with seasonal flavours and is a great vegan alternative Christmas lunch.

Ingredients

180g bulgar wheat
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
little coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 large butternut squash, roasted, peeled and chopped
2 medium parsnips, roasted and chopped
100g chestnuts, roasted and shelled
100g organic almonds, chopped
50g dried cranberries
120g breadcrumbs
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp sage
4 tbsp organic reduced salt bouillon

Place  the bulgar wheat in a bowl and cover with 450ml boiling water.  Allow to stand for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile sweat the onion in a little coconut oil for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and continue for a further minute.
Transfer the cooked bulgar wheat and onion mixture to an ovenproof bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Press down into the bowl.
Bake at 200 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Turn out carefully.

Enjoy!
Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell


In the News-Lifestyle factors that could reduce the risk of dementia

Thursday, 18 December 2014

A report in The Telegraph detailed an analysis by Age UK of research into factors that contribute to dementia http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/11293313/Follow-five-golden-rules-to-prevent-dementia-says-study.html

The conclusion from this analysis was that dementia can be prevented to a large extent by 5 lifestyle factors which are

  • Regular exercise - including aerobic, and resistance
  • Not smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Eating a Mediterranean diet
  • Moderate alcohol consumption

There are no surprises here for regular readers of this blog.  Regular exercise benefits circulation and aerobic exercise increases lung capacity, both of which help bring oxygen to the brain.  This is essential to brain health because although the brain is only 2% of the body's weight, it uses 20% of its oxygen.  



Yoga uses your own body weight to build 
muscle strength which increases circulation. 


Smoking diminishes the supply of oxygen to the body. 

If we are overweight, this decreases blood circulation to the brain, especially since there is an increased chance there will be plaque build up on artery walls.

We have already looked into the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for the heart.  Where the heart is healthy, good circulation to all the body, including the brain is maintained.

I am not really an advocate of any alcohol consumption but I will concede that red wine which provides resveratrol, an antioxidant could contribute to heart health. 

Please see Flexiladiesyoga for the article 'How yoga can boost brain health' http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/how-yoga-helps-boosts-brain-health.html 

Vegan fruit jellies

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


Did you know that most commercial jellies contain beef or pork gelatine BUT vegan gelatine is available so seek it out to make these fruit jellies.

Ingredients
Serves 4

1 sachet vegan gelatine
1 tin fruit cocktail in fruit juice
500ml apple and raspberry juice or a combination of apple and raspberry juice and fruit juice from the tinned fruit.  
Place the fruit juice in a pan and sprinkle gelatine over.  Stir well and continue to stir as you bring the juice to the boil.  
Allow to cool. 
Divide the fruit between 4 sundae glasses and pour on the jelly.  When cool place in the fridge to become firm.  You could top with coconut cream if you wish.

Enjoy
Janet x

For more Christmas recipes see my Christmas starter/buffet idea http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/meatless-monday-special-bean-pate-with.html 

Now added a Mushroom and chestnut pie for Christmas Eve supper http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/meatless-monday-mushroom-and-chestnut.html

Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

Meatless Monday: Mushroom and chestnut pie with white bean mash

Monday, 15 December 2014


Vegan Recipe



Great for a Christmas Eve supper.  The white bean mash adds protein to the meal.  Did you know that, unlike other nuts, chestnuts are low calorie.  This is because they are lower in fat.  They provide fibre and B vitamins which calm the nervous system as well as iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc.



Photograph of the pie filling

Serves 2
Ingredients

For the chestnut and mushroom pie
coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
100g chestnuts, roasted then peeled (make a slit in the chestnut before roasting)
120g organic chestnut mushrooms
200ml stock made with 2 tsp bouillion
1/2 tsp rosemary
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tin coconut milk
Ready to roll puff pastry (dairy free) at room temperature

For the white bean mash
2 cartons cannellini beans
1tsp lemon juice

Fry the onion in a little coconut oil for 2 minutes.  Add sliced garlic and continue for a further minute. 
Add sliced mushrooms, chestnuts, stock, and rosemary. 
Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  
Stir in nutritional yeast and coconut milk. Transfer to pie dish.  
Cut pastry to fit pie dish and place on top of mushroom and chestnut mixture.  Make slits in the pastry.  
Place in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees and bake for 30-35 minutes.
For the white bean mash heat the beans with a little water and tsp lemon juice.  Mash roughly and serve with the mushroom and chestnut pie.  

