Meatless Monday : Falafel burgers with mango salsa

Monday, 29 August 2016

It's shaping up to be a great Bank Holiday Monday here in Yorkshire -  the sun is shining after the early morning mist.  Time to relax and have fun.

These falafel burgers are just the ticket served in pitta breads with some mango salsa - crunchy outside, soft inside and quick to make too. Falafel originated in the Egypt but is eaten all over the Middle East. Falafel can be made with fava (broad) beans or chickpeas or a mixture of both.   We still have some broad beans from the allotment which we froze so I am using some of these but you can use just chickpeas if you haven't any to hand.

Falafel burgers with mango salsa

Makes 4 burgers
You will need
1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
400g can chickpeas, drained and dried on kitchen paper
100g fava (broad) beans 
1 rounded tbsp chickpea (gram) flour
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
Olive oil spray

For the salsa
100g frozen mango defrosted
1 green chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
1/4 red pepper, diced (optional)
1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
fresh coriander, chopped
Pitta bread to serve

Place the onion, chickpeas, fava beans if using, cumin and coriander in a high speed blender and combine - the mixture can be smooth or you can make it chunky if you prefer.
Stir in the chickpea flour and turn out onto a chopping board.  Press the mixture together and divide into 4.  Shape each portion into a burger.  

Spray a baking tray with olive oil spray and place the burgers on the tray.  Spray the burgers with olive oil spray then place in an oven at 200 degrees, turning once halfway through the cooking time.  

Recipe © 2016 40plusandalliswell

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This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 28 August 2016

In this NEW SERIES, 'Yoga for real life', we look at how yoga can fit in with your daily routine. We start with a morning practice to energise us for the day.
Blog post and yoga video on my 'sister' blog-

Further to our yoga practice and meditation on Tuesday, Ayurveda, yoga's sister science can offer a great deal of advice about our morning routine. 
Read about Ayurveda morning routine ideas on my 'sister' blog-

The school summer holidays are almost over (boo hoo!). Never mind, you can still have lots of fun with this Summer Fun yoga sequence. It includes all your favourite holiday activities such as a trip to the beach.

Supplements for Vegans - Iron and Vitamin B12

Iron deficiency can cause anaemia with such symptoms as fatigue, dizziness and pale skin.

Iron is important in the diet because it is a major part of haemoglobin in red blood cells which carries oxygen around the blood.  The oxygen is used by your cells to produce energy which is why iron deficiency can cause fatigue. 

There are two types of iron in the diet.  The most easily absorbed, haem iron is found in animal sources. Vegans can get iron from beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and grains and leafy green vegetables but this is non-haem iron which is not so easily absorbed.  Fortunately vegan diets also tend to be rich in vitamin C which helps the absorption of iron and in fact for this reason many vegans are not iron deficient.  

If however you do suspect you are iron deficient please see your doctor to rule out other causes such as underactive thyoid.  A simple blood test should be all that is needed and if you do need a supplement stick to the recommended dose.  Men need around 9mg daily, women 15mg.

B12 deficiency can also cause anaemia. This can be a problem for vegans because the only vegan sources of vitamin B12 are fortified foods or supplements.  B12 deficiency causes your body to produce abnormally large red blood cells which cannot function properly then to carry oxygen round the body.  You need around 3 micrograms B12 daily.  It is a water soluble vitamin so that your body cannot store it so make sure you are getting your daily dose. 

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Summer ices 2 - apple crumble nice cream - dairy free and no added sugar

Thursday, 25 August 2016

I love the idea of making a 'nice' cream out of our favourite desserts.  I also love different textures so this week I have been making apple crumble 'nice' cream with the smoothness of ice cream, the softness of cooked apples and a crunchy, nutty, oaty crumble.  The sweetness comes from the ripe bananas, apple and sultanas, so no need to add any other sweetness.   It is also low fat.

Why not try it? It would be a great dessert for the bank holiday.

Apple crumble 'nice' cream
Serves 2 generously 

3 large ripe bananas, peeled, chopped and frozen 
For the 'apple crumble'
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
pinch cinnamon
60g oats
20g flaked almonds
20g sultanas
olive oil spray

Place the chopped apple in a saucepan with a tablespoon water and a pinch cinnamon. Cook over a medium heat until softened. Stir in the oats, flaked almonds and sultanas. Spray a baking tray with olive oil spray and tranfer the apple and oat mixture to a baking tray.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes then allow to cool. 
Whiz the frozen bananas up in a high speed blender until smooth.  Stir in the apple and oat mixture reserving some for the topping and divide between dishes.  Top with the remaining apple and oat mixture.

