Sunday talk

I’ve been researching a bit, trying to find some science related health talk that I can stuff down your throat. But I don’t have anything to force upon you this wonderful Sunday. This blog did, as most of you know, start as a uni thing, and now that that subject is over, I don’t really have to write anymore. I do, however, kind of like writing it. And I mean, you guys are reading it. And sending me all your weird messages of love. So maybe I’ll keep it up for a while longer.

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My first week back in the gym after resting has been successful, and after smashing out my leg-day on Friday, I am so sore that even turning around in my bed is a struggle. My spine is sore, my ass is on fire and my calves are about to cramp every time I attempt lifting my legs. Pain before beauty, hey? Being sore is, of course, not dangerous so even though I tend to be the complainer of all complainers after (even during) a gym session, I’m happy knowing that I’m still able to change my routines up and do things my muscles aren’t overly used to. Not to mention that even after resting, I was still able to push through 80kg hip thrusts, my only talent in life.

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One thing that is dangerous though, is knees in pain. And mine are, for some reason, giving me hell. My fucked up knee is swollen and annoying. Squats are generally the biggest problem when it comes to my knees, and even though I lowered the amount of weights with 10kg compared to what I normally do, I’m struggling with any movement requiring the outside of my knee/quadriceps/even hamstring to act. It might be the hill-sprints I’ve been doing at bootcamp, and it might be the jumping squats I’ve been playing around with. I hate when my body goes against me and what I want to do, but in teaching you to listen you to listen to your bodies, I’m gonna have to practice what I preach and try taping my knee and working a different way this upcoming week. We are, after all, stuck with our bodies for the rest of our lives, no need to jeopardize it by being stubborn or stupid.

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I read so many health/fitness/food blogs, and whenever they put up new recipes, I’m always tempted to try. On the menu this weekend; ginger bread tasting things á Norwegian Fotballfrue (soccer wife something something). The recipe is in Norwegian, I know, try google translating it.They were meant to look something like this

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Mine did however look more like this

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Still no wife-material in this girl

…and yes that is mangoes in the background. All 3 for me. The fruit people in Coburg have the best deals on mangoes, but don’t tell anyone, I like keeping them to myself.

Now, anything baked that I’ve tried from this blogger usually tastes absolutely nothing or absolutely disgusting, and even though I made a syrup of 4 dates instead of yacon syrup (what is that, anyway?), doubled the amount of spices and even added some garam massala (it’s like ginger bread in a spice box), the flavour was still lacking. And they were not even remotely crispy. But I ate them all. Almost by myself. Can’t waste food, right?

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In-between my workout sessions and failed baking sessions, I spend about 6 hours studying PT-stuff from my mac, and staring at a screen for that long has left my eye twitching for the past 2 days. I had to google why eyes twitch, and the most common reason is of course using them too much. I’m not talking about generally using them to ‘see’, but staring at a screen for 6 hours, only interrupted by my study-breaks of watching some silly show (Kardashians…..guilty pleasure) on the same screen, has left its marks. So today I went to the library.

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I went to the library and signed up to borrow books. Now, I used to do that all the time when I was younger (yeah, I like to read, big time geek alert), but after I started going to uni, reading is sort of something I never do anymore (okay I buy Men’s Health now and then, as Woman’s Health is full of ‘how to get skinny in 7 days’ kind of articles, but magazines don’t count). I didn’t borrow any research related books (okay, I might have requested this one, but come on – nutrition is my baby), only books that I want to read. No Instagram, no Twitter (not that I use mine for anything but stalking, my friends have used it to annoy celebrities with random tweets), no Facebook, no gym, no blogs, no Spotify. I think doing things we forget we used to highly enjoy is very important.

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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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Chocolate muffins for the chocolate lovers, with..zucchini?

I am a cake person. And a chips person. But bake a cake in front of me, and I am sold. Whenever I’m craving things, I tend to go through recipes online or in my clean-eating cookbooks, and pick things that I want to bake. Now, Line and I have tried several low-carb recipes, but we aaaalways fail. It smells nice. It looks good. But tastes horrible. And it is so disappointing.

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Green Kitchen Stories does, however, never fail. Everything I’ve tried (even though I alter the recipes a tad) has been a success, and it has even been approved by the sugar-monsters in my house. The same goes for the chocolate muffins I baked yesterday. 

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I get that many people are scared when they see vegetables as ingredients in cakes, but think of a carrot cake and how delicious that is! You can’t taste the zucchini, it’s only there for the moisture of the muffins (not to mention it does come with health benefits).

