The vegan diet and weight gain part 3

Saturday, 28 February 2015

A good vegan diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, and wholegrains should supply plently of fibre. Even so some new vegans may not be getting enough fibre if their diet is based on processed vegan meats and cheese, white bread, pasta etc.  The average recommended intake for adults is 18g.
There are two types of fibre: soluble fibre and insoluble fibre.  Soluble fibre forms a gel with water in the stomach and slows down digestion.  Soluble fibre can also prevent cholesterol in your diet from being absorbed, helping to prevent high cholesterol.   Foods high in soluble fibre include oats, quinoa, peas, beans, nuts, flaxseed, lentils and apple.  Insoluble fibre however is equally important in your diet.  It provides 'roughage' to prevent constipation and is found in wholegrains and vegetables.
So how does fibre help maintain a healthy weight?  High fibre foods take longer to chew so that the message that you have eaten enough has time to reach your brain.   High fibre foods also tend to be lower calorie options so that you can feel satisfied without eating more calories than you need.  
Further soluble fibre forms a gel with water which also helps you feel full.  Also because this gel slows digestion blood sugar does not  'spike'  then 'dip' which is another hunger signal.  
Foods high in  insoluble fibre prevent constipation and bloating which can be demotivating especially if you are trying to lose weight.  One of the ways in which fibre does this, is to draw water into the gut and this helps move the contents of the gut along.  It is important therefore on a high fibre diet to drink plenty.  Here are some ways to increase the fibre content of your diet:-  

  • Include home made vegetable, bean or lentil soups in your diet and make casseroles using these ingredients
  • Include grated vegetables in pasta sauces
  • Replace fruit juices with whole fruits (lower GI too) and snack on fruit
  • Have a side salad with your main meal as well as vegetables
  • Eat wholegrain pasta, wholemeal bread, brown rice, wholegrain cereals,quinoa, etc
  • Include nuts and seeds in your diet, maybe snack on almonds, sprinkle pumpkin seeds on salads or flaxseed on your cereal.
You might want to read the articles below alongside this article.
The vegan diet and weight gain Part 2-

Happy eating
Janet x

Creative Visualisation

Friday, 27 February 2015

On the yoga blog we have been looking at sankalpa, intention This is a way of 'planting' an idea into your subconscious, for example 'I am healthy'.  The subconscious will then endeavour to manifest this idea so that the idea becomes reality.  

An extension of this is creative visualisation.  In your mind you create what you want in your life, then offer it up to the universe to fulfill.  This involves clearing out negativity from your body which prevents you from achieving your desires. As an example perhaps you would like a better job, but believe that you do not 'deserve' success, or you may believe your friends would be envious, so you may lose their friendship.  All these ideas need to be released in order for you to focus on the positive and achieve your desire.Think about what life would be like if you had your better job now.  How would things be different. Think about the changes the better job has brought in as much detail as you can.

Your desire may be for better relationships, success in your career, a better financial situation, improved health or appearance, or even a more peaceful world.  It is a good idea to write down your desires.  Write it in the present tense as if it had already happened.  Then write down how this would change things for you again using the present tense in as much detail as you can.  Finally offer your desire up to the universe to fulfill.  Keep your written desire handy and read it often or use it as part of your meditation.  

So how does creative visualisation work? When you create your heart's desire in your mind you fool your subconscious into helping you to achieve it.  

I would love to hear from you, let me know how you go on.

