Give time

Do you remember the time when there was no internet? No cellphones, no smartphones, no computers, no emails – just perhaps a landline, but no answering machine!

Television, yes, but no broad casting 24/7 and only a few channels to chose from.

Do you remember when the shops were closed on Sundays?

That was peace!

To me, holidays and Christmas in particular, means peace and time to reconnect with the people I love. But it seems to have become increasingly more difficult to actually create that space of complete peace. Don’t you think?

Just have a look and see how distracted we are here and  here - these stories made me laugh, but really, they are sad!

Stories of people falling down stairs while texting, someone falling off a bridge, a lady into a fountain, someone fell down onto the  train tracks at the station! All were they  “Wexting” – walking while texting.

In London they are padding the lampposts because people walk into them while texting….

People in restaurants busy on their phones and not in contact with the people they are with.

All this 24//7 online connection is making us crazy, more and more stressed and disconnected.  We are missing out on precious present moments.

So how do we create a space of peace, or at least more of it?

How about something as wonderful as an “Unplugged Holiday” ? Just a few days…… unplugged, undisturbed –  connected to the real world?

Join me on my “unplugged holiday” 

This is what I plan to do:

  •  I will turn off my iPhone over Christmas
  • unplug my computer
  • No checking email, no blogging, no twitter, no Facebook, no Pinterest

I will attempt to convince my teenagers to do the same, I know it will be a hard one, but perhaps as a role model I will inspire them further down the road.

After all THE most important gift we can ever give one another – is time, time to truly be,  present with life and with each other.

“Our relationship lives in the space between us – it doesn’t live in me or in you or even in the dialogue between the two of us. It lives in the space we live together and that space is sacred”

-Martin Buber

 IMG_1362I wish you peace, reconnection and fun this holiday! 

Check this great idea out from the Clinton family:

Gifts that Give

Take healthy breaks during holiday chaos

Life is full of temptations and now it’s Christmas time so you may as well just give up,  give in and forget about it until January, right? Or?

Is it possible to find balance with the endless temptation of food, drinks and treats during this season?

Continue reading

Crispy Yam with Spicy Harissa

When I was first diagnosed with high cholesterol I believed that there was nothing in this world I could do to change that. I believed that I had to be on medication for the rest of my life because I had the generic kind.  A dad and a brother on cholesterol lowering medication, a granddad who suffered a heart attack and an uncle who died. I knew this was no laughing matter, soI faithfully took my statins and didn’t ask questions.

No questions

No Questions

This year I celebrate 4 years of normal cholesterol and no medication.

I did it with lifestyle changes!

Changed my diet and started exercising. You can read exactly how I did it here and a great story about the power of lifestyle changes here

A healthy lifestyle is the worlds best medicine

Lifestyle changes the best medicine

Lifestyle changes the best medicine

An example of what I eat for lunch instead of a sandwich filled with meat and cheese.

Crispy Yams and Spicy Harissa 

Lunch

Lunch

Crispy Yams and Spicy Harissa

3 red pepper 

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil

juice from one lemon

1 clove of garlic

1/2 -1 red chilli

Bake the peppers till they are tender and the skin almost black. Allow them to cool, tear off the skin and put the flesh in the blender. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend into a smooth and delicious sauce.

2 big yams

Olive oil

sea salt pepper

3 red pepper1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil

juice from one lemon

1 clove of garlic

1/2 -1 red chilli

Slice the yams and put them on a baking tray – drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Bake till golden brown, crispy  and tender.

Serve the crispy yams on a salad with the spicy Harrisa and a  fresh squeeze of lemon.

This dish can easily be made as dinner served with whatever takes your fancy – and it can be the perfect leftover lunch to bring to work.

Harrisa Sauce

Harissa Sauce

Wishing you a wonderful weekend wherever you are!

Fresh herb salad with pomegranate and lemon dressing

I love Tabouleh! It’s one of my favourite salads in the world. It’s this combination of freshness and herbs that I love so much –  that creates a true sensation of party in my mouth.