Enjoy
Janet x



Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

What's happening on Flexiladiesyoga?

Saturday, 13 December 2014

You might want to try this breathing practice for an energy and mood boost if the rush of Christmas is getting too much http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/tis-season-to-be-jolly.html
Christmas can be a stressful time of year for some people. Please read my article and watch my YouTube video to find out how yoga can help http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/how-can-yoga-help-with-stress.html
Your stress response is controlled by the adrenal glands which form part of the endocrine system . See how yoga can help keep the endocrine system with my YouTube yoga video and article http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/how-yoga-can-help-endocrine-health.html

Love your hormones

Thursday, 11 December 2014


On the yoga blog we have been looking at how yoga can help keep your endocrine system healthy  http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/how-yoga-can-help-endocrine-health.html
The endocrine system is composed of several glands which secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream. These hormones affect many body functions.  You might be interested to know that hormone imbalance is a factor in aging.
You can help keep your endocrine system healthy with a good diet, bursting with antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, selenium and zinc. It is also important to avoid environmental toxins wherever possible. Below is more detailed advice for each of the glands that make up the endocrine system

  • The pituitary gland is known as the 'master' gland.  It is situated below the base of the brain and secretes hormones including growth hormone and hormones that affect the sexual glands.  It also influences the thyroid and adrenals.  You can help keep your pituitary gland healthy by ensuring a good blood flow to the brain, through exercise and making sure your diet includes omega 3s in nuts, seeds, olive oil etc. http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/where-do-vegans-get-their-omega-3s-from.html
  • The pineal gland also known as the 'third eye' influences sleep/wake patterns (circadian  rhythm) and secretes melatonin.  The pineal gland is affected by fluoride in drinking water and toothpaste so filter your water and use a non-fluoride tooth paste. Also try to get some natural daylight each day to regulate your circadian rhythms. 
  • The thyroid gland is located in the throat and produces hormones that regulate metabolism.  To function efficiently it needs iodine which vegans can get through soya milk or a multivitamin and mineral supplement.  BUT too much iodine can cause problems for thyroid function.  Selenium is also important for the health of the thyroid and can be found in brazil nuts.  A single nut a day is all you need to supply your daily recommended selenium intake.  Imbalances in the thyroid can lead underactive thyroid with fatigue and weight gain or overactive thyroid with weight loss, irritability and racing heart.
  • The thymus gland is located in the upper chest and it is where lymphocytes are developed.  The lymphocytes have an important role in immunity, attacking viruses and bacteria which invade the body.  An imbalance would lead to a reduced ability to fight infections. The thymus gland is affected by stress, as I discovered earlier in the year when I was grieving for my mother. A routine blood test showed that my lymphocyte count was down.  Thankfully, through yoga and meditation I managed to restore my count before the blood test was repeated. http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/reduce-stress-increase-wellbeing.html
  • The pancreas is located in the abdomen.  It secretes insulin which controls blood sugar levels and digestive enzymes. My advice to maintain the health of the pancreas is to avoid overworking the pancreas.  A diet rich in processed foods and sugars will cause insulin 'spikes' leading to a 'tired' pancreas that becomes less efficient at producing insulin.  This eventually could lead to type 2 diabetes.  Stick to 'slow-release' foods such as brown rice, wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta etc and include plenty of fibre from fruits and vegetables in your diet.  If you have trouble digesting fatty foods, or flatulence it may be that you do not have adequate digestie enzymes.  However, before taking a supplement you should talk to your doctor.  The secretion of these digestive enzymes is also affected by stress so you may find that by taking steps to reduce stress you can improve your digestion http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/reduce-stress-increase-wellbeing.html
  • The adrenals are located on top of the kidneys and secrete stress hormones, cortisol and adrenalin. For 'happy',healthy adrenals reduce stress. http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/reduce-stress-increase-wellbeing.html
  • The sexual organs, ovaries in women, testes in men secrete sex hormones, oestogen and testosterone respectively.  Vitamin A found (as a precursor to vitamin A) in carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow melon, kale and spinach is essential to the health of the ovaries.  For the testes omega 3 (see above) and zinc found in pumpkin seeds and nuts are essential for testosterone production.  Imbalances in these endocrine glands can lead to infertility, menstrual problems, mood swings and acne.


