Hello There!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Welcome to a wellness blog aimed at those passionate about wellness in their 40's and beyond. This doesn't mean to say that you can't enjoy the vegan recipes, beauty posts, organic gardening posts and wellness posts if you are under 40.

Exciting posts are added weekly!

I also have a 'sister yoga blog, 'Flexiladies Yoga'. There are yoga posts and videos so please check that out too for the complete wellness package - CLICK HERE

Meatless Monday: Swedish 'Meatballs'

Swedish meatballs are usually made with ground pork or beef but these vegan Swedish meatballs will be enjoyed by even non-vegan friends.  There are many variations including the herbs used in the recipe.  Some chopped chives are a good addition and half a teaspoon of allspice.  Other possibilities include dill, or flat leaf parsley. In this recipe I am using rosemary in the sauce.  Serve with mash (potato, celeriac or cauliflower), rice or pasta as I am doing in this recipe. I am using tripolini noodles which have little 'ruffles' that 'scoop' up the sauce.
Feeding a crowd? Simply scale up the quantities.

Swedish 'meatballs'

Serves 2

You will need

For the 'meatballs'
120g dried soy mince
1 egg equivalent (1 tbsp rice flour, 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1 tbsp almond milk)
50g breadcrumbs
1 tbsp tamari

olive oil spray for greasing

For the sauce 
2 tbsp tamari
250ml water 
1 tbsp cornflour
1/2 tsp rosemary
50ml soy cream
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Place the dried soy in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave  to stand for 10 minutes. To make the meatballs blend all the ingredients in a high speed blender, shape into bite size balls and place on a baking tray that has been sprayed with olive oil spray.  Bake for 20 minutes, turning once.  

To make the sauce blend the cornflour with a little water.  Place the water, rosemary and tamari in a saucepan and whisk in the cornflour.  Heat over a medium heat, whisking until thickened. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the nutritional yeast if using and soy cream. 

Serve with mash (potato, celeriac or cauliflower), rice, pasta or noodles.


This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 23 April 2017

In our #yogavideo this week we cultivate physical strength and because of the mind/body connection this also cultivates the mental strength to persevere through delays and difficulties. Please see my 'sister' blog for the #blog post and yoga video- http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/qualities-cultivated-by-yoga.html
This blog post was included in the online paper 'Yoga Vitality Magazine'-http://paper.li/Yoga_Vitality/1336524135?edition_id=03e5d680-2499-11e7-802f-0cc47a0d1605#/

In recognition of Earth Day on the 22nd April, in this blog post I offer my thoughts on how the yamas can give us guidelines for looking after the environment.

The #piriformis, one of the external hip rotators might be a small muscle but it can cause a whole lot of trouble if it gets overly tight. 
These #yoga poses on my 'sister' will help stretch the piriformis-

Bring the outside in - houseplants

Peace Lily

It's spring, and in the garden and countryside many flowers and blossoms are appearing.  The bluebells have arrived, blackthorn is blossoming, the apple blossom and even some May blossom is starting to appear ('O, to be in England now that April's here' Robert Browing).  It feels good to be out but having plants in the house and office has many benefits too.

First a bit of biology - people breathe in oxygen and breathe out waste carbon-dioxide but plants take in carbon-dioxide to make simple sugars in a process known as photosynthesis. The byproduct which they then give out is oxygen.  This means that having plants keeps the air in our house or office oxygen rich.  This usually only happens during the day because the process also requires light but some plants such as aloe vera, Mother-in-laws tongue (Snake plant) or orchids can also give off oxygen at night.  Aloe vera is especially good if you are away a lot because it can go a week or so without watering.  Mother-in-laws tongue is a good houseplant if you are not green fingered because it needs very little attention.  Another 'easy to care for' plant is the Spider plant.   

Plants do not only improve air quality by adding oxygen and removing carbon-dioxide - they can also remove toxins from the air from polishes, heating fuels, adhesives etc. They can even help reduce allergies by removing dust from the air. My favourite plant is the Peace lily which can remove several toxins including ammonia, trichloroethylene, benzene etc from the air. It has white flowers which turn green if you feed it!

