The most important (exciting) meal of the day

People always say ”breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, well, to me all of my meals are important, but breakfast is the most exciting one.
You know when you wake up after a really good nights sleep and you are really excited about breakfast – or, for me at least, excited even the night before!

A lot of people eat the same breakfast for years and years, because they don’t know what else to eat.
Yesterday I heard about a woman that has been eating smoothies for breakfast for 30 years, and that’s fine, as long as you alter what’s in them. – You know, variety to get all the beautiful little nutrients that your body needs.
I didn’t use to be a smoothie girl, but recently I’ve started to have this loving relationship with them. You can put anything in there and it’s easy and taste amaaazing (most of the time, if you know what you’re doing. Which I do not, but sometimes I will succeed and kick ass at the same time).

But some mornings I just want something else to fill me up and get me ready for the day.
Here is an easy and not too time consuming recipe that you might want to try out before you eat that yogurt with added sugar, which, to be honest, you eat more frequently then you’d like to admit. And no shame in that, that used to be me.

Chocolate protein overnight-oats:
1/2 cup of oats (or buckwheat, for those who’s got a stomach that can’t handle oats)
1 tsp flax seeds
1 tsp raw cacao (the amazing stuff)
1/2 scoop of protein powder (I use pea protein because that suits well with my stomach, but try whatever feels best for you)
1 cup of whatever milk you’d like: Coconut, almond, oats, cow’s, rice. (might need more to make it as moshie (Warning! Made up word here) as you want it to be)
Leave in a bowl/container overnight.

Flax seeds – They are the bomb! They are a rich source of Omega-3, which is great to know if you don’t eat fish. It is also a rich source of phytochemicals (also known as phytonutrients), especially lignans. This mean that it acts as an antioxidant and may prevent the spread of some cancers and also assist in lowering blood pressure, among other amazing stuff phytonutrients do.
Flax seeds are also high in fibre – and I eat them either soaked over night or grounded so they do their best work in the stomach (other wise they will possibly come out whole on the other end!).

Toppings of your choice:
– Honey
– Granola
– Fruit
– Berries
– Nut butters
– Coconut
– Cinnamon

I usually do different types of fruit or berries, maybe a little peanut butter, some seeds or nuts that I prefer.
In the picture I have used mango (because they have it in Sweden too!!!), chia seeds and hemp seeds (great source of protein).

 

Until next time,
Penny

What to eat during ”meatless-monday”?

When I became a vegetarian I thought all there was to eat was tofu to get the protein I needed. And I hated tofu.
But I was wrong.
All of this ”meatless-monday” might be something for you too if you know what your options are. Because let’s face it, isn’t ”what are we/I having for dinner tonight?” the most frequently asked question ever? 
There are so many different types of protein sources out there, and I’m gonna give you a few good ones that I use:

Contains per 100g:

Eggs
Energy 587 kJ
Protein 12.7 g
Fat 9.9 g
Calcium 38 mg
Iron 1.53 mg
Magnesium 10 mg
Potassium 114 mg
Sodium 134 mg
Zinc 1.12 mg
Total folates 78 ug
Cholesterol 477 mg

Quinoa
Energy 120 kcal
Protein 4.4 g
Fat 1.9 g
Dietary fibre 2.8 g
Calcium 17 mg
Iron 1.49 mg
Magnesium 64 mg
Potassium 172 mg
Sodium 7 mg
Zinc 1.09 mg
Total folates 42 ug
Cholesterol 0

Seeds/nuts
Walnuts
Energy 2904 kJ
Protein 14.4 g
Fat 69.2 g
Dietary fibre 6.4 g
Calcium 89 mg
Iron 2.5 mg
Magnesium 150 mg
Potassium 440 mg
Sodium 3 mg
Zinc 2.53 mg
Total folates 70 ug
Cholesterol 0 mg

Almonds
Energy 2503 kJ
Protein 19.5 g
Fat 54.7 g
Dietary fibre 8.8 g
Calcium 250mg
Iron 1.53 mg
Magnesium 260 mg
Potassium 740 mg
Sodium 134 mg
zinc 3.69 mg
total folates 29 ug
Cholesterol 0 mg

Pumpkin seeds
Energy 2416 kJ
Protein 24.4 g
Fat 45.6 g
Dietary fibre 10.2 g
Calcium 43 mg
Iron 10 mg
Magnesium 535 mg
Potassium 820 mg
Sodium 20 mg
Zinc 7.46 mg
Total folates 58 ug
Cholesterol 0 mg

