Fracking update

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Today I took part in an anti-fracking demo in Pocklington, East Yorkshire which was part of the National Day of Action.  People brought along banners, there was a stall with information on fracking, petitions to sign and passing cars honked their support.  The event was organised by Frack free East Yorkshire and there was a good turn out in spite of pouring rain.  Please see the events page on their website.
They have also organised a talks in Pocklington and Market Weighton to give locals more information about fracking and I have been distributing leaflets in the village where I live to let people know about these events. 

East Yorkshire will be one of the hardest hit places in the UK along with Lancashire but ultimately we will all be affected.  Drinking water will be contaminated, the air polluted, our countryside destroyed and our wellbeing diminished. Sadly, it is our children and grandchildren who may suffer the worse.

Please help raise awareness of the issues surrounding fracking. Things you can do to help include signing petitions, writing to your MP, joining a local group, tweeting  or posting on Facebook your own anti-fracking messages etc.

Let's stay frack free. Let's stay well.
Janet x

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Winter may not be your favourite season but yoga can help us embrace the 'now'. Our yoga practice this week will help create winter wellbeing allowing you to enjoy the season.
Please see the blog post and video on my 'sister' blog-
This blog post was included in the magazine 'Yoga Vitality Magazine'-

If you struggle to keep both shoulders grounded in a reclined twist, I may have a way to help. 

If you have tight hamstrings, this blog post on myofascial release may help. Please see the link below for my 'sister' blog-

Healthy Start 2 - Choc fruit and nut granola 'clusters' (no added sugar)

If you haven't much time in the morning (5 more minutes in bed or get up and make breakfast? 5 more minutes in bed!!!) these granola 'clusters' may help.  This recipe will make approx 5-6 portions. They will keep up to three weeks in the fridge in an airtight jar or you can freeze some. All you need to do then in the morning is serve it with a dollop of coconut or soya yogurt and some fresh fruit such as raspberries (nice with the chocolate!).  

The granola 'clusters' contain cholesterol lowering oats and can be made gluten free if you use gluten free oats (oats are gluten free but may be contaminated by wheat in the manufacturing process-more on this in a future blog post). There should be no need for sugar in this recipe because the Medjool dates provide sweetness but if you have a very sweet tooth, you could add a tablespoon of stevia. 

The cacao and cacao nibs are sugar free too.  Please see 'Surprising superfood -Chocolate'- for the benefits of cacao. 

The peanut butter (please use one without palm oil), nuts and seeds also provide 'good' oils such as omega 3.

Choc fruit and nut granola 'clusters'
Makes approx 5-6 portions

170g oats
50g chopped walnuts
30g pumpkin seeds
1/2 jar peanut butter (about 140g)
14 Medjool dates, chopped small
2 tbsp cacao 
2 tbsp cacao nibs

Mix all the ingredients and spread over a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Press lightly together. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes. Allow to cool then divide into granola 'clusters'.

Please see also:-
'Healthy Start-Muesli'-

Janet x


Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Ginger is a warming spice and I often add to it to stir-fries, soups, curries and smoothies. 

Ginger is not only a tasty addition to recipes but it also has many health benefits.  

Ginger is good for nausea. When I was pregnant, many years ago, I discovered ginger biscuits relieved the morning sickness. Although I would not recommend this way of having ginger now because of the sugar, I do know that ginger helps morning sickness! If you are pregnant however, I would advise you to consult your doctor before taking any herbal preparation. Ginger is also good for other gastrointestinal irritation because it relaxes the digestive tract, stimulates saliva, gastric juices and bile and helps eliminate gas.  

Ginger's other benefit is that it is anti-inflammatory and so can help with such conditions as arthritis, asthma.  In fact inflammation underlies many health conditions.

A great way to have ginger is as a tea. Peel and chop a 5cm piece of fresh ginger and place in a saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes. Sweeten with stevia if desired.  Make two cups.  You may have 2 cups daily if you wish.

Stay healthy,
Janet x

Meatless Monday: Vegan 'Haggis' Pie

Monday, 25 January 2016

It is Burns' Night tonight and since both my grandparents, on my mother's side, came from Scotland, I couldn't let it pass without making this vegan haggis pie.  The dish was made famous by Robert Burns in his 'Address to the haggis' but it is believed the dish actually originated in England.  My take on this dish is made from dried split chickpeas which you will need to soak for several hours in the fridge but if you haven't got any or time is short, you could use brown lentils instead. 

Serves 3-4

You will need
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp organic olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
125g chestnut mushrooms
100g dried, split chickpeas, soaked several hours in the fridge or brown lentils
50g barley
50g rolled oats
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
250ml stock made with 1 tsp pink salt and hot water
1 tin black eyed beans

1 small swede, peeled and chopped 

Heat the oil and cook the onion for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook over a low heat for 2 minutes. Add the soaked, dried chickpeas or rinsed brown lentils, barley, rolled oats, herbs and stock and simmer for 25 minutes.  Stir in the black eyed beans and place in an ovenproof dish.  

While the chickpeas etc are cooking, place the swede in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and boil until the swede is tender.  Drain and mash to make "bashed neeps''. Use to top the mixture in the ovenproof dish.

Place in an oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes.  You may serve with 'tatties', fried, diced potatoes if you wish.

Happy Burns' Night!
Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Today is 'Blue Monday' supposedly the most depressing day of the year. Make your 'Blue Monday' bright with this yoga sequence on my 'sister' blog-

Yogis have a saying 'energy flows where attention goes'. We are surrounded by distractions in modern life and energy flows out instead of being used for your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. See how yoga can help in this blog post and yoga video on my 'sister' blog- This blog post was included in the magazine 'A pUg pHotograPhiNg yoGa lovEr'- and 'Yoga Vitality Magazine'-

Continuing with the 'unusual props' series, this week's yoga pose is Pigeon Pose with a coffee table. Please see the link to my 'sister' blog-

Healthy start - muesli

In honour of National Breakfast Week, which starts today and celebrates UK breakfast produce including cereals such as oats, this blog post looks at some of the ways you can enjoy muesli.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast kickstarts your metabolism after the overnight 'fast' and makes you less likely to crave sugary snacks mid-morning.  People who skip breakfast are more likely to be irritable, tired and eat more overall than people who eat breakfast.

A good breakfast provides many essential nutrients that you may not be able to compensate for later in the day. 

Homemade muesli is better than commercial ones, many of which contain sugar in some form. Muesli originated in 1900 when Bircher Benner, a Swiss physician developed this nourishing breakfast for his hospital patients.  He believed that the raw fruits were nutritionally better for his patients.  He would soak oats in apple juice overnight then add grated apple in milk, nuts, fruit and yogurt.

There are many variations of muesli.  Basically a muesli is made up of oats and other grains, nuts and/or seeds, fresh or dried fruits, milk /alternatives to milk/yogurt/alternatives to yogurt. To save time in the morning, you can mix your dry ingredients and keep them in a food container ready to mix with milk or alternative milks, add fresh fruit etc.

Here are some suggestions as to what you might include in your muesli:-

  • Grains - oats, oat bran, quinoa flakes, rye flakes, barley flakes, rice flakes etc
  • Fruit and dried fruit - apple slices or grated apple, pear slices, strawberries, raspberries, banana slices, blueberries, dried or fresh figs, cranberries, raisons, sultanas, dates.
  • Nuts and seeds - walnuts, chopped almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, ground flaxseed, toasted coconut shavings
  • Miscellaneous - cacao nibs.
  • Serve with - almond milk, oat milk, rice milk, soya milk (read the label, some of these have added sugar), coconut yogurt, soya yogurt etc

The recipe below is for the muesli that I made this morning. 

Serves 1
You will need
40g oats
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp chopped walnuts
1-2 dried figs
2 tbsp blueberries
toasted coconut shavings
Unsweetened soya milk to serve.

The figs and blueberries provide sweetness but you can use soya milk sweetened with apple juice.  This breakfast provdes slow release carbs to keep you satisfied until lunch, protein, 'good' fats such as omega 3, B vitamins and vitamin C as well as fibre. Oats also help lower cholesterol. 

Enjoy and be healthy.
Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell

Salt pipes and lamps

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

I received a Himalayan salt lamp for Christmas and I love it!

I have used salt pipes daily for years. The idea of this is that the inhaled salt bursts the cells of any bacteria lurking in your lungs. When I first started using the salt pipe I was prone to chest infections because the damaged area of my lung acted as a 'pocket' for bacteria to multiply in. Salt pipes are beneficial also for anyone with asthma, allergies and sinus problems. Please note that inhaling salt is not the same as eating salt which is detrimental to your health.  

Just as with the salt pipes, salt lamps give out salt particles. When you breathe in the salt particles, the cilia (hair-like protrusions in the lungs) are activated to sweep excess mucus, dust etc out of your lungs, keeping your chest clear. Have you noticed that on a trip to the coast, if you lick your lips they taste salty?  Have you also noticed that a walk by the sea makes you feel better?  Salt lamps have a similar effect.  

Salt lamps also purify the air by absorbing droplets of water containing dust, pollen etc. The heat from the bulb in the lamp then causes the water to evaporate, leaving behind the dust etc.