The process of photosynthesis also produces water so that plants add moisture to the air helping keep your skin hydrated!

There are benefits to houseplants in the office or study too.  The colour green is soothing to the eye reducing office stress and studies have shown that the workers in offices with plants have better concentration and productivity and reduced fatigue.  

Just one thing - some plants are poisonous for cats and dogs so check before you buy.    

My thoughts - Earth Day 22nd April 2017

Thursday, 20 April 2017

In recognition of Earth Day which this year falls on 22nd April and which seeks to raise awareness of environmental issues, I would like to give you an update on the fracking situation in the UK.  The legal battle to stop fracking in Lancashire has been lost and it is looking as if nothing can stop fracking going ahead now.  But just why are we allowing this to happen when all the indicators are that it is detrimental to our environment and our wellbeing? In countries that have allowed fracking there  has been found that there is a risk to health from water contamination.  There has also been an increase in the incidences of asthma and other respiratory illness.

Fracking is only a short term solution -  we will have to find renewable alternatives soon, so why not now?  We are custodians of this earth and it is our duty to look after it for future generations.  Most people do feel this way- the protests show that the people don't want fracking.  

What can we do?  I can only suggest that we continue with the fight.  A key measure you can take is to switch to a green energy supplier and find out if your bank funds fracking - if it does, switch banks.  You could also try to record sightings of wildlife and use this as evidence that fracking is not appropriate in your area.  Keep writing to your MP.

With the news of a forthcoming election there is also a chance to vote for a party opposed to fracking.

Please see my 'sister' blog my thoughts on 'Yoga and the environment'

Meatless Monday: Vegan smoky falafel burgers with tzatziki or spicy salsa

Monday, 17 April 2017

This recipe can easily be scaled up if you are feeding a crowd this Bank holiday Monday!  You can enjoy these burgers with tzatziki or spicy salsa or both and some warm pitta breads.  They are not only vegan but gluten free too - so let's cook!

Vegan smoky falafel with tzatziki or spicy salsa

You will need

Makes 4 Serves 2

For the tzatziki 

200g soy yogurt
1/2 large cucumber
1/2 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp lemon juice

For the smoky falafel burgers

1 can chickpeas
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil 
juice lemon
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
pinch pink salt
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp gluten free flour
olive oil spray

For the salsa

2 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 red onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
splash cider vinegar
fresh coriander, finely chopped
pinch salt
Pittas to serve

To make the tzatziki line a sieve with a muslin square or if you do not have any with kitchen paper and add the yogurt.  Place the sieve over a bowl and place in the fridge to drain off some liquid and thicken the yogurt for around an hour.  After the yogurt has thickened add the remaining ingredients. 

Blend the ingredients for the smoky falafel in a high speed blender.  Spray a baking tray with the olive oil spray and form the mixture into 4 burgers.  Place the burgers on the tray and spray again.  Place in an oven at 180 degrees for around 20 minutes, turning once.  For the last few minutes place the pittas in the oven wrapped in kitchen foil.

Meanwhile make the salsa.  Combine the ingredients for the salsa in a bowl.

Serve and enjoy!

Have a great Bank holiday Monday!

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 16 April 2017

In our 'Qualities cultivated by yoga' series we are focusing on humility. We will practice our yoga with 'beginners' mind' to experience our yoga anew.
Blog post and yoga video on my 'sister' blog- 

Healthy knee alignment depends on good alignment in the feet and stability in the hips. In this blog post we practice yoga poses which will help stabilise the hips by strengthening and stabilising the muscles of the core, hip abductors, and glutes.
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/yoga-anatomy-bites-knee-health.html

Easter to me marks the beginning of spring when we can begin planting for summer beauty and abundance. This yoga sequence helps us open up to the joys of the springtime season. 
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/springtime-yoga.html This blog post was included in the online paper 'Yoga Vitality Magazine'- http://paper.li/Yoga_Vitality/1336524135?edition_id=aae85be0-2306-11e7-802f-0cc47a0d1605#/

I wish you all a very happy Easter! x