Tuna-crust pizza and a killer back-workout

I hate tuna. With passion. There is not much food out there that I actually say yuk to whenever someone is eating it, but canned tuna is one of those things I just can’t stand. Fresh, grilled tuna is another story, I could probably eat that every day for the rest of my life, if I was capable of cooking it. But I’m not.

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Anyway. Canned tuna. The easiest and cheapest way to increase the protein-intake. 19 grams of protein in that little box for like 1 dollar (I should be eating about 130g of proteins everyday – 2 grams per bodyweight), and people put it in everything! Trust me when I say I’ve tried teaching myself to like it. Covered in cheese, put in a sandwich, mixed in pasta, next to a salad, all the different versions of flavours (I mean, you’d think anything mixed with teryaki sauce is good, but no), eaten straight out of the can – you name it, I’ve tried it all. When I had a friend visiting my first year in Australia, I even ate canned tuna every day for a week, thinking I’d eventually learn to like it – but no, gag-reflexes every damn time.

So of course it would have to take a God damn pizza for me to eat that cat food-looking thing. Most of Norway will already know about this pizza (if you read fitness blogs like a maniac, like I do), but for those who don’t, and for those who aren’t convinced yet – I will convince you.

I can’t stand the taste of tuna, and I for sure can’t stand the smell, so when someone blogged about putting canned tuna in their pizza dough, I was like…. yeah no. But then they said it was amazing (or more amazing than tuna on it’s own), and then the most important thing happened; they said it didn’t taste like tuna. At all. The sceptic in me did of course not believe this, but I had to try. It’s basically free muscles in a can, I had to find a way to like it, and if I won’t notice it’s even in my food – why not?

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So all you really have to do is add a can of tuna (in spring water, the oily ones will prevent the crust from becoming crispy) drained from water to my other pizza recipe. 2,5-3dl oats, canned tuna, psyllium husk, baking powder, 2 eggs, unsweetened almond milk/water until it becomes a sticky dough, some parmesan cheese and heaps of spices (I used oregano, paprika, salt, pepper, cumin). Mix it all, put in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 200 degrees. Cool it down to ensure it becomes crispy, top it with whatever you like and of course, don’t forget the parmesan cheese. Back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. About 70 grams of protein in that crust, not too bad hey! (You’ll probably have leftovers, but still). I swear, you won’t notice the tuna.

Also thought I’d share this killer back workout that my PT throws at me now and then (mine is a bit modified as my lower back is destroyed, but this is the original).

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3 x 10 TRX pull-ups.

5 x 5 assisted pull-ups (either get someone to hold your legs, or do it on the assisted chin-up machine).

Supersets (do one set of each exercise with no rest between x 3) of;

Bent over rows 12 & shoulder press 15 – repeat 3 sets (I do squat and rows or seated rows instead of the bent over rows).

Straight arm standing lat pull-downs 12 & lateral raises 15 – repeat 3 sets.

Hammer pulldowns (machine) or chin-ups (focusing more on the biceps, rather than the lats – they´re supposed to be easier than regular ones, but my lack of biceps kind of works against the ‘easy’ part here) 12 & upright rows 15 – repeat 3 sets.

3 x 12 Face pulls.

3 x 15 Reverse cable cross (light weight).

If you’re not sweating by the end of this…

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Nutrition for a healthy mind and body

So I’ve been gone for a while, friends in hospital and a full schedule (and a frozen yoghurt here and there) has kept my mind a bit occupied. Not to mention my workout routine has been reaching insane levels lately.

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Seeing what food they give patients in the hospital made me so angry. My friend has lost heaps of weight (muscle mass aka not the good way to lose weight), and a “””nutritionist””” came to see her and suggested she should eat cheese and crackers in-between meals to put that weight back on. REALLY? Fruit salad means canned fruit, baby food for breakfast, overcooked pasta for lunch.. Let’s just say my worried brain couldn’t leave her like that, so I bought fruit, veggies, nuts, quinoa crackers etc for her to snack on. I believe that eating the right food helps recovery and maintains a healthy mind. And as I’ve said before, for my life to turn around, all I did was change the way I eat. Food is medicine.

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I also decided that last week was the week to hipthrust 80kg. So I did. I literally increase my weights with about 2.5 kg every two-three weeks for legs, it all has to be done at your own pace, you’re only competing with yourself.

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During busy times I try to keep my food simple, and an easy way to prepare your meals is to chuck whatever root vegetables (or any other vegetables) and chicken breasts/fish/lean meat in the oven and roast it. It cooks on its own, is almost as yum the day after, and not to mention, very healthy. Roasting onion and garlic for about 45 minutes is incredible by the way, and very cleansing.

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Keep in mind though, that I eat twice as much as what is on that plate. I don’t know/understand why girls think they should eat as little as possible to get thin, you need to eat the right amount of food to protect your inner organs and help your body recover and rebuild itself! If you’re really worried, skip the god damn ice cream, leave the white bread alone and EAT ENOUGH FOOD.

We’ve had a few experimenting days here in Melbourne, with exploring new food and back-stretching sessions via YouTube.

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Yeah and a little chips-feeding sessions for those who don’t know any better.

I didn’t think I liked prawns/scampi, but have a Norwegian cook it for you and drench it in garlic and fresh chili; voilá, a new protein source right there.

IMG_4313(That green-yellow stuff is mango-avocado salsa, it is delicious – mango,avocado,lime juice and fresh chili).

My measurements are due this weekend, and I honestly have no clue on how that will turn out. We’ll also change my workout routine a bit, now that I’m doing boot camp, to prevent my body from collapsing. I’m literally so sore, even laying in bed hurts, but sore muscles only means you’ve done something that your body isn’t used to, and that is no excuse to not exercise. No pain, no gain. Just do it guys. And remember to eat the proper food!

Clean cheat weekend

Saturday for me normally equals candy, but as I’ve been put on antibiotics, I was advised to skip my normal candy-day this week, and had to find a way around it. I obviously feel slightly cheated for missing my favourite day of the week, but it was really nice not feeling sick or bloated or having a massive food-hangover this Sunday. But have no fear, I still tricked my brain into thinking I was cheating by having my first pasta-meal in NINE months (!!!!), followed by raw brownies and sort of clean..chips. (Okay and maybe.. 2 frozen yoghurts).

IMG_4191Such a masterchef, I know. This is buckwheat and quinoa pasta, both gluten-free and high in protein. I didn’t think I liked buckwheat much, but apparently I do.

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For clean chips, cut wraps into pieces, put desired spices on top and put in the oven on 200 degrees for about 5 minutes. Choose wraps with as little wheat, sugar, preservatives etc, as possible.

But the raw brownies, guys. Oh God. Applauded by a “these have NO sugar?” and raised eyebrows from my housemates, I believe they passed the clean-and-yum test. They even came around for second rounds the following day. Mission accomplished. I improvised though, but I think the recipe looked somewhat like this:

10 fresh medjool dates, 5 tbs of 100% peanut butter, 3 tbs of coconut oil, 3 tbs of coconut milk, 5 tbs raw cocoa powder, 1 ts of psyllium husk, cinnamon, a little bit of sea salt, shredded coconut, chopped nuts of preference and orange zest.

Mix chopped medjool dates, peanut butter, coconut oil, coconut milk and psyllium husk in a pot and heat until sort of melted together. Remove from the heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until it looks like brownie cake batter and pour in a container lined with parchment paper. Leave to set in the freezer for about an hour, cut into pieces and store in an airtight container in the freezer.

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I somehow think they would be great cooked too, so I’ll try adding a couple of eggs, baking powder and almond flour next time.

Started today with intervals from hell in the gym, and for the first time ever I ran on level 16 on the treadmill. Seriously thought I was going to fall off – HOW can people run on like 20? Anyway, just remember to compete with yourself rather than competing with others, what’s great progress for you might not be anything for others, but that doesn’t matter.

I’m also in the process of possibly joining a bootcamp set-up for the next 8 weeks. 6 am workouts twice a week? If I can do it, anyone can.

In terms of abs:

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Two months ago vs now. Surely something has happened? Must be the fifteen minutes of abs I’m forced through twice a week.. So that desired six-pack, probably not gonna happen as I’m not a person willing to bulk-eat and then shred fat to show my muscles, BUT tiny progress is better than no progress.

How to get rid of the sugar cravings // Weekend recipes

I know I keep reinforcing what sugar does to you, so I’ll just skip the whole song about the poisonous aspects, and get straight onto how you can stop this mean little inflammation-causing substance from ruining your body.

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1. Go cold turkey. Just quit it all. I know it sounds hard and whatnot, but you will soon realize how willpower can control anything. If you want to, you can do it.

2. Challenge yourself to last an entire week without any sugar. Once you’ve managed that you’ll be able to think ‘why not try another week?’.

3. Eat fruit. Eat nuts. Eat dried fruit. Drink smoothies. Eat enough for every meal. Find alternative snacks. Try slicing fruit and dipping it in 100% nutbutter or in pb2 chocolate. When you think you want a chocolate, grab a piece of fruit. Just do it, seriously. A chocolate bar may only be 100 calories, but so is a banana. And the banana has heaps of nutritional value.

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4. Once you notice that the cravings do go away, you can always bring in the candy-Saturday and have whatever you want on that day. What you do now and then isn’t as important as what you do every day.

And in case anyone wants to know how great I look in my pink gear, walking home after an hour of cardio…

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I think we’ve all established that I’m no chef, and that my meals rarely look too interesting. BUT for some reason, you guys keep telling me that you try my recipes anyway. So I thought I’d tell you about lasagna. This one works either vegetarian (use chickpeas, beans, mushrooms etc) or with meat (extra lean mince of any kind), and is probably even better the day after. And yes it does have dairy products, once in a while isn’t killing me. Though the ricotta/cottage cheese can be replaced by parmesan cheese.

Fry extra lean mince with garlic, fresh ginger, onion and chill. Add a box of canned, chopped tomatoes and let simmer. Add mushrooms, capsicum and any other desired vegetables. Use sweet potato and zucchini as layers instead of pasta plates. Put one layer of sweet potato, one layer of the meat-mixture and one layer of ricotta/cottage cheese, then go again but use sliced zucchini for the next “pasta”-layer. Repeat until all ingredients are used, and top with parmesan cheese. Put in the oven for about 30-40 minutes on 180-200 degrees. That has sort of been my dinner the past… 3 days.

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Yeah yeah ignore my very boring improvised salad on the side

I started today with a swim in the pool, and then I’ve spent the rest of the day feeling sorry for myself. So I decided to make a treat. I have a thing for coconut, so I’ve given making my own Bounty a try. Great success. And if anyone is wondering how clean and nice it looks when I cook…

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Yeah, wife-material.

Anyway. Give it a chance:

5 dl shredded coconut (not sweetened), 1 box coconut cream (not milk), 3 tbs of melted coconut oil. Vanilla stevia drops if you have that (optional). Sugar-free chocolate or 70-80% dark chocolate + some more melted coconut oil.

Mix the coconut oil with the shredded coconut in a bowl, add the coconut cream and about 4 drops of stevia vanilla (I hate the artificial taste sweeteners give, so I put in as little as possible) and mix. Put it in a container lined with baking paper and leave in the freezer for about an hour. Cut into pieces and leave in the fridge until properly set.

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Melt the chocolate with some coconut oil and cover the coconut pieces in the mixture. Leave in the fridge until set. EAT AS MANY AS YOU CAN, and watch 30 episodes of the Kardashians. Cure to stop feeling sorry for yourself.

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Everyday is pizza day vol. 2

I probably eat more pizza than anyone in my house. I typically make it once a week, and have leftover pizza for lunch the three following days. If I could choose, I would of course be drowning it in mozzarella cheese, but a tiny bit of parmesan and goats cheese does the trick for those poor little kids out there who has to refrain from too much dairy. Anyway, some people care more about the crust than the actual content of the pizza, I’m the other way around. This pizza has a soft base (so if you’re more into the crusty kind of pizza base, I’d suggest going for the one I make with oats and eggs) and tastes amazing. It requires a little more effort, and some hanging out with your blender, but it is still quicker to make than the average unhealthy pizza. I’ve tried making a cauliflower-crust pizza once before, but I failed because I didn’t have almond flour and sort of tried using rolled oats instead. Not to mention I wasn’t even following a recipe. Didn’t go quite as well. The recipe I used this weekend is, as always, stolen from Green Kitchen Stories (they never disappoint).

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You need:

1 cauliflower
80 g ground almonds (almond flour)
1 tbsp dried oregano
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs

I also added some fresh parsley.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Coarsely chop the cauliflower, place in food processor and blend until it is a fine rice-like texture. Measure 700 ml / 3 cups of the cauliflower ‘rice’ and place in a mixing bowl. Add the ground almonds, oregano and seasoning and mix with your hands. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs. Use your hands to pull the dry ingredients towards the middle until everything is combined and you can shape it into a ball. It should be more loose and sticky than a traditional pizza dough. Form into a pizza base by flattening the dough with your hands. Pre-bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Meanwhile, prepare the pizza topping. Remove the crust from the oven. Cover it with homemade tomato sauce, and whatever topping you want, and put it back in the oven for 5-10 more minutes.

My guilty pleasure/addiction the past few months has been pepperoni…. Such a sad thing to crave.

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Whenever I make tomato soup (garlic, ginger, chili, onion and some capsicum, chicken/vegetable stock, water, tomatoes and a box of canned tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano and cinnamon), I always make sure I leave some that can be used as tomato sauce on pizza, with meatballs, on burgers, etc. Easy, healthy and cheap!

Sundays are typically my rest-days, but I like moving my body and working out. So even though you decide to take a day off bench-pressing in the gym, you might wanna consider doing something else to keep active. Of course lazy days are awesome now and then, but I love going for long walks with my incredibly random music (Justin Bieber heart heart heart) and as long as I’m not hungover, I try to start every rest-day with a long walk before breakfast. When my shoulders were inflamed and I was banned from the gym, I got out of bed and went for long walks every morning before uni. There’s always a way. In terms of walking, I’m always amazed by the people who drive to the gym, walk for an hour on the treadmill and drive back home again. Like, really? Who prefers the treadmill in a room over nature and fresh air?!?

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Thought I’d share my gym plans for the week. Now that it’s all a routine in my life, I just do it automatically, but when trying to implement something into your daily schedule, writing down what you are supposed to do really helps (list-making-freak right here).

Monday: 30 minutes of 4×4 Intervals (check, swollen ankle and massive blisters on my feet). 1 hour walk in the sun (had to buy fruit – might as well stop by the park).

Tuesday: Morning – chest/triceps, Evening – 45 minutes cross trainer (heart rate 150-160), 15 minutes abs.

Wednesday: Morning – legs, Evening – 60 minutes Body Balance.

Thursday: Morning – shoulders/back, Evening – 45 minutes cross trainer (heart rate 150-160), 15 minutes abs.

Friday: Either 1 hour of swimming or biceps/abs (I only ever bother doing biceps if I’m keen, it’s my weakest point in my gym program and there’s no point pushing through if my body is not there with me).

Saturday: Normally I’d be doing legs again, but I’ve got a group PT session booked this upcoming Saturday. Hoping I’ll crawl out of the gym after that.

Sunday: Rest rest and more rest. (I’ll probably be dead on the couch).

Now, I know it says ‘abs’ so many times here. But I’m lazy. 15-20 minutes is all I can do. And I tend to bribe someone to yell at me while I’m doing it. Tried something new this weekend; planking on a balance-board. Try it. It kills.

Obviously, things may change. Plans may change over the course of the week, that is however when you need to find a way to work around it. Class all of a sudden started early? Get out of bed an hour earlier. Have to go to a dinner in the afternoon? Do your gym session earlier. Have to be at uni almost until the class you wanna do starts? Bring gym clothes and go straight there. And it’s not the end of the world if you didn’t make it, there’s always tomorrow, make the best of it.

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Be the best version of you

I think it’s a natural thing for us to compare ourselves to other people, compare the money, compare the looks, compare the relationship, compare the education, compare the body, compare the diet. But why? We are all made up of different genetic combinations, we’re not all supposed to be doing and looking the same.

I’ve told you I’m easy to influence, and that I’ve taken my precautions to avoid falling into a pattern of destructive thoughts, but I still notice how easily affected I can become by little things. In the gym, see a girl doing supersets of chin-ups (my ultimate goal in life…. almost) and pushups, get pissed because I can’t do the same, and decide to give it a try. The result? Complete failure and an arm and a wrist in pain. The same story has happened with the squat rack, the treadmill, the hip-thrusts, the shoulder-presses. I’ve hopefully learnt now.

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I’m not saying we should instantly be satisfied with the level we are at, because there is always room for improvement, but I’m saying we should get there in our own time. I’ve learnt the hard way, trying to dead-lift an obscene amount of weight by myself in the gym, instead of slowly working my way there. Up until July I’d only ever done one complete pushup in my life, now I’m able to do 12×3 sets, and it burns. When I finish those three sets, I’ve given it my all. I’m slowly decreasing the weights on the assisted chin-up machine, in other words – I’m closer to be doing one single chin-up with my own bodyweight. I will get there, I just happen to have bumped into about three hundred obstacles on my way because I’ve not listened to the advice I’ve been given by professionals, or the signals my body has been giving me.

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I like the idea of being better versions of ourselves. Not better than our best friend, not better than the chick on the cover of the magazine, not better than the bloody fit girls in the gym. We can look at them for inspiration, but we’re all different and maybe we are better at something that they completely fail at. It is also a lot more fun working out, eating clean and working towards a goal like chin-ups, a six-pack or the feeling of a healthy body, than saying “I will lose x amount of weight in 4 months”, because trust me, that’ll just make you slightly depressed.

Either way, I’m finally back at the stage where I can do hip-thrusts properly again, and I had another personal best yesterday of 75kg. I still remember looking at those girls on Instagram doing 50kg about 6 months ago, not understanding how the hell they managed moving that much weight with their legs and ass, whilst I was struggling with my 17kg, but now I’m moving my old bodyweight. A whole person!

Yesterday was also my cheat-day and I enjoyed mountains of chocolate, and woke up with a mouth as dry as a desert this morning. We were meant to go for fro-yo’s yesterday too, but some silly Norwegian was trying to make peanut butter on her own, and decided to put her finger in the blender, so we ended up hanging out at the emergency room instead. Life in Melbourne.

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Got fro-yo today instead, and guess what guys, they had three flavours sweetened with stevia instead of sugar! Now, that doesn’t mean we should be eating it everyday, but every once in a while, the treat is great (ignoring that I’m not supposed to have dairy). If you top it with berries and nuts that is, not chocolate and cookies like a certain housemate did.

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Speaking of becoming a better version of myself, I am terrible at budgeting and have been dodging my account for the past two months. Line forced me to check it yesterday, and let’s just say that.. my lunch won’t be looking like this in the future.

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My dinners still will though. It is of course fully possible to eat healthy and work out on a budget (story of my life the last three months of every damn semester), and I’ll tell you how; prioritizing what you spend your money on. Don’t buy that chocolate, don’t buy that coke, don’t buy that special offer of ‘buy 3 pay for 2’ of the chips. Buy the real food that your body is in need of. Dodge everything else.

Protein-heaven

I have periods where I eat the same food over and over again, only to get sick of it and not eat it for months. That’s how I got fed up with broccoli last summer (still can’t really eat it cooked), and that’s how I got sick of protein-cakes. Just as if I have cheese in the house, I will make all my food with that cheese until it’s empty and my body says stop.

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Well, I have just re-discovered protein-brownies. When I was living on campus last year, a girl made us nutella-mug-cakes when we were drunk, and it is kind of the same concept. Except healthier. I just had a instant craving for it one night, and was forced to borrow protein powder from one of my housemates. I’ve ditched the protein powders because of all the added chemicals and artificial sugar, but to make a proper protein-brownie you need protein of some kind, and I’m not exactly gonna put chicken in it, am I? (Yes I know you can make it with chickpeas or beans, but that doesn’t go well in the microwave). So I went food shopping (sad to admit, but it is my favourite kind of shopping) and found the perfect option. It has three ingredients; whey protein, raw cocoa and xylitol. 45grams of protein per serving too. My old protein powder has about 200 ingredients that I’ve never heard the name of, it tastes so horrible, and I’ve only been using it when I’ve been out of other options. I will probably never go back to drinking protein shakes after gym sessions (that yucky cardboard taste is not for me), but if I can have it in a cake with pb2 on top, and fruit next to it, I am in.

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So how do you make one?

1 egg, 2 scoops of chocolate protein powder, 1 scoop of crushed oats, 1 scoop of almond flour (or any other flour), a tiny bit of baking soda, as much raw cocoa powder as you prefer, 3-4 drops of liquid Stevia chocolate (optional), and a little bit of water/milk of desire (I use unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk). Mix it until it looks like cake batter of some kind, and put it in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Mix two tablespoons of pb2 peanut/chocolate with one tablespoon of water, and use as icing on the warm brownie. PERFECTION.

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When I bought my protein powder, they also had some yummy-looking things on the counter and I had to grab one. Didn’t read the ingredients, but asked the lady if they were sugar-free and she said yes. I came home, and what do I see? Oh yes, first ingredient; Agave Syrup. Good thing it is Saturday tomorrow, hey! I won’t be going as crazy as I did last weekend with my cheat-day, though. I actually still feel quite sick thinking about it, and my body has just gone back to looking normal again. I sort of also think they recommend having a cheat-meal, rather than a whole day of eating junk.

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My physio has given me the go to slowly start running intervals again, and even though I have to start at 50% of what I used to, it means my ankle has been healing the way I hoped. I have for once been listening to his advice, and even done what I’ve been told. It works. Happy Marita. Particularly because we are going to Noosa in about a week, and the beach body prep should’ve started ages ago. Okay, I don’t prep for beach season, I aim for a body I can live in all year around.

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Also, a big thank you to my previous roomie, Ina, for photoshopping my new header, and a big thanks to Mari for doing the photoshoot with me.