Busy bee and a turmeric, ginger and spirulina health insurance shot

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Sorry for having been so quiet lately. My life had suddenly got very busy…..in a good way. I’m feeling quite exited indeed. So some things that are happening;

I’m sorting out the blog, not changing it massively but it has lately felt too restricted which means I lost a bit of my spark so I’m making some small changes to make me exited again. I do think this is how we should always deal with things in life. If something has lost its spark we need to look at what we need to change to make it inspiring again…or move on. Don’t stay stuck in something spark-less!

I have also have started to seriously go for my dream of running a marathon, yes I have runners knees, yes I have a crappy, way too tight IT band and yes I have MS. Why should that stop me from running a marathon? I see absolutely no reason. So I have got new running shoes, new insoles and a personal trainer who is helping me to build strength in the right places. I’m also hopefully going to go and see my favourite physio. I’m icing my muscles and am using the foam roller to ease my ITband muscles. And if that doesn’t work then well I’ll try something else. Maybe I will become a barefoot runner…..

Adding to that I’m doing something that I have been wanting to do more of for a loong time…..dancing. Did jazzdance on Monday and Flamenco yesterday…..Flamenco was amazing, such passion and beauty. And the jazzdance was cool. I seriously kicked ass!! We’ll at least in my head which is all that matters ; )

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One part of sorting out my knees is to reduce inflammation in my body which is not only good for my knees but also for my Multiple Sclerosis and my health in general.
Chronic low-level inflammation has been linked to many western diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

If you want to read more about why reducing inflammation is very very very important here are some articles to read;

Mindbodygreen
Sciencedirect
Mercola

To reduce inflammation in my body things that I want to include in my diet on a daily basis are Turmeric, Ginger and Spirulina. I try to add turmeric and ginger in my cooking as often as possible but I don’t use it every day so I decided to make a little shot of these ingredients and drink it daily. It’s my health insurance for much less than £1 per day! I use capsules of turmeric which has a higher percentage of curcumin (the beneficial component of turmeric) than the spice from your regular shop.

I was fairly sure that I had to write a post about how sometimes we have to ingest things not because we like them but for the incredible health benefits…… But to my surprise I found that there is a way that actually makes it taste…..not-quite-Saturday-treat-ish but really really ok..

Turmeric, ginger and Spirulina health shot

1 capsule of Turmeric ( I use Terra Nova )
1 teaspoon of Spirulina ( I use Creative Nature’s Spirulina Powder (Hawaiian)
Freshly grated ginger (2cm cube)
5 tablespoons of coconut milk
A pinch of freshly ground black pepper ( enhances the health benefits of turmeric )

Open up the capsule and add to the coconut milk, add the spirulina, the freshly grated ginger and some black pepper.
Stir and enjoy! Or neck it down if it still doesn’t suit your taste : )

Ginger is very good at relieving motion sickness and nausea in general, it’s a digestive aid, anti-inflammatory, it fights cancer and is good at dealing with colds and flu

Turmeric is a very potent anti-inflammatory, wards off dementia, fights cancer and inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Spirulina is high in protein, helps allergies, removes toxins from your blood, reinforces your immune system, is anti-inflammatory, helps you control high blood pressure and cholesterol, is a great source of various nutrients such as B12 and helps protect you from cancer.

My Multiple Sclerosis (MS) story-part 1 Destruction and Diagnosis

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Putting my entire MS story up on my blog like this is very personal and I have been debating with myself for a while about whether or not to do it. In the end I decided that if my story can help someone else then it’s worth it. I’m also sure that a lot of readers are thinking, my god why does this woman go on and on and on about healthy food….so here we go, here’s the answer

The summer of 2007 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. MS is a neurological disorder with many variations of symptoms such as fatigue, visual problems, balance and pins and needles in hands and feet to mention a few. It’s an auto-immune disorder where the body gets confused and starts attacking it’s own healthy cells, mainly the protective substance (myelin) around the nerve fibres. This leaves scars on the nerve fibres and signals from the brain to various body parts slow down or can’t get through at all. Imagine a dog chewing through a telephone cable before hands free existed. Our brains really should go wireless!

I’m quite sure my MS, or imbalance in my body as I tend to think these days, didn’t start that summer. I think it started a few years earlier when I was going through some extreme stress. I was working as a restaurant manager in a busy restaurant in Notting Hill. It was really hectic at times but that wasn’t the main problem, it was more that it was a job that I didn’t want to do. A part-time job during university led to an assistant manager position. I was offered and thought, what the heck until I find something else. Then shortly thereafter I was offered the position as the general manager and again I thought what the heck, until I find something else….