Vegan, no added sugar Christmas cake

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


200g dairy free sunflower spread
10g stevia
equivalent of 4 eggs
100g ground almonds
1tsp almond essence
200g rice flour + extra for coating cherries
1tsp baking powder
grated rind and juice of one large orange
200g sultanas
200g raisons
150g frozen cherries, thawed, cut into two and coated in rice flour
Whole almonds to decorate

Soak the sultanas and raisins in the orange juice.
Meanwhile cream the spread and stevia.  Add the egg equivalent, almond essence, baking powder and rice flour and mix thoroughly.  Stir in the soaked fruit and juice and finally the cherries.  Add a little water if the mixture seems dry. It is a tradition in our house that my daughters and I each take a turn at stirring the mixture and make a wish.  Transfer to a springform cake tin lined with baking parchment, and decorate with almonds.  Bake at 200 degrees for 1 hour approximately.  Turn out onto a cooling rack.
The cake should keep up to a week (I cannot be sure of this since it was eaten long before a week had passed!)

Enjoy
Janet x

Also are also recipes for some 'Ginger cookie Christmas tree decorations' on this blog that are vegan and are sugar free http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/ginger-cookie-tree-decorations-vegan.html and 'Vegan fruit jellies' -http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/vegan-fruit-jellies.html


Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

Meatless Monday Special Bean pate with pumpkin seed crackers.

Monday, 8 December 2014


This makes a great starter for a Christmas meal or an attractive addition to a buffet.

For the pate
Serves 2
1 carton cannelloni beans
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced and finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 level tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp organic reduced salt bouillon

Fry the onion in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and continue to fry for another minute.
Remove from heat, and add the smoked paprika, bouillon, and beans.
Transfer to a blender and blitz.  Serve with crudites and pumpkin seed crackers
.
For the pumpkin seed crackers




Makes 12-14
100g spelt flour
100g rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
75g ground flax seeds
75g pumpkin seeds, ground in blender or with pestle and mortar + extra for topping
50g sunflower spread
Olive oil

Mix the flours with the baking powder and add the flax seeds and pumpkin seeds.
Rub in the sunflower spread and add 2-4 tbsp cold water to bring the mixture together as dough.
Turn onto an oiled surface and knead for 2 minutes.
Roll out and cut into rectangles
Place on an oiled baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes at 200 degrees.  Halfway through the baking time press pumpkin seeds into the top of the crackers if you wish.
Place on a cooling rack to cool.



Enjoy!
Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

Reduce stress, increase wellbeing

Saturday, 6 December 2014



On the yoga blog, Flexiladies yoga we are looking at ways in which yoga can help reduce stress http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/how-can-yoga-help-with-stress.html 

Here we look at the causes of stress, the effects on your body and mind, and how you can help reduce stress in your life.

Causes of Stress
Stress has many causes such as work overload, difficulties with colleagues, unemployment, relationship difficulties, health problems, and unhealthy living conditions such as having to cope with noise.  There are also many carers in the UK who are under significant physical, financial and psychological stress.  Having been a carer myself, this is something I can really empathsise wth.

The effects of stress
Yogis believe in the mind/body/spirit connection and the disturbance to the mind of stress often manifests itself as physical symptoms such as back, shoulder and neck pain.  This in turn can lead to tension headaches.  Stress also affects the digestive system and stress underpins Irritable Bowel Syndrome in many cases. The stress of being a carer and the intense grief when the person I cared for died, triggered IBS which thankfully I now seem to be healing from. 
Scientifically speaking stress causes the body to move into ‘flight or fight’ response which was fine when our ancestors were having to run for their lives or fight wild animals.  The response causes hormones to be released from the adrenal glands which pump up the heart rate and quicken the breathing to supply the muscles with the much needed oxygen to run or fight.  The problem is the body has the same response now, to for instance traffic jams and the hormones are not ‘burned off’ by running away.  Another  effect is that the body deposits fat in the abdominal area and in the long term this can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Reducing stress

