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Vårblomst

Spring – the promise of a new beginning

Spring is the time of the year when life comes to show after winter. It’s a new beginning.

The birds are chirping, the sun is heating up and flowers start to pop up from underneath the brown leafs from last year. It’s the sign of change and an immediate feeling of well being and happiness seems to pour over you when taking in deep breaths of fresh, crisp air.

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year as it gives me a promise of a new beginning more so than when January 1st come around. It gives a great deal of new found happiness in the little things around me which in turn gives added energy to my day.

This is why it’s so important to stress down and smell the flowers because time passes really fast. In a blink summer will be upon us and the new beginning is already “old” even still enjoyable of course.

It’s time to soak up your natural vitamin D and get your fitness on and get ready for summer.

The reason vitamin D is so important lays in the fact that it promotes proper calcium absorption to maintain good bones. It is responsible for bone growth and remodeling and when having sufficient amounts of vitamin D in your diet you can avoid osteoporosis. Additionally, vitamin D is also a vital source to help with modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduction of inflammation [1]. This means it can help in the prevention of  heart disease and some kinds of cancer as well (i.e. breast and colon cancer).

Getting vitamin D can be easy especially now that spring is here and we will be spending more and more time in the sun. However, the sun exposure must be without sunscreen and how long time you will need in the sun will depend on your skin type and adding to this you must show more than your face for that given time to maximize the amount[2] . But what you eat will also have an impact on your D level and the best way is to keep it as natural as possible and use sources such as fatty fish, fish oil, eggs and dairy.

Having good bones are everything when growing older and to help build your bone density you will have to do weight bearing exercises. That in itself is a great reason to start working out besides looking good in a bikini of course. Lifting weights actually puts a lot of stress on your bones and muscles because you are making micro tears in them every time you work out (if you do correctly of course). At night when sleeping you are rebuilding the damage making them stronger and bigger (and women don’t worry, it’s hard to grow big muscles as we don’t possess the same amount of hormones to do so as men).

So today I started my new exercise regimen. It’s a 5 day weight training body part split with two of the days dedicated to legs. The goal is to tone and tighten my muscles and be as fit and healthy as possible before summer comes.

Remember it’s never too late to improve your health!

 

Bread

No grain = no pain

Marie Antoinette once famously said “let them eat cake”, which inspired me to write about the two biggest pit falls of health, wheat gluten and its starches.

In the recent years both low-carb diets and gluten-free diets have been talked quite a bit about when it comes to weight loss and health related issues like obesity,diabetes, and gastrointestinal issues (IBS, celiac etc). And I think both diets have their validity to a certain extent but not everyone needs to be on a low-carb diet, however, more should be aware of the intricate dangers of gluten containing products (in this case wheat).

Cereal grains of different kinds contain gluten, not only wheat. However, wheat is the cereal grain that is the most dominant grain in our diet (think oat meal, wheat-germ, general breakfast cereals etc) even when it’s not obvious (check the labels of your soy sauce..it might have either wheat and/or added sugar in it!).

The problem is; today’s grains have been genetically modified. This chemical interference has changed the true nature of the grains and made it toxic for indigestion.  Gluten is not the only problem in itself but also the fact that the grains have become starchier and the chemical alteration have created new and unknown proteins. Check out this great article on this topic.

The genetically modification of grains has now left us with tremendous problems, tackling anti-nutrient properties, higher amounts of starch, and increased inflammation markers.  Gluten among other components found in wheat (i.e. lectins and phytates) make minerals bio-unavailable, and compromises vitamin D3 levels, hyperparathyroidism and bone defects. They have been linked to causing leptin resistance which is a part of creating metabolic syndrome. Not to mention that the breakdown of grains into simple sugars (glucose) happens fairly quickly. This rapid breakdown elevates your blood sugar fast and forces your pancreas to produce lots of insulin to metabolize it. If this happens often over a long time one can develop chronically high insulin levels creating insulin resistance, type-2 diabetes etc. On top of that grains increase inflammation in the body. That is mainly based on the sugar content of the grain  but nevertheless, something to keep in mind when eating it. With every bite you increase your chances of developing an autoimmune response due to previously mentioned issues with grains.  These responses could be anything from arthritis, allergies, asthma, cardiovascular disease, bone loss, emotional imbalance and to even cancer.

You can live without wheat in your daily diet, and you can get the same amount of fiber and nutrients from other sources like vegetables for that matter and you will be much healthier. Don’t fall into the trap of buying gluten-free labeled products as they are heavily processed and contain tons of added sugar you do not need. Eating such products will just lead you down the path of sugar addiction in a different way.

So why put yourself into a cycle of weight gain, chances of metabolic syndrome and pain when you really don’t need to? I live a happy and healthy life with no more bloating, unwanted gas, acid reflux or stomach swelling after I stopped eating wheat and became aware of hidden sources of wheat in non-traditional grain foods. Here is a list of foods that can create allergies and irritations in the intestines, something worth thinking of when reading labels.

~ Modern Paleo Soup ~

Modern Paleo Soup

~ Modern Paleo Soup ~

As sniffles and winter blues are at its highest before spring comes soon, I decided to make a fantastic soup from scratch that offers a hearty healthy solution to these challenges. This is a great soup to make on a Sunday when you have some more time. It’s the making of the broth that takes time as it has to cook for about 2.5-3 hours and then an additional 20-30 min for the vegetables.

You will need:

*use organic vegetables and organic/grass-fed meats/bones to ensure the best quality of nutrients

1kg of fattier type meat (usually a harder type meat)

5-8 bones with marrow

Vegetables of your choice ( I used what I had available such as broccoli, celery root, bell pepper,celery, carrots, sweet potato, cauliflower, onion etc)

Water

1tbs marjoram

1tbs rosemary

4 juniper leafs

 

~ Modern Paleo soup Step 2 ~

Use a large pot and put the bones in it. I had some extra small ones and put them in here as well. Bone and marrow have been an important source of food since the beginning of dawn. It contains fat of course, but also nourishing minerals ( calcium, magnesium, and potassium) as well as gelatin (aids digestion and also act as a protein sparer allowing the body to fully utilize the proteins taken in) and collagen among other things.

~ Modern Paleo soup Step 3 ~

Cut your piece of meat into bite sized bits. As you can see the piece of meat I’m using has quite a bit of fat in it which gives great flavor as well as satiety. Over the years there has been quite a debate of whether or not to eat saturated animal fats, here is an article I think will make this topic rest in peace.

~ Modern Paleo soup Step 4 ~

Add the bite sized bits of meat to the pot with bones, and add as much water as needed to cover the meats and bones. I used about 1.5 liters for this one.

~ Modern Paleo soup Step 5 ~

Add the marjoram, rosemary and juniper leafs to the pot and cover. Bring the pot to boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Let the broth simmer for 2.5-3 hours before removing juniper leafs and bones.

~ Modern Paleo soup Step 6 ~

While the broth is being made, I pre-cut my vegetables of choice into bite seized bits and make them ready to go. It gives me a feeling being done cooking as I can clean up the kitchen and move on to other things while waiting for adding them as the final step of the soup. Vegetables offers so many health benefits and this soup will cover many of them as you will use a wide variety.

~ Modern Paleo Soup Step 7 ~

Final step of the soup is to remove the bones and juniper leafs, and add the vegetables to cook. Cover the pot and bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Depending on your vegetables it can take anything from 15- 30 minutes for them to be fully cooked. When your vegetables are soft the soup is ready to eat.

Enjoy!