Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Heart-warming drink

Inspired by Jaakko Halmetoja and my new blender, I made a really wintery, warm drink to take with me to my language classes yesterday. The taste was great, and the warming effect could definitely be felt. Here's what I put in it:

Heart-warming winter drink


For the base, I used ca 0,75 litre of hot chaga infusion, into which I added 1 tbsp cold-pressed sunflower seed oil, 1 tbsp raw cacao butter, and a glass of hempseed milk, to get a variety of good fats which provide a steady energy source.

raw cacao butter

hempseed milk

At this point I turned the blender on for a while, to prepare the creamy base. Then I added 2 tbsp raw cacao powder and 1 tsp natural ground vanilla for a great taste, 1 tbsp maca powder to increase brain activity and energise my general mood, and a pinch of cayenne pepper and Himalayan rose salt for kicks. Finally I threw in 1 tbsp wild organic honey to sweeten it up, and voilà, there's my drink, enjoy!

ground maca root

This drink can be poured into a thermos in order to keep it warm throughout the day, and it can be drunk instead of hot chocolate because it's very chocolatey.



Monday, 28 November 2011

The Importance of Taking Care of Yourself

I have been absent for a while, for which I apologize. I have, again, been testing to see just how far I can stretch myself. And learned a lot in the process. I've been working a LOT, and not sleeping anywhere near enough. Since I refuse to let my life be all about work, I was also cramming tons of other things into my already quite full calendar. Anyways, this all led to me being about a third of myself, and going to see a doctor for a sore throat who, when she heard of my sleeping habits (or lack thereof) was horrified and forced me to take a week of sick leave and gave me a prescription for sleeping pills.

This sort of made it all sink in, just how crazy I've been. So I am now trying to get back to sleeping enough, and well, and trying to eat enough, and just trying to make sure I feel good all over. I will be working a lot less in December, so that should help.

Anyway, this was just a small apology and explanation, I had a yoga course last weekend, I will get into that more later.

Take care of yourselves people, you are all you have.


Nut and seed milk

Yesterday I made some almond milk with my new blender, delicious. It's a great alternative to milk and can be used on muesli, porridge, or to make hot chocolate, just to name a few ideas. Today I bought a funnel and washed a couple of glass bottles, which I'm going to use for my milk in the future. Tomorrow I'm making hemp seed milk, and I can't wait to try out other nuts and seeds too. Here's how to do it (you need a blender):

Almond milk

ca 3 dl whole organic almonds
ca 1 litre water

Optional, to taste:
natural vanilla
agave syrup

Rinse the almonds in a sieve and soak them in a bowl overnight. In the morning, dispose of the soaking water and rinse the almonds in a sieve until the water is clear. Put them in a blender with a litre of water, adding the potential spices and sweetener. Mix until white and milky. Use a dense sieve or thin fabric to remove the almond residue while pouring into a jug or bottle. The residue can be saved (e.g frozen) for later use in cakes or smoothies.

The milk keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Other nuts and seeds might be used in a similar fashion, perhaps with varying amounts. It is best to test your way into finding your own preference.

It really is this easy!

<3, Emma

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Guest Blogger

Hi all, this is a guest blog post on juice detoxing by my friend Dougan, enjoy!

Juice Blog

Our immune system is a broad and powerful network of dark magic that (generally) conspires in our favor.  When that system is weak, or distracted by fighting other battles, malicious viruses and bacteria may seize the opportunity to invade our bodies.

This past summer I had pneumonia -- it was horrible, and I hope I never have to face it again. But, it gave me the opportunity to think about my body, about my health, how I take it for granted, and what steps I should take to ensure that it stays strong and resilient.

I realized that I needed a “reset” of my body, so I started looking at ways to do this.  Fasting? I’ve fasted before, and its always made me skinny, hungry and angry.  Vegetarian for a week? Maybe... but where is the real merit in that? Eventually I decided to try a Juice Cleanse.