I was getting my portfolio ready but as the perfectionist I used to be it had to be super perfect and before I knew it I was too stressed, too exhausted and had too low self-esteem because it had taken far too long to get my portfolio ready. (Apparently people with MS tend to be perfectionists who are never happy with anything they do) It’s not that I didn’t like my job, the people I worked with were great and a good night was as good as a great party…..that we got paid for! (Not all easy-peasy though, some days and nights were very very hard)

Lesson to be learnt; if your gut feeling is telling you that you are not happy with something in your life, leave it, change it, do anything but don’t stay stuck. It might be hard to change but the consequences of not changing are harder to deal with, believe me.

Anyway I started to feel more and more unwell and exhausted. I used caffeine and sugar to get me through the day and I used to have to drink a large brandy after a 14 hour shift to wind down so I could go to sleep. I was partying hard, eating crap food and very little exercise. Then I started having some serious chest pains. I was absolutely sure I was going to have a major heart attack any day and went to my GP time and time again but he just kept trying to reassure me that all I had was a cold ( I kept going back to him with chest pains for a whole year). I went to the emergency twice, crying and shaking and they just said…..you guessed right, that I had a cold. Eventually I struggled to leave the house because the chest pain and sense of imminent death just got too strong. I went back to my GP and thankfully he was not there that day. The female GP that I saw just took a look at me and said, you are having serious panic attacks girl. You need to take time off and I panicked ( all I knew how to do at that point ) I could not take any time off, don’t be ridiculous! But I took a week off and then went back to work on prescribed Valium. (Only took Valium for a week)

In hindsight it was quite funny, there were times when we had enormous queues of people and I just swayed around in slow motion in the midst of all the craziness. Another time after having been on a mad holiday in Sicily, when boarding the flight back I brought out the brown paper bag that I used all the time to breathe into ( it helps when having a panic attack) and we ended up having a whole row of seats to ourselves. No one wanted to sit next to the crazy lady with the brown paper bag! There were also some sad stories during that time when I didn’t function as I should, and wasn’t there for loved ones.

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I was ordered by my GP to do a CBT ( cognitive behavioural therapy) group therapy course and it helped me enormously. I was thought how not to always think the worst and to be positive. I forced myself to get back travelling on the underground and it was hell but I just kept repeating my affirmations; I’m ok, I’m not going to die, I’m ok I’m not going to die! And all the while reassuring people on the tube that I was ok despite the flood of tears streaming down my face and the heavy heavy breathing! I said; It’s ok, I’m just having a panic attack and then fired of one of my best restaurant manager smiles! ; )

Things got a bit better after the CBT, I could control my panic attacks and felt a bit less anxious but then one day I woke up and couldn’t see a darn thing on my left eye. Not a thing ,completely blind. I was told I had optic neuritis which is an inflammation of the optic nerve, that I most likely would get my eyesight back but that I now had an 80% chance of developing MS. So my husband and I thought enough is enough and left our respective jobs and went travelling in Thailand and Australia for 5 months, a great trip with lots of experiences and lots of relaxation. Already then did I start reading about alternative medicine and food, thinking about health and reflecting about what my body had gone through. Came back in May and in June I had another body-really-not-acting-like-it-should-experience. Parts of my body had no sensation, had difficulties walking straight, no bladder control, tingling in hands, feet and legs, double vision ( I had to wear special glasses in order to be able to see ) and an enormous tiredness. It felt like walking through quick sand. I also had the MS “tight belt around my chest” sensation.

I signed up for a clinical research trial at the neurology department and went to do an MRI scan and afterwards was taken into a room where a couple of people were working. The neurologist who did the study showed me slices of my brain on the computer screen and cheerfully said, isn’t this great, look at the stuff modern technology can show us. Meanwhile my vision got blurry from lack of oxygen ( I stopped breathing) and tears because while he was busy being delighted about modern technology, I just kept on staring at the scars on my brain that of course I knew from having done some googling meant that I had Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis basically means; several scars. The neurologist has since apologised after I wrote him a long letter explaining my distress. Shortly after that they confirmed my suspicion, I had indeed multiple sclerosis

End of part 1 of my MS story.

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Because MS is an inflammatory disease I wanted to mention Turmeric ( the orange spice that colours curry ) probably the best anti-inflammatory stuff you can get into yourself. So if you have any problems with inflammation just consume lots. It’s sooo good for so many reasons that really I think everyone should eat it ….all the time. Turmeric has a really strong smell but you can easily put 1/2-1 teaspoon in scrambled eggs, a chilli, soup, fried rice, a smoothie…..anywhere really.

This amazing tea recipe was given to me by a dear friend. He prepares the tea in a large thermos in the morning and then travels around London with it on his cool motorbike with a roof! I’m not quite that cool but the tea is nevertheless amazing!

Ginger, turmeric, cinnamon & rooiboos tea

7-8 thin slices of ginger
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
3 cloves
1/2-1 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon raw honey
1 bag of rooiboos

Peel and slice the ginger. Add all ingredients to a thermos or teapot or whatever you want to use. Add 1 liter (18oz) hot but not boiling water. Enjoy throughout the day!

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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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and raw ginger bread cookies

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….well not exactly outside here in London. We have blue sky and there are some red and orange colours still in the trees, it certainly feels more like autumn. It’s starting to look like Christmas at home and in my head, I’ve started to have this nice, warm, fuzzy feeling that I get around Christmas time. You see I’m one of those people who loves Christmas.

Lots of people get stressed around this time but me who normally has a tendency to get stressed, I actually don’t…..I figure whatever gets done gets done and what doesn’t doesn’t. Simple as that! For me Christmas is about spending some good quality time with your nearest and dearest, not a period of obligations.

This year we are keeping it very small, we figure it’s easier when the kids are still very young not to travel and just do lots of things locally and hang out just the four of us. I would have loved to go to Sweden to see my Dad and other family, but it will just be more relaxing this way. And I’m really looking forward to it.

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If you love Christmas you can easily get over excited. Which is good, getting over excited about something is a happy feeling and happiness is good for your health. A friend of mine got so excited she ended up buying 49 books for her daughter for Christmas ( the daughter is going to be one well-read little lady! ) Me I am getting super excited about ginger bread cookies but I don’t want to start too soon because once I start I can’t stop. And whilst being exited and happy is good for you, sugar is not and there’s certainly lots of it around during Christmas. So because I recently also got very exited about my raw cacao, macademia nut balls and ate quite a few of them I thought to myself……what if I could swop some ingredients, roll it out and make raw ginger bread cookies…and I could! This is like a mixture between eating the uncooked gingerbread dough and the cookies themselves but without the baddies and with plenty of goddies! Now that’s happiness for me!

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Raw gingerbread cookies

Makes 20 cookies

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves (not too much, cloves can be over powering)
1 cup of cashew nuts
1 cup of hazelnuts
2 cups of pitted dates
2 tablespoon acacia honey
1 tablespoon of water
Desiccated coconut to decorate

Add all ingredients apart from the water and the desiccated coconut.
Blend to required texture. I like it when it’s not too smooth, it gives it a bit of texture. If it’s to dry you can add a tiny bit of water but only a little bit at the time, if it gets too wet it’s impossible to roll out. Put the dough in fridge for an hour or so, then roll out until about 5mm thickness. Use your favourite Christmas dough cutter to cut out shapes. Decorate with desiccated coconut.
Don’t eat all the dough before you have made the cookies!!

Breaking bad and a badass pineapple, ginger, chia seeds and coconut water smoothie!

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So totally hooked on the tv-series Breaking Bad! We don’t really have a telly as such… We watch on demand, good thing is we don’t sit and flick through the channels watching stuff we don’t really want to watch but then when we get hooked, man do we get hooked. Was recommended Breaking Bad by a friend and sat through the first 3 episodes or so thinking this is not good, just a bit sad. But then bam, all of a sudden I wished I could send the kids to summer camp, autumn camp whatever just so I could serial watch until the end. Still not so sure what got me so hooked. Acting? Absolutely. Good plot? Sure. It raises questions I suppose of the moral kind. But anyhow I’m not a tv-serie critic and I am only on series 3 so no further comments.

One question that plopped into my head was, why is it so hard breaking bad when it comes to lifestyle….it is so bloody easy breaking good. I want to do more exercise since it would benefit me tremendously…I have the time…no excuses but it’s just easier to…..stay home and watch breaking bad! Or stay in bed doing that snooze thing that you don’t benefit from anyway. Being bad is instant gratification and that’s what we humans (most of us anyways) want. Getting up early in the morning to do exercise that will benefit you later on…..later on? I want my pillow now not later on. Although being good would just create a much better life in the long run.

Anyway this is a great smoothie for when I manage to break bad and get my lazy ass of the sofa and do some exercise. Coconut water is natures’ own sports drink and pineapple and banana is instant energy. Ginger is anti-inflammatory magic. Chia seeds are just good for everything. So a very effective energy drink without all the baddies….

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1 1/2 cup of fresh pineapple
1 frozen banana
1-2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger ( I like a strong ginger taste)
1 teaspoon of chia seeds
1/2 cup of Greek yoghurt
1/2 cup of coconut water ( I use VitaCoco)

Blend all together, then enjoy!

Oh yes I said I was going to list all the baddies that I have eaten since my last post so here we go…

1 piece of dark chocolate with hazelnuts
Some bolognese ( not sure if that counts as bad….homemade with good meat) …
That’s it, fair enough it’s only been a day and a half but it shows airing my dirty laundry in public stops me from
going for the biscuit tin : )