We Don't Like to Talk About It- Stress Incontinence

Wednesday, 29 March 2017



If you leak urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze, or exercise, this is stress incontinence and it's really common.  If you have it, you may be too embarrassed to seek help.  Fortunately there is much that you can do to help yourself.

When I was teaching pre-natal yoga, I always emphasised to 'my'  mums-to-be the importance of doing their pelvic floor exercise, not only before the birth but afterwards too, in order to avoid problems further down the line.  The reason for this is that pregnancy is one of the main causes of weakened pelvic floor and stress incontinence.  The lack of oestrogen at menopause may also weaken the pelvic floor.  The good news is that it's never too late to start strengthening your pelvic floor.  Try the following exercise-

Sit on a rolled up blanket or cushion with the soles of your feet together.  When you look down at your legs they will be in a diamond shape.  For this exercise the feet represent your pubic bone, your knees represent your hip points and your tailbone is your actual tailbone. Spend a minute tuning into your breath then breathe in and as you breathe out isometrically draw your feet, knees and tailbone together (this means that although there is a 'squeezing' together these points do not actually move).  You should be able to feel a 'lift' of your pelvic floor.  Now breathe in and let everything relax.  Repeat 9 more times.  Repeat this exercise daily.

You could also try yoga.  In many yoga poses, in particular standing poses, we engage the 'root lock', mula banda, which is in effect the pelvic floor.  Please see 'Making sense of the bandas'.

It is not only pregnancy that can  put pressure on the pelvic floor and your bladder- if you carry weight around your middle this will.  But did you know that exercise releases adiponectin which moves fat away from your middle to less harmful areas. 

Constipation can also create pressure on your pelvic floor and bladder so avoid this by making sure your diet includes plenty of fibre and drink plenty to swell that fibre and keep things moving.  

As for other dietary advice, make sure your diet includes magnesium rich foods (nuts, seeds, bananas etc) as magnesium helps muscle function and can reduce bladder spasms that lead to stress incontinence.  You might also want to consider having an epsom salt bath a couple of times a week to absorb some calcium through your skin.  Please see 'Been out Christmas shopping? Restore with an epsom salt bath'.

Make sure you have enough vitamin D as deficiency is linked to stress incontinence.  A good source for vegans is mushrooms or you can get your daily vitamin D by 10 minutes of sun exposure daily without protection (no more please for the sake of sun safety!!).  Please see 'Bring on the sun-Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin

Avoid caffeine which can irritate the bladder.

You could also try 'bladder training' - delaying urination for 10-15 minutes after you feel the urge.  When you do 'go' make sure you empty your bladder completely so hang on in there for a minute or so more.  

Hope this helps.  



Meatless Monday : Farro risotto with asparagus, wild mushroom with 'parmesan' crumb

Monday, 27 March 2017


I have been having a spring kitchen cupboard sort out and I am using up 'odds and ends' of food so that I can have a fresh start. This recipe was made from a part pack of farro that I had in the cupboard.  I have used some asparagus in the recipe as this is in season right now and some earthy flavoured wild mushrooms (shop bought!!!)  I also like contrasting textures so I have topped the farro with a 'parmesan' crumb.  For even more contrast in texture, spread out the crumb on a baking sheet and bake for a few minutes in the oven.  

Farro risotto with asparagus, wild mushroom with 'parmesan' crumb

Serves 2

You will need

1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
150g farro
180g asparagus, discard 'woody' ends
100g wild mushrooms (shop bought!!!) 
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
700ml approx hot water with 1/2 tsp pink salt

'Parmesan crumb'

30g cashews
2 tsp nutritional yeast
pinch salt
2 tbsp breadcrumbs, preferably from homemade bread

To make the 'parmesan crumb' combine the ingredients in a blender.  Either use it like this or spread out the crumb on a baking sheet and bake for a few minutes in the oven for a crispier crumb.

Heat the oil and cook the onion for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. 

