Can you lower your hereditary cholesterol? Naturally?

Yes, absolutely you can!

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I never thought it would be, because my doctor told me –

“young lady, you have the hereditary kind of high cholesterol and that means no matter what you do, you will never be able to lower it naturally. The only way for you is medication.” 

So, for the past 10-12 years, I have been on statins – every single day I popped a pill, to help me to keep a low count on my cholesterol.

However, other health problems inspired me into changing my lifestyle.

And today, I can celebrate 3 years with normal cholesterol levels and no medication!

So does that mean you need to be on a really restricted diet? No desserts, no streaks on the BBQ, no butter, no cheese, no life…….no fun ?

Nope – I eat everything and I have lots of fun!

Even cream cake

Even cream cake

So how do I do it?

It’s really simple and if I can do it, so can you!

(Please don’t go off your medication without talking to your doctor!)

This is how I do it:

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  • I shifted the balance on my plate. So 80% of what I eat is plant-based. This means 80% of what I eat is vegan, plant-based, green leaves, lettuce, salads, spinach, kale, nuts, seeds, lentils, grains, roots, all kinds of veggies, and lots of fruit.
  • I eat plenty of food that contains natural cholesterol lowering agents, like nuts especially walnuts and almonds, oatmeal, berries, avocado, fish, tomatoes, etc.

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  • 20% is whatever I like to eat – it can be anything.
  • Every day I exercise, except for one day of rest!  45 min. to an hour! Yes I know, you don’t have time! I didn’t either, but you can find time! Exercise is brutally important when it comes to lowering cholesterol naturally. I get up earlier in the morning. I wake up and have millions of excuses for not going, but I tell myself that I only have to tie my shoelaces, get out and run to the end of the curb. If I still don’t like it, I can go back home……. but it has never happened, once I am out there, once I have taken the first breath of that beautiful morning air, the last thing I want is to go back home.
  • Meditation – When we are stressed and tired we are more likely to make unhealthy choices, eat fatty foods, drink too much etc. Also research shows that the release of stress hormones can damage the blood vessels, so plague sticks more easily. I find mindfulness meditation is a great way to unwind.

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A great article about food writer Mark Bittman and his concept VB6 – Vegan before 6 

Stay tuned for the VVP – The Virtual Vegan Potluck, taking place this Saturday! 160 + bloggers will bring their delicious food to the virtual party 🙂

Spinach Grapefruit Smoothie

Smoothies for breakfast, as part of lunch, as a snack, before dinner – smoothies for any occasion ……..

But smoothies have also become THE number one “Fast Food” in our family. In a hurry, on the go, no time to cook or even eat – no problem, spin up a smoothie and away you go. Quick, nutritious and satisfying!

Today I made a green smoothie with spinach and grapefruit. I love grapefruit, but for 12 years I wasn’t able to have grapefruit! I was on cholesterol medication and something in grapefruit doesn’t mix well with that kind of medication.

Since I changed to “balanced living” and added lots of plant-based foods to my diet and started exercising, I no longer need medication to control my cholesterol!

There are, as you can imagine, many benefits connected to that – one great one is, I can enjoy grapefruits again 🙂

Grapefruit

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Spinach and Grapefruit Smoothie 

One bunch of fresh spinach

2 grapefruits

One bunch of red or green grapes

1 banana

1  slice of fresh ginger

2 Medjool dates

2 cups of filtered water

Ice

Put it all into the blender and blend into a refreshing, smooth, cool and delicious drink.

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I hope you will Enjoy it !

Now to something completely different…..

Monday I travel back to Copenhagen to spend some time with family and friends. I am SO excited!

I will try to post while I’m away so stay tuned….

To travel is to live – Hans Christian Andersen

When I come back I will be attending THE FAMOUS AMAZING VIRTUAL VEGAN POTLUCK – on May 11.!

This is such a fun event! If you would like to join the fun by featuring one of your favorite vegan/plant-based recipes, there is still time to sign up here – otherwise – stay tuned for the event on May 11.

Thank you for dropping by, for reading and for commenting!

Happy Sunday!

A Raw Food Day

A Raw Food Day – an entire day with pure raw organic food. Fresh fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts and seeds – and all prepared in flavourful ways .

