Restless Norwegian

Jesus Christ, all this spare time has left me wondering what people do when they don’t include gym in their daily routine. My days have seemed sooo long. Besides learning things I technically already knew about the body, I’ve done a lot of walking, a lot of eating and a lot of experimenting. On friday I made two different cheesecakes, granola AND crisp bread. Yes, all for me. Yesterday I went to the beach – swam 3 times in the ocean (might have been like swimming in Norway during spring, but anything for the beach hair), and today I drowned in rain on my way home from buying…kale. Melbourne. Oh the joy.

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Did you guys know that your skeleton renews itself about every tenth year, so that if your posture is shit today, you’ll be suffering for it when you’re older? My posture happens to be terrible, but I’m for sure going to work on that. Yeah I might end up being the crazy cat-lady, but I’m for sure not gonna be the humpback crazy cat-lady!

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Anyway. When I was arguing/crying/being annoying in the gym office last weekend, one of my concerns with this whole rest from exercise thing was that I would become obsessed with the food. We all know that it’s a matter of energy in vs energy out, and I thought that once the energy out was cut, I’d become crazy about the food. Or stop eating healthy and go down the unhealthy path. But none of that happened.

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Even though all exercise is stopped, my body still requires about 1750 calories a day to simply stay alive. And eating healthy is what I do. It’s my thing. I’m not just doing it to look good, I’m doing it because I thoroughly enjoy eating like that. I love vegetables, I love fruit, I love weird healthy things. I love spending ridiculous amounts of time grocery shopping, reading ingredients of weird, new things in the supermarket or buying strange things from my fruit-lady (who sings for me, everyday) up the road that I have to google what to do with before I can eat it (like the kale I bought today..people drink that stuff??). I can also spend an entire day reading recipes, even though I don’t know how to follow one, or spend the same amount people would on beer on exciting-looking nuts from the Turkish guy in the nut-shop who is amazed by my ability to always look as if I’m going to the gym. It’s just what I do.

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My point is, that once you’ve made something your lifestyle, it becomes a natural thing to do. I wouldn’t change any of my meals for what other people might consider food. Having that said, I’ve had enough cheesecake for half of Australia, I’ve had a chocolate frappuchino from Starbucks WITH whipped cream (which was so disappointing, totally not worth the calories), swedish Ikea-lollies, chocolate and a frozen yoghurt this weekend, aka I have for sure been cheating. I can’t wait for next week and my normal workout routine to be back though, sure – resting has been great, but I love working out, and I’ve been so restless for the past few days which hopefully means that my rest and recovery period has worked its wonders. PULL-UPS COME AT ME. Or at least, let me survive the next 6 weeks of 6 am bootcamps.

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Oh, and I have to tell you about my cheesecake adventure. I was going to follow this recipe, buuut that didn’t happen. For the base I pretty much just toasted sunflower-seeds, pumpkin-seeds and oats in a dry frying pan and let them cool off. Then I blended it with 12 medjool dates and 3 tbs of coconut oil and some lemon zest. Press down in a pan and set to cool in the fridge. Top with.. anything. I used soy cream cheese whipped with melted dark (at least 70%) chocolate (weekend treat, that chocolate still contains HEAPS of sugar) and raw cocoa for one, and soy cream cheese whipped with a low calorie (yeah full of preservatives) lemon jelly. At first I thought the soy cream cheese sort of tasted a bit like tofu, but it has grown on me – I almost like it now. And hey, these things aaaalmost look like cake.

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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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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.

The hidden sugar

Knowing the different kinds of names for added sugar is a key to realizing what products to choose and what products to avoid if you want to “eat clean”. I went hunting for a substitute for wraps (or spelt wraps/speltlomper, in norwegian….) today and jeez, they all contain some kind of crap. One of them claimed to be yeast free, dairy free and contain no added sugar, and they were bloody expensive too. I usually always read the ingredients lists of new products (whatever is mentioned first, is what the product contains the most of), and this package of supposedly healthy wraps contained added concentrate of apple juice. Hidden added sugar right there! If you don’t pay attention when picking your almond milk, soy milk, rice milk or oat milk, you end up with added sugars again. You think you’re buying pure dried fruit, but instead it is covered in sugar. Coconut sugar, palm sugar, agave nectar, rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, .. this list can go on forever.

Bree-sweet-tooth-types-of-sugarI eventually found a package of gluten-free wraps, but oh my, the Norwegian spelt wraps are heavily missed. Making them into chips with heaps of spices in the oven did do the trick though, and I had super delicious tacos for dinner. Speaking of sugar and tacos, all the taco spices and sauces contain added sugar too. I know we have a stevia-sweetened sauce in Norway,  but that is yet to come in Australia. iHerb has a taco seasoning thing with no added sugar or salt from All Natural Frontier, and I rarely use anything other than that. You can also make your own mixture with garlic salt, paprika, cumin and such.

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I got a package from iHerb today (discount code: TBW611 to get $5-10 off your first order), and it was full of chocolate-ish-things (even the lipbalm was chocolate flavored). I have a thing for coconut and chocolate so when I found Raw Revolution’s chocolate coconut bliss, I had to order them. Now, these claim to be healthy, raw and all that, but they do in fact contain added agave nectar, and will therefore be a part of my cheat-day – NOT my normal everyday. They are for sure a better option than the average snickers-bar (favourite….), but should not be indulged all the time just because they claim to be healthy.

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I also ordered freeze-dried mango (with no added sugar), and oh my God – why have I never tried that before?! It is so so so delicious. My sister has always been a major fan of dried fruits like apricots and that, but I’ve never really liked it – until now. These little pieces of heaven will for sure be ordered again. When it comes to dried fruit and such, like raisins, dates and figs, it is important to remember that these are pretty high in naturally occurring sugar and therefore also more calorie-rich than your average carrot or apple. One big medjool-date contains about 110 kcal, which is more than a normal banana, so if you are trying to control your calorie-intake you might wanna not overdo them because just like with anything else, we should eat everything in moderation.

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I got to do legs for the first time since being stupid with my ankle this week, and I had forgotten how damn sore it is possible to get from a workout. Learning to not overdo things, I decided to ease off the heavy weights and did my hipthrusts with 65kg instead of the 75 I’ve been doing for a while, but Jesus Christ it still killed. I’ve also realized that I’m lazy doing my ab-workout, so after finishing my bicep/tricep workout this morning I asked one of the bored instructors in the gym to force me to do my abs. I swear, they are still crying. I asked for it, I complained whilst doing it – and I’m probably gonna complain even more tomorrow. But I did it. Happy Marita.

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Summer dreamin’

My weekends are typically food adventures, although I started this weekend like this..

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I sort of might have had a dairy-free (but packed with sugar) frozen yoghurt mid-week so no candy-Saturday this weekend, but delicious food is important. Every time I walk (or right now, limp) to and from uni, I walk past an indian take-away shop, and I always crave their food. So I had to make my own. If I was pro, I would be making the butter chicken sauce from scratch, but I’m not. Luckily, Coles has a pretty good option where I recognize every ingredient (therefore my body will too) and nothing artificial is added.

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I used chicken, onion, fresh ginger, capsicum, mushrooms and zucchini. Put it all in a pot to simmer, and add some water as the base is pretty thick (coconut cream would probably be even better). Now, I don’t normally eat rice, but Kamilla has a perfect solution for that. Cauliflower-“rice”. Grate cauliflower or smash it with a blender, fry in coconut oil with salt and pepper. I know it sounds boring, but guys – it is amazing.

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IMG_3582Again, I’m no Jamie Oliver (and I was starving), but it does taste good.

No dinner without dessert, and what is better, now that summer is coming, than a milkshake? This is based on a Green Kitchen Stories recipe, and I could probably drink/eat this for the rest of my life.

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You need:

3-4 big strawberries, half a lime, a large frozen banana, a handful of cashews and a splash of desired milk (again, I used unsweetened almond milk).

Blend the strawberries and the lime juice, pour over in a glass. Blend the banana, cashews and milk and pour over. Note; do not throw it all together, that kind of defeats the purpose of the whole thing. The bottom layer reminds me sooo much of my mom’s homemade strawberry jam! I was gonna throw some raw cocoa on top, but I forgot. Enjoy.

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Battling food cravings vol.2

Just popping by to tell you that despite being sick and annoyed that I can’t taste much, I’ve been creative in the kitchen again. Okay, not that creative, but more creative than soup for the third time in a row.

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In general, not being able to do cardio and having to sit on my bum all day makes me more hungry and I tend to crave bread of some kind.. Now, living in Australia means not much access to healthy bread, and as I avoid wheat, new methods had to be found. Yes I know of plenty healthy bread recipes, but my dinner today took about five minutes to put together and I needed a quick fix to my cravings.

Luckily, Norway has a bunch of great health/fitness bloggers, and I thought I’d share Dedication’s version of a microwaved bread. I had to alter mine a tad as I didn’t have all the ingredients, but it became a success! It is delicious when fresh, great when toasted and can be altered to function as a sweet-tooth fix as well.

You need:

1 egg, 4 tbs almond flour, 1 ts baking powder, 1-2 ts of psyllium husk, 1-1,5 dl of water and spices desired (I used oregano, sea salt and garlic). Mix the ingredients in a micro-safe container, put cling wrap over the box and put in the microwave for about 4 minutes on the highest power.

(I’m gonna make it into french toast tomorrow and will be adding some stevia, cardamom and cinnamon instead of the savory spices).

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My roomie Line is still going strong with her no sugar in the weekdays by the way. The cravings are slowly easing off, but she has had to fight a few battles with her own brain to avoid attacking the towers of candy she got for her birthday. The other day I found her two seconds away from putting her hand in the corner of the kitchen containing candy at 9 pm. She had in other words struggled all day to stay away and was ready to give up right before bed time (yes, we tend to pass out a tad early – getting old), and I had to be harsh and tell her to grab a banana, and she did. Today she asked me how she could make frozen raspberries into something sweet and tasty. Proud Marita.

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I never used to like bananas, but now I eat at least 3 a day. (I never liked eggs too much either, and today I’ve had five..). Feeling very sorry for myself and my ankle resulted in me wanting ice cream so I magically whipped up some banana-peanutbutter-icecream and dipped strawberries in it. Great excuse to procrastinate my uni assignments..

Anyways, you need:

A frozen banana (possibly two or three, depending on how much you want) – I was too impatient so my banana wasn’t really frozen though, 1 tbs 100% nutbutter of some kind (no, the peanut butter you find next to the Nutella at Coles is not healthy) and a tiny bit of almond milk. Smash it all with a hand blender, pour it in a bowl and top it with raw cacao and nuts of your choice.

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