Add the farro, apple cider vinegar and a little of the pink salt in hot water.  Slice the asparagus and add. Stir until the water is almost absorbed then add more water. Continue until the farro is almost cooked then add the wild mushrooms (around 10 minutes).  Continue for a further minute or two.  

Divide between two bowls and top with the 'parmesan' crumb.



If you are interested in the calories I have calculated there to be around 450 per portion.


This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 26 March 2017


The best decisions are born of a combination of both reason and instinct. In this week's #yoga video the intention is to calm our minds so that we can be more aware of our subconscious feelings.

Kapha season lasts from late winter through spring and if we do not take steps to balance kapha, the result may be seasonal allergies, slow metabolism and bloating.
The yoga sequence on my 'sister' blog will help boost metabolism, reduce bloating, stimulate the thyroid and increase circulation- http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/spring-metabolism-boost.html

In this week's yoga anatomy bites we are looking at internal and external rotation. 

Blueberry muffins with blueberry frosting

Saturday, 25 March 2017


These vegan, no-added sugar blueberry muffins with blueberry frosting make a perfect teatime treat for Mother's Day!

No-added sugar bakes don't tend to keep for long, but when they are this tasty, they won't hang around long!!!

Blueberry muffins with blueberry frosting 

Makes 12-18 muffins

You will need

100g dairy free spread
18g stevia 
2 egg equivalent (mix 2 tbsp oil, 2tbsp rice flour, and 4 tbsp almond milk in a bowl)
250g rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
125ml almond milk
120g frozen blueberries, defrosted

For the frosting
coconut cream from 2 cans coconut milk
4 tbsp blueberries (or for a smoother mix use the juice from the defrosted blueberries).



Cream the dairy free spread with the stevia.  Add the 'egg' mixture and the flour and mix.  Mix in the milk to obtain a batter then carefully fold in the blueberries.  Divide the batter between 12 cupcake cases.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 18 - 20 minutes.  Allow to cool.

To make the frosting whip the cream with the blueberries or blueberry juice in a high speed blender. Pipe or spoon the frosting onto the cupcakes.  



Happy Mother's Day!

Enjoy!



DIY lavender bath salts

Friday, 24 March 2017


Want a change from flowers and chocs to give to mum this Mother's Day? 

Why not pamper her with these homemade bath salts?  Made with Epsom salts to soothe any aches or pains (please see http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/been-out-christmas-shopping-restore.html and lavender buds for tranquility, they make an ideal gift to give mum a little spoiling.  

DIY lavender bath salts

You will need
Epsom salts
Lavender buds
Reusuable muslin bags 
Air tight jar

Place a couple of scoops of Epsom salts in the jar.  Add a layer of lavender buds and continue until the jar is full. Label and decorate with a ribbon if you wish and give it to mum with the muslin bags.  To use fill a muslin bag and place it in the bath (this prevents the lavender buds clogging up the bath).

Happy Mothers' Day!




Meatless Monday : Low calorie vegan - chilli stuffed squash

Monday, 20 March 2017


This week's recipe is a great one to include if you are trying to shift a few winter pounds now that spring has arrived.  It is a low carb meal but satisfying.  Now, I'm no calorie expert but I reckon that this is 450 calories per portion.  Add a green vegetable and you still have a main meal for around 475 calories. Who knew trying to lose a few pounds could be this delicious?

Chilli stuffed squash

1 whole butternut squash, cut lengthways into 2 and seeds removed.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped 
2 cloves garlic
100g dried soy mince
1/2 - 1 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 ground cumin 
1/2 tsp coriander
3/4 tsp pink salt in 400ml boiling water
pinch stevia
100g tomato puree
20g vegan cheese, grated

Place the butternut squash on a baking tray and roast at 200 degrees about 45 minutes until tender.  

Heat the oil and cook the onion for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the dried soy mince together with the pink salt in boiling water, the chilli flakes, cumin, coriander and tomato puree.  Cook for 10-15 minutes. Serve with  the butternut squash, a sprinkle of grated vegan cheese and a green vegetable.  


