Overindulgent kids free time and a green kale, avocado and pineapple smoothie

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Last weekend was a rare and lovely event of nearly 48 hours of me and husband time without the kids. Not that I don’t love spending time with my kids but I find it important for us as a couple to recharge, regroup and just being two people in a relationship rather than just mummy and daddy sometimes. We spent a month looking forward to it which in itself is a treat. ( it’s always good to have things to look forward to ) I’m very lucky to have a sister and brother-in-law who are willing to sacrifice their weekend peace and quiet for us to have some is time.

We decided to not go away for our weekend but to actually be tourists at home in London and we turned into two kids in a candy shop and tried as many restaurants, bars and coffee places that we could possibly try in a weekend. All these places that you can’t go to with a buggy and 2 kids that are unable to sit still for no more than 10 minutes!

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Although the weekend was amazing it wasn’t exactly amazingly healthy. I have a fairly addictive personality to put it mildly, it’s all or nothing, on or off, do or don’t. (Yes I have been betting on most games during the World Cup! ; )
I’m working hard to learn moderation but didn’t succeed this weekend so after a hedonistic 48 hours I’m getting back to my latest favourite, smoothie meals! Sometimes I have one for breakfast, sometimes for lunch and if I don’t have time for a proper sit down meal in the evening I might even squeeze in a smoothie for dinner. I always thought I would go hungry having just a smoothie as a meal but if you do it right then it can be very filling.

Advantages of a smoothie as a meal;
You’re giving your digestive system a well-deserved break, it’s fast and easy and it’s easy to load the smoothie with nutrients.

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Green breakfast smoothie with quinoa and kale

Serves 1

1 cup of kale (roughly 2 medium leaves)
1 cup of coconut water
1 cup of chopped pineapple
1 oz of cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon of wheatgrass
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
1/3 of an avocado

Cook the quinoa. If you’re having the smoothie for breakfast the quinoa can be cooked the day before to save time in the morning. Crush the chia seeds a little bit to get the most omega 3 out of them. Add everything to the blender and blend until smooth. Breakfast is served!

My Multiple Sclerosis (MS) story- part 2 Healing and Recovery

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This is the part of the story where I’m going to tell you about my road to recovery. It’s a tricky part because I don’t want to give the impression that I have found a magical, one-size-fits all cure to MS..because I haven’t. I have found what works really well….for me. Nor do I want to give the impression that I’m Mrs super-fit who is never tired, never has a sore back or never ever has any health problems. I’m just like any regular person who does get worn out if I push myself too hard and who struggles to find time to do exercise….But hey that’s pretty good….being just like anyone else, given that 6 1/2 years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and was faced with a very uncertain future in regards to my health……

So after I had been diagnosed I had a couple of days or a week of feeling terribly sorry for myself ( I most likely scoffed one or two or three tubs of Ben & Jerry’s during those days ) Then I guess I found some sort of fighting spirit within me and I quite firmly decided no, I’m not going to let this thing beat me, no way, no way, no way!
The neurologist very kindly offered me disease modifying drugs and steroids. ( yes I’m being slightly sarcastic by using the word kindly) Since I had already started to read about nutrition and a more holistic view on health I strongly believed that there was a different path to stroll down rather than using conventional medicine. I felt fairly certain that medicines wouldn’t “fix” my body since I instinctively felt that I was “broken” because of stress and an unhealthy lifestyle. The last thing on earth I wanted to do was to put more toxins into my body. And anyway, the medicines would just give me a 30% chance of having less episodes but had exactly the same side effects as the illness. Seemed absurd to me.

So I declined their very kind offer and started on my path as a healing detective : ) I was reading anything I could find about MS and holistic treatments. Found lots of stories of people who got better and started to connect the dots between them. Vitamin D, B12, eating minimal saturated fats, a positive mindset, eating lots of vegetables, meditation, exercise, getting rid of toxins in your body, staying away from processed food. I also started to find lots of stuff that seemed really relevant to my own health.

For example if the thyroid gland has been under stress for a long period it can start attacking it’s own healthy cells…ok, sounds like MS and is true for me, I certainly had been very stressed for a long time
B12 deficiency has almost identical symptoms to MS. And stress, alcohol and crap food depletes B12……umm….aha I see!

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Decided to see a nutritionist ( See details below ) who took some tests and as I suspected, my body was completely wrecked. My thyroids and adrenals were exhausted, my vitamin levels were all over the place. I tested intolerant to several types of food. She also suspected I had candida and leaky gut. And after quite a bit of convincing I went on a 3 month candida diet with added extras (as if the candida diet isn’t strict enough ; ) no sugar, no fruit, no alcohol, no dairy, no meat, no coffee, no rice, no peas, no wheat, no soya, no yeast, no citric acid….the list goes on! The first week was diabolical, seriously difficult to get out of bed. I felt awful. Really! But as the weeks progressed I started feeling……well pretty good. I stuck to the diet over Christmas and New Year’s Eve which was interesting to say the least but in the end of the day what is one Christmas amongst many if I could have my health back.

I also tried to get rid of as many toxins as possible so started using deodorant without aluminium, shampoo and shower gel without parabens and other toxins, toothpaste without SLS, stopped colouring my hair, used cleaning products without toxins, natural make-up, ate organic vegetables etc etc. I even started making my own paraffin free candles. It’s unbelievable
how many toxins we get into ourselves on a daily basis!
No wonder the body has little capacity left to fight illnesses.

I continued to work really hard on continuing the mindset I was thought through CBT, searching for the positive rather than the negative. So for example when going to the gym and looking in the mirror instead of screaming I haaaaaate my varicous veins I smiled and thought this is an amazing body because it is healthy, it has legs that can walk, it doesn’t hurt and it can lift heavy weights ( I went back to bodypump shortly after having been diagnosed using tiny tiny tiny weights in the beginning)

I tried a lot of other alternative treatments, reflexology which is amazing and I still do sometimes ( see details below) I tried bee pollen, visualisations, meditation, the placebo effect….you name it.

And how did it all go. Well 6 1/2 years later and I still haven’t had another episode and I’m not in the slightest bothered by my MS. The doctors think I am lucky. I think I am lucky that I listened to my inner voice that told me to go down an alternative route and refused the medicine. ( please note I’m not recommending to anyone to not take their medicines, this is my story and this is what felt right and worked for me ) I honestly believe that my body was imbalanced and toxic and that I needed to get it back into balance. I don’t dare to think about how I would feel today if I had taken the medicine and hadn’t changed my life style (which my then GP suggested)

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So what things would I recommend for a person who has recently been diagnosed with MS? Like I said before, I don’t think there is a one size fits all solution. Every individual should look at their own life and ask, what’s not working really well? Using lots of toxins at work, is that part of what’s making you ill? Lots of amalgam fillings in your teeth? Is removing them part of the solution? Is there a part of your life that you are unhappy and stressed about, partner, work? Are you eating food that damages your body rather than foods that will help your body to heal? And so on and so forth. You get my drift.


For me my way to recovery was definitely a combination of many things.

Seeing a nutritionist who looked at me as a whole and who could take tests that showed imbalances in my body and helped me correct them. Super important!

The 3 month diet, definitely! It allowed my body to have a long break where it fully could concentrate on healing, our own bodies have a great healing capacity if we just let them.

B12 is of mayor importance, the only time I have felt slightly unwell was when I stopped taking it. I am taking 400 micrograms of sublingual powder every day. And B12 is a water soluble vitamin so there’s no harm in taking large doses to see if it makes a difference. It’s important that it’s sublingual powder, shoots or patches since it appears to me that a lot of people with MS has difficulties taking in b12 from food or tablets.

Changing my diet was of paramount importance. I now eat a plant based diet (some raw and some cooked) I don’t eat a lot of meat and I rarely eat butter or cream. I try to stay away from wheat and sugar as much as possible and I eat mainly organic food. Processed food is a rare event. It may sound strict and boring but it most definitely isn’t.

Waving bye bye to as many toxins as possible is significant ( while writing this I realise that I have let some toxins back into my life so time to get a grip…)

Exercise is of course really really really important. ( which I’m struggling to re-introduce in my life after the birth of my two kids…..time, I neeeeeeed more time ; ) Even if you have just been diagnosed with MS there are always some exercise that you can do. Even if it’s just 5 minutes of stretching!

