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.

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'-

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.

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

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

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.
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 
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

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.

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

A weekend treat-Peanut butter 'fudge' blondies

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Makes 10-12
200g organic crunchy peanut butter (100% peanut)
100g coconut oil
15g stevia
200g rice flour
2 level tsp baking powder
2 tsp lacuma
2 medium eggs or equivalent
100ml unsweetened organic soya milk

Cream the oil and stevia (tip - if coconut oil is solid warm on a low heat in a saucepan).  
Add the flour, baking powder, lacuma and eggs and mix. 
 Add milk to give a dropping consistency and transfer to a well greased tin. 
Bake for 35-40 minutes at 200 degrees.  
When cool cut into slices.  
For a super indulgent dessert serve with banana and peanut butter ice cream.  Simply blend 2 chopped frozen bananas with 1 tablespoon peanut butter in a blender.
Peanut butter is packed with nutrients providing protein, healthy fats, zinc, vitamin Bs and fibre.  Avoid peanut butters with palm oil which is not good for you, being high in saturated fats and not good for the environment as areas of rainforest are cleared in order to grow palm oil trees.

Enjoy! Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

Oatmeal, yogurt and honey face mask

Friday, 14 November 2014

In autumn cool, windy conditions can leave your skin feeling dry.  Your skin may also be suffering from the after effects of the summer sunshine.  Time for some skin pampering!  Try this moisturising face mask. The oatmeal contains amino acids which help repair damaged skin. Oatmeal also acts as an exfoliant and helps your skin retain moisture.  The natural organic yogurt will gently exfoliate and hydrate your skin.  The honey is moisturising and can help with wrinkles and scars.  It is also antibacterial and so can help with acne. Its antioxidant properties help keep your skin young. 

Try this face mask recipe

1 tbsp oats
1 tbsp organic natural yogurt
1 tsp honey
Mix the ingredients and apply to your face after cleansing avoiding your eyes and lips.  Leave for 10-15 minutes then rinse off with warm water.  Splash your face with warm water.
For all over soft skin place a cupful of oats in a muslin bag.  Tie securely and add to your bath.  

Enjoy radiant soft skin this autumn.
Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

Love wellness - dry body brushing

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

If you have never tried dry body brushing now is a good time as it will give you a pre-Christmas detox.  I find dry body brushing is best done in the morning ideally before a shower.  A long  handled brush with natural bristles is best so that you can reach your back. Start with the feet using firm strokes on the top and sole of the foot.  Continue up the legs, always brushing towards your heart.  Next, the arms, not forgetting the armpits where the lymph nodes are (be more gentle here).  Move on to your back.  Be gentle with your chest and abdomen.  When dry brushing your tummy use circular strokes up the right side (ascending colon) and down the left (descending colon).  Avoid brushing your face. Dry body brushing only takes a few minutes but well worth it.  Here are some of the benefits:-

  • Dry body brushing is a form of self-massage which helps the circulation of blood and lymph (see  This will leave your skin glowing.  Improved lymph flow rids the body of toxins and so helps improve cellulite which is associated with build up of toxins. The removal of toxins also reduces stress in your body.
  • Dry body brushing energizes.  Brushing stimulates the meridians, the 'energy channels' of the body, encouraging the flow of chi.
  • Dry body brushing exfoliates the skin.  
  • By stimulating the colon, dry body brushing improves digestion

Article Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

Meatless Monday:Mock Cock-a- leekie soup

Monday, 10 November 2014

Serves 2
1 leek, sliced
1 large carrot, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
Stock made 2 tsp organic reduced salt boullion in 400ml hot water
2 bay leaves
½ tsp thyme
30g barley 
1 can chickpeas

Blend vegetables with stock until vegetables are reduced to small pieces.  Transfer to a pan and add barley, bay leaves and thyme.  
Bring to the boil and simmer for 20minutes until barley is cooked.
Stir in chickpeas and heat through.
Serve with crusty bread.

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

'Caramel' apple cake

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Serves 6
For the base
2-3 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 heaped tsp lacuma 
2 tsp coconut oil

For the sponge
100g coconut oil
2 eggs
20g stevia
2 tsp baking powder
200g rice flour
2 tsp lacuma
60ml soya milk sweetened with apple juice

Melt the coconut oil in a pan and add the apples and lacuma.  Fry the apples until beginning to soften and then transfer to a 7inch cake tin.  