May you find true happiness
Janet x

Meatless Monday:Low carb vegan 'lasagne'

Monday, 23 February 2015

Serves 2-3


2 medium courgette or 1 large aubergine , thinly sliced with mandolin
For the soya mince filling
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 red pepper, diced
100g dried organic soya mince
400g carton chopped organic tomatoes
2 tsp organic, reduced salt boullion
pinch stevia

For the 'cheese' sauce

500g cauliflower
12 cashew nuts
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Olive oil spray

Place the cauliflower and cashews in a saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to the boil and reduce to simmer until the cauliflower is soft.  Drain well and blend with nutritional yeast.
Meanwhile heat the oil and fry the onion for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and pepper and continue for another minute until onion and pepper are soft.  Add the soya mince, chopped tomatoes, stevia and boullion and simmer for a few minutes.
To assemble line the bottom of a dish with courgette or aubergine slices. Spread 1/3 of the soya mince mixture over the courgette/aubergine slices then 1/3 of the 'cheese' sauce.  Continue layering in this way, finishing with a courgette/aubergine layer.  Spray with olive oil.
Place in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 30 minutes.  Serve with a green salad if you like.

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell    

The vegan diet and weight gain part 2

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Last week we talked about how vegans could maintain a healthy weight by controlling their carbs, please see this link for the article It is also important to ensure your diet has enough protein. Protein can help maintain a healthy weight in a number of ways. Firstly it takes more calories for your body to digest protein than carbs. Further, because they take longer to break down, proteins stay in your stomach longer and so are more satisfying than carbs. Having enough protein also means that you are more likely to burn fat than break down muscle.
So how do you know if you are getting enough protein? As a rough guide, an adult needs 0.9g of protein for every kilogram of their body weight each day (or 0.41g for every pound of their body weight) which may not be as much as you thought. Below is a list of the protein content of some foods you may eat.

Soy milk-4.6g per 100ml
Tofu-8g per 100g
Chickpeas-19g per 100g
Cannellini beans-6g per 100g
Quinoa -14g per 100g
Lentils- 9g per 100g
Brown rice- 2.6g per 100g
Almonds-21g per 100g
Soy beans -36g per 100g
Pumpkin Seeds- 24g per 100g
Wholemeal bread-5g per 2 slices

Vegans should be aware that unlike meat and fish, there are very few plant based foods that contain the complete complement of amino acids.The exceptions to this are quinoa, buckwheat, and tofu.  Vegans should practice combining foods with different amino acids to ensure they are getting all 21amino acids in their diet.  For instance grains are low in lysine, but beans are high in lyseine. Beans are low in tryptophan, methionine and cysteine but grains are high in these. A lunch of beans on toast therefore would provide a complete complement of proteins.  
Just one cautionary word. Excess protein is not better than enough as excess protein will be broken down by your body into carbs and excess carbs will be stored as fat.
Next week we will look at the importance of fibre to weight maintenance.

Eat well, be happy 
Janet x 

Article Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell  

Forgive for a longer life

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

On the yoga blog, Flexiladies yoga, I have been looking at how yoga can help you let go of the past.  Central to the process of letting go of things from the past that no longer serve you, is forgiving yourself and others.  This can be a really difficult thing to do and indeed some of the atrocities committed in this world do seem unforgivable. 

Forgiving does not mean that you condone the other person’s behaviour, nor does mean you will forget but what it does mean is that you will try and see the other person’s point of view, that you will look for something positive in the situation and you will remember the times that you have been forgiven.  The thing is, if you do not forgive, the people concerned will probably not even be aware of it and you will be putting yourself in a self-imposed ‘prison’ of hurt, anger and resentment.  Forgiveness requires you to be generous and compassionate. 

In terms of your health, the inability to forgive is AGING.  Studies show that people who forgive live longer.  They are less stressed which in turn means that their immune systems are healthy.  This means that they are at less risk of cancer (a healthy immune system deals with any ‘rogue’ cells) and the inflammatory response is kept in check.  Inflammation underlies many ‘degenerative’ diseases such as cardiovascular disease, some types of arthritis, and type 2 diabetes.  Reduced stress also means the risk of high blood pressure is reduced, along with other stress related illnesses such of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, migraine, and even back pain.  The incidence of anxiety and depression is also reduced so that in other words forgiving benefits your physical, mental and emotional health.

For more help on forgiveness and letting go of the past please see the video and article on Flexiladiesyoga

Open your heart, forgive and stay young.

