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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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!

 

Sunn julegl++gg

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:)

 

 

 

 

 


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:)

 


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.

red velvet

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.

 

 

 


Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I love Italy and Italian food but I can only endure all the gluten and high glycemic carbohydrates for a few days before my body tells me to stop!

So when I get home from my travels I like to take all the great inspiration and food discoveries I’ve accumulated and try to adapt them to  healthier and more balanced versions.

My sweet potato gnocchi with olive oil, lemon and Maldon sea salt are one of my creations that I simply can’t get enough of! Sweet potatoes are less starchy than white potatoes and better for your blood sugar. They are also a great source of antioxidants and fiber, and they are naturally sweet.

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My sweet potato gnocchi, pan fried with a little garlic, sage, olive oil and lemon juice.

Because they are more watery and contain less starch than white potatoes, substituting the recipe with sweet potatoes makes it harder to get a soft and fluffy gnocchi because you would have to add too much flour to get a normal texture.

Therefore I have used an untraditional method for making the gnocchi. The Italians may hate me for this, but trust me it works and is so easy! I use a piping bag to make the dumplings…

Here is the recipe and make sure you watch me make it in the video. I speak Norwegian but there are English subtitles!

You will need:

  • 300 grams baked sweet potato
  • 200 grams fine spelt flour
  • 2 tbs. ground flax seed
  • 1/2 ts. Himalaya salt
  • 1 piping bag

How to:

  1. Bake the sweet potato for 1, 5 hours at 200 degrees celsius. You can do this a day or two beforehand and keep the purre in the fridge until use.
  2. Let cool and scrape out the purre.
  3. Add to a mixing bowl and add half of the spelt flour, salt, and flax seeds. Mix well before adding the rest of the flour.
  4. Add the dough to a piping bag and let rest in the fridge for at least 30 min. You can even leave it in the fridge for a couple of days before making.
  5. Bring a pot of saltet water to a boil and cut a medium size hole in the bag. Squeeze out a small amount and cut the gnocchi to desired size using a scissor (it is a very sticky dough)straight into the boiling water.
  6. When the gnocchi rises to the top (about 3- 4 min) they are cooked.
  7. Serve as is with olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and Maldon sea salt or fry until golden on both sides before serving and garnishing.

 

Watch how to make here! English subtitles!

 

 

 

 

 


Raw chocolate with balsamico and sea salt.

Chocolate can really be an immune boosting food if chosen wisley, especially raw chocolate. Raw means the cacao has not been heat treated therefore it contains all the nutrients. It really is a powerhouse full of antioxidants, magnesium and healthy, fat burning fats.

Perhaps best of all is that it is really easy to make. I developed this recipe after being inspired by my trip to Modena, Italy where real balsamico is made. You can read about my trip here.

The recipe is posted below but take a look at my video of me making the chocolate. I do speak Norwegian but it is subtitled in English:)

A real good quality balsamico is naturally sweet and goes great with Maldon sea salt which enhances the chocolates flavour. You will also find this recipe in my latest book Carina’s Healthy Kitchen. (Currently only in Norwegian). You can purchase it here.

Raw chocolate with balsamico and sea salt.

You will need…

  • 100 grams of cacao butter
  • 0,25 dl ( 2 tbs) maple sirup
  • 3 tbs. raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbs. good quality balsamico
  • Maldon sea salt or other unrefined sea salt flakes.
  • A  silicon chocolate mold

How to:

  1. Rouphly chop the cacao butter and add to a glass bowl.
  2. Melt the cacao butter in a water bath (slowly) making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water. This will scorch the butter.
  3. When melted remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients except for the sea salt. Mix well.
  4. Pour into a silicon mold and sprinkle a little sea salt on top. Let cool before setting the fridge for 2- 3 hours.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

 

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Healthy chocolate! Food styling and photo: Carina Hultin Dahlmann/Carina’s Healthy Kitchen.


Cotton Candy Juice

Cotton Candy Juice

 Pink, juicy and heavenly divine best describes this juicy “cocktail”. Sometimes you just need a beautiful glass in your hand filled with juicy pleasure, but did you know that traditional cocktails are full of sugar, artificial coloring and hundreds of calories? Why not try a juicy cocktail full of all the juicy fun but without the unhealthy effects of alcohol and unnatural sugars. All pleasure and no guilt…

This recipe is from my first book Juicy! (Currently only in Norwegian). You can purchase it here

 

cotton-candy

Healthy Cotton Candy juice from my first bok Juicy! Photo: Synøve Dreyer

 

  • ¼ honey melon
  • 1/5 pineapple
  • 1/3 lime without the skin
  • A tiny piece (the size of your fingertip) of fresh beetroot for fabulous color
  • Ice cubes

How to: Juice all the ingredients preferabaly in a slow juicer and serve over ice.

Juicy goodness: This juice is rich in vitamin A and C, beta-carotene, magnesium, calcium, potassium, antioxidants and bromelaine, an enzyme that helps your body digest protein.