Another benefit of salt lamps is that they produce negative ions that neutralise the detrimental positive ions produced by computers, microwaves and television.  

Why not treat yourself and get your 'seaside treat' every day?

Janet x

Meatless Monday: Squash, orange, mint and rocket tabbouleh

Monday, 18 January 2016

This week's recipe gave me a chance to use some of the rocket that we planted back in the autumn (see 'Organic gardening update - the winter vegetable garden'- and which is now ready to harvest. Bulgar wheat, unlike wheat is gluten free (I will be talking more about gluten in a future post). The recipe below would also make a great packed lunch.

Serves 2
You will need 

300g squash, peeled and roasted
80g bulgar wheat
1 medium carrot, grated
1 orange, peeled and divided into segments
few mint leaves, chopped
40g cashews
6 dates, pitted
handful rocket
50g pomegranate seeds

For the dressing
1 tbsp lemon 
Juice 1/2 orange
1 tsp stevia
1 tbsp sesame oil

Place the bulgar wheat in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 25 minutes until most of the water is absorbed. Drain off any remaining water.
Dice the roasted squash and add to the bulgar wheat. Add the grated carrot, orange segments, chopped mint leaves, cashews and dates.  
Mix the ingredients for the dressing and pour over. Divide between two bowls and top with rocket and pomegranate seeds. Serve cold.

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Wouldn't it be nice to let go of all those worries that plague us each day? See how yoga can help. Blog post and video on my 'sister' blog-
This blog post was included in the magazine 'My Yoga Corner'-

Do you get tension in your shoulders when you practice reclining hand to big toe pose? Read about an unusual way to modify this pose to keep your shoulders happy on my 'sister' blog-

Find out how the bees are going on this winter and how you can help them. Please see the link to my 'sister' blog-

Harvesting the kale

We have been harvesting the kale for a little while now but now that we have had a frost, kale is sweeter.  We have had a long time to wait for it this year for the first frost as it has been the mildest December since records began. The great thing about harvesting the kale is that if you avoid picking the terminal bud, the kale will keep on growing. See also 'Organic gardening update - winter vegetable gardening'-

Spicy Parsnip and Kale Soup
Serves 4
1 tbsp organic olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
500g parsnips, chopped
50 g curly kale
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp pink salt in 5 cups water
2 tbsp coconut cream

Heat the oil and cook the onion for 3 minutes until softening.  Add the garlic and spices and cook for another minute.  Add the remainder of the ingredients except the coconut cream and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for around 30 minutes until the parsnips are soft.  Blitz in a blender and stir in the coconut cream. Serve with crusty bread.

Please see also-'Superfood in season-kale'-

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell

The cup that cleanses - Dandelion tea

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Dandelion has been used for over a thousand years in folk medicine. After the excesses of Christmas when your liver has been working hard, dandelion can help your liver cleanse by stimulating liver detoxifying enzyme activity. For this reason also it may help with acne.  

Other benefits of dandelion tea are that it is a mild diuretic and so can help with bloating. Some studies have shown that it inhibits lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fat and so may even help shift those post-Christmas pounds.  

Dandelion tea increases bile flow helping digestion, lowers blood sugar and can help with urinary tract infections as well as being a source of vitamins A, C and D, minerals zinc, iron, magnesium and potassium and beta-carotene.  

One final thing - drink it early in the day. The French call dandelion, pissenlit (wet the bed) which just about sums it up!!

Dandelion is contraindicated in irritable bowel conditions, pregnancy and if you have ragweed allergy.

Janet x

Meatless Monday: Peruvian inspired one pot

Monday, 11 January 2016

This dish was inspired by Peruvian saltado which is made with strips of marinated beef, served with fried potatoes and rice. This vegan version is made with marinated tofu and is lower fat as the potatoes are cooked without fat. Mint is good for digestion, and is decongestant which is good at this time of year.  

Serves 2
You will need
1 pack firm tofu
3 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp organic olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
400ml chopped tomatoes
pinch stevia
2 medium potatoes, diced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
80 g organic chestnut mushrooms, chopped.
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chilli or to taste
200ml water
handful mint chopped

Marinade the tofu in the tamari for around an hour.  

Heat the oil and cook the onion on a medium heat for 3-5 minutes.  Add the garlic, peppers, mushrooms and spices and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Add the organic chopped tomatoes and water and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the marinated tofu and mint and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Serve.


Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Yoga is not about straining into 'pretzel' poses but is a journey of self-discovery. 
In the first of this new series of 'Lessons from yoga' we find out how to enjoy the journey without becoming too attached to the outcome. 
Please see the blog post and video on my 'sister' blog below- This blog post was included in 'Yoga Vitality Magazine'-

If you struggle to reach for your shin or thigh in Keyhole Stretch or you can reach but you are straining your neck and shoulders to do so, I have the solution for you.
Read more by following the link below to my 'sister' blog-

Ayurveda diet and yoga practice for winter. Read more by following the link below to my 'sister' blog-

Banish cravings with chromium

It is easy to get into the habit of craving sugary and starchy foods such as white bread, potatoes, white rice and pasta.  Starches are easily converted into sugars by the body.  When we eat sugary and starchy foods our blood sugar levels rise rapidly and the pancreas goes into overdrive producing insulin to normalise blood sugar.  Usually what happens then is that blood sugar dips below normal levels.  Low blood sugar makes us crave more sugary or starchy foods and so the cycle continues.

Chromium regulates the action of insulin meaning that blood sugar levels are more stable and this in turn reduces cravings for sugary and starchy foods.  The problem is that there are few dietary sources and levels are often low.  Include wholegrains in your diet, vegetables such as mushrooms and broccoli, tomatoes, sea vegetables and nuts.  If you are not vegan, meat, fish and eggs are also sources. A good multivitamin/mineral supplement will ensure you are not deficient in this essential mineral (check the label)  

Apart from being a source of chromium, wholegrains are also low GI (Glycemic Index).  This is a measure of how quickly a food causes blood sugar to rise.  The fibre in wholegrains slows down their digestion, allowing insulin to keep blood sugar levels stable.

Note diabetics should consult their doctor before taking supplements.

Hope this helps,

Janet x

Starting a journal

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

You may have been lucky enough to have received a notebook journal for Christmas.  If not it is worth treating yourself for the sake of your wellbeing.  

Set aside a few minutes each day to write in your journal. At first the blank pages may seem a little daunting.  Just write down your feelings, your thoughts and how you are feeling emotionally.  Putting pen to paper is a way of acknowledging your feelings,thoughts and emotions.  In this way journaling becomes a therapy, a journey to know yourself at a deeper level.  So often we are too busy to indulge in this process of self-enquiry and process our feelings but if we do not, negative feelings, thoughts and emotions may manifest as physical illness.  Over time you may see patterns that are not serving you in your life and create new ones. Journaling can help you explore the possibilities. In fact, research has shown that journaling can help you deal with stressful events, boosts immunity and improves cognitive function.

Since many of our negative feelings, thoughts or emotions arise from things that have happened in the past use your journal to explore these to reach a stage where you keep the lessons in love and compassion from the past and let everything else go.  

Your hopes and dreams for the future are something else you may want to journal about but don't forget to journal about what you are grateful for right now.

One final thing - keep your journal private.  If you think anyone else will read it, you will be less spontaneous in your writing - it doesn't need to be neat either. 

Think of journaling then as your commitment to self-care in 2016.

Janet x

Meatless Monday: Coconut and split pea curry with coconut quinoa

Monday, 4 January 2016

Coconut and split pea curry with coconut quinoa

After Christmas a curry seems really appealing and this 'creamy' coconut and split pea curry doesn't disappoint. The split peas and cauliflower provide fibre which helps stabilise blood sugar.

Serves 2-3

You will need

1 tbsp refined organic coconut oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
150g dried split peas - no need to soak
400g carton chopped tomatoes
1 pink salt in 500ml water
2cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 medium fresh cauliflower, leaves removed and divided into florets
1/2 can coconut milk

For the Coconut quinoa

You will need

150g quinoa
1/2 can coconut milk
2 cups water

Heat the oil and add the onion.  Cook over a medium heat until softening, around 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and spices and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Add the split peas, and pink salt in water and chopped tomatoes.  Bring to the boil and reduce heat to simmer for 45 minutes, adding the cauliflower florets for the last 10-15 minutes.  Stir in the coconut milk.
To cook the quinoa, rinse the quinoa and place in a saucepan with 2 cups water and the coconut milk.  Bring to the boil and cook over a medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. 
To serve divide the quinoa between bowls and top with the coconut curry.

Janet x 

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell

Happy New Year 2016!

Friday, 1 January 2016

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

A new year brings with it new opportunities. These may be to learn new things or you may want to reflect on where you want to go in the next chapter of your life. It is also an opportunity for you to leave behind the things that have not served you in this year. It may be an opportunity for you to look after yourself better and make this year healthier. 
This yoga practice on may 'sister' blog may help you be open to new opportunities-

'Partying hard? Yogic help for lack of sleep'. Please see this blog post on my 'sister' blog-

Oops-if you had too many last night and now your head is pounding and you feel nauseous, drink plenty (non-alcoholic drinks!-water and herbal teas) and eat light. Here are some yoga poses and a breathing technique that may help.