The Juice Cleanse is something I’m familiar with.  “Familiar” is the wrong word... but its something I’ve seen in those extreme infomercials, internet banner advertisements, and hippy-health blogs from San Francisco.  When I chose this path, I also took the time to briefly make fun of myself for being so cliché. Eventually, I would come to understand the impact of the Juice Cleanse in full spectrum.

I won’t go in to the day-by-day details of how I felt, how hungry I was, how badly I wanted a cheeseburger, etc.... but if you are considering the Juice Cleanse, there are a few things you will probably want to know before you dive in.
  • Jump on the internet and figure out where the local shops are that serve FRESH juices.  There are plenty of smoothie shops and cafes that have frozen fruits and veggies mixed with cremes and concentrated, sugary juices.  You don’t want these.  Look for the ones with actual Juice Machines and a variety of fresh fruits and veggies to choose from.  These juice shops are usually few and far between, or may be in addition to a local coffee shop or healthfood store.

  • Check to see if any of your friends or family have Juicers. Luckily, my mom had one and I was able to borrow it for the week. If you can’t borrow one, you can usually find them for $100-$200 from Amazon or some other local retailer. Breville makes a very good product.

  • Head down to the grocery store and stock-up on plenty of fruits and veggies.  Be willing to try some that aren’t a part of your normal pallet, and experiment with different combinations of cocktails.... its fun.

  • Regular juice smoothies from the grocery store will not work.  Don’t buy these.  They taste good, and with a normal diet, they are probably good for you, but if you are dependent on Juice for a temporary diet, they won’t work.  The problem is that anything you buy from the grocery store is going to be “pasteurized”.... just like milk.  Pasteurization is basically a process that flashes the juice with extremely high temperatures and electrical impulses.  This process kills any bacteria that may be living in the juice -- so you won’t get sick from e-coli or salmonella -- but it also kills some of the key nutrients that our bodies will need during the Juice Cleanse.  Go Fresh.

  • Veggie juice tastes like crap.... but its also more fulfilling than fruit juice.  I don’t care how big of a Health Hippy you are... anyone who says they enjoy drinking broccoli, wheat-grass, and avocado is lying (or totally crazy).  This isn’t a recipe blog, so I won’t try to tell you what to put in your cocktail... but I found that adding fruits to the veggie blends made them much easier to drink.  A large glass of the veggie juice around lunch time really helps satiate your hunger in the afternoon.

  • Lastly, try to make it to day 5. Be Strong. I did a total of 11 days, but the first 3-4 days are really difficult.  Really difficult.  Something magical happens by the 4th or 5th day.... something I can’t explain, but basically, that intense craving for solid foods starts to wash away, and your energy levels suddenly become very high.  Your head will become clear, your angry growling stomach will quite down, and your body starts regulating to the new diet.

Everyone will have a different experience, but I’ve found that the end result is usually the same:  People who have made it through a week (or more) come out of the Juice Cleanse feeling refreshed & energized, with a clear mind and body.  The Juice Cleanse is a great “Reset”, so if you’re looking to kick-start a healthy new diet, recharge your immune system, or just add a beneficial challenge to your life, give this one a try.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Is change a personal threat?

When people notice that I eat differently from the norm they usually seem to take it as some kind of a personal threat. They are instantly ready to defend their bad eating habits by all costs and often get insulted if I criticise something they eat. Why is it that eating is so personal? By common sense one would think that if you are told that what you consume is bad for you, you wouldn't want to eat it anymore, or at least you'd want to find out more. Or do they think I just make it all up because I have nothing better to do? And people are very suspicious towards my food, even if I don't say anything about it or about their microwave crap. The brave ones ask me what I eat, and sometimes they get interested and want me to tell them more, while at times they again take the difference as a personal threat and start talking about how good their food is while at the same time condemning me as some strange new-age hippie. I don't really mind all this, people can eat what they want, but I'm just a bit confused by this phenomenon of seeing eating as such a personal thing. To be honest, I hardly ever even criticise what people eat, and yet they still react as if I do. So could it be that somewhere underneath these people know they could be eating in a much healthier way? But if that's so, then why not change? Is it really that scary?