Janet x

Article Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell  

It's Pancake Day!!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

It's Pancake Day!!

It’s Pancake Day and why should vegans miss out.  Pancake Day is the day before Lent begins.  Lent is traditionally a time of abstinence and Pancake Day was a way of using up any eggs and milk.  These easy to make vegan pancakes are baked in the oven and use banana for an egg substitute.  

Gluten free, vegan, no added sugar


For 4 pancakes you will need
100g rice flour 
200ml organic soya milk sweetened with apple juice
1 medium banana
fruit (I used raspberries and peaches) and stevia to top

Place all the ingredients except the fruits and stevia for the topping in a blender and blend until smooth.  Place in the fridge for half an hour and then pour into four baking tins.  Place in the oven at 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes until firm and shrinking away from the sides of the tin.  Place on a plate and top with the fruit and stevia or topping of your choice.

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell    

Meatless Monday: Chinese New Year Special

Monday, 16 February 2015

This year February 19th is Chinese New Year and this year it is the year of the sheep (my birth year). People born in this year are gentle, compassionate and willing to take good care of others although they can be worriers.  This should be a calmer year before the year of the monkey, which is next year.

Honey, soy and ginger stir-fry
Serves 2


The vegetables below are suggestions.  Feel free to add others of your choice such as sliced red cabbage, carrot sticks, sliced mushrooms or beansprouts.
2 tbsp organic olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 red, yellow or orange pepper, sliced 
1/8th spring cabbage, finely chopped
1/4 Mooli, chopped into sticks
4 tbsp sweetcorn kernals, soya beans or peas
1 can organic chickpeas (protein boost optional)
3cm piece ginger
3 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp honey
A handful of cashew nuts

Heat the oil in a wok and stir fry the onion.  Add the cabbage, ginger and garlic and continue to stir fry for 2 minutes.  Add the other vegetables and stir fry a further minute.  Stir in the honey and soy and heat through. Serve with noodles, rice or if you are cutting down on carbs, cauliflower rice. (see ) Simply part defrost a bag of cauliflower, finely chop in a blender, boil for a few minutes, drain and serve.

Wishing you a Happy Chinese New Year.
Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell    

The vegan diet and weight gain

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The good news is that veganism is becoming more mainstream.  Even here in the north of England it is possible to find vegan restaurants and cook schools (although we haven’t quite abandoned fish and chips yet!).  Veganism has a lot going for it not only in terms of your health and also for the health of the planet.  New vegans however may find to their horror that they gain weight. This may be due in part to eating too many carbs.   Now, I have nothing against carbs: they are an important part of the vegan diet but this doesn’t mean that you need to eat them for every meal.  Also try to make sure the carbs you do eat are wholegrains such as quinoa, oats, brown rice and whole wheat pasta, wholemeal bread or low GI fruits and vegetables. These keep blood sugar levels stable which is important when you are trying to lose weight or avoid weight gain. Carbs should make up between 45 and 65 per cent of your diet.  For a women with an average calorie requirement 2000 calories, this means between 900 and 1,300 calories worth but if you need to lose weight, you should adjust this according to your diet calorie allowance. Below are a few suggestions to help you cut carbs and look out for recipes in the coming weeks, incorporating these ideas.
  • Use alternatives to sugar (you may have noticed this blog’s recipes are all sugar free).  Sugar can cause candida overgrowth which can result in weight gain.
  • Try a soya milk, flaxseed and berry smoothie for breakfast instead of cereal or maybe soya yogurt with berries and a sprinkling of oat bran.
  • Top soya mince ‘cottage’ pies with cauliflower mash instead of potato.  Another idea would be to use carrot and swede mash as a topping.
  • Use a spiralizer to make pasta from vegetables such as courgettes.
  • Try cauliflower ‘rice’ in place of your usual rice.
  • Try roasted vegetables instead of chips- include red onion, aubergine, peppers, courgettes, and sprinkle with oil and herbs such as rosemary and thyme.  Delicious!
  • Shiratake noodles are zero carbs and make a great accompaniment to Japanese and Chinese dishes.
  • Use sliced aubergine when making a lasagne with soya mince.

Next week I will be talking about how protein can help you maintain a healthy weight and where vegans can get protein from.

Stay healthy, stay happy

Janet x

Article Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell  

Share the love- it’s good for you!

Friday, 13 February 2015

It’s Valentine’s Day soon which is associated with romantic love. Everyone needs love in their lives but it doesn’t have to be romantic love: it could be love for a family member, a friend or even a pet. So what is so special about ‘this thing called love.’  As well as being good for your wellbeing, it's good for your health. 

When we love someone, levels of dopamine and serontin in the brain increase.  These neurotransmitters lift our mood so that we are less likely to suffer from depression. 

Having love in our lives also means that we are less likely to be stressed.  Reduced stress has many health benefits for our blood pressure, heart health and hormone health 
When stress is reduced this gives our immune system a boost, so that we are less likely to suffer from colds etc.  A healthy immune system also means that the inflammatory response in the body is more likely to be controlled.  Inflammation in the body is caused when the immune system goes into ‘overdrive’. The inflammatory response in fact underlies many diseases (some would say all) including heart disease, diabetes, migraines, some types of arthritis and many more.

Another hormone, oxytocin also increases when we are in love.  This hormone helps us feel connected to others, which is important for our self-esteem and psychological stability.

Finally, when we love someone we are more likely to take good care of ourselves, which has to be good for our health. 

Wishing you abundant love in your life

Janet x

You might also want to see my article and video on Flexiladies Yoga, ‘How yoga helps cultivate abundance.’

Meatless Monday:Mushroom Ravioli with Sundried Tomato and Basil Sauce

Monday, 9 February 2015

Sharing a pasta dish can be very romantic - that's amore! Show your loved one how much you care by taking the time to prepare this ravioli recipe from scratch.

Vegan Recipe
Serves two


For the ravioli dough 
200g flour (I used spelt for a 'whole wheat' taste)
2 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
Cold water

For the filling 
120g chestnut mushrooms
1/2 large onion
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp oregano

For the sauce 
1/2 large onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled
40g sundried tomatoes, drained of oil
Carton organic chopped tomatoes
pinch stevia
1 tsp dried basil

Place the flour in a bowl and make a 'well' in the centre.  Add the oil and some cold water. Mix with your hands, continuing to add a little cold water at a time until the mixture forms a dough.  
Knead the dough for 5-10minutes then cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least  half an hour. 
Meanwhile make the filling and sauce.  Finely chop the onion, garlic and mushrooms in a blender.
Fry the onion, garlic and mushroom mixture in oil.  Add the nutritional yeast and dried oegano and continue to fry over a low heat.  The mixture should be quite dry.
To make the sauce finely chop the onion, garlic and sundried tomatoes in a blender. Transfer to a saucepan and add the chopped tomatoes, the stevia and dried basil.  Bring to the boil then simmer for 5-10minutes.
Cut the dough into pieces and roll out thinly.  
Make circles in the dough using an upturned cup (or a cutter if you have one) and place a little of the filling on each circle.  Fold in two and use a fork to seal the edges.  
Place in a pan of boiling, salted water and reduce the heat to a simmer.  The ravioli are cooked when they float to the top of the water.

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell    

Winter skin care- Face mask

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Here in our Yorkshire village, it has really felt like winter this week, with our first snow for two years. This may be wonderful (or not!) depending on your viewpoint but the bitter cold weather and biting winds can play havoc with your skin. Your skin can become very dry unless you take steps to counteract the dryness. 

You could try this moisturising face mask below to help beat dry winter skin. 

