The Dirty Dozen. Organic-What Should You Choose?

Do you buy organic fruit and vegetables when possible?  I always do, but some produce may not be as important as others. Read on to learn more…

 

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The top 5 produce on the Dirty Dozen list (2017)

My readers always ask me about organic produce and if it really is worth spending the extra money on organic versus conventional produce. In general I always answer yes, but there are some produce that you should always buy organic, and some that may not be as important.

Have you heard of the lists called “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Clean Fifteen”?

These are lists over produce with the highest and lowest pesticide residues. The Dirty Dozen being the list over produce with the highest residues, and The Clean Fifteen being the lowest.

As of 2017 the lists are:

“The Dirty Dozen”

1.Strawberries
2. Spinach
3.Nectarines
4.Apples
5.Peaches
6.Pears
7.Cherries
8.Grapes
9.Celery
10.Tomatoes
11.Sweet Bell Peppers
12.Potatoes

“The Clean Fifteen”

  1. Sweet corn
  2. Avocados
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Sweet peas frozen
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangos
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honeydew Melon
  12. Kiwi
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Grapefruit

Depending on the amounts you eat every week, I would always invest in organic produce from The Dirty Dozen list and perhaps you can save extra time and cash not purchasing and sourcing organic produce from The Clean Fifteen list. You can learn more here

Also, watch my video to learn more about the subject.  I speak Norwegian but the video is subtitled in English:)

 

 

 

 

 


Tea It Up! Immune Boosting Tea.

Tea it up! Yes, you can boost your immune system by adding one simple thing to your diet- Tea!

 

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There are a lot of health benefits from drinking tea, as long as you choose the right one, and one of good quality. I recommend skipping adding extra calories from sweeteners, but if you need anything other than fresh lemon juice read my blog post about healthy sweeteners here

A cup a day may keep the doctor away! Read on for recommended teas…

Green tea-  Is made with steamed tea leaves.  It has a high concentration of EGCG, the “holy grail” of immune strengthening components. It may prevent cancers like bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers, prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases,  the risk of stroke, and improve cholesterol levels.

Black tea- Is made with fermented tea leaves.  Black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavoured teas like chai, along with some instant teas. This tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also may reduce the risk of stroke.

White tea- Uncured and unfermented. It has lost of antioxidants and has shown to have  the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas. It is also used in skincare products.

Oolong tea- Is rich in antioxidants and may lower bad cholesterol levels. Some oolong teas may help with weight management.

Pu-erh tea- Is made from fermented and aged leaves. It is considered a black tea and its leaves are pressed into cakes. May help balance weight and reduce LDL cholesterol.

Matcha tea- This is the Queen of all teas! It comes from Japan and with matcha you drink the entire tea leaf and not just the extract of it. Matcha tea is packed with antioxidants including the powerful EGCG and it may boosts metabolism. It is known to  detoxify the body and is rich in fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins. It provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium. It may also lower cholesterol and blood sugar.

While I love herbal teas without caffeine like Pukka, keep in mind that herbal teas are not really “tea”, but of course have other health benefits and may be enjoyed as well.

 

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Drink a high quality tea to keep yourself warm and healthy!

 

 

 

 

 


5 Tips to Beat Winter Depression Naturally.

I live in Norway which is in the Northern hemisphere, and depending upon where in the country you live, you may not see sunlight at all from  November and until around Easter!

Luckily, I live in Oslo and we do get a few hours of daylight, but not nearly enough to keep the body happy and healthy. Because of the lack of daylight a lot of Norwegians suffer from what is known as winter depression.

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I beat my battle with severe winter depression naturally. Read on for my tips…

The condition does not only affect Scandinavians, but millions of people around the globe. Perhaps you also suffer from winter depression when the days get shorter?

The symptoms are:

  • Low energy
  • Loss of interest in being social or active
  • Muscle and joint ache
  • Feelings of hopelessness and general depression symptoms
  • Weight gain and increased appetite
  • Decreased libido

The condition is also known as “seasonal affective disorder,”( SAD) and can really reduce the quality of life. I use to suffer really bad from it and went into a severe depression for several months. When Spring came along the darkness literally went away.