The placebo effect or the mind is a powerful tool. I read a lot about using your mind to think yourself well and I am going to use a quote by Henry Ford that I find explains it. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right” I believe this statement is true for the healing process. ( And no I don’t think you can heal a broken bone with the power of your mind ; ) In the beginning when I was diagnosed my husband sometimes wanted to talk about the future and the conversations went something like this;
Him; Let’s say you would get another relapse
Me: But I won’t
Him: but let’s just say you would
Me: But I won’t
Him: ok but let’s just say for arguments sake that you would
Me: hmmmmm…..ok…….but as long as you understand that I won’t.
Him: ok so let’s say you would have another episode
Me: but I won’t

Needless to say these discussions could take aaaaaalll night. What I was doing was using the placebo effect to heal myself hence not allowing me to doubt for a second that I would get better. Denial it might sound like to some but it has been proven that if we really believe something is going to make us better, there will actually be measurable positive changes in our bodies. Here’s an interesting study conducted at Harvard. The placebo effect has long been accepted as something that works by conventional medicine but they are still baffled about how it works, and how to use it.
I also used visualisations where I visualised the scars in my brain healing and disappearing. Visualisations also have been proved to have real effects on our bodies.

My dream is that one day a holistic approach using nutrition and lifestyle assessment would be the first call for treatment and that medicines would be the last option. I don’t think that the “there’s a pill for all ills” mentality works. In fact these days we take more pills than ever but many illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease are on the increase.
Ideally it would be no need for hospitals but hey I’m a dreamer, not completely crazy ; )
Don’t get me wrong, there has been some incredible advances when it comes to traditional medicine. Surgery of today is unbelievably good. But seeing the individual a a whole needs to become standard.

I also dream we will have healthcare where there’s a choice! You want to use medicine and operations? Fine we support you wholeheartedly. You want to use nutrition and exercise? Absolutely, we support you wholeheartedly. Currently this is definitely not the case. The medicines that I was offered and declined would have cost the NHS £8000 per year. Was I offered any support for vitamins, seeing a nutritionist or exercise? Nope, I don’t think so, not a penny!

The most important lesson that I have learnt from my MS story is, do your research!!! Very few people goes to buy a car without having done any research about pros and cons of what’s out there. Yet when it comes to our own health we take the doctors word for that what they are offering is the best remedy (this also goes for if you are seeing a nutritionist, naturopath or healer) Don’t take anyone’s word for what’s the best remedy. Keep an open mind and listen to what people have to say but do your research!

Nutritionist, I saw Annie McRae who has now relocated to California to be closer to her sons. (Lucky California) She does skype consultations so if you are struggling to find someone close to where you live, do contact her!

Reflexology, I am seeing Anna Lee at Shine on the Green who has magic hands! I always feel really good afterwards. And the great thing is that she can tell you if there is something wrong……..she told me there was something up with my teeth shortly after I had removed my wisdom tooth!

For recipe I picked another one with turmeric. This is a fantastic breakfast smoothie that was posted by Emily Ho on thekitchn.com. It’s perfect to prepare the night before and then you have your breakfast ready in the morning.

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Sunshine breakfast smoothie with coconut, clementines and turmeric

1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut water
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
Fresh or frozen segments from 2 (or 3 if they are small) clementines (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2-inch fresh turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
1/2-inch fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maca powder

The original recipe called for honey it every since my post about sugar I’m trying to reduce my intake of sugar ( even natural ones)

If you are going to use frozen clementines prepare and put into freezer a couple of hours before. Then prepare the ginger and turmeric and put into blender. Add all other ingredients and blend until desired consistency. Enjoy!

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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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 : )

Wisdom tooth removal, pea and rocket soup and pomegranate smoothie

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Had my wisdom tooth removed today. Getting there was definitely more painful than the removal itself. Husband cycles to work but got a flat tire on the way there this morning so he had to take the train back to look after Z1 & Z2 but due to a derailed freight train he had to take the tube and then got stranded so had to take a taxi….which I then had to take to the hospital. Phew! Phoned the hospital and they said that if I was going to be more than 10 minutes late they couldn’t perform the surgery today. Got there with 2 minutes to spare due to the excellent knowledge and skills of the cabbie. London cabbies really are the best in the world (he told me these days it takes 5 years of studying to become a London cab driver…..wow)

So after the really easy and pain free wisdom tooth removal (anaesthetics hasn’t worn off yet) I can only eat liquid cold food….hmmm what to eat? Poor hubby, day from hell and he has to eat liquid cold food for dinner ( he doesn’t have to but I don’t think either of us feel like cooking 2 separate meals)

In the end I decided to go for another one of Sybil Kaphoor amazing soup recipes from the Taste cook book ( slightly adapted) and this is a really yummy soup so no poor hubby!

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Serves 4

2 bunches of spring onions, trimmed and roughly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, roughly diced
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
850 ml chicken or vegetable stock
800 g shelled peas or frozen peas
225 gr rocket
100 ml single cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
50 ml single cream to serve
A handful of attractive rocket leaves to serve

In a large saucepan gently fry the spring onions and garlic in the oil until soft. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then add the peas.

Return to the boil then cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until the peas are very soft. Stir in the rocket and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, then immediately liquidize.

Add the cream and season to taste. Chill or reheat depending on if you wish to serve the soup cold or hot with a swirl of cream and a few rocket leaves in the centre.

To get some protein into myself I had for dessert ( you’re never as hungry as when you’re not allowed to eat! ) this smoothie. Apart from tasting amazing and being a cold liquid it is also packed with antioxidants which is great when your body is working on healing. Recipe is adapted from eatmedelicious.com but apparently it’s originally comes from Martha Stewart.

Pomegranate, berries and pineapple smoothie

1/3 cup silken tofu
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup fresh pineapple
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 teaspoon honey

Pop in blender and press start button. Serve over ice if you like it extra cold. In hindsight if I had to drink it again straight after having removed a tooth I would have substituted the berries with a banana to get it super smooth

Peanut butter smoothie

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My husband James thinks I should own up to my ice-cream addiction. So here we go, I’m a complete and utter ice-cream addict, I confess.  I can not in my wildest imagination comprehend people who have ice-cream in their fridge for days let alone weeks. Oh I forgot it was there…Say what, can’t you hear it calling, eat me eat me eat me!

My daughter wakes up in the morning and with her cutest smile says glass (ice-cream in Swedish, I am Swedish by birth) and believe me I understand her. I could imagine waking up and open the bed side fridge and have an ice-cream first thing in the morning. What a great way to start the morning. But my daughter when she finally gets her ice-cream it’s not actually ice-cream, it’s a baby yoghurt that I put in the freezer. She’s happy and I don’t have to deal with the super tantrums of too much sugar. Similarly I have to find a way to trick myself. Ben and Jerry are my best friends and I don’t want to shut them out of my life completely but the amount I’m eating just isn’t on. There is absolutely nothing good for my health in ice-cream. Diabetes inducing sugar, lots and lots. Artery clogging saturated fats, lots and lots. And calories…..my daily half a tub of Ben & Jerrys is 560 calories!!

So anyways I tried this the other day and it was really yummy. I’m actually longing to make another one tonight. So much that I actually stopped thinking about my best friends. (Sorry Ben, sorry Jerry) The photo doesn’t do this smoothie justice. (Note to self, learn how to take better pictures!)

1 banana, frozen
1 tablespoon of peanut butter ( a good version without added sugar)
1 teaspoon of honey or agave syrup
100 ml milk of your choice
1 tablespoon of milled Flaxseed, Sunflower, Pumpkin and Sesame Seeds and Goji Berries or sth similar. I use the Linwoods brand

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Put the peeled banana in chunks in freezer a couple of hours before ( or always keep some bananas in freezer for emergencies : ) Add all ingredients to blender and blend. Pour over ice cubes or crushed ice. I usually leave my smoothie in the fridge for at least 15 min to get it that really nicely ice-cream-esque cold. Enjoy!

The tablespoon of milled flaxseed etc does two things to this smoothie. Firstly it adds some lovely crunchiness. It also makes it brimming with health benefits. Omega 3,6 and 9, protein, dietary fibre and plenty of vitamins. It’s also filled with energy. Banana contains both simple and complex carbohydrates so both endurance energy and quick release energy. Peanuts also is good for energy so if you want some extra oomph this is the snack to have ; )