Category Archives: Wellness

All those little learnings add up

14269677_10153579724000834_1955684473_nAfter each day I think about what I have learned. It’s important to me and I make it a point to learn something every day, no matter how small or mundane.

The willingness to learn is how you learn, you start paying attention to both your surroundings and what goes on in your head. You try new things and test your borders – just to see if you can.

Along the way you collect all the keys you need to live that wow-life that everybody talks about. It starts in the little things.

Every evening, think of your day; what made you grateful? happy? …and what did you learn?

Every evening you will find yourself one step closer to what you want and you set yourself up to win.

Friends are everywhere

I came across this video that I really like

Estrangement is a strange thing…(pun intended) There is such a distance between two strangers in a street, not in space but in meeting. If something would trigger the need to connect, interesting things can happen. Physical contact creates emotional response; check it out.

Skin food; oatmeal floral mask & peeling

Oatmeal & floral powder

Oatmeal & floral powder

I get so many questions about natural skin care and how to find stuff that is not full of chemicals. Some raw materials take some studying up on to understand how to use and blend, or they are not always so easy to find, but there is plenty of stuff you can make yourself with really simple ingredients that you either already have in your home or that are easy to find in your local health food store. Here is one wonderful product that I use. It is very mild and can be used 1-2 times per week. You can make up the powder and store it cool and dark in a jar with tight-fitting lid which will save you a lot of work. When it’s time to use, you just add the other ingredients to make a paste. Easy!

What you need for the powder:

  • 1 dl Organic oatmeal
  • 2-5 teaspoons dried lavender flowers or rose petals. If you use rose petals, add the larger amount to get a nice scent. For my blend I use 2-3 tsp lavender flowers. I prefer the lavender during the summer as it is really soothing and has a wonderful scent.

What you need for the paste:

  • Coldpressed vegetable oil, I use sunflower
  • Hydrosol of lavender, rose or witch hazel. If you don’t have hydrosol, you can use a herbal infusion or water.
  • Organic lemon
  • A bit of honey (optional)
  • If you like, you can add a drop or two of essential oil to the finished paste (optional), I don’t because I want it really mild and the floral scent is gorgeous on its own.
Really simple and easy-to-find ingredients

Really simple and easy-to-find ingredients

Step one:

In a mixer or a mortar, crush oatmeal and dried flowers to a powder, the finer it is, the better it will spread.

Step two:

When it’s time for a scrub, peeling or a mask: For a facial, mix 1 tsp of the powder with 1/2 tsp vegetable oil, 1/2 tsp hydrosol, infusion or water, a few drops of lemon juice and a dash of honey. Mix it all together to a paste. If you want to use it on your whole body you need to make about 4-5 times the amount of paste.

On clean, moist skin apply the paste with circular massage movements, you want to get the circulation going. This is the peeling effect. Now you can wash it off or leave the paste on for about 15 min to get a deeply moisturizing mask before you wash it off with lukewarm water. Pat dry and apply a light oil to your face to add more yummy nourishing food for your skin (sunflower, thistle, jojoba, grape seed oils are easy to get and fine for your skin).

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Dried rose petals

One last point; When you make stuff at home for your skin care, always use organic products. If you want your powder to look more beautiful, add some whole flowers or petals to get some colour in there.

Fast food made slow

SAM_0944On Sunday afternoon I found myself inviting some friends for dinner and then realizing there was nothing in the house…Not a very clever move on a Sunday, but I got all excited about seeing them and hanging out on the terrace so I didn’t think straight. But even the emptiest cupboards (and freezer) can unearth the makings of a meal, all that is needed is some creativity 🙂 Ok, not much to be creative with, but pizza is always possible, everybody loves pizza so I made pizza.

Pizza dough; I have been experimenting with different variations and have found the ultimate one; Quick, easy, cheap and delicious. You really get that crispy crust feel. Earlier variations I tried always turned soggy and I hate that, besides they were much more time-consuming. This recipe is done in max 30 min from start to finish.

