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!

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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.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 


Creamy, Vegan Cauliflower Soup

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.

 


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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Red Velvet Juicesmoothie!

 

This juicesmoothie is bursting with natural goodness! It’s red and purple pigments are natures antioxidants and just by looking at it you can tell that it is loaded with cancer fighting and anti-aging properties. Red cabbage is simply one of the healthiest cruciferous vegetables you can eat and juice, and when mixed with raspberries- it tastes fantastic as well.

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Photo: Synøve Dreyer from my first book Juicy!

 

 

 

  • 1 apple
  • 1, 5 inch thick red cabbage
  • 1/3 lemon with rind
  • ¼ pineapple
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 tbs. cold pressed organic flaxseed oil
  • 1ts. Wheatgrass powde
  • 1 hand full frozen or fresh raspberries

 

Juicy how-to: Juice all ingredients except raspberries, oil and wheatgrass in a juicer. Pour the juice together with the remaining ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

 

 Juicy goodness: This juicesmoothie is full of antioxidants known as phytochemicals, fiber, vitamin C, healthy, fat burning fats, chlorophyll and beta-carotene.

 

Juicy tip! Can’t get a hold of red cabbage? You may use green/white cabbage or even kale instead.

 

 

 


Super pear juice!

The humble pear is a delicious fruit and is also a great source of fiber. Pears are also great for juicing! They contain pectin which is a soluble fiber that acts as pre-biotic in the intestines. These pre-biotics feed the healthy gut bacteria which results in an overall better digestion and health, and best of all, the soluble fibers are also contained in your fresh juice. These fibers are the reason your juice will be a little thick.

Pears give a great taste to any juices, especially recipes containing greens and other vegetables. For best results when juicing make sure you choose a pear that is hard and not soft and mushy as this will not juice well at all and are better for blending.

In early fall pears grow here in my country of Norway and a lot of people have them in their own backyards. Do pears grow in your county and if so what kinds? Let me know in the comment section:)

Super pear juice recipe below…

 

 

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Beautiful pears captured at our log cabin near Røros, Norway.

 

 

Super pear juice!

  • 2 pears
  • 3 cm piece fresh ginger
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/3 zucchini
  • 1 large carrot

How to: Wash the produce and juice with skin on in a juice machine, preferabaly a slow juicer. Drink within 30 minutes.

Juicy goodness: Vitamin C, pectin, potassium, calcium, iron, gingerols, vitamin A, B vitamins, organic water.

 

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Juice Yourself Healthy!

I love juicing and it has really turned both my health and career around. I discovered juicing for about 7 years ago and when I added just one or two juices to my diet my energy levels sored, my digestion became so much better and cravings for sweets disappeared.

Did you know that a humble little apple contains cancer- fighting malic acid, anti-aging quercitin, B vitamins, vitamin C and so much more? Kale may help us fight cancer and ginger and beets help detoxify the liver and blood. Nature  has the answers to our health problems…

Depending upon which country you live in, the government recommends a certain portion of fruits and vegetables to be consumed every day. In Norway and most other European countries it is recommended to eat at least “5 a day” which consist of 2 fruits and 3 vegetables. In the USA the government recommends at least “9 a day” and in Japan they recommend “17 a day”!

Asian countries have traditionally shown lower rates of cancer, particularly breast cancer and prostate cancer which are typical lifestyle diseases related to what we eat and how we live.

By juicing your fruits and vegetables on a daily bases it is so easy, tasteful, and quick to drink broccoli, sprouts, ginger, lemons, apples and so much more. And I personally guarantee it will give you such an increase in your life quality. It will simply make you burst with energy!

Juicing also releases more of the nutrients “locked” within the pulp and underneath the skin of the produce so when juiced all of this is released ensuring your juice is full of cell building nutrients. Juicing is also a great way to ensure your children’s diets are healthy and that they receive the correct building blocks (together with omega 3) for healthy brain development and to build a strong immune system preventing disease.

Remember that allergies and food intolerances are a growing problem in our society and we have the power to both reverse and prevent them through our diet and lifestyle. Give them fresh pressed juice every day and they will be well prepared for a long and healthy life.

 

 

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Juicing at our cabin by Røros. Photo: Liv Grådal

 

 

Goodness and Health in Every Drop- 10 Good Reasons to Become “a Juicer”!

  1.  Easy and quick way to reach your daily recommendations of fruits and vegetables
  2. A better digestion and less problems with heart burn and acid reflux
  3. Allergies and breathing problems may improve
  4. May prevent cancer and heart disease
  5. Prevents/improves high cholesterol and high blood pressure
  6. Has an anti-aging effect do to a high antioxidant and enzyme intake
  7. More energy
  8. Healthy way to lose weight
  9. Floods your cells with minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes and organic water
  10. Cleanses, replenishes and restores the vital organs, is alkaline forming and anti- inflammatory