I followed this recipe, but instead of maple syrup (which I consider to be sugar), I used five fresh medjool-dates. I know a lot of people are hesitant towards using dates (or dried figs for that matter) in food because they “don’t like them”, but when used as a sugar/syrup replacement, it becomes more like a caramel-y, sweet syrup, and the “date-flavor” disappears. I cut the dates in little pieces and melted them in a pot with three tbs of coconut milk.

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Oh, can anyone tell me what the difference between baking soda and baking powder is? I’ve always thought it was the same..

I didn’t have spelt flour, so I used almond flour, and the butter can be replaced with coconut oil. I didn’t really have all the spices or nuts either, but I put in heaps of cardamom, cinnamon and raw cocoa powder, and used almonds, peanuts and cashews instead of walnuts. 

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If I had remembered to buy soy cream cheese, I obviously would have made the frosting too – which I think would have made them absolutely perfect. 

Line enjoyed her muffin with a class of milk, Danny (my other housemate) enjoyed it with a big “YUM” and I enjoyed mine with some sugar-free chocolate on top. We’ve had a little photoshoot today (I am exhausted) to change the design of this blog, and I brought some muffins and power-bars to bribe the allergic-to-everything-photographer and chocolate-loving-assistant, and they both wanted to make it again at home. Warms my little health-freak-heart.

I spent my friday afternoon with my lovely physio, playing with balance boards and what-not, and my ankle is luckily heading in the direction we want it to. I can’t run or jump yet (though I might have done that during the shoot today..), but I am finally allowed to slowly include my all-time favorite leg day! I did a full body-workout this morning and boy are my legs sore.. I’m assuming my 70kg hip-thrusts are gonna be somewhat reduced when I attempt that again. Oh well, baby steps.

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Breakfast tip; two-ingredient-protein-pancakes + progress

You’ve probably already guessed that I’m no Picasso when it comes to presenting food in an appetizing manner. When I rang my little sister for her birthday last week, she was in the middle of making pancakes with her boyfriend and I had to admit to her that I have never been able to make pancakes. I can follow the recipe and they taste nice, they just never look like pancakes and they always break when I try flipping them.

Being in Norway over the European summer equaled plenty of occasions where I had to prepare and bring my own food, you know; failing to plan = planning to fail. Anyway, I stuffed around with salads, overnight oats, omelets, left-overs from dinner, etc, but one of my friends kept bringing little pancakes, and needless to say – I was jealous.

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When realizing that the ingredients were simply eggs and bananas, I was sold. It took a couple of rounds of complete failure before I managed to make anything that even slightly looked like pancakes, but I finally succeeded last weekend. Even though I am a major fan of my usual breakfast (porridge/oats w/nut-butter & fruit, and a boiled egg), changing it up now and then is nice.

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So. I smashed two bananas and two eggs, some cinnamon and cardamom in a blender, and then I added frozen blueberries (damn I miss picking blueberries for free in the forrest…). Fry them in coconut oil (gives a delicious coconut-y flavor), I realized that it was easier to make pancake-looking pancakes when frying them in smaller doses. Voilà!

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And you guys.. this abs-project is killing me. I’m trying so hard, but apparently not hard enough. I’ve almost got 1,5/6 down haha, but Jesus, I think I need to eat even cleaner and push those ab-sessions even further. God damn it. I’m not saying it is impossible, but it sure is harder when you barely eat meat. Anyway, got my measurements done today and I’ve finally gained some muscle! A tiny amount, but still – baby steps, you know. I’ve also dropped another 1% body fat. Come at me cheat-Saturday!

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Power food for power people

I dislike the bike in the gym with passion. After riding half of Mallorca on a bike (almost, at least) when I was in high school, I don’t think I’ve ever even laid my eyes on a bike. That, and the friday spin-classes that my friends used to do (and I stupidly tagged along to) in middle school. Scarred for life. My ankle is slowly healing, despite being blue and slightly swollen, I almost walk normally, but I am banned from most of the cardio-equipment for another week or so.

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Every time I feel sorry for myself and my ankle, I do however, think of the poor guy who normally does my programs, who has been even more unfortunate than me, and has to undergo surgery. At least my body will heal itself within the next month.

Mondays are my interval-days, and this Monday I told myself to do intervals on the rowing-machine. Yeah, ten minutes into it and I was ready to be carried home. So I decided to give the bike a try. I don’t know what it is that makes me resent it so much, but trust me – 45 minutes is a very long time when you don’t want to do what you’re doing (flashbacks to maths-class anyone?). But I have booked in measurements for tomorrow morning and well, I feel better when I get my cardio done. So I’ve sucked it up, and will round it all off with my fourth cycling-session this week, tomorrow morning.