Mash the flesh of an avocado well with a tablespoon of almond oil.  Add a few drops of ready diluted Rose otto essential oil and apply to your face and neck. Leave for 10 minutes before rinsing off leaving your skin soft and radiant. 

Rose otto helps deeply moisturise your skin and it smells wonderful too. 

Stay young and radiant 
Janet x 

Article Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell    

New beginnings - improving self-esteem and relationships

Thursday, 5 February 2015

On the yoga blog we are looking at how yoga can help improve self-esteem and create better relationships. You can read that article by following this link

Low self-esteem can be caused by poor relationships but it is also hard to have a loving relationship if you believe you are not worthy of love. If you continue to have low self-esteem, it can also be damaging to your health so it is important to take steps to improve self-esteem.  For instance, if we believe we are not 'worthy' we may start to neglect ourselves, eating badly or even turning to alcohol etc.  Low self-esteem can even lead to eating disorders.  This downward spiral will eventually set up inflammation in your body which affects many aspects of our health.  For instance it lowers immunity, and even underlies such diseases as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Here are some measures you can take to improve your self-esteem.  

  • Exercise helps boost self-esteem by releasing 'feel good' hormones.
  • Eat well to help raise your serontin levels which will improve mood.  Include omega 3s in your diet from hemp oil, flaxseeds and walnuts or if you are not vegan, oily fish such as wild salmon.  Eat fresh fruit and vegetables, beans, lentils, chickpeas, wholegrains including quinoa, bulgar wheat, etc, and tofu.  If you are not vegan include some fish and organic poultry with only occasional organic red meat. Avoid refined foods, processed foods, sugar, transfats, additives and alcohol. Vegans may need to take a vitamin B12 supplement and an iron supplement.  Ensure you have an adequate supply of B vitamins to regulate mood. Stabalize your blood sugar by having healthy snacks between meals.  Eat mindfully without distractions from computers, televisions etc
  • Do something you enjoy and are good at, for example a hobby or a craft as this will boost your confidence.  
  • Accept what you cannot change
  • Make sure you have enough sleep
  • Try an assertiveness course.  Being assertive allows you to express your desires in a clear, reasonable way without anxiety or aggression to others.
  • Replace each negative thought with a positive one.  Thoughts are just thoughts and may not reflect reality.   Keep a gratitude diary and write down three things each evening that you are grateful for that day.  This will help you focus on the positive.
Stay healthy, stay happy
Janet x

Article Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell    

Meatless Monday: Mushroom Risotto

Monday, 2 February 2015

Vegan Recipe

This risotto has all the creaminess of risotto without the addition of dairy products.  The nutritional yeast adds the ‘cheese’ flavour which in non-vegan risotto comes from parmesan cheese. Did you know shiitake mushrooms are a symbol of longevity in Asia?  Apart from enhancing immunity, shiitake mushrooms prevent plaque in arteries and are a good source of B vitamins and iron.  They have a 'meaty' texture and a delicious almost ‘smoky’ flavour.

Serves 2

1 ½ tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
125g Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
150g Arborio rice
Stock made with 2 tsp organic, reduced salt boullion in 300ml water
2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Fry the onion in the olive oil for 1-2 minutes.  Add the garlic and fry for a further minute.  Add the mushrooms and fry for a further minute.  Add the rice and stir into the mushroom, garlic and onion mixture.  Add the stock slowly and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed.  Stir in the nutritional yeast.


Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell    

What's happening on Flexiadiesyoga

Sunday, 1 February 2015

As part of the 'New beginnings' series there is a YouTube video and an article to illustrate how yoga can help cleanse your mind. Please see
Ayurveda is yoga's 'sister' science. This article provides an introduction to Ayurveda
As part of the 'New beginnings' series, also there is a YouTube video and an article to illustrate how yoga can help bring about emotional balance. Please see
Continuing the 'New beginnings' series there is a YouTube video and an article to show how yoga can help you open up to new possibilities
The gunas determine our nature. Please read this article which talks about the three gunas through our yoga and our food