Healthy living rules and a gluten, dairy free banana/ cacao bread

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Victory and success!!!! Yeah!!! I saw the neurologist the other day and walked out of her office deliriously happy. And no there hasn’t been any miracles. I still have MS (the lumbar puncture confirmed it) And that I have had new lesions since 2007 is still a fact. But but…..I asked her what it means that I have had new lesions but hardly no clinical symptoms.
She said that a) it’s a very good sign and b) it seems that my brain is so strong that it can find new ways of transporting the signals to body parts even with new lesions. (She did actually seemed a bit surprised about this ) Her saying this is to me significant. It means that I am on the right path and all this kale stuffing, vegetable juice slurping, perfect exercise searching and finding more happiness quest is working! It means that I have made my body strong enough to deal with whatever rubbish comes its way. I even asked her if she thinks that all the things that I’m doing is working and she said YES! (This is coming from a neurologist and they normally just believes in steroids and immune suppressing medications…..)

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Of course I am still dreaming though that one day there will be no new lesions. And my long term goal is to be fully fit and capable to dance with my son at his wedding. If he’s anything like his dad whom I married on his 40th birthday (my son is only 18 months old) I have to keep fit for a very long time ; ) But no problems I can do it! If he’s not getting married (which I’m totally fine with) I guess I’ll aim for completing a marathon on my 80th birthday. I actually couldn’t care less if my son gets married or not but after having left the neurologist my body was filled with such an enormous amount of happiness hormones it did some weird things to my brain. I had this Hollywood happy ending vision in my head and I looked at my son and said; hey sweetie, you know what, I am absolutely fine and if you decide to get married one day in the future, I’ll definitely dance with you!

Anyway I’m delighted and feeling very encouraged to continue on my path to happier, healthier living….

Since I have recently gone gluten-free I’m searching for some gluten-free goodies to eat and I found a recipe for a yummy banana cake

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Altered from Lemonstripes.com
Ingredients:
1 cup rice flour
1 cup Doves gluten-free white bread flour (can be substituted with another cup of rice flour)
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons of cacao

Preheat the oven to 175 °C.
In a bowl, combine the flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, bananas, maple syrup, applesauce, oil, vanilla and 2/3 of the walnuts.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well mixed. Divide the mixture into 2 bowls. Stir in the cacao into one of the bowls.
Add the mixture without cacao into a 8″ x 4″ loaf pan coated with a little bit of oil. Then poor the cacao mixture on top. If you are after a more marbled effect you can use 2 spoons and dollop the mixtures into the cake tin alternately. Top the cake with the remaining walnuts.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean.
Enjoy a slice with a cup of your favourite tea!

My 10 favourite recipes from last year

So my white month started today , also my no sugar, no dairy and no gluten month. I know I only mentioned booze, the evil white stuff and dairy but what the heck if I’m going to be good I might as well be very good.
I’m probably also feeling inspired to be very good because I watched a fairly cheesy ( I cried a lot in the end ) but also very inspiring Australian/ American documentary last night called Fat, Sick & Nearly dead. It’s about a guy, Joe Cross, who goes on a 60 day juice fast to heal himself and take the one foot that he has in the grave out of the grave. He also meets another man with the same issues as himself. Can he convince him to start the fast as well? If you want some motivation for living a healthier life, this is a good film to watch.

Anyway, I have gone through the recipes that I wrote about on my blog last year to find out which ones do I keep coming back to over and over again! It always annoys me whenever tv-series do these episodes when the characters are just thinking back to things that has happened previously. I always get the feeling that the writers must have been very busy so they haven’t had time to write something new. And it’s sort of true for me as well, I have been very busy preparing for my meeting with the Neurologist tomorrow. I want to be armed to the teeth when I go there. But me being busy isn’t the only reason I have done a “10 favourite recipes” I also find it’s good to evaluate your year when it has come to an end so here we go;

My favourite 10

Peanut butter smoothie
This smoothie is fantastic! It’s a great combo of being that perfect healthy treat and a pre-sports drink, snack! It contains both short-term and long-term energy and is also quite filling. For me it has been more of a healthy treat but since I’m going to be doing more exercise this year……..