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I have been slightly over food the past weeks, but I think I’m back on track now. I’ve actually tried something new every day this week. Every Australian seem to know what a zucchini slice is – I had never heard of it, so when I found a recipe on Instagram, I was stoked. Protein and vegetables in one major dish? Yes, please.

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Now, I sort of added a bit too much in terms of the veggies and did as per usual, not quite follow the recipe. I added turkey and pepperoni instead of bacon, and added mushrooms, sweet potato and normal potato as well. But it turned out delicious – and left me with lunch for two more days.

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Before heading to the gym today, I was reading recipes (yes I’m weird, I know) and decided to make something that could wait for me when I got back, drenched in sweat. Knowing that my measurements are due tomorrow morning, my body reacts by craving sweets even more than usual. So power-bars it was. Green Kitchen Stories has an amazing recipe and I sort of altered it to fit what I had in my cupboards – although next time I will be adding a tad more nuts, and possibly try to cook some of them in the oven.

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I sort of needed more after dinner today, and ended up with my incredibly sweet power-bars (even Line thought they were reaaaally sweet – imagine that, sugar free and all!), a coconut milk-strawberry-proteinshake and heaps of grapes. DELICIOUS.

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Everyday is pizza day

Monday has been my interval day since 2010. 4 x 4 intervals are great. And painful. Kickstarts the week, it’s brutal and it’s over in 30 minutes. But Mondays also equals lectures at uni until 8 pm. Failing to plan really equals planning to fail in this case (major list/planning freak right here) and bringing enough food is my lifesaver. Therefore, I always cook enough dinner to cover my lunch the following day.

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Every time I bring lunch to uni, Phoebe has a “what the hell is that?” kind of reaction, and the same goes for my typical monday-clean-pizza. It is delicious though, and almost everyone who has tasted it, has attempted making it on their own. Going back to Norway over the break resulted in plenty of cooking attempts in tricking my mother into eating like me, but the pizza was a bit of a barrier for her to overcome. “I’m not going to eat that dry pizza you keep making”, she said. But being hungry enough, she did. And she enjoyed it.

Next up, my younger sister. The terrible hangovers run in our family (thanks, mom), and one sunday we were both suffering, and as a result of having no greasy food in the house (thanks again, mom), my clean pizza was the only option. Mini-me messaged me yesterday, wanting the recipe to last for her and her boyfriend including an after party snack. It does taste good. Promise. And the base can be used to cook pretty much anything you want a bread-like substance for, naan-bread, garlic bread, breakfast, bread with your soup.. It sure does the trick.

To make enough pizza to cover the needs of this tipsy girl

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and this majorly hungover girl

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or this group of party-animals

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You need:

Rolled oats, eggs, baking powder, psyllium husk (can technically be left out), water/milk of choice (I use unsweetened almond milk), greek yoghurt and spices/fresh herbs of preference (I always do oregano).

I can’t really provide an exact recipe as I tend to just throw it all together and add things as they seem needed, but the basics for a pizza for 1 person (leaving enough for lunch the day after) are:

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Put two eggs, 50/50 of crushed oats and rolled oats (2,5 dl at least), a teaspoon or two of psyllium husk (binds the dough a tad better) and a teaspoon of baking powder in a bowl. Stir it. Add the spices/herbs. Add water/milk and a dash of greek yoghurt (if not staying away from dairy) until creating a sticky dough. If the dough becomes too runny, add more oats. Leave for 15-20 minutes for the oats to soak some of the liquid. Sort of smear the dough out on a sheet of baking paper and put in the oven. Cook until half-way done, about 15 minutes depending on your oven. Take it out, and cool off (important for the crust to become crispy).

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Meanwhile, prepare whatever you want to put on your pizza. My pizzas are typically a result of throwing together everything I have in the fridge/using leftover food, and I always overdo the topping. Make your own pesto (basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese in a blender) or your own pizza sauce, or be lazy like me and use sugar-free ketchup (no Australia, it is not called tomato sauce). Adding meat/chicken will provide you with some more protein, this time I used turkey and some leftover pepperoni. Overload with vegetables. Having to stay away from dairy, I resolve to soy cheese (no, it is not particularly tasty) and a tad parmesan cheese – but I used drown my pizza in mozzarella cheese, so if  you can – do it. Put it back in the oven on 200 degrees until your vegetables are cooked (probably another 15 minutes), and VOILÁ – you can eat pizza every day for the rest of your life if you so desire.

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This pizza can be altered and changed in so many ways. Add shredded cheese to the dough, add shredded cauliflower to the dough (so delish), add different spices to the dough, change your topping. It is of course not like the good old woodfire pizza down the road, but it does the trick, it is filling, it is healthy and I still very much look forward to every time I know it is in my lunch box.

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.