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.

IMG_5111

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!

Yoga

One of the best things that I remember from my childhood is my mom’s passion for yoga. Often I would  join her on the mat and try to copy her poses. I could walk on my knees, put my legs behind my neck and stand on my head. Not so much anymore….. 🙂 — but I have always wanted to start yoga and get into the yoga groove. My problem is, I really don’t enjoy big, filled-to-the-brim yoga studios.  I like to be in my own space, I like the peace, and I like to enjoy yoga when it fits into my schedule.

Breathe

Breathe

That is why I was so happy when I found Myyogaonline and Doyogawithme.

Two fabulous programs, videos of different lengths, different levels, different styles, different teachers – you pick and choose what fits you best.

I absolutely love it!

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. Rumi

There are so many benefits to doing yoga. It’s quite amazing what happens in just a few moments of deep breathing, slowly moving the body into poses, simply being on the floor reduces stress and before you know it, you feel more relaxed!

P.S  Please listen to your body and don’t do too much – let your body be your guide!

Here are some great articles about the benefits of yoga:

One from Harvard University on how yoga helps reduce stress and anxiety.

Another by Science Daily, an interesting study shows that yoga reduces stress and anxiety among prisoners and has a positive effect on impulsive behaviour.

And a third by the Yoga Journal about the overall health benefits

On a finishing note – I am moving my blog to be self-hosted – this means my blog might be down for a day or so – Looking forward to seeing you over there 🙂

Soothe your Jet-lag and sleepless nights

I just returned back from Europe and the first couple of days with jet-lag were rough, to say the least!

9 hours time difference, really does you in and affects your entire system, in a big way! I felt completely out of balance…

Woke up at 1:30 in the morning and was hungry, started to unload the dishwasher and checked my email ……

I desperately needed to soothe that out of control jet-lag of mine!

Sleepless nights creates imbalance in the body, it affects our health and overall sense of well -being, but there are lots of different ways we can promote great sleep and regain balance again.

Jet-lag is always talked about as something we get when traveling thorough time zones. But really, we go thorough the exact same thing if you work shifts, if you have had a baby and need to get up to feed in the middle of the night or when we are simply stressed and just can’t sleep at night. Regardless of the reason it is important that we take time to really soothe that sleepless, tried and exhausted body of ours in order to get back in to balance and promote good sleep patterns again.

DSC_0015

I travel a lot and often experience jet-lag – so these are my favorite tips for soothing jet-lag and regain balance again:

  • I set the clock and go with the time it is where I am
  • I don’t nap or sleep during the day even though I am dead tired.
  • I spend time outside and get as much sunshine/ daylight as possible, as it helps to adjust to the new time zone.
A swim in the lake

A swim in the lake

  • I go to bed early (but not too early…)
  • I get up at the usual time
  • I quickly get back into the routines and follow the daily rythm
  • I exercise gently – a swim, a walk, a bike ride, yoga
  • I meditate
  • I drink lots of water
Fresh Cool Water

Fresh Cool Water

  • I drink green juice and/or green smoothies
Green and delicious

Green and delicious

  • I eat lots of healthy food to help my body restore, find balance and rejuvenate.
Balance

Balance

This mornings fresh green juice –

Refreshing green juice

Refreshing green juice

Red Kale, Apple, Ginger and Lemon Juice 

5 sweet apples

1 bunch of red kale

1 lemon

A small slice of fresh ginger

Wash and clean the apples and kale, peel the lemon and the ginger – run it all through the juicer and serve ice cold.

Sleep well

Sleep well

Summer without stress

I’m off! Today is the day I have been longing for – for months – the first day of the summer holiday!

I am off to spend 3 delicious weeks in a summer-house by the sea.

I can hardly wait.

Summer

Summer

I am so excited and at the same time I know it’s important to plan ahead, so that we make the most of it. Successful holidays don’t just happen. Holidays can be disappointing! We all have expectations and dreams and they may not turn out the way we wished, hoped and longed for. Unfulfilled expectations cause stress and disappointment!

The time leading up to the holidays can be particularly stressful.

We all need our holidays – to recharge, rejuvenate and fill ourselves with new energy.

So how can we increase our chances of fulfilling it …

This is “my” plan for a stress-free summer:

  • Unplug. Actually turn of all electronics and be out of reach. Yes, no need to check emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs etc.
  • Mindfulness – live in the moment. Practice mindfulness, breathe, and be in the moment.
  • Meditate – to reconnect with myself through daily mediations
  • Read books – instead of computers and internet, I want to read great books, in the shade …..
  • No plans – be spontaneous. No schedules, just feel the flow and be part of it.
  • Play – God yes, be crazy, play let go, have fun, look silly
  • Bare feet – connect to the earth and the ground -lots of research on this …. great idea.
  • Go slow – nothing I need to do or nothing I need to get to – just inhale the moment – remember to stop and smell the roses.
Smell the roses

Smell the roses

“Every Sweet-scented rose tells from it’s heart the secrets of heaven and earth” –Rumi

Bare feet in the sand

Bare feet in the sand

Beach

Beach

I know this will not be easy and I am sure I will have withdrawal issues for a while 🙂 But I also know how vital, how crucial, it is to disconnect to reconnect – and recharge.

IMG_0675

” And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”

Khalil Gibran 

I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

DSC_0015

Elderberry Flower Juice

A summer tradition – as soon as the elderberry trees starts blooming, I am on a mission.

Ice Cold Elderberry Flower Juice

Ice Cold Elderberry Flower Juice

I get out early in the morning while the sun is rising and the mist hangs low on the fields, to pick the beautiful white and deliciously smelling flowers.  It’s a Danish tradition, we look at it as a confirmation of summer – the elderberry flowers are blooming and the first strawberries are ready. Then I know summer is here!

Elderberry flowers

Elderberry flowers

Since I moved to the West Coast of Canada I have not seen any Elderberry bushes anywhere. Last year I told my friend how much I missed that tradition and she said – “but I have one!”

So this year she, the dear soul, donated every single flower to my mission – that’s generosity!

Elderberry Flower Juice

40 Clusters of flowers

3 organic lemons

1 1/2 kg Raw sugar – (the original recipe asks for caster sugar to get a clear blonde juice, but I prefer to use the healthier raw sugar)

2 liters of boiling water

Rinse the elderberry flowers, put them into a big bowl. Wash the organic lemons, slice them and put them with the flowers.

Getting ready

Getting ready

Add the sugar – pour over the boiling water and stir till the sugar has dissolved.

Leave it to cool – cover it and put it in the fridge for 3 days to “brew”. Take it out and stir every day.

Brewing

Brewing

On the third day strain the juice through a cloth pour it in to distilled bottles. There is no preservative in the juice and therefore it will not last long. What I do to keep it fresh is to freeze it in ice-cube trays, then I can take it out as I need it. Use them as flavorful ice cubes – ie in white wine or in apple juice.

It’s delicious!

Even on strawberries with freshly chopped mint……

Local Strawberries

Local Strawberries

Enjoy!

On Ice

On Ice

Green Smoothie with Spinach, Mango, Lime and Mint

The atmosphere in our house is really intense – the teenagers are preparing for exams and they are studying like crazy, really hard!

Green smoothies are the perfect energy kick to feed and nourish  mind and body.

At this time of year, the stores are booming with fresh, soft, sweet and delicious mangos. They are the perfect snack and fantastic in green smoothies.

Here is a smoothie for the hard-working teens (or others) – a real kick of greens!

Lovely mangos

Lovely mangos

 

Green and delicious

Green and delicious

This smoothie is delicious. It’s sweet, intense, powerful and refreshing! A perfect way to boost your concentration and refresh your mind – as well as refreshing and anti-oxidizing your body.

Green Smoothie with Spinach, Mango, Lime and Mint 

1 good handful of fresh spinach

2 ripe mangos

3-4 twigs of fresh mint

2 lime fruits

Ice

Water

Fresh spinach

Fresh spinach

Lime

Lime

Juicy, sweet and delicious

Juicy, sweet and delicious

Fresh mint

Fresh mint

Put the peeled and roughly chopped fruit and herbs in the blender along with some ice and water. Blend until smooth, cool and fabulous.

Enjoy

Enjoy

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair – Kahlil Gibran

Mushroom Quinoa Steak served with fresh Pesto on Baked Aubergine

I frequently enjoy replacing ordinary meals with vegan or vegetarian deliciousness. I actually eat more vegan food now than anything else. Why? Because it tastes amazing and is so good for my health.

The other day I had made both, so the family could choose what they wanted – to my surprise ALL, even the teenagers helped themselves to the vegan dishes! And there I was, stuck with the meat which I had to chuck……… imagine!

I thought, really? But yes!
IMG_0984
This is one of the dishes that win over meat in our family.

Continue reading