Because of my own need to find a way to cope, I have discovered and researched  ways you can naturally lift your mood and help get you through the darkness…

  1. Light therapy! Yes, lack of light is the reason you feel this way as it leads to chemical imbalances in the body. But there are some really great therapy alternatives out there that mimic daylight. I work with a small lamp from Philips in front of me when working on my computer. I also do 10 minutes of light therapy with a special iPod looking device called Valkee Bright Light Headset. This releases light straight into the brain. Light therapy is a must!
  2. HIIT Workouts- You must stay active even if your energy levels are low. I promise that if you do, you will eventually increase your energy levels. This is so important. HIIT stands for High intensity interval training and is more effect full than steady state, low intensity training, as it releases more of the “happy hormones”, serotonin and dopamine. This keeps depression at bay, gives you more energy, builds stamina and balances your weight and appetite efficiently.
  3. Learn something new! This fall I have been learning to dance salsa and it has really helped my mood to have an activity that gets me out the door (because I have paid a lot of money for it!;)), is social, healthy and keeps my brain active. Having a hobby and learning new things that we enjoy is proven to keep us more mentally balanced.
  4. Keep a balanced diet– It is more important than ever that you keep your diet clean and full of fresh fruits and vegetables even though it may not be that tempting this time of year! Use seasonal vegetables and cook warming stews. Roast root vegetables. A good diet is essential for keeping your moods elevated in general and keeps your immune system strong through the winter season. Make my roasted tomato soup here
  5. Get outdoors! If you live in a place where there still is daylight during the day it is important to arrange your schedule so that you can get outdoors for at least 30 min. every day. Take a walk during your lunch break if possible.

Let me know how the season effects you and how you cope! 🙂

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Roast your veggis and put on warm clothes and get outside when there is daylight! 


Sweet and Healthy! The Best Natural Sweeteners.

Do you have a sweet tooth? If so you are not alone! But did you know that you can satisfy your sweet craving without sabotaging your health or your weight? The key is to choose your sweetener wisley- and of course not overdue the amounts you eat…

 

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Beautiful honey drizzle over pan seared apples and almond ricotta…

 

There are a lot of no calorie sweeteners but I never eat or drink any artificial sweeteners, and I like to choose natural choices that also have good cooking qualities as well as nutritional value.

My favorite choices are:

  • A dark, organic maple syrup- I always use this when cooking or baking with chocolate. I also add just a drizzle to balance out a tangy vinaigrette. When you buy a high quality maple syrup it is a good source of vitamins and minerals and has a great nutty flavour. Remember, a little goes a long way!
  • Coconut sugar- This is a great sugar substitute that I always use for Asian cooking, or baking when granulated sugar is needed. It is rich in minerals and had a nutty flavour that does noe reck havoc on your blood sugar.
  • Honey- Manuka honey is a really healthy honey loaded with nutrients but I never use it for cooking as I find it too expensive and hard to work with. But it is great for tea! If you can get a hold of an organic, local honey that is not refined or heat treated it is absolutely best because it has more nutrients and a more complex taste. I use honey when I need a “lighter”, less complex taste and also need to keep a light color for the recipe I am making.

You may also use Stevia which is a no calorie, natural sweetener but to be honest I never use it as I find the taste to be less than pleasant and it doesn’t have good cooking qualities.

Note: I never use agave syrup and would never recommend it as it is highly refined and just as bad for your body as regular sugar…

 

 

 


Protect Your Body with Strawberries

I love strawberries! They are one of my favorite sweet snacks and when the stores fill up with this berry it is a sure sign that summer is on its way, especially here in Norway.

 

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Strawberries taste great, but are also a great source of antioxidants.

 

 

Strawberries are a powerhouse full of antioxidants and may help fight cancer due to the high content.

Strawberries may also:

  • Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing platelet build-up and reducing blood pressure via anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
  • Help to lower homocysteine levels, an amino acid in the blood associated with damaging the inner lining of arteries.
  • Act as a natural anti-inflammatory due to the quercetin content.
  • Protect against stroke due to anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
  • Lower blood pressure due to the high potassium content.
  • Help against constipation due to the high fiber content.

Strawberries are also a low glycemic fruit making them an ok choice for diabetics as well. Make sure to choose organic if you can or wash conventional strawberries in a water and vinegar solution to wash off some of the pesticides.

Enjoy them with fresh basil and a good balsamic vinegar for a healthy and exciting treat:)

 


Nature’s Perfect Weight Loss (and Health) Aid…

From the age of 8-9 years old I really started gaining weight and developing lifestyle related health issues. When I turned 22 I started taking charge of my own health, diet and lifestyle.

My story and journey is what lead me to where I am today. I have learned a lot through the years of what really works for both weight loss and how to attain (or maintain) a strong immune system and a healthy body. You can read more about this on my About Me page…

 

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So todays health tip is about one of nature’s best kept ” secrets”; fresh lemon juice! Yes, adding fresh lemon juice to your daily diet is one of the best ways to:

  • Curb your appetite
  • Regulate your blood sugar
  • Increase your energy
  • Help cleanse your liver and kidneys
  • Lower your foods glycemic index (when added to food)
  • Help you drink more water by adding flavour
  • Balance your body’s PH levels
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Add Vitamin C and antioxidants to your diet
  • Help with the digestion process

How to:

  • Drink a large glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon first thing in the morning.
  • Press the juice from fresh lemons (in a juicer without the rind and skin) and add to your water through out the day. I always do this and have a full glass bottle in the fridge.
  • Use in cooking. I always add something acidic to salad dressings, soups, dips and anywhere you need to replace the need for salt and balance the flavour.

I guarantee that by adapting this easy, tasty and inexpensive habit you will really help your energy levels sore, and make you leaner, happier and healthier!

sitronjuice skrått

 

 


Oven Roasted Tomato Soup (Vegan)

Today I have another super-healthy, tasty and easy soup for you. This one is also vegan and loaded with antioxidants like vitamin C and lycopen, which is known for its cancer- fighting properties.

The roasting of the vegetables give the soup extra depth and flavour and it also basically makes it self so you can do other things before dinner time!

You can also make this soup in larger portions and freeze for later. It is also a great tomato sauce base for pastas and pizzas.

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You will need:

  • 1 kilo ( about 2 pounds) fresh tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic (leave the skin on)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 large carrots
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1- 2 tbs. nutritional yeast

How to:

  1. Cut the tomatoes in half. Peel the onion and the carrots and cut into large pieces. Leave the skin on the garlic.
  2. On a baking tray, lined with a baking sheet, rub the ingredients with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Bake in the oven for 30- 40 min at 200 degrees celsius (360 fahrenheit).
  4. When soft and golden, remove from oven and peel off the tomato skin and remove the garlic from skin. This is easy when they are baked.
  5. Place in a blender or food prosessor and blend until smooth, taking care to let out steam so it doesn’t explode! 😉
  6. Add to a pot and season to taste. Let simmer for 5- 10 minutes. Add the nutritional yeast before serving.

Recipe from my Norwegian book “Carinas sunne kjøkken” (Carina ‘s Healthy Kitchen). Buy here

 

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Oven roasting vegetables is an easy and healthy way to bring out more depth and flavour!

 

 

 

 

 


Creamy, Vegan Cauliflower Soup

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I love cauliflower as it is so comforting and easy to use as a replacement for a low carb alternative to rice, potatoes and pasta.

One of my favorite ways to use this super-healthy cruciferous vegetable is in a soup. I love to make my vegan (dairy free) cauliflower soup with soaked cashew nuts. Trust me; you will not miss the heavy cream! I love to top mine with crunchy home-made popcorn and dill oil.

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You will need:

  • One large head of cauliflower
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 liter vegetable stock
  • 100 grams soaked cashew nuts
  • 1 tbs. nutritional yeast
  • 1 ts. lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to:

  • Chop the onion and garlic and add to a pot. Simmer in olive oil until tender
  • Divide the caulifower into florets and add to the pot with the vegetable stock. Cook until tender.
  • When tender place the mixture in a blender, add the soaked cashews and blend VERY CAREFULLY until smooth.
  • Add back to the pot and season with lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.

Recipe from my Norwegian book “Carinas sunne kjøkken” (Carina’s Healthy Kitchen”. Buy book here


Natural Relief for Hay Fever…

I love Spring! Finally the days are getting longer and warmer:) But perhaps there is one unfortunate thing during this time og year… hay fever, also called pollen allergy.

If you are plagued with runny eyes, runny nose, low energy and aches and pains, it could be hay fever. But nature has the perfect solution; ginger. Ginger is loaded with antioxidants and natural anti-histamines which could help improve your hay fever and it’s symptoms.

To really use this as natural medicine and to reap the benefits, it is best to juice your ginger and drink it as a juice shot to ensure you get larger amouts into your system. This should be done everyday. Just make your ginger shot before you make your juice.

Ginger is also a great energizer and helps the liver and blood detox toxins more effectively. Ginger is quite strong tasting and therefore to make my shot more palatable I mix it with a little apple.

Here is my anti- hay fever ginger shot!

  • 1/2 apple
  • 5- 10 cm large piece of fresh ginger root.

Juice in a juicer and down like you would a shot in the bar! 😉

1-Ingefaer og elektrolytt shot-eple,ingefaer,selleri,agurk

 

 

 


Bella Bellagio! Lake Como, Italy

Are you travelling this summer? If so you should really look into visiting Lake Como and staying in the small town of Bellagio. It is so beautiful!

If you’ve read my other blog posts you will know that I LOVE Italy, and I am lucky enough to live in Oslo, which makes it easy and not that expensive to travel to many Italian destinations.

“Food Travels” is a category on my blog because I believe in nourishing the mind and soul as well as the body. Travelling abroad inspires me and teaches me som many new things and is the best way for me to really fill my “inspiration cup”. And I love to share my tips and experiences with you!

 

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Make sure you walk to the less touristy side of Bellagio for gorgeous views!

 

One of my favorite places to visit is Bologna in the Emilia- Romagna district which you can read more about here, but Lake Como, more specifically the town of Bellagio, is also on my top 5 lists of places to visit in Italy.

It is so beautiful with the Italian Alps surrounding it and the lake where you can rent a beautiful wooden boat to explore it with.  The food and wine is great as well.

Lake Como is located in Northern Italy which means it differs from the typical Southern cuisine. There are less tomato based sauces and more butter based dishes. Ravioli with butter and sage is a typical dish along side a lot of beautiful sea food dishes.

We have been here several times but our last trip was to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. We also renewed our wedding vows at the fabulous Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni Hotel.  Beneath is a slide show from our wedding renewal dinner at Villa Serbelloni. You must visit this place! Visit website here.

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It is expensive to stay here, but I would really recommend spending an evening at the hotels restaurant and outside bar. The food is fantastic and the service is impeccable. The view from your table will be worth the visit alone. You can also pay to spend a day by the pool here.

If you choose to not stay at The Villa Serbelloni I would recommend Hotel Metropole which is the only hotel with a waterfront restaurant. You can feed the swans right from your breakfast table!  We loved staying here and it is worth upgrading to a room with a lake view. The restaurant also serves great food. Visit hotel website here.

When we went for our anniversary we travelled with our families and rented the beautiful apartments at Residence La Limonera which is situated right in the tiny town center in a lemon garden. I could pick my own lemons to juice! 🙂 Heaven for me…

I love this place and it is worth splurging for the largest apartment as it is beautiful and has a large balcony where you have the best view and you can enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day before heading out for dinner. You can visit the website here

Tips for a perfect Bellagio vacation…

  • Make sure you get your morning espresso at the local bar at the tiny square by the church. You’ll find it- just follow the locals!
  • If staying at an apartment buy your breakfast from the local deli right by the Residence La Limonera apartments entrance.
  • Have lunch at the restaurant at “The Point”, restaurant La Punta. You can also go swimming from here.
  • Make sure you walk to the other side of Bellagio (away from the main area)following the main road from the church square and have a drink at the Hotel Belvedere. They also have a spa if you would like a massage.
  • It is worth renting a typical Italian wooden boat with a guide for an hour to see the beautiful lake and its surroundings.

Bellagio is a really small and beautiful town and you will find lots of great restaurants in the small and narrow cobble stone streets. Unless getting an aperitivo while watching the sunset, or a trip to the restaurant at The Metropole Restaurant, I would avoid dining around the harbor area. Explore the cobble stone streets for the best, hidden culinary gems…

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