Nut butters 
Tahini
Energy 2717 kJ
Protein 20.4 g
Fat 60.7 g
Dietary fibre 13.5 g
Calcium 330 mg
Iron 5.1 mg
Magnesium 320 mg
Potassium 190 mg
Sodium 79 mg
Zinc 5.53 mg,
Total folates 99 ug
Cholesterol 0 mg

Peanut butter, no added sugar or salt
Energy 2634 kJ
Protein 24.3 g
Fat 54.3 g
Dietary fibre 6.5 g
Calcium 55 mg
Iron 1.77 mg
Magnesium 165 mg
Potassium 608 mg
Sodium 25 mg
Zinc 2.77 mg
Total folate 155 ug
Cholesterol 0 mg

Quorn mince
Energy 441 kJ
Protein 14.5 g
Fat 2.0 g
Dietary fibre 5.5 g
Calcium 30 mg
Iron 0.2 mg
Potassium 204 mg
Sodium 0.1 g
Zinc 6.75 mg
Total folates ?
Cholesterol 0 mg

Tempeh
Energy 1875
protein 23.2 g,
fat 33.8 g
Dietary fibre 2.9 g
Calcium 74 mg
Iron 9.2 mg
Magnesium 115 mg
Potassium 542 mg
Sodium 955 mg
Zinc 1.7 mg
Total folates o mg
Cholesterol o mg

Legumes
Chickpeas
Energy 449 kJ
Protein 6.3 g
Fat 2.1g
Dietary fibre 4.7 g
Calcium 45 mg
Magnesium 27 mg
Iron 1.8 mg
Potassium 140 mg
Sodium 250 mg
Zinc 1 mg
Total folates 63 ug
Cholesterol 0 mg

Lentils
Energy 1198 kJ
Protein 24.2 g
Fat 2 g
Dietary fibre 13.7 g
Calcium 73 mg
Magnesium 82 mg
Iron 7.5 mg
Potassium 840 mg
Sodium 5 mg
Zinc 3 mg
Total folates 11 ug
Cholesterol 0 mg

When being a vegetarian/vegan there is multiple protein sources that also offers a lot of nutrients that meat/meat products won’t do.
You might think that there is a lot of energy per 100g with these examples I have given above – so let’s compare it to beef mince, 100 g, just to look at the difference:
Energy 942 kJ
Protein 27.4 g
Fat 12.9 g
Dietary fibre 0 g
Calcium 5 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Iron 2.28
Potassium 359 mg
Sodium 60 mg
Zinc 5.35 mg
Total folates 12 ug
Cholesterol ~100 mg

Obviously there is more energy in nut/nut butters because they are predominantly fat, but they also contain protein. And the difference is that these fats in the nut/nut butters are predominantly mono and polyunsaturated fats, which are the ones we want in our diet!
The key is to eat a variety of food.

One thing that plant sources do not contain is cholesterol, which meat/meat products do. There is also a lot of potassium in veggies and this is good because it take part in many important actions in the body, such as muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission. It also seems to play a major role in lowering high blood pressure. Plant sources also contain our all time favorite dietary fibre. There is none of this in the beef mince, and this is needed for a full functional bowel.
Another thing that is also important to look at is what sources you eat that contains folate, especially if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, as this is crucial for the baby to prevent neural tube defects.

When comparing pumpkin seeds to eggs you can see that the pumpkin seeds contain a lot more protein per 100 g, but they also contain four times as much energy.
The mineral zinc is very low in these sources, that is because you get them predominantly from seafood. But you can still get it into your system by eating a variety of foods.

I want you think of it as more than just protein, fat and carbohydrates. Are you eating the same type of food? Are you getting all the nutrients your body need? Can you maybe try three new veggies this week?
When you look at broccoli you might only think ”green veggie”, but I think water, protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, dietary fibre, folate, biotin, vitamin C.

I don’t want you to go out there and eat 100 g of peanut butter, because that is a lot of energy, but when you think of the tiny things they contain it makes sense that they are feeding your body.
And you might think: 100 g, that is a lot. But a lot of people have no difficulties eating 150 g steak, when they can cut it down to half and eat heaps of other sources that also provide the body with protein plus a hell of a lot other goodies!

Use this as a templet if you want to try cutting down on meat. There is so many more protein sources, but with these it might get you started.

Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions!
And I’ve got a question for you – you might see that I’ve put some ”?” in the templet, that is just because I couldn’t find a credible source for that nutrient. So if you know, will you maybe help me out?

 

Let’s talk about food marketing

Let’s talk about food marketing, and how companies trick people into believing that one particular thing is more healthier than another.

In this post I am comparing two different brands of potato chips, let’s not think about the fact that it is potato chips. If you want to eat good fats and a fibre rich diet potato chips are probably not the way to go. But I just wanted you to get an idea of how it works.

I found this one at a friend’s place and I was just blown away by all the claims it has on the front. Someone would easily believe that this one would be a healthier option compared to other brands.
First of all:
Gluten free – this is a marketing strategy a lot of companies use. I went to a café the other day and a cake said ”low gluten”, what even is that? Are they thinking: it’s just one little table spoon of flour, so that makes it less gluten? It Does Not Work That Way. It’s either gluten in it, or it’s not. There’s No in-between.
Anyway. Who knew that potatoes are gluten free? Who knew that potatoes are natural?
And 90% less saturated fat than what? Are they comparing it to a specific oil? Because, for example, both sunflower oil and olive oil are predominantly monounsaturated fats. Or are they comparing it to butter?

And then I absolutely love the top left corner ”no hidden nasties” – and then we turn the bag over…

 

Most ”original” potato chips contain three ingredients – potatoes, an oil and salt. This bag only contains 60% of potatoes – and it also contains sugar! I would call that a hidden nastiness, wouldn’t you? The sugar they have probably only added to make it taste better. But other brands that you might think are ”unhealthier” than this one do not contain any sugar at all.

People often don’t know what to look for when they read food labels. So let’s break it down for you: the ingredient list always starts with the ingredient that is of the greatest amount in that particular food. For example – when I go to buy a ”healthy” bar for example, I wouldn’t normally pick one that has golden syrup, fructose or something similar as an ingredient on top of the list – it’s still a sugar. I would pick something with a nut as the first ingredient, or something like oats, which is a good base for a bar.

When looking at the nutrition information where all the information regarding the amount of energy, protein, different type of fats etc. – Look at the 100 g column, because that makes it easier to compare it to other brands. Because serving sizes may vary depending on the brand.
I don’t have a good picture of the nutrition information of this particular bag – but it contained, for example, 7.3 g of sugar per 100 g, whereas Smith’s potato chips, another big brand here in Australia, had 1.0 g of sugar per 100 g. The Sodium content of Smith’s was also lower, but not that significant. However, the Smith’s bag didn’t say how much dietary fibre it contained – the bag in the pictures above contained 4.2 g of dietary fibre – which is good. The higher the fibre content, the better.

The Smith’s chips were made out of sunflower oil and canola oil, they did have higher saturated fat content – but not that much. They did, however, also contain greater amounts of mono and polyunsaturated fats compared to the ”healthy” one, which is much better! It is important to look at the nutrition information – people are often too scared of fat. The one type of fat that people should be aware of is trans fat. The ”healthy bag” contained 0.1 g, hardly anything. But Smith’s had 0.0 g. And people should be aware of this because trans fat are associated with different health issues, such as heart disease, which is why it is recommended to keep the intake as low as possible. Trans fats are often found in chips, store bought cakes etc.
The Smith’s chips were however higher in energy. But when I eat chips, I’m just gonna eat whatever chips I want to. If a person is mainly focusing on losing weight, the chips would probably not be included in their diet anyway.

I’m not saying that you should go and get a bag of chips now just because one is is better than the other one, I just wanted to show you how food marketing works. By just looking at the front of the bag isn’t enough to keep you informed about what is actually in the bag. Turn it over and look at the ingredients, how many ingredients does it contain? What does it contain?

I hope this helped you a little bit, and if you’ve got any questions just let me know!

 

Is it professional antibiotics?

That’s what I thought the first time I heard it.
Probiotics – which are ass-kicking, gut healing bacteria, without all the side effects of antibiotics.

We all pretty much know that the body is SO complex, or I was hoping that we all knew that…
Until I got a question the other day ”what is the healthiest thing you can eat?”
Do you expect there to be just ONE thing that would be the healthiest thing to eat? What would it be? Please, tell me! Or are you basically just looking for a quick fix when you’re standing there with a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other?
Friends, it’s all connected. You can’t just do One thing for your health and you are going to be ”healthier than you’ve ever been”, it’s a work in progress, okay?
And you are doing a great job.

So lets talk about an important part for our health – our gut.