Recipe © 2016 40plusandalliswell

You may also like my recipe for 'Summer 'nice' cream lollies'-

Meatless Monday : Mexican cauliflower pizza

Monday, 22 August 2016

We love cauliflower - it makes a great low carb topping for vegan 'cottage' pies or it can be 'riced' as a low carb side dish.  In this recipe cauliflower is used to make a pizza base.  I have made a Mexican topping but feel free to use your favourite pizza topping.

Mexican cauliflower pizza
Serves 2 

You will need

For the cauliflower pizza base
1 medium cauliflower
1 chia seed egg (1 tbsp chia seeds and 3 tbsp water)
1 tbsp spelt or rye flour

For the topping
1 tbsp olive oil 
1/2 small red onion, very finely chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 fresh tomatoes, chopped
4 tbsp tomato puree
4 tbsp frozen sweetcorn
1/2 tsp chilli
pinch stevia
1/2 tsp salt 
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 can black beans 
avocado slices 
Lime segments to serve
Fresh coriander 

Pizza base

Divide the cauliflower into florets and place in a high speed blender with a little water.  Whiz up to 'rice'.  Place in a saucepan and cook on a medium heat for a few minutes. Turn into a fine sieve and squeeze all the water out using the back of a spoon (this is really important). Transfer to a bowl and add the chia seed 'egg' and flour.  Mix thoroughly then transfer to a lined baking sheet and spread into a circular shape.  Bake for 20 minutes.  

Meanwhile make the topping.  Heat the oil and cook the onion and garlic until beginning to soften. Add the chopped tomatoes with the tomato puree, sweetcorn, chilli, salt, stevia and a little water. Cook over a low heat for 5-10 minutes.  Stir in the nutritional yeast and black beans.  
Spread the topping over the pizza and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.  
Top with avocado slices and squeeze lime juice over avocado. Garnish with fresh coriander.

Recipe © 2016 40plusandalliswell

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 21 August 2016

School holiday kid's yoga special! Three yoga practices for you to enjoy with your children.
Have fun!
Please see my 'sister' blog-

In the final of our series 'Yoga to help heal after a tough time' our practice focuses on moving out of the darkness of the tough time and into the light.
Blog post and yoga video on my 'sister' blog-

Stretching and strengthening your wrists is important to avoid injury on and off the mat. 
In this blog post we look at some of the ways to stretch and strengthen the wrist and ways to modify weight bearing yoga poses until your wrists become stronger. 
Please see my 'sister' blog - 

Kids will love this superhero yoga sequence with all the benefits of yoga but fun too!
Please see my 'sister' blog-

How can vegans eat to beat inflammation?

If you are a follower of this blog (thank you!), you will have read several times that I believe inflammation underlies many degenerative diseases including arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and cancer as well as accelerating aging.

Inflammation serves a useful purpose in your body in that it is there to defend your body against invading micro-organisms but sometimes the inflammatory response can be triggered inappropriately and this is when damage occurs.

What you eat can greatly influence the inflammatory response.  For instance refined sugars and carbs can trigger the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines because of their effect on blood sugar and the release of insulin.  So ditch the sugar along with alcohol and sweeteners such as aspartame.  Include slow release carbs such as wholegrain bread, brown rice, wholemeal pasta etc.

The problem in the western diet is that we tend to consume far more omega 6s (corn oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, palm oil etc) than omega 3 (for vegans this means flaxseed oils, hemp oil) whereas we should eat similar amounts of each.  It is really important to get your omega 3s if you want to dampen down the inflammatory response.  Olives, olive oil, walnuts and almonds are a source of omega 9 which will help break down any plaques built up by the inflammatory response. At the same time it is also important to limit saturated fat and avoid trans fats completely.  Please see 'Where do vegans get their Omega 3s from?'-

Don't forget to include plenty of antioxidants in your diet.  These fight the free radicals that damage cells and cause your body to mount the inflammatory response. This happens because your body no longer recognises the cell as 'you' and goes into attack.  Antioxidants include vitamin A found in orange coloured fruit and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, melon and carrots and also spinach and other dark, leafy green vegetables.  Vitamin C is also antioxidant - find it in citrus fruits, kiwi, peppers, berries and leafy green.  Include vitamin E foods in your diet for their antioxidant effect too.  These include nuts and seeds and their oils.

Other vitamins that should be included in an anti-inflammatory diet are vitamin D (please see 'Bring on the sun- Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin'-  Also the B vitamins which lower homocysteine and C-reactive protein, the biomarkers of inflammation, damping down the inflammatory response.  Find your B vitamins in leafy green vegetables,  brown rice, wholemeal bread, peas, beans etc. Vegans need to supplement their diet with vitamin B12.