  • Try yoga, Tai Chi, meditation and relaxation techniques.
  • When we are stressed we breathe quick and shallow, into only the upper chest.  When we are calm we breathe slow and deep.  We can create a feeling of calm when we are stressed simply by taking some consciously deep breaths.  When we practice deep breathing regularly we start to react to stressors in a more considered way.  
  • Aerobic exercise 'burns off' stress hormones.
  • Take B vitamins- B vitamins help keep the nervous system functioning well.  When we are under stress our bodies need more B vitamins and they cannot be stored in your body.
  • Stress can arise from tension in your body.  Try yoga and maybe a magnesium supplement.
  • Get enough sleep.  You are more likely to become stressed if you are sleep deprived.
  • My favourite stress buster is to spend time in nature.  After walking in the woods for an hour or by the river, things look much better.  You become more tuned in with the changing seasons and you never know what you might see - birds, deer, squirrels (I always carry some hopeful shelled peanuts!).
  • Another of my favourites is a long relaxing bath with epsom salts (detoxing) and lavender (relaxing)
  • Reduce caffeine, sugar, cigarettes and alcohol which enhance the body's stress response.
Article Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

In the news- Mediterranean diet

Thursday, 4 December 2014

More good news this week about the Mediterranean diet.
The science bit- each and every cell in your body has a 'blueprint' for the activity of that cell which is the DNA, contained in chromosomes.  The ends of these chromosomes are protected by telomeres which are especially important when cells divide.  As we age these telomeres become shorter and weaker and eventually this may lead to the cell becoming unable to divide, which in turn leads to disease.  The telomere length therefore is a good indicator of the aging process.    The good news is that eating a  Mediterranean diet would seem to keep telomeres longer and healthier.  For more on this story see the link below.

The Mediterranean diet does seem to have a great deal going for it.  It is claimed that the Mediterranean diet can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 30%.  Added to this it also reduces the risk of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and diabetes. It is certainly packed with antioxidants, essential  fatty acids and fibre.  Foods that cause blood sugar 'spikes' are avoided in favour of whole grains which stabilize blood sugar and salt, which is associated with high blood pressure is avoided.  The Mediterranean diet does include some hard cheese which may be surprising BUT hard cheese actually lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).  It has been suggested that when saturated fat is combined with calcium it forms a substance that our bodies find difficult to absorb.
Below are the key features of a Mediterranean diet:-
  • Plenty of fruit and vegetables in a variety of colours.
  • A little cheese (see above)
  • Whole grains, wholemeal bread, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, quinoa, bulgar wheat etc
  • Oily fish
  • Beans and lentils
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Unhealthy fats are limited.  Butter and margarine are replaced by olive oil.
  • Salt is limited.  Replace with herbs
  • Avoid sugar.


Here are some recipes to get you started


Tomato and basil soup with sun dried tomato and olive bread


Serves 2

For the tomato soup
1 onion, finely chopped in blender
1 carton organic chopped tomatoes in juice
150ml unsweetened soya milk
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp organic reduced salt boullion
fresh basil leaves to garnish



Place the onion, chopped tomatoes, dried basil, and boullion in a pan.  Bring to the boil and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir milk in and warm through.  Garnish with fresh basil and serve with olive and sun dried tomato bread (see below).


For the bread

200g rye flour
275g spelt
1tsp baking powder
20 Queen olives in brine sliced
10 pieces sun dried tomatoes sliced
300ml unsweetened soya milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice stirred in

Sieve the flours together with the baking powder into a bowl.  Stir in the milk and lemon juice, olives and sun dried tomatoes. Knead.  Shape into a round and place on a baking tray. Using a knife make a cross in the top.  Bake at 200 degrees for 40-45minutes.


Enjoy! 