Cream the coconut oil and the stevia.  Add the eggs, lacuma, baking powder and rice flour and mix thoroughly.  Add soya milk to form a dropping consistency and layer over the apples.  Bake at 200 degrees for 30 minutes approximately.  Turn out to cool.
Did you know, lacuma, a fruit from South America was once known as the ‘gold of the Incas’? It is rich in antioxidants which helps with anti-aging and boosts immunity but has a delicious, sweet ‘caramel’ taste.   

Enjoy! Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

In the news - saturated fat

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Some doctors now believe saturated fat is not the villain it has been made out to be in the past.  They are claiming that there is some evidence that saturated fat helps with weight control and is even good for health.  The saturated fat in dairy produce is even associated with a lower risk of heart disease. This may be because dairy foods contain the fat-soluble vitamin D, which is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.  
This news turned everything I thought I knew about nutrition on its head.  But let's think about this for a minute.  When saturated fat was pronounced 'bad' it was replaced by 'healthy' alternatives such as margarines.  Ironically this led to an increase in heart disease. Now we know that these 'good' margarines contained transfats which are the real villains of the piece that cause high cholesterol levels. Transfats are found also in biscuits, cakes, ice cream and ready meals etc.  Look out for 'hydrogenated vegetable oil' on food labels. Happily now margarines are available that do not contain 'hydrogenated vegetable oil'. 
Fat makes food palatable so when we removed saturated fat from our diets we often replaced it with refined carbs which were not good for our cardiovascular health.  
Is this news a licence to eat as much dairy (and red meat if you are not a vegetarian) as you like.  A word of caution. Fats are high calorie. Fat in any form should constitute around 25-35% of your daily calories.  Any more could lead to weight gain and if these leads to obesity that comes with a whole host of health problems. 

Article Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

Love your back

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

On Flexiladies Yoga this week we are thinking about the health of our spines.  There is a yoga video on how to maintain the flexibility of the spine and an accompanying article and video  on how yoga can help maintain the health of the spine  In the coming weeks there will be two more videos on this topic.  Below are some more ways you can keep your back healthy.  

  • Exercise - not only does exercise strengthen the muscles that support the spine but also realeases endorphins which are the 'feel good' hormones which reduce any discomfort in the back.  Yoga is ideal (see above)
  • Be a healthy weight - being overweight puts stain on all the joints including the vertebrae of the back.  
  • Take steps to reduce stress with yoga, meditation, Tai Chi or relaxation techniques - stress creates tension in the muscles around the spine which could lead to poor alignment in the spine.
  • Don't smoke - this reduces circulation to the spine. 
  • Change your mattress at least every 10 years and do your reseach so that you choose the right mattress for you.  Turn your mattress regularly and if you sleep on your back consider sleeping with a pillow/rolled up towel under your knees which takes the strain off your back.  
  • Both high heels and ballet pumps are not good news for your back so limit use (sorry ladies!)
  • If you carry a shoulder bag/man bag distribute the weight by having the strap on the  
  • When lifting heavy objects bend your knees.
  • Take steps to prevent osteoporosis (see my article 'Love your bones' )

Be healthy, be happy
Janet x

Article Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

Meatless Monday:Vegan bangers with fiery mash-Bonfire Night Special

Monday, 3 November 2014

Makes 10-12

For the sausage 
1 carton organic cannellini beans
100g mushrooms
200g breadcrumbs
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 small leek
1/2 red pepper
2 tsp boullion
Olive oil spray

For the mash
2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
pinch cinnamon
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)
Place all the ingredients for the sausage in a blender and blend until smooth.  
Add the beans to the blender and short blend in order to leave beans rough chopped.  
Shape into sausage shapes and place on a greased baking tray.  
Spray with olive oil spray and place in an oven at 200 degrees for 20-30minutes.
Meanwhile place the potatoes in a saucepan of water, bring to boil and boil until soft (about 15 minutes).  
Drain, add the cinnamon and add the chilli. Serve the sausages with the mash.

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell