Meatless Monday: Vegan Butterbean, Spinach & Coconut Curry

Meatless Monday is a global message to encourage individuals to omit meat from their diet one day a week. Simple.

This recipe is adapted from The Happy Pear in collaboration with Super Valu, Ireland. It is a mild curry. Depending on your toddlers taste buds, it can be considered toddler friendly whilst containing your 5 a day. I garnished my meal with chilli flakes and salt. In replacement of cashew nuts, I toasted and crushed peanuts. Onion and garlic are optional depending on dietary requirements.


  • 100g sweet potato or white potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 courgette, cut into quarters
  • ½ carrot, grated
  • 3 x 400g tins of butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
  • 1 Kallo low sodium vegetable stock cube, follow packet instructions
  • 2 tbsp mild curry powder
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 100g baby spinach
  • a pinch of ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes, to garnish
  • Salt, to garnish

Made from Scratch

  • In a large saucepan add tsp extra virgin olive oil. Add chopped sweet potatoes, courgette, carrot and saute for a few minutes.
  • Add butterbeans and coconut milk, stock and curry powder. Bring to the boil.
  • Squeeze in the lemon juice and tamarind/soy sauce.
  • Add spinach and allow to wilt.
  • Toast some chopped nuts and garnish your dish.
  • Serve with rice, quinoa or cous cous.

Be sure to keep me posted if you try and test these recipes by posting on Twitter: @WhelehanLynne or Instagram @makeandbakefromscratch #makeandbakefromscratch and Facebook: Make & Bake From Scratch

Recovery Rescue


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The festive season is over and it has been a wild ride. At this point it can be difficult to know where to start; your mind is racing, “new fitness programme”, or “new eating regime”. To get back on the health train it is best to make a plan, start it and stick with it. Don’t lose interest after one week; develop new positive healthy lifestyle habits. Over time you will reap the benefits. Be kind to your body feed it wholesome foods and put it through the paces of a sweaty workout. Remember inhale, exhale.

Try this Sweat Session I created over the festive season to help you kick start your fitness regime:

You will need:

  • Gymboss set 40 seconds on/ 20 seconds off (20 rounds)
  • Skipping rope

Sweat Session


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3,000 meter Rowing. Once this is complete begin the following 5 rounds, set your gymboss timer.

  • Skipping
  • Bear Crawls
  • Walking Lunges
  • Burpees
  • Jump Squats

Next move to 5×5 sets to build strength:

  • 5×5 Lat Pull Downs
  • Press Ups AMRAP (as many reps as possible)
  • 5×5 Bench Press

Bonus Round

  • 100 Walking Lunges
  • 50 Full Squats

This is a great session to get your heart pumping and sweat those toxins from the festive silly season. Make sure you drink plenty of water both during your workout and afterwards.

Once you have the sweaty session completed, you will need to refuel your muscles for recovery. After working out I love recuperating with a smoothie. Try this Berry Bliss Smoothie Recipe:

  • 250ml Koko Coconut Milk
  • 50 grams Frozen Raspberries/Strawberries
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Whey Protein or Vegan Protein
  • 1 tablespoon Chia Seeds

Pop in blender, blitz till smooth and enjoy!

Super Spud Knockout: White vs Sweet


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There is always a debate about which spud reigns supreme. Some argue that the white potatoe is better , others fight for the sweet potatoe. Question is do we really know which one is better and why? I recently came across an article on the Health Hub from Cleveland Clinic which outlines the nutritional benefits of each. It was a very informative article which I will outline below and also attach a link to the article on the Health Hub.

Nutritional Breakdown

According to the Health Hub both spuds are an excellent source of fibre. Fibre can help prevent colorectal cancer and alleviate digestive issues. Another added bonus is that fibre fills you up so you won’t be picking between meals. The skin on the spud packed with nutrients and insoluble fibre and this provides roughage which will prevent constipation.

Based on the evidence provided by the Health Hub we can see the nutritional breakdown below of each spud. The white potatoe on the left and the sweet potatoe on the right. For the purpose of this knockout the potatoes were baked with skin on and no butters/oils were used.

 White vs Sweetbreakdown


Benefits of Vitamins & Minerals



Calorie Breakdown

White vs Sweet



Based on the evidence provided the sweet potatoe reigns champion, however, both spuds provide beneficial micronutrients in the diet. A sweet potatoe will provide you with more vitamin A and C. It has less calories, more fibre and overall lower total carbohydrates even though its sugar content is higher than white. In saying that it is important to eat a wide variety of foods in your diet and choose colour vegetables. Sometimes a white potatoe may be more suitable to a recipe or economical. Frying foods will reduce nutritional content, therefore, steaming and baking is a great way to retain valuable nutrients.

For more information click Health Hub Cleveland Clinic

Tame Your Wild Gut

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Eating certain foods can trigger gas, distension, bloating, cramping, diarrhoea or constipation. Mahan et al[1] describe these reactions as Irritable Bowel Symptoms (IBS). This can be very uncomfortable for the individual, embarrassing and frustrating.

What is causing the problem?

Fear not, there is an explanation as to what is causing your stomach such grief and having an impact on your quality of life. The answer is FODMAPs. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for Fermentable, Oligo-Di-Mono-saccharides and Polyols. These can be classed as carbohydrates (sugars) and are categorised based on the length of their chains[2]. FODMAPs are short chains. It is important to note that not all carbohydrates are FODMAPs. It is suggested that food that contains the FODMAP chains will have an impact on IBS.

These short chain carbohydrates are not absorbed adequately in the small intestine and cause fermentation in the gut – giving you IBS symptoms. Therefore, it is recommended to reduce consumption of foods that trigger these nasty effects. Keeping a food diary will help allow you to monitor that wild digestive system and how it responds to different foods.


  • Fructose (mono- simple sugars): fruits (apples) , honey, high fructose corn syrup
  • Lactose (disaccharide): dairy ( lactose intolerance: insufficient “lactase enzyme” to break down the lactose)
  • Frutans (oligosaccharides): wheat, onion, garlic.
  • Galactans: beans, lentils, legumes.
  • Polyols: these are your alcohol sweeteners (xylitol) and some stone fruits like avocado’s, apricots, peaches and plums.

Foods that are recommended include: meats (no processed), if diagnosed as lactose intolerant – lactose free dairy, almond milk, nut butters, nuts, seeds. Fruits include bananas, berries, oranges, kiwi’s. Vegetables include bell peppers, bak choy, tomatoes and zucchini. Please click here to read a more extensive list of foods: Low FODMAP Food Choices.

It is also recommended reducing gluten (wheat based products) as this may hinder gut function. One study found that participant’s gastrointestinal symptoms improved significantly when FODMAP consumption was reduced. This could mean that gluten may not be a specific trigger in some cases[3].Gluten free grains include: quinoa (keen-wah), basmati rice, sweet potato.

Helpful Tips

As an individual who suffers from gut function issues, I believe, that certain food can have a negative impact. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Keep a food diary. This will allow you track responses to food intake.
  • Learn how to read food labels e.g. avoid products containing High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
  • Learn correct portion sizes. I like to use cup measurements.
  • Stay away from foods that increase gas/bloating.
  • Prepare home cooked meals.
  • Aim to consume between 1.5 – 2 litres water per day.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Probiotics and Prebiotics can help with symptoms – kefir or natural unsweetened yogurt.
  • Exercise

It is important to note that this not a cure but a suggested nutritional regime that could have the potential to alleviate digestive disorders and improve gut function. To date the safety of long term FODMAP restriction has not been documented and like all restrictive dietary approaches may have a potential risk of macro/micro nutrient deficiencies.

[1] Mahan LK, Escott-Stump S, Raymond JL. Krause’s Food and the Nutrition Care Process. 12th Edition. St, Louis, MO: Elsevier/Saunders; 2012.

[2] Barrett JS, Gibson PR. Fermentable Oligosacchardies, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols (FODMAPs) and Non-Allergic Food Intolerance: FODMAPs or Food Chemicals? Therap Asv Gastroenteral. 2012;5(4):261-268.

[3] Biesiekierski JR, Peters SL, Newnham ED, Rosella O, Muir JG, Gibson PR. No Effects of Gluten in Patients With Self-Reported Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity After Dietary Reduction of Fermentable Poorly Absorbed Short Chain Carbohydrates. Department of Gastroenterology 2013; 145:320-328.