Thursday, 10 November 2011

Paula Heinonen

This is another Finnish food guru. On Tuesday she gave a talk at my brother's gym and he invited me to come and listen. It was well worth it, she confirmed what other gurus are saying, but she also enlightened me on a few new things. This woman's got energy, she was bouncing around the room and talking and talking about everything and she almost couldn't stop in the end. The feeling I got was that she really knows what she's saying and is passionate about making people happy and healthy. She's done a lot and whatever she claims is from personal experience and experiment. She has studied biochemistry, microbiology and biomechanics amongst other things, and she has worked in several relevant places, as well as in industrial law. She has also studied functional medicine and is training others in the field. She's written 3 books and there are several more to come. This post is a summary of her talk, which couldn't possibly include everything she's said, which you can read more about here and here (unfortunately this is all in Finnish).

- The first thing she said was that you can always get rid of all symptoms. Taking care of eating well is the most important thing here.

- Our most important organ is our bowel. If our bowels are not well, we can never feel good.

- The atkins diet or whatever it's called, when you eat only red meat and fat, is extremely dangerous because it builds a community of toxic bacteria in your stomach. These then move to your liver because that's the organ that deals with toxins, and after the liver can't deal with it, the bacteria finally moves to your brain. This can be referred to as self-toxification.

- Health is not the absence of disease, it is feeling great. But even so, health naturally includes ups and downs, so don't think you have to strive towards being full of energy and perfectly happy every second of your life.

- Just because you don't have a disease does not mean you're healthy, which is what people often think. We experience headaches, bloating, irritable bowels, wind, fatigue, slight depression, lack of energy, etc. and think it's all just normal and part of being human. Well, you don't actually have to experience any of this. But if you go to a doctor they will give you a bunch of pills for the symptoms instead of revealing their source. And the pills do not even work, and if they do, they usually only give temporary relief until the symptoms return, often stronger. The key is nutrition, but without stress of course.

- Things we can influence in order to feel better: the blood sugar roller-coaster, our bowels, fatty liver disease, immune defence, brain function, hormone function, stress, exercise, getting fresh air, smoking/alcohol/medicine use.

- Vitamin D is the only nutrient we normally need to take as a supplement. It is a multifunctional hormone that for example prevents autoimmunal diseases. It is best taken in the mornings with fats, and at least 50 micrograms per day is recommended.

- Our brains are 60% fats, so you can imagine how well they might function if we consume only bad fats...

- In order to produce serotonin, which makes us happy, we need B-vitamins and zinc, which can be found in natural food.

- Cola drinks (coca cola, pepsi, or any other non-organic ones) contain phosphoric acid which is a rust-prevention substance and is extremely dangerous.

- Fat is normally stored in the buttocks in women and in the stomach in men. While none is good or looks nice, the difference is that the tummy-fat in men is more dangerous because it surrounds our vital organs and helps maintain a chronic inflammation.

- We should eat 3 tbsp of cold-processed high-quality oils every day, and never eat processed vegetable fats, which are treated with hexane.

- In the olden days when milk was still milk and not a pasteurised unidentified liquid, we got enough lactic acid bacteria from our food. Now that's not the case and as such eating these as a supplement is recommended to keep our bowels happy.

- The Finnish wheat is a different species than the one cultivated elsewhere. It is apparently worse than others which could explain the high proportion of wheat allergies in the country.

- Allergies are possible to get rid of. The way to start is by leaving out milk and all cereals from your diet. That is also the way to cure your bowels of problems. Later, when you feel better, you can reintroduce some good-quality cereal and dairy products to your system.

- Raw cacao should not be eaten in excessive amounts as it contains oxalic acid which in the long run burdens our kidneys.

- Eating calcium as a food supplement is risky because it can result in calcification. Normally we don't need to take calcium tablets because a healthy diet gives us all the calcium we need. It is also a myth that milk is the best source of this nutrient, which is found in many vegetables.

This is everything I had time to write down, the pace of this talk was not the slowest. I hope I get another chance to see Paula and I'll definitely try and get hold of her books.

Have a happy weekend full of love!