I had some leftover cooked bulgur in the fridge as well as a bunch of fresh coriander, and there was fresh mint in the garden!  I also had a big juicy pomegranate laying on the table begging me to play - so inspired by Tabouleh salad, I created this:

Fresh herb salad

Fresh herb salad

Fresh herb salad with bulgur and pomegranate

One cup of cooked bulgur

one bunch of fresh mint

one big bunch of Italian parsley

one big bunch of fresh cilantro

one bunch of spring onions

one pomegranate

1/2 cucumber

one lemon

1/4 cup olive oil 

Sea salt

Rinse and finely chop herbs and spring onions  - mix with the bulgur in a bowl. Squeeze the lemon and stir in the olive oil, mix in the salad. Add sea salt and serve with pomegranate seeds on top. Serve and enjoy! Perfect for lunch!

Pomegranate

Pomegranate

While chopping away, I was thinking how much I love spending time in the kitchen, creating – for me it’s the perfect way to relax. Kitchen meditation or even kitchen therapy for my soul  - how many problems have not been solved around a kitchen table? Not to forget the amount of amazing ideas that have been given birth to in the kitchen, deep talks, laughter, and love shared in this almost sacred space of the house.

Lots of fresh herbs

Lots of fresh herbs

The power of natural

This time of year is prime time for colds and flus –  people are heading for their flu-shots trying to  prevent the dreaded symptoms of flu, headaches, aching bodies, sneezing and endless running noses.

At the checkout counter in the supermarket we find not only candy to tempt us, but also bags of vitamin C powder that magically is supposed to help us fight the flu.

In my life instead of pills, tablets and bags of vitamin C,  I prefer boosting my immune system the natural way, with freshly squeezed delicious juices – that are naturally packed with fresh vitamins and minerals. Like this one, for instance, freshly squeezed carrot juice with apples, lemon and ginger, made with all fresh organic ingredients.  Carrots, filled with vitamin A, organic local apples filled with fibre, minerals, and vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, K, as well as loaded with antioxidants.  Slices of fresh ginger that are packed with goodness and always has been known and praised, for its medicinnal powers to cure all kinds of ailments such as nausea, colds etc

Along with freshly squeezed lemon, with its high content of vitamin C and  its power to clear up colds. This is a seriously healthy drink which tastes delicious at the same time!

I believe this is so much more powerful than any vitamin supplement,  it’s natural, fresh and potent. A perfect way to boost our immune system naturally.

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Dinner juice

Mind over Medicine

Thank you for all the bloglove I am receiving! I apologize for not replying to comments and email messages as promptly as I would like to, but please know that your love and messages are like honey poured directly into my heart and healing tonic for my soul!

I am doing what I need to do right now – taking time to slow down, creating space to listen to my heart, to meditate, to write, spending time with people  I love – doing the things I know will assist my body in healing.

I feel the benefits in many ways –  less pain, more laughter, more ideas coming to me, more creativity, wanting to dance and do somersaults on the lawn….. :-)

I would like to share a book title and a TED talk – by Dr. Lissa Rankin

Dr Lissa Rankin speaks my language – re-afirming to me, just how important it is to listen to the body. How important emotional health is to our overall health – it’s not a separate entity – emotional health is the foundation of health.

Dr. Lissa Rankin is wildly inspiring. I hope you enjoy!

 Lissa Ranking M.D.

Another thing I want to tell mention, is that the famous VVP Virtual Vegan Potluck, will take place on the 16th of November.  If you are into healthy eating or simply wants inspiration to a healthier diet – the VVP is a mecca of great inspiration!

Read more here –   http://virtualveganpotluck.com/november-2013/

What is stress telling you?

Since I became sick I have had my focus on, what I could do myself, to help my body heal, and preferably, as soon and as fast as possible!

Good food and rest

Good food and rest

But most importantly,

I have been thinking, what is there in this for me to learn?

I kept asking myself – how could I who is, so healthy, become so sick?

How?

How?

I poked and I prodded, I took deep breaths, I scratched my head, I turned and I swirled with the question……why, and what is in here for me to learn?

The illness, the imbalance in me, surely had a message, a very important one, I knew, but what was that message?

I finally got it ! I knew that stress creates havoc in people’s bodies. But somehow I didn’t think it also meant in my own body!

I could somehow, magically escape stress and just move on, without it having any effect on me…….

Just continue my tin soldier act …. stressing away….

But reality is, no-one can, not even me or you! Eventually, stress catches up with us and we break down in some way or the other. In my case, it was this infection, but it could just as well have been, depression or a heart attack…

I have to admit that I have been stressed, emotionally stressed for quite some time and finally my body broke down. I had neglected to hear my body’s desperate whispers in my ear for too long. I had not been listening and in the end it had to scream, in the form of an illness, that almost wiped me out, to finally, finally, get my attention!

Quiet enough to hear

Quiet enough to hear

Illness forced me to become quiet enough to hear.

What I learned is that we can eat healthier than heathy and we can exercise till the moon goes down. But, if we are stressed, its not going to work. It’s like a beach ball we can try to hold it down under the water, but it eventually will pop back up.

The truth is, stress robs us of life, it makes us sick – it’s a killer!

Please see the interview by clicking the link below, with Gabor Mate MD  -  Dr. Mate, a Vancouver based doctor, who has for many years worked in the Palliative Care Unit at Vancouver Hospital where he was the medical coordinator. Based on medical studies and his own  personal experience, and through his work, states that there are important links between the mind and the immune system.

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/2/15/dr_gabor_mat_when_the_body

Stress is a sign to slow down and listen. The problem with stress is that we become used to it and can hardly even feel we are stressed after a while it just feels “normal” to feel like that.

Stress actually starts in our childhood, for example, some of us learned not express emotions and needs as children. This means we are much more receptacle to becoming stressed because we have learned early on to suppress our emotions and needs.

Stress weakens our immumne system and makes us more prone to diseases and while stressed it’s more difficult to heal.

It’s obvious that stress creates imbalances in our bodies and our lives! It should be treated with uttermost respect – symptoms of stress are not only whispers, they are the body’s desperate scream for attention!

Read more about stress symptoms, signs and causes here

Read Gabor Mate’s book “When the body say’s no” Understanding the stress- disease connection.

Let Food be thy medicine — even in the hospital!

It has been busy around here and life is not always as you plan it or want it to be …..

I had just accompanied my beautiful daughter to her new home. Helped her as she settled and got ready to start a new life at university. We had some amazing days together and my heart was filled with of love, tenderness and tears, as Ihugged her goodbye and headed to the airport to fly home, without her.

Back home again, I was busy giving workshops and it was fun, I love it, I was busy preparing for another 4 workshops that were already booked. I was running my beautiful 10 morning k’s every other day.

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And then one day just after I had been out swimming in the lake, enjoying maybe the last swim this year — I got sick — really sick! And ended up being taken to the hospital in an ambulance! That, definitely, was NOT supposed to be!

I spent 4 intense days in the hospital, and gratefully I am now home recovering and feeling the strength and energy coming back. Wonderful!

But it definitely was not the food that healed me………..I know that for a fact. The doctors and nurses were absolutely incredible, they went out of their way to help me heal and feel comfortable. Amazing competent, warm and wonderful people!!

But the food……… that’s another very sad story!

During the 4 days, I was served 12 trays of food, each of them impossible to eat. I know I should be happy and grateful that I was served food at all ……. but honestly, it was the most unappetizing sad “food” I have ever seen in my life – I was chocked!

As a chef and a person who has been healed through food and lifestyle changes – I just couldn’t stop myself from thinking – why?

Food is so important for so many reasons!

Surely this can be done better!

Over and over again I was thinking how absurd it was that I was in hospital, a place of healing and there was no interest about the food. Fresh nourishing food is such a vital part in healing!

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food - Hippocrates (year 431 BC!)

In those 4 days I did not see a single fruit or vegetable, never mind the fresh anything at all – no fresh fruit nor fresh vegetables – no – ZERO – none at all!

The food on the trays had perhaps never been fresh! Everything was processed and as far as I could judge, had nothing to do even with nourishment! And served in dull plastic containers on a dull plastic tray.

With a rumbling tummy and food fantasies on my mind, I talked to the nurse about the food – they said that over 70% !!! of all trays go back untouched!

70% -What a waste!!! What a shame, how sad, what a total missed opportunity!

We know that healthy food helps us heal faster, we know that healthy food has the potential to prevent disease. We know that sick people more than anybody needs nourishment.

We also know that a vast majority of diseases are caused and directly linked to unhealthy lifestyle and eating the wrong diet……..so why don’t the hospitals grab the chance and serve sick patients enjoyable, nutritious fresh food. Grab the chance to feed and inspire healthy living – and help the patients to heal themselves.

So why? …….. The argument is “It’s too expensive!”

But is it, really?

In Denmark, at one point in time, they went through the same gloomy experience! 40 tons of hospital food was chucked away every day, because it was so grim, no one wanted to eat it.

To change that, they employed professional chefs along with dieticians and they designed menus for people to enjoy, to look forward to every day and to help them heal faster!

Serving meals, 3 times a day became a thing of the past — because when you are sick you are not necessarily hungry on the dot. Instead every patient has a menu and a telephone. And when hungry, they simply take the menu, pick their fancy and call the chefs in the kitchen. The meal is then prepared, cooked from fresh natural ingredients and brought up to the patient. Nutritious, fresh, delicious — real food from real people – who care and love cooking!

What they found was, not surprisingly, that there was hardly any food waste, patients got well, out of bed and home faster, too.

And, it was not more expensive!

But unfortunately, it is in general the same story – no matter where you are in the world – hospital food has a bad reputation.

Hospitals around the world are missing a huge opportunity. Hospitals, our health care system, could be the greatest example of health! Show us how to enjoy food, teach us what to eat to stay healthy and nourished, the best food for our bodies – to assist us heal, to help fight disease and prevent it.

Great food in hospitals would not only help us heal, but it would also inspire us all to practice more healthy living when we got back home.

Imagine how we could assist the body in healing if we were served something like this:

Freshly squeezed carrots

Freshly squeezed carrots

Green smoothies

Freshly prepared green smoothies with fresh spinach leafs and juicy fruits

Creamy Raw Food Oatmeal

Creamy Raw Food Oatmeal, with almonds, dates and apple – a glass of freshly squeezed orange

Fresh fruits and veggies

Free access to fresh fruits and veggies

Crispy Spring Rolls

Crispy Spring Rolls

A bowl of freshly made tomato soup

A bowl of freshly made tomato soup made of REAL tomatoes

Instead of this –

Breakfast?

Jello for breakfast?

Lunch?

Lunch?

Not sure...

Not sure….

On the fourth day I cried…….

If we have to spend money – why not spend it well?

I know there are other places that have changed the concept of tasteless grey hospital food – and with great success – that’s here in Canada.

Listen to this inspiring talk by Joshna Maharaj – an amazing passionate woman who helped change the hospital food in Toronto.

Hurraaa for people like Joshna!

Juicy Beets with Ginger, Sweet Apples & Mint

Having fun preparing for a  “Balanced Living ” workshop I will be doing later this month – and in need of something refreshing…..

What’s  better than a glass of freshly squeezed cool juice?

Summer is the perfect time for juicing – there are an abundance of delicious sun-kissed fruits and vegetables available – so I decided to make the perfect “instead of coffee drink” …..a glass of freshly squeezed baby beets!

In this juice I added lots of sweet crispy local apples, a lime,  a bunch of mint and a slice of fresh ginger.

Enjoyed outside in the shade ……..

Midmorning beet juice

Delicious beet juice ready to serve

It tastes so good and while you drink, you are getting incredible amounts of fruits and greens – nutrients that goes straight into the body, to feed, rejuvenate and nourish it.

In love with the colour

In love with the colour

p.s. still working on the move to self-host this blog. In the meantime my blog may be down for a couple of days…….

Hope you are enjoying the summer wherever you are!