It’s a luxury for your body, mind, heart and soul.

And, … it’s super easy to prepare and even easier to clean up afterwards – imagine no greasy pots and pans!

I have been amazed, astounded really, by the power of green food!

Lifestyle diseases can be cured by lifestyle changes! 

Continue reading

Awaiting Summer Smoothie

We are enjoying beautiful spring weather here on the West Coast of British Columbia.

This morning I decided I would make a true “Awaiting Summer Smoothie” – because to be honest with you, I crave summer like crazy!

Awaiting Summer Smoothie

Awaiting Summer Smoothie

 

I had some deliciously ripe mangos (juicy and sweet)

some fresh pineapple,

and a cute pear with red cheeks.

Pear with red cheeks

Pear with red cheeks

Some fresh mint, freshly squeezed juice of lime and some cool coconut water.

Mint & Lime

Mint & Lime

Sweet Mango

Sweet mango

For 4 people:

1/2 pineapple

1 pear

1 big mango

1-2 lime

2 sprigs of fresh mint

2 cups of coconut water

Put it all in the blender along with some ice to cool it down. Blend into a fabulous nutritious and delicious drink.

Enjoy!

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer – Albert Camus

Zucchini Fettuccine – with fresh tomato sauce and caper berries

I love the feeling that I have after enjoying a raw food meal. A kick of energy from a meal packed with live nutrients – which leaves me wonderfully vibrant, satisfied and energized for hours!

The satisfaction that you get from a raw food meal is quite a different feeling than you get after eating a typical lunch. A typical meat-based meal will often leave you feeling tired and heavy afterwards – ready for a nap. But the last thing you think about after a raw food meal, is taking a nap 🙂

 Zucchini Fettuccine served w/ fresh tomato sauce and caper berries 

This dish is perfect on it’s own, but it fits wonderfully well with a piece of grilled salmon.

Yesterday, we had it for lunch, with slices of avocado and fresh crispy baby spinach.

Raw Food Fettuccine

Raw Food Fettuccine

 

It is simple and delicious, refreshing and so easy to make. All you need is:

1 Zucchini

4 Ripe tomatoes

1/2 red pepper

Italian parsley

1 clove of garlic

1/2 lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Caper berries

1 avocado

A bunch of baby spinach

First you make the sauce – you chop the tomatoes, peel the garlic, cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds.

Put it in the blender, squeeze the 1/2 lemon, add sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Blend into a deliciously fresh tomato sauce.

Fresh tomato sauce

Fresh tomato sauce

You make the zucchini fettuccine by using a potato peeler and length wise cutting thin strips like this…

Zucchini fettuccine

Zucchini fettuccine

Serve it with leaves of crispy baby spinach some avocado, drizzled with plenty of fresh tomato sauce, leaves of Italian parsley and caper berries and a glass of fresh cool water

Cool fresh lemon water

Cool fresh lemon water

Fresh and delicious

Fresh and delicious

Lime and Herb Infused Green Papaya Salad

A total craving for Green Papaya Salad lured me out into the cold and windy day, on the hunt for green papaya. I love my local China town – it’s always full of life, hectic, intense, full of colors, smells and hints of adventure. Then, the sun came out, and what more can you really ask for?

China Town


Fisgaard market

Red Door

Fan Tan Alley Victoria

China Town Victoria MarketMarketMarket

I found the freshest and most beautiful green papaya fruit, a deliciously sweet pineapple, fresh herbs, big juicy oranges, tangy lime fruit and dried cranberries. That’s when I knew I was fully ready to go home and create a delicious Green Papaya Salad.

Green Papaya Salad

Green Papaya

Green Papaya

Papaya in Julienne

Papaya in Julienne

Filets of Orange

Filets of Orange

Juicy Orange

Juicy Orange

Mint, Cilantro and Basil

Mint, Cilantro and Basil

Green Papaya Salad

1/2 green papaya

1/4 fresh sweet pineapple

1 big orange

1 bunch fresh cilantro

1 bunch fresh basil

1 bunch fresh mint

A handful of cranberries

Cut the papaya and the pineapple into julienne strips and cut the orange into fillets. Wash and finely chop the herbs, mix everything in a bowl. Add a handful of dried cranberries

Marinade

2 lime

3-4 sps of maple syrup or agave

1 -2 cloves of garlic

some freshly grated ginger

Squeeze the lime, add maple syrup, squeeze garlic and grate some fresh ginger – mix well.

Pour the marinade over the salad and enjoy!

Green Papaya Salad

Green Papaya Salad

13 steps to a healthier ’13

It amazes me how much is possible when we take our own health into our own hands – so much can happen! It could happen that we might very well risk feeling better, energized, loose weight, lower our cholesterol, boost our immune system – and all naturally!

A little actually goes a long way – and can make a huge difference.

Health is everything – without it we have nothing.

nature therapy

 

13 steps to a healthier ’13

  • Drink green juice/green smoothies – every day. It is not a coincidence that I put green smoothies and green juice on top of the list. Drinking them every day, will energize you and naturally make you feel like eating more healthy foods, moving and grooving. You will feel great. If you are not already a green smoothie drinker check this >>>out.
  • Try to exchange some of your meals with plant-based meals. But keep to: whatever feels right – exchange, bacon and eggs with a delicious raw food oatmeal and a great smoothie. Or exchange the sandwich with a delightful salad lunch. One meal at a time will make a difference!
  • Exercise – there is no way around it, exercise is a must. We know the mind will try to convince us, that today is not a good day, tomorrow is better or even next month is much, much better. But don’t listen – just DO IT, get out there – I promise you one thing, you will not regret it.
    What ever it is – make it fun, make it enjoyable, make it a joy that you cannot live without. Check this>> out!
  • Drink water – Exchange some of your drinks with cool clear water. Water rejuvenates you and keeps you alive. This is what The Mayo Clinic>> recommends
  • Meditate – research shows again and again the multiple advantages of meditation. If you already meditate, you know what I am talking about. Meditation is so powerful and so good for our health, both emotionally and physically. Mindfulness meditation boost our health and overall well-being – it reduces stress and anxiety. It gives us a pause, a well needed break in a hectic world.
  • Journal – journaling is a fantastic way to release emotions, reflecting about life and understanding ourselves better. It is like writing yourself home. The journal can be trusted with anything, no one will ever need to see it, it is yours. Express yourself on the pages, no censoring.
  • Fresh air – spend time in nature. Japanese researchers have found what they call “Forest Therapy” – spending time in nature, to lower blood pressure and heart rate and it increases the amount of natural killer cells that helps us ward of infections and fight cancer. Read the article>> here
  • Play – did you know that play is an actual need? Play is crucial for our health and well-being. Dr Stuart Brown has proven how play shapes the brain, opens the imagination and invigorates the soul. Check this>> out.
  • Express yourself – Expressing ourselves, speaking our truth and taking ourselves seriously, is important for not just our emotional health but our overall health. If we don’t there is a part of us that gets stuck – and stops the flow.
  • Follow a dream – Life is short and if there is one thing that can really bring joy and add to our well-being, it is going after our dreams. Making them happen. Taking steps towards reaching a goal, a dream.
  • Get a massage – A massage is soothing, comforting and wonderful. It also has tremendous health benefits, such as stress relief, pain relief, helps with depression and anxiety, blood pressure control and it even boosts our immune system.
    Read more>> here.
  • Self-compassion – Before helping others put on your own oxygen mask! The more gentle, compassionate and loving we can be with ourselves the more compassionate we are to our children, our spouse, our friends and the world. Studies says self- compassion boosts not only our self-esteem but also our health. Prof. Kirsten Neff has researched the power of self-compassion for years, listen to an interview with
    her>> here
  • Friends and family – spend time with friends of both sexes. Nothing so rejuvenating as a night out with the girls or a guys night. A night with good friends around the dinner table is wonderful. Make time for friends and family. Often when you ask people what is most important to them, they say family and friends, but work and duties get first priority. Read more here in this>> Huffington Post article.

Moroccan Vegan Burger with Spicy Homemade Harissa

One of the ways I like to keep healthy by is making some of my meals with plant-based foods.

In general I try to be 80% plant-based as I feel my body thrives and feels content that way. So much so I could never go back to my old “regular” diet. I smile when I see my children eating more and more vegetables too.

Hey they do as you do, not as you say 🙂

This way of eating keeps my cholesterol levels down, naturally. I maintain my ideal weight. I have tons of energy all thorough the day. And the Meniere’s disease I once suffered from, has gone!

Yesterdays plant- based invention was this:

Morrocan Vegan Burger with Homemade Spicy Harissa

Moroccan Vegan Burger

Moroccan Vegan Burger

 

Moroccan Vegan Burger with Spicy Homemade Harissa

3 medium sized yams – cooked until tender

2 cups of cooked quinoa

500 grams dark mushrooms

3 shallots

Olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

3 spoons of flaxseed meal

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Seasoned flour

Spice mix

small 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Small 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

Small 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

Small 1/2 teaspoon Allspice

1/2 teaspoon Cumin

Finely chop the shallots, rinse and chop the mushrooms – put the mushrooms into a hot frying pan with olive oil and fry until they are until golden brown. Add the chopped shallots and continue frying until they are tender. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

In the blender put the de-skinned baked yams, the cooked quinoa, the cooked mushrooms, the spice mix, the freshly squeezed garlic, the sea salt and the freshly ground pepper-blend. Put the “burger” mixture into a bowl and add 3 tablespoons of flaxseed meal. The mixture is quite soft so it can be a little tricky to work with – you can put the mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours before you make them into patties so they can firm up a bit. Then turn them in seasoned flour like this:

Turn lightly in flour before frying

Turn lightly in flour before frying

Gently fry the patties in olive oil until they are golden brown on both sides.

Serve on a good bun with homemade harissa sauce, slices of red onions and a handful of Arugula or mixed lettuce – (see recipe for homemade rolls here )

Homemade Spicy Harissa

Spicy Harissa Sauce

Spicy Harissa Sauce

I love this sauce on anything – the perfect dip for any vegetable! But also good with fish, chicken, lamb, – well, as I said, anything 🙂

2-3 red peppers

1-3 cloves of garlic depending on how fierce you want it

1/4 cup of olive oil

Red chilli – I use 1/2 , how hot do you like it?

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

Juice of one lemon

Cut the peppers in halfs and bake them in the oven with the skin up until they are tender and the skin is beginning to get dark, actually almost almost black. Leave them to cool and then take off the skin.

Place all the ingredients in the blender and blend into a smooth sauce.

A healthy spicy bite

A healthy spicy bite

Stop procrastination and succeed with your new years resolutions

Do you have any new years resolutions? Do you want to lose weight? Start doing yoga? Be more healthy? Start meditating?  Stop procrastinating?

We all procrastinate to some extend and make excuses as to why today is not a good day to start that project you’ve been planning, stop smoking or eating healthily.

Some of us may procrastinate so much that important things in life never get done. Robbing us of our dreams and deeper longings, ultimately leaving us dissatisfied and depressed.

 

New Years resolutions

Today it is easier than ever to get distracted and seduced by procrastination. Busy lives, busy schedules, too much work, families, children and all the things that add up and make us desperately trying to make ends meet. On top of that there is social media, oh there’s a message on my Facebook, wonder who it’s from? Oops a text, wonder what it says? I should Google it and find out about …….  and click, click, click hours and hours have gone by and it is too late, I’ll do it tomorrow.

We become addicted to the news the likes and the comments, we want more of that feeling. The same with emails, text messages – we just need to see if there are any new mails any new messages any new likes, any world news we cannot live without – any rewards.

We know we are fooling ourselves and, in fact, wasting precious time away from what we intended to do, what really matters. This creates frustration and increases feelings of not following through, not doing good enough – so we try to repair that feeling with going back for more – a quick fix – of ice cream or Facebook.

The quick-fix happiness feeling is short-lived and followed by a feeling of inadequacy – a vicious circle.

I know in my own life I can make endless excuses – for not going out on that run, or not sitting down to meditate or finish the children’s book I have worked on for years. So is it because I really don’t want to run and stay fit? Don’t I want the book to be finished and get out in to the world? Yes, I do, I want it with all my heart, more than anything – it’s a longing, a passion, my deepest mission. So why do I procrastinate and do less important things? – Because there is always “real” work,  there is always dishes that needs to be done, some washing to do or some clothes to fold, or some dinner plans to make, some children to drive, some phone calls to make …………….

Seen from a psycho-dynamic perspective, I know I have to look at what is underneath, I know that if I am self-sabotaging my goals, there is something underneath that needs my loving attention.

Key is embracing emotions – If we are stressed, if we feel sad somewhere deep down, if we are angry, because someone walked all over us – it’s time to go within, it’s time to confront those feelings inside.  Maybe it’s time to talk. If we suppress some feeling, it stays in the body and creates stress and discomfort. It doesn’t just disappear because we turn the other cheek – it loads up within the body and creates havoc, it makes us want to eat more, procrastinate more, postpone more.

I know why I procrastinate finishing my book, or sitting down to meditate, even though these are really important to me – there are some issues I need to attend to first. For example, one of the things that I have to say goodbye to is that we have just sold our farm in Denmark, our home of many years, and we are starting a new chapter. Our children were raised there and it’s a place filled with many wonderful memories. This means there is grieving to be done, there are more tears and feelings I need to embrace. If I don’t do this, I know it will stay within my body and take my creativity, my happiness, my flow and it will ultimately sabotage my goals.

I recommend:

  • Journaling – get a note-book and write your heart out. Everything, anything, no censoring just fill the pages with whats on your mind and in your heart. Don’t think of grammar or doing it “right” just write.
  • Pauses/breaks spend time every day to check in with yourself, to breathe and reconnect. Take 5 min – give yourself 5 min.
  • Meditation – mindfulness meditation is an excellent way to create space, overcome stress and fatigue.
  • Talk to a trusted friend and tell them how you really are
  • A self-help group – a place where you can talk from the heart and be heard.
  • Consult a therapist/ a psychologist/ a coach

Once we embrace our emotions, all of them, we automatically get more energy and we want to be active, we want to eat better, we become more compassionate towards ourselves and the world and we make better choices for ourselves. This leading us to a feeling of contentedness and there will be no more procrastinations but an eager to get going.

Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens – Carl Jung

Also read:

Love as a daily supplement

Love as a daily supplement

I just thought this was wonderful………

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Love as a daily supplement!

Seriously, if we want to loose weight and keep it off,  we must look beyond what we put on the plate and how much we exercise. This parts are important, of course, but there is more to it than that.

A healthy bodily balance can only be kept if we also are aware of our emotions! Feelings are just as important, if not more so, than what we put on our plate and how much we exercise. And when it comes to the most difficult part: keeping the weight off – emotions, and how we feel about ourselves, is paramount. We are much more likely to make healthy choices when we listen to our body’s signals and it’s needs, and we need to include the emotional needs as well.

In my morning paper, the Danish Politiken, I found a great article that supports my thoughts! The title made me smile: “She recommends love as a daily supplement”  – I topped up my tea and sat down to enjoy the article.

Professor Berit Lillienthal Heitmann from Institute of Preventive Medicine in Copenhagen ( Center for Sygdom og Samfund ) and an honorable professor at University of Sidney, has been researching obesity for over 25 years. She is convinced that we will never find a solution to why we become overweight and obese, if we only look at the dinner plate and at how much we exercise.

Prof. Heitmann considers stress, lack of nurturing in childhood and bad sleep/sleep apnea, etc. as important factors affecting our ability to succeed in loosing weight and keeping it off.

She says that we can all loose weight by eating less and by exercising, the trick is to keep it off.

Her research has shown that a calorie is not just a calorie. In a study where she looked at nurses in Denmark, she found that those nurses who felt pressured and stressed, put on more weight than those colleagues who were not stressed, when eating  the same amount of calories.

She also did a study with a rare group – identical twins, where one of the twin was overweight and the other was not. What she found in this group was that the one twin, who was overweight had often felt neglected as a child and had missed contact with the mother.

Something points to the fact that nurturing and compassion plays an important role. Berit Lillienthal Heitmann keeps doing research in this field and I will be following her closely, because I think she is on to something really important.

Love as a daily supplement

I wholeheartedly recommend love as a daily supplement too and preferably high doses of it!

“Don’t forget to love yourself” Søren Kirkegaard (Danish philosopher, 1813 – 1855)

Read more:

Self-compassion