If you do not need to count calories a side of guacomole makes a nice addition.

Note  - a woman needs to eat 1200-1500 calories per day to lose a pound a week, a man around 2000.  

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 19 March 2017


Sometimes we take on more than we can handle because we don't want to say 'no'. The yoga video on my 'sister' blog will help you establish boundaries which will help reduce stress-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/rebalance-establishing-boundaries.html

It has been known for some time that the healthier your heart, the less likely you are to develop impaired cognitive function, Alzheimer's and dementia.
On my 'sister' blog we practice a sequence for heart health which will also help keep your brain healthy- http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/yoga-for-brain-part-5-cardiovascular.html

In today's anatomy bites, we look at adduction and abduction. Please see my 'sister' blog-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/yoga-anatomy-bites-adduction-and.html

Eat a rainbow - grapefruit


Please note- If you are on any medication please check with your doctor before eating grapefruit as grapefruit can lead to detrimental interactions. However, there are still many other yellow fruits and vegetables for you to enjoy.

We are always being told to 'eat a rainbow' that is different coloured fruit and vegetables and there is a good reason for this.  Different coloured fruit and vegetables have different antioxidants, vitamins and minerals so by eating a variety, you are taking steps to boost your wellbeing.

Grapefruit is in season right now - did you know that they get their name because they grow in clusters like grapes?  They grow all year round but the best, from Florida and Texas are available from November to June. Grapefruit are at their sweetest right now in late winter /early spring.

Grapefruit is a citrus fruit so that it is bursting with vitamin C which helps keep your skin healthy and elastic, your immune system, heart and eyes in tip top condition and can help lower high blood pressure.  The fruit is also rich in potassium which also helps maintain blood pressure at a healthy level, reducing the risk of strokes.  It is low calorie and does not cause blood sugar spikes so it can help prevent obesity, which in turn reduces the risk of diabetes. Added to this, it is a source of vitamin A which keeps mucus membranes healthy and also fibre.

Try using grapefruit and orange segments and a little stevia if you wish, for a breakfast fruit salad.

Other yellow fruits and vegetables in season right now include lemons, bananas (Windward Island), and yellow turnip (swede).   Sweetcorn is not in season just now but frozen is a good alternative and honeydew melon and yellow peppers are available in supermarkets all year.

You may also like:-

'Eat a rainbow-Sweet potato' and 'Eat a rainbow-Red cabbage'





Happy St.Patrick's Day! Celebrate with this mint choc chip nice cream!

Friday, 17 March 2017


Happy St.Patrick's Day! Celebrate with this mint choc chip nice cream! We've used a chocolate coin for decoration - make sure it's a vegan one if you are going to eat it, or just use it for decoration. Recipe-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/treat-yo-self-mint-choc-chip-breakfast.html

We've recently discovered we have Irish ancestry - a great excuse to celebrate St.Patrick's Day!

If you like crafts, how about making this shamrock banner with a hidden pot of gold?



“May your troubles be less
Your blessings be more.
And nothing but happiness
Come through your door.”


We don't like to talk about It...Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Thursday, 16 March 2017


Almost half of all women get a UTI, urinary tract infection, at some point in their lives.  Men are more prone to UTIs after age 50.  

Symptoms include pain when urinating, needing to 'go' frequently, fatigue, abdominal and low back pain, foul smelling urine and blood in urine.  

90% of UTI's are caused by E. coli bacteria which is why the conventional treatment is antibiotics but you can become resistant to these resulting in recurring infections.  It's worth trying to clear up your UTI naturally therefore but if your symptoms do not clear up after a few days, do see your doctor - if the UTI spreads to your kidneys, it can cause big problems.

You know if you read this blog that probiotics are important for gut health and mental wellbeing (the gut is often referred to as the 'second brain') but did you know that probiotics are also good to prevent and treat UTIs?  This is because when you get a urine infection, the flora that occur naturally in the urinary tract are crowded out by the invading bacteria.  Probiotics restore the balance.  To read more about probiotics.  Please see 'What's stopping you reaching your healthy weight-Part 5-Unhealthy gut'.