  • 2.5 dl liquid, I use milk – whole milk, hate that crappy manipulated low-fat stuff.
  • 5 dl flour, any flour. I used whole wheat because that’s what I had. + flour for working the dough.
  • 1 tbsp veg. oil (I use olive-oil because I love the taste)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • SAM_0926HOW TO: Mix all the ingredients together till you have a nice dough that doesn’t stick, Cut into 10 pieces and roll into balls. On a well-floured worktop, use a rolling-pin and make flat round breads, the thinner, the better. You need quite a bit of flour for this work. Pile the flat breads on a board and when all are done, fry them in dry frying pans (no fat needed here) for a couple of minutes on each side. You might have to experiment a bit with the heat, if it’s too high the flour will burn. Put them on a rack to cool. These flat breads are brilliant. They freeze well, thaw quickly and can be used for wraps, tortilla, sandwiches…whatever your creativity calls for.

Tomato sauce: I always have tomato sauce in the freezer, I make big batches, it freezes really well and can be used with most anything. If you don’t have home-made tomato sauce, don’t fret, you can get it out of a tin; either you get the smooth strained tomato puré or you start out with tomato-pieces and then whizz them with a machine (mixer) to a nice smooth sauce. Home made tomato sauce made simple:

  • 2-3 cans of good quality cherry tomatoes, peeled. (Or use fresh peeled tomatoes)
  • Stick celery about 15 cm in pieces.
  • Half an onion.
  • HOW TO: Fry onion and celery till soft-ish in olive-oil, add tomatoes and let simmer for about 2 hours. Blend it with a mixer, add salt, pepper and whatever other spices you might like.
  • For the pizza; mix in some olive oil and fresh (or dried) oregano into the cold tomato sauce, add salt, pepper (and spices) as needed or wanted.

Cheese: Very important  (for me), you need that melted tasty yummy feel to the pizza, you know when the cheese turns into long strands like spaghetti. Again, this is something I always have in the freezer; shredded cheese. It’s a great way to use up all those boring end-bits that nobody wants to eat. If you have kids, you’re going to end up with loads of them; shred ’em and freeze ’em.

SAM_0931Topping: You can use anything you like, except potatoes. I tried that once and it was awful. Just take whatever bits and pieces you have, cut it up and lay it on there; onions, veggies, meats, cheeses…whatever. It is like the great fridge-cleaning session made delicious 🙂 You know, the stuff that would never ever be enough for a meal, not even for somebody very small and not hungry.

For this event I had some good bacon, some nice italian salami, peas and onion, so that’s what I used. Bake in oven on 250-300 degrees Celsius or in a wood-stove or on the BBQ. Whatever takes your fancy. Before serving I topped off with freshly chopped parsley and oregano from the garden. This is fast food made slow. By having the stuff in the freezer it is even made fast. Vegetarian? cut the meat. Gluten free? no problem. No dairy? skip the dairy-bits. This is a very healthy meal.

BON APPETIT!

What are you prepared to give up for life?

Mother Earth is suffering, worse, she’s seriously sick, and she needs help NOW. Right this minute and every minute after that for as long as you can imagine. This is reality. Mother Earth is our life-support and when she suffers, we suffer. She is ill and so are we. The question is; what are you prepared to do, or give up, to save her…And yourself?

It is daunting, isn’t it? Multinational corporations that can’t be touched, using up, polluting and destroying our world. We feel very small in their shadow. We rave and we rant, looking for “clean” solutions, which is good but only goes so far. We live in a world where we take the results of this destruction for granted; electricity, fuel for our cars, foods from everywhere in our corner-shop, new machines, technology…Most everything that we use and feel we need – Every day! What are you prepared to give up? Will you exchange your car for a cleaner alternative, or maybe start commuting? Will you stop buying stuff? Will you turn off your electricity even though it is not a question of economy? Will you keep your old telly, computer, stereo, phone that still works fine and forego the fancy new model? Will you start repairing your old clothes instead of buying new? Everything is limited and everything has a cost. There is no such thing as unlimited resources.

Earth Hour; one hour per year people turn of their electricity to make a stand for Mother Earth; that’s one hour out of 8 760 hours in a year. Why am I not impressed? A lot of people won’t even do this one hour, I have heard some of the comments; “what should I do for one hour without my machines…?” And during this one hour, closed stores are still lit up like Christmas trees so we can look through the window and drool over all the stuff we think that we need or want.

People; if you want change, you will have to be the change. We are all consumers and as such we hold tremendous power. The multinational corporations might seem daunting and we stand before them as Don Quixote before the windmills. But we are the world! Every little person put together become the ruler, but only if we are prepared to put it into action. So again; What are you prepared to give up for life?

FOODS and some basic truths

Truth number one: EAT CLEAN. This means:

  • foodCook from raw materials (saves you a ton of money 🙂 )
  • Don’t eat prefabricated stuff
  • Stay away from anything that is not natural; fake sugars, weird taste-enhancers, low-fat and/or manipulated dairy-products (milk that lasts forever…), margarine, manipulated vegetable oil (usually called cooking or frying oil).
  • Avoid sugary and fizzy drinks
  • Don’t eat anything that has a number or a coded name; if you can’t read it, don’t eat it.
  • Be careful with your intake of sugars and salt.
  • DO eat; protein, carbohydrates and fat…Real fat, like vegetable oils, butter and cream (if you do dairy).

I have found that when I eat the way my body dictates I am fine. I need to be careful with too much carbs such as flour, bread and pasta and I don’t handle sugar well. I can’t eat many little meals in a day and I need 1-2 days/week without food to stay in balance. For the rest, I’m good. Listening to your body is do-able if your basic diet is clean (see above). If not, you are a food-junkie and your body will be crying for sugars, carbs, manipulated fats and weird taste-enhancers. Then you can’t trust your body so start by cleaning up. An excellent (and easy) way to do that is with the new_elimination_diet_coverELIMINATION DIET from Dax Moy. It is free and you can find it HERE. (and you won’t have to be hungry or calory-count) Trust me, I did it. That’s how I found out that I can’t handle carbs. (While you’re at it, check out Dax Moy’s blog)

Now to the amazing research that has come up: If you fast 2 days/week you get healthier! You lose weight, your “bad” cholesterol goes down as does glucose. And here is the bonus: Your brain stays fitter and produces new brain cells continuously which lowers risks for dementia and Alzheimer’s. Your body actually stays “younger” and healthier, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Check out the research of Luigi Fontana, Valter Longo and Krista Varady Personally I don’t agree with Krista Varaday about eating any crap on “feed-days”, I think you do your body a dis-favour. The basic of all eating is keeping it clean and natural.

My conclusion?  Going back to the times of our origins: Food was not always easy to come by and I truly think we are biological creatures, little changed physically from those ancient times. We are not made to constantly eat, nor are we made to deal with refined sugars or to eat meat every day or even every 2nd or 3rd day, it is a “sometimes-boost”. Our bodies like carbs in the form of nuts and grains. I also believe that we all have different rhythms, needs and patterns. I am not saying that my way is the right way for everybody, just that it works for me. And that makes me believe that if you find what works for you, you will be healthier and stronger as well. And remember; whatever food habits you have are probably set already from childhood, so if you are a parent, pay attention to what you feed your kids.

Make appointments with yourself

lukta blommaThis is something I learned the hard way; after years of having my calendar solidly booked, day in and day out in a most merciless way, I crashed. I didn’t notice it coming, one day it was just there; a complete and utter emptiness in myself. Between running a company, caring for 4 children and a small homestead I had forgotten myself. I wasn’t suffering, not at all. I was enjoying being busy. It wasn’t dramatic in any way, my head just went blank, that’s all, and blank it stayed. I rearranged my calendar, cut down on my bookings and took a long hard look at my priorities: “What is the most important thing to me right now?” The answer was “my family”. Not me, which I seemed to have lost along the way, or my work but my children. And I realized that “me” was also my children, having time to grow with them, they were the one thing that could not wait and the only way I could be the best mother possible was by taking care of myself.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI started writing myself into the calendar; riding, baking, sewing…with the children. Such happy times and it didn’t matter that my head was blank, it just made it so much better. It was hard, at first, to say “I am busy” since I considered only work as being “busy”. My booked time for hanging out in the field watching ponies didn’t feel like a good enough excuse to not work, and I felt like a cheat. But I got over it. I didn’t leave empty spaces in my calendar because I would have booked them for work. No, I painstakingly wrote my diverse activities in there, just to block the space and make sure that I stayed as true to myself as to my clients. I learned more about myself and how we function as human beings during that time than ever before.

rida merlinNow my children are all adults, my work is my passion and I can spend time doing just that; my work. I still book my private down-time in my calendar and stick to it even though I sometimes might be tempted to put myself in second place. I have learned that the more I care for myself, the better I can care for my work. You can only give so much without becoming lousy for your passion; be it your family or your work. So do it, book that bath, movie-time, hack, pottering in the garden, staring at the sky…all the things that make you happy and you’ll be the best thing that ever happened to yourself and others.