There is sooo much talk lately about microbiome, probiotice, prebiotics, and on the list goes. I thought I’d just break it down for you to make it easier for you to understand.
We all have bacteria in our gut, to help us function in a way we otherwise wouldn’t be able to.  But we also put our bodies through a lot of stress that causes inflammation, poor digestion and poor absorption. – Which we obviously want to prevent, but sometimes life gets in between – illness, antibiotics, environment – diet plays a big part in how our gut is doing, especially changes in our diet – (I’m definitely looking at you, you all ”jumping from one diet to the next”-people. That is definitely putting a lot of stress on your body).

By eating probiotics you are providing your body with the healthy bacteria which will (surprise!) improve digestion and nutrient absorption, and improve your overall health.
A classic definition of probiotics is ”live microorganisms which, when administered in Adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host.”

So where do you find the probiotics? Well, you can find them in supplements, and you might also have heard any of these fancy terms going around lately: sauerkraut, kim chi, kombucha, kefir. (#guthealth) And if you’re not feeling all that fancy and want to try something easier (not so unfamiliar), you could just go with yogurt.
These are basically fermented products that contains live microorganisms that improves health.

But to feed these probiotics, to support their growth, you also need prebiotics – ”a non-digestible food ingredient that beneficially affects the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon and thus improves health”. Banans, asparagus, leek, garlic, oats, legumes – just to mention a few.

 

So basically, if you want to support your gut you don’t NEED to spend heaps of money on supplements, or fancy foods that you don’t like. You can simply eat some yogurt (preferably with no added sugar), with some banana. Great way to start your day!
But remember, even if #guthealth is a big thing right now, that you can have too much of everything. Don’t go and buy all the fermented products I just mentioned because you really, really, really want to improve your health. My advice to you if you think, or you know you, you really need to improve your gut health – go see a naturopath. They will run tests, they will help you figure out what is wrong with you, as an individual. We are all individuals with our own gut, just because one thing worked for your friend doesn’t mean it’s the same thing that is causing you to feel bloated, sluggish, or just very fatigue.
Look after yourself and your health, because it is important <3

 

 

Variety, baby

Long live the smoothie bowl. It’s pretty, it’s yummy. But I am just getting so tired of all the hype around it, aren’t you?

If I see one more perfect smoothie bowl I’m gonna suffocate myself on the peanut butter I have stashed in my cupboard (there are worse ways to die).
No, I want to see some other dishes, something inspiring (but still easy to make).  Sure, your bowls look pretty and they probably taste amazing. Anyone can make them which is great, maybe not make it look as pretty as yours (obviously, because you’ve had a great amount of practice with all the failed smoothie bowls you managed to make before you took that perfect shot), but a smoothie bowl is not that impressive.

It is easy to make, I give you credit for that – because easy-making nourishing food is what I’m all about.
I am not saying I am a great cook, and that is why I am asking for inspiration. And I most definitely do not have the artistic smoothie bowl skills that you have.
But what about variety? Do you eat anything else?

Today I made lasagna.
I used to hate lasagna, every time we got it in school I would pull a face (you know the face) and it probably took me a decent amount of time to finish the plate.
But lasagna does not have to be in a certain way.
What do you think of lasagna?
It’s yummy?
It’s too ”unhealthy” because of the cheese?
There is too much carbs in it?

I decided to make it my own way, and so can you.

First of all, all home cooked food is better than fast food any day.
It’s made with love, you took the time to make food that nourish your body. 
There is cheese, and who doesn’t love cheese? (which you do not have to use if you do not want to)
In my lasagna I used:
Tomato sauce made by frying garlic, onion and tomatoes together, adding sour cream and whatever spices you want. I used basil, + salt and peppar.
Chickpeas
Capsicum (peppers)
Eggplant
Lasagna sheets
Cheese

I’ve modified the ”traditional” lasagna, and even if you were to make a traditional lasagna that is awesome. Because you made it yourself, and as I was saying – that beats fast food any day. And store-bought food – because they have a tendency to add heaps of things that doesn’t necessary have to be in there.
The thing is if you modify it slightly you might get away with ”hiding” certain foods from yourself.
I used to hate capsicum, now I love it warm (still working on the cold part).
I used to hate eggplant, now I use it in my lasagna because I can sometimes crave it.
Isn’t it funny?
And it contains sooo many things that are good for you – vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates and protein. Your body needs it, everyday.

You can also make it with a kick-ass salad on the side.
I made mine on kale, fried in a little bit of olive oil, green beans, red cabbage and some pepitas.

Good luck creating!