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Raw cacao, macadamia, goji and coconut balls
I’m hooked on these yummy little things. Full of anti-oxidants! They are lovely to eat straight out of the freezer so great to have handy if you are craving some chocolate.

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Roasted parsnip and garlic soup
My latest addition to my soup collection and I love it. It’s soo good for keeping those pesky flu-germs away given all the garlic. And delicious!

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Pineapple, ginger, chia seeds and coconut water smoothie
Refreshing and ideal before or after sports due to the coconut water. Also very good if your stomach is upset or as a hangover cure.

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Mozzarella, quinoa, peach, chilli and pomegranate salad
Haven’t made this in a while given how hard it is to find decent peaches this time of the year but it’s a great salad that I make lots of when good peaches are plentiful

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Macademia nut butter smoothie with mint dark chocolate covered macademia nuts
This is quite high in fat and calories so shouldn’t be eaten everyday but it’s a lovely, very nutritious and good for you treat. Waaaaay better for you than my old pals Ben & Jerry

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Fake sushi
A super nutritious and very easy way of making sushi.

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Beetroot goat cheese salad
Good enough to be eaten throughout the year. Perfect for lunch since beetroot is an energy booster

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Liquorice smoothie
A recipe from Ascension kitchen.com. Delicious and so good if you are feeling a bit stressed out

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Giving up coffee
Isn’t obviously a recipe but it’s one of the best things I did last year. Believe me next time I go to Sicily I won’t say no to that perfect espresso. But on a regular basis I feel more balanced, focused and calmer without it.

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Healthy twists and poached pear with anti-oxidant filled chocolate sauce

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For me healthy eating is not about excluding foods from your diet or depriving yourself from pleasure. I eat anything I like but make sure it is high in nutrition. Sure somethings has to be kept to a minimum, pizza, items high in saturated fats, sugar. You know the ones.

What I do is I always look at how to make ordinary dishes more nutritious. Adding spinach and kale to an ordinary salad, adding turmeric to scrambled eggs, wholewheat or spelt or zucchini pasta instead of white pasta. You get my drift.

On New Year’s Eve for example I cooked a potato gratin but instead of only standard white potatoes I added lots of sweet potatoes. And for dessert I made poached pear with a chocolate sauce, but not any old sugar laden version. A dessert filled with anti-oxidants and no refined sugar. The pears need to be prepared the day before serving.
I served the poached pear with Booja Booja vanilla ice-cream. It’s dairy-free, organic, gluten and soya free and 100% raw. And it taste amazing!

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Poached Pear with chocolate sauce

Serves 4

4 pears
2 1/2 cups of water
3 tablespoons of acacia honey
1 vanilla pod
3 tablespoons of maple syrup

Chocolate sauce ( slightly adapted from a cool blog called Top with Cinnamon)

3 pitted Mejool dates
20 grams of dark chocolate 70% cocoa minimum
1/2 cup almond milk
2 small teaspoons of raw cacao powder ( I use Creative nature superfoods)

Peel the pears and cut of the bottom so it can stand upright. Put pears, water and acacia honey in a pot. Cut the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds into the pot. Add the pods as well. Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes.

Transfer liquid, pears and vanilla pods to an airtight container. Pour over the maple syrup ( I don’t cook the maple syrup in order to keep it as nutritious as possible) Put in fridge when it has cooled down.

Cook the chocolate sauce just before you want to serve the pears. Put the dates and almond milk in blender and blend until smooth. Transfer into a pot, add the dark chocolate and cook on low heat for 5-10 min or until it has thickened. Stir continuously. Turn off the heat and and wait until it has cooled down a bit and then stir in the raw cacao powder. ( You want to keep as many anti-oxidants as possible hence not heat the raw cacao powder too much) I have written about the amazing anti-oxidant power of creative natures superfoods cacao powder before.

Put the pears on a paper towel for a couple of minutes in order for the liquid not to run on the plate.

Place the pears on serving plates and pour the chocolate sauce over it.
Serve with a scoop or two of Booja Booja’s vanilla ice-cream and decorate with some more raw cacao powder!