If you have a urine infection, you need to drink plenty to 'flush out' the infection.  Drinking cranberry juice is often thought of as helping urine infections.  There are mixed views on this but it is worth a try.  The active ingredient is D-manose, which is also available in supplement form.  This prevents E.coli sticking to the walls of the urinary tract.  

I also would recommend elderberry capsules or liquid as this is antibacterial (I always keep some in and we take it at the first sign of any infection - usually chesty colds).  Garlic too, is antibacterial.  Please see 'Foods that heal - garlic'.

Some vitamins help. Vitamin C (citrus fruits, kiwi, peppers, etc) makes the urine more acidic which inhibits bacterial growth.  It also boosts immunity which helps eradicate the infection. Vitamin A (find beta-carotene, the pre-cursor of vitamin A in carrots, sweet potato, dark leafy green vegetables etc) keeps the mucus membranes healthy so that they act as a barrier, preventing E.coli sticking to the walls of the urinary tract.  

Other tips to prevent and treat UTIs:-

  • Don't use soap or intimate deodorants 'down there'
  • Women should wipe front to back after a bowel movement.
  • Don't wait until you are desparate to 'go' and make sure your bladder is completely empty.
  • Avoid caffeine and sugar which can irritate the lining of the bladder, making it easier for E.coli to stick.

Meatless Monday: Vegan Minestrone

Monday, 13 March 2017


This substantial lunch was made from a few odds and ends of vegetables I had left in the fridge-a great way to avoid wasted food and to add to your 'five a day' (the thinking now is that your five a day should be 'nine a day' but every little helps).  

Vegan Minestrone

Serves 2

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 small carrots, scraped and sliced
1/4 medium swede, peeled and chopped
1 courgette, sliced
200g tomatoes, diced
4 tbsp tomato puree
3-4 chestnut mushrooms
1 tsp pink salt
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 can cannellini beans or borlotti beans, drainned
50g dried macaroni
20g grated vegan cheese

Heat the oil and cook the onion for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the remaining vegetables, herbs and 700ml water.  Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add the macaroni and cook a further 10 minutes or according to makers instructions, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the beans and heat through.  Divide between serving bowls and heat through. Sprinkle with grated vegan cheese.


This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 12 March 2017


At some point in our lives we can all lose confidence in ourselves. In this yoga video and meditation, we focus on the third chakra to help us regain confidence once more.
Blog post and yoga video on my 'sister' blog- http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/rebalance-regaining-confidence-in.html

This week's Yoga for the brain sequence is a moving meditation. Learning the flows will help you to form new neural connections and by making the sequence into a moving meditation, it will help increase grey matter in the part of the brain that governs learning and memory. 
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/yoga-for-brain-part-4-new-neural.html

Yoga anatomy terms can be a little confusing (to me at least!), so over the next few weeks we will be looking at them in manageable blog posts. We start with flexion and extension. Please see my 'sister' blog- http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/yoga-anatomy-bites-flexion-and-extension.html

The organic gardening year begins!!


It's March and the long winter wait is over - at last we can get out into the garden or on the allotment and start another year of growing delicious produce.  This is becoming even more worthwhile given the recent fresh food shortages and crop failures in Spain.  

Over the winter, if you remember, we made a plan of what we would grow this year on the 40plusandalliswell quarter plot.  Please see 'Planning next year's organic gardening'. In addition we will be growing lamb's lettuce and various herbs in the greenhouse.  The dwarf french beans and dwarf broad beans, we will be starting off in the greenhouse in April ready to be planted out on the allotment or in a container later (more on this to come). At the moment the space on the allotment is occupied by winter onions.  These were planted last autumn and should be ready in April. At the moment also we have some cavelo nero, a delicious type of kale, growing but we will be eating this anytime soon.

For now though preparation is key.  If you are growing fruit and vegetables prepare your ground by weeding. The best way and natural way is to get down on your kneeling mat, don a pair of gardening gloves and pull the pesky things out.  Tip - make the task less of a chore do this after it has rained and use a short handled weeding knife.  When you do get growing your produce, fill your space as much as possible with things you want to grow so that the weeds don't get a look in.

Next job is to add compost - the allotment had a delivery of well rotted manure last month which is ideal for organic gardening.  You can also buy organic vegetable compost. Why not try making your own compost for next year.  A fellow allotment owner made us a compost bin with some left over wood (allotment growers are lovely people!).  You can also purchase a compost bin quite cheaply from your local council and make your own compost from vegetable peelings, etc.

Finally you need to dig the compost in, not only to enrich the soil but also to aerate it, to allow water, oxygen and other nutrients to reach the roots of your crops when they are growing.  

You might also want to give your greenhouse a little tidy up too.

Preparation over you can now think about chitting your first early potatoes. Chitting simple means standing the seed potatoes in seed trays, rose end up (the side with 'eyes') in a dark spot until they sprout  These can be planted from Easter up to late May. If you don't get chance to chit your potatoes, I wouldn't worry too much.  I live in a farming area, where potatoes are extensively grown and I see the farmers with huge potato planters attached to their tractors dropping seed potatoes straight into the ground - fascinating to watch.

One more tip - if you have an allotment walk around other peoples' plots and see what they are growing and when.  This will be a good indicator as to what grows well where you are - this is influenced by the weather and by the soil type.

April is probably the busiest time in the 40plusandalliswell organic garden so stay with us for more updates.


Yoga sequence to help with piles

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Today I am wearing red in support of 'International Women's Day', a campaign that highlights gender inequality that still exists today and celebrates the achievement of women.

Last week we looked at the causes of piles, and how we can treat and prevent them.  In the short yoga sequence below we will be practicing poses to help ease constipation, one of the main causes of piles and boost circulation to the area to ease the discomfort of piles. 

You will need two yoga blocks or equivalent.

Apanasana - lie on a yoga mat with your legs outstretched.  Bend your right knee and draw your right knee in close to your chest.  If you have knee issues hold on behind your thighs otherwise you can hold on just below your knee.  This stimulates the ascending colon.  Hold for a few breaths then release.  Repeat second side to stimulate the descending colon.



Squat with twist - stand with your feet turned out, toes turned out.  Bend your knees out to the sides to squat, bringing your fingertips to the mat in front of you.  If your heels do not reach the mat, roll up your mat to support your heels.  Stretch out your left arm so that your fingertips touch the mat.  Breathe out and twist to the right, stretching your right arm up towards the ceiling.  Hold for a few breaths then breathe in to come back to centre.  Repeat second side. To come out of the pose bring your fingertips to the mat in front of you, start to straighten your legs, breathe out take your hands to your hips, breathe in and slowly come up. 



Goddess Squat with twist - stand in the middle of your mat and step your feet wide, turning your toes out towards the corners of the mat.  Breathe in and as you breathe out take your left hand to or towards your right thigh, stretch your right arm back. Breathe in and come back to centre.  Breathe out and repeat to second side. Breathe in and straighten both legs, step your feet together.  




Seated twist- sit on a yoga block with a straight spine. Bend your right knee.  Breathe out and wrap your left arm around your right knee and take your right fingertips to behind your right hip. If this is not comfortable for you, rest your left hand on your right knee. Twist to the right, turning to look over your right shoulder.  If you have neck issues keep your chin over your chest.  Hold for a few breaths then breathe in to come back to centre. Repeat second side. Step your feet together and give your legs a shake.



Supported Shoulder Stand - lie on your mat with your knees bent.  Breathe in and lift your hips, and place two blocks under your hips so that the long edge of the block is parallel to the short edge of the mat, then lower.  Lift your hips once more and draw the top block half way towards you.  Lift your legs so that your toes come over your face - the top block will tip and support your lower back.  Hold for a few breaths then bring your feet back to the mat.  If the pose is not for you - for instance if you have high blood pressure, heart issues, glaucoma, or are menstruating you may prefer to lie with your lower legs resting on a chair. 



Rest lying on your mat.  When you are ready stretch out, then turn onto your right side, drawing your knees towards your chest.  Stay here for a minute before breathing in and coming up slowly.

Please also see 'We don't like to talk about it......piles'

If you have bleeding from the back passage, you must have it checked by a doctor to rule out any more sinister cause before trying to sort out the problem. 


If you are interested in learning more about yoga please see my 'sister' blog - http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/


Namaste,



Meatless Monday: Vegan Chilli Dogs

Monday, 6 March 2017


This American version of the German hot dog, is usually made with a meat chilli.  My vegan version is topped with a bean chilli and cheese-it should delight even your meat eating friends! 

Vegan Chilli dogs
Serves 2 

2 - 4 vegan sausages
2 hot dog buns

For the bean chilli
1 tbsp rapeseed oil or organic olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp pink salt
1/2 tsp chilli flakes or to taste
6 tbsp tomato puree
pinch of stevia
150ml water
1 can mixed beans 

Topping
Grated vegan cheese 

Cook the vegan sausages according to the manufacturer's instructions.  

Heat the oil and fry the onion for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute. Add the salt, tomato puree, chilli, stevia and water. Cook for 5-10 minutes over a low heat adding more water if needed. Stir in the beans and heat through.  

Split the hot dog buns and place a vegan sausage in each.  Top with the bean chilli then the grated vegan cheese. Serve with a side salad if you wish.

Enjoy 





This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 5 March 2017


Emotional imbalance can result in the physical symptoms of disease. 
In this week's yoga video and meditation the intention is to release stuck emotions through yoga postures and meditation.
Blog post and yoga video on my 'sister' blog-
http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/rebalance-balanced-emotions.html

The two hemispheres of the brain differ in that the right hemisphere leans towards more creative tasks whereas the left hemisphere is more analytical. Most tasks need both sides of the brain to be active. In this yoga sequence and breath practice the intention is to integrate right and left hemispheres of the brain.
Please see my 'sister' blog-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/yoga-for-brain-part-3-integrating-right.html

Earlier in the week on my 'sister' blog we practiced some asanas and a breathing technique to integrate right and left hemispheres of the brain. Today, we practice a mudra for integrating right and left hemispheres of the brain- http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/mudra-for-integrating-right-and-left.html

The other food baddie-salt?


The foods we crave tend to be sweet, fatty or salty.  Craving salty foods is a sign of adrenal fatigue - in a stressed world this applies to many of us.  We are also fighting our evolutionary history - in times gone by salt was in short supply so we are programmed to want it.  

Our bodies do need salt to maintain the balance of fluids in the body and for muscle and nerve function.  But too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke and osteoporosis.  The recommended intake is three quarters to one teaspoon a day but many of us have more than this often from processed foods.  

You may have noticed recently that I have switched to using pink salt rather than regular salt in my recipes.  This is not just because pink is my favourite colour!!! Pink salt is lower in sodium (salt is mainly sodium chloride) and contains many (80+) minerals including iron, which gives it the pink colour, iodine, calcium, potassium and magnesium.  Even so, it is still salt and too much is not good for our bodies.

We like salt because it enhances the flavour of our food (many sweet recipes will include a little for this reason) but you can add flavour without salt.  