Summer 'nice' cream lollies

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Here in East Yorkshire we are doing really well for warm sunny days at the moment.  On days like these a cooling 'nice' cream is just the ticket.  Dairy free and sugar free, the sweetness comes from ripe bananas and the good news is that this will not cause the blood sugar spikes of sugar because bananas are loaded with fibre which slows down the release of fructose into your blood.  The same is true of the fruit which is added.  For traditional 'tutti frutti' cherries and peaches are added but blueberries, strawberries, raspberries etc are good.  We tried a chopped fresh mango and pineapple for tropical lollies - yum!  

To make around 6 lollies you will need 

3 medium bananas, chopped and frozen
Almond milk to mix
Chopped summer fruits - around 4 tbsp

Whiz the bananas and almond milk up in a high speed blender until smooth.  Add the summer fruits and pulse through so that the fruit remains in pieces.  Spoon into the lolly moulds and pop in the freezer for an hour or two.

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell

Meatless Monday : Tofu peanut satay

Monday, 15 August 2016

Buckwheat noodles are a source of fibre helping you feel full for longer.  The recipe below is also packed with protein from the tofu and so this makes a very satisfying meal that can be quickly made. 

Tofu peanut satay

Serves 2-3 

You will need

400g pack firm tofu
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic. peeled and crushed 
2 tbsp peanut butter
1tsp stevia
1/2 can coconut milk
1/2 tsp chilli flakes or to taste
buckwheat noodles
peanuts to garnish (optional)

Dice the tofu and cover with the tamari.  Place in the fridge for around an hour.  Heat the oil and cook the onion for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and continue to cook for a further minute. Add the peanut butter, stevia, chilli flakes,  coconut milk and 100ml water or use all coconut milk for a creamier consistency.  Mix until smooth and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Add the buckwheat noodles cooked separately according to instructions on packet and the tofu with any tamari not soaked in.   Heat through.

Divide between bowls.  Garnish with peanuts (optional)!

Recipe © 2016 40plusandalliswell

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Deep inside of you is the inner wisdom you need to move on after a tough time. Sometimes though this inner wisdom is hidden by our busy minds and stress.

In our yoga video this week we work on relieving stress and looking inside ourselves to access our inner wisdom. We end with a candle meditation.

In this blog post, which is the second post on protecting your hamstrings and lower back in seated forward bends, we practice poses to strengthen the hamstrings. By strengthening the hamstrings we help avoid injury in seated forward bends.

Kid's will love this swashbuckling pirates yoga sequence.

Have fun!

Is Rice Not Nice?

Rice is a staple for the vegans.  Brown rice is a good source of B vitamins and slow release carbs.  Unfortunately, rice takes up inorganic arsenic as it grows. This is associated with lung and bladder cancer and damage the nervous system. Most of the arsenic is stored in the outer husk so unprocessed rice may contain more arsenic than polished, white rice which is not as good from the point of view of keeping blood sugar levels stable.  So should we not eat rice? My advice would be to limit rice to a couple of times a week.  Why not try other grains in place of rice?  Try millet, quinoa, amaranth, barley, farro or freekeh. 

Recently I have also change how I cook rice too.  I now cook rice in more water than I used to so that some water remains at the end of the cooking time.  I can then pour the excess water off and hopefully most of the arsenic.

The other problem with rice is that it can cause food poisoning if you are not careful. Uncooked rice contains bacillus cereus which is largely killed by the cooking process but some spores do remain.  If the rice is left at room temperature for any length of time these multiply with the potential to cause food poisoning. To avoid this cool rice quickly and store in the fridge for no longer than a day. If you are re-heating make sure the rice is piping hot throughout, and do not re-heat rice more than once.

Happy eating!
Janet x

Boost Your Wellbeing with Organic Gardening

Friday, 12 August 2016

Here at 40plusandalliswell we love growing our own organic fruit and vegetables.  There is something special about eating produce that you have planted and nurtured and nothing beats harvesting potatoes, cleaning off the dirt and popping them in the oven for your dinner.  
If, like us you grow your produce without chemicals, you know that you are not taking toxic chemicals into your body.  True organic fruit and vegetable growing is a little more labour intensive than using pesticides but the results are truly satisfying and it is confidence boosting to be able to think 'I grew that'.  Even weeding can be quite therapeutic.  

Added to this you are getting the benefits of fresh air, natural daylight (for your daily vitamin D boost.  Please see 'Bring on the sun – vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin' - and exercise.  Research has found that gardening can lower your blood pressure and has a positive effect on your mental health.  All that planning and problem solving such as how to keep those pesky slugs at bay, is also good for your cognitive function.  Please see 'Organic Garden Update: Dealing with the Pesky Slugs!'-

If you have an allotment there are even more benefits.  We acquired a 1/4 plot last October and we have been really touched by the support we have had - people are really happy to share their knowledge (everything from how far apart to plant, when and where to dig in the manure, which plants to net etc), which we were really grateful for being new to allotment growing.  They are also willing to lend their tools, give their plants, and their produce.  There is a real camaraderie that is really good for your mental health.  One day we went to the allotment to discover that the 'allotment fairy' had built us our own compost bin with some 'spare wood'.

If you have children or grandchildren, growing fruit and vegetables is a great activity for them to get involved with.  Not only do they learn the effort and time it takes to grow the fruit and vegetables we take for granted but they discover how they grow - fruit and vegetables don't just appear at the local supermarket!!! Even at our ages we were fascinated by watching courgettes grow. It was a surprise to my daughter to discover that you plant a seed potato and get many more in return when they are ready to harvest.  It almost seems like a miracle that you can put a seed in a pot and produce a tomato plant which will give you lovely tomatoes for your salads.  

With rising food prices, producing your own food may also be good from a cost point of view. A pack of seeds that costs just a pound or two can produce food worth much more than their cost.  For instance we bought a pack of basil seeds for £1.99 that can produce 9 pots of basil. At the supermarket these 9 pots would cost £18.  We did not grow them all at once but just a pot or two at a time (you don't want 9 pots all at once!)

Finally gardening can boost your immunity in several ways.  We have already mentioned that it boosts your vitamin D which contributes to a healthy immune system but it reduces stress which can lower immunity.  Added to this beneficial bacteria in the soil help alleviate allergies and ease asthma.

So what are you waiting for? Its not too late to grow some potatoes for your Christmas roasties and September is a good time to plant onion sets to harvest around March.  It's also not too late to grow some salad leaves.

Happy gardening 
Janet x 

Meatless Monday : Brazilian bean stew

Monday, 8 August 2016

Brazilian bean stew, feijoada is a hearty stew traditionally made with lots of meat such as pork, black beans, vegetables and spices.  It is often described as the national dish of Brazil, especially of Rio de Janeiro.

My vegan version is made 'meaty' by the addition of mushrooms.  There are many variants of this dish - in some regions brown or red beans are used and the vegetables in the stew vary greatly so feel free to use whatever vegetables you have handy.  If you are having a Rio party scale up the quantities for the number of your guests.  

You might also like my Coconut, Lime and Polenta cake - gluten free' which is also sugar free.

Brazilian bean stew 
Serves 2
You will need

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4 cherry tomatoes
4 - 6 tbsp tomato puree
5 inch piece of squash taken from the 'neck' end of a large squash, peeled and diced or use 1 large sweet potato, scrubbed and diced
1 small courgette, diced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
120g chestnut mushrooms
1/2 tsp pink salt 
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp chilli or to taste
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp stevia
1 can organic black beans, or I have used borlotti beans
handful fresh coriander

Heat the oil and cook the onion over a medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.  
Add the squash/sweet potato, courgette, red pepper, mushrooms, herbs, spices, salt and stevia.  Add the tomatoes and tomato puree and around 250ml water. 
Turn up the heat to bring to the boil then reduce heat to simmer until the vegetables are tender.  Stir in the beans and cook for a few more minutes.  Divide between bowls and top with coriander.  
Serve with brown rice or wraps.


Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 7 August 2016

In our yoga video and blog post this week the intention is to allow deep seated thoughts and emotions to come to the surface. We will then use a writing meditation to express these thoughts and emotions and so embark on our healing journey. 
Please see my 'sister' blog-

'Writing meditation to help heal after a tough time'. Please see the link to the video on my Flexiladiesyoga YouTube Channel-

Seated forward bends are great for calming your mind and stretching your hamstrings BUT if your hamstrings are weak, you overstretch or you move into them too fast they have the potential to cause injury.
Please see my 'sister' blog-

If you are stuck for something to occupy the children with in the school holidays what could be better than practicing yoga with them in a fun way? Last week we had an Amazon adventure, this week we are going on a space adventure! Have fun! 
Please see my 'sister' blog -

Coconut, lime and polenta cake - gluten free

In celebration of the start of the Olympic games in Rio, I have created this coconut, lime and polenta cake which combines some of the flavours of Brazil. 

Corn is traditionally used in South America to make flour rather than wheat.  Cornmeal (polenta) is made is made by coarsely grinding corn.  It has a grainy texture so in this recipe I have combined it with softer rice flour. The ground almonds in the cake add moisture.
Coconuts and limes are also grown in Brazil.

