Gym evaluation and an alkaline raw porridge

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I have now finished my one month of testing how the gym makes me feel and as I said I will now evaluate it. Just as I really started to get into it and had created some sort of a routine, I have to leave which is a bit annoying but as they say; do something for 21 days and it becomes a habit. Exercise is now a habit ( so precious and I need to make sure I don’t loose it ) Next I am going to test Hot yoga!

So how was the gym experience;
Fairly good I must say, absolutely amazing to get to use my muscles for something other than doing zoom zoom zoom with my kids (which is pretty amazing too but only works the arms….and stomach….and legs) Also really enjoyed some good cardio to get the heart pumping. Now to the evaluations categories.

How much have my spirits lifted ( do I feel on top of the world? )
Quite regularly I do feel on top of the world whilst being at the gym. The happy happy techno/ disco music and the full-on positive self-talk, that I learnt after my MS diagnosis, makes me feel that way. 8/10

How happy do my muscles feel (stretched, no pain, stronger etc)
I feel stronger, muscles are aching in both a positive and negative way. I do get little aches and pains from the gym, especially if I don’t stretch properly which isn’t so good. 4/10

How calm and at peace do I feel
As calm as a testosterone-filled, Duracell bunny rabbit on jugs of Java! But I guess I do loose a bit of negative energy 3/10

How happy does it make me feel
I do feel happier. Healthier hence happier ; ) but not ridiculously happy hormone levels 5/10

How clean and refreshed do I feel
Sparkly clean! I love the sauna and shower straight after gym combo. I know I know since I have MS apparently I shouldn’t use the sauna but hey apparently I should take medicine to suppress my immune system rather than eating lots of healthy stuff to make my immune system as strong as possible, so…….I don’t always believe everything being said about how to deal with MS. Please note if you have MS, don’t take my word for it. Sauna works for me but might not for everyone. I do take it fairly easy in the sauna and make sure I regularly leave the sauna for ice-cold showers. 10/10

Fitness and cardio levels
Stronger and easily did a 4k run on Thursday so very happy with fitness and cardio. My body is slowly starting to be less of a Picasso painting and more like….well less like a Picasso painting at least! 8/10

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So for today’s recipe I want to add a raw food porridge that I have become totally hooked on. A friend recommended this breakfast that she had got from a fab Swedish website that talks about the alkaline diet, smartamaten.se. As you probably know I’m not a big fan of putting a name on how you are eating but if there’s one “diet” out there that makes sense to me this would definitely be it. This is pretty much how I believe one should eat to be healthy. A humongous amount of plant based food, and a low amount of meat, dairy and gluten. But with the alkaline diet there’s no no-no foods. As long as you eat alkaline food 80% of the time you can eat acid food 20% of the time. If you want to read more about it here’s an article in the Telegraph. For you Swedes out there, do check out smartamaten.se where you can read more, get a free ph-list and subscribe to getting more great recipes.

Raw food porridge

Serves 1

1 banana
1/2 an apple or pear
A handful of raspberries ( I use frozen )
A handful of almonds
A handful of pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon of crushed sesame seeds
2 Brazil nuts
A couple of teaspoons of cacao nibs ( I use Creative Nature )

Mix everything apart from the cacao nibs with a handheld blender. Sprinkle the cacao nibs over. Enjoy! This breakfast keeps me full until lunch!

I put all the nuts and seeds to last me for ten breakfasts or more in a large jar which makes the mornings much easier

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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!

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!!