Below are my top ways to add flavour without sodium:-

Nutritional yeast has a 'cheesy' flavour.  Use it on pizzas, pasta sauces etc as in this mushroom and pepper pizza - http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/meatless-monday-gluten-free-mushroom.html

Lemon  - use to make lemon couscous, tagines etc as in these Moroccan meatless balls with lemon couscous - http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/meatless-mondaymoroccan-meatless-balls.html

Herbs - there are so many herbs you can use - basil, dill, mint, rosemary and many, many more My ratatouille with rosemary focaccia bread is just one recipe made using herbs but search the blog for others-

Spices - chilli, ginger, cumin, turmeric, paprika and many may more.  My vegan black bean burritos use smoked paprika but many of my recipes include spices - check out the blog -http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/meatless-monday-vegan-black-bean.html

You might also like:-





Stay healthy, stay happy,




We don't like to talk about it.......piles

Wednesday, 1 March 2017


We may not like to talk about some conditions but we shouldn't ignore them.  Over the next few weeks I will talk about them (I'm from Lancashire, UK and call a spade, a spade) and hopefully help you. 

Around half of us will get piles at some point in our lives.  For me that was after my youngest daughter was born as so often happens because of the extra weight being carried.  

So what exactly are piles and what causes them? Piles are swollen veins in the anal canal which can bleed when you go to the loo which can be really frightening.  Like me, you may even get frightened of 'going' which only makes the problem worse. If you have bleeding from the back passage, you must have it checked by a doctor to rule out any more sinister cause before trying to sort out the problem.  They can be caused by being overweight or pregnant as in my case - even so they are more common in men.  This may be the case because many men tend to have jobs that involve heavy lifting.  

The other main cause of piles is being constipated.  This may be caused by either having insufficient fibre in your diet or having enough fibre in your diet and not drinking enough to swell the fibre.  Golden rule of wellbeing according to Janet - ''never let the sun go down without 'going''.  Apart from increasing your risk of piles, it means toxins are building up in your bowel that can lead to all sorts of 'nasties'.

So if you have piles how can you get rid of them?  The 'cure' for me was serendipity.  It so happened that at the same time as I had piles, I got what people used to call a 'spring rash' - a rash that can occur as a result of change of diet and temperatures in spring.  Mum told me to take some sulphur tablets (which were like sweets) to 'clear my blood'.  Now we always listen to our mums don't we???!!! Amazingly in only a couple of days my piles were healed.  Now before you rush out to buy some, I don't think they are made any more but don't worry you can still heal your piles naturally.  

Firstly, if you are overweight, you could try to lose a few pounds (I know it's hard, especially since it's still winter).  See my tips to help in other blog posts below.  

Try and avoid lifting if you can or at least always lift safely bending your knees.  

Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and wholegrains for fibre and never strain. Drink plenty.  You might also want to take psyllium capsules or powder to increase your fibre.  Follow the instructions  - they have to be taken with lots of water.   

The other thing you can do is to wash the affected area with either apple cider vinegar or witch hazel.  Soak a cotton pad and apply several times a day if you can.  

Exercise helps too.  Walking 'massages' your bowels easing constipation or you can massage your bowls with your hand.  Circle round up the right side where the ascending colon is located then down the left where the descending colon is located.   Yoga too can help especially squats, twists and poses that work with the downward flow of energy.  Please see 'Apana vayu' - http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/apana-vayu-httpflexiladiesblogspotcouk.html 

Next week I will show you a short yoga sequence to help with constipation.

And if you are still keen to try sulphur, homeopathic sulphur is a gentle remedy for piles. 

Horse chestnut (aesculus hippocastanum) standardized extract is a herb that can help shrink piles but consult your doctor before taking especially if you are on any medication as it can interact with some medicines.

Please also see my other blog posts in this series:-
'What's stopping you reaching your healthy weight-Part 1-Stress'
'What's stopping you reaching your healthy weight-Part 2-Lack of sleep'
'What's stopping you reaching your healthy weight-Part 3 - Hungry/craving...or just thirsty'
'What's stopping you reaching your healthy weight- Part 4- Inflammation'
'What's stopping you reaching your healthy weight- Part 5- Unhealthy gut'

also 

You might want to read the articles below alongside this article.
'The vegan diet and weight gain'
'The vegan diet and weight gain Part 2'
'The vegan diet and weight gain-Part 3'

Stay well, stay happy,