Foodie talks

That incredibly sad moment when you grab the wrong lunch box in the fridge. This

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was meant to be cauliflower-crust pizza. Yes, I was very sad.

Prepare yourself for a little bit of a food ramble. My life is hectic, I swear every hour of my day is booked, and I have now had to skip a day of uni to be able to catch up with uni assignments – oh the irony.

Anyway, when life is so hectic that you pass out at 9.15 on a Saturday night, all you can do is cherish your body (yes, pun intended). I may not have the time to cook healthy food for hours each day, so I make sure that I stock up on fresh produce, lean protein and fruit when I actually have some spare time. The dishes created might not have a name, come from a recipe or even be remotely exciting. But it is healthy, it provides my body with energy, and most importantly – it never EVER comes from a can, a box, a frozen package or a fast-food place. Cook your own food, know what you eat – stay healthy. It is as simple as that.

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Try reading the label of a can of iced tea, should only contain tea and water/ice cubes – guaranteed that the list of ingredients exceeds that, and it will be packed with sugar. What about a box of pre-made guacamole? For sure more than just avocado, lime, garlic and coriander. Or a can of tomato soup? High in sodium, high in sugar, high in preservatives – and very low in nutritional value and vitamins. Making your own soup takes about 10 minutes, search the internet, suck it up – and do it.

I normally never buy bread or crisp bread, but for the occasion of a tapas-night, I had to. Spent 30 minutes reading labels, trying to find a gluten-free bread with as little ingredients as possible, and boy was I surprised – the manufacturers add so much crap to bread! Most of us have tried baking our own bread, and we all know that there is no need to add apple juice or preservative A, B and C, to make a healthy bread. Just keep in mind that the food might not be healthy, just because it is labeled gluten-free, sugar-free and fat-free. Something else has usually been used to substitute those ingredients.

It is also fully possible to have a completely healthy girl’s night in (okay maybe ignore the chips and the crackers, remember; no one is telling you that you have to eat the bad food on the table).

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Because I very rarely eat carbs like quinoa, rice, couscous, and bread, this night may have made me look slightly pregnant

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On the note of preservatives. I’ve been testing pre-workouts due to my lack of energy in the gym. Bad idea. Pre-workouts are often added ingredients that no one should ever put in their bodies. Pre-workouts are, in fact, banned in Norway. (And so is any candy that is coloured blue, but that is another story). Let me demonstrate

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These pictures don’t even justify what happened to me, or what I looked like. Already in the car (10 minutes after I drank it), I told my boyfriend that my heart was hurting, and I kept scratching my skin. Got to the gym, looked in the mirror, and my skin was covered in massive red patches, and I was all flustered and dizzy. Also had pins and needles in pretty much every limb of my body. Even though it made me look like this at the end of my workout

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And let me burn this many calories

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I just don’t think it was worth it. No more pre-workout for this little Norwegian.

I’ve had a few days where I’ve either forgotten to bring dinner to work, or been too lazy

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The important thing is to note that this does not happen often, I dare say that 3 out of 4 weeks are close to perfect when it comes to my food.

I am a blog-nerd, and I’ve been reading health and fitness blogs for years, but it is not until I realized that the food and suggestions that they posted to their blog was what they ate all the time, that I understood how I could change my own lifestyle. I can’t remember the last time I ate ‘normal’ pasta, pizza or burgers, or the last time I had anything canned (as in meals, I use canned tomatoes, beans etc) because that’s just no longer a part of who I am.

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I went to Yong Green Food on Brunswick St this weekend, and had this healthy little gem

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No bad ingredients, no allergens. Happy Marita. Everything on their menu is healthy (and cheap), so I suggest anyone who has the chance heads there ASAP.

I often get asked about protein bars, supplements, protein shakes etc. My only advice is; buy the ones with as little ingredients and sugar as possible. Nothing that the supermarket sells! The only protein bar I can personally approve of is the Quest bars (you can get them from iherb.com, or a couple of health food stores in Melbourne), as they never leave me bloated or feeling sick. But remember, this is still a chocolate. 200 calories – about 20 minutes on the treadmill. If you are trying to lose weight, consider where you want to get those 200 calories from, what’s going to fill you up the most?

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Favourite flavors; white chocolate raspberry, double choc chunk brownie and cookies and cream.

My client, Julijana, has started mocking the ‘just do your repetitions’ face that I give all my clients when they don’t want to do what I’m telling them to

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As if you wouldn’t do another set of squats to that face.

I’ve also made a Facebook page for this blog to make it easier to keep up with posts and motivation for you guys 🙂

Should you not be sick of my endless writing yet, have a look at my article about Personal Training here.

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What are you exercising for?

Some Norwegian blogger has stated that anyone who exercises and eats healthy is only ever doing it for the looks. Girls to be skinny, guys to be muscly. And I can, to some extent agree. It all usually starts with the desire to look good, never really to feel better, BUT as you learn what your body is capable of and how it reacts to various types of food, I dare claim that you keep doing it because of the way it makes you feel on the inside.

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Sure, these past weeks I’ve been as little motivated as you can ever imagine, but because I’ve found a way of exercising that I like, and made it a routine, I’ve still been doing it. New after I started working is less exercise hours during the week. I no longer do 9 sessions, but 6, as the cardio I used to do during the evening has been swapped for running after my clients all day long. I know what it’s like not being able to do anything, when all you really want to is to exercise. Knees, ankles, back, shoulders – you name it, been there done that, and it sucked. 4 months of only walking because the upper body didn’t wanna co-operate, but I still got out of bed and walked. Every day. Because I like the way I feel after moving my body, and I don’t like the way I feel when I know I’ve been dodging what I’m meant to do.

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I also know what it’s like to be 15kg heavier and dreading putting on tight clothes, and I don’t ever want to go back there.

IMG_4666So yes, a part of me is exercising and eating healthy because I want to maintain what I’ve worked so hard for. But the bigger part of me is exercising and actually loving vegetables because of the way it makes me feel, all I want is a well-functioning and strong body that is injury and pain free. Sure, I’d love to be able to do pull-ups (veeeery slowly getting there), and other cool Instagramable stuff, but if that means that I’m gonna go back to not sleeping because my shoulder joints are inflamed, then no. I’ve found a balance in my life, and I like it that way. Having that said, I had 3 cheat days this weekend, so yes – it is possible to not be healthy, even for me, and I kinda freaked out, but it didn’t turn me into the Marita that I was a year ago – all it did was give me bad skin and made me feel like shit, but there’s nothing a little bit of fruit and vegetables can’t fix, right (yes, I’m joking).

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Anyway, my little sister requested a cookie recipe.

Mix 2 eggs, 1-2 ripe bananas, almond milk (other milk/water), raw honey (not necessary) and PB2 or peanut butter. Add rolled oats, baking powder, sesame seeds, chopped dried figs, almonds (or other nuts), dates, a sprinkle of sea salt, raw cocoa, chocolate protein powder, cinnamon, cardamom and ground ginger. Form the dough (it’s meant to be a bit sticky) into cookies on a baking tray, put them in the oven on 200 degrees for 10-15 minutes, and voilá, soft, chewy cookies that probably won’t last more than a day because you will eat it all.

Losing 10kg the healthy way

I know I’ve said that this is no weight-loss blog, but I shared these tips with my dad (on his request) and figured I could share them with you too. It’s January and there are always someone out there who’s New Years resolution is to lose x amount of kilos in a certain amount of time – usually too short time. These people normally get impatient as they don’t see results fast enough, and either end up putting more weight back on than what they initially lost or they simply give up. There is no quick-fix solution to losing weight and keeping that weight off. If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it the healthy way.

  • Incidental Activity

A little hour in the gym every day equals 4% of your day, and 2% of your week, so it’s pretty obvious that what you do for the rest of the day matters in terms of what happens to your body. Incidental activity makes you live longer, and keeps your body active. Make sure you move at least 30 minutes a day. Choose the stairs, walk to the grocery store, ride a bike etc.

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  • Be aware of what you put in your mouth

It’s no secret that to lose weight, energy in must be less than energy out. This does not mean that you should starve yourself, but you need to choose the right nutrition. Lean proteins, complex carbs and plenty of fruit and vegetables is vital to feel full longer. Quit sugar and processed food that only provides empty calories, stick to food where you recognize the ingredients. Choose water when you’re thirsty and fruit when you’re craving something sweet.

  • Be a little strict

Your body is usually addicted to certain food without you being aware of it. It’s not always fun to exercise when it’s 35 degrees and sunny outside, and all you want to do is lay on the beach and eat ice cream, followed by sunset beers. But sometimes you just have to. It’s okay to say no when someone offers you unhealthy food, it’s okay to be strict and eat a banana rather than a chocolate, and it’s okay to get your act together and get your ass to the gym. It’s only a little hour of the day, and the beach will still be there when you finish.

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  • Not all at once

It doesn’t matter if you fail once in a while. You didn’t get fat from one ‘bad’ meal, and you won’t get instantly thin from eating a healthy one. You will therefore not hit rock bottom if you enjoy a chocolate now and then. Consistency is the key. Don’t let the setback make you give up, simply start again the following day.

  • Find an activity you enjoy, and do it 3 times a week

It requires once a week to maintain, twice a week to get better, and three times a week to improve and change a body. By finding something you enjoy doing, exercise will become more fun – and maybe even something you look forward to doing. Let it be ‘your time’ of the day, and appreciate the favour you’re doing your body.

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  • Small milestones

Ten kilos can seem like a scary, and extremely vague goal. Even though that is the final destination of your journey, it’s smart to set achievable milestones within that period of time. Things like fitting your jeans from last year, improving the skin, attempting to stay away from all ‘bad’ sugar for an entire month, lifting a certain amount of weight, running 5 km in less than 30 minutes etc.

  • Find a way that works for you, you’re supposed to live that way

Not everyone likes getting up at 5 to do a spin-class, and not everyone bothers doing bikram yoga five times a week. Figure out how things work for you and your habits. Food and exercise should not be something you have to hate dealing with every day. Make it a lifestyle, and it will become easier to keep the weight off.

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  •  Lift weights

Strenght training is the most efficient form of exercise in terms of toning the body and losing weight. Muscles burn fat, and the more muscles you have, the more fat you will burn. Strength training also strengthens the bones and the brain, and protects your inner organs from damage.

  • Trust the process

There will be days where things are going to go against you, and that is when you must.trust.the.process. You’re not gonna always have lost weight when doing your measurements. It is recommended to lose about 0,5kg-1kg a week to maintain the weight-loss, and it’s enough to weigh yourself every 3-5 weeks. Do measurements of your body, it’s a lot more fun to to know the results in centimeters, as weight doesn’t tell you the difference between muscles and fat.

  • Stay positive, ask for help if everything goes wrong

You can’t always do everything alone. Losing weight is a tough battle, and you might just need a support system able to handle the stuff that you’re not capable of dealing with. Get a gym partner or a personal trainer, and let these people be responsible for checking your weight and doing your measurements to avoid you becoming fanatic about it. Listen to those who are educated, listen yo your body, and should you need a break – take one. It’s easy to hit the wall a little too fast and a little too hard.

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1,5 year ago

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A few weeks ago

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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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.