Coconut, lime and polenta cake - gluten free
Serves 2
You will need 

150g coconut oil 
15g stevia
juice 2 limes
3 eggs or equivalent 
50g ground almonds 
50g desiccated coconuts 
100g polenta
200g rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
150ml almond milk 
Coconut cream to serve 
Desiccated coconut to top (optional)

'Cream' the coconut oil and stevia.  Add the eggs or equivalent, ground almonds, desiccated coconut rice flour, polenta and baking powder- mix well.  Stir in juice 2 limes (about 4 tbsp) and almond milk. Transfer to a 7 inch cake tin. Bake at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. When cool remove from tin, top with desiccated coconut if using and serve with coconut cream.

Janet x

If you are having a Brazilian themed party, you might also want to check out my Meatless Monday tomorrow for my take on a Brazilian bean stew.

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell

Vintage (Un-) Natural Beauty- Victorian Shockers!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Over the last few weeks I’ve been having a good nosy around the Victorian era to find affordable and natural beauty solutions from this period. Not all Victorian beauty treatments were so healthy though- in fact, some were downright shockers.

Arsenic was used by Victorian women to whiten their complexions and remove unwanted body hair. Dr Mackenzie’s Arsenical Soaps, produced in the 1890s, promised “the most lovely complexion, free from blotch, blemish, coarseness, redness, freckles, or pimples”. Similar results were promised for arsenic pills and powders designed for internal ingestion. The writers of Personal Beauty: How to Cultivate and Preserve It (1870), Daniel Brinton and Henry Napheys, observed that “There is a preparation largely sold by the shops under the attractive name poudre rajeunissante, the active principle of which is simply arsenic”. The trouble was, however, that arsenic is a deadly poison. Brinton and Napheys wrote that “Within a few months we have noted three deaths attributed by the newspapers to eating arsenic to improve the complexion”.

In order to remove excess body hair, arsenic was sometimes combined with caustic substances such as lime and potash. Victorian dancer and beauty expert Lola Montez wrote that “I have known several unfortunate ladies produce ulcers and dangerous sores by compounds which they used for the purpose of removing these blemishes”. Historian Ruth Goodman in her book How to be a Victorian writes that Victorian hair-removal products were often “based upon a range of caustic substances, such as sodium hydroxide . . . The danger was that, if they touched the skin, they could cause serious burns”.

Dyeing your hair in the Victorian era was a particularly risky and dangerous business, as the Victorians struggled to make a safe and effective hair dye. Many of the hair dyes that were produced ended up as a terrifying cocktail of chemicals. Lola Montez felt that women should be warned about hair dyes containing “such things as poisonous mineral acids, nitrate and oxide of silver, caustic alkalis, lime, litharge and arsenic”: “All these patent compounds rot the hair, if they do no greater mischief”. The “greater mischief” Lola Montez was thinking of could have been the risk of horrific chemical burns on the scalp: Ruth Goodman observes that “the chemicals involved [in dyeing hair] were corrosive, and accidents were common”.

I certainly won’t be trying any of these Victorian beauty treatments- some things are just better off consigned to the history books!


Becky x 

Meatless Monday : Moroccan spiced chickpeas with couscous bowl

Monday, 1 August 2016

Made using summer vegetables and with a summer fresh, zingy taste this Moroccan spiced chickpeas with couscous bowl is also easy to make, full of nutrients an fibre.  Courgettes are at their best right now - pick them when they are about 10cm long and you should get more to grow.

Moroccan spiced chickpeas with couscous bowl

Serves 2 
You will need
1 tbsp oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp pink salt
1 green chilli, seeds removed and sliced
1 medium aubergine, diced
1 courgette, diced
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1/2 tsp ginger
pinch cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 can organic chickpeas
handful coriander, roughly chopped
handful baby leaf spinach
120g dried couscous
2 tbsp lemon juice
handful coriander, roughly chopped
lemon wedges to serve 

lightly toasted almond flakes and coconut cream to top

Heat the oil and cook the onion for 2 minutes.  Crush the garlic with the salt, add to the pan and continue to cook for a further minute.  Add the chilli, aubergine, courgette, red pepper ginger, cinnamon, cumin and tomato puree and cook on a low heat until the vegetables are tender. Add a little water if necessary. Add the chickpeas and coriander and heat through.
Put the dried couscous in a bowl together with the lemon juice and cover with water from a recently boiled kettle. Leave until the grains swell and the water is absorbed and stir through the vegetables.  

Top with a few spinach leaves and lemon wedges so that you can squeeze extra lemon juice as you eat.

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell