Potato, rice or pasta?

Every time I have a consultation with a new client I’m told that they’ve quit eating potatoes. Then they look at me, proudly, expecting me to praise them. So you don’t eat potatoes anymore, yet you eat sugar and white bread? Great. 

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Then they look at me and ask if I eat potatoes. I eat potatoes almost every damn day! I do, however, not eat sugar or white processed carbohydrates every day. Why would anyone give up eating potatoes? It’s a god damn vegetable. And anything that classifies being a vegetable, goes into my body.

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Let’s compare the nutritional values of traditional carbohydrates typically found on a normal dinner plate.

White pasta – 220 calories per 100 g

White rice – 205 calories per 100 g

Whole grain pasta – 348 calories per 100 g

Whole grain rice – 180 calories per 100 g

Then, let’s look at the potato.

Normal white potato – 103 calories per 100 g

Sweet potato – 86 calories per 100 g

In other words, you can pretty much eat twice as much of the potato as what you can of rice/pasta etc. Now, I’m not saying that rice or pasta (wholegrain version) is bad, I’m just saying that I would rather choose eating  a potato. Preferably sweet potato though, as sweet potatoes actually can be considered a super-food due to it’s nutritional value and benefits – but there’s no need to shy away from the normal oh so dangerous white potato. If I can eat more of one type of food, then you can guarantee that that food will be my choice anytime.

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People are also genuinely surprised when I say that I actually enjoy eating my vegetables. When I show people the food that I eat every day, they’re like what, really – you eat THAT? Yes, I do. In fact, I quite like the way I eat. I’m barely ever bloated, I barely ever feel sick, I’m lean – and I’m happy.

When it comes to baking, however, my skills are sadly not present. Ask my ex-boyfriend from when I was 14 what my brownies look like and he’ll say yellow. Ask my friend Line what my healthy baking tastes like and she’ll say crap. Ask my housemate Lily what my buns look like, and she’ll show you this

IMG_6168Yeah, the bottom picture is my attempt….

So yeah, maybe don’t wife me up just yet.

IMG_6205Anyway, I’m still in a shit workout period where the only thing that’s actually working for me is when I’m doing legs. Upper body is just a joke right now. It might have something to do with the fact that I have to get used to exercising with food in my stomach and at other times than my preferred mornings. But I will make it work. Eventually.

Went for my first outside run in months this week and for some reason I managed to run 45 minutes straight with no break, don’t know what happened there. I do, however, know that my body was very against that run, and that I’m still in pain from it. Mission for this year is for sure to strengthen my body to feel less pain.

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Despite all my crap workouts, I’m practicing and practicing my pull-ups. Day in and day out. I’ve dropped down one resistance band, so I guess I’m veeeeeeery slowly getting somewhere. But fml, it’s so bloody hard.

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New Year, New You?

You know you’ve been out of Norway a bit too long when you have to Google translate things from English to Norwegian when writing articles for your dad…

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Anyway. Happy New Year my dear little fitness freaks (and stalkers), a New Year – a new you, isn’t that what we all try to tell ourselves? I personally believe, that all you need is a new morning, to change whatever you’re not happy with, but now that we actually have 12 fresh months ahead of us, we might as well make the best of them, right?

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I’ve had a blast in Sydney, and whatever slight definition of abs I had before I left, is now gone. HOWEVER, I’m not crying. I know that all it will take is another two weeks of doing what I love to do, to get back to where I was before Christmas.Food has been left in charge of the hosts, but I have tried to keep some balance in there (if you ignore my day-long eating parties from Christmas Eve to..eh New Years Eve) and I’ve pretty much had oats and eggs every day, I’ve also aimed for my daily portions of fruit and chosen water, coconut water or a freshly squeezed juice (beetroot, apple, carrot, celery and ginger – get in me) over soda and wine (particularly after I discovered that Diet Coke contains the same chemical as that used to clean garbage bins..).

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There has been time for the occasional workout too, but I’ve spent plenty of time soaking the sun and laughing with my crazy fellow Norwegians. We should all remember that what matters is what you do for the rest of the year, not necessarily what you do for Christmas.

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As a result of putting my body through a lot of stress before Christmas, I have pretty much been sick ever since I left for Sydney. Eating food with sugar has for sure not helped my recovery, so I’ve said that there will be no cheats until I feel like myself again. This might, however, has happened yesterday when I was all by myself and very bored …..

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See, things don’t always go my way either. I did my first run of 2014 in Sydney, and it was bloody hard, I had to stop several times and my heart rate was abnormally high considering that I was running very slowly. I forced through a leg session Friday morning and even though I increased all my weights, I actually threw up before I left the gym because I had pushed my body too hard. Still sore from that leg session by the way. On Saturdays I always pick whatever exercises I like the most and do them without too much structure, and it’s usually fun, however this Saturday was a struggle and I left the gym drowned in sweat. New week, great start, I thought to myself this wonderful Monday morning. 30 minutes of 4×4 intervals, 15 minutes of core-exercises and 15 minutes of foam rolling later…

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HELL, is all I have to say. This is brutal. But I still do it. I love doing it. And I can’t wait to get back to where I was. Motivation is what gets you going, habit is what keeps you going. Make it a lifestyle, guys – all it takes is 4% of your day.

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!

Strong is the new skinny

Strong is the new skinny”, they say. Access any Instagram account related to fitness or open a health and fitness magazine and you are most likely going to find a picture with a muscly man/woman who has a low body fat percentage, supposed to function as motivation.

We no longer crave being the stick-thin model on the catwalk, we want muscles, we want to be strong, we want to eat the right food and exercise enough. That should, in theory, not be a problem. Building muscles and eating healthy is good for us, right? And it is, but what happens when we are constantly exposed to ripped fitness models – who in reality dedicate a tad more time to their bodies than the average “these ab-exercises will get you a six-pack” article the pictures usually are accompanied with? Some would argue that overly focusing on eating right and exercising enough is not any healthier than wanting to be as thin as possible. Like with anything else, overly obsessing over something can cause a problem, and this is where we need to find the right balance. 

World Natural Figure Champion, fitness model and editor of Oxygen Magazine, Lindy Olsen, thinks that women should be encouraged to be fit and healthy rather than feel defeated by those who consciously chose to push their own potential and get out of their comfort zones to reach their own ultimate levels of health, wellness and condition.

“Fitness models make a conscious choice to be as fit and as healthy as they possibly can be and if that intimidates people to feel less adequate than others then I’d encourage women everywhere to embrace their inner beauty and be the best versions of themselves that they can be”, Lindy says.

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She also says that the secret to staying lean, fit and healthy all year round is to eat all foods in moderation and not to cut entire food groups out of the diet. “I certainly have my cake and eat it too”.

Education is key. Lindy was once 89kg and felt tired, lethargic and pretty average, but gaining knowledge about good nutrition, exercise and how to healthily combine it all has changed that in such a huge way for her and her passion is evident when she talks about how anyone can get into great shape with the right information, support and mindset.

” If someone like me can learn about health and nutrition and learn to not “miss out” on the foods that all of us love it’s just a matter of re-educating people so that they truly understand that food should not be classified as bad or good, simply eat more of this and less of that”, she says.

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 Luke Tan  (yes, the vegan body builder) ,explains that the change of lifestyle leads to a healthier diet, a stronger body and better mental and physical health, but emphasizes that people should be doing it for themselves, and not for others.

Competing in fitness is certainly a challenge and requires both discipline and willpower, and even though fitness models are being used as motivation, it is not necessarily said that we should all strive to look like that, but simply let ourselves inspire and change into better versions of ourselves.

They both agree that we should not be comparing ourselves to others, rather strive for becoming comfortable in our own skin. And they emphasize that if we manage to become fitter than we once were, then instead of receiving negative comments and critique, we should be shown encouragement and support.

So how about we say that happy and comfortable is the new healthy, and stop comparing ourselves to the images we are constantly presented with so that we can start comparing the old us to the new us?

Do I have to go to the gym THAT often?

It does not really matter what you do as exercise, but how you do it. Don’t force yourself to the spin-class that your friends do unless you really want to (that would be me), don’t run 10K every day if you’re more of an interval-runner, don’t do a 5-day split-program if you prefer working your whole body at once. And the same goes for food. Don’t force down that canned tuna if it makes you throw up (that would be me again), don’t drink that green spirulina-shake if you can’t handle the taste. You get where I’m coming from.

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I often have people asking me how I do it, and what I do – but it is so important for me to emphasize that you have to do it for YOU, that you have to find what you’re comfortable with, what you can look forward to in your “me-time”. So maybe I, and all the other girls you follow on Instagram, go to the gym more than usual. Maybe we eat things that you would never put in your mouth. Does that mean that you have to? No.

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The average person probably works out about 3 times a week, and that is more than enough if you do it right. The national recommendations for physical activity is 30 minutes every day, that isn’t really too much is it? I’m pretty sure I spend thirty minutes walking to and from the bus and to the grocery store every day, and then I work out on top of that. I’m just saying that, depending on your goal with your exercise, you might want to do it in another way. If your goal is to be shredded for Stereosonic or very muscly and defined with low body fat, then yes you are going to have to put in more effort than the average person who just wants to maintain his/her health. We all want different things, and we all adjust to that.

On a completely different note, summer is slowly arriving in Melbourne (just as my thermal underwear came from Norway..) and I thought I’d celebrate with some watermelon, strawberry and lime sorbet/slushie. Delicious, refreshing and nutritious. You need frozen watermelon, a couple of strawberries, half a lime and some hot water. Smash it all with a blender and enjoy.

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I should also tell you that I cooked my own meat to perfection last night. Yes, I do eat red meat now and then too. But you have to remember that vegetables are the main ingredients in my dinner no matter what I eat next to it, not the other way around. I was told how to cook a scotch fillet over a glass (or fifty) of wine on the weekend, and I shall share it with you, just in case you are as horrible as me when it comes to cooking. Fry the steak in some coconut oil on high heat for about 3 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness of the meat) and let it rest for the same amount of time, wrapped in aluminum foil. When people learn that I don’t eat this and don’t eat that, they always go “but where do you get your carbs from??!?????”, there’s carbs in vegetables too guys, have you ever heard of potatoes? And I discovered something delicious yesterday, frying brussel sprouts and mushrooms in coconut oil is amazing. Just saying.

Voilá!

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Eating healthy is so hard.. or is it?

People always complain that eating healthy is complicated and expensive. That fruit is more expensive than chocolate. That you get more frozen, deep-fried chicken for the same prize as vegetables. That choosing the healthy option when eating out is hard. But you don’t and it isn’t. Let me present you 200 calories (to the confused Line on calories; you need about 2000 calories a day depending on your level of activity) in pictures:

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Now, what food do you think will fill you up the most? Where do you get the most nutrition from? Maybe we after all did get more food and nutrition for the money when choosing the health-benefiting food?

When it comes to eating out, you only make it as hard as you want it to be. We had dinner at the restaurant across the road yesterday and they did have an option of baby snapper fillets, grilled chicken and other healthy deliciousness, nobody is forcing you to choose the pizza or the extra side of chips. Yes, so maybe I paid a tad more for my baby snapper, but it was so good. And SO filling.

When claiming that eating healthy or joining the gym is too expensive, you are in reality only jeopardizing your own body and health. Why should you not be prioritizing buying real food? Isn’t that the one investment you should be doing? You will be paying a lot more in the future as a result of being hospitalized for your bad nutrition and/or not exercising.

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I spend about $40-50 a week grocery shopping. That is absolutely nothing! I eat at least four meals a day, and I am pretty much always satisfied. My gym membership is about $60 a month, in being there 9 times a week I pay about.. $1,66 per visit. Worth it? I think so. And you don’t need to go to the gym to work out, the nature is after all free and a perfect place for recreational activities.

I also stumbled upon a picture from a few years back.

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My amount of working out was the same, but I ate candy or cakes at work every day, I refused wearing tight tops, and believe me; running intervals was pure hell.

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Now, I don’t eat crap every day, my body-fat has lowered, my self-esteem is way better, I am stronger, I run faster and I recover faster.

Today has been one of my double gym session days, and I’d just like to give you an example of one of those days. (We did celebrate Line’s birthday at home yesterday and I did have tremendous amounts of sugar/milk/wheat-packed cake, so I’ve been slightly full today). I had my first leg day of the week this morning (yes, I have noticed the requests of my leg-program, and it will come), died and then ate the breakfast I eat pretty much every day; porridge made of oats topped with a banana, cashew nut-butter, blueberries and strawberries, a soft-boiled egg and a large cup of muscle recovery yogi tea from iHerb (use the code TBW611 and get $10 off your first purchase).

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I brought leftover pizza and an apple to uni, had a soft-boiled egg, a banana and a handful of nuts/raisins as a pre-workout snack, went to Body Balance and finished it off with a 10-minute vegetable soup (I’m starting to feel sick and soup always helps) topped with pan-fried mushrooms and turkey, and had strawberries for dessert. So simple, yet so incredibly good. And so not complicated at all!

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So, just a few tips on how to keep the clean and healthy eating affordable.

  • Buy things locally and choose whatever is in season
  • Add meat/fish/poultry into dishes where veggies are the main ingredients, thus making it last longer/for several meals
  • Cook batches of meals that can be frozen/left for a few days and brought whenever needed
  • The key to success is planning!

Come cook with me

Eating clean and natural is easy, they say. And it is. But it takes time adjusting to the habit of preparing your own food pretty much from scratch every day, and there are a few key essentials to being successful at it. I am, as previously mentioned, the worst chef. I cannot cook. I cannot follow recipes and my meals never look the way they look in the pictures. But I still prepare my own food every day, I still eat it, I make others eat it, and it DOES taste good (most of the time, that is).

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Get me? It never really looks.. appetizing. 

The important thing for me is that the recipes are easy to follow and have few ingredients, if the list is longer than my jeans I automatically skip the page and keep looking because it is too much of an effort on an every day basis. Not to mention, I rarely have the time to cook for hours. Having people over to impress or if I am in need of an excuse to procrastinate, I often attempt the complicated dishes – but because I cannot follow recipes… well, it never turns out the way it is supposed to.

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Most of the food I eat is inspired by bloggers, clean cookbooks or the occasional restaurant up the road. Fancy ingredients isn’t really to find in my kitchen, and I rarely spend more than 20-30 minutes preparing and/or cooking. I stock my fridge with fruit and vegetables after season (but always heaps of bananas, apples, sweet potato, avocado, mushrooms and capsicum), there is always eggs and oats to find and I do try to eat the occasional chicken or salmon/basa fish on the days I do double gym sessions.

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Nuts, raisins/dates (great for making a sweet syrup to bake with) beans, chick peas, real parmesan cheese and unsweetened almond milk is also great to have floating around. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is always accompanied by some kind of dessert (major sweet tooth right here) and I never walk around hungry (unless I forget my food for uni at home, then I am STARVING and very upset).

I am obsessed with two food blogs, their food is healthy, vegetarian (many dishes do go great with meat/poultry/fish) and the recipes are so easy to follow. The fact that their pictures make me hungry is a major plus. Green Kitchen Stories & My New Roots – even though you are not a health freak like me, go check them out. Explore their previous recipes and please try them. The not-so-health-freaks in my house have adopted a few recipes from here too, I promise.

This weekend has been dedicated to a major study session and my vegetarian friend and I have been procrastinating in the kitchen. Herb and Pistachio Falafels and Beet Burgers have been on the menu (alongside some sushi, vietnamese rice paper rolls and the occasional – very forbidden dairy – frozen yoghurt).

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Now, I am not going to tell you how to do it because I steal my recipes from other people, so you might as well find it on your own – but I am going to tell you how easy and healthy fast food can be. Yes it is the weekend, yes we need to enjoy ourselves – but that enjoyment does not need to come from food. Food is nutrition. Food is delicious. But the comfort can come from somewhere else. Like a walk in the park or a cheesy naked Zac Efron movie.

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Had a fair few of these this weekend; fruit, nuts and a tiny piece of white sugarfree chocolate from Sweden – it was Saturday after all.

And please do try the Life Changing Loaf by My New Roots, it is.. life changing.