Janet x



Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell


Natural winter remedies

Wednesday, 3 December 2014



A word of caution- even though these are natural remedies, some people may have allergies to them and if you are on any medication there may be interactions so ALWAYS CHECK WITH A MEDICAL PRACTITIONER.
Here are my favourite winter remedies:-

  • Echinecea - available as tablets, capsules or infusion.  It is not advisable to give this remedy to children under 12 due to risk of allergy.  I take it at the first sign of a cold. It is important for me to avoid infections because of lung damage.  Before I had my immune boosting 'armory' I had several bouts of pneumonia.  Nowadays a cold is no more than an inconvenience.  How does echinecea work? Echinecea stimulates your immune system to help fight the virus reducing the severity of the cold and duration.
  • Elderberry- great for flu.  Elderberry can help you recover from flu quickly by stimulating your immune system and reducing inflammation. DO NOT eat the raw berries.  I would recommend liquid or organic capsules.  I use it as a natural 'antibiotic' taking a 5, 7, 10 or 14 day course depending on the severity of my symptoms.
  • Ginger - great for bronchitis and coughs. It is best taken as a ginger tea.  Slice a few pieces of ginger root into a saucepan, and cover with a mug of water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Pour into a mug, stir in a teaspoonful of honey, and a teaspoonful of lemon. Allow to cool slightly and sip.  
  • Lavender - a few drops on your pillow will help you sleep when you are 'bunged up' and reduce inflammation in your upper respiratory passages.
  • My 'antibiotic' mushroom soup (see below)


My 'antibiotic' mushroom soup

Serves 2
200g chestnut mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 tbsp organic reduced salt boullion in 500ml hot water
1/2 can coconut milk
Mushroom and coconut slices to decorate
Chestnut mushrooms are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antifungal and antibiotic as well as being packed with phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B5 and selenium, both of which are essential for immune function. Another of my favourite mushrooms is shitake.  All this and low calorie too.
Enjoy and stay well this winter.
Janet x


Article Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

What's happening on Flexiladiesyoga

Monday, 1 December 2014

There are three of my YouTube yoga videos on spinal health as part of the  'How yoga boosts health series' http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/how-yoga-helps-with-health-of-spine.html 
In the article 'Unwrap your healthy weight for Christmas and keep it all year' I look at the ways in which yoga can help you reach your healthy weight and stay there http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/unwrap-your-healthy-weight-for.html
For Thanksgiving I looked at how yoga can help you open up to gratitude to give you a more positive attitude http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/the-year-was-1621.html 
Don't let winter sniffles get in the way of you enjoying the Advent season. My article and YouTube video will show you how yoga can help you boost your immunity http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2 014/11/how-yoga-helps-boost-immunity.html 
To take you back to the childlike magic of Christmas you may want to try my 'Star of Wonder' Christmas yoga practice http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/star-of-wonder.html

Meatless Monday-Lime and soy quinoa salad (lunch box friendly!)



After the feasting of thanksgiving and before the feasting of Christmas, I thought you might appreciate a super healthy 'Meatless Monday'.  This salad is packed with protein, 'good oils', vitamins and minerals.  Great warm,but the salad would also be good to take to work as a packed lunch.

Serves 4
200g quinoa
8 tbsp frozen sweetcorn kernals
8 tbsp frozen edamame (soya) beans
1 red pepper, chopped
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
12 organic tomatino tomatoes
3 tbsp tamari
1 1/2 tbsp lime
pumpkin seeds
Place the quinoa, edamame beans and sweetcorn in a pan.  Cover with cold water and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the water is absorbed. 
Mix the lime and soy and stir into the quinoa mixture.  
Add the peppers and tomatoes, divide between 4 bowls and arrange 1/2 sliced avocado around each bowl. Sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds over each salad.

Enjoy!
Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

Ginger cookie Christmas tree decorations-Vegan, sugar-free

Sunday, 30 November 2014


It's Advent!!!  Time to get your Christmas decorations up.  Why not try these ginger cookies? 
I have used a mashed banana in place in place of egg which gives these cookies a delicate banana flavour.  Delicious! (Hope they make it to the tree!!)

Makes 10 approx
80g coconut oil
2 heaped tbsp stevia + extra for sprinkling
140g rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1 medium mashed banana
Melt the coconut oil if necessary over a low heat.  Stir in stevia.  
Fold in flour, baking powder, ginger.  
Add mashed banana and mix thoroughly until the mixture comes together as a dough.  
Turn onto a floured surface and knead, then roll out. 
Cut into Christmas shapes, using cutters if you have them.  Make a hole to string the biscuits up using a skewer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Place on a cooling rack and sprinkle with stevia while still warm.

Enjoy!
Janet x


Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

'Tis the season to be healthy

Tuesday, 25 November 2014



Just over 4 weeks to Christmas and so much to do, card writing, present buying, menus to plan etc and all this on top of everything you usually do.  The last thing you need is to come down with a bad cold or worse flu.  Shopping malls etc are so crowded at this time of year, viruses have the potential to spread like wildfire.  But there are measures you can take to minimise your risk.  Firstly you need to boost your immunity so that viruses cannot take hold.  Below are some ways you can boost immunity through your diet.


  • Eat fruits and vegetables which supply antioxidants, A, C and E. The precursors to vitamin A, carotenoids are found in yellow fruit and vegetables such as carrots, mango, peaches, yellow melons etc. Citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, peppers etc are especially rich in vitamin C.  Avocados, squash, and broccoli supply vitamin E. These vitamins fight free radicals which suppress immunity
  • Avoid saturated fat in red meat, full fat dairy etc which creates toxins in the body which deplete immunity.
  • Avoid sugar, white flour, white pasta, white rice, caffeine (tea, coffee, etc), which deplete the body of nutrients essential for an efficient immune system.  They may also contribute to inflammation in the body which can weaken the immune system.
  • Include whole grains, pulses (peas, lentils and chickpeas), beans, nuts and seeds and oily fish in the diet to supply the immune system with zinc and B vitamins needed in order to work efficiently.
  • Garlic added to casseroles, stews, soups or roasted is a decongestant and fights viruses.
  •  Drink plenty to flush out toxins which may impair immunity.  Warm water with sliced ginger and lemon boosts immunity
  • A probiotic supplement boosts immunity or eat live yogurt and prebiotics such as fermented vegetables (sauerkraut), bananas, oats, tofu, onions etc which encourage the growth of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut.  These 'good' bacteria keep down the 'bad' bacteria, help produce antibodies to invading bacteria and viruses as well as helping in the production of B vitamins and the absorption of nutrients by the gut..
Here are some other ways boost your immunity
  • Keep washing your hands.  This simple measure is very effective at reducing the spread of viruses and one that doctors use.
  • Avoid stress which lowers immunity by reducing the white blood cell count.
  • Get your sleep
  • Avoid smoking and reduce alcohol consumption.  These lower immunity by using up nutrients vital to the immune system. 
  • Exercise - this could be because exercise lowers stress but research as to the link continues.
See also 'How yoga helps boost immunity'-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/how-yoga-helps-boost-immunity.html

If you do succumb, you might want to try my favourite remedies for colds and flu (coming later this week).

Meatless Monday-A Thanksgiving Special-Stuffed Squash

Monday, 24 November 2014


Serves 2

1 medium squash, cut in two lengthways
spray olive oil
6-8 chestnuts
100g rice
2 tsp boullion
6tbsp frozen sweetcorn kernels
1 red onion, chopped 
6 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
coconut oil
1tsp dried sage
Spray the squash with olive oil and roast at 200 degrees for 40-50 minutes  Make slits in the chestnuts and roast alongside the squash for about 30 minutes.  
Meanwhile cover the rinsed rice and sweetcorn kernels with cold water and add boullion.  Bring to the boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Place a lid on the pan and simmer until all the water is absorbed.
Fry the mushrooms and red onion until soft in a little coconut oil.  Stir into the cooked rice.  Shell and chop the chestnuts and add these.  
Remove the seeds from the squash and stuff the cavity with the rice and vegetable mixture.  
Return to the oven for 10 minutes and serve.

Enjoy!
Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

Glow with gratitude

Friday, 21 November 2014


Happy Thanksgiving to all Americans as they celebrate on 24th November.  The very first Thanksgiving took place in 1621.  It had been a hard year for the Pilgrims.  There had been sickness and near starvation but then came a bountiful harvest.  You can imagine how grateful they were.  
Today we have much to be grateful for, our friends and family, our warm homes, our food and so very much more.  So often we take these things for granted but if we take a moment to feel gratitude for the gifts life has bestowed on us it can have measurable effects on your body.
On the yoga blog, Flexiladies yoga you will find videos from my YouTube Channel to cultivate gratitude in your body http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/the-year-was-1621.html

Here we will focus on how gratitude can effect your wellbeing.  Being grateful each day can:-
  • Strengthen immunity
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Help with depression, by reducing negative outlook.
  • Relieve stress, by lowering stress hormones
So every morning when you wake, take a moment to think of three things you are grateful for.  You are sure to have a better day.

Article Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

Your Christmas present to you-your healthy weight

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


On the yoga blog, Flexiladiesyoga we looked at some of the ways yoga can help you achieve and maintain your healthy weight http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/unwrap-your-healthy-weight-for.html

Crisp autumn walks will help with weight loss too.

Combine yoga and walking with the diet advice below and you should be well on your way to achieving your weight loss goals by Christmas.  

• A good diet should be built around fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, beans, lentils, wholegrain cereals, and if you are not vegan or vegetarian, fish including oily fish, poultry (no skin) and occasional lean red meat.
• Aim to eat high GI foods which will not cause blood glucose levels to rise sharply then plummet leaving you hungry and irritable.  Choose wholegrain cereals rather than refined with added sugars (look out for ‘barley malt’, maltose etc which are essentially SUGAR). Porridge with fruit makes a satisfying breakfast that will keep you going until lunch. Choose brown rice over white, wholemeal bread over white, wholegrain pasta.  Sweet potatoes are better than white potatoes. Consider alternatives to bread such as quinoa, oatcakes, crispbreads.
• Even when you are dieting you need to feel satisfied by every meal.  Pile your plate up with salad made from salad leaves, tomatoes, peppers, radish, cucumber, radish, spring onion or red onion with a low calorie dressing or vegetables other than potatoes and parsnips which are low calorie but leave you feeling you have had plenty to eat. Think about making your own soups from left over vegetables blended with stock as a starter.  All this will mean you are getting at least your 5 a day which will provide you with antioxidants.  These antioxidants will neutralise any free radicals that might be released as you lose weight.   
• Restrict calorie intake to 1200 – 1500 depending on start weight, sex, level of activity etc
• Optimize nutrition – when calories are restricted every calorie should support optimal nutrition so do not ‘waste’ calories on foods containing sugar, saturated fat which are not good for your body.
• SNACKS ARE ALLOWED – autumn fruits are in the shops – russet apples, cox apples, plums, blackberries. A baked apple with a few blackberries a little sweetener and a spoonful of coconut yogurt makes a deliciously satisfying snack. Oatcakes and rice cakes with houmous make a good savory snack.  
• Allergies or food intolerances can sometimes make you gain weight so if you suspect that allergies/intolerances are to blame have an allergy test.

Stay healthy, stay happy.
Janet x

Article Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

What's happening on Flexiladiesyoga

Monday, 17 November 2014

In yoga we talk about energy locks in the body called the bandas. Learn how to make sense of the bandas with this article and YouTube video. http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/making-sense-of-bandas.html
To compliment the 'Love your back' article read how yoga can help boost the health of the spine. There are already two YouTube videos to accompany this article and another will be posted shortly http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/how-yoga-helps-with-health-of-spine.html 
If you are starting to get stressed by all there is to do in the run up to Christmas, you may want to try meditation. There is an article 'Meditation, ancient help for 21st century stress' that may be helpful http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/meditation-ancient-help-for-21st.html

Meatless monday: Mediterranean Vegetable bake



Serves 4
100g quinoa
100g lentils
150g breadcrumbs 
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
6 green olives, sliced
6 pieces sun dried tomato in oil, sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
4 - 6 mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp oregano

Place the lentils and quinoa in a saucepan and cover with cold water.  Bring to the boil then reduce heat to simmer for 25 minutes.  Drain well. 
Meanwhile sweat the onion, garlic, red pepper and mushrooms in coconut oil until softening.  
Make the breadcrumbs in a blender then mix into the quinoa and lentils.  Stir  in the cooked vegetables, tomato puree, sun dried tomatoes, olives and oregano.   Mix thoroughly.  
Press into a loaf tin and bake at 200 degrees for 30 minutes.
Turn out and slice.  Serve with a large salad.

Enjoy!
Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell