5 Tips for a Healthier Kitchen and Tastier Food.

I am all about eating clean, fresh and unprosessed food no matter what your dietary goals are. I believe that if we eat food that is as close to its natural state as possible, and drink enough fresh water every day, we would all be well on our way to a healthier state of  both body and mind.

Welcome to my healthy kitchen!

This is one of the things that the Italians have understood and is part of why the country is the healthiest in Europe and first/second in the world. Read more about Project Healthy in Italy here.

My hope is that I can inspire and help you to make healthier choices every day that will result in you being a happier, healthier, and perhaps also a leaner version of yourself.

I have also made all the changes  through my own lifestyle journey so I also “walk the walk”, and not just “talk the talk”! You can read more about my story here 

Here are my 5 best tips for you to start your own kitchen makeover and to help you on your way to acheiving better, healthier and tastier cooking results!

5 Tips for a Healthier Kitchen and Tastier Food.

  1. Throw out the refined, bleached table salt and get cooking with Himalaya salt and sea salt! This is so important. We need salt in our diets and I could simply never do without, but the kind of salt you choose makes a huge impact on both your body and cooking results. I have not had refined table salt in my kitchen for years and I find the taste to be horrible compared to healthy, natural choices as stated above. You get more minerals, and the taste is more rounded (natural) and stronger, so beware; you need less. Also a good reason to change the salt you cook with.

IMG_8050saltoghvitløk italy logo2. Trade in wheat for spelt flour. For all cooking and baking where wheat is needed I use spelt flour. It is an ancient grain that has really gained popularity the past years, especially in Scandinavia. It has a differant type of gluten than regular wheat and therfore more people, including myself, tolerate it. It has almost the same cooking and baking qualities as wheat does, and a nuttier, more exciting taste.

3. Use the right kind of fats. We need fat as well as salt, but make sure you use the right kind. (Fat is a huge subject so I will write a blog post in the future soley on this). But to break it down, extra virgin coconut oil for all things raw and not being heated (or where you don’t mind a coconut flavour), refined coconut oil without flavor for stabile frying and such, or extra virgin olive oil. If you eat dairy, butter is a good choice as the fatty acids are stabile due to the high content of saturated fats. I personally prefer olive oil.

4. Use lots of fresh herbs and garlic! The past months I have really gotten into using fresh herbs in my cooking. Fresh garlic is also a staple. They are so healthy and packed with flavour. Mint is great for the digestion and is surprisingly delicious in salads and savory dishes. I also use coriander and basil all the time.

5. Add fresh citrus juice for flavour. I have also been using a lot of fresh citrus juice for my cooking and flavoring. A crucial part of flavour balancing is actually acidity. Acids can also replace the need for salt and really make a dish “pop”. Acids also help aid in digestion and help balance your blood sugar. I use lime, lemon and sometimes orange juice if I need a sweeter, more round acidic flavour. My favorite marinade is fresh orange and lime juice, olive oil, dried oregano, dried chili flakes, salt and garlic.

Happy cooking! I would love to hear from you what you think!


Dairy-Free Espresso and Chocolate Panna Cotta – Project Healthy in Italy

The Italians have a love affair with espresso, or what they just refer to as “coffee”.

( I can’t wait to learn more about this when I go to Italy for my new project ” Project Healthy in Italy read here)

I love this small, strong brew just as much as the Italians do, and have an espresso maker that makes the best espresso (and aroma) in my very own kitchen. You can see the actual maker in my photo below. 🙂

Coffee is a good source of antioxidants. And as long as you don’t overdue it, and hydrate as well, it is actually a healthy staple to add to your diet. Of course, without added sugar or cream…

Panna cotta on the other hand means “cooked cream” in Italian and is a classic Italian dessert from the region of Piedmont. You have probably made it before, or at least tasted it somewhere. It is basically just cream, sugar and gelatine.

My version however ( Italians, please don’t be mad at me!;))is a healthier  panna cotta and is made without dairy or refined sugar.  I also use antioxidant-rich raw cacao and brewed espresso for a flavour twist and for a nutrient boost. My panna cotta is actually vegan, healthy, and yes; tasty!

You get the best of Italian flavours and traditions, but with better building blocks for your body. Recipe below…

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I serve my panna cotta with an orange and mint syrup and something crunchy on top like an almond brittle( fine chopped almonds, roasted with maple syrup and a touch of salt) or such. But you can easily serve it just as is.

 

For the panna cotta you will need( Makes 2 portions):

  • 100 grams (1 cup) soaked, natural cashew nuts. (Non roasted or salted nuts that you soak in water for at least 8 hours then rinse before using.)
  • 7 tbs. (organic) maple syrup
  • 2 tbs. raw cacao
  • 2 dl (3/4 cup) espresso
  • 1 ts agar agar fine powder. (A vegan gelling agent made from a type of algae. Found in health food stores or finer super markets)
  • Pinch of salt (I only use Himalaya salt)

 

How to:

  1. Brew the espresso and mix with the agar powder in a pot. Bring to boil and let simmer for 2 minutes to activate and dissolve the agar. Set aside.
  2. Place the rest of the ingredients in a blender or food prosessor and add the espresso mixture. Blend until completly smooth and creamy. This may take a couple of minutes depending on the strength of your machine.
  3. Pour into moulds and set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  4. To make an orange and mynt syrup, reduce the juice of two oranges with a handfull of fresh mint and 1 tbs. of sweetner, such as honey or maple syrup. Reduce in a pan until about half the portion is left and it has turned into a syrup. Strain before serving.

 

Buon divertimento! Enjoy!


Will I Get Healthy in Italy or Heavy in Italy?

The struggle and fear is real… 

Living in the land of carbs, and white carbs at that, is a scary thought for me.

(Don’t know what I am talking about? Read about Project Healthy in Italy here)

As a previously overweight child and adult strugglig to keep a balanced weight and mind, carbohydrates and especially pizza and pasta, are my absolute drugs! The more I eat, the more I crave. Do you know the feeling? Also the more I eat, the more fat I gain, especially around my stomach. The more depressed I get as well. It’s a vicious cycle.

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I can eat pizza ( regular wheat based) or pasta ( regular white, wheat pasta) as a serving once in a while, but if I eat more than one meal consisting of this during a day or a week, my mind and body says, “stop!”.

I feel tired, depressed, bloated, and have a really cloudy mind. My body aches more as well and I just don’t feel inspired to really do anything.

So how am I going to cope for 1 month in Bologna, Italy where the temptations and carbs are literally at every corner? And how can it really be that the Italians can stay healthy, slim(?) and be the healthiest country in Europe and the world when this kind of diet makes me fat and a generally unhappy person?

Follow my journey and find out how my Project Healthy in Italy goes here on my blog and through my social media accounts Instagram here , Facebook here and YouTube here

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Spelt Apricot and Olive Oil Cake- Torta all’olio e albicocche (Project Healthy in Italy)

I hope your ready for another healthy Italian recipe! (Read all about Project Healthy in Italy here)

Apricots and peaches are in season and I just had to make a healthier version of the Italian apricot and olive oil cake. I love the way Italians cook with healthy olive oil instead of milk products and unhealthy, refined fats.
You can add sambuca which is normally done and top with flaked almonds but I choose to make the recipe with pine nuts for a twist (and because I forgot to buy almonds in the store!) 😉

 

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My version may be denser than the original recipe as it does not contain self- raising cake flour and white refined sugar, but it is really moist, filling, tasty and a lot healthier than the original version.

I hope you give it a try!

Spelt Apricot and Olive Oil Cake- Torta all’olio e albicocche

  • 220 grams (1 1/3 cup) sifted white spelt flour
  • 2, 5 dl. (1 cup) acacia honey
  • 250 ml (1 cup) unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 ts. vanilla extract or 1 ts vanilla powder/seeds from one pod
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 1 tbs. lemon juice
  • 100 ml (½ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ ts. salt
  • 4 ts. baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 7-8 apricots
  • 1 handful pine nuts

 

How to: Sift all the dry ingredients in a bowl and dissolve the honey in the almond milk by warming slightly on the stove. Add vanilla, lemon juice, olive oil and zest. Mix together. Beat the eggs slightly and add to the liquid (make sure it is not hot!) before mixing into the dry ingredients. Mix until the batter is smooth.

Grease a cake pan with olive oil or coconut oil, or line with parchment paper. Add the batter. Slice the apricots and layer on top together with the pine nuts.

Bake in the middle of the oven at 180 Celsius (350- 360 Fahrenheit) for about 40 – 50 minutes. Time varies so take care to make sure it does not burn. Cover with tin foil or parchment paper to keep from browning to much while baking if needed.

Cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

 


Spelt Foccacia – Project Healthy in Italy

In light of Project Healthy in Italy ( read all about it here) I will be sharing healthy Italian recipes with you here on my blog. If there are recipes that I really love but aren’t as healthy as I like, I will be re-doing them and giving them a healthier twist.

For example I never use wheat and always spelt flour as it is more nutritious and doesn’t make me bloated or leave me feeling ill, such as wheat does. Spelt is an ancient grain that really has become popular again!

I love foccacia and decided I wanted to develop my own recipe using spelt. This foccacia is fantastic and really easy to make!

Recipe below picture…

IMG_8063foccaciastålkanne italy logo

My spelt foccacia is soooo addictive!

Spelt Foccacia

(For the dough)

  • 1 kg white spelt flour (about 8 cups) (not whole grain)
  • 9 dl warm water (about 3, 6 cups)
  • 2 tbs. honey
  • 1 ts. salt (Himalaya salt)
  • 1 pack dry yeast
  • 2 handful coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes

How to foccacia: Mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl before adding the chopped dried tomatoes and dry ingredients. Mix to a smooth dough with a spoon. The mixture is suppose to be very wet and pourable.

Let proof in room temperature for 1 hour. Pour the dough into a partchment lined baking tray and and with (oiled fingers) make holes for the oil to settle into. Pour oil over the dough and sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Let proof another 30 minutes before baking in the middel of the oven at 200 celcius (390 farenheit) for 30- 40 minutes. Let cool before slicing.

Herb Oil

  • 0,75 dl (about 1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1  clove garlic (grated)
  • 1 ts dries oregano
  • 1 ts. dried tyme
  • 1 ts. dried rosemary

How to: Grate the garlic and mix eveything together. Set aside for the foccacia.

*Sea salt flakes (Maldon) for sprinkling on top before baking.

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You can’t stop at just one piece!


Project Healthy in Italy! The Healthiest Country in Europe and the World.

My quest for health in Italy…

Oh, my goodness how excited I am to finally share my latest project with you…

I am going to Italy and you can come along! Well, not literally (at least not yet) but you can follow my quest live here on my blog and through social media from June 9.- July 6.!

About Project Healthy in Italy

I love Italy and the Italian culture and believe I must have been an Italian nonna (grandma), making fresh pasta all day in another lifetime. It is a country so close to my heart, but yet so far away from my lifestyle and diet goals. Or so I thought…

Italy has once again been awarded the title of being the healthiest country in Europe, and the second healthiest country in the world. Italy has for years been the healthiest in the world, and just recently recieved second place with just half a point behind Singapore. (Bloomberg Global Health Index.)

The Italians live longer, are happier and have a health care system that really works in favour of its citizens.

 

What is their secret and how can it be one of the healthiest countries in the world when pizza, pasta, cheese and wine is what first comes to mind when talking or thinking about Italy?

How can it be that this wonderfully delicious but gluten-rich, carb-loaded cuisine can bring health and happiness to Italians, but if my diet consists of this in Norway, I become sick, fat and generally unhappy?

What is it that the Italians understand that both I and the rest of the world simply don’t? What have I been missing in both my personal and professional journey as a health and diet expert that the Italians haven’t?

And is the country really that healthy? Have they been able to avoid the ever-evolving problem of declining health and expanding waistlines that the rest of the world, including my own country, just hasn’t?

So, hey Italy can I really be happy, healthy and keep a balanced weight while living the Italian lifestyle? I can’t wait to find out! Follow my monthlong quest in the country of world’s greatest food and wine, and according to Bloomberg, the world’s healthiest…

Do you think it sounds exciting? Make sure to follow my blog by subscribing and liking my Facebook page here and Instagram (which I will really be active on) here

 

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Creamy Dreamy Vanillatini!

Doesn’t this mocktail look absolutely lovely? And it is 100 % alcohol free and healthy! This is my “Creamy Dreamy Vanillatini” from my first juice book “Juicy!” and today I am sharing my recipe with you…

I hope you give it a try and let me know what you think:)

 

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Creamy Dreamy Vanillatini!

2 dl (3/4 cup) sugar free almond milk
1/4 large piece fresh pineapple
1 banana
1 ts vanilla powder
1 ts coconut sugar
ice cubes

How to: Juice the pineapple and blend the juice with the rest of the ingredients until smooth. Enjoy!

Juicy goodness: Rich in antioxidants, carbohydrates, vitamin C, potassium, and the enzyme bromelaine which helps the body digest protein and has natural anti-inflammatory properties.


Juice Arugula for a Better Digestion.

Do you sometimes feel a little sluggish and bloated? Sometimes our bodies need a little aid in the complex process of digesting our foods and one of the best things you can do is add the leafy, peppery arugula to your diet.

It is fantastic and even better for your digestion when juiced! Give this recipe a go.

 

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Bitter greens like arugula/rocket are great for digestion!

 

Let’s Rocket 

Arugula, also known as rocket salad, is a leafy green from the cruciferous family. It has an aromatic peppery taste and is perfect for a healthy, green super juice! It is rich in bitters which help our digestion function better. Arugula also has four times the amount of iron compared to the more commonly used ice berg salad – so use it in your salad as well as your juice!

1 hand full arugula
1 apple (preferably a sweet tasting one)
1/3 lemon
1/5 zucchini
1/5 cucumber

Juicy goodness: The bitters in arugula kick start the digestion juices in your stomach helping your body better digest and absorb nutrients. It also triggers the releases of bile into the small intestine. The leafy green is also rich in vitamin B, zinc, copper, vitamin A and C, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Juicy tip! Arugula is low in oxalic acid, an acid which can hinder the body’s ability to absorb calcium. This makes arugula a perfect substitute for spinach which is high in oxalic acid and is an important factor to remove from the diet for people suffering from osteoporosis (brittle bones).

 


Happy Heart Juice! Juice Yourself to Lower Blood Pressure.

Happy Heart Juice! (Serves 1)

Fresh beets are one of the best vegetables you can juice- both taste wise and health wise. When it comes to taste, it is naturally sweet. Regarding the health benefits, it is known to be a natural blood pressure remedy due to the nitrates found in the raw juice. It may also be a performance enhancer, as it has shown to reduce the body’s rate at which it uses oxygen when exercising. This results in you tiring less easily. Get your beets on!

 

 

IMG_7951 rødbeter med lokk og kopp

Fresh beet juice is nature’s finest remedy for high blood pressure and low energy levels.

 
3 cm/ 1-inch thick fresh pineapple slice
2 medium beets
1 hand full spinach
3 cm/ 1-inch large piece ginger
½ lime

How to: Wash the produce, leaving the skin on as a lot of the nutrients are located directly beneath the skin. Press using a juice machine/slow juicer.

Juicy goodness: Enzyme bromelaine, nitrates, iron, vitamin C, gingerols, magnesium and potassium.

Sources: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288229.php
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5295087/


Waistline Friendly and Yummy Lentil Soup!

I love soup or stews this time of year and they are easy to make – all in one pot!

My red lentil soup (or stew) is really delicious, and filling, but still low calorie, fiber-rich and blood sugar friendly, making it good for your waistline as well.

Recipe below…

 

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Lentils are a great plant based protein and is blood sugar friendly.

 

 

Carina’s Red Lentil Soup ( 4 portions)

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2- 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 carrots (peel)
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 chili
  • 500 grams ( 2 cans) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 liter ( 3 1/2 cups) vegetable stock
  • 2 dl. ( 1 cup) dry red lentils

How to: Finely chop the onion, carrots, celery, chili and garlic. Sautee in olive oil until soft. Add the crushed tomatoes, stock and lentils. Cook until tender adding more water if needed. Season to taste. The lentils need at least 30 min. to cook. You do not have to pre-soak them. Enjoy!

Tip! This soup/stew tastes really great the next day so you can make a large batch if you like. It is also great to freeze so you have a healthy meal ready in no time:)