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:)

 

 

 


5 Easy Tips for a Happy, Healthy New Year.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a great holiday and are ready to meet the new year head on.

Perhaps you have found yourself gaining a few pounds over the holidays and/or have fallen off the healthy wagon?

 

 

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Let’s get healthy together! Photo: Eva Kylland/Shape Up Magazine

 

Well, have no fear; I am here to help you kick-start the new year and make 2018 your best, healthy year yet. And best of all, my tips are really easy to implement straight away!

5 Easy Tips for a Happy, Healthy New Year

  1. Start your day with 5 dl ( 2 cups) of warm water with the juice of 1/2 a lemon. This blend is so great for detoxing your liver, rehydrating the body after a good nights sleep, regulating your blood sugar, as an antioxidant and to regulate the body’s PH balance. If you get into this habit I guarantee you will have more energy, less belly bloat and a stronger immune system.
  2. Add chili to your daily meals. Adding, spicy chili is an easy way to help kick-start your body’s metabolism. It also works as a natural detoxifier and painkiller. The secret ingredient is called capsaicin and has shown promise for relieving shingles pain, osteoarthritis, psoriasis symptoms, and more. Capsaicin has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and has also shown some promise for cancer, weight loss, and allergy symptoms
  3. Eat 1/2 avocado everyday. I love this natural fat burning fruit! Avocado has lots of antioxidants and healthy fats that regulate the blood sugar, making you fuller faster and longer. It is a great source of heart protecting vitamin E. My favourite way to eat avocados is on toast with lemon juice, sea salt and chili flakes. You can also blend the flesh for a creamy, filling smoothie.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (with the mother) to either your water, salad or other meals. Apple cider vinegar boosts your metabolisme, aids digestion, regulates the body’s PH balance, curbs appetite and is in general a cheap and effective supplement for your body and health.
  5. Drink water! I know you have heard this time and time again… but do you still avoid listening to this great and basic advice? So many people suffer from low energy, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, aches and pains just for the simple fact that their body is dehydrated. Get your 1, 5- 2 liters every day. The more active you are, or if you live in a warmer climate, the more you may need. Add lemon, lime, orange, cucumber slices or herbs to your water for a great taste.

 

Happy, healthy new year!

 

 

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Drink fresh lemon juice and hot water every morning for your best, healthy 2018!

 

 


Norwegian Christmas Cider- “Julegløgg”

Wow, how time flies! It is soon Christmas and there are many recipes and traditions to look forward to. One of them in Norway is the spicy Christmas cider called “gløgg”.

It is a sweet drink served warm. It has spices and some make i with red wine. It is to be served warm with raisins and almonds. Perhaps you have this in your country as well?

A lot of people purchase a cider product in the store and this is full of sugars and additives and a real calorie adder, and a really unhealthy beverage to drink.

So I have developed my own recipe that tastes great and is healthy, boosting your immune system with real spices. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

 

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The season can be tasty and healthy!

 

 

Healthy Christmas Cider

  • 100 grams red grapes
  • 1/3 piece lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 whole star anise
  • Raisins
  • Almonds, chopped

How to: Juice the grapes and the lemon. Add the juice to a pot and add the spices. Let simmer (not boil, to keep the nutrients) for 5 min. Strain the spices and add raisins and almonds if you wish.

Merry Christmas from Norway!

 


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!

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